Olivia turned the ring over in her hand, and spotted the inscription inside the band. It read simply, "ALWAYS". She returned the ring to its box, returned the small box to the larger box and shut it. She didn't know why but she fled her office, was running down the hall, glanced at the elevator but kept moving to the stairs. In two minutes she was in her car, moving, only partially unsure of her destination. The rest of her, however, knew exactly where she was going, although somewhat reluctant to admit her motives.
She dialed a number on her cell phone. "Astrid? Are you still at the lab?"
"Yes, I'm helping Walter compile some data."
"And, Peter's there with you?"
"No, he went back to the hotel. Said he needed some rest." Olivia ended the call. Soon after, she arrived at Peter's hotel. Breathless by the time she reached his door, Olivia hesitated before knocking. As she stood there contemplating what she imagined needed to be said, needed to be done, the door opened.
"Olivia?" Peter was wearing a grey t-shirt and jeans, and a very magnetic smile. "Astrid just called, said that you were on your way over." He reached toward her to touch her arm, his fingers hovering near her shoulder then finally landing gently. "Is everything all right?"
She tilted her head to look at where his hand was resting on her arm. He mistook this to mean that she wanted him to remove his hand; so he did. At that moment, Olivia reached for Peter's hand and gripped it. She looked down at his hand, noticed that there were several small cuts on his knuckles, and two were faintly bruised. She lifted her gaze to meet his.
"Olivia?" This time there was a note of concern in his voice but different from a few seconds ago. She still had his hand in hers. She felt no resistance when she brought his hand to her cheek. Her eyes closed briefly, then she heard Peter inhale deeply, and exhale slowly. She let loose his hand but it stayed where it was, now cupping her face ever so slightly. "Olivia," Peter spoke her name a third time, "I don't know why you're here... not really. But, I'm glad." He nudged her chin, forcing her to look at him.
She meant to ask, "May I come in?" But all she really said was, "Peter," as she placed her hand in the center of his chest and pressed just enough for him to instinctively step backward. She took two steps forward and soon they were both inside. Peter reached around her and firmly shut the door.
Olivia stepped back from Peter slightly and said, "There is something, right?" She smiled nervously. "I mean, I've felt something for awhile," she paused to look closely at him. "Have you?" But, Peter only looked at her. She felt her insides squirming under his stare. A small laugh escaped her. "Peter, say something!"
"Sorry." He suddenly seemed to come to life. "It's just that," he shifted his weight and continued. "It's just that, correct me if I'm wrong, you don't seem like the type to act on a 'something'."
Olivia flashed Peter half a smile and tilted her head.
Peter walked toward her, closing the distance between them in one second. "Lucky for you, I am." He stood impossibly close to her. As close as humanly possible without actually being on top of me, Olivia thought. He gently placed a hand on each side of her head, feeling her silky blonde hair against his palms. He pulled her face to his and kissed her. He felt her rapidly draw in a breath just before their lips touched. Peter kept the kiss brief. He was a little unsure about where all of this was going. Not where he wanted it to go, or where he imagined it could go- he had no difficulty imagining that. He had in fact been imagining it since that day in Walter's lab when he witnessed how far this woman was willing to go for the man she loved. Peter wanted to be that man. His imaginary scenarios changed on occasion but the outcome he was hoping for always remained the same. What he was actually going to get was yet to be determined. Her lips were not softer than he had imagined but they were warmer. "Now that was definitely something," he said, practically smirking.
She blinked at him and said, "Do you always talk like Carey Grant?"
This amused him. He gently brushed a strand of hair off of her shoulder. "What do you want, Olivia?" He looked at her rather absently, although the arch of his brow was tell-tale of something expected. Still, Olivia found it difficult to judge his expression.
"I have this image of a string of women who have thrown themselves at you. And, why not? You're handsome, brilliant, charming, and really funny." Then, Peter felt her move slightly away from him, "And, it's a little embarrassing that I am close to becoming one of them."
More seriously than she had expected, Peter said, "You would be wrong." He touched her hair affectionately. "No one like you has ever shown up at my door before." He closed the distance between them again and kissed her, more forcefully this time. He wound his fingers into her hair and tilted her head back slightly. He moved his lips to her ear and said, "I don't care if this is about him. There is definitely... something, Olivia. And, I for one can't wait to see what happens next." He forced her to meet his gaze once more, and searched her face. And, when he found what he was looking for, he very nearly pounced on her.
Their bodies slammed into the door, Olivia's head might have ached if she weren't so pumped full of adrenaline. He kissed her fiercely causing her knees to falter slightly. Sensing this, Peter gripped her legs and hoisted them up around his waist. He spun her away from the door and took her into the bedroom. Immediately they were tearing at their clothing, freeing themselves in order to be closer. Peter took off his shirt "Ahh!" He winced as he pulled the shirt over his head.
Olivia sat on the bed and looked at the bruises on his chest from the assault two days before. She gently ran her hand over the red and blue marks. Then, she leaned in and kissed his chest. Peter gripped her shoulders and pulled her up to him. "It's nothing... really." And he kissed her again, gently at first then, with more urgency. He wrapped his arms around her, feeling the warmth of her skin beneath his.
Olivia was unsure of Peter's touch: unsure if she wanted to melt or to explode in his grip. Her hands went to his waist and she loosened his belt, and his jeans, letting them fall to the floor. He pulled her in for another kiss. With expert hands, he unfastened her bra, and pulled it away without ever breaking the kiss. Arms wound tightly around her, Peter lowered her onto the bed. After another lingering kiss, he buried his face in her neck while pushing his weight into her.
Olivia thought the weight of his body on hers was absolutely exquisite. Heavy enough that she felt a slight submission to him but not so heavy that she felt the need to struggle. She allowed him to open her mouth with his and felt the flicker of his tongue. She responded with a low, breathy sound. This seemed to arouse him even more fully, and she felt him clawing at her underwear, and deftly remove them. He gripped her thigh and pinned it to his side, attempting to make room.
She gripped his back, pulling him closer and closer to her. She hadn't realized how badly she had wanted this, wanted him. The hurt that John had given her would be hard to forgive but Peter would help. Peter and his mind, and his charms. Peter's hands, hands that played jazz for her on his piano. Hands that were sending jolts of electricity through her with every touch. His hot breath on her neck was maddening. She gripped his face and pulled him to her. She kissed him deeply, felt him sit up on his knees slightly, stopping everything else to just enjoy the kiss. After a moment, he pulled away, smiled at her slyly and kissed her again, bringing her with him as he rolled onto his back. Just as she allowed herself to relax into him she raised up. "Oh sorry."
"It's all right." He smiled. "I can't feel a thing right now." His eyes sparkled. "I mean, I don't feel any pain." He pressed his hands into the small of her back, coaxing her to lie down on him. She did, her eyes fixed on his.
"Yes." He appeared to be almost proud of himself, Olivia thought. And, she loved that about him.
"I feel kind of silly saying this."
"No, please... say it. Men love talking about 'feelings' while attempting to make love to a beautiful woman." Definitely proud of himself, Olivia concluded. She thought that this should annoy her but it didn't. He disarmed her with his charm, and she loved that about it him.
She smiled, said, "Never mind," and kissed him playfully. She engaged him while somehow leaving him hanging in the balances. Eventually, Peter grew thirsty for more and rolled Olivia onto her back. He took her with more force than he knew he possessed. This did not surprise Olivia: she'd known that Peter had plenty of strength, and more where that come from, she suspected. She had been tortured for weeks now, sitting next to him in the car, walking and talking with him. But never having been pushed hard enough in the right direction to make a move. Or, to invite him to make a move. Then, there was the moment in the park, when he'd touched her hand. She had been so surprised at this seemingly innocent gesture, and surprised that she longed for more. And, now, here she was taking all of it in and a whole lot more.
When they had finished, Olivia asked, "What took you so long?"
He raised up on an elbow, genuinely amused at this question. "Now that's a complaint I've never received before."
"I meant, what took you so long to," she broke off.
"Because I'm fragile, of course. I couldn't risk that kind of rejection." He was lying on his side looking at her with mock sincerity. He was playing with her but she didn't care.
"Seriously, Peter." She smiled up at the ceiling.
"I didn't want to rush you. Seriously."
"OK, it's just not possible," she laughed, "that you're chivalrous, too!"
"It's all an act. Really I am a completely sociopathic asshole with an Oedipus complex."
Olivia laughed gleefully.
"Honestly, though, there have been moments when I wanted you so badly," he trailed off momentarily. He traced her collarbone with his finger, slowly making his way down under the sheet that covered her. "I'm sure that at least half of the blame for my lingering bad mood these last few weeks lies with my frustration over you."
"And, what's the other half?"
"Walter." They both laughed. Then Peter said, "I know this is going to sound very un-Cary Grant of me but, I don't know when Walter will be back... so,".
Olivia gasped. "Right. Oh God!"
He snapped her up quickly into his chest. "Relax." He chuckled.
She shot him a look that meant, You've got to be kidding me. All she could picture at the moment was Walter's talk about the failure rate of condoms. She quickly dressed, and somehow managed not to offend Peter. He not only understood her sudden anxiety but was beginning to understand her. Finally, he rolled out of bed and dressed, too. He was more than a little disappointed that they didn't have time for...more.
They stood in the hallway looking at each other. "So," Peter began.
"So..." Olivia echoed.
"Wanna go for coffee?"
As they stood waiting for the elevator, Peter spin Olivia around and kissed her hard. He buried his hands in her hair and she clutched hard at his waist, clutching him to her. She didn't know she had anything left in her, as she felt her body gel with his. They barely registered the soft metallic sound of the elevator doors parting. They gathered themselves and turned back to the elevator, and came face to face with Astrid and Walter. Astrid's mouth gaped. Walter was positively beaming. Astrid reached into her pocket, removed something and handed it to Walter. Walter tucked the item into his jacket pocket and said, "I may not be able to remember your name, my dear but, I do know my son."