The Secret of Ella and Micha / Chapter 14

Chapter 14


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Micha

We end up racing home. I let her win, even though I'd love to have the favor, which would include lots of dirty things that she's not ready for. So now I owe her a favor and she tells me she has to think about it, with this little tease in her voice that makes me grin.

We part ways at our houses and she leaves me with the promise she'll try to come over later tonight. She's slowly changing back into the girl I know, although that night still haunts her eyes, but I'm not sure she'll ever really get over it completely.

It's still raining and lightning like hell, which means the party's going to have to take place inside. Ethan and I drag the wet keggers inside and stand them on the kitchen table. There's a note tacked on the wall from my mom, telling me she's going to be home late.

Ethan starts rummaging through the cupboards for some food. "What band's playing?"

"Naomi's." I head to my room to change and get my guitar. "Answer the door if anyone knocks."

In my room, I tug on a grey t-shirt and pull a black pin-striped shirt over it. I slip on a pair of black jeans and put on a studded belt. Then I grab my guitar and text Naomi.

Me: When u planning on heading over?"

Naomi: Soon. Why? You waiting on us to tell us some super exciting news.

Me: I haven't decided yet.

Naomi: Don't turn it down. It's a great opportunity.

Me: I'm not sayin yes or no. See u in a bit.

When Naomi took me backstage at the coffeehouse, she first proposed the idea that I should replace their guitarist and hit the road with them. At first, I was all for it. It's what I've wanted to do since I was twelve and rocked out with Ethan and Dean in the garage. But then I thought back to Ella's sad eyes and doubts washed over me.

The doorbell rings and I head to the living room to get the party started and clear my head for one night.

Ella

By the time I decide to go over to Micha's, things are already getting out of hand. Cars are parked on the lawn, and garbage cans are tipped over. Someone's even sitting on the roof.

Lila talks me into going and we run up the driveway with our arms over our heads to shield our hair from the rain, but the crowded foyer overwhelms me and I start to back out.

"Stop being a baby and go in there," she says, giving me a gentle shove forward. "I want to see the tough girl everyone keeps talking about."

"No, you don't. Trust me," I tell her. "She was mean and she would have never been friends with you."

"Okay, then show me a happy medium." She has a dark blue, strapless dress on that matches her shoes and her blonde hair rests on her shoulders in curls, which have slipped loose because of the rain. "You can change yourself without losing your identity completely."

I turn away from the crowd toward her. "Why have we never talked like this before?"

She smiles sadly. "Because you would never let us."

She says something else, but the music stifles her words. I fan the smoke from my face and step into the kitchen. Holding the bottom of my black skirt, I maneuver through the crowd toward the table. I lose Lila for a moment, but when the crowd thins, Lila stumbles out, stomping on a guy's foot with her high heel.

She curses, fussing with her hair. "Has Micha ever heard of a little thing called air conditioning?"

"He probably forgot to turn it on!" I shout over the music. "Wait here. I'll go turn it up."

I squeeze through the crowd toward the living room and the band. The music is deafening and I realize it's Micha playing with Naomi. They're sharing the microphone and he looks like he's enjoying himself. I stop in the middle of the room and watch him from the crowd. He's gorgeous under the light with his hair hanging in his eyes as he spills out his lyrics to people and strums on the guitar.

I back through the room and into the hall. There's a couple making out in front of the thermostat. The music quiets down and then starts up again as I gently guide them over and they move out of my way without breaking their lips from each other. Fanning my face, I turn up the cold air. Suddenly, long arms encircle my waist and the scent of him fills my chest.

"I thought you were playing," I yell over the music with my hand pressed to my heart.

"I was, but I took a break to see you." His breath smells like beer.

I scrunch up my nose. "Are you drunk?"

"I've only had one beer," he says. "I'm just excited to see you."

"And to be playing again," I state.

His smile is huge and it makes me happy for a moment. "Yeah, that too. I saw you watching me."

I shrug, playing it off. "I'm glad you're happy. You looked sad earlier at the drive-in."

His hand finds my hip and he grips it tightly, sending heat through my body. "I'm even happier now that you're here."

I relax against the wall. "You know I've heard you use that pickup line on girls before, right?"

"Come on, let me have some fun with you," he begs with a tease in his voice. "Pretend like you don't know any of my moves."

"You want me to pretend like I'm someone else?" I question. "Haven't you been telling me to do the opposite?"

The reflection of the light dances in his eyes as he leans forward and wisps of his hair brush my cheek. "Just be the girl I used to know. The one that had fun and laughed all the time."

"That girl would have never pretended with you, even if you requested her to."

"I know that."

His other hand finds my waist and his body slants toward me. Glancing from left to right, I slide my hands up his firm chest and link them around his neck. Then I pull myself onto him and hitch my legs around his waist. His expression is stoic, but he lets out a growl and his lips come down hard on mine. Our chests press together as he thrusts his body into me. Our tongues connect, feeling each other thoroughly. My back is pressed into the thermostat and my skirt barely covers the top of my thighs. My head falls back against the wall as he trails kisses down my neck. My breathing is rapid and so is my pulse. What is he doing to me?

The music stops and Naomi's voice rises over the speakers. "Micha Scott, get your ass back up here and play right now."

Micha pulls away, breathless. "I have one more song to play and then you and I are going to pick right back up with this."

Before I can answer, he leaves me in the hall. Touching my lips, I watch him weave back to the stage, knowing if he does pick it up, I'm not going to be able to stop it this time. Struggling with the loss of control over my own body, I wander back into the kitchen. Lila's over by the cooler, sipping on a drink and talking to Ethan. Straightening my shoulders, I march up to the counter and pour myself a drink. Lila and Ethan's eyes are on me as I knock it back. The alcohol burns my throat as I slam the cup down on the counter. "Who's up for a game of quarters?"

***

Two hours and three shots later, I'm feeling pretty good. The band has finished playing and Micha has joined our game at the table. "Sail" by AWOLNATION beats through the stereo, soft lyrics and a sultry rhythm and it takes me back to another time.

"I think I'm going to go dance," I announce to the table.

"Ah ha, I knew you secretly liked to dance." Lila slams her hand down on the table and then hiccups. "Oh, excuse me."

Ethan laughs at her like she's the cutest thing in the world. "Are you reaching your limit little girl?"

Lila narrows her eyes impishly at Ethan. "I'm not the one who missed the last three shots."

He replies with a comeback, but I don't hear it as I rise from my chair anxious to dance. Micha watches me inquisitively as I make a path through the crowd. Faceless people bead with sweat and the air smells like salt and is lit with desirable heat. The farther I descend into the crowd the hotter it gets. By the time I'm in the center, my skin is damp with sweat and the thin fabric of my strapless shirt is sticking to my back.

There's a darkness inside my chest, like the devil hidden inside me is about to make a grand appearance. I raise my hands and sway my hips, letting my hair fall down my shoulders and back. I breathe freely, just like I use to. The more the music plays, the more relaxed I become. My head falls from side to side and my eyelids drift shut.

I feel someone move up behind me and they smell of desire mingled with an earthy scent and something mouthwatering.

Micha places his hands on my hips, his hands domineering. He nearly melts me as he spreads his fingers around my waist and presses his body against mine, wanting as much of me as he can get.

"I thought you didn't dance anymore," he whispers in a feral voice, his warm breath touching every part of me.

I lean back into him, comfortable, and breathe in his familiar scent. "I guess I'm a liar."

"You didn't use to be." He sweeps my hair to the side and implores our bodies closer as he moves with me. Through the fabric of our clothes, I feel the heat radiating off him like the sun. "In fact, you used to be the most honest person I knew."

I slant my head back against his chest. "I know, and I'm working on getting it back."

"Good, I'm glad." His hands slide down my hips and don't stop until they reach the hem of my skirt. "Weren't you and I supposed to finish what we started in the hall?"

I start to pull away, but he intensifies his embrace and restrains me against him so we're bonded in every way possible. I feel the hardness of his chest and the heat emitting off every single God damn part of him. It makes me want to moan.

"You're fucking driving me crazy. You know that?" He whispers through a groan as his fingers slip underneath the side of my skirt and up my thighs. "I want you, pretty girl. Badly." He's not lying. His desire is pressed up against the back of my waist.

I should stop him... He's practically got his hand up my dress and we're surrounded by a ton of people, but I give in to him, subsiding in his arms, and let his fingers inch higher up my skirt. Slowly, he kisses my skin, before parting his lips and nipping my neck, sucking, tasting, driving my body mad. His other hand wanders upward on the outside of my shirt and over the curve of my breast. I practically come undone in his arms. Without warning, I turn around, slipping out of his grip. I secure my arms around his neck. His eyes darken as he welds our bodies back together.

My head falls back, allowing him access as I put my weight into his lean arms. He holds me tightly, tracking kisses down the hollow of my neck, licking my collar bone, delving lower and lower as his hand sneaks for the bottom of my skirt again and the palm of his hand caresses the back of my thigh.

He groans, cupping the back of my head with his other hand, then suddenly he pulls away. "How drunk are you?"

I glance from left to right like there's an answer hidden in the crowd. "I don't know."

He sighs and drags his fingers through his hair. "You're killing me, you know that?"

"I'm sorry." I pout.

He laughs and directs me back over to the table. "Go meet up with Lila and I'll be there in a bit, okay."

"Why? Where are you going?" I ask.

He rubs his hand across his face and lets out a breathy laugh. "I have to go take care of some business."

We part ways and I go back to the kitchen like he told me. Lila's eyes are accusing as I sit down at the table. I try not to smile, but I'm too intoxicated to care.

"Look at you," Lila says. "All smiley."

I start to say something, but spot Micha talking to Naomi in the middle of the crowd. She laughs at something he says and then the two of them head toward the hall where his bedroom is.

I guess that was the business he had to take care of. I get up from the table and without another word I run outside into the rain.

Micha

Ella is killing me tonight. I've got a hard on so bad, it's probably going to take an hour in an ice-cold shower to calm me down and she's drunk, so I can't take it any further. I head back to my room, to take care of the problem myself, when Naomi meets up with me.

She waves her finger at me and then laughs. "You and I need to talk."

"I still haven't decided!" I shout over the music.

She takes me by the arm and tugs me down the hall, bumping people out of the way until we reach my room. She shuts the door and flips on the light. "Alright, please explain to me why it's so hard to make the decision about something you've always wanted to do?"

"I'd rather not."

She throws her hands in the air, exasperatedly. "I don't get you. All you used to talk about in high school was playing in a band on the road."

"I still do," I say. "But I'm not sure if I can leave people behind.

Her face relaxes and her hands fall to her side. "I actually get that. I was worried to leave my dad alone, but I talked to him and explained why and you know what? He understood."

"Mine's more complicated, Naomi." I sit down on the bed, wishing she'd leave. "It's not just my mom I'm worried about."

She sits down on the bed beside me and crosses her legs. "It's because of Ella."

"Fuck, am I that obvious," I say. "Because I always thought I was subtle."

She snorts a laugh. "You've never been subtle. And it's not just you. It's both of you. But you know what, you can't center you're life around one girl. You gotta move on and live life the way you want to."

She doesn't get it. "Yeah, let's not talk about this."

"Alright." She holds her hands up. "Sorry, I'll let you be. I just wanted to give you something to think about."

She pats me on the knee before heading out into the hall. Once the door shuts, I fall back onto my bed. Maybe she's right. Maybe it is time to let go of her.

"Fuck." I need resolution.

My eyes wander toward Ella's house. It is dark, except for one light. The bathroom where her mother died. That light hasn't been on for eight months. Why is it on now?


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