By Mavis Applewater
Disclaimers: See previous installments. In fact if you haven't read any of the previous installments you really should it might make following the story alot easier. Just a thought.
Thanks to my beta reader Diva. No one truly understands the pain and suffering she must endure with one of my stories.
As Always For Heather
Karla was awakened far too early on Sunday morning. It was the sound of the intercom buzzing that disturbed her already restless slumber. "Ugh," she grunted as she opened one eye trying to focus on the clock. "Someone has a death wish," she growled over at Howard who was sleeping contently next to her. She retreated back underneath the bed covers. "Screw ‘em!" she growled as the buzzer rang out once again.
Then a sudden thought occurred to her. "What if it is Olivia?" She knew the idea was completely absurd, but still if there was even the slightly chance that it was the blonde who had captured her heart . . . Karla sprang from her futon with a surprising burst of energy. She grabbed her silk robe on her way over to the intercom. She fumbled for the answer button while she put on her robe. "Yeah!" she barked, feeling some of her sleepiness returning. She also felt a little silly to think that Olivia would just show up at her doorway.
"Good Morning, Skyler," a familiar voice chimed.
The smile started slowly as she realized who was downstairs. Without hesitation, she pressed the buzzer granted her visitor admittance. She then raced over to the front door. Throwing it open quickly, she stepped out into the hallway. She bounced nervously on the balls of her feet as she eagerly awaited his arrival. Karla's heart skipped a beat as she spotted him climbing the staircase.
He seemed smaller than the last time she saw him she noted to herself. Of course, he had been smaller than her almost six foot frame since she was a teenager. His hair, pulled back in its usual ponytail, had turned completely gray, but his blue eyes still held the same twinkle as he looked up at her. She had to laugh as she noticed that he was wearing the same tie dyed T-Shirt she had made him when she was a child.
"Harry." Karla beamed as she pulled her father into her arms for a tight embrace.
"Skyler," he replied happily as he returned her embrace tenderly.
Harry stepped back slightly and looked at his only child with love. "Now is that any way to answer the door?" His voice creaking slightly; the years of smoking catching up with him. "I could have been an axe murderer or worse a Republican."
"Ah yes, door-to-door Republicans can be quite pesky," Karla responded dryly as she smiled down at her father.
"I'm serious, Skyler," Harry chastised her. "You should ask who it is before buzzing someone in."
Karla laughed as she led Harry into her apartment, closing the door behind. "Harry, you are the only one on the planet who calls me Skyler," she pointed out, as Harry got that foggy far away look that was so much a part of him.
"Why?" Harry questioned her in confusion. "It's your name."
Karla groaned knowing what was coming. "Not according to Mom it's not." Karla began the familiar argument. A part of her smiled knowing that Harry would never change.
"Oh her," Harry sneered in jest.
"Ah, what does she know?" Harry scoffed waving his hand in a dismissive manner.
"Well since she did give birth to me. . ." Karla pointed out to him. ". . . and it is what my birth certificate says . . . ."
"You don't have a birth certificate," Harry argued. "You were born in a VW bus."
"I'm well aware that I was born in that old, psychedelic-colored disaster that you still insist on living in," Karla groaned. "But I do have a birth certificate, now."
"That was your mother's doing." Harry grimaced.
"I needed one so I could go to school," Karla spouted in exasperation.
"Another fascist institution," Harry explained.
"You know, sometimes it is exhausting talking to you, Harry," Karla muttered as she shuffled off towards her kitchen. "Coffee? You still do caffeine don't you?"
"Hell yeah," Harry answered brightly. "But why don't you take me out for breakfast instead?"
"I can cook for you," Karla offered.
"Skyler. . ." Harry groaned.
"What?" she barked. "I can cook."
"I know that," Harry answered carefully. "I also know that there is probably nothing in your ice box, by the time you get yourself together and find your way to the market, I could starve to death. Take your old man out." He instructed her. "Besides what's the point of being a corporate fat cat if you can't buy your poor old father a meal every now and then?"
"You could have just said you'd rather go out," Karla offered in a futile effort. "Are you going to tell me what you are doing in Boston? Is there a rally, boycott, sit in?"
"I'm here to see you," Harry answered brightly with a slight gleam in his eyes.
Karla stared at him blankly not liking what he had said one bit. "Now go get yourself cleaned up and stop staring at me like I've got monkeys flying out of my butt." He pinched her cheek and tweaked her nose. "Now go," he instructed her.
Karla rolled her eyes, muttering obscenities under her breath as she stomped off to her bathroom. Harry chuckled in response as he plopped down onto the still unmade futon and started to play with Howard. The normally docile feline seemed to come to life around the over-aged hippy. "Why haven't you unpacked yet?" Harry called after her. She chose to ignore him as she slammed her bathroom door.
Once she had showered and changed into comfortable clothing, she emerged from her bathroom to find her father and cat still playing. The sight amused her as she watched the pair fighting over a toy mouse. "Stop teasing him and let him just have the toy," Karla commanded firmly.
"I was just playing with him," Harry groaned.
"I was speaking to Howard," Karla replied dryly, secretly loving every moment of teasing her offbeat father.
She put on her shoes and searched for her house key, something she was constantly misplacing. "Where did he get that from?" she inquired making note of the unfamiliar toy.
"I couldn't show up and not bring something for my boy, now could I?" Harry reasoned as he patted the feline.
Karla picked up the toy and inspected it carefully. "Cat nip?" Karla asked.
"Only the best for me boy." Harry bragged.
"I keep trying to tell you Harry, that Howard is not your son or grandson." Karla pointed out. "And I've asked you not to get my cat stoned every time you see him." She resumed her search for her elusive key ring.
"Harm springs from excess." Harry argued.
"You should know." Karla retorted having found her keys. "Speaking of which . . . you seem a little more focused than usual."
"Wasn't in the mood," Harry shrugged.
Karla looked at her father with curiosity, sensing that it was going to be a very interesting visit. "So, how did you get here?" Karla inquired knowing that Harry's form of transportation involved standing on the side of the road and sticking out his thumb. Which didn't add up since she hadn't been in Boston long enough for Harry to travel all this way and track her down. He just wasn't organized enough to pull it off.
"I flew," Harry explained as if it was an every day occurrence.
"What?" Karla shot back in astonishment.
"I flew," Harry repeated. "You know that thing you are sickeningly chicken about."
"Am not," she protested, as her palms began to sweat at the very thought of being trapped on airplane.
Harry rolled his eyes in disbelief before he continued explaining his sudden appearance. "Things have really gotten uptight at airports these days," he groused. "What's up with that?"
"They have their reasons," Karla tried to explain. "Things are more than a little scary these days. Oh ho that explains it," she chuckled as she wagged a finger at him. "That's why you are so level headed. The increase in airport security. You had to dump your stash before security could find it."
"Freakin' Nazis," Harry growled.
Karla refocused her attention back to Harry's unexpected visit. "Flying is pretty expensive these days," she stated flatly, knowing she couldn't just ask Harry what the hell he was doing there or how he managed to pay for the trip.
"Is it?" Harry answered with genuine surprise.
"Yes," Karla confirmed, feeling slightly frustrated but that was a common experience when you conversed with Harry. She motioned for him to follow her out the front door. Harry got up slowly and followed his daughter. Her heart sank as she noticed how slowly he seemed to be moving. She feared that the years of hard living were finally catching up with her father.
"Harry are you going to tell me just how you got your hands on an airline ticket?" she finally blurted out as they descended the staircase.
"There was this dude," Harry started to explain. "Well I did some . . ." he hesitated slightly, ". . . gardening for him and he ran and well he was a little short when I finished the job. So I had mentioned that I hadn't seen my kid in awhile and she had just moved to the east coast . . ."
"So he got you a ticket," Karla finished for him not completely believing his story. "All for a fresh crop of weed."
"I never said . . ."
"You better start being more careful," Karla cautioned him. "Your fondness for horticulture is going to end up landing you in some serious trouble.
True to his nature, Harry simply shrugged off her warnings. "I'm serious Harry," she warned him as they began to walk down the street. "It's not just a slap on the wrist anymore, especially since you have a record. Listen to me, Harry, that green thumb of yours is going to lead to some real trouble," she cautioned him sternly.
"Skyler, I am a big boy," Harry reminded his child.
"Hmm," Karla grunted deciding to drop the subject for the moment at least. She couldn't help but since that he was most definitely was up to something. It really didn't matter for the first time in a long time her Dad was here.
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
Olivia awoke with a jerk. Her head was pounding from all of the crying she had done the day before. All of the hand wringing and self-examination had taken its toll on her. As she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, all of the emotional turmoil began to build up inside of her, choking her to the point where all she wanted to do was to throw up. ‘Granted, not a very poetic sentiment, but none the less true.’
She sprung from the futon and dashed into the bathroom, instantly dropping to her knees. Tossing the lid up, she immediately emptied the little her stomach had to offer. She slumped down onto the cool, tile floor and tried to steady her heart rate. She had blown it with Karla big time. She said what she said and now it was far too late to take it back.
If she had just stopped Karla from leaving so she could confess her true feelings, admit her fears. Still curled up next to the toilet, she leaned back against the sink. One thing Olivia was learning quickly was that keeping her emotions all bottled up was exhausting. She found herself tied up in knots as she fought an internal battle that could never be won or even lost, it just continued. "How could loving someone hurt so much?" she asked for the millionth time as the throbbing in her head started to pound more loudly.
"Is that what this is? Am I in love?" she asked herself as she pulled up into a standing position. Her head was swimming as she contemplated everything. She stumbled slightly as she reached into the shower and turned on the water, resting her head against the wall as she waited for the water to heat up. Absently, she tested the water temperature. Feeling that it was adequate she stepped into the shower.
As she allowed the warm cascade down upon her, she once again reviewed what she had said to Karla, groaning weakly as she began to wash her tired body. Ducking her head under the water she allowed the water to cleanse her body, hoping that it would somehow cleanse her soul as well.
"I'm an adult and I know that I will get over this . . . over her," she tried to encourage herself. She felt strong for the briefest moment then the nagging thought invaded her senses , "What if she feels the same?" Raising her head, she allowed the water to caress her cherubic features. Thoughts of Karla's hands reaching from behind, her long arms circling her waist. The mere thought of Karla's touch made her swoon slightly. "No," she shouted suddenly, chastising herself for being so weak. "Just keep telling yourself that it was just sex. That's all it was. Nothing more; just really, really good sex." She admonished herself in an effort to convince herself that it was true all the while her heart couldn't agree.
"Just one of those things," she repeated over and over as she finished her shower and while she dressed herself. She had pulled on her navy blue sweats as she adjusted her baseball cap, tucking her blonde locks underneath she was finally able to focus on the one thing that really mattered at that moment. Her kids had a big game.
Coaching for the girls softball team was the one thing that Olivia did for herself. Today this would be the most important thing that she would do. Granted the little darlings could work her nerves and with they had been playing lately they needed Olivia's undivided attention. The girls who ranged in age from eleven to thirteen were great, not athletic sense but they were all good kids. "Most of the time anyway." Olivia laughed to herself. They were most certainly at that age where they were torn between asserting themselves and the need to fit in. Add that with the blossoming hormones could prove trying at times.
The members of The Panthers certainly gave it their all when they weren't yakking incessantly about clothing, boys, Brittany Spears, boys, make up, boys and of course boy bands. Olivia had to laugh at knowing that not all of her little players were really interested in the opposite sex. She was sporting a huge grin as she grabbed her gear bag and headed out of the apartment, as she wondered if she was ever that young? "No way," she lied to herself as the image of herself sporting an armful of rubber bracelets and a ripped cropped T-Shirt just like Madonna wore.
"Well at least my pop idol is still going strong," she noted as she hailed a passing taxi. Somehow she doubted that Brittany or any of her little blonde clones would still be popular in their forties. Olivia loaded herself and her gear into the taxi. As the driver drove along the city streets leading her over to the playing field in Brookline, she took out her scorebook. she needed to finish compiling the roster for today's game. Eighteen kids and they wanted to pitch. Of course each and every parent was convinced that their daughter was a star.
She went thru the list of girls carefully. Her team consisted of five Sammatha’s, four Katlin’s, three Jennifer's, two Courtney's, two Heather's , Catherine and Rachel. Olivia found herself smiling as she wondered how these kids got thru the school day without becoming completely confused. She simply resorted to giving them all nicknames. She finished with the field positions, ensuring that all of the girls would at least get a chance to put on their glove and get off the bench. As the taxi pulled up to the field she had just finished the batting line up.
As she unloaded her gear bag one, of the Katlin’s who she called Boomer, came running over to help her.
"Hey Coach!" Boomer called out to her. The lanky teenager almost tripped over herself in her efforts to help. She was a sweet kid but at times she would follow Olivia around like a lost puppy. "Wow you look like sh. . . ." Boomer started to blurt out.
"Boomer!" Olivia quickly admonished the youngster.
"Tired," Boomer quickly recovered. "I was gonna say tired," Boomer lied.
"Going to," Olivia corrected her as the teen picked up the bag almost falling over from the weight of it.
Olivia gathered her team together to begin their warm ups. She had worked hard with the kids and it was starting to pay off. For the first time in years they weren't in last place. Of course they weren't much higher up either. The Panthers were fourth from the bottom. Olivia was proud of her kids she was loosing half of them due to their ages and those kids had been with her since she started Coaching two years ago. Olivia proved to be the only coach that the team had that had been able to pull them out of the basement.
Warm ups completed, she met the umpire and opposing coach. It was time to start. Just as her first batter took her stance, she caught a glimpse of a familiar figure off in the distance. It was the image of her boss walking with an older gentleman walking across the park. The sun inhibited her view. She shaded her eyes with the palm of her hand only to find the image had vanished. She kept scanning the landscape unable to find the woman again.
"Coach?" Catherine called out to her snapping her back to the here and now. Olivia cleared her thoughts and refocused on her team.
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
Karla and Harry found themselves strolling leisurely through the local park. The park was filled with kids and adults enjoying the warm Sunday afternoon. "So are you going to tell me the real reason for your visit?" Karla inquired as they kept up a steady pace.
"I was . . ." Harry began thoughtfully, ". . . well I was chatting with Tom." Harry scratched at his beard thoughtfully.
"Uh huh." Karla slowed her pace and glared at Harry.
"Well it seems that he had been talking to Maureen," Harry continued hesitantly.
"He is her father," Karla pointed out.
"Yours, too," Harry added. "And Maureen is, for all intents and purposes, your sister."
"Yeah?" Karla responded slowly not enjoying where the conversation was heading.
"It's just that . . ." Harry began to stammer slightly, ". . . well they’re a little worried."
"About?" Karla could feel the tension growing rapidly.
"Me?" Karla sputtered as she stopped dead in her tracks. "What about me?" she demanded.
"Well it's this woman," Harry tried to explain. "Maureen seems to think that you are becoming obsessed with her."
"I AM NOT OBSESSED!" Karla shouted defensively.
"Really?" Harry pushed her slightly.
"Yes, really," Karla protested.
"Skyler, you know you can tell me anything," Harry reassured her. "Now why don't you just explain to me what is going on. I understand these things. You know back in Nam, I experimented with . . ."
"Don't!" Karla held up her hands in protest as she closed her eyes in a grimace.
"What?" Harry shrugged. "Why are you so uptight? You get that from your mother. I don't understand it, never wants to talk about things which is odd because . . ."
"Harry!" Karla cut him off. "We are not going there."
"Okay." Harry shrugged again. "Look I won't tell you about the guy in my unit or anything about your mother's well-hidden sexuality, if you tell me about this chick you're stalking."
It was the fact that in his mind he really thought he was helping that unnerved her the most. "Damn it, Harry!" she fumed as she stomped off in a huff.
"Skyler?" he called after her. Karla's long legs had moved her half way across the park before Harry's voice stopped her. She turned and glared at him planting her hands firmly on her hips she waited for him to catch up with her.
Harry grimaced slightly before beginning to jog across the park. "What the hell is wrong with you?" He panted once he caught up with her. "Come . . . on . . . Skyler . . ." Harry gasped trying to catch his breath. "Wow . . . I'm not as young as I used to be . . ." He groaned as he bent over in an effort to control his erratic breathing.
"Still breathing there, Harry?" she tortured him outwardly, while on the inside she was more than a little concerned that Harry was so winded by the short jog across the park.
"Yeah . . . " Harry grunted. " . . . well barely." He groaned as he was finally able to return to an upright position. "Man I need to cut back on the smokes."
"Or you could quit," Karla pointed out.
"Maybe," Harry conceded.
Karla was a little thrown back at Harry's willingness to consider giving up on of his favorite pastimes. "So what did my pushy sister and Dad tell you?" Karla never worried about hurting Harry's feelings when it came to her referring to Tom as Dad. They had managed to deal with all of the awkwardness of the situation long ago. She loved them both and even though Harry was in her life, the bottom line was that Harry had always acted like her quirky uncle while Tom certainly took on the role of Dad.
"They told me enough," Harry offered dryly giving Karla a sympathetic look. Karla couldn't feel a little uneasy that Maureen had perceived the situation with Olivia in such away that Harry was actually worried.
"And what, you drew the short straw?" Karla griped, suddenly angered by the situation. "What's wrong with the three of you? Are you somehow under the delusion that I'm about to go off the deep end?"
"No . . . no of course not," Harry answered, once again stroking his beard thoughtfully. "Well maybe just a little," he confessed.
"Perfect." Karla found herself growling as she threw her hands up in utter frustration.
"Skyler." Harry started laughing. "I don't think I've ever seen you flustered before. This gal must be something else to get my little princess' panties in such a twist."
She tried to maintain her anger as she kept the scowl firmly on her face as she crossed her arms across her chest. She glared at him, knowing that he wasn't going to buy her routine. Harry simply laughed at her efforts as he draped his arm around her broad shoulders.
"I’m certain that you're right," he tried to cajole her. "Maureen can be very excitable. She's very overprotective of you and I'm sure that she just over reacted."
"Oh right so sure that you flew across the country," Karla scoffed.
"Why don't you tell me your side of the story so you and I can just relax and enjoy my vacation," Harry offered with a warm smile.
"Vacation?" Karla questioned. "From what?"
Harry's face turned serious for a moment. "Skyler?" Harry pushed sternly.
Karla knew that he wasn't going to let it go. "Fine," she said with her jaw clenched. "I fell in love with someone and she didn't share my feelings. I'm a big girl and I'll get over it. End of story."
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
Olivia could feel the rush of adrenalin pulsating through out her being. The Panthers, her team, were winning; just barely but they were winning just the same. The first five innings had been a disaster. The Panthers had done so badly that Olivia feared that the umpire would invoke the slaughter rule. Her kids weren't great players, but they had never played so badly that the game was called before they could embarrass themselves any further. Then it happened; three of her kids were walked. Not an uncommon occurrence at this level of play. Then Stumpy, who was one of the Samanthas, came up to bat. Stumpy, who oddly enough chose her own nickname, was a tiny little thing.
Stumpy took her stance at bat. Olivia hoped that Stumpy could at least do her usual and hit a grounder, but when the ball crossed the plate, Stumpy knocked it across the park for a homerun. Not just any homerun; a grand slam to boot. It was the first homer the kid ever hit in her life. She stood there looking out at the field, her plastic batting helmet slipping over her eyes as her mouth dropped open in shock.
Olivia, who was shocked as well, snapped back quickly as she realized that none of her players had moved. "Run!" she yelled out. The four girls quickly started moving around the bases. When Stumpy crossed the plate, she was immediately embraced by her teammates. Olivia broke up the party quickly reminding them that they were still at bat and behind in runs.
She did take a moment to pat Stumpy on the shoulder. "A grand slam on your first homer, not bad." She smiled down at the youngster who had just single handedly taken her team from a ten to two deficit to a ten to six deficit. They were still facing two outs but they had gotten a foothold into the game.
Not surprisingly, the opposing team decided to put in a new pitcher. By the time Rachel struck out, the momentum from the four-run hit had inspired the girls that they managed to score two more runs. With Katlin at the plate, they held their opponents to a ten to eight score. Katlin was in the zone and Olivia couldn't have been prouder.
At the top of the sixth inning, one of the Courtneys doubled to bring in two of her teammates. Now with score tied, the Panthers’ energy seemed to explode. Olivia calmly tried to get the girls to focus that energy. Out of the corner of her eye, she happened to spot an older gentleman with a ponytail watching the game from the stands. She didn't recognize the man and decided to keep an eye on him.
Katlin's groove held once again during the bottom of the inning as she once again prevented the other team from scoring. Then at the top of the seventh inning, Stumpy proved that her earlier performance was no fluke. Olivia had been working with the girl and knew what she was capable of; she just had a problem settling down during an actual game. Today she seemed to finally to overcome the butterflies.
Stumpy was in a zone as she belted out her second homerun which pulled the Panthers ahead by one run. Olivia didn't think she had ever seen anyone happier as she watched Stumpy cross home plate for the second time. As the game progressed, Olivia could feel it in her bones that her girls were on their way. Katlin managed to hold the opposing team at bay. Her girls were uncontrollable when Katlin caught the ball that threatened to turn into a single. It was the bottom of the ninth and the last out.
The Panthers jumped up and down as they squealed with delight, knowing that they had just defeated the second best team in the league. The parents congratulated Olivia and the kids shook hands with the other team who seemed more than a little disappointed. Olivia was elated knowing what this meant to her girls.
All the while she still kept a watchful eye on the older gentleman who just sat there smiling at the merriment. He seemed harmless as he watched the game and cheered the Panthers on. Curious and a little nervous, she approached the man in the tie dyed T-shirt.
"That was a helluva come back," he congratulated her. His blue eyes twinkling as he spoke. There was something oddly familiar about him.
"Thank you." Olivia responded cautiously. "Is your daughter on the team?" she inquired, knowing that she had never met this man before and she made a point of getting to know all of the parents.
"No," he laughed. "My kid is a bit old for this." He smiled brightly as he scratched at his beard. "But you would never know it some days. Like today. She's off taking some ‘space’." He made quotation marks with his fingers to emphasize his point. "Well that's what she calls it, but it's just plain old pouting if you ask me. Which you didn't."
"O. . . . kay." Olivia just stared at him wondering just why she found him so familiar. "Uhm . . . have we met? It's just that . . ."
"You know the parents and you don't recognize me," he offered in a friendly manner. "I understand,” Harry continued in a sincere tone. "And good for you. " His face broke out in a broad smile as he looked at something over his shoulder. "His eyes!" Olivia gasped as she started to realize why they looked so familiar. "There's my kid now," he exclaimed loudly.
"Feeling any better, Skyler?" Harry asked the woman standing behind Olivia. She hadn't seen her but somehow she felt it.
"Yes, Harry," the familiar voice responded. Olivia's heart skipped a beat as the rich tone of Karla's voice vibrated thru her. Much to her surprise and discomfort, her nipples instantly hardened. Clasping her clipboard to her chest, she spun around to find Karla, smiling back at her nervously.
"Miss Davenport," Karla greeted coolly.
"K . . . Karla," Olivia stammered. "I mean, Miss James," she quickly corrected herself, her eyes dropping, feeling slightly ashamed. "It's nice to see you," she said quietly as she kicked the grass below her cleats.
"You know this beautiful lady?" Harry interrupted. "Luck you, Skyler."
The two women shared an uncomfortable silence. Both feeling the warmth simply being near the other and yet regretting running into each other. "Miss. Davenport is my assistant," Karla finally explained in an overly professional tone.
Olivia knit her eyebrows in confusion. "Skyler?" she questioned, thinking that this might be the diversion she needed. Her overly curious nature quickly kicked into overdrive as she pondered this new piece of information. Hearing the frustrated groan emanating from Karla caused her to smile.
"Olivia, this is my Father," Karla mumbled as she half-heartedly motioned towards Harry. "Harry Beaumont. Harry this is Olivia Davenport."
"It is very nice to meet you, Mr. Beaumont," Olivia offered her hand to Harry as the wheels in her overactive imagination began spinning. "Okay, I could have sworn her father's name was Tom Simpson . . . which always bugged me since her last name is James and what's with this Skyler business. I bet Harry will tell me." She looked up at Karla who looked at the both of them, panic written clearly across her face.
"Call me Harry," he quickly corrected her as he accepted her hand warmly. "Skyler, this young lady's team was simply amazing."
"Thank you." Olivia responded instantly warming up to Harry. "The kids really pulled it together and had fun and that's what's really important. Of course winning is nice too." She and Harry laughed at the statement. Then an evil little idea popped into her blonde head.
"So Harry what was Skyler like as a little girl, I just bet she was adorable."
"Are you kidding she was always into something." Harry laughed. "There was this one time . . ."
"Time to go!" Karla said abruptly the harshness of her tone sending a chill down Olivia's spine.
"Got a hot date?" Harry teased. "You know, Olivia, my daughter has no social graces what so ever. I blame her mother. Perhaps if she got out more often . . ."
"Harry," Karla growled.
Olivia was caught between amusement and terror as she realized that Karla's father was trying to fix them up. The pain stabbed at her as she realized once again that she had blown it. "I made a mistake," echoed thru her mind. "I need to get going," she said quickly suddenly feeling sad. It felt as if she had lost something very important to her. "How can you lose something that was never really yours?"
"No?" Harry protested.
"I'm afraid so," Olivia stated somberly as she felt a deep need to get away from the two of them. "I promised to take the girls out for pizza. Nice to meet you, Harry. I'll see you in the morning . . . Skyler." She couldn't resist adding the last little jab. Her heart sank as she caught the pained expression across Karla's features. Somehow she sensed that her own facial expression mirrored Karla's. She cast a look up into the afternoon sun hoping that it could somehow lift her away. Slowly, she walked away; feeling confused as to what she should do or say.
She could hear the hushed tones as father and daughter exchanged some heated dialogue. The words she managed to decipher was Harry asking, "Is she the one?"
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