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The Wrong People

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Why do we always kiss the wrong people? Liv

Elliot stared at the text from Olivia. She’d sent it an hour ago then ignored all his attempts to reply. His message back was unread. She wasn’t answering his call. “What the hell happened?”

Burton Lowe.

The name popped into his head. Fin had given him a call. Let him know about the case that had accidentally fallen into their laps after they’d solved a cold case and freed an innocent man.

Burton Lowe.

A serial predator.

A groomer.

I was almost seventeen. He was…older.

Her words from way back in the early years of their partnership came back to him. The man. The man she’d thought she was in love with. Elliot felt his blood boil.

Grabbing his keys, Elliot slipped out of the house. He had to see her. Something didn’t feel right.

His trip across to her apartment was lucid this time. A nice change from his last visit. He nodded to her doorman who smirked at him.

Elliot knocked lightly on her door, hoping not to wake Noah. It was well past his bedtime. He continued knocking until Olivia finally opened up. “How about we start kissing the right person?”

“Not a good time, El.” Olivia had been crying. His desire to slam his fist repeatedly into Burton Lowe increased. “Come in. Noah’s sleeping over with a friend. Thankfully.”

“What happened, Liv?” Elliot followed her into her living room. He noticed the box sitting on the coffee table. Cassette tapes spread around. “Reminiscing?”

“I’m done going down memory lane.” Olivia shoved the box off the table. She fell back on the couch and covered her face with her hands.

“Hey, hey. Liv?” Elliot rushed over to her. He sat beside her and shifted sideways so he could ease her into his arms. Her head fell against his chest. He brought his hand up, brushing her hair out of her face. “Talk to me.”

“I slept with him.”

I will break every bone in his face.

Twice.

“Okay.” Elliot continued to lightly stroke her head.

“You know how long it’s been since someone want to romance me? Invite me out?” Olivia scoffed. “Maybe the nostalgia got to me. I ignored the red flags. The thought about an adult romancing a teenager. I was sixteen. Sixteen. Life with Serena…was life with Serena. It felt like for the first time in my life someone loved me. Valued me. Found me worthy.”

“Liv.”

“How many other girls did he groom? I scoffed at Nick when he called me a victim. But I was.” Olivia sounded so small. It made him want to pummel the man all the more. “What an absolute fool I am. How could I not have realized? Not seen it?”

“Olivia. Don’t.” Elliot brought his hand around to grasp her chin gently and tilted her head so she had to meet his gaze. “You know better than anyone how incredibly skilled a predator can be. You were sixteen. A kid. Serena wasn’t a safe place for you to fall. You were vulnerable. And he preyed on you.”

“And what’s my excuse now?”

“We all make mistakes.” Elliot certainly couldn’t stand on any high ground. He’d kissed two women he shouldn’t have. “Do I need to point out the people I’ve gotten myself involved with that I shouldn’t?”

“We keep kissing the wrong people,” Olivia repeated her words from her text.

“And maybe we should start kissing the right people.” Elliot glanced down at his lips before lifting his gaze back up to hers. “If you want?”

“I want.” Olivia still waited. She brought her hand up and gently traced his lips with her finger. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kissed someone and imagined it was you.”

“Well, good, we’re guilty of the same sin.” Elliot leaned in for a first, gentle kiss. The second was less gentle. He was more than willing to drown in her lips. “The right person.”