Book One: The Innocent Heart

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The Night is Young

Part 25.1 of 1.10: While Ash and Ty were together, Cam and Dale were becoming new friends…

On the second floor, Ash and Ty stood before a podium on the second floor looking down at the dance floor. Ash pondered and inquired looking at Tyler, “Where’s your brother? He’s not here?”

Tyler shrugged responding, “He wasn’t invited. Besides he’s always busy with his studies.”

Ash nodded gripping Tyler’s thick arm. Curious, she looked at his arm and stroked it with her other hand. The beast uttered a low growl feeling his physical strength. Tyler kept his body puffed showing his defined physique beneath his own tuxedo. She touched his chest and felt the strength of his body. With curiosity, she wondered if he worked on his muscles for himself or for her. Looking up she caught Tyler looking into her eyes.

Tyler looked at her and noticed her short upper fangs just hanging over her lips. It moved slightly as she breathed staring at him with her dark eyes. Reaching over with his hand, he brushed her dark hair aside and moved in for a kiss on her lips. Feeling his forced presence, the beast stopped him with a single push on his chest.

Ash snarled baring her fangs inquiring, “What are you doing?”

Tyler stuttered. He spoke scratching the nape of his neck, “Umm, I thought maybe. Well. No?”

Getting angry at him, Ash spat and pushed him back, “No Ty. Give me space.”

The angry, furious beast walked away from the rogue charmer. Tyler watched her leave and sighed with irritation. Slapping his face, he rubbed it before turning around and resting his arms on the balcony. Rubbing his neck, he watched the people before him with a lonely look in his eyes. He would have to try again to get Ash to like him but it was getting harder. The music continued on lightly as the low chatter of the guests was heard from around the lonely Stryker.

Drinking his sparkling cider, Cameron looked up at the balcony. He smirked seeing Tyler alone. Turning around, he whispered to his new friend, “Hey Dale!”

Dale picked another piece of hors d’oeuvres and ate the cracker with diced shrimp and cream cheese. He was craving them to sustain his defined built body and looked at him wondering, “Hmm?”

Cam nodded toward Tyler, “Look up at the balcony. Ty’s all alone now.”

The eighteen year old looked and scoffed shaking his head. Turning to Cam, he responded, “Looks like you got your chance little man. Go get her.”

The boy shrugged and responded concerned, “I don’t know. I don’t want Ash to get mad. What if I got into her personal space again?”

Dale responded plainly, “Don’t worry about that now. Just worry about what happens after.”

“Huh,” Cam stared at him confused. As Dale shrugged his shoulder casually, the boy inquired, “Just how long have you known her?”

Part 25.2 of 2.10: Cam just hangin’ with Dale “The Welsh Wrestler” Haynes

Dale mused while coming up with the answer, “Three years. I train her three times a day and seven days a week. So, really I actually know her a little better than most people I know. She is particular about her friends. The fact that she lets me into her personal space easier than others speaks much about her personality and most days she’s a grouch but don’t tell her I said that. She’d bite me.”

Cameron sniggered at his amusement. He responded with a nod, “Don’t worry. I won’t tell her.”

Dale winked at him and responded casually, “Thanks little man. Much appreciated.”

Cam shook his head smiling. Looking at his big arms, the boy inquired again, “So, you’ve been training since you were three? Is that even possible?”

Dale looked at him and exhaled an amused laugh musing. Crossing his arm across, he flexed his twenty inch bicep. Cam stared at it with wide eyes as the bodybuilder explained with a grunt, “Sure, with Holo-vision anything’s possible, little man. Besides I’m part of a proud heritage of Welsh bodybuilders and wrestlers. We have good genetics. They started me out young and I was given the title of the Welsh Wrestler when I turned eight. As long as I could walk, I started lifting and working on my muscles. Of course, under supervision as my father and my grandfather watched me and my brothers. Go ahead. Feel my muscles, little man. See how strong and tough these are.”

Cameron touched his bicep. Feeling the toughness and strength of the muscle, he exclaimed, “Wow. I don’t think I could do that. That’s impressive.”

Dale dropped his arm and shrugged. Taking his sparkling apple cider, he took another gulp. Cam responded, “I’ll go see her I guess. Before I go though, wanna exchange info? I do that with all my new friends. We should hang.”

Dale nodded as he moved his right wrist. He exposed his skin and responded typing a few things on his wrist device, “Sure thing mate.”

Cam smiled as he did the same with his wrist. Typing a few buttons, they gripped their arms allowing the wrist devices connect. It transferred their selected info directly across each other. Releasing their grip, Dale grabbed his hand and gave him his own handshake. Cameron responded, “Alright! Thanks Dale. We can use that to stay in touch with each other. You can even give me advice on workout stuff if I need something.”

Dale shrugged as he took another sip of his cup of cider. He responded, “Sure thing little man.”

The eighteen year old stocky teen watched Cam get two refilled drinks and walk away from the table. He sighed feeling lonely. Turning back to his empty plate with the last crumbs of the hors d’oeuvres, he took the plate and walked over to the tray filled with more snacks. Taking the first seafood cream cheese filled cracker, he placed it on his plate.

Ashlyn walked across the walkway from the hallway and entered the doorway onto a balcony. The snow stopped falling. Up the dark sky, there was a full moon. The clouds were gone. Cold gusted across the beast’s bare skin and inside her crimson dress. Shivering slightly, Ash hated the cold. Taking her hands, she rubbed her shoulders and arms stopping before the railing. A puff of vapor escaped from her mouth when she exhaled.

Part 25.3 of 3.10: The Beast feeling a bit cold…

From behind her, Cameron walked along the hallway. He carried two non-alcoholic sparkling ciders. Stopping before the doorway, he gasped. The boy saw the beautiful form of Ash. Her braided dark hair in a ponytail rested over her shoulder. Her long red dress from the v shaped neck from her shoulders down to her ankles. She had her low heeled medium sized slippers built for her stocky feet.

Gulping, Cam shook his head and collected himself. Clearing his throat, he puffed his chest up and straightened his back before walking forward toward her. Hearing someone behind her, Ash turned to see Cam. Baring her fangs at the boy with a low growl, a puff of cold vapor escaped her mouth.

Cam gulped and offered her a glass. He responded, “Here you go. You mind some company?”

Ash shrugged nonchalantly and accepted his offer. Cam smiled and joined her side as they looked out from the balcony. He exclaimed, “Its cold out here. Isn’t the moon pretty tonight?”

Ash said nothing. She just stared at the moon and turned her attention to the glass she was holding. With a snarl, she put the drink aside on the flat surface of the banister. Turning to the boy, she watched him drink. Opening her fangs, she uttered a growl trying to understand her feelings. Ty tried to bring the beast into his strong arms and Ash reacted poorly. From looking into his eyes, she knew that he only got stronger for his beast’s pleasure. Clearly, Tyler only wants the beast for himself and doesn’t care who gets hurt.

Cam gave her the space. He didn’t force anything because he learned not to around the beast. The boy was patient. Angry or not, the beast appreciated the space. Taking Cam by the shoulder, she turned the boy around and harshly knocked his drink. Losing his grip on the drink, he stuttered, “Hey! What-“

The drink fell from the balcony and smashed on the stone patio startling the party goers and a waiter carrying a tray. Ash stared at Cam’s confused face. Cameron was caught off his guard. Keeping her hand on his shoulder, she took her other hand and placed it on the nape of his neck. She moved in for a kiss on the lips. It was her first moment on the balcony in the cold in front of the full moon.

Not wanting to ruin his moment, Cam embraced her kiss wrapping his hand around her waist. Cam placed his other hand on her dark hair stroking her ponytail. The wind gusted through the tux and dress as their hair fluttered in the wind. Pulling from his embrace, Ash licked her lips and stared at the boy. She was confused with her feelings and still felt coldness in her body. Pondering, the sixteen year old teen wondered if it was either the cold in the air or maybe her beast was still projecting cold feelings onto the boy she ever kissed for the first time.

Cam responded touching her chin and inquired, “Are you okay?”

Ashlyn stared at him silently. She grunted while cocking her head observing the boy and trying to understand. Cam gulped taking her hand and responded, “Let’s go back inside. I think this is the part where we start dancing.”

Ash grunted shaking her head. She replied, “No Cam. I can’t dance.”

Cam gave her an amused look responding, “I can teach you. I know all sorts of dances. The Holo-“

Ash grunted shaking her head. She exhaled blowing a vapor of cold air and spoke, “It’s not that. I meant I don’t dance. That’s not me. Let’s just get out of here. Hang outside. I want to just enjoy this moment with you.”

The boy nodded understanding her reasons. He replied offering his hand, “It is okay Ash. We can go.” Ash accepted his hand as they walked toward the stairs from the balcony.

Part 25.4 of 4.10: That moment when…

From behind them on the other side of the railing, Tyler leaned against the banister. He scowled at them with a snarl. The fighter was angry. Gripping the banister as his knuckles turned white, he growled. Seeing everything that just happened before his eyes, he had a look of disgust and confusion wondering what Cameron Sheppard had that the Stryker lacked.

Teena approached from behind looking at the retreating back of both Ash and Cam. She exclaimed with happiness and cooed, “Aww, look at them go. Aren’t they just the sweetest couple you ever saw? I think I just saw them kissing a while ago. Didn’t you see that, Ty?”

She placed her hand on Tyler’s hand. Touching the distracted boy on his thick arm, Teena kissed his cheek. Tyler grunted barely feeling the kiss. He was angry and numbed by the cold. Finally, he noticed the girl on his side. Turning to her, he leaned his arm against the banister and stared at her coldly.

Teena had a look of concern touching her lips. Touching his cheek, she stroked it inquiring, “Ty? Are you okay? How long have you been out here? You feel cold to the touch.”

Tyler grunted shaking his head. Getting warm again by her soft presence, he responded slowly putting his arm around Teena’s waist. Touching her other hand on the banister, he stroked it and moved her close to his body for a kiss as he craned his neck down to meet her lips. Teena moaned gripping the banister and placed her other arm around his body. Closing her eyes, she embraced him warmly. Breaking the embrace, Tyler growled softly staring into the blue eyes of his companion.

With her close to him and smiling warmly, Tyler gulped and felt better. Trying to forget what he saw, he responded casually with a smile, “It is nothing, Teena. Let’s go back inside. We’re missing the dance. I want to see my beautiful, graceful dancer rock the floor with her moves.”

His smile warmed up the Tricetra as she smiled. Her teal colored cheeks flushed a brief navy color when she blushed at his words. Standing on her toes, she touched his shaven fohawk with her fingers and kissed him. Interlacing her fingers into his hand on the banister, she giggled and twirled his hand around over her. Walking under it gracefully, she pulled him along as Tyler touched her agile hip.

Cam and Ash walked down the path from the mansion. Ash let go of his hand to rub her arms. She shivered at the cold. Seeing her cold, the boy took his tuxedo jacket off and placed it across her broad shoulders. Ash looked at him with a grunt and felt the warmth of the jacket wash over her body. With a comforted sigh, she nodded and took the jacket edges pulling it closer around her body.

Walking along the ground, Cam placed his hand in his pocket. Cold vapor expelled from their mouths as they reached the circular part of their path. Stopping next to the stoned bench, Ash turned to Cam. She stared at him coldly trying to understand what was going on between them. Exhaling, she spoke, “Cam. What happens here does not change anything. What you are trying to show me and what I am trying to understand, is it true?”

Cameron stared at the dark eyes of his beast. Taking her hand, he stroked the top of it and moved it up for a kiss on her cheek. Ash stared at him observing. Cam stroked her dark hair and responded, “The truth? I always have and I always will. Ever since I saw you that day the first time, I just knew it was you that reside in my heart. There are no other words to explain that moment.”

Part 25.5 of 5.10: you start to feel…

Ash exhaled a puff of cold breath. She nodded. Cam smiled as he gripped her hand and led her off the path. They walked across the snow toward a tree. Stopping before it, he turned back to her. Touching the nape of her neck, Cam brought her close for another kiss. Ash accepted his embrace. Breaking it, he spoke, “I know you might not share or feel what I’m feeling for you, but what I feel for you never changed. I love you and I want to have a future with you out there. Maybe someday we can have one?”

Ash stared at him. The beast was thinking. Even though she was still confused, she was starting to feel something from that exchange. The warm jacket that Cam gave her warmed her up. Stroking Cam’s cheek, Ashlyn moved in for her third kiss. Slowly something somewhere inside of her was just starting to break free as her heart starting beating a little fast.

Unlocking the embrace, Ash smacked her lips baring her fangs. She responded, “Well I-“

Three men no older than thirty came behind the couple as their footsteps crunched the snow. The leader slightly bigger, stockier and older than them combined jeered at her disrespectfully, “Hey lovey dovey! Sorry to break into this sweet little group, but we just gotta ask ya something!”

Two of his mates sniggered behind him. Cam and Ash turned toward them. Ash snarled at the interruption. The leader held a tire iron. Being the top he inquired with disrespect in his tone, “Where is your father now, princess? Is he up high atop looking down on you or underground looking at your pretty little ass?”

Insulted, the beast uttered a snarl baring her fangs. Her dark eyes flashed red glowing harshly in the cold against the dark. Keeping his hand on her torso, Cam shouted angrily, “Hey! Watch your mouth!”

The man with the tire iron waved his weapon at him and retorted, “Why don’t you watch yours?”

Behind the boy, Ash opened her mouth baring her fangs. A puff of cold air escaped her mouth as the jacket fell free. It collapsed in a heap. Her muscles rose with the expansion when she clenched her fists. Her body got hotter as her blood boiled. The Second Skin applied on her torso started to peel off.

Taking her hand, she covered Cam with her arm protectively and pushed him behind her as she walked forward. The boy stumbled onto the tree with her push. With a gasp, he watched her walk toward the three men. The boy realized that the beast was released from her hold. Ash roared clenching her fists and flexed her muscles. She spat, “Don’t mention my father!”

The leader recoiled at her intimidating aura with the glowing red eyes. Clearing his throat, he shook his head and moved forward gripping his tire iron. Moving his hand forward, he beckoned her, “Come at me, then, beast. Let’s see what you got!”

Part 25.6 of 6.10: that something is about to happen

At his urgency, the beast rushed forward with her fists clenched. Opening her fangs, Ash snarled priming her fist. The leader beat down with his rod, but Ash caught his wrist. The man counter punched her on the chest pushing her back with a yell. Ash released her grip and ducked the blow from the iron. She growled thrusting forward with her body and latched on his stocky form biting down with her fangs. The leader stumbled with a yell grabbing her throat and fell on the ground. His iron was lost.

Blood from his shoulder soaked the snow covered ground. Their leader yelled with pain as the beast bit into his shoulder. His mates came to his rescue as they took the beast by the shoulder and pulled her off. Ash snarled as her fangs dripped with blood. One of them punched her on the abs. She felt her breath taken away as the other punched her face. Ash stumbled back with a daze. Her braided ponytail fell free as a strand fluttered across her face. The man tore her dress when he pulled her.

Cameron gasped watching them from his cover near the tree. He observed the stocky leader getting up to his feet. The leader growled with anger covering his bleeding shoulder. Grabbing the tire iron, he got up and turned to face the beast. Curling his lips with disgust and anger, he shouted pointing, “What you’re waiting for, mates? Hold her! It’s time for her lesson.”

One of them obeyed and grabbed Ash by the waist. Ash roared as he pulled her back. The other man stood by and watched. Staring back into her glowing red eyes, the leader smirked coldly and shook her head priming his iron. Blood trickled down his body. He spat, “Hold her there. That’s it.”

Lifting his rod, the leader’s eyes flashed with anger. Cameron reacted with a shout as he charged, “Don’t hurt her!” He grabbed the leader’s rod thrusting him back.

The man growled grabbing Cameron on the torso. Putting his rod to his side, he grabbed him and shouted, “Get off me, man!”

His mate came to his aide and pulled Cameron off. The boy squirmed as he pulled him back. The leader snarled wiping his brow and pointed at his face, “Deal with him. Get him out of my sight.”

His mate nodded pulling Cameron away as the boy yelled. Moving away from the group toward the tree, he forced Cameron on the ground and pulled out his weapon. Clicking on it, the blade activated with a clink. The boy gasped holding his hand up with fear and backed against the tree. The man curled his lips with a cruel sneer and grabbed the boy. He held him down and primed the weapon.

Behind them, the leader turned back to Ash and primed his weapon. Curling his lips with distaste, he spat, “Where was I? Oh yes.” Raising his iron, he bashed against her head. The beast roared at the attack as the man held her back by her waist locking her arms in. Blood trickled across her crown.

Near the tree, Cameron shouted watching Ash being hit, “No!”

The man held him down and primed his weapon. With his guard down, he failed to see someone rushing at him in the darkness until he heard the yell. From beside the man, a large stocky person grabbed the man as he turned with a gasp. His breath was knocked out as he lost his weapon and his hold on Cameron. The boy jumped as he watched a blur thrust his attacker off him.

Catching breath, Cameron recognized his savior as Dale. Dale yelled grabbing the man by the throat, lifted him and rammed him against the ground with his large body. He spat, “You do not hurt my friends! The Welsh Wrestler will beat you all!”

Cam gasped with surprise watching Dale pound the dazed man into submission onto the ground. He fought back, but Dale pushed him down with a growl. Taking his arms, he bashed at the man he was sitting on. Hitting the man on the face with both arms, Dale growled feeling his rage come on. Turning to the leader who beat Ash with his rod again, he shouted pointing at him, “You coward, stop this!”

Part 25.7 of 7.10: That blood soaked red dress...

Ash squirmed against the man’s hold as her head bled from her head to her torso. Her crimson red dress was torn and ruined. The leader ceased his attack and stared at the wrestler. Turning to him, he scowled and primed his iron. His hand forward, he beckoned him to attack. Cameron watched the entire thing unfold but was frozen unable to act. His friends were more experienced.

Seeing the hand pointed toward him, Dale growled. Using his unborn rage, the wrestler grabbed his tuxedo and yelled pulling it with his muscles. He ripped the fabric with a roar exposing his defined, puffed chest. Hunching his bulged shoulder muscles forward with his torn jacket and buttoned shirt on the snow, he pumped his arms down toward the frozen ground and shouted, “I’m the Welsh Wrestler! I’ll beat you sods up and pummel you into the ground!”

Grabbing the man’s chest, he pushed down against his stomach with force and stood charging at him. The man groaned rolling to his side as his breath squeezed out. The other man holding Ash back gulped releasing his hold on Ash. He forgot about her as he watched the angry, charging Welsh wrestler come at them. Taking her chance, the bleeding dazed beast broke her bounds, bashed his face with the back of her head and turned opening her mouth. With a roar, she grabbed him by the shoulder and punched him.

The man stumbled back in a daze and scampered out of fear away from the glowing red eyed beast. Behind her, Dale charged at the leader. The leader primed his weapon and struck, but Dale ducked and pounded against his chest grabbing him. He plowed him onto the ground catching him off guard. The stocky leader groaned losing his weapon and his breath as Dale plowed him onto the ground.

Holding him back, Dale raised his fist and pounded the leader into submission. The leader groaned tasting blood. The wrestler dealt another blow as the leader’s mates offered their hands of surrender and backed away from the wrestler. They already feared for their lives and decided it wasn’t worth facing him. Turning around, Dale smirked watching them run. Letting out a roar bashing his chest, he spat, “Yeah! Run away you cowards, you good for nothing sons of bitches!”

Ash got to her feet and roared at them. Her dark eyes glow a harsh red as she stumbled forward onto the snow. Her dress was torn and her Second Skin fell free revealing her tattoos. Dale looked at her. Concerned, he shouted down at his friend, “Cameron, grab her! She’s going to run after them.”

Dizzy from her head wound, Ash stumbled forward. She fell onto the blood soaked snow. Cameron rushed to her side and grabbed her torso. He whispered, “I got you Ash! It’s okay! You’re safe.”

Ash roared at them launching forward. Cam kept her back with his equal strength. As Dale kept the leader down with a submission, he punched him one more time and spat, “I got you now! Tell me! Who are you and who sent you?”

Unable to get out of his submissive hold on his body, the leader smirked. Opening his mouth, he bit down on his teeth. Something cracked in his mouth. Dale gasped watching the man open his mouth and his eyes turning white. Foam dripped out of his mouth as the man flinched and contorted in a painful position. Dale shouted letting go, “Dammit! Coward! Not cyanide poisoning. Not a good way to go. Poison seems boosted as it also turned his eyes white. The eye scaper can’t help us now.”

Part 25.8 of 8.10: As the attackers escaped leaving their leader dead, Dale turned to his friends.

With a disgusted growl, Dale turned away from the horrible sight and turned his attention to Cameron holding Ash back. Ash roared while trying to crawl forward with Cam trying to hold her back. Quickly, the eighteen year old trainer rushed to her side and gripped her shoulders. Ash scrambled forward not noticing him. Dale grabbed Cam’s hands and spoke, “Let go of her. I got her Cameron. Let go!”

Obeying his friend, the boy let go as he crawled backwards watching Dale help Ash up. The teen responded grabbing her face, “Ash, look at me. Ash! You’re okay! You’re safe. I’m here. Ash-”

Dale followed the neck movements of Ash as the beast struggled blindly forward. Her head wound oozed blood. Because of Dale’s strong hold on Ash’s weakened, bleeding body, the beast was held back. Looking over Ash’s shoulder, Dale shouted, “Get the jacket. We need her warm again. Go!”

Cameron nodded and scampered back to the tree to retrieve the jacket. Dale rubbed her arms getting her warm. He spoke assuring her, “Ash, look at me. Are you hurt? Ashlyn-”

As Cam returned with the jacket, Dale placed it across her stocky figure and brought her close. Feeling the warmth of the jacket, Ash gasped as her eyes turned dark again. Staring at Dale, she recognized him and muttered, “Dale-“

Dale exhaled a breath bringing her close to his naked torso hugging her. Blood trickled from Ash’s head wound as she embraced Dale’s broad torso. She whimpered into his ear whispering, “Take me home, Dale. Please take me away from here. I want to go home.”

Cameron watched Dale embrace Ashlyn strongly lifting her. Caressing her head onto his broad shoulder, he lifted her legs against his left side. Her torn and bloodied crimson dress hung from her body. The beast held onto Dale tightly feeling his warm body. The wrestler walked forward. Turning to Cameron, he spoke, “Get my other jacket and shirt will you? I’ll take you guys home, okay?”

Cam gulped and nodded gathering Dale’s torn jacket and shirt from the bloodied snow on the frozen ground. He followed the speeding wrestler back onto the path. Ash groaned feeling his warm muscles. She mumbled into his ear, “Oh Dale, you are so warm. How do you get your body so warm?”

Dale grunted as he could only give her an amused response, “I barely feel the cold.”

Ash embraced him tightly squeezing his muscles. Her messy dark hair hung from over her shoulders. Dale ran over the ground toward the parking lot. The snow fell as Cameron stumbled catching up with his friends. He was concerned for both. It was a lot for the fourteen year old boy to take for one night especially being attack just like that when he was trying to have a moment with his beast.

Part 25.9 of 9.10: The shell-shocked beast on Christmas morning

The following morning came it was Christmas. An’Pol stood beside Ash on the bed. Ashlyn was breathing heavily. She was in shock from the previous night. Her dark eyes stared into the window across from her. The beast was shell-shocked. The light navy colored Tricetra tried to get her attention touching her shoulder but Ash remained focused on one thing in front of her.

With a concerned sigh, An’Pol stood and approached the door. She opened to see Cameron and Dale waiting. The boy looked up as his headmistress responded gently pushing him back, “Let her be, Cameron. She needs time alone.”

“But-“ Cameron tried as he stared at her. Dale watched them both.

As An’Pol closed the door behind her, she crouched before her adopted son and responded stroking his hair, “Cam, I said let her be. She just needs some more time. What happened last night was a traumatic experience for both of you but even more for her. Come with me.”

She offered her hand as Cam accepted it. Turning to Dale, An’Pol smiled at the teen responding, “Thank you. If it weren’t for you I-”

She exhaled shaking her head feeling upset about what happened. Dale responded with a shrug, “It’s no problem. I thought if I shouted and intimidated them to run away, they’ll be more afraid me than her. I guess it worked. Will you let me know if Ash will be alright?”

The headmistress nodded and responded with a smile, “Sure. You’ll be the first to know.” Grasping Cameron’s hand, they walked back across the hallway leaving Ash to rest. Dale watched the door for a few moments placing his hand on the frame. Turning away, he followed them.

Later that morning just before noon, Tyler approached the building of the orphanage. He entered as An’Pol looked up. Recognizing him, she exclaimed with surprise, “Tyler! What are you doing here?”

Approaching her, Tyler inquired with concern on his face, “I heard what happened. Is she okay?”

An’Pol nodded responding, “Yes. She is alright for now.”

Touching her desk, the nineteen year old moved and inquired, “Can I see her? It won’t be for long.”

The Tricetra looked at him. Seeing his resolve on his features, she let out a sigh and nodded not speaking. Tyler said his thanks and headed toward the stairs. From behind him, Cameron approached. Turning to his teacher, he replied, “Why have you let him in? He’s dangerous!”

With a sigh, the headmistress looked at him sternly and responded, “Cameron, he just wants to see her,” pausing for a bit, she grasped her hands together and finished, “Another thing. When I held her like that close to me, I saw into her heart. I saw you, Cam, in her future.”

The boy gasped as his features perked up. He inquired with hope, “You sure?”

An’Pol nodded and smiled warmly responding, “Hmm-mmh. Don’t lose her, Cameron. Whatever you do today or tomorrow or the next month, don’t lose sight of her.”

“Huh,” Cameron inquired confused by her words. Shaking his head, he exhaled a sigh as he nodded at her before turning to the stairs. The boy followed Tyler making sure he doesn’t do anything wrong.

Part 25.10 of 10.10: Tyler comes for a visit as Ash sees him

Ash remained seated on the bed in the same shell-shocked position. Her face stared across the room. She barely noticed the door open as Tyler rushed in. Getting in front of Ash, he grabbed her hand and knelt before her inquiring, “You okay? I heard what happened last night, so I got concerned.”

Finally, the beast broke her gaze. Gazing upon Tyler’s eyes, Ash gasped seeing something in them. Grabbing his neck, the beast suspected his involvement. Tyler was hiding something from her. Uttering a word, she inquired, “Ty?”

Tyler smiled with a nod. Without warning, Ash pulled him close kissing him on the lips. Tyler gasped with surprise. Startled, Tyler moved Ash staring at her dark eyes. The beast snarled baring her fangs. Shaking her head, she growled, “No I’m not, Ty. Get me out of here.”

Staring back with that same hopeful expression, Ty inquired, “You sure? My father wants you to stay here to have a family and a home. The Blue Suns Orphanage is important for your future.”

With a growl, Ash gripped the nape of his neck and shook her head responding, “Do not question me. This place is confusing me. It is suffocating. Get me out of here, now.”

Tyler nodded with a smile. He brushed her curled dark hair out of her eyes. Ash gripped his strong arms as they hugged. Ash buried her head against his bulged traps. Tyler kissed her on the cheek, embracing her with a response, “Leave it to me.”

Tyler left her position as she watched him go. Ash returned her cold gaze on that same window. As Tyler opened the door and exited, he nearly ran into Cam. The boy growled at him. Tyler raised his hands in surrender backing from him. Rushing to Ash’s side, Cam grabbed her hand and inquired, “Ash, what did he say? Are you okay?”

Ash broke her concentration looking at Cameron’s concerned expression. She touched his cheek stroking it assuring him, “Everything will be alright Cameron. Do not worry.”

Cameron smiled with the hopes that the beast had some feelings for him. Ash finished, “Cam, whatever happens here do not worry about me. I will be fine. I promise.”

In the dark somewhere far from the orphanage, the room lightened up with a glare. The humming power of the teleporter throbbed for a moment as the light vanished. Tyler appeared in the with a satisfied expression. He was in the Underground. Walking toward the Holo-sphere, he touched activating it. An image of Admiral Joriah Tiarus appeared.

Tyler responded cheerfully, “It’s been done, father. Your plan worked.”

Joriah looked at his son as he responded with a stern look, “The plan? The one that involved inviting Ashlyn to the party and having her attacked in order to bring the beast out of her? She was supposed to kill them all if not for the interference of two boys you were supposed to make sure that they weren’t involved. You were supposed to be with her taking the hits too!”

Tyler lowered his head and gulped responding, “Sorry father. She-“

Joriah exhaled shaking his head. Rubbing his face, he snapped sharply, “And she got hurt in the process! Almost killed! If you had been there, you were supposed to stop them too by thrusting yourself in the fight side by side! You were lucky Dale was there or she would have been killed.”

Keeping his head lowered, he mumbled backing from the sphere, “Sorry.”

The admiral shook his head and responded waving his hand, “No matter. What’s done is done. The SIAD is breathing down on my neck already, so I will have to make sure the plan is foolproof next time. Try to keep her close this time and do not fail me.”

“Yes father,” Tyler responded with a nod as the holo flicked off.

With a gulp, he looked down slightly remembering what happed to him when the beast slipped out of his grasp. His father cut off his allowance for several months. In that process of being cut off, he nearly lost his contracts with the fighters of the Strykers. He would have to be careful next time and make sure he does not lose Ash again for the third time. The Stryker leader loved his beast and should have been there for her.

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