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“For crying out loud, Alex! You’re being ridiculous!” She attempted to walk past him up the stairs. He blocked her way. She glared at him, her eyes full of venom. “And stop talking about me like I’m a piece of fucking property or someone you need to protect! I’m not a child. You need to stop trying to control every little thing about my life!” Alexander stared at her, her voice becoming louder. “You have to let me make my own decisions and stop being so fucking suffocating!” She pushed against his chest and stormed past him. He let her go, still in shock over her words.
“Am I suffocating?” he asked under his breath to no one in particular.
“Yeah. You can be.” He hadn’t noticed Kiera standing at the top of the stairs. She appeared sorry for saying anything about the Vegas trip. “You need to remember that Olivia’s been on her own her entire life,” she explained. “She’s taken care of herself for as long as she can remember. So you need to ease up on your controlling tendencies. I know you love her and you just want to keep her safe, but you’ve got to let her do what she wants to do or you’ll lose her again.” Kiera sent him a pleading look, hoping that his overbearing behavior wouldn’t tear them apart.
“But I worry about her,” he said quietly.
“That’s no excuse. I worry about her, too, and I still let her date you.” She winked. “If I were you, I’d get your ass up there and apologize to that girl.” Kiera glared at him for several long moments before softening her gaze. “I know you mean well, but sometimes you need to be more compassionate. Stop looking at her as someone who needs protection or saving. Okay?”
Alexander sighed. “I get it. I’ll try.”
Kiera smiled, returning back to her normal cheery self. “Good. Now get back in there and apologize to my best friend because, so help me god, if I have to call and cancel all the dress shopping appointments I booked for tomorrow, I will rip your balls off.” She turned and bounced across the empty room toward the stage where Mo was setting up.
Alexander scanned the dance floor and saw Olivia standing at the bar getting a drink with a few of the band members.
“Olivia,” he said quietly as he walked up behind her. She grabbed a shot off the bar and slammed back the small glass filled with the silver tequila she needed. After swallowing the liquid, she spun around, her eyes shooting daggers through him. She was pissed.
The rest of the band members grabbed their drinks and left quickly, the tension between Olivia and Alexander obvious.
“Olivia, I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I just get so jealous sometimes. I want all your time. I know it’s selfish of me to want that, but it drives me crazy to think that something could happen to you and I won’t be able to do anything about it.” His eyes pleaded with her.
She took a sip of her beer as she absorbed Alexander’s words. “Alex, you have to trust me to make my own decisions. I’m an adult, for crying out loud! You can’t always be by my side. I need my own space, and I need time with my friends.”
“I know. I know. And I’m so sorry.” He grabbed her hands in his, gently caressing her skin. Leaning down, he planted a soft kiss on her neck, lingering several seconds as he breathed against her skin.
Shivers ran down Olivia’s spine, loving the feeling of Alexander’s lips on her neck…or any part of her body, for that matter. “Okay,” she exhaled. “Apology accepted.” She wrapped her arms around him and ran her fingers up and down his muscular back, thinking how it was nearly impossible for her to stay angry at him for too long. “I hate fighting with you.”
He grabbed Olivia’s chin, forcing her to look into his sincere eyes before placing a gentle kiss on her lips. “Why do we seem to argue all the time?” he asked as he brought her head back into his chest, holding her close to his body.
“Because you are the most frustrating man I’ve ever known.” She smiled and listened to his heartbeat, feeling safe as his warmth surrounded her. “You’re the only one who can fix or ruin everything in the blink of an eye,” she said quietly.
He pulled back, staring down at her, unsure of how to respond to that. He didn’t know what to think of her revelation. Was that true?
She noticed the forlorn look on Alexander’s face after muttering those words and it broke her heart. “And that’s one of the many reasons I’m madly in love with you, Alexander,” she said, smiling. “There’s never a dull moment with you around.” She winked, walking away.
Alexander watched her hips sway as she bounded up the stage, guilt overwhelming his conscience for constantly keeping her in the dark about her past. Olivia was right. He could ruin everything. Maybe he already had ruined everything and she just didn’t know it yet.
But he couldn’t tell her. What if her father was right and her lack of knowledge was the only thing keeping her alive? Until he knew more, she needed to stay in the dark. It was the only way.
JUST A COINCIDENCE
TWO SMALL CHILDREN RAN around the beach, chasing each other, the end of a game of hide-and-seek.
“I found you, Olibia! Fair and square!”
“I know. But maybe I want you to chase me for a little bit, Alex!” Olivia continued to run up and down the beach, hoping that the tall, dark-haired, green-eyed boy would keep following her.
He stopped running and placed his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. “I’ll never stop chasing you, Olibia. We’re best friends, and we’ll be together always. Forever and ever.” He walked toward the rocks leading up to the enormous beach house.
OLIVIA’S EYES FLUNG OPEN. She looked over at Alexander as he slept next to her, his breathing rhythmic. What did her dream mean? The same green-eyed boy that pulled her out of the car in her nightmares was there, and she had called him Alex. It had to just be a coincidence.
Wanting to forget about the dream and everything it inferred, she drew her body closer to Alexander’s and listened to the rain fall outside.
A devilish smile spread across his face and he groaned, the sensation of Olivia’s delicate flesh so close to his waking him up in more ways than one. “Good morning, love,” he murmured groggily. “I can certainly get used to being woken up like this.” He raised his hips to meet hers. His eyes grew wide when she pushed him onto his back and placed her legs around his waist.