FRINGE

Spin the Bottle

No copyright inFRiNGEment intended.

Note: here you go, end of season 1

-o-

PART 8

"Yes, I know. This is crazy." Her absent stare focused on a point behind his shoulder and she froze.

He decided to give her some time to regroup and gestured to the bartender for a refill. The guy came and went. Yet she hadn't moved an inch.

"You okay?" he finally asked, his hand hovering over hers.

She noticed their closeness but didn't flinch and smiled instead. She nodded. "Yes, I guess I am… now, though I'd like to erase the one thing from my memory, like Jones being sliced up."

"I'm glad you have this memory stuck in your head," he stated. She breathed out loudly and her eyes widened. She clasped her end of the table and tilted her head in disbelief. "Versus me having the memory of you being sliced up in his place," he explained matter-of-factly, his face unreadable, not trying to smile or smooth it for her.

"Oh…" Her eyes lingered on their glasses.

"See? Not so bad in the end."

"Yeah, I guess so." She sat back and her slender silhouette disappeared in the dim light of their booth. "You did the right thing Peter. This pursuit, this was a mistake. I shouldn't have followed him but I…" Her head sank. "I… I couldn't stop. I would have ended being killed or trapped over there, wherever that is," she added with some kind of bewilderment in her voice. She was whispering now. "Or for all we know, I could have simply vanished in between!"

"I think that Baldy is probably from in there, the in between realities I mean," he said, thinking out loud. "Anyway, you're here, I'm here and we are alive and well and living in Boston!"

"Yeah, aren't we kicking."

"Let's celebrate!"

She smiled again and gently squeezed his hand. He gulped his whiskey shot and rinsed it with a swig of beer. "Do you think that Walter ever crossed to the other side?" He couldn't possibly know the answer, but he will elaborate on this, she thought.

"I don't know."

"Humour me."

He grinned, his green eyes suddenly lit with a new purpose. "At this point, anything's possible, and we have to assume he did cross. He said that he… --you ready? … that he built a time machine when I was a child."

"A time machine?"

"Yes. And his sole purpose was to get information from some obscure physician back in the 30's because I was sick and he couldn't find a cure."

"You're actually telling me that he travelled back in time?!"

He patted her hand gently. "Of course not! Eventually, I got better. I guess he forgot about the whole thing and simply stored his invention at the beach house or in a bank safe we'll never heard about and lost the key. Livia, the guy is a genius, his mind works in mysterious ways. It was probably the simplest way he could think of at the time. He doesn't see the world the way we do."

"The way I do," she whispered. "But what if he transformed it into a teleportation machine?"

"And I'm the Star Trek fan?" He shrugged. "I have no idea. You know how he called the… device he made me use to stop Jones?"

"You tell me."

"A plug. A plug to the alternate universe."

She chuckled. "A plug, that's cute."

"I wouldn't have put it that way, but cute is fine. And yes. It's very likely that he went to the other side, to the other sides, actually, because there're an infinite number of alternate universes out there, ready for the reaching. Being the womanizer I suspect he is," he joked, "he probably spawned an infinite number of little Peters as well."

"Oh, I see, a woman in every galaxy."

"More like in every reality."

They stayed silent for a while, engulfed in their thoughts. The clatter of a tray full of bottles and glasses clashing down on the floor and the cheers from the patrons brought them back to a reality they could comprehend.

"I wasn't going to tell you, but it would be unfair. I'm meeting with Nina Sharp tomorrow in New York."

"Nina? Mmm… Can I come with?"

"Why? You rarely attend meetings with her."

"I can change, I can be more proactive if you let me. And for Nina, let's gamble. I'll toss a coin, if it's head, we meet Nina together." Her face melted. "Or do you prefer to spin the bottle?"

"Bending the rules again?"

"Why not?" He took her hand and kissed it. "It's just a game."

"I'm guessing she won't accept." She didn't try to take her hand back, she continued, her voice even, meeting his curious gaze. "She asked me not to tell anyone."

"And yet you're telling me."

"We're supposed to meet at the Mutsumi Hotel on Broadway."

"Manhattan, fancy!"

"Yep." She bit her lip. "Do you think she knows more?"

"I'm sure she does. And Broyles is in on it too. Maybe she'll agree to set a meeting with William Bell."

"To be honest, I don't think the man exists any more, he's like a ghost, polluting Walter's head and blinding me from finding the truth. When you and I met… well, I've to admit that I wanted his head badly. I tried all the channels but I never came anywhere near him and now Nina says…" Her head dropped to her chest and she stroked his fingers absently.

"I'm listening."

She glanced. "She says he's not in this world."

"Interesting, that would make her the real and only acting CEO of Massive Dynamic."

"That's it? You're not even questioning his living in another reality?"

"Why would I? The things we've seen? Boy, if Nina says he's not in this world, you must trust her. Or else why Jones would have wanted to cross over so badly? He said he wanted to confront Bell, didn't he?" She nodded. "But you already suspected that much. So do we spin the damn bottle or what?"

"What for? Whatever you want to ask me, simply ask."

"Did you read my email?"

Her hand glided away. "What email?"

"Don't do this Livia."

"Yes," she breathed out quietly.

"So what do you say?"

"…"

"Oookayy… I guess I have my answer then."

"No Peter, it's not what you think!"

"It's not?"

"I can't risk losing another…"

"… boyfriend?" he prompted, trying to read her face, but she averted his eyes.

"I don't have time for this."

"I'm not that time consuming. Try me."

She shook her head and recoiled, disappearing in the dark of their booth again. "I'm… Promise me you won't laugh. I'm bad luck."

He chuckled. "Bad luck? What is supposed to mean? I thought you were from Jacksonville not Salem."

"You know. John?"

"John? What has it got to do with anything? You really like opening old wounds again, don't you? Or maybe you just prefer to keep them open in case you'd be tempted to commit to a new relationship. I'm right Olivia?"

"I have to go. Tonight was a bad idea. I have an early flight tomorrow morning and…"

He jumped from the seat. "Go, I'm not stopping you. Good night Olivia."

Before she had time to react, he turned on his heel and vanished from her sight. She grabbed her purse and followed him but she couldn't find him anywhere. Mortified, she stepped outside, peering for him into the street shadows. He was gone and she needed some rest.

She hailed a cab and went home. She didn't even try to call him to spare herself the humiliation of going directly to his voice mail. Speaking to a bleeping machine was not an option. She'll sound flustered and she could picture his face already when he plays the message after she had hung up.