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property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks be to Heathers for the beta!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Greasemonkey 4: The One That Got Away
There was a reason that she never left New York. She never really knew exactly what it was, but it was always there -- an instant response when the current girlfriend would ask if they might go away for the weekend. "You're joking, right?" she'd say. "What can we do that we can't do in the city?" It was usually met with a number of varying responses ranging from the disappointed whining to the Silent Treatment to outright weeping. And that was never attractive.
So when the invite to the international opening of the Female Perspective Through Time exhibit at the Tate was shoved into her tiny mailbox, Alex decided that she wasn't going to suffer the transplantation. She picked up the phone in the uptown office she rarely visited and spoke to the London museum to see just how soon she could have the exhibit brought to her. A hundred some-odd phone calls and a handful of checks later, the art was on its way.
It was early November when the opening night finally arrived and the last of the coloured leaves were falling. The rest of the city was gearing up for Thanksgiving but for Manhattan's art lovers the holiday was far in the background. By eight o'clock, 5th Avenue was crammed full of the art community. Curators, the high society and journalists from every paper in town large and small -- all pushed past each other, trying to be the first in line to get a glimpse of arriving guests. Cameras flashed as cars pulled up and pulled away again, each emerging guest bombarded with questions on their way up the steps to the entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Alex loved this part -- she loved all these events -- the clamoring for her attention gave her a high that nothing but sex could rival. She smiled at her driver as her car pulled to a stop in front of the crowd. "Are you ready?" she asked, pulling the gold pashmina around her shoulders.
Olivia leaned over Alex and looked out the passenger side window at the waiting throng. "I guess we'll see, won't we?" When the car door opened, she watched Alex slide out of the Audi, undeterred by the cameras descending upon her. Olivia stepped out of the driver's side and followed the sway of Alex's hips as she started her climb to the museum over the shining roof of the car. A tap on her shoulder distracted her and she turned to the valet attendant, holding out his hand. "Oh right," she said, digging into her pocket. "Sorry." She dropped the keys into his hand and rounded the front of the car, trailing her hand over the hood.
A few quick steps and Olivia was next to Alex. She leaned into her ear, eyeing the oncoming event staff. "Are you sure they're going to let me in?" Olivia whispered.
"Of course they will," Alex replied with an incredulous chuckle. "You're with me."
"Alex!" one photographer called out. His camera flashed at her. "Who's your date? A local artist we should know about?"
Alex smiled and took Olivia's arm, pulling her closer. "In a manner of speaking," she replied. "A friend from the city." She didn't elaborate and no one asked her to. It didn't surprise her that they fingered Olivia for an artist. Alex had been careful to dress her in a simple pair of black tuxedo pants with an untucked tailored white dress shirt. After she tied the thin black tie around Olivia's neck before they'd left, she showed her the matching jacket.
"Uh-uh," Olivia had said. "I'm not wearing a monkey suit. No way." Eventually they had settled on a faded green combat jacket which, together with her lengthening bangs draped casually over her forehead, made her delightfully counter-culture. And if there was one thing Alex enjoyed -- it was being talked about.
Inside the large doors, Alex was transformed. Olivia had never been brought to an event such as this, let alone alongside Alex. The people were a separate breed -- one she typically loathed but had become somewhat accustomed to through her time with Alex. As they made their way to the exhibit area, Olivia absorbed the sights and sounds. Small groups of guests chatted over the string quartet in the corner as servers dressed all in black whisked by, shining silver trays in hand with colourful hors d'oevres on them. Some of the guests didn't even seem to realize or care that there was a wealth of art on the walls, telling expensive stories with champagne flutes in one hand and their glittery Chanel purses in the other. Olivia wasn't a stranger to the museum, but she felt a little strange being there after hours; the rest of the rooms and corridors had been closed with velvet ropes and the rest of the lights had been shut off. She was careful not to look around too bewildered and attract attention.
Alex was a whirlwind of grace and high society, shaking hands with everyone that walked by congratulating her on the exhibit. What a stroke of genius it was and how on earth was she going to top it? Olivia watched as an older, plump gentleman approach them, shaking hands and waving on his way through the crowds. She recognized him from the Times as a member of the museum's board.
"Alexandra," he mumbled. "You must come, a few of the board members are wanting to speak with you."
Alex turned to Olivia and flashed a smile worthy of the front page. "You'll excuse me, won't you?" she said.
"I'll be fine," Olivia replied, waving a hand. She watched her companion glide across the room, always appreciating the chance to observe her move. It wasn't a surprise to her that she'd been introduced as Alex's "friend." There had never been time to discuss their relationship beyond the bedroom, though there was beginning to be more time spent outside it than there used to be. It'd been just over a year since their affair had started and though the sex was unmatched, Olivia was beginning to realise that she really enjoyed the companionship. It was a thought that frightened her and so she'd neglected to share any of it with Alex in their many talks because likely it'd mean those talks would cease to continue. She convinced herself time and again that this was how it should be; this was what made it good and what made them perfect for each other. There wasn't any of that emotional mess screwing things up.
A server stopped in front of the mechanic, obstructing her view of the blonde across the room. "Wine, miss?" he offered.
Olivia leaned around him, mildly annoyed. "Yes, thanks," she said, taking a glass without making eye contact. Having lost sight of Alex, Olivia turned to wander through the array of work displayed for the exhibit. She was surprised that though many of the artists' names were familiar, the works were not. All the same, she found herself drawn to them. Pausing in front of a modestly sized http://pics.livejournal.com/lonejaguar/pic/0001r8tz">Frida Kahlo canvas, Olivia sipped the shiraz thoughtfully.
"I think this is my favourite."
The low voice beside Olivia surprised her. She looked over to find a tall woman standing next to her, her long dark hair shone in the museum's art lighting. "I'm sorry?" Olivia said. The way the woman's mouth curled into a smile made Olivia's hand itch. She rubbed it on her hip.
"The painting," she replied, her voice sounded rough. "I really like it." The woman motioned towards it with her silver tray she seemed to forget she had. "Canapé?" She moved the tray in Olivia's direction.
Olivia picked a proffered canapé from the tray and popped it in her mouth. "Thanks," she said around the chevre mousse. "Sorry, I'm not used to these things."
The server laughed. Olivia immediately noticed the small dimples on her cheeks before their eyes met briefly. "I hate them too, but it pays the bills."
Olivia turned to look at the painting again, noting the vibrant colours and imagery. Even as she did, she could feel the heat from the server's gaze beside her. "So what makes this your favourite?" she asked, trying to distract herself from the thoughts running through her head.
"Oh, well," the woman hardly knew where to begin, it was obvious. She lowered the tray and held it against her hip with her left hand. "I've always been a big fan of Frida Kahlo. Ever since I was in college." Olivia watched the woman speak now that she was entranced with the work in front of them. Her voice was sultry without even meaning to be and the slight Southern drawl that only seemed to come out every few words was intoxicating. Olivia picked up another canapé, noting the curve of the server's hip. "The images from her past, spread out in front of her while she contemplates life in the bathtub." As she paused for a moment, the server popped a canapé herself. "I mean, the New York City building emerging from a volcano, how amazing is that?"
"You seem to love art," Olivia said, finishing her glass. She took the chance to admire the woman's body -- her neatly tailored uniform serving it well. Olivia's eyes didn't languish, but certainly didn't skip over anything, either.
The woman smiled at the walls. "S'why I took the job here. I may spend my time serving the Other Half, but at least I get to be surrounded by this." She paused suddenly, realizing what she had said. "Sorry, I didn't mean--"
"Don't worry," Olivia chuckled. "I'm on your side. This pomp and circumstance is something else." The other half, right. She'd forgotten all about them for a minute.
"Are you an artist?" The server picked up another canapé, her job description momentarily lost.
"Some may think so. I'm a mechanic."
The woman lifted her perfectly shaped eyebrows. "Oh yeah? My dad's a mechanic back in Texas." Ah, Texas, Olivia thought. She'd never been there before, but she might have to look into it. "So if you don't mind my asking, what's a mechanic like yourself doing at an art opening?"
"Ah " Olivia found Alex several paintings over, discussing something important over wine and Mary Cassatt. "Here with a friend."
The server followed her line of sight and Olivia inwardly cursed herself for waiting two seconds too long before answering. "D'you mean Alex Cabot?" She hummed. "I've heard about her."
Olivia found some joy in the fact that Alex's reputation preceded her. She picked up the last canapé from the tray and wondered if this server knew Alex like many women did. There really was something pleasurable about dating someone with such notoriety. She chewed carefully, delaying any response.
The shine of the tray in the art lighting caught the server's attention and she looked around as if being followed. She touched Olivia's arm and the mechanic swallowed her mouthful, glancing from the hand on her arm to the woman it belonged to. "Hold still, I'll be right back," she said and there was that smile again.
Alex's lessons on being coy were unintended, but Olivia picked up on them all the same. She took a few steps to the next painting, depositing her empty wine glass and picking up a full one in one fell swoop from a passing tray. Despite her nervousness at attending the function at all, Olivia was starting to enjoy herself. The art was great, the atmosphere was one she didn't have anything invested in beyond behaving herself and now she was being served by a strange, yet beautiful woman who seemed immensely interested in the woman Olivia arrived with. Or maybe it was herself this Southern Belle was interested in.
"I could get used to this," Olivia mumbled into her glass of wine.
"Okay, I brought the good ones." Olivia's server returned with a full tray. "I had to beat four other servers away just to get them." She breathed a sigh of relief like she'd just returned from war and looked Olivia over as she tried one of the new offerings. "So are you a big fan of art, or are you just here for the food?"
Olivia smirked. "Well I was here for the art, but these little things are starting to win me over."
"I didn't think Alex Cabot ever brought anyone to these functions." The server popped a canape into her mouth as if she wasn't sure who made that last comment.
"She doesn't," Olivia replied, raising her eyebrows. Turned out this woman might know more about Alex than she thought. "I drove her."
"Ah, so " she looked up at the new painting in front of them. "Car trouble?"
The mechanic shook her head. "Her car's fine."
They stared at each other over the half-eaten tray of canapés in relative silence. Olivia had been through this many times with Alex, each of them just waiting for the other to break. Little did Olivia know, the Southern beauty wasn't interested in playing any games. "Okay, so in case you haven't guessed, I'm just fishing here," she said, lifting her tray. "Can I take you out some time, or should I take my canapés over to the Georgia O'Keefe?"
She took one step before Olivia grabbed the tray with a smirk. "Now why would you want to do that?"
Neither Olivia, nor the server noticed Alex's impending approach. When she arrived, Olivia released the silver tray, but the smile never wavered. "Mind if I cut in?" Alex said smoothly, though not without an edge. She stepped close to her mechanic and faced the dark haired woman who didn't seem taken aback at all; almost as if this happened to her regularly at these events.
"Ms. Cabot, thank you for bringing such an amazing exhibit to us," the server said, professional again, her tray lifted to her chest.
"You're welcome," Alex replied, looking at Olivia rather than the woman speaking to her. "Are you ready to take a look around?"
"Sure that sounds great." The fire behind Alex's eyes betrayed her cool tone and Olivia was back in her role so as not to attract any unwanted press.
"And " Alex finally gave the server her attention. "I'm sure there are others here who'd appreciate those canapés, Ms ?"
"Carmichael," the server smiled, unfazed by the blonde's attitude and even dishing out a bit of her own. "Abbie Carmichael."
Olivia extended her hand. "Nice to chat with you, Abbie," she said with a smile. "I'm Olivia."
"Likewise," she replied. The handshake was firm, yet careful and Olivia glanced quickly between the two women as Abbie took a little too long to release her hand. She looked the pair up and down after letting Olivia go. "If you need more canapés, you two know where to find me."
With little flourish, Alex led Olivia away from the server, whisking through the crowds and hardly willing to stop at any artwork at all. Olivia could feel the annoyance vibrating from the blonde's skin and knew she was likely trying to stop herself from possessively taking Olivia's arm in her own.
"Making friends, are we?" Alex finally slowed her pace when she noticed a few people catching on, but didn't stop walking.
Olivia smiled widely enjoying the flustered socialite's demeanor. "Just keeping myself entertained without you." She pointed at a large canvas, grabbing Alex's arm to halt her. "Isn't this Frida Kahlo beautiful?"
"Yes, beautiful." Alex started to move again and Olivia was quick to follow. "I was starting to think you were developing a taste for the help."
The comment was so random and such an abandonment of Alex's cool exterior, Olivia had to laugh. "Well you know, this is how a little birdy told me things were done around these parts." She looked around and stopped in front of an immense, sweeping canvas full of deep greens, blues and yellows. "God, how come I've never seen this painting?"
Alex stopped again and looked up at the Emily Carr. "I imagine you wouldn't get much exposure to Canadian Art Nouveau on the East Side," she said simply.
Olivia raised her eyebrows. Finally, she was shocked. "Oh, the class discussion again, I see. Whatever would our relationship be without it?"
Taking Olivia's arm, Alex pulled her away. "Come with me, I want to show you something." Before she realized what was happening, Olivia found herself outside the museum doors and being approached by a valet attendant.
"Where are we going?" she asked, handing her ticket over.
"I thought we'd go back to my place," Alex responded.
Olivia stood close to Alex against the crisp fall wind. "What is wrong with you, anyway?"
Alex didn't turn. "Nothing's wrong with me." She shuffled her feet to keep herself warm. "I just want to go home. You're done looking, right?"
Olivia rolled her eyes and turned away. "Sure, no problem," she said as the Audi rolled up in front of them. She turned and opened the passenger door for Alex. "I can just see the rest of it next week with the regular folk like me," she said, slamming the door shut.
The discussion didn't stop, continuing on the way home, in the parking garage of Alex's building and up all fourteen floors to Alex's penthouse. Once the steel doors of the elevator slid open, Olivia emerged with haste and stopped in the front entrance, removing her green jacket. "All I'm saying," she started as if it was the hundredth time she was explaining it. "Is that your reaction to all this sounds a lot like those emotionally delicate women you say you can't stand."
She continued through the sunken living room and into the large kitchen, tossing her jacket onto the marble island countertop. Rounding the island, Olivia pulled a bottle and a couple of glasses from the cherry cabinets. Alex followed her casually, pulling the gold pashmina through her fingers as she walked and stopped a few feet from the mechanic just as Olivia turned with a glass tumbler in each hand.
"Are you telling me you think I'm jealous?" The fabric twisted around her hand.
Olivia hesitated then handed a glass to Alex. "There's no reason why you should be." Olivia downed the glass in one go and turned around to pour another. This was going to be interesting.
"I am not jealous," Alex stated. The mere thought was absurd. She followed Olivia's lead and shot-gunned the scotch and the mechanic turned, hearing the clink of ice cubes from next to her. She reached for the empty glass. "Least of all of a waitress." The hand holding said glass pointed at Olivia.
"You can't admit it, can you?" Olivia said with the satisfied smirk she knew Alex couldn't stand. She poured them both another drink and handed Alex her glass. Hiding behind her tumbler, Olivia raised her eyebrows and drained her glass. She knew she was just rattling the bars on Alex's cage now, wondering how the woman was going to react. This was the kind of thing she was sure Abbie would have abhorred, but Olivia was getting much better at it these days and after all, there was nothing more rare or entertaining than a high society woman facing her shrinking dignity with her back up against the wall. And Olivia had a front row seat.
The gold fabric in Alex's hands was tensed carefully and Olivia narrowed her eyes. "She did something to you, didn't she?" She couldn't contain the smirk on her face. Grabbing both glasses again, Olivia refilled them and studied Alex, daring her to say something, anything. The mechanic loosened her tie with one hand as she polished off her third scotch. "I can't believe I stunned you into silence."
Alex held the tumbler to her lips, pausing only for a moment. "You are such an asshole."
Olivia laughed, leaning against the edge of the island. Alex watched Olivia's head fall back, taking far too much enjoyment out of the situation and drained her glass. Tasting the last of the scotch on her lips, the blonde rounded the corner of the island and stood next to Olivia, their bodies barely touching. The mechanic turned to her, the smile fading, her front row seat suddenly transforming to courtside in an instant. "Tell me how you really feel," she said.
Alex leaned closer, her lips finding Olivia's ear. The slight puff of the mechanic's chest when Alex's fingers slipped under the white shirt was all her wounded pride needed to survive. "I'm not jealous," she lied, her voice soft. Pulling the white shirt open, Alex tucked her fingers into Olivia's waistband, pulling her against her body.
"You keep saying that," Olivia replied, that smile on her face again. She reached around Alex's waist and moved the blonde in front of her, leaning forward but pausing as their lips barely touched. "I don't believe you," she whispered.
Alex kissed her then, her lips hard and soft, pressing the mechanic against the cool marble. Olivia hummed as Alex pushed her white shirt open, her fingernails trailing lightly over her stomach. This wasn't exactly the result the mechanic intended by continuing this disagreement, not that she would stop it by any means. Olivia had just wanted to make sure Alex was still human, capable of the simple highs and lows of anyone, regardless of status or lot in life. And the softness of Alex's tongue sliding against her own told her she was exactly that.
Olivia's mouth pulled away, her lips touching Alex's neck as she spun them around and leaned the blonde against the countertop. Alex's fingers found the leather belt at Olivia's waist and tugged it free before pulling the zipper open. The mechanic stopped her then, her mouth voracious against the blonde's skin. Alex lifted her chin and closed her eyes. "Would you take her home?" she asked softly. Olivia ignored the question and took Alex's hips in both hands, lifting her onto the countertop. She hooked her fingers around the straps of Alex's dress, pulling them from her shoulders and covering every exposed inch of skin with her lips.
"Tell me," Alex asked again before her breast was warmed by Olivia's mouth. The soft curse was enough to send Olivia further and Alex's hands grasped at the shirt on the mechanic's back, her head falling forward.
Olivia pulled back suddenly, taking in the flushed appearance of the socialite perched on her island. Olivia could feel the heat on own her face as well. She pulled at the tie around her neck, unable to free herself from its confines. "Tell you what?" she finally replied, giving up. "Scoot back."
Alex did as she was told, sliding back a foot or so. She forgot about her question when Olivia lifted herself onto the island, their lips colliding again. Alex held Olivia's face between her hands and leaned back until she could feel the stone cooling her skin. "You thought about it, didn't you? Tell me what you'd do with her."
Olivia paused, looking at blonde hair splayed against black stone underneath the bright halogen lighting. "Why should I?" She bent forward then, her mouth teasing again. It had been just over a year that they'd lived this affair and Olivia would be damned if she didn't know Alex's stubbornness for getting the upper hand. This time she wasn't going to get it. At least not without admitting the defeat Olivia knew was there. Kissing her way to Alex's breast, Olivia's hand wandered its way to the hem of the blonde's dress. There was a lot she knew about Alex Cabot.
The gasp echoed into the living room of the penthouse when Olivia's straying hand ended up between Alex's legs. Going out meant company and Ms. Cabot was nothing if not prepared. If Alex's eyes were open, she likely would have slapped the satisfied smile from Olivia's face. As it was, her back arched as Olivia's fingers roamed, sliding ever so skillfully into the woman beneath her.
"Why won't you tell me?" Alex managed, her body shifting.
Olivia hushed her, taking a nipple into her mouth. She could feel the moan through her lips once her hand started moving: slowly, painstakingly in and out. Olivia viewed the veneer of sweat over Alex's body and leaned into her ear. The barely audible pleas for more didn't interest Olivia. "Because it doesn't matter," she said softly. "No games tonight."
Alex reached for her, snaking an arm between them and finding her way beyond the unzipped waistband of Olivia's trousers. Her fingers were barely there before Olivia sank down onto them, her forehead falling to the blonde's shoulder. They didn't speak again, moving with each other, against each other. It wasn't about games anymore; no more jockeying for position.
Olivia could feel the tension build quickly and unmercifully. Her eyes closed, trying to hold her body in check, waiting for those familiar sounds from Alex's throat. When it happened, it was wholly a different experience than it ever had been. Their voices mingled as they came, echoing throughout the condo, filling the kitchen and likely the neighbors' the floor below as well - with sound. Olivia eased herself down next to Alex, still not quite ready to relinquish her stake between her legs.
"I guess making dinner won't be the same again," she said.
Alex opened her eyes and looked at the mechanic. "You think I cook in here?"
Olivia chuckled, sliding off the marble. On her feet again, she pulled the black pants back over her hips and turned to the abandoned glasses.
There was a moment of silence as Alex pushed herself up and perched on the edge of the island, her legs dangling. "She turned me down," she said simply.
Olivia raised her eyebrows as she turned back, handing another tumbler of scotch to the blonde. There was something about a half naked woman sitting casually on the edge of a marble countertop in the penthouse of an uptown Manhattan building. "That's a shame," she replied, relishing the warmth sliding down her throat.
"Tell me about it." Alex sipped her drink as if toasting the unknown conquest. "I think she keeps that job just so she can make my life miserable every time there's a museum function."
Olivia smiled into her glass. "That's right," she said. "It's all about you."
"Damn right it is." It took a second, but Alex returned the crooked smile and set the tumbler aside.
Olivia stepped closer. Okay, so it wasn't a milestone confession, but it was a lot more vulnerable Olivia had ever seen Alex before. And that included naked in the throes of passion. She helped the blonde off the counter and held her close. "What do you say we take this somewhere more comfortable?"
Olivia stared at the ceiling hours later. It was about that time. She stopped needing to look at the clock months ago. The mutual understanding she and Alex had come to worked best for both of them. Little fuss. No attachment. Still, Olivia sometimes wondered what it'd be like. And like a storybook read over and over again, the mechanic shook her head and laughed inwardly at herself. She pulled back the covers and touched her feet to the soft carpeted floor. Searching for clothes in the dark was a skill Olivia mastered during her time with Alex but while she was always out the bedroom door in a manner of moments, this time, she dressed carefully.
Forgoing her bra, Olivia slid her arms through the white dress shirt and picked the pants up off the floor to take them into the living room. Alex's place always seemed so calm and relaxing in the middle of the night. Sometimes, Olivia would stick around for an extra hour or so, sitting in the living room looking at the moonlit art on the walls. Other times, she'd walk out onto the balcony and survey the twinkling expanse of Manhattan under the navy blue and pink sky; so much beauty in one place. Olivia would scarcely admit to anyone that most times, she didn't want to leave. Those were the rules of engagement, though. So dutifully she would leave, quietly slipping out into the early morning, nodding politely at George the doorman before braving the city streets. On occasion he'd tip his hat and even though she knew it was part of his job, it made her feel a little more human.
Stepping lightly on the deep-piled carpet, Olivia made her way to the bedroom door, the rest of her clothes in hand. She stopped at the door and looked out at the dark morning that awaited her. The cold wind whistled past the balcony doors and she sighed.
The voice behind her scared her half to death. Olivia turned quickly, momentarily guilty that she'd woken Alex up. "I'm sorry, did I wake you?"
Alex ignored her question and sat up in the large bed, the covers spilling around her waist. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, each one waiting for the other to speak; always playing those games.
Olivia looked out into the living room and back again. "I'm gonna miss my train." Was all she could think to say and pointed her thumb out the door as if to illustrate the point.
"Why don't you stay?"
The mechanic blinked, dumbfounded. The silence tore at her ears as she watched Alex stare back at her. If there was light in the room, she was positive she would have seen the same expression in the blonde's eyes, waiting painstakingly for an answer. If only she could think of one to give.
Taking a few steps toward the bed, Olivia pulled the plush blanket from it and balled it up in her arms. "Have you ever seen the sun rise from your balcony?"
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