A/N: I consider this story a companion piece to my story 'Stakeout.' However, one can be read without the other.
This is not set during any specific season. Olivia and Peter have been working together for a few years. For the purposes of this fic I did take some liberties with a few show-related details.
I appreciate any reviews or PMs received and will respond if your messaging is turned on. I'd love to know what your favorite lines/moments were.
A big 'Thank you!' to my friend starg8fans for the suggestions and being my sounding board in my fangirl moments. If you haven't read her Fringe/Under the Dome crossover fic, 'Walter Under The Dome', I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: I own any mistakes, but not the Fringe characters.
CHAPTER 1 - BEFORE
I was uncomfortable. There was no other word for it. As I looked into my seldom-used full length mirror in my bedroom it seemed like a stranger was staring back out at me. In place of my usual sensible work outfit of blazer, button-down, and dark slacks was a green evening dress. It was low-cut and off my shoulders, making me feel like way too much of my skin was being exposed. And what made me feel the most vulnerable was there was nowhere for me to put my holster so I'd have to go gunless. That never sits well.
I'd traded in my sturdy rubber-soled black work shoes for heels that made me feel like I'd grown a foot taller. I knew they weren't that high, it was just disconcerting to know that a thin spindle of cork under my heel was what was holding up my body weight.
As I turned to check out my rear view the small shiny threads in the dress caught the light, sending little twinkles back at me from my reflection. The dress zipped up the back and was snug around my hips before falling into a slightly looser configuration from there to past my knees. The soft material brushed against my calves as I continued to look at myself from different angles.
I appraised myself from the bottom up, not so sure that I liked what I was seeing. My hair was down and I had curled it so it fell in blond waves around my shoulders.
Earlier, after digging through my bathroom vanity for a few minutes, I had found the stash of makeup in the back of it. Colorful eye shadows and eyelash extending mascaras; rosy blushes and precision lip liners.
I remembered the disappointment Rachel had expressed the day she took me to the mall for a birthday makeover. Well, first she was excited when the lady at the cosmetics counter finished applying, powdering and what I assumed was shellacking her wares on me. The disappointment came when I told the counter girl that I only wanted the eyeliner and the lightest palette of eye shadow.
Rachel, being her ever-hopeful self, still bought me all the products that were recommended that day. I brought them home, unpacked my bundles, including the complimentary make-up travel case for being such a valued customer, and promptly deposited them all into the depths of my drawer.
Whenever Rachel saw me after that I would be back in my old standby eyeliner and shadow. She always made sure to remark how pretty I had looked all made up, and wouldn't I like to experiment a little more? "No," I'd flatly inform her. She'd sigh the weary sigh of the resigned sister and shake her head a little.
She would explode with happiness if she saw me right now, all prettied up for tonight. Ugh, tonight. I would so much rather be pouring over an unsolved case or watching Walter autopsy a mangled body than what I actually was doing. Tonight was the annual FBI fundraiser gala.
I'd managed to wriggle out of it in the past , but this year Broyles had made it mandatory that the Fringe Division attend. I think he was just annoyed because he'd been the only one showing up for the past several years —plus, I had pissed him off last week when I disobeyed a direct order to wait for his signal before entering a building we thought had a soft spot. Of course, Peter ran in after me so that landed him on Broyles' shit list too. Walter, Astrid, and Charlie? Guilty by association, I suppose.
After Broyles made the announcement that we would be attending, like it or not, then came the worry of finding a date. The simple answer would be to bribe Peter to go as my date, but as much as we'd been through together I still felt strange about just coming out and asking him. The next time we were in the lab, Peter brought up the gala himself while he was prepping a slide for Walter.
"So this gala thing," he'd said from behind the microscope.
"Mmm-hmm," I mumbled, not looking up from the paperwork I'd drug out to one of the lab tables. My office got stuffy sometimes in the late afternoon so I was out in the lab where it was cooler.
"You got a date yet?"
I tapped my pen on the table and said, "Well, I'm waiting to hear back from a few people." No, I wasn't. I don't even know what made me say it. I think I just wanted to see if Peter would pursue it. While it was true he and I tested the intimacy clauses of our working relationship on the regular, a small part of me wanted him to actually ask me. I was ignoring the little voice in my head telling me I was acting like a girl who wanted the quarterback to ask her to prom. Plus, I reminded myself, just because we went at it hot and heavy sometimes that didn't necessarily extend to us partnering for commissioned by work dances.
"Oh, okay," he said.
I could've kicked myself right about then because the last thing I really wanted to do was wind up showing up alone to this stupid event and then have to watch some bimbo he charmed with a wink and a smile drool over him all night. It wasn't that I would be jealous, I told myself. I would've felt sorry for the poor girl, that was it. Staring into his blue eyes all night and then being left with a promise to call that never panned out. My mind was mercifully skipping over the part where they probably would end the night with sex and the possibility he might actually call her afterwards. Our exclusive friends with benefits situation was open to derailment at any time. We had always agreed when someone else came along then we would call it quits.
The stupidity leak continued to grow and I said, "Maybe I'll see you there."
"Olivia." The tone in his voice made me look up. "Maybe you'll see me there?"
Uh-oh, he had his I'm-not-happy-face on. Naturally, that made my defenses go up. "Well, yeah. I'm sure there won't be that many people there, we're sure to see each other."
Peter rolled his eyes and went back to what he was doing.
"What?" I snapped, without actually meaning to.
"Nothing," he grumbled and turned his back to me so I couldn't see his face.
I glanced around the lab and could see that Walter and Astrid were pretending like they weren't listening in on our conversation, but not doing a very good job of it. Especially Walter, who looked away so quickly when our eyes met that he probably got some form of ocular whiplash.
I watched Peter's back muscles flex under his shirt as he lifted a new contraption Walter was working on onto another table. I didn't really know what to say, I'd stuck my foot in my mouth and wasn't sure how to absolve this.
"What about you? You bringing some hot chick?" I asked, although I didn't really want to know the answer.
He sighed, "I was hoping to take a hot chick, but it sounds like that option isn't available."
I felt a stab of that feeling that wasn't jealousy for a moment until my brain processed the rest of his sentence.
"Oh, she was busy?"
"Apparently she's waiting to hear back from a few people."
"Hmmm," I said.
Okay, look; I'm good at solving murders, I'm good at remembering numbers, I'm good at drinking whiskey. Interpersonal relationships are not my strongest suit. I mulled over what he said in my mind for a moment before I realized that he was just repeating my words from earlier.
"Wait, are you talking about me?"
He turned back around and met my eyes. "I guess I just assumed we would go together. That's okay though, whatever." He waved his hand in an irritated manner.
Affronted that he seemed upset, I pointed out, "I don't know why you're being huffy. You didn't really ask me or anything. You just asked if I had a date."
"Of which you obviously have several that you keep on speed dial. It's okay, I get it. You didn't think about going with me."
This was so unlike Peter. He wasn't needy and churlish like this usually. I got up and walked around the table to stand next to him. I laid my hand on his arm and said, "No, you're the only one on my speed dial ... well, besides Rachel and Indian take-out." He looked down at where my hand was and I saw a small half-grin turn up one side of his mouth. I knew he was remembering a few years ago when I had said almost the same thing to him.
His eyes lifted to mine and I felt a tenderness wash over me. "We can go together," I told him. "I didn't realize you wanted to go with me."
"Well, yeah," he said softly. "It's not like I want to go with someone else." I bit my lip a little to keep from smiling at what he'd just said. "I'll pick you up at eight," he added.
I nodded. From the other side of the room Walter exclaimed, "How wonderful!"
Peter and I both turned to look at him. "Oh, excuse me," he said, "I've just figured out a way to deliver LSD to this caterpillar. Go on with your conversation."
I narrowed my eyes at the older man, and his sparkled back at me, leaving me no doubt that he'd overheard what had just transpired. Walter's always been the biggest advocate of Peter and I having a relationship so anything that seemed to be moving us in that direction made him deliriously happy. As far as I knew he wasn't aware that Peter and I were sleeping together on and off. I'm sure he'd have already thrown a party in honor of our consummation if he did.
After that, Peter's mood improved tremendously. The week ended on a much better note than it had began on.
I glanced over at my bedside clock and saw that it said 7:45 PM. Peter would be here soon. I took one last look in the mirror and grimaced at myself. I hoped my make-up wasn't overdone.
I crossed to my dresser and opened the wooden jewelry box that resided on top. I wanted to see if there was anything I wanted to add to my attire. There weren't too many items in there. Just a small smattering of things I'd collected over the years, mostly gifts. And of course, the ring from John. Stroking my finger over the velvet encasing the ring, I noticed that my heart no longer seized up in my chest when I touched it. Finally, I was at the point where I'd let go of the past.
A knock on my door drew me out of my musings and I knew that it would be Peter. "It's open!" I called out.
I heard the doorknob turn and the brush of the bottom of the door along the inside mat. I walked into the living room to see a designer suit-clad Peter facing away from me as he was closing the door.
"Olivia, you really shouldn't leave your door unlocked like that. It's danger-," he stopped abruptly as he turned to face me. "Wow," he said, as he looked me up and down. "You look ..." he cleared his throat, while his eyes still raked my body and he seemed to be searching for words.
I was stunned, there is no way I made the usually verbose Peter Bishop speechless. His eyes settled on mine. "Incredible," he finally managed to say.
My heart soared and I felt a weight seem to lift off my shoulders. I smiled at him. "Thanks, you're not so bad yourself." That was possibly the understatement of the century. The man was mouthwateringly sexy on a bad day. Tonight he looked like he'd just stepped off the cover of GQ.
He'd tamed his perpetual bed-head hair with a little gel so it stayed down and in place. His whole outfit fit him well, accentuating the shape of his body. He was dressed all in black, except for the contrast of his stark white shirt as the backdrop against his tie and jacket. I'd seen him dressed up before when we were undercover, but this time was different because I could actually enjoy looking at him without fear that it would compromise our mission.
His face still carried its usual hint of soft stubble. That in itself seemed like such a contradictory thought, but his facial hair rarely was prickly. Once it got past the 5 o'clock shadow stage it was pleasantly scratchy. "You didn't shave," I remarked, walking over to him and touching his face.
"No," he replied, absentmindedly topping my hand with his and rubbing it along his jaw line. "Should I have?"
I shook my head. "Uh-uh, I like it like that. There was only that one time when I got beard burn on my thighs that I complained, and that wasn't until afterwards."
Both of us were quiet for a moment as we thought back to the time he had gone down on me so vigorously I still felt chaffed (but satisfied) the next day.
"God, Olivia," he almost growled. "If you want to actually make it to this fundraiser tonight, please don't say anything else involving me being between your legs in any way, shape or form."
I weighed my options in my head. Would staying here having mind blowing sex with Peter be worth the wrath that I would incur from Broyles for skipping the gala? Honestly? Yes. However, I had gone through all the trouble of getting dressed up so we might as well go.
I spun him around and hooked my arm through his. "C'mon, Bishop. Duty calls."
Chapter 2 is coming soon ...