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“It wasn’t a serious relationship,” Olivia continued rambling, her nerves causing her to tell Alexander about herself when normally she wouldn’t. Something about him made her want to open up to him and tell him about herself. And she didn’t want him to see her as a helpless victim or a weak person. She was much stronger than that. “I have issues with serious relationships, I guess. But a girl has needs and I’ve always done the no-strings-attached type of thing.”

He cocked his head and looked at her.

“Safely though,” she interjected immediately. “I’m a stickler for protection.” She blushed. Olivia never blushed. Why am I telling this total stranger about my sex life? she thought to herself.

Olivia greatly intrigued him. There was something so familiar about her. Even so, she was a beautiful woman who admitted she was not interested in a serious relationship. She could most certainly suit his needs as well.

“I have no idea why I’m telling you all this. I’m sure the last thing you wanted to have to do on a Friday night was rescue some idiotic girl from her drunken ex outside of your building and then have to hear about her sex life,” she blurted out, overwhelmed by the handsome man standing in front of her. She looked down, tying her hands in knots on her lap.

“It’s okay,” he said, turning back to the first aid kit, grabbing a bandage and some Neosporin. He tilted Olivia’s chin up, forcing her to gaze into his green eyes again. Leaning down, his lips were only inches from hers. “This might sting a little,” he said quietly, sending shivers through Olivia’s body. Not only was the proximity overwhelming, but his husky voice forced a reaction from her that she had never experienced before.

He watched as Olivia opened her mouth slightly, her breathing increasing. He could smell her sweet breath. Alexander rubbed a little cream over the cut on her forehead, trying to hide that he was seriously checking out her fit body. She clearly worked out, and often.

“This cut could have been a lot worse. You won’t need stitches.” His fingers gently brushed one of her curls behind her ear and placed a small bandage on the treated wound. His hand lingered on her face, gently caressing her cheek and chin. God, her skin is so soft, he thought to himself.

She stared back into his eyes, biting her lower lip, and Olivia felt that strange tingling feeling again. It was an odd sensation. There was something about that beautiful man in front of her that made her want to drop all her normal defenses and get close to him. Who was this guy and why did he have this kind of power over her? That worried her.

Alexander’s cell phone buzzed, breaking the growing tension, and he quickly removed his hand from Olivia’s face, leaving to answer his phone in private. Olivia snapped back to reality and remembered her reason for keeping everyone away, the fear of getting close to someone and losing them resurfacing in her subconscious.

She turned to glance in the mirror and examined her injury. Even with the bandage, it was clear that there was a slight bump where Simon slammed her head into the wall. Other than that, there didn’t appear to be any permanent damage.

“You’ll probably have a bruise there,” Alexander said, startling Olivia as he walked back into the bathroom. She turned to face him. “Detective Wilder is here. I’ll give you some privacy to speak with her here in my office.” The last thing Alexander wanted to do was leave that woman’s side, but he knew privacy sometimes helped people be more forthcoming when making a statement.

“Umm, I’d prefer if you stay with me, if that’s okay with you.” She stood up, looking into his eyes as a smile spread across his face.

“I’d like that.” He grabbed her hand and led her into his sitting area where a petite woman sat with her laptop open. When Olivia entered, she looked up and smiled, her face warm and her eyes the same blazing green color as Alexander’s. She appeared to be in her mid-forties and in good shape. Olivia immediately felt comfortable with her.

“Miss Adler, I’m Detective Wilder,” she said, standing and extending a hand to Olivia. “I just want to talk to you about what happened tonight. We’ll have you sign your statement and then we’ll take Simon away for processing.”

Olivia told the detective as much as she could remember about what happened that evening. Alexander filled in the blanks as best he could. She told her about Simon and her relationship, as it were, how they met when he was working construction, how he pestered her for nearly a month to go out with him, and then his strange words that evening. Detective Wilder acted in a very professional manner throughout and did not make Olivia feel uncomfortable with anything.

Olivia signed her statement and gave it back to Detective Wilder.

"S. Adler?" the detective asked, her eyebrows raised.

"Yeah. Technically my first name is Sarah, but I've always gone by my middle name, Olivia," she explained, shrugging her shoulders.

Before she left, Detective Wilder explained what the next steps were. Simon would be arraigned for assault and attempted murder the following Monday. Most likely, a no contact protective order would be issued, seeing that this could be considered a domestic case. She told Olivia she would let her know the result of the arraignment.

“It was nice to meet you, Miss Adler,” Detective Wilder said, gathering her belongings and heading toward the doorway. “Mr. Burnham, can you walk me out please?” she said gravely to Alexander.

When they were in the hallway and Olivia was out of earshot, Detective Wilder turned to him. “Alex. It’s not her. So stop trying to save every girl you find whose name is Olivia. She died. Dad said she died in the hospital from a head injury. That was over twenty years ago. This girl's real name isn't even Olivia, for crying out loud.”

Alexander looked at his older sister. “I know, Carol. I know that. Call it penance. We failed her that day. I have to do this. For me. And for the little girl we couldn’t help that day. That’s all.” And did you see those eyes? he wanted to ask her. She didn’t have to look into those eyes as they took their last breaths in her dreams like he did.

“I know.” She hugged him. “We were all torn about that day. Dad never got over it. But you have to start forgiving him. And yourself. Think about it.” She walked into the reception area, leaving Alexander alone with his thoughts for a moment.

Snapping back to reality, he quickly returned to his office, his heart skipping a beat when he saw Olivia sitting on his love seat, deep in thought. “Do you need a ride home?”

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