Second Impressions

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For love

“Ollie, you okay?” Archibald held my face between his hands, as I closed my eyes, trying to calm my nerves.

“If he did something to you...”

“I’m all right. Nothing happened” I said, arranging my dress and pretending I was okay. I started walking through the hallway that led back to the party, ignoring his intense gaze.

“Stop,” Archie said, grabbing me by the arm.

“That didn’t look like nothing, Ollie”

He looked into my eyes trying to solve the puzzle behind them, but I couldn’t share anything that happened in that studio with anyone, so I decided to remain silent.

“You know... I barely know you and I can tell how bad of a liar you are” He pulled a hand through his golden locks, pulling them down. I wondered if it was something he did unconsciously every time he felt worried.

“Exactly. You barely know me.” I said watching how his concerned expression changed into an incredulous one.

“Are you with him?” He said, a small laugh of surprise escaping from his mouth.

“Is this some kind of toxic relationship?”

Relationship? That is just hilarious

“No! What makes you think that? Nothing is going on between Darius and me.” I said quickly, surprised by his crazy idea.

“Really?” He asked with a tone that felt more like a statement than a question with a skeptical grin on his face.

“Really,” I said seriously, but that didn’t help at all.

“I don’t believe you” He narrowed his eyes suspiciously.

“Believe what you want”

“I am going to say this as a…friend”

“ I thought you had no intentions of being my friend”

“Maybe it is because you need one more than ever” he paused before continuing, choosing his words carefully. “You don’t know him as I do. Whatever he wants from you, he won’t stop until he takes it.”

“I am a smart girl, Archibald. I am more than capable of taking care of myself,” I said between my teeth.

I didn’t have time for this. I needed to find Sarah immediately. We needed to leave this place tonight.

“Maybe, but where would my manners be if I didn’t intervene after what I saw”

Sweet Archibald

“A gentleman indeed,” I said.

“A real one,” he said, arranging his bow tie. He extended an arm and placed it on my shoulder.

“Listen, Ollie, whatever is going on, you can tell me.” His reassuring voice was soft and I followed by nodding. My body was having an automatic response to Archie´s touch.

“I just need to find my sister,” I said, revealing as little as I could.

“Well, then we have a mission” he smiled and we walked together, back to the party.

As soon as we returned, my eyes scanned all the faces looking for Sarah´s cherry blonde hair, but nothing. She was nowhere to be found and my nerves were beginning to show all the anxiety I´ve been pulling inside.

Where are you, Sarah?

“When was the last time you saw her? ″ Archibald stood on my back and asked, leaning closer to my ear.

“Since before the party started.”

“That sounds like a long time. Do you know what she is wearing?”

A high pitched elegant voice interrupted our conversation. A very familiar voice may I add.

“Oh, Archer, sweetie. I’ve been looking all night for you.” Her ringtone even made me cringe.

“Annie bear!” Archibald said with contentment, grabbing Anna Elizabeth Rothschild like a light feather on a big hug, making her legs swing in the air.

“Archer! Not here! Put me down!” Anna said, trying to regain her controlled demeanor.

Annie bear?

“Tell your mother to arrive early this year. Christmas is an important family holiday.” She said, relaxing into his hug just before turning around to face me.

“And who do we have here? Archer, is this the lady you’ve been dancing with? Such a beautiful …” her voice was cut off when she recognized my face

“Olivia. What a surprise.” She inspected me, doing her usual up and down look, watching my sandals, dress, hair, and finally my face.

“Archer. I’ve seen you’ve met our newest guest.”

“Yes, Isn’t Mrs. Summer beautiful?” He said, placing a hand on my waist.

Isn’t this moving too fast?

“Well, I have to admit, you cleaned up pretty nice.” She laughed, hiding an insult inside of a compliment before continuing. “I barely recognized you with all that heavy makeup.”

She stopped when my jaw dropped, mastering the art of how to be a polite bitch, and soon turned her attention to Archibald.

“You know she is the sister of …one of Alexander’s many friends.” She continued.

“You mean, his girlfriend”, I said out loud.

She breathed in, raising her chin, while Archibald remained silent.

“You know how he is.” She answered only to him, speaking as if I was invisible. “Just tell my sister to confirm her assistance for Christmas. We are family and we must remain together.”

“I’ll make sure to deliver your message,” Archibald replied sweetly.

“Oh Archer, my handsome boy” she placed her hand on his chin, just an inch from his dazzling smile.

Suddenly I caught a glimpse of cherry blonde hair in the side garden.

Could that be Sarah? Why is she outside of the tent in this cold?

“I’ll be right back,” I said a white lie to Archibald, leaving both of them behind.

I exited the tent and the staff was prepared with an array of coats to choose from. I picked a soft and white furry coat and walked onto a big carpet that was placed on top of the snow.

A couple of lounge areas were placed surrounding big spitfires and standing alone in one of them was Sarah. She pressed her hands against her body fighting the weather while she looked at her feet.

“I was looking for you,” I said, making her turn her head as I approached.

“I saw you dancing with Archer, it seemed you were having fun,” She said, her hot breath coming out as a cloud of white smoke from her mouth.

“I was”

“And now?”

“Not much” I replied honestly. “You shouldn’t be outside in your condition” I added.

She blinked not knowing what to answer.

“How long?” I asked.

She covered her hands inside the pockets of her coat and stood closer to me.

“Are we going to play this game? Cut the bullshit. I know” I signaled her flat belly with my eyes.

“Two months”

“And why didn’t you tell me? For god’s sake. I am your sister! Your sister!” Her eyes widened at my sudden outburst.

“Because we are still deciding if we are going to keep the baby or not. It’s so soon to tell, we still don’t know if the baby is okay. I thought the best thing was to announce it tonight, but the pressure is too much.”

At this point, my head was about to explode.

“Keep the baby? Damn it, Sarah. With this family? Do you want to raise a baby more fucked up than us?”

“He is not like that, Ollie. I-I love him” she muttered softly, placing a hand instinctively over her belly.

“We are leaving. tonight”

“No. Wait. Sis. I…” she stopped and I let her speak just because I could tell how hard this was for her, but I couldn’t go soft on her.

“I know this situation is not ideal, but I can’t just run away,” she said, trying to remain calm.

“Yes, you can. Let’s leave! Just say goodbye to this fucking shit show and come with me.” I stepped closer grabbing her hands.

“Leave where? You barely have any money!”

“I can figure something out. We have friends and credit cards. We can move to a more affordable state and we can…”

“Listen to yourself” she cut me off.

“No. You, listen to yourself! You don’t need anything from them, not even a penny”.

She didn’t sound convinced by any of my words.

“That’s it, right? It’s all about money.” I scoffed.” You are willing to endure it all, for comfort.”

“No! Not for money, but for love. For love, I will.”

“Fucking stupid. You are fucking stupid, choosing a miserable life. Look at what you are doing! Can’t you see they will never accept you?”

“But Alexander does, Ollie. That’s all that matters to me,” she said softly, a genuinely concerned expression on her face.

“That’s all that matters to me,” I said, imitating her voice, the bully inside me was taking over. “But for how long? Do you even know if he wants the baby? What if tomorrow he knocks up a supermodel? Stop being so naive.”

“Stop, you are hurting me,” She said while tears started to drop down her cheeks.

“No, I am opening your eyes by telling you the truth. Hate me. Hate me if it makes it easier for you to free yourself of…this. Do you even know what you want?”

“I don’t know… it’s all too soon” she mumbled in confusion.

“What do you want?” I softly grabbed both of her arms looking for an answer.

“It’s not that simple…”

“Fuck! Tell me. What do you want?”

“I-I don’t know!” I let go of her hands feeling complete disappointment. My mouth was flat and my expression stoic.

“Don’t leave!” she said, sobbing and hugging me. Her head was hiding in my chest, just like a small child and we stayed like that for a couple of minutes. “You have been my strength, Ollie. Just knowing you are here, keeps me going.”

“Please, don’t cry,” I said, closing my eyes.

I would never leave you…

“You are crazy, you know that?” I said to her, feeling her tears fall in my neck and chest while my arms surrounded her back.

“You are my only family” she continued sobbing uncontrollably.

I caressed her head comforting her while she cried. I was mad at her, but more with me. All this time I’ve been so focused on myself that I haven’t been there to guide my little sister. She needed me. She needed me and I was absent for a long time. I’ve failed her.

“You and me against the world, right?”I said while she hugged me between mixed tears of happiness and sadness.

“I don’t know what I would do without you”

And I don’t know what I would do without you…

“Please, don’t go more cu cu on me by shaving your head tomorrow,” I said trying to lighten the mood.

Her laughter cleared the tension and the anger I had soon disappeared.

“I love my hair,” she said with pride.

“And I love you,” I said, kissing her head.

“Not more than me. ″ She squeezed me hard, resting her head on my chest just like she did when we were kids.

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