Before Sunset
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Before Sunset

Chapter 28
The buzzing of the alarm clock woke Olivia from a pleasant dream and, with a moan of rebellion, she reached for it with one hand while pulling the pillow over her head with the other to shut out the sound. Feeling blindly she moved her hand over the nightstand and registered that the alarm was not where it should have been. About the time she heard something crash to the floor, a degree of consciousness sufficient to remind her that she wasn't at Elaine's made it's way through the haze of sleep and solidified almost simultaneously with the realization that she was not alone. The voice, close to her ear, reached her brain along with the sensation of the body next to hers. "It's on this side, Sweetheart. I've got it..." A movement, the covers shifting, and the sound was gone...

Olivia smiled as she stretched and turned to face her companion, "You should have woken me..."

"Not a chance. You looked too perfect lying there. Not that I wasn't tempted.' Gregory's smile matched hers and he lowered his lips to hers for a good morning kiss.

"What time did you get in?"

"Late... After 2, and I have a meeting for breakfast. I have to run."

"Oh..." Olivia pouted. "Now I really wish you'd woken me."

"Darling, as tempting as it was, I only got 4 hours of sleep. If I'd woken you, I doubt I'd have gotten any." He was already getting up, pulling on his underwear and reaching for a pair of suit pants.

Olivia watched him and sighed, "I guess I'd better get moving too..." She started to sit up but he stopped her.

"You don't have to. You still look sleepy. I should be home by lunchtime. You could sleep in and wait on me..."

"Lunch... Anything like yesterdays?" She didn't even attempt to hide the jealous tone.

"Yesterday, was a nightmare and don't think for a moment that I was there with Felicity..."

"You were there, she was there... Sounds together to me..."

"You know what I mean. Singleton likes Prescott, remembers his grandfather or something, I don't know... He called him, asked him to stop by, and Felicity tagged along. I have to go. You, stay here." He kissed her quickly and headed out the door, still straightening the tie around his neck. He paused at the door and looked back at her, "How did you get in anyway?"

A sly grin accompanied the answer, "I have my ways..."

"Right... And I'd be worried if I didn't know Henry would have a heart attack if you so much as winked at him." Gregory laughed at the thought of Olivia sweet talking the old doorman and grabbed his wallet from the table. "Stay put. I'll be back soon!" He called and was gone.

Olivia sank back onto the warm bed, pulling his pillow to her in a comforting hug. She had no plans whatsoever of leaving.

Del sat across the small patio table from his future father-in-law. The man still wasn't pleased with the fact his daughter was pregnant, but the wedding plans seemed to have helped him to accept it. As for Del, he was beginning to warm to the idea more and more. Not that he was really cut out to play daddy to some crying baby, but the perks were looking up. He had in his hand a list of possible nannies that could start to work even before the baby was born, there to ensure Madeline would never have to change a dirty diaper or wake up for a 2 am feeding. He also held a contract that placed him in charge of the Dallas branch. Madeline wouldn't like the move, but if her daddy said go, she'd go, and Del would make a fortune with the stock options. Madeline would adjust and after the baby was born she'd be able to travel. Yes, Del Douglas was a happy man...

"I've gained 5 pounds!" Madeline announced in a frustrated tone as she joined them.

"You look wonderful." Her father assured her absently. Del knew better than to say anything. She wouldn't say anything to her father; she clung too strongly to the idea of inheriting his fortune to risk annoying him. Del on the other hand had little to protect him and they both knew it. So he ignored the remark and poured her some juice. Even this was worth a glare from his loving fiancée.

Bette signed for the envelope and sat on the couch staring at it. She didn't need to open it to know what it contained, the final divorce decree. Her signature was all that was required to sever the ties with Mario for good. She thought of their time together, of the good times and bed, and she thought of finding her, drunk, his head resting on the death certificate for Elaine's son. She'd gone along with it... She closed her eyes as she thought, admitting her guilt if only to herself. Even know she went along with it. The ringing phone made her jump and she pushed away the past and the pain.

"Bette, do you remember the dress I tried on last week at the little shop on West Beachside?" Olivia's voice sounded over the phone.

"The green one?"

"Yes! Are you busy right now? I need you to get it and bring it to me."

"Where are you and why can't you get it yourself?" Bette asked, already reaching for her purse.

"At Gregory's, and I can't go because I am waiting for lunch to be delivered.

Bette shook her head and laughed, "Later you are going to have to give me all the details. Is Gregory there?"

"Not yet..." The smile came through in her voice, "but he'll be back shortly."

"On my way, Toots. I hope you know what your doing..." Bette hung up the phone, checked to make sure her credit card, and went out to help someone else's dream come true.

Felicity cursed as she hurried through the house to answer the phone. when she was a child they paid people to answer the phone and now every time she had to rush to get it she was reminded of her father's gambling and the lost fortune that should have been hers. Her mood was not improved by the conversation...

"Felicity, it's Gregory. I'll be leaving the office in about 10 minutes..."

"Wonderful! You'll be free for lunch. Why don't I meet you some..."

"No." The voice left no room for discussion. I'm stopping by there and I want you to be waiting with the key to my apartment. I'm in a hurry and I don't have time to discuss it. Anything you've left at my place I'll give to Pres later this week when I see him."

"Gregory..." The dial tone told her he'd hung up.

Olivia showed the florist where to put the fresh cut flowers and was paying her when the caterer arrived with lunch. She pointed him in the direction of the little dinning area and finished her business with the florist. Before the door could close all the way, Bette appeared with the dress she'd asked for. "Perfect! Bette, what would I do without you?" She kissed her friend on the cheek and then hurried away, replacing the burnt candles from the night before with fresh ones. Her surprise evening may not have materialized quiet as she had planned but lunch was going to be perfect!

"Wow! This is some spread. I don't suppose I'm invited for lunch?" Bette teased as she peaked at the dishes, annoying the caterer who was trying to set everything out.

"Not a chance." Olivia laughed. "I have to get changed. Will you see that he has whatever he needs?" She handed Bette the money to pay him and hurried to the bedroom to change.

Bette took a fresh strawberry and dipped it in the chocolate sauce, earning her a look of disgust and frustration from the rushed caterer. "What?" She asked innocently. "You think they're going to miss one strawberry?"