Page 30 of Owning Olivia

“Kyle?” I was afraid to wake him, afraid to admit that I didn’t have a home.

I figured I’d have him drop me at the bar and I could begin the inevitable, start cleaning the place out, the sale, at least, would help with the costs of the funeral.

“Kyle, it’s morning,” I said, shaking his shoulder gently.

“What?” He jumped to attention with lightning reflexes, a man who was at the ready for danger.

“He’s gone.” I offered a small shrug. My eyes were swollen but the tears had all run dry. I’d come to terms with the fact that Paul was unhappy and suffering, maybe he was better off this way.

“I’ll tell Silas we’re on our way.”

Silas hadn’t stopped running through my mind since I left him in the kitchen.

“I’m not sure where we stand. I don’t know if he wants me there,” I said to Kyle apologetically. He lifted his phone screen to my face so I could read his text conversation he’d been having with Silas.

“Bring Olivia here the minute she’s ready. If she needs anything at all, text me. I can be there in ten minutes!”

I wasn’t used to having anyone look out for me; I’d been on my own more or less since the day my mother died. Silas’s attentiveness floored me. I didn’t feel worthy of such attention, I certainly hadn’t done anything to deserve it.

“He’d have my balls if I didn’t take you home with me.” Kyle was smiling playfully. It seemed like both he and his mother liked playing devil’s advocate when it came to Silas.

“You don’t think he’d be angry? I don’t want to overstep my boundaries.”

“Olivia, Silas takes his vows seriously, probably too serious for his own good. Has he or has he not looked out for you ever since you met him?”

“He’s always been there, Kyle. It’s just that the last thing I want to be is a burden.”

“Trust me, the only burden is that you’ve been gone for eight hours.”

We drove home in Kyle’s Tesla, I fell asleep as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot. I think someone must have carried me to the house, because I woke up in the beautiful bed, with absolutely no memory of getting myself there.

The clock told me it was late afternoon and that I’d slept through the day. I dragged my sore body to the shower and scrubbed away the scent of the hospital. I fashioned a makeshift cold compress for my eyes by running a washcloth under freezing cold water.

It was a thousand times more comforting to wake up in Silas’s home than it was the drafty apartment behind the bar. I hadn’t even realized how miserable I’d been there until Silas brought me to his home where the energy and people were full of goodness and light.

I combed through the drawers and found an entire wardrobe in my size, comfy yoga pants and soft t-shirts—down to the underwear I liked. I bet it was Annie because the idea of Silas buying me panties was too ridiculous to imagine.

My body trembled as I drifted down the staircase. I was afraid to see Silas and had no idea what to say to him. Instead, I hoped Annie would be who I’d find in the kitchen. She was so easy going and made me feel like I belonged in the house, in a strange way she made me feel as if they’d been waiting for me—like my arrival was an event they’d all been expecting. I didn’t know the details of exactly why Annie and Kyle lived with Silas, but together they made up a patchwork family full of admiration and love—that much was apparent.

As soon as I tiptoed into the kitchen, I recognized Silas’s giant form slumped on a stool at the island. I cleared my throat as I approached so as to not startle him. He turned around slowly and offered me a forced smile that looked apologetic.

“Hi, Silas. I think I slept the whole day away.”

He stood as I neared and offered his arms for an embrace. Without even realizing how much I needed the reassurance, I charged ahead into his hug. Silas’s arms wrapped around me and squeezed out all of my doubt; he was the relief I needed and I hugged him back as hard as I could.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there, Olivia. I should have gone with you,” Silas apologized into my hair.

“No, you did the right thing. We needed that moment alone. I appreciate all that you did from home.”

What can I do to help you through this? Tell me what you need and I’ll move mountains to make it happen.”

“Just this, Silas. Just you.” He lifted me off the floor and continued to cradle me. “I’m a real orphan now. At one point I had three and now I don’t have any parents. It’s scary to think that my family is gone. I don’t have anyone left, Silas. I’m alone in this world.”