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Older and Wiser


Red Ranger 1

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Well, it's been over a year since I lasted post a story on here so it was probably about time.This one has been bubbling in my head for a while now so hopefully you'll like it!

Story Title: Older and Wiser
Type of story: S/M Fic (Three-shot)
Main Characters: Olivia, VJ, Luc
BTTB rating: T

Genre: Romance/Friendship
Does story include spoilers: No
Any warnings: Mild sexual content, no violence or bad language
Summary: Chance brings two old friends together after years apart.What will happen?

 

CHAPTER ONE

London.It was a city Olivia knew well despite not having been there in the best part of a decade.That may have been what her employers were thinking of when they announced that they were opening a new shop and office there and needed a new head designer if any of them wanted to apply, an announcement that the office manager had apparently been making generally despite looking straight at her at the time.It was what was known in some quarters as an offer you can’t refuse.

  She hadn’t minded.Much.She’d got in touch with her Uncle James and let him know that she’d be in the area but no, she didn’t need a place to stay, she could find somewhere herself thank you.So she’d left her home of five years in Melbourne, moved into a flat in London, introduced herself at the office and been shown her new design space, then did what any sensible young professional who’d moved to a new city and didn’t know anyone there would do:She’d gone looking for a wine bar.The first place she’d found even had a restaurant attached, which solved the problem of the empty fridge back at her place.

  “White wine, please,”she told the barman,“Large.And a menu.”

  The barman provided her with both items without comment and she began scanning the menu, picking out a few dishes that seemed promising.She hadn’t meant to eavesdrop on the conversations at the tables behind her but a fellow Australian accent drew her attention.A young male voice.“No, come on, sit down.”

  “But the food’s not here!”protested a child’s voice, in a neutral accent of the kind developed when someone lived in lots of countries at a young age,“I just want to see what’s round the corner, Dad!”

  “We’ll have a look later,”the child’s father replied,“Come on, Luc, just do your colouring while you’re waiting.”

  The name and the voice were about as familiar as you could get.Olivia spun round and took the few steps over to the table the voices were coming from.“VJ?!”

  VJ looked up at her in surprise, which quickly became mixed with delight when he saw who it was. “Olivia?What are you doing here?”

  Olivia looked at the glass in her hand.“Drinking wine,”she said at last, putting it down on the table,“I’ve just got a transfer here with work.Guess it helped that I knew the city.What about you?Last I heard you two were in Cyprus?”She glanced over at the sandy-haired girl, who she realised would now be about six, staring at her in confusion.“And is that really Luc?”

  “I’m Luc,”the girl confirmed,“Who are you?”

  “I’m Olivia…Liv.”

  “Olivia was a friend of mine when you were born,”VJ explained.

  “Did you know my mummy?”Luc asked cautiously.

  Olivia felt a brief lurch and looked at VJ, who had a momentary sadness in his eyes.“Yes, I knew her. And I might have known a pretty girl like you could only be her daughter.”

  Luc smiled and looked at VJ.“Can Livia join us?”

  VJ looked back at Olivia.“If she wants to.”

  Olivia smiled and took a seat.“Course I can.”She looked again at the menu she was still holding.“Is there anything you recommend?”

***

“So you heard what happened with Hunter?”Olivia asked after their meals had arrived and all three of them were tucking in.

  “Got the highlights from Mum,”VJ confirmed,“Seems a bit odd that last time I heard from you I was helping him out with a proposal video.I really thought you two were for keeps.”

  Olivia nodded.“Yeah, so did I at one point.Strange how life doesn’t always work out the way you’re expecting.”

  “Yeah, that’s true,”VJ agreed, that slightly morose hint creeping back into his voice again.

  Olivia hurried to change the subject.“But anyway, you still haven’t explained how exactly you’ve ended up on the other side of the world!What went wrong in Cyprus?”

  “Cyprus was great,”Luc interjected,“It was hot and there were beaches and Uncle Marty…”

  “And a UN-controlled demilitarised zone,”VJ recalled with a hint of bemusement.

  “And then we came here,”Luc finished with a weary sigh.

  “Luc was about to start school,”VJ explained,“And I kind of wanted her to be taught in English.I didn’t want to go back to Australia”-he gave Olivia a pointed look, which she quickly understood as a signal not to mention Mick within Olivia’s hearing-“so we came here.”

  “And I had to go to school,”Luc concluded for him again.

  “And you’re doing very well there,”VJ told her,“And I’m training as a nursery teacher now.”

  “You, a teacher?”Olivia asked slightly incredulously.

  “Well, it mainly involves teaching kids to count and spell.And finger paint.I can just about manage that.”

  “So do you live near here?”

  VJ nodded.“Yeah, we’re in a block of flats.”He checked his watch.“Where we should probably be if this one’s going to get to bed at a decent time.”

  “I was hoping you’d forgotten,”Luc sighed as she climbed down from the table,“Can Livia come back with us?”

  “Yeah, then you’ll never get to bed.”VJ turned to Olivia as they all stood up.“But maybe you could come round for dinner one evening?”

  Olivia looked at Luc.“Is that all right?”

  Luc seemed to think the matter over.“Okay.”

  “Er, should we exchange addresses or phone numbers or Facebook pages?”VJ suggested.

  Olivia took his phone and put her number in it.“Call me.”

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Thank you for the comments, everyone! When this was first gestating in my head, the first chapter was going to be it but I decided I wanted to know what happened next so here's the first of the other two chapters.

CHAPTER TWO

VJ was more pleased than he’d like to admit to have Olivia back in his life.The six years since he’d left Summer Bay had been happy ones, there was no doubt about that.He’d adored being a father to Luc.And of course he’d had plenty of aunts and cousins in Cyprus, and it had been good having Ash to help out. But since he’d made the decision to move to London, his social circle had been somewhat limited.He’d had a few girlfriends out in Cyprus but none had lasted that long or been that serious:He’d had Luc to consider if nothing else.Now, with babysitters harder to come by, the only people he ever seemed to talk to were fellow parents at the school gates and his college classmates, who had long ago accepted that having a daughter meant he wasn’t free in the evenings that often.

  Olivia though was a link to his life in Summer Bay and someone who’d seen enough of that period to know how much Luc meant to him.Their second meal together, at his and Luc’s flat, had gone well and he could even trust her to keep Luc entertained while he concentrated on the washing up.Although looking across at them, with Olivia applying her fashion sense to a Barbie doll, he wasn’t quite sure who was entertaining who.

  “Bed time!”he called across the living area.

  Luc pulled a face and he had a sneaking suspicion Olivia had to stop herself doing the same.“Dad, do I have to?”

  “It’s school in the morning,”he reminded her,“They don’t like it when you fall asleep at your desk, remember?”

  Luc seemed to consider her negotiating position.“Can Livia read me a story?”

  “If it’s okay with her.”

  Olivia took the girl’s hand.“Come on, let’s go and pick one out.”

***

VJ had nearly finished when Olivia came back about ten minutes later.“How was it?”he asked.

  “Exhausting,”she replied with a heavy sigh,“I don’t know where she gets the energy from.”

  “She certainly keeps me fit.”

  Olivia gave a friendly smile.“She’s great, though.You should be proud of what you’ve done.”

  “Well, I had a bit of help,”VJ acknowledged.

  “I’m surprised Ash didn’t come with you.”

  “We talked about it,”VJ confirmed,“But he’d started building a life for himself out there, he had a business and a girlfriend.He understood my reasons for going and we’re still in touch a lot.It’s important to have Billie’s family involved.”

  “And…I take it Luc doesn’t know about Mick?”

  VJ had suspected the subject would come up as soon as they were alone.“No.I am going to tell her, when she’s a bit older.In a couple of years maybe.When she can fully understand.”He sighed.“I wish Billie was around to help.”He gave a wry smile.“Not that she was particularly good at that sort of conversation.Have you heard anything about him lately?”

  “Not much.I’m not sure how much contact Irene has with him but I think she’s keeping an eye on things. She seems to think he’s doing better.”

  “Yeah, well, I’m still happy to have a few oceans between us.I always get the feeling that if he ever found out Luc was in Australia, he’d be suing for custody again.”

  Olivia let the thought hang in the air for a moment.“This is nice,”she said at last,“Having a friend again.”

  “Do you want to make this a regular thing?”VJ asked,“You coming round here or us all going out together?”

  “Tell you what:Next time you come to mine.”

  “Are you sure?”VJ checked.

  “Yeah!It’ll give me a reason to finally get some food in.”

***

Over the next month or two, the arrangement became quite common.The three of them would meet up at a restaurant or at one or other of their flats to share a meal in the evening.When they were out or at Olivia’s, the need to get Luc to bed meant the night had to end early.But when they were at VJ and Luc’s, VJ and Olivia often stayed up chatting afterwards.

  VJ poured Olivia another glass of wine.“You going to be okay getting home?”

  “Yeah, I’ll just take the Tube.”

  VJ laughed.“We’re starting to sound like natives.”

  “Perish the thought.”

  “So, did your new design go down well?”

  Olivia nodded.“A few alterations but it should be on sale in the autumn.Which means September here. What about you, how did your assessment go?”

  VJ smiled.“Pass.They might actually let me in a room with real children soon.”

  “Aww, look at us, sounding all grown-up.”

  “Have you looked in a mirror lately?”VJ quipped,“We’re starting to look it as well.”

  Olivia gave a look of mock offence.“Take that back!”She gave him a playful shove.He shoved her back and it soon devolved into some good-natured wrestling until they fell off the couch and landed on the floor, her on top.She looked down at VJ and then lent down and kissed him.“Guess that was inevitable,” she remarked before kissing him again.

  VJ responded to the kiss, feeling the contours of her back with his hands, the embrace becoming ever more passionate until he pulled away.“Olivia, wait.”

  Olivia looked disappointed.“Don’t you want to?”

  VJ laughed.“I’m pretty sure I’ve wanted to since I came back from a surf and found you sitting on my towel.”He pulled himself out from under her and sat up.“But we’re not sixteen anymore and I’ve got Luc to think about.I mean, what is this, a one night stand?”

  “I don’t know,”Olivia admitted.She thought about it.“No, I don’t think so.I mean, as cute as you are, I’m not going to chuck away our friendship for one night.”

  “Right.So maybe we can wait a little?”VJ thought hard.“Do you think we should go on a date?”

  Olivia looked startled.“So how would that work?”

  “I guess we could go out for dinner without Luc, have a proper talk?”

  Olivia nodded.“It’s a date.”

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On 16/09/2018 at 19:32, D.B said:

Of course, yeah, you skipped ahead a couple of months in the story, I just meant that I didn't expect to happen so soon chapter-wise. Sorry I should have been more specific. 

Well, with only three chapters I had to get things moving!

Talking of which, here's the conclusion!

CHAPTER THREE

VJ opened the door to find Olivia standing there with a taller, brown-haired woman.Olivia gestured to her. “This is Jessica, the babysitter I promised.Jessica, this is VJ.”

  VJ shook hands with her.“And this is Luc,”he added, gesturing to where Luc was sitting on the floor, engrossed in a colouring book.Jessica smiled and went over to introduce herself.VJ turned his attention back to Olivia.“Nice dress,”he offered.

  “Thank you,”Olivia replied.She ran a hand over his shirt.“You’ve actually ironed this!”

  “No, I got Luc to do it,”VJ responded jokingly,“Who do you think does the ironing in this house?”

  “Hey, it’s another mark in your favour.”She offered him her arm.“Do you want to get going?”

  VJ took the arm and looked back towards the living area.“Luc, we’re going now!See you in the morning!”

  Luc was fully engrossed in her colouring, as was Jessica who’d grabbed a pen and joined her.She waved a hand in their direction without looking up.“Bye!”

  “Guess it’s no longer cool to hang out with your parents,”Olivia noted as they left.

***

VJ handed the menu back to the waiter who had taken their order, then looked across the table at Olivia. Now came the hard part.“So…I guess we should talk.”

  “Seems like a plan,”Olivia agreed.

  VJ realised she was waiting for him to start.“Are we really going to do this?”he asked.

  “Why not?”Olivia countered.

  “Well, teenage crush aside, I kind of got used to seeing you as a friend.And have you ever looked at me like that?”

  Olivia considered it.“I don’t know.I guess I thought you were pretty cute when we first met.And I like spending time with you.”

  “And Luc?Because, you know, she comes as part of the package.And I figured a while back that I couldn’t really give her a succession of aunties.”He sighed.“I guess what I’m saying is that we should only do this if we’re serious about it.”

  Olivia was silent for a moment, thinking.“Look, VJ, all I know is these past few weeks, spending time with you and Luc…it’s better than coming home to an empty flat at the end of the day.I like being with you.It’s like having a family.And if the day came when I was coming home to the two of you all the time, I think I’d be fine with that.”

  VJ smiled.“I think I’d be fine with that too.So, can you think of any other objections?”

  Before Olivia could answer, the waiter was back at their table.He held out one of the dishes.“Who was lasagne?”

***

Jessica was, thankfully, waiting for them when they arrived at the flat.And, curiously, still colouring in Luc’s book.She hastily put it away and stood up when VJ and Olivia came in.“Luc’s been in bed an hour, she was asleep when I checked ten minutes ago.Okay to leave you with her?”

  “Yeah, sure,”VJ agreed.

  “Good.”She checked her watch.“And my boyfriend should be waiting for me outside.See you tomorrow, Liv.”She hurried out.

  “You all right to use her again?”Olivia asked,“If we ever want to go out again without Luc?”

  VJ went to his daughter’s bedroom and checked inside.“Well, Luc’s still breathing so I guess she did the job.”

  “I’ll let her know.”

  VJ went back over to her.“And I really enjoyed tonight.And I would like to do it again.If Jessica’s willing and if you are too.”

  Olivia met his gaze.“I would really like to carry on spending time with you, yes.”

  VJ found himself unable to break eye contact with her.“Should I call a taxi to take you home?”

  Olivia also kept looking at him.“Do you want to?”

  “No.”

  “I don’t want you to either.”

  He kissed her softly.She took his hand and he led her to the bedroom.

***

Next morning, VJ and Olivia woke up in each other’s arms.They lay there for a moment in contented silence.“Well, that worked,”VJ said at last.

  “Pretty well,”Olivia agreed.

  “Do you think we should do it again?”

  Olivia shot him a look.“You mean..?”

  “I mean, you know, go out together.”He paused before adding,“And anything that might result from it.”

  Olivia checked the clock, then looked over at his wardrobe before slipping out of bed.“Quick, lend me a shirt.”

  “Why?”

  “Because Luc might come in and I don’t want her to ask why I’m not dressed for a sleepover.”

  “Stepmother’s thinking.Right hand side, middle shelf.”

  Olivia managed to shoot him an annoyed look as she retrieved the shirt and pulled it on over her underwear.

  “Joking apart,”VJ continued,“you are okay with Luc being part of this?I mean, I’m not saying she’s going to start calling you Mummy, but if we’re together, then it’s not just going to be you and me, or me looking after her while you stay away…”

  “I’m fine,”Olivia promised as she climbed back into bed with him and cuddled up.

  VJ thought for a moment.“It’s funny, isn’t it?Life.Everything that happened all those years ago and somehow the two of us have ended up here, together, like this.”

  Olivia shrugged.“Well, however it happened, it seems to work.”

  He smiled and kissed her.At which point, Luc called from the living area.“Dad!”

  VJ gave a rueful look at Olivia.“Get used to it.”He got out of bed, pulled on a pair of loose trousers and grabbed a shirt.“Coming!”he called out as he went through, pulling the shirt on as he did so.

  Olivia sat up in bed and thought about what a life together could be like.And then she smiled.

 

 

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