The movie credits were rolling on the television but Elliot refused to move. He was sat back on his couch, his feet resting on the coffee table and Liv was curled into his side, her head resting against his chest and her arm wrapped around his middle. He knew she wasn't asleep because her hand was absent mindedly playing with a thread on his shirt, but she wasn't moving from her spot either.
He rested his chin on top of her head and held her a little bit closer to him. He lived for these moments. These calm, quiet moments when the only people in the world who existed were him and her. In some ways it reminded him of late nights at the office, finishing up paperwork and looking across his desk and seeing her hunched over her work. It reminded him of stakeouts when for hours they'd be stuck in a car with nothing but each other for company. This was so much better.
In so many ways being with Olivia felt like the full thirty years of their friendship were packed into each moment. The love and the heartbreak, the joy and the terror and the absolute relief of having found her again.
In so many ways being with Olivia felt like brand new territory that he was slowly making his way across. Over the years he had to learn how to move at her pace. For every step forward he would take she would take two back because she still didn't trust him, or she was still hurt, or she flat out just didn't want to go where he was leading her.
And he could respect that. Whatever Liv wanted was what was going to happen. And when Elliot had put the movie on two hours ago Liv had wanted to curl up in his arms and rest her head on his shoulder. So he gave Liv what she wanted.
But now Elliot was painfully aware of what he wanted. He wanted Olivia. In his arms. Every night. He got this occasionally. Ever since their kiss a few weeks back they had tentatively begun to have - well he wouldn't call them makeout sessions - but there was definitely a hushed, furtive air to the way their lips would meet and their hands would roam and he would feel so damn alive. Why had he waited so long to do this? Why had she waited so long?
The older they got the less the past seemed to matter. It was a little ironic that with age they began to only care about the future. And he desperately wanted Liv to be his future.
"Elliot," she murmured as she nestled her head against his heart and he wondered if she could feel how fast it was beating.
He rested his cheek against her forehead before placing a quick kiss against the crown of her head.
He felt her tilt her head up to look at him and he risked his heart looking down into her eyes. Those damn eyes. He was no poet. He'd barely passed English Lit and he had never been able to describe her eyes in a way that fit. But he could say that from the first moment they'd met he had been lost to those dark brown eyes.
That was all it took for him. That and almost three decades of trying to get his shit together.
She looked down at his mouth then quickly back up at him again and he couldn't help the smile that came onto his face. Probably a cocky smirk that she wouldn't appreciate. He didn't know how he knew but he knew he had her. Just like that first moment when he knew he loved her then, with that one glance he knew that she loved him back. She smiled wryly at him, as if she could read his mind, but she didn't hesitate to lean forward and kiss him.
"Elliot," she whispered against his lips.
"Talk to me," he said as his lips met hers again and again.
"Take me to bed," she said.
And so he did. Slowly at first, leading her into a sedate rhythm until the passion of all the years he'd loved her came over him. He wanted to worship this woman. He wanted to pour every ounce of love he felt into each gesture, each touch, each movement of his body against hers. He never wanted her to doubt again that he loved her, that she was it for him. That he was wholly hers.
The night stretched before them and when they'd had their fill Elliot lay back in bed exhausted. Exhausted but sated. Sated and happy.
The sheets were pooled at their feet and he took the time to relish the sight of Olivia naked. He'd never seen her naked before, but now he looked at her lying next to him, stretched out languidly on the bed.
In the dark room it was difficult to gauge her expression, even when she turned to her side to face him, but then sleepily closed her eyes, her hand resting in the space between them.
She was older now than when they'd met, but then so was he. The years of knowing her, of not knowing her, seemed to settle into the past where they belonged. And now in front of him he could only see her and their future.
"Olivia," he whispered into the darkness.
She opened her eyes and looked up at him. He reached for her hand and clasped it in his own, then he tugged on it until her arm was wrapped around him and she had to scoot into his side.
He wrapped his other arm around her until she was nestled against him, her head resting on his chest and their legs tangled together. Olivia was in his arms. Finally. It felt like it was where she belonged, where he belonged. She was turning him into a poet - and a bad one at that. He didn't care if he was a complete fool for her, he just knew that what he wanted had finally collided with what Olivia wanted.
How many times over the past seven years had he ached for this moment? It wasn't even just about the sex. The sex was fantastic. The sex was earth shattering. Being inside of her felt like coming home. He was lost inside of her and then he was found.
But this - Liv lying in his arms - that was where he had wanted her for the past thirty years. And she was finally there.
He held her close. He inhaled the scent of her hair. He memorized the weight of her body pressed against his. He traced his fingers up and down her arm.
"I'm gonna say it now, okay?"
She was silent for so long and her breathing was even, he thought she might have fallen asleep. But then she answered quietly, "Okay."
"I love you," he said quickly, finally said, the way he had been desperate to say all these years. No more hiding, no more skirting the issue by saying 'you mean the world to me' or 'you're my best friend' or 'I'm not going anywhere'. Just "I love you, Olivia."
The silence stretched out before him, but he was content just to hold her, just to be with her.
"I love you, too," she answered back, her voice soft but firm.
From the moment they first met so long ago to this moment now - he had been denied this. Now it was time, he didn't have to dream anymore, he had finally got what he wanted, and so did she.