Willow House (First of a Saga)

Cassie Brooks, a girl with a background. No one wants her, no one needs her. So when she joins Willow House, what will the inmates think of their new member?

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2. All of Me.

 

Liam was a totally different person than I first expected. Now I classed him as perfect. He laughed at my jokes, which is also a first. I found the chance to learn about Willow without being hit or scrutinized for it. He was really easy to talk to and was actual a really good guy. Who would have known right? But it didn’t take long for me to start and bombard him questions. I messed with my hair paying hardly any attention to game. I made a face when he hit a perfect shot, and sent himself higher on the score board. “Erm, Liam...” I had no idea how to start the millions of questions circling my head, but that was just stupid. Stupid, do you hear that Cassie? “Yeah? Oh wait what’s your name?” He leaned over the pool table and was really close to me. I was in my own world to the point that I hadn’t realized he had just dodged whatever I was going to say and replace that space with what he wanted to say. Crap.

“Erm, ah...” He caught me off guard when he asked my name but from somewhere my inner voice spoke up. “Cassie, its Cassie.” He smiled a little cocky smile, a lot like the one from earlier. He brought his feet around the table and then stood right in front of me, he reminded me of how Molly had challenged me. “Now, what did you want?” He was so close I could almost feel his words on my neck. I remained sat down as not to provoke anything. But I had so many questions, which one first. “Do you go out with Molly?” This time it wasn’t Ash who was covering his mouth, now it was me. How could she come out with something as direct as that? Now he was never going to feel so free ever again with me. Great. He laughed though and pulled away from me. Aw why? Shut up inner Cassie! “Well, not really.”He ran a hand through his own hair and looked down as he thought of his answer. Not really? What sort of answer is that? It’s either yes or no! I waited impatiently for him to answer me. It can’t be that hard to know if you’re going out with someone. “So...?” I prompted him, but he was already talking ahead. “Me and Molly never were and never will be together. Although that total psychopath believes I’m the only one for her.” He looked slightly agitated and I guessed that wasn’t the whole story. “It’s just I found-” He interrupted me mid sentence. “Yeah I know the carvings on the wardrobe. Don’t ever think for a single minute I’d go out with that twat. Honestly, she’s a total monster! She even beat up Ash once; he’s been different ever since that.” He stared off into the distance and I felt like I could cry. Why? Because I like Ash? No, I don’t... Do I? I shook my head and turned my attention back to Liam. “You alright?” I reached over and touched him lightly on the arm. I don’t know why, but it just felt appropriate. I started to move away but as I did a little boy ran in and I was so mesmerised by the little grin on his chubby little face, that I didn’t see him come and run directly into me. I steadied him before he could hurt himself anymore. “You okay little guy?” I bent down and looked him in the eyes. His fragile body was still in my arms, and his wispy caramel brown hair and deep brown eyes drew you closer to him. He looked like he had lost something, but then we all had at this place. “Have you seen Freddy?” His soft little voice nearly made me cry. I smiled back at him. “No, sorry, what’s he look like?” He contemplated that question for a moment. “Well, he’s brown, furry, and has one arm. He’s gone missing after playing hide and seek.” I took his hand and decided I’d help him search. “Come on then...” Luckily Liam helped me out. “Charley, his name’s Charley, and he usually don’t talk to strangers.”He pushed off of the pool table and left the gaming room. I almost felt sad. I pulled Charley along as I went to search for Freddy.

                                                                                                *****

After Freddy had been found, I decided to try and work who was who. And work out the tricks of the trade here at Willow House. I let my feet roam the house until it came to a door. This door was slightly ajar and inside I saw the flurry of animal prints and stuffed toys. I pushed it open and found a young girl just like me, sat on the bed with another younger girl beside her. Corey and Teresa? I let my mind wonder as I entered the room. I didn’t come any further than the door but you could still say I was inside. “Hey.” I had to cough to make my voice heard. The girls looked sad and lonely, even though they had each other in their arms. The oldest one looked up at me with a disgruntled glare. I started to back away slowly, but the younger of the girls stopped me. “Cassie, right? Cassie Brooks?” I looked at the girl and smiled. “Yeah that’s right. I’m guessing you’re... Corey? Or is it Teresa?”  The little girl came out of the older ones arms, but the older one kept a keen eye on her. “I’m Corey and my older sisters Teresa. But how did you know?” I tapped my nose sarcastically. “I’m magic.” She giggled lightly but she stopped as Teresa burst the bubble. “She knows because she has the wardrobe, the one we carved our names on.” My smile faded and I waved a sheepish goodbye to Corey and darted out of the room. I pulled back my sleeves as I headed for my room, and realized I was starving at only eleven o’clock. I took the route back down the stairs and turned towards the kitchen. I saw Ash sat alone with a pint of orange juice. He hadn’t drunken any and he didn’t seem like he was going to. He looked sad. Really sad, and alone. So I decided to get myself a drink of orange juice and join him. I took the seat next to him and he looked over at me when I did. He sighed and began to get up. “No Ash don’t. Please.”  He sat back down but didn’t talk to me. I wanted to start conversation. “What did you mean, when you said you thought I was different?” He looked at me and took a deep breath. “I thought you were more like me. Not a bully or nasty, not selfish. But you’re just like him.” I was offended, but I didn’t show it. “I’m not like that. I just stand up for myself. You get to learn to do that when the worlds on your back.” He seemed to loosen up a bit. “But Liam isn’t as bad as you think he is he-” I was about to launch my protest for Liam when Ash decided to rudely interrupt. “No, you’re wrong. He was pretending Cassie! As he always is. Making you feel happy and welcome, and his best bud, so he can get any favours he wants out of you! Don’t let him Cassie, just don’t.” He clasped my hand as he said that last bit and I felt a whole shock run down my body. His touch made me feel amazing. Alive. But then it disappeared and so did his hand, as Liam strode into the kitchen.

“Oh, interrupting a moment am I?” Liam’s voice was once again layered heavily with sarcasm. He was trying to act like he was amused by the fact I was friends with Ash, but his face held so much anger. Even I was slightly worried. If not for Ash, then for me. How come it is so hard for me to make friends? “No. Not really. What’d yah want?” He thought of an appropriate insult for a while. Smiled to himself, but kept it quiet. “Oh no, nothing, just a drink, mind getting me one chick?” I felt my jaw drop. I stood up and kicked the chair back. “I am not a slave, get it yourself!” He came toe to toe with me just like before, but there were no niceties this time. Oh no, he was going to get me just like Molly had tried to, and I’m going to have to fight back. This isn’t supporting my statement with Ash. Ash kicked his chair back and came between me and Liam. “Back down Liam, like you want to beat the new girl up.” He pushed Liam back and stood straight in front of me, blocking my view. Liam stepped back, and Ash loosened his shoulders, but he didn’t move. He watched as Liam took the way he came and saw him leave the kitchen. Once he was gone, I could move again. I let out one of the largest sighs and sat back down. “Thanks, Ash, I don’t know what’s up with him, he was fine earlier.” He sat back down next to me, yet he seemed closer than before. “Like I said. He doesn’t want me in. His plans are in jeopardy. He’s selfish and mean, and is not a good role model. You should stay away from him Cassie. For your own good.” He was going to leave again, but I needed him. I needed to get some answers to my questions. I caught his arm. “Wait, please don’t go. We really need to talk.” Slowly he sat back down and awaited my questions. He was going to regret this.

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