I apologize in advance if this went a little dark. It would fall between Guitars and Cages and the upcoming release Guitars and Cages: Ranch Days. It would have only been a few days since the end of Guitars and Cages and Asher is still struggling to process it all.
In hindsight, leaving the bar was stupid. Morgan wouldn’t have been upset with me for waking him, not if I’d explained about the restless energy and the nightmares and the way everything sort of tilted sideways as soon as I shut my eyes. I hated relying on anyone though, or maybe it was the idea of getting used to relying on someone else that I hated, knowing that person could be gone in an instant, or worse, turn my secrets against me.
Deep down, I knew the fear was irrational. I was safer with Morgan than I’d ever been with my own father, and it stung knowing that he wasn’t, that I was Jack’s. At least now I knew I came by my temper honestly, and my hate. I wasn’t sure if it was shame or just habit that had me wandering towards the docs where Catfish’s warehouse club used to be. There was little left but debris and ashes, echoes of those nights when I’d knelt for him or let him touch me in ways that made me squirm, even if they’d turned my stomach.
Sometimes I wish I could have felt something for him besides gratitude and revulsion. A connection would have made it better, or at least, it would have made it seem more normal. Kinda stupid though, expecting normal in my life. I close my eyes and I can still hear the music and the dull thud of fists on flesh. I shivered at the ghostly feel of his fingers in my hair, brushing along the nape of my neck. I tried to imagine that it was Conner, then shoved the thought away, not wanting to dirty this crazy, hesitant thing we have between us with something so filthy as him toughing me.
The river stretched wide and ugly between this point and the sparkling lights on the other side. The smell of it made me wrinkle my nose and I told myself again I should be in bed, with the blankets wrapped around me and my music in my ears, Alexia curled at my back, still holding on as tight as she had the day we nearly lost her over the railing of the bar.
I can’t fix it, not for me, not for her, not for Cole, none of them would be here now if I hadn’t needed them. She could have kept her secret a little bit longer and maybe I’d have managed to leave the city behind me, left Rory safe with Morgan and a chance at a normal childhood rather than the fucked up insanity that is my life.
I’m trying to change, honest I am, but the guy I see in the mirror is still a thug, still an asshole. For every step I take away from my old life, I feel more and more like I’m just pretending and one day the mask is gonna crack and remind them all that they shouldn’t have tried so hard to save me. Some broken things just aren’t meant to be put back together again.