DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are
property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: For 'Ghost'.
Silly Ghost Thing
With precise movements, Emily accessed her computer database to retrieve a telephone number. "Mr. Christensen, Emily Farber with American Insurance," she told his voice mail. "I notice that your Supreme Court issued an opinion this morning eliminating claims based upon open and obvious land conditions. Take our 25 thousand off the table and offer Stockton 50 dollars if he dismisses by the end of the week. And I'd better not see any attorney time billed to this case between now and then."
One item down on her To Threaten list.
"Hi, Emily; how's it going?"
She looked up into the smiling face of her boyfriend, for want of a better word. "Hi, Brad."
"Did you have a chance to look over my parking lot case? I need to do an initial Agreed-To Litigation Plan."
"Hmm? Oh, that. It's over."
"What? The one I gave you yesterday?"
"Someone had to be a lying sleazebag," she said. "Either the store employee gathered shopping carts from the parking lot at 4 o'clock and the grape wasn't there, or our client swept the parking lot at 4 o'clock and it was. I pulled the store's phone logs from Wisconsin Bell"
"How'd you do that?"
"Ehh," she said vaguely. "By the way, I'll be tied up Saturday night. The logs showed a call at 4:07 p.m. to the Sheriff's Office. I pulled a list of sheriff's office personnel"
"How? Those aren't public."
"That reminds me: I'll be tied up next Friday night, too," Alex said. "I cross-referenced the county recorder's marriage registry and discovered that Shopping Cart Boy has a sister who works in the Sheriff's office, wiping out his pathetic claim that he was in the parking lot. I called the store's attorney and he agreed to dismiss his cross-claim."
"Oh." Silence followed as he digested the information. A new e-mail arrived, and Alex clicked on it.
EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH, the subject line blared. "We are pleased to announce that, for the eleventh month in a row, Emily Farber has been named AIG Employee of the Month," it read. "Emily has a 13.7 percent claim payment rate, followed by runner up Ethan Anderson at 62.8 percent."
Alex deleted it without reading the rest.
"You seem a little down in the dumps, Em," Brad said. "Is anything wrong?"
Only that I'm going out with someone who says `down in the dumps.' And don't call me Em. "No," she said. "It's just all these Olivias."
"The name Olivia," she said, exasperated. "Haven't you noticed it's everywhere!"
"Um, actually I hadn't."
"Well, look at this!" She shoved a claim form at him.
"Ed Saint," he read.
"See?" At his confused look, she tapped the paper. "Saint. As in St. Lawrence River. As in Laurence Olivier."
He blinked, then picked up another file. "Ron Yeardley."
To hear it was like a blow. "Yeardley. Yard. As in grass. Grass is green. And what else is green? An olive, eh?"
"Wow," he said. "It's like 'OliviaOlivia bo-livia, bananafana fo-livia' . . . ."
She stared at him.
"So, anyway, do you want to go out Sunday?"
"Let me check my schedule." Typing in TVGuide.com, she peered at the computer screen.
Lilly goes undercover at a lesbian strip club to solve a three-week-old case.
"Sorry, can't," Alex said.
Calleigh is forced to go undercover at a mud wrestling convention when Horatio is brutally murdered by a mud-caked assailant.
"No can do."
A sex crimes ADA goes undercover at a nude beach to catch a serial flasher.
"Tuesday works for me," Alex said.
"Yea!" He clapped his hands.
"Wait a minute!" Alex said. She pinned him in her gaze. "Did you . . .?"
"Yep, I got those Les Mis tickets you wanted. Front row like you said."
He smiled. "Oh, Emily, you're the best thing I've found," he gushed.
Resting her chin in her palm, Alex frowned. "Yeah," she said. "You're the best thing I've found here, too."
After a few minutes of watching her stare into space, he wandered back to his desk. Eventually, Alex remembered where she was, and opened another file folder. Single mother . . . three kids . . . working two jobs . . . fall down a flight of stairs . . . no health insurance . . . .
She could just picture Olivia's sympathetic expression.
Her phone rang, and she picked it up absently. "Cabot," she said. "I mean Farber. . . . Yeah, I'm just looking at it now."
"Pay it," she said.
"I'm sorry," the caller said. "Is this Emily Farber's extension?"
"Just send them a check." She hung up and closed her eyes.
"What's happened?" Alex asked the two men at her door. "Is Olivia seeing someone?"
"Uh, no," Cragen replied. "But we may have a lead on your shooter."
"Whatever. Come on in."
The men stepped into `Emily's' living room. "Want some cheese?" she asked.
"No, thanks," Hammond said. "There's no easy way to say this, Miss Cabot. The guy who shot you is running around shooting other people. He's a master criminal who has trained Colombian drug lords and is number two on Interpol's Most Wanted list."
"I see." Alex turned to Cragen. "So, when you say that Olivia isn't seeing anyone, does that include occasionally dating some guy because she's bored and desperate?"
"Not that I know of." Cragen took a moment to look around her living room. "So, adjusting insurance claims in Wisconsin. Sounds . . . interesting." He offered a weak smile. "Was it your first choice?"
"My only choice," Alex replied. She rose and walked over to the window, looking out at her neighborhood. "Hey!" she yelled, slapping the glass. "Off the lawn! It's a `permanent relocation,'" she continued. "No matter how many times you beg, no matter what you offer, WPP won't transfer you unless your cover gets blo" She froze, and then whirled around. "I'll testify!" She held out her hands. "No, no you can't talk me out of it. It's my duty."
"Did you see the shooter?" Hammond asked.
"Did you see the gun?"
"Do you have any information about your shooting?"
"Other than that I was shot?"
"Then don't worry," he said. "You won't need to testify."
"What?" she exclaimed. "Are you on the take?"
"Well, you don't actually have any information," he pointed out.
"Information?" she asked. "A good prosecutor doesn't need information. A good prosecutor just needs sarcasm and the ability to generate irrational rage in the defendant and/or his attorney."
"SVU has an ADA," Hammond said gently. He got to his feet and reached for his jacket. Meanwhile, a few recent memories flashed into the SVU captain's head.
"Your case has more holes in it than a hooker's stocking, Counselor."
"You got a problem with me, Broad?"
"Yes, I do. You've stabbed three people, sold cocaine at an elementary school, and threatened to shoot Detective Stabler. It's really annoying."
"You're misconstruing that case, Ms. Novak."
"I know you are, but what am I?
Cragen grabbed Hammond's arm. "Let's not be hasty . . . ."
"OK," Casey said. "So I'll ask a question, and then you'll answer it, and then I'll ask another question, and then"
"Is this a joke?" Alex interrupted.
Alex jumped to her feet and strode over to a mirror on the wall. "OK, guys," she spoke into it. "Very funny."
"Now, sometimes people start yelling," Casey went on. "Usually the other guy, or sometimes the judge or some of the jurors. Just wait until they're done, and then I'll ask you another question, and you'll answer it, and then"
"Liv?" Alex yelled out. "Elliot? Cragen? Munch? Fin? Liz? Branch?"
Olivia rushed into the room. "Oh, God, Alex, I'm sorry!" she said. "I forgot." Grasping Alex's palm, she dropped a few Valium into it. "We all just carry ours around with us; I wasn't thinking."
She turned to leave again, but Alex grasped her sleeve. "Don't leave me, for God's sake!"
"Sorry, Alex. Cragen wants to whine on some more about us `lying to him, losing our pension,' yada yada." She made the universal jerking-off sign. "I should probably get back. I'll be there tonight, though."
"and then you'll answer the question, and then I'll ask another question"
Alex popped all of the pills into her mouth.
"Aha!" Alex shouted triumphantly. "I won!" Leaping up and down, fists raised high in the air, she turned away from Elliot and bent over, shaking her ass in his face. "Get tired of losing yet?" she taunted him.
"Nope," he muttered with a dazed grin.
Finally, she sat down again, winded.
"We've got time for one more game," Elliot said quickly. "Liv'll probably be here by then."
"Oh!" Alex reached into her purse for some shiny lip gloss, which she carefully applied, and then drifted into a little fantasy: Olivia bursting into the room, tearing off her jacket, growling, "Wanna play?" And then, with a sweep of her arm, sending backgammon pieces flying, hoisting Alex onto the table, unzipping her jeans, and then
"Wanna play again?" Olivia was there!
"You bet!" Alex said.
As she watched, the brunette sat down at the table to . . . play backgammon. What the fuck? "Hellooo! It's me! We're alone! Do you know how many times I had to 'smell something funny' until we ended up in a room with only one bed? Haven't you been pining away for me like I have for you? OK, I may have shacked up occasionally with what's his name, but you didn't want me to be completely rusty when you finally declared your insatiable lust for me, did you?"
Alex waited, but no further removal of clothing occurred. She walked over to the window to look outside.
"So, got any cats?" Olivia asked.
"I have a boyfriend!" she blurted out. "We go to bed together and everything." Granted, it was only twice that she could remember, and, come to think of it, she couldn't actually remember, considering how drunk she'd been. That was Brad, wasn't it? She had sworn off insurance adjuster conventions after that.
"Oh. Well, that's great, Alex," Olivia said. "I've spent the last year writing a book." She reached into her overnight bag and pulled out a four-inch manuscript. "I'd like you to read it," she said shyly.
"A budding writer, huh?"
"No, just a detective," Olivia sighed. "It's hard to be something you're not."
Great. Here she was with the love of her life in a remote motel room, talking about . . . a book. Why don't you want me, Olivia?
"What's your book about?" Alex asked politely.
"It's about a sex crimes detective who falls in love with her prosecuting attorney, then has her heart ripped out when a drug dealer puts out a contract on the attorney and she goes into the witness protection program. The detective thinks about her every day until they're finally reunited in a blaze of love and passion. I wrote the last chapter while I was driving over here."
Damn it, Olivia, why can't you just be open with your feelings?
"I'll read it when I get a chance," Alex said, resigned to her unrequited fate. She plopped down on the bed. "Wanna watch TV?"
Olivia shrugged, then sat down beside her and handed Alex the remote.
"Let's try HBO."
"Ooh, aah, mmm . . . ."
"Is this . . .?" Alex asked.
"Uh, yeah." Olivia shifted in her seat. "`Bound', I think."
"Oh. Do you . . . want to . . . uh . . . watch this?" Alex wiped her brow with the back of her hand.
"Nng, ahh, ohh . . ."
"Whatever you want," Olivia said, taking a big swig of Diet Coke.
"Damn, I've lost the remote."
Girl-On-Girl Night On HBO continued, until finally Alex couldn't take it any more. "Argh!" she yelled, pouncing on Olivia. "Do me, Woman!"
"Ooh, aah, mmm . . . ," Olivia groaned.
The following morning, Alex was checking her hair in the mirror when Olivia let her partner into the room.
"Ready to go, Counselor?" Elliot asked.
As they both gazed fondly at their former ADA, Olivia's eyes widened in the same instant that Elliot's narrowed.
"Alex!" Olivia mouthed urgently. She mimicked the unfolding of a turtleneck.
"What's that?" Elliot asked.
"Ack!" Alex clapped a hand against her neck. "Just bruises. I fell out of bed last night." She pulled the neck of her shirt up.
The three of them hurried down to the courthouse, where it was finally time for Alex to take the stand.
"So, Miss . . .," Casey glanced at a piece of paper in her hand. "Cabot. You got shot, right?"
"Yes," she replied. "Is that the pusillanimous sniveler who did it?"
"Did she just call me a pussy?" the defendant said loudly.
"Well, if the Cat Fancy fits . . . ."
"Did she just call me a pussy again?"
"Actually, I take it back," she said. "A pussy would at least shoot an unarmed woman from the front."
"Did she just call me not a pussy?"
"Bawk, bawk, bawk," Alex said, flapping her arms.
"You think you're safe?" Connors yelled.
"Hell, no. I'm in New York City."
"You should have stayed dead!"
"I did stay deadI worked for an insurance company!"
A gasp echoed throughout the courtroom, and Alex risked a glance at the jury, four of whom flashed her a thumbs up. Ah, the sweet smell of justice.
"Whee hee!" Olivia exclaimed. "We won! Now all we need is a hot piece of that Alex Cabot in here for some celebratin'!"
"Come on, Alex!" Elliot said.
"Don't worry; Alex should be here any minute," Cragen said. "Oh, yeah, and you're in big trouble for giving her that file thingie, Olivia--is that Mountain Dew?"
Footsteps sounded down the hall. "Is it her?" Elliot asked. "Oh, could it be her?"
"Who?" Casey asked.
They ignored her, waiting anxiously as . . . Agent Hammond walked in. "Cabot has a new identity," he said.
"What?" Olivia choked out.
Suddenly, a woman hurried into the room. "Hi," she said. "I'm your new ADA! My name's `Amy Corrigan.' Oh, wait!" She quickly plucked black frames from her face and replaced them with a pair of dark brown ones.
Another woman hurried into the room behind her.
"Mom!" `Amy' cried. "I thought you were dead!"
"I've been in Witness Protection," the elder blonde said. "There was a car accident in my neighborhood last year."
"Did you witness it?"
"Did you have any information about it?"
"So where have you been, anyway?"
"You bastards!" `Amy' started after Hammond, but Olivia grabbed her and held her wriggling body tight against her. Mmm . . . That reminded her: she wouldn't mind playing warden/escaping prisoner again tonight . . . .
"To Amy and Betty Corrigan," Hammond said, popping a Bud Light.
`Amy' reached for the beer and held it up over her shoulder to Olivia's mouth.
"Mmm. Thanks," Olivia murmured, smacking her lips.
"Save that for later," she replied. Olivia gave her a squeeze, and she smiled. All was right with the world again.
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