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Okay. Here it is. My last Oli story. This is crazy because I've RPed Oli for like 2 years now, since the very beginning of NWH. NWH is like family, I love you girls and this is crazy that this is my last Oli story but I'm so excited for the next generation. Anyway Oli is of course one of my very favorite RP characters and I will miss her so much. This last story is pretty corny, but it's really the only way I can think of ending her story. I hope you all like it and I love you girls! @buds-over-studs @curious-and-young @little-miss-rae @foreverandalways-jami @have-a-little-faith-in-me @peaceloveglitter @keziahh @turn-around-bright-eyes @flowersforalice

>> THE REFRESHER: When Elizabeth was born just over a year ago, Thomas was busy working on his fourth novel and Olivia didn’t see him much because of all the press and book tours he was doing. They celebrated their second anniversary and seemed like a happy enough couple, finally getting their daughter after their first son was a miscarriage at six months. But once little Elizabeth came, Olivia and Thomas’ relationship got more strenuous. Olivia’s cousin Charli was staying with them and helped somewhat, but she wasn’t their favorite person in the world. Thomas wasn’t home very often, and he wasn’t even there to see Elizabeth’s first steps. When Elizabeth was almost four months old and Charli had finally moved out, Olivia found out she was pregnant with a second child, and at that same time Thomas found out that his first novel, which was in the process of being adapted for film, actually already had actors for the film and was ready to start shooting, if he would like to be a producer. Olivia and Thomas went sort-of crazy, arguing about Thomas’ meetings and production work and Olivia’s mood swings and this and that. They eventually went to Couples’ Therapy, and Thomas began coming home as often as he could. They’re doing better now, but their second child is due any day now and Olivia isn’t sure if Thomas will be able to be there or not.

ONE YEAR LATER

“Thomas! Thomas! Thomas over here!” 

Bright lights were everywhere, and I could feel my legs wobble, could feel my stomach shift, could feel my grip on Thomas’ arm tighten. He barely glanced at me though, instead flashing that grin everywhere he could, reaching out for an autograph here or there. It was like he was one of the actors in the film, not the author. 

“Who’s your wife? Is she famous?” Someone shouted.

I crinkled my nose, fanning my face. “Thomas, just get inside.”

“Franklin said to stop out here for at least ten minutes, for the press,” Thomas told me in a whisper, turning back to the crowd, waving. I felt my forehead sweating, my legs, everywhere. How stupid was I to wear a blazer? I couldn’t be here. I needed to be back in Tree Hill with Elizabeth. I shouldn’t have left her at home. Marcus and Ava had their hands full. I should’ve just let Thomas go alone. He was used to going alone after all.

“Thomas,” I pressed. I could feel prickles on my skin like someone was poking me with needles, over and over again. I put a hand to my stomach. “I know it’s the Hollywood premiere, but there’s another one in Tree Hill. Stop for the press then.”

“But it’s /Hollywood/, Liv.” He sighed, moving a little faster, still holding that smile that was probably worth a whole lot more than it was last year. “Come on, the camera loves you too.”

“The camera can love me in Tree Hill,” I said, tight-lipped. I pushed on his arm, forcing him to stumble sideways toward the entrance, our footsteps on the red carpet mingling with the flashes and shadows. A few more producers and directors were behind us, and we were catching up to the stars of the film, all up-and-coming actors who I had never heard of. Thomas raved about them, saying the one who was playing Jenny was “spot on.” And when he had said that we’d both gotten kind-of quiet since Jenny wasn’t even here to see herself. Of course, everyone else would come to the Tree Hill premiere, Marcus and Ava, Lo and Dan, Alaska and Jay, Lexi and David, Kay, Quinn, Sienna, Ana, Serena, Mel… Too many people to name. But Jenny would never be at any of the premieres, because she was dead. I tried to never bring it up. I couldn’t really imagine, even after all this time, having your first love die. I never understood how Thomas did it. But I guess I didn’t understand a lot of things. Lately /we/ didn’t understand a lot of things, not the way we used to.

“Thomas, man!” the actor playing Thomas himself, some guy not much younger than us named Johnny Canyon, slapped him on the back as we approached the group of stars. I felt awkward standing there, always on the outside. No one paid attention to me because I didn’t come in until the second book.

“This is so surreal,” Thomas told him, his voice going all dreamy-like. I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “I couldn’t have asked for a better… well, me.”

They shared a long laugh and Johnny shook his head. “Well you haven’t seen the completed film yet. Hope it won’t change your mind.”

“I don’t think so,” Thomas said with an easy grin. He turned to me, as if remembering I was there. Though I was hard to miss with a belly so wide it took up half the carpet. “Johnny, have you met my wife?”

“Oh, so you must be the real-life Jenny!” Johnny reached over to give me a hug. The cameras continued snapping away, but by now I had blocked out their hollers. 

“Um, no, actually I’m Olivia…” I said, my voice low and my cheeks warming. I glared at Thomas, and he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. 

“Jenny and I… Well after the first book, we kind broke up and I met someone else,” Thomas explained quickly. “I met Olivia, this lovely lady right here.”

Johnny pursed his lips, nodding. “I see, I see. I bet the real Jenny is kicking herself right now. You’re worth millions man!” He gave me a thumbs up. I felt my stomach lurch, and I pinched Thomas, for more than just that reason.

“Okay, okay.” Thomas moved around the cast, hugging each of them with a few words and a lot of laughter, probably ninety percent fake. We finally reached the doors into the theater, and the cool air blasted me sweetly as soon as a few men dressed in all black ushered us inside. 

Thomas and I took it all in, especially the huge poster hanging from the ceiling. “Abundance of Ravens” it read it big bold letters. Then at the bottom, in smaller but still huge letters, it read “based on the novel by Thomas Cunningham.” I couldn’t help but tear up, leaning into him as people began to crowd in around us.

“You’re like the next Nicholas Sparks,” I commented, smiling despite the dropping feeling in my stomach. 

“I can only hope!” Thomas kissed me on the forehead, and then we made our way toward the stage, where Thomas was supposed to help introduce the film. He helped me to our seats on the front row, and then he bounded up on stage, looking as proud as he had when Elizabeth was born.

Everyone was seated within about ten minutes, and with all of the bodies in the room it felt like it was well over a hundred degrees. I kept wiping my face with a tissue, pulling more and more makeup off, but at that point I didn’t really care. Then I was squinting, trying to see Thomas as he stood next to the director, who was talking but I couldn’t even hear what he was saying.

“Excited?” Franklin asked me as he sat down next to me, his eyes grinning as much as his face. I managed a feeble nod. 

Then I could make out Thomas’ voice over the microphone. “This is one of the biggest things that has ever happened in my life, and I cannot thank you all enough. The fans for even making the books big enough to be adapted, Publisher’s Clearing House, aw God the studio, Barnes and Noble, Gary our amazing director, Lionsgate, um Johnny, Kate, Desmond, Warner, Alyssa, all of our wonderful cast, the crew… My family, my gorgeous daughter Elizabeth, my brother Marcus, my best friend Ava… And most of all, I want to thank my editor and my wife, Olivia Cunningham, who is here with me tonight. I love you.” He smiled down at me, gesturing to me, and the theatre burst into applause. My cheeks reddened, from both the attention and from the overall heat in the room. I blew him a kiss, right before I felt water pooling beneath me.

“Oh my God,” I whispered. Franklin looked over at me, realizing I was clutching his hand, and his eyes registered with fear when he saw the water seeping through my skirt. 

“Oh my God!” He repeated, jumping up. The lights were going down and the film was about to start, and Thomas was just rejoining us.

“What’s going…” Thomas began but then his jaw went slack as I tried to steady myself. He gripped my elbow before I could crash into the floor, and Franklin just stood there, muttering frantically to himself.

“I’m going into labor,” I mumbled uselessly. 

“Obviously!” Franklin said and people started to whisper as the credits began to roll. We moved toward the edge of the theater, Thomas still holding onto me, his face worried. I felt my eyes drooping, and Franklin was shaking his head.

“Tom, you need to be here,” he finally said, voice shaky. “You can’t leave, this is the /premiere/. And afterwards you know how many interviews I booked you for! You can’t leave now!”

“What the h-ll are you suggesting?” Thomas asked in a hushed tone, already moving toward the doors with me. “Olivia is in labor!”

“I just dialed Jeannie, she’s already here, ” Franklin said, referring to his personal doctor. Or something. I didn’t remember. I didn’t remember much at that point, just that the contractions were getting closer together. “She can take her. We need you here, Thomas. This is your /job/. Your job comes first!”

Jeannie, I guess that was her, pushed through the doors. By now the movie had started and people weren’t paying attention to us anymore. Franklin had his arm on Thomas’ shoulder, and now Jeannie was almost carrying me, carrying me away from Thomas. I started to cry, reaching out for him. He wasn’t moving.

“Thomas,” I said, my voice almost gone.

“You’ll be fine honey,” Jeannie assured me in a maternal tone, walking quickly. “The hospital’s only a few minutes away.”

“No, I want my husband!” I cried.

Jeannie was dumping me into her passenger’s seat, starting the engine, buckling our seat belts. She put the car into reverse, but then lurched to a halt before she even cleared the parking space. “You want me kill you?!” she screeched out her window, looking behind us.

Thomas appeared in her window, out-of-breath. “Give me your car. I have to take my wife to the hospital.”

“No, you need to be in the theater, I’ll take her,” Jeannie argued, clucking her tongue.

“Um, hello?” I tried to breathe.

“I’ll bring it back I promise! Just give me the d-mn car!” Thomas pressed. Jeannie rolled her eyes, and then climbed out of the car reluctantly. Thomas was out of the parking lot way faster than she would have been and we were speeding down the road, passing cars and driving maniacally. Thomas glanced over at me, squeezing my hand. “You /always/ come first,” he whispered.

That was the last thing I remembered before I was out cold.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

When I woke up, I could hear a steady beeping noise, along with the prick of an IV tube stuck into my arm. I looked around the room slowly, my face finally landing on Thomas, who sat in a chair a few feet away, looking exhausted and out of place in his nice new suit.

His eyes instantly widened when we saw me looking at him, and I realized he was holding onto my hand. He gripped it tighter, smiling down at me. “How you doing?” He asked.

“Okay,” I said, my voice croaky. “What… Where’s the baby?”

Thomas wiped his face, taking a deep breath. “They had to do an emergency C-section. The baby is in the special… Infant Intensive Care or something like that. I haven’t seen him yet.”

“Him?” My eyes filled with tears.

“It’s a boy,” he told me, grinning. His blue eyes grew glassy, and he rubbed my arm with his thumb. “They told me we’d be able to see him soon, once he stabilizes.”

“Oh God, I hope he’s alright. Thomas, tell me he’s okay,” I pleaded, even though he didn’t know any more than I did, it seemed. “Tell me our baby is okay.” I felt tears on my cheeks, and Thomas was kissing them away, pulling back my hair from my face. I wrapped the arm without the IV around his back, tucking my chin into his shoulder. We stayed like that for awhile, until a nurse peeked her head in, coming to check my vitals.

“Good to see you awake, Mrs. Cunningham,” she said brightly. “Your husband here was a real trooper.”

And even though I wasn’t really awake to see it, I knew Thomas had been there the entire time, holding my hand and enduring the pain, almost as much as me. 

“Everything seems great,” the nurse told us, standing over the edge of my bed. “And… Oh, there he is! He’s ready to see his parents.” The nurse looked to the door and there was another nurse, wheeling in a clear cradle like Elizabeth had once been in, only the baby inside it looked much tinier than Elizabeth had been. And with no hair. I felt the tears coming again and when they handed the him to me, I saw one on Thomas’ cheek too.

“Oh, honey…” I felt my mouth just fall open, looking at the beautiful baby boy in my arms, his eyes closed and his heart beating under my palm. Thomas touched his hand, and I kissed his head, taking in his sweet baby scent.

Thomas looked at me. “So, did you decide yet? Is it going to be Joseph Ryan Cunningham or Riley Thomas Cunningham?”

“What do you think? What does he look like?” I smiled down at him again, taking in the way his tiny lips seemed to curl up like he was smiling too.

“Riley,” we whispered together.

We gazed down at Riley, our newborn son, and I realized that of all the times Thomas and I had fought or disagreed or ignored each other, we always found our way in the end. He was always there when I really needed him, and he always would be.

“I love you,” I said. 

“I love you forever,” he said. He kissed Riley’s head, and then he kissed my head, and then he took a picture of us to send to Marcus and Ava, who would show it to Elizabeth, and then our family was complete, and worth an infinite amount of forevers. 

[COMMENT IF YOU READ PLEASE and gah it was so hard to write this!]
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