Home > Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always(3)

Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always(3)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

“You will,” she says. “As soon as we get home, we can go on a driving strike.”

“Yeah, that sounds nice, but it’ll have to be after I go back home for my mom’s birthday in August.”

Her hand stops moving through my hair. “You’re going back to Star Grove in August?”

I glance up at her. “Yeah… didn’t I tell you?”

I can’t read her expression, but she seems tense. “No, you never mentioned it.”

Shit. I think I might’ve messed up on that one. “I’m sorry,” I say. “I thought I told you about it a while ago.”

She shakes her head, not looking at me but up at the tent roof. “Well, you didn’t.” She pauses, and I can feel that she’s struggling to breathe. “So you’re going in August?”

“Yeah…” I’m not sure what to do to make her feel better. I didn’t mean to not tell her. Sometimes I just sort of f**k up, forgetting that I can’t just do things based upon what I want—that I’m in a relationship now. “I’m only going to be gone for a few days. I promise.”

“Okay.” It’s all she says, which makes the situation way worse, because she’s obviously bothered by this. But I wonder if it’s just because I didn’t tell her about it or because I’m going alone. Or maybe it’s something else entirely—she’s been upset a lot lately. “Lila, I can tell something’s bugging you, so will you please just talk to me?” I skim my finger across her cheekbone, causing her to shudder. “You seem upset and if you’d just tell me why, maybe I could help.”

“I’m fine… I promise.” She closes her eyes and inhales deeply and I think she’s on the verge of crying.

“I wish you’d just talk to me more about stuff,” I say quietly, not just hoping she’ll tell me what’s bothering her now but hoping she’ll finally break and spill what’s been putting her in a downer mood for the last couple of weeks as well. “You usually do.”

But she stays silent and I let her play with my hair for a few more moments before I carefully slip out of her and roll onto my back. She follows me, hitching her leg over my stomach; then she traces a circular pattern across my sweaty chest.

“I’m sorry I’ve been so cranky,” she whispers in a choked voice. “My head’s just been in a really weird place. And I don’t care if you go see your mom on her birthday—you should.”

“It’s okay to be cranky sometimes,” I reply, wrapping my arm around her and pulling her closer to me. “But you should really just talk to me and let me help make you feel better. No matter what’s bugging you, I’m here for you.”

She shakes her head and nuzzles her face against my chest. “I don’t want to talk about it tonight, but maybe tomorrow.” She sounds so sad and it hurts, not knowing what’s causing it. If it’s something because of me.

Whatever’s bothering her—and has been bothering her—she doesn’t want to tell me, and even though Lila has opened up to me about a lot of things, I still know from past experience that she can keep a secret like no one else. All those years of popping pills and no one ever knew.

Minutes later she falls asleep in my arms and I stroke my finger up and down her back, listening to the quiet around us that only being in the mountains can bring, attempting to sort through my thoughts.

She’s been really up and down since Chicago, ever since we went to visit Ella and Micha a couple of weeks ago. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it might have to do with the fact that she wants to get married, something that was brought up during Ella and Micha’s wedding last Christmas. Yeah, I knew Lila had certain things she wanted out of life, but I hadn’t really thought she’d need to say “I do” one day, until she started rambling about it while she was helping Ella plan things for the wedding. For a week straight, it’s all I heard about—that and babies, since Ella’s sister-in-law was pregnant. I tried to shrug and nod whenever she brought it up, and it seemed to be working for me, until she flat out asked me for a response.

“Where do you see us in five years?” she’d asked while we were tying bows at Micha’s mom’s kitchen table.

I’d glanced up from the bow I was tying, a little startled by her question. “Huh?”

Lila peered up at me with her beautiful blue eyes. “You and I as a couple. Do you think we’ll still be together in five years?”

“I’m not sure…” I’d squirmed uncomfortably in the chair. “I mean, we’ve only been dating for like a month.”

“Dating, yeah,” she said. “But we’ve been friends for longer and Ella and Micha were friends first, which makes the fact that they’re getting married so young understandable, at least from my point of view.”

I finished tying the bow before I spoke again, deciding just to be honest with her. “Honestly, Lila, I don’t think I can ever see myself getting married… if that’s what you’re getting at.” I wasn’t sure it was. She was utterly confusing me.

She shrugged, reaching for a roll of ribbon. “I wasn’t getting at anything. Just wondering, since you seem so against marriage.” She swallowed hard, looking upset. “Glad to know where you stand.”

I sighed as she pushed her chair away from the table and got to her feet. “Lila, I—”

She’d held up her hand, silencing me. “I wasn’t expecting a proposal anytime in the near future, but the fact that you can never see yourself getting married sucks.” Then she’d left the room and I felt like the biggest a**hole.

Still do.

But I can’t help how I feel. Or how I think I feel. I’m honestly unsure of what I want or how I can figure it out, since I hate figuring heavy stuff out. I don’t like complications and weddings and marriage, and forevers are more than complicated, at least from what I’ve seen. My parents’ marriage was full of fighting and abuse and that’s the last thing I want. Plus, making things really complicated means there’s a chance they could fall apart and then I’d be left dealing with the outcome. I had a girlfriend, London, who I thought I loved—although now that I’m in love with Lila, I’m not so sure I was really in love with London—and then she fell out a window and got amnesia and everything I had with her was lost. It was really hard to get over. If something like that happened with Lila and me… if I lost her in any way… I’m not sure I could ever get over it.

There are so many reasons why marriage and a future scare the shit out of me and I don’t think can’t picture myself doing it. I really can’t.

Lila eventually let the marriage thing go, obviously, since she’s here with me seven months later, but I can tell whenever the future comes up that she’s waiting for me to tell her what I want, but I still don’t have an answer to give her. I want her. That much I know. She’s amazing and smart and brave. She’s more beautiful than she realizes and even though I hate to admit it, I love giving in to her and letting her have her way… most of the time anyway.

But I’ve planned on living my life carefree and doing whatever I want, whenever I feel like it, like I am now without worrying about other stuff. And if five years down the road, I want to get up one day and take off in my truck and just drive off into the unknown by myself, I still want to be able to do it without hurting anyone or worrying about what will happen to those around me—worrying about life. That I might be breaking someone. Or that I won’t be able to because of my own feelings and attachments to certain things. But if I’m married, then that means I’ll have a wife to think about, a steady job, a house, and one day maybe even kids. God… I’m not sure how I feel about that.

The only thing I am sure about is that I never, ever want to lose Lila. She’s the only girl who’s ever made me feel like a relationship is worth the risk. And she’s not even just my girlfriend. She’s my best friend. The only person I’ve ever felt comfortable enough with to talk openly to. I tell her as much personal stuff as I tell my journal. But if we don’t want the same things, I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to hold on to her.

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