The world has refined to a single freckle on his shoulder; he has his ear pressed to the left side of her chest. From the roots of her sweated out curls to the foot she curves to his long shin bone- perspiration and scent dripping to one stream- she contemplates heaven and hell and decides if this is what's going to define her entire life she might as well let the river run so deep they might drown.

She trembles because the warmth of his cheek is stark against the air conditioned hotel room, the thrum of the contraption a steady bass for their still-uneven partakes in fresh air. Still out of it, Liv draws her attention to raking her nails across his back, to tousle his curls. Tasting copper from where she'd bit her lip so hard when she blacked out, or at least she thinks that's what happened.

Time carries the tang of insolence, and among thoughts of every mistress she's ever known that's written a hefty paperback and how long the prayer meeting tomorrow is going to be without a wink of sleep, of a single thing she is certain:

That was making love.

Olivia has never been one for medicinal sentiments, and even then, Fitz tumbling from his respective high with her, she can't find it within herself to analyze it. She can't do anything but feel, breathe in, breathe out, try to pick up the pieces from where they've shattered even though at that very moment all she can muster the strength to do is lie with him for,

"One minute?" she croaks, vocal chords uneven from proper use.

He moves his head in assent, and she sighs shakily.

Even in the murky haze of endorphins, she can make out the comparison between Edison and Fitz; there isn't one.

Fitz is foreign utopia, all riveting tension and memorization of peels of skin, mapping out and marking, and that absolutely terrifies her.

A nearby hotel door thuds, and she starts. Heaving another push of her ribcage, she tosses her head to look at the glowing clock on the nightstand. It reads half past two. The neon lettering is too bright, and she squints to muddle through the onslaught of reality, the cooling fluids between her thighs hindering ignorant bliss one moment longer-

She makes a strangled noise and lightly pushes him off her.

"I have to go back to my hotel room," Liv states flatly, stomach hollowing when she recognizes the tell tale ache between her legs- even at the most minute disturbance- she's going to be sore tomorrow. She won't be able to forget quickly enough.

The precise moment she garners movement to slip to a sitting position, Fitz grips her wrist, tremulous action causing a gasp to bubble to her lips.

"Fitz," she says his name, just his name, the syllable leaving his eyes bereft of the peace held like fragile china seconds before- the look in his eyes is what makes her think twice. The look in his eye changes things.

"Don't go," Fitz grits.

Liv has words- every excuse, every logical deduction- but they fall dead in the back of her windpipe, threatening to choke if she lets them rise. She realizes then, that she is going to break his heart. One day, she will have to let this go- the ecstasy of his lips, the foundation of the planes of his chest against her.

The ring on his finger grazes the skin of her forearm where he still has her grounded to and it sears like a hot brand. No, Olivia Carolyn Pope is no cautionary tale. She will let him go eventually, regardless of the fact the mere notion sends pangs to her sides and a raw ache in her chest.

Not now, then, she tells herself. You can have a little happiness.

He journeys the length of arm to meld his wide palm across her delicate jaw. Every nerve ending alive with the caress- she presses into it nigh upon instinct. This gentle fondness could become a habit, and she can remedy the ease of comfort like skin to bones. She smiles at him, swollen lips pulling tight.

She wants to hold onto this.

She knows she can't.

"This will ruin us," Liv whispers, voice breaking against the facade, every fiber of her being revolting the idea of giving in and giving up because a truth is blatantly obvious and she would give up everything for this man.

She hates that. She hates that her eyes are filling with betraying moisture, she hates that her body is quivering with unkempt emotion. She hates.

Unbeknownst to Olivia a tear runs, errant.

Fitz grinds his teeth and wipes it away with his thumb.

He blames himself.

"Look at me," a demand, met with eyes that deter every ounce of self he once had such a leash on. Olivia sucks in a breath. He speaks the words slowly, as if explaining something to a child.

"I might not win."

"And if you do?"

There is a silence where he honestly deliberates.

The air conditioner kicks off, and Olivia waits, licking her lips.

Fitz manages a wry grin- there's something in his eyes, she sees it- but she's too close to crumbling herself to pick him apart. Instead, she relishes in the way he slithers his arm around her shoulders- she's so petite- and embraces her.

"If I win, we'll stop," he answers her, feigning nonchalance; a private joke just between friends. He's a magnificent politician.

Meaning hangs, distended, bludgeoning. Relief has never been so bittersweet.

She won't have to end this.

He doesn't hesitate to follow through.

"Until then," he murmurs, kissing her temple, her jaw, her lips. "Sweet Baby, I want to make the most of it."

Before she can rein herself in she's giggling fiendishly, adrenaline coursing. "Sweet Baby?"

He hums against her mouth, and snakes his pianist hands between their bodies.

It doesn't take long for the laughter to hush.