DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are
property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Detective Olivia Benson stared at the door in front of her, the door that had just been slammed in her face. On the other side of that door was one extremely pissed off girlfriend, Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak. Olivia was still trying to figure out what had just happened.
Earlier that evening
Olivia was reclining on Casey's couch as Casey reclined back against her. Olivia's arms were around Casey's waist, holding her in a warm lover's embrace, as the Tonight Show with Jay Leno played on the television. Olivia was aware that her relationship with Casey had entered that comfortable silence stage where they could simply sit together in silence and enjoy each other's company.
Everything was perfect in those moments right before the phone rang. Casey had snuggled deeper into Olivia's arms, turning her head to capture Olivia's mouth with her own in the process. Casey's tongue had just slipped into Olivia's warm mouth to escalate the kiss when the shrill sound of the phone next to the couch broke the mood. Casey groaned and reluctantly shifted away from Olivia to answer the phone.
"Hello?" Casey answered, wondering who was calling so late.
"Buona sera Cara, is this you?" The voice, with its heavy Italian accent, was instantly recognized. Casey's face involuntarily lit up as it always did whenever Casey heard the voice of her ex-lover.
"Lucia, how are you?" Casey's voice was polite despite wanting to be cold. Lucia Giancarlo broke Casey's heart just two weeks before she joined SVU.
"Cara! It is you. I've missed you Casey. How are you?"
"Much better than last time. What do you want Lucia?"
"Cara, why do you sound so cross? I want to see you Cara, can I?"
Although Casey was reluctant to see Lucia again she was also very curious as to why Lucia was calling after two years. Her curiosity won out. "When?"
"Tomorrow Cara, I'll go by your office, si? Ten o'clock" Lucia's tone was happy and a little smug, as if she'd known all along Casey would agree to see her.
"That's fine, see you then, bye."
Casey hung up the phone, Lucia's familiar accent and her use of her pet name for Casey lingering in Casey's mind. Casey was silent as she avoided Olivia's eyes and snuggled back into her arms, facing the television. Right then, Casey needed the reassuring warmth of Olivia's embrace. Casey let her mind focus on Jay Leno to avoid thinking about Lucia and what she might want after two years.
Unfortunately, it also meant that she didn't notice the obvious look of pain and curiosity in Olivia's eyes. Olivia had watched as Casey spoke to whoever had called and agreed to see her. Olivia caught the name Lucia and wondered who she was. Then, she watched as Casey hung up, and shifted back to her earlier position, all thoughts of their earlier passion forgotten. Olivia was hurt and confused by Casey's silence. She didn't want to admit that she lived in fear of the day her younger lover would leave her for someone closer to her own age. Sometimes, not often but sometimes, Olivia allowed herself to think about the age difference. Olivia knew that if Casey truly wanted to leave her, she wouldn't stand in her way, even though it would probably kill her. Olivia loved Casey enough to want her happy. In theory at least, that was how Olivia would handle losing Casey, she didn't think she'd be that noble when it came right down to it. Olivia would fight until her last breath to keep Casey with her. But now, this phone call had awakened her little green monster. Olivia tried to be mature but the unexpected surge of jealousy made maturity a slim possibility.
"Who was that on the phone?" Olivia finally asked as casually as she could, while lightly stroking Casey's arm.
Casey took a few minutes to think about her reply, and to enjoy the sensation of Olivia's fingers on her skin. She didn't want to say anything that could spark a fight. "Um that was my uh ex-girlfriend, Lucia."
Ex-girlfriend? Olivia's little green monster went into hyper drive at that, though so far Olivia had remained calm. "What did she want?"
"I really don't know, except that she wants to see me tomorrow. Though I am not sure why."
In other circumstances, Olivia would smile at Casey's innocent reply. But all Olivia could think was that her ex wanted Casey back and Olivia was afraid that Casey would pick her ex over the older detective. That fear finally came out as anger.
"She wants to see you? It doesn't take a genius to figure out what she wants, open your eyes Casey!"
"Oh really? And what is it you think she wants Detective Benson?" Casey couldn't help the sharp tone in her voice, she hated it when Olivia talked to her like she was a child. Casey stood up and walked a few feet away then turned to face her current girlfriend. Olivia remained on the couch, watching Casey's every move.
"Just a guess here but maybe she wants you back."
"So what if she does? Doesn't mean I'd go back to her."
"If that's the case, why are you meeting her?"
"Why not?" Casey couldn't believe Olivia was being like this.
"Because if you're not going back to her then meeting her is pointless." Olivia paused as a thought occurred to her. "Unless there's something you're not telling me."
Casey began to pace in front of the couch as she spoke, taking the offensive. "Where's this coming from Olivia? Don't you trust me?"
"This is not about trust." Olivia said forcefully, though she knew that wasn't the whole truth. This was partly about trust but she couldn't find the right words to explain it at that moment. Olivia watched as Casey stopped pacing to look her in the eye.
Casey was too upset to control her voice, "oh come on Olivia! This is all about trust. Either you trust me to see my ex or you don't. It's that simple so do you trust me?"
Olivia's silence was all the answer Casey needed. Casey took a deep breath before saying in a low, controlled voice, "I'm sorry you feel that way. I think you should go home now."
"No Olivia, I need to be alone right now. I'll see you tomorrow ok?"
"Casey, sweetie" Olivia tried again to find a way to fix what her silence had done. But all Olivia managed to do was enrage Casey and make her raise her voice, yelling, "Now Detective! OUT!" Casey backed up her words by going to her door and holding it open, waiting for Olivia to leave.
Olivia, realizing there was no recourse tonight that she could see, grabbed her leather jacket and stepped into the hall. She turned back to face Casey to say goodnight but the anger and pain in her eyes stopped her for a moment. That moment was all Casey needed to slam the door shut.
So, Olivia stood in shocked silence as she stared at Casey's closed door. After five minutes, Olivia slowly turned and walked away unaware that Casey was curled up on her bed silently crying.
Casey woke up the next morning with a headache the result of crying herself to sleep. After a quick shower and some hastily swallowed aspirin, Casey was dressed and left for work. Casey didn't have to be in court until one o'clock but there was paperwork to go through, not to mention her 10am meeting with Lucia.
Casey was going over her opening remarks for her next case at one when there was a knock on her door. Casey glanced at the clock on her desk and saw it was 10am on the dot. Lucia always was very punctual.
"Come in," Casey called out, determined to get through this meeting as quickly as possible.
The door opened and Lucia walked in. She was at least 5'9" tall with long, toned legs currently encased in expensive Italian leather pantsblack of course. A black and red striped sleeveless shirt, fit to perfection, showed off tanned and toned arms as Lucia removed her expensive looking black denim jacket before she sat down. Every movement was a fluid study in grace and poise, right down to the elegant way she crossed her legs, showing off her Versace black strap pumps. Casey studied her as she tried desperately to find a flaw, anything she could use to calm her own sudden nerves. But as Casey's eyes moved up to study her face, she realized there weren't any physical flaws. Lucia's long, straight black hair was left loose and rested over her left shoulder in front and behind her right shoulder, full red lips were curled into a sexy smile as she allowed Casey to look her over in silence. Lucia's warm, expressive green eyes (a rare trait in Italians and courtesy of her Spanish mother) held Casey's as they met. Lucia's tanned, Mediterranean skin glowed with health and life.
Finally, Lucia broke the silence with her sultry, accented, "Buon giorno Cara."
That snapped Casey out of her mini trance. "Good morning Lucia. You look God the same as last time except for the tan."
"I don't know if I should take that as a good thing." There was a twinkle in her eyes that let Casey know she was kidding.
"Well I meant it as a compliment. So, what brings you back to New York? Last I heard you were in Tuscany."
"Yes, well you know why I had to move back home, Cara. I had no choice."
"I know. So why aren't you still there?"
"We opened a New York office last year, well it is mostly just a distribution and storage warehouse but there was a problem that I had to attend to. When I realized I would be in the City I knew I had to see you Cara."
Casey knew she should probably say something about Lucia's use of her pet name but Casey had to admit she'd missed hearing it.
"Why did you have to see me? Or are you visiting all your exes while you're here?" Casey thought she'd feel a little bit of pleasure at the hurt her remark caused but she didn't.
"Cara, what a thing to ask. You know you were the only person I dated while I lived here. I know I hurt you when I left and that I deserve your anger. I can only say that I had no other alternative. I'm sorry Cara."
Casey gave a small nod, "I know Lucia. But, again I ask, why did you want to see me?"
Lucia looked down for a moment in an uncharacteristic show of uncertainty as she gathered her courage to say what she'd come there to say.
"Casey, I know I might not deserve it but I want a second chance. I want you in my life again Cara. I have the means to bring you to Tuscany with me. To my family's villa. You remember the villa, si?" Casey nodded faintly. "We can live there together Cara. You already know Italian and you'd never have to work or worry about anything for the rest of your life. I still love you Casey. I always will. I can be what you need now Cara, I couldn't before because of my grandfather, but I can now. What do you say Cara?" Lucia paused to let Casey answer. Her whole future rested on what Casey said next and Lucia had a reply ready for just about every possible response.
Casey took a few minutes to process what Lucia had just told her. What it seemed to boil down to was an offer to be made a kept woman. Living in Tuscany, Italy in a centuries-old castle-sized villa which rested on seven acres of land and that wasn't counting the ten acres of land which held the vineyards Lucia's family owned and operated to make Giancarlo Wines. Never having to work meant long lazy days she could spend on the sketches and paintings she'd abandoned in college. It was extremely tempting but Casey didn't know if she could leave New York, SVU, or Olivia. Olivia Benson it all came back to the beautiful, sexy detective. If it hadn't been for their fight the night before and the revelation of Olivia's lack of trust in her, Casey's reaction to Lucia's offer might've been very different.
Detective Olivia Benson walked into the SVU squad room at 7am in a foul mood. Her mind kept replaying her fight with Casey from the night before. Late into the night, Olivia had cursed herself as being stupid. Berating herself for how she had reacted and the things she'd said.
She did trust Casey, with her life and, more importantly, with her heart. She didn't trust Casey's ex though. Granted, she didn't even know her but Liv still didn't trust this, Lucia. She just knew Casey's ex came back to try to get her back. For some reason, Olivia couldn't trust that she'd win against Casey's ex especially if the ex was younger that she, Olivia, was.
Olivia had gone through a similar situation when she was with Alex except, Trevor Langan wasn't Alex's ex. Alex went out on a date with Langan after Olivia had suggested they tell the guys in the squad about them. That sparked a fight and two nights later, there was Alex in that red dress out to dinner with Langan. They'd gotten back together a week later but not before Olivia had learned a lesson about dating younger women.
By ten in the morning, Elliot, Munch, and Fin had each learned the hard way that today was not a day to mess with Olivia. Today was all business as Olivia forced herself not to think about Casey. Her plan worked until 11:30 when Cragen asked her to take a file over to ADA Novak that had been requested by the younger woman. Everyone else was busy so Olivia walked over and took the file Cragen held out to her.
"Thanks Olivia." Cragen said, aware of her mood. Olivia just nodded and smiled as she put on her coat and walked out of the squad room and headed for Novak's office, slowly.
Meanwhile in Casey's office
"That's an incredible offer Lucia but I don't think I can accept it. Sorry."
"Cara, there's no need for a final answer right now. I am in New York for two weeks. Let me take you to dinner to convince you." Lucia asked, desperate not to lose Casey again.
"Lucia it's not about convincing me. I am involved with someone else. I'm sorry. You came back for nothing."
"There is something you're not telling me Cara. You hesitated before you said you were involved there is doubt there, si? Be honest, I can still tell when you are not being honest with me Cara."
"You always could. Ok yes, there is doubt because we had a fight last night after you called. II don't know if we are still together."
"Surely, Cara, there can be no harm in having dinner with an old friend? We were friends first Cara before we were lovers."
"I remember." Casey said, very tempted to just give in and agree to dinner. "Ok, Lucia. I'll have dinner with you, tonight?"
Lucia smiled, "si Cara. I promise you will not regret it. I'll pick you up at 7 o'clock?"
"Good. Cara I must go. Lunch meeting with a client. Until tonight Cara." Lucia took Casey's hand and was in the process of placing a kiss on the knuckles when the door to Casey's office opened and Olivia walked in holding the file Casey had requested. The look on Olivia's face said it all as she dropped the file on Casey's desk before she headed for the door.
"Olivia." Just one word, her name, spoken by the woman who owned her heart stopped her dead in her tracks, despite her increasing need to escape. Olivia slowly turned to face Casey and the stunning, younger woman whose hands were now by her side.
"Yes Counselor?" Olivia automatically slid into their professional roles and titles and a way to attain some distance, before she lost control and tore into the stranger who thought she could place her lips anywhere on her girlfriend's body.
Casey frowned but went on, "Detective Olivia Benson, this is Lucia Giancarlo, my ex. Lucia this is Olivia," Casey turned to look questioningly at Olivia as she finished, "my current?"
Olivia was determined not to read too much into it but she still nodded and smiled as she held her hand out to the other woman. "Pleased to meet you."
Lucia shook her hand as she studied the dark haired detective. "Pleasure." Lucia did nothing to disguise her feelings towards Olivia. In her mind, Olivia Benson was the competition and if there was one thing the last two years had taught her it was how to win.
Olivia took one look at the hard edge in Lucia's eyes and she knew the game had begun, and to the winner went Casey's heart.Olivia knew she was ready for the challenge, there was no alternative now but to fight for Casey.
Casey looked from Olivia to Lucia and back to Olivia. She instantly recognized the similar competitive gleam in both women's eyes and sighed softly. She knew it wouldn't matter that her heart belonged to Olivia, both women would still feel the need to challenge the other for it. Lucia was a naturally competitive person, unwilling to quit the field unless defeat was total and Casey's acceptance of dinner left a small chance Lucia couldn't and wouldn't walk away from.
As for Olivia, Casey knew she wasn't the type to let go of anything that sparked emotion in her. From a little girl crying because her "uncle" stole her innocence to the ADA who came before Casey who almost died doing her job to the current ADA who finally managed to carve out a place of her own in the strong detective's heart, Olivia didn't let go of anything easily.
Casey resigned herself to the task of reassuring Olivia and discouraging Lucia, when a little voice whispered to her that if Olivia couldn't trust her was there a point in staying?
"So, you're Casey's ex? Giancarlo, any connection to Giancarlo Vineyards?" Olivia asked, trying to get enough information to run her through Interpol and the other databases when she got back to her desk.
Lucia just smiled, "family business, I run it now. That's actually why we broke up right Cara?" Lucia turned to Casey, deliberately using the name this time to show Olivia that Casey wasn't going to object to the familiarity in Lucia's tone.
"That was part of it, yes."
"Part? What was the rest?" Olivia asked, curious.
Lucia answered, "My grandfather's health was deteriorating and my father wasn't suited to take over the business. I was called to Italy to take the reins from my grandfather. I asked Casey to come with me but she said she couldn't, her mother needed her." Lucia turned to Casey. "How is she by the way?"
"She's better, she's in remission." Olivia already knew that Casey's mother was a breast cancer survivor.
Lucia's face lit up, "cara, that's wondeful news. So, detective, I left for Italy to do my duty to my family and Casey stayed here with her mother. Who knows though, if my father hadn't been an incompetent, degenerate drunk, I could've stayed here with Casey. So, how did you meet my cara?"
Casey didn't want to think about how her life would be if Lucia had never left. Bits and pieces of that Dierks Bently song 'How Am I Doing?' filtered through her mind as she waited to see how Olivia would answer.
Olivia smiled, thinking about the first case Casey had worked in SVU. "We work together, Casey was transferred to Special Victims two years ago."
"Special Victims? What's that?" Lucia asked, confused because Casey had never really mentioned that department before. Homicide, White Collar, Major Cases, Robbery yes but never Special Victims.
"Sex crimes." Olivia replied, wondering how Lucia would react. "Rapes, incest, pedophilia, elderly and child abuse, among other things"
The look on Lucia's face had Olivia silently counting the seconds until the other woman made an excuse and headed for the door. Very few civilians could handle what they did for a living.
Lucia took a moment to think about it then said to Casey, "Special Victims, is that a step up from White Collar?" At Casey's nod, Lucia smiled, "then congratulations Cara."
Olivia could see Lucia's reaction was genuine and she frowned, there goes that option. Before Olivia could say anything else, her cell phone rang. She excused herself to answer it.
"So, cara, we are still on for dinner tonight, si?"
"Uh...yeah. I'll see you then."
"Good. I have a lunch meeting so I must go. Ciao cara."
Lucia left, waving silently at Olivia who was still on the phone with Elliot.
Soon, only Casey and Olivia remained in the office and Casey sat down at her desk to review the file Olivia had just dropped off while she waited for Olivia to finish her call.
"Well, looks like I have the rest of the day off."
"Cragen forgot to tell us that the city was fumigating the precinct today. Everyone's been sent home. So, can I take you to lunch before your trial?"
Casey smiled, hoping that this would be a first step towards getting back on track with Olivia. "Always Liv."
They left Casey's office and went to a local deli for lunch because of Casey's trial.
To Be Continued
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