This week had sucked without her. There was no reason to smile when she wasn’t around. No peace to be found when I didn’t have her close. Before I passed out every night it was with her name on my lips. When I woke every morning, just before the memories of the nightmares invaded my mind and I went rushing for the toilet, it was her face that I saw behind my eyelids.
Saturday morning I was determined to corner Lana and find out what was going on. I walked downstairs dressed for the day in hopes of talking Lana into going shopping with me. Christmas was only two weeks away and I hadn’t bought any presents yet. This was going to be the first year that we had an actual home to celebrate in and I wanted to make it memorable.
As I got to the bottom of the stairs I heard Jesse shouting from the back of the house. He and Layla must have left Vegas at the crack of dawn to get home so early. I was glad he was home, maybe he could tell me what was going on with Lana.
“I don’t want this!” he shouted. “Layla is going to go off the walls when she finds out.” The door to Emmie’s office was slammed and Jesse came stomping down the hall.
“Hey, how was the honeymoon?” I asked when I saw him. His eyes narrowed on me but he didn’t answer as he stormed out of the house. Typical Jesse behavior when he was in a rage. He probably hadn’t even heard a word I had said.
I opened my texts and sent Lana a quick message while I ate a bowl of cereal. The house no longer smelled like bacon morning, noon, and night and I was starting to miss the smell if not the taste of fried pig.
By the time I had rinsed my bowl Lana still hadn’t texted me back. Clenching my jaw I went in search of her. If she was pissed at me she needed to tell me so that I could fix whatever I had done. When I opened the door to the guesthouse it was empty of their things, everything was either at the new house or in storage.
Muttering a curse I jogged down the beach to Jesse’s house and knocked on the back door. Lucy opened it, a slice of toast sticking from her mouth as she let me in. “Where is everyone?” I asked when I didn’t see anyone else.
Lucy sighed. “They’re upstairs. Lana’s in trouble.”
My eyebrows rose at that. “Why?”
“I don’t know.” She tossed the crust of her toast in the trash and reached for her glass of juice. “Jesse came in a little while ago. He started yelling, but I couldn’t make sense of it. Layla started crying, and Lana ran upstairs. They’ve been up there for a few minutes now.”
What the fuck was going on with Lana?
I took the back stairs up to the second floor. I had no idea which room was Lana’s but Jesse’s deep voice was coming from the one at the end of the hall so I figured that was it. As I grew closer their conversation was easier to hear behind the closed door.
“…Something happened in Vegas.” Jesse was saying. “I know it did. You were fine up until then.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Lana told him. “Why can’t you just accept that I want to go? You promised me that I could go to the college of my choice. Well, I chose this college.”
“You’re running away!” Jesse shouted. “I know you, Lana. You wouldn’t move all the way across the country for some fucking school unless you were running away from something. I thought you were smarter than this!”
“Jesse, that’s enough.” Layla’s calmer voice interceded. “This is her choice. We have to accept that. She’s eighteen, an adult. Whatever her reasons, she feels like she has to do this. I…I don’t like it, but she knows what is best for her.”
“Best for her? Being away from everyone that loves her? What if something happens?”
I couldn’t take it a second longer. I turned the knob on the bedroom door and pushed it open. Lana stood by the window, her face streaked with tears. When she saw me, she paled. I watched her, startled when what felt like an invisible wall fell between us as she clenched her jaw and turned her head away so I couldn’t see her face.
“Drake…” Jesse was standing by the dresser, a mixture of emotions on my band brother’s face.
“I need to talk to Lana.” I told him, knowing that I had interrupted a family situation but not giving a fuck.
Jesse stared at me for a long moment and then ran a hand over his face and smooth head. “I had so many plans for today. Nowhere among them was this part of it. I don’t know what the fuck has been going on around here, but I’ve come home to a shit load of trouble that I am powerless to fix.”
Layla put a hand on her husband’s arm. “It’s going to be okay. Really.” She tugged on his hand, pulling him toward the door. As she passed me she offered a small smile. “Good luck,” she murmured and closed the door behind her.
I waited until their footsteps had faded before turning my eyes back to Lana. She was looking out the window, but I doubt that she was really seeing anything. “Are you mad at me?” I finally asked.
She bit her lip and shook her head. “No,” her voice was clogged with tears.
I took two steps toward her, but stopped when she looked at me. “Then why have you avoided me all week?”
“Because it’s hard enough being this close to you without breaking apart.” A tear escaped the corner of her left eye and spilled down her cheek.
“What does that mean?” I demanded, feeling like I was losing her right before my eyes and I didn’t even know why.
Lana slowly turned her head and met my gaze. “It means that I love you, Drake. And I know that I’m not supposed to. All you want from me is to be your friend. And I am, but I can’t turn off my emotions. I can’t hide how I feel. I’ve tried.”
Her confession gutted me. I knew that her feelings were strong for me, but I had just brushed it off as a teenaged infatuation. Now I could see the truth shining at me from those whisky eyes. Lana loved me.