DISCLAIMER: See Chapter One.
Light in the Shadows
Part Three, Chapter Three
It was evening by the time they got back to the cabin. Ringo had just awoken from a long nap and was tooling away on his machines while snacking from a bag of chips. No headphones for once ... he got up when they came in.
"So how'd it go with Sutherland?"
"Highly successful, I'd say. We need to go over everything and figure out our next move." Olivia put on some decaf while Alex related the information they'd obtained from Major Sutherland.
Ringo became increasingly agitated as the tale progressed. When Alex was done he stood up and began pacing, "Bastards. It's the damn CIA, I know it. Psycho drugs and perverted maniacs, fits them exactly. They're responsible for more innocent bloodshed than the damn Spanish Inquisition. Bastards, all of them."
Olivia returned with three mugs of decaf. "Ringo, take it easy. We don't know anything at this point. Only that Jacob Trent, and probably the others, are still being supplied with that drug through some unknown channel. Rakowski may have gone rogue, we have no idea. Can you run a search on 'Black Shadow' and 'T-six'? Maybe you can find something."
"I'll try, but if it's the CIA, breaking into their machines is damn near impossible. I'll give them that, the bastards."
Alex grabbed a piece of paper from the mountain that had spawned throughout the living room under Ringo's tender care. "We need a whiteboard or something," she muttered, but she began writing circled names on the humble sheet of paper. "Here are the people we have so far. First Klein, Trent, and Gaston, all from Black Shadow. Then we have Rakowski, who was their superior and in charge of the program." Alex drew lines, indicating the connections. "And let's not forget Brenner, he's connected to Rakowski through his transfer to the Pentagon and emerged from the mists to defend Klein." Alex wrote another circled name and indicated the connection to Rakowski.
"Now here's a question: do we have everyone? The Black Shadow people explain the assassination attempts, we have evidence of that from the wallet Olivia grabbed. And we know Rakowski is their control, from the phone number." Alex absently pulled a quarter from her pocket and began fiddling with it in her left hand. "But what about the tampered records? Rosa Zacharias' bank records, her criminal records, and Elliot's military file as well." Alex wrote 'record tampering' with a question mark. "We've heard no mention of the Black Shadows being involved with computer fraud or anything like it."
Olivia looked at the diagram, "There's also phone tapping: we know from the hit at Coney Island that they tapped Elliot's home phone, probably yours and mine as well. That's not something that can be done remotely by a hacker, it requires physical presence. The Black Shadow guys could be responsible, but you're right, their focus seems to have been entirely military in nature. Phone tapping doesn't fit their profile."
Alex nodded and added another interrogative remark on the sheet. "So it's a pretty safe bet there's at least one more person involved, maybe more."
"At least one hacker," said Ringo. "And a good one" he added with grudging respect.
"Is it time to confront Rakowski?" Olivia wanted badly to go on the offensive, this lurking around in the bushes was not her style. "We've got his cell number, and his apartment number and address. Should we try to provoke him? You know, 'rustle the grass to startle the snakes' and all that."
Alex played with the quarter while chewing on the end of her pen. "Not just yet, I think. We need a better picture of who's involved. This hacker, for instance ... he's gotta be a key person. Who is he?"
"Maybe there is no hacker. Maybe Rakowski has enough pull to get Pentagon computer people to do his dirty work, thinking they're under orders."
Ringo shook his head, "No way. Rakowski, or whoever, managed to alter private, criminal, and military records ... no way would regular IT from any one department have legitimate access to all that."
"So how do we flush him out?" Alex stared at her diagram.
Olivia persisted in her frontal-assault suggestion. "How about calling Rakowski on his cell, see what happens?"
Alex played with the quarter. Rustle the grass ...
Suddenly she looked up, eyes ablaze, "Olivia Benson, you are a genius." The detective doubted this, and wondered what she'd said that might have helped. Alex rounded on their own hacker, "Ringo, tell me how a phone trace works."
Ringo stared back, "It's pretty simple, really. It's nothing at all like in the movies where they pretend someone has to stay on the line for some number of seconds before the calling number can be traced. That's a relic from the days of manual switchboards when operators had to physically connect circuits. This is the digital age, it's just a matter of accessing the relevant phone company's database. Pretty much everything about every call is recorded. When the police or the FBI want to trace a call they just contact the phone company with some authorization code and ask them to check their records for the number at the far end."
"Does it have anything to do with caller ID? I mean, can you defeat a phone trace by dialing *67 to suppress your number to a caller ID box on the other end?"
Ringo snorted, "Fat chance. That only suppresses the number from civilian caller ID boxes. The phone company still records exactly where every call came from. You think we have any privacy in this country? Think again."
"OK, Ringo, next question: can you do a phone trace?"
Ringo wondered where the ADA was going. "Well, yes. It's not easy. It requires some preparation, and I need to know the phone company at one of the two ends in advance."
"Good." Alex's look was predatory. "Now my last question: can you catch someone doing a phone trace?"
The light dawned in Ringo's eyes. "Alexis, you always were one son-of-a-bitch chess player. Yes, once I get into the phone company's database, watching their log files will reveal a request for a trace as soon as it's issued. And the authorization code will be part of the request."
Olivia was a tad lost, but she was entirely focused on the familiar gleam in the ADA's blue eyes.
"Kids, I think I have a plan.
"Tomorrow, we phone Rakowski on his cell. We tell him that it's us and we want to deal, or something. What's he going to do? He's immediately going to try and trace where we're calling from so he can send his drugged-up apes after us. He contacts the Mystery Hacker, who runs a trace. Ringo is waiting, and traps the request from the phone company logs. Then we have an authorization code, and I'm betting Ringo can take it from there."
Ringo grinned like a wolf ... a geeky wolf, but a wolf nonetheless. "You bet your ass, sweetheart."
"Shit, Alex, that's brilliant." The ADA in full-blown strategy mode was a sight to behold and Olivia just stared, enamored.
"Let's go through the details, starting from the beginning." Alex played with the quarter, her mind focused. "First, I call Rakowski's cell. From where? It needs to be a number Ringo knows in advance and also one that won't give us away when they run the trace."
"No," Ringo objected, "I don't need the number you're calling from, only the phone company that controls it. El Mystery Hacker-o will be running the trace on Rakowski's line, that's the only number I need."
"Ok, even better ... I know: the same payphone we used today, near Sutherland's place. It won't give away our true location ... and it will freak them out, they'll figure out that we got to Sutherland."
"Do you remember the company? The logo should have been on the phone."
The ADA grinned in glee, "Yep: Verizon. So next step: tonight Ringo gets into Verizon's databases, plus whoever runs Rakowski's cell phone. Ringo, do you know?"
Ringo grinned, "Yep: Verizon Wireless. It'll cut the work in half."
"Perfect. Now, step two: I identify myself to Herr General, and he scrambles to run a trace. Ringo: can he do it after I hang up?"
"Yes, as long as it's within an hour or two of the call. The phone companies don't typically keep their detailed records on disk for longer than that unless they have a standing trace request, they'd be swamped by the volume."
"Ok, but maybe he doesn't know that. Let's suppose he panics, like a normal person, and scrambles to get his Mystery Hacker on the job."
"He'd need a second phone line," Olivia contributed, "or else ask you to call him back or something."
"Yes, good. He's going to call Mr. Hacker. Ringo: can you also get setup to do a trace of your own on both Rakowski's landline and his cell?"
"Yep, piece of cake by comparison."
"Then we've got him twice. We'll probably see both a call to his hacker contact, plus a trace request on Rakowksi's line to try and find us." Alex looked at her old friend: "Ringo, I know this is a tall order. How long will it take you to set it up?"
"I'll be ready by morning, Ms. Pawn Structure. We'll get 'em." He turned to Olivia. "Cutie, you're going to be the go-between. You've got those two beautiful, untraceable cells ... you take one and I'll take the other. When Alex makes the call, I'll stay in contact with you, and you can relay any instructions back and forth."
Olivia felt like she was being relegated to the task of dumb muscle ... which she was, truth be told. But she didn't care. This plan was bloody brilliant and she was thrilled. Her job was to keep Alex safe, and that she would do.
The detective got the last word in, asking for timelines. They agreed that it would be best to catch Rakowski at home before he left for work. Olivia pointed out that he was military, and probably used to an early schedule. "He probably leaves for work around 8 am, we should try to call him at 7:30 at the latest. The earlier we catch him the better, he'll be more confused. The drive to Glen Cove is one hour at the outside, so we'd have to leave here at 6:30. Up at 6? Is that enough time? It all depends on how long you need, Ringo."
Ringo groaned at the early hours. After his all-nighter and nap today, the hacker was firmly on his usual bat-like nocturnal schedule. He glanced at the analog clock on the wall, "It's 8 pm now. Yeah, I should be ready by six tomorrow morning." Alex and Olivia decided to wake Ringo at 6 am at the latest and see where he was at. Depending on his status, they would proceed or not.
Alex grabbed some loose sheets of paper. "I'm gonna think about what to say to Rakowski tomorrow." She curled up on the couch with a faraway expression. Just like prepping for cross, gotta think of every angle ahead of time. Ringo returned to his triple monitors with a vengeance. He slapped on the headphones and Skid Row could soon be heard playing in tinny fury from the earpieces.
Though she felt momentarily redundant, Olivia was very happy indeed to see Alex back in her element. She knew the preceding days had been hard on the ADA, having to manage in a world with which she had no experience. Above all, Olivia was relieved that this campaign had reverted to a chess match, at least for now. Safer for everyone.
To protect and serve. As long as Olivia was doing that, and doing it well, she was content. I'll leave these two mega-brains to it. After brushing her teeth, she retired to the bedroom and read a few pages of some piece of 'literature' that had been left in the room by a former occupant. Screw it. I also need to protect and serve-as-an-alarm-clock. She put the book down, set the alarm on her digital watch to 4:30 am, and turned out the light. In the darkness, she sought sleep by conjuring images of soft skin pressed against her own ... of ragged breaths responding to her touch. It was perhaps not the best tactic one could imagine, but it worked eventually.
Olivia woke up before dawn to the persistent beeping of her watch. She had always been a light sleeper and the soft tones of the watch on the bedside table were plenty to rouse her. She reached to shut it off, then turned to the quiet sounds of breathing beside her. Alex was sound asleep and looked like mortar fire would have been insufficient to wake her. Papers of notes written in the ADA's precise hand were tossed haphazardly on the bedside table. Olivia wondered how much sleep she'd gotten. I can leave her for a while.
The detective got up to shower and brush her teeth. She looked in on Ringo. Yet again, he hadn't made it to his bedroom but was snoring on the couch fully clothed.
Olivia dressed in her sweats, left a note, and went out for her morning run.
When she got back the two chess players were still in dreamland. Smiling to herself, Olivia grabbed the keys to the SUV. The drive into town was less than ten minutes. She bought a copy of the Times from the stand in front of the local coffee shop, and headed back. She can read it later.
Olivia glanced at her watch as she closed the front door. Just a few minutes before six. Though she hated to do it, it was time to get this party started, they wanted to catch Rakowski at home if possible. Olivia made a full pot of coffee and brought a steaming mug into the bedroom. Sitting on the bedside, she took a moment to herself to brush her fingers through soft blonde hair. So beautiful.
With a sigh, Olivia brought her hand to Alex's shoulder and shook her gently. "Sweetie, it's time to get up." Alex's face creased in an adorable frown as she brought her hand to her eyes.
"What time is it," she mumbled, still half asleep.
"It's just past six. Sorry, love, time to get up."
Alex rubbed her eyes and sat up, "Ok, I'm moving."
"How late were you guys up?"
"I crashed at midnight, but Ringo was still going." Alex latched onto the mug of coffee and took a sip, then another. "Oh, that's better. You are an angel." She kissed Olivia drowsily on the cheek, then wandered into the bathroom.
I wonder what I did in a past life to deserve this. Must have been something pretty awesome.
With the sounds of the shower in the background, Olivia poured another mug of coffee and headed into the living room. She shook Ringo by the shoulder but the snores continued unabated. She shook him again, harder ... still nothing. She was sorely tempted to pinch his nose closed and see what happened, but she resisted and tried again. Ringo grunted awake, reaching for his glasses on the coffee table.
"Jesus, what the fuck time is it?"
"It's past six, genius." Olivia thrust the mug of coffee in his face. "Are we good to go?"
Ringo reached for the mug like a drowning man grasping at a piece of driftwood, and took two big swallows. He blinked his eyes hard, trying to attain consciousness.
"Yeah, yeah, we're good. I broke the Verizon databases a couple hours ago. I've got a watch on their log and I've set traces on Rakowski's lines using someone else's authorization code."
"Whose authorization code?"
"How the fuck should I know?"
"Are you still triangulating Rakowski's cell phone?"
"That was a dumb question, cutie. Of course I am. It's on the left-hand monitor ... he was still there two hours ago, go check it."
Ringo ran a hand through his hair and swallowed more of the blessed caffeine. Olivia walked to the desk and shoved the mouse to deactivate the screen-saver, which was displaying a shifting Ken-Burns panorama of nubile women in various states of undress. The relevant window on the left-hand monitor was obvious: a pulsing red dot superimposed on a map of Manhattan and located near a familiar intersection.
"He's still there ... or at least the phone is."
Ringo drained the coffee mug and dragged himself from the couch to refill it. "Well there you go." He took another swallow of caffeine and pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes.
Replenished mug in hand, Ringo wandered back to the desk and took his seat. He pointed out various windows: "Here's the trap on the D-base log, and here are the traces ready to go. Now get me one of those two Nokias of yours and feed me the number."
Olivia retrieved the phones and handed him one. She called his number with her own phone, placing her number in the call log.
"Ringo, be sure to clear the call log from the phone as soon as we disconnect."
The hacker understood immediately. "God, you are a cheerful bitch, aren't you. Ok, fine, whatever." He took another swallow of coffee.
Alex emerged from the bathroom, looking a good deal more awake than her hacker friend. She returned to the bedroom and closed the door, emerging a couple of minutes later in jeans and a sweatshirt. She refilled her coffee mug and wandered into the living room. "Are we good to go?"
Olivia nodded, "Yep, genius here has his fingers in all the right places. We'd better get moving. You ready?"
Alex nodded in return, "Yeah, just let me grab my notes and we're out of here. You two ready with the cells?"
Alex stepped into the bedroom and grabbed her notes. She spotted the unfamiliar, holstered Beretta next to them. She snatched it up too and clipped the holster to the rim of her jeans, just behind her right hip. She pulled the sweatshirt down to conceal the firearm. Damn, but I like the feel of that thing.
Alex reviewed her notes and sipped her coffee as Olivia sped north, toward Glen Cove. They were both deep in thought and the drive passed quickly.
Olivia navigated from memory to the payphone they had used the previous day. She pulled to a stop at the curb side. "You ready, Ace?"
Alex's game face was firmly in place. "Yes I am."
They slammed the doors on the rental vehicle and walked to the phone. Alex rested her hand on the receiver and looked at Olivia. The detective withdrew the Nokia from her jacket and dialed the other one back at the cabin. Ringo picked up immediately, "You there?"
"Yep. Is Rakowski still in place?"
"You bet your sweet ass. Let's get this show on the road."
Olivia nodded to Alex, "We're good to go."
Alex picked up the phone and dropped in a series of coins. They'd taken up a collection yesterday night and her pocket was bulging. She dialed Rakowski's cell from memory. The phone rang once ... twice ...
"Yes?" Game time.
"This is Alexandra Cabot, General. I believe you know who I am."
The pause was much longer this time. Alex could practically hear the General's brain scrambling to gain a foothold on this unexpected twist. "How did you get this number?"
"You should have figured that out already, General. I feel disinclined to enlighten you."
Pause. "Can I call you back in a minute? I'm not at liberty to speak at the moment."
Gotcha. "No, General, I will call you back. Five minutes." Alex hung up the phone and glanced at her watch. She grinned like a predator. "Fish in a barrel. Here we go."
Olivia turned to her phone, "Ringo, he's asked Alex to call him back. Watch for the call."
Ringo's voice was tight, "I'm on it ..."
Thirty seconds passed. "Ringo, anything?"
"No. And here's an idea: why don't you shut up until I tell you otherwise?"
"Are you a natural-born asshole or did you take lessons?"
"I took lessons." The hacker's voice was strained.
Sixty seconds ... ninety ... two minutes ...
"There. Got him. Call from the landline in his apartment. I'm tracing ..."
Olivia snapped her eyes to the ADA, "He's got it. Call from the landline."
"It's working." Alex grinned with glee and glanced at her watch. "Tell Ringo to record everything. Two more minutes, then we nail him again."
Olivia relayed the message.
"Unlike you, I don't think with my tits. Of course I'm recording everything."
"Unlike you, I don't have to think with my balls. Must be painful for you." Olivia pressed her ear to the cell phone, listening to the faint rapid-fire sound of Ringo's keyboard in action. She glanced at her own watch. "Ringo, we're calling back in one minute. Are you ready?"
"Didn't I tell you to shut up?"
Despite herself, Olivia was beginning to like this miserable bastard.
Two pairs of eyes watched the placid numbers on their digital watches advancing toward the appointed time.
"Five minutes, that's it. Ringo, has he hung up?"
"How the fuck should I know?"
Olivia nodded at Alex, "He doesn't know if he's hung up, but the five minutes are up. Go for it."
Alex snatched the receiver from its cradle, dropped in another handful of coins, and punched in the numbers. The phone was answered almost immediately.
"Hello again, General. I hope you are now at more liberty to talk."
"Yes. What is it you want?"
Alex laughed out loud. "You must be joking, General. What I want is for you to call off your goons, obviously ... the question is rather: what do you want?"
Pause. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"General, please don't insult my intelligence."
The voice on the other end dropped several degrees in temperature. "Ms. Cabot, you are way out of your jurisdiction. You have no power over me or any of my colleagues. I suggest you rethink your position."
"And I suggest you reconsider the perceived safety of your ivory tower, General. Perhaps the following phrases mean something to you: Black Shadow ... T-six ... Are you so sure of yourself that you'd be willing to let those phrases reach the media, for example? Our beloved American population is famous for its willingness to suspend disbelief."
Long pause. "Perhaps we can arrive at some agreement. I am not without resources."
"I am quite familiar with your resources, General. But before we hit the bargaining table, I'd like to introduce you to some of mine."
Queen to bishop six. Alex dropped the phone onto its cradle and turned to face Olivia. Her smile was murderous. "Let him stew on that for a while. What's Ringo got?"
Olivia turned back to the cell, "Ringo, that's it, Alex has hung up. What've you got?"
"Nothing yet, but they have time. If they run a trace, I'll catch it."
"Ok. We're heading back." She couldn't resist. "Be sure to pay attention, cutie, just watch the blinking lights and call us if anything changes so we can explain what it means." Olivia smiled as she pressed the red button, muting the sounds of vigorous swearing at the other end.
Alex shook her head, "Man, you two need to get a room."
Ringo was typing a blue streak when Alex and Olivia reentered the cabin. Alex strode straight over to his workspace and took a seat beside him. "What have you got?"
"Alexis, we have a new player. Care to take a guess?"
Ringo grinned smugly, "Nope."
Olivia joined them, passing around cans of Coke. Ringo took the offered beverage and smirked at the detective. "Hey, cutie, why don't you pull up a chair so I can explain what all the 'blinking lights' mean?"
Olivia grinned despite herself. "I'll stand, genius. Just show us what you've got."
Alex glared intently at the screens, "Did they run a trace?"
"Yes they did. Just as you planned, I got a phone number for Rakowski's contact plus an authorization code issued to Verizon for the trace request. Now, what does it all mean?"
Ringo pointed to one of his multitude of open windows. "First, the number he called. It's not in the public directory, so step one is to narrow it down to a general location. The exchanges coughed that up right away: New York City, 26 Federal Plaza, 23rd Floor."
Alex and Olivia looked at each other in astonishment at the familiar address. "The FBI."
"What the hell are they doing involved in this mess? Ringo, what about the authorization code, can you narrow it down any further?"
Ringo grinned with glee at the effect his presentation was having on his captive audience. "One step at a time, cutie. Once I know it's the FBI, I can check their internal directory. The number 384-2798 leads us to ... Mr. Jack Kettler." Ringo dramatically clicked open a personnel file displaying the unsmiling, overweight face of the individual in question. "It's his office phone number. MIT grad, was recruited by the FBI right after grad school, after a brief run-in with the nebulous laws of the time concerning computer security."
Alex glared at the effigy of her new opponent. "Rakowski called his office phone. Your overconfidence will be your undoing, General."
"Does the authorization code from the trace match?"
"You bet your gorgeous ass it does. The trace authorization recorded in Verizon's logs carried a code that I was able to match to Mr. Kettler ... after some considerable brilliance on my part, I might add."
Alex grinned, and kissed Ringo on the cheek, "You are Elite, my friend. Beautifully done."
Olivia had to smile at the look of happy astonishment that crossed Ringo's face. We're all head-over-heels for her, aren't we? Sorry, pal, but she's mine.
Alex traced her finger across the personnel file displayed on the screen. "What division is he with?"
"OCD: Organized Crime."
"Organized Crime? What does that have to do with anything? They have no connection to the military. How does Mr. Kettler connect to the rest of our cast of characters?"
"I don't know yet. I've been trolling through his personnel files but I haven't found a link."
Alex sat back, her expression focused. "Mr. Kettler is our new target, kids. As the IT member of this nasty little band, he's bound to have computer records that will blow this thing wide open, whatever it is. How do we get to them? Can you access his desktop machine, Ringo?"
Ringo shook his head, "No chance there. I can't see his machine at all, he's got no ports open to the outside."
"Then we have to get to him in the old-fashioned way. We've got to break into his office and get access to his hard disk."
"Alex, what are you talking about?" Though the detective was eager to go on the offensive, she was also highly concerned about keeping them all alive. "We can't just waltz into FBI headquarters and break into his office."
Alex grinned in predatory anticipation, "Oh but I think we can, Detective. That beautiful badge of yours will get you in, no questions asked. Now all we need is to figure out how to get him out of his office." The tactical circuits in Alex's mighty brain could practically be heard ticking over at the clock-speed of light as they processed one strategy after another. Olivia and Ringo just stared, and waited for further clarification on how this outrageous suggestion might be made to work.
At length, Alex smiled broadly. "Kids, I do believe I have a plan."
Alex grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and began to sketch her idea. The conspirators put their heads together and began to plan in earnest, hashing out every detail. They were a good team: Alex led the way with her elaborate gambits, Ringo pitched in with technical information and a good strategic mind of his own, and Olivia provided the voice of practical reason. Many hours later, several pots of coffee had been drained, heated arguments had erupted and been resolved, and many sheets of paper had been covered with sketchy notations ... but the plan came together. Again, Ringo was assigned some preparatory work and the lawyer and detective were left to their own devices.
Alex stood, "Ok, fellow nutcases, I do believe this is going to work." She grabbed her bag of purchases from Chesterfield Range and walked to the back door. "The light's fading, I'm going outside." As she pushed open the screen door she drew the elegant but lethal Beretta from its holster.
A while later, Olivia wandered out to the back porch. She watched Alex's unwavering stance as the lawyer emptied another clip into the paper target pinned to the innocent oak tree. The lawyer's breathing was even and her focus was absolute. She paused a second between each shot, readjusting her aim. God, that woman is intense. When the lawyer brought her gun down to reload, the detective walked up behind her and snaked an arm around her waist. Alex smiled as she reached for more rounds from the open boxes in front of her.
Olivia rested her chin on Alex's shoulder and looked at the paper target 20 yards away. The shots were clustered neatly around the center. Olivia put her mouth to Alex's ear and spoke in a low voice. "You're getting scary-good, you know."
Alex's grin broadened, though her hands were still intent on loading the magazine. "I had a scary-good teacher, you know."
"See that beautiful cluster of shots you just landed? In combat, you're required to do that even when distractions are present. As your teacher, I judge that you're ready to progress to such an advanced level of training." Alex let her eyes close as Olivia's voice purred in her ear. "Think you're ready?" Olivia dropped her mouth to Alex's neck and began tasting it, running her tongue slowly across soft, sensitive skin and feeling the pulse of life beneath. Alex leaned back against the detective.
Olivia returned her mouth to Alex's ear and spoke in a low voice. "Do you have any idea how unbelievably sexy you look firing that thing?" The hand around Alex's waist moved, pushing back her sweatshirt and coming into contact with a flat stomach. Olivia spread her fingers and ran them across the toned abdomen, feeling the muscles beneath clench in response. She sank her mouth onto Alex's neck once more. In gradual, pulsing motions, she ran her hand lower, under the rim of Alex's jeans, lower still. Alex's breath caught and she leaned her head back against Olivia's shoulder.
"Do they use these training techniques on all police academy cadets? If only I'd known, I'd have enlisted straight out of high school."
Alex felt Olivia grin against her neck. "And then where would we get brilliant prosecutors to defend our honor in court?"
Alex's hips began to move, responding without conscious intent to the rhythm of Olivia's hand, which crept lower, and lower still. She turned her head, towards Olivia's exploring mouth. "Kiss me." The detective latched onto her mouth willingly, sinking her tongue into the warm haven. Olivia felt the heat rising in her body and undid the top button of Alex's jeans. Her fingers returned to their quest, pulsing closer to the intended target. Alex grabbed the exploring wrist, stopping its motion, and turned in the detective's arms. She fell back into the solid oak table and ran her other hand behind Olivia's head, threading her fingers through the short hair, pulling their mouths back together. She brought the captured wrist behind her, pressing grasping fingers against her toned rear. Olivia squeezed hard, pulling Alex's moving hips against her ... she thrust a powerful thigh between Alex's legs, forcing them apart, pressing into her.
The detective pulled back from the passionate kiss and returned her attention to Alex's ear, tracing its sensitive, sculptured edge with her tongue. She managed a hoarse question. "If you don't make a move in the next five seconds, I'm gonna take you right here on this table." Fire pulsed through Alex's veins as a vision flashed from memory: Olivia's hands, tendons straining, holding Jacob Trent against the interview table as he fought against her ... straining hands holding her still ... real and imagined images overlapped as she remembered the fevered dream of a soft voice holding her captive as strong hands pinned her down, possessing her body. An answering fire of her own blazed in response, fuelled by the intoxicating thrill of their dangerous chess game and the feel of the handgun recoiling powerfully against her arm.
"Bedroom," she gasped. "Now."
Olivia's hand was at her jeans again, working on the next button, while the detective's low voice shot flames into her blood. "He's gonna see us."
Alex couldn't care less if the entire New York City police department had taken up residence in the living room. With an unbearable burst of discipline, she tore herself away from Olivia's touch and dragged her detective into the cabin. As they slammed and locked the bedroom door behind them, neither one noticed Ringo, nor heard his glib remark: "Whatever you two are going to do in there, make it loud enough that the rest of us can share."
Olivia pressed Alex hard against the bedroom door, her hands running under the Stony Brook sweatshirt and pushing it up off Alex's body. Perfect breasts presented themselves and she sank her mouth onto one, sucking, tasting, caressing it with her tongue. Alex ran her fingers through Olivia's hair, pressing the detective's mouth harder against her body.
Then her fingers tightened abruptly, and she pulled Olivia back. Alex's eyes were on fire. "Oh no you don't ... it's my turn, love." To Olivia's surprise, Alex pushed her back, and back again, til her knees met the bed. Alex grabbed Olivia's shirt in her fist and led them both onto the bed, then further back toward the headboard, until Olivia was flat on her back with Alex hovering over her, watching her from above.
Alex's voice was thick with desire. "Do you know how unbelievably hot you look in that shirt? It's been driving me insane all day."
Olivia just stared, willingly entranced by the seduction of the ADA's voice ... by the staggering beauty of perfect bone structure, suspended above her ... the luxurious fall of blonde hair ... the blinding spark of intelligence in the clear blue eyes.
"Now take it off."
"I thought you liked it?"
"I like it better off. Do it slowly, love, one button at a time. I want to see you."
In all the countless one-night stands Olivia had participated in over the years, drunk or otherwise, no one had ever dared to try to control her like this. She was mesmerized, caught in the grip of powerful blue eyes that were absolutely sure of their intent. She brought her hand to the top button and undid it.
Alex just watched her, like an eagle observing a mouse foolishly straying outside its protected home. "Good girl ... now the next one."
With anyone else, the detective would have rebelled against this scenario. But she was caught in blue eyes that projected a sensual haze of power, and safety, and love. She worked the next button free. Alex held her gaze, locking them together in erotic timelessness. "Keep going."
Olivia did as she was told. Alex didn't touch her again until all the buttons were undone. Still holding the detective's eyes, the ADA slowly pushed the free halves of the garment aside. She brought her fingers to the front clasp of the bra and unhooked it with one hand. Her fingertips whispered across Olivia's skin as she pushed that barrier aside as well, exposing the woman beneath her. Alex looked down, unabashedly appraising the swell of breasts revealed to her hungry eyes. She bent her mouth to one, lightly running her tongue around a sensitive, inflamed nipple. Olivia's eyes narrowed, her breath ragged.
"You are so beautiful." Returning her eyes to Olivia's, still supported on one arm, Alex traced her fingertips with unbearable lightness over the body beneath her. Down, down ... when she reached the detective's jeans, she undid the top button and slid the zipper down. Her hand came up to Olivia's face, cupping her cheek and running her thumb against full, open lips. "Take them off."
Olivia couldn't tear her eyes away from the grip in which they were held. The soft touch against her skin stayed with her as she raised her hips and worked the jeans off. Then she removed the open shirt and bra from her body. Her skin was alive with need as she lay back down on the bed. She was exposed to the air, centimeters from the touch of the woman above her ... her nakedness begged Alex to explore it, take it ... without thought she bent her knees and parted them, opening herself, asking without words.
Alex looked down again, drinking in the sight of the magnificent body exposed and pleading beneath her. "Beautiful," she breathed. She sank her mouth onto one of the perfect breasts and really tasted it for the first time. Olivia was unbelievably turned on. She arched her back into Alex, craving pressure. She was stunned when Alex drew back and pushed an arm of surprising strength against her shoulder, pressing her back onto the bed. "Watch it, love ... this one's mine, remember?"
Alex kept Olivia's eyes pinned and moved her hand to the abandoned breast, barely touching it. A temporary deal, until her victim confessed, and repented for her crimes. Olivia desperately wanted the wet heat of Alex's mouth back against her body, her hips moved in silent desperation, she was ready to confess to anything, she just didn't know what would work. "Alex ..."
Alex smiled, "Ah, she begins to beg." The lawyer's fingers brushed over heated skin with unbearable lightness. "Are you begging?"
Olivia had completely lost control of this situation, and was utterly turned on by that fact. "Yes."
"A good start. Let's see, what might work as an incentive?" Alex moved her hand downward, tracing with enticing delicacy over the receptive skin it traversed. Teasing fingers caressed the curls at the apex between the detective's legs.
Olivia was losing it fast, "Alex ... please, I can't stand it ..."
Alex watched her like a hawk. The detective's eyes were glazed over, and averted now, seeking release from the walls, the mute furniture, anything.
Alex dropped her mouth to Olivia's ear, "Tell me what you want. What do you want, love?"
Alex's tongue was tracing her ear ... Alex's fingers were within centimeters of where she needed them ... Olivia found it nearly impossible to think. "Alex, please ... "
"Tell me, love. Tell me exactly what you need." Alex moved her hand lower, now stroking her fingers through the plentiful, moving wetness between the detective's legs. "You are so wet, you are so beautiful. Tell me what you need, love."
Olivia gasped. She spread her legs wide, craving Alex's touch. She tried to breathe, tried to articulate the request that would bring her salvation.
"Tell me, Liv. I want to hear it."
The detective gasped, "I need you inside me. Alex, inside me, please, I need to feel you ..."
Before Olivia could finish her plea, Alex thrust three fingers inside her. Olivia cried out and thrust her hips toward the contact, toward the impossible feeling of the woman she worshiped, moving inside her. God it was incredible ... all the faceless people she'd had sex with ... yet feeling this woman inside her, it was so completely, utterly different. She was usually impatient, impatient for whoever it was to get her off, to get her to the finish line so she could go home. But God, not this time ... she knew distantly that her love's soft stroking would never make her come, yet she never wanted it to end. "Don't stop, Alex, please don't stop ..."
Alex stroked her for timeless minutes, watching the woman beneath her lose herself to the pleasures of her body. Her legs wide, thrusting rhythmically against Alex's hand, trying to pull her deeper inside, lost in a beautiful haze of erotic hedonism. But eventually she felt Olivia's answering thrusts become more urgent, more insistent, heralding the need for release. Alex lowered her mouth to Olivia's ear. "Tell me what you need, love, tell me what you need ... I want you to come for me ... I want you to scream my name ... tell me what you need ..." Olivia's mind was confused to numbness while her body craved something it had always been able to articulate before.
"Alex," she gasped.
Alex breathed in her ear while maintaining the steady, thrusting motion of her hand. "Tell me, love, tell me what you need. You are so beautiful ... I'll do anything you ask, just tell me."
"Alex ... please ... curl your fingers ... I need ... I need pressure against my clit, just press against it with your hand ... please, Alex ..." Alex sank her mouth onto Olivia's, stopping her words, replacing them with love as she did what Olivia asked. She curled her fingers upwards and shortened the range of her thrusts so that the heel of her hand could press rhythmically against Olivia, against the bundle of nerves that craved her attention. She felt the pace of Olivia's hips respond to her shorter, faster motions. She withdrew her mouth, to watch and hear Olivia responding to her, to see her nearing release. Alex bent one last time to the detective's ear. "Come for me, love. Come for me."
Her voice threw Olivia over the edge. She watched, entranced, as the detective's hips surged powerfully against her and her voice cracked, crying out her name. Gentler motions provoked another orgasm, pulsing against her hand.
Olivia floated in ecstasy, watching the drifting sparks of gold in her vision as they wafted by, and winked into obscurity one by one.
Eventually, she became aware of the touch of Alex's fingers against her forehead, brushing back an unruly lock of hair. She turned to the beautiful woman who was watching her. Alex's expression projected so much love that not even the jaded heart of a New York City detective could deny it.
Alex smiled, "Hey there."
"I know, Liv, I know. And I love you too, with all my heart." Alex pressed a chaste kiss against the detective's lips.
Olivia drifted slowly back to reality, wafting on the sensation of gentle fingers running through her hair. The world is a wonderful place ... who knew. With her heart wrapped in the warm blanket of Alex's loving eyes, the detective's face creased into her patented, quirky smile.
"So our ADA is into a bit of kink."
Alex smiled, "Yes, a bit. 'Spice is nice' ... wouldn't you agree?"
"Am I permitted to return the favor at some point?"
"I'm counting on it, Detective."
Part Four, Chapter One
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