DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For my Mistress. I love you endlessly. There are also a few "tributes" to some of my favorite A/O writers hidden within the text. See how many you can spot!
SPOILERS SVU up to Season-11 (including Loss, Ghost, and beyond).
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Rae D. Magdon
The chirp of an incoming text message drew Olivia's attention away from her paperwork. Elliot and Munch, who were both still in the squad room, looked up in obvious curiosity as Olivia set down her pen, flipped open her phone, and began to read. Being detectives, they noticed the light flush that blossomed across her tanned cheeks right away. The corners of Elliot's lips twitched up in a smile and he felt a little guilty for teasing her earlier. It was nice to see Olivia excited about something that wasn't related to the job.
"You gonna leave on time today for once, Casanova?" Munch asked when Olivia began to put away the remaining paperwork on her desk. The glare that Olivia shot him was only a warning, but even Munch wasn't foolhardy enough to inquire further. Elliot groaned.
"Leave it alone, John," Elliot growled, feeling strangely protective of his partner's feelings. Sure, if Olivia was going to get herself entangled with their incredibly attractive former ADA, a little teasing was in order, but he didn't want any of them to cross the line and spook Olivia in to backing out of her fledgling relationship.
Relationship. The word felt strange on his tongue even though it remained unspoken. He had never thought of Olivia in the context of a relationship before. Usually, he thought of her 'associations' as disasters instead of relationships. He hoped that this... thing... with Alex was different. Olivia was certainly behaving differently than she usually did after meeting someone. Despite a few awkward moments, she was being surprisingly open about her personal life, which was a pretty drastic change.
"For your information, yes, I am leaving early. You and Elliot are catching tonight anyway." Except a few weeks ago when we were figuring out rotation schedules, I was expecting to spend the night alone instead of in the company of the most gorgeous woman I know... The serious intensity behind the thought surprised her, and she felt decidedly uncomfortable even though she had not voiced her thoughts. Her feelings for Alex were getting serious fast, and it was pretty frightening. After a moment's consideration, she added, "I've got a hot date, but I'll be sure to pencil in a few moments of pity for you somewhere."
And just like that, both male detectives knew that Olivia had forgiven them for what had happened earlier that morning. Any further apologies or jokes were interrupted by the appearance of two long, well-shaped legs. They happened to be attached to an equally pleasing set of hips sporting a tight skirt, a skirt that was a few inches shorter than most of the others in Alex Cabot's wardrobe. Finally, a slightly dumbstruck Olivia remembered her manners and peeled her eyes away from Alex's very pleasing figure, focusing on her face instead. The blonde attorney was a little more done-up than usual and she was smiling.
Eventually, all three of them realized that Alex was also holding three brown paper bags in her hand. Slightly embarrassed that it had taken her so long to notice, Olivia gestured at the bags. "Want to tell me what's in those?" she asked, leaning her hip against the side of her desk.
Alex's smile grew wider. "Food. I hadn't dropped by in a while and I figured I would bring Fin, Munch, and Elliot some dinner."
"Score, Chinese! Thanks, Alex," Elliot said as she placed the bags on his desk. Munch hurried over to grab his portion. It really was a thoughtful gesture, even though he suspected it was mostly a peace offering and a bribe to Olivia's brothers in blue. Although they had not discussed it, her sudden departure had left the detectives of the 1-6 feeling a little betrayed.
"None for me?" Olivia asked, not looking terribly disappointed.
"Your dinner will have to wait a few minutes, since it's at my apartment." The statement was given confidently, but Olivia could sense Alex's underlying nervousness as the blonde studied her face intently, waiting for a reaction.
"You don't need to stake your claim, Alex," Olivia said, sounding surprisingly cheerful. "I've already embarrassed myself and possibly you by outing both of us this morning."
"So that's why you agreed to let me pick you up." Even though the conversation took place via text message, both of them had known that 'picking Olivia up' meant being open about their relationship with the rest of the squad. Alex gave her a curious look. "Do I want to know how that happened?"
Olivia blushed. "Probably not," she said, rubbing nervously at the back of her neck.
"Should I be worried?"
Munch tossed the attorney, whose eyebrows were arched dangerously over the frames of her glasses, an easy grin. "Nah," he said. "You brought us dinner. We will be the epitome of discretion, I assure you."
"Oh, a twenty-five cent word," Olivia teased, grabbing her purse, which was one of her few concessions to feminine apparel during work. Heels and skirts made chasing down perps difficult, although they looked very nice on Alex. Sometime, the detective thought, I'll really have to dress up for her and knock her socks off... She won't know what hit her. Butterflies erupted in her stomach when Olivia realized that she had never actually looked forward to dressing up for someone before. In the past, it had just been an expected practice during dates, but she had never particularly enjoyed the experience.
"So, about dinner..."
Honestly, Olivia was surprised to find out that the attorney could cook. "I'm coming, but I didn't know you knew your way around a kitchen." She had always guessed that Alex had been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but judging from the price tag that seemed to hang in the air over her car and her clothes, maybe the metal should be upgraded to gold or platinum.
"You'd be surprised what insurance adjustors have to learn," Alex said lightly, not offended by the incorrect assessment. She was used to it, and actually looked forward to correcting Olivia's assumptions about her. It meant that they were getting to know each other better. "I have many skills."
Watching Alex's lips as they formed the words, Olivia could not help remembering a few other skills that the attorney possessed. Silver spoon or not, the blonde definitely had a golden tongue, both when she spoke and when she... "You watch too many reruns of Xena," Olivia said, shifting her weight off of the desk and walking to the door. She was looking forward to dinner, but mostly what she suspected would come after.
"Hey, Alex," Elliot called after them before the pair could exit the bullpen, "a word?"
Olivia, still thinking about possible after-dinner activities that she and Alex might indulge in, did not protest when Alex tossed her the keys to the Lamborghini. "Go start her up," Alex said, giving Olivia a reassuring smile.
"Shall I crank up the bass for you?" Alex rolled her eyes. "You know he's going to grill you, right?" the detective added in a whisper, taking a step closer to her lover and touching her hand briefly with her fingertips.
Alex just shrugged. "He won't be satisfied until he warns me not to hurt his girl," she said. "I would rather have him do it now and be done with it. You know he'll pout and glare at me suspiciously for weeks otherwise."
With a reluctant sigh, the brunette took the keys and headed out the door. She did not like the idea of leaving her new lover alone with her partner, but Alex and Elliot had known (and argued with) each other for years. How much damage could either of them do?
"So, what did Olivia mean by cranking up the bass?" Elliot asked casually, popping a fresh piece of sweet and sour chicken in to his mouth. Stabler liked all things meat. If it had once been alive, he enjoyed eating it. Munch looked up from his noodles, interested to hear the response. To their surprise, Alex actually blushed.
"Um, nothing important..." And Olivia had better not tell them, or I'll have to let slip that she actually watches reruns of Oprah and Dr. Phil, the cheating bastard...
Deciding to let it slide, Elliot took another bite of his food. Once Olivia was safely out of earshot, however, he was all business. "If you hurt her, I'll hunt you down and rip your head off, Cabot. Olivia is... Olivia." Alex knew what he meant. Like a wife, sister, mother, and daughter all in one, Olivia was so much more than a coworker to Elliot.
"If I hurt her, I'll deserve it," Alex said. "I'm serious about this, but right now I'm focused on not scaring her away."
To her surprise, Elliot stood up and went to give her a hug, which she accepted with a certain degree of wariness. "She was a wreck after you died, you know. She cares. A lot. We all do." There was a pause. "You know, I have to give her a speech, too. If she hurts you, I have to rip her head off as well."
Surprised and more than a little flattered by Elliot's words and his easy acceptance of their relationship, she gave him an impulsive kiss on the cheek, not even minding his slight five 'o clock shadow. The last thing she heard before she followed Olivia out of the door was Munch calling after her, "hey, Cabot, what do I have to do to get one of those?"
Dinner was chicken parmesan with a green salad, garlic bread, and a very nice Chianti. Olivia was impressed and, after complimenting her thoroughly, even apologized for insinuating that she couldn't cook. The lawyer brushed off the comments with easy humor, a wide variation from her usual cold attitude. "Next time, I'll have to make you escargot instead," she said, dragging Olivia back into the bedroom with her while she changed out of her nice clothes.
Olivia went slightly pale and she stumbled a little as they walked down the hall. She wasn't a picky eater, but the idea of eating snails did not settle well in her stomach. "Uh, how did we get from Italian to French again?" she asked, avoiding the subject.
"Relax, Liv, I was just kidding... I don't know how to make escargot, and I don't like it either."
"Let's go with kalamari," Olivia said, offering an alternative.
Stepping out of her heels, Alex sat on the edge of her bed and began pulling down her stockings. "We just finished eating. Besides, I kind of had something else in mind for the rest of tonight," she said, and even though Alex was not looking at her, Olivia's skin burned. In less than half a second, she was standing between Alex's legs, her hands trailing along the newly bared skin of her thighs, raising the hem of her skirt. Alex gave her a wicked smile. "I suppose you're not going to give me the chance to change after all. Since you're so impatient, I might as well just strip..."
"I'll help," said Olivia, whispering the offer as she placed a soft kiss behind Alex's ear. As her hands made quick work of Alex's buttons, the blonde trailed a line of hot kisses down the side of Olivia's throat. "You know, I was thinking..." The detective paused as Alex pushed her shirt over her head, ruffling her hair.
"Well, stop," Alex said, lifting her arms slightly so that Olivia could reach through her open shirt and undo the clasp of her bra.
"I was thinking," Olivia repeated, reaching up to squeeze an inviting breast, "that there are some things we haven't tried yet."
Leaning in, Alex smiled against Olivia's lips as her fingers dipped beneath the edge of her slacks, drawing teasing circles over her abdomen. "Oh?" Instead of giving Olivia a chance to answer, she interrupted her with a full kiss.
Finally, Olivia managed to breathe out her answer. "I want to taste you..."
The resulting gasp was not only from arousal. The blonde had never particularly enjoyed this activity, perhaps because it made her slightly nervous and self-conscious. Only one of her male lovers had even tried, but the fumbling attempt was mercifully brief. Her female suite mate from law school, on whom Alex had perfected her own technique, reciprocated occasionally, but that relationship had ended badly, and there was always a veil of distrust between them.
Don't think about them. Think of Olivia. No one else matters. Just Liv.
Alex trembled as Olivia eased her skirt down her thighs. "Oh god, you were wearing this all day while I was..." Olivia didn't bother to finish the sentence, stroking her through the silky material of her rather revealing underwear, which was a match for the bra. "Too bad they have to come off..." Trying to calm her fluttering stomach and slow her heart rate, Alex obligingly lifted her hips. "I'll have you through them some other night..."
Cheeks flushed, eyes closed, she was almost embarrassed by the brunette's intense scrutiny, the hot gaze that seemed to burn through her skin. No one had ever stared at her so intently before, melting the outer layers of ice and seeing directly into her soul.
"What's wrong?" Olivia asked, immediately noticing that the usually confident attorney was on edge.
Alex's hand reached down to cup Olivia's cheek, wondering when she had gotten the chance to kneel. She certainly didn't remember, but Olivia's touches had been distracting. "Nothing important."
Sitting up on her knees, Olivia leaned forward. "It's okay," she said in the same moment that a persistent hand slid between Alex's legs. The blonde's thighs parted automatically, welcoming her touch. "I can't believe I didn't try this sooner, the first night... God, I've wanted to forever..."
"You don't have to... I mean, I don't..." mind, Alex was about to say, but her confident voice petered out.
"No rush," Olivia murmured, pressing a kiss to the soft skin of her inner thigh. "You just let me do it slow..."
"Olivia..." Alex's voice was faint, but whispering the detective's name wasn't exactly a 'no'.
"Alex?" Another light, barely-there kiss brushed over Alex's skin on the opposite side, but the light touch almost burned. She was breathing fast and her heart was racing, but she didn't push Olivia away.
Ever so slowly, the gentle petting became firmer, more focused. Alex's hips snapped up when fingertips circled her entrance, not penetrating her, never filling her, only driving her into a delicious frenzy.
Alex gasped again, this time in pleasure instead of protest, letting her head fall back and closing her eyes, unable to look down. "Don't worry about it, Alex," Olivia purred. "I promise to make you see stars." Although she had a breathtaking view of everything she was doing to Alex's body, her eyes remained on the blonde's face, greedily absorbing every twitch of the calm, composed expression that she was trying so hard to keep in place. Poor baby. She really needs to relax. Really needs this.
"I don't know," Alex sighed, but it was not really a protest.
Well, even if she isn't sure, her body is saying yes, Olivia thought, smiling in satisfaction as another pulse of Alex's wetness coated her hand, leaving it warm. "Since when does Alex Cabot not know something?" the detective teased, punctuating the sentence with a deliberate swipe of her thumb over Alex's clit.
Alex's hands almost reached for Olivia's hair, but she stopped them half way there and clutched the sheets instead. "Maybe oh... maybe we could... tie my wrists..." If she ties my wrists, I don't have to worry about enjoying it or not... In her pleasure-clouded mind, the idea seemed to make sense even though there was no logic behind it.
"Mm-mm. Not. This. Time," Olivia said, scattering more light kisses over Alex's inner thighs. "Maybe later," a sharp nip, "or you could tie mine," her tongue soothed the reddened skin, "but now..." Now, she wanted Alex to want her. Want her badly enough to forget her self-consciousness and discomfort. And if the way Alex's hips were moving was any indication, she was well on her way.
"Just just... Olivia..."
Olivia knew those words might be the closest thing to a plea for mercy that she would get, but she couldn't resist teasing Alex a little more, taking her a little bit farther. "Say please," she whispered.
Her reward was another flood of wetness and heat and a soft, muffled 'Please'.
Feeling a little smug, she filed that information away for later and leaned in for a long, slow lick, savoring the sound of Alex's helpless whimpers. The blonde shifted, pressing harder against Olivia's mouth, forgetting her earlier reluctance. For one brief, blissful moment, pleasure smoothed the tight muscles in her face. As soon as she realized what she was doing, Alex froze, gripping the sheets harder.
Instead of being upset, Olivia saw it as a challenge. Pulling away, she admired the reaction she had caused in her lover. Alex was certainly in a state. Red, wet, swollen. It wouldn't take long to make her forget her worries...
For Alex, the next few minutes were slow, torturous stretches of shuddering pleasure. Olivia alternated between gentle kisses, flicks, and broad sweeps with the flat of her tongue. When her lips roamed higher, wrapping around her, pulling, lashing with the tip of her tongue, Alex's white fingers released the twisted sheets. One had shot up to her mouth, and she hardly noticed as she bit down on her fist to stifle a scream. The other hand found itself buried in Olivia's hair, pulling her closer, tighter... Oh God, it was nothing like this, never like this...
Olivia had never felt so powerful in her life. She had no idea why Alex was so hesitant about being touched, but as the blonde jerked against her tongue, the muscles in her thighs tensing, she decided it didn't matter. Nothing mattered but this. Alex. Loving her. Making her feel incredible.
When Alex let out a choked sob, Olivia knew that she was on the edge, the blurry line between ecstasy and pain. It would have been fun to prolong this, draw it out and really make Alex crazy, but the poor thing looked like she was almost in pain. "You need this bad, don't you, baby?" Olivia breathed, nuzzling her cheek against the soft skin of Alex's thigh. "Let go. For me. It's okay."
The abrupt stop almost brought her to tears, and it was all Alex could do to remove her fist and plead, "don't st- don't stop, don't..." When Olivia began again, using her fingers and tongue at the same time, Alex screamed, not even trying to cover the sound.
Her hand tightened in Olivia's hair as white streaks of light flared behind her eyes. Olivia had, as promised, made her see stars. Rippling with aftershocks, smooth inner muscles still clutching at the fingers that filled her, Olivia's reassuring voice was the first thing that Alex became aware of as her lover coaxed her back to earth.
"Shh. It's okay..." That. That was amazing. That was definitely happening at least once a day from now on. Hopefully more. "Now..." She gently removed her fingers, pulling back to kiss one of Alex's knees. "Breathe, baby. Close your eyes for a minute. I'll hold you."
Fulfilling her promise, Olivia pulled herself back onto the bed. Before she even got her head on the pillow, her arms were full of trembling, shuddering blonde. Alex's heartbeat, still strong and fast, pounded against her upper chest and shoulder. Still breathless from the intensity of her release, Alex took Olivia's mouth in a deep, slow, open-mouthed kiss. It was short, too short, but the need to breathe forced their mouths apart. Alex's head was still spinning. "I taste good on you," Alex sighed happily, kissing Olivia's chin.
The detective draped a possessive arm over Alex's bare hips, pulling her tight against her side. As soft blue eyes locked with hers, Olivia could feel a silent declaration of... something... pass between them. She wanted to, really wanted to, but somehow, the words 'I love you' stuck in Olivia's throat, curling in a tight ball and making her breath hitch. But it was all right, because Alex said them instead. They were the last words either of them spoke for a long time.
"So, are you my girlfriend now?"
The question surprised Alex so much that she nearly choked on her eggs. After a few minutes of coughing, she looked up from her laptop (eating breakfast in front of her computer was a bad habit of hers) to see Olivia standing behind her in nothing but a t-shirt and panties.
Alex's t-shirt and panties.
Damn, I guess I understand why guys find it sexy when girls wear their clothes, she thought once she caught her breath. She took a long gulp of her orange juice before responding. "Christ, can't you say "good morning" like regular people? And, um, I guess? The word 'girlfriend' sounds a little juvenile, but for all intents and purposes..."
Olivia smiled, leaning to peer over Alex's shoulder at the computer screen. "Whatcha working on? And is there any breakfast for me?"
"I was going to make you an omelet and bring it to you in bed once I finished my breakfast, but you ruined my romantic plans."
Olivia's smile grew wider and she bent down to rest her chin on Alex's shoulder, staring at the laptop. The attorney currently had four windows open. "Multi-tasker, huh? And why am I not surprised that you're a Mac girl?"
"I have a PC as well... can't let people think I'm an elitist." Abandoning her food and her computer, Alex stood up to give Olivia a proper good-morning kiss. Slow, unhurried, and full of affection, it had a different flavor than their passionate, needful kisses from the past few days. "Mmm... I love kissing you," Alex sighed, reluctantly pulling away from the detective. She had a feeling that another kiss like that would distract her from making breakfast. "I'll fix you that omelet if you want. We probably shouldn't start something we can't finish. You have to go to work."
"Can I mess around on your computer? Otherwise I'll just bother you some more, and that don't-start-something idea will go right out the window..."
Alex gave the wisps of hair at the back of Olivia's neck an affectionate tug and allowed her to sit down in the chair that she had vacated. "Sure, but don't do too much snooping."
While Alex wandered to the other side of the kitchen to make Olivia's breakfast, the detective went through the open windows on the attorney's computer. The first was Alex's e-mail inbox. Most of the correspondences seemed work related, but one from Abbie caught her eye, and she opened it after figuring out how to scroll and click with the unfamiliar Mac's keypad. "Oh jeez..."
Olivia's laughter made Alex turn around and frown in her direction. "What are you doing over there?"
"Reading the dirty joke Abbie sent you."
Alex turned back to the counter and rolled her eyes, cracking two eggs on the rim of a small bowl and grabbing a fork to break the yolks. "Well, I refuse to add her as my Facebook friend, so she has to bother me via e-mail. I never should have given her my work address."
That comment only made Olivia laugh harder. "Alexandra Cabot has a Facebook? Oh my God, I should have checked earlier! You have to be my friend!"
Olivia glanced away from the computer long enough to give Alex her best pout, but the blonde remained facing away. "Why not? Since you're my girlfriend now..."
"Because people use Facebook for two things: sharing embarrassing drunken pictures with friends or business networking. Think about what someone like you or Abbie probably uses their Facebook for, and then think about what I probably use my Facebook for..."
"I don't have any drunken pictures," Olivia muttered. "I have some class. Besides, I'm a sex crimes detective... I know how easily information on the internet can be gathered, distributed, and manipulated. I'm very careful with what I share."
"If you pass the Petrovsky test, I'll friend you," Alex said, finally turning around with one hand on her hip.
"The Petrovsky test?"
"If there's anything on your profile you don't want Petrovsky to see, then you're not allowed."
This time, it was Olivia's turn to choke. "I'm not going to ask." She returned her attention to the computer. "Ooooh... I think someone likes fuzzy animal videos on Youtube! I never would have guessed, Counselor."
"I plead the fifth."
"Do you have a porn collection, too?"
Alex dropped the frying pan to the ground with a loud clatter. "What?"
"You heard me."
Slowly, Alex bent down to retrieve the frying pan, giving Olivia a very nice view. "That question doesn't even deserve an answer. And you are getting off of my computer right now or I won't make you breakfast."
"Is that a threat or an offer for sex?" Olivia asked.
"Why, my stars, Alexandra Cabot, you look as well fucked as a housecat in heat that escaped out the window into the back alley," Abbie Carmichael purred, giving her friend a long, slow perusal through the video connection. Instead of responding with her usual scowl, Alex actually laughed, a full, throaty laugh that tilted her head back and revealed an uncharacteristically broad smile.
"All right, I know you made that one up."
Abbie was unrepentant. "Guilty. Now, tell me! I want details, woman! What else are sexually promiscuous female friends for?"
Alex studied her for a moment, considering her words. "I am completely and helplessly in love," she sighed, straightening the frames of her glasses in an attempt to look more professional. She might have managed to pull it off if she had not been sporting several prominent hickeys above the collar of the t-shirt Olivia had left behind. Abbie was surprised at the openness with which the blonde discussed her situation. Even though they were friends, Alex was a private person by nature, hesitant about sharing her feelings.
Knowing that Alex was a little uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation, Abbie made a U-turn. "That bad, huh? I was talking about the sex, but it's great to hear you're in love, too, I guess."
Alex stuck out her tongue and Abbie responded with a rude gesture. "Oh lord, we're acting like a bunch of 5 year olds, aren't we?" Alex said, automatically checking to make sure that no one was watching her even though she was safe in the privacy of her own apartment. She had a reputation to uphold.
"Five year olds don't talk about sex."
The blonde rolled her eyes. "You were probably playing doctor at five."
Abbie smiled, gazing absently into space as though revisiting a lost memory. "I have always been very good at talking girls out of their clothes." After a moment, her eyes regained their sharp focus. "So, have you let the poor woman have a turn yet, or were your cheeks glued to those lean, sexy thighs for the past three days?"
That did make Alex blush, further upsetting her already shaky composure. "Abbie Carmichael, that kind of comment is exactly why I refuse to partake in more than one alcoholic beverage around you."
Abbie shrugged. "I always make the girls come back. Most make return visits for the amazing sex, but you keep coming back for the inappropriate commentary."
"Jack McCoy has no idea what a dedicated professional and sparkling wit he lost when the Feds snatched you up," Alex said dryly.
"Jack can't comment. He fucked almost all of his second chairs, not including me and Serena... You know, even with all the women in the DA's office I've had, I don't think a single man in that courthouse knows I prefer chicks over dicks. They are so oblivious... So, who is Jack's new tail at the moment? I'm sure Manhattan's illustrious DA hasn't stopped yet. A leopard never changes his spots."
"Well, the ADA that replaced him is a man named Michael." Both of them laughed. "Actually, his second chair is kind of a babe. Her name is Connie Rubirosa."
"Straight, I think."
"They never stay straight for long when I'm in the room. I should plan a visit to New York. Maybe I can tell Jack I slept with more girls in the DA's office than he did now that I don't see him in court every day. The man is actually a very talented doodler, did you know? I might still have one of his legal pads that I filched. You should see the caricature he did of Rubenstein!"
"Abs," Alex protested, knowing how much the shortened version of her name irritated the dark haired, dark eyed prosecutor, "he's my boss, please stop talking about him like that... I won't be able to hold a straight face the next time I see him."
"Lex, honey," Abbie said, responding in kind, "you are definitely not straight."
Alex was unable to hide her blush. "Don't call me that."
"You started it. You can dish it out, but you can't take it?" The Texan paused, taking in a breath to begin another inappropriate monologue, but decided better of it at the last moment. "Wait, dark, butch, and fabulous calls you that in bed, doesn't she? I knew it!"
Alex banged her head against the table. Actually, Olivia had used several terms of endearment over the past few days, and even a few profanities (although never as names for Alex). She usually hated further contractions of her nickname, one that she had shared with her father growing up, but from Olivia, it was endearing and almost intimate. From Abbie, however...
"Abbie," she growled, giving her friend a warning glare.
"I promise not to call you Lex-"
"Or anything besides Alex, especially something inappropriate-"
"Or anything inappropriate," Abbie repeated, "if you do me a favor."
Alex's eyes narrowed. This was too easy. Her friend was up to something. "What kind of favor?" she asked suspiciously. "If it's a sexual favor, absolutely not."
"Well, it sort of is but not from you. As gorgeous as you are, Alex, you are not the only blonde in Manhattan." She paused, letting Alex absorb the significance of her silence.
Finally, it clicked. "Abbie, no," Alex said, sounding almost disappointed. "That poor girl has been through enough heartache because of you. Better to let sleeping dogs lie." Alex resisted the urge to clap her hand over her mouth in embarrassment. Although that phrase wasn't a southern colloquialism, it was still a colloquialism. Dammit, she's rubbing off on me. I need to read more of the classics to purge Abbie from my brain. Maybe some of the Romantic poets.
"I want to see her," Abbie argued, prepared to fight her case. Alex got the impression that Abbie had been planning this request for a long time, although she could not fathom why. "It's been three years and I still think about her."
"You broke Serena's heart."
"I never made any promises"
"She thought you did."
For a moment, something that looked almost like guilt flashed across Abbie's face. "I know," she said, her voice soft. "Listen, I just want to see her. Maybe, you know, apologize for being an ass? Maybe then I can..." She left the sentence unfinished. For once, Alex wondered if the unspoken words might not have anything to do with sex.
"I'll think about it," Alex said finally. "I do see her occasionally. I could pass along a message."
The rest of the day found both women reverting back to their usual personalities. Alex, determined not to let her new relationship soften her, returned to work with gusto. She was only taking a leave of absence in order to share her services with the international community. An extended vacation was not what she had signed up for. She spent her day taking conference calls, making travel arrangements, reading up on the area and situations that she would soon be encountering, and filling out the seemingly endless supply of paperwork provided by her superiors.
Her first break came in the form of a text message from Abbie. As always, the Texan was very blunt: Called Serena yet? Deciding to make the gun-toting prosecutor sweat it out for a while, Alex deliberately chose not to text her back. If Carmichael was going to be impatient, that was her problem.
Her second break was a phone call from her Uncle, during which she subtly deflected questions about what she had been doing with herself recently. She had a feeling that 'having the most amazing sex of my life' was not an appropriate answer. Grudgingly accepting a dinner invitation before she left for parts unknown, she finally ended the call. Too bad, she thought once her doting Uncle Bill's familial concern had been appeased, at least temporarily. The one person I want to talk to is the same person I promised not to smother.
With a sigh that she instantly regretted, Alex shook out a muscle cramp in her right hand, the result of far too many official signatures. Gingerly, she rolled her shoulderblades, trying to ease the tension in her upper back. Finding that her own focus had deserted her for the moment, Alex decided to text Abbie back after all. Scrolling through her contacts and pulling up the keyboard on her phone, she stopped at another familiar number under 'B'. No. No calling Olivia. Passing 'Carmichael' as well, she continued through the alphabetical list (Alex liked to keep everything alphabetical. The alphabet was organized, like her) until she reached the letter 'S'. Right above 'Stabler, Elliot' was the name she had been searching for. She pressed talk and waited as the phone began to ring.
"Serena? Hi, it's Alex... No, nothing much..." What a lie that is, she thought as she answered Serena's friendly inquiries about her recent activities. "Actually, I had something I wanted to tell you... no, it's not about Abbie. No, she's not..." Another lie, as Alex tried to convince Serena that Abbie was not the reason for her call. Serena and I are still friends. Friends do things together. I'll ask her to have dinner tomorrow so I can tell her about Olivia. If Serena doesn't seem like she can handle news about Abbie, well, screw Abbie. Carmichael will just have to bite one of those bullets she's always packing in her purse and call herself.
Her guilt slightly assuaged by the silent promise to put Serena's wellbeing first, Alex continued talking into the phone. "No, really, I promise," she said, crossing her fingers. "Actually, this has more to do with my romantic life... Yes? Yeah, actually..." Why does balancing friendships with two exes have to be so difficult? I feel like I'm guest starring in The L Word. Why on earth did I have to become a lesbian? Mental images of Olivia (sans clothing) quickly answered that question for her.
"Okay. So, I was thinking dinner..."
Meanwhile, Olivia was holding up surprisingly well at work. In fact, her ability to focus had improved. She decided that pining away after an unattainable woman (and then trying to deny that she was pining at all) was very tiring. Now that she and Alex had reached an understanding, she felt lighter, armed and ready to take on anything that the city of New York could throw at her.
All three of the boys were surprised and pleased by her newfound enthusiasm. They all reached points of burnout in a job like theirs, but the tired, wan Olivia of the past several weeks was gone, and in her place was the Olivia of perhaps seven years ago, the Olivia with a determined set to her jaw, a cocky attitude, and an equally cocky smile. The only difference was the longer hair.
Deciding to take advantage of his partner's energy, Elliot not-so-subtly suggested that she should go down and check on their DNA results. This left him to deal with Marlowe, who wanted to prep him for court the next day and was having a lot of fun at Olivia's expense on her breaks. Elliot, still feeling remorseful for revealing the name of her not-so-secret lover, had threatened Munch and Fin with bodily harm if they did not stop teasing her about Alex, but Marlowe had no such threat hanging over her head, and Olivia was eager to duck out of the line of fire.
"Dammit, that woman could give Carmichael a run for her money. If I find out which one of them told her, I'll kill them, and if it was Elliot, I'll kill him twice," she muttered to herself as she prepared for a dramatic entrance to the morgue. The lab rats still had not finished with the DNA at the second crime scene, and she wanted a word with whichever of Melinda's young pups had delayed their evidence. Despite her colleagues' gentle ribbing, she still had to concentrate in order to remove the smile from her face and replace it with a threatening grimace. Readying herself, the line of her shoulders lifting like the hackles on a fighting dog, she pushed both doors open with a loud bang and charged in.
"Listen, kid, I don't know how you do things when Warner's not here, but in this precinct, we " She stopped cold in the middle of her speech when a familiar face looked up from the autopsy table, her scrubs not hiding a slight frown.
"Gloves, Olivia!" Melinda Warner commanded, pointing to the cleaning station. Going through the familiar routine as fast as possible, Olivia disinfected herself and covered up, hurrying over to give the returning medical examiner a tight hug. Fortunately, Melinda was prepared for this and had reached a pausing point in her work. She accepted Olivia's embrace and returned it fondly.
"Melinda! I'm so glad you're back," said Olivia, her previous annoyance completely forgotten. The 1-6 had not been the same without the injured medical examiner.
Melinda smiled. "Me, too. Now, you be quiet for a minute, because I have a couple of things to say to you. One, thanks again for saving my life."
"I'm not finished." The medical examiner plowed on, knowing that Olivia was probably embarrassed by the continued reference to her heroic actions. She had already been thanked multiple times by multiple people, including herself, and Melinda knew that the detective was uncomfortable with the attention. "Two, the DNA you want is coming. The sample was contaminated, so there's no need to chew out any of my assistants for messing up the evidence gathering. Three, congratulations on your new relationship. It's about time."
Olivia groaned. "Who told you? I'm going to-"
"No one told me," Melinda laughed. "You're wearing one of Alexandra's favorite shirts." The marks on her neck, which had been unsuccessfully covered with makeup, did not bear mentioning.
Glaring at her shoes, Olivia fought valiantly against the blush threatening to burn across her cheeks. Fortunately, her complexion made it slightly easier to hide. Dammit, why didn't Alex tell me? Why didn't anyone at work tell me? She cursed Elliot, Munch, and Fin for keeping the information from her. Either they were waiting for her to embarrass herself, or they were afraid of her reaction.
"Great," she muttered, trying to remember how many people had seen her without her jacket so far that morning. The Captain definitely had...
"I do have good news for you, though, detective."
Olivia sighed, forcing herself to meet Melinda's eyes again. Years of interrogation experience paid off, and her carefully schooled features showed no more outward signs of discomfort. "Yeah? What have you got for me, doc?"
"The DNA on your second vic, Laraway, is still being processed, but at least part of the sample matches the skin cells under the nails and the semen from your first body. They're keeping the second sample for more testing, but I convinced them to send you the first half of the report anyway, even though it's unfinished. It should be arriving at your desk as we speak."
"So I came down here for nothing?"
"I'm glad you think saying hello to me is nothing," Melinda teased.
"I didn't know you were back," Olivia said, keeping her voice softer this time. "You were missed, and not just by all the frozen bodies waiting for you in here." Before she left, she made sure to give the medical examiner another welcome-back hug, but not before making a mental note to keep her jacket on for the rest of the day. Now that the preliminaries were over with and her fellow detectives had enough information to tease her with for the next decade, she was eager for things to get back to normal at work.
Not that any part of my life could ever be classified as normal, especially work, she thought as her cell phone and pager went off at the same moment.
"Benson, Stabler, my office, let's go," Captain Cragen said with little preamble, leaving both detectives to follow him through the partially open door. Olivia, who had half-sprinted from the morgue after receiving Cragen's page, was not out of breath, but her heart rate was slightly elevated. It spiked even further when she realized that she was not wearing her leather jacket, leaving Alex's shirt on prominent display. If the Captain noticed, he made no comment. Instead, he got straight down to business.
With a frown, he dropped a folded newspaper on top of his desk, turning it so that they could see the open page. "The media vultures have got a hold of this," he said, pointing to a very grainy photograph of several crime scene technicians hurrying about their work like busy ants. There was no clear shot of the body, Olivia decided after a brief skim of the photographs, but it still made her uncomfortable. "Where are we on this?"
"Not much," Elliot admitted reluctantly. "The report isn't complete on the second vic because of some kind of irregularity, but the DNA results confirm that the same perp killed both men. We think it's because they both had a relationship with the same woman, Alicia St. Michael."
"I've got a list of her previous boyfriends and some other acquaintances," Olivia added helpfully, trying to sound optimistic. "El and I were going to do background checks on them today, maybe ask Huang if any of them are likely to be targeted next. That could help us determine who and when to interrogate."
"Well, whatever you do, do it fast. The press is calling this guy a serial killer, and when we're at loose ends, my superiors and our friends over at the DA's office get antsy."
Olivia rolled her eyes. "Technically, you need three separate vics at different times and locations to dub anyone a serial killer. The press watches too much TV."
"If that's your idea of a sound bite for the press, Olivia, I've got to say, it's a pretty shitty one," Cragen said, frowning at her.
"He could be a serial killer for all we know," Elliot pointed out. "He might have killed before. He might be planning to again." Olivia did not disagree. She thought that they were after a serial killer too, but felt like being argumentative.
"I just wanted to let you know what was happening," the Captain continued. "I have confidence in both of you, but I don't want the press finding any new leads before we do, either. Be prepared for tails and don't talk to anyone."
Tails... wait a minute. "Hey, who is the author of that story?" Olivia asked, picking up the newspaper that was still lying on Cragen's desk. This time, she took a moment to read some of the article.
Serial Killer Stalks Chelsea
Confidential sources say that a "dangerous serial killer" has attacked two men in the Chelsea area in the past week and a half. Both victims, who were found on their front steps, showed signs of sexual assault and suffered blows to the back of the head.
Olivia paused to roll her eyes. Sexual assault? The guys were murdered, sodomized, and had their penises removed. The somewhat 'tame' description surprised her, and she wondered how much information the newspaper's staff really had about the killings.
The first victim, James Preston, was found on September 3rd at 5:00 AM when a neighbor called the local police department following...
Olivia skipped ahead, letting her eyes scan down the next few paragraphs until another familiar name caught her eye.
Both Laraway and Preston are acquaintances of Alicia St. Michael, a dental hygienist who declined to comment-
"Fuck," Olivia blurted out, "one of the creeps got to her. With her name in the article, she could be in even more danger. El, we've got to check on her and talk to this reporter guy. She glanced back down at the paper long enough to memorize the name at the end of the article: Stephen Johnson, investigative reporter.
"Why don't you give your old boyfriend a call? I forget his name..." Elliot asked. "Ask who this Johnson guy is."
Olivia wrinkled her nose at the mention of Kurt Moss, one of her several tragic attempts at a relationship during a particularly unstable period in her life. Their awkward courtship had not been great to begin with, although there was nothing wrong with Kurt, really making him sign the affidavit in order to clear her name after the "outing" scandal had certainly not helped, but her assault at Sealview had been the last straw. They remained cordial, although not quite friendly.
And the sex with Alex blows him out of the water, she added silently to herself. She paused, realizing for the first time just how lucky she was from an outside perspective. Wow. How the hell did I end up with an incredibly smart, gorgeous, rich blonde? Isn't that, like, the ultimate dating fantasy?
Dismissing the thoughts as unimportant, she decided to suck it up and give Moss a call. It couldn't hurt. "Sure," she told Elliot. When Cragen frowned at her, she added, "don't look at me like that, Dad, I'm not giving him anything. One article is bad enough. I just hope this is one killer who doesn't enjoy playing with the press."
With a shared set of nods acting as a nonverbal goodbye, the detectives knew that they were excused and headed out of the precinct, narrowly avoiding Fin, who was bringing in a witness for one of his own cases. The walk to the car seemed to take no time at all.
"Do you want to split up, or do this together?" Elliot asked as he took his usual seat behind the steering wheel. Even though she was a capable driver herself, and had passed the Academy's vehicular obstacle course with flying colors, Olivia had learned long ago to let Elliot do the work. If he wasn't allowed to steer, he became a horrible back-seat driver and pouted for the entire ride. Dealing with his childish attitude wasn't worth it.
"Together," she said. "Let's talk to this Johnson guy first. I'll give Alicia a call on the way. I have her contact info. I want to make sure that there aren't a bunch of reporters camped outside her door."
"You told me she mentioned a stalker," Elliot added. "Maybe it was just a news hound?"
Olivia shrugged, automatically reaching for the cup of coffee sitting between them in the cup holder before realizing (with more than a little disappointment) that it was cold, stale, and had been Elliot's back when it was drinkable.
Elliot continued theorizing to himself as they navigated the daily city traffic. "If he looks suspicious, we can always ask for some DNA."
"He won't give it. Reporters are all about quoting their constitutional rights."
"Well..." Stabler gave his partner a sidelong glance, which Olivia pointedly ignored. "You could always..."
"Ew, no. Why do you always ask me to do that, you pig? I'm not going to flirt with every suspect we question in order to get information or DNA. Besides, this guy isn't even a suspect yet, just a random reporter who happened to write a story on the case we're trying to close. For all we know, he could be seventy years old, or confined to a wheelchair, or maybe he was on vacation in Cancun during the night of both crimes."
"And seventy year olds can't commit crimes?"
"That's not the point. Besides, if you didn't think he had something to tell us, we wouldn't be driving over to see him."
Tired of arguing with Elliot, Olivia searched desperately for a distraction, eventually settling on checking her cell messages. There were none from Alex, which disappointed her for a moment. Pull yourself together. You're at work. Stop being so needy. But still... she sort of wished the attorney had texted or called her...
Later, when she thought about it, Olivia realized that it was probably the first time she had ever truly been hoping for a phone call in her life.
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