Well, it's been awhile, but now this fic is officially finished! I would love to hear what you think :)
In the months since Rafael and Olivia were together the first time, many things had changed.
Noah was more active and talkative. Liv had a new workout routine that she did every weekday morning. Rafael had changed from cream to milk in his coffee. Some changes were big, some small, some just a natural progression. But the biggest change right now seemed to be the weather.
"When I mentioned coming to the park I was remembering bringing him here on warm July mornings, not in the middle of a polar vortex," Barba grumbles, pulling the toddler in a sled along an icy path in Central Park.
Olivia's answering laughter is music to his ears, and almost makes him forget about the windchill. Almost.
He glances at her, then back at Noah, peering at him through the shiny plastic of the wind cover. "Are you sure he's warm enough? It's fu- freezing out here."
"Yes, Raf," she rolls her eyes. "He's perfectly fine in his snowsuit rated for the Arctic, and inside his little bubble. Stop trying to use him to cover up your hatred of the cold."
"I'm Cuban, Liv. It's literally in my blood to embrace the heat and the sun. I'm sure you must have Nordic Vikings somewhere on your family tree- your enjoyment of the cold is just not natural."
She laughs again, and this time he reaches out and grabs her gloved hand, pulling her to a stop.
"Wha-" he cuts her off with a kiss that instantly warms them both. "Not that I'm complaining but what was that for?"
Barba places another kiss on her lips then shrugs and starts walking again, pulling the sled with one hand and holding onto his girlfriend with the other. "I just love you. And for too long I had to resist every urge I had to kiss you. Now I don't."
Olivia's heart melts. Rafael Barba certainly has a way with words, but he never says something he doesn't mean. Which is why they're currently enduring the freezing weather so he can come through on his promise to take Noah to the park. He's shown her time and again that she made the right decision in giving him another chance.
As they round a bend in the path and their usual playground comes into view Noah starts calling out, "Slide! Wanna slide Rafa!"
Not breaking stride Barba calls back over his shoulder, "We're almost there, amigo!"
The little family braves the cold for about an hour before Liv takes pity on Barba and bribes Noah to leave with promises of cookies and hot cocoa.
Watching him settle Noah into the sled and dropping a kiss on Noah's red nose it hits her just how much she loves him.
When Rafael turns around he finds his girlfriend staring at him with a goofy smile on her face. "What, do you want a nose kiss too?" he teases, gently pulling on her scarf.
"No, I want a real kiss," she replies. Barba kisses her smile quickly, then grabs her hand and starts down the path at a brisk pace. "Hey! I said a real kiss."
"Dios mío Olivia, I'm freezing my ass off out here. When we get to the cafe we can push the boundaries of public decency. Until then, let's move!"
She laughs and just enjoys the moment: a beautiful (if cold) sunny day in the park with her son and the love of her life. What could be better?