A Tragic Wreck
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“Wait. Where are you going?”
“I don’t know, Ty. I just can’t be here right now. I shouldn’t be here. I should be home with Chelsea.” He walked toward the front door of the bar.
Tyler leapt up, running to catch up to Alexander as Olivia sang about a worn out soul. “Do you mean that?”
“What?” Alexander looked at Tyler with a questioning expression on his face.
“Do you really think you belong at home with Chelsea? If that’s truly what you think you want, I will support you one-hundred-and-ten percent. You know I will.”
Alexander glanced over at the stage, his eyes meeting Olivia’s. He inhaled sharply at the expression on her face, and their eyes remained locked for several long seconds. Bowing his head slightly, he shook it, unable to look into her sad brown eyes anymore…eyes that always looked large on her face but now looked like they didn’t even belong there.
He walked outside, Tyler following close behind.
“Alex, please. Think about it.”
“I have thought about it, Tyler,” he replied, stopping in his tracks to face his brother. “I’ve thought about it so much over the past few months. And then even more so over the past few days. At first, when I let her walk away from me this past Monday, I kept kicking myself for not screaming out her name and pulling her into my arms, telling her that I forgive her. But I don’t know. She’s only going to run again. And next time, I don’t know if I could possibly survive it. So I need to do this for me. I need to move on and regain control of this situation, and marrying Chelsea is the only way I know that I can.” He turned, walking briskly in the direction of his car.
“Goddamnit,” Tyler muttered, following his brother and trying to catch up to him. “Don’t you think that’s a little rash?” he shouted.
Alexander turned around again, stopping in front of a brick building, the chilly Boston air sending shivers down his spine, causing his teeth to chatter.
“Have you thought about how hypocritical you’re being?” Tyler asked quietly. “You push her away because you’re scared of getting hurt. That’s the exact thing she did to you. What makes it okay for you to do it?”
“Don’t you think I know that?!” he yelled, running his hands through his hair, glaring at his brother. “And it doesn’t make it okay, but I need to do it.”
“Call it self-preservation,” a sweet voice interrupted.
Alexander and Tyler both turned to see Olivia standing to the side.
Tyler lowered his eyes, unsure of how much of his and Alexander’s discussion she had overheard. Alexander couldn’t do anything but stare into those big brown eyes. He was drawn to her eyes as much that day as he was the first time he gazed into them.
Noticing a tense situation, Tyler cleared his throat. “Well, I’ll just leave you two alone. I’ll call you tomorrow, Alex.” Tyler turned, leaving Alexander alone with Olivia.
“Alexander, please.” She pulled her jacket tighter around her body, desperately seeking warmth. “Don’t say anything. Let’s just pretend we never ran into each other. I’m sure that’s what you want. That way you can go on with your life. I know I threw your perfect little world into a tailspin the minute I came back to town and I’m sorry. I just thought…” She trailed off, not knowing how to finish her sentence without breaking down.
Alexander took a step toward her, their bodies almost touching. Olivia whimpered at the intense feeling coursing through her from the proximity of his strong muscular body to hers once more. She looked up into his green eyes, wondering if she still had the same effect on him that he had on her. Seeing the desire pooling behind them, she had her answer. She quickly lowered her head, looking down at her boots as she stood on the snowy sidewalk, hopelessly trying to avoid his gaze.
“Look at me,” Alexander said.
Olivia shook her head. “No, Alexander!” she cried. “Please. I understand your reasons. Believe me, I do. But I just can’t stand to look into your eyes right now. They haunt me enough in my dreams already. Every night for the past four months that’s all I’ve seen. Your eyes. I could draw them from memory. I just can’t bear to look at them right now, knowing that you don’t…”
Alexander wrapped his arm around Olivia’s waist, pulling her body close as electricity coursed through his entire being from the feeling of her delicate frame crushed against his.
“Please…” she whimpered, her head buried in his chest as she inhaled his scent, still avoiding his eyes. “My heart can’t take it, Alex. Please. Set me free,” her voice pleaded with him, still keeping her eyes turned down.
“You… You can’t mean it.”
Olivia brought her hand to her cheeks, wiping her tears and trying to hide the pain in her face. “You’re getting married to someone else, Alexander. Please. I need you to release this hold you still have on me. I’m trying to stay so strong, and then you pull me back in and I fucking crumble in your embrace. You made your decision. Now I need you to honor it so that I can survive.”
Alexander’s heart sank as he released her. “What do you mean, Olivia? Survive what?”
She took a deep breath and turned to walk toward the subway station. “Life without you in it.”
She stopped in her tracks at the mention of that term of endearment. She heard his voice calling her that in her dreams, only to wake up knowing that his new love was Chelsea.
“Please. You broke me, Olivia,” Alexander explained, wanting her to turn around and face him. “You, of all people, must understand.”
Olivia nodded slowly. “I understand.” Looking over her shoulder, her eyes finally met his. “And I wish you all the happiness in the world,” she said, turning her head forward. “But, please, release me.”
Alexander took several deliberate steps, standing mere breaths behind her. “I don’t think I can.”
She sobbed. “That’s not fair. You need to. You’re getting married. Why are you marrying her if you won’t let me go?”
He placed his hand on her stomach, pulling her back into him as he leaned down and kissed her hair, attempting to soothe her sobs. “Because you already have my heart. You’ve had it for longer than I think you realize,” he explained. “And I don’t want it back, but that still doesn’t mean I am prepared to leave Chelsea. She cares about me.”