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The Billion Dollar Girl

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Chapter 42

ῼ Ash Castillo ῼ

The girl disappeared from the courtyard and the door closed behind her. I frowned. Had that been Ella or not? Yes or no? I’d only caught a glimpse of her from the corner of my eye, so I couldn’t be sure. Cautiously, I slowly walked to the door and pressed my ear against it. Immediately, I heard a voice that was undoubtedly Ella’s.

“I don’t think I want to do it anymore.”

Smiling, I reached from the handle but froze when I heard another voice, also painfully familiar.

“You’re joking, right? You’re not serious. You’re messing with me.”

It was Will. What was Ella doing with Will? Alone? I suddenly remembered what James had told me, about Ella wanting to leave me and how Will was helping her. Fear ran through me, as painful and as startling as an electric shock. Surely she couldn’t want to leave me now, still? After everything that happened in Paris?

Fear was quickly replaced by anger. No. There was no way I was going to let her. Even if I had to lock her up, there was no way I was going to let her go.

“Will, I’m really not. I don’t want to leave him anymore.”

I stopped.

A slow warmth spread through me, and I felt myself smile. She didn’t want to leave.

“Don’t tell me… You’ve fallen for the guy!” Will sounded uncharacteristically out of control.

“Well…”

“I don’t believe this!” There was a loud thud, of fist against wall. I froze. “You’ve fallen for that idiot? The good-for-nothing fool, the player, the loser, the one who almost always get last place in exams? The one who tried to buy you, the one who cheated on you, the one who you told me you could never forgive? You fell for…Ash?”

“Let go! Will, let go of me.”

Will had hold of Ella?

I’d heard enough. I turned the handle, but found the door locked. Inside, their voices were rising ever louder.

“You said you hated him!” Will yelled. My heart thudded as I desperately twisted the handle, putting all my weight into it. “You’re supposed to hate him! You’re supposed to want to be with me. It’s meant to be you and me. Tell me you don’t like him! Say you don’t love Ash!”

“No!” Ella sounded panicked.

There was nothing else for it. I took a few steps back.

“Say it. Tell me!”

The door crumbled under the weight of my shoe and for a moment, I caught a glimpse of both their faces, turned towards me, surprised. Will’s hands were tight around Ella’s shoulders, and she was clearly in pain. Anger coursed through me, an anger I’d never felt before, not even on the night my Mom abandoned me.

I ripped Will off of her. When he stumbled back, I smashed his jaw with my fist. He fell to the floor and didn’t get back up. Ella began to fall too, but I managed to grab her and pull her into my arms before she fell. She was so small and delicate in my arms, it made me want to hold her there and keep her and protect her forever.

“Never let me see you again,” I threatened Will, my voice flat so he could tell I meant it. “Or I promise…I’ll kill you.”

I walked out with Ella, and didn’t stop until we were both deep in the middle of the school gardens. There, I let her down, setting her gently onto a bench. Finally, I allowed myself to look at her and to my surprise I saw her crying. Tears rolled down her face, shimmering like tiny little diamonds.

 “I’m sorry!” she sobbed. Ella dropped a ball of paper – the contract – she’d been holding in her fist onto my lap. “I’m really, really sorry I asked Will to get me out with the contract. When I accepted his help, I…I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking straight. I thought you were in love with Lucy. I didn’t…I…”

She looked so hopeless and upset, I almost laughed.

“Ella,” I said, my voice strangled. I pulled her hands into mine and peered worriedly at her face. “Why are you crying?”

She hiccupped slightly, looking at me shyly through her wet eyelashes.

“Because…well…aren’t you mad at me?” Her voice was hesitant, like she was scared.

“Why would I be mad at you?” I said, confused now.

“Because I tried to break the contract,” she whispered, through barely moving lips. “Which would have made you waste a billion dollars.”

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(Chapter 42)

Cast

Ashley Greeneas Ella
Alex Pettyferas Ash
Matt Lanteras Will
Chad Michael Murrayas Zack
Blake Livelyas Lucy

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