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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Coming Out, Staying In
By Katherine Quinn

Chapter 5: Olivia

You know, El, you just never stop with me, I swear to God. And how can I be mad at you really? I mean, come on, you have no idea that you're telling my girlfriend that I have a boyfriend. I just don't get why you have such an obsession with my sex life. I mean, it's not like you're involved in it, or ever will be, or even wanted to for those ten minutes where both of us thought of what it could be like if we had decided to jump headlong into an affair. You're my partner investigating sex crimes, not my sex life. I guess in a round about way, I appreciate that you love me enough to care. And if I were dating a man, I probably would love to gloat about how in love I was and how hot our sex life was and tell you all the details you don't want to know. But it's not like that this time, and I can't even tell you that.

None of this is easy. It's not as simple as smiling at you and correcting your oblivious gender confusion and saying, "Now, now, I'm currently dating a woman. Oh, and I think you know her. She works in the DA's office. Name's Cabot. And you know how you and the guys wonder if her underwear's cotton flowers or black lace? It's all lace, baby."

And while I'm handing out that blame, I'm pissed at you too, Alex, because you're all smiles and giggling at this, asking me stupid questions about his name and what he does. Part of me wants to say "His name is Alex, and he works as an attorney for the DA" just to see you pale and nearly pass out. But I can't be mean to you, and I know you'd find that threatening, so I take the ribbing and promise in my mind to get you back for it later. Hopefully, you can pay me back in sexual favors.

When you get tired of teasing me mercilessly you smile at the guys and tell me that you had to ask me some questions about a case. You invite me to step into an interview room. I follow you like a puppy, pointing out an empty room and following you inside.

Before the door closes, I pull the curtains over the one way glass to close out any prying eyes. It's not like I intend to strip you down and do you on the table, but if my hand rubs against yours, purely by accident, I don't want you to jump fearing that we'll be exposed. I hate feeling you jump when we touch in public.

This is routine for us. I know what you are going to say. I know that you love me. I know that your teasing is for our political lives. However, I can't imagine what harm would come from letting Elliot know that it is you that makes me smile. It would be nice to have a shoulder to lean on when you're in one of your moods. I'd have someone I can talk to about us, and how intense my feelings for you are, and about all the things I want to do with you.

Even though we both know that your visit is more social than work related, you're sitting at the table and pulling out case files. We both know that if someone barges in here with a perp and we're simply gazing into each other's eyes, we'll be awkwardly explaining for the next week or so. You smile at me, with a tired sad grin, and tell me that you're having a bad day. You tell me about court this morning, and that you missed me, and that you wanted to stop by because seeing my face might make your day more bearable.

I want to hold you close to me and stroke your hair and kiss your neck. I want to tell you that I love you and I don't ever want you to have a bad day as long as we both live. Instead, I ask you if you want to come to my place after work. I tell you I'll cook, which means that I'll have to blow out of here early yet again to run to the bodega on the corner and grab some actual food that doesn't include the instructions "microwave on high for five minutes." Your eyes light up and you smile. I'm promising I'll take care of you tonight, and that I love you, and that I am glad you stopped by since I know these visits are intentionally short. You look happier, and we agree that you'll call me on my cell when you're about an hour from done so I can run home and get everything all set. I follow you out, and pat your ass as you walk by me too closely. You jump and look over your shoulder giving me an evil grin. "You'll pay for that," you smile, as you slip out the door, down the hallway, and out of sight.

Chapter 6: Elliot

If you look at your watch one more time, I think I'm going to scream. I may not be your boyfriend, but give me some respect, at least pretend that I'm not horrible to hang out with. You're tapping your pencil, shaking your leg, and generally, you look like you've drank a whole pot of coffee and taken a caffeine pill chaser. It's like sitting here with me, doing what we used to do best, is killing you. It's not that I'm saying that you don't dive into your work, you do, but now, you're taking weekends off. You want to get out of here on time. And for someone who you won't even tell me about. I'm usually the one who's on the edge, knowing that I should go home. I see you sigh as you look at the stuff we've yet to accomplish, and I can't take it anymore.

"Do you have somewhere you need to be?" I ask impatiently.

You look at me like a rabbit caught in headlights. "No."

"Then can you stop acting like you're on fire?"

You give me a look but your cell phone picks that exact second to ring, so you're saved. "Benson," you say in a voice that lets me know you're pissed at me, but immediately your expression softens and your voice turns all breathy as you say, "Oh, hi."

You look at me suspiciously as you pull your chair back from your desk. I sigh to myself, but the mysterious caller has piqued my own curiosity. You're telling them that you just have to stop by the store, real quick, so that you can start cooking. Cooking sounds like a night in. Night in, huh?

I throw a file from my stack onto your desk while your back is turned to me. Sneaky? Yes. Am I sorry about it? Not really. The mystery of whom you're dating is far more intriguing than anything else in my life anyway.

You come back to your desk and sigh again "Look Liv, why don't you just go. I mean I can finish up what's here."

You look at me like I've let you loose in a candy store. You don't even ask me if I'm sure, you just say thank you, thank you, thank you as you're shoving things into the bag you've started carrying. I smile as you throw my file into your bag, looks like I'll need to stop before I get all the way home.

Part 7

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