Despite his protests, Liv escorts Barba upstairs to his apartment. It's a spacious, open floor plan with dark hardwood floors. The furniture is sleek and minimal but traditional- very Barba.
Barba allows her to lead him to the kitchen where she grabs a dishtowel and walks over to the icemaker in his bar- just outside the kitchen. Barba leans against the counter- holding his shirtsleeve against the cut above his eye. He's embarrassed, angry and pensive. On top of everything she's angry with him- his eyes find the ground like a scolded puppy as he waits for her to come back.
She reenters with the dishtowel full of ice and shoves it unceremoniously onto his face. He ducks away a little bit, annoyed, and then replaces her hand with his- holding it to his eye.
"First aid kit?" she asks.
Still not making eye contact, he points her in the direction of the master bedroom. "Back bathroom, under the counter."
Olivia goes to the back to retrieve it. She really doesn't want to be angry - he's clearly suffered enough- but she is. She's not sure whether she's actually angry at him- for doing something so stupid. Or whether she's angry with herself for being jealous that Yelina can reduce such an intelligent man to a barbaric nitwit simply by being present. She shakes the thought away- reminding herself that his friendship should be more than enough. That he's still hung up on Yelina. That he'd never do something so unprofessional as date a coworker. That even though he and Noah had warmed up to each other- she doubted he wanted kids. That he was in love with the job. Any excuse she could think up to remind her that anything more than friendship with him is dangerous territory.
She returns to the kitchen and pulls out an alcohol swab. She pulls the ice away and starts first, to simply clean up all the dried blood around the cuts on his face.
When she eventually touches the alcohol to the gash above his eye- he cringes in pain, moving his head away from her and nearly growls, "Ow! What the fuck?! Is this really necessary?"
She holds her hands away and stoops down to look him in the eye, "Barba, there's actual rocks in the cut- I have to clean it out. Unless you'd like to add an infection to this lovely work of art."
She goes back to cleaning the cut- he goes back to avoiding her eyes. She does feel badly for him but she can't seem to stop berating him, her anger simmering at the surface, "Judge Taylor is going to love this Monday morning."
Barba lets out a quick breath and looks down at his hands- trying to find the right thing to say, "Look, what I did was- really stupid, but-"
Olivia's simmering anger finally boils over, "But what Barba?! What the hell were you thinking? He could've killed you if Fin hadn't been there! I just- I can't believe you're still fighting with him over her! It's ridiculous!"
She thinks the fight was about Yelina- of course, she does. Why would she have any reason to believe otherwise.
He hangs his head and closes his eyes, his voice comes out a rough whisper, "It wasn't about her."
"It wasn't about Yelina."
She shakes her head angrily, "Then what was it about?!"
"No, I wanna know. Now you're going to lie to me?"
He grabs the wrist of her hand that's still cleaning his cuts- drawing her eyes to his. He pleads as much with his eyes as his voice. "Please don't yell at me. I can't take you being angry with me tonight on top of all this. You can be angry Monday or whatever, just not tonight. Please."
The pain she sees in his eyes is unbearable. She instantly softens, internally berating herself for being so callus. "I'm sorry."
She's moved on to dressing the cut above his eye with butterfly bandages- she's not entirely sure he doesn't need stitches but it's not bleeding anymore so she lets it be.
As she dresses his wounds she talks absently- trying now to make him feel better. "You know the Buddhist say all suffering is the result of wanting what we can't have. Or something like that."
He finally smirks. "Well aren't you just a regular Yogi." He sighs and watches her with his good eye while she finishes dressing the last cut. "The Buddhist are right."
She steps back once she's done and gives him a sad look. "There's someone better out there for you." She holds the ice out to him- which he takes and puts back onto his eye.
He gives her a smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes. If she only knew what we're talking about. He'd been attracted to her the moment he met her- but he didn't realize it was anything more than attraction until she walked into his office and told him about Cassidy. He'd been legitimately jealous. He couldn't have her then- because she was with someone else. He couldn't have her now because he couldn't lose his best friend.
She straightens up and walks back to put the first aid kit away. Just as she reaches the bathroom a text comes through on her phone, it's Fin 'Can't believe that little prick got his ass kicked "defending your honor". Ha! Tell him I hope he's OK.'
Olivia is overcome by shock. She furrows her brow at her phone- rereading the text and thinking back to the conversation she's just had. It really wasn't about Yelina. Did he feel the same way she did? She'd fallen for him during the Lewis trail without even realizing it. It was when he grasped her hand after the verdict was read that she'd been certain of her feelings. But she wasn't about to loose another best friend, another partner because she couldn't reign in her emotions. Now what? What did she do now that she was all but certain he felt the same thing?
She puts away the first aid kit and walks slowly back out to the living room where she finds Barba pouring two scotches at the bar. She immediately protests, "You very likely have a concussion- I'm not sure scotch is the thing to drink right now."
He turns and takes a sip of his drink- holding one out to her. "Anesthetic." He gives her a small smile that tells her he's drinking it no matter what she says. "Nightcap before you go home?"
She's not sure why- but she obliges him- taking the drink and walking with him into the living room where they take a seat on the couch. He scoots down, puts his feet on the coffee table and lays his head on the back of the couch closing his eyes.
Olivia tucks a knee up under her and turns to face him. "If the fight wasn't about Yelina-" Barba lets out an annoyed sigh. "Rafael, if the fight wasn't about Yelina, what makes you think you can't have what you want?"
He opens his eyes and rolls his head to the side to meet hers. Maybe it's the scotch- maybe the concussion- but he tells her the truth, "If I get what I want and mess it up, I'll lose something I can't live without."
He studies her face- hoping he's been cryptic enough- that she doesn't see right through him, as she so often does.
She wasn't sure what answer she expected but it makes all the sense in the world to her. He was right- they shouldn't pursue this- their friendship was too important.
He smiles and tries to lighten the mood. "Thanks for patching me up, Mom."
She chuckles, "Well Noah always requires one more treatment technique."
She brushes her fingers over his eyebrow and then plants a kiss there. It's meant to be a chaste continuance of the joke but when she pulls back- both find their hearts hammering from the small gesture. Their eyes meet and the unspoken communication that they're so good at makes it overwhelmingly clear what they both want.
When she leans in the second time- her lips brush his- igniting a fire in both of them. She starts to draw back to gauge his reaction but he grabs her and pulls her close- deepening the kiss. He slides his tongue along her bottom lip- begging entrance and she obliges. One of his hands cradles her head while the other drifts up and down her bare back- setting her skin on fire.
After several minutes of their tongues tangling- they eventually come up for air. Barba pulls back slightly and rests his forehead on hers, "You sure?"
A small smile lights up her face and she nods. He can't help the grin that breaks out across his face. "I want to do this right, take things slowly" , he tells her.
She nods and then brushes her lips against his in a tender kiss. He kisses her back reverently- as if he can't believe this is happening. He can't help but deepen this kiss and in no time the passion of their first kiss has over taken them again. Her hands reach up and pluck his bowtie from his collar before moving to free his shirt from where it's tucked into his pants. She moves her hands up under his shirt- finally finding what they've been seeking- skin on skin contact.
Barba moans into her mouth as he attempts to pull her closer- one hand finding it's way to her thigh through the slit in her dress.
He realizes- in the back of his mind- that after 3 years of waiting for this- there's no way either one of them will be able to take it slow tonight. But he supposes they can start taking things slower tomorrow.