title from the national's cold girl fever. not mine, no profit garnered. for the trope bingo square character in distress. thanks a!
When Olivia was first introduced to her new partner, agent John Scott, she was five months pregnant. She smiled tightly, a kind of apology for her physical state. Scott was surprisingly charming and for once, not the usual sort of covert misogynist she sometimes ran into at the FBI.
She'd been assigned Boston for her first position at the FBI out of Quantico. It was a great assignment, a sign of how well she'd done. Peter hated it but he went anyway. She came home from work energized or scared or overwhelmed. Peter sat at the dinner table and forced himself to smile. She could see the effort. He complained that suddenly he couldn't get a job, since he hadn't graduated high school and the companies he applied to didn't care about his other certifications. "I could probably dummy up the records," he said. Then he looked up at her and smiled. "Which I will not do."
For her. He didn't do it because he wanted her to succeed. He looked, for a moment, twelve in his face and hungry and lost. She said, "Let's get married."
"Okay," he said, and then laughed. "Now you want to get married."
"You moved to Boston for me," she said.
Peter took his GED without studying and passed easily.
When Rachel and Greg were in town, Peter and Olivia got married. She wore a white dress and heels. Greg took pictures. She didn't take Peter's last name as hers, to no one's surprise. Peter said, "I would have talked you out of it if you'd wanted to. If we have kids, they'll be Dunhams."
When they were home after all the drinking and eating, she said, "If we have kids."
"Do you want to?"
"Maybe," she said. Peter had a gorgeous smile.
A week later she came home and Peter had a course catalog. From Harvard. "Now you're going to college?" She went to the microwave where her dinner was. Peter never complained about making two dishes and putting one away to wait. He complained about other things. She watched the plate go round and round warming up and thought about Peter's father. So close to them now.
Peter said, "I negotiated it. No tuition and I think I can do it in slightly under three years."
"Of course you can," Olivia said. She wasn't being sarcastic. "What are you going to get a degree in?"
"Film studies," Peter said. "Actually they don't offer Film Studies, so I guess I'll do Electrical Engineering."
"I would happily support my Film Studies major husband," Olivia said. She sat down across from him with her warm plate. Peter had made mac and cheese with broccoli and bacon. It was yummy. She made appreciative noises as she ate.
She paused eating, and said, "I'm sorry you hate Boston."
"I know," Peter said. "But you're doing great so I will make Boston livable for me."
"Legally," Olivia said.
"Always legally, Mrs. Dunham," Peter said.
After a year in Boston, when Peter was one third of the way through his degree, she felt it was a good time to get pregnant. "Assuming it happens quickly," she said.
"Can I stay home with her or him? I mean it. You go back to work, and I'll be a stay at home parent," Peter said.
"Stay at home dad," Olivia said. "I think it suits you."
"It should only add another year to my degree," Peter said.
"I hear babies are harder than that," Olivia said.
"Sure," Peter said. "I said it'll add a year."
She got pregnant as soon as they stopped using condoms. She knew after a month she'd never do it again. Her body felt alien, the person inside her a growing, living thing, pressing on her. She had nightmares constantly. Things were cold and dark and exploded and she felt everything shaking. Every time she woke up, Peter was already awake. He never said anything like it was all a dream, it'll be okay. He just said her name until she fell back asleep.
Everything got worse and by five months she counted the days until she could give birth. At least a new partner was distracting. "I bet you were hoping for a partner you could take out in the field," Olivia said.
"I like the inside of the building," Scott said. "Here's your pile of reports, I'll take the smaller one."
"You seem really smart, smarter than me," Scott said.
In a different world, she thought, Scott would have been the kind of person she could fall for. She didn't fall for a lot of people. But Peter had snuck in and he was … Peter. He'd told her once that he stayed through the disastrous part of their first date because she was pretty and he wanted to make her laugh. He still made her laugh.
She'd stayed through that part because he had nice eyes and he seemed to like that she was an investigator.
They were both orphans, sort of. Close enough.
At eight months, she had to stop working altogether. She wanted to work another month, but she was also exhausted pretending she wasn't overwhelmed and horrified by her pregnancy. Peter, thankfully, wasn't bothered by it. He said, "Maybe she'll come early."
"Do you mind if we just have the one?" Between being uncomfortable and overwhelmed, Olivia felt guilty that she couldn't do this one thing.
"I don't mind at all," Peter said. "I'm an only child. It's fun."
"I'll have to believe you," Olivia said.
Labor was a relief. The minute her baby took her first cry and then Peter cut the cord and Olivia felt at home within herself again. It was horrible. She was awful. But Peter looked at her with love and put their baby on her chest. She touched the baby, clung to her. This squirmy, wailing life. "Maybe I could do this again," she said. "I like her."
"Let's worry about it later," Peter said. He had tears in his eyes. He was mostly focused on the baby.
They argued about the name. They bickered. They settled on Elizabeth Evan Dunham. "We can do two middle names," Olivia said. "She could have Bishop in her name."
"They'll still let me pick her up at daycare," Peter said. "She has my mother's name. I'm good."
They called her Bee. Peter called her Bee and Olivia thought it suited her. She also thought it was ridiculous thinking Bee had a personality. For the first month, Bee seemed mostly like a ball of want. And gross bodily fluids. But Peter insisted and Olivia thought she could see it. She could see Bee the person that was to come.
Olivia breastfed and when she finally went back to work, she pumped. She hated that part of being a mother, too, but she was determined to power through for six months. She did power through.
She went back to work after two months. Peter said, "Finally. Bee and I have a ton of plans."
"No, not at all, I'm already missing going to the bathroom alone," Peter said. He kissed her cheek and gave her a brown paper bag with peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He'd been giggling as he made it.
She asked Scott if he'd missed her, mostly joking. He just said, "I really did. Charlie is much less fun than you."
"I have a lot more fun when I'm not on desk duty," she said.
They were part of a raid on suspected bomb maker's suburban home. She saw a flicker of something and grabbed John's arm, pulling him away from a door. They were both in the doorway when the explosion hit. He said, "How did you know?"
"I just saw something," Olivia said.
"Thank you for saving my life," Scott said. "I really appreciate that."
"Being alive is awesome," Olivia said. "Sorry, I've been reading a lot of children's books lately."
"Being alive is awesome," Scott said.
One day, Olivia left work early and drove to St. Clair's. She'd been thinking about going there since a month after Peter moved in with her. But now she was armed with her marriage license. She was actually immediate family. She wasn't sure why she was so compelled to meet her father-in-law, but she'd felt it even more strongly after Bee.
She had to use the marriage license and even invoke her badge before they let her in. At least they were alone in some sort of visiting room when they met. Walter Bishop looked horrible. She'd seen pictures but his hair was unkempt and he walked like his bones were melting away. Knowing Bishop, he could have made that happen. He sat down and said, "You must be the new Mrs. Bishop." Then he looked down at his fingers and started counting prime numbers.
"I didn't take Peter's last name," Olivia said. "We have a baby. I brought a picture." She had printed one out last week before she'd made any sort of plan. She slid the photo across the table.
Walter Bishop looked at the picture, his fingers floating just centimeters from it. He said, "Baby. Babies! Everyone loves babies. She doesn't look like Peter."
"He's her father," Olivia said, a little pissed.
"Of course, of course, I wasn't implying anything. I don't know you, Olive, I don't know you well enough to know if you were unfaithful. Is Peter still chubby? He was round as a child."
"He's not chubby," Olivia said. "I think she looks like Peter."
"A little, a little sure. Hard to tell when they're so young," Walter said. He picked up the picture and tucked it into his jumpsuit. "Thank you for the picture. Thank you for coming. Next time bring Peter."
"I might not come again," Olivia said.
"I hope you do," Walter said. He went back to whispering numbers to himself.
She told Peter as soon as she got home. She wondered if he'd be mad. Peter was very cold and controlled when he was truly furious. Never once at her, but she'd seen it. She wondered what he would have been if she hadn't forced him onto the straight and narrow.
Not that she'd forced. He knew she couldn't be with him if it compromised her career.
Peter said, "You didn't tell him her name?"
"No," Olivia said. "Why?"
Peter shrugged. He had Bee asleep on his shoulder so he only shrugged on one side. Peter said, "I don't know. I don't know."
Walter, an old crazy man Olivia had never met, had called her Olive. Olivia said, "He called me Olive. I didn't tell him my name."
"No one calls you Olive except Rachel," Peter said.
"He must have seen my name and misread it," Olivia said. She believed that. She convinced herself, easily. She and Peter had first met that night in the bar. He was handsome and he clearly thought she was beautiful. He was turned on that she was smart and didn't try to impress him. She didn't believe in soulmates or love at first sight. She knew she loved her husband.
"I understand if you're mad at me," Olivia said.
Peter sighed. "I'm not. But I'm not going there. And don't take Bee."
"I don't think I'll go back," Olivia said.
"You say that now," Peter said. He sat down on the floor after Bee started to stir. He spread his legs and put Bee down on the floor. She could sit up on her own. She was getting close to crawling.
Olivia sat down across from Peter and Bee. "I just wondered. Since I knew about Walter. He wasn't what I expected."
"He's an abusive shit," Peter said. "But I get it. Intriguing. I think about seeing him but I honestly don't want to."
"You don't have to," Olivia said. She remembered that John Scott had mentioned Walter to her once. They'd been reviewing a case with a strange kind of bomb. John Scott had mentioned William Bell and then asked her if she knew her father-in-law had worked with Bell. Olivia hadn't known that until John Scott told her.
Bee stared at her intently and then started to shuffle crawl towards Olivia. Olivia grinned. "Look at her go."
Peter said, "She's very decisive. She decides to do something and she does it. Clearly a Dunham."
Olivia clapped as Bee made her way towards her. "She's a lot like you, too. She looks like you." Olivia picked up Bee as Bee bumped into her knee. "I love you," she said, looking at Peter.
"Nice of you to say it to Bee," Peter said. He kissed Bee's cheek and then Olivia's cheek as he stood up. "I made dinner, of course."