Home > Olivier (Chicago Blaze #9)(3)

Olivier (Chicago Blaze #9)(3)
Author: Brenda Rothert

I nod, grateful.

“You were driving on the interstate, and the driver of a large van was driving in the other lane. He had a seizure and lost control of his vehicle. He crossed into your lane and struck the front driver’s side of your car.”

I furrow my brow, trying to remember. There’s nothing, though. I remember getting into my car to drive to a meeting at a regional food bank, but that’s all. There’s nothing after that.

“It’s okay if you don’t remember,” Terry says. “That’s not unusual.”

She pulls a clipboard from its holder on the wall and glances at it before continuing.

“I’m going to take your vitals as I talk,” she says. “You were unconscious and your car caught fire. A man pulled you from the car and saved your life.”

“Someone saved me?” I ask slowly as I try to get the rest of my question out. “Who was it?”

“I don’t know, but there are videos of it all over the place. It went viral on Twitter.”

Viral on Twitter? Saved from a burning car? I’m too shocked to think past that.

Two doctors come in and introduce themselves, but I can’t remember their names.

“You were extremely lucky,” one of them says. “Other than a few bumps and bruises, you only have a small second degree burn on your arm and a broken ankle.”

I look to the far end of the bed and see that my left foot is wrapped up.

I have a broken ankle. I was pulled from my burning car. I still can’t believe this is real.

Suddenly, I long for my crazy family to come back in. At least they would distract me. My sister Julia is my best friend; she’s the one I want most.

“Is everyone else okay?” I ask the doctors, my voice a little stronger now. “The driver of the van? The man who saved me?”

“Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to be specific, but they’re both going to be okay,” one of the doctors says.

I nod and ask, “How long will I be here?”

“At least a couple more days. We want to keep an eye on you, and our PR people are working with your father’s PR people to figure out how to get you from here to your parents’ house. There are a lot of reporters and photographers waiting for you.”

I wrinkle my forehead. “Why? I just work at a nonprofit.” But then it dawns. “Because of my father, right?”

The doctor hesitates. “Yes, and also because of the man who rescued you.”

“Why?”

“Well…it was Olivier Durand.”

“I don’t know who that is.”

He smiles. “He’s a billionaire tech guy. Owns the Chicago Blaze.”

“The owner of an NHL hockey team saved me?”

“He did. You’ll see it in the videos, if you decide to watch them. He came flying down the shoulder of the road like a bat out of hell and didn’t hesitate to go into that car to get you.”

My head drops back against the pillow behind my head. I don’t know what to say. It’s all so much to take in.

“We’re going to let you rest,” the doctor says. “Is there anything we can get you?”

“Um…water. Just water.”

“I’ll make sure you’re stocked up,” Terry says. “Do you want your family in here, or should I tell them you want to rest?”

“Rest.” She turns to go and I stop her. “Terry?”

“Hmm?”

“I don’t want Aiden in here. I don’t care what my parents say, he’s my ex, and…” I start to cough and reach for my cup of water.

“That’s all you need to say,” she says. “He won’t be allowed in here.”

“Thanks.”

“You just rest, Daphne. And push that call button if you need me.”

“Can you ask my sister Julia to stay? I want to see her when I wake up.”

“I sure will.”

“Thank you.”

She leaves the room and when I’m alone with my thoughts, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. A stranger risked his life to save me. I’m alive. I’m going to be okay.

I still have so many questions, but for now, that’s enough.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

Three weeks later

 

Olivier

I shake my head as the Chicago Blaze Public Relations Manager, Dana Malone, updates me on today’s social media frenzy.

“Olidaph was the top trending hashtag on Twitter yesterday.” There’s a note of satisfaction in her tone.

“No.” I groan and bury my head in my hands. “We’re not happy about this, Dana. I feel like a celebrity being stalked by the paparazzi. I need this to end.”

Dana shrugs. “I don’t know what more we can do, Mr. Durand. You and your daughter have laid as low as possible, and Daphne Barrington has, too. Honestly, I think the air of mystery is only adding to the fervor.”

Since the accident, my offices in Chicago and New York have been hounded with phone calls day and night, not just from reporters but from average people who want to encourage me to become romantically involved with Daphne.

A video taken by an onlooker at the accident scene went viral on Twitter about twenty-four hours later. After I spent three nights in the hospital for second-degree burns to my forearm and a lot of bumps and bruises, I had to sneak out of the hospital in an ambulance to avoid the crowd of reporters and photographers waiting for me.

The man who helped me into Daphne Barrington’s car that day caught her when I pushed her out of the car and rushed her to safety. Two paramedics caught me and followed. Not even thirty seconds later, Daphne’s car exploded. It’s a sobering video; I was only able to watch it one time.

The rest of the world, though, can’t seem to get enough. And they’ve apparently decided that since both Daphne and I are single, we should be a couple now.

“I know you’re opposed to it, but I think you need to consider doing an interview,” Dana says. “Tell them you wish Miss Barrington well but have no interest in a romantic relationship. Once the question is answered, the attention will die down quickly.”

I stand up from the chair behind my desk and walk over to the other side of my office, where my collection of prized hockey memorabilia is displayed.

“Senator Barrington’s press conference wasn’t enough?” I ask Dana.

“No. People don’t want to see him—they either want to see his daughter or you.”

Groaning, I walk back over to my desk. I’m considering Dana’s idea of doing an interview when my assistant Hassan walks into my office, his cell phone in hand.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I just got a Google alert and I thought you’d want to know. Senator Barrington’s office just released a video statement from Daphne Barrington.”

I sit down at my desk and slide my reading glasses on, then Google the video statement. Dana and Hassan come around to watch the video with me.

A beautiful woman with blond wavy hair that falls just past her shoulders comes onto the screen. She’s wearing a white T-shirt with the word “Equality” on it.

“Hi guys,” she says, smiling softly. “I’m Daphne Barrington. I just wanted to say thank you so much for all your prayers and well wishes after my accident. I know there’s been a lot of news coverage about it, and my father’s office is getting inundated with calls about me, so I decided to do this video to update everyone.” She takes a deep breath and lets it out. “I’m doing okay. I have a broken ankle and I have to wear a special boot for now. There’s a burn on my arm that’s healing well. Other than that, I was extra tired for the first week after the accident, but I’m good now. I’ve been staying at my parents’ house not only so I can heal, but because there are people staked out at my apartment and at my place of work. I appreciate your interest in my story, truly, but I just want to get back to my everyday life. Olivier Durand is a hero—he’s my hero, absolutely—but I imagine he also wants to go back to everyday life. I’m sure he’s a very nice man, and I hope to thank him in person one day for what he did for me, but there’s no romantic involvement between us. That’s all I wanted to say, and…while I have your attention, please consider a donation to Safe Harbor, the homeless advocacy organization I work for. It’s tax-deductible. My dad’s video people are going to put the web address at the end of this video. Thank you.”

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