A Tragic Wreck
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A tear fell down Olivia’s cheek. “I’m not okay, Cam, but I want to be. Hopefully the more time that goes by, the more okay I’ll be.” She stood up. “I’m just going to go powder my nose. I’ll be right back.”
Cam eyed her suspiciously. “You’re not running, are you?”
Olivia took a deep breath. “No, Cam. For the first time in my life, I’m not going to run. I can’t run from things that scare me for the rest of my life so I may as well turn over a new leaf.”
Standing up, he snaked his arm around her waist and pulled her close to his body. “Is this okay?” he asked quietly, a bit of huskiness in his voice.
Olivia gazed into his eyes and, unable to find her own voice, simply nodded.
He leaned down and planted a gentle kiss on her lips. “Is this okay?” he asked, his lips still pressed lightly against hers.
She nodded again and could feel his mouth turn into a huge smile.
“Good because I can’t seem to get enough of your lips.” He pressed another gentle kiss on them before sending her on her way to the ladies’ room.
When she returned, their evening continued on a much lighter note, both sharing stories from their childhood.
“So, where in South Carolina did you grow up?” Olivia asked after they ordered their third round of drinks. The liquor helped her open up a bit, and Cam seemed to enjoy learning about her.
“Myrtle Beach, actually. And the answer is no, I absolutely do not golf,” he joked.
“That’s too bad,” she responded, placing her martini glass on the table. “I was just thinking how hot you’d look in some plaid pants.” She giggled.
It took Cam's breath away. “That’s quickly becoming one of my favorite sounds.”
Suddenly, it felt as if the floor fell out from under her. It was the second time in two days that Cam said something that reminded her of Alexander. She rewound back to that day she bumped into him running through Boston Common. He had told her the same thing.
“Libby, where did you go?” Cam asked, interrupting her memories. He looked at Olivia, her face paler than he had ever seen it before. He was concerned about the girl who sat in front of him. There was something, or someone, that she was running from, and certain words seemed to be triggers of very painful memories.
“You know what, Cam?” Olivia said before draining her glass. He quickly signaled the server to bring her another. “It’s not the bad memories that hurt,” she quivered. “It’s the good ones that cause the most pain. Those are the memories that stay with you, making you smile. Then you realize that the source of those memories is gone and you’ll never have that feeling again.” She took a deep breath, her voice barely a whisper. “And that is what is most painful.”
Cam grabbed Olivia’s hand, gently brushing her knuckles. “Lucky guess, but we’re not talking about your parents here, are we? It’s something, or someone, that you ran from up in Boston, isn’t it?”
She opened her mouth, unsure of whether she could speak the words about what happened between her and Alexander.
He held his hand up to stop her. “I told you. I’m not going to pressure you to talk about anything you don’t want to. Let’s stop talking about all this heavy stuff and just enjoy each other’s company. I’m so sorry for whatever I said that would cause you any pain. That’s the last thing I want to do.”
The server dropped off another Manhattan and Olivia began to feel rather tipsy. She felt that familiar tingle and electricity, wondering whether it was simply the effects of the liquor. Whatever the reason, she didn’t care. Her body shuddered as Cam picked up her hand, softly kissing her knuckles. She was feeling something.
FIVE LITTLE WORDS
THAT FUCKING BASTARD! ALEXANDER thought as he sat at the far corner of the bar, his eyes trained on the table near the windows. He couldn’t believe that she was at his hotel, at the bar where he was drinking. What were the chances? And there he was, comforting her when she got upset and kissing her perfect fucking skin. It was taking all of his self-control to not walk over there and cause a scene.
No. Now was not the right time. He had been drunk nearly all day, and he was certain that nothing he could say to her at that moment would be swoon-worthy. And that’s what he needed.
He signaled the bartender to pour him another scotch as he sat there staring at Olivia. His Olivia. He was concerned about her drinking, but that was like the pot calling the kettle black. But four Manhattans? Really?
He couldn’t understand why he kept freezing up when she was nearby…on the beach earlier, now at the bar. He was unable to tell his legs to put one in front of the other and walk over there. Maybe his brain was trying to tell him something.
He watched as the guy sitting across from her caressed her skin, signaling their server for the check. Then she giggled and Alexander lost it. How could someone else be making her happy? That was his fucking job! Throwing several bills on the bar, he downed his scotch and walked out. He didn’t know where he was going, but he knew he needed to get away from there.
“Ready to go, beautiful?” Cam asked, extending his arm and helping Olivia up from her chair. She wavered slightly, the multiple strong drinks affecting her balance. “Easy there, Libby. You drank a bit tonight.”
Olivia smiled. “I definitely did,” she slurred, clutching onto Cam's arm. “I’m shmammered.” She wished she hadn’t ordered so many Manhattans. Cam was smart, ordering only beer. She should have stuck to beer because she was fairly drunk right now. And when she was drunk, she made awful decisions.
“Shmammered? What’s that?” he asked, smiling at her.
“Kind of like a combination of smashed and hammered,” she giggled as Cam led her out to the lobby, snaking his arm around her waist to help steady her. His body felt so warm against hers. She enjoyed the closeness that she was beginning to feel with him.