Home > Olivier (Chicago Blaze #9)(5)

Olivier (Chicago Blaze #9)(5)
Author: Brenda Rothert

“This won’t last forever,” I tell Giselle. “Now tell me how your day was.”

“Just the usual bullshit.”

“Language,” I admonish half-heartedly.

“What? There’s literally no other word for it. I’m learning quadratic equations. How often do you use quadratic equations in your job?”

“It’s about having a well-rounded education.”

She sighs. “Whatever. What are we having for dinner?”

“Whatever my beautiful daughter wants. I’ll be home by six. Do you want to go out?”

“No.”

I look up at the ceiling, wondering where my sweet, adoring child went. These days Giselle is surly at worst and ambivalent at best.

“Well, what sounds good?” I ask her.

“I’ll just get something here. I’m going to be doing homework in my room.”

“As long as something isn’t Oreos and cheese.”

“It’s food.”

“Giselle.”

“I have to go, Dad. Try not to run into any burning buildings on your way home.”

“Bye, Giselle.”

“Bye.”

I click onto my schedule on my computer, glad to see I only have one more meeting today. Even people I meet with about the Blaze or my other business dealings ask me about the accident, my injuries, and whether I’ve seen Daphne since. I’m sure she gets the same inquiries, and she’s probably tired of hearing my name.

The aftermath of the accident threw not only my life into a tailspin, but also my daughter’s. And things were already pretty rough for her. Her mother and I divorced when she was eight, but we’ve gotten along since and shared custody of her.

Until last year, that is, when I dropped Giselle off at Renee’s after we’d spent a weekend together and Renee told Giselle she was dating someone new. Or rather, someones.

Renee somehow hit it off with both a new guy and his wife. She’d been in a longtime relationship with a man I got along well with, but she broke it off with him to date the couple who are her also her neighbors. Giselle took it rough, because kids can be assholes and the teasing was merciless.

Now she’s with me full-time, and I’m learning how to navigate not just raising a teenage girl, but raising a teenage girl with depression. Most of the time, it takes all the energy and patience I have left after a long day at the office.

The attention from her mom being part of a throuple had died down, and then the accident happened. Giselle pretends the whole thing is just annoying to her, but I can see the feelings she’s hiding—that video was hard for her to see. Her dad came close to dying.

Never did I imagine I was that close to death. My mind just didn’t go there in that moment. Someone needed help, and that was that. I never even saw Daphne that day.

An IM from Hassan pops up on my computer screen.

Hassan: Anton Petrov is here to see you. Send him in?

Me: Yes, thanks.

The captain and star player of the Blaze comes into my office a few seconds later.

“Anton,” I say, standing up and smiling. “Good to see you.”

“You’re looking better,” he says as he walks over to a chair in front of my desk. “How’s it going?”

Nearly the entire team, and all the coaching staff, came to see me when I was in the hospital. That meant a lot to me. I try hard not to be a demanding, overbearing owner, but tough decisions often fall to me, and then I have to live with the consequences.

“Pretty good, how about you?” I ask.

“Can’t complain. I didn’t really want anything, just wanted to check in. I saw earlier that you’re still trending on Twitter.” He grins. “Hashtag Olidaph, right?”

“That’s what they tell me.”

“Any plans to meet up with the woman you rescued?”

“No.”

“Anything Mia and I can do to help? You’re always welcome to crash at our place if the reporters get to be too much. Just don’t be surprised if we disappear suddenly and you find yourself babysitting our girls for the night.”

“I’m good, but thanks.”

He stands up. “I can’t stay, but I’m glad you’re doing okay.”

“Thanks, I appreciate that. I hope you guys will come over for dinner soon.”

“Yeah, sounds good.”

We say our goodbyes and the intercom on my phone beeps just as Anton’s walking out of my office.

“Hi, Hassan,” I say in answer.

“Your doctor’s office is on Line One with some test results. They wouldn’t talk to me; they said it has to be you.”

“Okay, thanks.”

Test results? I didn’t know there were any test results still pending. I furrow my brow as I push the Line One button.

“This is Olivier Durand.”

“Hi, Mr. Durand, please don’t hang up. This is Sabrina Connor. I’m with Chicago Now online magazine, and—”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

I hang up, then press the button to silence my office phone. Fucking vultures. I can’t wait for something else to come along and steal the media spotlight. I’m entirely over it, and it sounds like Daphne is, too.

 

 

Chapter Four

 

 

Daphne

 

A knock on my bedroom door interrupts my reading, and I sigh heavily as I put my book down and say, “What?”

“Honestly, Daphne, you sound like a surly teenager,” my mother says as she comes into the room. “I know I taught you better manners than that.”

She taught me very little, actually. How to host parties and frequently redecorate the rooms in your three homes aren’t exactly life skills toddlers need to learn. But still, I would have loved to help with those. She blew me and my sisters off, though, leaving us in the care of nannies.

“I’m in the middle of a book,” I tell her.

She glares at me, expression dramatic as always. “It’s two o’clock in the afternoon. What are you doing in bed? You said you’re completely recovered.”

I glare back, because I am completely recovered, but my parents still won’t let me go back to my apartment in the city. It’s been nearly a month since the accident. My bruises and soreness have faded, and all that’s left now is the boot I have to wear when walking for the next couple weeks.

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