A Tragic Wreck
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“Okay. Wait here. We’ll be right back,” Alexander said, leaving the girls standing toward the back of the large room as he made his way over to the bar with his brother.
“Alex! You’re here! We weren’t expecting to see you tonight!” Kiera said, walking over to him, wrapping her arms around him. “Good to see you, too, Tyler,” she said with an appreciative nod. “Happy Valentine’s Day!” She winked.
“Nice to see you, Mr. Burnham,” Melanie said, grinning. She had a feeling she knew what was going on.
“You, as well, Melanie. Bridget.” He nodded toward the girls before looking back into Kiera’s green eyes. Several moments passed without anyone saying anything, Kiera thrilled that Tyler was able to convince him to come to the bar that night.
All of a sudden, Alexander gasped. “Wait. Carter said Olivia was over at your house. Is everything okay?”
“Of course, but you know Olivia. She’s moody.” Kiera saw Alexander’s face drop. “She’s okay, Alex. She just needs to get through this. She’ll come out fine on the other side. She always does. But I just needed to get out of the house for a little bit. Grab Chelsea and come meet us back here.” She changed the conversation so that Alexander didn’t become suspicious and leave. Kiera had Tyler on her side anyway.
“Okay. I’ll be right back.” Alexander turned to leave.
“I’m Tyler, by the way,” he said, extending his hand to Melanie.
She giggled, shaking his hand. “I’m Melanie, but everyone just calls me Mel.”
“It’s wonderful to meet you, Mel,” he beamed. Melanie blushed at the mini version of Alexander standing in front of her.
“Do you think this will work?” Tyler asked Kiera, breaking the silence.
She shrugged as she reached into her purse. “I sure hope so.”
“What is going on?” Bridget asked.
Kiera winked. “You’ll see. Patience.” She found her cell phone and texted Olivia.
A few minutes later, just as the final note of the band’s last song rang through the bar, Mo looked at the audience, finding Kiera standing with Melanie and Bridget. A grin crossed his face when he noticed Alexander, Tyler, Chelsea, and someone he didn’t recognize standing directly behind them. Kiera gave Mo a brief nod.
“Quick set change, guys,” Mo said into the microphone as his band quickly moved the grand piano center stage, readjusting their positions on stage to make room for it.
“Great. Thanks. Here’s one we’ve never done before.”
That was her cue. Taking a deep breath, Olivia stepped onto the stage while the crowd cheered. When she was set behind the piano, Mo spoke again. “Miss Olivia Adler everyone.”
The crowd erupted in loud applause and cheers. Several people began chanting, “Libby! Libby! Libby!”
Olivia smiled. “Thank you. Mo, thanks for letting me perform tonight.”
Alexander gaped at her. What was she doing? Now that he saw her up close and not through a dirty window, he couldn’t believe his eyes. She had lost even more weight, her eyes looked cold and empty. The spark was gone. It looked as if her soul had been sucked out of her body. All that sat up at the piano was an empty shell, and he knew it was all his fault.
“I’m here tonight to sing a song from the bottom of my heart.” Olivia looked over the audience and saw Alexander standing near Kiera. Chelsea was clearly unhappy. “You see, there’s this guy and, pardon my French, I royally fucked up. I pushed him away, and he’s getting married tomorrow.” The audience gasped and a smile spread across Olivia’s face. “The funny thing is, he made me so fucking happy.”
A voice shouted from the audience, “I’ll make you happy, Libby!”
Alexander glared in the direction of the voice, surprised by his reaction.
Olivia looked toward the rather drunk man. “Thanks, I appreciate that. But here’s the thing.” Her eyes roamed the audience, speaking to them as if it was a big group therapy session because, at that moment, that’s what she needed. “I’ve gone my entire life pushing everyone away, scared that if I got too close to someone they would leave me. And I did it again. I ran from this wonderful person fearful that, in the end, he wouldn’t be able to deal with all my craziness and would eventually leave me. I tried to protect myself from getting hurt.” A tear escaped from Olivia’s eye. “But the pain I have been through these past several months is so much more than anything I have ever experienced.” She scanned the audience and locked eyes with Alexander. “And when I realized how big of a mistake it was, I came groveling back, only to realize he moved on. Like I asked him to.”
The audience was silent, listening intently to every word. Olivia returned her eyes to the rest of the crowd. “He was someone I hated to leave in the morning. I couldn’t get enough of him while we were together. He accepted me for who I was, never wanting to change a thing about me.” She returned her gaze to Alexander, her eyes pleading with him, her chin quivering. “Alexander, you were someone I think I could have fallen madly in love with.” She took a deep breath, needing the inner courage to get through what she was about to do. “I know it’s over. I do. I never gave our relationship a chance. But I’m hoping you will now, for both of our sakes. Life is too short to waste on a mediocre relationship, don’t you think?”
Olivia looked down, placing her hands on the piano keys. “This is Ashes and Wine by A Fine Frenzy.”
Alexander listened to the opening chords of the song, mesmerized by the woman on the stage, a deep sadness enveloping his body.
“Come on, Alex,” Chelsea said, her heart racing. She had been worried about losing Alexander since Olivia returned to town. She felt everything was spiraling out of control. “Let’s get out of here.” She turned to face her sister. “She’s clearly lost her mind,” she said loudly so Alexander could hear.
“Chelsea. Enough,” he growled.
Tyler smiled, wrapping his arm around Melanie’s small waist and leaning over toward Kiera. “I think it’s working.”
Alexander returned his attention to the woman on stage. The pain in Olivia’s voice was so real that he could physically feel it. He couldn’t believe that she was up on stage, pouring her heart out in front of hundreds of people. Granted, she had done the same at Open Mic nights in the past, but that was to a crowd of maybe fifty people. At MacFadden’s, there were easily five hundred people, if not more, listening to her beg for one last chance. It was unlike anything she would ever do. Her fear of rejection and abandonment controlled her. And there she was, facing her fears head on.