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


I check my watch for the nth time. Are we done yet? I wonder for the nth time, even though we've, in actuality, just begun.

I wish I were anywhere but here. What can the therapist tell me that I don't already know? I worry too much about you; I worry too much about my job. I'm stressed out because I'm such a control freak and things have been spiraling out of my control, and they still are, and I'm having issues coping.


But this is something we've agreed to do together, separately. For our own individual good, and for the good of our relationship. Hell, I think I was the one who suggested it in the first place. Besides, you're in the office down the hall, talking to a therapist of your own.

I'll do this. We'll do this together.

"So, how would you like to proceed?" The therapist rephrased her original question, one she asked me after our introduction, five minutes ago.

"What do you mean?"

"What would you like to get out of our sessions?"

"I don't know," I shrug. "Listen, I'm really just here because, well, because it's something my partner and I decided we needed."

"And because your other therapist referred you to me."

"Well, yes, that too."

"Alex? Is it all right for me to call you Alex?"

"It's fine."

"I've read the notes from your couple's therapy sessions."

Sure, I would expect her to, since we released our record to her, again to try to help us get better. "Yes?"

"I'd like to ask you a few questions."

More questions. Why am I not surprised? Q and A is better than me pulling ideas out of thin air, I suppose. "Go ahead."

"Have you had trouble getting to sleep lately?"

"My head hits the pillow and I'm usually out like a light," I tell her casually, shaking my head for emphasis.

"Have you been sleeping too much then?"

"No, at least not technically. Besides, 'too much' is kind of relative."

"Would you like to expand on that?"

"Not really."

1082 Keeping Up

"Do you spend much time thinking about death?" She asks, while writing something on the notepad in front of her.

"Excuse me?" I ask.

"Do you think you spend a lot of time thinking about death?" She asks again carefully.

"Not really." I sigh and shrug. My hands run through my hair, my gaze adverts from hers. I feel guilty, because, well, I have…

"Have you ever thought about killing yourself?" She asks.

Jesus. Nothing like going for the jugular.

"Isn't that a question that there's a right answer and a wrong answer to?" I ask, with a half smile.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, if I sit here and tell you that I do think about it, you'll lock me up, won't you?"

"What do you mean by 'lock you up'?" she asks.

"I was thinking Bellevue." I say.

"Well that's not necessarily the case." She says diplomatically.

"If I tell you that I would never do such a thing, you won't believe me."

"Well, Olivia. It's interesting that you don't think you can trust me."

"It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the question."

"The question about whether or not you think about killing yourself?" She asks me.

"There's a difference between thinking about it and doing it." I state.

"Yes, there is. A rather large one." She says, looking at me expectantly.

"Yeah," I say again.

"So…have you thought about it?"

"Yeah. I have." I sigh. "Okay? I have."


"Alex, we're here to help you get better, and you have to help me help you. I'm sure you've told your clients the same thing."

Ouch. Fine. I sigh. "Like I said, I don't have problems getting to sleep. Sometimes though, I'd wake up, in the middle of the night. It'd take me a while to get back to sleep afterwards. So, sometimes I end up spending more time in bed than usual, but like I said, that's relative."

"Okay." She scribbles something in her notebook. "When you'd wake up in the middle of the night…"

"Sometimes I think my brain continues to work while I'm asleep," I offer quickly with a shrug. "Sometimes I'd wake up with a trial strategy formulated in my head, and I'd just have to write it down, so I don't forget."

"And other times?"

"Other times?" I sigh. Guess I have to fork over the answer she wants. "Other times, I wake up from what you'd call a panic attack, I think."

"I see." She scribbles some more. "Do you cry for no good reasons?"

"Well, I cry, but I wouldn't say for no good reasons."

"Let me rephrase that: do you find yourself crying over things, things that wouldn't have bothered you in the past?"

"I don't cry at the drop of a hat," I argue defensively. "As you know, Olivia and I are having problems. I would think it's only normal, and natural…" I stop when she starts writing again.

"Your eating habits, have there been changes?"

"Changes how?"

She gives me a once over. "I'm assuming you haven't been binge eating. Have you been experiencing any loss of appetite?"

"I've been busy, very busy, with work. Sometimes I don't have time to eat." I do realize I'm not answering her question truthfully. I also realize she can't help me if I don't tell her everything. It's almost ironic, that I'm acting like the kind of victims I complain about. So I decide to continue, "But yeah, food just hasn't been too appealing to me."

"Are you experiencing mood swings?"

"Like how?" I ask reflexively. Why do I do that? I know what mood swings mean.

She explains patiently, "That you're happy one minute, sad the next, and you don't necessarily know why?"

"I always have cause for either emotion."

"When you're happy, do you get extremely happy? And when you're sad, do you get extremely sad?"

"Sometimes, I suppose I do."

1084 Help

"How does that make you feel?" She asks, gently.

I stare at the floor. "It feels horrible. It feels crazy."

"I wouldn't say it's crazy." She says, quietly.

"What would you call it then?" I ask, accusing her, challenging her.

"Do you have a plan?" She asks.


"When you think about killing yourself? Do you have a way of doing it in mind?"

"I'm a cop." I say with a shrug.

"What does that mean?" She asks, with concern.

"Nothing." I say, realizing the danger of what I'm saying. "Look, thinking about it, and doing it, they're different. I'd never actually do it."

"I would be lying if I told you that I'm not concerned."

"Look, I'm not going to kill myself… I can't."

"Why do you say that?"

"I have Alex to live for. I couldn't do that to her."

"So what would you do if she left you?"

"She... why would she do that," I ask suspiciously.

"I'm not saying she would, I am just curious if what you're living for is someone else, if that were to go away, what would that mean for your life?"

"I don't know." I say, quietly. "So what do I do?" I ask.


"How do I make this stop?"

"Well, Olivia. I think that's a multi-faceted question."

"Give me the cliff notes version."

"I think you need to consult with a psychiatrist, perhaps get yourself some antidepressants. I think we should meet regularly. I think that you should spend some time thinking about what you want to get out of this. I can't help you unless you want to help you."


The therapist continues with her 20 questions, "Do you find your tolerance level…"

I laugh. "My tolerance level has always been low, and yes, I'm short tempered."

She scribbles some more. I wish she'd stop scribbling.

"How about your concentration?" She asks, "Have you had problems focusing lately?"

"No, I can do my job just fine."

"And outside of your job?"

I pretend to think about it, even though the answer was obvious. "I suppose I've been reading the same book for a while now, and not being able to get through more than several pages at a time, or remember what I read afterwards…"

"Have you been experiencing unreasonable paranoia?"

"Aren't paranoia by definition unreasonable?"

"Perhaps you find yourself having problems trusting others? Questioning what they tell you?"

"Oh, like when Olivia tells me she loves me?" I blurt, without meaning to.

"Has she given you any reason to doubt her?"

"I, uh, I don't know. Like I said, we're having problems. That's why we're going to couple's therapy."

"And also why we're sitting here, today. To try to help you with problems you might be having." She smiles at me as if I'm finally giving her the answer she wants. "You know the old cliché, charity begins at home."

"What does that mean?"

"That means you have to heal yourself before you can heal others."

"What? I don't need, I'm not the one with problems. I mean, I don't have problems with myself."

"It's only natural that you worry about someone you love, perhaps the person you love most in the world."


"And it's only natural that you'd feel hopeless, especially when things are out of your control. It's only natural that you'd experience depression."

"Depression?" I echo, incredulous. That's a diagnosis for you, not me!

"Yes, Alex, you have almost all the clinical signs of depression." She continues without missing a beat, "Have you had thoughts of suicide?"


We stare at each other for an eternity. Finally, she smiles. "That's good. I think we should put you on an anti-depressant. We can start you off with 20 milligrams. Don't worry, it's a low dosage, and you won't get addicted. It'll help with your concentration, and paranoia, and smooth out your moods in general. When things get better for you at home…"

"Yes, I can get off of it then, and yes, I know what anti-depressants do," I say, trying my best not to panic. "But can I ask you a question?"

"Yes, of course."

"The thoughts of suicide, is it common for people who are depressed? Perhaps people who are acutely depressed?"

1086 Angry

We walk out of the therapist's offices in silence. I'm angry, for no good reason, and my eyes challenge you to say something. You don't, and you look at the ground. I sense your eyes on me as we get into the car, but I slam the keys into the ignition and you look away.

"What?" I ask, as I catch you staring at me for the second time. Your eyes are scared, and I don't even want to know what I did, or what the problem is now. I'm not in the mood. I feel the card burning in my pocket, the name of a referral for medication management.

"Nothing." You say and look away. "I just wondered if you wanted to talk."

"About what?" I ask, not in the mood to talk about the therapy.

"I don't know, Liv. Anything. We just…we haven't done that in a while."

"We go to therapy once a week Alex. We do that more often than we… never mind."

"You're upset."

"I'm fine, Alex. Just back off, okay?"

"Fine. Can we stop at the drug store?"

"For what?" I nearly bark at you.

"I… got a prescription."

"For what?"


"You got what?"

You stick the paper out in front of me. "Did you?"



"Why, you think I need them?"

"Yes. I do."

"Well I didn't get them."

"Can I ask you something? Something serious."

"I don't think I can stop you."

"Have you ever, thought about, killing…"

"Oh for the love of God. Alex. I refuse to dignify that with a response."

"You don't even know what I was going to say."

"Yes I do, you were going to ask me if I think about killing myself."

"Why are you so angry?" You ask, and I can see the anger rising in you.

"I'm not, can we just fucking drop this."





So the shrink said it'll take approximately four weeks for the anti-depressants to kick in. I find myself counting the days, hoping for the end of those weeks to come.

I also counted the counseling sessions that we've committed to go, together and separately, that are marked with big red circles on our calendars.

I'm counting the days we haven't talked. Haven't made love. Haven't slept in the same bed.

It's been three so far.

For the last three days, I watch you, watch you get angry with me, with Elliot, with your job, with the world, for no good reasons.

Every time you catch me watching you, you give me dirty looks. So I've been trying to do that less and less now.

I also stopped trying to talk to you, stopped trying to figure out if you've ever had suicidal thoughts.

According to the therapist, it is common for acutely depressed people to contemplate killing themselves. Knowing how self-destructive you can be, I'm almost certain you've thought about it. Obviously, something's prevented you from actually attempting it, whatever it is; I just hope it continues to do so.

I mean, what else can I do? Have you checked into a hospital? Have you put under psychiatric watch? You'll just hate me; you'll resent me more than you do now.

Although, if I thought they'd take you based solely on my fear, I might do it.

Although doing it might actually drive you over the edge…

Oh great, Cabot, you're doing it again. Worrying too much, over-analyzing, and acting generally paranoid.

What's wrong with me?

Suppose I should stop while I'm ahead.

Am I really ahead? I don't think so.

I wish I had gotten help earlier. The anti-depressants would've been working by now. Maybe I wouldn't be running myself crazy worrying about you, worrying about your every move…

I don't think the stress relief guides the therapist recommended are working.

Maybe I'll join a meditation class.

Maybe you'll even go with me? Yeah, right, and my ancestors built Atlantis out of thin air…

A sudden motion catches my attention. When I look towards the door, you're already closing it behind you.

"Hey, you got a few minutes?" You ask.

"How long have you been?"

"Standing here? Not long. I tried to knock before."

"So what do you need?" I ask, assuming you're here on business. Why else would you be standing in my office?

1088 Reasons

"Do I need a reason to be here?" I ask watching you almost sadly trying to avert your eyes from mine.

"No…I just…" You stammer. I can tell you're trying to avoid making me angry. You're trying to avoid causing more problems than the ones that are already storming between us. I wish I had your good sense.

"Assumed there would be one." I finish for you with a sigh.

"Yeah." You agree.

"Guess I deserve that." I say quietly, plopping myself down in a chair across from yours.

"So, you're here because…?" You say, nervously shuffling papers around your desk.

"Why are we fighting?" I ask you.

"We aren't. You are." You say quickly. "I mean, I don't know Liv. I'd love to know."

"I…I didn't like going to therapy again."


"Don't know," I say, as non-committaly as possible. Really, I didn't like being confronted. I didn't like being responsible for my own bad mood. I didn't like the news that there was nothing that anyone besides me could do to pull me out of this horrible feeling.

"Well that's a non-answer."


"Olivia, all I want from you, all I wanted was for you to talk to me. And you've made the decision to shut me out. I'm not going to play this game with you anymore. Either you talk to me, or get out."

"That a threat?" I ask, as I sit back in my chair.

"No, it's a resolution."


I stand up quickly, "Have you ever thought about…" I ask letting my voice die out slowly.

"What Liv?" You ask, staring at me deeply.

"Nothing," I say, " just nothing. I'll see you later, okay?"

"I… I love you." You call after me.

"I love you too," I whisper under my breath as I walk away.


Once again you walk out of my office.

Once more we had a non-interaction.

Well, at least we didn't fight. That's an improvement, right?

It's getting harder and harder to say those words now. To tell you I love you.

I do love you, there's no doubt about that.

But why do I bother to tell you when you don't seem to care?

Do you really not care anymore?

Maybe I should ask… again.

Or should I just give you time and wait for you to pull out of your funk?

You did say you love me four days ago, when we woke up that morning, after making love the night before, and prior to therapy. Could you have changed your mind so quickly?

I remember what my shrink told me, and I think I'm just being paranoid again.

Still, I wonder why you were here. I wonder what it was that you wanted to ask. My hand is reaching for the phone before I could stop myself.

Then I remember my resolve. If you're not going to talk to me, I'll just have to accept it, and let you be. It's kind of like when you were an active alcoholic, when I had to pretend nothing's going on. That your behavior doesn't affect me. I'm supposed to just take care of myself and do what I have to do, and not spend all my time and energy worrying about you.

Yeah. That's what I'm supposed to do.

Then why am I still sitting here thinking and worrying about you? When I have summations to prepare? Files to go over, victims' statements to study?

I pick the next folder off the top of the pile, and begin to read. Before I can make it through the first page, my focus is interrupted once more.

"Come in," I call out.

The door stays closed, and for a minute, I thought I was hearing things. Then the door handle turns, and I see you standing out there, chewing on your bottom lip.

I stifle my sigh. "Yes? Sweetie?"

You look up with a small jerk. Obviously, you weren't expecting the term of endearment.

I debate whether to stand up, and walk around my desk to join you on the other side. Finally, I decide to stay put, and lean back in my seat. "Are you ready to tell me what's going on?"

Silently, you nod. Then you shrug, and flop down in the chair you vacated less than fifteen minutes ago. "Can we? Do you? Have you ever?" You stutter, looking like a scared little girl.

I stop myself from running over to pull you into my arms, and promising that everything will be all right. At this point, I'm not sure I believe it myself. So, I just remain where I am, and wait patiently for you to continue…

1090 Believe

I tear down the steps to the courthouse, out of your office and away from you.

You love me.


Because I act like this? Because I can't make myself behave the way I know I should. I should march back in there and talk to you like an adult. But I don't. I don't because…I like feeling like this? This miserable sinking feeling in my gut? Because I'm afraid of your reaction? Because I've put you through enough?

I watch over breakfast with intense irony as you swallow the anti-depressants you got. You don't' ask why I don't have them, and I don't tell you that I have a referral in my pocket. You've tried, but I cut you off. I don't talk to you at all.

It's easier to sleep on the couch, to avoid you, to snap at you when you ask me a question. It's just easier to push you away.

I feel a burning desire to be alone.

I pull the card out of my pocket and stare at it.

I don't know why I'm acting like this, over something so…ridiculous.

It's just another doctor. It's another chance.

It's not just a pill.

It's an admission of guilt.

Proof of something being wrong with me.

The proof that you've been looking for.

Or is that just another symptom of the problems that are twirling inside my head.

Slowly, I stand back up. I hear the words of my new therapist ringing in my head.

This is something only I can change.

One step at a time.

One day at a time.

My least favorite mantra.

I get up, and turn on my heel. We need to talk, the two of us. I need to believe in you, and make you believe in me, no matter how scary and overwhelming that feels. I can trust you.

I have to believe…


I wait for you to begin. I wait.

The silent minutes tick on.

It seems like the longer I wait, the more afraid you appeared to be. Now you're almost like a caged animal.

What are you so afraid of?


What were you going to ask me?

Are you afraid of my potential reaction?

Maybe this is part of your paranoia. If I have them, I can reasonably assume that yours would be worse…

So I take in a careful breath, preparing to hear my own voice break the silence. "Liv? Would you like to talk?"

You fidget. "Yes… No… I don't know."

"Well, you can sit here," I tell you as gently as possible, "And think about it. We can talk when you want to."

"I," you look up. "You asked me the other day, well, at least you tried to, before I cut you off, um, whether my therapist gave me a script…"

"Yeah? Did she?"

"No. I've got this instead," you drop a card on my desk as if it's on fire, then shove your hand back into your pocket.

"Okay…" I pick it up. "Another clinic?"

"Medication management. My therapist gave me a referral."

"Oh, that's…" Good, I want to say. But it's really not a good thing that you have to do this at all.


I keep my brows furrowed and make up something quick, "Unexpected? I guess I, uh, I just thought, you know, that she'd just write you a prescription or get her nurse to do it? I guess different shrinks treat their patients differently, right?" I feel the urge to ramble, and I stop myself. "When are you going? Would you like me go with you? I can at least wait outside."


"Why what?"

"Why are you doing this?"

"Doing what? Offering to go with you? Because I love you, and I care about you? Same reason you went with me to my last checkup?" At least I hope that was the reason…

1092 Chronic

"No," I say, shaking my head. "Why are you doing this?"

"I don't understand."

"Why are you still with me?"

"Because I love you."

"That's quaint, but Alex, look at all the shit I put you through. Look at how miserable you are. And don't bother telling me you're not."

"I'm really not…"

"I have ears."


"I hear you crying. At night, when you think I'm sleeping."

"Liv, listen, we're just having a hard time."

"A hard time? Have we ever had good times?"

You look at me with a hurt expression. "Of course we have."

"Oh right, in that interlude between my raging alcoholism and my forgetting my own name three times a day."

"Liv." You warn with your voice.

"Alex. I don't get it. I don't get you. I don't understand why someone like you, someone bright and beautiful and wonderful, would want to be with someone like me. I'm a chronic loser."

"You're not a chronic loser. You're depressed."

"And so are you."

"Yes." You say quietly.

"And how often were you depressed before I came into your life."

"You can't use my problems as proof you're a bad person. Liv, I've been nervous my whole life. I make lists in my sleep. That's who I am. When I find something I'm truly passionate about, I go over the edge. So yeah, I haven't been clinically diagnosed before, but I've never cared enough to bother getting an opinion. And this," you say picking up the card from your desk, "Is further proof that I'm not the only one who thinks that this isn't a 'Olivia's a bad person' problem. Liv, sweetie, things look bad to you right now because of your mood. But we can take care of this, we can take care of this and then we can both feel better."


"Oh, no?" you spit. "It tells me exactly that. That I'm chronically defective."

"Defective? How can you… How do you come up with these things?"

"Otherwise, I wouldn't need drugs to help me feel better. And if I were normal, we wouldn't have all these issues...."

"No, but I'm sure we'll have other issues." I lean back in my chair, and look up at the ceiling. "So you have a chemical imbalance, what's the big deal?"

"It is a big deal! If I weren't…"

"What are you trying to do? Convince me that you're not worth loving? Or yourself? Sorry if I seemed insensitive, but I'd rather you be depressed, than a raging arrogant bastard. Or worse, a self-righteous closed minded fanatic." I roll my eyes. "I can't help who I'm related to, but I'd like to think I have some choices over whom I fall in love with."


"And who says your depression is a chronic thing? Alcohol's a depressant, Liv. When you finally stopped drinking, and your body had time to regulate itself, your bouts of depression were less frequent," I observe.

"Yeah, well, it came back."

"It came back because you got injured. You couldn't help getting hit in the head, Liv."

"Maybe I was distracted…"

"You're agreeing with the IAB now?"

"No, but…"

"You got hit in the head on the job, and now you're stuck behind a desk and you can't be out on the streets actively chasing the bad guys. You have to make lists because sometimes you forget things. Any reasonable person would be depressed."

"Why are you making excuses for me?"

"I'm not. I'm just making general observations." I shake my head, and smile to myself. "And while I'm at it, I also noticed that you're getting better in the memory department."

You shrug your agreement.

"Liv, you're not a loser. A loser wouldn't volunteer to put herself in danger the way you did, to go after a sicko. A loser wouldn't try to go back to work before her body's completely healed, she'd stay home, and milk the system for as long as she could, for all it's worth."

You shrug again.

"You and I both know you're not in it for the glory. You really want to help people." I smile at you. "And sometimes people who help others need help, too. You just need to accept that."

1094 With Out

"Alex, I just…"

"What Liv?"

"I just don't think I can do this."

"What do you mean?"

"Don't you ever feel like everything's too much? Just kind of wish it'd go away."

"What do you mean sweetie?" You ask again, this time getting up from your desk and walking around it, leaning in front of me and watching my face.

"Sometimes, I just think it'd be easier…"

You look at me and I choke on my words. I can't….

"It's stupid," I mumble.

"No, Liv, it'd be easier."

"If I weren't here."

"What are you saying?" You ask, and I can see the fear in your eyes. This is exactly what I didn't want.

"I don't know."

"Sweetie," you say, lifting my chin with your fingers. "Please talk to me."

"Alex. I can't."

"Why not," you beg.

"I… I can't… I can't stand you looking at me like that," I mumble as I try to turn my head away from you.

"Liv, baby, please."

"I…I just, I'm not going to, but don't you ever wonder what the world'd be like if you weren't in it?"

You take a deep breath and rub a tear from my cheek. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?"

"What do you think I'm saying?" I ask, holding my breath for your answer…


"I'm thinking…" I start. "It sounds like you're… Are you… I, I can't. I just can't…" Finish the sentence or the thought.

You look at me, and silently ask me why.

I'm not sure why. I was able to do that just the other day. The other day though, I was purely speculating. Now you're confronting me with it.

Part of me wants to slap some sense back into you. How dare you contemplate this… this…

Another part of me wants to hold you, and cry with you, and tell you everything will be all right, and how delightful life can be, and how it's worth living.

I don't do any of those things.

Instead, I smile at you, and brush away the next drop of tear that escapes your eye and runs down your cheek. Then another. And another.

You're still looking at me, still waiting for my response.

I smile, and hold your face in my hands. "No, I never wondered how the world would be like without me."

"That's not…"

"No, it's not the question you just asked. But it was one you asked earlier." I smile again, and kiss you softly on your lips. I can feel your eyes on me. I know you're watching my every move.

You start to speak, and I use my fingertips to silence you.

"I have, however, thought about how the world would be like without you."


"All the people you've helped. Their lives would be a whole lot different now, if you weren't there. And if you weren't there to catch the perps, there would've been many more victims."

"But I'm not… not now…"

"You're still a good cop, Liv. Sure, you're not on the streets right now, but you're still making a difference. That Bernhard boy, I watched you with him, and only you were able to get through to him."

"That was a fluke."

"Was it really, Liv? Are you trying to tell me your whole career is a fluke?"

You shrug, your eyes still swelling with tears.

I swallow my own, and I conjure another smile. A sad smile. "I also know how my world was like without you."

"I'm sor…"

"Shh… That was before. We're way beyond that. But the night you got hurt… I don't think I ever told you how scared I was. I didn't, I wouldn't know what to do if I had lost, if you had…" I still can't finish the thought. "I was so happy, I still am happy, that we're sitting here, right now, together, having the talk we're having. Because you're still where I can touch you, and kiss you…"

1096 Belief

"Baby," You whisper.

"Alex…I'm…I'm sorry." I mumble, feeling warm wet tears flowing down my face faster than you can wipe them away.

"What are you sorry for?" You ask, pulling me forward in the chair, wrapping me into your arms.

"I don't know," I say. The tears that are escaping from my eyes are unstoppable, now, I sob and take deep breaths, my body racking against you.

"Shh.." You whisper as you carefully rub my back.

"I'm so sorry," I keep mumbling.

"You don't have to be sorry, sweetie," you sigh.

"I'm…I…I…" I heave against you.

"Shh…" You whisper again.

"I'm sorry you had to go through this."

"Liv, I don't regret loving you. Stop asking me to."


"Of what," you say, pulling me back, looking to my eyes.

"I'm scare of me. I'm scared of what's in my head."

"I…" I hear you choking on your words. "I'm scared too Liv."

"I'm sorry…" I moan.

"We're going to make this better," you say with resolve I wish I felt. "I'm going to help you. We're going to do this together," you say, holding me tighter.

I wish I believed you….

I wish I still believed in me….


I struggle awake from my dream of rain. Caught naked in a torrential downpour that usually occurs only in the Tropics, that had suddenly become a light mist.

Yesterday, I dreamt I was in the shower, with my clothes on.

The day before, we were walking along the shore, hand in hand, the spray of the sea hitting my face.

It's never what it really is. I wonder why.

Carefully, I shift, to ease the numbness from my arm. I try not to wake you, even though I wonder if I should…

You're crying in your sleep again.

Do you cry in your sleep because this is the only time you let your guards down? Where you feel comfortable enough to face your sorrows? Or demons? Or whatever it is that's troubling you?

Are you crying because you start your first session with your psychiatrist today, and you're afraid?

Actually, we're both afraid.

I still wonder if we made the right decision to wait. We really can't risk your career by checking you into a psych ward, right? Besides, you did finally admit you have a problem, that you're afraid, and you're willing to get help…

Your acceptance of your condition should ease my mind. Somehow, it doesn't. Maybe I'm just worrying too much, like I always do. Maybe I'm still just paranoid from my own imbalance. I hope that's the case.

I have to believe that's the case.

Looking down, very gently, I wipe the still flowing tears from your face, and from the valley of my breasts…

You shift, and snuggle tighter against me, sending another tingle, a different kind of tingle, down my spine…

Our lovemaking, it's different again. Now it's taken on a level of desperation. Not quite the same desperation we had before, when we were each other's air. Now, it's almost like we're afraid that if we stopped, if we looked anywhere but at the present, one of us would turn into a pillar of salt.

Am I your Orpheus, or are you mine?

The way we sleep, it's different, too. Now you lay on me, hold onto me, all through the night. As if I'm your buoy, the stability you need. I'm glad. I don't mind.

Or are you afraid I might change my mind about staying, and slip away while you're asleep?

"I love you, Liv," I tell you softly. Maybe you'll actually listen, with your guards down.

"I'll never leave you.

"We'll work through this.

"I believe in you.

"And in us."

One of us has to…

1098 Not Alone

I feel like I'm breaking, the same dream, the same moment, over and over again.

Desperate black sadness fills my heart, and I'm alone.

I feel alone at least. My voice echoes and ahead of me I can see you, smiling, out of my reach.

Even though you're here, I'm scared. Scared because you turn away me and run the other way.

I chase you.

But I can't get there.

I call your name but echoes of my voice come back and taunt me.

The darkness is going to win. I'm scared. It's dark, and I feel the tears streaming down my face.


Dies on my lips.

Feeling for you.

I hear your voice in my head.

"I love you," you whisper in the haze…

"I'm not going to leave you…" you promise….

"I believe in you…"

For the first time I see light.

I feel warm.


You hold me tight. I can't see you, but I know it's you.

Making me safe.

Making me secure.

1099 TODAY

There's something different about you this morning.

I wonder what it is.

You actually cracked a small smile when, at a moment of playful spontaneity over breakfast, I stuck my spoon in your face, and you tasted the yogurt mixture without comment.

Then right before we walked out the door, you pulled me back and gave me a hug. You haven't done that in… forever.

So something is different, I'm sure of it.

I hope it's not just my imagination. I actually think I saw glimpses of hope in your eyes.

Is it because you're finally going to get the help you know you need? The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, that you can see?

I hope I'm not being too optimistic.

I know your session with your psychiatrist will be difficult, and it's only the first of many. We have a long road ahead of us…


I turn towards your voice, and realize we're stopped behind a red light. "Yeah?"

"What are you thinking?"

"About you… and us."

"What about?"

I shrug and smile. "I love you."

Letting go of the steering wheel, you reach over, and place your hand on my thigh. "I love you, too," you tell me softly, and give my leg a light squeeze.

"To tell you the truth, I'm a little nervous," I reveal, and laugh a nervous laugh. "Okay, a lot nervous." Maybe if I admit to it, then it'll be okay if you do, too.

"Thanks for going with me. I, uh, I'm sure you have better things to do on a Saturday morning."

Playfully, I swat you on the arm, like I used to. "Don't be asinine."

"So you're gonna wait for me?"

"Of course." Patting my bag for emphasis, I confirm, "I even brought a book to read…"

1100 Selective

I walk out the door with the scrap of paper in my hand. I see you searching me for it and you smile as I hold it out for you.

"You got it?"

"Yep," I say, showing you the paper which you happily take out of my hand. You grab my hand and give it a quick squeeze.

"That's good." You say, searching my face quickly. "What's wrong?" you ask.

"Nothing," I mumble.


"I'm just a little….I don't know. It's hard. I don't want to feel…hopeful…yet."

"I know sweetie, but this is a step in the right direction."

"I know."

"It's okay. We'll stop and get it, maybe stop and get lunch?"

I sigh.

"It's gonna be okay."

"Let's just go home?"

"Baby, you were in such a good mood."

"I.. I'm sorry Alex."

"Liv, you don't have to be sorry. What'd you guys talk about?"

"With the shrink?"

"Yeah," you laugh.

"Just about being sad."

"Did you tell him anything else?"

"Like what?" I ask back, pretending I don't know the answer to your question…


I see you walk into the waiting area, and quickly, I shove my book into the bag, not caring to mark it. It's not like I remembered anything I read anyway.

By the time I get up, you're already standing before me, with a slip of paper in your hand. I smile a cautiously hopeful smile, while you push the paper towards me. "What's that?"

"You know." You shrug and stick your hands in your coat pocket.

It's the prescription your shrink wrote you, that much is obvious. There's something off though, in the way you're shuffling your feet. Your whole body, it's such a contrast with your mood this morning. "What's wrong," I ask, and search your face.

"Nothing. It's just, it's just hard to, you know."

Expose your soul to a stranger? Yeah, I guess I do know. I smile, and squeeze your hand. "It'll get easier."

"I suppose."

"You want to drop this off, then go grab lunch while we wait for them to fill it?" I try to sound cheerful, to pretend I'm not worried.

"Can we," you sigh. "Let's just go home."

"What about your pills?"

"They have a pharmacy downstairs, it shouldn't take that long."

Finally, I give in. "Okay," I smile, looping my arm around yours and moving towards the elevators.

"I'm sorry," you mumble.

Mustering a lightness I don't feel, I turn and press a kiss to your cheek. "It's okay."

"You sure?"

"Sure, I'm sure. So what did you guys talk about?"

"Stuff. You know, that I'm depressed."

Okay… I can't hold back any longer. "Did you talk about…"

"About what, Alex?"

"About, you know. What we talked about the other day." Somehow I still can't come out and say it.

"Huh?" You pretend to be ignorant. Guess you have the same problem I do.

"You know, wondering what the world would be like without you?"


"Did you?"

"Yeah, sort of. Well, he asked."

"Sort of?"

1102 Omission

"I didn't come right out and say it, okay?"

"Liv, I'm just trying to talk to you. You don't have to tell me anything."

I sigh and cross my arms. Sometimes, I wish you'd just yell at me. Tell me that I'm being a jerk and rage against my mood. Maybe if you did, then I'd feel justified in feeling so bad.

As it is? I have no right.

I have the most understanding partner in the world, who even though she's in the midst of her own depression is still managing to support me. Is there for me, and let's me hold on to her, to beg her for her constant support. And here I am, moping, feeling bad for myself. Feeling defective for having a stupid prescription written for me. Feeling sorry for myself was something I used to not be so great at, instead I would numb what was bothering me with booze, but now, now that that's not an option… now I have become a champion at putting myself down.

I was strong with alcohol. Now, I'm weak.

"There's nothing to tell Alex."

"So when he asked what did you say?"

"I looked shocked and denied it."


"Because I don't want to get strapped to a gurney and get carried away by the men in white suits."

"But that didn't happen the last time." You protest.

"You want to tempt fate?"

"I don't think we should think about it like that. He might have had some solutions for you."

"The solution is not to do it Alex. And I won't, okay?"

"Okay." You say. Your eyes are clouded with fear and I know you want to believe me, but you don't fully.

"I won't. Let's just…drop it okay?"


For as many minutes as we've been sitting here, you've sighed for as many times. I look over at you, and you are twisting your fingers together, dejection written all over your face.

"What's wrong, Sweetie?" I ask.

"Nothing," you mutter.

It's my turn to sigh.

"You know what? You're right. Let's grab lunch, instead of waiting here," you say, slapping your knees.

"Are you sure? I thought you just wanted to go home."

You sigh again, and cross your arms around yourself.

"Come on, Liv. Talk to me."

"Do you have to be so goddamn persistent?" You grumble, then you relent. "I'm sorry, I just…"

"It's okay. I'm sure you want…"

"I'm not sure what I want, Alex," you cut me off. "I just, I feel so useless. So weak."

"You're not. You just need…"

You interrupt again, and snap, "Do you have be so positive?"

Okay, you're trying my patience. Chill, Cabot, mood swings, remember? I tell myself, and keep a fixed smile. "I'm trying to be, Liv. We've got a long road ahead of us."

"Yeah, well, you can always take the next exit."

"Olivia," I warn. "We're not going through this again."

You sigh. "I'm sorry. I just feel, so… I used to be so independent. Now I rely on you."

"We rely on each other, Liv."

"Well, I'm relying on the Captain's good grace."

"Don is a practical man." I state as a matter of fact. "I'm sure he wouldn't keep you on, if he didn't value your contributions."

"Maybe. But I'm going to be relying on a happy pill."

"It's just a little extra, to help, until you can resolve the things that are troubling you." At least so I tell myself about my happy pills.

"What if I don't…"

"You will." I take your hand, and give it a warm squeeze. "You're a strong person."

If you allow yourself to be…

1104 More Often

"Let's go to lunch." I say, carefully. I'm watching as your face turns sad, like mine, and I don't want that. Your positivity, it shouldn't be something I blame you for. I guess I should be happy that you are at least trying to take me out of my funk. And it's not your fault that I feel like this, really, is it? So why am I taking it out on you?

"You obviously just want to sit here," you say, sighing yourself, pushing yourself back into the chair and crossing your arms.

"No, let's go." I say, standing up and turning to you.

"Really?" You say, a small smile curling your lips.

"Yeah." I say, trying to fake a smile, determined not to make you frown anymore.

Maybe there's something to be said for faking it until you make it. Probably not, but maybe.

I wait for you to stand up, and when you do, I feel your fingers on my face.

"I want you to be happy, baby," you whisper.

"I know," I whisper. "I want you to be happy too."

"I am."

"Allie, I know you're not. I feel like…I feel like I make you sad. Or just, I feel like most of the time, I upset you."

"Sometimes you do, but most of the time, more of the time than not, you make me very happy." You say kissing me on the tip of the nose.

"I'm glad I have you."

You wrap your arms around me and hold me close. "I'm glad I have you." You whisper back.

We hold each other close for what seems like an eternity.

"I love you," you whisper.

"I know," I say, staring at you, deep into your eyes.

"Do you?"

"Of course," I say, squeezing you.


Together we walk hand in hand to the restaurant a few blocks away. The whole time, you have a fixed smile on your face.

At least you're trying, even if you don't mean it.

The waiter shows us to our table, and we watch each other as we sit down, and pick up our menus. We're watching each other, and smiling.

"Check it out!" You point towards the window.


"Pigeons, in the middle of the road."

I squint. "Are they doing what I think they're doing?"


"In the middle of traffic?"

"It's not that busy."

"Guess pigeons have no shame," I laugh.

You turn to me, and reach for my hands. Gently, you rub your thumb across my knuckles to catch my attention.

I smile at you as our eyes meet. "Yes, Liv?"

You smile back, a genuine smile this time. "You have a beautiful laugh, Alex. I've missed it."

Self-consciously, I remove my hand from your grasp, and tuck my hair behind my ear.

My embarrassment makes your smile wider. "You look so pretty when you blush, too."


"I'm serious," you say, your gaze landing on the rings on my fingers. "Hey, you're wearing them backwards," you observe, and begin to slide them off.

"Guess I wasn't paying attention when I put them on this morning." I shrug while you push the two tone band on first, followed by the engagement ring. I expect you to let go afterwards, but you don't. Instead, you start to play with the rings and my fingers.

When was the last time we acted like this? I can't remember.

Your whisper interrupts my reverie. "I love you," you say softly.

"Love you, too," I mouth, smiling, fearing my voice would disturb the moment…

1106 Caught

"What do you want?" I ask you, your hand still in mine, my fingers twirling the rings around your fingers. You stare at me absently for a minute, and then you smile. I watch as you reach out and touch my rings, your fingers holding mine.

You smile at me, a deep warm smile. "I don't know, what are you getting?"

"I don't care." I say, the menu sitting under my arms. I don't want to let your fingers go, a sudden burst within me makes me want to never let go.

I want to feel close to you.

I stare out the window. "They're still going at it."

You laugh again. "Why are you looking?"

"I don't k now, I can't help it. Maybe we should go out there and protect them from gawkers."

"The only one gawking is you." You say with a light laugh, giving my hand a squeeze.

"Funny." I say, your hands still holding mine. "Did you decide?"

"On what?"

"Lunch Alex." I say with a smile. Now I can see out of the corner of my eye that you're watching the pigeon's, who are decidedly having a good time in the street.

"Now who's the voyeur?" I ask with a laugh.

"Shut up," You say, snapping your head back to the menu. "What are you getting?" You ask me, looking into my eyes.

"We could share something." I suggest.

"We haven't done that in…"

"A long time," I finish for you.

"Yeah." You say, with a sigh.

"It feels good…"


So we're sharing our food, and smiling genuinely at each other, and feeding each other, and holding hands.

It feels almost surreal.

It also feels natural.

Like when we were on the island…

To soon, the plate is empty. The waiter will be here in a few moments.

"Do you want dessert?" I ask, not wanting our lunch to end.

"Do you?"

"I think so."

"Okay," you smile agreeably, cheerfully.

Do you want this to last as much as I do?

"So what are we getting?"

"I don't know. Why don't you pick?"

"I picked lunch, Liv. It's your turn."

"You get to decide. I already have something in mind," you say with a crooked grin.

It's ridiculous, I know, but I feel a sudden disappointment. "We're not sharing?"

"Oh, we're sharing, Alex. At least I hope we are."

"I don't get it."

"The pigeons, they gave me an idea or two."

"Liv!" I swat you on your arm. "We're not, not in the middle of the street."

"We did in the middle of the beach."

"We were in the ocean, where people couldn't see. You said so yourself."

"I know. Did I say anything about doing it in public? Or do you just wanna?"

"No!" I answer a little too loudly, so I repeat my answer. "No. I don't want to, not in public. Thank you very much."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure," I give you the dirtiest look I could come up with. I suppose it would help if I had managed to hide my smile. "Do you want to just ask for the check then?" I ask, hoping I don't sound as eager to you than I did to my ears. "I'm sure they have your prescription ready by now…"

1108 Lightly

We sit across from the table trying not to smile. An eternity seems to pass as we wait for the waiter to return to us with a check in his hand. You have a credit card ready, shoving it at him before he can even slip the bill onto the table.

Your feet run up my shins while you smile at me innocently.

"I see you have ideas too." I say with a half smile.

I feel better. I guess faking it does work a little.

"Maybe." You say, slowly, teasingly.

"Maybe?" I say, lightly.

"Maybe." You repeat.

I smile at you.

"I'm…" You start carefully.

I look at you expectantly and you turn your head. "What?" I ask you.

"I'm… I'm happy. That you're not angry anymore."

"I wasn't really angry," I say letting my fingers scoop through my hair.

"You were upset." You say diplomatically.

"I still feel defective Alex. But I can learn to deal with that, or I can let it ruin my life. And yours."

"Well, I'm glad that you're dealing. Even if I don't think you're defective."

"You have to say that," I say, sticking my tongue out childishly.

"Very attractive."

"I thought you would think it was a turn on."

You blush a deep shade of crimson. "Jesus Liv."

"What?" I ask, laughing at your embarrassment.

"I'm just…I'm just happy."


Outside the restaurant, we smile at each other. Then out of habit, we look all around us, before we step together. As casually as possible, I loop my hand through the crook of your arm, and I wait.

To my surprise, you don't react, at lease not right away. When you do, it's with a crooked smile, and a light lift of your brow.

So I keep on walking, with you.

Back to the building which housed your psychiatrist's office. To where your pills are undoubtedly waiting for us.

I wonder if you do feel better…

You give my arm a gentle tug, to catch my attention. "I'm glad you're happy," you say, with a smile.

"Yeah," I smile back, trying to focus on the feeling of elation.

"You have a beautiful smile."

"So you said."

"But you do," you insist, grinning at the blush coloring my face.

I don't try to hide my happy embarrassment. In fact, I let it push out, or at least cover, the ominous feeling nagging at me.

I can't help it, but I wonder how long this happy feeling would last. If it would last.

I hope it will; I just have to believe that it will.

"Can't you take a compliment?" You tease.

I smile and lightly poke my elbow in your ribs. "Thank you. I'm just happy."

Maybe if I say it, think it, believe it enough, it'll stick.

"I'm glad."

"Are you, Liv?"

"Am I what?"

"Happy?" Maybe I shouldn't have said that. Why did I ask that? Why couldn't I just let it go? Carefully, I add, "Or at least relieved?"

"I'm not sure relief's the right word, Alex. But it's a step. One step at a time, right?"

"And a day at a time," I agree, and you sigh. "Hey, at least it's not like last time." I hope you'll find my cheerfulness contagious.

"What do you mean?"

I hug your arm to my side. "This time, I know your 'one day at a time' includes me…"

1110 Odds

It's amazing what a month can do.

Both of us, happily popping pills, we've managed to turn our lives around. For once, I actually feel… light. Happy.

Well, happier than I've felt in a long time.

They let me back on the job, which was a big help. My memories improved, which has been a huge fight. Even though I hate to admit it, the lists you made me make actually started to help. To the point that sometimes, my memory is far better than yours.

Your laugh, which was a fading memory, is back. Light and airy, you remind me of what there is to live for. We still have our moments, when sadness and the world creep in, but somehow, we seem better able to deal with them.

And it's not just the pills. We've kept up with therapy, talking about ourselves and to each other. Working on the insecurities that plague us. Working on the pieces of us that were ripping us apart. And now? Things are better. You ask for my opinion and for the first time, I'm far more willing to give it without fearing your reaction.

When I feel weak, I know I can trust you to prop me u p, and I hope that you feel the same way.

We're getting along. Finally.

Finally happy.

So why am I walking around waiting for the ball to drop?

Something to happen that's going to tear us away from happiness?

You laugh, when I tell you. Telling me that we deserve the happy moments we've managed to find now. Telling me that I shouldn't be looking for something bad to happen, but our history, our history would indicate that for every good there's an equal bad.

Can that really change?

I mean what are the odds?


We're happy. So happy. Almost ridiculously happy.

So what if you're walking around waiting for the bomb to land on our heads? If the sky falls, we can always use it as a blanket, right?


At least that's what I try to convince you.


I know it's the drugs.

Sure, we're talking more. Our therapy sessions have actually been productive. Wonderfully productive. We're getting along better than we have – if not ever, at least for a long while.

So maybe we're happy because we've changed.

Oh, and you're no longer stuck behind a desk. Going back to full duty helps you a lot.

Which helped us.

Even though I still worry about you going out there everyday, I don't have the moments where I'm seized with panic like I did.

Things don't bother me like they used to. Even when faced with chastisements from Petrovski, I just tell her 'yes, your honor' and that'd be that. No arguments. Nothing.

It's got to be the pills.

I'm not sure I can handle the idea that I might have naturally mellowed.

Would it be so bad though, if I had? I wonder. I'm still doing my job as a prosecutor. My secretary and legal assistantsdon't look at me like I'm about to spontaneously explode.

Still, I can't help wondering what would happen if one or both of us got off the antidepressant. Would things go back to the way they were?

Or do you have to rely on happy pills for the rest of your life, because you're genetically predisposed to depression?

What about me? It's not supposed to be addictive, but I can still rely on it too much.

Or can I?

What would happen if I skipped a day?

Maybe I could skip a day. It'd be easy to tell if things get worse again. Then at least I'll know.

But maybe I have learned how to control my temper. Maybe my perspectives have changed, after everything that happened to us. That wouldn't be bad. No, not bad at all.

What would you say to this? Would you be adamantly opposed to the idea? I don't want to upset what we have now.

I suppose I don't have to tell you… but I don't want to lie to you either...

Should I do it?

1112 Logic

"Good morning, beautiful," I smile at you as you walk into the kitchen rubbing sleep out of your eyes.

You smile at me.

Your smile makes me smile. God, it's amazing. This happy feeling. I'm starting to get used to it.

"I don't know how you can be happy. It's too early to be awake," you whine, wrapping your arms around my neck. "What's for breakfast?" You ask, staring over my shoulder.

"Food," I say, back.

"Smart ass," you ruffle my hair and pull out juice glasses, carefully filling them with juice.

"That's me," I say with a smile, reaching up over the sink and pulling out the pills that are providing the stability. "Time for our happy pills," I say with a smile.

You look at me for a second, and then take your bottle out of my hand.

I throw them down my throat, and watch, stunned as you don't down them as quickly as I did. You open the bottle slowly, carefully. I watch you pull them out and stare at them.

"What's wrong?" I ask you, instinctively.

"Nothing," you say, the pills still in your hand.

"Well then," I say, staring now at you staring at the pills.

"What's the hurry?"

"The faster you take them the faster we move on with our day."

"What if…" You ask, pausing carefully, thoughtfully.

"What if what?"

"What if I don't take them?"

"Why would you want to do that?

"I don't know….what if I don't really need these?" You say, pushing them around.

"How do you feel?" I ask you gently.


"How do you feel?"


"Then why do you want to mess with that?"

"I don't…I don't know." You say gently, still staring at the pills in your hand.

1113 WHIM

"What if," I stare at the pills in my hand.

You watch me intently. "What if?"

"I just don't want to, you know, get addicted?"

"It's not a drug," you pick up my glass and move towards me. "I mean it is, but it's not the same. Besides, didn't your shrink say she'll let you know if the time comes, when she thinks you could stop?"

"Yeah… She did say that," I reply slowly, and watch you take the antidepressants from my hand.

"Now be a good girl," you smile, and raise the pills over my mouth. "Open up."

I take the juice from you, and swallow obediently. Maybe you're right, why mess with what's working? You didn't want to rely on happy pills before, and now you've changed your mind about them. Obviously, they're helping. Do I really need to know so badly whether I've evolved?

I smile, put down my glass, and loop my arms around your neck again. "So what do I get for being good?"


"Besides breakfast…" I whisper, nibbling on your earlobe.

You close your eyes, sliding your hands around my waist and under my shirt. "Be breakfast?"

I run my tongue slowly along the shell of your ear, eliciting a shiver. "Nope."

"Have me for breakfast?"

I pull back, and smile at your sigh. "Nope."


Playfully, I mimic your whine. "Livvy!"

"Well, then tell me, what do you want," you demand, your smile never leaving your face.

I've missed this. Our happiness. Not having to tiptoe around each other. Not having to worry whether I'd snap at you, or that you'd wonder if the world would miss you. Yeah, it's definitely worth taking the happy pills, I decide.

"After therapy, let's drive out to Trevor's cottage," I suggest, on a whim.

"Are you nuts? It's the middle of winter."

"Exactly, nobody else would be around. It'll be romantic."

"I don't know, Alex. The beach? Maybe we can go up to your mom's. There's a fireplace in the guest house. It'll be romantic."

That's so typically practical of you. I protest, "But then I'll have to share you with mom."

"We haven't seen her for a while."

"So we'll go see her next weekend. I just want this to be about us," I lean into you, winding my fingers in your hair. "Just you and me," I breathe softly against your neck…

1114 Tease

I watch as your beautiful blue eyes fill with excitement. The idea of spending the weekend in Trevor's beach house doesn't even begin to sound like a good idea, but your enthusiasm for the idea is contagious.

"What if we show up and he's in there with his secretary?"


"He's not, he's in Florida." You say, wrapping your arms around my neck.

"How do you know?"

"He called to brag." You say with a smile. "Besides, Mom said he should share."


"So you want to?" You ask, excited and smiling.

I laugh and you start kissing my neck. "That's not fair," I mumble, pushing you back, barely able to contain my smile.

"What's not fair," you laugh.

"You're trying to influence my decision."


"Kisses are hitting below the belt."

You laugh. "Below the belt, huh?"

"Yeah, undue influence to the jury."

"So does it work?"

"Are you implying I can be bribed with kisses?"

"I'm hoping you can be."

"You really want to do this?"

"Mmmhmmm." You say, another slow kiss, this time on my cheek.

"Fine, we'll go." I say, pretending it's a concession.

You smile, and give me a quick hug. "I'll pack," you say, running away.


"Sweetie?" You reach over and place a hand over my hand on the steering wheel.

I stop the drumming of my fingers. "Sorry."

"Why are you so twitchy?"

"I just can't wait."

"For what?"

"You know exactly what. The beach!"

"Yes, Alex," you smile and stroke my arm with your finger tips. "Don't forget we have to get through therapy first."

"I know. You think if we talked twice as fast we could get out sooner?"

"You'd think we have detention or something."

"Certainly feels that way." I stick my tongue out and you laugh. "What? What's so funny?"

"You remind me of someone."


"Me, when we were waiting to board the plane, to go to the island."

"I'm not nearly as annoying, or twitchy."

"That's all relative, Sweetie."

"Shut up," I tell you, and can't help but smile when you take my hand and press it to your lips.

"I think it's adorable."

"Puppies and babies are adorable, Liv."

"And you, when you're impatient with excitement." You smile and rub your fingers across my knuckles, showing no signs of wanting to let go.

I don't want you to either; to prove it, I give your fingers a light squeeze. "I'm just glad we're going away, just the two of us."

"For a weekend. Actually more like twenty-four hours."

"An afternoon, an evening, a night, a morning, and at least half a day," I count the sections of the day. "See? A day seems longer if you break it down right."

"Okay," you throw up your hands in mock defeat. "I give up."

"Good." I grin, and at the next light, I press a kiss to your cheek. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"For going with me? It wouldn't be fun without you."

1116 Closer

"Why is it that I think you'd have gone without me?" I say, with a gentle smirk. You look at me exasperated, but you smile at me anyway.

"I wouldn't have." You protest.

"Yeah you would." I laugh.

"It's the ocean Liv. And just the two of us. Out there alone, we'll be able to just be together. With nothing to distract us, nothing to worry about, no phones, no problems. It's romantic."

"I know," I say with a smile. "Plus, it's Trevor's place so it's guaranteed to have a mirror over the bed and shag carpeting."

You laugh and hit me playfully. "That's not nice. So are you excited?"

"Yeah, of course," I say with a smile.

"Good," You say, turning in your seat and staring out the window.

"But there is just one thing. I'd just like to mention that we're on an island and there's ocean all around us."

"That's not really the ocean." You mumble. "It's a sound."

"It connects to the ocean."

"That's a technicality."

"Your specialty." I say with a smile.

"You're not excited."

"Yes I am," I say with a smile. "Why wouldn't I be excited to go to the ocean in the middle of winter?"

"It's romantic."

"I know," I say, squeezing your hand.

"If you don't…"

"Of course I want to go," I interrupt your train of thought. "Why wouldn't I want to?"

"I don't know."

"I'm just teasing you." I say, kissing your hand again, watching as the slow smile spreads across your face.


A few more minutes, and we'll be there. The two-and-a-half-hour drive felt like days. Okay, so I'm exaggerating. There's just this rush of excitement, a sense of freedom. It's almost intoxicating…

"It's gorgeous, isn't it?" I comment on the scenic coast as we take the last turn off the highway.

"Yeah, I'll bet it's freezing too."

"You're such a romantic," I say with exasperation, still staring out the window.

You just laugh, a clear tinkling laugh I haven't heard for… a while. I'm glad you're finally happy, or at least happier.

"I just can't wait until we get inside."

"You know, Liv, you're acting like we're in the Arctic or something. But we're going from a heated car into a heated house. And it can't be any colder here than the city."

"Says you."

"Are you sure you want to be here?"

"Of course. I wanna be with you. And if you wanna spend a day in the tundra, so be it," you shrug, with a teasing smile that lights your eyes.

"Liv," I sigh. Still, I can't help but smile with you.

"Well," you pull the car onto the carport, and turn off the ignition. "We made it."


"The miracle of GPS huh?"


"Think we brought enough food?"

"Liv, people live around here. I'm sure they have restaurants and shops."

"But Sweetie, what if…" Now you're just being silly.

Reaching over, I ruffle your hair. "We're not stranded on a desert island. It's not even an island."

You unlock the doors and wait for me to move. "Aren't you gonna get out?"

"Nope." I lean across the seat and pull you close. "Let's just sit here, for a little while."

You slide your arm around my shoulders, and continue your gentle teasing, "What? And enjoy the view of the back of the house?"

I nudge you on your stomach. "And the space we share? And the air we breathe?"

"Now you're being silly."

"I know."

We stay quiet for the next few minutes. Then I pick my head off your shoulder, and press a kiss to your neck. "Okay, let's go."

1118 Truth

We walk into the cottage slowly, plodding through what seems like seven feet of snow and pulling the front door. You look around like you're expecting something when we step into the warm and cozy kitchen.

"You sure Trevor's out of town?" I ask with a smile.

"Of course," you scold me, but I'm starting to wonder if you made that up.

I watch as you peer around corners. "If he comes down here, he's going to kill us."

"I know," you say, with an evil smile. "But isn't that part of the fun?"

"Having your brother walk in on us? Not really." I smile.

"He's not going to. Promise."

"If you say so."

You look in the fridge and smile. "You can tell he uses this place to seduce the ladies," you say with a smile. "All he has is caviar, wine, and…I don't even know what that is." You mumble.

I lean over your shoulder. "It looks like it was cheese at some point. A past life, maybe."

"See? He doesn't come here that often."

"Yeah? It's probably because it's frozen and under three feet of snow."

"Oh you and the snow. It's romantic." You say again.

"Yes, I remember." I say, smiling.

"Want to light a fire?"

"Sure," I say with a smile. "We might need it for survival."

You throw me another look. "Are you going to make those references all weekend?"


"Okay, at least you told me in advance. I guess that's good."

"Well, I keep waiting for you to promise to keep me warm."

"Oh, I will," you say, leaning in and kissing me deeply.

1119 FIRE

I slide my tongue gently into your mouth, tracing light languid circles along your lips, stroking your tongue.

I kiss you carefully, playfully. Deeply.

Until your hands push down my back, and tug at my clothes.

Then I smile, and ease away, just slightly. "How's that?"

Furrowing your brows, your eyes still closed, you reach for me again, pulling me into your arms.

I tickle the corner of your mouth with the tip of my tongue. "Well?"


"Any warmer?"

"Allie!" You sigh, moving in to resume our kiss.

With a teasing grin, I hold you back, and ask, "What about the fire?"

"Argh. Fine."

"Oh, come on," I grab for your arm, then your waist. "Can't you take a little teasing? You do it to me often enough."

"That's different."

"Is it?" I press my body tightly against yours, and push my hands up your sides, skimming across your nipples puckering under your clothes. I don't stop or linger, instead, I wind my fingers in your hair…

And I kiss you again, deeply, fiercely this time.

"I want you," I tell you in between kisses. My tongue thrusting into your mouth, your teeth biting into my lips. I want you like it's the first time I ever touch you.

Almost frantically, I tear at your clothing. I need to feel your naked skin.

Frantically, you pull at my sweater, my shirt. We break our kisses only long enough to get rid of the layers between us.

"Love you," I mutter, as we tumble into the overstuffed couch.

"You, too," you mumble, pressing kisses down my throat. Teeth grazing, hard sucking kisses that will for sure leave marks.

I lean into them, as I arch into you. As I press my thigh against you, and grind into you. I want you.

I need you like I need sunshine, like I need air. And as your mouth close over my breast, I reach down and push into your heat.

"God, I need you…"

1120 Need

You don't even let me get anywhere near the fire. You straddle my lap and rub yourself against me, with deep desperate kisses that steal my breath away.

You tell me you need me, whisper it in my ear, carefully, intently. I know you mean it, I know you believe that you need me more than anything.

It echoes in my ears.

I can feel your desire, pressing into me, struggling against me. You push against me, and I feel my body responding to you.

We haven't been this desperate for each other, not for a long time.

What is it with us and being somewhere else? Why is it that the moment we step out of our lives we step out of our own boring routines? Even this overstuffed couch is its own kind of mecca, letting us cast aside the inhibitions that we would have in our own home.

You need me, you whisper again.

Feral need.

There are no gentle I love you's, no carefully placed kisses and gentle teasing.

You're pressing against me, into me, desperate.

You want me; need me.

I need you too.

Need you to love me. Need you to want me. Need this from you.

Your fingers slip inside me. Onto me.

I moan.

Your whisper is becoming a mantra. "I need you," comes from your lips again and again.

I hear you, and understand.

Part 1121

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