Alexander stood up quickly. “You WHAT?” he shouted. “You walked here? Are you out of your fucking mind? Do you have any idea what could have happened to you?” He strode over to the windows and peered down at the street, trying to control his temper and taking several deep breaths as he ran his hands through his hair.
“What’s the big deal, Alex?” she shouted, walking over to the windows and glaring at him. “So what? I walked! It’s not like it’s the first time I’ve done that.”
He realized how irrational he sounded. “I know, Love. I know.” He smiled and grabbed her hands in his. “I’m being absurd. I’m sorry. Please, go on.”
She eyed him suspiciously, wondering why he was overreacting, before she continued her story. “Well, on the walk over here, I felt that feeling again. Like someone was following me. So I got here and went through the security gate and decided to turn around to see if I was just being paranoid. Outside on the street, there was a short man standing next to the building, scanning the lobby. His eyes met mine and he just smiled. It was this creepy kind of smile and he just kept staring at me. I didn’t know what to do. It was like he was looking for me. But why would he be looking for me? It didn’t make any sense.”
Alexander looked down, caressing her small hand in his. “I know. It doesn’t. Have you heard from the D.A. about Simon’s case?”
“I have a message from her. She wanted to talk to me about a plea bargain I guess Simon struck.” Olivia looked up at Alexander. “Why? What do you know?”
“Just what my sister told me. That he pled down to a lesser assault charge and would be released in a year, maybe sooner. He did get some jail time, so that’s good. I guess he got such a good deal because he had absolutely no criminal record.”
“Yeah. The D.A. warned me that would probably happen,” Olivia said. Alexander looked like he was deep in thought. “What? What is it? Do you know something?”
“What? Oh, no. It’s nothing. Don’t worry, Love. But humor me. Let me assign a protection detail. Please.”
Olivia sighed. “I don’t know, Alex. I think that’s a bit of an overkill, don’t you?”
“There’s no such thing when it comes to you. At least have someone with you when I’m not around. That’s all. Maybe this will be motivation for you to spend some more time with me.”
“Can I think about it at least?” She looked at him, pleading with her eyes.
“Well, it’s better than you flat out refusing,” Alexander sighed.
“Okay. Good. I’ll think about it.”
“Fine. But under no circumstances are you to walk home. Come up to my office when you are done working out and I’ll have Carter escort you home. Do you understand?”
Olivia glared at him for several long seconds before softening her gaze. It wasn’t worth fighting over. “Yes. I understand.”
“Good.” Alexander embraced Olivia and looked down into her deep brown eyes. He pressed his mouth to hers. “I’ll see you soon, Love.” He walked out of her office, feeling better.
Olivia went through her regular workout, taking it somewhat easy. She had a race that weekend and hoped to qualify for the Boston Marathon. As she was on the stationary bike, she decided Alexander was overreacting. She had called the D.A. immediately after he left and was told the same thing Alexander told her. So Simon was now in prison. There was no danger to her. She hated the idea that Alexander thought she needed him to protect her. She could protect herself.
Olivia finished her workout after an hour and a half and took a quick shower before grabbing her bag to head up to the twenty-ninth floor of the building, swiping her key card for access.
“Miss Adler,” the cheery red-headed receptionist said when Olivia stepped out of the elevator. “Mr. Burnham is expecting you. Please go on in.” She punched a security code into the door leading down to Alexander’s office.
She walked down the long hallway, pausing when she heard a voice from within his office that didn’t belong to Alexander. A female voice. The door was opened just a crack and Olivia could make out the conversation.
“Oh Alex, dear. I know you have no interest in going to Newport this weekend with that girl. Mummy and Daddy are throwing a charity auction. I know you’d much rather spend time with me than Olivia. You know she’s not your Olivia, so stop wasting your time. I’ll make it worth your while.”
Olivia held her breath, desperate to hear Alexander’s response.
“Adele. I have plans. So no. I can’t go with you this weekend. Maybe some other time.”
Olivia’s heart dropped. Why didn’t he just tell her off? Why was he being so nice to her?
She pushed open the door, anxious for Alexander to see that she had overheard. Tears formed in Olivia’s eyes when she saw Adele in Alexander’s embrace, planting a kiss on his neck.
Alexander pushed Adele away. His eyes grew wide in terror when he noticed Olivia standing in the doorway, his heart breaking from the look on her face. Fuck. Not again, he thought to himself.
Adele turned toward Olivia. “Hello, dear. You must be Alexander’s friend, Olivia. Just so you know, I’m perfectly okay with him slumming it around with you for the time being. I don’t mind sharing my man with anyone. I know eventually he’ll get it all out of his system and then come crawling back to me.” Adele pushed by Olivia and walked out of Alexander’s office.
Alexander rushed to Olivia. “Darling, please. Don’t listen to a word she says. She’s crazy. I don’t know what to do about her.” Olivia put her hand up, willing Alexander to stop speaking. She knew what her eyes saw. The image of his arms around another woman were burned there.
“I’m going to leave now, Alex. And I don’t want you to follow me.” She turned and made her way down the hallway.
“Good-bye, Miss Adler,” the receptionist called out as Olivia ran through the security door into a waiting elevator car.
She exhaled loudly when the doors closed just as Alexander appeared in the reception area.
“I guess he’s upset about something,” Olivia heard, realizing she wasn’t alone in the elevator. She turned to face Adele.
“What do you want, Adele? You seem to be hell bent on breaking us up. Well, congratulations. You did it again.” A lump formed in Olivia’s throat as she struggled not to cry in front of her. She refused to let Adele see any weakness.