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Page 6

Author: Kirsty Moseley

I frowned at that. They always expected me to play nicely with these agents. I had no idea why though, because they never lasted long and then the whole routine would start all over again. “I’ll show him to his room, but he’s a big boy, I’m sure he can find the lake himself. I mean, you can’t miss the damn thing, it’s right there.” I turned and stalked out of the room, ignoring Ashton exchanging pleasantries with my parents behind me.

As I stalked up the hallway, fast footsteps sounded as he ran to catch me up. “Thanks for waiting,” he muttered sarcastically.

I scowled over at him. In all honesty, I was a little surprised at his attitude. Usually the guards were all ‘Yes, Miss Spencer. No, Miss Spencer’. Clearly this guy had some balls. “Whatever, pretty boy. You want me to show you to your room or not?” I snapped. My body still hurt and I wanted to take a nap before dinner.

“Sure, that’d be great.” His arm slipped around my shoulder. My heart seemed to stop before my body reacted immediately. I ducked under his arm and put both hands on his chest, shoving him as hard as I could. Because I’d caught him off guard, he stumbled back a step and looked at me with wide, horrified eyes. My teeth clenched together as I pulled back my right arm, throwing a punch in the general direction of his face. But he was too fast for me and threw his arm up to block my hit before holding both hands up innocently.

“I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have done that, I’m sorry,” he apologised quickly, shaking his head.

Tears welled in my eyes as my body shook from the shock of it. Male attention wasn’t something I could deal with anymore. It brought back too many memories that I could barely even cope with.

“That’s it, you’re gone,” I growled, spinning on my heel, about to march back to my father’s office and demand that he be transferred.

“Oh shit, come on, no, please? I promise that won’t ever happen again, I just forgot myself, that’s all. Please? I need this job,” he begged, as I marched down the hallway.

The pleading tone to his voice seemed to strike a chord inside me and I stopped, gritting my teeth, considering. I swallowed the lump that formed in my throat and turned to face him. I could see how sorry he was just by his slumped shoulders.

“You’re an asshole,” I spat venomously. These men had no idea of the power they held over me and how much even just a casual touch could affect me for days afterwards.

He nodded, holding up his hands innocently.

“Don’t ever touch me again. You’re already hanging by a thread,” I muttered, shaking my head angrily. I had no idea why I was giving him another chance. Usually I would have strutted into my father’s office and demanded they send him away, but the sorrow in his eyes was evident, so I knew it was just an innocent move that wouldn’t occur again anytime soon.

He nodded in agreement, so I resumed the tour. As we walked past doors in the hallway, I said the names of the rooms but didn’t give him a chance to look in them. He could find his own way around; I didn’t owe him anything.

“Kitchen. Dining room. Games room. Lounge. Den. The gym’s down there,” I said, pointing to my favourite part of the whole house.

“Wait, you have your own gym? Can I see it?” he asked excitedly. I risked a sideways glance at him. He was grinning happily; he obviously liked to exercise, which was actually pretty apparent by his toned physique.

“Sure, go ahead.” I smiled and waved him into the gym. As soon as he was out of sight, I abandoned my tour and walked up to my room, slamming the door behind me. I threw myself down on the bed, sighing deeply. Eight months I’d been told he was here for. He definitely wouldn’t last more than a month, tops.

After about half an hour, there was a knock on my bedroom door. I groaned at the interruption, shoving my sketch pad under my pillow. “What do you want?” I called, not in the mood to socialise any more today.

“Can I come in?” Ashton retorted. I pushed myself up from the bed, chuckling wickedly because he was clearly annoyed with me for running off and leaving him. As I pulled open the door, his annoyed face greeted me. “Yeah, that was funny,” he said sarcastically. I full on laughed and cocked my head to the side, not caring that he was annoyed with me. His frown deepened. “I need to come in and pace your room.”

My grip on my door handle tightened as I pulled it close to my side, blocking his entry. “What? Go pace in your own room, it’s right next door,” I scoffed, nodding towards the door next to mine.

“Yeah I know, someone showed me after you ditched me,” he muttered sarcastically. “I didn’t mean I wanted to pace in your room though. I need to pace your room out so I know where everything is.”

I frowned, not liking the idea of having someone in my private space. I didn’t usually allow agents in my room, but his stern expression told me that he wasn’t going away until he’d done whatever it was that he wanted. I sighed deeply and shoved open my door, gesturing for him to come in. “You’re freaking weird! No one else has paced my room before.”

As he walked in, his eyes flitted around. My bedroom was plain apart from my sketches that were stuck all over one wall; they were all to do with the same thing – Jack. No one knew that though, everyone just thought they were different things – a pair of blue eyes here, a dandelion there, a football stadium with a player celebrating, a smudge that was the exact shape of his birthmark he had on the edge of his hairline. I had drawn them all last year. I didn’t draw Jack anymore; I tried to, but it just hurt too much. Last year was when I decided to stop feeling anything, and drawing Jack just made the pain come back in droves. The things I drew now I didn’t show anyone, they were too dark. I didn’t put them on my wall; I hid them or destroyed them before anyone saw and demanded that I seek help again. I refused to go back to the hospital.

“These are really great,” Ashton complimented, looking at my wall of sketches.

I sat on my bed and pulled my knees up to my chest. “Thanks,” I mumbled, watching him look at each one individually.

“What’s this one?” he asked, pointing to one of Jack’s birthmark.

I sighed, shrugging. “What does it look like to you? It’s one of those inkblot tests. It’s whatever you think it is.”

He turned back to it, cocking his head to the side, staring at it intently for a few seconds before he spoke. “Huh, well then maybe I’m hungry because this looks like a cheeseburger and fries, heavy on the ketchup.” Not expecting such a witty response, his comment caught me off guard and, uncharacteristically, I burst out laughing. He turned back to me and smiled, seeming almost proud of himself. “So I’d better get pacing, it may take a while.” He smiled at me apologetically.

I sat back against the headboard and watched him walking around my room. Starting at the door, he would pace to the bed, then the door to the closet, the door to the window, bed to the window, bed to the closet. He went on and on for about twenty minutes. I watched him silently the whole time, just resting my chin on my knees. He was very methodical, but I had no idea why he was doing it.

“Okay, I’m done. I just need to ask you a few questions, then I’ll let you get back to hating me or whatever you were doing before I came in,” he said, smiling.

I rolled my eyes. “Fine, Pretty Boy, what do you want to know?”

“What side of the bed do you sleep on?”

“What the hell does that have to do with anything?” My temper was rising again, I could feel it.

He shrugged innocently. “I need to know so that if I have to come in and get you, I’ll know where you’ll be.”

“Oh for goodness’ sake! None of the other guards have done anything like this or asked stupid questions! No one can get in the house. We have security, dumbass,” I spat acidly.

A smile tugged at one corner of his mouth. “Just humour me, please. I need all the information so I can keep you safe. I don’t care what other guards have done; I’m here to stay, so at least you’ll only have to go through this once.”

I laughed humourlessly. “You’ll quit, Pretty Boy, trust me, they all do. Everyone leaves me eventually,” I stated confidently.

His cocky smile fell from his face immediately at my words. “Please just answer the questions so I can keep you safe.” He pouted, looking like a lost puppy.

I gulped as I realised that he’d just used the cute puppy dog face on me, Jack used to pull that trick all the time. “Ugh fine, I tend to sleep in the middle of the bed.”

“Okay. Do you have any weapons in your room?” he asked, looking round as if he could see anything. I shook my head in response. He nodded. “Can you shoot a gun?”

I recoiled at the word. I hated guns, I’d seen too many of them in my lifetime already. “No,” I croaked, my mouth suddenly dry.

He pursed his lips before nodding. “I’ll teach you to shoot. Just in case. You can never be too prepared for anything.”

Needing this conversation to be over and for him to leave the only place I considered a sanctuary, I shrugged in agreement. “Are you done now?” I asked, nodding towards the door, signalling for him to leave.

“Er… I just have one more thing, but I don’t want to upset you or anything,” he said quietly. I took a deep breath and waited for him to continue. “I’m supposed to be your boyfriend. For people to believe that lie, I’m going to have to touch you from time to time.”

Instantly, my heart slammed in my chest and a wave of nausea rolled over me. He scooted closer to me on the bed. I flinched at his closeness and jumped up quickly, holding my hands in front of me in protest. “Don’t, just don’t,” I muttered, looking at him pleadingly. My lunch was threatening to come back up.

“I’m not going to touch you. I just… Anna, to pull this off I’m going to have to be able to touch you in public. Maybe just hold your hand,” he suggested, standing too but making no moves to come near me.

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