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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

The Colors of Ash-Chapter Thirty-three





I run upstairs to my room and throw my stuff into my old backpack. I tear all sketches of Ash from my sketchpad, wad them up, and throw them in the trash. I never want to see him again.

I can take his torturous sex games, because, in the end, I felt worthy, something that can bring him to his knees. I just can’t handle his mind games—making me feel like a complete nothing. Something inside me just broke, and before I knew it, the word was out of my mouth.


I think I did it out of spite. I wanted to shock him, end whatever kicks he was getting out of reducing me down to nothing. Something severe in his past happened to him, and now, he’s so fucked-up. I have my own issues. What was I thinking…thinking I could help him?

There are no words to describe, or color how he looked, how he breathed, and how he turned into something, something completely inhuman.


I don’t think I could even draw it.


All I have that is mine is Sasha’s dress—which isn’t even mine. I rip off the bikini and pull on the black dress she lent me. I take a look at myself in the mirror and see someone who was already broken, now in a million pieces—pieces I don’t even know how to put back together.

I wipe my tear-stained face with the back of my hands and grab up the backpack. I don’t bother putting on the black heels. It’s not much of a runway carpet moment.


I take one last look around the room…and shut the door. I hope Ash isn’t at the bottom of the stairs. I think this, but I know better. I want Ash to take me in his arms, and tell me how sorry he is. Tell me not to go and things will be different. I wish he would open up and ask me to heal him. Tell me about Pippa, the little boy in the picture. Anything.


No Ash is waiting at the bottom of the stairs. My heart falls even lower.


I know I should rush out of here, but I want to say goodbye to Ava and thank her for all the wonderful meals she prepared for me. When I get to the kitchen, it’s like she was never there. The place is empty. I know she was making dinner earlier.


This place is the Twilight Zone.


I make my way to the door, where I find Hunter.


“Are you ready to go to the airport, Miss McIntire?” he asks.


I look around for Ash, just in case. But I don’t know why. “Yes, I’m ready.”


I follow him out to the car, Ash’s Aston Martin and he helps me inside. Hunter gets into the driver's seat, not saying a word, and drives us away from this strange house.


He doesn’t say a word, as he drives me to the plane that is waiting to take me back to New York. I feel like Cinderella—after midnight. At least I have Sasha’s dress.


I’m waiting for Hunter to say something, anything. But he’s like a robot—Ash’s robot, looking straight ahead as he drives.


I look out the window, but all my mind can do is think of the sex we had on the hood of this car. It’s tearing me up inside. Why can’t I leave it behind? It was like everything inside Ash shut off when I told him I wanted to go home, that I was done. Is this how he operates? No talking it out?


Hunter turns the car into the airport and pulls up to the small hangar where Ash’s plane is already out and waiting. He puts the car in park and then looks at me. Is he about to say something?


I have to say it. Tell him what I think.


“Whatever your sister did to him, has fucked him up. What was so special about her anyway? The man is miserable. Tormented. He needs help. And I’m sorry to say that about your sister…but it’s not normal to never move on.”


“My sister wasn’t normal, either. I told you…We weren’t close.”


“Then why? Why can’t he move on?”


He looks straight ahead. I watch the side of his face. I want to ask him—ask him what the hell is so damn special about his dead sister. And I know how that makes me sound. But she is holding onto him from the grave.


“There are some things better left alone. You wouldn’t understand, or want to know,” he says, still staring straight ahead.


I’m so angry. How I would love for him to give two shits about me—and here, this woman holds him from the grave.


Hunter gets out of the car, and I watch him walk around to open my door. “Goodbye, Miss McIntire. Your plane is ready,” he says, like nothing weird just happened.


I grab my old backpack and step out of the car. “Goodbye, Hunter.”


He tips his head and then walks back to the car. Before climbing inside, he motions to the plane once again. “Your plane is ready.” After that, he gets in and drives away. I watch the tail lights fade into the dark.


A man is standing on the steps of the plane, waiting for me. I want to stand right here, back up air traffic control, scream, and ruin the rest of Ash’s night. Instead, I slowly walk up the steps.


“Miss McIntire, we are ready to take flight. Please take your seat, and buckle up,” he says. I guess he’s the pilot…or co-pilot since I see another man dressed as a pilot in the small cockpit.


I take the same seat I sat in when I first arrived, place my backpack on the floor, and buckle the seatbelt. The other pilot steps inside and closes the door. He sees that I’m buckled in and tips his head. “Thank you. We’ll be taking off in a few minutes. Is there anything you need before we take off?”


Yeah, maybe my last week back…my sanity.


“No, thank you.”


“Very well. The flight isn’t long. A car will be waiting to take you back to the address it picked you up from. Enjoy your flight, Miss McIntire,” he says and disappears into the cockpit, closing the door.


Now, why does this all make me feel…like somebody, somebody important with a private plane, and drivers, all from the man who makes me feel like nothing?

Because he’s fucked-up.


The plane begins speeding down the runway, and soon we are lifted into the night sky. I watch the city lights fade away down below. A tear begins to trickle down my cheek.


***


Sasha is surprised when she opens the door. The tears are still rolling down my cheeks. I’m not sure really why. Because I…failed?


“Cinder, what happened? Why are you crying?”


“Can I stay here…just until I…”


“Of course. Come in, and calm yourself.”


I step in, dropping my backpack to the floor—I go down with it. Sasha shuts the door and rushes over. My head is in my hands. I feel so embarrassed. I’m not sure how to even explain it to her.


“Cinder. Can you tell me? Are you allowed to talk about it?”


I look up at her in disbelief. Is this about the rules? Is she not allowed to be a comforting friend due to all parties involved?


“Did Ash hurt you?” she asks like it’s a secret.


“Yes. I mean…no. Not like you think. This whole submissive thing is fucked-up. You may like being treated like a piece of shit, but to tell you the truth, I’m a bit sick of it,” I say, and another round of tears breaks the surface.


“I’m not sure what you mean…”


“Bullshit. You said you were in my shoes. You know how it feels. Never wanted. No one cares. You’re a…nothing!


“Yes, that’s true. Before I met Master.”


“Sasha, he treats you the same way. Tells you, you are not worthy…”


“No, master has never told me I’m not worthy. He lifts me up. Tells me how important I am to him.”


“Well, that’s not how Ash operates. Something is really wrong with him. There’s something more going on with him than all this kinky shit. Something happened to him long ago, and he refuses to fix himself.”


She looks at me wearily. Like I’ve broken some cardinal rule. She knows something.


“You know what’s wrong with him, don’t you?”


“Let me get you a glass of wine, settle your nerves.”


“Now! Now you’re willing to give me wine? After you’ve fed me to the wolves?”


She gives me a cautious look. “Go clean your face, change into your pajamas, and we’ll talk,” she says.


She gets up and goes to open a bottle of wine.  I go into the bathroom and wash my face. God, I look horrid. I look like I have nothing left. That’s what he did to me.


Ash Sinclair.


I walk into my room, feeling numb; feeling exhausted; feeling like it’s the end of the world.

I change into a long T-shirt. Back to my old, ragged clothes—back to my old self. Just like Cinderella.


Sasha is sitting on the couch when I return. She’s holding a glass and points to the one that’s waiting for me on the coffee table.


I take a seat and grab the wine, taking a sip. I wait for her to start, ask me what happened. I know she probably thinks I just couldn’t handle the lifestyle.


“Tell me what happened, Cinder. Did he hurt you during sex?”


“No, not really. And that’s not what happened.”


“Do you want to talk about it?”


“What I want to talk about is him—Ash. What the hell is wrong with him? There are pictures. I found them. Someone was hurting him.”


She nods her head and takes a sip of her wine. “I see. And this is why you came back? Because of the pictures?”


I down my entire glass of wine and start my rant. “Yes, I was snooping around because…that’s what I do. Get over it, world,” I say to the universe. “He was young, tied to a chair. Things were being done to him. Things I could tell he didn’t want. But…”


“But what?”


“In some of the pictures…he was…hard.


“Did these pictures make you…jealous?”


“Jealous? No. They made me feel sorry for him. He was so young. Perhaps underage. Whatever was being done to him…well…I just felt it wasn’t right. First of all, he wasn’t the one in control. I thought Ash was an Alpha, a Dom.”


“So, how did he know that you found the pictures?”


“That, I don’t know. Perhaps he didn’t know, and just assumed I found them, and then played his bullshit mind games on me. Calling me worthless, a nothing, not even worthy to punish or…”


“Wait. Stop there. Did he say those things? Or, was that just how you felt when he was punishing you?”


“No, he said those words. I begged to be punished, and then we’d get to the kinky shit, and all would be well again. But that never happened. He treated me so unworthy, and it brought up all those feelings inside me. I yelled out “RED”, and the next thing you know, I’m on a plane, and knocking on your door.”


Just telling her, I feel some relief. I hold out my glass. “Can I please have some more?”


She eyes my glass. “Just one.”


“Thank you.”


She fills my glass from the bottle of wine sitting on the table beside her and then places it back on the table.


“Anyway, he’s batshit crazy. And some dead chick is controlling him from the grave. And get this.” I feel the wine kicking in as I ramble on, “he used to date her. I thought these Dom dudes didn’t date. And…she was the sister of his driver. The whole thing is strange. He won’t go on…move on…whatever he’s supposed to do. And if anything makes me jealous, it’s that. What I would give for someone to feel that way about me. What was it about her?” I take a hefty swallow of the wine.


“I also came across this picture of him with a little boy, it was tucked in a book, Treasure Island…or something.”


“And…were you snooping when you found it?”


“No. Maybe. I could have been looking for a book to read for all he knew. But when he found me looking at the picture, again, he went on a tangent—ripping it from my hands.”


“I know I’m not supposed to say, but I once overheard Master question Ash about his past, and why he struggles. Master has even punished him at times—at Ash’s request.”


“Well, now I’m screwed, and need to figure something out.”


“Cinder, I’m here for you. You can stay with me, finish your school, and then go from there.”

“Are you sure?”


“Of course. Things will work out. You’re strong.”


“Well, obviously I’m not. I’m here, aren’t I?”


“Why don’t you get some sleep, and we’ll work this out in the morning.”


She finishes her wine, and takes our glasses to the sink, rinsing them out. She walks over, bends down, and kisses me on top of the head. “Good night. Get some rest.”


I tell her good night, head to my room, and shut the door. The bed is the last place I want to be. I walk over to the window and step out onto the fire escape. I have no energy left. Maybe it’s the wine.


I look out over the cityscape and feel such loneliness. It’s big, and I feel like such a small part of it. Almost invisible. Even in Ash’s world, I was enough to set him ablaze, once. Now, I feel lost.


I slide down the brick wall, crumple down onto the iron screen floor of the fire escape…and cry.



***


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 04
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

O my this chapter is getting so good , but breaking my heart at the same time . Can't wait to see if Ash reaches out to her .

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shannon Cheripka
Feb 02
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

That was a very heart breaking chapter. I like cinder’s character. She has grit and determination. But ash made her feel worthless. It is hard to come back from that.

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
Feb 02
Replying to

Ash has a lot to learn. And Cinder will learn a lot more about Ash in book 2 Saving Ash. 🥰

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