The Fire Within

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Dawn

I watch from the living room as the movers take my belongings to the moving truck. They move professionally and quickly. My brothers are helping them and dad is sitting on the couch behind me. I am standing next to the silent agent who is making sure I am safe.

“You might have to change your appearance once we start going to school. Meaning eye contacts and a wig,” Liam says and I sigh. “Or, you can die your hair a different color. And wear contacts. I am sure everyone will recognize your eyes.”

“What color do you think would look good on me?” I look up at him and he takes in my face.

“What colors are you thinking?”

“Brown, black, fawn, red,” I list and he thinks. “I like the idea of black hair. What do you think?”

“Yeah. And no one will suspect you with that kind of dark hair,” he says and he looks at the workers again. “What color contacts do you want?”

I think. I don’t want to draw a lot of attention to myself.

“Brown. I have colored contacts already. All we have to do is go to a boutique and get my hair dyed.”

“Or I can get your Aunt Clara,” dad offers as he moves to my side. “You know she would love to do your hair.”

“Can I call her?” I ask and dad nods before handing me his phone. My phone was ruined the day I got shot. The fire got to it. I have to get a new one.

I dial Aunt Clara’s number and I wait for her to answer. She answers on the fourth ring and I smile.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Aunt Clara!”

“Oh my God! Hey, girly! How are you feeling?”

“I am feeling great! I am out of the hospital and I am back home!” I say and she cheers. “Hey, listen. I was wondering if you can come over and do my hair. I was wanting to change its color.”

“That’s wonderful! And yeah, of course! What color do you want?”

“Black,” I answer.

“Oh, that would look good on you. Let me run to the salon to get the supplies and I’ll be there shortly. Love you, bye!” She hangs the phone up and I hand it back to my dad. I give him a hug and he returns it.

“I’ll tell your brothers we aren’t leaving until later in the evening,” dad says and he leaves after breaking from the hug. I sigh and I start wringing my hands.

“You’re nervous,” Liam states, and I roll my eyes.

“Well, of course, I am nervous! I am leaving the house to live with a man I don't know! And I am going to a new school two hours away from my family. What will the students think when they see us walking into the school together? What if someone recognizes me? What if the same thing happens to me?” I start hyperventilating and I feel Liam’s hand on my arm. He kneels in front of me and he stares into my eyes with determined intensity.

“No one is going to recognize you. No one will hurt you. I will keep you safe, Dawn. And we are going to pose as boyfriend and girlfriend. Family wouldn’t be that believable,” he says and I nod, calming down.

“Wait. We are not going to act like lovers. We can act like friends, but not lovers. That would mean I would have to touch you more than I need to and I don’t like that,” I say and Liam rolls his eyes. “Have you found a brain yet?”

He glares at me and I smile. He stands and moves back to my side.

“We can make that work. We’ll just have to keep the lie up for the rest of the school year,” he says, ignoring my last comment, and I nod somberly. “We’re probably going to get a lot of attention when we go there.”

“We definitely will. It’s like people are attracted to newcomers,” I say, rolling my eyes. Liam agrees then silence falls between us.

I then hear a cheery voice and I smile before racing over to the door.

“Who is moving?” Aunt Clara asks as she comes in and I embrace her.

“I am,” I say as I step back from her and her eyes widen. She then notices Liam and furrows her eyebrows. “Aunt Clara, this is my bodyguard, Agent Liam Cross.”

They shake hands and Aunt Clara looks at me again.

“Well, let’s move this to the kitchen, shall we?” The three of us move to the kitchen and she sits me down in a chair. She gets everything from the bag she is carrying and she gets everything ready.

She starts brushing my hair and I close my eyes.

Three hours later, my blonde locks are dyed black. My hair is dry and back to its natural lightly curled state. My brothers are the first to come in and freeze upon the site of me. Then my father. Then Liam who was playing video games with my brothers. All the men stare at me as I play with my new black hair. When my eyes find theirs, they all gasp.

“Damn, sis! You look hot!” Devan says and Declan agrees. I giggle at them. “Your black hair brings out your purple eyes perfectly!”

I look at my father who is smiling widely.

“You look beautiful, darling.” I blush slightly at my father’s words. I give Aunt Clara a hug before she leaves the house. My father and brothers bring her to her car which leaves me with Liam alone in the kitchen.

He stares at me intensely without letting his emotions break through his barriers. I turn away from him, not being able to handle his intense gaze. Then, next thing I know, I feel his hot, minty breath on my neck. My breath hitches and I tense. Not from fear, but from anticipation.

He brushes the hair away from my ear and he leans in close.

“You look stunning, Ms. Ozric,” he whispers and I shudder as his lips graze my ear. He then backs away and turns away from me.

What just happened?

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