“Maybe you’re just overreacting, Libby,” Melanie said as she took a sip of her drink.
“I don’t think I am. He ignored me all weekend. I texted him a few times and didn’t hear back and then I see photos of him on the internet with Bimbo Barbie at all those events. Then Kiera drags me to the casino Saturday night for some fun and, just my luck, he’s there as well. With her. He didn’t even acknowledge that I was alive until he got caught. When he tried to explain it, he couldn’t.”
“But tell them what he’s been doing all this week,” Kiera interjected.
“Oh, yes. What’s going on?” Bridget asked excitedly.
“Nothing. Let’s just say my apartment has enough flowers to last a lifetime.”
“And don’t forget about all the little blue boxes.”
“Yeah. And he’s sent me jewelry. But I don’t need to be showered with gifts. I just want an explanation.”
“I think she’s trying to find a reason to not get close to him,” Kiera said.
“You guys have no idea what it’s like to lose someone so close to you. When that happens, it stays with you always, forever reminding you what it feels like to get hurt and be let down. So maybe pushing Alexander away is exactly what I need to do as my own act of self-preservation.” Olivia turned to walk toward the bathroom, leaving her friends speechless.
Mo’s band soon finished up their first set and took a thirty-minute break before having to start their second set. At that point, the second floor of MacFadden’s was overcrowded with people.
The girl’s conversation had gone cold after Olivia stormed off. She returned soon thereafter but was no longer in a mood to talk about anything.
“Hey, Livvy. You ready?” Mo asked, grabbing a beer from the bartender and checking his watch.
“Yeah. Let’s do this.” Olivia surveyed the audience hoping that, just maybe, Alexander would be there. Then she wondered why she even cared at all.
“Tyler, hey,” Alexander said as he walked up to the bar on the first floor of MacFadden’s. The name of the bar sounded so familiar for some reason when Tyler had asked him earlier in the day to meet him there that evening. He shrugged it off, realizing that, after a while, the names of most bars in Boston seemed to run together.
“Hey, man. How’s it going?” Tyler asked, giving his brother a hug and grabbing his beer off the bar. The downstairs area had cleared out once the band had started to perform.
“Okay, I guess,” he replied.
“Listen, the band they have is wicked good, so let’s head upstairs and check them out. I’ve seen them a bunch over the summer.”
“Good. Anything to get my mind off Olivia,” Alexander said.
The brothers made their way upstairs after grabbing another round. When he got to the second floor, Alexander couldn’t believe his eyes or ears. He remembered why the name of the bar sounded so familiar. Olivia had mentioned it the previous week at Open Mic.
“Did you know about this?” Alexander shouted at his brother.
“What are you talking about?” Tyler shouted back, hoping his brother could hear him over the cheering and loud music.
“You really don’t know?”
“No! What is it?”
“That is Olivia,” Alexander said, gesturing toward the stage where a tall, dark haired girl belted out a Queen song.
“Are you shitting me?” Tyler exclaimed just as the audience erupted in cheers.
Alexander began to move through the crowd wanting to get close to the stage. And to Olivia. “I knew she sang in a band, but I had no idea she would be here tonight,” Alexander explained to his brother before returning his attention to the beautiful woman on stage that had been occupying his thoughts all week.
“Thanks everyone,” Olivia said into the microphone, her voice sad. “I’m going to do one last song and it’s a new one. My therapist always says that music helps me express myself, so I kind of feel like I need to do this one tonight. Even though I know the person it’s aimed at isn’t here, I need to sing this, if just for myself. So thank you.” Cheers and whistles sounded through the large room.
Tyler looked at his brother. “Do you think she’s talking about you, jackass?”
“Shut it, Tyler.” Alexander looked back to the stage and at Olivia.
“This is a Pink song. It’s called Misery.”
She stepped back and the band kicked in a slow, soulful melody. After the brief instrumental introduction, Olivia sauntered back to the microphone, closing her eyes and beginning the sad song. It was heartbreaking for Alexander to watch her, knowing that he was the reason she felt the need to sing that song. He could see the pain in her face as she sang about being all alone and missing something she almost had.
Her voice was strong and impassioned as she belted out the chorus with Mo singing backup. She thought about Alexander, as she usually did those days, and how she felt like a complete fool. The one time she actually let her heart get close to someone and she was met with excruciating pain.
Alexander watched Olivia interact with the guy he saw her sing with just the week before at Open Mic. They were good together. The crowd seemed to love them, too. Everyone swayed to the slow beat, cheering as Olivia belted out the melody. The hurt he caused her was clear and evident, not just with the song choice, but the expression on her face. He needed to explain himself. He wanted to give her space, but it had been almost a week. It was time to talk to her.
The crowd cheered and whistled as the band dropped out and Olivia sang the last line practically unaccompanied. Her voice rang through the bar before the entire place erupted in deafening applause. God, she’s good, Alexander thought to himself as she bowed and left the stage to allow the band to continue their set. He watched Olivia practically run through the crowd.
Alexander tried to follow her through the mass of people but couldn’t catch up. He saw her dash down the stairs, Kiera not far behind. It was more than obvious that she was upset and crying. And it was all his fault. He turned to face his brother, his mouth open, unsure of what to say.
Tyler saw the look on his brother’s face and knew he needed to go smooth things over. “It’s okay, man. Do what you have to do. I’ll call you this weekend.”
“Okay, Ty. Thanks.” Alexander hurried after his Olivia.
Olivia and Kiera made a beeline toward the downstairs restroom. Once safely behind the locked door of the one-person bathroom, Kiera faced Olivia, wrapping her arms around her, knowing she needed to have a bit of a crying session.