Fight or Flight

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Romance

Chapter 6 (v.1) - Rough Morning

Submitted: January 02, 2018

Reads: 73

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Submitted: January 02, 2018

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Carmen sat across from Carter that evening eating dinner. They were both listening to Thomas talk about his day at school. She didn't focus on what he was saying as she thought more about Carter and his goal to own a restaurant. 

She looked around the dining room with a large bay window facing the front yard it was a room big enough for a table to seat eight and aside from the table and chairs it had a corner curio cabinet. The door way leading to the kitchen and another leading to the main front door, before finding stairs to the second floor, would eventually lead to a den and a small hallway that wrapped around the stairs and led back to the kitchen. If you turned left it went through a small breakfast nook and a large room connected to a master bedroom on one end, a bathroom and smaller bedroom on the other end. 

Carmen and Thomas took up this end of the house and Carter and Carson used the rooms upstairs. Carmen had the money her parents had provided along with Carter's own savings to purchase this house. She looked at Carter quietly thinking about her thoughts earlier in the day. He deserved a chance at his own goals. An idea struck her and she spoke it out loud before she could change her mind. “We could mortgage this house and you would have the money to open a restaurant.”

Carter stared at her as her thought sunk in. He set his fork down and grabbed his napkin, wiping his mouth. “What brought that on?”

She shrugged. “You should do it. You've always wanted too.”

He shook his head. “I already have a place. Why do I need another one?” 

“You always planned to open a restaurant before….” She stopped mid sentence. Before she had to be babysat 24/7.

He nodded picking his fork up again. “I'm happy with what I have.”

That was his way of saying drop the subject. Sure he was happy with what he has but she knew he always wanted more. She picked at her own food as she wondered what his life had been like if she hadn't disrupted it. Would he still be married to Faith? Would he have his restaurant? She was certain the answer was yes. He gave up too much for her. 

“Carmen.” He pulled her out of her thoughts. “There's no where else I'd rather be.” 

She nodded accepting his platitude because the truth was he had no choice. She needed him and she hated that about herself. She hated that she couldn't be trusted to live on her own. She couldn't even go to the grocery store on her own. Her brothers weren't planning on leaving her alone ever again. They feared for her safety. They felt guilty for letting Evan get to her. It wasn't their fault. They couldn't stop something they didn't know about. They had all moved on. Started their own lives. 

Living with two of her brothers sometimes tried her patience. She knew they meant well but sometimes she wished she were alone but that was a bad idea. She could never be left alone again. She needed her back ups there to protect her. To protect Thomas. 

**********

Nick spent his morning teetering between confused and pissed. How Olivia managed to leave her house and end up in Alabama was still baffling him. How had this happened? How did he let this happen?

Carmen eyed Nick when he passed her desk the following morning. He looked tired, he had never shown up to work unshaven. “Good morning.”She greeted him.

“Morning.” He grunted. 

Carmen giggled. His appearance was sexy as hell and she wanted to run her palm against the scruff to see what it felt like. The thought was a little unnerving. She shouldn’t have those kinds of thoughts about her boss or any man for that matter.  

“What?” He questioned her humor with scowl. 

She shook her head. “Rough morning? “ She asked lifting a curious brow. 

Unsure what she meant he rubbed his hand across his face as if searching for her reason to giggle, the rough stubble on his face meant he forgot to shave this morning. He had been too distracted thinking about Olivia. “Damn!” He looked down at her. “I need lots of coffee today. Preferably intravenously.” 

“Sure.” She stood up to get him a cup. It wasn't in her job description to get him coffee but she had always done it. She didn't mind and it broke up the monotony of staring at her screen typing all day. Nick had become accustomed to it and very rarely retrieved his own coffee. 

She walked back into his office with the cup. His tired form slumped down in his chair, his thumb and index finger to his eyes, holding them closed. His crème colored trousers stretched against his thighs showing an impression of strong muscle underneath. 

He turned his head toward her when he heard her set the cup down. “Thanks.” He stated grabbing the cup. 

“Are you alright?” She wouldn't normally pry with a personal question but she couldn't recall a time where he looked so stressed and tired. 

He chuckled sarcastically. “I have no idea.” He took a drink of the hot coffee burning his tongue. He didn't care taking another gulp. “What are we doing today?”

She watched as he finished the coffee quickly. She couldn't resist teasing him. She picked up the empty cup and stated. “Finding you a bigger cup will be first on my list today.”

“I think I need something stronger than coffee” he groaned. 

“Sorry, coffee is all they provide.” 

“Well they suck.” 

Carmen giggled. “Would you like another cup?”

He leaned back in his chair again. “If that's all they have, then yes.” 

When she walked out his door he pulled out his phone and dialed Olivia's number. She didn't pick up. He sighed. “Call me as soon as you get this message please. Check in with me.” 

Nick called Renee waiting for her to pick up and wondering what he was going to do about Olivia. 

Other than Nick, Renee was Olivia's closest friend and they worked together for the same organization that Olivia's mom had started. She knew Olivia as well as he did. 

“Hey Nick” she greeted. 

“Renee. Please tell me what I'm supposed to do here.” 

“I don't know Nick. She just took off.” 

“Where is she?”

“At the moment she's driving to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to meet a doctor who has a T18 patient.” 

“Do you think this is a good idea? What if she gets worse?” His voice cracked with concern.

“How much worse could it get Nick? At least she's not at home in a dark cave.” 

“You mean where she was safe?" He bit out sarcastically. "God only knows what the hell is going on. How long is she going to do this?”

“I don't know. Maybe a little time will do her some good.” 

“It's not doing me any good.” He stressed.

“I wish I had the answer Nick. I really do. But you know once she makes up her mind it's a done deal."

“I know. It's too damn aggravating.” 

Renee laughed. “I'm sorry Nick.” 

“Me too.” 

Nick hung up with Renee and stared at the file on his desk, spotting the coffee Carmen had refreshed he quickly gulped it down. He really needed a shot of whiskey right now. 

Carmen's curiosity about Nicks personal life was multiplying, she would normally never bother with it but when he didn't get much done and he left early she worried over what had him upset today.

Molly noticed too after Nick left she jumped at the chance to question Carmen. 

Carmen had no desire to add to the office gossip and listening to Molly go on about what could have Nick upset was grating on her nerves. She was grateful for her lunch hour as she walked down seven flights to make her appointment with Dr. Bell. Some day she would conquer the elevator. Tight spaces with unknown people did not help her anxiety level. It was better to avoid it. No one uses the stairs, especially after the third floor. The stairs were safer. 

Her appointment with Dr. Bell didn't go as well as she hoped. For the last six months she has been determined to push Carmen into trying new things and meeting new people. Carmen was pleased with the few new things she had tried and found them to be successful adventures like going with Thomas to a friends birthday party rather than sending Carter to take him. She had done well but she had been so terrified of an episode or embarrassing Thomas that she had worked her anxiety into a headache and suffered the rest of the day. 

“It's not going to happen overnight Carmen but if you keep trying you'll be able to ease your anxiety more and more. This is the key to getting your normal life. You have to go out and get it.”

She sat at her desk thankful that Nick had left for the day. She wasn't sure she could function well after stressing out at Dr. Bell's. 

*****************************

At home NIck stared at his walls trying to decide what to do. He had vacation days saved up. Maybe he could use them to catch up to Olivia for a week or so. Convince her to come home. He needed to make sure she was safe and being careful. He didn't like having her travel without him. She was no stranger to travel but prior to this her travels consisted of hospital stays with her twin sister. He called her that evening and listened as she talked about her day. She was excited about meeting new people and visiting places like a kid on vacation. He was stressed even more as he worried if she was being careful.

“I really don't like this.” He voiced his opinion.

“I know. I'm sorry but I need to do this. I've been stuck in the wrong place for too long. I needed to get out.” Olivia stressed.

“I agree with you on that but I need you here, where I can hold you. It's not safe for you to travel alone.”

“I need to do this alone.”

“Why?” He was a little hurt that she didn't want him around. He had been around for years and now she didn't need him?

“I just do. I can't explain it. I want time alone with my own thoughts.”

He shook his head frustrated running his fingers through his hair and across his face. He still hadn't shaved. “I'm going to go crazy worrying about you. I couldn't even think straight today.”

“I'm sorry Nick. I really am. I promise to be careful.”

“Will you promise to hurry home?”

She chuckled. “Yes. I promise.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.” He could hear the smile in her voice. God he needed to hold her and make sure she was okay. 


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