FRINGE

The Conversation

No copyright inFRiNGEment intended.
Note:
Another take at Unleashed -- I Was Here Moments Ago, read on, this is for you ;)

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So you two are friends now?

What was she thinking? To begin with, it was none of her business. She was a big girl, Rachel was a big girl and Peter didn't owe her any explanation. How come then, that she felt so betrayed and totally outcast?

She slammed her car door shut and sprinted to her favourite deli. She was tired, she was depressed and now she was soaked. She caught a glimpse of her blurred reflexion when she entered the shop and winced. No wonder Peter was attracted to her sister. She was always the dolled up and friendly one, sexy and flirtatious. Men like that, she said to herself while she was ordering one serving of oyster soup. She asked for extra carrots and mushrooms. She paid and the checkout assistant had to call her back for her change.

On the other hand, Rachel was fragile for the time being. It didn't take a rocket scientist to understand that her divorce had left her scarred and damaged. She was more frightened than Olivia's ever seen her before, even back when they were little girls facing their stepfather drinking brutality. Reality had its way of punching you in the face and making you different. And this time, Rachel could put a name of this reality, and it was Ella's.

She stayed a while before the shop, with her arms tightly folded on her chest, waiting for the pouring rain to recede, eyes riveted on a street lamp. But there was no sign of a bright spell and she ran back to her car only to let her keys drop in a puddle of black water. She cursed and crouched down, paddling in the dark to find them. That definitively was a bad day, --except for Walter eventually saving Charlie's day and becoming in the process her knight in shiny armour.

She kept on fumbling in the water and finally retrieved her keys but her so-called intelligent remote key was spoiled. She dashed inside, turned the a/c right up and quickly stripped off of her drenched coat, soggy jacket and blouse. She grabbed a t-shirt in the glove compartment. Wringing her hair on the floor, she wrapped herself inside the back seat blanket and switched on the ignition.

She hesitated, her fingers brushing her phone in its cradle beside the gear stick. Enough with being extra cautious, at the end of the day, Rach was her baby sister; she had to make sure she was not going to be hurt again. She pressed the speed dial and headed downtown.

"Hello," said Peter.

She heard Walter singing a Bee Gees' tune in the background.

"It's me."

"Olivia? Something wrong?"

Ah!! This time he was the one worrying. How could he not? Between griffins, porcupines and big Eddies, he had every right to be worried.

"Nothing's wrong. I was wondering if…"

"Yes, we've got to talk. I tuck Walter in and I'll be downstairs in ten minutes tops."

"I'll be waiting," she said and hung up, stepping on the gas.

Good, at least they were on the same page. She parked in front of the hotel and killed the ignition. Peter immediately opened the door startling her.

"Man, this rain's never gonna stop," he said, one foot inside.

"Wait, don't you sit on my dinner," she warned him with a gesture to the white plastic bag. He sat her soup on his lap and turned to her.

"I'm glad we can meet."

"Right. I simply couldn't go back home without talking to you first. But you'll say I'm overreacting again."

"Don't you want to get a coffee or something? If we're to talk seriously," he was drawing quotation marks in the air with his fingers, "I want to be able to see your face."

"Okay, but you'll have to spare me your coat or your sweater or to put up with me in a blanket."

Ten minutes later, instead of a café latte or a mocaccino, they were nursing a Jack Daniel in a bar booth.

"I have only my sister's best interests at heart Peter," she said. She gulped a mouthful of whiskey.

Of course, his sweater smelled just like him and of course, it was far more disturbing than she had anticipated. But she knew what she wanted to tell him. She's been rehashing this dozens of times in her head. She'll get through it. She had to. She couldn't wait to get it over with, it had been killing her since he poked fun at her in her office. Once it is out of her system, she'll be back to her former poised self, hopefully. But god, this cologne and…

"I never doubted that, Olivia. Only I'm not sure why you're telling me this. Is this what our conversation is supposed to be about?"

"Yes, I don't want you to get the wrong impression," she nodded. "You know… after what I said before. I had no right to ask you anything."

"Oh… you mean. I see," he grinned. "Olivia, you must know I was only teasing you?"

"I know you were. But still…"

"Olivia, read my lips please. There's absolutely nothing going on between me and your sister."

"Okay."

He looked puzzled.

"In fact," he prompted, "she left me a message to thank me for Ella."

"To thank you? What for?"

"I helped her with selecting an early learning software for her daughter and it turned out that she needed someone to babysit her, and I was here…," he shrugged. "And then we heard this song on the radio when she gave me a lift back to the hotel. That's about everything there is to it."

Olivia looked at him intently, sipped on her drink. She should say something, anything. But she couldn't.

"But anyway, I'm flattered," he finally said.

That last sentence snapped her back to reality. "You're flattered?"

"Me and Rachel? Come on, she's beautiful, she's funny…"

"Oh… yes," she said, avoiding his stare.

He couldn't help it, teasing her and making things a hundred times more difficult that they should. She hated that.

"Yes she is. And so you know, she's been through a rough patch with Greg. I just wanted to make sure she…"

"She told me. No worries Olivia, she's safe with me, --without me as it turns out," he grinned with this coy expression on his face that made her want to slap him and kiss him at the same time.

"Well, as I said, I wanted to make sure should you ever change you mind…"

"I won't. I won't change my mind. You see, I'm not afraid of intelligent women Olivia."

"I-I don't understand."

"Rachel is witty and sassy, but you're the smart one. If I may have my say, I'd rather be attracted to someone else."

She turned beet red, and made a poor attempt at concealing it with her sleeve and glass. She blinked, feeling seventeen again.

"And I'm flattered that you're interested," he added casually with a shrug. This time he was serious.

So much for having a heart to heart conversation.

"I knew I still could be chatted up in cafés but it's cool to know it can happen in bars as well," she finally said lightly.

"And I'm glad we managed not to extend that really awkward moment longer than we had to," he smiled mischievously.

She grinned back.

"So we're good?"

"Yep. Friends?"

"Friends," she nodded.

-o-

hope you liked it ;) and tonite a new Fringe!!!!