DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Part of the Holiday Shorts series.
Holiday Short - Earth Day
The tired ADA leaned over her half empty beer glass and propped her elbow on the table, chin resting in her hand. Very unlady-like her mother would say. She watched the weary detective sitting across from her drain her glass and then catch the eye of the waitress while she pointed to her empty glass.
This case had been a drain on all of them. They had done all they could and built the best case possible with the evidence they had. Alex felt confident that the jury would convict, but until she heard the verdict read in court, there was always that little voice that asked if she had really done enough.
The waitress brought another round and Olivia raised the glass to Alex as she took the first sip. "Here's to nailing that bastard's ass to the wall." Alex's mother would have been appalled at the detective's language. Alex, on the other hand, thought the sentiment was quite appropriate.
It was just the two of them tonight. Elliot hadn't seen his wife and kids in four days, so he went home as soon as the court recessed for the day. Munch and Fin caught a case as they were heading out to O'Malley's leaving Alex, Olivia and the captain as the lone three headed to the bar. Don had his usual ginger ale and then left the detective and the ADA to their own devices, or vices, as it were.
Alex drank to Olivia's toast and then heaved a tired sigh. "Do you ever just wish that you would meet a man, get married, settle down, have two point three kids and live a normal life?"
The question caught Olivia completely off guard. She stopped drinking mid-sip and looked at Alex, beer foam coating her lips. She blinked, swallowed, put down her glass and licked her lips. "Uh, no, not really."
Alex gave a wry chuckle. "Me neither. I just wondered if I'm really as unconventional as my mother seems to think. She can't fathom the fact that I don't want that kind of life. At least, not right now."
Olivia cocked her head. "Someday, maybe?" She and Alex had never really ventured into a conversation about their personal lives. The detective was intrigued.
Alex shook her head. "I doubt it. But letting her think that I may entertain the possibility some day seems to keep her at bay for now. I think it would completely rock her world to know that her only daughter has absolutely no maternal yearnings at the moment, nor the desire to be arm candy for some snobbish attorney I can run circles around in a courtroom."
Olivia smiled. "Now there's four words I've never even considered using in the same sentence: Alex Cabot and arm candy. Not that you don't have the looks," she added quickly. "But with your brains, you seem terribly overqualified to be anyone's mere decoration."
Alex looked a bit surprised at Olivia's assessment of her. "Thank you. I'd certainly like to think so, but my mother doesn't seem to share that opinion. She's more of a traditionalist, I suppose."
"Mom has her eye on an attorney for you, does she?"
Alex rolled her eyes. "My father was an attorney, as was my grandfather. Don't get me wrong, they were good at what they did, but so am I. I'd much rather follow in my father's footsteps than my mother's and therein lies the problem." She took a sip of beer. "So what about you?"
Olivia hesitated. "Well, I definitely don't want to follow in my father's footsteps."
Alex stiffened. "Olivia, I didn't mean "
Olivia held up her hand. "I know, Alex. It's okay. I've accepted who I am. I just don't think I have the greatest genes to pass along, you know?"
Alex looked shocked. "You don't really feel that way, do you?"
Olivia traced a stain on the table with her fingertip. "I'm pretty much married to the job, so it's really a moot point anyway, but, yeah. I don't want to saddle a kid with that."
"You think I'd joke about it?"
"No. But, Olivia, you are so not your father. You are one of the kindest, most compassionate, good-hearted people I know."
Olivia looked up and Alex was glad to see her expression was almost amused. "You didn't think that last week when I was trying to talk you into that search warrant."
Alex scoffed. "You had absolutely no real evidence to go on, and you that knew when you asked, or rather demanded that warrant." She softened her expression. "But just because I don't agree with you all the time, doesn't mean I think you're a bad person. Any kid would be lucky to have you for a mom."
Olivia gave Alex another amused expression as she gestured toward the glass in front of her. "How much have you had to drink?"
"Probably more than I should, but not so much that I don't know what I'm saying."
"Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, but I still don't think I'm a good candidate for motherhood. I'm not sure why we're even talking about this because last time I checked it takes two to make a baby."
Olivia's eyebrows shot skyward. "Maybe you should tell that to your mother," she said with a laugh.
Alex laughed. "I don't want to give her a heart attack, I just want her to quit trying to mold me into a Stepford wife. If she had any idea " Alex's voice trailed off as if she realized she was about to reveal more than she should. She took a deep breath and said, "I'm sorry, Olivia, I really didn't mean to bring up such a personal issue. Can we just change the subject?"
"Alex, it's OK." She could hear genuine frustration in the ADA's voice. "But I am curious. Why did you ask the question?"
Alex shrugged as she shook her head and contemplated her words. "I don't know. I'm exhausted, as I'm sure you are, and my mental state is off I guess." She hesitated. "And my mother called me this morning to see if I had a date for tomorrow's Earth Day benefit that she sent me tickets for. When I ignored her question and told her I was due in court and didn't have time to talk, she asked me when I was going to settle down and have a normal life. So, like I said, I just wanted confirmation that I'm not the only one who doesn't have aspirations to be a soccer mom with a mini-van and a racquet club membership."
Olivia smirked. "Why don't you go to the benefit alone? You never know, you might meet Mr. Right while you're there."
Alex shook her head and laughed. "Oh, I seriously doubt that. Besides, who said I'm looking for Mr. Right?" Olivia arched an eyebrow and was trying to decide if her hearing betrayed her or if the emphasis was really on the 'Mr.' in Alex's question.
Olivia decided to play it safe and assume that the beer combined with fatigue had affected her hearing or Alex's speech or both. "Mr. Right Now, then?"
Alex scoffed. "Mr. No Way In Hell is probably more like it." She took another sip of her beer. "What about you?"
Olivia halted her glass half way to her lips. "What about me?" She then took a sip and hoped she could swallow it before Alex asked a question that made it detour through her nose.
'Think about the last man you went out with. Was he Mr. Right material?"
"Obviously not, since I'm not dating anyone now."
"So what was wrong with him? I need some more ammunition to use on Mother since she seems to be sick of hearing the same excuses from me all the time."
Olivia seemed to ponder for a moment. "Let me see The last man I went out with hmm."
Alex looked amused watching the detective. "Are you trying to remember his virtues or his name?"
"Well, it has been a while."
"What about Michael?"
Olivia gave the ADA a look of mild surprise. "How did you know about Michael?"
Alex shrugged. "I heard you mention the name and I heard your partner ask you about him once. And it wasn't that long ago."
Olivia smiled and nodded. "That's true. But you asked me to think of the last man I dated, and it definitely wasn't Michael." Olivia saw the look of confusion forming on the ADA's face. "And no, I haven't slept with so many people since Michael that I can't remember their names."
"No, I didn't-" Alex hesitated and then frowned. "I'm afraid you lost me."
Olivia smiled. "Alex, Michael was a woman."
Alex looked surprised for a moment and then laughed. "You're kidding."
Olivia wasn't sure whether to be relieved or offended. "No. I haven't dated a man in quite a while now."
Alex continued to grin. "Well, in that case, how would you like to go to a benefit concert tomorrow night?"
Olivia was speechless. "Uh "
Alex laughed out loud again as she reached in her purse to pull out the concert tickets. "I'm sorry, but the irony here is just too much." She put the tickets on the table and slid them over to Olivia. "If it's not classical, Mother knows nothing about music. She thinks they're a children's choir."
Olivia looked at the tickets to see the name of the headlining act and laughed. "Your mother bought you tickets to see the Indigo Girls?" she asked with amusement.
"She really thinks they're a children's choir?"
"She does. And she also thinks I'm straight. And so far, I've never had the inclination nor the fortitude to set her straight on the issue, so you see my dilemma."
Olivia stared for a moment as if absorbing this new information. "And you want me to be your date?"
"We don't have to call it a date. But now I can tell Mother that I've asked a colleague to attend the benefit with me, she'll assume it's a male attorney, and I'll be off the hook with her for at least a week or so."
Olivia laughed. "I feel so used."
"You'll get to enjoy a free concert. Does that mean you'd like to go?"
Olivia eyed Alex for a moment as if contemplating something. Then she nodded. "Yes. But what if I would like to call it a date?"
Alex slowly smiled. "Then I must remember to do something extra special for Mother to thank her for those tickets."
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