The TV in Alex's bedroom did nothing but provide background noise as Olivia and Alex sat silently, lost in their own thoughts. Alex was in her desk chair with her legs swung over the armrest, and Olivia was nestled on the bed among Alex's many throw pillows. After a moment, she spoke.
"Al, do you really think that Cam did it?" she said, keeping her eyes glued to the bedspread.
"It was my best guess," Alex replied with a sigh. "But frankly, I wouldn't put it past her now."
Olivia looked up at Alex, who was staring at the ceiling. Her hair was loose and hanging over the edge of the chair, moving gently in the breeze from the vent on the wall. She looked over at Olivia, her bright blue eyes clouded with worry.
"Are you okay, Alex?" Liv asked, sitting up straighter. "You can talk to me."
Alex shook her head and returned her gaze to the ceiling. "You don't need to worry about me," she said in monotone. "You've got enough on your plate already."
Olivia cocked her head to one side and pursed her lips. "Al, come here."
Alex looked over at Olivia again, narrowing her eyes. "What?"
Rolling her eyes, Alex stood up and walked over to the bed. She sat a few feet from where Olivia was planted, cross-legged, on top of the bedspread. Olivia reached out and put her hand on Alex's knee.
"I'm fine, Liv," Alex said, flipping her hair over her shoulder with a half smile. "Really, I am. I just don't understand how you can worry about me when you've got so much to think about. I don't deserve you."
"Stop that!" Olivia shoved Alex's shoulder playfully. "We're friends. Lord knows you've done enough for me already, so the least you can do is let me ask if you're okay!" She smiled warmly at Alex, happy to be having a more or less regular conversation.
Alex laughed, and they sat together in silence for a moment. When Alex raised her hand to Olivia's eye and ran her finger gently under it, their smiles vanished at the memory of the night at Central Park.
"It's almost faded," Alex near whispered, her fingertip lingering on the yellow traces of the bruise. Olivia nodded and cast her eyes down.
"I want to thank you," she said softly. "I want to thank you so much for everything you've given me, but I can't find the words…" Her voice trailed off as she began to choke up, looking away to try and conceal it.
Alex threw her arms around Olivia and pulled her into a tight hug. "You don't have to say anything," she said. "I know. And please believe me when I say that I'm grateful too."
Olivia laughed as she let a tear slip down her cheek and hugged Alex back. She wasn't religious in any way, shape or form- but every day she thanked God for Alex.
Knowing that she did the same was all that Olivia needed.