Authors: Ella Miles
Copyright © 2015 Ella Miles LLC
All rights reserved.
Editing: Jenny Sims Editing4Indies
Cover Design: © Hang Le
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
“Get off me,” I scream. He doesn’t budge. Instead, he slobbers over my neck and down to my breasts. I look up at the man on top of me, but I don’t know who he is. All I see are two dark eyes suffocating me.
I lose myself in his kiss letting thoughts of Ethan drift away as his body consumes mine. I devour him back. I know I only have precious minutes, maybe only seconds left, until my world comes crashing down on top of us. The panic will return, as will the guilt, and I’ll put a stop to this. We shouldn’t be doing this. We
do this. It will destroy me if I go through with this, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying this moment wrapped in his arms.
I open my eyes with his next hungry kiss trying to take him in. Every tattoo and ripped muscle of his tanned body. With each kiss, I take more of him in so I will have this memory when I tell him we can’t be together. We can never be together. I can never be with anyone ever again.
Landon tries to move back to kiss me somewhere other than my lips, but I don’t let him. If he moves his lips, the panic will return faster, and I just want this to last as long as possible. I grab his thick, wavy hair and keep his lips pressed to mine; I barely let either of us come up for air between panting kisses.
I can’t stop his hands from wandering all over my body and making me moan. He grabs my ass and pulls me closer to him; he’s begging my body for more, but I can’t give him more. He pulls his lips away from mine just enough to speak against my lips.
“God, Alex. I want you so bad.” He runs his tongue over my lips, and I feel myself melting into his arms as he holds me up, not letting me fall. “I’m such a monster for wanting this after what you just told me, but I don’t care. I know you need this too,” he says.
He pulls me on top of him on the bed giving me control to do what I want. He’s giving me the chance to walk away if I want to stop this, but I can’t.
“I’m the monster,” I whisper before I nibble on his ear. I move my hips against him, feeling him beneath my panties as I grow wetter.
If we do it quickly, we could be done before the panic even starts.
I unhook my bra and throw it to the floor. I bite my lip when Landon takes in my naked chest with an appreciative groan. His hands immediately go to me, and I know I won’t last; the second he plunges into me, I’ll come.
I move to release his cock from his boxers when the darkness comes for me.
“You little slut,” Ethan says. “I haven’t even been gone four months and you’ve already moved on.”
I’m shaking at the voice of Ethan haunting me. I squeeze my eyes shut trying to escape, but his voice is still there.
“You never loved me,” Ethan says.
“No,” I mouth but nothing more comes out.
“You’re a slut, a whore,” Ethan says again as his hands go around me, trapping me.
I can’t escape. I’m never going to escape the past even if I don’t remember it.
“You never loved me. You were just after the fame, the money. You never loved me,” Ethan says again squeezing me harder as I gasp for air, trembling in his arms, as the panic rises in my throat.
“No!” I scream as I rip myself from his arms. I’m shocked at how easy it was to get free. I hop to the bathroom and lock the door, hoping to keep him at bay. I pant hard, my heart fluttering fast as I collapse against the door. I pull my thighs to my chest holding myself to try to stop my legs from shaking.
When my breathing has returned to slow pants, I stand from the cold tile floor. My legs tremble slightly as I walk to the mirror and look in horror at the sight before me. My hair is a tangled mess, and my makeup is running down my face in ugly black smears. I begin wiping the smudges from my face with a towel, but what I really want is a shower. I turn the shower as hot as it will go while I strip off my panties, the only clothing I’m still wearing.
I hop into the shower, and after five minutes of standing under the hot water, I start to feel relaxed and realize what just happened. Another panic attack. I need to go back out and tell Landon what happened if he hasn’t already ran from the crazy psycho that I feel like. The images of Ethan are still fresh in my mind making him feel more real than ever.
Ethan is gone. He’s not coming back.
I reluctantly turn the water off, grab the white towel hanging outside the shower door, and dry myself off. I could just stay in the shower forever and not have to deal with my past. I find an oversized shirt and shorts that I had laid out before I left for the club. I put them on and comb my wet hair, stalling as long as I can before facing Landon again. When I can’t think of anything else to keep me in the bathroom, I open the door and stumble out, expecting Landon to have already made a run for it back to his condo -
is more like it.
I hop back when I see Landon sitting on my bed; I’m shocked that he is still here. He’s put his jeans back on, but his shirt is still in a crumpled mess on the floor. He looks downward staring at the hard floor lost in his own thoughts. He glances up when I hop into the room. He makes no other movement. It’s almost as if he’s frozen; he doesn’t know what else to do, so he just watches me. I see my crutches on the floor by the bed, but I decide instead to hop the few feet and sit on the bed next to him.
I look over at him as I sit next to him, his eyes looking vacant and sad.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let it get that far when I knew I would have another panic attack,” I say looking at his empty expression. I search his face for a hint of life behind his blank stare and find nothing. I sigh before I continue speaking. This conversation is going to be harder than I thought.
“I don’t remember who I am,” I say before falling back on the bed. I stare up at the ceiling waiting for him to move. I wait for him to respond, to give some indication he heard me. I wait a long time as he just sits there. I watch his chest rise and fall as he takes a deep breath before he leans back on the bed next to me, careful not to let any part of his body touch mine.
“What do you mean you don’t remember who you are? You’re Alexa Blakely, famous photographer,” he says with a nervous laugh.
“The car accident took more than just my ability to walk and run for a few months. It took more than my husband. It took something much more devastating,” I say.
His eyes read of confusion; his mouth opens to ask a question, but he doesn’t ask it. I feel the fluttering in my stomach begging me to stop. I need to keep talking, though. I need to tell him, for my own sanity as much as his.
“It took my memories,” I say in a trembling voice.
Landon’s eyes grow wide. “What do you mean?”
“Brain damage … the car accident caused severe brain damage. The car went into the water sucking the oxygen from me, filling my lungs with water. When they found me, I was unconscious and not breathing. They rushed me to the hospital where I was in a coma fighting for my life for two weeks.” I feel the tears falling, rushing down my face as I remember the few memories I have. The nightmare as the limo spun out of control before bursting into flames. I thought the worst was over when that happened. The pain was unbearable, but Ethan and I had both survived the initial crash. Until the bridge collapsed over the river, sucking us under. Taking Ethan with it.
“When I awoke, they told me that Ethan had drowned. What made it so much worse was that I had no memory of who Ethan was. I have no memories before that night. And my memories of that night are fuzzy.” The tears fall faster until I’m sobbing. I feel Landon’s gentle arms around me, and I lean into him. He holds me gently in his arms for what seems like hours, not saying a word or judging me until my sobbing stops and turns into annoying hiccups. I think about showing Landon the torn green pocket square, the ring, the newspaper clippings, and the few photos of my mother – the few actual possessions I have locked in the drawer of my nightstand – to make it more real for him. To show him all I have lost and will never remember, but they are too precious to show him.
“I’m sorry. I knew I shouldn’t have pushed you. You probably hate me for pushing you beyond your limits.” He pauses and turns my chin so I’m looking at his golden eyes. They shine brightly at me and hope still lingers for more.
“I’ve just never wanted anyone more in my life than I want you. I let myself get caught up in the moment, but I can be patient. I told you earlier tonight I can wait for you and that still holds true. I’ll wait for you.”
I sink into him as his words sound like music to my ears. How easy it would be to take him up on his offer. I could have a friend to talk about my struggles for now, and in a few months, I could have a lover waiting for me when I’m ready to move on. I can’t move on, though. I untangle myself from his arms, needing space to get through the rest.
“You can’t wait for me. I’ll never be ready for a relationship again. The pain I’ve experienced after losing Ethan is unbearable. I can never experience losing someone I love again. I won’t do it. I’m not supposed to be with anyone else. I just want to move on by myself.”
“You can’t live life without love, without pain. You need both to live. Otherwise, you merely exist,” he says. He tries to pull me back to him, but I push him away.
“Then I just want to exist!” I say. I drop my eyes from him, staring instead at my hands. I want so much to be holding the piece of green fabric; that always calms me. “I don’t deserve anything more after forgetting someone I loved,” I say.
“You can’t blame yourself for not remembering him. I’m sure you loved him, and he knows that.”
“Maybe, but how do I mourn someone I don’t remember? How do I live with that guilt?” I say looking back up at him.
“By living when he can’t,” he says as he wipes the tear from my eye that I hadn’t even noticed.
I shake my head. “I don’t know how to live anymore,” I say weakly.
“Then let me show you how as your friend,” he says.
“I don’t think I can. You’ll always want more, and I can’t give you more. I don’t even know who I am really. I just need to focus on healing and finding out about my past.”
“Let me help you,” he says.
“You can’t.” I turn away from Landon. If I keep looking at him, I’ll give in and destroy both of our lives. I can’t do that. I just need him gone, out of my life, so I can live my life — alone.
“Just go,” I say still not looking at him. I can feel his eyes on me; he wants to say more, but he doesn’t move.
I close my eyes tight to keep the tears at bay. How can I still need to cry after all the tears that have already fallen tonight? “Please,” I beg.
I hear Landon get up from the bed, but I don’t dare open my eyes and reveal my pain. I don’t dare look at Landon to see his pain. I just keep them closed trying not to think about how lonely I’m going to feel a few minutes from now. I feel his wet lips brush against my cheek.