Driving through the city at dusk was something she'd never tire of doing. The sunset on the river. The pink glow over the buildings and warehouses. She turned up the volume of the song she'd had on repeat. It must have been a new song that Noah added to her Spotify. She shouldn't be getting in her feelings on the way to his place. She needed to get a handle on her emotions because they were threatening to make her do some stupid shit. And this song wasn't helping.
My baby left and he ain't got a word to say. I guess it ain't his day.
She was tired of the push and pull. She either felt the closest she's ever felt to him or like she'd never reach him again. She hadn't really spoken to him since McClane escaped a few weeks ago. Her texts had gone unanswered. She'd stopped by his place and had tea with Bernie while she waited for him to show. But she'd given up at 11pm and gone home to relieve Lucy. She'd shown up at the OCCB with coffee but she ended up giving his coffee to Jet.
But he's magnificent. Honestly, I wish you could see all the things that I see.
She pulled up beside the gate to his patio. Her head fell back to the headrest. What was she doing? She shouldn't be here. She didn't know if she was strong enough to be rejected by him again. But the panicked voice of Bernie Stabler begging her to do something replayed in her head. She closed her eyes and the song surrounded her.
'Cause it's all in his smile. It's all in the way he dies for me. And he'd die for me, honestly.
His car was parked across the street so she knew he was there. Truthfully she could feel that he was less than 50 feet from her. She rolled her eyes. The universe was laughing at her and her inability to let this man go. She opened the door and sank out, trying to steel herself with armor before she faced him. She'd listened to the song too many times because it was still playing in her head.
I don't give a fuck if he's bad for me. I know he's bad for me but he brings me peace.
She blew her breath out and opened the gate. She rolled her eyes again at the lights strung up on the patio. It looked so charming and wistful and the complete antithesis of Elliot Stabler. She felt the lead in her chest get heavier as she got closer to the back door.
And he's spectacular. Honestly, you could never see all the things that I see.
She stood there for a minute. Her arm was unwilling to move forward to rap against the glass. Her eyes were trained on the ground, trying to make her arm move when the door opened. She looked up into the dark, murky ocean of his eyes.
'Cause it's all in his smile. It's all in the way he dies for me. He'd die for me, honestly.
She needed to say something. She had to say something but the words were stuck in her throat. They stared at each other for minutes or hours. She didn't know. Time wasn't exactly in the forefront of her mind when she was this close to him.
"Olivia, thank God." She heard Bernie's voice behind him. She moved Elliot out of the way and grabbed her hands. "Come in, sweetie." The entire left side of her body brushed against the front of his as she allowed herself to be pulled into the warmth of this home. "I made dinner."
You know that he'd die for me, cry for me, lie to me. Why do these people think that I see differently?
Neither of them had spoken and Bernie was flitting around the kitchen, making the three of them plates.
"What are you doing here?" His voice was sharp and her anger flared. She spun around to face him.
You know that I'd die for him, cry for him, lie to him. Why do these people think that he sees differently?
"No.. what are you doing here, Elliot?" He scoffed and narrowed his brows at her. "You're going to get yourself killed and then what?" Her voice was on the precipice of cracking with all the emotion in her chest. She could see him buzzing with pent up rage and wondered if he'd take it out on a wall after she left. Or if she'd let herself be his punching bag again. "Or you're going to lose yourself just like you did with the Albanians." She was breathing too hard. But she couldn't stop. "Why can't you ever just be here?" Her yelling is what set him off.
He grabbed her arm and pulled her down the hall to what she assumed was his bedroom. Her mind wandered back to New Year's Eve when she and Noah slept on the pull out couch. When he cornered her in the hallway and finally kissed her on the way to the bathroom at 5am. It was so fucking hot and slow and dirty and all she thought about for days after. " Elliot Stabler!" She heard Bernie's angry voice travel down the hallway and her eyes went wide when he froze. She tried to keep the smirk off her lips when he released her because she knew it would only gas the fire in him. "Olivia is here because I asked her to come. Now, dinner is ready. Get in here."
He shoulder-checked her on the way back down the hallway and she had to stifle her laughter. He was so predictable.
She didn't realize how much she needed someone to take care of her. Make her dinner, pour her tea, tell her she looked pretty even when she was weary and tired. Her eyes stung and her throat closed against the tears. Elliot was fuming across from her at the table while Bernie doted on her. She guessed that was also fanning the fire in him. He looked like he was on the verge of an explosion and she needed to calm him down. She didn't think about the fact his mother was about to see this, her body was up and moving toward him before she even decided to.
She sat on the chair beside his, facing him. Her hand landed on his shoulder and she could see the tension leave his jaw as he drew in a deep breath. "El." He exhaled and his eyes closed. His hands relaxed and he put his fork down, turning toward her. "We need you, here ." Her hand moved down his arm and wrapped around his hand. "You have to find a way to move forward. To be with your family." Their knees were interlocked and they both moved closer.
"He took something from me." His eyes were red and she couldn't help but mirror the tears. "From my kids."
She nodded. "I know. I'm so sorry she's not here." She was so sad for him. "But don't let him take you too. They need you. I need you."
"Liv." He was whispering now. "I don't know how to do this. I thought I was better."
"It's not linear, El. Grief is a cycle. And working with Kathy's murderer put you right back into the thick of it." Her hands moved up to his cheeks to tilt his head so he would look her in the eyes. "You just have to remember who you are. And who you need to be for your family."
He nodded and she saw his throat work to swallow his anger. The tension in his body was gone and she tried to remove her hands from him but he caught her wrists. And he held her there, against the sides of his neck. "I'm afraid that he'll hurt you, too." He choked on the words and the tears spilled out of him. "And.." He couldn't continue. He couldn't say the words out loud. He couldn't tell her he wouldn't survive if anything happened to her. Not after he'd survived losing his wife.
"Hey." She rubbed her thumb across his jaw and he closed his eyes. "Look at me." He opened his eyes and got lost in her. "He can't hurt me. You won't let that happen. Fin definitely won't let that happen." She smiled but he couldn't bring himself to. He nodded. "Is that what this is all about? Why you're shutting me out again?" He nodded again. He knew he was being stupid and reckless but he had to make sure nothing happened to her.
His hands left her wrists and moved up her arms to her shoulders. "Olivia." His head dropped, he couldn't look in her eyes anymore. "I can't." He felt her breath exhale against the top of his head. He owed her so much more than he could give her. Her hands dropped from his neck and she moved her chair back. He knew he was losing her. And there was nothing he could do about it. He couldn't have Wheatley after her. And he'd break her heart before he let his feelings for her cause her harm. He was rocketed back to 2011 when he made this decision for them the first time. He pulled his head up to look at her. Her eyes were stone. She wouldn't give him another chance if he did this. He couldn't stop the tears from falling. "I can't lose you." He whispered.
She looked away and shook her head. "You're really going to do this again?" She didn't wait for his answer. Her chair scraped as she got up and went back to the other side of the table. He'd completely forgotten about dinner and his mother's proximity to all of this. Shit. He watched her take her dishes to the kitchen sink. His mother was wrapping up some leftovers and shaking her head at him. He wanted to stop her. To take it all back. To hold her against him.
But he just sat there and watched her thank Bernie for dinner and the leftovers for Noah. He watched her put her coat back on while his mother yelled at him with her eyes. Olivia glanced over at him as she walked to the back door and he met her pleading eyes. He couldn't stop her. He couldn't let her get closer to him and he couldn't let himself put her in harm's way. She shook her head and let herself out. He didn't move his eyes until he heard the gate shut. His mother stared at him from the kitchen sink.
"Aren't you tired of living with all of this regret you carry around?"
"Don't, Mama." He took his dishes to the sink and took over the cleanup, sending his mom out of the kitchen.
She hated driving through the city at night. The headlights glaring against the slick, shiny roads of the cold winter. The red of the brake lights mirroring her heartache. She turned up the music. The darkness swallowed her up in the black hole of her thoughts. She knew what would happen if she went over there. And she was a glutton for punishment because he did exactly what she expected. She'd never be able to get through to him and the sooner his family accepted that and left her out of his chaos, the better. It would never be her. He's proven that to her one too many times.
I love that he lies to me. 'Cause he always lies to me.