The sound of the soft swell from the water below seeped a beautiful sense of calm into the scene. There stood Mike Dodds under a lovely white arch, an array of vibrant flowers twined around the frame, subtly spotting the scene with colour.
Grey wedding suit perfectly pressed, lapel flower ripe with colour and a smile brighter than the slowly setting sun just over the horizon. It was an undeniably beautiful scene, Olivia mused, so lovely the slight chill to the gentle wind whispering against her skin went almost unnoticed.
The guests were seated in wooded chairs on the sand that look as if they were fashioned from the trunks of the small sea shrubs lining the boundaries of the beach. Soft, silky sheets were laid around the arrangement like little walkways. Glancing around the scene Olivia noted their stark white colour contrasted the colourful attire of the occupants well. She herself was wearing a strapless orange dress. The low back and thigh split showcased a fair, yet tasteful amount of her smooth olive skin. Small ringlets of hair escaped her up-do bun, tickling her exposed neck at the call of the persistent breeze. Yes, the scene was beautiful, but what was most spectacular was that the scene made her feel beautiful, made her think the guests were beautiful.
Amanda, in a stunning soft blue gown, sat to her left. Next to her, Sonny, who also looked sharp in his matching tailored navy suit. The ceremony was due to commence shortly. Her brow furrowed in mild concern as her thoughts turned to the man yet to arrive.
As if she read her mind, Rollins lent into Olivia's side "Reckon Barba's still in Judge Barth's office hamming for that warrant?" A wry smile touch both womens lips and Olivia took a second to appreciate the warmth radiating from her colleague into her side. It really was colder than she realised.
"Nah, probably been fussing over his hair for the last hour and a half." She replied as a giggling Amanda retreated closer to Sonny's side, and presumably heat. Olivia shivered.
"Care to share the joke?" Came a familiar voice over Olivia's shoulder. Despite the sass, his tone was warm and as Olivia turned to look at him, she lost her breath. His face hosted a presence of contented happiness, he was clearly very freshly showered and shaved. His hair, perfectly groomed, was very slightly damp against his neck. He wore a crisp white shirt under his black blazer, the top few buttons undone to expose the tantalising skin of his neck. A vision usually forbidden by his tie. She could see the thick, black strap of his suspenders peeking out from under his matching waistcoat. His fingers fleetingly ghosted across the skin of her back in greeting as he sat next to her.
Olivia shivered again.
As he quickly settled next to her and as she turned to face him more, she was suddenly hit by the heavy scent of him. A deep, woodsy cologne like rain damp bark combined with the fresh sharpness and cleanliness of a recent shower, and a twang of something uniquely him twisted in.
Her mouth was dry. She swallowed thickly, then allowed the smile that had been insistently tugging at her lips to spread to its full girth.
"Counsellor! We were just talking about you." She replied cheekily, eyes twinkling with mirth and something else as he met her gaze with an intrigued smirk of his own.
So caught up in the others flirtatious gaze, neither of them caught the knowing eye roll Amanda and Sonny shared.
"Mmm" Barba hummed deeply, the vibrations shooting straight to Olivia's core. His smooth voice adopted a silky tone as he drawled "Good things, I'd hope, seeing as I spent the better half of my morning squeezing questionable warrants for your squad from irritable judges." He was still looking at her, eyebrows raised ever so slightly and Olivia was beginning to feel hot.
Breaking eye contact and turning back to face the front before her blush betrayed her, she quipped "Of course, Rafael, there's nothing bad to say." She shot him one last cheeky look, adding a wink for good measure, before settling herself ready for the ceremony.
His stomach fluttered at the sound of his first name on her lips, and his heart damn near stopped with that wink she hit him with. She was glorious, rarely had he gotten to see such an expanse of her supple skin. She was always beautiful, but looking at her now floored him. The hairs kissing the curve of her neck absorbed his attention until she moved to cross her legs, parting the material to reveal her leg up to her mid thigh.
Clearing his throat, Rafael sat back into his seat hoping to distract himself with the scene. The setting sun snared his attention, the drift of the clouds against the orange glow was almost hypnotic.
A warm pressure against his side redirected his focus to Olivia sidling up more closely to him. Glancing down at her, he quirked a brow. "I know when I'm being used, Ms Benson." His voice still that same, soft, honeyed tone.
She looked up at him, mock nonchalance on her features. "I've no idea what you mean. Now shh, it's about to start".
He remained gazing at her even after she resumed looking at Dodds under the arch, completely oblivious to the fondness he allowed to seep into his unguarded expression and completely oblivious to the two detectives playing audience to the interactions between himself and their lieutenant. She was using him for his heat, yes, but he suspected- hoped at least- she wanted to be closer to him for more reasons than that. Either way, he couldn't help but enjoy her closeness.
Soft music began to play, signalling the guests to stand. Rafael offered Olivia his hand, his skin tingled when she took it and it itched when she let it go. Turning to face the aisle, he caught sight of the bride. The dress was simple, the material soft and thin. It blew beautifully in the breeze. The small crown of flowers perched on her pretty blond head elegantly reflected the arch awaiting her. The love in her gaze was unmistakeable, the eye contact between bride and groom was unbroken and intensely loving.
Fortunately, the ceremony progressed quickly as the idyllic weather was very slowly being swept away by the ever insistent breeze, persistently increasing in frequency and strength. Rafael placed his arm across the back of Olivia's chair when he realised she was shivering, and was pleased when she eagerly accepted the unspoken offer and slid closer into his side. He wanted to touch the skin of her shoulder, caress his fingers across her back and up her neck. He was curious if he could bring back the goose bumps he just helped to disappear.
He refrained. He told himself it was for professional reasons, that already, they were probably being too familiar with each other and that would absolutely cross the line.
In truth he was just sure that if he started touching her that way, he wouldn't stop.
A soft rumble of thunder refocused his attention. Lightning flashed across the sky and a very light sprinkling of rain began. The celebrant was rapidly wrapping up the ceremony, thanking the quests and providing quick instructions for the reception. Rafael wasn't listening. Inexplicably he found himself looking back at Olivia tucked under his arm, tiny droplets of rain splattered across her chest. She peeked up at him through her lashes, he felt no awkwardness at having been caught looking at her and continued to stare right into her gorgeous brown eyes.
"You're coming to the reception... aren't you?” He was helpless to deny her, even though he’d planned to go anyway. More time with her meant more of this pleasant warm buzz filling him full up.
He nodded minutely “Of course.” His voice was quiet and low, almost a rasp.
The rain drops were rapidly becoming heavier, the guests were beginning to scramble to leave as the fall became thicker. Rafael stood quickly, turning to find Olivia already on her feet and pressing at his back. She pushed him along, leaning up to call in his ear over the rain they had a car he could share for the ride over.
He simply nodded, not bothering to attempt to yell over the escalating chaos of the situation. He didn’t know where he was going but the insistent press of Olivia at his back guided him until there was room for her to thread her arm through his and tug him the rest of the way.
He swore time slowed almost to a still the second she glance back over her bare should at him, a huge smile on her face. Rain drops fell in slow motion as her tinkling laugh resounded in his ears. He felt breathless, like something punched him in the gut hard enough to knock him enough out of faze with reality to slow time like this.
Before he knew it she’d tugged him into the back of a car, Amanda and Sonny were scrambling into the front seat, also in fits of giggles.
Rafael felt like this was perhaps going to be one of the most joyous moments of his life. Both Amanda and Sonny looked equally as euphoric as they turned toward the back, connecting the four of them in the moment.
“Alright” said Sonny, still laughing as he turned the ignition. “Let’s get this show on the road!”
Rafael looked over to Olivia as Sonny pulled out of the curb, and found her already looking right back.