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“DADDY! DADDY! LET’S PLAY a game!” a young Olivia exclaimed when she saw her father walk into her family’s large beach estate. He had been gone for weeks and she missed him. She loved to play with her mama, but her daddy played lots of fun games with her, too.
“Hi, princess. What game did you want to play?”
Olivia spotted several small chests stacked against the bookcase in the great room. “Let’s play Treasure Map, but this time, I’m hiding the treasure!” she answered excitedly, running over and grabbing one of the closed chests.
Olivia’s father smiled. “Okay. Do you think you can do a good enough job at hiding it? I’m pretty good at finding things, Livvy.”
She beamed. “Daddy, please. Where I hide this, you’ll never find it. I can’t wait to draw you a map!” She ran out of the room. “You better not cheat, Daddy!”
He chuckled. “I wouldn’t dream of it, princess.”
Later that night, Olivia climbed out of her bed, trying to be quiet so that she didn’t wake her sleeping parents. She tip-toed down the hall and out the basement door that led to the beach. Running quickly down the private beach, she came across the old dilapidated pile of rocks. She knew she wasn’t supposed to go near them, and that made it the perfect hiding spot. Plus, her daddy wasn’t nearly small enough to fit in the cave-fort that she and her best friend could squeeze into. She gingerly crawled inside and buried the chest underneath the sand in the cave. She smiled to herself. Her daddy would never find the chest there.
OLIVIA’S EYES FLUNG OPEN, taking in the pitch black room. Of course, she thought to herself. It was all starting to come back to her. Alexander was right. Seeing photos and items from her past was helping her remember. She recalled playing that Treasure Map game with her father. He wasn’t around a great deal, but when he was, she loved playing games with him.
She gently pried herself from Alexander’s arms and legs, sitting up in bed and staring at the beautiful man next to her.
Her stomach churned and she began to feel nauseous. Dashing from the bed, she ran down the stairs, locking herself away in the guest bathroom and vomiting up the contents of her stomach. Shit, she thought to herself. Shit. Shit. Shit. As she continued to lean over the toilet, she did the math in her head.
Flushing the remnants of her dinner down the toilet, she leaned against the wall, trying to figure out what to do. Her period was several weeks late, and she was never late. The past few days, she had been feeling slightly nauseous, but she thought that was due to stress. Now, she was starting to rethink everything.
Raising herself off the floor, she took in her appearance in the mirror. She didn’t look any different. “I don’t think you change overnight, Libby,” she said to herself, standing on her toes and looking at a side-view of her stomach.
Shaking her head, she opened the door to the bathroom, not wanting to think about what it all meant. She wasn’t ready for that yet, not until she could be sure her friends would be safe.
Making her way toward the couch, she debated what to do. After her dream, she finally had an idea about the Treasure Map game she used to play with her dad, but there was something about that memory that was telling her that those papers weren’t buried where she thought. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it so, for the time being, she had to trust the memory that she did have.
As she continued looking through the boxes, memories flooding back every time she found something else, she felt Alexander’s arms slink around her. He leaned down and softly kissed her shoulder.
“Morning, love,” he said. “I woke up and you were gone. I hate that.” His face was in the most adorable pout Olivia had ever seen. She wanted to bite his lower lip as it protruded out.
Her heart raced at the thought that she might be pregnant with his child. She debated whether she should say anything, but if she did and it ended up being true, he would never let her out of his sight. He couldn’t know, for the time being. She wasn’t even sure that she really was pregnant. Smiling, she raised herself off the ground, brushing her lips against his. “I’m sorry. I just couldn’t sleep knowing all this stuff is down here,” she lied.
“You have the rest of your life to sort through it all.”
She exhaled slowly. “I know. But I’ve been trying to figure out who I am for years. Having all this information here at my disposal is a little overwhelming.”
“I get it.” He planted a kiss on her forehead, walking toward the kitchen and popping a pod in her coffee brewer. “Coffee?” he asked.
Olivia nodded, watching as Alexander made her a coffee, a warm feeling overtaking her. It felt as if she finally knew where she belonged, almost as if she finally had a family. Almost.
“IT FEELS SO GOOD to be out of that fucking house of death and disease,” Kiera said Saturday afternoon as Olivia helped lead her to the couch. The hospital finally cleared her for home rest and the police had released her house so it was no longer considered a crime scene.
“K, are you sure you want to stay here?” Mo asked, his eyes full of concern.
“Jack, stop it. I’m not going to have this conversation with you every day. I need to stay here. I need to make new memories in this house…with you.”
Olivia warmed at her friend’s sweet words, and Mo’s beaming smile in response. They were so happy together.
As she sat visiting with Kiera throughout the weekend, the location of the documents lay heavy on her mind, as did the constant bouts of nausea and headaches. She felt guilty for not telling anyone that she knew what those guys were after, but she knew that Alexander and the rest of her friends would not allow her to do what she had to do.
Monday morning, Olivia woke up before Alexander, running into her bathroom, hoping he wouldn’t hear as she threw up once more. She made a mental note that it would probably be best to finally take a pregnancy test, but she wasn’t sure she wanted confirmation of that fact.
Slowly opening the door and peering at the bed, she breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that Alexander hadn’t moved. Gingerly walking back to the bed, she crawled in beside him, hoping he hadn’t noticed she was gone. Her heart raced when he groaned, stretching, before pulling her body into his. “Morning, beautiful,” he murmured into her ear. “You okay?”
She turned to face him. “Of course, I am. Why are you asking that?” She searched his face, looking for any indication that he had heard her.