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Home > Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always(9)

Lila and Ethan: Forever and Always(9)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

My heart hammers inside my chest, wondering if this conversation is headed where I think it’s headed. “Forever? Just you and I?” Is he talking about our future?

“Maybe,” he says distractedly, and then he presses his fingertips to the side of my jaw and kisses me deeply, leaving me more confused than ever.

But like always, his kisses make me forget my confusion.

* * *

Ethan

I’m messing this up. Really, really bad. There was a reason why I wanted to take her up here—some things I want to say about us that I discovered last night—but now I’m chickening out and panicking. I suddenly feel like I’m fourteen again and the weight of the world—the pressure—is building up and crushing me. I need to calm down.

I start kissing her as a way around it, knowing that eventually I’ll have to break the kiss and finally just tell her how I feel. About us. About our future. But I kiss her for as long as possible, until she’s gasping against my mouth and I’m gently pulling at her hair. I can tell we’re only a few more heated moments away from peeling off our clothes and hav**g s*x right here on the trail. It wouldn’t be the first time, and yet I carefully pull away, nibbling on her lip before sitting up straight.

She looks flustered. “What’s wrong?” Her fingers travel up the front of my chest to the top of my shirt, where she grips at the fabric, trying to guide me back to her. “Don’t you want to relive the Fourth of July incident?”

I smile as I recollect the Fourth of July. Fireworks exploding over the lake in front of us. Trees surrounding us. Hiding under a blanket, listening to people chatter in the distance as we made love, knowing that at any moment someone could walk up the trail and see us. Neither of us really cared. In fact, it made things more exhilarating.

“Not just yet,” I say, cupping her cheek. “I actually need to talk to you about something.”

Her forehead creases as she sits up, then kneels and turns to face me. “It’s not bad, is it?”

“As long as I can get it out right, it isn’t.” I let out a loud exhale, preparing to do something I never thought I’d do. “The thing is, you keep talking about marriage and stuff and it really freaks me out,” I tell her, and when she frowns I quickly add, “But it’s not like I don’t think about where we’re going to be down the road… if we’re going to end up together… be together forever.” I put my hands on her thighs as she watches me with worry. “I actually think about it a lot. More than I actually realized… Something that I sort of discovered after writing last night.”

“And what did writing reveal to you?” she asks, biting on her bottom lip as I smooth my thumb across her cheek.

“That you and I will end up together.” I swallow hard, hating that I have to add the last part, but I need to if I’m going to be honest. “However, I don’t think we should get married soon.”

She rolls her eyes, which wasn’t the response I was expecting. “I don’t think we should get married soon either,” she says, inching closer to me. “I just wanted—no needed—to know we’re headed somewhere that could maybe lead to that one day. And that you feel the same way as I do about being together in the long run.”

I tangle my fingers through her hair “You know I love you, right?”

“Yes,” she says, leaning in for a kiss. “And I love you too.”

I pull her in for a quick kiss and then rest my forehead against hers, shutting my eyes, preparing myself for the next thing I’m going to say. Something that terrifies the shit out of me because it’s so permanent and the even scarier part is that I want it to be. “I want to do something.”

She catches her breath. “What?”

I slip my hand up the back of her shirt and place my palm over her tattoo on her back. “I think… I mean, I want to get another tattoo.”

I feel her lashes flutter against me as she opens her eyes and slants away. I open my eyes but keep my hand on her back right between her shoulder blades. She’s giving me a baffled look, her eyes wide and searching mine.

“I don’t get it,” she says. “How do we go from our future talk to you getting a tattoo? I mean, if you want to get another tattoo, that’s totally okay with me. You look hot with them… but I don’t—”

Chuckling under my breath, I cover her mouth with my hand. “Lila, I meant that we should get tattoos together. Ones to mark this trip. And the beginning of our future… ones that sort of go together.” When she looks like she’s starting to relax, I remove my hand from her mouth. “I knew this couple with really cool matching bands on their fingers and I thought maybe we could get something like that.”

“You want to get a matching tattoo with me,” she says, a little shocked. “But it’s so permanent.”

“That’s sort of the point.” I pause, wondering why she’s not excited about this. I thought she would be, but maybe I’ve been reading her wrong. “We don’t have to. I just thought…” I trail off as she gets to her feet and starts to walk toward the trail.

I quickly get to my feet and hurry after her. “Where are you going?”

She glances over her shoulder at me, heading toward the trees at the bottom of the hill. “I want you to show me what you wrote last night.”

My expression falls. “Why?”

She turns around, walking backward with a grin on her face. “I want to see how you really feel—I want to make sure that you’re not just doing this for me because I’ve been pressuring you. That you really want this as much as I do. And if it does seem that you want to make that sort of leap with me, then I’ll totally do it, but if not, then…” She turns around as she reaches a steep spot on the hill where the ground gets a little loose.

“And if you don’t think I want this, then what?” I ask, catching up with her and placing my hand on her back to help her down the steep slope.

“Then we won’t get the tattoos right now,” she says, stumbling a little, and my fingers enfold her waist to catch her from falling.

“But I thought you wanted a commitment?” I ask, taking her hand as we reach the flat section at the bottom of the hill.

“I do,” she says as we duck to enter the trees. “But I also want to know for sure that you want it. And if you do, then great, and if you’re not ready for it, then you’re not ready for it.”

I grow a little nervous. “But what if what I wrote freaks you out?”

She aims a disbelieving look at me. “Are you kidding me? After all the stuff I put you through, you think that something you wrote in your journal is going to freak me out?” She pauses as we reach the open section of the trail where the trees are sparse. “You helped me through addiction, family problems, and helped me find myself. I don’t think anything you wrote could be more intense than that.”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” I say, unsure if I want her to read anything in my journal. It’s like giving her insight straight into my head.

“If you don’t want me to, then that’s fine,” she says. “But I’m not going to get matching tattoos until I know for sure that you want this and aren’t just saying so because I’ve been weird about commitment lately.”

“I never say anything but the truth,” I remind her. “Even if it’s harsh.” I pause, tugging my free hand through my hair, thinking about what I want and what I don’t want and which one is more important. But in the end only one thing matters—what she wants. “I’ll let you read it… but just prepare yourself… I always write what I say and sometimes… well, I’m not sure how you’re going to interpret it… whether you’re going to see it as me wanting a future with you.”

She swallows hard and then lets out a loud exhale, looking nervous. “Well, I guess we’re about to find out.”

Chapter 5

Lila

I don’t want to get too happy just yet. I need to make sure that he wants something linked to me branded on his gorgeous body forever. I don’t think that Ethan would ever lie to me, especially with something this big. He’s always been really truthful in the past, but the only way I’ll be able to truly know is if I read his words.

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