Oliver made his way through the crowds. He knew that he’d lost Finley somewhere behind him. But Finley would find him—right now he had to find Alexa. He was looking at everyone he passed, just for a flash of red hair or the slightly slanted smile. She had to be here. She had to be safe. Finley was—well, Finley was whatever she was to him now. But Alexa was the closest thing that Oliver had ever considered family. She was like a sister to him, and life would absolutely never be the same if Alexa weren’t there to be a part of his world anymore. He kept looking and searching, knowing that with each passing face he was running out of options to find her—but he couldn’t make himself slow down. In fact, in his panic he was making himself rush even more for an answer.
“Slow down, Jerk. You’re going to knock someone over, and these people are injured, you know. They don’t need to be jostled anymore.” Oliver had to back track, the voice took too long to register in his head to have him stop on a dime. He slowed and turned to see that slanted smile pointed at him. “Hey there, Loser. I am so glad to see that you are still all in one piece.”
“Lex!” Oliver felt like an eight-year-old all over again. He ran at her and pulled her up into a tight hug, only to jump away just as quickly when Alexa let out a small yelp.
“Bruised ribs,” Alexa laughed a little, putting a hand gently to her side, “Let’s try to be a touch more gently with me.”
“I’m so sorry,” Oliver sighed, stepping close to her again, “Are you okay? Was it really bad?”
Alexa gave Oliver a slightly haunted look, and understood that it was much like the look he would probably give for the rest of his life. “It—wasn’t. It wasn’t good, of course, but it absolutely was not as bad as I thought it might be.”
“Yeah,” Oliver just gave a little shake, “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
“Finley?” Alexa asked carefully, “Do you know?”
“Oh yeah. Yes. She’s around her somewhere. Fine.” Oliver straightened up slightly, trying to see if he could find Finley in the crowd. “She and I are—well—I don’t know. We’re—“
“Complicated,” Alexa laughed and supplied for him, “You and Finley are always complicated though. Is she okay, is the real question.”
“Fared even better than you and I,” Oliver grinned, “Barely a scratch on her. How frustrating is that?”
Alexa laughed a proper, gut wrenching laugh, instead of the small slightly hysterical laughs she’d been giving recently. It was an absolutely great sound to hear. “Incredibly frustrating. But to be honest, I’m so glad that we can rely on something to be a constant.”
“Finley is definitely a constant,” Oliver agreed, “If nothing else, she’s a constant.”