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
Mmm Liv That feels good. I love the way you touch me. Oh Don't stop
"Fuck" I hear in my dream. "Me?" I wait for my brain to complete the sentence. Then I realize it wasn't my voice to begin with.
I feel you tear your hand away, then the bed moves. I open my eyes, and look down at myself, regrettably still clothed. But my nipples reacted to your touch. Good, I'm not dead.
Despite my heavy head.
I see you glance around and quickly register your surrounding. You grimace for a second. Don't you even dare say it. Barbie does not live here.
Then you start to apologize.
Hmm I wonder just how much you remember
I clear my throat and test my voice, "Liv?" I might sound a little frog-like, but I still have a voice. Good.
"I'm so sorry, Alex "
"For what, Olivia?"
"This isn't, this wasn't " You repeat yourself. "I'm so sorry."
From the look on your face, I'm sure you think we've done the horizontal bumpity. Maybe I should have a little fun with you. "What isn't, and what wasn't?" I ask, sitting up, and pulling the blankets over me.
"You, me," you wave your hand over the bed. "This. I fucked up."
"Are you saying you've made a mistake?" I ask you feigning hurt.
I really should be shot. But I'm sick, and it's all your fault. At least, right now, I'm blaming you for it.
"Yes, I mean, no " You look everywhere but at me, and you seem so miserable. "I'm sorry, Alex."
"You shared my bed the whole night." I remind you. "Not even a hello, good morning, and you're just going to walk out of here?"
"No, I mean, yes Oh, hell, Alex "
"I can't believe you're just going to leave like this, after everything we've been through." Lay on the guilt. Yeah. Go Cabot.
"Alex I'm " You stare at the floor and shift from foot to foot.
"I ache. I ache all over." That's not exactly a lie. I hug the blankets closer around myself. "The least you could do, is be a gentle-cop, and stay and take care of me."
You ache? Huh? I'm not feeling so great either sweetie, I think, as I watch you pout at me. But you're so damn attractive; even with your hair all messed up. I'm watching you, and for a second, I think you're moving. No, no, that's not it. This room is slowly starting to spin. Aw, shit. I know what this means. I have precious few minutes before I'm hurling every ten minutes for the next hour.
Damn. You're looking at me, with those big blue eyes, telling me I have to take care of you.
"Take care of you?" I sputter. "What do you want me to do?"
"Well," you start. "I think you could start with breakfast in bed."
I wish I had a slightly better memory. Better than this at least.
I also wish I wasn't about to throw up on the floor.
I rub my face, hoping that I'm really still crashed out in my apartment and not standing here in your clothes with you smiling at me like I just fucked you senseless. Not that I wouldn't mind, but since I've done nothing but think about it since I first met you, I'd like to remember it the next day.
That'd be a good start at least. A better start. I look at you. I really gotta go.
"Alex, look, I'm sorry, I'm sorry for whatever happened."
"You should be sorry."
I almost agree. Then, wait, what do you mean I should be sorry? You're supposed to accept the apology. That's not, "What the hell?"
"Do you even remember what happened?"
"Yeah, of course." I lie. My fingers run through my hair and I look anywhere in the world but into your eyes.
"So you remember us making love?"
Shit. Shit. Shit. No, I don't remember that. "I'm sorry, I was, we shouldn't have done that."
"Liv. You didn't do it. You don't remember what happened. Just admit it."
Relief runs through me and then disappointment. Then, my stomach starts to lurch.
"Hang on a second," I say, trying to be suave as I run into your bathroom and lock the door behind me, before I feel dry heaves rack my body. Ugh. There's nothing there to come up. This is miserable.
In a second, I can hear you trying to open the door, and then pounding on it. Why do I do this to myself? How many mornings have I spent like this, on my knees and praying for death? I feel tears of embarrassment start to come, and between the crying and the heaving, and your insistent pounding on the door, I'm sure this has to be the worst morning of my life.
I finally hear silence from your side of the door and I pray you've decided to let me live in here alone for the rest of my life. But then, I hear the key in the lock
43. SORRY TEST?
At first, I thought you were going to hide in the bathroom. Then I hear you heaving. Wait, the hangover cure didn't work on you? That's so unfair! Or maybe it IS fair!
Then it occurs to me you might have alcohol poisoning. Just how much did you drink in the last two days, anyway. I get concerned and start to pound on the door.
That much noise while you're hung over can't be pleasant... Oh well!
Finally, the pounding hurts my own head, and I have to stop. Why did you lock the damn door?
Oh, keys, right. It's my apartment. I do have keys. Now where did I leave it? I'm not even sure I had kept it. Who the fuck would lock themselves in my bathroom anyway, I remember thinking when the realtor handed it to me.
Sure, it had to be you. A hung-over, heaving, crying you.
Crying? Why are you crying?
Now I'm really concerned. Where did I put those damn keys.
Finally, I remember I left them in the bottom drawer of the desk, and I go fetch them. I'm just sliding the key in when I feel it.
A wave of chill that begins in the marrow of my bones.
Then the room starts to spin.
ARGH! Alex Cabot does not get sick. I try to tell myself. Alex Cabot has court first thing tomorrow morning. Alex Cabot has dinner with mom tonight. Mom. Mommy. I want my mommy...
When Alex Cabot's a little sick, she takes it out on the other side, that's when her performance peaks. But when she's undeniably sick, she's miserable. She's demanding, cranky, generally socially unacceptable. And she wants to be pampered and babied and taken care of. And she embarrassingly clingy to boot. Alex Cabot does not Olivia to see her like this. Not before she knows how you really feel about her.
Maybe it's really just lust from your side. Maybe you don't really care about me at all.
Oh, Alex Cabot also feels really sorry for herself when she's sick.
Anyway, this is not the time to test your feelings for me, I decide. Knowing that my alleged love for you is unrequited would just kill me.
So, I grab a pen and a legal pad off the nightstand and write you a note:
If you want to stay, stay. If you want to leave, leave.
You can let yourself out, the door will lock itself after you.
I'll talk to you whenever I talk to you.
I shove it under the bathroom door and crawl back into bed. Soon, the noises you're making fade from my ears...
How do I get myself into these messes?
Sitting on the cold tile of your bathroom, wishing you'd leave me the hell alone. Your pounding on the door makes my head pound. My empty stomach is burning, and the tears are streaming down my face.
I hear the key in the lock and I'm ready for you to come in here and stare at me like I'm an animal in the zoo. I sigh. I'm never drinking again. I swear I'm not. This is miserable. I steel myself for your disappointment, taking a deep breath. But the door doesn't open, and I don't have to face you.
Instead, I see the note you slip under the door. I grab it quickly, opening it. I force my eyes to focus. With a deep breath, I take it in. It's written in a quick scrawl, which is still neater than anything I've ever written:
"Olivia, If you want to stay, stay. If you want to leave, leave. You can let yourself out, the door will lock itself after you. I'll talk to you whenever I talk to you. A."
Well what the hell does that mean?
What do you want me to do?
I know what's in my gut. I want to leave, transport myself from this spot, to another state and another time when I don't have to face you or anything else. For the second time in two days, I've managed to make an ass out of myself, but I can't make myself get off the floor and stumble out to you. If you're even still here.
I sit silently for awhile, listening for movement. I don't hear any, and I think it's time to make my escape.
I stand slowly, letting my head adjust. I slowly open the door.
You're right there sound asleep. It would be so easy to sneak by you. So damn easy, but then again, when have I ever taken the easy way out
Somewhere in my feverish haze I hear soft shuffling along the bed and moving away towards the door. I guess you're leaving Oh, well, like I convinced myself earlier, this is not the time to test your feelings for me.
Shuffle, shuffle. It's coming back! You're coming back!
I feel your presence hovering, hear your voice whispering, "Alex?"
Hmm? I try to answer you. At least I think I'm trying. Unfortunately, I must not be trying hard enough.
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. You're gone again.
Then I hear the front door close.
Oh, I guess you've really left Well, at least now I can die alone in peace.
Did someone just step on that loose floor board by the door? Who's there? What time is it? How long have I been out? My mind races feverishly. I want to get up, I should get up, to check, to find a way to defend myself, or at least to hide. Dammit, my eyes refuse to open; my muscles refuse to move.
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. Moving into the room. Great, I can see the headlines now: Manhattan SVU ADA raped and murdered at home. Just great.
Shuffle, shuffle. "Alex?" I hear from somewhere beyond. It's a woman's voice. Thank god. Wait, women can be rapists and murderers, too. Oh, but a stranger won't know my name.
"Alex?" It's closer now.
Mommy? Did I already miss dinner? Are you checking up on me? Will you stay and take care of me? Oh, don't forget to call in sick for me tomorrow
Wait, what's that smell? It smells like vanilla and sandals, I mean vanilla and sandalwood That's your perfume! I thought you left! What are you doing back? How did you get back in?
Oh, didn't I leave the keys on the kitchen counter? I think I did. I'm pretty sure I did.
So you came back to take care of me! So you do care after all! If I weren't sick, if I could move a muscle, I'd jump up and hug you
Huh. Why is it suddenly so quiet? Where did you go? Did I fall asleep and did you leave again? Maybe you never really came back, maybe I was just dreaming
Poor little sick little Alex love sick little puppy Cabot
Maybe if I cry myself a river now, I'll drown me.
I shuffle by you, almost all the way out, when I stop and actually look at you. You said you were achy, didn't you? Your face is pale even in sleep, and I immediately feel guilt bubbling up through my body. Chances are you spent a good portion of your night watching me, the least I can do is watch over you for a little while.
I slip over to you and whisper your name. I want to tell you, tell you that I'll stay, that I'll be here. You almost seem like you recognize me, but I know you're still out. Maybe you hear my voice in your dream. I'm hoping I'm not hurting you there too. I think I see my name on your lips.
I try to remember what you asked me to do. Breakfast. You wanted breakfast.
Quickly, I walk out into your kitchen, trying my best to be quiet. I look into your refrigerator and I can feel my stomach moving involuntarily. Maybe cooking isn't a good idea.
Maybe I'll go out.
I look down at myself. What did you dress me in? Jesus. The sweat pants are fine, but the t-shirt is way too tight, and I can see every part of my anatomy sticking out. If I leave looking like this, someone's going to lose an eye.
I try to be quiet as I slip through your room again and look for my clothes. They're not in your bedroom and as I slip into the bathroom again, I find them. They're lying on the floor of the shower, in a puddle soaking wet. Shit. How the hell did they get in there? So I'm not wearing those either. That leaves your closet.
I slip out of the bathroom and I hear you stir. I freeze in place, hoping not to wake you yet. I stick my head into your closet. I see the power suits and smile. I slide my fingers over them, I've wanted to touch them for so long. To touch you in them.
But this isn't what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm not supposed to be obsessing over your clothes; I'm supposed to be going out to get your breakfast. I see a coat hanging in the back of your closet and I grab it. It'll have to do because none of your shirts are going to be any less tight than this one.
I slide into the kitchen and grab your keys careful to check that the doors locked behind me. I run down the stairs and out onto the street. I have no idea what's good, so I walk down the street till I find a place serving breakfast that seems relatively well attended for such a quiet street. I slip inside and realize I have no idea at all what you like.
I guess I'll have to get some of everything.
I grab the huge bag the guy hands me and walk out when it catches my eye.
I run across the street, dodging between the parked cars.
I keep my eyes down as I slide the bottle across the counter. It's not to get drunk. It's just for a little pick me up.
It'll stop my head from pounding so I can focus on you.
I run back to your apartment, and sit on the stairs. I quickly take the bottle out of the bag and open it.
I stare into it for a second.
I'm not getting drunk. I'm not. I promise myself only a little bit.
Quickly, I swallow enough to feel it burn and then carefully, I slide the cap onto the bottle and slip it back into the pocket of your coat. I run the rest of the way up the stairs and open the door with the key.
Quickly, I take out the pieces of your breakfast and set it up on a tray I find under your sink. Slowly, and carefully, I walk towards your bedroom tray in hand. "Alex," I call gently. You don't move, so I slide the tray into one hand and shake you gently with the other.
"Alex, wake up."
I know I must be running a fever. I see black and white checks floating behind my eyes. Unless I'm a figment in a piece of pop art, I must be dreaming.
It's really kind of peaceful, except for the occasional feeling that I can't breath, that something's around my throat. Drowning me.
I take a deep breath.
To the smell of greasy eggs and bacon and whatnots, my stomach lurches. I wish those people in apartment B wouldn't eat like that. One of these days, they're going to die of heart diseases.
"Alex, wake up." I hear a voice calling me.
"Mom?" I hear myself answer in my little girl voice.
"No, Alex, it's me, Liv."
Liv? Are you really here? I want to ask you. Did I ask you? Maybe I did. I blink open my eyes to see you smiling at me, holding a heart attack on a tray. Ugh. Starve a fever, feed a cold, or is it the other way around? Don't you know anything? You're supposed to know everything.
Ugh. Maybe it's all just a dream. Soon enough, your smile floats off into the black and white squares. Thank god, it is just a dream.
All is quiet again. I see white light behind my eyes. Maybe someone has decided to take pity on me, and let me die. Or maybe I'm in a hospital. What time is it?
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
Now what? What do you want? Whoever you are this time.
"Alex, wake up." The same voice again.
"Yes, Alex. Open up." You say. "So I can take your temperature."
I feel a cold thing resting against my lips, feel it sliding into my mouth. Tangible. Since when have dreams become tactile?
Then the thin tube slips away. I could feel it. Wait, maybe this is not something I'm imagining in my delirium. Maybe this is real, and you are here.
Whatever it is, I gather all my strength. Gather all my strength and blindly reach for you. I feel our lips collide.
Then I taste it.
This has got to be an illusion. I tell myself.
"You're a lush, even in my dreams." I sigh. "How sad."
Soon, you dissolve into the floating squares. And all is still. Again.
This isn't working. The tray doesn't entice you awake like I thought it would, so I look around the room and I slide it onto the top of a bookcase. You said you wanted breakfast. I brought you breakfast. Now what do you want? I sit down next to you again. Now I'm helpless.
I have no idea what I should do. You're asking me again and again if I'm your mom. If I were your mom, I'd be going to hell. I'd call her, if I knew who the hell she is. Chances are, she wouldn't be sitting here, thinking about how pretty you are. There's always Trevor but I'll be damned if I call him.
Sitting next to you, I can feel your heat, and warm smell of you. It's intoxicating.
Gently, I let my hand rest against your forehead. You definitely have a fever. I wish I was better at this. I wish I had ever taken care of another human being. Hell, at this point, I'd take having taken care of a fish.
I think I need a thermometer. At least that seems scientific. Now if I were a thermometer, where would I be? I stand up gently and go into your bathroom, deciding that if you've got one, it's gotta be here.
I stand there for a second before I realize what's so strange about this cabinet. It's alphabetized. Oh Jesus. It's so perfect for you, so organized. For a minute, I wonder if your refrigerator is done by size and fat content. I make a mental note to check it out later.
I find the thermometer, and while I'm in the T's I grab your bottle of Tylenol. I go back to you, and you reach for me.
That's so damn cute. She can kill you in the courtroom but when she's got the flu, she's down to crying for her mommy. I smile. I slide the thermometer between your lips, and tell you to keep your mouth closed.
You're smiling, and you reach for my hand. I push your beautiful blonde hair away from your eyes, and study your beautiful face.
I slide the thermometer out of your mouth and try to figure out what it says. 102? I'm pretty sure that's bad. I grab the orange juice off your tray and pour Tylenol out of the bottle. You ask me if I'm your mom again.
"No, sweetie, it's me Liv," I say, and with that you reach up and try to kiss me. Well, you do kiss me. Just for a second before you lean back and mumble something about being a lush. For a minute I have no idea what you're talking about, until I remember the vial of booze in the pocket of your coat. Oh well. Chances are, you won't remember this when you wake up.
"Come on, sweetie," I say, pushing you up. "You've got to swallow these."
"I don't "
"Come on Alex," I say, sliding the pills into your mouth followed by the orange juice.
You wrinkle your nose as you swallow.
Your body thumps back down into the bed, and again, you're out like a light.
So hot... So cold...
GAH! A rubbery octopus! It's got my head! Get it off! Get it off of me!
"Shh... Alex, it's okay, Sweetie." I hear you tell me, feel your arms around me. "Stop struggling. It's okay. I'm gonna take care of you."
Okay. God speed. May you kill the octopus...
"Melinda?" I hear a muffled voice. Sounds like I'm in a vacuum. Huh.
Melinda? Why does that name sound familiar? Melinda, Melinda, Melinda... M.E. Warner? Did you lose your fight? I'm sorry if you died trying to protect me... I'll never ever forget you...
"Alex, come on, baby, wake up."
"It's time for your medicine."
Noooooo! I hate pills. Don't you know that? Oh, I guess you're not dead after all. That's good. I don't know what I'll do if you were. I love you so much...
Wait. Did I actually say that out loud? I hope I didn't...
"Come on, Sweetheart, drink up." You tell me, with your arms around me.
Gah! No more water! Are you trying to drown me? I hate you... I hate you, love you, hate you...
Order! Order in the courtroom! The gavel. My head.
"Alex? Come on, Baby, you've got to drink this."
Arrrgh! Why do you keep trying to drown me?
So cold... Mommy, Mommy, hold me...
God, it's so hot in here. Ugh. I'm all sweaty. I hate sweat. It's almost winter, why is it so hot?
What's that noise? Oh my god, the fire alarm! I jerk up and try to focus. Ow. My head. Focus, focus, Alex, focus! Finally, I realize it's the phone ringing. Oh shit, what time is it? I look out the window, and see that it's dark outside. How long have I been out? Hours? Days? I try to move. Need to get to the phone. Oh hell, the answering machine can get it.
Then I look down, and notice the big lump next to me in my bed. What the? I blink and wait for my eyes to adjust. Then I see you.
Have you been taking care of me? Or did I fall asleep taking care of you? Wish I could remember.
Wait! You just slept through the phone. Are you plastered again? I lean forward to smell your breath. Ew. Did you really make bacon for me for breakfast? So that wasn't a dream? How do you eat that stuff? But at least I'm not smelling booze.
"Alex?" You blink.
I guess the proximity woke you up. Sorry. "Hi."
Immediately your hand is on my forehead. The touch seems so familiar. "How are you feeling?" You ask, showing genuine concern.
"Tired, achy, really clammy." I admit.
"You ran a fever. I was so worried."
"Thanks, for taking care of me." I try to smile my gratitude, and make light of my condition. "I think I'm feeling better. At least I'm cognizant."
"If you're feeling better, I probably should go..."
I'm sure my face fell. Suddenly I'm weepy; I hate being like this. "I guess you're right..." I tell you; I tell myself. Can you hear in my voice how much I'd like you to stay? Need you to stay?
I don't remember falling asleep, but I must have, because I wake because something is leaning on me. I can feel the weight before I know exactly what it is, and it's so strange to me. What the hell? Feeling someone hovering over me makes my muscles tighten involuntarily. I hate the feeling of being watched, and I hate the feeling of weight on my shoulders. So rarely do I open my eyes and find someone I want to see. Then I remember where I am. Your apartment. With you. That means it's you leaning on me.
If you're leaning on me, that means you're awake.
I sit up too quickly and I see you, looking at me. I can't believe I fell asleep when I was supposed to be watching you. It was the least I could do to stay awake. I run my hands through my hair and see it's dark out. How long have I been asleep?
I smile at you, letting my hand feel your forehead. It's definitely not as bad as it was, but you're covered with sweat, and you're still pretty pale. I look at the clock and do some quick math, it hasn't been long enough for you to need more pain killers. That means I can't have been out for long.
As I watched you sleep, I finally broke down and picked off your breakfast tray, as I realized that you were probably not going to want it. I picked up the eggs with my fingers and followed it with the bacon. I'm not sure but I'm almost positive that'll cover the alcohol on my breath.
I'm glad that you're back in reality.
But if you're back, that means so is your memory.
If your memory's back, it means that I'm still a big ass.
I pull myself together, and slide off the bed.
"I guess I should go," I say, "since you feel better."
I almost think you look disappointed for a moment, but then you tell me that maybe it's a good idea for me to go.
That's what I thought. But before I can turn on my heel and high tail it out of there, I hear you say my name.
I turn back to you, begging in my head that you want me to stay.
"Could you, stay?"
As soon as that question comes out of my mouth and hits my ears, I regret it. Could I sound any needier? I'm not six years old anymore and you're not my mom.
"I don't want to be alone, just in case the fever comes back, and " I explain, wrecking my brain for more than just one reason, for better reasons. When none is forth coming, I just sigh, and drop my head in my hands.
Before I finish exhaling, you're already by the bed, asking me if I'm okay.
Am I okay? I don't know. We just had our first kiss, haven't even had our first date yet, unless you call watching over a sick person a date, and already I'm clingy and making demands like I'm your steady girlfriend or something. I'm supposed to give you space, not crowd you.
"Yeah, I'm fine, Olivia." I smile at you, and pat the empty space next to me. "I mean, I'm going to call my mom and ask her to come over. Judging by the way I feel now, I doubt I'll be well by tomorrow. If you don't mind staying until she gets here, I'd really appreciate it."
"Ah " You pause as you sit. Is it relief, or disappointment I see in your eyes?
"But if you want to stay longer If you want to stay with me instead, I'm sure my mom will be grateful." I give you the option. "I just don't want to be a complete pain in the ass. You've already spent your entire Sunday fighting rubbery octopuses for me. What was that anyway? Or was I just hallucinating?"
I realize I'm bordering on rambling now. I'm afraid you're going to take the out, and you'll be gone much sooner than I want. So I try to delay your departure any way I can.
"Oh, you mean this?" You give me your teasing smile, and pick up the hot water bottle from the floor. "I went out and got it, after I remembered seeing it in an episode of Three Stooges. Had ice in it; and I was gonna lower your fever... But you kept struggling."
It's so nice to have you sitting so close to me. I can feel your warmth. I wish I were already your girlfriend, then I could lay in your arms and rest my head on your shoulder Instead, I can only settle for touching your hand with my fingers.
After a moment of silence, I ask, "Did you talk to M.E. Warner, too?"
"You heard? I tried to be quiet. Sorry." You grin sheepishly. "I had no idea what to do when somebody runs a fever. Didn't know how to get hold of your mom. So I called the only doctor I know who work Sundays."
So that wasn't a dream either I wonder Did I kiss you? Did I really taste alcohol on your breath?
Should I ask you, should I confront you now? I don't have the energy to argue with you; already I can feel myself fading. If you run out of here like I suspect you would, I won't be able to chase after you.
I check the clock, and look down at our joined hands, bracing myself for your answer. "It's already after ten. If I'm going to call my mom, I should probably do it soon. It'll take her at least two hours to get ready and get here."
I wish I could just tell you how badly I want to stay. How much I want to be here with you. I just can't just like I can hear your tongue tying because you don't want to admit that you want me to stay. Carefully, I see you connecting the pieces of the net that'll catch you if I refuse - your mom is my easy way out, she's my solution.
I don't want a solution. I want to tell you that I'll happily stay, as long as you'll let me. I want to be here. More than anywhere else in the world.
I sit here, facing you on your bed, acutely aware of how close I am to you. My hand is sitting on the bed, and I notice as you accidentally lay your hand on top of it. So even on your deathbed, you yearn for the same contact I do.
I wish that I could take you into my arms. Hold you and rock you, telling you that I want to make you feel better, and that I want you and that I think I love you. I want to lean in and kiss you, here, in your bed but I can't do that. I can't do it because you're sick.
I can't do this because we haven't even had a first date yet.
That's something I can fix.
The first date. I look at you and I can feel the excitement light up in my eyes. "Hey," I ask you, "wanna do that whole movie thing we were going to do last night?" Last night before I fucked up? Last night before, whatever happened happened?
I don't even get the sentence all the way out though, before you look as excited as me. "Sure!" you say. You take a minute and ask, "What were you going to bring?"
I forgot you had left it in my court as to what we were going to do for entertainment.
"I don't know," I admit. "I was going to go to the video store and hope that something would fall on me."
You smile for a second, but then I see your frown. "I don't want you to go "
I smile at that. "Do you have anything good?"
For a second you look like a little girl on Christmas. "Yeah."
53. EARLY CHRISTMAS
You're staying? You're staying! Please god, please don't let this be just another figment of my feverish delirium.
"Here goes," I say, and move to get out of bed. You shift to allow me exit. I pause next to you, and rest my forehead on your shoulder. Can you tell it's totally unnecessary, that I just want the closeness?
"Are you okay?" You ask me, your arm immediately around my back.
Yeah, I'm okay. Now that you're staying. I don't tell you that though. "Yeah, just had to let my head catch up with my body, or maybe it's the other way around."
Gah! That teasing glint in your eyes again! I swear I didn't mean it like that. "You have a dirty mind, Olivia Benson. I'm sick, remember? I'm just trying to not fall back into bed and accidentally drag you with me." It really would be an accident, I swear.
You just smirk and wait for me to dig a bigger hole for myself.
Sometimes you're obnoxious. Adorably so.
I decide to ignore you. "Okay. Let's try this again." Using your thigh as leverage, I force myself to stand.
"Easy, Sweetheart." You hop to your feet, and steady me against you.
Could you please remove your hands from my stomach and hips? And could you please, please stop breathing so close to me? I'm sick, half dead, really. I'm not supposed to have these reactions.
"Maybe you should tell me where you keep your videos, and I'll go get them."
"Yeah, that's probably a better idea." And I let you help me back into bed, and pull the blankets over me. You pause, hovering a breath away from me.
How much time has passed, I'm not sure I know. Maybe it's Christmas morning already.
Finally, you open your mouth. "Well?" you ask me; there's something funny in your voice.
Huh? What? Oh, the videos. I hope it's the fever, and that I'm not blushing like crazy. "There's a cabinet in the living room, the only one with solid doors. They're in there."
"What do you want to watch?"
"Your choice." I smile back at you. You give me this look, I'm not sure what it is. Then you press your lips to my forehead, just for a second.
Then you jump up, like your pants are on fire. "I'll be right back." You tell me, and disappear into the next room.
I'm hovering half an inch away from you. I can feel your warm breath on my face, as you look at me expectantly. I'm so close, so close to kissing you hard, full on the lips. Even with your body racked with fever, I want you badly. It's not right to have these feelings for you. Not now. I have to keep repeating the mantra that you're sick. I guess that controlling myself has it's virtues though I'm not sure what they are.
I quickly give you the tiniest kiss on the head as I push myself back and go look at your movie collection. I smile as I check out what you have. I laugh when I come across your copy of Bound, all the way in the back row of the huge cabinet. I hear you yell "What?" from your bedroom.
"Nothing!" I yell back.
So you have seen it, I smile.
I pull a bunch of stuff off your shelf, determined not to make a final choice. I look around, if we're going to watch anything we need a TV, and of course, the one you have is bigger than anything I can humanly carry. Well, it's either the TV or you. I pick you.
Throwing the DVD's onto the coffee table, I go back for you.
"Come on," I say, grabbing your hand.
You start to protest but my hand on yours seems to encourage you. This time when you stand up, I'm ready for you, my hands already on you to steady you as I let you lean into me. I whisper words of encouragement to you as I help you gently onto the couch.
"Do you like tea?" I ask.
"Yeah," you smile shyly.
"I'm going to make you some, you need to stay hydrated."
I see you smile gently as I turn into the kitchen.
"Where's the tea?" I call to you from the kitchen.
"Top shelf" you yell back, as I continue to search.
"Liv?" I hear you calling me.
"Come here for a second."
I stick my head back out of the kitchen and smile at you. "Miss me?"
I see your face. It doesn't look happy anymore. Then I see the bottle in your hand, the one from inside your coat which is lying right by your head.
I really should be in bed. Sleeping, or resting though that's not what I'd really like to do. I'm sick, I have to keep telling myself.
You're in the kitchen making me tea. I wonder what you were laughing about. Did you find my secret stash at the back of the cabinet? I thumb through the DVD's sitting in front of me. Yep, you sure did. I hope you didn't notice my thing for a certain type of brunettes. I picked up Wild Side and put it all the way down on the bottom of the pile. I don't need to see that right now Not when I'm sick. Although Anne Heche wasn't a brunette through the whole movie
Sitting here, with you in the next room, I can't help but think back to our little journey from the bed to the couch. I'm embarrassed to be such a helpless female. But I'm sick. And you're so nice, so caring, so warm. I think I could happily spend the rest of my life in your arms.
Hello? I'm sick, remember?
Happily, I lean back, to rest my head against the sofa, and listen to your movements. Ow. My head. Huh. This time the pain isn't from the inside. So I turn towards the source. What's my coat doing out here?
Oh, you must have borrowed it to go outside. Smart choice, I commend you, remembering how my tee shirt looks on you. Wait. Why is there a hard thing in my coat? What is it?
I search the pocket. I know what it is as soon as I feel the cold glass against my fingers.
Before I can stop myself, I call for you, "Liv?"
"What?" I hear you ask, your voice cheery. I don't think that happiness going to last for long.
"Come here for a second." I tell you evenly.
You poke your head out and the smile freezes on your face.
Then I realize I didn't have to control my temper. I don't have one. I just look down at the bottle in my hand, and I throw it across the room, so something else would make the noise that should be coming from my chest.
The loud noise that I had expected. Not the sobs bubbling up beyond my control. I hate women who cry, who think they can fix things with their tears. And I'm turning into one of them.
"How could you?" I ask.
I see your arm go back and I know the bottles coming at my head. You may not be aiming for me directly, but you almost hit me. I get out of the way just in time, sliding over just in time to hear the sound of the bottle whizzing past my head and into the wall. I look at the shattered bottle and the precious liquid that's pouring all over the floor.
Damn. I forgot about that. I should have been more careful. I should have thought about the fact that you'd find it. Why didn't I just drink the whole thing and throw it out before I got back. I should have. I could have avoided this horrible scene.
Your eyes are full of tears as you ask me "How could you?"
For a second, I can feel the shame of being caught. And the guilt makes me feel angry. How could I what? You're not my mom. "Jesus, Alex. What's the problem?" I ask bending over to pick up the pieces of shattered glass.
"What's the problem?" you ask, indignantly. "You've got to be kidding me, right?"
I hate being patronized. You sound so high and mighty. Like you're always right.
"I don't get what the big deal is. You didn't have to throw it."
"I didn't have to throw it?" you parrot back at me.
"I'm a big girl Alex, I know what I'm doing."
"You have a problem Liv."
I can feel the walls of my mind slamming closed. I'm protecting myself. From Trevor, from you, from everyone. I don't have a problem. I don't want to hear it. I'd know if it was out of control. I'd know. And it's not. "It's not a big deal Alex. I like a drink every now and then. It's okay."
"It's more than every now and then."
"How would you know?" I ask, instantly regretting the question.
"You have a bit of reputation. Not to mention that you've been out of your mind drunk for the last two nights."
"Extenuating circumstances." I mumble. Legal terms. Something that you'll understand.
"Oh, so what, that's my fault? Did I make you?"
"I didn't say that."
"Because I'm pretty sure that's the first step, admitting that everyone else has a problem."
"That's not fair." I say.
"Life's not fair."
I guess it's true, the truth hurts.
I take a deep breath, and wipe my eyes. Thankfully, the tears stop. Unfortunately, my head is getting heavier by the second. I know I don't have much time before you walk out that door. I can't let you walk out that door.
"Liv, please, sit down." I pat the space next to me.
You hesitate, and look around. To get to the front door, you have to go through me, you realize quickly. Suddenly, you're staring at the window, and acting like you're going to jump.
"Please? Liv? Don't make me come to you." I appeal to your chivalrous side. I know you have one, I just saw it a little while ago. I only hope it's accessible now. "You know I can't."
Only when you sit down reluctantly do I let out a deep breath of relief. I take your hand in both of mine, and press my forehead against your shoulder. "I'm sorry I barked at you. I'm just really worried about you."
When you don't say a thing, I continue, "You know why Trevor thinks he's an alcoholic?"
You tense, and want to pull your hand away.
I hang on as if for dear life. Okay, maybe mentioning him wasn't the best idea. "He's overreacting because he knows alcoholism can be hereditary; our grandfather was an alcoholic."
"But I'm not an alcoholic." You protest forcefully.
"Let me ask you a few questions, and I'm not accusing you of anything. But have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?"
"You were annoyed with Trevor yesterday, and you're annoyed with me right now, asking you about your drinking, right?"
"Annoy's not quite the word," you mumble.
Fair enough. "Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?"
"I felt bad about getting drunk and hurting you."
"The bottle, was it for this morning? Did you feel like you needed an eye-opener?" The look on your face tells me all I need to know. "You might not be an alcoholic yet, but you do have a problem, Liv. I just asked you the CAGE questions, and you answered yes to everyone of them. And to top it off, you blacked out two nights in a row, you didn't even remember if we made love or not."
I look up, to watch your response. Emotions flit across your features. At one point, I'm sure you're going to tear your hand from my grasp or say something hateful, but you don't. Maybe you're too angry to speak. I reward you anyway, and kiss you on your cheek.
"Alcohol abuse, let's call it that, okay?" I don't wait for your response. "It's not a moral weakness. It's a bad habit, and treatable chronic disease. Do you know they say twenty percent of lawyers suffer from it? So you're not the only one with the problem."
"It's not a problem." You still insist. While I'm trying to think about what next to say, you continue, "At least I don't, I didn't think it was a problem. Do you think I have a problem, Alex?"
Finally, we're getting somewhere. "I have to be honest with you, Liv. Yes, I do think you have a problem. But please know that you're not alone in this. I'll do whatever I can to help. I care about you, as a colleague, as a friend, and hopefully something more." I tell you, and snuggle closer. We both need the closeness right now.
"Are you done, Alex?"
Knowing that this conversation was coming doesn't make it any easier. I've had it before. You act like this is my first time. Like no one's ever asked if I'm really sure I want another. I know my body and I know my mind. I'm the one who has to live with what I do and the consequences of my actions.
I know the stupid alcohol abuse questions. Part of me is kind of insulted that you'd think I was so dumb as to fall for them. I answer them the way I'm supposed to, the whole time my mind screams that I don't have a problem. I know my role right now is acting contrite. At least it is if I want to escape this conversation alive with my temper in tact.
I don't want to change and I don't have a problem.
I try to remember if I knew you when my mom fell down those stairs. Now she was an alcoholic. I remember what that was like, every night with her, watching her drink at the table, staring off into space. The things she'd say about me to whoever was listening when she was truly blitzed. I know how painful it is. I'm not totally out of the loop, but I'm nothing like her. Nothing. It's insane to believe, to think, to imagine that I would act the same way she did for all those years.
Now, you're telling me it's all genetic and that I'm doomed to repeat the cycle from here on in. Well, I like drinking, and I know that no matter what you think or what you say, it's only been a rough couple of days. I'm not usually like this. I'm not.
I'm letting my mind close off from what you're saying. You say you think I have a problem. You say I'm chronically diseased. La la la. I don't care. It just means I have to be slightly better at it to get away with it. It's never affected my work or my life in a serious way, after all. I'm fine. I'm healthy. I'm fit. I just like to enjoy a drink every once in awhile.
I ask you if you're done, and you stare at me blankly for a second.
"I guess," you say looking kind of surprised.
"Good, now we can forget about it." I say, smiling again, and trying to bounce away.
"But," you grab my hands, and start to protest, but before you can give me more excuses, I'm off the couch and away from you.
"Gotta get the tea," I say, happy to escape from you probing blue eyes. "Wish the tea was in New Guinea," I say under my breath.
I promised to stay, I promised to take care of you and I will, but God, I need a drink.
As you bounce away, using tea as pretext, I realize everything I've said to you have fallen on deaf ears. You've probably heard the questions before. You might have even asked your mother those same questions yourself. And you were just giving me the answers you knew I wanted to hear.
Alex Cabot, you sure can pick them, can't you?
I sigh. I sigh as I remember my grandfather, his belligerent ways, and how much he hurt his wife, his family. If mom had spent the same amount of energy she did trying to help him on her own marriage, I'd be Alexandra Langan, and Trevor wouldn't have a twenty-five year old stepmother slash mistress
Am I really up to helping you with your problem? Can I convince you to get professional help, which obviously you need? Would it be better if I were just your colleague and friend and nothing more?
Am I asking these questions for you? For me? For both of us?
Is there or can there even be an us?
Yes, I've spent the last x-months fantasizing about you, and I think I care about you. But what I feel towards you, is it really love? Even if it is, is it strong enough? Am I strong enough?
Dealing with an alcoholic is not like winning a case. There are no real rules to go by. You can't just read the case laws and the books and expect to convince the judge and the reasonable jury. A person with an addiction problem is anything but reasonable.
Can you handle that? I ask myself, again and again.
If not, then what am I going to do? Ask you to leave now, to get out of my life, and probably give you another excuse to drink?
Or find out how we truly feel about each other somehow, some way?
I try to decide before you come back out from the kitchen.
"Here we are!" You say cheerfully, with two mugs of tea in hand. You flop down next to me on the couch as if nothing had happened, and ask me, "So, what are we going to watch?"
I put down the cup you left in my hand. I take the one you're holding, and put it next to mine. Then I suck in a deep breath, and fall backwards onto the couch, pulling you on top of me.
"Make love to me."
I couldn't have just heard that right.
It's not possible.
It's just not possible.
And then I see you lean back, and you pull me towards you, sliding my hand up your body, sliding it over your breast, so I can't ignore where it is. I can feel my body reacting to yours even without more contact. God, I want you so badly
"But you're sick," I say, trying to delay.
"Make love to me," you say again.
"But you're sick." I say again.
"You already said that," you say, as you slide your thigh between my legs. "Make love to me."
"You already said that," I say with a smile.
You choose that moment to lean up and grab my lips in a kiss. Gently, you nibble on my bottom lip, and then your tongue slips into my mouth, reaching for mine.
I can feel sparks in my body. The same sparks I felt in the bathroom. The reminders that love is supposed to be like this.
Your fingers are on my back, and they're pressing me into you. Your thigh muscles push up as you encourage my gentle involuntary rocking on your thigh. I can feel you sliding your nails up my back, leaving phantom traces of your warm touch. You use your strength to grind me into your thigh. I feel a moan escape my mouth, and that seems only to encourage you further.
Your fingers are suddenly running up my shirt, and sliding over increasingly sensitive skin. I can't believe that my body feels this good right now.
I don't believe this has ever felt this good.
I steady myself on an elbow while you kiss me hungrily. I let my fingers explore your body. You're so soft, and you smell so good, and I could kiss you like this forever. But your insistence and probing fingers tell me you want more than that.
"Alex," I say, pulling back, trying to breathe.
"Mmm " you not quite answer, grabbing my lips again in a kiss.
"There's something I want to tell you." I say between deep wet kisses.
"What?" you ask, your eyes still closed.
"I've never done this before."
Suddenly, your eyes snap open. The kisses stop as you stare at me. "You're a virgin?"
"Well, no." I say, embarrassed as hell now.
Suddenly understanding seems to lights up your eyes. "Oh, this."
Yeah. Oh that. Kill me.
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