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Not another one. Olivia put on her best "trust me" face, and tried to reassure the woman standing stiffly in front of the table. "No, Ma'am," she said. "I promise you this has nothing to do with the PATRIOT Act." She held up the envelope. "We will not keep a copy of anything in here. We're just here to help you fill this out. If your child got lost one day," or was snatched, she didn't add, "this Child Identification Kit would be very helpful to us in finding her."
The other officer beside her stood and positioned herself behind the camera tripod. "OK, honey, show me your smile." The flash went off, and Sergeant Debra Peyton announced that they would soon be treated to her magical artwork. She opened a black inkpad and reached for the little boy's fingers. "Let's get messy," she grinned.
Great, Olivia groused. Deb gets the giggly ones; I get the ones who think I report directly to John Ashcroft.
A moment later, the women found themselves enjoying a rare lull at the same time. "Gee, surely I've miscounted," Deb taunted her. "It can't be " She pretended to count the empty label sheets again. "Why, yes it is: Deb 31, Olivia 24."
Olivia reached down to pluck a crumpled 3 x 4 label from the grass. "Deb 30," she corrected. "Deb, who apparently can't spell" she unfolded the paper "Pete."
"He jostled the pen. So, anyway," Deb changed the subject, "you've checked your watch three times in the last five minutes. Is that your subtle way of saying that you're tired of me, or are you trying to figure out how to tell me that my replacement is standing me up?"
"She's not standing you up," Olivia replied. "She called a little while ago and said she was running late. She got stuck on the phone with her mother."
My, what a big, bright smile that is, Detective Benson. Debra was intrigued. "And just who might this person be?"
"That name sounds familiar," Debbie mused.
"She's our ADA."
"Oh," the other officer said knowingly. "That Alex. Rumor has it that you two are an item."
Liv's smile grew wider.
"I'll take that as a yes."
"One month, four days," Liv declared. She had no difficulty remembering the date, because she remembered quite vividly how she and Alex had celebrated their first month together.
Debra waved a persistent fly away from her face. "Geez, this thing wants to marry me." She took another swipe at it. "Why didn't you guys drive down here together?"
"I've been on surveillance all week," Olivia said. "We haven't seen each other since Tuesday."
A family of wow, eight at the fire department display three tables down caught Olivia's eye. A couple of those smartass firefighters had already been over offering to "fill out their forms," and they'd be back again when Alex arrived, that was certain. They seemed intent on enticing the women into some juvenile competition, announcing that FDNY's free smoke alarm inspections would kick ass over NYPD's Ident-a-Kids. Like that was fair. Everyone understood the need for smoke detectors; not everyone understood the need to have their kids fingerprinted. She eyed the group as it moved on to the YWCA booth. That family would yield six Ident-a-Kids, and only one smoke alarm inspection . . . .
"You get a day off with your new girlfriend, and you sign her up to staff a booth?" Debbie tsked. "How romantic."
"I was already signed up for this. She said she didn't mind," Olivia replied. "Trust me; I had no idea at the time that Alex Cabot would ever agree to go out with me."
"How'd you pull that off, anyway?" Debra asked. "I assume she must have been drunk."
Liv laughed. "Blow to the head." When her phone rang, she snatched it up, hoping it was Alex. The caller ID, though, said otherwise.
Dispatch? "This better not be a call." Olivia hit the receive button and, after a moment, shook her head. "Yeah. Look, is anyone else on call? Great. I'm on my way." With a scowl, she clicked the phone shut. "Damn it."
Debbie peered down at the scribbled address. "Well, at least it's not that far."
"That's not the point," Olivia countered. "I told Alex I'd try not to screw up our day. This is bull. I'm sick of this every damn Saturday."
"Gee, you never used to complain about it," Deb said. "Young love," she sighed dramatically. "I remember it well."
"I'm surprised." Olivia turned to her friend. "Favor? Stick around til Alex gets here, and tell her I'll be back as soon as I can?"
"No problem," Debbie said. "Clay's taking a later flight anyway, so I'm just killing time. I'll tell Alex alllll about your days in uniform."
"Uh huh. And I'll return the favor with Clay," Liv threatened.
Deb rolled her eyes. "Go on; I'll take good care of Ms. Cabot. Tall, gorgeous blonde, right?" She ran her fingers through her hair.
"Funny." Liv reached under the table for her purse. "I'll be dusting her for fingerprints later, so try and contain yourself til Hubbie gets home." She glanced toward the FDNY booth. "And keep the fire hoses off her."
"I suspect your ADA knows how to handle herself around unwelcome admirers," Deb said. "Although she apparently got tired of telling you no."
"Alex has never told me 'no,'" Liv said with a grin. "I'm counting on that streak to continue tonight, if I can just get some time with her." She pushed her chair out from the table. "This really su" She bit off her complaint as a young mother, toddler in hand, approached the table. "Later."
Olivia's mood was no better by the time she pulled into the mostly empty parking lot. She hated these calls. By definition, it was always He said/She said. A bad cop had either abused his power, or an innocent one was about to be dragged through the mud. As she stepped out of the car, Olivia nearly tripped over an empty beer bottle and she kicked it across the lot, enjoying the tinkle of glass as it rolled along.
The uni was a stocky, ex-footballer type with a buzz just long enough to tell that he had light brown hair. Did I ever look that young? Olivia suddenly wondered what Elliot looked like in his academy photo.
"Officer . . .," she dropped her gaze to the perfectly aligned badge, ". . . Greene. Olivia Benson, SVU. What's up?" Her eyes flickered to the late model sedan parked a few yards in front of the cruiser.
Why do all my Saturdays have to be fucked? I just want one ordinary day with Alex. And tear-away buttons. No drama, please. Olivia could see paperwork a mile long coming on this one.
She turned her attention back to Officer Greene, who bore the usual signs of a rattled rookie. "They warned us about this at the academy," he groaned.
"Yeah, I know," Liv said supportively. "So, what happened?"
"It's 30 along here," he began, then pointed at the other car. "She's ten miles over. I pull her over, she says she can't afford a ticket."
"Can't afford one?" She raised an eyebrow. "That's $40,000 worth of car there."
Greene shrugged. "I figured she meant points."
"Is she over?"
"I don't know," he replied. "I didn't run her. We didn't get that far. Next thing I know, she's telling me what she'll do if I put away my book."
Olivia leaned against his cruiser. "Which was?"
After an embarrassed silence, the officer uttered a descriptive sentence.
Liv arched an eyebrow. "How come I never got those kind of offers when I was in uniform?" she joked.
Greene didn't laugh. "Then she starts screeching like I'm trying to make her do something."
Olivia nodded toward the other car. "How'd you turn that down? Looks pretty hot from here."
"Right." He rolled his eyes. "Like I'm gonna risk my job one week off of training."
"Look, I've been a uni," Olivia said. "It's a shitty job, and there aren't many perqs . . . ."
"No way." Greene shook his head. "I'm married."
"Ah." Olivia commiserated with him a few more minutes. "So, want me to try the old 'sorry for the miscommunication' line and see if she'll drop it?"
Greene seemed relieved at the prospect. "That would be great," he replied.
Olivia drew out her cell phone and hit a speed dial number. "Hey, Cap," she said. "I'm on a call. I thought I'd let you know that I'm bringing in IAB." She ignored the shocked look on the young officer's face.
Cragen's groan carried clearly through the wire. "Why?"
"Because Officer Greene here just accused Assistant District Attorney Alex Cabot of offering him a blow job to get out of a traffic ticket."
Yeah, that's what I thought you'd say.
When Detective Benson hung up from her second call, the friendly smile was gone. Greene was, she observed, rather . . . green, crouched on his haunches with his head buried in his hands. "Oh, fuck," he mumbled.
Olivia had no sympathy. "I'm not making this go away," she said. "You never should have made it out of the academy." From there, she walked over to Alex's car and peeked in.
Whoa. That was one infuriated attorney.
"Why didn't you call me directly on this?" Olivia asked gently.
"I wanted it by the book," Alex replied. She seemed to understand the detective's concern, turning her head to reassure her, "I would have if he refused to call it in."
"I almost tried to ditch this call," Olivia said.
"I knew you wouldn't."
I'm predictable, Olivia translated. "How'd you know I'd catch it?"
"Let's see," Alex replied, with the hint of a smile. "All your Saturdays are, and I quote, 'fucked.' You're sick of getting, and again I quote, 'every damned call every damned Saturday just because they don't think you have a life.'"
OK, so she'd vented a few times. "Yeah, well, not any more," Olivia declared. "I'm telling Cragen to put it on rotation. And if something like this ever happens to you again" she made sure she had Alex's attention "screw procedure. Call me, OK?" She watched Alex a moment longer, then leaned in. "Is this is a bad time to tell you that you're beautiful when you're pissed?"
Two telltale beeps signaled that the car alarm was active, and the attorney started across the street to join Olivia, who took advantage of an NYPD reserved slot and was waiting for her near the park entrance.
"By the way," Alex said, "thank you for not asking whether I did it."
Olivia could honestly say that she had not been tempted, even as a tease. One look at the ADA fuming silently in her car had aided the detective's decision-making processes considerably. "I was kinda hoping that your tastes were such that you'd rather pay the ticket than offer what he was suggesting," she replied.
"You weren't sure about my tastes?" Alex asked. "I tried really hard to explain them to you the other night."
"Oh, I understood. Every time." Olivia smiled. "So, were you speeding, Leadfoot?"
"Of course I was late as hell," Alex admitted. "But I was fully prepared to accept the consequences of my actions."
The attorney seemed to have regained her sense of humor, Olivia observed, and she turned her head to look back at the Lexus. "You know, you're about four inches into the yellow," she pointed out.
"Which is about two feet closer than the Lincoln that just pulled out," Alex replied.
"We can't choose which laws to enforce, Counselor," Olivia lectured her. "I'm afraid that I'll have to write you up."
Ah now she got it. Olivia knew that smirk. Alex turned to the detective and laid a hand on her arm. "I really don't want a ticket, Officer," she said. "Is there any way I could talk you out of it?"
"I don't know," Olivia replied, giving the blonde a once-over. "What did you have in mind?"
Eleven syllables later, Olivia was breathless. God, lawyers have a way with words. But of course she already knew that from Tuesday, and a dozen other nights before that. Her ADA was quite the talker, adding to Olivia's own enjoyment as she happily carried out the attorney's murmured instructions.
"Deal," Liv declared. They stepped through the grand archway and she looked for the NYPD booth. She smiled; there, seated beside Sergeant Peyton and pressing a young girl's fingers into black ink, was a muscular young man sporting a black FDNY t-shirt. Well done, Deb. Liv checked her watch; she and Alex were only scheduled for one more hour. Maybe they could head over to Alex's place after their shift ended and
The attorney's exclamation drew Olivia's attention. "What?"
"I've just witnessed one of New York's finest accepting sexual favors in exchange for not issuing a citation," Alex said. "I'm obligated to report that to your captain."
Heh. "Oh, man," Liv complained. "That would really get me in trouble." She stepped closer to the blonde. "Is there any way I could change your mind about that?"
Alex hooked her arm through Olivia's. "Actually, there is," she said, and Liv leaned in for elaboration. "I've got some wallpapering I need done in my kitchen." Alex smiled at the detective's dismay. "What? I liked that wallpaper job you did on your bedroom closet."
"Yeah, right. We made it through, what, two shelves before we . . . ." Oh, yeah. They never did use the rest of that roll. Wallpapering at Alex's. Sounded like a perfect Saturday.
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