Repression was a gift that had been passed down to her from her mother, Josefina Navarro, the queen of suppressing her emotions. She'd never seen her mother cry, or show any kind of distraught on any given situation. That was until Lena had shown up at her old childhood home in Houston three years ago, with half of her face beaten to a pulp, and a hysterical five-year-old in her arms.
It had been the only instance where Lena could see the human behind the robot that had raised her and her older military-bound brother, Leo Navarro Jr. And for just a split second, she saw a glimpse of her defeated self in her frigid gaze that day. Only then did Lena find the reasoning behind her mother's intolerable personality. She'd been trapped in her own hell so long, the thought of being set free seemed more frightening than returning to the sorrow she wore like a second layer of skin.
Lena never talked about her life before she met Emmett. A habit she also picked up from her mother, and as she sat there at her weekly therapy group meeting, listening to Lisa Carmichael talk about how her sixteen-year-old son was developing the same abusive behavior as her seventh much younger boyfriend, she couldn't help but to delve into her own dark past, searching for the same girl who swore she'd never end up in group therapy.
When her memory brought her back to her eighteen-year-old self, a brief moment of peace had consumed her. Nostalgia for denim jackets, fishnet stockings and bad pop music made her heart ache for the girl she used to be. Eighteen-year-old Lena Navarro had wanted to conquer the world through medicine, but fate had stepped in and decided it was time for her to experience the deadliest kind of addiction. The same kind that still lingered in her hollow bones every time she felt Emmett's presence around her, bringing her back to a continuous state of misery.
She met Emmett during her college orientation at the University of Texas, where she'd gotten into the nursing program. The room had been filled with potential future general practitioners, surgeons and a small group of new recruits for the nursing program, which she belonged to. While everyone had been overwhelmed with the course load they were about to dive into for the semester, all Lena could see was Emmett, who kept shifting his gaze towards her in the middle of the crowded room.
He'd been five-foot-eleven at the time, with startling gray eyes, dark hair cropped short, and a mouth full of words that felt like he'd written a private symphony just for her. Emmett had approached her first after orientation was over, informing her he'd be her teacher until the semester was over and that he knew she'd be his favorite student. Lena hadn't picked up on his double meaning at the time, but the girl she was back then didn't want to see she was about enter the lion's den blind. She’d been more than willing to learn everything he had to offer.
Lena had lived an ordinary adolescent life up until then. Little did she know, wanting to go down his rabbit hole to turn him into something momentous, would only end up destroying her.
"Hey, beautiful," the familiar voice caused her visit to the past to dissolve back into her memory, and her heart to pound hastily against her chest.
"You're supposed to be gone, Emmett," Lena murmured underneath her breath so no one else would think she was talking to herself. Not that talking to her dead husband was any better. Either way, she was nuts.
"I know. But it doesn't make you any less attractive," Emmett countered. He wasn't physically there. Lena was sure of it, but it didn't erase how her cheeks flushed as she pictured him smiling, just to seal the deal, just to get what he wanted.
"Please go away," she pleaded in a whisper, feeling sick to her stomach as she opened her eyes and found the rest of her group members had been clapping at something Lisa had said. Everyone except for Ethan, that is. His skeptical gaze was pinned on her and her body immediately ignited with embarrassment.
"I wouldn't be here if that's what you really wanted," her deceased husband's voice returned and it caused her to jump out of her seat and excuse herself from the rest of the group. She wasn't supposed to be at Sylvia's for another half an hour, but she'd just have to make an exception tonight. There was no way she would spend another second in that stuffy church basement while she had another mental breakdown. She preferred to freak out in the comfort of her new car.
Once she was done fishing for her keys in her purse, she looked up to find the reflection of a familiar face against her car windows.
"Lena, are you alright?" Hazel Nash, her boss's girlfriend asked. Lena looked around before she turned to face her and decided she would need to calm down if she was going to act like she wasn't losing her mind.
"I've been better. I thought you were heading out of town for the week," she baited, waiting for Hazel to come up with a decent lie. She was just a good a liar as her mother was, which was why she never took a liking to her. Lena tried hard to like everyone. She really did. But when people made her prod back into the raw and bleak place that was her past, she tended to steer more towards hatred to anyone who reminded her of it.
"I was until Dante called me a few minutes ago. Looks like Lily caught the flu so I'm heading back to the estate," Hazel answered genuinely, knocking Lena right out of her kitten heels. The truth was easier for Hazel to face when it came to Lily Jones. She was her saving grace; the only light keeping her from the darkness she'd come accustomed to during one of the most important stages of development. She was trying to be the best mother she could be to that little girl and Lena couldn't help but feel envious of her as well. The farther away she distanced herself from her own son, the better he seemed to be while dealing with his own grief. Emmett might've been the devil to her in the end, but to Tony, he'd been nothing but his favorite person in the world.
"If you two need any help with Lily—" Lena started, but Hazel waved her off and shook her head.
"You do enough for all of us, Lena. You deserve a night off," Hazel insisted. And she didn't know the half of it. Between handling Dante's charity work and moving into her new place, and looking after Lily while her parents worked tirelessly, she was beyond exhausted.
"Alright. But if you need anything, I'm just a call away," Lena offered and Hazel gave her a small smile in return.
"Liam is good at what he does, by the way. Whatever it is you're going through, he can get you out of it," the hazel-eyed woman assured randomly, catching her off-guard, making her feel exposed.
"I was just—"
"I never saw you here," Hazel stated with a wink before she rubbed her shoulder for comfort and walked across the street.
Lena knew what she was about to ask was against her own rules. She'd specifically asked Sylvia for her instructors to wear a mask or a hood that would cover their face. Neither of them had asked why, and Lena preferred it that way. No one needed to know she wanted to keep them anonymous long enough for her to picture anyone else other than Emmett in her fantasies.
Hearing his voice again earlier had changed that. The aphrodisiac his husky tone of voice held had reigned her into a storm of lust and she needed to see someone else pretend to be him tonight.
"Can you take off your mask for me?" Lena asked, while her fingers began to unbutton her blouse, revealing the nude-colored cotton bra she wore underneath. Her instructor's gaze traveled down to her full and perky breasts as she removed her bra, and Lena smirked. A slight drizzle of confidence was encouraging her to seduce the woman in front of her, defying any reservations she had left. Eighteen-year-old Lena was taking over tonight, and she never bowed down to conformity. It was only a matter of time until her wild side caught up with her present somber life and shook it up, if only to help her with her own mental health.
"Are you sure?" the woman asked hesitantly.
"Yes. I need to see you," Lena replied as she sat on the edge of the bed and shimmied her skirt down her hips and legs. She chose to pair her outfit with fishnet stockings tonight. The same kind she'd been wearing the night Emmett had made love to her for the first time, no later than a month after they'd met. He'd taken his time with her, made sure he knew just about everything that could help him get his hooks into her skin deep enough so he wouldn't be able to let go. He'd needed her more than she needed him back then and she planned on using that notion to help her climax soon.
"Lena, I'm not sure this is a good idea," her teacher claimed.
"Nothing we ever do is," Lena confessed, as she parted her legs and her strawberry blonde-haired friend swallowed hard as she watched her reach for the vibrator she'd decided to bring tonight.
"Stand up. You need to do it near her so she can smell how wet you are for me," Emmett's voice resurfaced in her mind, encouraging her to break another rule. Part of her wanted to be defiant against him, but the other half felt his way would get her the results she wanted.
"I guess I'll just have to go over there and do it myself," Lena stated sensually, still holding the vibrator in her hand as she approached her instructor. The woman stood still as Lena reached for her mask and removed it, barely moving an inch. And when she tossed it to the side and looked up, all she could see was Emmett's face and his hungry tongue darting out for a taste of her.
Fury suddenly took over. She was angry at him all over again. Not just for hurting her the way he constantly did, but for being at peace while she was left behind to decay in pain and stew in mental torment without him.
"Lena, snap out of it. You wont get anywhere with all that whining," his voice grew stronger in her head and she decided to make him pay with the sounds of her cries as someone else gave her pleasure this time.
She stood in front of her instructor and switched on the vibrator. The light buzzing noise from the device was the only sound in the room besides their rapid breathing. She pictured him starving for her as she closed her eyes. Lena could see it his murderous gaze. He was helpless with desire and he couldn't do a thing about it.
That's how she wanted him. In the same state he'd kept her in after he decided her body hadn't been enough for him anymore and ventured out to find other women to who could make him get it up.
The thought of him making those women come in their bed while she was working late nights at the hospital infuriated her enough to dip the vibrator straight into dripping wet walls. Lena gasped and felt her knees quiver as she slipped the electronic device in and out of her and felt herself about to let go of the temporary hold he had on her.
"Stop. Wait for it," his voice demanded, and Lena only pressed the vibrating tool harder against her clit. She could feel the tension leave her body as soon as she let herself remember how his mouth felt on her wet mound. Her fingers dipped into her hair as she felt his tongue lick away her squirting river of pleasure, the vibration against her sensitive nub when he moaned purposely on her flesh.
Lena's chest heaved as she caught her breath and felt her eyes burn with tears when she saw the strawberry blonde look up at her from in between her legs, her lips swollen and glistening with her juices, ready for more, like the submissive partner she'd been for Emmett.