Gorgeous Chaos
Page 67

 T.K. Leigh

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She was having trouble focusing that morning after finally taking a pregnancy test and getting confirmation of her suspicions. She grabbed her iPad and began streaming music to the surround sound speakers, hoping it would help clear her mind. After setting her playlist to shuffle, she returned to a box containing photos. She looked at the date stamped in the bottom left corner of the pictures. August twenty-fourth. Her jaw dropped when she saw the year. They must have been taken right before she and her parents left the beach house the day of the accident. Olivia wondered how there could have been any photos. Then she noticed that they were mostly of her mother. It looked like there was a small finger over the viewfinder, slightly obscuring them all.
“I guess I was some photographer back in the day,” she said, joking.
As she continued sorting through the photos, Olivia felt chills again, wondering if it was just a coincidence that Seven Devils started blaring through her speakers. She never really believed in signs or coincidences, but something about that Florence and the Machine song playing at that moment made her think that something horrible was about to happen.
ALEXANDER SAT IN HIS office on Thursday afternoon, scouring through Olivia’s parents’ bank statements. There were numerous suspicious deposits. And then there was that mysterious piece of paper with his father’s writing on it in some sort of code. He still didn’t know what it all meant.
Nothing was making any sense to him. He was trying to figure out whether the deposits were just distributions from Marilyn’s various investments, but it was difficult to ascertain the source. Apparently, it had concerned Alexander’s father, but it seemed that he became paranoid the last few years of his life. Alexander didn’t know what to make of it or whether he should put any faith in his father’s work at all.
His mind kept wandering off, thinking about how he should have been getting married that weekend. It saddened him that things had been put on hold for a little bit, but he knew that once everything settled down, he would marry his Olivia.
“Hey, Alex?” Carol said from the sitting area in his office, looking through some of her father's old files, trying to help him put the pieces together.
“How do you think they found out that Dad was protecting Olivia?” She had a quizzical look on her face.
“Your guess is as good as mine. Why?” He glanced up from the bank statements, the numbers giving him a headache.
“I mean, do you think maybe someone inside the company…?”
“NO!” Alexander said forcefully before calming himself down. “You know how Dad operated. You know how we still operate to this very day.”
Carol sighed. “I know, but that would explain a few things. I’m going through some of Dad’s old notes. These people found out about South Carolina. That’s probably why he insisted she come to college up here…so he could keep a closer eye on her. There’s no way he would let anyone know where she was. Maybe we need to start looking inside the box.”
“But that would mean…”
Carol interrupted, “That if there was an inside man, that person may still be with the company.”
“Shit,” Alexander said, picking up his phone. “Marie, I want employment records of everyone who has worked here for the past eight years. Focus on employees who are still employed here.”
Carol glanced over at her brother. “I’m probably wrong, Alex.” She turned back to her father’s notes.
“I hope you are,” he replied, returning his tired eyes back to the financial records, kicking himself for not exploring that line of thought earlier.
LATER THAT AFTERNOON, OLIVIA heard her cell phone buzz, thankful to have the momentary distraction. Everything was all a big puzzle that she desperately wanted to solve. She felt like she was close but there was one big clue missing.
Alexander: Hey, love. Something came up here at the office and I'm going to be a little late. Do NOT, under any circumstances, leave your house, even with any of your escorts. I’ll explain later. I love you.
That’s odd, Olivia thought as she glanced out her bay window and saw Agent Marshall sitting watch in the SUV. All of a sudden, she heard a deep voice speaking on a cell phone just outside of her window.
“We’re in front of the bitch’s house, boss,” the voice said, sending shivers up Olivia’s spine. She quickly lowered herself, hoping no one had seen her. The voice sounded so familiar. “Simon will get the girl to go with him. Cheryl is turning the other way and says she’ll play dumb when questioned by Burnham.”
Olivia gasped, trying to muffle the sound with her hand. Agent Marshall was in on it. It all started to make sense. Every time she had seen Simon or Adele was when Marshall was on watch. No one else. Only her.
Almost instantly, there was a loud knock at the door. “Olivia, it's Simon. We need to talk.”
“Shit,” Olivia said under her breath, her eyes falling on the last picture she had been looking at before reading Alexander's text. A strong memory rushed back. Quickly, she grabbed the few things that would lead Alexander to the truth and, hopefully, her. She laid them on her kitchen island before propping Mr. Bear up on the barstool. It was all she could do for now.
She jumped when she heard a loud knock on the door again. “Olivia! Open up!”
With shaky hands, she texted Alexander, hoping it wouldn’t be the last conversation she ever had with him. Making her way over to the door, she pulled it back, unsure of how to respond to Simon now that she knew everything.
“Hi, Simon,” she said, her voice unsteady.
“Evening, Livvy,” he responded, pushing her back into her house and closing the front door.
Olivia’s eyes went wide at the greeting.
“Yes. The old Simon is back.” He put his arm around her waist, pulling her flush with his body. “Time to go find what those guys are looking for.” He started to head toward the basement, pulling her along with him.
She was right. She knew it. Her mind started racing. “Simon, wait.”
“What is it?” he growled.
“This isn’t you,” she said softly. “You’re not this guy anymore. You’re better than this. I like the new Simon much better…”
He stopped in his tracks, his eyes brimming with remorse. “I have to, Olivia! They’ll kill me if I don’t do this!” She could feel his body start to shake. “Grant is waiting out back. There’s no fucking way out. Don’t you think I’ve tried to come up with another way? They knew I wasn’t ready to go through with it, but I know too much. I don’t have a choice, Olivia.”