DISCLAIMER: The original characters are ours; the rest we're borrowing from Dick Wolf. This is a love story between two consenting female adults, and may contain adult material. Caveat emptor.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the 1st half of the diptych "Fallacy" set around the SVU episode of the same title. Any and all variation from canon is intentional. This is also a prequel to the Lemon Seed and Orange Tree series; and companion to "Verity".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Adrienne Lee
You're sitting in a trendy sports bar, wearing your black suit, looking like you've just come from a funeral. You know you don't fit in, but you don't give a damn. You've just tossed back your last overpriced scotch. Was it the fifth? Seventh? You've lost count. Without waiting for the burning down your throat to cease, you motion the bartender for another one. When he comes back with your drink, he picks up your platinum AmEx card, the one you keep in the bottom of your purse.
At some point or another, during the night, during the first two drinks, when you were looking vulnerable and slightly tipsy, people had tried to talk to you. They wanted to talk to you because you're a pretty blond with pretty blue eyes and a pretty smile, and they were hoping you would smile for them.
Now? Now, they stay away. They stay away because you're way passed that initial happy stage, when alcohol first hits your system. You're even beyond the point where you would pour your heart out to your confidant. Now, now your eyes are hard, your lips are pressed into a thin straight line, and you know how your father must have felt when he would drink himself into himself.
Now you're ready to confront yourself, ready to confess, to yourself.
Just when will you learn, Alex Cabot? You ask yourself as you drain another glass, and ask for yet another. Do you always have to win? Can you even bear the thought of losing? Oh, but you're just doing your job, you tell yourself. You hear her voice telling you the same thing.
Yes, but now a woman, oh, excuse you, a man technically and legally, lies unconscious in a hospital, raped and beaten, because you had to do your job. You had to win.
But you didn't put the vase in her hand, you didn't put an innocent person in jail, once again, you hear her voice, trying so hard to make you feel better about yourself.
Why does she bother? Why does she care? Why does anybody when you don't?
And does she really care? Did she mean what she said? Or was she just telling you what she thought you needed to hear?
What are you to each other, anyway? Girl-friends? Lovers? Fuck-buddies? You're dying to know. If she were a witness, you would have asked point-blank by now, long before now. Instead you let the question gnaw at you. because you don't have the gall to ask.
What happened to your backbone? When did you become so afraid?
"Daddy, Daddy, can I have a tree house like the one Mr. Langan is building for Trevor?" You hear your little girl voice asking your father. "Gee, I don't know, Princess, we don't really have the right kind of trees on our property." You hear your father protest in front of your mother, and you see the stars in his eyes, and you know you'll get your tree house one way or the other. You know you will spend the summer watching your father and probably your Uncle Jack build the house for you. You will hand them the nails and the hammers and the whatnots. You will spend the summer learning how to climb trees, so you can get up to your tree house. A tree house that you know you don't really want, but you think you should have, just because your neighbor boy has one.
"Daddy, look at me! Look at me!" You see yourself looking back at your father as you make every one of the jumps he has been trying to teach you. You see yourself on your chestnut pony, with a bright smile on your face. You tell yourself you're going to win all the trophies in the next competition. You will win them for your father, your coach, your idol. You will win every one but one, and you will cry over that one. You will cry because while there are stars in your father's eyes, you think they could have been, should have been brighter. They should be as bright as the ones in your Uncle Alfonse's eyes when he looks at his son's trophies.
Why were you not born a boy? You have wondered for the n-th time in your life. Your father's mother even said so to your face. Alexander Cabot should have had a son. Your father's brothers would not have alienated you and your mother, if you were a boy who loves another girl.
"Then why do I feel so lousy?" You hear yourself asking her earlier this evening. And you watch her drop into the chair in front of your desk, and hear her tell you, quite sincerely, "Because you look at Cheryl and you can't imagine what it's like to feel that your own body is a mistake."
No, you don't know what it's like to feel that your body is a mistake. Not at all. You like your body just fine; and you wouldn't change it for the world. But you do know what it's like to live a lie.
"Do you know why I became a lawyer, Alex?" You hear Morty Berger's voice in your head.
Do you know why you became a lawyer, Alex Cabot? You ask yourself. To serve Justice? To service Mankind?
What do you want to be when you grow up this time? What's your career track now? The first woman Manhattan DA? New York Governor? Maybe even the President of the United States?
Have you forgotten your childhood dream? The one you convinced yourself you want because you were determined to be like your Uncle Jack. The only uncle who loves you for who you are even though you are a girl.
Do you still want to be the first woman Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court? Which lie are you going to live next?
You tell yourself you have political aspirations. You convince others you do, so that in turn they can help bolster your lie. Their belief in your abilities and your goals might even help you prevail on you.
You tell yourself you have career goals, ambitions, you want to be a woman who succeeds in a man's world, when all you really want, for as long as you have wants, is to be like your mother. No, that's not true either. You want to be like your mother's mother, nothing more than a wife, a mother, the always smiling always supportive woman behind her man.
Right, you could just hear yourself trying to explain your deepest desires to your mother and everyone else you know. You could just imagine explaining it to her. When you don't even know what she wants for the two of you.
Suddenly you're jarred from your self critique. You flip open your phone, and you hear her concerned voice asking you where you are.
"A bar, Olivia." You tell her.
"Where? What's it called?"
"It's a bar. Just Bar, Detective. Why don't you figure it out for yourself," you snap, much too hatefully than you have the reason or right to be, and you hang up your phone.
Now you're mad at her. Why are you mad at her when you should be mad at yourself? You're the one without the backbone. You could have asked her how she feels about you. You could have also just walked away, and not look back. After all, why would she buy the cow if she could have the milk for free?
You stare at the shot glass in your fingers, and you toss the brown liquid down your throat with hatred. Then you motion for another.
The bartender looks at you for a second, and hands you a club soda instead. "It's on the house," he tells you.
Great, just great. Even a stranger decides there's something wrong with you.
Suddenly, you feel her presence on the crowded floor. You don't know how you do it, you just do. And you sense her moving closer and closer.
You try to pick up your AmEx before she sees it. It was supposed to be a secret between you and the bank. She isn't supposed to find out about it, just like she isn't supposed to find out about the size of your trust fund, even though you don't touch it. That's why you use your debit card for everything; a lowly public servant should live within her means.
Oh, and a girlie-girl should not one-up her girl-friend/lover/fuck-buddy in the pocketbook department. Somehow you let the first girl-friend you had when you were sixteen put that in your head. Well, she didn't quite put it like that, she just insisted on paying for everything, and she talked about how she would support you and keep you the happy princess she thought you should be, deserved to be, even though your father left you enough money to build a hospital wing and fund it for twenty years.
Somehow you let your first failed love affair turn you into a cynic, an emotionless vacuum. Couldn't care less if you and your current Whatever-she-is were just Fuck-Buddies, colleagues with mutual emotional needs, or itches that need to be scratched...
Or at least that's what you'd like to believe
The truth is, you want that love you had when you were sixteen again. You want it so bad, you have to stop yourself from comparing her with every new person you meet. You make yourself go down on Alan Messinger, and let him come all over your hands, to prove to yourself you can be close with a man. You try not to cringe every time you feel Trevor's penis grow hard in his pants. You tell yourself you can be happy with anybody, failing that, your job, your career, your public accolade.
You want it so bad, you crave it so bad. Now you might have found it again, you're scared half to death most of the time. You're afraid that a small false move, you'll lose it again. That's why you'll never ask her that question, never clarify just what you are to each other, right?
Finally, you feel her hand on your arm, her arm around your waist. You hear her soft sigh. Of relief that she has found you, or disapproval of your drunken condition? You don't let yourself care as she leads you to the door. You try to stand on your own two feet when the night air hits your skin and sharpens your mind. You stop yourself from leaning into her embrace after she helps you into the cab.
You hear her start to tell the cab driver your address, and the cliché about not shitting where you sleep suddenly pops into your head. So you give the driver directions to her apartment instead.
It's amazing you still can remember where she lives, still can tell somebody about it, in your current inebriated state.
Oh, but you remember everything about her, don't you. All the things you learn by observation, everything you find out from other people, and especially what she chooses to share with you. You hang onto her every word like it's the Magna Carta, or the Constitution of the United States.
You're pathetic, and you know it. You just hope and pray that she doesn't find out. Ever.
Although, now you're wondering if the cliché is why she never takes you to her place when all she wants is to shove you up against the wall and fuck you senseless It's always your office, occasionally your apartment
To prove to yourself you do have a backbone, you grab her face in your hands and kiss her. You lay one on her like it's the last time you're going to kiss her, like you want to fuck her, want to own her. Right here, right in the speeding cab.
"It's amazing the kind of shit you run into in this City." You hear the driver say, as you catch his eyes in the rear view mirror.
It's even more amazing if you knew what we do for a living, you want to tell him. Oh, excuse you, what she does for a living, to help people; what you do to service your guilt, your conscience.
You don't wait for her to unlock her apartment door before you start to undress her. She lets you.
She lets you push her against the wall and shove your tongue down her throat. She even leads you to her bed and spreads her legs for you, and moans into your mouth as you fuck her. Fuck her furiously, frantically, as you exorcise your demons with her screams.
You bite into her shoulder hard enough to draw blood to prove to yourself you do own her. You fuck her until she begs you to stop, and you still keep fucking her to show her she wants you, that she needs you, that she's powerless over you. You know if she really wants you to stop, she could push you off of her, she could break you without effort.
You would let her break you, beg her to do it, if you thought that's the only way she would keep you.
To deny your desperation, you leave her as roughly as you took her. You tuck your shirt back into your pants, and you sling your jacket over your shoulder. You hear her call your name softly but you don't look back.
You deny her of the wistful longing looks, and the lingering caresses she gives you. That she always, always gives you after she fucks her demons out in you.
On your way out, you throw up in her bathroom.
On your way out, you survey the carnage of her clothing. Guerrilla sex, you chuckle to yourself as you feel your foot tangle up in something. You steady yourself against the wall, and reach for whatever it is. Oh, her underwear, you recognize by touch. Without thinking, you shove them in your pocket.
It's only when you're walking down her stairs do you wonder if you took them like a perp would a souvenir. Or if you took them because you can't bear the thought of her wearing them on a later date. How would you recognize them? Since it's the same utilitarian black cotton bikinis she wears under her work clothes everyday? You don't know. Maybe you don't want to wonder every time you have sex. Maybe you just don't want the reminder.
"Oh, Daddy, I can't wait 'til I'm thirteen." You told your father as you picked up his unloaded rifle and tried to aim.
When he smiled at you the indulgent way he smiled at you, you begged him with your excited little girl voice, "Can we go big game hunting then? Can we, can we? Did you see the rabbit I shot the other day, when he was running away?"
Your father nodded proudly. Of course he saw you, he was always right there, teaching you how to aim better, kill faster.
"I think I'm ready to use a rifle, Daddy, don't you agree?" You heard yourself fishing for his compliment, his acceptance.
You readily forgot how terrible you felt when the bunny stopped in its track and slumped over into a brown bleeding pile. How you ran to pick it up, when all you really want to do was to run the other way. And as you bent down, you pretended you didn't conveniently wipe your tears on your corduroy hunting jacket. The tan one that matched your father's.
No, you don't know what it's like, to feel like you've been born with the wrong body. You only know what it's like to have been born wrong.
Sequel Understanding Olivia
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