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It's How You Play the Game
By Ann


Stepping onto the "Spirit of America," the two women made their way to the far end of the ferry. There were only a handful of people making the return trip from Staten Island to lower Manhattan, and the lovers didn't have any trouble finding a quiet spot away from the other passengers.

"Wow, this is nice. I don't think I've ever ridden on the ferry with this few people," Alex remarked, looking out over the water.

"Yeah, well, how many times have you taken the ferry in the middle of the week at three o'clock in the morning?" Olivia grumbled as she moved next to her lover.

Facing the sullen detective, Alex replied, "We could've stayed at Serena's and taken the ferry in the morning. She did offer, you know."

"I wanted to sleep in my own bed tonight, or rather, this morning. Besides, I don't think her sleeper sofa would've been very comfortable," the detective continued to express her unhappiness at their current situation.

"You're just in a foul mood because you lost the poker game. You certainly were in great spirits when you were winning. Everything would've been fine if we'd left at eleven as Abbie suggested, but no, you wanted to keep on playing," Alex stated, wrapping her arms around herself to try to ward off the chill of the air.

"If we'd left, I would've never heard the end of it from Abbie. Yes, she did say that we could leave early, but she didn't really mean it. She'd have accused me of leaving before she'd had a chance to recoup her losses," Olivia explained as she reflexively placed an arm around the blonde, pulling her closer so that the ADA could reap the benefits of the her warm-blooded nature.

Alex melted into her lover's side and asked, "Then how come the other players left?"

"Because they're wusses; they didn't want to take the chance of losing any more money," Olivia surmised, rubbing her hand up and down the blonde's arm.

"I think they saw the look in your and Abbie's eyes and decided it was the perfect time to leave. I swear; you two can be a pair of cutthroats when it comes to winning."

"No, we're not. We're just both very competitive," Olivia protested as she increased the speed of her hand, noting her lover was so cold she was starting to shake, and the detective's mood immediately turned to one of concern.

"Alex, let's move indoors. You'll catch your death of cold out here."

The stubborn blonde shook her head and walked out of the warm embrace to sit on a small bench. Opening her bag, she pulled out two insulated mugs and a thermos, and Olivia watched in surprise as her lover proceeded to pour a steaming liquid into the cups.

"Where in the world did you get that thermos? And what is that? Coffee?" The detective asked, joining the ADA on the bench.

Grinning, Alex handed her lover a mug and replied, "Hot chocolate. Serena made some while you and Abbie were playing out your version of 'The Cincinnati Kid.' She leant me her thermos and a couple of mugs so that I'd have something to keep me warm."

Taking the offered mug, Olivia immediately protested, "Hey, don't make fun of 'The Cincinnati Kid.' It's a classic tale, not to mention the best poker playing movie ever made. It's got your newcomer trying to knock off the old pro, and ... wait a minute. What do you mean you needed something to keep you warm? What am I? Chopped liver?"

"No, sweetie, you're temporarily obsessed with losing to Abbie. I just thought I'd bring along a substitute body warmer until you'd gotten over your poker loss," Alex answered, sipping slowly on her hot chocolate.

Sliding closer to her lover, Olivia put her arm around the blonde, and Alex burrowed into the brunette and smiled. The two sat in silence, snuggling together and occasionally drinking from their mugs.

As the lights from the Whitehall Terminal came into view, the couple began to pack up the thermos and mugs, and Olivia shouldered the bag as the two made their way toward the closest exit gate.

"Feeling better, Liv?"

"Yeah, sorry about being so grumpy, but you have to admit, Abbie got lucky on that last hand," Olivia replied as the ferry slowly began its approach to the landing.

"Well, seeing as how you're off tomorrow and I don't have to go in until the afternoon, I think I could arrange for you to get lucky when we get home," Alex teased, leaning into her lover and watching as a huge smile grew on the detective's face.

Taking her lover's hand, Olivia led her from the ferry; she'd drawn the winning hand after all.

The End

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