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Here in the Silence

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If somebody had told her, six months ago, that she would be stood in front of her closet, agonizing over what to wear on a date with Elliot, Olivia would have laughed and promptly smacked them across the face. She can’t entirely believe, even now, that it is happening – but thoughts of the improbability of the whole thing have taken a backseat, for the moment, because she has absolutely nothing to wear.

Her life, over the last decade, has largely boiled down to work and her son; so, while she has plenty of office wear, and lots of beat-up casual wear, Olivia has only just realized that she owns basically nothing that is appropriate to wear on a date. And anything that she does have that might fit the bill would be far too warm to wear in the still raging heatwave.

Shopping is out of the question though, because they are going out tonight, and she still has a whole list of things she needs to get taken care of beforehand – so she has resorted to digging through the back of her closet in the vague hope that something acceptable will present itself. Her standards aren’t even particularly high at this point; all she really needs is something that is not a pant suit, does not have holes or stains on it, and will not cause her to pass out in the heat. It shouldn’t be all that difficult, but she’s not having any luck, and Olivia makes a mental note to refresh her wardrobe in the very near future.

Ultimately, she finds a sundress that she thinks she’ll be able to make work. She doesn’t recognize it, or remember buying it, but it fits and it’s weather appropriate and she doesn’t think she’ll be able to do any better on short notice. She rolls her eyes at herself as she gets dressed, though, because she’d spent most of the week obsessing over what bra to wear, but hadn’t thought at all about what would go on top of it.

“You look nice,” Lucy tells her as she walks out into the living room, still trying to fasten the clasp on an earring. “Hot date?”

“Dinner with a friend.” Olivia lies, because James is in the room, and she and Elliot have agreed not to say anything to him until they are surer of where things stand between them. If this is just unresolved sexual tension that they need to get out of their systems, there’s really no point in telling James anything at all.

“Elliot?” James asks, from his spot on the couch.

“Yeah, baby,” she nods. “Elliot.”

“Is Elliot your friend?” He asks, looking mildly confused.

“Well, yeah,” she tells him, and it’s not entirely a lie. “Before you were born, Elliot and I were friends for a long time.”

“But you-” James pauses, grimacing. “Had sex.” Olivia notices that Lucy is trying to smother her laughter, out of the corner of her eye.

“We did,” she agrees. “And you should be grateful for that, too. You wouldn’t be here to question my dinner plans if Elliot and I hadn’t had sex.” James suddenly looks as if he’s bit into a lemon, and Lucy loses the battle to control her laughter. “But long before we had sex, Elliot and I were good friends – and we’re trying to be again.”

“Alright,” James nods, though he still looks vaguely nauseated. “But you better not accidentally give me a brother or sister.”

The look of abject horror on her son’s face, combined with Lucy’s poorly restrained laughter from the kitchen, makes Olivia laugh, even as she moves to reassure him. “No risk of that, don’t worry.”

Though he still looks somewhat skeptical, she has apparently reassured James enough, because he does not ask any follow up questions, instead turning his attention back to the television. Olivia takes the opportunity to escape back into the kitchen. While she has no intention of telling her son, she knows that she at least needs to let Lucy know that she is likely to spend the night elsewhere. The plan had already been for Lucy to stay overnight with James, on the chance that Olivia might be called back into work, but she knows that it’s only polite to inform her sitter that she is unlikely to be returning until morning. It feels a bit presumptuous on her part, but Elliot had been perfectly clear about his intentions for the evening, and lord knows she has no objections.

“Hey,” she says, leaning up against the counter while Lucy pours herself a glass of juice. “I just wanted to let you know that I probably won’t be home until late – or early, as the case may be.”

Lucy raises an eyebrow, smirking. “Dinner with a friend indeed,” she chuckles. Olivia can feel herself blushing.

“Yeah,” she shrugs, fidgeting with a button on her dress and lowering her voice. “It’s very new, and we’re not saying anything to anyone until things are a bit-” she pauses, searching for the right word. “Clearer.”

“Makes sense,” Lucy nods. “This is James’ dad, right?”

“Yeah,” Olivia nods. “It’s complicated, and I just don’t want to involve James until there’s something to involve him in – everything could still blow up spectacularly, so there’s no use in getting his hopes up.”

“I won’t say anything about it,” Lucy agrees, easily. “But Liv?”

“Yeah?”

“Have a nice time,” she smiles. “I can’t remember a time you’ve been so excited about a date – you seem happy.”

Olivia can feel that she’s blushing, because she’s absolutely been trying not to be so obvious about this, but she still can’t help but smile.

--

Elliot picks her up, but they’ve agreed that he’ll wait outside in the car. Partly because it’s so hot, and she doesn’t want him to have to turn the AC off and back on again, but mostly because they both know that they won’t be able to keep up the ‘dinner with a friend’ façade, and neither of them wants to have a difficult conversation with James.

It turns out to have been a good idea, because what Olivia had intended to be a quick peck on the lips as a greeting very quickly devolves into Elliot pressing her up against his car, her fists bunched in the material of his shirt. A wolf-whistle from a passing group of teenagers is ultimately what breaks them apart, and Olivia has never been so relieved for her forethought in not greeting him in front of James.

“You look nice.” Elliot says, smiling, his cheeks a bit pink. Once again, Olivia wonders to herself how it is that this man, who she has known most of her adult life, somehow manages to make her feel like she is all of sixteen years old.

“Thanks,” she says. “So do you.” Because, dear God, he looks good. He’s wearing light coloured pants and a white t-shirt, and it occurs to her that she’s glad that he’s similarly casually dressed, because she really would have been shit out of luck in the wardrobe department if he’d had anything fancy planned. She finds that she prefers the casual look on him though, because his shirt stretches tightly across his chest in a way that she very much likes. She’s still mostly pressed up against him, but Olivia guesses that his pants are similarly form-fitting, and she’s very much looking forward to finding out for sure.

They make easy small talk the whole drive, and when they arrive at the restaurant, Olivia again feels a strange sense of déjà vu.

“I think I’ve been here before.” She says, as they take their seats at a table on the patio, which is tucked away in a sort of back garden.

“You have,” he confirms, smiling. “We have.”

“We have?” She tilts her head. “When?”

“Shit, years ago.” He laughs. “We caught a case nearby, the perp took off running down the street, and only stopped when he clotheslined himself on the two-for-one pitchers promo sign outside.”

Olivia laughs, suddenly remembering exactly the case he is talking about. The guy had needed a fair number of stitches, and after they’d sent him off in the ambulance, they’d stopped in for lunch.

“I remember that,” she nods. “They comped our meal because they were afraid the guy was going to sue.”

“Yeah,” Elliot laughs. “And you kept saying you thought the place was nice, that it would be a perfect spot for a date, and it was too bad you were stuck wasting it on a work day.”

Olivia feels her jaw drop a bit, because how the hell does he remember that? She’d only remembered it herself once he’d said it, but he’d clearly been holding on to the information.

“I can’t believe you remember that.”

Elliot shrugs, and this time he definitely does look embarrassed. “I may have been working up the nerve to ask you out at the time.”

“That was fifteen years ago, El.”

“Yeah,” he nods. “Guess I lucked out that this place is still open.”

Olivia finds that she has a lump in her throat at the idea that Elliot has – somehow, after fifteen years – remembered that she had once casually mentioned liking this place. It’s the kind of sentimental gesture that she wouldn’t have expected from him, and she’s honestly a bit overwhelmed.

“Look, Liv,” he says, taking her hand across the table. “I’m really trying not to come on too strong here, but I’m just so fucking happy that we’re finally doing this. I know that we’ve still got shit to work on, but it just feels kind of surreal to be here with you like this.”

She nods, swallowing hard. Because it’s as if he’s taken the words out of her mouth. “I honestly didn’t think we’d ever get to have this, El.”

“I know,” he says, squeezing her hand. “Me neither. And there’s a lot of things about how we got here that I’d do differently if I had the chance, but I wouldn’t change where we are now for anything.”

“When did you become such a soft touch?” She jokes, trying to blink away tears. Elliot laughs, giving her a soft smile that she is only just starting to get used to seeing on his face.

“Beats the fuck out of me.” He shrugs, and it breaks any lingering tension.

--

This is, Olivia thinks, genuinely the best date that she can remember having been on. She had been correct, all those years ago; the restaurant they are in really is the perfect spot for a date. The food is fantastic, the space is a perfect mix of casual and intimate, and – this time – they are not on the clock. And it’s Elliot. For all that they have never actually done this together before, it feels natural to be out with him. Conversation is easy, they steal food off of each other’s plates – though they had always done that – and, when they’ve finished eating, Olivia is surprised to discover that the restaurant has live music on. They don’t stay for long – they are both increasingly anxious to get to the next, undressed, portion of the evening – but they stand at the bar through a few songs, and it’s just so nice. She leans into his side without realizing, he steals sips of her drink, and Olivia revels in just being able to casually touch him – just because she wants to.

It is precisely that ability to casually touch each other, though, that fully cements that it’s time for them to leave. Because he is standing behind her, arms wrapped around her middle, pressing little kisses to a spot behind her ear that he has discovered that she likes, and Olivia has to remind herself that she is a police Captain, because she very much wants to fuck him right up against the bar, crowd be damned.

“El,” she turns in his arms. “We need to go.”

“Hmm?”

Damn him, he’s going to make her say it. Well, fine, two can play at that game. She snakes her arm around him to rest at his lower back, dragging her fingers across the strip of bare skin over the waist of his pants, and presses a kiss to the base of his throat.

“If you don’t take me home,” she nips at the skin of his clavicle. “We’re both going to catch public indecency charges.” She nips at him again. “Because you’re going to fuck me in the next twenty minutes, and I don’t care if we’re here or at your place.”

That gets him moving, though not exactly in the way that she’d expected, and he tightens his grip on her, pulling her flush against him so that she can feel that he’s already hard, pressed into her thigh. When he kisses her, it’s hard and intense, and – for a moment – Olivia is genuinely concerned that he will just bend her over the bar top – and that she will let him. But then he pulls away, finding her hand with his, and nods.

“Let’s get out of here.” He groans, tugging her along with him towards the door.

Thank God, Olivia thinks. Because her common sense has deserted her, and she really was just about to let him fuck her in front of all those people.