Chapter 33: Setting Things Right

I looked everywhere for Olivia, and couldn’t find her. I knew she was probably really upset, and I wanted to apologize. I knew I’d acted like a complete jerk.

I pressed the button for the elevator. It seemed to take too long, so instead I took the stairs. I jogged up to her floor, pushing through the doors onto her floor.

I was out of breath. Apparently, I’d chosen the right time to quit smoking.

I peered through the glass door to the girl’s section of dorms, however there didn’t seem to be any girls coming from the doors.

I sighed, checking the door, but it was definitely locked.

The elevator dinged and I turned to see Olivia’s roommate Gabby emerging. “Oh, so it’s true then.”

I nodded. “What did you hear?”

“I heard some things…” She began slowly. “Is she okay?”

“I don’t know,” I sighed. “I’d like to talk to her, apologize… can you let me in?”

Gabby sighed. “You have really got to stop screwing up like this.”

“Right. Well, I’m working on that, if you’d like to let me in.”

Gabby slid her card through the reader and the door popped open.

I started quickly down the hall.

“Wait for me.” Gabby said, jogging to catch up to me.

“I’d really like to speak to her on my own…” I strode faster.

“I agree, but you’ll need someone to open the door and let you in. From the sounds of things, she’s not going to open the door for you.”

“Thanks.” I answered.

We reached the door, and Gabby unlocked the door.

I slipped inside and let the door close behind me.

I listened for a moment, and heard a small sob.

“Liv?” I asked.

I checked her bedroom only to find it empty.

I noticed that the bathroom door was open, and I quickly moved toward it. My hands were sweating, I wiped them on my pants. “Olivia?”

She was sitting on the floor of the bathroom with her knees bent before her. A box of tissues was next to her.

I dropped to my knees next to her. “Liv, are you okay?” I asked.

I could see the bright red blood on her knee caps.

“Hey, let me help.”

“No,” She said. “Don’t touch me. Just don’t. You need to go. Now.”

“Liv, please. I’m really sorry, I lost it back there. I was trying to do the right thing… those guys just got to me. First they went after Thomas then they verbally attacked you… they had no right to ever say such horrible things about you… maybe I overreacted, but that’s only because I was infuriated… I didn’t mean to upset you and…” I sighed, “I’m sorry. I feel terrible.” I said sincerely. “Your knees, that’s my fault, I never ever meant to hurt you… please, you have to believe me.”

Olivia sniffled softly, tears streaming down her cheeks. “You’re terrifying when you get angry like that.”

I sighed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you…” I crawled toward her sitting at her hip.

“Liv, I’m sorry… really.” I pulled out a handful of tissues and lightly dried her eyes. She took the tissues from me.

“I’m humiliated. I can’t believe those guys said those things to me…” She sighed. “I don’t know if I can ever show my face again…”

“Liv, it’s okay…” I said lightly. “Here, let me help you.”

I carefully helped her clean up her scraped knees, and fastened a band aid on both her knees.

I sighed softly, watching her carefully. “Are you okay? Can you forgive me?” I asked. Her eyes were still red from crying. There were still tears sitting on her cheeks.

“Yes… I think so… but only if you can promise me you’ll never do that again… I hate violence, and if you’d been caught today, you would have been kicked out of school. I know those guys are jerks, but I don’t want the fact that you did that for me hanging over my head, and I definitely don’t want you getting kicked out of school for me.”

She pursed her lips slowly.

I nodded. “Okay. I promise. I’ll work on the whole… anger thing. I swear, I’ll add it to the list of things I need to work on.”

Olivia was mortified and heartbroken; and it was actually, physically killing me to see her so upset. The feeling overwhelmed me.

“Liv, I’m sorry. This is all my fault. These guys… they were your friends, and before I came along, they would have never have said such horrible things about you…”

“It’s not your fault… they were saying those things just to upset you just as much as they were trying to upset me.” Olivia sighed.

I reached out carefully and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. She nestled her cheek into my palm, in a small sign of appreciation and gratitude. I hoped it could be a tiny gesture of comfort to her; I wasn’t sure if she would let me hug her or kiss her and the last thing I wanted was to upset her.

She drew in a deep breath, looking weary. “I… I think I’m going to lay down for a bit.”

She seemed crushed, and I felt entirely responsible. In all honesty, I had never felt any emotions toward a girl before; anything stronger than lust was completely foreign. I’d said similar things about other girls as the football team had just said about Olivia. I was used to saying those things, and discussing them with a few of my guy friends; but now that they were being said about someone I cared about so much, I could tell how much it hurt.

She placed her hands flat on the floor, ready to push herself up and into a standing position.

“Here, let me help.” I carefully tucked my arm beneath her bent knees and lightly scooped her up. She weighed practically nothing in my arms. Her arms slipped around my shoulders lightly. “I can walk…” She began.

“It’s okay.” I answered lightly. “Your knees probably hurt. Let me carry you.”

I easily carried her into her bedroom, very gently sitting her on the bed. “Are you going to change or something? Do you want me to wait outside?” I asked, shoving my thumb over my shoulder in the direction of the living room.

She shook her head. “No. I’m going to change, but… can’t you stay?”

“Yeah, yeah. Of course.” I answered quickly and awkwardly.

I started carefully folding back the blankets on the bed. I adjusted the pillows. Olivia had her own bedspread and fancy decorative pillows on her bed, which seemed needlessly complicated.

I was awkwardly trying to make sense of the bedding, when Olivia climbed into her bed wearing a pair of matching pyjamas.

I folded the blankets over her and sat down next to her.

Olivia sighed softly.

“Okay, can I get you anything?” I asked.

She frowned. “You’re not staying?”

I raised an eyebrow in shock. “You want me to stay?”

Olivia nodded. “Yes, please.”

“Okay.” I removed my suit jacket with the annoying logo on it, yanking the knitted vest over my head. I slipped off my tie and kicked off my shoes. I carefully climbed over her and stretched out on my back, tucking my arms behind my head.

Olivia slid closer to me and wrapped her arms around me. She rested her head on my chest and sighed softly. Before long, she was asleep.

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