Before Sunset
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Before Sunset

Chapter 29
Bette paid the caterer as soon as everything was set up. She had to admit that it was a nice looking spread: boneless chicken breasts in a light herb sauce, asparagus in butter, a light pasta salad, and fresh baked rolls, a fruit platter, and the chocolate sauce she knew first hand was perfect. It was almost enough to make her want to stay for lunch. She looked through the records next to Gregory's stereo and was impressed by his varying taste in music. There was some older stuff there, some light jazz, and a few newer things. She found a Bread album and put it on the turntable, deciding the more modern hit would fit better the atmosphere better. A noise from the hallway caused her to turn just in time to see Olivia step into the room, looking exquisite in the new dress that set off the color in her eyes brilliantly.

"Well? What do you think?" Olivia sounded almost nervous.

"Oh, toots, you look amazing." Bette assured her. "Wait! Here, put this on." Bette took the strand of pearls from around her neck and put it on Olivia. It fell perfectly with the line of the dress, adding a final touch of elegance and class. "He doesn't stand a chance."

"Is my hair alright? I wasn't really prepared..." She tucked a loose strand behind her ear.

"It looks great, not over done but very nice." Bette pulled the hair back around her face and winked at her. "It looks better that way, softer."

Olivia smiled and nodded, trusting Bette's judgement over anyone's. "The food smells divine." She walked over to see how it looked and glanced at the clock. "This will be perfect as long as I don't get stood up again."

"He wouldn't dare. Where's the phone? I'll call the office and see if he left yet."

"You can't do that!"

"Why not? If he's gone I'll just give them a fake name and tell them I wanted to discuss a lawsuit I was considering and if he is there I'll invite him to dinner this weekend at the house and beg Elaine to pretend it was set up days ago. Relax." Bette dialed the number and a few minutes later Gregory's secretary answered the phone. "May I speak with Mr. Gregory Richards please? Oh I see. No, that's alright I only had a few questions for him concerning a contract he was looking at for me. I'll call back tomorrow." She hung up the phone, "Okay, looks like it's time for me to say adios. Greggy left the office about 5 minutes ago."

"Thanks, Bette!" Olivia hugged her. "I'd better light the candles..."

"Livie, pull the shades, light the candles, take the phone off the hook, and I've put an album on for you so just turn it on when he gets here. Most importantly... Relax and have fun."

"Music! I didn't even think of that!"

"Yea well, that's what I'm here for." Bette smiled as she closed the door behind her.

Gregory pulled up in front of the Prescott house and stepped out. He wasn't looking forward to a scene with Felicity but he did want to put this behind him as soon as possible. Her brother answered the door when he pressed the buzzer. "Hello, Pres. How are you?"

"Great, Gregory. What brings you by?" Timothy stepped aside to usher Gregory into the house.

"I can't stay." Gregory said, staying on the porch. "I just came to get something from Felicity..."

"Oh, you just missed her. She took off about five minutes ago, shopping or something. Can I do anything for you?"

Gregory clenched his teeth in frustration, "She knew I was coming!"

"Sorry, man... Look, I'll tell her you stopped by. Maybe she forgot."

"She didn't forget. Gregory growled. "I just called 10 minutes ago to tell her I was stopping by for the key to my apartment. just tell her to keep it. I'll have the locks changed." Gregory turned and walked away, angrier with the woman than he'd ever been before.

Timothy watched him and sighed, "Felicity, one day you are going to learn... Or you are going to get yourself killed..." He shook his head as he walked back into the house. He'd have another talk with his sister when she got home, before she managed to destroy both of their chances for a new life.

Felicity looked at the key in her hand and tried to decide what her next move should be. Maybe Pres was right and she should have just given it to Gregory. No, she wasn't ready to admit defeat, and certainly not to some low life Euro-trash. She'd have to find a way of showing Gregory Richards that she was the one who could help him get where he wanted to be while that cheap slut he was parading around at the moment would only drag him down. Or maybe she didn't have to convince Gregory of anything... Maybe she was focusing on the wrong person... A smile spread across her lips. Olivia Blake would regret that she'd ever heard the names Gregory Richards or Felicity Prescott, she'd see to that...
Gregory sat in his car, parked in the apartment buildings garage, for several minutes before getting out and heading up to his apartment. He didn't want Olivia to have to deal with his problems, and that's all Felicity Prescott was at the moment. He was a fool to ever get involved with her. He made a conscious effort to push her from his mind and relax as the elevator carried him upstairs. Olivia should still be there, waiting for him, and he had no intentions of leaving her waiting too long, or of letting her sleep...

The phone rang and Olivia nervously answered it. She smiled but her nervousness only increased when the parking attendant verified that Mr. Richards had arrived and was on his way upstairs. She disconnected and then placed the headset on the table, ensuring there would be no interruptions. The shades were already drawn as Bette had suggested and she quickly lit the candles and turned out the overhead light. Hearing the key in the lock she slowly opened the door, leaning against it as Gregory looked from her to the room beyond, "Welcome home, Mr. Richards... I hope you're hungry..."

"Starved..." Gregory's eyes were fixed exclusively on the woman before him and any lingering thoughts of Felicity fled from his mind.

She took his hand and pulled him inside, locking the door behind them. She hoped he couldn't tell that her heart was racing or that she was shaking slightly. Her carefully cultivated confidence was slipping in direct proportion to her desire to please him. Leading him over to the table she handed him the newly poured glass of wine and slowly removed the tie from around his neck, "Then get comfortable and enjoy..." His lips cut off the rest of her words as he kissed her. Her whole body trembled as his arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her against him and for a moment she forgot entirely about the elegant dinner awaiting them.

His eyes were dark with desire when he finally released her, "You are incredible. How did you put all of this together so quickly?"

"I told you..." she said, her voice sounding much steadier than she felt, "I have my ways..." She stepped out of his arms and carefully placed the needle on the record before walking over to the table. Gregory held the chair for her before taking his own seat. "I wasn't sure what you'd like so I hope this is alright." She said, carefully removing the covers from the food.

"It's perfect." His words reassured her, but he didn't mean the food.All the anger and frustration had left him in an instant when he'd seen her and her knew she was what he needed. Her presence alone was enough to calm him and he couldn't imagine having to go through life without knowing she would be there at the end of the day. He accepted the prepared meal that would see to his basic survival needs but knew the woman offered him something much more essential than food.

Lunch was filled with small talk and Gregory summarized as best he could the business deals he'd been working on all day. He was delighted she didn't seemed bored by it all, truly interested in knowing how he spent his days at the office. She admitted to Bette's help in preparing lunch and to the call to his office. It made him laugh and they spent several minutes imagining what wild story Bette might have told had he actually come to the phone.

When it was clear they had both eaten all they wanted Gregory reached across the table and took her hand as he stood, "May I have this dance, Ms Blake?"

Olivia's eyes shined as she rose to meet him, one hand held gently in his while the other rested gently in his shoulder. The music was soft and she couldn't help smiling as the words reached her. Resting her head on his shoulder she felt as if it had been written just for them.

Dreams, they're for those who sleep, life is for us to keep
and if you're wondering what this song is leading to
I want to make it with you
I really think that we can make it girl.

Ooooh! you don't know me well
and every little thing only time will tell
if you believe the things I do and we'll see it through.

Life can be short or long, love can be right or wrong
and if i choose the one I'd like to help me through
I'll like to make it with you
I really think that we can make it girl.......

"Olivia..." Gregory's voice was low and deep against her ear. She raised her head and looked into his eyes, seeing all she needed to know there. No other words were needed as he lead her slowly towards the bedroom. This time they would take their time and explore their desires. This time they would make love.