A Beautiful Mess
Page 9

 T.K. Leigh

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She looked up and hesitated. “No. I’ll be fine. I need to get my stuff from my office and then I’ll just call for a cab to take me to my place.”
He sat next to her. “You were just attacked outside of my building. I run a security company and I couldn’t even keep people who work in my building secure. The least I could do is make sure you get home safe.”
Olivia turned to look at his face and could see how badly he felt. “Fine,” she conceded. “But only because it’s after three in the morning and I don’t feel like waiting for a cab.”
Alexander smiled, happy to spend even a little more time with Olivia. “Great. I’ll accompany you down to your office and have Martin meet us out front with the car.” The pair headed out of Alexander’s office and through the security door to wait for an elevator.
A tall, built man in his mid-fifties wearing a black suit sat in the reception area, standing immediately when he noticed his boss emerge.
“Mr. Burnham, anything else I can do for you?”
“Martin, this is Miss Olivia Adler. Miss Adler this is Martin.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Miss Adler,” Martin said, extending his hand to Olivia.
“Martin, I will accompany Miss Adler to her office on the twentieth floor. Please bring the car around and meet us out front.”
“Yes, sir,” Martin answered as the elevator car arrived. They all stepped into the car and Martin pressed the button for twenty and the basement garage. In a few seconds they stopped on Olivia’s floor. As they turned to exit the elevator, Alexander placed his hand on Olivia’s lower back, leading her in the direction of the front door to the wellness center.
The placement of his hand sent even more intense shivers up and down her spine. Olivia took a quick inhale of air as she wondered how a simple touch could affect her so. Turning her head in his direction, she noticed him exhale very slowly before their eyes met. She thought to herself that maybe she had the same effect on him. Then she remembered that she just met this guy. No one fell for someone after just an hour. That only happened in romance novels, not in real life.
“This is where I work,” she said as Alexander followed Olivia through the center and down a corridor to her own office. Why did I say that? Olivia thought to herself. Obviously, she worked there. She had a tendency to just talk when she was nervous. “Well, this is where I deal with paperwork. When I’m instructing, I’m in one of the studio rooms.”
She kept rambling as Alexander stared at her, loving the way her mouth caressed certain words. He couldn’t believe how breathtaking the woman standing in front of him was. There was something stirring within his depths, other than the obvious arousal. It was something more. “I’ll just grab my stuff and we can get out of here.”
Alexander walked around her office, glancing at the various motivational prints containing words of encouragement. That wasn’t what he was interested in. No. He wanted to get a sense of her personality. He stopped when he reached a medal rack containing close to fifty medals, clearly from a variety of marathons and half-marathons.
“Wow,” he said. “Run much?”
Olivia laughed. “You could say that.”
“I’m impressed,” he replied.
“So, you must be important to have a police detective at your beck and call at three o’clock on a Saturday morning,” Olivia joked as she gathered her laptop and other items she needed for the weekend.
“Well, actually, she’s my older sister. She helps me out from time to time.”
“Ah, I see.” After Olivia turned off the lights and locked her office doors, they headed back down the hall to the bay of elevators and waited. Once an elevator arrived, it whisked them to the bottom floor where they exited through the night entrance.
Alexander grabbed Olivia’s hand, noticing her reluctance to return to the scene of her attack. He whispered into her ear, “You’re safe with me. I promise. You can trust me.” He looked deep into her brown eyes, urging her to feel safe with him.
There was that phrase again. You can trust me. Olivia searched her brain. Why was it so familiar?
The pair walked onto the main road where a black Escalade waited. Alexander helped Olivia into the back seat of the car before running around to the other side and climbing in next to her.
After Olivia gave Martin her address, he turned the car into the empty Boston streets and drove toward the Back Bay. Alexander reached his hand across the seat and grabbed Olivia’s, squeezing it. He needed the flesh-to-flesh contact. Olivia turned to look at him and he gave her a small smile. She didn’t pull her hand away as she normally would have. She needed his touch, just like he needed hers. They held hands in silence during the short ride to Olivia’s brownstone on Commonwealth Avenue.
When Martin pulled up outside her house, Alexander quickly exited the car and ran around to open Olivia’s door for her. He grabbed her bags and led her up the front stairs, placing his hand on her lower back again.
Reaching her door, she turned to thank him for all of his help. “If you hadn’t shown up…” she trailed off, the memory of Simon holding a knife to her throat returning after being blissfully absent for the past hour.
“I don’t want to think about what could have happened if I didn’t show up when I did. I guess my insomnia paid off tonight.” He reached for Olivia’s face and caressed her head where her injury was.
He flashed back to a summer at the beach house and a young girl falling down on the rocks by the beach, cutting her head. She had to get stitches. His eyes wandered briefly to the other side of her forehead and noticed there was a very slight red scar underneath her hairline. Coincidence, Alex. It’s just a coincidence.
“Well, thank you, Mr. Burnham,” Olivia said, grabbing her bags from him. She hated awkward situations like this. She wondered what the proper protocol was for saying good-bye to someone who just, literally, saved your ass.
After a brief pause, he placed a gentle kiss on Olivia’s forehead where the old scar was and said good night. “People only have to call me Mr. Burnham in the bedroom,” he whispered in her ear.
She gasped, her eyes growing wide.
He smiled, rubbing his thumb over her bottom lip. “Call me Alexander… For now.” He winked as he pulled his hand away from Olivia’s face. She immediately felt sad at the loss of contact. “And if you need anything, please call me. If you’re scared or worried or just need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to call. I don’t sleep much as it is, so I would welcome the distraction.” He reached into his pocket and handed Olivia his business card.