They’re standing next to the Hudson River when she kisses him.
The sky is coal with occasional silks of shooting stars fighting the ether. They’ve just won a marathon in joint therapy and Elliot can’t quite believe the success of it. She opened herself up tonight, she let him hold her, she didn’t yell or scream or tell him to fuck off or fuck him and then ask him to leave –
No. She exposed herself. She bled right through the carpet and then let her tears erase the dye, laughter filling the cracks. She was so brave tonight, so strong, so Liv.
And then she kissed him. Strolling along the tide that she controlled. He turned back to see a look of desire in her starry-eyed features. A look that he had seen many times in those lost few weeks of their reckoning. He held onto this face like it was a lost token, hoping it would one day return to him.
“El..” she had whispered, eyes whole and undeniable. She wanted him.
Carefully, very carefully, she moved forward and took his face in her hands, shaking like leaves.
“I’m gonna kiss you.” She declared, which she had never done before. it had always been take take take – and now everything was a wonderful declaration. They were walking the moon.
“Then do it.”
He forgot what it was to kiss her, to have her tied to him and nobody else. The journey here had been so blurred, so tender, he’d almost lost her and lost himself. But this felt fond in a way that none of their kisses had before, soft like the silk of her blouse fisted in his hands. With their mouths parroting a pantomime of second chances, it was hard not to lose himself to the memory of moving inside her, of having her thighs wrapped around his waist as their tongues grooved in absolute synch and jesus – he needed to stop.
They both parted at the same time, and she let out a little breath, her hooded lip sunk over its bottom.
I love you, he thought. And he needed to tell her this. It was the last on his list.
I love you.
Her eyes went wide and holy shit he had said it out loud. Finally.
Her hands were still shaking as he took them in his own. “You don’t needa say it back. It’s just.. I’ve told you that before. And I want you to know it again.”
“Did the other Oli..”
No. The other Olivia never said it back, and he tells her this. But none of that matters for him, because deep down he knows the truth. He knows that she would never agree to move in and steal his therapist or sleep in his bed or wear his hoodies if she didn’t feel at least an ounce of love. For him.
“Elliot.” Her voice is so low. “I don’t wanna go back to your place tonight.”
Don’t run, he thinks, please don’t –
“Let’s go back to mine.”
Her breath catches in her throat before his does. And he knows that look so well but still, he must ask –
Noah is at home – his place. Safe and tucked away with two other adults to watch him sleep. It’s the perfect night to escape reality, to dive into one another and reciprocate all that want sated in her precious face.
“I’m sure.” She adds, and them draws him in again. She doesn’t kiss him but the thought is there.
And that’s all she has to do, to say. Because the sound of Olivia begging with eyes asleep is too much for him. That and the fact she wants to take him home. So, he nods once, hauls her by the hand and off they go.
They’re moving fast but she doesn’t care.
It’s been 23 years and they’ve had nothing but shit luck and shit timing. For weeks she’s had him to the knees, practically begging to take her to bed again, and she’s been fighting her own desire since the day they first locked eyes on one another. In hospital. Nothing but hatred in her veins for him.
Everything is different now.
The moment they sweep through the door he scoops her up and pins her against the wall. Its rushed and heady and her hands race to rip his layers off until he is in nothing but his shirt and pants. No wedding ring here, she reminds herself. He is hers now. He was always hers. But he has this look in his expression that tells her he is completely wrecked. They haven’t even started.
“Olivia.” He draws her name out, weak. His orbs dull like faint diamonds against the fractured light she can’t see.
“I know.” She breathes, pulling him back in. “I won’t run this time.”
And No. She tells herself she won’t. She won’t. He loves her. Isn’t going to hurt her.
“Good. Cause I won’t have any fight left in me after this.” Elliot says.
She shudders inside, loops her arms around his shoulders and hugs him close. Closer than before. She lets herself fall, throwing herself off the ship. Only he could get this. Only he could understand the effort it was to shed that pretty proud cape of hers, to let him have her with no strings attached. They shared the same loose cloth. Only him.
Somehow, they reach the bedroom, crashing into her dresser, she clears the space behind and yelps when he hoists her up with a great gust of air, wrapping her legs around his waist. He grinds his erection into scorching heat and she feels him everywhere. Tingly sensations riding up her spine.
“Take your shirt off.” He swings his arms behind and suddenly the shirt is on her bedroom floor. She takes in every inch of him and it’s like she’s seen him before, which she has, but not like this, not with so much passion overspilling. His body holds an image from long ago, kings and castles she’s only ever read about. Something holy and divine, the way his chest tides in and tides out, his eyes a deep blue and of the ocean today.
They both showered before therapy. When he stepped out with his cuffs still undone and Noah jumping up and down like a stray puppy at the sight of him, the salt of his body lotion wharfed through his entire apartment. Made her dizzy.
She’s surprised she’s lasted this long.
She moaned again, deep and guttural when his tongue licked behind her earlobe, the noise positively burned and he drove his hips straight into hers. No modesty required. He was so hard she couldn’t think properly. Desperate to peel back the layers, she fumbled for his belt.
“Here?” he rasped.
The belt was a nightmare. She shook her head and looped her arms back around his shoulders, “Bed.”
“God yes.” He roared, yanked her off the dresser, filling his palms with her ass, he carried her the short distance and then threw her onto the bed, proceeded to tattoo her skin in delicate kisses. From her neck to her breasts his hands groped greedily at the immensity of them. He sucked the swells there like he’d been on detox.
Kneeling like a man dosed on drugs, his eyes were overwhelmed with pleasure in a way she’d never seen in Elliot before. She watched as her jeans flew across the room. He’s done that with her before, apparently. Then his pants were off too; their underwear still on. When he kneeled again his cock stared her right in the face and her eyes bulged at the sheer size of him. He hardly noticed her dismal gulp for he was too preoccupied with removing her underwear. So accustomed to Olivia already knowing, he’d lost the fact that she’d been a blind woman on steroids.
All he wanted was the woman right in front of him, broken or not broken he’d make love to her any day, and that made her feel whole and normal and enough.
“Come here.” She cried, reaching for his face, his mouth found hers again.
“Tell me what you want.” He rumbled. "I’ll give it to you.”
He’s being a gentleman, or at least trying to. Because this is all still so new for her. He’s had her before, whereas she hasn’t. For the first time in their partnership it makes her feel unequal to him. She doesn’t like it. The dripping urge to make him groan and writhe and come first overwhelms her. A control thing or maybe an alpha to alpha thing.
“On your back.”
He rolled over, she rolled with, wasting no time. She found his waistband and set him free. “What are you...” Elliot stuttered. .
Her fists clenched the bedsheets as her eyes roamed his length. Holy mother of...
“Liv,” he slammed his eyes shut when she took him in her mouth, “Jesus fu..”
She moaned just as she felt the tip of him at her throat, and pulled out again, only to dive in for more. His trembles and sighs were muffled by three of her fingers as she reached up to fold them into his mouth, he licked and sucked and tasted there.
The sensations sent throbbing ache between her thighs, and she pulled her mouth away, licking him up and down like he was candy, eyes hooded in ecstasy, she found him again and proceeded to suck dry. She’s done this before, with others, but it’s the way he grips the sheets, massages her hair, curses the air, makes her realize that past Olivia never did this with him, and she smiles inside, smugly. Bobbing her head up and down. The power she feels gives her a one up against a ghost she’s been running from for weeks.
He thrusts a little into her mouth, and she moans because he tastes so good, she almost loses herself to the vibration, but she can feel him coming undone. It surprises her moments later when he yanks his hips away and then comes into his hand. Next time she’ll swallow. She’ll force him down if she has to.
“You…” he rasps breathlessly as she towers over him, wrapping both legs over his torso, her wetness grinds over his stomach she rides his hot skin. Vaguely she can hear Elliot grab for tissues to wipe his hand, but then she feels the vicious tug of his palms filling her hips, pulling her wetness further into his skin. Hungry to drown in the pride of what he does for her.
“Perfect. You’re fucking perfect.” He finishes.
She’s been told that she’s good at this, but it hits different in his mouth.
She finds his lips again, and their fingers lace like familial lovers above his dizzying head. She kisses him softly, groans at the tenderness between her thighs, the feel of his burning skin pressed to her pulsing clit, it’s not enough, but then he’s right there with her, slipping two fingers and finding the heartbeat. Together they moan as she rides his fingers slowly. She can feel her orgasm flourishing, and he’s extremely good at this, but somehow, it’s just not enough. Her body knows there’s more to have.
“Really needa be inside you.” Elliot groans. And there it is, she thinks. Reading her mind.
She nods against his nose, and flips onto her back, biting her lower lip as he peers down at her. He drags her hand to feel his aching cock.
“How are you so hard again?” she hears herself saying.
“s’been a while Liv.” Almost two months. Her body knows.
The length of him was so full in her hand that her eyes slam closed at the overwhelming notion of him driving it into her. This is what you do to me he whispers into her ear, nose nibbling at her jaw.
“El..” she whines, “I need you.”
He nods slowly, gaze sealed with hers.
“You want lube?” he rasps, kisses her once, twice.
She’s never talked so fucking much during sex, and she huffs aloud, impatient. “I don’t think I have lube..”
“Hidden in bottom drawer. Left side.”
She swallows thickly. He knows her house better than she does. Doesn’t have to ask again. His biceps strain as he reaches over to grab the small bottle, his face so awash with arousal she can’t take her eyes off him.
“El,” she shakes her head a little, “I don’t need it.”
She is wet and burning, but the truth of the matter is, she just wants him raw. Whole. Wants him at the boundary between agony and untrammeled bliss. Wants to walk around for days feeling so fucking sore he can never leave again. And the fruit in his throat bobs up and down like he can see right through her damn mind.
He’s on top of her again, crowding, shielding, not even the moon above can see her anymore. He’s her shield from the darkness that constantly threatens to overwhelm. His hand finds his cock and she feels the tip of him brush her clit, slowly, delicately, enveloping her all at once as he sinks a little into her opening, and she gasps aloud, not even there yet, it’s been a while, she remembers, and she’s tight for him. Elliot pauses halfway inside, his brows crinkled, but she nods okay and –
God.“Elliot.” She cries.
He nods against her forehead, and carefully sinks all the way inside. Someone groans and someone cries and then they stop. Completely stop. Nothing but their heavy panting can be heard. She looks into his eyes, and she is reminded of only holy things. He makes the sea look like a raindrop.
And then he moves, thrusting gently into her, his gaze never loses contact and his arms quake like shattered things above her head. It is the most intimate she has ever felt with him. With anyone.
“I love you.” He spills into her mouth, hips thrusting in slow slow beats.
And she closes her eyes, because it’s all just too much but she doesn’t want him to stop. She will cry if he stops. So her head drives back into recline and she shifts her ankles to lock him in, small little whimpers escaping from the change in position. He is so impossibly deep she doesn't know where she begins and his ends. Having adjusted to his length, her palms urge him to thrusts harder, he does, gulping for breath –
“Fuck I missed this, missed you.” he tells her.
And now that she has him buried deep inside, she can understand why.
His thumb gropes her hard nipple greedily, expertly, like he’s done a dozen different times before. His hands cross the steps between her breasts to the bones of her ribcage, wandering to her thigh, he holds her down as he fucks into her slowly.
“Feels even better than the last time.” He growls into her neck.
Her head spins at even better because how –
“Show me.” She whimpers, eyes rolling back into her skull. “Show me how we did it.”
“Don’t wanna hurt you.”
He hears it in her tone. The begging, the certainty, it’s never been this way before, with anyone ever. There’s an innate trust there that was never forgotten. Elliot grunts, pulling it out of her expertly. And then driving back in so hard his hand braces for impact, holding her head the moment it slams the headboard. It doesn’t hurt. But her thighs positively burn. It feels fucking amazing. He hisses something incoherent, an apology or a groan quickly drowned out by her mouth over his. More, she wants more, she tells him, and he does.
She pushes his chest away, rising to plant her elbows into the bedsheets, she wraps a single arm to unite their foreheads again, changing the angle and putting more pressure on her clit.
“Like this?” he pants, his hands palming the bedspread from where her shoulders once plunged into.
Sweaty foreheads pressed together. His knees dig deep into the bed as he quickens his pace, her breath hitches, the bed is rocking, and she can barely fucking think. Maybe the idea was for her to remember something, but this was mind-numbing in the best possible way. None of it mattered anymore. She’d gladly go around forgetting the sun and the sky and all the people underneath if it meant more of this.
“Elliot..” she whimpered as she felt her walls closing in, quaking around him. His back flexes when her touch leaves the shoulder blade there, and he swats her hand away as she starts to touch herself.
Mine, his eyes growl.
She grins, deliriously.
And then his fingers are massaging vertically at her clit, expertly, she jerks up and into his hand like she’s possessed, and the added pressure has her neck angling backwards in a way that makes her feel deranged. Fuck Elliot, she whimpers, laughs, cries at the same time. his pace quickens and.. and almost there, right there.
Her scream is muffled into his shoulder, thighs trembling, she convulses harshly around his cock, falls back onto her pillow. His gaze is there, all over her. Deep and purple and trying to fight the urge to rut. His palms press on both sides of her head, and his hips slam into her. His brow concentrated in that way that tells her he’s close.
Mine he growled, suddenly. She wiped his mouth with a kiss, soft whimpers escaping, god he felt good.
“Mine.” He rasped again, dropping his forehead to hers. One final thrust and then – he came. Long and hard and still rocking gently against the remnants of his seed, his mouth dropped into the crook of her shoulder, nipped there for the sake of territory.
Never again, she thought.
Never again would she forget this.
She was sure of it.
* * * * * * * * * *
One day later
From inside the examination room Olivia can see faint traces of a blood red sky. The window is closed but the blinds are open, and a great slanting afternoon light has flooded the room. It made everything appear immensely brighter, like someone had fished the sun out of the sky and threw it into her head.
Liv blinked very harshly and then rubbed her thighs.
Her body felt incredibly achy and she cannot stop smiling about it. Everything hurts except for her face, which feels like diamonds to the memory of Elliot peppering it with kisses all night.
She is on cloud nine.
Still, her head hurts and it has nothing to do with the sex.
The doctor arrives with another white coat in toe. Shutting the door, she gestures for Olivia to sit. There’s an expression on her face that makes Liv suddenly grateful to be alone.
Nobody knows about this appointment.
Noah’s at Connor’s, Eli at a party. Bernie in love, and Elliot tracking the city with his new squad. If he were here she could already see his hands sifting through the doctor's anxiety; demanding more of what he doesn’t need to know.
Doesn’t need to know.
“Olivia, how have you been feeling? Headaches, nausea, memory lapses?”
She’s been getting all of those and more, tells them so.
“What about signs of confusion?”
Last night during therapy she called Elliot Lewis. It was a catastrophic mistake that made her want to throw up, and she wouldn’t have noticed if Elliot himself hadn’t pointed it out.
“I thought you said the headaches were normal, and as for mild confusion, that’s normal too, right?” she asked.
The doctor nods, then shakes her head no. It’s all so disorientating and makes her want to scream. “We assumed that as the weeks went by the side effects of your head trauma would eventually subside. But each one of your checkups have shown an additional issue. Occasionally dizzy spells, random migraines, your appetite hasn’t returned, you’re losing weight, and your memories..”
“I know all of that. Can you just tell me the issue here?”
The doctor pulls up a head-x-ray. Valleys of fuzzy grey against the stark and skeletal debris of her own brain. She doesn’t know what she sees.
“Now I don’t want you to panic,” The doctor tells her. “But results from your last appointment have shown that you’ve developed a small aneurysm in the rear of your temporal lobe.”
The floor dropped out from beneath her and she felt the tide come in and splash around her feet. Ready to take her out to sea.
“Is it curable?” she panicked.
“Yes, yes of course! The location of the artery makes for an easy procedure.”
But there’s more they’re not telling her. The second coat finally speaks, and his voice reminds her of dark grave things.
So much loss.
“I’m afraid the surgery will erase the new memories you’ve made.”
She laughed, she didn’t mean to, not really, but it just came out. “Is this a joke?”
He shakes his head, unfortunately no, he says. Proceeds to explain by using an analogy. Imagine the brain as a puzzle, he says. The accident caused a massive disruption to the anterior wall resulting in her aneurysm. The procedure will help shift the puzzle back in place, he says, but not without additional loss.
"It’s a lot to take in, we know. But the surgery will remove the pain, which was a result of the aneurysm. You’ll have your taste buds back, a clear head, no more painkillers. Return to work.”
She wondered if this were all a nightmare and pinched herself, but the room was still the same, spinning and out of her control. She was suddenly a very small boat on very high seas. Doctors were talking again, but she felt parted from them long ago. It seemed like they were detailing more about the knot in her brain. The wreckage. The terror of war and horror of peace and what it all meant for her.
“But it can’t be that serious, right? Surely I don’t really need this surgery?”
“This is very serious Olivia. This is life threatening.” Doctor who says, a frantic look about her.
So, she must choose between the love of her life and… her life?
The spinning slows right then and there. Inside her fear Elliot is standing at the foot of a hospital door, waiting for the next revival only so she can hate him once more. In her panic he isn’t there at all. And Noah is slipping out of her fingers like the gossamer dust that is her wreckage. She’s picking apart that letter and spitting it in Elliot’s face. She’s finding Kathy dead all over again. She’s hurting Elliot for leaving; forgetting that he stayed. Forgetting that he cradled her crying son to sleep for all the nights she slept away. That he made love to her and she made love with him. That he brought soup nights ago and then held her hair as the nausea hit.
Suddenly it all made sense. The universe had been sending signs and her attention had become so fractured, world become so loud, garden vines so tight; she wasn’t paying any attention to what she was paying attention to. And all those happy things she foolishly believed were hers a mere 24 hours ago were now threatened. Lost.
It would all be gone, or rather she would be gone from it all.
So much loss.