DISCLAIMER: Dick Wolf and NBC own the rights to Law and Order: SVU. I'm just burrowing the characters for entrainment. No money is being made, and no harm is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Special thanks to TJ, Mam, and Michelle...and everyone else who made my first Beta experience fun
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Ever had those words you want to say to someone.but they just don't seem to come out right? Or worse yet those times in your life when you have had the little conversation in your head a million times but you can't seem to find the words when you need to.
You've recited it in front of the mirror, in the car on the way to work, while shampooing your hair and when you get the chance to say the words they leave your head as quickly as they came. You blank out. You had the words.
Olivia looked at her watch for the fifteenth time that evening. She wondered when her dinner companion was coming. "Sorry I'm late," Alex smiled and took her seat.
"Well I was going to give you fifteen more minutes. After that - I was going to ask that guy at the bar who bought me this drink to join me."
Alex turned and looked for this mysterious man. "Which guy?"
"Just kidding. Cute, I made you look though."
"Funny," Alex nodded.
"So what's going on Cabot?"
"What do you mean?" Alex asked.
"You invite me to dinner on short notice and you sounded very.how do I say this? Nervous?"
"No. Not nervous. Just a lot on my mind."
"Yes. Preoccupied would work." Alex nodded her head in agreement.
Olivia sipped her wine. "Okay so why so preoccupied? And why dinner? Not that I'm complaining mind you."
"Don't get out much either huh?" Alex asked with a smug smile.
"Last time I had a date it was broken up by a call from HQ about a dead girl by the river. I'm beginning to think I'm cursed." Olivia signalled for another bottle of wine.
"Not possible," Alex said keeping her eyes locked on Olivia.
"Says you," Olivia smiled. "Two dates in three years- I know twelve year olds who have better social lives."
"Sad to say it's the same for me. Besides, isn't it just nice with the two of us? No work. No worries. I thought it would be a nice break from the norm."
"So that's it then? Nothing more you need to say?" Olivia asked.
Alex had it planned out. The speech had been rehearsed time and time again. She'd gone over it like she was preparing for a case. She had her thoughts laid out in front of her. There was so much she needed to say to Olivia. So much Olivia deserved to know. "Nope."
"You know I am a detective. I know when people aren't being fully honest with me," Olivia winked.
Alex just smiled.
At that moment she tried desperately to remember what it was she had rehearsed over and over before coming to dinner with this woman who inspired and yet equally frightened her.
Dinner was pleasant. Both women enjoyed the ease of conversation they felt. "So how was work?" Alex asked.
"Oh...you were doing so well too," Olivia shook her head.
"What?" Alex asked laughing. "No work talk at the table?"
"No. Not tonight. For me...this is a date and I'm enjoying it," Olivia smiled and considered her words. "Sorry."
"For what?" Alex asked confused.
"I didn't mean to imply this was a date."
"Did you see me worry?"
"I think we can call it a date," Alex considered her words carefully. "If you don't mind that is."
"You buying dinner Cabot?"
"I asked you out didn't I?"
"Anytime I don't pay- it's a date," Olivia smiled and raised her glass to Alex. Alex agreed and smiled.
After two and a half hours of conversation they decided to call it a night. "See you tomorrow Detective," Alex smiled.
"Thanks for dinner Alex."
"Believe me," Alex said. "The pleasure was all mine."
"This was nice," Olivia thought out loud considering her words and looking back at Alex who pulled out her keys.
"Yeah," Alex nodded. "It was."
"Next time I buy."
"So how was your meeting with Cabot?" Elliot asked as he and Olivia drove to the hospital.
"It was good. Not really a meeting though. Just dinner."
"Dinner?" Elliot asked surprised. "She just calls you up out of the blue and invites you out for dinner."
"Yeah," Olivia smiled. Her thoughts drifted back to the night before. She had smiled more and laughed more last evening then she had in a long time.
"I lost you didn't I?" Elliot said as he pulled the car into the spot.
"You're off in La-La land. What gives Liv. You don't usually space," he said looking amused at his partners current state. "Cabot giving you the down low tickle?"
"Jesus Elliot," Olivia laughed and shook her head. "The down low tickle? Where did you ever hear an expression like that?"
"You're not answering my question."
"Let's go," Olivia said opening the car door and heading towards the ER doors.
They introduced themselves to the nurse and made their way inside the room of their newest victim. She was a 25-year-old grad student who had been found beaten. "Janice?" Olivia said softly and took a seat next to the victim making sure to keep distance. Elliot stood in the background observing Olivia.
"My name is Olivia Benson. I'm with SVU."
"I know who you are," Janice said wiping a freshly fallen tear.
"Are you ok?"
"Janice...is there anything you can tell me about your attempted attack?"
"It was dark. I was coming home from the bar. I heard someone call out my name."
"They called you by your first name?" Olivia asked.
"Yes," Janice nodded. "I stopped and turned but no one was there. So I kept walking. That's when I felt something hit the back of my head. I fell down. I remember feeling dizzy. It didn't knock me out though," Janice said thinking about her words. "He pulled me into a side street. I felt him taking off my clothes," Janice said feeling her voice crack up.
"It's okay," Olivia assured her. "You're safe now."
"He told me...I had it coming."
"Did you recognize the voice?" Elliot asked softly from the other end of the room.
"No. I didn't."
"Could you make out his face?"
"No. My head was killing me. It was dark. And it started to get cold. I tried to push him off of me. I tried to make him stop. But it was as though it made him more aggressive," Janice said softly.
"Baby?" came the voice from the open door. "Oh God." Olivia and Elliot turned around to see another young woman enter.
"Melanie?" Janice said softly as the tears began to fall. Olivia stepped back as Melanie came to sit next to Janice on the bed. "It's okay. I'm okay."
"God...who did this to you?" Melanie asked as she touched the side of Janice's bruised face.
"We're hoping to find that out Ms.?"
"Connors. Melanie Connors. I'm...with Janice." Melanie said emphasizing the word `with'.
"Oh.ok," Olivia nodded her head in understanding. Elliot caught on quickly too.
"Why don't we give them a minute Liv," Elliot spoke up. "We'll be right back."
"Ok," Janice and Melanie said watching the Detectives step outside. Elliot held Olivia's gaze. "You thinking what I'm thinking?"
"So what do you have?" Cragen asked his Detectives.
"Hate crime. Victim is 28-year-old Janice Walker. Coming home she was attacked by 78th street. Attacker called her by her first name." Stabler looked at his notes.
"So he knew her," Finn said.
"Yes...and better yet we already may have some leads. Victim's partner is one Melanie Conners. A 29-year-old advertising executive."
"Partner?" Munch asked. "She's gay?"
"Yes that's why we think the hate crime comes into play," Benson said taking time to look up at Alex who stood by to offer her assistance. "Do you think we can get a search warrant for her ex's place?"
"Not without something more concrete Olivia. Bring me the evidence and I'll get you the warrant."
"Munch and Finn check out the bar."
"Was it a gay bar?" Munch asked interested in his work. "Like a gay girl bar?" Olivia rolled her eyes.
"Maybe I should take the bar Captain?"
"Good point," Cragen said. "Munch and Finn you two speak to the ex boyfriend. See if you can't find something of interest. Stabler I want you to interview Ms. Conners. Make sure we didn't miss anything. When is the victim due for release?"
"Tomorrow afternoon," Olivia said glancing at her notes. "I was hoping I might be able to meet with her again sometime this morning."
"Sounds good. Okay people lets find this guy and put him away. Report back to me when you've got something new."
Alex watched as they four Detectives made their way to their desks. "Olivia," Alex smiled. She felt like a ten-year-old again with a crush.
"Alex," Olivia smiled back. "what can I do for you?"
"I was wondering...I have these tickets to this art show tonight. It's a benefit thing. Would you be interested in coming?"
Elliot who was looking down as his desk lifted his eyes and looked at Olivia. Munch and Finn did as well. Olivia looked at them and felt an uncomfortable silence in the room. "Ahhh...lets talk in here," she smiled taking Alex into the side room they used for meetings.
"A date?" Finn mouth to Munch. Munch just raised his eye brows and smiled making contact with Elliot.
"What gives Stabler?"
"You got me," Elliot shook his head.
"It's silly...forget I asked," Alex said feeling foolish now given Olivia's actions in front of her team. "I'll just ask."
"No...wait," Olivia held her hands up cutting Alex off. "Let me talk will ya?"
"Sorry," Alex smiled nervously.
"It's okay. I'd love to go. I just don't exactly like making my private plans out there in front of the guys."
"Oh," Alex nodded. "I see."
"So...is this." Olivia paused for a moment wondering how to put her question forward without sounding silly. "A date?"
"Do you want it to be?"
"Do you always answer a question with a question?"
Alex smirked and swallowed her pride. "Yes."
"Yes you always answer a question with a question or yes this is a date?"
Alex rolled her eyes and Olivia smiled. "Sorry I had to say that."
"Well how about I pick you up at like....say 8 o'clock?"
"Perfect. I take it this is formal wear?"
"Yes," Alex nodded. "See you at 8?"
"8 it is," Olivia nodded. "I better get back to work before Cragen kicks my butt."
"Thanks. I really want to nail this guy Cabot, if not for personal reasons." There. Olivia had said it. It was out in the open now.
"I know you do," Alex replied simply and honestly.
Olivia looked around the bar. It was quiet for 3 in the afternoon. She showed the victims picture to a few different people. No one recognized her. Finally she made her way to the back of the bar where she noticed a familiar face. "Kelly?"
"Liv?" Kelly smiled. "How the hell are you?"
"Good...long time no see," Liv said taking a seat next to the woman.
"Yeah I've been busy. Busy and gone."
"Took off to the Rockies for a few months and then headed east over seas."
"Well you sure have been making the rounds."
"Keeping busy yes," Kelly nodded. "You?"
"I've been neck in it with work. Seems like this past year the psychos are out in full force." Olivia order a soda. "The rockies...you talked about it but I never thought you'd go."
"Well it was weird. I just woke up one day and decided it was time."
"What about Vivian. Did she go with?"
"No," Kelly shook her head. "Vivian and I broke up."
"Oh hell Kell, I'm sorry. I didn't know."
"Well it's not like we've been super close buddies or anything," Kelly smiled. "How would you know?"
"Well I'm sorry just the same," Olivia said softly. "The spark gone?"
"No," Kelly shook her head. "There was someone else."
"Oh," Olivia said letting the word slip over her tongue. "I see." She felt an uncomfortable silence fall between them.
"So what are you doing now that you're back in town?" Olivia asked.
"I've thrown myself back into my work," Kelly said sipping her drink and eating the last of her burger. "Got a show tonight."
"No kidding," Olivia laughed. "You sure don't waste time do you?"
"My theory is why wait when you can get it done now," Kelly put some money on the counter top. "You really doing okay Liv?"
"Yeah," Olivia smiled. "I am."
"Good," Kelly leaned forward and hugged her friend. "I've got to run. I have a hair appointment and dress fitting."
"You and a dress," Olivia laughed. "I'd pay to see that."
"Well then," Kelly winked. "Looks like you'll be taking me out sooner then you think." Kelly left her hand linger on Olivia's shoulder.
"Did you turn anything up?" Cragen asked his group.
"Nothing on the boyfriend. He's clean. In fact I think he's a little too clean," Finn said.
"Any luck at the bar?" Munch asked Olivia who had just returned and hung up her coat.
"Not at first," Olivia shook her head. "But I was able to get the name of the second shift bartender who was working that night. I tracked her down. She said she didn't notice anything unusual. She did say that Janice hadn't been drinking much. To the best of her recollection, she had two drinks in the four hours she was there."
"Okay then," Cragen looked at Elliot. "How'd the follow up go with her girlfriend?"
"Good," Elliot said. "She still thinks it's her ex."
"Now we just need something more concrete," Munch said. "Fin and I will canvas the area of the attack. Maybe someone there saw or heard something. There's a lot of homneless in that area. We could get lucky."
"Good," Cragen said.
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