Disclaimer: All characters (unless otherwise specified) belong to Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent, Gary Tomlin, NBC, et al and are used here strictly for non-profit entertainment purposes.
Genre: Drama / Romance (with a sprinkle of Angst)
Spoilers: Everything up to and including the elevator scene.
Summary: The beginning of the end. (Part III of the "Undisclosed Desires" series.)
Sea will rise, mountains fall
The earth will turn itself upside down
But we have seen it all before
We will always be around
- From "Fade Away (The Time & Space Machine Mix)" by The Mummers
Gregory strode purposefully down the hall, barely breaking his stride as he passed one of the chambermaids. She jumped from his path, quietly staring after him as he reached one of the suites at the end. He knocked firmly on the door, waiting for the familiar click of the lock. His cell phone went off, chirping incessantly until he flipped it open. Annie. He smirked, ignoring the call as he turned the ringer to silent. He was in no mood for interruptions, certainly not from her.
After several moments, he heard the locks giving way and the door opened. Olivia's eyes widened as she leaned against the door, watching him. "What are you doing here?" she asked softly.
He shrugged, holding up a paper bag. "Brought you breakfast."
Her brow arched as she regarded him suspiciously, the rich aroma of the coffee reaching her. "Oh…I have already have plans," she confessed reluctantly, watching as he opened the bag.
"French Vanilla latte," he said, holding out the paper cup to her as he ignored her last statement. "An orange blossom muffin. Your favorites."
She stepped back, opening the door wider as she reached for coffee. "Thank you," she said, holding it to her nose and smiling as she inhaled. "Come in."
He grinned, following her in as she took a tentative sip. Her hair was immaculate, the flush in her neck suggesting that she had just spent an obscene amount of time blow drying the brunette waves straight. But her face was bare of makeup, shining with a just washed glow. He resisted the urge to reach out and touch her, instead following the curve of her neck to the strand of pearls encircling it. The black pearls were an odd counterpoint to the virginal white robe, the silk lapels slipping open to reveal the swell of her breasts. "What are your plans?" he asked instead, his voice low as he watched her.
She shrugged, her expression blank as she nibbled on a piece of the muffin. "Meeting someone for brunch," she said simply.
He nodded, having a good idea who that someone was as he stood across from her. The low coffee table separated them, maybe the last obstacle in their path as he cleared his throat. "Well, don't let me keep you."
Her head tilted, a small smile coming to her lips. "It's fine. I have time." The latte came to her mouth, her lips curling around the plastic rim as she sighed. "You didn't get anything for yourself?"
"I wasn't planning on staying," he replied as he shook his head, waiting for her reaction.
Disappointment flickered in her blue eyes, her face falling before she quickly forced a polite smile. "Of course. You have plans too." He turned away, seemingly glancing around the room as he grinned. She took the opportunity to watch him, the crisp lines of his suit and the starched dress shirt. "Formal plans, by the look of it."
He shrugged. "I had to be in court this morning."
"Then you came here? What was so urgent that it couldn't wait-"
"Wait until tonight?" he asked, finishing her sentence. Olivia nodded, the slight curl at the end of her hair slipping from her shoulder as she set the coffee down. "Nothing in particular. Just a few things."
Her face turned, intrigued as he stepped around her. "Like what?"
He clicked his tongue softly, chastising her. "One thing at a time." He took off his coat, draping it over the armchair. "Got an email from Sean this morning."
"Did you?" She smiled, seeing his expression soften as he nodded. "What did he say?"
He gestured grandly as he sat down. "He loves New York. He still loves his classes. He thinks all of his professors are brilliant. He said maybe he'll see us at Thanksgiving."
She leaned against the arm of the sofa, her knee within his reaching distance. "I miss him," she admitted softly, clasping her hands together. "He left so suddenly."
"Columbia doesn't wait for anyone, not even our son."
She sighed, shaking her head slightly. "He didn't even tell us he applied out-of-state until he needed those forms signed."
He reached out, tracing the peak of her kneecap with his fingertip. "He sounds happy though. Maybe it was for the best."
With a half-smile, she reached for his hand, taking hold of his finger. "Did he tell you he met a girl?"
"I think he may have dedicated a paragraph or two to her several emails ago." They chuckled in unison as their fingers threaded together. "Mentioned I knew her father."
She threw her head back, laughing frivolously. "Is that what you call demolishing the man in court? Sean said Annabelle's father nearly choked on his dinner when he realized you were his father." He shrugged, but the pride was unmistakable in his eyes. "Of all the girls for Sean to meet…"
"Well, if she's anything like her father, Sean's in for a bumpy road ahead."
"He's smitten with her," she sighed, a mischievous sparkle in her eyes. "Someone gave him the idea to send her flowers every day." She glanced around the room, taking in the bouquets of hyacinths on every available surface in the suite. "It lasted for over a week before she confessed that her dorm room was too small to hold all the flowers."
Gregory followed her gaze, a rainbow of flowers around them as he explained, "He asked me to tell him how I impressed you when we first started dating." She looked over slowly, her lips slightly parted. He squeezed her hand, still surprised that Sean turned to him for advice. Him. Of all people. But the distance between them and the one-sided email conversation seemed to open a new window of dialogue for them. "I told him about your birthday, the first one we spent together. But Sean's a bit more low-key than his father," he quickly added when her eyes flashed, "so I don't think he'll be chartering any planes to St. Barts."
She lowered her head, a poor attempt at hiding the smile that lit up her face. He had sent her one lavish bouquet for every day of the week leading up to the big day. But on her birthday, something different arrived. In place of the extravagant arrangement was a long thin box, containing a diamond necklace entwined around the stem of a single rose. "St. Barts…that was a good birthday," she sighed, finally looking up. "I was impressed."
He grinned, a sight few would believe possible. "I was nervous that entire week," he admitted and she cocked her head.
"I was," he chuckled, toying with her knee through the thin robe. "Bette somehow found out about the trip. I was worried she'd open her mouth and ruin the surprise."
"Ah." She squirmed as he cupped her leg, the ivory silk like second skin as he ran his hand down her calf. "Don't you think you should have told him about how you impress Annie? It's certainly more recent than a twenty-five year old birthday surprise."
Reluctantly, he let her go as he stood slowly. She followed him with her eyes, watching carefully as he turned away. The silence grew between them and she pushed herself up, twisting her hands nervously. He lowered his eyes for the briefest of moments before he turned back to her, watching her intently. "I served Annie with divorce papers this morning." She stilled, saying nothing as he made a show of glancing down at his silver watch. "I've been a single man for almost two hours," he said, almost to himself.
She finally sent him a shaky smile. "You waited two hours before coming over? You must be getting more patient in your old age."
"I knew you wouldn't be awake yet," he said simply, the familiarity sending a shiver down her spine.
"And you thought Annie was?"
He laughed softly, a gentle shrug to show his lack of concern. "I didn't particularly care about waking her."
Olivia arched her eyebrow, clasping her hands together. "Well." She cleared her throat, her pulse spiking as she caught his expression. With a mixture of triumph and the hope he would show no one but her radiating from his eyes, she understood the unspoken message. It was all for her. I won't be your mistress, she had declared a short while ago. Don't make me think there's a chance, she had begged. They never spoke of that night, but she should have known this moment would come. He had told her as much. I don't want you as my mistress, he had admitted. I want you as my wife.
Feeling lightheaded, she gripped the top of the armchair and offered a weak, "Congratulations?"
"Thank you." His Cheshire grin flashed like a badge of honor as he continued, "Congratulations are indeed in order." He rocked back on his heels, watching the way her eyes flickered nervously to him. He knew her nerves and the violent extremes they sent her to. That wouldn't do. He needed her calm. Open to the possibility. He cleared his throat and began, "You know, I was thinking about you all morning."
She looked up slowly. "Me? What about?"
He shrugged, casually strolling around the living room, his hands in his pockets. "Trying to remember the first thing you ever said to me."
She bit back a smile as he glanced over his shoulder. "Any luck?"
He sighed, inching closer. "Somewhere between 'Startle me?' and 'The wind blew it shut.'." His hand danced against her cheek as she chuckled softly. "What?" he asked, smiling down at her.
She sidestepped him with a mysterious smile that bewitched him. "You would only remember that."
"That wasn't it?" She shook her head, her eyes turned up over the rim of her coffee. He folded his arms across his chest and thought back to their first meeting in Bette's bedroom. Of all places. "I asked you if I you were alright. If I scared you when the door banged open."
She rolled her eyes slightly, setting the mug down. "Darling, my reply wasn't the first thing I said to you because that wasn't the first time I met you."
"No. That was the first time you noticed me. I first saw you at one of Del's parties…remember the ones he would throw on the beach? It wasn't one of his parties if there wasn't a bonfire." He nodded, their eyes locking as she slowly traversed the space between them. "Anyway, I hardly knew anyone there and the few people I did know avoided me because they were friends of AJ." Her face turned as she thought of the man expecting to meet her for brunch in less than an hour. She shook her head, slowly turning back to Gregory as she softly continued, "There I was: newly single and miserable. The wind kept blowing sand in my face, so I finally decided to leave." She smiled to herself, thinking back. "I was storming up the beach, not looking where I was going and I walked straight into you."
He stood quietly as she neared him, their hands brushing together. "You caught me," he heard her say, riveted as she chuckled. "Kept me from falling down." She reached out, threading her fingers tightly with his. Her chest brushed against his as he drew closer, her lips a breath away.
"Your arms went around me and I apologized," she continued, shivering the way she did all those years ago. "Oh, and Gregory, the way you looked at me…I thought I was going to die on the spot." His hands slipped from hers to go around her waist, locking her tightly in his embrace. "You smirked and said 'Don't be'…and then, you did it."
"Did what?" he murmured, one hand sneaking up to toy with the lapel of her robe and push it gently aside, revealing the enticing rise of her collarbone.
"Take my breath away." Her mouth tensed as the robe slipped from her shoulder. With burning eyes, she looked up at him as the muscles of her stomach tightened.
"So that was it?" The flesh of her shoulder glowed in the morning sunlight, unblemished and perfect. He heard her inhale sharply as he traced a path from the peak of her shoulder along the line of her collarbone to her neck.
"What was it?" she asked softly.
" 'I'm sorry'? That was the first thing you ever said to me?" She nodded and his finger went south, brushing the black pearls aside to rest in the hollow of her throat. That shallow dip had intrigued him for years.
"I had to say something. I'm lucky I managed that." She chuckled, a low sound from deep in her throat. "But, I could have said anything to you then because it wouldn't have mattered. You didn't want me until we met again in Bette's bedroom." Her blue eyes lit up, a grin curling her lips. "What was it you said to me that night?"
He smiled, knowing that she could've answered her own question as his hands danced up her neck to cup her face. She remembered everything. His fingers grazed her earlobes, drawing her in as he whispered, "That you were unattainable." His lips whispered against hers and she inhaled, Aphrodite in his embrace. "You didn't let me kiss you that night."
She shrugged, his hands falling to cup her hips. "Olivia tried very hard to be enticing. She wasn't always smart about it."
"Oh, she was," he replied softly, reaching to cup her bottom as he slowly pulled her against him. "Gregory couldn't think about anyone or anything but her for days."
She looked up sharply, the buckle of his belt pressing against her stomach. "But, it didn't matter, did it? Neither of them was smart in the end. They let it all go to hell."
"Maybe Gregory and Olivia are smarter now," he suggested hopefully, toying with the flimsy belt of her robe.
"Jaded is more like it."
He looked up sharply, an amused expression on his face. "Jaded, hmm? If Olivia watched Casablanca right now, would it still make her cry?" She shrugged bashfully, her eyes turning up slowly as he loosened the belt and her robe fell open. "Just like it did all those years ago…"
Cool morning air hit her stomach, causing her flesh to pimple and she shivered. "When Olivia was twenty, she thought she knew it all," she sighed as he fell to his knees, nuzzling her stomach and kissing his way across her flesh.
He looked up slightly, drawn to the expanse of bare skin as his hands crept beneath the robe to find her hips. "When Olivia was twenty, she didn't smell like this, driving Gregory to distraction."
His teeth skimmed the edge of her panties and she gripped his shoulders. "When Olivia was twenty, Gregory always drove her to distraction."
He looked up, his hands on her hips as an intrigued smirk danced on his lips. "Is that so?"
"You know it's so."
She lowered her head, biting the corner of her lip as he hooked the hem of her panties with one finger and began to pull them down. "He's distracting me from meeting AJ."
He paused for a moment before he slowly began to pull the panties back up, causing her to groan softly. "Him. Again. After all these years," he sighed, looking up to meet her eyes. With unrelenting patience, he watched her silently, untapped heat radiating from the core of her soul. A flush rose in her neck, a tinge on her cheekbones. He held her hips, feeling her legs quiver against him. Her hands tightened on his shoulders and he finally smirked, knowing he could hold out just a bit longer than her. Barely. "Can he still move the hearts and minds of the ladies?"
She nearly cried out as he stood, his hands falling away from her. In an instant, she understood he wouldn't let her have brunch, or anything else, with AJ. Ever again. Every inch of distance between them became painfully apparent as he stepped back, wearing a wicked grin. Her eyes darkened as she realized he was going to make her beg. Make her scream his name and forget she ever uttered another's. Until she saw the glimmer in his eyes, she didn't realize how much she wanted him to make her his again. Her bed had been cold and lonely for too many months. She slowly moved closer, her hand brushing against his belt buckle. "Other ladies maybe," she murmured, her fingers dancing across the cool metal.
He inhaled sharply, the clink of his belt echoing in the silence as she undid it. "But not you?" Spellbound, he watched her fingers separate the leather from the silver buckle. She tugged it free from the belt loops and dropped it unceremoniously on the floor. When her hands returned to undo the button of his pants, he swallowed hard and asked, "What about your heart and mind?"
She chuckled, slowly pulling his shirt free. "My heart and mind?" she asked, starting on the shirt's bottom buttons as he worked on the top ones. She kept her eyes low, intently focused on his shirt. "They're…elsewhere."
Their hands met in the middle of his shirt, only the last button between them and ecstasy. She traced the edge of it, trembling as he nudged her chin up. "Elsewhere?"
She bit the corner of her lip, freeing the last button. With his shirt now open, she reached out tentatively, splaying her palms on his bare chest. "With someone else," she clarified in a hushed whisper as he drew her in.
"Mine too," he admitted as his arms went around her and their lips met.