Olivia collapsed back onto the lounge chair as beads of sweat ran down her back.
It was hot. City hot.
The summer was in full swing and the sun seemed to have something to prove.
She’d just lugged a bag full of stuff up the stairwell of the public pool, helped Noah with his sunscreen, and applied some for herself. In this humidity those small things left her feeling like she’d ran a mile.
“Hang on Noah,” she heard a familiar voice call. She turned to see her former partner and a small collection of (adult) kids and grandkids shuffling towards her.
“Hey guys!” Noah called, excited to see the Stabler family.
Olivia grinned. While she and Elliot were still going back and forth with their “friendship,” letting Noah and Elliot’s family get close was one of the best choices she’d made.
“Where’s Grandma Bernie?” Noah asked.
“Too hot for her dude,” Eli replied.
Olivia noticed the concerned look on Noah’s face. Apparently Elliot did too.
“Elizabeth took her to the movies,” Elliot explained, giving Noah a pat on the back. There was no hiding it was always good to keep an eye on Grandma Bernie, but the adults made sure the younger kids knew to talk about it respectfully.
“Hi Olivia!” Kathleen said as she put a bag and set of towels down on the lounge chair next to her.
“Hi honey,” Olivia smiled.
“OK crew, listen up,” Elliot began.
The eye rolls were pronounced.
Olivia and Kathleen held back laughs.
As Elliot went over the safety rules, especially focusing on Eli and Noah reminding them to keep an eye on the little ones, Maureen cranked the umbrella at an open table and set out some snacks.
“Good call on getting here early,” she said, smiling in Olivia’s direction.
“Public pools in the city take strategic planning,” Olivia joked.
“So who’s keeping an eye on the squad room?” Kathleen asked innocently.
“If you want to ask how Detective Velasco is doing, you can just ask,” Olivia teased.
Kathleen twisted around to be sure her father was not in ear shot, instantly blushing.
“Olivia, there’s more than Goldfish and M&Ms over here if you’re hungry,” Maureen interrupted. “I also snuck in some sangria, enough for the three of us to have a glass each.”
“You’ve just made my day” Olivia laughed, getting out of her chair and heading over to the table to add a few of the snacks she and Noah brought along.
Just as Maureen handed her a glass, Olivia felt a hand at the small of her back.
“Hey, I just wanna grab my towel,” Elliot said sneaking past her. She froze as he moved behind her, his hand moving to her hip.
Good thing I grabbed this black suit she thought suddenly, it was extremely flattering on her and she felt good in it.
“Thanks,” he whispered a little too close to her ear as he passed back behind her.
“Come on Elliot!” Noah called.
He grabbed for his shirt, brought it over his head and tossed it on the back of the chair.
Olivia took a deep breath. He had no right truthfully. Not only did he look fantastic, the sweat somehow made him look sexier.
She turned and saw Maureen and Kathleen watching her, smirks on their faces.
“Don’t,” she scolded.
About 40 minutes later the kids and Elliot came over to the table and chairs for a snack.
“Mom you’re not gonna get in?” Noah asked, stuffing a carrot in his mouth.
“Oh probably not sweet boy, I’m still on call you know.”
“It’s hot out here, I don’t think anyone would mind if you had to show up with pool hair,” Kathleen offered.
“Maybe after snacks,” Olivia caved. She felt Elliot watching her. She could sense his concern. He’d suggested, a few times now, that she wasn’t embracing her days off the way she should.
She let out a small huff. Like he was a great example of work-life balance.
After a few minutes she decided she would at least put her legs in the water. Elliot had insisted that the kids wait 20 minutes after eating before getting back in so she figured it was the best time to avoid getting splashed.
She stood by the edge and dipped her toe in. It was cool and suddenly she was hotter than she had been all day.
“Ready to get wet?”
She turned around and before she could respond his arms were around her waist and he was launching them into the pool. Her arms wrapped up around his neck as their bodies hit the water.
She held her breath and held tight as the cool water surrounded them. As they stopped descending there was a second of stillness. Their muscles flexed together, his arms felt strong but not restraining. They were joined closely in the silent water and it felt incredible. Just as soon as the feeling registered Elliot began swimming them towards the surface.
When her head came back above water the kids were whooping and clapping. She tossed her arm across the water giving Elliot a decent splash.
He grinned and she saw his eyes wonder away from her face to her lips, then down to where her suit had a simple v shape by her chest. She felt a chill go up her spine. Flirtatious comments were one thing, but blatant staring was new.
She blushed as she splashed him again to snap him out of it.
“What was that one for?”
“You know what that was for,” she said, feigning irritation.
He swam closer to her.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be inappropriate in front of the kids.”
She let a small smile out.
“But if the kids weren’t here?”
“Let’s not talk about that,” Elliot said sternly.
She raised her eyebrows.
“Liv, I…uh…I need to be able to get out of the pool at some point.” He whispered.
She looked at him, confused.
He looked down at his stomach to below the water.
It clicked and she couldn’t help but let out a loud laugh.
“Olivia,” he warned.
She leaned forward out of view of the kids, pushing her arms up, making her cleavage pop out.
“So if the kids weren’t here…”
“Olivia,” he cautioned again letting his eyes roam for a quick second.
“…you wouldn’t be so worried about being inappropriate?”
She isn’t sure but she thinks he lets out a small growl.
She bites her lip.
“Don’t do that,” he begs.
She feels like she is on fire. This is ridiculous. They are in the middle of a public pool in front of their children and yet this is most sexual they’ve been around each other ever. Apparently they need to avoid close contact in water if they want to keep their sanity.
“Can we come back in now?”
“Alright,” Elliot calls out, not taking his eyes off Olivia.
She gives him a smirk as she heads over to play with the little kids in the shallow end, giving him some time to calm down.
Olivia spent more time in the pool than she’d initially planned. Eventually they’d all gotten in together and had fun splashing and joking around. She didn’t acknowledge the blissful looks on Elliot’s face but she also didn’t miss them either.
As she put the last of their items back in her bag she heard Noah excitedly call for her.
“Mom! Mom! Eli said I can come stay at his house tonight!”
She turned to Eli, eyebrows raised.
“I thought we’d have a movie marathon, but if you guys want to get home, it’s fine.”
Turns out she wasn’t the only one who’d had a surprisingly perfect day.
“How about we go home and get a change of clothes and we come by for one movie tonight? We both have a pretty early morning tomorrow,” she offered, “and I don’t want him to be a zombie.”
Noah groaned a bit but then agreed his mom’s solution was probably for the best.
“We’ll see you around 6, how about if we bring dinner?”
“What’s happening?” Elliot said, returning from walking Kathleen, Maureen, and the kids out.
“Olivia and Noah are coming back to ours for dinner and a movie,” Eli explained.
“Oh,” Elliot said, not even attempting to hide the surprise in his tone.
“That OK partner?” She offered.
“Works for me,” he said, giving her a warm smile. He reached for the lone bag of pretzels on the table.
“No more snacking, we’re bringing dinner.”
Her fingers gripped around the handle of her bag as she tried to hide the flush in her cheeks.
Tonight was going to be interesting.
She’d been out of the shower for 20 minutes now and had begun to scold herself. There was no reason she was thinking this hard about what to wear over to a friend’s house for a movie. No reason at all.
She heard Noah knock at her door. She fastened her towel and told him to come in.
“You’re not ready? It’s 5:45.”
“I know, I was just waiting to cool down after that hot shower.” She noticed he was basically in his pajamas, shorts and an old t-shirt. A practical and easy solution.
“Why don’t you call in the take out order and I’ll be ready in five?”
As the door closed she grabbed a pair of black yoga pants a sports bra and a old NYPD tee. She quickly towel dried her hair and was ready to go.
When Elliot answered the door she couldn’t help but sigh. He too was in comfortable clothes but somehow his tight black joggers and fitted white t-shirt made him look sexier than he did in his bathing suit. Again, this man had no right.
He smiled when he saw her.
“You look cozy.”
She heard appreciation, no teasing or judgment.
“We brought Thai food.”
“Sounds perfect,” he said, closing the door behind them.
Dinner was eaten in front of the TV. Eli was in an oversized chair, Noah had sprawled out on the floor so his plate could sit on the coffee table. Olivia and Elliot sat on the couch taking turns sneaking their favorite things off each other’s plates.
It didn’t take long before the long day in the sun caught up to everyone. Yawns came first, then tired eyes and finally dozing off. The boys crashed first. Olivia stretched and tried to stop her eyes from closing.
“Come here,” Elliot offered.
She didn’t even try to refuse as his outstretched arm was far too tempting. She leaned into him as he pulled a blanket over her. She rested her head on his chest and felt his fingers stroking her arm. Her last thought as she gave into her exhaustion was how right everything felt in that moment.
An hour later Olivia woke up disoriented. She quickly realized she was still cuddled into Elliot. Nervously, she looked around and was happy to note that both boys were still asleep. She felt Elliot shift slightly and looked up as his eyes opened sleepily.
“I should get Noah home, we’ve got such a long day tomorrow.”
“Why don’t you stay? I’ll sleep out here.”
“No, I’ll get us home.”
“Sure you’re not too tired?”
“Yeah El, I’m fine.”
She was committed to getting home, but she didn’t move.
He watched her, his eyes gentle.
He leaned down and placed a kiss on her forehead. She leaned into it letting his lips stay there for a second.
“This feels good,” she whispered.
“Yeah, it does.”
“Is that wrong?” She asked, tentative, finally looking up at him.
He let out a breath, not answering her right away.
“Honestly, I don’t know.”
She appreciated his honesty. In fact, knowing they were both questioning what was happening here made her feel better. She turned around to be sure both boys were still sleeping. She turned back to him and leaned into him, placing her lips in front of his.
He leaned forward just enough for their lips to touch. She pressed her lips into his and felt his hand grip the cushion beneath them.
She pulled away slowly but he grasped the back of her head and brought her back to him. He kept it soft but she could feel the intensity radiating from him.
She finally pulled away.
“I need to get him home.”
“I know,” he whispered, “it’s OK.”
He walked her to the door while a groggy Noah located his shoes.
“Thanks for today,” she said, giving him a genuine smile.
“Today was great,” he said, his eyes almost sparkling.
“Bye Elliot,” Noah mumbled as he headed down the hallway.
She started to follow but felt a hand on her arm pulling her back. He leaned into her ear.
“I don’t know what this is, or what it’s going to be, but just know I am not, not even a little bit, not even somewhat close to being done kissing you.”
She leaned into him and quickly left a peck on his lips.
“Oh we’re just getting started partner.”
He let out a small laugh as she turned to walk down the hall.
They were just getting started, and what a ride it would be.