Two days before Christmas.
Olivia couldn't believe it. How was this happening? She was on her way to the toy store to get Noah's Christmas gifts and her car broke down.
Karma. This was karma for waiting until the last minute. Usually, Olivia would have everyone’s gifts by Black Friday. This year was different. Work was sadly more busy than usual. Then the stress of the Richard Wheatley trial. Both made her not be in the best mood this year.
Olivia felt her inner grinch coming out. Holidays were never easy for her. The memories of her mom being drunk, disappearing for days, or a new boyfriend who was always gone by the New Year. She grew up dreading it. As she got older, Olivia would get together with friends. Or she volunteered to work.
Now that Olivia was a mom she wanted better for Noah. He would have yearly traditions. Good memories of holidays. It would be filled with hope and love.
When Olivia called the operator they said it could be up to three hours before someone could get there. She called her neighbor right away asking if Noah could spend the night. He was already playing with their son Jack so it was fine. Thankfully Noah's Christmas break had just started.
"Ugh," Olivia screamed in her car. She had now been waiting just under an hour for the tow truck to arrive. She was freezing and could see her breath. Stubbornness aside, she had to ask for help. Hopefully, someone would be around and available to come get her.
But who should she call? Fin was at work. Amanda and Carisi were too far away. There was only one person she could call. Olivia dialed the number and after the fourth ring, she was just about to hang up when finally someone answered.
"Hello," the voice said, sounding tired and barely awake.
"Elliot, hey. I'm sorry for calling. Were you sleeping?" Olivia said as she quickly regretted calling him.
"Liv, what's wrong? Where are you?" Elliot said quickly, his voice in a panic.
"I'm fine. My car broke down and it could take a while before help gets here. Want to talk?" Olivia asked as she rubbed her hands together to get warm.
"On my way. I am already heading out of my apartment. Text me the address," Elliot said as Olivia heard a door shut.
"El, you don't have to come. I just wanted to talk." It was falling on death ears. Olivia knew he was coming either way.
"Liv, you are awful at asking for help. Let me guess, you already spent an hour in the car hoping the tow truck would come. It's winter. Text me the address," Elliot said his goodbyes and hung up the phone.
Fifteen minutes later, Olivia saw Elliot's car pull up behind hers. She grabbed her purse and briefcase, getting out of the car. As she walked up to Elliot's car she saw a big grin on his face.
"Thanks for picking me up," Olivia said as she got into the car.
"It kills you that you had to call and ask me for help, doesn’t it?" Elliot laughed.
"Yes, it does." Olivia laughed too.
"As you wish, my lady. Where would you like to go? Have you eaten yet?" Elliot asked as he turned and looked at her.
"No, I haven't. I was planning on doing a quick run to the toy store and then eat when I get home. My plans were changed," Olivia said and sighed.
"Let's go get something to eat first. I want you to warm up. Then we will figure out Noah's present," Elliot said as he started the car.
"El, you don't have to do all this," Olivia said as she covered herself up in the blanket Elliot had brought from his apartment.
"I want to. Learn to accept help occasionally," Elliot said as he reached out and touched her left knee.
"Thank you," Olivia said as she suddenly felt nervous from Elliot's brief touch.
"We are here," Elliot said as he parked on the street in front of a pizzeria. He quickly got out of the car and walked around, opening Olivia's door.
"You don't—" Olivia paused before she finished. "Thank you." She took Elliot's outstretched hand as she climbed out of the car.
"I don't want you to fall. Hold my hand until we get inside." Elliot squeezed Olivia's hand tightly as they walked through the door. Their fingers intertwined perfectly.
Olivia felt butterflies in her stomach. Why was Elliot all of sudden having this effect on her? She felt nervous. It had been a long time since she had felt this affected by a man’s touch.
"Let's grab two slices of pizza and eat quickly. I want to try shopping at the row of stores here. There is a cute book store and toy store just near here," Olivia said as she ordered herself a slice of pepperoni pizza and a diet coke.
"As you wish. Good plan, Liv." Elliot ordered himself the same thing and paid.
"Thank you," Olivia said as she and Elliot walked to a booth carrying their food.
"So what are you planning to get Noah?" Elliot asked before taking a bite of his pizza.
"Honestly, I have no idea. This year I'm just not in a holiday mood. I haven't planned anything. I barely got the tree up and decorated." Olivia sighed as she looked out the window seeing a family walking by smiling and laughing.
"Are you ok? What's going on?" Elliot asked concerned.
"You have enough to deal with already. You don't need my issues as well," Olivia said as she closed her eyes.
"Liv, I know the holidays are a painful reminder. I regret the time I missed because it opened old wounds for you that everyone leaves . I'm here now. I will never leave again." Elliot reached across the table taking Olivia’s right hand in his.
"We should probably get going before the stores close." Olivia nervously looked across the table at Elliot. His eyes were tearing up as he softly smiled at her.
"You're right. Before we completely change the subject. If you need to talk or I can do anything to help... Olivia, I'm here. No matter the day or time. You are not alone. Partners for life." Elliot got up from the booth.
"Thank you." Now it was Olivia's turn to get emotional as her eyes teared up. For ten years she had missed their unbreakable bond. How easy it was. Also hard in the ways they pushed each other in good and sometimes bad ways.
"Would you like to walk or drive to the stores?" Elliot asked as he opened and held the door for her.
"I like to walk to the couple of stores right there," Olivia said, pointing down the street.
"You haven't got your fill of the cold yet?" Elliot laughed. "Please take my arm. There are some icy spots from yesterday's snowstorm. I would have thought they salted the sidewalk better. I don't want you to fall." Elliot held his right arm out for Olivia.
"El, I'm not helpless, but thank you." Olivia slipped her left arm around his. Being so close to him, she could smell his cologne. Whatever it was, it was intoxicating. Olivia was having a hard time thinking of anything else but the butterflies in her stomach.
For the next two hours, they shopped, looking for presents. The problem was, Olivia couldn't find what she was looking for. Nothing had seemed just right. She had gotten some smaller presents as stocking fillers. Two books, a new Lego set, a few movies, and a new video game that would be split between herself and Santa. But Olivia wanted something memorable that Noah could play with but also be displayed.
"I just can't find what I'm looking for. Even though I have no idea what that is." Olivia laughed as she got back into the car.
"Yes, the elusive hunt for the perfect gift. Now all my kids want are money and gift cards. Enjoy it while it lasts." Elliot placed their bags in the back seat.
"What did you like as a boy? I want something unique," Olivia said as she put her seat belt on.
"Well I was young so long ago, it is hard to remember." Elliot laughed and winked at Olivia.
"Hey, you are not old. I'm not old either." Olivia joined his laughter.
"Liv, you have only gotten more beautiful," Elliot whispered as his cheeks quickly became warm and red as he realized what he said aloud.
Olivia turned and looked at Elliot. Were his eyes always so blue and piercing? It felt like he could see straight into her heart. It was beating faster as they sat there caught in a moment neither wanted to break free from.
"Would you like to go and see the Christmas lights at Washington Square or go somewhere else? I don't want to take you home just yet," Elliot asked as he smiled at Olivia.
"Sure. Let's go see the lights at the square. After that, I will need to go home. Noah will be back at eleven tomorrow morning. I want to get some things ready before he comes home," Olivia said as she covered up in Elliot's blanket and leaned back in the seat.
"As you wish," Elliot said as turned on some Christmas music before driving off.
Thirty minutes later they arrived at Washington Square. Elliot dropped Olivia off near the entryway before he parked the car.
"How can you say I need help walking when you are practically jogging back here?" Olivia laughed as Elliot walked up.
"You are a lady and deserve to be spoiled," Elliot said as he held out his arm.
"A little spoiling is always nice." Olivia smiled as she took Elliot's arm.
"I used to bring the kids here every year. It was our tradition. Thank you for joining me this year. I almost thought I would miss it," Elliot said as they walked through the entryway.
"Traditions are great. I have just started a few with Noah," Olivia said as she buttoned the top two buttons of her coat.
"Yes, I have a few traditions we do every year. The kids think they are corny. But I know they would secretly miss them if we stopped. Here is my scarf. You look like you are freezing," Elliot said as he took off his scarf wrapping it over Olivia's shoulders.
"Thanks, El," Olivia said as she touched Elliot's left hand which was still on her shoulder.
"I'll be right back. They are selling hot chocolate at the stand over there," Elliot said as he quickly walked away.
Olivia took a deep breath as she watched Elliot. Tonight something was different between them. It almost felt like Elliot was flirting with her.
"Here we go," Elliot said as he walked up carrying two hot chocolates.
"Thanks. This place is really special at night. It is so beautiful," Olivia said as she reached for a hot chocolate.
"Yes, it is," Elliot said as he stared at Olivia. Their fingers touched as he handed her a cup.
"Tell me where the phrase "as you wish" is from. I know it, but I can't place it." Olivia took a sip from her hot chocolate.
"As you wish. The line is from The Princess Bride . In the movie, there is a man named Wesley who is deeply in love with a lady named Buttercup. He would do anything for her. Even die for her if that meant he was protecting her. Anytime she asks anything he replies with “as you wish”. It is his way of telling her he loves her. It's one of my favorite movies. After the holidays, we should watch it with Noah. He would love it." Elliot rubbed his neck with his right hand as he could feel himself blushing.
"Umm," Olivia said as she was at a loss for words as she looked at Elliot. His eyes were so blue. "We should start heading back. It's getting late," Olivia said as she felt her cheeks flush.
"Ok.'' Elliot sounded disappointed.
Twenty minutes later, Elliot drove up in front of Olivia's apartment. "Liv, are you ok? You have barely talked since we left."
"I'm fine. I was just thinking," Olivia said as she unbuckled her seat belt.
"About what?" Elliot asked as he turned and faced her.
"Just how far we have come since you came back. Tonight felt different. It was nice spending time together," Olivia said nervously as she reached out and touched his right hand.
"Yes, it was fun. Thanks for calling me," Elliot said and smiled.
"Good night, Elliot," Olivia said as she got out of the car. She was confused. Wasn't Elliot flirting with her all night? Or was he just completely clueless? Olivia decided on cluelessness as she walked into her apartment laughing.
Christmas Eve morning at nine a.m.
Olivia heard a knock on her door. She got up from her couch and walked to it. Looking through the peephole, she saw Elliot standing outside.
"Good Morning," Olivia said, letting Elliot inside.
"Hey. I figured out the perfect Christmas present for Noah. So I went to the toy store this morning and picked it up. I got Dickie the same gift when he was Noah's age. He loved it," Elliot said as he handed Olivia a bag.
She opened it to find a large box in it.
"I love it. An electric train set is the perfect gift. Thank you for picking it up." Olivia smiled at Elliot.
"Liv, I'm sorry I didn't get you anything for Christmas this year. I know we are still figuring things out." Elliot walked into the living room.
"I know a gift you can get me this year." Olivia put down the train set on the couch and turned around. She was standing right in front of Elliot.
"Anything," Elliot said as he looked at Olivia intensely.
"Please take me out for dinner this weekend." Olivia grabbed Elliot's right hand in hers.
"Sure." Elliot looked down at their hands and back at Olivia.
"El. I want you to take me on a date." Olivia leaned in softly, kissing him on the cheek.
"I would love to," Elliot whispered.
"Good. If you want a real kiss I need to be spoiled rotten." Olivia laughed as she walked back to the couch, pulling him down next to her.
"As you wish. There is nothing I would rather do."