A Tragic Wreck
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Olivia flung open the door to her house, soaked from the snow that continued to fall steadily around the city. She bolted the door, not wanting to see anyone, even some well-meaning friend. She needed some time alone. Stripping off the sexy black boots that, just a few hours ago, made her feel confident and ready to face the world, she walked into the kitchen and poured some Sapphire gin over ice, wishing she could turn the calendar back to October. Taking a gulp, she exhaled loudly, feeling the effects of the alcohol warm her stomach.
She grabbed the bottle and collapsed on the couch. Nepenthe walked over and sat down over the floor heater, warming his body. Olivia was chilled to the bone, but she had no desire to go upstairs and change. The cold helped take her mind off how much pain she felt.
“Why did I ever come back here?” she sobbed to no one at all. “I don’t belong here… I don’t belong anywhere."
“Grant. Did you get her?” Donovan asked, hopeful.
“No, sir. I was in pursuit, but Burnham tackled me to the ground.”
“Shit,” he spat into the phone. “Did he recognize you?” He sounded worried.
“I don’t believe so.”
“Fuck. Why is one girl so fucking hard to kill?”
Grant laughed. “I didn’t realize we were going to kill her. I just thought we’d abduct her and make her lead us to those documents.”
“Well, yes. And then we’re going to kill her, Grant. I don’t leave any loose ends.”
“Then what’s the plan?”
“The plan is to lay low. There have been too many fuck-ups. Burnham could have recognized you and, even though he’s engaged to that other woman, he’ll probably be on high alert over the next several weeks. So we wait. Let Burnham forget that we’re after her. Once he lets his guard down, we make our move. When they least expect it.”
THE SURE BET
“HEY, ALEX,” TYLER SAID as he pulled up a barstool next to his brother on a Thursday night in early January. “How’s everything going?” He signaled the bartender to pour him a beer.
Alexander looked at his brother. “I’ve been better,” he replied, downing a shot of tequila.
“Shit. What happened?” Tyler inquired as he took in his surroundings at the bar in Davis Square. At the far end of the room, a pair of college students sat on stage and performed to a captive audience. He had never been there before and had hoped to convince Alexander to meet him closer to Boston University, but his brother was adamant about going to a place called Johnny D’s.
“She’s back, Ty,” Alexander said, staring down into his pint glass filled with an amber liquid.
“Olivia.” The word fell off his tongue in a way that made him miss her even more.
“Does Chelsea know?”
“Yup. She ran into her outside of my office, after she came to me and begged me to take her back.”
“And did you?”
Alexander raised the glass to his mouth and slowly shook his head. “No. I just couldn’t do it. All I could remember was how I felt when I left her in Florida after she begged me to leave her alone because it was the only way she could survive. I knew she didn’t want that, but she looked so broken. And now I don’t know what the fuck to think. I’m supposed to be getting married next month.”
Tyler exhaled slowly, thankful that he didn’t have the girl problems Alexander seemed to have. He loved his brother and was grateful that, whenever he needed someone to talk to, Alexander would always call him. They were never that close when they were younger, but once Tyler started college, they became closer. Over the years, he watched Alexander go home with woman after woman until Olivia walked into his life. Little did Tyler know at the time that it was Alexander’s Olivia from all those years ago, but he did know that Olivia was the best thing to ever happen to his brother. It made him change his ways and open his heart to love…a heart now possessed by Chelsea.
“Are you in love with her?” he asked.
“Of course I am!” Alexander exclaimed. “I wouldn’t have gone all the way to Florida if I didn’t love her!”
Tyler lowered his voice. “No. Chelsea, man. I was talking about Chelsea. Are you in love with her?” He raised his eyebrows, realizing that he probably already knew the answer.
Alexander paused, thinking about the question.
“Come on, Alex. You put a goddamn ring on her finger. You shouldn’t have to even think about it. Just answer the question. Are you in love with Chelsea?”
Alexander sighed. “It’s not that easy, Ty.”
“It should be. There shouldn’t even be a doubt in your fucking mind if you’re about to give that girl our last name.”
Alexander nodded, knowing that his brother was right. Why did Olivia have to show up and throw herself at him, begging for forgiveness? After the months spent with Olivia, his life finally had some semblance of normalcy. Chelsea offered him security in a relationship, which was something he never felt with Olivia. And he was in control. He needed the control. With Olivia, he had none. With Chelsea, he didn’t feel as if his world was about to fall out from beneath him any second.
Alexander shook his head, knowing that he wasn’t in love with Chelsea. He knew he probably never would be. There was only one girl he would ever love. A girl that captured his heart years ago, and he never got it back. The apple of his eye. His Eve. His Olivia.
“Tyler! Alex!” a voice called out, bringing Alexander back from his thoughts.
“Hey, Mo! Good to see you.” He looked at Mo and Kiera with anxious eyes. “I didn't expect to see you two tonight.” He wondered whether Olivia would be there, as well. It was Thursday night after all. Immediately, his heart started to race at the thought of seeing her.
“You know how it is, Alex,” Kiera said. “We’re never one to break with tradition. It’s Thursday, and Thursday night is Open Mic night.”
“Have you…?” Alexander raised his eyebrows, not sure if he could finish his question.
Mo shook his head. “No. She won’t let us in, and she’s not answering our calls. I think she just needs some time to process everything.” He led Kiera away from the bar toward their usual table, wondering if they would see Olivia that evening.
A worried look spread across Alexander’s face. Was she okay? He prayed that she didn’t do anything stupid. “Excuse me for a minute.” He walked away with the intention of calling Carter and ordering him to coordinate round-the-clock surveillance outside of Olivia’s home. He wasn’t thinking clearly earlier in the week when she was being followed. Now, could they have figured out she was back in town? What if she was in danger? He needed to at least make sure she was alive.