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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

The Colors of Ash-Chapter Thirty-seven


Ash



I must do this. I must fix myself. Is Cinder the one? Is she the one who can hold my demons at bay? Can I be strong enough to lock them away, even for a short time? If only she hadn’t found those pictures. My demons are now unleashed inside her. She will have a million questions I prefer to keep locked away.


“And how is keeping your pain locked away working for you, Ash?”


Dr. Crew’s voice echoes in my head, and I squeeze my eyes shut. He’s the only one who knows my past. Not even my father knows the truth. We have discussed telling my father. But I know it would make things worse.


People think I like to live like this. That I chose my demons. The only thing I choose is how to control them. To suppress my pain I need to inflict pain. But it’s not what started it. I was trained to enjoy it. I needed the pain to get off. Nothing has ever been able to satisfy me.

I pet her hair and watch the flutter of her eyelashes. Why she’s allowing me to touch her is beyond me. I’m breaking my own rules. I can’t even blame her for this. I know she’s listening to the song, wondering if it’s for her—Someone You Loved. Love has never been a factor in my life. There was only one person I loved. One person I would die for. And I was never allowed to show it. That is what keeps me awake at night. What feeds my demons.


But I will give it to her for now, let her dwell in the moment to lessen her pain. Perhaps, I can learn from her. She will be a test. Something I will try.


“You seem to be enjoying the song. Is it one of your favorites?” I ask, running my fingers along her cheek.


Her eyes flutter open, and she looks into mine.


“I do like this song. It has a great melody. Don’t you think?”


“Yes. I do like it.”


She stares at me for too long. I’m unsure what to do at this moment. I’ve never been this way, and I’m sure she is wondering why.


“Ash?” Her voice comes out soft like a dove.


I take a deep breath, holding it in. What is she going to ask?”


“Yes, Cinder.”


“How did I get here?”


That, I can answer.


“I’ve been following you ever since I released you.” I feel her take in a sharp breath. Her eyes blink rapidly. “I was sitting in that dump of a place you were in last night.”


She sits up and straightens, looking me sharply in the eye.


“Why?”


“Because… I can’t answer why. And that’s why I need to be with you. I can’t explain it myself.”


She backs away, putting distance between us. I don’t know what it means.


“Will you tell me more?” she cautions.


“Cinder, I’m here. That should tell you something. But for the rest…”


“What are we, Ash? Am I allowed to call you that?”


“Of course. The contract has been dissolved. Yet, I’m here. I’m a very private person, Cinder. I’m not for everyone. My world looks different than yours.” I say those words, yet feel we are closer than we know.


“Those…pictures. Will you tell me?”


Now, I must look away. I don’t know what I’m feeling right now.


“It’s okay, Ash. I won’t judge. I just want to understand you. You’re a world of colors to me. Something about you makes me want to dive deep into the colors you see.”


“Be careful what you wish for,” I strike back, and she jumps off my lap, standing.


“Don’t you understand? As an artist, writer, and creator, it’s our fears and desires we lock away that make us different—talented. Maybe I can help you. Unlock the hidden colors and see what you may become.”


“Become? I think I am already…what I am.”


It’s quiet again. She’s thinking. I’m forcing myself not to demand…something. I feel so lost right now. I want to jump on her with all my desires. But I can’t. Because I don’t know how to do normal.


“Okay, I’ll let it go for now. But you haven’t answered my first question. How did I get here?”


“Do you think Jack was a fluke?” Her eyebrows lift in disbelief. “He did, as I  ordered. I watched you make a fool of yourself.”


“Fool? I was out to have a good time. Forget about you,” she  says scathingly.


“You need to forget about me.”


“How can I…when you’re here? What does that say about you, Ash?”


“I told you, I can’t answer, because I don’t know,” I say behind clenched teeth. “After you proceeded to inebriate yourself, I had Jack put you in my car, and I brought you here. And it was a good thing I was there. Just think what could have happened to you, if I wasn’t.”


“You don’t think I can take care of myself?”


“ It was pretty obvious last night.”


“And what did you do to me? I was naked.”


“You were naked because you puked all over yourself. What was I supposed to do? Leave you to lie in your filth?” She looks away, embarrassed. “I threw away your clothes.” I walk over to the closet, and pull out the clothes I had delivered, tossing them onto the bed. “I might not be able to give love or compassion, but I do know how to take care of someone.”


She looks at the garments on the bed and then at me. “Thank you,” she says quietly.


“I’ll go put these on…and then you can take me home.” She picks up the clothes and starts to walk to the bathroom.


“Cinder.” She stops and turns to look at me. “You are home.”


***


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 07
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

These 2 belong together, hopefully they both can fix each other !!!

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dashafehrenbacher
Feb 06
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

They both need each other to survive and thrive but they will have to work through Ash's demons.

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
Feb 06
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shannon Cheripka
Feb 06
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

They are going to be each other’s healing. Each of them will need to learn and trust each other to get them through life. What a great chapter!!!

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
Feb 06
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