On Saturday morning- Barba, with a cool washcloth in one hand, ginger ale in the other and Noah riding piggy-back walks quietly into Olivia's room. She lies very still, with her eyes closed. When she hears Noah's futile attempt at a whisper, "Mami es enferma?", her mouth quirks up in a smile.
Barba sets down the ginger ale and turns back to Noah, "Yes, you little germ transport, Mami es enferma."
Olivia opens her eyes and watches Barba do his best to set Noah down gently on the bed without jostling her too much.
It's been nearly seven months since they disclosed their relationship to 1PP- and she still can't quite get the smile off her face every time she sees Barba 'being domestic'. He'd kept his apartment but he practically lived at her place. She'd been sick all night with a stomach flu and he'd been right there with her. And now- even though he looked dead tired- he was taking care of everything.
Noah giggles and the crawls up to sit beside her- snuggling into her side. Barba places the cool rag on her face and gives her a quick kiss on the forehead, "How you feelin'?"
"A little better. No more play dates with the Moore twins- that family is in a constant state of contagion."
Barba smiles, "Brought you some ginger ale. Do you feel like eating anything else?"
Olivia shakes her head, "Thanks. I'm just gonna try and sleep."
"I was going to take Noah to get lunch with my mother, if you think you're OK here."
Olivia gives him a weak smile and nod- he gives her one more quick kiss on the head and then grabs Noah. "OK, Amigo- just you and me today." He turns to back as he gets to the door. "Get some sleep and text me if I can bring anything back for you." He shuts the door behind him and heads off to get Noah dressed.
Lucia Barba is already waiting at a table inside the café when Barba walks up hand-in-hand with Noah. When Noah sees her- he immediately lets go of Barba's hand and runs over. She scoops him up, "Hola, Gordo! Give Abuelita a kiss!" Noah leans in and gives her a sloppy kiss.
Barba gives her a look of disapproval. "Mamí, por favor."
Lucia quirks an eyebrow at her son, "It's your Lieutenant who started calling me that. I thought she was joining us?"
"She caught Noah's stomach flu." Barba sits down and draws in a deep breath- looking over at his mother. "Look, Mamí, we've been together 7 months, what if something happens. I don't want it to be any harder on him than it has to be."
Lucia settles Noah into a highchair beside her- as Barba pulls out a sippy cup and some crayons to keep him entertained. They both switch to speaking only in Spanish, a common occurrence when it's just the two of them with Noah.
Lucia looks over at her son who is now avoiding her by looking through the menu. "What is it that you think will happen? You love each other- and God knows no one else will put up with either one of you." Barba looks up slightly over his menu at her comment. She reaches up and pulls the menu down between them- forcing his eyes to hers. "Rafi, you have to let yourself be happy. The heart sees farther than the head. Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop and just enjoy it."
He knows she's right but it's easier said than done. He's not sure he's ever been as happy with his life as he is now but all his contentment serves only to make him more suspicious of whatever's just around the corner. Neither he or Liv have good track records for relationships- God knows neither exactly had perfect examples for it growing up. He stands in constant limbo between pure bliss and terror that he's going to fuck everything up and loose it all.
He looks across at his mom and gives her a half-hearted smile. "OK, Mamí." He looks over at Noah "So Noah here, learned a new song that he'll have to sing for you after lunch."
She allows the subject change. "Oh, he sings now, huh? Will you sing for me, Gordo?"
Noah smiles up and nods while taking a sip of his juice.
Barba smiles at him then looks at his mother, "It's pretty hilarious. He was cracking the whole squad up the other day at the office."
Lucia is excited to finally see her son really happy, she just hopes that some of what she said got through.
When Barba walks back into the apartment with a passed out Noah- he finds Liv at the stove attempting to make soup. He whispers across at her, concerned, "What are you doing?"
Thinking it seems pretty obvious, Liv answers matter-of-factly, "Making soup."
"Let me put him down, I'll do that." Barba hurries through the apartment and deposits Noah into his bed before returning to shoo Olivia away from the stove. "Go sit down, I'll bring it over."
Olivia struggles between being perturbed that he doesn't think she can fend for herself and grateful that he's doing it. She's weak from being sick for so many days so she settles on grateful. She plants a small kiss on his cheek as he takes over kitchen duties and then moves into the den to snuggle up on the couch.
A few minutes later, he brings the soup around to her, "Can I get you something to drink?" She shakes her head as she sips on the soup. He settles in gently beside her. "Must be feeling better if you feel like eating?"
She sits up a bit and looks at him, "Yes, thank God. I'm never letting Noah play with other children again."
Barba chuckles and switches on the TV. Olivia leans into him as she continues to sip her soup, "Hey, thanks for taking care of everything the last couple days while I was out of commission."
He smiles at her, "Of course." He plants a kiss on her head as she snuggles into him.
He realizes his mother was right- he has it bad for this woman. He certainly won't be the one to walk away. He even found sick Liv attractive. Deep down- when he lets himself feel it- he knows he's found home.
"Glad you're feeling better" he whispers into the top of her head.
Barba's relief over her recovery is short lived, however. At 2AM, he wakes up in bed, alone for the third night in a row. He gets up and shuffles over to the bathroom where he can see light seeping out from under the door. When he swings the door open, he finds Liv once again on the tile floor of their bathroom- heaving into the toilet.
Eyes still heavy with sleep, he grabs the washcloth hanging by the sink and runs cool water on it. He sits on the edge of the tub- pressing the cool cloth against the back of her neck. She stops momentarily and leans back. He presses the cloth against her face, "So guess the soup wasn't such a great idea."
She closes her eyes and gives him a half-grin. "I'm so over this." She grabs his hand and draws his eyes to hers. "You should go back to bed. No sense in both of us being dead on our feet at work tomorrow."
His sleepy brain can only manage agitation at her statement, "Liv, you're not going to work tomorrow. You're going to the doctor. This is going on day 4."
"It's getting better. I have to go in tomorrow- we go to trial in 3 days."
"I'm sure we can manage." He sighs. "Stomach bugs last a day, Liv. You need to get this checked out."
She nods- she knows he's right. She doesn't want to admit it but something doesn't feel right. She's never been sick like this.
"How do you feel? Think you can come back to bed?"
She nods again and he reaches down to pull her up. He puts a supportive hand on her back- leading her back to their bed. He's trying to stay calm but he can't help the nagging voice- now nearly screaming- in his head that says the other shoe is about to drop.