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

141. WALK

I can't believe you!

I can't believe me! This crying thing is getting old. Does it always have to be one melodrama after another? Can't I have one happy weekend? A day. A single day without feeling hopeless, helpless, or simply just wanting to tear my heart out. Just one day. Is it too much to ask?

That's it. I'm not crying another tear over you, I make up my mind as I stalk into my temporary room in the guest house. It's not like you haven't read the contract. It's not like we didn't make it clear to you. Me, or booze. Fine. You love booze so much, you can have booze. I grab my purse, and stalk back to where I left you sitting.

You're staring up at the sky, totally clueless. You hear my steps, and a smile spread your face. Yep, absolutely clueless.

"So you don't think you have a problem?" I ask you, my voice even.

"No, well, not as big as you and your…" you start to make up excuses, or lines you think you can feed me.

"You know what? Save it." I've been warned, I've been told, I've heard it all; and what I haven't heard, I've read.

"What's wrong with drinking in moderation?"

"What's wrong? Nothing! Nothing besides the fact that I don't want you to drink!" I continue, without bothering to control my anger now. "Not a drop, not baked into your dessert, not even when you take holy communion, if you were the church going type, but you aren't, so that's moot."

"But the guys and I, we hang out…"

"Don has drinks with the gang, too. Ginger ale. Club soda. Orange juice… you know what? I don't know why I bother. This is not why I'm here."

"Then why are you here?" You ask me, your voice shaking.

I can't see you very well, so I don't know if you're crying, or if you're getting ready to blow up at me. Frankly, I don't care. I reach into my bag, and withdraw a small box. "I was going to give you this at the end of your rehab." A sort of friendship celebration whatever ring I picked up at the spur of the moment during my walk yesterday. Even had it engraved. Believe. Believe my ass.

I throw the box at you, hitting you on purpose. You make a small yelp. Still, I can see from the shadows that you manage to catch it. Suddenly, all the fight in me just dissipated. So I tell you in a calm voice, "Obviously you don't think you need rehab, you think you can drink in moderation. That's fine. Have a wonderful life with your wonderful bottle."

I don't wait for your response, if you have any at all. I walk to my mother's house and ring the door bell.

My mom sees me by the opened door, "Alexandra!" she calls, clearly not expecting me. "What's wrong?"

"I just broke up with Olivia." I tell her as I sink into the nearest chair. "She still doesn't believe she has a problem. She thinks she can drink in moderation."

"Oh, honey," she puts an arm around me. "You knew going into this that it's not going to be easy. That there'll be set backs."

"Does it have to be so soon?" I fight my tears. No more tears for you, damn it. I promised myself. "I can't even have one completely happy day?"

"I wish I had a happy answer for you, but I don't." She sighs. "What are you going to do?" Then she sees my purse, and tells me sternly, "You're not driving back to the city this late at night."

"I'll stay until the morning." I'm grateful for the authoritative-reasonable-mom who gives me what I want without me asking. "You don't still have Abbie's number, do you?"

"You can't possibly mean that." She looks at me, completely scandalized. "That's something I expect of your brother, not you."

"Abbie's willing to choose me over her ideals."

"But you're not in love with her."

"But I can be again." That's what Abbie believes. Maybe she'll believe enough for both of us.

"You don't mean that." Mom sighs. "It's not fair to the poor girl, for you to lead her on. You and I both know if Olivia miraculously become sober tomorrow, you'll be right back here."

Why does she always have to be right? Why does she know me so well? "I just don't know what to do anymore, Mom. I'm tired, I don't want to fight anymore. You've tried being mean, it didn't work. You're nice now, and it's still not working."

"Hm. Maybe you should give up."

What? I can't believe she's agreeing with me. She's supposed to talk me out of it. "Mom?"

"Maybe that's what she needs. Rock bottom."

"You think my leaving…"

"Well, you're going to leave if she doesn't stop drinking anyway, so why don't we give this a try." Mom gives me a helpless shrug and a smile. "Is she at the guest house now? I should probably…"

"No, I left her in the garden. I was showing her my quiet spot." I doubt you had gone anywhere, since I kicked your crutches even farther away when I walked away. Still. I add, "She might have crawled over to her crutches by now…"

Mom looks at me. For a moment, I thought she was going to scold me. Instead, she sighs again. "Go wait for me in your room, while I play good cop," she orders.

"Or maybe I should try being mom." I hear her mumble as she heads towards the door.

142. The First Step

I'm totally shocked that you're standing there screaming at me. Seriously? What more do you want from me? I've given up everything for you, and I just don't understand. I didn't tell you I was picking alcohol over you. I told you I'd do whatever you wanted me to do. I guess rehab isn't enough.

You throw a little box at my head and stomp off.

I'm torn between trying to go after you and searching for the box. Seeing as you took an extra moment to kick my crutches and extra twenty feet, I'd say that you don't particularly want to see me right now, so I search for the box.

I find it, a small black jewelry box with a silver ring inside, I slip it out into the moonlight, and run my finger over it. It says something; I can feel it under my finger tips.

I slide over and try to catch the inscription in the moonlight. "I believe in you" it says, scrawled around the plain band. On the inside are our initials. A & O. Why does that look so right?

I just don't get it. I don't get you sometimes.

I hear someone approaching, and I'm praying it's you with your senses full in tact, but it's not. It's your mom. Great. Fantastic. So much for her liking me.

She comes up behind me, and I pretend not to notice, intently staring at the ground.

"Miss Olivia," she says to me. "I'm too old for this kind of thing," she says, as she sits down on the ground.

"Me too," I mutter.

"Ah, now, you're not so old yet." She pats my leg, like I'm a child.

"You got sent out here to explain this to me?"

Your mother smiles at me. "Alexandra certainly does have a dramatic flare, doesn't she?"

I nod into the night.

"You know. I've had two children and I've seen both of them in and out of love quite a bit, but I don't remember Alexandra ever being quite as taken with anyone as she is with you."

"I don't think she's that taken." I say, pulling at the grass.

"Ahh, but that's exactly the problem." She says, smiling at me. "She wants to see you happy."

"I'm not unhappy."

"But you're self destructive."

"Yeah, yeah. I don't see the big deal."

"Can you really control it Olivia. Think about that, before you answer me. Can you really just have one? Have one and then walk away without wanting one more?"

I take a deep breath, ready to launch into my line, but I see her eyes. They're looking for my honesty. They're judging me for her daughter. The daughter that I love. I sigh, and respond.


"Then it's a problem."

"I know."

"You have a hard road ahead of you, dear. No one's saying that this will be easy for you. But you have to remember, that we want the best for you. I want you to be with my daughter, I want to see her smile like she smiled at you tonight until you're both old an gray, but I don't want her to see the heartache of not knowing what's going to happen to you because you're out driving around or falling down drunk in some back alley."

I sigh. I can feel tears burn in my eyes. "I just never thought I'd become an alcoholic." I feel your mother slide closer and her arms come around my shoulders as I let the tears fall freer.

"We'll be with you here, every step of the way."


I'm sitting here, in my bed, in my room. Sent, to my room, like I was twelve again. I suppose I deserved it.

It's been almost an hour since Mom left to find you. Shouldn't she have been back by now? Maybe you're talking. Maybe that's a good sign.

I honestly don't know what to do anymore.

Everything I've read didn't prepare me for my own temper. I acted like the classic provoker, when I was supposed to do nothing and let you be, and just take one day at a time. And hope that tomorrow, or the day after, or sometime in the near future, you would come to realize you do have a problem. I was supposed to stick with you until then, and help you through the rest of it.

I'm supposed to be so in love with you that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.

Instead, I broke up with you over the first set back.

Go, Cabot. Oh, yeah...

Whatever happened to Cabot fighting for what she believes in, even if it kills her? Whatever to the tenacious bull dog that won't quit? If only I had an answer. I wish I had an answer.

I wish I weren't feeling so numb right now, wish there were some fight left in me. Why don't I?

Well, whatever's done is done. I can't go back now. I can't tell you how sorry I am for blowing up at you, can't tell you how much I regret our lost weekend. I was so looking forward to it. I can't tell you how ashamed I am for leaving you after I've promised to be there. But I can't not carry through with my threat. Empty threats would just enable you that much more.

Well, at least you'll have my mom. She'll take good care of you. I know she will.

It's just as well, anyway, right? Me not being here? So I can't be your crutch? The last thing we'd want is for you to jump from alcohol addiction to a codependent relationship. Face it, I'd let you. We're both so damn obsessive compulsive. Otherwise we wouldn't do what we do, and be where we are at our career. Yeah, this is the right decision I'm making, even though it doesn't feel like it now.

Sitting here, staring at the ceiling, waiting for my mom's verdict, I find myself thinking about you, about us, about what could have been us, and… what might still be us. I'm also thinking about my past lovers, about... Abbie. I think I do need to talk to her, resolve my feelings for her, whatever it might be. Maybe this is a good time for it. Yeah. That's what I'm going to do when I get back to the city tomorrow, I've decided.

At least I'm making a decision that feels right. At least one.

Yeah. Go Cabot...

144. Believe

Slowly, your mother and I gather ourselves and start walking back to the main house. Your mother leads me, slowly, allowing my slowness at getting around on these things be an asset instead of a hindrance. "The night air is beautiful, tonight." She says, taking a deep breath.

I try to concentrate on what I have to do; face you. Talk to you. Try to explain why I act the way I act, when to be honest, I'm not even totally sure myself. Your mother promises that hearing me admit that I have a problem will help you. Will help me. Will help us.

I wonder why she even cares about helping me? After all, I'm only some stranger to her. A woman who hurt her daughter, and destroyed her son's property. By all rights, this woman should want to kill me, she shouldn't be trying to take me into her flock and help me out.

She jabbers on about the night, and points to distant gardens hidden in shadows, talking about her hydrangeas and how hard it was to get them to grow in such a sunny place. How can she forget that we're about to approach you? We talked about you; about how she knows that you care about me. How she wants for us to be able to work things out between us; but she also tells me that this is my time to fix things. She can't force you stay. And if I'm going to keep drinking, she's not even going to suggest it.

She's told me about your tears and your anger; explained how really, it was the same for me as a kid. I remember that; wanting my mother just to stop. I wanted it more than anything in the world, but still knowing that at the end of the day, I always knew she'd pick the alcohol over me any day of the week. I can't imagine making you feel that way now.

She leads me to the door to your childhood room.

I knock shyly, unsure if you'll actually let me enter. I'm sure you expect your mother and I can see your surprise to see me standing in front of you like a wounded animal. You turn away from me and flop back down onto the bed, facing the wall.

"Hi," I say shyly.

"Hey," you say, staring at a wall.

"I wanted to give this to you." I say, slowly handing you the box.

You look at it and shake your head. "I don't want it back."

"No," I say, insistently. "I'm not giving it back forever. I want you to give it back when I've earned it. See, I have a problem…with, um, drinking. And I want to work on it, I want you to give this back, when you actually do believe in me."


I hear a light knocking on my door, and I open my eyes.

Must have drifted off waiting. I'm just so tired. I think I've survived three straight weeks of grueling trial better than this. I wonder what mom has to say, wonder if she managed to talk some sense into you.

I rush to open the door. Oh, it's you.

It's you!

You look so timid, and your eyes are still watery with tears. Even if I had wanted to slam the door in your face, I wouldn't, couldn't. What I really want to do, is to wrap my arms around you, and tell you everything's going to be all right.

Is everything going to be all right? I don't know how it can be.

So I let you in, and I do the only thing I can. I turn away from you, and stare at the wall. If I look at you, I'd want to hold you, kiss you, apologize to you and cry with you. And then I'd be lost.

So I make you hop around my bed to talk to me. I make myself look at you when you give me the ring back. I didn't want to face you, didn't want to face myself.

Then you tell me what I wanted to hear. Is it just another line? I can't help but wonder. I've let myself be fooled by your lies before. This time though, it's different. You seemed different, almost fearful when you ask me to give you the ring again, but only when you've earned it.

So I sigh, and sit up, making room for you on the bed.

Fine, if that's what you want, I was going to tell you. Instead, I say, a little too hopeful to my ears, "You really mean it?"

"Your mom helped me realize I do have a problem, that I'm only putting you through what my mother had put me through." You stare away at the wall for a moment. "I love you, Alex, I can't do that to you."

If only you had figured this out two hours ago… I exhale softly and remain silent.

"I know it's not going to be easy, but will you stay, and be with me?" You ask quietly, obviously afraid of what my answer might be. To make it harder for me, tearfully, you add, "I need you."

I sigh again. Then I take your hand. "I'm sorry I blew up at you earlier. I should have controlled my temper better. I was just so mad, so… disappointed. And I felt so sorry for myself. Anyway, I'm so sorry."

"Don't be, I deserved it. I should be the one apologizing…" you look like you're about to start rambling.

I shush you with my fingers, and have to still myself from falling into the brief contact, the touch of your lips. I sigh yet again. "I don't know that I'm the best thing for you right now. I'm not sure if I want to trust you again. I definitely can't trust myself not to react badly the next time…"

You look like I just ran over your dog. "Are we really… through?"

"Maybe we're on probation? Until we both have a better handle on ourselves?"

You don't like the answer, I can tell, but you're willing to accept it. "So you're not leaving?" You ask, with a barely perceptible lift in your voice.

"First thing tomorrow morning. I have to go into the city." I tell you, forcing myself to look you in the eye, and smile. "Just have to finish up something. Then I'll come back."

"Should I ask…?"

"Probably not." I let out another long breath.

And I reach out to you, and kiss you. Kiss you like it's the last time we'll kiss. "I do love you." I whisper into your mouth as I pull you towards me.

146. Hiatus

I'm staring to understand all too well what it means to be on probation.

Not only are you leaving me here, while you go into the city to tie up lose ends, but you're keeping me far away from you as humanly possible. It's almost as though you think I have leprosy and am contagious. I'm not, by the way.

We walk back to your mother's guest house, smiling shyly at each other, pretending that nothing happened. I can almost erase the last few hours from my mind, and once we enter into our own hidden world, I imagine that you will be back in my arms. I want to fall back into bed with you, just like we had all afternoon, but all I can get from you is a chaste kiss while you ask if I want to watch a movie.

I agree, because I think that maybe you just need some time. Of course you need time to hear what I said; time to take it all in and process what's going on. I almost think that you're going to let this go behind you, as you bound into the other room returning with a smile and a DVD case. I settle myself onto the couch, ready to crawl into your arms when you take the other end, but then I notice you're not sitting by me at all. Instead, you plop down in the single chair, turning to ask me if I'm comfortable of if I want a blanket.

It's all I can do not to pout at you. I want you to cuddle into my arms. I want to be with you.

I can't believe this.

In silence, we watch as the movie world floats by us. Just as the movie ends and you stand, looking at me with a smile and yawning sleepily. "I'm so sleepy," you mumble.

Finally, bed, I think, letting the first smile in two hours slide into place in my face.

That is, until I watch as you pull spare linens out of the closet and head into the "other" room.

You look at me shyly. "I think it's better if I sleep in here tonight."

I don't even argue. "If you want," I say, hoping that this is some huge miscommunication and instead you think it's what I want.

You slide the door closed behind you, and I find myself utterly alone. Alone and in a strange place that's supposed to be filled instead with you.

I slide into bed and will myself not to cry. Eventually, my eyes close and I'm sound asleep. Waking, I turn to reach for you, and you're not there. A note in front of the alarm clock tells me you've gone to the city and you'll be back.

This is going to be one hell of a long day.

147. DREAD

I don't want to do this to you. I really don't. But I must. I must be strong, I must stay away, I must, I must.

If you hadn't pulled away earlier tonight, hadn't pulled away from our kiss, I would have made love to you, and let you make love to me, in my old bed, in my mother's house, without protection. I would have, without a pause.

I wanted so badly to feel your lips over mine, to feel your skin sliding against my own. I needed to know we'll be all right.

I can't even trust myself to sit next to you on the couch. Did you notice how I stole glances at you? How my body gravitated towards yours even sitting in the chair? I wanted nothing more than to snuggle up to you during the movie. Nothing more than to seek comfort in your arms.

I only pretended to be sleepy after the show. I knew I wouldn't get any sleep last night. I also knew I couldn't be trusted with you, lying next to me, in the same bed. That's why I went into the other room. Why I felt necessary to have the door between us.

You were still asleep when I snuck into your room this morning. Did you cry yourself to exhaustion? I hope not. You have no idea how much I wanted to touch you, to crawl in bed with you, and wake you up with a kiss.

To convince you, and me, that I will come back to you. Maybe you don't need any convincing, but I do.

As we approach the city, Trevor and I, I wonder what's going to happen…

With Abbie. She sounded so happy when I called, I feel so bad.

I really didn't think I feel anything towards her anymore. Not in the hospital, not at first. But last night, I was so willing to fly back into her arms. Why?

The easy way out? Desperation? Lunacy?

What exactly do I want? Proof that I feel nothing for her? Closure?

Or do I want to prove to myself, to you, that I do love you. Love you enough to give up my security blanket? If I could even call Abbie that? And is that somehow enough to show me I have the strength to stand by you through your journey?

And this closure… By what means?

I have so many questions. Questions I have no answers for. At least not right this moment. I hate not knowing; I hate not being prepared.

What's going to happen when I see Abbie?

And afterwards?

I'm afraid, afraid to find out.

148. Alone

I'm alone.

I can't believe I'm here and I'm alone.

In this bed.

Without you.

Did I mention that you've left me here alone?

I lie in this bed, the one that I ravaged you in.

I can see it in my mind.

And the last thing that I need in the world is to have those things flying through my head.

You don't want me like that, now. Or at least, you're pretending you don't.

I wonder what exactly it is you have to do in the city. Or more specifically, who you're doing in the city. I hope I'm wrong. I hope that it's not at all what my worst fears scream at my head. You did tell me that you wanted to be with me, slowly.

I can't get Abbie out of my head, her smile at me while she waited for you.

I somehow have faith that you'll come back to me.

You'll come back to this bed.

Where I can be with you.

Touching you.

I can remember what it was like, what you smelled like, the color of your skin as it flushed under my touch.

My hand is sliding over my stomach.

You flash through my head.

Your blonde hair.

Your beautiful smile.

Your fingers on my body.

My fingers on my body.

I wonder if you're thinking about me too…


I wonder what you're doing right now. Still sleeping? Watching TV? Reading? God forbid, talking to my mom? I hope you're think about me. The selfish part of me hope that you might even be missing me a little… all right, missing me a lot.

Maybe you're even reflecting why I left in the first place?

Actually, it's good that I find out about my doubts now, before everyone of us is in too deep, before anything gets irreparably damaged. That's an ambiguous statement, I know. But if I had clarity, we wouldn't be where we are now, would we?

So many times, I wanted to take out my cell phone and call you. Just to hear your voice. To tell you I love you, and hear you tell me you love me. You know? I used to do that with Abbie, too. Somewhere along the way, it stopped.

I think it stopped way before that night I accused her with sleeping with Jack. Way before she complained about me spending too much time at the office. Before she pointed out to me how you looked at me. Before I forgot our anniversary dinner date, because you and I were got too involved in a case.

It had definitely stopped before I told her in anger to go find somebody else whose schedule could revolve around hers, who would put out whenever she wanted.

Maybe I should call her and cancel, and make Trevor drive me back.

Do I really need to confirm how I feel about her? Do I really need her to show me how much I love you?

Can I forgive myself afterwards?

Can I forgive myself if I don't?

And if I do still have feelings for Abbie, it would be unfair of me to just dismiss it because I somehow have it in my head that you're the love of my life.

At one point, admittedly a long time ago, I thought she was the love of my life, too.

I'd hate for all of us to look back to this pivotal point of in time with regret.

Besides, something tells me Abbie needs closure as much as I do.

I must commend my brother for keeping his big mouth shut and minding his own business during the entire drive. Occasionally, I catch him looking at me. Our eyes would meet and immediately he would direct his attention back to the road.

Finally, I'm at Abbie's hotel. I'm standing in the waiting area, and I think about calling you. Or Abbie. It's still not too late for me to turn around and leave. Instead, I suck in a deep breath and approach the front desk. Soon, the manager announces my arrival. I'm in the elevator. I'm walking down the corridor. And I'm finally at her door, ready to knock.

Here we go, Alex Cabot, here's your moment of truth.

150. bored

The wall.

The ceiling.

I stare around this room, lying in your bed. I'm trying to fall asleep, or stay awake, or whichever one will make the time go faster.

Instead, I'm lying here, feeling my ankle throb and a definitive soreness in my chest. Of course, I shouldn't have been rolling around with you yesterday, but it was worth it then.

I'm not sure it's worth it now.

God this is boring.

This is so boring. Worse than the hospital because I know that here, you're missing. Not only missing but somewhere else; somewhere you won't tell me.

God I wish you were here.

With you were here with me.

I can't take it anymore.

I feel sorry for myself.

Very very sorry for myself. I'm here, hurt, waiting for you.

While you're out there, somewhere.

Not thinking about me.

Not worrying about me.

I sigh, as I look around again.


Nothing to hold my attention.

Nothing to hold my attention besides the deep pain in my chest that exists because you're not here with me.

I hope you come back to me soon.


The door opens and I see you with long hair smiling at me. I blink. It's Abbie. Great, just great. As if I'm not already neurotic enough.

"Hi." I smile back.

"So what brings you here?" She asks as she closes the door.

"This." I tell her, as I grab her face, and close my eyes, and press my lips against hers, as I push my tongue into her mouth.

"And this." As I pushes her onto the bed, and fall on top of her, pulling her sweater up in one swift movement. Raising up just long enough to peel off my shirt and shed my underwear. Before I seize her lips again, letting my fingerss run all over her body. Feeling it respond to my touch, as I follow my hands with my lips.

This is love.

And there is a desperation in this love that I've never felt before with another person. Not with you. Not with Abbie until this very moment.

As I kiss a trail down her body, and touch her in ways I've never touched her. That I hope shows her exactly how I feel about her, that tells her how I will always, always love her.

"Alex?" I hear her whisper my name, I feel her hands in my hair, stilling my progress.

"Yes?" I breathe against her navel.

"Stop." She says, and pull me back up her body, until we're face to face.

I lean in to kiss her again, but she puts a finger to my lips.

"As much I want this, Alex, I don't think we should."


"I don't want a goodbye fuck."

"But Abbie…" I start to protest.

"It is what this is, right? A goodbye? Closure?" She smiles at me sadly. "I'm sorry Alex, I can't give you closure. Either I have you back, or I don't. So far all the evidence points to the latter. Am I right?"

I lower my eyes guiltily, and nod.

"Benson's a lucky woman," she says, and tucks my hair behind my ear, and strokes my cheek like she used to.

"I'm so sorry, Abbie, I wish… things were different." I tell her. On some level, I really do. We have had some good times together.

"Oh well," she shrugs and kisses me gently. "I didn't really want to quit my job anyway. I like being an Assistant US attorney. It sounds so important."

I can only shake my head and laugh.

She laughs with me. "So aren't you going to ask me about DC?"

"I thought I did." I hug her, pressing our bodies together. "You know I will miss you."

"As long as you realize what you're missing out on."

"Jerk." I can feel the sting of tears behind my eyes. "You haven't changed one bit."

"I'd like to think I'm wiser these days." She smiles as she helps me with my clothes.

152. Rotten

I hate these walls.

They're so white.

I hate this bed.

It's too damn soft.

I hate the window shades.

They're blocking all the good light.

I hear the key in the door. "Hey," I hear you call from what seems like a million miles a way..

Instantly, I pull myself up. I'm ready for you.

"I'm in here," I yell, trying to grab for something that makes me look like I haven't been sitting here all day feeling bad for myself.

You come in, and sit next to me on the bed. You can probably tell I haven't been up. I hope my fingers running through my hair is enough to tame the wild pieces.

"Did you have a good day?" you ask me, pushing yourself against my leg, so that you have enough room on the bed. You arm casually goes over my leg.

"Yeah, great." I say, trying to smile. I don't know why I'm bothering to try to convince both of us that I didn't spend the whole day staring into the wall trying to make sense of being alone. Somehow, telling you I spent the day missing you doesn't sound so wonderful. "How was…everything?"

"Okay." You say. Your eyes are distant. Looking into those white walls. I want to tell you what I've learned; that they don't hold the answers.

"So, how was the city?" I ask you.

"It was…" You let your voice fall off. "I went to see Abbie."

"Oh." Yep. Great. This is the part when you tell me that you don't want me, that she's yours.

"It's not what you think. I had to say goodbye to her. Because, I realized, I realize, that I love you."

I look at you, trying to not let my eyes convey the hurt in my heart. "And so you went there to?"

"I needed to say goodbye. To make it, I final. I wanted her to know that I want to be with you."

I smile at you reassuringly, but somehow, I feel like I'm not the only bullshit artist in the room. I guess this is how you feel; wishing you could trust me.

What a rotten feeling…

153. LULL

I didn't stay long with Abbie. There really wasn't any reason to. We promised to keep in touch, to be friends, like every other couples do when they try to have an amicable breakup. But she and I both know that's just another promise we made to each other that we'll break.

I stop by the garage to pick up my car. And now I'm on my way back to you.

Sure, I think I've accomplished what I set out to do this morning, whatever it might be. Somehow, it seems almost anti-climatic. The whole thing.

And what do I do when I get there?

What will you do?

Will you jump up and hug me? Oh, wait, I guess you can't exactly jump. Then will you at least let me know you've missed me?

Or will you even talk to me?

Where do we go from here?

I park my car at the main house, and chat briefly with my mom. For once, she doesn't grill me on everything that transpired between Abbie and me. Maybe she finally realizes I'm a grown woman.

The guest house is quiet as I slide my key in. I guess you're not watching TV. Are you asleep? Where are you anyway. "Hey!" I call out to you. Judging by your response, I can tell you're in the bedroom. So I drop off my bag, and come to you.

I sigh lightly to myself when I see you. On some level I feel bad, I feel like it's my fault. You look like a little kid stuck indoors on a beautiful day when all your friends are out playing. The cow lick on your head tells me you probably haven't even left the bed, much less the room.

Casually, I sit down next to you, making sure I invade your space. Only strangers ask for permission to touch.

You ask me how my day was, and I want so much to give you a stock answer. But you deserve to know. So I tell you the truth, withholding certain details but giving you my final thoughts on the subject.

I don't know what I was expecting, but you don't look like you believe me at all.

I guess I'll just have to prove to you. After all, actions speak louder than words.

"Hey, I'm starved." I smile at you and give the inside of your thigh a squeeze, "Have you eaten? You want to raid the kitchen?"

154. Dinner

So you want to raid the kitchen, huh?

I let you pull me to my feet, well, foot. You slip my arms around your shoulders and help me grab the crutches that keep me steady.

Together we rush into the kitchen, and I prop myself against the table and watch as you search the cabinets for the perfect meal. I watch with a smile and absolute confusion as you throw a bunch of different things onto the counters.

"You going to cook for me Cabot?" I ask, with a smile. I have to admit that I'm surprised that you could find your way around a kitchen. Just by the amount of time you work alone, I doubt that you spend much time in a kitchen. Judging from your mother's "retreat" I doubt you'd have to cook much for yourself.

"Umm…" you say, looking around at the mess of assorted ingredients you've thrown on the counters. "I was hoping you'd help."

I can't help but smile at the look on your face. "You don't cook, do you?"

"Sure I do," you say, as you pause. "I can boil water. Oh, and I can bake."

"Like your mom?" I ask, sounding a little too hopeful. "Yep. We can kill you with chocolate."

"Sounds good to me."

You run into the other room and drag out a high chair and pull it up to the counter. "Here, you can supervise."

Your hopeful smile is too much to resist. I give you directions and as I pull a chopping board in front of me. "What are you doing?" you ask.

"Salad," I smile.

"That's so healthy" you say, wrinkling your nose at me.

"Yeah, well you'll need your energy later, so you better eat right."

"Oh I will?" you ask with a bright smile.

"That's what I've heard," I tell you as I start chopping carrots. Even though I'm not looking at you, I can feel your huge smile. It's good to be happy.


Hm. When I suggested raiding the kitchen, I was assuming Miriam had left us food. Instead of prepared dishes, that we could just pop into the microwave, I'm finding ingredients. Boxes of stuff. Stuff in bags. Stuff in storage containers that looked like they needed to be cooked. Stuff I have absolutely no idea what to do with.

What happened to making sure we're fed?

Oh well, maybe if I pull out everything, we can figure it out together. I really do hope you can cook.

Otherwise, we'll have to go raid mom's kitchen…

Hm. Here's a backup plan! I'm about to tell you when I look up and see you smiling. Are you laughing at me? All right, so I'm totally clueless in the kitchen, you don't have to smirk like that. But it's nice to see you smile.

I think it's the first genuine smile I've seen on your face since the garden.

"So, are you going to help or not?" I ask you, sticking my tongue out at you.

Your grin gets wider, and I can't help but smile with you. Happiness is contagious.

Time flies by as we prepare dinner. I snack on veggies from your hand. You show me how to marinate the meat. I'm even making soup that doesn't involve Mrs. Campbell and a can opener. Wow.

This is like playing house.

This is fun.

I can definitely do this every evening for the rest of my life.

I can just see us now: I'll wash the vegetables while you chop them up for the salad. You'll do the cooking, while I bake the dessert. When we're done cooking, we'll sit down at the table together, and we'll feed each other, and stare deeply into each others eyes as we eat…

All right, Cabot, cut it out. Or at least stop blushing and grinning like an idiot, I try to tell myself.

"Hey." You choose this moment to talk to me.


"Glad to have you back." You smile and hold out your arms.

I walk into your embrace. "It's good to be back."

"So," you kiss me softly, then hand me the pot holders. "Ready to taste your cooking?"

"You bet!" I grab the ladle and bowls from the shelf, while you scoop salad onto the plates.

Playing house with you is so much fun!

156. Games

"Okay, look, I don't think you understand what's at stake here."

"I think I can hold my own." I mutter, rolling my eyes at you.

"Liv, this isn't going to be easy."

"I know, Alex, I hear you."

"I'm telling you, really, you could die here."

"Alex, it's okay."

"Really, Liv, I don't think you understand what you're getting yourself into…"

"Alex, for God's sake, it's not quantum physics."

"But you don't know what this is like in this family. They're cut throat."

"Eh, how bad can it be?" I ask, shrugging my shoulders and smiling at you.

"Liv, please? Let's just stay here." You grab my arm, and pull me closer to you. You kiss my lips but I can feel myself pushing back against you.

"Alex, you promised your mother we'd be there."

"But Liv…"

"Alex. Come on. It's really not a biggie."

"You just don't understand."

"You don't think I can hold my own with your mom?"

"It's not that, it's just that…they can be really mean about this."

"How mean can they be?"

"Mom's made Trevor cry."

That makes me laugh in spite of myself. "Good for her."

"You still want to go?"

"I'm still game."

"This isn't a game, Liv, this is Scrabble."


"I warned you, Liv."

"She's brutal!"

"You didn't believe me."

"How can such a sweet gracious woman be so ruthless? Oh, nevermind, I forget who I'm talking to."

"Are you saying I'm vicious?"

"No, Alex, I'm saying you're sweet and gracious and whatever positive adjectives you want to use."

"Are you sucking up?"

"Just insurance. I swear your mother cheats."

"How? The tiles are faced down. We mixed them up. And besides that, she was never alone in the room."

"Nobody uses all seven letters five times in a single game without cheating, Alex."

"Just because you've never seen it done doesn't mean it's never happened."

"Maybe she marks them somehow."

"How, Liv, how? With an invisible marker only she can see?"

"Well… Maybe she has x-ray vision?"

"Right, she can see the letters through the tile. You might as well say she's psychic."

"Are you sure she isn't, Alex?"

"Olivia, don't be absurd."

"Absurd is getting over a thousand points in Scrabble. I didn't even realize it's statistically or mathematically possible."

"Did I tell you my mother wanted to be a librarian at some point?"

"What? She memorized the entire Library of Congress?"

"Possibly. I can't believe you agreed to a rematch."

"Your mother called me a chicken. She implied I was afraid of her."

"You're not?"

"Shut up."

"What, you can't stand being beaten by a little old lady?"

"What would your mother say if she knew you called her a little OLD lady."

"You wouldn't."

"What's it worth to ya?"

158. Wild Child

I smile at you, our happy banter, as I raise the stakes, "What's it worth to ya?"

I could learn to love sitting together like this forever, on the couch, you smiling at me, leaning into my side, so comfortable and close. It's amazing how wonderfully our bodies fit together. It's almost like we were made to go together.

You crinkle up your nose and smile, as you move in to close the distance between us. I can feel your warmth through my clothes, the way you slide up my body. "I dunno," you say, as I feel your hand sliding up my body. You kiss me gently, "But, you don't want to try to blackmail an officer of the court."

"I'm the one with the handcuffs," I smile at you deviously as I see.

"You never know, you might not be the only one." You say, wagging your eyebrow at me suggestively.

"You're too vanilla Cabot, I don't believe it."

I really don't. I don't. I can't.

"You don't believe I could have handcuffs?" You ask with mock indignation.

"You could, you just don't strike me as the type."

"And what type do I strike you as?"

"You're always in control."

"That's not true." You say, crossing your arms with a dramatic flare.

"Oh come on," I say, "You are. I mean, I can't even think of a time when you weren't totally in control of every situation. Even in college, I bet you weren't exactly the type to go to the party, have one too many, and end up blowing the football team."

"No, I wasn't," you say slowly.


"And what's your point? Do you have handcuffs that weren't issued to you by the state of New York?" you ask.

"Well, no, but that's not the point."

"It is the point, totally. Besides I had my wild moments."

"Oh really? Tell me about 'em."

159. WILD

"Why would I want to do that?"

"Well, you can just admit that you don't have any."


You look at me with a smirk. "I knew it."

"I handcuffed someone to the bed more than once." I tell you. "And had my way with her."

"That just proves my point though." You give me a half smile. "You're always in control."

All right. You do have a point. "I got totally smashed on my eighteenth birthday. It was illegal and I definitely wasn't in control."

"What happened afterwards?"

"Trevor took me home, and Mom fixed me the same concoction I made you."

"Let me guess, you never got drunk again."

"No." I have to admit. Hm. "I danced on top of a pool table once, naked."

You roll your eyes conveying total disbelief. "No way."


"Where were you?"

"In a bar."

"Really. Wasn't that kinda dangerous?"

"Not really."


"It was closed. I was seeing one of the owners of the club."

"So essentially, you danced naked for your lover in total privacy. How was that wild?"

Hm. Never thought of it like that. "That I danced naked at all? Why? If I asked you to strip for me, would you do it?"

"Of course. Why wouldn't I?" You lift your brow and smile lasciviously. "We'll have to wait until my ankle heals though."

Why am I the one blushing? "All right. I had sex with the prom queen on prom night. In the back of a convertible, with the top down. Is that wild enough for you?"

"Was the car parked in a garage?" You chuckle smugly.

"Nope." I can see your mind racing for the next most logical location. This is going to be fun.

"On a private property."

"Nope. It was quite public."

Your eyes widen. "Really?"


"Are you going to tell me?"

I can tell you're dying to know. "What's it to ya?" I ask, smiling with satisfaction.

160. Tease

"Oh come on, you can't say something like that, and then….wait, you said prom queen right?"


"Wow," So that's slightly impressive. I'm pretty sure that the prom queen from my high school is still living in the neighborhood after marrying the prom king who promptly became head of the local mechanic's shop. God, I hated that girl. "Where was the prom king?"

"With his boyfriend."

"Oh. Well, I suppose that shouldn't come as a surprise."

"No. I guess not."

"Lemme guess, the boyfriend was your date."




"Do your handcuffs have pink fur on them?" You smile and look at the floor. I laugh at you, "They so don't count."

"They do so," You say, with the adorable pout. I am going to stand no chance if you ever decide to use that against me.

"So, you were totally out in public? I can't believe you would do something so improper as have sex in a public place."

"Do we have to talk about this?"

"Come on, now I have to know the story." I prod you, even though I know that you love this attention. Whether you want to admit it or not, you're proud of the fact that you can pique my attention so easily.

"What about you? Did you ever do anything wild?"

"Nice try Alex, but I don't even know what your wild thing was."

"I know, and it's killing you," you say, smiling at me, kissing me gently again on the nose.

Part 161

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