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Authors: Lori L. Otto

Tags: #Romance, #Love, #death, #Family, #Sex, #young love, #teen, #girlfriend, #boyfriend, #first love

Olivia

BOOK: Olivia
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olivia | choisie book
2

by Lori L. Otto

OLIVIA

 

Copyright 2014 © Lori L. Otto

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the
U.S. Copyright Act 1976, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the
prior written permission of the publisher.

Lori L. Otto Publications

Visit our website at:
www.loriotto.com

First Edition: June 2014

Smashwords Edition

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment
only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people
If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading
this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your
use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your
own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this
author.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are
fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is
coincidental and not intended by the author.

Printed in the United States of America

 

dedicated to the boy I loved

he taught me to live

he taught me to love

he taught me to leave

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Staring beyond the crowd of family members, the
horizon line of trees and stone markers becomes a blur. People talk
to one another around me, but my uncle and I stand in silence. He
moves his hand up and down my arm. The warmth feels nice in the
cool morning breeze, but I still wish I’d brought a jacket. Matty
had already offered his, but I declined.


You should sit up front,” my uncle
whispers to me. I shake my head, finally allowing myself to blink.
The trees come back into focus, along with the side entrance to the
cemetery where I see Jon walking in alone.

I breathe a sigh of relief, the sight of him
bringing both a sense of calm and excitement. I need to be
comforted by him. I need to be held by him. I
want
to be
loved
by him
again.


How much longer until James’s limo
gets here?” I ask Matty.


Jacks says it shouldn’t be too
much longer.”


I’ll be back in a
minute.”


Where are you–” he begins, but
stops as I shrug away from him, moving quickly to the south side of
the grounds. I don’t look back, hoping that I’m not drawing
attention to myself. Jon meets my eyes, and shifts his direction
accordingly. We finally meet among a grouping of oak trees, the
shade providing privacy that I’d been hoping for.


You should be with your family,
Olivia,” he whispers in my ear as we hold one another tightly. I
inhale lofty breaths, taking in his clean scent, finally ridding my
nose of the smell of incense from the church service, if only for a
few seconds. The odor lingers on my clothes, and the clothes of
everyone in my family. “Are you okay?”

He releases his grasp and moves his hands to my bare
forearms, feeling the goosebumps that have arisen in the past
minute or so. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m cold, or because I’m
so happy to see him again. “I’m fine.” I close my eyes and stand on
my tiptoes to touch my lips to his. It should have been a sweet,
tender kiss, but it’s obvious he’s missed me as much as I’ve missed
him. When I pull away, I glance around him to see if my family is
watching. I see the limo finally pulling up, giving them all
something else to focus on momentarily.


We should–” Taking advantage of
the secluded cover of trees, I interrupt him, kissing him again,
this time allowing my hands to tuck beneath his suit jacket. I
scrape my nails down his back. “Mmmmm,” he says, unable to speak
but letting me know how it feels. The vibration tickles my lips. He
moves his hand from my waist and reaches around, stopping me from
continuing the motion. “Not here,” he breathes quickly, finally
breaking away. I latch my hands together behind him, though, still
holding him as close to me as possible. “God, I’ve missed you,” he
says after finally catching his breath.

I never thought I’d survive the past five days
without him. The conversations we’d had in infrequent moments of
privacy were ones I would rather have had face-to-face. “I’ve
missed you, too.” I feel his hands move lower down my back, beyond
the hem of my short-sleeved sweater and half-way down my satiny
skirt. His thumbs move slowly, gently. I love when he touches me in
places no one else has. Pulling his head to mine again, we exchange
full, slow kisses, ones that are reminiscent of that night. I’m
sure he’s remembering it, too.


Olivia,” he breathes, pushing me
away. “We need to meet up with your family, and you’re going to
make this very embarrassing for me.”


They’re not watching,” I tell him,
peeking beyond him once more to make sure I’m telling the truth.
After James takes his seat, I see my father standing at the front
right side of the casket, holding it somberly with five other men I
don’t know well. I recognize a few from various charity events
we’ve hosted over the years, but I couldn’t put a name with any of
them if I tried.

I look away from the scene, not wanting to let my
thoughts linger. My eyes settle on a line of photographers just
beyond the cemetery gates. The lenses aren’t pointed at the
ceremony, though. They’re pointed at Jon and me. “Yeah, we should
probably go,” I suggest, not realizing my heart could pound any
faster than it had been when we were sharing our intimate moment.
Since seeing the unwelcome onlookers, though, I realize how
inappropriately we were both behaving. I glance behind me,
wondering if anyone saw where his hands had been. I’m only a little
relieved to see no one standing near the side entrance.

Jon’s cheeks splotchy, he ducks his head toward the
ground, avoiding the stares of anyone we know as we walk toward the
crowd gathered graveside. I’m sure he’d be embarrassed to know that
anyone saw us, so I don’t bother to tell him–and hope that he
doesn’t see the people behind the ceremony on his own.


Can I have your jacket?” I ask
him, feeling the definite chill now that his arms are no longer
encircling my body.


Give me a minute,” he says,
squeezing my hand. I grin sheepishly, realizing why he wants me to
wait. Glancing back up, I see the photographers still following us
with their lenses. I tuck my head into his arm until we finally
reach the gathering of my family and Granna’s friends and
associates. Jon and I are welcomed into the circle of guests, our
backs to the line of cameramen, facing the beautiful mahogany
casket covered in hundreds of fresh flowers.

It’s just a box. She’s not in there. Just a wooden
box.

Jon finally shrugs out of his coat and helps me to
put it on. He slips behind me, draping his arms across my body and
holding my hands in his. He rubs the ring he’d given me with his
finger. I close my eyes, choosing to tune out the voice of the
priest as he leads everyone in prayer, and instead remembering back
to the night Jon and I were finally able to express how we really
felt about each other.

I’m only brought back to the present, to this somber
moment, when I feel the reverberations from Jon’s chest as he
responds in kind to the prayers. I don’t want to be here, though. I
don’t want to hear my mother’s soft cries, or my dad’s gentle voice
as he tries to comfort her. I don’t want to hear Father Appleton
speaking about Granna’s illustrious life. I don’t want to hear it,
because I don’t want to believe that her life is over.

She’s not gone.
I open my
eyes, seeing a large picture of her and Nate on an easel next to
one of dozens of sprays of flowers. After all she survived in her
life, she aged remarkably well. Even though I know the photo is at
least sixteen years old, she looks almost like the Granna I’d
casually said goodbye to just a few weeks ago after the summer
orientation we’d held at the Art Room. The next day, my parents,
Trey and I left for England to attend Lexi’s wedding.

Granna was supposed to fly out a few days later, but
she’d told us she wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t think she should
be traveling on such a long flight. She had promised to work on
preparations for the reception Lexi would be having when she
returned from her honeymoon, hoping it would take some of the
stress off my aunt and uncle.

The wedding celebration is being postponed now,
replaced by today’s reception after the funeral that will host many
of the same guests.

Lexi chose to cut her honeymoon short, arriving back
in the states late last night. I had volunteered to pick up her and
Kyle from the airport. I tried to engage her in conversation about
the trip, but she was despondent, obviously saddened by Granna’s
death. I didn’t think she looked any different, but I thought the
way Kyle held her and touched her seemed more intimate.

I wonder if anyone notices that about Jon and me.
Feeling the heat rise to my cheeks, I turn around abruptly and hug
him, hiding my face in his shirt. “It’s okay,” he whispers to me,
rubbing my back.


I know,” I say, looking up and
smiling. He meets my eyes, his expression curious. He obviously
thinks I’m upset, but I’m not. I’m just overwhelmed by my feelings
and the memories I have of him. “I love you,” I say
softly.

He smiles gently. “You, too, baby. Hey,” he says,
releasing me. “Your dad wants you.”

I turn around and see my father signaling for me to
join him and Mom on the front row as the guests start to form a
line. I shrug out of Jon’s coat and hand it back to him. “Come with
me?”


I’ll wait here,” he
says.


Please?” I beg him.


It’s for family, Liv. I’ll be
right here. I’m not going anywhere.”

I nod at him, feeling comforted. “Okay.” I walk past
Dad, taking my place on the other side of my mother and holding her
hand in mine.


You okay?” she asks me.


I’m fine, Mom.” I should ask her
how she is doing, but it’s not necessary. She’s been crying for
days, and I suspect she’s mourning more than the loss of Granna.
She was always her link to her best friend. There’s no one left. I
start to get choked up now, feeling empathetic about her
loss.

Digging my nails into my palms, I distract myself
with pain and stop the tears before they start. I glance once more
at the picture of Nate and his mother, remembering the painting I’d
abandoned at the loft. Granna had hired me to paint her portrait.
She’d given me a few weeks notice at the end of the school year,
which was plenty of time for me to complete it. She wanted it to be
finished for a fundraiser she was having–she’d made a space for it
already in her house–but I’d only just started painting before we
left on our trip. She was disappointed, I could tell, but I’d
assured her it would be finished a week after my return to the
states. My agent, Abram, had even found a place that would custom
frame it in 24 hours, just so it would be completed by the time of
the gathering.

BOOK: Olivia
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