Page 2 of Lift

It’s like quicksand; the harder I try to fight my way out, the faster I sink. It doesn’t help that I’m pretty sure Cara is charging me for using her car because she wants the cash. I think she’s putting it up her nose since her dealer doesn’t take daddy’s credit card. What can I really say though? I have no choice now that my life rests in the hands of a cokehead.

“You’ve been worse places,” I remind myself as I drag my ass back up onto the sofa.

Cara comes stumbling into the house and I glance over at the clock to make sure I read it right. She should still be asleep, but here she is with messy blonde hair, smudged makeup, and her designer shoes in hand. She looks like a rail-thin mess. She’s using something, but we aren’t close enough for me to ask. Nor do I want to poke at the person who’s keeping a roof over my head and a job in my hands.

“Hey,” I say as I clear my throat.

“Don’t judge me; at least I’m getting laid.” She stomps past me to her room and slams the door behind her.

What the hell was that? I sigh as I get up to close the front door she’s left wide open. I need to get out of here before she wakes up from her nap. She’ll just get up and begin whatever she did last night all over again.

When I try to close the door, a hand slaps against it to keep it from moving. I look up at Lance, Cara’s older brother. God, I don’t think I’ve seen him since he graduated. He was a few years older than us and had gone off to college after I started. All of the freshman in my class were happy to see him go. He was a cocky jerk who bullied everyone. Sadly, most of the other boys ended up doing the same thing when we got older. It’s crazy how people can turn into the person they hate, but I’ve made a promise to myself that I won’t turn out the same.

“Sloan?” he says as he looks down at me. He probably only remembers my name because my parents got arrested and not because he remembers the scrawny ninth grader he used to call ‘chicken legs.’ “You sure grew up.” His eyes move all over me and I have to fight not to fidget.

“Thanks,” I respond, because I don’t know what else to say to his comment. It’s not like I can return it because there’s nothing nice to be said about Lance. “Cara’s asleep,” I tell him, hoping he’ll leave and come back later. Later being while I’m gone.

“Yeah, I thought I saw her doing the walk of shame.” He pushes past me, letting himself in.

I jump back so his body doesn’t touch mine and I reluctantly close the door. He isn’t going anywhere and I can’t kick him out. Lance plops down onto the sofa and makes himself at home on my bed. I glance to the bag he dropped on his way in and I notice it’s bigger than a backpack. I pray that it’s not what I think it is. I’d honestly forgotten about Cara’s brother and she never brings him up. He can’t be here to stay, and why would he want to? I’m sure he can afford a hotel or something, and he and Cara aren’t close.

Cara’s place is nice and somewhat roomy for being in the city, but there’s no way three people could stay here. On top of that I’m pretty sure Cara’s parents wouldn’t be happy if they knew the arrangement she and I made. They were likely on the list of parents who told their kids to stay away from me. My father might have stolen millions from them, too, for all I know. I tried to stay as far away from that circle as I could, but here I am right in the middle of things.

Cara comes out of her room a few moments later. She looks like she cleaned herself up a little, but once she realizes her brother is on the couch she begins to scowl again.

“What are you doing here?” she asks him while making herself some coffee. She must be skipping the nap. I eye her, noticing she has more perk to her step then she had a few minutes ago. “You’re supposed to stay with the parents,” she reminds him.

“They’re having the fucking floors redone. They forgot about winter break.”

Cara rolls her eyes, not shocked. “What about a hotel?” she clips, and it looks like she doesn’t want him here either. I lived with boys when I was in the foster system and it’s not something I ever want to do again.