Chapter 1: Propositions and Agreements
Liv pushed her glasses up as she tried to rub some of the tiredness out of her eyes. It had been such a long week that she was looking forward to the fact that she was going to be on vacation after she finished her paperwork. She let her glasses fall back onto her nose before she pushed them back into place.
She rolled her neck, and cracked her fingers before she went back to her typing. She was grateful that Lucy was sleeping over tonight. She paused to make a note on her phone to give her an extra big bonus for her birthday. She was tired but just wanted to get this done. She took a deep breath as she forced herself to focus. She felt annoyed with the fact that even music wasn't helping her focus. It just made her more antsy.
She looked up when she heard a knock on the door frame of her office, “I saw the light on,” Barba smiled as he offered up a cup of coffee.
“If I drink that I will be up all night, give it here,” She smiled at him as he walked in. She took her glasses off all together and set them on her desk before she took a cautious sip of the hot beverage. She watched him as he sat down across from her, “Why are you here so late counselor?”
“I figured I would pop in to see if you were still here. I figured you were lonely as well when I saw the light on. The way I look at it, we could be workaholics together,” He answered, giving her a half smirk, “Actually I need a favor. That is why I am really here.”
Liv cocked an eyebrow as she sat back in her chair, “I start my ten day vacation the moment I am done with this paperwork. I am staying so late so that I don’t take any paperwork home, because I am looking forward to spending ten wonderful days with my son.” She protested.
“Hey! Whoa. It’s not a work favor!” Barba set his cup on her desk, holding his hands up innocently as he leaned forward, “It’s more or less a personal favor. Something I would be forever indebted to you for if you agree to go along with this.”
“A personal favor?” She teased as she cocked her eyebrow. She stood, stretching her legs. She was shorter than normal since her shoes were under her desk. She switched to barefoot whenever there was no one else in the office. She held the cup of coffee between her legs as she perched herself on the edge of her desk.
“Yes. I was invited to a wedding in the Hamptons and I don’t want to go alone. A friend from law school is getting married and he told me that if I showed up by myself, he was going to set me up with his cousin Madison. Don’t get me wrong. She is a really nice lady and all, but she really isn’t my type,” Rafael paused to take a deep breath before he finally looked up at her, “She is just too damn naive,” He huffed.
Liv bit back her laugh, taking another sip of coffee before she took a deep breath, “So….just let me get this straight. You need me to be a fake date for you?” She cocked her head to the side, feeling how wide her smile was.
“I didn’t say it like that,” He shot back.
“But it’s what you mean?”
“No...yes,” He sighed deeply as before he looked at her, “I wouldn’t normally ask you, but I am desperate and you are a beautiful….no… a stunning woman and a funny friend that can work a room. Please. He paused, searching for the words to convince her so he wouldn’t have to suffer through the wedding. "Not only that, but it’s in the Hamptons and the wedding is going to be a lot of fun!” He knew if she was there that they would both have a good time.
Liv felt her stomach clench when he called her beautiful. She nodded, “Okay...okay….so I have a question and statement,” She articulated as she watched him cross one leg over the other. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, “When is the wedding, and I have nothing to wear,” She stated plainly.
“Well the wedding is on Saturday and I figured I would owe you for saying yes,” He stood as he dug out his wallet and handed over an American Express card, “I want you get your nails done, buy an outfit, anything you need. Don’t worry about the expenses. Okay?”
She could see the tension visibly disappear from his shoulders. She could tell that he wasn’t lying about how much he needed her as a date. She looked down at the card before she looked back up at him, “I seriously can’t believe that I am agreeing to this.” She stated with a slight chuckle.
“What do you mean? It’s a night full of adult conversations where you aren’t dressed to the tee trying to get more people to donate money to the NYPD, no cartoons, and you can actually drink. The cherry on top is you will get to dance with a Cuban,” He smirked as he wiggled the card between them.
“You are very cocky for someone who is basically asking me to play arm candy for them.”
“I wouldn’t ask if I thought it was inappropriate.” He said gently.
Liv looked down and finally took the card that was between them, “Okay,” She said softly, “I will have Noah sleepover Rollins house so that way I know that he is safe.”
“I already took care of that too. My Mami agreed to watch him. She said that she misses young kids around. Not only that, but it’s the least I could do because I will owe you so, so much. You will see what I mean about Madison once you meet her.” He grinned.
Liv placed her hand on his shoulder, “Hey now. I will be in good company. I should be able to have more than enough fun and have the chance to feel like a woman and not a Mom.” She grinned.
She watched as he closed the small amount of distance between them. She inhaled his expensive cologne and felt her toes curl against the carpet before she felt how quickly his heat was gone. She watched as he tossed his cup into her bin. She was always impressed with how fast he could drink a cup of coffee. It was almost as if his tongue was immune to burns.
“Then I will be more than happy to make that night memorable for you,” Rafael smiled before he stepped back, buttoning his jacket, “I promise that.” He grinned. He waved before he walked off.
Liv watched him leave before she circled back around her desk and sat down in her chair. She looked at the card before she tucked it away in her wallet. She chewed on her lip. She knew that she was not going to be able to focus on paperwork until all of this was over. She sighed heavily, slightly cursing Barba before she shut her laptop and tucked it into her purse along with the case file.
“Fine,” She grumbled to herself, “If you are going to distract me from my work, I am going to distract you the entire night,” She smirked to herself as she grabbed her jacket and flicked off the lights in her office before she finally left.
Liv felt absolutely ridiculous as she went through the dresses. She couldn’t find anything that fit her properly. She wished that she could just find something that would work for her. She sighed heavily as she stepped back and ran her fingers through her hair. She wished that she had someone in her corner that was better at this. She looked around and swore she was going to be swallowed by tulle.
“It looks like you could use some help,” A friendly sales associate smiled as she stepped forward.
“Actually yeah, I can. Is it that obvious?” Liv grinned.
“It’s my job to know when people need help. My name is Emma. I just need a few details and I can help you pick out the perfect dress.”
“Well, Emma, I am going to be attending a wedding in the Hamptons on Sunday. My friend asked me to go with him. I just need a dress and heels,” She smiled.
“Okay. That helps a lot. What is your favorite color? Would you prefer a long or short dress? How do you feel about strapless dresses?”
“I tend to lean towards darker colors, but I want to really surprise him. I prefer long dresses. I don’t mind strapless, but I would prefer straps.” She answered consicely.
“Okay, just tell me your dress size and go wait by dressing room and we will go from there!” She smiled.
“Size sixteen,” Liv responded before she headed over to the dressing rooms. She hugged her jacket to her chest, suddenly feeling naked. What was she thinking? She could just wear her baby blue dress that she wore for Noah’s official adoption day.
She started pacing before she looked up. She couldn’t help but think that Emma had a wonderful smile. Liv could tell that she genuinely loved her job. That was rare for retail. She smiled at her as she walked towards her, letting herself into a dressing room and hung up the three dresses that she picked out for her.
“Let me know if you need help with a zip up or want an honest opinion.” Emma grinned, “I am a few steps away!”
Liv briefly watched her light brown hair bob away before she stepped into the dressing room. She looked at the light blue dress, yellow, and a slightly dark, but pastel purple one. She quickly shed her clothes before she pulled on the yellow dress. She pursed her hips, cocking her head and twisting her hips from the left to the right but felt as though it just wasn’t her. It was too...bright. She heard herself laughing before she put the dress back on the hanger. She ran her fingers over the fabric of her blue dress, wrinkling her nose before she pulled the purple dress off the hook. She looked it over before she stepped into it.
She zipped it up, and turned, after clipping her hair. She heard herself audibly gasp. She didn’t recognize herself. She twisted her hips and found herself smiling. She ran her fingers over the sheer purple fabric that fluttered over her right shoulder. She liked that the dress hinted at her curves but didn’t over accentuate them. The dress cinched at her waist perfectly and she loved the pleating detail that covered her chest. She unlocked her door and poked her head out, “Emma?”
Emma rounded the corner, smiling, “How can I help you?”
“What do you think?” Olivia pulled the door back as she watched her face.
“I think you just found the dress. If you don’t mind me saying, damn. I am good. For future reference, ask for A-Line chiffon dresses,” She smiled widely.
Liv smoothed the dress over her hips, smiling, “Thank you. I will remember that.” She nodded.
Liv rode down the escalator stairs as she checked her date book on her phone. She would have to find someone to watch Noah overnight. The last thing she would want to do is wake up her son if she arrived home drunk. She knew that Barba's mom would watch him, but she wanted him somewhere more familiar. She bit her lip, zoning out briefly as she thought about the way that Barba had looked at her when he had called her beautiful. She felt her foot hit the landing, and snapped out of her thoughts as she stepped off the escalator and called Rollins.
“The precinct has not burned down. Don’t stress yourself.” She stated jokingly as she spun slightly in her chair.
Liv laughed lightly, “I am not calling because of that. I trust Sargent Fin,” She pushed open the door, still feeling weird with the way that rolled off her tongue, “Can I ask a favor? I was asked to attend a wedding on Sunday. I know it’s very last minute, but could you watch Noah? If you could do that I would greatly appreciate it.”
Rollins felt her eyebrows shoot upwards, “You have a date to a wedding? How serious are you two?” She quipped before she leaned back in her chair.
“Just a friend. Is that a yes?”
“Who is it?”
“Doesn’t matter who. If you can’t, I can always ask Lucy.”
“No, I can do it no problem. What time do you need me to pick him up?”
“Since you are doing me an enormous favor, I will drop him off around ten in the morning. Is that okay?” She questioned as she ordered a Lyft and brought her phone back to her ear. She waited outside the mall. She figured she could just wear her favorite pair of black heels. She didn’t want to do anymore shopping.
“That’s fine. Jesse will be excited. She loves whenever Noah sleeps over. Liv?”
“Yeah Rollins?” She scanned the parking lot to see if her driver had arrived yet.
“Just have fun. Ok?”
“Okay,” She grinned.
Chapter 2: Rushed Packing
Liv quickly shoved an extra pair of underwear into Noah’s bag and grabbed Eddie before she glanced at her watch. It was already eight in the morning. She strode into the kitchen and grabbed his cereal bowl, saying a low curse as milk sloshed onto her arm.
“You have to put money in the swear jar!” Noah sang as his head appeared over the head of the couch.
“You’re right sweet boy,” She said as she patted the pockets on her jeans, “I promise I will put money in when I get the chance to go to the ATM. You can even punch in the magic numbers!” She smiled, “Now, turn off the television, go put on your shoes and let’s go! Mommy has a lot to do today.”
“Why do you have to do something today? I thought you weren’t working Mommy.” He said as he pulled on his tennis shoes.
“Uncle Rafa needed a favor, so I am helping him. I thought you would be excited about staying with Jesse!” She smiled.
“I am, but I was just wondering.” He answered. The tip of his pink tongue poked out from behind his lips as he focused on tying his shoes.
Liv stood back and couldn’t help but smiling to herself. He was growing up so fast and he was so smart that she was constantly in awe of him. She held his jacket out, “Okay sweet boy, let’s go.” She smiled as they walked out.
Liv couldn’t remember the last time she had a manicure. She stared at her nails, adoring the black polish before she cradled her phone between her cheek and shoulder, “Benson,” She answered as she rinsed out Noah’s bowl, sticking it in the dishwasher.
“Have you found everything you need?” Barba questioned as he signaled to turn.
“Yes. When are we heading up to the Hamptons?”
“I am on my way to come get you now. I booked us separate hotel rooms. You can get ready there.”
“What?! You said nothing about hotel rooms! I didn’t pack!” She protested, glancing at the clock before she headed towards her bedroom.
“Well, I will be there in thirty minutes. Don’t act like you don’t have a go bag. I know that you always have something packed for you and Noah incase there is an emergency. I know you Liv. I will text you when I get there.”
“What a romantic way to start the weekend. A text.” She teased. She strode to her bedroom and glanced at her dress hanging from her closet door, “Is there a special dress code for arriving in the hamptons?”
“Business casual. I don’t know Liv! Just wear something you are comfortable in!” He struggled to keep the laughter out of his voice.
“Hey sassy ass. I have never attended a wedding in the Hamptons that is why I am asking,” She shot back before adding, “You better have a cup of coffee for me!” She hung up and dug through her closet. She was happy that she had shaved her legs earlier.
She slid on a black wrap sundress and slid her feet into strappy sandals before she packed her makeup, curling iron, jewelry, and everything else that she needed. She clipped up her hair and grabbed her favorite pair of sunglasses. She walked towards the door with her duffle bag in one hand and her dress slung over her other arm.
She grabbed her purse as her phone dinged, letting her know that Barba was here. She grabbed her book and stuffed it in her purse before she left her apartment, locking the door behind her. She switched her dress for a cup of coffee as she smiled at him gratefully, “Thank you.”
“Where is Noah?”
“I know you said that your Mom was going to take care of him, but I took him to Rollins place because she owed me. Don’t even argue with me about this. I needed to give him a familiar surrounding. He knows your mom, but he knows Rollins better.” She put her duffle bag into the trunk of his rental before she slid into the passenger’s seat.
“Okay…” He said slowly as he started the car and signaled his way back into traffic. She relaxed into the seat before she buckled up.
“Hey, it’s nothing against you, I just want him to have some routine. I mean...this is a Sunday. Usually him and I are spending it in the park or watching cartoons together. Why did you book us rooms in the Hamptons?”
“I am not driving home drunk from the Hamptons and you are not taking a cab home. I don’t care about it. Just look at it as a mini vacation inside of a vacation,” He glanced at her with a grin.
“You are ridiculous. You know that?”, She answered back.
“Yes,” He glanced at her, “You look beautiful by the way.” He clicked on the radio and smiled widely as the Eurythmics streamed through the radio.
“You like the Eurythmics?” She teased as she glanced at his khakis and bright green polo.
“I’m not saying anything more,” Liv smirked as she pulled her book out of her purse.
Barba shook her shoulder, hearing her deep inhale as she sat up, “Wake up sleepy head,” He smirked as he unbuckled his own seat belt. They had made it in good time somehow. She rubbed her eyes before she pushed her sunglasses all the way up, “This is where we are staying?”
Barba laughed at the way she gaped at the hotel, “Come on. The bellhop will get our bags. Have you ever been spoiled properly?”
“Tucker and I went to Paris, but this is on a completely different level. I mean...wow.” She breathed before she got out of the car. She hoisted her purse onto her shoulder before she tossed her empty coffee cup. She walked in with him, “What time do we have to be at the wedding?”
Barba glanced at his watch, “Wedding starts at four with a cocktail time before the reception starts at six.” He grinned before he walked towards the front desk.
Liv stood in place. She looked at the way people lounged at the bar, sipping martinis at one in the afternoon, or sitting in overstuffed chairs as heels clacked across the marble flooring. She stared at the beautiful detail of the chandelier as she registered the light tones of music from a person playing a piano in the corner of the lobby. She looked at Barba as he walked back towards her, “Here is your key card. Your room is 303 on the third floor. Do you want me to take you there or can you pull your eyes off the chandelier long enough to make it there?” He teased.
“I can find it thank you very much. Speaking of cards,” She dug her wallet out and held his out to him.
“Thank you. I hope you found what you were looking for,” His eyes lingered on her lips before he started to walk with her towards the elevator, “We are both on the third floor.”
“That is always good to know. I hope the wine will be as good as this hotel,” She grinned as they stepped onto the elevator. Barba told the attendant what floor before the doors were dinging shut.
“I don’t even want to tell you the amount they spent on this wedding.” He glanced in her direction as they rode up. He briefly wondered if she had caught him staring at her as she had studied the lobby. He knew that it was risky asking her to attend a wedding with him, but he knew that if he was set up on another date by his friend, he was going to stab his eye out. His friend meant well, but he always managed to pick the wrong type of person for him.
Barba guided her out, with his hand on the small of her back before walking the hall with her to drop her off at her room, “Call me when you are headed down to the lobby?” He questioned.
“Sure,” She smiled before she swiped her key card and stepped into her room, letting the door shut behind her. She looked at her dress hanging in her closet with her bags sitting by the dresser. These people were good. She set her purse atop her bed. She walked to the bathroom, running her fingers over the fluffy towels. She was looking forward to taking a hot bath tomorrow before they left.
She could still feel Barba’s hand on her lower back. She glanced in the mirror and realized how red her cheeks were. She turned on the cold water, running her wrists under the water. She knew how he felt about her. It was one thing that she had learned well and loved about her job, the fact that she could read people so easily. She was grateful for that because it taught her who to cut out and who to keep in her life.
She turned off the water, running the towel over her wrists before she walked back out to room. She dug her curling iron out, plugging it in before she turned on her spotify account. She hit play on her phone and smiled as Beyonce started to play. She always felt more fierce whenever she played her. She grabbed her makeup bag before she started to get ready for the night.
Chapter 3: Stunned Silence
So, originally, I was going to wait until Thursday to post this chapter, and instead I am in such a great mood, that I decided to post it today. Thank you SO much to everyone who has been leaving Kudos/Comments! It really warms my heart and I really appreciate the encouragement/love! <3
Olivia found herself feeling nervous as she slid the silver dew drop earrings in. She ran her fingers over the pleats near her shoulder. She felt ridiculous. She took a deep breath before she touched up her crimson colored lipstick. She couldn’t remember the last time she had worn a shade so red. She checked her hair before she grabbed her black clutch, sliding the key card and phone in, before she walked out to the elevator and hit the down button. She glanced around. She felt like a queen, but wished that the nerves in her stomach would stop getting stronger.
She stepped in, asking for the lobby. She smiled to herself as she caught the attendant do a double take as she checked out her reflection in the silver doors. She was happy that the dress just barely skimmed the floor, cinched perfectly at the waist and still left a lot to the imagination. At least the shock of the grandeur had worn off. Now she could only imagine how fancy the wedding would be. She thanked the attendant before she walked into the lobby. She felt naked as she walked towards Barba. She had spotted him before he saw her. She placed her clutch on the bar, draping her body onto the counter, “I would love a glass of shiraz,” She smiled.
Rafael glanced at her before he really looked at her. His glass of scotch hovered in front of his lips. He tried to think of something to say, but nothing came out. He stepped back, placing his hand on her arm, drinking her in, “Olivia...wow...you look amazing,” He finally got out.
“You told me the Hamptons, so I got a dress that would suit the occasion. You don’t look so bad yourself Barba.” She ran her fingers down his tie as she tilted her head with a playful smile on her lips as looked at him, “Cat got your tongue?” She smirked.
“I just...you look beautiful Olivia.” He smiled, “By the way you are going to want to call me Rafael. If you call me Baraba all night long, they might suspect you as being my friend and not my girlfriend. Lawyers are sharks,” He winked.
“Well Rafael,” She brought her glass of wine to her lips, liking the way his name rolled off her tongue, “You are going to have to be able to function tonight if you want people to think we are a couple. You can’t act like this is the first time that you have seen me dressed up.” She pointed out before she set her glass down.
“Okay Liv. Anyway, our towne car is here. Are you ready to go?” He drained the rest of his scotch, setting the empty glass on the bar and leaving enough cash for both of their drinks as well as a tip.
“You got us a towne car?!” Liv questioned incredulously before she drained the rest of her own glass.
“No, Rick sent it over for us. He is the one getting married and his soon to be wife’s name is Mauve.” He lead her out with his hand on her lower back again. He enjoyed the way the fabric was so soft under his fingers.
“Mauve? Are you kidding me?! What are they? A power couple?”
“Yep,” He nodded, “The only thing that is super weird about this is that they are actually in love. I knew that Rick was in love with her during our entire time in Law School, but it was always missed connections with the both of them. That’s why they are getting married now.”
Olivia thanked the driver before she slid in, “Okay...I really need to know this. How much is this wedding costing them? I mean are they sending everyone towne cars?”
“No, just a select few. And let me put it to you this way, basically, you would be able to cover two years of Noah’s college tuition.”
“Oh my god! That is ridiculous!” She felt her shock scrunch her face up.
“Rick is old blood. They make your month’s salary in eight hours. I don’t know what I would do with that kind of money,” Barba said honestly as he glanced out the window so he would stop staring at Liv.
“Well….thank you for buying me this beautiful dress,” She smiled, patting his hand.
Rafael twisted his palm upwards and caught her hand in his, intertwining their fingers before he smiled, “It’s money well spent. Like I said, you deserve to be spoiled.” He felt the car come to a stop outside of the church. He let the driver open the door, tipping him, before he helped Liv out of the car.
“Next time you ask me to a wedding, I am going to say no,” She remarked as they walked up the cement steps. She swore that everything was expending a disgusting amount of money that she would have found better use for, but felt guilty for being so harsh towards people that she didn't even know. She wrapped her arm around Rafael’s as they headed towards their seats.
Liv leaned towards Rafael slightly as the server reached around her, taking her empty plate before walked away. He could smell the light flowery scent on her skin and wanted to bury his nose where her shoulder and neck met. Liv glanced at him, a small smile on her face, but she said nothing as she drank more champagne. She enjoyed the way the bitterly sweet bubbles slid over her tongue. She tapped her foot along to Nat King Cole’s soothing tone. The song L-O-V-E always made her feel so light. She felt her head get even lighter as she felt his fingers graze her back as she felt him rest his arm on the back of her chair.
“Rick!” Rafael smiled as he stood. He clapped his friend on the back before he hugged him, “It’s about damn time that you two tied the knot!”
“I have only been waiting for twenty years,” He smirked before he did a double take, “And who is this beautiful woman?” He questioned boisterously as he looked at Olivia.
“This is Olivia, my girlfriend.” Rafael declared proudly.
Liv felt her stomach clench at the word girlfriend before she stood. She felt Barba slid his arm around her waist, pulling her close as she leaned into him. She held her hand out, “It’s very nice to meet you.” She smiled even wider when she felt Barba's lips graze her cheek.
Rick grinned, “Are you kidding? It’s so nice meeting you! I wondered if this old dog was ever going to let me meet you. I mean, he talks so much about you that I thought you were a figment of his imagination because I never got to meet you.”
Liv felt her eyes widen but quickly recovered before she patted his chest, “Rafa and I work so much that it’s hard for us to find time to escape the city.” She smiled as she glanced at him. She barely contained her smirk as she watched the way a red blush climbed up the back of his neck.
“Well, what a shame. We have a beach house that you two should come and stay at for a weekend,” Rick smiled as Liv rested her head on Barba’s shoulder.
“We would love that,” Barba grinned.
“How did you two meet?” Rick questioned as Mauve walked over to him.
Liv felt his arm tighten around her waist, “Accidental of course. She was leaving a courtroom and I spilled my cup of coffee on her. I was lucky that it had cooled off by that time.” He grinned.
Mauve slid her arm around Rick, leaning into him and gave him a deep kiss. She wiped her lipstick off his mouth, “You must be the infamous Olivia Benson. I have been dying to meet you!” She chirped happily, "I mean, I can't believe you two have been dating for almost a year and he never brought you around!"
“Apparently everyone has,” Liv smirked, glancing at Barba, “You dress is beautiful. Everything is so beautiful,” She smiled. She felt his fingers tighten around her hip. She wondered just how much he had talked about her to everyone.
“Thank you! I know we just met seconds ago, but I can’t find my bridesmaids and I really need to go to the bathroom. Would it be too much of me to ask you hold my dress?” She questioned.
“Absolutely not! I need to touch up my lipstick anyways!” She smiled. She pecked Rafael’s cheek, leaving her lipstick there,before she grabbed her clutch and walked off with Mauve.
“How the hell your ugly ass got her will be a mystery for me,” Rick smirked as Rafael punched him in the shoulder.
"Oh you shut the hell up," He smirked as he watched Liv walk away. A sight he never got sick of, but something that always pained him.
Liv held her dress up from the other side of the stall wall. She looked around and hoped that she was convincing enough, “How did you get the name Mauve?” Liv asked lightly as she looked around again. She could hear the music through the closed door still. She was shocked that it wasn’t all classical music. She assumed that is all that would play, given that this was such a classy wedding.
“My parents have a sick sense of humor. They thought it would be hilarious to give a future lawyer a name like that,” She answered teasingly before she pulled her dress back and stepped out after flushing the toilet., “Actually my mom’s favorite color is purple and she just wanted me to have a name that was unique,” She grinned.
Liv laughed lightly as she looked at her, “You’re funny. I can see why Rick loves you.”
“You’re smart and drive Rafi slightly crazy. I can see why he loves you,” She shot back as she washed her hands.
Liv’s tube of lipstick hovered in front of her lips as she looked at her, “Rafael doesn’t love me.” She said bluntly.
“You clearly don’t see what I see. I have known him for half my life. I have seen him in relationship after relationship. If there is one thing that I am sure of, I have never seen him look at another person the way that he looks at you. That is something I am not saying lightly. I love Rafi like a brother. Please, all I ask is that you don’t break his heart.” She leaned against the counter as she crossed her arms.
Liv turned back to the mirror, and started touching up her lipstick. She looked at herself. She knew that Barba liked her. She didn’t know it was love. She rolled her lips together before she slid the cover back on and turned to her, “I don’t plan on breaking his heart,” She said gently.
“Thank you,” Mauve smiled, “Here,” She said as she fixed a slight smudge of Liv’s lipstick, “I don’t know what it is about you, but I feel comfortable around you already. We better return to the party before the guests think I have run off,” She winked as she headed out.
“Yeah,” Liv said slowly, “I will be out in a moment. I have to use the bathroom myself,” She smiled before she disappeared into a stall.
Rafael kept glancing at the door to see Liv come back. He grabbed his scotch, tossing the rest back before he returned to his conversation with Rick, “How did you finally get Mauve to settle?”
“Settle? I am a catch!” He laughed, “Actually, she called me for some advice on a case and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I felt like I was going to explode if I didn’t tell her how I felt. I hated seeing her with other men and not only that, but my timing was finally right.” He grinned.
Rafael saw Rick visibly perk up as Mauve walked towards them, “Speaking of which.” He smiled and pulled Mauve into a hug, “I am so happy for you two.”
“I am happy for you. Have you told Olivia that you love her?” She questioned bluntly.
Rafael slightly adjusted his tie as he looked at her, “No, I haven’t,” He admitted.
“Well that explains why she was so shocked when I told her that you love her,” Mauve smirked.
“You did what?!” He sputtered. He could feel the heat of embarrassment in his cheeks. He hadn't even told Olivia yet that he liked her. Now Mauve had thrown love into the mix.
“I told her the truth.” She looked at him intently, “Please, you make it so blatantly obvious that I am shocked she hasn’t picked up on it. Let me know when you both have a weekend off and you two can have the keys for the beach house,” Mauve winked.
“That is not as easy as it sounds.”
“Yes it is. You both can push your case work onto other lawyers. Enjoy a romantic weekend together.”
“Olivia is a lieutenant and has a son,” Barba grabbed a glass of champagne from a passing waiter, taking a healthy swing.
“Since when do you like kids?” Rick questioned in shock.
"You are dating a cop?" Mauve grinned, "I always knew you had a thing for handcuffs," She smirked.
“ Yes, I am dating a cop. I am going to ignore that handcuff remark and I love Noah.”
“As do I,” Liv smiled as she took his hand in her own, “I adopted him when he was just a baby, but do you mind if I pull him away, Etta James is my favorite and I would love to dance with him.” She looked up, giving him a genuine smile as she leaned her body into his.
“Absolutely. I have his favorite song coming on later. Trust me when I say you aren’t going to want to miss it,” Rick smirked.
“Thanks,” Barba smiled before leading Liv onto the dance floor and pulled her close . He intertwined their fingers as they danced along slowly as Etta James sang about having the love she has been looking for all her life.
“Why are you so tense Rafael?” She questioned as she cocked her head to the side. She could feel her hair coming loose but she didn’t care. She had seen how red his cheeks had been after he finished a flute of champagne in mere seconds.
“Rick and Mauve mean well, but sometimes they can be so damn nosy,” He said honestly. He felt grateful that she hadn't brought up the comment that Mauve had made to him about love.
She laughed, “Remember, this was your idea not mine. Plus, Mauve is funny. She’s sweet. She fixed my lipstick when she realized it was messed up instead of just letting me walk out here.
“That sounds like her,” He murmured as he felt as though everyone in the room was starting to disappear as he pulled her even closer, "Mauve has always been that kind of person."
“I like her. You are actually a really-” Liv’s words were swallowed as Barba covered her mouth with his own. Rafael felt her tense up before he felt her body mold to his. He loved how warm and pliable her mouth was. Liv could taste just a hint of coffee on his tongue as she invited him in. Coffee was something that she would forever associate with him.
Barba cradled the back of her head as he felt her tongue crash against his. Liv felt his hand blossom across her lower back. She knew how inappropriate this was, but she knew she was sick of hiding her feelings for him as well. Barba could feel his lungs burning as he finally pulled away, with a heaving chest.
Liv felt her own chest heaving as she looked at him. She felt herself reach out as she wiped her own lipstick off his lower lip with the pad of her thumb. She realized where they were and looked around. She felt grateful that no one was looking at them. Everyone was so wrapped up in their own relationship that they didn’t care about what just happened. She pulled her hand back as she felt her cheeks fill with heat, “Excuse me,” She murmured and walked away, heading towards the bathroom.
Liv felt her stomach churning. This was everything that she had wanted for longer than she wanted to admit. She felt like an asshole. She knew that she was being an asshole, but she also knew that she had never let someone in the way she had let him. After Elliott had let her down, she was cautious about every relationship after that. She felt Barba's hand on her back and could still taste him on her tongue. She wanted to go back to him, but couldn't bring herself to do just that.
Barba stayed glued to the floor as he watched her body disappear into the crowd. He wanted to chase after her but his feet felt tacked to the floor. He couldn’t believe what he just did. Let alone the fact that he liked it even more than he thought possible. His hands felt cold without her heat and he felt scared as to how to react to this. This was not what he planned to do.
Liv pushed the bathroom door open harder than she meant to, and stared at her reflection hard. She ignored the looks from the people that were already in there. She noticed how her hair was falling out even more. She saw how smeared her lipstick was and how flushed her cheeks were. She wet a paper towel so she could wipe it off before it started to stain her skin. She glanced at the door, as two extremely drunk and giggly girls burst through the door.
“Wow! You are sooooooo beautiful!” The blonde one slurred as she touched Olivia’s shoulder.
“Thanks,” She mumbled as she worked on getting the lipstick off her face, deciding against putting more on. She watched as they disappeared into the same stall, probably helping each other as she took a deep, even, calming breath. She smiled tightly to herself before she tossed the towel into the trash and walked back out, heading to the bar. She ordered two shots of tequila, downing both within seconds.
This was the last thing that she had ever expected herself to do. She had kissed Rafael Barba back. She ordered two more shots with a lime this time. She downed both and sucked the lime, placing the used citrus wedge in one of the glasses before she stepped back, not feeling as sober. She nearly jumped out of her skin as she felt a hand on her lower back. She looked at Barba not sure what to say but noticed that her lipstick was gone from his lips as well.
“I...I am so sorry...I don’t know what came over. I am sorry if you did not want that,” He murmured to her. He didn’t step closer to her, “Do you want something to drink?”
“I probably shouldn’t. I just had four shots of tequila.” She admitted as she felt her stomach fall out of her body as she looked over at Rick and Mauve dancing. They really were a beautiful couple. She really was happy for them, but all she wanted to do was process her feelings.
Barba ordered two double scotches. Liv watched as he downed one after the other, “Should we go?”
“That is up to you,” He answered as the music faded away and Rick’s voice started to come through the speakers.
“I know you are out there somewhere Barba," Rick's eyes grazed the crowd before he found his best friend, "Your favorite song is about to play after I am done talking. I just want to say a quick thank you to you for always having faith in me every time that I wanted to give up on Mauve. You gave me hope. I wish you could have been my best man, but you are just as much of a workaholic as I am. Now, Barba, as my wedding gift, please show us all how well you can Rumba,” Rick smiled widely as he held his drink up.
Liv felt every single eye in the room on her as Barba grabbed a champagne flutes and raised it as toast as well before Barba tossed his back, “He wants me to do a ballroom dance. He has been obsessed with me performing ever since he found out I knew how to dance,” He informed Liv rapidly, “Just follow my lead. Okay?” He said as he took her full glass, placing it on the bar before he lead her to the dance floor with a flourish which drew a loud uproar of applause. Liv couldn't even remember the fact that she had been handed a flute of champagne as he lead her to the center of the floor. All she could focus on the fact was that this man before her knew how to ballroom dance.
“Barba, I do not know how dance like that,” She hissed as he set her up with a strong frame.
“I know. Just follow my lead. Trust me,” He commanded soothingly as the strong latin beat started to flow from the speakers, “I got you.” He murmured gently as his intense gaze met hers.
He straightened Liv, as he pushed his hand against her spine. He pulled her close, putting his leg between hers as their hips pressed tightly together. He watched as Liv let a smile spread across her face. He started to lead her around the dance floor in a wide circle.
He saw her nose twitch, noting her nervousness. He started to sing along to the song in Spanish lowly as he twisted her hips and spun her out before he pulled her back in. He followed the basic steps of the Rumba as the trumpets blared through the speaker. He knew that their steps were off by half a beat, but he didn't care, he had to go at a pace that she could follow. He felt her body become looser in his hands as the song carried on. He pulled her closer and instructed her to do the cha-cha steps as he spun her out again. He grabbed her hand before he cha-chaed around her, snapping his fingers on his free hand.
He knew the song was starting to come near to an end as he pulled her back, their hips crashing into each other, as he stared intensely into her eyes once more. He hooked his hand behind her left knee before he fluidly pulled her knee up, draping it across his hip as he dipped her. He was breathing heavily as he slowly pulled her up, fighting the urge to kiss her again. He slowly turned her out and bowed as the audience erupted into a thundering applause.
Liv felt her heart racing as she bowed with Barba again. She kept her smile plastered to her face before he lead her off the dance floor back to their table. He loosened his tie completely and pulled it off. He glanced at her as he pulled out her chair for her, watching her sit down. Liv watched as the dance floor flooded with people again.
She drank some of her water as she glanced up at him, “You know how to ballroom dance.” She stated.
“My abuelita decided it was better for me to dance versus joining a gang. Mi Mama agreed with her. “ He answered plainly, as if it wasn’t a big deal.
Liv nodded, raking her teeth over her bottom lip, “Can we head back to the hotel?”
Chapter 4: Muted Nerves
Liv stood closer than normal to Barba. She could feel the heat radiating from his body. She didn’t know what to say. She knew tonight was going to be interesting, but she wasn’t quiet expecting it to be like this. She let her heels dangle from the tips of her fingers as she stood two inches shorter than him. She could still feel his lips on hers and his arms hugging her tighter to his body. She could still see the burning intensity that his eyes held for her all day. She felt as though she was in a heavy haze.
She felt herself being pulled out of her thoughts as she felt his hand on her lower back as she realized they were on the third floor. She let herself be lead to her room. She stopped, digging her key card out of her clutch, and opened her door before she finally made eye contact. She realized how messy his hair was. She briefly wondered if that was her fault or his own.
“Olivia,” He articulated heavily as he took a deep breath, “Look what happened back there? I didn’t-”
Benson cut him off with the wave of her hand, “Relax. We are both adults. You didn’t force yourself on me and we both have been drinking.” she said evenly. She watched his face, but for the first time in a while, she wasn’t able to read it.
“No, yeah. You are right. I am in room 309. If I am not down in the lobby by ten tomorrow, can you come and get me? I opted for late check out but I figured you might want to get a jump on the traffic, while also having the option to sleep in if you wanted to," He dragged his fingers through his hair, making it look even more disheveled.
“Sounds good,” She smiled then added, “Thank you for the amazing dance. I, uh never would have expected that out of you.”
“I had a really good partner,” He shot back before turning and heading to his own room. He shoved one hand into his pocket before he pulled his own room key out of his pocket.
She watched the way he moved before she shut the door behind herself. She sighed heavily, dropping her shoes before she headed towards the bed. She dull thud that echoed in her room sounded deafening. She pulled the bobby pins out one by one, feeling her hair fall onto her shoulders in sections before she pulled the earrings out, leaving them on the bed. She couldn’t stop thinking about what Mauve had said to her. She chewed at her lip. She had felt something in her stomach that she hadn’t felt in a really long time. Butterflies. She remembered the last time that she felt this. It was longer than she wanted to admit.
She stood, pacing around her room. Last time she had entered a relationship with an ADA it had burned her. Losing David had hurt more than she wanted to admit. She took a deep breath and ran her fingers through her hair. Not only that, but she was a Lieutenant. The last thing she wanted was to lose the most ferocious ADA she had ever had. She stared at the ceiling wanting to scream. She was a moron for agreeing to this. She walked to the mirror and stared at herself. Yes, there was a lot to lose but she wasn’t sure if she was willing to lose love again, especially since it was mutual, because of her overthinking everything. She grabbed her keycard and pulled open her door. She knew she was just sober enough to make this decision.
She half walked-half ran down the hall before she rapidly knocked on Barba’s door. She looked at him, registering his shock as he stared at her, “How long have you been in love with me?” She asked bluntly, nudging the door open,letting it shut behind them as she felt his body radiate heat.
“The day I realized I was in love with you was the day before you told me you were sleeping with Ed. I wanted to shoot him. But I had to pull back. That is one of the few regrets I have ever had in my life. Not telling you the truth sooner. Kissing you. Dancing with you. Feeling you respond to my body? I will never regret any of that,” He said boldly as he pressed her body against his door, “I won’t regret this,” He murmured before he kissed her passionately.
Liv pulled him even closer, feeling his jacket bunch beneath her hands. She could smell his subtle cologne, taste the scotch, and feel her body ignite with desire. Their tongues met as she felt him cup her face. He pulled her backwards towards his bed as he turned their bodies, he pulled away, tilting her chin upwards as he kissed down her neck, tasting the salt as he heard her sharp inhale as kissed a sensitive spot, just below her chin hungrily. He felt her playing with the hair at the nape of his neck.
They both pulled back, breathless, “I have been struggling not to kiss you again all night,” Barba admitted as he guided her to his bed, sitting her down and stood between her legs, “I wanted to take you back to my room the moment you popped up next to me at the bar. “ He ran his thumb over her bottom lip, watching the way her eyes ignited with desire, "I just want to show you how how sexy and how much of a woman that I see you as.
Liv turned her head, holding his hand in place, as she ran the tip of her tongue over the pad of his thumb. He felt his pants grow tighter around his hips as he pulled her back up. He felt her fingers working the buttons on his shirt as their lips met again, "Then shut up and show me."
He pulled the zipper down on her dress slowly. Liv shivered as she felt his fingers dance down her back. Rafael stepped backwards, drinking her in as she stood, letting her dress fall to the floor. He saw all the scars breathing before him, that he had only seen in pictures before. He stared at the way her black panties sat on her hips. He stared at the way that her breathing was even, despite the fact that he could see the desire alight in her eyes.
He stepped forward towards her, kissing her bare shoulder, as his hand trailed down her back. He held her close, working his way up her neck, memorizing the sound she made as he finally found her lips. He tasted her, felt her, heard her. He kissed her with passion and lust as he pulled her flush to his body, feeling her push his tuxedo jacket off her shoulders. He kissed her deeper as he ripped his shirt off, hearing some of the buttons hitting various things in the room. She gasped, before laughing slightly, "Rafael! You are going to have to pay for that!" She smirked as he kissed the tips of her fingers.
"I don't care," He smirked as he kissed her deeply.
He reveled in the feeling of their skin touching before he pulled her onto the bed. He fluttered kisses of her collar bones as he unhooked her bra. He groaned grew even harder when he felt her running his his hand up and down his erection over his pants. He took a deep breath, before he regained his thought process and rolled on top of her, playing with the band on her panties before he slip his hand to her core, gently rubbing her clit. He watched the way her eyes squeezed shut, as her mouth formed the perfect little O. He watched the way her hands gripped the sheet even tighter as he slipped his fingers into her fold. He knew that he was doing it right for her.
“Rafa!” She hissed as she felt his finger enter her. She felt clumsy before they found their pace. She felt his hot breath dance across her skin with every pant. She groaned lowly as she gripped the sheets in her hands. She pressed her hips upwards, gasping in pleasure. She couldn't remember the last time that she had gotten this worked up. She knew that his attention to detail would make him an even better love maker. This was not something that she minded.
Barba couldn’t believe how right this felt, or how perfect this was. He ran his other hand down the side of her body as he felt the swell of her hip. He dipped his head, raking his teeth over her hip before he finally pulled her panties down, delving his tongue into her folds. He heard her groan before he felt her fingers tugging his hair. It felt amazing.
"Oh God! Rafi!" She whimpered, "I am so close!,"
He took that as his cue, pulling down his own pants and feeling relief from the pressure. He kicked his pants off, followed by his boxers, kissing her with passion as he finally slid into her. He held her hips, kissing her neck, hearing her sigh. He felt her nails dig into his shoulder. Liv wrapped her legs around him, feeling him deeper in her. She couldn't remember the last time that she had, had sex this good. She bit his shoulder. He had worked her up so good that she felt her stomach clench.
"Rafael!" She screamed as she pressed her hips flush to his. He didn't last that much longer after her. Working her up had only built up his desire for her.
He groaned as he relaxed atop her. He caught his breath before he pushed her bangs out of her eyes. He smiled, kissing her sweetly and slowly before he wrapped himself around her, gently kissing her shoulder, “I have been waiting so long for that,” He murmured.
Liv turned in his arms, running her fingers through his hair, “I am sorry I am such an idiot when it comes to reacting sometimes.”
“Liv, we are both in positions where we shouldn’t be doing this. I know you got burned when Haden had to leave you. I won’t burn you. I am not like him,” He murmured.
Liv searched his face, “How did you know about that?” She asked distractedly as she felt his fingers run back and forth over her hip.
“Because Haden confided in me one night after we had been drinking.” He answered honestly.
Liv took a deep breath, trying to focus on him, “Let’s get some sleep,” She murmured as she moved to leave.
“No,” He said and pulled her close, “Stay here tonight. I don’t know when the next time will be when I get to hold you like this and this is what I have wanted more than anything,” He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, giving her a short, but sweet kiss.
Liv brought her forehead to his, “Okay,” She murmured before she curled her body into his.
Barba signaled a lane change before he slid his hand back onto her thigh. He liked the heat that radiated from her skin. They had barely made their late check out. He didn’t want this day to come to an end but he knew that she wanted to spend time with Noah. He knew that he could see her anytime that he wanted. He did acknowledge that now everything would be different.
Liv laughed softly, "You better not get used to keeping your hand there sir," She pushed her sunglasses up her head, "This morning was nice," She commented as she watched a smile spread across his face.
"We almost missed check out," He laughed.
She shrugged, "I am not complaining!"
Rafael slowed to a stop at a red light and leaned over, kissing her slowly. Liv grazed her knuckles over his cheek, before pulling back, "Okay, so...uhm..I do want to ask...how long did you know about David Haden and I?" She questioned as she shift in her seat to look at him.
Barba squeezed the wheel slightly, "Well, after he resigned, I took him out for drinks. We were talking and he just kept having drink after drink. He told me about you. He said that he regretted the fact that he was taking the project innocence, but knew that he had to do it so that way he could never jeopardize your career again. I also wondered who in the hell could possibly made Haden resign?" He glanced at her, "I understand now."
Liv took a deep breath, "I never suspected that, that was the reason that he left. Don't you ever leave your career because of me." She said seriously as she stared straight ahead.
He bit his lip, "I know. Look, I do want to tell you this, I don't regret these past couple of days. If I would have know that asking you to help me out to avoid a date, I would have asked you way sooner. I know this sounds crass, but I am happy David Haden chose his career."
She laughed, "Who says I would have said yes?" She felt her stomach clench with slight nerves.
"How could you resist me?" He smirked.
"Easily." She shot back.
"Ouch my hear!" He laughed.
"Whatever. Look. I did have fun, but we are going to have to keep everything that is going on between us, casual," She said softly.
"Okay," He nodded, "What are we going to do about us?" He asked softly, not noticing that his hand was squeezing the steering wheel tighter.
"We play it by ear. Figure it out and go from there. We aren't defined and if we disclose, I loose the best damn district attorney that I have ever had before," She said honestly, "I don't rush things and neither do you," She said honestly as she felt the car coming to a stop. She looked up at her apartment building. How could they have possibly gotten back already. She bit her lower lip, wondering when the last time it was that she had lost track of time, "Noah is waiting for me," She said softly.
"Would you like for me to help you carry you stuff up?" He questioned.
"No...I don't think that I would be able to make it to Rollins to pick up Noah," She said with a soft smile. She took a deep breath, getting out of the car, and heard Rafael doing the same thing. She leaned against the car, pulled her sunglasses off of the top of her head as she leaned against the car.
Rafael stood in front of her, his hands on her hips, "When can I spend time with you next?" He tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. He rested his hands on her hips.
"We can play it by ear," She smiled and draped her arms over his shoulders, "How about we say goodbye for now and you let me know when you get home safely?" She quipped.
"That sounds perfect to me Lieutenant," He smiled before he leaned down, pressing his lips to hers, pulling her close. Liv pressed closer to him, kissing him deeper. She felt her body relax against him. This was the most perfect kiss. There was so much that felt right about this. There wasn't hesitance. Instead, there was trust, and comfort and something else that she couldn't quite put her finger on it. She pulled away slowly, licking her lips as she stepped around him, she hoisted purse onto her shoulder, draping her duffel bag strap across her body before she draped her dress over her arm.
Rafael leaned against the car, hands in his pocket. He wasn't sure where this was going, or what the future held for them, but he knew he was excited for something that was outside. He raised his hand as he watched her. He knew that something that he could do was wait. He would give her all the time that she needed. He watched her until she stepped into the elevator. He wondered how much was going to change, but one thing that he hoped for was that this was going to be the beginning of the end in the best way possible.
Thank you so much for reading my fic! If you have any requests, drop them in the comment box! I love to take prompts! (: