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Home > Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always(4)

Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always(4)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

Chapter 2

Lila

It’s our last day here—on the road together—and I’m both sad for it to end and kind of glad to be going back so I can take a real shower and eat food that doesn’t come in a can. I’m trying to keep as upbeat as I can even after my little meltdown last night. I didn’t really mean to almost cry last night in the tent, but then he started talking about how he was going up to Star Grove for his mom’s birthday. He never told me he was, which stung a little. But the worst part is that he didn’t even invite me to go with him. I don’t think he’s doing it on purpose. I just think that he’s not really thinking about the future as an us yet. It painfully reminded me even more that I have no idea where we’re going to end up—if I’ll ever visit his parents’ with him. And what added more heartache to the situation was having him near me, touching me like he does. It sets off how much I want things to always be this way.

Forever and always. Just him and I.

I just wish he felt the same way, but I’m starting to wonder more and more if he doesn’t.

Still, I pull myself together and manage to make it through breakfast smiling. The only time I let my mood drop is when it’s time to get cleaned up, but that’s for an entirely different reason. No matter what section of the country we’re in, all places share one thing in common. The streams and ponds are freezing. Taking a bath outside and actually staying in long enough to get clean is a challenge. It takes a lot of mental preparation. As I strip off my clothing and stare at the translucent water rolling over the rocks in front of me, I shiver, even though the sun is beating down my bare body.

It’s an amazing sight, really. The small pond is tucked between rocks and trees, the water a clear blue, and there’s this little waterfall toward the back. But I know from experience that the beauty of it is going to be lost the moment I step in and I start to freeze.

“You know, you were sexy as hell before,” Ethan says from behind me. “But that tattoo makes you look so goddamn gorgeous.”

I smile to myself, remembering how I’d finally decided to get a tattoo right before we left for this road trip. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted, but then decided on a sparrow when I found out it meant freedom. It seems fitting since I’ve never felt freer in my life. Per Ethan’s suggestion, I got it right between my shoulder blades. It hurt, but it was totally worth it because with each prick of the needle, I felt freer and freer from my dark past and my parents’ control.

I am free now.

“You know, if you want, you can just stand there all day,” Ethan adds, and I can hear the soft sound of his footsteps inching closer to me. “You make the view a hell of a lot better.”

I look over my shoulder at him, giving him a dark, playful look. “What if some hikers came up here and saw me nak*d? Would you still want me to stand here nak*d?”

He’s standing not too far off behind me near the tree line, wearing a dark green shirt with a faded logo, cargo shorts, and boots that are untied. He’s also got his journal in his hands. “That depends,” he says, taking a step forward, his intent gaze making me feel like I’m sweltering.

“On what?” I’m breathless just from the way he’s looking at me.

He cocks his head to the side, a grin gradually rising on his face as he leisurely scrolls over my body. “On if the hikers are guys or women. If it’s a bunch of women, then I’d tell them to go ahead and enjoy the view.” His grin broadens as I roll my eyes.

“You’re such a pervert,” I say, crossing my hands over my chest.

He reaches me, assessing me, and the desire in his eyes makes me shiver. “You like that I am—it totally turns you on when I say dirty things to you.”

“It does not,” I lie, biting back a smile.

He arches his brow. “If that’s not true, then why are your n**ples all perky?” He reaches out and pinches one of them softly, causing me to shudder, and a small gasp escapes my lips.

“You want to get in with me?” I ask as he cups my breast and leans in to suck on my neck. Please, get in with me. Oh my God, please…

He kisses me until I become breathless and then moves back with a glazed look in his eyes. “Maybe in a bit.” He’s totally enjoying the fact that he’s making me all hot and bothered. “I’m just going to watch you while I write for a while.”

I frown, a little disappointed as I back toward the water. “You’re such a tease.”

Pleased with himself, he heads over to one of the large rocks next to the stream that pools into the pond and climbs up on it. When he gets to the top, he sits down and situates the journal on his lap. Then he takes a pen out of his pocket, bites off the cap, and presses the tip of it to the paper as he watches me with an I’m waiting for you to get into the water so I can watch you wet and nak*d look.

Sighing, I approach the edge of the stream, where the water meets the dirt. Mud oozes through my toes and rocks scrape at my bare feet as I dip my toe into the water. My body instantly jolts from the chill as I take a deep breath and wade in, squealing and sucking in huge lungfuls of air. When I reach the middle, where the water goes up to my waist, I turn around and find Ethan laughing at me.

“A little cold?” he asks through his laughter.

I shake my head, then decide the best way to get even is to torture him, so even though it’s not comfortable to do in cold water, I dip my head back into the water, arch my back, and stick my chest up in the air. As the water soaks my hair, it gives me a brain freeze, like I’ve just guzzled down an ICEE, but it’s worth it when I stand back up to see Ethan looks a little flustered.

I smile to myself and then turn around and plunge under, letting the water wash over my body, so cold not a single bad thought can form in my head. Moments later, I hear a soft thud from behind me. When I turn around, Ethan has hopped off the rock and is peeling off his shirt. Without taking his shorts off, he walks into the water, wincing from the cold as it reaches his waist.

“What are you doing?” I ask as he wades toward me. “I thought you were just going to watch and write for a while.”

He doesn’t speak, just shakes his head. His eyes are locked on mine and full of desire as he moves toward me. When he reaches me, he gives no warning, crashing his lips against mine and scooping me up in his arms. The sun hits my skin as I’m picked up out of the water and my legs fasten around his waist. He holds onto me with one hand as he feels my side and skims my breast with his other hand, kissing me until I can’t breathe. I clutch him as his fingers drift from my side, to my hip, to my thigh. Then bracing me in one arm, he slips a finger deep inside me.

I gasp as I tangle my fingers through his hair and desperately try to grasp on to him. One of my legs slides back down into the water and I stand on my tiptoes, clutching onto his shoulders, with my other leg hitched around his hip. His fingers move inside me, driving me to the edge as he buries his head into the crook of my neck, his warm breath caressing my chilly skin. I groan. I plead. I beg for more and he gives it to me, slipping another finger into me, and I move my h*ps with his rhythm until he pushes me over the edge. I forget about everything. Nothing exists at this moment except for him and I and the connection we’ve shared since the moment we met over two years ago.

It’s perfect until he pulls his fingers out of me and leans back a little, letting my other leg slide down back into the water. Then I just feel cold again.

“I couldn’t resist,” he says, tucking a strand of my wet hair behind my ear. “You looked too tempting not to touch… God, I have such a hard time keeping my hands off you.”

“But what about you?” I say, putting my hand on his lean chest.

“You can pay me back later,” he says with a wink and a grin.

I smile and then he kisses me before backing away to the shore, his shorts soaking wet and hanging at his hips. Beads of water drip down his chest and tattooed side as he makes his way back to the rocks, smiling at me like he’s so happy. Just like I should be. And I am. But every perfect moment could be our last one together and that makes me sad.

After he climbs back up on the rocks, I start scrubbing my body down with water, while Ethan starts to write. I finish up quickly, then wade back to the shore and out of the water. The frigid air hits my body like a wall of snow and I scurry for the towel I hung up on a tree branch. I wrap it around me and wring my hair out before heading over to Ethan. He still has his shirt off, his wet shorts drying in the sunlight peeking through the tree branches above him. He’s got his head tipped down, his black hair falling into his eyes as he jots down words, losing touch with reality like he always does whenever he writes. I climb onto the rock beside him and sit down next to him, leaning over my shoulder to get a peek at what he’s writing, even though he never wants me to see.

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