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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

The Colors of Ash-Chapter Thirty-eight




I don’t know what to say. I’m standing here with all sorts of emotions running through me. My emotions are as far as the east is from the west. I want to pound on his chest. I want to scream at the top of my lungs, tell him to go to hell, stop messing with my head.


But I also want to run to him. But I can’t. It’s not what he does. I want to kiss him. But I can’t. It’s not how he is. I want to promise him that everything will be okay if he opens up to me. But I can’t. Because I don’t know what haunts him. I want to hold him. Cry with him. Tenderly kiss and touch every part of him that was hurt.


I want to love him.


“I don’t understand, Ash. I’m staying with Sasha. We’ve agreed.”


“Break it. I want you to stay here. Stay with me. Continue to go to your old school if that’s what you want.”


He looks so different. His eyes are pleading. This is not the Ash I lived with before. Who is he, now? This is a new color for him.


“And what’s in it for you? Will we be having…sex…your sex?”


“I don’t know what will happen with us, Cinder. All I know is…I want you here with me. I need to know why I feel this way—this way about you. It’s all different for me. But I must find out.”


“A contract…”


“No contract. Just you and me…finding out what there is for us.”


Us? What does this mean? He’s messing with my head again. And I’m allowing it. Of course, I want to be with him. Fall in love, and share wonderful things together. But what is he thinking? Is he thinking of dating, marriage, and the white picket fence with babies playing in the backyard, someday? Because right now, it’s the song that’s playing in my heart at this very moment. The prince who rode in to save me—give me a happy-ever-after.


It’s all I’ve ever wanted. A family. He should know this. This is a very sensitive subject for me. Is it too much to ask?


I need to be careful. Ash Sinclair can fill my head and heart with all things happy, and then when he’s done, will I be able to go on? I can’t let him see how much I want this. I need to keep up the tough girl act.


“Ash, I don’t know about this. I do thank you for taking care of me last night. But if you hadn’t used Jack to intervene, I would have just gone home and slept it off. After all, he was the only man hitting on me. I don’t usually drink like that. And it was because of you, that I did. So maybe you’re just not a good fit for me.”


I watch his Adam’s apple bob in his throat. His eyes look in disbelief. No one has ever turned him down before. This must be a first for him. It’s killing me to be saying this. But I must be strong.


“What can I do to change your mind.”


“I don’t know. I’m just…I’m really confused right now. I’m a young girl who wants to make decisions with her heart. But I must use my sense when it comes to you.”


“So, what is in your heart?” He steps a little closer with that pleading look in his eyes. I suddenly feel the power in my words.


“I think you know, Ash. I mean, look around. Look at you.”


“What do you see?”


“I see a beautiful man who is damaged. The perfect victim every girl wants to fix. I see a palatial penthouse, the perfect castle for my Cinderella dream. And I know none of it is real.”


“What’s real to you, Cinder?”


“Pain. Heartbreak. Abandonment.”


“Much like me.”


“Yes, but you know my story. I don’t know yours. I don’t know the ghosts that live here with you. I don’t know how to keep them away. Or if you even want them to stay away.”


He’s still looking at me in that peculiar way. It’s leverage, I feel. It’s that look every girl wants who is about to walk away but really wants to stay. It’s bittersweet.


“What will you do…if I tell you, and you don’t like what you hear?” he asks with caution.

“Of course, I won’t like it, Ash. I hate anybody who hurts you. Why would that make me feel differently about you? Look, you said yourself, there’s something about you that is drawn to me. Something you don’t understand. Maybe it’s your inner self, wanting to release what you are suppressing.”


“I’m not suppressing. I know exactly why I am the way I am.” He seems angry now. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to shout. It’s just…”


“It’s what?”


He rakes his hands through his hair, becoming distraught. “It’s all new to me—wanting to try something different. And it’s going to hurt, Cinder. For me to feel, I must revisit the past. And a part of me will always be there.”



“But why?”

“It just is. You wouldn’t understand.”


“How can you say that, when you won’t tell me?”


“Because for me to say the words…it might kill me. Those are words I’ve only ever said in my head. And only wrote down for my therapist.”


He has a therapist? Can’t say the words? What could be that bad?


“Can I at least take you for breakfast? Show you something different, other than my demons?”


“You mean, like a morning…date? You and me, sitting together in public, having food, and talking?”


“Yes. It’s a start. Don’t you think?”


“Just breakfast. You may not be ready to tell me what hurts you. And I’m not ready to have my heart pulled out.”


“I understand. But I would like to take you out.”


“Okay,” I whisper. I grab the clothes and head for the bathroom.


Breakfast. It’s just breakfast.


***


The Colors of 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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angie jones
Feb 08
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Love the sounds of what could be next for these two !!!

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shannon Cheripka
Feb 07
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Ash is changing and cinder will be the one to help him with his demons. It is nice to see a vulnerable side of ash!!

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
Feb 07
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