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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Do you mind?"
Alex held off pressing the send button. "Excuse me?"
"Can we go five minutes without habeas corpus or undue prejudice or whatever?" Olivia would have added a slight smile to avoid offending her companion, but that would have required her to look away from the sheet of ice that had been Highway 81 at one time.
The ADA seemed a bit surprised, but nonetheless tucked the cell phone back into her purse. "Sorry; just trying to stay caught up. These road trips murder my schedulewhoa." It was her first peek out the windshield since Orange County. "This looks bad."
No shit, Sherlock. Olivia refrained from the ill-advised reply. Anything she had to say would likely reflect the stiffness of her neck from hunching over this damn steering wheel, or the aching of her head from listening to an assistant district attorney give dictation to her secretary for the past two hours. Give me John Munch going on about how Elvis killed Kennedy or Elliot stressing about his kids any time over that.
Fuck! The car about a quarter of a mile in front of them had just gone into a slide. "Turn into it," Olivia encouraged the other driver. She tapped her brakes, but of course there was still no traction; all that would do was fishtail them into the ditch. "Shit." She tried to predict where the other car would end up.
As Alex nervously laid a hand against the dashboard, Olivia took her best guess. When the other vehicle spun around again, their own car edged carefully around it.
"Well done." The ADA let out a breath. A moment passed, and she spoke again. "Do you think this is safe?"
Olivia laughed. "Hell, no."
"I agree." Alex pulled out her cell again. "Jessica, will you call the Kingston P.D.? Tell them we're not going to make it up there tonight. We'll have to meet up with them in the morning."
Guess we're making a stop. Olivia tried to remember if she had seen any signs advertising hotels recently. Not that she would have known; every billboard and mile sign for the last hundred miles had been covered with falling snow. She decided to chance the next exit.
Damn. The "No" lettering on the motel sign was clear, and the "Vaency" was close enough. OK, how many motels did this little berg have?
Three, according to the next owner who had no rooms either. Great weather for business, he decreed with a smile, oblivious to the detective's growing scowl. He was charging double his usual rates, and people were glad to pay it. Olivia glared at him. Why did people feel the need to tell her shit like that? She tried to steer him back to her original question. "This other place is half a mile which way?"
By the time she stomped back to the car, Detective Benson was ready to violate someone's civil rights in variety of ways. When she yanked open the car door, though, her friend's startled expression brought her back to earth. "Sorry," she muttered, easing into the driver's seat. "Strike two. Maybe we should sleep in the damn car." Of course she had no intention of putting Alex through that. If need be, she'd get behind the wheel again and crawl down the road to another exit.
For the third time in the last half hour, Olivia left a beautiful blonde in the passenger seat of her car while she traipsed over to the entrance of a small motel lobby. There was no one behind the desk, and she propped her elbows on the counter, waiting patiently for the moment that Billy Joe or Jimmy Joe or whoever would finally return from the pumpkin patch. Now, don't be a bitch, Liv. "You got any rooms?" she asked tiredly when the proprietor emerged from the back with an apology. She braced herself for rejection.
"One left," he declared. "Upstairs, single, non-smok"
The door burst open, and a man shook snow from his floor-length coat.
"Whatever," Olivia interrupted. "We'll take it." Better than Plan B, which was to offer the guy a fifty to curl up with Alex on the love seat in his lobby although there would have been one obvious advantage to that arrangement . . . .
The parking lot was long and narrow, and the small mountain range created by an inept snowplow driver had blocked out at least a third of the regular parking spots. "Are we still in the same time zone?" Olivia groused, steering the car into a relatively clear space around the corner. The instant she turned the vehicle off, she slammed her hands against the wheel. "What the hell am I thinking?" she said. "I'm sorry, Alex. I should have let you off at the stairs."
She started to turn the key again, but a hand on her arm stopped her. "I'm fine," Alex said. "I'll walk with you."
Eying random patches of ice lurking on the concrete lot, Olivia draped their overnight bags and Alex's suit carrier over her left shoulder. Her right hand stayed clear, poised to steady Alex when they hit their first slick spot. "Damn heels," the attorney said a little self-consciously.
"Hey, don't knock it," Olivia said. "If this guy turned me down, I was going to have you come in and flash some leg. The heels were an essential part of my plan."
"It's a good thing this skirt's slit up the side, then," Alex joked.
Olivia resisted the temptation to check out the skirt in question. "In Kefauver's court today, were you?"
"No, but I'm glad you said that," Alex said. "I thought I was imagining things."
How oblivious could the lawyer be? "No way; Kefauver definitely wants to examine your briefs. I thought he was going to fall over the bench in that Wilson trial when you leaned over to get your exhibit book," Olivia said.
"That might explain his ruling on Wilson's prior drug use," Alex mused. "I had no business winning that motion."
Olivia laughed. They had finally reached the stairs which, remarkably, appeared to be ice-free. "Second from the end," she directed.
Once inside the room, Olivia laid the bags on the dresser. Alex grabbed hers and perched on the edge of the bed.
The very small bed.
Hmm. Not a big deal, really. Olivia was an adult. Being hot for the blonde's body and sharing a minuscule bed with her were perfectly compatible.
"Did you bring any sensible shoes?" she asked. The detective's gut told her that the ADA wasn't going to get through this road trip unscathed otherwise.
"If you mean shoes designed for snow and ice, the answer is no," Alex replied.
Olivia jerked her head toward the motel room door. "There's a Valu-Mart across the street; I'm going to get you some."
Alex nodded her thanks, and leaned back across the bed to open the bedstand drawer in search of the local telephone directory. She leafed through the tiny book. "There's a pizza place that delivers. How about I reward you with half a pepperoni?"
"Deal," Olivia said. "You need anything else while I'm over there?"
"No, I was already primed for an overnight stay at an exotic locale in Kingston."
"If your budget's anything like ours, 'exotic' is right," the detective laughed. "Including the wildlife." She zipped up her coat and wrapped the scarf around her neck, steeling herself for the biting cold.
There was no line at the department store (no surprise there, given the weather), and Olivia was quickly out the sliding glass doors with a pair of tennies and some chocolate chip cookies. As she approached the motel, though, the detective's ears picked up a familiar sound, and she immediately looked for its source. There, sitting on the curb on the lower level, sat a young girl, crying inconsolably.
Olivia approached her cautiously. "Sweetie, are you OK?" She showed her badge to the distraught child.
"I can't find her," the girl sobbed.
If there was one thing that Detective Benson knew how to do, it was getting a young child to open up to her. Between gasps, Liv gradually pieced together little Cissy's tale of woe: Her mother had gone to the 7-11, and when the girl opened the motel room door, her kitten had run outside. Her white kitten. Great . . . "Come on, honey." Olivia held out her hand. "I'll help you."
Eventually, the search was joined by the girl's mother, and the women shooed the girl back indoors. To Olivia's surprise, they actually found the wayward feline, mewing and shivering behind the convenience store half a block away. She smiled at the girl's scream of delight, and tramped back up the stairs. Before inserting her door key into the lock, she shook the snow off her coat and wiped her feet a few times on the wellworn mat.
"Good grief, Olivia!" Alex exclaimed. "Where have you been?"
"Looking for Kitty."
"Is that as dirty as it sounds?"
Olivia paused. Had that just come from Alexandra Cabot? "It can be," she replied, draping her coat on the back of a chair. "But in this case, Kitty is a little girl's eight-week old pet that decided to make a run for it." She patted the sides of her face, then hugged herself. Damn, she was frozen.
"Softie," Alex said gently. "Here. I'll warm you up." She stepped up behind Olivia and draped her arms around her, laying her hands across the detective's cold fingers. What the . . .? This was totally unexpected though not unwelcome by any means. "Never let it be said that Alex Cabot let one of her detectives freeze to death." Too soon, the other woman's warmth was withdrawn. "Get undressed and under the covers," Alex ordered. "Want some cold pizza? I put the pop outside."
Ha. It was the same thing that Cissy had done, setting the stage for the great escape. Alex is sure in good humor, Olivia mused. She was quite enjoying the blonde's playful side. Studying her friend while stripping off her outer layers, Olivia was also quite enjoying Alex's cute night shirt, a knee-length button up. Oh, my. Olivia hadn't thought it possible for Alex Cabot to be even more gorgeous than when she was wearing one of her power suits, or a casual blouse, or a sweater, or jeans, but this new look one that her co-workers would likely never see topped them all. Suddenly, getting stuck with this routine extradition detail didn't seem so bad.
In actuality, it hadn't seemed so bad to begin with, in spite of all the obligatory bitching she'd done in the squad room before they left. None of the SVU detectives complained much about spending time alone with the ADA, Olivia had noticed, including her happily married partner. He was still a man, after all, Elliot reminded her. He might not be allowed to go into the candy store, but that didn't stop him from looking through the window.
Oh, fuck, now she's got those glasses on. Black eye frames, blonde hair tucked behind her ears, pinstriped nightshirt . . . . This was the best shit assignment Olivia had ever had. Thank you, God. The detective tossed on a long t-shirt, reaching underneath to unhook her bra. Better leave the panties on. She slipped between the sheets.
Alex padded to the door in adorable ankle socks, peeked out, and hopped outside to grab the pop. "Ack!" She dived under the covers and laid both hands against Olivia's shirt. "Cold!"
"Damn it!" Olivia laughed. "Keep your cold hands to yourself, woman."
"Picky, picky. Here." Alex popped a can and handed it to her bedmate, dragging the pizza box over between them. They were both hungry, and it wasn't long before Alex deposited the empty container outside their door. Jumping back onto the bed, the blonde wriggled her toes contentedly.
"You're in a good mood, considering that we're in the middle of nowhere and way behind schedule," Olivia remarked.
Alex leaned back against the headboard. "There's something about being in a hotel room out of town," she confided. "It's . . . I don't know. Kind of a sense of freedom."
Olivia grinned. "Remind me to go to Vegas with you some time."
"I'm here now . . . ."
The women lay side by side as Liv tried to figure out what to make of that statement. "So . . . just how do you 'enjoy your freedom' in these out of town hotels?" she ventured.
"I actually haven't," Alex said, "but I always thought it might be fun."
"Thought what might be fun?" Olivia suspected that she had a notion, but the last thing she needed was to make a bad guess and end up with Alex Cabot gaping at her, wide-eyed, with any number of unpleasant expressions.
Alex shrugged. "I don't know," she said. "Throwing caution to the wind. Having a good time with no strings attached."
"Basically screwing someone's brains out and then pretending it never happened?" There was no reply as Alex slid down so that she was staring up the ceiling. Olivia turned onto her side, propping her face against her palm. "Do you really think that's possible?" She had her doubts, especially with a co-worker. Ugh. She wasn't going down that particular memory lane.
"If everyone agrees on the terms," Alex answered.
"Everyone?" Olivia laughed. "How many people did you have in mind, Miss Cabot?"
Alex smiled. "I mean if both participants agree."
What the hell. "Anyone in particular you have in mind?"
"I don't know," Alex replied vaguely. "Someone I know, obviously. That I like. That I find attractive."
"Is that a long list?"
"It's actually quite short."
"Is it equal opportunity?" Might as well get it out in the open.
"I wouldn't say that," Alex said. "There aren't any men on it."
Shit . . . "How many women are on it?"
Please let me be reading this right. "Anyone I know?" Olivia slid two fingers between the buttons on Alex's nightshirt.
Alex closed her eyes at the sensation of fingertips against her warm skin. "Depends," she replied. "Does she agree to the terms?"
"Hell, yes." A night with Alex Cabot screw the consequences. They were two grown women, perfectly capable of deciding to enjoy an isolated instance of unadulterated pleasure before resuming their normal lives. She leaned over until her face was directly above Alex's. "Do you?"
Alex reached up and grabbed the back of Olivia's neck, drawing her down for a passionate kiss.
The ringing of a cell phone was jarring amidst the soft moans and labored breathing. Alex tightened her grip on Olivia's shoulders. "No," she gasped. "Not now!" No problem. Olivia had no intention of stopping what she was doing at that particular moment.
Long, wonderful minutes later, Liv rested on her elbows, breathless, while long fingers smoothed across her back. "Son of a bitch," Alex murmured, which sparked a laugh from the woman on top of her.
Olivia pressed her face against Alex's neck. "Yeah."
"When you get your breath back, I think you should return that call," Alex said. "Otherwise, we're going to be interrupted again." She slid her hands down Olivia's lower back and over sensitive mounds of flesh.
Good point. With a slight groan, Olivia rolled over and reached for the annoying device on the bedstand. As she expected, Elliot's voice came across the wire. "Hey, Partner," she greeted him.
"Liv, I saw on the news that 81's closed." Elliot sounded worried. "Did you and Alex make it up there all right?"
"No, we didn't, Mr. Sprained-Ankle-Desk-Duty-Boy," Olivia replied. "We're stuck up here in Bumfuck." She turned to Alex. "Elliot says they closed 81. Looks like we made the right decision."
The seductive gaze on the blonde woman's face sent a jolt through Liv's body. "I already knew that, Detective," Alex said quietly.
"So, what are you guys doing?"
Olivia's eyes widened before her sensible side reminded her that it was just a normal conversational question. "We went to bed early," she replied.
"Oh, hell, did I wake you up?" Elliot asked. "Sorry."
"Nah, we weren't asleep yet." And not for a while to come, Liv hoped. "We've got some mileage to make up, so we'll be hitting the road early tomorrow."
"Better call the highway patrol first," he advised. "TV says there's another storm coming through tonight."
"Really. Hang on." Without bothering to cover the mouthpiece, she asked Alex, "Is there a timetable when we have to be up there?"
"No, the Canadians can hold Hendrix on the possession charge anyway." Alex sat up, clutching the sheet to her chest. "What's up?"
"Another front moving in."
The attorney gave her a smile that almost made Olivia forget she was on the phone. "Well, if it hits, I'm sure we can keep ourselves occupied," Alex said. She curled up next to Liv's body and planted a sensuous kiss between her breasts. Her lips began to wander, and Olivia's back arched instinctively. "I'd better go," she told Elliot. "I think Alex wants me to get off."
Blue eyes looked up at her, and Olivia realized what she had just said. Suddenly, the phone was plucked from her hand. "Goodnight, Detective," Alex spoke into it, hitting the end-call button. "Must you tell your partner everything?" she asked with a smirk.
"That was unintentional," Liv insisted.
"But accurate," Alex replied. Her tongue grazed Olivia's belly button.
Once again, the detective found herself staring at the same passage that she had already read three times. The City was not getting its money's worth out of her today, not since the sight of the Assistant District Attorney striding toward the interview room had set Olivia's mind and body racing again.
They hadn't even left Canada yet when Olivia admitted to herself that the whole idea of meaningless sex with Alex Cabot had been completely unrealistic. Her feelings for Alex were too . . . too something for a one-night stand, she knew now. The fact that it was the best sex of her life didn't help. She wanted to see Alex astride her stomach again, wanted to feel Alex's hands clutching the back of her head again, wanted to Damn. Olivia shifted in her seat.
The irony of this situation did not escape her. Years ago, she could not comprehend it when Brian Cassidy had been unable to put behind him a single drunken encounter. Olivia Benson, by contrast, had never been one to obsess. Then again, it had never been this particular person in her bed. The detective wished now that she had been drunk in that upstate motel room. As it was, she could remember every sound, every taste, every expression on Alex's face with painful clarity.
"Good morning, Detectives."
Olivia was startled to discover that the object of her musings was now standing beside her desk, waiting to be acknowledged. "How's the ankle, Elliot?" Alex inquired politely.
"Great," he said, showing her the body part in question, now wrapless.
"Until it's time to get the coffee," Olivia interjected. "Then it seems to act up a bit."
Elliot grinned at her.
Alex shifted her attention to the other detective. "And how are you, Olivia?"
The women stared at each other. "The same as you, I imagine."
"Is the coffee any good this morning?" Alex asked.
"No fatalities yet," Olivia replied. "Come on. I'll pour."
They walked over to the counter behind Munch's desk which was, thankfully, unoccupied at the moment. "Nice turtleneck," Alex observed. "Sorry about that." They shared a knowing smile. "I suppose I shouldn't have mentioned that," the attorney continued. "I . . . things keep popping into my head at inopportune times."
"I know what you mean."
"I suppose I'm getting this whole thing backward, but . . . . I mean, we get along well, and I think we like each other . . . ." Alex took a deep breath. "Would you like to go out on a date with me?"
Oh, thank God. "I'd love to."
Alex seemed equally relieved. "I've wanted to ask you that forever."
"Well, getting past the wild sex is usually the hard part in asking someone out," Olivia joked.
"Oh, I hope we're not past it," Alex said.
Damn, Olivia wished that the two of them were somewhere else at the moment. Preferably somewhere with thick walls. Having to sip coffee casually and look as though they were chatting about search warrants was a little stifling. But only a little. "Does that mean I'm allowed to remember everything now?" Liv asked.
Sip. "I would certainly hope so, since I expect you to repeat it."
"Ooh, a pop quiz," Olivia said. "I think I can handle that. I've been studying all morning."
"Me, too." Alex laid her mug on the to-be-washed tray. "I'll call you this afternoon." Picking up her briefcase, she started for the hallway.
The idea that had been brewing in Olivia's brain finally took hold. "Alex." She hurried after the ADA. "Wait outside your building at noon. There's a little motel five minutes away by car."
"Olivia . . . ." Alex glanced around. No one seemed to be paying attention, but still . . . "We can't be misbehaving like that in the middle of the day," she protested.
"We'll behave next week." Exuding confidence, not to mention a sensuality that took Alex's breath away, Liv turned on her heel and sauntered back to her desk.
Oh, those tight jeans. Alex drew out her cell phone. "Tamera, cancel my lunch appointment," she directed. She watched as the detective leaned across her desk, ostensibly to retrieve something. Jesus. "And my two o'clock . . . ."
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