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These Are Days
By mel



The overhead fluorescent lights hummed softly, casting a too-bright glare over the small briefing room where Alex Cabot paced nervously back and forth across a dirty, checkerboard linoleum floor. She held her phone tightly in her hand as he paced, waiting for an all-clear text message to tell her that Olivia had been successfully whisked away from SVU's bullpen and off to lunch with Abigail Carmichael. Getting Olivia out of SVU was just the first step in her detailed plans of what needed to happen that day, the one upon which every other one hinged. She'd meticulously planned everything about this day for the last month and she wanted everything to go perfectly.

She needed it to go perfectly. More than any other day in her life, she wanted this one to end perfectly.

Life, she mused as she stalked back and forth across the small, grungy room, was made up of days like this – days that you will remember, for good or bad, for the rest of your life. Like the day she'd passed the bar, the day her father died, the day she'd first met Olivia, the night she and the handsome detective had their first knock-down-drag-out screaming match over a warrant, or the afternoon Olivia had asked her to join her on the stakeout in the Village. And then there was the morning after they had both been assaulted outside that club when they'd finally admitted their feelings for the other. That was, perhaps, the happiest day of her life. The day she and Olivia took their first step toward becoming a couple.

Life, she ruminated as she paced, was the culmination of both small, seemingly inconsequential events and decisions, and immense, immeasurable events that altered who you were forever.

She was confidently hoping that today would be yet another momentous day. Today was the day she was going to really set her plan into motion, but before she could do anything she needed to talk with her 'boys'; the men who were Olivia's brothers, and Captain Cragen, the man who was the closest thing to a father figure her girlfriend had ever had. She didn't need their approval, but she wanted it. So, to that end, she'd enlisted Abbie to take Olivia out and away from the precinct so she could have some time with them alone. She was so frazzled from just the knowledge of what she was going to do in a few minutes that she literally jumped when her phone started to vibrate in her hand, catching her by surprise even though she'd been waiting for it for the last five minutes.

On our way out the door now. -A

"Alright Alex," she muttered as she smoothed her hands over her favorite charcoal gray pinstripe suit that she'd worn for good juju. "You can do this."

She counted to twenty to calm her nerves (ten just wasn't doing it today) before stepping out into the hall and heading for the stairs at the end. She hated taking the stairs in heels, but Olivia thought she was in a meeting in Petrovsky's chambers at the moment and, on the off chance that Abbie and Olivia's elevator stopped on this floor, she didn't want to be caught standing out in the hall. She tightened her grip on her satchel as she climbed and paused one last time before she threw open the door and strode down the corridor to 'her' bullpen, her heels clicking loudly in her usual confident staccato to announce her presence. She squared her shoulders as she rounded the corner and immediately caught Elliot's eye. He smiled reassuringly at her as she entered – he had already done his part to help her and so was already informed as to what she was planning – and she smiled a small, shy smile in return, pleased to notice that her racing heart had noticeably slowed at the detective's greeting.

"Stabler," she greeted the detective in her typical, clipped manner.

"Counselor," Elliot grinned. "You ready?"

Alex shook her head and adjusted her glasses. "Hell no," she answered as she reached up to tuck her hair back behind her ear.

Elliot laughed at the ADA's honesty. "It's going to be fine, Alex. I actually think it's pretty cool that you're doing this."

Alex nodded slowly as a faint blush crept up her cheeks. Never in a million years had she ever considered the possibility that she would be in this position, but it was certainly reassuring to hear from somebody who had been through it himself that she was going about things the right way. "Thank you, Elliot. That means a lot to me."

"Hey, hey! Charlie's here!" Fin called out as he and Munch strolled into the squad room. "What's the occasion? Taking Liv out to lunch?" he asked as he looked around the room. "Where is Liv?"

"Out to lunch with Abbie," Alex answered, smiling in spite of herself at the detective's continued use of the nickname. "I needed to talk to you guys without her around. Is Don in his office?" she asked, turning to Elliot for clarification since he'd been the only one in the room when she had entered.

"Yup," Elliot grinned. "C'mon boys," he waved his fellow detectives toward their boss' office. "You don't want to miss this one, trust me."

"What's going on?" Munch frowned, looking over his shoulder at Alex as he was ushered into Cragen's office. "Are pod-people taking over the DA's office?"

"You mean Arthur isn't a pod person?" Alex quipped dryly, thankful for the older man's joke to help settle her nerves.

Munch nodded thoughtfully. "Good point Counselor," he drawled as he walked into the small office and moved toward his usual position by the side wall.

"What's going on?" Donald Cragen asked as he stood up behind his desk to face the trio of detectives that had just entered his office.

"Dunno Cap," Fin answered with a small shrug. "Cabot said she wanted to talk to all of us."

Don looked away from his detective and smiled a warm, fatherly smile at the woman who was hiding behind his detectives. He could tell from her expression that something heavy was weighing on her mind, and as Olivia wasn't with the group he grew immediately concerned for both his detective, and his ADA. "Alex, I didn't see you back there. Is everything okay?"

"Everything's fine, Don," Alex replied as she closed the door after herself. She took a moment to gather her thoughts as she set her satchel down on the floor by her feet before she looked up to address the men who were all looking at her expectantly. "This is… more of a personal visit," she explained.

"Oh," Cragen replied as he sat back down in his chair. "So, then what can we do for you Counselor?"

Alex shuffled her feet and took a deep, calming breath before she answered. "Well, as you all know Olivia and I have been together for nearly six months now," she stated somewhat haltingly, catching Elliot's eye as the burly ex-marine smiled encouragingly and mimicked taking a big breath. 'Breathe' he mouthed. If only it were that easy, I feel like there is a hoard of butterflies in my stomach trying to get out, she thought as she offered him a blank stare before turning her attention back to the group at large."And, I understand that while six months is not an especially long time to be together as a couple, we've know each other for a lot longer than that," she rushed, her nerves getting the better of her and causing her normally flawless speech pattern to become anything but.

Elliot laughed softly to himself as he moved in behind Alex and placed a reassuring hand on the small of her back. "Breathe, Alex," he murmured in her ear, another small chuckle escaping as he felt the normally cool and collected attorney trembling with nerves under his hand. "It's fine. You're doing good. Just breathe."

She turned to Olivia's partner and smiled wryly as she finally did as he suggested and actually took a deep breath to settle herself. "Thank you," she whispered to Elliot before she took one last big breath and continued with her prepared speech. "I know that Olivia thinks of you guys as her brothers," she looked from Elliot, to Fin, and then to Munch, "and that she considers you to be the father she never had," she smiled nervously at Don who was now reclined back in his chair wearing a goofy grin and looking like he knew exactly where this was going, "so I felt it was only proper to… ask for all of your blessings. I want to ask Olivia to marry me."

Don laughed loudly as he pushed himself back up to his feet. "Of course, Alex!" he crowed as he clapped excitedly, feeling every bit like a proud papa whose little girl had finally met her perfect match.

"Wow, Cabot," Fin grinned as he crossed the office to shake Alex's hand in congratulations. "Takes some balls to come into a small room with four armed men and ask something like that."

Alex blushed and looked down at her feet as she tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear. "Thank you, I think."

John was wearing an ear-to-ear grin as he pushed past his partner to envelope Alex in a warm embrace. "Mazel tov," he whispered in her ear before he brushed a quick kiss to her cheek. "I'm happy for you."

"So, did you pick the ring up yet?" Elliot asked, drawing everyone's attention to him and the fact that he knew that this would be happening. "What?"

"You knew about this?" Cragen asked the question the rest of the men were all thinking.

Alex watched as Elliot just nodded and grinned like a fool, so she decided that it'd be best if she offered up the real reason why he had known when nobody else in the squad had. "Well, you see, I needed help getting Liv's ring size," Alex explained. "So I enlisted Elliot to help me out. He took her to a jewelry store as backup for a gift he was supposedly looking at for Kathy, and managed to get her to try a ring on for size so I knew what to order for her."

"Awww," the guys all gushed, causing Alex to blush even harder.

"You've been scheming!" Fin laughed as he pointed an accusing finger at her.

"Maybe just a little," she agreed demurely before turning her eyes to Elliot who was still looking at her expectantly. "And yes, I just picked it up this morning. Would you like to see it?"

"YES!" the four grown men squealed like little girls.

"Okay, okay," Alex laughed, finally relaxing and taking a second to enjoy the moment as she reached down into her bag to pull out the small, blue box that she'd just picked up from the jewelers.

"Oooh," Munch cooed as he spotted the signature blue box. "Tiffany's. Very nice, Cabot."

"Well," Alex smiled as she opened the box and ran her finger over the ring inside. "It's a little more Rose than Tiffany," she explained as she handed the box off to Elliot. "When we were at my family's for Thanksgiving last year my mother gave me my grandmother's ring to propose to Olivia with," she shared. "But, my grandmother was maybe five feet tall with heels on and she had the tiniest little hands, and I knew that there was no way her ring would have ever fit Liv – so I took it to Henri at Tiffany's and had him work my grandmother's ring into something new especially for Olivia."

"It's gorgeous," Cragen murmured as he took the box from Elliot to have a look. "Absolutely gorgeous and absolutely perfect for Olivia. You did good, kid," he smiled at Alex as he passed the box to Fin who whistled appreciatively before handing it over to Munch.

"Wow, very nice," Munch observed as he lifted the ring out to look at it better. It was a simple ring, nothing flashy, but she just couldn't see Olivia wearing a typical solitaire engagement ring. Because of that, she had had the jeweler take the diamonds from her grandmother's ring and set them into a simple platinum band and then, because she was having a bigger ring made, she had him fill in the difference with diamonds to match those harvested from the heirloom.

"Do you think she'll like it?" she asked hesitantly as she took the ring and its case back from John and slid it back into the protective confines of her briefcase. She'd thought it was something that Liv would like, but now that she was standing on the precipice of actually proposing, she found she needed that confirmation that she was doing the right thing.

"She's going to love it," Don assured her with a smile. He actually thought it was rather endearing to see the normally unflappable ADA so nervous about something that they all knew was a sure thing. "Do you have a plan?"

Alex nodded. "I do."

"Well," Fin squeaked. "Don't leave us hangin' – what is it? Details woman, details!"

Alex laughed and smiled as she leaned back against the door. She crossed her arms over her chest as she studied the grown men before her who all looked absolutely giddy with anticipation. "Okay, fine. But you can't tell Liv." She looked at each of them in turn and waited until they'd all nodded in agreement before she continued. "Well, what I was thinking was…"



When Alex had first decided that it was finally time to ask Olivia to marry her she'd considered an untold number of extravagant ideas as possibilities – flying off to Paris, renting out the top of the Empire State Building, using Maggie's yacht and cruising out into the harbor, just to name a few – but when it came right down to it, none of those things were symbolic of their relationship. Her and Olivia's relationship wasn't flashy. Sure, they went out to nice dinners on occasion and perhaps even caught a show on Broadway or took advantage of Maggie's box at Carnegie Hall, but more often than not they just stayed home, enjoying the quiet and each other. Because of that, she had eventually decided that it would be best to just keep things simple and very, very intimate.

After leaving the precinct earlier that afternoon, she headed to the store to gather the rest of what she would need to pull off her plan before heading home to start putting it into action. It was, she'd decided as she relaxed in a steaming bath after she'd finished flitting around the apartment cleaning and setting up, rather advantageous that she didn't have any trials this week so that she was able to rearrange her schedule to be able to take the afternoon off.

And now it was show time.

She looked around her living room and nodded thoughtfully to herself as she surveyed the results of her afternoon's handiwork, a slow, easy smile tweaking her lips as she took in the view she'd created.

It was perfect.

"Alright," she said to herself as she smoothed her hands over the dress she'd bought specifically for tonight and looked expectantly at the clock above the mantel.

Four minutes to six. Olivia should be home any minute now.

She worried her lower lip as she stood in the middle of the living room that was literally glowing from all the candles she'd set out around the space and waited for the sound of Olivia's key in the lock. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity but was in reality only perhaps two minutes, she heard Olivia's key turning the deadbolt with a quiet click before the door swung open to crash into the doorstop embedded in the baseboard with a quite thud. She smiled softly in spite of herself as she pictured Olivia fighting with her key that always seemed to stick in the lock, and a heartbeat later she heard her lover's voice calling out to her.

"You can do this," she murmured quietly to herself. She drew a deep, steadying breath as the butterflies that she had thought she'd vanquished earlier returned with a vengeance.

"Alex, I'm…," Olivia's voice trailed off as she caught a glimpse of the glowing candlelight that was waiting for her. She distractedly dropped her keys into the bowl on the table beside the door, her gun following suit in the same distracted manner as she let the duffel she had been carrying over her shoulder fall to the ground.

Alex reached up to tuck her hair behind her ears, smiling to herself as she heard the detective's duffel hit the floor and she realized that Elliot had done as he had promised. Even though their six month anniversary fell on a Monday and they'd both had to work, she'd still wanted the evening to be nice, but hadn't a clue of how to ask Olivia to dress up for work that morning without giving anything away. When she was explaining everything she wanted to happen to Elliot while they were at the jewelers one afternoon so she could get his opinion on the type of ring she had chosen, he had just smiled and told her to worry about getting her stuff done, and that he would have Olivia home on time and dressed in her court clothes.

"Wow," Olivia breathed as she truly entered the living room and saw, in its entirety, what Alex had done.

Alex wasn't entirely certain how Elliot had managed the task, but seeing Olivia round the corner in her fitted black slacks and maroon button down with the sleeves rolled to show off her tanned, toned forearms chased every thought related to 'how' out of her mind. She didn't care how it had happened, she was just pleased that it had. Thank you, Elliot.

Olivia walked slowly into the room, her eyes darting around reflexively as the detective in her took everything in. The candles were something new, that was for sure, but the sight of Alex surrounded by the glowing, flickering flames, her flawless alabaster skin glowing in the candlelight was absolutely breathtaking. The ADA's blonde hair fell in waves around her shoulders and she felt her heart skip a beat at the sight of the soft curls framing Alex's face.

Then there was the dress.

It was navy blue with spaghetti straps that led to a plunging neckline, which showed off a tantalizing amount of cleavage, and hugged the rest of the blonde's curves to perfection. The cut of the dress highlighted her girlfriend's body to perfection and the color served to make the attorney's normally electric blue eyes that much more powerfully enchanting. She had to literally force her gaze away from Alex's so that she could finish drinking in the heavenly sight before her. It wasn't often that she had the pleasure of seeing Alex dressed up quite like this, and she wanted to burn every beautiful detail into her memory. She felt a low moan build in her chest as her eyes traveled down, over luscious curves hidden under flowing blue satin that came to a tantalizing end at mid-thigh and left a decent part of Alex's long, gorgeous legs on display just for her. Alex was absolutely stunning, and she felt her heart skip a beat in her chest at the knowledge that this beautiful woman was hers.

Hers to hold. Hers to love. Her angel.


Suddenly she was glad that Elliot had spilled his coffee all over her other clothes so that she was forced to change into the nicer outfit she kept in her locker for court.

"Hi," Alex greeted the obviously gobsmacked brunette, a small, shy smile lifting her lips as she remained in the very center of the room watching Olivia's reaction and waiting for her love to join her.

"Hi," Olivia murmured as she crossed the glowing space. "You look amazing," she whispered as she got close enough to run her hands down the sides of Alex's dress.

Alex blushed at the heartfelt complement. She knew that Olivia found her attractive, but there were still moments like this one, where the brunette looked at her as if she'd never seen anything so beautiful in her life, that she was struck dumb by the realization that Olivia truly felt she was a beautiful and desirable woman. "Thank you," she murmured.

Olivia just smiled and leaned in to capture Alex's lips in a slow, tender kiss. "So, may I ask what the occasion is?" she whispered as she rested her forehead against Alex's and stared into what she was certain were the most beautiful blue eyes on the planet. She hadn't a clue what Alex was planning with the candles and the dress, but she was more than willing to go along for the ride.

"Mmm," Alex hummed, a nervous, expectant smile lifting her lips as her heart suddenly took flight in her chest. "You may," she murmured softly as she took a small step backwards. "But I'm hoping this will explain everything," she continued as she carefully took both of Olivia's hands into hers.

"What?" Olivia started, but was stopped mid-thought as she watched Alex sink to one knee before her. "Alex?"

Alex smiled and sucked her lower lip between her teeth nervously as she nodded, silently confirming that she was in fact doing exactly what Olivia thought she was. "Olivia," she started, her voice cracking slightly with the weight of her nerves. Breathe, Alex, she thought to herself as she cleared her throat and tried again. "Olivia. I know that this is something of a surprise," she murmured, smiling in response to Olivia's openmouthed nod of agreement. "These last six months that we've been together have been the happiest of my life. For so long I'd imagined having this with you, for so long I'd fantasized of having you," she confessed softly, a gentle blush tinting her cheeks. "But I was so certain that my feelings were not going to be reciprocated that I opted to settle for a friendship with you rather than have nothing at all. And, whether you realized it or not, you quickly became my best friend. The one I could rely on, the one I knew would support me no matter the consequences. I had loved you for so long in secret that I was convinced more was an impossibility. And then you asked me to go with you to that club."

"Alex," Olivia murmured, pulling her right hand out of Alex's grasp to tenderly cradle the kneeling blonde's face in her palm.

Alex drew a deep breath and smiled softly. "While I regret the circumstances that forced us to finally admit our feelings to each other, I will never regret the decision to go with you that night. You were, and always will be, my knight in shining armor. My protector. You are my life. My love. My heart. My home. When I am with you, I am complete."

"Sweetheart," Olivia whispered, a rogue tear making a slow track down her cheek as she watched the love of her life confess the absolute depth of her feelings for her.

Alex felt herself tearing up as she watched Olivia slowly coming undone before her and had to fight to keep her own building tears at bay so she could finish what was without a doubt the most important closing argument she would ever deliver in her lifetime. "I know in my heart that you, Olivia Benson, truly are my soul mate, my other half, my reason for living, and nothing would make me happier than for you to become my wife. Will you marry me?"

Olivia licked her lips and nodded, her ability to speak lost under the crushing emotional weight of the moment. She tugged gently against Alex and helped the now radiantly smiling woman to her feet. "Yes," she finally managed to rasp as she leaned in to kiss Alex. "Yes, of course," she muttered between kisses, her normally cool and calm façade forgotten as she savored the knowledge that even though she wasn't the one to ask, she was going to get to spend the rest of her life with this amazing, wonderful woman in her arms.

Alex smiled into the string of kisses Olivia pressed to her lips and wrapped her arms around her detective, drawing the older woman in close and reveling in the feeling of Olivia's heart beating so hard against her chest. She had done it. And Olivia had said yes.

"I love you," Alex murmured as she pulled back to look deep into her lover's eyes.

"I love you," Olivia breathed, still more than a little shocked at everything that had just happened.

Alex laughed, suddenly feeling absolutely giddy with the knowledge that she was going to be able to call Olivia hers for the rest of her life. "So, do you want to see your ring?"

"You got a ring too?" Olivia asked as a big, happy grin spread across her face.

"Can't propose to the girl of your dreams without a ring," Alex quipped as she moved over to the mantel and pulled the jewelry box out from its hiding place behind one of the many candles lighting the room.

"Alex," Olivia murmured as she watched the blonde approach her with a small, blue box in her hands. "It's too much," she protested as Alex stopped in front of her and opened the lid.

"Nonsense," Alex shushed her as she opened the box. "The night at my Mom's over Thanksgiving when she gave you the third degree, do you remember the way she dragged me off to the house and left you with Adam?"

Olivia nodded slowly, remembering the night Alex was referring to clearly, but unsure of where this story was going.

"Well," Alex started as she ran the pad of her index finger over the top of the ring that was still nestled in its velvet pillow, "she took me up to her room and gave me my grandmother's ring that my father had been saving especially for me. She told me that she knew my dad would have loved you, and that you were everything they'd ever dreamed I would ever find in a partner. She gave me the ring to propose to you with," she murmured as she pulled the shining, glittering band out of the box. "I just had the jeweler set the stones into something that I felt was more your style," she explained as she took hold of Olivia left hand and slipped the ring onto her ring finger.

It fit perfectly.

"How did you know what size?" Olivia asked in a hushed whisper as she lifted her hand to really look at the ring Alex had given her. It was absolutely gorgeous and, she had to admit, very much her style.

Alex smiled a slow, proud smile as she watched Olivia study the ring. She saw the light glinting in Olivia's eyes and knew that her fiancée loved her new ring. "Elliot," she answered, knowing that single word was all the explanation needed.

Olivia shook her head and laughed softly. "I thought it was weird that he wanted me to try rings on for him to choose something for Kathy."

"Well, I had to find out somehow without you knowing," Alex drawled as she took Olivia's left hand and pressed a slow, soft kiss to the ring she had placed there. "It looks good on you."

Olivia blushed and looked down at their joined hands; she wasn't used to this sort of treatment. She liked it, and she loved that Alex felt she deserved it, but it still felt a little alien to be the one on the receiving end of such adoration. "I love you Alex."

"Mmm," Alex purred as she moved in closer and ducked her head down to capture Olivia's lips in a deep, languid kiss. "I love you," she murmured as she released Olivia's hand so that she could run her own hands up and down the brunette's sides before placing them on the detective's hips and drawing Olivia closer still, so that their hips were pressed up tight against each other as she claimed Olivia's lips once more.



Alex let out a low, throaty moan as Olivia's hands worked their way up her stomach to palm her breasts through the thin satiny material of her dress. "So good," she whimpered as those magical, wonderful hands began massaging her gently. She closed her eyes to the glow filling the room and let her body move with her lover's hands, slowly rocking back and forth with each and every touch. How long they'd been standing there in the living room kissing, touching, murmuring soft, sweet words of affection, she couldn't say, but she knew was that she could very well spend the rest of eternity right here, just like this, and be perfectly content.

"Mmm," Olivia hummed as she laid a line of kisses across Alex's jaw. She paused for a moment once she reached the blonde's ear, just hovering there and letting her breath dance across the perfect shell before she husked, "I love this dress, Sweetie, but I'd love it more on the floor."

A whimper tumbled from her lips as Olivia punctuated her statement by nipping gently at her earlobe, sending currents of electricity coursing through her body. "Liv," she moaned as she felt her lover's fingers slide over to her sides before seeking, searching fingers sought to uncover the zipper that was eventually found hidden in the seam under her left arm.

"You are so beautiful," Olivia whispered as she flipped the tab of the zipper up and began to pull it down slowly, savoring the feeling of each tooth being released with a barely perceptible catch under her fingertips. She had always treasured the moments when she was allowed to unzip Alex, had never taken for granted the opportunity to unwrap her lover's magnificent body. It was, she knew, a gift to be able to touch Alex this way. To be with Alex like this. And, while at times the heat of the moment had her practically tearing the blonde's clothes off, she knew how and when to take things slow and enjoy the moment.

And tonight was definitely a night to take things slow.

Alex groaned as she watched Olivia taking her sweet time with the zipper. A small part of her wanted to just bat the brunette's hands out of the way to take care of it herself, while the rest of her was more than content to just relax and succumb to the simple, loving intimacy of the moment; delighting in the feeling of her dress becoming incrementally looser, reveling in the look of absolute adoration in Olivia's dark eyes as she studied her reactions. "I love you," the quiet oath fell from her lips on a breath.

Olivia's answering smile was radiant as she finished drawing the zipper down and slid her hands up to gently ease the thin straps of Alex's dress off over her shoulders. "I know. I love you," she answered as she took a small step back to look at her fiancée as Alex stood before her in nothing but a navy blue lace thong. "You're beautiful," she murmured as she ran her eyes up long, seemingly endless legs, over trim hips, toned abs and firm, proud breasts before settling her gaze onto Alex's eyes. She felt her breath get knocked right out her chest by the absolute love and desire she saw swirling in those cerulean blue pools.

Alex smiled softly and a light blush spread across her body as she reached out and began working the buttons open on Olivia's shirt. "Thank you, my love," she whispered demurely as she tugged the bottom of Olivia's shirt out of her trousers so she could finish unbuttoning it. "You're not so bad yourself," she murmured as she ran her nails up the length of Olivia's torso to her broad, strong shoulders so she could ease the shirt down the detective's well muscled arms to the floor. She smiled as she leaned in close, brushing her lips ever so lightly across Olivia's as she reached behind her to unclasp and remove her bra. "You said yes," she whispered as she looked deep into Olivia's eyes, sounding almost as if she were surprised that the brunette had agreed to marry her.

Olivia's eyes softened as she lifted her hands to gently run her fingers over Alex's cheeks before tangling them in blonde silk. She stepped in close and rested her forehead against Alex's. Unblinking brown eyes gazed lovingly into blue as she stole a quick, soft kiss. "Of course I said yes," she murmured as she brushed her lips against Alex's once more. She smiled as she felt the blonde's hands slip down to her waist, nimble fingers making quick work of her belt buckle before the strap was slowly pulled from its loops. "You, Alexandra Rose Cabot, are my knight in shining armor. You are my soul mate. My other half. My reason for living."

Alex's hands froze upon Olivia's waist as she heard her words repeated back to her, her eyes tearing and her heart taking flight in her chest once more with every simple statement that fell from Olivia's lips.

"Of course I said yes," Olivia repeated herself as she pulled Alex in close to capture the blonde's lips in a deep, deliberate kiss that conveyed better than words ever could the unflinching, unwavering depth of her feelings. She didn't just love Alex; she needed her more than she needed air to breathe. Alex wasn't just her reason for living; the fiery blonde quite literally was her life. And with each gentle clasping of lips, with every heaving crush of breasts, with each and every brush of tongues that sent slow rolling currents of electricity through their bodies to cause their hearts to skip a beat and their breath to be sucked right out of their lungs that love was confessed, accepted, and returned without a word ever being spoken aloud.

"God I love you," Alex murmured as their kiss broke so they could each pull some much-needed oxygen into their desperate, burning lungs. As before, her voice was hushed, awed, reverent, but there was also a playful edge of utter joy to it now as well. Olivia had agreed to be hers forever. Hers to hold. Hers to love. Her angel.


Olivia smiled a soft, lopsided smile and pressed a quick, chaste kiss to Alex's lips. "As I love you. Come on, Sweetie," she murmured as she ran her hands down Alex's arms to grasp the blonde's hands lightly. "Let's take this to bed."

Alex moaned and allowed herself to be pulled down the hall toward their bedroom, her eyes never once leaving Olivia's smoldering gaze as the detective unerringly led the way even though she never once looked over her shoulder to see where she was going. Once they were inside the sanctity of their bedroom, they each discarded the clothes they were still wearing before they came together again, both of them delighting in the electric feeling of full skin-on-skin contact.

This is what they needed. To feel everything, to be as close as physically possible with no barriers between them. To join their bodies as they had their hearts and, essentially, their souls. To express their absolute love and devotion with their bodies, their lips, their hands, and their tongues in a way that words could never do.

Alex used her body to gently guide Olivia back onto the bed. She wasted no time following suit, as she eagerly claimed Olivia's lips in a deep, hungry kiss. She laughed lightly into the kiss as Olivia managed to roll them over so that the brunette was now on top, her laugh dissolving into a low, throaty moan as Olivia's leg insinuated itself between her own to press firmly against her. "God, Liv," she gasped as she automatically moved to return the touch, easily sliding her leg up to press against her lover's center.

Olivia smiled as she hovered above Alex. "I love you," she murmured as she dipped her head to capture the blonde's lips in a slow, thorough kiss as their hips fell into a slow, gentle rhythm against each other.

They kissed and touched as they moved together, neither concerned with doing anything more adventurous than the simple, steady grind they had fallen into. They were each more than content to savor the moment, to revel in the simple intimacy of their slow, rocking hips and to drown happily in the deep, languid kisses they shared. Hands roamed over firm, silken skin, with each reverent touch serving as a silent affirmation of their love. Breaths mingled between parted lips as lungs gasped for air and smoldering mahogany eyes stared lovingly down into dark stormy blue that were alight with love and passion.

"I love you," Alex murmured as she ran her hands down Olivia's sides before running them back up over twitching, quivering abs to palm her lover's full, heavy breasts.

Olivia moaned low and deep as Alex's thumbs brushed over her nipples, the electricity that coursed through her from the touch causing her hips to buck out of rhythm. "Baby," she gasped as the fingers upon her breasts began pinching lightly at the hardened tips.

Alex smiled and lifted her chin to reclaim Olivia's lips as their movements sped by a fraction, as the force behind their rocking hips increased incrementally. She moaned appreciatively as Olivia's tongue reached out to dance with her own, the low moan turning markedly louder as Olivia's left hand began tracing up and down her thigh that was curved around the brunette's body before settling around the curve of her ass. She smiled into the kiss as she realized that could feel the ring she had placed on Olivia's finger on her skin, a beautifully silent reminder of what they had and what they were to each other.

Hips rocked slowly, steadily together for what felt like an eternity and not nearly long enough at the same time as they fell deeper into each other. Each kiss was more meaningful, every smile, every gasp, mewl, and moan bound them together until they were of one heart, one mind, one soul. They had said it before with words, but it was through this most intimate, unhurried, profound consummation of their love that they truly grasped the enormity of what they had together, and how much they absolutely needed the other. When the inevitable wave of ecstasy overtook them, they came together on a gasp and a sigh, their eyes open and staring into each other's very soul as they quaked and trembled in each other's arms, each of them left breathless and reeling from the overwhelming magnitude of the moment.



The alarm on Alex's bedside table crackled to life with an annoyingly harsh spurt of static before the sounds of two middle-aged men arguing over the deficit broke through the previously blissful, sated silence that had filled the room. Alex groaned loudly as she rolled off of Olivia to smack the snooze-bar on the alarm on her side of the bed that was the source of the noise. After the annoying racket was silenced she flopped back down onto the mattress and cracked an eye to study the display, certain that there had been some kind of a malfunction during the night and that it wasn't really time for them to wake up already.

Except it was.

"Shit," she groaned as she buried her face in the pillow she'd abandoned in favor of Olivia's shoulder the night before. "Time to get up."

"Can we be sick today?" Olivia mumbled as she rolled over to lay half on top of her fiancée, unwilling to let go of the skin-to-skin contact she craved.

"Mmm," Alex murmured as she closed her eyes and relaxed into Olivia's warm weight. The brunette's suggestion sounded particularly inviting this morning. "I wish we could, Babe, but unfortunately we both have things to do today."

"I know," Olivia groaned and nodded, her cheek rubbing against the wing of Alex's shoulder. "But, for the record, I would really rather stay in bed with you," she murmured as she pressed a kiss to the warm skin under her cheek.

Alex laughed throatily. "Liv, welcome to my dilemma every morning. Now, come on – up and at 'em Benson. I want to hear all about the boys' reaction."

"Oh god, they're going to be terrible," Olivia laughed as she rolled off of Alex and out of bed. She got to her feet by the side of the bed and stretched, trying to work some of the tightness out of her muscles.

"You're gorgeous," Alex murmured as she let her eyes rake over the naked brunette's form. She knew they needed to get moving, knew, in fact, that she was the one who had insisted upon it; but she was suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to touch that exquisite olive skin once more. She silently rolled over behind her lover who was still too busy stretching to notice her and smiled softly to herself as she leaned in and laid a slow, wet kiss to the small of Olivia's back. "Mine," she purred as she ran her lips over the swell of Olivia's right cheek before nipping gently at the muscle.

Olivia groaned at the feeling of Alex's mouth on her body and the way her own responded to that knowing, intimate touch. "Sweetie, if you keep doing that we're going to be late."

Suddenly not really caring about work, Alex chuckled softly as she reached out with one hand to spin Olivia around to face her. Her eyes zeroed in on the brunette's chest and she licked her lips automatically. She definitely needed to taste those again. "I need you," she husked as she used her grip on Olivia's hip to help push herself up enough so she could take a flaccid nipple between her lips. She smiled around the captured tip as she felt Olivia's breath hitch and she was helpless to stop the low growl of desire that rumbled in her chest when she felt Olivia's left hand tangle itself in her hair and hold her there.

"Baby," Olivia rasped, her voice cracking slightly as she felt Alex's teeth rake over her nipple.

"Hmm," Alex hummed as she looked up at her panting lover.

Olivia looked down into Alex's hungry, lust-filled eyes and knew she was a goner. "We can be late – they'll excuse us," she murmured as she pushed Alex back onto the bed and climbed on top of her. "We did just get engaged last night."

"We did," Alex agreed as she wrapped her hands around Olivia's forearms, her eyes softening and a warm, loving smile lifting her lips as she studied the woman hovered above her. There was a small part of her that still couldn't believe that Olivia had said yes.

"You need a ring," Olivia murmured as she leaned in to claim Alex's lips in a soft, adoring kiss and when she pulled back to look into her lover's eyes she felt her heart stumble inside her chest at the love she saw looking back up at her. "God I love you."

Alex's answering smile was radiant. "I love you."

Olivia looked down at the thin fingers wrapped around her forearm, feeling suddenly desperate to get a ring on the blonde's finger. She wanted the world to know that Alex was taken, that Alex was hers. "Do you want to pick your ring?"

Alex's eyes softened as she moved her hands to cradle her fiancée's face tenderly between her palms. "I can, if you'd like. Do you want me to pick it out?"

Olivia was quiet as she took a moment to really think about it. She'd always figured that she would be the one to pop the question, so she wasn't quite prepared for the situation she found herself in now. "I think that I would like to pick your engagement ring, and maybe we can choose the wedding bands together?"

Alex pulled Olivia's face down so she could kiss her. "I think that sounds wonderful," she murmured as she closed that final distance separating them and captured the brunette's lower lip between her own.

Olivia cursed slightly as she caught sight of the clock on the wall opposite the front doors to the precinct – she was late. Not just a little late, but really, really late. "So worth it though," she muttered as she looked down at her hand as she decided to skip the elevator and just take the stairs. Not being used to wearing much jewelry, the feeling of the band around her finger was a little strange – but the good kind of strange. She couldn't help the smile that spread across her face as the realization that she was, in fact, going to marry Alex Cabot hit her once again.

It was amazing how fast life could change.

Still smiling, she strode into the bullpen with a happy bounce to her step – which did not go unnoticed by her fellow detectives who were watching her every move looking for the evidence that would prove that Alex had indeed popped the question. She hung up her coat and stole one last lingering glance at the sparkling ring on her finger before she turned to find her partner and the rest of the guys, and the captain, all looking at her expectantly.

"What?" she asked in a lilting, laughing voice. The four men broke into identical grins and she could tell they were all looking at her left hand.

"How was your night last night?" Elliot asked.

Ah, Olivia though. He knew. Of course he did, Alex said she asked him to help find my ring size. "Okay," she answered with a shrug, blowing his question off as if nothing exciting had happened. She smiled to herself as she slipped her hands into her pockets, effectively hiding the evidence she now knew they were all looking for, as she made her way across the room toward the coffee pot for her first cup of sludge for the day.

"Come on Benson!" Fin pleaded somewhat pathetically.

She looked over her shoulder with a devious, lopsided smirk tweaking her lips as she slipped the carafe back under the drip. "What?"

"You know what!" Fin retorted as he placed his hands on his hips and stomped his foot dramatically.

"Wow," Olivia chuckled. "Odafin. You know, that little display of teenage girl dramatics was a little frightening."

"Liiiiiiiv," the guys all whined in unison.

Olivia smiled as she set her coffee cup back down on the counter before she turned to her friends and held her hands out questioningly. "What?"

"HA!" Elliot screeched as he pointed at her left hand with its now clearly visible diamond ring. "You said yes!"

Fin jumped up from the desk he'd been leaning against to start doing what they could all only guess was a happy-dance. At least that's what they were hoping it was. "Liv is getting married, Liv is getting married. Oh yeah, oh yea."

"Eww," Olivia mumbled as the rest of the guys all pointed and laughed at their comrade. "Guys, come on. Are you all really so surprised that I said yes? I mean," she looked at Elliot accusingly, "I know that at least you knew what was going on since Alex asked you to find out my ring size."

"Well, no," Elliot admitted somewhat sheepishly as he reached out and pulled her into a fierce embrace. "But it's still something that we're all excited for. Congratulations, partner. I'm happy for you. For both of you."

"She came and asked us for our blessing yesterday," Cragen told her as he moved in to have himself a hug as well.

This was news to Olivia. Alex had told her that she'd enlisted Elliot to help with some of the details, but the blonde had said nothing about the fact that she had gone to all the guys to ask their permission. "She did?"

"Mmhm," Don nodded as he backed away, smiling from ear to ear as he studied the woman he considered to be his daughter. "We thought it was a very classy move on her part."

"She said yes," Alex smiled into her phone as she bumped her car door closed with her hip. She knew she was late, but since the only thing on her schedule at the moment was pouring through files of cases that were currently open she really wasn't too worried about it.

"That's great, dear," Carolyn Cabot's voice replied happily. "Henri did a good job on the ring then? You never called after you picked it up."

"Sorry," Alex apologized as she swung her satchel over her shoulder and started toward her office. "I got distracted with everything."

"Don't apologize, dear," her mother chuckled. "Lord knows you had a lot on your mind yesterday. Now, I would like to host an engagement dinner for you two up here at the house. When would you be available?"

"Um," Alex drawled thoughtfully as she entered the DA's building. "I'm going to have to check my trial calendar and see what weekends Olivia is scheduled to work. Can I call you later?"

"Of course dear. Have a good day, I love you."

Alex smiled and hung back away from the security line to finish her call. "Love you too mom, I'll talk to you later."

Olivia looked over her desk that was surprisingly clean and sighed. Days like this were a gift, something that she usually celebrated and enjoyed just hanging out with the guys, talking about things that didn't revolve around rape victims, evidence kits, or autopsy reports. But she didn't want to be at work today, she wanted to be with Alex.

"Everything okay?" Elliot asked as he twirled a pen around his fingers. He was feeling a little on edge too – the quiet was a good thing, and something that they had learned long ago to not jinx by speaking of it, but it was always strange to have absolutely nothing to do.

"I could have stayed in bed with Alex," Olivia grumbled pathetically.

"Hard to leave this morning?"

"You have no idea," Olivia sighed as she ran her hands through her hair. There were so many things she would rather be doing than sitting at her desk making her rubber band ball bigger.

"Wanna go get a coffee? A real one from the shop across the street?" Elliot offered.

Olivia perked up at the idea of leaving. Why hadn't she thought of that before? "I have a better idea," she replied as she popped up from her chair and hurried over the Cragen's office. "Cap, can El and I go run an errand?"

Don looked up and smiled. "Sure. Take your phones so that way we can get a hold of you if something comes up."

Olivia grinned her thanks and walked over to smack her partner on the back. "C'mon El, we're going shopping."


"I need to get Alex a ring."

"Oooh, shopping," Elliot drawled. "Sure you want me to come along?"

"Yeah," Olivia nodded as she slipped her arms into her leather jacket. "I saw one I liked for her a few weeks ago when I was out for a run; I want to get your opinion on it."

Alex pushed open the door to her office and almost let out a rather undignified scream of surprise when she found it full of people. Well, not full, full, but seeing as she was expecting to be alone once she shut the door after herself, yeah, it was full. Somehow – and she had a feeling that 'somehow' was called Abigail Carmichael – Abbie, Serena, Liz Donnelly, and Maggie Cabot had all managed to gain access to her private office this morning.

"Good morning," she drawled as she closed the door after herself.

"Well?" Abbie demanded before Alex could even put her coffee cup down.

Alex smiled and refused to answer the Federal Prosecutor's question as she went about unloading everything she had been carrying. It was always fun to get Abbie worked up, and she knew better than to waste such a golden opportunity. She caught Maggie's eye and winked as she moved to hang her coat up on the rack in the corner before taking her seat behind her desk and studying the assembled group with the straightest face she could muster.

"Is there something I can help you with?" she asked, hiking a brow questioningly as she smirked at her friends. And Aunt. And Godmother.

"Damn it Charlie," Liz growled. "Spill."

Alex grinned, her absolute joy spilling over into her twinkling eyes. Olivia had said yes. Olivia was hers. "She said yes."

"Woo-hoo!" Abbie yelled, pumping her fist victoriously. "I am so planning your bachelorette weekend!"

"Yeah," Alex replied distractedly as she stood to hug her Aunt who was smiling happily at her. "Wait," she turned to Abbie. "What?"

"Bach-e-lor-ette week-end," Abbie enunciated slowly. "I'm planning it."

"Weekend?" Alex squeaked, suddenly very afraid for herself and Olivia. A whole weekend of drinking and gallivanting about with Abbie Carmichael could lead to some serious trouble.

"Yup," Abbie nodded. "Maggie, can I get Skittles' number from you? I know the Cousins are going to want to get in on this."

"Of course, dear," Maggie laughed.

"Oh god," Alex groaned. Forget a weekend of drinking with Abbie leading to trouble. Add in her cousins and the potential for career-ending embarrassment multiplied exponentially.



Olivia shuffled her weight from the balls of her feet to her heels as she watched Elliot lean in closer to have a look at the ring she was considering. It was more than a little nerve-racking, not just because of the price tag attached to said ring, but also because of their location – Tiffany's wasn't exactly a store either of them were used to frequenting.

Finally, after a spending a solid minute staring at the glittering ring Olivia had pointed out to him, Elliot let out a long, low whistle. "It's nice, Liv. Real nice. But isn't it a little pricey?"

"Yeah," Olivia hummed as she stared at the two carat round solitaire in a channel set band. It certainly was pricey, but she had worked every overtime shift available and covered every holiday for the team for years, and had just banked the extra money. Her savings could easily cover a decent down payment and now that she was living with Alex and had basically no overhead, the monthly payments would not be a problem either; it was just that the very thought of spending thirty two thousand dollars on a piece of jewelry was more than a little intimidating. "Do you think she'd like it?"

Elliot hiked his brows and laughed. "Hell, Liv. I don't know anyone who wouldn't like it," he chuckled. "But I think Alex would be happy with anything you chose for her. I don't know how you managed it, partner, but that woman is completely head-over-heels in love with you."

"I don't know how I managed it either," she replied as she nodded indicatively at the salesman in a navy blue pinstripe suit that had to have cost a mint, who was standing off to the side at a respectful distance while the two of them looked at the ring. She smiled a little nervously at the man as he approached and offered a shy smile in greeting once he stopped on the opposite side of the counter before them.

"Sir, Madame, welcome to Tiffany's. My name is Henri, how may I help you today?"

Olivia straightened up slightly at surprising familiarity of the man's name. "Do you know Alexandra Cabot?"

The man smiled, the expression creasing his face and causing his eyes to crinkle with affection. "Indeed I do. And the majority of the rest of her family, as well. May I ask how you know Ms. Cabot?"

Olivia smiled and looked down at her hand. "I… well, she…"

Henri followed her gaze and easily spotted the ring that he had helped Alex choose and nodded knowingly. "You must be the wonderful woman she was in here gushing about and fretting over finding the perfect ring for. I assume that since you are looking at our engagement rings that congratulations are in order?" he asked with a smile.

Olivia blushed and nodded. "Mmm. Thank you."

"And you would like to purchase a ring for Alexandra, am I correct?"

"I would. I was thinking of that one," she leaned in and pointed at the ring she'd had her eye on. "Since you are familiar with Alex, could you tell me if you think she'd like it?"

Henri looked at the ring Olivia was pointing at and then back up into nervous brown eyes. "I do," he confirmed with a soft, warm smile. "If I may say, I caught her staring rather wistfully at that one yesterday afternoon when she was in here picking up your ring."

"Then I guess that's the one then," Olivia grinned, her grin faltering as she realized that she was lacking an essential piece of information. "You wouldn't happen to know her ring size, would you?"

Henri grinned and nodded. "Six and a half."

Olivia let out a sigh of relief. "Perfect."

Abbie propped her feet on the corner of her desk and smiled into her phone as she listened to her girlfriend distractedly shuffling through paperwork. "So, what do you think Ser?" she asked, drawing Serena back to the conversation at hand.

"I think that if I'm late Petrovsky is going to have my ass for lunch," Serena grumbled as she squatted down to look under her desk for the file that was eluding her.

"Hey now, darlin'," Abbie drawled playfully. "I don't share. Your ass is mine and mine alone."

Serena laughed in spite of herself. "Yes it is," she conceded as she looked inside her briefcase to find the file that she'd been looking for for the last five minutes nestled safely inside. "Oh thank you God."

"Find it?" Abbie asked.

"Mmm-hmm," Serena sighed. "So, dinner tonight with Liv and Alex sounds good if you can get them off of each other long enough to come out in public. What restaurant are you thinking of?"

"I was thinkin' we could go to Rosa Mexicana," Abbie drawled as she twirled a pen between her fingers.

Serena smirked knowingly into her phone as she flipped the lid of her briefcase closed and snapped the latches into place. "Riiiight."

Abbie grinned, easily picturing her lover's knowing smirk that never failed to appear whenever the blonde picked up on her games. "What? I've been craving some good Mexican food lately… I'm feeling homesick."

"Bullshit," Serena chuckled as she slipped her right arm into her coat. "You want to go there because of Alex's little tequila issue and they have the best margaritas on the island."

"Well… that is an added bonus," Abbie admitted sheepishly as she tossed her pen onto her blotter and pulled her feet off of her desk to place them squarely on the floor. "Come on Ser! Alex got engaged! The girl deserves a shot of celebratory tequila!"

"One shot?"

"Yeah," Abbie agreed and she knew that Serena could hear the mischievous tone in her voice even over the phone. After her girlfriend failed to respond she continued, "And perhaps a really strong margarita or three."

"It's only Tuesday – you want the poor girl suffering through the rest of the week because you took her out and got her blitzed on a school night?"

Abbie frowned at her girlfriend's obvious disapproval. "Don't you have to get to Petrovsky's courtroom?"

Serena lifted the sleeve of her coat to glance quickly at her watch and groaned at the time she saw staring back at her. "Fuck. I'm going to be late. If I'm thrown in jail for contempt, do not expect any conjugal visits."

Abbie smacked a loud kiss through the phone and grinned. "You don't mean that. Go kick ass. Love ya."

Serena sighed. "I love you too," she murmured. "Call me later."

"Of course," Abbie promised as she disconnected the call and sat staring at the wall opposite her very crowded, extremely messy desk with a stupid sappy grin on her face. "I think Cabot might have the right idea of things," she murmured thoughtfully to herself as she picked her phone back up and began scrolling through her contact list for Stabler's cell.

"Your phone's ringing," Olivia muttered as she watched Henri wrap the small square box holding Alex's ring with a shiny white ribbon.

"Stabler," Elliot answered automatically.

"El-bell!" Abbie's over-exuberant voice greeted him.

"Carmichael?" Elliot frowned. He watched Olivia turn to level a suddenly serious gaze on him, to which he responded with a small shrug. He hadn't a clue what was going on but, if the past was any indication, odds were good that whatever it was would spell trouble for Olivia and Alex.

"That's right, Muscles. Look, me and Ser want to take Liv and Alex out tonight to celebrate. You in?"

"Sounds like fun," Elliot smiled, relieved that this time it was just dinner. Dinner was safe, right? "Where are you thinking?"

"Rosa Mexicana."

Having been filled in on Alex's predilection for tequila by the Federal Prosecutor, he was helpless to stop the evil chuckle that escaped him. "Best margies in the city?"

"Abso-fucking-lutely," Abbie retorted. "You think the rest of the guys would want in?"

"Yeah," Elliot nodded. "I'll talk to them when we get back to the station."

"You're not at the station? Where are you?"

"Liv wanted to pick out a ring for Alex."

"Ooooh! Tell her there's a round solitaire in a channel set band at Tiffany's that I saw Alex staring at in a magazine ad one afternoon."

Elliot smiled. "Actually, she's purchasing the two carat model right now."

Abbie whistled. "Damn. Do me a favor and smack your partner upside the head for me."

Elliot turned to look at Olivia who was signing her life away on the store's payment plan and handing over her Visa for the down payment. "What? Why?"

"Because once Serena sees that ring she's gonna want one too."

"Ah," Elliot drawled. "Is there something you'd like to share with the class, Ms. Carmichael?"

"Not yet, Stabler. Look, you go tell Liv we're going out tonight and I'ma gonna call Maggie to see if she and Matt want to try and make it too."

Elliot smiled at the idea of Alex's family joining in the celebration. Then he remembered the way Maggie and Abbie tended to play off each other. "That would be… nice, I guess."

Choosing to ignore the detective's suddenly extremely obvious apprehension, Abbie replied, "yeah, too bad the Cousins all live too far away to join us… guess we'll just have to save them for the bachelorette weekend."

"Weekend?" Elliot squeaked, suddenly fearful for his partner and her future wife's safety. He had heard all about the things that mischievous group was capable of.

"God, shut up. You sound just like Cabot."

Alex was giving her work a valiant effort, but her heart was just not in the law today. Her heart, and mind, was back in bed with her memories of Olivia writhing under her tongue as she made love to the brunette for hours on end. She groaned as she re-read the same paragraph in the brief she was studying for the fourth time, still not getting anything out of the effort. "Good thing I'm not in court today," she muttered to herself as she pulled her glasses from her face and set them down on top of the file so she could massage the bridge of her nose, hoping the touch would help her re-center her focus.

Just as she put her glasses back on her cell started tap-dancing across the surface of her desk as it rang and vibrated with an incoming call. Her right hand darted out and caught the device and she answered without glancing at the screen, "Cabot."

"You know, some people answer their phones by saying hello," the distinctive twang of Abbie Carmichael's voice greeted her.

"Do you?" Alex countered as she reclined back in her chair and just accepted the fact that she was more than likely going to accomplish exactly nothing that day.

"Not the point, Sugah. You should sound happier, I'm sure you spent last night getting laid – put a smile in that voice Princess!"

Alex rolled her eyes at her friend's predictable perkiness. It would be annoying if she wasn't it such a good mood. "You know I hate being called Princess," she chastised, the admonishment holding none of her usual wrath and she knew Abbie could tell that too.

"Indeed I do," Abbie laughed, "but I thought you would like to be involved with tonight's dinner plans."

Alex frowned and flipped through her desk calendar which had 'Olivia' penciled neatly into the seven o'clock slot with a definitive black line blocking out the rest of the evening. "What dinner plans?"

"We're celebratin'!" Abbie crowed, sounding mildly offended. "It's not every day my best friend goes and gets engaged! I've already talked to the boys at the one-six and they're in too. We're taking you two out to celebrate."

Alex smiled at her friend's excitement. "Do I want to know where?" she drawled, feigning disinterest because she really was supremely interested. If Abbie's choice of venues included tassels, she was going to have to put the kibosh on it.

Abbie's low, throaty chuckle did little to soothe Alex's concerns. "Fear not, Cabot – I'm saving the bodacious ta-tas for your guys' bachelorette weekend. We were going to take you gals out to Rosa Mexicana."

"Wow," Alex whistled as she crossed her right leg over her left and started kicking her foot at a quick, even tempo. She'd been craving a good enchilada lately. "I like. How did you decide on that restaurant, Carmichael?"

"They have the best margaritas in the city."

Alex's foot stopped swinging as she processed exactly what was not being said. "Oh god."

"Seven thirty, Cabot. Be there, or I'm going to show everybody that video of you in the pirate wench costume singing your little sea shanty."

"Ha! Everybody there will have seen it."

"Not everybody in the restaurant though," Abbie countered with a victorious chuckle before she killed the connection.

Alex scowled at the phone in her hand as an incessant dial tone assaulted her ears. "Knew I should have never let Liv give me that last orgasm in the shower."

Olivia smiled and took the small blue bag containing Alex's ring from Henri with slightly shaking hands. "Thank you, for everything," she told him as she peeked inside to glance at the package nestled within, a small, nervous smile lighting her face as she recognized the significance of that seemingly innocuous box.

"My pleasure, Olivia. Welcome to the family," Henri winked. "You two come and see me when you're ready to pick out your wedding bands and we'll see what we can come up with."

"Thank you," Olivia replied. She turned from the counter with an unexpected hoard of butterflies in her stomach and made her way toward the door where she could see Elliot just finishing up a phone call. "What did Carmichael want?" she asked as she got closer, looking mildly concerned about the fact that the Texan was phoning her partner behind her back.

"Nothing much," Elliot answered as he distractedly slipped his phone back into his coat pocket. "We're taking you and Alex out for dinner tonight."

Olivia nodded mindlessly until Elliot's exact words worked their way through the cloud of nervous-excitement that rendered her brain useless. "Huh… wait. What?"

"Dinner," Elliot grinned. "At Rosa Mexicana."

Olivia groaned as she put two and two together significantly faster than her fiancée had only minutes before. "Best margaritas in the city, Rosa Mexicana?"

"I do believe they're one in the same, yes."

"Oh god."

Part 6

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