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“He probably had his secretary plan most of it,” Olivia slurred, finishing another beer. She wondered what number that was as she looked around the table at her friends. All of their faces were flushed from the liquor they had been consuming.
“It doesn’t matter,” Bridget said. “Whoever planned everything for us did a badass job. We’re in a presidential suite that sleeps, like, a gazillion people. We’re all having a spa day. And he’s arranged for bottle service at a bunch of the clubs in the area. It’s going to be a rockin’ good time!” She sounded rather excited. “And I’m so getting laid.”
The entire table erupted in laughter.
“I’m glad he’s pulling out all the stops for this one,” Olivia said, thinking how busy Alexander must have been arranging everything that morning. “And I’m glad none of us have to do the planning. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
“Libby,” a soft voice called out. All of the girls’ heads turned to look in Cam’s direction as he stood by their table. “I’m heading out. It was great to see you again.”
Olivia glanced at her friends. “I’ll be right back, girls.” She slid off her barstool and walked with Cam toward the front door, the silence deafening as she tried to figure out what to say to him after everything they had been through.
“Well, listen, here’s my business card,” he said, breaking the awkward tension and pulling a card out of his wallet. Olivia was immediately reminded of Simon…and Adele. “My cell number is on there so if you ever need anything, anything at all, you know you can count on me.”
She met his eyes and could see the pain that she caused him. But he was the one who pushed her back to Alexander. If it hadn't been for him, she wouldn't be where she was right now -- physically and emotionally. How could she ever repay him?
Olivia took the card from him and placed it in her pocket, not able to say a word as her appreciation for everything he had ever done for her came rushing forward. No words could adequately convey what she needed to say to him.
“It was great to see you again. Good luck with everything, Libby.” Cam began to walk toward the front of the bar.
“Cam! Wait!” Olivia shouted, finally finding her voice.
He turned his head, his feet unable to walk any further. His heart wanted her to confess her undying love for him, but his head knew that would never happen.
“Thank you,” she said. “For everything. I mean, helping me get my shit back together. I just… I don’t…”
Cam's legs finally listened to his brain and closed the distance, cutting her off. He took her soft hand in his, savoring the contact once more from the only girl he knew he would ever love.
“You don’t need to thank me, Libby. I was just doing what any friend would do.” He stared into her eyes one last time before turning to leave the bar. She was a friend and that was all she could ever be. Nothing more. He regretted pushing her into the car all those months ago, and then making her confront Alexander when he showed up after he left his bride-to-be at the altar. But she would never have found her happiness unless she did so. Olivia was happy, at last.
He walked the few short blocks up the street to his hotel and flopped on the bed. After tossing and turning for hours, he couldn’t shake the feeling that the walls were closing in on him. He got up and grabbed his laptop. He needed to leave the city. He couldn’t stay there. It was something Olivia would do, but it had to happen. He now understood why she had done what she did.
He found his return flight information and called the airline to change his reservation to the next available flight. The customer service representative told him he could get on a flight leaving Logan Airport at six in the morning, less than five hours away.
“I’ll take it,” Cam said into the phone as he hurried to pack all of his things into his suitcase.
A few hours later, as he watched the city of Boston disappear beneath him cloaked in a pink-and-orange hue from the rising sun, he knew he made the right decision. He needed to try to forget about Olivia, and he couldn’t be in the same city as her. “Enough,” he said to himself, more as a request than anything.
“I HAVE SOME INFORMATION, Donovan.”
“Yes, Cheryl. What is it?” he spat into the phone. He needed some good news, and soon, before everything fell apart.
“I have information about Olivia going to Las Vegas. Apparently, it’s her bachelorette party, and Burnham has agreed to allow her to go without normal protection, thanks to my prodding.”
Donovan brought his hand to his chin, thinking about what that meant.
“Do we deviate from the plan and take a chance at this opportunity?” Cheryl inquired.
“No,” Donovan said after much thought. “The plan remains the same. But we’ll use this opportunity to our advantage. Send me the details that you know.”
Donovan pressed the receiver on his phone and dialed another number. “Lucas, would you and your brother be interested in taking a little trip to Vegas?”
THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS seemed to fly by while Olivia continued to prepare for the wedding at the end of August. As she sat at a sidewalk table at a Newbury Street restaurant on a warm Thursday in late June, she couldn’t help but smile at the thought of getting on the plane the following day and spending a long weekend in Las Vegas. She perused the menu while she waited for Kiera to show up, thankful that Alexander had agreed to allow her to go without her protection detail that coming weekend…thanks to much convincing by Agent Marshall.
“Good afternoon,” Olivia heard a shrill voice say.
She glanced up from her menu and was met with Adele’s smirking face. She put on the best fake smile she could muster on such short notice. “Afternoon, Adele. It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”
“Ugh,” she groaned. “I hate this humidity. I should have never left California.”
“Well, feel free to return at any time. I don’t think anyone here in Boston would miss you very much.” Olivia gave herself a mental fist bump before returning her eyes to the menu, hoping Adele would take the hint and leave.
“Whatever,” she said, clearly irritated with Olivia’s lackluster response. “Have you thought at all about what I said during our last conversation?”