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Silly Housekeeping Thing
Now that was an almost-not-hideous outfit. How it had made its way into the latest line of Crap de France mystified the detective. Carpe Diem indeed. She wouldn't seize that ugly stuff today or any day.
Granted, she couldn't afford any of it anyway -- the $895 price tag on a scoop-necked blouse dangled in front of her face -- but it made her feel better to pass it up out of principle.
She pulled the collar of her leather jacket up a bit. Normally, window shopping was a nice respite from the rigors of her job. Meandering down the sidewalk, peering in one window and the next, was relatively mindless, yet just stimulating enough to keep her mind off whatever trauma today's victim had endured.
Today, though, she was restless. She didn't know why that was, she tried to tell herself, but of course she did: because, for the first time that Olivia could remember, Alex Cabot and she were on vacation at the same time. They had even joked about it.
Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, the emotional side of her brain bombarded her. Alex is probably at home this very instant. She might be bored and looking for something to do. Call her and find out.
There's no reason to assume that Alex is home, the logical half pointed out. You're not. So call her and find out.
"I'm not going to call her," Olivia said out loud, letting a couple of storefronts pass unscrutinized as she wrestled with her thoughts. What would she say? "Hi, Alex, I just thought I'd see if you wanted to spend your off time with one of the people you spend all of your on time with." "Hi, Alex, I'm not doing anything in particular this weekend so I assume you're exactly like me. Why yes, that is presumptuous and self-centered. Sorry I bothered you."
It took her a moment to realize that the sound she was hearing was her cell phone - the "Alex" ring.
Yes, thank God - it's Alex! she quickly grabbed the phone from her waist. Not too eager, Asswipe.
"Benson," she answered casually.
"Olivia, hi." The voice sounded somehow different, more relaxed, maybe. The ADA's off-duty voice, Olivia supposed. "Sorry to bother you . . . ." The question was implicit.
"No! No you're not bothering me!" Olivia said. That was smooth.
"Great. Listen, you have some Spanish, don't you?"
Spanish. Oh. Not the invitation to a hot date for which Olivia was irrationally hoping, but still an excuse to talk to the woman who occupied 99.2 percent of Olivia's non-job-related thoughts (having to spend a few minutes thinking about food on occasion).
"Yeah, some," she replied. "'Get your hands off her, Motherfucker,' 'Put down the knife, Motherfucker,' 'You take one more step and I'll kick your balls into your throat, Motherf-'"
"Yes, um," Alex interrupted. "Actually, this isn't quite that complicated. What's the Spanish word for 'bed'?"
"Yes, as in 'here is my bed.'"
Who the hell are you showing your bed? None of your business, Olivia. "I think it's-"
"Just a sec," Alex interrupted. "Un momento, Jorge, yo, uh, talking on the telephone. Sorry, Olivia, you were saying?"
What the fuck? "I think it's 'cama,'" Olivia said. "'Aqui es la cama.'"
"Great." Alex seemed unduly pleased with the information. "Thanks. Talk to you later."
"Here is my bed," Olivia muttered to herself when the connection ended. "How do you say, 'Come rock my world, Jorge'?"
She let her mind wander, and before long she knew exactly what Jorge looked like -- tall, broadshouldered, hot-blooded Latin bastard that he was -- and what he was doing to Alex at this very moment.
The headboard was banging against the wall -- "Oh, God, Jorge, don't stop!" - when Olivia's phone rang again. Alex calling again? She shouldn't even be able to reach the phone as Olivia envisioned things.
"Benson." She listened for the telltale sound of squeaking bedsprings.
"Olivia, I'm really sorry to bother you again," Alex said. "What's the word for 'clean?'"
"'Clean' as in 'no sexually transmitted diseases'?"
There was a brief pause. "Noooo . . .," Alex eventually replied. "'Clean' as in 'please clean this.'"
"Please clean what?" Olivia couldn't stop herself from asking. "Sorry, none of my business."
"That's all right," Alex said. "At the moment, it's the refrigerator."
"New Year's resolution: give the whole place a good sprucing up."
"You're cleaning your apartment?" Olivia asked.
"Well, you know it's all go at Casa Cabot."
"Why the Spanish?" Who the hell is Jorge?
"I needed some help," Alex said. "My neighbor's nephew is here from Guatemala and wanted to pick up some extra cash."
If that was the case, Alex could have just gotten the information off the internet, Olivia realized. A thin hope began to emerge. Could she really be calling because--
"I wouldn't have bothered you, but we unplugged the computer to do some brush up work on the baseboards and I don't have access to the internet."
"I probably won't have to call you again."
"It's no problem," Olivia said. "Really. Call anytime."
"Thanks. I'll let you get back to your . . . ."
Was that a hint? Olivia wasn't sure, but what the hell. "My window shopping," she supplied. "To be followed by returning a defective space heater I bought last week. It's all go at Casa de la Benson, too."
"Glad to hear it." It sounded as if Alex was smiling. "Thank you, Detective."
"Any time, Counselor." Really. Any time.
When the phone rang five minutes later, she snatched it up.
"'Dusty'?" Alex said without preamble.
"I don't know that one," Olivia replied. "How about 'dirty'? That's 'sucio.'"
"That'll work. Thanks."
With a slightly lighter step, Olivia continued her stroll down Fashion Row.
. . . .
. . . .
"'I've already done the bathtub'?"
. . . .
"'That's not mine, I swear; it must belong to the prior tenant'?"
. . . .
She probably plugged the computer back in, Olivia decided after ten minutes of silence, but suddenly the phone rang again.
"How do you say, 'Oh, my God, I'm so sorry. I didn't realize it had come loose'?"
What the--? "Listen, Alex, why don't I come down there?"
"Oh, I couldn't ask you to do that, Olivia."
"I don't mind, really. I can translate for you, and I spray a mean Windex," she offered.
"I owe you one," Alex said. "You know where I am?"
"Be there in a few," Olivia said. She hung up the phone with a smile.
Was it wrong, going there on false pretenses? Actually, they weren't technically false, she decided. She really could translate, a little at least, and she could help Alex straighten up the place. The fact that she might stare at Alex's ass when the attorney bent over to dust the lower shelves was really immaterial. She rubbed her hands together. Happy New Year to me . . . .
Forty-two blocks away, Alex Cabot hung up her phone with a smile. "She's coming over," she announced. "You mind speaking Spanish when she gets here?"
"No problem," Jorge said. "I'll stick around about half an hour and then have to leave."
"She as hot as you say?" he teased her.
"Hotter," Alex replied.
Her thoughts strayed, and before long the headboard was thudding against the wall. "Oh, God, Olivia, don't stop!"
"Jorge, leave me some of that touchup paint," she said. "I might need it in the bedroom." She rubbed her hands together. Happy New Year to me . . . .
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