A Tragic Wreck
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“Olivia. Wake up, please.” Her body shook violently, sweating and crying as Alexander tried to bring her back from whatever she was dreaming about. It scared him to his core to see her like that. He had witnessed Olivia’s recurring nightmares many times in the past, but never had he seen something so frightening.
Her eyes flung open as she inhaled deeply, taking in her surroundings and trying to remember where she was. She was lying in an oversized bed with a cherry wood frame. The fireplace across from the bed flickered a soft glow, and a dog kicked in his sleep up on a bed next to the hearth, apparently chasing squirrels in his dreams. Runner. Runner was there. She looked at the person next to her on the bed. Alexander. It was only a dream. She breathed a sigh of relief.
Alexander leaned over to his nightstand and flicked on the light. He looked at Olivia as she sat up, covering her naked body with the light sheet. Her entire face was void of any emotion as she watched his every move.
Olivia gazed into those same green eyes she dreamt of nearly every night. She was starting to lose her mind. What was happening to her? This dream was something new. Did someone fake her death to protect her? It sounded so absurd.
“Olivia, please. Talk to me. I need to know that you’re okay.”
It wasn’t real. It couldn’t have been. It was only a dream, but her father’s voice was so clear. It was as if no time had passed since the last time she heard him.
“Yes. I’m fine,” she said quietly, her hands still shaking. “I just had that dream again. I’m sorry for scaring you.” She turned away from him, pulling the duvet over her, and tried to go back to sleep. Alexander eventually turned off the light, certain that she was keeping something from him. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close and trying to comfort her.
“Do you think my father might still be alive?” she asked quietly just as Alexander was about to fall asleep.
He stilled, turning Olivia to face him, desperately searching her face, hoping she would tell him why she asked him that question. After his conversation with Martin earlier, and now Olivia’s question, he wondered if maybe her father was still alive. “What makes you ask that?” He planted a kiss on her forehead.
“I’ve been seeing him and hearing his voice in my dreams lately. A few months ago, I dreamt that he made it out of the car and shot the man who hurt the little boy. And then tonight, I dreamt that I was in a hospital bed. All I could hear were voices, but I heard my father’s voice, as well as my uncle’s voice. But they were calling him Thomas and not Charles. They were talking about some sort of relocation. When my uncle told my father that he would never see me again, he just agreed. They said something about needing certain people to believe that we were all dead, or else they would never stop.” A tear fell down Olivia’s cheek.
“Shhhh. It’s okay, darling. Like you said, it was just a dream.” He pulled her into his arms, soothing her quiet cries. What if her father really was still alive? His father told him that they never made it out of the hospital, dying from complications of the crash. He clearly lied about Olivia. Did he do the same about her father?
“The boy was there, too,” she said softly.
“When?” Alexander asked nervously.
“In my dream. Before I overheard the two men. I heard the little boy speak, begging me to wake up. I tried so hard to open my eyes, but I just couldn’t.”
A tear escaped Alexander’s eye. He knew the exact moment she was referring to. The last time that he saw her. The day after the accident. He remembered his father allowing him to go see Olivia in her hospital room, and he begged and begged her to wake up. But she didn’t. And that was the last time he ever saw her. A few hours later, his father told him that she didn’t make it. That was the day his life changed, too.
STRAWBERRIES AND CHAMPAGNE
“LOVE, I’M SENDING FOUR agents to the spa with you today,” Alexander said the following morning as they sat eating breakfast. “Marshall is the only female. She is not to leave your side, do you understand?”
Alexander looked serious. It wasn’t worth arguing with him that day, not after her restless night. She had trouble falling back to sleep after her dream. She couldn’t shake the feeling that had started to form in the pit of her stomach.
At ten o’clock, Marshall appeared in the foyer. Olivia watched as Alexander greeted her, her tall, fit frame slightly intimidating, even standing next to someone like Alexander. She was clearly in shape and Olivia had no desire to mess with her. “Pleasure to see you again, Miss Adler.”
“Agent Marshall, I’ve told you to call me Olivia or Libby.” She had grown tired of all of Alexander’s employees using her last name. Her name was Olivia. She didn’t want to only be known as Miss Adler. That wasn’t who she was.
Marshall looked at Alexander with a questioning look.
This man is ridiculous, Olivia thought. “Fine. Call me Miss Adler.” Was she starting to lose her entire identity to the man standing next to her?
“Just give us a moment, please, Marshall.”
“Yes, sir.” She stepped into the foyer, giving Alexander and Olivia some privacy.
“Olivia, love,” he said, brushing a lock of her hair behind her ear. “I’m sorry about the extra security but, after the other day…well, it’s just necessary until I can get some answers.”
“Fine,” Olivia exhaled, reluctantly agreeing to his demands. He was all business that morning. She wanted the playful Alexander back from the night before.
He pulled her into a tight embrace, stroking her back as he planted gentle kisses on her forehead, her nose, her cheek, her other cheek. He gently brushed his lips against hers. Sparks flew through Olivia’s body at the innocent contact of his lips on hers. She immediately forgot that she was irritated with him and his absurd protection details.
Alexander pulled back, his eyes aflame, before leaning in for a more passionate kiss. Their tongues intertwined as Olivia ran her hands through his hair, pulling his head closer to hers, not wanting to break the contact. She needed him desperately after the previous night. Alexander had become the one thing in life that she needed in order to get past the nightmares. He had become her own personal nepenthe. She smiled at the thought.