DISCLAIMER: Please be advised, I do not own nor would I ever claim to own the wonderful characters of Law & Order: SVU. Those belong to Dick Wolf and other higher ups that are way way above my pay grade. This is for fun, specifically the AU Challenge for the International Day of FemSlash on 7.19.09. Song lyrics are from the album, The Sound of White by Missy Higgins, title of said song is Ten Days.
SPOILERS: Alrighty, so basic stuff – I usually write Buffy fanfic. Buffy/Willow pairings mainly. This is a foray into a different fandom that I hope didn't turn out too horrible. This is un-beta'd so that being said; any mistakes are really all my fault. Feedback is appreciated as this is a departure and I'd like to know if I failed miserably. =0) Other than that … uh….I got nuffin'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Fall Back Into Me
By Whedonist


When things like this happen isn't it supposed to rain? Where are my trite, but dramatic thunder clashes preceding angry, jagged lightning that split and illuminate the sky? Yes, I'm aware that I'm being melodramatic, but just once, this once, I wish that the weather mirrored my feelings. There's no rain to mask the tears tracking down her delicate cheeks. When things like this happen in the movies, there's always rain.

It's not fair.

I have just ruined the only thing I've ever really loved and the only thing I can think of is the weather. Sighing, I shut my eyes against the image of the woman before me as the warm, summer air blows against my skin.

I'm right. I know I am. She wants something that I just can't give.

Not now. Maybe not ever.

If we stay together, I'll hurt her more.

"So that's it, Alex?" Her voice stings and shocks me.

Opening my eyes again, her beauty and pain assault me and I drink her in knowing that she puts La Scapigliata to shame. I steel myself and meet her wounded gaze. "Liv, don't make this harder than it needs to be."

She starts to protest and I quiet her with an upturned hand. "You want someone there. I can't be that. It's a better decision for both of us to just stop this before," I swallow the bile that rises in the back of my throat and somehow find my voice again, "this gets too serious and we both end up hating each other."

Her eyes flash for a moment, brief, but intense. Her jaw muscle quivers and I resist the urge to reach out and soothe her. As the breeze picks up, I see the hardness set in. She changes cat quick before me, only offering a curt nod before she turns and takes off down the city side walk.

I watch her retreat, sick to my stomach and heart broken.

"Alex?" A voice deep and concerned reaches through and pulls me out of that night not long ago. "Alex is everything okay?"

I blink and look into concerned gray eyes. "Yes, Matt. Just…I'm sorry. What were we talking about?"

"Third quarter projections," he answers my question barely letting his annoyance show through.

"Right," I mutter trying to get my head back into this meeting. We're going to miss if we don't finish the Stanbaugh project. "Have we any updates on where the team is with the tests?"

"Preliminaries are being finished this month and then actual trials will be run at the beginning of the month," Janice answers, looking up at me from over the rim of her glasses.

"Alright, we still need to boost the rest of this quarter." I turn my attention to my notes and flip back a few pages to notes from a business lunch from yesterday. "If we're going to move forward, I think we need a few new accounts. I'd like to see some marketing data on where we should start looking."

I lean back in my chair and assess the small group before me. With Janice, Matt, Nick and Josh we should be able to pull this off. "I want the four of you tasked out for this. Put pressure on Julie's team to finish her project. Janice, I want financials put together and on my desk by tomorrow morning. Once we have a clearer idea of where the numbers are we can put together a better game plan."

My team nods and readies themselves to leave. They file out of the conference room and I lean forward resting my head in my hands. My mind drifts back to that night four days ago and I glance down at the things that need to happen here. Groaning, I close my notebook and know I've made the right decision where she's concerned.

I'm sorry I'm not what you need, Liv.

Maybe one day I'll be able to explain that to her and believe it.

I've tried cutting the ropes and
I let you go but you're still the only one
That feels like home.

Grabbing the book on the lower ledge of the coffee table, I hold it up to study the title, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Definitely Alex's. I toss it in the box I've filled with her things as a pinching, sharp pain hits me low in the center of my chest. I know it's not serious. It's something emotional translating into the physcial. It still hurts like a bitch.

I just don't know what went wrong. We were fine, good even and then…shit. Thirteen months. Thirteen amazing months. I slump back into the soft, leather cushions of my couch, resting my head. My one day off this week and I'm stuck being an angsty teenager.


I pull the box of her things over to me. It's not much really, a few pictures, a book, some toiletries and a pair of running shoes. I pick up the photo of the two of us on our first date. The restaurant we went to had run a promotion where you received a complementary poloroid with dinner, cheesy, but...this is one of my favorites of us together. Silly really, but it was sweet. She framed it for me on our one month anniversary.

Funny how things start. She just waltzed into my restaurant and into my life. She's waltzed right back out again. Running the pad of my thumb over the cool glass of the frame, I imagine it's her cheek and the tears pool all on their own.

Refusing to cry, I set the photo back in the box and get up. I walk over to the stereo and pause to listen to Otis Redding sing a melodic arrangement of I Can't Get Next To You. I hit the switch and the apartment goes quiet. Sighing, I turn around and grab the box and my keys for the short trek down to the garage.

I step off the elevator and go to my storage locker. Opening the fenced area, I slide the box on to a free space on my shelf. I stare at it, puzzling out what happened. The florescent light glints off the white of the box and I still can't figure it out. The pieces won't fit. It doesn't add up.

I thought things were going well. We didn't see each other a lot. Both of us being too tied to work, but we still managed well enough. We took a few weekends, the mornings were always nice. Sure we fought, who isn't in a relationship where there are no fights? But the make up was fantastic. She seemed to always shine the brightest in the afterglow of our make-ups.

One year and four weeks of being in sync and happy, to 'we want different things,' or what did she say? Oh right, 'I can't give you what you need.' What kind of bullshit is that?

What I need? Who says shit like that?

What I need, what I want is her. I know she's busy, I know she's put a lot of herself into her work. It's who she is. It's who I am to, but…

Where does she get off?

I shake myself from the stupor and stalk out of the storage space. Slamming the gate closed, I shove the Master Lock into the latch and push it closed. I make my way back up to my apartment ignoring the elevator to stomp my way up the five flights of stairs.

I still don't get it.

Inside the apartment, I stop just inside my bedroom. It feels different, off – empty. Automatically, I strip down to a tank top and my underwear to get ready for bed. I move over to the nightstand to set my watch down and I see them.

They sit there staring back at me empty, but not.

The black framed glasses rest atop a box of tissues.

Reaching out for them, I caress the onyx frames and an image of her reading in this bed with me on a Sunday morning not long ago flitters through. I want to throw them, break them. I want them to mirror what I feel, but I can't. I loved – love her in them.

I love her.

That won't change.

Instead, of doing what I should, I do what I can. I fold them carefully and gently set them down next to my watch. Crawling under the covers, I swipe at the wetness on my cheeks and drift off into a fitful sleep.

And it's been ten days without you in my reach,
And the only time I've touched you is in my sleep.

I sit for the start of my second hour in this ridiculous meeting silently cursing Trevor and Brian to the Tenth Pouch in the Eigth Circle of Hell. If any two people belonged there it would be these two. Their badgering about our third quarter marketing projections are bordering on immature.

My index finger and thumb lift my glasses up from the bottom rim and I rub my weary eyes. I settle my glasses and look over to Liz Donnelly and see the same bored, annoyed expression. At least I know I'm not the only one. I point to the planning deck for this meeting and circle the last point I want to make to wrap this god forsaken thing up. She tips her chin and signals an okay.

My lips curl involuntarily as I interrupt the two bickering boys on the phone, "Did either of you bother to look at the fourth quarter projections on page nine? If you had, we could have saved ourselves your whining for the past half hour." I acknowledge that I haven't been on top of my game recently, but an intern would be able see the benefit in the added costs and they sure as hell would have looked at the action items before bitching over nothing.

I sit up and speak directly into the telecom unit sitting in the middle of the conference table, "The additional costs in q-three's marketing, while substantial for that quarter, will be more than absorbed by the margins we pull in q-four."

I can't help but let the tone of my voice drip with victory as I hammer my last point home, "I think the increased three hundred and fifty million in EBITA projections in our final quarter and year end make up for the additional two hundred and fifty thousand you have to put out for the increased marketing efforts, don't you gentleman?"

Their silence speaks volumes and God bless Liz, she saves us from more of their inane chatter, "I think Cabot's won this argument gentlemen. I suggest before you waste more of my time, you come a bit more prepared for these meetings. Get started on the new initiatives and we'll meet again next month." She hits the end button on the unit successfully cutting off anything else they had to add to the conversation.

We both drop back into our seats and sigh. I rub at the back of my neck trying to remove the knot that had developed knots over the last few hours. If I can get at least one of the smaller ones to loosen up I may just be able to get rid of this headache.

Slowly my fingers dig into the offending muscle gradually releasing the tension in my shoulder and neck. A cold April night spent at Liv's surfaces on the screen of my mind. It had been a particularly horrid week and she had spent Friday night pampering me. She drew me a bath and then spent nearly an hour working my back over with her deceptively strong, nimble fingers. Her love for me evident with each stroke and push of her hands.

I choke back a sob and through force of will stop the tears that pool behind my eyelids to not fall.

God, what have I done?


Oh shit! Liz's still here.

Goddamn it, Cabot pull yourself together.

I wait a few seconds before trusting myself to open up my eyes and look at my boss. My hand drops from my neck and plays with my pen, doodling along the edge of my legal pad. "Sorry, Liz. Headache," I try to explain.

I furtively glance up at her to see if she's buying the line of bullshit I just fed her.

Didn't work.

I sigh.

You win some and well, sometimes you can't win them all. I'll be damned if I don't try anyhow.

"Alex, I know that," she stops and gathers her thoughts, "that is to say that I've been meaning to have a talk with you this week about a few things and since we have another half hour here, I think this is the perfect opportunity."

She levels a look at me and I resist the urge to slink down in my chair. Instead I square my shoulders and brace myself for whatever news she has to deliver.

I nod, signaling for her to continue.

"While ultimately, there are some things that are none of my concern, your performance and a few decisions as of late are." She folds her hands on top of the table lacing her fingers together. Leaning forward and looking at me, she continues, "I'm not sure what's changed the past few weeks, but you must know that your work isn't up to its usual standard of excellence. May I inquire as to what the cause is?"

My throat goes tacky at her look of expectation. The picture of her in robes sitting at a judge's stand pops in to my head. I shake it off, but admit she would make one hell of a judge.

One eyebrow archs in anticipation and my throat dries up more. "Alex," her voice softens, "off the record, I've noticed that you haven't had the same passion. If I were a keen boss with an astute mind I'd attribute it to the lack of a shaggy haired restraunteur that's not been seen bringing you food. If that is the case, and please feel free to tell me to butt out, but if you don't, then what happened?"

I bite my lip in an effort to not cry, sadly enough I fail and the tears drip from my chin. Through the blur I notice that Liz has come around the table and is sitting next to me, gripping my hand. Her compassion shatters the little bit of control I have left. There in the confrence room I confess my crime.

So tell me, did you really think...
Oh tell me, did you really think

"Hey, Liv do you want the rest of this over by the prep table?" Elliot asks hoisting up a tray of fresh baked breads and rolls.

I nod and go back to unpacking the boxes that we've brought in from the van outside. Surveying the kitchen, I note Cragen's rosters to make sure that we've brought enough food. Turning towards the small bank of ovens, I set them on their lowest setting and begin placing the trays of chicken, pasta, vegitables and potatoes inside.

If I know Don, he won't start serving the girls until after five. They've got about another hour of sitting around before anyone will touch them.

I look over my shoulder as the kitchen doors swing open and Odafin "Fin" Tutola walks in. I smile at the shelter's counselor and he waves back, "Liv, good to see you girl. How's the business?"

"Hi, Fin. Things are good. Business is great." I shut the last of the oven doors and give him my full attention. He rests lazily against one of the stainless steel table tops and surveys the four large salad bowls sitting on the counter next to him.

Elliot comes up beside him and snickers at the fake smile I have plastered across my face. "So you're calling it good?" he asks.

I level a glare at him demanding his silence, but Fin catches the looks and crooks an eyebrow in my direction.

"Huh," Fin rubs his chin and looks between the two of us. I know he's trying to determine if he should press the issue or drop it. His eyes search mine and he asks, "When are we gonna see Cabot again? Some of the girls here took a liking to her. Said she was nice. Also said she seemed to help."

Cringing, I stutter, "She, uh, well," rubbing the back of my neck, my voice dies out and I shrug.

"Thought so," Fin's jaw muscles twitch and then his eyes soften as he offers, "You feel like talkin' about it?"

I look between El and Fin and shrug again. Truth is I don't feel like talking about much.

"Fin, maybe…" Elliot starts.

I stop Elliot trying to save me. "Not much to tell, Fin. She said we wanted different things." Trying to keep my answer simple hoping Fin will back off.

To my surprise it's Elliot that starts in, "Liv, you and I both know that's bullshit." His arms cross over his chest and chin juts out. "I told you she was an Ice Queen. You asked to move in together, not for the…"

"El, shut up," I warn. "I know what I did. She freaked. Let's drop it. It's over." I meet Fin's questioning gaze and offer, "I suggested we move in with each other, the next time we saw each other, she ended it."

"Huh, that's not…" Fin's interrupted by a loud cough from the back door. John Munch shakes his head and whistles sadly stepping completely into the kitchen.

"Liv, take it from someone that's been there. It wasn't anything you did," John offers a sympathetic smile.

"Munch," Fin starts in on him, "with as many wives as you had, given advise to anyone in this room's a bad idea."

I look at the second man in charge of New York's Special Victims Shelter and shake my head. "Just what I need all three of you trying to give me advice." I roll my eyes and go back to prepping the food for tonight's meal.

"Olivia, it's not about that," El tries earnestly.

"The hell it's not," I fume, "Look I get you guys care. I've been around you three long enough, but maybe it just wasn't meant to be." The one I've known the longest, Elliot, just rolls his eyes thinking of a come back. The two that work for the shelter that I've volunteered at for the past five years remain tight lipped. They know me well enough to keep their traps shut. "We done unloading?" I ask to change the subject.

El just nods and I turn back to John and Fin offering goodbyes, "Everything's here fellas. Just stack up the dishes and I'll swing by later tonight or tomorrow morning to pick them up."

John nods and makes his way out of the kitchen. Fin eyes me as he approaches. Laying a hand on my shoulder in support, he says, "Wait and see, Liv. She'll come around. She ain't gotta clue what she let go."

I want to respond but the words catch in my throat. He's gone before I can formulate a reply. Elliot looks at me and dangles the keys to the van in my line of sight. I take his cue and follow him out to the van. Slipping into the passenger's seat of our catering truck, he waits until my seat belt's secured to pull out of the alley we're parked in.

Moving north along Roosevelt Expressway, I watch him as he drums his fingers on the steering wheel. His agitation's clear and I wait for him to start in. I don't take much shit from anyone, but he's usually on the very short list of people that I do.

"You know, Liv, I…" he stops, closes his mouth. Waiting a minute to get his thoughts together, he starts up again, "I know you don't like doing the share your feelings crap, but I know you."

"El, really…" I try to stop him, but the look he shoots me causes me to lose my voice.

"No, just listen Liv. I've known you going on ten years. We've been business partners for more than half that. You're part of my family. Fact is that Kathy was jealous of you." He smiles at me and winks. It's got to be one of our longest on going jokes. He signals and moves over to the left lane to allow the merging traffic in.

"I've seen you with a few people, but none have matched the one that just let you go. You were happier. Content. I don't know why she did what she did. To be an asshole about it, I don't give a shit either. She hurt you which means she's on my shit list regardless, but." His hand slams on the horn and he flips off the SUV that just cut us off.

Resisting the laugh, I settle back down in my seat and wait for him to regroup. When he does, the intensity in his voice is thick, "But, on my list or not, the bit – the woman made you happy. I'm sorry that she doesn't understand what she gave up. I about fell over when you told me you were gonna ask her to get a place with you. For her to do what she did, I just don't get."

I give him a small smile, appreciating what he said and even the things that he didn't. I look out at the city that's been my home for forever. "Ya know," my voice is soft and I speak only a little louder as I continue, "there should be some warning labels on those romantic comedies Hollywood pushes."

I look over to him and he catches the wry grin I shoot him. He asks, "How you figure?"

"Well, in my experience, there just don't seem to be any happy endings. It's a myth. The one person I thought was going to give me that -" I rake my fingers through my hair and laugh bitterly. "The girl I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with flaked. She's too wrapped up in her career to see what could have been."

"So the warning labels come from?" His tone amused.

"Just that, you're the closest thing I've seen to a happily ever after, but even you and Kathy have problems. I just think that it's false advertisement. I think maybe I want my money back."

If I'm going away your hearts coming too.
'Cos I miss your hands I miss your face.
When I get back let's disappear without a trace.

Sitting myself on a stool at the end of the bar, I take in the other patrons and smile. Everyone here is happy, jovial. All poised to be the next poster children for carefree banter and chit chat. The tension from my work day sits between my shoulders and twists upward around to my lower neck. It also causes my head to throb.

I will fully admit that while being the youngest vice president that the Branch Marketing Firm has on their payroll isn't all bad, in fact a lot of it is really good, it's also highly stressful. I know there are other jobs, more stressful jobs and far more important than what I do. I'm still one of a handful of people in the office that can assist, that can answer questions and often times not easy ones.

The laughter of one of the female patrons catches my ear and I look at a woman with shoulder length red hair toss her head back and laugh at something the pretty blonde girl said to her. I study them for a moment longer and smile as the blonde leans in burying her head in the other woman's neck, kissing the alabaster skin exposed. They seem very happy. Silently wishing them luck, I turn my attention to the cocktail napkin I've been shredding.

The bartender finally makes it over to me and my gaze moves up from the black vest over the crisp, button down, black shirt to meet the smiling green eyes of the bartender, Kevin. He double takes as he realizes who it is. Giving me another once over, he shakes his head and leans in, greeting me, "Hi, Alex."

I grin sheepishly and smile, "Hi, Kev."

"Usual?" he asks, surprising me. I thought that as soon as some one recognized me they'd have tossed me out on to the streets.

I nod and thank him, going back to my napkin. The base of the martini glass slides into my field of vision. Kevin smiles sadly at me and leans in to be heard over the din of the other patrons, "Do you really think it's a good idea for you to be here?"

Shrugging, I answer him earnestly, "Probably not, but I need to try."

His eyebrow lifts and he asks, "From what I've heard, it was you who ended everything. What do you need to try and do?"

"I need to fix it," my words and voice bare in their meaning.

His mouth pinches as he eyes me over. After what feels like an eternity, his features soften and he smiles, barely, but it's something. "She's working the floor tonight. I'm not sure if you're going to get a table, we're pretty packed and reservations are full."

"Who's the maitre'de?" I sip at the dry martini and pray that there's something he can do.

"Laura." He holds his finger up to a man in a brown sports coat and asks me to wait. Turning his attention to the other patron, he quickly fills the order and comes back to me. "Let me ask her and I'll see what I can do."

Smiling graciously, I watch him slip from behind the bar and exit the area. I fish for my wallet in my attaché and find a fifty and twenty dollar bill. I look around at the warm, inviting atmosphere of Olivia's restaurant. The open space of the establishment, combined with a blend of modern but inviting styles makes the energy of the place.

I look back at the table that started all of this and another group of executives occupy the space. It's hard to believe that a dinner meeting had ended with me helping the restaurateur close her own place down. That one meeting had led to the best thirteen months of my life.

Foolishly, I ended it out of fear.

Liz was right. I'm destined for loneliness and regret if I can't fix this.

I know now I need to.

Kevin comes through the archway of the bar and smiles at me, motioning me forward. I set my martini down and make my way through the sea of people. He leads me by the small of my back and I manage to tuck the fifty in the side pocket of his vest with out him noticing.

His girlfriend, Laura, smiles at me, smug and knowing. If I were feeling even the least bit prideful I'd tell her to wipe that smirk off her face, but tonight I've come to plead my case and hope that Olivia grants me absolution. Right now, I feel that I need that more than the air I breathe.

Laura leads me to a small secluded table to the left of the room. Out of the way from most customers and directly in the line of sight of the entry way to the kitchen and server area, she seats me. I take her hand and press the twenty into it. She discreetly accepts and slips that hand in her pocket while offering me the menu. With nothing more than a wink, she glides away and leaves me to peruse the menu and wait for Olivia to notice me. My stomach churns in anticipation and I set the menu aside. The thought of food makes it rumble harder.

A server comes over to the table and silently fills my water goblet. Disappearing as quickly as he came, I'm left alone again to sit and stew. I look down at the maroon suit and smooth out the cream silk blouse I'm wearing underneath my jacket. Once the lines are out of that my attention moves to the napkin in my lap. I begin picking at a loose thread on the corner.

As my attention rests solely on the napkin and Olivia, I barely notice the shadow fall over the table. I look up before they have a chance to speak and I blanche. Elliot stands before me, arms folded, chin jutted out and jaw clenched. His usual kind blue eyes, slits resting below a furrowed brow.

I really didn't know how much I hated that face until it was directed at me.

"I think you should leave," he snips and moves to the side to grant me access to the front door.

Fortifying myself, I glare back at him coolly. My arms fold across my chest and I lift one eyebrow. "I think you should mind your own business."

He leans down so that our eyes are level with each others. Barely above a whisper, but with more venom than I thought possible, he says, "Alex, I'm warning you. You've done enough damage. And so help me God, if you're here to hurt her more I'll break my rules about hitting a woman. She doesn't deserve it and she sure as hell deserves more than a bitch like you."

My mouth pinches and I seethe, "It's Liv's decision. I'm here to speak to her so keep out of it Elliot." I'm out of my seat and standing nose to nose with him before it registers. My posture mirror's his and I rage on, "What she decides to do is her own business; she's not your lover."

He steps back and smirks, it's cruel and unforgiving. "Yeah, that's true, Alexandra. She's not yours either and you got no one to blame for that but yourself. You're just an ungrateful, spiteful…"

"Elliot!" A voice from behind him cuts off his rant. I know that voice.

Shit! Shit! Shit!

This is not how I wanted to start our talk, fighting with her best friend and business partner in the middle of one of the busiest nights of the week.

"Elliot, Joe needs you in the kitchen. I'll take over from here." Olivia comes around him and places a hand on his bicep, urging him towards the kitchen. She looks over at me and motions toward my seat.

Deflating, I sit down and wait for her to take the seat opposite me. I try to talk but she shuts me up with a look.

"Just what in the hell do you think you're doing here, Alex?" The hurt and anger drip from her lips. I ache knowing that I'm the cause.

Elliot's right, I am a bitch, an ungrateful, spoilt one.

Instead of doing what I should do, I keep some of the anger left over from my tête-à-tête with El, "I need to speak with you."

She sits back in her chair and tips her chin down, "You've got five minutes. It's a busy night."

This is it. Probably the only opening I'm going to have. I look at her. Really look. It feels like I'm seeing her for the first time all over again. She took my breath away that first time I saw her. She does again this evening. Even with the halo of melancholy she wears, she's still the most beautiful person I've ever seen.

I'm not sure what kind of food I ate that day to make me as stupid as I was to think that I didn't want her. She's the only one that I have wanted, that I do want.

Parched, I take a sip of my water. I gather my thoughts, knowing that I need to present a strong case for her to take me back. My delay costs me as she says, "If you're just going to sit here, I'm sure you can find somplace else to waste space."

"Liv," I try to start.

"No. You don't get to 'Liv' me anymore." She starts to get up and I panic and grab her wrist. I see her eyes dart to my wrist and I know she's debating on taking hold of my own and removing it.

"Please, just wait," I plead. God, I didn't think this would be so hard. I've never begged, never groveled like this before, but I am. For her I would. I need to. Removing my hand, I let it fall into my lap and look her in the eyes. "Please sit."

She takes her hand away and relents, sitting down again. I heave a sigh of relief and start, what I hope to be, the best argument for taking someone back that's ever been given. "Thank you," I say it with sincerity and turn my body towards her. "Liv, I'm not really sure where to begin, but I think first I should apologize. I don't know what – no, that's not true, I do know what I was thinking."

I reach for my water glass and take a drink trying to get the gummy mess that's become my mouth to loosen up. "When you asked me to move in with you, I freaked out. I never really thought about getting to a place in any relationship that I'd been in to cohabitation. When you asked, I realized that's where we were. We've been seeing each other for over a year and I got scared." I offer a weak apologetic smile, but her face remains unreadable.

Sighing, I run a hand through my hair and continue, "I know that what I've put you through, us through, these past few weeks has been, well, if you've felt like I have, it's been down right miserable. I can't think right, can't focus. You consume every waking moment. I realize that I've made a huge mistake…"

"A mistake?" she scoffs.

"A gross under representation of the text. I made the biggest mistake of my life," I answer honestly.

She leans back in her chair; one hand rests casually on the table top and the other in her lap fidgeting with the hem of her v-neck sweater. Knowing I've at least got her listening now, I forge ahead, "So this abhorrent mistake I made, I need to correct. I want you – I need you back."

Her eyebrow lifts as she regards my plea. Aching, I reach out and lace our fingers together. "This isn't enough to apologize for the hell I've put us through, I know that." I caress her palm with the pad of my thumb and ignore the tears tracking down my cheeks. "I want this to be a start. My freak out's over. I'm not going to go anywhere unless you tell me to leave. I'm asking for one more chance."

I can't keep the quiver out of my voice, while the tears flow freely, I implore, "Please, Liv?"

I don't register her movements, can't see them past the tears, but she's by my side, holding me. Her strong arms wrap around me and lift me out of my seat. We stand together. Holding on for dear life, I wrap my arms around her waist and bury my face in her neck successfully drenching her shirt collar and the exposed skin.

I'm vaguely aware of the fact that I've just made a spectacle of myself in public and a room full of people is watching my breakdown. She pulls back and smoothes my hair back, wiping away my tears. I mirror her actions and use my thumbs to relieve her beautiful face of the wetness.

"I'm glad you finally came around, Cabot." She smiles a thousand watt lopsided smile and I beam back.

To my right, I hear, "After all of that and you two still haven't kissed! Make with the smoochies already!" I glance in that direction and the redhead from the bar is grinning at us, holding the hand of the blonde at her table.

I laugh and nod my agreement. Pulling my lover close, I kiss her for all I'm worth and know that I'm home.

And it's been ten days without you in my reach,
You're still the only one that feels like home,
You're still the only one I've gotta love.

The End

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