Chapter Nine…

 

Chapter Nine… The Homecoming.

Lila and Nick were dropped off by Coach Brennan’s daughter, Hannah. While Lila exited the tiny car, she gazed at the house; disbelieving she was finally home.

The helicopter ride to Riverview was a quiet one. Lila and Nick barely spoke two words in Hannah’s car, but it wasn’t quiet. Hannah and Nick’s excited chatter filled the vehicle as they spoke about the rescue. Thankfully, nothing was mentioned about Nick and Lila’s ‘activity’.

Her mother ran out of the house to greet her. Auna and Travis followed.

As Nick strolled over to his son, Audrey and Lila collapsed together in an embrace.

“I was so worried about you, honey. I’m glad you’re all right,” Audrey mumbled.

“I missed you Mom. I was afraid I might never see you again,” Lila said.

Lila watched Nick hug his son. A warm and fuzzy feeling overwhelmed her.

It’s good to be back home in Riverview, she thought. Then she looked at Auna, standing near the entryway.

Was she crying tears of joy or tears of sorrow? Or both?

The next few days passed. Nick left for New York City to meet with his publicist and a literary agent, who was interested in hiring a ghost writer to write about his experiences on the island. A biography of sorts. Meanwhile, Lila helped clean around the house and tend to Travis. Actually, she was scared that Travis hated her, but he didn’t treat her any differently than usual. He seemed okay for now.

Auna ignored her presence.

Whenever Lila regarded Nick’s family, the guilt rose up like a feeling of nausea.

It was the one thing mother and son were most afraid of, and Lila didn’t waste any time in having a fling with Nick. What kind of a horrible person was she?

Lila went to the doctor to get a new prescription for eyeglasses.

“H,” she said, reading the first letter.

“Next?” Dr. Jackson said.

“H,” Lila said.

Next?

“H.”

Her doctor prescribed her a stronger pair of lenses.

Lila looked in the mirror as she wore the new glasses. She didn’t like what she saw.

Just before Nick returned from NYC, Lila heard Auna sobbing in the laundry room.

It wasn’t the first time she’d cried during menial chores. She’d been doing it since Lila and Nick returned from the island.

Other times during the day, Auna would disappear upstairs for hours at a time. When she emerged later, her face would be paler than a ghost’s, and her eyes seemed deeper in their sockets, and black circles traced them. A few times, Lila saw droplets of blood near her nose. Additionally, when Travis spoke to his mother, Auna talked in a monotone like she was distracted. Her eyes focused on the wall or ceiling, like she didn’t know anyone else was around.

“Auna, you need to go to rehab,” Nick said, only one evening after arriving home. “If you don’t want to do it for me, at least do it for Travis.”

“Um, I don’t think I could do that. But thanks for your concern,” she muttered.

“Auna, really you need to go.”

“What do you care? If you were so ****** concerned about it, then why did you jet off to New York for three days to kiss your publicist’s *** and get a book deal? Stop pretending you give a crap about me, Nick, and get off my back!”

“Auna, you need help,” Nick said trying to hug her. She backed away.

“No, don’t touch me,” she said.

“Auna! For God’s sake, you can’t keep snorting coke around our son!”

“I’m not doing anything around Travis!”

Lila watched from the doorway. Every time Nick tried to console or placate his wife, she pushed him away.

Finally, she couldn’t watch any longer. Lila hurried from the house and into the basement.

Sitting on the sofa in her room, troubled thoughts rushed through her mind.

A soft knock came at the door.

She allowed Nick into her room, but refused to look at him. The entire thing made her feel very uncomfortable; especially since the two hardly spoke since returning from the island.

“I can’t stay here much longer. I need to get my mind off Auna. So do you want to go with me?”

“Go where?”

“To the salon. My publicist suggested I get a tattoo to present more of a bad-boy image.”

“Huh?”

Minutes later, Lila followed him into the local salon.

She didn’t really think Nick needed a tattoo to change his image, since he was already bad.

Neither spoke while sitting in the waiting room. Then Nick was finally called back.

Nick eyed the needle as the artist badgered his bicep with ink.

About thirty minutes or so later, the tattoo was finished. Nick’s bad-boy image had commenced.

While Nick was getting his tattoo, Lila got bored and received a make-over of her own.

Bad Boy, meet Hot Girl.

Nick stared at her through his sunglasses. Lila knew what he was thinking.

He stepped over to her.

“Nick,” she protested. He ignored her and rose his hand to her glasses, slowly removing them. Then he removed his own.

“I don’t think we should do this,” she whispered. But oh, how he could melt her with just one look. “What about Auna? What about your son?”

Nick hushed her. “Travis knows I love him. As for Auna, we’re getting divorced, remember?”

“It’s time we finished what we started on the island,” he said.

“No…”

Nick’s lips pressed to hers. It was a quick kiss, but then his lips found hers again.

                                                                 …

Lila nibbled on Nick’s lower lip, and then his tongue slipped into her mouth.

Oh God, what am I doing? she asked herself for the zillionth time, hating herself, but she couldn’t stop. Maybe she was addicted to him like Auna was hooked on drugs. One could only wonder.

His hand slid down her body, and groped her hip.

After their make-out session in the desolate parlor, they snuck into the tattoo area to kiss. Lila staddled Nick in the chair.

“Let’s just go home,” Nick suggested, his words coming out breathless.

…and home it was. In Lila’s home in the basement.

“That was so much better than on the island. I love doing it in an actual bed.” Nick sighed.

Lila gazed at him, smiling. But then those guilty thoughts came running back.

“Nick,” she began, “I don’t want to hurt Auna and Travis.”

“I know. I don’t either,” he murmured.

“When will the divorce be final?” she asked.

“Soon.”

Chapter 10 coming soon… I didn’t see any good spot on here to write the info-dump about how Coach Brennan, etc. found Nick and Lila. So here’s the short story: since Nick is a superstar, the owner of the Llamas team hired a private detective to help find him. There was no help from Port Riverview, and a search and rescue team was running out of resources and preparing to stop looking. The private detective got a break when an army airplane spotted the fuselage of flight 233 off the island of Hispaniola. Thus, the PI notified the coach and a few others and the couple were rescued.

😀

Coming up… Will Lila and Nick continue to sleep together? lol. Will Lila’s guilt finally overwhelm her? Will Auna go to rehab? Will Lila’s mother find out the gender of her baby? And how is it going between her and Roger? Will they get married? blah, blah, blah…


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