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The Secret of Ella and Micha, Page 25

Jessica Sorensen

Chapter 24



  "Are you sure you want to do this?" I ask Lila for the thousandth time.

  She piles the last box into her trunk and slides her glasses over her eyes. "Hmmm. . . let me think. Go back to a home where I'm nothing but a burden? Or go back to the campus with you and have some fun?"

  I pick some dirt out from underneath my fingernail. "I'm just making sure, before you get too committed. "

  She takes my hands and gives them a swing. "I want to go with you, okay, so go say good-bye to your dad so we can hit the road. "

  "Okay, I'll be right back. " I head across the front lawn for the door when Ethan's truck pulls up in my driveway.

  I walk up to his window and rest my arms on it. "So you got my message I take it?"

  He looks like he just came from work, grease on his face and clothes, and his dark hair has some shavings of rust in it. "Yeah, I figured I'd come and say good-bye to both of you. "

  I slant my head to the side and pierce him with an accusing gaze. "Don't try and pretend that you're here for me. "

  He places his hand over his heart, faking hurt. "My heart is breaking and you're making jokes. Wow, you really are evil. "

  "Yeah, yeah," I back up so he can open the door and climb out. "I'll give you two a minute. "

  "I think you've overestimating what's going on between the two of us. "

  "Well, I wouldn't have to if one of you would tell me what's going on. "

  He shrugs and then rounds the back of the truck. Rolling my eyes, I walk into the house to tell my dad I'm leaving and that I plan on coming back in a couple weeks to meet up with Dean. After a long talk on the phone with him - and I'm sure a lot of persuading from Caroline - we decided to meet up here, when Dean can take off work, and give my dad an ultimatum. It's probably one of the hardest things I'll have to do, because I know there will be things said during the conversation that will hurt me. I'm going to push through it, though, because now I understand what I can handle.

  I find him on the couch, eating a microwave dinner, with a six-pack on the table in front of him. He's watching the television, with a cigarette in his hand, and he barely notices me enter the room.

  "Hey Dad," I say from the doorway. "I'm getting ready to leave. "

  He rips his eyes from the television, startled, and I wonder if he was even watching it or if he was dwelling in his thoughts. "Oh, okay, well drive safely. "

  I rub my sweaty palms together and walk into the room. "Dean and I are going to be coming back in a few weeks. "

  He sets his tray down and grabs a beer. "What for?"

  I pat my hands on the sides of my legs uneasily. "We want to talk to you about something. "

  He sets the beer down. "I thought Dean was still here. "

  I shake my head, feeling guiltier about leaving. "He went home a week or two ago. . . but Dad, can you try and take care of yourself a little bit better?" I take a deep breath and throw a hint out into the open. "And maybe stop drinking so much?"

  He glances at the row of beers in front of him like he just realized they were there. "Oh, I don't drink that much, do I?"

  I sigh and sit down on the couch beside him. "You didn't used to, but now it's kinda all you do. "

  He bobs his head up and down. "Alright, I'll try to cut back. "

  I know he won't, but hopefully Dean and I will be able to convince him to go to rehab where he can get the help and counseling that he needs. I give him a hug, even though he winces. Then I walk away, hoping he'll be okay, but knowing that until he makes the decision to change all I can do is try to help him.