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Home > The Secret of Ella and Micha (The Secret #1)(13)

The Secret of Ella and Micha (The Secret #1)(13)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

"See, the same old Ella still lives." He grins arrogantly as he drives through the intersection. "She just needed a little push out."

I click the seatbelt locked, proving a point. "No, she doesn't. She's gone forever."

"Try all you want, but I'm bringing her back." He bites his lip, refocusing on the street as he mutters, "I won't let that night ruin you forever."

But it did. It broke me into a million pieces and blew them away in the wind, like crumbled leaves. That night was one of the most incredible nights I've ever had.

Then I quickly plummeted toward rock bottom.

Chapter 5

Micha

There she is, the girl I used to know. It's visible in her green eyes that she's getting turned on. She was always weird like that, the speed, the danger always got her own engine burning. Then I have to slow down and all the fire dissolves. She puts on her seatbelt and mutters something about the Ella I know being gone forever, but I'm calling her out. I have big plans to bring my best friend back, whether she likes it or not.

She's wearing a short skirt and tank top that's tight enough to show off her curves. It's driving me crazy that I can't touch her.

"What happened to the turnout?" she asks as we drive by the spot we use to park at during small town cruising. "It looks like you can't even take the road up to the cove anymore."

"You can if you walk or have four-wheel drive and ramp the hill." The turnout is blocked off by a large fence so that no cars can reach the dirt road that leads to a secluded area near the lake. "They blocked it off after they busted a bunch of people for drug and alcohol possession."

"Anyone I know?" she inquires, feigning indifference.

I thrum my fingers on top of the steering wheel. "Yeah, you're sitting next to one of them. But mine was only for alcohol."

Her friend gasps in the backseat and I catch Ella secretly rolling her eyes.

"What'd you get?" she asks nonchalantly.

"Probation and anger management classes." I return her indifference.

Her head turns toward me. "Anger management classes?"

"I also punched Grantford Davis in the face," I explain. "Pretty hard. Broke his nose and everything."

Her friend gasps again and I wonder how Ella could be friends with her. She seems like a naive princess.

Ella studies me acutely with her beautiful eyes that always give away what she's really thinking. "Why did you punch him?"

"I think you know why." I carry her gaze forcefully.

"I asked him to drive me to the bridge, Micha," she says it like it strangles her. "It wasn't his fault. He was just doing it as a favor."

"He should have never left you there alone." I flip the blinker on, making a turn down a dirt road that leads into a field of tall, dry grass. "Not in that condition. You could barely think straight. In fact, do you even remember anything about that night?"

She fiddles with a band of bracelets on her wrists. "I'm not sure."

"Are you not sure?" I accuse. "Or do you not want to admit it?"

She starts to open her mouth, but then clamps her lips shut, and turns toward the window, dismissing me and the conversation.

Ella

The night I went to the bridge, I had been in a weird funk the entire day. My mom died a few weeks earlier and I couldn't seem to get rid of this vile feeling in my chest and I wanted it to go away. Badly. So I took drastic measures and decided to walk in my mother's footsteps for a night.

My mom wasn't awful. She had her good moments, but had a lot of bad ones too. When she was up, she was great - a lot of fun. At least that's what I thought when I was young. However, when I got older, there was a painful realization that it wasn't normal to go on huge shopping sprees, take off in the middle of the night for a road trip, pretend she could fly...

But the night on the bridge wasn't the worst night I'd ever experienced. It was just the last push to my rapid decline toward the loss of control over my life.

"Ella, where are you?" Micha's voice snaps me out of my own head. "You were dazing off on me there."

We're parked in front of Grady's single-wide trailer located in a field, near a junkyard and an abandoned apartment complex. I unbuckle my seatbelt, climb out of the car, and flip the seat forward to let Lila out.

"No thanks." She shakes her head, cowering back in the seat. "I think I'll wait in here."

"You're much safer inside." Micha points to a crumbling shack in the middle of the field. "That's a crack house over there and trust me, if they see you sitting in here, by yourself, they're going to come over and harass you."

Micha's messing with her, but I let him be because this place isn't that safe of a spot.

Her face pinches and she scrambles out of the car. "Who is this person's house we're at? It's not a drug dealer, is it?"

"No, it's just an old friend." I trade a secret glance with Micha and feelings rush through me like the sun and the wind. Grady was once Micha's stepfather. His mother and Grady were married for a few years and most of our happy childhood memories consist of him, camping, fishing, working on cars. Between the ages of eight and nine life was solid, not broken to pieces.

I meet Micha around the front of the car and when he takes my hand, I don't object. Being here is like traveling through time and it hurts to know that the man who showed me that life can be good is dying.

Lila tugs the bottom of her dress down self-consciously. "Are you sure I'm okay going in here?"

"Relax," I tell her as we reach the rickety front porch. "Grady is a good guy, he just likes living an unmaterialistic lifestyle. He chooses to live in a place like this."

She forces a tense smile. "Alright, I'm relaxing."

Micha squeezes my hand and then knocks on the door. A few knocks later and we let ourselves in. It's like I remember, and it makes me smile because it's comforting. Grady was a big traveler when he was younger and his walls map his destinations; petite nesting dolls from his trip to Russia on a small bookshelf, a painted Bokota mask from Africa hooked to the wall, a large hookah from Nepal sitting on a small fold up table. It overwhelms me and tugs at my memories.

The trailer is small with a narrow kitchen connected to a boxed in living room and the three of us nearly fill up the space.

Micha slides his hand up my arm and draws me to him. "Are you going to be okay?"

I nod, forcing the tears away. Micha kisses my temple and I don't retreat this time, allowing myself one small moment.

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