Author: Kirsty Moseley I groaned and shook my head. “Why don’t you draw a nice picture of him, instead of this?” I asked, nodding down at the book. I didn’t want to show her the picture in case it upset her, suddenly being confronted with it. She sighed, and her eyes dropped to the floor; her whole posture was sad and defeated. “It makes me too upset, so I don’t draw him anymore.” “Anna, surely it’s harder for you to draw him like this,” I protested, silently wondering if she just liked being sad. “You’d think so, huh?” She took the pad out of my hand and put it in the bag, indicating the end of the conversation. I sighed, angry at myself. Way to go, Ashton, upset her again. Great job, asshole! I reached out and put my finger under her chin, guiding her eyes up to meet mine. I needed to see her smile again, I hated that she was so sad all the time. “It’s okay to miss him. You should remember the nice times and try to forget the bad stuff. It’s not good for you,” I whispered. She smiled weakly, but it didn’t reach her lifeless eyes. “I know, but I can’t help it. When I close my eyes, that’s what I see.” “In time the bad stuff will fade, and you’ll just be left with the good memories,” I promised, stepping closer to her and wrapping my arm around her shoulders. She fitted against my body perfectly. The smell of chlorine wafted up from her hair, making my scalp prickle. It was almost like torture. If I can’t have her, then why does she fit me so perfectly? I wanted so badly to dip my head and kiss her cheek, so I could feel her soft skin against my mouth again. I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about the taste and feel of her since what happened yesterday. She pressed her face into my chest and her body accidentally brushed against mine. I gulped and willed myself not to get turned on by the tiny movement. “Everyone says that, but three years on and it’s still just like yesterday,” she muttered. I sighed and closed my eyes, pressing my face into her hair, breathing her in. I had no idea how I could make her feel better. “Just take one day at a time, that’s all you can do.” Her arm tightened on my waist for a second before she sighed and pulled out of my grasp, stepping back and frowning down at the floor. “Let’s just get this stuff packed.” Two suitcases and a rucksack later, she was finally satisfied that she had enough clothes to last her. She seemed to have packed everything but the kitchen sink. I even saw her throw in the next three Twilight books for me. I’d never had someone think about me like that before. The guys at the academy were great, but guys just didn’t do that sort of thing. It was weird for me to accept that someone could just genuinely be that kind and thoughtful. It amazed me that, although she was going through agony, she still had it in her heart to think of others too. After we were done, she disappeared off into her en-suite to have a bath, so I sat on the edge of her bed, staring at the door, just wishing I could go and sit on the floor and talk to her some more. That was easily my favourite thing about her; she always had something interesting to say and could make me laugh like no girl I’d ever met. Sighing, I pulled out my cell phone, opening my email and finding the itinerary for our travel the following day. When I knew it word for word, I stripped out of my clothes and took the spare pillow and throw off her bed, laying it out on the floor again. My back muscles were already protesting about sleeping on the floor, but it seemed to stop her nightmares so I could deal with it for a while. I’d already put in a request for a sofa bed to be put in the apartment we were to share. A little while later I could hear her moving around in the bathroom. When the door handle twisted, I quickly lay down and closed my eyes, pretending to sleep. There was no need for me to make anything more difficult for her. She sighed and the light flicked off before the mattress creaked and the sheets rustled. As I lay there, I could hear her breathing as she rolled to the edge of the bed. It was one of the most precious sounds in the world to me. Suddenly, I felt one of her fingers trail across the bridge of my nose and trace across my cheek before she swept the hair from my forehead softly. I desperately wanted to open my eyes and talk to her, hold her and kiss her, but she needed me to be the strong one, so I would be. Her hand moved down, resting on my chest, just above my heart. It was almost as if she wanted to check I was still there or something. It was nice, and I couldn’t help the smile that crept onto my face – lucky for me, the light was off so she couldn’t see how excited the small touch was making me. I woke early again in the morning. I sat up, clenching my teeth so that I didn’t groan as my muscles protested. I smiled over at Anna who was still in a peaceful slumber, so I pushed myself up to my feet, bending and planting a soft kiss on the top of her head before I silently folded up my makeshift bed. It was easier this way; there was no awkwardness for her if I snuck out while she slept. I sighed and went to my room for a quick shower, changing into my clothes for the day and packing the last of my things. After taking my bags downstairs, I sought out Dean to check he was all set for today. We were due to be driven to the airport at nine, so there wasn’t long to wait. Satisfied he was ready to go and knew what he was doing, I made my next stop the kitchen. My stomach was growling angrily as I looked at the stack of pancakes that Mary had made. After gorging myself on a huge stack, I picked up an extra plate and loaded a couple on for Anna, carrying it carefully through the house and up to her room. When I got to her door, I knocked and waited for her to call me in. It was only just seven, so I was assumed she wouldn’t even be up yet. “Yeah?” she called sleepily. I opened the door and strutted in, seeing that she was sitting up on the bed, yawning and rubbing her eyes. Her hair was all messed up from sleeping, yet she still looked like the most beautiful girl in the world. I smiled to myself. I could look for a thousand years and never get tired of seeing her face, I was sure of it. I knew that every girl I met from now on would pale in comparison to Anna. “Hey, Baby Girl. I got you some breakfast.” My eyes widened in horror at what I’d said. Baby Girl. I’d called her it a couple of times now by accident; I really needed to stop that. Thankfully, she didn’t seem to notice. “You did? Thanks,” she smiled at me gratefully as she scooted back to the headboard, grinning when I passed her the plate. I watched her in silence while she ate her breakfast, the whole time willing myself not to get turned on when she licked her lips and put her fork in her mouth. I had no idea how eating could be a turn-on, but she somehow managed it. “You sleep okay?” I inquired when she’d finished eating. I knew the answer to that question already; I’d spent half the night watching her sleep. She set her plate on the side and nodded. “Yep. You?” Not really, no. “Yeah, fine,” I lied. She smiled and climbed out of the bed, stretching her body and groaning. I closed my eyes at the sight of her flawless body; I could already feel the tightening of the crotch area of my jeans, the sight of her stretching certainly wouldn’t help at all. “I’ll take your bags downstairs ready. We’re leaving in just under two hours,” I suggested, checking the time on my cell phone. “Okay, I’m just going to get dressed. Can you leave one of the bags so I can put my hairbrush and stuff in it?” she asked, bending over one of the suitcases, giving me a spectacular view of her ass and legs. Well, that did it; I got a full on hard-on and quickly turned to rearrange myself downstairs while she wasn’t watching so it wasn’t noticeable. Fuck my life! This is going to be the longest eight months ever! The next hour was pretty hectic and so I didn’t get to see her much. When the car finally arrived to take us to the airport, her parents followed us outside, their expressions anxious and sullen. I stood back and watched as she said her awkward goodbyes. Her back was stiff, and her weak smile was forced as they hugged her goodbye one at a time. I hated to see her so tense, it made my stomach ache. I wasn’t close enough to hear what they were saying, but her mother had tears in her eyes, and her father looked like he was begging her to stay out of trouble. Once they were done, her eyes flitted in my direction before she climbed into the waiting black Bentley. I stepped forward to go with her, but her dad stepped into my path and smiled warmly. I gulped. I was actually incredibly intimidated by him, after all, not only was he the probable next President and my boss, he was also the father of the girl I wanted to date. I wanted him to like me. “Agent Taylor, I just wanted to say thank you,” he said quietly. I could tell by his fierce expression that he meant the words. “You don’t need to thank me, sir. It’s my job.” He shook his head. “Not just the job, Agent Taylor, I meant for what you’re doing for Annabelle. She seems so much better. You’re good for her.” He held out his hand for me to shake. I grinned placing my hand in his. Looks like I may get Dad’s approval after all! “No problem, sir. Anna’s a great girl who’s been through a lot.” I frowned at my words. ‘Been through a lot’ didn’t even begin to cover what she’d had to endure. “Yes, she has,” he agreed, nodding. “Please take care of her. She trusts you, and so do I.” I felt immensely proud of myself. “Thank you, sir, that means a lot. You don’t need to worry about her, I’ll take excellent care of her,” I promised. He turned, nodding towards the waiting car. “You’d better get going or you’ll miss your flight.” I nodded and started towards the car, but just as I was about to climb in the back, he spoke again, making me stop. “At the end of this assignment you can name the department of your choice, and I’ll make it happen,” he said sincerely. My insides knotted at the thought of any department, my hand gripping the door handle slightly too tight. “Thank you, sir.” I smiled gratefully and slid into the car with Anna, smiling broadly.