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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5. "That's What I can Give You"

 

CASSIE’S P.O.V CONT-

 

It was strange seeing no one present in Molly’s seat. No jealous face glaring at me, thinking up murderous plots to kill me. I ate in my usual seat next to Liam, something the whole of the house hadn’t seen in a while. “Wanna share why you’re here?” Teresa piped up as she helped Corey cut her food. Like a mother would. “Nah, the usual. Unwanted. Guy couldn’t handle having to fit me into his life, so he sent me back. Not like I care.” I hid in Liam’s hoodie enjoying the warmth it gave me. I know Ash would be better, but it just seemed wrong. He nodded at me and mouthed ‘you cold?’ I nodded a ‘yes’ to him. He looked away as if thinking something over. Liam nudged my hand under the table. We were back to this again. Hiding our hands under the table. I still linked my hand with his, and though it was cold, I could feel it regaining some of its usual warmth.  I smiled over at him through my hoodie hand that was covering most of my face. I hid behind that hand. I hid my guilt for Ash behind it. I dumped my plate in the sink and turned to head out and chill in the gaming room, maybe sit with Ash and steal some of his warmth. But I just turned into Mark. “Alright Cassie? How’s the wrist?” Wrist. Oh yeah. I hadn’t even felt anything from it; I couldn’t be broken could it? Or was it the brace supporting it? Who knows, all I know is I hadn’t even noticed it. “Erm, yeah, fine.” 

“Good, because you’re on washing up duty.” Haha, very funny. I sent my head back and moaned. 

“Do I have to?” 

“Yes.”

“Die.”

“Gosh, it’s only dirty dishes.” I smiled at him and he knew I was being sarcastic. He threw the tea towel at me to dry up after. “Aw yeah, I’ll do that too shall I? Unwell person here!” He laughed. 

“Quit your complaining.”

“I’ll help.” Ash brought his dish to the sink and ran the hot water. Ah. That’s what I want. 

“Ash, it’s fine, I’ll be-” he cut me off.

“No, you’re right, you’re ill; you deserve at least some help.” I smiled. I liked Ash. Oh yeah, that was kinda obvious wasn’t it? The housemates slowly filtered out, to various places. I checked the calendar beside the fridge. Sunday. Really? You’re kidding me. School tomorrow, well that’ll be a shock to the teachers having Liam back. Especially our art teacher, I’m guessing she didn’t like him too much to begin with. Liam was the last to leave. He seemed to linger around the kitchen. But soon enough he left and it was just me and Ash, cleaning dishes.

 

He grabbed my hand the minute people were out of sight. “That better?” I let my mouth drop slightly at the instant warmth I felt from his touch. “Why… Why don’t you sleep with me tonight? I’ll keep you warm.” It would be better than Molly’s room, but I couldn’t, too many questions would come from it. “Nah, I’ll be fine.” He seemed a little upset if anything. 

“I want to make you better Cassie, let me help you.” 

“I would if I could.” I mumbled that to myself. The last dish scrubbed, I let the warm heavenly water down the drain hole. Ash wiped the last one dry and set it on the pile in the cupboard. I started to walk away when he looped a hand around me. The warmth was something I welcomed. He slid his hand up my top and the hoodie and I had to force myself not to moan at the pleasure he gave me from his warm touch on my cold body. “You’re freezing.” He whispered the words into my hair. His hand moved around my stomach and my waist. I let out a little moan and clasped my hand over my mouth immediately. “Feel that?” I nodded. “That’s what I can give you.” I closed my eyes and felt the heat from his hands make me feel alive again. I wanted this so badly. I wanted to be his, but I wanted to be Liam’s too. I’m so selfish. I started walking again and his hands slipped off of my body. Now to go to my boyfriend, and become cold again. I prayed he had returned to his normal self. The one that sent sparks through me when he touched me. I missed that guy. I missed him a lot.

 

ASH’S P.O.V-

 

I had shown her what I could give. The loving warmth that I would kill myself to give to her day in, day out. But still she walked away. I wanted her to see, to see that I was right for her. That Liam was just poisoning anything she used to be. His return only weakened anything me and Cassie had had. I wanted to go to her now, and do what Liam had done. Try to make him jealous by the way I would kiss her, the way I would make her happy. But that would just back fire on both of us. I was still waiting for Liam to pound me for finding out we’d kissed. Maybe it may never come. I highly doubt it. Sunday. It was school again tomorrow. I would put on my façade that I always used at school. I wished Cassie was mine. Really mine. Not just my friend I could squeeze a few kisses out of when I wanted them. Because I know there are feelings between us both. We both have them, and we both want each other, yet have barricades that are holding us back. I headed for the gaming room and found myself self-consciously following Cassie. Is this what it is to truly love someone? To want to be with them all the time, to subconsciously follow them, to be close to them, to want them to love you. Is that it? Is it? Because every second of it hurts like fuck when you can’t have it. I watched her sit down next to him on one of the couches. I remembered when we had set up our movie ‘date’. And how she had pretended to be asleep… And it led to one of the greatest nights of my life so far. But now he was in my place, already someone in my place. I sat next to her and it seemed like some awkward sandwich. With her in the middle, between us two. Oh man. This was not what I had intended. I sat back and tried not to make eye contact with Liam, instead, watched some program on the T.V. 

 

It was agonizing sitting there and not being able to pull her close, or even hold her hand! I just couldn’t resist it. I started poking her at one point. It made her giggle, but she just battered my hand away. I saw Liam twist his hand into hers, their fingers entwined. Locked together. He knew I was watching and he wanted me too. He had a smug smile plastered on his face and I had one like a wet weekend. I crossed my arms over my chest and tried to relax. But the need to touch her was killing me inside. Teresa stumbled in to collect Corey and widened her eyes at the three of us on the couch. She picked the little girl up and trod out without a word. I had to find a way to get Cassie alone. I had to find a way to be with her alone. So I could hold her hand. What I wanted was to kiss her in front of Liam. I wanted to prove to him that I was better than him for her. That she did love me too. It was real tempting to do it right now. But… No. That’s it, I’d had enough. I stood up and walked off. I felt her eyes watching me before I heard her following me. This is what I wanted. Her to follow me. But then my cocky self-centered mind took over. I looked at Liam, he was glaring at me. At the fact she got up to see me. I looked him right in the eyes and basically said ‘watch this’. He only just realized what my idiot self was about to do, the second Cassie reached me. “Ash wh-” I pulled her face to mine and kissed her. There and then. In front of the world.  I lengthened it for as long as I could but I felt Cassie pushing away. She didn’t want to, I could sense it, but she did, for the act we were meant to be keeping up. She pushed me away. Hurt and sorry written all over her eyes. “Ash!” She looked like she was about to cry. Liam came running up behind her. My cocky mind couldn’t resist jumping in. “Jealous much?” I ran off before I could even see the horrified look on Cassie’s face. I heard Liam coming after me. “Right that’s it. Your gunna get it now!” I locked myself in my room and barred the door. I heard him ram into it. I thought the door might break at first. I then heard Cassie coming up behind him. She kept saving my sorry ass and I didn’t deserve it. God I loved her. 

 

CASSIE’S P.O.V-

 

Ash followed me into the gaming room. This was going to be awkward. He even sat on the opposite side of me. The other was taken by Liam. It felt so wrong. Me, trapped between the two boys, I could tell Liam was going to try his best to make Ash jealous again. I yearned to touch Ash. To have him keep me warm again. To my surprise he started poking me. I giggled and brushed him off when Liam got curious. Liam wrapped his hand in with mine. Our fingers locked together. He was still so cold, and the contrast of Ash against Liam was killer. I’m guessing Ash couldn’t take it no more. He stood up and began to walk away. Still in view, I decided to go ask him ‘what’s up’ when really I wanted to be with him. That’s so bad when you love someone else. Can you love two people at once? I came up to Ash, he had that cocky look in his eyes, and I didn’t feel like trusting him. He looked back to Liam, and then; “Ash wh-” he landed a kiss on my lips. One I had to force myself not to enjoy, not allowing myself to fall into, because I know he had done it to let Liam get jealous. Ultra jealous. I pushed him away. “Ash!” I felt tears in my eyes. I wanted this, but I didn’t and the pain that will follow his actions he should deserve. But because of my feelings for him, I’ll defend him. Who knows where this could end. 

 

“Jealous much?” The words escaped Ash’s mouth just as he headed for the stairs. They were directed at the advancing Liam. I felt the horrified expression spread across my face. I wiped at my mouth for Liam’s benefit and then he was off after him. I heard Ash’s door slam upstairs and Liam run into it seconds after. I cringed at the noises. I ran up the stairs after them, sure enough Liam was there trying to batter Ash’s door down. “Come outta there!” A muffled laugh came from behind the door. 

“Fat chance!” Oh Ash! Why can’t you just keep low? Like I have to? If I did anything like that I’d end up hurting both of them! Why do I even bother? My feelings obviously aren’t important are they? “Liam, come on Liam. Leave him.” Liam looked at me like I’d asked him to jump off a cliff. 

“You’re kidding me right?” I looked at him and groaned. 

“I mean it. Now come on! Don’t waste time on it.” Oh that was harsh. I just called him an ‘it’. Sorry. 

“No way! Dickhead’s getting what he deserves this time baby. Don’t stand up for him.” 

Another laugh from behind the door. “Man! You better prepare yourself! She hates that!” Oh for God sake! Well done Ash! Once again, you’ve let him in on shit. I know I’ve said this before but, Ash, you monumental dick! “What does he mean baby?” Liam gave up on battering the door down, going all serious on me. “It doesn’t matter. Get out here you fucking dickhead I’m going to murder you myself!” Ash started laughing at me that made my shouting so worthwhile. Heavy on the sarcasm there for all you unaware. “You wouldn’t dare, ‘baby’!” Urgh. He used it in a mocking tone and that just made it even more irritating. “Ash! Ash I mean it!” I rapped on his door. “I’ve broken doors down before, I’m not afraid to do it again!” Memories of the fire and the child supported my statement. 

“Good luck with that.” I slammed on the door one last time with my fist. I hit it awkwardly and pain shot through my arm. I was glad I hadn’t used my supposedly broken one. I pretended not to be in pain, but when eyes had been averted I clutched it and silently gasped at the pain. More bruises. Great. I hate you Ash Grangefield.

 

Liam spat at the base of Ash’s door and then came to follow me. I went straight to my room and wanted to slam the door in the face, but he was too quick. He closed it for me. Yes, he did slam it. His fists were trembling from the way he was clenching them. He punched the wall and left a dint in its face. “Liam!” I ran up to him and soothed his fist. He relaxed at my touch and He kissed my forehead as I cared for his knuckles. Not broken, most likely bruised. “I swear, I’ll kill him.” I sighed.

“Don’t.” He looked me in the eyes and I knew it would be impossible to lie to him now.

“Why not? He forced you to kis-” I interrupted him automatically.

“But so did you.”

“Yeah, but-”

“No buts. You did. He did. No problem, move on.” I walked over to the cold window. The early evening air was even chillier than that of this morning. The sky seemed to be getting darker so much quicker. Liam came up behind me and hugged me from behind. I loved it when he did that. He rested his head on my shoulder and looked towards his dark hair that blew in the slight breeze. I needed this guy. As much as I was certain I had feelings for Ash, I knew I still loved Liam. Maybe not as much as before, but still, it was there. “What would you say if I asked you if I could sleep with you tonight?” He lifted his head up and kissed my cheek. “I’d love you to.” I smiled. 

“Be better than Molly’s room.” He chuckled.

“Anything would be better than her room.” My smile widened. He was right of course. What will Ash think when he finds out I’ll be sleeping with Liam? He had asked me first, and he would be the better, warmer choice. But I couldn’t sleep with a guy that isn’t my boyfriend. Then it hit me. Me and Liam had never actually got back together. We were still friends, in a way. It wasn’t official. He thinks it is, and it seems like it is but still… Well, I wasn’t going to reiterate it. He could stamp it in if he really wanted to. I sighed again. Inner babble may be my library of helpfulness and corrections, yet could really nag at my time. 

 

Liam took my hand in his, still fairly cold for Liam, and headed out of my still very cold room. I snuggled deeper into my hoodie. Liam paused at the top of the stairs and I was scared he’d try to get at Ash again. He looked over at me and caught me staring at him. “Still cold?” I made a face as if to prove my temperature hadn’t changed. “Come here.” He walked me down stairs and then took me into his arms. He was still cold, and I felt like he wasn’t really helping. But it was nice to be hugged. I held on tightly back, I was in a nice sort of mood. He kissed my cheek again and led me into the kitchen. He snuck into the cupboards and appeared with two chocolate bourbons. I rolled my eyes at him. He ran out and shooed me on with him. He fed me the biscuit and I chomped on it politely. I wasn’t planning on having any tea, so I’m glad he had taken this little snack for us. “You having tea?” He shook his head. 

“Nope, you?” I shook my head. He finished his biscuit and rubbed the crumbs from his hands. He missed a few and I swept away the remaining crumbs from his leg. He wiggled his eyebrows at me. “Playing dirty with me now?” He winked as he finished. 

“Nah, but I will play you a game of pool, and whoop your ass at it.” I headed for the gaming room.

“Oh really? Stealing my name are you? We’ll have to see about that!” Tickled me from behind and I slapped at his hands. “No cheating!” I grabbed a cue and started prepping it like a pro would. Now it was his turn to roll his eyes at me. He grabbed his own cue and set up the game.

 

I was doing okay, to say I was playing a game against the best in the house. He was winning, obviously, and I’m sure Liam kept making dodgy shots to make it seem like I was doing better than I actually was. At least this time we played, there was no awkwardness like before. Back when we didn’t know each other very well. He helped me position my cue and I hit a ball into the pocket. I had small moment of victory and then Liam killed it with a shot that potted two balls in one. I sat on the side of the pool table like I had done the last time we’d played. He got close to me, like he had done before and this time, he kissed me. His lips connected with mine and I dropped the cue to wrap my hands around his neck. He dropped his too in the movement of wrapping his arms around my waist. He lifted me off the table to make me less high up and carried on kissing me. The echoing noise of the cue sticks made me laugh at how quiet it was in here and that’s what broke the kiss. We were smiling when we pulled away from each other. He leaned in again and I pressed my fingers to his lips. “Ah. Finish the game.” I covered my lips with his hoodie over my hands to prove he wasn’t allowed access till he had fulfilled what I wanted. Man I can be mean.

 

He won. Obviously, but it didn’t matter. Because the minute he finished and declared he had won, he swept me up into his arms and took his kiss. I gave him a confused look. “You said; ‘finish the game’ I finished the game, now I get your kisses, right?” I smiled and pecked his lips teasingly.

 “I guess.” He smiled and kissed me again. I loved it when we could be like this. Like those cute couples you see on Tumblr and Facebook, or wherever. Having fun together and actually proving we love each other. It’s moments like this that I hold onto and are the reason I didn’t give up on Liam for Ash. Because I knew deep down we have these moments.  Even if they are becoming rare. I heard the housemates convening for tea time and I decided to head up to Liam’s room and started preparing his room for my stay. I collected my school kit and phone along with charger from my room and then plodded on to his room with Liam in tow. I set up my side of the bed, it was smaller than mine, but would do. It would be warmer than mine and better than spending it in Molly’s room. I set my folded kit on the side along with my now charging phone and turned the heating up on the radiator. He frowned at me, and I pointed to his hoodie I was still wearing. He sat me down on his bed; I felt his room slowly warming up. “Y’know, Cassie…” 

“Yeah?” I pulled his hoodie tighter round me when he pulled me a little closer to him. 

“Its, our last year, and that means…” He seemed uncomfortable. With speaking to me? Nah, Liam was the cockiest member here, he wasn’t shy. So what was it?

“Spit it out.” I’m being harsh when I should be holding onto the rare moment of cuteness we had just shared. “Its prom this year.” He looked into my eyes when he said it. Prom. Oh man. That means… I have to choose a guy to go with. He isn’t gunna ask me right now is he? He can’t. This will be my choice and it will have to be made. “It’s a while off isn’t it yet? God, you had me worried then.” I smiled, but he seemed a little put out. Is that my fault? Yeah, I guess it is. He was gunna ask me, I know he was. He was gunna ask me, and was hoping I’d leap at the chance to go with him. He kissed me and then I told him to look away. “Why?” I smiled and sly smile. 

“I’m getting changed.” He winked at me.

“Oh well, might have to watch.” 

“Liam!” He held his hands up in surrender.

“Okay, okay! Not looking.” He turned around and covered his eyes with his hands. I nipped out to grab my Pj’s and decided to get changed in my cold room. I slipped into the comfortable clothes with ease and pulled on Liam’s hoodie again as I felt the cold worse than ever. I closed the door to my room, discarding my bloody clothes on the floor beside my wardrobe. I ran back into Liam’s room, closed the door and embraced the warmth of the radiator. Liam peeked through his hands and came to sit beside me on the radiator. “Are you sure you’re okay? I’m not that cold.” He placed his hand on my forehead. I swatted him away. “Yeah, yeah fine.” I smiled and kissed his cheek. He was caring about me, and I wanted to keep a hold on our cute moment. “You not changing?”

“Nah.” I dropped it. 

“Got your kit ready?”

“Yep.” Well that was an interesting conversation. 

“Got your P.E kit?” He looked around the room and clicked his fingers at me.

“Be right back.” I rolled my eyes. It was beginning to hurt doing that.

“Take your time.” I rested my head against the radiator, and then realized I hadn’t got mine either. I groaned, I had to go back into my cold room again. I forced myself up and slumped my way to my room. I leant heavily against the door and found it hard to twist the door knob. I frowned down at it and saw a hand snake around mine and twist it with ease. The door opened because of my weight on it, and I found myself on the floor. Great.

 

Ash came to my rescue and pulled me to my feet. “Liam still out to kill me?” I shook my head. “You still out to kill me?” I nodded and winked at him playfully. “Hmp, yeah, you ‘mean’ it did you?” I grabbed my P.E kit and hauled it over my shoulder ignoring his question. “Ignoring me now?” I turned around, but stayed where I was standing. “You kissed me in the middle of the hallway; I think I have the right to remain silent.” He chuckled.

“All you say may and will be used against you.”

“Yeah, that’s what usually happens.” I headed back into Liam’s room. 

“You staying in there tonight?” 

“Yeah problem?” Liam came up behind him and answered with what I had in mind. Ash pushed his hands deep into his pockets. “No, no, nothing.” He stumbled on his way back down the stairs. I didn’t see him completely disappear as Liam closed the door the minute he was inside. 

 
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