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She smiled in appreciation before bringing it to her mouth and taking a sip.
“So, Adele, what is it you want to say to me?”
She stared at Olivia, still in disbelief that she was sitting across from the girl she used to play Barbie’s with when they were young. “What do you know about Alexander’s childhood?” she asked cautiously.
“If this is about his friend who had the same name as me, I already know about that, and I don’t think that it’s weird. My real first name is Sarah anyway.” She raised her voice, becoming a bit defensive. “Olivia is my middle name. He didn’t fall in love with me just because I go by the same name as that little girl.”
Adele lowered her eyes, hesitant to say what she was about to say, but it had to be done. She needed that money she had been promised. “Olivia, it’s not that you go by the same name as that little girl. You are that little girl…”
Olivia looked at Adele as if she was crazy. “Adele, that little girl died. Alexander told me so. He goes there every year to visit her grave and…”
“Your parents were killed, weren’t they?” she interrupted.
“Yeah. What does that have to do with anything?” Olivia’s heart began to race.
“Isn’t it a coincidence that they were killed the same day as Alexander’s Olivia?”
She sat there in silence, unsure of how Adele even knew when her parents died, or what to think of her inferences. She had never proven herself to be trustworthy in the past so she was hesitant to believe a word that came out of her mouth at that point. Still, it was a huge coincidence. But that’s what she always thought it was…just a coincidence.
“I grew up in Charleston, Adele,” Olivia responded, snapping out of her unsettled thoughts. “That little girl lived near Alexander in Mystic.” She started getting nervous. She couldn’t remember anything about her life before being sent to that boarding school in Charleston. That’s where she must have lived before the accident. Why would she be sent to Charleston if she didn’t live there? It didn’t make sense.
“Look at this, Olivia.” Adele reached down and pulled a few old photos out of her purse. “I went home this weekend and searched my parents’ house for my old photo albums. Here.” She handed her a photo. “I couldn’t find many of the two of us. We never really got along that well.”
Olivia stared at the photo. It was of her when she was a little girl. Her hair was in two braids on the opposite sides of her head, and she was standing next to a small blonde-haired girl. They were both holding their Barbie dolls and smiling at the camera.
“All this proves, Adele, is that we knew each other when I was little. I don’t remember much about my life before the accident that killed both of my parents,” she said, trying to ignore the loud voice in her head telling her that her worst fears had become a reality.
Adele sighed. “Well, how do you explain this?” She pushed another photo across the table.
Olivia gasped when she saw it. It was probably taken the same day as the previous photo. Olivia sat on a swing set in a large backyard. She recognized the yard. It was where she had her engagement party. Alexander’s house was visible in the distance.
“So, it’s Alexander’s backyard. I have no idea how I could have been there but, like I said, I don’t remember anything. That doesn’t mean that I knew Alexander or that I’m his Olivia,” she said more for herself than anything. She didn’t want it to be true, but knew she wasn’t going to get her wish. It all made sense. All the puzzle pieces that she had ignored or excused away over the past several months were falling all too neatly into place.
“Here.” Adele threw the final picture at Olivia. “I just don’t want you to go on any more not knowing the truth,” she explained compassionately.
Olivia looked at the picture, tears welling in her eyes. It was her. She was sitting on the same park bench across from the Mystic River where she recently sat with Alexander. In her hands was a bowl full of ice cream. She could faintly make out a few pieces of pineapple on her spoon.
And next to her was the boy with green eyes from her dream.
“He pulled me from the car. I remember that,” Olivia said quietly.
“That little boy in the photo is Alex. You’re his Olivia…the little girl he lost all those years ago. I grew up with him and he was beside himself after you died, but he never believed for a minute that you were actually dead. He was always suspicious for one reason or another…or maybe he just didn’t want to say good-bye to you.”
It all made perfect sense. That’s why Olivia heard herself calling the green-eyed boy Alex in her dreams. Because Alexander was the green-eyed boy. “Does he realize who I am?”
Adele looked at her, unsure of how to respond. She wanted Olivia to trust her. She wanted her to leave Alexander, but she didn’t want it to seem so apparent that it was her goal, given her history. “I don’t know, Olivia. I truly don’t, but Alexander is very good at keeping secrets.”
Olivia stared at the three photos in her hand. She had so many questions. Why was she taken away from all her friends and family? Why didn’t her uncle tell her any of this? Why couldn’t she remember anything from before the accident?
But one question remained at the forefront of her mind. Did Alexander know? And if he did, how long has he known?
“I need to get out of here,” Olivia said suddenly, quickly getting up from the table. She was almost out the door when she realized that she was still clutching the photos in her hand. Turning around, she met Adele’s eyes again.
“Keep them, Olivia.”
She looked down at the photo of the green-eyed boy, gently caressing the picture. “Thank you.” She ran out of the shop and into the waiting SUV.
Within moments, Marshall was driving toward Atlantic Avenue and Olivia’s home that no longer felt like a home.
She walked through the front doors of her penthouse and the place never seemed so small to her. She felt as if the walls were closing in, suffocating her. She glanced around, wondering if Alexander was back, seeing no sign that he had gotten home yet.
She grabbed her cell phone from her purse and saw a missed text he had sent less than twenty minutes beforehand.
Alexander: Just landed. Be home in about thirty. I love you. XOXO
She had maybe ten minutes before he would be getting home. Dropping her purse on the kitchen island, she walked down the long corridor toward his office. She tried the doorknob with no luck. It was locked. She punched a few different number combinations into the keypad with no success. Just when she was ready to give up, she tried one more…the date she supposedly died. The door beeped and she slowly turned the knob, pushing it open.