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Long legs hurried down the hallway. No need to worry, Alex assured herself; SVU detectives never leave on time. But when she rounded the corner Damn! She was staring at two empty chairs. "Where are Munch and Fin?" she asked anyone who might be in the vicinity.
Oh, thank God. It's Liv Alex turned toward the voice Liv in a do-me dress. Holy . . . . The ADA was speechless. Finally, she realized that Olivia seemed to be waiting for something. Oh. Probably for me to say something. "Movie?" was all she could come up with.
"Yeah." The detective carried her purse from the lockers to her desk. "Cat in the Hat."
"No, that's just the rumor I'm spreading," Olivia replied.
"Well, I need them." Alex reached for her speed dial, but there was no answer at either number.
"Polite people turn off their cell phones in theaters, Counselor," Olivia said.
"Don't they ever use the vibrate function?"
"You probably don't want to know the answer to that."
"Damn it," the ADA announced, "I'm going to make a new rule: No movies in the middle of a trial."
With a lipstick poised in one hand, Olivia looked over at her. "They did wait until after you'd rested, Alex," she pointed out. "What do you need 'em for?"
Lipstick? Alex shifted her gaze downward. Heels? She studied the shimmering black and silver above-the-knee. And not just a do-me dress a do-me-right-now-and-don't-stop dress.
"Alex?" Olivia tucked the lipstick into her purse and ran her fingers through her hair, then drew out a small mirror.
You look perfect, Alex could have told her. Instead, she remembered what the detective's question was, and held up a warrant. "Search. Tonight. The Bronx."
"A little late for searches, isn't it?" Olivia asked. She appeared to be done with her pre-whatever preparations. "You rested yesterday."
"It's for rebuttal. Judge Liston let Barnes call an undisclosed alibi witness today."
"You're kidding." Olivia leaned against her desk, ankles crossed. "That's b.s."
"It's the 'grace-of-God' school of evidence," the ADA said. "Liston was a defense schlock for years, so he's sensitive about how many times judges bailed him out of messes. 'But for the grace of God, there go I,' and all that." A smug expression crossed her face, and she waved the document. "But if that's how Barnes wants to play it, fine it got me a warrant from the signing judge. Sam Kenton says he was with our hero the night Alicia Weatherspoon was raped; that's good enough to look for her stolen items at his apartment."
"You really think they'd be dumb enough to call this guy as a witness and still stash the stuff at his place?" Olivia blinked. "What am I saying? Of course they would."
"In law school, my Crim Law professor started out every lecture the same," Alex said. "'Criminals are stupid,' he would announce, and then he'd give an example of some idiot writing a hold-up note on his own deposit slip or something."
Olivia laughed, but a peek at her watch sobered her. "Ah, hell."
"Where are you off to?" It was a bit personal, but Alex didn't care.
"It's 'meet the future in-laws' night," Olivia said, rolling her eyes.
The attorney's mind went blank. What? She couldn't have heard what she just heard. "In-laws? Whose in-laws?" Alex hoped she didn't look as sick as she felt. "I mean, whose parents?" Don't lay this on me in the middle of a trial, Liv.
"Henry Duffin? As in the Duffin Foundation?"
"That's III. This is IV."
Alex remembered him or that flaming white turtleneck, anyway from an awards banquet a few months ago. She hadn't been impressed. Not that she had interacted with him that much, even though he had spent more time at the NYPD table than at his own . . . talking to Liv . . . "The Kennedy-hair-poofy-neck-polo-pony guy?" she blurted. That does it. Screw the caseload. I am not passing up any more after-hours invites from SVU. Olivia's apparently been seeing this guy for months and I didn't have a clue.
The detective arched an eyebrow. "Anything you'd like to add to that?"
Oops. Alex realized that she'd gone too far. And, if she thought about it objectively, Duffin could be considered sort of appealing, if you were into that. "Sorry," she apologized. "I just meant that he didn't seem your type."
Olivia smiled to herself. "Funny thing, types," she said, snatching up her handbag. "I've gotta go." A few steps away from the entrance, she turned back around. "So, what are you going to do?"
Alex looked up. "What?"
"About the warrant."
Oh, yeah. The warrant. "I'll just call one of our own investigators."
That earned a cringe from the SVU detective.
"I can go with him myself, since he won't know the case," Alex continued.
Olivia's expression turned to concern. "Is there any chance of trouble?" she asked.
The attorney shrugged. "Kenton doesn't know it's coming," she said, "but he might not be there."
"Or he might," Olivia countered. A moment passed while she seemed to think something through. "Listen, Alex, can this wait " she checked her watch again "an hour or so?"
"I suppose," the attorney said, a question in her tone.
"Wait for me, then," Olivia instructed. "Call me on my cell at 7:30, OK?"
Alex nodded. She supposed she should feel guilty about disrupting Olivia's Big Date. Yeah, she felt really guilty.
Olivia slowed her pace. What the hell, she was only about five minutes late. As she approached the table, she noticed the thorough appraisals of Henry the Third and Mrs. Henry the Third, whatever her name was. From their expressions, she concluded that she had passed initial inspection. So far so good. Henry the Fourth rose and greeted his date with a kiss on the cheek. Very dignified, Olivia observed. Time to make nice now.
As the conversation progressed, Olivia's mind began to wander. Why didn't I tell her seven? This was worse than she had imagined. Where had Four gotten his personality? Not from either of these two.
"We didn't make it to the first day of the competition." Mr. Three's riveting account of last spring's yacht races drew a sympathetic frown from his spouse. "You can imagine how disappointing it was to have to watch the replays on the IMAX."
"Oh, dear," Olivia murmured. Come on, Alex . . . . Yes! The cell phone chirped from the pocket of her purse.
"I'm sorry," she apologized to her dinner companions. "I'm required to leave this on when I'm on call." She pretended to check the caller ID. "It's the Assistant District Attorney," she informed them. "Benson," she spoke into the phone.
"This is your 7:30 alarm call."
"Yes, Miss Cabot. What can I do for you?"
"You told me to call, remember?"
"Really." Olivia paused. "Oh, terrific."
Alex didn't reply.
"Am I supposed to say yes?" the ADA inquired with some amusement.
"What about the head?"
"Should you be talking about head in front of your in-laws?"
That threw the detective off for a moment. Cabot's in a frisky mood, is she? "Have uniforms check the garden," she continued. "If its Haskins, he likes to party with them and then plant tomatoes in the nostrils. . . . Any teeth marks on the intestines? . . . Can't be her, then. . . . . Yeah, he does, but he's still doing his five at Attica. I saw him last week when I was up there working the granny gang bang. . . . Nah, just the usual: 'I know where you live, bitch,' 'When I get out of here, I'm gonna ram this shovel up your ass,' yada yada yada." An idea seemed to occur to her. "Hey, did you try Stabler? He's worked a couple of these. . . . Geez, that guy's useless."
"Well, that was all quite helpful, Detective," Alex said sarcastically.
"This isn't a good time," the detective went on. "I'm in the middle of a No . . . come on, Miss Cabot . . . ."
"Oh, please, Detective Benson, please," Alex breathed at her.
Smartass. "I'm going to remember that," Olivia said. "Fine. I'll be right there."
"Got it," Liv said. "The station house. Give me fifteen." She flipped the phone shut. "I'm sorry," she said with a regretful tone. "She needs me."
"Is . . . all this . . . typical of your job?" Mrs. Three asked stiffly.
"Oh, yeah," Olivia laughed. "Isn't it amazing what people do to each other? I was just telling Henry the other day about this perp that puked all over my partner's shoes last week." She shared a smile with her date. "So I say to my partner, 'Well, at least it can't get any grosser than that.' Then all of a sudden the guy drops his pants, and " She glanced at her watch. "Ah I need to go. It was nice meeting you."
Henry the Fourth rose and walked his date to the coat check. "Thanks, Liv," he said. "I owe you one."
"A big one," she replied. "Don't worry; I won't forget."
"Sit down, Kenton," Detective Benson instructed the spiky haired tenant again.
"This is bullshit," he complained. "She's just taking it out on me 'cause her case against Willie is fucked up."
"No, she's taking it out on you because you're fucked up," Olivia replied.
"You talking about her or me?"
There was no reply.
"Must be your mother," Olivia decided. "Now plant your ass in that spot and stay put. You move one inch and I'm going to sit you down."
Kenton grabbed his crotch. "Why don't you tell that bitch to sit on this?"
She tightened her grip on his shoulder. "Because if I hear your potty mouth mention her one more time, you won't have anything to sit on." Olivia was freed from her various temptations by a hard knock on the door, and she released her hold to go open it. "Thanks, guys," she told the two uniforms who stepped inside. "Can you keep an eye on Mr. Kenton? He seems a little restless."
She quickly made her way to the back bedroom, where Alex was rather daintily sifting through various piles. Olivia smiled to see the attorney pinch a pair of boxers between finger and thumb to move them aside. At that rate, they wouldn't even be done in time for court. Fortunately, Detective Benson was not burdened with the same sensitivities. When the most obvious hiding places didn't pay off, she started a corner-to-corner search, grabbing and tossing at will. "Who says ADAs can't be fun dates?" Olivia said, sweeping aside an assortment of empty beer cans.
"Cheap, too," Alex said.
"So when can we do this again?"
Olivia walked over to see what had sparked the attorney's exclamation. "Wow, that is one impressive collection," she mused, sifting through some of the magazines. "You think Kenton likes girl on girl?" She leaned over Alex's shoulder to see the two-page spread that seemed to have caught the ADA's attention. "We could take that with us," she whispered.
Alex hastily tossed the magazine back on top of the pile, and the detective resumed her search on the other side of the bedroom. "That would have been impossible if the brunette's arms weren't so long," she mentioned casually.
"Have you checked the dresser?"
Subtle. Olivia let the ADA get away with the change of subject. "Getting there," she replied.
Half an hour later, Olivia struck pay dirt. "Son of a bitch!" she muttered from under the bed. "Alex, can you hand me a glove?"
The ADA squeezed in beside her. "Ugh. What have you got?"
"See this?" Olivia pressed her hand against a slight depression under the box spring. "There must be . . . somewhere . . . ." She felt around until her fingers encountered an opening, then reached in and drew out a couple of necklaces. She fished around some more, producing a bracelet and a large-carat ring. "I think that's it."
The two women maneuvered themselves back out from under the bed and inspected the pieces. "It's Alicia's ring," Alex said excitedly. "This necklace, too. I'm betting the rest of this stuff's on her list. Thank you, Liv." She started to reach for the detective's hand, but stopped herself and pointed at Olivia's dinner dress instead, now covered in dust. "I owe you a dry cleaning," she said.
"I should have figured we'd end up rolling around in the dirt," Olivia said. "I could have planned better."
"Well, you shouldn't make assumptions on a first date," Alex replied. She handed the detective an evidence bag.
"Really? How many dates would it take?" OK, this is definitely elevating to the realm of flirting. Olivia dropped the ring into the bag and sealed it.
"I guess you'll never know," Alex said, drawing a permanent marker from her purse. "How many did it take with Mr. Cummerbund?"
Alex glanced at her, then held out another plastic bag.
"I've never rolled around in the dirt with him," the detective added.
"I suppose getting dirty would be uncivilized," Alex said somewhat snippily.
"Still fun, though," Olivia joked. "But I haven't done any rolling around with Henry."
"You're marrying a guy that you haven't even slept with?"
"What kind of a girl do you think I am?"
Alex was confused. "You . . . ?"
"I'm not marrying Henry Duffin," Olivia said, scribbling a note onto another label before passing it to the ADA.
"I'm sorry, Liv," Alex said, and she truly was. She didn't want her petty jealousies to get in the way of Olivia's happiness. What could possibly have gone wrong between six o'clock and now? Shit! "Oh, God, Olivia, it wasn't because of this, was it?"
"I think it'll help," Olivia replied. Stepping close to the other woman, she lowered her voice. "Henry's gay." She was interested to see the obvious relief on Alex's face. "His folks are old school, so he needs some cover."
"Old school more like a one-room schoolhouse."
"He knows that," Olivia agreed, "but you can't pick your relatives. We go to some fancy do once in a while, his parents and their friends see us all smiley face in the society column, and everybody's happy."
Alex knelt to pick up their gloves. "So . . . how did you get enrolled in this?"
Olivia knew what the other woman was probably getting at. "He figured I could relate," she said.
The ADA paused, then performed a quick once over to make sure they weren't leaving anything. "Aren't they going to wonder if you never make it official?"
Olivia smiled. Alex seemed to have taken that pretty well. Pretty well indeed. "Actually, we were figuring on a breakup at the end of the year," she said. "Henry was worried that his folks wouldn't handle it well, but I don't think that'll be a problem any more. They didn't seem too impressed by my occupation."
"Too glamorous?" Alex wiped a dust bunny from Olivia's sleeve.
"Of course." Olivia gestured toward the evidence bags. "Are we out of here?"
"Yeah. Did you get anything to eat?" Alex asked unexpectedly.
"Depends. You buyin'?"
"Depends. What'll it get me?"
Olivia recognized that she had just been given a choice: Play it safe, or go for it. She had gone for it all her life, but, for some reason, it was just . . . different . . . with Alex. She chickened out. "Case-winning rebuttal testimony for you tomorrow," she offered.
"Not good enough. I could just subpoena you."
"Yeah, but then I'd be a hostile witness," Olivia replied. She was enjoying this game. "You'd have a hard time getting what you want out of me."
Alex stared directly into warm brown eyes. "Would I, Detective?"
Olivia stepped closer to her. "That depends on what you want," she said. Alex didn't seem worried about their proximity, and Liv decided to follow her instincts. "If you wanted this, for example . . . ." She slid her arms around Alex's waist and leaned in for a kiss, which soon deepened as Alex's arms wrapped around her neck. When they finally broke apart, Olivia finished her sentence, ". . . you can probably pull that off."
Alex smirked. "What if all I want is the testimony?" Both arms were still clamped firmly around the detective's sexy neck.
"Then you'd better not go out with me Friday night," Olivia replied. "Because if you do, there's going to be a lot more of this" she laid another heated kiss on the ADA "and probably some of this." She lowered her hands to Alex's hips and pressed their bodies together.
"I guess we'll see about that on Friday, Detective," Alex said. Straightening their clothing, the two women stepped into the living room, asked the uniforms to take a pissed off Sam Kenton into custody for possession of stolen property, and started on the two-block walk to the detective's car.
As they walked down the street, the happy detective couldn't keep her eyes off the woman beside her. "You wanna go park somewhere and make out?" she asked impulsively when they reached the vehicle. "There's an unlit parking lot around the corner."
"You are unbelievable, Detective," Alex said. "Our first kiss is in some perp's rathole apartment, and now you want our first date to be in the back seat of your car."
"I didn't say the back seat."
"Well, it'll have to be," the ADA pointed out. "These bucket seats are no good." She shook her head. "Wait a minute what am I saying? I can see it now: 'ADA and SVU Detective Arrested For Public Lewdness.'"
"Mmm . . . ." Olivia's eyes lit up. "Lewdness, huh? Sounds promising." She pressed her lips against the blonde's throat. "Come on, Alex. You know this has been a long time coming," she urged.
Alex arched her neck. "I have to go back to work . . . ."
Long fingers curled into Olivia's hair. "Ten?"
"Maybe fifteen . . . ." Liv grazed her palm across the other woman's thigh.
The two kissed again, and Olivia's hand began to wander. "Screw it," Alex declared, shoving her toward the car. "Let's go make some headlines."
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