By: LeAnn Ashers

“Liam!” a woman yells, and I feel hands snaking under my body. I open my eyes to see his dark ones bearing down on me, his face filled with rage. I close my eyes once more, letting it sink in that I am safe.

He turns around and I hear a sound that will never leave me. “No!” Dad yells. Liam tightens his grip on me, and I take a step back. My dad calls the guys, telling them to get here and runs over, taking me from Liam. In that moment, breathing in the smell of my father and the sense of safety that he gives off in waves, the dam breaks. I cling to him, his arms tight around me. He is shaking just as hard as I am. “He will pay for this, Baby.” He kisses the top of my head, and I close my eyes and cry against his chest.

I just want to go home. “Fuck.” Dad lifts me off the ground, tucking me against him. I bury my face in his chest and let him shield me from the world. In this moment I am not a teenager, but a little girl again.

The guys arrive a few minutes later. Kyle walks up to us, and the others follow close behind. “Talk,” Kyle says and Liam relays everything that happened.

I raise my head and mouth to Liam, “Thank you.” He nods and goes back to talking to Kyle. A few minutes later Dad carries me to the car and I close my eyes, allowing sleep to take me.



That is a moment I will never fucking forget. The sight of her on the ground like that and someone wanting to hurt her will forever be stamped into my brain.

She is like an angel. She had my attention the moment I walked into the school. She smiled at everyone and floated around making everyone happy by just being in her presence. It was fucking intoxicating.

I want her, but I am not someone who can be the guy next door. I had a hard time and had to live rough until I moved in with my sister. I am the exact opposite of Paisley. I am dark, mean, and rough. I talk with my fists. She is light and happiness, too beautiful to be in this cold fucking place. That doesn’t stop me from wanting her, but I settle for watching her and protecting her. Maybe someday, once I become the man she deserves, then I can have her. One thing is for certain, I am a determined motherfucker.


A Week Later

It was finally time for me to go back to school. I don’t think I will ever be ready, but it’s time for me to move on with my life. So now I’m sitting at lunch, and all of my friends have completely abandoned me, leaving me all alone with people staring at me. They’re looking at me like I am from a different planet. Nobody knows what happened except for the people I thought of as friends, but I guess they spread it around.

I duck my head and stare at the tray in front of me, my appetite completely gone. Them not being my friends isn’t a big deal to me, not compared to everything else that happened. Someone sets down a tray directly beside me, and I look up to see Liam, much to my surprise. He sits down beside me and I stare at him. What is he doing? He begins opening my food and drink for me while I just stare.

He finally looks at me for the first time, a small smile tugging at the edges of his lips. I smile and lower my head again, blushing hard. He is so beautiful it’s hard not to smile. I offer him my hand, like a dork. “Paisley.”

He looks at my hand, his twitching lips turning into a full-blown smile. “Liam.”

This was the start of my forever.

A Couple of Years Later


Today is the day I have dreaded more than anything. Today is the day my best friend in the whole world is leaving for basic training. Liam is someone I have come to trust and care about. There is also a part of me that wants him. God, do I want him. I have this fear buried deep in my heart because I am scared for him. I am scared that he will be taken away from me. A knock on my bedroom door interrupts my fears, and Liam steps into my room.

“Sneaking in again?” I ask, a grin sliding over my face for the first time today. He winks, neither confirming nor denying. He shuts the door behind him, and my stomach sinks because he is such a beautiful man. I thought he was beautiful the first time I met him, but now? He has changed. He is taller, at least six foot five, his body has filled out, and he has a killer smile. I scoot across the bed so he can sit beside me. We watch TV together, as we have time and time again, but we won’t do this again for a long time. I stare at the TV, not looking at him even though I can feel him staring at me, demanding that I look at him. I don’t want him to see me cry.