Home > The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(4)

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(4)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

“Maybe I should just take you home,” I’d said, putting the joint out in the ashtray of my truck.

“Why?” she questioned in a feisty tone, raising her eyebrows. “Are you afraid of me or something?”

I shook my head and rolled my eyes. “Don’t be f**king ridiculous.”

She eyed me up and down. “Are you a virgin or something?”

I snorted a laugh. “I haven’t been a virgin for two years, sweetheart.”

She smiled condescendingly. “Then what’s the problem?”

“I have no idea,” I lied.

She kept biting her lip and her eyes were all swollen from crying and there was mascara running down her cheeks. I hardly knew her, but I wanted to take that sad look off her face, which is something I didn’t want to be thinking. No strings attached. No relationship. Those were my rules.

“Then have sex with me.” She’d scooted across the bench seat and pressed her lips against mine roughly, biting my bottom lip. I thought about pulling away, but I was too turned on and ended up thinking with my c*ck and kissing her back.

We had sex in the backseat of my truck. Rough, sweaty, passion-filled sex that blew my mind at the time. I mean, I’d had sex before, but this was different and all that overthinking and wanting to be alone momentarily dissolved into desire for something more in life, not that I could figure out what.

After that I kind of became addicted to her and her erratic, impulsive, wild behavior. She introduced me to a world of weed and we’d spend hours hav**g s*x, never really talking, making our relationship easy and perfect, never complicated.

And now, six months later, I’m sitting in a her**n addict’s house because she asked me to be here. It’s not my scene. I mean, I get high and everything with weed and I’ve tried coc**ne a few times, but her**n is a whole other ballgame, one I’m not sure I want to play.

London extends her arm across the table. She’s got short black hair, streaked with purple, and her eyebrow is pierced, along with the spot just above her lip, next to a gnarly scar that runs from the side of her nose to her lip. I’ve asked her a ton of times how she got it, but she refuses to tell me. She refuses to tell me a lot of things.

“Ethan?” London looks in my direction with a hopeful expression on her face. “I can’t shoot myself up. Will you please, pretty please help me?”

I pull a wary face and shake my head. “Sorry, I don’t know how.”

“I know you don’t, baby, but I can tell you how to do it. It’ll be fine, trust me.” Her eyes plead with me to help her as she runs her free hand through my hair, trying to warm me up. “Please, I really need this.”

She always really needs something and I usually let her, because she’s not mine to own, but this… this might be a little too much.

“Since when are you into this stuff?” I ask her, glancing around at the people lying around on the living room floor. “I’ve been with you for the last six months and I’ve never seen you do anything but weed and coke.”

“Well, I guess you don’t know me that well, then,” she snaps, jerking her hand away from my hair. “And you haven’t been with me. I just let you follow me around.”

I’m getting aggravated. I crack my knuckles against the table and then pop my neck. “Well, I’m not helping you with this.” She pouts out her lip, but I don’t feel bad for her.

“That’s not going to work on me,” I tell her. “Not with this.”

“I’ll help ya, baby.” This guy who’s her age—I think his name Drake or Draven or some weird vampire-sounding name—comes walking into the kitchen. He’s a complete a**hole and disregards me, looking at London like she belongs to him or some shit. “You got a needle?”

She shakes her head and tucks her hair behind her ear, brushing it away from her shoulder and I can see her tattoo on her shoulder: broken. I asked her what it meant once and she said it was because she was broken. I asked her why she thought that and she shook her head and told me she didn’t want to talk about it. That she just wanted to fuck. She says that a lot.

“Just the one right here.” London flicks the used needle that’s on the table and my face twists with revulsion.

He plops down in the seat next to her and picks up the used needle that belongs to the guy passed out on the table. Then he picks up a spoon and a lighter.

“You know that’s not sanitary, right?” I ask London, tugging down the sleeves of my plaid shirt. “Or smart?”

“Since when have I ever claimed to be smart?” She arches her eyebrow at me, daring me to tell her otherwise.

“Never, but it doesn’t mean you have to act like an idiot.” I glance at Draven or Drake or whoever he is. “When you’re obviously not.”

“Well, Drake’s going to do it for me,” she states, with a challenge in her eyes because she knows it’s a sensitive subject. I hate looking weak and right now I’m letting some guy take control over my girl.

I glance at the needle in the guy’s hand as he extracts some liquid from the spoon. I want to punch him in the face. I want to yell at him. I want to yell at London, not just for doing it now but because I’m starting to wonder if she’s done this in the past, shot up with dirty needles. Shit, what if she gave something to me. But I don’t yell at her because then I’d be a replica of my father always yelling at my mom. Honestly, what I really want to do is run out of this damn house because I don’t want to be here.

“Can’t we just go?” I say. “There’s gotta be something else you want to do. We can go hang out with Jessabelle and Big D.”

“Those two are amateurs,” she retorts and I can tell by her firm tone that she’s not going to back down because once London makes up her mind, there’s no changing it.

“Who brought the whiner to this place?” the guy interrupts, targeting a glare at me. He nods his chin toward the front door. “If you’re not big enough to handle it then get the f**k out.”

The guy is twice my size—thick neck, tall, hefty—and I’m not one for picking fights anyway. “Just come with me,” I say to London. “I can take you home or I can take you back to my place.”

“To do what? Talk? Make out? Fuck?” She shakes her head. “That’s not what I want right now, Ethan. What I want—what I need—is this.” She directs her attention back to the needle and pumps her fist a few times. “God, I need this so bad.”

Something’s obviously bothering her and it seems like for once I need to get to the bottom of it before she does something drastic even for her. “London, please just come with me and tell me—”

“Shut the f**k up, Ethan!” she cries, slamming her other hand down on the table. Some guy in the living room busts up laughing and the guy high in the chair tips over and falls to the floor, hitting the ground hard. No one seems to care. “I don’t need a f**king hero. Or some pathetic little high schooler trying to save me. What I need is to be with someone who will give me what I want and allow me to live my life how I want.”

Grinding my teeth, I shove up from the chair. “Fine. Do whatever the f**k you want then. Find someone else. See if I give a shit.” I do give a shit, though. Really badly. I want London, more than I’ve wanted anyone else. I’ve always secretly wished I could just leave all my stuff behind, hitchhike across the country, and write about what I see and feel and how much I hate being around people and the world and the constant chattering. It always feels like there’s the rest of the world and then me. But now there’s London and me. I think I might be in love with her even though she’s kind of messed up in the head and I really don’t know much about her. But I’m the same way. I rarely share who I am and confuse the hell out of people when I do. Deep down, I think we could be beautiful together, living in our own little messed-up world, where we would talk about being outsiders and living life to the fullest. But not like this. Not with f**king her**n in our systems.

London’s emotions mix in her expression as I head for the door. She looks enraged, irritated, and hurt, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other. As I leave the kitchen, I get this small urge to turn back around and try one more time to convince her not to do it, but when I glance back over my shoulder, the guy’s already plunging the needle into her forearm. Shaking my head and internally cringing, I storm out of the house, knowing she’ll call me either later tonight or in the morning to pick her up, like she always does. That’s the thing with London. She always comes back to me no matter what and I’ll probably always take her back, because in this lonely world, she’s the only person who gets what it’s like to feel out of place. She promised me that no matter what happened, she’d always come back to me and she always has. So when she doesn’t call me by the next morning, I instantly know that something has to be wrong. And for the very first and last time, she doesn’t come back to me.

Chapter One

Present day…


I’m having a where-the-hell-am-I moment. My arms are flailing, my pulse fitfully racing as I struggle to get my bearings. I open my eyes, but I can’t place a single thing about the room I’m in other than I’m nak*d in a bed, sweaty, and super gross. My head feels like it’s stuck in a fishbowl as I try to recollect where I left my pills, but I can’t even remember where I am. There are photos on the walls, none of anyone I recognize, though. The closet is open and it looks like there’s some kind of football uniform in there. Did I sleep with a football player? No, that doesn’t sound familiar. My gaze slides to the opened condom wrapper on the nightstand and I feel relief wash through me. I’m on birth control and everything, but that only protects from pregnancy. God, I really need to stop doing this.

I’ve become accustomed to these kinds of situations, waking up in unfamiliar places with a headache, panic, and consistent, recognizable shame inside me that I know belongs there, just as much as the air in my lungs and the blood in my heart. I don’t deserve to feel anything better after the decisions and choices that I’ve made. I know what I am on the inside now and I don’t fight it anymore. It’s both liberating and heartbreaking because this is how I have to be—who I am—and it’s sad. But I can smile on the outside, show the world how happy I am, since that’s what’s important, even if I’m dying on the inside.

The routine is very simple and I know it like I know the back of my hand. I open my eyes, take in my surroundings, try to remember something, and then when all else fails, get the hell out of there. I slowly sit up, trying not to wake the guy lying in the bed next to me. He’s got dark brown hair and a pretty sturdy body, but his back is turned to me and my memories are hazy, so I can’t place what he looks like from the front. Maybe that’s for the best, though. Whatever I was looking for with him—love, happiness, a blissful moment of connection—obviously never happened. And I’m at a point in my life where I doubt if it ever will.

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