Eliot is looking forward to the dance as a chance to win Tess' favor as he hops into his truck. Paddys' wife, Melissa, takes the lead of their little caravan in her Tahoe as they all head out toward town. Paddy actually lets Melissa drive since he is planning to enjoy himself tonight in the adult beverage way. As they exited the inn, Paddy noticed the same glint in Eliot's eye that he had so very long ago on the way to a blind date with a certain red-headed adopted sibling who will be meeting them in town. Paddy is hoping that this night will have more moments of déjà vu as they pull into the parking space at the boat works since that was the whole reason behind the plan for Eliot's visit. It is time that these two hashed out a lifetime of missed opportunities.
Melissa takes a glance out her window as she turns off the car to notice Eliot as he fusses with his hair for a second in the rear view mirror before opening his door to hop out. The rest of Eliot's friends follow behind pulling into the space next to Melissa. Eliot is both happy and a bit nervous to have everyone as chaperones on this date. Even Parker notices Eliot fussing with his appearance with a whisper to Sophie as they head into the dance.
Sophie is enjoying the look of love on her Eliot. He has been alone way too long. Eliot being solo has always stood out to her over the time the team has been together. They have become a family but it is a family of two couples and Eliot. Sophie could have never imagined this life for Eliot but it suits him. Eliot has had a glow about him since he met his sons. From what she can tell, Tess is good for Eliot. Tess could bring much needed balance to his world. Sophie just hopes that this is not a fleeting moment of happiness for Eliot. There is still so very much that could go wrong.
Parker marvels at the interior of the boat works. There are lights strung everywhere with branches creating strikingly beautiful shadows across the ceiling. The vibe of the huge space is surprisingly cozy. Massive former industrial fireplaces ground the ends of the building which add to a cozy feel and give the space a very steam punk vibe. The DJ that Parker pictured is actually a swing band. Parker is intrigued by the life that people live in this town. It is still so much like a story from a novel or even a fairy tale. It is a life she never imagined that people actually lived. The life of normal people who celebrate simple things, often.
Sophie could not be more delighted with the elegance of the space. She expected something far more hayseed. The space is elegant and refined with tables and wooden chairs that add to the charm. The soaring rafters create a cathedral like atmosphere in the middle of one of the massive walls is a bandstand with an actual band. The vibe reminds her of hunting parties that she so enjoyed in her youth where the barns on the estates were converted into elegant spaces. Nate loops his arm through Sophie's as they walk further into the wonder of the space. They all needed a break from their reality and this has been quite the adventure so far. Parker is enjoying the wonderment of the moment. Parker is also swept up in the romance of the evening as Hardison pulls her onto the dance floor for a slow dance. They have not danced like this since that high school reunion and that was way too long ago. Hardison could dance with Parker all night and that is the current plan.
Eliot scans the room for Tess as he, Paddy and Melissa head towards Connie and his wife. Connie hands Eliot a beer with a smile and the offer of the information that Tess has not yet arrived. Connie and Paddy exchange the same look as the irony takes hold. This day is a replay of so very long ago. The only difference is actually Connie's wife. Connie's wife Maggie was a heart won afar and brought back home to Maine.
Eliot settles in and enjoys the company of friends old and new as he continually monitors the door for Tess. Paddy interjects with a hand on Eliot's shoulder. "She will be here, Eliot. Relax, who would miss a night like this." Paddy taps his beer against Eliot's with a wink and a smile. Eliot is fully aware of the irony of this night as Tess arrives. Eliot admires Tess from afar as he watches her walk across the room. Eliot cannot conceal the smile that crosses his face at the sight of Tess. Parker watches Eliot's reaction to Tess over Hardison's shoulder as they dance. Parker snuggles into Hardison's embrace as a reminder of her own love that is right here beside her.
Eliot debates whether to meet Tess on her path or let her cross the room. He cannot help but acknowledge that tonight, tonight he is actually nervous. Eliot is not used to the thought of being vulnerable and Tess could crush his world with a wave of her hand right now. He has been a ladies man his whole life, this is Tess and with Tess, he has something to lose.
Tess is painfully aware of the eyes upon her as she heads towards the usual suspects. Eliot waves down the bartender ordering up a dirty martini for Tess as Tess says her hellos. Eliot wanders to Tess' side with a soft hello and a smile as he hands her the glass. Tess greets Eliot with a smile that he remembered what she would want, a dirty martini, very dirty with extra olives. Eliot used to joke that her drink was practically an appetizer, he laughs at Tess' time worn rituals. She ordered the drink that way in case the food was terrible.
Tess takes one sip before plucking the olives off of the pick with a smile in Eliot's direction. The friends new and old settle around a grouping of tables as the conversation drifts from topic to topic. Eliot is truly enjoying the blending of his new and old lives. He could have never predicted a collision of his worlds but so far so good. Eliot will accept the run of good luck. He is waiting for karma to bite him in the ass. He has done enough on his path to this moment to warrant a heavy duty dose of karma.
Eliot is longing to find a way to spend some time alone with Tess without their children and without their friends. Eliot wants to be part of his children's life and the pathway is through Tess. Being in Tess' presence has stirred so may feelings within Eliot. He has watched the relationships building around him with tangs of envy and a few pangs of guilt at being a womanizer from time to time. Eliot internally acknowledges that he truly loved Tess, hell the short time around her he has to acknowledge that he loves her still. No one every made him feel the way that Tess makes him feel he could fall so very hard for her so very easily. Tess makes him feel at peace. The boys just add to the depth of those emotions.
Eliot decides the best start to some time alone with Tess is to ask her to dance. Eliot offers his hand to Tess with a warm smile pulling her from her chair. Eliot pulls Tess in close for a slow dance as he whispers in her ear. "You look beautiful." Tess is touched by Eliot's words. Tess always loved dancing with Eliot. There was something about being wrapped up in Eliot's arms that is comfortable and familiar. Though he has kissed Tess, this is almost more intimate. Eliot bathes in the warmth radiating from Tess. Her perfume triggers cascades of memories for Eliot as he pulls Tess even closer.
Sophie watches the pair sway to the music lost in each other's presence. Nate watches Sophie watch the lost loves. He is enjoying Sophie's obvious joy in watching Eliot. In a way, Tess would complete their circle. Eliot has never asked for anything. He never seems to need anything. Nate can see the longing in Eliot when he was around his boys. Nate knows how quickly the love sets in. A father's love is instantaneous and complete at the first experience of his children whether that occurs the day they are born or not. Eliot needs this a great deal. There was a void in Eliot. It is a void that the team has begun to fill but Tess, Tess would fill a void in Eliot's life that the team has no ability to fill.
The night passes at an ambling pace much to the delight of all of the new comers. Eliot is enjoying the share of some of the best times of his life with his team. Maine always brought Eliot peace and he can see the effect on this place manifest on the faces of his team. He feels closer to them than he as ever felt before. In other circumstances, Eliot would have never let anyone this close to his inner world. His inner world could have no witnesses.
The evening winds to a close and Eliot does not want it to end so he offers a ride to Tess. Eliot knows that Tess lives just a few blocks away but he is going to woo Tess into keeping this night alive. The boys are safe and sound at the Inn in the care of Mrs Hannigan, it is a rare opportunity for him to be with Tess. Eliot just wants to spend some time with Tess. They have had so many hard conversations in the last few days. There are many more hard conversations to come, today, Eliot just wants to spend some time with Tess the way they used to spend time together. Eliot has to know if the spark is still there. He feels his love for Tess rising to the surface. Eliot needs to know if she feels it too. Eliot knows his thoughts but his fears are keeping him from reading Tess. Eliot acknowledges his blind spot.
As they walk out Eliot pops his elbow out for Tess to loop her arm through as an act of chivalry on the stroll towards Eliot's truck. Eliot opens the door of the truck for Tess to hop in. The hour is late but not yet ridiculously late. Parker watches Eliot over the tops of Nate's car with a smile before taking the back seat with Hardison. They have decided to head to the diner for a late night snack leaving Eliot and Tess some time alone.
Eliot hops into the seat next to Tess as he turns towards her. "Tess, the boys are safe. I want to spend some time with you like old times, just us." Tess takes in the warmth of Eliot's smile, the uncertainty in his voice and the look in those blue eyes. Tess recalls a similar moment from almost a decade ago which brings a smile to her face. Tess casts a side eye at Eliot with a smile. "Well, fire it up, let's go get this thing stuck."
The phrase instantly ignites a smile across Eliot's features at the line he used on Tess in the past. Eliot puts the truck in drive and heads to their spot. Eliot navigates the roads towards the overlook near the water. They stop for coffees on the way to their spot. Tess unbuckles her seat belt, sliding over in the seat to snuggle beneath Eliot's arm as he lays it across the back of the bench seat. Tess' lead into conversation is simply. "Eliot, what am I going to do with you." Eliot can feel the warmth of Tess' body radiate into his bones. Tess casts a soft look up at Eliot's face as she runs her hand down Eliot's leg. Eliot takes a sip of his coffee with a smile into the oblivion of the sea before glancing down at Tess. "Well, you could just get it over with and marry me." Eliot says only half in jest with a wink in Tess' direction.
Tess rolls her eyes playfully at Eliot in response. Tess lays her head into the crook of Eliot's arm with a sigh. Eliot gently kisses the top of Tess' head as he shifts his position. There is a brief but comfortable silence as they gaze out into the moonlight and out at the sea. Tess admits to herself she is truly enjoying Eliot's company. Tess glances up at Eliot as he begins to play with her hair. The conversation flows at gentle pace as the pair feel each other out as to the course of the evening.
Tess takes Eliot's cup and her own, placing them into the cup holders before changing position to face Eliot. Tess tenderly touches Eliot's face gazing into his eyes. Those blue eyes melt Tess from the inside out as her longing for Eliot begins to overtake her judgement as she leans in and kisses Eliot. Eliot wraps himself around Tess in the limited space in the front seat of his truck full enjoying the burst of passion. After a few breathless kisses and quick decision to take this to more comfortable surroundings, Eliot puts the truck back into drive as they head back to Tess' house. He is not going to waste a moment like this.
Both had expected this to feel awkward and weird but it doesn't, Eliot and Tess barely get the front door shut as the passion between them begins to flare again. Eliot locks the door behind them as the breathless kisses have them heading upstairs stripping off coats, tossing them on the couch on the way to the staircase. Tess wants to feel shame in taking Eliot immediately upstairs but she rationalizes with the fact that the two of them have a history. They have two children together and are grown adults. She is not going to apologize for a thing. Eliot is thrilled and totally aligned with the passion overcoming both of their better judgement. Eliot is shocked as to how natural the intimacy feels with Tess. It is like it has been days and not eight years. Eliot cannot help but take in the look of Tess as her form presses against him. Tess' curves are fuller. Her body bares the marks of expanding to accommodate their children and Eliot cannot think anything other than how beautiful she is.
As the moment between them accelerates, Tess gets up, heading to her bathroom puzzling Eliot. Upon her return beneath the sheets with Eliot, the passion ignites again. In a few moments, Tess flicks her fingers up at Eliot holding a condom between them. Eliot smiles and laughs as Tess adds. "The last time we did this... we had twins, Mr Spencer." Eliot laughs pulling Tess into him to resume the passion. Eliot acknowledges how different it is to make love to Tess. He has had plenty of women in his life but there is something different about making love when you love the person. There is an intimacy and a connection that Eliot has never fathomed he would feel. He wants to get lost in Tess even if it is just for tonight.
Eliot basks in every moment with Tess. The evening drifts into morning with Eliot blissfully tangled up with Tess as she sleeps with her head resting against his heart. Eliot has never felt so at peace. The warmth of Tess' body takes away his pain. He knows that Tess saw the healing wounds. He knows that Tess is likely aware of the life that he now lives. Paddy would have told her or she would have figured it out. Paddy would never shield Tess from that truth because of the boys. Eliot acknowledges how much he wants this. His life required him to have no ties, nothing that could be used against him but he wants this. He wants to wrap himself up in Tess and raise his boys. He has never wanted anything more.
Tess rolls over wrapping herself into a burrito with the blankets as she always did this time of the morning. It was always Eliot's wake up call when the cold would hit his bones. Eliot takes the moment of freedom to get up. He glances down at Tess' sleeping form. Eliot decides to make a pot of coffee. As he slips into his shirt and jeans, Eliot stops at Tess' dresser before making his way to the door. Tess is a creature of habit and ridiculously OCD about some things. Eliot gently slides the top drawer open. The top left drawer is where Tess kept her jewelry. It takes only a moment for him to find the box. The ring is still in the antique box that he presented it in. Eliot gazes upon it for a few moments before slipping the box into his front pocket.
Eliot returns after a short while with two cups of coffee. He takes a seat next to Tess on the bed as the aroma tickles Tess out of dreamland. Eliot sets a cup down before rounding the bed to suck every drop of marrow out of this moment. The reality of the day is shortly upon them with Tess hopping into the shower before Paddy drops off the boys on his way into town.
Paddy cannot conceal his smile as he spies Eliot's truck still in Tess' driveway this morning. Paddy pulls in the driveway, parking next to Eliot. The boys now know Eliot's truck on sight and are excited that he is over. Fortunately, the boys really don't know that Eliot actually never left. After unloading the boys, Paddy opens the kitchen door to reveal Tess making breakfast. Eliot accepts the hazing looks from Paddy with a glance over his coffee cup and an exchange of smiles.
The boys sit down chatting away with Eliot as Paddy wanders up next to Tess with a gentle push to her shoulder as he reaches for a coffee cup from the cabinet next to her head. Paddy gloats a little since he has never seen Tess quite this happy in a long time.