Green Eyed Monster

Open Your Eyes

Wednesday afternoon had come and Olivia was standing in front of the mirror in her bedroom, trying to decide what to wear for yet another day out with Lucas. It unnerved her. All these dates… It's so much easier going to work, she thought exasperatedly. Black pants, black jacket, a shirt and my comfy black shoes… Now I have to match colors, to put a little make up… Not that she thought she didn't look nice after checking herself out in the mirror, but Olivia Dunham was a practical woman and she wasn't all that interested in fashion and fashion details.

Last time she saw Lucas Vogel was on Sunday, when he came at her place and had lunch with her, Rach and Ella. Lucas texted her on Monday and on Tuesday, constantly wishing her good morning and good night with sweet romantic words and writing how he couldn't wait to see her again. Olivia was slightly uncomfortable in such situations, because there was an obvious discrepancy between what she felt for him and what he felt for her. Her sentiments lacked intensity still, but she was hoping that would change. Her replies were short and dry, yet civil and kind, something along the lines of "Me too" or "Good night. Sleep well". Today, he decided to take her to the cinema, and she picked a movie that had just come out, "The Time Traveler's Wife". Lucas actually wanted to watch a romantic comedy but for some reason Olivia felt better with science fiction movies.

-Well, there's bound to be at least some romance-she teased him on the phone. –There will be a husband and his wife. So that probably means love. And he'll be able to travel through time, and that means mystery.

-Ah…-Lucas groaned out loud. –What kind of movie reveals half of its plot in its title? But it's your call. Ladies choose. When do you want to see it?

-Well, I was thinking, maybe… Around four o' clock.

-That early?

-Yeah, afterwards, we could go for a walk in the park and have dinner together. I really need some fresh air. And it's such a wonderful day.

-Are you suggesting we are going to spend an entire afternoon and evening with each other?-Lucas whispered crookedly.

-Am I?-Olivia replied playfully.

-I'll come by your place at… Shall we say… 15.20?

-Perfect. See you then.

It was around three o'clock and Olivia was ready. She sat on the comfortable living room sofa and sighed. Twenty more minutes to go. Although, Lucas would probably come even sooner than he said he would. The man was overtly punctual, just like her. Then it occurred to her she might have a snack, since the only thing she actually had that day was a cup of strong coffee. She investigated the contents of the lately always full refrigerator and made a mental note of how much she actually owed to her sister Rachel. Since Rachel and Ella were living with her, Olivia ate better and more regularly, and she was so grateful for their company. She decided on a cheese and ham sandwich and she had barely bitten into it when she heard the front door open.

Being an FBI agent, Olivia's first reaction was to freeze in place and to listen intently, but then she remembered it was probably Rachel and Ella, who mentioned earlier that they were going to the hospital to see Peter. But they left at two, and now it's three o'clock. That would mean they spent only… Fifteen minutes there? Something isn't right.

Olivia went into the living room and bumped into her sobbing niece.

-Ella? Ella? Ella, honey? What's wrong?- Olivia was astonished at the red, blotched face of her niece.

Rachel followed seconds after, looking tired and nervous.

-Mommy didn't let me see uncle Peter! And… And I wanted to play with him soo much!

-Rach?-Olivia turned her attention to her younger sister. –What happened?

-It's nothing, Olive…-Rachel avoided to look her in the eyes.

-You're a terrible liar, you know that. Why do both of you look so sad?

And then it hit Olivia.

-He told you he was leaving, didn't he?

Rachel thought that she would want nothing more than to hit her sister for saying that. She had spent an entire hour trying to calm Ella down and to explain her that uncle Peter was tired and that she would see him when he got out of hospital. And now Olivia said that Peter was going away, and of course, since she promised Peter, she couldn't say it wasn't true. Rachel had to play along. But that meant Ella would be having a fit any time soon. And she was right.

-Uncle Peter is leaving? Where is he going? But I don't want him to go anywhere!

Olivia swallowed at the expression of a shear, sincere, childish desperation that appeared on Ella's face. She is feeling the same thing I felt when Peter told me about his decision ten days ago. But I couldn't let it show so honestly like she can. Like a child can. I had to compose myself, to be rational, to… Bottle up the anger and the sadness he made me feel.

She knelt next to her niece and hugged her.

-Way to go, Olivia-Rachel muttered angrily.

-She has the right to know-Olivia replied sternly.

You're the one who doesn't know Olive. Peter Bishop is not going anywhere. Yesterday… No… An hour ago that thought was making me happy but now… I am just not certain anymore-Rachel thought resignedly.

Rachel was so angry with Peter. And with the way he behaved towards her. She had been giving him nothing but the friendly support and now he turned against her. And the course that events had taken hadn't even been her fault at all. Peter was violent, he was looking bewildered… Rachel had no doubts that sooner or later they would be hearing from the hospital about some sort of incident Peter caused. Well, I'm not saying anything. I'll keep my promise. But Peter Bishop has just lost a friend and he'd better be aware of that. I am not putting up with that kind of behavior.

Rachel had firmly decided against calling or visiting Peter, even after he went out of hospital, unless he came to his senses and apologized first.

-Aunt Liv… I wanna go to see uncle Peter now! I want him to tell me a story like he always used to… And I want a pony ride and… I want him to be with us forever!-Ella couldn't stop weeping and she trembled in Olivia's arms.

Trot, trot to Boston, trot, trot to Lynn, better watch out or you might fall in!-Peter's deep, merry voice reverberated in Olivia's head as she remembered how good he was with Ella.

-I'm sorry, sweetie… You can't see him just now. Listen to your Mommy…

-Everyone knows something and you are all lying to me!-Ella ran out of the living room, crying.

-Olivia, you really shouldn't have told her that. It'll take me ages to calm her down now-Rachel repeated furiously.

Olivia could see how much her sister was upset and she was enraged as well. Rach is sad because Peter is leaving, too. He obviously left a deep impression on her. Maybe Rachel was hoping that Peter would stay because of her and now she is hurt too. That's what kind of person Peter Bishop really is. He flirts with everyone, he makes you enjoy his presence up to the point his absence becomes unbearable, and then he simply coldly and nonchalantly goes away. Did he ever care about anyone? He hurt us both.

-I'm sorry, but I don't see how hiding the truth from her would have shielded her. Don't be angry with me, Rach. I know you're sad he's leaving too, and that you wanted him to stay here with you and Ella but… That's just how he is. Unstable, unreliable… Here one day, gone the next. A nomad. I had a hard time believing it too, because for a moment, I actually thought he had changed but… In time, you get used to it and you stop expecting anything from him-Olivia finished bitterly, staring at the wall.

Oh my God, Olivia actually thinks there was something between Peter and me. Our lives are slowly but securely beginning to turn into a Latin-American soap opera.

A doorbell interrupted their already strained and uncomfortable conversation and Ella came back to the living room at its sound, looking at the door expectantly.

It was Lucas, and he was five minutes early, just like Olivia had predicted. Rachel had had her fair share of discussions and giving explanations on that day so she didn't even bother to greet him. She left directly to the kitchen. Lucas sensed strange vibrations in the house but decided against commenting on them.

-Ready to go?

-Yeah, sure-she rubbed her temples in disarray.

-Prince Lucas!-Ella ran up to him and hugged his knees.

-Hello, Ella-Lucas smiled. –I see you are wearing the dress I bought you for your birthday.

-Can I get a pony ride, can I, can I?

-Um… I am very sorry Ella, but your aunt Liv and I have to go to the cinema now and if I give you a pony ride, then I am going to get my pants and jacket dirty, and you don't want your aunt Liv to go to the cinema with a bad-looking prince, do you now?

-I guess not-Ella said, disappointed, and went to look for her mother.

Olivia watched them interact, but her mind was really elsewhere.

-Uncle Peter, can I get a pony ride?

-Sure, sweetheart. Now hold on tight, because I am a fast, untamed pony and I'm going to throw you down, little girl! Neigh! Neigh!

-Ella, honey, let Uncle Peter rest a little.

-Don't listen to her Ella. Agent Dunham is my boss and she's trying to trick me to stop playing and to start working hard, and I don't want that… Please save me!

-Aunt Liv, are you being mean to Uncle Peter?

-Yes, sweetheart, Aunt Liv is being very mean to me…

-I like kids, you know-Lucas voice boomed next to her ear, startling her-but I just don't like them to climb all over me… They ruin my clothes and I feel a bit… Unclean… You know what I mean?

Olivia simply nodded and gave him a small smile before they went together through the door.

Once they took their places in the cinema, Olivia was actually glad she had eaten a sandwich before coming to see the movie. Lucas hated when people watched the movie and ate simultaneously and he was nervously shushing their nearest "neighbors" every now and then.

-I don't get it-Lucas whispered angrily to Olivia… -How do they even manage to follow the plot with all that chewing and slurping going on? Not to mention the loud way in which they eat their popcorn… If you have come to watch the movie, then watch the movie!-he almost shouted, irritated. –If you wish to eat… Go to a restaurant… You can't just do both things at once, or you actually won't do either of them properly.

Olivia barely suppressed a tiny grin that was beginning to form around her mouth. She recalled how Walter and Peter would sometimes watch Sponge Bob or cheesy horror movies in the lab, early in the morning or after working hours and comment loudly on everything that was happening on the screen, while eating Chinese food or pizzas from Damiano's and how she would look at them disapprovingly but tenderly from her office.

Olivia knew she was similar to Lucas, overtly tidy and orderly, but the main difference between them was that Olivia wasn't so easily irritated by the people who were different. Olivia would find them mildly amusing and simply shake her head and smile, like in Walter's and Peter's case, while Lucas would just be really infuriated by them. People who didn't have the same understanding of life as Lucas did, actually made him really mad. He was certain they were making some kind of mistake and that they all should behave like him.

He would probably be horrified if he met Walter and Peter… I wonder what he would say if he saw Gene in the lab-Olivia suddenly chuckled in the middle of a sad movie scene and Lucas looked at her strangely.

When the film was over, they went for a walk to the park, by the lake. Lucas was holding her hand and Olivia felt nice, as if she belonged somewhere. She was glad there were still no cases and she was enjoying her newfound freedom.

-So, how did you like the movie?

-It was good.

-I thought it's going to be worse but it wasn't bad at all. Those people really irritated me with their constant chewing. It was extremely distracting. Now, this walk in the park is something that I like. Nice, relaxing…

There was an excited bark on their left and a huge brown green-eyed young labrador ran up to them. Olivia beamed widely, looking at the beautiful animal and went to caress its head, but Lucas pulled her away.

-Please, Olivia, don't touch it… Who knows what kind of diseases it might carry… Besides, it's probably very dirty… And I was planning on holding your hand until the rest of the evening, but now I just might change my mind-Lucas threatened playfully but Olivia could see that he in fact wasn't joking.

-I think he's kinda sweet, don't you?-Olivia turned to look at the puppy which was wiggling its tail. –Now, are you a boy or a girl?-she asked a puppy with a serious expression in her eyes, as if she were really expecting an answer. –Let's see… You're a boy! And what might your name be?

-Olivia, can we go someplace else? Uh… I don't really like dogs. Think of all the germs they carry around, then there's hair they shed… They constantly lick you and jump on top of you…

-You're back! I trust you've found the equipment. How is the old house? How is Rufus?

-Well… The house is just like we left it… But, Walter… We put Rufus to sleep almost twenty years ago.

-Oh. That's a pity.

-Who is Rufus?-Olivia asked in a low tone of voice, leaning over to Peter.

-He's our family dog, a white lab. Well, he was. We had to put him to sleep when he got cancer. It was a tough day for me. We had him since I was a kid and I loved him like a brother I didn't have.

-I thought you were allergic to dogs.

-I was, and I still am, actually, but Walter made him non-allergenic as soon as he saw how much I liked the pooch. That's Walter for ya.

-Olivia, are you even listening to me?-there was a trace of anger in Lucas's voice. –You are acting really strange lately. It's almost as if you are… Daydreaming… When I'm trying to get your attention, it almost feels as if you are somewhere else. Can you please focus on our conversation for once? You were never absentminded like this before.

-I'm so sorry, I don't know what came over me-she started to apologize, and the puppy chose that precise moment to jump on Lucas's pants.

He swore loudly and almost kicked the pup, but Olivia managed to pull him away.

-Don't hit him! He's just a little dog.

-Look what it did to my new pants!

-Buttercup! Oh Buttercup!-an elderly lady emerged from behind the trees. –There you are, you naughty boy! I was looking for you everywhere! Come to mamma!

-Well it was about time-Lucas muttered, seeing how the puppy obediently ran off after the woman.

-Let me have a look at your pants… Oh, that's nothing to worry about-Olivia managed to smile encouragingly at him even though she didn't like Lucas's behavior at all… -It'll come out in no time, here, it's just a bit of dirt…

-Olivia, when will you understand? I am not saying it won't come out or that my pants are now completely ruined, I am just saying that if that dog hadn't touched me, this wouldn't have happened in the first place… We should've just gone away when I told you to and all this stressfulness would be avoided.

Olivia sighed and her forehead wrinkled. She was secretly afraid that these changes in Luke's behavior might manifest again, like so many years before, and that was exactly what was happening. She hadn't forgotten. One moment he could be kind and romantic, and the very next he would get angry with her, he would verbally humiliate her or chastise her in some way… Talking to overly sensitive, nervous Lucas was sometimes like being in a company of a very grumpy misanthropic old man.

-I'm sorry-the tone of his voice changed to pleading. –I didn't mean to… It wasn't your fault the damned dog appeared in the first place. Let's just forget about this.

He leaned forward to kiss her and Olivia closed her eyes and relaxed, slightly parting her lips, allowing him to explore her mouth. Lucas savored her gently and lustily and she could hear his heart pounding in his chest… But still she felt nothing. She was painfully aware of the sounds around them, of the children's laughter, of the chirping of the birds and her mind was wandering… She couldn't focus on a kiss with Lucas. He was the same, familiar man. Yet Olivia was now indifferent to his touch. She wondered why. That wasn't the case just three months ago, in Frankfurt, while she was working on a David Robert Jones's case… If Peter hadn't called back then, she'd probably have slept with Lucas that night, because she had a lot of pent up sexual energy and she longed for a release. However, tonight…. Olivia felt like being touched, hugged and kissed by a friend and it confused her.

Now Rachel would probably have her say in this and tell me: Olive, put it simply: the man doesn't turn you on anymore.

He pressed her tighter to him and she shifted uncomfortably.

-Do you want us to go back to my hotel suite? They can bring us dinner there…

Mmm…I… Love kissing you, Olive… You taste incredibly, like you always had-Lucas mumbled passionately.

He was all worked up, Olivia could tell from the hasty way he spoke to her and from his ragged breathing. But she couldn't take him up on his offer, not yet. She needed to feel something first, she needed to desire Lucas Vogel's body. Olivia didn't want to force things to happen.

-Luke, I…-she gently removed his hands from her waist. –I know I promised we'd be spending an entire day together but… Something has occurred today-Olivia used a discussion she had with Rachel as an excuse. –Rach and I… We had an argument about something and… I want to go home and talk to my sister, have dinner with her, put things right…-that wasn't that far from the truth after all.

Lucas seemed extremely disappointed but said nothing. He placed his hands into his pockets and nodded.

-When will I see you again?

-Let's see… Tomorrow and on Friday I'm helping Charlie with a murder investigation. So how about we spend an entire weekend together? But this time, for real-Olivia offered honestly.

-I'll take your word for it.

-We could go shopping-it occurred to her. –I threw my trench coat and my favorite green dress in a trash after a particularly rough action on the field I participated in, around…Ten days ago. I also need a new pair of black shoes. And you are the only man I know who is into fashion and who actually likes going shopping. For the shoes and the coat… I can manage… But I'm gonna need you for the dress… So what do you say? Will you help me choose?-Olivia smiled at him hopefully, like a little girl.

The doubts on Lucas's face dissipated and he fiercely kissed her once more before they said goodbye to each other.

The gray fog in which Peter's mind was enveloped wasn't disappearing… He felt cold… Incredibly cold… Peter Bishop was freezing, stumbling through the littered black and white streets. Not knowing where to go. He was lost in a maze of his own thoughts. After many hours of wandering around, he chanced upon a familiar road and, looking up, he saw Olivia's building. Peter practically ran to it, relieved, and frantically knocked on the door. She answered almost immediately and his eyes widened as he took in her beautiful, pleasant, smiling facial features…

-You're finally here! What took you so long? Come on in!-she giggled, kissing him passionately and fully on the lips and Peter shivered, incredulous, grabbing her lovingly and hastily returning the kiss before she had the chance to change her mind, while they were both still standing in her doorframe; not being able to move or to say a word, not exactly wanting to, either… Simply enjoying the contact of their skins and her warm embrace.

Without breaking the kiss, Olivia rapidly pulled Peter into her apartment and slowly steered him directly towards her bedroom.

-Olivia…-he sighed her name contently, hiding his face in her long, soft golden hair. They both fell on her bed and she boldly straddled his hips. Peter's heart was pounding like crazy in his ribcage. Her skilled fingers unzipped his fly and impishly went straight for his cock, deftly pulling it out on the open. Peter hissed and bucked into her hand, not being able to control himself…

-I want to feel you inside me… I want all of you-Olivia moaned lustily and fervidly, discarding her clothes, and Peter groaned at the sensuality displayed in her voice. His trembling hands slowly and tentatively touched Olivia's firm breasts, cupping them adoringly.

-What are you waiting for, Lucas? Take me right now, fill me up, Lucas… You know I'm yours and yours only, Lucas…

Peter started pushing her away, horrified, shaking his head vigorously, screaming in a pleading voice, wanting her to understand…

-Ich bin nicht Lucas, ich bin Peter! Ich bin Peter!-Peter clasped his mouth, horror-struck, realizing that he was speaking German all along… And in the mirror on the Olivia's wardrobe, the unknown features of a stranger greeted him disdainfully, dark haired and brown eyed face waved at him derisively and Peter jumped out of Olivia's bed, ran through the gray corridor and fled into the street again, running as far away as he could… Her mocking voice followed him still, reverberating ominously all around his mind, no matter where he tried to hide…

-Was falsh ist, Lucas? Lucas! Komm zurück! Komm zurück! Komm zurück! Lu… Cas… Lucas… Lucas… Lucas? Lucas?

-Peter-another soft, familiar voice called him and he went to it, relieved. He couldn't quite place it, no matter how hard he tried to remember but… It was kind and inviting and it knew his name. For now… That was enough.

Peter instinctively decided to turn left and suddenly found himself in front of his high school. A cautious small hand tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around swiftly, frightened, only to look at well-known Tess Amaral's face.

-Tess?-he started, disbelievingly.

-Peter… We need to talk…

-Okay.

-These past six months have been real nice… I've felt like I've been living in a dream… You are everything a girl could wish for. Kind… Romantic… Sweet… You have a good sense of humor. And sex is great… But…

-You know… Someone once told me that everything a person says before the word "but" doesn't really count.

Tess smiled sadly before continuing, firmly decided.

-I… I think I am falling in love with Michael.

-What?

-I am really sorry… It's just that… I don't know, Peter… He is so different than you. Strong, willful… Independent… Daring. He buys me all kinds of things and takes me everywhere… You still ask for pocket money from your Mum. Michael and I go around for a ride in his father's car… He's not afraid to drive them off whenever he wants to… He doesn't even ask for his father's permission when he does things like that. Michael is ready to do everything for me… He's somehow more mature than you. You always look up to your parents in awe and you stay all day long in your room with those weird science projects you have… And I really like him. I thought it'd be fair if you knew. I don't wanna sit on two chairs. We could stay friends. I care about you too, of course. After all, we've known each other since we were toddlers. So… You'll think about everything and tell me what you've decided, right? Believe me, this is for the best. I'll understand if you don't want to… You know… Stay friends for now. But maybe later… When more time passes…-she said without looking him in the eyes.

-Friends-he repeated, bitterly, fighting with the pain that started crushing him on the inside.

-Tess, I…

But she was already gone.

-I love you-a heartbroken sixteen year old boy whispered in the middle of an empty street.

It started snowing. Peter was now positively shaking with cold. His lips turned inky blue in color. He began to walk again, aimlessly and after some time felt a thin crust of ice under his freezing feet. He glanced up carefully, and discerned a magnificent wooden house in the distance. He was standing on the frozen surface of Reiden lake, he knew that now. There was an inviting gray wisp of smoke coming from the house's chimney and Peter ran towards it, wishing nothing else but to get there as soon as possible, to enter his home and to hug his mother, to place his tired, confused head on her chest and to hear her soothing voice. But the run was lasting longer and longer, it looked as if it would never end, even though the house was seemingly so close, and when Peter glanced down at his legs, he discovered, surprised, that they were short and chubby… He was a mere eight year old boy again. Elizabeth Bishop was waiting for him at the doorstep, looking slightly worried.

-Peter… Dear, where have you been?

-Over there, on the lake-the boy noticed how afraid she became when he said that. –Don't worry. I was just playing, Mum.

Elizabeth knelt near Peter and embraced him, firmly, clutching him tightly as if she were afraid he would vanish into thin air.

-Come on, let's go inside to warm you up. It's freezing out here. And… I have something to tell you. Something you'll really love to hear. Your father has come home.

Peter's little round face lit up.

-Dad's here? Already? But I thought he was coming the next day!

-Yes, dear, he is here early. And as a surprise, he decided to be the one to prepare lunch for you today…

-Dad! Daddy!-Peter ran into the house, breathless. Walter was standing over the stove. "He looks so big"-Peter thought and his heart ached for some reason.

-Hello, my son-Walter said calmly, running his finger through Peter's unruly hair. –I know how much you love everything with cheese in it, so, today, we are having a Bishop family Cheesy lunch! Cheese soup, macaroni with cheese, cheese steak, four cheese pizza and a cheese cake for a dessert! I made it all myself!

-Wow! You're the best, Dad! I love you so much!

Elizabeth came quietly behind her husband and her son and hugged them both. For the moment, all three of them just stood there, savoring the moment of family proximity…

Peter closed his eyes, wishing he would stay with them forever, but when he opened them again he was out in the cold gray street again. The fog was mocking him yet again…

-Please… No more…-Peter knelt on the cold pavement, discouraged and defeated. –I just don't know where to go anymore… I don't know where to go!

A well-known hesitant voice rattled on in the distance and Peter's foggy brain focused on it as if it were a guide to a safe haven.

-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 5 ounces small diced onion, 5 ounces small diced carrot, 5 ounces small diced celery, 1 quart chicken broth, heated to a simmer, 1 tablespoon minced garlic… One bay leaf, now, this is very important, it mustn't slip my mind… Bay leaf… One cup heavy cream… 10 ounces Fontina, shredded; 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce… The other type will simply not do, no, no… And in the end… A secret ingredient! 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper!

Peter groaned under the set of several heavy blankets and risked opening his eyes. He wasn't feeling cold any longer, he was actually warm now, overtly warm… Drops of sweat adorned his forehead. He slowly stirred in the hospital bed. As he looked to his left, Peter saw a familiar face of his father and he managed a feeble smile.

-Dad?-he muttered weakly and incredulously, forgetting himself for a second.

Walter's face brightened immensely at that word, as he gently caressed Peter's cheek.

-You're back, my son. I know you would be.

Peter cleared his throat, embarrassed, but glad for his father's presence.

-Walter… What is that smell?-Peter's mouth watered and his stomach rumbled in anticipation.

-Why it's a cheese soup, Peter-the old man exclaimed happily.

-A cheese soup? Really?

–Your favorite. This kind young lady was telling me how you disdained the hospital's fine cuisine, and I merely suggested bringing you homemade food to which the medical personnel reluctantly agreed… I was just telling her a recipe for this exquisite dish… Anyway, from this day on until next week, you'll be eating only what I prepare for you. I am going to personally monitor your diet till you're out of the convalescence room. And when you finally come back home, we'll have a glorious celebration. Now what do you say?

Peter's eyes watered a little and he hastily looked the other way. Walter cares about me so much. I am never going to leave him. Never. I owe everything to my father.

-Thanks, Walter-he replied. –I appreciate it.

His gaze darted to another person who was standing in the room. Maya was looking at him warily, but gently, without saying a word.

Walter suddenly stood up and said, glancing at them knowingly:

-Well, my boy, I'd better be going… I shall come again tomorrow with yet another healthy recipe… There are some dung beetles that Asteroid and I are growing in a special terrarium and I don't like leaving her alone for too long with them…

-I'm sure you'll tell me all about them when I'm outta here.

-Indeed, Peter… Indeed… Such magnificent creatures…-Walter was muttering to himself as he was leaving the hospital room.

Seeing the confused look on Maya's face, Peter rolled his eyes in her direction and smiled encouragingly.

-My father… Forgive him, for he does not know what he's saying…-it was an attempt of parody of a biblical speech so Peter wasn't sure if she got the joke or not, but she apparently did, since she grinned and shook her head.

An uncomfortable silence filled the room. Peter propped himself up against the pillow, but he suddenly felt very dizzy and extremely tired.

-How long was I out? And what exactly happened to me?

-You had a very high fever for three days, Mr. Bishop. You were unconscious and hallucinating for most of the time…

-Ugh… What day is it today, anyway?

-It's Saturday. Would you like to eat the cheese soup your father prepared now?

-Yes, please, I'm starving-Peter's whole body was trembling with hunger. –And, just for the record...-he smiled charmingly-I have nothing against you feeding me today.

-Are you sure?-she whispered seductively.

-Positive-he added fervently. –Look… I'm sorry for… For spilling that soup on you. I should've never behaved like… Like such a Neanderthal.

Peter's eyes fell on small burns on the palm of her hand and he twitched at that unpleasant sight, knowing he was responsible for what he was seeing.

-It's alright. You were obviously nervous about something and… In the end, we all have our bad days.

-Well, there is no excuse for what I did-Peter gently took Maya's hand in his and grinned inwardly feeling her tremble a bit. –I apologize. You've been nothing but kind to me during all this time.

-It's my job.

-You did even more than you had to. I already owe you one for that pizza you brought me the other night-Peter smiled.

-Don't worry about that. Why don't you lie back down, you'll feel more comfortable?-she leaned towards him and Peter's eyes fell on her breasts. The medallion on a long chain Maya wore around her neck sank between them, and Peter felt a sudden urge to reach for it, pull it out and touch her there in the process.

As he was opening his mouth obediently to swallow a spoon of his favorite soup, Peter inquired mischievously:

-Do you happen to know where I might find some alcohol around here? I haven't had some for two weeks. Whiskey or beer, I'm not picky. And of course, I could also use some company.

Maya's lips widened in a wicked smile.

-Maybe.



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