Gorgeous Chaos
Page 32

 T.K. Leigh

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Her jaw dropped as she entered the room, looking at the walls covered with framed photos of his family and other important people. Her throat closed up when her eyes settled on a photo that must have been taken while Alexander was on leave from the Navy. He sat at a table, clearly in his family’s enormous backyard, with a younger version of Tyler and Carol sitting on either side of him. Immediately behind Alexander stood his mother. And next to his mother stood someone she assumed was his father, but it couldn’t be. It was her Uncle Charles. She backed up, trying to process everything, and bumped into the desk. A framed photo fell to the ground.
She picked it up and a memory came flooding back.
“Whatcha doing, Olibia?” a young Alexander asked, entering her play room.
“Nothing. Just playing house.” Olivia had just received a toy stove and kitchen set for Christmas, and she was excited to finally play with it.
“Can I play, too?”
She looked up from her toys. “You can’t play house with me, Alex. We’re not married.” She laughed, returning to baking her make-believe cake.
Alexander scratched his head. “Well, let’s have a play wedding and then we’ll be married and we can play house all we want.”
Olivia thought about it for a minute. “Okay!” She ran to her dress-up chest and grabbed a long white veil and a top hat. She threw the hat on Alexander and grabbed his hand, dragging him down the hall.
“Mom! Dad! Alex and I are getting married!” she yelled joyfully.
“Oh, look at you two!” her mom said, laughing. “Jack, go get the camera!”
Olivia’s father came running back with the camera and snapped a photo.
ALEXANDER WAS UNEASY ABOUT returning home and talking to Olivia. He still wasn’t sure how he was going to tell her everything. The information could ruin her. And put her in danger.
He walked through the foyer of his penthouse, anxiety coursing through his veins about their impending conversation. “Olivia,” he called out. “Are you here?”
He listened for a few minutes. The house was eerily quiet, the only sound that of the dog snoring on his bed in the living room. Glancing at the kitchen island, he saw Olivia’s purse sitting there. He wished she wasn’t home. He had never been as scared about seeing her as he was at that moment. He wanted to tell her everything, but knew that she would never understand why he had kept that information from her. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing her, but he had a feeling that it was already too late.
Alexander made his way toward the staircase when he noticed a light on in a room down the hall. He figured Olivia was in the den watching TV, which struck him as odd. She barely ever watched television.
Walking down the corridor, he followed the source of the light. But it wasn’t coming from the den. It was coming from his office.
He quietly made his way down the rest of the long hallway, his breathing growing uneven. He turned the corner and looked into the room. His heart dropped to the pit of his stomach at the sight that greeted him.
Olivia stood there, holding the picture he kept framed on his desk. Tears were flowing down her face. “What is this, Alex?” she asked, her voice empty of all emotion as she stared at the picture in her hands.
“Olivia, please. I can explain.” He took a step toward her, pleading with his eyes for her to understand why he had done what he did.
“You knew?” She looked up and Alexander could see the pain in her eyes.
“It’s not what you think, Olivia. Please.”
“How long?” she asked quietly.
Alexander remained silent, words escaping him.
“I said how long, Alex?!” she repeated through clenched teeth, her tone raised.
He ran his fingers through his hair, his voice full of resignation. “Since August.”
“What?!” Olivia screeched, her eyes growing wide. “You’ve known who I am since August and didn’t have the decency to say anything?!” She pushed past him, running toward the living room, still clutching the framed picture.
“Olivia, wait!” He chased after her, catching up to her in the kitchen. “I had no choice. Just let me explain.”
“No, Alex!” She spun around to face him. “The time for explaining is so far past! You’ve known about this since August and you didn’t say anything! Nothing! You kept me in the dark even when you watched me struggle with my past! You held me after I woke up screaming from my dreams! You listened to me talk about the green-eyed boy, wondering who he was or if he was even real! And it was you! You heard me talk about the man I thought was my uncle, Alexander! And you never thought it was important enough to mention that he was your father?!” She took a deep breath, her chest heaving through her heavy sobs. “You sat there holding all the answers and you kept them from me!”
She grabbed her purse and started toward the foyer, pushing the elevator call button repeatedly. Feeling Alexander approach behind her, she refused to face him, cursing the electricity that was still present.
“Give me a chance, Olivia. I beg you.” He gripped her shoulders and spun her around, holding her in place as he stared into her tear-drenched eyes.
“I gave you more than enough chances, Alex. I did. You’ve had so many opportunities to come clean. But, instead, you chose to keep this from me.”
The elevator car dinged, announcing its arrival.
Olivia rid herself of Alexander’s grasp and ran into the elevator, pressing the button for the lobby. “You know, Alex,” she said, her lips trembling. “I thought you were a decent person. I thought I was important enough to you that you’d tell me the truth.” Taking a deep breath, she raised her eyes to meet his. “I guess I wasn’t worth it.” The elevator doors closed and Olivia collapsed under the weight of everything she just learned.
NATHAN ROBERTS WAS SITTING across from Alexander’s waterfront penthouse, watching. A short while after following Olivia during her coffee meeting with a tall blonde that looked eerily familiar, he observed her running out of the Starbucks in tears. He followed her to the building she had been living in the past several months, surprised to see her storm out of the skyscraper a short time after Alexander returned. He immediately knew something was wrong.
He picked up his cell phone and dialed the one person who had the answers he needed. “What did you do to her?!” he barked into the phone.
“She knows, Jack. She figured it out,” Alexander said, a lump forming in his throat as the realization sank in that he lost his Olivia.