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

161. PLAY

"Come on, Alex, tell me." You're all but whining now.

"Why do you want to know about something I did when I was seventeen so badly?"

"I..." You pause briefly.

"You don't hear me asking whether you went down on the entire football team, do you?" Oops. Where did that come from? I hope I didn't sound as jealous to you as I did to me.

You look at me smirking at first. Then your expression turns serious. "No, that was just an example. Not from personal experience," you tell me.

So I do have jealous girl-friend written all over my face... Sigh. Somehow your answer makes me feel better though. "Let's do something else."

"Like what?"

"You'll see." I kiss you on your chin, scramble off the couch, and run into the bedroom. Soon, I'm back with my prize.

You wrinkle your brows at the stack of coloring books and box of markers. "How old are we? Six?"

"I found these yesterday in my room. I loved them when I was young." I smile and explain, dumping out the markers onto the coffee table. "Kept me from dying of boredom."

"You're... bored now?"

"No. I just thought I'd share my favorite past time with you, seeing that you're so interested in what I did when I was young." I say, while taking a book from the stack and looking through the pages. God, when was the last time I worked on these? The people have blue faces; they looked like a little kid worked on them. I slip that one on the bottom of the pile, and pick up another. Ah, this is much better.

I shove it in your hands, and grab another for myself. "What?" I glance up from the pages at you.

"We're really going to do this?"

"Why not?" I respond while going through the markers, trying to find the right hue and the right shade.

Then it occurs to me. We're both stalling. We had dinner, we played Scrabble for two hours with my mom, we chatted, you're refusing to drop a silly topic, and I'm making us color.

Why are we stalling?

I look over at you, and see that you're watching me. I can't quite read the expression on your face.

"You know what?" I smile, and take the coloring book from your hand. "I've got a better idea."


"I saw this movie, called Pillow Book, I think. Where the woman wrote on her lover's body. I've always wanted to try that."

"No, uh-uh, you're not writing on me." You shake your head, staring at my marker with apprehension.

"Why not?" I pout. That seemed to have worked on you before.

"Just 'cause..." you say, weakening.

To seal the deal, I add a little challenge, "And you say I'm vanilla!"

"Oh, all right."

162. Written On the Body

You want to write on me.

You want to write on me?

Are you insane? Seriously, are you mentally unbalanced? You want me to sit here and let you take a blue marker and draw little smiley faces all over my arms. Well, we've yet to find out if that is what you'd actually draw. I guess if you're going to do it, you're going to make it worth your while. For a second, I can see the horrible image of me, covered in blue and red and yellow, looking like a third grade art project. Oh, good lord, how do I get myself into these things?

You smile at me shyly and grab my hand, holding it to the table. Concentration lines your face, and I can see you biting the tip of your tongue. In slow motion, I see the marker getting closer and closer. At the last second, I pull my hand back.

This is insane. What if that doesn't come off? What if every day for the next week I have to walk around with your drawings running up my arm and over my body? What am I going to tell your mom? Well, Alex thought it'd be fun to turn my body into her canvas, want to see what she wrote on my boobs?

"Wait," I say, suddenly way too apprehensive.

Why does this feel so weird? Why do I suddenly feel shy and way too exposed? It's not like you haven't seen me, well, naked before. But your scrutiny as you spend time doing nothing more than staring at my skin?

"Oh come on," you smile at me.

God that smile. I'm already a sucker for it.

"Well, what if it doesn't come off?"

"It's a washable marker Liv. It'll come off."

"But what if it…I've got a better idea." I say, suddenly feeling a Cheshire cat grin spread across my face.

"What's that?" You ask, the excitement raising in your voice.


You look at me baffled for a second, and then comprehension breaks across your face. "Oh, that sounds much more fun…and much yummier."

I definitely agree.


You're such a wuss. For a moment there, I was going to tell you, and then pout and bat my eyelashes at you. Or whatever might work for me to get my way. I was so looking forward to writing on you; it would be so much fun.

Then you suggested chocolate…

Where are we going to find chocolate? I glance at the clock. At this hour? Mom will kill us if we woke her up rifling through her kitchen for that.

Oh, wait, I know!

"So, you want to go make yourself a proper tablet?" I ask, getting off the couch, and holding out my hands to you. "And I'll go melt a couple of chocolate bars?"

"Do I get to write on you, too?"

"I suppose, if you want." I return your smile. "I get to try it on you first though."

Almost distractedly, you answer, "Okay."

What are you thinking about now? I wonder.

Soon, I have melted chocolate in a pot, and I find you sitting on the bed.

"You ready?"

Peeling off your shirt, and rolling over onto your stomach, you respond, "As ready as I'm going to be."

I straddle your hips, and dip the pointed end of a chopstick into the warm confection, and drag the cocoa along your skin.

"What are you doing?" You ask, turning your head and upper body, trying to see.

Leaning over, careful not to smear the hardening chocolate, I press a kiss to your shoulder, and pushing you back down. "Writing," I tell you.

"What are you writing? The Constitution?"

I chuckle. "The Fifth Amendment."

"Are you just being a smart ass?"

"What do you think?"

After a few minutes, you ask again. "Are you going to tell me?"

"You can see for yourself." I tell you, continuing with my little calligraphy project – basically "Love" written in many ways. As many as I can come up with.

"How, Alex? You're sitting on me, and I don't have eyes on the back of my head."

"Oh, well, too bad then." I pull out the marker I slipped into my pocket earlier, and trace my initials on your lower back. Somehow you can't tell the difference between the felt tip and the chopstick. Heehee.

"You're not going to tell me."

"Nope. It's a secret."

Tormenting you is fun.

164. Chocolate

I can feel the warm heat of the chocolate against my skin. Almost immediately, the warmth turns into coldness where the chocolate starts to harden onto my back. This can't be good for my skin. No. Don't focus on that, I remind myself. Focus on the weight of you against my back. I make myself feel the warm way that you're dragging a heated chopstick across my back.

I try to concentrate on the sensation, what the letters are. But I can't tell, I can't figure it out. A hint of what might be an 'a' or an 'e'. Knowing you it would be the Constitution. Knowing you, it's probably something about jurisprudence and search and seizure laws. I can hear your quip in my mind, "perhaps if it's written on your body you'll pretend to use them."

I sigh contentedly. I feel safe, you on top of me, my skin alive under your touch.

"We're going to make a mess of these sheets." I say to you, and you giggle like a girl.

"You can explain that one to mom."

"I'm not explaining anything to your mother." I say, thinking of your mom's face if she even had an inkling…okay, well maybe she does have an inkling, but I don't really like the idea of your mother thinking of me…especially your mother thinking of me naked with you. I can feel my face turning red. Burning red.

"Let's not talk about mom," you say, saving me from the embarrassment. and I feel your tongue on my shoulder blades, kissing me. Your tongue flicks against my back, warm slow kisses. "Typo," you say, with another kiss.

Oh god.

"Turn over." You demand.

I smile to myself, and I willingly comply as you slide off me to let me turn over.

Straddling my hips, slowly, you dip the chopstick end into the warm chocolate. You don't even need to touch me and I can feel my body respond to you. You look at me like you think I'm the most beautiful thing in the world. Just your eyes; without your words, tell me that you truly do love me.

Slowly, torturously, you slide the chopstick over my stomach. I watch you this time, write the word love. Then I watch as you slowly kiss it off of me.

I catch your lips with mine. A long luxurious kiss. I can taste the sweet chocolate on you lips mixed with the salt of my body.

I slide my hands around your waist, quickly setting you off balance. With that I turn you onto your back and grab the chopstick.

Your turn.


One minute I'm sitting on you, kissing you, the next minute I'm on my back, with you looming over me. You with a wicked smile on your face as you pull the chopstick from my hand.

I can feel my pulse pounding in my ears. I can hear my body awakening and screaming for your touch. I can't breathe.

Before you dip the chopstick into the pot, I stop you. "Wait. Liv, wait."

Your grin widen to the sultry timbre of my voice. I sense my blood rushing to my cheeks.

"Why, Alex?" you ask me, your tone slow and seductive.

I swallow, willing my eyes to stay open and meet your gaze. "Probably need to reheat the chocolate." I say, pushing you away, and sliding out of bed from under you. Grabbing the pot, I flee to the kitchen.

I can feel your eyes and your amused smile burning into my back.

In the kitchen, I focus on adding just the right amount of water to the bottom pan of the double boiler. I stir meticulously, in the same direction, making sure the chocolate sauce stays smooth, and doesn't scorch. Anything but the surge of emotions, sensations, and all the other things I'm feeling.

Why am I like this, all frazzled, and nervous, and shy around you?

Part of me wants to run, part of me can't wait to get back in there, to find out what delightful things you might have planned for me.

It's a powerful realization, when you find out you love and trust someone enough to surrender total control. For while I may not trust the power alcohol may have over you right now, I would trust you with my life.

I am trusting you with my heart...

Too soon, the chocolate is as perfect as can be. Too bad there isn't a cake for me to pour it on. Would you object if I started baking? I chuckle to myself. Guess I've stalled long enough.

I walk back into the room, to find you exactly where I left you. Your grin widens as I approach the bed, and sit down in front of you.

"Strip." You say.

And I do. Just my shirt.


I look up to your sweltering smile, and I do what you ask.

I can feel my body dissolve as you climb on top. And trap my hips between your knees. And me, under your gaze.

166. Exposed

Need to reheat the chocolate?

Sure you do.

I think it's plenty warm in here, and if that chocolate's not already perfectly melted then I'll happily set it aside.

I smile. I can see the flush of your cheeks as you run away from me, chocolate in hand. For something I thought was only going to be stupid and messy, this is turning out to be a great idea.

I only regret that I didn't get that shirt off you while you were still in here. I wish I could have gotten to see the beautiful curves of your body, while I straddled you, teasing you with the chopstick that was only seconds before running over my body.

Usually, sitting anywhere topless covered in sticky chocolate would not seem like a particularly great way to spend an evening. In fact, I'm not sure that I still think it's a great idea, but with you tinkering in the next room, the heady feeling of arousal filing my head, sense is not my strong suit.

I think this is what love is supposed to be. I think this is what I've been looking for.

You slowly slink back into the room; freshly melted chocolate in hand. You hand it to me shyly.

I look at you as seductively as I can. "Strip," I demand.

You almost protest, but slowly, you pull your shirt over your head. Your beautiful creamy white skin, exposed to me slowly, in inches. I can see the shyness written on your face; obviously you have no idea how attractive you are. I can think of at least 20 men who would willingly give up their lives to see you like this, right now. To have you baring your most personal side to them as freely as you are to me is at least several of my co-workers greatest fantasies.

God, I love you.

I make you take off the bottoms too. I mean, come on? We both know where this is going. Why should I have to fight with those later?

You lie down on the bed, blushing radiantly, under me.

Slowly, I slide the chopstick into my mouth, letting my tongue suggestively hang out of my mouth.

I can hear you moan.

I dip it into the chocolate and slowly, pull it out, letting the excess gently run off. I'm aware of your eyes on me, and on the chocolate.

I slowly drag the chocolate over your skin, but unlike you, I'm not shy or drawing pictures. I'm working only on turning you on.

I gently trace circles over your breast, a spiral leading from the outer edge up to the sensitive centers.

I lean into you and trace my own spirals with my tongue. That makes you catch your breath, as I flick my tongue over your nipple, delighting as it hardens in my mouth.

I'll happily suck chocolate off your skin anytime you want; all you need do is ask.

I catch your tongue in a kiss, our sticky bodies press together, and together, we slide into ecstasy.



"Shhhh! You're going to wake up your mom!"

"Then stop!" I try to push you away. Somehow it just seems to bring you closer.

"Why? You liked it before." You smile, skipping the tip of your tongue down my neck.

I squirm between you and the washing machine, and complain, "We have laundry to do. And it tickles."

"The sheets are cleaning themselves, and I didn't hear you complain last night," you say, warm breath teasing my skin. "Or in the shower... Or earlier this morning..."

Suddenly, my mind is filled with images of you, of us... Of you smearing chocolate on me. Gently tracing my body with the pointy tip of the chopstick. The firm pressure of the flat of your tongue, the heat of your mouth. How your hands covered and explored me in the shower, the strength and grace of them. As your soft warm skin pushed me hard against the cold tiles. The light tender kisses that slowly drew me out of slumber. The moist sucking ones that drove me to madness...

"Just shut up," I mumble against your shoulder, and shudder as your free hand slide under my sweater. "You make me sound like a horn dog."

You laugh, the clear bright laughter that I'm not sure I've heard before, definitely not at work. I think you have a beautiful laugh, a beautiful smile.

I think you're beautiful.

"I'm the horn dog," you whisper against my lips. "You can be breakfast."

"I don't have Purina tattooed on my forehead," my mouth complains as I taste my lip gloss through you. "And what if mom walks in?"

"It's barely six a.m., Sweetheart. We just need to stay quiet."

"You don't know my mom, Liv." My breath hitches as your hand smoothes down my body and grabs my hip, pushing me to you. I'm more than wet when your leg presses against me. More than willing and wanting when your lips close over mine to muffle my moans.

Still, I hear the rasp of my breathing, the liquid of your name on my tongue. The desperation in my gasp...

As I feel you push up into me. The rough of your jeans. The hard of your thigh. The firm of your fingers on my nipple.

The gentle of your hand around my breast. The tender of your tongue in my mouth.

The intensity of your love.

168. Chase

I feel entirely insatiable with you.

I don't think I've ever truly felt like this; this isn't a simple crush. It's not just a simple biological urge that can be explained away by a screaming orgasm. It's an intense longing to be with you; be part of you. I want to be connected to you; inseparably and forever.

You're like a drug, the more of you I get, the more of you I want.

I knew you were too uptight to let our chocolate covered sheets, which smell unmistakably like sex, lie on the bed long enough that someone might see them. You made me sneak into your mother's house, not that I'm so great at sneaking anywhere right now. At least here, with you pinned against the washer, I have something steady to lean on.

I smile as you weakly protest against my insistent tongue; as you fight against my roving hands. I can feel your body responding to me. Responding like it's responded to me so many times in the last, hell, 12 hours.

I kiss you as I pull your shirt up, "Stop it," you protest shyly.

Your moan happens at the same moment; a moan that urges me on, as I feel you press yourself hard into my thigh.

"You want me to stop?" I ask, knowing how turned on you are.

"Mmmm…" you mumble against my shoulder.

"I don't understand you," I laugh, as I press against you again.

You kiss me, deeply, passionately, and grind against me again. I guess I'll take that as a no.

You pressing against me is making my body respond. Your willingness to give yourself over to me; the way you trust me not to hurt you; not to let you down. The way you're willing to let me take control for you; well almost take control.

Somewhere in the haze I hear a door open.

"Jesus Christ, you guys have your own house." I hear Trevor's voice saying to you; way too loud for six in the morning.

I see the shock register on your face; as I feel you push me backwards; just hard enough to set me off balance; which was precarious enough with the way you were pushing against me. I feel my weigh come down on my bad ankle; I can see the bright white lights of pain flashing through my head.

"What the hell are you doing up?" I hear you asking him, indignantly, like we have every right in the world to be getting it on on top of your mother's washing machine.

"I heard a noise. I thought there was a burglar," he says with a smirk.

"You are such an ass," you say jumping down off the washer, giving me a hand pulling me off the floor.

"Mmmm Olivia," he screams as he laughs at you.

You hit his shoulder as he runs out of the room, which only prompts him to say something I don't quite hear. Whatever it is, it's enough to send you chasing after him.


"What did I do wrong with these two." Mom looks at you and sighs. "I sent them to the best schools, hired the best tutors, and raised them to be a lady and a gentleman. Suddenly, they're acting like rabid squirrels."

"Squirrels don't get rabies, Mom." What possessed my big mouth to open? I wonder as mom gives me a look that could wither the rest of her orchids.

"Trampling my herb garden wasn't enough, you had to topple my rose bushes." She directs her wrath at Trevor.

He whines a two year old, "But Mom, Alex was hitting me with a rake."

"A plastic leaf rake, on your big wide ass." I pick up a roll and toss it across the table at him. "It's amazing the rake didn't break."

Mom catches the bread in midair. "Alexandra!"


"I will not have a food fight at the breakfast table! And you throw like a girl."

"I am a girl. A woman."

"Then stop acting like a child." She scolds me.

Trevor snickers.

She whips around. "You're no better."

"Yes, but I'm not a woman," he says smugly.

"You were certainly screaming like a Mimi when I threw the water can at you," I tell him.

"If I were you, Alexandra, I would not remind me you're the one who put a crack in my green house."

"I'm sorry," I say, pushing the food on my plate.

Trevor rolls his eyes. "Yeah right."

"I'm sorry I missed and hit the green house."

"You could have given me a concussion," he complains, looking to mom for comfort.

"So?" I glare at him with disdain. "It's not like you use your brain anyway."

"Mom!" He yelps.

She sighs, and turns to you. "If you want her, she's all yours. But what do you lawyers call it?" She pretends to think. "Caveat emptor? You know what that means, right, Olivia?"

"Mom!" I protest. Then I hear your snicker, and I glare at you. "Don't you dare sit here and act all goodie goodie, it's all your damn fault!"

"You expect Mom to believe that poor Olivia, with her bad ankle, forced you onto the washing machine." Trevor decides to defend you. And from the expression on mom's face, she didn't need help completing the picture.

I'm so going to kill him, when mom isn't watching.

Then I'm going to kill myself before I die of embarrassment.

At this point, Mom waves her head, her eyes full of warning. "If you two are going to behave like rug rats, you'll be punished as such."

Both Trevor and I whine in unison. "MOM!"

"Don't Mom me. And you," she turns to you.

"Me?" You squeak, your eyes wide.

"Yes, I thought you and I might take advantage of the peace and quiet and have another game of Scrabble."

Judging by the expression on your face, you realize you've just been handed the worst possible punishment of all.

170. Home

You have the pure gall to ask me if I enjoyed playing your mom at scrabble. Do cows enjoy being led off to the slaughter? All you had to do was clean up the disaster you made in the garden. I can't believe you actually chased him out there, the whole time the two of you screaming obscenities at each other like this was a third grade reunion.

"Come on, it couldn't have been that bad," you smile at me, gently.

"I'm not even talking to you." I say, and you giggle.

"Oh come on," you whine, "it's not that bad. You just can't stand to lose." You stand in front of my most direct path to the couch, and kiss me gently. My ankle is throbbing from the weight I put on it when you pushed me, and I feel tired, not only from our marathon love making session but the pure desire that courses through me to please your mother.

"Move," I say, smiling at you, to let you know that I'm not really mad. You smile, and let me sit on the couch. Drop more into the couch than anything else.

You pull up next to me, putting your head in my lap.

I sigh.

I wish, more than anything, that I had a drink right now. I know I'm not supposed to want that, I know that I'm supposed to be happy right now to be here with you, smiling and happy. But between the pain in my head and the pain in my foot, I want to feel numb.

I don't want to have to deal with the world; I want to feel the burning of alcohol down my throat. I know I'm not supposed to want it, but I want it more than anything right now.

Even your coy smile, your happy jabber as you talk about something can't quite bring me back from what I really want. What's really going on in my mind.

"Penny for your thoughts," you say, grabbing my hand and squeezing.


"You look distracted." You say gently.

"Oh, no, I'm okay," I say, trying to give you a reassuring smile.

"Okay," you mumble.

I stare at the wall; trying to let my desire to be numb fade. This is going to be harder than I thought. God, I want a drink.

171. SULK

"Oh, no, I'm okay"? What kind of answer is that? "Oh no" should have been enough in response to my question. "I'm okay" tells me exactly the opposite. You're not okay.

Now you're staring at the wall, looking like you're in pure misery.

I wonder what you're thinking now.


Well, I know you're not thinking about me. You're barely paying attention to me.

I hope you're not wishing for booze.

Are you really that upset about losing to mom? How bad could it have been? It is just a game if you think realistically and rationally about it. All right, it's easy for me to say now since I wasn't the one playing.

Fine, you had to be alone with her for the whole morning, but at least you didn't have your big insensitive jack ass of a brother walking in on your most private moment. It wasn't you in the laundry room with your shirt pull up, nor was it your moans coming from your lips that he heard.

You didn't have him making fun of you, accusing you of wearing out a vibrator, that somehow the one he got you for jest isn't big enough, or strong enough that you had to sit on the washer.

Truthfully, I was so completely absorbed with what you were doing, I didn't even notice the movements in the machine. I didn't even pay attention to what was going on for the rest of the world. Definitely not the door to the laundry room opening.

That's not good. What happened to my cautions? Or my will?

Here I am, jabbering and smiling, trying so hard to draw you out of your mood. When we both know you're not even hearing half of the things I'm saying. Hell, neither am I.

Why am I doing this, being so conciliatory with you when all I really want is to crawl in bed with a book and fall asleep? I'd prefer crawling in bed with you and take a nap, but I'm afraid that you're going to do more than sleep, and I'm exhausted.

How could we have done that much damage to mom's garden? It's amazing we're not grounded for life. Poor Trevor, somehow mom blames him for ruining her prize orchid. Wait, what am I saying? Poor Trevor? Yeah, right. Oh, well, at least I'm not the one out there turning the compost pile. His loss, my gain.

I wonder if I stop talking you'd notice.

Well, your lap makes a good pillow. Let's have an experiment…

I think I'm almost asleep when I hear you softly call my name.

Sure. How long did it take you to notice my silence? Too long, I decide, and I don't respond.

Then I feel your fingers in my hair, your hand stroking my shoulder and arm.

I let myself fall into the gentle movements, and drift into sweet oblivion.

172. Nap

My mind is a million miles from this couch, with you and your happy jabber. I try to make myself focus on you; but somehow, the harder I try, the deeper the craving gets. The wall becomes a chalkboard in my mind, chalking up the positives and the negatives of running out of here and emptying a bottle of cool booze down my throat.

The sheer impossibility of that strikes me. I'm a captive here, with you. It's not exactly jail, but it might as well be. You with me, my constant companion, in a house in the middle of nowhere, it's not like I can just walk across the street to the bodega and get loaded. I wish I knew why. I wish I knew why sitting here with you, when I should be nothing but deliriously happy, I want to be numb. I wish I knew what it was about me that wants the one thing I can't have. I wish I knew why I prefer numb to every other feeling. What started as a pleasant escape became a habit all to quickly; the habit becomes an addiction; the addiction is deadly.

Slowly, through the thick fog enveloping my brain, I hear the silence between us. Your happy jabber is gone, and I worry that somehow, you've asked me a question and are expecting my response. "Alex?" I ask you, as I slowly notice that your eyes are closed and your breathing is slow against my leg.

Maybe you're not paying attention to me either.

You don't respond, and slowly, I let my fingers brush over your hair. Looking at your pale features; feeling the weight of your head against my lap, I'm reminded of what it is exactly that I have to lose by giving in to what my body is crying for.

I don't want to disappoint you. I don't know how to talk to you about what I'm feeling. Every time I mention alcohol to you, you fly off the handle, angry and hurt that I could possibly want something that almost killed me. I don't think I can handle another horrible fight; you storming away because of something I said. I wish that I could want sobriety as much as you want it for me.

I wish that I didn't feel this craving deep in my stomach.

I stare at you, seeing in your angelic face the reasons that I'm supposed to not disappoint you. I do love you; love you with all my heart.

I pray that's enough.

I'm not sure it is.

I lean back, my fingers in your hair, and close my eyes.

Maybe you have the right idea after all.


Don't know how long I've been asleep. Asleep with my head in your lap. It's got to be a while since the direction of the sun has changed.

I shift slightly, expecting you to notice I'm awake and say something. But you're quiet. So I move again, just enough to see you. Guess you decided to take a nap, too. That's good.

At least the lines around your face have softened, and you don't look half as miserable. If I'm not imagining things, you might actually be smiling. I hope you're having a happy dream.

I feel kind of bad for falling asleep on you. That was more an escape. Even though I'm sure my body needed the rest, I could have stayed up if I wanted to. But I didn't want to. Didn't want to deal with whatever that was troubling you at that moment.

That was really selfish of me. Not something I would normally do. But that's what the therapist said. For me to step back, if I feel the need to. So I don't resent you in the long run.

I think somewhere deep down, I was hurt that you weren't paying attention to me. You were supposed to be deliriously happy and completely focused on me, on us. Instead, your mind was miles and miles away.

You were probably thinking about booze. Hell, you might be dreaming about downing a tall one right now for all I know…

I wish I knew how to help you, rather than waiting for your sessions to begin tomorrow. Rather than waiting for someone who can shrink you and get to the root or roots of your problem, so you won't want the escape of alcohol induced oblivion.

I wish I could do all of that and more for you.

I wish I understood you.

Maybe I do understand you. Well, at least I think I can sympathize with you. It's taken me everything to not have the second cup of coffee this morning. I would love a latte right now, and I know the craving will last until well after dinner. I've been doing it for what? A week now? Cutting down on the caffeine? So I might know what it's like for you, at least physically? It's not easy, I've got to admit.

I can imagine what your body must be telling you…

And I used to think I was sucking up caffeine because of the demands of the job, because for my mind to stay sharp, I needed an extra boost. What's my excuse now? I guess it's really just another form of addiction, just without the potentially dire consequences…

Slowly, I ease off of you, making sure I don't wake you. Then quietly, I slip into the bathroom, and turn on the shower.

It's good to stand under the hot water, and just let the jet blast the tension off my body. Maybe it'll also help me clear my mind…

When I return to the couch, I see that you're awake, staring into space again.

"Hey." I say softly.

You turn your head, and smile at me, a little tentatively perhaps, but it's genuine.

I sit down next to you and run my fingers through my still damp hair, shaking out the residual moisture. "Did you have a good nap? Hope I didn't wake you."

"I missed your head on my leg, I think." You shrug, deepening your smile.

I lean over, and kiss you lightly on your lips. Then, I insinuate myself onto your lap, and rest my head on your shoulder. I smile when your arms immediately go around my waist. Taking a deep breath, I begin, "Can I ask you a question?"

"That depends." You hedge, then change your mind. "I suppose."

"If I promise to not get mad, will you tell me the truth?"


"Were you wishing for a drink earlier?"

You close your eyes briefly. "More than one," you say, and let out a long breath.

"That's what I thought." What I was afraid of really, but I keep that part to myself.

"You're not mad?"


"But you're disappointed."

"I'm not sure if disappointment is the right word." I tell you evenly, with as much of a smile as I can muster. "No, I'm not happy. But I know it's going to take time for you to recover. I know it won't happen over night."

174. Warmth

I feel like something's missing. I linger somewhere between asleep and awake, in a half aware haze.

As I jump back into consciousness, I remember what it is. Your head was against my leg and now it's not. It's almost like my body misses your closeness; it knows that you're not there, and it wants me to find out why. I can hear the shower running in the other room; you must be awake, cleaning off the dirt from fixing your mother's garden. I smile to myself thinking of you standing under the warm water. Slowly my thoughts turn darker—your shower soon forgotten.

I sit quietly, staring into the wall again. I almost feel sick, a little shaky. A vague nauseousness mixes with the feeling of my hands shaking.

I feel like I've let you down.

I feel like I've fucked up by wanting what I'm not supposed to have. And I haven't even done anything. Yet.

You come back into the room and I smile at you; genuinely happy you're there to take me away from my thoughts. I'm determined to pay attention to you, determined that your happiness will be mine.

You smile at me in return, and come over to where I'm propped into the sofa. You slide yourself into my lap and I happily hold you close to me.

"Can I ask you something?" you say, almost coyly.

For a second, I forget that I'm about to commit to telling you something I might not want to say, as I readily agree, eager to do anything that will make you happy.

"What were you thinking about, before?" You ask.

I sigh a deep sigh. I wish I could tell you honestly, even though you promise not to be mad at me, I know that you will still be upset. I take a deep breath and tell you that you're right, that I want a drink, that I want nothing more than to be living right now only in a happily oblivion of numbness.

And more than you know I wish I could tell you why. I wish I could point to it, say; I want a drink because of these events, these moments in my life. I wish I could, but I can't. I just want it. I shouldn't have these feelings. My life is going well; I'm here, with you, and I love you, I truly do, but I can't get it out of my head. I can't just turn this deep desire off, no matter how badly I ache to not hurt you.

I can tell by your face; the pain that I cause you already is intense. You tell me you understand.

I want to laugh at you; you cut back on your caffeine, and of course I noticed. The way you stared longingly at the coffee pot, I wonder how you can compare them. If you go crazy and drink a mountain dew, chances are you won't drive someone else's car into a wall, like I did.

I wish I could show you how I felt. I wish I could show you what was in my head.

You kiss me gently and ask me if you can read to me.

I almost laugh at you, but then I think that it's kind of sweet. Your smile when I agree makes it all worth the while. As you snuggle into me, book in hand, I feel so at home. Feel so safe. I wish I could get the rest out of my head.


It's so hard to listen to you talk about your desire for numbness. It's even harder to watch you beat yourself up because you think you're failing me for wanting alcohol, because you don't know why you want it, and you don't know how and if you can stop this craving.

The hardest though, was to not respond with my gut.

If I thought my tears could do something, I would cry a river, hell, the seven seas, despite what I had promised myself, to never shed another tear for you, at least not over booze.

If I thought I could knock some sense into you, I would do that, too, even though I told you I wouldn't be mad at you.

I'm not going to be mad at you.

I'm not going to be mad even though you belittle my attempt to sympathize with you. You didn't say it in so many words, but I see the sarcasm written all over your face when I told you I can sort of understand the physical need of the addiction.

No, being addicted to caffeine is not the same as being addicted to booze. I don't have the shakes, I don't get delirium tremens from withdrawal. The splitting headache I've had since day one were controllable by drugs, and now they're actually bearable without painkillers.

No, it won't kill me or another if I decide to go back to drinking twelve cups a day. But that just tells me you should be trying harder.

But I promise you I won't get mad, so I'm not going to.

I can hope that the therapists can get through to you, or the MADD people you'll eventually be talking to can help you. After all, don't you always identify with the victims?

Sigh. I just wish I knew why you are the way you are. Why you, or anyone for that matter, would want to be in a constant state of low.

Constant state of high I understand, but low? Why? My moods have been so torpid lately, I can barely stand it; sometimes it seems like I'm even more volatile than normal. Why would you want to be listless all the time? Or do you get so low that you become numb… You did say you want the happy oblivion of numbness, I guess that's it. If it weren't hitting so close to home, I'd find it fascinating, that we could have such different views towards drunkenness. To me, it's a loss of control; it's relinquishing your will to some dangerous unknown. Why would anyone want that?

Why would you want that?

I sigh again, internally. I guess I should stop trying to figure you out. My job is to be here for you, and love you. The rest is up to you and your team of professionals. I just don't like feeling so helpless.

To get our minds off things, I ask if you want me to read to you, and you acquiesce. I'm proud of you for not laughing at me. It is not the most brilliant idea, but right now I can't think of anything else better to do. So I grab the book I sneaked from the library earlier, and open to the first page.

"What are you reading?" You ask with amusement after the first few paragraphs.


"DH Lawrence?"

"Yes," I blush. "It's one of mom's 'good girls don't' things that I figure I can do now."

176. Distracted

I feel so safe with your warm body pressed into mine. Your voice is rhythmic as you read to me, and it takes a few beats before I realize that I've heard what you're reading before.

DH Lawrence?

Isn't that a little forward? I smile. I guess I know where your mind is.

I love finding out more about you; listening you read the poetic prose to me, with your beautiful voice. I love the feeling of your head against my shoulder, the warmth of the way your body is pressing against mine.

I want more than anything to kiss you. To feel your lips pressing into mine. I want to slide my hands up your body, and hear you moaning my name.

If I can't be numb, I want to feel alive with you.

Slowly, I slide my hand over yours, and close the book. You look at me questioningly, as I pull it from your hand and throw it on the floor.

"You don't like it?" you ask, looking almost hurt.

I want to reassure you, but I feel the pleasant ache between my legs and I see your beautiful eyes trying to probe into my soul.

I kiss you, in response.

A gentle warm kiss, I feel the softness of your lips against mine. They touch and I feel your resistance fade gently as your open your mouth, letting my tongue probe inside.

Your tongue against mine; your fingers lace through my hair pressing me closer to you. I can feel the warmth of your lips against mine, the insistence of the kiss.

After a moment, you break our kiss; and slowly press a trail of kisses down the side of my neck.

I moan in spite of myself, as you slide a hand up my shirt. I can feel your fingers, leaving cool trail of sensation as they slide against my stomach.

They cup my breast, which I can feel responding to you without the need for your further stimulation, which you happily seem more than willing to provide.

You grab my lips again, in a harder kiss. Slightly more insistently; with more desire. I feel your fingers sliding down my body again, quickly unbuttoning the jeans I'm wearing.

Your hand presses against me, teasing me through the thin layer of cloth that keeps us apart.

"Latex," I mumble to you, half coherently.

I feel your fingers slide against my flesh, and you don't stop.

I can't believe you don't stop…


"Latex," I hear you mumble against me. I should stop. I don't want to stop. I should stop. But why? When you were in the hospital, as part of your contract with mom, you had every test known to man run on you. Meanwhile, I had to endure every other vaccination available. Chances are, you're safe.

You don't know that! My prudent voice screams through the haze of arousal.

But we're in this together, right? It's time I learn to throw caution to the wind. It's time I learn to be less of a control freak.

No, I don't want to stop. And I'm not going to, I decide, and trace my fingers along your skin, teasing the edge of your center. God, I've been wanting to do this forever, to touch you. You, without anything between us.


I hear you rasp above my head. I take that as a sign of your increased arousal, and encouragement. I let go of your nipple with a pop, and swirl my tongue down your body, pausing at your navel.

You suck in a deep ragged breath. "Alex. Stop."

"No." I tell you, and dip my head lower. God, I can't wait to taste you.

"Stop." You say more forcefully this time, and hold me away from you with your hand on my shoulder, and your fingers in my hair.

I look up at you. I'm sure I look wounded. Reluctantly, I let you pull me up along your body. "Why?" I ask, trying unsuccessfully to keep the rejection from my voice.

"Let's go into the bedroom," you say, and add with a teasing smile, "Where there's enough latex to cover this entire house."

"But I want to touch you." I look down at the distance between us, somehow the breath of space looks wider than a football field. "And… taste you."

"You can't. Not yet." You speak slowly, looking sad. Before I could protest, you continue. "Let's be honest, this never was about what I could potentially catch from Abbie through you. And it's too soon to know if I'm completely safe."

"Liv, I…"

"It's okay. Really." You try to reassure me with a kiss.

Somehow I can't shake the feeling you're also having a hard time convincing yourself. "But Liv…" I want to tell you my decision, that we're in everything together, all the way. And my determination to give up absolute control.

"Please Alex." You smile at me wistfully. "Let me be responsible, at least for the first time in my personal life. I'll never forgive myself if I endangered you in any way just for a moment of passion."

I hear what you're saying, and I should be happy, really happy. But I'm not; and I'm not sure why. So I try to convey my confusion through a simple question. "Just?"

You chuckle throatily, and cradle my cheeks in your hands, lifting my head up so our eyes meet. "You know what I mean, Cabot. Six months isn't a very long time in the grand scheme of things. And it'll give you a coupla reasons to stick around."

I can't fight the grin that threatens to overtake my face. "That sounds like you're asking for a commitment, Benson."

"Why, I guess I am." You say, your smile mirroring mine. "So, what do you say?"

"Bed it is." I reply, and ease off of the sofa. And I hold out my hands.

178. Reflection

I could get used to this; waking up next to you every day for the rest of my life.

You brought me to your bed and made love to me; slowly and deliberately. You made me feel like I was the only person in the world you have ever cared about. Of course, I want to delude myself to believe that's true. Whether it's true or whether it's not, it makes me feel promise for our future.

I feel like your life is palpable; like it's something I can reach out and touch. Like you have presented me with something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

And with you, everything I thought I knew is wrong. Love is more intense, the way your smile makes me feel, the way your blue eyes pierce into my soul. Sex with you; it's different too. It's not about that momentary release; the surge of pleasure; the concentration. Instead it's deeper. Not necessarily the physical sensation, but the emotional sensation.

You wanted to break your own code of safety for me. Throw aside your strict desire to maintain a final barrier between us. I wonder if it's not out of some misguided attempt to prove that you trust me—to prove that you're willing to risk anything to be with me. Prove that you understand what's in my head. Prove that you understand what it's like to be on the edge.

I love you, but I know you can't understand. You don't know what it's like to feel what's in my soul. The thick blackness that sometimes makes me choose to do the things that I know I shouldn't be doing. It's embarrassing as hell to have to admit to you that I don't always remember where I've been. What I've done. It's not my proudest moment; or series of them.

I don't want you to wake up and decide that this was all a horrible mistake.

If I want you to be a part of my life, I want to make damn sure it's not a life filled with regrets. I won't let you lose the control that you have over yourself. It's one of the things I most love about you; your ability to be in control even in the most out of control circumstances. I wish I were more like you.

I wish I felt like I was in control.

I feel you stir against me, and I involuntarily hold my breath, not wanting to wake you. You settle yourself against me, smiling in your sleep, still fast asleep.

You're so beautiful, your stunning blonde hair framing your face, like an angel.

My angel?

Today is the start of the therapy that's supposed to send me to recovery.

A recovery that I'm not entirely sure I can endure.

But one I'm willing to try for you.

179. NEW DAY

Your arms circling me from behind, your caresses so light, so gentle. Your body pressing against mine, so soft, so warm.

"Mmm…" I arch back in my dream-filled haze, snuggling closer into you.

Your touch is firmer now. Your mouth your tongue touch my neck, my shoulders, making gentle sucking noises. Somewhere in my sleepiness, I recognize this is going to be another turtleneck day... I feel a smile tugging at my lips.

… As your hand spans across my chest and tease my nipples with your thumb and little finger, pushing my breasts together, kneading.

You're holding me, caressing me. Running your fingers down the front of my body with your free hand. Down over my hips, my thighs, moving over me, teasing.

I twist around in your embrace, slowly, keeping my eyes closed. I wake up enough to weave my fingers in your hair, and pull you towards me, as I expose my throat to your soft nibbling kisses.

Soft nibbling kisses that trail down my body. Wet sucking flicking kisses all over my breasts, the underside of my breasts. Down my stomach, lips pressing, tongue teasing.

Down and up the insides of my thighs, searching.

Somewhere from far away I hear foil rip, I feel the momentary slide of rubber against my skin. Then the warm hot of your mouth molding me. Your tongue teasing in out and around openings needing to be filled.

I hear another roll of latex. That tells me what I can expect soon. At least I hope soon. My body responds eagerly.

I hear a low moan of pleasure, from whose lips, I'm not entirely sure. As your mouth surrounds me.

I want you now, want you inside me now, right now. If I didn't tell you with my voice, my hips rocking towards you should be clear.

Your fingers on me, near me, teasing, moving so gently. Touching. Drawing me further from dream into deeper need.

You're just outside, circling, and circling with your tongue.

My eyes fly open and slam shut the instant your thrust in, so unexpectedly.

My legs close around your torso, pulling you close, pulling you deeper in. Oh, god, yes.

You stay still inside me, pressing hard, pushing deeper deeper in. Filling me. My body focused on the pressure of your touch, the flick of your tongue.

Focused on the gentle build up of contractions, of my body hugging you to me wanting to explode.

Suddenly, I rock violently against you, the sound of your name tears itself from my chest. Suddenly I feel the mad pulsing of my heart and I gasp for air, barely able to breathe.

Then I feel you holding me to you, feel your body sliding up along mine. You're still inside, your touch now almost soothing.

"I've got you." I hear you whisper, feel your warm breath against my neck.

Feel so safe in your arms…

Finally, I open my eyes to your smile.

"Hey." You say, a little sheepish.

"Mmm…" I smile back. "Don't suppose you want to be my alarm clock."

180. Late

Your warmth presses into me, your warm sweaty body slides against mine, as I taste your kisses. I smile as your fingers slide down my body, and across my abdomen. I know where this is going. I moan, involuntarily, but this is the day. My big day. I have to get up, and so do you. We've got to be on time for this.

Even though it kills me, I pull your hand away from my aching nipple.

"We've got to get up," I smile, as you kiss me reaching for me again.

"I don't want to," you mumble, your eyes closed, as you kiss my neck.

"Come on, sweetie." I say, pulling away from you again.

You whine as I sit up on the edge of the bed, wrapping your arms around my waist. "Come on," you whine. "Stay with me."

"Sweetie, we've got somewhere to be today."

"No..." you mumble, as slowly, I see realization cross your face. I see your smile fade, and I'd do anything to get it back again.

"Let's take a shower," I say, smiling at you, as I see your concerned look fade again into happiness.

You get out of bed quickly, scrambling to help me get on my feet. I lean against you and gingerly step on the ankle, which is starting to feel remarkably better. You let me lean into you; and I take full advantage, giving you more of my weight than I really need to.

You take me into the bathroom and I let you gently, slide my clothes to the floor.

You quickly strip off your own clothes and turn on the water. While we wait for it to heat, you kiss me gently. A slow kiss which becomes more urgent a little too quickly.

"Alex, we can't," I tell you, as I slip my hand under the running water, very aware of your naked body pressing against mine.

We slide into the shower together, and you let me slide my soapy hands over you. I hear your moan, and I smile.

"Do you ever think about anything other than sex?" I ask you, as I kiss you gently on the lips.

"Excuse me? How'd you wake me up this morning?"

I smile at you, "That was an hour ago."

You don't respond to me, instead, choosing to pout. Suddenly, and before I can protest, you slip your fingers between my legs, making me slide my back against the shower wall.

I sigh, I guess I'm going to be late on my first day.

Part 181

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