A Beautiful Mess
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“Let’s get you inside…” Alexander looked at the woman in front of him with a questioning look. She quickly realized he was asking her name.
“Olivia Adler. Libby.” She reached her hand toward him.
He looked at her, unable to believe he just heard that name. It couldn’t be her, surely. Same first name, but the last name was different. Still, she was taken from him over twenty years ago. If she were alive, he would have found her already. And why would his father lie to him and say that she didn’t make it after that tragic day?
He took her outreached hand and felt a certain electricity. “Alexander Burnham. Can I help you up, Miss Adler?”
“Yes, please, Mr. Burnham.” Still holding onto Olivia’s hand, he placed an arm around her and gently helped her stand.
“I’ve never seen you here before,” Olivia said to him as they walked down the block toward the office building. “I’ve been working at Downtown Wellness for the past few months.” The pair turned down the side street, heading toward the night entrance to the building. He held the door for her after swiping his keycard, granting them both access.
“Well, I tend to work all sorts of strange hours.” He led her toward the bank of elevators and swiped his card again before punching the button for the twenty-ninth floor. The penthouse.
Olivia immediately turned to look at him. She had always heard stories about the man who occupied the twenty-ninth floor, mostly from Melanie who told Olivia time and time again how “absolutely breathtaking” the guy was. She had also said that he was some sort of “Billionaire Super Spy.” Olivia quickly brushed it off. Melanie clearly read too many romance novels.
“Who are you?” she asked with a curious look on her face. He just smirked at her with a sparkle in his eyes as the elevator continued to ascend the twenty-nine floors to his office. “Wait a minute. You’re Alexander Burnham. The Alexander Burnham?” Olivia exclaimed. “You run Burnham & Associates, don’t you?”
“No. I own it,” he replied, smirking at her even more. “That, and this entire building, if we’re being honest. And I feel partly responsible for what happened to you this evening,” he admitted, the smirk being replaced with a look of compassion. “I’ll be changing some things around here next week.”
The elevator doors opened and Olivia was immersed in a posh office. Alexander walked her into the foyer and toward a small reception area in front of a large mirror glass wall with Burnham & Associates in giant block letters. Several modern black chairs surrounded a coffee table in the waiting area with large black and white art prints adorning the gray walls. It was understated and elegant at the same time.
Alexander punched several numbers into a keypad on a large black door in the middle of the glass wall before placing his thumbprint on a scanner. The door beeped and he opened it for Olivia.
“What is it your company does?” she asked, curious about all the security protocols in place.
“This is a private security company, ironically, among other ventures,” he responded, punching yet another security code into another door after leading Olivia down a long corridor. So he is a Super Spy, Olivia thought.
The door beeped and he held it open for Olivia. As she entered the room, lights sprang to life. The room was enormous and palatial. Floor-to-ceiling windows covered three of the walls. To the right was a sitting area with a black leather couch, love seat, and a few lounge chairs surrounding a black coffee table. Adjacent to the sitting area was a wet bar. On the opposite side of the room sat a simple black desk, which Olivia assumed was his workspace. Unlike Olivia’s office, there were no papers or files scattered across the room. It was neat and orderly.
“Does your office take up the entire floor? It seems like it.” Olivia couldn’t believe how large the room was.
“Kind of. The main offices of the company are on the five lower floors. And this office is not the entire floor. I have a few other private rooms on this floor. Usually operation specific. I can’t really discuss it. I’m sorry.”
As she took in her surroundings, Alexander turned to her. “Can I take a look at that injury of yours?” He took her hand and led her into his en-suite bathroom before she even had a chance to respond.
The bathroom was larger than Olivia’s entire bedroom. The gorgeous white tile throughout contrasted with the deep black of the dual vanity. Olivia salivated over the large tub with multiple shower heads, thinking she would give anything to use his shower at that moment to clean Simon off her.
“I tend to spend a lot of time at the office, so I like to have somewhere comfortable to clean up when I need to,” he explained to her, answering the question that was clearly etched on her face.
He led her to a cushioned vanity chair and had her sit down as he grabbed the first aid kit and a few towels out of a nearby linen closet. Running one of the towels underneath the faucet, he gently removed the now caked-on blood from her face.
“We were kind of seeing each other, I guess,” Olivia blurted out after a few awkward silent moments. “I mean, we were sleeping with each other the past few weeks, but tonight I told him I was done with him. He said he was on a job and needed me to give him the proof, whatever that means.”
Alexander stilled. He gathered his thoughts, staring at her for several long moments. Was her attacker simply drunk or was Olivia in more danger than Alexander had originally believed? “You don’t have to tell me what happened.” He looked deep into her eyes, sending undercurrents of electricity through her spine. With just one look, Olivia was convinced he could peek into her soul.
Olivia gazed over him again, words escaping her. His eyes looked so familiar, but she would have remembered beautiful eyes like that. They were full of something she had never seen in another person before, but she just could not put her finger on what. “I know I don’t have to,” she said, finally finding her voice. “But maybe talking about it helps. That’s what my therapist tells me, at least.”
He laughed and the sparkle in his eyes returned. She smiled, wanting to run her hands through his dark brown hair that went in every direction possible. It was messy but incredibly sexy as well.
“Mine used to say the same thing.” Alexander wondered what she was in therapy for. Too many puzzle pieces were falling into place. But it was impossible. Alexander could hear his sister’s voice in his head. “You need to stop seeing her face in everyone you see. She’s gone.” And Alexander had stopped over a year ago. Until that night.