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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6. Who's that Girl?

 

ASH’S P.O.V-

 

Cassie, sleeping with Liam? What she trying to do, even the playing field? Just because I’d slept with her a few times, does it make it alright for her to sleep with him? I guess it was my punishment for my actions earlier. She seemed pretty wired about that. Plus, who would want to have to sleep in Molly’s room? It was her own fault. Maybe it was, but still, I asked her first. I’d be better for her, keep her warmer than him. Bet she had to turn the heating up in his room. Not with me, I’m her own personal hot water bottle. I smiled at the thought of having her curled up next to me after having asked if she could stay with me that night. Bliss. I wanted it! I wanted her. That’s what I really wanted. It’s like that for people scared of heights, they’re not afraid of heights, just of falling. There’s a deeper reason, there always is. There always has to be. I wanted to barge in and take her away, to my room, to let her sleep with me. I’d make her happy, I make her happy. He hurts her; he is just a hindrance in her life. And you can be one too… I can, I guess. I can hurt her, I have before. I’ve been really nasty before, I physically harmed her, and I hate myself for that. I repent the fact I cause her pain sometimes. I always have and always will. If I can’t have her, then why can’t I just let her go? Not hurt her anymore, allow her and Liam to be happy as a distorted couple. She’d make it right though. She wouldn’t care how broken down her relationship was, she would fix it all, she’s perfect like that. She’d make it right for us too… Wouldn’t she? 

 

Who knows what painful day will lay ahead of me tomorrow. What trouble I’ll get roped into because of Liam. I dumped my school kit on the beanbag that was fraying away in the corner of my room. I packet my kit together for P.E and wished more than anything I had Cassie hanging over my shoulder like a lost pup I could make found. One I could hold onto till mornings light. I wanted to hold her close and make her happy again. She was pissed off at me at the moment and that was what I deserved. I wish I could go apologize, but she’ll be with him, and he’ll be holding her like I wanted to hold her. I was envious of this guy, to the point it was haunting me. I needed something to take my mind off of her and him. I was obsessed with her! I need something, no you need someone. Am I honestly thinking I need a relationship when I love another girl? It would only make it an awkward and upsetting relationship anyway. And who would like me? Ash Grangefield, quote; Dickhead? Maybe, that girl I sit next to in science, she seems nice enough, popular, and fun…What was her name again? Becky. Becky Coral. Wait, what am I thinking!? I can’t like Becky. I like Cassie and that’s it. 

 

I didn’t fancy eating any tea, and I couldn’t stand seeing her with him again. I knew they were holding hands under the table earlier, it was obvious. What with the smiling at each other and the looks. It made me sick, like a lot of the things he did with her. I crawled under the duvets and imagined holding her. Like I had done many times before. I didn’t want to go to school tomorrow, like a child would protest against it, I wanted to protest against it. I never had the best of days at school, maybe some rare moments when I can be alone with Cassie. Times before Liam returned. They were the only upsides of that wretched school. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I just wanted to sleep, let all the drama of today pass me by. 

Impossible. Another morning in the early hours. I wiped at my face with my hand, I couldn’t keep this up. There’s only so much even I can take. I pulled my legs out of the duvets. I hadn’t even bothered to get changed, I’m such a scruff. I decided it was then I was going to change. I slipped out of my jeans and into some jogger like Pj’s. I didn’t even bother with a top once I had taken the one I’d been wearing off. It was too warm. I bet Cassie was still freezing, still cold in that bed with Liam. It sounded horrible to think about. I rubbed at my eyes, I was really tired. I slumped back onto my bed and watched the shadows play on my mind. Different shapes form in the darkness. I tried to sleep again, but I need something to ease me back into unconsciousness. I got back up and crept out of my room. It wasn’t cold in the hallway, and I only noticed a change in temperature when my bare feet hit the wooden stairs. They were cool to touch, but didn’t affect me too much. I sauntered into the kitchen, and it reminded me of how I had found Cassie here on one of the first nights she had stayed at Willow. I boiled the kettle and created myself a coffee. I was getting hooked on this stuff, but it was the only thing that could keep me going. “Y’know, coffee won’t help if you want to get some sleep.” There she stood at the doorway to the kitchen, watching me. She smiled and rubbed at her own eyes, before yawning and shuffling her way towards me. I could only see the rim of her pajama shorts as Liam’s hoodie was large enough to cover most of it. When she caught me looking, she pulled anxiously at the material. She looked rough, but cute. She couldn’t escape being beautiful, even in the earliest hours of the morning. She was so close to me again, that I just wanted to wrap her in my arms and carry her up to my room. She added a cup beside mine and popped a tea bag into it. “Y’know, teas just as bad.” She wrinkled her nose at me. 

“Not as bad as coffee.”  

“Fair do’s.” I smiled and let my tempted hand lay loosely round her waist as she worked. “Can’t sleep?” She nodded and yawned again. “Too cold.” She cupped her ready tea in her hands and held it close to her face, absorbing its heat. I knew she would be too cold, I knew it! She would have been so much better sleeping with me. She didn’t stop my hand from holding her. I guess my warmth was what she wanted, secretly, wanted. I leant against the worktop, and she leant against me. She gulped down her tea in seconds, discarding the cup somewhere behind her, she leant her head against my shoulder, and I felt her breathing deepen.  I finished the last dregs of my coffee, and took her cold body in my arms, lifting her from the ground. She rested her head against my bare chest as I fiddled with her position. This was what I wanted. And now we both had what we wanted. I silently carried her back up the stairs, and thought of maybe dropping her back in with Liam, but what good would that do? She’d just get cold again and not sleep. So I was selfish and took her with me back to my room. I laid her gently on my bed and I watched her snuggle into the heat of my bed as I climbed in beside her. She searched for me instantly and I wrapped her in my arms. She curled up beside me and I got exactly what I wanted. Her cold hand had such a stark contrast to my warm chest that it made me shiver at how cold she was. I clasped my hand over hers and she shuffled closer to me, enjoying the warmth. I closed my eyes and felt the cold presence next to me slowly warming up.

 

I woke to the bleeping alarm of my smashed up phone, telling me it was time for school. I recalled last night’s events but to my surprise I awoke without my prize. Cassie was nowhere in sight, but I saw the faint shape of her body ruffled out on the covers next to me. I had got what I had wanted though; I had had another night with my beauty and been able to make her warm and happy again. It was obvious she wanted me, wanted to be with me… So what was holding her back?

CASSIE’S P.O.V-

 

I woke up just before my phone would tell me to. I found myself encased in Ash’s arms. It was by my own fault I had ended up here, but I prayed to god Liam had no knowledge of it. I snuck away from his warm body, bare from the head to his waist and felt cold once again. That had been why I had woken up in the first place, being too cold. When I had crept down to the kitchen last night I had subconsciously wanted to see Ash, and to have him warm me up again. It was a pleasant surprise to see him there, and all it took was a little fake sleepy acting and allowing him to carry me to bed. I had got what I had wanted, and now I felt even guiltier for it. I crept out of Ash’s room, careful not to wake him, and back into Liam’s cold one. I set myself in Liam’s arms and closed my eyes for a matter of seconds before my phone started having a fit on the bedside table. I reached up and turned it off, acting as if I’d been asleep all along, and shook Liam slightly to wake him. I escaped his alien cold embrace and got changed into my school kit before he had even fully come to his senses. He lazily followed in my footsteps as I combed through my hair. Man I must have looked rough last night. I plastered as much makeup on as I dared, which for me was only foundation and eyeliner to be honest and pulled a now half dressed Liam towards the door. I stopped, made a face and buttoned up his shirt for him. He unbuttoned the top one, the second my cold fingers had done it. He slapped his tie loosely into its position and rolled his sleeves up on his blazer. I pulled my skirt down and rolled up mine, even though I as freezing. I looked back at the hoodie and wondered if I’d get away with it, I highly doubted it.

 

I dragged a still groggy Liam downstairs and nabbed a bit of toast before leaving him there. I used the excuse I had to finish getting ready, when really I needed to talk to Ash. Along with brush my teeth of course. I rinse out the minty sting of toothpaste from my mouth and headed for Ash’s room. He was there when I peeped around the door. “Hey.” He looked up when I spoke to him. 

“Oh, hey.” He moved across the room to me and I straightened up so I was not as small compared to him. I touched his chest, curious to see if he was still really warm. I was right, he still was. A lovely I wished I could lie with all day. I let go and he lost his smile. “About last night, I didn’t mean to-”

“Of course you did. And it’s fine, I like keeping you warm, lets me know you don’t hate me.” He winked that last bit. So he’s still using it as a sarcastic bit of conversation. I backed out of his room, “I’ll see you in school then.” He nodded. “Not talking much today?” He had a smirk on his face. 

“Maybe, maybe not.” I bit my lip thinking of a comeback.

“That’s better.” I winked at him and sauntered off feeling in a good mood for once. Liam was on his way up the stairs as I headed back down them. He hardly even acknowledged me. I guess he doesn’t like me sleeping with him, get him up too early. I lugged my bag over my shoulder and ran back upstairs to retrieve my P.E kit, sitting in Liam’s room. He made me jump when he hugged me from behind. “I’m finally awake, so, good morning.” I smiled as he whispered it into my ear. 

“Don’t think it’s a good idea, me sleeping with you, I wake you up too early.” He shrugged. 

“I don’t care. I’m with you, plus I’d need to be up anyway.” I rolled my eyes. I really need to stop doing that, it’s becoming a habit. I escaped his arms and headed back down stairs, soon I was out of Willow and walking on the pebbled drive, like I had done many times before. Liam took my hand that I had foolishly left dangling by my side. Ash whistled some unfamiliar tune behind us. It was just like old times. I wish the boys would get along like they used to though. That was the one thing missing.

 

We reached the gates and seemed to linger around in our little group of three. I watched as Teresa came in, a hard expressionless face of anger was all I saw of her, as she walked away. A familiar face bounded up to our little group, the girl that sat beside Ash in science, she seemed nice enough. But she was still one of the popular girls. I wasn’t sure she was one of Molly’s old cling ons though. “Hi!” She waved quite childlike and beamed a smile toward us all. She reminded me slightly of Corey, but older, more mature. I think. Her hair was the first thing I noticed. I had never actually looked this girl over, but now that I looked, I saw her long rich hair was a vibrant red colour. I fell in love with it instantly. It was the one thing I’d wanted since being a young child. Red hair. I’d never dared to do it, but I would if I could. She wore a branded jacket over her school blazer, both sleeves rolled up to her elbows. It seemed to have a cartoon sushi design to it. Weird. She also had badges. Lot and lots of badges. They basically made her up. All over her jacket, her blazer jacket mainly. I think I’m going to like this girl. “Hi.” I replied, remembering she was waiting for one, whilst I’d been rudely staring at her. “Well, Ash, who are your friends? You never tell me anything.” She punched him playfully on the shoulder. Ash pointed at us in turn as he spoke. “Liam and Cassie.” She smiled at us. 

“I’m Becky, nice to meet you Liam and you Cassie.” She hugged me and I found myself hugging her back. “Wow, I love your hair! Cassie you’re so cute! I want your face.” I stared wide eyed at her. She wants my face? Okay… I found myself making girl talk with her. “My hair? What about yours? I’ve craved that colour since I was a child, and I really do wish Becky.” She began to protest that I was being too modest when Ash jumped in. “Becky mate, you’ll learn that Cassie won’t accept no compliment, she’s set on thinking she’s nothing when in reality-” He was going to say something like ‘she’s actually beautiful’ or something nice like that, and I may have just allowed it, when Liam butted in. “-in reality, she’s everything.” I elbowed Liam. 

“Shut up. All of you.” I winked at Becky and she laughed at my sarcasm. 

“You tell em girl!” Ash just rolled his eyes at Becky’s enthusiasm. I may find that I actually find this girl as a contender for my friendship. She seems nice, even though I envy her hair so damn much.

 

The bell rang and I found myself asking; “are you in all of our lessons?” As Becky followed us towards the art block. “Yeah, haven’t you noticed me? Man is I that invisible?” I chuckled at her moaning. 

“Must be like the invisible woman or something. Either that, or I’m blind.” We were laughing at each other when we walked into art class. Becky grabbed my wrist and made me sit at a table with her. “You’re not gunna miss me today!” I felt like she’d already taken me in as her friend, and I found, myself accepting it. I was allowed friends right? She watched as we sketched and she would often rub out some of my work. “So it’s like that is it?” She winked at me and I lifted the rubber as my weapon. “I have a rubber and I’m not afraid to use it!” I tried to rub her sketches and we were laughing so loudly that we had to separate. I did the ‘I got my eyes on you’ movement as I got placed next to a lonely Ash. I smiled as I sat down and from behind me I heard Liam shout out. “Rebel!” I turned round and stuck ones up at him. He made a fake and over acted shocked face. I decided to be quite and not cause any more trouble for the rest of the lesson.

 

Science next, and as Becky skipped along by my side, Ash and Liam seemed to acknowledge each other’s actual existence. I took my usual seat and it felt Liam sat next to me again. I had missed his friendly banter. I watched Becky take her seat next to Ash and as usual I always had the feeling Ash was flirting away with her. She might be better for him; she wouldn’t hurt him like you do. The thought became present in the front of my mind, and occupied my thoughts all lesson. He does seem to like her, or is that just as a friend? Look I couldn’t get jealous of Becky, she had no idea. She was my new friend; the only one that I know shouldn’t leave me with consequences. Maybe I should explain my hopeless triangle to her, she might help me out. I haven’t told anyone, only myself and Ash probably gets it, but he’s a guy that’s part of it, his point of view was one I couldn’t completely trust. I needed an outsider’s view of my situation. Becky may just be the perfect person. If I can get her and Ash to stop flirting with each other. I slumped in my chair, chin in my hand and watched how great they got on together. Nothing would be stopping their relationship. Nothing at all. 

 

I was so grateful when the bell rang, and it was the one thing that made Ash and Becky give it up. Was I jealous? No, I couldn’t be, it was Becky. And Ash liked me didn’t he? At least, I think he does. Maybe, if I explained my situation to her, she would lay off. Realize something and help me out. I still sound so jealous though. Maybe I was, and what if I was? Me and Ash have feelings for each other, there’s no denying it, so being jealous is okay isn’t it? Is it just because I’m so afraid to lose him? I don’t know. All this internal babble happened as we walked towards the canteen. We grabbed a table for four and all of us came to sit there. I looked over to our old table and felt sorry for Teresa. Alone, in the canteen, and in most lessons as I was aware, she didn’t have neither of us. Not even when Molly was here. I crossed my right leg over my left, being a little more ladylike and pushed the hair back from my face. I studied the numerous split ends in my hair, and the boring black head I was born with. Again I found myself wishing I had Becky’s hair. Ash was sat in next to Becky as Liam had taken the seat beside me and I felt that twang of jealousy spike through me again. Can I really call it that? Becky was my friend. If only a recent one, I felt like I could trust her. Her bubbly persona making everyone love her. “What’s next?” Becky interrupted my babble and it felt creepy seen as I was babbling about her. “Erm...” I searched through my inner blazer pockets and produced a scrappy piece of paper concerning my timetable. “P.E.” I say coolly. She nods, “Huh, I hope we don’t have cross country, or gymnastics for that matter. I just can’t stand watching those popular twats show me up.” Woah. Becky was one of the popular kids right? 

“Wait, aren’t you like, one of them?” She gave me a horrified look.

“Eww! No. I’m an outcast, but I’m fine with it, I heard that outcasts are totally in.” This girl had a weird mind. “You liar Becky Coral, you know you’re a popular gal.” Ash leaned back in his seat and raised his eyebrows at her. “Maybe, maybe not.” Ah! Ash said that! Wait, why am I so bothered about it? “You coming Cassie? Let’s ditch these bozos and head to P.E.” Liam leaned back and allowed me to climb over him. It was an awkward task, what with my skirt, but when I finally got over, I had Becky tugged on my arm. She stuck her tongue out childlike when she left the boys. “There. Idiots them two, how do you cope?” I shrugged.

“I don’t.” She started laughing, and I found myself joining in, soon we were both in hysterical states when we reached the changing rooms. We pushed on through to find nearly every pair of eyes trained n us. “What’ca looking at?” Becky seemed to have a way with people as most of them turned around and daren’t look at us. We got changed quietly, but I knew it wouldn’t be long till Becky was in hyperactive mode again.

 

Rugby. You must be kidding me. A girls sport? No way. Especially with Becky as my partner. I was flattened in seconds. To be honest, I didn’t even try. The only part I actually gave some enthusiasm into was the bag. I basically landed on it. I couldn’t wait to get change and head off to dinner. Not like I was planning on eating anything. I rushed out, only to find Becky on my heels. “Wimp!” I turned round and wondered if punching her one would prove anything. “You didn’t even try! C’mon! I know you of all people can do better than what you did today. I’ve seen who you’ve challenged, that thing with that Teresa girl? Smoking!” She was complimenting me on the fight I lost? I just carried on walking. I wanted to give her something to be annoyed at. “Maybe, maybe not.” I winked at her and went to sit at the table we’d acquired earlier. She joined me and re-rolled her sleeves. She played with a 50p coin on the table. Its tapping was sending me nuts. When the boys finally reached the canteen she stood up and passed the coin over to Ash. Their hands touched unexpectedly in the process and what could have been a friendly gesture, was transformed by the speech that followed. “Oh, erm, Ash, I’m, I’m.... Sorry! Sorry Ash, I’m sorry.” Her speech slowed on the first sorry and they seemed to look into each other’s eyes for whole minute, then Ash was off to get some food. I sat their mouth open as Becky followed suit. How come they’d never had something before? Why today? In front of me! Now I was jealous, ultra jealous and the jealousy seemed to course through my veins, I could feel my blood boiling under my skin. What was wrong with me? I should be happy for Ash! What? When he spent the majority of last night sleeping with you? My mind had a point. For once. 

 

I sat there like a spoilt child. Not talking to anyone, just sulking, hiding behind my raven locks. Cursing myself. Why couldn’t I be like Becky? Like Becky? Urgh, I felt my mind mock her very name. And the fact she has the cheek to rub it in my face. That’s it. Should I tell her? About my situation. That will put her off Ash. I’ll have to express my feelings for him. HA! Take that sneaky bitch! Oh my. What is happening to me? I sound like Molly. Shiver. Molly? Nah...Yeah. No! No! No! That’s wrong. Drama next, I’ll have to explain to her then, and she will know about it and then she can back the hell off. Oh man, I just got a friend, and now I hate her already. I’m really not good with people. I headed off to the drama block early, and was happy to hear Becky following me. Ash tried to come but I gave him the ‘back off’ look. He scratched his head and held up his hands briefly. I walked off, Becky in tow. “Becky?” I was going to get it out. “Yeah?” Urgh.

“Can I tell you something?” She nodded whilst chomping on an apple and I began to explain my story. Missing out parts I didn’t want her to hear and expressing parts I did. She seemed to register it all. I spoke low so not everyone would hear us. She stopped right out of drama, ate the last chunk of her apple and threw it in the bin. “So lemme get this straight, you’re seeing Liam, but having an affair with Ash!?”  That’s the most vulgar way to put it.

“What? No!” I shouted it out as she had as everyone seemed to be looking at us. Thankfully, ‘everyone’ was only a few of the quieter students in our class. I shh’ed her and she quietened down. “It’s not like that.” She pouted her lips.

“It’s exactly like that.” I felt my face tighten up; maybe telling her wasn’t such a bad idea. 

“Help me?” She thought about it for a while. 

“Sure! Easy, got it all sorted, c’mon. Don’t worry about it.” I instantly started worrying she had just got the wrong idea.

  ((A/N: Started proof reading and found I actually was enjoying it myself... Hmmm this may just boost the chances of more! Still, thanks for all the reading, commenting and voting! Every single bit means alot to me:) Love you reader! BeyondLawliet))

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