Bennett groaned as her sleepy mind came to the realization that the annoying sound which had woken her up on her day off at -7 am - was her buzzer. With a heavy body and even heavier mind, Olivia managed to rise from her bed and buzz up whoever it was who had found it funny waking her up at this hour.
With a yawn and a rub of her eyes, she threw on a robe and made her way to the kitchen. Tea, she needed tea.
It was right after she finished pouring the warm water in a cup when the knocking reached her door. Olivia shouted to let whoever it was on the other side know she was in and finished preparing her tea. With a sip of the warm beverage and a determination of giving hell to person behind her door, she went ahead and opened it.
"What the hell?"
"Good morning to you too. Can I come in?"
His smile was far too fresh and his voice far too rested to have Bennett smile back at him. He didn't wait for an answer before passing the threshold into her apartment.
"It's seven, on our day off. What the hell are you doing all the way out here?" Olivia closed her door and was quick to follow him into her kitchen, where he had already taken residence by sitting on one of her barstools, carefully examining her freshly made cup of earl grey.
"Believe it or not, but I'm looking for a place here. I have already experienced coming over to the West Village all the way form the Upper East Side on multiple occasions and let me tell you, I don't plan on making that trip any longer."
His voice was casual, it carried that spark that both annoyed and intrigued Olivia far more than she let on. He sniffed her tea before taking a sip from it which caused Bennett to finally snap out of her morning daze and wake up entirely.
"Hey! That's great, it really is. So, care to explain in what way did your house hunting quest lead you to waking me up at this hour? Tyler, I don't know if you remember but yesterday-"
"I remember." He interrupted her, his gleaming eyes suddenly turning sad and tired. Olivia finally saw the exhaustion in him, his dark eyes and the bags under them, how his shoulders slumped more than they normally did, how his legs trembled if he remained in the same position for too long.
"Your real estate agent called you this morning, didn't he?" She finally asked, moving over to where her cupboards rested, trying to remember if she had a supply of coffee stacked somewhere.
"Yeah he did. I love the guy, great at what he does, good friend too; but he seems to have the worst timing ever. Figured I didn't have to suffer through the day alone if I came and woke you up. Sorry about that, by the way." His grin was mischievous and genuinely sorry, his blue eyes crinkling with a sort of happiness that was infectious.
"That's what friends are for." Olivia found herself responding, a lazy grin of her own appearing on her face, a soft blush warming her cheeks.
"Friends, huh?" He teased, just as she had assumed he would.
Without meeting his gaze, she passed him the cup of coffee she had just made all while arguing with herself that if the guy hadn't slept over she was at perfect liberty of feeding him coffee.
"Don't fish for anything, I can be a stubborn fish when I want you."
"Trust me, I know. Oh and thanks for this, I needed it."
They each took a sip from their respective beverages, the silence that it produced comfortable enough for it not be awkward but unfamiliar enough for Bennett not to freak out.
"Did you talk to vice last night?" Olivia's small voice asked and broke the silence.
"No, and I don't plan of hearing the words cop, murder, detective, or case until I head back to work." Tyler responded with his eyes closed.
Olivia gave a small smile at his response, he was exhausted and trying to put on a mask of energy, because if he didn't, he would probably break down. It was in his eyes, the same way it was probably reflected on hers.
They had solved a murder at the expense of a million unanswered questions and they both had to live with that. Live with knowing that there are five more girls with unsolved cases; a person of high political status corrupting girls and using them for his own gain; a woman with poise who had been framed for a crime she had not committed yet still going to trial for. One victory, a thousand more battles.
"We didn't even get a motive out of her, we don't know why, we don't know-"
"Hey I meant it. No case talk, no work, just friends going out at a ridiculously early hour to look at old apartments." He interrupted, his voice serious and final.
"We'll get answers, not today or tomorrow, but someday." He added and with it made Bennett half smile and breathe out, trying to relax her mind before it got lost completely to her feelings of defeat.
"We're the best this damn city has, so trust me, if anyone out there can solve this, it's us. Don't fret about it yet, Detective." He teased as he finished his last sip.
"I thought you didn't want to hear any work related terms today." She teased back, throwing her now empty cup of tea into the sink, she would wash it later.
"Yeah well, that one I don't mind so much."
They both smiled at each other, both grinning to hide their exhaustion.
"If you can wait ten minutes, I'll change real quick and we can get going to meet with your unconsidered friend who woke you up early on your day off, right after the worst case of your life."
With a slight wave of his hand, Nathan gave leave to Olivia, who almost ran out of her kitchen and into her room.
Once inside her room, with her door shut firmly close, Olivia allowed herself to truly sigh. What the hell were they doing? They were partners, they were colleagues, destined to work side by side every day, solving murder cases and arresting criminals. They couldn't keep doing -whatever it was they had been doing.
She had been in her robe, with only her black panties under it and had not even once remembered to check herself. Four days and she was already more comfortable around this man than she ever had been around either Fox or Cooper.
It was as if the mere thought of her exes had power in her life. Her phone suddenly rang as she was finishing buttoning up her jeans, the grinning photo of Brighton Fox shining at her.
"Hey Fox, I'm not on call today."
"I know, this is a social call. I was wondering if you're free tonight. The restaurants down my street just opened and after the last few days we've had-"
"Yeah, I know." Bennett interrupted and biting her lip she answered his unasked question. "Thanks for the offer, but I think I just want to be alone tonight. I need some time to think everything through, make sure I won't go crazy –crazier- because of this."
Brighton laughed and Bennett sighed in relief. Fox was a good enough guy, she didn't want to completely upset him.
As Bennett hung up she heard it, a small creak on the floor. She was quick to turn around, her cop instincts never leaving her, even when off duty and with her partner in her kitchen. Damn, she hadn't closed the door as thoroughly as she had thought. There, on the line which separated her bedroom from the rest of her apartment was Nathan, looking sheepish and a little embarrassed.
"I swear I did not mean to intrude, but you were- and I thought that- it was-"
Olivia chuckled at his flustered defense. "It's fine," she smiled. "Come on Tyler, let's go before I change my mind and go back to sleep."
On duty or not, Bennett grabbed her badge and gun and made way for them to exit her apartment.
The day was cold, probably the coldest one of the past week. Bennett huddled herself for warmth while mentally cursing the weather. On a contrast to his partner, Tyler smiled as the chill of the last days of winter broke against his face. He turned to look at his partner and found her frown adorable. He chuckled as he removed his scarf and offered it to her. Being the stubborn woman he knew her to be, she refused.
The apartment hunting was fruitless. For four hours the pair, alongside real estate agent Matt Casey, ran through the West Village without finding something to please the buyer. Casey was a good man, patient with Tyler's bizarre demands and shifting personality from energetic to exhaustive. The whole trip was nothing less than exciting to Olivia and as they said goodbye to the agent, she couldn't help but silently thank Nathan too.
"Thank you", she did manage to verbalize once they were right outside her apartment building. "Not for the waking me up early bit, but for the rest. It helped that I wasn't cooped up in here all day."
Nathan laughed, "Trust me, I've been in similar situations before, and I've found that nothing is worst on those days than spending them alone, brooding and blaming yourself."
Olivia smiled, trying to make sure the extent of her gratitude was shown.
"Thank you, again."
"What are friends for?" He replied, a dangerous smirk adoring his face.
He was gorgeous.
"Friends then?" Olivia found herself asking, and no, that was not regret seeping through her eyes. They were colleagues, partners. They couldn't be more than friends, no matter how amazing they had been together.
"Do we really have any other option?" Nathan asked back, not hiding his disappointment over the fact that they probably would never get a chance to be more than friends, not unless they didn't work together anymore, and there was no chance he was going to let that happen.
"I guess not."
They both stood there, right outside her building with longing and regret in their eyes. How was it possible to feel such attraction for someone whom she had just met? How was it possible she hadn't thought of Fox ever since she had seen his broad shoulders and lithe limbs? Why did the thought of having to move on from their previous encounters made her suddenly jealous? Why did every time she looked at his eyes she got pulled into them, into him and the thought of being lost in them did not scare her?
Nathan did not ignore the sadness that the thought of losing whatever it was they had built during the last few days filled him with. He liked Olivia, he really did. If he thought about it, he couldn't really remember the last time he had truly liked a woman. He was attracted to them, but he never really found them interesting, alluring -the way this woman made him feel.
They both started and each chuckled at their luck. Neither tried to resume what they had been about to say. Nathan took a step forward towards her, Olivia moved her arm and gently laid her hand over his bicep. This was -ah hell, they both thought as their lips met. It was sweet, soft and slow, and in a way it felt as if both had meant for it to be their last kiss. But as their lips separated neither could resist leaning in again, and again.
"We're going to get arrested for public indecency if we keep this up." Nathan joked, earning a chuckle and small kiss from his partner.
"Want to come up?"
"I thought you wanted to be alone tonight?" He asked. Suddenly remembering the conversation she had had with Fox that morning.
"That might have been a lie, but I had no idea how to say 'the only person I find myself wanting to be and sleep with is my partner and I have absolutely no idea how to handle that'."
"I thought we had agreed-"
"Stop talking." Bennett interrupted him with her lips as she clumsily led them inside her building and into the elevator. They would be friends tomorrow; tonight, all she wanted was him, and after the week she had had, she figured she deserved some kind of reward.
Having Nathan Alexander Tyler do –just that, to her, sounded like a good enough of a reward to her.
Note: Thank You reader if you're there. This was an experiment, caused by boredom during my Pathology class. Thank you again, hope you enjoyed the product of my little hobby.