DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
SERIES: Prequel to Lemon Seed and Orange Tree series.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: "Wrong is Right" and "Runaway"
By Adrienne Lee &Miranda Rafferty
"Can you believe it?" Elliot mutters under his breath as you storm straight into the captain's office, without bothering to introduce yourself.
I just shrug.
"I thought you two were friends."
"We went to lunch a coupla times, Elliot. I wouldn't call us friends."
"Like I said, can you believe it? Haughty, rich bitc "
"She just picked up the phone?"
"Yep. Sans fanfare."
"I kid you not."
"The Supreme Court."
From the corner of my eyes, I can see the boys staring at me, waiting for my input. What can I say? That I'm surprised? That I really don't know much about you? But that I'm not surprised you're so totally out of my league?
I have no choice but to look up from the paperwork. "What, Fin?"
"You think he's really her uncle?"
"Who knows," I reply with a shrug and a smile that feels like a grimace on my lips.
"Or maybe a close family friend," Munch offers.
I grab my cup and scoot back my chair. Before I walk away, I toss in my two cents, "Who cares!"
"You know what she said?"
"I swear I heard steel balls banging against each other every time she crossed her legs."
I sigh. I seem to be doing it a lot these days. Why are they all so fascinated with you? Because you put up a wall around you? Because you're ours' and not on loan to us from another department?
"God, she was so damn cold."
"So what did she say, El?" I ask even though I know I shouldn't. As much as I scoff at the boys' nosiness, I want to know everything about you, too.
"Something like when some bleeding heart defense lawyer was making a last ditch effort and calling the Governor, she intended to answer the phone."
"Oh," I say, the weight of a boulder settling in my stomach.
"Talk about ambition."
"Yeah, whatever," I tell him as I try to convince myself.
"Maybe she's just bluffing, to get him to deal."
There's something in his voice, like he's providing an excuse, for my sake. I'm sure I'm being overly sensitive. "Yeah, whatever," I repeat.
"I can't believe she did that. For us." He rubs his chin, and leans forward.
"Why are you surprised?" I ask. "It wouldn't do her any good to trash the captain."
"But she's "
"She's assigned to us, El." Maybe it's just my own wishful thinking, but I don't think so, and I add, "She's one of us."
"I still wouldn't trust her further than I can throw her."
"She's probably a hundred and ten pounds dripping wet."
He makes a face at me. "It's just an expression, Liv."
He makes a face at me. "It's just an expression, Liv."
"I can't believe I never noticed before. Did you ?" He looks at me expectantly.
"Did I notice what, Elliot?"
"The color of her shirt."
"What about it," I snap, masking my discomfort with impatience.
"It brings out the blue in her eyes."
"You gotta admit, they're "
I cut him off. "Gee, I didn't realize you're such a romantic."
"I'm not. And it has nothing to do with romance," he supplies quickly. "It's just Anyway, with two teenage daughters and a wife, you notice things."
"If you say so," I reply, opting not to speculate what he was going to say before he changed his mind.
"Speaking of romance "
"No, Elliot, we've been through this. I don't want to meet any of your buddies."
"I'm not trying to set you up."
"But you think Cabot... Is she..."
"I don't care who she does or doesn't date. And I doubt she'd want to hook up with a cop," I say, with all the disgust I could muster. "Why are you so concerned about other people's love life?"
"Jesus, Liv. Try not to chew my head off, will you?" He smirks at me and lifts his brow. "Why are you so touchy?"
"I'm not," I insist. "I'm just... tired. Didn't get much sleep. Sorry, okay?" I offer, picking up my cup. "Can I get you some?"
"O.K." He smiles.
When I return with our coffee, I see mischief twinkle in his eyes. "Yes?"
"So you don't know if she's..."
"No, I don't," I lie. "Nor could I care less."
"You know what the guys are saying though?"
Why can't I resist his bait? "What?"
"That Cabot's like a black widow. Nobody knows who she's dating because she eats them alive."
I slam down my cup and cough.
"You okay, Liv?"
"Fine, El." Thumping my chest, hard, I try to beat out liquid I didn't inhale.
"You sure? You're all red."
"Yes, Elliot, I'm fine."
"Cabot must have picked up some Canuck. Can you believe it?"
"What makes you think that?" I can't help but laugh.
"That's right." He pretends to be surprised. "You flew up there for the weekend, didn't you?"
"Yes, you could've come, too."
"Right, and bring Kathy and the kids?" He rolls his eyes and presses ahead. "So how was the shindig?"
"Munch and Fin didn't tell you?"
"Said you would, before they ran out."
"Lead on the case?" I ask, eager to veer the conversation.
"Yep, always someone willing to squeal."
I nod and pull a folder from the tray. Hoping to settle into the routine, I sigh, "Let's see what we've got here..."
He doesn't even skip a beat. "You guys roasted her good?"
So much for hopes and dreams. "You could say that."
"We just teased her about getting older."
"That's not what I heard."
"What did they tell you?" I try not to sound too defensive or concerned.
"They said she got a little tipsy."
"We got the extradition. And it was her birthday. We all got a little tipsy."
"Uh huh." His smile is full of conspiracy. "Did you see her with anybody?"
"Anybody? What do you mean? Fin and Munch and me?"
"No. You know? Somebody?" he wags his brows in a way I cannot pretend to misunderstand.
"What do I look like? Her babysitter?"
"You still could've seen somebody."
"So what's the fascination with Cabot's sex life?" I decide to finally be blunt. "Don't you ever get tired of all the speculations? It's really none of your business unless you're interested; and Elliot, you're a married man."
"Well, I care about the people you date."
I try to stop my heart from beating out of my chest. I'm sure he didn't mean it like that. "Are you saying you like Cabot enough to care about the people she dates?"
"Maybe? I gotta admit, she kinda grows on you. Right?"
"Besides, you don't come back from an extradition hearing smiling like that, not without a little extra something-something."
"You think she just randomly picked up a Canadian?"
"Probably not, but alcohol was involved."
"I can't believe we're having this conversation. Is this all you guys think about?"
He leans in and whispers. "Only when your uptight ADA's got a hickey so big, it smacks you in the head."
Shit. "What hickey?"
"Are you blind? The one she's trying to hide under her flimsy little silk scarf."
"Whatever, Elliot. You have too much time on your hands. Here, finish this." I push the opened folder across our desks.
"You really don't care?"
"Nope." I try not to smile.
"I can't believe..."
Sometimes I find it difficult myself, that we're together, "Believe it."
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