"Olivia! Could you come down here real quick?"
She looked up from the book she was reading, wide-eyed. It was an awfully good book and she felt a little irritated that her reading had been interrupted. But then she grinned. Well how about that! she thought. When was the last time he actually called me by my name?
"I'm sorry? I'm afraid there's no Olivia here. Only dear," she remarked sarcastically, getting up from her bed and placing the bookmark in her book.
"Oh hush, Olivia. Just come down here!" the voice from downstairs shouted. Then quickly he added, "Please!"
Olivia giggled. "Yeah yeah, keep your pants on!"
She sauntered down the stairs and into the kitchen. She couldn't help grinning at her father, apron-clad, cradling a cookbook in his arm, with a phone perched between his ear and his shoulder. Gosh what I'd do for a camera right about now, she thought, laughing to herself.
"Jesus, Dad! What's the occasion? The only time I ever see you come in the kitchen is to get your meds! You got a hot date or something?" She snorted. As if, she thought. No one in their right mind would date this poor loser. Which explained an awful lot about her dad's ex-"girlfriend" (who had really just been a stalker).
Her father carefully placed the cookbook down on the counter and hung up the phone.
"Now don't you get sassy with me, young lady!" he hollered in the most authoritative voice he could muster (which admittedly wasn't all that authoritative) blushing as he wiped his hands on his apron. "For your information, I'm in here cooking for you! You haven't forgotten it's your birthday today, have you?" He stopped and thought for a moment, adding, "And you know I don't take any meds anyhow!"
She was shocked. "Shit, dad," she cussed, touched by her father's sweetness, and surprised by the fact that she herself had...forgotten her own birthday? Upon realizing that in fact she had not, she burst out laughing. "Way to go, Dad! You had me fooled for a second there! Problem is, my birthday's in April!" She walked over to him and playfully smacked him on the back. "That was cute of you, though. And sure you take meds; you don't need to be shy with me!"
Her father turned bright bright red, so much so that the ripe tomatoes sitting out on the counter beside him looked freakishly pale in comparison. "B-b-but," he began, stuttering, his hands shaking from embarrassment. "It says today, on the calendar...it's your handwriting...I had thought..." He trailed off, much too flustered to articulate his disappointment.
Olivia smiled apologetically, and swung her arm around his skinny, boyish shoulders. "Yeah, sorry about that, Dad. It's a little late, but, April Fool's."
He looked crushed, like a little suckling baby who had just been pulled away from his mum. He laughed weakly, though, finding some comfort from the warm arm around his shoulders.
Not wanting to admit his disappointment, he said, "Well, there's no harm in making you dinner anyhow, right?" He grinned goofily up at her (She was a full five inches taller than him.) like a shy little boy who had just made a rather poor joke but was waiting to be praised nonetheless.
Olivia bit her lip. She wanted to make a joke of him again, and he really made it so easy. Knowing you, I'm not so sure! she could say. I don't know if I should trust you with a knife! And although she laughed to herself at the thought of the kicked puppy look that he would get on his face, she couldn't bring herself to say it. As many times prior, she was defeated by his childlike sincerity. She patted him gently on the head, and giggled. "Go for it, big guy."
Then, she thought for a moment. "Hey. Why'd you call me down here in the first place? You never said."
Her father giggled nervously and turned away. "I...I just wanted to see you, I suppose." He picked the phone back up and waved it at her dismissively. "I gotta make a call, so you can go back to your room, if you like."
She smiled at his shyness, ran over to him and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and turned to leave. "Call me down when the food's done!" she said as she hopped off up the stairs, adding quickly, "I love you!"
Her father - his name was Roddy - stood still where he was, his hand lingering on the spot where she had kissed him on the cheek. Is it weird, he thought, feeling rather troubled, for a father to want to see his daughter just for the sake of seeing her? Am I being too obvious?
You see, Roddy was...well, it would be best just to start from the beginning. They met one cold autumn night, when Roddy was driving home from work. (He was a custodian.) Olivia had been dragging her feet down the side of the road, moving slowly and sadly like a slug with no sense of direction.
Roddy spotted her out the corner of his eye and gasped upon seeing her. "A pretty girl like that, walking around alone at night? She must be a streetwalker!" He was astonished, and sort of sickly excited, as he had never truly seen one before. He had only seen a program about such woman the night before on the television and was otherwise ignorant to their existence. With a feeling of horror at the great injustice of the world (of which he really knew very little) bubbling up inside of him, he immediately pulled over to the side of the road, flustered and frenzied.
"Young lady!" he shouted, waving his arms all about. "You don't need to do this to yourself! This isn't right! You shouldn't have to compromise your chastity just to get by! I can help you!"
Olivia, who had been ignoring him up until that point, stopped dead in her tracks and swung her head around sharply to glare at him. "Excuse me? Compromise my chastity? What, do you think I'm some sort of whore?"
Roddy blinked his eyes, confounded. "A whore? What's that?" The word was familiar - perhaps he had heard it in a movie once? - but he couldn't remember what it meant.
Olivia scoffed. "It's a prostitute, you idiot! You think I'm a prostitute?"
Roddy raised his eyebrows. He thought that seemed rather obvious. After all, what other explanation was there for her being on the side of the road right now? "Yes, that's right."
Olivia's face turned red and she came up to Roddy's car and smacked him upside the head. "Well, I'm not, you insufferable moron! You say you can help me? How about you help yourself and get the hell out of my face!?"
Robby was taken aback. "I...I was just trying to be kind. I didn't mean to say anything offensive," he muttered quietly, rubbing the spot where she had smacked him. He looked pathetic, with little tears in his eyes, like a kicked puppy.
Olivia shoved her hands in her pockets and spit down on the sidewalk. "So let me get this straight," she said, trying to sort it out in her head. "You misinterpreted my being out here as me being a prostitute, and took it upon yourself to try and help me…is that what you're trying to say to me?"
Roddy nodded, bright-eyed and erupting with childlike anticipation. "That's it exactly! So, you understand? Honestly, I only had good intentions!"
Olivia sighed, mulling it over in her head. Roddy stared at her all the while, expectantly, waiting to see what she had to say. Finally, she made a loud, drawn-out sucking noise with her teeth, as if she were irritated, and spit on the ground. "Fine," she finally said, looking up at Roddy apologetically. "I get it. You were just trying to be a nice guy. I misunderstood it as you trying to be a jerk. So, umm…" She paused, and scratched behind her head. Stuff like apologizing always made her feel embarrassed. "Umm, well…you know…I'm sorry for smacking you."
Roddy's face lit up with joy and he excitedly jumped out of the car and grabbed her hands in his. "Thank you so much! So, now that you understand…are you sure you don't need help? Even if you aren't a streetwalker, I'll still help you if you need me to!"
For some reason, as strangely enthusiastic as he was, Olivia didn't feel as disconcerted as she normally would. She laughed, finding his suddenly so obvious sincerity charming. But, as charming as he was, she wasn't sure if she really wanted to admit that to him. Yes, she did need help. She had no place to call home, no people to call her family - nothing but the clothes on her back. But she was stubborn, and she had a hard time accepting help from others. "No, I think I'll be fine on my own…" she mumbled, slowly beginning to pull away from Roddy's grip.
All the joy immediately drained from Roddy's face and he squeezed Olivia's hands even tighter before she could let go. "On your own? You mean you don't have parents?"
No. Of course she didn't, she thought. No, I don't have parents. Do you think if I had parents I'd be walking around at midnight? She thought that, but then she knew that there were plenty of kids who stayed out well past midnight every night. There were kids everywhere with parents who could care less. She couldn't remember her parents anymore by now, but she thought that having parents who didn't care must have been a lot colder than having no parents at all.
She was so deep in thought that she didn't even think before she spoke. "No, I don't have parents," she mumbled, little tears forming in her eyes. But immediately after she said it, she realized the mistake she had made and quickly pulled away from Roddy. "I mean…I do have parents! Of course I do! They're just on vacation; that's all I meant."
Roddy's eyes narrowed. "You're lying," he said matter-of-factly. "I can tell. Because you're crying!"
Olivia suddenly felt anxious, seeing that her lie hadn't worked, and she blindly flung her fist at his head. "Don't you dare call me a liar!" she hissed, quickly wiping her eyes in a futile attempt to hide the tears he had already seen. "You don't even know me! You thought I was a freakin' whore, for God's sake! What makes you think you're perceptive enough to decide if I'm telling the truth or not!? You're a complete idiot!"
Roddy remained silent. He just stared at the ground, holding his hand over the spot where her fist had collided with his head. Slowly the blood started oozing out, seeping out from between his fingers and trickling down his hand, and he closed his eyes, wincing from the stinging pain. "I'm not an idiot," he growled, grinding his teeth as he spoke. "I'm just trying to help you…what's so idiotic about that?"
Olivia was trembling and Roddy glanced up quickly and noticed this. He immediately felt guilt and calmed himself. "I'm sorry," he said, removing his hand from his head. "That was out of line. I shouldn't have called you a liar. I apologize."
Olivia felt sick to her stomach at the sight of the blood that covered his head – the blood that she had drawn with her own fist – and she was overcome with guilt and without thinking, she blurted out the truth. "You were right, okay? I was lying! …I really don't have parents."
Roddy's eyes flashed with surprise and he looked up at her, wide-eyed. "R-Really?"
Olivia nodded vigorously, a flood of tears suddenly pouring from her eyes. "Y-Yeah. I have no parents, no home…nothing." Her voice was shaking. She looked up at Roddy's wide, sympathetic eyes, and felt weak. "I…I do need help. I've needed help for so long. Please…help me."
From then on, Olivia had stayed with Roddy in his two-story cottage. It was a strange situation, if one really thought about it. A young girl, staying with an only slightly older man who was, essentially, a complete stranger. Normally, this seemed somewhat scandalous. And it was true – when most people first found out about Roddy and Olivia's cohabitation, they always thought it was some sort of queer love affair between a teenage girl and a janitor, but in reality, the two lived only as child and guardian (though nothing had been documented legally). Olivia came to know Roddy as "Dad" and Roddy was tended to use the pet name "dear" to address Olivia.
It had been three years now, since the day they had met – Olivia had been sixteen and Roddy had been twenty-three. Now Olivia was already nineteen (evidently for several more months than Roddy had been aware of) and Roddy was twenty-six, still working as a custodian, though he now worked at a private academy rather than a public high school and made a bit more money.
Their life together had remained basically the same over the last three years (aside from Roddy's new job) but there was one very important and very troublesome difference. Roddy, foolish as he was, had let himself fall for Olivia. Olivia, the girl who still called him Daddy when she was upset, who still came and slept in his room when she had a bad dream, who still expected him to do her laundry because she didn't know how to work the washing machine. Even if sometimes, because of his naïveté, he seemed more like the child out of the two of them, he was still the one she considered her father. And, despite her tough girl appearance, she was still the sad, lonely little girl who had asked for his help all those years ago. And now what had he done? He had fallen in love with her and had screwed everything up.
He stood there in the kitchen, absent-mindedly cutting tomatoes. He knew Olivia didn't think of him in the way he thought of her. As hard as she always tried to appear apathetic and conceal her emotions, he had learned well how to read her expressions the last few years – hell, he was able to see right through her from the moment they met! - and he would've been able to tell if she was in love with him by now.
He knew she wasn't in love with him by the way she touched him so easily all the time, how she always said, "I love you!" so freely and offhandedly, how she came into his room on stormy nights without a second thought about the implications of sleeping in his bed, how she walked in on him in the shower and only laughed hysterically at how small he was (in every respect), how she only gave a perfunctory, "Thank you," when he called her beautiful…the list went on. It hurt him to think about all these little things, but he had to remember them or else he would get spirited away by his own imagination, and never come back. This is how he reassured himself. If I just keep in mind that she'll never love me back, then there's nothing worry about, he told himself. I can keep myself under control…I know I can.
He let out a long sigh and feeling calmer, continued making his "birthday" dinner for Olivia.
That night, after having dinner with Olivia (who had described it as "less than satisfactory, to put it mildly" and banned him from any further cooking of dinner, even on her real birthday), Roddy headed off to work. Like at his old job, he still worked the second shift. He didn't like it, because he didn't want to leave Olivia alone at night, but it was the best job he had been able to find on short notice after being fired from his last job and his boss was kind to him and Olivia, so although it left him worrying about Olivia all night, he kept the job anyway.
As he was cleaning the bathrooms (which unsurprisingly was one of his least favorite parts about this job) he came upon something peculiar on the floor. It was a shiny silver pocket watch, which wasn't particularly strange considering this was in a private school, populated by wealthy children with affluent families and at this school, having a silver or even a gold pocket watch wasn't the slightest bit unusual. But, something about it seemed odd to him. Something inexplicable and unable to seen, but undeniably there.
Carefully, he knelt down and picked up the watch, rolling it over in his hands. Suddenly, as he looked upon the watch curiously, he started to feel sad. Something about the watch reminded him of Olivia. But then, what didn't remind him of Olivia? His eyes grew warm and wet, and the tears came slowly, trailing down his reddening cheeks. His fingers curled desperately around the watch and he gripped it tightly, pulling it to his chest.
"Hey watch," he mumbled, barely aware of his own voice as he spoke. "You know, I have this girl I really love. She's…she's the sweetest girl, you know. And she's just…ridiculously beautiful. And she has the most charming laugh, and…God, I just love her. But, she's sort of my daughter…or rather, she only thinks of me as her dad. I don't know what to do…it's not like I can just forget about her, because she's always there. And if I tell her I'm in love with her, she'll hate me…"
He knew it was just a stupid pocket watch. One of the students had carelessly forgotten it in the restroom earlier that day and that was that; there was nothing special or unique about it. It was just a dumb watch.
But, he felt like it understood him. Like it was listening to him, somehow. He was sobbing now, shaking helplessly like an abandoned baby laying out in the cold, his hands trembling as they held desperately onto the pocket watch. He had an idea…it was dumb and hopeless and he knew it wouldn't help, but he had to ask.
"Could you help me?" he finally managed to say, catching his breath between sobs. "I…I know I'm just being selfish, but I want things to be different. I love Olivia…but I can't keep on being with her like this. Do you think you could turn back time for me?"
He realized what he was saying and felt disgusted with himself. "Besides…if I have the gall to actually regret loving her, then I don't deserve to be with her anyway," he hissed, addressing himself more than the pocket watch. "So please…just get me out of here."
And then he closed his eyes, and waited for something to happen. Nothing was happening, until suddenly there was a rush of nausea that poured over him. He opened his eyes, shocked by the sudden throbbing pain in his head and swerved dizzily backwards, nearly falling over before he grabbed onto the wall of bathroom stall. He steadied himself again, holding his head, and looked around the room.
"Of course it's still the bathroom," he grumbled, picking up the pocket watch that he had dropped. "Stupid watch…I ask you a little favor and you can't even help me out." He laid down on the ground, feeling defeated and tired, hugging the watch to his chest, still crying soft tears.
He was beginning to doze off, forgetting that he had to work, when suddenly he heard a pair of footsteps coming into the bathroom. He immediately started shuffling, sitting back up and hurriedly shoving the watch in his pocket. He was about to stand when two students appeared at the door.
"Roddy…what the hell? Why are you on the floor?" the students inquired, obviously perplexed.
Roddy scratched his head, and started up at the students with a bemused look on his face. These students were vaguely familiar…but they didn't seem like the type of kids who would go to this academy. "Uhh…what are you doing here this late at night?" he questioned, standing himself up.
The two boys looked at each other, exchanging looks that expressed something along the lines of "What the hell?" then they looked back at Roddy and the taller one, a lanky black-haired boy, said matter-of-factly, eyebrow raised, "Roddy, it's not night. It's ten in the morning. We're in school right now."
Roddy blinked his eyes over and over, seeing if maybe if he blinked enough the two boys would disappear, like a couple of illusions. But when the image of the two boys persisted, his eyes narrowed. So, they were real. "Nooooooo," he said finally, drawing out the "no" insistently, to emphasize the sheer impossibility of what the black-haired boy had just said. "It's ten at night, and you all have already gone home. I'm working right now."
The two boys exchanged "What the hell?" looks once again and then looked back at Roddy. The shorter of the two boys, a bespectacled blond boy, waved his hand in front of Roddy's face. "Are you sure you aren't on something, dude?"
The black-haired boy added gravely, "Do you want to go see the school psychologist, Roddy?"
Roddy backed away from the boys, confounded. "What do you mean? Ms. Avery? Why should I go see Ms. Avery? She's already gone home by now!"
The blond boy took his hand and pulled him to the door. "Come on, kiddo. I think you need some help."
Roddy resisted, wriggling like a colicky baby and so the black-haired boy grabbed his other hand, and the two boys dragged Roddy out of the bathroom and across the hall to the school psychologist's office.
Roddy, who had stubbornly kept his eyes sealed shut until then, opened them slowly and looked up at a woman who definitely was not the aged Ms. Avery. But, he was surprised because…he still knew who she was. "M-Miss Annie?"
The young woman turned around from her desk, smiling calmly, cradling a cup of coffee in her hand. As she spotted Roddy and the two boys, shock appeared in her facial expression. "Hello, Roderick…" She paused, taking note of the tight grip the two boys had on either of his arms. "Why aren't you in class? Is something the matter?"
Roddy was speechless. "Miss Annie…could you explain something to me?" he blurted suddenly, his voice shaky and quiet. "Where am I? What year is this?"
Miss Annie looked at him quizzically, the worry in her eyes making itself glaringly apparent. "Roderick…you're in Oakville High School, and it's 2001. Now tell me, why are you asking such odd questions?"
Roddy didn't know what to say.
He finally had an idea of what was going on, so he looked to either side of him, first at the black-haired boy who he now immediately recognized as his old buddy Joey, and then to the blond boy with the glasses, his childhood friend Everett. He hadn't seen them since graduation and yet, here they were…and here he was, standing in Miss Annie's office, in his old high school.
So, time really had been turned back, just like he had asked. Well…not just like he had asked. This wasn't the time he had had in mind.
"I…I have to go back to the bathroom," he mumbled, pulling free of Joey and Everett and running back into the bathroom. He quickly locked himself in a stall, and leaned against the wall. He removed the pocket watch from his pocket and stared at it.
"You!" he shouted, and then realized he shouldn't shout and leaned forward, whispering. "You! It was you! Why did you turn back time to here? This isn't what I wanted!"
The pocket watch rattled and shook in his hand, as if it were angry and Roddy, startled, nearly dropped it.
Finally, Roddy was able to get a steady grip on the watch and smothered it with his hands, saying, "Shhh!" (He said this, although it didn't really make much noise.) Once the watch had "calmed down", he loosened his grip and looked at it very seriously.
"So, now that I know you really can understand me…could you please take me back to the time I want?" The watch remained impassive, so Roddy took that as a "yes" and inhaled deeply. "Alright…could you take me back to October 2007? I can't remember what day in October…just whatever day I met Olivia." He closed his eyes and waited, but then he opened them again suddenly and added, "Please! Sorry, I forgot to say that last time."
Then he closed his eyes again and all at once, he was overcome with another rush of nausea and when his eyes flung open, he was sitting on the sidewalk outside his house.
Now that he knew what was going on, he was much calmer (at least, as calm as one could be while traveling through time) and so he tried to keep a level head as he took in his current surroundings. It was dark outside…he assumed that at that time he must have been at work. So either he could wait here until he got home and somehow stop himself from taking in Olivia…or he could go to work and stop himself from leaving when he did. But wait…was he allowed to see himself? Would something bad happen if he ran into himself three years ago?
Then he realized something. Instead of finding himself (He hated the way that sounded) he could find Olivia and keep her from meeting him. Of course, that would involve looking for her. And he had no idea where to look for her. He knew near to nothing about Olivia's life before he had met her, he realized. All he knew is that when he met her, she was walking down the sidewalk. But that wasn't until midnight. What would she be doing until then?
In short, he had three choices of what to do – he could go and find himself (the idea of which unsettled him greatly), go and look for Olivia (which could be extremely cumbersome) or stay where he was (which would be pointless and unproductive). Roddy had never been good with decisions, and he had never been faced with a decision of such gravity, so he was obviously quite troubled.
He folded his legs and rested his chin on his hand, deep in thought. He focused in on the tree across the street – he found that focusing his eyes in on one single object helped him think more clearly – and mulled over the three choices he had. He was so absorbed in thought that he only barely noticed sixteen year old Olivia as she slumped past him, hands stuffed in her pockets.
He jumped up and fumbled after her, reaching his arm out and grabbing her shoulder. "Y-Young lady!" he shouted, making sure not to say her name. "C-Could you help me?" he stammered. He hadn't planned what he would say to her in this situation, and at the moment, was just making it up. "I…I need to know where, uh…the local library is!"
Olivia turned to face Roddy, staring blankly at him. "What?"
Roddy couldn't help but sigh joyfully, seeing her young face like this. If only she could've stayed this young all along…he knew part of the reason why he had eventually fallen in love with this girl was because she grew up. She had become a woman. Seeing her now, still very much a girl, he felt relieved. This young girl, this sweet face with her rosy cheeks and clear eyes…he didn't regret meeting her. He didn't want to keep himself from meeting her. He just didn't want to love her, and this was the only one he knew how to fix it.
Olivia tilted her head and bent down to look at Roddy, who was hanging his head. "Hey, sir. I asked you a question. What did you just say?"
Roddy wiped the tiny tears forming in his eyes – Gosh, I'm such a crybaby, he thought – and looked up at Olivia, trying to keep himself calm. "S-Sorry about that. I was just thinking…about something sad. Anyway, I was wondering where the library is. My friend wanted me to return a book for him, but I'm from out of town so I don't know where to return it to."
Olivia gave him an incredulous look and straightened up, prepared to run if he turned out to be someone suspicious. "Couldn't your friend have just told you were it was?"
Roddy got nervous. He had never been good at lying or making things up off the top of his head, and it certainly didn't help when someone saw through him. Luckily, by some work of magic (which didn't seem so farfetched considering what was going on) he was able to think of something quickly enough.
"W-Well…his directions weren't very good, you know?" he said, trying not to giggle like he had a tendency to do when he was nervous. "And then the paper he wrote them on got blown away by the wind, so I'm totally lost."
Olivia's eyes brightened and Roddy could tell she was believing him. "Okay, your story holds up. I guess I can show you the way; it's not like I have anything better to do."
Roddy smiled, even though he felt guilty for lying. His spur-of-the-moment plan was working and at the moment, that was all the mattered.
Olivia started walking and Roddy took that as a signal to follow her. They walked together, though not quite together as Roddy was always two steps behind, and they barely talked the whole time – Roddy feared talking because he didn't want to let anything slip, and Olivia couldn't be bothered to start a conversation. So they walked in silence except for an occasional comment from Roddy, like, "The leaves are awfully pretty this time of year," or, "Aww, look at those little butterflies!"
Finally, they arrived at the library. Olivia turned around and Roddy, not expecting it, kept walking and slammed into her. He toppled backwards and fell to the ground, letting out a little shout of surprise. Olivia bent down and offered her hand to help him up and then when he was up, let go and turned away from him again. "So, here it is. See you later," she said and started walking off.
Roddy panicked. It was still too early...there were still a few more hours to midnight. He had to somehow stall her until then…but how? Without thinking, he blurted out, "Wait!" throwing his arms up in desperation.
Olivia flung around and look at him quizzically. "What? I already showed you the library; what else do you want?" She made a clicking noise with her tongue, which Roddy knew was her subtle way of showing she was irritated.
"W-Well…earlier you said you have nothing better to do, so would you mind keeping me company?" He felt a bit like a jerk for saying it like that. It sounded like some really bad pickup line. But he couldn't think of anything better off the top of his head.
Olivia laughed, shoving her hands in her pockets. "What, are you trying to pick me up?" Obviously she thought it sounded like a pickup line too.
Roddy shook his head, blushing. "No, no, I didn't mean it like that…it was just a friendly invitation. Just a couple of, ehh...strangers, reading together in the library. No biggie." Then quickly he added, more for his own sake then for hers, "I'm not into younger girls."
Olivia seemed a little taken aback by his last comment and how grave he had sounded when he said it. But she laughed it off. "Oh well then. Too bad for me," she said sarcastically, smacking Roddy playfully on the back. "Anyway, sure, I'll hang out with you. Not much to do in this library, but hey, like you said, I've got nothing better to do!"
Roddy was relieved. Good, she'll stay, he thought. But then the ever important question presented itself. For how long? Would she stick around long enough for this to work? "Hey, do you know what time it is?" he asked suddenly, smiling up at her. Even when she was 16, she was still taller than him.
Olivia thought about it for a moment, revealed a pocket watch from her pocket and checked. "It's about ten at night…why do you ask?"
Roddy didn't say anything, and just stared at the pocket watch Olivia was carrying. It was exactly like the one he had…the one that had sent him back in time. "O-Olivia. Where did you get that?" he blurted, leaning forward to get a better look at the watch.
Olivia laughed, rubbing the watch gently with her thumb. "I got it a while ago from some guy…I think his name was Roddy? He was a strange guy, but real sweet and – wait. How do you know my name?"
Roddy was frozen in place, unable to speak. Olivia had the same exact watch as him. She had gotten it from a man named Roddy – that was his name. What were the chances that that was just a coincidence? Roddy supposed the chances were slim. So what did that mean? Had he traveled through time before? How many times had he done it? "I-Is that the only watch like that you have?" he mumbled, wide-eyed and trembling.
Olivia backed away from him. "I asked you a question," she said, her voice cracking. "H-How do you know my name?" She was obviously scared.
The voice of reason inside Roddy's head told him that he was scaring Olivia and that he needed to calm down. To took a deep breath, and then looked up at Olivia and forced a smile. "I'm sorry, I got carried away. That watch…it's just like one I have, and my name is Roddy. So I just thought it was strange…"
Olivia just stared at him blankly, finding little comfort in his apology. "That doesn't answer my question," she demanded, backing further away from him.
"I know your name because…because…" He was stuck. He couldn't think of a good excuse. All he could think to say was I know you in the future. I'm a time traveler. But that sounded so farfetched…she would just think he's crazy.
Before he could say anything, Olivia grabbed onto his arm. "Wait! You say you're name is Roddy…if you're Roddy, does that mean…you're from the future?"
Roddy was shocked. So that had been him, and he had done this time travel thing before. Or maybe he did it again later on? It made so little sense. But, he didn't want Olivia to be afraid anymore so he said, "Yes…that's right."
Olivia's face lit up. "Oh wow! Roddy, I'm so happy to see you again! I knew you looked familiar!"
Roddy winced. Again? Again since when? They hadn't even met yet at that point. Or I suppose they had…they had met, but before they had actually met. And now they were meeting again. But then what had Roddy been doing here before? What was he doing when he had met Olivia for the…first time? Or maybe it hadn't been the first time.
"Hey," Roddy said suddenly. "Do you have any other watches like that?"
Olivia tilted her head. "Nah, why would I have more watches? You only gave me one."
Roddy shook his head. This made no sense. "But I mean…you've only met me once?"
Olivia nodded. "Yeah…well, twice, including now."
Roddy's head was spinning. So, this had only happened once before…or at least, it had only happened once before when he had met Olivia. But what did that mean? He could've gone back in time even more times, for all he knew. Like when he had went back to his old high school...
And if Olivia had already met Roddy the other time she mentioned, and then this time and then would supposedly meet him again later that night, then how did the Olivia in the future (or would that be the present?) that Roddy knew not have already known him when they met? What was he doing here anyway? Was he changing the past or was he just playing his part in it?
He collapsed to the ground, so overwhelmed with all the thoughts in his head. He closed his eyes, and curled up into a ball. "O-Olivia. I'm sorry…I can't do this," he mumbled, shaking sadly like a freezing puppy. "I need to go back…I shouldn't be here. This makes no sense!"
Olivia reached out to offer some form of comfort, and in the moment her fingers touched his shoulder, there was a flash of light and a rush of nausea flooded Roddy where he lay curled in a ball on the ground.
In the next moment, he was driving home from work in his car, with a mild headache. Gosh, that was an odd dream I had last night, he thought to himself, remembering it suddenly like it was a real memory.
Then suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a teenage girl, walking alone along the sidewalk. A pretty girl like that, walking around alone at night? he thought. She must be a streetwalker! He had watched a program on the television about such woman the night before, but would have otherwise been ignorant to their existence.
"Young lady!" he hollered, flailing his arms as he leaned out his car window. "You don't need to do this to yourself! This isn't right! You shouldn't have to compromise your chastity just to get by! I can help you!"
The girl, who had been ignoring him until then, fiddling with the silver pocket watch she had just found, shoved the watch in her pocket and turned around to glare at Roddy. "Excuse me?"