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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17. Something Beautiful.

 

Once again, I hadn’t closed my blind. I felt warmer for a second and then I was chilled again. I pulled the duvets up closer over my. Oh. My naked body. My heart was running laps in my chest. What had I done? Ash walked past the foot on my bed, wearing only some boxers. I ran a hand through my hair and started trying to calm my breathing. “Ash Grangefield! You idiot! I hate you! I hate you!” He started laughing at my panicked tone. “Love you too beautiful. May I say you look even more beautiful without those clothes on? You should wear less often.” Was he honestly mocking me? 

•“Haha, very funny mister. What did you do?” I sat up, clutching the covers to my chest.

•“Me? Shouldn’t you be saying we?” He winked at me and threw me my underpants and bra I pulled them under the covers and began getting dressed. “Did I mention? I hate you.” He laughed and then jumped over the bed frame on to the bed, clambered over me, still half naked, and clutched me to him. A layer of quilt was in his way but his hand felt the whole of my cold back. I didn’t shy away from his warm hands. And when he went to kiss me, it felt more right than before. I pulled away slowly. “What did we do Ash?” He could tell I was being serious. He smiled. “Nothing, just lay there really. You drifted off quite quickly once you were warm.” He kissed me again. Only small. “Finally. You let me love you.” In actual fact. I hadn’t stopped him from loving me, just didn’t allow myself to love him back. 

•The morning of Wednesday went mostly like that. I managed to sneak at least another day of school off, with Ash to accompany me. I didn’t mention anything to anyone about what me and Ash did last night. Even if it was what he said it was, nothing. We got up late again so missed the traffic of the school morning. I enjoyed my toast and Ash seemed to watch me far more than usual. “Would you quit it out?” He acted surprised. “Quit what baby?” Urgh. I hated that as well. “Well for starters, you can quit calling me that. And then you can quit looking at me 24/7. It’s extremely creepy. Feels like your assessing me or something.” I knew before I’d finish he’d have some sort of cheesy chat-up line to answer with. “I’m sorry if I can’t keep my eyes off of you.”  He checked to see if no one was around and then; “But I’ve seen you without all that-” he pointed to my clothes “-and it’s too beautiful not to stare.” He winked and kissed me on the cheek as he left the kitchen. This has to stop. 

•I stuffed the last of the toast in my mouth and headed up stairs to finish getting ready. Even wearing these jeans reminds me of last night. I changed bandages on my arm for a thinner layer; it seemed to be healing well. I was wondering if Mark had forgotten about some drugs I was meant to be on for this. Still, I made my hair look decent, as long as it wasn’t greasy, I could live with it. And plastered makeup on my tired face. Ash scared me half to death by standing behind me. “What? Ash!” I grumbled and stepped away from the mirror. “Did you know you don’t need all of that?” 

•“Yes, I do.”

•“No, you don’t.”

•“Yes.”

•“No.”

•“YES!”  I turned around my hand ready to slap him. He ducked and held up his hands in surrender. “You know you don’t need it Cassie.” 

•“ASH!” I ran around the room trying to hit him but failing every time. I managed to tackle him to the ground on his second lap. “Okay! Okay! I surrender! Cassie no!” I started tickling him like he had me. He clasped my hands. “Kiss me.” I pulled away and straightened my top. A cute little black t-shirt. Exposing my shoulders and a large part of my chest, may have been better to put something less revealing on. I stood up. “Oh c’mon! Don’t tell me you’re going back on yourself again! I just got you, don’t let me loose you!” I rubbed my face. 

•“Ash, we shouldn’t have done that last night, we shouldn’t be like this-”

•“Oh no! Don’t even dare come that! He didn’t want you Cassie! He gave you away! He didn’t want you! What do I have to do to show you that I do?” He came up to me, arms wide, he hadn’t really got dressed, he had some baggy jeans that showed the rim of his boxers and he had a shirt on that was unbuttoned like I had done last night, that showed his body off. I bit my lips as I looked at him. How I wanted him. But still that nagging part of me told me to keep up hope. “I’m sorry. I-I can’t give up hope.” He pulled me into his arms; I accepted but didn’t hold on back. “You’re so naive. Don’t you see? He’s never coming back; you’ll never see that traitor again.” He rested his cheek against my head. I had my hands on his warm chest. His very well defined body. It was a heat I welcomed. I couldn’t stop my hands tracing the curves of his abs. I bit my lip again. He was watching me, his hand tracing my face. The curve of my lips, the lids of my eyes, my eyelashes fluttering on his hands. “Don’t leave me beautiful; don’t leave me in the dark without you. Forget him. See me.”

•“I do see you...”

•“Well then.” He leaned in to me his hands holding my chin up so I couldn’t escape the kiss. His warm lips hit mine and his arms wrap around my waist pulling me up onto my tip toes. I pushed against him. “No! I can’t!” Ash hung his head. 

•“I really thought... Guess I was wrong.” Now I felt guilty for two reasons, for loving someone else when in love with someone and for refusing to love someone when they so clearly loved you. I’m a monster.

•Ash left, almost dragging his feet. His fists were clenched and I was scared he was going to do something reckless. When the housemates returned I heard the upbeat whisper of some return party or something. Probably an old member that is visiting, or being dumped back. I didn’t even allow myself to hope it was Liam. He hated me. He wouldn’t come back here. I had skipped lunch and was planning on skipping tea, but Eleanor made me sit and eat one of her famous curries. I ate as much as I could without throwing up and then helped wash and dry the dishes. Molly hung around a while and all the time she ate I had a feeling there was something sinister in her eyes. She was still after me, but I didn’t care. Hurt me all she liked. There was nothing, or should I say no one left to live for. My window seemed even friendlier. Everyone was so happy about this return. Eleanor was on the war path to create a homemade cake and set up party food, Teresa was helping Corey in the gaming room set everything up. Banners and balloons, they were really going to town with this. 

•I sighed and slumped up the stairs into my room. I wanted to cry, I wanted to jump. I looked over at the window. Ash would be better off if I wasn’t here ruining things for him, right? I walked up to the window, and remembered the familiarity of the cold glass under my fingertips made me feel safe. Like everything was worthwhile. I pushed on the glass slightly and then heard the click, as the window opened. I looked around in case anyone was watching me. I pushed a little further and the window swung open on its hinges. I was only still sat here because of my legs curled around the underside of the window sill and the clutch I made to the outer window. My hair followed my face as I looked down onto the drive, like I had a million times, yet this time, I was closer. I was hanging out like I was weightless. I felt the bounding of blood rushing to my head. I grunted as I strained myself to get back inside. I felt the shivers run through me as the cold wind whipped past me. I yanked the window closed. Too scared to do what I must. I’m a pathetic mess. If I can’t do what I should, then how can I ever make anyone happy? I sat there on the sill, holing my knees. The memories I’ve made and have made before run through me. The first night, the love, the hate, the loss... It’s all there. I shiver again, and run to my wardrobe to grab a hoodie to slip on. I reach for my grey one and jump into its soft embrace. I see the scratching made on the inside of the wood again. I trace my hands over the Liam & Cassie bit. I wish it was still true, I wish he was still here. Life would be so much easier, so much simpler. But what have I done? Even if he did come back by some miracle and even bigger a miracle still, to love me again, how could explain what I had done with Ash? I was a spider’s web of tangled thread, a mess of things. Molly would want to murder me, still hate me, but what would that matter? With Liam by my side, I could do anything. I was real with him.

•As much as Ash has confused me, entangled those sticky threads, I needed him. I felt like I used him, like I only wanted him when I needed him. That’s what I was showing... But the truth? I needed him all the time. Especially with Liam’s absence. I found myself pacing the hallway, deciding whether to go to him. Say sorry. Hope he’ll understand. Then where would I stand? I’d still be a mess, still confused, unable to understand. I heard excitement from below me, and the crinkle of gravel outside, the visitor/ returning member was here most likely here. I didn’t care, I wasn’t part of this. I turned around and heard the creak of a squeaky door. Molly’s door was squeaky. I whizzed round. Nothing, no one. My thumping heart calmed itself. I still had a feeling someone was following me, but as soon as I was with Ash, I knew I’d be safe. So I walked towards his room. The lights flickered. And I found myself in a horrible sense of déjà vu. 

 

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