“I’ll keep that in mind,” Olivia said, turning to enter her house.
“Miss Adler…” Alexander said, causing her to turn and stare back into his eyes again. He didn’t want to leave her. And he didn’t want her to walk out of his life just yet.
Alexander hesitated. He contemplated asking her out. But like Olivia, he didn’t date. He fucked. And that was it. “It was a pleasure meeting you. I do hope our paths cross again, but under better circumstances.”
Olivia had no idea what to say to that. She simply nodded her head and turned to enter her house, closing her door and leaving Alexander standing on her front stoop, amazed at how different his evening had turned out from where it began. He went out for a drink and ran into Chelsea, an old friend that he had hooked up with from time to time over the past decade. The tall red-head helped him forget everything for a few hours. He had been in total control of everything. That was what he needed. It was what he desired. Control made him happy. After that day all those years ago, he had decided to always be in control from then on. But now, after meeting Olivia, he was slowly starting to lose control over his own emotions. He wanted to know that girl, even if she didn’t turn out to be his Olivia.
When Alexander heard the click of the front door, he turned and got into the SUV, directing Martin to take him back to the office.
Inside her house, Olivia walked to the kitchen, the hardwood floors of the old house creaking. She grabbed a bottle of water, filled the cat’s food bowl, and walked up the stairs to the master bedroom on the second floor. She remembered how badly she wanted to wash the evening off her body. After taking a quick shower and getting ready for bed, she popped a few aspirin and collapsed on her soft bed. Her cat, Nepenthe, soon joined her. After the evening she had, she planned on staying in her bed the following day. Screw the long run. Olivia sent Kiera a quick text, letting her know she was home, before setting her cell phone on the charger.
Olivia drifted off to sleep fairly easily for once and dreamed of beautiful green eyes.
On the other side of town, Alexander entered his office and unlocked the wall safe. For the first time since his father was killed over five years ago, he took out an envelope addressed to him, recognizing his father’s handwriting instantly. He debated opening it. And he sat staring at the letter all night, scared of what his father’s last words to him would reveal.
AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE
“SWEETHEART, hurry up. We need to get a move on!” a young Olivia’s mother shouted at her as she grabbed a few last things from her summer home. They usually didn’t leave their beach house until after Labor Day, but they had to leave early. Olivia’s mother said it was an emergency and that she had to be a brave girl. But she was only six years old. Olivia didn’t know why they had to leave so quickly.
Olivia sat in the back seat of the car, playing with Mr. Bear, her favorite stuffed animal, as her father sped away. Her mama must have been tired from all the packing because she had fallen asleep in the front seat.
The car merged onto the interstate and her father became more relaxed, although he checked the rear-view mirror more than he usually did. Out of nowhere, a dark SUV pulled up behind their car. Someone had found them. He tried to accelerate, but his sedan was no match for the SUV steadily catching up. His face remained calm, a staple of his CIA training. He was no longer trying to save his family. He was protecting his assets.
“I love you,” he said to his sleeping wife. He turned around, his face neutral, trying not to scare Olivia in the back seat. “We love you very much, Livvy.”
Olivia didn’t look up from her bear. “I know.”
Then a crash. Olivia’s head snapped hard against the seat in front of her. She slipped into unconsciousness.
“Hey, Olibia. We need to get out of here, okay?” a boy with green eyes suddenly woke Olivia up as he tried to unbuckle her seat belt. Olivia knew this boy somehow. He always called her Olibia.
“My mama and papa…” Olivia cried, remembering that there was a crash and her head hurt. She hoped her parents’ heads didn’t hurt.
“I know. But this is an emergency and you have to be brave,” the boy pled with her.
Olivia wanted to be brave for the boy. “Okay. I’ll be a brave little girl.” She reached out her hand and he pulled her through the shattered car window. Although he was not very strong, he picked Olivia up, running as he carried her to safety. As he did, Olivia noticed her Uncle looking into the passenger side of the crashed car, a scared look across his face.
“I don’t feel so well,” she said to the boy. The world spun around her. Her head hurt. She didn’t know what was going on.
“I know sweetheart. We’re going to get you help. We’re going to protect you always, Olibia. Nothing bad will ever happen again. You can trust me.” And then nothing. Black. Emptiness.
Olivia woke up with a start, shaking. She hadn’t had a dream like that in a while. It was always the same. Her parents always died in the dream. She usually never saw who pulled her to safety, but that time she did. The boy with the green eyes. She knew him somehow, but couldn’t remember how. And those words. You can trust me. What did it all mean?
She tried to get her bearings. She was in her bedroom. She was laying in her large king size bed, Nepenthe curled up at her feet. The shades were drawn and it was pitch black. She heard a buzzing sound and realized that her cell phone was vibrating on the nightstand. She looked at the phone and saw Kiera’s name and photo flashing. She answered groggily.
“Libby, oh my God. You’re alive. Are you okay?” Kiera screamed into the phone.
“I’m fine,” Olivia answered.
“It’s almost five and you haven’t been answering your phone all day long! I’ve been worried sick!” she chastised her friend.
“Kiera, I’m sorry. I didn’t get to bed until after four in the morning last night. I’m exhausted.”
“Oh, yeah? Did you break down and invite Simon over for one last fling?”
“God, no!” she shouted into the phone. “But something happened last night that did involve Simon,” Olivia said gravely.
“What happened, Libs? I know he was drunk when he left the bar last night, but he left at like ten. I saw him get into a cab.”
“Well, apparently he circled the fucking block because when I went to get into my office building after I left the bar, he was waiting by the night entrance.” Olivia thought about why he would leave the bar just to come back. Something didn’t add up.