Cate Blanchett is the sort of person who is easy to love. She's placid, and beautiful, and she doesn't demand or expect any sort of excessive energy from them. Liv finds herself just sitting by Cate whenever she has the chance (not often, much to her chagrin) because just sitting beside her inexplicably but thoroughly drains all the tension of filming from Liv's spine. Cate is more Elven than any of them, Orlando with his pretty face and Hugo with his deep, dark eyes and even her, Liv, with a sort of ethereal prettiness that isn't standard but is certainly there.
But there's a glimmer of something dark in Cate's eyes, something swirling beyond her usual pale and resolute calm. Like Galadriel, faced with the offer of the Ring - something terrible and beautiful underneath Cate's skin. Sometimes she smiles and Liv can see it, a trace of wickedness in the twitch at the corner of Cate's mouth, and Liv has fleeting selfish thoughts about Cate's hidden depths.
There's something about the way Cate's eyes glitter behind her laughter when Dom and Billy duct tape Elijah to a tree that makes Liv want to be tied down and licked all over by this woman.
She is, Liv admits to herself, a bit bewildered by this thought, because while women are no surprise, she's never before harbored any secret tendencies towards being tied up. Or tied down. Whichever. That doesn't stop her from returning to the thought, over and over again, until the whole scene has played out in her head so many times that she blushes at the sight of duct tape.
But not, thankfully, the sight of Cate.
They're sitting in a pub in downtown Wellington one night, like at least a handful of the cast and crew do every night, and Cate and Liv are crammed into the corner of a booth together, Bean lounging languidly on the end of the bench. Liv feels mellow, sedated by both the whiskey sour and the presence of Bean, who is, in Liv's experience, a sleepy-slow sort of fellow who never moves too fast or does anything unexpected. She knows she's listing towards Cate as she watches Orlando and Billy on the dance floor through half-closed eyes, her thigh brushing against Cate's, but she can't stop herself. The drink has gone to her head, and Cate is warm and strangely magnetic.
Liv closes her eyes for just a minute, feeling the music thumping through her veins and the whiskey singing in her blood, and Cate's warm body next to hers. Bean is laughing, and Billy's accent lifts from the dance floor to carry back to their table as he shouts at Orlando, when a hand, light and feminine, drops onto her knee. Liv's eyes blink open and Cate's smiling, a tiny, wicked smile, and her hand runs up the inside of Liv's thigh, fingernails trailing over the denim of Liv's jeans.
"I'm just going to the ladies'," Cate says, her perfect placid mask settling back onto her features as she stands. "Pardon me, Sean." She squeezes out of the booth and crosses the dance floor as the crowd parts for her, as though she really were a queen, with no second glance at Liv and no suggestion that she follow.
Liv knows that Cate didn't need to say it again.
Orlando and Billy, panting and flushed, have collapsed at the table again as Liv was watching Cate, and when Liv stands abruptly, she knocks into the table, sloshing Billy's pint all over Orlando's lap. Orlando shrieks like a girl and leaps up, dripping beer everywhere, and Billy and Bean collapse on the table with laughter, their shoulders shaking. Liv finds the scene equal parts mortifying and hilarious, and she stutters something about getting Billy another pint and Orlando another pair of pants as she pushes past Bean and heads toward the bar.
Three steps from the table, she decides that Billy can get his own pint and Orlando can live with being damp and makes a sharp turn. When she pushes the door to the women's bathroom open, Cate is standing at the sink, washing her hands, her back to the door. Liv stands for a moment with her hand on the doorframe, the door propped open by her hip, letting the sound from the bar wash over her into the room. She steps in and the dull thud of the door against the frame echoes across the tiles. Cate looks up and meets Liv's eyes in the mirror, that dark gleam running an undercurrent in her smile.
"Hi," Liv says.
"Hello," Cate says. She moves from the sink and dries her hands on a paper towel, tossing it absently towards the trashcan when she's finished, never taking her eyes off Liv's face. It is the least precise movement Liv has ever seen Cate make, and she wonders, fleetingly, if Cate is equally as sharp and accurate in bed.
Then Cate backs her up against the door, her hips pressing into Liv's and her still-damp fingers brushing across Liv's cheek, before Cate kisses her. Cate's kiss is everything black that Liv has seen beneath her skin, all teeth and tongue and it's hotter than hell. Cate knots her fingers at the back of Liv's neck, holding Liv's head still as Cate bites down on Liv's lower lip. Cate's kiss tastes like power to Liv, having it, wanting it, taking it where you can find it, and she is glad that Cate has her pinned to firmly against the door because otherwise, Liv is fairly certain that she would have puddled on the floor by now.
Just as Liv recovers enough to kiss Cate back, her tongue running eagerly along the edge of Cate's teeth, Cate pulls away. Liv's knees try to buckle and she stumbles away from the door, listening to her own pulse race in her ears.
As Liv is gasping for breath, Cate pulls the door to the bathroom open. Framed in the light and noise from the bar outside, Cate looks more beautiful and terrible than ever. She smiles, and as every bit of blood Liv has pools in the pit of her stomach, Cate says, "You do know where to find me most evenings, don't you?"
She doesn't wait for an answer and the door slams shut behind her.
Liv is feeling generous at this particular moment in the evening, so she stops at the bar to fetch Billy a fresh pint on her way back to the table. Waiting for the bartender to hand her the beer, she turns towards her cast mates and finds Cate looking at her, the same tiny smile on her face, the same darkness sparking in her eyes.
This time, Liv counts the hairs standing up on the back of her neck as a good thing.