Chapter 1: 1.
The living room is quiet. The sun’s rays cast through windows, warming the stone tiled floors. Olivia sits in the green lounge chair, her back turned towards the window. Her fists are drawn and clasped together, resting just below her chin so that her bottom lip grazes her knuckles. Her expression is full of thought. Occasionally, her brown eyes will flicker over to him.
He’s sitting in a similar position, in the matching chair beside her. He won’t look at her and hasn’t for the time they’ve been sitting there.
She can hear that damned clock, the one that hangs in the hallway of their home. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. It carries with volume, bounces off her ears and deafens her thoughts.
It’s only when she looks over at him, for what seems like the thousandth time that morning, that he actually looks back at her.
He sits back in his seat, a stern look on his face. She can see the pain in his eyes though. Stone cold blue in the light of the hot sun — and for a moment, they’re reminiscent of winter. He licks his lips and looks around the room for a moment, an arm dangling off of the side of the chair. He’s fumbling with his own fingers, like he does when he’s thinking. Or when he’s on the phone with a client. Or when he’s … distracted. Whatever.
Suddenly, Trevor leans forward.
“So …” He begins, blue eyes cast down to the ground before turning his head to look at her.
She’s so ashamed she can barely stomach looking at him.
“What’s your choice?” Trevor asks, his voice softened a great deal more than she thinks she deserves.
Olivia drops her hands from their fists, letting them land on her thighs. Her attention turns to the black grand piano that sits in the room. The one that neither she or he has touched. It came with the house and needs tuning anyways. For a moment she can hear the nursery rhyme that was played on it just weeks ago.
“Liv?” Trevor asks, trying to get her attention. She can hear the agitation in his voice.
Olivia looks to him, fully — her mind somewhere else.
It’s on him. Always.
“What’s your choice?”
~ One Month Earlier ~
It’s hot. So hot, that Olivia holds a handheld battery powered fan on her face as she sits outside on the patio. Her back rests against the white wrought iron frame of the chair, her legs crossed — although she’ll occasionally uncross them just to keep them from sticking together.
The batteries are dying in the fan, so she keeps smacking the bottom of it to keep it going. But she’s smacked it one too many times, so she simply gives up and lays it down on the table.
“When are we going to get the air conditioning fixed?” Olivia asks Trevor, who sits across from her, lazily flipping through the paper.
“I asked Dante about it. He said he would try to come sometime in the next week or so.” Trevor responds, not looking up once.
“How are you focusing on that? It’s so hot …” Olivia fans herself with the napkin that rests beside her breakfast plate.
“It’s not that bad.” Trevor smiles, blue eyes flickering up at her once.
Olivia wishes she had his optimism sometimes. And sometimes she does. But when it’s this hot, it’s hard for her to not miss New York. The city in general. Being here is quite different. She could drive into town, sure. Go sit in a cool cafe. But the length of time it would take to get there, in a hot car? She’ll pass.
“Go for a swim?” Trevor suggests, flipping a page in the paper.
“I probably will later this morning.” Olivia replies.
Trevor sets his paper down, folding it halfway and reaches for his spoon. He takes a bite of his food — some granola concoction, and chews it up. Olivia watches him.
“Sometimes I miss takeout.” Olivia laughs, leaning forward and resting her arms on the table. It doesn’t match the chairs. It’s wooden and worn. Pretty though.
“You miss a lot of things.” Trevor says nonchalantly. “But …”
“I’m not saying I don’t love it here. It’s beautiful. But I’m allowed to be homesick, Trevor.” Olivia cuts in, brown eyes cast on him.
“Of course.” He shrugs, wiping his mouth with the cloth napkin and tossing it down. “Look …” He reaches across the table for her hand. She reaches back and takes his. “We’re still planning for Christmas in New York, right? It’ll be great. I can see my family. You can see the squad. I’m sure Fin and Amanda miss you. Sonny too.” Trevor tries to comfort her.
Silence. Olivia stares across at him.
“It’ll be nice.” She breaks the silence, pulling her hand back.
“It will be.” Trevor nods. “Besides, isn’t this what every retired married couple does? Run off and live in an old Italian villa?” He asks with a laugh.
Olivia makes a funny face, ready to say ‘no’.
“Well, I guess we’re just lucky then.” Trevor grins, picking his paper back up.
“Technically, only one of us is retired now.” Olivia mumbles.
Trevor peeks over the paper again.
“Honey, I told you — The Accardis hired me privately.” Trevor states.
“And the Biancos?” Olivia chimes in.
Silence. Birds chirp form all around them.
“I know it’s hard, especially with these trips lately. But I think once they come to an end and I’m able to be at home more often, things will … settle in nicely.” Trevor offers.
He always knows how to smooth his way over. Which is what makes him such a great attorney.
Olivia nods slowly.
“Speaking of settling in.” Trevor begins, setting down his paper for a second time. “That reminds me, I wanted to mention it just to make sure it was okay before he—”
“Not another dinner.” Olivia laughs, thinking he’s referring to a very particular client who loves to host dinner parties and fall asleep halfway through them — the man is quite literally the healthiest man fighting death in Italy.
“Not Anthony, no. Nothing like that.” Trevor laughs. “An old friend of mine is coming to Italy next week. Thinking about joining the organized crime liaison. I thought … maybe, he could stay here while he’s deciding. It’s up to you, but he’s a great guy. Been on the force for years.” Trevor says, eyes locked on Olivia the entire time.
“He’s a cop? Oh, I don’t know, Trevor … how long would he be staying?” Olivia asks, raising her glass of orange juice to her lips.
“A month. He is. He’s been on the force a long time. He’s not sure he wants to make the switch. His wife just passed, his kid is staying with his mother, it’s — it’s this whole thing.” Trevor waves his hand. “But I thought it would be nice to have him over. Show him around, all of that. He’s in a real tough spot right now, Liv. I think it would be good for him. Plus, you two have a lot in common so there will be plenty to talk about.” Trevor states.
Olivia takes a deep breath, thinking about it for a moment.
“He’s not crazy is he?” Olivia asks, half jokingly.
“Not really, no.”
“That’s not a comforting answer.” She chuckles, taking another sip of her orange juice.
“He’s great. You’ll get along superbly.” Trevor reassures her.
“I probably won’t be around much anyways, so you two can do whatever … men do here.” Olivia laughs against the rim of her glass.
“Pick grapes and smash them with our bare hands. Create manly wine.” Trevor jokes.
“So manly.” Olivia rolls her brown eyes around, resting them up at the sun for a moment. A grin curls on her lips.
“So … that’s a yes then?” Trevor asks, leaning forward.
“Yes, husband — you may have your play date.” Olivia teases him.
“Thank you, wife.” Trevor plays right back. “His name is Elliot, by the way. Elliot Stabler.”
“Sounds very choir boyish.” Olivia stands, picking up her plate and glass from the table.
“He’s catholic, how’d you know?” Trevor laughs, turning in his seat as she walks around with her plate and glass.
“Because you’re catholic and all your friends are catholic.” Olivia replies, giving one shoulder a playful shrug, accompanied by a gentle smile.
“Touché.” Trevor grins, turning back around in his seat.
. . . . . .
They often drift apart as the day goes along. Trevor will go to his office and Olivia will do things to fill the large chunks of time she has on her hands. Swim. Read. Sometimes she’ll knit. Lately, she’s taken to making soap which she would’ve absolutely laughed at herself years ago for doing. Her first few batches had turned out less than desirable.
Trevor said that it smelled nice but that the texture reminded him of wet food at the bottom of the sink. It hadn’t hurt her feelings because he was absolutely right. But practice makes perfect and she had actually gotten pretty good at it.
But today wasn’t a soap making day. She’s particularly bored today. Trevor had left after lunch, not really giving any indication as to where he had gone. Business, he would say anyways.
She ends up sitting by the pool, scrolling through her phone. She looks through photos of Fin and Phoebe's vacation to Aruba, which Fin had sent attached with — when you coming to New York, Cap?
Soon. Christmas. — Olivia texts back.
For real this time? — Fin texts.
Olivia lays her phone down and a soft sigh escapes her lips. She lays back in the lounge chair, feeling the hot sun beat down on her. Brown eyes drift from the pool water, shifting back and forth, then to the lemon tree in the distance. The little yellow bulbs sway back and forth from the stingy wind the heat offers. It’s like God just opened the fucking oven door on Lombardy. She’d give anything for a cool gust.
She’d give anything for a lot of things. Cool air. Maybe not to feel so lonely.
Olivia stands up and drops the sun hat from her head onto the ground. Then the beige knitted bathing suit cover — revealing a colorful turquoise one piece underneath.
She dives into the pool, water rushing in a heavy swarm around the edges of the terracotta stone.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Most of the decorations in the villa aren’t something she particularly would pick out herself, but they came with the house when her and Trevor first arrived. She’s never gotten around to remodeling so to speak, because in some strange way it feels more like a vacation home than it does a real home.
From the moment her feet hit the cold stone floors in the morning, she feels like a ghost vacationing in this house. It’s large. Larger than anything she’s ever lived in before. Sometimes she finds herself missing the coziness of her old apartment back in New York, which she’s sure someone else is living in and complaining about like she used to.
This bathroom is too small, this kitchen is too narrow, this is this and that is that.
Olivia begins her walk up the spiraling staircase. It’s narrow, accompanied with white walls and railings that have been refinished because when they originally moved in, they were too unsafe to leave as is. Perhaps one of the only decorative opinions she’s had in the place, apart from their bedroom.
Maybe Trevor slipped back into his office while she was in the pool. It’s possible. Wouldn’t be the first time he’s come home without a formal announcement. Olivia makes her way down the hall and into the office — the sounds of her footsteps tapping and echoing throughout the structure. She comes to the old stained wooden door, and knocks lightly. But rather than waiting for a reply, she enters without any other warning.
He’s not here.
Olivia stands there for a moment, taking in everything around her. She doesn’t come in here often. It’s one of the more quaint rooms in the house. There’s a large, unused fireplace in the center wall of the room. Two old fashioned windows on either side with shutters that, if she remembers correctly, Trevor told her doesn’t shut properly. The sun forces itself through the windows that overlook one side of the driveway, and casts itself upon the old dusty books that sit lined on shelf after shelf. They’re not Trevor’s. Trevor’s books sit in a stacked pile by his desk.
She’s been onto him for months now about clearing out the old books on the shelves and arranging his own on them. But he hasn’t.
Olivia sighs and steps forward — as she comes further into the room, she reaches for his chair and runs her hand across the back. It’s leather, so when she touches it, the sound of skin on the slick material carries through the space.
She glances down, noticing an array of envelopes and such spread out on Trevor’s desk. He’s not the neatest man, but he usually does clean up after himself. Olivia’s eyes catch on a particular photo. It’s old, she can tell because Trevor is much younger. He stands next to a man. Dark hair, blue eyes. Handsome. Trevor is next to the motorcycle in the photo, giving a thumbs up. The man, who she doesn’t recognize, stands facing the camera with his arms crossed.
She flips the photo over, simply because the light casting through illuminates writing on the back.
Tallahassee, 1993 - Elliot and Trevor, and the piece of shit bike
Olivia smirks. It’s not Trevor’s handwriting, so she assumes it’s Elliot’s.
She takes a deep breath and flips the photo back over. Staring. Really staring — not at her husband, but at the man in the photo. Her mind begins to drift, wondering what he looks like now. 1993 was a long time ago.
Something else catches Olivia’s attention. An unfolded letter. At first, she hesitates to pick it up. She feels like she’s intruding. But her consciousness and her curiosity battle only for a moment before curiosity takes hold and wills her hand to pick up the letter.
I appreciate you letting me stay there. I’m still not sure what I’m doing yet, but it’ll be nice to be among friends rather than crowded in some place filled with strangers.
Through this whole thing with Kathy, sometimes I find myself wondering if I really have anyone left anymore. Eli wants to stay with my mother. I don’t blame him. I haven’t been in the best headspace. I’m hoping that he’ll choose to come to Rome with me if I decide to stay. We’ll talk more about that when I visit.
It’s lonely here. I’m not going to lie.
Olivia stops on that line, staring at it.
It’s lonely here. I’m not going to lie.
She rereads it a few times before bringing her fingertips up to the line and tracing her index over it gently — almost as if she’s tracing each letter.
“Olivia? Are you up here?” Trevor calls out.
She hadn’t even heard him come in. She places the letter back down on the office table, and the photograph, then turns to walk out of the room.
She shuts the door behind her.
. . . . . . . . . .
The Following Week …
“Shit!” Olivia curses, after just slicing her thumb on her soap cutter. She immediately brings her thumb and plops it into her mouth. “Mm …” She shakes her head, grimacing. After a moment, she pulls her thumb from her mouth and goes over to the cabinet to bring the first aid kit down. She begins searching through the box for an antiseptic and bandaids.
“Hey hon?” Trevor calls out.
“Yeah? I’m in the kitchen!” Olivia replies.
She doesn’t turn around but she can hear his footsteps coming closer and closer, until she can tell he’s in the room. Then she turns around.
“Are you hurt? Are you okay?” Trevor asks, eyebrows furrowed tightly together. He goes to walk over towards her but Olivia holds her hand up in refusal.
“I’m fine, it’s just a cut.” Olivia waves it off.
“Oh.” Trevor stares at her thumb for a moment. “Need some help?”
“I got it.” Olivia smiles, pouring the peroxide over her thumb as she holds her hand over the sink. She grimaces a little, turning her attention to Trevor — who is still staring at her.
“How’s this shirt look?” Trevor asks, pulling at the fabric of his short sleeved, pink button up shirt.
“It looks good. Do you think Elliot is going to care?” Olivia asks with a smirk, drying her hand off and peeling the bandaid. She wraps it around her thumb.
“Well, no. But I haven’t even seen the guy in … God, a long time. Over Twenty years.” Trevor trails off, shaking his head. “Not exactly a spring chicken anymore. Just trying to look put together.” He adds, smirking.
“Well, you look fine.” Olivia says, putting away the stuff in the first aid kit. She hasn’t paid much attention to her own appearance today. She’s wearing one of Trevor’s button up light washed jean shirts. Her hair is pulled back into a low ponytail, with two strips coming forward. But it’s so hot that they’re sticking to her forehead.
Trevor glances down at his watch.
“He said he’d be here around 3 … it’s 4:30. Wonder if he got lost. I told him I’d pick him up from the airport but he insisted —“ Trevor looks out the window, seeing a cab pull up. “There he is.” Trevor takes off running from the kitchen and cuts around the corner that leads to the front door.
Olivia smiles, knowing how excited he is to see such an old friend.
Olivia looks around at her soap making supplies. Often, she resists the urge to laugh at herself for even doing things like this. But it’s either this, or go stir crazy. She wipes the residue on her hands from the soap she was cutting on the front of her pants.
Light is coming through the hallway leading to the front door, so that tells her the front door has been left open. Olivia slowly makes her way from the kitchen and through the hall.
“Where’s your hair, man?!” Trevor jokes, slapping Elliot on the side of the arm playfully.
“Ah, well you know — lost my hair and gained some muscle.” Elliot jokes, flexing his arm.
“Nice, nice. What do you think so far?” Trevor asks, waving his hand around. Italy. What does he think of Italy? His back is turned to Olivia as she comes to the open front door. She leans against the frame.
Elliot glances over at her.
Their eyes meet.
“Hot. It’s hot.” Elliot replies nonchalantly, looking back at Trevor.
Then back to Olivia.
Olivia stares straight back. She takes in everything about him and compares it to the photo she saw. He has a goatee. He’s far more built than he was in the photograph — a thick muscular chest protruding from the white henley shirt he wears. Eyes are just as blue, radiant under an Italian summer sun.
Finally, Trevor turns around.
“Liv!” He exclaims, almost overly excited. Olivia makes her way down from the front steps and onto the gravel pavement of the driveway, a soft smile on her lips.
“Liv, this is Detective Elliot Stabler. Elliot, this is my wife, Olivia.” Trevor motions to her.
Olivia extends her hand to Elliot. “Nice to meet you, Elliot.” Brown eyes fixate on him.
Elliot reaches out and takes her hand, immediately looking down once he feels the bandaid. “You cut yourself?” He asks.
Olivia furrows her brows in confusion for a moment, glancing down at their hands. “Oh, yeah — just a few minutes ago. I’m fine.” She laughs it off.
Elliot lets go of her hand.
“Well, you know what they say when you cut yourself in the middle of summer.” Elliot grins a little.
“What?” Olivia asks, falling right into his trap.
“That you cut yourself in the middle of summer.” Elliot jokes.
Trevor laughs — loud.
“Oh …” Olivia feigns a laugh, looking down at her thumb. She was expecting some old wise tale.
“Isn’t this guy something?” Trevor slaps Elliot on the back once again, causing Elliot to jolt forward a little.
Olivia nods, awkwardly.
“How about we all go in and I’ll make us some drinks?” Trevor asks, already making his way back towards the open door.
“He’s excited.” Olivia says quietly to Elliot.
“That’s fine. I’m excited to be here.” Elliot picks up his suitcase and brushes his shoulder against hers, stopping then and there. He reaches out and touches her shoulder with his free hand— the one opposite of the side they’re touching on and gives it a light squeeze. She can feel his suitcase graze her calf. “It’s nice to meet you too, by the way — Captain.” Elliot gives her a little salute before following Trevor into the house.
Olivia stands there for a moment, staring at the taxi cab who is already so far away from the house he looks like a little blue ant, moving further and further away.
Olivia reaches up and wipes the sweat on her forehead, thinking about the man she’s just met.
Not my wife, Olivia.
Captain, he called her.
Chapter 2: 2.
By the time dinner rolls around, it’s dark. Cooler. They intentionally wait a little longer to eat just so their appetite isn’t spoiled by the sun. Trevor, Olivia, and Elliot sit outside in the patio area. The lights, styled into large round bulbs, hang above the patio — strung from one side of the gutter of the house to a nearby tree. They light the area well, illuminating the table and what’s on it. A simple meal sits before them. Steak. Salad. Mashed potatoes.
Olivia doesn’t do a lot of cooking, but she can get around with some things. Trevor made the steak on the grill anyways.
Olivia sits there, sipping on the glass of red wine she has. She’s neither here nor there, she’s just simply listening to Trevor and Elliot go on about whatever they’re going on about.
She’s pretty sure they’re talking about the piece of shit bike as described on Elliot’s — no Trevor’s, photo.
Olivia begins to tune out, listening to the sound of crickets radiate throughout the space. They’re loud this time of year. The cicadas are rampant too. When she first moved here, she found them to be obnoxious. Olivia much preferred the city noise but as she adapted, she learned she’d much rather hear them sing their little night song then hear nothing at all. The silence would be much more deafening and a reminder of the lone—
“Olivia?” Trevor asks, catching her attention. Olivia looks up from the table and puts on a smile.
“Hm?” She asks.
“Elliot asked how long you were on the force. Though I’m pretty sure I told him? Didn’t I?” Trevor asks, eyebrows furrowed as he looks over to Elliot.
Elliot keeps his attention on Olivia. She however, intentionally keeps breaking eye contact with him. “Over twenty years, right?” Elliot asks. Ah, so Trevor has told him. He just wants to talk to her.
“Twenty-five, exactly. Then I became a Detective … so on and so forth, and eventually Captain.” Olivia replies, bringing her wine glass up to her lips. She takes another sip.
“And you were in SVU, right?” Elliot asks, cutting into his steak.
“Right.” Olivia replies, glancing over at Trevor, who is poking into his salad. “I’m sorry, I don’t think Trevor mentioned what you—“
“Oh, I was in Narcs for a long time.” Elliot nonchalantly sticks a bite of steak into his mouth. “Almost transferred to SVU though.” He adds,wiping his mouth.
Olivia’s eyes drift to the goatee.
I like the goatee.
“Oh?” Olivia asks. “Why didn’t you? If you don’t mind my asking.”
“Mmm … Well,” Elliot takes a deep breath, reaching for his own glass of wine. “My Captain thought I was a little … ill-tempered for that.” Elliot’s gaze fixates on Olivia, who sits at the other side of the table — the head, to be exact, completely slouched back into her chair. One leg crossed over the other.
“I see.” Olivia looks back and forth between Trevor. Hell, they’re sitting closer together than her and Trevor are. But, she’s set it up that way. She likes to have her own space so she deliberately sat down a little further away when they came out to eat. “And regardless of the … ill-temperedness, they think you’ll be a good fit for Organized Crime?” Olivia asks.
Trevor chokes a little. He understands his wife’s tone, and she’s being …
“Funny, isn’t it?” Elliot asks, smirking at her. “But no, a lot of that happened when I was younger. You live and you learn.”
Olivia gives one, slow nod. Brown eyes squinted at him.
“Liv and I have been here two years, it’s a little quiet and … and sometimes she has to put her interrogation skills to test.” Trevor jokes. Somewhat.
Olivia doesn’t laugh. She sits the wine down on the table and takes a deep breath. “I was just wondering because usually when a Captain says … ill-tempered it usually only means one thing.” She shrugs.
Police brutality. Which Olivia Benson, isn’t a fan of. At all.
Elliot drops his fork and cocks an eyebrow at her. His grin, the one he’s had from the moment they began speaking, doesn’t cease.
“I’ve had my fair share of doing the wrong thing. Haven’t we all?” Elliot’s voice softens. He tilts his head down somewhat at her, blue eyes peering up.
Olivia stares at him. “Not me. I’m perfect in every way.” Olivia cracks a joke, smirking widely against the rim of her glass.
Elliot’s practically beaming at her. Yes you are.
Trevor bursts into laughter. Over laughing — again.
. . . . . . . . . .
The three of them stand in the kitchen. Olivia’s at the sink, washing the dishes from dinner. Elliot is drying — he insisted. Trevor has been standing at the island in the center of the kitchen going on for the past fifteen minutes about some place in town that sells the best cornettos to have ever existed.
“I’m telling you,” Trevor holds both hands out dramatically, “Once you have them, you’ll never want anything else.”
Elliot slings the dish towel over his shoulder and looks over at Olivia, who is busy scrubbing at a dish. Her soap making supplies are sitting in a pile on one end of the island.
“Maybe we can all go into town and get one in the morning.” Trevor suggests, one hand coming from the air and hitting his pocket. He pats at the pocket of his beige shorts and fishes into them — pulling out his vibrating phone. “Hold on just a minute.” Trevor holds a finger out, putting the phone to his ear. “Hello? Hello?” He puts his index finger in one ear. “I can’t hear you! Hold on — I said hold on!” Trevor insists, bringing the phone down for a moment. “Reception is terrible. I’ll be right back …” Trevor looks back and forth between Elliot and Olivia before taking off into the living room area of the house.
Elliot and Olivia can hear his “Hellos?” And “Can you hear mes?” Fade and fade, until the kitchen is so quiet that those crickets and cicadas drown their song into the space.
Elliot smirks, taking a dish from Olivia — who won’t really look at him. She keeps her head down, a soft smile on her lips. He dries the dish and puts it away in the open cabinet near them.
“You’re quiet, aren’t you?” Elliot asks, tilting his head.
Olivia opens her mouth to speak, but doesn’t say anything at first. She shakes her head ‘no’. “Not usually, no.” She adds.
“So you’re just quiet around me then? Do you not like me?” Elliot asks, expression solid.
Olivia turns to face him after turning the water off. She reaches for the towel on his shoulder and pulls it off — slowly. She dries her hands on it and tosses it down onto the counter.
“I’m just feeling you out.” Olivia confesses. “You seem …” She tilts her head up at him.
“What?” Elliot asks, blue eyes locked on her, drifting around at the hair displayed on her shoulders. It’s long. Pretty.
Olivia presses her lips together and shrugs. “I don’t know …energetic?” She asks, her voice raspy.
The kitchen falls quiet. She’s unaware at that moment how many times they’ll be standing in this kitchen, looking at each other in the way they are now. Even if she’s unaware of how they’re looking at each other at that very moment.
Elliot doesn’t say a word. The very corner of his lip turns up — just enough so that she can see he’s not upset at what she’s said. Elliot turns to look at the soap supplies fashioned in a neat little pile on the counter. The essential oils, the cutter. The pans she uses.
“Is that what I’m smelling?” Elliot asks, cornering his eyes around at her.
Olivia looks over to the soap supplies and lets out a little laugh. “Probably, yeah.” She nods.
Then, what he does next catches her by surprise. He reaches out and wraps his fingers around her forearm gently — bringing it up so his nose is practically resting against the inside of her wrist. She can feel the tickle of his goatee against her skin — she almost feels the urge to reach out and scratch it. But instead, she stands there with her mouth slightly agape, watching him.
Something flutters in the pit of her stomach. Briefly, she wonders how the heat picked back up so quickly since it had cooled off so much after the sun went down. She won’t confess to herself the real reason why she feels so hot around the neck. Her cheeks, she’s sure, are rosy.
Elliot smells her wrist, then travels slightly up her forearm. The moment she feels his bottom lip brush against the skin there, she pulls her arm away and cocks a brow at him.
“Lemon?” Elliot asks. “What else?” His eyebrows furrow.
Oh. Oh. He’s interested in the smell of the soap — of course.
“Honey lemon.” Olivia answers, her voice soft.
“It’s nice.” Elliot nods, blue eyes squinting slightly from his smile.
“I can make you a bar.” Olivia suggests.
He’s hesitating to say what he really wants to say, she can tell.
“I think I prefer it on you.” Elliot states.
Crickets. Cicadas. They’re so fucking loud in her ears.
Olivia stares at him, only for another second, before breaking her gaze and looking back into the empty sink.
“My wife was like that. Could carry anything. I think it just comes down to body chemistry.” Elliot states nonchalantly, pretending as if what he’s just said didn’t come off as flirtatious as it did.
“Chemistry?” Olivia asks, still a little out of it from his gesture.
“Yeah.” Elliot nods, staring her down. “It’s a compliment by the way. I wasn’t trying to be weird … I smelled it at dinner, when you set my plate down in front of me and …” He begins fumbling over his words.
Olivia corners brown eyes around to him. “Well, thank you.”
“Did you always make soap, Captain?” Elliot teases her.
“No.” Olivia laughs, shaking her head quickly. “I was all about my job. Didn’t have time for soap.” She walks over to the island and wraps up the remaining steak and salad, pulling the plastic wrap over the bowls.
“Hm.” Elliot crosses his arms and leans against the counter.
Trevor practically stampedes into the kitchen. “Alright! Elliot—“ He claps his hands together, loudly — echoing through the kitchen. “How about a nightcap?” He suggests.
“I’m heading to bed, so you boys behave …” Olivia says to Trevor. She sends Elliot a glance and makes her way towards the kitchen exit.
“Of course, of course.” Trevor grins, reaching for her — Olivia stops and turns around, leaning in and kissing him on the lips. “Night.” He smiles down at her. “Mhm.” Olivia grins, before pulling away and heading up the stairs.
Elliot watches her leave, eyes drifting up and down. She’s a curvy woman, which is one of the first things he noticed about her. Full in all the right places. He wonders how full—
“Ready?” Trevor asks.
. . . . . . . .
Hours pass. Trevor has long crawled into bed with her, and lies snoring on his side. Olivia lies there awake, staring out of the open window. She could hear him just below it a few minutes ago, maybe trying to make a phone call. An unsuccessful phone call, because he began releasing a slew of curse words which woke her up to begin with.
Olivia listens closely. She can hear him come up the stairs and enter the room that’s adjoining to her and Trevor’s. There’s a door that leads into the guest room from their own room. She takes a deep breath, brown eyes wandering around.
His pants hit the floor. The sound of his belt buckle is loud.
“Shit …” He whispers loudly knowing that was too loud.
Olivia’s chest rises and falls in one grand motion. She wonders if that’s the word he uses when he’s—
“Damn it …” Elliot grumbles.
It’s then she realizes that he’s drunk. Of course, leave it up to Trevor to get their house guest drunk on his first night in. Olivia smiles softly, fighting back a laugh as she hears him struggle around the room.
But when the bedroom door swings open — and he peeks his head into their room, her smile fades and she jumps, pulling the sheet up further around her chest. She’s in nothing but a white tank top and underwear. It’s too hot for anything else.
And he certainly isn’t in much either. Bare chested and in his briefs — what she can see of him that’s exposed from behind the door.
“Sorry, I was looking for the bathroom.” Elliot whispers.
Trevor sleeps like a rock. He doesn’t stir once.
“It’s the other door.” Olivia points quickly with her thumb.
“Sorry …” Elliot mumbles, shutting the door closed. Loud.
“Huh?” Trevor asks, eyes still closed.
Olivia turns around.
“You got him loaded?” Olivia laughs gently, placing her hand on the back of Trevor’s neck. She rubs at the shell of his ear with her thumb.
“On manly wine.” Trevor smirks, his face buried in the pillow.
Olivia rolls her eyes and shakes her head.
. . . . . . . . . . .
“Miss Ohhhhlivia!” Dante calls as he rides up on his banana seated bike.
Olivia peeks out of the hallway window that overlooks the driveway. She pushes the shutters open and pokes her head out of it, a big smile on her face.
“Good morning, Dante. I’ll be down in a minute.” She holds her hand out, then disappears.
Dante hops off his bike and walks it forward so he can lean it against the well that is no longer in use.
As promised, Olivia emerges from the front door of the house.
“You shouldn’t be out riding in this heat,” Olivia begins, stepping down onto the gravel. “It’s too hot to get yourself so worked up. If I’d known you were coming today I would’ve driven into town for you.” She states, her expression full of concern.
“I brought my water bottle.” Dante beams. He’s young, about eighteen/nineteen. Pitch black hair that sits in tight curls on top of his head. Beautiful bronze skin. Hazel eyes. “I’ve come to look at the air conditioning.” He adds, taking his tiny tool bag from the back of the bike — that rests in a plastic milk crate he fashioned there himself. He brings a book from it as well. A red cover, with fancy yellow writing on the front.
“Please!” Olivia laughs. “It’s ridiculous in there.” She fans herself, turning to walk back into the house.
“Where is Trevor?” Dante asks, following her into the house. As soon as they enter, their conversation echoes — carries throughout the space, even though they aren’t speaking very loud.
“He’s upstairs in his office.” Olivia states, leading Dante through the house. She’s aiming to bring him out of the very back exit and into the backyard area, through the two French doors that lead there.
“I brought him a book, the one from uh …” Dante snaps his fingers, “Invisible Man. By Ralph Ellison. We spoke about it last time I was here.” Dante states, his accent thick.
“If you want to just give it to me I’ll bring it up to him.” Olivia nods, leading him to the air conditioning unit.
Dante nods quickly and does a quick bow forward before handing her the book. “Thank you, Miss Olivia.” He says, sitting his tool bag down onto the ground.
“I’ll be upstairs if you need anything.” Olivia states. “If you want a snack or anything, help yourself.” She adds.
“Yes, yes.” Dante smiles — radiantly white teeth flashing. He opens his bag and gets to work.
Olivia makes her way up the stairs and down the hall. But before she approaches Trevor’s study, which is at the very end of the hallway, she passes by her room. Then the guest room.
She hears him in there — the door is cracked. Ajar enough so that she can hear what sounds like him sitting down on the bed. The springs creak. Thump, then another thump.
“Elliot?” She asks, leaning in slightly. She doesn’t poke her head in.
“Yeah?” Elliot asks, clearing his throat.
“Are you decent?” Olivia asks, her voice low.
“I am.” He replies.
“Can I come in?” Olivia asks, brown eyes staring at the only thing she can see through the cracked door — his open window. The branches of the tree, full of foliage, sway heavily back and forth. That gusty hot wind is doing nothing for the heat.
“What’s the magic word?” Elliot teases.
Silence. Olivia cracks a small grin and tucks a piece of hair behind her ear. “My house.” She jokes right back.
“That’s two words.” Elliot laughs. “Come on in.”
Olivia pushes the door open and sees him there, sitting on the edge of the bed. Fully dressed. His shoes are untied, so she figures that must be the thumping noises she heard when she came up to the door initially.
Elliot eyes her up and down. He tilts his head at her, taking notice of the book in her hand. “What’s that?” He asks.
Olivia looks down. “The Invisible Man. A friend brought it …” She trails off, slapping the back of the book against the palm of her hand.
Elliot stands up, sauntering over to her.
“How are you feeling this morning?” Olivia asks, brown eyes locked on him.
“Eh, you know. I’m … not exactly in my prime anymore. I think I forgot that last night.” Elliot chuckles, following up with an exaggerated breath.
“There’s coffee downstairs.” Olivia replies, her tone low. “I was going to bring you some up but I thought you might still be sleeping.” She adds.
“You can come up anytime.” Elliot replies straight away.
Elliot breaks their gaze and looks back down at the book. He reaches out slowly and takes it from her hand. She lets it slip out slowly. Their fingers graze against one another and she has to stop herself from being rude enough to jerk her hand away quickly.
Once the book is in Elliot’s hands, he opens it up and begins flipping through it. “Damn. Someone likes to annotate.” He laughs, eyes flickering over the yellow highlighted bits of the book.
“Dante, our friend and … handyman. Great kid, anyways — he likes to read. So does Trevor. It’s a hobby they share and can talk about.” Olivia smiles, giving a soft nod. She leans against the doorframe. Her eyes drift over his shoulder to the unmade bed. White crinkled sheets, which she’s sure smell like drunkenness and sweat.
She’d love to roll around in them.
Ew. Stop that. She thinks.
“What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?” Elliot reads from the book, his words drifting out slowly — hoarse.
Olivia’s attention refocuses on his face. He’s looking up at her, but his head is still tilted down at the book. “It’s about racial division, I believe.” She states, nodding.
“Hmm …” Elliot nods. “Words to live by though, regardless.” He adds.
“You read?” Olivia asks.
“No, no. Not really … I read comic books when I was a kid like they were going out of style but … I don’t really have time for books.” He states, closing the book and handing it back to Olivia. She takes it.
“I see.” Olivia nods, turning to walk out of the room.
“Hey.” Elliot says, causing her to jolt to a stop. She turns around to face him. “Thanks for checking in.” His voice softens.
Olivia offers him a small smile and nod before turning and heading into the direction of Trevor’s office.
. . . . . . . . . . .
A couple of hours pass, and Olivia is in the kitchen making lunch. Sandwiches. The bread is laid out strategically. Mayo’d up. Ham slices lay on them. Tomatoes. Lettuce and — they’re basically ready to be closed and cut. Olivia wipes her hands on the towel, and looks up when she sees Dante enter the kitchen. He’s a mess — covered in, whatever was on the air conditioning unit.
“I have bad news, Miss Olivia.” Dante hangs his head.
Olivia’s expression drops. “It can’t be fixed?” She asks, ready to go jump into the nearest body of ice cold water. If even such a thing exists there. Which she doubts.
“It can but I need a uh … special part.” Dante states, crossing his arms. “I’ll order it, then bring it when it comes.” He adds.
“Okay. Walk with me, I’ll give you some money …” Olivia states, tossing the towel down on the counter and making her way around the island. Dante follows her as they make their way into the living room, where her purse is. She comes to the mahogany table her purse sits on and begins to fish through it. Olivia brings out her wallet and hands Dante the euro.
He takes it and clutches it in between his fingers. “Thank you, Miss Olivia.” He says.
“Do you want to stay for lunch?” Olivia asks.
“No, no. I need to get home. I promised Issa I would be home early.” Dante states, referring to his younger sister.
“How’s your father doing?” Olivia asks, her tone dropping into sympathy.
“Better these days. But not great.” Dante casts his eyes down. He pulls at the hem of his white t-shirt awkwardly with his fingertips.
“And how are you doing?” Olivia asks, leaning her back against the entryway frame.
“I miss her every day.” Dante says, head still hung.
Olivia’s eyes fill with tears. She reaches forward and wraps an arm around Dante. “Just let yourself feel what you need to feel. So it’s not all bottled up. So there’s room to heal.” Olivia’s voice softens as she turns Dante around so their backs are facing the staircase.
She has no idea Elliot has come halfway down the stairs and stands there watching the two of them.
“Grief is … such a hard thing. But we’re built to endure it, and I think … I know, that if you can hang in there just a little while longer, it’s going to get better. Not easier. But better.” Olivia nods.
“Yes, Miss Olivia.” Dante nods, a soft sniffle coming from him.
Elliot stands there, completely out of it — simply watching her from behind. The way her hair lays in soft curls down her back. Highlighted bits here and there. The button up shirt she wears is large — too large, so he’s sure it belongs to Trevor. She’s barefoot. Tanned feet pressed firm against the stone floors.
He doesn’t even notice the kid leave at first, until Olivia turns around to face him. She takes notice of him standing there watching her and gives him a funny look.
Olivia sees how glassy his eyes are.
The house is so quiet that they can hear each other breathe.
“Your friend?” Elliot asks.
Olivia places both hands flat against her upper thighs and nods. “Yes. A very dear friend.” She adds.
I want to be a dear friend. Elliot finds himself thinking.
Olivia watches as Elliot comes down the staircase. She turns and walks into the living room — sunlight pouring through the windows and hitting one side of her body as she walks around aimlessly. She can feel him behind her, so she turns around and watches him as he inspects the black grand piano that sits near the entryway. She tilts her head and cocks an eyebrow.
“You play?” Olivia asks, her curiosity peaks as she watches Elliot raise the fallboard.
“Eh, I dabble.” He shrugs.
Olivia wanders over to the entryway again, a little closer to the piano, and stands there waiting for him to begin.
Elliot takes a deep, exaggerated breath and crackles his fingers.
“Oh?” Olivia laughs, both eyebrows raised. Now she’s really curious.
The moment he begins to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with one finger, she bursts into laughter. Real laughter. Her hand flies to her chest, and her head throws back.
Elliot stops, a satisfied smirk on his lips.
“Now that’s a real laugh.” Elliot says, walking around the piano. “You have a great laugh.” He states. Olivia’s laughter dies down and her smile begins to fade. He stops when he’s standing right in front of her. “Trevor is a lucky man.” He adds, nodding once at her before brushing past her — their shoulders touching like they did yesterday in the driveway. The first time they met. Olivia looks down at the ground, her cheeks rosy red.
Elliot comes to the foot of the stairs and calls up them — “Trevor, you fucker, you promised me an evening drink!” He states, then rolls his head back to look at Olivia. “It’s not evening yet, but I’m ready for a beer.” He grins, cocking a brow at her.
Olivia looks over her shoulder at him, her chin grazing the baby blue material of her shirt. She doesn’t say a word, she simply stares at him. What does “Now that’s a real laugh?” Mean … had she really been so transparent yesterday when he made a joke about her thumb and she faked amusement?
“Trevor!” Elliot calls out again. “Don’t make me have to get your wife all liquored up!” He laughs, hand gripping the railing. He looks at Olivia again, who is still looking over her shoulder at him.
He licks his lips, running his tongue across the bottom and …
The look he gives her makes the hot gusts of wind, which feel like the wrath of God, seem like a relief compared to the feeling that rushes from the very pit of her stomach, to her face.
“You’re red, Captain.” Elliot says.
Chapter 3: 3.
Her chest falls up and down slowly. Sweat trickles down from around her neck, to the crevice in between her breasts. There’s a feverish feeling that’s enveloped her and for a moment, as she’s coming to, she wonders if maybe she’s fallen ill. Fevered by the flu or something along those lines. But before she even opens her eyes, she can hear birds chirping — alerting her that she’s outside.
Olivia realizes she must have dozed off when she came out by the pool. She stretches gently, toes curling in the process. A deep sigh passes her lips and she pushes her sun hat out of her eyes. But the moment she does, she sees something from her peripheral vision.
Olivia turns her head to look up at him and their eyes lock.
He’s standing there shirtless and in his swimming trunks. But he’s wearing a short sleeved navy shirt, which is unbuttoned — exposing his chest. He’s built well … he must workout.
“Christ …” Olivia grabs her chest.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Elliot states, squinting his eyes down at her. The sun is rampant today. As loud as the birds.
Olivia inhales sharply and swings her legs, bare, over the side of the multi-colored striped lounge chair. She had changed into her bathing suit a couple of hours ago when she decided to come out and sit by the pool.
“I don’t remember getting tired.” Olivia wipes the sweat from her brow.
“You’re overheated. Swim?” Elliot suggests.
“Mm … no. I … I might go in for a bath.” She fans at herself, looking back up at him. She notices there’s a camera around his neck, hanging from a worn leather strap.
A film camera. A silver one with brown padding on the side.
Olivia scowls up at him.
“You didn’t take my photo did you?” She asks, blurting it out.
Elliot cocks his head at her, an eyebrow following suit. “Of course not,” He laughs. “I always get a woman’s consent before I take their picture.” His tone sounds like he’s teasing, but she’s not sure.
Olivia narrows her eyes up at him, still practically blinded even though she’s wearing a hat. She doesn’t say anything else about the matter, but stands up instead and reaches for her knitted coverup.
“Sure you don’t want to swim?” Elliot asks. “You’re red.” He adds with a smirk.
You’re red, Captain.
Olivia side-eyes him, a not so pleasant expression on her face. She makes her way towards the back door of the house — the two French doors are swung open, letting the pent up heat from inside escape. Or form into one big blistering cloud of hellfire, she hasn’t decided which.
“Cranky.” Elliot mumbles.
Olivia spins around, looking over her shoulder at him. “I’m sorry, what?” She heard him.
“Nothin’.” Elliot shrugs, fumbling with the rewind lever on his camera.
“Yeah.” Olivia huffs, heading into the house.
Elliot turns around and snaps a photo of the house, which is what he was really out there doing to begin with. He just so happened to walk up on a sleeping Olivia.
. . . . . .
Olivia lounges back in the tub, completely relaxed. She’s essentially lying in cold water, and it’s almost enough to put her back to sleep. Her hand comes out to clutch the edge of the tub, just in case she were to fall asleep — at least she’d likely hear a splash of the water, which would wake her.
She takes a deep breath and looks around the bathroom. There’s two doors on either side of the sink, one that leads to his room and one that leads to her and Trevor’s. The bathroom, very blue in nature, is old fashioned looking. Baby blue tile everywhere — and narrow.
Olivia reaches into the water and brings up some on her face, splashing the cool liquid against her flushed cheeks. She’s cooler than before, but sleeping out in the sun hasn’t done anything for her. Maybe she should’ve gone straight into the pool when Elliot and Trevor went into the living room for their drink.
“Yeah?” Olivia sits up some — water rushing to the sides of the tub quicker than she expected, so she steadies herself.
“I’m going into town for a bit. Have you seen Elliot?” Trevor asks.
“Uh, no he was by the pool a little while ago about … I’d say thirty minutes ago. Why?” Olivia asks, eyes locking on the door that her husband stands on the other side of.
“Was gonna see if he wanted to come with me. I have to go though. Are you okay with him here?” Trevor asks.
Olivia’s eyes widen slightly.
“I’d prefer if you took him with you.” Olivia blurts out.
Trevor opens the door and pokes his head in. His glasses sit tipped on his nose.
“Can I ask why?” He raises a brow.
Olivia stares at him.
“I …” Olivia dips her hands into the water. She brings them up and runs them over her already wet hair. “I laid in the sun too long. Might lay down for a nap when I’m finished here. I’d hate for him to be wandering around with nothing to do or no one to talk to.” She lies.
Trevor looks at her for a moment, oddly. “Pssh,” He cracks a smile and waves his hand. “That guy is never bored. He’ll be fine — I really can’t find him, so … I’ll leave a note downstairs so he’ll know you’re napping and I’m out. I’m sure he’ll find something to do.” Trevor shrugs.
Olivia looks at him, blinking quickly. “Alright. That’s fine.” No, it’s not. “When will you be back, do you think?” She asks.
“A couple hours or so. Shouldn’t be long. Biancos called.” Trevor replies, fingers gripped on the side of the door.
“Okay.” Olivia smiles faintly.
“Okay then. Love you.” Trevor waves his fingers at her.
“Love you too.” Olivia smiles, sitting back in the tub.
Trevor shuts the door.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Olivia comes downstairs after deciding to skip her nap. She casually glances around the house as she makes her way into the kitchen. She figures having a snack would serve her better than a nap. She’s wearing a pair of black leggings and a billowy white shirt. Trevor’s, again. They share a wardrobe at this point. She wears her own clothes, but these past couple of weeks particularly — anything that remotely clings to her chest makes her contemplate joining a nudist colony.
As she enters the quiet kitchen, she lets out a sigh of relief partly because she doesn’t hear or see Elliot — anywhere. Olivia opens both doors of the fridge and looks inside it. She reaches for the leftover salad from the night before and the pitcher of fresh squeezed orange juice.
But when she turns around, she jumps — nearly dropping both the pitcher and the bowl, because Elliot sits at the small kitchen table, snacking on two cookies. He holds one of them in his hand, staring directly at her.
It’s almost cute. Him and that dumb little goatee, munching away on chocolate chip cookies that she made.
“Hi.” Elliot smirks.
Olivia stares blankly at him.
“I think you might be trying to scare me now.” Olivia nods quickly, obviously annoyed.
“Scare you? How?” He asks, eyebrows furrowed.
“You’re sneaking up on me.”
“I was here first.”
“This is my house.”
“I decided to have a snack first. I came in here before you did, so technically, you’re sneaking up on me.” Elliot argues, shrugging. He’s obviously drawing amusement from this.
Olivia stares at him for a moment and goddamn him, she can’t help but crack a grin. “Alright.” She puts both the bowl and pitcher down on the kitchen island. The kitchen is a little gloomy because the sun has made its way above the house. “So from now on, when I’m coming into a room in my house, how should I announce my presence? Would you prefer if I said — incoming, Liv … or should I say—“
“Beautiful woman coming through is just fine.” Elliot grins, taking another bite of his cookie. He doesn’t look up at her. He chews silently, before slyly cornering blue eyes around at her.
Olivia’s expression drops. She stares at him, long and hard, before putting her hand on her hip.
“Ask me to stop.” Elliot states, taking another bite. Still doesn’t look up at her. It’s darker where he sits, but God, can she see those blue eyes. There’s crumbs in his beard, which makes her want to pull out the dirt devil on him — but that would be weird. Not that her even noticing the minuscule crumbs in his beard isn’t weird.
“You know what I think?” Olivia asks, after a moment of deliberation.
Elliot slows his chewing, narrowing his eyes at her. “What?” He asks, his mouth full.
“I think you’re bored.” Olivia nods, walking over to the cabinet and grabbing a single glass. She sits it down on the counter and pours herself some orange juice. “And I think that’s why you’re being …” She trails off, but raises her glass of juice to her lips, taking a drink. It’s cold, satisfying for the heat.
Elliot feigns confusion. He dusts his fingers over his plate and stands up.
“Being … what?” Elliot asks, nonchalantly. He walks over and places his plate in the sink. She watches as he picks up the sponge and washes his own plate. Scrubs at it deliberately until he’s satisfied with the cleanliness of it. He rinses it underneath the spout, then places it on the wooden drying rack.
Olivia remains quiet.
Trevor never does his own dishes.
She shakes her head when he turns and walks a little closer to her, leaning against the counter.
“How am I being, Captain?” Elliot takes a deep breath, a serious expression on his face.
Olivia sits her glass of orange juice down. But her gaze doesn’t leave him once. What he does next, she’s sure, makes her entire face twitch with either annoyance or excitement. She doesn’t know which she’s feeling.
Elliot picks up her glass of orange juice and brings it up to his own lips, drinking from the same side she drank from.
“That’s good.” He smacks his lips. “You make it? Yourself?”
“Yeah.” Olivia answers blandly.
“It’s nice. The cookies are nice too.” Elliot smiles. It’s wholesome and she hates that he can switch so quickly.
“Thank you.” Olivia says quietly.
“You don’t put me in the mind of a baker though. If I’m being honest.” Elliot states, his tone softer.
Olivia cocks her head.
She doesn’t ask what she puts him in the mind of.
“Well, you don’t strike me as the type to be into photography, either.” Olivia retorts. “So I guess we’re both surprised.”
Elliot smiles. “How do I strike you?”
She’s irritated that he was bolder than she was to ask him such a question.
“Someone who … sniffs pre-workout.” Olivia jokes. He’s fit. Very fit. One of the first things she noticed about him. Especially out by the pool earlier …
Elliot releases a loud, boisterous laugh.
“I didn’t bring my stash, couldn’t get it through customs.” Elliot teases right back.
Olivia smiles, looking down.
“I wouldn’t call myself a photographer. It’s more of a hobby than anything. I’m not great at it … but I like to take photos of buildings. Nice ones. That’s what I was doing outside … when you thought I was … whatever you thought I was doing.” Elliot waves his hand. “It’s a beautiful house, you know?” Elliot asks.
“Thank you … so you’re a … sorry, you’re not a photographer, who takes photos of buildings, who is actually into architecture?” Olivia asks.
“Yeah.” Elliot smiles radiantly at her. “That’s … what I wanted to be when I was a kid.”
“A not-photographer or an architect?” Olivia laughs. My, how the mood had shifted.
Elliot chuckles. “An architect. I used to build some mean sandcastles with my mother.” He smiles, his eyes lighting up when he mentions his mom.
Olivia tilts her head to one side, then to the other — she’s examining him. It’s obvious.
“Walk with me?” Elliot asks. “It’s starting to … cool off a little. I could use a stretch after those cookies.” He pats his stomach and Olivia can’t help but let out a low giggle.
“Yeah, yeah. Okay.” Olivia nods. She puts the pitcher of juice away and the salad bowl, then reaches for an apple in the woven fruit basket that sits in the center of the island.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
The sun has just begun its journey to the other side of the sky, preparing to set. But yet, it’s still bright — not quite ready to die just yet.
Olivia walks ahead of Elliot, who is trailing closely behind her with his camera around his neck. He’s dressed differently than he was earlier, wearing a green Henley tee, and a pair of jeans. Olivia has added her sun hat to her attire, a wicker-like material.
Elliot’s eyes remain focused on Olivia, who walks towards a lemon tree. She brings her apple up to her mouth and takes a bite. Crunch. Her free hand, comes up in a praising motion — high in the air, and her fingertips tickle the bottoms of lemons and leaves as she passes underneath it.
Oh, to see without my eyes
The first time that you kissed me
Boundless by the time I cried
I built your walls around me
White noise, what an awful sound
Fumbling by Rogue River
Feel my feet above the ground
Hand of God, deliver me
Elliot raises the viewfinder of his camera to his eye, and snaps a photo — capturing the very moment her fingers touch one of the lemons.
“Do you always walk ahead of people?” Elliot asks, jogging a little to keep up.
“I’m used to it.” Olivia laughs, her mouth full of apple. She chews and swallows before turning around to face Elliot, who still has the camera raised and pointed at her. “Oh no,” Olivia waves her hand, bringing it up to cover her face so that her palm is facing him. “No pictures. Look around, there’s so many things you can photograph. Not me.” She shakes her head, turning around.
“Come on, slow down. My knees can’t take it.” Elliot laughs.
“Stop taking my picture then.” Olivia argues, purposefully jogging ahead of him now.
Oh, oh woe-oh-woah is me
The first time that you touched me
Oh, will wonders ever cease?
Blessed be the mystery of love
“You’re a stubborn woman.” Elliot grins, dropping the camera so that it hangs from the leather strap.
“I prefer opinionated.” Olivia slows down, turning to face him yet again. She comes to a dead stop. But he keeps walking until he’s just a couple feet away.
Silence, besides birds, and she swears, crickets. They’re coming, warning them of nighttime.
Olivia brings the apple to her mouth and takes another bite, brown eyes locked on Elliot’s the entire time. Crunch.
“What are you doing here?” Elliot asks, staring intensely back. His chest rises and falls in one grand motion.
“Having an apple.Walking with you.” Olivia replies, mouth full.
He laughs, shaking his head. “You know what I mean. You’re too …” He trails off.
Olivia raises an eyebrow.
Lord, I no longer believe
Drowned in living waters
Cursed by the love that I received
From my brother's daughter
Like Hephaestion, who died
Now my riverbed has dried
Shall I find no other?
“I’m too what, Detective?” Olivia asks, swallowing the piece of apple. She brings her hand up to her hat and pushes it back on her head somewhat.
Elliot says nothing. He’s quiet. Unusually so.
“You’re …” Olivia scoffs, “You’re really something.” She takes another bite of the apple.
Oh, oh woe-oh-woah is me
I'm running like a plover
Now I'm prone to misery
The birthmark on your shoulder reminds me
How much sorrow can I take?
Blackbird on my shoulder
And what difference does it make
When this love is over?
Elliot takes a step closer to her and reaches out, taking the apple out of her hand. Olivia’s expression drops as she watches him bite into it, from the same spot she had, just like he had drank from her side of the orange juice glass earlier.
“Praise makes me hungry.” Elliot grins, smugly — his mouth full. He’d taken you’re really something as a compliment, and frankly, she loves it.
Elliot walks ahead of her, but she turns just as quickly to watch him. He walks backwards, not once looking away from her.
“You’re not tired, are you Captain?” Elliot asks, reaching up to scratch just underneath his goatee.
Olivia immediately walks towards him, bringing her hat off her head. She dangles it at her side, arms swaying as she walks.
“I don’t tire easily.” She states, walking past him.
“Didn’t think so.” Elliot grins, walking alongside her.
Shall I sleep within your bed
River of unhappiness
Hold your hands upon my head
Till I breathe my last breath
Oh, oh woe-oh-woah is me
The last time that you touched me
Oh, will wonders ever cease?
Blessed be the mystery of love
Chapter 4: 4.
The sun has been down a couple of hours now, darkening the inside of the house. They both sit in lounge chairs just outside the French doors that are propped open. The doors stay like that usually until it’s time for Olivia or Trevor to go to bed.
Trevor. A couple of hours had turned into much longer than that, and she’s yet to hear him come through the door. She doesn’t worry though because he’s good for this. The man can’t keep track of time to save his life.
Olivia sits beside Elliot, one leg crossed over the other. A beer bottle in one hand, dangling from the side of her chair. There’s two empty plates stacked on the small round table in between them, the proof that they’ve just shared dinner together. Leftovers from the night before.
Elliot tips his own beer at his lips and brings it back down to the side of the chair. “Being on the force … was everything to me.” Elliot says, his voice soft. They’ve been talking about a variety of different things, one of those things being their time on the job. Elliot’s mostly, because frankly, when Olivia talks about New York and being Captain, she gets a little sad. So she’s been avoiding any kind of spotlight on herself.
“Being a cop, being around other cops — it becomes your whole life. I know you know what I’m talking about . It’s like having a family who understands exactly why you do what you do. They understand the passion and the …” Elliot holds his beer out, his fingers flat and pointing forward. “The drive of it. Not everyone gets it but you know at the end of the day, your fellow cops do.” Elliot sighs, tipping his beer at his lips again. He swallows loudly.
Olivia rests her head against the lounge chair, brown eyes lingering on him — her head turned in his direction. “How did you balance having a family and being on the force?” She asks, her voice nearing a whisper. She’s curious, because she was never able to. One of her many regrets.
Elliot pauses for a moment, his expression fading. He looks over at Olivia and lets out a little laugh. “I didn’t. I was … fucking terrible at it, actually.” He shrugs.
Olivia remains quiet. The crickets are so loud they’re almost distracting.
“When my wife … when Kathy died, after the accident, I thought I would retire.” Elliot nods. “I think that’s what my kids were hoping for. But I almost felt guilty for even thinking about it.” Elliot nods, turning his head to look at her. Their eyes lock. “I wasn’t very present in my family’s life. My wife had a really hard time … being alone so much. So I felt bad for retiring after she was gone.” Elliot states.
Olivia, in some strange way, understands this man. Although their circumstances have been very different, she feels in tune with him in such a way that she understands the drive that kept him from his family.
Because that same drive kept her from having a family.
“Trevor … told me about her. Kathy. I’m …” Olivia puts her hand over her chest. “I’m so very sorry.” She adds, inhaling deeply.
“Something tells me you know what it feels like to lose people. Things that matter. Which …” Elliot trails off, “Might explain why you’re so quiet.” He adds.
“Do you miss being Captain?” Elliot asks, sitting his beer down on the tiny table, just towards the edge.
Olivia takes another deep breath and finishes off what’s left in her beer bottle. She sits it down, opposite of his and looks straight ahead. “Everyday.” She whispers, cornering her brown eyes towards him. “It’s who I was. Every part of …. Every fiber of who I am …” She can’t finish. She’s becoming emotional.
“Was helping people?” Elliot finishes for her.
Her chest rises and falls with one grand motion. “ Yeah .” She answers. Her voice barely comes out as audible, but Elliot hears her.
“ Why are you here, Liv ?” Elliot repeats his question from earlier.
There’s something about how he says her name. Liv. It’s the first time he hasn’t either called her Olivia or Captain. Liv sounds so much more personal. He says it as if he’s known her for years and years.
“I …” Olivia shakes her head, pressing her lips together. Her hand dangles off the arm of the lounge chair and when she feels his fingertips tickle the inside of her palm, she goes to move away but his fingers lace in between hers and give them a slight tug down before she can formally move away. Everything inside of her tells her to take her hand away from this stranger. But she doesn’t. She stares down at her intertwined hands, almost helplessly.
“I did what I thought was right.” Olivia whispers, eyes slowly coming up from their hands and locking on his blue ones. “So I could experience what I thought I wanted before … I couldn’t.”
Elliot smiles softly at her.
“ What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?” Elliot quotes from the book that Dante brought Trevor. Clearly, it had stuck with him.
“That’s not fair.” Olivia laughs a little, tears hung heavily in her eyes.
“I saw your photo.” Elliot blurts out.
“ Hm ?” She asks, brows furrowed. Their hands are still intertwined.
“Trevor sent a bunch of photos. So much time had passed … I was curious what he looked like now. But …” Elliot pauses briefly. “I couldn’t stop looking at you .” His words come out a little more breathlessly than intended.
Olivia pulls her hand from his, gently. She shakes it, as if she’s shaking off some kind of indescribable feeling — invisible. It doesn’t shake from her hands like water droplets would if she had just stuck them in the pool. She can still feel the warmth of his hand against her palm and for a moment, briefly — however fleeting, she wants to yell at him and tell him to get out of her house for making her enjoy holding the hand of another man.
But she doesn’t.
“Maybe I should’ve kept that to myself.” Elliot raises his hand to his face, rubbing over one side of it — but eventually coming down to rub at his goatee.
“ Maybe .” Olivia nods, standing up and leaning down to reach for the two plates that sit between them.
“I’ll get them …” Elliot offers, sitting up.
“I’d prefer if you just …”
The front door swings open.
“ Just leave me alone .” Olivia shakes her head and picks up the plates — carrying them through the front of the house.
Elliot leans back in his seat, staring straight ahead. He focuses his attention on one of the lemon trees in the distance, watching as the night air sways them gently back and forth — giving them the appearance of little round tennis balls being sent through the air.
He can hear Trevor and Olivia talking. The sounds of their voices carry from the front of the house, all the way out the two French doors behind him. Echoey, yet soft.
Elliot hangs onto her voice, and hers alone.
. . . . . . . . .
Olivia and Elliot go for the rest of the night without saying another word to each other. She avoids him as they pass one another down the hallway. Trevor, rather than coming straight to bed, goes up to his office.
Elliot comes to bed shortly after he knows Olivia has settled in her room for the night. He sits down on the edge of the bed and looks around, taking in everything from the old fashioned desk that sits across from him, stacked with pamphlets and books — to the window that has remained open since he’s been here. He inhales sharply, but quietens himself when he hears Olivia moving around from the adjoining room. She’s getting ready for bed. He can tell because the walls are that thin, so he can hear her brushing her hair.
Elliot slows his breathing dramatically, just so he can hear better. He swears, for a moment, that he can hear the sound of her bra unclasping. The elastic-y sound fills the space between both rooms. He grips at the material of his jeans. A part of him wishes, even though he knows it’s far fetched, that she’ll quietly come into his room.
No one would ever know.
Trevor is in his study. They’d have to be quiet, but it would be worth it. He’d hold his hand over her mouth while she kissed his palm. While she moaned into it. Their hips would be pressed against one another, hot and sticky from the heat. Or from them, he hasn’t decided yet. He can feel himself harden from the mere thought of it. Of having her.
Of being inside her.
Of touching her body.
Elliot sighs, and as he does, the sounds from the adjoining room stop.
Can they really hear each other that vividly?
Elliot raises up, a soft creak following. He licks his lips, blue eyes staring at the door …. Because he hears —
Creak. Creak. Creak .
The old wooden floor of the second level gives her away, telling him that she’s standing outside the door of the adjoining room.
Come in. God, please come in. I’ll show you that you matter, and you’ll show me that I matter and so then nothing else will matter.
Elliot reaches up and wipes his forehead with the back of his hand. Somehow, it’s gotten hotter as the night has gone on. The little cool off period they had seems like nothing but a bitchy ha-ha moment from whatever higher being turns up the thermostat.
Elliot’s shoulders drop when he hears Olivia walk away from the door. He strains his hearing, but the springy sound of the mattress vibrates through the air and he knows she’s laid down.
Elliot falls straight back, landing on the bed with a bounce.
. . . . . . . .
“ Elliot …” Olivia pants in her sleep.
It’s what wakes her. That and the way her thighs grip together, the way she feels the pit of her stomach clench and travel down down down …
The rush of warmth that floods her underwear, and soon she’ll realize the sheets beneath her are damp too.
When Olivia realizes what’s happened, she raises up slowly and adjusts her eyes to the light of the room. First, she looks over to see that the space beside her is empty. Thank God . The sheets are wrinkled, so she knows Trevor must have come to bed at one point.
Olivia tosses back the thin white sheet and looks down to see that in fact, the crotch of her underwear is completely soaked.
She remembers the dream vaguely. His beard, which seemed so real, tickling the insides of her thighs. His fingers, the ones that had been laced in between hers the night before, were inside her — full and evocative.
Bringing her hand to her chest to steady her breathing, a state of panic washes over her as she finally settles on exactly what’s happened.
She’s had a sex dream about him.
And she’d came in her sleep.
“ Fuck …” Leaves her lips in a lowness. She crawls out of bed and knocks on the adjoining bathroom door. No answer. She enters the bathroom and slams the door shut behind her.
. . . . . . .
When Olivia comes downstairs, she’s dressed for the day. Another one of Trevor’s shirts. A peach one — long sleeved but rolled up far above her elbows. Jean capris. White slip on deck shoes. Her hair is clipped back with two wisps coming forward to frame her face.
She stops dead in her tracks when she comes to the kitchen and looks out of the open patio doors to see Trevor and Elliot sitting there, laughing and carrying on about something. They’re having breakfast. Or it could be brunch, she’s not sure what time it is.
Olivia is still relaxed. A little too relaxed . For obvious reasons.
She clears her throat and makes her way over to the fridge, where she opens both doors. Water. She needs water. When she opens the doors, she’s met immediately with Elliot’s film, which sits on the second shelf of the fridge.
Goddamn him and every little reminder around this house that tells her he’s still here. When she’d gone into the bathroom after her … dream … his swimming trunks were hanging on one of the knobs to the tub. She’d sat on the toilet the entire time she was using it just staring at them.
Olivia pulls the water pitcher from the fridge and slams the doors shut. She places the pitcher on the counter, then goes to grab a glass. Her eyes keep drifting into the backyard, at the patio, where Elliot and Trevor sit. They’re still laughing, loud and boisterous. Olivia scowls, pouring herself a glass of cold water.
Brown eyes are locked on him the entire time. He’s wearing the navy button up he was wearing the day before at the pool.
Olivia drinks until the glass is empty. She smacks her lips in one final attempt to savor the cool relief of the water. She brings the glass over to the sink and sits it inside, then makes her way towards the back door — where she steps out onto the patio area.
“You’re up!” Trevor exclaims right away.
“I’m up.” Olivia sings, looking back and forth between Elliot and Trevor.
“We were just talking about …” Trevor shrugs, looking over at Elliot.
“The good old days.” Elliot smiles, blue eyes fixed on Olivia.
“ Ahh …” Olivia laughs, taking a seat at the other end of the table. Trevor has already cut up some fruit, which sits in a huge bowl in the center of the table. There’s yogurt too, though she doesn’t care for a taste test because she’s certain it’s been sitting out in the sun a little long for her liking. She scoops some fruit into the bowl that Trevor had already laid out for her.
“She knows I’m pitifully nostalgic.” Trevor nods towards Olivia, a huge smile on his face.
“Pitifully so.” Olivia agrees, grinning. She doesn’t look at Elliot. Instead, she pokes her fork into a piece of pineapple and takes a bite.
“Elliot and I were … talking specifically,” Trevor picks up the French press that sits in the center of the table, pouring himself some more coffee. “About the time that he and I went to a Journey concert.”
“ God …” Elliot laughs, bringing his mug of coffee up to his lips.
“Oh?” Olivia asks, taking another bite of her fruit.
“Elliot here, brings his girlfriend at the time. What was her name? Trisha?” Trevor asks.
“Something like that.” Elliot grins against the rim of his mug.
“Well, he and Trisha break up in the middle of Faithfully . And, Elliot, not even one song later …” Trevor snaps his finger. “Picks up a girl from two rows ahead who just broke up with her boyfriend. Noticing a trend? Everyone was breaking up that night. But then again, most of us were high or drunk so …” Trevor laughs.
Olivia looks over to Elliot, an eyebrow cocked. He won’t look at her now.
“So, Elliot decides he’s going to take this girl home with him after the show. So we’re all stumbling around in the parking lot, trying to figure out how we’re going to get home because we’re too loaded to drive. Elliot here …” Trevor laughs, low — getting to his point.
“Trevor …” Elliot warns, sitting his mug down. “Look, in my defense—“
“Elliot here decides he’s going to buy, actually buy, a bike from this kid that’s just riding along. Completely emptied his pockets for it . But anyways, he and this girl — Trisha, they get on this bike and he says …” Trevor waves his hand at Elliot, trying to get him to finish the story.
“I don’t recall.” Elliot lies.
“Elliot says to me, catch you on the flip side … and no sooner than the words come out of his mouth, the bike plummets into a streetlight. Hard. So hard in fact, that him and this girl both go flying off the bike. Girl breaks her nose — she’s pissed, so when she gets up …” Trevor continues … and continues, his story. But Olivia begins to zone out and doesn’t hear much after that.
Elliot’s eyes lock on hers and before she knows it, she can feel that dull ache growing between her legs. The one that her dream had relieved this morning. There’s something in the way he looks at her that drives her wild. Maybe she really is just touch starved, or lonely. Her and Trevor have an okay sex life. They’re not doing anything wildly passionate though and haven’t in a while.
Maybe that’s what it is. Maybe she just wants the excitement of something new, and Elliot … well, is something new.
Or it could be that for the first time in a long time, she feels seen by someone. Really seen. And that, is a whole genre of sexual intimacy.
The birds, the ones that have been chirping madly ever since she had sat down, seemingly become louder in her ears. So loud, that 's all she can hear. Chirp, chirp, chirp . His eyes are still locked on her unapologetically.
Please stop. Olivia thinks. Please, stop. Not here. Not in front of him. Look away.
But he doesn’t. Elliot keeps looking … until …
Trevor’s laughter breaks them out of their little spell.
“We had a great time that night regardless though. Even if Elliot got slapped silly.” Trevor states with a nod, looking back and forth between them. Olivia is looking down, viciously poking at her fruit bowl.
“Isn’t that funny, hon?” Trevor asks, staring down the table at Olivia.
Olivia takes another bite of pineapple. “ Mhm . The things we do when we’re young.” She feigns a soft laugh, shaking her head. Her thighs, however, are squeezed together.
“I’d love to be young again for one day.” Elliot states.
Olivia peers up from the fruit bowl at Elliot, an eyebrow cocked.
“Oh yeah, what wouldn’t we all give for just one day? Or two?” Trevor laughs, reaching into his pocket for his phone to answer a text.
“I’d only need one day.” Elliot smirks.
Oh she catches it. God, does she catch it . Or she thinks she does. Maybe she’s just losing her mind. The fork drops from her fingers and she sits back in her seat, but then abruptly stands up and picks up her nearly empty bowl.
Olivia heads into the kitchen.
Elliot stands up, picking both he and Trevor’s bowls up. Trevor holds up a hand, now in the middle of a text-turned phone call, “Thanks …” He whispers to Elliot.
Elliot carries the bowls into the kitchen and sits them down on the sink beside Olivia. She stands there, scrubbing the hell out of her bowl.
“You okay?” Elliot asks, eyebrows furrowed.
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t I be okay?” Olivia asks, focused on the dish.
“Because … you seem …” Elliot trails off.
“I seem what?” Olivia practically throws the dish down in the sink.
“Tense.” Elliot says, his tone softer. “Here …” He nudges her aside playfully, so he stands in front of the sink. “I’ll do these. Go … make soap .” He teases, sending her a little grin.
“I can’t tell if you’re telling me to relax or if you’re making fun of me.” Olivia says dully.
“Both?” Elliot laughs.
Olivia smiles faintly, looking down.
“There’s been this … thing. I don’t know what it is …” Elliot continues washing up the dishes, placing them on the drying rack.
There’s something about him doing domesticated things that drives her absolutely mad. What in the hell is he doing to her?
Or rather, what is she doing to herself? Is she really that lonely that she’s picking apart everything that a random man, who she doesn’t really know, is doing? He’s been here for three days and she’s already had a sex dream about him. How is she going to get through the next few weeks?
“Liv?” Elliot asks.
“Hm?” Olivia brings herself from whatever daze she’s been in.
“I said … there’s this … awkwardness between us. Especially since … what I said last night.” Elliot whispers, turning the water to the sink off. “And I just … I want to say that, the last thing I want to do is make you feel uncomfortable. That’s not who I am. I don’t–” Elliot rambles … but–
“You’re not … making me uncomfortable in that way.” Olivia shakes her head.
In that way? She wants to smack herself.
Elliot squints his eyes softly at her. His lips curl up into a, frankly, adorable grin. She inhales sharply, bracing herself for what she knows is coming.
“In what way do I make you uncomfortable then?” Elliot’s tone drops.
Somebody better help her, because if Trevor wasn’t here right now …
Oh that’s right. Her husband. Who sits just a few feet away, outside, talking on the phone.
But they’re alone. Technically, she could undo his belt right here, slip her hand down the front of his pants and make him just as uncomfortable as he makes her.
Olivia’s eyebrow twitches up slightly. He notices – of course he does. Because the man literally can’t help himself but gawk at her.
“You have to stop.” Olivia whispers.
“I can’t help myself.” Elliot whispers back.
“I’m married.” She raises her hand and rubs the back of her neck.
“That’s unfortunate.” Elliot laughs.
“We don’t really know each other.” Olivia’s brown eyes flicker over his face.
“I know enough.” Elliot exhales. His breath hits her face – the cool gust she’s been hoping for. “In what way …” Elliot takes one step forward.
“Stop … he’s outside.” Olivia holds her hand up, putting it to his chest.
“... do I make you uncomfortable?” Elliot asks, licking his lips. There he goes with that tongue thing again. She noticed him doing it the first time they met. He does it often and she’s come to the conclusion he does it when he’s trying to flirt. Or not. Whatever the hell he’s doing – it comes across as him wanting to strip her down here and have his way with her.
“He’s your friend.” Olivia hangs her head.
“Old friend.” Elliot corrects.
She looks back up at him, brown eyes narrowed. “And so that makes it okay? Is that how you operate? Do you just … disregard people like that?” She asks, cocking her head back slightly.
Elliot’s expression drops, and when Olivia sees Trevor stand up from the patio chair and make his way into the kitchen, she steps away from Elliot.
“Hey, Liv?” Trevor asks, “Got a minute?”
Chapter 5: 5.
Want to chime in here briefly to thank everyone for the nice reviews they've left for this story. You guys are a huge part of my inspiration for continuing these stories so I so appreciate it. Thank you :')
How long do you think Liv is going to last, especially now that Trevor is gone?
“It’ll just be for a couple days.” Trevor tosses his suitcase into the trunk of the car.
“That’s what you said last time.” Olivia crosses her arms.
“Look, if you’re … uncomfortable with him being here–”
“Uncomfortable? Why would I be uncomfortable?” Olivia asks, her words falling out one right after the other.
Trevor gives her an odd look and shuts the trunk. “Okay then … well, what is the issue then? You don’t freak out like this any other time I leave.” He adds.
“I’m not freaking out. I just think it’s a little … rude … to leave your guest for a business trip.” Olivia states, “Because he is your guest Trevor. You know that, right?” She adds, tilting her head.
“Of course I know that. And … It's only two days. I already talked to him about it and he’s fine with it so long as you’re fine with it. You two seem cordial enough. Are you afraid to be al–”
Olivia’s expression drops.
“Dumb question,” Trevor holds his hands up in defense. He knows his wife wouldn’t hesitate to shoot someone if she felt threatened.
“Two days. Promise. Then I’ll be home.” Trevor smiles softly down at her. He reaches out to touch her arm and feels her relax a little.
“Fine.” Olivia sighs. “Two days.” She adds, raising on her tip-toes to peck him on the cheek. Trevor goes in for the lips, and she obliges – kissing him back.
“Alright. I’m off.” Trevor states, looking behind Olivia to Elliot, who has just come out to the front porch.
“When I come back, we’ll go into town and get those cornettos.” Trevor smiles, giving a slight wave at Elliot. He walks around to the driver’s side of the car and Olivia backs up a little, watching as he gets in and starts the ignition.
She backs up until she’s nearly standing right in front of Elliot.
Trevor drives until his car becomes like the cab that brought Elliot here. Smaller and smaller until there’s nothing but dust flying up in the distance.
Olivia turns around without a word and walks into the house, her shoulder brushing against Elliot’s.
It’s become their thing, intentional or not.
. . . . . . . . . . .
The living room is quiet. The clock in the hallway, which leads into the living room, is the only thing that can be heard. Sometimes it can get a little obnoxious but when it’s late like this, she doesn’t mind it. She sits with her feet up on the couch and her black rimmed glasses resting on the tip of her nose as she crotchets.
Another random hobby she’s picked up.
She’s focused on what she’s doing, so for a moment, she doesn’t even realize that he’s standing in the entryway of the living room with his hands in his pockets – leaning against the entry frame.
When Olivia finally feels the heat of his gaze on her, she slowly peers her brown eyes over the rims of her glasses. Her hands come to a stop and she rests both of them, hook and all, gently in her lap.
“Need something?” Olivia asks.
Elliot stares at her a moment longer before shaking his head and giving a light shrug. “Just watchin’.” he replies.
Quiet. Except for that clock.
“There’s nothing really to watch.” Olivia brings her hands back up from her lap and begins working on … whatever she’s working on.
“What are you making?” Elliot asks, stepping forward and sauntering over to the couch. He plops down on the end of the couch, his leg extremely close to one of her feet. She almost draws them up, but she doesn’t.
Because she knows he’ll touch them. It’s only a matter of time before he reaches out and touches either her foot or leg, and she’s hoping for the latter. Even though she really shouldn’t. But she can’t help herself.
“A baby blanket. This family in town … their daughter is pregnant with her first baby.” Olivia smiles softly.
Elliot beams. “Oh, that’s great.” His tone is genuine.
Olivia nods, giddy over the very mention of a baby.
“When’s she due?” Elliot asks, making light conversation.
“Sometime in November.” Olivia replies, eyes still focused on the materials in her hands.
“Boy or girl?” Elliot asks.
She laughs, holding up the pink material of the yarn. “A little girl.” Her voice quietens.
“My first was a girl. Maureen.” Elliot smiles.
“Oh? You have five, right?” Olivia asks.
“I do. Maureen, Kathleen, Elizabeth, Dickie, and Eli.” Elliot nods out each name.
“Wow.” Olivia grins, “I’m sure they’re all wonderful.”
“Maybe you can meet them sometime.” Elliot finds himself blurting out, turning slightly towards her on the couch.
Then he does it. He reaches forward and places his hand over her calf. It’s gentle. Nothing overtly sexual about it. But more so a simple gesture. Olivia’s eyes drift down to his hand, then back up at his face.
“Maybe.” Olivia says, her voice quiet.
Elliot moves his hand and she finds a whine almost escaping the back of her throat. She has to deliberately stop herself from reacting in that way.
“Can I ask you something?” Elliot scoots down a little closer towards her. Only then does she draw her legs into her stomach – bare feet glide across the material of the couch.
“Mm … sure.” Olivia looks down and begins working on the blanket again.
“Did you want kids?” Elliot asks, tilting his head.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
“At one point, yeah, but …” Olivia’s voice dwindles.
“But it was never the right time and when I was ready …” Olivia holds up her finger. Elliot waits to listen, but realizes she’s giving way for the ticking of the loud clock in the hallway. Her biological clock.
“Adoption was never an option for you?” Elliot asks.
Olivia inhales sharply. “I tried. Once, before Trevor and I even started dating. But it was … I was too single at the time for them, so.” She tucks her lips together, becoming somewhat uncomfortable. “How old is your youngest?” Olivia asks.
“Sixteen.” Elliot replies. “Sorry, too single?”
“It was this … whole thing …” Olivia waves her hand. “Sixteen is a tough age.” She smirks.
Elliot can read the room. She doesn’t want to talk about how she’s come to be childless.
“Yeah. He’s an asshole right now but I’m hoping he grows out of it.” Elliot jokes.
“That’s a terrible thing to say.” Olivia laughs. It’s a real laugh.
Elliot smirks and leans forward a little more, just enough so that he can get a better look at what she’s doing. “Is it hard?” He asks.
“Not really. Once you find the rhythm of things, it’s all about muscle memory.” Olivia replies.
“Teach me.” Elliot’s voice softens.
“What? So you can make pretty little pink hats for all of your task force buddies?” Olivia cracks a smirk.
“I think I’d look cute in one, don’t you think?” Elliot runs his hand over his bald head. “It gets a little chilly sometimes.”
“Show me, I’m a fast learner.” Elliot’s expression softens.
Olivia moves up slightly so that she can fold her legs underneath her. She brings forward her index finger and the crochet hook so that it’s close to him. “Give me your index finger …” Olivia’s voice is quiet. Elliot reaches his hand forward and she uses her own finger to wrap the yarn around his finger. “So you’ll hold the yarn with your finger and then …”
Elliot isn’t paying a bit of attention to what she’s showing him. His mind begins to drift … and drift. His attention is focused on the details of her hands. Her tan skin, the veins that protrude on the front of them.
“Are you listening to me?” Olivia’s voice is so quiet that it’s almost a whisper.
“Liar.” Olivia cracks a smirk.
“And what, so I just tie it together?” Elliot tries to fill in the pieces.
“No, no.” Olivia laughs. “You … hold your finger out.” She states.
Elliot makes a pointing motion with his finger.
“Now take the hook in your other hand. Wrap it around like this …” Olivia tries to show him the grand mechanics of crocheting. “No, not like that …” She laughs a little.
Elliot is struggling.
“Maybe I should just stick with–”
“Photography? Maybe.” Olivia laughs, a wide smile on her face. Elliot’s gaze lies heavily on her. He reaches up, suddenly, and takes her glasses from her face by the nose bridge. He slowly drags them from her face and as he does, her expression drops. Brown eyes flicker up to meet his blue ones, which are intense.
Elliot folds the glasses and lays them down on the coffee table. It’s so quiet. Fuck, it’s quiet. Besides that damned clock of course.
When he reaches for the hook and yarn in her hands, she lets him take it. Olivia’s mouth falls open to speak, but nothing comes out.
Elliot lays the crocheting materials down on the table, beside her glasses. When he turns back around, their eyes lock. Her breathing is already becoming out of place. She can’t help it.
“I want …” Elliot looks her up and down.
A sound leaves her. It almost sounds like don’t but he’s not sure. It comes out long and dragged out. Almost like a moan. She shakes her head no.
Elliot nods as if to say let me finish.
“I want to kiss you … do more than that.” Elliot’s eyes flicker over her completely. “And I think … you would want me to, wouldn’t you?” He asks, his tone dropping. He’s breathless, already.
Olivia says nothing. She’s frozen like a deer in highlights.
“ Elliot …” Olivia shakes her head. Now she’s whispering. What if Trevor hears? He’s gone. He’s gone. He can’t hear. “I think … you’re just lonely and … maybe I am too and ..” She closes her eyes briefly. When she reopens them, he’s closer somehow. Moving in so quickly on the opportunity that he knocks the breath from her.
Is it so bad to act on loneliness? Humans are fallible beings. So if mistakes should be made, why not be made to ease?
“And I love Trevor … and I think you … I think you miss your wife.” Olivia nods, closing her eyes. She nods, almost as if she is reassuring herself.
Trevor is gone and Kathy is dead.
“I think you …” Olivia is becoming so breathless at that point, she doesn’t dare to open her eyes. Because she feels his thumb grazing her chin. “We um …” Her chest rises and falls. She finally convinces herself to open her eyes, and when she does, she sees that Elliot’s face is so close to hers she can barely think straight. Their breaths are hotter than the air itself, bouncing off of one another like those hot gusts do the lemon trees outside.
She bets his lips are nothing compared to lemons. She imagines they’re sweet, maybe a little course. She’d let him burn her chin, her cheeks, with that goatee of his. It would be one of the many ways she would let him mark her.
“I thought maybe I wanted you when I saw you in the pictures …” Elliot begins, eyes flickering down to her lips, then back up to her eyes. They lock. “But at dinner, that first night, when you …” He lets out a shaky breath. “You weren’t afraid to say what you thought. It made him so uncomfortable. But you didn’t care. You said what you wanted to.” Elliot runs his thumb back and forth on her chin. “If he hadn’t been there …” They’re practically breathing each other’s breaths at that point.
“Mm …” Olivia clutches the back of the couch, so hard that her knuckles are turning white.
“I think I would’ve …”
“What?” Oh. She’s intrigued now. He has her.
Fuck, he has her.
“Bent you over … right there, and showed you just how perfect you are.” Elliot’s thumb grazes her bottom lip.
She moans. It’s deep and unbridled and at that particular second, she could care less of how bad this looks. Of how wrong it is. It dawns on her suddenly, that he had taken her not me, I’m perfect comment to heart.
“Yeah?” Her voice is tight. High pitched.
“Yeah …” Elliot nods, his thumb practically in her mouth at that point.
“Hard?” She whispers.
“So hard. Fast.” Elliot nods.
Their eyes burn into each other.
Another moan. She shifts in her seat and rocks slightly. Elliot’s eyebrow twitches up. He realizes what she’s doing and for a brief moment, he thinks about making good on his words and turning her over, right here. Right now. But no – she’ll have to come to him.
“It’s not enough is it?” Elliot asks, referring to how she keeps moving against the couch.
She shakes her head no.
Elliot moves his thumb in soft circles against the inside of the front of her lip. She knows what he’s doing. He’s … demonstrating.
“Take your pants off.” Elliot husks.
Elliot jumps back, pulling his hand away from her face. He looks around to see what has fallen, but doesn’t see anything in sight.
The ticking from the clock has stopped. The clock must’ve fallen off the wall in the hallway.
Olivia stands to her feet quickly, her knees a little wobbly.
“It …” She wipes her forehead. “It does that all the time. I …” She feels like she’s going to pass out. “Sit … don’t follow me.” Olivia waves her hand at him. “God, don’t fucking follow me.” her voice becomes firmer and she takes off through the living room and up the staircase – visibility shaken.
Elliot sits there for a moment, wide eyed.
He gets up to go inspect the clock, which he’s sure must be in pieces all over the floor. When he enters the hallway, he looks around for the clock. He sees the front door. The staircase. The french doors that lead to the backyard. There in the center, lies the clock, face down.
Batteries are scattered.
Elliot walks over to it and picks up the batteries and the clock. He begins fumbling to put the batteries in place and is surprised to find that the clock, as loud as it is, begins to tick again.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Chapter 6: 6.
Olivia squeezes the little yellow lemon harshly with both hands into the strainer. She’d gone out earlier in the morning, when the sun first rose, to pick some off of the tree. Since she woke up, she has barely left the kitchen apart from going into the backyard. This was her safe space, funnily enough.
Olivia had never been one to be too heavily involved in kitchen activities but she definitely found as she got older that she was more likely to do things like this. Make lemonade. Cookies that get stuck in goatees. Fresh squeezed orange juice which he tastes from her side of the glass.
There he is again. He’s been weaving himself in and out of her mind since the moment she opened her eyes this morning. Sleep wasn’t generous last night because of what happened between them. Or rather, what didn’t happen. Or both.
Lemon juice drips down from her hands and into the silver bowl that the strainer sits on top of. Birds sing as she does her little ritual, their song pouring in from the second set of open french doors that lead outside to the patio area. It’s peaceful, and for a moment – briefly, she finds herself relaxing.
Olivia waits for the remainder of the lemon juice to strain through completely into the bowl. She wipes her hands on a dish towel and tugs on the hem of her black tank. It’s hot today, so even one of Trevor’s shirts isn’t relieving enough.
But the moment Elliot saunters through the kitchen, she finds herself regretting her choice. Wishing she had picked out something large and billowy to hide underneath because he looks.
He’s not a shy man. She’s already picked up on that. But when he stops in his place and tilts his head at her, she can see his blue eyes travel up and down her form. She’s gotten fuller as she’s aged in particular areas. So, maybe this shirt wasn’t the best idea today. She’ll change, she decides – as soon as she goes upstairs. Or whenever.
Or maybe she won’t. Maybe she’ll let him look and burn a hole straight through her with that gaze of his.
“Good morning.” Elliot says, his voice soft. He continues his walk over to the island and pulls the small wooden barstool across from her out.
“Morning.” Olivia musters up enough courage to say. She brings a measuring cup out, pouring just enough sugar in it.
“What are you doing?” Elliot asks.
She can’t help but give him an ‘ Are you serious?’ expression. It’s very obvious what she’s doing.
“Making a cake.” Olivia’s voice drips with sarcasm.
Silence. Birds – chirp, chirp, chirp.
“I like lemon cake. It looks a little … wet though.” Elliot smirks.
Olivia stops what she’s doing and stares down at the pitcher she’s prepared to pour the lemon juice into. She doesn’t look up at him. Maybe he means it exactly how it came out, or maybe he doesn’t mean anything by it at all. Perhaps he’s just trying to match her wit.
She licks her lips and continues what she’s doing.
Elliot props his elbows on the island and rests his chin on his fist. She refuses to look at him because she knows he’s going to get what he wants, which is a smile out of her. So she just lets him watch without so much as a glance up in his direction.
“There’s fruit cut up in the fridge, if you’re hungry.” Olivia states, her voice low. She pours the lemon juice into the pitcher and reaches for her wooden spoon.
“I’m not very hungry this morning.” Elliot replies. “It’s ridiculous outside.” He adds, referring to the heat.
“Tell me about it.” She mumbles.
“Back home, at least we usually have air conditioning.” Elliot laughs.
“We usually have it here … it’s been broken since the end of last summer though. I keep telling Trevor we just need to invest in a new unit and stop repairing the old one. Clearly … it doesn’t want to be fixed.” Olivia sighs.
Elliot remains quiet and watches as she stirs the lemonade with the wooden spoon. The sugar spins at the bottom, hurricanes around until it disappears and clouds the lemon juice further.
“My wife used to make lemonade all the time.” Elliot stares off.
Olivia looks up at him, finally. Their eyes lock. She gives a gentle nod before turning and going over to the cabinet, where she pulls two glasses down. She makes her way over to the fridge and holds them against the ice lever, filling both glasses halfway.
She sits the two clear glasses, beveled and thick, down on the island counter and pours the lemonade generously into both glasses. Olivia picks them both back up and hands one across the counter to him. Elliot takes it and immediately brings it to his lips to have a sip.
He smacks his lips together. “That’s nice.”
Olivia smiles, taking a drink from her own glass. It’s cold and sweet, which serves as solace in what feels like the literal pits of hell.
Silence. They quietly sip on their lemonade. When Olivia sits her glass down, she looks at him with hesitancy. “Look … Elliot,” Olivia begins.
“Hm?” Elliot asks, swallowing his sip and sitting the glass down.
“About last night … I think, on top of … the heat and … our own struggles that we’re dealing with, maybe what happened–”
“Oh, I meant what I said.” Elliot states nonchalantly.
Olivia stares at him, cocking an eyebrow.
“All of it.” He adds.
Olivia licks her lips and reaches up to scratch her eyebrow. More so out of feeling awkward or anxious than anything. “Well, I didn’t.” It comes out breathlessly. Like a raspy lie.
Elliot stares back.
“And I think that maybe … if … you’re having these … feelings then we could look into an airbnb for you or … maybe I could see if a friend in town would let you room with them until–” Olivia says, but —
“Are you asking me to leave?” Elliot asks, his voice low.
“I’m asking you … to stop the advances.” Olivia holds both hands flat and gives them a little wave before pressing them against the counter. She leans forward, putting her weight on them. “For the sake of both of us.” She adds.
Elliot narrows his blue eyes at her, tilting his head.
When was the last time you were touched? He wants to ask, but even he knows that’s out of bounds.
Probably a while though. Probably longer than someone like her should go without being touched properly.
“The last thing I ever want to do is make you uncomfortable. I think you are …” Elliot sighs. “A very kind and smart and …”
Olivia hangs her head.
“Yeah. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. But, let’s stop pretending it’s only been me who has made any advance towards … whatever this is.” Elliot states, motioning back and forth between them with his finger.
Olivia looks back up at him with a quickness, scowling. “I–”
“Because I think if we’re both being honest with each other, Olivia, if that clock hadn’t fallen off the wall last night, I think our morning would be going much differently than it is now.” Elliot states, taking another drink of his lemonade.
How? She wants to ask. That entity that lives inside of her nudges her to egg him on. To ask how their morning would be different?
Olivia says nothing.
“And you know that’s the truth. Deep down.” Elliot nods. “No matter how … sour.”
“Did you really come here to look into the task force?” Olivia blurts out. It’s been a question she’s been dying to ask him and thanks to his little let’s tell the truth speech – she’s ready to get some truths out of him.
Elliot lets out a laugh. “I did.”
“I don’t believe you.” Olivia shakes her head.
“You think I flew all the way from New York just to … what?” Elliot asks, leaning forward.
“Get under my skin.” She answers straight away.
Elliot leans back a little and sits his glass down. He tilts his head at her and gives her a confused expression.
“That’s not what I’m doing. Like I said … I’m not trying to–”
“Make me uncomfortable. You keep saying that. But the things you say, the way you … act …” Olivia reaches to rub the back of her neck. She’s sweaty and she can’t tell if it’s from the heat or their conversation.
“The way I act?” Elliot asks.
“Sweet one minute … then …” Olivia waves her hand.
“I thought you said I didn’t make you uncomfortable in that way?” Elliot asks, picking his glass back up.
Olivia rolls her eyes and picks her glass back up as well. “You’re so full of yourself.” Comes out in a heated little rage. She isn’t loud, but she means what she says and it’s clear. She turns to make her way towards the french doors that lead outside.
Elliot, startled by her insult, sits upright. “And you’re so touch starved that I practically word fucked you into coming last night.”
She nearly drops her glass, but makes an effort to clutch onto it harder – thanking God it’s one of her thicker glasses because she may have just crushed it in her hand.
“Screw you.” Olivia’s voice raises.
“Yeah.” Elliot sits the glass down. “Screw you.” He adds with a shrug.
“This is my house just as much as it is Trevor’s.” Olivia turns from her side to fully face him.
“Where is he?” Elliot asks, looking around. “I’ve just been here for a few days and I’ve had to practically beg the man to come out of his office to have a drink.”
“Poor you.” Olivia laughs mockingly.
“ Poor you, actually . Is that what he does? Does he just sit up there and do whatever while you hang around down here, making soap and lemonade and crochet just to what? Pass the fucking time until you die?” Elliot asks, standing up from the barstool.
Tears fill Olivia’s eyes and it takes everything inside of her not to throw the glass at him. “What’s made you so cruel? Are you so … ate up inside that nothing relieves it but coming onto another man’s wife and making half-assed assumptions about something you know nothing about just to feel better about what you’re doing ?” She asks, breathlessly.
“I’m not ate up … whatever that’s supposed to mean.” Elliot laughs, running his hand over the top of his head.
“With grief.” Olivia states.
Elliot’s gaze on her intensifies. His expression fades, only to reemerge with an amused one. “Don’t psychoanalyze me.” He states, shaking his head. It’s clear he’s getting agitated.
“Why not? You don’t mind doing the same thing to me. In fact, I’d venture to say it’s a little fun for you, Elliot.” Olivia bobs her head cockily. “Isn’t that what you do? Drown out grief with guilt?” She asks. “Because I know somewhere deep down, you have to feel bad about telling your best friend’s, oh, I’m sorry – old friend’s wife that you want to fuck her over a table.” Olivia spits.
Elliot exhales deeply. The air between them has shifted, somewhere in between anger and some kind of charged electricity that already existed prior to their tiff.
“You like it.” Elliot huffs out.
“That’s the best you got?” Olivia asks, a laugh following.
He steps towards her and she takes a step back.
“I’m going outside and I’m going to finish my lemonade.” She holds the glass up. “Don’t follow me.”She adds, exiting out of the french doors and down into the patio area.
Elliot follows her .
Out here, on the patio, things seem calmer. She sits in one of the patio chairs, leaned back with one leg crossed over the other. Her lemonade sits before her. Her glasses and a book lie beside it and that tells him she must’ve been out here early, before he even rose.
She reaches for her glasses and slips them on her face.
“You don’t listen.” Olivia mumbles.
“I’m stubborn.” Elliot admits quietly. “ Forgive me .”
“There’s nothing to forgive.” Olivia shakes her head, picking up the book.
“I was out of line.” Elliot adds.
“Wow, you came to that conclusion so quickly. You’re so self aware.” Olivia bites.
Silence. He smirks.
“I deserve that.” He shrugs, sticking his hands in his pockets.
“Yes you do.” Olivia’s tone softens a great deal. Damn him.
Elliot makes his way over to her and pulls out the chair that sits beside her. He takes a seat in it, so close that their legs brush up against one another. She shifts to avoid that.
“I want to be your friend. What can I say that will make you believe it?” Elliot asks.
“Stop telling me you want to fuck me.” Olivia states, her voice low.
Elliot reaches forward and for a second time, he pulls her glasses from her face. It’s his little way of saying please, look at me? As subtle as it is.
“I’m starting to think you don’t want me to see.” Olivia jokes, trying to add to the lightening of the mood.
Elliot stares at her, long and hard.
“You can see just fine.” Elliot’s voice drops low, whispery. Those birds, the ones that sit perched on branches above their head, sing and charm along with him. Luring her into his delicate entrapment. “ And I see. ” He adds.
Oh, to see without my eyes.
Chapter 7: 7.
The piece of music referenced in this chapter -- https://open.spotify.com/track/4JOEMgLkrHp8K1XNmyNffH?si=dcabe137915447a1
“ And I see.” He had said.
Olivia sits there, staring at him with a tilted head.
It could mean a variety of things, sure. But she understands exactly what he means in some strange way.
I see you. You see me.
Olivia takes a deep breath, realizing in that moment how quickly he could go from getting underneath her skin, to tugging at something in her chest. There’s an ache that gathers there. Different than the sexual one that resides buried somewhere in her.
“You said in your letter that you were lonely. That you wondered if you had anyone left.” Olivia states, not really realizing in the moment that she’d just given herself away. “And I think maybe …” She looks down. The sun beats heavily upon them, a pounding heatwave coming in strong.
“You read my letter?” Elliot asks. He’s not angry. He’s curious.
Olivia looks up. “I did.” She adds.
“Trevor showed you?” Elliot asks.
“No. I was walking around and … came into his office. It was lying out on the desk.” Olivia confesses.
It was a personal letter. She realizes that and prepares herself for him to react to it. But he doesn’t, he simply stares off for a moment. Elliot brings his hand over his goatee and rubs at it, blue eyes staring off. He clears his throat and shifts in his seat.
“I think maybe …” Olivia goes to continue what she was about to say moments before. “Maybe we identify with each other in more than one way. I think that’s … why you and I have this …” Olivia trails off.
“Chemistry?” Elliot asks.
Nothing. Olivia stares at him. “I was going to say an understanding. But …” She quietens herself.
Elliot sits back further into his seat and crosses his arms.
“Maybe what’s going on between us is just that … some kind of way of us trying to navigate those …” Olivia trails off yet again.
“Feelings?” Elliot asks, his voice soft.
Olivia corners her eyes around at him.
God, she wants him. She wants him so bad.
“Yeah.” Her voice is tight, just like it was the night before when such obscene things poured from his mouth like honey that she dared to taste.
She wants a taste of him. Anything he’ll give her, actually. The ache, the one that grows every time he’s in her presence, only intensifies in that moment and she finds herself closing her eyes and imagining a completely different scenario. One where they could do what they felt called to do with each other without any inhibitions.
He had told her last night that he wanted to bend her over the table, quite literally, and show her – hard and fast, his words, not hers, just how perfect she was. Olivia doesn’t view herself as a perfect human and she never has. In fact her job has permanently destroyed the word perfection for her because she now views the world in a critical and sometimes morbid way. Everyone is pretty shitty, she had decided when she was young. So perfection was a myth to her.
Would she let him try, if only she could, to show her how perfect she is to him? Hell, Olivia isn’t even really sure what that means to Elliot Stabler. Does he think her body is perfect? That’s most likely what he means, though she finds that to be an overstatement. Or had he spent so long staring at photos of her, back in New York, that he had conjured an image of perfection that lived grandly in his mind of her but would surely bleed out in thick black ink once it hit the page.
Hardly anyone ever comes to the house. She could get away with it out here. Olivia, if she chose to, could slide down just enough in the chair so he could push her legs apart and sit between them on his knees. The image, vivid and slightly tainted by the heat, is lively with color – smell … taste. He’d tell her how good she tasted, she’s sure. That goatee would tickle the inside of her thighs as he devoured her and claimed her right then and there, underneath the Italian sun.
“More?” Elliot asks.
“Yeah.” That wound little voice again – feral. It sounds so suggestive that she almost wants to crawl under the patio table and hide from him.
Elliot cocks an eyebrow.
“Do you want more lemonade?” He asks, a grin growing on his lips. His eyes are softer now. Far from how they were minutes ago in the kitchen. Elliot stands up and reaches to place his hand on her back. “Actually, maybe we should go inside. It’s … I don’t think it’s good for you to be out in the heat like this.” He adds, his voice full of concern.
Olivia looks up at him, a funny expression on her face. The way he could go from teasing her, to telling her what he wanted to do to her, to being caring …
Olivia, exhaling deeply, stands to her feet. They’re so close that the side of her arm brushes against his chest. He doesn’t bother to move away. She could move around him, of course, but she makes no effort to. Instead, to her surprise, she turns to face him.
“Are you okay?” Elliot asks, eyebrows furrowed.
She looks down to her half drank glass of lemonade and sees that the ice has completely melted in it. That’s how scorching it is.
Olivia is overheated. Between the weather and the little … fantasy she’s just had, she’s sure she’s as red as a tomato. But when Elliot moves the back of his hand to her cheek to feel her skin, she looks up at him.
“You’re warm.” Elliot says, his voice low.
“You’re sweating.” Olivia replies, somewhat dazed, focus locked on the droplets formed on his forehead.
“How about a swim?” Elliot asks, tilting his head. The back of his hand still rests casually against her cheek.
Or … or I could push you down right here and have us both burst into flames.
“Okay.” She agrees.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Olivia sits at the edge of the pool with her feet dipped into the cool water. It’s a relief, and for a moment she wants to praise Elliot for having such a great idea. But she remembers what he said, praise makes me hungry and actually, she thinks maybe it’s better to just leave it at that.
She didn’t bother to change into her bathing suit. The fact that she already feels exposed enough as it is in front of him in a tank top is plenty. She did, however, roll her leggings up, so that they’re bunched around the knees. She’s pulled her hair up into a clip. Something that Elliot brought her from inside.
Cocky, arrogant, handsome, sexy, asshole, sweet … caring –
Son of a bitch.
“Here, this was in the bathroom.” He had said to her once he came back down from changing into his trunks. He made a snapping motion with the clip towards her and she took it immediately, relieved to have her long hair off her neck.
But Olivia has been sitting there for quite a while, alone. He went back inside for something. When he reemerges from the french doors and makes his way back outside, she sees that he’s holding two nectarines in one hand.
He has big hands.
Really big hands.
She’s tempted to fling herself in the pool, but doesn’t. Elliot sits down beside her and places his feet into the water next to hers.
“Hm?” Elliot asks, holding out one of the nectarines for her. She shakes her head no. “You should eat something. You didn’t have breakfast did you?” Elliot states, placing one of the nectarines in his lap and bringing the other up to his mouth. He takes a bite, and she watches the juice from it cascade down his chin and into the beginning of his facial hair. He wipes the juice away with the back of his hand.
Now she wants to push him in the pool.
Push him. He deserves it for making you feel like this. For making you jealous over a piece of fruit.
But she doesn’t. Instead, Olivia looks down and focuses her attention on the swaying water – watching as light reflects and glares off the soft tides in the pool.
Last time she looked over head of them, at the tree that shades the pool area, she saw two little birds sitting on a branch singing to each other. She stills hears them. Back and forth, their sweet little chirps and in tune banter. Their chirping is almost paired beautifully with the classical music that plays in the kitchen. Elliot must have turned the radio on at some point, because until that moment, she hadn’t really noticed it.
You should tell him it’s time for him to leave and tell Trevor the truth. Tell Trevor that he’s coming onto you. And that for a moment, you were weak and you almost let him –
The moment Elliot Stabler looks up sweetly, and begins to whistle up at the birds, her entire expression drops.
Whistle, whistle. He goes.
The birds chirp back and he smiles radiantly. His expression is adorable, almost childlike in his excitement that the birds are responding to him.
Whistle, whistle. Elliot sings back.
Push him. Now.
Olivia stares long and hard at him, brown eyes slightly widened. He doesn’t notice, so she simply keeps looking. Her heart flutters deeply inside her chest, making anything she’s felt for him prior to this feel overly dramatic.
Stop. Right now. Stop. STAND DOWN.
I want you.
No you don’t.
Oh. that’s so sweet.
He’s a cocky bastard.
So, so sweet.
“When I was a kid … my mom used to tell me that the birds prefer summer over winter because the snowflakes were bad for acoustics.” Elliot corners his blue eyes around at her, a soft smirk on his lips.
Olivia mimics him, her smile spreading upwards just as his is. “Oh?” She asks a little breathlessly, a soft laugh following.
Done for. Absolutely done for.
“Mhm. She has something funny to say about everything.” Elliot smiles, taking another bite from his nectarine. He picks up the one in his lap and holds it out to her. “You should eat.” He states, a serious expression on his face.
Olivia glances down at the nectarine, which sits perched in between his thumb and index finger.
I’ll show you that you matter, and you’ll show me that I matter and so then nothing else will matter.
Before Olivia can even really think about what she’s doing, she reaches not for the nectarine that Elliot is holding out for her, but his nectarine and takes it. Brown eyes lock on his and his expression falls just as quickly as she wraps her lips over the exact spot he ate from, and bites down. The juice dribbles down her chin, but she doesn’t bother to wipe it away.
Without another word, Olivia brings her legs from the pool and stands to her feet. She takes off towards the set of french doors – a wet trail of footprints following behind her.
Elliot, stunned by her … display , does the same. He moves to his feet more quickly than he has in a long time and begins walking towards her.
The piece of music playing from the kitchen changes as Olivia enters. A wild piano intro echoes throughout the house, bright and melodic. She hears him though, coming up behind her. Feels him.
The moment she feels his thick fingers wrap around her bicep and spin her around, she goes limp, holding herself up barely. As soon as their chests collide, their mouths meet. There’s nothing soft about it, and the only thing sweet in relation is the taste of fruit on their lips. The nectarine, the one she had stolen from him, falls from her hand and rolls across the kitchen floor.
“Mmm,” Olivia wraps her arms around his neck as her lips work feverishly against his. Elliot practically drags her towards the counter, knowing they need something to lean against. The moment he bites down on her lip, she opens her mouth for him. Their tongues meet in a fiery exchange, reveling in the moment they’re finally able to taste one another.
When Elliot moans into her mouth, she claws at his bare back. His skin is warm from the sun and pressed up against her, she’s never felt closer to hell in more than one way. She doesn’t even believe in hell, but she imagines if it exists, it feels like Elliot Stabler’s body pressed up against hers in the middle of Lombardy.
Elliot’s hands are everywhere, touching her ass. Her lower back. He doesn’t hold back. He grabs at anything he can reach, filling his hands every time.
“Oh fuck …” Olivia’s mouth leaves his, breathlessly.
“Need me to touch you?” Elliot asks, already working her leggings down. They’re tight, so at first, he struggles.
Until she reaches down and helps him, pushing them and her underwear down in one motion.
“Shit …” Elliot brings his hand up to wipe his forehead before his lips fall to her neck. He begins sucking and biting on the skin there — laying open mouthed kisses.
Both hands come to clutch the kitchen island, and she grips onto it so hard that her knuckles turn white. Like they were the night before, when he was talking his way into the pants that are now down around her knees.
Olivia reaches for his hand, and the fact that he waits until she gives him the precise instruction to touch her, drives her wild. She places it between her legs and the moment his fingers come into contact with her heat, she lets out a loud yelp.
“Shit …” Elliot huffs against her neck. “Shit, you’re so wet.”
Olivia groans, digging her nails into his shoulder blades.
His fingers find her entrance and she bucks down on them, soaking the palm of his hand. His wrist.
“Jesus …” Elliot kisses his way back up the side of her neck and finds her lips again. They’re full, but more plump from being kissed so passionately.
Elliot begins to pump his fingers in and out of her. Slowly at first, until he works up a rhythm. She whimpers against his lips and only then does she break away from his kiss to throw her head back.
What she does next catches Elliot by surprise. She pushes his hand away and turns around – baring a very naked ass to him. She leans over the kitchen island just enough so he’ll get the hint.
Elliot, breathless and uncomfortable in his pants, begins unbuckling his belt. His hands are shaking, and he curses himself for not being more suave than he should be in this moment.
You’re really going to fuck him here? In the kitchen? The same kitchen you and your husband cook together in? Have breakfast in?
Olivia feels his hands on both sides of her hips.
You’re going to break Trevor’s heart, for this? A quick fuck against a counter?
“Stop.” Olivia pants out.
Elliot immediately releases his hands from her waist and steps back. She hears what sounds like the elastic of his underwear being pulled up, popping against his waist. She doesn’t turn around but she doesn’t even want to imagine the view he has of her right now. Olivia reaches down, shamefully, and pulls her underwear and leggings back up. The throb between her legs in that moment is so strong that one movement and she could come undone without as much as another touch from him. Somehow, she manages to turn around and lean against the counter.
“I …” Olivia shakes her head, eyes locking on his. He’s already zipped his pants back up – looking at her with a pretty fucking confused look on his face. “I’m so sorry … this … oh God …” Olivia places both hands over her flushed face.
“It’s okay … don’t …” Elliot moves towards her and to his surprise, she doesn’t tell him to stop or not to come any closer.
“I’m sorry, that … that was my fault.” Olivia swallows dryly. “Elliot …” She breathes out against her hands.
His fingers wrap around both wrists, and he pulls her hands away from her face.
“It’s okay. I’m sorry too.” Elliot nods.
Olivia opens her eyes to look at him, brown eyes slightly teary.
“No you’re not.” She lets out a soft laugh.
He grins, smugly.
“Maybe not as sorry as you are.” He teases.
“We can’t … ever do that again.” Olivia insists. “Ever. I mean it, Elliot.”
Elliot says nothing, but his eyes are already on her lips.
“Ever.” She whispers, beginning to already lean into him.
“But I can kiss you?” He asks, his tone for the first time – coming across a little dumbly.
“ Yeah.” Her voice is small. Wound, like before.
What? No. What are you doing? Tell him to get out. Don’t –
Their lips meet again. Over and over and over. She grabs onto his hands and laces her fingers through his in an attempt to make sure neither of them begin to get handsy. She may not be as strong next time.
The music fades off into nothing. The kitchen is quiet, apart from the sounds of their deep, feverish kisses.
“I’ll be your friend.” Olivia kisses him, their noses nuzzling.
Elliot nods, kissing her again. And again.
“And you’ll be mine.” Olivia adds, squeezing his hands in her own.
Silence. They stop, gazing into each other’s eyes.
“ My friend Olivia …” Elliot smiles faintly. His voice is barely audible.
She smiles back, pressing her chest against his. They’re both sweating, so they’re sticking to one another and usually, she would find it gross. But he smells so good when she’s this close to him. He smells like … maybe sandalwood. And a smell that is distinctively just him.
“ My friend Elliot …”
I’ll be your friend, and you’ll be mine. And nothing else will matter.
Chapter 8: 8.
As the day moves along, it cools off just enough to make it bearable. The humidity on the other hand, is a completely different story. It’s sticky. They’ve both had their baths. Separate of course, which Elliot had almost found himself asking to join her. But he knew better than to ask her that. Because the truth was, seeing each other in that way would only lead to one thing.
Olivia is the last out of the bath and by the time she emerges from upstairs, it’s nearly nightfall. She comes down the stairs and stops halfway when she sees Elliot wandering around the main hall with his hands in his pockets.
Her hand grips onto the railing, and anxiously, she picks at it with her thumb nail. Their eyes are locked on one another and the smile Elliot gives her is enough to incite a small one from her.
She still doesn’t get it. How she isn’t running and hiding in a room after what happened between them. Things had moved so quickly in the kitchen earlier. A heated daze that had ended with them calling each other friend.
Elliot squints his eyes at her slightly and tilts her head. But he doesn’t say a word. He slyly turns his head and ogles the set of open french doors that are directly across the hall from the front door. They’re the same as the ones in the kitchen, but this set leads into a more foliage heavy area. Nothing really lies beyond the doors but the air conditioning unit, which is outside and to the left — and off in the distance is a single lemon tree. There’s no porch light, so the only thing illuminating the doors is the blue glow that the moon casts down generously.
Elliot nods towards them. Come with me.
Olivia quietly finishes her walk down the stairs and before she can even step foot on the stone flooring, he’s already making his way over to the french doors, occasionally peeking over his shoulder at her to make sure she’s coming.
Elliot comes to stand on one side of the doorframe, and once she meets him, she stands opposite of him so that they both turned sideways, facing each other, in between the two doors.
Not one word. They’re just looking at each other. Him maybe a little more heavily than she is, because Olivia’s eyes are still shifting around.
“You okay?” Elliot asks, his voice whispery.
“Yeah.” She whispers back, bringing her hand up to the back of her neck. She pulls at the billowy white shirt she’s wearing. Button up and thin black pinstripes. She’s wearing shorts underneath it, which is the first time he’s seen the entirety of her legs.
When Elliot had finished with his bath, he put on a pair of jeans. He’d left his shirt off, just to stay cool.
“Try not to think too much.” Elliot says, hands still in his pockets.
Silence. Crickets. Empty house. His deep breath.
“That’s all I do.” She states, leaning against the frame of the french doors. Only for a moment. Their gaze intensifies and she wonders how it’s possible to want to crawl so deeply inside of someone, just for the hell of it.
“I know that.” Elliot laughs softly.
“Do you?” Olivia’s lips curl into a soft smile.
Elliot hangs his head just enough so that blue eyes are peering up at her. He draws a deep breath, and somehow, she releases it as she makes her way towards him. He comes center of the doorframe to meet her, and she immediately falls into him. Her forehead buries against his bare chest and she nuzzles her entire face into him.
Elliot doesn’t take his hands out of his pocket at first. He simply lets her do what she feels she needs to do.
“ You’re a bird whisper .” Olivia laughs into his chest, her face still gently rubbing against the skin there.
“What?” Elliot laughs.
“A bird whisperer.” Olivia repeats, her own voice low.
Elliot thinks for a moment and when it dawns on him what she’s talking about, he releases another little chuckle. “ Ahh , am I?” he asks.
“ You are.” Olivia sings.
Elliot brings his hands from his pockets then and braces them on both of her biceps – fingers wrapping and curling around them.
“My friend, Olivia?” Elliot asks.
“Are you … absolutely … positive ,” Elliot laughs. “That you won’t come upstairs with me?” He asks. The answer is already known. Clear. But you can’t blame a man for trying.
He feels the tickle of the exhale she lets out against his chest.
“I want to. But it’s not a good idea.” She states, pulling away just enough to look up at him.
Elliot stares down at her, and slowly begins moving his hands up her arms – over her shoulders, and gently across her neck until he’s cupping her face in his hands. “I’m going to kiss you?” He says, but it comes across as a question.
She nods. Yes you can.
Elliot leans in slowly and places his mouth on hers. He doesn’t move at first. But the moment he initiates the first movement, she begins working her lips against his. It’s slow, soft. Much different than their kiss from earlier, in the kitchen.
“Hmm …” Olivia hums into his lips.
Elliot pulls back briefly, just to look at her. His thumbs rub on her cheekbones. Olivia’s hands come to rest on the back of his, her fingers – pinky, ring, and middle curl around his wrists.
“ My friend Olivia …” Elliot says. It’s a statement. Not a question, not leading up to one – just a statement.
Silence. Crickets. That clock.
“Elliot … my friend.” Olivia smirks.
What are you doing? Your husband. He loves you.
“My friend …. Olivia ….” Elliot whispers, a soft chuckle following. He leans in. Kiss.
“ My friend …. Elliot.” Olivia sings back. Kiss.
Another long silence, and she playfully falls against him completely. His hands move from her face and wrap around her to hold her up.
“You’ve been into the wine?” Elliot teases her with a smirk.
I feel drunk, She thinks.
“No.” Olivia replies instantly.
You’re losing your mind. That annoying little voice in the back of her head taunts.
Olivia stands upright once again and leans up to kiss him. Elliot’s arms come from around her waist and he grips at the collar of her shirt. It’s open enough in the front so that when he pulls on it just a bit, a large portion of her shoulders and chest are exposed for him. White material covers just enough so that her breasts aren’t exposed.
She doesn’t stop him, but instead, the moment his lips come to her chin, she tilts her head back for him. He makes his way from there, with his lips, all the way down the front of her neck. The tops of her shoulders.
“Mm …” Leaves her again.
This is silent chaos.
“ Elliot …” Olivia sighs. It’s barely audible. But she’s telling him enough. And just like earlier, he stops.
It tells her what kind of man he is that the moment she tells him to stop, he does.
“I don’t want to make it seem like I’m teasing you.” Olivia shakes her head.
“You’re not … I just …” Elliot shakes his head.
“Can’t get close enough.” Olivia finishes.
He nods, eyes flickering over her face.
“It’s getting late. Maybe we should …” Olivia trails off, waving her fingers upwards. Go upstairs.
“Separately?” Elliot jokes.
Olivia cackles, tossing her head back.
“And you’re sure?” He keeps teasing her.
Do you really think you haven’t already cheated on him? Maybe you should just go ahead and get it out of your system. But I promise the moment he finishes inside you, you’re going to feel like utter sh—
“I’m sure.” Olivia smiles, taking a deep breath and pulling away from him. “I’ll go up first.” She says, not trusting even the thought of them going up together.
. . . . . . . . . .
Olivia lies in bed. The room is dark and because of the heat, the covers are kicked off of her. Her legs are crossed at the ankles as she stares out of the open window. A tree branch, full of green, sways back and forth.
She hears him come up.
Everything can be heard in this house. The walls are paper thin. She listens attentively as the guest bedroom door opens and closes. His footsteps. The sound of his belt buckle coming undone. The zip of his pants alone sends shivers down her spine.
The metal of the buckle hits the floor and that’s how her imagination kicks off, going into full drive. He’s naked, she imagines. She wonders if he’ll touch himself tonight. If he’ll come into his hands while thinking of her. The thought of that alone almost makes her throw her legs over the bed and say to hell with it. Rush in there to him and do what she’s been wanting to do for days now.
But guilt is a funny thing. It either lives or it doesn’t and sometimes, it’s there just enough – using its last breath to make itself known.
The house falls silent and she realizes he’s crawled into bed. After only a moment, does she hear it …
Whistle, whistle, whistle which comes out as a “Whew, whew, wheeeeewww …”
It’s him. He whistles the little song he’d sang earlier to the birds back at her, through these thin dreary walls.
Olivia smiles so wide she can barely contain herself.
“Bird whisperer …” Olivia says, her voice low. But it carries, somehow, into the next room.
Elliot lays on his back, one arm behind his head. He’s stripped down to nothing but his white boxer briefs.
“Am I?” He asks again, loud enough so she can hear from the other room.
“ You are.”
Chapter 9: 9.
Chirp, chirp, chirp.
Olivia opens her eyes slowly and is met with a face. Not his face.
She jolts awake, fully, and backs up from the woman that’s ogling her with a sly smirk on her lips.
Bright green eyes. Tan skin. Pitch black hair, far past her back – but she usually wears it tied into a low bun. A plain, but pretty face.
“ Good morning, sleepyhead. ” The woman chuckles, her accent thick.
Olivia adjusts her eyes to the light of the room and sits up. She looks over to Giulia, who is pregnant – and helping herself to Trevor’s side of the bed. Both legs are up in the bed and her hands rest on her belly.
“You scared the shit out of me.” Olivia laughs, placing her hand on her forehead.
“I thought gracing you with my face first thing in the morning was a grand act of friendship.” Giulia giggles, rubbing her belly.
Olivia turns in the bed slightly to face her. “Did Elliot let you in?” She asks.
“Elliot?” Giulia tilts her head. “No, no. I let myself in.” She admits with another funny little laugh.
Olivia stretches a little and releases a soft yawn. “Did Angelo bring you?” She asks, wondering where Giulia’s husband is. Probably talking to Elliot.
“I drove myself.” Giulia states nonchalantly.
Olivia’s eyes go wide.
“ Giulia.” Olivia scolds.
“Oh, don’t – don’t you start the Angelo business!” Giulia shakes her head. “That’s all that man does is nag me. Giulia sit down. Giulia don’t lift that.” She makes little clicking noises with her fingers – snapping them on beat. “ Giulia you will hurt the baby if you breathe in the wrong way.” Giulia sighs.
“You’re not supposed to be driving.” Olivia sighs.
“Liv, I am pregnant. Not helpless.” Giulia insists. “Besides, driving is good for me. Makes me feel like I can flee away from my husband anytime he annoys me. A subtle reminder.” She jokes, cracking a large grin.
“Don’t flee until after the baby is born.” Olivia jokes back.
“ But then I will have to buy two tickets .” Giulia teases. “Angelo keeps reminding me how big of a baby he was … an adult sized infant? I’m afraid for her.” Giulia points to her crotch. “So if I’m going to go run off to some other country with my adult sized infant I’d rather do so while she’s still in the womb. I’m a cheapskate like my mother – may she rest in peace .” Giulia gestures the cross.
Olivia smiles widely, shaking her head at Giulia’s antics.
“So where is Trevor? I didn’t see him when I came in.” Giulia continues to rub at her belly.
“He’s away on business.” Olivia answers, her entire demeanor changing.
Where is Elliot?
“Again?” Giulia asks, tilting her head. “Okay. And who is Elliot? You asked if he let me in.” Giulia states, adjusting her back against the headboard.
“Oh …” Olivia realizes she really has some explaining to do. Giulia hasn’t been in the best health, so she hasn’t seen her in a few weeks. “Elliot is Trevor’s friend. He’s in from New York–”
Giulia gasps. “New York?!”
“Yeah,” Olivia laughs, throwing one leg over the bed and drawing her other knee further into the sheets. “He’s staying with us until he figures out whether or not he wants to move here for good.” She adds, looking out the window. She swears she heard a splash, so she wonders if he’s down by the pool. And why he didn’t come into her room to wake her up.
Olivia is pretty thankful he didn’t. Waking up to him, so early in the morning like this …
“Ah? A lawyer?” Giulia asks.
“No, he’s a Detective.” Olivia states.
Giulia gasps, clutching her chest. “Is he sexy?!”
“ Giulia!” Olivia covers her face, her shoulders shaking lightly from laughing.
“Well?! Is he?!” Giulia’s expression is amusing – wide eyes and raised brows.
Olivia grins a little, sliding off the bed and going over to the window. She peeks her head out the window and turns just enough so she can see around the side of the house. The pool, half of it anyways, is in view.
There he is.
Olivia waves Giulia over.
Giulia woddles her way up from bed and quickly jogs over – the best she can, to the window. Giulia sticks her head out and if anyone were to look, they’d see Olivia and Giulia hanging out the window, staring at Elliot.
“Oh!” Giulia’s voice is loud. “ Beefy !” She exclaims, excitedly clapping her hands together.
A little loud.
Elliot looks up from where he’s sitting, which is on the edge of the pool, and yanks his sunglasses off.
Olivia dips back into the window quickly and pulls Giulia back in with her.
“Sssh!” Olivia silences her and Giulia, in all of her childlike energy, goes serious – only for a moment. She grins wildly at Olivia and corners her eyes around at the window.
“He is sexy.” Giulia nods slowly. “Watch out Trevor!”
Olivia’s stomach sinks. She knows the comment is a joke – Giulia being Giulia, but if she only knew the circumstances.
“Do I get to meet Mr. Beefy? Eh ?” Giulia asks, shimmying her shoulders.
“He’ll be in soon, I imagine. Now that he’s seen me and a stranger stalking him.” Olivia teases, making her way back over to the bed where she plops down.
Giulia comes back over to Trevor’s side and sits down, throwing her legs over into the bed once again. She scoots down into a lying position, and turns on her side.
“Are you okay? You’re a little quiet.” Giulia states.
Olivia lies down and turns to face her. “A lot has been going on.” She confesses. “But … that’s not important. What did the doctor say? Last time we spoke you said you had an appointment.” She adds.
“Ahhh, he says what he always says. Giulia stay in bed. Giulia don’t lift heavy things. Giulia do this, Giulia do that.” Giulia states, going off on another one of her tangents. “Now what’s been going on? Don’t deflect.” She shakes her finger in Olivia’s face in a playful manner.
“Just been lonely I guess.” Olivia admits.
“Trevor goes away too much. I know you don’t like it when I say that,” Giulia closes her eyes, giving a single nod. “But it’s true. He should stay home more often. He is very bold to leave you alone with … Mr. Beefy though.” She giggles.
“ Now you’re deflecting.” Olivia laughs. “The doctor put you on bedrest. You should listen. For the baby’s sake.” She states, reaching out and putting her hand on Giulia’s stomach.
“Oh, Liv. All I do is sit, sit, sit. I need to live life, you know? I don’t do anything crazy. Angelo would disagree though.” Giulia rolls her eyes. “ That man.” Her tone drops into annoyance.
“He worships you.” Olivia smiles.
“As he should.” Giulia beams.
“Ohhhhlivia, Olivia.” Giulia smiles, reaching out and tapping Olivia on the nose. “Where is my blanket you promised, eh?” She teases.
“A work in progress.” Olivia smiles.
“I’m sure it will be beautiful then.” Giulia smiles, snuggling into the pillow her head rests on.
“You still haven’t told me what you’re naming her. I want to put it in the corner of the blanket.” Olivia states, raising both brows at her.
“Angelo and I keep going back and forth about that. He wants to name her after his mother.” Giulia rolls her eyes and scrunches her nose up in a disgusted expression.
Olivia smirks. “What about after your mom?” She asks.
“ Giulia, Giulia, and Giulia ?” She laughs.
“That is a lot of Giulias.” Olivia chuckles.
“I like Avena.” Giulia states.
“Avena is sweet.” Olivia smiles.
. . . . . . . .
Olivia dresses for the day and walks downstairs with Giulia. They come out to the backyard to see Elliot swimming laps in the pool.
“ Heehe.” Giulia corners her green eyes around at Olivia.
“Stop.” Olivia nudges her, fighting back a smirk.
Elliot spots them and swims to the edge of the pool, where he pushes himself up and out. He reaches for a towel and dries his chest off a little and as he does, he walks over to the two women.
Elliot’s eyes drift down to Giulia’s stomach. “You should sit down. It’s hot.” His expression rushes with concerns.
Giulia’s expression drops and she rolls her head in Olivia’s direction.
“Muscoloso e premuroso? Lui è single? Potrei scappare con lui.” Guilia says to Olivia, under the assumption Elliot can’t speak Italian. She said – Beefy and caring? Is he single? I may run off with him.
Elliot cocks an eyebrow. “Sono single, ma preso.” He replies, a smirk on his lips. I am single, but taken.
Giulia gives him an odd look – maybe because he just spit Italian out at her or maybe because his sentence made little sense to her. How is one single but taken?
Olivia stares at him, long and hard. She had no clue he spoke Italian. None. She shifts in her position and clears her throat.
“Well …” Olivia claps her hands. “Who wants lemonade?”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Giulia sits at the patio table with Elliot and Olivia, sipping on lemonade. The pitcher, the one that Olivia just made yesterday, sits in the center of the table – half full.
“So, you will be visiting Rome when?” Giulia asks.
“Next week I have a meeting with who would be my new captain.” Elliot replies, taking a sip out of his own glass.
Olivia sits opposite of him, leaned back in her chair. One leg over the other.
“So you’ll be leaving to stay there then?” Giulia asks.
“I’ll be staying here for the duration of my trip.” Elliot states, looking at Olivia.
Olivia looks at Elliot, a soft smile growing on her lips. He smiles back.
Giulia slowly raises an eyebrow, looking back and forth between the two.
“So you came from New York, to stay in Lombardy, but really you’re here to visit Rome … which is six hours away?” Giulia narrows her eyes. They’re green like emeralds – bright in the sun.
Olivia tilts her head at Elliot. That’s a good question.
“Well, I also came to see friends.” Elliot nods, awkwardly taking a sip from his lemonade.
“An old friend?” Olivia blurts out.
Elliot peers over the rim of his glass at her.
“That’s right. Trevor and I go way back.” Elliot nods.
“I see. You will make a big trip to Rome, but decide if you want to live there based from how you like Lombardy?” Giulia asks, clearly skeptical in some sense. “I promise you, Elliot – Lombardy is very different from Rome.” She giggles.
“Trevor told him that.” Olivia states, taking a sip of lemonade.
“Well …” Elliot reaches up and rubs at his facial hair. “I guess there is more here for me in Lombardy.” He looks at Olivia, who stares back intensely.
“Sounds like it.” Giulia smirks, eyebrows still cocked. “Maybe you should move to Lombardy then.” She laughs.
Elliot gazes at Olivia unapologetically.
. . . . . . . . .
“You’re so loud.” Olivia says breathlessly in the heat of their kisses. “You …” Kiss. “Kept looking at me.”
“What else am I supposed to look at?” Elliot asks, pressing her up against the wall.
“ She saw you.” Olivia gives him a gentle push.
Elliot backs away from her, a smirk on his lips. “You’re killing me.” He laughs, his palm coming to meet his face. He breathes out heavily and licks his lips.
Giulia is long gone. As soon as the front door had shut and they heard her drive away, they were back at it – against the wall by the front door.
You’re not going to last one single fucking day are you? She asks herself. You’re just egging him on. Admit it. You’re going to torture this poor man until he’s begging for it.
Olivia shakes the thoughts from her mind and holds her hand up when he moves back towards her. “I’m going to go do laundry.” She says breathlessly. “You go … swim or … take photos of the lemon trees.” She teases him, a soft grin on her lips.
“I have much better ideas.” Elliot grins.
“I’m sure you do, Stabler.”Olivia brushes past him, their shoulders colliding. She makes her way up the stairs and looks down at him once more before taking a deep breath and trying to collect herself. The fact that he can make her throb with just a few kisses …
Olivia knows deep down that she’s already betrayed Trevor. It’s evident. She’s been kissing and touching another man. That’s cheating. She knows it. But somehow, going all the way with him seems like more of a betrayal of herself than it does to the man she’s married to.
And she wonders why that is.
Is it because after everything she’s given up, she would be throwing away what she has now for someone who has shown her a little attention? Is that the ultimate act of self-betrayal? What would she have left if she had to look at Trevor and say I slept with him while you were away.
She can already see the heartbroken look on his face.
. . . . . . . . .
She heard him outside just moments ago. Splashing around in the pool. Hell, she might join him later when she’s finished. But she’s been putting off the laundry a little longer than she usually does.
Olivia picks up the brown woven basket that she uses to carry the dirty clothes from the main hamper in the bathroom to the small laundry room downstairs. She makes her way through her and Trevor’s room and goes towards the bathroom. She pushes the door open and slides through sideways, just because the basket is a little big to enter the usual way.
She pops the lid of the hamper open and begins rummaging through the clothes, separating lights from darks right there. She puts some of her clothes and even some of Trevor’s into the basket. But as she reaches further into the hamper, she comes across a shirt she recognizes but knows doesn’t belong to her.
Olivia stares down at it for a moment. The short sleeved button up navy shirt resides in a ball in her hand. She can smell him on it.
She can really smell him on it.
She can’t recall ever being so attracted to a scent before. But there was something about him, cologne and sweat – she couldn’t put her finger on it …
Slowly, Olivia brings the shirt up to her face. She sticks her nose into the material and breathes in heavily. Eyes closed.
It’s like her face is buried in his chest again, just like it was last night. She lets out a gentle sigh that almost sounds like a whimper.
She wants him so bad.
Olivia plays with the hem of her own shirt. The one she wore last night to bed. White, with pinstripes.
The smell of him was intoxicating. He smelled like sex she’d never had before and how she knew that, she had no idea. It was funny to her that he had complimented her soap days ago. Honey and lemon. The idea of them both enjoying how the other smelled led her mind to other thoughts.
They would enjoy how each other tasted.
How they sounded when they would come for each other.
How their skin felt under their fingertips … she already loves that one.
Olivia hums into the navy material, and finds herself backing up until she’s almost walking around drunkenly, in the middle of her and Trevor’s room. Oh. She could go next door. Tell him all about it when she was finished.
No, that’s evil.
It’s hotter all of a sudden. She thinks back to yesterday when he was ready to take her right against the kitchen counter. But didn’t. Because she had stopped him. The zipper sound of his pants alone made her ache for him. She knew by sound that he was ready to push into her before she stopped him. She should’ve let him. Should’ve let him have her and fill her until he had nothing left inside him.
Olivia stops pacing, briefly allowing the chirps that come from outside the window to invade her senses. But it doesn’t last long. Because the moment she squeezes her thighs together, she lets out a soft moan into the shirt. This is wrong. She knows it is. But she feels less guilt for relieving herself this way.
Maybe that’s what she needs. Relief. If she can just let go and touch herself with him in mind, maybe that’ll be enough to fill the spot he’s dug out empty inside of her. The spot he wants to reside in but she won’t let him.
Olivia’s hand comes out in a brushing motion and her fingers hit the door just enough to shut it.
Elliot’s swimming. She hears him. So, she’s alone.
With his shirt.
Olivia draws in another deep breath and begins backing up towards the bed, slowly.
Need me to touch you?
“Yeah …” She whispers into the shirt.
Images flash in her mind of how he ate the nectarine. How the juice from it dripped down his chin. Filthy thoughts, probably some of the filthiest she’s ever had, enter her mind.
I’d give him plenty to lick off his chin.
And then some.
Thoughts of him pushing her legs open and working into her so hard that she can’t breathe. Of him bending her over that table on the patio, like he had said, and showing her how perfect she is. Of the dream that she vaguely remembers having of him that made her come in her sleep, so intense that it woke her up.
Olivia stands there for a moment, the back of her calves hitting the bed. She begins to pull up her shirt a little with her free hand until her bare stomach is exposed. Her fingers make their way into the elastic band of her black leggings. Slowly.
Need me to touch you?
His voice. God, his voice.
“Yeah.” She nods again into the shirt. The moment her fingers graze against her heat, she lets out a pitiful moan. “ Oh …” Leaves her breathlessly.
Olivia falls back onto the bed and draws her legs up just a little so she has better access. The shirt is covering her face – her hand spreads out across it, holding the material there. It cuts the orange glow from behind her eyelids and takes her to a place where she can imagine a little better.
“Three …” She whispers.
“So they feel like yours …”
And you like to feel full, don’t you?
“Yeah.” That wound little voice comes out as she begins rocking her hips against her fingers. She slips a third in and cries out into the shirt. She can already feel that familiar pressure building in her hips – gnawing at her core and begging her to keep going.
Say my name.
“Elliot …” Olivia whispers, drawing her legs further into her stomach. Her hand moves rapidly from inside the material of her leggings. “God …”
You gonna come?
“Mm …” is all she can get out. She begins breathing so hard against the shirt, those sounds alone, mixed in with the birds chirping outside the window, is all that can be heard.
Say my name when you do.
It hits her all at once. She clenches around her fingers, flutters – releases a pool of warmth onto her hand as a soft cry leaves her lips.
I said, say my name.
“ Elliot!” Her hips buck up. She’s soaked her leggings, but could care less. When she’s finished, she drops her legs so that they hang off the edge of the bed again.
Olivia nuzzles her face into his shirt, breathing so hard that for a moment she thinks she’ll pass out. But she doesn’t. It takes a few moments to collect herself and when she does, she slowly pulls the shirt away from her face.
When she sits up, Elliot is standing in the doorway of the bedroom. Their eyes lock. Embarrassment should rush over her. It should. But her eyes begin to drift down his body – taking notice of the bulge in the front of his yellow trunks. His chest, which is chiseled to perfection. His face … he’s fucking her in his mind already. It’s clear.
She scolds herself for not hearing the door open. She was too caught up.
Olivia stands up and tosses the shirt down onto the bed.
Elliot takes one, then two steps closer to her.
“I …” Olivia shakes her head. She knows she must look absolutely ridiculous right now. Her face must flushed beyond what the Italian heat could ever do to her.
Elliot reaches for her and pulls her into his chest. Their breathing is erratic. “I was just …” She whispers, looking down.
“Liv …” Elliot shakes his head.
“Um …” Olivia goes limp in his arms.
Elliot leans in and kisses her once on the lips. It’s heavy. Deep. He pulls away, almost like he’s asking permission for more.
Olivia’s eyes flicker over his face, dark with desire. She leans in to kiss him this time.
They’re practically breathing into each other’s mouths, hot and heavy.
“ Okay .” Olivia whimpers, fingers coming to clutch his bare shoulders.
Elliot cocks a brow, hands coming to her waist and gripping onto her.
“I want it.” Olivia pants, nodding quickly. Her eyes are on his lips.
Something inside him, in the very core of his being, leaps for the first time in his entire life.
“You want it?” He asks hotly, leaning into her mouth again.
“I want it.”
She’s already shaking, and the moment his hands give her a slight push forward, just enough so that she doesn’t fall onto the bed — she lets out a low, guttural noise.
The first three buttons of her shirt are pulled apart by him, sending them into bouncing motions onto the floor.
Done for. Absolutely done for.
Didn’t even last a full fucking day.
Chapter 10: 10.
There goes the rest of her buttons.
Her shirt + Elliot = destroyed.
Their lips collide again, kissing each other in deep fervent motions. His hands slide into her shirt, and he grins against her mouth when he feels her shiver against him. Elliot pulls back, only for a moment, to get a good look at what’s just been revealed to him. Full breasts, pushed up in a white bra. There’s nothing overtly “sexy” about it. It’s plain. An everyday bra, but that doesn’t stop a low groan from leaving his lips. She’s beautiful. He’s thought so from the moment he saw her photo, and there’s absolutely nothing that would make him believe otherwise.
He had imagined this moment a few times. Getting to undress her. Touch her. Did Elliot actually think he would ever be able to act on desires that had grown long before he even knew her? No. But then again, he hadn’t expected her to respond to him so magnificently.
Elliot leans down just enough so he can begin placing soft kisses across her chest, eventually working his way down over the soft mounds that wait there for him, tan and spilling.
They begin to teter back and forth on their feet and a particular kind of fear gathers in her chest. Because she knows once they go down, they’re not coming back up.
“Not here.” Olivia shakes her head, breathlessly as she watches him place open mouthed kisses across what’s exposed of her breasts. Elliot licks his lips and stands upright, where he gives a gentle nod.
He knows here isn’t and shouldn’t be the place where they give in. He doesn’t want Olivia, ultimately, to have that on her conscience.
Elliot begins backing Olivia up towards his room. Her back is to the closed door, so when they reach it – he presses her against it. His lips fall to her neck again, like they had the night before and she feels him drag his tongue out against her skin. They’re already starting to sweat. Which in all honesty has just as much to do with what they’re doing as it does the heat.
Olivia runs one hand flat across her bare back – the other falls to her side where she begins to fumble with the doorknob. She twists it open and they practically fall through the door. But he catches her swiftly, sending them both into a soft exchange of laughter.
Elliot kisses her again, one hand coming to rest on the back of her head. They have just a few feet to go, so he uses the advantage to pick her up just enough so that her feet are dangling off the floor.
“Want this so bad.” Elliot huffs against her lips, his voice low and hoarse.
“Just want you inside.” Is all she gets out. “Need it.” She whispers hotly against his ear.
They’re practically clawing at each other, but the moment he sits her down at the edge of the bed – she stands there and stares up at him. Like the night before, Olivia falls against him gently. Her face lands in the crook of his neck and the room goes quiet.
The birds, the ones outside the window that seem to never shut up, fall silent. Maybe they do for them, just so they can revel in their moment of passion.
Elliot pushes her shirt, what’s left of it, off her shoulders. A crisp sound fills the room, crinkly, as it hits the floor. Elliot releases an exaggerated breath …
“My friend Olivia …” He states.
He feels her smile against his neck, rubbing her face – her entire body against him.
“My friend Elliot …” She lets out an exaggerated breath, then opens her mouth against his neck, kissing there … then giving a soft bite.
Olivia moves her hands from his back and down his shoulders … past the Jesus tattoo which she takes the time to trace with her middle finger.
Elliot reaches to grab her by the chin, giving her mouth a slight tug open. He leans down and drags his tongue across her bottom lip, which incites a soft whimper from her. She hasn’t been kissed like this in a long time. Maybe never.
“My friend …” Kiss. “ Elliot.”
“Hmmm …” Elliot hums against her mouth, his tongue dipping in to touch hers tenderly. “ My friend … Olivia.” Her name falls in a breathy whisper from his mouth. Passes into hers just as hotly as the warm gust that rushes through the window.
“ Elliot …” Breathy.
“ Olivia …” Elliot smiles radiantly, finally leaning in to kiss her fully.
How quick it had gone from enraged passion, to sweetness, to what it is now – his hands on her ass and grabbing onto her so firmly that he almost lifts her off the floor by that action alone.
“ Uh …” Olivia whimpers, fingers resting on the back of his neck as their cheeks nuzzle together.
Elliot laughs a little “ Hm, hm, hm ,” laugh. She loves it when he does that. It’s cocky and arrogant. She can tell he’s pleased with himself, which excites her strangely. She nips at his neck again, teasingly.
“You’re so sexy …” Elliot’s hands are still roaming all over her backside. “You took all three fingers for me?” He asks and that alone earns him a moan from her.
She doesn’t answer, but she gives a slight nod against his shoulder, which her head lays on. Olivia pushes him away just enough so she can begin working her, frankly, soaked leggings down her legs. She steps out of them, using her toes to push them off at the ankles.
And there she stands. In nothing but her white bra and a pair of maroon cotton underwear. The crotch is clearly wet from her earlier activities but she doesn’t make an effort to push them down just yet.
Can you fuck and make love at the same time?
Olivia moves around so that she’s pressed up against his back. Her arms wrap around his waist and she begins placing slow, soft kisses on his shoulder blades. The feeling of her against him like this … he has no words.
She puts her weight on him again, resting her forehead just between his shoulders. Soft kisses here and there.
“I haven’t been with anyone since my wife.” Elliot confesses.
Olivia stops, raising her head to look at the back of his neck.
The room falls silent again, but the chirping has picked back up. She swears she can hear the flames of hell burning nearby too.
“I just wanted you to know that. It’s been a while.” Elliot adds, blue eyes searching the room. She stands still behind him.
There it is. Grief speaks.
Olivia doesn’t say a word. Instead, she leans forward and places another kiss on the back of his shoulder. Her arms are still around him, so when he takes her hand – the one that just minutes ago was inside her pants, and brings her fingers to his mouth, she arches an eyebrow at his sudden boldness after his confession. He wraps his lips around one finger at a time, sucking gently on them, before balling her hand into a fist and kissing her knuckles.
Olivia lets out a small sound. It’s not quite a whimper, not quite a moan. But she’s clearly worked up again. She moves around him, fingertips grazing the skin of his back, then waist, then stomach until she’s back standing where she was just a moment ago. She plops down on the bed and he takes notice of the soft bounce that follows from her chest when she does.
Olivia reaches forward and pulls at the elastic band of his mustard yellow swimming trunks. Elliot stumbles forward a little. When her lips come into contact with the very bottom of his abs, he sighs heavily.
The moment her brown eyes peer up at him, he knows he’s had enough of their little back and forth. They’ve teased each other enough. Elliot gives her a slight push forward and she gasps as she falls back onto the bed.
As Elliot pushes his boxers down, she begins pulling her underwear off.
The moment she opens her legs for him and exposes the wet, pink – slightly red folds of skin there, he releases another embellished sigh.
“Mm …” Elliot shakes his head.
“ Hm yourself. ” Olivia teases, her voice raspy as she peers down at what he has for her. He’s large. Fully erect. Pink at the tip, which tells her he’s ready for her. She swears she can already see a slight glisten there, resting just on the very top.
Olivia raises up just enough to reach behind and unclasp her bra, and like he needed anymore encouragement, He lowers himself down on top of her slowly. The moment her breasts fall loose from the white material, he swears he’s never seen a woman as beautiful as she is. Elliot helps her fully remove the bra and it ends up on the floor with the rest of their clothes, sunbathed and lying on the old wooden floor.
When it comes to him? She’s seen nice looking men. Sure. But there’s something about him. Something about the way Elliot is built. The way he talks in that low voice. The one he’s been speaking to her in for the past few minutes when words are exchanged. His eyes are blue and relieving in the heat. They remind her of winter or a cool stream of water.
But now he stands completely naked before her as she’s taking him in completely. The particular throb that was temporarily relieved by her pleasuring herself has returned with a vengeance.
“Let me just …” Olivia begins to wiggle around underneath him a bit, moving so that she’s laying longways of the bed, instead of across it. Otherwise they’d both be hanging off. She lays her head on his pillow and he hovers above her, nudging her legs open.
Elliot leans down and presses his forehead to hers. Olivia brings both arms above her head and he takes that as an invitation to pin her – so he does. His fingers lace in with hers and he gives them a slight squeeze as he positions himself at her entrance.
“ Oh …” Olivia whimpers when she feels him nudging his way in. She gives a slight rock forward and that’s how it happens. How he slowly begins to slip inside her.
Elliot groans, burying his face in the crook of her neck. His free hand begins to roam her body – coming to her breast where he begins to massage and palm against her. His thumb circles her nipple in slow, tantalizing motions as he sinks further and further into her.
Olivia’s already shaking. Sweating. But then again, so is he. She’s squeezing his hand, the one she has, so hard that has to squeeze back just to let her know that she’s being a little rough.
“You feel good …” Elliot whispers.
The sun casts on the side of their nude bodies in such a way that they somehow look otherworldly laying there together. Her knees are drawn into her stomach, feet dangling so that they’re nearly touching the backs of her thighs. His hand on her breast, which isn't nearly big enough to hold them completely.
Another exaggerated breath from him as he sinks so far into her that there’s nowhere else to go. He doesn’t want to go anywhere else. He could stay right here forever.
“You okay?” Elliot asks breathlessly.
“Mhmm …” Olivia nods quickly, bottom lip tucked in between her teeth.
Elliot jolts forward suddenly, sending them both upwards in the bed.
Olivia cries out.
Another. Deeper, a little rougher.
“How’s that?” Elliot asks, wanting to make sure he isn’t being too rough.
“Mhm … more.” She can barely speak. Everytime he moves against her, her eyes roll back a little. Olivia moves her hand from his, and brings both of them to come rest at his lower back.
Elliot thrusts again, this time, that metal headboard hits the wall.
“ Oh!” Comes from her shakily. She digs her fingers into his lower back.
Elliot begins his rhythm. In and out. In and out. It’s slow at first, but his strokes are steady and firm with each thrust.
“Harder.” Olivia breathes out, leaning up to capture his lips with her own.
Elliot follows her command and begins pumping into her vigorously. He can feel the shake of her thighs around his hips and that alone sends little waves of pleasure through him. She’s wet around him, tight from her first orgasm. But the one that’s building in the pit of her stomach, she knows is going to send her somewhere else. Maybe somewhere far from Lombardy.
“Kiss me.” Elliot huffs down at her breathlessly, so he leans in and brings her bottom lip into his mouth.
They exchange heated, deep kisses in the middle of their fervent affair. He’s sunk so deeply inside her that for a moment, she almost tells him it’s too much. But everytime he thrusts forward, the little sounds of pleasure that escape her lips rush and flood over any thought related to stopping.
She doesn’t want to stop. Ever.
She could stay just like this for the rest of her life – on this pathetic little bed with him. With her pathetic little self.
His hips work against hers, the sounds of vigorous skin on skin filling the room. Elliot’s head drops in the crook of her neck and she musters the energy, in the moment, to look out the window that’s facing them from the bedroom. Her eyes lock on the tree branch, gently swaying in the wind – light reflecting off of it somehow, even if it’s deep evergreens. It’s so sunny out. Hot, still.
She’s burning up. Sweating so much that she has to reach up from his lower back and wipe her forehead so the salty droplets don’t fall in her eyes.
Olivia begins to writhe and move around underneath him, arching her back against his chest to let him know to keep going. she pants, placing one hand on the back of his neck. It’s wet, covered in evidence of the Lombardy heatwave.
Elliot begins slowing down and she whimpers in response, eyebrows furrowed. She reaches with both hands to cup his face in her hands and narrows her eyes at him. “What is it?” She whispers, absolutely out of breath.
“Just need to slow down for a minute … not gonna last.” Elliot shakes his head.
Olivia smiles, wide, so that her cheeks are full. He smiles back, eyes locked on hers. Intensely blue.
You’re done for. You never had a chance, you know that right? From the moment he took your hand into his, and made that dumb joke, you were done for. How does it feel? Does it feel good enough to ruin your marriage over?
“Oh yes …” Olivia grunts as they start back up again. But she can tell his stamina is deteriorating.
“Liv … I’m gonna come ….” Elliot pants against her neck.
She’s not there yet. She’s close, but not quite.
“I …” Elliot rubs his cheek against hers. “I’m gonna come …” He warns.
“It’s okay, come.” Olivia runs her hands over his back almost in a comforting way. “Let go … I want you to.”
Elliot’s breathing intensifies and he begins thrusting into her more quickly again.
“ Uhhhh ….” Elliot begins letting go and when he feels her open her legs a little further for him so that they’re practically just dangling in the air, he jolts forward a few more times before she feels him begin to release inside her.
“That’s it …” Olivia pants, hands rubbing the back of his neck. “You feel so good.”
Elliot jerks his hips forward. That’s when she really feels the warmth coming from him, rush into her. Her eyes widen slightly and she can’t help but release a soft moan at the sensation.
Elliot’s hips slow until they come to a dead stop. He lies there, trying to collect his breathing. He looks up at her, bringing his face from the side of the pillow, and leans down to kiss her on the lips.
Olivia is a little surprised, because she expects him, for a moment, to roll off her and be done. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened in her life but, still — she’d be satisfied, as strange as it sounds.
But Elliot simply pulls himself from her, gently, and begins placing open mouthed kisses across her breasts. He doesn’t spend a lot of time there, but he makes sure to kiss and suck on what he comes into contact with on his way down.
Elliot’s lips trail down the valley of her breasts, her stomach —
“Oh, you don’t have to …” Olivia whispers, shaking her head.
Elliot raises up and scowls at her … as if.
“Open …” Elliot breathes out.
Olivia immediately opens her legs and when she feels his mouth kiss the insides of her thighs, she squirms.
Just a little more and I’m there with you.
“Please …” Olivia raises both arms above her head, looking down the best she can to see what he does next.
From Elliot’s view, he can see what he’s left behind pool from her. A rich white liquid, thick, leaking from where he just was. Elliot scoots over just a bit so he can find his swimming trunks that are lying on the ground near the rest of their clothes.
Elliot makes a gentle wiping motion between her folds, specifically at her entrance in efforts to clean her up a little. When he’s satisfied – back to the floor with the mustard yellow trunks.
Elliot wastes no more time. He taps her thighs on both sides, signaling for her to throw them over his shoulders. So she does. Elliot leans in and envelops his mouth around her swollen, pink clit.
“Mm …” Olivia whimpers, already rocking her hips against his mouth.
His tongue swirls out, lapping at her arousal. Probably some of his own. Elliot begins to suck and tease against her clit, which would be enough to make her come, but she can feel his fingers sink into her, one at a time until she’s full with his two but her three.
“Oh …” Olivia’s hands fly to her face and she covers her eyes — elbows in the air.
“Mmm …” Elliot raises up just for a moment – he’s chin, his facial hair, is wet from her. “You taste so good …. You’re so beautiful.” Elliot breathes out before bringing his mouth back down to devour her again.
There it is. That tickle … the one you’ve been fantasizing about. The tickle of his goatee against you. Against your thighs.
“Gonna come ….” Olivia groans, her hands still over her face.
“So close …”
“Uh ….. Uhhh …. Elliot …. Elliot!”
Olivia begins to shake violently. She arches her back into the air, crying out into nothing. She wonders how the house carries her sounds. She has no idea though that they’ve both been so loud that if anyone were to be in the house, they would be able to hear them from downstairs.
They’re that enthralled with one another.
Elliot continues to lick, suck, and gently tease her with nibbles until he’s sure she’s finished. He brings his fingers from her and when he does, some of him comes right along with them.
“Mm …” Elliot scoots up on his knees and licks his lips.
He reaches for her wrists to pull her hands away from her face. When she looks up at him, there above her, he’s smiling. It’s radiant, as always.But there’s something different about the way he’s looking at her now.
I’m there with you.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
It’s dark. Night time. Neither of them have bothered to get out of bed. They’re both exhausted from each other in the best ways possible. Soft blue hues cast upon their faces as they lie there turned towards one another. His hand comes up to gently caress her hair – which is for the most part, wet.
I love you.
“My friend Olivia …” Elliot whispers.
I love you too.
“My friend Elliot …” Olivia smiles lazily.
Silence between them. Crickets. Old house sounds.
“ My friend Olivia.” Olivia says this time.
Blue eyes squint in amusement at her, and even in the dark, she can see it. His thumb strokes her cheek tenderly as he scoots in a little closer to her. Pretty brown eyes stare back at him, blinking rapidly in wonderment. Elliot lets out a breathy sound and presses his mouth against hers for what seems like the millionth time.
I’d like a million more.
“My friend Elliot.” Elliot whispers hotly against her lips.
Olivia makes her way on top of him and he wraps both of his arms around her — his hands flat against her back.
Soft laughter fills the room, muffled by their mouths on each other.
I’ll love you. And you’ll love me. And because we love each other, nothing else will matter.
Chapter 11: 11.
Morning comes. Cleverly works its way through the brown shutter that’s closed on one side, peeking out in soft orange lines that cast on the bed. On him. He’s asleep, lying there on his stomach. His face is buried in his pillow. The soft rise of his back, indicating that he’s resting well, is what she pays attention to the most as she leans against the doorframe of the bathroom, brushing her teeth.
Olivia is dressed only in the underwear she had taken off for him the day before. Her bra, which peeks out from a ripped open shirt. She didn’t bother putting the leggings back on and probably didn’t need to even go this far because a bath is coming soon anyways. She hasn’t been up that long and hadn’t been able to wake him by fidgeting around on the bed. So she had moved into the bathroom and began brushing her teeth, hoping that the sounds of the water running would wake him. But it didn’t.
Olivia wanders back into the bathroom, turning on her heel, and goes over to the sink where she spits the toothpaste into it and rinses her mouth off. She gives her hand a little shake into the sink, droplets spewing from her fingers.
She reaches for the towel and begins to pat her mouth dry and as she does so, she teters on one foot to peek into the room at him, to see if he’s still awake.
Olivia sighs and puts the towel back on the sink, then makes her way into the bedroom again. She goes over to the window and looks out. Then back at Elliot. Then out. Back at him.
Wake up. Say good morning to me.
Olivia’s eyes flicker around the room briefly, trying to figure out how she can wake him up without being too obvious. She tucks her bottom lip into her mouth and glances over to the stacks of books on the desk beside where she’s standing. Delighted with her idea, she smirks a little and reaches for a book.
A heavy book.
Olivia holds it in both, then one hand before letting it slip from her palm and …
Olivia sighs heavily, leaning down to pick the book back up. When she rises, she sees blue eyes staring back at her. He’s still lying on his stomach, but his eyes are open and gazing at her, lustrous but sleepy.
“ Sorry …” Olivia whispers, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear.
“C’mere …” Elliot whispers back.
Olivia saunters over to the bed and as she does, Elliot turns on his back and reaches for her. She comes to him, straddling his hips only to lay the side of her face on his chest. They inhale one another, deeply. That sound alone fills the room.
“ Good morning .” Elliot kisses the very top of her head. She snuggles her face into his chest and he can feel her smile against his skin.
“Morning.” Olivia breathes out faintly, before bringing her chin to rest on his chest so she can look up at him.
Elliot reaches up and strokes back a piece of hair from her face.
“Yesterday … last night. All of it was …” Elliot smiles, flashing white teeth. “Amazing.”
“Felt like a dream.” Olivia smiles, brown eyes tired.
You feel like a dream.
“Do you regret it?” Elliot’s words come out bluntly, but his tone is soft.
“I feel like I should say yes.” Olivia whispers, pressing a kiss against his peck.
“But?” Elliot asks.
Olivia doesn’t respond. Instead, she scoots up a little so she can kiss him. Her lips press against his, and he immediately responds, kissing her back with an intensity that she deems almost too much for this early in the morning, though she would never complain.
“Did you brush your teeth?” Elliot asks when they finally break away.
“Hmm …” She nods.
Elliot smacks his lips together playfully. “Minty.”
“You should do the same.” Olivia arches a brow, poking at his ribs.
“You’ll be begging me to breathe in your face in the morning, give it time.” Elliot teases.
“No.” Olivia laughs, shaking her head and crawling off of him only to lie down next to him in the tiny space available for her. It’s not a very big bed. They are in the guest room, afterall.
They lie like that for a while, kissing. Occasionally touching each other. Basking.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The phone rings and Olivia runs down the stairs as if her life depends on it. Thump, thump, thump, thump. She hasn’t run like that in a minute. So when she comes to the phone, she’s completely out of breath.
“Hello?” Olivia asks, panting heavily.
Elliot’s sauntering down after her unbothered , but a curious expression on his face.
“Liv? I tried calling your cell, is everything okay?” Trevor asks from the other end. Elliot comes to stand at the foot of the stairs, leaning against the railing with one hand. The house is so quiet that he can hear what Trevor is saying to her somewhat.
“Y-yeah, no. Everything is fine. I didn’t hear it.” Olivia glances over at Elliot with wide eyes.
“I called like four times.” Trevor laughs.
“Are you sure everything is alright?” Trevor asks, his tone dropping a little.
“Everything’s fine.” Olivia turns around so that the cord of the landline wraps around her waist. She’s dressed now, in a maxi dress. Sleeveless and navy blue with little pink flowers.
You put it on for him, don’t even pretend you didn’t.
“I just wanted to call and let you know that I’m going to be gone a little longer than intended. I know I said a couple days but honey …” Trevor sighs.
Elliot cocks an eyebrow.
“There’s just so much going on here right now. They’re in the middle of an estate war and it’s just … it’s insane. Forgive me?” Trevor asks, putting on a charming tone.
Olivia looks over her shoulder at Elliot, who is doing nothing to hide the growing smile of satisfaction on his lips.
“I understand.” Olivia nods, still a little breathless.
“I’ll make it up to you. We can go to that restaurant you like when I come home. Elliot too. How is he doing? Hope he’s not annoying you too much.” Trevor laughs.
“ Ah, well … you know. He does his thing, I do mine.” Olivia states. She tenses the moment she feels his arms wrap around her from behind. He’s wearing jeans, but no shirt – and she can feel his bare chest pressed against the backs of her biceps.
“Staying out of each other’s hair then? What’s he been doing?” Trevor asks.
“He spends a lot of time out by the pool. Goes off walking, taking …” Olivia begins her tall tale, but she feels Elliot kiss the side of her neck. “Taking pictures.” She smacks his hand away from her waist but he lets out a silent laugh, bending forward just enough to rest his forehead on her shoulder.
“Sounds like everything is good then. Let him know that I’ll still be around to drive him to Rome next week.” Trevor states.
Elliot releases Olivia by her waist, only to walk in front of her and bring out his two fingers, motioning give it to me with them.
Olivia shakes her head no.
“Let me talk to him.” Elliot mouths.
“No.” Olivia mouths back.
Elliot presses his lips together in annoyance and reaches for the phone, gently prying it from her fingers.
“No!” Olivia whispers.
“Trevor!” Elliot exclaims.
“Elliot! How ya holding up? Liv taken you into town yet?” He asks.
She’s taken me somewhere alright.
“Not yet. Hoping to soon, if I can ever catch up with her. She runs around the house like a mad woman.” Elliot laughs nonchalantly.
Olivia pouts at him. The cord is still wrapped around her waist so Elliot reaches out and twirls the coils around his index finger, almost roping her to him.
“She took off upstairs again. See? I don’t know how you do it.” Elliot jokes. Clearly Olivia is standing right in front of him.
“Ahh, ahhh.” Trevor laughs, “Alright. Well, I’ll let you go then. Tell her I’ll call again tonight.” He adds.
“Will do. Ciao .” Elliot grins.
“Spoken like a dweller already.” Trevor chuckles, “ Ciao .”
Elliot swings the cord from around Olivia’s waist and hangs the phone up.
“You’re a prick.” Olivia states, staring at him with an unpleasant expression on her face.
“Sorry?” Elliot asks.
“A prick.” She replies, brushing past him and intentionally knocking into his shoulder.
“You made it sound like we never see each other.” Elliot shrugs. “He’s not going to buy that.”
Olivia spins around, midway of the hall and cocks her head. “Buy what? There’s nothing to buy. Just let me talk and you be quiet.” Olivia huffs.
“Nothing to buy?” Elliot laughs, following her as she makes her way outside towards the patio. Through the kitchen, and out of the second set of french doors.
“You know what I mean.” Olivia states.
Silence between them. Birds … the pool in the water swaying and swaying.
“Nah, I don’t.” Elliot follows her as she passes by the patio and goes down the three small stone steps that lead towards the pool. As she’s walking, she pulls her sunglasses down from the top of her head and puts them on.
“You’re not regretting what happened are you?” Elliot asks, tilting his head.
Olivia turns around to face him and he stops just in time to make sure they don’t run into one another.
“No.” Her response comes out ragged. Breathless. Him being this close to her makes her that way.
“I don’t believe you.” Elliot replies, eyes flickering down to her lips.
“ Stop that.” Olivia smirks.
“Stop what?” Elliot grins wildly. He knows what she’s referring to. The way he’s looking at her.
“Like you …” She trails off, shaking her head.
“Like I what, Captain?” Elliot asks, raising both eyebrows.
Olivia cheeks flush red. She pulls her sunglasses down just a bit to see him more clearly and squints her eyes in effort to combat the sun glaring down on them.
“Like you want to …”
“Uh-huh?” Elliot asks.
Olivia takes a deep breath.
“I’m going to go inside to get something to eat. Want something?” Elliot asks.
“No, it’s too hot.” Olivia shakes her head and clears her throat. Their little exchange has left it a little dry.
Olivia sits down in the lounge chair and lies back.
Elliot turns to walk away, but stops midway to turn around again. “You look beautiful, by the way.”
Olivia turns her head to look at him.
“Go eat, Stabler.” She grins.
“Mhm.” Elliot salutes her and makes his way into the house.
. . . . . . . . . .
Lying in the shade, under the tree by the pool is the coolest place on the property. So, logically, she decides to stay there. An hour passes before Elliot reemerges from the house with a cut up bowl of fruit.
Her sunglasses are off, resting on top of her head. She corners her brown eyes around at him.
“Eat.” Elliot insists, extending the small white bowl out to her. Strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple.
Olivia cocks a brow at him and lets out a soft sigh before reaching up and taking the fruit bowl from him. She sits it down on the table to her side and rests her head back against the chair.
Elliot rolls his eyes and sits down on the foot rest next to her legs. She raises her head back up to look at him. “What?” She asks.
“You should eat.” Elliot states again.
“I will, Elliot. I get sick if I eat in …” She waves around. “This. Three weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to have eggs and bacon. Let’s just say I ended up seeing it again.” She explains.
“Yeah, but you should have some little something.” Elliot’s voice lowers.
Olivia tilts her head down at him and peers up. She sighs softly and reaches for the bowl of fruit. She picks up a strawberry and takes a bite from it. “Happy?” She asks, her mouth full. She begins picking through the fruit for the strawberries.
“Very.” Elliot beams.
. . . . . . . . .
His pants are down around his ankles as she lays on the couch, her own bare legs wrapped around him. Her dress is pushed up in a bunch around her waist as he thrusts against her.
How had this started?
Well, she had moved to the living room as the day went on. He’d come in to see what she was doing and one thing had led to another and … well …
“Unnh,” Leaves her mouth as he moves in solid strokes.
“ Liv …” He whispers. “God, you feel so fucking good. So tight.” He adds, hot and breathy against her lips.
One of Olivia’s hands came to brace on the back of his neck, the other on his lower back. She holds him in place, her silent little way of telling him not to go anywhere.
Don’t leave me. I can’t take it.
“I’m close.” Olivia pants.
“Just come.” Elliot encourages her.
“So so close …” She whimpers.
“Gonna make you come.”
“Yeah?” That wound little voice leaves her.
“Yeah …” Elliot whispers, thrusting forward. He brings one hand between their bodies and it disappears under her dress. Her back arches the moment his fingers begin to graze against her clit.
I love how you move for me.
It hits them all at once. The moment she begins to clutch and flutter around him, he follows shortly after, releasing his heat into her own. Their sounds, passionate and suffocating of any other, fill the room. She swears for a moment she can hear them bounce off the strings of the piano.
Elliot lies on top of Olivia for what seems like eternity before raising up and reaching between them again to pull himself from her. She whimpers softly and when Elliot scoots up long enough to tuck himself back into his pants, she closes her legs and pulls her dress down.
“I’m sorry about the phone thing.” Elliot blurts out, a slight grimace on his face.
Olivia, still breathless, furrows her eyebrows. “What?”
“I shouldn’t have teased you like that with the phone. It was a wrong and I’m sorry.” Elliot says, staring down at her.
Her expression relaxes.
“It’s okay.” Olivia whispers.
Elliot comes to lay back down on top of her, supporting his weight on either side of the small space of the couch that’s left. “I don’t want you to think I’m trying to … God, this is going to come out ridiculous …” He sighs.
Olivia reaches up, cupping one cheek in the palm of her hand. “Tell me.”
“Don’t want you to think that I’m trying to mess your life up. More than I already have.” Elliot says, his voice low.
Tears fill Olivia’s eyes. Not much, but they become glassy enough so that he notices them and in return, his eyes do the same. He’s emotional? Over the thought of …
Don’t let your mind run away with you. You know already that this is all this can ever be. She’s not going to leave him. You know that.
“We’ve both made choices.” She whispers.
“I egged you on. I feel …”
“Oh …” Olivia breathes out.
Now that he’s had you, he doesn’t want you anymore.
“I’m sorry, Liv. I got such … tunnel vision and when I came here I just … couldn’t control myself. But I want you to know that I don’t want to hurt you and it’s never been my intention to disrupt your life.” Elliot’s voice comes out whispery, raspy.
Olivia rolls her head so that it’s facing the windows, three in a row, wide open but high enough so that no one can look through them. The arches allow a prominent view of the sky, the clouds, and sometimes – the sunset. Sunshine casts in on them on this particular day.
“Are you telling me you don’t want to do this anymore?” Olivia asks. Her voice cracks and she silently scolds herself.
“What?” Elliot laughs. “No … no.” He shakes his head.
Olivia bursts into tears.
“Hey … hey.” He brings his hand up to her cheek and wipes them away every time a salty droplet spills from her eyes. “I want you. I want you. I …”
Olivia brings her hands to her face and covers her eyes with her palms. “I’m not crazy, I promise.” She weeps, rubbing at her eyes.
“I don’t think that.” Elliot shakes his head, reaching for her wrists to pull her hands away.
She sniffs, wiping away her own tears this time. She’s not sure what triggered that little outburst, but it’s the first time she’s been emotional in front of him. Really, truly, emotional.
“Hey …” Elliot’s voice is low. “My friend Olivia …”
Olivia corners her eyes, red and puffy, around to meet Elliot’s icy blue ones.
“ My friend …” Elliot whispers, a dumb little grin on his lips.
Olivia releases a soft laugh, rolling her eyes up as she wipes underneath her eyes. She’s sure her makeup is ruined now.
“My friend, Elliot.”
He won’t be able to fill the space inside you forever.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Hours pass and the sun is making its way to go down and disappear for the night. They end up in the pool to take the edge off of the evening heat. Elliot brought his camera from inside the house, so he sits in one of the lounge chairs, winding the film up.
Olivia swims to the edge of the pull and props her arms up to keep from sinking. “Aren’t you coming back in?” She asks, tilting her head.
“Come out for a minute?” Elliot asks.
“For what?” Olivia asks, hair slicked back and wet.
“Just come out for a minute.” Elliot laughs, standing to his feet.
Olivia sighs and pushes herself up and out of the pool before making her way over to Elliot.
“Ohhh, no. No pictures.” Olivia waves her hand the moment she sees him positioning the camera towards them.
“Just one. Of us together.” Elliot says pleadingly.
“ Elliot …” She whines. “No, I just … I look–”
“You look beautiful. Come on, please? One. Just one.” Elliot’s voice lowers. Softens in the way that makes her absolutely melt.
Olivia smiles timidly and moves in towards him. He wraps an arm around her.
“You could just use your cell. Cell phones are for selfies.” Olivia teases.
“Film is for feelings.” Elliot replies.
“ Oh-ho ! So prestigious of you to say.” She shimmies and laughs.
He gets her just then. When she smiles. Elliot tilts his head down and smiles a bit. He snaps the photo.
I’ll take your photo so that when I no longer have you, I may fool myself.
Chapter 12: 12.
Nightfall takes the edge off, as it usually does, of the heat. Just enough to make it bearable. Cicadas and crickets gather to embellish the otherwise quiet rural property. Elliot stands in his bedroom, watching the closed bathroom door – waiting for her to come out and join him. Or maybe she’ll pass him by and go into her own room. Into her and Trevor’s bed.
That thought alone twists something deep inside his gut, so in effort to guide it into quietness, he lifts both arms and braces them on either side of the window frame and looks out. The blue-ish glow bounces off everything it seems. Touches the grass in a much different way than the kiss of the sun does.
Elliot can hear her moving around in the bathroom, so occasionally, he’ll peer over to the door and smile. He hopes his door will be the one she opens and comes into. That he won’t hear the opening and closing of the one that leads into her room.
Come say goodnight to me.
Olivia opens his door and there she stands, fresh out of the bath. Elliot turns around immediately and smiles so fully that his cheeks turn upwards, causing his eyes to squint with a slightness.
“Can I stay in here tonight?” Olivia asks.
That’s a bad idea and you know it. You’re going to get attached to him.
Elliot doesn’t say a word. He nods, gentle and sure.
You can stay every night.
Olivia saunters over to him and Elliot meets her halfway, one of the bedroom windows – the larger one, is directly in the center of them so when they come together, blackness envelopes their forms, forming two soft silhouettes, one taller than the other.
Olivia wraps her arms around his bare waist and buries her head into his him. She inhales deeply, and he follows suit almost as if she’s giving him permission. Lemon and honey. Sandalwood … and his smell.
“You smell like New York.” Olivia whispers.
“I hope that’s a good thing.” Elliot replies, releasing another one of his little “ Hm, hm, hm.” laughs.
You smell like home.
“Mhm …” Olivia hums, nuzzling her face against him.
“Good because, there’s a variety of smells there and … would hate to think I was being associated with one of the less pleasant.” Elliot jokes and she chuckles against him. “I’ll leave you one of my shirts when it’s time.” Elliot adds softly.
Elliot feels her go limp against him and he knows that his words have knocked some kind of will from her. He holds onto her tighter. Olivia breathes out against his chest and flattens her hands to run up his back. She pulls back just enough to look at him and if a light were on, he’d be able to see the tears gathering in her eyes. Then again, she may be able to see them in his too.
“I wish you would’ve transferred. Before …”
Before I married him.
“Me too …”
She was still alive though.
“Could’ve seen the Captain in action.” Elliot teases, both arms still around her.
One lip curls up. Just one. “Yeah …” Olivia whispers.
The few short days they had spent together so far have been filled with unpredictable passion. But as they slip into each other further, they realize that the real enemy of what’s taking place between them is time. Had he come before Trevor, maybe their path would be clearer. But he had been married for years before she even began dating Trevor.
Their seasons had never aligned. She considers it vicious to meet someone and fall so quickly but know at the end of the day you'll never be able to have them, because often, people think of cruelty as something you can only do to each other rather than life itself being barbarous in nature, and what it can do to us. Olivia doesn’t have it in her to be cruel to Trevor, so perhaps she’ll accept the cruelty that her and Elliot’s unalignment will inevitably inflict on her, once she has to let him go. Once she decides to be fair and just.
But often, fate is a cruel master. It dictates and spins people around until they’re so drunk on one another that by the time they hit the ground, there’s little to no chance of them ever being able to forget what it feels like to fly again. And so they go through the rest of their lives despising the ground they walk on, even if it catches them to begin with.
Elliot brings his fingers to her chin and tips her face to look at him. Or rather to reach her lips, because he leans in just a little. “My friend Olivia …” He smiles.
Olivia’s eyes flutter shut, only to reopen halfway. She smiles. “My friend Elliot …” She whispers back to him.
Elliot leans in and presses his lips to hers softly. Kiss. Her mouth is the first to open, allowing his tongue in. She hasn’t kissed a man like this in years. He does it differently than anyone else she’s ever kissed. The moment he nips at her bottom lip, she releases a soft sound.
When he pulls back and stares into her eyes, she looks back at him with no veil. It’s raw and strangely alluring, to want to be this involved with him.
“ Mm …” Comes from her, a little wound. Almost like she’s fighting back tears, but she’s not.
“What is it?” Elliot asks.
I want to bare my soul to you.
“What was she like?” Olivia asks.
Crickets. Cicadas. Silence between them.
“She was a fantastic mother. And every time I watched her with our kids … how kind, how understanding she was … it made me love her more. Maybe not always in the ways some people might think. But it was a real feeling. We made wonderful kids together and she …. Nurtured them in a way that I couldn’t. In a way that wasn’t in me to give, I think. We had our rough patches. She always felt I was … distant.” Elliot whispers down at Olivia. “Maybe I was in more ways than I should have been. There was always a part of me that held back …” He goes quiet.
“Held back?” Olivia asks.
Elliot smiles a little and contemplates going any further. Men are interesting, they keep feelings inside until they’re bottled up and boil into rage. It’s not his first rodeo with that particular situation. Rage. But that was a long time ago. He’s softer now. Just soft enough so that the woman in front of him can scratch at the surface of what’s really underneath all the cockiness and sometimes arrogance.
“I don’t think I was ever going to really bare my soul to her.” Elliot admits. “But I miss her … I miss that she tried every day to reach in. I’ve spent a lot of time wishing I would’ve let her.” Elliot’s voice cracks.
“And now?” Olivia asks, her hands coming to rest on the sides of his neck.
“Turns out you’re already up to your shoulders in me.” Elliot replies, his tone soft.
Olivia had recognized the grief immediately. The exterior that he had built initially when he first came. Callous and somewhat brute. Nonchalant about the desire to have another man’s wife. Only after she had spoon fed him some of her own, did he seem to become guilty.
She releases a deep breath and he begins to back her up against the bed slowly. His lips press against hers, and she begins to kiss him back with subtle urgency. They won’t be together tonight. Not in that way. But they want each other in other ways. Just to be close and touched by someone who understands.
Olivia is the first to lay down. Elliot follows, bringing her hands above her head. His fingers lace in with hers. And in the dark room, they stay like that for a while. Just kissing and being close. Dodging the heat by not exerting one another in other ways.
Eventually, they’ll fall asleep like that. His head on her chest. Cramped in a small bed, but so full of each other.
Shall I sleep within your bed
River of unhappiness
Hold your hands upon my head
Till I breathe my last breath
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Olivia leans against the counter of the kitchen island. And he’s close. So close in fact that between the subtle movements they make, their hips knock together. Elliot’s hands are braced on the edges of the counter, one on each side of her. She raises her glass of lemonade to her lips and takes a drink, then holds it forward to offer him a sip. Elliot raises one hand from the counter and takes it from her, drinking from her side of the glass intentionally.
“Flirt.” Olivia giggles, tossing her head back briefly.
“Who me?” Elliot teases, sitting the glass down and then leaning into her.
“ You are.” Olivia sings, wrapping both arms around him. Elliot leans down and begins placing soft kisses against her neck.
“Keep doing that and we’re not going anywhere.” Olivia whispers, tilting her head.
“Sounds so, so awful.” Elliot grins against her jawline.
“I expect you to behave.” Olivia reminds him.
They can’t exactly go into town hanging all over each other. He knows that already.
“I never misbehave.” Elliot shakes his head, eyes dancing all over her face. She’s in another dress today. Green. Billowy at the calf. Little white buttons holding it together in the front.
“You’re the poster boy for misbehaving, my friend.” Olivia scoffs, slapping his arm playfully.
“I don’t think you mind it.” Elliot smirks.
Olivia can’t help but crack a soft smile at his comment. Because he’s right. She likes it when he misbehaves.
She turns around so that her back is to him. “See,” He says. “You just egg me on …” Elliot grins wildly against her ear. He places another kiss there.
“Ready to go?” Olivia asks, completely ignoring his statement.
. . . . . . . .
The sun is out, per usual. It’s humid today but not as bad as it was yesterday, which is little relief. Still, it’s hot to be so close to the evening. Olivia is thrilled to be able to have access to the air conditioning in the car regardless.
Her car, the one she rarely drives, is an olive colored fiat. Not exactly something she would drive back in New York. But here, it suits the purpose of going back and forth to Crema.
“No SUV?” Elliot teases, coming to the passenger side.
“You can walk.” Olivia retorts, smirking as she climbs into the driver’s side.
Elliot’s eyes widen slightly at her threat, so he decides to shut up and get in the car – per her silent instruction.
. . . . . . . .
The city of Crema is a far cry from the rural villa Olivia lives in. Elliot realizes the closer they get to the city, just how different it is.
“Wow.” Elliot repeats for the millionth time. It really is beautiful. The Italian architecture makes every building look like an important landmark and funnily enough, much of it is. As they drive into town, he takes in everything from the cobblestone streets and sidewalks, to the way the sun casts down upon the bright yellows and terracottas the city has to offer. There are rows and rows of buildings that make it seem like they all hold hands, but he’s sure what goes on inside of them varies. He rolls down his window and begins snapping photos of everything around him.
“Wait until you see Rome.” Olivia giggles, turning the corner to continue her drive to Giulia’s apartment building. “ You’re gonna love it there .” Olivia says sweetly.
I hope you stay close to me.
Olivia pulls up to the side of the street and turns off the engine. She reaches into the backseat for her purse, a tiny leather one and brings it up front. After she slides her car keys into it, she looks over at Elliot and brings her sunglasses to rest on top of her head.
“Remember, behave. I think you and Angelo will get along though.” Olivia winks.
“Oh? Why’s that?” Elliot asks, eyebrows knitted.
Olivia climbs out of the car and bends down enough to look at Elliot, who is still seated. “Because he’s a little bit of an asshole too but people still like him.” She smiles innocently at Elliot and shuts the door. Elliot’s expression drops.
Olivia walks around the front of the car and waits for Elliot to get out. Once he does, she begins leading the way up to Giulia and Angelo’s place. It’s a tiny burnt orange building. One apartment is below, the second is above – which is led to by a set of black wrought iron stairs that fit snugly against the side of the building. There’s vinery climbing up the side of the building, by the stairs — contrasting beautifully with the color of the structure.
Olivia makes her way up the stairs, with Elliot – like usual, trailing closely behind her. Just as a way to tease her, he reaches up and pinches the bottom of her ass.
“Stop.” She scolds, whispering so no one can hear. But there’s a subtle smirk on her lips.
Elliot grins up at her and raises his camera to his face. He looks out the viewfinder and snaps a photo of Olivia from behind, walking up the stairs. Much later, when he’s able to review his film, he’ll look at that photo, and deem it as a favorite of her. One of many.
Olivia knocks on Giulia and Angelo’s door. It doesn’t take Angelo long to answer and when he does, he stands there in a white t-shirt, tucked into black trousers. His hair is slicked back with a small piece coming forward in the center of his forehead. Hazel eyes. A little bit of facial hair. A little lanky, but still nice looking.
“Ohhhlivia!” He exclaims. “Come in, come in.” He ushers her in. “I do not know who you are but come in, come in!” Angelo laughs, referring to Elliot.
“This is my friend, Elliot.” Olivia reaches and touches Elliot’s arm as they make their way into the tiny apartment.
Giulia stands up slowly from the couch, with one hand on her stomach. “ Oh-ho! You brought him!” Giulia exclaims – her tone coming out more as a growl than anything. She claps her hands together excitedly and makes her way over to them.
Angelo furrows his eyebrows at his wife, who is a little too excited to meet their guest.
“You have met?” Angelo asks.
“ Ah, I did. He is Olivia’s house guest. I told you about him.” Giulia laughs it off.
Olivia remains quiet, an awkward smile on her face. Elliot looks back and forth between Angelo, grinning ear to ear.
“You didn’t.” Angelo’s voice lowers.
Giulia playfully swaps at Angelo’s chest. “Sure I did.” She insists, shaking her head.
Olivia clears her throat. “How’s the baby?” She asks.
“Wonderful.” Angelo beams.
“ Actually, she’s kicking the uh … how do you say? Shit out of me. ” Giulia smiles nonchalantly. “So she may be wonderful but I …. I want her to come out.” Giulia clasps her hands together.
“Who wants a drink?” Angelo asks, sighing over his wife’s … antics.
“We can’t, we drove in and I was going to show Elliot around after we checked in on Giu–” Olivia begins, but Angelo chimes in.
“Nonsense!” Angelo states, throwing both hands out in little finger to thumb motions. Everyone becomes quietened by his outburst and stares at him. “Everyone will stay for dinner.” He brings his hands together in a prayer motion. “I am making Grandma Nelia’s recipe. A ragu.” Angelo states, his voice calming. “May she rest in peace.”
Giulia corners her eyes around at Angelo, sending him a very obvious shut up expression.
“I like Ragu.” Elliot nods. “Buy it all the time.” He adds with a laugh.
“ Don’t .” Olivia shakes her head, hanging it slightly and pressing her lips together.
Angelo stares at Elliot for a moment, a complete look of unamusement on his face.
Suddenly, Angelo bursts into laughter. “Ha! He’s a funny guy.” Angelo says to Olivia and shakes his finger at Elliot. “Has anyone ever told you that you look like the uh,” Angelo snaps his fingers. “The cleaning guy. Mr. Clean, isn’t it?” Angelo laughs.
Elliot’s expression drops completely.
“ Oh.” Olivia fights back a laugh.
“Enough of the dick wars, let’s get a drink.” Giulia rolls her eyes.
“You cannot drink.” Angelo states, following Giulia into the kitchen.
“I can have a little bit.”
“No you can’t.”
Olivia slowly looks over at Elliot, who looks like he’s still processing the Mr. Clean comment. She smirks and brings her purse from her shoulder to hold in her hand, following Angelo and Giulia into the kitchen.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Elliot stands in the kitchen with Angelo, a beer in hand. He’s watching Angelo make his grandmother’s recipe with a diligence that he can only aspire to ever have. Angelo pinches a bit of parsley from a jar, and sprinkles it on top of the simmering sauce.
Angelo holds his hand up.
“Aht.” He silences Elliot.
Angelo picks up his wooden spoon and begins to delicately stir the red sauce.
Olivia and Giulia sit on the black leather couch together. Olivia sips on a glass of wine and Giulia dramatically rolls her eyes every time she takes a drink of her apple juice.
“I feel like a little child whose parents make them think they’re having a nice drink while everyone else gets all the liquor.” Giulia grumbles.
Olivia takes a sip of her wine and looks behind her shoulder at Angelo and Elliot, who are still in the kitchen – in complete silence.
Olivia takes a few more sips of her wine until there’s just a taste left in the glass. She passes it to Giulia, giving the glass a slight shake as if to say take it, hurry.
“Ohh, Mother Mary.” Giulia beams, taking the glass and downing what little is in it. She passes the glass back to Olivia.
Olivia grins, taking the glass back from Giulia.
“ It’s finished !” Angelo exclaims, causing Elliot to practically bounce back against the small fridge.
“I wish to be drunk, daily .” Giulia’s tone drifts off, taking another sip of her apple juice.
. . . . . . . . . . .
By the time dinner is over, the sun has practically disappeared. As well as an entire bottle of wine, between Olivia, Elliot, and Angelo. Not to count the beers that Elliot and Angelo have had.
“Olivia, are you drunk?” Giulia giggles.
“I’m buzzed.” She sings, shrugging her shoulders lightly and closing her eyes.
“You are a bad liar.” Giulia smirks, watching as Olivia makes her rounds picking up the dishes from the table and carrying them into the kitchen. “Let me help?” Giulia asks.
“Come keep me company while I wash.” Olivia winks, nodding towards the kitchen.
Angelo and Elliot stand on the tiny balcony that overlooks a decent view of Crema. Little yellow lights off in the distance signal that people have begun turning their porch lights on, and the pinkish hue in the distance of the sky illuminates the rooftops beautifully.
“So between us, how is she?” Elliot asks, raising his beer to his lips and tipping it upwards.
Angelo, who has mellowed out quite a bit with Elliot since their first encounter, shrugs lightly. “She’s ignoring it.” He answers, taking a drink of his own beer.
“You have children, yes? You look like you have children.” Angelo states and Elliot corners his blue eyes around at Angelo because it almost sounds like a you’re old comment.
“I do. I have five. Youngest is sixteen.” Elliot nods slowly.
“Are you close?” Angelo asks, running his fingers through his hair.
“We are. Now. Just spoke to my youngest, Eli, yesterday evening.” Elliot replies.
Angelo remains quiet for a moment and reaches out to grab onto the railing of the balcony. He’s quiet, and when Elliot leans down a little to get a better look at his face, he sees there’s tears in his eyes.
“Hey man …” Elliot nudges him.
“It’s hard to love something that could take my wife from me.” Angelo states, taking another drink of beer.
“Is it really that bad?” Elliot asks.
Angelo nods. “She faints. Gets so tired sometimes I have to carry her to bed.” Another drink. “I am afraid for her. Afraid of the day my daughter will be born.” Angelo adds, his voice quiet so Olivia and Giulia can’t hear.
“What do the doctors say?” Elliot asks, his expression sympathetic.
“They suggested she terminate, you know? Early on. But … Giulia wasn’t having that. They said she isn’t viable. She really wants a baby. I told her we can adopt but …” Angelo shakes his head.
“She seems like she’s doing okay.” Elliot replies, his tone soft.
Angelo says nothing. He shakes his head again and corners his hazel eyes around at Elliot.
“She’s a good pretender.” Angelo states. “Think that’s why her and Olivia get on so well.”
Elliot looks over his shoulder at them in the kitchen together, giggling over whatever. He focuses on Olivia.
“So she hasn’t really told Olivia then? How unwell she is?” Elliot asks, looking back to Angelo.
“She tells no one. She doesn’t even tell herself.” Angelo says, a soft sigh following. “I don’t know what I’ll do without her. She’s all I have.” Angelo adds, his voice cracking.
Elliot doesn’t say anything at first. He hangs his head, trying to find the right words.
“But you’ll have your daughter. She’s both of you … and because she’s a part of her … you’ll love her more than you can possibly imagine.” Elliot says.
Angelo looks to Elliot, a soft smile growing on his lips.
“Life is unfair, isn’t it?” Angelo asks.
“Oh, life’s a bitch.” Elliot smirks, trying to lighten the mood – which incites a laugh from Angelo.
“Do I really look like Mr. Clean?” Elliot laughs.
“I am sorry my friend, but you do.” Angelo stands firm on his assessment.
Elliot’s shoulders drop with a sigh.
. . . . . . .
Leaving Angelo and Guilia’s apartment was a challenge. Olivia and Elliot are far from okay to drive, so they end up walking together, hand in hand, trying to figure out how they’re going to get home. They pass through a cobblestone alleyway, illuminated by a light from an overhead apartment door.
Both are too drunk to really care if anyone sees them. Most are in bed anyways.
“We could sleep in the car.” Elliot suggests.
“ We can’t do that.” Olivia laughs, leaning out until she’s practically holding herself up by his hand.
It's been a long, long time since I've memorized your face
It's been four hours now since I've wandered through your place
And when I sleep on your couch I feel very safe
And when you bring the blankets I cover up my face
I do love you
I do love you
“I believe you’re wasted, Captain.” Elliot teases.
“I am completely fine.” Olivia grins, coming to stand upright again. “Maybe we should have taken Giulia’s offer to stay the night.” She runs her fingers through her hair.
“Hm, I don’t know.” Elliot shrugs off her comment, knowing that’s not the best idea. Olivia really isn’t fully aware of how Giulia is doing, so maybe it’s best for her not to see tonight.
Olivia comes to stand in front of Elliot, causing him to come to a complete stop. He wraps both arms around her, and she does the same. “Thought you said I had to behave?” Elliot asks, eyes fixed down on her.
“Nobody’s around.” Olivia whispers, leaning into him.
So he kisses her. Soft and sweet.
“Maybe we should see if we can get a room.” Olivia suggests.
“How suggestive of you, Mrs. Benson.” Elliot grins.
“For sleeping.” Olivia corrects.
“Ah, yes. For sleeping.” Elliot snickers, clearly intoxicated as well.
“My friend, Elliot?” Olivia chuckles.
“Will you come to a hotel with me?” Olivia asks, tilting her head down but peering up at him.
“I’ll have to think about it.” Elliot closes his eyes and shakes his head.
“Don’t take too long.” Olivia sighs, leaning against him, like she does.
Elliot grins down at her.
And when you play guitar I listen to the strings buzz
The metal vibrates underneath your fingers
And when you crochet I feel mesmerized and proud
And I would say I love you, but saying it out loud
It's hard so I won't say it at all
Yes, my friend Olivia, I’ll come with you.
. . . . . . . . .
They end up at the Palazzo Vescovile. Elliot pays for their room and Olivia waits by the stairs that lead to the upper level. Once he has the key to their room, he makes his way over to her and takes her by the hand, where they both walk up together.
Once they actually get inside the room, Olivia kicks her shoes off and Elliot brings his camera from around his neck and lays it on the little entryway table that sits there. A little mahogany one, which is toned in well with the rest of the room. The room itself is old fashioned looking, but nice. The ceiling walls are slanted with large wooden plants in rows against the white paint. There’s a little rooftop window, which looks out over the city. But they would both have to stand on a chair to actually see out of it.
Elliot doesn’t turn a light on at first. The moonlight casts through and illuminates the room perfectly. He closes the door behind them and locks it, then turns to watch her move around the room. Only then does he walk over to one of the bedside table lamps and switch it on – yellow light casts upon the wall. The lamp barely does anything for the room.
Olivia drops her purse at the side of the full size bed and tosses herself down on it.
“What?” Olivia asks, looking up at him – her arms above her head.
“Your dress matches the bedding.” Elliot grins.
“How chic of me.” Olivia hums, closing her eyes.
Elliot walks over to the small air conditioning unit and turns it on full blast.
“God, that feels good.” Olivia sighs, crossing one leg over the other as she lies there.
“Mhm. If I could fit it into your purse I’d take it back to your place.” Elliot jokes, referring to the air conditioner.
“You gonna carry it for me?” Olivia snickers.
“I’m a gentleman.” Elliot retorts.
“Slip it out the window to me, I’ll catch it.” Olivia snorts.
Elliot chuckles, making his way into the bathroom and flipping the light on. He spots a little arrangement of toiletries on the small vanity there. Soap. Shampoo. Shaving cream. A packaged razor. Toothpaste. Mouthwash.
“What are you doing in there?” Olivia asks, sitting up just a little.
Elliot emerges from the bathroom, holding the razor and shaving cream. “Help me? I don’t want to look like Mr. Clean anymore.” He sticks his bottom lip out.
Olivia cackles, throwing her head back. “ You do not ! Don’t let Angelo get to you. Angelo thinks everybody looks like somebody.” She smirks, raising up to sit at the foot of the bed.
Elliot says nothing, but still holds the razor and cream up.
“You really wanna shave it?” Olivia asks.
“It’s leaving marks on your face anyways.” Elliot adds.
Olivia stares at him for a moment before standing to her feet. She makes her way over to Elliot – “You trust me with a razor right now?” Olivia asks, giving him a goofy look.
“Let’s hope you’re a steady hand.” Elliot grins.
Olivia makes her way into the bathroom and finds a washcloth. She wets it, and brings it out so that it’s open and flat against the palm of her hand. In the other, is the waste bin from the bathroom.
“There’s a pair of scissors in my purse. Little ones.” Olivia states.
“You carry scissors in your purse?” Elliot asks, reaching for it at the side of the bed.
“Only because my glock won’t fit.” Olivia jokes.
Elliot glances up at her and shakes his head, then reaches into the purse and fishes out the small pair of grooming scissors. He hands them to her.
Olivia sits the washcloth down on the bed and puts the bin down beside Elliot’s leg.
“Are you sure?” Olivia asks.
“It’s just hair. Cut it.” Elliot looks up at her. She nudges between his legs and takes some of the goatee in between her fingertips. Snip.
Elliot stares up at her the entire time she cuts at the long bits of his facial hair.
“I’m excited to see your face.” Olivia whispers.
“Does that mean you’ll stop looking at my ass now?” Elliot jokes.
“Ssh,” Olivia smirks – Snip, snip.
Olivia lays the scissors down on the bed and picks up the shaving cream. By the time she’s done, her hands are covered in the fluffy white foam. Elliot, has gone from Mr. Clean to Santa Claus.
“We’ll probably have to move into the bathroom.” Olivia’s voice is low.
So they do. When she starts shaving, he’s staring down at her the entire time. Their reflections in the bathroom mirror, should they look, are them standing face to face with his back to the bathroom door – which is opened. Her arm is extended up as she shaves him – tapping the razor into the sink of water each time she brings a clunk of the foam off his face – and hair.
When his face is bare, and nothing is left behind, she uses the washcloth to wipe his face gently.
“There you are.” Olivia whispers, smiling widely up at him.
“It’s nice to see your face.” She adds, her smile fading slowly.
Elliot turns his head to look in the mirror. Elliot Stabler looks back. The goatee had come not long after Kathy died and since then he hadn’t thought about shaving it. His focus drifts to her reflection. He tilts his head a little at her. “You’re so … so beautiful.” Elliot states.
“Next time you can shave my face.” Olivia teases, trying to shrug his complement off.
“Look at me.” Elliot says, his tone dropping into a whisper.
So she does.
Elliot’s eyes lock on hers. He has no words. None that can leave his mouth. But the way he’s looking at her says it all.
And when you play guitar I listen to the strings buzz
The metal vibrates underneath your fingers
And when you crochet I feel mesmerized and proud
And I would say I love you, but saying it out loud
It's hard so I won't say it at all
“I know.” Olivia says, brown eyes becoming glassy. “I know …” She mouths.
I know you love me.
Elliot’s eyes, blue and intense – follow suit and tear up. “Mm.” He nods, and turns to walk towards the bed. Elliot kicks his shoes off. Unbuttons his pants and pushes them down. He leaves the shirt on, funnily enough – the navy blue short sleeved one. His briefs.
Olivia walks over to the bedside lamp and turns it off. Elliot sits on the edge of the bed on the other side, which faces the rooftop window. Blue light casts in on him, and then her once she comes to stand in front of him. She reaches out with both hands and rubs at his now bare face.
Elliot reaches for her, bracing both hands on her hips only briefly, until his fingers come around to the white buttons of her dress. He begins to undo them, one at a time. Olivia sighs heavily, looking down at him.
Once the dress is open, revealing the white underwear set underneath, she lets the green material fall around her ankles and she crawls onto his laps in a straddling position. His shirt hangs open and she suspects he must have unbuttoned it before she came to him.
Their lips meet, heatedly. The once quiet room, is filled with their little breathy noises and building moans.
“I want this one.” Olivia says, clutching onto the collar of his shirt.
Elliot looks up at her, his hands wandering down to her bare thighs.
“Anything you want.” Elliot whispers up at her, one hand coming up to unclasp her bra from the back.
Olivia pushes him back onto the bed, and they land with a soft bounce.
And I won't stay very long
But you are the life I needed all along
I think of you as my brother
Although that sounds dumb
And words are futile devices
Chapter 13: 13.
Morning comes, and when she awakes she finds an empty bed. There’s no panic or unease, because she knows he wouldn’t leave her like that. She comes to the conclusion as she lies there that he must be out getting coffee or breakfast, or both.
So Olivia waits there, patiently, with nothing but the white bedsheet covering her. The room is cool, and the sound of the air conditioning blowing was the perfect kind of white noise last night after they had made love. She wiggles around in the bed a little and her focus drifts to the rooftop window. Sunshine cascades in, little swarms of dust fly around within the white beams, almost making them look like fireflies. She can hear the birds chirping not far away from where the window is, so she speculates they must be perched on a nearby tree.
The door opens and Elliot saunters in with two cups of coffee in his hands. They’re in little foam cups, so he must have gone to a nearby shop for them rather than getting the coffee the hotel offered.
Their eyes meet and they smile faintly at one another.
“How’d you sleep?” Elliot asks, sitting her coffee on the table beside her. “That’s for you.”
“Thank you.” Olivia’s smile grows. She turns her head to watch Elliot come to his side of the bed and take a seat. “I slept good. What little I did sleep. ” Olivia yawns.
“No hangover?” Elliot asks.
“I feel a little groggy but okay.” Olivia replies, sitting up and bringing the sheet along with her. She reaches for her coffee.
“Good. It’s a beautiful morning out. I was thinking when we were finished we could go get breakfast somewhere before we head back?” Elliot asks, taking a sip of his coffee.
Olivia brings her own to her lips and blows through the opening a little just to make sure it’s cool enough. “We can do that.” She replies, her voice soft.
Elliot stares at her for a moment, blue eyes flickering up and down her form. He knows there’s nothing under the sheet because he made damn sure to take every article of clothing off of her the night before. Her hair, in the back, is frizzed out. She looks like sex.
The room falls silent. Chirp, chirp. Chirp, chirp.
“Have you called on the birds?” Olivia whispers playfully, brown eyes cornered at him.
Elliot grins, hanging his head. “I have a theory, actually.”
“Oh?” Olivia chuckles.
“I think they just come wherever you go.” Elliot states.
Olivia looks at him, eyes locking on him. She lets out a little sigh. “You’re sweet, you know that? You try to play Mr. Tough guy but ….” She shakes her head. “You’re a good man.” Her voice trails off in a whisper.
“If I asked you to …” Elliot begins something he’s been wanting to say. “If I asked you to go back–”
“Don’t.” Olivia’s voice is quiet. “I’m asking you please … not to ask me that.”
Elliot stares at her, blue eyes harboring a pained look.
“Because that would make what we both know already …” Olivia feels herself choking up. “ So much harder.” She adds.
Elliot sips on his coffee a moment longer. She does the same. They don’t speak, but it’s clear they’re both in their thoughts.
As Olivia sits there, there’s a heaviness on her chest. Baring down, hard and relentless. She takes a deep breath and sits her coffee down. She runs her fingers through her hair and looks at Elliot, who is quiet.
Elliot won’t look at her at first. He’s playing with the rim of his cup, plucking at a plastic piece that protrudes from the lid.
She brings her legs into her chest and rests her arms, folded, on top of them. Olivia lays her head down, cheek to forearm. “ My friend Elliot …” Olivia whispers.
Elliot turns to look at her, a soft smile gracing his lips.
“ My friend Olivia …”
Elliot sits his coffee cup down on his bedside table and stands to his feet. He kicks off his shoes. Unbuttons his shirt and tosses it to the ground. His hands fumble with his belt buckle until it’s undone and flared open, so he can pull open the button and zipper of his pants.
Olivia watches him the entire time. He does the same, and not once do their eyes part.
The moment Elliot pushes his briefs down, exposing himself completely nude to her, Olivia pulls back the sheet for him and he comes to her with urgency. Their lips meet and she wraps both arms around him.
Their hands begin to wander each other, like they do. Like they have for days now. They’ve been together for four days, and only one of those days was spent not with each other like this. It seems like they’ve wasted time just by not giving in and simply having one another when they both really wanted to. One of her biggest regrets is not feeling him inside her that first day they both made a move in the kitchen. She should’ve let him, that way, she could’ve had at least one more day with him to hold onto.
“Hmph,” Olivia breathes out against his lips, feeling his hands and fingers work over her breasts in soft touches.
Elliot smiles at her little reactions to his touches, so his lips move to her neck, where begins to softly lick and bite at the skin there. Under her jawline – her chin. Her hand moves in between their bodies, where she wraps her fingers around him firmly. She begins to stroke him softly, which incites a soft groan from Elliot.
“You don’t know what you do to me …” Elliot whispers against her ear. “Fuck …” He presses his forehead against hers, jerking his hips gently into her hand.
I do, because you do the same thing to me.
“I love to feel you get hard for me.” Olivia whispers, eyes locked on his.
“Shit …” Elliot huffs, feeling himself grow against the palm of her hand.
“Can’t wait to feel you inside me.” Olivia eggs him on, brown eyes open as he hovers above her.
He takes the opportunity to move his hand down between her legs. Olivia spreads her legs a little further apart for him and bucks her hips off the bed suddenly when she feels his fingers against her clit.
“Mmm …” Olivia moans, working her own hand in tight motions against him.
“Getting so wet for me, baby …” Elliot breathes out against her lips, earning him a whimper from her.
“Yeah …” Olivia says in that wound little voice she gives him when he’s turning her on. He can’t help but wonder if she responds like this to him . He doubts it. He’d like to believe that no one can pleasure her like he can.
“Gonna bury myself deep inside you …” Elliot husks, his fingers slipping into her opening. One, then two. She moans and begins rocking against his hand. “That’s it.” He nods, panting from the way she’s stroking him.
Elliot sits up, bringing his length and his hand away from between her legs. He jerks the sheets off of them and does a spinning motion with his index finger. Turn around.
Olivia lets out a soft moan and turns over onto her stomach. Last night was soft. Tender. They’d taken their time with one another. But it was becoming clearer as the days went on, that soon, they wouldn’t have each other like this anymore. Anytime could be their last.
Hell, this could be their last time and they wouldn’t know it.
So they made it count each time, in different ways. Last night, they had made love.
This morning, he’s going to make her scream.
Elliot nudges her legs apart and leans down to whisper in her ear. “If it’s too much just tell me to stop.” He strokes some hair away from her face and she nods.
At least you’re not doing it in you and your husband’s house. You really have no shame, do you? Comes that voice.
“Mm!” Olivia moans into the pillow when she feels him align the tip of his erection at her entrance.
“God …” Elliot braces his hands on her hips and lifts her up just a little so he can slide into her comfortably.
“Gonna show you how perfect you are.” He says.
There it is.
What he had promised her all along.
“ Elliot …” In that wound little voice. “ Oh God, baby …” She pants, feeling him slide into her, inch by inch. Her hands fly out and grab onto the pillow he slept on last night.
Elliot leans down over her, so his chest is against his back. “Tell me when to move …” he whispers, kissing the shell of her ear.
“Move … so ready for you.” She bounces her hips back against him.
Elliot releases a hot, raspy breath against her ear the moment he feels her bounce backwards against him. She’s warm. Hot . Tight. For him, which drives him further into madness.
Maybe that’s what this was to begin with. Madness. Madness for each other that comes out as soft and sweet but is really, underneath, chaos that sizzles and burns under the Lombardy sun.
Elliot begins to move against her, rocking slowly at first just to make sure she’s adjusting to him. But the moment he begins moving in and out of her in long deep strokes – she lets loose. Everytime his skin slaps against hers, abbreviating how deeply inside of her he is, she cries out and clutches the pillow.
“Raise your hips,” Elliot whispers against her ear. “Let me touch you.”
Olivia scoots with her knees so that her hips are lifted off the bed, just enough so he can slide his hand in front of her, between her body and the mattress.
The moment he begins to touch her …
“Mmm!” She whimpers, thanking God for the air conditioning because between her being buried into the mattress, and him on top of her, she wouldn’t be able to take it at home.
“Oh that’s good.” Olivia pants.
Then he does it. He leans down to her once again, his mouth to her ear – and for a moment, the sensation is odd not feeling any facial hair there to tickle her ear. But she likes it. Loves that she can feel his bare skin on her cheek like she can. “Feel how perfect we fit? We were made for each other.” Elliot nods, his breath still scorching against her ear.
“Made for each other.” Olivia nods, eyes shut tight.
“Mmmmh …” He begins to work harder into her.
“ Don’t stop …” She whimpers.
Elliot shakes his head no. He doesn’t want to ever stop.
Elliot leans back just enough so that he can watch himself work in and out of her, which only encourages him to go harder until he’s pounding into her with such a quickness it almost knocks the breath from Olivia.
“ Oh!” Leaves her.
Elliot’s hand, still between her folds, works delicately – but vigorously against her clit. He makes a V with his index and middle finger, showing attention to the area around the swollen little nub.
“Perfect. You’re so fucking perfect.” Elliot whispers hotly down at her.
“Unnh …” Leaves her.
Elliot, determined to keep up his pace, doesn’t stop until he feels her begin to clench around him – signaling that she’s close.
“Come.” Elliot instructs, near his own climax.
“Close …” She whispers into the pillow, eyes shut and mouth open.
His free hand, the one that isn’t touching her, glides from her hip and runs up her bare back softly. She moans. There’s something about the simple touches he gives her that makes her feel like she’s going crazy.
You’ve lost your mind, haven’t you? Burned down any kind of morality you’ve ever had. In the name of what? Loneliness? But that’s not what this is, is it? You’re in love with him. Because you’re the same. But like birds flock – your formation was only ever meant to synchronize for a season.
The moment Olivia begins to let go, she cries out into the pillow. Loud. Her fingers grab at the pillow so hard her knuckles turn white and she writhes beneath him as the intense shocks, the little death, as they call it rummage through her. One after the other.
Feeling her come around him is enough. She jerks and flutters around him – tightening in a motion that feels euphoric and heavenly. Pleasure courses from around his ass and spurts forward from him as he empties himself into her deep.
“ Uhh …” Elliot moans as he finishes, jerking forward once. When he’s finished and comes to, she’s lying there still — trying to catch her breath. He looks down between them to see what he’s given her already seeping from around him. Her own wetness drips down the front of his thighs and the back of hers. The mattress beneath them? Damp – hot with their unadulterated becoming.
I’ll burn for you, and you’ll burn for me, and because we burn together – no one can put us out.
. . . . . . . .
Olivia sits across from Elliot in the quaint little restaurant. There are large picture windows in the front, which allow light in and a visual of the street outside of the establishment. People pass by the window, some by themselves, some holding hands and going about their day without a care in the world.
“You’ve hardly touched your food.” Elliot says, cutting into his frittata.
Olivia looks from the window and focuses her attention on Elliot. She feigns a smile. “I was just thinking.” Her voice is quiet.
“About?” Elliot asks, poking a bite into his mouth. He’s worked up quite the appetite.
A silence falls between them, only the chitter chatter of the people in the restaurant can be heard. Forks and knives clinking. Spoons dipping into yogurt bowls and coffee mugs.
Olivia raises her orange juice to her lips and takes a sip. She looks out the window for a moment and tilts her head, focusing on a young couple who are posed on a bench together. Her head on his shoulder. They belong to each other. It’s evident and she aches with envy.
“When Trevor and I first got married, we talked about moving to some …” She waves her hand. “Quiet place. Which I think maybe moving into a rural area was him taking things a little too seriously but …” Olivia laughs. “It was good at first. I could tell he was getting the itch to work again, though.” She takes a drink of her orange juice and sits it down. Olivia looks at her plate for a moment, then back to the couple sitting on the bench across from the restaurant. “Then he just started to …” She trails off.
Elliot stares across at her.
“ Drift.” Olivia says, her voice low as she does a small hand gesture to accompany her choice of word. “And I guess I did too. The only problem is, I noticed and he didn’t.” She licks her lips and sighs heavily. “Six years together. Five married. Two here. And the thing is, Elliot … I don’t know where time has gone. It’s just ran away from me …” Tears fill her eyes. “But that’s what it does, doesn’t it?” She asks, brown eyes lingering intensely on him. “Run away. Drift. Until it’s so far away that you can’t even … smell it anymore.” She doesn’t realize in that moment how relative her words are to them. “Touch it. Then eventually it just … isn’t anymore.” Olivia’s eyes fall from him.
“Liv …” Elliot whispers, but she can hear him even over the chitter chatter of the restaurant.
“Do you remember when I told you that you were … ate up?” Olivia asks, eyes flickering back up to him.
“Hm.” Is all he answers with, his head swaying slightly as he stares at her. He’s weak, suddenly. Weak because for a moment, however brief, he feels her pain.
“Well …” Olivia lifts the glass to her lips and sips. “ Me too.” She clears her throat and pulls back any tears that were threatening to spill.
“I think everyone is to an extent. But … look how great you turned out anyways.” Elliot smiles across from her, earning him a genuine smile from her. They stare at one briefly. His expressions twists into a series of little ones, until settling on a softer, kinder smile.
“I’d kiss you if I could.” Elliot says.
“I would let you, if I could.” Olivia corners her brown eyes at him with a light grin on her lips.
“Eat up. Then we can go home. And then I can …” Elliot grins.
Olivia raises an eyebrow and brings her orange juice glass back up to her lips.
“Kiss you and make you glad for the privacy of your unairconditioned house.” Elliot teases.
“Ha! Oh, I don’t know. You’d have to be pretty good for that.” She sips on her orange juice.
Elliot sits back in his seat, eyes lingering on her.
You’re imperfect. And I’m imperfect. And because we’re both imperfect, together, we’ll be too flawed for anyone else but each other.
Chapter 14: 14.
Shout to my friend Shar for suggesting Elliot wanting to name the kitty Ragu 🍑
Later that evening …
“Hello?” His voice comes over the phone, clear as day.
“Hey.” Olivia says, her voice soft.
“Oh hey. I tried to call yesterday. Figured you were just busy.” She can hear him smiling from the other end.
Guilt. Sinking guilt.
“I was getting a little worried though.” Trevor states nonchalantly.
“Elliot and I went into town yesterday. I showed him around. Brought him to check on Giulia … we got back late so today I’m just catching up on chores.” Olivia lies.
“Okay.” Trevor says. “So, how did he like it?”
“He loved it.” Olivia states.
“Well, I’m sure he had a great tour guide.” Trevor laughs.
“I tried.” Olivia rubs her face with the palm of her hand.
“How is Giulia?” Trevor asks.
“She’s … very pregnant.” Olivia replies.
Trevor chuckles in response.
“Where’s Elliot now?” Trevor asks.
Olivia looks from where she’s sitting, the edge of the bathtub, into the bedroom. Elliot is napping in the tiny bed they’ve shared for days now. What’s left of the sun casts upon his back, because he’s laying on his stomach. His arm is hanging off the bed.
“I think he’s taking a nap, I’m not sure. I think the sun got to him a little today.” Olivia replies.
“Hope you two are staying hydrated. Gotta say, this hotel has spectacular air conditioning.” Trevor states.
“Lucky.” Olivia feigns a laugh.
“Has Dante been by to fix ours yet?” Trevor asks.
“Mm … no. Not yet. Haven’t heard from him. I imagine he would call once he has the part.” Olivia assumes.
“So … right now I’m thinking I’ll be home Saturday morning.” Trevor states.
Olivia goes quiet. Three days.
“You’re sure?” Olivia asks.
“Yeah. Honey, I’m sorry. I know this was supposed to be a short trip–”
“No, it’s not. I hate to lie, you know that.” Trevor sighs.
“It’s … it’s fine.” Olivia clutches onto her chest, rubbing soft circular motions against the skin there. Guilt. Sinking, dreadful guilt.
Three more days with him.
“I’ll make it up to you. Elliot’s meeting is still for Tuesday right? I’ll definitely be home in time for that.” Trevor says. “Don’t want him to think I’m gonna let him down.”
“I’m sure he doesn’t think that.” Olivia’s voice softens. She’s on the verge of tears as she picks at the lint on her leggings.
“Are you okay?” Trevor asks.
“I’m just … tired.” Olivia lies.
“Maybe you should go lie down too.”
Fuck my life.
“Maybe. I think … actually I’m going to go start some dinner. I need to eat, it’s been a long day.” Olivia sighs.
“Alright. How about you call me back when you get around to it? I’ll be in my room for the rest of the night and until noon tomorrow.” Trevor states.
“I will.” Olivia agrees, eyes closed.
“Okay then. I love you. Bye.” Trevor says.
“Love you too. Bye.” Olivia waits for him to hang up before she swipes her thumb across her screen.
She stands to her feet and lays her cell on the sink of the bathroom. As she stands there in front of the mirror, she looks at herself. Hard.
“You’re a fucking idiot.” Olivia whispers at herself in the mirror.
“I’ve been called worse.” Elliot says, suddenly standing in the doorway. Olivia jolts, grabbing her chest.
“Jesus Christ, Elliot.” She gasps.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Elliot furrows his brows.
Olivia says nothing at first. She drops her hand from her chest and turns around for a moment. “Stop sneaking up on me like that. I don’t like it.” Her tone comes out more hostile than she’d like it to. But there it is.
“I wasn’t trying to sneak up on you.” Elliot answers blankly.
“You do it all the time.” She huffs.
Elliot cocks an eyebrow.
“How should I announce my presence?” His tone drops.
Immediately, she cracks a grin.
“Sexy, satisfying lover coming through?” Elliot grins, placing the palm of his hand against the door frame.
“ Mmm.” Olivia shrugs, putting her hands behind her back. Fingers around her wrist.
“When’s he coming back?” Elliot asks, his tone dropping yet again.
“In three days.” Olivia whispers, eyes cast down.
. . . . . . .
Olivia and Elliot stand far beyond the pool, the patio – the French doors, by the shed that sits further out on the property. The doors are open and they look in at the two bikes that sit dusty, and covered in cobwebs.
“And we can’t just take the car, why?” Elliot asks, scratching the back of his neck.
“Because this is more fun.” Olivia smirks.
“My knees–” Elliot begins.
Olivia cocks her head at him and her lips turn up into a smirk. He can tell by that alone that she’s about to make a wisecrack.
“-have never been better.” Elliot clears his throat.
“Didn’t you enjoy riding when you were younger?” Olivia asks, making her way into the shed and pulling one of the bikes out and towards him. Elliot takes it and brings it out – pushing out the kickstand with his foot. She brings the other one towards him and he does the same.
“Well, when I was a kid I was ready to get off the bike and get into a car.” Elliot shrugs.
“Ah, so you were one of those.” Olivia giggles.
“One of those?” Elliot corners his eyes at Olivia as she comes from the shed dusting her hands.
“I liked riding my bike around. It was nice. And when it’s hot, the wind feels good.” Olivia shrugs.
“As long as you keep going.” Elliot chuckles, rubbing the top of his head. He watches as Olivia fishes the old rag she brought from the back pocket of her pants, and begins wiping off the bikes. Slapping the rag against the banana seats, the handlebars. The pedals.
Maybe so long as we keep going, it’ll feel like we’re never slowing down.
Olivia pushes the sleeves up to her blue button up shirt, which are already rolled but oversized, she begins walking the bike she’s chosen towards the pathway that leads around the house.
“Coming?” Olivia asks, looking over her shoulder at him.
Elliot looks down at the bike in contemplation. He sighs and reaches for the handle.
. . . . . . . .
The beginning of dusk creeps upon them slowly as they ride down the road together. It’s a little cooler, but not by much. Some of Olivia’s hair has stuck to her forehead but she leaves it alone, because she’s too busy leading the way to where they’re going.
“Are we almost there?” Elliot calls out from behind her.
“Close!” Olivia replies.
They come upon a small decline, which leads into a more wooded area. There’s far more foliage there than there is back at the house and part of him wishes he would’ve brought some bug spray. Mosquitos have really been tearing him up since he’s been here. As Olivia begins to slow down, he can hear it.
The soft sway of water in the distance. The frogs, and the crickets – who are already out and singing their night song to each other. Elliot inhales deeply, taking in the fresh smell of the air, which shouldn’t smell fresh at all. But it does. It smells untouched, which is his main association with it.
Olivia pushes the kickstand out. She slips her shoes off immediately.
“Now you see why I wanted to bring the bikes?” Olivia asks.
“Because this isn’t meant to be … disturbed by cars. Maybe not even by us.” Olivia replies, clasping her hands together.
Elliot looks at her for a moment and swings his leg from the bike, pushing the kickstand out with his foot.
“What’s that smell?” Elliot asks, taking another deep breath.
Something that hasn’t been ruined by people.
Olivia says nothing but simply smiles at him. She looks around and walks a little further out. That’s when he notices the large bank that leads down into shallow water.
“Hey, be careful.” Elliot steps forward.
“I’ve been here before. Last summer. Trevor went to this thing a few cities over …” Olivia says, turning around to face him. She’s unbuttoning her shirt. “I was so bored. So I … hiked a lot. Did things that … I’d never do back home if I’m being honest.” Olivia laughs.
Elliot sticks his hands in his pockets, watching as she finishes unbuttoning her shirt. Olivia pushes it off her shoulders and brings it over to her bike, where she lays it across.
“The water feels nice.” Olivia whispers, pushing her leggings over her hips. She puts them over the bike as well.
“You said the wind would feel nice too, but I’m sweating.” Elliot retorts, teasingly.
Olivia grins at him and makes her way back over to the bank. There’s small wooden planks that lead down into the water, which is only about up to her calf. Her feet splash through the water, and he can tell just from where he is that she’s shivering.
Elliot cocks an eyebrow and reaches for the hem of his henley. He pulls it up and over his head, following suit and laying it over his bike. He pushes his shoes off – mosquitos be damned.
“Is it really that cold?” Elliot asks, baffled as to how it isn’t boiling from laying underneath the sun all day.
“It’s cool.” Olivia replies, her voice quiet. Olivia smirks as Elliot makes his way down the wooden steps that lead towards the water. He dips his foot into the water and …
“ Shit.” Elliot whispers.
“Something wrong, Detective?” Olivia asks, waiting for him in the center of the water.
Elliot shakes his head no and steps down fully into the water. He stiffens because it really is just that cold. Yet, his body adjusts quickly to it – relieved from the heat.
Olivia takes a couple steps towards him when he comes out to meet her and she immediately wraps her arms around him.
“You don’t strike me as a nature girl.” Elliot teases.
“Oh, I’m not. I just prefer not to die of a heat stroke.” Olivia jokes, brown eyes locked on his.
The sun fades, even in those few seconds, dramatically.
Olivia releases her arms from around Elliot’s neck and begins to wade out a little further from him. She turns around suddenly and playfully splashes some water with her foot in his direction. Elliot holds his hands up defensively and chuckles. “That’s how it is?” Elliot asks, smiling from ear to ear.
“ Mhm.” Olivia snorts, preparing for whatever retaliation he chooses.
Elliot kicks the water back in her direction and she does nothing to move out of the way.
“I’ve had a few different things thrown at me, Detective, you’re gonna have to do better than that.” Olivia smirks, kicking a little water back. She raises up and wipes some of the droplets from her face that Elliot had splashed her with.
Elliot remains still for a moment, almost taking her remark as a challenge. But he decides not to splash her or do anything remotely close to getting even with her. He simply wades over to her and reaches down into the water to wet his hands, then brings them to the back of her neck – slipping his fingers past her hair. She sighs against him and puts her hands over the back of his.
Olivia moves into him and leans against him, fully. He catches her whole weight, wrapping both arms around her.
I miss you already.
Elliot grabs onto one of her hands, clutching it in his own. He wraps one arm around her bare waist and begins to sway back and forth with her – water swishing beneath their feet.
“What are you doing?” Olivia whispers, a soft laugh following.
“Dancing with you.” Elliot replies straight away.
“ Ahhh, with no music?” Olivia giggles, her face buried in his neck.
“We don’t need music.” Elliot replies.
The crickets, the frogs, the cicadas, that was their music. When he goes, he’ll think of those sounds and how they don’t remind him of lakes or shallow bodies of water. But how they remind him of her and how she looks in this very moment. Practically stripped down bare, dancing with him.
They sway like that for a while, quiet and taking in everything around them. Her face moves to rest against his cheek and she has to admit, she’s glad he shaved the facial hair. She nuzzles against him, resting her chin on his shoulder.
Crickets. Cicadas. Frogs. Water.
“ I love you.” She whispers against his ear.
And for such a strong man, he feels himself go weak against her.
“And I’m glad you came to me.” She adds, her voice still low.
Elliot waits for only a moment, before pulling away to look down at her. He doesn’t need much light to know, even as they stand there in the now blue-ish glow of night, that there are tears in her eyes.
“I love you too.” He says, his tone soft.
Olivia tilts her head at him and presses her lips together.
You know you can never say that to him again, right? Because the moment you do, you’re going to become so weak that you’ll have no other choice but him.
“My friend Elliot …” Olivia whispers up at him.
Elliot smiles slowly, then all at once.
“My friend … Olivia …” Elliot’s eyes linger on hers.
Olivia taps her finger into Elliot’s chest, where his heart is.
“ Olivia …” She says.
Elliot brings his hand from hers, which was still intertwined from dancing. He gently taps his fingertip right over her heart. “ Elliot …” He whispers back, almost breathlessly.
“I–” Olivia begins to say.
Elliot turns around, facing the direction that they came from.
“Sounds like a baby.” Olivia gasps, moving away from him and wading forward. She looks around.
Elliot takes a step towards her and she holds her hand up to silence him.
Olivia begins walking in the direction the meowing is coming from, and she ends up back in front of the wooden steps that lead into the water. Olivia kneels down, her knees touching the water as she looks underneath one of the steps. Immediately, she’s met with a tiny pair of green eyes.
“Oh …” Olivia smiles.
“It’s a kitten?” Elliot asks, walking over towards her.
“It’s stuck.” Olivia frowns.
“Here, let me through …” Elliot says and Olivia wiggles over to make room for him. Elliot kneels down beside her and reaches his entire arm underneath the step for the kitten. “Don’t bite me …” He rolls his eyes up as if he’s praying.
Olivia watches as Elliot pulls the kitten out from underneath the step. He holds the tiny animal up in the air with both hands so they both can get a good look at him. He’s, as far as they can see in the dark, a light gray color – fluffy around the face.
“Hey there little …” Elliot looks underneath the cat. “Guy.”
Olivia snorts, tilting her head at the kitten. “His mom is probably around somewhere …”
“Mm … I don’t know.” Elliot says, bringing the kitten to his chest.
“We should let him go. So he can find his mom.” Olivia states.
“Liv, look at him. He’s so little. He won’t make it out here.” Elliot corners his eyes at Olivia.
Olivia corners hers back because she knows where this is going. “I’m not really a pet person.” She shakes her head.
“You heard him, so he was calling for you.” Elliot states, petting the animal’s head. The kitten is already purring.
“Oh, don’t do that.” Olivia whines, standing up. Elliot stands as well.
“He’s probably hungry.” Elliot grins.
“What are you a cat whisperer now too?” Olivia jokes.
Elliot holds his ear down to the cat. “He says … uh-huh, he says that he wants you to take him home with you. That he’ll … uh-huh,” Elliot nods. “Be a good kitty.”
“Mmm … I don’t think so, Elliot. I think it’s a bad idea.” Olivia shakes her head.
. . . . . . . .
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.” Olivia scoffs, shaking her head. There’s a smirk there, regardless, as she stands on the patio with Elliot and the kitten. Olivia holds the kitten in one hand, and washes him over a pale she had brought out from the kitchen.
“He loves you already, look how calm he is.” Elliot rubs Olivia’s back.
“He’s petrified, he thinks I’m trying to drown him.” Olivia insists, gently scrubbing at the kitten’s back with the dawn solution. “There’s so many fleas.” She sighs.
“Want me to pick for a while?” Elliot asks, tilting his head and leaning against the patio table.
“I got it.” Olivia says quietly.
When they’re finished bathing the kitten, they bring him inside wrapped up in a towel. Olivia makes her way into the living room with him and sits down on the couch, with Elliot trailing closely behind. The house is dark for the most part, so Elliot turns on a small lamp in the corner of the living room.
“What should we call him?” Elliot asks, sitting down next to her.
“ Let’s wait .” Olivia says. “I don’t want to get attached to him if it doesn’t work out.”
Elliot goes quiet, eyes lingering on her. He reaches out and begins twirling one of her curls around his fingers. Olivia looks over to Elliot, a soft expression on her face.
“It’s just a name, Liv. Everyone needs one.” Elliot whispers.
Olivia looks down at the kitten, who is staring up at her wide-eyed.
“How about Ragu?” Elliot suggests.
Olivia snorts, shaking her head. “No! Angelo will have a fit.”
“Mmm …” Elliot thinks.
“Lorenzo.” Olivia taps his forehead with her finger. “He looks like a Lorenzo.”
“ Ciao Lorenzo, ciao .” Elliot grins, leaning forward and scratching the kitten's head. He leaps out of the towel and from Olivia’s arms, and into Elliot’s lap.
“He likes you more.” Olivia laughs.
“Well you tried to drown him, so.” Elliot jokes, earning him a swat from Olivia.
. . . . . . . . . .
Lorenzo is curled up on the corner of Elliot’s bed, fast asleep. The moonlight casts its usual bluish glow into the room as they stand center of the larger window in the guest room. Their clothes are off, all but Elliot’s underwear and Olivia’s bra and panties. His arms are wrapped around her tightly, and they teeter against one another. It’s become their thing, to simply take turns leaning against one another.
“ Say it one more time.” Elliot whispers.
Crickets. Cicadas. A soft gust of hot wind, which knocks a branch against the outside of the window.
“My friend Elliot …” Olivia whispers.
Elliot narrows his eyes slightly, and leans into her so that their lips are as close as they can be without touching. “ I love you too , my friend Olivia …”
Olivia leans into him first, her mouth connecting with his immediately after his words tumble out. She kisses him, again and again until they’re both breathless. Until the room is filled with nothing but that.
They both know they are on borrowed time. That sooner rather than later, time would run out and they would have to go their separate ways. It stirs up a specific ache in their chests to think about it. To think about how close they had grown in just a few short days together. How what had started between them was so sexually charged, but had turned into something far deeper.
Elliot pulls away to look at her, and his hand finds hers, which rests in between their bodies. “I can still call you, right? Hear your voice …” He whispers.
Olivia presses her lips together, fighting back the emotion that boils up the back of her throat. “Not at first …” She whispers sharply. “Give me some time.” – Comes out as a gasp.
Elliot licks his lips and brings her hand up to his mouth, kissing her knuckles. “I’ll …” He pauses for a moment and it’s clear to her that he’s fighting back his own tears. “Even if it’s months from now … or years. I’ll … call you and …”
Olivia hangs her head.
“I’ll call you my friend. And uh … you’ll call me yours?” Elliot asks.
I want to know that I have you. Always.
“I’ll call you mine.” Olivia nods softly.
He leans in this time. His lips finds hers and they begin their little teeter motion back and forth against each other until he brings her up off the ground, just a hair, to bring her over to the desk – where he sits her. A stack of books falls off into the floor and scatters about, which causes Lorenzo to jolt up quickly, only to lie back down after a moment of quiet.
Call me your friend and I’ll call you mine. So that when we no longer have each other, we may fool ourselves.
Chapter 15: 15.
Olivia stands in front of her mirror early the next morning, brushing her hair. Elliot is still asleep in the next room. Lorenzo too. She’s learned that’s just their way. She’s been up before him every morning since he’s been here. But as she stands there, she looks at her reflection and the longer she looks – The more she just … She’s not doing well. It’s really starting to sink in that she doesn’t have long left with him.
Olivia flings her brush down onto the dresser and buries her face into her hands. She begins to let go, her shoulders shaking as she silently weeps. She’s not ready to let him go.
But the question is, how is she supposed to pretend like they haven’t spent these past few days like they have? Should she just walk by him when Trevor comes home and pretend like they haven’t kissed? Like they haven’t held each other? Made love? The thought makes her sick to her stomach and funnily enough, sicker than the feeling of what she’s doing to her husband. How is that?
But Olivia knows herself, and she knows the moment that Trevor walks through the door she’ll put on a happy face and go to the place she was before that day by the pool – when he sang to the birds and she deemed him a bird whisperer.
That was the day she fell in love with him. He had slipped up, dropped the cocky exterior and the arrogance that she had found to be unpleasant to be around and had shown her who he truly was.
The moment Olivia feels his arms slip around her from behind, she drops her hands from her face and looks up with red, puffy eyes to see Elliot standing behind her. He rests his chin on her shoulder.
“I think I’m going to turn down the job in Rome.” Elliot says, his voice quiet.
Olivia stares at him through the reflection of the mirror, tilting her head. “Why?”
Silence, except birds are chirping madly from outside the window. She can feel his arms squeeze around her waist, pushing up lightly just so that her breasts are resting on his arm.
“I think it’ll be easier for us both to know that we’re not so close.” Elliot replies, burying his face in the side of his neck.
I want to know you’re close, so that I can fool myself.
“Or harder.” Olivia whispers.
“You could come to Rome if I stayed. Come when he’s gone and …” Elliot trails off.
I’ll stay for you.
“I can’t do that.” Olivia shakes her head.
“I don’t understand why not.” Elliot replies.
Olivia turns around in his arms to face him. “Because every time I come to you, I’m not going to want to leave. It’ll get harder and harder, until I just …” Olivia’s voice fades off.
“Stay with me? Would that be so horrible?” Elliot asks, eyebrows furrowed.
“Elliot …” Olivia turns her head and corners her eyes at him. “You know I want that more than anything. But … I …” Her voice cracks.
I can’t hurt him like that.
“So you’ll hurt yourself instead?” Elliot asks, blue eyes locked intensely on her.
“It doesn’t matter …” Olivia hangs her head. Elliot reaches forward and tips her chin.
“It does matter.” He insists.
Olivia stares at him.
“Come home with me.” Elliot’s words tumble from his lips. She had told him not to ask her that, but there they were anyways, those words – coming out without as much as a single stutter.
Her chest rises and falls in one grand motion and for a moment, he feels her go weak against him. “I …” her hands come up, flat in the air, “I-I can’t do that, El.” She lowers them down in soft jolting motions until they’re resting against his chest.
“You can’t or you won’t?” Elliot asks, cocking an eyebrow.
“Please don’t fight with me.” Olivia whispers.
“Liv, I can see you’re not happy here. Why not just …”
“It’s different for you, Elliot. You need to stop and think about how you would feel if you were in my position. If Kathy were still alive and we had met, would you have done this to her? Would you have just … completely abandoned her and your kids for me?” Olivia asks, wide eyed.
Elliot says nothing. Instead, he releases a heavy breath. “I just want you to be happy.”
“We’ll have to learn to be happy without each other.” Olivia states, her tone low. Raspy.
“I doubt that’s possible now.” Elliot says.
Olivia smiles faintly and tilts her head. Tears are in their eyes – heavy and full.
“I think you’re right.” She whispers.
Elliot presses his forehead against hers, and as he does, he can feel the evidence of the heat there – sticky and somewhat wet. But he doesn’t mind, because it’s her. Olivia moves her hands to his bare shoulder blades and flattens them there. He’s the first to lean in for a kiss and at first, it starts as a couple simple pecks.
Until her hands glide from his back to the side of his face, where she cups his cheeks in her hands. She opens her mouth for him and his tongue greets hers immediately, velvet on velvet. Smooth, and warm.
“Mm …” Olivia hums into his mouth. His fingers come up from the small of her back and lace into her hair – soft curls protruding from thick digits. “I want you.” She whispers.
“You have me.” Elliot huffs against her lips, and backs her up against the dresser. His knee nudges in between her legs and she begins rocking down against it – causing her dress to ride up.
“You want me to make you feel good this morning?” His words come out quickly against her lips and all she can do is nod in the moment, because he sends her to that incoherent little place straight away.
The way Elliot speaks to her drives her wild. She’s not new to dirty talk. Of course not. She’s had a few sexual partners and with a few of them, that was their thing. And hers at times. But with Elliot it was different. He could make filth sound romantic – however the hell that worked exactly.
“Please …” Olivia nods, arms wrapped around him so tightly just from the mere sensation of feeling like she was going to fall if she let go.
“When I woke up,” Elliot begins, one arm around her waist – the other traveling up to the side of her breast, where he squeezes her through the fabric of her blue dress. “I was hoping you were there …”
I should stay in bed with him until he wakes up from now on.
“Yeah?” Out comes that tight, wound voice from her as he fondles her.
“ Hm, hm,” Elliot laughs, his face close to hers. “Yeah, baby.” Kiss. “I wanted to pull these down …” Elliot’s hand leaves her breast, and begins a walking motion with his fingers on the hem of her burgundy dress until it’s balled up in his hand, so he can reach the elastic of her underwear.
“Fuck you like I did at the Pallazo. God, you’ve never been as wet as you were that morning for me.” Elliot hums, leaning into her, if possible – even more. “Mmm … but I don’t know.” Elliot’s fingers begin to caress the inside of her thigh and she’s already shaking because she knows she’s about to have his fingers. “You were pretty wet the first time we made love. But that was because you got yourself ready for me, wasn’t it?” Elliot asks, his mouth against her ears.
He’s talking about when he walked in on you. You should be embarrassed.
But she’s not. She releases a low moan.
“It was so sexy,” His fingers graze the outside of her panties. “Watching you touch yourself like that. Watching you come … I couldn’t take my eyes off you. Your hand …” Elliot rocks against her and she can feel he’s already hard. “Your hand was moving so fast.” Elliot pushes aside her underwear and grazes his middle finger between her folds – wetting it, before sliding it inside her. Olivia bucks her hips against his hand. “ Ohh … Elliot …” Olivia whimpers.
“Mmm,” Elliot hums, slipping a second finger into her. His palm begins to work against her clit. “I thought about touching myself. Coming while I watched you make yourself come. But I wanted to be inside you for that.” Elliot breathes out and at that point, he’s practically holding her up because she’s just that weak against him.
Olivia’s leg, which had somehow ended up around his waist, falls and her foot smacks hard against the floor. She pushes him once. Steps forward. Then twice, until he lands on her bed.
She’s not even thinking about where they are at that moment. All she’s thinking about is him being inside her. Olivia crawls on top of him and he quickly reaches forward to begin unbuttoning her dress in the front. She helps, working on the bottom buttons as he undoes the top ones.
“You gonna ride me?” Leaves his mouth maybe a little more seductively than he had intended it to.
Olivia nods quickly – urgently.
Elliot smirks up at her, watching as she discards the dress onto the floor beside the bed. Olivia reaches behind and unclasps her bra, freeing herself from the restraint of it just as quickly as she put it on maybe an hour before. She lays down onto his bare chest, never more thankful that he had just woken up so he was in nothing but his briefs.
Olivia presses her mouth to his and begins rocking against his erection. Even through the material of her panties, he can feel how warm she is, which incites a soft grunt from him.
“Off,” Elliot playfully smacks the side of her thigh, which is more so leading towards her ass.
Olivia rolls off of him and onto her back, just so she can discard her panties. She pushes them down her tan legs and tosses them onto the floor. They land somewhere near the burgundy maxi dress.
Elliot uses the opportunity to push his briefs down over his legs and scoot up further across the bed. He makes a come hither motion with both of his hands, and she throws her leg back over him immediately. Olivia reaches between them and wraps her fingers around his hard length, where she begins to slide down onto him.
Their eyes lock.
Olivia’s face begins to contort as she takes him in, inch by inch. She let’s go of him and slides down, taking him in completely. So she just sits there for a moment. Elliot’s breathing is all over the place – far from calm. It’s erratic and shaky. He can’t think straight when she’s around him like this. Smooth, wet, warm walls envelope him in all the right places and it’s all he can do in that moment not to turn her over and have a repeat of the Palazzo. He’s going to let her do the work this time though.
“You feel so good …” Elliot’s hands move up her curves, gripping onto her bare hips.
A soft whimper leaves her the moment she rocks forward.
“Too much?” Elliot asks, prepared to take the lead if he needs to.
She shakes her head no. “Just a minute …” She knocks her head back and he swears, the Lombardy heat would have nothing to do with it if he burst into flames right then and there. The way the sun casts through the bedroom window and hits her is enough for him to believe that she could be one of those sculptures in Rome that people have told him he’ll be amazed to see once he does.
I’ve already seen one and she’s above me.
Olivia uses her knees to bring herself up about halfway, then she falls back down onto him – inciting a low groan from him. She begins to ride against him in deep strides, moaning with each little movement.
“That’s good …” Elliot whispers, his hands moving further up her body until they settle on her breasts. His thumbs begin to swirl around her nipples, which just encourages more of the little heated sounds that leave her. “Fuck, that’s good.” Elliot adds, drifting off into his own little la-la land.
“Mmmh,” Olivia moans, tossing her head back again as she begins to pick up her speed. Up and down, rocking back and forth against him – the latter more so for her because his pelvic bone rubs all the right places. “Oh God.” she whispers, hands balling into fists.
“You’re doing so good, you feel so good.” Elliot praises.
She lets out a soft cry from his little praise.
I guess praise makes me hungry too.
“I …” Olivia brings her gaze to meet his.
“You close?” Elliot asks.
She nods, quickly. “ Uh-huh .”
“You can come, baby.” Elliot encourages. Funnily, this moment reminds him of when they first made love and he couldn’t contain himself. When he couldn’t help but come because she felt so good around him. The feeling of a woman, particularly her around him for the first time in so long … unlike nothing else.
She slows and he can feel her begin to flutter around him as her orgasm washes over her, hard and heatedly. Much like the sun does when she steps outside for the first time in the morning, though she thinks this may be hotter. More deathly.
“ God … oh … Elliot. Elliot!” Olivia cries out, her thighs shaking and grasping around his hips.
Elliot hums, one hand gliding down from her breasts and traveling further down until his thumb meets her clit. He begins to work in quick little motions against it, causing her to buck against him and scream.
It fills the room quickly – loudly.
Once she’s done, she sits there for a moment, with her bottom lip tucked in between her teeth and her eyes closed.
She begins to move again.
They end up in the center of the bed moments later, just because Elliot moved them that way. She’s still straddling him, but sheets are wrapped around their lower halves. Their chests are pressed together. Their lips. Elliot’s hands are firm against her ass, guiding her up and down on him slowly.
Their eyes are closed, but occasionally, they open them halfway to look at one another. Brown on blues. Olivia leans in to kiss him, lazily. They’re both close again – ready for that feeling to overtake them as it has many times now over the week. Her lips kiss against his, until she opens her mouth and lets a pleasurable sound pass. She moves her face against his, her cheek, but her bottom lip drags against his jawbone as she does.
“Gonna come …” Elliot warns.
She nods quickly. Me too.
Olivia begins to bounce harder against him, her chest still firm against his. The light from the window pours in on them. Illuminates every honey highlight. Every age spot. Blue eyes, oceanic and intense. Chocolate eyes, darkened from desire. They’re pretty quiet – passing nothing but soft, whispery moans and words back and forth.
“Miss Olivia?” Dante’s voice comes from the other side of the door.
Time moves quickly. Olivia breaks away from Elliot’s lips and they both turn their head towards the door in shock. The doorknob turns and as the door opens, Elliot moves so his back is facing the door and he’s covering Olivia.
“Miss Oli–” Dante’s mouth flies open and he immediately turns around, bringing his hand up to shield his eyes. “Oh my! Miss Olivia! I am so so sorry I–” He flees, shutting the door with a quickness.
“Oh no,” Olivia moves off of Elliot and practically throws herself from the bed and onto the floor, where she picks up her dress.
“ Shit, shit, shit.” Elliot’s eyes are wide – his face almost as deeply colored as Olivia’s dress.
“Oh no.” Olivia is already on the verge of tears, her hands shaking. She buttons her dress as quickly as possible – missing a few, and takes out of the bedroom, flinging the door open in the process.
“Dante!” Olivia comes quickly down the stairs. Thump, thump, thump.
Dante waits at the door, with both hands over his eyes in almost a childlike manner.
Olivia is out of breath – her hair is a mess. Her face … well, there’s little distinction between that and her dress.
“Miss Olivia, I am so sorry .” Dante turns towards the door. He won’t look at her.
“Dante,” Olivia finishes her walk down the stairs, still completely out of breath. “I’m decent, please look at me.”
“I didn’t see anything!” Dante states, hands still over his face.
“Dante, look at me.” Olivia instructs.
Dante slowly moves his fingers open and an eye pokes out between them.
“Dante … what you saw, just … let me explain.” Olivia brings her hand to her forehead. She feels like she’s going to pass out.
Elliot waits at the top of the stairs, listening to what’s being said.
“The door was unlocked and I thought maybe you were out by the pool … so I came in and saw you weren’t so then I thought you were upstairs so I … I shouldn’t have intruded. I am so sorry, Miss Olivia! ” Dante explains sweetly.
“No, no. Dante listen … listen to me. It’s very important that you listen to me.” Olivia’s hands are still shaking as she reaches for Dante’s wrists to bring them away from his face. “I am asking you …” her voice cracks. “Begging you please … what you saw here today. Please, d-don’t …” She can’t even get her words out.
Dante stares at her, wide eyed.
Elliot hangs his head.
“I will not tell him.” Dante whispers, shaking his head gently.
Olivia’s shoulders relax. She doesn’t know what else to say.
“I brought the piece for the air conditioning.” Dante says, eyes cast to the ground. “Where … where is Trevor?” He asks.
He won’t look at Olivia. Not really.
Feel bad now, don’t cha?
“He’s … he’s away right now.” Olivia answers, her fingers on her chest – making soft rubbing motions.
“Oh …” Dante nods. “I’ll go do the r-repair then.” His voice drops and he brushes past Olivia, making his way towards the pair of French doors that sit on the other end of the hall.
Elliot comes halfway down the stairs. Olivia turns to look up at him.
“I’m … I’m going to be sick .” She fans herself. Elliot realizes she literally means she’s going to be sick because not long after the words leave her mouth, she’s running past him back up the stairs.
Chapter 16: 16.
Thanks for all of the amazing feedback on this story so far. :')
I do feel like I need to clear up one thing though -- Olivia isn't pregnant. Liv and El are the ages they are now in this fic. :) She got sick from being caught ... thank you guys so much for reading! xo
Elliot’s fingers lace delicately in her hair, holding it in a ponytail position as she hovers above the toilet. Concern is written all over his face. He knows today has been a hard day, particularly for her. What’s just happened … well, that could make things more than difficult.
Just when she thinks she’s finished, Olivia stands up only to fall straight back down and finish up with a gag and a cough.
“What can I do for you?” Elliot asks, rubbing her back in soft circles.
“I just need to lay down I …” Olivia shakes her head, eyes closed. “God, we should’ve locked the door. No, we should’ve gone into your room. What were we thinking?” She looks up at him with tears in her eyes.
“We weren’t.” Elliot replies softly.
He’s right. They weren’t thinking. If they had just gone into Elliot’s room, they would’ve at least heard a warning when Dante came into the adjoining room looking for Olivia. But they had made choices, much like the ones over the course of the week, that were set in stone. Both she and he would have to live with them for the rest of their lives.
“C’mon …” Elliot whispers, reaching for Olivia’s hands. She stands to her feet with his help then lets go of them, where she then makes her way over to the sink to rinse her mouth out.
“Do you think he’ll tell?” Elliot asks.
“He won’t.” Olivia shakes her head. “Dante … he likes Trevor but …” Don’t you dare say it. You’re not the kind of person that takes advantage of someone’s liking towards you.
Olivia stops herself and turns to look at Elliot as she dries her mouth off with one of the fluffy white towels.
“Would it … be so …” Elliot begins to say. Don’t. You know this is harder for her than it is for you. This is her life you interrupted. Don’t ask her if it would be so bad if Dante told out. You’re not that selfish.
“I need to lie down,” Olivia whispers. “I’m dizzy.”
. . . . . . . . . . .
After helping Olivia settle into bed, Elliot comes downstairs to check up on Dante. He makes his way from the staircase and down the hall to the French doors at the very end. One of them is open, so he steps out and teeters out just enough to see if he’s there working on the air conditioning unit.
Dante is on his knees in front of it, a screwdriver in hand. Dante reaches up and wipes the sweat from his forehead away, and corners his eyes up at Elliot.
“I don’t know what you think of me. I don’t really know you … but you seem like a great kid.” Elliot begins.
Silence between them. Birds. The pool in the distance.
“Anyways uh … I think if you choose to say something about what you saw today, then you should be upfront with Liv about it so she can pre–”
Dante stands to his feet and comes up to Elliot, eyebrows furrowed. “You’re right, you do not know me . I would never do anything to hurt Miss Olivia. It’s you I worry about.” Dante points his finger and wipes his forehead with the hand his screwdriver is in.
Elliot stares at him for a moment, tilting his head. “Me?”
“My English is good. You heard me.” Dante insists, dropping the screwdriver into his toolbag and bringing out a wrench.
Elliot sticks his hands in his pockets.
“Miss Olivia spends a lot of time alone here. You come along and …” Dante waves his hand about. “I don’t know what you’ve done, but Miss Olivia is loyal and a faithful person. She wouldn’t hurt anyone.” Dante adds.
“You’re right.” Elliot nods. “She is.”
Dante looks at him. “Then why don’t you just leave her be then?” He asks, his voice softening.
Elliot sighs, raising a hand from his pocket to rub over his head. “I don’t know how to answer that.”
“With the truth.” Dante retorts straight away.
“Because I love her.” Elliot blurts out.
He’s not sure what it is about this kid that makes him want to fess up. But there’s an energy about the young man that seems far beyond anything he himself could ever touch.
Dante finishes with the wrench and tosses it into the bag. He dusts his hands on his pants and stands to his feet. “You love her, yet you will let her ruin her life for you?” Dante asks. His tone isn’t harsh, or mean in any way. It’s full of curiosity.
“I don’t feel I’m ruining her life.” Elliot says, his tone low.
“Hm.” Dante nods, looking around for a moment. “Summer will be ending soon. It’s hot right now, you know, only because it tries to hang on. My mother used to say that. When the weather would be at its worst. It’s just the season trying to hang on.” Dante states, eyes locked on Elliot’s.
Elliot raises an eyebrow as the realization looms over him that Dante, perhaps, thinks a little deeper than he originally thought for such a young kid.
“How can you love someone you’ve just met?” Dante asks. “Be willing to ruin each other like this?” He wipes his forehead again.
Dante turns and begins putting his tools away.
“I fell in love with the idea of her first.” Elliot begins, his voice so low it’s almost a whisper.
Dante turns to face him. A warm gust picks up, blowing his dark curly locks.
“Then when we met, I fell in love with the desire to have her.” Elliot adds, nodding slowly. “The need.” He adds, eyes wandering around.
“And once I had her …” Elliot trails off for a moment. “Once I felt her … I fell in love with who she is.” He adds in a whisper.
Dante stares at him, wide eyed.
Nothing, for a moment.
“Do you love her or do you love that you have her?” Dante asks, his tone soft.
Elliot’s gaze lingers on Dante, who is obviously completely enveloped in their conversation.
“Both.” Elliot replies truthfully.
Dante takes a deep breath and his focus fixates on the ground below them. “I do not agree with what you are doing.” He states.
“I wouldn’t expect you to. I don’t agree with it. Doesn’t mean I can … help it or change it.” Elliot replies. “Look …” Elliot takes a deep breath. “Sometimes we meet people and we have no choice but …”
“What?” Dante asks, eyes narrowed.
Elliot shakes his head as if to signal he won’t finish. He began the thought, but it drifted away from him.
“ We let people ruin us with love to cure us of other things.” Dante quotes.
“Where’d you get that from, a book?” Elliot asks, a soft smile gracing his lips.
“I write poetry.” Dante states. “You know …” Dante begins, making his way through the french doors with his tool bag hanging off his shoulder. Elliot follows. He goes into the small adjoining room where the thermostat rests on the wall. He switches it on. “My mother passed away a year and a half ago. Miss Olivia hadn’t been here that long. Trevor was looking for someone to come help with things around the house that he wasn’t handy enough to do.”
The air conditioning kicks on – finally.
“She stepped in, you know? I was not in a good place.” Dante says, walking from the small room and entering the hallway again. He makes his way towards the door, but stops and turns around once he’s there. “She is like a mother to me. I am sad that she feels sad. I can see that. I have for a while. I think other people do too.” Dante nods. “But what I don’t want is for her to be so tired when everything is over and done with that she doesn’t have any room left. Do you understand?” Dante asks, clutching onto the strap of his toolbelt.
Elliot stares at him briefly, before giving a soft nod.
Dante turns around to leave.
“Question,” Elliot holds a finger up.
“Why didn’t you just … call out from down here before coming up?” Elliot asks.
“I did.” Dante replies. “A few times. No one answered.”
Were they really in their own little world to such a great extent, that even in this house, where the walls were paper thin, they couldn’t hear someone walking around calling for Olivia?
“I didn’t hear you two. Or I would’ve left and not have said a word, ever. My interests always lie with Miss Olivia. I care for her deeply.” Dante adds. “I will not tell Trevor what I saw. I would never do that to her.”
Elliot’s gaze remains fixed on him. He nods once as if to say okay.
Elliot extends his hand for Dante to take. Dante stares down at it for a moment before reaching and shaking his hand hesitantly.
Dante returns his nod and turns to leave.
They have a mutual interest. They both care for the woman upstairs.
. . . . . . . . .
The French doors are shut, the windows too – all over the house, to keep the cool air in. Elliot sits at the kitchen island in silence. The house has been quiet for a few hours now. Olivia has been asleep the entire time and he imagines it’s because she’s exhausted from what happened and the air conditioning has cooled the house off so much that she’s able to rest peacefully.
He’s been tempted a few times to go up and see if he could wake her. Toss a book down on the floor like he knows she did once to wake him. He smiles at the thought, raising a cup of coffee to his lips. He’d made some not long ago, glad to finally have some without feeling like he was going to die of heat exhaustion afterwards.
“That smells nice …” Comes a voice from behind him. It’s her, of course. Elliot turns in his seat to get a better look at Olivia. She’s wearing a knee length silk robe. Dark purple. Tied tightly around the waist.
“Come join me.” Elliot smiles, standing from the stool to go pour her a cup.
“I’ll get it.” Olivia holds her hand up and makes her way over to the cabinet to bring a mug from it. She picks up the coffee pot and pours some into the mug, black liquid pouring delicately into the tuscan inspired mug. Olivia puts the coffee pot back on its bass and turns to face him.
Their eyes lock.
“I don’t think Dante is going to say anything.” Elliot states.
Olivia doesn’t say a word.
“Says he called out for us but …” Elliot shakes his head.
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Every time I … think about it, I get sick.” Olivia says.
But that’s all you’re thinking about, isn’t it?
“Okay.” Elliot says low.
“He won’t say anything.” Olivia whispers, shaking her head.
“I thought you didn’t want to talk about it?” Elliot asks nonchalantly, taking a sip of coffee.
“Then we won’t.”
Olivia slams her coffee cup down on the counter, so hard that coffee spills from the sides. She takes a deep breath and puts her hands over her face. “I just … sometimes I wish …” Her voice dwindles off into smallness.
“ Liv …” Elliot sits his mug down and stands up, then walks around the island to make his way towards her. “Listen, it’s going to be fine …”
“Please don’t patronize me.” Her voice is low. She buries her face into the palms of her hands.
Elliot stops, but only briefly. He comes towards her and opens both arms but for the first time, she moves away from him by shrugging her shoulder up quickly.
“ Don’t . I don’t want to be held right now.” Olivia whispers, taking two steps away from him.
Elliot sticks his hands in his pockets, a habit he’s formed when he’s nervous or doesn’t know what to do with himself. A soft ‘ mhm’ follows as he clears his throat.
“I wish you would’ve just stopped when I asked you to. Then none of this would have ever happened.” Olivia whispers, her back turned to him. “Then I wouldn’t feel like this.” She hangs her head.
Elliot remains quiet. Only briefly though, which is another habit of his. “You wish I hadn’t pursued you?” He asks.
“Wouldn’t it have been better that way?” Olivia asks, finally turning to face him. “To pretend we didn’t want each other over having to pretend that we don’t …. We don’t love each other?” Olivia asks, brown eyes becoming glassy. The sun is just starting to go down, so the kitchen is as gloomy as it was the day she walked in on him eating a cookie at the kitchen table.
“You keep saying that we have to do this and we have to do that. But you’re the one callin’ the shots here, Liv. It’s your decision on whether or not we pretend to do anything. There isn’t some … whatever, controlling us like puppets. You’re in control. All you have to do is–” Elliot’s words tumble out, until …
“All I have to do is what , Elliot? Tell him? Yeah …” Olivia scoffs. “I can see that playing out real swell. ‘Hey Trevor, while you were away, I fucked your old best friend Elliot, and on top of everything else – Dante, you know, the poor sweet kid who looks up to us both, walked in on me and Elliot havin’ a roll in our bed.’” Olivia’s voice drips with sarcasm.
The truth, in fact, does sound just as bad out loud as it does in her head.
And now that Elliot hears it out loud, all he can do is stare.
“You don’t have to go into detail.” He whispers, finally, after a moment of quiet. “Maybe if you just tell him … that …” He takes a deep breath, shaking his head.
Olivia’s entire expression twists from annoyance, into softness. He’s getting emotional.
“ Elliot …” She whispers back, stepping towards him. Her hands come to rest on his cheeks, where she caresses them with her thumbs. “I …” Her voice cracks with emotion. How does she even respond to him like this? She can see the tears gathering in his blue eyes. They’re real. Raw.
“I don’t know if I can stand seeing you with him now, as fucked up as it sounds.” Elliot whispers.
Their eyes wander each other, brown on blues. Infinite thoughts swirling around in them, mostly consisting of each other.
“Let’s just … take it one day at a time. That’s all we can do.” Olivia says, eyes just as full as his are.
“We’re running out of days.” Elliot replies.
“I know.” Olivia whispers up to him, moving closer.
Elliot brings his hands over the back of hers and cups them with his own. He moves into her. “The idea of you with him instead of me … makes me sick to my stomach.” Elliot nods.
Olivia remains quiet.
“Even before I had you. When he’d rub your back or … hug you or …” Elliot rambles on, his forehead coming into contact with Olivia’s.
“ Elliot …” Olivia’s breathless, caught up by his gentle possessiveness.
“In the kitchen that first night, before you went up to bed and you kissed him …” Elliot shakes his head and at that point, he’s leading her backwards towards the kitchen island. “I’ve never been so jealous.” He whispers hotly against her lips.
“ I’m sorry.” Olivia says, simply because she doesn’t know what else to say. He’s staring at her so intensely, so closely, that she feels she’ll explode at any moment if he just so much as touches her.
“I hate it. I hate the thought of him touching you …” Elliot’s hand moves from her cheek and grazes down the side of her breast, before slipping in between their bodies and through the opening of her robe. She parts her legs for him immediately – a gesture she’s grown accustomed to. He can have her anytime he wants, she’s decided. “The thought of him kissing you …” Elliot kisses her deeply, inciting a loud hum from her. “The thought of him getting to tell you that he loves you before he goes to sleep at night.” Elliot pulls away, and they begin exchanging hot little breaths back and forth. “He doesn’t deserve ya, Liv.” Comes out shakily. His forehead knocks against hers softly and their eyes are wide and locked on one another.
Olivia gives a gentle rock forward against his hand, and he smirks that smirk. He knows he has her. Always. Even if it’s just like this, for a couple more days.
“You get so eager for me. Do you get this eager for him?” Elliot asks.
Olivia pushes him away from her and takes a deep breath. She’s less than amused with his line of questioning.
“What?” Elliot asks.
“Is that really going to make you feel better? To know that you fuck me better than he does?” Olivia’s voice comes out as hostile — incredibly hostile.
Elliot says nothing. He stares at Olivia, knowing he’s chosen the wrong thing to say to make her excited. Because he’s just pissed her off, clearly.
“Is this what we’re doing now, Elliot? Are you going to … revert to whatever kind of arrogant shit you were on before and make this about …” Olivia shakes her head and exhales deeply, turning around so that her back is to him.
“It wasn’t about that.” Elliot whispers. “I just …”
Olivia hangs her head and flattens her palms against the counter, leaning forward. The moment she feels him come up behind her and wrap both hands around her biceps, she relaxes. Especially when he leans against her. They begin taking turns, teetering back and forth against one another. A little habit they’ve formed while being around one another. He against her, then she against him – her back to his chest.
Olivia’s arm snakes so that they’re around his neck from behind and he buries his face tenderly in the crook of her neck.
She can’t stay mad at him. But was she even really angry with Elliot to begin with? Or was she lashing out at him because she was angry with herself?
Olivia is angry with herself. She’s angry at herself for starting this … whatever this is. She’s angry at herself for not being brave enough to tell Trevor. She’s angry that she’s not the kind of person that can just walk away from either man without as much as an inkling of guilt or pain.
She can already feel that gathering in the pit of her stomach for a time that she knows is yet to come but that’s surely approaching.
They continue teetering back and forth against one another. Elliot wraps both arms around her waist and kisses the side of her neck.
“My friend Olivia …” He whispers.
“ Mmm ….” Olivia sighs. “ My friend Elliot …”
And just like that, the mood had shifted once again. There they are, raw and unadulterated with one another.
“ Elliot …” Elliot whispers against her neck.
“ Olivia …” She whispers, bringing both arms around his neck as his hands begin to travel up and down her body. She can feel him begin to pull at the ties of her silk robe. There isn’t much underneath. She had changed into a simple white tank top earlier before she laid down, ridding herself of the burgundy dress.
Olivia spins around in his arms and stands on her tiptoes to kiss him fully. She wraps both arms around his neck again. Elliot begins walking her towards the exit of the kitchen, and towards the stairs. They whisper little my friends to each other back and forth on their way there.
Elliot, in a brief moment, grasps at the idea of him still being twenty something years old because once they’re just about to hit the staircase he picks her up. Olivia goes up with a high pitched yelp, her legs wrapping around his waist. Elliot releases a soft grunt … his knees aren’t what they used to be.
“Oh this isn’t a good idea!” Olivia giggles, clutching onto his shoulders as if her life depends on it.
“ I got this.” Elliot says, breathlessly – a little grin plastered on his lips.
“I don’t believe you …” Olivia cackles, “ Ah!” and the moment they begin to fall backwards, she reaches out for the stair railing and grabs onto it. He does the same, which lowers them both down with ease.
So there they lay, not even halfway up the staircase – giggling and laughing with each other like they’re young again. Their sounds, little kisses mixed in with laughter, fill the house.
She wonders if, when he’s long gone, should she be still enough – if she’ll be able to hear this moment all over again.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
They lie in his bed together. It’s cramped, but they make it work. Her back is lying against his chest. There’s a sheet pulled up around her breasts and it barely covers Elliot, in the ways that count.
In her hand is a photo album that she got up and dug out from her bedroom closet. She had told him about how handsome she found him to be in the photo she discovered on Trevor’s desk and of course, Elliot asked if she had photos of herself from that timeframe.
She did. So, she dug them out.
“I was about twenty-five here …” Olivia points to a photo where she had longer hair and was sitting on steps, with a ladybug ball in her lap. “This is from ‘99 … I was still pretty new. That’s my first partner, Fin. ” She whispers, pointing to a photo of them together, giving the salute. “My Captain.” She points to Captain Donald Cragen, who stands beside them. Olivia flips the page. “The day I became Sergeant …” She trails off. A huge smile curls on her lips when she comes to a particular photo. “This is the day I became Captain.” Olivia looks up at Elliot, who is looking attentively at what she’s showing him.
“What is it?” Olivia asks. He’s thinking, she can tell.
“Just …” Elliot begins, but stops himself.
“What?” Olivia asks again, her voice soft.
“We would’ve been good together. Even then.” Elliot says. “If things had played out differently …”
Olivia closes the album and turns around so that her chin is resting on his bare chest.
“Tell me about it.” She whispers, brown eyes peering up at him.
Elliot stares down at her, his fingers dancing up and down her bare back – occasionally hitting chunks of hair. “We would’ve met before either of us had anyone,” he begins, whispering. “And we would’ve …” Elliot smirks. Lorenzo hops up on the bed, appearing out of nowhere, and comes to lay in between their feet – where he curls into a tiny gray fur ball.
“What?” Olivia asks, curiously.
“Well, actually we would’ve fucked like rabbits.” Elliot coughs out a laugh.
Olivia’s mouth gaps open and she smacks him across the chest playfully.
Don’t we already?
Elliot, somewhat recovering from his laughing fit, begins again. “We would’ve … gotten married and …”
“Had kids?” Olivia asks, eyes filling with tears.
She hasn’t spoken a lot about it but he knows that’s a regret of hers. Not having children.
“Yeah. Ten.” Elliot teases.
“Ten?!” Olivia cackles, rolling off of him and sitting up in the bed. “No, no – not ten.” She insists, feigning offense at the mere suggestion of her popping out ten children.
“ You went up!” Olivia chuckles, reaching for the photo album and sitting it on the bedside table.
“I’m a persistent man.” Elliot beams, reaching for her. She comes back to him and wraps an arm around his waist.
“I can see that. We would have two kids. Just two.” Olivia smiles into his chest.
“They’d look like you and act like me.” Elliot smirks.
“ Uh, no. They would look like you and act like me.” Olivia insists, poking a finger playfully into his rib.
“Actually –” Elliot argues …
This goes on and on until they settle on where they would live. How many kids exactly they would have, which would be 3. Who they would look like, who they would act like. They settle on the first two looking like Elliot, and acting like Olivia. The youngest, would look like Olivia, but act like Elliot. They’d live in a house much different than this one – one with a simple little patio outside, maybe with a garden so they could have their coffee together in the morning out there and talk about work and the kids. They would still have Lorenzo, because they would find him wandering around in some alley. The kids would insist that they bring him home and he would become the family pet.
“ When would we get married? You’ve got me punching out all these babies but haven’t put a ring on it yet …” Olivia playfully holds up her finger where his ring resides. It glistens, even in the moonlight.
Elliot goes quiet for a moment.
“Let me see the album again and I’ll pick my favorite.” Elliot jokes.
Olivia swats at him.
“ Ow !” Elliot laughs.
Olivia grins, nuzzling her face into his chest.
“This is my favorite …” Elliot says, pointing to her shoulder. You’re my favorite. I’d marry you right now, as you are. Spend the rest of my life with you.
Olivia’s smile fades, then reappears. She points into his chest. “This is my favorite too …” She whispers.
I’ll tell you about my parallel universe and you’ll tell me about yours. And because we love each other, we’ll exist in one.
Chapter 17: 17.
The bathroom is quiet, besides the sounds of the water in the tub splashing gently against the sides whenever they move or laugh at the other’s joke. Olivia is warming up the water, so when it’s adequate enough, she reaches forward for the knob near the bathtub faucet that rests in the center of the wall and turns it off. She’s careful when drawing her knee up from the bubbly water not to knock it against the faucet, because that would hurt. She’s done it before.
Somehow, her and Elliot have managed to fit. He’s behind her, and her back rests to his chest. She lies down a little further into the water than he is, though. But their hands have found each other, and they play with one another’s fingers as they lie there for quite a while in silence together.
“You’re making me nervous.” Elliot teases, his voice low. Raspy.
“Hm?” Olivia asks, looking up at him. Her hair is drawn into a low bun, but some of it hangs down and is wet, stuck against her shoulders and the back of her neck. A little on his chest too.
“You’re somewhere else.” Elliot’s voice breaks off into a whisper.
Olivia sighs, snuggling back against him. “I’m sorry.” She whispers back.
The room falls silent again and Elliot lays his head back against the tub, staring up at the ceiling. The ceilings in the house are unusually tall compared to what he’s used to. The walls, over halfway tiled in this oceanic blue color, if you look closely enough, reflect other details about the room. Everything to the white old fashioned sink, to the pill bottles that rests on the little shelf under the medicine cabinet. Aspirin. Anti nausea medicine. Vitamins. She had taken one of the anti nausea pills before lying down the day before.
“Talk to me.” Elliot says. His voice vibrates against her back, sending a soft chill down her spine.
“Should we say goodbye before or after he comes?” Olivia asks. That’s what she’s been thinking about. The little inevitable truth, yet again – soon, they wouldn’t be able to be like this. Soon, they would be apart.
“I don’t know.” Elliot answers honestly. Saying goodbye to her before Trevor was even home seemed so permanent.
“He’s going to know something is off if we’re acting strange … I …” Olivia raises up a little so that she comes from the water. Her back is revealed to him, wet and glistening. Bubbles sliding down it. His chest, all of a sudden, feels cold and bare.
“He won’t know. I’ll behave. We’ll have to … just act like we did before.” Elliot says, reaching forward and moving some of the wet bits of hair that have fallen from her bun away from the back of her neck. Twists them back around her bun.
“I would hardly call what we did before behaving. ” Olivia states, a soft sigh following.
Elliot’s chest rises and falls, exaggerating a breath. “Then we’ll have to pretend to behave.”
Olivia lies back down against his back and scoots down enough so she can look up at him from behind. “Did you mean what you said? About coming back?” She asks.
Oh, she’s reverting.
“To here? Italy?” Elliot cocks a brow.
“Or stay in Rome. Maybe I could come … you know … after a while you could …” Olivia bites her bottom lip.
That’s unfair. Don’t you dare ask him to do that.
Elliot’s eyes, bluer than the tiles around them, fixate and stare down at her intensely. A soft smile curls on his lips. “I don’t think I can.”
Olivia exhales deeply.
“Because every time you come, I won’t want you to leave.” Elliot repeats her words back at her.
Olivia smiles faintly.
“Then I’ll have to kidnap you and that won’t look good on my file.” Elliot teases, his smile growing.
Olivia cackles – arching her back as she belts a laugh from his joke. “No, no, I guess that won’t.” She says, and when her face relaxes, he can see there are tears in her eyes.
Elliot raises his hand from the water and gently places it on the front of her neck. His fingers take up much space on the side, so his thumb grazes along her jawline as he leans down to kiss her lips. Slowly. Deeply.
“ Mm …” Olivia hums, feeling his fingers slide up and down the side of her neck.
“You drive me crazy.” Elliot whispers against her lips, bringing his other hand from the water to touch her chin. Droplets fall from his fingers as he gives a slight tug on her bottom lip, just to open her mouth enough so he can really lean into the kiss. His tongue grazes against the inside of her bottom lip, visibly.
Lorenzo makes his way into the bathroom, and somehow, because even the floors carry so much sound, they can hear the pitter patter of his tiny paws coming through. Olivia kisses Elliot once more and looks straight ahead when she sees Lorenzo jump up on the edge of the tub and sit.
Olivia smiles, bringing her fingers to lace through Elliot’s where she then pulls his arms around her from behind. She sighs deeply, staring at the small fluffy face of the cat they rescued.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
They spent the time they knew they had left as wisely as they could. She had taken him out to the very edge of the property, beyond the lemon trees, and brought him to the couple of nectarine trees that resided there. They had walked, hand in hand, in rural areas where no one could see them. Accompanied by his camera, her sunhat, and of course – Lorenzo, who had taken fondly of them both.
When they could, they had made love. In his bed, of course. Neither of them acknowledged the night before Trevor came home. There were no goodbyes between them or final physical acts. Just them, lying around talking.
Truthfully? They were both putting it off for as long as they possibly could have. But those last couple days, those last few hours leading up to when Trevor was expected home was torture. But neither of them vocalized it to each other.
Olivia stands in the hallway, with her back pressed to the wall. She’s back to wearing her usual. But her own oversized button-ups. She hasn’t been able to bring herself to wear one of Trevor’s shirts since Elliot ripped the pinstriped one off of her. Her shirt is baby blue, hanging almost down to the knees. Underneath are solid black leggings.
Elliot makes his way down the stairs to see her standing there. She looks up at him, and he can tell that she’s nervous because soon, Trevor will walk through that door. Soon … well, that will be that.
I won’t have you anymore.
Elliot stands at the foot of the steps, with his hand on the railing. Their eyes remain locked on each other …
Then, there goes that clock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Elliot exhales deeply, taking a step closer to her.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Olivia’s breathing is all over the place. Tears are in her eyes, no matter how hard she tries to fight them off. Had they been too blissfully unaware these past couple days that they had pushed this very moment out of their mind to the point where they couldn’t at all anticipate it?
Of course not.
It’s all they’ve thought about.
But nothing could prepare them for this very moment.
Olivia watches him ease closer and closer to her …
“I love you …” Elliot’s words tumble from his lips with such sincerity that she can’t help but let out a soft sob.
“ Elliot …” Her voice shakes.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
“Liv, you mean the world to me …” Elliot takes her hands into his. “I mean that, I just want you to know …”
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Olivia moves into him and wraps both arms around him. She presses her lips to his and silences any other words that were possibly on their way out.
This has to be goodbye.
And just like that, Olivia kisses him with just as much sincerity as Elliot’s simple I love you held. Peck after peck, firm and passionate.
“Love you …” Is all that leaves her, small and broken.
You know better than to say that to him again.
Elliot’s hands come to her face, where he cups her cheeks in his hands. “Just uh … just tell him I went for a walk, ‘kay?” Elliot says, blue eyes locked on her brown ones.
Olivia nods quickly. She knows what he doesn’t want to be here for. He doesn’t want to watch Trevor greet her.
Elliot turns and begins a slow walk down the hall …
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Olivia makes her way over to the staircase, where she walks about halfway up and sits with her elbows on her knees.
Step, step, step, step.
It’s not Trevor. No, this sound is coming from inside the house.
Elliot is coming back to her.
Olivia stands to her feet, there in the middle of the staircase and before he can even get halfway up, she’s already reaching for him, and he reaches back out – hands going for hands.
Their lips meet again, quite possibly for the final time. Over and over again in deep, long kisses. He wishes he had time to truly take her upstairs and show her how much he’s going to miss her but he’s afraid if he approaches her, intimately, with that mentality, he may just tell Trevor his damn self and hope and pray she forgives him. Hope and pray that she’ll have him anyways.
But he won’t do that.
Regardless of the messes he makes, Elliot Stabler is a good man. And she, regardless of the messes she creates, makes him better.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
“ Ohh …” Olivia whispers, clutching onto his henley to the point where she’s almost pulling at the fabric that rests along his back.
This, she knows, is merely an intimate goodbye. The physical is yet to come – and that day, which she’s sure is approaching because she can already feel him and his desire to wan from the situation, is coming soon.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Elliot pulls away from their kiss, his bottom lip stuck to hers as he slowly eases away. Their eyes search one another for what seems like eternity before he leans in once more just to simply peck her on the cheek. It’s sweet. Kind. Like she knows he can be, but maybe doesn’t show to everyone else.
When Elliot turns to walk back down the stairs, he lets go of only one hand. He hangs onto the other as long as he can, until both of their arms are extended out – threatening to pull at the shoulder, until finally …
They let go.
Olivia practically throws herself back down into a seated position on the stairs and listens as Elliot walks quickly down the hall and out the set of French doors. He throws one shut, maybe a little harder than he intended to.
Olivia sits there, staring at the door – almost wide eyed. She’s in some kind of state of shock, and maybe, just maybe, this is too much for her. She feels that sick feeling gathering in the pit of her stomach. The same as days ago when she was caught with him.
You could go after Elliot right now. You could tell him to go away for a while, and that you’ll meet him after you break the news to Trevor. Tell him that you’re not happy anymore and that Elliot has made you happier in a week than you’ve been in at least a year. You could do that, you know? Push any feeling of guilt out of your heart and mind and just glide through the conversation as if Trevor won’t look at you with pain in his eyes. As if he won’t hurt because you betrayed him.
But think about how much better you’ll feel to be honest with yourself. But while we’re on the topic of honesty … what are you going to do when he walks through that door? Are you going to wrap your arms around him, like you just did Elliot? Are you going to kiss him and tell him that you missed him?
Because you didn’t, did you? You hardly thought of him. You thought about what would happen if he found out, but you didn’t really think of him did you?
You should just go find Elliot and —
The front door swings open.
Olivia stands up quickly.
Trevor makes his way through the door with his suitcase in one hand and his keys in the other. He looks up when he notices Olivia and smiles broadly.
“There’s my girl.” Trevor beams.
Fuck. My. Life.
Olivia smiles faintly and her expression shifts when she sees his change. Trevor’s smile fades dramatically and for a moment, she wonders if he knows. If he has somehow picked up on what’s been going on under this roof for the past week. Maybe he can look at her and just tell. God, she doesn’t have any hickeys does she? She was careful to tell Elliot not to leave any visible marks on her. Though if she’s being honest, the insides of her thighs are ate up with tiny crimson circles, just from the other night … when his mouth was on her. That felt good. That felt really good …
“Liv?” Trevor asks, and suddenly, he’s standing at the foot of the stairs now, staring up at her.
“What?” Olivia asks.
“Are you okay? I said I missed you … you look … stunned? Like you’ve seen a ghost?” Trevor laughs, making his way up the stairs.
Olivia shakes her head no. “I’m fine.” She says, her voice quiet.
Trevor meets her in the middle of the stairs and tilts his head a little at her. “I left a message last night and told you I’d be back today. Didn’t you get it?” He asks, confusion all over his face. “Are you okay?” He asks again, reaching out with the back of his hand to touch her face.
“Um … yeah, the house was just really quiet and you coming in startled me is all.” Olivia lies.
Trevor looks at her for a moment, his eyebrows knitted tightly together. His face relaxes and he gives a gentle shrug. “I’m sorry I scared you.” He leans into her, going straight for her lips.
She kisses him back, though it’s brief.
“I missed you.” Trevor smiles, wrapping both arms around her.
“Missed you too.” Olivia nods, returning a soft smile.
Kiss him. Or he’s going to know. Do it. Do it now.
Olivia leans in and presses her lips to the side of his cheek. It’s quick. Emotionless.
Trevor looks at her oddly. “Anyways … I’ve been driving for a while. I may go up for a bath.” He looks around, peeking over the staircase by teetering on one foot to the side. “Where’s Elliot?” He asks.
“No clue.” Olivia answers almost immediately. “I saw him this morning and I haven’t seen him since.”
“Oh. I really thought you guys would get along a little better. Thought you guys would click, ya know? Because of the whole cop thing.” Trevor states with a sigh.
“What makes you think we don’t get along?” Olivia asks.
“I don’t know. You seem to not want to talk about him. Every time I mentioned him on the phone you cut me off.” Trevor laughs. “It’s okay if you don’t like him, Liv. He’s not … everyone’s cup of tea.” He adds.
Except for that damned clock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
“It’s not that I don’t like him …” Olivia says, her voice trailing off.
Trevor remains quiet.
“We just … don’t click.” Olivia adds. “I don’t think that means I dislike him.”
Trevor tilts his head in the opposite direction and gives a slight nod. “Do you want me to take him into town? Maybe put him up in a motel?” He asks. “I should’ve maybe done that to begin with. I didn’t really think … God, I’m sorry Liv. I should’ve asked that before I left.” Trevor sighs.
“No, no. There’s no need for that. I would’ve said no anyways.” Olivia answers.
Of course you would’ve. Ha.
“Okay, well. It’s good to be home. The bed got lonely …” Trevor smirks, leaning into her again.
Olivia leans in and pecks the corner of his mouth.
“I’m going to start dinner.” Olivia says and brushes past him gently, before making the rest of her way downstairs.
“Oh, I was kind of thinking we could go out for dinner. Us three.” Trevor suggests.
Olivia doesn’t stop once.
“I already started it!” She calls out, practically leaping towards the stove at that point.
“But you just said …”
“The meat is already thawed!” Olivia says. She’s in the kitchen. He can tell by the distance of her voice.
Trevor stares off, then shakes his head and turns to go upstairs.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Elliot comes in late. So late in fact, that Trevor has already gone to bed. Olivia sits on the couch, working on Giulia’s baby blanket. Her glasses are tipped on her nose as she stares down at her hook and yawn. Looping and looping.
Back to the same old same old.
The moment she hears the French doors open, she looks up from her hands to see Elliot coming in. He smells like citrus and she can smell him all the way from where he is. He’s been out towards the lemon trees.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Elliot stops and looks through the entryway at her, a relaxed expression on his face. Olivia lays her hands in her lap and takes a deep breath.
Come over to me.
Elliot turns and walks up the stairs.
She’s nearly in tears from that alone. Of course Elliot wasn’t trying to snub her but … she’s feeling pretty sensitive right now, considering the day she’s had. Elliot hadn’t come to dinner, so her and Trevor had sat there talking about the most random things he had encountered that week. He asked her what she had been doing and she nearly choked on her lemon pepper chicken. Just my usual she had responded.
Olivia places the baby blanket on the coffee table and stands up. She follows Elliot up the stairs and when she reaches the top, she looks down the long hallway that leads to their bedrooms to see him standing there, turned halfway to look at her.
Olivia lets out a breathy sound, somewhere in between desperation and longing.
She makes her way towards him, careful with her step so she doesn’t wake Trevor. Elliot shakes his head no. She stops.
“I want to kiss you.” Olivia mouths, tears in her eyes.
Oh, you got it bad. Look what you’ve gone and done.
“We can’t.” he mouths back – blue light from the open bedroom door casting in on the side of his face.
The look that comes over her face makes him absolutely melt. He can’t resist her and he feels like an idiot for even thinking he could. Elliot slowly puts one foot in front of the other, until he’s standing in front of her.
“What are you going to do, baby?” Elliot leans in, whispering into her ear. It’s soft. Comforting.
She knows what he means. What is she going to do about her need for him. Not the sexual kind, although that could be the case too – but the need she has right now to be close to him like she has every night for a week.
“I don’t know.” She answers. He leans in and presses his mouth to hers, silencing her.
Elliot places soft pecks against her lips, one right after the other.
You were supposed to say goodbye.
Oh no. this is bad.
You can’t stop can you? You can’t help but be this way when he’s around.
Olivia wraps both arms around him and begins teetering into him.
The bed moves from inside Olivia’s room. Trevor has either gotten out of bed or he’s up, heading towards the door. Elliot moves away and stretches his legs in long strides to get to his room. He quietly shuts the door, leaving Olivia standing in the hallway.
Trevor must have just tossed in the bed.
Olivia takes a deep breath and tries her best to collect herself. She reaches forward and turns the doorknob, finally going into the bedroom for the night. She removes her glasses from her face and folds them, placing them on her dresser.
She stops, staring at the bed. With Trevor in it.
All she can see is herself on top of Elliot, riding him so hard that it shook.
Olivia quickly makes her way to her side of the bed and crawls in. She turns so that her back is facing Trevor. She only lies there for a moment before she feels Trevor turn over and wrap an arm around her.
“I really did miss you.” He says, his face nuzzled in her hair.
“Especially the other night.” Trevor laughs lowly.
She feels Trevor’s hand begin to rub up and down her thigh. But the moment he begins to push past the elastic of her pajama pants, she pushes his hand away. “Trev, not tonight, okay? I know you just got back but … I’m not feeling good tonight.” Olivia says.
Trevor is quiet. Too quiet.
“Okay …” He says, “That’s okay.” He reassures her. “Was it the chicken?”
“No? Why ? What was wrong with the chicken?” Olivia asks.
Elliot lies in the next room, listening carefully.
If she would’ve had sex with him, he possibly would’ve killed Trevor. Elliot takes a deep breath and picks up Lorenzo, who was lying at the foot of the bed. He lays him on his chest and begins scratching under his chin.
Pur, pur, pur.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
A couple days pass. Elliot has finally shown his face to Trevor. After that first day, Elliot was able to get past the awkwardness of looking Trevor in the eye. So he speaks to him as he did before he left. Casually, jokingly.
Olivia, on the other hand, is still figuring out how to adjust to being around both Trevor and Elliot at the same time. Her acting skills are a little better than she thought because so far, Trevor hasn’t seemed suspicious.
It’s okay if you don’t like him, Trevor had said to her last night.
Okay. Well, maybe you don’t pretend that well, Olivia.
Olivia and Elliot’s little moment in the hallway a couple nights ago is all they’ve been able to do. She’s scolded herself a few times for thinking about waiting until Trevor goes to sleep and then just slipping into the adjoining room. But they’re not exactly the most quiet people when they together so that’s a bad idea.
Elliot stands at the kitchen sink, looking out to Olivia who sits there with a book in her hands. Her glasses are tipped on her nose as she looks down. Occasionally, he’ll see her flip the page – but her eyes will wander off and he can tell she’s thinking about something else.
Think about me.
Just as the thought crosses his mind, she raises her nose from the book and looks through the kitchen window at him.
Their eyes lock.
Trevor, who has been swimming in the pool for over a half hour, doesn’t know any better. He’s in his own little world, sunglasses fit tight on his face as his back rests against the edge of the pool. Away from them.
They stare. And stare. And stare.
Elliot wonders briefly, because of the heat, why she doesn’t come inside and read. But he realizes pretty quickly that she’s afraid to be alone in the house with him for obvious reasons. He releases a soft breath and walks over to the basket of nectarines sitting on the table. The ones they had picked together before Trevor came home.
He takes one.
Then, he walks over to the kitchen drawer and pulls out a small knife.
Stop it. Don’t do this.
Elliot wanders around the kitchen for a moment, not slicing into the nectarine. He’s thinking. The more he thinks, the harder he gets.
It’s time to leave, Elliot. Leave her be. If you love her, you’ll leave her be.
But there’s an ache growing in him. One that hasn’t been able to be relieved since Trevor has been here. He had grown so accustomed to having her in any way he wanted, and now that he couldn’t, it was all he was able to think about.
Without another thought on the matter, Elliot pulls the handle of the French doors and steps outside into the heat. Olivia doesn’t look at him, instead, she keeps her nose in the book she’s “reading”.
Elliot saunters over to the patio table and sits down in the seat beside hers. She’s sitting at the end of the table, wearing a long cream colored dress that’s doing little to cover her legs since they’re crossed. There’s little fabric embellished buttons, same color, leading from the bottom all the way to the top of her cleavage. Her and them damned buttons.
Olivia turns a page in the book, the sound of paper hitting her fingertips mixing in with the birds and the pool, which Trevor is now swimming around in again.
Elliot begins cutting into the nectarine and as he does, he looks over to see Olivia briefly looking at him.
He continues to cut around it until it’s completely and evenly split in two. Elliot gives the fruit a small pull to separate the two halves and he flings the knife down on the wooden table. He lays one half down on the table and holds the other in his hand, staring at it.
Elliot’s eyes flicker over to Trevor who still, has no fucking clue that he’s even came outside. The man is quite literally lounging in his own little world in the distance. He’s never been so thankful that there’s so much separation between the patio and the pool area because what he’s about to do, he wouldn’t want Trevor to see up close.
Elliot clears his throat.
Olivia looks up at him.
Their eyes lock.
Elliot’s middle finger begins to trace the pit of the nectarine. Around and around, up and down – slowly.
Olivia cocks an eyebrow, both eyes fixated on what he’s doing over the thick black rim of her glasses.
Elliot continues to swirl his finger around the pit and when he hears a small sigh leave her, only then does he corner his eyes around at her. His focus drifts down, watching as she rubs her thighs together under her dress. Then back up to her face which, at this point, is the color of the skin on the nectarine in his hand.
Elliot licks his lips and brings the edge of the fruit to his mouth, where he bites in and kicks his lips.
A warm gust of wind picks up and blows some of her hair in chunks across her face. She reaches up and moves it away with her fingers, eyes still focused on him. She takes her glasses off and tosses them down on the table before her.
Elliot dips his tongue out to catch some of the juice that’s fallen from the fruit before it ever got a chance to go into his mouth.
Olivia suddenly closes the book harshly and shoots him a dirty look. She stands to her feet and stomps back into the house.
Elliot, a little dumbfounded that she reacted that way, stands up only a moment later and follows her inside. He leaves the nectarine halves open, lying on the table next to the black handled knife. To her glasses.
Olivia stands at the kitchen sink, washing up the couple dishes that lay there. Elliot shuts the French door quietly and makes his way over to her. Olivia tenses, staring down at the dish in her soapy hands. They drip into the base of the sink, and it’s so quiet in the house, for a moment, Elliot believes he can hear the droplets hitting the metal.
Elliot takes one step closer to her, so that he’s nearly pressed against her from behind. Olivia looks up, staring out the window at Trevor, who is swimming around in the pool still.
Elliot’s hands come to her waist and she closes her eyes.
“Eyes wide open …” Elliot breathes out heavily as he begins to walk her dress up the sides of her thighs with his fingers until the fabric is balled into his fists. Olivia opens her eyes, and continues to stare straight ahead. He pulls on the fabric of the dress so that it’s tight around her waist and can be held with one hand. His now free hand makes its way into the front of her cotton underwear. She parts her legs a little.
“ Mm.” leaves her lips.
The moment his fingers glide across her wet, velvety folds, she bucks her hips and gasps.
“I …” Olivia huffs, dropping the plate in the sink.
“Ssh,” Elliot places his mouth to her ear. “It’s okay.”
Olivia leans back against him and he supports her weight completely. Her arms reach backwards so that her elbows are pointed, and her hands grasp at the material of his henley, wetting it with her sudsy hands.
His fingers slide into her, one at a time, until she’s full of his thick digits. She bucks her hips down on him.
“God, you’re wet.” Elliot husks.
“ Elliot …” Olivia says breathlessly.
“Did I get you wet out there, baby? Do you want me to touch you like that?” Elliot asks, heatedly against her ear.
Your husband is outside.
“Yes …” She gasps. “Please?”
“Oh she’s asking for it.” Elliot grins.
“Just like this?” Elliot brings his fingers from her and swirls his middle around her clit, which is already swollen and begging for him.
“Fuck …” She moans out.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought. And what about this?” Elliot glides his fingertip up and down her sensitive nub, inciting a low, guttural moan from her.
“Mm!” Olivia whimpers.
“I keep thinkin’ about the Palazzo … and when I had you on your stomach. That was good for you wasn’t it?” He whispers. “When I showed you how perfect you are.”
She moans – loud.
“Ssh … cuz you are. So, so perfect. I want to be inside you right now.” Elliot nods.
Olivia reaches behind and pitifully tries to push down his pants, but fails.
Elliot releases a breathy laugh and shakes his head. “Not here, baby. But trust me ..”
He slips his fingers back inside her. Her head falls onto his shoulder. “I’d like nothing more than to pull these all the way down,” He snaps at the elastic of her underwear. “And take you right here. Just like this.” Elliot hums. “You’ve got me so hard. Just looking at you like this makes me want you so bad.”
She whimpers, and suddenly …
Elliot pulls his fingers from her and gives her a slight push up. Her dress cascades back down her legs. Olivia balances herself and her eyes open in shock, looking out the window to see Trevor is lounging inside the pool, his back to them. Again. He hasn’t even noticed she left the vicinity, but what else is new?
Olivia looks over her shoulder, and as she does, she sees Elliot taking off towards the stairs.
Olivia reaches forward and turns off the water to the sink.
She follows him.
It’s time for him to leave. Because it’s obvious at this point, as long as they’re around each other, they won’t be able to let go.
Chapter 18: 18.
Elliot enters the guest room – his room, but doesn’t bother shutting the door behind him because he knows she’s coming. He could hear her trailing closely behind him as he made his way down the hall. Sure enough, as Elliot comes to the center of his room and begins unbuckling his belt, there she is.
Olivia stares at him for a moment, eyes burning into his. She steps into the room and quietly shuts the door behind her, locking it. Elliot reaches from his belt and locks the door leading into her and Trevor’s room. Of course there’s the bathroom and should Trevor come looking, Olivia could just flee into there.
They look at each other only briefly, before Olivia flies towards him with urgency. Their lips meet and his fingers come up to tangle in her hair, long and flowing over her shoulders. Olivia’s hands, already between their bodies, are helping him finish unzipping his pants. She knows they don’t have very long to do what they’ve come up here to do.
“Mmh,” Olivia’s voice is muffled, and he’s not sure if she’s trying to tell him something or if she’s just moaning but either way – they want each other. His fingers come from her hair to touch her cheeks, which are red hot from their encounter downstairs.
Elliot breaks away from her and moves over to the bed, where he plops down on the edge and ushers her with both sets of fingers to come to him.
“C’mere.” He makes a come hither motion.
Olivia wastes no time. She pulls her dress up around her waist and pushes her underwear past her hips. The moment she makes her way over to Elliot, he takes her by the wrist and sits her down on his lap.
And there they are again, her back to him. She can feel his length against her ass and she rocks down on it teasingly, just for a brief moment of superiority. He grunts and his lips come to the side of her neck where he begins placing open mouthed kisses across the skin there. At that moment, she doesn’t care much if he leaves his mark. She’s his, and she knows she is.
Elliot taps the side of her thigh and she takes that as stand up. So she does, briefly, only until she hears him pull himself from his pants.
“Down baby …” He whispers heatedly up at Olivia, letting her know that he’s ready for her.
Olivia is already sweating and somehow, even in the air conditioned house, it feels like the gates of hell have opened on Lombardy in here all over again. Except the sun has nothing to do with this particular kind of heat. She feels him position himself at her entrance and she immediately slides down onto him, taking him quickly and what seems like all at once.
Olivia tosses her head towards his shoulder the moment she feels the back of her thighs meet his lap.
Elliot’s hands begin to wander around her body, over her clothed breasts, which do nothing to stop him from rubbing at her nipples through the fabric. He knows her body well, and judging by the sounds she’s making, he’s doing something right.
“You feel so good … need you to move.” Elliot breathes out against her ear. One hand cups against her breast, the other comes up to the front of her neck. She begins to rock against him, encouraging more small sounds from them both. “ Fuck that’s good …” He adds, breathless against her hair. Every time he speaks, he blows little pieces of it towards her face.
“ Elliot …” Olivia whispers, rocking a little harder against him until she begins to bounce.
“Shit.” Elliot huffs, his hand leaving her breast and coming to the inside of her thigh, where he opens her leg a little more. He begins to run his hand, flattened, against the skin there.
It’s rough. There’s nothing sweet about their movements. But then again, they haven’t been able to touch each other in two days. So what were they to do?
“Oh!” Olivia moans. Loudly.
“ Sshh …” Elliot tries to silence her, his lips coming to her jawline.
It doesn’t work.
“ OH! OH!” Olivia cries out and the hand that’s resting on the front of her neck comes up so it’s covering her mouth. Her eyes, previously half open, roll back and close. She continues her little muffled cries into the palm of his hand.
“Shit …” Elliot whispers against her shoulder. She’s still going strong, bouncing and rocking against him. Elliot moves his free hand, the one that’s resting on her thigh, between her legs.
The second she feels his fingers rubbing against her like they were downstairs in the kitchen, she whimpers and writhes against him.
“Gonna come deep inside you. You want that, right?” Elliot asks, his voice low and raspy. He quickly brings his hands from between her legs just to rub her lower stomach. Again, the man could make absolute filth sound romantic. Olivia nods frantically, eyes still shut tight. “Like I did at the Palazzo, remember? You were a mess.” Absolute filth. But she loves it. Elliot begins working his hips up into her the best he can in this position, meeting her thrust for thrust. “Is that what you’re going to do when I finish? Go try to wash me away?” Elliot asks and she groans into his hand. “Fuck I’m close …” Elliot moans low against her ear.
Olivia comes to a dead halt and begins to shake violently against him. The moment she begins to clench and flutter around him, that’s enough – she feels him spit once, twice, three times inside her until a complete warmth fills her. He’s hot, and part of her feels like she should be embarrassed at how much she enjoys this moment. But shame, unlike guilt, didn’t stick around long enough to torment her over that one.
“ Mmmm …. Mmmm …. Mmmm. ….” She cries against his hand, her expression contorted into pure pleasure.
Elliot bucks his hips up once more as he finishes, whispering her name over and over again into her ear.
Olivia goes limp against him. Elliot brings his hand away from her mouth, leaving her panting. She turns just enough so that she can kiss his lips. It’s lazy. Sloppy. But neither care.
“My friend …” Elliot whispers.
“ Mine.” Is all she can get out, her eyes finally opening, only to be met with the sun blaring through the window at them.
Olivia finds the strength to stand up from him, whimpering as she feels him slide out of her. Her dress falls down to her ankles and without a second look back, she makes her way into the bathroom and shuts the door behind her.
Elliot looks down at himself. He’s wet from her, from himself. What she left behind, what she didn’t just take into the bathroom with her, glides down the very tip of him and along his shaft. Glistening in the sun in some erotic way.
I’ll try to wash you away, and you’ll try to wash me away. Yet we’ll still be unclean.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Olivia remains in the bathroom for a while, so Elliot assumes she’s cleaning up. He does the same with some tissues, which reside on the bedside table. He adjusts himself back into his pants the best he can and makes his way over to the door, where he gently taps on the wood with the back of his knuckles.
“Liv …” His voice is soft.
“Yeah?” She asks.
He can hear water running.
Elliot’s mouth opens, but at first, nothing comes out. “I think ….”
“Don’t.” She whispers, just barely audible over the running water.
“I’m gonna um …” Elliot hangs his head. He reaches forward to turn the doorknob, to let himself in, but it’s locked and she makes no effort to unlock it for him. “I think I’m going to go back to New York. Going to see if I can get a flight out tomorrow.”
“Did you hear me?” Elliot asks.
The door swings open and she’s standing there with a towel wrapped around her. Her lips are swollen, her face is still red and blotchy. The side of her neck? Covered in marks she hopes fade before it’s time for her to go back downstairs.
Her eyes are dark, still a little off from what they’ve done.
“I hear you.” Her voice is small.
Elliot stares at her for a moment, before turning on his heel and making his way to the door of the bedroom that leads out into the hallway.
As he opens his door, she closes hers.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The next day arrives. It’s early morning, and the sun is blaring through Olivia’s bedroom window harshly onto her face. So as she comes to, she throws her arm over her eyes until she can adjust. But as she does this, she can see Elliot sitting on the edge of the bed. Her eyes widen a little and she removes her arm from her face, only to squint her eyes.
“Trevor is in his study.” Elliot says, his voice soft.
Silence between them … birds, the sway of the trees.
“We had breakfast together this morning. Out on the patio. I told him that I had a flight out today and that I already called the task force in Rome. Decided it’s just … not for me. I told him Eli misses me and needs me especially after … um,” Elliot reaches and runs his fingers over the back of his head. “After Kathy.” He clears his throat.
Tears are already in her eyes. He’s really going. He’s really about to leave her.
You didn’t expect him to stay did you? And he did offer to take you back with him. This, all of this, is at the hands of your choice.
“I wouldn’t have done anything differently.” Elliot says, his head turned towards her but he’s not looking at Olivia. “Maybe you would have, I know this has been hard for you–”
“I wouldn’t have.” Olivia whispers, lying there staring up at him.
Elliot looks at her, finally.
“I am … so sorry, Elliot.” She adds, her voice still low – breathless. “I wish I could just walk awa–”
“I don’t know if I would do any different, Liv. Walk away from Kathy I …” Elliot’s eyes become glassy. “I know what we’ve done isn’t … good. But .,. You and I, I think, we have an understanding. Maybe more than we’ll ever have with anyone else. I’m okay with that. I think that’s probably the way it’s supposed to be, you know? Just to have one person you really understand …” Elliot rambles, his tone low. “But you’re good, Olivia.”
“I don’t feel good.” Olivia’s voice shakes.
“Bad people don’t make good decisions for everyone else but themselves.” Elliot states, eyes locked on hers.
They stare at each other.
“You have people here who care for you. Who you care about. I just want you to know that … someone always cares for you back in New York.” Elliot says. “ Always. ”
Olivia sits up in bed, so that her back rests against the white headboard.
“You’ll always have someone who cares for you here in Lombardy.” Olivia says, tears dripping down her cheeks.
Elliot lets his tears fall next, and they drip onto the material of his tee. He reaches for her hand and gives it a squeeze.
“My friend … Olivia.” Elliot whispers.
“I love you too.” Her voice cracks.
Elliot scoots closer to her and presses his lips against hers, fully. They stay like that for a moment, kissing each other with all that they have until finally, he pulls away and stands up.
Olivia watches as Elliot makes his way back through the door of the adjoining room and shuts it quietly behind him.
. . . . . . . . . .
“Are you sure I can’t drive you to the train station, man? It’s a long drive, you sure you wanna sit in the back of a cab the whole time?” Trevor laughs. They stand where it all began, in front of the house.
“I’ll enjoy the quiet before the flight.” Elliot smiles, eyes occasionally drifting over to Olivia, who is quiet.
“Alright then. Well, you came then you went I guess, huh?” Trevor chuckles, “Italy isn’t for everyone, ain’t that right hun?” He looks over to her.
“You know what, sometimes it’s an acquired taste and … when you have a family back home, it’s hard to leave.” Olivia says with a nod, feigning a soft smile.
“I know that’s right. Well, Elliot.” Trevor extends his hand for Elliot to take. “Regardless, Rome or not, I’m glad you swung by. It was nice seeing you again. Really.” He adds, smiling ear from ear.
Elliot reaches out and gives his hand one firm shake. He looks over to Olivia next and extends his hand out to her.
Olivia immediately takes it, her fingers wrapping around the palm of his large hand.
“You be careful with that soap cutter from now on.” Elliot smiles at her, his voice softened completely.
“ Always. ” Olivia shakes his hand, giving it a firm squeeze before releasing it. Her fingers rub at her palm, where his hand just was.
“Okay. Well …” Elliot clears his throat and picks up his suitcase. He uses his free hand to open the back door of the cab. “Ciao, I guess?” Elliot laughs.
“Ciao, my friend.” Trevor gives a soft laugh and wave.
“Ciao …” Elliot glances at Olivia, making sure that she catches his next words. “... My friends.”
Olivia’s expression drops and she nods gently.
My friend. My friend. My friend.
Elliot climbs into the back of the cab and shuts the door. The cab pulls out from the gravel, and begins to drive further down until it hits the dirt road.
Trevor comes to wrap an arm around Olivia, and they stand there together – watching as the cab carries him away.
The whole time, it feels like someone’s sticking a knife into her chest and she’s doing all she can not to cry.
“Well. Such is time. Such is life, huh? Wonder if I’ll see him in another twenty something years?” Trevor laughs, squeezing her shoulder.
“I’m going to start lunch.” Olivia says, patting his hand and turning to walk back into the house.
Trevor watches Olivia go back into the house and looks back and forth between where she just disappeared to, to the cab that’s now a tiny ant in the distance. Back and forth.
He hangs his head for a moment.
Quiet. The sun beats down on the back of his neck.
Trevor brings his sunglasses from his shirt and slips them on his face. He begins making fish noises with his mouth, which is something he’s done since he was a child, as he makes his way around the side of the house and back to the pool area.
. . . . . . . . . .
Later that evening, Olivia is putting away laundry. She comes into her and Trevor’s room and sits the woven basket down in front of their dresser. She’s busying herself, doing anything she can just to pass the time. Like she did before. Anything to not have to think about everything.
Olivia puts some of Trevor’s shirts away.
He’s on a plane right now, flying away from you.
She puts some of her shorts away. The ones she sleeps in.
You’re empty now, aren’t you?
She pulls open her underwear drawer, and when she does, she stops and stares down at what is clearly on top – folded neatly for her to find.
His shirt. The navy one. The shirt she asked him for.
Her breath catches in her throat and she immediately reaches for it, pressing the material against her nose. She inhales, and in that moment, knows he must have worn it to bed the night before so his smell would be on it.
Olivia rubs her face against the material, sadness sinking further in, twisting and grappling. She breathes out heavily against the shirt, fighting back the emotion she feels. Fighting back the feeling of emptiness, of regret.
You should’ve gone back with him.
No. Your place is here .
He’ll find that she’s left him something too. A bar of soap, the lemon honey one that he complimented on her, sits neatly in the middle of the suitcase on top of his clothes in a little plastic baggy. She’s not sure if he’ll be able to get it through customs, but it was more about the sentiment than anything. Maybe he’ll take it out of the bag and in last efforts to remember her, he’ll run it under his nose before he has to throw it away.
. . . . . . . .
A couple hours pass and Olivia is wandering around the house with the shirt in one hand, and a glass of wine in the other. She’s been crying and if anyone were to look at her right now, they would be able to tell. Her eyes are red, puffy. She meanders around the living room and through the hall, raising the glass and taking sip after sip of the wine.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Olivia rolls her eyes at the sound as she passes back into the hallway. As she makes her way towards the set of French doors at the end of the hall —
Olivia jolts, nearly spilling her wine. She turns to see the clock has fallen off the wall again. She stares from where she’s standing down at it, eyes narrowing.
Slowly, she turns fully around and begins making her way back over to it. Circles it, like its prey.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Bionic fucking clock.
Olivia throws Elliot’s shirt over her shoulder and leans down to pick it up. The batteries are still intact. The glass on the front – still intact.
“ Fuck you .” Olivia says to the clock.
Olivia rears back and throws the clock hard against the wall – inflicting a dent there.
But the clock, still ticks.
Olivia rolls her eyes and lets out an unamused laugh. It’s then that she looks down into the entryway of the living room to see Lorenzo cowered and wide eyed, almost hiding under the piano. Her expression fades and she lets out a soft sigh.
“I’m sorry buddy … come here.” She kneels.
He won’t come.
Olivia stares at the kitten for a moment before taking the shirt off of her shoulder and waving it out further towards the cat so he can get a better whiff of Elliot.
He comes, immediately.
Olivia smiles and picks the kitten up, holding him in one arm perfectly because he is just that tiny. Her glass of wine resides in the other as she makes her way back towards the French doors. She pushes one open and stands there, holding Lorenzo. Olivia nuzzles her face into the cat’s fur, and before she knows it, they’re coming again. Droplet after droplet passes down her cheeks, into Lorenzo’s fur.
Ciao, my friend.
Chapter 19: 19.
Days pass without him, slow and dreadful. She doesn’t even try to hide it. This feeling that’s grown inside, quickly and bitterly. He lingers around the house like a phantom coming and going and sometimes, she can hear the sound of his belt buckle hitting the floor from the other room. Or she can see him sitting at the kitchen table, munching on one of her cookies, which she’s always found to be a little dry but he liked them anyways, or so he said.
Nectarines … well she can never look at those the same way again. The basket sits on the table and apart from the couple that Trevor has taken, they rot and draw flies until she throws them out. They picked them together so even that task was less mindless than she would’ve liked.
Olivia lays on the couch with a book on her chest, open. Her glasses are tipped on her nose and as she lies there, her mind begins to drift to days ago when they went to pick the nectarines together. When they walked hand in hand while he snapped pictures of her. She’s sure she has a whole roll of film just of her.
She had found a roll of it, unused, sitting in the back of the refrigerator. She wasn’t able to throw it away. Instead, she had tucked it into the hiding place where she keeps his shirt. In the guest room, in the bedside table. She’ll go in there often, especially when Trevor is in his office or goes out to meet with his clients, and lay in the bed. Let herself drift off to the first time they made love and how passionate it was. How passionate every time they made love was. How they had lied there together and dreamt up a parallel universe.
Olivia can feel herself drifting off, until she hears a knock on the door which startles her, sending her into a sitting position. She takes her glasses off and lays the book down, then the glasses on top. She leaves the living room and makes her way towards the front door where she swings it open.
They stare at each other for a moment.
“Good morning, Miss Olivia.” Dante smiles faintly.
Olivia’s hand flattens against her front thigh awkwardly and she offers a small smile back. “Good morning, Dante. I wasn’t expecting you.” Her voice is low.
“I … just thought I would swing by to make sure the air conditioning is still doing well.” Dante says.
“Come in.” Olivia steps aside from the door and Dante enters the house.
“Where is Trevor?” Dante asks.
Olivia’s eyebrows furrow. “He’s upstairs. Do you want me to go get him?” She asks.
Please say no.
“Mm, no. I was just wondering.” Dante says sweetly and begins sauntering towards the French doors on the other end of the hall.
“It’s working fine. It feels great.” Olivia states, referring to the air conditioning.
Dante turns around shyly, with a soft grin on his lips. He reaches up and runs his fingers through his dark curly locks and shakes his head. “I did not come to check on the air conditioning, Miss Olivia.” He says.
He’s come to tell on you.
“Oh.” Olivia’s expression drops suddenly.
“I came to check on you. To see how you are doing.” Dante says, eyes wandering around.
Why would he ask you that?
“Oh. Sweetheart, I’m fine.” Olivia places her hand over her chest. “You didn’t have to come all the way here for that. Really.” She adds.
Dante stares at her for a moment before reaching into his pocket, but the moment he does, Trevor comes down the stairs.
“Dante!” Trevor exclaims, his phone pressed to his ear. “I’ll be off the phone in a few, hang around and we’ll chat!” Trevor adds, making his way through the kitchen and out onto the patio.
Olivia looks at Dante, a little wide eyed.
“You look at me as if I would say something I would never say.” Dante states bluntly.
Her shoulders drop.
“ I’m sorry.” Olivia whispers.
“Do you have any lemonade?” Dante asks, trying to lighten the conversation. Olivia perks up a bit, giving him a gentle nod.
“I do.” She says, ushering him towards the kitchen.
Once they’re in the kitchen, Olivia pours them both a glass of lemonade. She slides the glass slowly over to Dante, who stands at the end of the island. Bringing her glass to her lips, she takes a sip. The French doors are closed, but she can see Trevor through the glass out by the pool – running his mouth to whoever he’s speaking with.
“Thank you.” Dante says, taking a drink. “Seems like it might cool off soon, no?” He asks.
“Hm.” Olivia nods, sitting her glass down. “Maybe.”
“Summer is just about over. Fall will come soon.” Dante makes small talk. “Issy says hi, by the way.” He adds, referring to his little sister.
“You’ll have to bring her next time.” Olivia smiles.
“She’s too afraid to ride all the way on the front of my bike. Getting her here last time was uh, interesting.” Dante giggles, taking another sip of lemonade. She can tell he’s here to inspect. To make sure she’s okay.
Olivia tilts her head, staring at him for a moment.
“I’m fine, Dante.” She nods, her voice softening into an almost gentle whisper. “You don’t need to worry about me.”
Dante sits his glass down and licks his lips, staring off. He doesn’t say anything at first and it makes her a little nervous. “The light …” Dante begins, looking up at her. He motions with his fingers to his own eyes. “In your eyes is gone. Like before.” He nods.
Olivia stares at him without a word.
“Am I speaking out of turn?” Dante asks.
Slowly, Olivia shakes her head no. Her expression is solid.
“I think some people are born with uh … many things inside them. You know? I think … you, Miss Olivia … was born with a …” Dante thinks for a moment. “A particular kind of truth, yes?” Dante asks, eyes somewhat wide. “Like my mother.” His lips curl into a large, innocent smile.
Olivia smiles back, tears already lying thick in her brown eyes.
“You are unhappy here.” Dante nods. “I see that. And I think that … maybe, Trevor decides not to see it. Do you think that?” Dante asks.
Olivia, after a moment of contemplation, nods in agreement.
“It’s a shame.” Dante says, trailing off. “And do you think that … maybe Elliot decided he would see it and do something about it?” He asks.
Olivia’s eyes wander to the pool, where Trevor is still standing talking on the phone.
“I think we saw it in each other. Unhappiness. And we tried to … .” Olivia gestures her hand in a sway, her voice somewhat hoarse. Cracking.
Dante looks at her for a moment and tilts his head to the other side. She can tell he’s trying to understand. But for what? So he can convince himself not to tell Trevor what he saw?
“Do you not love Trevor anymore?” Dante asks.
Olivia, partly taken aback by his question, stands there silent. Her mouth gaps partly.
“I love Trevor.” She nods. It feels like the truth.
“But you are in love with Elliot?” Dante asks, leaning forward against the island.
After a brief stillness, she nods.
Dante smiles. “Those sound like two very different things. To love some and to be in love.” He laughs softly.
Olivia smiles through her tears back at him and nods. “They are different.” She whispers.
Dante nods back.
He’s thinking, she can tell. So she remains quiet.
“You should tell him. I never will and maybe … you never will. But you should tell him because you love him. And if he loves you too, he will either learn to forgive you or he will let you go.” Dante states.
Olivia’s eyebrows furrow.
“And I guess that depends on how he loves, doesn’t it?” Dante asks.
She raises a brow, staring at him intensely. “You’re a smart young man, you know that?”
Dante beams, clutching the counter edges. He reaches up to tug at his white tee in a suave wave. “ Eh.” Dante smirks, inciting a soft laugh from Olivia.
“Think about it. You owe him honesty … but you owe yourself the same.” Dante concludes.
Olivia’s expression drops.
“I don’t know how to start.” She replies, that sinking feeling falling deeper in the pit of her stomach.
“From the beginning.” Dante answers.
Olivia’s eyes are fixated heavily on Dante. She presses her lips together and looks down briefly, only to look back up at him. “It doesn’t … it doesn’t matter anymore anyways. Whether or not I tell him.” She whispers. “He left. Elliot left …” She scratches the back of her head. “And … even if I was going to … ride the wave, you know. Let it play out however it’s going to play out. It doesn’t matter because …” Olivia shrugs. “He’s gone.” She fights back tears.
Dante opens his mouth to speak, his hand fishing into the front of his pocket once more. But when the French doors open and Trevor enters the kitchen, Dante suavely moves his hand from his pocket and picks his lemonade glass back up.
“What’s wrong?” Trevor asks, off the phone and holding it in his hand. He notices the tears in Olivia’s eyes, and he looks over to Dante who is sullen in his expression.
“Um …” Olivia wipes her tears.
“We were just speaking about my mother.” Dante interjects.
Trevor nods slowly, slipping his phone into the pocket of his shorts. “How is Issy?” He asks, his voice softening.
“She’s doing better. It’s uh …” Dante looks at Olivia. “It’s not easier for her but it’s better.” He repeats Olivia’s words from weeks before back at her.
“You’ll have to bring her by sometime.” Trevor says, walking over to Dante and squeezing his shoulder. “You two can swim in the pool and we’ll grill. It’ll be nice.” Trevor adds, patting his back. “And your father? How is he?” Trevor asks.
Dante shrugs a little. “Well … he was a drinker before but, you know …” He trails off.
Olivia hangs her head.
“I should get going though, it’s supposed to rain if you can believe that.” Dante laughs. He makes his way over to Olivia and as he does, he slips his hand into his pocket sneakily, and brings something out. He reaches for Olivia’s hand to “hold”.
“Thank you for talking with me.” Dante smiles, slipping the paper into the palm of Olivia’s hand.
Olivia raises an eyebrow and nods slowly, feeling the paper curl into her palm. She wraps her pinky, ring and middle finger around it and brings her hand to her side.
“I’ll walk you out.” Trevor smiles, gesturing towards the exit of the kitchen. Dante follows him and looks over his shoulder once at Olivia.
Olivia tilts her head and as soon as Trevor and Dante are out of the room, she unfolds the piece of paper that Dante slipped into her hand.
Can’t stand the radio silence anymore, Captain.
Need to see you.
Piccola Crema, room 23
She swears at that moment, her heart stops. And in the distance, she hears the thunder rolling upon the house.
. . . . . . . .
Rain falls heavily onto the ground outside as she watches it hit the pool, causing soft tides. The patio furniture is soaked, dripping. It’s hard for her to remember the last time it rained. It cooled off dramatically so she stands at the open pair of French doors at the end of the hall, wrapped up in a cardigan.
Are you really going to do this?
Olivia shifts from one leg to the other and shivers. The air conditioning is still on so she makes her way into the adjoining room, just right of the French doors, and turns it off. She moves back into the hall to shut the French doors, which cuts off the echoey sound of rain that penetrates the house – deafeningly so.
It’s quiet, except for the clock of course.
If you tell him, you can go to Elliot.
Olivia begins her walk up the stairs, carrying one foot in front of the other until she’s standing in front of the door of Trevor’s study. She reaches forward and knocks gently with her knuckles.
“Come in!” Trevor calls out.
Olivia licks her lips and slowly pushes the door open. Trevor spins around in his chair and smiles. “Hey.” He says simply and Olivia offers a small smile.
She walks in and closes the door behind her.
“Dante didn’t stay long, did he?” Trevor asked.
“He just came by to check on the air conditioning.” Olivia says.
“Could’ve called for that though. It was a little odd.” Trevor replies.
“I mean it’s fine, he can come by anytime I just thought–”
“I have to talk to you about something.” Olivia interjects.
Trevor’s expression drops and he stares at Olivia in such a way that makes her stomach twist. He clicks his pen, open and closed, over and over again until letting it drop onto the desk with ease. Trevor sits back in his chair and she can see his chest rise and fall.
“What do you want to talk about?” Trevor asks, his tone soft. Alarmingly so.
Olivia tucks her lips together and her eyes cast down to the ground.
You’re going to chicken out, aren’t you?
“Um …” Olivia goes quiet. She finally looks up at him to see that he’s clenching his jaw. An eyebrow is raised.
He’s waiting on you to tell him.
“While um …” Olivia begins, that sinking feeling – almost bringing her to her knees. “While you were gone …”
Trevor clears his throat and his eyes begin wandering around the room. “Yeah?” he asks, his voice still soft.
Start yelling at me. Now, please?
“While you were gone …”
“Something happened.” Olivia finally blurts out.
“You became a pet person?” Trevor asks, a soft laugh following. Lorenzo, who is a hider by nature, has only come out a couple of times in front of him.
Olivia stares at him and shakes her head no.
Trevor’s expression drops.
Guilty, guilty, guilty.
“Does this have to do with why Elliot left early?” Trevor asks, clearing his throat yet again.
Silence. Rain on the windows – soft pitter patters.
Trevor nods back.
“I see.” Trevor says and picks his pen back up, clicking it open and closed. “I thought as much.” He adds, his tone dropping.
Olivia raises an eyebrow.
“When he got into the cab you looked like you wanted to jump in with him.” Trevor sighs and drops the pen again, using the same hand to come up and rub at the stubble on his face.
You were pretty obvious.
“You know when we moved here, I thought that’s what you really wanted. I thought I was … helping you by taking you away from the chaos that you’ve lived in your … entire life. And I do mean … your entire life, Olivia.” Trevor nods – eyes wide and staring at her. “Thought maybe we could come here and start over and live out the rest of our lives in some kind of peace. But maybe I thought too much instead of asking you what you wanted.” Trevor acknowledges.
Olivia remains quiet.
“Did you fuck him?” Trevor asks, casually.
Thought you were going to dodge that one, didn’t ya?
Olivia nods, again, slowly.
“Hm.” Trevor shifts in his seat. “Okay.”
Olivia looks down at her fingers, which are fumbling against one another.
“Well, I guess that’s my fault.” Trevor says.
“It’s not.” Olivia shakes her head. “Trevor, you didn’t–”
“I left a man alone in my house with my wife.” Trevor’s eyes peer up at her – glassy. “It is my fault. It was stupid and …” He waves his hand. “Too trusting.”
Ouch. But you deserve that.
“The whole week? Or just once?” Trevor asks.
Olivia’s face turns red.
“What a question. Of course the whole week.” He runs his hand over his face. “This is Elliot Stabler we’re talking about here. The man doesn’t have an ounce of self control and never has.” He spits.
“It was just as much my fault as it was his.” Olivia closes her eyes.
“That’s sweet.” Trevor’s tone changes. “Well, he can’t have his wife anymore so I suppose he thought he should have mine.” He adds.
Olivia opens her eyes and stares at him in discontentment. Tears lay heavily in them.
“You know …” Trevor’s voice cracks. “When we got married I promised to love you unconditionally.” He adds, nodding quickly. There’s tears in his eyes. “You’ve known him less than a month. And what, Liv? How do you think he loves you?” He asks.
“He’s so caught up in his own grief, you think he doesn’t see Kathy when he looks at you? You think he didn’t see her when he–” Trevor stops himself the moment tears begin to roll down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry.” Trevor wipes his cheeks. “I’m speaking out of anger.” He takes a deep breath.
“I deserve it.” Olivia whispers.
“Hm …” Trevor shakes his head. “That’s the thing, Olivia. Even now, I don’t think that’s true.”
Olivia uncrosses her arms and wipes her face with the backs of her hands. “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, Trevor. I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“Dante knows?” Trevor asks. “Is that why he came by today? To what? Talk you into … whatever?” He asks. Trevor isn’t a stupid man. Blind? Maybe. But not stupid.
Olivia drops her hands and nods quickly. “Yeah. He … he walked in on us.”
“I don’t want to know about that.” Trevor waves his hand, silencing. “Don’t tell me how many times, don’t tell me where, how much you enjoyed it … don’t wanna hear it.”
“I’m so, so sorry.” Olivia’s bottom lip quivers. “I do love you … I just …”
I’m not in love with you.
“Can you shut the door behind you please?” Trevor asks, turning his attention to the paperwork on his desk. He picks his pen back up.
Olivia stares at him for a moment, before nodding and making her way towards the door slowly. Just as she’s about to leave, he speaks up …
“I don’t want you to go. I accept moments of weakness for what they are. Just that …” Trevor turns his head to look at her. “Moments of weaknesses. Slip ups and …”
The sincerity, the purity, in his voice almost makes her disappointed. She wanted to be so angry with him when she left this room that she could easily run into Elliot’s arms and go away with him.
His gracefulness, which she always knew was inside him, has only made this harder.
“Slip ups are just that. Aren’t they? Slip ups.” Trevor whispers.
Olivia, without another word, walks out of his study and closes the door behind her.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
The next morning, Olivia stands by the pair of French doors in the kitchen, looking out. The sun is out today and somehow, the rain from yesterday – teasingly, rather than cooling it off, has just made it more unbearable. Humid. So the air conditioning has been switched back on.
Trevor didn’t come to bed the night before and she assumes he either slept on the couch or in his study.
The note, Elliot’s note, resides in between her fingers. She’s been running her thumb over his handwriting just like she did with his letter to Trevor weeks ago – almost to the point where she smudges the graphite.
When she hears footsteps behind her, she shoves the paper, crinkled and worn already, into the pocket of her jeans. She turns around to see Trevor standing there, staring at her.
“Got a minute?” He asks, his tone soft.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
The living room is quiet. The sun’s rays cast through windows, warming the stone tiled floors. Olivia sits in the green lounge chair, her back turned towards the window. Her fists are drawn and clasped together, resting just below her chin so that her bottom lip grazes her knuckles. Her expression is full of thought. Occasionally, her brown eyes will flicker over to him.
He’s sitting in a similar position, in the matching chair beside her. He won’t look at her and hasn’t for the time they’ve been sitting there.
She can hear that damned clock, the one that hangs in the hallway of their home. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. It carries with volume, bounces off her ears and deafens her thoughts.
It’s only when she looks over at him, for what seems like the thousandth time that morning, that he actually looks back at her.
He sits back in his seat, a stern look on his face. She can see the pain in his eyes though. Stone cold blue in the light of the hot sun — and for a moment, they’re reminiscent of winter. He licks his lips and looks around the room for a moment, an arm dangling off of the side of the chair. He’s fumbling with his own fingers, like he does when he’s thinking. Or when he’s on the phone with a client. Or when he’s … distracted. Whatever.
Suddenly, Trevor leans forward.
“So …” He begins, blue eyes cast down to the ground before turning his head to look at her.
She’s so ashamed she can barely stomach looking at him.
“What’s your choice?” Trevor asks, his voice softened a great deal more than she thinks she deserves.
Olivia drops her hands from their fists, letting them land on her thighs. Her attention turns to the black grand piano that sits in the room. The one that neither she or he has touched. It came with the house and needs tuning anyways. For a moment she can hear the nursery rhyme that was played on it just weeks ago.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star … how I wonder what you are …
“Liv?” Trevor asks, trying to get her attention. She can hear the agitation in his voice.
Olivia looks to him, fully — her mind somewhere else.
It’s on him. Always.
“What’s your choice?”
Elliot’s note lies in the pocket of her pants, and she knows she can go see him at any point. She knows he’s there waiting on her, whether that be to just see each other, or to go with him, or to really have a proper chance at saying goodbye.
“I’m so sorry for everything.” Olivia whispers.
Trevor stares at her.
“There’s no choice.” She adds, her voice cracking as she hangs her head. “He’s gone.”
Trevor tucks his lips together and nods. “If you want to go home, I’ll get you the first flight out. Don’t stay because you feel sorry for me. Stay because …”
Trevor continues his ramble, on and on. But she’s not listening. Olivia has been aware for days now what cements her to this place. To Trevor.
It’s not a lack of love for Elliot Stabler.
Or a greater love for her husband.
But perhaps, it’s her way of punishing herself for something that never should’ve happened to begin with. As she sits there, a few different thoughts drift in and out of her mind. She can hear Trevor still going on about how much he loves her. How in time he’ll get past it, because he loves her that much.
Dante had told her, essentially, that truthfulness was born inside her. But what truth was that? And which one should she live by?
The truth that her marriage had been failing for a while?
The truth that she had fallen in love with Elliot Stabler?
Or was it the truth that she could live with at the end of the day?
Many truths exist inside us. The ones for ourselves, the ones for others, and the ones of the universe –
And sometimes, only those can exist in parallelism.
Olivia Benson’s truth is this. Nature, love , whatever you wanna call it had touched her weakest spot, flooded it with Elliot Stabler. But still, her own compass – however cracked it was, points towards the moral and just, as it always has.
And for that reason, at least for now, she couldn’t leave the man she’s been with for six years in the dust on a whim of her own feelings. No matter how unhappy it made her.
She would, however, allow herself once more, she decides as she sits there, to let her weakness be teased, if only for a couple hours or a night – however long Elliot would have her once she goes to him …
In Little Crema, room 23.
Can’t stand the radio silence either,
Need to see you my friend.
Chapter 20: 20.
Olivia makes her way up the hall of the motel.
Little Crema. Room 23.
It’s gloomy inside and nothing like the Palazzo. Sun casts down through skylight windows, flat and four-paned, which illuminate specks of dust flying around in the air. Forest green wallpaper lines the hall, with tiny white flowers in it. Orchards, she thinks. She doesn’t stop to pay close enough attention.
She’s wearing capri jeans, white deck shoes, and a button up peach shirt. Hers, of course. Not Trevor's. It’s large though, rolled up around the elbows but still, she finds herself pushing up on the sleeves.
Once she comes to the door, she stands outside it for a moment. But he must have seen the shadow from her feet from underneath. Before she can even reach out to knock, the door is swung open and Elliot stands there, eyes wide and looking a little disheveled. He looks tired. Hasn’t shaved, so there’s a bit of scruff on his face. Blue eyes are as intense as ever.
Without a word, she moves in towards him and wraps both arms around him – their lips meet passionately and he slings the door shut with his hand before bringing it to the small of her back.
“Christ,” Elliot says in between kisses. “I missed you.” He breathes out.
I missed you too.
Elliot’s lips work against Olivia’s deeply – urgently. They begin, already, teetering against one another. It’s their thing, just to rock back and forth.
“ I thought you left.” Her voice cracks, hands coming up to his cheeks to cup them.
“I couldn’t.” Another kiss. “I tried. It didn’t feel right. Not like we left it.” Elliot shakes his head. Another kiss.
Saying goodbye like we were strangers didn’t feel right.
“I thought my heart was going to fall out of my chest when Dante gave me your note.” Olivia giggles through her tears and even though there’s a certain kind of melancholy that looms in the air, their excitement for each other is so evident.
“I went to Giulia … asked her where he lives. I didn’t think he would give it to you at first but …” Elliot breaks his lips from hers after another sloppy, wanting kiss. “I’m so glad he did.” He smiles.
Olivia smiles so widely her cheeks almost hurt. She can’t contain her excitement.
What’s wrong with you?
She wraps her arms around him and he picks her up just a little.
“I missed you.” Elliot tilts his head back to kiss her again, because she’s hoisted a little higher.
Olivia leans down and kisses him back, her hands flattening against the back of his head and neck. “ Elliot …” She whispers, heatedly against his lips.
Elliot looks up at her, smirking wildly. “ Elliot …” He whispers back.
She cackles, tossing her head back as he sits her back down onto her feet. “ Olivia …” She says, poking his chest softly.
“I know you don’t want to hear it.” Elliot shakes his head, eyes burning into her. “But I’m gonna say it anyways … I have to.”
Her expression drops slightly.
“Come back to New York with me. Stay the night with me and in the morning, we’ll get on the first train to the airport.” He suggests, breathlessly.
Silence, her arms fall from around his neck but he’s still holding onto her, both arms around her waist. Their chests pressed together.
“If you only knew how badly I want to do that.” Olivia says, brown eyes staring up at him.
His eyes are already filled with tears.
“Just come. Think about it later.” Elliot says, nostrils flaring as he fights back the emotion gathering in his chest.
“I told him.” Olivia replies.
Elliot’s eyebrows raise, but he’s quiet as he processes what she’s just said to him. “He knows?” He asks, holding onto her tighter.
Elliot’s expression falls. “Then why can’t you come?” He asks.
Olivia pulls away from him slowly, running her hands over her face. “I can’t leave, El.” She whispers, bringing one of her hands out to the low ceiling and touching it for a moment. Almost as if she needs something to lean against and briefly, he remembers her raising her arm in the same manner days and days ago to touch a lemon tree. He has that photo, somewhere on a roll of film in his suitcase.
“You can’t leave or you won’t?” Elliot asks, his tone changing.
Olivia turns around to face him. “Both?” She asks.
Do you love her or do you love that you have her?
Elliot stares at her, narrowing his eyes. He looks up at the window that rests just above the bed. It’s slanted, coming more towards the peak of the ceiling that is otherwise the roof. It’s a quant room. The same green wallpaper, with little white flowers, line the walls – what little of them there are. Elliot has found himself bending when he walks in most spots of the room.
Besides the skylight window, it’s unusually gloomy in other parts of the room. Dark in one corner, with only white flowers there to remind him there’s a wall in that particular area.
There’s a twin bed there. An old fashioned quilt. Mustard yellow with white sheets. His suitcase sits in a small chair, opened. The bar of soap she left in it is out and lying on the tiny little stool used as a bedside table.
Elliot’s eyes come down from the skylight window and lock onto her brown ones, which like his, are tearful. He knows her. So much can be said between them without a word, just by the way they look at one another.
And he knows, without her saying a word, the reason that she’s there.
“You’ve come to say goodbye.” Elliot says, his voice barely audible.
Olivia hangs her head, hair falling down into her face. “Yeah.” She answers, small and broken.
“You don’t want to be with me?” Elliot asks.
“That’s not it, Elliot. You know I do.” She looks up at him, eyelashes fluttering tears loose. “I just … I can’t be cruel to him.” She confesses.
There it is.
I can’t be cruel to him.
“So you’ll be cruel to me instead? To yourself?” Elliot asks.
“Don’t say that.” She whispers. “I’m trying … so hard to be fair to everyone.”
“You’re not being fair to yourself.” Elliot breathes out.
“I’ve just …” She tilts her head back and looks out the skylight window. The sun blares down, and all of the dusty fireflies zoom around in swarms – as they do. “I’ve just tried so hard but it seems like no matter how hard I try …” She shakes her head, pausing. “I can never get a clear view of the sky.”
Elliot remains quiet, eyes cast down. He pulls on the hem of his white henley and pushes his sleeves up. Once he finally looks up at her, he takes in everything about her. Perhaps memorizing her face so that when he no longer has her, which he suspects will be any hour now …
He may fool himself.
Little flurries of hair, honey toned, stick up on her head – staticky because moments ago, he was running his fingers through it. They look like miniscule glow sticks there in the sunlight. Lines on her face that he’d traced while she slept only nights before. Her nose. He tries to think of something funny to say to make her laugh, so he can see the little lines form on either side of it when she scrunches it up in laughter. But there’s nothing to laugh about. He has no jokes about cut thumbs or stealing air conditioners from hotels.
Lips, full and plump, that she purses together often when she’s annoyed with him. Maybe he should annoy her, just briefly, to have that memory forever too. And the eyes. Chocolate covered cherries in the moment, bloodshot from crying. He loves to watch them sparkle like they did moments ago when she came through the door to see him after days apart. He recalls how they looked when she told him she loved him in the center of shallow, cold water. And still, how warm he felt by her gesture then.
“So that’s it then. You’ll just, what?” Elliot asks, taking a step closer to her. “Live here for the rest of your life making … soap and crocheting?” He asks, almost a little too distaining.
Olivia exhales heavily and corners her eyes at him. “You make it sound like I’m in prison.”
“Aren’t you?” Elliot asks.
“Stop.” Olivia says.
Elliot stands up straight, his shoulders stiffening as if he’s found some kind of bravery that’s yet to exist in him when it comes to her. He’s a strong man, but she in particular makes him weak.
“Say goodbye then.” He whispers.
Their eyes lock dead on each other, blues on browns.
“Go on.” Elliot’s voice becomes a little firmer. “Walk away.”
“You know I have to. You’ve known this from the beginning.” Olivia states.
“Maybe I was hoping I could change your mind.” Elliot quickly interjects.
Olivia says nothing, she just stares.
“Maybe coming here was a bad idea. I feel like I’ve just … twisted the knife.” Olivia says.
“Yeah, you have.” Elliot replies, his tone dropping significantly.
Olivia presses her lips together and gives one heavy nod before heading towards the door.
“ No.” Elliot’s voice releases in desperation. “ Don’t.”
Olivia turns around and the moment she does, he’s there – and backing her against the door of his room.
“Do you think of her when you look at me?” Olivia asks, a shaky breath following. Brown eyes stare up at him, and briefly, they wander to his hand which rests next to her head – braced on the door.
“What?” Elliot asks, eyebrows furrowed.
“Kathy.” She whispers. “Do you think of her when you’re with me?” She asks. Trevor’s words had stuck a little harder than she would’ve liked.
Elliot looks at her, head tilted. She can tell by his expression that he’s thinking.
“From the moment I saw that photograph. The one he sent me of you and him at the beach. You’re all I’ve been able to see.” Elliot states firmly. “Who told you that? Did he tell you that?” He asks, his tone becoming slightly high pitched.
“ Mm.” She nods yes. “He was just angry but … I thought maybe …” She looks down.
Elliot leans in and presses his lips to hers. It’s a soft and gentle kiss, but doesn’t stay that way for long because before she knows it, he’s practically hoisting her against the door. Her feet are off the ground, barely and she can reach up and touch the ceiling with a bent arm.
“This is just going to make it harder.” Olivia breaks away from their kiss long enough to say. His breath tickles against her lips, hotly.
Elliot lets her slowly slide down, and her feet hit the floor – but one of her deck shoes has already slid off and lies behind him.
“Stay with me until tomorrow?” Elliot asks, his voice so low that even she can barely hear. He’s playing with the first button on her shirt, fumbling it in between his thumb and index finger.
Olivia stares at him, having a moment to herself where she is undoubtedly memorizing his face. The way he looks right now. She prefers him from days ago when they sat on the edge of the pool together. When he was a bird whisperer and smiled so kindly up at them. In fact, she thinks she’ll hang onto that moment instead. He’s saddened now, and she can see that feeling tacked in the oceanic hues that stare back at her, squinted and glimmering in the light of the room. The shells of his ear are red, reflective of the light that pours in from the skylight window. She reaches up and traces her fingertips over the lines on the outside corners of his eye, and in return, Elliot closes his them to allow her to do so. She wishes that she had the chance to see them form.
Maybe in their parallel universe, they would watch each other age through the years. Delicately at first, then all at once. She imagines briefly what it would’ve been like if he would’ve joined SVU. Would they have met and became good friends, maybe more? But then again he was married. Maybe in that universe he would have broken her heart like she was breaking his now.
Olivia releases a heavy breath. “ Okay.” She whispers, nodding quickly.
I’ll stay with you until tomorrow.
Elliot smiles faintly down at her and he brings his fingers, the ones that aren’t still braced at the door above her, to her chin where he strokes the skin there with his thumb. His smile grows, only a little. Olivia reaches for the hem of his henley and he immediately lifts his arms up over his head. She falls into him all at once, her face burying into his chest with fervid motion. Her mouth is open against him, releasing warm breath after breath.
Elliot wraps his arms around her, and she’s pushing towards him so that he almost falls off balance. He nearly trips over the shoe that lies behind him on the ground but catches himself by extending his arm outwards and grasping onto the ceiling with his fingertips. They rock against one another again, softly.
Their teetering motions, done for weeks now, was a way of saying I want to crawl inside of you and stay there forever. But the flesh is a funny thing. It’s firm, often warm – but a barrier of the soul.
I have loved you for the last time
Is it a video? Is it a video?
I have touched you for the last time
Is it a video? Is it a video?
Olivia pulls away from him long enough to start unbuttoning her shirt. Her and those damned buttons. Elliot helps, just like he did with her burgundy dress days before. He works on the bottom buttons while she works on the top and before either of them can blink again, her shirt is off her shoulders and she’s standing there in a white bra, tightly fitted against her breast. An everyday bra, but nonetheless, to him – she’s a vision in anything.
For the love, for laughter, I flew up to your arms
Is it a video? Is it a video?
For the love, for laughter, I flew up to your arms
Is it a video? Is it a video?
Is it a video?
Olivia’s arms fly around Elliot’s neck and she presses her chest to him so that she finally feels his skin on hers. That feeling alone, feels far more spiritual than any sexual act could be. She recalls the first time they made love, and how even though they were both burning up from the Lombardy heat, nothing could stop them from being completely pressed against one another.
The sweat that had run down her face while he was between her legs, pushing up into her, was just a fleshly reminder that she was still human. That he wasn’t a figment but rather human too, and surely they would burn together if that’s the way it ought to be. Charred skin on skin, honey lemon on Sandalwood.
Olivia’s hands slip in between their bodies and she begins unbuckling his belt. She kicks her other shoe off, leaving her barefoot, and stands up on her tiptoes to speak into Elliot’s ear.
“I heard it hit the floor the other night.” She whispers, tugging at his belt. That she knows was in fact a figment of her imagination. Her house, she had learned, carried phantoms and memories. Sometimes, when she wasn’t even hoping to see or hear anything, she would anyway. So she decided that the house was an entity of its own and unlike Trevor, had seen every indiscretion over their days together. Occasionally, it would speak to her about Elliot.
“I almost got up to go into the other room.” Olivia tilts her head to the side the moment his lips come down to her neck.
“Want my belt too?” Elliot jokes. “It goes nice with the shirt .” He lets out a little “ Hm, hm, hm.” laugh and she giggles.
“I mean, I’ll have all of your clothes that’s fine. I prefer you walking around in these,” She snaps at the elastic of his briefs. “Anyways.” She teases. “I can bury myself in a pile of you all day.” Olivia’s voice drops into a whisper, referring to his clothes.
“Treatin’ me like a piece of meat.” Elliot grins against the skin of her neck – his fingers grazing up and down her back, until suddenly he unclasps her bra and it falls open, releasing her breasts in one slick motion.
Olivia lets it slide down off her arms, then she reaches and unzips her pants, pushing them down over her hips. She steps out of them, standing there in nothing but her underwear. They’ve seen each other completely, and they know every inch of one another. So this feels natural.
Elliot backs up a little just to get a better look at her. He finishes removing his pants and mimics her movement of stepping out of them. While he’s at it, he goes ahead and pushes his briefs down too.
Olivia mimics him this time, pushing her underwear down as well. Then suddenly, they’re in nothing but the fleshly barriers. Nothing but that. Just that, which seems like everything.
They fly at each other in one fluid motion. Like birds flock, begging each other to pick a direction. Though, their direction has already been chosen by some omniscient force. Elliot decides the physical one, because he’s already backing her up towards his bed – pulling her legs around him before her back even hits the mattress.
“ Elliot … ” Olivia whispers, feeling him bite and nibble on her neck.
As soon as his name falls from her lips, he brings his mouth to hers and kisses her deeply. She closes her eyes, partly from being kissed and partly from the sun that glares down in her face so brightly through the skylight window it’s almost too much to handle.
Their hands begin to wander around each other’s bodies. Breasts. Hips, backs – anything that can be reached. Elliot takes his time with his mouth, kissing every inch of exposed skin he can find, including that between her legs – which leaves her writhing and arching from the bed. He brings his pillow to prop underneath her ass and spends the next half hour there. His head nuzzled between her thighs, licking and sucking until she comes not once, but twice from that alone. Olivia, panting and a mess already just from his mouth, looks down to see him clean her up a little with his tongue. Licking at her folds, the insides of her thighs – which he technically made a mess of from dragging his wet chin across.
The moment she sees blue eyes peer up at her and reach forward with his mouth to tug on a fold of skin, pink and sensitive, she bucks her hips.
“Too much, baby?” Elliot asks, releasing her from his mouth and licking his glistening lips.
She nods quickly, completely shaking from what he’s already given her.
He kisses his way back up her body, not missing a beat with dragging his lips – his tongue over her breasts, swirling them around hard nipples and the hollow of her neck.
I have loved you for the last time
Visions of Gideon, visions of Gideon
And I have kissed you for the last time
Visions of Gideon, visions of Gideon
Their little whispers are taunting as they give their names back and forth to each other. The soft grin that curls on Olivia’s lips tells him she’s about to return the favor because before Elliot can get another word out, he’s being pushed backwards towards the foot of the bed and she’s on top of him – her fingers already wrapped around him and stroking his hard length.
“ Mmm …” Elliot knocks his head back hard against the mattress, clenching his jaw. Her mouth, when it finally envelopes him, is wet and warm. Perfect. But scales in comparison to how her walls feel around him. But they’re going to have each other in every way possible today. An agreed upon subject that neither of them vocalized.
Elliot watches her head bob down on him, and he moans as his fingers come to tangle in her hair. “That feels amazing …” He whispers, “Don’t stop.”
“Good?” She asks, brown eyes cornering up at him. She wraps her mouth back around him, making a point to suck at the very tip of his erection.
“God yeah …” Elliot nods quickly.
“Hmm …” Olivia hums.
“Gonna come …” Elliot warns.
Olivia leaves his length with a soft plop and rubs her thumb over his pink tip, rubbing in soft circles.
“Want me?” She asks, panting. Do you want to be inside me when you come?
Elliot nods frantically and comes up from the bed, giving her a push back this time. They have all night to do this again and again. However much they can bear but right now, he wants her around him – squeezing and fluttering as he releases.
Instinctively, Olivia draws her legs into her stomach and he enters her in one swift motion – sudden and fully.
“Oh!” She cries out.
“Shit …” Elliot nuzzles his face into the crook of her neck. “I love when you take me like that …”
“Move … ungh, need you too …” Olivia’s already bouncing her hips down. They’re a mess – both already, slick against each other.
Elliot begins moving in and out of her with a quickness and her fingers come to clutch against his back, digging her nails in.
“Elliot!” She whispers, feeling him push her legs up a little further.
“So fucking tight …so wet …” He pants into her ear, heavily.
She whimpers. Again, absolute filth, he could make sound romantic.
“Say it …” Olivia whispers and he knows what she means.
Elliot smirks, his hips never ceasing once during their little exchange. He presses his mouth to her lips and kisses her before pulling away to say what she wants him to.
“ You’re doing so good … taking me so well. ” He huffs.
She moans, loud.
“You’re getting close aren’t you, baby?” Elliot whispers. “I can feel it.” He kisses her again. She’s quiet – another way he can tell she’s close.
“Can feel you around me. Come with me. Come with me.” Elliot pants.
Olivia’s mouth flies agape and she opens her eyes, only halfway, to be met with the sun glaring down through the skylight window on them. The heat on her face, on them, feels fantastic for once as they finally come together, after days apart. She comes so hard her body shakes and she can do nothing but whimper, over and over again into his ear. When Elliot comes, he pushes her leg up just a little further and relaxes his hips against her – giving one jolt forward as he empties, which incites a low and satisfied moan from her.
Elliot collapses on top of Olivia, and she holds him in her arms. Her hand, flattened and soft, glides up and down his bare back.
Olivia watches the skylight in some sort of trance for the rest of the day. She watches how slowly the sun fades from it, going to the other side of the sky. The way birds fly past the window. Clouds. Little things that she notices during their many times of him being on top of her throughout the evening, just because they can’t stop or help themselves.
Finally, when the sun goes down completely and there’s nothing coming down on them but stars, she finds her back pressed to his chest and his arm draped around her as he plays with her hair, which at that point, is an absolute mess. Her head rests on the inside of his bicep, which is brought out across the pillow.
Elliot leans in and presses a kiss on her bare shoulder, soft and slow. “My friend Olivia.” he hums.
“My friend Elliot.” She whispers back, turning over so that they’re facing one another. That’s how they fall asleep, forehead to forehead – flesh to flesh.
I’ll lie with you, and you’ll lie with me. And because we’ll lie together, we’ll have each other until morning.
. . . . . . . . . . .
The train station is packed. People are getting off, while others prepare to board. Elliot and Olivia stand together, staring intensely at one another. Tears are in both of their eyes, thick and heavy.
“I’ll call.” Elliot whispers, smacking his lips in effort to fight back tears from falling.
Olivia nods. She feels as if she can’t speak. Not without weeping anyways.
A man’s voice comes over the speaker in the terminal. He alerts everyone in Italian that the train will begin boarding in five minutes.
“I understand, you know. I may not like it …” Elliot shakes his head. “But I understand why.” He nods, blue eyes staring into her brown ones.
She’s in another one of his shirts that she’s gotten to claim. The black henley that he wore probably one of his first days here in Lombardy. The sleeves are rolled up, and it’s oversized on her. Her shirt, the one she wore yesterday to see him, is in his suitcase. Something he can take through customs with him. Her hair is drawn into a low ponytail. A mess, because she didn’t bring a brush.
There’s silence between them, but the sounds around them are rampant. People chattering. The train blows and steams.
“I gotta go.” Elliot says and Olivia does nothing but stand there with wide, brown eyes.
Elliot pulls her to him, dropping his suitcase in the process. He buries his chin into her shoulder and nuzzles. She does the same. Tears fall from his eyes and into her hair.
Droplets trickle down Olivia’s cheeks and she nuzzles her chin against his shoulder.
Her arms are around his waist firmly, holding onto him like she doesn’t want to let go. And she doesn’t. She wishes she didn’t have to.
They hold onto each other, just like that …
“Final call!” Yells a man dressed in a uniform.
Olivia wants to say something. Anything. But all she can think of at that moment to say is …
“In a parallel universe …” She begins, but simply can’t finish. Her heart is thumping so loudly against her chest she’s sure he can feel it. Because she can feel his.
“ It’ll always be you and I .” Elliot finishes, his voice firmer than hers.
Elliot pulls away and leans down, quickly, and places a kiss on the corner of her lips. He picks up his suitcase, and Olivia reaches for his hand. Elliot grabs onto it. Like they have before, he begins to move away and their arms extend out until there’s no fluidity left, so one of them is forced to let go first.
It’s him this time.
Her arm drops loosely back to her side and she takes a couple steps forward as she watches Elliot climb up the two steps that lead into the train. Olivia begins to walk with him, alongside the train, until Elliot plops down in a seat by the window. He turns to look at her. And she immediately brings her finger over her own heart and taps it.
“ Elliot.” She mouths.
Elliot brings his hand up and does the same, tapping his finger over his heart.
“Olivia.” He mouths back.
The train begins to move, the creaking of metal grinding across the tracks is a sound she’d love to never hear again. As she stands there, she watches the train move slowly … then faster, and faster, until Elliot’s no longer in view. Until blue eyes aren’t on her anymore.
And well, that’s that.
Olivia brings her hand to her cheeks and wipes away the tears. She’s unusually quiet. On her heel, she turns and begins to walk away from the tracks and back towards the exit of the terminal, where she and Elliot came in to begin with. She passes by an old payphone, which she assumes hasn’t been used in a long time because the phone is duct taped to the base.
There’s a solid piece of glass that separates the payphone from the outside, so she leans against the stone wall next to that.
It’s quiet where she is. She can hear birds, and other signs of life. People in the distance. Maybe even that train, the one that carried him away, further out.
Her hand flies up to brace on the stone wall. Anything to give her some sense of balance, and finally, she lets go again. It’s silent. But she hangs her head as she’s bent somewhat over. The breath, seemingly knocked out of her, comes out quickly in a sob. The reflection of her face shows in the glass – and if anyone were to pass by they would see only her reflection because her back is turned against the sidewalk.
Olivia remains like that for a moment, and when she’s finished, she stands up and wipes her tears. When she turns around, she’s met with a cool gust of wind which is comforting and taunting at the same time.
She brings her hand up over her eyes to shield them from the sun, and closes them as another gust comes forward, blowing wildly at the two strands of hair that frame her face.
Her mind drifts to just weeks ago, when she prayed for a cool rush of air, just like this. But as she stands there, the wind blowing through his billowy henley, she can’t help but hope for the heat again. Days when they were so hot for each other that the sun didn’t make a bit of difference anyways.
She’d give anything to have him again, guilt free. Without any kind of attachment to anyone or anything else.
She’d give anything for a lot of things.
Because right now, she’s the loneliest she’s been in a month.
For the love, for laughter, I flew up to your arms
Chapter 21: 21.
An unbearable ache has grown. Swallowed her up like the beginning of fall seems to be ingesting the summer. A little bit at a time until there’s nothing left but cold and dead things.
It’s been days, but she can barely get out of bed. She doesn’t even try to hide her discontentment with life from Trevor, and he ignores it until he no longer can.
He comes to the bedroom door and pushes it open, where he then leans against the door frame and looks in at her.
Olivia lies in bed, twisted up in white sheets. Half of her face is buried in the pillow but her eyes are open and before he came into the room, they were fixated on the door to the adjoining guest room.
Trevor walks in and makes his way around the foot of the bed until he’s standing by the window, which is directly across from Olivia’s side.
“Do you want me to open the window for you?” He asks, hands in pocket. His glasses are on, tipped at his nose.
Olivia shakes her head no.
“You should eat. How about I bring up something? There’s leftover chicken from last night. I could heat that up … or I could open a can of soup or–”
“I don’t want anything, thank you.” Olivia whispers, rolling over on her back and bringing her arm up to her forehead. She stares up at the ceiling.
Trevor hangs his head and after a moment, he clears his throat and looks back to her. “I can’t help but feel like I’m keeping you from him.” He says.
Olivia corners her brown eyes, tired and glassy, at Trevor.
“I know you didn’t leave overnight to see Giulia last week.” Trevor states, tongue in cheek. “I spoke with her. She had no clue what I was talking about when I asked her how your … girls night went. She tried to cover for you. Make up …” Trevor gestures with his hand. “Tales. But …” Trevor stops, shaking his head.
Silence, Olivia’s eyes are still on him. Her arm still over her forehead.
“I suppose I’d stay for you too.” Trevor says, his voice softening. “I think he might actually love you. And … you might actually love him, judging by …” He gestures towards the bed. “This.” He adds, and the room falls quiet once more.
Olivia’s eyes roll back up at the ceiling. “I just need some time.” She whispers.
“Is that what we’re going to do? Grieve for two separate things apart?” Trevor asks.
“Thought so.” He whispers.
After a long silence, Trevor makes his way back to the bedroom door.
“You’re a good man, Trevor.” Olivia says, exhaling deeply. “I’ve never not once thought anything else.”
Trevor turns to look at her, eyebrows knitted together. “Is that why you’re here? Because you love me or because I’m a good man?”
“I do love you.” Olivia whispers.
Trevor, without another word, turns and walks out of the bedroom – shutting the door behind him.
Olivia rolls back over on her side and stares out the window. It’s light out, barely past morning. She slowly makes her way out of bed, tossing the sheets back and going over to the window where she pushes it open and allows the fresh air and sounds of nature in. She goes back over to bed and crawls in, pulling the covers over her body, which is dressed in pajama pants and a white tank.
A bird, nearby the window she suspects, begins to chirp.
Olivia licks her lips. “ Whew, whew, whew …” She sings back to it. Lorenzo, in all his fluffy gray glory, hops up on Olivia’s side of the bed and comes to lay down beside her. She reaches and scratches the top of his head. Pur, pur, pur.
. . . . . . . . . .
Another couple days pass. Nothing changes. Olivia remains in the same place, cuddled with Lorenzo. She’s been sleeping a lot, which has contributed to her missing large chunks of time. Trevor, yesterday, had to remind her that it was Monday, not Friday when she finally came downstairs for some breakfast. She’d gone straight back up to bed afterwards, claiming she wasn’t feeling well. Particularly because he had set sliced nectarines down in front of her without the slightest clue of what connotation they now held to her.
Olivia’s eyes slowly open when she feels a soft tap, tap, tap on her nose. She scowls as she adjusts her eyes to the soft evening light in the room.
Giulia. She lies there across from her, on her side. Giulia had tapped her nose with her finger until she woke up.
“You are a heavy sleeper, sheesh.” Giulia laughs.
Olivia looks at her for a moment. She doesn’t look well. The last time she saw Giulia was with Elliot, and while that’s only been a few days, the difference in her appearance is enough to make Olivia raise a brow.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Giulia laughs quietly, petting Lorenzo, who has just hopped up on the bed. “I’m not here to talk about me.” She adds.
“You look so tired.” Olivia whispers, hoarsely.
“Mmm, because I am.” Giulia smiles, nuzzling into the pillow. “You look like shit.”
“Gee, thanks.” Olivia snorts.
“I say it with love.” Giulia smirks.
“Did Trevor call you?” Olivia asks.
“He did. Asked if I would come by and drag you out of bed. Well, he didn’t specifically say drag but …” Giulia laughs. “Think he felt a little bad once I got here though.” She adds.
“You should’ve stayed home, Giulia. Rest. Where’s Angelo?” Olivia asks.
“Downstairs. He drove.” Giulia replies.
“I’m sure that was a fight.” Olivia laughs.
“I asked him to drive me here.” Giulia states, smiling faintly.
Olivia’s expression drops a little and tears fill her eyes.
“Oh no, too pretty for all the tears.” Giulia reaches out and places her hand on Olivia’s cheek. She strokes the skin there with her thumb.
“I don’t know what he told you but …” Olivia nuzzles her face into Giulia’s hand.
“Trevor said Elliot was gone and that you were upset. I figured you would be.” Giulia states, sitting up in the bed. She’s big, not very far from delivering the baby. She places both hands on her stomach.
Olivia looks up at Giulia, but doesn’t say a word.
“You know Papa isn’t my real father, yes?” Giulia asks.
Olivia cocks a brow.
“No … I didn’t know that.” Olivia says, somewhat stunned.
“Mhm. Before Mamma died, she told me about him. My real father.” Giulia nods, staring down at her. “She had just gotten married and …” She smiles. “There was this American boy that came after he’d graduated from college.” Giulia pauses for a moment. “Bright green eyes …”
“I didn’t find a photo of him until after. But anyways, she told me … probably in a little greater detail than I would’ve liked …” Giulia’s eyes go wide. “How they came to be.”
Olivia’s expression falls slightly.
“He was staying a floor above Mamma and Papa. He would play his loud music and annoy her every day for a week!” Giulia laughs, rubbing her stomach. “Until finally, one day, when Papa was at work – she went upstairs to tell him to turn it down. He asked her what kind of music she liked, so he blasted that instead.” Giulia grins, looking down at Olivia who is engrossed in her story.
“Classical Italian music. All day, every day. He’d learned when Papa came home so when it was that time of day, he would turn it off and … be completely silent.” Giulia doesn’t say anything for a moment, but stills her hand to emphasize the silence in the room. “He played it every day for two weeks. Over and over again. Until finally, she decided she would go up and ask him why he turns it off when her husband comes home.” Giulia peers down at Olivia, who knows at this point that Giulia knows just what her and Elliot were to each other.
“He looks at her and says, I play it for who you are when he’s not around.” Giulia’s smile grows, eyes sparkling down at Olivia. “Every day, she’d go up … while Papa was at work. They’d dance, they’d … do what they did. I mean clearly, I’m here but –”
Olivia snorts, tears in her eyes.
“It came time for him to leave. He was never supposed to stay to begin with. They both knew that. He had no idea that she was pregnant with me. But she let him go, you know? He begged her … begged her to go back with him. To leave Papa … but she wouldn’t. It was a different time then.” Giulia sighs, her hand still rubbing over her belly lovingly.
“He never came back?” Olivia asks, her voice in a whisper. Cracking.
“Once. She wouldn’t open the door for him.” Giulia hangs her head, her own voice trailing off into a whisper.
“Why?” Olivia asks.
“She was afraid she would want to leave with him.” Giulia states.
Olivia feels as if the breath has just been knocked from her chest. She inhales deeply and rolls over on her back, staring up at the ceiling.
“And still, she spoke of him with so much vividness after so long. Fondness. Said she wondered every day if he had gone before her … or if he was still alive, somewhere, thinking about her and listening to classical Italian music.” Giulia smiles. “Angelo helped me find out later that he passed away in ‘15. He was a neurosurgeon. John Adler was his name. Never married, no kids to his knowledge …” Giulia’s voice fades off.
“Is that what you want, Olivia?” Giulia asks, her tone changing. “To sit and wonder for the rest of your life about whether or not he’s alive or … sitting somewhere thinking about you?”
Olivia looks over to Giulia, who is staring at her seriously.
“She would never say because I know she loved Papa. But she regretted it. Not letting herself have him.” Giulia adds.
Olivia doesn’t say a word, still.
“Life isn’t always fair to us, you know? I think it moves faster than any of us can ever keep up with. Some things … align, but at the wrong time. And some things just get away from us and we only ever realize something is off when we stop spinning around and hit the ground.” Giulia says.
“He’s gone.” Olivia rubs her fingers over her lips, releasing a gentle sigh.
“Hmm …” Giulia nods. “But you can leave. At any time.”
“And become what? The kind of woman that leaves a kind, faithful, devoted man because I had an affair for a week?” Olivia laughs.
“You’d become happy. And I think eventually, Trevor would become happy too. Have you hurt him? Sure. But you …” Giulia trails off.
“What?” Olivia asks.
“You aren’t not hurting him by being like this. He can feel your resistance, I think. He knows you don’t want to be here.” Giulia states. “I think it’s kind of … eh, not kind .” She adds.
Olivia’s gaze fixes heavily on her, before slowly, her eyes flicker down to her belly – which Giulia still rubs protectively.
“I’m afraid for you.” Olivia whispers. Is she changing the subject? Sure. But … There are other matters to discuss.
“I am fine.” Giulia smiles.
“Are you? You don’t look well.” Olivia replies.
“I’m tired these days. More so than usual, but. You know.” Giulia shrugs, a lazy smile still hanging on her lips.
Olivia reaches out and puts her hand over Giulia’s stomach, rubbing the top of it gently.
“I’ve decided on a name.” She nods. “Angelo won’t fight me of course because he’s convinced I’m going to die but …” She laughs.
“Giulia, that’s not funny.” Olivia scolds.
“I’m calling her Giulia. After me and after Mamma. But …” Giulia trails off, looking down at Olivia. “Her middle name will be Margaret.” Her smile grows.
The tears that were already present in Olivia’s eyes fill to the rim, and the first real smile she’s worn in days curls on her lips.
“From the two strongest women I’ve ever known.” Giulia smiles. “Both desperately and stubbornly in love.” She giggles, slapping her hand over the top of Olivia’s, which still rests on her stomach.
“I’m glad you went with Giulia.” Olivia giggles through her tears.
“Oh? So we can keep the Giulia, Giulia, and Giulia joke running?” She asks with a chuckle.
“I already put it on the blanket.” Olivia laughs.
“It’s finished and you’re just lying there sulking?!” Giulia teases. “Show it to me! My hormones and I actually demand to see it.” She shimmies her shoulders and crosses her ankles.
Olivia crawls out of bed and makes her way over to the dresser, where she pulls out a pink baby blanket, completely crocheted, with the name Giulia in little white letters. Olivia brings it over to Giulia, with it folded outwards so she can get a better look at it.
“Oh, Liv.” Giulia puts her hand over her mouth. “It’s so beautiful.” Tears gather in her eyes now.
Olivia smiles and folds the blanket in fours, then places it over Giulia’s stomach. As she leans down to do so, Giulia pulls her into a hug – wrapping both arms around Olivia.
“I want you to be there to hold her when she comes.” Giulia whispers into her ear.
They remain embraced, clinging tightly onto each other. Giulia feels Olivia nod into her shoulder, and the wetness of tears on the side of her face.
. . . . . . . . . .
One season drifts into the other, and before long, winter comes. The cold overtakes any feeling of warmth that once resided in the air and kills the flowers and the leaves on the trees and blooms of flowers, leaving behind branches and thin twigs.
The lemon and nectarine trees have long been dried up and nothing remains of them but pieces of bark for snow to rest upon. Olivia had watched what was left of the fruit fall from the trees and onto the ground as fall slipped away in its embrace of winter.
Lorenzo, bigger now, makes his way through the hallway from just being fed. Olivia follows him out, listening to the sound of the tiny bell around his neck chime as he takes off to the lounge room – to lay near the burning fireplace she assumes.
Just as Olivia is about to head up the stairs, she stops when the phone in the hallway begins to ring.
Ring, ring, ring. Ring, ring, ring.
“I got it!” Olivia calls out to Trevor, but receives no reply. He must be on his cell, blabbering to another client.
Olivia turns and makes her way back down the stairs, almost tempted to turn on the lamp that sits on the table with the phone to light the hallway a bit more. But she doesn’t. It’s gloomy, apart from the gray wintery light that casts in from the set of French doors at the end of the hall.
She picks up the phone and places it to her ear — fingers latching onto the cord.
“Hello?” She speaks into the phone softly.
But there’s a breath, deep and heavy … and from that alone, her expression falls and brown eyes become glassy.
“Hi.” Comes his voice, already shaky.
Olivia releases a heavy breath and plops down in the old fashioned chair beside the table. She licks her lips, preparing to speak. “Hi.” She says back, a smile curling on her lips.
“Is it okay that I called?” Elliot asks.
“Hello?” Elliot asks.
“Yes. Yes it’s fine.” She says.
“How are you?” Elliot asks, his voice low as he speaks into the phone.
“I’m …” Olivia shrugs. “It’s been a long few months.”
“I wanted to call sooner but you said you wanted some time so I thought–”
“No, I … I did ask for that.” Olivia closes her eyes, nodding her head.
“You um … you sound good.” Olivia nods, reaching up and pulling her turtleneck down just enough to scratch a spot underneath.
“Do I?” Elliot asks, and she can hear him smiling.
“Yeah.” She whispers.
“My film was developed. My daughter, Kathleen, saw all of your photos and asked me who the pretty woman was.” Elliot laughs softly, which incites a chuckle from Olivia.
“Hm.” Olivia reaches up and dabs the corner of her eye with her fingertip, bringing a small droplet from it.
“Did Giulia have her baby?” Elliot asks.
“Um, you know what … she did.” Olivia nods, tucking her lips together. “Baby Giulia is very healthy and … beautiful and … she’s already so smart. Sassy like her mom. Angelo adores her.” She adds with a whisper.
“And Giulia?” His voice is low.
Nothing. Olivia doesn’t reply. Brown eyes begin to wander around the hallway.
“I’m sorry, Liv.” Elliot whispers.
Silence, longer than before.
“ My friend Olivia …” Elliot breathes into the phone, heavily.
Olivia tilts her head back some, eyes still closed and smiles. She tucks her bottom lip into her mouth and in the distance, snow falls outside the French doors. Heavy chunks, one right after the other.
She stands to her feet and spins only once so that the phone cord is wrapped around her waist. She twirls the coils of it with her index finger, giving it a soft tug as if it’s Elliot who pulls on the cord himself, like he did all those months ago.
“ My friend Elliot …” Olivia whispers breathlessly back into the phone.
“ Hm, hm.” Elliot laughs softly.
“ Olivia.” He says.
And she just knows, in that moment, his finger is over his heart.
“ Elliot.” She does the same, smiling from ear to ear.
“God, I miss you.” Elliot says.
Olivia opens her eyes and hangs her head.
“How are things there?” He asks.
She knows what he means. He’s asking about her and Trevor.
“Not the same. But … he’s trying. I’m trying.” Olivia states honestly.
“Are you still coming to New York for Christmas?” Elliot asks.
“I’d like to. Depends on him I suppose …” Olivia trails off. “I may come anyways.” She blurts out. “I miss my friends and … I miss home.” She adds. “The Christmas lights in time square.” She smiles, fully – so that her cheeks are high.
“Do you miss me?” Elliot asks without missing a beat.
“ So much, my friend.” Olivia replies, eyes focusing on the flurries of snow outside the French doors, and how if she looks closely enough, she can see the reflection of them in the marble floor of the hall.
“Well … the … the reason I called – I mean, I called to talk to you but … the reason I called was … because …” Elliot stumbles over his words but after a moment, he pauses. “Hey my friend, Olivia? I’d like it, if you do end up coming alone, to come to my place for a … family Christmas get-together.” Elliot finishes, and she can hear him lick his lips.
“ Please ?” Elliot asks.
“ /Wow .” Olivia says, overlapping his please.
“Okay, I –” Olivia stammers over her words for a moment, soft little bubbling sounds coming from her as she tries to articulate and figure out what to say to that.
I still want you, if you’ll still have me.
“I just need to think about it, okay?” Emotion fills Olivia’s voice. If she wasn’t in tears before, she sure is now. “But I’ll let you know? Can I let you know?” She asks, her words breaking off into a soft whisper.
“Just come, Liv.” Elliot says.
“Do you wanna take down the address? In case you decide to?” Elliot asks.
Olivia licks her lips and nods, “Yes, let me …” She pulls open the drawer of the table and begins searching through it for a notepad. She pulls a pen and paper out and clicks the pen open. “Okay … w–what is it?” She asks. Elliot gives her the address, and as she’s writing it down – that little voice is going off in the back of her head.
Are you crazy? You know if you go to him again you won’t want to leave.
“I’ll um …” Olivia whispers into the phone. “I …”
Silence … then …
“ Whew, whew, whew …” Elliot whistles softly into the phone.
Come to me. Say you’ll stay. Say that you see now that so much time has passed that it was crazy to ever think we could be apart.
Chapter 22: 22.
Olivia’s off, somewhere else, mindlessly staring at the flames as they lick at each other within the fireplace. It’s warm here, and because of that, she closes her eyes just to feel the heat on her face. Suddenly she sees it. The way he bit into fruit, into cookies. The way he touched her when they were on fire from the sun and from each other, which at the time felt like such an everlasting feeling, far from ever being ephemeral.
The way his body felt pressed into hers completely. How he whispered into her ear late at night, in the sweltering heat. But even then, the warmth of his breath felt satisfying and served as a reminder that she was alive there with him.
She reopens her eyes, brown and dark in the gloomy room – and the reflection of the flames work tirelessly in them. Olivia looks over at Lorenzo, who is lying curled up on his bed close to the fireplace, snoozing.
Standing to her feet, from the chair that’s parked maybe a little too close to the fireplace, she makes her way from the room and slowly begins her journey upstairs. Her hand reaches out and she runs her fingertips across the railing. It’s comforting sometimes to know that his fingers were here, touching places she once touched.
Sometimes she thinks of herself in that way. She’ll touch herself, think of him. Of course there isn’t a shirt involved these days because that’s merely for sentimental pleasures. But the physical ones that he gave her months ago in the Lombardy heat live on vividly in her memory – often. She goes there, whether it be when she’s alone with herself – aching for him or when she’s alone with her husband … well, aching for Elliot Stabler.
As she makes her way up the stairs, she wonders to herself if the thought has ever crossed Trevor’s mind. If when he crawls in bed with her and on top of her, does he see her zone out and go be with another man. He has to. She gives very little to sex these days and doesn’t care to ever give herself to another man the way she did Elliot.
Because he did, in fact, have her in ways no other had. Physically, spiritually, intimately … those things were rolled into one now and she had a hard time unwinding them, not that she ever cared to.
Olivia reaches out and knocks on the door of Trevor’s study.
“Come in.” Trevor calls out, his voice soft.
Olivia walks in and closes the door behind her.
“Hey.” Trevor smiles a bit.
“Hey. What are you doing?” Olivia asks, curiously. There’s mountains of paperwork in front of him.
“Looking over the Bianco plant case. You look nice today.” Trevor smiles, taking his glasses off.
“Found the thickest sweater in my closet.” Olivia chuckles, coming over to one of the windows. The one with the broken shutter that won’t close. She stares out at the snow, watching it fall down as it did from downstairs. But up here, the chunks seem more like snowballs than anything.
“Well, it looks nice.” Trevor nods, slipping his glasses back on.
Olivia licks her lips, and there’s a great deal of silence in the room. Trevor notices and raises his focus from his paperwork once more to look at Olivia, who’s back is facing him.
“Something wrong?” He asks.
Something’s been wrong.
“I’m just thinking.” Olivia says quietly.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Trevor asks, sitting back in his seat.
Olivia turns around and crosses her arms. She turns her head towards the fireplace that’s center of the wall, in between the two windows. No fire burns in it. It’s sooty, and frankly – smells a little funny.
“We should get this cleaned up so you can use it. It’s freezing up here, Trev.” Olivia whispers.
Trevor smiles. “That’s what you want to talk about? My dirty fireplace?” he asks with a laugh.
Olivia smiles and looks over at him, a soft expression on her face. “No.” She essentially mouths.
Trevor leans forward in his chair and tosses his pen down. He laces his fingers together in a prayer position and takes a deep breath. “What do you want to talk about?” He asks.
Olivia comes to stand centerway of the fireplace and tilts her head at Trevor. “Are we still going to New York for Christmas?” She asks, her tone still a little hopeful.
Trevor stares at her for a moment, acting as if leaving Lombardy at all is news to him.
“Umm … well, we haven’t talked about it so I assumed you didn’t want to go.” Trevor sings.
“I do.” Olivia answers right away.
Trevor nods slowly. “Well, there would be a lot of preparations to make.” He adds.
Olivia does the staring this time. Long and hard.
“I think maybe it’s too late to plan a trip so close to Christmas … comfortably. But I mean,” He takes his glasses off, nodding just to be agreeable. “We can look into it.”
Like you looked into it last year.
“Plus I promised the Biancos I would have this suit handled before the New Year so …” Trevor nods.
“Okay.” Olivia shrugs, her voice still soft.
“Maybe we can plan ahead a little better next year.” Trevor nods.
Olivia presses her lips together and heads over to the door, where she pulls it back open.
Trevor goes back to his work.
She keeps her head down and holds onto the doorknob as she begins …
“I’m going to go anyway.” Olivia whispers.
Trevor brings his focus up from the paperwork, but doesn’t look at her.
“If I stay here another year I’m going to go crazy.” Her voice remains low.
Trevor remains quiet.
“Please say something.” Olivia shakes her head, bringing her fingertips to rest on the bridge of her nose.
“Will you be seeing him?” Trevor asks, clearing his throat.
Nothing at first.
“I don’t know.” She says.
“Oh, Liv …” Trevor sighs.
Tears fill Olivia’s eyes. She turns to face him, and their eyes meet.
“I’m … so sorry, Trevor .” Olivia whispers. “I’ve tried, I really have.”
Trevor stares at her, tears filling his own eyes.
“But,” Olivia brings her fingertips to her ring finger, where she fidgets with the gold band on it. “Life is so short … and after … after Giulia and … with Dante moving to Switzerland … I just see … how very short it is. And how …” Tears drip down her cheeks. “How unfair I’m being to us both. You deserve happiness, Trevor. Real happiness. Not … whatever this is.” Olivia takes her ring off.
Trevor’s eyes cast to the ground.
“The truth is, Trevor. We’re going to sit here and grow old together without a damn thing in common. Your love is … here.” Olivia waves at his desk. “Mine?” Her voice breaks off into a whisper. “The idea of … sitting and wondering where he is. If he’s … thinking about me, or if he’s …”
Gone before me.
Olivia extends her hand out and gently places the ring on the desk with a soft knock, gold on wood.
Trevor nods, tongue in cheek.
“Don’t sit in here for the rest of your life and pretend like everything outside of this is just a ghost. You’re good and you deserve good.” Olivia whispers, rubbing at the empty place around her ring finger.
Olivia turns to walk out the door …
“You were never going to bare your soul to me were you?” Trevor asks.
A chill runs up her spine, and she doesn’t know whether or not it’s because of the cold room or because she recalls Elliot saying how he had the same dilemma with Kathy. She takes a deep breath and turns to look over her shoulder at him.
“I wanted to.” Her voice is still low, whispery. “But … something always held me back.”
Not another word is spoken from Trevor. He nods, simply and sits back in his seat.
Olivia leaves Trevor’s study, shutting the door behind her. The echo from the latch clicking into place echoes throughout the house, loud and boisterous.
. . . . . . . . . .
Angelo swings his apartment door open, and in his arms, with her head lying on his shoulder, is baby Giulia. The pink blanket that Olivia made for her is wrapped around her, with Angelo’s fingers curled just under the baby’s bottom to support her – the other on her back.
“Have I come too late?” Olivia asks, blowing fog from the cold out of her mouth. In her hands is a pet carrier with a fleece blanket thrown over it to protect Lorenzo from the cold.
“Of course not! Come in, come in!” Angelo beams excitedly.
Olivia makes her way in and stomps her feet at the doorway, leftover snow from her boots falling off and melting away quickly. The apartment is heated. Warm and inviting. She looks around to see all of the baby clothes and such laying out and gives a soft smile. Angelo clearly has a lot on his hands but he seems to be managing things.
She sits Lorenzo’s pet carrier down on the ground and reaches for baby Giulia, who Angelo immediately hands over with a smile. “Thank you. She won’t let me put her down!” Angelo chuckles.
“She loves her Papa.” Olivia giggles, rubbing the back of Giulia’s head gently. “Oh, her hair is really coming in.” She adds, picking softly at the pitch black pieces of hair that protrude from the baby’s scalp.
“I just made some dinner.” Angelo says, going into the kitchen to make Giulia a fresh bottle.
“No, no. I can’t stay long.” Olivia bounces Giulia softly, soft coos coming from her.
“Are you sure? It’s the special sauce .” Angelo sings enticingly as he washes out one of Giulia’s baby bottles.
“I would any other night but I have some packing to do.” Olivia states. “Wanted to come by and see you and Giulia before I leave tomorrow.” She adds.
Angelo stops what he’s doing, a confused look on his face. “Leave? Where are you going?” He asks.
“New York.” Olivia replies, looking down at the pet carrier.
“Ahhh, that’s right.” Angelo shakes his finger. “You did mention last summer about Christmas in New York. Where are you two staying? Fancy hotel, eh?” Angelo teases, proceeding with making Giulia’s baby bottle.
“It’s just me, actually.” Olivia says, a soft sigh following. She rests her chin against the baby’s forehead.
Angelo comes back into the living room area, shaking Giulia’s bottle. “Oh?” He asks, reaching for Giulia. Olivia hands the baby back to Angelo. “Trevor’s staying here in Lombardy?” His eyebrows furrow as he gives Giulia her bottle.
“I’m um …” Olivia exhales deeply, trying to figure out how exactly she wants to word what she’s about to say. “Trevor isn’t coming because … I’m not planning on coming back.” She confesses.
Angelo stares at her.
A silence fills the room, apart from Giulia’s little sounds.
“You’re going to see Mr. Clean?” Angelo teases, a soft grin on his lips.
Olivia throws her head back in a chuckle and smiles broadly. “Yeah.” She smiles, reaching forward and rubbing the top of Giulia’s head.
“I figured, you know? Eventually, anyways … Giulia told me.” Angelo states, his voice low. “I’m happy for you, Liv.” he adds with a smile.
The very mention of Giulia’s name brings tears to Olivia’s eyes.
“How are you holding up?” Olivia asks.
“I take it day by day.” Angelo whispers, tears filling his own eyes.
“She’s beautiful.” Olivia smiles, looking at the baby. “She brought such a … beautiful, warm light into the world.” She adds.
Angelo nods quickly, fighting back his own emotion.
“And I know she’s just … so proud.” Olivia clasps her hands together.
Silence. Angelo looks down at Giulia and gives her a soft bounce.
Olivia glances down at the pet carrier again when she hears Lorenzo’s soft meow coming from it. “I have someone for you and Giulia … if you want him, of course.” She says, leaning down and pulling the fleece blanket from the carrier. She pulls the door open and reaches in for Lorenzo, pulling out the fluffy gray cat.
“You’re not taking him with you?” Angelo asks, an eyebrow raised.
“I was going to … but then I thought … Giulia should have him.” Olivia nods, rubbing at the cat’s forehead with her fingertips. “Things are going to be rough sometimes for her, you know? You’re wonderful but … maybe you both could use a friend.” Olivia nods.
“I’ll take good care of him.” Angelo smiles, reaching out and scratching underneath the cat’s chin.
Olivia nods and sits him down in the lounge chair. He immediately lies down and curls up. “Looks like he’s already found his spot.” She giggles, reaching up and wiping the tears from her eyes. Letting go of him was a little harder than she thought it would be, but she knows that this is for the best and that ultimately, leaving this gift for baby Giulia is the kindest thing she could do in her absence.
“You’ve come to say goodbye.” Angelo smiles softly. “You’ll be back though?”
You’ve come to say goodbye. Elliot had said to her, months ago back in Piccola Crema, room 23.
Olivia smiles. “I’ll be back. I wanna see if this one grows up to be a talker like her Mamma.” She reaches forward and gently pinches the baby’s cheek.
Angelo smiles warmly at her.
“Come here.” Olivia says, spreading her arms out and hugging Angelo. “You’re doing great. Keep doing what you’re doing. She would be so proud of you.” She whispers in Angelo’s ear.
“She’d be proud of you too.” Angelo whispers back.
Olivia laughs softly through her tears and nods, releasing Angelo. She looks down at Lorenzo once more and presses her lips together.
“Good night.” Olivia salutes Angelo playfully, he nods, and she turns to leave. As soon as the door opens, she’s met with the cold air that lingers in Crema. Her boots crunch into the snow as she makes her way down the stairs of their apartment and back onto the stoned pavement – still covered in white, crunchy dust.
It’s still snowing, but not as bad as it was yesterday. She stops before making her way across to the parked Fiat and takes notice of the alleyway that they drunkenly walked down together only months before, hand in hand.
I’ve seen without my eyes,
And it’s clear,
I should come home to you.
Chapter 23: Christmas in New York.
I want to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart for all the kind words towards this story. You guys have kept me inspired and continuously amaze me with all the positivity towards my writing. I so appreciate it. :) Love you all. :')
Olivia’s suitcases sit by the front door. Two in a row, one a little larger than the other. Both a brown leather color, with black leather belts lined in two. She’s packed everything she could possibly fit into them. The photo album she showed Elliot. Her clothes. Personal belongings beyond that.
She comes downstairs with her beanie, a small black one, in hand. She’s wearing her red peabody coat and black snow boots. It’s dreadful outside and from what she can tell, New York isn't going to be any better. Snowfall looks to be even worse there, according to the weather app on her phone.
A thought did cross her mind to go upstairs and say goodbye to Trevor formally. But she decided to leave things where they were at, with no unkind words exchanged. He was upstairs of course, in his study. If she listened close enough, she could hear him up there moving paperwork around and maybe even making calls. She didn’t though.
Olivia’s focus moves towards the very end of the hall, and locks on the French doors. They’re closed. Dreary looking from the snow. She inhales deeply and releases it in the same gesture, and takes one final look around before pulling her beanie over her head and reaching down for her suitcases.
She leaves, shutting the door behind her.
The house is quiet. As dead as winter makes every bloom outside.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“Dad, stop being so nervous.” Kathleen laughs, cutting into an onion with a way too big kitchen knife.
Elliot rubs his hands together and clears his throat as he, Eli, and Kathleen stand at the kitchen island in his apartment.
“It’s fine, Dad.” Eli rolls his eyes as he pokes his finger into Grandma Bernie’s whipped cream dessert, giving a quick watch over his shoulder to make sure she doesn’t see from the living room.
Kathleen reaches out and smacks at Eli’s hand.
“Ow!” Eli pulls his hand back quickly.
“You’re just as bad as Dad is.” Kathleen grumbles, cutting the onion with a newfound annoyance.
Elliot smirks, walking past Eli and quickly dipping his finger into the dessert, just like his son had moments before.
“ Dad!” Kathleen huffs.
Eli grins at his father and Elliot smacks him playfully on the back before heading into the living room area to see what his grandkids are doing. There’s a smile on his face but he’s such a ball of nerves he can barely function.
Elliot looks around at all of his family. His sons, his daughters. Grandkids. His mother. His children’s spouses. Everyone looks so happy but if he’s being honest, it’s been months since he’s felt true happiness.
He’s been aching for the warmth of the Lombardy sun, and the woman he loves. But he’s not sure that she’s coming. The last time they had spoken, she was in Lombardy and hesitant about coming.
Trying to push the thought out of his mind, he picks up a small football and aims to give a heads up to his grandkids, who are building a lego house that he showed them how to make. He believes wholeheartedly one will be an architect. Or not, but – he’s a proud Grandpa who encourages his grandchildren’s legos skills.
“Heads up!” Elliot states, rearing the ball back and expecting one of his Grandson’s, at least, to try and catch the ball but he throws it and well … the lego building catches it instead, which sends it crashing to the floor.
Dickie puts his hand over his face, and an eruption of small “ Grandpas!” Take place. Elliot grimaces, and brings his hands to the top of his head. He turns around and slyly moves away.
But as he does, there’s a knock on the door.
The whole apartment stops. It goes quiet, even the children stop and look.
“Okay,” Elliot breathes out heavily, an obvious wash of excitement coming over him. “Remember what I told you. Be nice, don’t say anything weird –”
“Dad, just open the door.” Kathleen states, wiping her hands on the front of her apron. She comes to stand in between the kitchen and the living room, which begins a long line of Stabler’s poking out from around each other as they anticipate Olivia’s arrival right along with Elliot – who has told them all about her.
Elliot gives a soft nod then turns to make his way towards the door. Nervously, he holds his hand out to turn the knob and pulls it open in one go. His expression drops, because it’s not Olivia standing there.
“Hey partner.” Ayanna smiles widely, holding a covered dish in her hand. Denise stands behind her, smiling from underneath her pink cap.
Elliot looks back at his children, who look just as disappointed as he is.
Ayanna’s eyes widen a little and she smirks. “Y’all invited us, remember?” She asks in a jokey tone.
Elliot shakes his head and grins wildly. “Sorry, I’m just–”
“Worked up. Over the lady that’s coming.” Eli chimes in, crossing his arms.
“A lady that’s coming?” Ayanna asks, coming in and handing the covered dish to Kathleen, who takes it with a smile. Ayanna and Denise begin taking their coats off and handing them to Dickie, who stands there with arms out waiting to accept them.
“Uh, we don’t know if she’s coming or not.” Elliot says, trying to spare himself any embarrassment if Olivia doesn’t come.
“ Who?” Ayanna asks, truly lost.
“/A woman.” Denise chimes in this time.
“Well, I got that but who?” Ayanna drills, staring at Elliot with confusion.
“A woman he met in Italy!” Bernie says, clasping her hands together.
“ Ooohhh, an Italian woman?” Ayanna pokes Elliot’s side playfully, handing her coat to Dickie.
“No, she’s not Italian – can we just, all sit down? And talk about something else?” Elliot asks, rubbing his hands together anxiously.
. . . . . . . . . .
She didn’t come.
It’s late, and everyone is sitting at the makeshift table extension that Dickie and Maureen’s husband put together so the family could sit together. Elliot’s spot is at the head of the table and beside him, is an empty share that frankly, he’s growing more and more embarrassed by the moment to even look at.
Occasionally, he’ll catch Kathleen glancing over at him. Checking to see if he’s okay.
No. No, I'm not okay. I really thought she was coming.
“You okay, Dad?” Elizabeth asks, sitting close enough to him to whisper over the chattering that’s going on at the table.
“I’m fine, sweetheart.” Elliot feigns a smile, poking at his plate of food. He takes a bite and chews it, glancing over at his grandsons, who are playing in their food.
“Hey, hey.” Elliot snaps his fingers. “Food is for eating not for playing.” He winks at them.
The two boys grin at their Grandpa and begin eating properly, occasionally looking over at Elliot and sticking their tongue out at him, which Elliot returns playfully.
Another ten minutes pass, and it’s settled in that she’s just not coming. Maybe he’ll try to call her again in another month or so. Ask how she’s doing, just so he can hear her voice. It’s one of the many things he’s memorized but nothing beats the real thing. The vibrational feeling of her low, raspy voice against his neck at night when they’ve just finished making love. Or when they’re talking about parallel universes they’ll never have.
He has photos of her, which sit in a stack in his bedside table drawer. Often, he’ll find himself flipping through them at night before he goes to sleep. He’s missing a few, so he knows he must have left a roll or two of film back in Lombardy.
Elliot turns his attention towards the set of doors that lead out into the garden area. It’s snowing. Dark. But the snow flurries are large enough so that he can see them vividly and without squinting his eyes.
Knock, knock, knock.
Forks drop. Knives. The chitter chatter ceases and everyone’s attention raises from their plates and each other and goes straight to the front door, then to Elliot, whose expression is twisted into surprise.
She’s here. You feel her already, don’t you? Like the Lombardy sun, warm and ready to wrap yourself around her.
Elliot clears his throat, and wipes his mouth with the napkin lying across his lap. He tosses it down beside his plate and makes his way over to the front door for a second time that day. He tugs on the hem of his henley and looks back at his family once more, who are all staring at him and the door.
Elliot swings the door open …
There she is.
After months apart, Olivia stands there in her black beanie and red peabody coat. Tears are already heavy in her eyes and he can tell, right off the bat, that she’s anxious.
“ Hi.” Olivia’s voice is soft.
Elliot smiles so broadly that his eyes squint.
“ Hi.” He matches her lovestruck tone.
“I didn’t think you were coming.” Elliot whispers.
Kathleen, who watches from the table with wide eyes, puts her hand over her mouth in awe.
“I’m sorry I’m late, there was a delay and …” Olivia trails off, gesturing her hand.
“I would’ve picked you up, why didn’t you call me?” Elliot asks, his voice softening.
“You never gave me your cell.” Olivia bursts into giggles.
“ Oh.” Elliot’s expression drops. He only had the house phone number and it didn’t dawn on him to give her his cell phone number.
Soft giggles can be heard from behind him. His family’s silent teases.
“Stabler, you gonna invite the girl in or leave her standing outside all night?” Ayanna asks, sassily.
Elliot raises an eyebrow, and releases a soft chuckle.
“ Come in.” Elliot says, stepping away from the door.
“Thank you.” Olivia smiles. Her suitcases are back at the hotel she got an hour ago which, she’s not entirely sure she needed to begin with.
“Can I take your coat?” Elliot asks.
“Sure.” Olivia nods, unbuttoning it.
The moment is a little awkward because Elliot’s family are still staring at them. Elliot clears his throat and gestures over to his family.
“Olivia, this is my family. My son Eli,” Elliot points to him and he raises a hand. “My daughters, Kathleen, Maureen, and Elizabeth …” Elliot goes on and on, pointing out each specific family member to Olivia, to which Olivia nods and smiles at – sending soft “ Hellos” to.
Olivia leaves her coat open and takes her beanie off, running her fingers through her curls to loosen them up.
“Guys … this is my friend, Olivia.” Elliot smiles down at her the moment those words leave his mouth.
“ Hello Olivia!” The table erupts almost simultaneously.
“It’s nice to meet you all.” Olivia smiles, going to push her coat off her shoulders but Elliot stops her.
“Do you ... uh, do you wanna step outside for a moment?” Elliot asks.
Olivia pulls her coat back over her shoulder and nods. Elliot slips his hand into hers for the first time in what seems like forever, and leads her out and away from his nosy family through the glass doors that take them out into the garden area. Olivia gives his hand a gentle squeeze and the moment the two glass doors shut behind them, he turns around and leans down into her.
“I really didn’t think you were coming.” Elliot laughs, reaching for her other hand so that he’s holding them both in his own.
“It was kind of impulsive but … when you called I just …” Olivia takes a deep breath, eyes sparkling up at him.
Elliot’s eyes search hers, hands interlocking with hers, fingers through fingers. “God, I’ve missed you.” He grins.
“I’ve missed you too.” Olivia’s voice cracks.
Elliot’s expression drops for a moment and she can tell he’s thinking about it ending already. About how she’ll go back to Lombardy soon and they won’t see each other for God knows how long.
“How long are you here for?” Elliot asks, eyebrows furrowed.
Snow falls around them heavily, and she looks down to see just how deeply their ankles are buried into the snow. She can feel the cold coming through her pants legs and for a moment, it’s reminiscent of the shallow, cool water they confessed their love for each other months and months ago in.
Olivia shakes her head, brown eyes locked on blue ones. Thoughts swirling, neverending.
“I’m …” She begins, but trails off.
“You’re right. That doesn’t matter. You’re here now. That’s what matters.” Elliot nods, a soft smile gracing his lips.
“I’m not going back, El.” Olivia whispers.
Elliot’s expression twists into a series of micro ones. Confusion, realization … happiness.
“You’re not?” Elliot asks.
“No.” Olivia whispers, shaking her head.
“Does he know?” Elliot asks, his focus drifting behind Olivia – into the apartment where all eyes are on them. But the moment his family sees Elliot looking, they look back down at their plates almost comically.
Olivia doesn’t say anything, but instead, she pulls her black glove from her left hand and holds her ring finger up. She nods yes. Yes he knows.
Nothing is around it, of course. She had left the ring back in Lombardy.
Elliot stares at it, then focuses his attention on her face. Tears are still lying thickly in her brown eyes. Her face is blotchy from the cold. Snowflakes have landed on top of her head, making it seem as though she’s been dusted with powdered sugar.
It’s been a long time since I’ve memorized your face.
Elliot exhales, almost in a relieving way.
“You’re staying?” Elliot asks. “You’ve … changed your mind?” he asks, hopefully.
Olivia reaches forward and grabs onto the material of his henley. She doesn’t know how he’s not shivering from the cold without a jacket on.
“I should’ve gotten on that train with you.” Olivia whispers, tears trickling down her cheeks. “We’ve already lost so much time and …” She hangs her head. “I was just trying to do the right thing.”
Elliot reaches out and grips her chin with his index and thumb. He lifts her face so she’ll look at him. “I know that. You know I know that, right? Nothing has changed.” He states, blue eyes locked intensely on her.
“It hasn’t?” She asks, her voice small.
Elliot leads Olivia over to where the gates are, so they’re out of view from his family. He leans into her, their faces so close to each other that they can feel each other’s warm breath tickle against the other’s lips.
“My friend … Olivia …” Elliot hums, the tip of his nose nuzzling against hers, which incites a soft chuckle – and a pretty big smile from Olivia.
“My friend … Elliot …” She whispers back.
Not another moment will I waste.
Elliot snakes his arms into her open coat and around her waist. The warmth that envelopes him, in the middle of the peppering snow, is unlike any feeling Lombardy could offer him.
They begin to teeter into each other, slowly. Like they do.
“ I’m glad you came to me. ” Elliot whispers against her lips and a soft sound leaves her. Whether it be somewhere between a happy sound or a gentle sob, either is fine or fitting. Olivia wraps her arms around his neck and leans up quickly into them.
And they kiss, right there by Elliot Stabler’s garden gate. Lips on lips. Hands wandering each other in ways they had only dreamt of for months, and honestly, neither thought they would be able to do again.
I’m glad you came to me could be interpreted in many different ways. I’m glad you found me when I thought no one else ever would. I’m glad that, even through resistance, you saw through my grief and my loneliness and demanded a place inside of me that I was hesitant to let you occupy. I’m glad that you came from New York, based off a photo, just to meet me. Just to see if your whim of a feeling was correct and true. I’m glad you came back to New York, because we are … true.
I’m glad you came to me. I’m glad I came to you.
There are many different ways to interpret what we say to each other. How we mean it. But they knew, from the moment they began their exchanges, just what their words meant to one another …
My friend, Olivia.
My friend, Elliot.
Those words had marked a permanent place in each other’s hearts, and as simple as they were, what they truly meant was … I’m glad you came to me because I love you.
And because I love you and you love me, nothing else will matter.
. . .
I’m often asked what inspired me to write about them. Was it the silent chaos of that summer that lived so reverently within me, it being the first summer without my mother … or was it that seeing them together had touched something inside me that all along was drawing me and compelling me to tell their story?
Switzerland was nice. I lived there for a few years, but Lombardy was always home and often, I found myself missing the heat of it all. Because somewhere in that heat were memories swindled, of a love that even I haven’t come to know yet.
Trevor ended up leaving, funnily enough. Gave me the house. Issy and I moved in and … maybe that’s where it began. Most of the furniture, if not all, had been left behind. Some things of hers as well, like the stacks of honey lemon soap in the downstairs cupboard which I left there just to open from time to time to take me back to a place when they relied so heavily on the scent of one another to relinquish the ache that was born for them.
Then there was the shirt, still folded and hidden in the bedside table in the guest room, where they’d spent many nights together. I imagine she had drawn the scent straight out of it from all the grieving she had done after he left. But now, as it’s told to me through letters, she awakes to his scent every morning. So I suppose she wouldn’t need it anymore anyways.
There were rolls of film, I found whilst cleaning out the guest room, that had rolled underneath the bed. Once I developed them I found photos of them together. One by the pool, which I almost kept for myself but decided it was best to send back to them in one of our many exchanged letters. There was one of her touching a lemon tree, grazing it like I’m sure she has the lines on his face many times since then. Like she told me she did the day she thought they were saying goodbye forever, in a room with forest green wallpaper. Little tiny white flowers. And a skylight window that beamed down on passion.
It’s summer again here in Lombardy.
Dante stands to his feet, from the small setup he has. A little wooden desk, that once sat against the window in the guest room, now sits in the middle of the floor with letters spread all over it. His laptop, of course, sits in the middle of the desk. The tiny bed that Olivia and Elliot shared has long been gone. He uses this room for writing now. For inspiration to finish this work.
He stretches, extending his lanky arms above his head and then bringing one of his hands to scratch at his bare chest. Birds chirp from outside the open windows and the French doors that lead to the balcony – which Dante could never get them to tell him about the time they spent there, so he simply left it out . It sits just outside the main bedroom. Olivia and Trevor’s old room.
The birds are alive and singing to each other. Sometimes I wonder if they’re singing to him, asking him to come back. But after contemplation, I realized he was only ever calling to her. And she came, eventually, as I’ve written.
They came to each other suddenly, all at once, and after that – were truly never able to be apart.
Dante makes his way through the adjoining door of the guest room and into Trevor and Olivia’s old room. He rubs at the back of his neck as he steps out onto the balcony that overlooks the backyard. The patio. The pool.
It’s hot, and he squints his eyes at the sun that beats down upon his tanned face. He takes a deep breath and runs his fingers over his tight black curls.
There’s a knock on the door, and Issy, a teenager now, peeks her head through.
“Dante?” She asks, long black hair cascading down her shoulders.
“Sì?” Dante asks, turning to look at her through the balcony doors.
“Are you finished yet?” Issy asks.
“ Quasi .” Dante smiles.
Issy nods and shuts the door, leaving Dante alone again. Dante turns and focuses his attention on the lemon trees in the distance. Tiny tennis balls, swaying in the wind. If he squints hard enough, he can see the nectarine tree further out.
He begins mumbling to himself, eyes half open – thick eyelashes almost shimmering in the sun. His fingers come out and he slowly grazes the railing of the balcony. A spot where they’ve once touched – his fingertips glide across the metal slowly.
Dante turns suddenly and walks back into the main bedroom, only to saunter back through the adjoining door, into the guest room.
He sits back down in the wooden chair, taking a final glance over letters sent from Elliot and Olivia.
Dante reaches and wipes the sweat from his forehead, then begins to type …
Words are futile devices. But I’ll tell you mine, and you’ll tell me yours. So that we may know we belong to each other.
A deep breath leaves him, and he puckers his lips – fighting back a soft grin.
“ Whew, whew, whew …” Dante whistles, eyes closed. And suddenly, he’s there …
In their ephemeral summer, there in Lombardy, Italy.
Chapter 24: EPILOGUE
The sun is blaring masterfully down on the patio behind Elliot’s apartment. The comparison between how it is now, versus just a year ago, when snow covered and drowned out the stoned pavement there is vast in difference. It’s been a hot summer so far, made up of nostalgia from what came only a year before.
Much has changed since then. The snow has been long gone. The air now mirrored Lombardy, though that place, if not an illusion or thing of the past, rests on the other side of the ocean – far, far away. Perhaps tucked deep into the memory of what would be their beginning.
Elliot sits in one of the patio chairs, with his leg drawn up sideways over the other. His foot shakes as he stares up with squinted eyes past the leaves of a tree, which show only slight hints of the sun, though they are bright enough to make him want to shield his eyes. His attention, however, is brought from that when he hears Olivia slide the door open to the patio and make her way out with a tray of lemonade. A small pitcher, with two glasses – sliced lemons on either side of them both. Ice filled halfway up the glasses, which are already making them sweat.
“What time do you have to leave for the advocacy center?” Elliot asks, watching her sit the lemonade tray down on the small wrought iron table before him. It barely fits. Elliot reaches forward and takes one of the glasses into his hands. It’s small in comparison to his fingers, which wrap around it with ease. “Thank you.” He smiles, bringing it up to his stubbled face.
“Around 1 o’clock.” Olivia replies, and rather than sitting in the chair opposite of Elliot, she slides onto Elliot’s lap swiftly and wraps an arm around his neck. Playfully, she reaches for his lemonade glass and takes a sip and of course, Elliot hands it right over.
“ Thief.” Elliot smirks.
“You started it.” Olivia corners brown eyes down at him, taking another sip from his glass before passing it back to him. Elliot takes the glass from her and takes another drink. Only then does Olivia reach for her own glass and take another couple sips.
Elliot’s hand rests firm on the side of her hip, blue eyes looking up at her. “Dante said we should be getting the transcript soon. Are you nervous about it?” He asks.
“Mmm … I don’t know. I know what I told him but I have to admit,” Olivia laughs. “I’m a little nervous as to what you told him.” She teases, her fingers tracing circles on the back of his neck.
“What do you mean? I didn’t overshare.” Elliot chuckles, sitting his glass down. His hand comes to rest on her thigh, almost to keep her positioned on his lap.
“ Sure.” Olivia grins.
“I didn’t!” Elliot insists, a huge grin plastered on his lips. “Maybe he just … filled in the blanks.” He shrugs.
“Mhm, or you filled them in for him.” Olivia smirks, sitting her glass down and wrapping her other arm around him. Her fingers lace together to keep them positioned over his shoulders. She looks down at him with adoration.
“I did no such thing.” Elliot gazes up at her with the same expression.
“ Mmmm …” Olivia sings, giving a single nod.
“ Mmmmmm …” Elliot nods back, mimicking her. He looks down at his watch. “We still have another couple hours before Eli gets home.” Elliot grins.
“Oh? Great! You can do the dishes then.” Olivia smiles comically down at him.
“Dishes can wait.” Elliot scoots forward with her still on his lap.
“ Oh no.” Olivia giggles, figuring he’s trying to pick her up but she slings one of her legs off his lap and braces her foot against the patio to stop them.
“I got this.” Elliot insists.
“I’ll walk, thank you.” Olivia states, wiggling her way off his lap and standing to her feet. She begins sauntering back towards the patio doors, but turns around to look at him. “You coming? To do dishes of course.”
Elliot stands to his feet. “Eli can do the dishes.” He jokes.
“Nope. Your turn.” Olivia teases, but is already working on the buttons of her blouse.
Elliot cocks an eyebrow.
“Is this a trick?” He asks.
“What?” Olivia cocks her head, pretending as if she doesn’t know what trick he’s talking about as she continues working her way further into the apartment.
Elliot rolls his eyes and follows her inside.
Soft breaths pass between their lips, back and forth. Hot and raspy as they roll around in their bed with one another. Heels on the back of legs dig in with each thrust; Nails rack at skin in silent, passionate outcries. His fingers are tangled in her hair, and at one point, she comes up to bring it from her thick locks so she can lace her fingers in with his as they move with one another.
The moment his mouth comes to her ear and he begins whispering the things she likes to hear, he can feel her begin to shake and tense against him, hips rolling against hips as she does. The dampness between them is prominent, and both know, as usual, the linen will have to be changed when they’re done.
In the heights of what they give to one another, which is blistering compared to the heat outside, they both moan and cry against the skin of each other. Against lips, with pressed foreheads and opened mouths. Whimpers and groans fade into soft laughter in between kisses, and exchanged I love yous.
After that, Olivia stands at the foot of the bed after just coming out of the shower. A towel is wrapped around her body as she brushes her hair, and a satisfied smirk rests on her plump lips as she looks down at Elliot, who is grinning like an absolute idiot at her. He lies in bed, propped up on his elbow – quietly observing her.
“When do you think you’ll be home?” Elliot asks.
“Phoebe and I are going to the mall to pick up a birthday gift for Fin after we’re done at the center. But after that I’ll be back.” Olivia says, walking over to the dresser and placing her brush down. “What do you want for dinner?” She asks, brushing her fingers through the ends of her long hair.
“I can cook. Pasta?” Elliot asks, tugging at the sheet that covers his hips.
“That sounds nice.” Olivia smiles, looking through the reflection of the mirror at him. She watches as he crawls out of bed and makes his way towards her, in quite literally, nothing.
“I just showered, you’re going to get your man stink all over me.” Olivia teases, reaching for her perfume. Elliot wraps both arms around her hips and draws her to him, and regardless of her earlier protest, she leans against him. They begin teetering back and forth against one another.
“ Ragu?” Elliot whispers against her ears, eyes locked on hers through the mirror.
“On second thought, how about BBQ?” Olivia giggles.
“You don’t like my pasta with the ragu?” Elliot teases, trying to sound overly fanciful.
“ Mmm … kebab, please.” Olivia closes her eyes.
“Anything you want.” Elliot kisses her neck.
“ That’s right.” Olivia sings, her hand coming to rest over Elliot’s, which rests over her stomach. “Remind me to check on our order later tonight. I haven’t gotten an email on it yet, so I’m worried it won’t be here in time.” She adds.
“Kathleen’s gift?” Elliot asks, leaning down to kiss her bare shoulder.
“Mhm. It’d be a shame if it came after the wedding.” Olivia states, swaying with him. Their eyes are still locked on one another through the mirror.
“It’ll be here in time.”
“Are you ready to give your little girl away?” Olivia asks with a soft laugh.
“Never. But I think she’s in good hands. Austin is a good guy I think.” Elliot replies, blue eyes peering at her through the mirror.
“I think so too.” She replies quietly.
Silence. Their gaze is still fixated on one another.
“When are you gonna let me marry you?” Elliot asks, a sly grin fusing on his lips.
Olivia’s smile, not once, fades away. She simply tilts her head and gives him an all-knowing little smirk before pulling away from him.
“Anytime, my friend. Anytime.” Olivia walks backwards towards the door.
“Right now?” Elliot teases.
“Not right now.” Olivia sings.
“ Later.” She sends him one final smile and turns the corner.
. . . . . . . .
The next morning rolls around quietly. The birds sing, as they do, and awaken her with an ease that she’s grown accustomed to. There’s no tree branch swinging outside her window, with birds perched and in choir. They’re distant and feel like some kind of dream-like echo, far away from her and Elliot’s apartment.
Olivia has grown accustomed to knowing when Elliot isn’t beside her. When perhaps he’s woken before her and is off doing what he does in the morning. Making breakfast, which no doubt, she’ll be greeted with a plate and a kiss. He’s probably already done his workout. Probably already fed their bird – a little lime green and yellow budgie they’ve taken to calling Kiwi.
Olivia makes her way into the main area of the apartment, with a billowy silk robe wrapped around her. Black, and tied tight around the waist. Sure enough, as she approaches the kitchen she sees Elliot sitting there waiting for her. He doesn’t realize she’s there yet, because he’s going back and forth with Kiwi. Little “ Whew, whew, whews …” fill the air between the caged bird and Elliot, who is grinning over at the tiny animal that bounces around on his perch excitedly. As Olivia enters further into the kitchen, her eyes catch on the photo of them by the pool on the fridge, next to another one of her – reaching and touching lemons. Elliot took them of course, what seems like ages ago.
“Morning, Kiwi.” Olivia announces her presence, which causes Elliot to look over his shoulder at her. A smile falls on his lips, causing his eyes to narrow and crease on the outer corners.
Elliot looks to Kiwi, who sits in his cage not far, close to the patio doors.
“Morning, Liv.” Elliot says to the bird.
“Morning, Liv!” Kiwi repeats, loudly – with excitement.
Olivia giggles and wraps her arms around Elliot from behind. She reaches over his shoulder and grabs a half cut piece of toast, where she takes a bite from it.
“ I made you a plate.” Elliot grins, “You’re a thief.”
“You started it.” Olivia’s mouth is full.
“Dante’s envelope came.” Elliot says suddenly.
“Where is it?” Olivia perks up.
Elliot reaches forward and removes a newspaper from the stack of white paper.
“You haven’t read any yet have you?” Olivia asks, placing a single kiss on the side of Elliot’s neck before scooting onto the barstool beside him.
“I waited on you.” Elliot says. “For the most part.” His grin grows.
“ Elliot!” Olivia whines.
“I just read the first paragraph. Want me to read it to you?” Elliot asks.
Olivia nods, reaching for the glass of orange juice beside her plate.
Just as Elliot reaches for the transcript, Eli’s bedroom door opens and he comes out, fully dressed. He stops and looks back and forth at Olivia and Elliot, who are staring at him.
“I’m getting breakfast with Ally.” Eli says, looking back and forth between the two.
“Okay. That’s fine. Do you need some money?” Olivia asks, standing to her feet. She’s already in search for her purse.
“I have some.” Eli shrugs, but stands still. He definitely wants money.
Olivia finds her purse and digs through for her wallet. She brings it out and pulls some cash from it, flipping the bills in half and extending it out to him. Eli saunters over and takes it from her.
“Thank you.” Eli says.
“Have fun.” Olivia smiles.
“Love you both. Be back later.” Eli salutes them playfully and jogs over to the door.
“For dinner?” Elliot asks.
“Probably.” Eli states, and before another word can be exchanged between the three – the door is opened and shut and Eli is gone.
“ Probably.” Elliot mimics.
“He’s growing up.” Olivia slides back onto the barstool.
“Too fast.” Elliot replies.
Kiwi makes his little noises in the background.
“Such is life.” Olivia says, eyeballing the transcript. She leans forward and reaches for Elliot’s hand. She brings her other to a propping motion so her chin can rest on her fist.
Elliot turns his attention back to the transcript and picks it up. He places it in front of her. “You read.” he laughs. “It’s more so your story, isn’t it?” Elliot asks.
“It’s our story. Not getting all timid are we?” Olivia asks, raising an eyebrow.
“I’m ready for whatever is in there.” Elliot replies.
“ Mmmm … I bet.” Olivia laughs. She reaches for her black framed glasses and slides them onto her face. They rest on the bulb of her nose. Her hand is still in Elliot’s, and she uses her other hand to push her breakfast plate back just a bit before running her hand over the first page of the transcript.
“Futile Devices …” Olivia reads from the front. “Dante Rossi … A novel.”
Elliot smiles, tilting his head as she begins.
Olivia flips the cover page, and it’s blank besides a small sentence in the center.
“For Liv & El …” Olivia reads.
“May you continue to burn as warm as the Lombardy sun , my friends.”