Olivia sighed as her eyes fell on Noah’s picture on her desk. She was stuck at work while he had chicken pox and at home with Lucy. She had checked on him throughout the day and he was in good spirits but her motherly guilt was at play and all she just wanted was to be at home with him. Instead she was stuck in the middle of a gruelling case with the new chief riding her. It was day five of rashes appearing but Noah was coping well enough and assured her that he was fine and that she should be at work. She hoped that the chicken pox wouldn’t set off his history of respiratory infections.
Rafael was finishing off another chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Spanish edition when Noah started drifted off to sleep. Noah had wanted to read the Harry Potter but specifically asked to read it in Spanish with Rafael. He and Olivia hadn’t spoken since the verdict of Wheatley’s trial so they have been doing it through FaceTime after school or at night time when Liv wasn’t home. Noah didn’t know the specifics but he knew something had shifted between his Mom and Uncle Rafa. Lucy had come into the room to check in on them and give Rafael a heads up.
“She’s on her way home.” Rafael nodded and dropped a kiss to Noah’s head before standing to his feet.
“Thanks Luc. I’m sorry if this puts you in an awkward position.”
“It’s okay. I mean I don’t lie to her. If she asks me I would tell her straight. I think she knows. You mean the world Noah and she would never take you away from him no matter what you guys are in the middle of. She’s not that person.” Rafael nodded.
Whilst Lucy was never given the low down, she put the pieces together. Elliot was her old partner. Wheatley’s case was high profile therefore she knew that Rafael was representing Wheatley. That it would have caused a ripple in their friendship. Lucy had only met Elliot Stabler once and that was enough for her. She wasn’t a fan.
Olivia had just gotten out of her car when she recognised the back of his head. Even without seeing his face she’d know that stance anywhere. Admittedly he didn’t walk with the same swagger as he used to but she assumed that had more to do with general location. She guessed he had just left her place. To his credit, despite where they were Noah never suffered the loss of him, his time nor devotion. She knew that he navigated his visits with Noah through Lucy. Noah was allowed to FaceTime Uncle Rafa anytime without permission which was something that was in place from when he first left New York. She knew that Noah needed a male figure in his life that he can confide in. Noah was always naturally drawn to Rafael even before he was baptised and officially acquired him as his godfather. Liv trusted Rafael with Noah implicitly. She missed him. She missed talking to him. She missed having him in her corner. But she also knew they were where they were because she made it that way. The look on his face as she told him that she felt betrayed by him was etched in her heart. The hurt was flashed before his eyes which was followed by resolute and resignation. He had finally stopped reaching out to her.
“Hey Luce, Noah asleep?”
“Yeah, not long though.” She answered. Olivia went into Noah’s room to check on him and saw the Harry Potter book by his bedside. She ran her fingers to his curls and dropped a kiss to his head before pulling his covers to his chin.
“Thanks for pulling the long hours Luc. It’s been madness,”
“No problem. He’s been asleep a lot and wants for very little.”
“Is he breathing okay?”
“Yeah, I asked him if he wanted the nebuliser but he said he felt okay for now.”
“It’s not his favourite,”
“When he was little he would only sit still with the nebuliser if Uncle Rafa would sing to him,”
“I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.” Lucy replied with a smile.
“I’m sure he remembers and it’s not like Noah wouldn’t remind him.” Lucy knew that was her way of saying that she knew that Rafael had been.
“Noah had FaceTimed him after it was confirmed he had chicken pox. When he realised you were called in on a high profiled case he’s been here. Every day. When he first came Noah wouldn’t let him go. It was the first time he’d physically seen him since Christmas so he was quite reluctant to part with him. He made him promise to come again the following day. He’s been working out of the office since. He stays with Noah throughout the day, makes his calls when he’s asleep. He’s the one who puts socks on his hands so he wouldn’t scratch his face. He’s made him soup and other things Noah likes to eat just to make sure he gets food in him.” She had seen the food and assumed he had just been dropping them off. She never once considered he’d dropped everything to stay with her son because she couldn’t, but she should have known.
Once Lucy had left for the evening she had taken a shower and lay beside Noah who curled into her arms as he buried his face into her shoulder without awakening. Olivia picked up her phone and opened a text message box,
“Thank you,” was all she could manage unable to form into words from all the things on her head and all the things in her heart. Surprised to see her name pop up on his screen Rafael opened her message.
“Anything for Noah,” his reply came, succinct and close ended. As though acknowledging that nothing was different between them. That whatever betrayal she felt he inflicted wasn’t diminished by his actions towards Noah. And they weren’t meant to. Noah was separate. That was always unspoken. She couldn’t help but feel the disassociation from his reply making it clear that he wasn’t doing anything for her, but for Noah. Admittedly that stung, but she understood. To him, he was just trying to protect her and what hurt him was that she questioned that as though they had shared nothing.
On day seven of chickenpox Noah’s respiratory issues took a sudden turn. He was fine when Liv had left in the morning and by mid morning Rafael had taken him to emergency with Lucy in tow trying to call Olivia who was in interrogation. Rafael had asked Lucy to call Amanda when she couldn’t reach Olivia. Thankfully as Noah’s godfather he was an emergency and authorised contact therefore he was able to stay with Noah as they treated him. Rafael knew the ins and outs of Noah’s medical history having been present for all of his medical emergencies and hospital visits.
“Liv, we need to go to Mercy. It’s Noah.” Amanda said to her friend as she came out of interrogation. Olivia dropped the cup of water she was holding in her hand.
“Lucy said Rafael got them in hospital in time. He’s with him now as they check him. He’ll be okay Liv. Come on, I’ll drive.” Amanda couldn’t offer her any more reassurances as that’s all Lucy was able to tell her. Amanda suspected if it weren’t for Rafael’s quick thinking there would have been more cause for panic.
Once Olivia had arrived at the hospital she was led to Noah’s room. There he was hooked up to breathing tubes whilst he was snuggled into Rafael’s arms clinging tightly to her best friend’s shirt as he sang to him in Spanish whilst his fingers weaved soothingly through his curls. From Rafael’s somewhat disheveled appearance she knew it was a rough morning. She would never be able to express her gratitude and regret filled her for where they were. Rafael looked up to see her standing by the door. Rafael tried to detangling himself from Noah who protested.
“Honey, Mami is here.” He whispered softly as he beckoned for her to take his place. Olivia walked over to where he was as he whispered softly into Noah’s ear.
“Yo también te amo,” Noah mumbled unconsciously. Rafael kissed the top of Noah’s head before releasing him so Olivia could sit where he was sitting. Olivia gathered Noah in her arms.
“Hey Sweet Boy, Mama’s here.” She whispered as Noah wrapped his arms around her.
“Hi Mama,” he replied as his eyes remained closed.
“He’s stable. The doctor will be back shortly to give you the run down. He’s fine. Exhausted but he’s okay.” Rafael said trying to reassure her.
“Thank you Rafael.”
“Anything for Noah,” he replied before heading out of Noah’s room to give her some time with him.
“Rafa,” he heard her say softly, but softly enough that he could pretend to not have heard it.
Truth was he was hurt and that hurt had finally turned into disappointment of what little worth their friendship ended up holding. He wasn’t quite sure how to carry himself with her and that had never been an issue. But whether she admitted to it or not, Stabler coming back has made things more difficult for them. He didn’t understand why all of a sudden it was one or the other. Why she was incapable of having anyone else but Stabler the moment he returned. That part he resented.
They had finally started to gain some ground after his return, after Davies, but the moment Stabler came back she became aloof, distant and even dismissive. Gone were spaghetti nights and impromptu drinks at Forlini’s. He knew by taking on Wheatley their friendship would take a hit but he didn’t expect the accusation of betrayal or unwillingness to see the bigger picture. It was all about Stabler. That part he couldn’t and wouldn’t reconcile. She watched as he walked out of the room without turning back. She knew he heard her and she couldn’t quite blame him for not wanting to address her. She had behaved poorly and she had been so incredibly unfair to him that she deserved him keeping her at arms length. Especially as he continued to love and care for her son despite where they were at.
When the doctor had arrived he had given her a run down. That Noah would be okay. He noted that if it wasn’t for Rafael’s quick action it could have ended differently. She knew if Rafael hadn’t been by Noah’s bedside literally holding him it would have been easy to miss the decline and quick change in his breathing. That life was that fragile and he had saved the most important being in her life. How grateful she would always be.
She dropped Lucy a message to tell her the room number and that she could come in. She would have come out to tell her but she wasn’t ready to leave Noah. She gave Amanda an update who couldn’t stay as she had to go back to the precinct, especially as Liv would not be able to return.
“He’s okay.” Olivia assured the young girl who looked worried. Rafael had gone to check on Lucy the moment he left the room to reassure her that Noah was okay. That he would be fine. He had spent the first five minutes holding Lucy trying to comfort her knowing how frightened she was.
“It all happened so fast. One minute he was singing to Noah and all of a sudden Rafael had him in his arms telling me we had to go to the hospital. He drove like a mad man on the way here. Liv if he wasn’t in the room with Noah. I could have missed it.” Lucy said as she began to cry,
“But he was Lucy. This wasn’t on you. I could have been home and missed it too. We can only be grateful that in that moment he wasn’t alone. That Rafael was with him.”
“Liv, he has been from the moment Noah got chickenpox and has only left his side when you were on your way home. I don’t know if Noah told you but whilst he was at Amanda’s Moms for Christmas Rafael came by to see him every day and spent time with him. He made sure Santa came for him at her house. I mean that part he didn’t say, but I figured he did and when I asked him about it Rafael didn’t deny it, he just shrugged and changed the subject. He wanted to make sure that he didn’t feel as though he was just shipped off somewhere. Rafael was meant to be away for Christmas, which is why he had dropped off his Christmas present earlier. He cancelled his plans to be around for Christmas for Noah, not that I could get him to admit to that either.” Olivia knew why Lucy was now disclosing everything. She knew it was because she believed that credit should be given where it was due, and whether she said it or not Lucy was Team Rafael and always had been. To her she had seen how devoted he was to Noah and to Olivia and how that had never wavered. That his priority was always Noah and Olivia, no matter what it cost him and that included their friendship.
“Thank you Lucy,” Olivia said meaningfully wanting her to know that she heard what she wasn’t saying.
“Is he in the waiting room?”
“I don’t think so. I doubt he would leave but I don’t think he would hang out in the waiting room.” They both knew it was to avoid other people who might be checking on her. He knew it would only cause more conflict and Noah didn’t need that.
“Will you stay with Noah while I try and find him?”
She found him in the garden by the cafeteria unsurprisingly nursing a coffee in his hand. She could tell that the morning had shaken him, lost deep in his own thoughts. As she sat down beside him he handed her a cup of coffee she hadn’t noticed sitting beside him.
“Figured it would be you or Lucy. Not going to lie, I had my money on Luce.” He answered the surprised look on her face as she took the coffee he offered.
“I deserved that.” She replied. Rafael looked apologetic,
“Maybe, but not today.”
“Can we not?” He asked politely,
“We don’t need to address us. I mean you made yourself perfectly clear that day at Forlini’s and after the verdict. That doesn’t change just because of today.”
“I’m sorry.” She said,
“Don’t be. You didn’t say anything you didn’t believe. I wouldn’t do anything different. It is what it is.” He replied with such resignation that Olivia placed a hand over his to prevent him from standing and leaving.
“I am sorry for not hearing what you were trying to say when you told me why you took on Wheatley. I am sorry for not giving our friendship the credit that its due. I am sorry that I checked out on our squabbling until we’re 85. I am sorry most of all for hurting you.” Rafael turned his head to finally look at her, unshed tears were in his eyes as he nodded.
“Apology accepted.” She knew by the guardedness behind his eyes that whilst he had accepted her apology sincerely she had changed them. She had changed him. She had changed the dynamics of their friendship. She had changed his trust in her and their friendship. That he no longer believed that theirs was a friendship without condition. That there were rules that now existed, which didn’t before. Shortly after she received a message from Lucy telling her that Elliot was waiting for her in Noah’s room.
“I have to go,” he nodded knowingly as Lucy had also sent him the same message as a heads up.
“Send Lucy down and I’ll take her out for a coffee. She was in a pretty bad shape when we got here. Call if there are any changes.” He said somewhat detached, but clearly still looking out for Lucy.
“Thank you Rafael.” Olivia said gratefully as he shrugged off her thanks.
When Olivia got back to the room she sent Lucy down to the gardens where Rafael was waiting for her. She was surprised to find Elliot at the hospital as she hadn’t seen him for a little while nor been in touch with him since she was unable to join him and his family for Christmas. She knew he was busy with OC business as well as keeping Wheatley on his toes. She didn’t agree with his methods, or motives and she had taken a step back from him altogether. Their conversation at the hospital had definitely given her a lot to think about.
“Elliot, what are you doing here?”
“I dropped by the precinct with regards to one of your open cases and Fin told me you were here. I thought I would check in on you and Noah.” He replied. She found herself biting her tongue before she could say something along the lines of had he not had anything work related he wouldn’t be checking in on her.
“Uncle Rafa,” Noah mumbled drawing Olivia out of their conversation. She immediately went to Noah’s side.
“Hi Baby, Uncle Rafa’s just taken Luce downstairs for a break. She’s been very worried about you.” Noah looked at Elliot and back up at her,
“I want Uncle Rafa,”
“I’ll call him Sweet Boy,” she promised as Noah nodded and closed his eyes again. She wasn’t surprised that Noah barely acknowledged Elliot as their first meeting just before Christmas had not gone as well as she had imagined. Noah had stiffened at the first sight of Elliot and when she had questioned him about it later he had just shrugged it off. He didn’t warm to him at all and Noah had spent the rest of the time with sticking close to Sonny. Not wanting to upset him she hadn’t pushed.
“He’s exhausted but better. It was a close call. If it wasn’t for Rafael,”
“Rafael Barba,” Elliot said incredulously in a tone of voice that had her leading him out of Noah’s room.
“Yes Rafael Barba, he’s Noah’s godfather. He’s Uncle Rafa.”
“That son of a bitch,”
“Elliot stop. Don’t even start. You don’t have a right to comment on who Rafael Barba is in my life, let along my son’s life. It’s my fault you don’t know how he is and what his weight in my life is. I should have told you. Not that I owe you any explanations.” She added before continuing,
“Rafael Barba was, is my best friend since he walked into my life. He has been there through everything that’s happened to me from the moment I met him. As a partner, as the person that had my best interest first and foremost. He was there when Noah came into my life. He has been there for every single one of Noah’s milestones. Rafael Barba has held my hand through the worst moments of my life. Despite how angry I have made him for decisions I have made, he had always understood the reason behind my why. He trusts me, so he trusts my decisions. Rafael Barba has never been conditional. So even though I seemed to have tapped out of our friendship because he took Wheatley on out of some misguided loyalty to our partnership he continued to put my child first. When I couldn’t be with Noah for Christmas, he stepped in and was there. When Noah got chickenpox and I was stuck at work, he started working from my home to make sure Noah had someone aside his Nanny with him. If it wasn’t for him I could have lost my son today, so no Elliot you don’t get to comment on Rafael. Ever. Because despite what you think of him, he is the best man I have ever known. You don’t get to weigh in. You’ve weighed in enough. For the record, the only reason why Rafael took Wheatley on was because he was trying to protect me. He knew that if it were any other lawyer they would have gone after my career. They would have dragged my worst moments into that courtroom for me to relive to discredit me. He was only trying to spare me and I should have known that from the get go but I let my judgment be clouded. I asked him why he would ever take Wheatley on and even after his answer. I turned on him. Like what we had and what we shared counted for nothing. You show up and I let you back into my life as though you didn’t just walk away from mine for ten years without a backward glance. That’s on me, but it stops right now. I am done with this one way street. So please go.”
“I can’t. I can’t do this with you right now. I don’t need to. I don’t want to. So please, just go.” Olivia caught Rafael in the corner of her eye. She could tell by the surprised look on his face he had heard most if not all of what she had just said. Not wanting to bring unnecessary attention to himself he slipped past Olivia to enter Noah’s room with Lucy right behind him, Olivia shortly after.
“Uncle Rafa,” they heard Noah call out happily as he opened his eyes,
“Hi Honey, how are you feeling?”
“Better now that you’re here.” He replied as he reached for Rafael who sat on the bed gathering him in his arms.
“Why is he here?” Noah asked,
“He’s checking in on you Amigo and your Mami.” Rafael explained gently.
“He wants to make sure you’re both okay. You scared the pants out of us today little man. He just wants to make sure you’re good.”
“He’s not here for me.” Noah said defiantly crossing his arms,
“Well I am, and Lucy is so do you really care?” Rafael replied teasingly trying to lighten the mood. Noah grinned and shook his head as he draped his arm around Rafael’s middle. Olivia chuckled as she walked in catching their exchange. Rafael looked up and realised that Olivia had heard them and mustered a sheepish look.
“When can I go home?” Noah asked,
“The doctor wants to keep you overnight just to make sure you’re ok Sweet Boy.” Olivia answered.
“Will you and Uncle Rafa stay with me?”
“Until they kick me out Little Man. I don’t think they will let both of us stay so Mami will be with you. Why don’t Lucy and I head home to grab a few things for you both. I will pick up your book so we can continue reading?”
“Thank you, that would be great. A change of clothes for me? Pjs for Noh and clothes for tomorrow?” Olivia said gratefully as Rafael nodded.
“I’ll pick up dinner, anything in particular you feel like Noh?”
“Pizza!” Noah replied enthusiastically,
“Do you have any preferences?” He said turning to Olivia who shook her head,
“You know the Benson pizza parameters.” She answered as he nodded.
“Luc, take the rest of the day. Thank you for everything.” Olivia said turning to Lucy.
“Of course. Let me know if you need anything.”
Olivia sat where Rafael had vacated and watched as Lucy and Rafael teased each other on the way out about one thing or another. Rafael knew and had always known the value of Lucy in the Benson’s lives and looked and treated her as though she was an extension of them, and she was. Without Lucy Olivia wouldn’t be able to do what she did and be as committed to her career as she was. Lucy allowed her that with minimal guilt. She knew that with Lucy Noah was well cared for. Olivia appreciated that he knew that without being told and that he regarded Lucy as family.
Lucy had gone wth Rafael to the Benson’s so that he wouldn’t have to pack clothes for Olivia. Whilst once upon a time he would not have any qualms about it, he felt they were no longer those people. Therefore he had tasked himself with packing Noah’s bag. After dropping Lucy off home, he picked up dinner and headed back to the hospital.
“Lucy told me to tell you, and I quote ‘thank you obstinate old man for dinner’.” Olivia greeted as he walked in with her go bag and Noah’s backpack slung in one arm, a pizza box in one hand and another bag filled with food in the other.
“Well she insisted to be dropped off before I picked up food. I didn’t want her to have to worry about dinner. So I sent ubereats her way.” He answered with a shrug as she put the food down on the table before handing over her go bag and giving Noah his backpack.
“Lucy packed you sweats so you can be more comfortable.”
“Bless her,” Olivia replied as he smirked.
“She packed me your sweats.” Olivia pointed out as she pulled them out of her bag. They were his sweats that lived in her house that he had long since kept there for emergencies.
“Of course she did.” He replied with an eye roll.
“To be fair to her though, I do wear them sometimes.” She confessed. She wore them when she missed him, which admittedly was a lot since that day of the verdict.
“Well, they are pretty comfortable.” He stated kindly trying not to read more into the statement. Olivia walked over to Rafael and kissed his cheek.
“Thank you,” she said with multi faceted gratitude to which he nodded.
“Shall we wake him now for dinner?” He asked looking at the time.
“We should wake him. Not necessarily for dinner but to ensure he’s not up all night.” Rafael placed a hand on Noah’s arm coaxing him awake,
“Hey bud pizza is here. Wanna eat?” Noah’s eyes flew open.
“Yes please,” he replied making both adults laugh. Clearly, he was feeling better.
Rafael had not only gotten pizza but also Spaghetti in case Noah felt like it. Olivia’s favourite salad from their usual Italian place as well as chicken Alfredo, which was one of Noah’s favourites and bread sticks.
“How many people did you think you were feeding?” She teased.
“I just wanted to provide variety, and I figure your team will trickle in and out throughout the evening to check in on Noah so at least we can off load food if we need to.” He replied with a shrug.
“What’s for dessert Uncle Rafa?”
“Oh I don’t know, maybe your favourite Oatmeal and Raisin cookies with chocolate chips.” Noah’s eyes widened.
“And a brownie for Mami, so she doesn’t get mad that I’m sugaring you up.” Rafael added quietly to Noah as Olivia rolled her eyes at them.
Once dinner was done and both Benson’s were in their pjs for the night Rafael had sat on one side of Noah, Olivia in the other before he began to read the second instalment of Harry Potter, Chamber of Secrets in Spanish. Whilst Olivia had always enjoyed Rafael’s reading out loud it was another level to hear him read in Spanish and adapt voices into different characters. Once Noah was asleep and he had stopped she looked at him accusingly as if to say how dare he stop.
“Sorry Mama Benson, Mini Benson is asleep. You will have to wait for the next instalment for when he is awake or he would never forgive me for reading ahead without him.”
“We don’t have to tell him.” She suggested making him chuckle.
“Ahhh no. Being in the wrath of any Benson is never good for anyone.” He replied and realised how it sounded. He looked at her apologetically as she placed a hand on his arm.
“I know what you meant.” She said reassuringly as he gave her a nod.
“I will leave you with him. I’m sure you have work to do.” He said pointing to the work bag that Amanda had dropped off to her.
“Will you stay for a bit? It’s just so quiet.” She asked as he agreed.
“I’m still not reading on though,” Olivia let out a genuine laugh.
“Thank you. I needed that.”
“Well I am here for your entertainment.” He replied. Rafael took a moment,
“Thank you by the way. For what you said to Elliot. I didn’t mean to catch your conversation. Noah had sent me a message from your phone asking me to come right away and we were worried.”
“I should have told Elliot all that from the beginning. I’m sorry I didn’t.” Olivia said regretfully.
“For what it’s worth, I understood why you didn’t. Especially after I officially met him. Liv, I think I can shed some light into why Noah isn’t a fan.”
“You mean aside from being the president of your fan club?” She said as he smirked,
“Yes aside from that. He woke up that night Elliot came over drugged.” Olivia gasped.
“He saw him grab you and as a son of an SVU captain he knows to always ask before touching anyone. He also registered your body language, so unfortunately he was never going to get a pass from Noah Porter Benson on the first meet.”
“I wish he had told me.”
“He said you were pretty upset that night and he didn’t want to upset you more. I did tell him he needed to talk to you about it because you would want to know why he was so bothered by Elliot. He promised he would because if he didn’t I said I would have to. He was going to tell you but then chicken pox.”
“I have never seen him react to anyone as adversely to anyone as he did to Elliot,”
“Your son is a protector and for him to see Elliot man handle you, you’re lucky he didn’t come out and shove him back.” Olivia looked horrified at the thought,
“I never wanted him to see that. Or be exposed to that. You know, his protective instincts were learned from you.”
“Excuse me, did you forget who his mother is?’ He replied,
“Whether you believe it or not it’s true Rafael. He takes his cues from you. I never have to worry about his manners or chivalry because he watches you so closely. He sees how you treat me, Lucy, your Mom, Manda, the girls and anyone for that matter and he takes it all in. Rafa, he opens doors, he allows me or whoever else to walk before him, he is thoughtful, he is kind because that is who you are first and foremost.”
“Thank you. I think you’re giving me a little too much credit, but I appreciate that you think that.”
“I believe it.”
“For awhile there I figured you had just given up on my humanity.” He confessed.
“I’m so sorry Rafa.”
“I know Liv. As I said, apology accepted. I mean it.”
“Some habits die hard it would seem. Elliot coming back, it was like morphing back into that early thirties junior detective who worshipped the ground he walked on. No matter how wrong he was most of the time. His behaviour back then would not be something I would ever accept in my precinct and on his first night, that went out the window. Everything else followed suit. It was like I could see it but I couldn’t stop it. It was easier to keep you at arms length because I knew you would call me out on it so I kept pushing you away. I’m so sorry.”
“I always understood the why Liv. It was more that in comparison our friendship, what we shared, after everything we’d been through just didn’t count as much. That’s the part that hurt.”
“Rafa, I don’t think I have ever thanked you for always knowing my why. You’re the only person in the world who always looks at my why before passing judgement and because of it you never pass judgment but exercise compassion. I never meant to take that for granted. I never meant to diminish what we had as though it fell second to whatever it is I had with Stabler. The thing is the Olivia now would never for a second consider Elliot a friend. The Olivia now would find him to be toxic and not worthy or the time and grace that I afforded him, but he was my partner for almost 13 years during the most formidable years of my life. Not to mention before he came along I had no semblance of a family and as toxic of a set up as we were, it was better than I ever had. Before that no one looked out for me the way he did. It wasn’t until you came along that was superseded with what is unconditional friendship, love and support. I never meant to lose sight of that. If there is anything I regret the most in my life, it’s that.” Rafael placed his hand over hers.
“With unconditional friendship comes forgiveness and you have that. Everything else will fall into place in their own time. I’ve got your back Liv. I always have and I always will.”
“What about squabbling at 85?” She asked as he smiled,
“That too.” Olivia stood to her feet and pulled him up before wrapping her arms around his shoulders and burying her face into his neck.
“Good, because I refuse to grow old without you.”
“Well I seem to recall you’re much older than I.” He teased as he held her tightly against him.
“You realise I’m in a really good position to knee you right?”
“Withdrawn your honour,” he replied as she laughed.
“I’ve missed you Rafa,”
“I’ve missed you too Liv.”