The sound of her footsteps echoed in the hall as she walked away from me. Every cell in my body was screaming at me to stop her, to fall to her feet and apologize, to tell her that I hadn't meant a single word of what I'd just said but it was that same love for her that made me stay where I was until I saw her leaving from the window upstairs. I couldn't believe half of the things that had come out of my mouth but I had to make her leave, push her far enough that she wouldn't think twice about coming back to me. I think I'd pretty much achieved my
goal...she hated me; it was there, in her eyes and was unquestionable.
Now however was not the time to become weak, had it been different, I would died a thousand times over before hurting her but to keep her safe I had to send her as far away from me as possible.
On cue my phone rang, I didn't really need to check the caller ID to see who it was.
" Where's she headed?"
" From what we've been able to gather, Ms. Arianna's leaving for New Hampshire with her aunt." Bruce affirmed and I swallowed, so she was leaving the city altogether? A knot formed in my stomach at the thought of not being able to see her whenever I wanted but maybe it
was for the better.
“Keep an eye on her, wherever she goes, you go. I won't tolerate a mistake this time, am I clear?" Bruce replied with a strong "Yes sir." and I hung up on him, he'd protect her with her life that I was sure of.
“Did you really have to be so mean to her? Nick asked as he lay sprawled on the bed in the guest room, well he sure had made himself at home. I barely looked up from the paperwork in front of me.
" Hey I was only trying to help. Some of the stuff you said to her was pretty bad."
The guilt came back with a vengeance as I replayed our confrontation in my mind. Had I gone overboard? Of course I had, she'd fled the city because of me. Damn it!
“It’s none of your business and I'm not paying you to listen in on private conversations." I said that threateningly enough, knowing that he was and always would be a scared little weasel.
"Okay, okay," he raised his hands defensively in front of him and got up of the bed. I gritted my teeth in annoyance as he began leafing through the reports my private investigator had combined. They showed Olivia's comings and going in the past couple of days and so far nothing suspicious had come up. She did what she always did, parties, shopping, trips to the spa, there was nothing incriminating and it made me want to tear my hair out because I was damn sure that she was the one behind Ari's accident.
I had just about given up hope when my phone buzzed in my coat pocket. Seeing the name of Andrew, the private detective in question lit a spark of hope inside me. Had we made a breakthrough?
"Did you find something?" I asked with poorly disguised impatience.
" We finally managed to get a hold of her cell phone records and there's something that doesn't sit right with me."
" What is it?"
" She's made several calls from the home phone to doctor who owns a private practice, a gynecologist in fact."
The word gynecologist sent a tremor down my spine and immediately I was reminded of Ari's pregnancy, one which I'd never known about and thinking about which made my heart clench in pain. There had to be some sort of connection, of course there was. Where there was Olivia,
there were secrets and hidden agendas, betrayal and lies.
“Is there something you're not telling me?" I sensed that he was hesitant in the way he was talking, obvious wanting more time to get the required information but I couldn't wait, there was too much on the line.
"I can't say much till I've dug deeper into this but one thing is obvious. This is the same gynecologist with whom Mrs. Price set up her appointment. The bank statements that I've received show that Miss Bell transferred about ten thousand dollars to Dr. Mathew’s account,
which is an obscenely large sum to pay to a doctor. We definitely have a story there; I'll call you tomorrow with more. "
"Good news?" Nick asked, looking slightly perked up. He'd been surprisingly...civil about Ari's condition, telling me that he'd always known how insecure Olivia was and how she constantly made Ari feel small just to feel better about herself. He'd made it clear that he wasn't in love with her; she wasn't the girl he'd fallen for. I believed him when he said he wouldn't cross me, now was the time to put his words into action.
“You get started tomorrow. I've got a friend of mine to give a job at Thorpe Communications, the biggest public relations company in the country, you won't have to work, it's just something Olivia needs to believe. Your room's been stocked with the right clothes, accessories,
whatever it is that'll make her come running after you. Now you do remember what you need to do right?"
" I need to make her fall in love with me, I need to make her trust me completely and I need to make her tell me all her dirty secrets. Did I miss anything out?"
I shook my head and exited the room, reminding him that he needed to be up at seven in the morning. He had a lot to learn about the ways of the Upper East Side and I would be teaching him everything I knew.
Before going to bed I decided to call Bruce and make sure that Ari had gotten to aunt's place safely.
“She’s inside with her family right now, James and Ophelia Langdon and their son Danny. She arrived about two hours ago. We've rented a house near to the Langdon's so we'll be able to keep an eye on her the entire time." I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that she was okay and out of harms way.
“Make sure that one of you is with her at all times but be careful, she can't see you. She doesn't trust anyone and I don't want to scare her."
" We've got this Zach, don't worry."
I couldn't not worry, it was impossible. The hardest thing I ever had to do was leave her when I knew she needed me the most. I had disappointed her because I couldn't just suck it up and be a man. Now I stood at a point where I could possibly lose her forever.
“Bruce, what can you tell me about Doctor Gina Mathews, she owns a private practice down on the Upper West Side." I rattled on the address Andrew had given me knowing that Bruce must have been with her during the appointments. If the doctor had any sort of relation with
Olivia then I would know who my first target would be.
“The gynecologist? Don't you know all about her?" there was obvious confusion in Bruce's voice and I my brows being pushed together too. Why would I know her?
“No, I've never heard of her. Is she the doctor Arianna went to for her check ups?"
He was quiet for a while until I heard him curse loudly at the other end. It took him a long time to calm down and an even longer time before I had his attention again.
“What the hell was that? Do you know something?"
" They were all in it! Randy, that damn doctor, all of them. I should've known, I should've known they were up to something."
"Calm down and tell me what happened." I had to use my authoratative tone, making sure that he realized that I wasn't in the mood for mind games. His words were wrecking havoc on my nerves, I was close to a meltdown and I didn't need his rambling to push me off the edge.
“You...you should sit down. You're really not going to like what I'm
about to tell you."