DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the third part of the story arc that started with Déjà vu, followed by The Cabot Cabin. To understand this one, I strongly recommend reading those two.
THANKS: To all of you for reading this ongoing series and supporting it the way you have, I really appreciate it. To the faithful followers on my Yahoo Group, vivalab – you guys rock!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Trial & Retribution
By VivalaB


Chapter 31: Strategy

Abbie looked at Alex curiously, "Does the name Emily Carrington, mean anything to you?" she asked.

Without answering, Alex stood on shaky legs, "Excuse me, I'll just be a minute," she informed everyone at the table, tasting sickness at the back of her throat.

Abbie watched curiously as the blonde woman headed towards the bathroom, "What did I just miss?" she asked, looking between Olivia and Elliot.

"During her time in Witsec, Alex was in Wisconsin," Olivia supplied, turning in her seat and watching her girlfriend with concerned eyes. She was torn between hearing what more Abbie had to say and following Alex.

Elliot glanced at Olivia before turning to Abbie, "What was said on the phonecall?" he asked, furrowing his brow.

"Not much, Porter just confirmed if a woman called, 'Emily Carrington', had been admitted. He tried to find out why, but the officer refused to give out the information without a warrant," she replied, looking across the table at Olivia who was rising from her seat.

Alex stood over the porcelain wash basin and splashed cold water on her face. She leaned forward and pressed her damp forehead against the cool glass of the mirror and closed her eyes as her mind raced back to that night in Wisconsin and the late night visitor.

She swallowed a sob as sad memories flooded her brain. The bathroom door opened behind her and she knew without opening her eyes who it was. Without turning she informed her girlfriend she was okay.

Olivia looked at the blonde haired woman, leaning against the mirror and took a hesitant step forward, placing her hand lightly on Alex's back and rubbing gently. She was careful not to invade Alex's personal space and made sure she gave her enough room to pull away if need be, "Are you okay?" she asked after a long, silent moment, feeling the body beneath her hand sigh deeply.

"Remember when I found you on the roof?" she asked quietly.

Olivia stepped closer, "Yeah?"

"And you said you wanted to tell me about Sealview, but not there…I need that from you now," Alex said in a hushed tone, opening her eyes and looking at her own reflection.

Olivia's mind buzzed with possibilities and none of them were positive, reluctantly she nodded to the unseeing blonde, "Okay," she replied as Alex pushed off the cool glass and turned to face her.

"I'm okay Liv, honestly…come on, let's get back to the table before Abbie assumes we're in here christening another bathroom," she said lightly, forcing a smile upon her face.

Olivia shook her head, "We can stay in here for as long as you need, they'll understand," she answered, not caring about anyone else but her girlfriend.

The smile this time was genuine as Alex studied the serious expression on Olivia's face, "I love you so much Liv," she said, swallowing the lump in her throat.

Olivia returned the smile, "And I love you," she replied, opening her arms and welcoming Alex into her warm embrace. They stood for a few moments, lost in thought, taking strength and comfort from the other's love.

Alex sighed, "Let's go back to the hotel," she said quietly.

Abbie had known of Alex's time in Witsec and knew she had been hidden in Wisconsin. She had heard the story of Cesar Valez, the attempt on Alex's life and what followed, but she had never thought to ask what alias she had been given. She listened as Elliot told her of the blonde haired ADA's stubbornness during the trial and how she had come back, jeopardizing her own safety to put Liam Connors behind bars. As much as she tried to focus on what Elliot was saying, her mind kept asking one question, 'Why was she admitted?'.

Elliot spotted two familiar figures walking towards their table, his eyes immediately moving to Alex's face to make sure she was okay. He smiled up at her as she approached, "You okay?" he asked, his voice softened with concern.

Alex nodded her head, "Just came as a shock, that's all," she replied as she sat down.

Abbie glanced at Olivia before asking Alex, "Can you tell us what happened?" she asked delicately.

Olivia snapped her head up and glared at her, "No, she can't," she replied defiantly.

Abbie frowned, "If Porter's checking out your Witsec identity, he's obviously got some strategy in mind…I'd rather know what he's hoping to find beforehand, Alex," she said as evenly as possible.

Alex nodded her head, "Whatever his strategy is, what happened in Wisconsin is nobody's business," she replied adamantly.

Abbie's dark eyes met and held the steely blue gaze, "You're right, I'm sorry…I think maybe I should change my own plan of attack and call him as my next witness," she said.

"Why?" Alex asked.

Olivia looked across the table, "You said the whole point of the long witness list was to prevent Porter from taking the stand," she said frowning..

Abbie shrugged, "I'm just making sure I do everything I can to guarantee that bastard gets the needle. If he's looking into your past…" she paused, pointing a slender finger at Alex, "…then maybe it's time I shot him down before he has a chance to hurt either of you any further," she said.

Alex smiled at their friend and shook her head, "He can't hurt us…nobody can," she said, feeling Olivia's hand slip into her own and squeeze it gently.

The trio stood outside Elliot's hotel saying their farewells, Olivia's cellphone rang and she turned away to answer it, leaving Alex and Elliot alone.

Elliot stepped closer to Alex, "If anybody hurt you, I'll kill them," he said, making sue he was out of earshot from his partner.

Alex shook her head, "Elliot.." she started, but trailed off.

"I mean it Alex, you gave up so much and almost lost everything," he said quietly, dipping his head to meet her eyes.

She blinked a few times, but held his gaze, "But I'm here now and got everything I need," she replied, glancing past him to the pacing brunette.

"Yeah, well…we come as a package deal, anything you ever need, just ask," he said, wrapping his arms around her.

Alex swallowed the emotion that threatened to spill and exhaled a shaky breath, "Thanks Elliot," she whispered, feeling him squeeze her just a little tighter.

He pulled back and blinked a few times, nodding his head, "Stay safe," he replied.

Olivia approached and moved in beside him, "How much safer can she be, she's with me," she said lightly, looking between the two.

"My point exactly," Elliot quipped.

The walk back to their hotel was comfortably quiet, despite the new revelation about Alex's time in Witsec.

"Who called?" Alex asked, remembering the phone call Olivia had taken.

Olivia squeezed the hand she was holding gently, "I'll give you a clue, my favorite older blonde," she replied smiling easily.


Olivia snorted, "No, my other favorite older blonde," she amended.

Alex smiled, instantly thinking of the sharp shooting waitress from Sam's Diner, "Suzy," she stated confidently.

"Yep, she's flying in tonight, I said we'd meet her for breakfast," she said as they approached the entrance to the Hilton.

Alex turned to her, "We could have met her at the airport," she added.

"No need, Abbie's giving her the first class Federal treatment, a car will be waiting for her at Dulles and will take her straight to her hotel," she replied, touched at Alex's concern for the the older woman and nodded appreciatively at the doorman as he held the door open for them.

Jamie Ross sat at her kitchen table and looked at the piece of paper in her hand and then at the phone lying on the polished surface. She took a deep breath and expelled it wearily as she lifted the phone and began to dial.


Jamie cleared her throat, "Liz, it's Jamie Ross," she said into to the receiver.

There was a slight pause at the other end of the line, "You shouldn't be calling here," Liz replied quietly.

"I need to recuse myself"

Liz closed her eyes briefly, "Why?" she asked.

"Porter's implying Olivia's had relationships with female colleagues," she replied anxiously.


Jamie shook her head, "What do you mean, and? If he finds out about our affair, a mistrial will be declared and I could be brought before the bar for deliberately perverting the course of justice," she answered, trying to keep her tone neutral.

"Jamie, do you know how many favors I had to call in to ensure that you were in charge of these proceedings?"

Jamie sighed again, "When you called and asked me to do this, I didn't realize this slimy bastard would be digging into Olivia's past…He asked her partner about her relationships with women for God's sake," she answered, unable to keep the frustration from her tone.

"If you recuse yourself now, he'll walk…and he'll go after Olivia and Alex and this time he won't stop until they're both dead…You will be responsible for that," she paused allowing the implications to sink in, "You're the best Judge for this trial Jamie and Abbie will make sure the evidence is air tight so that he never gets out again," she finished.

Jamie considered her former colleague's words carefully, "Why did you pick me?" she asked.

"You're fast in the courtroom, tolerate very little and have a soft spot for Olivia…you're the next best thing to me," Liz replied honestly.

Jamie smiled at the words, "What if he ever finds out?"

"Trust me, he won't be alive long enough to figure it out"

The brown haired woman shifted in her seat, "Thanks Liz," she said.

"Just treat it like any other trial involving a murdering psychotic who tried to kill your ex girlfriend…" she paused before adding, "…And Jamie?"

Jamie smiled at the familiar abrasive tone, "Yes?"

"Don't call me again until Porter's got a needle hanging out of his arm," she said flatly and hung up.


Chapter 32: Secrets

Olivia watched Alex as she stood gazing out the large window at the late evening traffic and hesitated over what she wanted to say. She desperately wanted to know what had happened to Alex in Wisconsin and kept replaying the conversation she'd had with Jon at the cabin.

"She's always been good at taking care of others," Jon paused and looked over his shoulder at her," she's not so good at letting others look after her," he said quietly.

Olivia nodded and turned to look out the window at the lowering sun, "I've know her for almost ten years, I know what she can be like," she answered honestly.

He moved to stand beside her and look out at the beautiful skyline, "You didn't see her when she came back from the city, after she was told you had gone…she was broken Olivia," he placed a hand on her shoulder, "Don't let her fool you when she says she's okay, she'll tell you what happened to her in Witness Protection and up here," he motioned out the window, "When she's ready," he finished and squeezed her arm.

Olivia frowned, "What happened to her in Witness Protection?" she asked urgently.

Jon's eyes widened in surprise, realizing she had no idea what he was referring to.


Jon shook his head, "I'm sorry Olivia, that's for her to tell you, not me."

"She's okay now, don't force her to tell you, if you go charging down there," he raised a hand to silence her as she opened her mouth to argue, "if you go charging down there," he repeated, "she'll clam up. Let her tell you in her own time. Aren't there things you haven't told her?" he asked.

Olivia's mind snapped from her reverie as she recognized Alex's need to suppress whatever had happened to her, she had done the same herself after Sealview. She walked slowly towards the blonde haired woman and gently placed a comforting hand on the small of her back.

Alex turned her head and smiled, "I can see why you like doing this," she said, fascinated by the constant glow of movement in the distance, "It's very hypnotic," she added, reaching for Olivia's arms and guiding them to her waist.

Olivia wrapped her arms around her and sighed, "You're very hypnotic," she said, rubbing her cheek against the soft material covering Alex's shoulders.

Alex smiled, "I've got you under my spell...you'll never get away now," she replied, placing her hands over the ones across her middle.

"There's nowhere I'd rather be," Olivia said, reaching over and kissing her cheek tenderly.

Alex snorted softly, "Do you think Abbie will put Porter on the stand next?" she asked, her mind wandering over the details of the trial.

"You're the lawyer sweetie, you'd know better than me," Olivia replied.

Alex sighed and blew out a frustrated breath, "I don't know..." she trailed off.

Olivia kissed her again, "What do you fancy for dinner?" she asked, smoothly changing the subject.

The younger woman considered the question and tilted her head, searching for Olivia's lips. Their mouths met in a sweet exploration that ended after a few leisurely minutes of unhurried tenderness. Alex smiled and licked her lips, "I'll have three courses of that," she said, leaning in for another kiss.

Olivia smiled as they parted, "And I thought you weren't a romantic," she teased.

"Hay, I am a romantic...have you not been to the cabin?" she pouted.

Olivia buried her face into her neck and growled playfully into soft hair, "Hmm, the cabin..." she mumbled, remembering their moments of discovery and shared passion. Her hand slipped down and rubbed teasingly across her lower belly with Alex's soft hand still covering her own.

Alex felt the hot breath at her neck, blowing through her hair and closed her eyes as images from the cabin flashed behind her eyelids. She guided Olivia's hand lower and pressed the strong hand firmly against her centre. She pushed her hips forward and gasped at the arousing sensation.

"I wish we had a balcony," Olivia husked as she pressed her hips into Alex's firm ass and swallowed.

"Thanks for your help," Abbie said into the phone before replacing the receiver. She studied the notes she had scribbled and sighed sadly at what she had just learned. She looked at Alex's name on her notepad and shook her head, "I'm so sorry," she whispered.

Casey entered the study and perched on the edge of the desk, "Dinner's ready," she said brightly.

Abbie looked up and gave her a weak smile, "Okay," she replied, making no move to rise from her chair.

"What's wrong?" Casey asked, immediately sensing something was off with the dark haired woman.

Abbie shook her head, "I just betrayed one of my best friend's," she said sadly.

"What did you do?"

Abbie dipped her head, "I told you about Porter calling that hospital in Wisconsin...I got a warrant for their medical records...Alex was the patient admitted, under her Witsec identity, Emily Carrington...and now I know why," she replied.

Casey's eyes widened with shock, "Oh my God," she gasped.

"I asked her about it today and she refused to discuss it," Abbie said, closing her notepad.

Casey frowned, "Whatever happened, if there are no police records on it then It's nobody's business, but hers," Casey stated, remembering Alex's reappearance for the Liam Connors trial and how much the woman had given up, all in the name of justice.

Abbie looked up at her, "Porter opened the door," she retorted defensively.

"Well, you had no right or need to go through it," Casey replied sternly.

Abbie shook her head, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"How is any of that relevant to this trial? Porter tried to kill Alex, all to prove his twisted devotion to Olivia. He had how many people killed?" she paused, raising her eyebrows in question, "Your job, is to present the facts pertinent to the case, not trawl through someone's traumatic past and dig for dirt!" Casey snapped angrily.

Abbie's frown deepened, "Why are you so mad? I was only trying to cover all the angles," she said, trying to contain her own rising anger.

"Because you should have trusted her...I saw her when she came back to testify, I saw what sixteen months had done to her...I saw what it did to Olivia, especially after she left again," Casey replied, lowering her tone.

Abbie's mouth opened in realization, "So that's why Liv wouldn't go out with you..." she trailed off as Casey slid off the desk and stormed out the study, flinching as the angry red head slammed the door behind her.

Olivia lifted the last slice of pizza and offered it to Alex, "Share?" she asked, smiling at her lover.

Alex shook her head and dabbed the corners of her mouth with a napkin, "Go ahead, you'll be the one up all night with heartburn," she teased, shaking her head at the amount of spicy meats packed on to the single slice. She reached for her fork and speared a piece of grilled chicken before dipping it skillfully into the barbecue sauce and popping it in her mouth.

They sat side by side on the large sofa, relaxed and sated after an enjoyable, appetite inducing, two hours, eating the food they had ordered from room service. The aromatic smells in the living room only adding to the homely feel of the Presidential suite.

Alex smiled at Olivia as she lifted her glass of water, "Is this the secret to your stamina?" she asked, indicating the empty pizza plate.

Olivia squeezed the knee gently under her hand and grinned, "No," she replied, gazing lovingly into blue eyes.

Alex leaned over and kissed her cheek, "Charmer," she quipped.

Olivia nodded, "I try," she answered.

Alex was about to reply when the sound of a cellphone ringing in the other room echoed in the air, "I'll get it," she said, about to rise from the sofa.

"Stay, I'll go," Olivia instructed, patting her knee lightly as she eased from her seat. She padded barefoot into the bedroom and looked at the phones lying on the night stand, lifting Alex's, "Hello?"

Abbie hesitated at the sound of Olivia's voice, "Liv?" she asked.

"Yeah, what's up?" she asked as she made her way back in to the living room.

Abbie considered hanging up, but knew she couldn't, "Can I speak to Alex?" she asked hesitantly.

"Why?" Olivia asked, hearing the strange tone in her friend's voice.

Abbie sighed, "Please Liv, it's important," she said.

Olivia stopped beside the couch and looked at the relaxing figure, "Make it quick," she informed her, passing the phone to Alex and mouthing, 'Abbie' in response to the raised eyebrow.

Alex took the phone and greeted Abbie warmly as Olivia sat down next to her. She listened as Abbie told her she wouldn't be putting Porter on the stand, "You didn't have to call and tell me that," Alex said, once Abbie had finished speaking.

Olivia watched her closely as the conversation lasted for another few minutes and smiled as Alex hung up the phone and placed it on the table. "Everything okay?" she asked, placing her hand back on Alex's knee.

Alex smiled at her, "Yeah, she was just letting me know that Porter wouldn't be taking the stand," she said, looking curiously at the phone.

"That's good...isn't it?" she asked, sensing a shift in Alex's mood.

Alex nodded her head absently as she replayed the conversation, realizing the reason he wouldn't be taking the stand was because Abbie had found something out and the only thing that could possibly be, was why she was admitted to the Jackson County hospital.

Abbie entered the kitchen and stood at the door, "I'm sorry," she said sincerely, waiting for Casey to acknowledge her presence.

Casey heard the honesty in her words and turned, "You should be," she answered, leaning against the counter.

Abbie studied her girlfriend, waves of guilt washing over her, "I was worried he might have something credible, I didn't want to take that chance," she said, hoping to redeem herself.

"You should have trusted Alex," she said, looking into sad, brown eyes, "If it was relevant, she would have mentioned it...you didn't need to violate her privacy and get a warrant," she added, shaking her head.

Abbie sighed, "I know," she replied.

"Did you tell her?" Casey asked, having heard Abbie talking on the phone, from the other side of the closed study door.

Abbie shook her head, "No, but I think she knew...she always was good at reading between the lines," she answered, moving forward until she was directly in front of the red haired woman. She cupped Casey's face between her hands and swallowed, "I'm sorry for what I said about you and Liv," she said quietly.

Casey swallowed, "Liv was a mess after Alex left for the second time, I was scared she might do something, she seemed inconsolable and threw herself into work...For a while I thought she was trying to kill herself..." she trailed off as she caught the look that flashed across Abbie's eyes.

Olivia loaded the food cart with their empty dishes and wheeled it to the door, pushing it into the deserted hallway. She closed the door and turned to Alex, "Saves any interruptions," she explained.

Alex studied her girlfriend, noting her hesitant behaviour and patted the seat next to her, "Sit down Liv," she encouraged.

Olivia made her way to the sofa and sat down awkwardly, feeling strangely nervous. The phonecall from Abbie lingering between them. She shifted until she was sitting sideways and could see Alex's face more clearly.

Alex turned her head, "Why do you always go to the roof when you need to think?" she asked unexpectedly.

Olivia's mouth dropped open in surprise, "I like the open space, the fresh air, the lack of boundaries...the basement was small and confined, thick walled and dusty with a pungent stench...the roof is the exact opposite," she replied with complete honesty.

Alex nodded, "You feel free on the roof as opposed to being trapped in the basement," she said quietly, studying Olivia's face.

Olivia smiled, "In simplified terms, yes," she answered, encouraging Alex to rest against the back of the sofa beside her. Once she was settled she reached for her hand and intertwined their fingers, "Why d'you ask that?" she asked.

Alex adjusted her robe, smoothing the silky material down her thighs with her free hand, "The house in Wisconsin was cramped, nothing in it belonged to me, it was all Emily's...when I retreated to the mountains and decided to build the cabin, I knew I wanted open spaces with huge windows and no sense of confinement," she replied.

Olivia nodded her head in understanding, sensing the similarity in their coping methods. She looked down at their joined hands, resting on her bare thigh, "You don't have to tell me anything Lex, you respected my privacy about Sealview and didn't push...I don't want you feeling like I'm waiting to hear what happened...you're here with me now and as much as I regret not being there when you got out of Witsec, we'll never be apart again, I promise," she said in a hushed tone.

Alex let the loving words wash over her and rested her head on Olivia's shoulder, "I know, but I also know how I felt when I didn't really know about Sealview, my imagination was creating all sorts of horrible scenarios and I know you, Olivia Benson..." she paused, lifting her head to meet the curious gaze, "...you're doing the same," she said, reaching up and pushing a loose lock of hair away from Olivia's forehead.

Olivia smiled at the knowing blue gaze, "Did somebody hurt you?" she asked tentatively.

Alex lowered her hand and turned away from the intense brown eyes.

Olivia immediately regretted asking the question, "I'm sorry," she said quietly, squeezing the hand she held.

"I had been in Wisconsin for almost a year, I despised it and longed for home....I missed being in the courtroom, missed Petrovsky scolding me with her critical glare...missed my apartment, my friends, my family, you and everyone at the unit...I missed my life and I wanted it back so badly Liv," she paused, taking a deep breath and sighing wearily, "Every day I hoped it would be over, I wrote you so many letters that I knew I could never post, but I did it to keep my sanity, especially after..." she trailed off, realizing she was about to confide her deepest secret.

Olivia lifted their joined hands to her lips and kissed the back of Alex's hand tenderly, "What happened?" she asked gently, shifting their hands to her lap.

Alex swallowed, "It was a stormy night, had rained for three days straight, my doorbell rang just after midnight, I was upstairs in my bed, reading...I reached for the Glock in the bedside drawer and crept downstairs...when I saw Agent Hammond through the spy hole I felt so excited, I figured the only reason he would call at such a late hour was to tell me I could go home..." she paused as Olivia shook her head.

"Why didn't he call? He should have known that appearing on your doorstep, unannounced on a stormy night, after midnight, would frighten you," Olivia said, shocked at the FBI agent's lack of consideration.

Alex squeezed her hand, "He usually did, we had a few precautionary routines...this was a..." she paused, searching for the appropriate words, "...unique set of circumstances," she replied sadly.

"What could be so unique that he needed to scare you half to death in the middle of the night?"

Alex blew out a steadying breath and lifted her head, holding Olivia's gaze, "My mother died."


Chapter 33: Wisconsin

Olivia handed Alex the glass of iced water and watched as the younger woman took a long, refreshing drink. She placed a caring hand on Alex's back and rubbed gently between her shoulder blades, "I wish I had been there for you," she whispered, searching hooded blue eyes.

Alex smiled as she nodded her head, "I do to," she said, blowing out a weary sigh before continuing, "Hammond told me my mother had died...I raced upstairs and began to pack...he followed me and told me, as gently as he could, that I couldn't go to her funeral...I was angry Liv, so angry at the unfairness of it all...everyone was getting on with their lives and I was stuck, hidden away in some Godforsaken hole...living out a nightmare...as a claims adjuster...me, the great Alexandra Cabot, who graduated first in her class...my Dad would have been so disappointed..." she said, trailing off as she shook her head sadly.

Olivia frowned, "Your Dad would have been incredibly proud of what you did, of what you've achieved since then...you know that," she said, looking deeply into sad eyes and waiting for Alex to acknowledge the truth of what she was saying.

Alex closed her eyes and shook her head, "Liv...it was all so different back then...I was different...every car that backfired, every door that slammed, every time a man looked at me and made eye contact...I thought it was the end...I was on edge all the time, even at the house...I had panic buttons in every room...I even slept with a gun in my bedside drawer...I would never even consider doing that in New York, now or then," she said, opening her eyes and meeting concerned brown.

Olivia swallowed, "You had every right to be scared, my God...you were almost killed in Manhattan...doing what you did, the sacrifices you made in the name of justice...you're the bravest person I've ever met Alex...I don't know if I could have done what you did, but I do know how guilty I felt for being the one to stay in New York..." she paused as her words faltered, "...I cried for a long time over the injustice of it all...selfish, I know, but I lost my best friend and I wished I'd been able to do more for you...to protect you, " she finished, determined to hold on to her emotions.

Alex reached for Olivia's left hand and lifted it to her lips, kissing her index finger, "You did protect me, remember?" she asked quietly, kissing the finger again.

Olivia nodded her head slowly, "I remember," she answered as an image of David Brennan's body, recoiling backwards, flashed before her eyes.

Alex released her hand and reached for the other, clasping it gently in her own, " I was having trouble sleeping, the neighborhood was quiet, but every noise woke me...I read so many books to try and help me relax, but nothing worked...the lack of sleep only heightened my awareness at work...I was jumpy all the time, wary of everyone, if anyone at work asked me a personal questions I froze...I lost weight and I looked...awful," she said, feeling her eyes moisten at the painful memories.

"You could never look awful...you're Alex Cabot," Olivia replied, wiping her own eyes.

Alex blinked away the tears that threatened to spill, determined to tell Olivia the whole story. She swallowed and wet her dry lips before reaching for the glass of water and draining the contents. When Olivia asked if she wanted more, she shook her head and took a calming breath, "I saw a doctor, she wanted to prescribe mild tranquilizers to ease my anxiety, but I refused...I needed to be alert. She mentioned sleeping pills, explained they would help my body to slow down and relax...we discussed their strength, side affects..." she hesitated and shifted her eyes away from the rapt gaze, "...the dangers of overdosing..."

Olivia gasped as her eyes widened, she was about to speak when Alex cut her off with a shake of her blonde head.

"Hammond explained why I couldn't go to the funeral...the risks involved, I cried so hard Liv...he was so kind, after everything that had happened, he was so kind..." she paused, the squeeze on her hand shaking her from her reverie, "...he offered to stay, but I told him to go...said I would be alright...I saw him out and sat in the kitchen with a bottle of unopened vodka, thinking about everything...I even called you...strictly against orders, but I just needed to hear your voice," she said quietly, blinking slowly.

Olivia leaned forward and kissed a stray tear away gently, "I'm so sorry," she whispered.

Alex looked at her for a long minute, "I had a few drinks, trying to block everything out, hoping it would make me sleep...I sat there, regretting my life and the choices I'd made that had led me there...to Wisconsin...I wasn't thinking clearly, I hadn't slept for more than four hours a night for months...so I decided to take a few sleeping pills, help me forget...I'd never taken them before, I looked at them every night and decided against it...I staggered up the stairs and took a few...the next thing I can remember...is waking up in Jackson County hospital with Hammond beside me," she said, shaking her head.

Olivia slid off the couch and on to the floor, moving in front of Alex, pushing her knees apart and wrapping her arms around the slender body as Alex dropped her head on to her shoulder. Alex leaned into her and clutched her tightly, feeling the older woman's hands hold her desperately.

They held each other for a few moments, no words being spoken as they lost themselves in their own thoughts. Olivia was unable to stop the tears that trickled down her cheeks at the thought of Alex almost dying. The youner woman had described it as an accident, but Jon's words rang in her ears. She pulled away and gazed into misty blue eyes, running her thumbs across Alex's flushed cheeks and wiping away hot tears.

Alex smiled down at her before nudging her backwards, encouraging her to her feet as she rose from the sofa and stood in front of her, "It was an accident, I wasn't thinking clearly, I was upset and just wanted to forget," she said in a hushed tone.

Olivia shook her head and wrapped her arms around her again, bringing their bodies together. She felt Alex's chest heave as she let out a strangled sob and struggled to suppress her own sorrow for the woman she held. She rocked them gently, stroking Alex's hair and whispering words of love and comfort until the taller woman calmed.

Alex pulled her head back and blinked a few times, "It was an accident," she repeated.

Olivia nodded her head and smiled warmly, "I know..." she paused and bit her lower lip, "...was it an accident at the cabin too?" she asked tentatively.

Alex stared at her unblinking, for what seemed like an eternity before she whispered, "No."

Olivia's heart stopped beating at the admission, she swallowed anxiously, "What happened?" she asked as she continued to stroke her hands soothingly across Alex's back.

Alex closed her eyes, "You were gone...everything I had lived for...everything I had hoped for...was gone...I came to the mountains, sat beside the lake and thought about everything...I was staying at the old cabin, now the Gatehouse and Martha and Jon were trying so hard to make me feel...normal...I had nowhere to go, nothing to do...it was as if, everyone had moved on and forgot about me and it all felt like such a waste..." she said, furrowing her brow and shaking her head.

Olivia looked at her, "It wasn't a waste, it was the biggest sacrifice anyone could possibly make...you should have got the keys to the City for what you did," she hissed angrily.

Alex sighed, "Liv...don't...don't get angry...please?"

Olivia blew out a shaky breath and swallowed, "If I hadn't gone to Oregon, none of that would have happened, if I had swallowed my hurt and looked for you once I knew you were out, none of that would have happened...if I-"

Alex eased out of her arms and stepped back, lifting her hands to her forehead and closed her eyes, "Stop...please stop," she pleaded, rubbing her fingers across her temples anxiously.

Olivia looked worriedly at her, "I'm sorry," she said, afraid to move towards her.

Alex dropped her hands and lowered her eyes to the carpet, "It's not about you...it was about me feeling like there was no point to any of it...I sat beside the lake, watching a beautiful sunset in the most tranquil settings I've ever seen with nature surrounding me... thanks to my father and his fight to preserve their freedom..." she paused, fearful of the reaction to her next words, "...with a glass of vodka in one hand and a handful of sleeping pills in the other..." she trailed off, lifting her eyes to meet startled brown as she remembered that night with stark clarity.

Olivia stared directly at her, shock evident on her face, "Did you take them?"

Alex blinked a few times and moved forward, wrapping her arms around the dark haired woman, "No," she whispered, feeling Olivia's body sag against her own with relief. She tilted her head and kissed her cheek, "I wanted to though...I threw the pills in the lake and drank the vodka before I went back to the house...I sat with Martha and Jon for a long time, told them about everything...including you," she said, smiling fondly.

"That's why Martha gave me such a hard time in the kitchen...she was worried I would hurt you, wasn't she?" Olivia asked, remembering the older woman's questions.

Alex nodded, "Yes, remember all the clothes in the spare room?" she asked, brushing Olivia's hair away from her face.

"You mean your grown up Barbie play room?" she quipped, trying to lighten the heavy tension.

Alex dipped her head, "After we'd talked for hours and shed a lot of unhappy tears, I decided enough was enough...I was going to move forward with my life, find Alex Cabot again and go back to New York...and find you. I hired an architect and worked with him, designing the house myself and he made it happen...a space within a space, he called it. Windows and wood, lightness and freedom...all that was missing was you," she said quietly, lifting her eyes and meeting the attentive gaze.

Olivia kissed her gently on the lips, "I'm glad you didn't take them," she whispered, thanking whoever was listening for giving Alex that much needed moment of clarity. Her mind shifted to Jon and Martha, grateful for their presence in Alex's life.

"I don't know that I would have, I do know it was enough to make me speak to someone...professionally. After I got out of Witsec, it was mandatory to talk with an FBI counselor about my time in protection...I was too eager to get home and had spent enough time with Huang to know how to bluff it," Alex admitted, watching Olivia's face as she listened carefully.

Olivia shook her head, "You should have been honest from the start," she admonished.

"I know, I know that now...I attended counselling sessions, twice a week...oversaw the building of the cabin, immersed myself in its construction and when it came to furnishing it...I just started buying clothes that..reminded me of you...I told you before...I would sit in tha room and talk to you...I'd open the closet doors and pretend you were here...I know it's crazy Liv...even creepy...but you kept me sane, you gave me hope...something to believe in," she finished quietly, feeling an overwhelming sense of relief settle over her.

Olivia leaned forward and brushed their mouths together, taking a leisurely amount of time to confirm their connection. She held Alex tightly, feeling every shudder and every breath that passed through the slender body. As they parted she smiled, "I love you, I will always be here for you, anytime you need to talk, okay?" she stated firmly, searching the cerulean eyes for understanding.

Alex nodded, "Likewise," she replied, referring to Sealview.

Olivia shook her head, "The irony of all this, is that Liam Connors drove us apart and brought us together," she said, sighing heavily.

Alex nodded in agreement, "I know...and Porter's going to ask me about my stay in hospital, when I testify," she added.

"Abbie won't let him...how much evidence does she need to produce to convince the jury? It's a solid case," she paused and suddenly grinned, "Wait til they get a load of Suzy," she snorted.

Alex smiled in agreement, "I wish we were there to see it, she'll knock his slimey curve balls out the park," she said.

Olivia suddenly felt exhausted and stifled a yawn, causing Alex to do the same, "I don't know about you, but I could use some sleep," she said, shivering as her scantily clad body became sensitive to the cool temperature in the room.

Alex shifted her hands and rubbed Olivia's bare arms, casting her eyes over the boxers and tank top, "You must be cold, come on...bed," she instructed, nudging Olivia towards the bedroom.


Chapter 34: Keepsake

Olivia looked at the clock again and sighed at the early hour illuminated on the digital display. She shifted her head and looked at the supple curve of Alex's spine and smiled as she turned over, wrapping her arm around Alex's naked body.

"Why can't you asleep?" Alex mumbled.

Olivia froze, "I didn't realize you were awake," she replied, stroking the underside of Alex's breast with delicate fingers.

Alex smiled, "I'm not," she muttered, reaching up and covering Olivia's hand with her own.

"Sorry," Olivia whispered sincerely, kissing the exposed skin of Alex's neck tenderly. She felt the body in front of her inhale and exhale deeply, causing an instant smile to grace her features. She kissed her neck again, "I love waking up with you beside me, I love the smell of your hair, I love the softness of your skin, I love the noises you make, I lo-"

Alex growled softly as she turned around and adjusted her position until she was lying on top of the grinning detective, "I love the way you interrupt my beauty sleep," she teased, placing her hands on either side of Olivia's head.

Olivia reached up and tucked long, blonde strands behind her ears, "You don't need any beauty sleep, you're the most beautiful woman in the world," she responded quietly.

"Charmer," Alex said as she dipped her head and kissed her lightly before pulling back.

Olivia cupped her cheeks between both hands and held her in place, "You...to me...are the most beautiful woman in the world...inside and out and I won't listen to your dismissive arguments counselor, not at this time of the morning," she replied, gazing at the woman she adored.

Alex smiled and kissed her again, "You make me beautiful," she whispered shyly, studying the features of the face she knew so well.

Olivia swallowed, "Are you okay?" she asked, concerned that their discussion from the night before had left any lingering doubts.

Alex nodded her head, "I'm glad I told you, I'm not ashamed of it...I just wish none of it had happened and want to forget that it ever did," she answered softly.

Olivia smiled, "I'm glad you told me...I felt better for telling you about Sealview," she admitted, surprising herself with her honest admission.

Alex kissed her, "I feel like that too and I was glad you were able to talk to me about it," she replied.

The dark haired woman bobbed her head gently, "Yeah," she paused, unsure if she should say what she was wanted to, but decided she needed to be completely honest about everything, "I went to your Mom's funeral," she confessed quietly.

Alex's eyes widened in surprise, "Really? Why?"

Olivia smiled, "She called me when she was clearing out your apartment.." she paused, deliberately avoiding mentioning the call had come a month after Alex's funeral, "...asked if I wanted to have anything of yours as a keepsake," she answered.

"Did you?" Alex asked, instantly curious at this new revelation. When she had returned to New York, the Cabot family attorney had informed her that her mother had placed all her possessions in storage. She had been surprised and pleased to find all her personal belongings intact and safe. She couldn't remember anything missing.

Olivia nodded shyly before cautiously moving her hand to the round pendant at the base of her throat, "I always meant to give this back, but it made me feel closer to you...connected in some way and when you came back, you didn't seem to recognize it...so I kept it," she confessed meekly.

Alex's hands moved to the gold necklace, her fingers gently caressing the pendant adorned with a rose cut Indian diamond and the Tibetan Lotus, a symbol of beauty and natural purity. She felt unexpected tears well in her eyes as she stared at the beautiful design.

Olivia shifted her hand and wiped the tears away, "I'm sorry I never gave it back," she said.

Alex shook her head and closed her eyes, overwhelmed at Olivia's feelings for her and how long she had harbored them. She parted her lips and swallowed, "I just assumed you had bought one too, I never thought for a minute it was mine," she replied, opening her eyes and smiling down at the concerned expression.

"I've worn it for a long time," Olivia admitted quietly.

Alex blew out a shaky breath as her fingers continued to stroke the precious gold, "You're amazing...just amazing," she whispered, shaking her head with wonder at her girlfriend's admission.

"I met your Mom for lunch a few times after you went away, she talked about you with such love Alex, she was so proud of you," Olivia said, shaking her head as a tear slipped down her cheek. "When she passed away, I wanted to go to her funeral, I needed to show my respect for her...and to you...Cragen, Elliot, Munch and Fin went too, even Liz...they all wanted to pay their respects Alex," she finished quietly.

Alex felt fresh tears cascade down her cheeks as she thought of the tough detectives and her former mentor, honoring her mother's memory. She lifted her hands and wiped away the wetness before blowing out a steadying breath, "I'm glad you met her, I'm overwhelmed you went to her funeral and I'm speechless about the necklace...I wish I could tell you how much you mean to me Liv, but words seem so inadequate for what I'm feeling right now," she said, smiling down at her.

"You don't have to say anything, all these years together, I know exactly how you feel about me, cos I feel the same about you..." she paused, straining upwards and capturing parted lips. As she eased back down to the pillow, she bit her lip nervously, "Alex...there's something else I have to admit to taking," she began hesitantly.

Alex frowned and tilted her head, "I never would have figured you for sentimental keepsakes," she teased lightly, smiling at the blush that covered Olivia's face. She sensed her girlfriend's reluctance to continue and encouraged her to confess by kissing her tenderly, "What else did you take?" she murmured.

Olivia lifted a hand and tried to cover her eyes, "If I tell you, you have to promise not to think it's weird, okay?"

Alex held Olivia's hand away from her face and nodded, "Okay," she answered curiously.

"Your pillow," Olivia confessed, feeling her cheeks burn.

Alex smiled as she leaned down and kissed her lovingly, placing featherlight kisses along her strong jaw, "That is so sweet," she whispered into her ear before trailing her lips back to the waiting mouth.

They held each other closely, embracing their deep connection, savoring tender touches and heartfelt kisses. After almost an hour of unhurried exploration, Alex looked at the clock, "We should get up, we don't want to be late for Suzy," she reminded Olivia.

Olivia smiled as she pulled back the covers, exposing their naked bodies to the cool room air, causing Alex to gasp in surprise, "C'mon, let's conserve some water and meet my favourite waitress," she said, encouraging Alex out of bed.


Chapter 35: Hot Stuff

The Lafayette Room restaurant at the Hay-Adams Hotel was opulent and exquisite, offering uninterrupted views of the Whitehouse and Lafayette Park through floor to ceiling windows. A baby grand piano sat in the centre of the dining room, further enhancing the sense of grandeur within the ornate setting.

Even at this early hour, the dining room was bustling as waiters effortlessly glided around the room with well rehearsed chorography, serving a wide variety of customers from well travelled businessmen to those enjoying a relaxing vacation. The blonde haired woman gazing out the window, taking in the early morning sights of Washington DC, fell into neither of those categories.

Suzy looked up as a handsome young waiter arrived at her table carrying a pot of coffee and a basket of freshly baked muffins. She smiled at him as he poured her a cup, admiring his immaculate appearance. Once he had left, she lifted the cup slowly to her lips and inhaled the heady aroma before taking a cautious sip of the aromatic liquid, immediately enjoying the deliciously, dark taste.

"Better than your own?"

Suzy whipped her head round and beamed instantly at Alex and Olivia, "Girls!" she exclaimed excitedly, placing the cup on the table as she leapt from her seat. She embraced both women warmly, ignoring the disdainful looks cast in their direction from a few, nearby tables.

"It's good to see you Suzy," Olivia said, giving her a proper hug, genuinely pleased to see the older woman.

Suzy shook her head as she released her hold of the dark haired detective, "Well, well...look who swaggered in, just in time for breakfast," she replied, raking her eyes up and down Olivia's taut frame.

Alex cleared her throat, interrupting Suzy's blatant appraisal of her girlfriend's attributes and tilted her head at the older blonde, "What did I tell you about keeping your hands to yourself?" she teased as she stepped into Suzy's beckoning arms.

"Aw shucks honey, only reason you got tall, dark and delicious, is cos I let you have her," Suzy said in a loud whisper, winking at Olivia.

Olivia shook her head, "I can hear you," she groaned.

"Oh, let me have my fun...work's been so dull since you left," Suzy teased.

The women parted and moved the short distance to the round table. Suzy smiled as Olivia held a chair out for Alex, waiting until she was settled before pulling out her own. Olivia glanced at the smirking woman as she lowered herself into her seat, "What?" she asked the woman sitting opposite.

Suzy turned to her left and nodded at Alex, "She's a keeper, not many folk left who would help a lady with her chair," she said, patting Alex's hand.

Alex smiled and glanced at Olivia, "She's a keeper alright," she replied as Olivia dipped her head, trying to hide her smile.

The handsome young waiter appeared silently between Alex and Olivia, welcoming them to breakfast at The Lafayette Room before taking down their drinks order. He cast a genuine smile at the occupants of the table as he moved elegantly away.

Suzy watched him leave, admiring his neat frame and perfectly tailored uniform once more. She shifted her eyes and caught the knowing look on Olivia's face, "What?" she shrugged, "I'm just taking in the sights," she clarified, playing with the handle of her coffee cup.

Olivia raised an eyebrow, "Is that what you call it?" she replied, smiling affectionately.

Alex idly played with her white, cloth napkin as she waited for their waiter to return. Olivia discretely observed her movements, concern evident in her brown eyes as her mind drifted to the night before. Her thoughts were interrupted by Suzy's teasing voice.

"So what trouble have you caused on Capitol Hill?"

Alex shook her head, "Surprisingly little, some sight seeing and meeting up with old friends," she answered, lifting her head and smiling.

Olivia nodded in agreement, "We've only been here a couple of days...still plenty of time to cause some though," she quipped, waggling her eyebrows as she reached for Alex's left hand and held it gently, "You okay?" she asked quietly.

Alex smiled at her and nodded, "I'm fine," she replied honestly, holding the dark gaze.

Suzy sensed something unsaid between them and reached over to the empty chair on her right. She lifted the white box and placed it on the table, "I brought you something," she said, opening the lid.

The distinctive aroma of home made gingerbread permeated both women's senses as Olivia instantly lifted her knife and cut herself a slice. She looked to Alex who nodded her head and placed a piece of the brown cake on her plate. Olivia moaned at the light and spicy taste of the sweet treat and grinned at Suzy, "This is incredible, thank you," she said, cutting herself another generous slice.

Alex licked her lips as she finished her mouthful, "That is the best way to start the day," she commented innocently, unaware of the matching blushes, gracing the features of the women on either side of her.

Suzy and Olivia dipped their heads and snorted lightly, causing Alex to look between them, "What?" she asked, frowning in confusion.

Suzy lifted her hand and gestured towards Olivia, "Would you like to take this one or shall I?"

Olivia shook her head and held up both hands, "I'm not touching it," she replied, her shoulders shaking with laughter.

Alex rolled her eyes, "Not everything has a sexual connotation," she scolded, feeling her cheeks begin to burn as she realized her blunder.

Suzy was about to reply when their waiter returned and deposited their drinks before taking their breakfast order. Alex poured two cups of tea, adding milk and sugar to both while Olivia filled all three glasses with orange juice.

Suzy watched their synchronicity and inwardly smiled at how well the two women complimented each other. She studied Olivia, noticing how she discretely glanced at Alex, almost as though she was making sure she was okay and how Alex returned that same, loving look. She cut herself a slice of gingerbread and placed it on her side plate as she awaited the arrival of their food, "How's your bullet wound?" she asked Olivia in a hushed tone, mindful of anyone listening.

"Good, just a couple of red marks," Olivia replied before taking a sip of orange juice.

Alex smiled at Suzy, "Porter's wound was clean, in and out," she added.

Suzy snorted, "Pity, I'd hoped he woulda been in a lot of pain for days...will he ask me questions today?" she asked, suddenly feeling nervous about her court appearance.

Alex nodded, placing her cup on the table, "Yes, but all you have to do is tell the truth, exactly like you remember it...you'll be fine, Abbie will look after you," she added, hoping to settle the older woman's nerves.

Suzy smiled, "I'm meeting the Texan Spitfire at 9am, I'm the first witness today, she doesn't think I'll be on the stand long," she said hopefully.

"That's great, we could meet you at the courthouse and take you sight seeing," Olivia replied enthusiastically.

Alex nodded her head, "That's a great idea, we did promise to look after you, remember?"

Suzy beamed at them both, "Sure I won't be cramping your style?" she asked, looking eagerly between them.

"Are you kidding me? I can't wait to be seen with a beautiful blonde hanging off each arm," Olivia answered, grinning at her.

Alex rolled her eyes as Suzy shook her head and leaned in conspiratorially, "Definitely a keeper," she said just as their waiter arrived.

The three woman stood at the entrance of the Federal Courthouse, waiting for Abbie. Breakfast had been deliciously filling with Suzy insisting it be charged to her room. Olivia had had protested until Alex reminded her the Government would be picking up all of Suzy's expenses during her stay in Washington to which the dark haired detective had promptly decided they would all be dining together until Suzy returned to Hamilton.

Suzy looked nervous as she checked her watch again. Alex placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and smiled, "You'll be fine, Abbie's already gone over your testimony with you, there won't be any surprises, all you have to do is tell the truth," she said in a calming tone.

Suzy blew out a shaky breath, "I don't know why I'm so nervous, I shot the bastard when I thought he was going to hurt Hot stuff over there," she said, looking at Olivia.

Olivia frowned as she mouthed, 'Hot stuff?', back at the waitress, shaking her head just as a familiar Texan drawl echoed around the marble archway.

"Ladies," Abbie greeted with her usual Southern flair as she stopped beside Olivia and smiled over at the two blonde women.

Alex nodded cordially at Abbie, the phonecall from the previous night instantly replaying in her head. She introduced Suzy to Abbie, noticing a familiar twinkle in the older woman's eyes.

Abbie held out her hand and shook Suzy's warmly, "It's good to finally meet you, don't worry about anything, we've already gone over what I'll be asking you, nothing's changed. Just answer my questions and try to look at the jury as often possible...without staring," she advised in a confident tone.

Suzy looked up into dark brown eyes and nodded her head, "Okay, will he ask me anything?" she asked, referring to Porter.

Abbie flashed a dazzling smile, exposing perfect teeth and deep dimples, "He'll try...but I'll shoot him down, you just sit back and enjoy watching him crash and burn, let me worry about his questions...you just focus on answering mine," she said, nodding her head.

"You really are a Spitfire, aren't ya?" Suzy said smiling, feeling more at ease.

Olivia turned to Abbie, "How long d'you think she'll be on the stand?" she asked.

Abbie shrugged, "An hour, maybe two, I just want to emphasize the shoot out in the car park and his behavior in the diner...not long," she answered, brushing a piece of dust from Olivia's leather clad shoulder.

Suzy's eyes widened at the gesture, she glanced up at Alex, watching for her reaction and found nothing but mild interest. She looked over at Olivia who also played down the dark haired woman's actions. Her mind looked between all three women and suddenly it clicked. She shook her head and smiled, placing both hands on her hips.

Alex looked down at her, "You okay?" she asked, glancing over at the two watching women and shrugging her shoulders.

Suzy met her concerned gaze and nodded, "Peachy," she replied smiling.

Abbie looked at Alex, "Um, can I have a quick word with you?" she asked tentatively.

Olivia's eyes instantly swung to the woman beside her, "Alone?"

Alex ignored Olivia's curious gaze and nodded, "Sure," she answered as she patted Suzy's arm, "Keep an eye on Hot stuff for me?" she asked lightly.

"With pleasure," Suzy responded, waggling her eyebrows at Olivia.

Abbie and Alex walked slowly away, oblivious to the inquisitive gaze being cast in their direction from the dark haired detective. Suzy watched the women stopped and faced each other.

"Can I ask you a question?" Suzy asked, deliberately tugging Olivia's arm and forcing her to look away.

Olivia turned her attention away from her friend and her lover as the older woman looped her arm through her own, "Of course you can," she replied, smiling down at her.

"I'm sorry"

Alex stared at her friend, "You had no right to do that, those were sealed records as per Witsec protocol," she replied in a hushed tone.

"But you're no longer in protection," Abbie reasoned.

Alex shook her head sadly, "You should have trusted me Abbie, if not as a friend then as a lawyer," she said quietly, staring at her friend.

"I do trust you, it's Porter I don't...He's going to ask you about it on the stand, I needed to know what I was up against," she argued, struggling to contain her frustration.

Alex snorted, "Are you mental? No judge would allow that line of questioning, it breaches every piece of legislation regarding witness protection...you've got enough evidence to nail him, why can't you just concentrate on that?" she asked coolly.

Abbie frowned, "I am, but when I found out he'd called a hospital in Wisconsin about a woman named Emily...as a prosecutor...I needed to know why," she replied, leaning in closer. She shook her head and placed her hands on Alex's shoulders gently, "I fucked up, big time Alex..I'm sorry," she pleaded, searching the cool glare radiating from behind the dark frames. The silence lengthened, bordering on awkward and she was about to apologize again when Alex spoke.

"Fine," the blonde woman finally replied, shaking her head. She saw the relief on Abbie's face and leaned in closer, "Did you tell Casey?"

Abbie nodded, "I told her what I did, but I didn't tell her what I found out," she admitted honestly, lowering her hands.

Alex looked at her, "Good...I told Liv last night, but Abbie..." she paused, making sure she had her friend's full attention, "...if you ever doubt my word again, then we'll no longer be friends," she said seriously in a voice barely above a whisper.

Abbie nodded her head, "Trust me it won't and Porter won't be asking you about it either," she answered, swallowing at the sudden dryness in her throat.

"Good," Alex replied flatly.

Abbie glanced down nervously at her shoes, "Are we okay now?" she asked lifting her head.


Abbie expelled the breath she was holding and smiled, "Thank God, for a second there I thought you were gonna get the Yankee to kick my ass," she quipped, lightening the tension between them.

Alex turned her head to look at Olivia and smiled, "That's not a bad idea," she said absently, unaware of the wide brown eyes staring at her in shock.

Olivia heard Abbie's heels click loudly across the marble and turned, taking Suzy with her. She smiled at Alex affectionately as she approached and instinctively held out her hand.

Abbie rolled her eyes, "God, Benson...what is it with you and blondes?" she drawled, indicating the women on either side as Suzy held her arm and Alex held her hand.

Olivia smiled, "What can I say Cowboy...I'm Hot stuff," she quipped.

Part 36

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