A Tragic Wreck
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As Olivia exited the Red Line subway station, climbing the stairs to street level, she wondered what had possessed her to go to Open Mic. It had only been three days since Alexander stomped on her heart, leaving it to bleed all over Boylston Street. During those three days as she wallowed on the couch, all she could hear was Alexander’s voice calling her name. As much as she tried to forget about him, he had a tighter hold on her than she realized.
On Tuesday, she felt horrible, using all of her willpower to not dull the ache with drugs and alcohol. So she begrudgingly picked up the phone and called Dr. Greenstein, who showed up at her door within an hour, a look of concern etched on her face as she took in Olivia’s appearance.
Without saying a word, she embraced Olivia while all the sadness, anger, hurt, and pain spilled out of her eyes. Dr. Greenstein ended up canceling all of her appointments that day, ensuring that Olivia was going to be alright. It was the doctor who encouraged her to resume her normal routine, little by little. And that meant Open Mic. So it was with a heavy heart that Olivia walked the block from the Davis Square subway stop in the snowy Boston streets to Johnny D’s on Thursday night.
She didn’t know what to expect when she opened the door to the bar. She had been gone for so long but, as she made her way through the familiar bar, nothing seemed different. It was as if everyone’s lives had gone on without her there, as if her life wasn’t important. And she knew that was true.
“Holy shit, you’re here!” Kiera said, jumping up from their usual table, eyeing Mo suspiciously.
“Yeah. I’m here. Might as well try to get back to my old life,” Olivia said dryly as a server came to the table to take her drink order.
“You singing tonight?” Mo asked, wondering whether he should tell her that Alexander was sitting at the bar.
“Yup. And if either of you say the ‘A’ word, I will leave immediately and never speak to you again. Got it?”
Kiera sighed. “Libby, you need to talk about it eventually. You know that, right?”
Olivia took a sip of her much needed gin. “Of course I do. But only when I’m ready. It’s just too painful right now,” she quivered. “So, please, I beg you both to give me time.”
Mo draped his arm around her, kissing her temple gently, wishing he could take away the pain that so clearly consumed his friend’s entire being. “Of course, Livvy. We get it.”
“He said I would always be his ‘Eve’, and I have no fucking clue what that means!” Olivia downed the rest of her drink, signaling the server to bring her another one as she got up from her chair, leaving Mo and Kiera alone.
“He what?” Kiera asked under her breath.
“It’s that song, K. The one he did right before he asked you-know-who to marry him. Livvy's his Eve. She came crawling back, begging for another shot. He knows that she’s still the only one for him. He wants her back, but he’s just too scared to admit it. That’s what that song’s all about. It's about something beautiful arising out of pain.”
“Well, then, why the fuck is he torturing her?”
“He’s doing the same thing she always did. He’s too scared to get hurt again so he’s sticking with the sure thing.”
Kiera turned around and shot daggers in Alexander’s direction, wanting to hurt him for destroying her friend.
Alexander signaled the bartender for his check as the M.C. jumped back on stage. Carter said he was held up on another assignment, but would report to Olivia’s house as soon as he could to make sure she was alright. But what if she wasn’t? Alexander needed to go over there and check on her. He was starting to shake with apprehension about what he had said to her and the way he just let her walk away from him, knowing that there could be a possible threat to her life out roaming the streets of Boston.
“Okay. Next up, an old favorite back from parts unknown.”
Alexander’s heart stopped. Could it be?
“Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Olivia Adler!”
The crowd roared with applause as Alexander watched Olivia rise from her table on unsteady legs and walk toward the stage, positioning herself behind the piano. It felt like no time had passed at all since that first night back in August when he watched her perform on that very stage. That was less than five months ago. Everything had happened so quickly. But things were very different now.
“Thank you,” Olivia murmured into the microphone. “You’re all probably wondering where I’ve been.”
The audience clapped in response.
“Well, it’s kind of a long story, but the short end of it is that I got spooked, I guess. I got scared, and my gut reaction is to run when that happens. So that’s what I did,” she explained to the crowd, her voice shaking. “I ran to a beach in Florida, and I pushed away the one person that meant the world to me. Then I came crawling back only to find out that he wants nothing to do with me anymore. Which kind of sucks, but I guess I deserve it.”
Olivia took a deep breath as she surveyed her captive audience. “Anyway, as I sat around my house today, I debated what song to do tonight. I didn’t even want to come, but my persistent therapist was fairly persuasive in making sure I made an appearance here. This song came on my iPod and I knew it was perfect. This is What Did I Ever Come Here For by Brandi Carlile. I hope you all enjoy.”
Gingerly placing her fingers on the piano, she played the opening chords of the song before her voice filled the bar. It felt good to be back there, doing what she did best. It was all she knew. It was all she had left. Alexander had taken everything else from her. He took her heart and she now knew that she would never get it back. He continued to hold onto it, even though he was going to marry Chelsea.
As she sang, she thought about her decision to leave Alexander all those months ago and how, at the time, it seemed like her only option. His words still haunted her. It will destroy me, too. She still heard him saying that in her dreams. Was her inability to deal with her past still destroying him?
Alexander stared intently at Olivia as she sang about being away, then returning only to have her heart ripped out. She was right. It was the perfect song for the situation because that’s exactly what happened. Olivia showed up, desperately wanting him to take her back, but all he did was push her away to protect his own heart. How was that any better than what she had done to him? How was it any different?
“Hey. You okay, bro?” Tyler whispered.