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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

Saving Ash (book #2) Chapter Twenty-eight


Ash…15 years old



Father and Pippa walk through the door, a bundle wrapped in a blue blanket. My son. In our secret night sessions, we decided to name him Christopher. I wasn’t present for the ultrasound because they had it done when I was at school. I wanted to show my anger, but feared Father would find my emotional outrage not traditional of a stepson and stepmother relationship. I suppose most sons would feel threatened of a new half sibling. But Christopher is not my sibling. He is, and will always be, my son.

            “Come, meet your new little brother, Ash,” Pippa says, her eyes casting secrets into mine.

            I reach out and take him in my arms. Something strange runs through me. It’s bigger than me. Something I can’t explain. Unconditional love. I love this child. My heart burns with protection for him. So many things I want to say to him. Tell him I’ll always be there for him. Nothing will ever keep us apart.

            I look up at Pippa who is giving me a sweet smile. I’ve never seen this one before. Perhaps motherhood has changed her. Though I want her to be a good mother to our son, I fear things will change between us. I can’t let that happen. To never touch her, never feel the lash of her hands, the sting of her instruments on me would kill me. It’s all I know. Everything I need. Life is nothing without her and my needs.

            “He’s beautiful, Pippa,” I say, holding back the tightness in my throat. But I hope she can hear it. See the tears stinging the back of my eyes.

            “He is,” she says, her voice like a dove.

            “The Sinclair genes must be strong. He looks just like you when you were born, Ash,” Father says.

            I throw my eyes to Pippa. Her brow quirks, and her sly smile slowly slides up her face. Her beautiful face. 

            “He does?”

            “Yes. I can’t believe fifteen years ago; I was holding you in my arms.”

            I look over at Father who has the most prideful smile on his face. I feel sorry for him. What have I done? I have given him and Pippa a son. That’s a good thing, right?

            Christopher makes a squeaky sound in my arms, and I look down at his precious face. He does look just like me. His nose, forehead, and lips, all mine. With my hand, I smooth along his dark hair. I know there’s a smile on my face. I can’t help it. Love overcomes me. Out of all the atrocious things I have done, this makes up for it. I have created a beautiful human being. A life. A life that has brought so much happiness. Brought my father happiness…and I can’t even tell him.

            “You are going to be a good brother, Ash. I can tell. All these years, I felt bad that I couldn’t give you a sibling. I just wish you weren’t so many years apart. But I think this will make you more protective of him. Now I expect you to help Pippa out when I’m gone. I want you to teach him to play ball, ride a bike, read to him…all the things I didn’t do for you. Maybe between the both of us, we can change the past.”

            “Yes, sir,” I say, and feel love and guilt flood my body. Father never was there for me. Only nannies. But Pippa has been there for me. And I have been there for her. I’m doing what Father wants. But he can never know the truth. He is happy. I’m happy. And most of all, Pippa is happy. “You two must be tired. May I take him for a while?”

            Father’s smile is full of pride. “Of course, son. Pippa wants to take a shower. I’m going to care for her. Please, take little Christopher, and I’ll come get him when she’s ready to feed him.”

            Breast feed. That’s what Pippa and I have decided.

            Pippa leaves, and I take my son upstairs to my room and shut the door. I want to talk to him. Let him know who I am. He must be closer to me than my father. Deep down, he will know he’s mine. And someday, I will tell him.

            I gently sit down on the bed and look at the miracle in my arms. He’s sleeping peacefully, and I place a kiss on his forehead.

            “Christopher, I promise to always protect you. I promise to always love you and be there for you. I know he says he will be there, Father,” I say his name like a bad word, “but I know he won’t. I have lived in his shadow, and I will never allow that to happen to you. I’m your father, Christopher. Me,” I say quietly and can’t wait for all three of us to be together. Me, Christopher, and Pippa.

            I touch his little face with my finger and feel the soft velvet touch of his skin. His eyes open, and he looks at me. I know he’s just a newborn, but I feel recognition in his eyes.

            “Hey there, little Christopher. You are such a beautiful baby. Your mother is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. There’s a special bond between us, and you are the glue that will always bond us together. No one can ever break that. I will never let that happen.”

            He takes my finger in his little hand. I feel our blood running together, our bond already cementing. He knows he’s mine. I touch his little lip, and he instantly wants to suck. Perhaps he’s hungry. But he’s not crying. If he cries, I will take him to Pippa so she can feed him.

            “Your mother and I are going to take great care of you. No one will ever love you more,” I say, bouncing him in my arms.

            I’m a good father. I know because he feels so natural in my arms. This is the first baby I have ever held.

            The door opens, and my father walks in. There’s a smile on his face as he looks at us.

            “So, what do you think, Ash?”

            “He’s so small. Was I this small when I was born?”

            “You were actually smaller. I got there just in time to watch you be born. Your mother called me as soon as she went into labor. I was in Chicago and caught the first flight I could home.”

            Sometimes when he talks like this, it’s hard to believe. Father has been gone most of my life. It’s like we have different memories of my youth.

            “So, you really think he looks like me?” I caution yet wanting him to validate.

            “He does. And I always thought you looked more like your mother. I guess there are just some special genes you and he share. But baby’s looks do change as they grow older.”

            “How’s Pippa doing?”

            “She’s tired. She put up a good fight. I suppose she’ll want to sleep for a while.”

            “Did she have a hard time giving birth?” I hate I wasn’t there. Father called me after he was born and told me the news. I prayed he would be gone on business when the time came, and Pippa and I would be together for the birth of our son.

            “For a bit, until they gave her an epidural. I guess it can take longer when they do that. But she did amazingly well.”

            “I’m glad everything went well.”

            “Here, let me take this little guy,” Father says, taking him from my hold. I almost refuse before handing him over. Christopher starts to fuss and begins to cry.

            He wants me.

            “Maybe he’s hungry?” I tell Father.

            “Probably,” he says, and then looks down at Christopher. “Let’s take you to your mama and get you fed before she takes a nap,” he says with his baby talk. I hate it. It should be me saying those words to him.

            Father leaves the room, and I listen to him talk to my son. I can’t wait for him to leave.


***

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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shannon Cheripka
Jun 02
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

That has to be so hard for ash.

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
Jun 03
Replying to

Can’t even imagine. At one time he was so loving and vulnerable.

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