DISCLAIMER: I only own what does not belong to Dick Wolf.
A/N: Finally! Something new! I've been working on this for a bit... And I thought I'd finally publish it. Enjoy!
She gazed across the table at his face, leaning on her hand and smiling gently as she listened to him talk. The room was a deep red, accented with soft violet curtains. The candles lit the room with a soft glow as the chatter grew more and more hushed. And Olivia simply gazed at the man sitting across from her as her thoughts wandered...
It all started almost nine months ago, with a quiet, friendly meal that she shared with her partner of over a decade.
"You know..." she began, picking at her food with her fork, "it's really nice of you to bring me here, but... why exactly?" Her gaze fluttered up to meet his piercing blue eyes. He grinned at her before looking back down to his food.
"You honestly don't remember what today is?" He took another bite of steak.
Olivia looked away and bit her lip, chewing on it as she tried to remember what today possibly could be. "I give up," she finally said simply.
"It's our anniversary."
"Anniversary?" she asked, choking on her food slightly, flustered and utterly confused. "What do you mean by 'anniversary'?"
Elliot chuckled. "Our partnership anniversary, Liv. Eleven years. What'd you think I meant?" He looked up at her again and winked, and Olivia could swear she felt her heart melting in her chest. Those eyes... those big, blue eyes...
"Oh," she sighed, coming back to her senses. "Oh... of course." She gave him a tired half smile.
Elliot could see she was out of it, so he called for the bill. As they headed out the door and for the car, it began to drizzle. They quickened their pace slightly.
It was raining lightly as Elliot finally pulled up in front of Olivia's apartment building. He pulled into a parking spot and turned off the car, sighing heavily. She wanted to ask him what was wrong, but the words got caught in her throat. Instead, she rubbed his arm gently. He glanced at her and a spark lit behind his eyes.
Olivia could feel her heart going again, and in a desperate attempt to keep from throwing herself at him, she pulled away, blushing. "Do, uh... Do you want to... come up to my place... grab a drink?" she stumbled. She knew where this might be heading and that it was wrong... but how can something so wrong, feel so right?
After a long minute of contemplating, he nodded and the two began heading up to Olivia's apartment. It was the longest walk of Olivia's entire life... she thought that her legs might give out from her with every step she took. Because the man walking next to her always made her knees weak...
She fumbled with her keys before unlocking her door and pushing it open. Elliot followed her in as she hurried to the kitchen. He closed the door behind him and settled himself on the couch.
"What do you want?" she yelled from the other room.
"What do you have?" he shouted back, furrowing his brow as he noticed the pictures around the room. He stood slowly and looked at all the photos hanging around.
"I have some Jack Daniels, Gin and Tonic, Port, and..." she paused briefly and rifled through her shelves. "Beer."
He was barely listening to her now, his attention was focused on the pictures. "Umm..." he said, completely unaware. "A beer's fine, Liv. Thanks."
There was a picture of a younger Olivia with her arms around her mother, Serena, and they were both smiling... which Elliot found a little surprising since he knew the tense relationship between them. There was also a picture of the whole gang from a number of years ago, smiling almost gravely at the camera. And there was a recent picture of Olivia holding Eli and Elliot's arm was around them while they all beamed brightly. Another recent one was of her and Simon. He had scooped her up in his arms and she was laughing while she wrapped her arms around her brother's neck.
But the one photo that Elliot's eyes were fixated on was a large photo of Elliot and Olivia. It was zoomed in on their faces and Elliot's arm was wrapped around Olivia's shoulder. It was from the night of the New Year's party last year. Just before the camera flashed to take the picture, Elliot had leaned over and snuck a friendly kiss on Olivia's cheek. It made her face light up and she was beaming. Elliot grinned at the picture.
"That's my favorite one," she said quietly from the doorway, making Elliot jump slightly. She pushed herself off the door frame and handed him a beer before taking a swig of her own. "New Year's," she sighed. A slight smile crept across her strong face. "That was a great night..." Her sentence seemed unfinished.
"But?" Elliot asked, hoping to know the longing she held behind those beautiful brown eyes.
She looked at him, a certain pain in her eyes. She looked at him for a long minute before finally shaking her head. "Nothing. Nothing..."
"Come on, Livvie," he chuckled, putting an arm around her shoulder, just like in the picture. "I'm your best friend, you can tell me anything."
"That's just it, El. I can't..." her voice cracked on the last word.
"Of course you can," he said gently, serious now, as he sat her down on the couch. "What is it, Liv?"
And suddenly... Olivia couldn't control herself. She grabbed Elliot's face firmly and pulled him towards her. She kissed him passionately – fiery – and Elliot didn't hesitate to kiss back. But then he pulled away hastily, his eyes filled with panic.
"What the hell are you doing?" he asked her angrily, standing and pacing the room.
"You can't tell me you didn't like that – you didn't want it... I know you too well to know that you did like it, you did want it."
"It doesn't matter if I liked it or not, Olivia! I'm married, I have children I need to take care of. I can't just go running around with any girl I want like a hormonal teenager!" he shouted at her.
"Any girl? Am I just 'any girl' to you, then?" she asked him, hurt.
Elliot looked back at her and saw the pain he caused her and his angry face softened slightly. "No. No, Livvie. You're not."
"Whatever, just leave," she said, irritated. She folded her arms and turned her steady gaze away from him.
"Olivia -" he tried to begin.
"Just go home to your wife and kids! They're obviously more important to you than I am!" She stood, putting a hand to her chest as she spoke. "Now... can you find the door, or should I show you the way out?" she asked, furious now.
Elliot stood completely still, stunned by Olivia's sudden outburst.
"Fine," she hissed and stomped to the door. She thrust it open. "Here."
Still, Elliot didn't move. He shifted slightly, uncomfortable under her angry glare, but he stood his ground. He folded his arms to imply that he wasn't going anywhere. Olivia got the message.
"You know what? You can stay here. I'll leave," she hissed angrily, grabbing her sweater and slamming the door behind her.
"Damn it, Olivia!" Elliot whispered to himself before rushing after her.
She had already made it down all the stairs and was running through the lobby when she caught sight of the time. Two in the morning. She wondered how time had slipped away so quickly from them as she hurried through the door. Elliot followed close behind.
She ran down the dark empty street, trying to escape Elliot's grasp and undying questions. It had begun to pour and Olivia wished she had worn something heavier than a simple sweater. She stopped at the corner and leaned against the lamp post, bending over as she heaved for breath. Water drenched her body, and for that, she was somewhat thankful. Because she was sopping wet, she'd hoped that Elliot couldn't see her crying. How wrong she was.
He grabbed her arm, gently but firmly, and she stood up to turn and look at him. He was just as sopping as she was, and only one look filled his bright blue eyes that caught Olivia off guard every time she looked into them. Passion. He looked at her red eyes, and he could tell she's been crying. It was his fault she was crying... He made her cry more than he'd like to admit.
"What do you want?" she asked, her voice steady and pose strong, despite her weak emotional state.
He stepped up to her, his brow drawn in and rain falling off his face. He looked down at her for a long minute, breathing heavily. She looked back, trying to hold back the tears in her eyes. "God damn you, Olivia," he finally whispered over the rain, a slight grin on his face.
She drew her brown in and her jaw fell slightly. Of all the things he could have said, that was the last thing she expected. She looked up at him for another long minute. "You know what? Fuck you, Elliot Stabler! You're an asshole."
She was about to turn to walk away from him again when his arm snaked around her waist. He pulled her soaking body close to his. He kissed her deeply as the rain slid over and between them. His other hand went to her head. His fingers started at the wet hair plastered to her head at her temple, and he ran them through until he held the back of her head, as if trying to pull her closer. Olivia snaked her arms around his neck and she too held the back of his neck, as if trying to pull him closer.
It looked like a scene from a movie.
"Olivia?" he said pulling away. She knit her brow in confusion... That wasn't Elliot's voice... "Olivia?" he said again. "Olivia, are you listening to me?"
Reality check. She shook her head, shaking off the memory. She was leaning on her hand, staring at the man across the table from her. He had apparently been telling her about his day... He apparently couldn't see that the smile on her face was fake. Maybe that's because he hadn't seen her actual smile, he'd only seen her fake one.
"I'm sorry," she sighed, shaking her head and leaning back in her chair. "I was just remembering something."
"Do you want to go home?" he asked gently.
She gave him a half smile from across the table. "I think that'd be best. Thanks, Noah." She nodded.
After paying for the bill, the two waited outside for the valet to bring Noah's Prius around. Once it came around an Noah got his keys, he went to the passengers side door and opened it for Olivia. She sidled in, giving a thankful grin up at him. The door closed and – for a moment – Olivia was enveloped in complete silence. She sighed heavily and relaxed in her seat, taking advantage of the very brief moment of quietness that she never experienced in her everyday life.
Her thoughts fell back to Elliot once more. "God," she said through clenched teeth, thinking of how frustrating Elliot could be... how frustrating he always was. But that was just the way he was, and she never wanted him any other way. That was just the way she loved him...
Noah opened the drivers side and the sounds of the world poured in for another moment before being shut out again. But now... now she wasn't alone. Now it wasn't relaxing...
"Are you okay, honey?" he asked, pulling away from the restaurant.
"Huh?" she stumbled, his voice bringing her back to reality again. "Oh... Yeah. I'm fine. Thanks." She smiled at him – another fake smile...
"You look beautiful tonight," he said softly.
She grinned, but nothing in her heart swelled like it did when Elliot said it... "Thank you."
"Do you want me to come home with you?" he asked after a while.
She rolled her head to look at him. And for a long minute, she just looked at him... He was the perfect man. He was sensitive, sensible, charming, and endearing... He never made her wait, he always called on time, and he always respected her space. All the women that Olivia knew were jealous of her fine catch – which really wasn't very many people, just Casey and the women in her support group. It was like she couldn't ask for anything better, he was perfect... but she still didn't love him...
"I think..." she paused, taking a deep breath. "I think I just need some time alone right now, baby. I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize. It's alright, we all need some alone time sometimes." He smiled at her.
He dropped her off in front of her apartment building, not even bothering to stop and walk her up to her third story apartment. He kissed her goodbye and drove away.
She stood outside in the cold for a long while, staring up into the sky, wishing she could see the stars. But it was New York City, nobody could see the stars. She pulled her shawl tighter over her shoulders, keeping warm from the sudden breeze.
Finally, when she laid in her bed in the pink duck pajamas that Eli had picked out for her and a white spaghetti strap, she let her mind wander back to those months that she'd spent with Elliot... And how only they knew, they didn't even tell the gang. She thought about how it was he who shared the bed with her every night, not some man she tried to pretend was him...
And she finally came to a conclusion: it was time for a change. It was time to go back to the way it was...
A/N: Should I continue? Please R&R!