I don’t know why I started running away from Ethan. I really don’t. Inside my chest, my heart had been pounding as I raced away from him as fast I possibly could; holding up my dress and trying to run with a three-inch high heels. When I heard him yell my name, I turned my head back to look over my shoulder sharply – sending my hair accessories flying away – and found him just a few feet away from me. Why did he even care about me? I didn’t understand.
“There’s nothing to talk about Ethan! Go away!” I shouted back, my voice wavering. Oh God, I hoped I didn’t cry in front of him again. This was going to be the second time if I did. Spare me the shame.
We had now reached the forest and I felt the familiar sensation build inside me, the ones of my ribs slowly melting away as my heart pounded ferociously. Thanks to my carelessness, I tripped over one of those monster large roots and fell down. I tried getting up again but another piercing pain shot through my ankle and I recoiled away from Ethan who was very close to me now. Leaning back against the tree trunk, I brought my knees up to my chest and hid the new waterfalls that were unleashed. I didn’t need this. Not now.
“Lyn…ette…” He sounded out of breath just as I was and when I felt his hand on my shoulder, I pushed it away.
“Please go away, Ethan…”
But my plea was left unheard when I heard him say in an angry tone, “Shut up.”
What the hell was that?! He couldn’t just tell me to shut up! I was not going to let Ethan Kenneth Marks think he could boss me around. The usual monster came out from inside me and the next thing I know, I was slapping, punching and trying to hurt Ethan as much as possible physically. This was a side of me he’d seen before. But this time I was weak as he gently took hold of my arms and pushed me back, waiting for the moments to pass when I’d be back to normal. I looked up at him, up into his cloudy-thunderstorm like orbs. It was strange how I’d stared into these same eyes so many times before; the first being the time I’d knocked into him in the cafeteria – ruining his perfectly nerdy shirt and then the time when he had been the one to take me back to my mother after six long years.
“You look amazing, Lyn.” I stared at him in shock. Did he just say what I thought I heard him say? “You look amazing in that dress.” Oh my lord he just did. So I wasn’t going insane.
He laughed as he sat down to my left, slouching lazily against the tree. The silence seeped back into the empty air in front of us. It was a bearable one; one that I was hoping would not be broken. But eventually, he did.
“So…do you want to talk now?”
I sniffed, my tears coming to an end and then picked at the small particles of dirt on the ground. I should just be blunt. That’s the best thing I do.
“Sure. What’s your problem with Jason Crowe?”
That was the whole cause of this problem wasn’t it? He just had to go up and bring Jason and tell me how much of an imperfect guy he was. What did he have against him? I looked at him as he struggled for words; opening, closing, re-opening and re-closing his mouth several times before settling with something.
“I…umm…it’s kind of hard to explain.” I looked at him expectantly and he stared back at me, trying to find the perfect words. “You see, Jason and I have a history. Not a pretty one either. I’m not sure you want to hear it Lynette.”
“I’m damn sure I do,” I barked and then tried calming myself back down again. Jeez, I kept changing my moods constantly but I was not letting go of this chance. I had to know. In a more normal tone, I said, “Just spit it out Ethan.”
“As cliché as this might sound, he’s not a nice guy. I can call him many things: womanizer, liar, bastard, pig-headed git.”
Small bubbles of anger burst inside of me and I glared at Ethan. He couldn’t just call my Jason all those rude, rude names!
“How can you possibly b e so sure? Maybe you just don’t know him as well as I’ve gotten to.”
He raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms across his chest and gave me a sardonic look.
“Maybe. Maybe not. One thing I know for sure is that I’ve known him for longer and I doubt he’s changed from being that poisonous cobra that I know and hate.”
I sighed. Ethan was hopeless. I’d never had a clue on who his biggest enemy was; at first assuming it was me but now I have a pretty good guess on who it is.
“Seriously, the best you could do is compare him to a snake?” And before Ethan even had the chance to say something witty back at me, I interrupted once again. “Look let’s just forget about this. As frustrating as it might be for me to hear you say things like that about my boyfriend, I’ll just take it as a warning. And if anything does happen…you win.”
“What, are you serious? What if I’m right Lynette? I’ll ‘win’,” he said, making fake quotation marks in the air and then continuing, “and you’ll just…never mind.”
He looked a little irritated at what I’d said before but that was not my problem. I just didn’t want my tutor budging into my personal…no let me just say love life.
“I can take care of myself Ethan…but thanks anyway. Besides we should get back before our parents think we’re up to something. And I know my dad for one will come up with crazy ideas.”
He got up and stretched out a hand to help me stand up myself. I stared at it for a moment but this time it wasn’t because I was contemplating whether I wanted to take my enemy’s hand or not. I looked sourly down at my ankle and sighed for the millionth time today.
“Ah, I guess you’re going to need a little more then just a hand.”
Before I could refuse, he wrapped one arm around my waist and with the other, placed one of my hands around his shoulder. Now at least, I had good support so I could hop like an idiot on one foot on our way back to my house.
“And just so you know,” he said out of the blue when we approached the back door to the kitchen, “you look like Scrappy Doo’s temper got to you.” He looked me up and down, an amused smirk making its way to his face.
I rolled my eyes at him and muttered, “I can deal with it.”
Just as we walked into the kitchen, Alexis appeared before us and slapped her hand to her mouth as if she’d seen a ghost. Meh, I must have looked like one.
“What in the world happened to you?!”
I could feel Ethan’s body shake as he snickered silently to himself and I resisted the temptation to choke him with the free limb I had around his shoulder.
“Ethan and I were playing Peekaboo,” I muttered sarcastically.
“Okay let’s get you cleaned up before you scare the living bejeezus out of dad and Mr. Marks.”
Alexis and Ethan both helped me up to my room. We took a secret route, through another door that led to a steep staircase that ascended up to a metal door that when opened, led into my wardrobe. It was a secret passage built for some secret purpose in the past but I couldn’t help but blush furiously when Ethan walked right into one of my bras. Jeez. I might as well have walked like the corpses bride in front of my visitors. Once we were in my room, Ethan placed me on the bed and looked around at the posters and the general view of being in Lynette Brooks personal bubble.
I giggled and he looked back at me and grinned. Never did I think Ethan would say the word ‘punk’. The rest of the night passed by pretty quickly and I shooed him out of my room through the secret passageway when I redressed myself in another similar gown to the one I’d worn [and ruined] before.
When I went back downstairs, Ethan, Mr. Marks and Riley were just leaving and I was in time to bid farewell.
“Dinner was good. Shall we go home now? I’m feeling a little bit tipsy.”
I tried not to giggle at the way Mr. Marks said this and grinned secretly at Ethan who gave me an eye-roll. My father, Alexis and I walked our visitors back to their ‘grand chariot’ and just as my father and his were discussing, and Riley was too busy trying to charm my sister into his clutches, I tugged on Ethan’s sleeve and pulled him back.
“What is it? Anything wrong?” He asked, looking a little surprised.
“No. I was just wondering if you wanted to come over tomorrow.”
I don’t know how to put into words the look that crossed Ethan’s face. Maybe…happy yet alarmed with a little blushing mixed in there to? But nevertheless, he smiled at me and nodded.
“Sure. I can drop by. Will your father be okay with that?”
“Totally. My dad’s not that strict as I’d thought him to be once upon a time. What about yours?”
Ethan grimaced and shook his head at me. “Don’t even get me started.”
I laughed at the look on his face as he stared at his father. Mr. Marks didn’t seem to be that horrible but at the same time, he didn’t look like a godsend either.
“I’ll make it though. I can find my way around my father once in a while.”
He looked deep in thought but snapped out of it when I pinched him.
“Your father’s calling you.” I smiled up at him and had the sudden urge to hug Ethan but decided not to since Alexis was looking intensely at us and analyzing how things had gone. I could save the hugs for tomorrow. But since when was Lynette Brooks the “Hugs Rock!” kind of girl? Never. But I guess that changed.
After Ethan left, I turned back to Alexis who hooked arms with me as we walked back to the house.
“How’d things go?” She asked softly.
“Pretty well. We’re friends again.”
“Mhmmm.” She hummed, and there was an edge in the tone she used. She was implying something else.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Are you sure guys are nothing more then friends?”
“Gee Alex, I’ve already got a boyfriend.” I chuckled.
“He doesn’t seem like the best one around. Well at least you have a back up,” she teased me and I lightly slapped her. But still…I had more emotional ties with Ethan than with Jason. Ethan was always there and Jason wasn’t except for making kissy kissy faces which didn’t count. Where was I leading myself to?