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

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


I stomp up the stairs, each slam of my feet against each step fails to make me feel any less angry.

"How did it?" You start to ask as I push open the door with a whoosh. The loud bang stops you cold.

"I can't believe that bitch," I swear, as I stalk up and down the room.

Finally, you catch me in your arms. "Calm down."

"I am calm."

"Right." You laugh.

"I'm calmer now than before."

"Talking didn't work?"

"There's no talking with that closed minded bigot. I can't believe we even share the same genes."

"Alex, sweetie."

"Don't 'sweetie' me." I turn to glare at you.

"Why are you taking it out on me?"

"Because, you sent me down there."

"What did you say to her?" You ask, full of reason.

That makes me even more upset with you. "Why does it have to be something I said?"

"Come on, Baby."

"I just told her if she loved me, she should be happy for me, that I've found my soul mate, the love of my life," I reply. "Which is something she obviously has no comprehension for. Fucking spinster."

"You didn't say that?"

"Of course not! What am I? Stupid?"

"No, sweetie, it's just," you say, then pause. In response to my raised eyebrow, you clear your throat. "Did you realize you put her in a position to defend herself?"

"I'm a litigator! A prosecutor! What the fuck do you expect?"

"Your aunt's not a criminal."

"No, she's just a fucking ignorant so and so!"

"She's also family."

"Yeah, whatever," I say, refusing to acknowledge that fact.


"So what happened then?" I ask, still not sure how it was that you ended up back up here.

"What do you mean what happened?" You ask indignantly, as if the answer should be written on your face. "She was being entirely unreasonable. She said that homosexuality was against God's law, and that I should know better if I cared for my soul. She's, she's such a bigot, I told you. She said that she could never accept you into the family."

"She doesn't have to accept me." I shrug.

"Yes she does." You demand.

"That's kind of silly Alex."

"It's not silly, Olivia. You're my wife. I love you."

"I love you too, sweetie, but I'm not her family, really. I'm yours."

"You are my family and I'm part of this family. She's upset to be pushed out."

"I probably would be too if I were her." I honestly can sympathize with her. Her views, however silly they seem to you and me, have caused her to lose the only family she's ever known.

"Olivia," you complain.

"Well Alex, her life didn't change. Yours did."

"Not really," you say, quietly.

"She didn't know, though."

"But she was fine with me before." You whine.

"Alex, she doesn't have to love me. She doesn't even have to like me. I never had an aunt before and I don't need one who's going to think that my love for you is some kind of abomination. Just the fact that any of your family accepts me is a blessing. She's not such a loss to me," I shrug again. "But if she's a loss to you. If you love her, and I think you do, you can have a relationship with her that doesn't revolve around your relationship with me."

"I'd be a hypocrite."

"You'd be realistic, Alex. Not everyone thinks that homosexuality is okay. She's still your aunt."

1553 SAD

"Well? How did it go?" You ask as I walk into the room the second time.

I shrug.

"What happened?"

I shrug again, sagging into the bed next to you.

It's obvious that it didn't go well. You pull me into your arms. "You didn't put her on the defensive again, did you?"

I don't even have the energy to glare at you. "I told her what you told me to say, that she doesn't have to like you, or even accept you, we can still be a family, like we used to be. Well, on the condition that she be civil to you."


"We're damned, and we're going to spend an eternity in hell," I tell you what she insisted, leaving out my counter argument, that the matter of my soul is between me and god, that it's none of her business.

"I'm sorry, sweetie."

"Well, so am I." I lean on your shoulder. "I just don't understand how people can be like that."

"Me neither," you sigh.

"Anyway, she and mom are talking, at least I think they are." I sigh. "When I left, mom was going to tell her about Ted."

You rub my shoulders, not saying a word. What can you say, really?

"Maybe we'll quit being her focus."

"I'm really sorry, Baby," you say, pressing a kiss to my forehead.

"She's the only aunt I have…"

"I know."

"And I'm her only niece…"


"Why does she have to be like that?" I sniff, burying my face against your shoulder.

1554 Action

You sniffle once, before the real tears start to flow. I can see the tears bubbling in your eyes, as you squeeze them shut to stop the flow.

"Shh," I whisper as you put your head into my shoulder and try to stifle your tears.

"It's not fair," you sob, pushing the tears out of your eyes.

"I know," I tell you as I pull you into my lap and let you cry in my arms.

"I don't want to cry about this." You sniff again.

"It's okay to cry, baby."

"It's just not fair." You whine again. "I want her to see how much I love you."

"She doesn't care, baby."

"She just wants me to be what she wants. I mean, I could be married to some guy who didn't love me or care about me, and she'd be happy. But you, you're amazing…"

"I don't know about amazing."

"She'd like you if she let herself get to know you."

"She doesn't want to know me."

"I know," you sniff.

And that's when I hear it, the screaming from downstairs coming up a notch.

"Jesus," you whimper. "Mom must have…"

"Told her about him." I finish, as I hear another scream, this time your mothers voice.

"They're going to kill each other," you whisper.

"Does this woman realize what she's doing?"

"She's causing a war."

"And she wasn't even invited."

Another yell echoes from downstairs. "I'm going down there." I resolve.

"That's really not a good idea," you whimper, holding my arm.

"Look, I'm a cop. I'm not going to sit here and do nothing. They could hurt each other."

1555 NOISE

"Liv?" I hold on to your hand. "I really don't think…"

"Shh…" You soothe, kissing me and smoothing my hair. "I'll be right back."


"I've dealt with bad guys with guns, I can handle your aunt," you try to reassure me with a brave smile.

"Are you sure? Do you want me to go with you?" I just don't feel right letting you face that witch alone. O.k. you won't be alone, mom will be there. Still…

"You should stay here, and I'll be back as soon as I can."

I don't argue. "Be careful."

You laugh. "It's not like I'm going to war or something."

"You never know."

"I'll be fine," you reassure me with another kiss.

Reluctantly, I let go of your hand, and watch you walk out the door.

Maybe you do know what to do. After all, you've dealt with the worst kinds of people and resolved much more dangerous situations.


I wish none of this were necessary.

I wish I knew why she's like that. She used to be such a great aunt. My tears swell as I remember the good times we had, the vacations I spent at her house. I wish she were the same loving caring person like before, instead of this self-righteous judgmental person who I don't even recognize.

Who sounds more and more like a harpy as she and mom get into their yelling match.

I wonder what you're going to do.

Some good, I hope.

Suddenly, the noises cease. Judging by the time lapse, I guess you're in the room.

I hope you're giving them a piece of your mind.

I hope you can talk some sense into her…

1556 Stuck

I walk down the stairs slowly, suddenly unsure of what I got myself into. Why am I storming down these stairs like I'm going to a fire.

Maybe this is a bad idea.

I hear your mother and the voice of someone I don't know, I'm guessing your aunt, screaming at each other.

"I can't believe you would make the same mistake…" The first unknown voice screams.

"It's only a mistake because you didn't make the decision."

"I would never make such a stupid, poor, irrational…"

"Who made you the grand decision maker?" Your mother screams back.

"I was raised…"

"You were raised with the same morals I was." She defends. "The same alcoholic father. The same mother who sat there and took it every day."

At this, I push myself into the room.

"Olivia, darling," you mother says staring at me.

I half smile. "Hi," I say, to your aunt, who stares at me open mouthed. She ignores me. Your mother doesn't miss a beat.

"This is Alexandra's wife, Olivia." She says, and I watch your aunt flinch at the word.

I stick my hand out to shake hers, but she doesn't offer it, and I let mine slide back down my body, pretending I hadn't extended it in the first place.

"Alex wanted me," I start.

"I'm not interested," She says with a dismissive wave. "You corrupted my niece, and I won't let you do it to me."

"Oh for God's sake, she doesn't want to sleep with you," your mother sighs. "Besides, Alexandra has been gay for years. Didn't you ever wonder why she never introduced you to her boyfriends?"

"She just hasn't met the right man," your aunt says.

"She's not going to meet a man. She has this wonderful woman." Your mother says pointing to me. Your aunt crosses her arms.

We're left at a standstill.

1557 WAIT

Time comes to a standstill as I sit here, and stare at the ceiling, and try to blank my mind, and not think about all the things that could potentially upset me, and make me cry. Again.

I hate this.

I hate this feeling.

I wish there were something I could do, as I lean against the door.

But she's my aunt.

Not Petrovski who could throw me in jail for contempt. At least then I could brew about it, and sulk and feel righteous indignation or something. With Petrovski, or any other random bigot, I could walk away.

I can't walk away from my family. At least I shouldn't.

Even when they're behaving like unreasonable human beings.

Instead of trying to find a solution, I let you go down there to face the enemy.

What's wrong with me?

Just because it's my aunt and my mom fighting, I turn into a scared four year old, hiding in the closet like I did whenever gramps flew into a drunken rage?

I'm an adult.

I'm not a spoiled six year old who only knows how to throw temper tantrums when things don't go according to her way.

I have skills. Negotiation skills.

If only I knew how to use them when it comes to my family.

Things are remarkably quiet at this moment. I wonder what's going on. Wonder if the rest of the family knew of this drama and wisely stay away. Or maybe Trevor's warned them. Too bad I can't seek the shelter of the guest house.

Why am I running away?

I should be downstairs. With you.

Maybe if she sees us together, she'd realize just how much we love each other, and how right it is, regardless of what the bible allegedly says.

Isn't god all about love?

Yeah, she'll probably tell us both to go hell…

Anyway, I really should go.

I suck in a deep breath to stable my resolve, and open the door…

1558 Witness

"Alexandra was not a lesbian," you aunt says slowly. Carefully and seriously, she stares at me, appraising me with her eyes, and making it clear for me that she doesn't approve.

"Of course she was," you mother says casually, shaking her head. "She didn't just wake up one day and decide that was something she wanted to try."

"She wasn't."

"Fine," your mother sighs. "She wasn't. And she is now, so what's the big problem?"

"It's against God's law." Your aunt demands.

"Oh please," your mother laughs. "Need I recount for you all the things you've engaged in that are 'against God's law?' What was that married professor's name that you dated in college? God put that one in his commandments, there's nothing in there about Alexandra loving a woman."

I shift uncomfortably, the two of them ignoring my presence entirely. At least they aren't yelling now. They're being civil.

"That was thirty years ago." Your aunt sighs.

"Look, when I first realized that Alexandra was a lesbian," you mother says quietly, "I was scared for her. Not because of this nonsense about God's law, or it being immoral, but I was afraid of what her life would be like having to deal with people who hated her because of who she loved. I was worried that her life would be far more difficult because of her lifestyle, and that shouldn't be."

"Then she should make the choice…"

"She can't make the choice, if it even is a choice. You should spend some time with her. See how happy she is when she's with Olivia." Your mother says, reaching her hand out to me. "This woman, whether you like it or not, makes your niece light up. She's happy. She's really happy, and how can you be upset about that."

"It's not natural… a woman and a woman." Your aunt says.

"No one is asking you to join into that part of their lives, but you could open your mind and try to see beyond the idea that being gay is just 'wrong'."

"I…" Your aunt stutters. I can't believe my eyes, but behind her I see you slip into the room. I swallow, hard. She turns and looks at you, stares at you for a moment before speaking…


All eyes turn when I walk into the room. To think I live for moments like that everyday. Guess there's a difference when the gaze isn't a stranger's admiration, a juror's awe, or even a defendant's hatred, but a family member's scrutiny.

I fight against my instincts to walk up to you and borrow your strength. Instead I cross my arms and stand just to the side of my mom.

That is, until you smile, and hold out your hand. Gratefully, I take it and slide up next to you.

Of course my aunt doesn't miss any of this. She stares at me with disapproval.

Then she turns to you. "It's all your fault."

"Why is it my fault?" You say.

"I don't think it's anyone's fault," mom replies at the same time.

Again, everyone looks at me, and wait for my contribution to your defense. "What's her fault? That I fell in love with her? It's not Olivia's fault that…"

Without letting me finish, she fires, "But you're with a woman."

"For as long as I've known, Aunt Olga, I've always preferred women," I finally tell her.

"But if she hadn't…"

"If you must know, I'm the corruptor in this relationship."

"Alex," you gasp.

"I'm sorry, Liv." I squeeze your hand. "I will not stand here and have my aunt blame you for who I am."

"No, I mean I don't think there's anything corrupt about us," you say, smiling at me.

"I don't think so either." I smile back. Yes, they're staring at us, I'm aware. But suddenly, none of this matters anymore. You're right, she doesn't have to like you. She doesn't even have to like me.

"Can't you see? How much they love each other?" My mom speaks up, pulling my attention back to my aunt. "How can a love like this be wrong?"

"But god…"

"You know what?" My mom's temper flares again. "Obviously we don't believe in the same god."

1560 Trying

Your aunt is obviously uncomfortable as she stares at us, us holding onto each other, caring for each other the way we do. She turns when you take my hand, and I almost feel bad for her, if even for a second.

If I didn't do what I did, if I hadn't experienced this so many times, I would be shocked. But dealing with sex as a profession, I've seen all these reactions before. Usually, though, I'm a voice in a situation in which I have no personal stake. Whether you admit it outright or not, it bothers you that your aunt doesn't accept you now with open arms. And it matters to me that you're hurt, whether or not the hurt is something I can protect you from is entirely a different matter.

I never thought that this would be something I would face. If it weren't for you, well, if it weren't for you, I'm sure my entire life would be different. I certainly wouldn't be at a family celebration this year. I'd be…

I don't even want to think about it.

Your fingers lace with mine, and you smile at me, and your aunt frowns. Your mother snaps at her when she brings up God for the fiftieth time, and your aunt backs down.

"I can't accept this," she says, clearly. Strongly and with a resolution that only someone with your genes could provide.

"You don't have to accept it," I say, quietly.

You and your mother look at me with questions in their eyes. I shrug. It's true.

"I don't," she says back, standing her ground and rearranging her posture to be back to a more defensive stance.

"You don't have to accept me, or like me, or care about me, but Alex loves you." I nearly plead. "I will stay out of your relationship, but don't give up what you have with your niece because of me."

"Liv," you whisper.

"No, Alex." I quiet you, and look at your aunt. "I've been there and held her while she's cried about the way you refuse to see that there could be other sides to this. She loves you. And well, if you love her, you could try."

"I do love you Alexandra," your aunt says softly.

"Then why can't you just…" You start to say, but I squeeze you.

"Alex," I whisper, not wanting you to say something to put her back onto the defensive side. "Just… try."

1561 TRY

"I don't have to like you," my aunt tells you.

"I wish you would."

"It's okay, Sweetie," you say quickly. "No, you don't have to like me."

What kind of compromise is this? Maybe we just need to give her time. Maybe…

"I don't have to like what's between you," she continues.

Haven't we already established that? I bite my tongue.

"But I do love you." She reaches out, and I let her brush my arm. "I guess I'll have to learn to accept who you are."

"Thanks, Aunt Olga."

"Are you sure about this? I mean, you're sure you're…?"


"Yeah, that," she says with a wince.

Well, technically… But then I look at you, and I can't help but smile. "I'm pretty sure."

She sighs a loud sigh.

Silence shrouds the room.

Then, without warning, she turns vicious again. "Now, this matter with you and Ted."

"It's not open for discussion," my mom replies resolutely, without missing a beat.

Guess it's time for me to step up. "Aunt Olga, may I tell you something?"

"What is it, Alexandra?"

"I didn't approve of mom's decision either, not at first."

"Oh?" She glances at you, as if she's wondering if she should blame you for my change of heart.

This is going to be a long road ahead… But right now, there's mom's happiness. So I continue, "It seems like he's willing to change."

"A tiger doesn't change its stripes."

"But if mom's willing to give him that chance, and she knows better than any one of us what he's capable of, maybe we should trust her judgment?" And just be there to pick up the pieces? But I don't say that. I just smile at my mom, and wait for my aunt's response…

1562 Another

"Ted's changed," Your mother sighs at your aunt. "And both of you," she says, looking behind her at you, "need to understand that I'm a grown woman and I can make my own choices when it comes to my love life."

"No one's saying you can't, Mom, and we're happy for you," you say holding my hand, while your aunt rolls her eyes.

"Just remember the way he left you and Trevor for that bimbo. You were destroyed," she says to you, with a look that could melt ice. I'm getting less and less impressed with this aunt of yours.

"Yes, I was." Your mother says quietly

"What makes you think that he won't do that again?" She demands.

"I believe in him." She says with a shrug. "He makes me happy. He really has changed. We've made commitments to each other."

I can feel you in front of me, shifting your weight on your feet and I know that you want to say something. I hope you resist the urge.

Nope. "Mom," you say quietly.

"Alexandra?" She asks, daring you with her voice

"He does… drugs." You whisper to her.

"I know, darling." She responds, like you told her that he likes to wear the same underwear more than one day in a row.

"You know?" Your aunt asks.

"Of course. He's promised to get help for it."

"And you believe him?"

"I told you he changed." Your mother parrots for the millionth time.

"Once and addict, always an addict," your aunt says.

Oh Jesus Christ.

Suddenly, everyone's eyes are on me. I wish I could melt into the floor.


"What?" My aunt says as my mom and I quickly look away from you. It was too late. "What is it?" She asks again.

I look at my mom, and who glances at you. She says nothing.

"Alexandra?" My aunt demands with a warning.

"I," you start to say.

I jump in before you can give yourself away. "Olivia's mother was an alcoholic, like grandpa."

"I take it she quit?"

"Well, not willingly." You roll your eyes and let out a sarcastic chuckle.

"Liv." I rub my fingers along your hand, and pray that you'll let me handle this. My aunt already doesn't like you. This is not the time to make a point. I hope you agree.

Meanwhile, my aunt stares at me, and waits for an explanation.

"Look, Olivia's mother was involved in a fatal accident."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," she says to you, seemingly genuine with her sympathy.

"Yeah, she got drunk and fell off the subway stairs," you provide with another sneer.

"Then you understand my point, Olivia." Suddenly, she's all smiles, hoping for your agreement. "Once an addict, always an addict. No disrespect to your dead mother, of course. That was most unfortunate."

I wish I could tell her that you were a recovering alcoholic, too, and that you have actually quit. But I don't. I don't want her to judge you anymore than she already does. Obviously, you have ideas of your own; my heart almost stops when you start to talk.

"You're right," you say, then pause.

"Olga, you may call me Olga."

"Well, you're right, Olga. Once you become addicted to something, it'll always affect you."

"Olivia!" My mom says with a gasp.

"But that doesn't mean you have to be a slave to it, especially if you want to get help."

"Yeah, right." She rolls her eyes.

"Alex told me you weren't always so religious. If you can change, why can't Ted?" You ask.

"Yeah, Aunt Olga," I jump in without thinking, "Maybe Ted found salvation in love!"

1564 Pessimist

I want to laugh when you tell your aunt that love changed Ted. Ted will change Ted, if he even wants to change, which only a few hours ago, you thought was entirely debatable. Instead I smile.

I watch as both your mother and you sneak glances at me. I wonder if you think that I'm going to tell this crazy woman that I'm an alcoholic. She goes on about how finding religion has made her such a wonderful person, someone immune to the problems that "those people" have.

I sigh, and you turn and look at me concern written all over your face. I really wish you would just stop looking at me like that. It makes me look guilty, like I've done something wrong.

"Finding religion," you aunt explains, mostly to you, "Is not like having an addiction. One is helpful, and one is destructive."

"Which?" I ask under my breath.

Your aunt, thankfully, doesn't hear me.

Your mother does though, and laughs. She looks back at me, which causes your aunt to stare me down. "Did you want to add something?" She asks me, like suddenly I've been caught passing notes in the third grade class.

"Nope," I try not to smile.

"You are all keeping something from me," your aunt accuses.

I watch you shift on your feet, your mother stares at the ground, and I just smile nervously.

"What?" She asks again.

"Nothing, Olga," your mother says, changing her face to look suddenly more serious.

"I'm going to go…" I say, quietly. "I have a monster headache," I explain, looking at your aunt. As soon as it comes out of my mouth, it's true. My head is throbbing, and I don't want to deal with any of this anymore. You look at me for a second, and take my hand back into yours. "It's okay, Alex. I'll be upstairs. You can just stay here, visit with your aunt," I say, giving you a smile as you look trapped staring at her.

"Are you sure?" You ask.

"Yeah," I sigh. "I'm just gonna go upstairs for awhile."


I watch you leave the room, then I stare at my aunt again. Visit with her? And have her try to sell me God?

Jesus Christ.


I can't believe how hypocritical she is. How we all are.

My aunt is speaking now, and I can't even focus on the sound of her voice, certainly on nothing she's saying. I love my aunt, but when's the last time we actually sit down and talk like normal people? As soon as she mentions finding 'the Lord Jesus' and prayer groups I tune out.


"Yes, mom?"

"Why don't you go see how Olivia is doing, bring her some aspirin, your aunt and I still need to talk."

Really? I can go? Yay!

I try not to look too hopeful or excited, as I ask for their confirmation.

"Yes, just go."

Oh. The grownups need to talk. At least that's the tone mom gives me. Any other time, I'd feel indignant. Right now, I could kiss her.

"Will you be joining us for brunch, Aunt Olga?"

She looks at my mom, who smiles. "Yes, it will be nice to have the whole family together," mom nods and waits for her sister's reply. My aunt smiles back. At least they're being civil now. "Now go," mom pats me on the shoulder.

I don't need further encouragement, and I'm gone like the wind...

Walking into my room, I find you staring out the window. "How's the head? I brought you some aspirin." I show you the bottle and leave it on the night stand.

"You should've stayed and visit."

"I got dismissed," I explain, and join you. "It's snowed!"


"I'm sorry about what my aunt said."

You sigh. Clearly you agree with her.

But when was the last time you craved for a drink? Maybe finding salvation in love was bull, and my faith in Ted is an even bigger load. But you did find it in yourself to change; you're a different person now. "Come on," I say and take your hand, leading you to my bed. You question silently as I scoot towards the headboard. I tap the space between my thighs. "Lie down. I'll give you a head rub."

1566 Same

"You don't have to," I sigh, as you take my hand into yours and pull me towards your little bed. On the way by, I grab the bottle off the nightstand and pour out the pills into my hand, concentrating too hard on getting the right number.

"Your head really hurts?" You ask, surprised.

"Yeah," I sigh, as I pick out the pills and swallow them without water. You shake your head at me, foregoing your usual scolding of how I'm supposed to take pills only with water.

"Come here," you whisper, pulling me to the bed, and laying me down so my head is in your lap. Gently, you put your fingers on my temples and rub small circles.

"You don't have to, Alex," I say, resisting the urge to push you away.

"I know I don't, but I want to." You say, looking down at me for a moment. "Are you okay?" You ask after a second of silence.

"Yeah." I sigh.

What's wrong?" You ask.

"Nothing," I say quietly, not sure I even understand.

"Please talk to me?" You ask.

"I wish I could Alex. I don't really know. I mean, I just…"

"You're upset about what my aunt said." You sigh.

"I suppose, a little. I mean, it's in there."

"Baby, you changed."

"Not really Alex. Not totally."

"But you've been sober for…"

"Alex, that's not really relevant."

"Do you still want it?"


"Do you still crave it like you used to?"

"Sometimes." I sigh, honestly.

"Really?" You ask, and I can hear the surprise in your voice.

"Yeah, Alex, I mean, not all the time. Not like I used to. I don't feel so bad when I see other people drinking, anymore."

"So it's not the same."

"No, it's not." I sigh. "You're right, it's not."


"Are you just saying it, or do you really believe in what you just said?"

You close your eyes and sigh.

"Thought so," I say, sighing along with you. "It's really not the same, Sweetie."

"But, I'm always going to, you know."

Be an addict? I move from your temples to release the furrow between your brows. "Did you mean what you said to my aunt? About not letting your addiction control you?"

"Well, sometimes. Maybe most of the time. Sometimes I feel it controls me."

"But it doesn't. You haven't had a drink for how long now?"

"I guess."

"Why are you always so tough on yourself?"

You shrug.

"I'm just saying…"

"I know what you're saying, Alex." You sigh.

"Then give yourself some credit."

"I know."

I bend to kiss you on your nose. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

"How's the head?"

"About the same."

"Maybe you're hungry? It's passed breakfast, and we exerted a lot of energy last night."

That got you to smile. "I guess."

"Want me to go see sneak leftovers from the kitchen? Unless you feel up to coming with?"

1568 Believe

"I'm not actually that hungry," I shrug.

"Liv, don't do this."

"What?" I ask, feeling more sorry for myself than I should.

"Just don't do this. You were doing so well."


"You've been doing so well." You say.

"Alex," I say, hearing the frustration mounting in my voice.

"Don't be sad. You're, you've come so far," you say. "You can't let what she says get to you."

"It bothers you," I say quietly.

"You're right." You say even quieter.

"Alex, that woman hates everyone. She isn't happy with anything. It bothers me that she can have just another reason to hate me, and this time, it's going to be something that I already hate myself for. She already thinks that I corrupted you and turned you into a lesbian."

"Well, I think if anyone's guilty of that, I am." You smile. "I brought you over to the dark side."

"Yeah, you're an evil temptress." I laugh a little.

"That's me," you smile, leaning over and kissing me on the forehead.

"But that's not the point. I know how much I hurt you," I whimper.

"That was in the past, Liv," you tell me.

"Okay, Alex." I sigh. "I know it's in the past. It's just hard for me to remember that sometimes. I guess because I'm always going to be afraid that it's going to be in our future."

"It's a risk I'm willing to take." You say, "Because I believe in you."

"Thanks, Alex." I smile at you. "I appreciate it."

1569 LULL

"Good." I kiss you again on your head. Finally, you're smiling, and looking like you mean it. That's good. I was afraid we'd be stuck in this self-pitying loop of yours again.

You sigh, and relax in my lap. "Think the aspirin finally kicked in."

"That's good," I say, continuing with my massage.


"Do you want me to stop?"

You shrug. "If you want?"

I don't. Except now my touch is more a soothing caress. "So what do we do now?"

"Take a nap?"

"A real nap, or a euphemistic nap?" Before you can answer, I add, "No, on either."

"Why not?"

"Because, I don't want Trevor, or my mom coming up here again, and finding us in bed, even if we're just sleeping."

"We're in bed right now."

"But you had a headache, we can explain an innocent head massage."

You laugh.


"I think you have issues."

That makes me laugh. "More than you'll ever know."

"God, I can't believe it."


"That you'd admit to having issues."

"Sure, I go see a shrink every week, twice sometimes when we have couple's therapy. Remember?"

"I suppose."

"Say, Liv?"


"Do you think we can stop? Think we'll be okay on our own? I mean, we haven't been for several weeks now, and we've been doing okay…"

1570 Neutral

My eyelids are heavy, your fingers are rubbing circles on my temples, relaxing me. I'm only partially listening to you talk to me, but I do smile when you worry about your mother finding us in bed in the middle of the day.

You definitely do have issues, and I smile when you admit it. You're funny. You really are.

And then you ask me, ask me if I think we should stop therapy. "It's not something I thought of," I shrug.

"Well, we haven't been going."

"We've gone." I say, reminding you.

"But we don't fight like we used to."

"Do you want to take the chance of going back to that?"

"No, but I don't think we really will."

"I hope not." I sigh.

"Well what do you think?"

"Are you going to go by yourself?" I ask you, cracking my eyes open and looking up at you for the first time.

"I don't know," you sigh. "I feel so much better."

"I do too, but I still want to go." I say. "Sometimes, I know it's silly, but sometimes, it makes me feel better to go."

"You don't have to stop, Liv. We don't have to stop, if you really want to keep going, I'll go."

"Well we can think about it." I say. "But we still have things to talk about there."

"Like what?" You ask, suddenly far more serious.

"Like about having a baby." I say, smiling at you.

"You want to talk about that in therapy?" You laugh.

"Sure, we can use a neutral person." I say with an easy shrug.

"Yeah," you smile as your eyes light up with hope. "We can."

1571 TALK

"Who do you think should be the father of our child?" I ask, as hope flutters in my chest.

"I don't know." You shrug. "Haven't thought about it."

"So let's think about it now."

"But we haven't even decided, we haven't decided on so many things."

"Like who's going to give birth. I know that."

"Then why are we talking about the father. Besides, I think we should just go to a bank."

"Why? You really don't want Trevor…"

"No, Alex," you say resolutely. "Do you honestly want your brother to be the father of our child? His influence will be big enough as an uncle."

"Yeah, I suppose you're right. We don't want our kid growing up to be a womanizer."

"Exactly." You smile up at me. "Besides, that's assuming I'm going to be the birth mother, and I really don't…"

I try not to let that dampen my joy, and suggest instead, "What about Elliot."

"What about Elliot?"

"He's your partner."

"Exactly. Eww."


"I don't want his bodily fluids to get anywhere near either one of us." When I wrinkle my brows, you sigh. "He's like my brother." You shiver. "Which is why I can't understand how you'd want Trevor…"

"Okay, okay, I get it." I cringe. "You can stop."

"Good." You shake your head. "Yech!"


"What if paranoia is an inherited trait?"

"Fine. Fin then. We're running out of men we know." I chew on my lips. "Suppose we could talk to my cousins, but that's only if you end up having the kid," I make sure to clarify.

1572 Daddy?

"I kind of assumed you wouldn't want your cousin to father your baby." I roll my eyes at you.

"I was just saying," You defend yourself, but before you can get serious I start to laugh, which makes you crack a smile. "I was just being clear."

"I know, sweetie," I smile. I reach up and give you a kiss. "You know, if it were me, I wouldn't want it to be someone we know, though."

"Really?" You ask, looking surprised.

"Yeah, I think I'd want to find someone who wouldn't feel like they had to be part of our kid's life. Someone who would never know…" I tell you, letting myself really think about it for the first time.

"But then how do you know what kind of match that'd make? I mean, that our kid would be… ours."

"Well, if it were me, we'd look for someone like you. Someone with blonde hair, and brains. And a stubborn streak," I smile, as you reach down and kiss me.

"Very cute."

"And you'd…"

"It'd be our child that way." I interrupt you. "If it were anonymous. We'd never have to worry about the dad showing up and wanting anything from us."

"I suppose," you smile.

"You're beautiful when you smile."

"So are you." You smile back at me, kissing me gently on the nose.

"You really want this." I say, lacing my fingers in yours.

"I do," you say, with a deep breath. "Do you?"

"Yeah. I think I do." I smile.

For the first time, I really think I do.


I look at you, and see the decision in your eyes, and I let your smile fill me with hope. And joy. I guess I really never knew I wanted this so much, until this moment.

Or maybe I've always wanted this, but just never admitted it.

Or never found the person I'd want to do this with until now. Yeah, I can just imagine me and Abbie having a baby. The way we both were, it'd have to feed and diaper itself for survival; but it'd grow up to be a lean mean prosecuting machine…



"Whatcha thinking?"

I shrug, my smile lingers on my face. "About having a family with you." I squeeze your fingers with mine. "And how it'd be like."

You smile, a gentle look in your eyes. "Can I ask you something?"


"Why me?"

Have you been reading my mind? "Because I love you? More than I've ever loved anyone. I honestly can contemplate doing this with anyone before you."

"No, I mean, why do you want me, my genes."

"Why not?"

You lift your brow. "You know what I do and don't know about my genetic makeup. Do we really want to go there again?"

"It's a fair question." I suppose. But it's such a selfish reason. But people have kids for even more selfish reasons, right? "Let's be serious. Can you honestly see me carrying a baby for nine months?" I laugh.

"Oh, right, you don't even want to carry yourself when you're tired…"

"Hey, no fair!" I push you off my legs, and you laugh harder. "I was sick, that shouldn't count!"

"What about the other times?"

"If I remember correctly, you did it against my will."

"Uh huh."

"Seriously," I say, pulling you back and wrapping my arms over your shoulders. "It's a really selfish reason."


"I'm not sure what I would've done, had you not pulled through, you know, with the hit on the head. I'm not sure I'd want to live without you..."

"So you want my genes to give you a reason to live?"

"Okay, maybe that didn't come out right. It just, maybe it's selfish, but it'd just make me happy, to know that part of you will always be around..."

1574 Considering

"It just scares me a little," I say slowly. "Not knowing what I could pass on." I sigh. Doesn't it always come back to this?

"We could get testing." You offer, suddenly.

"What do you mean?" I ask, skeptically.

"Well, there are places now that do gene testing, to see if you would pass down genes that could be harmful, you know, just to see." You explain to me, letting what you're saying sink in. If they do that… if they really do that, then what's my reason for not wanting to carry our children? If I could know, know for sure that I wouldn't be passing something horrible on…

"I guess." I shrug letting us both slip back into silence. "Do they really do that?" I finally ask you, my imagination skipping ahead in the possibilities.

"Of course, Liv. For people who are adopted, or don't know much about their parents. It's not even unusual anymore."

I'm quiet for a minute. Suddenly, all the reasons that I couldn't have a baby, couldn't carry a baby, are falling through. Why didn't you just say that before?

"What about my job?" I ask you, running through my other excuses.

"What about it?" You smile. "You could work right up till the end."

"Yeah, chasing down perps nine months pregnant." I roll my eyes at you.

"Well, no, I mean, you'd have to make some changes."

"And take a leave." I crinkle my nose.

"It would be good for you," you smile. "And we'd have the most beautiful baby."

I smile up at you and you smile back down at me. "We would have a beautiful baby."

"So are you really…"

"Considering it," I finish for you. "Yeah, I guess I am."

"That's… that's… so…" I watch as you choke for words, and a tear forms in your eye.

"Why are you crying?"

"Happy," you whisper as you kiss me. "Really happy."

1575 HAPPY

"But you know I'm only considering," you say, reaching up to brush my tears away.

"I know, I know." I quickly reassure you. "I realize that. But just the fact that you're willing to consider it… that makes me happy."

"But what if the tests…"

"We'll cross that bridge then."

You stare at me in meaningful silence.


"Can't I just smile at you?"

Somehow whenever you do that, I blush. "I suppose."

"What if…" You hesitate.


"What if someday I want the same thing you want, except in reverse?"

"I guess I'll consider it then?"

You smile. "Fair enough."

"Are you sure we can't tell mom? That would make her really happy."

"You sure you want to do it in front of your aunt?" You ask. "Oh, yeah, I can just see her reaction." You start mimicking with her shrill voice.

"Okay, all right, you have a point. We'll wait." I smile and lean in for another kiss.

When my kisses don't stop, and my hands move beneath your shirt, you gasp. "What are you doing?"

"We need to practice getting pregnant."

You laugh, a bright laugh. "I hate to tell you, it doesn't work that way."

"We'll still need to have lots of sex, and make sure you have lots and lots of orgasms."

"I'm just considering…" You protest, your eyes closing to my touch.

"I know. So we practice practicing, in case you make up your mind…"

1576 Tease

"This is bribery," I sigh, as your fingers roam up my body.

"No, it's not." You laugh, "It's an incentive."

"Incentive, bribery. Same difference."

You laugh. "I need to make sure I haven't lost my talents."

"What since this morning?" I laugh. You of course swat me.

"Liv!" You complain, as you giggle and kiss me.

"I'd like to remind you that not ten minutes ago, you told me we couldn't take a nap because you didn't want your mother to find us in bed."

"She'll understand, She'll be happy for me." You say, kissing me, again, deeply.

"Alex," I laugh as you try to kiss me.

"She will. She wants me to be happy." You say, as you move yourself so you're lying next to me, stretching yourself next to my body, covering me.

"She's going to think this is all we do." I smile, as you kiss my neck.

"I'm okay with that," you tease, and giggle again as you steal another kiss.

"Alex, we should get up." I moan.

"You don't want me?" You ask, with an evil grin. You pull your hand away and I hear myself moan, which only makes you laugh.

"You know I do."

"So?" You tease, slipping your fingers back, and working magic on my chest.

"So we're supposed to be eating. Don't even make the joke," I laugh, knowing that we've rubbed off on each other.

"I wasn't going to." You laugh. With a kiss that takes my breath away, you smile and pull yourself off of me. "Let's go downstairs."

"But," I stutter.

"Nope, come on, let's go." You laugh, as you pop out of bed, leaving me staring after you.

1577 NICE

"That was not nice," you whisper as we walk down the stairs.

"I'll be nice later." I smile at the flush on your cheeks. "I promise."

You grumble, and adjust your collar as if to hide traces of my kisses on your neck.

"You're such a sucker."

"I thought you want me that way."

"Oh, god, people," I hear my brother's voice from behind us.

"What, Trevor."

"Can you two stand being apart from each other for longer than a minute?"

"Let me remind you, we were apart when I kicked your ass in court last week."

That shuts him up. At least for two seconds. "So how did it go, with Aunt Olga?"

"When I left them they haven't killed each other."

"So she's okay with." He pauses and glances at you. "You know, and them?"

"As okay as she's gonna be?" I reply, then ask him for the first time, "So how long have you known?"

"About mom and dad? About an hour before you?"


"Yeah, he told me on the drive up here. He didn't think I'd approve."

"Do you?"

"That I want my parents to get back together again?" He makes a face. "If he does anything to hurt mom…"

"So that snooty look, when they made the announcement, it was all an act?"

"What snooty look? I don't look snooty."

"Yeah, whatever," you mumble under your breath, and I laugh.

"Fuck off!" He tells you with a half smile.

"Play nice, children." From somewhere, I hear mom's voice…

1578 Prepare

"It's like she can hear through walls." I whisper to you.

"You learn to do that when you're a mother," your mothers says as she turns the corner quickly and smiles at all three of us. "You'll see," she says with a smile that makes us look at each other.

Your eyes widen as you stare at me, a look that questions whether or not your mother knows about what we were just talking about. There's no way she could know. There's just no way.

"It's about time you all came down," She says, looking at all of us. "The food's almost done. You must be hungry."

"Starving," I supply, with a smile. Your mother nods at me and approves of my answer.

"Can we help?" You ask, pulling at me as your mother directs us into the kitchen.

Trevor follows, complaining that your mother assigned him to set the table. You and I head into the kitchen and you start to pull out the serving dishes your mother asks you for. Your mother actually assigns me to make a salad, which makes you frown.

"Why don't you let me do that?"

"Because Olivia knows what she's doing in the kitchen, dear." Your mother explains.

"How do you know."

"Because you look healthy, which means you're eating well, and that means Olivia here is feeding you."

"I can cook." You whine.

Your mother and I both look at each other and laugh.

"That's not nice," You complain again, sticking your tongue out at me.

"That's not very ladylike Alexandra." Your mother says without looking at you, which makes me laugh at you even more.

"How do you do that?" You demand of her, and she just smiles.

"A mother knows dear. I've had thirty years to remind you of your manners. You'll understand one day."

You and I smile at each other with goofy grins. You reach out and wrap your arms around my waist, letting your chin rest on my shoulder as you stand behind me, watching as I toss chopped vegetables into a bowl for a salad.

"Love you," you whisper in my ear.

Your mother just looks up at us and smiles.

1579 KNOW

"You did a very nice job, Olivia," my mom says, smiling proudly as you show her the salad you made.

Blushing, you shrug.

She keeps smiling at us.

"Yes, mother?" Finally, I ask, the discomfort getting to me.

"Are you going to tell me which one of you is going to have my grandbaby?"

"How'd you…" We both blurt. You look at me wide-eyed, and I finish asking. "How'd you know?"

"I've had over thirty years of experience as a mother, I know."

"Is that the standard response, mom? For everything?"

"When you're a mother, Alexandra, you'll agree."

"I hate it when my mother gloats." I pretend to whisper.

"That's something I learn from you, My Dear."

"Mother! I don't gloat."

"Yeah, right," you say, exchanging eye-rolls with my mom.

"You're doing it again," I complain. I hate it when you do that.

My mom ignores me. "So? Are you going to keep me guessing?"

"We don't know yet, mom. We haven't gotten that far."

"Maybe you can each have one, at the same time. It'll be like having twins, and you'll only have to go through the difficult years once."

"Mother!" I whine.

"Assuming you don't both have twins."

"We're not going to have twins, mother. We don't even know for sure if or when we're going to get pregnant, who will get pregnant, or how many kids we're going to have. We might decide in the end we don't."

"Don't say that. I don't want to have to introduce mismatched goldfish to my friends as my grandchildren."

Before I can open my mouth, you grab my waist, and pull me next to you. "You won't have to, mom," you say…

1580 Overshare

The way your mother smiles at us confirms in me some kind of pride. I smile, and I can't stop. No matter what happens, no matter what we decide about the logistics, I finally feel like this might be the right thing for us.

I do worry, worry about being a mother. Will I be able to do what's right for a kid?

I think I could.


With you there.

With your support, sometimes I feel like I can do anything. I've done so much already…

Things that I never thought could ever happen, things that I never believed that I could accomplish, or even thought that I would be able to accomplish, I've done for you, and with you.

I can't believe it.

I can't believe that we're even talking about this.

When you first brought this up, the entire idea, it was so easy to push away, to push out of my mind and just say no. But now, it's so much more tempting. Why is that? Why can you, just being with you, make me realize that extreme things are possible?

You hug me, holding me close to you while your mother continues to smile.

"I'm happy for you two. Even if you don't decide to have children." She says, but the offer is only for the sake of manners. I can tell from her smile she's already going to start buying baby presents and thinking of college savings plans.

"We're not promising anything mom." You say, with a smile.

"I know, I know. But you only have a limited time. You're both getting to the ages where your biological clocks are ticking pretty loudly." She says, with an even bigger grin.

"Thanks, Mom." You say with a blush.

"Of course dear. You forget that I was once your age…"

"Thanks, Mom," you say again, cutting her off. "We'll start putting the food on the table," you say, pulling my arm and the salad with you out of the room.

"What?" I whisper, clueless.

"She's… ew… my mom, ew." You whimper, and it clicks in my mind exactly what she was saying by implying our biological clocks were ticking.

I laugh. You swat me. Everything's as it should be.

1581 SNOW

"I don't think your mother should be allowed to bake," you complain as you flop onto my bed.

"Nobody told you to sample everything," I reply, even though I don't feel so good myself. "Move over," I groan as I try to shove you to the other side of the too small bed.

"Hey, watch it!"


"You almost pushed me off the edge."

"I did not."

"Un-huh." You lean in, and tap my nose. "I bet you tortured defenseless kittens and pulled little boys' hair when you were little."

"No, I just like to beat up big bad detectives as an adult," I say with a smile and kiss you loudly on your lips.

"Are you sure you want me to carry our baby?"

"If you want to? Why?"

"You sure you can handle that? You won't be able to abuse me for nine months."

"Shut up!" I give you another shove. "I don't abuse you."

"And what do you call what just happened?"

"A show of affection?" I grin.

"I'd hate to see what you do to people you don't like."

"Throw them in jail and throw away the key?" I sigh happily, and lace my fingers with yours. "So what do we do now?"

"Take a nap?"

"A nap!"

"Yeah? Dinner's at six, remember? So we have a few hours…"

"How can you think still about food?"

"I don't know, Alex. What do you want to do?"

"It's snowing."

"Yes, it is."

"Let's go outside."

"For what? You're crazy!"


1582 Proposal

"I'm not making a snowman." I laugh.

"Why not?"

"Because the last time I went out in the snow with you to play, a psycho showed up. And the time before that, you got the flu. We have bad luck with snow sports."

"Fine," you pout. "I forgot about that."

"Plus playing in the snow makes you frisky."

"It does not!" You complain.

"It does, and we've been caught more times this weekend than I care to recount."

"But it'd be fun," you whisper.

"How can you even think about getting up?" I complain. "I'm so full, I'll be lucky to get up in three hours when your mother expects us to go downstairs and eat again."

"You didn't have to…"

"I know, try everything, but it was so good." I smile. "Bleh," I complain, rubbing my stomach, which feel like it's about to explode.

"I agree," you complain, laying back into the pillow.

"Wait, let me see that." I say, pulling the pillow from under your head.


"Just let me see it," I say, folding it in half and holding it over my stomach. "Would you still love me if I looked like this?"

"Of course." You smile.

"Are you sure?" I ask, looking down, very aware that I can't even see my feet.

"You'd be beautiful."

"So would you," I say, pushing the folded pillow onto your stomach.

You take it from my hand, and put it back on my stomach. "You first?" You ask.


"Why me first?" You ask.



"You're older? Your clock's ticking louder?"

You laugh.

"Why are you cackling?" I pout.

"Because." You try unsuccessfully to keep a straight face. "You're infinitely hornier than me."

"Am not!"

"So if we go by what your mom suggested earlier…"

"Leave my mom out of this!" I warn, and beat you with the pillow.

You tear it out of my hands, and catch my fingers. "And you say you're not abusive."

"I'm not."

"What do you call whacking me with a pillow?"


"Vengeful, too. Hm. I'm not sure we should raise a baby together."

"But you promised!"

"I promised I'd consider," you remind me with a smile.


"Oh, come on." You grab my hands before I can cross my arms, and give me your cheesy grin. "Sometimes I forget how super sensitive you can be."

"I'm not super sensitive."

"You know what? Maybe you're right. I should have our kid or kids."

"Really?" I can't help but smile.

"Yeah, I'm not sure I wanna deal with your mood swings."

"Olivia Benson!" I move to swat you but I stop myself, and tell you with a shrug. "If that has to be the reason, it's good enough for me."

Suddenly, you look serious. "Will you, after me?"

"Do you really want me to?"

1584 Honesty

"I'm scared Alex." I admit, quietly. I can hear the uncertainty in my voice, as you look at me intensely.

"Scared of what?" You ask, carefully pushing a stray piece of shaggy hair off of my face.

"I'm scared that I won't make it sometimes. That I won't be good for a kid. That I'll turn into my mother. And not just with the alcohol, Alex."

"But sweetheart," you protest.

"Wait." I say, turning to look into your eyes for the first time. "But then sometimes, I look at you and I think that I could do this. That it'd be worth it to do it with you."

You lean in and kiss me. "I feel the same way."

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"I never really thought about having kids, I mean, not really, until we were together."

"You said you always wanted them." I insist.

"I wanted them, but I never thought that I would have them. I mean, part of being gay, was that having kids was going to be difficult. And I really wasn't out there, looking to find someone to give me a baby."

"I can't give you a baby either, not like that." I sigh.

"I know, but a baby, a baby we have together."

"It will be hard." I sigh.

"It might not be. You could get pregnant right away."

"I guess," I say, my hand involuntarily runs over my stomach. "It… are you sure?" I ask.

"I'm really sure."

"I've never…"

"I know," you interrupt, "but I love you. I want to spend my life with you in a way that I never thought I would want. Sometimes, I feel lucky with you. I've found the kind of love that a lot of people only dream about."

"You're being sappy," I say kissing your nose.

"I know," you say, kissing me back, "But I'm being sincere."

"I know," I whisper. "I know."

1585 OFFER

"But if you decide you don't," I provide. "That's okay."

"But you'll be really disappointed."

I don't deny it. "But I'll still love you, and I'll still grow to love you more and more each day. Nothing will change that."

You look at me with your brows furrowed.

"You don't believe me?"

"Actually, I do."

"Then why are you looking at me like that?"

"Because… I'm… I'm scared."


"It's a big step."

"I know."

"I'm not sure I'll ever be ready, to take that step."

"I know. I understand."

"But if I do decide, and have our baby…"

"We'll do it together, we'll be good parents. Everything will be okay," I tell you resolutely, conveying my belief.

"Okay," you echo, and pull me into your arrns,

I rest my head against your chest, focusing on us, on our togetherness, content to listen to your heartbeat.

"I'm not sure I'll ever be sure," you whisper in my hair.

I squeeze you tightly in reply, and burrow deeper into you.

"When do you wanna start?"


"You know," you say, reaching over and folding the pillow onto itself.

"Are you sure?" I ask in a whisper, not trusting my voice. "About this?"

How would it be like, to hear two hearts beating inside you, instead of one?


"I can't believe I'm doing this," I sigh, and you take my hand and squeeze it.

"It's just a check up," you say, for the millionth time. I stare at the ceiling, and see a picture of a kitten on a rope that has the caption, "Hang in there." It's enough to make me want to puke.

"That's easy for you to say. They're not your legs in the air." I remind you as you pull absently at the small blanket that's thrown over my waist.

"Sweetie," you say. "We talked about this."

"I know, I know." I complain.

"We need to make sure you're healthy," you say, as you let your fingers slide down my cheek.

"I can't believe you talked me into this."

"I really wish you would stop saying that, you volunteered." You say, turning from me. You made me promise before we got here, made me promise that I wasn't doing this because of you, but that it was something that I wanted too.

"I really wish you would stop reminding me of that." I grouse anyway.

You sigh. "You can get down then."

"No," I say, quickly.

"Then stop complaining," you say.

That makes me laugh. "Fine." I agree. "I wish they would hurry this up." I sigh. "We need to get back."

"I thought you said you and El were supposed to catch up on paperwork today."

"We are."

"What'd you tell him?"

"I said the words 'female thing' and he ran from the room screaming."

"Are you going to tell him?"

"Of course not… we talked about that."

"I know, I know, we don't tell anyone till we're actually pregnant, and then not till the end of the first trimester."

"Yeah, I don't want to get anyone's hopes up until we're sure."

1587 ANTSY

"Was it the phone? Did I hear it ring?" You poke your head into the study.

"No, sweetie," I answer for the millionth time, not even bothering to look up from my paperwork.

"I wonder why they haven't called."

"I thought you gave them your cell number, too."

"I did, and yours, too. But you know how sometimes the reception doesn't work, especially when everybody and their brother is on the computer."

"True. But I thought they were only going to call if they found something wrong."

"Are you sure? It's not just for the other thing? That was routine, but this…"

"You know you can always give them a call."

"I don't wanna seem too anxious."

"I'm sure they'll understand. People want to know if they have any genetic defects."

"How can you be so calm?"

"Because someone has to be?" I sigh, close the folder, stand up from my chair, and walk over to you. "Come on, let's give them a call."

"Do they even have hours on a Saturday morning?"

"Yes, they do, nine to one, closed every third Saturday of the month, I got it memorized. And yes, I do care." More than I wanted to show. I drag you back to my desk, pick up the telephone, and punch in the number which I had also committed to memory. "Here."

You wait for the phone to connect. "Hi, this is Olivia Benson, I had a test done?" You furrow your brows at me, while I try not to look too anxious. "They've put me on hold," you explain. Almost immediately, you redirect your attention to the phone. Your expression doesn't give anything away as you listen to whatever they have to say to you.

"Well?" I ask before the receiver hits the cradle.

"Everything seems normal," you say with a half smile.

"What did I tell you?" I reply, exhaling the breath I was holding.

"Okay, now what?"

"Hm." I force myself to slow down. As we remove another obstacle, I don't know if I'm nervous, or anxious, or both. "Before we continue, do you want to take a vacation? Maybe go to Disneyworld like you wanted? While we're still just us?"

1588 Now

"What's wrong?" I ask you suddenly, sensing the hesitancy in your mood.

"Nothing." You explain, pulling your glasses off and looking at me.

"I thought we decided we were going to do this." I urge, poking at what I think the problem is.

"We are, Liv, but we don't have to be in such a hurry. We could take some time to ourselves, a farewell to being selfish."

"We'll have nine months to stop being selfish." I smile.

"But we could go away, have a mini-honeymoon period. Get ready."

"But you were the one; you said our biological clocks…"

"They'll still be ticking in a week, honey."

"Are you backing out of this? Do you not want to go through with it? Because you better tell me now if you changed your mind," I demand.

"No, no, no, but this, this is going to change our lives."

"I know that, Alex."

"I just want to…"

"I don't want to wait."

"You didn't even want this a few months ago, baby," you whisper.

"And you wanted it so badly," I whisper back.

"We'll still have this in a week."

"I know, but Alex, now, I've got it in my head that we're doing this. That we're going to do this together. And, well, I want to start trying. What if it takes a really long time?"

"What if you get pregnant on your first shot?"

"That'd be a miracle, you heard what they said."

"It's possible."

"But not probable."


"I've got a guy with a 187 I.Q." I tell you, and quickly scan the rest of his profile.

"What does he do for a living?"

"What does that matter?"

"Just tell me."

"A mathematician."


"What do you have against mathematicians?"

"They're boring," you say flatly, without even looking up from your pile.

"With your genes, we're not going to have a boring child."

"No, Alex."

"Maybe," I say, and put him in the appropriate stack.

"I like this guy," you say, and put him in the 'yes' pile.

"Waitaminute! Tell me about him."

"He's blond, blue eyed, and skinny and tall."

"They're all blond, blue eyed, skinny and tall. Those were our starting criteria, remember?" I say, and grab the piece of paper. "A lawyer?"

"Yeah? You're a lawyer."

"What if he's a scumbag defense attorney? We don't need another one in the family."

"I'm sure you'll fix that before it happens." You laugh.

"What if he went to Thomas Cooley, or some non accredited school? Did he even pass the New York bar? We don't want our kid to be average."

"What's Thomas Cooley? Never mind. Didn't some hothead blonde ADA once told my boss lawyers are smarter than the average person?"

"I merely reminded him we're the ones trying the cases, and that you guys are here to gather evidence."

"Exactly. And I didn't go to the best school either."

"But that's different. You're… you."

"You're such an intellectual snob."

"I'm not!" I slap the profile back in the 'yes' pile to make my point. "We'll never find the right guy!"

1590 Curious

"Don't you wonder why guys do this?" I ask, staring at another profile.

"Do what?" You ask, engaged in a world of your own.

"This." I say, flopping another paper in front of you. "Donate."

"So that nice people who can't have children…"

"Yeah, yeah, but really."

"Really what?" You ask me, ignoring the subtext, and flicking over a page into the reject pile. "What about him?" You ask, showing me another profile.

"Umm," I say, taking it and looking at it for a second and reject it. "No."

"Yeah, I don't quite feel right about it either," you say, pushing it aside.

"Why they would go into a strange place and… donate, by themselves."

"No, I don't." You say, blushing. "What about him?"

"Alex." I whine.


"You don't wonder why the father of our children is hanging out in a sperm bank?"

"No, because I would hope he's doing it for the same reason that we're spending so much time wading through these applications."

I sigh.

"Why do you care?" You ask.

"Because I think it's weird."

"You want to pick someone we know then?" You ask, putting the stack of applications in front of you down in a heap.

"No," I say quietly.

"Then pick."

"You're so business like about this."

"We have to be, Liv. We don't get to meet any of these guys."

"I know." I sigh. "Maybe we could convince them to take a bunch from all of them and mix them together."

"That's gross. It's not a science experiment." You complain.

"I know, but this is too hard."

"Wait, wait," you interrupt. "What about this one?" You ask, smiling handing me the profile.

1591 IDEAL

You spent more than just a second looking at the sheet of paper. In fact, you read it at least twice.

I can't wait any longer for your reaction. One way or another, you should have one. "Well?"

"Alex…" You begin hesitantly, still staring at the profile. "I don't know…"

"He's blond, blue-eyed, skinny and tall," I remind you, expecting an exasperated sigh or something.

Nothing. I get nothing from you.

So, I continue, "He's a Mensa member."

"I know."

"And he's a lawyer. Isn't that what you want?"

"Yeah, but…"


"He's a professor."

"A law professor."

"But a professor. My mother was a professor."

"I know." I see the uncertainty written on your face. "What's wrong?"

"I'm not sure I want…"

"Was your mother a boring person? I mean, when you two were getting along?"


"Then what's the problem? Just because they share a similar profession?"

You shrug.

"Regardless of your mother's shortcomings, I think teaching is one of the most honorable professions. Right along with being a cop."

You shrug again.

"I mean, where would society be, if there aren't teachers? This guy's probably given up big firm partner salary to teach. So he's most likely some sort of idealist. Which might be why he's a donor…"

"I suppose."

"I actually think there's something serendipitous about this one…"

1592 Uncertainty

I don't know what to say to you. That this guy reminds me of all the things that someone leaves off an application like this. My mother certainly would have never submitted a profile that claimed to be an alcoholic, and neither would I for that matter.

And it's not like they really ask. And how extensive are these background checks? The same gene tests that we dealt with were one thing, but they don't tell you everything.

What if this guy, what if any of these guys, has the same addictions? Wouldn't we be creating a child who was doomed?

I sigh again, and you stare at me.

"I don't get what's wrong with this one." You say, staring at me.

"I, there's nothing wrong." I say.

"So why do you look like I killed your puppy."

"You won't let me have a puppy." I half smile.

"You know what I mean.'

"I, I just worry about what's not on these forms." I say, picking up the 'maybe' pile and thumbing through it.

"They do background…" You start to explain.

"I know, Alex, but they don't move into these people's houses. They make sure they're not pedophiles, but how much do we know about them really?"

"Liv, I know you're scared, but some of this, well, it's in how you were raised."

"I know."

"And we wouldn't necessarily provide the same models for our children as your mother did for you, or even his mother did for him," you say, gesturing to the profile in your hand.

"I know."

"So our choice is this, or finding someone ourselves. Someone we know."

"I like this better." I sigh.

"So then seriously, what about this guy?" You ask, shifting the profile in front of me again.

"He's perfect." I say, with a smile. Uncertainty is part of this game, isn't it?

1593 SURE

"Are you sure?" I ask you. "Seriously. We can keep looking."

You stare at the mountainous stacks we've already gone through and the ones we still have yet to look at, and you sigh. "They're all gonna be the same."

"Are you sure you don't want to ask my cousins?" I offer. "Maybe one of them wouldn't mind, and we'll make him sign papers, to make sure he can't interfere in any…"

"No, Alex," you interrupt. "We go with this guy. He's fine."

"Are you sure?" I ask again.

"Yes, Sweetie, I'm sure." You crack a small smile. "Are you going to keep asking me?"

"Well… I just don't want you to regret…"

"I'm not. We go with him."

"Then we get the other test done?"


"And when the results come back, and your genes are compatible?"

"We start."

"You sure about this?"

"Yes, Alex. And no, I'm not doing this just because you want me to," you tell me with a bigger smile, preempting my question.

I start to argue, then I close my mouth, and pout.

"You don't have to keep asking me the same questions, Baby," you say, leaning in to kiss my lips. "I'm really sure about this. All of it, including the guy. I want this as much as you do."

"Are you?"

"Yes, I'm sure, sure," you reply.

"Am I really this predictable?"

"Only because we've gone through this a bazillion times."

"I just…" I start, then I stop myself. Okay, you're right. We've gone through this too many times already. "So we call them tomorrow and make arrangements?"


"So we're one step closer to…" I say, almost in awe, not sure exactly how I'm feeling right now…

1594 Nervous

I can't believe we're doing this.

I feel nervous.

I'm excited, and nervous, and a little bit sick…

I feel…

I don't even know. I wish it were that easy.

The whole thing seems more than a little surreal. Here I am, nearly middle aged, talking about having a baby… with my wife. A woman.

If you had told me, if anyone had told me that this is what I'd be doing. That this is what we would be doing?

A few years ago, just a few years ago I was praying that this kind of thing didn't happen to me. And for twenty years before that, I can't count the number of mornings I prayed that the timing wouldn't be quite right.

I remember that time in college, when I was sure, so sure I was pregnant, and how relieved I was to not be.

And now, now I'm hoping for the opposite? I can still feel that dread like it was yesterday. Still remember sitting in the harsh light of health services, getting blood drawn that would determine my fate.

Now we do the same in reverse, with you by my side.

I can't believe that this is even possible.

The technology, the networks, the support systems.

With a few minutes research, we found this place, had these profiles, and now… well, now.

You're on the phone with the bank.

I can't believe we're ordering sperm over the phone, to be shipped to us in sealed vials that will hopefully create for us a baby.

It seems ridiculous. It's like you're ordering shoes. 'I'd like the sling-backs in black and the semen in tall, blonde, and smart.'

And then inside me, I feel panic. Panic that this is going to happen. That this is going to happen to me… happen to us…


I take a deep breath while the delivery man brings the large carton through the thresh hold. I'm still holding the same breath when you sign for it.

Finally, you slide the door closed.

And we stare at the box in silence.

It's here.

The semen.

From our ideal donor.

Little tubes of refrigerated compatible DNA sitting in a sealed container.

Ingredients to make our baby.

Foreign bodily fluids.

Our eyes leave the box to stare at each other.

I'm not sure either one of us knows what to do.

"Well?" I break the silence.


"It's here."

"I know."

"Do we want to…"

"Wait?" You finish my question for me.

"Do we?" I ask. When you shrug, I continue. "Do we really want to do this…"


I nod. "Or do we want to take it to your doctor and have her…"

"Inseminate me?"

How do you keep finishing my questions? You must be thinking the same things. "Well?"

You shake your head.

Slowly, we move towards each other, knowing what we're going to do eventually, but feeling like we've never done it, never touched each other before…

1596 Nervous

You slide the box to the floor. "You ready?" You ask, and take a deep breath when I nod at you silently.

You open the box slowly, breaking the tape open, sliding the box.

We both have the instructions memorized. We've both been studying them, reading them, committing them to memory. You take out the container and inside find the vials as promised. Without a word, you search through the box, finding gloves in the bottom of the box and sliding one on. You slide open the nitrogen sealed container, a hiss fills the room.

I swallow.

You swallow.

You take it out carefully, gently, and slide the lid back onto the container.

We both stare into the vial, a frozen white substance stuck in the bottom of a sealed test tube. Our baby. Our key. Our missing link.

We had decided we wanted to do this ourselves. To make it seem as natural as possible, not something that was done in a lab, but something that was done with love.

"This is it." I sigh.

"Now we wait." I look at you, and you look at me.

"Thirty minutes," I confirm.

"Do you have the syringe?" I ask, watching as you search the box for it.

"They sent a bunch," you say, and I can hear the nervousness in your voice.

"Good." I smile. We have to do this twice a day, after all. For best results, at least.

"We have to find something to do." You say, standing up. "I can't just sit here and wait. I'll go insane."

"Me, too."

"So what do you want to do?" I ask.

"I don't know."

Instead of moving, both of us stare in nervous silence.

1597 TIMED

"Are you sure you are…" I ask you again, for the nth time since this morning.

"Yes? Didn't you check thermometer yourself?"

"Yes, but…"

"I'm ovulating, Sweetie," you say without impatience.



"Why are we so nervous?"

"It's a big step." You provide. "So how much time?"

I stare at my watch. "Twenty five more minutes."

"Are you serious?"

"Actually, I rounded down. It's more like twenty six and a half, well, and a quarter…"

You sigh. "This is going to be a long wait."

"Yes, it is." I agree. "We should do something."

"Like what?"

"I don't know. Practice squirting with water?" I try to joke, picking up the syringe.

"We should've thought of that earlier," you reply seriously. "We can't now, it'll dilute the…"

"I know, Liv."

"So what should we do?" You stare at my gloved hand.

"You want to get comfortable?" I suggest.

"What do you mean?"

"Start getting undressed? Lie down?"

"We still have what?"

"Twenty three minutes?"

"We're gonna go nuts."

"Yes, we are, Liv," I say, wishing for time to fly…

1598 Now?

We look at each other, and then back at the tube that's carefully sitting on the kitchen counter, thawing.

The silence is deafening, both of us shifting nervously, not sure what to do with ourselves.

"Let's just… go somewhere else." I suggest, shrugging at you. I can't stand here. I can't do this. I can feel my heart beat pounding in my chest.

"Where?" You ask.

"Into the other room. I can't sit here and watch."

You look at me for a moment, and then slide your glove off. "Okay." You say, as you follow me like a lost sheep over to the couch in the living room.

"Where do you want to…?" You ask, letting your voice trail off.

"The bed, prolly." I shrug again, figuring your question is where I want to let you…

"Okay." You say, as we lapse into silence.

"How long now?" I ask.

"21 minutes."

"No way." I can't believe how slow time is passing. It's ungodly. "It has to be longer than that."


We lapse into another silence. I resist the urge to ask you, again, how long. Instead, I crawl over the couch and lean my head against your shoulder. You take me into your arms without a word.

"You scared?" You ask me.

"A little. You?"

"A little. But excited."

"Me too," I say, feeling comfort in the sensation of your body against mine.

"I love you." You whisper.

"Love you too," I whisper back.

1599 TIME

Silently, we wait.

A lifetime passes.

At least it feels that way when I finally let myself look at my watch.

You grab my wrist before I bring my arm around you again, and you stare up at me in disbelief. "Two minutes?"

"Yep," I say, letting my head fall back against the wall. "I wonder if other people do this."

"I feel like I'm going out of my mind."

I sigh, and extricate myself from under you.

"Where are you going?"

"To get the stuff," I reply, without looking back.

"Allie?" You whine.

"Meet me in the bedroom?"


"Just go, okay?" I say, and walk into the kitchen.

You're standing by the window when I enter our bedroom, and you look at me warily. "Whatcha doing?"

"Making sure everything's handy when we need it," I explain, as I lay the glove next to the syringe, next to the test tube. When I'm done, I move towards you. "Hi." I smile, resting my chin on your shoulder and wrapping my arms around you.

You lean back into me.

"I love you," I whisper into your ear, and hear you return the sentiment. Then I blow gently along your neck, tickling you with the warmth of my breath.

"What are you…" You start to ask. You swallow when I tease your earlobe between my lips. "Allie?" You whimper.

"We have," I say between nibbles, stopping to check my watch. "Almost twenty minutes." I resume kissing your skin. "I read somewhere…"

"Yeah?" You gasp as my fingers touch the top button of your shirt.

I can tell from your body that you're torn. "I read somewhere," I repeat, turning up the seduction, pressing my body into yours. "That it works better, when you're not so tense…" I tell you, sliding my hands over your curves. "When you're turned on…"

1600 In

"And that," you continue in a suggestive whisper, "it works the best if you have an orgasm right after."

I swallow. "I think I heard that too."

Part of me is too nervous for this, part of me is just not ready. I turn around in your arms, and let you kiss me. It feels good, your lips providing the same familiar softness that I'm so used to, the feeling that makes my breath catch in my chest.

I whimper a little, while you slide your hands gently over my clothed torso. I can feel them, cupping my breasts while you lean into me.

"I'm not sure I can…" I whisper, as you tease me. My body reacts, but my mind is entirely on what's on the bed behind you.

"Come here," you whisper, pulling at the buttons on my shirt and sliding it off my shoulders.

I let you pull my clothes away, and follow you as you lead me to the bed. You lay me down and straddle yourself over me.

You lean in and kiss me, gently, and then sit up still straddling me when I don't return your intensity.

"I'm sorry," I smile, "I'm…."

"Shhh…," you whisper in my ear. "Just pay attention to me."

You sit straddling my lap, and seductively pull your shirt up. I watch as you swirl your fingers around your own nipples, and suddenly, I feel somehow less nervous. You tease yourself and watch as I watch you, my eyes open, staring at you. You lean over me and let your naked skin trail against mine, and this time when you kiss me, I'm hungry for it.

You slide over me, your fingers, your body, teasing me and tempting me.

I moan, involuntarily, and you kiss me deeply.

"You ready?" You whisper.

"Mmhmm," I moan.

You grab a pillow and coax it under my lower back, tilting my hips into the air. With surprising skill, you fill the tiny vial, slip it inside me and inject its contents. In seconds, you throw it aside and slide between my legs, kissing me gently, teasing me into an intense, and quick climax.

Part 1601

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