"You shave?" hits him from the bathroom doorway. Of course Peter shaves. Olivia knows he does. She's teased him about the attempted goatee, thwarted on day two of the experiment by his five-o'clock shadow, and she's seen him show up early at the lab, all shiny and smooth. He's just never done it in front of her.
"I do when the situation calls for it," he answers as he fills the sink with water.
"Oh really?" she arches an eyebrow at him from where she's watching him, arms crossed, leaning against the doorframe. "Something special planned?" Peter just shrugs as he opens the medicine cabinet door.
Walter was always a traditionalist; no foam in a can or electric razor allowed around his face. He'd taught Peter to appreciate the art of shaving at a young age, and like most things around the Bishop household, his setup is only semi-conventional.
"You remind me of one of those guys in those old cowboy shows," Olivia says. "You know, the ones in re-runs on cable. We used to watch them on Sunday afternoons when we were kids."
"Yeah?" he straightens so he can see her reflection better. "With the gunslingers? Or that one with the gamblers?"
Olivia's not looking at him exactly. More past him, like she's trying to taste a particular memory, he thinks. "The gamblers," she says. "For the longest time, I could never figure out how they just knew the last card was going to be an ace."
"And so began your career counting cards."
He catches her in the mirror, chewing on her bottom lip as she watches him swish the shaving brush in the cup and work the soap into a lather. Peter's always fancied himself as a smooth-talking ladies man with a 'Sweetheart' thrown in here or there to either charm or provoke, depending on his target, but he's starting to suspect Olivia prefers more of a James Garner over his Humphrey Bogart act.
Except Peter's pretty sure Maverick never kept his soap in a lowball glass with a picture of Daffy Duck on the side.
"You know," she says as she shuts the door. "My dad… my real dad used to shave like that." She slips between Peter and the sink and takes the glass and the brush from his hands.
"I thought the whole point of you showering here was to save time?" he asks. He's not sure what exactly has brought about this impromptu trip down memory lane, but his interest has been piqued. She never talked about her past much, not until recently, but now it's like she's working at forging these connections between them… giving him tokens to hold on to for safe-keeping.
She shrugs. "We've got time." She hikes up her bathrobe slightly and eases herself on to the counter (because she loses an inch or two on him in bare feet), then dips the brush into the cup. "He used let me play with the brush. I remember he used to put me up on the edge of the sink so I could reach and he'd let me play in the soap."
"Your mom must have loved that." He purses his lips as she draws the brush under his nose.
She dabs foam on his chin and works it into the longer stubble on his checks. "She used to freak about the mess I'd end up making of the bathroom." She swirls the brush in the cup again, then daubs her way under his chin and swipes along the hollow of his throat. "I'd be covered, head to toe. The sink, the mirror, even the shower curtain most of the time…" She uses the pinkie finger on the hand holding the glass to nudge his chin. The memory trails off as she pauses to examine her handiwork, her breathing increasing slightly as she chews on her lip again.
Peter feels his pulse speed up. He likes being reminded that despite the tough, I'm-just-fine-on-my-own front Olivia puts up, he's still got that kind of effect on her.
"You? Never." He breaks the moment with a chuckle. He's genuinely amused at the image of her younger self wearing a mess of foam. Almost as much as he likes the mental picture of her current self, covered in stiff egg-white bubbles. But for different reasons. "Hard to picture you stirring up that kind of trouble."
"Mmm hmm." She reaches behind herself and trades the cup and brush for his razor and holds it up between them. "Trust me?"
"Do I have a choice?"
She pulls him nearer, hand on his upper arm, until he's standing just between her knees. He braces himself with his palms on her thighs and feels the frisson that runs through her.
Peter figures he's damn lucky she hadn't already put the blade against his skin.
Half an hour later, when they're both covered in shaving soap and the hollow of her throat is raw and pink from his stubble, he's kind of glad she hadn't.