DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Other than Anya, I don't own anyone from the L&O universe. This story starts in Season 1, which means pre-Alex. Also, I'm not going to even attempt to translate Russian into English, so if I indicate that the language is Russian, but the typing is in English – use your imagination. :-) Feedback is welcome and encouraged.
SPOILERS: Starts in Season 1, after/during Contact. Many other spoilers later.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Delicate Balance
By brighteyedcat


Ch. 41

After their tense drive back to Alex's apartment, Alex knew Olivia was giving into her feelings for her. Olivia had still turned her down for drinks though, so today Alex knew that she would have to start breaking her own rules in order to prove to Olivia how serious she was and that "no" was no longer an acceptable answer. She needed to show her that what she felt for the detective was not just a physical, fly by night attraction. In all of Olivia's stubborn glory, Alex was starting to fall for the detective and as every day passed, she increasingly wanted to be with her. Therefore, on Thursday she decided to get old fashioned on Olivia and send her a bouquet of stargazer lilies directly to the precinct. In a unit that was mainly comprised of men, the delivery of flowers was exceptionally rare so when they arrived, all heads turned.

"My, my, Olivia, you shouldn't have." Munch said, admiring the fragrant flowers being held by the deliveryman in the doorway.

"Oh, you know me. I'm such a romantic at heart." Olivia laughed at him, returning to her work, but having a pretty good feeling that the flowers were for her.

The college-aged deliveryman looked to his clipboard for a name. "Is there an Olivia…Benson here?" Thoughts confirmed, Olivia slowly raised two fingers in the air, thus indicating to bring the flowers to her.

"Well, you might not be a romantic, but someone sweet on you sure is." Munch replied.

The man set the lilies in the center of Olivia's desk. When he left, Olivia spotted Elliot staring at her with a sly smirk across his face while going through his inbox. He was dying to know who had bravely sent her flowers to a room full of men that drooled at the notion of learning the slightest detail about Olivia's personal life. Olivia knew all too well who had sent the flowers, but she still reached for the card embedded between the sweet-smelling blossoms.

"So who's the lucky guy?" Fin asked, walking over and sitting on the corner of her desk, trying to catch a glimpse of a name on the tiny card that Olivia held tightly against her chest before slipping it into her pocket.

She looked up at him and bat her eyelashes playfully. "Who said it was a guy?"

"Oh my bad, 'Livia." Fin remarked, sliding off of her desk and raising his hands defensively. The other two male detectives laughed and accosted her with a crescendo of inappropriate locker room commentary, knowing Olivia could take the heat and throw it back with the best of them until Cragen came out of his office in a huff, noticing that the men were all surrounding Detective Benson's desk, and that none of them were working.

"What's going on out here?" He asked with his hands on his hips.

"'Livia got flowers from some chick." Fin remarked shamelessly, to which Olivia dropped her head to her hand in an effort to hide, fully regretting her previous smart remark.

"Well, unless that someone has anything to do with investigating the suspect that's reaping havoc out on the city of New York right now, get back to work." He ordered.

Thank you. Olivia thought to herself, for once relieved that Cragen's angry outburst had resulted in interrupting her fellow detectives' prying.

"Munch, Fin…don't you have somewhere to be right now?" Cragen continued, pointing to his watch and returning to his office.

Fin nodded over to Munch and the two exited the precinct. Elliot also returned to work. Olivia reached into her pocket to retrieve the card and opened it behind a file in front of her so that Elliot couldn't see what she was doing.

"Give us a chance. –A."

Olivia's cheeks flushed. She quickly rubbed her face with her hands in an effort to blanche out the pink coloration and get back to her work before Elliot noticed. Despite Cragen's scolding of the squad for not working, the day was slow, and it was going to be difficult for Olivia to focus now that Alex had sent her the flowers. The scent of the lilies permeated the entire room so even when she got up from her desk, a reminder of Alex's feelings for her was all around her. Alex was really outdoing herself with her courtship of the detective. She had done some of the most romantic, flattering things Olivia had ever experienced, but the fact that it was all coming from Alex - a woman who seemed to always keep her heart and emotions at bay - was beguiling.

About an hour later, Munch and Fin returned to the precinct and were questioning a suspect for one of their cases. Munch exited the interview room after a few promising minutes and asked Cragen to call Alex. Moments later, Alex came in wearing what appeared to be a new, cream-colored suit. She passed Olivia, who was standing by her locker, putting up a few files to take home with her, and walked straight over to Elliot.

"Hey, Elliot." He looked up at her and nodded. "What interview room are they in?"

"Who? Munch and Fin?" He asked.

"Well, obviously not you and Olivia." She remarked with a laugh.

He snickered back, not entirely amused by her sarcasm, but not turned off by it either. "Room 2."

Alex nodded at him. "Thanks." She noticed that Olivia had gotten her flowers and watched her return to her desk, taking a seat. "Nice flowers, Olivia." Olivia's eyes shot up to her, trying not to act surprised or nervous in front of Elliot who could read her like a book. "You have a secret admirer we don't know about?" She asked, reaching to her desk for the card that Olivia had left by her keyboard, but back in its tiny envelope. She leaned back on the desk opposite from Olivia's and crossed her ankles.

"Uh…" Olivia stammered as Alex started to open the envelope while watching her squirm at her desk trying to think of something to say.

"I thought you weren't seeing anyone." Elliot interjected.

"I'm not." Olivia said, snatching the card back from Alex and putting it into her pocket.

"Well, someone sure is romancing the hell out of you, Liv." Elliot said with a chuckle. "I should be taking notes. Kathy would be begging for a fifth child if I did half the stuff this person has done for you in the past few days. What's the problem?"

"Yeah, what's the problem?" Alex asked, raising an eyebrow to Olivia.

"I think both of you need to mind your own damn business." Olivia returned both of their penetrating gazes with a playful glare.

Alex snickered and got up from the corner of the desk to walk towards the interview room. She smiled to herself. She was close. She could feel it, but right now she had to get back to work.

When she returned from watching Munch and Fin interrogate their suspect, which resulted in a satisfying arrest, she approached Olivia, who was back at her locker gathering her things to go home.

"You look nice." Olivia acknowledged, scanning her quickly as to not be noticed by her colleagues who were still present.

"Thank you." She saw the look Olivia gave her and it boosted her confidence. Now she just had to push the right button, right now, and Olivia would surely give in to a date.

"Got a date tonight or something?" Olivia asked, pulling some things from her locker.

"That all depends." Alex said, hushing her tone.

Olivia laughed, "On what?"

"On you." She whispered so no one around them would hear.

Olivia looked around to see if anyone had heard her before leading Alex further down the hall so they could talk somewhere a little more private. "You're really starting to push that envelope, Cabot. First you send me flowers and now you're asking me out not ten feet away from my partner? I thought you didn't want people do know."

"What's to know? You won't go out with me." Alex teased. Olivia pursed her lips and shook her head at Alex. "Do you like the lilies?" She asked with a smile.

"Yes, of course I like them." Olivia thanked her with a smile. "But you have no idea how close you came to outing yourself."

"It was a risk I was willing to take." Alex sighed. "Never in my life have I had to work so hard to get a date with someone. You'd better be worth it, Olivia Benson." She wagged an accusing finger at the detective.

"Don't get cocky; I haven't said 'yes.'" Olivia said, smiling and folding her arms over her chest.

"Oh, you will. I'm not letting up until you do, Liv, so you might as well surrender."

"That sounds an awful lot like harassment, Alex. I could have you arrested." Olivia played back.

"Good, I'll sign off on the arrest warrant myself. A holding cell was not the kind of date I had in mind, but it'll do if that's your best offer."

Olivia laughed and shook her head. "You're incorrigible."

"Yes I am, so stop making me beg. It's not becoming of me."

"No, it definitely isn't." She joked with a smile. She looked up into Alex's blue eyes and sighed. "But that suit is." Olivia smiled. "Would you have dinner with me tonight?"

"I thought you'd never ask." Alex said with a wink. "Do you have someplace in mind?" Olivia nodded. "…And where would that be?" She asked.

"Well, would you mind if we didn't go out? I mean, you've been so patient with me. I was thinking that maybe I'd cook for you."

Alex raised an eyebrow at Olivia's suggestion. "Really?" Alex asked with a smile. She never pictured Olivia to be much of a cook, but the chance to be alone in Olivia's apartment was not an opportunity she was going to turn down. "I don't know, Olivia, are you a decent cook? As you well know, I'm pretty picky." Alex teased.

Olivia laughed. "I know my way around the kitchen, thank you, and I'm prepared to handle even your harshest criticism. Although, I'm not expecting to hear any." She added with a playful sneer.

"Duly noted." Alex said, impressed with Olivia's confidence. She gathered Olivia's files from her hands and put them into her own briefcase to help. "Lead the way, detective." Alex followed Olivia to the exit, both of them bidding Elliot a goodnight on their way out.

Elliot briefly glanced up and waved goodnight to Alex and Olivia, a pencil in his mouth, and then returned his eyes to his computer screen to complete the task at hand before returning home to Queens.


Ch. 42

After making a quick stop at the grocery for a few items, they arrived at Olivia's apartment. Upon entering, Olivia set the large paper bag on her kitchen counter and returned to Alex at the front door to take her coat. She saw Alex glance around her apartment and she did the same, realizing that it wasn't nearly as immaculate as the attorney's apartment, but it wasn't a pigsty either. Although, maybe I could have thought ahead and picked up a bit more before inviting company over, she thought. After hanging up their coats, Olivia walked back to her kitchen. She pushed the sleeves of her maroon knit top up her arms and reached into the bag to begin making dinner.

Looking around Olivia's apartment, Alex realized how completely different their worlds were. Alex had pictures of her family everywhere, whereas at a first glance Olivia didn't seem to have any other than one picture of her and her mother when Olivia was younger. Alex was also one to be very proud of her accomplishments. Any awards or degrees she had earned were framed and on display somewhere in her home or office. She noticed that Olivia had dozens of plaques and framed awards honoring her work with the NYPD, but they were all tossed aside in an old brown box in the corner of her living room, rather than being hung on the walls.

The one thing that was similar was that they both had nice taste in art, but some of Olivia's chosen art seemed to be a subtle reminder of her own sadness. The one Alex was taken by the most was one of Hamlet's Ophelia. She glanced over to Olivia, who was starting to boil water and preheat the oven in the kitchen. She wondered if her friend felt a comparable level of despair as the fictitious Ophelia experienced, or if Olivia just liked the artwork itself. In spite of her wanting to believe that beneath it all, Olivia wasn't as dark as she appeared, deep down Alex knew that Olivia's melancholy was unlike anyone's she'd ever known. She didn't understand it, but it was always present; even when Olivia was seemingly happy or smiling. She knew that Olivia's job itself would put anyone through an emotional wringer, but she also knew there was more to it. It seemed to consume her completely. Alex selfishly hoped that she could somehow bring a little light into the woman's life.

Alex walked over to a large window that overlooked the street below. On the windowsill outside, she noticed a flower box full of dead flowers and completely overgrown with weeds. "Nice flowers, Liv," she remarked sarcastically with a laugh.

"Give me a break, Alex." Olivia joked, pouring some jasmine rice into boiling water. "I can cook, you expect me to be a gardener as well? And it's winter for crying out loud; the flowers were bound to die."

"I know, I'm only teasing." Alex said, walking away from the window and coming into the kitchen to be with Olivia. She sat on a barstool opposite Olivia, who was placing their honey-ginger marinated salmon filets into a glass baking dish before tossing them into the oven. "Although, you could toss the dead flowers and soil into the garbage and try again this spring." She suggested.

"I could, but I'm probably not going to." Olivia replied, pulling a towel from a cupboard and wringing her hands between the folded linen before tossing it over her shoulder.

"Can I help?" Alex offered.

"No, of course not." Olivia replied. She turned to Alex and leaned onto her elbows. She was so happy to have Alex in her home. She knew that the commitment to silence would be difficult for her to maintain, but she also felt that if anyone was worth such a sacrifice, it was Alex. She reached her hand across the bar and curled it under Alex's hair, lifting her off of the barstool and into a kiss. Alex eagerly brought her hand up to Olivia's cheek and gently held her as she pressed her lips back upon the detective's. Olivia slipped her tongue beyond her teeth and into Alex's mouth, touching and teasing her tongue.

Alex felt her stomach tie itself into knots at the sensation. She lost herself in the delicate but deeply provocative taste of Olivia's tongue inside her mouth. She gently moved her hand around Olivia's neck and twirled her fingers around the soft tendrils as she pulled Olivia's tongue deeper within her. Kissing her took her breath away. She could not recall a kiss so passionate or honestly loving as the kiss she now shared. She thought about how she had not kissed another woman in such a long time, but she didn't remember it being as thrilling as this was.

Gradually, Olivia sealed her lips around Alex's before breaking away. She gave Alex a shy smile before kissing her again, briefly. "I'm glad you came over for dinner tonight." Olivia said before turning around to start boiling some water for the asparagus.

Alex was lost in the clouds after kissing Olivia. "Me too," she whispered, watching Olivia and noticing that her curves were exquisitely beautiful. Clearing her throat and bringing herself back down from cloud nine, Alex continued. "I never thought you were the type to enjoy working in the kitchen. Where do you find the time?"

"I don't, normally. But I wanted to do something nice for you. No one has ever romanced me like you have this week." Olivia admitted.

Alex smiled, proud of her achievements with Olivia as well as being genuinely flattered by her willingness to cook for her. "Ah, so I was breaking through days ago. You just purposely didn't reciprocate?"

"You could say that." Olivia said over her shoulder with a quick smile to Alex before returning her attention to the cutting board, preparing the asparagus. "I was just seeing how long you'd keep it up. It was nice being spoiled."

"There's a lot more where that came from, Olivia." Alex said, walking over to her side at the stove and giving her a kiss on the cheek. She opened the refrigerator door and started rummaging around.

"What are you looking for?" Olivia asked, smiling to herself from the warmth of Alex's kiss on her cheek. She dropped the cut asparagus into the pot of boiling water to lightly cook and put the towel on the counter.

"The wine you bought at the store. I found it." Alex said, pulling it from the fridge.

"I'll get it, Alex." Olivia took the wine from her hands. She set the bottle down and grabbed a couple of wineglasses and a corkscrew to open it. After the bottle popped open, she poured each of them a glass and handed Alex hers first. After taking a sip of her wine, she set the glass down and leaned against the counter, waiting for their meal to cook itself. "Why don't you take off that jacket. You're not in court, you know, and my apartment doesn't have a dress code."

"True." Alex answered, removing her ivory blazer, which revealed a pressed midnight blue button down shirt that was tucked into the waist of her skirt. She draped the blazer on the back of the barstool and kicked off her heels, pushing them under the chair. "But you're not out on the streets, yet you're still wearing your badge and that gun."

Olivia looked down at her gun holster as she stirred the asparagus spears in the boiling water, adding the slightest pinch of salt. "I don't even think about it being there." She laughed, looking over to Alex. Her eyes got caught up in the sight of Alex's dark blue shirt, the buttons straining to stay secured over her breasts. Oh, fuck. I shouldn't have told her to take off that blazer. Not that the shirt she's wearing is all that revealing, but…uh… I need to distract myself. She looked away. "Does it make you uncomfortable?" Olivia asked Alex about the gun, but saying the words confirmed that she herself was growing increasingly uncomfortable around Alex. She knew why she'd invited her back to her place. It was for privacy, right? It wasn't because she wanted to take the woman to bed with her. Olivia grabbed a cooling rack and set it out in preparation for the oven buzzer to go off and then looked back to Alex. Oh, who am I kidding? She admitted to herself with a smirk. There is no way that I'm going to let Alex leave tonight without that blouse coming off first.

"No, of course not." Alex replied, watching Olivia drop to her heels to check on their salmon filets in the oven. I find it just about as sexy as you are right now, Olivia, nervously fidgeting around and looking for something to do in order to avoid standing next to me. "But it doesn't look comfortable, especially after wearing it around all day."

Olivia rose to her feet and turned to Alex with a shrug. "I'm used to it."

Alex took a step closer to Olivia; she just wasn't getting her point across. She boldly tucked her fingers underneath the leather of Olivia's belt and tugged her away from the stove. While weighing her eyes deep into the dark ones above her, she gently pulled Olivia against herself and moved her thumbs slowly along Olivia's belly to the belt buckle.

Olivia stopped breathing at the touch of Alex's fingers beneath the seam of her slacks and felt overcome from Alex's contact. "Or it can come off, I guess." She nervously squeaked out.

Alex smirked at her, still locking their eyes, as she laced her fingers around one end of the belt. She pushed the leather under the metal buckle then pulled it taut in order to unhinge the strap until it came loose. She pulled the end with the buckle until it got caught on the clips that were attached.

"It won't come off that way, Alex." Olivia said with a crooked grin, taking Alex's hands and guiding them to one of the holster's snaps under the leather belt. Olivia removed her own gun holster and watched Alex's fingers work at removing her badge clip for her.

Alex kept her eyes down as she carefully unsnapped the holder for the officer's badge. She was so close to Olivia and all she could think about was touching her. She looked back up and handed Olivia her badge to set on the counter behind them, but held onto Olivia's belt to prevent her from stepping away. You're killing me, you know that right? Alex thought, as she re-hinged Olivia's belt and tucked the strap back through the silver buckle.

When Olivia stepped away, Alex felt her mind drift, wishing she had risen to her toes to kiss the slightly taller woman when she was standing before her. She wanted so much more than kisses from Olivia though, and wondered if Olivia wanted the same from her. She wanted to feel Olivia pinned against her and she wanted to feel her hands rushing down the front of her blouse. She wanted her to dip her fingers between the buttons and undo them until she could slip her hand underneath to touch her breast. She had waited and wanted Olivia for weeks now and she was having a hard time keeping her mind out of the bedroom and in the present tense. Surely Olivia wouldn't make her wait any longer than tonight.

The oven timer went off, which unfortunately snapped Alex out of her fantasy. She had let her imagination run wild and was clueless as to how much time had passed as she stood there in the kitchen sipping her wine and daydreaming. Jesus, Cabot, pull yourself together.

Olivia glanced in her direction with a puzzled look. "You all right there, Alex?" Alex nodded sheepishly, realizing that Olivia had noticed her daydreaming. Olivia left the stove and gave Alex a kiss while touching the ends of her blonde hair tenderly. "Thought I lost you there for a minute."

"It's been a long week, I guess." She answered, embarrassed.

Yeah whatever, Alex, Olivia snickered to herself, knowing exactly where she'd lost Alex to. She'd caught her staring at her, but was intensely satisfied that her night with the counselor was going exactly as planned. She handed her gun and badge to Alex. "Would you place these on the coffee table for me while I get everything finished up?"

"Sure." Alex replied almost at a whisper as she carefully walked the items over to the living room. When Alex returned, she took their wine glasses to the table. She went to the kitchen again and searched through the multiple drawers for silverware. As she set the table, she noticed that Olivia had a very nice tree-like candleholder in the center of the table with unused tea lights. In fact, it didn't appear to have ever been used. "Do you have any matches?" Alex asked.

"For what?" Olivia asked while placing a filet on top of the rice.

"To light these beautiful, but horribly neglected candles." Alex joked.

Olivia laughed, "Yeah, over here in this drawer." Olivia said, nodding to one of her kitchen drawers. Alex walked over and pulled out the matches. Olivia snickered at her and grabbed her by the hips before she was able to walk back to the table. "That's pretty romantic for a first date, Alex," she whispered into her ear.

Olivia's words resonated within her like velveteen and sent goosebumps up her spine. She embraced Olivia's hands around her stomach and craned her neck to catch Olivia's dark eyes. "Technically, it's not our first, Liv." She remarked.

Olivia kissed Alex along her neck before letting go of her so she could light the candles while she dumped the dirty pots and pans into a sink full of soapy water. Soon after, Olivia brought over their meals which were piping hot on the plates. She set them on her small table that was in front of a big window and returned to the kitchen again to fetch the bottle of wine and some bread. Since Alex had lit the candles, she dimmed the kitchen light before sitting opposite Alex at the table.

Alex looked down at the wonderful meal that Olivia had so diligently prepared. "Thank you for dinner." Alex spoke quietly, taking a first bite and seeing that everything was cooked amazingly perfect. The salmon flaked apart with the slightest touch of her fork and the honey and ginger flavors melted into her mouth.

"You're welcome." Olivia said, waiting to hear Alex's reaction.

"I'm impressed, Liv. This is very good." Alex said, catching Olivia's shy smile from across the table.

"Ah, the Cabot Stamp of Approval. I'm flattered." Olivia said with a tip of her wine glass towards Alex before taking a drink.

Alex laughed. "I could never make anything like this. I can't cook to save my life. Did your mother teach you?"

"Uh, not exactly. It was just her and I growing up and someone had to cook and it sure as hell wasn't her. I mean, she attempted to when I was really young, but when I reached a certain age, I just could not eat another bowl of mac 'n cheese or can of Chef Boyardee." She said with a laugh. "I just had to figure it out, I guess."

"Well, you've come a long way, Olivia. This is amazing." Alex said, fully appreciating the kindness of the romantic meal she'd prepared.

Their conversation throughout dinner flowed easily, despite both being well aware that tonight was their first official date, and being in the privacy of Olivia's apartment at that. They discussed work a little, but mostly they allowed each other to ask more personal questions. It pleased Olivia to know that she'd impressed Alex, and she thoroughly enjoyed having her in her home. Physical attraction aside, Olivia was really starting to enjoy Alex's company and looked forward to getting to know her more as time went on.


Ch. 43

After dinner, the two remained at the table drinking wine and talking until one by one, the candle lights went dark and at which time, Olivia finally got up to put the dishes in the dishwasher. Alex had enjoyed being waited on by Olivia all through dinner, but enough was enough. When she saw Olivia at the sink, she got up from the table and pushed her to the side and insisted on at least washing the pots and pans for her. Olivia reluctantly allowed it and stood behind her as she watched Alex test the water temperature numerous times with the tips of her fingers before wetting a sponge on the edge of the sink.

She gazed at Alex's fingers as the cloudy stream of water flowed between them, thinking about how she had so carefully touched her earlier when removing her badge. Olivia had always found the counselor's hands to be beautiful. The way she moved them when she talked. Even when she used them in an abrasive manner, ordering people around or crossing a witness on the stand in court, Olivia found herself watching those hands and wanting them to touch her. She watched them now as she prepared to wash the dishes. They were finally alone in her apartment and the way the water moved over Alex's hands made Olivia's center become warm. She couldn't fathom how something so completely mundane could spark a tension of ungodly proportions, but the anticipation of having Alex touch her was unbearable.

Alex could feel Olivia was watching her and she too felt the tension in the room escalate. She didn't understand why she was suddenly so nervous when they had conversed so freely together all evening long and had even kissed so passionately earlier. But something told her that when she kissed Olivia again tonight that she would not be able to stop herself from being completely possessed by the passion between them. And she wanted it. She wanted Olivia to kiss her and take her to bed. She wanted to take the initiative and do it herself, but the silence and static brewing between them resulted in a complete loss of nerves for Alex.

Lucky for her, Olivia didn't give Alex the opportunity to clean a single dish before she set her empty wine glass down and walked forward to the counselor. She reached around Alex and turned off the water and then she glanced back at Alex, catching her bright blue eyes behind her rectangular glasses. Olivia saw a touch of apprehension in her eyes. She lowered her eyes, set her hands upon Alex's hips, and dropped her lips down to her neck, kissing it. Alex gasped lightly at Olivia's impulsive and intoxicating move and immediately dropped the sponge into the sink before pushing her wet fingers back into Olivia's short hair and holding her at her neck. She reached her other hand to her own waist and pulled Olivia's hand around her stomach, dropping her head back and moaning as she felt Olivia's tongue move liberally upon her neck and her curves pressing upon her back as Olivia embraced her wholly.

Alex turned around to face her and Olivia took Alex's face in both of her hands and kissed her. Alex closed her eyes and quickly relaxed onto Olivia's mouth, reaching to hold Olivia's wrists, and returning her kiss tenfold. Olivia stepped forward again to push Alex against the sink, but she tripped over her high heeled boots as she did so. Alex caught her, seizing control, and pushed Olivia back onto the granite countertop opposite the sink, touching Olivia's soft face, sealing her lips around hers, and pressing her smaller frame against Olivia's alluring curves.

Alex opened her mouth to kiss her again and Olivia pushed her tongue through the wet opening and licked and sucked at the inside of Alex's mouth. Alex moaned at Olivia's unbridled zeal for her, and ran her long fingers through the detective's short hair, but felt Olivia move her mouth away from her own, tracing an invisible line down Alex's neck with her tongue, stopping at the skin between her jaw and earlobe. Olivia held Alex at her back, allowing one hand to ride up Alex's neck, kneading the tendons as she lapped and nipped at the tender skin of her neck. She felt Alex's body collapse into the hand that held her back and she moved the other hand back down in order to help support Alex against herself.

Alex turned her head to the side to allow Olivia to kiss her throat, chest and neck as she held onto the brunette's head and hips as close as humanly possible. She watched every detail of Olivia kissing her in the nearby mirror that hung in the living room beside them, seeing and feeling every touch as Olivia slowly canvassed her way across Alex's alabaster skin. Alex moaned at the vision of such a beautiful woman touching her; becoming warm and wet at the sight of Olivia's long, dark lashes falling over her heavy eyes, and her full lips placing delicate and adoring kisses upon her skin.

Olivia carefully removed Alex's glasses to set them on the counter behind her and found Alex's lips again. Alex graciously accepted them against her own lips, lightly pinching and sucking at Olivia's lower lip before moving her own mouth down Olivia's neck. Alex slowly moved her hand down from Olivia's neck and curved it around Olivia's waist, gripping the skin under her knit shirt and pulling herself against Olivia, wanting a fuller contact with her.

"God, you are beautiful, Olivia." Alex whispered, admiring the woman and her subtle reactions to her sensitive caresses. Olivia let out a slight chuckle, disbelieving Alex's observation. Alex heard the doubt in the laugh and looked up at Olivia, cradling her jaw in the palm of her hand. "How can you not know that, Liv?" Alex said, kissing her tenderly. "Just look at yourself." She said, turning Olivia's face to the round mirror on the living room wall. "You're gorgeous."

Olivia heard Alex's words and felt the sincerity cut through her soul as she gazed into her own dark eyes in the mirror, but felt them grow heavy as Alex moved her lips to her neck. Alex wrapped one arm around Olivia's waist, arching her back so that their hips were pinned together, and gradually moving her other hand up Olivia's shirt in order to cup her breast, massaging the supple flesh. Olivia's breath deepened and she moaned quietly at Alex's gentle fingers on her breast and her tongue dancing upon her neck. When she looked into the mirror again, she caught her breath and became weak at the sight of Alex's body pressing against her, her hips slowly gyrating against her own, her porcelain hands massaging her curves, and her wonderful lips kissing the skin on her neck. Olivia could have reveled in watching Alex work her in the mirror for hours, but the vision intensified the detective's fire that burned away within her and she felt compelled to follow her instincts.

She lifted Alex's face, capturing her beautiful eyes for a moment before kissing her, not releasing her lips or opening her mouth, but just holding her there, wanting the kiss to weld them together. She straightened her back and took a step forward, moving away from the kitchen, and pushing Alex backwards towards her dimly lit living room. The only light in the apartment was coming from the kitchen behind her, a small end table lamp with a red shade, and the city lights that illuminated the night through her lightly shaded living room windows.

Alex broke away from the kiss, but kept in line with Olivia's feet, moving backwards, and holding the detective at the neck and hips, urging her forward. No words escaped their mouths; their eyes and bodies communicated anything and everything that needed to be said as they remained fastened onto the other at the hip. Soon enough, Alex felt the arm of the couch at the back of her legs. She rose to her toes in order to reach Olivia's lips and kissed her again, tugging her hips forward and against her, as Olivia pushed her back against the arm of the couch, sighing from the spark between her legs.

Olivia's hands met at the base of Alex's shirt and she tugged her conservative, collared blouse out from the waist of the ivory skirt. She moved her hand up to just below the collar and slowly unbuttoned one button at a time as she kissed the attorney and listened to her moan into her mouth. She dropped the shirt off of Alex's shoulders and moved her hands to the zipper on the side of her skirt to remove the skirt as well. Simultaneously, Alex's hands unhinged Olivia's belt and she quickly unbuttoned her pants. Olivia kicked out of her shoes and socks, but stopped suddenly, thinking twice about what was about to happen between the two of them. "Alex…" she whispered, but without stepping away.

Alex looked up at Olivia, confused as to why she had stopped touching her. "What?" She panted. "Why did you stop, Olivia? What's wrong?" She asked, exasperated and reaching for Olivia's hands to continue.

"Nothing's wrong." She confirmed. She combed her fingers through Alex's golden hair, looking into her eyes. "I just want you to be sure that this is what you want."

"Isn't it obvious, Liv?" Alex whispered, tenderly kissing Olivia's jaw before pulling the woman's shirt over her head and tossing it by the wayside. She moved around the arm of the couch, taking Olivia with her by the hand. She kissed the center of her palm as she sat in the middle of the couch, pulling Olivia towards her. "You have no idea how badly I want this or how long I have waited for it." She leaned forward and kissed Olivia's stomach, teasing her belly with long strokes of her tongue as she dipped her fingers under the seams of her pants to pull them down for her to step out. "I want to touch every inch of you," she said breathlessly, laying the woman wearing only black lingerie down onto the couch, "and feel your body beneath mine." Alex straddled over Olivia's hips, removed her bra, and bent down to kiss the detective again, her hair falling onto Olivia's face as she removed her panties.

Laying atop Olivia, Alex slowly reached her hands behind Olivia's back, taking hold of the clasp and unsnapping it before taking the straps down over Olivia's shoulders and dropping the garment to the floor. She sighed at the sight of the unbelievable beauty of the woman she sat above before re-closing her eyes and kissing her again, her hands finding their way to Olivia's breasts, caressing her gently and smiling at the sound of Olivia's moans from her touch. Olivia found herself touching Alex's bare skin and holding her below the waist and rocking her hips against Alex.

While kissing Olivia, Alex balanced on her knees for a short moment as Olivia pushed her own panties down her legs, tossing them aside. Alex sat back onto Olivia's hips, straddling one leg between Olivia's thighs, leaning over her and kissing her with a slow, meticulous passion. Their flesh was soft and inviting to one another, their sex pinned and rubbing as their mouths and tongues rejoined, fusing each other as one.

Alex took one of Olivia's hands from her breast and sat up to kiss each fingertip gingerly, pulling the center finger into her mouth, deep and beyond her teeth, closing her eyes at the taste of Olivia's flesh in her mouth. Olivia kept her eyes focused and in awe of the seductress that sat atop her as Alex moved Olivia's wet fingertips between her legs unhurriedly while keeping her blue eyes locked on the detective that lay below her. Alex leaned over and took hold of Olivia's neck with her other hand and kissed the woman again before whispering into her ear, "I want to know what it feels like to have you inside of me, Olivia." She licked Olivia's earlobe as she waited for her fingers to touch her as she settled her hips down upon them.

Olivia pressed her fingers gently between the wet folds, biting down on her lower lip to hold back her moans as she lavishly touched Alex intimately. Alex's chin fell forward and her back rounded at the unbelievable reaction running through her body. She kept one hand around Olivia's neck and the other on the back of the couch to keep herself balanced as she rocked her hips back and forth over Olivia's fingers and thigh.

Olivia arched her back forward and lifted the leg which Alex straddled to tip her over. Alex fell onto Olivia's mouth and Olivia kissed her, drawing out low and heavy moans from Alex as she reveled in Olivia's fingers upon her. Olivia moved her mouth lower curving her back forward to reach Alex's breast, kissing it affectionately at first before consuming it with her entire mouth, biting and circling her tongue at her nipple which resulted in short and breathtaking spasms from Alex, who struggled to maintain her balance above Olivia.

Olivia laid back against the couch again when Alex started panting heavier and throbbing harder against the fingers beneath her. Olivia kept the circular strokes at Alex's sex at a steady, but accelerating pace, wanting nothing more than to please her and watch her gratification unfold. "Oh God, Olivia…" Alex could barely get her name out as she gazed downward upon her treasured friend with impassioned eyes, her blonde hair falling in her face unabashedly. She gazed into the beautiful brown eyes looking up at her, but was unable to keep her eyes open for long as the thrill and ecstasy was overcoming her.

She ground her hips down against Olivia's hand and Olivia dipped her fingers into Alex which brought about a euphoric moan from the depths of Alex's throat. She breathed and moaned heavier as Olivia's fingers quickened inside of her, pushing into her deeper and faster until Alex gripped onto Olivia's neck. She fell forward onto Olivia, crying out into her ear in such a rapture that Olivia felt herself shudder against Alex. Olivia curled her fingers inside of Alex, and she felt Alex's nails dig into her shoulders, her voice cracking with every blissful whine as she recoiled on Olivia's hand again and again until every muscle in her body collapsed. She draped her arms around Olivia, and kissed her shoulders and neck as she searched for her lips. Olivia turned to her and Alex sealed her pink lips around Olivia's then drifted to her side, holding the woman close.

Alex stared at the wall with a satisfied grin and tried to catch her breath. "Mmmm, Olivia." She sighed heavily and looked over to the brunette that lay propped up on her elbow beside her with a proud smirk across her face. "That was everything that I thought it would be…and more." Alex sighed, smiling and closing her eyes before giving Olivia a long and appreciative kiss.

Alex's mind drifted far away and when she opened her eyes, Olivia was looking down at her, softly combing her fingers through her blonde hair. She watched as a slow smile came across Olivia's face. Olivia was at a loss for words, the woman that lay beside her was so beautiful, ambitious, and passionate. She was everything that she could have ever dreamed of. She ran her fingers through her blonde hair and started to rise from the couch, but felt Alex grab her at the waist and tug her back down.

"Where do you think you're going?" Alex said with a playful laugh, kissing her. She sat up and wrapped Olivia's legs around herself, raising one of them over hers so that they would be facing one another in the center of the couch.

Olivia looked down at their intertwined position and then looked up at Alex. "No where apparently." Olivia said, reaching her arms behind Alex to embrace and kiss her.

"That's what I thought." Alex smirked and leaned over to take Olivia's face in her hands, kissing her. She opened her mouth and allowed Olivia's tongue to intrude as she moved her hand down to touch Olivia's breast. She tenderly massaged the flesh with the palm of her hand before fingering every detail, pushing her tongue through Olivia's mouth as she felt the officer's belly breathe deeper until breath turned into sighs and sighs turned into moans.

Holding Olivia at her back, Alex moved her other hand down to Olivia's stomach before turning the hand upside down and pushing her fingers down between Olivia's thighs. Olivia loved how Alex touched her so gently. Her hands were so delicate, and her luxurious fingers sent chills up her spine and rhythmic pulses at her center with ever teasing movement. Alex's eyes glimmered into Olivia's that darkened when she felt how wet and anticipating Olivia was for her and she gently pushed her fingers inside of her friend, knowing that the woman had been ready for her long ago. Alex tossed her hair out of her face and over her shoulder before closing her eyes and pressing her lips onto Olivia's as she gingerly pushed her fingers in and out of the detective in the small space that was between them on the couch.

When Olivia opened her mouth to moan, Alex's tongue entered into her mouth, pulling her tongue into her own mouth to suck and tease it, which elicited more moans of pleasure coming from all directions within Olivia. Olivia broke the kiss and sat upright in front of Alex, her honey brown eyes burning through Alex's blue as she ground her hips against Alex's hand as her fingers fucked her mercilessly. "Damn, Alex." Olivia mumbled, in total bliss at the fact that this was not a dream; that Alex was actually inside of her, making love to her. Olivia's hand reached behind Alex to hold her back as her eyes drifted up into her eyelids. Alex's fingers quickened and Olivia bucked her hips back against the woman's long and delicate fingers.

Alex leaned forward again, kissing Olivia until Olivia became weak and fell back onto the arm of the couch, running her hand through her own short locks, and tugging at her own neck, anticipating release. Olivia bit her lip as she felt Alex's fingers rousing the fire within her until it bundled up at her core and started to swirl her insides as Alex churned her fingers inside of her, making love to her and extracting cries from Olivia's lips and hot tears from her eyes. "Alex…" She cried out and moaned, feeling the space of her center widen and open around Alex's fingers before closing repeatedly until the tremors of orgasm defeated her.

In the afterglow, Alex lay across Olivia, reaching for her face and drawing it into a loving kiss. Olivia returned the affection, holding Alex's delicate frame against her own, caringly smoothing the pale and flawless skin of her back with her fingertips before shifting over so that Alex could lay with her on the couch with their legs intertwined. Alex lightly touched her fingers upon Olivia's shoulder before moving them down her arm and reaching for Olivia's hand. She fingered gently at the open palm before interlacing her fingers with Olivia's, kissing her cheek and smiling to herself with the absolute harmony she felt with Olivia.

They lay together as the minutes passed, neither saying a word or moving too suddenly. The only sounds were of their settling breaths and the familiar sounds of New York traffic and bickering neighbors seemingly miles away. Eventually, Alex brought her and Olivia's hands up to her mouth and kissed the back of Olivia's fingers before looking over to capture her eyes. "Can I stay with you tonight?" She asked.

Olivia nodded, letting out a deep sigh. There was nothing she wanted more than to wake up in the morning beside Alex.

"Are you sure?" Alex double checked.

Olivia smiled, understanding why Alex asked twice, but still not wanting her to leave. She nodded, rising from the couch. "Come on, beautiful." She said, tugging on Alex's hand to take her to bed.


Ch. 44

Olivia's alarm went off shockingly early the next morning and the abrasive noise startled Alex from a deep and sound slumber. She felt Olivia shift in the sheets, groaning to herself before subconsciously smacking the clock quiet again and returning to sleep within mere seconds. A few minutes later, the alarm went off again and Olivia repeated her previous actions and turned off the alarm again. Alex turned over in the bed to face Olivia, who was facing away from her. She's so beautiful, Alex thought, examining the curl of her spine as it traveled down her back before disappearing into the burgundy sheets. How did I get so lucky? Alex wanted to drape her arm over Olivia's waist, pull her close, and kiss her shoulder good morning, but she couldn't read Olivia's thoughts with her facing away from her so instead of following through with her instincts, she lay quietly on her side for Olivia to wake up on her own terms.

As she waited for the brunette to awaken, her mind raced with conflicting messages about what her relationship with Olivia was becoming. The passion between them last night had been so intense and it was unlike anything Alex had ever experienced before in her life. She was nervous about what was to transpire that morning in her apartment, and she was even more worrisome about seeing the detective at work later in the afternoon. Olivia was to appear in court for Alex today. She knew she could keep up her end of their bargain while still maintaining their intimacy behind closed doors, but she hoped that Olivia could do the same by understanding that work and their relationship were to be kept strictly separate.

Additionally, Olivia had already been in a relationship with a woman before, whereas Alex really had not. Even though Anya had been unfaithful to Olivia, she was never ashamed of their relationship and Alex could only hope that faithfulness meant more to Olivia than openness. She told herself that their relationship needed to be hushed due to their jobs and it was, but she didn't want Olivia to accuse her of being a closet case, even though she was, but that wasn't what their secret was all about. Or maybe it is? She disregarded that thought, going full circle in her mind, knowing the real reason for the secrecy was their positions at work and the intimate nature of their jobs. She would not let personal relationships jeopardize her career goals, even with someone as wonderful as Olivia.

Between the latter few buzzing of the alarm, Olivia lay awake in bed, facing away from Alex, concerned about how they would keep their relations a secret from everyone that they worked with. Her job was among specialized detectives and whether she liked it or not, they knew everything about her. She was fretful about Elliot. She knew he would eventually figure out that something was going on between her and Alex. Even if Alex woke up this morning full of buyer's remorse, which Olivia hoped to God that she didn't, she knew that Elliot would somehow know that something had happened. It was only a matter of time and when the time came, she was worried about how Alex would react. Not more than one day into their secret, and Olivia couldn't stop the negativity and what-ifs from berating her mind in the waking dawn. Maybe after last night, Alex wouldn't want to keep it a secret after all. She could only hope, but realistically, she knew that the promise of silence was going to still be expected of her.

To counteract her pessimism, she focused on the things that she did know. What she knew was that she was sharing her wonderfully comfortable bed with the most beautiful woman she had ever known. She also knew that Alex had consciously made love to her the night before and couldn't claim that she was drunk or emotionally unstable in order to dismiss the night's events. And then she remembered how Alex had told her that she was beautiful – gorgeous even, which warmed her heart all over again.

When she felt Alex shift in the bed beside her, she decided to turn around to face her fears head on, hoping that nothing had changed between them from the night before. Nothing had changed in her mind and she hoped that Alex would still feel the same for her as well in the morning after. Alex looked back at her with those sharp blue eyes of hers and smiled, which quieted Olivia's paranoid mind. Even in the early morning, with her hair tangled in all directions and without a stitch of make up, Alex was a classically beautiful woman.

Olivia bid her a good morning and ran her fingers though Alex's blonde hair, touching her neck tenderly and gave Alex a kiss. Alex shifted over to Olivia and draped her arm over Olivia's chest, pulling her close and laying her head upon her shoulder in an effort to tell her that nothing had changed from the previous evening without using words. She was relieved that Olivia seemed content and relaxed by her gesture and when she wrapped her arm around her back, it confirmed for her that Olivia was not regretful either.

Alex tried to peek over Olivia to look at the clock. When she couldn't see the time, she asked Olivia what time it was.

"It's 5:30." Olivia said.

"God that's early, Liv. The sun's not even up!" Alex complained, burying her face into Olivia's neck.

Olivia laughed and shifted underneath Alex to get up. She found her tattered but comfortable old robe on the floor and put it on. "Well, I figured you'd have to head all way uptown to get a change of clothes so I set it pretty early."

Alex groaned, "I guess you're right." Alex rolled over onto her stomach, and watched Olivia pull the robe around herself, but not tying the belt. "God, you are sexy, Olivia."

Olivia smiled back at Alex, still amazed that someone as attractive as Alex found her to be equally attractive. "You think so?" Olivia asked, giving Alex a kiss on the forehead.

"I know so." Alex sat up in bed, pulling a sheet over herself, and dangling her legs over the side, looking up at Olivia. She grabbed the end of Olivia's robe and tugged her back towards the bed. Olivia embraced her as Alex wrapped her legs around her torso and rested her head on Olivia's chest.

Olivia ran her fingers through Alex's hair, smoothing it down a little. "Don't think I'm trying to kick you out or anything, but you really should get going if you want to get to work on time."

Alex mumbled something under her breath, knowing Olivia was right. She was not looking forward to going all the way home on the upper east side before turning around and heading all the way back downtown to get to work all because she didn't have an extra pair of clothes to wear.

"You should be more prepared next time you spend the night at my apartment, Alex." Olivia suggested.

"Next time?" Alex asked, raising her eyebrows, curious when she'd get to see Olivia again.

Olivia snickered, stepping away from between Alex's legs. "Yes. Did you think I only wanted to see you once?"

"I was hoping you wouldn't." Alex said, running her fingers beneath Olivia's robe and kissing her belly.

Olivia dropped down to her ankles in front of Alex on the bed, and covered herself with her robe. "How is this going to work, Alex?"

Alex smiled, and ran her fingers through Olivia's short hair. "We just have to maintain a certain amount of distance at work, Liv. In a way, we have to pretend as if nothing happened as to not raise suspicion. But don't allow yourself to think that I believe that nothing happened. I loved every second of what we shared last night, Liv, and I look forward to seeing you again. But at work, we have to be at least a little indifferent to one another. I don't want you to take sides with me when you feel that Elliot is right if a discrepancy arises just because we're dating. My feelings will not be hurt. I want you to do your job and allow me to do mine. We'll have to learn how to separate our feelings at work from our feelings…" she almost said 'at home' but searched for a better phrase, "outside of work. It will be hard, but I know we can do it. You mean too much to me for it to not work."

"If you say so." Olivia sighed, doubtful and taking Alex's hand and kissing the palm. "But Elliot's going to figure it out. I know he is."

"No, he won't, Olivia." Alex protested. "I understand the pressure that you're under, but you said yourself a few weeks ago that he didn't know every detail about your life. This has to be one of those details you keep from him."

"This is more than a little detail, Alex." Olivia said with a bitter smirk, rising from her haunches and stepping away.

Alex grabbed Olivia's hand, stopping her. "Hey." Olivia wouldn't look back at her. "Liv." Alex said to get her attention, gently touching her hand and arm to get her to turn around. When Olivia did, she continued. "I know that this is more than just a detail." Alex rose from the bed and stood behind Olivia, wrapping her arms around her waist and kissing the back of her smooth shoulder under her robe. "You can always just give me a different name if that would make it easier for you when Elliot starts asking questions."

This was getting all too complicated for Olivia, but she wanted a relationship with Alex more than ever and she was willing to do anything to be with her. She knew Alex didn't want their relationship to be behind closed doors because she was ashamed of Olivia. She was asking this of her because the very nature of their jobs was going to require it of them. She thought about giving Alex a fake name and wondered if it would make any difference. She supposed that it wouldn't hurt; that when the questions started coming at her from Elliot, she could at least be prepared with a name. He already knew someone was interested in her with the flowers Alex's had sent to her yesterday.

As Olivia washed up in the bathroom, thinking about everything under the sun, Alex dressed quickly, knowing she had very little time to get home before heading back downtown in order to be in the office by nine. She would definitely be bringing a change of clothes with her next time.

Olivia gave Alex a kiss goodbye at the door, and Olivia held onto her fingers as long as possible before Alex slipped away and out into the hallway to go home. Olivia stood in her doorway, still wearing the grey robe and leaning her head against the doorframe.

"When will I see you again?" Alex asked, turning around before getting to the elevator.

Olivia shrugged with a smile. "Today at trial, I would imagine." Olivia joked, knowing she had to testify for Alex that afternoon.

"You know what I mean, Liv." Alex said, shifting her weight and crossing her arms with a smile. She lit up the down button of the elevator.

"Well, is Friday," Olivia answered. "Unless the shit hits the fan at work, I don't see why we couldn't go out tonight if you wanted."

"I'd like that." Alex smiled, stepping back to Olivia and giving her another kiss. The elevator doors opened and Alex went in.

"I'll call and let you know." She nodded to Alex as the doors closed in front of her, taking her back to the reality that awaited her outside.

Olivia closed her apartment door and walked to the bathroom to take a shower and get ready for the day. She desperately wanted their relationship to work, and she wanted the two of them to be able to work around each other as professionals. She wanted them to have their cake and eat it too, as it were. Before she stepped into the shower, she looked out her bedroom window, pleased that spring was on its way. With the rebirth of New York City after such a cold and unforgiving winter, Olivia was optimistic that she too could be reborn.

She wanted to take it slow with Alex to some degree, but she recognized the fact that she already had racing feelings for her. She hoped Alex would soon feel the same for her. She felt confident that she could leave Anya and their past behind and focus on building a relationship with Alex without disrupting the dedication that she had for her job. It would be a challenge, but it was one that Olivia was up for and would face head on. She would not deny herself from being happy for the rest of her life, and she felt there was a good possibility of achieving true happiness with Alexandra Cabot. She would not let Alex slip through her fingers and she would do whatever it took to ensure that from not happening.

The End

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