Chapter 13 - Olivia (Part 1)
Shaking hands hung up the phone and set it on the bedside table. Olivia raked her fingers through her thick tresses as she released the breath she’d been holding.
As much as it terrified her, she knew she had to give Cameron a chance. She couldn’t push him out of her thoughts and move on. She tried unsuccessfully for five years and still hadn’t been able to. It was time to give him the benefit of doubt. Everything was laid out in his letter. How much of it was true, she couldn’t be sure, but the only way she’d be able to find out was to spend time with him and get to know him.
She wasn’t going to bring Chloe into this. At least not until she knew for sure that Cameron was the real deal and not just trying to get into her pants again.
She still blamed herself for believing him and giving into temptation five years ago. She’d never been so reckless in her life and in a matter of hours she threw caution to the wind and for what? Abandonment and left to raise a child on her own was not what she had planned for her future. It wasn’t a future she intended for her child either. She wanted a father for her child as much as she wanted a husband for herself.
Chloe was wonderful and Chloe deserved a father.
And you deserve a husband. Give him a chance to either clear him from your mind or invite him in. You can’t keep living in limbo like this.
Heaving a sigh, she glanced at his letter resting next to her on the bed. One word stuck out above the others but she was too scared to bring it up with him on the phone.
She knew what the word meant but what did it mean to him? Why write it if it didn’t mean something? She didn’t peg him to be a sentimental person, and she knew nothing about his culture or the way the Ojibwa people perceived the term. How did he come to the conclusion that they were soulmates?
Moreover, why would he seek her out if she didn’t mean something to him? Why would he persist after she repeatedly tried to turn him away?
Despite all the questions churning around in her mind, exhaustion got the best of her and she fell into a restless sleep.
Cameron: We still on tonight?
Butterflies danced within Olivia all morning as she hurried to get ready for work and drop Chloe off at her mother’s house.
She didn’t tell Chloe about her meeting with Cameron but informed her and her mother that she’d be home later than usual and to go ahead and have dinner without her.
Her mother gave her the side-eye, knowing that she was up to something, but held her tongue in front of Chloe. That didn’t stop her from texting Olivia for information.
Sighing, Olivia gave in so her mother wouldn’t pester her all day before she climbed out of the car and walked into her first showing.
Olivia: I have a date tonight.
Putting the phone on silent and tucking it back in her purse, she entered the house and got to work. When she had a free moment half an hour later, she checked back to see her mother’s message.
Mom: Oh really? Name. Age. How’d you meet?
She shook her head, a smile tugging on her lips.
Olivia: I’ll tell you later.
Her mother replied almost immediately before she had a chance to put her phone down.
She could almost imagine her mother’s exasperated tone before she tucked her phone away again.
Yesterday, she decided that she would meet Cameron at Ocha Gardens, a quaint Asian vegetarian cafe that specialized in loose leaf tea, nice light snacks, and delicious salads. She wasn’t a vegetarian by any means, but talking over a nice cup of tea seemed like a good way to lower her anxiety. It was also a little intimate without being fancy and over the top nor too loud or casual.
The two open houses went by in a blur and before she knew it, it was time for her to head home and get ready for her date.
Olivia: Wear something nice but not too formal.
Cameron: Will do. Thanks.
She still couldn’t believe she was doing this but at the same time, she was excited. Nervous, but also excited.
She put on an elegant sundress that hugged her curves and propped up her boobs in a wide square collar. It was white on top with big, bright purple, blue, and green peacock feathers patterning the bottom and climbing up the skirt. It cinched in at the waist with a glossy satin sash and wasn’t quite as snug as it was the last time she wore it.
She frowned at her reflection in the mirror. Stop stressing! Geez!
She couldn’t deny that her appetite had been lacking since Cameron reappeared in her life. She hadn’t been this anxious since Chloe’s birth.
All the more reason to meet with him and sort things out, she reminded herself.
Taking a deep breath, she smoothed her hands over her skirt before giving her reflection in the mirror a nod. Time to go.
She grabbed a small, royal blue clutch big enough to hold her keys, driver’s license, credit card, lip gloss, and cell phone from her bed—covered with clothes she debated on wearing—and strode out the door.
It was a ten-minute drive to the cafe and she was a few minutes early. Dammit, I don’t want to look too eager.
She surprised even herself—the fact that she was excited to see him after everything she’d been through and everything he had been through. Was it because she felt more in control with the conditions she placed on him? She chose the restaurant, the time, and that he was not allowed to pay for her meal. She needed to figure out how to handle their situation and where to go from there. And on a personal level, she needed to figure out what it was about him that gave her butterflies and immediately garnered her trust.
She waited in the car in the basement of her building until it was eight minutes before six before pulling out of her parking space. Despite leaving two minutes late, all the lights were green and she pulled up to the cafe right on time. She couldn’t wipe the grin from her face and while she thought about sitting in her car and waiting a few minutes for good measure, she saw him walk past only to pause and look directly in her eyes with a crooked grin of his own.
Butterflies flourished and she tried to push them down and force the corners of her lips down to no avail.
Having already caught her, he came around to her door as she pushed it open. He took the handle and pulled it further open for her to climb out.
“Hi Cameron,” she said, stepping back so he could close the door.
“Hey, Beautiful.” He smiled that smile that made her heart beat wildly like it had all those years ago. It was that smile she could never forget that haunted her dreams for so many nights.
He leaned in closer and she immediately pulled back and wagged her finger at him.
“First things first—no physical contact,” she said.
“You wish to torture me even more after I sent all those roses and wrote you that letter?”
His tone was teasing and as much as she wanted to give in to the itch that tickled her fingertips to touch him, she had to stick to her guns.
“This isn’t a date,” she reminded him as she locked the doors to her car and took a step forward to the cafe. “It’s the chance you asked for. To talk and figure out where to go from here.”