A Tragic Wreck
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Shrugging, Olivia raised her coffee mug to her lips, savoring the taste and remembering all those mornings Alexander brought her coffee in bed. “He found me on my little island in Florida and confronted me, begging me to tell him to his face that I wanted nothing to do with him. He said if that was what I really wanted, then he would leave and never bother me again. And, of course, stupid me told him exactly that, even though I didn’t mean it. So not only did I push him away once, but I did it twice.”
Kiera stared at her, her eyes wide as she processed what Olivia just told her.
“What are you going to do?” Mo asked.
“I don’t know yet. I just want to talk to him. Explain everything. And if he still hates me, I guess I’ll have to live with that.”
“I don’t think he hates you, Olivia,” he said. “But you hurt him pretty bad.”
“Wait a minute. How do you know that?”
Kiera and Mo shared a look. “We got to be pretty close friends these past few months,” Mo explained.
Olivia stared at her two best friends, shocked at what they were saying. She immediately felt a twinge of jealousy. Her best friends were hanging out with Alexander on a regular basis. Then she remembered it wasn’t her place to be jealous. She pushed him away, like she always did.
“You have to stop running when things get bad. You need to start letting people in, Olivia,” Kiera said, interrupting her thoughts.
“I know,” Olivia sighed. “And it took my surfer boy psychiatrist friend to help me realize that.”
“Ooh… So surfer boy is a shrink? Kinky.” Kiera laughed.
Mo shoved her playfully. “Get your mind out of the gutter, babe.”
Olivia gave them a look, wondering if they finally hooked up. She made a mental note to talk to Kiera about that later.
“Yes. He’s a shrink. I realized that the pain I felt when I found out Alexander was engaged to someone else, even though I told him to move on, was worse than anything I have ever felt in my life. I just wanted to end the pain. I tried to turn it off. To stop from feeling. That way I wouldn’t hurt anymore. But it didn’t work. Nothing did. And I was the one that caused the pain. Me. Not anyone else. And I think that’s what made it hurt even more. If I hadn’t been so selfish and thinking only about myself, I could have avoided that hurt. But, instead, I did it to myself so it’s my own damn fault if Alexander slams the door in my face. He should, especially after the way I treated him when he found me and begged me to come back to him. But I, at least, want to talk to him.”
“When are you going to do it?” Mo asked, ever the practical one.
“I was thinking about just heading over to his office today,” Olivia said, her heart racing at the thought of possibly seeing Alexander that day.
“Great,” Kiera said excitedly. “Have you thought about what you’re going to wear?”
Olivia laughed. “No. I haven’t thought about that yet.”
Kiera stood up and grabbed her hand. “We’ll be back later, Mo. Girl thing.” She dragged her out of the house and, within a few minutes, they were on their way back into the city.
“So, what’s the deal with you and Mo?” Olivia asked. “I noticed something a little different between you two. Come on. What’s the status?”
“Status?” Kiera asked, a look of disgust on her face. “I’m not one for labels. Just, suffice it to say, he’s my one-way ticket to pound town, okay?”
Olivia laughed, happy to be back home.
WITHIN A FEW HOURS, Kiera had successfully helped Olivia find a new outfit to wear when she confronted Alexander. Their last stop was a swanky shoe boutique on Newbury Street. Boston was flooded with tourists still milling about in the city after celebrating the New Year. Shops were packed, and there was a chill in the air that Olivia had missed when she lived in Florida. The gray clouds made it feel like the sky would open up at any second and cover the city with a fluffy blanket of snow.
“I don’t know, Kiera. I don’t think I really need another pair of shoes. Have you seen my closet?”
Kiera stared at her friend, indignant. “Of course I have, and I’m incredibly jealous. However, never underestimate the power of a pair of shoes. Cinderella is living proof that a pair of shoes can change your life.”
Olivia wrinkled her nose. “I’m not so sure Cinderella could be classified as ‘living proof’. Aren’t you in publishing?”
“Yeah. I read that somewhere. Isn’t it a great quote?” Kiera laughed.
Olivia ended up buying the shoes because her friend was right. She wanted to face Alexander feeling the best she possibly could, given the circumstances. The shoes were pricey, but she had missed Christmas so she considered them a gift to herself.
The girls got back to Olivia’s house and Kiera helped her friend get ready. She put on her tight black sweater dress and accented it with a thin red belt. Then she pulled on the overpriced black leather boots.
“Hot!” Kiera announced when Olivia walked downstairs. “You look fucking smoking!”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence. Want to give me a ride?” Olivia asked, butterflies forming in her stomach.
“Okay. Come on.”
A short ten minutes later, Kiera pulled up outside the office building in the Financial District. She turned to her friend. “Nervous?”
“A little,” Olivia responded, fidgeting with her coat. “He might not even be here.”
“Well, at least you’re giving it a shot.”
Olivia opened the car door, taking a deep breath, her hands shaking.
“Good luck, Libby. And, no matter what happens, I love you.”
She smiled. “Thanks, Care Bear.”
Olivia’s heart began to beat rapidly as she walked into her old work building. She made her way across the large lobby toward the turnstiles, unsure of whether she would actually be able to follow through with what she had planned.
“Olivia! You’re back!” Jerry shouted as she swiped her keycard through the turnstiles.
“Yeah. For now, at least.”
“Hey. Are you okay? It looks like you lost a lot of weight. And you didn’t have it to lose.” He looked at her, the concern apparent on his face.
“I’m fine, Jerry. Don’t worry about me,” she said dryly.