DISCLAIMER: This is a love story about two consenting female adults. Can't handle it, don't like it, don't read it. We're just borrowing Dick Wolf's characters for fun; we aren't making any money from it.
AUTHOR' NOTE: When two writing heads get together in a round robin...
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

It's Gotta Be Love
By Katherine Quinn & Adrienne Lee

1041 TRUE

You sigh again, refusing to be comforted.

"Wanna tell me what's wrong?"

"Everything," comes your immediate response.

"No, I mean, why did you bolt?"

"Because, because I can't, but you," you start sobbing again. "You deserve more. More than I can give…"

"Do you want to tell me the real reason?"

"What, what do you mean?" Once again, you try to pull away; I refuse to let you.

"You were depressed before, but that never stopped you, not like this." I say, slowly sliding my hand under your shirt.

"Alex, I," you panic, and protest. "Don't."

I can feel your body freeze under my touch, and I sigh. "Before, when you were blue, we always managed to pull you out of your funk. So this," I slide my other hand under the fabric, to hold you across your back. "This is not just about depression."

"I don't, I don't know what it is." You stammer, and stare at me like a deer in the headlights. At least you stopped struggling. "I just."

"Do you find me unattractive?"

"No." You shake your head vigorously, sending water droplets flying everywhere. "No, no, no, it's not that."

"Do you find my touch repulsive?" I ask, and brace myself for your answer.

"No, I don't think… Alex, I don't know." In response to my fingers drifting up your side, you close your eyes. "Please, baby, don't," you sigh.

I bite down on my lip, and swallow my tears. "Are you really so afraid? Of me?"

"Yes, no, I don't know."

I wonder what you're truly afraid of. You love me, you want to be with me. Yet, you shy away when we… Wait. Maybe this really is about you, not me, not us, not per se. This is about how desirable you are in my eyes, the 'new' you.

Sucking in a new breath, I make my decision. I slide my hands down, only to move up again, pushing your shirt along with them.

Your eyes fly open. "Alex?"

I see panic flooding the deep brown pools, and I kiss you softly, on your cheek. "Work with me," I plead, pushing your shirt towards your shoulders. Arching up, I touch our breasts together. I fight my own instinct to recoil when you flinch.

"But, Alex…" You protest. Still you let me peel the wet fabric off your skin.

"Shhh…" I cup your flaming cheeks gently, and kiss you on your lips. "I love you. Now. And I'll always love you, no matter what. Let me prove it to you."

"I…" You stammer, furrowing your brows. Then slowly, you return my kiss.

1042 Changed

Your fingers slide up my body and I can feel some sort of response from deep inside me. It's a phantom of what used to be there. I still want to run, still want to get away. I still don't know why. What's wrong with me? God.

You slide over me, touching my breasts carefully, slowly. I feel my body tense up, and you start to pull away, but you take a deep breath and kiss my neck. Gently, you let yourself continue, sliding soapy water trails over my torso.

"Alex, I don't think I want…" I say, gently.

"Shh," you whisper, "Let me do this for you…."

"I'm just not sure I can…" I try again.

"It's okay Liv, just relax."

I let myself lean back into you. Try to ay attention to your touches and not the feelings in my head.

You slide my wet t-shirt over my head and kiss the back of my shoulder. "See?" You ask, without waiting for an answer. You take my shoulders into your hands and start a loving massage, your gentle caresses pushing the tension out of my body.

"When was the last time…?" I ask, not finishing the question.

"For us?"


"It's been a while sweetie. But, its okay."

"You keep saying that." I mumble, while you let your hands slide below the sudsy water and onto my lower back.

"I mean it."

"Alex, I'm not the same…this isn't the same."

"Of course it is. We're still together. We still love each other."

"That's not the point."

"That's exactly the point."

Slowly, I take your hands into mine, desperate to stop the gentle trails you're making over my breasts. "Switch with me?" I mumble.


"Sit here." I say, trying to get you in front of me, so my hands can wander on you instead of yours on me.

"You sure?" You ask carefully.

"Yeah, sit here," I say again.

Gently, you pull yourself up, out of the tub and step over me, sitting gently in front of me. I let my hands slide over you, carefully. Your body responds quickly to my touch, you breath grows rapid and ragged in my ears as I slide over you.

1043 TOUCH

I lean into you, letting you slide your hands over my body, the way you used to. Almost. Something's missing, I'm just not sure what.

God. I miss you. "I've missed you." I whisper hoarsely, my body responding to your touch. Whatever's lacking, my body certainly doesn't care. My heart doesn't care either.

"I love you," I tell you, while you span your hand over my chest, while you glide into my heat.

"Love you," I sob again, aware of your silence. I turn around in your embrace, and reach for you, and pull your lips to mine, desperate for the connection we had.

You flinch again, and pucker your brows again, but you kiss me back.

You kiss me back hard, and raw, as if you're trying to purge whatever demons in this kiss.

And you rub against me, thrust into me, with almost furious, almost cruel passion. Until I can only cling onto you, and convulse against you.

Until my broken cries bounce and echo against the walls of this small room.

"I love you," I sob along with my body. I need you to trust me; I need you to believe me.

Do you even hear me, I wonder, while you turn us around, push me half out of the water, pin my arms to my sides, and close your mouth over my breast.

Then something inside me clicked. I know this is not just about making love to me. This is about making it so I can't touch you, so I can't love you. I feel the sting behind my eyes and I refuse to let the tears fall.

Then something inside me broke. "Harder, Liv," I arch against you, I throw myself against you, pushing you deeper, harder inside me.

"Come on, Liv," I pull my arms free, and claw at your back. "Fuck me."

I hear water splashing out of the tub and hitting the floor. I don't care. I want to be, need to be filled with you, full of you. "Fuck me," I order, and ride you hand.

Moaning now, you meet me, stroke after stroke, sinking deeper and deeper. Your eyes are closed tightly now, your breathing ragged, your head pressing against my chest.

Where I was screaming before, now I whisper, gritting my teeth, "Harder, Liv." I reach around to pinch your nipples, to squeeze your breasts. This time, you press into my hands. You press your hand into me…

Pushing me, pulling me, until I collapse around you. "Come on, Liv," I rasp. "Come with me," I bend my head, and rasp against your lips, before thrusting my tongue into your mouth. Hard. Deep. Demanding. Claiming. Mirroring your fingers in my sex…

Drawing deep growling groans from your lips…

Until your body shudders with mine…

1044 Sex

You reach for me, and I keep your hands down, lacing your fingers in mine, forcing them to your sides. I kiss you, a distraction until you forget your movements and think only about prolonging the kiss. You turn, your voice, deeper from passion. You beg me to fuck you, to make you come. My fingers are inside you, and you slam into them.

This isn't love.

This is sex.

This is just plain sex.

This is power and control and not about love.

It reminds me of nights I don't want to remember, from before you were in my life.

But you're begging me to fuck you, begging me to come with you.

But I'm not there, not close.

You are.

You're moaning, and rubbing into me, against me.

"Come with me baby," You moan into my ear while I bite kisses into your neck.

I don't respond. I let you buck into me.

"I'm going to…" you say with a gasp.

"I know," I say pressing into you harder.

"Are you?"

I don't answer, letting my fingers slide back inside you. You gasp.

"I love you," you moan. "Baby, I love you."

I try to speak but nothing comes to my lip.

It's all silence.

Your body clamps around my fingers.

I feel…so dirty.

1045 LOVE

"I love you," I gasp against your ear, lacing my fingers in your hair. Squeezing my body around you, pulling you inside me.

I wish I could hold you, trap you, in my heart.

"I love you," I whisper again. And again, your silence rings in my ear. "Liv?"

You're silent, you're gentle, when you respond by removing yourself from my body, leaving gaping emptiness.

So what happened between us, it was just sex. It was nothing but sex to you.

The love we had, that's what was missing, in the beginning, that I refused to acknowledge, refused to accept.

Now I have no choice.

I feel so dirty. Even though I forced myself on you, I feel… violated. Still, I refuse to let go.

I only let my tears fall.

My body racking with sobs, I cling onto you. Knowing if and when I let you go, it won't be just to get out of the tub.

It'll be for good.

"Tell me what to do? Liv?" I plea, without regard for my pride. "Tell me how? To fix us?"

You shrug.

"Do you not care anymore?"

You shrug again.

"Liv?" I clasp your face in my hands, and gaze into your eyes, even though I find the darkest hell staring back at me. "I love you," I tell you, as if it would make a difference.

"I," you move your mouth. Then you close your eyes. "I'm sorry, Alex."

"You're sorry? That's all you have to say?" I should be angry; I should be livid. Instead I wrap my arms around you. Desperately, I hold onto you, trying to stop you from moving away.

"I'm sorry," you sigh again, extricating yourself from me, and step out of the tub.

I watch, while you pad away from me, while the door slowly close between us.

While the door closes noiselessly between us…

1046 Explorations

I let the door close between us, and slide the soaking wet jeans off my body and let them land on the floor, grabbing a dry pair and pulling them on quickly. I, I want to get out of here. Away from you. I need to talk. I need. I don't know what I need. "Allie?" I call from behind the door, and I can hear your muffled sobs. When you don't respond, I yell back, "I'm going for a walk. I'll be back, okay?"

You don't answer back, but I know you heard me. "Allie?" I call again.

"Fine." You yell.

I walk out the door, grabbing my keys.

I don't consciously drive to Elliot's house, but I'm not surprised it's where I end up. I knock on the door and he looks at me like I'm nuts as he opens it.

"What are you doing here?"

"I... I don't know."

He looks behind him, and I can hear the sounds of kids playing inside. "I'll be right back," he says as he shuts the door and steps outside. "What's going on?"


He looks at me expectantly, while I let myself sit on the stairs in front of his house.

"I fucked up El, and I don't know how to fix it."

"What's she say you did this time?" He asks, eyeing me.

I smirk at him. "Why do you say it that way?"

"Because you're always doing something she doesn't like. Your whole relationship focuses on you misbehaving and her being there to pick up your pieces."

"Thanks El. Nothing like a good dose of your brutal honesty."

"Hey, Liv, it's the truth. She's like your mom."

"She's not my mom."

"Okay, okay, she's not your mom." He says, taking it back with a smile on his face. Making sure I know that's exactly what he thinks.

"I guess." I sigh.

"But you're not here to hear my advice."

"I can't…I'm not real interested in... God, I can't talk to you about this." I mumble as I start to stand up, "I'm sorry I…"

"You're not the same in bed." He says.

"How'd you?"

"Happened to me. I mean, it happens to everyone Liv."

"But, I feel, I don't want her to even touch me."

"Been there."

"And what'd you do?"

"I got over it."

"Great advice El. I can't just… I can't just get over it. It's become this routine."

"You talked to a doctor?"

"Lots of them."

"One you like or one that Alex likes."

I look at him with a sideways glance.

"Liv, look. She makes you happy. I know somehow, somewhere inside you, she makes you happy. But you have to realize that she can't fix you. You can follow her rules and you can do what she says, but you're still going to have the problems. You want to make this better, then tackle it yourself."

"I don't know how to tackle it."

"Well, don't look at me for that one. I'm not going to tell you how to fix it. You can ask Alex that one."

"What's your problem?" I demand.


"Yeah, obviously there is."

"I don't…I don't like who you are when you're with her. Liv, you were your own person. And now you're…you're her little clone. You follow her around like a puppy. What happened to the things you used to love?"

"What, like getting drunk?"

"No, Liv. Everyone knew you had a problem, okay? We all knew it and we ignored it, but you were still able to keep your stuff together. Until Alex was there. We used to go out, remember?"

"So this is about me not hanging in a bar with you?"

"God Liv, you only hear what you want to."

"I…I don't want to fight with you El."

"Me either. I don't want you to think that I hate her or something. I just, I miss you."

1047 ALONE

You're going for a walk, and you're coming right back, I hear you say.


Then what? When you come back everything will be okay again? You'll love me again?

"Allie?" You almost whine.

Why do you insist on calling me that? Why must you have a nickname for me that no one ever even dreams of using, when I have a perfectly good nickname?

Despite my protest, and instead of hating it, I'm actually beginning to find it endearing.

God. What's wrong with me?

"Allie?" You try again, your voice more urgent. Why do you seek permission to leave me, when you've already broken my heart?

So you know I'll be waiting for you, the pathetic miserable fool that I am?

Really, what else would or could I do? Go home to my mother?

"Fine," I reply, and I listen to you pad away. I wait for the front door to close behind you.

Again, I feel the sting behind my eyes, and I inhale, determined to keep my emotions in check, at least for the next few minutes. Until I get out of the bathroom.

I flip on the shower, and let scouring hot water run down my skin. I don't want to burn the memory of your touch away, at the same time I need to.

I didn't even feel like this when I slept with Serena, when we were just fucking each other for convenience. I did feel this way when I found out Abbie cheated on me. I feel so dirty, or maybe soiled is a better word.

God, is this how the victims feel?

God, how pathetic can I possibly get? I inflicted this feeling on myself. You didn't hold a gun to my head and force me to have sex with you. I'm the stupid one who thought somehow I had the power to help make you whole again. Who thought my love for you would be enough.

I'm the fool who believed you when you said you loved me, that you still loved me...

I should be mad at me. Not you. Not the world.

Honestly, I think I'm too tired to be anything.

I turn off the shower. Almost absently, I run the towel over my body. Habitually, I pull on one of your old shirts. As I walk out of the bathroom, I see your wet jeans on the floor. I step over it, and wander into the closet.

"There you are," I manage a wan smile as I hug the furry toy to me, and take him to bed with me. "Good night, Mr. Bear."

Tonight I wish we had a dog…

1048 Confession

"God El, just what I need is another person who thinks I'm fucked up."

"I didn't say that," he protests.

"You implied it."

"Jesus Christ Liv, you're not as fucked up as you want everyone to believe."

"Yeah. Right. Sure." I mumble.

"You want to take that on, fine. You want to be the one who messes up all the time? You will be. Ever hear of a self fulfilling prophecy?"

"Do you still smoke?" I ask him ignoring his question.

"You know I quit." He says.

"Yeah? Me too." I mumble looking at him out of the corner of my eye.

"They're in the car," he says, pulling the keys out of his pocket and throwing them to me.

I sit down next to him with his cigarettes and lighter in hand. I pull one out and smoke it slowly.

"Aren't you going to catch hell for that?" He asks me, and I can't help but laugh.

"If she ever talks to me again, and that's a big if, I think this'll be on the bottom of the priority chain."

"What happened?"


"Then why wouldn't she…"

"I think… I think I… I don't know, hurt her."

"What happened?" He asks, urgency in his voice.

"She's okay."

"What happened?" He asks again.

"I mean, that's not right. I didn't hit her or kill her or anything. We just.. I just…I just…after we had…you know…I felt…so dirty. We, I feel like, she came on to me, but…but I feel like I used her. I felt so disconnected. So…"

"What happened? Where's Alex?"

"She's fine El. God, what do you think, I killed her?"

"Of course not," He mumbles, but I can tell he's not so sure.

I take a deep drag. "I didn't kill her. I didn't hurt her. Not physically."

"Okay," He says. "So what are you going to do?"

"I don't know." I sigh. "I don't know."

1049 SLEEP

I close my eyes, and before I knew it, I'm asleep.

How long have I been sleeping?

I hear a small noise outside. I hear shuffling around the apartment. I guess you did come home after all.

I try to ignore the flutter in my chest; I try to go back to sleep.

Then I hear voices. Unfamiliar voices that begin as whispers. They gradually get louder and louder, towards the bedroom, towards me.

I try to sit up, but I can't. I feel hands on me, strong hands, holding me down.

I hear laughter, laughing at me.

I force my eyes open but I only see darkness. Darkness and shadows I can't quite catch.

I scream, or at least I try to. I scream for you to help me, but no voice comes out.

Only the laughing gets louder. The voices get clearer.

You don't love me; you're not going to come save me, no matter how much I scream, the voices tell me. They mock me.

Then I hear sirens.

I hear a loud crash.

I hear Trevor screaming on top of his lungs at you, at me, at how you totaled his car again.

Shut up, I want to tell him. Shut up, I want to scream at all of them.

Still, no voice comes out; and I can't move.

I settle back into the darkness, resigned myself to the invisible hands holding me captive. I know I'm dreaming now, at least I hope I am.

I hear those same voices mocking me again, asking me where you are. Asking me why you're not here to wake me up from my nightmare and take me in your arms like you used to.

I feel warm tears flooding down my cheeks, but I still can't open my eyes. I still can't move, can't breathe, can't scream.

Then I hear another noise. A shrieking, almost mechanical screaming. An insistent ringing. The phone! It finally registers, and I jerk awake, my heart pounding into my throat. I grab for the receiver, "Hello?"

"Alex?" It's Elliot.

Oh my god, it's Elliot! "What happened? Is she okay?" I feel myself coming unglued.

"She's fine. She just left my house."

"She did?"

"Yeah, we talked." He sighs. "Listen, are you okay?"

"I'm, I'm fine," I lie through my teeth. "Why?"

"She, uh, she said she hurt you…"

"I'm fine, Detective," I tell him calmly, frostily, "Thanks for your concern."

"If you need anything, Alex, I know we don't always see eye to eye, but I'm here for you, all right?"

"Thanks Elliot. Good night." I hang up the phone, and curl myself around Mr. Bear again…

1050 Regroup

I drive around slowly, staring at things around me. I park the car and get out near the river, finding a place to sit, I open the pack that I stole from Elliot and light a match. I watch slowly, as lights start to shimmer against the skyline. All those people. All those people, living normal lives. And then there's me, out here, staring at the scene by myself wondering what the hell it was that happened that caused me to deserve this.

Our disaster, our first sexual experience in forever, turned into such a primal moment. Scary. I didn't think that person, that detached missing side of me still existed. I thought that person was associated with the booze and that when I gave that up, I gave up the numbness.

To find her, to find her existing in the new and improved me.

Well. I never thought it was possible.

I never wanted it to be possible.

I have to go home.

I have to face you even if I don't want to.

I have to face what happened.

I hold myself.

Elliot is right. There is something wrong with me, something that only I can sort out. Something that I can't just sort out by showing up at therapies that make you happy. Therapies that let us both believe that everything is going to get better even if we both know it's not at all.

I take a deep breath and hurl the pack into the river.

Sliding into the car, I resolve to make this better for both of us.

I drive home, and swallow hard before I open the door.

I slip inside and call your name quietly. I'm not surprised when you don't answer me. I slip into our bedroom and discover why…

You're lying on the bed, the bear I bought you on the island wrapped in your arms. You muttering, saying no over and over again. Whimpering my name, and crying while you sleep.

"Allie…Alex…Baby, Wake up," I say, shaking you gently. You come awake with a gasp of breath, and fall into my arms, tears streaming down your face.


I surprise myself. I fall back quickly into sleep. At least that's my last conscious thought before I fall asleep again.

Guess I'm depressed, I remember thinking, before I hear the buzz of voices again.

Same ones as before, laughing at me, mocking me. Elliot leads the pack this time. Asking if you hurt me, how you hurt me. Demanding, compelling me to tell him just how you hurt me.

How I hurt myself really.

For being such a damn fool.

This time I know I'm dreaming. That I'm only having a nightmare.

This time I don't try to wake up.

Why would I want to? At least nightmares can't really hurt me…

So I listen to the laughter. I don't fight back when I feel hands on me again. Hands that feel like your hands. Tearing my clothes off, ripping into my skin, digging into my flesh.

I can feel my tears flowing, I can feel my blood flowing, but I don't feel pain. I feel free, almost liberated.

Then I feel another weight on me, unfamiliar weight this time. Reaching into me, tearing into my soul, and I scream.

Instinctively, I scream for you to help me.

I open my eyes, and I see you standing there, smirking, mocking, laughing at me, while a phantom body violates me, rapes me.

It's not the violation that hurts me, it's the fact that you're refusing to heed my call. That I'm nothing in your eyes. No, no, no, I cry. Voicelessly, I cry out for you.

What have I done to deserve this?

What happened to 'til death do us part?

I didn't make you marry me, did I?

Liv? I beg, I call out to you. I beg for your help in my dream. My dream that I thought couldn't hurt me.

Now I feel like I'm being torn to shreds from inside out.

More hands on me again. This time they feel like your hands, your hands when you still cared. Liv? I look around for you, but you're not there. Just your phantom hands, holding me, keeping me still. Liv? I cry. Please say something? Please talk to me? Liv? Liv? I plea.

"Allie?" Finally, I hear your voice, coming from afar. Finally, even if you are using the name I supposedly hate, you're responding…

"Liv?" I search for you, frantically, trying to see through my tears.

"Alex, baby, wake up," I hear. "Wake up." I feel your hands on me, gently shaking me. I feel the warmth of your body near my own, and I cling onto you, and cry myself awake.

God, I hope I'm awake…

1052 Sob

I shake you awake, and you fight against me to stay asleep. "Come on Alex, wake up," I say with more force, shaking you a little harder.

You come awake with a sob, a sob that fills the room while you immediately wrap around me. You hold me tight, and cry in big gasps. I just hold you tight to me, let you cry. You crawl into me, onto me, holding me tight while I push tears off your face. Each touch of mine brings sobs of yours.

"You don't…love…" You sob, while I try to comfort you.

"Yes, I do, I love you Alex."

"Just… saying… that…" you continue to gasp.

I sigh. "That's not true," I say, giving you a hug. Your arms wrap harder around me, like you're afraid to let me go.

I guess I'm afraid to let you go too.

My hands run on your back, carefully comforting you. You're thinner than I remember. When did that happen?

You spend too much time worrying about me. Not worrying about myself.

Maybe we both need help.

There's no maybe about it.

I let you cry, let you get rid of the things that are in you until your sobs are whimpers and you start to pull away.

I don't let you, though.

I pull you tight, and kiss you.

You look at me with questions in your eyes. Questions you don't have time to ask.

I take your hands carefully and put them on my body.

You look at them, and then at me.

"Are you…?" You ask.

"Yeah," I say, kissing you again. "I love you Alex. I really do."


"What are you?" I stare at your hands holding my hands, pressing my hands to your breasts.

"I thought," you lean in, and dot kisses on my face. "Before, you wanted to…"


"Please, Alex," you smile shyly at me, offering yourself.

Oh, how magnanimous of you. My voice though, somehow comes across much more timid, much more uncertain, "I'm not, I don't want, not just sex."

"It's not just sex, Alex. I love you."

How dare you! You think you can just waltz in here, wake me up from a bad dream, comfort and hold me while I cry, kiss me and tell me you love me, and expect me to forget everything that happened before? You expect me to forget how you hurt me and walked out on me?

"I love you," you say, kissing me softly, nuzzling my neck.

Or can you?

Am I that easy?

Or just that pathetic?

"I don't, I can't," I say, trying to pull away from you.

You let go of my hands, only to wrap my body in your arms, holding me captive. "I love you, Alex," you trap me with your words, you bind me with your kisses. "You've got to believe me."

"I'm not sure, I'm not sure I can," I say, not at all intending for you to hear the fear saturating my voice.

You heard it though, and you look at me, with your said brown eyes. "I'm sorry," you whisper, shutting your tears back.

I almost reach out to touch you then. Despite myself, I can't stop my heart from feeling for you, or responding to you. Despite myself, I can't deny that I love you.

Before I can say or do anything else to give me away, you open your eyes, and purse your lips together. With determination in your voice, you tell me, "Stay. Don't move." Then you scramble out of bed.

I watch while you throw off your shirt, unhook your bra.


"I love you," you gasp, while struggling to pull your jeans off over your shoes. Finally, you kick them off, your shoes, your socks, your jeans, along with your underwear. Then you climb back into bed, and hover over me.

Your nakedness steals my breath. "What are you?" I whisper, wanting to back away, knowing I'm already against the headboard, and have nowhere to go.

"I love you, Alex," you tell me, leaning into me, covering my body with your own. "I really do." You slide your hands under my shirt. "Let me show you."

I close my eyes, and let my lips part to your kiss…

1054 Claim

I lean over you. Naked. Begging you to take me.

I'm not sure what I'm doing exactly.

Proving this to you.

Proving this to me.

Offering myself off like a sacrifice to the Gods.

Proving our love by giving you what you want. Or what I think you want.

You look at me, scared. You don't want me and you can't resist me.

I kiss you.

"I…" you mumble.

I kiss you.

You kiss back.

I take your hand and lead it to my skin, hold you against me, and let you feel the beating of my heart.

It's pounding. Pounding in love. Pounding in fear.

I need to prove this to you.

I close my mind. I close my eyes. I kiss you like you're my air.

You moan.

I moan.

Your fingers move of their own volition.

Down my body.

Claiming me.

You get closer, and closer. And then you pull away.

"Are you sure?"

"Please." I whisper into your ear. "I love you." I mumble, again and again.

1055 FEAR

You kiss me. I kiss you back.

You tell me over and over that you love me.

You offer your body to me like it's some great sacrifice. Is it? Is that what you're doing?

"I don't," I don't want you to feel like you must love me, just because I love you. You don't have to be with me just because I can't live without you.

"I love you," you tell me again, and take my hand in yours. You press my hand to your heart, as if to prove to me. Prove to me how much you do love me.

I watch you close your eyes, deep in thoughts.

I watch you lean towards me. I feel the need to run, but I don't. I can't. My eyelids fluttering close in response to your proximity, to your breath, to your mouth on my mouth.

"I love you," you whisper into my lips.

Then you kiss me. You kiss me with desperation; you kiss me like you used to, drawing air out of my lungs.

My chest burning, I gasp. I moan. I feel my body responding to your body; I feel my heart responding to your declarations of love.

If I make love to you, will you regret it afterwards? Will you walk out on me again, and stay gone for good this time?

"I love you, Alex," you mumble again, as if reading my thoughts.

"You sure?" I ask. My hands, my fingers, my lips, they move across your body, the way they used to.

You nod, and take my hand, and press my fingers against your center. "Please," you whisper, and tell me over and over again that you love me.

And you push me into you the way I pushed you into me. You throw your body at me, and beg me to take you, claim you. Just like I did earlier.

Is this love?

Or is this just sex? Your idea of reparation, perhaps?

Or maybe we're finally finding our way without the breadcrumbs?

I know I love you though. As foolish as it might be, I love you, and I can't resist you.

Your moans, your 'love you's', they drive me on.

And I kiss you, I rub against you, and I stroke in and out of you like I used to.

And you're murmuring my name like you used to…

1056 WANT

I want this.

I want to believe I want this.

Your fingers are on me.

And in me.

And near me.

Sliding over me.

Teasing me.

Tempting me.

My lips meet yours.

Our kisses deep and promising.

Our bodies pressing together.

I want you to make love to me, so that we can put this behind us. So we can be like we were.

Will this fix us? Make us whole again? Make us who we were?

This actually feels good.

Your hands are on me. Distantly, I can feel something of what used to be there. I keep my mantra, whispering how I love you, how I never want to let you go.

You touch me. I touch you.

We share each other in a way we haven't.

Does this make us okay?

I want it to, but I know it doesn't.

It doesn't matter how badly I want to.

I love you, I moan. I love you's echo through my heart and mind.

I hope they're in yours too…


Somewhere along the way, I grow aware of your hands on my shirt, I mean your shirt, tugging at it. I'm aware of your fingers grazing my skin.

Involuntarily, I flinch.


"Don't… I…"

"I'm so sorry," you sob, and take my face in your hands. "I love you," you murmur, over and over again, kissing me, begging me to trust you, to believe you, to forgive you.

Something makes me stop, makes me push you away, and keep you at arm's length. "Liv?"

"Yeah," you sniff.

Involuntarily, I raise my fingers, to brush away your tears. "This, this is not 'goodbye'?"


"What we're doing, it's not our last…"

You look into my eyes, and you remain silent. For what, fractions of a second?

It feels like forever. I hold my breath. I wish I knew what's going through your head.

"No, Alex."

"'No' what?" I breathe.

"Not goodbye," you tell me. Then you lean in, and kiss me on my face, my lips. "I love you," you whisper, promising eternity.

"You really mean it?" I ask, unable to contain the smile bubbling from my chest.

Nodding, you brush the tears from my eyes, and grow my smile with your kisses.

This time, I kiss you back.

This time, I don't stop you when you raise your shirt over my head.

I let you kiss a trail down my body; I let you slide my underwear slowly pass my hips and down my legs.

And I let you touch me; let you reach in, to hold my heart.

And I touch you back.

And I kiss you, and love you back…

So maybe it's not exactly the same as before; and we still have work to do. But at least we're saying 'hello'?

1058 Forever

You stop my hands.

You stop my kisses.

You hold me at a distance, telling me no.

I guess I know how it feels.

I wonder for a brief flicker if that's why you're protesting. To show me how it feels to be stopped. To let me taste my own passive rejection. I wish I could make you believe, that it's not you it's me. It's such a cliché, a horrible cliché. I don't want you to feel like this. I don't want to feel like this.

I let tears fall down my face. I hold you and whisper again that I love you, not sure what you want me to say. I want this. I want you to want this too.

But you're still holding me back. You're still telling me no.

But then I see the sadness in your eyes. This isn't about punishing me, is it? There's something more to it.

Your kiss is hesitant, as you keep me back. You want me and you don't.

"Is this goodbye," you whisper.


I hold your face in my hands. I stare at you, and I feel tears in my eyes. I don't know what to say, what to do.

You think . You believe this is how we end? Gentle kisses. Our bodies together, wrapped in each other. And then what? I walk out on you? Leave you behind? That this will just be our final memory…the two of us now and here together.

I don't want this to be the last time.

I don't know how you can think…

"I love you," I say again, "Not goodbye."

You smile, and pull me into you, letting me touch you. Letting me claim you.

Letting me love you.

1059 NOW

Slowly, gently, I ease into awareness…

I remember curling up in your arms, after we were both exhausted. I don't remember falling asleep. Sometime during our slumber we pulled apart… I miss you.

With my eyes closed, I reach back for you, then I realize mine's the only body cocooned in the blankets. I turn around, to pull you back into the warmth. Then I notice -- you're not here.

Did you? I look towards the bathroom door. It's ajar.

Were you lying? Did you leave?

"Liv?" I scramble out of bed, and pull open the bedroom door.

Then I smell it. Food. Coming from the kitchen.

You're cooking. When's the last time you cooked? I don't remember.

I wander back into the room, and pick up your shirt. That's when I notice -- your jeans, the wet ones that were laying on the floor, they're missing. I look around, to see them sticking out from under the hamper lid. I smile and slide your shirt over my body, and follow my nose.

At the thresh hold, I watch you, tasting whatever it is that you're cooking. The scene tickles my memory. In my memory, I see myself coming up behind you, and wrapping you in my arms. That's what I'd like to do, too, right now. Instead, I hold myself, and lean against the door frame. I wait for you to notice my presence.

I don't have to wait for long. Not too long, anyway. You turn around, and I watch your face split into a smile, a shy, hesitant smile, but a smile nevertheless.

"Hi," you say, putting down the utensil, and moving towards me.

"You left," I say, sounding more accusatory than I meant to.

"I, uh," you stutter, wrapping your arms around me. Then before you continue, you do something you've never done before, you pause, as if to make sure I don't object to our proximity. "I thought you might be hungry?"

In the past, I would've taken your earlobe in my teeth, and nibbled on your flesh. I would've demanded that you turn off the stove and come back to bed. Now, I just wind my fingers in your hair, and tell you, "I'm really not that hungry." Not for food anyway. I miss you; I've missed you.

I would've told you those things before, exactly. Now, I stop myself. Somehow I feel like we're back to where we started, when we were not entirely sure how to act around the other person.

Maybe before we start taking each other for granted?

"Yeah well, you need to eat," you say, sliding your hands around to stroke my ribs. "You're getting thin."

"I'm not."

"Yes you are," you insist, sounding critical.

"I'm not," I almost whine, and fight the urge to hug myself. Instead, I drape my arms around your shoulders, and pull myself tighter into your embrace. "I've missed you…"

1060 Compromise

I wake up to you wrapped in my arms, your naked body pressing into mine.

It's been a lifetime, since I've woken up with you in my arms.

With your head on my chest, feeling your warm breath against my neck. I can't remember the last time I even honestly wanted you here, where you are, but it feels good. Feels good to have the heavy heat of your head on my shoulder. Feels good to know that you're here, with me, and that for this moment, you're safe in my arms.

I'm starving, and I try to remember the last time I cooked for you. The last time that I hadn't just left you something on the counter in my desperate haste to get out the door.

Carefully, I slide out from under you, and slip quietly into the living room. The kitchen beckons and I step into it, and in a moment, I'm pulling things off shelves and putting them together, knowing that you'll join me, when you wake up.

I hear you behind me, or I think I do.

I turn and face your sad face, "You left," you mutter.

"Made breakfast," I say, watching as you cross your arms over your chest. You step behind me and watch for a second.

"I'm not hungry," you say quietly.

"Gotta eat," I say with a smile, trying to lose the awkward silence that lies between us.

"I'm not hungry," you repeat.

"You're getting thin," I say, running my hand down your back.

"I'm fine. Come back to bed? I've missed you." You whine at me.

"I'm right here."


"Eat first?"

"Fine," You say plopping down in a chair and picking from the plate I put in front of you.

I almost say good girl, but then I stop myself. I'm not supposed to be your mother. What am I doing?

What are we doing?

I pull the plate away from you. "Let's go back to bed."


You push the plate out of my reach, and grab my hand, pulling me to my feet. "Okay, let's go back to bed," you acquiesce.

I can hear the mild annoyance in your voice. That you just shove a forkful of food into your mouth lets me know you're hungry.

What I am doing?

Why am I acting like such a spoiled brat?

I didn't mean to; I really didn't.

So I pull against you, leading you back towards the table. "Come on, let's eat."

"But you want to…"

"You're obviously hungry."

"I'm fine, Alex," you insist, tugging at my hand again.

Great, so we play tug of war. Already we're falling back into the old routine, where you try to do everything my way, and insist that I let you. Then when I do let you, you complain to the therapist and god knows who that I insist on having my way with everything.

No, we're not doing that again. Absolutely not.

I use the momentum of your pull, and move into your arms. "I've got an idea."

"Let's go back to bed," you say adamantly, almost crossly.

Keeping the smile on my face, I kiss you. "Let's take the food with us."


"When's the last time we had breakfast in bed?"

You think for a little while. "Not since the island?"

"Exactly." I kiss you again. "So let's do that," I say, pulling away from you, and pulling you along with me. "Here," I hand you my plate, which you accept willingly. "You get to make sure I eat," I tell you with a winking smile. "And I get to feed you."

You liked that on the island, when we would ritual feed each other, sharing food and eating from each other's hands… I hope you still do. "Yes? Maybe?" I ask to make sure.

1062 Take 2

The therapist looks across from us.

"So, how was this week?" She asks both of us carefully.

We smile shyly both of us looking to the side. Neither one of us hurries to talk. Both of us feel a childlike shyness.

"You look happier." She says, gently, prodding the silence that lies between the three of us.

"We are." You say carefully.

"So… who wants to tell me about it?" She asks, letting the silence rest on us again.

"It's just…it's been a good week." You say, avoiding the question.

"How so?" She asks.

"We, sort of, made up." I mumble.

"Made up?" She asks.

I feel myself blush.

"We've rediscovered each other." You say, diplomatically.

"So, you're having a more sexual relationship?" She prods.

I watch you blush. And then you reach out and take my hand. "Yeah." You say, looking at the floor.

"And how does that feel?" She asks.

"Good?" I supply.

"Well, I meant more in a psychological sense," she says with a smile.

"It's…it's hard." I mumble. You look at me, quickly. There's panic on your face. "I still, I still have a hard time sometimes. Focusing."

"What do you mean by that?" She asks.

"I… I sometimes. I don't feel… I love you," I say, gently turning to you, "but I'd be lying if I said that everything's just fine. I…I still have to work at this sometimes. This feeling."


"What kind of feeling?" The therapist prods.

"That," you answer hesitantly, hedging, watching my reaction. "That I don't feel? That I don't know what to do with myself? Maybe I just want to shut myself in a room, and be alone, and miserable?"

She jots down something on her notepad, then turns to me. "So Alex, are you aware when Olivia have these feelings?"

I put your hand in my lap, and I play with your fingers. "It's hard not to notice," I finally say to the floor.

"How do you feel about it?"

"Who? Me?" Of course she's talking to me. Something about being in her presence reduces me to an evasive child.

"Yes, Alex, we're still talking about your feelings."

"Well, I feel helpless. I wish there were something I could do to help."

"What else?"

I lace my fingers with yours, to reassure myself, while I search for the right words to say. "I, uh…"

"Take your time," she says, while you give my hand a warm squeeze.

I raise my eyes, and look into your smile. "Well, I wish we weren't doing this, like this. The therapy sessions, I mean."

You raise your eyebrows while she furrows hers. You both wait for me to continue.

So I do, "I wish they weren't so Socratic. How come you're always asking us questions?"

"Ah, so you want me to just tell you what to do."

"Sometimes I wish you would; I wish somebody would," I say, and you nod in agreement.

"Don't you get more satisfaction when you find the solutions yourself?"

"Not necessarily," you chime in.

"Well, I think it's better that you look within yourselves, and Alex, you're stalling," she says with a patient smile. "You were telling us about your feelings."

Caught and defeated, I sigh. I trace the designs of the carpet with my eyes. "Sometimes I wonder if, maybe it's me… That maybe you're unhappy with me, and you want to shut yourself…" I trail off.

"Sweetie," you reach over to touch my chin, to tilt it towards you. "You know that's not true. I love you. I'm not trying to shut myself from you."

"Part of me knows that, Liv; a big part of me. But when, when you suddenly get quiet, or you get a distant look, when we're in the middle of… something, I start to wonder. I can't help but wonder…"

1064 Honestly

"Olivia?" She asks me without asking me a question. I look up at the therapist and think about how I'd love for her to step in here. Tell me how to fix this. You're right. That's why we're here, right? To be fixed.

"I don't know what to say," I mumble. "It's not like I'm doing it on purpose. It's not like I'm picking to go into my own head. It just sort of happens. One minute, I'm there, and the next minute I feel like I want to be a million miles away. It's not like I can control that."

"Sometimes," you say looking at me, deeply. "Sometimes I don't think that you trust me. I feel like you think you can't talk to me about what's going on in your head." You say, looking down at our hands that are twined together.

I sigh, "That's not true," I try to say but you cut me off.

"Did you…why didn't you tell me you started smoking again?"

"I didn't" I start to protest but I catch your eye. "I quit." I say, resolutely, hoping that my face isn't betraying the truth.

Your look tells me everything I have to know.

"How'd you know?" I sigh, running my fingers through my hair and feeling like a naughty teenager.

"I found them in your pocket." You sigh.

"Guess that's why it sucks to have a memory problem."

"How does that make you feel," The therapist asks us.

"Huh?" I look at her. "Me or her?" I ask.

"You?" She says. "How does it feel to have Alex call you out like that?"

"I feel…guilty."

"I don't mean it that way," you say, carefully. "I don't care."

"Yes you do." I say with a sigh.

"Fine. I care, but not because you 'can't'. I care because I want you to be healthy and I don't want you to die of lung cancer…" you sigh. "And because you didn't tell me."

"I would have," I moan, "but I was going to quit." I mumble. "Besides, it's not really important. It's just… it's not like I do it all the time."

1065 TRUST

"Liv," I try to sound as non-judgmental is possible, "You smell like cigarettes everyday, for the past week."

"Oh. Then why didn't you say something before now?"

Because I still feel like I'm walking on eggshells around you? "Because I was hoping for you to come talk to me? Out of your own volition?"


"I was hoping you'd tell me what's been bothering you, without me prying or pulling teeth."


"What? If you quit before I found out, then it never happened?"

"Well…" You say, your real answer's written all over your face.

"Alex? How do you feel?" The therapist turns to me.

"That she doesn't trust me, not enough to tell me what's bothering her," I grouse. Then I turn to you, "I'm your wife. I'm supposed to be there for you, and I want to be there for you, but you won't let me."

"And how does that make you feel?"

"It upsets me?" How come I'm always wondering if I'm answering her questions correctly?

"Upsets you how?"

"It makes me angry, but mostly, it hurts. It hurts that she'd rather talk to everyone else but me about her problems."

"That's not… true." You look down at your feet. "I just… I don't want to upset you."

"But by keeping me in the dark, you upset me."

"Yes, but, I don't want to worry you."

"I'm not this fragile creature that you have to protect, Liv."

"But, Alex, baby…"

I take your hands in my own. "I thought that's one of the joys of being married. To have someone who cares enough to worry about you and your well-being, and to care for someone else, as much as you care about yourself, or more…"

1066 Broken

"I feel like…like…" I say, and fall silent.

You look at me expectantly.

I take a deep breath. "I feel like I do."

"You do what?" You ask me carefully. I can tell by your face you're trying to censor yourself. Trying not to get mad at me, and show your frustration. You do that a lot more now, attempt patience. I guess I should trust you more, but sometimes, the things that go through my head, they seem easier to just keep there.

"I feel like I have to protect you."

"But you don't."

"But that's my job. That used to be my job."

"We're partners," you say.

"But Alex, the one thing that I used to be…used to do well was protect people. I was supposed to keep people safe from the monsters out there, and now, now I see the monsters in my head, and I can't…if I can't keep them from you, keep you safe, what am I doing right?"

"I'm not a kid you have to protect." You complain.

"I'm not saying you are, Alex." I sigh. You're missing it. You're totally missing it. "I'm just… I feel like…like I'm failing you."

"You're not…I feel…" You start and then stop.

"What?" I ask, while the therapist just looks on.

"I feel like you don't trust me. That you're afraid of me."

"Sometimes I am."


"You…you can be judgmental Alex. Sometimes I worry…I wonder what happens when I say something, that final thing that's pushes you over the edge…"

"So you think I'll just leave you? Still? After all this crap?"

"Alex," The therapist cuts in.

"No," you say, stopping her. "After everything, Olivia. The drinking, the memory loss, you smashing Trevor's car, the lying and the hiding and all the shit we've gone through? And the love, all the love that we've shared… you think I can just walk away?"

"I don't know," I mumble…

"I don't know how to prove it to you. What do you want me to do?" You ask.

I stare at you. "I don't… know Alex. I don't know. I don't know how to make it better, okay?"

1067 FAITH

"I don't know how to make it better either," I tell you, and I sigh. Then I turn to the therapist. "Next."

"Next what, Alex?"

"Next question. What are you going to ask now, to help us look within ourselves?" I realize I'm not being fair, that I'm taking my frustration with you and with the situation out on her, but at this moment, I don't give a damn.

"You tell me. What do you expect me to ask next?"

"Excuse me?" What are you? My trial ad instructor?

She sighs. "Listen, Alex, I'm not your enemy. I'm just trying to help."

"Then help me figure this out!"

"I think you know the problem. You just have to find the solution. Or accept that there's none, and try to change yourself."


She ignores me, and turns to you. "Olivia, why do you think you feel that way?"

"I don't know."

"Do you honestly think Alex will leave you? After everything you've been through?"

You glance at me, than twist the rings on your fingers. "I, I don't know."


"Alex, I don't know. I'd like to think that you won't, that you'll…"

"I promised you, for better or for worse, Olivia. Have you known me to break my word?"

"No, but. I just… what if I did something, what if you wake up one day…"

How come this sounds so familiar?


What if you wake up one day, and find me unattractive, or in some way or another less than desirable. What if you wake up one day, and decide you're not in love with me anymore. Those are the questions I've asked you.

"You know, Liv, maybe you just have to take that leap of faith."

"What leap of faith?"

"The same one you want me to take, every time I wonder if you really mean forever, when I wonder if you're going to walk out on me just because we had a fight. Or just last week, while we were, when I wondered if we were making love for the last time…"

1068 Half

"So we're both afraid…"

"That the other will give up." You finish.

"I won't," I mumble.

"Me neither," you say, lifting my chin gently and looking deep into my eyes. "I love you."

"I love you too," I say, as I swallow hard. Your blue eyes shine, and show me love that's inside you. But at the same time, I want to explain how this isn't going to last, this happy feeling. We'll still go back to being insecure. That I'll go back to being sad, and distant.


For right now…

It feels good.

"So, how do you feel?" The therapist interjects.

"Good." We say in harmony.

You look at me and smile, and I look back with the same happy look.

"One question." She states. I watch annoyance cross your face.

"Yep?" I ask, still looking at you. Still smiling like a lost puppy.

"You mentioned, Alex?" She says, drawing your attention. Your eyes shift to hers, "That you made love and thought it was the last time? Would you like to talk about…?"


"Okay. But this would be the forum." She starts to explain.

"I…it was stupid." You say, blushing. "It ended up being fine."

"We fought. And I left."

"And where'd you go?" She asks.

"To talk to someone… to ask some advice."


"I came back and she was asleep…and I wanted….wanted it to be like it used to."

"Was it?"

"Yes." I say resolutely.

"No." you whisper at the same time.


"How is it not the same?" Comes your whining demand.

"It's just, it isn't."

"Are you not happy? Are you unhappy with me?"

I fight the urge to roll my eyes. Haven't we just been discussing how I'm unhappy with you not less than five minutes ago? "I didn't say that."

"So you are unhappy with me!"

"I'm unhappy with the fact that you don't talk to me, about things that bother you." I try to be patient. "We were just talking about that."

"No, I'm talking about, you know. Are you unhappy with my performance?"

"Performance?" There you go again. What are you? "Liv, could you please stop using that word?"

"What word?"

"Perform, performance, performing. You're not a guy who has to worry about getting it up, Jesus."

"Alex," the therapist tells me I'm out of line, just not in so many words.

I sigh.

Meanwhile, you fret, "But you're unhappy, with our…"

"I didn't say that."

"But you said it's different."

"Different isn't necessarily bad." I search for better words, and come up empty. "It's just… different."

"How is it different, Alex?" She asks, just as I expect she would.

"I, I don't know, it's just a feeling."

"What kind of feeling?"

"Well," I look at you waiting for my answer, and I twist my fingers. "Before, there were times, well, we'd get carried away, we'd get a little wild."


"That's the best word I can come up with, sorry."

"No need to apologize," she reassures me. "But you haven't been?"

I look at you again, and I maintain a smile, making sure you know I'm not complaining. "It's been a week, technically less than that, that we've found each other again. And we weren't always…"

"You're saying I haven't been acting like an animal."

"Well, you haven't. And I'm not accusing, or complaining…" Maybe I'm worried that you don't feel the passion you used to feel about me? Maybe we just need more time? Maybe our love's just maturing, and it's actually a good thing that we don't act like horny groping teenagers all the time? That soft tender loving is more preferable to adrenaline rush? We all know I'm an adrenaline junkie…

"But you're…"

"Concerned. I'm, I was, just a little concerned."

"Why?" You demand. "I thought I was being considerate. You used to gripe at me about hickies."

"It's winter, Liv, I can wear turtlenecks and scarves. Anyway, it's really not important. I really am not complaining."

1070 Sorry

"I'm not really complaining," you say, crossing your arms. "All I'm saying is it's not the same. That doesn't mean it's bad. But really, I'm not complaining." You say for the second time in as many seconds.

You could have fooled me, I hear in my head.

"Yes you are." I mumble under my breath.

"What was that Olivia?" The therapist asks me.

"She is complaining." I state again, louder this time.

"I'm really not. I'm not unhappy."

The therapist looks at you. She looks at me.

"I'm not," You say again trying to convince us.

"Olivia?" The therapist asks me and I flop back into the couch.

"I don't know, okay?"

"What don't you know?" She asks gently.

"I…I don't know how to be perfect. I say too much I'm screwed, I don't say enough, same thing. I'm not loving enough, I'm too loving. I'm never doing what I'm supposed to be doing."

"You're overreacting," you sigh.

"And before I wasn't reacting enough. I'm never right." I moan. I feel like a child.

"Being different doesn't mean it's not right Liv. I'm just making an observation."

"An observation that sounds negative." I say.

"How does it make you feel that Olivia feels this way," the therapists asks us.

"I feel like…" you say slowly, "I feel like this is the problem."

"What's that," The therapist asks us.

"That she feels sorry for herself. That I can' t make observations like that without her feeling sorry for herself. It's not personal. It's just…well, we're here because we're not happy like we were. We're here to make it better, and if I…if we pretend that everything's fine and the same…where are we really?"

1071 SULK

"So what do you want for lunch?"

"I don't know," you mumble, "What do you want for lunch?"

"I asked you first."

"Well, I don't care."

"Come on, Liv," I reach over and squeeze your hand. "Are you going to sulk all day?"

"I'm not sulking."


"I'm not!"

"Sweetie, it was just an observation."

"What do you want from me, Alex, huh?" You pull your hand from my grasp and cross your arms. "And no, I don't always feel sorry for myself."

"But you are right now," I smile gently.

"You think I'm not perfor… you think I'm not good enough."

"That's not what I said." I pull the car into the garage, and turn to you. "That's not what I said at all."

"You didn't have to say it out loud, I can tell by your body language."

I sigh. "I really wasn't, and I'm not complaining. I just noticed the difference… It's really not you, it's me."

"Oh, great." You throw your hands up in the air, then let them fall on your knees, making a loud slapping noise. "What other clichés are you going to come up with next, Alex?"

"No, really, I'm sure," I look away from you, "I'm sure it's my issue I have to deal with."

"If you're not happy with me, I'll change, I don't want you to have to settle."

I turn back to you. Smiling, I touch your face. "I'm not settling. I'm just, sometimes I still have trouble with that leap of faith thing."


"It's really okay that we're not crazy wild like before, as long as it's not because…" I sigh.

"Not because?"

I sigh again, and I smile again. "What we've been doing, it's really very sweet, and very loving. And I love you, and I know you love me." I brush the tip of my fingers along your lips. "I really am not complaining," I whisper, and touch your lips with mine…

1072 Problem

I nearly melt when you touch me, your fingers on my lips assuring me that you think I'm

sweet. I almost forget my sulking, almost forget that I'm angry at you for making your small 'observation'.

I'm not sure that's what either of us really want though, is it? I mean that's why we're here, isn't it?

And besides, you're right. It is different. I remember. I remember not being able to get enough of you. I remember not being able to touch you enough.

And now?

Now I wait for you to reach for me, and if you don't…

"Do you think there's something wrong with me?" I ask quietly.

"What do you mean?" You ask carefully.

"Do you think there's something wrong with me?"

"Like what?"

"Do you think, do you think I'm depressed."

"What do you think?" You ask carefully.

"I think that I'm asking you."



"Yes, I think you're depressed. I also think, though, that I love you, even if…."

"I think I need help." I say, staring out of the window across from me.

"If you want it," you say, gently.

I look over at you and roll my eyes.

You're smiling, and trying to hide it.

Why do I feel like I lost some argument? Even if the ultimate goal is to make me feel less… depressed.

1073 LUNCH

I watch the storm cloud cross your face. "What's wrong," I ask, caressing your cheek.

"Nothing," you mumble.

"Don't give me that. Talk to me, please?"

"I just, I wish I didn't have to do all that, I wish I could be normal."

"Normalcy is overrated, Liv. If you were normal, we wouldn't be here."

You wince.

Before you could pull into yourself, I continue, "I didn't mean it badly, I think normal is boring, and I wouldn't fall in love with you if you were just an average Jane."

"Yeah, I'm just simply dysfunctional."

"I didn't say that."

"Most people aren't depressed alcoholics with memory issues."

"Recovering alcoholic."


"Come on, give yourself some credit." I smile. "And give me some credit."


"Do you really think I'm some sort of a masochist with a martyr complex?"

"You? A masochist?" You laugh. "If you were a masochist, I'd hate to meet your sadist counterpart."

"It's really not that funny." But it did get you out of your glum mood, at least for a little while. "Seriously, Sweetie, I think we both need help." I run my fingers across your fading smile, desperately trying to keep it on your lips. "It worked before, sort of."


"When we were seeing separate therapists… I think it helped us look at things differently."

"I guess."

"It can be one of those things we do together, but separately?"

You chuckle, "I don't think that's what George had in mind when he suggested hobbies."

"Probably not," I smile. "Anyway, have you decided what you want for lunch?"

"Uh-huh," you say, and lean towards me.

"What are you doing?" I gasp, quickly holding in place your hand on my thigh.

You lean closer still. "You accused me of being boring."

At the warmth of your breath, my eyelids flutter shut. "I didn't."

"You called me sweet."

"You are sweet…"

1074 Tease

"So I was thinking…" I say, letting my hand slide up your thigh and then back down again. Your fingers clamp onto mine, holding my hand still, as you slowly start pulling my fingers higher up your leg. I can nearly hear you gasp, as I breathe gently down your neck. "Do you want to know what I was thinking?" I ask, and I smile as you swallow hard.

"Mmm.." You mutter.

"Are you sure?" I ask, sliding my hand higher up your thigh.

"Mhmm." You mumble again.

"We should go out for ice cream."

Your eyes open quickly. "What?"

"For lunch." I say with a smile.

"You... wait… you want to…"

"You're so easy," I say, leaning over and kissing you gently on the lips.

"Are you sure…?"

"Sure what?" I ask kissing you again.

"Sure you want to do this."


"This." You say, as I run my hand under your shirt, touching you, teasing you.


"You're not doing it because you think I think you're…?"

"Boring?" I supply.

"That's not what I said, but yeah."

"No, I want to do it because I love you. And I want to…"

"Just….I just want you to be sure," you say, biting down on you lip.

"I am." I say, kissing you again.

1075 RUSH

"It feels good, doesn't it?" You ask, teasing and caressing my body, sliding under my shirt, my bra.

It's been so long since you… You've just been waiting for me to… Your lips on my throat make it hard for me to…

"How'bout this?"

The pressure of your fingers again breaks my concentration. "Mhmm…"

Then I feel your lips moving upwards towards my face, then I feel your mouth on my mouth. I suck in a quick, unsteady breath before you kiss me, long and loving and slow. Then you slide your hand higher up my thigh, slipping underneath my skirt.

Then it occurs to me. I pull away from you, breathlessly. "Wait."


"We're in the garage."

You smile a cocky smile. "So?"

"What if our neighbors…"

"We had sex in a public garage before," you state, and resume nibbling on my lips.

"Liv," I raise my hands against your chest to stop you. "Please?"

"Please what?" You ask, while pressing your fingers against me.

Involuntarily, I sigh. "Please?"

"You want me to stop?"

"I, I don't… Please, Liv?" I beg, arching against you, and trying to hold myself back at the same time.

"Look at me, open your eyes," you whisper against my lips.

I see a small secret smile on your face. I see you watching me just like you used to. I see love in your eyes. And I feel a shudder run through my body.

"You really want me to stop?"

"No," I gasp.

"Good. I wasn't planning on listening," you smirk.

And I gasp again when you slide inside me.

When you push through all my defenses…

And I reach out, and cling to you.

And over and over again, I moan into your ear, "Love you." .

1076 Deeper

When we finally slip out of the car, your face is glowing. You look so happy, your smile growing bigger as I slip my hand around your waist as we walk slowly up the stairs to our apartment.

"I love you," you whisper into my ear.

"Love you too," I shrug.

"I mean, I really love you Liv. Not just because of…" You say, gesturing over your shoulder back towards the car.

"I know," I say with a smile.

"I just wanted to make sure you…"

"I know," I say again quietly.

You let your head rest on my shoulder and you squeeze me closer to you. "Why?"


"Why'd you…do that?" You ask quietly.

"I don't know, because I wanted..."

"Did you really want to or were you trying to prove that you weren't boring?"

"Alex." I say with a warning in my voice.

"It's really important to me Liv." You say again.

"No, its not just because you think I'm boring."

"Liv. I don't think you're boring."

"Yeah you do, Alex. It's okay. I am boring. And I'm going to change, I told I you I would to make you happy."

You pull away from me. "So it was because…" You whisper, pulling away from me.

"Come on sweetie, I'm trying, okay?"

"You're forcing yourself."

"It's not like that?"

"What's it like then Liv? That was the first time, the first time you've tried to touch me in…months. And it was to prove a point."

"It wasn't…" I manage while you open the door, walk through it, and then slam it in my face. "Like that," I whisper to the closed door

1077 STUCK

'It's not like that,' you tell me. It wasn't like that, I tell myself.

I'd believe you and me, too.

Except for the guilt written all over your face.

I didn't saying that you were boring. I didn't mean that you were boring.

I just thought we were different than before. A difference I was willing to accept. Just like I was willing to accept all the other things that are no longer the same between us.

So now you're making love to me to prove a point, a point I didn't even mean to make…

I wish things were different.

No, I wish things were exactly as they were, before your injury.

We had our problems, but we were happy. We found happiness in each other.

Now we just make each other miserable.

Again, you're changing yourself, just to please me. You're doing things you otherwise don't want to do just to make me happy.

I don't want that kind of happiness. Sooner or later, you'll just resent me.

I hear the door knob turning, and I hear your footsteps shuffling into the room.

I feel your weight joining mine on our bed, and your hesitant hand on my shoulder.

'Don't touch me,' I want to tell you, but I don't. I don't want your touch, but I do. So, I pull myself tighter around Mr. Bear.

We were so blissfully happy when you bought me that bear, I remember, as fresh tears push their way out of my eyes.

"Alex, Sweetie?"

I swallow, and take a short shaky breath.

You reach for a tissue and dangle it before my face.

"Thanks," I mumble and blow my nose.

Then I remember how you used to hold me when I cry, how your caresses were always so gentle, so caring, and how safe I'd feel in your arms. How you'd make me feel that nothing in the world can hurt me, as long as we're together.

Now I wonder if I'll ever feel that way again…

1078 Demands

I see you on the bed, curled into a ball around the bear I got you on the island.

I lie down behind you, your back facing me, listening to your whimpers. I reach out and touch your back, feeling it flex.

"Do you want me to go?" I ask, and you don't respond. You just take a deep breath and squeeze the bear tighter. "Alex?" I ask again, and you just continue to ignore me.

I pick up a tissue and dangle it in front of you.

I sigh as you snatch it out of my hand and hug the bear tighter.

"Alex?" I ask again.

You sniffle, but you don't say anything.

"Oh for Christ's sake," I say, getting up off the bed and storming across the room.

That gets you to sit up.

"What's your problem?" I demand.

"What the hell are you talking about," you nearly scream back at me.

"I'm talking about all this crap. What do you want from me Alex?"

"I want…I want it to be like it was Olivia. When we didn't fight all the time. When we didn't seem to get off on making each other cry."

"You think I like knowing you're miserable with me?"

"I'm not miserable."

"You could have fooled me." I say, sounding meaner than I meant to.

"How do you think it makes me feel knowing you made love to me, just now, just to prove a point?"

"God Alex, that wasn't the only reason. I love you. I wanted to show you I loved you."

"Yeah, right."

"And I'm the one who feels sorry for myself?"

"Olivia…are you…are you still happy with me?"

1079 COLD

"Are you? Still happy with me?" I ask again, and watch you weigh your answer.

It's never good when you have to think about it. When you have to think about what to say.

I sniff, and start to curl back around the bear.

"No," you finally say with a sigh.

I wish I could say I was surprised by the answer.

You walk around the bed, and sit down in front of me. "But, before you jump to any conclusions," you tell me, gently, pushing my hair out of my weeping eyes. "I just, I don't know if I can be happy with anything, until I'm happy with myself."


"I love you, Alex, I don't want to lose you."

You're saying all the right things. "But…"

"Yeah, sure, maybe part of me was trying to prove a point, but I did want to make love to you, to show you how much I love you."

"Then why did you act like, you acted like you didn't care when I told you I love you."

You're silent again.

"Yeah, just what I thought…" I sigh, hugging myself, feeling cold.

"It's not what you think." You start moving towards me, then you stop. "I just, sometimes I wonder why."

"Why what?"

"Why you love me, when I make you so miserable."

"But I'm not…"

"Then why are you crying, Alex? Don't tell me those are tears of joy."

I feel myself melting to your sad smile, and I sigh. "What are we going to do?"

"I don't know. Keep trying? Keep going to therapy?"

"What if…" It doesn't work? I let the words die on my lips.

You caught my thoughts anyway, and you slide down next to me, so we're laying face to face. "It's gonna work. It's got to. I want you to be happy, with me, again. I want us both to be happy like we were."

"I want that, too, Liv." But I think part of me is afraid to hope. All the hopeful optimisms hasn't gotten us very far.

Leaning in, you press gentle kisses to my face. "I don't wanna lose you, Alex."

And I want to believe you; and I let myself believe you. "Me neither."

I don't want to be lost…

1080 Start

I try not to cry.

I hate this.

I hate sitting here facing a stranger trying to rip into my psyche.

Trying to figure out why it is that I act the way I do, when so often, I let myself pretend that I don't know. That's so much easier than trying to rip open the wounds and dig around inside them.

"When you say you feel like there's something missing?" She asks for the tenth time since we started this hour. I look at my watch. I want this to be over.

"I, I feel like…there's something missing from me," I say carefully. "Since I was hurt. I just…I can't get it back together. My life, that is. I feel like, like, I'm only partly here."

"And how does that make you feel?"

"Great." I say, with a sarcastic tone. "It makes me feel like crap. Can we just move on here?"

"Olivia, I understand that you're upset, but if we don't talk about these feelings…"

"They're not going to get better," I finish.

She nods at me. "What do you hope to accomplish here? What do you want us to work on together?"

"I just want my life back."

"Your lack of hope is symptomatic of the depression you're experiencing."

I look at her like she's nuts and wait until she finishes.

"Can't you must make this better?"

"Yes. And No. This has to come from you."

"I don't know what I'm doing," I complain.

"And that's why I'm here, to help guide you through this."

"Great. So, where do we start?"

Part 1081

Return to Law & Order: SVU Fiction

Return to Main Page