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
"Hi Alex," Elliot looks up from his coffee as I stop by your desk.
"Hey, Elliot." I smile at him. When did we get on first name basis? "Listen, thanks for all your help with Serena's case."
"Yeah. Guy was a real loser, didn't wanna take no for an answer."
"But his allegations " I shake my head.
"Yeah, I'm not sure I wanna admit to being decked and put into the hospital by a hundred pound beauty queen either. But I certainly wouldn't go that far." He laughs good-naturedly, but I could sense the underlying sarcasm.
It's gotta be some twisted loyalty thing on your behalf, I decide, and let it go. "I guess," I laugh lightly. "Thanks."
"Just doing my job, Counselor." He leans back in his chair and clasps his hands behind his head. "So what really brings you here? Let me guess, a certain brunette detective who takes your breath away?"
Did he really say that? I lean against your desk for support. "Am I that obvious?"
"Are you really blond?"
I should say something nasty back, but suddenly, I'm tongue-tied, and I'm sure I'm beet red.
"Lay off, El." Your voice appears from behind.
Turning around, I smile at you. My hero. "Hi."
"Hey. Looking for me?"
"Just wondering if you're free for lunch."
You glance at Elliot. "I don't know "
"Oh, go ahead," he says. "I think I can forage for myself."
"Thanks El." You beam and grab your coat.
He grins at me. Blushing, I follow you out.
Where to? Oh, right. "Can we take your car?"
"Sure," you agree; and we head towards the parking lot. "Where are we going?"
"You'll see. A surprise." One I hope you'll like; one I couldn't get out of my mind since Saturday. And what you did this morning didn't help... "Just drive."
"Okay " You put the car in gear and pull out of the station grounds
"Well, here we are."
"Where are we? I mean, we're in a parking garage, but why?"
"Trevor's spot, to be precise." I say, and start to climb into your lap. "You might want to move the seat back a little."
"Alex ?" Obediently, you reach to pull the lever, while staring at my fingers unbuttoning my blouse. "What if someone "
"Don't worry, that's his dad's space; he's out of town," I point to the other empty spot next to us.
"You're wasting time," I smile, untug your shirt and slide my hands underneath to caress your breasts. Until a soft moan escapes your lips, and you bury your head in my chest. "Your best experience in a car I want it to be with me."
"My best car experience?" I ask, smiling as you take advantage of the space provided by my seat being pressed back.
"Yeah, your most wild sexual escapade?" You ask me.
"I didn't know there was such a thing as a great car experience," I say, as you slowly start running your fingers through my hair, placing gentle kisses along my hairline.
"I want to change that for you." You say, as slowly, you kiss me deeply.
I close my eyes and concentrate on the feel of your lips against my skin, the weight of your body in my lap. I can feel my body responding to you, the warm tight feeling in my stomach, and a slight aching between my legs. "Does this mean I get to do you in the library?" I ask with a Cheshire cat grin.
"We'll see," as you take my mouth with yours, your tongue pressing into my mouth. "Depends on how you do with this one."
I feel up to the challenge. I try to reach for you, to slide my hands under your skirt, but you stop me, gently taking my hands into yours and holding them against my sides. You use your knees to pin them down, and sitting on my lap, I feel you pulling my shirt out of my pants, sliding it up the sides of my torso. I moan involuntarily as you run your thumbs over my hardening nipples.
I'm suddenly aware of the sensations of my arousal and the realization that this isn't quite as private as you seem to think it is. We're going to get caught, we're going to
"Are you sure this is safe?" I ask you, slowly, as I scan the perimeter.
"Liv, don't worry, it's fine."
I feel you tugging against the button of my pants, and in a few simple seconds, I feel your hand gliding into them, pressing against me as I moan again.
I let my body respond to you, feeling myself letting go, feeling myself letting you take charge.
And then you stop.
"Oh shit." I hear you mutter as you quickly pull your hand out of my pants.
"What?" I ask, feeling semi-groggy from the headiness filling me.
"What?" You mumble, still disoriented. Then your eyes fly open. "Oh, shit!" You yelp and start re-buttoning my shirt, your warm breath against my flesh, your frenzied fingers setting my skin on fire.
"Screw Trevor." I whisper, and take your mouth in mine. "Better yet," I moan, and press my hand between your legs.
You pull away, and gasp. "Alex!"
At the same instant, I hear honking from behind us. I reach back, and press down on the horn. Then my cell phone rings. Judging by the tone, it's him.
I flip open the receiver, and bark, "What?"
"Do you mind?"
"Not at all."
"You're not a teenager anymore, Alex."
"Quit your bitching, Trevor. You're just jealous cuz you're not getting any."
"Alex, I want my space, now."
"While you're here, you can make yourself useful."
"Guard. Just give me ten minutes. Fifteen, twenty max." He owes me for all the time I covered his ass.
"No!" You and he yelp at the same time.
"Come on " I use my little girl voice on both of you. "I really "
"It's too much information, Alex," he says.
Meanwhile, you grab the phone out of my hand, and tell me sternly, "Let's get you dressed."
Looking down, I see that you've already rezipped your jeans, and now you're smoothing my skirt down my hips. "But Liv I want you I need you."
The damn phone rings again. "What?" I yell into it.
"I'm going to drive around the block. Once, Alex, just once. When I come back, you'd better be gone."
"Fine." I toss the phone down in my seat. Weaving my fingers in your hair, I smile down seductively at you. "He's leaving."
384 Resistance is Futile
"He's leaving," You say as you pull the buttons of my pants open again.
Quickly, I push your fingers away, still working on the buttons of your shirt. "We've got to go." I say.
"Come on, Liv, I want you "
"Are you nuts?" I ask you, quickly.
"No, I just I want to do this with you."
"Then let's go home."
"That's no fun."
"Sure it is, we have a big bed."
"I want to do this here."
"But your brother "
"He's gone, shhh," You mutter as you kiss me taking my breath away. Your fingers quickly unbutton my pants again.
"Alex " I moan, as you quickly glide your fingers back into them, and quickly flick your fingers over me. Valiantly, I try to keep better judgment in the forefront of my mind. Since when did you become the wild one? I thought I was supposed to be ?
"God I love you," You say, as you kiss me.
"How does that man always show up right when we're in the middle of "
"He has a sixth sense for ruining my fun."
Okay, sure, and I'm willing to accept that right now because I'm happy to be sliding my hands up your skirt, over your well toned creamy thighs. I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe you're doing this. I can't believe
I hear my voice, my moans as if they're coming from somewhere else. You're kissing my neck, gently, sharp kisses while I manage to slide my fingers inside you. I listen to your breath, like I'm sure you're listening to mine.
Together, we form our rhythm. Together we fall over the edge.
Gasping together in each others arms, I hear you tell me, "We've got to go."
"He's coming back, well, in a minute."
"You mean, we when he could have ?"
You smile and push off of my lap. "Uh huh."
I smile in spite of myself. "Cool."
I can't stop giggling as we drive away from the parking garage. I can't believe we did that. Can't believe I seduced you and made you do that. In public. Whatever happened to the good girl? Or is the bad girl finally coming out of the closet?
You glance over at me, smiling, and I giggle again.
"What's so funny?"
"Nothing. It's just It's almost like the time I snuck out of detention."
Your eyebrows shoot up in disbelief. "You got detention?"
"Talking back at the principal. I called her a dried up something or another."
"Uh-huh. Should've known."
"What?" Suddenly it seems like you're making fun of me, of my proud bad girl achievement.
"That's so tame."
"Oh, yeah? And what has Ms. Wild-child done?"
"Well, for starters, I just did an ADA in a cop car."
"So? I just did a cop in a cop car. That doesn't count."
"Sure it does. ADA's are different."
"How?" Like I can be beautiful and you can't? What's up with that?
"You just are." You smile cryptically. "So "
"Wanna meet me in the library for lunch tomorrow?"
"Let me think about it," I say, my mind already going a mile a minute. Wonder what's wrong with me. "Sure," I finally say.
"Really? I mean, really, Alex? Really?"
"Yes really, we've got to seize life by the balls. Right?"
You just chuckle and shake your head. At the next red light, you turn to me, "So now that you got what you wanted, do we still have a date tonight?"
There's something in your voice I can't quite put my finger on. What do you mean ? "I didn't think, I thought Well, I was hoping, unless you don't want to." Do I sound as hurt and disappointed to you? "Well?"
386 Digging Out
I hope that didn't sound as stupid as it did in my head, of course, my head only catches up to my mouth about once a lifetime, and today's not appearing to be my lucky day. I can see the hurt in your eyes and I know once again that I have managed to stick my foot firmly in my mouth. Damn it all.
"That wasn't all I wanted from you " You say, your eyes distant. I try to catch a deeper glance at you, but traffic demands my attentions. I don't want you to be sad, not after, well, what has to be the best lunch break I've ever had in my entire life.
"I know, I know," I try to explain. "I'm not complaining."
"I just wouldn't want you to
" you say, as your voice drifts off.
"I don't think that, and of course I want to see you tonight." I say, hoping to see you crack a smile. You don't. I am still desperate to make you happy.
"Why'd you take me out there?" I ask you slowly
"Because you said, because I wanted to be part of your best memories."
"You already are sweetie."
"Yeah," you say, with a gentle sigh.
"Look Alex," I say, actually pulling over and stopping the car. I take your chin in my hands. "Thank you."
"For what?" You ask slowly.
"For loving me. For dealing with my crap. For taking me to a parking lot and fucking me senseless."
"No problem," you say, with a hint of a whimsical grin.
"I'm serious. Do you know how long it's been since someone
"Fucked you senseless? I think it was last night."
I hit you gently on the arm. "I was going to say, do you now how long it's been since someone has loved me for who I am?" You smile, and kiss me gently. "I love you," I finish. "I love you with all my heart."
"I love you too," you say, stealing a final kiss. "We should go back. I want to get out early, so we can spend the night just resting."
"Sounds like heaven." I mumble, as I pull the car back into gear and pull slowly back onto the street.
I'm not sure why I'm in this mood. I should be happy. Deliriously so.
You're happy, and sober. You finally believe that I love you for who you are, that I'm not trying to change you.
When I look into your eyes, I see love. Deep, gentle, caring, protective love. Even now, just now, I saw how hard, how desperately you try to make me happy, to make me smile
Then why can't I get rid of this feeling?
What is this feeling anyway? Unease? Sadness? Insecurities? Resignation? All or none of the above?
I tell you I want to be part of your memories, and you tell me I already am. Why do I tell you that, when what I really want, is to be your future, your dreams come true?
Is it too much for me to ask?
For a person who's living one day at a time, I suppose it is
Since I can't change you, nor do I want to, I guess I'm going to have to try harder to change myself. I make up my mind, and put on a cheery demeanor.
You seem to be content with the smile I'm wearing on my face as you focus on driving. Meanwhile, I can go back to my thoughts
Something you said earlier keeps gnawing at my mind. "Let's go home We have a big bed " I didn't know whose home you were referring to until you mention the big bed. It's my apartment. My bed. Not ours. I wanted to correct you, still feel the need to
Wait. Is this a personal space thing? As in I need my space, my independence? A room of my own, haha?
How come it didn't come up before? The weeks we spent at my mom's guest house... Because it was sort of a neutral ground?
I've always been like that though, super conscious of spaces and boundaries. My room in my mom's house; my room in Trevor's apartment Abbie and I even worked it out so we alternated staying at each other's apartment, so neither one of us spent too much time in the other person's space.
When was the last time we were at your place?
Is that it? A space issue?
Or does it go further than that?
No, one theory at a time. Let's test this one out first.
"Hey," I speak up, making sure my tone is light.
"You did say you're going to be late, right?"
"Oh, yeah, I'm so sorry I forgot "
"It's all right." I smile at you deeply. "Why don't I come over to your place. I'll stop by the store, and pick up some stuff While I wait for you, I can make more of the desserts you seem to like so much. Assuming I get to leave at a reasonable hour, of course."
388 My Place
"You want to go to my place?"
"Yeah, I mean, if that's okay with you."
"No, it's fine, it's just "
"What?" you ask quickly. Too quickly. Something's bothering you. Something's wrong.
"I thought you hated my place." I say slowly, testing your reaction.
"No," you say slowly, "why would I hate it?"
"Ummm I think it has some bad memories."
I think back on the few times you've been in my apartment. Most of the memories are foggy, littered with alcohol bottles and the smell of beer. I can't imagine it's your favorite place in the world. I can't imagine you want to spend time in it willingly, but what is it? You don't want me in your house? You're being ridiculous, I scold myself.
"It I guess but it's your home." You say slowly, too slowly. I can tell that you're picking your words very carefully, making sure that you don't accidentally say the wrong thing. I want to remind you how irritating I find that, that you monitor what you say when you don't want to upset me, like I'm a child who can't handle the truth.
"It's not really a home, Alex, it's more where I put my crap."
"Well, then, let's visit your sweater collection, I think it's lonely."
"I have a smaller bed." I say, with a slight frown, concerned of course, only for your comfort.
"The better to snuggle my dear." You say, your fingers tracing the line of my neck.
"Whatever. I don't care where we go as long as we're together." I say, taking a quick look at you and giving you my best happy grin.
"You know, Detective, for spending your life being such a bad ass, you're a big softie."
"Only for you, dearest."
"Well, good, keep it that way." You say, with the slightest smile teasing the corners of your mouth.
"Meet you at my place?" I ask, as I pull in front of the courthouse.
"Sounds great, see you then," you say, I watch as you lean in to kiss me, but then suddenly pull back.
I give you a nod to say I understand, but then again, I'm not quite sure I do
"Hey," you answer with hesitance. "Didn't expect to hear from you so soon. Everything all right?"
"Yeah," I sit down in my chair, and double check my calendar for the rest of the afternoon. "About just now "
"About what, Alex?"
"The kiss, well, or the lack there of."
"It's just, it's just so natural for me to kiss you. And I have to remind myself, that we're in public, and god knows who might walk by "
"I know, it's okay." You reassure me eagerly.
A little too eagerly. It might be okay for you, but it's not for me. How come all of a sudden so many things bother me when they never used to before, when I never even had the problem before "Good, I just want to make sure you know why I didn't Anyway, thanks for a wonderful lunch."
"Well, I should get started with work," I stare at the blank grid in front of me. "I'll see you tonight."
"Or earlier, if we need you for anything. You never know, Counselor."
"All right," I chuckle at your mischievous tone. "Bye," I say, and wait for your response.
"I love you."
"Love you, too, Liv."
Time drags on when I don't have court. So I spend the rest of the afternoon clearing the folders in the chair. At least my visitors will have a place to sit. Most importantly, my mind will be occupied. Before I know it, it's dark outside, and my phone's ringing.
"Cabot," I answer while putting away the last file.
"Hey, you're still there?"
"Yeah, just finishing up. Why?"
"It's almost eight "
"It is? Oh, shit, I'm so sorry, Liv. I don't know how I just lost track of time."
"It's okay " You say, a little too quickly.
"Are you home now?" I ask as I push things into my bag, and pull on my coat. "Have you eaten?"
"Yes, and no."
"I'm ready to leave now, this very minute. I'll pick up Chinese for us by you, will that be all right?"
"Your usual noodlything?"
"Sure," you mumble your response.
I know just by the tone of your voice, you're upset. I guess I better have some reasonable explanation for you. Hopefully, I'll find one for myself, too.
We exchange our love you's and I'm out the door.
A few minutes later, I'm running back down the hallway to retrieve my briefcase. Just what the hell is wrong with me?
390 Waiting for You
I'm trying not to pace. I sit on the couch, and stand up again, to move the magazines on my desk, and then I flop back down on the couch.
I stare at the wall, only for a second, before I pop back up again, rushing to do yet another really important non-chore, trying not to pay attention to the blinking clock.
Five o'clock, six o'clock, now nearly seven. I refuse to worry.
I'm sure you're working, I'm sure you just lost track of time. I'm sure there's a really good reason that you're not calling me. That you don't have the common courtesy
I pick up the phone and stare at it.
I will it to ring, for it to be you, telling me you're not getting out early like you thought. I'm sure you would call. I'm sure you want to call. You're probably at a meeting at seven pm Yeah, that must be it.
I'm being stupid.
I'm really being stupid. Elliot's right. I am whipped, and, well, I'm not the type.
I don't care. I just don't.
Oh, I care all right, and not knowing where you are is killing me. What if you're dead? What if something horrible happened to you? You're young, and beautiful, and
No, nothing happened. Nothing happened. Of course nothing happened. I'm sure you're working, preparing something. Something really important. Something so important that you can't take a moment
Why did you call me this afternoon? Why were you so upset about that kiss? I mean, after a few seconds, after I really thought about it, you were right.
So, what's the big deal?
I find myself, staring absently into the fridge. I'm trying not to think about what it means if you don't show up. What it means if you are trying to subtly break up with me, trying to protect yourself from me. If you are, I wish you'd just do it. I grab a soda and an apple, crunching thoughtfully as I try to talk myself out of calling you.
Finally, at eight thirty, I give up. I've got to call you. I've got to know. Picking up the phone, I dial slowly, praying that maybe you're not there. That you haven't just merely forgotten about me, or found something better to do, or someone better
"Hey," I say softly as you pick up on the second ring.
Absently, you ask me if I want Chinese food, telling me you forgot, and time flies, and a lot of other things that don't mean a lot and I find myself agreeing with you, only half aware that you're even talking
God damn it. Why is it suddenly when I'm in a hurry, the whole city's operating in slow motion? The stupid cab actually waited at the yellow lights; the fast food people decided to slow cook their noodles. I buzzed, then figured it's faster for me to just use the keys, and I did, only to have to step out again to tell you it was just me. Now I'm finally running up the stairs, and guess what? I still don't have a good reason for all of this.
Maybe Stabler's right. My blondness suddenly decided to show. There's got to be some truths to the stupid stereotype, right?
I hear a door open, and I look up. You're poking your head out. I race the final stairs two at a time, and run shoulder first into you.
"Whoa! Easy, there. You okay?" You ask, concerned. "Someone following you or something?"
Pulling you in from the door, and slamming it close with my back, I tell you, "No. Just don't want to keep you waiting for any longer. Here, here's the food." I shove the sack in your hand, while grabbing your free one.
"Okay. Let me put it down." You stare at me suspiciously while I hold on to you.
Great. This is not helping things. I know it in my heart, but I can't help myself. And I'm still operating on instincts when I reach for your face, and press my lips to yours, and my body against yours.
I kiss you passionately, desperately, until you eventually kiss me back.
"What was that for?" You ask, when I finally let go.
"Must there be a reason?" Suddenly, I'm hurt. "I just missed you."
Now I'm really hurt. "You don't believe me?"
"It's just why didn't you call? I was worried sick about you."
"I'm sorry, I just lost track of time clearing out that stack of files in the chair. So people would have a place to sit." I tell you the truth, and ramble on. "Really don't have a better reason for you. Honestly, I'm not sure what's going on with me, even walked out of my office without my briefcase and had to run back in to get it."
"Hey, maybe I'm pregnant. People get absentminded " I see the look on your face, and I stop. "Sorry, really, really bad joke."
"What? I can't believe I'm hearing this." I shake my head, too shocked to even be angry. "I haven't been with anyone since we since we started dating again. And just Serena before that."
"Do you, do you want to, Alex?"
"Do I want to what, Olivia?"
"Be with someone else."
"How can you ask that when I missed you so much this morning, I had to see you for lunch?" I ask you, my voice coming from somewhere else, sounding like a whisper. "When I felt bad enough about a missing goodbye kiss that I called you before I even sat down at my desk? When I practically raced here, and the way I just kissed you " I slide down the wooden surface, and try unsuccessfully to push tears back into my eyes. "How, Olivia, how?"
You just walked through the door, a storm of flurry, shoving food into my hands, and then shoving your tongue down my throat. Your fingers lace in my hair as your body presses the Chinese food into my side, your tongue deep in mouth as you kiss me desperately.
Before I know it, you're accusing me of calling you unfaithful, and just as I'm thoroughly confused, you start crying.
I shouldn't have asked you if you wanted someone else. I know betteror think I do. But I'm admittedly insecure, sure that one day; you'll wake up and want someone who's not such a loser. And I never expected, never thought you would break down. That you would take it so personally, crying and whimpering against me.
But this isn't you. Just your haste, your flightiness, it's not like you. I watch you let yourself slide down the wall, collapsing into a pile of tears.
"Are you okay?" I ask, staring at you, disbelief written on my face.
"I don't know," you wail, and, that brings me into action. I lean down next to you, letting the Chinese food hit the floor. Gently I touch your shoulder, pulling you towards me. At first, you appear unwilling, but slowly, you slide towards me on the floor, letting me sling my arm over your shoulders as you continue to sob.
"Come here," I say, taking your shaking body into my arms, pulling you into my lap, and holding you close to me. "It's okay," I murmur as your tears start to subside.
"I'm so sorry," you mumble against my shoulder.
"It's okay sweetie," I say, still rocking you gently, rubbing your back and wiping your tears away gently with my thumb.
"What's wrong Alex?" I ask you slowly.
"I really don't know," you hiccup, wiping your own tears. "I guess, I guess, I just needed to cry."
Your head rests gently on my shoulder. "I have those moments," I smile wistfully.
"Really?" you sniff.
"Everyone does, sweetie."
"I feel like I'm falling apart."
Sitting here, with your arms around me, with my head on your shoulders, I feel so much better. Even though I feel like I'm falling apart, my thoughts, my actions not my own
I feel like like I'm spinning out of control.
Is that it? Control?
"Are you okay, Sweetie?" You ask, still full of concern.
Taking in a slow breath, making sure the urge to cry has completely subsided, I nod. Then I shake my head.
Turning around, I look into your eyes. "Do you really think I want to be with someone else?"
For once, you don't look away, even though I can tell you badly want to. "I was, it was just my insecurity talking, I think."
"Have I given you any reason to feel that way? Since we got back together?" I ask you carefully. "And before, before we broke up?"
You furrow your brows to think, for an entire century, it seems. "No."
"That you had to think about it for so long." Maybe I have done stuff; maybe I have given you cause. What though? And why am I so insecure all of a sudden?
"I just wanted to make sure, Alex. That it's me, not you." You attempt a smile. "I'm not exactly a winner here there are people out there better, better for you "
Oh. "I'm sure there are." I don't think you expected that answer. I touch your face, and add quickly. "Just like I'm sure you can find somebody better than me. Not that I'd want you to "
"Neither do I," you cover my hand with yours, and press your lips to my palm. "I just want you."
"Same here." Leaning forward, I kiss you on the nose. "No one else, but you."
"So are you okay are we?"
"Are you still mad at me for being late and not calling?"
"I wasn't mad just a little upset."
"Are you still?"
"Are you still?" You ask, prying into my psyche.
I want to deny it, I want to tell you that I'm not angry, not hurt that you didn't call. I am though, I mean, I know that I'm being silly, but I was so scared, scared that you wouldn't ever come home. I spend every day seeing the worst of human nature, and I know too well that at any moment you could be pulled from my life. Slowly, though, I formulate an answer. "No. I mean, Alex, it's your prerogative." I hear you start to sniffle again, and quickly, I change course. "You don't owe me to be here by five pm, it wasn't that, I was just, I was worried that something bad had happened "
You kiss my nose. "I'm sorry I didn't I just, I wasn't thinking."
"It's okay," I say, shrugging my shoulders to accentuate my feigned disinterest.
"Thanks for worrying about me." You say, with a small grin spreading on your face.
"It just, it shows you care."
"Of course I care." I say, holding you close. Your head rests against my neck, and the world seems to stand still for us.
"Liv?" I hear you whisper.
Oh, duh, the food. "We've already got the food "
"I know, let's eat."
I watch you pull yourself off my lap, pulling down your skirt and giving me your hand to pull me off the floor. I follow you into my kitchen where you stand on your tip toes and try to pull dishes off the top shelves.
You hand them to me, as I moan.
"What?" You ask.
"I don't want to do dishes."
"We are not eating out of cartons," you say, rolling your eyes at me.
"But that's what Chinese food cartons are for."
"Fine," I say, pouting at you, knowing that when you turn around you'll kiss the pout off my face.
And what do you know, I'm right
395 ONE FISH TWO FISH
"Hey," your voice comes through on the speaker phone. "Are you almost done?"
"Me, too. El said he'll drop me off on his way home. What would you like for dinner tonight?"
"Mmm Let me think "
It's been what? Almost three weeks now since we got back together. Things seem to be going fine, at least from my perspective. Sometimes I still feel out of control and seized by panic, but it hasn't been like that night. Whatever it was bothering me, either we resolved it, or it went away on its own. Either way, it's progress.
By now, I've learnt to deduct quickly, for Stabler to be dropping you off, you're talking about my place. Which also means you're cooking. "I love everything you've made so far. Why don't you surprise me."
"Cool," you respond. I can hear the smile in your voice.
"I'm going to stop off and pick up something, so I'm going to be a little late."
And lately, I've been careful about letting you know my whereabouts, and if there are changes to my schedule. It's not like you couldn't have gotten hold of me 24/7 before, and at times I felt like you all were jail wardens But, it seems to make you happy. What's a couple minutes here and there, right? Besides, I always love hearing your voice
"I love you, Alex."
Oh yeah, and that, too. Especially that. I smile. "Love you, too, Liv."
That, on the other hand, I'm still getting used to. I'm sure you don't mean for it to sound like that, but sometimes I think you treat my place like it's your I shake the thought out of my head, and reply sincerely, "I'll try."
As soon as I get off the telephone with you, Trevor calls. Somehow he always seems to know when I'm talking with you, or something. What's up with that?
"So when are you coming over to pick up your things?" He asks. "My office is not a zoo."
"I know, I know. I'll be right over. Jesus." I grouse, while I pack up my briefcase. "You're going to drop me off, right? At her place first?"
"Fine. Why don't you use your own car?"
"Are you nuts? Why would I drive in the city when I have you? Anyway, I'll see you in ten," I say, and hit the disconnect button on my phone
"Should you be getting other people pets?" He asks as I watch him carry the little aquarium up the stairs to your apartment.
"She's not 'other people' Trevor." I remind him, and hold one of the bags to my eyes. "Besides, it's so cute."
"That's in the eye of the beholder," I argue. Actually, he's right; but it's so ugly, it's cute.
"I've always thought you behold a little too much."
"Yeah, well, better than being a womanizer like you."
"Whatever, Cabot. Just hurry it up," he grouses as I unlock your door, and sat the bags down on your counter.
"Wait out here." I tell him, and take the fish tank from his hands
"What happened to the pretty one?" He asks when I relock your door.
"It's in its new home."
"You're keeping this ugly thing?"
"It's not ugly, Trevor. I think it's very adorable."
"Yeah, better than your shifty eyes."
"Just for that comment, Alex, I should make you take your fish tank home."
"Gee, I wonder what mom would say "
"Hurry, and get in, I don't have all night..."
396 Too Good To Be True
I let myself into your place, but it feels more like our place. I wonder if you notice that I call this place home, and my place, is well, nothing. I feel so good with you, so safe, so happy with you here.
I raid the kitchen, pulling out food, and placing it together on the cutting board. I'm starting to get used to it. I'm loving cooking for you, no matter what I make, no matter what concoction I come up with, you smile and kiss me and tell me you love it.
Before long, ingredients have been mixed and I stick my head in the fridge looking for a drink. I settle on apple juice, pulling out the bottle. I'm just about to take a swig out of the bottle when I remember the look on your face the first time I did that with the orange juice carton. I stick my hand in the cupboard and pull out one of your wine glasses, knowing at least this time, I won't get a lecture about how germs are transmitted from my mouth to the entire carton of precious juice.
I take a huge sip and refill the glass, and suddenly, I hear the key in the lock.
"Alex?" I ask hesitantly, not quite sure if I'm hearing you or a figment of my imagination. You said you'd be late, and well, it's not quite late yet.
"Liv, come help me!" You yell.
I run around the corner in time to see you struggling to open the door holding a huge glass aquarium. You have a huge smile on your face, until you see me. You look like a deer in headlights.
"What?" I ask you.
"What the hell is that?" You ask fire in your eyes.
I look down at myself, "I have no idea what you're "
"You thought I'd be late so you could get away with that shit?"
"What the hell is in the glass?" You ask, fuming.
You push the door open and set the aquarium down on the floor as you stalk over to me and snatch the glass out of my hand. You smell it, and then look at me. "It's apple juice."
"Yeah. It is." I say, smugly, feeling the anger rising in my throat.
397 WHEN IN DOUBT
I wasn't even thinking when I saw you with the wine glass in your hand. I just I don't really have a good explanation for it. "I'm so sorry, Liv." I tell you. "I'm really, really sorry." What else could I say to you.
Without saying a word, you storm into the bedroom and start pulling your clothes off the hangers.
"What are you doing?" I ask you. Standing by the doorway, I don't know quite what to do.
You yell into the closet, "What does it look like I'm doing Alex?"
"That's it? One strike, and I'm out?" I suck in a deep breath, letting the litigator instinct override the tears. "After everything we've been through?"
"You doubted me, Alex."
"What about when you doubted me? When you thought I was cheating on you? Or wanted to?"
"That's not the same."
"How? How is it not the same?" I demand. "We both have a trust issue. Or an insecurity issue. Or both."
"You're not a sex-addict," you spat, pushing clothes into your bag. "You didn't have to spend everyday of your life trying to stay away from your addiction."
"That's true, and I'm sorry." I should walk over to you, but my feet somehow are not willing to move. "I'm really, really sorry, Liv."
"Please don't call me that right now," you mumble, but loud enough for me to hear.
Ouch. That hurt. "Liv Olivia? Please? Can't we talk?" I hear myself begging. "I know you're angry, and you have every right to be "
"I don't have anything to say to you." Finally, you're standing in front of me, dark fire in your eyes, your coat on your arm. "Move, Alex."
"No." I plant my feet firmly on the ground, matching your fury. "If you have nothing to say to me, then listen."
"You have no idea what it's like to love you one day at time, when I want nothing more than to be your future, to spend the rest of my life with you."
"We talked about this, Alex, I can't make promises I can't keep."
"I understand. I realize we're different in our views on love. That's the way you feel, and I'm trying, I've been trying to do it your way." Since you appear to be listening, I rush forth. "It's not easy to wonder if today's the day you're going to break my heart. Every day. And if not today, maybe tomorrow "
"That just tells me how little faith you have in me."
"How can I have faith in you when you keep telling me one day at a time, keep telling me you can't make promises?"
"Is that what you want, Alex? A promise? A commitment?"
I stop to think. Then slowly, I answer, "Not if you can't keep it. Not if you're going to storm out of my life over mistakes I make because of my insecurities." Insecurities caused by you, I feel; but I've learned enough to keep that to myself.
"Fine, then move."
"Fine," I finally step to the side. "Look at the size of the bag you're carrying. How many days' worth of clothes do you have in there? I'm sure if I check my closet right now, I'll still find more of your stuff."
"I'm beginning to wonder if I got us each a fish, just so we'd have to spend time in both apartments."
398 To the Death
"You did what?"
"I bought us fish. Well each of us a fish." You say, staring at the ground.
Oh yeah, the aquarium. The one you were carrying before you flew off the handle and accused me . I try to not think about it, because the anger is flooding through me again and I can feel the heat on my face, my heart pounding in my chest. "Do you want me to go?"
"No, not that, but, you're so willing to give up everything, this, your place "
"Alex, I've already explained this to you. I don't have an attachment to that place, it's just, I'm rarely there, it just makes more sense to come here. It's closer to where we work, you have a bigger bed, a bigger place, a better kitchen. I don't feel this huge need to have my own That's it isn't it? You want your place to yourself."
You don't answer right away, avoiding my eyes. "So you don't want me here. Awesome." I suck in my breath and pound towards the door.
"Please don't " you say to my back, and there's something in your voice, a desperate quality, that I would never have expected to hear coming from you that stops me in my tracks.
"What do you want me to do? You walk in here accusing me accusing me of drinking behind your back, which I wasn't," I feel the need to add, "and then you basically tell me that you don't want me here."
"It's not that Liv. I'm afraid to give up on our separate lives. You want me to just accept this, accept that you can't make promises. But Liv, if you can't promise me anything, I'm afraid to accept any change because if you wake up one day and decide to go, I won't have anything to go back to. You want to live one day at a time, but I don't work like that. I feel so out of control."
"I think it'd be worse for me to lie to you. To make promises I can't keep."
"I don't want you to do that either. I don't know what I want."
"You want it your way." I snarl. "I'm not a Burger King, Alex. I need to do what's healthy for me too." I look at you, and I see the pain etched in your deep blue eyes. I can see the tears floating there, the ones you're fighting from letting slip out. I drop my bag and take a deep breath.
"Listen, I'm, I'm really angry right now."
"I know," you say.
"I need to calm down, I'm just, I'm going to go in there," I say, pointing in the general direction of your bedroom, "for just a few minutes, and then we can talk about this."
399 FOOL'S ERRAND
I watch as you close the door to my bedroom. The irony of that hits me like a ten ton brick. It's my bedroom, and you're in there, in MY bedroom, to think.
Talk, you want to talk. What's there to talk about? You're not a Burger King. Don't you know I know that? Have you heard even a word I said? I've been trying to do it your way, live life your way, love you your way. Despite how unnatural it is for me.
Maybe Serena's right. Some things you can't compromise. And maybe some things you shouldn't
Well, I'm not a Burger King either.
I mean, why am I doing this to myself? Is the day to day happiness you give me worth this? Is the comfort and security I feel when I'm in your arms worth all the doubts and fear? To be completely honest, I don't go through everyday doubting. In fact, most days I don't.
But when I do this happens.
Is it healthy for you, or me, for us to be doing this?
Maybe Trevor's right, too. I do behold too much.
Or maybe it's like you said, I want everything my way. Regardless of consequences, of other people's feelings and rights It happened before with work; it doesn't take a huge logic leap to conclude that I'd
I'm so confused.
And your presence in the other room doesn't help. A few minutes you said. It's been a few minutes. More than a few. When are you coming out?
And when you do, what are we going to talk about?
I grab a piece of paper, to leave you a note. Maybe when I come back, I'll have a better idea of what I want, taking into real consideration of what I can or cannot have
The cold chill of the night hits my lungs as I suck in a deep breath. If I pretend, the crisp air might actually be giving me clarity.
What I said to you before, the reason why I didn't want you at my place so much. That just came out of my mouth, out of nowhere. Was it something I made up to give you a forgivable excuse for needing my space? Or was there some Freudian truths to it? How much of which?
I'm moving down the block, letting my feet carry me when suddenly a weight slams me up against the wall. "Give me your wallet," I hear from behind me.
Oh, shit, my briefcase, I was in such a hurry, I left it in Trevor's car "I don't have it."
"Come on, lady." He warns.
I try not to panic. He sounds young. Probably just a kid, needing a fix. A kid on his way to the Park, to get a fix. "Honest, I don't have any money, but you can have my watch, and my necklace " I try to bargain. Before I know it, I feel my body falling, hitting the ground, I feel his shoes? Kicking me. I need to get up, to move away. Need to scream, need to cry for help
"Hey!" I hear another man's voice instead.
I hear scuffling, I hear footsteps moving away. Then my name.
"Alex? Oh my god, Alex, are you okay?" I feel hands moving me, turning me around. Familiar hands, familiar voice.
"Trevor? What are you ? Go catch the perp "
"He's gone. You left your briefcase in my What are you doing out here?"
"Just Taking a walk?" I tell him. The look on his face warns me he's figured out, and you're dead meat.
"We need to get you to the hospital."
"No, I'm fine. Just take me home." When he moves to pick me up, I tell him. "I can walk. Really, see?" I try not to wince. "Just scratches from hitting the ground."
He looks me over and finally agrees
When we walk in, you're pacing in the living room. You hear the door closing and whip around. "Alex ?"
"Don't you dare, Benson " Trevor starts.
"Look," I turn around to meet his eyes, "It's not her fault."
"But Alex "
"Please Trevor. Thanks for bringing me back, and bringing my briefcase, I just, I just need Please, Trev, just go home, all right?"
I slowly open the door to the bedroom, ready to have a mature and rational conversation. I'm ready to talk about my feelings in an open forum, ready to admit that your assumptions about me, while hurtful, were ultimately well justified. That I can see why you would just assume why a wine glass in my hand could definitely be trouble. I can understand how you can want your space. I can understand how this is moving too fast for you, or if you want your space, I'm willing to listen to you, to work with you on a solution. I open that door, ready to face you, only to find out that like a spoiled rotten brat you've fucking bolted.
Well, you've really shown me.
I hope you're happy.
Now I don't know what to do. Should I leave too? Show you that I could have done what I wanted to, just walked out on you? That I could have easily convinced myself that you would never accept me, accept that I want to change, even if I can't promise you that the rest of my life will be easy and sober. That doesn't mean I don't want it, that doesn't mean I don't want you in my life forever. It just means, well, it means that I'm being realistic, so why do you have to punish me for that?
I start to pace, feeling the anger pulsing in my chest, feeling it rising in my throat until I want to scream.
Why do I let you make me feel this way?
All this aggravation? All this pain. Because I love you, god damn it, and I want this to work. Despite the fact that you can act like a child, I know that I can too. And I'm willing to work with you, but not if you run out on me. Not if you act like I used to.
I'm debating walking out when I hear a commotion in the hallway, at first, I assume it can't be you, until I hear your key in the lock and I watch as you and your asshole brother come walking in the door. You went right to him, go figure.
"Alex ?" I ask, as I look at you, beaten and bruised. You're holding your side, your hands are bleeding, there are cuts on your knees. Jesus, what happened to you? Trevor would never would he?
"Don't you dare, Benson," he growls, as though my name were a curse word as I reach out to take look at you.
"Trevor, go home," you bark back at him.
"Not on your life. I don't want this bitch to do anything else to you."
"Trevor," You yelp at him.
"Fuck you, Langan."
"Stay the hell away from my sister," he snarls, as he reaches out to push me away. "This is your fault."
"How the hell is it my fault?"
"I don't know, you been boozing again?"
"Don't you "
"Trevor." You demand, pushing him back. "Get out."
"Alex, you need to go to the hospital." He says to you gently.
"She'll take me," you say pointing at me.
"Over my dead body," he says, staring into my eyes.
"Keep it up, Langan, you may just get your wish."
"Both of you, stop, Liv, help me." Your blue eyes plead with me, your hand reaches out, shaking. I can't say no to you. I reach out and take your hand
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