Home > The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(9)

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(9)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

I first started taking the pills when I was fourteen because my mother encouraged me to, saying they would help erase the shame and dirtiness I’d been feeling. I’d just had sex for the first time with a guy who pretty much used me and it turned out the pill worked brilliantly, numbing almost all of my emotions. So I’ve been taking them ever since.

Sighing, I get dressed in a light-blue sundress, twist my hair up with some clips, and head to the kitchen to clean up the floor. Last night I spilled a bunch of wine on it, but I was too drunk to clean it up and now it’s stuck to the tile and is stinking up the house. I grab a barely touched sponge and some cleaner out from under the sink, then try not to gag as I put a pair of rubber gloves on and get down on my hands and knees.

I hate cleaning up the house and try to avoid doing any sort of cleaning at all cost. I’d been having someone come clean the house since Ella left, but I’m running low on cash and can’t afford her anymore. I get down on my hands and knees with a bucket of water and a sponge. As I’m scrubbing the floors, my mother calls me and I almost laugh to myself, wondering what she would do if she saw me on my hands and knees scrubbing dirt off the floor with a sponge.

I turn around and sit down before answering my phone, noticing that I’ve missed a call from Ella, like Ethan suspected. “Yes, mother,” I answer.

“Have you changed your mind about coming home?” She’s been saying the same thing to me ever since I announced my sudden decision to move to Vegas and attend UNLV over a year and a half ago. I’d just graduated from boarding school and had returned home for the summer. My family thought I was going to Yale in the fall, only because I’d lied to everyone and told them I was. I felt ashamed and I was angry at myself for feeling that way, like I couldn’t just admit that I wasn’t smart enough to go to a fancy school. I’d felt ashamed for the last four years and I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. I knew eventually I’d have to tell everyone that I didn’t get accepted to Yale or any other Ivy League school, so instead of facing it, I left. I packed my shit, opened a map, and pointed to a random place, which ended up being Vegas. I said good-bye to my mother and she fought me the entire way, yelling and screaming and saying that I’d never make it on my own. But I had money and decent grades and UNLV accepted me in a heartbeat.

“No,” I respond with the same answer I always give her. “And I already told you I wasn’t going to change my mind.”

“Well, I was hoping that your mind decided to be smart,” she counters. “But then again, I guess I should know better. You’ve proved over the last many, many years, just how stupid your decisions can be.” She sounds more and more like my father the more time goes on. She’s almost like clay, easily pliable and shapeable.

I pick at my nail polish, debating whether to go to my room and take another pill. She’s taking a jab at me for the huge mistake she’ll never be able to forgive me for, not only because of what it made me look like but because it made her and my father look like they raised a slut.

“Did you call for a reason?” I ask calmly “Or to just complain about me?”

“Your father wants you to come home,” she states in a subdued voice. “He says if you do he’ll give you back your car and credit cards.”

“As always, I’m going to have to decline his offer.”

“Well, as always you’re going to make dumb choices that make this entire family look bad. Between your sister being a waitress and having an illegitimate child and your living in Vegas in an apartment, we look like the low-lives of the community.”

“Well, maybe you should just tell everyone we’re dead, then.” I feel numb as I say it and I’m thankful for the medication in my system. “I mean, we both know how great you are about making up cover stories when one of us screws up.”

She laughs cynically into the phone. “Well, I’ve had good practice. I have one daughter who’s an ex-junkie, and another daughter who’s been a little slut since she was fourteen.”

“I was confused and didn’t completely understand what I was getting into.” I swallow hard, trying not to think about where my journey of being a slut started. “And you did nothing to help me. Nothing beneficial anyway.”

“You made a choice, Lila,” she retorts derisively. “No one made you do anything. You chose to do it.”

“I was fourteen,” I mumble, the detached feeling in my body starting to lift as the walls close in on me, shrinking me into a ball, just like they did to me when I was a child. My mother has that effect on me, even with a simple phone call. I cradle my knees against my chest and rest my chin on my knees.

“Excuses are for the weak. And if you’d just admit that you made a mistake, and that you continue to make them, then maybe you’d finally be able to clean up your act.” She sighs. “You’re a beautiful girl, Lila, and your looks could carry you really far in life. Imagine what kind of man you could get if you’d try to date one instead of sleeping with them all.”

“Wow, have you ever considered becoming a psychiatrist?” I ask sarcastically. “Because you’d be great at it.”

She hangs up on me.

I’m not surprised and I was hoping she would, otherwise she would have started lashing into me about how much of an utter disappointment I am. I press END, glad that I no longer have to talk to her. At the same time I’m hurt that she views me like she does, that she hates me, wishes I was someone else, someone other than who I am. Although, I don’t even know who that is so I can’t figure out how she does.

I give myself thirty seconds to wallow, and then I call Ella to see what she wants.

“Hello,” she answers cheerfully and I can’t help but smile because she used to be so sad. I’m glad she’s happy, although part of me envies her.

“Hey, did you call earlier?” I ask, lying down on the linoleum floor and staring up at the ceiling. I miss Ella and everything, but it’s nice to live alone, too, because I’d never just lie down on the floor in front of her.

“Yeah, I figured you might need to talk,” she says and I hear Micha shout something in the background.

“We can talk later,” I tell her. “If you’re busy.”

“No, we can talk now,” she insists. “Micha’s just yammering in my ear for no reason.” There’s laughter in her tone and Micha shouts out something else, but it sounds murmured through the phone. “Ethan made it sound like you needed to talk.”

“Huh… He called you?”

“Yeah, just a little bit ago.”

I bite down on my lip, slightly irked, wondering if he called her to tell her to check up on me because I haven’t been paying the rent. The last thing I want to do is tell Ella my problems when she has so many problems herself. Plus, I don’t like talking about my issues—it’s what I’ve been taught. The only person I’ve told anything to is Ethan and even he doesn’t know everything. “Well, sorry to waste your time, but I don’t really have anything to talk about.”

She hesitates. “That’s okay. I’ve been meaning to call you anyway.”

“About what?” I’m trying to force the irritation out of my tone, but I can’t quite get there. The pills need to kick it up a notch so I can feel artificially happy.

“Maybe I should call later,” she says. “You sound annoyed right now.”

I sigh heavily, stretching my legs out. “I’m sorry. I’m just a little hung-over and taking it out on you. Sorry.”

“That’s okay,” she replies very cheerfully and very unlike the Ella I first met. “You’ve put up with a lot of crap from me over the last couple of years.”

“God, have we known each other for that long?” I manage to keep my voice light and cheery, even though my head is aching.

“Yeah, we’re getting so old, right?” she jokes, but she sounds kind of nervous.

“What are you not telling me?” I say, pushing up on my elbows. “You’ve got that tone… the one you use when you have a secret.”

“I don’t have a tone.” She pretends she has no idea what I’m talking about, but her overly nonchalant attitude suggests otherwise.

I pinch the brim of my nose, trying to alleviate the pain in my head, and luckily my voice comes out sounding as if I’m the cheery Lila, the one everyone needs to see. “All right, spill your guts.”

“Well…” She takes a deep breath. “I kind of moved the ring.”

“What!” I exclaim and suddenly all of my crankiness diminishes. Ella has been wearing a ring Micha gave her on the opposite finger as the engagement one. The deal between the two of them was that when Ella felt ready to get engaged, she’d move the ring to the other finger and it’s finally official. “When?”

She dithers. “Actually it was a while ago… the day Micha and I left Vegas.”

“You bitch,” I say, half joking, but kind of angry at the same time. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

“I don’t know… I guess because I was still getting used to it.”

I absentmindedly turn the ring on my own finger, thinking about how sick and twisted I am that I won’t get rid of it. I swear the God damn ring still owns me—he still owns me. “You could have gotten used to it by telling me.”

“I know and I’m really sorry. You know how I get about this kind of stuff though.”

“I do.” I really, really do. Ella shuts down and keeps things hidden. I didn’t know that when I met her so it was a surprise when I got to see this whole other side of her. She went from a quietly, orderly, good girl, to this loud, reckless, badass, and I sometimes wish I could be the same way. Carefree and outgoing and just living life exactly how I want in the moment, without having to be intoxicated.

Micha, her fiancé now I guess, shouts something in the background and then Ella lets out a squeal in the phone. I hear a loud thump and then there’s a lot of giggling. I wait for her to come back on, but the giggling only gets louder as she argues with Micha through her laughter about letting her go.

I roll my eyes, officially hating her for the beautiful relationship that she has and deserves. “All right, I’m going to go. If you can hear me, congrats and I’ll call you later.”

I drop the phone onto the floor and the quiet sets in. The sunlight sneaks through the cracks of the blinds and I can hear my next-door neighbors arguing about something. It’s really loud and annoying and I yell, “Keep it down!” while banging on the wall.

They don’t hear me though and keep shouting. The longer I lie there, the more the loneliness catches up with me, like a wave ready to slam into the shore. I want someone who will love me like Micha loves Ella. I want someone—anyone—just to love me. I’ve been trying the best that I can to find that kind of love, but it never seems to work out and I’m really starting to believe that I’m beneath being loved.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)