Title: How We Ever Came to Be
Summary: She needed time to figure out how she was going to apologize for her attitude and words the night before. So far all she had decided was that she had to wait until she actually felt apologetic before even attempting to make amends.
A/N: Kudos to the first person to point out the song that inspired the main title and chapter titles of this fanfiction.
Chapter 1: You Push All My Buttons Down
The brand new camping equipment sat in the back of the rented midnight blue Jeep Grand Cherokee. Olivia glanced over at him as he concentrated on the road ahead of them. "Are you sure Amanda and Nick were the right choice?" Not that she didn't trust Nick with her life, but Noah was becoming more and more of a handful as he got older and had slipped quite easily into his terrible two's right on schedule. Nick was a seasoned vet where child rearing was concerned, but as far as she knew, Amanda knew next to nothing about child rearing.
Rafael reached for her hand. "Liv, it's a weekend. Two days. You can call them at any time, and you know Noah loves that dog of hers. Nick is the most paranoid member of your squad." A vision of Det. Sonny Carisi flashed briefly in his mind which caused him to smile then. "Well, he used to be. Mom is just a phone call away. As well as Lucy. They'll be fine." He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze before he let their joined hands rest against her leg right above her knee.
They were leaving the city behind for the weekend. This was desperately needed for both of them. Their jobs had been sucking the life from them the past few months, and their relationship had suffered.
It was her turn to squeeze his hand. "So you've been camping before?" She hadn't ever been camping in her life, but how hard could it possibly be? Both Amanda and Nick had seemed to enjoy it.
"Once as a kid. I don't remember much except that it was the quietest vacation I have ever had. We need that." He brought her hand to his mouth and kissed her knuckles softly. He smiled against her fingers.
She tried to relax in the passenger seat, knowing she'd be more relaxed if he would have agreed to let her drive. She hated riding shotgun. Her eyes closed as he slowed down to take a ramp. "Quiet. I don't even know what that is anymore," she admitted. Not that she'd trade a quiet life for the one she had made with Noah. It would just be different than she was used to. She let out a soft breath as her head came in contact with the headrest. Her eyes closed slowly, trying to do anything that would bring her any sense of calm.
"Take a nap. We should be there within the hour." He held her hand gently in his as he drove. His mind had been going over the last few months, knowing that they were both at fault for the state of their relationship, but he had to admit that he had let his pride come between them. Something he was working on trying to change. He glanced at her and couldn't help but sigh. "Liv, you know I never meant to blame you, right? I shouldn't have said what I did."
She lifted her head, turning slightly so she could watch him. Her years of police work allowing her to see that he was being sincere. "We both said things we regret. It happens. Our jobs are stressful. I never wanted our relationship to suffer because of our job, but that was a bit unrealistic, wasn't it? We both bring it home. There's no way not to." She had spent the last almost twenty years trying to leave work at the precinct.
"Liv..." he started. He let out another soft sigh as he spoke a silent prayer.
So much for that nap.
The next hour and a half had resulted in them getting lost and had opened so many fresh wounds that she had regretted ever agreeing to this trip in the first place. "There's a gas station. Let's stop and get directions."
"I don't need directions. We have the GPS..."
"And we're still lost. Look, Rafael. I have to pee, and I need out of this car before I'm no longer responsible for my actions or the words that come out of my mouth." Honesty had never been an issue for the two of them. She was tired of trying to hold back her anger. It was doing nothing to diffuse the situation.
"Fine." He put on the blinker and turned into the gas station. He needed to stretch his legs anyway. She was right. The tension in the car was almost unbearable. He stopped the jeep and slammed it into park. "Happy?"
"Immensely." She unsnapped her seat belt and opened the door. She slammed it behind her and didn't bother to check if he had gotten out to follow her inside or not.