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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

Saving Ash (book #2) Chapter Twenty-seven


Ash


“You seem different this time, Ash. Happier. Can you tell me why?” Dr. Crew asks.

            “Do I?” I take a seat in my usual spot—the chair next to the window. In past sessions, I chose this spot to lose my thoughts looking outside. It was always easier to pretend I didn’t care much for our talks. But then why did I come? Continue?

            “Do you know why I always sat here, Dr. Crew?”

            He looks through his notes and then back up to me. “The same as me. Why I pretend to look through my notes. A distraction. Something to lessen the pressure. Some patients don’t like to look in the eye of their company when telling dark secrets.”

            “True, it was a distraction. I would watch the lives of others out the window, wondering how many were as fucked up as me.”

            “So, you think you are fucked up?”

            “Don’t you?”

            “I wouldn’t use that term. I would say you are a product of your past.”

            “Exactly. A fucked up past.”

            “True. And what is the second question you were about to ask me?”

            There it is. His way of entering the front of my mind. I wonder if he can read my mind? All of my thoughts?

            “Why I kept coming, though I gave little regard to your methods.” He smiles. It’s a kind of smile two buddies would give each other while delivering insults. “It was to make sure I couldn’t be changed. The fear of change used to scare me.”

            “Used too?”

            Did I say used?

            It’s my turn to give him a shitty grin. “You said, I seemed different, happier. I am.”

            “It shows. You want to tell me why?”

            Strangely, I do.

            “I told Cinder everything. Everything about my fucked up past, Pippa and Christopher.”

            “Why did you choose to open up to her? Why not the others?”

            “Simple. I love her.”

            Dr. Crew gives me a look of shock. Of all the demented things I have shared with him, this shocks him?

            “How do you know you love this girl? Because if I recall, I didn’t think you were capable of love, intimacy.”

            “Because she’s reached into the dark corners of my mind and played out my fantasies. She’s able to give me both—dominance and submission. And because she won’t tell me she loves me back.”

            “You don’t want her to love you?”

            “I do. I want to earn it. She doesn’t care about my wealth, my status—only my pain and what I need to appease it. She actually left me. And that was because… Because I hurt her, emotionally. I never felt…sorrow for anything I’ve ever done. What does that mean, doctor?”

            “I would say you have deep feelings for her. But I would give it some time before you call it love.”

            “I already told her.”

            “I see. And how did you feel when she did not reciprocate those words back?”

            “I didn’t think one way or the other. The words just came out. It’s what I felt. I wasn’t expecting anything back. I just wanted her to know.”

            Dr. Crew is writing all of this down, like he’s just discovered the cure for cancer and I’ve been his lab rat all these years.

            He finishes writing, adjusts his glasses, and then looks at me a bit perplexed. “How far do you want to go with this girl? Do you see a long relationship? Marriage?”

            “I think it’s possible.”

            He suddenly seems bothered with my answer. I see us making a breakthrough, and he apparently has some reserve towards it.

            “You’re bothered with my answer, doctor. Why?”

            He sets his pad over to the side on a table, uncrosses his legs and leans forward, this time looking me straight in the eyes.

            “Ash, you were still in love with Pippa when she left that night after your father and her fought.”

            “Yes.”

            “You wanted to go with her, correct?”

            “Yes. I wanted us to be together and raise our son.”

            “Do you think if it didn’t end tragically, would you two have found a way to be together?”

            “The young Ash thought so. I see it differently now.”

            “Differently? How?”

            “It was all a mistake. She used me. Used my father. Used Christopher. And in the end, my son paid the price. That will never leave me.”

            “I understand. You loved him as a son…”

            “He was my son,” I snap back.

            “Yes. He was. It’s just that you were so young it had to be confusing.”

            “For me it wasn’t. I just had to hide it. But I always planned to tell him the truth someday. And that day was taken from both of us.”

            I suddenly realize I’m able to talk about Christopher. I’ve bottled it up for so many years. Am I changing? Cinder. She’s the reason I’m not falling into a bottomless pit of doom. For years I feared this moment, never allowing it to come. But what will I do if she would ever leave me?

            “Ash, now that you are able to talk about…your son, how do you plan to honor his memory?”

            “What do you mean?”

            “In the past, you’ve kept the truth hidden. Something you locked away and never dealt with. It’s never healthy to suppress feelings. Will you honor him as your brother, or your son…tell your father the truth?”

            I find myself suddenly looking out the window again. The one path I fear the most. Telling my father…everything.

            “Ash?”

            “Yes, Doctor. I’m here. I’m not sure how to cross that path.”

            “Take your time, Ash. But I think in the near future, it needs to be addressed. Everything out in the open. After all, your father was able to open his eyes and see his wife for what she was.”

            “But how will he see me? For years, we’ve never gotten along. I blamed him for Pippa and Christopher’s death. The young Ash.”

            “And what about the adult Ash? The Ash who just moments ago told me you see things differently now.”

            I turn my gaze out the window once again. The sun is high in the sky. I feel its warmth on my face. Like a light shining into my darkness. Exposing all of me.

            Exposing? Or letting go. A light to burn the darkness away.

            “Ash, you seem deep in thought. Can you share?”

            I turn away from the window and glance up at the clock. My hour is almost up, and this is the most I have opened up—talked. Everything is silent, except for the tick of the clock. How many minutes of my life have ticked away while I lived inside myself? Letting the past keep me from a life I could’ve had. Do I take that step and walk out onto a street of light and truths? Will I survive it?

            “It’s like everything is coming to a head. The more I hold onto Cinder, the less I hear her voice.”

            “Pippa’s voice?”

            “Yes.”

            “Ash, I want you to understand, it’s your power over hers. You never heard her voice, she never talked to you. You were putting her there. Making her real. She is gone. Yet, for years you have been holding on to something that hurts you. You have been giving her power. Pippa has no power. Yes, maybe when she was young and beautiful, she could manipulate a young impressionable man. And you were not ready to be in a world of that caliber. You were still developing logic of emotions and relationships. Look back and see who she held power over. An aging, rich man who wanted a young, beautiful woman. A young boy going through puberty. A drug addict. Those were the only victims she could manipulate. And manipulation is not power. It’s weakness disguised as power. It doesn’t work on anyone else. You are a strong man, Ash. A man who now sees the difference. A different person. Let go of the blade of the knife you’ve been holding. It will only slice you open. Drop it and live your life. And when you are ready, you will find the strength to tell your father the truth.”

            “And the truth will set me free as they say.”

            “It does. But that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. However, it’s the only way to heal. A wound won’t heal without proper care. Once you begin to care for your wound, it will slowly disappear, and your life will have new meaning.”

            New meaning. Cinder.

            There’s a smile on my face as I walk out of Dr. Crew’s office.


***

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.

I love how ash is changing for the better 😌

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

He’s trying really hard 🥰

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