DISCLAIMER: None of the characters belong to me they are all property of NBC and just temporarily borrowed by moi. I did not really research the current legislation standards in Ontario in general and Toronto specifically mainly because they are mentioned only in passing. Shooting from the hip on everything here. I really just wanted to see if I could capture the overall feeling of an unexpected proposal moment while incorporating all the realities that come with the fact that even though it's legal to be married in one place that marriage is completely unacknowledged in another.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Olivia entered the living room vigorously toweling her hair dry. She paused briefly to bend down and brush her lips along her girlfriend's cheek as she gazed over her shoulder to the computer screen.
"Almost finished?" she whispered softly. She smiled as she felt Alex shiver slightly as her breath danced along the blonde's earlobe.
Alex freed one hand to reach up and caress Olivia's cheek. "Almost, I'm trying to get the rest of this wrapped before we fly tomorrow," Alex answered.
Olivia chuckled as she turned to plant a brief kiss on Alex's palm before straightening. "Okay, I'll leave you in peace. We don't have to be at the Airport until noon but I want to be finished with our bags tonight. I think I'll work on that until you're done. Anything special you want me to include in yours?" Olivia questioned.
"Mmm, no. What ever you think I'll need. I'll make sure to double check I have everything before we close them up," Alex replied distractedly already pulled back into the turn over she was polishing for her fill in while she was on vacation.
Olivia knew she had already lost Alex's attention but found it impossible to be irritated knowing that this time tomorrow the blonde would be all hers for ten full days. They had both accrued so much unused sick leave and vacation time that they were in danger of losing some of it when the city's fiscal year turned over at the end of the month. It had given them a convenient excuse to take a vacation at the same time. It had been a bonus that it fell at the same time as their two year anniversary. Olivia had offered to make all the plans which Alex had been more that happy to allow with the heavy caseload that had hit the DA's office just as the SVU squad found itself in a lull as the city seemed to have called a silent truce in the Unit's usual victims.
Olivia had found it difficult to contain her increasing excitement as the trip had drawn nearer. There had been a few times she thought she had aroused Alex's suspicions regarding the travel plans but luckily work had served to keep her occupied with only the minimum acknowledgment as Olivia would give brief updates.
She rummaged around the hall closet pulling out two large roll around cases. Throwing the towel around her neck she griped both cases and headed for the bedroom. Alex had already laid out the bulk of the clothing she wanted to take on the trip. Olivia rummaged through the drawers adding a few items before closing the case and placing it near the door. She then turned her attention to her own bag and it quickly filled to near capacity as she piled in a number of favorite items. As she closed the case she heard Alex putting away the dishes in the kitchen. She smiled, knowing her girlfriend would not leave the apartment before every item was in its place even though no one would be here to see any mess they left. Olivia hung the towel on the back of the bathroom door before quickly brushing her teeth.
She stepped back into the bedroom and met Alex at the door. She smiled as Alex reached out to run her fingers along the robe lapel before pulling Olivia closer. Their lips met in a slow luxurious kiss. Alex pulled back slightly, "Hmm, minty fresh," she quipped with a small smile.
Olivia grinned back as she pulled Alex a little closer. "So, does this mean you're finished?" she murmured.
"I'm all yours until next Sunday Detective," she promised.
"I am so glad we are finally going to get a chance to get away from everything for a week. No Munch, no Finn," .. "No defense attorneys, no witnesses" they chimed in unison.
"Are we packed?" Alex asked as she ran her hand along Olivia's robe seam her fingers barely brushing the soft skin beneath.
"Mmm, pretty much, I left you a little room in your bag in case you wanted to add anything," Olivia answered as her eyes closed enjoying Alex's soft touch. They snapped open as she felt the belt pulled free allowing the garment to part. Alex moved a little closer running her hands along the lithe body beneath the folds.
"So I guess this means we can get to bed early," Alex virtually purred as she nibbled Olivia's ear.
"Ohh definitely," her partner agreed as she reached out to extinguish the light.
They managed to depart JFK on schedule and arrived in Toronto around three thirty in the afternoon. By four-thirty they were tucked into their hotel room enjoying the view of the city as it sprawled out thirty stories below them. They rested together in a chair in front of the large window, feet propped up on the ledge, an open bottle of wine on an adjoining table.
"How did you find this hotel?" Alex asked as she took a sip from her wine glass before allowing her head to rest back on Olivia's shoulder.
"Actually when Elliot found out I was planning on coming up here he recommended this place. He said he and Kathy spent their second honeymoon here. I never expected it to live up to his description," Olivia admitted.
"I know. Did you see that tub?" Alex said with an exaggerated sigh.
Olivia smiled as she nuzzled Alex's neck inhaling the soft scent of her shampoo. "You know I believe it is big enough for two," she said wickedly.
Alex raised her eyebrows as she shifted in Olivia's arms. "I believe you're right," Before Olivia had a chance to react Alex had bounded out of the chair and disappeared into the bathroom. Within minutes the sound of running water filled the hotel room followed by the pungent smell of bath salts.
Olivia stood pausing for a moment to fill both glasses before following her girlfriend into the bathroom. She found Alex dropping the last of her clothes on the floor before slipping into the gigantic tub occupying the middle of the room. She offered Olivia a coy grin as she beckoned her with a single finger.
Olivia was amazed that she managed to set the glasses down safely in her haste to shed her own clothes. In short order she was slipping into the warm bubbles behind Alex. She closed her eyes enjoying the relaxing heat from the water. Alex moved back to rest against her as she ran her hands along Olivia's legs.
"Remind me again why we haven't taken a vacation sooner?" Alex murmured.
"As I recall we both seem to believe that the City of New York can't get by without both of us on duty," Olivia answered as she offered Alex her wine glass.
Alex pondered the comment for a minute before responding. "Well from now on I believe we should agree to leave the city in the very capable hands of our collogues at least twice a year," she proclaimed raising her glass.
Olivia brought hers in with a gentle clink of glass. "I'll drink to that."
"In case I forget to tell you at the end of the week, thanks for making all the arrangements. I was so swamped with cases this month that if you had left the travel plans to me we would be at the motel six in Trenton right now." Alex joked.
"Why do you think I volunteered," Olivia said with a laugh.
Alex turned in the tub, rising to place her glass on the ledge. "Seriously sweetheart, thank you for getting the hockey tickets for my anniversary present. I know you don't really like the game and I appreciate your willingness to sit through two full nights of our vacation in a freezing arena just for me. I love you Liv," Alex finished as she placed a soft kiss on her girlfriend's lips.
Olivia's hands glided up Alex's body as she drew her in closer deepening the kiss. After several moments the logistics of their location began to intrude on their movements. Olivia broke the kiss with a sigh. "If we keep this up we're going to have to get out of the tub," she said regretfully.
Alex just grinned as she pulled the plug. "Sounds good to me," she said standing and offering Olivia a hand.
Olivia stood trying not to loose her footing on the slippery surface as she reached for the towel rack. She pulled back a thick terry cloth towel which she used to run slowly over Alex's damp body. She paused pulling her girlfriend closer reveling in the touch. "Have I mentioned how beautiful you are lately?" Olivia asked.
Alex returned her embrace before stepping out of the tub while offering a steady hand to her girlfriend. She pulled a robe off the door and offered it to Olivia before donning her own. "No, as I recall we have both been too busy to have more than a passing moment for each other in the last six weeks," Alex admitted regretfully before once again grasping Olivia's hand and pulling her along to the bed. They both slipped under the sheets as a dusky golden glow flowed through the open curtains signaling the close of the day.
"It's a little early for bed isn't it?" Olivia queried with a raised eyebrow.
"For a change I just want to be able to touch you, look at you, talk to you, without looking at my watch and calculating how much time I have before I have to be somewhere," Alex answered as she reached out to trace the outline of Olivia's cheek in the shadows.
Olivia moved a little closer as she reached up to grasp Alex's hand placing a small kiss on the palm before releasing it to continue its explorations. Her hand backtracked along Alex's arm tracing a path until it came to rest on Alex's hip.
"So many times I come home late from a call and you're asleep. I lie down and watch you, thinking about the shattered family I just left. The husband or wife that wishes they had just one more minute with the one they've just lost. And I just want to wake you up and hold you tight and tell you how much I love you, Alex. How much you've come to mean to me over the last two years. I don't know if I every truly appreciated the loss felt by the survivors until I met you," Olivia confessed.
"Liv," it was single word filled with emotion as Alex reached out to pull her girlfriend into her arms. Alex wasn't able to manage much more as a few stray tears slipped down her cheeks as she ran her fingers through Liv's damp hair. It was so rare her girlfriend admitted to the emotionally wrenching demands her job placed upon her. Of course it wasn't as if Alex hadn't shared in some of the more gut wrenching situations that left both of them wondering who was the true victim, the one on the witness stand or the defense chair.
They passed the evening discussing various pieces of news that the hectic pace of the previous weeks had not allowed for. It was such a simple exchange of information and topics that only those constantly inundated with an unrelenting torrent of responsibilities and tasks would truly appreciate the pleasure that could be taken in its exercise.
They spent the following day touring the city parks enjoying the opportunity to view the sights in the crisp Autumn air. They frequently found themselves drawn closer, often linking arms as a feeling of freedom permeated their consciousness as the sights and sounds of their own city faded to the background.
They breezed into the hotel room for a quick change of clothes before heading to the hockey game. Luckily they planned on taking a cab which meant they would not have to waste time on parking. Olivia couldn't keep the grin off her face as they stepped into the hall.
"What?' Alex asked as she caught a glimpse of her girlfriend's face.
"Nothing," Olivia said with a shake of her head as she headed for the elevator.
They bantered back and forth in the cab on the short trip to the arena. Within twenty-five minutes they were in their seats, Olivia holding a tray of nachos and two beers as Alex excitedly scanned the program. She rattled off a number of names and positions accompanied by a rather impressive impression of a sports caster's overview of the impending game. Or if she actually knew what an overview of the game might sound like she was sure it would be similar to what Alex had just said, Olivia thought.
Alex jumped up as the crowd roared with the appearance of the Maple Leafs and the Rangers. Of all the things she had thought of ADA Cabot before she got to know her, never in her wildest imagination had she thought Alex might be a hockey fan.
The first period was a flurry of activity, the teams rapidly trading positions as the goalies made numerous spectacular saves. Olivia sat back enjoying the view of her girlfriend as she alternately cheered the saves and shouted her encouragement to the offense.
As the period ended Alex leaned in, "I love this, it is so great," she said with glee as she snagged a chip out of the nacho tray.
"Check out the scoreboard," Olivia said with a nudge.
Alex looked up watching the ads flit across the jumbo screen. "What?"
"Watch," Olivia answered with a nod of her head.
Alex looked back up just in time to see the current picture replaced by words. "Alex will you marry me. O"
Olivia watched Alex as she read the words. Her girlfriend froze and for a moment Olivia was afraid she was going to pass out. Alex turned a shocked gaze toward her and Olivia felt her silly grin falter as she took in the pale features.
"Alex?" Olivia reached out but her girlfriend had already bolted out of her seat leaving only empty air.
Olivia dropped the chips struggling after her as she kicked over the half empty cups of beer. She barely caught a glimpse of blonde hair disappearing into the women's bathroom. She bee lined for the room and searched the interior for Alex. A quiet sound of retching from the far end followed by a flush caught her attention. She slowly approached the stall pausing as the door swung open and Alex exited. Olivia found herself rooted to the spot as their eyes met.
"I'll go call a cab," Olivia said cutting her off swiftly. "I'll be out front." Olivia turned and fled before Alex could have a chance to say anything more.
Alex found her twenty minutes later on a bench outside the main entrance where they had been dropped off less than an hour earlier. She sat down and found herself barely acknowledged by Olivia. She surveyed the hunched form of her lover. Olivia's chin rested in the palm of her cupped hands. Alex knew this pose and knew Olivia had shed some tears before she had arrived. She reached out to rest a hand on her back but was shocked when Olivia jerked away and refused to look at her.
"Let's not talk about this now Alex," Olivia requested as the headlights of the cab flashed over them.
Alex stood, opening the door and offering it to Olivia. She was surprised when Olivia chose to circle around the back and enter on the other side. Slipping into the interior she carefully pulled the door behind her as Olivia gave the address to the driver. Alex tried to catch her eye but Olivia refused to meet her gaze instead choosing to stare out the glass on their trip back to the hotel. When they arrived Alex shoved a few bills in the driver's hands as she hurried to catch up to Olivia who had almost vacated the taxi before it drew to a full stop.
Alex reached her just as the elevator doors opened. They both stepped in with Olivia moving to the opposite corner as Alex punched in their floor. Alex tried to gauge her lover's mood. This was unknown territory for both of them. Alex couldn't remember a single instance when any situation had resulted in such a wide chasm between them. Of course most of it was her fault but still, Olivia had always been willing to at least listen to her before.
It seemed like an eternity had passed before they finally reached their room. The minute the door was closed Alex tried once more, "Liv, please let me explain."
Olivia turned, her struggle to reign in her tears obvious. "Explain what Alex? I asked you to marry me tonight and your first reaction was to throw up."
"Liv, I know you're angry," Alex paused as Olivia silenced her with a wave of her hand.
"I'm not angry, I'm hurt and I think we need to have a time out on this discussion," Olivia informed her as she pulled a pillow and comforter off the bed.
The first thought that popped into her head was that this wasn't fair. Early in their relationship after a number of harrowing cases had left them ragged they had agreed that if at any point they brought something home that was so emotionally charged they couldn't discuss it rationally they would take a time out before either of them said something they could not take back. It was a rule that had primarily applied to work topics and had rarely been exercised in their private discussions. Olivia had just effectively silenced Alex until they had both had a cooling off period.
"Where are you going?" Alex demanded in frustration as she watched Olivia walk away.
"I'm sleeping on the couch," she responded shortly.
Alex watched her stalk off nearly on the verge of tears herself.
Olivia tossed on the couch once again finding it difficult to sleep without the feel of Alex close by. She thought back over the night for the hundredth time. Of all the scenarios that had gone through her mind when Alex saw the proposal never once had she considered what actually happened.
She heard a rustle and realized Alex had gotten out of bed wrapping the lone sheet around her body as she approached the couch.
"Liv. Are you asleep?" she whispered.
"Can we talk now?" Alex plead.
Olivia sighed hearing her own misery in Alex's voice. "Yes."
Alex moved in closer taking a seat on the floor at the corner of the couch where Olivia's head rested. She wrapped her arms around her folded legs as she leaned in closer her head resting inches from Olivia's own.
"When did you decide you were going to do this?" she asked.
"Remember a few months ago when we were reading the morning paper and there was a big article on Ontario legalizing same sex marriage and the influx of couples they had had subsequently from the States? When we were discussing it, I realized more than anything I really wanted to be married to you Alex. When we had to take the extra leave on the books, I thought, 'What a great idea to ask you while we were here attending your favorite event and on our anniversary'," Olivia said quietly.
"It never occurred to me that you would want to get married, Liv. I mean it's not even an option for us at home. Even if we're married here it won't be recognized in our own country. I just don't understand why it would be important. It wouldn't change our relationship beyond what it is," Alex struggled to find the words to truly articulate what she wanted to say because at this moment she felt her comments were inadequate.
"We can't even have the people we care about most here to witness it for us," Alex continued, almost regretting the words as they left her mouth.
"We could have Elliot and Kathy, and Munch and Finn but if you mean your family, no we can't Alex because you haven't told your family about me. Not once in two years, through all the excuses and separations on various holidays," Olivia trailed off, too tired and depressed to continue.
"Olivia you know why I haven't told my family. It is just not an option," Alex responded in frustration, knowing how much it bothered her lover that they were separated on certain holidays because of her inability to be honest with her family and how patient and understanding she had been. More than she had ever had a right to expect Alex acknowledged to herself.
"I love you Alex and I never realized I would ever want to be married. But at some point as I watched Munch and Finn and Elliot and Kathy I realized I really wanted to stand up and make a commitment to you, in front of everyone, to be with you forever. And I wanted to hear you say those same words back. I didn't realize how much I wanted it until tonight," she admitted softly.
"I've never even considered marriage as a possibility Liv. Tonight caught me by surprise and I have spent the past few hours tossing and turning trying to analyze my own feelings. Tonight, when I ran for the bathroom, it wasn't because of your proposal. When I saw those words on the screen the suggestion of marriage brought home just how serious our relationship had become. A thousand things flashed through my mind but first and foremost I realized that at the end of the day when all was said and done if anything ever happened to either of us, we have no rights. If you're injured in the line of duty only the grace of the medical personnel and probably your squad mates will allow me to see you. But if someone needs to sign consent for a medical procedure for you I can forget it and the same goes for you if something were to happen to me. My god, I can't even imagine what my family would put you through," Alex faltered as the possible consequences of her double life with her family were fully realized.
"I'm sorry Olivia. I was scared of how little we have in the public eye instead of what we have together. And for a moment it overwhelmed me," Alex confessed.
Alex waited for Olivia to say something. Anything. Her heart grew heavier by the minute. As Liv reached out to gently grasp her fingers she felt some of the tension ease from her shoulders as she took a breath.
"Baby, please come to bed. I can't sleep without you there," Alex requested.
Olivia stood allowing herself to be led back to the bed as her comforter trailed behind. They both tumbled into the mattress drawn to the comfort of one another's arms.
Alex and Olivia slept late and drifted through the following day with a slightly more subdued attitude. Alex was concerned over the damage her actions may have caused in their relationship. The first half of the day was spent gingerly feeling out the other before they finally found a comfortable rhythm.
They returned to the hotel to change for the evening hockey game. Alex hurried through her shower as Olivia opted for a quick change into warmer clothing.
They met at the door a few minutes later. Alex felt a restraining grip on her hand as she reached for the door knob. She turned to find Olivia giving her a gentle look.
"Alex, I love you. I want to be with you for the rest of my life whether or not it's official on a piece of paper. I'm sorry if I scared you last night with my proposal. I forgot when I was making these plans that I had already had time to get used to the idea. I know a ceremony and exchange of vows here would have no standing at home. But I realized it wasn't the official sanction I was looking for as much as the opportunity to be part of something special. That if nothing else, in its ideal form the ceremony represents everything I feel about our relationship. It took me a while to figure that out. I'm not sure how I would have reacted if I had been in your shoes last night," Olivia said as she leaned in to give her girlfriend a gentle kiss.
"I'm sorry I hurt you Olivia. I love you so much and I can't imagine my life without you. You know you are far more understanding than I deserve at times," Alex admitted.
"I know," Olivia replied with a grin.
The cab dropped them off with time to spare. Once again Olivia was holding the chips and beer as Alex surveyed the program. She reached over to take her beer as the first period face off began.
The game was slower paced than the previous evening the players most likely fatigued from the previous night. Olivia watched in amusement as Alex bounced around in her seat with excitement. The buzzer rang as the first period ended. She listened as Alex chattered about various plays while the promos blared across the PA. She was jarred from her thoughts as Alex grabbed her arm.
"Check out the scoreboard," Alex ordered.
Olivia looked up just in time to see a promo replaced by seven simple words. "Yes "O" I will marry you, Alex."
Olivia looked over to Alex in shock.
Alex leaned in, "I think you should come home with me for Thanksgiving and meet my parents," she whispered.
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