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Page 29

Author: Kirsty Moseley

“Okay good. An hour’s fine then, I’ll go finish that book.” He shrugged, smiling a half smile.

“I’ll have to make sure to pack the other three for you if you’re that into them,” I teased.

He just rolled his eyes and didn’t bother to answer me. On the way through the house, we stopped by the kitchen to grab a drink and sandwich for lunch. I said goodbye to Ashton for the hour, taking my food to my room. As soon as I was alone, I pulled out my laptop and started to sync my spare iPod to my iTunes, copying all of my music over to it for him. Having no idea what kind of music he liked, I had no clue if there was anything in my collection that he would like – it would be a start for him though, at least.

After exactly an hour, he knocked on my door. I winced and looked up worriedly because the music was still syncing. “Ashton, I’m not done, I’ll be a bit longer then I’ll come get you, okay?” I called, hoping he wouldn’t just walk in and see me doing it. I wanted to give it to him tomorrow on the plane so he could listen to it during the flight if he wanted to.

“Are you okay?” he asked, sounding a little concerned.

“Fine,” I answered, chewing on my lip, watching the grey bar at the top as it copied all of the music over.

“Anna, can I come in?” he asked, still sounding unsure.

I ran to the door and yanked it open before he just walked in and ruined my surprise. “What’s up?” I asked, pulling the door close to my side so that he couldn’t see into my room.

“Are you really alright? You’re not freaking out because of the guns, are you?” he asked, reaching for my hand.

I smiled at his concern. I appreciated the thought actually. “No, I’m not freaking out. I just had something I wanted to do on my laptop before we leave tomorrow,” I promised, shrugging.

His face brightened, and he seemed to visibly relax. “Oh, that’s good, I was worried,” he admitted, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Thank you for being worried, but I’m honestly fine.” I shrugged.

“Okay, well, let me know when you’re ready.” He raised my hand to his lips, planting a soft kiss on my knuckle before turning and walking to his room next door.

While my laptop finished its task, I dug out another swimsuit and shrugged out of my clothes. By the time I had my clothes back on top of it, the sync was finished. As I walked to his room, I scraped my hair back into a bun before knocking politely on his door. He pulled it open as I was mid-knock so he must have been keen to go.

“Hey, I’m done,” I greeted.

“Okay, great,” he smiled and stepped out of the room, slinging a towel over his shoulder. As we stepped into the pool that we had at the back of the house, he raised one eyebrow in appreciation. “This is nice, I didn’t even realise this was here.”

“Yeah, I guess I should’ve shown you this on my tour of the house, huh?” I teased, grinning, remembering how I ditched him on his first day.

“Yeah, I still owe you for that,” he warned, narrowing his eyes at me.

“I’m so scared,” I mocked, stripping out of my clothes.

“You should be.” His arms closed around me quickly, lifting me off my feet as he stalked towards the pool.

“No!” I shouted, just as he threw me into the water. I came up laughing and spluttering. “Asshole!” I cried, wiping the water out of my eyes. He did a cannonball into the pool, sending water everywhere. “Wow, you’re such a child,” I scoffed, trying to hide my grin.

We swam a few lengths, bantering back and forth. Ashton was a strong swimmer; apparently they had to swim a lot for training. He said that once, as a punishment for letting a chicken loose in the officers’ lounge, he and Nate had to spend the whole night in the pool, swimming lengths and picking bricks up from the bottom.

“Wow, and you liked this place?” I asked, turning my nose up.

“Sure, it kinda saved me, I guess. When I was seventeen I didn’t get many opportunities and I started hanging around with the wrong people. It was a toss-up for me between joining up with the force, or carrying on being that person who I was becoming. Thankfully I chose the academy.”

I swam over to him and held onto the edge so we could talk. He grabbed my waist and pulled me to him. He was so close to me that the heat started up again. I had no idea how he did it to me. I moved closer to him, trailing my finger across his shoulder, looking at his tanned skin as lustful thoughts crashed over me in droves.

“You’re looking like a prune,” he teased, looking at my wrinkly fingers.

“You do too,” I muttered, chewing on my lip. I knew I needed to get out of the pool, this was just plain wrong, and I shouldn’t let this guy affect me so much. “Maybe we should get out.” I didn’t wait for an answer, just swam to the ladder and pulled myself out, grabbing my towel and drying my face.

When I turned back, he was just pulling himself out of the pool. My stomach tightened as he picked up his towel from the chair and started rubbing it over his chest. I watched the movements with interest; I’d never envied a towel before that moment.

Once I could bring myself to stop staring at him, I wrapped the towel around myself and we started walking back through the house. At my bedroom door, we parted ways. “I guess I should start packing after dinner,” I mumbled, scrunching my nose up. Packing was the worst part about being kicked out of so many schools and having to start over.

“I can help you if you want,” he offered. “I don’t have that much to pack. If you have anything you want to put in with my stuff, you can.”

I smiled gratefully. He’d already told me that he had a selection of clothes waiting for him at the apartment. Apparently they were supplying him with appropriate clothing; all he’d had to do was tell them his sizes. I dreaded to think what kind of clothing they deemed ‘appropriate’ for college.

I pushed my door open. “Okay thanks. I’ll knock for you after I get back from dinner with my parents.” I was going to do my best to enjoy my dinner tonight. As of tomorrow I would be leaving – and having a chef certainly was one thing I missed while at school.

~ Ashton ~

After I’d eaten dinner with the other agents and the other staff they had at the house, I’d packed up my own clothes before she finally knocked on my door signalling she was finished eating with her parents. As I lay on her bed with my arm folded behind my head, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. She was just so incredible. I genuinely didn’t understand how there could be such a perfect creature like her in the world, and yet all those terrible things had happened to her.

My eyes were glued to her as she bent over, folding up her clothes. I could barely suppress my moan of desire for her. She obviously had no idea the effect she had on me, and I was pretty grateful of that fact. Clearly she needed a friend right now, so that was what I was planning on being for her. I’d do whatever it took to make her happy, even if this assignment ended up killing me. It was going to be incredibly hard on me to be so close, yet be so far away at the same time, but I could cope with it.

She turned and caught me looking straight at her, so I quickly flicked my eyes onto something else, knowing she was going to bitch me out about it. “You want to help me instead of just watching?” she teased, tossing a rucksack at me.

I laughed in relief. At least she didn’t realise I was perving on her. Pushing myself up from the bed, I turned to her art materials that she had piled on her dresser and started putting it into the bag. When I got to her sketchpad, I wanted so badly to look at it, but I didn’t know if she would want me to.

“Can I look through your drawings?” I asked hopefully.

She winced uncomfortably. “Um, okay. Some of them are a little… harsh.”

Harsh. What is that supposed to mean? I sat down on the chair and started flipping through the pad. My mouth dropped open in awe as I looked at her drawings. They were incredible: the lake, the house, a tree, a sunset, one of her mom. I could tell which ones she called harsh. They were actually quite disturbing; blood, death, knives and guns. The same man was drawn over and over, looking menacing and angry. I recognised him from the photo in her file, this was Carter.

“These are really great. What do you want to do when you finish school?” I asked, pushing the book into the bag.

“Well, I always wanted to be a graphic designer, but I’m not sure that’ll happen now. I’ll just be happy if I can graduate and finish my course,” she replied, looking a little sheepish.

I could feel my anger simmering just below the surface again. Carter had taken everything away from her. She just needed to get her confidence in people back though, that’s all, I could help her with that. I’d do whatever it took to get her life back on track again.

“Well, don’t give up on your dream, Anna. I’ll help you,” I promised, looking at her beautiful face.

She laughed quietly, and the sound made my heart beat faster. “You sound like Jack. He used to say things like that all the time.”

I decided to take that as a compliment. Jack sounded like a good guy from what I’d heard, and he was a damn lucky one too to have her love him so much. “Smart guy,” I commented, grinning.

I turned back to her stuff and picked up the sketch pad that she bought the other day when we went shopping. I flipped it open and on the first page was me again. I had to laugh at her portrayal of me. She obviously thought I was good-looking; I could tell by the way she seemed to skim over my flaws and drew me looking perfect, with not even a hair out of place.

“Do you like drawing me?” I asked, flipping the pad around so she could see what I was looking at.

“Sure, why not,” she replied, shrugging.

I frowned, trying to work out what that meant. Women were incredibly hard to read; I’d never really tried to understand one before. It was a lot harder than it looked. I flipped to the next page – it was Jack this time, I recognised him from the photo next to her bed. He was covered in blood and looked like he was in pain; the picture was a little horrifying.

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