Home > The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(8)

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(8)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

As much as I agreed that Ella was insane, I didn’t think the two of them should split up. They have the kind of love that most people, including myself, will never understand or experience. I don’t think I even had it with London.

So I’d agreed to go to a city I hated, to help fix the problem and try to make things right between the two of them even though it wasn’t my responsibility. Why do I always try to fix things? I have no f**king clue other than it drives me crazy when other people are acting crazy when clearly they have it really good.

I slide my finger over my cell phone screen and read the text over.

Rae: I know we haven’t talked in a while, but I wanted to check up on you and see how you were doing.

That’s not the real reason why she’s texting and I know it. She wants the same thing she wanted from me seven or eight months ago.

Me: I’m fine.

Rae: Have you thought anymore about taking a trip to Virginia?

Me: Not sure I can.

Rae: Why not? You know it’d be good for both of you.

Me: No, it wouldn’t.

Rae: Please, I really need your help… London’s getting worse.

And there it is. The real reason she’s texting me. She wants hope. She needs to know that she’s doing everything right. And she wants me to give her the resolution. But I can’t because giving her false hope—going there and seeing London—means finally letting go. And I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet, whether I can allow myself to let go and fully accept reality. That what’s done is done and I have to let go and move on.

Me:You know it’s not going to do any good. It didn’t the last time I tried and from what you told me seven months ago, everything’s still the same with her as it was after the accident.

Rae:But I want to change that. If you’d just come visit her, you might be able to change it. You were so close to her when it happened.

No, I can’t. No one can. You know this—everyone does—and I don’t want to see what I lost. My finger hovers of the button as I deliberate what to type back to her.

“Oh my God, I feel so much better,” Lila says, tousling her wet hair with her fingers as she walks out of the hallway wearing only a towel. My jaw nearly hits the floor. It’s a really, really f**king short towel, one that gives me a view of her thighs and if she turned around, I could probably see the bottom of her ass.

“Is that a hand towel?” I ask, half joking, half serious.

“No,” she replies simply. She seems more relaxed and laid-back than when I picked her up. “Just a normal towel.”

I try not to stare as she sinks down on the sofa beside me. She doesn’t even bother trying to keep the towel closed and I get a glimpse of her thighs, which I’ve touched once so I know how soft her skin is. Just seeing them, I have to ball my hands into fists so that I’ll keep them to myself.

“I really needed to get last night off of me,” she says, shaking her hair out. It falls against her bare shoulders, sending beads of water trickling down her skin. “I felt so gross.”

“Is that why you were being so bitchy?” I stuff my phone into the pocket of my jeans. I need some time to think and process what she’s asking me to do and if I can finally do it, not to give her hope but to say my good-bye.

She shrugs, examining her fingernails. “I guess so,” she says nonchalantly, putting her hand on her lap. “Hey, do you want to go out tonight or something?” Lila smiles cheerfully at me as she relaxes back into the sofa, with her hair swept to the side. “Drinks are on me for being a pain in the butt.”

“I don’t think I can,” I say evasively. “Did you get a phone call from Ella by chance?”

Lila shakes her head and twirls a strand of her damp hair around her finger. “No, but I left my phone in my room, so maybe I missed a call.”

“You should call her.” I pat her bare leg, slipping up again on one of my rules that I set with her: no inappropriate touching.

I’m about to quickly pull away when she shudders under my touch and my muscles ravel as my palm presses against her warm, slightly damp skin. We both freeze and I swear to f**king God I can hear both of our hearts pounding insanely. This isn’t the first time that an awkward, intense moment has happened between us and I’m starting to think it won’t be the last. I know I should pull back, because it’s going to go somewhere beyond the friend zone if I don’t, but her breathing accelerates, her chest rapidly rising and falling, her br**sts heaving up and down with her deep, ravenous breaths. My c*ck goes hard and the idea of touching her is so tempting. Suddenly, like my damn hand has a mind of its own, it’s slipping up her leg. Her skin is as soft as I remember. I knead my fingers into her thigh and she shudders again, her whole body quivering.

As my hand drifts higher up into the towel, my thoughts wandering to how it would feel if my fingers were inside of her. Fucking good, I’m sure. Way too f**king good. I could find out. I know she’d probably let me, but the fact that she would so easily makes me feel guilty. She lets just about everyone touch her, but not because she’s a slut. I don’t believe for one second that she is. There’s something hidden inside her that she’s trying to cover up with sex. I can see it in her eyes sometimes, when she gets really quiet. Sadness. Self-doubt. Self-torture, even.

She’s not like that now, though, seeming more content and subdued than anything. My hand lingers on the top of her thigh, my fingers brushing toward the inner section, which is even softer. I can feel warmth radiating off her and wetness. God damn it, she’s getting wet and I can feel it, which only makes me want to feel more. As my fingers make a path inward, just about to brush across her wetness, she grips down on the armrest and moans. Actually arches her neck, tips her head back, and f**king moans. My pulse hammers as my fingertips press down into her skin. Fuck.

“Ethan… God…” Her hair falls back from her shoulders, her chest bowing upward, and I nearly attack her with my lips, lick a path up her leg, slip my tongue inside her, something I’ve wanted to do since the first day I laid eyes on her.

My fingers dig deeper into her skin, as confliction settles inside me. Pull my hand back. Keep going. Somehow I manage to snap my thoughts away from my c*ck and swiftly pull my hand away. I can’t believe I screwed up again. I’ve always had my rules about f**king around with girls who I had any sort of feelings for.

I’m practically sweating as I get to my feet, digging my keys out of my pocket, hoping she doesn’t notice my c*ck bulging in my shorts. “I got a few things to do, but I’ll check up on you a little bit later.” I wait for her to say something about what just happened, that I almost stuck my fingers inside her, but all she does is frown up at me.

“You don’t need to check up on me.” She adjusts the bottom of the towel over her thighs, crosses her legs, and covers herself up a little. “I’m perfectly okay by myself.” She smiles at me but it looks fake.

I move for the door. “I’ll check up on you later,” I repeat, then open the door and step out into the sunlight, angry with myself for messing up and extremely angry at the part of me that wanted to mess up and throw my rules right out the window. I set them for a reason. To stop myself and others from getting hurt.

As I head to my truck, my phone beeps from inside my pocket. I retrieve it and check the screen. Rae again. I think about texting her back and telling her that I won’t go to Virginia. But part of me wants to see London again, even if she’s not the same London I fell in love with. I want to say good-bye, yet I don’t. And part of me wants to run back to Lila because for some reason, being around her makes me feel better. I’m so confused at this point as thoughts of both London and Lila clash in my head. Who do I hold on to? London? The girl who I thought I once loved? The girl I lost and will never get back? The girl I walked away from, just left to shoot up? The girl who I wanted to know more than anything, but I missed my chance? Or should I just let her go? Release my guilt of walking away from her that day, just like that. Go around f**king girls, living life, doing whatever I want? Deep down I know I should have never walked away from her that day and that if I’d stayed instead of thinking solely of myself then things might have been different today. Perhaps I’d still be with her.

I can’t let her go yet—can’t let go of my guilt. I should just be alone. It’s for the best.

I end up skipping on sending back a text to Rae, knowing that by doing so I’m allowing myself to continue to hold on to the idea of London and continue to think of Lila sitting up in her apartment in the hand towel at the same time.

My f**ked-up thoughts are giving me a headache. “Shit,” I mutter, kicking the tire.

I really f**king need a drink.

Chapter Two


I’m sitting on the couch alone, wearing a towel, stunned and slightly ashamed of myself. I don’t know what the hell happened. Well, actually I do since it’s happened before, but it still doesn’t make it any easier. One minute Ethan’s hand was wandering up my thigh and it felt so good but then he just up and left, totally blowing me off, and it frustrates me because I want him. Badly.

Ever since I met Ethan, that’s how he’s been toward me. He’ll flirt with me all the time, yet for the most part he never acts on it, teasing me but never fully following through. I’m always hoping he’ll surprise me and finally do something, like show that he’s attracted to me. Something tells me that he might be a little different from the other guys I’ve slept with, sweeter, softer, or maybe rough, but in a good way. Usually, I’m strictly a collared shirt, slacks, nice car, money kind of girl. But there’s something about Ethan and the mysteriousness in his brown eyes, the intricate tattoos on his arms, and the way his black hair is always all over the place that makes me burn with curiosity. And part of me thinks that maybe, just maybe I’d finally feel something besides unworthiness and humiliation after I had sex with Ethan. Although, I’m really starting to wonder if I just have a broken vag**a. And heart. And head.

After he leaves me high and dry, the two pills I popped before I took a shower quickly and fortunately kick in and everything—even being alone in my empty apartment after Ethan blew me off—feels okay. The pills keep away the memories and feelings of what happened last night, along with many other nights in my past. And not remembering them is important. Pain equals unwanted emotions, meltdowns, embarrassment. As much as I hate the blackouts the pills give me, I also hate temporary blackouts where bits and pieces come back to me in sharp, disgraceful images. All that does is remind me of what I’ve become and how empty and insignificant I feel inside. Sometimes it feels like my body doesn’t belong to me, like I lost it a long time ago and I’ll never get it back. I wonder if this is how everyone feels after sex. If they feel so dirty and unclean.

It does seem like I’ve been getting worse lately, but life seems to be getting harder. In the last year and a half my roommate and best friend moved out to go live her life and now I’m alone. I tried to stand up for myself to my parents, telling them I wouldn’t come home and live the life they want me to live, and in return my dad took away my car. A few months ago he also canceled all my credit cards and now I’m running out of money and can’t even come up with enough to pay my tuition. Being poor isn’t something I think I can live with. So to escape the painful, shameful reality of how pathetic my life has become, I’ve started sleeping around more and downing more and more pills.

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