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Page 110

Author: Kirsty Moseley

I refused to feel the pain that was trying to break into my heart; this pain was nothing to knowing he was hurt or dead. I couldn’t change my mind, this needed to be done. I just needed to keep myself focussed and strong. This was the only way I had a chance at keeping him safe.

I closed my eyes and rested my head back on the door. “Please let me be strong enough to let him go,” I whispered, before pushing myself up off the floor and climbing into the shower. As I cried helplessly in the spray, I couldn’t get the thought of Ashton’s broken, bloody face out of my head. My heart was breaking irrevocably. But that dream wouldn’t come true. This time I would get to save the boy I loved.

Chapter Forty-Four

~ Ashton ~

As I walked out of the bedroom, I felt sick. I didn’t want even an inch of space between us now that Carter was free. My hands clenched into fists. Half of me actually hoped he came after her so I would be able to rip his head off, but the other half knew that I needed to keep him as far away from my girl as possible.

When I stepped out of the front door, closing it tightly behind me, I beckoned Dean over. His face changed immediately when he saw mine, obviously catching on that something was wrong. “President Spencer just called. Carter Thomas has been released due to lack of evidence,” I announced.

His mouth opened and closed a couple of times. “Released?” he said quietly.

I nodded. “They’re sending over four new Agents from Washington. When they get here, we’ll have a strategy meeting again, but I think we’ll add an extra two for the day and night. One outside the building, one inside at night. Then during the day, I’ll bring you slightly forward again so that you can act as second near guard. I’ll then have the two extras take a fifty yard stance, one in front, and one behind,” I frowned, trying to think everything else through.

Dean nodded in agreement, obviously pleased with my plan. “Do you think he’ll come after her?”

A chill crept down my spine. I took a deep breath. “Honestly? Yeah I do.” I would kill him before he touched her though. There was no way that sick, abusive, as**ole was getting anywhere near my girl again. Dean nodded, his face angry. “Let me know when the four guards get here, the President said within the hour,” I instructed, checking my watch. It was now ten to eleven; I sighed and frowned, looking back at the door. “I’d better go back in. Anna’s in the shower, I think she’s freaking out. Her dad told her about the letters.”

Dean winced. “Wow, shit, okay yeah, go be with her,” he agreed, nodding over his shoulder to the door.

I turned and stalked back in, making my way to the bedroom; I could hear the water running, so I quickly slipped out of my jeans and pulled on fresh clothes, putting two extra gun clips in my pocket. I’d need to carry extra bullets from now on, just in case. When I was dressed, I headed to the kitchen and just stood there waiting for Anna. She was going to be freaking out about this, but she obviously wanted time on her own because she’d sent me to speak to Dean. I’d have to give her time and let her come to me. She knew I was here for her.

About forty minutes later she came out of the bedroom, wringing her hands nervously as she walked into the kitchen. She didn’t look at me. I swallowed the lump in my throat, waiting for the outburst that I knew would come, and when it did, she would break my heart. I hated to see her cry, it was like physical pain.

“Hey, Baby Girl. You okay?” I asked quietly as she started making coffee.

She nodded. “Yeah fine,” she replied nonchalantly. I rubbed my hand down her back tenderly, wanting to soothe her. Wordlessly, she shrugged off my hand. “You want a coffee, Ashton?” She sounded so cold that it sent a shiver down my spine. She hardly ever called me by my name.

I frowned. “Um, no thanks.” She had her back to me, her shoulders were hunched, and her back was stiff. I moved close behind her and put my hands on her shoulders, massaging gently. She squirmed away from me. “Anna?” I whispered, frowning.

She just shook her head. “Just don’t, okay,” she said as she grabbed her cup and stormed out of the room into the lounge.

I stared after her in shock. She just needed some time, she’d come to me when she was ready for me to help her. She wasn’t used to opening up to people so it would take a little time before she was ready to talk about it. I’d just have to try and be patient and not rush her into divulging her feelings.

My cell phone buzzed, so I answered it quickly. “Hey, Dean.” I frowned, still watching the point where I last saw Anna.

“Hey, those four guards are here. We’re at the door,” he replied, at the same time that I heard him knock on the front door. I disconnected the call and walked out of the room, glancing into the lounge quickly.

“The four new guards are here. I might be planning for an hour or so, okay,” I called through to Anna; I thought I saw her stiffen but I was too far away to be sure.

I made my way to the door and opened it to see Dean standing there looking at me strangely, with the four new guards behind him. “I’m sorry, Ashton. I don’t know what’s going on,” Dean said as he stepped to the side.

The four other guards stepped forward in unison. “Agent Taylor, we have orders from the President to take you to the airport now,” one of them said.

Panic surged through me; maybe they’d heard something new – was Carter on his way here?

I turned quickly. “Anna, grab your stuff, we’re leaving!” I ordered.

The guards stepped forward again, looking at me apologetically. “No, Agent Taylor. We have orders to escort you to the airport, not Miss Spencer. You’ve been reassigned,” the same guy stated. He held out an iPad, nodding down for me to take it.

I frowned, taking it from his hands and looking down at the official transfer request document that was signed and stamped by the President himself at the bottom. Front Line, LA office, immediate start.

My heart was crashing in my chest. “I don’t understand. Why the hell would I be getting a transfer? I just spoke to the President like an hour ago!” I countered, confused.

“Ashton,” I heard Anna say from behind me. I turned quickly, seeing her standing there, just watching me. “You’ve been transferred, because I asked for it,” she explained, looking at me with her face stern and cold, showing no emotion whatsoever. My blood seemed to turn to ice in my veins. She’d asked for me to be transferred? I turned back to the guy and handed him the iPad before slamming the door in his face and turning to Anna.

“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked, stepping closer to her.

She stepped back, keeping the distance between us. “I’m sorry, but I can’t have you here. You complicate things, you make everything harder for me, and I just can’t cope with anything else. It’s best for me if you just leave. You and I have been in this little protected bubble for the last couple of days, and I thought nothing could come along and burst it, but I was wrong. You and I just can’t work, so it’s best that it stops now. That way, I can just get on with things and learn how to deal with it on my own. I’m sorry, but you have to go.” Her voice didn’t waver once. I looked into her eyes, and my heart started to break, they were the cold, heartless eyes that she used to have when I first started my assignment.

I gulped, swallowing my panic. “What?”

“I have too much going on right now, I can’t cope with having you here too and knowing that you think you’re in love with me,” she replied matter-of-factly, almost as if we were discussing the weather.

“That I think I’m in love with you? I don’t think it, I am freaking in love with you!” I corrected, shaking my head incredulously.

She frowned. “Look, I have more important things to deal with than some agent trying to seduce me while I’m upset and vulnerable. It’s best for me if you just leave so I can get on with it and deal with this all in my own way without you getting in the way all the time.”

“What the?” I gasped. “You actually think that I preyed on your vulnerability so that I could seduce you?”

She ground her teeth and shook her head. “No, that’s not what I meant, it came out wrong,” she muttered.

“Then what?”

She huffed in frustration. “There are lots of things. Carter being out, the fact that I still love Jack, the way you lied to me all this time about Carter’s letters and the reason you’re assigned to me. I have so much going on in my head that it feels like it’s going to explode, and most of them are because of you!”

Jack. I knew that Jack would come up at some point; for the last two days I had been waiting for her to freak out about the how close we’d gotten. “Anna, I know you love Jack and that’ll never change, but Jack’s not here anymore, I am. How the hell am I supposed to compete with a guy that’s not here anymore?” I asked desperately. “Look, I don’t need to complicate things for you. We’ll work all of this stuff out together,” I replied, stepping closer to her again. “As for the letters, I had no choice. It wasn’t up to me.”

She shook her head fiercely. “I just need to get back to basics, and I can’t do that with you here. You have to leave.” When she said it, she looked straight into my eyes. I could see she wasn’t lying, her face betrayed nothing.

“You love me too though, I know you do,” I said confidently, raising my chin challengingly.

Her eye twitched. “No,” she whispered. “I care about you a lot, I really do, but it’s not love. When you told me you loved me, I just said it back because I knew that’s what you wanted to hear. But it’s not true. Yes, I care about you, but my heart will always belong to Jack. I’m sorry. I was happy pretending otherwise, but now with this Carter stuff, I don’t have the energy to keep up this act. I just don’t have the mental strength to have you here. You’ll get over it. A few cold beers and one night stands and you’ll be right as rain again. You deserve better than me anyway.”

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