DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm a day late. Surprise. Anyway, this series seems to be winding down, but every now and then, inspiration hits. I'm not really sure where it comes from, but I'll keep on writing them down as long as the dedicated few keep reading them. So, I'd love to hear your feedback I know the show has referred to Alex's mother, but I don't recall an actual name ever being used. If anyone remembers a name, or if I inadvertently borrowed the name I used from another fic writer, let me know and I'll be happy to change it here. This story is obviously set preceding Mrs. Cabot's death as mentioned by Alex in the episode Ghost.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To sunsetwriter[at]mindspring.com
SERIES: Part of the Holiday Shorts series.
Holiday Short Mother's Day
Olivia sat across the table from Alex and Catherine Cabot and couldn't help but notice the family resemblance. She would never tell Alex, but she felt like she was getting a glimpse into Alex's future when she looked at the elder Cabot.
Both women had the same coloring and bone structure, as well as many physical traits and mannerisms that were startlingly similar. Alex had confided in Olivia that she some times found her mother to be 'too stuffy'. Olivia had almost bitten a hole through her tongue to not reveal to Alex that some people thought that very same thing about her on occasion.
But, Olivia had been one of the privileged few that got to see a different side of Alex - a side that she didn't reveal in her public persona of Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot. ADA Cabot was strictly professional, cool under pressure, and tried to remain unemotional, especially in the courtroom. Non-ADA Alex, on the other hand, was actually warm, witty and downright charming at times. Olivia had been surprised and delighted to discover the transformation in Alex from her professional to her personal life and was always happy to spend as much time in the personal realm as possible.
So, today, Olivia found herself attending a Mother's Day Brunch with Alex and Catherine at the country club where Catherine and Alex's late father had been long-time members. Olivia had argued that this should be purely a mother-daughter day, but Alex had persuaded her to come along. Olivia had long known that ADA Cabot could be very persuasive, but she had found Non-ADA Alex's powers of persuasion to be very effective also. However, last night, after agreeing to anything Alex wanted, Olivia did strongly suggest that neither of their mothers ever be mentioned again while she and Alex were in the same bed. Now, Olivia hoped she wasn't blushing at the memory as she watched the two Cabots from across the table.
The conversation hit a lull and Alex excused herself from the table to visit the ladies room. Though she tried to resist, Olivia just couldn't help but watch Alex's retreating form as she made her way toward the restrooms in the back corner of the clubhouse restaurant. She was wearing loose linen pants that really didn't reveal much, but Olivia still found the view mesmerizing.
"So, Detective Benson," Catherine's voice brought Olivia's attention away from Alex's posterior and back to her elder brunch companion.
"Please, call me Olivia," the detective said as she took a sip of her mimosa.
Catherine smiled. "Very well, then, Olivia, is this where I question your intentions with my daughter?"
Olivia's eyes widened over the top of her glass. The sip she had just taken began to wage a war in her mouth. The way Olivia saw it, she had two options: one spit the swallow back into the glass, which would probably be severely frowned upon in the posh country club, especially with Alex's 'stuffy' mother watching; or two risk swallowing and hope the sip found its way down the right path rather than into her windpipe or out through her nose.
Olivia chose the second option and hoped for the best as she quickly placed her glass on the table and snatched her napkin from her lap to cover her mouth, just in case disaster struck anyway. She managed to swallow with only a minimal amount of sputtering and gave Catherine what could only be described as a deer-in-the-headlights look.
"M-my intentions?" she all but squeaked. Clearing her throat, she tried again. "I'm not sure what you mean."
Catherine gave her a knowing look. "Oh, please, Olivia. I see the way you look at my daughter." She paused for effect, as if she enjoyed making Olivia squirm. Then, in a little softer tone, she added, "And, I see the way my daughter looks at you."
Quite certain that Alex had never officially 'come out' to her mother, Olivia really didn't know the best way to respond. She was sure she must look like a fish-out-of-water gasping for air as her mouth moved but no words came forth.
Catherine either had Olivia right where she wanted her, or took pity on her, because she continued speaking, relieving Olivia of the imminent need to form a coherent sentence.
"I just want you to know that, despite my urging, Alexandra has never brought any of her previous suitors to even meet me, much less share a meal." Pinning Olivia with her eyes, she continued. "I'm sure you realize that my daughter doesn't trust easily, nor do I, but she seems to trust you, Olivia, so therefore, I am trusting you. And by that, I mean I am trusting that you will not break her heart. She speaks very highly of you and practically gushes on occasion well, as much as Alexandra can gush about anything," she added with a wry smile. "In any case, it is quite clear that you are special to her, and while she has never asked for my approval, and I don't really expect her to at this point, I'm still her mother and I will always have her best interest at heart."
"And you don't think I'm in her 'best interest'?" Olivia asked quietly, thinking that she was about to be asked to bow quietly out of Alex's personal life.
Catherine almost looked startled by the question. "Oh, quite the contrary, my dear. I have never seen Alexandra's eyes light up quite the way they do when she is speaking of you. I don't think she's even aware of it, and I'm quite certain she would be flabbergasted to know that we are having this conversation."
"That makes two of us," Olivia said almost under her breath, but she couldn't help relax a bit since it no longer seemed that Catherine was about to accuse her of corrupting her daughter.
Catherine smiled at Olivia's admission. "I will admit that when I envisioned Alexandra finally 'settling down' with someone, I didn't think it would be with another woman, but " She seemed to scrutinize Olivia for a moment before continuing. "Now that I think of it, I'm not sure a man could handle her need for independence and autonomy." Catherine paused as if she were seriously contemplating that idea. "At any rate," she continued, "as long as my daughter is happy, I don't think I should complain. I feel quite certain that you can keep her safe as well as happy, and her trust fund will compensate for the paltry sum I'm sure both of you are paid by the city." Catherine paused again, as if to gauge Olivia's reaction to that little revelation. Her eyes seemed to bore into Olivia, actually causing the detective to make a conscious effort not to squirm in her chair. Noting Olivia's obvious discomfort, Catherine's lips hinted at a smile. "You didn't even know Alexandra had a trust fund did you?"
Olivia took a deep breath. "No." She looked Catherine directly in the eye and continued. "And 'my intentions' toward Alex have nothing to do with her money. Her intelligence, her integrity, her sharp wit, and her beauty both inner and outer are far more attractive to me than her money could ever be."
Catherine smiled a genuine smile and Olivia realized that she must have passed the test Alex's mother had seemed intent on giving her. "I'm beginning to see why my daughter is drawn to you, Olivia. At first glance, the two of you are nothing alike, but it seems that you may be kindred spirits. I'm thankful that Alexandra has you in her life." She paused for a moment. "And, if I may be so bold, I'm glad you have her in yours also."
A little taken aback, Olivia said quietly, "Me, too."
"Thank you for your honesty, Olivia. Treat my daughter well, and we'll get along just fine."
Olivia swallowed and blinked, not sure if she was really expected to give a reply. Catherine's smile widened as she saw Alex returning to the table and she effectively ended the conversation with, "I'm glad we had this chat, Olivia. Although, I see no need to share it with Alexandra, do you?"
"No, ma'am," Olivia replied as she picked up her glass and downed the rest of her drink.
Looking curiously from Olivia to her mother, Alex reclaimed her seat at the table. Sensing a bit of tension coming from Olivia's side of the table, Alex looked to her mother to find her relaxed and smiling. "So what did I miss?"
"Olivia and I were just getting to know each other a little better, weren't we, dear?" Catherine answered, but directed the question to Olivia.
Olivia nodded. "Absolutely."
Alex continued to eye the detective curiously, but was glad to see that she looked a little more relaxed now as she attempted to smile sweetly. Alex did note that Olivia didn't elaborate on her conversation with her mother, and she made a mental note to ask her about their discussion later.
They finished their brunch, enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the club gardens and then parted ways.
As they headed back toward the city, with Olivia behind the wheel of Alex's car, Alex looked over to her companion and breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, that wasn't too bad, was it?"
Olivia chuckled, thinking that Alex really had no idea, but instead replied, "I survived."
Looking at Olivia curiously, Alex said, "My mother seemed to like you, which is more than I can say for anyone else I've ever dated. Although, it may be different if she knew we were actually dating and not just friends," she conceded.
Wondering what the attorney would think if she knew about the 'interview' that she had endured and her mother's thoughts on the subject, Olivia glanced over to Alex. "You know, she seemed rather liberal, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to tell her. About us."
"Oh my God, Liv, my reasoning has nothing to do with you, but that's a conversation I really don't plan to have with Mother. I can just hear her now, ranting about what all of her friends will think and how I've failed her by suddenly becoming a lesbian. As if that's something you can actually 'become' on a whim."
"I don't know, Alex, I think you should give her a little more credit than that. She just wants you to be happy." She cut her eyes briefly to Alex to find a look of shock. "I would think," she quickly added, hoping Alex wouldn't ask what prompted her to say that.
No such luck. Alex looked at her like she had sprouted wings. "What exactly did you two talk about while I was in the bathroom?"
"Oh, you know Like she said, just getting to know each other."
"Uh huh. What else?"
"Why do you think there's anything else?"
"Because when I got back to the table, you had a really odd look on your face, you downed your entire drink, and now you're avoiding my questions."
"I'm not avoiding your questions." She cut her eyes briefly to Alex again to see the look of shock replaced by one of skepticism. "I'm just trying to decide which Cabot wrath I'd rather suffer your mother's for disclosing a conversation she asked me to keep confidential or yours for not spilling the beans."
"Can I offer a suggestion?"
"Please," Olivia replied, curious to hear what Alex had to say.
"I would suggest that you might not want to piss off the Cabot that you're sleeping with," Alex said wryly.
Olivia laughed. "That's definitely food for thought," she replied as Alex's cell phone rang. "Saved by the bell," Olivia said with a smile.
"That's what you think," Alex replied. The bluetooth feature on her phone kicked in and 'Mother' appeared on the car's display screen, indicating that the incoming call was from Catherine. Alex touched the screen to answer the call.
"Hello, dear." Catherine's voice emanated from the car's speakers and Olivia wondered if Alex's mother would realize that she was on speakerphone. "Thank you again for a delicious brunch."
"It was my pleasure, Mother." Then Alex glanced toward Olivia, as if hoping to confirm her next statement. "We both enjoyed it."
"It was delightful meeting Olivia. I'm glad you convinced her to join us. She's quite charming."
Alex and Olivia both looked a little surprised, and Alex gave Olivia another curious look. Knowing that her mother could be brutally honest, she was just about to inform her that she was on the car's speakerphone when Catherine abruptly changed the subject.
"The reason I'm calling, Alexandra, is that I forgot to tell you that I have extra tickets to the Club's Spring Gala next weekend. You should come. And bring Olivia." It wasn't really a question.
Another cautious glance at Olivia, whose only reaction was a single raised eyebrow, and Alex hedged. "Oh, I don't know, Mother "
"Darling, surely you can find a few hours in your busy schedule to humor your mother. I don't want the tickets to go to waste. Besides, don't you think Olivia would just look stunning in evening wear?"
Olivia's eyes widened and Alex was momentarily speechless. When she found her voice, she answered hesitantly. "Uh I'm sure she would, Mother but "
"Wonderful! I'll expect to see you both Saturday at eight o'clock."
Thinking she was onto her mother's ruse, Alex asked warily, "Mother, this is not another of your attempts at setting me up with a blind date, is it?"
"If that were the case, why would I have asked you to bring Olivia?"
Alex started to answer, but then realized she really didn't have an answer for that. She glanced yet again over to Olivia, who seemed to be concentrating on driving and doing a pretty good job of not meeting Alex's eye.
"Alexandra? Are you still there?"
"Yes, Mother, I'm here. I'm just not sure I understand the question."
Catherine's sigh was audible. "Darling, can we please stop this charade? I'm encouraging you to bring Olivia as your date for the evening." Out of the corner of her eye, Olivia saw Alex's chin drop as her mother continued speaking. "You don't have to make a spectacle of it, but neither of you seem to be the type for that anyway. Although, you do seem quite smitten with each other. However, if you would prefer to come alone, that's fine, but I'd love for you to bring Olivia if she would agree to accompany you."
Alex remained speechless as she gaped at the small screen as if waiting for her mother's image to appear to confirm that she wasn't speaking to a total stranger.
Olivia felt the need to come to Alex's aid as best she could. "Catherine? It's Olivia. How about Alex and I discuss it and we'll let you know?"
"Oh, Olivia, hello. I'm afraid I may have given Alexandra a bit of a surprise." Catherine still didn't seem to realize that she was on speakerphone. "It seemed as though you handled our earlier conversation quite well, so I thought I might just nudge Alexandra to How is it said? Come out of the cupboard?" Olivia stifled a snort and Alex, who seemed to be slowly recovering her senses, shook her head and chuckled quietly. "At any rate, I seem to have rendered her speechless or ruffled her feathers, I'm not sure which."
"I'm still here, Mother, and my feathers are fine. But I will admit that you could probably knock me over with one of them right now."
"My apologies, dear. But, did you really think I would be so difficult to talk to? Or that I wouldn't approve?"
"That thought did occur to me," Alex replied with a little humor. Then her tone became a little more serious. "You're very traditional, Mother. I guess I didn't want to disappoint you or cause you any grief by being non-traditional."
"As I told Olivia, I just want you to be happy, darling, and I can see that you are, so how can I not approve of that?"
Even though her mother couldn't see her, Alex smiled a tight-lipped smile and Olivia would swear she was blinking back a tear. "Thank you, Mother," she finally said, her voice full of the emotion she was trying so hard not to show. Olivia reached over and patted her thigh. With that, Alex cleared her throat and her normal calm, cool demeanor returned. She laughed quietly and said, "You two must have packed quite a conversation into the few minutes I was away from the table..."
"Don't be cross with Olivia now, I was the one who instigated our little talk. She merely confirmed what I already suspected. Aaaaand, I may have goaded her into doing that."
"We should bring her in to interrogate suspects," Olivia said under her breath so that only Alex could hear.
Smiling at Olivia, Alex said to her mother, "So, you're telling me I should thank her for taking the heat on my behalf? I've been trying to get her to tell me what you talked about, but so far, she's been quite adept at dodging my questions."
Catherine surprised them yet again with her reply. "A woman of her word. All the more reason you should hang on to her, Alexandra. I'll look forward to seeing you both at the Gala."
They signed off and Alex leaned back against the car seat and took in a deep breath.
Olivia gave her a quick glance. "You OK?"
"To say that was a little surreal would be the understatement of the year."
Olivia smiled. "So, how does it feel to come out of the cupboard?"
That earned a chuckle from Alex. "It actually feels liberating."
"Liberating as in burning your bra and running naked through the streets?" Olivia asked with a laugh.
Alex rolled her eyes. "Hardly. Although, I might take off my bra and run naked through the bedroom."
Olivia grinned. "Remind me to write Mother Cabot a thank you note for that."
Alex scoffed. "She likes you, but I wouldn't press my luck if I were you. Calling her 'Mother Cabot' would most likely be frowned upon. And, I have a feeling writing her a thank you note for getting to see her daughter run around naked might be considered 'making a spectacle' by her definition."
"So, I definitely shouldn't mention the mind-blowing sex, then?"
Alex laughed a short bark of a laugh. "No. And I thought we agreed to not include our sex life and our mothers in the same conversation."
"You're right. We did. But the fact that your mother actually knows we have a sex life might have rattled my cage just a little."
Alex's eyes widened. "Oh my God! Do you think she knows we're sleeping together?"
Olivia tried her best not to laugh, but wasn't very successful. "Well, Sweetie, that comes with the territory, don't you think?"
"It's not funny, Olivia. Mother is very inquisitive. What if she asks me what it's like to have sex with a woman?"
Olivia couldn't help but be amused that the normally stoic and very-together Alex seemed to be a little rattled herself. "Did she ever ask you what it's like to have sex with a man?"
"No. But she already knows the answer to that." Alex cringed. "Just when I think this day couldn't get any more surprising, now we're talking about my mother's sex life." Alex shook her head as if trying to clear her thoughts. "I really don't want to discuss sex of any kind with Mother." She shook her head again. "We should have just denied everything and stayed in our cupboard!"
Olivia would have laughed again if Alex hadn't truly begun to sound like she was on the verge of a full blown panic attack. She reached over and took Alex's hand and said, "OK, calm down and take a deep breath. You don't honestly think your mother is going to want to know details about our sex life, do you?"
Olivia was pleased to see that Alex actually took a deep breath and then seemed to realize how ludicrous that really sounded. "No. But I also didn't think she would interrogate you and then yank us both out of the closet while drinking mimosas and eating Eggs Benedict either."
"Back to the liberating part," Olivia began, trying to be the voice of reason a role that usually fell to Alex. "Don't you feel a little bit better now that she knows? Now that we don't have to hide our relationship from her?"
"I do," she admitted. "I also tend to over think things, as I'm sure you know," she added with a wry chuckle. "Maybe I just need a little time to get used to the idea that she knows and was so accepting. It's not at all what I expected."
"Well, sometimes people surprise us, and this time, I'd say we're pretty lucky with your mom's reaction."
Alex squeezed the hand she was still holding. "You're right, Liv. So, thank you for whatever you said to her."
"I only told her the truth," Olivia replied.
Alex nodded. "Maybe I should have done that years ago." She hesitated for a moment, as if contemplating the idea. "But, I swear to you, if she gets overly curious about things, I'm either gonna lie through my teeth or refer her to you for an answer."
Olivia laughed. "So, you do want me to tell her about the mind-blowing sex?"
"No!" Alex couldn't help but laugh again at the idea that they were still having this conversation. "But, she thinks you're charming, so I plan to use that charm as a shield for my own protection whenever I need it."
Olivia grinned. "OK then, I'll make you a deal," she said, causing Alex to give her a curious look. "Let's get all dressed up and go to your mother's spring fling." Alex continued to look curious as if waiting for an explanation, so Olivia elaborated. "It'll make her happy that you're there and give her a chance to be around us as a 'non-spectacle-causing' couple. If we seem 'normal' to her, then maybe that will squelch some of this rabid curiosity you're so concerned about."
"Protecting me from my mother all evening doesn't sound very fun for you... How do you benefit from this deal?"
Olivia smiled. "I'll get to spend an evening with you looking incredibly gorgeous in an evening gown, and then take you home for some of that mind-blowing sex we're not going to tell your mother about."
Alex couldn't help but smile. "Well, that's awfully confident."
Olivia smirked. "Hey, if I can charm Mother Cabot, I'm pretty sure I can charm the pants off of her daughter "
"I'm pretty sure you already have, but you've got yourself a deal," Alex said as she began to laugh.
"What's so funny?"
"You just accomplished something in less than a minute that Mother's been trying to do for years."
"Make me actually look forward to the Spring Gala "
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