The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 10 - Olivia (part 2)

“Ready Rainbow-Girl?”

It was Monday morning. Olivia and Chloe were getting ready to meet her clients at a park.

Chloe nodded. Her dark brown hair was tied back in a French braid. Her wrists were decked out in rubber bracelets of every color under the rainbow with pink plastic star-shaped sunglasses. She carried a pink and white backpack on her back with a rainbow and unicorn on it that contained her coloring book and a box of crayons to occupy herself if she didn’t want to play on the playground.

“Alright, then. Let’s go,” she said when the buzzer to her apartment sounded.

Perplexed, she walked the few feet over and pressed the button for the intercom. “Hello?”

“Miss Olivia Bennett?” came a male voice on the other side.

She pressed the button to respond. “Yes?”

“Delivery for you.”

Confused, she scanned her mind for something she ordered online but she hadn’t placed any orders in the last few weeks. What could it be?

She pressed the button again. “Okay, I’ll be right down.”

She met Chloe’s questioning expression with one of her own. “Did you order something in the mail?”

Chloe picked up on the playfulness of her tone and shook her head, no, as a small smile crept upon her face.

“You sure? Because I don’t remember ordering anything.” She snapped her fingers as if an idea had come to her. “Oh, I know! You and Grandma ordered me a present, right?”

Chloe’s smile broadened and she shook her head more vigorously.

“No? You sure? Well, alright then. Let’s go and see what came in the mail.”

They set out and took the elevator down to the front entrance.

Instead of a mail truck parked outside, there was a pale, dark-haired, pimply teenager standing there with a red rose and a pink one.

“Miss Olivia Bennett?” he asked.

She looked around him, expecting to find Cameron lurking somewhere, but there was no sign of him. She set her eyes back on him and nodded. “Yes.”

“Special delivery,” he said and handed her the roses before he turned and hurried away with his hands stuffed in his pockets.

This hand to be Cameron’s doing.

There was a little folded card tied to the stem of each rose. The red one for her and the pink one for Chloe. Sighing, she opened the one with Chloe’s name and read the message inside:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I am proud and blessed
To have finally found you.

She huffed to herself before unfolding the card with her name on it and read:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
You may hate me right now
But I won’t give up on you

Sighing, she handed them to Chloe. “Here, sweetie.”

“Flowers? Who gave them?” she asked, her eyes large as she carefully held both roses in her hands, admiring the soft velvet petals as a slow smile spread across her face.

“From your father. One for you and one for me.”

Her smile widened. “I got one too?”

“Yes, the pink one. Come on, let’s go.”

Chloe giggled to herself as they turned around to take the elevator down to the basement parking garage. They didn’t have time to run back up to the apartment and put the roses in a vase. They would have to take them with them.

Luckily, she found a plastic bottle of water on the floor in the back seat of her car with a dribble of water. Popping it open, she set the roses in the spout. It was a tight fit, but it worked. She set it in the cup holder between the front seats.

When they got to the park, Chloe climbed up on the playground, but as soon as her mother’s attention diverted to her clients, she climbed down and followed them to a nearby picnic table. While Olivia discussed the clients’ options, Chloe set to work on her coloring.

When they were about to wrap up the meeting, Olivia saw that teenage boy again walking toward them with two more roses. She gaped at him as he walked up to her and stopped.

“Special delivery for Chloe and Olivia,” he said before turning and walking away again.

“More flowers?” Chloe gasped loudly before giggling.

“From who?” Olivia’s client sent her husband a knowing look and wiggled her eyebrows.

Olivia set the roses down on the table, ignoring the attached cards, and tried to wipe her emotions from her face.

What was he doing? How did he know she was here? Was he following her?

She didn’t know whether to be creeped out, annoyed, or smitten.

“From my daddy!” Chloe answered, reaching out to pick up the pink rose by the stem and lift it to her nose.

“Oh, really?” her client replied. “I didn’t know you were married, Olivia.”

She cleared her throat. “I’m not.”

“Oh…”

An awkwardness descended upon them. Olivia quickly returned to the task at hand and they finished up in a few minutes. She and Chloe bid them farewell before Chloe returned her attention to the roses.

“He sent more flowers?”

“So it seems,” Olivia said as she opened the card with Chloe’s name on it.

“What does it say?”

“I hope to see you again soon.”

Chloe’s face lit up. “Really?”

“Yes.”

“What did the other one say?”

“It was a poem. I’ll read it to you when we go back to the car.”

“What does yours say?”

“The same thing,” she lied.

What he really wrote was: I can do this all day, just like I can do you all night.

Cocky much?

But she caught herself grinning and shook her head. “Come on. Let’s go find some lunch.”

They walked a few blocks from the park to a cafe, where the same teenager returned once more with two more roses.

“Look, what’s your name?” Olivia asked him before he could take off again.

“Sam,” he replied, smiling.

“Sam,” she said gently, “tell Cameron to stop sending roses and I’ll call him later. Okay?”

He nodded and left.

Chloe giggled and waved her rose at Sam’s retreating back.

Olivia sighed as she looked down at her rose on the table. Why was Cameron doing this? Did he really want to be with her so much that he planned to deliver a rose every hour of the day until she agreed to be with him?

Well, it’s one way to get someone’s attention, she thought.

Her appetite disappeared as anxiety gnawed at her with the thought of confronting Cameron.

As much as she wanted to deny his interests and intentions, they were clear.

But what did she want? Did she want to take the risk and give him another chance? Or did she want to continue living the way she had the last five years with her thoughts always returning to him? Did she want to see other people? Would it be fair to see other people like she had tried even though she knew damn well that it wasn’t fair to them when her thoughts would always return to Cameron rather than them?

He made a mistake.

Everyone made mistakes.

He couldn’t be blamed for getting in an accident, being in a coma for five weeks, and having amnesia.

He could have told someone, but it seemed as though he never got the chance to.

Was she being unfair?

Give him a chance, she told herself. He won’t leave you alone until you do, it seems.

She took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly out.

It terrified her. Putting herself out there and giving him a chance. He still held too much power over her and he didn’t even know it.

Maybe that was it? She was scared of him. Terrified by the amount of power he had over her and she didn’t want to give him any power over her.

But she needed to move on. One way or another, she couldn’t keep living the way she had. She either gave him a chance or got some closure so she could move on and find someone else who could make her happy.

He didn’t seem to want to give her up and that made her nervous.

A part of her wanted him and that made her anxious.

When they returned home, that teenager was waiting at the entrance of the underground parking lot.

She ground her teeth as he walked up to her window and handed her an envelope.

“What? No more roses?” she half-joked, but it sounded more annoyed.

“Maybe,” Sam replied with a shrug. “But he hopes you’ll call him later after you read this.”

“Thanks. Bye, Sam.” She drove past him into the garage as Chloe waved to him.

She spent the afternoon making calls with clients and negotiating offers. By the time she had a chance to sit down and relax after she had cleaned up the dinner dishes, she had nearly forgotten about Cameron’s letter. She didn’t want to read it in front of Chloe, so after bedtime stories and tucking her in, she finally sat down and opened the letter and was surprised by its length and the fact that it was handwritten and must have taken him hours to write.

There were also two photos tucked within. One of Cameron in a high school graduation gown next to another guy dressed the same way, grinning from ear to ear. The other photo was of him in a bed with bloodstained gauze wrapped around his head, looking pale with closed, sunken eyes.

Pushing down the anxiety creeping up her throat, she set the photos aside, brushed her hair from her face and cleared her mind before lifting the folded paper to her eyes.

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