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Page 99

Author: Kirsty Moseley

‘Hey, Baby Girl, we’re still on the plane. You’re probably going to bed soon, I just wanted to say goodnight and I miss you. Call you tomorrow, sleep tight x’

I grinned happily and put my phone back on the side. Just that small text from Ashton was enough to make me smile, even after the nightmare memory I’d just had. I closed my eyes again, leaving the light on as I drifted off to sleep, hoping he was enjoying his weekend off with his friends.

“Princess, I’ve got something for you,” Carter says, smiling excitedly.

Forcing a smile, I look up at him. “What is it, baby?” I ask sweetly, trying to stay in his good books.

He turns and opens the door; immediately, Mark walks in and throws someone at my feet. I squint down at the broken person. I can’t tell who it is; his face is all smashed and bruised. His body is twisted unnaturally as he struggles to move from the heap he’s been thrown into on the floor. Blood is everywhere, dripping from his clothes, and covering his skin. Nausea hits me in waves and sympathy for the man makes my knees weak. My heart feels like it is breaking for him because of how much pain he is probably in. The man is someone’s son, maybe someone’s husband or father, yet he is lying here in front of me, completely and utterly helpless. Because he is here, in Carter’s house, I already know they will kill him. Carter doesn’t bring people back here unless it is the end for them. But why would he say it was a surprise for me?

“You don’t recognise him, Princess?” Carter asks.

I look down again and squint, trying to make out the face behind the layer of blood. The guy is mumbling something incoherent; to me, it is more like a long groan of agony. I shake my head in response to Carter’s question, but I can’t take my eyes off the broken guy on the floor.

Carter laughs and bends down, grabbing hold of the guy’s hair and turning his face to mine more. A scream of pain fills the air as the guys eyes open.

His green eyes lock onto mine, and I literally feel my heart break as my world shatters around me. “Run, Anna. Go, now!” Ashton orders, his voice thick with pain.

Carter laughs wickedly and pulls out a gun, pointing it directly at Ashton’s face. “She’s not going anywhere. She’s mine, she stays with me. And you need to pay for touching my wife,” he growls as he pulls the trigger. I watch in horror as Ashton’s handsome face that I know so well, just folds in and disappears. He slumps back to the floor with a sickening thud. I drop to my knees, screaming his name as I cradle his broken body in my lap, but I can do nothing but watch as the love of my life bleeds out onto the floor. In the background, Carter and Mark laugh and laugh and laugh.

I screamed and screamed; helpless, heartbroken tears fell down my face as the horror of what I had just seen consumed me entirely. I couldn’t breathe. I was suffocating. I pushed myself up and put my head between my knees.

“Annabelle, can I come in?” Dean called from the other side of the door.

I gasped for breath as my whole body shook. Sick. I needed to be sick. Swinging my legs out of bed, I stood but my legs shook so much that I almost fell. Sweat beaded on my brow and wet the back of my hair.

That was the worst thing I could have ever dreamed. At least when I had dreams about things that had already happened, I knew it was over, I woke up safe, but that dream… what would I do if that happened? If Ashton was ever hurt, I knew it would crush me inside, beyond repair this time.

“Annabelle?” Dean shouted from the hallway, banging on the door loudly.

I couldn’t answer; my heart was crashing loudly in my ears. I still hadn’t taken a breath. I couldn’t calm down. Black spots started to appear in my vision as I stumbled blindly towards my bathroom. When my head started to spin, I felt that weightless sensation take over, and suddenly I was falling, falling into the blackness.

Chapter Thirty-Eight

As my heavy eyes blinked open, a guy in a green uniform was hovering over me, touching the side of my neck. I gasped, shocked and confused, and thrashed, slapping his hand away from me.

As I scooted up the bed and hit the headboard, Dean stepped forward, holding his hands up to halt me. “Annabelle, calm down! He’s a doctor, it’s okay,” he said quickly, setting his hand on my shoulder. I flinched, flicking my eyes between the two men in my bedroom, only now noticing that my head was pounding and that my whole body felt weak. “It’s okay. You passed out. I called an ambulance,” Dean explained soothingly.

I nodded weakly, suddenly remembering the feeling of weightlessness moments before the blackness. Movement from the doorway caught my attention, and I looked over to see that Peter and the new far guard were both standing there, watching me anxiously.

“How are you feeling, Miss Spencer?”

I shook my head, dazed, and looked back to the newcomer in the green uniform who’d spoken. “I’m alright. A little fuzzy,” I admitted, rubbing my forehead. My throat hurt and scratched as I spoke and I knew it was from all the screaming.

“What happened?” the guy asked.

I squeezed my eyes shut against the pictures of Ashton’s broken face that were trying to force their way back in. The way his eyes had locked on mine. The sound of his pain filled voice as he told me to run. The sickening thud as his lifeless body slumped back against the floor. The hysterical laughter of the man who ruined my life…

“Miss Spencer?”

I gulped, coming back to reality. “I… I had a panic attack, I couldn’t breathe,” I explained. “I’m okay now.”

“Maybe we should take you to the hospital and get you a thorough check up, just to be on the safe side,” he replied, packing up his equipment into his little green bag.

I frowned in protest. “I’m not going to hospital. I just passed out, that’s all. Nothing to worry about. This has happened before, a long time ago; there’s nothing wrong with me that a couple of painkillers and a good night’s sleep can’t fix.”

He pursed his lips, obviously displeased with my answer. I didn’t break eye contact with him, letting him know I wasn’t backing down. There was no way I was going to hospital because of a panic attack. Finally, he nodded. “Okay, well try and get some sleep. You may have a headache in the morning.” He stood and looked down at me with his stern eyes. “You’ll need to take it easy, and if anything like this should happen again, then you’ll need to come to hospital for some in-depth tests.”

“Absolutely. Thank you.” I scooted down on the bed, tugging the covers up to my neck because I felt a little exposed in front of three males while just wearing Ashton’s T-shirt. I watched as he walked over to the door with Dean, talking quietly with him, obviously relaying instructions on my care to him.

As they all stepped out of my bedroom, Dean smiled kindly at me before closing the door behind him, leaving me in the darkness. I leant over and flicked on the light, seeing the red numbers flashing on my alarm clock. 4:26am.

I sighed heavily and swung my legs over the side of the bed. There was no way I was going to sleep again tonight, not after seeing that dream. I never wanted to see that again, I couldn’t. Luckily, my wobbly legs seemed to hold my weight as I stood and walked awkwardly to the door. Voices from nearby told me that they were all still outside, discussing me. I pressed my ear to the door, trying to hear, but it was no use, I couldn’t make out a single word.

When I heard the front door open and then close, and then Dean’s bedroom door close moments later, I crept out of the bedroom and tiptoed my way to the kitchen in the darkness. As I reached for the coffee pot, Dean cleared his throat behind me. I jumped, almost dropping the glass jug, and spun on the spot, seeing him standing there with one eyebrow raised and his arms folded across his chest.

“What are you up to? He said rest and sleep,” he stated, his tone accusing.

I smiled weakly. “I’m not tired anymore. Don’t worry, I’m fine,” I promised. As I lied, I noticed that my hands were shaking so I quickly put down the pot and clasped my hands together out of sight. The last thing I needed was a lecture, or him insisting that we take an early morning trip to the hospital.

He sighed, raking a hand through his short, sandy hair. “Annabelle, you should rest.”

“I will. I’m going to make some coffee and then lie on the sofa for a bit.” I gulped, knowing I needed to broach the subject of Ashton. I just prayed I could say his name without scenes of the dream surfacing again because if they did my emotions were sure to betray me. “Dean, you didn’t call Ashton, did you?”

“No, not yet. I’ll call him in a bit, he’ll be asleep now,” he replied, looking at his watch.

I groaned and shook my head quickly. “Don’t tell him. Please, Dean. If you tell him this happened, he’ll cut his trip short and he’ll come back,” I begged. My eyes filled with tears. I desperately wanted Ashton to have a nice time with his friends; I didn’t want to be the one that ruined all of his fun all the time.

“Annabelle, I need to tell him. He specifically made me promise to tell him if you had a bad night,” he smiled apologetically.

My eyes widened fractionally at the revelation that Ashton had made Dean promise that, but to be honest, I wasn’t that surprised about it. He did take overprotective bodyguard to a whole new level, after all. “Please don’t. We don’t need to tell him that this happened. He deserves to have this weekend. He works all the time, he even gave up his Christmas for me. Please?” My tears were falling now.

He closed his eyes and blew out a hefty breath. “If he finds out I didn’t tell him, he’ll give me hell,” he explained.

I winced at that. I could just imagine how furious Ashton would be. “He won’t find out,” I pouted, silently begging him with my eyes.

Finally, he sighed. “I’m going to bed, I’ll think about it,” he mumbled as he shook his head and walked to the other bedroom.

My shoulders relaxed because hopefully he’d make the right decision and let Ashton have his time off. Turning my attention back to the discarded coffee pot, I made a strong black coffee, adding extra sugars, because I already felt exhausted and listless.

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