Page 27 of The Stay

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Colt looked at Ash, most of the room looked at Ash.

Ash stood up.

"Nix," Ash said again, firmly. He held Nix's gaze. He pinned Nix down with a laser glare.

"Ash, buddy, don't get involved," Colt muttered under his breath.

"It's fine," Ash shushed Colt, who looked on, unimpressed about being shushed, but Ash would deal with that later. "It's all fine." He turned to Nix. "Isn't it, Nixy?"

"I don't know if I can take it-"

"Nix," Ash said, much softer, almost a whisper, a caress of a word.

Colt’s eyes flicked between Ash and Nix.

Ash felt the connection between him and Nix. Like a physical pull. An unbreakable yanking, binding, pulling thing. Ash had to step closer.

"Ash, they-”

"Nix, it's all okay. They hurt you but you are safe now," Ash whispered again. He couldn't touch Nix, he knew that, but he wanted to. But he didn't need to, he held Nix captive, like a horse whisperer taming a wild stallion. He looked Nix right in the eyes and straight into his angry, frightened, betrayed soul. I'm here now, Ash said in his head. I'm near and things are different. You're safe.

Your wildness doesn't scare me. Your disobedience won't make me back down. I see you, Ash reaffirmed. And you will see me, too.

Nix practically snorted like a beast. Knowing he was tamed. Surrendering his wildness to his handler. Ash.

"David, we thought we'd try one last time to save you, give you one last chance to find the right path but you are truly lost to us..." the old pastor at the table said.

Nix took a gasp of air. No, Ash thought. Don't lash out. So he held his gaze. Raised his finger.

Nix let the breath go slowly. “Save your breath. If you are the ones looking for me," he said quietly, "I don't want to be found. I don’t want to follow your path," Nix mumbled as the people at the table stood up. "I want to stay lost forever," Nix said, straight at Ash. Then Nix turned, cool and calm, and strode out of the visiting room.

Ash sat back down opposite Colt and looked him flat in the face with a lazy smirk playing on his face.

"So you gonna get me out or what? ‘Cause Nix and I got some hell to raise together.”

“Yo, biker boy!”

Nix heard the mocking shout coming from behind him in the mess area. It wasn’t for him. It was for Ash. Just out of his visit. Looking all perky and smirky.

Nix felt his hackles rise. The Latino gang were all forming a net around Ash.

“Aww hell.” Nix heard one of the old timer’s mutter, as the older guy got up from his game of chess and shuffled away.


“Yo, biker boy!” One of the Latino men shouted again. Ash didn’t stop strolling along. Nix pushed himself up off the wall, his heart beat increasing.

“Hey, we’re talking to you, jackass!” The Latino guy, Nix thought his name was Ramon, stepped forward and grabbed a chunk of Ash’s floppy hair. Ash’s eyes widened but, Nix gave him credit for this, he didn’t flinch.

“I heard you. What’s up?” Ash said calmly.

“Black Coyotes owe me money.”

“Huh?” Ash frowned.

“So you're 100% Black Coyotes MC?” Ramon asked.

Nix held his breath. This was Ash’s chance to get the heat off him, just deny it, just walk away-