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

341 SHY

"Thank you for dinner," I tell you, and raise the pink and white bouquet of roses and daisies to my nose, filling the space between us. "And for these." I watch as you smile, and smell them with me. As we stand in front of my apartment building, all of a sudden, I feel shy...

"My pleasure. Thank you for the company. It was fun," you say, and slip an arm around my waist. I lower the flowers, and you lean in for a kiss. A soft one, on the lips. Undemanding.

And I feel the warmth flush from the pit of my stomach to my cheeks. Looking down at my fingers on the lapel of your coat, I ask softly, "Would you, would you like to come up?"

"It's kinda late, I shouldn't have any more coffee..."

"Who said anything about coffee?" I laugh lightly. "It is Valentine's Day."

"But, I thought you wanted to... wait?"

"We've been on what? Half a dozen dates now?"

"Eight. Nine, counting tonight."

"All right, nine." I smile at your response. Guess you've been keeping track, too. "In what..."

"Five weeks."

"So... Would you?"

"This is not just because you think I want to, right?"

I shake my head, and brush your bangs from your eyes. "Do you? Want to?"


"And not just because you think I want..."

"God, no. I've been wanting, and waiting... and wanting and waiting…"

I kiss you gently, and take your hand. "Then let's."

As we're walking slowly up the extra long stairs, I wonder what you're thinking. Did you notice that my skirt is just slightly shorter than normal for work? Are you staring at my legs, the swing of my hips? We've been... intimate, for countless times... and I know you find me attractive. Then why am I trying so hard?

Why am I so nervous?

I feel clumsy, like I'm fumbling, as you follow me into the kitchen, and quietly watch me put the bouquet in a vase. Again, I wonder what's going on in your head. If I could bring myself to meet your eyes, I'm sure I could read what you're feeling. Instead, I just focus on the flower arrangement, and wonder if you're as nervous as I am.

In the bedroom, we slide off our coats, and I hang them in the closet, next to your clothes, for the day after the nights we spent talking or watching television. Being friends.

I turn to you, and smile as we touch our lips together gently, shyly. This is certainly not like that first time, in the public bathroom. I slip my hands under your shirt, intending to help you out of your clothes. Somehow I managed to get your head stuck.

"Didn't anybody tell you not to wear turtlenecks on dates?" I tease you, to hide my fluster, as you finish pulling off your shirt.

"Yeah." You laugh, and smile your crooked smile. "I didn't want to assume, or expect."

God. I close my eyes and blush to your fingers on the buttons of my shirt. In less than a minute, you'll find out, you'll know I did. You'll find out that I had planned, that I had hoped...


I smile at you, as slowly, you arrange the flowers I brought you in a vase. Standing in your kitchen, admiring your short skirt, which is noticeably shorter than normal. Well, maybe not to someone who doesn't spend as much time watching you as I do. I silently watch you, as you slowly arrange the flowers around the vase, and I wonder if your heart is beating as quickly as mine is.

You turn to me and smile. "They look great," you say, and slowly, you walk across the room. You stare at me seductively.

I watch as you linger, a step away from me, and I think that maybe this is a horrible mistake. Maybe I misread the cues, but you held my hand and escorted me up here, so how wrong can I be? I see fire flickering below your eyes, as slowly, you take my hand and lead me into your bedroom.

We kiss, slowly, and without any further demands. I stand in your embrace, a small kiss, gentle against my lips.

I pull back and look at you.

"Are you sure?" I ask you, letting my forehead rest against yours.

You smile up at me and kiss me as a response.

I feel your fingers sliding up my shirt, against my skin, and I can feel my skin come alive where your fingers run over it. I feel your skin against mine all the way to my core, creating an aching desire that only you can tame.

You slide my shirt over my head, but my neck gets stuck. Stupid turtleneck. If it weren't freezing in NY…

"You shouldn't wear these on a date," you scold with a smile.

"I wasn't expecting…"

You smile and kiss me again.

The taste of your lips on mine, the gentle feel, the way you close your eyes when you kiss me.

I slide my fingers down your body, and across your buttons, pulling at them gently. I don't want to rush; I want this to last forever.

I slide your shirt open and smile. A beautiful lace bra meet my eyes, gently contrasting your creamy white skin. I smile at you. "No way."

You smile at me shyly. "I knew you'd like it."

"Do the bottoms?"

You pull the first inch out from you skirt. "Uh huh."

"Nice." I say, as I kiss you gently. "Very nice."


Your hand is sliding gently around my waist, to the small of my back. I hear the purr of the zipper, I feel my skirt drifting down my legs. My breath my heart both catch at my throat as you pull away from our kiss. And I feel your gaze on me.

"Nice." You say again, with a smile in your voice.

I'm not sure I've ever felt so self-conscious about our state of undress, mine to be exact. We've seen each other, touched each other countless times, why all of a sudden...?

"Sweetheart? Are you sure..."

I feel your fingers on my chin, feel you shift so you can see my face. I pull you to me, and cover your lips with mine. And I gasp into our kiss as your hands glide down my back, to my ass. As your fingers graze the inside of my legs, I lean into you... Close my fingers around the points of your breasts... Breathe in your responding moan...

So I don't have to look at you.

So you won't see through me. See how I love I am with you. And how scared I am.

You really have changed since rehab. From what I gathered, Elliot's was only there as much as you let him; you went through it by yourself. Meanwhile, I fell into the first set of comforting arms... You're strong, much stronger than me, for that I'm happy for you. I really am. The last few weeks reminded me why I had fallen in love with you in the first place, before I knew of your alcohol problem. And now...

Now I want to trust you, despite my fears. I want to love you, and spend the rest of my life with you, despite myself, despite what my heart went through.

Are you completely cured? Or are you still a ticking time bomb, exploding when I least suspect it? I wish I knew. I wish I could be sure...

I let your whimpers and gasps, let the touch of your hands on my body, the fire of your tongue in my mouth drown me. I let your presence overwhelm my fears, my thoughts for the moment...

Funny I don't think we've ever taken the time, and just petted, like this. We've always jumped from zero to a hundred. Maybe it is different this time; maybe we've both changed.

"God." I tear my mouth from our kiss, and cling onto you, and squeeze my legs around your denim clad thigh, as you change the pressure of your touch. "Liv..."

You laugh quietly. "Just checking."


"You seemed a little, distracted? Are you sure you want to..."

I nod, still refusing to meet your eyes. But I do owe you an explanation. "I think I'm falling in love with you, again."

"Do you, do you think it's bad?"

Grounding myself against your shoulder, I shake my head. "I'm scared... just a little."

344 risk

I'm acutely aware that you're not looking at me. Each attempt I make to press your head up, to make your eyes meet mine, you avoid. I take your hand and lead you to the bed, laying down next to you, we gently kiss. I let my leg slip between yours and you press into it, and I smile.

I kiss your forehead, as gently you press against me. Kiss your face, kiss your nose. I feel you trying to burrow into my shoulder, hiding yourself from me some more.

"You okay?" I ask you gently, pulling my thigh away from the rhythm you've absent-mindedly maintained.

"Liv?" You ask me breathlessly.

"Just making sure you're here with me."

You smile gently and look at my shoulder. "I…" you start and then stop. "I think I'm falling in love with you."

I smile and kiss you gently. "Is that such a bad thing?" I ask.

"I'm scared." You mumble.

"That I'll hurt you?" I ask.


I kiss you gently. "I might." I say.

You look up at me quickly, the first time I've been able to catch your eyes.

"You might hurt me too." I add quickly. "Love is a risk. You have to be willing to take it."

"Liv, I didn't think I'd make it after the last time…when you left me."

"But you did."

"But I was…I felt so incomplete without you. I felt like I had to replace you."

"I was too drunk to focus…" I mumble.

"I'm afraid that you'll choose that…"

"Instead of you." I finish your sentence for you. "I don't know that I'll never drink again, Alex."

"I don't want to hear that." You murmur, pulling yourself into me.

"You have to though. I can tell you that I want to try."

You kiss me. To shut me up? To confirm that you'll love me even if the worst happens? I kiss you back, now, living with your uncertainty is better than living without you.


One day at a time, Cabot. Live one day at a time. I keep telling myself as I kiss you.

Your willingness to try, shouldn't that be enough? Your patience in the last few weeks, your soft unhurried kisses on my face earlier, the tender gentleness with which you return my kiss now… They should be enough. Should be enough proof that you do care about me, and maybe this time you're really going to try.

I arch towards you, longing to let your presence reassure me. To feel our bodies crash and twine together. To have you show me…

You respond by sliding your thigh between my legs once more. Withholding your weight, you reach up and touch my cheek, almost tentatively. Are you giving me the time that you perceive I want? That I told you I want? Are you hesitant simply because you don't want to rush?

Or are you fearful, too, that we might break each other's heart one day?

I close my eyes, and lean back into the pillows. You kiss my cheeks, my chin, my ears, tracing a delicate line down my neck to the center of my chest. Your fingers grazing my nipples through the lace of my bra.

If even you aren't sure, how can I be? And how can I rightfully expect you to be sure? Instead of telling me what you know I want to hear, which is something you would do and had done, you tell me you'll try. Your honestly is an improvement.

"Alex? Are you all right?"

I nod, clasping your shoulders. Then without giving you warning, with extended arms, I push forward until you're on your back. Tugging at your belt, your jeans, your underwear, your socks, I pull each item of clothing off your body until you're completely naked.

Then I swoop down, landing on you bodily, chuckling at your wide-eyed shock. Drowning you with deep kisses and fierce caresses, like I used to…

Until your fevered whimpers and needful moans fill my ears, my heart.

Maybe love's not one of those things one can count on, like sunrises and sunsets. One can only make promises based on how one feels at the moment, on all the known facts…

Honestly, can I guarantee you I won't ever break your heart? That I won't hurt your feelings? Ever?

I am certain of my feelings for you right now, today. Tomorrow, only if you'll let me…

If you'll let me.

If you'll let me…

Swallowing hard and pulling back, I whisper, "I love you."

You look into my soul. This time I let you. Fighting the sting behind my eyes, I return your gaze, your smile.

"I love you, too, Alex. Very much," you tell me, your breath a gentle caress.

What is it you like to say? Living more than one day at a time's not really an option? "Guess I'd better learn to live one day at a time, huh?" I grin, inviting you to share my joke. "And love one day at a time?"

Leaning down again, I pull you close to me, and wrap my arms around you, our bodies pressing together, skin on almost naked skin…

346 Trust

I slide against you, our nearly naked bodies meld together, and I kiss the words out of your mouth. I know you want to have this talk. I know you want to tell me that you love me. I know that you want to explain that you needed to move past me, so that you could heal your heart. I knew I was hurting you, I knew it but I couldn't see it. I wanted to make things right, but all I did was make it worse.

I hope you understand. I hope it makes sense to you in some way, why I can't promise that I'll never do anything to hurt you again. I mean, it's only logical that you can't promise it either, but you're not the alcoholic, are you? It's one thing I learned, one thing that's managed to seep into my head with all the meetings and all the therapy. I've learned that it's impossible to make those promises. All promises do is set me up for failure. Failure provides me with an opportunity to punish myself, and punishing me involves punishing every one I love.

"I love you," I manage, between deep kisses. Our bodies are pressed together, warm and safe in each others arms.

"That's all I can…" You murmur.

I slide my tongue into your mouth, my kiss taking your words and turning them into understanding. I know, I want to tell you. I know.

I don't think we've done this before, simply lie together and kiss. My body and yours, pressed into each other, with neither of us pressing for anymore. Even naked, we don't feel the pressure we usually feel in each others arms. Neither of us is in a harried frenzy, needing and wanting more than the other was ready to give.

In fact, we seem to be standing still. I could lie here with you. I could kiss you for hours. I could spend my life, together, living just like I am right now, kissing you.

I smile, as you start to whimper in my kisses as my fingers slide up your body. I gently cup your breasts, my fingers causing your body to respond to me. I can feel your back arching; I can feel you pressing into me.

"Liv," you moan into my mouth, and I take it as my cue. I reach for the bedside stand, to the latex that I assume you've kept around.

You grab my hand, "No."

"But Alex."

"Liv, please?" You look at me. "I, I trust you…"

"I trust you too…" But you've been with Serena, my mind screams.

You smile at me, and my resolve is gone. I slide my fingers between your legs, slide down your body, and slowly, let my tongue slide against you, finally, tasting you.


"I love you," you tell me, in between kisses. Kisses I've been missing and craving, even when I was with Serena, even though I didn't know it, didn't want to admit it at the time.

If your love one day at a time is all I can have, I guess that'll have to be enough. Certain things you can't compromise, obviously this is one of them. This, this warmth, this happiness I feel when I'm with you, it should be enough. Shouldn't it? If that's all I can have…

One day, one night. One kiss, one embrace. One day without drinking on your part. One day without either one of our hearts breaking. One at a time.

"That's all I can…" ask of you, I want to tell you, to show you I'm willing to operate on your terms. Your tongue in my mouth prevents my speech. Your fingers on the clasp of my bra, sliding them open; your hands on my hips, my thighs as you push my underwear away… they rob me of further rational thoughts.

So I lay here, with you in my bed, in my arms, kissing, naked skin on naked skin. You take your time, touching me with your hands, with your mouth. Slowly, as if we have all the time in the world.

I feel your weight shifting, pressing against my thighs. I shudder.

And I taste your smile against my lips as I open, in a rush of surrender, to let you near, to let you in. Your hands cover my breasts, teasing me into deeper arousal as I arch against you, pulling you closer.

"Liv," I whimper into your mouth, before I tear away from your kiss, throwing my head back, moaning my needs. "Please…" I manage, and I push on your shoulders.

You raise up on your elbows; instantly, I feel the cold, the hollowness. I need to feel you. I need the reassurance that this is real. I hear the night stand drawer sliding; opening my eyes, I cover your hand with mine. "No, let's not."

"But Alex…" You protest, looking back at me.

We talked about getting re-tested early… but that was months ago, before you broke up with me. Did you? I hope you did. Does it really matter? Live one day at a time right? I may regret this come tomorrow morning, but if we're to love one day at a time, right now, I need to feel you, need you to hold me, touch me.

"Please, Liv?" I plead. "I trust you…" to be responsible, to be safe.

"I trust you, too…" You respond, hesitantly, torn.

No, I didn't feel this need, this want, or fierce desire with Serena either. It's still you, just you. I smile, and hope that you understand…

Then your lips are on my lips, your hands brushing down my body, your fingers slipping between my legs. I shudder again, to the gentleness, to the thrill of your touch.

"God, Liv…" I moan, as you caress my center, your fingers gliding inside me easily… My body contracting around you as you press your thumb against my clit, and pumps slowly. "God, it feels so good…" So good to finally… To have nothing between us, separating us…

"Liv?" I nearly yelp at the emptiness, when suddenly you pull out. Then you smile at me, and kiss me on the lips. Then on my throat, my breasts, my stomach, your tongue swirling in my navel…

Then I feel your hands on the small of my back, on my buttocks, lifting me, exposing me… And I hold my breath.

And I feel the heat of your mouth hovering, closing around me. Your tongue circling, running across, pushing against me…

Invading me…

348 Release

I know that I'm driving you to the point of madness as I gently kiss the insides of your thighs, tracing small circles with my tongue against the creamy white of your skin.

I want to tease you, I want you to beg for me.

I want you to feel how I love you, how I want you, without me having to say the words. I want you to know, I just want you to know.

And I'm scared.

This is for real, your final surrender.

I keep expecting you to change your mind, expecting your hand to clasp against my shoulders…expect you to pull me away. Expect that you'll realize what you said, and that you'll rescind your offer to let me taste you. I don't know exactly what to do, afraid to share you. So I slide my finger, then fingers, into you, alternating my rhythm as your moans increase, subside, and increase again.

This isn't desperate, it's slow, slow and ultimately loving. I'm nervous and I wonder if you can sense it.

I can smell your arousal; feel it on my fingers, and I know it's for me. I can't help comparing this to what I know you were doing, while we were apart. Was it like this with her? Did she make you feel this way? Did she touch you this way? Before I can let the jealously spiral totally out of control, I stop.

I stop and look up at you, your eyes closed, your head thrown back as my fingers continue their exploration of your unprotected sex. I don't believe you did this with her. I believe that this is only for me. My thumb flicks against you, as I continue to watch. Your face is pure ecstasy; your back arches against my fingers, trying to control my movements with the sheer force of your determination. Your hand snaking with my free hand, the other runs itself gently through my hair.

I feel the slight pressure as you push me into you.

I take a deep breath; it's now or never.

Slowly, hesitantly at first, I slide my tongue out and taste you. My tongue finds your clit and starts its gentle first assault. A gentle prodding, a flick, and then a slow rhythm forms.

I've gotten to know your body well enough, well enough to know what you like. What makes you make the deep moans that sound even more musical to my ears, after having to fight for them.

Gentle circles flow into a steady rhythm that I vary only enough to keep you tottering close to the edge. Your breath is ragged as you moan my name. I can tell how close you are—your moans become silent as you start holding your breath, begging silently for me to let you slide into the abyss.

"Please," you mumble, begging me with a word, in a whisper.

I let you come; smile as you call out my name, feeling your body clasping around my fingers, your muscles tensing and releasing as you pull me up your body, forcing my lips against yours, in a deep sensuous kiss that takes my breath away.


"God…" I can only gasp, with my eyes squeezed shut, when you finally let me come. I thought I was going to go out of my mind… I reach for you, blindly, I clasp you to me. I need you to hold me, touch me, kiss me.

I need to taste myself on your breath; need to hang onto your body as mine beats around you.

As waves of orgasms and sudden tears sob through my body, I need you to love me.

I need you to love me.

For more than one day…

Quickly, I kiss you, to push the thought out of my mind. I push against you, rock against you, devouring your lips with mine. Desperation isn't quite the word for it; the rhythm you set is deep and sweet and slow. Our breasts sliding against each other, your hand moving between my legs, my thigh pressing against your center…

"God, Liv," I curve into you, burying my face against your shoulder. The pulse of my body punctuated by the sounds of your heavy breathing…

I feel you tensing, and I arch away just enough to close my mouth on your breast. I move my hand from your back, and fingers trembling, I slide inside you. Touching you, your slick arousal on my skin, I feel myself melting with you.

As you sigh to my caress; my name a whisper from your lips. We're here, together. Tonight.

And I want, I need to get closer to you.

I need to taste you, as much as I needed your touch.

You moan softly as I try to pull away. "Alex?" You murmur above my head.

"Please, Liv," I rasp, my free hand on your wrist, gasping, sighing at your insistence. "I want, want to taste you."

You blink open your eyes, and stare into mine.

I smile at you. "Please?"

And hear my voice, from somewhere, crying out, my surprise, my pleasure as you climb deeper inside me. Touching me in places, secret even to myself. I can only cling to you, biting down on my lip to keep from screaming.

Then I hear your voice, soothing, "Let me hear you, Alex…"

My heart jumps. This is an apartment, in a building, with other people, not my mother's guest house, surrounded by gardens. I reach for your mouth. Maybe you can still hear me; maybe that'll be enough.

"Please Baby," you smile against my cheek, your words filtering in between ragged breaths, "I want, to hear you. Then you can…"

350 Scream

I can feel your moans melting into my mouth, the sounds that I so want to hear, fading as you suppress your sounds for what? The slight moans, the punctuated gasps, the way you bite your lip instead of screaming out. For who? For what? For the sake of your neighbors? Your reputation? I've seen your neighbors. They'd be happy for me. This might be the closest many of them get to action in the next year. We might as well enjoy it.

For the first time, for the first time you've broken down your good girl boundaries for me. You've taken a risk, letting me press my tongue into you, and your breathy confession that you want to taste me almost completes the entire picture. The last part of yourself, the wild part that you rarely let out, besides occasionally in the flash of your eyes as you put away a perp, or when you railed against my drinking. That's what I want to see.

I want to see you let that out—let it out in passion, let out the frustration that I imagine bubbles within you. You mumble instead and stifle your moans. I can see your mind flying by me a mile a minute, as I press further into you, teasing you faster, pushing you closer, closer again.

"I can't…" You moan, as I press into you harder….your words turn into an almost cry.

"You can," I say, smiling as you close your eyes and let out a smaller moan that turns into a slightly louder one. I flick across your clit, hard, hard enough to elicit the scream that I want, my name on your lips while you crash around my fingers.

Your cry pierces my ears, and elicits the response that I'm aching for in my body. You want me, and I have the power to make you scream like that, and that's only for me. You collapse onto the bed, but only for a second. You reach for me, fire in your eyes.

You push me back fiercely against the bed, and I'm surprised when instead of the feral kiss that I expect from you, I get a gentle, sensual kiss. You slide your hand gently up my torso, between our sweat covered bodies.

"I love you," you whisper.

"I love you too," I say, gasping as you take my breast into your mouth. You kiss your way down my stomach. A gentle wet trail of kisses finds it's way down my body, leaving my skin on fire from the phantom traces of where you've been. You kiss your way to where I want to feel you most.

I close my eyes, and I feel your arms sliding up my body, your hand lying against my stomach, holding my hips to the bed.. "Liv," you say, gently.

"Mmmm…" I moan.

"Open your eyes." You say to me.

My eyes fly open and stare at you, as gently, you slide your tongue over me, the whole time, our eyes locked together. I feel my body respond to you, quickly. I feel the pace building, the closeness of my orgasm taking my breath away.

We continue our stare as you push me closer, your fingers reach up and lace with mine…


When you asked me to scream for you, what was it you want from me? I wonder as I look down at you, at the patch of brown curls. To shatter my control? My soul laid bare? Honesty? Something else entirely?

I run my fingers gently down your skin, tugging at your hair teasingly. Listening to your soft moans. Do you have any idea how much I've wanted this? To touch you without a sheet of latex between us?

Now that you're so close, do you know how nervous I am?

The protection. It's was never just from STD's, never because I was the neurotic clean freak I pretended to be. I'm not exactly sure why a thin layer of rubber makes so much difference.

I close my eyes, and inhale deeply, letting your scent fill my senses. My chest tightens in response.

Is it just nerves? It must be. Right?

I slide my hands around your body, holding your hips. I glance up at you, a breath away from your center. "Liv?"

You shiver, and moan your response.

"Look at me." I ask you, still closer to your heat. Patiently, I wait, until you open your eyes. Until your surprise turn into arousal.

Then, holding your gaze, I slide my tongue against you. Once. Twice. Stopping, to relish the flavor on my tongue. Somehow I'm surprised that you don't taste like strawberry, or grape, or any random artificially sweet fruit…

"You taste beautiful," I tell you with a smile. And I watch with pleasure as you blush. It's good to know I have that power over you as you do me…

Slowly, I draw you closer to me, and wrap my lips around you, gently, so softly. Touching, teasing with my tongue; sucking lightly with my mouth.

You reach for me, and lace your fingers with mine, and arch towards me. "Please, Alex." You whimper, voicing your need so honestly, so readily; your pupils deep dark liquid pools for me to see into, to drown in.

I flick at the tip of your clit, coaxing your pleasure. As my fingers caress the sensitive skin of your thighs, distracting and frustrating you at the same time. I want this to be good for you. I want this to last.

Even more than our first time, I want to show you, I want you to know how much I care for you, how much I love you…

I slide my finger, then fingers inside you. If it make any sense at all, I want to be in there, too. So I begin darting my tongue in, then out, tracing circles around your sex, then pushing deeper. My fingers, my tongue in you, stroking, feeling you tense, then slacking off, just a little, just enough. Until you relax, then I start all over again.

Your body pulsing, shivering, as I tease and caress your flesh. I want you to focus only on the sensation between your legs, on what I'm doing to you, deep inside you. I want your awareness, I want you to know what this means for me, this sharing, this togetherness.

I want to make you scream, too…

352 Beautiful

Watching you touch me, watching you slowly tease me into a frenzy makes the sensations all the more real. Quickly, too quickly, I can feel myself nearing the brink. You let me come quickly, hard, and strong as you press into me, press against me. You make my body conform to your will. You make it respond to your touch. I feel both powerless and invincible.

You smile at me, as you gently pull your way up my body. You kiss me, on my stomach, gently, and then slide your body against mine, all the way up to my mouth so your deep blue eyes are staring into mine.

"You're so beautiful," you murmur in my ear as you lean in to kiss me, letting me taste myself on you.

I can feel my face turning red. I try to pull your attention away from my reddening cheeks, turn you away from my oozing embarrassment.

You kiss my nose, and smile. "Why does that embarrass you?"

"What?" I ask you.

"That I think you're beautiful." You ask me as you smile at me.

"I don't know," I say, kissing you to change the subject.

"You say it to me," you say, smiling.

"Yeah," I say, kissing you again. "You're different."


"I don't know. Because I'm a cop."

"That doesn't make you a hag."

"No, but it doesn't make me the model for womanhood either."

"But look at you," you say, as you slowly trace your hand down my body. "You're…"

"Don't," I say, as I push your hand away. In a quick move, I pull you into my arms and hold you close to me.

I close my eyes, happy to have you here, safe, for tonight at least, wrapped up in my arms.


I awake to your gentle breathing against my ear. Your arms are still wrapped around my body, keeping me close. Did we move at all during the night? I don't even remember falling asleep...

Slowly, I lean back against you. Your skin on my skin reminds me what we did last night, and a smile bubbles up my chest. Guess it's official; we're back together. We are back together, right? Sort of? This one day at a time togetherness is going to take some getting used to. Can I do it? Do I have it in me? You made it through rehab on your own. That's harder, right? So, maybe I can do this…

Are we together today? A sudden panic seize, and I want desperately to turn around, to kiss you awake, to confirm. Don't be ridiculous, I scold myself. Still, I sink further into your embrace.

Your hands shift to span across my stomach and chest. There's something possessive about your hold. Or do you need reassurance, too? Did you use to do this? How come I can't remember?

How come suddenly I'm so insecure? Bordering on paranoid, even.

But is your fear of failure and my need for security going to tear us apart this time?

God, stop it, Cabot, just stop it!

This is not conducive to living a day at a time, I tell myself, and decide to focus my attention on something else. Something more pleasurable…

As images from last night filter through my mind's eye, I smile. You're cute when you're embarrassed, I remember the look on your face when I told you you tasted beautiful. How you blushed when I complimented on your beauty... Just how exactly are we different? Granted, you're not exactly feminine, but I'm not sure I've met any chip-a-nail cop… Are there even any ultra-feminine ADA's?

Why am I so full of questions this morning?

I glance up at the clock on the night stand. It's only 5:30. On a Saturday. You did say you don't have to go to work, right?

Wasn't it a Saturday too the first time you stayed over, and took care of me while I was sick? And attacked me with an octopus? It's been what? Five, almost six months? It seemed so long ago. So much had happened during this time…

And yet, it almost seemed like it was yesterday.

Once more, I try to clear my mind. This time I decide to try to mimic your breathing pattern. Maybe it'll help me go back to sleep, considering we were up half the night.

I close my eyes, and relax against you. Breathe in, breathe out… In, then out…

When I wake up again the second time, the warmth of the sun filtered in through the curtains. I roll onto my back out of habit, and suddenly, I notice the cold, the emptiness. You're no longer in bed with me.

Did I dream everything? Both last night and this morning? But it felt so real… So wonderful…

I climb out of bed, throw on my robe, and open the bedroom door. "Liv?" I call for you…

354 Breakfast

I wake up slowly. The first thought is of you. I remember kissing you last night, kissing you slowly and gently. I remember kissing you and making love to you. I smile involuntarily. Slowly I become aware of our bodies, wrapped up together. Your foot is gently snuggled between mine. Your body, pressed safely against mine. I pull into you, smelling your hair, listening to your breath.

I slowly move my leg, and I realize that we must have stayed like this all night. My back is stiff, and I turn over, pulling away from you and stretching. It's got to be my imagination, but I almost sense you reaching for me in your sleep.

I listen to my back cracking as I stretch. I lean over you, kissing your head, as I step out of bed. Finding my clothes in a pile on your floor, I pull them on and run my fingers through my hair.

I watch you sleep for a minute. You're so beautiful, so sweet, so innocent.

Putting my arms over my head, I stretch the last bit of sleep out of my body and decide that it's time for breakfast.

I sneak into your kitchen and investigate your cupboards. Before I'm really even thinking about it, I'm involved in a cooking project.

Time flies by as experimentation takes over from the actual recipes I know by heart. Feeding myself when I was a kid led me to learn my way around a kitchen. I search for pans and smile at them, as I realize that most of them don't even look used. I remember sitting with you, in the kitchen in your mother's guest house, watching you desperately trying to assemble dinner under my watchful supervision. Suddenly, your voice pierces my happy haze. "Liv?" I hear you calling my name like you think I must have left you here, like I'm part of a dream.

"In the kitchen," I yell back.

You pad into the kitchen wiping the sleep out of your eyes. "What are you doing?" You ask me.

"Making breakfast," I say, with a half smile.

You look at me for the first time and a huge smile grows on you face. "Are those pancakes?"

"Sort of." I smile back. "I added some stuff…"

Your smile gets bigger, and you throw your arms around me. "I love you," you say, giving me a hug.

"Love you too," I say back, as I pull food onto plates, ready to spend the morning adoring you.


I call for you, and hear you answer from the kitchen. Oh, good, it wasn't a dream, and you haven't left. In fact, you're making... breakfast? The smell of cooking hits my nose as soon as I reach the living room. Suddenly I remember the greasy eggs and bacon you made while I was sick. I wonder what you're making now.

I try to figure out what I'm smelling while trying to wake up. "Pancakes?" I look over your shoulder and ask. They appear to be pancakes... but do even I have the ingredients to make them?

"Sort of pancakes. I've been experimenting."

How can I help but smile with you? Besides, you're here, making me breakfast. I give you a hug from behind, and tell you I love you, hoping my appreciation and enthusiasm come through in my voice. Your responding smile tells me they have.

"Ready for Pancake Surprise?" You grin, holding the plates.

I reach for mine.

"Go on, go sit down, I'll bring it out."

"Would you like OJ? I think I've got some in the fridge." I ask, wanting to be helpful.

Before I get to the door, you're standing in front of me. "I'll get that, too. Just go sit, okay?"

"All right," I smile at you. "If you insist."

"I do. I'll be right out."

"All right." What has gotten into you? I mean, it's kind of sweet. Okay, who am I kidding? It's very sweet... and I'm loving the attention. So, I should just enjoy it.

"See? It's not so hard." You smile, as you walk out almost right behind me with a tray in hand. In no time, you have our food laid out on the table.

I'm pretty sure I'm grinning like a fool staring at the Pancake Surprise in front of me.

"Dig in!" You say excitedly, almost like a little kid. "Oh, here." You cut a piece from your plate, and reach across the space between us.

Is this ritual feeding? Did we do this before? Anyway, I take the bite from your fork. "Oh! It's good! I didn't think... Wow! You're amazing!"

"You really like it?"

I can't help thinking you're like an excited puppy, eager to please. And so am I. "Really." I take another bite. "What's in it? I didn't realize I had the ingredients..."

"If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise," you beam at me.

But what if I want it again at a later date? I almost asked. Instead, I smile back, and enjoy my food.

Half way through breakfast, I realize you've barely touched your plate. Every time I look up, I find you gazing at me. "What are you doing? Do I have food on my face?" I wipe my mouth self-consciously.


"Why aren't you eating?"

"I'm not very hungry right this minute. I'll eat later."

Suddenly, I'm having a hard time meeting your eyes. "Okay..."

"Can't I just watch you?" You smile. "I just wanna sit here and adore you for a while..."


"I just want to watch you," I tell you, smiling, in response to your questions. I want to adore you, I want to show you how special I find you. I love you so much, and finally, I have you back.

I want to kiss you, but I make myself refrain. You're eating, the huge grin on my face permeates my consciousness as I watch you. You catch my eyes and slowly swallow. "Is there something?" You ask, wiping your mouth quickly.

"No, you're just, you're so beautiful." I mumble to you.

You look at me warily. It's hard to trust that, I know. I doubt you see yourself in the same light as I do, your perfect angelic expressions. I love watching you eating my creation, and seeming to love it.

I pick at my plate, pushing around pieces of my breakfast absently while I look at you.

"Seriously, what's wrong?" You ask me again.

"Nothing," I tell you again. "Just, just let me love you," I say, slowly, and you smile bigger.

"Fine." You say, as you spear another piece of pancake and shove it into your mouth. "So what are we going to do today?" You ask me, ignoring my staring in favor of the pancakes.

"I don't know, what do you want to do?" I ask you in return.

You stretch in your chair. "We could do anything. What does it look like outside?"

"It's freezing." I tell you, I look out the window at the icy February morning.

"Let's stay in." You tell me.

"Sounds good to me," I say, as I reach out and grab your hand.

You look at me again, your eyes wide. Slowly, you squeeze my hand gently. "I just want to spend time with you," you tell me.

"We can cuddle up on the couch."

"And watch movies, or read, or something."

"Yeah, or something," I say with a smile, doubting that us sitting together on the couch doing anything but making out is going to happen today for longer than ten minutes.

The thought of kissing you, holding you close, makes me smile bigger… "I love you," I mumble again…


Okay, I'm a lawyer. A Manhattan ADA. A prosecutor of some of the most heinous crimes for crying out loud. I'm used to being the center of attention. In fact, I crave being the center of attention. I love it when all eyes are on me, watching my every move, my audience hanging onto my every word. Just absolutely love it.

Then why do I feel so unnerved by your staring? I see adoration in your eyes, adoration I'm sure I've never seen before directed at me. From anyone, including you. You seem so happy, watching me eat, as if each bite I take gives you pleasure.

"This was really very good." I cleaned my plate, and smile up at you.

"Would you like more? You can have mine," you offer quickly.

"Very tempting, but no, I'm stuffed." I lean back in my chair, and pat my stomach for effect.

Somehow that small gesture made your smile wider.

"So what do you want to do today?" I ask you. For some reason, I knew you'd throw the question back at me. What do I say? We used to spend hours just sitting in each other's arms… well, no, we spent minutes sitting in each other's arms, then we neck, and before we knew it, our clothes were undone, and we were pawing at each other… "Should we go out? Or do you think it's too cold?"

You turn around and strain towards the window. "It's freezing," you say almost immediately.

Not sure how you figured that out. Guess I'll have to take your word for it. "Let's stay in then." I really wouldn't mind.

You readily agree and take my hand in yours. Your touch is almost electric, and I fight the urge to close my eyes and sigh…

It takes me a while to rein in my focus. I hope it's not too obvious to you. "I'd like to spend some time with you," I tell you, sincerely, controlling the timbre of my voice.

"And cuddle up on the couch."

Yeah… "We can watch television. Or read." Let's see… What else can we do? "Or something."

You nod, grinning. "Or something."

The way you said that, I know exactly what you have in mind. And I swallow. Hard.

"I love you," you murmur, your eyes locking onto mine.

I feel the heat spread from my chest to my cheeks and back down, and suddenly I'm drawn to the fine pattern on your skin, the skin on your hand still holding onto mine.

This is absurd. Considering what we did last night, and what we did countless times before… and what I did with other people even. This is not prom night. Why am I suddenly so nervous?

"Are you okay?" You cock your brow.

"Yeah, sure." I take back my hand, jump up from my seat, and grab our dishes. "Since you cooked, I'll clean up."

Suddenly, I feel your warmth, your proximity; you're standing beside me. Snaking an arm around my waist, you stop me. Taking the plates from me, you add, "Why don't you go sit and wait for me on the couch, I'll bring us tea."

"Tea? Oh, that sounds good. Thank you," I manage.

"I love you, Alex."

"I love you, too, Liv," I reply, leaning in to share your smile…

358 Getting To Know You

I don't know why I'm suddenly filled with nervous energy. We look at each other knowingly, knowing that the couch will lead to…

So when you start picking up dishes, I'm happy to pull them from your hands. "Let me," I say, "You can wait for me."

You don't look twice, thanking me and bolting out of my sight.

I pull myself into the kitchen and scrape my plate, letting the water run over the syrupy stickiness on yours. I take a deep breath, ready to face you, as I slide the dishes into the dishwasher. Starting it, I turn on my heel.

"Hey," I say, and you look at me expectantly.

Oh shit. The tea. I forgot the tea.

"I'll go get it," I say, too quickly.

"No, Liv, it's okay, I'm stuffed anyway. Come sit." You say, patting the cushion next to you.

I walk over to you, slowly plopping down onto the couch. You lean back and smile at me, as you throw your legs into my lap.

"Let's talk."

Why do I suddenly feel like a contestant on a game show? "Umm…okay." I say slowly.

"I think there's a lot we need to talk about." You prod.

"Yeah." I say staring at the floor. Why do I always feel this way when you want to talk? Like I'm a naughty child being called to the carpet.

"You don't…"

"It's not that I don't want to talk Alex, I just don't know what to say, I mean, I'm trying."

"Liv, I know."

"Then what do you want me to say?"

"This isn't an intervention. I just want to know what kind of stuff you like?"

I look at you questioningly.

"How do you feel about brussel sprouts?"

"Umm…they're kind of gross, why?"

"Because that's the kind of stuff I want to know about you."

"Oh." I smile. I could like this. "What do you think of brussel sprouts?" I ask you back.


What do I think of brussel sprouts? Grinning, I tell you, "I think brussel sprouts are okay."

You wrinkle your nose. "Really?"


"Well, just so you know, I won't be kissing you after you ate brussel sprouts."

"Why not?"

"Brussel sprout breath!" We manage to say together, laughing heartily. This is fun.

"Cauliflower or broccoli?" I ask you next.

"Broccoli. You?"


"Does that make us Democrats?"

"Now, now, Liv, what I do in the voting booth is between me and that little piece of paper."

"Come on, I'd tell you."

"Yeah?" I turn around on the couch, and lay my head in your lap. That's definitely more comfortable. I look up, and tug on the tip of your collar. "Then tell me."

"Not until you tell me first."

"Beef or chicken?"

"Chicken. You're changing the subject, Alex..."

"Yes, I am." I grin, and continue, "Action Adventure or Horror flicks? Oh, by the way, I prefer chicken, too."


Neither? Could've sworn you're the action adventure type. "Comedy?"


"Are you just being difficult?" I think you're being difficult. "What do you like then?"

"Promise you won't laugh?"

"Cross my heart."

You lean down, and peck me on the nose. "Sappy romance," you say, impishly.

"Really?" I look up; then reach to kiss you on your chin. "Me, too. Oh, and cartoons."

360 Learning

"Cartoons?" I ask you.

"Yep." You say, with a smile.

"Hmm…go figure." I say, with a smile. "So are you going to tell me?"


"Democrat or Republican?" I ask you again.

You smile at me deviously. "Where's the best place you…?"

"I?" I prompt, not picking up where your question's going.

"You know."

"Oh. With you?" I ask.


"I'm so boring. In a car, I guess." I mumble.

"Lame." You smile at me.

"What about you?"

"The library."

"You?" I ask.


"In a library?"


"That's so wrong."

"What's wrong with it?" you ask me, with a smile.

"I can't believe that out of the two of us, I'm the better behaved."

"I was young."

"How old?"




"At least you were legal."

"You weren't?"


"How old were you?"

"Democrat or Republican?"

"Liv, come on."

"Can you keep a secret?"

"Of course!"

"Good, so can I."

"That's not fair." You say with a pout.

"Life's not fair princess, anyone who tells you differently is selling something."

"That's from the Princess Bride." You tell me, factually.

"You recognized it?" I ask

"Yeah…that's a great movie…"


"So you gonna tell me how old you were?"

"Are you going to tell me your political orientation?"

You lean up and kiss me gently. "I guess it's a truce."

I lean in and kiss you again. "I guess so."

Part 361

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