DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are
property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is part two of the three part series "Coffee, Tequila and a splash of Gin". Thanks to Emma and Jessie for the betas.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"I didn't know we were having a movie and pizza night tomorrow," Alex said to Abbie with a raised eyebrow.
"We are now," Abbie replied. "You'll thank me later, Cabot."
"We'll see about that," Alex said and took a sip of her tea.
"Serena, will you be able to make it tomorrow?" Abbie turned to Serena.
"Sure. I don't have any plans," Serena answered, happy for some more "girl time" after working with two men all week.
"And Cabot, if you don't make a move on the detective tomorrow night, rest assured, we will," Abbie told Alex, waving a finger between Serena and herself.
"That is if I can even speak," Alex confessed. "I don't know what the hell got into me just now."
"Don't worry, we'll get some alcohol tomorrow night to loosen you up," Abbie reassured her.
"Great, then I'll just be a bumbling drunk," Alex joked.
"No," Abbie corrected, "You'll be a flirting drunk."
"We still don't know if she likes women," Alex reminded her.
"She may not like women, but she sure as hell likes you," Serena pointed out. "'A sucker for blue eyes'? That's a come on if I ever heard one."
"You've got blue eyes too," Alex said to Serena.
"Yeah, but she wasn't looking at me, now was she?" Serena answered back. "Come on Cabot, you might not have seen it, but Abbie and I sure did. She was totally flirting with you!"
"Are you sure? I mean if she's not interested, it'll make for a very uncomfortable working situation," Alex rationalized.
"Just to be safe, why don't we just work on your ability to talk when she comes over, okay?" Abbie reassured her and then added jokingly, "And I'll use my good looks and charm to find out how she feels about blue eyed SVU ADAs."
Olivia picked up the phone and dialed the number Abbie had given to her in the coffee shop. After a couple of rings, a familiar voice answered. "Hello?"
"Hey, Alex?" Olivia asked, pretending she didn't know the voice by heart.
"Yeah, hi," Alex answered, butterflies starting to stir in her stomach. "Are you coming over?"
"If the invitation's still open," Olivia replied, smiling. She wanted to say, "If you'll still have me", but chickened out at the last second.
"Of course it is," Alex replied, relieved that Olivia wasn't calling to cancel. "You have the address Abbie gave you right?"
"Sure do," the brunette confirmed.
"Tenth floor. Out the elevators and it's the apartment on the left," Alex explained.
"Anything I can bring or pick up?" Olivia asked. She didn't want to show up empty handed.
At that moment, she could hear Abbie yelling out, "Tell her to bring some tequila!" Olivia chuckled. If Abbie knew anything about her, it was that she liked good quality tequila.
"Don't mind Carmichael. She's been hitting the beers already," Alex joked. "Just bring yourself."
"Okay, I'll see you in a bit," Olivia replied and hung up. She checked herself in the mirror. A black, snug fitting baby tee and low riding blue jeans. Perfect for pizza and movies, and tequila of course. She threw on her leather jacket, grabbed her keys and headed out the door to hail a cab.
The doorman opened the door for her and Olivia made her way across the marble lobby towards the elevators. One of them opened up and a young man in a blue jacket stood inside.
"Which floor, ma'am?" he asked.
"Tenth, please," Olivia answered as she stepped inside. She always wondered what kind of lifestyle the ADA lived, whether or not the rumor of Alex coming from old money was true. So far, all the evidence pointed to a comfortable lifestyle.
As the elevator reached the tenth floor and the door opened, the young man nodded to Olivia and said "Have a good evening, ma'am."
Olivia thanked him and made her way down the hallway. Sure enough, there was one door on either side of the hallway. She knocked on the one on the left.
Abbie opened the door and Olivia held up the requested gift; a bottle of Herencia de Plata. Abbie laughed, "I knew you'd pull through!" She hugged Olivia and led her into the apartment.
"Alex is just finishing up in the shower," Abbie explained the absence of the hostess as she hung up Olivia's jacket in the closet. "She opened a beer and it sprayed all over her. I told her that beer perfume was the new thing, but she didn't buy it."
They walked past the open kitchen on their right and into the living room. Olivia took in her surroundings in awe. On her right, there was a hallway which she assumed led to a bedroom or two. The living room had a fireplace, in front of which was a black coffee table, surrounded by a large cream-colored sofa, matching love seat and arm chair. On her left was the dining room and in between that and the living room sat a black baby grand piano. The far wall of all that space consisted mostly of floor to ceiling windows and a view of the river. Outside, she could see a terrace with patio furniture, a barbeque and lots of plants. She let out a whistle before she could stop herself.
"Trust me, they don't pay ADAs enough to even rent the bathroom in this place." Serena said as she put a few CDs into the stereo in the far corner of the living room.
"'Guilt money' can buy a lot," Alex said coming out of the hallway from the right.
"Guilt money?" Olivia asked with a raised eyebrow. She was intrigued by the term as well as the picture before her. Alexandra Cabot, the relentless pursuer of justice, and whom Olivia had only seen in casual clothes once or twice before, was wearing a pair of black fleece drawstring pants and a baby blue tank top that had "I've lost my number. Can I have yours?" written across the front.
"Daddy's 'guilt money'," Abbie said as came up to Olivia with four shot glasses and a bottle of beer. She gave Olivia the beer bottle in exhange for the bottle of tequila. She held it up for Alex to see and said with a grin, "I told you she knew her tequila!"
Serena and Abbie busied themselves with bringing the pizzas into the living room as Alex headed into the kitchen with Olivia in tow.
"My father felt guilty for not paying my college tuition," Alex began to explain. "So after I finished Law school, he tried to make up for it by giving me this apartment. It's been in our family for years and he decided to make amends while he was still alive, instead of waiting to leave it to me in his Will. Besides, it was a way for him to keep me in New York instead of having me go to the west coast or somewhere far from the family."
"Must be nice," Olivia said as Alex opened up a cupboard.
"Sometimes," Alex said. "But it's too big for just me though."
As Alex reached up to grab some plates, Olivia noticed something shiny at Alex's midsection.
"ADA Cabot, is that a navel ring I see?" Olivia said half surprisingly, half shocked. "I never knew you had it in you!"
Alex brought four plates down and looked Olivia straight in the eyes. "There's a lot you don't know about me, Detective Benson."
Olivia saw the smile tugging at the corners of Alex's mouth and felt her own smile grow. "I'll say. First the apartment, then the shirt, and now the navel ring. I can't wait to see what's next."
"Patience, grasshopper," Alex said, coming closer to Olivia. She handed her the plates and then grabbed some napkins. "We've got all night." With that, Alex walked by her and into the living room where Serena and Abbie had setup the pizzas on the coffee table.
Olivia stood in the kitchen unable to move. She could still smell the scent of strawberries that Alex had left when she brushed by her and her hair came close to Olivia's face. Add to that the thought that Alex may have been flirting with her made her confused. She didn't know what Alex's sexual preferences were and had always hoped that Alex was gay. However, after having seen Alex at dinner with Trevor Langan last week, she assumed Alex was straight. Olivia took a deep breath and turned around and headed to the living room.
"Jesus, Benson, what took you so long?" Serena asked jokingly as Olivia handed out the plates.
"Sorry," was all Olivia could come up with as she sat down in the loveseat. Serena sat in the arm chair across from Olivia while Alex and Abbie shared the sofa.
They all grabbed some pizza and started eating and agreed that Alex's pizzas were the best they'd ever had.
"These are homemade?" Olivia asked. "They are so good."
"Thank you," Alex answered. "My family's Italian and we never ordered out for pizza. It was deemed sacrilegious. We always made our own pizzas and pasta dishes."
"You don't look Italian," Olivia commented.
"You're thinking of the stereotypical image of an Italian; the one with the olive skin, dark hair and dark eyes. That only applies to Southern Italians," Alex explained. "My family is from Northern Italy which has had some influences in the genetics department from France, Switzerland and Austria."
"I always wondered how they could pass Michelle Pfeiffer off as Italian in Tequila Sunrise," Serena joked.
"Speaking of movies, what movies did you guys get?" Olivia asked going for another slice of pizza.
"We didn't," Alex answered. "We couldn't agree on a movie."
"I like comedies," Abbie explained.
"And I like foreign films," Serena added.
"And I like action flicks," Alex finished.
"Action flicks?" Olivia repeated. "If anything, I would've thought you were the foreign film type." Again, Alex Cabot managed to surprise her. She always thought that Alex would be a foreign film or documentary buff. She resolved to stop assuming anything more about the blonde from that moment on.
"Well, in action movies, you have your good guys and bad guys, and the good guys always wins," Alex answered.
"I like action movies too," Olivia said with a smile. She knew where Alex was coming from. After the things they saw day in and day out on the job, it was always nice to see the good guys win.
"Anyway, since we couldn't settle on a movie, we decided to just hang out and maybe play some cards for shots," Abbie said with a wink.
"I'll drink to that," Olivia said, raising her beer bottle as the rest followed suit.
"So, Alex, why didn't your father pay for your college tuition?" Serena asked after taking a swig of her beer.
"He wanted me to go to into Medicine," Alex replied. "He was a plastic surgeon and my mother was an anesthesiologist. My older brother was finishing up Med school and was going to join their practice. I was going to be the black sheep and go to Law school. My father and I fought about it and I told him that I didn't need his money."
"So how did you pay for school?" Olivia asked.
"I got a full scholarship for Law school," Alex answered. "In college I got some scholarships, but I still had to earn my own way. All those piano lessons I was forced to take while growing up finally paid off. I played at clubs, restaurants, parties; basically anywhere they would hire me."
"What kind of music did you play?" Serena asked.
"Mostly jazz," Alex said, taking a swig of her beer.
"Let's here some, counsellor," Olivia said with a lopsided smile.
"Nah, it's been awhile," Alex started to protest but Abbie grabbed her beer and plate away from her and urged her on while Serena grabbed the remote to the stereo and turned the CD player off.
"Fine," Alex caved and stood up. "But if I sound horrible, don't say I didn't warn you."
She went to the piano and sat down. She wiped her palms on her pants and shook her hands to loosen up her fingers. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her fingers took over and started to caress the ebony and ivory keys. It was as if she had never stopped playing after college.
"Peel me a grape, crush me some ice," Alex's sang out in a unrecognizable velvety voice. "Skin me a peach, save the fuzz for my pillow."
As Alex continued to sing the jazz tune, Olivia was mesmerized. It had to be one of the sexiest sights she had ever seen. From where she was sitting, she had a view of Alex in the gap between the lid and the piano. Her head was slightly tilted to one side as she swayed to the music. She sang mostly with her eyes closed or downcast at the keys. It was like she was in her own little world and the rest of them didn't exist.
She finally opened her eyes again as she decided to wrap up the song without going into the piano solo. She forced herself to look up and out into Olivia' eyes as she sang the last line.
"I'm getting hungry, peel me a grape," She drew out the last syllable with the last note and then added seductively, "Slowly."
Her audience broke out in applause causing her to blush slightly. No matter how many times she had played in public, applause always caused her to blush. She got up and walked towards them.
"Horrible my ass," Abbie said as she threw a balled up napkin at Alex.
"I'll bet you never had to buy yourself a drink whenever you played that song at a bar, huh?" Serena teased.
"Not a one," Alex confirmed with a smile as she grabbed the remote from Serena and turned the music back on.
"That was amazing," Olivia complimented, catching Alex's eyes as she sat back down on the sofa.
"Thank you," Alex replied, holding Olivia's gaze.
Abbie and Serena both quickly glanced at Olivia and Alex and then looked at each other and started to suggest to one another that they put the pizza away and pull out the cards for some games of "Asshole" and tequila shots.
Alex and Olivia broke eye contact as they got up to help Abbie and Serena take the pizzas and plates into the kitchen. Alex headed off into the den, to grab some playing cards and returned to find the other three women sitting on the Persian rug, around the coffee table. They had saved her a spot across from Olivia. She settled down onto the rug, sitting with her legs folded Indian style. She gave the deck of cards to Abbie who shuffled them and let everyone pick a card to determine who would go first. Serena got the highest card so she would start them off. Abbie dealt the cards and Serena began the game. Their rule was that the loser of each game had to take a shot of tequila as well as deal the next game.
As they started the first game, they talked about how they would try to lose on purpose because of the quality of the tequila. After the first round, Abbie won and Alex lost, so Abbie poured her the first shot. Alex knocked it back and licked her lips teasing them with the fact that she just had something they all wanted. Alex lost the next round as the others accused her of throwing the game just so she could keep the tequila to herself. After a couple of hours of playing and sharing stories of first times and first kisses, they all had had at least three shots and the bottle was half emtpy. Olivia lost the last round, and, after downing her drink, she began to deal the cards for a new game as the stereo started to play Sheryl Crow's "My Favorite Mistake".
Olivia got some raised eyebrows as she hummed along to the song. "What?" she asked slightly defensively as the others just smiled.
"Okay, who would you say is your 'favorite mistake'?" Abbie asked as she laid some cards down to start the new game. She turned to Olivia, "Olivia?"
"Hmmm, good question" Olivia said and gave it some thought. "Elliot Stabler."
"I thought you said you guys weren't involved," Serena said, referring to their conversation the previous night.
"We weren't, aren't, or ever will be," Olivia began to explain. "The first year I was partnered with him, I had a huge crush on him. At first it was his charm and personality. After realizing how faithful he was, and is, to Kathy, it made him that much more appealing. Eventually I got over it and he's become my best friend. I'd have to say that Elliot has been the best and longest relationship I've ever had, as sad as it sounds."
"It's not sad. It's good to have someone you can count on," Alex said.
"I can definitely count on him," Olivia said. "And bless Kathy's heart for being so understanding."
"Well, you said he's faithful, so Kathy's a lucky woman," Abbie commented.
"You should see the way he looks when he talks about her," Olivia said with a chuckle. "He's so in love with her it pours out of his eyes."
"Here's to hoping we should be so lucky," Alex said raising her beer.
"Here, here," Abbie and Serena replied.
They all took a drink of their beers and Olivia said to Alex, "I don't think you'll have a problem in that department." Before Alex could reply, she turned to Abbie and asked, "What about you? Who's your favorite mistake?"
"Justin Parrish," Abbie said, without hesitation. "He was the most gorgeous man I had ever laid my eyes on. He had these green eyes that looked at you in a way that made you feel as though you were the only person in the universe."
At Abbie's description, both Olivia and Alex smiled inwardly, knowing full well what she meant. Olivia had fallen for Alex's baby blues the first time they met. As for Alex, could never look into Olivia's eyes for long periods of time for fear of being lost in them forever. Sometimes she thought Olivia could see right through the "professional yet distant ADA" facade and see the scared inner teenager who just wanted some justice and order in a chaotic world. So many times she wanted to find out more about the woman behind the gaze and to let Olivia into her world and see that she was more than just a lawyer. Tonight was a good start.
"He was the reason I moved to New York," Abbie said as she remembered the one man who ever broke her heart. "After three years together, I found out that he didn't just look at me that way. There were others."
"I'm so sorry, Abbie," Alex said, and reached out to give Abbie's hand a squeeze. "I never knew he did that to you."
"It's okay. It took me a while, but I'm over it now," Abbie said and gave Alex a reassuring smile. She turned to Serena. "Your turn. Dish it up."
"I would have to say Billy Robertson," Serena answered after some thought. "We were in college and dated for two years. It was great until he decided for sure that he was gay."
"D'oh," the other three women said simultaneously.
"It wouldn't have been so bad had it not been for the fact that he had thought he might have been gay before we dated," Serena continued, "and I was kind of like a test to make sure."
"I know how you feel," Alex said and clinked the neck of her beer bottle with Serena's. "My favorite mistake was Jordan Mitchell," Alex said as she laid some cards down to win the game. "We were both in Law school. It only lasted just over a year."
"Did he know he was gay before?" Serena asked.
Alex took a deep breath. Abbie and Serena knew she was gay, and now, she was taking a big step towards trusting Olivia with her secret. She figured that if Olivia was interested in her, she might as well put it out there that she was not straight. "Other way around. Jordan thought she was gay, but then realized that she was more inclined towards men."
"Was it a first time for both of you?" Serena asked.
"Not for me, but it was for her," Alex answered. "I guess I was just an experiment."
"Well, I think we both deserve shots then," Serena said and grabbed the tequila bottle. She poured them each a shot and raised her glass. Alex met Serena's glass with her own and they both downed the shots. The cards were now forgotten and the tequila was filling up all four glasses. They all picked up their glasses and tossed back the amber liquid.
Alex put her glass down on the table and concluded, "As fun as it was with Jordan, I don't ever want to do that again."
"Do what?" Olivia finally said. She had been in a state of shock since hearing that Jordan was a female. She couldn't believe that her wish had come true, that Alexandra Cabot preferred women. Now all she had to do was find out if she had any chance at all with the blonde. A wave of regret quickly washed over her as she remembered how she refused to tell them about her sexual orientation at the coffee house. She decided that perhaps she should turn up the flirting a notch or two, but before that, she had to find out what Alex meant by her last statement.
"Be someone's experimental phase," Alex replied.
"Well, with that brain of yours, the blonde hair and the navel ring, can you blame them for wanting a taste?" Olivia asked with a thinly veiled smile, hiding her faint disappointment. She had one strike against her already; she had never been with another woman before. However, Olivia wasn't going to give up that easily.
"But I'm not a one-night stand kind of girl," Alex said, mirroring Olivia's smile.
"I never thought you were," Olivia replied softly.
"So, are you currently involved with anyone that you've neglected to tell me about?" Abbie asked Alex, giving her an opportunity to let Olivia know that she was available.
Alex caught on to Abbie's question. She looked over at Olivia, caught her eyes, held them for a few seconds and then turned to Abbie. "Not yet," she said with a smile.
Abbie smiled back and looked over at Serena. "How about you?"
"I do have a boy toy," Serena answered and got a few laughs for her term of endearment. "He's a chef. He's got a restaurant in Gramercy."
"A chef? Does he cook for you or does he take you to the restaurant?" Olivia asked.
"He cooks when he's around. He's one of those guys who just loves to cook," Serena answered, smiling. "He's pretty busy with the restaurant though, but that's good because sometimes I get so caught up in work that I don't even have time for myself. There's nothing worse than a clingy man who needs your undivided attention whenever you're not working."
The other three women agreed and Serena asked Abbie if she had met anyone in D.C. yet.
"I have," Abbie said with a smile. "He's a lawyer in the Navy. He's arrogant at times, but I put him in his place. He's got a big smile and a big heart."
"This sounds promising," Alex said encouragingly.
"It's nothing long term," Abbie replied. "He's in love with a woman he works with, a uh, Marine Colonel, only he won't admit it. So for now, I'll enjoy his company and how well he fills out his uniform." The women laughed at this and wished Abbie all the best and hoped that it wouldn't end badly when the time came. Abbie turned to Olivia. "Your turn. Are you seeing anyone?"
"I'm in between relationships right now," Olivia replied slowly, seeming to be thinking carefully about her response.
"In between? That implies there's someone on the horizon," Serena said, hoping to get more out of the detective. She wanted to find out for Alex's sake if Olivia was even interested in her friend.
Olivia mimicked Alex's earlier flirtatious display. She looked at Alex, caught her eyes, held them for a few seconds and turned to Serena. "I have someone in my sights."
"Anyone we know?" Alex asked, unsure as to whether or not she wanted to find out who it was that had caught the detective's interest. What if she had misread all the signs and Olivia was interested in someone else? Besides, she still didn't even know if Olivia was straight, gay or bisexual.
"I'd say so," was all Olivia offered as she picked up her glass that had somehow became full again and took a drink. She set her glass down and looked at Alex, who in turn picked up her glass and downed the alcohol, all the while maintaining eye contact with the detective.
"So what are you waiting for?" Serena asked. "Why don't you make the first move?"
Olivia saw her chance and made the most of it. She looked directly at Alex while she answered Serena. "I'm still trying to gauge her interest level."
"Her?" Serena asked. "What with the Cassidy thing, I thought you were - "
"Straight?" Olivia said, turning to Serena. Then she added with a smile, "I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity lover." Her last statement illicited a chuckle around the table.
"Equal opportunity lover, huh?" Abbie asked.
"Yeah," Olivia replied and explained, "I won't discriminate against a possible relationship based on the person's sex."
"Wow, I never knew," Alex finally said.
Using Alex's words earlier in the evening, Olivia replied, "There's a lot you don't know about me, counsellor."
"Indeed," Alex said without missing a beat.
Serena looked at her watch and said, "Well, I should get going. Sean should be about finished with closing up and I really don't need to drink anymore. We're going out for Sunday brunch with his parents tomorrow and it wouldn't be good for me to be hung over."
"Brunch with the parents, huh?" Abbie asked. "Sounds serious."
"We'll see," Serena said with a smile as she got up.
"I'll see you out," Alex said and got up as well.
"Well, girls," Serena said to Abbie and Olivia. "It's been a very interesting and entertaining night. You'll have to come and visit more often, Abbie."
"I'll try," Abbie said. "Take care and don't let Jack or Arthur bully you too much."
"I won't," Serena said as she walked over to the door where Alex had her coat. Alex put on a zippered hooded jacket to walk Serena down to her car.
Sequel A Splash of Gin
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