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and wonders if he believed songs could come true (i’m asking for it if they do)

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Olivia has visited his home several times now (too many to count on both hands, in the past three months alone) yet this time, as she pads through his living room in a pair of fuzzy red Christmas socks and the ironed slacks and white blouse she’d worn to work earlier that day, something is different. A subtle difference, sure, but it’s there. 

Tonight, her long hair is gathered messily (beautifully) into one of those claw clips she always leaves laying around his countertops and bedside tables (he’d stepped on them with bare feet, one too many times, but couldn’t bother feeling an ounce of anger when she looked at him with those big brown eyes and a small, guilty smile—) and he loves it, loves that she’s allowed it to grow past her shoulders, so freely, without the intention of cutting it anytime soon. 

If he’s being honest, he’s loved her hair at every length. Whether it being an overnight pixie cut or carefully crafted bob, he’s loved them all just the same, but there’s something about seeing his Olivia with those dark and golden strands of hair cascading down her back, because he— they know what it means. And knowing that she no longer feels the need to establish some sense of control through spontaneously changing her hair soothes him, because it solidifies the permanence here, between them. 

He’d sworn countlessly—on warm summer evenings and chilled autumn mornings, over late night phone calls and planned coffee dates, and more times than he can even begin to remember—that he would never leave her again. And it seems she’s finally believing it. 

Now, likely without realizing it, Olivia navigates through his space as if it's her own. The lack of prolonged glances baring her caution and uncertainty (awaiting his approval before she does anything, before she makes any minor decisions) is so painstakingly obvious, to him, and settles a comfortable weight against his chest. And as he silently watches her move with such normalcy and familiarity that both relaxes and overwhelms him, he notices the shift. 

It’s small, and to anyone else it’d likely be considered silly or insignificant, but Elliot notices.  And despite the harrowing cold reigning hell on the outside city, he becomes blanketed in a fiery warmth that soothes his aching muscles and smooths the deepening furrow between his brows, calming him in a way that he’d deem inexplicable, if it weren’t Olivia.  

Cradling their empty wine glasses against her chest and murmuring a soft “be right back,” she strides towards the kitchen and rinses them out in the sink, hardly glancing Elliot’s way as she wordlessly loads them onto the top shelf of the dishwasher— just the way he likes. She’s humming a quiet tune of a song he doesn’t quite recognize and nodding her head along, lost in her own beautiful world, and his grin widens, reaching his ears, as she carries on, unknowing of her audience. Then, like clockwork, Olivia moves to the fridge and retrieves two bottles of water from the bottom drawer, muttering something about them needing to “buy another case soon” before shuffling back into the living room, where Elliot’s watching with crinkled eyes and blatant adoration. 

Olivia’s smiling when she notices, and her nose scrunches and her cheeks redden with such a rare shyness that he knows is only reserved for him. And Elliot can’t fucking take it anymore, can’t take the easiness of this, or the weight of his infinite love for her. Cursing underneath his breath, but wearing a massive, lopsided smile, he gently removes both water bottles from her grasp, blindly placing them on the table behind them before reaching for her, pulling her into him and answering her laughing and muffled “What, El?” with a weighted kiss that swears  ‘I love you’ in more ways than one.