A Tragic Wreck
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Cam laughed. “No. I’m just here as a friend wanting to help out a friend.”
“Okay. Go ahead with your question then.” She leaned against the kitchen island.
Cam stood up, walking into the kitchen and sitting on a barstool. “Have you always had problems communicating your feelings? It just seems like you hide them from everyone, and even lie to yourself about them.”
Olivia stared, wide-eyed. “You barely know me…”
“Yes, I know,” Cam said, interrupting her. “But I know people. So just humor me and answer the question.”
“I guess I’ve always had problems with that. It goes back to the whole ‘worried that people would leave’ thing. I always worry that once people know how I feel, it would make them run.”
“So you run instead, keeping all your feelings locked up inside.”
“Yes, Dr. Cameron,” Olivia responded sarcastically.
“So how do you communicate your feelings? You can’t keep them all locked inside. No one could survive carrying that burden.”
Olivia lowered her eyes, looking at the floor, noting how dirty it had gotten.
“Libby,” Cam said, bringing her attention back to him. “It’s New Year’s Day. You’ve been here for nearly three months, running from your feelings. Just confront those feelings and let the chips fall where they may.”
Olivia thought for a minute. She knew he was right. “Fine. I’ll do it. But what am I going to say to Kiera and Mo?”
“And they are?”
“My best friends. This is the second time I’ve run out on them.”
“Well, you’re going to have to deal with that. Call them. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to hear from you.” Cam stood up and walked over to the couch, lying down. “Take a shower. Freshen up. I’ll wait here.” He grabbed a fitness magazine off her coffee table and started flipping through it.
Olivia eyed him suspiciously. “For what?”
“I’m taking you out to dinner so go get ready.”
“I don’t need you baby-sitting me, Cam. So either leave and let me get ready in private, or leave and don’t come back.”
His mind began to race. What if he left and she found out? Could he risk that? Should he just tell her? But maybe she wouldn't return to Boston if she found out, and she needed to go back for her own sake.
“I mean it, Cam. Get the fuck out.”
Sighing, he raised himself off the couch and walked over to the front door, opening it. “Fine. I’ll be back in an hour and we’ll go for oysters.”
“No oysters,” Olivia said, raising her hand.
“Okay. Okay. No oysters. Promise. See you in a little bit, Libby. We’ll celebrate your last night on the beach.” He hated that he was leaving her, but knew she would become even more suspicious if he insisted on staying with her while she got ready for dinner. He hoped he made the right decision.
AFTER CAM LEFT, OLIVIA took a shower. It was the first time she had looked in the mirror in days, or possibly weeks. The reflection looking back disgusted her. Her face was sunken, her skin clearly too big for her frame. As she got ready, she threw on a pair of jeans that wouldn’t stay up. She felt weak and needed to sit down. She wondered how she would get through dinner if she could barely stand to get ready.
As she collapsed on her bed, she heard a ding on her laptop, signaling her to a new Google search alert. She had set one up several weeks ago for Alexander, realizing that it was far easier to keep track of any new developments that way. As she clicked on the e-mail, she felt her heart shatter into millions of tiny pieces.
With shaky hands and desperately trying to subdue the painful lump in her throat, she navigated to the link contained in the e-mail. The story seemed to be headlining not only various gossip websites, but also more respectable news outlets. Olivia looked at the article, staring at a photo of Alexander standing next to that woman. They were clearly out at a formal gathering for New Year’s Eve, him in a tuxedo and her in a tight fit silver gown. Beaming, she stood in Alexander’s arms with her left hand placed on his chest.
And on the ring finger of her left hand sat an enormous diamond.
Olivia scrolled down and read the news article through her tears.
One of the country’s most eligible bachelors is no longer eligible after proposing to his now fiancée, Chelsea Wellington, at a swanky New Year’s Eve Ball last night in New York City. Although they have only been dating for a few months, the couple appears to be rather excited to get on with their future, their eyes focused on a February wedding. Good luck and congratulations.
The pain was back. It never really left, but Olivia had been hopeful earlier when she decided to return to Boston and pour her heart out to Alexander. But now it had returned and the hurt was too much. She needed something to dull the ache. Her heart beat rapidly and she felt a panic attack coming on. Running to the bathroom, she rummaged through her medicine cabinet looking for the bottle that Dr. Greenstein had prescribed to help with her anxiety.
She grabbed it and walked downstairs with her laptop, searching for the bottle of bourbon with her name on it. Popping two valium, she gulped down the liquid, thankful for the warmth spreading through her body. After throwing another couple of valium pills into her mouth and finishing almost half the bottle of alcohol, the pain of seeing Alexander’s ring on another woman was finally dulled. The last thing she remembered was staring out at the crashing waves of the ocean before the numbness took over.
Cam left his house early, anxiously hoping that Olivia hadn’t found out the news in the past hour that he’d been gone. He sped through town, recalling the fragile state Olivia was in earlier that day. The longer he sat at each stop light, the more irritated he became. As storm clouds rolled in, a bad feeling formed in his gut.
He pulled up to Olivia’s house and leapt up the stairs onto her deck, tapping gently on the door. There was no answer. Then he heard a gentle scratching on the other side of the door, coupled with a loud meow. He stilled, continuing to listen. He heard it again, wondering what Olivia’s cat was doing. He knocked again, becoming rather concerned. Several moments passed and all he could hear was Nepenthe’s scratching and meows. He tried the door, but it was locked. Walking over to the front window and peering inside, his heart fell. Olivia was sprawled out on the floor, a liquor bottle lying beside her, the contents of a prescription bottle poured out on the coffee table.