Burning Ashes (Sequel to Willow House)

Cassie Brooks has a heart rendering decision to make, between Ash and Liam. Who will she choose?

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4. It Was Only a Kiss.

 

ASH’S P.O.V-

 

Why had she saved me? Why would she stand in, and hurt herself, when she so obviously doesn’t care for me like she does Liam? I was back in my room again, staring at the peeling ceiling, thinking about her. I thought what she was doing now. With him? Probably. I felt guilty, horribly guilty. I had let on once again about me and Cassie. About what we had done whilst Liam was away. I wanted to brag about it all, to say how I had her, right where I wanted her. But no doubt about it, Cassie is getting it in the neck. If I know Liam, he’s grieving her right now. I hadn’t given it all away. Would she tell him it all? No. Cassie was smarter than that. I was still curious. I imagined her standing up to him, saying she chooses me over him. Fat chance, but still, we can all dream. I got up, rubbed my cheek that she had slapped as equality for Liam. I was still confused about that. I stepped out of my door and walked around the corner to the landing where Liam had caught me, to find Liam hauling Cassie into her room.  I stood there. Alone, and without what I truly wanted. Jealousy spiked through me. Without thinking I followed down. I heard footsteps as I came close to Cassie’s door. She eased it shut. Great, they want privacy. I knew it was wrong, but I listened in. I heard what sounded like Cassie finding it hard to breathe. Sobs catching in her throat, finding it hard to speak. She couldn’t lie too well when she was scared. I guessed she was still holding the door handle as it squeaked at her grip. Liam was close to her, I listened in closer, to the conversation. “Well… Where did you learn that?” I heard the mumbled noise of Liam’s voice. She must have let on slightly about our ‘antics’. I felt my heart in my throat and I can’t help but think what Cassie was feeling.  “I… I-I could say the same for you.” Cassie’s voice was easier to understand as she was closer. Good come back. Wait, urgh, that means they were both doing something. Together. I couldn’t help but frown at the thought. “What are you doing?” Charley made me jump. His little face looking at me curiously. “Shh.” I placed my finger to my lips and helped him on his way back down stairs. I had missed a lot of conversation behind the door, but I did hear this; “Is that all you did?” Liam’s troubled voice. He knew. I prayed for Cassie, what was she going to do? Tell him it all? Please no. Cassie, no. “Cassie no.” I whispered silently, I hoped she heard me. 

“Yes.” She had. She must have. We were safe, for now. If we can keep up the lying. I sighed with relief. And headed down stairs, my excuse? Seeing the menu for dinner.

 

Eleanor was in the kitchen when I came in, mixing up some vegetables for dinner. She was probably just putting a selection on again. Easiest thing when everyone has a different preference of food. “Get on Ash; you aren’t mustering into dinner yet.” I grumbled. Aware I had only had a cup of coffee for my breakfast in the time waiting for Cassie to wake up. “I haven’t had no breakfast E, cut me some slack, been up all night in the hospital.” She pulled a face that reminded me of the nurse from the waiting room. “Fine, take something healthy with you.” I raised my eyebrows, but took an apple anyway. Best I could do. I came out of the kitchen and back up the stairs, assessing what I had heard. So ‘something’ and I’m going to leave it as ‘something’ happened between Liam and Cassie (shudder) making Liam find out about a little of what me and Cassie had done. She had covered for us well. And I was going to end up in some serious trouble with Liam (again).  

I reached the top of the stairs when Liam exited Cassie’s room, he gave me a disgusted glare as he passed, but didn’t try to strangle me or anything. His whole body posture looked like it wanted to though. Cassie peered from behind the door after him. Once he was out of sight, she clutched my arm, checked for anyone watching and pulled me in. She shut her door behind us. I already knew what we were going to talk about. “Thanks.” I was confused. 

“What for?” I sat on her bed and smoothed the ruffled sheets, cold from the brisk air that entered through her open window. “When I was talking to Liam. How much did you hear?” She rubbed at her palms anxiously, she pretended to concentrate real hard on what she was doing, avoiding eye contact. “Enough.” Which it was. She nodded and sat next to me. 

“He doesn’t know everything.”

“And that’s how it’s staying.” I made her look at me, to register the words with her. I loved being so close to her. Yet I hate how I can’t do anything with her.

“I know, but…”

“But what?”

“I’m a terrible liar when I’m under pressure. You heard me! He’s going to find out sooner or later.” I smiled. “You’re not that bad. And I’d prefer if it was later.” I shuffled a little closer to her, and she pushed a little back. “What? So I can’t sit next to you now?” I shuffled closer again and she didn’t move. I lost all sarcasm in my voice, turning deadly serious. “What did you do… For him, to realize?” She looked up through her hair. I pulled it back from her face and tucked it behind her ear. Her eyes. So beautiful. She was so beautiful. “I… I-I...” I placed my hand on her leg for comfort, and rubbed her cold body. It wasn’t intended to be flirty but, I never knew what ran through that girl’s mind. She looked down at my hand, and rubbed it gently over the knuckles. I let my fingers react to her cold touch. Trying to entwine our fingers together. She allowed it, by some miracle. “I… I kissed him… Like I kiss you…” 

 

For starters, I had no idea I had a ‘kiss’ so to speak. And to find she had used that ‘kiss’ on Liam was quite infuriating. Well the cause of the questioning was now obvious. I felt my lips twitch as seriousness began to fade. I decided to push my luck and see what she would allow me to do. I cupped her face like Liam did, and brought her close to me. I didn’t force her back to arch to me; I let her set herself into a position that made our bodies fit together like jigsaw pieces. She seemed more comfortable with me than Liam, or, I hope she did. “So, he thinks we just kissed right?” I murmured to her lips, only centimeters away from mine. I guess I was having a lucky day. She nodded. “Yes.” I smiled and pressed my lips to hers. A single moment I had been craving for so long. She seemed to move in automatic, which was a new front when only a few hours ago she had been refusing me to touch her. Now she allowed herself to let me kiss her. It was a soft kiss, nothing deep. Yet. Would I dare try my luck even further? I deepened it slightly, and I felt her hands move up from my hand, along my body, my chest, to wrap around my neck. Pure bliss. I pulled her a little closer, being gentle with her; I know she must still be sore. My hand pulled her leg to me, ending in her sitting on me. Being taller than me, I had to tilt myself up to kiss her, but I didn’t care. I was kissing her, something I wanted to keep doing. She pulled back, as if ashamed of what she’d done. “I-I’m sorry, Ash, I-” I pressed my lips to hers briefly to stop her apologizing. “Don’t be.” I whispered the words onto her lips. I wanted more than anything to continue, to kiss her again, lay her down and let her fall asleep in my arms. Cradle her cold body close, keep her warm. Like we had done before. Like I wish we could again.

She got off of me, as much as I would have loved to pull her back, I knew giving her some space may let my luck boundary to widen. She seemed a little flustered and I straightened the ruffles on my shirt from her hands. I came to follow her, close behind her, when she opened the door. There Liam turned in; he must have been leaning on the wall as I had done before. Shit. What had he heard? Cassie seemed more on the ball than I was. “How long have you been there?” She did well to hide all the guilt in her voice, I heard it, but I don’t think he did. Her casual tone may just send him in the opposite direction of what ideas he had playing in his mind. “Not long. Didn’t want to disturb your privacy.” He rubbed his jaw and shoved his hands in his pockets. “Shame I didn’t hear a single word being spoken. Seems odd. You don’t go into someone’s room, close the door for privacy and then not say a single word, don’t you think?” Cassie stepped out and he caught her. He wound his hands down her back and let them rest on her ass. She whined something to him, but he drowned it out as he kissed her. Much more forced than before. As if to try and make me jealous. You think that’s good? You should see what I’ve done mate. I silenced my inner voice, not wanting the words to surface and moved away, up towards my own room. I didn’t want to see anymore. It might make me sick.

 

CASSIE’S P.O.V-

 

When I had pulled Ash into my room, to reiterate what had happened, and so he could curb down on his bragging to Liam, I hadn’t wanted it to end like this. His hand on my leg, being flirty even in serious times but I wanted someone to make me feel good right now. I felt guilty and horrible and I was so glad to have just the one person to share it with. To half my problem with. Only, every opportunity Ash gets to touch me, he takes it, any chance to kiss me, he takes it. But now he wanted to know what I’d done for Liam to find out. I had to tell him. He had to know, so he knew how far he could tease Liam with, not that I wanted him to do so, but at least we’d both be on a safe level. “I… I kissed him… Like I kiss you…” it seemed to register with him, and some of his seriousness faded, his lips twitched ever slightly. His fingers entwined with mine, and I allowed it, only because I wanted some comfort. He suddenly cupped my face like Liam did; I waited for the kiss that didn’t come. Instead he gently pulled me closer. He didn’t force me onto him, he just, pulled me closer. Our bodies seemed to fit like jigsaw pieces. We seemed inseparable at certain times. Then there was the fact I had Liam. My love triangle is such a pain in the ass. If it’s not Ash, it’s Liam, if not either of them, then it’s me. If anything, I was more comfortable around Ash than I was with Liam right now. “So, he thinks we just kissed right?” He spoke the words to my lips, not very far from his own. I wanted to back away, not side with him. But I was too happy. In this little bubble of comfort that Ash was giving me, his warm body keeping mine from freezing in this cold room. “Yes.” I answered, more confidently than I had when it was Liam. He smiled, and before I could stop it, his lips hit mine. It was a soft kiss, a different front for Ash. It was Liam’s usual kiss. Before he had started using his Molly kiss on me. Urgh. Part of me wanted to kiss Ash like we had done before. To show Liam he didn’t own me and that if he could have Molly, I could have Ash. But that was slut like, and stupid as Molly was god knows how many miles away. Yet… It was private here, right? I could do what I wanted, and if it was I needed someone like Ash. Then so be it. My hands moved in auto drive as he deepened the kiss as he always did, I let them move up his body and lock around his neck. He was loving every second of this. He pulled my leg closer, the one he had grabbed earlier, and I ended up sitting on top of him. I pulled away. Ashamed I had done this when Liam was in the house. “I-I’m sorry, Ash, I-” I wanted to cry. Again. I’m so pathetic. He pressed his lips to mine again. Thankfully it was only briefly, to stop my whining. “Don’t be.”

 

I got off of the really nice and warm body I was sat on, and headed for the door. Not knowing what I was going for, just to stop myself from allowing Ash to kiss me again. He didn’t stop me, or try to pull me back like he usually did, and I respected the fact he may have matured a little. But under that, was an Ash, dying to get me back in the bed with him. It was readable in his eyes. He followed up behind me as I opened the door and came face to face with the one person I really wish I hadn’t. Liam turned in; he must have been leaning on the wall beside my door. Oh no. What had he heard? We could be doomed again. I made my mouth talk, and tried my best to hide my guilt. “How long have you been there?” I used a casual tone to ease my guilt. “Not long. Didn’t want to disturb your privacy.” I could feel my palms sweating as he gave me a deadly serious stare. He threw his hands into his pockets. “Shame I didn’t hear a single word being spoken. Seems odd. You don’t go into someone’s room, close the door for privacy and then not say a single word, don’t you think?” I could feel my breath catching; I was going to be so obvious if I didn’t get away now. I tried to escape, but Liam looped a hand around me as I tried. “Liam wa-” I tried to stop him, but whatever mumbling excuse I tried was muffled as he took me in his arms and made me kiss him. Made me. I felt his hands travel down my back and cup my butt in his hands. I felt slightly violated. I couldn’t push away, my arms where crippled by his strength. I hated this. He was trying to make Ash jealous. Just because he knew. I could do it so much better. What!? What am I saying!? Urgh. I’m an idiot. A total idiot. I heard Ash move away, unable to see much more I guess. I sent a sorry through my eyes. He didn’t even see me; he just walked away, towards his room. I can’t do nothing right. 

 

Liam finally let up. “That good enough baby? That what you get outta him? Do I qualify for Cassie’s kiss? Don’t lie to me, I know you kissed him in there, two people don’t just go in a room and sit there not speaking.” I had an urge to say ‘I do’ but it wouldn’t help matters. I ignored the fact he had called me baby and tried to get away. He wouldn’t let me. “Ay?” He clasped my bruising shoulders. 

“Ow.”

“Ay?”

“Look, Liam. I- I don’t know what to say to you anymore.” He lightened up on my arms. I didn’t look at his eyes. His cocky self took over. “You don’t have to say anything.” He raised an eyebrow at me. I felt my lip’s edge rise and my eyes widen. “Liam. Listen to yourself.”

“Listen to myself? What now? I tried to be subtle, but I return to find you like it ‘rough’ so I don’t see what’s wrong with what I’m saying.” He was ranting at me. 

“Liam. Please, just, drop it. It’s nothing and you know it, all you want is to make Ash jealous. But I don’t see how forcing me to kiss you is gunna make him jealous!” 

“What are you saying? You want to ‘work together’? You wanna do it properly?” He winked at me. 

“Urgh! No! Liam, I’m not like that!” He pushed me back into my cold room. He slammed the door shut behind him, sending echoes through the house. Vibrations that made the walls shiver. He stormed over to the bed. “Ruffled sheets?’ Nothing happened’ you said.” I came up behind him. 

“Yeah, nothing did! We were sat on the bed for fuck sake!” My fists clenched up. I looked away from him when he turned to me. “I don’t want you doing anything with him. Your mine Cassie. Mine! You’re not a cheater are you? Because it seems like you’re having a fucking affair with me!”

“I’m not! I’m not a cheater!” 

“Prove it.” My breath was heavy from shouting, and everything hurt. His words sunk in. Prove it? How?! He came closer to me and I looked at him now. His face set in a hard line. He took my face in his hands and hit me with his kiss. Straight away, it was deep and needy. Filled with want, with desire. He pulled away and it confused me why he did so. Then he had asked for me to prove it. He stepped back and felt for the bed. He sat down I began to walk towards him and he kicked his legs over the side and laid there on my cold bed, the windows cold breeze chilling my bones. Could I do this? Did I want to do this? I don’t know, but if I ran away now, I’d lose Liam. I’d hurt him in my choosing. My premature choosing. And it would be obvious I’d done something with Ash. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, then moved towards the bed.

 

I was at the side of the bed, unable to step any closer. He laid there, his eyes closed. Waiting. I crawled onto the bed beside him, yet he didn’t move. It felt so awkward. I know what he’s doing. He wants something to banter with. ‘Cassie did this’ and ‘Cassie did that’ can be seen floating in the air. He wants to show I’m his. Not anyone else’s, he wants me to give him something to fight with. But I couldn’t back out. There was too much to lose. I came up so close to him, but his body wasn’t warm like Ash’s, it was cold like mine was. And only made me shiver more. I wanted to run to Ash and have him keep me warm, but I couldn’t. I lay on top of Liam and he opened his eyes to see me. I looped my arms around his neck and tilted my chin up to kiss him. Only gently, he deepened it instantly and his hands adventured down my body. Up my shirt, I shivered at his cold fingers. I felt no spark from him now, no love that made me want to be with him. Only lust for me to show him. Show him I loved him. I shouldn’t have to prove it, he should feel it. But that excuse came too late. His hands were so close to my bra I had to push his hands down. He turned me over, onto my back and I felt his hands push the hem of my shirt up. My bare body being displayed to all that could see. Thank God the door was shut. I pushed it down again and he came out of the kiss to see what I was doing. “Give up.” He whispered the words into my ear and pushed my shirt up again. “No, you give up.” I pushed it back down. I heard him grumble something inaudible. His hands left my waist to tangle in my hair; it forced my hands to move to his chest. I couldn’t stop myself from moaning slightly. I loved the feeling of people playing with my hair. He smiled and kissed my neck, kissing up and up my neck till he reached my lips again. I pushed him back. Pressing hard against his chest. He pulled away and I sat up. I ran a hand through my hair and sighed. I felt his hands sneak under my top again from behind me. I looked over my shoulder and he kissed me. It hurt my neck. I pulled away again. But he pulled me down, making me lay on him. My back on his stomach. He ran his hand up my side and back down again. His cold fingers made me shiver, I wanted to be in his arms, but I didn’t. His hand that was making the hypnotic movements seemed to get higher and lower each time. I watched his hand run down to touch the rim of my jeans, my dirty jeans I still hadn’t changed. Eww.

 

His hand pulled up and then pushed under my jeans. I snatched his hand, he pulled it out slowly. “Cassie, why stop me?” I had to think about this one.

“I just… Don’t feel right.” 

“Don’t feel right?” I laid my head on its cheek against his cold chest and listened to his heart beat. He stroked my hair. My hand reached up to stroke his face. I guess I was being mean. He was my boyfriend and I wanted to be with a guy who wasn’t my boyfriend. Was it because he was better at seducing me? Because Ash had that down to a T. No, I think it was because if I let myself go too far, I end up giving myself a handicap to that guy, making it an unfair choice. Or did it? It wasn’t against the law to let my boyfriend love me was it? No, it wasn’t. It was right to give him what he deserved. I fell onto the space beside him on the cold bed. I winked at him playfully. He smiled and turned over he laid on his side, holding my waist. “Arrest me.” I whispered. So many memories clung to those words. He smiled and locked my hands with his. “I was planning on doing so.” He kissed me and I fell into this one. Allowing him it, like I had allowed Ash earlier. He released my hands and I made my way to his neck again, twining my fingers in his hair. Pressing my body against his. His hand travelled down my back again, over my butt and along the length of my leg. He pulled the leg to him, a lot like Ash had, and made me press closer against him. One of my hands dropped onto his chest. His shirt had buttons. I felt myself remembering what I’d done with Ash. I cringed at how I hated feeling like this. Yet my fingers still fiddled with his buttons, slowly undoing ever one. Soon his top was open, and his bare chest was what my hand touched. He too had a fit body. He too had abs I could run my fingers along. He smiled through the kiss. He was enjoying this. He wanted this. He was just as bad as Ash.

 

I got out of the kiss and found myself breathing heavily once again. “Don’t stop. Please.” Liam’s voice seemed out of breath like I was. He didn’t want me to stop, would I make myself look too obvious? Would it make me seem ‘experienced’ again? Liam wrapped me in his arms. I nestled my on his chest. My hand continued to trace his abs. He kissed my head. He leaned backwards, till he was laid down again, me laid on his chest again. I turned to face him straight away, laid upon him. His lips brushed mine and I kissed his lips lightly. Teasingly. I sat up and it made him follow. He caught my face in his hands and kissed me, again, this time his hand left me face to pull both my legs around his waist, in a sort of backward piggy back again. He was so strong. He lifted my whole body up, my legs circled round his waist, and I kissed him. I was still freezing cold. I shivered against his lips and he dropped me onto the bed. I started laughing. “I’m so cold.” He chuckled. 

“What about me? I’m open here.” I raised my brows at him. My eyes dropped down to his body. I couldn’t help it. He smiled. “Nice view?” I grabbed my tear stained pillow and threw it at him. He caught it and threw it back. I was laughing even more now. His rugby tackle caught me round my waist and I let him kiss me just once more. Then I wiggled out of his weight and headed downstairs. Dinner must be ready by now.

 

He buttoned himself up and followed me down. He stopped half way. “What?” He held up his index finger, signaling ‘1 minute’ he ran back up the stairs. I carried on walking, slowly. Corey came bundling down behind me and ran straight into the kitchen, followed closely by a very angry Teresa. Charley stumbled out of the gaming room. “Hello Charley, off for dinner?” He nodded and clutched to Freddy, the ragged teddy bear that never left his side. “I saw Ash at your door.” He smiled and the skipped off towards the kitchen not allowing me to question it. Speaking of the devil, Ash sauntered down the stairs. He kissed me on the cheek and winked at me as he headed into the kitchen. I rolled my eyes, for my own amusement. Liam returned holding a black bundle of clothing in his hands. He brought it down and threw it at me. A hoodie. I pulled it to my face and then pulled it over my head, sending my hair into a static fit. He giggled and straightened my hair before tugging me into the kitchen.

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