Letting Go - Chapter 13

Oliver smiled at the blond woman who opened the door. “Hello, Mrs. Lance.”

Dinah Drake returned the smile. “I’m no longer a Lance, Oliver. I’ve gone back to Drake. But Dinah is okay.”

He could never call her by her first name. It just wouldn’t feel right. Wouldn’t sound right. For him, Dinah was his Laurel, although he never called her that. Her mother was and always will be Mrs. Lance. Or Ms Drake.

“What the hell are you doing here, Queen?” Quentin growled from the doorway to the living room.

“Quentin!” Ms Drake scowled at her ex-husband. “Where are your manners?!”

“Don’t worry about my manners, Dinah,” he replied. “Worry about this guy.”

Oliver looked at the finger pointed at him and sighed internally. And here he thought they patched things up a bit in front of Laurel’s hospital room. “Is Sara home?”

Lance was in his face in a heartbeat. “What do you want with Sara? Don’t you have the hots for Laurel now?”

“Quentin!”

“I thought you changed, Queen,” Lance growled. “But I see you’re back to your old tricks.”

“No tricks, Mr. Lance.” Oliver tried to convey his true feelings and intentions through his voice and gaze, hoping the man would see and listen. Understand. “I just need to talk to Sara for a bit.”

“What about?” Lance was still suspicious, but not as threatening.

“Laurel,” Sara answered for Oliver. “Right?”

He nodded.

“Come in, Oliver,” Ms Drake invited.

But Sara was already pushing him back into the hallway. “It’s private, mom.” She looked at her father. “Dad, really, we’ll be discussing how Ollie can win Laurel back, and it’ll probably involve sex talk, so—”

“Just go,” Lance said desperately.

Λ

“Thank God you helped me get out of there,” Sara said thankfully and bit into her burger. They were sitting in Big Belly Burger, having a quick dinner. “I was going nuts.”

Oliver grinned. “Are they trying to wrap you in cotton?”

“More like bubble-wrap.” She sighed. “I love them. I really do, but they’re driving me insane.”

“They love you, Sara,” he said, knowing very well how it felt returning home to a parent who’s so happy to see you she turns a little smothering. “They thought you were dead. They’re entitled to buy stock in bubble wrap.”

She sighed again. “I know. It's just...”

“Tiring,” he supplied.

“Exactly. And you came just in the nick of time. So thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Any progress with Laurel?”

Oliver shook his head.

Sara laughed softly. “My sister can be stubborn when she wants to be. So can you be.”

He looked down into his soda. “I don’t know what to do, Sara. When we were in that warehouse, she seemed to have warmed up, but then, in the hospital, she went icy again.” He sighed. “I told her I loved her. I told her I’d wait, that I wasn’t letting her go. And she went on the defensive. She ignores my calls, texts, emails, Facebook and Twitter messages. She ignores me when we meet—”

“Careful there, Ollie,” Sara chuckled. “You sound like a stalker.”

“I turned into one today.”

“What?”

“I followed her.”

“Jeez.” She shook her head.

“I wanted to know where she spends her afternoons lately.”

Sara stared at him intently. “And what did you discover?”

“Did you two talk about her training?” he asked, trying to gouge her reaction. Did she know everything? Has Laurel told her of the extent of her training? What she trained at?

Sara nodded slowly, her expression guarded. “We did.”

She knew. “How long has she trained in Krav Maga?”

She didn’t look away. “Direct question.”

“That demands a direct answer.”

“Six years.”

Laurel’s been training in the deadly Israeli system since the time he and Sara went missing. Yet another regret for him. Maybe it sounded conceited, but he suspected Laurel would’ve never gone close to this particular fighting system if it wasn’t for him.

“Since the news broke of the Queen’s Gambit sinking,” Sara elaborated.

Oliver hung his head. Yes, yet another regret he’d have to live with. “Why?” Why Krav Maga? Why something so deadly?

“She said she was filled with anger,” Sara said softly. “She said she needed a valve. A safe release.”

Anything would’ve, could’ve been better than this.

“She could’ve self-destructed, Oliver,” Sara continued, oblivious to his inner turmoil. “Mom left, dad started drinking...She could’ve done the same or worse, instead she concentrated on her studies and found a good valve for the anger.”

She was right. He knew she was right. But there were other martial arts, other fighting systems that could’ve worked just the same, only less lethal. Because now he knew the death of Helena’s associate hadn’t been an accident. Hadn’t been self-defense gone bad. Laurel had known what she was doing. She’d assessed the situation as kill or be killed and had acted accordingly.

And now she had to live with the man’s death on her conscience. God, he didn’t want her to. He didn’t want anything so dark and ugly touching her. Yet, it had. And once again, it was his fault. What he wouldn’t do to take it all back. To go back in time and do everything all over again. Get into that warehouse a few minutes early. Tell her the truth about his double life from the start. Not take Sara on the boat. Not go with his father.

There were so many things he wished he could redo, but there was no turning back time. Life offered no rewind button. One just had to live with the past, in the present, and look to the future.

And Laurel Lance was his. Always had been.

“Sara, I need help. I...I don’t know what to do.”

She cocked her head sympathetically. “Woo her.”

He just looked at her.

“You’re doing it all wrong,” she explained. “You’re too pushy. You're crowding her. You need to take a different approach. You need to be more subtle.”

He was still silent, and she sighed. “Go full-romance on the woman. Try flowers, love notes, music over the radio. She likes to listen to Romantic FM in the evenings, request a song.” She shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe I’m out of the loop. Just to be on the safe side, ask Felicity.”

“I don’t think you can get out of the romance loop,” he said. “Thanks, Sara.”

“You’re welcome.” Then she laughed. “Who would’ve thought we’d one day discuss how best to romance my sister.”


« Previous chapter | Next chapter »

0 comments