Author: Kirsty Moseley Her lips pursed as she seemed to think about it for a few seconds. Finally, she nodded, seeming a little shocked about her own feelings. “Actually, I’m fine. Strange as it may seem, I really do feel fine.” Happiness exploded within me, because maybe, just maybe, she really was getting over him… maybe I did have a shot after all. “Great. That’s really great, Baby Girl,” I said, rubbing my hand across her skin on her back, sending little tingles of pleasure through my hand. I was so proud of her, I could barely stop myself from grabbing her and spinning her around in a circle. She truly was getting over him, and I didn’t even think that she realised it. We danced for another couple of songs in silence before she set her head on my shoulder and sighed deeply. Tracing my hands up her back, I gripped the back of her head, feeling her soft silky hair under my fingertips. My heart sank, knowing what this would be about. The Jack thing was finally catching up to her. “What’s wrong?” I whispered, bending and resting my head on the top of hers. Her arms tightened around me as she spoke with her face pressed into the side of my neck. “Nothing’s wrong. I’m just having a nice time with you tonight.” It hadn’t been a sad sigh. It was a sigh of contentment. My heart started back up in double-time. “I’m having a nice time here with you too,” I replied, pressing my nose into her hair, breathing her in. It wasn’t too much longer before the party started to wind down. I followed behind Anna as she said goodbye to Jack’s parents, promising to stay in touch and visit next time she was in town, before seeking out her own parents and bidding them farewell too. I nodded to Dean who immediately headed to the door and stopped, waiting for us. As we stepped out of the hotel ball room, we made our way across the foyer and over to the elevators. Two secret service agents that I recognised from the lake house were waiting outside it, they waved us through quickly. As the elevator sped us up to our desired floor, I felt slightly sick. I wasn’t staying in with Anna tonight. The accommodation was prearranged, and it would look weird if we changed them, so the agents were to be sleeping two floors below the family tonight. The night guards would take over their protection duty. I’d been dreading this part all day. I hated being separated from her; I worried about her like crazy when she wasn’t at my side. Thoughts of Carter haunted me when she wasn’t with me, but spending the night away from her would be even worse because I knew she would dream about him and there would be nothing I could do to prevent it. I tried not to show Anna how worried I was as we walked to her hotel room. “Can I come in and check your room?” I asked, needing to make sure that she was safe. I knew that her room was okay because there had been guards outside it all day, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to settle if I didn’t look for myself. Realisation hit me that maybe I really was too overprotective, just like she always said I was. “Sure,” she agreed, looking amused as she gave me a little tug into her suite. My eyes widened at the luxury of the place as we stepped inside. She had a separate living area with a ginormous flat screen TV on the wall, sofas, and even what looked like a little kitchen area. She plopped down on the sofa as I headed to the bedroom and checked under the bed and in the closet and bathroom to make sure nothing or nobody was hiding in her room. When I had satisfied myself, I sat down next to her on the plush sofa. This situation was killing me. I knew she was going to be annoyed with me if I didn’t stop stressing out, but I couldn’t calm my jangled nerves. One of her perfectly plucked eyebrows rose in question. Silently, I waited for her to scold me for treating her like a child or something, but she didn’t. Instead, she looked like she understood. “Ashton, I’ll be fine, will you stop worrying?” I sighed. I really wished I could. My life would be so much easier if I’d never met her and didn’t have her to worry about. “I know you’ll be fine, I’m just worried about how many bad dreams you’re gonna have without me there,” I admitted. “And also, I’m gonna miss you in the bed,” I added, smiling weakly. She laughed quietly. “I’m gonna miss you in the bed too,” she shrugged before continuing, “And maybe I won’t even dream, you never know. I haven’t had any nightmares for three months. Maybe they’ve stopped?” She looked like she didn’t believe a word of that statement at all. “Yeah, I hope so. If it gets bad, then please call me,” I begged. “I’ll come up if you need me.” I took her hand, just needing to touch her before I left her. A reassuring smile graced her lips. “I’ll be fine, but if I’m not, then I’ll call you,” she agreed. I sighed, knowing that it was time to go. “Well, I guess I should let you get some sleep then. I’ll see you for breakfast, yeah?” I asked hopefully. She nodded. “Yep,” she agreed and I kissed the back of her hand as she walked me to the door. She nodded tersely at the guy who was sitting in the chair outside her bedroom door. By her tight and defensive posture alone, I could tell she didn’t like him. I smiled and shook my head; she really had a problem with guards. “Goodnight then, Anna,” I whispered, watching her face, silently wishing she would beg me to stay with her, screw the guards and her parents and their opinions. “Night, Ashton.” She shook her head, and an amused smile pulled at the corner of her mouth. Probably because of me and how pathetic I was. I sighed as I stepped out of the door and closed it behind me. Every muscle in my body was tight, wanting to run into her room and throw her on the bed and never let go. I pushed the thought away and turned back to the agent outside her door as I reached into my pocket, fumbling for the scrap of paper that I’d written my cell phone number on. “Hey, here’s my number. If there’s any trouble with Anna tonight, then give me a call. Any time, I don’t care,” I instructed, holding out the paper to him. He grinned. “I think I can handle Annabelle’s trouble,” he replied sarcastically, sneering at me like I was a three year old. I bit back my angry retort. “Look, I’m sure you think you can handle her, but I’ve been working with her for the last three months, if she freaks out or has a nightmare or something, then call me, okay?” My anger was growing by the second. “Screw it, man. If she has a nightmare, then that’s down to her. You’ve got the night off, go enjoy yourself, you don’t get paid enough for her shit,” he said, shrugging arrogantly. Fucking asshole! My hand was itching to punch the smirk off of his face, but I swallowed my anger and tried to keep my voice normal. “What’s your name?” I asked politely. His smile faded. “Mike.” Clearly, my tone hadn’t been as polite as I’d intended. “Well, Mike, if I find out tomorrow that she had a bad night and you didn’t call me, you and I are going to have a big f**king problem. You understand what I’m saying?” I growled, looking at him warningly. He flinched, so he obviously got the point. “Right, whatever you want,” he answered as he snatched the note from my hand and shoved it into his pocket. “Thanks, I’m glad we understand each other,” I replied, staring him down for a couple of seconds before I left for my floor. My rage was simmering on a slow boil, and I knew I wouldn’t be getting much sleep as I stewed on what an uncompassionate jerk Mike was. When I got to my own room that I was sharing with Dean, I noticed that he was already in his bed and sound asleep. As I shrugged out of my clothes and slipped into my own bed, I knew then that I was in for a sleepless night as I worried about the girl I was hopelessly in love with. Chapter Thirty ~ Anna ~ I sighed as the door to my hotel room clicked closed. As soon as I was on my own, I missed him; I didn’t want to spend the night alone at all. I’d lied and reassured him that I wouldn’t dream tonight, but I knew that wouldn’t be true. I was probably in for a bad night tonight, but I knew that it was only eight hours and then I’d be able to see him again. That thought was comforting. I sighed and headed to the bedroom, slipping out of the dress that my mother had commissioned specifically for this event. Smiling to myself, I slipped the shoes into the bottom of my travel bag so I could keep them; there was not a chance I was giving those back. When I had on my pyjamas, which consisted of a pair of boy shorts and the T-shirt that Ashton wore yesterday, I climbed into the cold bed. It was so weird lying on my own, the bed felt too big somehow, I had too much leg room and no one was crushing me. I laughed quietly to myself and thought about my evening. I’d had an incredible night tonight, and although things were going to change now that people would know who I was, I wouldn’t have missed this party for the world. Seeing Ashton in that tuxedo had given me many new fantasies to think about. I pictured his face as I had walked down the stairs to meet him. The way he’d looked at me made my heart flutter erratically. I had never seen anything more heart-stoppingly gorgeous in my life than Ashton Taylor standing there with that familiar smile on his face. He’d certainly given all of those celebrities a run for their money tonight; he was undeniably the hottest guy in the room. I sighed contentedly and pulled Ashton’s T-shirt up to cover my nose so I could breathe him in while I fell asleep, hopefully that would be enough to stop the dreams. Pressing tighter against the wall, I silently pray he won’t see me. I am going to pay for disobeying, I know this, but still I stand there, motionless, instead of running back to the yard and pretending that I hadn’t moved from where he’d told me to wait. As I peek around the corner of the wall and into the lounge, I see Carter standing with his back to me. At his feet, someone is on their knees. “Please, I’m sorry, it won’t happen again,” the guy begs, his voice breaking through fear. “Not good enough, Mario. I lost two mil in coke because you couldn’t keep your f**king dick in your pants long enough to make the f**king exchange!” Carter growls, his voice hard and angry. He moves to the side, and I see the guy on the floor. I recognise his face but know nothing about him; Carter always keeps his business away from me. A gun resides in Carter’s hands, his favoured silver pistol with the ivory handle. It is his preferred gun, he tells me this often. Mario’s eyes flick to me for a split second, and I freeze. Carter, seeing Mario’s attention diverted, turns and looks at me. Anger crosses his face before his usual loving expression masks it.