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Intimate

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"Hey, sorry I'm late."

"No problem," Olivia told him, swivelling the bar stool so she was facing him. She grabbed his lapels and pulled him in to press her lips against his cheek.

To his credit, Barba simply raised an eyebrow. "Okay. That's new. Are we doing that now?"

"Just trying to send a message," she explained, glancing around. "I've had three guys attempt to pick me up since I got here, and I'm not sure how many of them thought they'd be paying if I agreed."

"I'm not surprised. You look smoking hot," he said matter-of-factly, with not a hint of exaggeration or flirtation. "So how did it go?" He took a seat beside her and looked for the bartender.

"It was a bust. Hard to say if he made us or if something else went squirrelly, but he never showed."

"Sorry, Liv."

"Not a big deal. We saw an opportunity to cut some corners and we took it, but even if he'd been where he was supposed to be, we may not have gotten him anyway. When it comes to the long game, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve."

"Where are you hiding them?" he jested, referring to her very tight shirt. She just rolled her eyes and he laughed aloud at his own joke. "Do you need to eat?"

She was on the witness list for the morning and they hadn't had much time to prepare. She'd obviously come right from her little undercover debacle, hence the outfit which she wouldn't have otherwise been caught dead in. She was hungry, but was afraid this was going to be a longer night than her energy would allow. "Maybe we should grab something to go, so we can get started?"

Finally catching the bartender's attention, they ordered some sandwiches, along with a scotch and wine respectively to enjoy while they waited.

"So those boots are quite something," Barba commented as he watched her stretch her legs and roll her ankles.

"They're torture devices is what they are. I'm worried my feet may never be the same."

"We can stop by your place so you can change on the way to the courthouse if you'd like."

She checked her watch. "Noah hasn't been sleeping the greatest. If he wakes up and sees you, we'll never get out of there."

"You're probably right." Barba was around the boy more especially since the whole Sheila debacle, but it had been awhile and Noah was prone to being excitable about his presence even when it hadn't. "I know I usually insist we do this with you in the stand, but I'll rescind that for one night only, in deference to your sore foot situation. My place?"

Olivia easily agreed, and Barba ordered an Uber.

As soon as they walked through his door, she put a hand on his shoulder to steady herself and peeled off the boots, sighing in relief as her bare feet settled on the tile floor.

"Why don't you go find some comfy socks and I'll get dinner dealt with," he suggested, waving her in the direction of his bedroom without ceremony. She hadn't been to his place often since their Christmas Eve sleepover, but apparently she still had no trouble making herself at home there, and he was fine with that.

When she returned, she was indeed in comfy socks. But she had also found some pajama pants and had shed her tight top for one of his tee-shirts.

She smiled sheepishly. "I had to get out of those jeans almost as much as I had to get out of those boots."

"But I loved those jeans," he said with a smirk.

"Good. You can have them."

"I appreciate the offer, but I can't imagine them ever doing for my ass what they do for yours." He motioned for her to sit. "I'd suggest more wine but we should probably both forego the good stuff in favour of clear heads. What's your pleasure?" She opted for water and he poured her some before joining her at the table. "What time do you need to be home?"

"Lucy is prepared to stay the night, so you have me as long as you need me."

They ate at the table while he walked her through the preliminaries. They made coffee and tidied the kitchen together side-by-side while they squabbled over one of the points he had planned to leave out. They faced each other from opposite ends of the couch as he began to go through his questions. By the time he was taking her through what he foresaw as problems that could arise in the cross, Olivia had sprawled out and Barba had pulled her sore feet into his lap, rubbing them absently while they worked.

It was after midnight when they finally gave up.

"You want to stay over?" he offered casually. "You know you're welcome. And I should point out you're already dressed for it."

"Thanks, but tomorrow is going to be a long day. I'd like to be there when Noah gets up." She pushed herself up from the couch, then groaned. "Oh, God. I'd forgotten about the boots."

"And the jeans," he reminded her helpfully, his eyes shining.

"Nope, I'm done with the jeans. The Uber driver will just have to enjoy this little ensemble."

"Not to worry; the boots will really class it up." They shared a chuckle. "I'll grab you a sweater."

While she ordered a ride and donned the boots he put her discarded clothing in a canvas bag for her to carry home. He held out the sweater as she slipped her arms inside. It was a little big, and she rolled up the sleeves to a more comfortable length while he zipped it up for her.

"Good?" he asked.

"As good as it's going to get." She shifted her weight from foot to foot as she grimaced. "Thanks, Barba."

"Yeah, no problem." A ding from her phone. "That's probably your car. I'll see you in the morning. 9:15? My office?" At her nod, he walked her to the door and opened it. "Get some rest, Lieutenant." Then without warning and without thought, he kissed her cheek.

It was Olivia's turn to raise an amused eyebrow. "Are we doing that now?" she echoed his earlier words.

"Just trying to send a message," he echoed back. He could hear her laughter as he closed the door behind her.