Healing Hands

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Chapter 17 | Cha-Cha Slide

“I really don’t want to go Lex.” I sigh as we lounge on the couch in my living room.

After what happened at lunch today with Ethan, I haven’t really been in the mood for much of anything.

“But we already said we would go Dal, you can’t bail on me now.” Lexi whines as she uses her leg to lazily kick me.

“But Ethan will be there.” I huff, crossing my arms over my chest.

“So what? You two can put aside your sexual tension for a few hours to have some fun.”

My eyes widen.

“We do not have sexual tension!”

“By the sound of that, I’d say you’re in denial. But it’s okay, as your best friend it’s my job not to judge you.” She smirks.

“Whatever.” I glare as I look blankly at the TV in front of us.

“Please Dal, it’s been a while since we did anything fun together. I miss you.” Lexi frowns.

I take a second to glance over at her, and my hardened expression softens.

As much as I’d rather stay home alone all night, I suck it up and turn to my best friend with a smile.

“Fine, let’s go.” I sigh playfully.

“Yes!” Lexi cheers while jumping on me for a hug.

“Ow, you bitch!” I laugh, only slightly feeling the hug in my side.

“Crap, I’m sorry!” Lexi is quick to get off me.

“It’s okay you dork, my broken ribs are almost fully healed, they’re still just a little sore if I move a certain way.” I explain with a smile. “No biggie.”

“I’m going to go home and change, and then I’ll meet you back here and we can go together.” Lexi says as she stands up happily. “Thank you, Dal.”

“No problem.” I wave her off, standing up as well.

If I’m going out tonight, I definitely need to shower and do something with the constant mop lying on the top of my head.

“See ya!” Lexi smiles as she grabs her bag and heads for the front door.

I wave goodbye and watch her leave. Once she’s gone I turn to go upstairs.

After a very long, hot shower, I get out and wrap a towel around my body and hair.

I hear movement in my bedroom, so I hurriedly open the door to find Liam lounging on my bed.

“Um, what are you doing in here?” I ask.

“Waiting on you. Are you and Lexi coming tonight?” He asks while looking up from his phone.

“Yes, why do you think I’m getting ready?” I raise an eyebrow.

“Well how would I know that? For all I know you could just be showering for the night.” Liam deadpans.

“Whatever, get out.” I instruct as I point my finger at my bedroom door.

“Sheesh, pushy.” Liam states while slowly getting up and leaving my room.

I lock the door and proceed to my closet.

What the hell am I supposed to wear to a bonfire?

I suppose a bikini and shorts since it’s going to be at the beach.

I grab my black bikini and a pair of blue-jean high waisted shorts. I pull on a light black jacket over my bikini top after I straighten my hair, letting it fall down my back in layers.

I apply a fine layer of waterproof mascara to my lashes, and grab my phone. I text Lexi that I’m ready whenever she is, as I walk down stairs.

“Wow, this is the first time you’ve done your hair and makeup in a long time.” Liam comments as he glances at me from the couch. I sit beside him and nod.

“Just trying to appease Lexi.” I shrug.

“I’m sure Ethan will love it.” Liam smirks.

“Ethan is going tonight?”

“Yep, I’m picking him up in a few minutes. You riding with Lexi?”

“Yes. She’s on her way now.” I sigh as I glance at the text on my phone confirming so.

“What’s going on with you and Ethan?” Liam asks.

I look over at him, and he’s completely serious.

“I don’t know exactly.” I frown. “We’ve shared a kiss, and now everything is all screwed up.”

“Well, what did he say about the kiss?”

“He said he has feelings for me that he can’t ignore, and I just don’t know what to tell him. It’s not that I don’t feel things for him too, but after everything that’s happened with Jeremy, I just can’t jump into a serious relationship with him right now.” I try to explain.

“But I don’t want to break his heart either.” My frown deepens.

“I see.”

I watch as Liam brainstorms in his head.

“Wow, so he actually told you how he feels?”

“You knew?” My eyes widen.

“Well yeah, I suspected for a while, but one night while he was drunk he broke down and told me.” Liam shrugs. “I told the idiot he should’ve made his move then, but he was too chicken shit.”

I laugh at the last part.

“Wait, how long ago was this?”

“Hm, about three or so years ago.”

What.

“Are you kidding me? And you haven’t thought to tell me?” I exclaim as I glare at my idiot of a brother.

“It wasn’t my place to tell, alright? He wanted to do it himself; he just didn’t know when that would be. Of course he chose the most horrible time to say anything.” Liam sighs with a shake of his head.

So all this time, Ethan has had feelings for me and I didn’t even know it? How the hell could I have missed it? Were there any signs?

I must be oblivious.

“Wow. All this time.” I mumble to myself.

“How does that make you feel?”

“Sad.” I admit. “Because I think I’ve felt the same all this time too.”

Liam’s eyes widen, and then he bursts out into laughter.

“Wow, you guys suck at relationships.” Liam laughs some more.

I glare at him while reaching out to punch his arm. He grunts in pain as the laughter immediately dies.

“Shut up.” I warn, pointing at him.

“Whatever. So what are you going to do now?” He asks.

“I still don’t know exactly. I still feel like it’s too soon to jump into anything. What happened with Jeremy is still fresh, and I don’t want to disappoint Ethan if I can’t handle a relationship right now.”

My life should be a lifetime movie.

“Here’s a wild idea: Go slow. You don’t have to jump into a full-time relationship right this second, but take things slow with him. Go on a few dates, spend some alone time together. Try to connect on a level that isn’t just physical. Ethan isn’t going to pressure you into anything.” Liam says seriously, and it takes me a second to consider his advice.

“I’ll think about it.” I nod.

“Good. I gotta go, see you at the bonfire.” Liam says while flicking my forehead. I move to punch him, but he’s too quick and runs away and out of the front door while laughing.

As I wait for Lexi to pick me up, I think about what Liam said.

Maybe he’s right. Maybe I should just take things slow, and open up the doors to a relationship. I mean if it’s going to happen eventually, why wait?

I know I’m still not completely over what happened with Jeremy, but I shouldn’t shut Ethan out just because of it. He wants to help me, and he wants to be there for me. It shouldn’t be this hard to allow him to do that.

Maybe tonight I will try talking to him.






I zip my jacket up as Lexi and I walk along the sandy beach. There’s a slight breeze, so I’m feeling just a little bit cold.

I stop to take off my sandals. I hold them in my hand as Lexi and I approach the bonfire. Dozens of students from school are standing around, a lot of them with drinks in their hands. A speaker sits along the side, as loud music blares into the cool air.

I toss my sandals near the grass, next to a few pairs from other girls standing around, and Lexi does the same.

“I’m so happy you decided to come.” She smiles to me as we walk over toward the table with the drinks.

I pour myself a cup of coke and add a little rum to it. “Want one?” I ask Lexi.

“No, one of us has to drive us home silly.” She smirks. “You go ahead though, let loose a little.”

“Aye, aye captain.” I smirk as I take a drink.

A little while later, we see Ethan and Liam walking up to the fire that’s already burning brightly.

Liam has a random chick walking next to him, and another on the other side, walking beside Ethan.

My mood drops a little.

“Don’t go there Dal. Liam probably has the two girls.” Lexi comments from beside me.

She isn’t wrong. My brother, while somewhat charming, may be a little bit of a womanizer.

My mood picks back up again when I see Ethan leave the three and head toward the drink table alone.

“Now’s your chance. Go!” Lexi pushes me toward Ethan, and I glare at her as she makes me spill my drink onto the sand.

I slowly walk over to the table and stop just beside him. I notice his body tense.

“Why are you here?”

“Wow, thanks for that pleasant greeting.” I deadpan.

“I’m sorry, it’s just you haven’t been coming out to hang lately, so I thought you’d be at home tonight.” He explains. “I didn’t mean anything bad by it.”

“Well, Lexi dragged me here, so hello.” I try to smile, but he only frowns.

“I thought I wouldn’t have to see you tonight.” He admits, before a look of regret washes over his face.

“Crap, I didn’t mean it like that!” He’s quick to say.

I only laugh at him. “You’re cute when you’re nervous.”

His eyes widen. “I am a man, Dal, I’m not cute.”

“Oh but you are.” I nod. “Very.”

I watch as he smirks, before reaching over to grab my empty cup. He gives me a refill, and I thank him.

“Hey, can we go somewhere and talk maybe?” I ask.

“Sure.” He nods while we begin to walk away from the fire and group of students.

Everyone seems so chill out here. It’s a very different atmosphere from the normal loud and crazy house parties.

I actually prefer this environment.

We find a picnic table not far from the fire, and we both take a seat next to each other as we sip from our drinks.

“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings earlier today. I sort of freaked out and I shouldn’t have. I didn’t know that you have felt this way for so long.” I admit.

“Wait, what? Who told you?” He looks at me and I sheepishly smile.

“I’m going to kill Liam.” Ethan mumbles with a glare.

“He’s just looking out for the both of us. He knows we’re having a rough time right now, and I think he wants us to work it out. I know I do.” I smile up at him.

God why is he so tall? Even sitting down I feel like a munchkin sitting next to him.

“You’ve made it pretty clear you don’t want to be with me.” Ethan says.

“That’s not true.” I sigh. “I said I didn’t want a relationship right now. But honestly, I think I was just too scared to admit that I’d had feelings for you. We’ve only ever been just friends, and honestly at one point I saw you as another older brother.”

I watch as Ethan winces. “But things have been drastically different ever since you kissed me.”

“Yeah, how so?”

“I’m not exactly sure, but all I know is that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you.”

Ethan looks over at me, and I feel relieved when he reaches his hand out, and places it onto my own.

“The truth is I’m terrified.”

“Of what?” He asks.

“Of being with you. Of not being with you. Of trying to build something with you, only to watch it go up in flames. Of opening myself up to you in a way that I never could with anyone else. Of trying to please you both inside and outside of the bedroom. I just… I don’t know how to do this.” I sigh with a frown.

“Wait, inside the bedroom? Is that what this is about?” He says in a softer voice.

“I just don’t know when I’ll be ready to go there… especially after…” I trail off, hinting toward my rape.

Ethan is quick to shake his head. “Dallas, stop. I don’t expect you to do anything that you’re not one-hundred percent ready for. I would never pressure you into anything. I know that you’ve been through a lot these past few months, and if I’m being completely honest…” He trails off while casting me a heavy glance.

After a few seconds, he’s full on staring into my eyes, trying his best to show every emotion he has available.

“I don’t need sex to love you.”

He said it so seriously, but so genuinely; that it melted my heart in ways I’ve never felt before.

Love.

In a split second, I couldn’t tell you what came over me, because I already had my lips pressed firmly to his. I used my free hand to wrap around his neck, pulling him just a bit closer.

I feel him relax into the kiss, almost as if he’d been waiting for it his entire life.

After a few seconds, we pull apart, and the smile he gave me could’ve lit up a thousand cities.

“We need to take this slow Ethan. Any fast moves, and it could be over. I don’t want that to happen, so let’s just agree to take our time. I’m still working through some things, and it may get uglier before it gets better, but I’m willing to do this if you are.” I say as I continue gazing into his calm eyes.

“You don’t need to convince me Dal, I’ve always been yours.” He smiles again. “We are so doing this.”

We spend the next fifteen minutes just talking and looking out toward the sunset. Once the sun has gone to bed, and the moon has awaken, we throw our empty cups away and head back to the fire.

A couple of kids are dancing around to the music, while the rest are sitting out in lounge chairs, just talking or drinking from their red solo cups.

I spot Lexi talking to Carter, the boy she meet before Valentine’s Day. I didn’t even know she invited him here tonight. They’re laughing and I notice their hands that are held together near their sides. Lexi looks up and notices me walking with Ethan, his hand holding mine.

We both smile at each other, as she gives me a questioning thumbs up.

I nod, and I watch as her eyes light up at my confirmation.

I feel Ethan chuckle beside me, and I look up to see that he noticed Lexi and I’s little exchange.

“HOLD THE FUCKING PHONE!” Liam suddenly shouts from a few feet away. “IS THAT MY BEST FRIEND HOLDING MY SISTERS HAND?”

I roll my eyes at a drunken Liam, who walks over to the both of us.

“Why are you yelling?” I deadpan. “We’re right here.”

“Because, this is great! That means you two are officially a thing… or a something ’er other.” He shrugs drunkenly. “I don’t know but all I can say is… way to go Eth.” My brother wiggles his eyebrows playfully.

I reach out and punch his arm, causing him to actually stumble back.

“I think you’ve had enough.” Ethan laughs as he helps steady Liam.

“Pft, I’ve had enough and then some. Wait, where’s my cup?” Liam looks around and spots an empty red solo cup on the ground, covered in sand.

“Ah, there you are you little booger!” He walks over to the cup and reaches down to pick it up.

Somehow, he loses his balance, and tumbles over into the sand.

He reaches and picks up the cup, holding it up in the air.

“Got it!”

“Dear God, help me.” I sigh into the dark sky as I eventually walk over to help pick my brother up off the ground.

Once I manage to get him to his feet with the help of Ethan, we try dusting off the sand coating his entire back.

“Yeah, you can wipe the dirt from your own butt.” I say as I step away from him.

“Ethan, ol’ buddy ol’ pal! Help?” Liam smirks to Ethan while sticking his butt out toward him. Liam wiggles his eyebrows suggestively, and Ethan curses under his breath.

“I am not touching your ass, Liam.” Ethan deadpans.

“Oh come on, we’re buds! It’s what buds do for one another!” Liam slurs as he struggles to stay standing.

All I can do is laugh.

“Dallas, a little help here?” Ethan asks.

“Sorry, you’re on your own, buddy ol’ pal!” I smirk as I walk away and over to Lexi.

“Oh come on, he’s completely trashed and I’ve been drinking as well. I can’t drive us home!” Ethan whines as he reaches out to steady a stumbling Liam.

“He does have a point. Looks like I’m taking all of us home.” Lexi sighs as she turns to Carter. “I’ll call you later?”

Carter nods and leans in to kiss her cheek. I giggle as she blushes and finally pull her away from Carter and toward dumb and dumber.

“Ethan, you get Liam to my car, Dallas and I will meet you there.” Lexi instructs.

“Oh sure, allow me to carry him all by myself.” Ethan glares as he wraps an arm around Liam.

“No, we can’t leave! Susan is playing the cha-cha slide in a few minutes!” Liam cries as he glances back at the bonfire. “CALL ME SUSAN!” He yells and I laugh as Ethan continues to glare all the way to Lexi’s car.

“So, you and Carter?” I smirk toward Lexi as we follow behind Ethan and Liam.

“So, you and Ethan?” She retorts, and I notice the evil smirk on her face as well.

“Girl talk tomorrow?” We both ask in unison.

Each of us nods as we get inside her car and head home.

“Hey, someone put on the cha-cha slide!” Liam slurs from the back seat. “Sliiiiiiide to the left, sliiiiiide to the left, shit no, I messed up. Sliiiiiiide to the right, sliiiiiiiide to the right. FUCK!”


Dear lord, help us all.

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