A Tragic Wreck
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“Oh, Alex,” she exhaled.
AS GOOD AS DEAD
AFTER RETURNING HOME FROM rehearsal and making a quick dinner, Olivia walked over to her large bay window and sat down, staring at the SUV that Carter sat in, his eyes trained on the house. She was reminded of all those months ago when Alexander turned her away after she came groveling back. She remembered sitting in that exact spot, staring into Alexander’s eyes as he sat in his SUV. She recalled the pain she felt after she returned, begging him to take her back. And then the incredible hurt when he turned her away, ready to marry Chelsea. But the pain she was feeling that night was far worse. Deep down, she knew that she did love Alexander. She was just too scared to admit it. Why couldn’t she just admit that she loved him? Why was she so frightened of saying those three little words to him?
Olivia’s breath caught when she saw a second SUV pull up in back of the one that Carter sat in, Martin sitting behind the wheel. She raised her hand to the glass, desperate to close the gap between her and Alexander, knowing he would be in the car with Martin.
Olivia closed her eyes, picturing him and his smile. His eyes. His arms around her. She thought about how much she loved waking up next to him. How much being in his presence calmed her and made her heart swell. How perfect it felt when she fell asleep in his embrace each night. She slowly opened her eyes.
Alexander stared through the rear windows of the SUV at his Olivia, a sad look on her face as she sat in the bay window of her house.
“Sir, do you think she’s going to say yes?” Martin asked, turning to look at his boss.
Alexander saw tears falling down Olivia’s cheeks as she mouthed three words to him, the darkened glass of the car windows acting as a barrier, shielding her from getting hurt after muttering those words.
“Martin, I’d bet my fortune on it. Let’s get back home,” he said after debating whether to go to her, deciding to give her the space she requested. At least for the time being.
A block from Olivia’s house, Alexander noticed the same sedan that had been parked out front of Mo’s house. “Martin, stop here for a minute, please.”
“Is everything okay, sir?”
Alexander wasn’t sure what to think of it, but he could no longer take any chances when it came to Olivia’s safety. There was a very real threat against her life.
“I’m sure it’s nothing. Just give me a minute,” Alexander said, getting out of the SUV and removing the safety on his gun as he crossed the street, looking at the man behind the wheel. He knocked on the window, signaling the occupant to get out of the car.
The man slowly exhaled and opened the door, standing up.
Alexander remained silent for a moment, wishing his eyes were betraying him. He knew that wasn’t the case. “So it’s true then,” he said to the man. “My dad not only faked her death, but yours, as well. Isn’t that right, Jack?”
Nathan Roberts didn’t know what to say. He should have driven away when he saw Alexander approaching, but what good would that do?
He took a deep breath. “What does she know, son?”
“Nothing, Mr. DeLuca,” he replied, placing the safety back on his gun and sliding it into his holster. “She has no idea. I didn’t believe it myself at first.”
“How long have you known it was her?”
Alexander didn’t know whether he should say anything. He had known almost immediately. There were too many coincidences. That was probably why his father hid Olivia away for so many years. Anyone would have eventually been able to put all the pieces together if they were familiar enough with the story.
“Fuck,” Nathan replied under his breath. “And she has no idea?”
“She’s starting to remember.” Alexander looked at the man standing next to him, remembering all those years ago. He looked the same, albeit with more gray hair. He was tall, almost the same height as Alexander. He had an athletic build and Alexander could see from where Olivia got her smile and skin tone. Olivia’s face, though, she got from her mother.
“Nathan. Call me Nathan. Please.” He looked over his shoulder, fearful someone on the street could have overheard their conversation.
“Sorry.” Alexander looked at Olivia’s father. “Nathan.”
There was a long pause before Alexander spoke again. “She’s been having these dreams, you know. Nightmares, really. She wakes up covered in sweat, screaming. She had a dream the other night about a conversation you and Dad might have had. About faking your deaths?”
Nathan bowed his head. He felt guilty for involving Olivia in the mess that he had created. It wasn’t supposed to be like that, but he felt as if there were no alternatives. Thomas had to fake his death and, in turn, hers. “It had to be done.”
“Why?” Alexander asked, pacing the street. He was losing his grasp on the entire situation. Almost overnight, Olivia’s father had miraculously appeared. Things were spinning out of control, and he couldn’t deal with that. He couldn’t risk losing her. Again.
“I was stupid, Alex. I tried to do the right thing, or what I thought was the right thing. I had a ton of evidence about corruption and ties to terrorist organizations. Some serious shit. I saw all these patterns when I was working at the CIA. I don’t want to get into it now. The less you know, the better. I tried to convince these people to come forward and turn themselves in. These were some very important people, higher-ups in various organizations. I couldn’t tell anyone what I had found. I didn’t know how deep it ran.”
“So why did you have to fake both your deaths?”
“They wanted me dead! And they weren’t going to stop until it happened. I knew something was wrong about a month before that accident. Marilyn got worried and asked for your father’s help. He suggested I turn over the evidence, but I didn’t know who to trust.”
He gazed off into the distance, the memory of that summer difficult to talk about. “A few months before, I placed a bunch of documents in a small locked chest to keep them safe, at least until things died down and I could turn it over to someone that I could trust. Someone I knew would do the right thing. And then the accident happened and I saw an opportunity to save both of our lives so we paid off a doctor and there you go.”
“But why did you have to do that to Olivia?”