A Tragic Wreck
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“Hey. Watch it!” he replied jokingly before lowering his voice. “I told her I love her, Carol.”
The line went quiet as she processed that information. “How did that go?” she asked, finally breaking the silence.
“She told me that I couldn’t possibly love her.”
“Do you love her?”
“Of course I do!” Alexander shouted. “I’ve loved that girl ever since I can remember!”
“Calm down, Alex. Are you sure your love is for her, or for the girl you knew all those years ago?”
“It’s the same fucking person, Carol!” Alexander slammed his fist down on his desk.
“I know that,” she replied calmly.
“Carol, I can’t lose her again.” He exhaled loudly. “I opened the letter, and it’s so much worse than I thought. Than we both thought.”
Alexander told her all the information he had learned, leaving out the part about Olivia’s father still being alive. Carol told him that she would look into Kiddish and see if she could come up with anything on him or his alias, Donovan O’Laughlin. Nothing had turned up in the last eight months and she wasn’t sure she would learn anything new. Their father did not know many of the details of Olivia’s father’s investigation into corruption, how high it went or who was involved, apart from basic speculation so that was a dead end.
After a long conversation, he hung up, promising to get together with her sometime during the weekend. He flipped open his laptop and sat staring at one of the pictures that had circulated the internet over the weekend. The now infamous kiss. The photo that started everything…and ruined everything.
Then a light went off in his head. Olivia was scared of being left alone, of being abandoned. She had admitted this many times, saying that she was trying to work through those issues, so her defense mechanism kicked in to push him away. It all became clear why she acted the way she did. She was scared to give her heart to someone only to be left alone again.
She loved him and he knew it.
He picked up his phone. “Mo? It’s Alex. I need a favor.”
BALL OF FIRE
“WHY, HELLO SUNSHINE,” MO said when Olivia barged into his house around five Wednesday evening. He scowled when he saw Olivia’s face. She hadn’t been herself since Sunday. She was moody and irritable.
“Jesus. Who lit the fuse on your tampon?” Kiera joked.
“Yeah, whatever.” Olivia glared at Kiera standing by Mo’s side. At first, she was happy when Mo and Kiera got together but, now, she was over it. If she couldn’t be happy, then no one could. And she had spent the last twenty-four hours trying to convince herself that Alexander did not make her happy and was bad for her. It wasn’t going very well.
“Let’s get this rehearsal started,” she said before heading upstairs to Mo’s music room.
Mo looked at Kiera for an answer as to why Olivia was so moody. “Don’t look at me,” she responded.
“Stop talking about me behind my back!” Olivia shouted down the stairs. “And stop thinking I’m fucking crazy! I’m sick of it!”
Photos had surfaced mid-day Sunday of Olivia storming out of Alexander’s apartment building; of him running outside minutes after she left; of him shouting on the street, shirtless; and of him sobbing outside his building. And then of Olivia getting into a cab, hence how the photographers found her at Kiera’s. The magazines took the photos and concocted some story about how Olivia couldn’t deal with the pressures of a public relationship and she cracked. She was tired of all the internet sites simply publishing one unfavorable story after another.
Olivia set up her guitar and amp as the guys shuffled into the music room. They ran through the songs that Mo had chosen for their sets, doing Olivia’s songs first so that she could get out of there. When they finished running through the last song Olivia would perform with them, she turned to Mo. “Let’s add one more, if that’s okay.” She had calmed down significantly since first arriving at Mo’s. Music had that effect on her.
“Sure, Livvy. Which one?”
“That Delta Rae song we rehearsed a few weeks back. Let’s do that one.”
Mo glared at her. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, Giacomo. Damn fucking sure.” The two friends glared at each other, Olivia willing Mo to try something stupid. The other band members stared at their stand-off, wondering what was going on. With a sigh, Mo started strumming his guitar and Olivia sang.
As she left Mo’s that evening, she noticed two black SUVs parked down the street. “Fucking stalker,” she muttered before cranking the engine to her Audi.
Nathan Roberts had been sitting in his rental sedan outside of a house in Arlington where Olivia went every Wednesday evening for band rehearsal. He continued keeping an eye on her and was aware of her and Alexander’s rather public break-up, even though the news of their relationship had only hit the gossip magazines hours beforehand.
Just an hour after Olivia arrived at the house in Arlington, he saw her storm out, jumping in her car and speeding down the street, heading back toward the city. He was about to follow her when a black SUV peeled out, tailing her. He maintained his position, not wanting anyone to become suspicious.
At that moment, Nathan saw a man get out of another black SUV and walk up the front steps of the house that Olivia had just left. It was Alexander. He felt bad for him. He looked rather sad, his shoulders slumped forward as he waited for someone to answer the door.
“Hey, Alex,” Mo said, welcoming him into the house. Alexander turned to look at the street, noticing a gray sedan, the driver’s eyes trained on him. “The guys are upstairs. Are you sure about this?”
He turned his head back to Mo. “Yes. I’ve never been so sure about anything in my entire life.” He grinned, following Mo up the stairs of his house.
“What if she doesn’t go for it? I mean, she’s been a ball of fucking fire lately. Get too close and she’ll burn you, man.”
“Mo,” Alexander turned to him, stopping at the top of the stairs. “This is true love, and it’s worth fighting for. If I don’t do this, if I don’t at least try, I will regret every second of every minute of every day for the rest of my life.”
Kiera came out of the upstairs study, running toward Alexander. “Ooh!! Let me see! Let me see! Let me see!” she said excitedly, jumping up and down.