A Beautiful Mess
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With her free leg, Olivia kicked him repeatedly. Simon was forced to release her other leg when she landed a hard blow to his head. He moaned in pain, clutching his head as blood streamed down his face. Olivia quickly raised herself off the ground, desperate to get away from Simon, and fled onto State Street. She frantically ran down the cobblestone sidewalk, crying out for someone to help her. The silence around her was deafening as fear consumed her body, her hands shaking. The normally busy street was barren, the last of the bar patrons long gone for the evening.
The clouds in the sky created an ominous feel. All of the buildings were eerily dark. Street lights dimly illuminated each corner, casting shadows on the vacant street. As she tried to find someone to help her, Olivia heard a noise coming from the direction of the night entrance and she started running again, adrenaline coursing through her entire body. She wasn’t sure where to go but she knew she didn’t want Simon to ever touch her again.
IN the early morning hours of a Saturday in mid-August, Alexander Burnham found himself walking from his penthouse apartment on the Waterfront to his office building in the Financial District. He had trouble sleeping, as happened from time to time, so he decided to head into the office to see how a few of his security operations were going. He had been awoken earlier from a dream. A dream he hadn’t had in years. He saw those brown eyes that he hadn’t seen in ages. Those brown eyes he never thought he would see again. Those brown eyes he had let down. Why, after all these years, was she haunting his dreams again?
He left the leggy red-head in his bed and walked to his office building to clear his head.
As he walked down State Street, he heard a woman scream in the general direction of his office building. He immediately started to run, not caring about ruining his crisp gray suit. Closing in on the building, a tall woman with long wavy hair came running out of the street where the night entrance was located, frantically crying for help.
He slowed, hoping that he wouldn’t scare her even more than it appeared she already was. Then he saw someone chasing her. He doubled his efforts, his SEAL training kicking in. He noticed the knife her attacker carried and shuddered at what that man had done to the woman who fled so desperately. Within seconds, Alexander caught up to the man a block away from his office building. He quickly incapacitated him, knocking him to the ground.
When Olivia heard a commotion behind her, she glanced over her shoulder and saw a man in a gray suit attacking Simon, punching him repeatedly. She stopped abruptly, her heart racing and her breathing labored. She sank to the ground, shaking and relieved to have gotten away from Simon. Adrenaline still coursed through her veins, but she was exhausted and couldn’t take another step.
Olivia watched in curiosity as the man in the suit restrained Simon with a pair of zip ties. She wondered why someone would need to carry such an item with him.
Alexander walked over to the frightened woman as she sat on the ground trembling against a storefront. “Are you okay?” He stared into her big brown eyes. This must be a trick, he thought to himself. Surely, it couldn’t be. He had just seen those eyes in his dreams and now here he was, staring into what appeared to be the same eyes. He could recall only one girl ever having wide brown eyes like those, and she was long gone. He had given up hope years ago. “I think you might be in shock. I’m just going to place my jacket around your shoulders. You’re shaking.”
Olivia watched as he removed his suit jacket and took a few steps toward her, gingerly placing it around her back. She felt his hands linger on her shoulders for a brief second and a tingling sensation permeated her body. She looked into his beautiful green eyes, completely dumbstruck, a calm feeling overtaking her.
He stepped back again and Olivia was unable to take her eyes off his six-foot-five frame. She knew her reaction was completely inappropriate, considering Simon had just attacked her, but she couldn’t control it. She couldn’t remember ever being so attracted to someone.
He smiled, noticing her openly gawk at him, bringing attention to the boy-like quality of his face. Olivia wondered how old he could be as she took in his suit, his crisp white button down shirt doing a bad job at hiding the muscular torso underneath. She licked her lips, staring at his chest, soft little tendrils of dark hair escaping from the top of his shirt. Her eyes made their way lower, her breathing increasing as she ogled the dark gray pants that fell nicely from his hips, matching the suit jacket he had placed around her.
Olivia all but forgot about Simon’s attack as her eyes returned to meet his, a smirk on his face, before falling into a different sort of look. Maybe compassion. And something else, like he was searching his brain for a piece of information that was missing at a crucial moment.
“I’m sorry. I’m usually so careful. I don’t know what happened.” Olivia finally found her voice.
“Hey, hey,” he said rushing toward her, kneeling in front of her. “You have nothing to apologize for.” His voice was soft but firm.
“I know, but I was stupid to not have my keycard out and ready to go.” She touched her head and felt blood.
“Do you want to file a report? I can have a detective come and meet us up in my office.”
Olivia gazed at him, a look of hesitation apparent on her face. She had just been attacked outside of her office building by someone she thought she knew and now a total stranger asked her to go with him, alone, to his office.
“I’m one of the good guys, I promise,” he assured her, noticing her hesitation.
She looked deep into his green eyes. “You can trust me,” he said softly. Her brain flashed back, remembering those words from a childhood memory. She didn’t know why, but she believed him.
“What do we do about him?” Olivia asked, nodding toward where Simon lay on the sidewalk, unconscious and restrained.
“I’ll take care of him.” He fished his cell phone out of his pocket and punched a button on it.
“Martin. Burnham here. I need you to send someone down around the corner of the night entrance on State and detain the individual you see restrained. Please call Detective Wilder and escort her to my office the moment she arrives. There’s been an incident outside the building this evening.” He immediately hung up and turned to face Olivia. “My office is in that building,” he said, gesturing to the same building where Olivia’s office was located. She smiled. “I can take a better look at that head, too.”