In her first year of college at Yale, challenging courses and new friends provide a much-needed distraction for Livvy Holland. Beyond the tears–for the most part– she won’t allow the lingering anger she harbors toward her ex-boyfriend to consume her.
Even after taking steps to conceal her identity, Livvy is still very recognizable and popular among her new classmates. She takes advantage of her situation and accepts dates with multiple guys, trying to piece together an image of ‘her type of guy’ that differs from all the good qualities Jon Scott once possessed.
An unexpected letter arrives on Livvy’s 18th birthday, shifting her focus and forcing her to reevaluate all the relationships in her life. She now knows the identity of her biological father, and struggles to make sense of the news alone. Fortunately, she won’t have to.
Just as Livvy’s life begins to normalize, one of her professors provides her with the creative opportunity of a lifetime. Trusting in the bonds she’s made with everyone she loves, she believes she can have everything she wants and makes the decision that allows her to be true to herself.
She was chosen for a reason. Chosen to be a gifted artist that–with a few strokes of a paintbrush–could touch people emotionally; profoundly. Chosen by her parents so they had a place to share their boundless love and devotion. Chosen by her friend so he could return the encouragement, inspiration and affection she’d shown him for so many years.
Livvy Holland will never again take her position in life for granted. She wears the name with humility and respect. She is Choisie.
When I reach the lobby, it’s not Finn that’s waiting for me. “James,” I say, recognizing Granna’s husband. I
hadn’t seen him in months, and it wasn’t often that I spent any time with him socially. He traveled a lot, and wasn’t around very much. Granna’s independence helped make that marriage a success. I was starting to think that’s how Jon and I would have been, now that I’ve gotten some perspective.
“Are you here to see me?”
“I am,” he says kindly. “First of all, happy birthday.”
“Thanks. Um, did you want to come up?” It would be awkward to have him in the loft, but it was Donna’s
before she left it to me. Maybe he heard about the renovations.
“No, I just needed to bring you this.” He hands me an envelope. The stationery is soft, and feels more like
fabric than paper. I recognize Donna’s handwriting immediately. Olivia Sophia Holland. Personal and confidential.
“This was part of her will, Livvy. She asked that I hand-deliver it to you on your eighteenth birthday.” It still
surprises me how meticulously she had made her will, as if she knew she wouldn’t be around. My mother had reminded me that Granna had learned early on that life was brief, and could be over any day with no warning.
“Do you know what it is?”
“A card, I guess,” he says. “But she requested that you be alone when you read it.”
I look at him curiously. “That’s an odd request, isn’t it?”
“I thought the same thing. But I don’t question her.”
“Of course not,” I say with a wistful smile. “I still miss her every day.”
“I do, too. She loved you so much.”
“She loved you, too,” I tell him. He nods, looking sad. “Thank you for bringing this by. I can’t wait to read
“Have a good birthday, Livvy. It’s good to see you.” We hug one another before he turns to leave the building.
“That was a surprise,” Francisco says.
“Yeah. Hey, I was actually expecting someone else, so–”
“You don’t have to come down every time, you know? We have a master key that takes us to your floor. I can accompany someone up, if you’d like.”
“That would be great. Thank you. I guess I’ve got some reading to do.” I untuck the flap as I get back on the elevator. When it doesn’t respond to the press of the H button, I remember to insert my key. The note is handwritten, and dated a month before Granna died.
“My dearest Livvy,
“I’ve struggled with how to best deliver this news to you. I’d thought about telling you in person, but ultimately I decided this is a private matter that you and you alone should face.”
When she wrote this, she had no way of knowing she’d be gone a month later.
“I have not told your parents, and I don’t want to play a part in your decision unless you specifically ask me
to.” The elevator stops at my floor, and I almost forget to get out before the doors close to return the car to the lobby.
“When you asked me a few weeks ago if there was any way that Nate could be your father–”
Suddenly, I feel like my heart is going to throb right through my chest. What is this?
“…if there was any way that Nate could be your father, I told you no, that there was no possible way. You
accepted that answer, but I didn’t.”
The letter falls from my hands, sailing quietly onto the floor in the hallway separating my apartment from Matty’s. I stare at it, frozen, fearing news that I don’t want. I’d left this notion behind. Nate can’t be my father.
Quickly, I walk to Matty’s door and pound on it.
“Matty!” I yell, finding it difficult to produce words when my mouth is so dry. My uncle isn’t home. I knew he wasn’t anyway, but I’m not sure I can continue reading the note by myself, as she apparently requested. I move slowly toward the paper, picking it up tentatively and flipping it over so the words are hidden from me.
I could rip this up right now, and everything would be just how it was. Jack Holland is my father. He’s the only father I want. My knees weak, I fall into the decorative bench in between our apartments. I look at the envelope once more. Is this a joke, Granna?
A small ding demands my attention toward the elevator, but I can’t tear my eyes away from the letter to greet Finn. Personal and confidential. The doors open, and slow footsteps move toward me. Dress shoes. I know that walk. It’s not Finn.
“Olivia?” I close my eyes. Although the footsteps have stopped, I know that was Jon’s walk. That’s Jon’s
voice. That’s the name that only Jon calls me. I try to take a deep breath, but broken, shallow gasps are all that come. I turn my head and see him. “Are you okay?”
“No,” I answer quickly, standing up abruptly. We face one another and stare, as if we haven’t seen each other for years, instead of weeks. His hair’s longer. He’s more muscular. He’s wearing glasses. A small wooden box tied with a ribbon is tucked under his arm. “What are you doing here?”