Chapter 10 - Olivia (Part 1)
Olivia was ready to kill him.
How dare he behave like a fucking lunatic in front of Chloe and drop the “Father Bomb” on her like that!
She’d never told Chloe about her father. One time when Chloe was three, she asked out of curiosity while they were reading a picture book with a daddy character in it. Olivia simply told her that her daddy left before she was born.
“Why?” she had asked as she traced a finger along the edge of the father character’s face in the book.
“I don’t know. He didn’t tell me. But I will never leave you. Mommy loves you too much.”
Olivia bent down and rubbed her nose with Chloe’s in an Eskimo kiss. “To the moon and back,” she always said.
Olivia buckled Chloe into her car seat as the memory played in her mind despite flickers of Cameron flashing intermittently.
Silence followed them as they pulled out of the water park’s parking lot. Glancing at Chloe in the rear-view mirror, Olivia tried to swallow the lump in her throat as she attempted to read Chloe’s emotions.
Chloe stared out the window, her little eyebrows pulled together in knots.
It was nearing dinnertime and Olivia hadn’t pulled out any meat from the freezer to thaw. The plan originally was to eat at the park, now she’d have to figure something else out.
“It’s almost dinnertime. How about we stop and get a pizza?” she asked.
Chloe made a negative noise and shook her head, no, her eyes glued to the window.
More head shaking.
“What do you want to eat, Chloe?”
“Well, we need to pick up something for dinner. Got any ideas?”
Chloe pursed her lips together. “Ice cream.”
Gripping the steering wheel tighter, she suppressed the anger that bubbled up as best as she could. “We can’t eat ice cream for dinner. Maybe dessert.”
“But we could have a snack.”
“We’re not going to stop for ice cream an hour before dinner,” Olivia stated firmly.
Chloe fell silent, her fingers twisting the corner of her towel on her lap. Her bottom lip protruded out as her eyes remained fixated at the passing traffic out the window.
Olivia sighed and pulled up to a fast-food restaurant where she ordered chicken strips for Chloe and a hamburger and fries for herself. They sat outside on the patio under a big umbrella and watched the cars and pedestrians pass by.
Chloe picked at the breading around the chicken, not eating, with her bottom lip still jutting out.
Cursing to herself, Olivia knew she had to come clean, thanks to Cam and his big mouth.
“Chloe, you know I love you to the moon and back. Now, it’s because I love you so much that I have to protect you from bad people.”
“I know.” Chloe didn’t even lift her head to respond.
“Cam’s not a good person. So, I don’t want us to spend time with him, okay?”
That bottom lip jutted out further. Chloe stopped picking at her food and clamped her hands together in her lap. “Is he really my daddy?”
Olivia sighed, the knots in her stomach tightening. “Yes. But he left us a long time ago.”
“But he said—he said he waited a long time to meet me.”
“Honey, if he loved us, he wouldn’t have left.”
“But why? Why did he leave? Did you fight?”
Olivia heaved another sigh, wondering how she could explain the situation so Chloe would understand. “I don’t know. We didn’t fight and I don’t know why he left. He doesn’t know either. He has amnesia. Do you know what amnesia is?”
Of course, Chloe shook her head, so Olivia explained, “It means he lost some of his memories. So, he doesn’t remember you or mommy or what happened that made him forget.”
“How did he find us if he doesn’t remember us?”
Olivia didn’t know. How did he track her down in the city when he said no one in his life knew about her? Why would he ask others about that? Was it because of the hotel records he mentioned? Did he expect himself to have a girlfriend?
How could she believe a word of what he said?
Tucking a curl of hair behind her ear, she said, “I don’t know, honey. Maybe he hired someone to find us.”
“Why would he do that if he didn’t like us?”
Such an innocent question that Olivia had also contemplated after these last few encounters with him. The amount of effort it would take made her second-guess not only him but also herself.
What if she was wrong about him?
But then again, he did have quite the temper and she did not want him going off on Chloe for any small thing she said or did. Olivia could handle herself but Chloe was innocent and deserved better.
She didn’t want to invite drama into their lives. She didn’t have the time or energy to deal with it, never mind mend Chloe’s broken heart if Cam didn’t keep his word.
The next day came and she went to her clients’ homes and prepared them for the upcoming open houses. The weekend flew by and not once did Cameron reach out to her. She didn’t have much time to think about him except before she fell asleep. Only then, as was always the case, did her thoughts roam to him. To his cognac eyes. His smile. The way he looked at her from across the table. The feel of his hands on her body. His flesh against hers.
Would this torture ever end?