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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

The Colors of Ash-Chapter Thirty-nine




Right now, I’m seeing Ash in a whole new color. Like puffy clouds floating by on a blue sky. It’s youthful and…innocent, full of children’s laughter. I wonder if he even sees it. Does he feel differently, or uncomfortable?


It’s a beautiful way to see him. I know everyone sees the world in their own unique way, and it’s natural to feel differently, and have different interpretations of things. But with Ash, it’s what I don’t know that keeps me hesitant, guarded. If only he would open up, and be open-minded to new things that don’t want to hurt him.


We are looking at each other through different filters. I know my eyes are showing love and longing, while his shows fear and hesitation. And yet, we are here to discuss my living with him. I’m so drawn to him, wanting more, even though I’m aware of the risks.


“You look much better, beautiful,” he says softly, and it shocks me.


“I do feel better. Thank you.”


“What would you like to eat?”


We are sitting at a table in a small cafe. I’ve never been here before, and that’s probably because it's out of my league. That feeling of not belonging once again strikes me.


“Pancakes sound really good right now.”


“Pancakes it is,” he says and smiles, and it just hits me. I’ve never seen him smile. Not at me, anyway.


“Are you two ready to order?” the waitress ask, startling me out of my thoughts.


“Yes, two orders of pancakes, and more coffee please.”


“Yes, sir,” she says, and the gesture triggers something in me.

Sir.


She takes the order and walks away. I watch to see if he watches her. Was she once one of his…subs? But he doesn’t watch her. He’s looking straight at me.


“Are you okay, Cinder?”


“Yes, and no.” I know it sounds stupid. But I need to be honest with him. “Yes, I feel better than I did waking up this morning. But…what is this, Ash? Why are we here? Doing this?”


“We’re here to have breakfast,” he replies like I don’t know that.


“Yes, and this is so not you. It’s like…”


“Like what?”


“Like normal. You don’t do normal, Ash.”


He reaches over and takes my hands. It takes all my control not to fall apart. My heart begins to race, and I feel my lungs about to combust.


“I understand why you feel confused and overwhelmed. It's hard to be in a situation where you don't know what to expect. I'm glad that you're being honest, and expressing yourself openly. We're here to take things one step at a time, and right now, having breakfast is the best way to start. Let's just enjoy this moment, and move forward from here.”


That’s probably the most normal thing he has ever said to me.


“Can I ask you a question?” he says, still holding my hands.


“Yes.”


“Why did you leave? Red out?”


“Because you made me feel like the nothing that I am. It’s one thing to know it. But it’s another thing when someone tells you.”


“Was that how I made you feel? Like nothing?”


“Of course,” I say a little too loudly.


It’s too quiet between us, as he looks at me. I can’t take it, and pull my hands from his, glancing out the window our table is next to. I watch the people go by, going on with their day. Places to go. Loved ones to see.


And then I see me. A lost soul. A lost soul just like Ash.


“I’m sorry, Cinder. I will seek punishment for my actions.”


I quickly turn my head, and look at him. “What?”


“I’m sorry I hurt you. Even in punishment, I must always respect you. Value you for what you are giving me.”


I look at him in disbelief. Was he being punished in those pictures? “Who will punish you?”


“Master Victor. He’s my mentor. Every Dom has a mentor to keep him focused.”


Well, this is something new. “Like…what does he do?” I ask quietly.


“It depends on him. The punishment can be positive, or negative reinforcement.”


“I don’t understand.”


“He may take away a pleasure of mine. That’s negative. While positive is adding something I don’t like. Both will teach me the consequences of my actions.”


“What would he add?”


“Let’s put it this way. Master Victor is trained with the bullwhip. He can whip me without leaving scars.” He says this like he’s talking about the weather. I’m sure my eyes are wide with confusion.


“Here you go, two orders of pancakes,” the waitress says, once again startling me.


“Thank you,” Ash says, as she sets them down.


“Anything else?”


“No, that will be all,” he tells her, and she leaves.


Ash begins pouring syrup all over his pancakes like we just didn’t have this strange conversation. Is he really sorry?


I try not to dwell on it and dig into my food. The pancakes are exactly what I need to heal my stomach from last night’s stupidity. At least my headache is gone.


“These pancakes are out of this world,” I say with a full mouth.


“Glad you like.”


We sit together, eating our breakfast like a normal couple. I like it. It’s simple. And yet, there’s a Mardi Gras parade marching through my heart.


“There’s a smile on your face. Can you tell me why?”


I wasn’t aware he was watching me, or that I was smiling. Why is he…being so attentive to me all of a sudden?


“I guess I was just thinking how beautiful this is. This simple pleasure of life.”


“Having breakfast?”


“It may be just having breakfast for you. But it’s moments like these, we should cherish and enjoy to the fullest. Life is too short, and uncertain to be lived any other way.”


He stops eating and stares at me. It’s a bit uncomfortable. Though I’m enjoying his attention in this new light of him, I also feel like an experiment—a project.


“Why are you looking at me like that?” I feel awkward and laugh. “What, do I have syrup on my face?”


“No. I’ve just never seen someone enjoy something so simple.”


“Well, excuse me. But my life’s been pretty shitty. Sitting in a nice cafe eating pancakes is a pretty big deal for me.”


“I know. I like it.”


It’s quiet again, and I suddenly feel embarrassed. It’s crazy. The things I have done with this man, allowed him to do, and this embarrasses me? Life is so messed up.


I look away from his stare and grab my coffee.


“Well, that was good. Thank you. But I need to get home now. I’m sure Sasha is wondering where I’m at.”


“She knows you’re with me.”


“She does?”


“Yes, I called her last night. Told her you were in my care.”


“Oh, well…thank you, I guess. But, I do want to go home now.”


“Okay. I hope you do consider my offer.”


I don’t say anything and get up from the table. He leaves a few bills on the table, and we walk out together. I’m still quiet and dying to say yes—that I’ll take his offer. But I just can’t.

He opens the door to his car, another fancy sports car I have no idea what kind and helps me inside. I watch him walk around, and get into the driver’s seat.


“Are you feeling much better?”


“Much. Thanks for the breakfast.”


He starts the car and turns on some music. It’s a relaxing song, something I’ve never heard before. He pulls out, and I watch the buildings pass by as we drive. The closer we get to Sasha’s, the more I’m tempted to tell him to take me home—his place. I know I’ll regret not taking his offer. And I know I’ll regret taking it.


We pull onto Sasha’s street—the words right on my tongue. He parks the car, and I begin to open the door when he touches my arm. I look into his eyes and take a deep breath. I can feel my heart racing.


He speaks gently, his voice is warm and comforting. “Please, stay with me.”


“I can’t, Ash. I can’t live with your ghosts.”


“What do I have to do?”


“Tell me. Tell me your story.”


He takes a deep breath, casting his eyes downward. I continue to get out of the car.


“My story isn’t something I can easily share. It’s been a very difficult journey. But if you give me some time…”


He doesn’t finish, and I can see the pain and sorrow in his expression. As much as I want to stay with him, I need to walk away.


“Do you want healing? Peace?”


His eyes blink a few times as if he’s discerning my question. “I’ve never lived in peace. So, I don’t know if it’s better. I only know my wants, desires, and what drives them.”


“Ghosts.”


“My past. It’s never been conventional. It’s made me who I am. Shaped me. Part of me is sickened by the desire it gave me. I don’t know how to live any other way.”


“Because of…Pippa? Hunter’s sister?” I watch his face harden, the tick in his jaw. “She’s dead, Ash. Why does she still have so much control over you?”


“You wouldn’t understand.”


“I might. Let me in. Let me help bring you peace, and healing.”


“How can you do that, if you refuse to move in with me?”


“How can I heal you, if I don’t know what is hurting you? Why are you letting your past define you?”


“Why are you?”


What do I say? He’s right. I will always feel unworthy.


“I’ve shared more with you than anyone else. That should tell you something. I need you.”


He needs me?


My heart explodes.


“Okay, Ash. I’ll move in with you,” I say, just above a whisper.


***


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 09
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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shannon Cheripka
Feb 08
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Awww... they are both making progress. They will be good for each other. Just have to have patience!

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