A Tragic Wreck
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He pulled back, beaming at her as he stood on her front deck, the ocean air blowing through his wayward sandy hair. His white linen shirt rippled as the wind picked up. “Ready to go?” he asked, extending his arm out to her.
“Yes. Thank you,” she responded, grabbing her clutch and slipping on her beige pumps.
“You look amazing, as always,” Cam said softly, gazing at her red halter dress. His eyes shifted to her chest and he hoped she didn’t notice.
Olivia blushed, taking his arm, and he led her out to his Lexus. A few short minutes later, they pulled up to the Ritz Carlton. “Where are we going?” she asked as they walked through the impressive lobby.
“Just a bar I really like. They have this fantastic five-diamond restaurant here, and the bar is killer. A nice change of pace from the normal ‘beachy’ southern bars that dot the rest of this little island,” he replied, leading her into a classy dimly lit lounge.
Olivia looked around, noticing the place appeared to be relatively busy for a hotel bar. “It seems quite popular,” she remarked.
“It is. It’s a little gem on this island. So, table or bar?”
Olivia thought about that. Normally, she would opt for a few stools at the bar, but something about that evening made her want a little bit more privacy. She wanted to get to know Cam. She wanted to begin to open up to him. It was the only way she could start moving past Alexander. “Let’s sit at a table.”
Cam beamed his brilliant white smile as he led her past a piano player, placing his hand on the small of her back and walking her to a secluded table with tea candles lit. He held out the chair for her, and Olivia’s brain rewound several months to that first night with Alexander. How he walked her from the elevator to her office in order to retrieve her things. How his simple touch sent fireworks through her entire body. And how, when Cam repeated the same gesture, her nerves didn’t stand on end.
Within a matter of moments, a server came over to take their drink order and returned rather quickly. Points for quick service, Olivia thought. She took a rather large gulp of her Manhattan as her eyes met Cam's. The way he looked at her, Olivia felt a little something stirring in her body. He seemed genuinely happy to just be with her, to spend time with her. He had said that he didn’t care where their relationship led. There were no expectations, which made Olivia feel comfortable with him when, normally, she wouldn’t want to open up to anyone.
“My parents died in a car accident when I was six,” she said out of nowhere, breaking the deafening silence.
Cam placed his beer on the table, shocked at Olivia’s sudden decision to share information about her past. “I’m sorry, Libby. That’s awful.”
She shrugged. “Yeah. I still dream about the crash nearly every night. I don’t really remember my parents all that much. After they died, I was shipped off to a private boarding school in Charleston. I stayed there until I went away to college. I had an uncle who was my guardian, but we weren’t really all that close so I pretty much had to raise myself.”
“Hmmm,” Cam said, thinking about her story. “I get it now.”
“What? What do you get?” Olivia asked, raising her voice slightly.
“Just why you seem so closed off. You didn’t have a parental figure in your life after your parents died. That could have stunted your emotional growth. It’s common. You see it all the time, especially after such a tragedy.”
“Wait a minute,” she snapped, holding out her hand. “How do you know all that shit?”
“I’m a psychiatrist when I’m not chasing a certain beautiful woman around the island, trying to get her to talk to me.” He winked. “But, please don’t hold that against me, Libby. I beg you,” he pleaded with her, seeing her demeanor change from one of calmness to one of anger. “I didn’t want to scare you off. I knew you were going through something and I was so worried that if I told you what I do for a living, you would bolt. I just couldn’t stand the thought of that.”
Olivia pushed her chair back, contemplating doing what she always did. She wanted to run as far away as she could.
“Don’t run, Libby. Please. I couldn’t bear the thought of you running again because of me. I want to give you some stability in your life.” He ran his hand through his hair, reminding her of Alexander yet again. “Yesterday, when you finally agreed to come to dinner with me, I couldn’t relax the rest of the day. I was so fucking excited to be able to spend some time with you.”
He reached across the table, grabbing both her hands, lowering his voice to just above a whisper. “When you opened the door, my heart fucking stopped, Libby. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and I have a feeling you always will be. I like you. A lot. You’re the first thing I think about every morning. You have been since I first set eyes on you. I fall asleep with a smile on my face every night because, with nightfall, I’m that much closer to seeing you again the following morning. And I’m both scared and confused as to why and how I feel this way about a woman I barely fucking know. But, please, let me get to know you. Let me in. That’s all I ask.”
Olivia sat there, her heart racing as she listened to Cam's heartfelt plea. She knew she couldn’t keep running her entire life, but that’s all she had known up until that point. When things became too complicated or scary, she ran. She was tempted to run again, but the more she thought about it, the more she knew it wasn’t going to solve anything. She would end up in a new town or city where she would inevitably meet someone else, and she’d find herself in the same position all over again. No. For once, she wasn't going to run.
She took a deep breath and turned her eyes up to look at Cam. “Okay. I’ll stay.”
“Good,” Cam said, smiling. “Are you okay, though? And not with what I just told you. I’m worried about you, Libby,” he remarked, sincerity etched across his face. “Are you okay? I mean, really okay?”
Olivia looked out the window, her chin quivering as she gazed at the moonlit beach, honeymooning couples holding hands and strolling along the white sand paths.