Disclaimer: The characters, actors, and story belong to the lovely Sara Shepherd and ABC Family. Only the words are mine.

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A/N: This takes place during the last episode of season 1, back when I actually liked Ethan.

Ethan Whitehorse was in his car—engine groaning, speedometer sailing in an eastward direction—long before he was able to work out exactly what had happened back at the cabin. Sutton. The kiss. Emma's face as she walked in on the two of them; pain clearly etched into her soft, worried features. They had fallen, once again, into yet another cleverly (and cruelly) devised trap. It was like a Lying Game, but worse. Much, much worse. And it was all his fault.

He had never meant to hurt her—to hurt either of them. He had loved Sutton at one point, that wasn't a lie. And while their relationship was not purely physical, Ethan felt that he would have ended up resenting her after time anyway, for keeping him a secret from their family and friends. Of course, he knew that that had been the plan when they first started out. She had made a point to tell him, and he went along with it because he wanted to get to know her better. He knew there was much more going on underneath her sultry looks and stuck-up attitude. She had her moments. Like when they watched the stars together, discussing anything and everything; or when she suddenly pulled him in to kiss her, pushing their lips together with such passion and meaning that his knees weakened and his mind went foggy. But she was also a wild-child; a complete disaster waiting to happen. He always knew that she would end up in some sort of trouble. And not delinquent trouble, like him. No, something worse. Something much scarier. She was trouble. But he liked that about her, and it was what had drawn him to her in the first place. He loved her. But then he met Emma.

She was beautiful, of course, but with his and Sutton's secret relationship he knew that pretend-dating, let alone actually kissing and getting along with her, were out of the question. And he wasn't really into it. Not at first, anyway. But the more time he spent with her, the more he viewed her as a person—an incredible, beautiful, strong (and sometimes stubborn) individual—and she was no longer Sutton's stand-in or excuse to go mother-hunting out in Los Angeles. She was a person and so was he, and he suddenly began looking for ways to spend more time with her. He knew that what he was doing was wrong, but he couldn't stop it. She was so different from Sutton, despite their identical appearance, and he found her just as unpredictable and much more appealing. She was not conniving or ruthless, and the way she treated her family—Sutton's family—it was refreshing. Ethan knew that she was the type who would never play him just to sleep with him or date him just to say she was dating a "bad boy." Not that Sutton was doing anything like that, of course, but the way she acted towards him sometimes… Of course, Sutton's finding out about their relationship caused the situation to go from bad to worse, and he knew that Emma felt just as terrible as he did. But by then, things had progressed so far that Ethan began fearing Sutton's return almost as much as he was afraid of Emma leaving. Isn't that usually how it goes anyway? Sisters before boyfriends? He knew that Emma was scared, terrified of what Sutton might do to her upon her return—and there were a number of possibilities.

He should have expected that Sutton would target him first—the easiest way to get them both back at the same time. The whole situation was confusing and frustrating and terrible and depressing, all at once. He knew Sutton to be a lot of things, but he certainly had not pegged her as someone who would backstab her own sister—her twin sister—just because she was angry with the both of them. And he certainly wouldn't apologize for falling in love with Emma, especially since Sutton was the one who had pushed them together, making them team up to avoid Emma getting caught and then pretending to date when her parents had found them together in the bedroom after that night with Alec. Sutton certainly deserved to be angry—hell, hadn't he been when he had found out she'd been sleeping with Thayer? But to take her anger out on Emma like that… Ethan hated thinking that he had accidentally helped drive a wedge between the two sisters, but Sutton had gone completely overboard. And now, Emma was leaving.

Ethan's stomach dropped just thinking about it. She was running away from her terror of a sister because Sutton was too bull-headed to try and understand; to work things out. Instead she went for revenge, making Emma and him the villain. But he wouldn't let her. Emma may have run away, not wanting to bring him down with her after his sticky past (and present), but he had been honest when he'd said that he was planning on going with her—that he loved her. There wasn't anything for him here except Emma, and if she left then he would be following. But, unlike her, he refused to go down without a fight.

Ethan gunned the engine, powered forward by his anger and resolve. In Sutton's world, there was only her and those against her—the game maker and the players; the latter controlled by her cunning hand. But it was time for the tables to turn. For Sutton to stand on the losing end of the board. Maybe he couldn't justify what he did. Maybe he couldn't talk her out of her anger. But he would certainly try to make her understand. To prove that what he and Emma have is real and that they never meant to hurt her. If not for his and Sutton's sake, then for Emma's. Always, forever for Emma.

A/N: There you have it: Ethan's thoughts after the confrontation with Sutton at the cabin. Even if I had liked Sutton, I don't think I would have agreed with how she handled the situation. Sometimes you just can't help who you fall in love with, and, because of that, I was really interested in delving deeper into the situation to see it from Ethan's point-of-view. Of course, that was probably the last time I sided with him, given that I don't really like TV Ethan all that much anymore. In fact, I actually kind of ship Thayer and Emma now.

Also, I am SO incredibly sorry it has been such a long time since I've posted something on here (my last (and first) story was published late 2009. 2.5 years, folks! Yikes). I will try my absolute hardest to keep this profile alive. Writing is my passion and I have a ton of fanfic ideas ready to be put down on paper. I've just been wayy too busy with real life to get anything done (and by "busy with real life," I mean lazy).