DISCLAIMER: Law & Order and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
CHALLENGE: Written as part of the 1001 Nights Challenge - deceit
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The windshield wipers increased in speed, the driver attempting to better her visibility as the snow began to fall more heavily. Serena flipped on the defogger and leaned forward in her seat; the lines in the road had become blurred with the amount of white powder adhering to the surface. A curse sounded from inside the toasty car.
"Damn it! The one weekend I have someplace to get away from it all, and it has to snow. I should've called Alex and explained that I wouldn't be able to use the cabin this weekend. With this weather, I'm sure she'd have understood and found some other time for me to take advantage of the cabin's solitude."
A red reflector caught the blonde's attention, and she eased on the brake, knowing that applying too much pressure too quickly would probably end with her in the ditch. As it was, she just managed to make the turn onto the dirt road, or rather quickly turning white road, without the use of snow tires. Serena prayed that she'd be able to make it to the cabin as she gripped the steering wheel more tightly.
The going was very slow, but eventually, the ADA rolled to a stop just outside the cabin's door; however, her relief was short-lived as she noted the steady stream of smoke coming from the cabin's chimney.
"Shit. I make it here in one piece, only to be killed by some intruder. Well, I'm certainly not going down without a fight. I've had enough of being bullied this week."
Reaching under the seat, Serena removed a 9-mm automatic and slid it into her coat pocket. She grabbed her bag from the front seat and stepped from the car, promptly losing her footing as she stepped on an icy patch. Her attempt to steady herself on the door was foiled when her hand slid down the slick metal. She'd gone from vertical to horizontal in a matter of seconds as the sound of a gunshot reverberated throughout the quiet night.
A few seconds later, the door to the cabin flew open, revealing a tall individual holding a lantern in one hand and a shotgun in the other. The latter was pointed in Serena's direction, and the blonde closed her eyes, resigned to her fate. A deep chuckle was followed by a raspy voice asking a question.
"You gonna lie on the ground all night, Southerlyn, or are you going to come inside?"
Serena snapped her head towards the cabin's doorway. "Abbie? What are you doing here?"
Abbie lowered the shotgun and lumbered easily down the stairs, coming to stand beside the prone ADA. Still chuckling, she offered her hand to the other woman, and Serena hesitated briefly before taking hold. She was back on her feet in roughly the same amount of time as it had taken to fall to the ground.
"Alex leant me the cabin for the weekend."
Serena frowned. "But, she told me it would be vacant, and for me to use it to wind down from my absolutely horrendous week."
Abbie shrugged. "Maybe she forgot she'd told me I could use it this weekend. It has been quite awhile since I made the arrangements with her."
"Well, you were here first. I guess I could make it back home before midnight." Serena looked back at the road which had led her to the cabin. Her tire marks from earlier were no longer visible in the rapidly falling snow.
"You can't drive in these conditions, Serena. Let's unload your car and talk about it inside where it's warm. We can decide something in the morning, but just so you know, the Weather Channel forecasted blizzard type conditions. We might be stuck here for a few days."
Serena nodded grudgingly and moved slowly towards her trunk. Abbie tilted her head to the side in question. "Hey, Serena; what were you shooting at anyway?"
"I heard gunshot. That was you, wasn't it?" Abbie gripped the shotgun tightly as she scanned the perimeter. She'd been sure the shot had come from just outside the front door.
Serena put her hand in her pocket and slowly pulled out the pistol. Shifting it to the other hand, she reached back into her pocket, her finger easily sliding through the new hole.
"Crap; I've put a hole in my favorite coat."
Abbie chuckled. "Well, just be glad you didn't put a hole in your foot. It's a miracle the bullet missed you."
Serena lifted her long coat and glanced down at her leg. The material of her pants was ripped near her calf, and a dark color stained the khaki trousers. Serena's eyes snapped to Abbie's just before they slowly rolled back into her head.
"Shit!" Abbie stepped forward, catching Serena before she could hit the hard ground. "You're gonna owe me big time, Southerlyn."
Abbie shifted Serena until the blonde was in perfect position, and grunting, she threw Serena over her shoulder and made her way up the steps, thankful that she'd left the door ajar.
The brunette carefully placed Serena on the couch and set the shotgun on a nearby table. Gently laying the other woman on the cushions, Abbie placed a pillow under Serena's head and took just a moment to brush the blonde hair from the pale face.
"You really are a beautiful woman, Serena Southerlyn. Too bad you're straight."
Sighing, Abbie turned her focus on Serena's injury, the blood more visible in the light of the cabin. The brunette stood and headed to the bathroom for the first aid kit, but first, she veered into the kitchen for a pair of scissors.
Serena slowly woke to a light throbbing in her leg. Opening her eyes, she glanced down to find herself covered with a light throw. A steady fire burned in the fireplace, her backpack lay on the floor beside the couch, and a pair of long legs were stretched out on the small ottoman next to her.
Following the length of the worn jeans, Serena spied Abbie, sitting comfortably in a chair and reading a book. Serena took a moment to study the dark haired woman before alerting her that she'd awakened. When Abbie's dark eyes fastened onto hers, Serena's breath almost left her body. Abbie Carmichael was the most stunning woman she'd ever laid eyes on.
"Hey, how're you feeling?" Abbie slid her bare feet onto the floor and placed her book on the ottoman. Serena's gaze hadn't gone unnoticed by the former ADA.
Abbie chuckled, and Serena practically melted on the spot at the sexy sound.
"Let's see how your leg looks." Abbie stood and walked towards the couch. Lifting the blanket, she teased, "Think you can keep from fainting on me this time?"
Serena turned beet red and looked away. She couldn't believe she'd fainted, and not only that, Abbie had to cart her ass up the steps and into the cabin. How could she ever face the other woman again?
"Hey, there's nothing to be embarrassed about. Besides, it's not everyday I get to rescue a beautiful blonde, although, the shotgun kind of put a damper on the romanticism of the gesture."
Serena glanced down at her leg. All thoughts of being embarrassed gone.
"You cut off my pants leg?"
Abbie knelt beside the injured woman and grinned. "You'd rather I'd have taken them off your unconscious body?"
Serena opened her mouth to argue that removing her pants was exactly what the other woman should've done; however, she snapped it closed when she remembered the pair of nude-colored thong underwear she'd had to put on to keep from showing a panty-line in the rather form fitting khakis.
"Um, no, I guess not. The pants were already ruined anyway." Serena offered in apology.
"No kidding. I didn't realize how lucky you were that the bullet only grazed your leg. A centimeter to the left, and you'd have a nice sized hole in your leg." Abbie began to remove the bandage, checking for any sign of infection.
Serena swallowed her fear and looked towards the fire, hoping to take her mind off what might lie beneath the bandage. She hated the sight of blood, her own in particular. Concentrating on the flames, she decided that perhaps it would help her state of mind if she changed the subject.
"Abbie? You said Alex had promised you the cabin this weekend. I wonder why she insisted that I drive up today and spend the weekend. It's not like Alex to forget lending the cabin to you."
Abbie shrugged. "I'd asked two months ago. Who knows; maybe she forgot to write it down."
"Yeah, right. Alex, the walking PDA, forgot. Hmm, you don't think... Ow! Shit, that hurt. Give me a little warning next time, would you?"
Capping the antibiotic, Abbie began to re-cover the wound. "Sorry, but it would've hurt a lot worse if I'd told you what I was going to do first."
Serena closed her eyes and bit her lower lip, waiting for the stinging to stop. She really, really hated pain of any kind.
Grasping the other woman's hand, Abbie offered, "Try to relax, Serena; it'll hurt less. When you tense up, it just makes things worse."
At that particular moment, Serena wouldn't have cared if her entire leg was on fire. Abbie had loosened her grip and was gently stroking the back of her hand. Serena briefly wondered what the other woman would do if she actually had a hole in her leg. She'd brave a more serious injury if the result just happened to be a kiss from the other woman.
"There, that's better." Abbie continued to hold onto Serena's hand, thinking her touch had calmed the other woman. Serena had even smiled slightly.
Little did she know, Serena's smile had come from the image of Abbie pulling the blonde into her arms and kissing her senseless; however, the brunette's next words had Serena frowning. Abbie had interrupted her wonderful world of make believe.
"You said you had a horrible week. What happened?"
"You mean other than being fired?"
Serena was greeted with only silence. Chancing to catch a look of pity, she opened her eyes. Abbie's rather furious expression was not what she was expecting.
"Branch fired you?"
"Yes." Serena stuck to a simple answer, not wanting to upset the already angry looking woman.
Abbie faced Serena and asked in an ultra-calm voice, "Why?"
Serena looked down at the blanket, not able to look Abbie in the eye. "He more or less said that I'd make a better advocate."
A squeeze to her hand brought her head back up. Serena gave Abbie a shrug and a smile. "That's the way it goes, you know? I haven't been happy in my job for years, but I kind of wanted to leave on my own terms."
"I know what you mean." Abbie returned the sad smile.
Serena furrowed her brow. "What are you talking about? You did leave on your own terms; to a better job, might I add."
Abbie let out a laugh. "No, I didn't; leave on my own terms, that is. Although, in all honesty, I probably would have taken the job and left anyway. The US Attorney's Office just happened to contact me right before I had a meeting with Branch. I'd have been in your shoes, Serena. I was just lucky enough to have an offer in my pocket when he summoned me. The minute I realized where he was heading, I explained my intentions. The son of a bitch didn't have a chance to fire me."
Now Serena was really confused. "But. . . but, I don't understand. You were the best thing that ever happened to that office. I remember wishing that I could be half the lawyer you'd been."
"Apparently I wasn't good enough; otherwise, Branch would've ignored my sexual preference. A month before our meeting, he'd seen me holding hands with my girlfriend at a restaurant. I knew the minute I saw the expression on his face that my days were numbered. Funny thing. . . Sarah broke up with me the next day."
"What?" Serena was stunned, and Abbie misinterpreted the blonde's expression as disgust at her disclosure. She moved to release the hand she held, but Serena grabbed hold tightly; her soft words calming the former ADA.
"He was going to fire you because you were gay?" Serena held her breath. The answer to her question would more than likely be bittersweet, although, if the reply was yes, Serena was positive she could live with the bitter.
Abbie took a seat on the table in front of the couch; the fact that she chose not to release her hand didn't go unnoticed by Serena.
"Branch is a sly ol' dog. He never actually said the word 'gay' in our conversation, but when he heard I was heading to the US Attorney's Office, he made a comment about how 'that' particular office was so much better at turning their heads. He said that I was too 'passionate' in my cases."
"Well, he vehemently denied firing me because I was gay."
Abbie grinned happily at the news that she'd been wrong about Serena.
"You're kidding. He used the term gay?"
"No, I did." Serena chuckled. "It was out before I knew it. I asked him if he was firing me because I was gay."
Abbie almost fell off the table laughing. "You've got some real balls, Southerlyn. I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that office."
"Yeah, well, I still don't have a job. And, I don't think suing Branch is in my best interests, so . . ." Serena shrugged.
Smiling brightly, Abbie offered, "You know what? I've got a big pot of soup on the stove, and it should be about ready. What do you say we have a bowl and discuss your future? I think the US Attorney's Office is in need of your 'advocate' viewpoint."
Serena returned the infectious smile and turned to stand; she immediately winced when her injury made itself known. Abbie stopped Serena with a hand to her shoulder.
"Uh uh, my dear. You stay right here, and I'll bring you a tray."
"I think that might be a good idea." Serena eased herself back on the couch. Abbie patted Serena on the hand and stood. Turning, she headed towards the kitchen.
Leaning her head back against the couch, Serena closed her eyes, grateful that she was safe inside the comfortable cabin while the blizzard roared outside. A huge grin graced her face at the thought of being stuck for days with the gorgeous Abbie Carmichael, the gorgeous gay Abbie Carmichael. Serena made a mental note to thank Alex for accidentally double booking her cabin.
New York City, Alex's apartment
Olivia reached over and turned off the light, placing her arm around Alex and pulling her closer. She lightly kissed the top of the blonde's head.
"Okay, Alex; you want to tell me why you've been grinning like the cat who ate the canary all evening?"
"What? I don't have any idea what you're referring to." Alex answered in a completely innocent tone.
Olivia chuckled. "Spill it, counselor."
"Well, in light of recent events, I thought Serena needed to take the weekend to come to terms with Branch's decision to fire her. I gave her the keys to the cabin."
"Oh, that was nice of you." A moment of silence ensued as Olivia worked through her thoughts, trying to grasp an important detail that kept eluding her. The detective frowned when she finally remembered what it was.
"Alex, this is Abbie's weekend to use the cabin."
Alex snuggled into her lover's side and smiled mischievously. "I know."
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