DISCLAIMER: Most characters are not mine, but I'm using them for entertainment and not for profit. The story is my own.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The “Drinks” series of short pieces: limited to fewer than three full pages, written primarily as fragments of conversations, each featuring at least one drink. The stories are completely unrelated, unless otherwise stated and don’t fit in any particular timeline. They also may be unrelated to canon. I just try to keep the characterization true. I hope I’ve succeeded in that.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Alex Cabot sipped her cosmopolitan and thought that she definitely needed more of a challenge at work, but she was, overall, luckier than most. So why should she risk a change?
"The lady over there would like to buy you a drink." Soft blond hair fell over her shoulder as Alex looked in surprise at the bartender. Nobody knew her in here. That's why she chose this bar in Chelsea when her home overlooked Gramercy Park and she worked on Park Avenue. "She says you don't know her, but it would be her pleasure to buy you whatever you're drinking."
Alex looked in the direction the bartender had pointed and her eyes roamed over the features of the "lady" in question. A soft sweep of short, dark hair streaked lighter in the front, wide, almond-shaped dark eyes, a strong jaw line and a generous mouth curved into a slightly crooked smile. Smooth olive skin and strong shoulders revealed by a sleeveless white top that clung to her upper body and hugged full breasts. Alex wasn't single, but it was just a drink. "I'll have another cosmopolitan," she replied, "and please offer the lady my thanks."
When she received her fresh cosmo, Alex raised her glass to the woman at the corner of the bar and smiled. The woman raised her own glass and offered Alex another faint smile, before returning to her drink. Cool, Alex observed, intrigued. Lesbians, even men, who approached her, were seldom so disinterested or confident. I guess she has a lot to be confident about, Alex allowed, as she surreptitiously watched the woman drain the last of her drink.
Alex beckoned the bartender over. "I'd like to buy the lady a drink and invite her to join me, if you'd be kind enough to ask?"
Sensing a very big tip in his future, the bartender smiled his agreement and walked down to where the brunette was sitting. Alex watched her raise one eyebrow in either surprise or curiosity, before nodding at the bartender. Alex released the breath she'd been unconsciously holding and waited for the woman to come to her. But she wasn't quite prepared for what the oak bar had been hiding from her view. The brunette had shrugged on an open white shirt over the skin-tight top that Alex now saw was tucked into low-riding jeans snug enough to show the taut curves of her thighs as she strode towards the blonde.
Alex felt time slow and she thought she might have smiled, but she was in no condition to actually speak to the exotic, almost sloe-eyed, long-limbed creature who stood before her. Fortunately, the brunette was more self-possessed. "Thank you," she said, with a smile that did nothing to hide her open curiosity about Alex.
"It was my pleasure." Alex's voice was remarkably strong considering the unaccustomed trembling in her belly, from the other woman's mere presence. "Thanks for joining me."
"You looked as though you might benefit from having an extra drink and putting it all out of your head."
"Work. Let me guess: fundraising? Asset management? Museum board?"
It was Alex's turn to raise an eyebrow. "I'm a lawyer."
Olivia looked at the blond woman curiously, body-hugging white Dolce & Gabbana skirt suit, white Yves Saint Laurent bag that went perfectly with her Jimmy Choo sandals, no briefcase and no visible PDA. "I'm surprised. I'm seldom wrong about that kind of thing."
Alex smiled. "You're not. I work exclusively for a charitable trust and I currently spend more time lunching with botoxed ladies than taking depositions."
"You miss practicing law." It was a statement.
Alex, unable to disagree, merely grimaced. "Technically, I'm still practicing law."
"But you're gorgeous, have perfect table manners and you can be extremely persuasive, and those talents are much more useful to a charitable trust than the ability to review contracts."
Blue eyes narrowed. "Have we met?"
"We don't move in the same circles, so it's unlikely." The crooked smile blossomed into a fully-fledged grin and Alex's heart did something funny in her chest. Before she could react, the women went on, "But I must amend my initial assessment of your manners, because that was one hell of a compliment I just paid you and all I got in return was suspicion. Didn't grandmother teach you to say 'thank you' when she was taking you to tea at the Ritz?"
Alex flushed. "I'm sorry. And thank you, it's very flattering that you think I'm gorgeous and well-mannered." When Olivia gave her a knowing look, she added. "I'm serious!" She looked away. The room was only half full and, although all the bar stools in the immediate vicinity were taken, there were empty tables near the back wall. "I'm Alex Cabot. Would you like to move to a table with me and tell me about your circles? Mine are obviously no secret and have appalling taste, since you're not in them."
The brunette chuckled. "Yes, you're definitely a lawyer. I'm Olivia Benson and I'd love to talk to you about my circles or anything else, for that matter." Her expression turned serious and her gaze locked with Alex's. "But, consider this fair warning that I'm seeing someone and I find you insanely attractive, so it would be unfair of you to attempt to seduce me."
The thought of seducing the stranger named Olivia Benson immediately made Alex wet. Common sense told the attorney she should pay her bill and leave. She stepped down from the bar stool and led the way to a table.
Three cosmopolitans and almost two hours later, Alex accused Olivia of being a bad influence. "I can't believe I described Mrs. Remington-Marsh to you as hollow-headed harridan!"
"Sounds pretty accurate from what you said."
"She gave us more than half a million dollars last year!"
"I'm sure she can afford it. Besides, if you don't tell me, your opinion might slip out when you're talking to a member of your circle and you'll be busted back down to practicing law."
"Don't tempt me." Alex shook her head and sipped her drink. "For the brief time I was at the DA's office, I never met any detectives like you, but right now I'm more than willing to give it another shot."
"I get the feeling you're a good lawyer, Alex Cabot, the charity's loss would be the DA's gain."
"Now you're deliberately tempting me."
Alex's smile faded. "You know you are." They were no longer talking about work. "You're stunning and sensual; without overtly flirting you manage to make me feel wanted. And yet there is nothing I'm not comfortable talking about with you. But I don't really know you."
"Yes, Alex, you do. I'm a cop, right down to the marrow of my bones. My job defines me and it's been a long, hard journey to get to the point where my DNA doesn't."
"A cop who guessed my profession based on my clothes, who can phrase a dilemma in terms of Camus and who personally knows one of my pre-law professors from Columbia."
"My mother was a tenured professor there and I monitored a lot of classes while I was in high school, because her working hours were unorthodox."
"And you didn't want to be home alone?"
"And I didn't want to be home when she was." Her tone didn't invite further probing. "A lot of professors knew me and just accepted my presence without letting their departments know what I was doing." As Alex absorbed that, Olivia continued, "I'm surprised you went to Columbia, I figured you for a Harvard first, Yale second kinda girl." The grin that followed almost made Alex lose her train of thought.
"I was a Sarah Lawrence first, Siena second, kind of girl. My parents were Harvard graduates and we compromised with Columbia and Yale. I didn't want a legacy admission." She looked curiously at Olivia, "So did you make it official and go to Columbia when you were old enough?"
"Siena," she admitted and they both burst out laughing.
"I tried for a year. Not my thing."
"Not the kind of person to fit into the group?"
Olivia looked away. "That was part of it." And at Alex's expectant look, she added, "You try living under the same roof as four women you've slept with." When Alex laughed even harder, Olivia pretended to scowl. "It wasn't funny. I was so traumatized, I started dating guys." Her eyes locked with Alex's. "What about you? Are you straight and curious or lesbian and horny."
"I was neither curious nor horny until you bought me a drink," Alex replied
"I'm not straight " she admitted.
"But you're involved with someone."
"As are you," Alex pointed out, unnecessarily.
"I've felt more tonight for you than I've felt in the six months I've dated him." The words, haunting in their naked honesty, made Alex shiver.
"I've felt more tonight for you than I've ever felt within hours of meeting someone." she replied softly. "Does that scare you?" The tremor in her voice indicated that if it did, the feeling was mutual.
"I'd be a fool not to be scared by this. But maybe it's time I made some changes in my life."
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