AN: Yes… um this was just CALLED FOR.
Something was different, Detective Olivia Benson was sure of it. It was not the new coffee maker at the precinct, it was not her new shampoo or her new pants that hugged her hips snugly, enough to make her comfortable but not too much. Was it the new air freshener? No… that was not it.
"Liv, coffee?" Olivia's partner Elliot Stabler set a cup of coffee on her desk and she was caught by surprise.
"Um, thanks." Olivia did not have the heart to tell Elliot that she had already had enough coffee to keep her up for a 24 hour flight but she could not crush him like that. Elliot was acting stranger then usual, he had always been on the guard with her. There as her friend and partner but always kept her in the dark about a lot. Ever since a few months ago when she saved his life for the umpteenth time by having to kiss some little slime, Elliot had been different.
"So there is this movie I've been wanting to see, Kathy hates these horror films ya know? The kids don't wanna be caught dead with their old man so I thought maybe you might want to go when we get off work." Elliot asked her so casually it was as if this were a daily event. As if Elliot always asked Olivia to the movies, no… it was always out for a drink or a late night dinner… never something so… fun.
"El, we deal with horror movies all of the time in our daily jobs." Olivia reminded him.
"But not Zombies," Elliot snorted.
"You want to see that new Zombie movie?!" Olivia asked a little bit too loudly and then lowered her voice, "I mean… you really want to see that… movie?"
"Zombies are funny Liv."
"Zombies are not funny Elliot."
"Have you not see Dawn of the Dead?"
"Oh dear god… what time?" Olivia asked quickly.
"Seven." Elliot grinned at her.
"Well if we get our paperwork done by-"
"I already finished it all," Elliot smiled proudly at her and this was enough to make Olivia sputter.
"You finished the Blanton case?"
"Well surely you forgot the Polland case-"
"Liv are you trying to avoid going to a movie with me?" Elliot looked a bit confused, not the way he usually was. Elliot Stabler usually would tease her but Elliot looked genuinely hurt that she might be avoiding it. Wanting to make sure Elliot did not think this, she pasted a smile on her face.
"El! Don't be ridiculous, you know me… and I know you… you like to make notes on files." Olivia broke the tension as Elliot gave a huge grin, suppressing a laugh, "I always have to proof read those things, I mean-"
"Ok, I get it," Elliot held up his hand but kept the playful smile on his face, "Well it's six now… so do you wanna head out of here?"
"It's six already?!" Olivia's eyes bulged.
"Sure is," Elliot chugged the rest of his coffee and Olivia stared at the mug he had given her and then a knowing smile went across her face.
"Elliot Stabler… this is not coffee." She accused him.
"Yes it is..." Elliot actually winked at her and she shoved the mug away.
"Well let's get going before someone needs us," Olivia pretended that she had not seen the wink but it had been very hard. Elliot had a smile on his face like he was happy… really happy and this kind of made Olivia's stomach flip flop a little. Elliot would never have another motive then friendship… no… never… he was married… sure he wasn't happily married but all the same. Olivia must have been thinking so hard that it shown because Elliot snapped his fingers in front of her face.
"Don't fall asleep on me Liv," Elliot teased her and she flushed when his words held more meanings then one. Still looking amused, Elliot grabbed Olivia's jacket and handed it to her.
"Thanks," Was all she could say. No one noticed as they left the building, following Elliot to his car Olivia all of the sudden felt very suspicious. Why did Elliot always insist on driving her to and from work? It wasn't like Munch or Fin gave each other rides… Elliot was just old fashioned… he wanted to make sure Olivia was fine in a city like Manhattan… yeah that was it. Olivia licked her lips nervously as they got into the car. Olivia thanked the stars that Elliot had not opened the door for her, that would have sent her over the edge.
"Music?" Elliot asked her, popping in a CD as Olivia put her seat belt on.
"As long as it isn't bluegrass." Olivia jarred and Elliot laughed at her comment.
"Damn and that was the only CD I was planning on playing." To Olivia's pleasant surprise it was Billy Holiday. The drive to the movie theater took longer then it should have, yes it was the same distance, it was not like streets had all of the sudden appeared out of nowhere. However Olivia felt this tug on her intuition… this was just two friends hanging out. It had to be… Olivia decided that she would beat Elliot to the window and buy her ticket first so it did not confuse her any more then it needed to.
But to her horror, Elliot was already buying two tickets as she stood there feeling like the woman on a date. She noticed a few people watching them, especially a woman that looked around their age, was there actual jealousy in that woman's eyes? The red head looked Elliot up and down before sending Olivia an approving look. Elliot was oblivious as he held the door open for Olivia and she had no choice but to go in.
"Want anything?" Elliot asked her, as he headed to the concession stand, almost sprinting as he walked.
"I'm good, thanks El." Olivia lied, the truth was she loved movie popcorn and twizzlers… with a huge drink-
"Um, one large popcorn, a thing of Twizzlers and two large drinks, oh sorry, um a thing of snickers too." Elliot pulled out cash and Olivia just gawked at him. Ok, that was just too weird… was Elliot a mind reader? Trying to cover her shock, Olivia pasted a smile on her face as Elliot handed her some napkins. Being a gentleman, Elliot actually managed to carry everything even after Olivia offered but he refused. Feeling funny as the designated napkin holder, Olivia took a seat in the middle row, Elliot sitting down next to her. He finally handed her the drink and tossed the Twizzlers in her lap. Ok it was official, Elliot Stabler could read her mind.
"Oh Jeremy… I don't know if I will be able to watch this," A teenage girl crooned to a boy who was pulling her into the seats in front of Elliot and Olivia, "I will get so scared!"
"I'll hold you at the scary parts, I promise," The boy named Jeremy grinned at her. Jeremy slipped his arm around the girls shoulders and she nestled next to him. Olivia all of the sudden realized how many people were in the theatre and most of them were couples. Feeling like everyone was looking at her and Elliot, Olivia had the sudden urge to use the restroom.
"I have to go the ladies room, be right back El," Olivia realized the huge lump that had rose in her throat. Truth was Olivia did not need to use the bathroom but needed to splash some cool water on her face. She looked in the mirror and found herself freaking out… sure they were not on a date… but boy did it feel like one.
"You ok?" A woman, Olivia's age asked her.
"Yeah just a little…"
"Anxious? You look like you've seen a ghost," The woman took out some lipstick and began touching her lips up.
"No… just a long day."
"You and the husband out on a date?" The woman's question could not feel more intrusive or annoying. Sure she was just trying to make small talk but Olivia was in no mood to speak about why the hell she was at the movies.
"Oh, we're not married." Olivia bit her lip, why did she have to say that? Why couldn't she have just evaded the woman?
"Waiting for him to pop the question?"
"You know what, my movie is about to start." Olivia headed back to the theatre and found her seat. To her dismay two other couples had settled in around her and Elliot's seat. Elliot sat there sipping his huge drink, he smiled when he saw her.
"Just in time." Elliot made space so she could get by him. All of the sudden the seats felt smaller then they should have, "You want some popcorn?" Elliot offered her the tub and she took a handful, her stomach growling.
"Jeremy… stop… we came to see the movie," The girl giggled as Jeremy began to kiss her on the neck. Olivia was sure she was about to be sick…
"Sorry Liv, I didn't think we would be stuck with a bunch of-"
"Hormone crazed teens?" Olivia finished for him and he grinned his Stabler smile.
"You gonna get scared Liv?" Elliot asked with a sparkle in his eye.
"No," Olivia rolled her eyes, "I work SVU… not even Zombies will make me jump." Olivia was lying, the truth was she was a total woos when it came to horror movies. Elliot sat back and Olivia realized how awkward it was to just sit there… was it too late to pretend to be sick? The lights began to dim and the credits came on. Once the distraction on the screen came on, Olivia felt herself relax more. The movie started out as a couple, moving into a new house… the part where the zombie made its first appearance was enough to make the biggest man scream. Olivia did not realize that she would be hiding her eyes as she screamed out in surprise. She could hear Elliot chuckling as his arm went around her shoulders.
"Not scared huh? I'll protect you from the big, bad Zombie Liv." Elliot told her, causing her to feel really stupid.
"No, I'm fine… really…" But another hard scene came up and Olivia found herself burying her face in Elliot's amazing smelling shoulder. His cologne was intoxicating and she decided that she might keep her face there until the scene was over. Elliot ate his popcorn, the scene finally ended. Just as Olivia was composing herself, Elliot jumped as a new horror scene came on and Olivia was in his shoulder again, avoiding the fake blood and guts on the screen. Ridiculous, Olivia thought to herself, you deal with real blood and guts every day and you're scared of a movie… smooth. Olivia ended up staying cozy in Elliot's arms for the rest of the movie. By the time it was over, the Twizzlers had not been opened, her drink touched only a few times and Elliot had consumed most of the popcorn.
"That movie was so freaking startling." Olivia sighed as she broke free of Elliot's protective hold on her.
"Yeah I know," Elliot chuckled, "Someone stuck to me like glue the whole time." Elliot pointed to her and she swatted him playfully.
"Ok so I admit it, I'm a total girl when it comes to horror movies… I just had no idea this one would be so…. Scary."
"I didn't mind Liv." Elliot handed her, her purse and she smiled at him. The night air felt good as they left the theatre.
"I am beat." Olivia yawned and Elliot chuckled.
"It's only 9:30 PM, come on let me get you something to eat." Elliot told her, "I mean you hardly ate during the movie."
"I would have choked if I tried." Olivia paused, "Ok, let's go get something to eat." Olivia decided that she would pay the bill, that way she could redeem herself. Dinner was nice, they spoke about the latest gossip with the squad. Olivia excused herself to go to the bathroom for real and when she got back, she saw Elliot paying the bill. Dammit, Olivia almost stomped her foot, I am going to kill him.
"You ready?" Elliot asked her when she came into view.
"Why did you pay the bill?" Olivia's question sounded dumb, even to her. She understood the look of surprise on Elliot's face before he broke out into a relaxed smile.
"I always pay," Elliot pointed out the obvious.
"You paid for the movie too," Olivia stayed standing as he kept sitting.
"Because I dragged you there… I figured since I was the one who asked you I should probably pay," Elliot's answers all made sense and Olivia now began to feel hot in the face out of embarrassment, "Liv… why do you look like you're puppy was just ran over?"
"I feel like an idiot." Olivia admitted out loud. Elliot just stared at her and the realization came over his face.
"Liv… oh… I get it now… you thought… that I was… that we were…" Elliot didn't have to say it, no he was already chuckling and getting red in the face.
"Well what you have thought?" Olivia asked in her defense.
"I would have thought that it was just two friends hanging out… with the date like things and oh my god… did we go out on a date?" Elliot all of the sudden looked strange.
"No! No… it was just… like a date… there's a difference." Olivia saw that he was now getting flustered.
"Right… complete difference." Elliot loosened his tie and Olivia couldn't believe she had assumed.
"You just were not acting like your usual self." Was all Olivia could say and Elliot looked down at the table, "El is something going on?"
"What do you say I get you home huh?" Elliot was now avoiding her and she sighed loud enough for him to notice.
"Liv, it's getting late, we gotta work early in the morning… let's just get you home." Elliot was already out of the door before Olivia could follow. She found him sitting outside on a bench, surprised that he had not stormed out to the car, Olivia decided to sit down next to him. She felt like she was back in high school, out on an awkward date that was about to end and she could not let it end badly so it was not horrible the next day for them. Not saying a word, Olivia just sat next to him… eventually Elliot's warm hand found hers and she smiled.
"This is just the way things are," Olivia told him, squeezing his hand.
"Liv, there is so much I want to-"
"Let's just enjoy this El," Olivia told him, loving the way his hand felt in hers.
"What do you mean?"
"Let's just enjoy you and me El…right here and right now… let's just… be." Olivia saw a look of wonder go across his face and then he smiled.
"Alright Liv… let's just be you and me."
This is dedicated to Carrina… she needed some fluff after finding a REALLY horrible story… so this is for you :D