The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 8 - Olivia (Part 1)

Olivia struggled to pull herself together after Cameron left. Too many emotions warred within her. She didn’t know whether to be elated or terrified that the ghost of her past had returned. She didn’t have much time to dwell on him. She had to pull herself together before her clients returned and run off to the next showing.

She washed her face in the bathroom and pulled out a comb from her purse to tame the wild curls, pin them back from her face, and reapply her makeup. She was in the middle of applying lipstick when her clients returned and called out to her. Approving her appearance in the mirror, she stepped out and greeted them before getting down to business.

The second showing went in a similar fashion and Cameron, thankfully, made no appearance. She was even more grateful for his absence when the owners returned home immediately at the end to start dinner.

She was relieved to flop down on her bed at home and relax for a few minutes. Of course, the moment she did, her thoughts turned to Cameron.

Rolling over, she buried her face in her blankets to suppress a groan.

Was he really back? Did he really mean what he said?

She wasn’t sure she could let him back into her life.

Seeing him again brought back all those pent-up emotions. All those years of heartache, self-doubt, denial, and rage. All those questions of why and what if?

What if he really did intend to stay this time?

Her phone dinged from her purse and Cameron flashed in her mind.

“He better not be texting now,” she grumbled as she pulled herself up and dug through her purse for her phone.

Sighing with relief, she saw that it was her mother asking if she was going to join them for dinner. But there was another, older, message underneath hers. From Cameron.

She shook her head in disbelief as she opened it up to read his message. Already asking me out, huh? Too bad. I’m busy tomorrow.

She closed the message without responding.

Pushing him from her mind, she texted her mother back before hopping in the shower for a quick rinse and running out the door in a pair of comfy ripped jeans and a gray tank top.

Dinner with her daughter and mother was always enjoyable. When Olivia first discovered she was pregnant, she was worried about how her mother would react when she had no boyfriend. Instead, her mother welcomed Chloe with open arms and supported Olivia during her darkest moments.

Olivia refused to talk about Cameron at first, but when she finally did, she broke down into a puddle of hormonal tears and told her mother everything.

The confession offered some relief and Olivia drew closer to her mother, leaning on her for emotional support. Her mother told her that no matter what happened, she would always be there for her and the baby.

Now that Cameron showed up again and insisted on being a part of her and Chloe’s life, she wasn’t sure whether to tell her mother or to wait a bit.

It’s not like you know much about Cam, she told herself as she parked her car outside her mother’s house and walked toward the front door. Wait until you know more. For all you know, he’s the asshole you always expected him to be. Why get Mom all riled up about it?

Because a second opinion never hurt anyone, another voice in her head contradicted as she entered the house and went straight to the back where the kitchen was.

“How were the showings?” her mother asked. She hovered over the stove as she cooked dinner and glanced out the window over the sink. The kitchen was small and outdated but her mother kept it clean and in good shape.

“Good,” Olivia replied. “The second one will probably sell in a matter of days. The first one might take a bit longer because it’s so small.”

Not seeing her daughter around, Olivia proceeded to the sliding glass door and peered out into the backyard to see Chloe playing with the neighbor’s daughter on the slide and swing set Olivia used to horse around on with her sister when she was that age.

“That’s good,” her mother said. “I was just wondering because you didn’t come straight here after work.”

Her mother knew her well. Olivia only went home on bad days to relax for a bit before coming to her mother’s to pick up Chloe.

She shook her head. “No, nothing like that. Everything was good.”

Her mother didn’t miss the hesitation in her voice. She turned and perked an eyebrow at Olivia.

Shrugging it off didn’t work on her mother. Caving, she admitted, “In the first house, someone came in at the last minute and hassled me a little. I handled it though.”

It was true without revealing the fact that it was Cameron, the father of her child.

What was there to confess? She didn’t know what was going on between them right now, nor was she even sure she wanted to let him into her and Chloe’s life. She didn’t want to bring him up until she had a better idea of where they stood.

The spark between her and Cameron was still there, sharper and stronger than ever. No doubt about that, but what did that mean exactly? Was the physical attraction between them all there was or was there something more?

She thought she knew him the day she met him. She thought she could trust him.

How wrong she was.

She wasn’t sure she could ever give him the benefit of doubt again. She was a mother now with responsibilities to Chloe. Chloe’s needs came first before her own and she couldn’t expose her to unstable and unreliable men. She knew what it was like to have a father leave and never return. Chloe deserved better than that.

With her mind made up, she ignored his text message and didn’t respond to it.

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