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

1281 HELP

I watch you pace around the room as I place the 911 call. I know you don't want to do this. You'd much prefer going out there to investigate. But we don't know what's out there. We don't even have a flash light. It is so hard to admit we need help?

You're still pacing when I put down the telephone. I walk up to you, and still your movements with my arms around your waist. "They'll be here as soon as possible."

"What does that mean?"

"Exactly what it means. They're on their way."

You twitch, agitation oozes from your pores.

"They have to drive through 2 feet of snow." I try a calm smile, and pull you towards the sofa. "Come sit with me."

"I can't. I've got to…"

"We're safe here. Come on," I coax. Reluctantly, you follow.

Soon, we see a flash of light. "See, that didn't take them too long."

"What if it's not them?" You ask, after minutes have passed. "Maybe I should see what's going on."


"If I were responding to the call, I would've come to the door first. To make sure everyone's okay."

"Yes, but I assured them we're safely locked in. And they know you're a cop, and armed."


"Maybe they're investigating the perimeters." I point to the beams of lights visible through the curtain. "Let's be patient."

Sure enough, there's a knock on the door, we race to open it.

"Ms. Cabot?" He identifies himself. "We spoke earlier."

"Yes, Officer," I reply, from behind you. Then I see him staring at our feet.

"Hmm…" He rubs his chin.

"What? What's going on?" You demand.

"We found foot prints from the road leading to your property. They appear to be too small for either of you."

"Did you see prints leading away?"

"My partner's looking now. But so far, no."

You turn to stare at me.

"Crap." I mutter.

1282 Creep

"Footprints," I mutter, looking at our feet wondering how this cop can size them in his head. I suppose that he must have more experience than I give him credit for, since I would never make such a bold assumption by merely peering down at someone's shoes. I mean, for god's sake, what if we're…I make myself stop. These guys are supposed to be helping us, and second guessing them isn't going to help anyone.

"I don't think they could be ours. We haven't been out today, except a few minute this morning and that wasn't beyond the front door…" You say quietly, trying to remember, looking at our feet. I wonder if you're thinking the same things I am. I could just hear your voice if I came to you with evidence like 'I swear Alex, I looked at their feet and they just don't fit in the print'.

"I went to the car," I remind you, trying to piece together a time line, trying to help the cop explain away the prints.

"But it's snowed since then," you add.

"True," I admit.

"You two aren't regulars here, are you?" He says, looking into the dimmed rooms behind us. I look over my shoulder at the roaring fire, your bra thrown over the back of the couch. I blush wondering how long it's been there, and how long he's been staring at both of us trying to figure out who it belonged to.

"No," you say calmly, oblivious to his roaming eyes, "This cabin belongs to my brother."

"Trevor Lanagan," He says, quickly.

"Yes," You say, with some curiosity on your face as to why he was so ready with the name.

"Is Trevor here?" He asks, peering around you, like he's looking for Trevor to pop up from behind the couch buckling his pants.

"No," You say, trying not to sound as disgusted as I know you feel. You had just identified him as your brother after all.

"And you're?" He says looking at me.

"I'm her… friend," I say, sensing something from this guy I don't like.

"Really? I thought you two were dykes."

"Excuse me?"

"Hey lady, there's nothing wrong with it."

"Look, are you here for a sex quiz or are you here to find the person who's creeping around the house?" I ask, anger flashing in my eyes.


"That's what my partner is doing, right now," the man says, wriggling his eyebrow.

"Look, Officer," I put a hand on your arm before you decide to belt him one. I have eyes, I know he's been leering at us, in a way that makes my skin crawl.

"Call me Mark," he says quickly, smiling, all teeth.

"Okay, Mike," you grit.

"Cabot. Is that your husband's name then?" He asks, not knowing he just made one step closer to the grave.

"No. Trevor's my half-brother," I answer him anyway. "Okay, I understand you have to ask questions to establish who we are, but there's someone trespassing on the property, and they might be dangerous, or in danger, considering the weather."

"Ah, yeah, my partner is a very capable man. Don't you worry," he grins patronizingly.

"Look, Marky," you seethe. "I don't know what kind of protocols you have…"

Once again, he cuts you off, "Oh, we're not like you city cops. We know what we're doing."

"Excuse me?"

"Oh, my bad. I mean we don't operate like you city cops. But we do know what we're doing."

"Right." And I wonder what your prosecutors do.

"Is Trevor really your brother?"

"Christ. Do I need to give you my mother's number so you can confirm?"

"Oh, that isn't necessary," he waves his hand. "Are you sure you two are not, you know, together?"

This time, I step in front of you. It won't be good if you get arrested for assaulting a police officer. "Why are you asking these questions? What are their relevance? Why aren't you asking about whether we've been harassed before now, or if anything unusual has happened?"

"Oh, I know Veronica down the street was giving you trouble. She's always been a little," he twirls his index finger in a circle near his temple, "you know. But can you blame her?"

"What do you mean by that?" Is it public knowledge that he's a playboy, a womanizer, who wants to watch? Is this man part of his group of voyeurs?

"Trevor, your brother, he's quite a man."


"Too bad he only likes women, at least so he claims," the uniformed policeman wiggles his brows again. "What a waste."


1284 From Zero To...

"What the hell?" I nearly scream at this guy. "Are you saying Trevor's gay?"

"No, I'm saying some people in town wish he was."

"Where the hell are we?" I look at you, my eyes wide open.

"Liv," you say, and I feel your arm reach for my right arm. You think I'm going to deck this guy. I know you do. And I also know that you want him to help us more than you care that he's insulting us, that he's making fun of your brother. That he's mocking us and our lives.

"There's something wrong with this town, Alex. The cops spend their time sitting around the police station speculating what the people who visit this house are doing in bed."

"I don't care what Trevor does in bed, but if you two ever decide you want an audience…"

This time you don't even wait for me to respond.

"Liv," you say again, reaching for my arm. Your eyes are wide, pleading with me. I take a deep breath. I know what you're asking without you having to say it. You need me to calm down. You need to believe this guy will help us.

"Look Lady, it's a small town, okay?" The cop behind you continues trying to fix all that he's said, "When two beautiful women blow into town and the rumor starts flying that they're, well, doing the things you two are supposed to be doing. Well, people get talking."

"Listen, you're not here about us. You're here about the person out there. Go find them." I snarl.

"Whatever," he says, turning on his heel. "We'll be back when we're done."

"Great," You say, slamming the door in his face.

"What an asshole." I mutter.

"Your friend?" You snarl at me, your eyes glaring.


"I'm just your friend? Fuck you," you yell at me, and storm into the bedroom slamming the door.

1285 HOLE

"But you are my friend," you knock at the door. "Allie. My best friend."

Sure. Whatever. I remain silent.

Then the click of the lock. Then sounds of your footfall. "What did you want me to say?" You whine. When I don't answer, you continue, "Tell him we're dykes?"

I turn, and meet your eyes.

You flinch. "I'm sorry," you fret. "I don't know why you're so upset about this."

If you can't figure out for yourself…

"Just because I refused to let the man have his fantasy?"

I cross my arms and my legs.

"Come on, Allie, help me out here."

"Locksmith," I provide coldly, and watch you rethink the events in your head.

"Okay, so he knows. See? I'm not ashamed of us."

"He knows because you acted like a jealous lover."

"But he was leering at you!"

"So was this guy."

"But he was leering at me, too!"

"So what? If someone trespass on your property, we can be lovers. But if someone confronts your sexuality, we're just friends?"

You stop, and think about what I said. "That's not… I don't look at you as my property!"

I raise my left hand, and run my finger across the bands. "Would you like these back?"

"Why? What are you… No, I don't want them back."

"Maybe you'd like to get us new ones? Non matching ones? Because, I guarantee you, the cop saw them before he asked if we're dykes."


"Or would you like to get extra rings so we can switch them out at your whim? Depending on the role you want to play?"

"That's ridiculous! And, and the two situations were, they were different!"

"How, Olivia? How?"

1286 Protection

"They're different because that guy, he was threatening us."

You look at me skeptically. "Whatever you need to tell yourself Liv. But if you don't think, after all this time, the fact that you'd basically deny me doesn't hurt, you're dead wrong."

"I'm not denying you, Jesus, Alex. Don't you think you're blowing this whole thing out of proportion?" I regret the words as soon as they're out of my mouth. Your face saddens, and you turn your back to me.

"No. I don't. I think that you stood there, stood in front of someone who you felt threatened by and were willing to lie to save yourself the embarrassment of having to be gay."

"I'm not embarrassed," I say, trying to defend myself from your attacks.

"Could have fooled me." You complain.

"Alex," I mumble, gently reaching out for your back. You react like I've burned you, jumping up and pulling as quickly away from me as you can manage. "Alex, please?"

"I can't… I can't be with you right now, okay?"

"Come on, Alex. You can't stay mad at me forever. It was just a slip up. I said it faster than I was thinking."

"What else is new?" You ask the air.

"Hey," I say, starting to feel anger boiling inside me too. You're not being fair, and you know it. This is just like you — just like the old you. Holding me over a barrel and laughing while you watch to see how I squirm to get out.

"So what if you had told him we were together? So he'd leer at us. He was already leering at us."

"I don't know, Alex. It's not like it was premeditated. I didn't have a plan, like if this guy asks me if I'm with you, I'll lie. I thought I was doing us a favor. I was trying to defend us."

"From what?"

"I…" I mumble, as my words start to fail me. I'm not sure what I was protecting us from. From that guy? From bigotry? From his hatred? From his requests to view us naked? Are you right? Was I trying to save myself embarrassment from admitting that his assessment was dead on, and we were "dykes" so to speak? "I don't know," I mumble, as you once again turn your back to me, leaving me in the cold.

1287 ADMIT

"Alex, please," you reach out, again, to touch me on my shoulder.

I flinch.

You recoil.

"I just wish…" I sigh, not knowing how to continue.


"I wish you didn't have problems with us, being seen, as a couple."

"But I don't! I was just trying to protect us!" You insist.

"Yet, you can't tell me what you were trying to protect us from. He was just a man, Liv, men have leered at us before."

"Yeah, but he asked to watch! He wants to see us naked!"

I laugh a bitter laugh. "And you denying us will stop him from wanting to watch? In his mind, I'm sure we were already naked."

"Look, Alex, I'm sorry, okay? I don't know why I said it, and it really wasn't my intent to hurt you. If I had known you'd react like this, I'd…"

"You'd what? Tell him we're dykes?"


Again, I laugh.

"It's really not funny!" You say, anger flashing from your eyes.

"No, it's not funny, Liv." I sigh.

"Then why are you laughing?"

"What do you want me to do? Cry? Every time I say the word 'dyke' you flinch. See? You just did it again. You have issues that we're dykes."

This time you catch yourself starting to cringe, and you stop. "But that's not what, but that's a derogatory word."

"So is 'pig'. When people call you that, would you deny you're a cop?"

"But that's…"

"Different," I finish the sentence for you. "Yes, of course it is. You still want to be straight, and love me at the same time."

"You're not being fair!"

"And you are?"

1288 Fight

This time, I can feel the anger flashing through me at what you're saying to me. You really believe what you're saying, but this isn't fair. I feel like you're picking on me, like you want to be mad at me. That you like being mad at me, making me beg you for your forgiveness. "Do you wait for this?" I demand from you, refusing to bow down to your accusations.


"Do you have like a quota? How many times you have to tear me down a day? You want to pick on me and pick on me and pick on me. Does it make you feel better about yourself? That you're never wrong and that I always am. No matter what I do, or what I say, you have a problem."

"Don't you turn this around on me. I'm not the one with the issue."

"Of course you are. You're the one who starts this stuff. You're the one who makes this the holy grail of our entire relationship."

"What are you talking about?"

"If this were reversed, I wouldn't have thought twice about you saying we were friends. Not after the cues that guy was giving off."

"That's exactly the problem. You don't see what the big deal is. You can't understand why it would upset me that you are only my wife when you want to be, when you don't think you're going to be judged. The difference between us is I wouldn't have said it. I'm not ashamed to love you."

"I'm not ashamed to love you either."

"Funny way of showing it," You mutter under your breath.

"Alex, we're different okay? I took what he was doing as a threat. I thought I needed to protect you. It's not personal, it's just that I don't want to have some guy attack you."

"That's entirely unrealistic. You told me you loved me but in the same breath you can pretend you don't. Pretend I'm just some friend of yours from work, and I don't understand that. I'll never understand that."

"That's what you think, but Alex, I've seen stuff like that. I've seen lots of people who've been hurt because of their sexuality. People who've been killed because someone doesn't like their sexuality. Or they hit on the wrong person at the wrong time."

"That's not what this is."

"But it could have been. It doesn't matter. The problem here isn't what I said. The problem is that you want to have a problem with me."


"You know what? If that's what you think I do, why are you even with me?"

"What do you mean?"

"Why would you want to be with someone who constantly beats you down? You don't strike me as a masochist."

"I'm not!"

"Then why are you with me?"

"Because I love you? For some reason?"

"For some reason?"

"I can't say I know why right now," you say, your voice dripping with sarcasm.

I know this conversation is just going to deteriorate if we keep on. But I just can't help myself, especially when I'm feeling sorry for myself. "Fine."


"Maybe we really are not good for each other," I tell you, bitterly. "Or at least I'm not good for you."

"Are you serious?"

"Well, you think I always have problems with you. You think we're codependent. That we spend too much time together. That I want too much sex. That I over react to every little thing."


"What? Aren't those your complaints about me and our relationship?"

"But you agreed… that we…"

"What? If I disagree with you, you'll just throw it back in my face, like you just did. You'd think I'm picking on you. If you don't want to spend your free time with me, I'm supposed to just accept it. I'm just supposed to think that there's something wrong with me for wanting to spend every breathing moment with you."

"But that's not, that's not what we're talking about."

"It is exactly what we're talking about. You love me when you want to love me. You think love can be rationed. That it's okay to pretend."

"But I told you, I was just trying to protect you!"

"Protect me from a cop? I'm not afraid of him, or anyone, for what they might do to me because of who I am, and whom I love. I'd gladly give my life defending my beliefs, or my love for you… Even if you don't feel the same way…"

1290 Insane

"You're being insane." I mumble under my breath. "This isn't about whether I love you. This isn't about any of that. Alex, I'm not complaining that you want too much sex. You were. I wasn't saying we should spend every free minute doing other things, you did. You made those problems up for us. I'm happy. You make these things into extremes. That's not me, that's you."

"I'm not making them up, Liv. I worry about us. I care about your happiness. I guess I'm glad that we came here this weekend, because now I know how you really feel."

"Oh good lord. Would you stop or do you want me to get you a cross and some nails?"

You give me a dirty look, and turn your back to me again. "I can't believe you said that."

"Alex, you're taking this too far. I love you, you know I love you. Just stop this, okay? I just don't think it's everybody's business what we do behind closed doors."

"So that's what I am? Something you "do" behind closed doors?"

"Stop twisting my words, Alex. You know this is all semantics. You know how I feel."

"I don't want to stay here with you." You mumble, turning away from me again


"No, Liv. I mean it. I don't want to be with you right now."

"Fine," I slam the door, behind me, and then look at it for a second. I open it again slightly and you shoot daggers at me with your eyes. "When you're ready to be reasonable, let me know." I slam the door shut harder this time.

With my slam I hear a knock at the door, the door to the outside.

The god damn cops, and best of all, the asshole who started this whole disaster.

I pull the door open and stare at him with a death glare. I think it's my imagination but it's as though his whole body shrinks down to half his size. I wait for a beat for him to say something, and when he doesn't, I growl at him. "Did you find anything?"

"Just the footprints…" He says softly, all the cockiness shot out of his body.

"But there's nothing there now?"

"Nothing we can find." He stammers.

"Great," I say, and slam the door. Thinking better of it, I open the door. "I just want to let you know that we're dykes, okay?"

"Okay," He says, the shock obvious on his face, as I slam the door again.


"Happy now?" You yank open the door with a whoosh, and poke your head in. "I told him."

I ignore your rash behavior which I'm sure you're going to regret. "I wasn't the one who thought we were co-dependent. You mentioned it first, and I merely agreed because I felt like I had to."

"No, I didn't say…"

"Yes you did. You wanted our own hobbies, even though with our jobs, we barely make it home for dinner. You said we're addicted to each other, and that drugs are bad for you."

"But I…"

"Does it even sound like something I'd say?" I don't wait for your response. "You kept teasing me about being a nympho. There's at least a grain of truth in every joke, isn't there?"

"I told him, what more do you want?"

"You don't get it, do you?"

"Get what? What's there to get?"

"You only admitted it under duress."

"I didn't…"

"Out of spite then. Whatever."

"Fine. Whatever."


"Fine!" You slam the door shut again.

I sigh, and flop back into bed.

You push open the door again. "You can't stay mad at me forever."

"I'm not mad," I tell you calmly.

"Upset. Irritated. Whatever. You're unhappy with…"

"Stop it, just stop it. What did the cop say?"

"They couldn't find anyone."

"Did they find prints leaving the property."

"Oh." You pause. "I, uh, I didn't ask. I'm sure they did. Otherwise, he would've said…"

"How can you not ask?" I roll out of bed, and push pass you.

"Where are you going?" You demand, as I grab my jacket from the back of the couch.

"I'm going to see if they're still outside, and ask."

1292 Removed

You push me out of the door way and say you're going out to look for the cops who were supposed to be searching. I know they're gone, the way I slammed the door in their faces, I doubt they'd stick around for me to wait and cool down. Oh well, you can find that out for yourself.

I can feel the rage bubbling in my chest. My anger at you blinding my actions, blinding my control over my mouth. Only you make me feel this way. Only you can get to me in such an intense way, making me see this angry red, because you know exactly what to do, what to say, that irritates me the most. Instead of chasing you, I slip into the bedroom and grab our bag off the floor.

This was a horrible idea coming out here.

We're going to get out of here, tonight, if it kills both of us. And after that, we're never going anywhere connected with your stupid brother again. After all, in a way, all this trauma, all these problems started with that insane woman that he willingly handed his key to, even if he claims he can't remember.

You come back in, and look at me.

"What are you doing?"

"Packing, what did they say?"

"They're not out there." You say quietly.

"I figured." I say, continuing to pull stuff from drawers and shove it into the small bag that we brought with us.

"Why are you packing now?" You ask.

"Because we're leaving. And if you're not, I am."

"Liv," You say, gently. "Stop."

"What?" I let my anger flash in my eyes freely, wanting you to see it.

"We'll leave in the morning."

"Why should we wait?"

"Because both of us are tired. We should go to bed. Do you want the couch or do you want me to take it?" You say, looking at me. I stop packing and look back at you, waiting for you to laugh, or for something to pop into my head that will fix all this.

When it doesn't come, I pull a pillow from the bed and stalk out of the room. I hear you shut the door behind me, and pouting, I lie on the couch staring at the fire.


I can't believe you just let me come out here, where there's a lunatic running around. I should've known by the look on your face, it's obvious you knew the cops would be gone. Still you let me walk out here, by myself. Trying to protect me my ass.

So I stayed out here, to cool my head, and see for myself that we're alone again.

Alone. That's how I feel right now.

Coming out here, to the cabin, it's the worst idea.

I thought it'd be an escape for us, for just the two of us. After everything we've been through the last year, don't we deserve this time to ourselves? Don't we deserve some happiness?

So, the one time I decided to be spontaneous, this happens.

But maybe it's not such a bad thing. Maybe it's better that we find out now.

Exactly what though?

That we can't get along? That maybe we're too different, or too similar, depending on how you look at it?

Maybe sex is all we have. Everything else, we used to share, even when we were just colleagues. I'm sure you still talk to Elliot if something troubles you at work.

I love you, I still love you, so much. Right now, it hurts.

And I don't know what to do. Don't know how to salvage this situation.

What? Talk to the therapists when we get back?

Right. I've let so many people tell me what to do, what I ought to do, and shouldn't do, I'm not even sure who I am anymore…

With my heart no calmer than before, I walk back into the house. I see you in the bedroom throwing stuff on the bed. Then I realize you're putting our things into our bag. Then you tell me we're leaving.

And you tell me you'll leave without me.

"Stop," I say. Let's just stop everything right now, I think to myself. We obviously can't stop making each other angry, can't stop hurting each other. Maybe we should stop now, before we damage each other further, before we end up hating each other forever.

So I tell you calmly that we should wait and leave tomorrow, when we can see better, when we're not so tired. If we get stuck on the road, it'll at least be daylight.

You're still oblivious in your anger when I offer to take the couch. When have I offered to take the couch in the past? I wait until you're gone from the room, and I close the door gently behind you.

I lie down on the bed, and close my eyes…

And I wait for the tears to fall…

I wait in vain.

1294 Rethink

I'm sitting on the couch, ruminating over everything that I've been through, everything that we've been through in the last few days. All the fighting, all the picking on each other that we've done this weekend, mixed in with all the moments of sheer ecstasy. Is this what our relationship is? Will it always be this manic cycle of love and hatred?

Will we even bounce back like we have? Eventually, don't the two of us just stop loving each other at all, and drop down into fighting each other all the time?

There was a time when we were happy. There was a time before all this, back when this was a flashing attraction between us, something that was electric in the air when our eyes met. Now, now that we've been together, sometimes, I can only feel the cold freeze in the air when we look at each other.

I used to handle this better. I used to be able to take it. I used to be drunk.

Was it really easier then? Not for you, I know. I broke your heart, but mine was almost too numb to care. Not until I was drug into rehabs, forced to be sober did I even notice that you were watching, that it hurt you too.

Sometimes, though the pain is too much. Like right now, while I stare at the fire and wish I were not here lying on the couch, trying to get my foot out of my mouth. I hate fighting with you, but why do we fall into it so easily?

Because we're so passionate? Do we fight because of that passion? Because when it comes down to it, we're not able to stop our emotions and close our mouths when we sense we've been wronged?

And even if I don't think what happened is a big deal, you obviously do. Why can't I accept your hurt without attacking you? Why do I have to fall back to lashing out at you until I hit your nerve and I end up sleeping on the couch?

Lying here reminds me of those cold months where I isolated myself from you—those many nights where just through the door I could hear your muffled sobs but I was unable to get up and help you.

I wonder if you're sobbing now. I hold my breath and listen, but I don't hear you.

I wonder if you're done crying for us.

I wonder if you've given up.

I wonder if I have.

I wonder what giving up would be like for me. Would it mean going back to what I was before you? Somewhere in my heart, I know it does. I wouldn't be this without you. I wouldn't have cared enough about me to change, and maybe that's dangerous. Maybe that's the most dangerous part, maybe that's the route of our problems…we care more about each other than ourselves.


In the darkness, I stare at the door, and will it to open. Any moment now, you'll come in, and apologize for being such an insensitive jerk. And I'll forgive you.

Actually, you don't even have to apologize. All you need to show, is a willingness to talk, to listen and try to understand why it upsets me when you pretend we're nothing more than friends. And I'll let you back into my arms.

But the stupid door isn't opening, is it?

I don't understand. I don't understand why you can be so compassionate and show so much empathy to perfect strangers. Yet, when it comes to me, whenever you disagree with me, and I tell you about it, you think I over react. And you stop listening to me.

And you push my buttons until I feel like I have to defend myself.

Our relationship is a victim, a victim of our fighting. Can't you see?

Maybe I should stop and try to see things your way, but I don't. I can't. I am who I am; no amount of therapy or Prozac can really change that.

Maybe I should try harder.

But when's enough enough?

Miss Mary Sunshine's just not me…

I don't know how we got to this point. Where you don't care about me. Where I feel too numb to even cry.

We were happy once. Before your accident. Why did I let you go that night? Sure you'd be mad at me. But you wouldn't have gotten hurt, and we wouldn't have to go through what we went through… That changed us, and not exactly for the better.

Or would we still be right here?

Suppose you might hate me because I didn't let you do your job. Yeah, I'm sure you would - you'd resent me, and you'd hate me for keeping you away from your mistress.

Or am I the mistress? Something you do behind closed doors?

I'm still staring at the door, waiting for it to open, for you to come in and take me in your arms, and hold me, and promise me that everything will be all right. That we'll work through this like we had everything else. That you still care enough to.

But the damn door is not opening.

And the clock is ticking away. Each tick convincing me just a little more that you don't care…

That I shouldn't care so much either…

Well, at least now, finally, the tears, they're falling…

1296 Review

I shift on the couch, feeling my back start to ache. I sigh as the fire dies down, into simmering ashes. Now it's laden with meaning, a metaphor for our relationship—how it once burned so bright and now it seems to be as dead as we are. But a fire that is out often sleeps beneath the cinders.

With a little help, this fire could roar again. With just the tiniest bit of fuel, it would burn bright and strong.

But what is that for us? What is our missing holy grail? Obviously the therapy and the work we've done, hasn't totally changed us, but then again, look at how far we've come. This fight, a year or so ago would have left me drunk out of my mind and you mourning my weaknesses. But tonight, I wonder how different all this is. Do you still mourn my weakness, even if it's not found in the bottom of a bottle?

I shift again, the couch poking my bones out of alignment which reminds me how silly this is. How sleeping when you're not with me has become nearly impossible. I want nothing more than to crawl into bed next to you and fall into a deep sleep reassured that when we get up in the morning everything will be okay.

So why am I still on the couch?

Because I don't want to beg you?

Because I don't want to be the one to give in?

You're mad at me, but you've been just as hard as I have. You've said as many nasty things tonight as I have.

And my denial of our relationship really wasn't because I'm ashamed of you, I remind myself. It's fear. It's fear of what happens when someone doesn't take it the right way. It's fear of not keeping you safe. But you don't believe that. And deep down, I'm not sure I do fully either.

I want to be okay with loving you, but I'm not all the time. I still hear society, and though I can delight in how happy I feel in your arms, I can hear the jeering lack of acceptance that came from the cop just as loudly as I can hear the I love you's you whisper to me while we make love in the darkness.

And I suppose I can understand, understand how it hurt you to have me deny you. I can imagine, if when I wanted you to stand up for me, you turned your head and denied your feelings.

So I guess this is me, I guess it's up to me to make this right. I slide off the couch, and sigh, as I tiptoe across the room and stick my head through the bedroom door.

1297 TALK

I feel it more than I hear it, the door sliding open, letting in a puff of cold air. I open my eyes slowly, realizing that I've somehow fallen asleep. I keep still, wondering what you're up to.

"Allie?" You whisper, your voice coming from above my head.


"You asleep?"

"Not anymore," I reply, still refusing to face you.

Without asking for permission, you slide in behind me. "I'm sorry," you say, "I just, I don't know why I do it."

I let you rest your hand on my arm. "Do what?"

"Why I pretend. I really thought I was trying to protect you."

"From what? Leering? Crude remarks? He's a cop, Liv, he wouldn't have done anything."

"You don't know that. Anyway, I'm not, I don't know if that was it," you say slowly.

"Then why? Are you really that ashamed of us?" I ask quietly, without anger, without tears.

"No, I'm not. But."

"But what, Liv?" Finally, I turn in your arms.

You remain silent, running your fingers along my face, feeling the puffiness around my eyes. "Sorry I made you cry."

"But what, Liv?" I ask again. "Talk to me."

"I just. I don't know."

"I think that's part of our problem. We don't really talk, I mean, we do, sometimes, but a lot of times, we're not completely honest with our feelings, or with what's going through our heads."

You sigh. "Maybe," you say. Then you're silent again.

So I help. "I don't know why you let people's bigotry get to you."

"I don't know why either."

"Are other people's, strangers' approval so important to you?"

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

"But can you at least see why it hurts me when you continually deny us?"

"I'm not sure…"

"It goes back to the whole discussion we had before - the things you're giving up to be with me, including societal acceptance. What if one day, you decide we're not worth it?"

"I'm not gonna!"

"So you said before... And yet, not even 24 hours later, you felt necessary to pretend we're not together, just because someone decided to make some rude remarks? What if it were something more serious? What if it's your job on the line? Would you leave me all together?"

1298 Denial

"What if your job was on the line?" You ask, demanding an answer that I don't have readily. I don't honestly know. I can't really imagine a situation where my job would be on the line for us, so it makes it easier to deny that it's possible. After all, if it's not possible, then my being tongue tied at the prospect is far more understandable.

"Alex, my job's not going to be on the line. Everyone knows about us now, so it's a moot point." I stammer, not being able to prove it with the tone of my voice anymore than I can justify it in my head.

"That's just it, sweetie," you say, with a gentle touch to my chin. "It's not a moot point."

"But Alex," I say, sounding more like a child than I have in years. More than I want to.

"Maybe I'm pressing you too quickly to be something you're not ready for, but you have to understand. This was something I decided when I realized that I wanted to be with a woman. I knew that I had to accept what came with that and that meant that some people might not be accepting. But I had to be willing to stand up to that prejudice and fight against it."

"But you didn't run around advertising your sexuality either." I say, illogically feeling that I've scored a point against you.

"No, you're right, I didn't, but if I had been asked, or if I was confronted with it, I wouldn't deny it."

I look at you skeptically, which you miss in the dark. I wonder if you can hear it anyway in my voice. "Alex, I don't mean it that way. I mean, I said friends thinking that we were saving ourselves from more pain than anything. I wasn't trying to sound like I was embarrassed of you. I'm not. I mean, you're better than, well, better than I deserve."

"Don't say that." You say, hushing me again with your finger.

"Come on, Alex, I'm not some huge prize."

"You're worth this, you're worth what we go through."

"What we go through?"

"All of this, the cops dirty looks, and the psycho neighbors, and these fights that make everything seem like the world is ending. Being with you is worth that."

"Thanks…I think," I mumble.

"But Liv, all those are just words. They're hollow. They don't mean anything unless you can back them up with actions… and you don't. Every time you get confronted, you turn away. You stare the other way, and pretend that there is no we. But there is. At least I believe there is."


"Of course there is!" You jump in, your voice insistent. "We're, we're married," you say, as if that's absolute proof.

"It's not recognized in this country."

"So? Your mom threw us a party, with all our friends and your family there," you remind me. "There's got to be what, a hundred people there? See? I'm not ashamed of us."

I stifle my sigh. "All those people were there because they supported us, because they were happy for us. We didn't have to deal with the others."


"Liv," I sigh this time.


"Can we please just drop this? It's obvious we're not going to get anywhere."

"But…" You argue, even though I can tell from your body language that you're relieved.

"I guess I'll just have to learn."

"Learn what?"

"To be a little less thin skinned when it comes to this?" I chuckle sadly. "I don't want to keep arguing with you, every time you do… that." I'm tired of being upset over this, tired of crying. I guess I'll just have to rack it up as one of our differences. "I guess I'll just have to live with it."

"But I don't want you to have to live with something you're unhappy about!"

This time I laugh a bitter laugh. "But I do that everyday, Liv. I'm unhappy about the system. I'm unhappy when people get brutalized. There's nothing I can do about it. Besides, until you're ready to defend us to the world, there's really nothing I can do."

This time, instead of arguing with me, you remain silent.

With a sigh, I turn onto my side, and pull your arm to drape across my waist, your hand to cover my stomach. "Let's just go to bed. We have a rough day ahead of us."

"I love you, Alex," you say against my ear.

Do you really? As much as you think? As much as I want?

"Love you, too, Liv," I whisper, and snuggle into you.

Maybe if we stop talking, if I stop thinking, then things will feel all right again. They always do when I'm in your arms…

1300 Sadness

You slump into bed and I can sense the defeat in the way you slide your head onto the pillow, the way you pull my arm over your side, like you're trying to pretend that we're not in many ways still engaged in a battle.

"I love you," I whisper, and I wait for your response.

In a careful breathy response, you sigh, "Love you," but it's not with the same conviction I'm trying to show you.

I wish my words could explain, and make you understand, but I know that I never will be able to. I can't show you what's in my heart, and when I get chances, like the one I had today with the cop, I mess up. Let you down, and am forced to watch a the tears stream down your face and the hurt displays on your features.

Your willingness to give up the fight for the comfort of sleep, your sigh as you snuggle back into me tells me more than your impassioned defense of your position.

You're giving up something you care about for me, for my attitude. You're willing to close your eyes and pretend. You're willing to pretend that we agree, or that we don't disagree so badly.

It's almost as if I can feel something about you dying. I know it's silly, I know it's not true. You're willing to compromise and it's something I should be happy about. Suddenly, I should feel free of the guilt and bad feeling that comes with knowing that I've let you down. But then again, I feel your tension and I subconsciously know that I've again given you another reason to feel martyred.

My attitude towards this…why is it so slow to change? Why do I still get hung up on the words?

Your body, which starts to tense with my arm over it, slowly starts to relax as I can feel you starting to drift off into sleep.

You always fall asleep so quickly in my arms.

I kiss the back of your neck, and wonder what it is that you see in me. Sometimes I worry that I don't make you happy, really. Not like you say, but instead, that you have started to become so used to being unhappy with me that you've forgotten what it was like to be happy alone.

Why do you let yourself stay with me?

Why do I let myself stay with you, when I sense how much pain I cause you?

Before I can work out the details in my head, the world becomes fuzzy and sleep finds me, pulling me off into a restless dream land where my demons torment me just below the surface of my subconscious mind.


I am walking along the park, when I hear the whimpered cry of a wounded animal. A puppy perhaps? I try to follow the noise, somehow the source eludes me. Then I feel the shaking of the earth. We don't get earthquakes in New York! What the…

Then an arm snakes around my waist and pull me from the trembling ground. Now it's refusing to let me go. I twist, trying to see the person attached to the limb. I can't. It tugs at me again, drawing me from sleep this time, and I realize I've been dreaming.

Almost immediately, I also identify the sound.

Struggling, I turn in your arms. "Liv," I call, pushing your hair out of your eyes. "Wake up." It's obvious you're distressed. "Liv," I try again, louder this time. "Come on, Baby, wake up."

"What? Huh?" Finally, you startle awake. Then you start to tighten your embrace, then you stop.

"Bad dream, sweetie?"

"Um. Yeah. Did I… did I talk in my sleep? Did I wake you?"

"No. Well, you were whimpering."

"Sorry I woke you up."

"Want to talk about it?"

"No…" You say, dragging the syllable out. "Uh, no. Go back to sleep. I'll try not to wake you again," you say, as if you could control your dreams.

"You sure you don't want to talk? It might help with whatever bothering you."


"Okay," I swallow a sigh, and decide to let you be.

"Allie?" You ask before I could turn away completely.


"Why, why are you with me?"


"Why are you…"

"I heard you the first time, sweetie," I reply, and twist to face you once more. "I'm with you because I love you."

"But you're not happy…"

"What makes you say that?"

"Our fight earlier, for instance."

Oh. "But that's just one thing. I'm generally happy, sometimes deliriously happy, when we're not fighting. And we don't fight all the time."

"But we do fight."

"I'm sure other couples fight too. We're still learning to compromise."


"What's going on in that head of yours?"

"I just… I don't know. I guess I don't why you stay with me, when I make you cry."

"You also make me laugh. And you help me feel safe, and most of the time, when we're alone together, I feel loved."

"Other people love, or loved, you, too."

"But I didn't love them back, not like I love you."

1302 Gently

In sleep, I see you leaving me, the same way I imagine that it would happen in real life. In a fit of anger, you decide what I feel like already exists between us. You finally realize that loving me is more than you bargained for.

I feel your hands on me, cruel reminders of something I'm sure I've lost. Your voice jars me from sleep, and your hands pull me into your body, begging me back to consciousness.

When my eyes open, there you are, your eyes, shaded by the darkness in the room, still sparkle at me while you pull me awake, supporting my growing alertness with your hug.

The question blazes in my mind, in a matter of seconds you've pulled it out of me, and you explain with simplicity that is entirely illogical that you're here, now, with me, because you love me, and I love you.

The blatant honesty in what you say doesn't escape me, but I lose myself in the abstraction of love, and how you have endured so much for what you claim has made you happy. In a second, I can see all the fights run through my head, and none of the laughter.

"I hurt you." I whisper, trying to blink back tears that are threatening to fall.

"I hurt you," you whisper back, knowing in the darkness that my eyes are watering, you kiss my cheek.

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

"I don't want to fight with you either. But we'd be boring if we always agreed about everything."

"Boring might be nice."

"Maybe. But part of what I love about you is your passion. Even if it is pig headed."

Somehow, that makes me laugh.

"I'm just as bad," you say quickly, finally hearing what it was you said and realizing that it had the potential to sting.

"I just worry." I sigh, and it's your turn to laugh.

"That's what I do."

"I'm sorry about earlier. I thought I was protecting…" I let my voice drag off as you whisper to me to be quiet, kissing me gently.

"Come here," you say, as you let me lean against your chest, your arm cradling me close, slightly pulling my body into a gentle rocking motion that quickly has me back asleep…


Slowly, I awake to gentle caresses of your hands and tender soft kisses of your lips, and I stretch luxuriously against you, feeling the full sensations of your weight on me.


"What's wrong?"

"Arm, asleep," I mumble, fighting against the sharp tingling to touch your face. "Just leave it," I say, when you start to massage the numbness. "Don't stop," I tell you, pushing your head back onto my chest.

You chuckle, and continue working on my arm.

"So how are you this morning?" I ask, threading my fingers in your hair.

You shrug. "How are you?"

"Do we have to go back?"

You raise your head to stare at me, then you lay back down. "We should."

"I know. But I don't really want to leave, it's nice."

"What about…"

"Veronica, or whatever's out there, yeah. But I…" I sigh, and let my voice trail off.


"Never mind."

"What? Tell me."

"I don't. It's okay."

"You're not very good at lying. At least not to me."

"I just want more time with you, but we have jobs, people who count on us." And you're anxious to leave, and I'm just being co-dependent again. "It's okay."

"We should leave," you repeat.

"I know we do," I sigh, and take my arm back. "So let's get up, and get started."

You catch me in your embrace. "We don't have to go back, go back."

"What do you mean?"

"We can stop somewhere, less snowy…"

"You serious?"

1304 Just Dating

"Well, sort of." I smile a smile that slowly fades as your face falls. I don't mean that we'll spend another few nights away from the city. We need to get back, and whether you want to believe it or not, we both can feel the weight of our responsibilities on us.

"That sounds like we're going back." You frown, your nose crinkling.

"We have to, sweetie, we have jobs. But that doesn't mean we can't still have us time tonight."

"How do you expect us to do that? I'm sure the pile of files on my desk will only be topped by the pile on yours. With any luck, we'll both make it home only to fall asleep on the couch like we usually do." you sigh with a gentle frown.

"But we could meet up tonight. Go to a nice dinner, early. Maybe catch a movie or something?"

"At two am?"

"Funny," I smile, at you. "We could go at a reasonable hour. You know, just like other people with normal jobs."

"We both know that won't happen. We don't have normal jobs."

"No, we don't." I agree

"So let's just forget it, okay? We'll go back. I'm being needy."

"But we should do this. We have to make it happen."


"We leave, even though work may be unfinished. As part of a new start."

"A new start?"

"Yeah, a new start. We can put us first sometimes. Like tonight."

"Are you nuts?"

"No, I'm serious. We'll have our first date."

"Dinner and a movie?"

"Sure, why not? And then another this weekend, something far more special."

Now you really are smiling… "It sounds good," You say, with a gentle kiss to my nose.

1305 HOME

It's totally unrealistic, that we'd drive back into the city, go home, change, go to work, be at work in the afternoon, and still make it out of the office by 5:30. What were we thinking? Snow froze our brains?

Somehow, you manage though, for it's not even 6:00 yet, and you're here, waltzing into my office, with your hands behind your back.

"Hi," I smile up at you, and try to peek. "What's that?"

"This," you beam, holding out a bouquet of flowers.

Daisies. My favorite. When's the last time you brought me flowers? This is so sweet. I pull you down by the lapel of your jacket, and kiss you deeply on the lips. "Thank you."

"You almost ready?"

"I don't think I can," I sigh. "Brennan goes to trial tomorrow. Since I'm back, Liz wants me to take it."


"I'll be lucky if I get out of here tonight."

"Oh," you say, your face falling.

"I'm sorry, Sweetie. I really wish I could…" I hate to disappoint you, but you're right, now that we're back, I feel the weight of my responsibilities in full force.

You purse your lips together, in thought, or simply pouting? I'm not sure. Finally, you smile a small smile. "Why don't I go grab dinner. We can eat here."

"Liv, I'm not sure…"

"You've got to eat something, sometime."

Suppose you're right. "O.K."

"So what would you like for dinner?"

"Oh, I don't care. You decide. Here," I hand you the folder of restaurant menus. "Surprise me."

"You sure?"

"Yep," I confirm, ready to get back to work. Several moments later, I look up again, "Hey."


"Thanks for doing this, and being so understanding."

"I'm sure you'd rather be at restaurant then stuck behind the desk."

"True. Still, thanks."

1306 Dinner

I smile at you as you tuck your hair behind your ear, and pull your feet up on the chair curling yourself into your work. Your eyes search the paper in front of you while your hand scrawls impatient notes on the legal pad in front of you. The light from your desk makes your hair glow a bright light blonde, while I curl into your couch and shuffle through the menus you handed me silently.

I smile as I notice that even the menu's have meticulous notes scrawled on them. Your mini-reviews of late night dinners are so entirely like you. I read them with amusement, until I find one that you noted with four stars. I figure that since you liked it before, you would like it again, and quickly pick something out that sounds good for myself, figuring we'll probably pick off each other's plates anyway.

In a few minutes, I'm out the door, ready to get our dinner and come back to make you take a break. Even if I have to pull you away by force and feed you myself. The restaurant is bustling, but I manage to pick up the food and get back to you as quickly as possible.

The cold air nips at me, as I run back to the court house stairs.

"Ahh, Olivia." I hear as I push the door open. I look up unsure of who would possibly be here, to recognize me at this time of night.


"You must be here to see Alex."

"Bringing her dinner," I say with a smile.

"She's in for a long night."

"So I heard." I say, trying to smile back, unsure of what she wants from me more than just being cordial.

"So you two…"

I look at her expectantly, the way she says it makes me wonder what's next.

"Have a good night," She says, as she turns away.

I watch as she walks down the stairs alone, and I wonder more about what her life is like. I wonder if she goes home to the same emptiness that I used to. I wonder if she's happy. I wonder if she has someone to go home to, if she's happy, or preparing for another night alone. It's moments like this, in a stark moment of contrast, that I remember how lucky I am, to have you in my life. To not be headed home to my empty apartment and instead into the warm parlor of your office and your company, makes me realize that you are truly a gift, truly worth celebrating.


"Dinner's here," you say, as you walk in with our food.

I close my eyes and inhale, and feel a smile bursting from my face. You read my notes, picked my preferred restaurant and ordered my favorite food. I could kiss you.

"Well?" You call from the couch. "If I have to come get you, it's not gonna be pretty."

"Oh? And what are you going to do to me?"

"I don't know yet, but I'm sure you wouldn't want to find out."

"Hmm…" I pretend to think about it, while I finish reviewing the cites. I love my job; I love my boss.

"Come on," you walk around my desk, and start to pull my chair out.

"Wait, wait, I'm almost done with this part."

"Food's gonna get cold," you say, your hands finding the tension spots on my neck and shoulders.

"God," I moan, and let my pen fall from my fingers. "This is better than sex."

You chuckle. "Really?"

"Mmm… right this moment, it is," I release a deep breath. "Ugh. You stopped!"

"I'll continue after dinner." Turning my chair around, you take me by the hand, and pull me to my feet.

I use the momentum to press my body against yours, and touch my mouth to yours softly, deeply, showing my appreciation with this kiss. "Thank you," I whisper, when we finally ease apart.

You clear your throat, and grab my hand. "Let's eat."

I let you lead me to the couch, and half push me into the soft seat. Then I watch while you carefully take the containers out of the bags, and lay them out on the makeshift table made from a rolling file cabinet.

"You're going home after this?" I ask, while dishing food onto my paper plate.

"That depends."

"On what?"

"Depends on how late you're staying?"


"I'm not going to let you go home alone."

"I've stayed late before. Many times. Before you and I, before now." I remind you, with a smile on my face. So you know I'm really not complaining about your offer.

"I know," you reply, "But it'll make me feel better. May I?" You ask absently, scooping food from my container.

"Hey, not so fast."

"Huh?" You look up, and see the smile on my face, and wait with one of your own. "What?"

"It'll cost you."

"Yeah? What do you want?"

What do I want? "Hmm... I want eternal love and abject devotion, but I'll take a kiss."

1308 Hungry

I slap a quick kiss on your lips and go back to the food, piling food from your carton on what I already stole from mine.

You laugh as you watch me continue to scoop vegetables on top of my mounting pile. "Jesus, Liv, hungry?" You ask, as you stare at the plate of food that I'm unceremoniously shoveling into my mouth.

"Yeah. I haven't eaten since breakfast." I say, only briefly stopping chewing long enough to give you a short response.

"Me either." You say, taking what seems like a third of what's piled in front of me, and delicately splitting it into small bites which you take the time to chew thoroughly.

"Can't help it, hungry." I mumble, and you laugh a bright clear laugh.

"You're a nut." You say, with a continuing laugh.

"You've got to eat more than that." I say, staring at how much is left between us versus the little pile that you've pulled onto your plate.

"I can't."

"Why not?" I ask with a smile.

"Because if I eat too much, I'll fall asleep."

"So?" I ask with a smile.

"So I have lots of work to do before tomorrow morning."

"But you need a good night's sleep too." I smile at you, wanting more than I can really express for you to drop your work and come home with me, so I can be with you like we planned, safe and together.

"Yeah, but I need to get this done."

"You can bring it home and I'll read to you." I say, hopefully, feeling like I'm negotiating an escape from your office prison.

"Tempting but no." You laugh.

"I'll do it naked."

"After you eat all that, that's far less tempting."

"Ha ha." I say sarcastically with a fake laugh. " Please come home?" I nearly whine, waiting for your response.


"Please? Come home?" You whine. When I don't respond, you lower your chin, and look up at me. "Please? Allie?"

I sigh, and laugh. "You don't play fair."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"You know when you look at me like that, I'm going to cave."

"So you're coming home?"

"You going to play mock jury?"

"Sure. Anything."


"Uh." Suddenly you look apprehensive. "Well maybe not…"

"But you did say anything," I remind you, adding a wicked laugh just for effect.

"I didn't mean…"

"Too late, I accept!"


"Come on, you don't even know what I'm asking yet."

"My blood?"


"Then what do you want?"

"Let me think about it," I say, and return to my food.

"You know that's gonna run me nuts."


"You just like to torture me!"

"Not as much as you like to torture me, Liv."

"Yeah, but that's different, Alex. I torture you to give you pleasure."

"And who says you're not going to find what I want pleasurable?"

1310 Deals

I laugh. "I'm pretty sure I'm not going to find it pleasurable." I say, as I shovel more food into my mouth.

"What makes you say that?" You say, with an over exaggerated batting of your eyes that attempts to proclaim the innocence that you just don't possess.

"You have that evil glisten in your eye."

"I do not have an evil glisten." You smirk at me.

"Yeah you do. The one that says I'm going to be scrubbing the bathroom with my toothbrush."

You reach over and tickle my side quickly, making my body scrunch involuntarily over your fingers. "I have never made you do that." You complain.

"But now you're thinking about it." I say, as you laugh.

"I wasn't, but you brought it up, and the grout has been looking kind of dirty."

At that I laugh. "I never learn to keep my mouth shut, do I?"

"Nope, and that's what makes you so endearing."

"Thanks," I laugh, setting the plate down in front of me and turning my attention back to you.

"Besides, you make it sound like I treat you like a slave or something."

"A sex slave."

"You have to turn everything into something obscene don't you?"

At that I laugh. "Wait, Alex, I think your halo's crooked."

"It probably is." You laugh. Your smile fades slowly, and suddenly you look serious.

"What?" I ask, preemptively trying to cut off whatever is changing your mood.

"Thank you." You say, quietly.

"For what?"

"This." You say, lifting the plate to me. "Coming tonight. Caring enough to come tonight."

I simply smile at you, and kiss your cheek. "No problem." I whisper, meaning it fully.

1311 SAP

I stare at the food on my plate, and suddenly, I'm not hungry anymore, not that I was too hungry to begin with. Somehow the pressure of work still gets to me.

"What's wrong?" You ask, staring at me attentively.

"Nothing," I smile, and scrape the remainder of my food onto your plate.

"Alex! You need to eat!"

"I'm fine."

"You barely ate," you scold. "And you're gonna stay up tonight."


"You'll be running on fumes."

"Love," I smile.

"Right," you laugh, rolling your eyes.

"I'm serious," I tell you, twisting my fork in my hand.

"Come on, Sweetie," you scoot closer, draping your arm around my shoulder. "I don't wanna eat leftovers for the next ten days."

"Two meals, max, and I'll help."

You laugh again.


"Seriously, when's the last time you ate leftovers?"

"Hm," I pretend to think.

"You'll let me know when you remember?"

"Mmhmm…" I snuggle tighter to you, and sigh contentedly. "You're warm."

Gently, you press a kiss to my forehead. "Love you, babe."

"I love you, too." I smile, burrowing closer against your chest. "Times like this makes me realize just how lucky I am, that we're together."

"Me, too."

I lean up to kiss your lips. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"Being with me."

1312 Delicate

"It's a sacrifice," I say with a smile on my face, waiting for you to understand what I actually just said to you.

"Hey!" You laugh. "You look like you're suffering." You say, as you watch me smile at you happily.

"I am suffering." I say, rubbing my stomach. "I think I ate too much."

"You think you did? There's a question." You say, and without mentioning it I hear your earlier warning that chewing is actually something that aids digestion and isn't just an optional experience.

"No, but it sounds more delicate that way." I laugh, as you gently kiss my neck and pull yourself further into my lap.

"You're not a delicate kind of girl." You say.

"No, that's your job." I smile.

"I'm not delicate." You protest, and I nearly fall off the couch laughing, pulling you with me. "I'm not." You protest again.

"Okay," I gasp, laughing harder each time I try to stop. "You're not delicate. You're rough and tough."

"You don't really believe that." You say with a leering smile.

"That's like me looking you in the eye and saying 'I'm a delicate flower.'"

You smile but refuse to laugh, refuse to give me the satisfaction that it's truly ridiculous that either of us could ever change places. "You could be a delicate flower."

"I don't think so," I laugh more. "I can't see myself standing in front of a mirror yelling, damnit every time I break a nail."

"I don't know, you clean up pretty well."

You're high maintenance and I'm not and never will be. I'm tough and you're not and you never will be. But something about that makes us perfect for each other. Somewhere between that lies what makes us good for each other… most of the time.

"Yeah, when you dress me and pick out my shoes, and force me to…"

"I get it. You're not a delicate flower."


"I do not stand in front of the mirror and yell damnit every time I break a nail!" I argue. "My nails aren't that long."

"They're longer than mine."

"What's wrong with being a delicate flower?"

"You tell me," you smirk.

"I think you look nice in dresses and heels, and you own them before I came along."

"I had to dress up for my mom's funeral," you say, shrugging your shoulders.

"That's rude, Liv. Be serious."

"I am serious. Have you seen me in them except when I was undercover?"

"Hm. You're right." I run my fingers along the leather of your jacket. "What? You're leather I'm lace?"

"Fire and ice."

"I guess in some ways we're very different."

"It works though, for us."

"I guess."

You raise your brows at me. "You guess?"

"Don't you wonder how I might look in leather, jeans and boots?"


"Could you take a little less time to think about it?" I laugh.


"Suppose it'd be impracticable, for you to sit in my lap."

You wheeze from laughter, "It'd be absurd."

I climb completely into your lap, and loop my arms around your neck. "I'm not sure it's really that funny."

Pulling me closer, you smile. "Sure it is."

"Yeah, well," I say, and kiss you on your lips. "We should probably head home soon, so I can get back to the prep."

"I guess we should," you say, still holding me close.

I kiss you again, and rest my head on your shoulder, "Wish we didn't have to…"

1314 Inappropriate

"Why do we again?" I ask.

"Because we have jobs."

"We could quit."

"Move to Barbados?" You ask.

"Sure." I say, smiling at you, and the fantasy playing out behind your eyes.

"We'd have to get jobs there." You frown.

"We can just put on public shows on the beach."

You frown at me disapprovingly. "You can put on public shows."

"But you do such a good job." I laugh.

You swat me, and then crawl deeper into my arms, your head resting on my neck. In a second, you kiss me. A slow gentle kiss on the lips that reeks of chastity. A second kiss follows, a little longer, your lips linger against mine, and your eyes droop while your lips find mine again.

The third kiss, I can feel your tongue pressing my mouth. A gentle prodding that begs for my mouth to open and pull you inside. My hand reactively reaches for you, resting around your waist I pull you into me.

You moan against me, in my lips and into my mouth. The sound echoes in my head and reacts like direct stimulants to my central nervous system. I'm going from having a casual dinner to wanting you more than I can resist. Our kisses are deep, desperate, and needy.

My hand rests on you, pulling into the arch of your back as your fingers roam up my torso and under my shirt.

You're like my air. I kiss you, deeply, pulling you into me, feeling you responding to me, while we sit on your couch kissing like teenagers.

"We shouldn't." You whisper.

"When has that stopped us?"

"It's my…"

"Shhh," I whisper, capturing your lips into another kiss…


"Liv," I whisper, moaning into your mouth.


"We should stop," I breath, leaning away briefly to straddle your legs.

"Why?" You ask, seeking my lips again, your hands sliding up my thighs to rest on my hips, pulling me close to you.

My answer comes in the form of another moan, as I twine your tongue with mine, as I wind my fingers in your hair.

We really shouldn't be doing this. I have work to do. And the last thing we need is the cleaning person walking in on us. Or worse, my boss.

"Hmm?" You ask, your lips nibbling on my neck.

I can only close my eyes, and sigh.

And I gasp when I feel your mouth, your tongue sliding across my chest. "When?" I ask.

You smirk, and push me onto my knees, so that your head is now buried between my breasts.

It's been a while since you've done that, since you've distracted me so much that I don't realize when you unbuttoned my shirt.

"God," I almost scream, when you push the lace of my bra aside and take me into your mouth. "Oh, god." Involuntarily, I tighten my grip against your shoulder, my fingers digging into the supple leather, when you graze my flesh gently with the edge of your teeth.

There's a sense of desperation in your movements. It's almost like you're afraid I might slip away.

"Love you," I whisper, to reassure you I won't.

You answer me, half groaning, half grunting, pushing my skirt up to expose my stockings.

Before I can protest, I'm suddenly full of you, your fingers reaching inside me. And I bite down on my lips to muffle a scream.

Suddenly, I feel so exposed, sitting in your lap, my clothes in shambles, with your face buried in my chest, and your fingers, in my sex. I feel…

I'm not sure what I feel…

"Love you," I whisper, and arch into your touch… "Don't stop."

You snicker, and shake your head, your lips pulling my flesh along.

"Oh, god." It feels so good. You, feel so good…

1316 Feral

"We shouldn't," you whisper, but your body begs me.

It whispers louder than you that it wants me. You kiss me and whimper.

"I want you," I nearly growl into you, but I'm not sure you hear me.

I'm not sure you care.

Your eyes are closed in concentration.

So much concentration that you miss what's going on around you.

You start as you feel my tongue on your chest and your eyes fly open.

"We shouldn't," you whisper again more urgently as you look towards the door which is unlocked but closed.

"Shh," I whisper.

"Not here," combines with "don't stop," as I take your nipple into my mouth and bite down on it.

"We shouldn't," I whisper back.

You don't hear me.

My mind flashes to Liz.

The empty look she gave me as she walked down the stairs. The way she looked wistfully at the food I was carrying, knowing it was for you and I.

I wonder if she thinks of us like this. I mean, not like this. But of us together.

Jealousy flashes through me for no reason.

I feel the need to claim you. To make you mine.

To prove you belong to me.

It's so wild.

So feral.

Fucking you with your clothes on, rough inside you, as you moan and squirm and beg me not to stop, not to ever stop…


"Love you," I answer with my moans, while you ask me with your mouth, your hands, pulling me close to you, taking me, fucking me.

What's come over you?

I should make you stop, and ask…

Oh, hell, we can talk later.

"Don't stop," I breathe, even though I know you have no intention to, as I rock to your thrusting.

And I swallow another scream when you push another finger inside me, pushing deep, deep inside me, touching me in places you never have.

"God, Liv," I whimper, my body responding to you, making obscene wet sounds that I'm sure people outside can hear. Not that I really care right now. "Liv," I encourage, your name flowing from my lips.

In the heat of our passion, I hear you mumble something before you swirl your tongue around my breast, then pulling the tip into your mouth and sucking hard.

"What?" I gasp, forcing my concentration away from the sensations in my body.

"Mine!" You growl.

"Huh?" I respond, my legs trembling, the knot in my core threatening to break.


It finally registers. The need. Your want. What this wild love-making is about.

I suck in a ragged breath, and stop, and tear my flesh away from your hot lips.

"Look at me," I order as I lift your face. "I love you," I tell you gently with a smile. "I always will."

"Promise?" You ask quietly, your dark eyes shining.

"Yes," I whisper into your lips, kissing you deeply, my body moving, inviting you to continue.

You groan as you pull away from my kiss, and close your mouth once more over my breast, your fingers resuming their hard furious thrusting. "Mine," you mutter again.

"Yes!" This time I hear you, loud and clear. "God, yes," I gasp as you pick up the pace, pushing me tighter against you, pushing up higher and higher with each intense stroke.

"Liv, I," I gasp, my body clutching you to me, my legs trembling wildly.

"Come for me, baby," you whisper, holding me up.

That's so cheesy, my mind chuckles, but my body, my heart, they react. "God, Liv, Liv," I moan, I scream, as blood rushes to my face, my breasts, as my sex convulses around your fingers. An intense orgasm rips through me, as you rotate your wrist, growing the sensation, drawing it out…

1318 Maddening

I look at you with a hunger in my eyes I haven't felt in awhile. I leer at you, the animal in me forcing its way out, wanting to claim you. Mark you.

I growl at you, taking your breast into my mouth and bite down. You stifle a moan.

I watch you…my princess, my sweet, good girl who doesn't like to get her hands dirty,

And here you are now. Straddling me, your skirt bunched around your hips, your shirt pulled open, exposing your breasts which are pulled from your bra, which is still technically on your body. In your office, your professional mecca, you straddle me, moaning my name with my hands roughly pushing into you.

Your innocent 'I love you,' ends like this… with you being fucked.

You're mine.

You straddle my legs, grinding into me. "Liv," you whisper in tempo with my fingers sliding into you.

I watch you bounce on my hand. Your moan chokes again as you pull it back into your body. You bite your lip, and close your eyes tighter.

You're trying to be quiet, which makes me determined to break you.

Why do I want that so badly right now?

To show you that you're mine.

It's more than about love, right now, it's about need.

I need to have this. Have this over you.

I watch your face redden. I see the way your chest moves and I know you're close.

"Come for me," I demand.

A small smile crosses your lips. I know you hate that, think it's silly. I don't care, because this time, it's not a coaxing suggestion. It's a demand.

You crumple around me, and collapse onto me, your breath hard and ragged in my ear. I smile, bigger and wider than is entirely proper. You hold me, and kiss my neck. Gently, I start putting you back together, sliding your skirt back down your hips, and carefully pulling your shirt closed.

This time it's my turn to catch your attention. I make you look at me, even though your face is still flushed, and you're still breathing hard. "I love you so much," I say, reassuring you before you start to question what's happened between us. You smile and rest your head back down sleepily on my shoulder…


I feel my heartbeat slowly return to normal, just as my body relaxes and the endorphins kick in. My head is heavy against your shoulder, and I struggle to stay awake. Your gentle stroking on my back is not helping, I protest. It comes out in the form of a groan.

You chuckle, and pull me closer to you.

Even without looking, I know you have this insufferable smile on your face. You're so proud of yourself right now, I should swat you. Instead, I just sigh my contentment against your neck, and whisper, "Jerk."

"What did I do?" You ask with a laugh.

"You made me scream. In my office."

"I make you scream all the time."

Not like that. Not for a while. "Not in my office."

"You know what they say, there's a first for everything."

I bite you.

"That hurts!"

"Why?" I ask, sighing and relaxing further in your arms.

"You bit me!"

"No, I mean why did you, you know."

"Because I love you?"

"Have I inadvertently given you any doubts?" I wonder aloud, even though I'm sure I haven't.


"Is something bothering you?"

"I just, I don't know. I just wanted, needed to make sure…"

Gently, I brush my hand against your cheek. "I meant it when I said forever."

"I know. It's just. I don't know. I really, I'm not sure why…"

"Shhh… It's okay," I smile, and nuzzle your neck. "It's not a complaint. Anytime you want reassurance, you know, I'm game."

You laugh. "Pun intended?"

"Maybe," I smile, feeling an overpowering need to curl up in your arms, and sleep. "We should go home," I mumble against your jacket…

1320 Worn

You're heavy in my arms, and I can tell you're desperate to battle sleep, which makes my smile bigger. I love knowing that I did this to you, caused you to feel this way. We haven't done that, like that, in as long as I can remember. Not since we were first together and needed each other to breathe.

When you whisper that you want to go home, I nearly stand, lifting you with me to carry you out of the office. I want you at home, with me, in my arms. I want you not to spend the night sitting at your desk pouring over case files while I lie in bed alone, wishing you were there, wondering what you're doing and if you're safe.

"Come on," I gently prod you, "Let's get your stuff and get out of here."

"I have work," you fight back, but you're losing against your body.

"We'll take it home sweetie."

You protest far weaker this time, your head still on my shoulder, but with a deep breath and a deep sigh, you pull yourself off of me and let your body go limp against the sofa. You close your eyes and you don't move. I guess if we're packing your stuff, I'm doing it. I get up, and walk over to your desk.

"What do you need sweetie?" I ask you, as I close the folders that are open on your desk and snap open your briefcase.

"Everything," You mumble with your eyes still half closed.

I smile again, while I watch you. The way you're cuddled into the couch is so innocent, but so entirely intimate. For a second I'm struck by the intimacy—I'm the only one who you'd let see you like this, so exposed.

You open your eyes and look at me.

"What?" You ask, stretching your back.

"You're beautiful." I smile back at you.

You stretch again, this time the smile growing on your face. "Thanks," you say simply.

"You're welcome."

I watch you for another second, and then go back to throwing files into your briefcase. When it reaches capacity, I close it and walk over to you with it in hand.

"Come on, baby, let's go home," I whisper into your ear…

Part 1321

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