A Tragic Wreck
Page 10

 T.K. Leigh

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Alexander lost track of time as he continued walking along the beach. Large hotels and condos transitioned into smaller beach houses. The north end of the island was markedly different from the south end. He wondered whether Olivia lived out on the beach somewhere. Or whether she was really here at all.
As he walked past a noisy bar, his cell phone rang. “Hey, Carol,” he said, answering the call.
“Jesus H. Christ, Alex. What the fuck is going on?”
Alexander laughed. “Oh, not much. Took the jet and I’m in Florida. Just another day at the office.”
“You’re shitting me, right?”
He sighed, looking out over the sand dunes. “Nope. I’m in Amelia Island, Florida. I’ve got a good feeling about this place, Carol.”
“What are you doing there? Did you find out something? This must be about Olivia if you’re there. And if you were able to figure it out…”
“I KNOW! All right? I get it. If I can find her, so can they. That’s why I need to find her and take her back home with me so I can keep her safe.” His mind began to race. What was he talking about? Could he really keep her safe? Was that what this was all about?
“Alex,” Carol said, lowering her voice. “What if she doesn’t want to come back? What if she sees you and she takes off again. You can’t really think you can keep this up much longer. There are people back home who need you, who love you. I ran into Chelsea just a little while ago and, well, maybe she’s the type of girl you need to be with. Someone stable from a good family. How much longer can you put up with the drama?”
“For as long as I need to, Carol. It’s Olivia we’re talking about here. I love that fucking girl, and I will do everything and anything I can to get her back.”
“Anything?” Carol asked.
“Yes! Of course!” Alexander shouted, staring at the crashing waves. “Except…”
“Except telling her who she is,” Carol said quietly, finishing her brother’s sentence.
“Carol, I want to. But I want her to come back to me because she wants to, not because she thinks I hold the answers to her past. I need to fix this on my own terms. We belong together. And when two people belong together, nothing…not time, not distance, not a misunderstanding…nothing can keep them apart. I will get her back. It may not be tomorrow or next week or next month or even next year. But I know, deep down, that she will come back. And that’s good enough for me. But for now, I want to beg and grovel and, really, just see her. Make sure she’s okay, or as okay as she can be, considering the shit life she’s been handed. I need to do this because I refuse to always wonder ‘what if’. Maybe I’ll get some closure out of this and I can finally move on. Or maybe, just maybe, she’ll tell me how much she’s missed me. I’ve got to find out. Then I’ll come home.”
Carol sighed on the other end of the phone. “Okay. You do what you have to do, but I swear that if I have to put up with Mom at Thanksgiving and tell her all about what you’re doing in Florida, I will murder you in your sleep and leave no physical evidence whatsoever.”
Alexander laughed as he rounded the corner to his hotel’s entrance. “Okay. I got it, sis. You have a great night and we’ll talk soon, I promise. Love you.”
“Love you too, baby brother. And just so you know, I’m totally rooting for you and Olivia.”
“So am I, sis. So am I.”
The following morning, Alexander was up at dawn as he took in the beautiful sunrise over the ocean. He grabbed a cup of coffee and, as he sat on the balcony enjoying the gentle breeze, he reminisced about all the mornings he shared coffee in bed with Olivia. This is paradise, he thought.
Several stories below his suite, people started to wander about on the beach. Tourists and locals seemed to be out getting their morning exercise. His thoughts returned to Olivia, wondering if she was out for a run. He grabbed his laptop and decided to continue doing a bit of research on the island to see if he could figure out where she lived.
Until the previous day, none of her credit cards had been used since she left Boston in October. The day she fled, there was a hefty cash withdrawal from one of her bank accounts. That was the last activity he could find. She clearly didn’t want to leave a paper trail. So why now? Alexander was thrilled that there finally was a clue as to where she was. Now he could at least try to find her. He secretly wished he had Carol go with him. He couldn’t think clearly when it came to Olivia, and he needed someone to remain level-headed.
His cell phone rang, breaking him out of his thoughts. “Good morning, Alex,” Chelsea crooned.
“Hi.” He was a little nervous speaking with her after her revelation to him the day before. He never thought that she was interested in a relationship with him. He didn’t have to worry about her only wanting to be with him for his money. She also came from money, but he thought all she was interested in was the occasional hook-up. Granted, recently, it had become more than just an occasional thing.
“I just wanted to call and say that I was thinking about you…”
“Chelsea…” Alexander interrupted.
“Alex, please,” she said, her voice strong. “Let me finish. I have no problem telling you my feelings. If you don’t return them, I’m okay with that. I was just thinking about you and I want you to be able to do whatever you feel you need to do. Just know that, no matter what your decision is, I will always be here for you. I won’t run. I will never push you away. The thing is, over the past several years, I’ve come to care for you during our occasional encounters. I should have said something sooner, but I didn’t want you to think I was some clingy girl who went from just wanting a once-in-a-while hook-up to suddenly wanting more.”
The line was quiet for several long moments while Alexander processed her words, thinking that maybe he could start to feel something for Chelsea. He didn’t feel the fireworks like he did with Olivia, but there was something there. “So, you do want something more?” he finally asked, breaking the awkward silence.
Chelsea exhaled loudly. “I do. And I know that, right now, you’re not ready to make that decision. But know that when you come back, I’ll be here. And if, at that point, you’re ready for something more, then I am, too. Until then, know that I’m thinking about you and missing your touch. Good-bye, Alex.”