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CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

READY TO RUN

OLIVIA woke up, gasping for breath through the tears that flowed uncontrollably. She ran to the shower, needing to cover up her tears in case Alexander had heard her. She turned on the water and stripped out of her clothes before stepping into the shower, letting the water flow over her body. Tremors coursed through her as cries consumed her entire being.

It was that house. She remembered that house. It was in her dream. Was it there because she saw it earlier that day or did she really spend time there when she was younger? She didn’t know.

Then she remembered how happy she was when she danced with the green-eyed boy. Who was the green-eyed boy? What happened to him? Why did everyone she was close to disappear from her life? Why was she so incredibly alone? What did it all mean?

Her heart beat rapidly as she tried to figure it all out. Alexander was there. The green-eyed boy morphed into him. And he got down on one knee. And there was a ring. She could see it in his eyes, not only in her dreams, but when Alexander looked at her on a daily basis. Kiera was right. The love Alexander had for Olivia was apparent. And that was the one thing that scared Olivia most. Love. It chilled her to her core. Because once you loved, then you could lose, and she didn’t know if she could deal with that pain.

Her sobs overtook her again as she cried even louder. The voice was back and it was screaming at her to run. Something about that place and everything going on with Alexander made her realize she had lost all control. And she needed it back.

~~~~~~~~~~

Alexander hung up the phone in the study after getting a status update from Marshall, one of his top security agents. He thought about everything that had happened that weekend, wondering if Olivia was starting to regain her memory. He knew that some places could be triggers, but he hoped she wasn’t remembering things. Her lack of memory could be the only thing that had protected her all those years.

As he was deep in thought, he heard a loud cry come from down the hallway.

“Shit. Olivia!” he yelled out, running toward the master bedroom. He looked at the bed and saw it was empty. He scanned the room when he heard more cries and the shower running. He walked quietly toward the bathroom, drawing his side-arm and taking off the safety. He kicked the door open slowly and saw that Olivia was alone in the shower, sobbing uncontrollably.

“Oh my god, Olivia!” Alexander cried out, putting the safety back on the gun before placing it on the counter. He jumped into the shower, fully clothed. “Olivia, please. Talk to me.” He pulled her into his chest, trying to sooth the tears that had overtaken her entire body. She cried into his chest, not caring how unattractive she looked at the moment.

After a few long moments passed, Olivia got her breathing under control, her crying mostly done. “Your clothes are all wet,” she said quietly.

“Oh, Love, that’s the least of my concerns right now. I’m worried about you. What happened?”

“It was just that stupid dream again,” Olivia replied, her eyes shifting to stare at the soap dish.

Alexander knew she was lying. It wasn’t the same dream. The dream was changing. He knew it. But he didn’t know if he should bring it up with her at that moment. She seemed like she was ready to break at any second.

“I know how hard it must be for you to relive that day every night. Sometimes you just have to let yourself have a big cry to release all the pain you’re holding inside. You always try to stay strong, ignoring the past, but you can’t keep it all inside, Love. It will destroy you.” He tilted her chin up so he could stare into her eyes, the water still cascading over her naked body. “It will destroy me, too.”

Alexander’s words chilled Olivia to the core. What was she doing to him? She didn’t want to hurt him, but at the same time she couldn’t cope with all the pain she had been dealt in the past. And at some point, Alexander wouldn’t want to deal with all the drama anymore. No one would. And he would leave her. Just like everyone else in her life.

It was at that instant that everything became incredibly clear. She knew what she had to do. She needed to listen to the voice.

Olivia resolved to do the one thing that she could in order to maintain control over the situation. She needed to distance herself from Alexander. She had gotten too close to him, too fast, and the only one who would end up hurt would be her. She couldn’t let that happen again. She would get through the weekend. Then she would push him away. It wasn’t what her heart wanted, but she needed to do this for her own survival.

“I’m sorry I’m such a mess,” she said, a blank expression on her face, devoid of any emotion.

“Don’t apologize, Olivia,” he said, brushing her hair out of her face. “You’re a beautiful mess.” He winked.

“I feel better now after that,” Olivia said dryly.

Alexander saw her face and realized the panic had passed. “Good,” he said, kissing her deeply, which she only half-heartedly returned. He looked at her, pulling away. “Are you sure everything is okay?”

“Yes. I’m sure. I’m just cold and pruning. I need to get out of this shower.”

He turned off the water and stepped out of the tub before grabbing a towel and wrapping Olivia in it. He rubbed her arms, warming her up. “Feel better?”

She gazed into his eyes. She was going to miss those brilliant green eyes. A tear escaped at the thought of not seeing those eyes first thing when she woke up in the morning. Alexander reached out, catching the tear.

“Sorry. Just a straggler,” Olivia explained, leaving the bathroom. She turned to look as Alexander stripped out of his wet clothes. She stared for a moment, wanting to savor everything about the man in front of her. She knew her time with him was limited.

“See something you like, Love?” Alexander asked, placing his hands on his hips, showing off his manliness. Olivia couldn’t help but to laugh. “There. I knew I could put a smile on your face,” he joked as he grabbed a towel to dry off, unable to shake the feeling that Olivia was slipping from his grasp.

~~~~~~~~~~

That evening, Alexander took Olivia to a quaint restaurant right on the marina where they had a pleasant dinner, albeit relatively quiet. Thankfully Olivia was able to brush off her silence and blame it on nerves about the following day. That eased Alexander’s fears somewhat. It made sense.

After their main course and before dessert arrived, Olivia excused herself to use the ladies room. She walked through the crowded restaurant, finding the hallway where the restroom was located. As she pushed open the door, she nearly ran into an older woman who was trying to exit.

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