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  • Writer's pictureGina A. Jones

The Colors of Ash-Chapter Two




Sasha brings me inside her apartment. It’s the most gorgeous place I’ve ever seen. She lives above a department store. At first, I thought it would be run down. But it’s one of those loft apartments, open with original brick and wood. Though all the fixtures are modern. The ceilings are vaulted with exposed duct work and vents. It’s so retro in a glamorous way. But I better not get too used to it. Just like everything in my life, I’m only temporary.

“Wow, I like your place,” I say, my mouth agape, looking around. “You live here, alone?”


“Yes, and thank you. I’ve had so much fun fixing it up.”


“You’ve done this?"


“Yep. I hope to go into interior design. Once I get a few more clients. Social work is my day gig,” she says with a laugh. “I hope to go full-time soon with my designs.”


“Wow! I’m sure you’ll do great.”


“You think so?” she asks, like now she’s the kid and I’m the adult.

“I know so. I’ve only seen places like this on tv. I didn’t think they existed in real life.”


“Oh, lots of things exist in real life,” she says, walking away and pulling out two waters from her fridge. “Water?”


“Thank you,” I say, and crack the top. I’m sure her comment was to entice me to work hard, and someday I could have it all, too.

“Let’s have a seat on the couch and…talk.”


“But what about my stuff? I know it may be crap to anyone else, but it’s still my stuff.”


“I’ve already put the bags in a room.”

“What room?” She points over to a closed door.


“When renovating, I made sure to have two bedrooms. It’s small because I wanted the majority of the place to feel open and spacious. But at least it is a room,” she says and sips her water.


“Sounds like getting rid of me has been a plan for some time. Would have been nice if someone would have told me.” I get up and walk over to the closed door. Before turning the handle, I look back at Sasha. She nods her head with permission.

Walking in, the place is much bigger than what I’m used to. And homey. The bedroom has the same urban look and feel. I see two garbage bags on the bed. Garbage bags! Like my stuff isn’t good enough to be professionally boxed. I’m just the garbage to be thrown out. Story of my life.


“You like it?”


I turn around and find Sasha leaning against the open-door frame. “Yes, it’s nice.” I should probably thank her. But I’m too angry to be thankful for anything.


“Why don’t you put your things away and meet me for dinner. I’ll make us risotto, with glazed salmon.”


“I’ve never had salmon. What if I don’t like it?” It was rude of me to say, but I’m not feeling grateful at the moment.

“Then you can just go hungry,” she says and walks out.


Ouch. I deserved that.

I go through the bags and account for all my stuff. My favorite ripped jeans, black tank tops, sneakers, and my leather jacket, given to me by an old boyfriend are all in intact. It’s pretty sad when your entire life can fit in a garbage bag. I’m mostly concerned about my art supplies. I know it never meant much to all my foster families, but it’s me. It’s what I do and want to do. Art.


It’s strange how I can create beauty in things when I know nothing about it. Like when I draw people and picture them in places I’ve never been, places families spend time together—vacations, beaches, dinner tables. I’ve never had any of this and sometimes I believe this is why I can draw it so easily. It’s so embedded in my mind, things I’ve wished for. I’ve even drawn pictures of the sister I have no idea what she looks like now. But in my mind, I know exactly how she would look.


After placing the clothes in the dresser, I walk over to the window. A fire escape is right outside. I watch the traffic down below. The city looks different from up here.


I hear Sasha talking with someone. Maybe she’s on her phone. I walk out, needing to apologize for the remarks I made earlier.


“I’m sorry, sir. There’s been an emergency.” Maybe it’s someone from the office. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to bring me to her home. I do think there is a rule about that. She smiles at me. “Yes, sir. I promise I will make this right. I don’t want to disappoint you.” Sounds like she’s totally sucking up to this sir. “Good night, sir,” she says and ends the call.


“Is everything okay? Are you in trouble for bringing me here?”


“Trouble? No. I let the office know that you’ll be staying with me for a few days.”


“Is there some rule about that, though?”


“It would be if you were under eighteen. Right now, you’re a friend staying with a friend.”


“Well, you’d be the only friend I have,” I say, plopping down on the couch, and putting my feet on the coffee table. I tear a string off my jeans and cross my feet, looking down at my black converse sneakers.


Suddenly, my feet are pushed to the floor. “Don’t treat my table like an ottoman. Have some respect, Cinder.”


“Yes ma’am,” I say with attitude. “Just because some guys crawled up your ass, doesn’t mean you need to take it out on me.” I don’t know why I’m acting like this. I really do like Sasha. I’m just trying to keep the wall up. Do not get too close. I’m used to losing my situation.


“Look, I know you’ve been through a lot today. Why don’t you come to help me prepare dinner? After, we’ll discuss a few options for you.”


“Okay, I’m…sorry. I didn’t mean to be so pissy,” I say.


“Truce,” she says, offering out her hand.


“Truce.”


As I’m helping her in the kitchen area, she glances at me every so often with a strange look. Like something is bothering her. Or, there’s something she wants to tell me. We eventually have dinner on the table and we both take a seat.

“This is kind of weird,” I say.


“What’s weird?”


“Eating at a table…with someone else. Back at my last foster home, I ate in my room. No one seemed to mind.”


“Well, I think it’s proper to eat at a table, with your guest or family. Eating together builds relationships. It’s a social thing.”


“Yeah, I guess I never looked at it that way. To me, eating was just about survival.” She looks at me with some sadness in her eyes.


“Yeah, I suppose you would. Hey, how’s the salmon?”


Looking down at my plate, I realize I’ve eaten half of it already. “It’s really good. I like it. And this…risotto, I’ve never had it either. I like the limey taste.”


“Good, see. Trying new things, we discover what we didn’t know we liked,” she says, and then there’s that look again on her face.


“Yeah, you’re right,” I tell her, and finish the salmon.


I offer to wash the dishes after we finish, something I am used to. “We’ll do them together,” she says.


Sasha plays subtle background music through her blue-tooth speakers as we clean the kitchen area. After, she opens herself a bottle of wine. “I would offer you some, but you’re not twenty-one, yet.”


“That’s okay. Beer is more my taste.” She gives me a suspicious look. “What? I’m nineteen—almost. Not dead. And for the record…Mom, I’m not a virgin either,” I say with a laugh. “Just thought I get that out there before you start the birds and the bees talk.”


She nods her head to the side and then eyes me with some gratitude. It definitely means something. “Well, that is good to know. But are you on birth control?”


“Yes. I guess my foster mother did know I was sneaking in my ex-boyfriend because not soon after, she put me on birth control. She never really caught me but said it was better to be safe than sorry. I guess I can appreciate that.”


“Yes, that’s probably a good thing.”


“So, you said we would discuss my options after dinner. Earlier you said something about a shelter or…group home. Aren’t those for recovering addicts or homeless?”


“Some are, yes. But since we’ve been talking, let me just bring something up. It’s not for everyone. And you are old enough to make your own decisions.”

“Okay, I’m listening.”


She grabs her wine glass and takes a hefty swallow before setting it back down. “Now that I know you are sexually active…”


“Wait, are you talking about prostitution?”


“What? Oh, no. There are…people. Sort of an exclusive club. Men looking to care for a young girl…”


“In exchange for sex? How is that different than prostitution?” Jeez, I can’t believe I’m having this conversation with my social worker.


“First of all, no one is paid for their services. You are rewarded, cared for, protected—cherished.”


“Cherished? Cherished for what?”


“For your body. For your servitude.”


“I don’t know. First of all, you said it’s exclusive. Someone like me…”


“Someone like you would be adored, because of your past. Like a real challenge.”


“Challenge?”


“Maybe I should ask you if you even like sex.”


“Oh, of course, I like sex! I’m almost nineteen. Who doesn’t?”


“You’d be surprised. Some people join this club to learn to like sex. There are all levels.”


“Are you in this club?” She nods her head and then grabs her wine.


“I was in the same position you were. About to be homeless, with no education. I was taken in by my master…”


“Wait! You call someone…master?”


“Yes, and it’s an honor when you get to. It means you belong to him. You are the blood that feeds his heart. The essence that fills his soul. You will always be cared for.”


“For sex?”


“For your submission.”


I take a deep breath, taking in all she is telling me. It sounds scary, but it’s also turning me on. Could I do this? Submit my body for pleasure?


“Please explain the difference between a…I guess you call it a submissive, and a prostitute.”


“A submissive gets to be served. Her pleasure belongs to him. And what belongs to him, he will defend with all his power.”


***


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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shannon Cheripka
06 de dez. de 2023
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Ooh I’m liking this story. I can’t wait to read the rest!!!

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Gina A. Jones
Gina A. Jones
06 de dez. de 2023
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Awe, you just made my day. 🥰. Thank you.

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amsmith414
06 de dez. de 2023
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Whoa! It’s getting ready to heat up! I feel as if Cinder is about to get some educating!! Can’t wait for more!!

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amsmith414
06 de dez. de 2023
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Yes! I call them “damaged alphas”

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