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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

Saving Ash (book #2) Chapter- Thirteen




I wake on Ash’s chest. I’ve never slept so peaceful in my life. We never moved from the bed after we made love. That’s what it was for me, love. As for Ash, I’m not sure what it was.


Today is the memorial. He said I would have questions after. What questions would I have? He had a stepmother he didn’t like, and the little boy was his brother. All understandable. But he never said how they died. I was about to ask, but he said he was through talking about it. I just need to be there for him today.


I look over at his face. His long brush against his cheeks like an innocent child. He looks at peace, I don’t want to wake him and wish I could have this version of Ash always.

Last night was all together different. I thought I loved the harsh side of his sex, but what he did last night was so passionate. Did he enjoy it like he does the rough stuff?


I’m nervous about what I will find out today. As much as I want to know, it could also change things between us.


Ash stirs next to me. I watch his lashes flutter as he wakes. Does he even know I’m wrapped up with him?


“Good morning,” I greet him quietly. He looks at me through sleepy eyes and blinks a few times. I’m waiting for his reaction.


“Good morning, Cinder. What time is it?”


“I don’t know. I just woke up, myself.”


He rubs his head and face with his hands. “Ahh, last night…” There’s regret in his voice.


“I loved it,” I rush out, hoping he isn’t regretting last night. He looks over at me, a look of disbelief on his face.


“It…it was different for me,” he says.


My heart is torn to his meaning of different. “Well, you were…different. I felt more connected to you.”


“Connected? That’s what you want to feel? Connected?”


“Yes. Is something wrong with that?”


“I don’t know. Sex has always been about one thing.”


“Control,” I state.


“Yes.”


I’m feeling brave and reach up and trace his face with my finger. “Ash, you were in control last night. We both enjoyed it. You did enjoy it, didn’t you?”


“Yes,” he whispers, looking into my eyes. I feel we are becoming closer. I must keep pulling him in. Make him feel safe with me.


“We need to get ready. My father will be here with the limo soon,” he says, and all thoughts are turned off. But it’s a start.


“Do I have time to make us a breakfast?”


“It’s already been done,” he says, getting up and pulling on his pajama pants.


It has? Just then, I smell something fresh coming from the kitchen.


“Is someone here, cooking?”


He then looks at his phone setting on the dresser. “No, it’s 8:00 and has been dropped off. I made sure it was enough for two. I hope you like waffles.”


“Waffles? I sure do,” I say with a smile. I suddenly feel…happy, normal. We made love. We slept in each others arms. Now we are about to eat waffles together. In all reality, it’s simple. But I fear it will be too mundane for Ash.


Instead of pulling on a robe, I find Ash’s white dress shirt from last night hanging in the bathroom and throw it on. I can smell his cologne and it makes me feel closer to him. Part of him.


I walk out of the bath and carefully observe his reaction. He looks somewhat confused and looks like he wants to say something.


“You look…beautiful.”


Yes! “Thank you,” I say, and walk past him and follow the wonderful smell coming from the kitchen.


Two silver doms sit on the table like a magic ferry popped in. I want to have everything ready when Ash walks in.


Pulling off the lids, I find a stack of waffles, a bowl of strawberries, a small container of syrup, and butter. I walk over to the refrigerator and open the door. There, I find fresh milk. I smile and prepare to pour two glasses. I then notice the smell of coffee and see a fresh pot. I grab two cups and pour us each a cup.


I have everything ready when Ash walks in. He’s wearing a black robe. I have no idea where it came from, and a smile  on him I’ve never seen before.


“Ready to eat? It looks and smells delicious,” I say, looking at his smiling face.


“Yes, I am.”


He comes over and takes a seat across from me at the small table. Everything is so different, and I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. When Ash and I ate together at his home in Providence, he was harsh and closed up. His smiles were rare and our interactions were scripted.


I watch him dig into his food and admire his simple charm. Charm he doesn’t even know he has.


“So, who actually cooks this food?” I ask, taking a mouthful.


“Someone my handler uses. You would have to ask her,” he says, taking a drink of his milk.


Her? I know I shouldn’t, but it suddenly bothers me that another woman is involved in his life.


“Oh? Does she work for you…whatever it is you do?”


“No. I’ve never seen her. She’s only a service.”


Like I am? Am I still?


“Oh, like Door Dash, or Uber Eats?”


“I don’t know what those are. My secretary hooked her up through corporate. That’s all I know. Why so curious, Cinder?”


“Oh, no reason. Just…thank her for me. The food is very good.”


“I will, if you like,” he says, and looks at his watch. “We need to shower. The limo will be here soon.”


I quickly clear the table and set the dishes in the sink. Ash disappears into another bath to shower, and I make my way back to my room and shower.


Now in my closet, I search for what to wear. Should I dress like it’s a funeral? What does one wear to a…memorial?”


I find something not over dressy but a bit more than casual and put it on. It’s looks to be bit cold today and grab a long sweater to wear.


Ash is dressed in another suit and stands looking out the large, glass windows overlooking the city. My eyes rake over his body, broad shoulders, his hands resting in his pockets. I have a feeling he’s deep in thought, internally stressing the outcome of today events.


“You will have questions after,” he had said.


I walk over and place my hand carefully on his back. I feel him stiffen. Uncertainty running through his veins. Will I lose the Ash I had last night and this morning?


“Ash, are you alright?”


“Just preparing, Cinder. I know after today, things will become…more complicated between us.”


“Maybe not. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. I promise,” I say, and lay my head on his back. I feel his breath hitch and his shoulders tighten.


He breaks away. “It’s time. The limo is waiting.”


I’m losing him.


He walks to the hall closet beside the door and pulls out his coat. Next, he takes out one for me and holds it open. I walk over and slide my arms inside. He holds me from behind for just a moment. I take everything I can from it, hoping it will not be the last time he holds me.


We leave the penthouse and head down in the elevator. Just as he said, a black limo is parked next to the elevator when the doors swish open. A man stands beside the door waiting for us.


“Good morning, Mr. Sinclair.”


“Good morning,” Ash returns.


“Miss,” he says to me with a nod.


“Hello.” I smile, and climb inside the car. Another man sits across from us. It must me Ash’s father. I wasn’t expecting anyone else riding with us, but I guess I should have.


“Good morning, Miss,” he says. I don’t think he was expecting me.


“Good morning, son,” he says when Ash climbs inside. The two stare at each other for a bit. It feels awkward.


“Father, this is Cinder McIntire…my girlfriend,” he says like it was hard to say.


“Girlfriend? Well that’s a first. A bit young isn’t she?”


“You should talk,” Ash returns.


They both talk like I’m not even here. It’s major uncomfortable. I don’t even know what to say or how to act.


Ash’s father is an older version of himself. He has all his hair but it’s all grey. His eyes are the same striking blue as Ash’s. His face is etched with hard lines and years of stress, I can tell. Living with guilt?


“Cinder, this is my father, Bartholomew Sinclair.”


“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Sinclair,” I say.


“Like wise, Miss McIntire.”


“Son, I was not made aware you were bringing guess. Next time, I would appreciate a heads up.”


“I don’t think there will be a next time, Father. I choose to grieve for Christopher my own way. He will always live in my heart. I don’t need you or anyone else telling me how I should feel.”


“And your mother?”


Ash gives him a cold stare. His jaw tightens, and I watch the veins fill with blood in his neck. I take his hand in mine and try to soften the scene. He looks down at it and squeezes my hand.


“She was never my mother. You know nothing about what kind of mother she was.”


“Son, she only showed you kindness. That’s all I ever saw.”


“If she was so wonderful, why don’t you tell us why you were filing for divorce?”


“Son, that’s enough. It’s in the past. There’s nothing I can do about it now. All I can do, is honor her memory, and my son’s.”


My heart is beating out of my chest. My limbs are shaking. This is all so bizarre. I’ve heard of dysfunctional families—I was even one. But this…


“Son, let’s not argue in front of the girl.”


The girl?


“Whatever you say, Father,” Ash says, and the rest of the drive is in silence.


We soon arrive at a cemetery and the long car pulls up to a tent in the grave yard. This is all bizarre. The woman and child have been dead for some time. But…whatever.


The car stops, and the driver gets out to open the doors. Mr. Sinclair exist first, then Ash. Ash then takes my hand and helps me out of the car. He looks me square in the eye. I don’t like it. Something about it seems cold. Like he’s not behind them.


His father walks in first. Ash seems hesitant, and then leads me inside the tent. A priest stands between two head stones. I look at the one with a baby angel and know it’s for Christopher.


Beloved Child

Angel of God

Christopher Bartholomew Sinclair


It’s so sad. I feel Ash tensing up, and I hold his arm.


I turn to look at the other headstone.


I can’t breathe.


My heart slams against my breastbone.


Pippa Marie Jennings Sinclair

Beloved Wife

Beloved Mother


Pippa wasn’t his girlfriend.


Pippa was his stepmother.


His father married Ash’s…girlfriend?!


***

Saving Ash© 2024 Gina A. Jones rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.


This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

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dashafehrenbacher
4월 23일
별점 5점 중 5점을 주었습니다.

I wondered if Pippa was a wedge between Ash and his father. Guess so.

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
4월 23일
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shannon Cheripka
4월 22일
별점 5점 중 5점을 주었습니다.

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
4월 22일
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