DISCLAIMER: All rights to these characters belong to Dick Wolf. Although it pains me to admit it I don't own these characters and have no intention of making any profit from someone else's creation. Thanks must go to Kerri for being my Beta – you're the best. And thanks also to TallGirl for encouraging me to finish this story – your appreciation is most appreciated.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Why Didn't You Call Me?
By Esther


Olivia entered the Bureau and looked around. It was like every other Bureau she had ever been in but there was something here that she wanted; something that had been hiding from her.

"Excuse me," she said to an attractive slender brunette. "I'm looking for Alexandra Cabot," Olivia flashed her detective's badge.

The young woman looked at Olivia with interest then pointed down the corridor, "second door on the left."

"Thanks," Olivia gave the woman her best smile and put her badge away.

Nobody paid any attention to her as she made her way down the corridor looking for the door to Alex's office.

'Bureau Chief – Alexandra Cabot' read the plaque on the door.

Olivia took a deep breath and knocked.

"Come in," a smooth voice said.

Olivia felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. It had been too long since she last heard that voice.

She opened the door to see Alex sitting behind a large desk writing away.

As Alex looked up a wave of panic and pleasure crossed her face.

"Hi Alex," Olivia choked out.

"Olivia," Alex leapt up.

They stared at each other for a moment until Alex gave a small laugh and walked around her desk to hug Olivia.

"Olivia, how are you?" Alex regained her composure.

"I'm fine," Olivia felt a little blind sided by Alex's reaction to her. She thought that Alex would have been excited and pleased to see her.

Instead, the new Bureau Chief appeared panic stricken.

"Come in," Alex closed the door to her office, fending off curious stares. "Have a seat."

"Alex?" Olivia looked at her in confusion. "What's the matter with you?"

"Nothing," Alex went back to her seat. "There's nothing the matter with me at all."

"You don't seem very pleased to see me," Olivia felt saddened and embarrassed. It was not the reception that she had expected at all.

"I am," Alex insisted. "Of course I am; it's just unexpected that's all."

"Evidently," Olivia swallowed hard.

Alex looked so good; her hair was longer, her body looked a little trimmer and the worry that had been in Alex's eyes the last time they saw each other was gone completely.

"You look good," Olivia said forcing the bitterness from her voice.

"You too," Alex responded.

Olivia knew that was not true, the amount that she had missed Alex had overwhelmed her; she had lost weight, could not sleep at night for worrying about the woman she loved. Yet here was Alex, looking better than ever as though she had never missed a night's sleep in her whole life.

They looked at one another like strangers.

Olivia felt angry. "When did you get back?" she asked.

Alex made a bridge with her hands and peered over it at Olivia. "I've been here a few months."

There was a cautious element to Alex's answer that was not wasted on Olivia.

"Were you going to call me?" Olivia leaned forward earnestly.

Alex looked away shamefaced.

"You weren't, were you?" Olivia asked heatedly.

"I just didn't know…"

"I don't believe you!" Olivia interjected. "After everything you said to me."

"Keep your voice down!" Alex looked through the blinds and out into the corridor to make sure that no one was there. "I'm sorry."

"Sorry?" Olivia hissed. "You broke my heart; I thought you were heartbroken like I was – still am."

"I was," Alex gave Olivia a sympathetic look.

"Was?" Olivia shook her head. "So you're over me then? Completely?"

They both stood up at the same time. It was a defence mechanism; a way to ease the parting and make a swift exit.

Alex swallowed hard.

Before she could answer there was a brisk knock at the door and Jim stuck his head in the room.

He smiled a charming smile at Olivia then said to Alex. "Are we still on for dinner tonight?"

"Jim - I um… I…." Alex faltered. "I'll email you and let you know."

"OK," this time he gave Olivia a curious look then left.

"You're dating him," Olivia whispered; it was a realisation not a question.

"We're colleagues," Alex said.

Olivia looked at her with tears in her eyes. "That's what you used to say about us."

Olivia opened the door. "I shouldn't have come here. You obviously didn't want to be in touch with me."

"Olivia, wait," Alex reached out to grab her but Olivia was gone.

Alex closed the door to her office and then the blinds.

She sat down at her desk and fought back tears.

Seeing Olivia had forced old emotions to resurface.

Alex knew that she should have explained. Told Olivia that she had gone to find her but when she got there Olivia was with someone else. Now Olivia was gone and although Alex could find her and talk to her she doubted that Olivia would want to speak to her.

Alex put her head in her hands and sighed.

Pulling her emotions together she reached into her desk drawer and took out a mirror to check her make-up. She did not want anyone to know that the beautiful, dark, detective had upset her.

Olivia walked out of the building, down the street and into a bar.

She sat on a bar stool and ordered tequila.

She stared into the pattern of the bar top and fumed inwardly.

Alex had obviously completely moved on but to date a guy?

What the hell?

Was her career really more important to her than being honest with herself?

That was not the Alex that Olivia knew.

"Bad day?" the barman asked.

"You could say that," Olivia traced the pattern on the bar top with her finger and looked into her glass.

Jessica Rossi saw the dark haired detective enter the bar. She looked pissed.

Jessica chewed her lip thoughtfully then crossed the street and entered the bar.

The Detective was sitting at the counter, hunched over a glass.

Jessica walked up and sat on the stool next to her.

"Hi," she said. "Remember me?"

The Detective looked up. "Hi, again," Olivia forced a smile.

"I'm Jessica Rossi," Jessica held out her hand to Olivia.

"Olivia Benson," Olivia took her hand and gave it a polite shake.

"Detective Olivia Benson," Jessica corrected with a smile.

"Sure, to give me my full title," Olivia smiled again and swigged a mouthful of tequila.

"Are you OK?" Jessica asked softly.

"Yes," Olivia motioned for the bar tender to refill her glass.

"You don't look OK," Jessica said.

Olivia turned and looked at her darkly then said. "How long have you worked with Alex?"

Jessica looked thoughtful then said, "Cabot arrived at the beginning of the year. Don't worry about her upsetting you, she does that to everyone."

Olivia worked it out in her head; that meant that Alex had been back at least seven months.

"You don't like her?" Olivia observed.

"She's sleeping with the man that I lo- erm like so – I don't exactly like her all that much."

"Would that be Jim?" Olivia said.

"Yes," Jessica looked surprised. "How do you know?"

Olivia shook her head as though it did not matter.

"How do you know Alex?" Jessica pressed on.

"We used to work together."

"Ah," Jessica nodded.

"Why are you so interested if you don't like her?" Olivia's dark eyes were glassy.

"I saw you come in here and just wanted to make sure you were OK," Jessica said. "I know that Cabot can be difficult and I just wanted to know if I could help instead."

Olivia nodded as she began to understand. "You want some kind of ammunition to throw at Alex; to get one over her?"

"No…" Jessica began but Olivia cut her off.

"I'm not saying anything so you might as well leave."

Jessica got up. "We could have helped each other."

"I doubt that," Olivia waved to the barman again and as he approached said. "Just give me the bottle," she got up to find cash in her pocket but Jessica put $100 bill on the counter top.

"It's on me."

As she walked away Olivia picked up the bottle and poured a healthy measure into the glass.

"She was hot," the barman said to Olivia.

"Yup," Olivia said. "She sure was."

Alex sent the email to Jim telling him that she could not make dinner that night and then ducked out of the office before he saw her.

Outside of the building she flagged down a cab and told him to take her to the other side of town.

In the cab she twitched her knee nervously as the cab driver talked on and on about the state of the traffic.

"It's just here," she said as they approached the red building.

She paid the cabbie who was still talking as she closed the cab door and walked up the stone steps.

The buzzer rang beneath her finger and Alex waited.

No answer.

She rang again.

Still no answer.

Alex swore under her breath and went down the steps. For all she knew Olivia might have moved.

Oh well, here goes nothing.

"Olivia!" Alex shouted up to the familiar window. "Olivia!"

The curtains did not move and there was no sign of life in the apartment, although a few other people twitched their blinds to see who was shouting.

"Olivia!" Alex almost screamed the woman's name this time and felt completely humiliated.

"She's not in," a voice slurred behind her.

Alex turned to see Olivia holding her keys in her hand.

She looked a little worse for wear.

"Hi," Alex said softly.

"What are you doing here?" Olivia trotted up the steps to the door of her building. "I thought you had a dinner date."

"I cancelled," Alex looked up at Olivia, noticing that the older woman's butt that had once been perfectly shaped was now almost non existent. She had lost so much weight. "Can I come in?"

Olivia sighed. "I don't think that I can do this right now."

"I just want to talk to you."

Olivia felt her lip begin to tremble. "I get it, Alex. You've moved on."

"But I haven't!" Alex exclaimed snappily. "We need to talk."

Olivia unlocked the door. "Come on in," she said in a weary tone.

Alex followed Olivia into the building and to her apartment.

"Wow," Alex said as they stepped inside. "You've decorated."

"I've needed things to occupy my mind," Olivia shrugged out of her leather jacket and hung it up then went straight to the kitchen to brew coffee.

Alex took off her own coat and put down her briefcase in the passageway.

"The place looks great," Alex approached the kitchen.

"Thanks," Olivia muttered.

"Olivia, you have everything all wrong," Alex said.

"I think that everything was pretty clear this morning," Olivia said.

"Just listen," Alex said imploringly. "I did come to find you when I came back!"

"You did?" Olivia looked up.

"Of course I did. Why wouldn't I? The whole time I was in the WPP you were all I thought about. How on earth could you think that I would not come for you?" Alex rubbed her brow tiredly.

"Then why didn't I see you?"

"I saw you with my replacement," Alex put her hands on her hips. "She was my replacement in more ways than one by the looks of things."


"Yes, I saw you and Novak at a club together, gyrating and," Alex gulped, "kissing."

Olivia's blood ran cold. It was true that she and Casey had embarked on a small fling but that was all it was.

"Oh Alex," Olivia said despairingly. "There's nothing between me and Novak."

"It didn't look that way to me."

"We had a small fling and that was all. I was lonely and missed you. I thought you were never coming back."

"I went to that club because I was confused about myself and then when I saw that it helped me to make my mind up. My career is my first love, I love the law, I love getting the bad guys and that is the way that it's going to be."

"You were gone a long time," Olivia said gently.

"I never stopped thinking about you," Alex held on to her tears.

"I was the same with you," Olivia insisted. "Then Casey and I just hit it off but she wasn't you so it didn't work out."

Alex shook her head. "I can't handle the fact that someone else has touched you, loved you."

"At least I didn't turn to men," Olivia muttered angrily.

"What would you have me do?" Alex raised her voice. "I'm a woman with needs but I have to know I can trust the person that meets my needs."

"I can't imagine that big grin Jim could meet the sexual needs of the Alex Cabot I remember," Olivia was sarcastic.

Alex laughed in shock.

"He looks like a real smarmy bastard," Olivia railed on.

"He is," Alex said her temper beginning to flare. "But his grin isn't the only thing that's big."

Olivia flared her nostrils and took a deep breath as the words stung her intoxicated brain.

"Oh well. Have a great time with him, Alex," Olivia went to her living room and sat on the sofa.

"I'm sorry," Alex felt ashamed. "I shouldn't have said that."

"No, you shouldn't," Olivia rested her head in her hands. "I don't want to know."

Alex sat next to her and wanted to reach out and touch Olivia.

"I don't love him."

Olivia sighed.

"I will never love anyone the way that I love you."

"Do you still love me?"

"More than anything," Alex rested her cheek against Olivia's shoulder.

The smell of Alex next to her was something that she had missed.

The mixture of perfume, shampoo and fabric softener had always caused a stirring in Olivia's stomach.

"I've missed you, Alex."

Alex lifted her head. "I've missed you too."

"What are we going to do?" Olivia wailed.

"Let's take things slowly," Alex suggested.

"I want to kiss you," Olivia said.

Alex reached out and pulled Olivia's mouth to hers.

"Nice and slow," she whispered before slipping her tongue between Olivia's lips.

Olivia's head spun, alcohol and hormones fused together.

Suddenly the pleasant moment was broken by the ringing of a cell phone.

The two women pulled apart and fumbled in pockets for their individual phone.

"It's me," Alex said and looked at the phone with an expression of worry.

"Then answer it," Olivia said.

Alex flipped the phone open. "Robert," she stood up walked out into the passageway.

Olivia lounged back on to the sofa and listened to Alex's conversation.

"Yes," she heard Alex say, "I don't think I can tonight. Yes."

Olivia strained her ears to listen. It was a very stilted conversation and her suspicions began to stir.

"OK," Alex said. "I'll call you later."

Olivia heard Alex flip her phone closed and looked at the blonde as she came back into the living room looking tense.

"Who's Robert?" Olivia asked innocently.

Alex reached out and took Olivia's hand as she sat down next to her.

"There's something that you need to know."

"Don't tell me he's your husband," Olivia quipped and laughed.

When Alex did not laugh Olivia, became alarmed.

"He's not your husband is he?" Olivia asked slowly.

"Not yet," Alex swallowed back tears. "We're engaged to be married in December."

Olivia leapt up and strode to the other side of the room.

"You're not joking?" she said.

Alex shook her head sadly and a single tear dropped onto her leg.

"Alex, what's happened to you?" Olivia stared at the woman that used to be her lover and shook her head in disbelief. "Everything about you is so different. Your hair, these powers suits in colours that just aren't you; your attitude and your sudden attraction to men. What happened to the Alex Cabot that I fell in love with?"

Alex looked up with an expression of bitterness. "She decided that she wanted a political career."

"Is it really worth all of this?" Olivia said. "To marry a man that you don't love, wear clothes that make you look like someone that you're not?"

"No," Alex replied quietly. "But I lost so much when I went into the WPP and I decided that I wanted something for myself."

"You want a husband and a political career?" Olivia said in disbelief. "Couldn't you have just bought a dog or something?"

Alex's eyes flashed angrily and she stood up. "I came for you; you were having a great time with someone else."

"You of all people should know that you never trust what you see. You always search for facts," Olivia pointed her finger at Alex. "I just want to get this clear in my head – you're fucking big, grin Jim but you have a fiancée. You sound very mixed up to me!"

"Maybe you mixed me up!" tears were spilling down Alex's cheeks and she wiped at them angrily. "I was in love with you and when I went into the WPP…"

"You were even fucking a man when you were in the WPP so don't play that card!" Olivia was furious. "You're not the Alex that I loved. She would fight for people less fortunate and always do the right thing even when it was the wrong thing. You've become a tool, political pawn. It's pathetic!" Olivia stormed angrily from the room.

"Don't walk away!" Alex shouted.

She followed Olivia who was standing in the bedroom gasping for breath.

"Olivia," Alex began.

"Why did you come here Alex?" Olivia whispered. "Why?"

Alex approached the older woman and put her hand on Olivia's shoulder.

"Do you think that love can conquer all things?" Alex said.

Olivia turned so that she was facing Alex. "No," she replied honestly.

Alex took a deep breath. "I would give it all up to be with you again."

Olivia felt a tear roll down her cheek.

Alex wiped it away. "I want to be with you. I don't care what it takes."

"We can't do it. I don't want to live a secret life," Olivia said. "I don't want you to be a political machine, always having to justify ourselves to people. I don't want to become poster girls for lesbian and gay rights. I love you because you're you. Not because of your gender. I don't know if that person that I loved is still in there."

"She is," Alex assured her. "She's still here."

Olivia looked into beautiful cornflower blue eyes.

"She really is," Alex said.

"But she's engaged to be married," Olivia said sorrowfully.

"Engagements can be broken," Alex rested her forehead against Olivia's.

Olivia strode to her desk, took off her leather jacket, flung in on the back on her chair and sat down.

"Good afternoon," Munch looked at the clock then raised a sarcastic eyebrow.

Olivia gave him a scathing glance but did not respond.

Elliot watched her with interest as she rummaged on her desk and when she did not look up to meet his intrusive gaze; "You look like hell."

There was still no response.

"Olivia," he rapped his knuckles on the desk.

Ignoring his plea for her attention Olivia said to Munch; "Where's the file for…"

"Tell me what happened," Elliot cut her off mid-sentence but his tone was gentle.

At last Olivia looked up with sad brown eyes.

Elliot's expression became sympathetic.

"She didn't want to see you?" he ventured.

Olivia looked around to make sure that no one was listening.

"I saw her and I spoke to her."

"What happened?" Elliot wheeled himself around the desk on his chair and huddled next to Olivia so that their shoulders were touching.

"You won't believe it," Olivia muttered. "It was like she's a different person."

"How is she a different person?" Elliot's interest was fuelled.

"It's difficult to explain," Olivia twirled a pencil in her fingers. "She looked the same but everything about her was wrong, her demeanour, her attitude, and the clothes she was wearing…" Olivia trailed off. "I wouldn't even know where the hell to buy suits that colour."

Elliot held in the laugh that was bubbling and said; "She was in the WPP for a long time. You know as well as anybody that's going to change a person."

"She's engaged," Olivia trumped him.

"What?" Elliot stared at her in disbelief. "To a man?" he pulled an uncertain expression.

Olivia slammed the pencil down. "Yes," she confirmed. "to a man."

"Wow," Elliot rocked back in his chair looking a little shell shocked.

"Oh," Olivia railed on; "not only that. Not only is she engaged but she's fucking some other bloke in her office. A right smarmy bastard called Jim Steele."

Olivia could tell from Elliot's face that he was appalled by this revelation.

"Is that enough evidence to prove that she's not the same person that we knew?"

Elliot was silently thoughtful and then said; "it sounds like she's missed you."

"What?" Olivia was immediately irritated by his level headed reasoning. "It doesn't sound like that at all."

"Sure it does," her partner smiled. "I bet she doesn't love either of these guys and they're just a safe bet."

"Maybe, maybe not," Olivia would not allow herself to hope just yet.

"Did she say why she didn't come and look for you when she came back?" Elliot raised a curious eyebrow.

Olivia's cheeks reddened. "Yes."

"Well, what was the reason?"

Olivia sighed. "Remember the small," Olivia searched for the appropriate word, "dalliance," she waved her hand in the air dismissively; "that I had with Casey?"


"Well, apparently the one time that Casey and I went to a club and were dancing a little… erm… suggestively, Alex turned up at the club to look for me."

"Not expecting to see you with Casey," Elliot finished for her. "Crossed wires all round."


"So she did come looking for you."

"She didn't try very hard," Olivia muttered.

"Perhaps she didn't want to disrupt your new life," Elliot wheeled himself back to his own desk. "Everyone suffered when she went into the WPP."

Olivia shrugged and sighed heavily.

"Who is the bloke that she's engaged to?"

"Robert Whittingham," Olivia spoke his name with a regal distaste.

"The millionaire lawyer?" Elliot looked impressed.

"The very same," Olivia said through gritted teeth. "She said that she's going to break up with him today, tell him that it's over and she wants to be with me."

"Well that's good isn't it?"

"Yes," Olivia ran her fingers roughly through her hair. "If she does it."

"You don't think that she will?"

"There's only one way to find out," Olivia looked agitated and Elliot could predict what was coming.

"I don't think that you should be spying on her," he objected.

"Get your coat," Olivia instructed. "We're going to lunch."

"We don't even know where they're going," Elliot half stood up then sat back down.

"Have you forgotten that we're detectives my friend?" Olivia got up and slapped him heartily on the shoulder. "I rang Robert Whittingham's office this morning and he's having lunch at the coffee shop on River Walk."

Elliot shook his head. "Can we just have it on the record that I didn't think that this was a good idea?"

"Duly noted," Olivia handed his coat to him. "Let's go."

Alex was sitting at her desk in her office chewing her pen viciously.

She had stayed with Olivia until the early hours of the morning and had eventually left and swore that she would get rid of the men in her life and Olivia would receive her undivided attention.

After hours of making promises and pleading, Olivia was still unrelenting about her anger with Alex for getting engaged and dating men and Alex could not blame her.

Thinking back to that night when she had seen Olivia dancing with Casey; Alex felt a knot tighten in her stomach. She had felt physically sick as she watched Casey's hands on Olivia's hips but mostly sick at how happy Olivia had looked.

Alex had wanted to march right up to them; demand to know what was going on.

What did Olivia think she was doing?

Instead, Alex had walked away, she had gone back to her apartment and that night made a silent vow that work would be her first and only love.

Looking back it might have been best to go charging over to them.

The whole mess that she was in now would never have taken place.

Jim was Alex's only ever boy crush. She was attracted to his arrogance and his Ivy League charm. She trusted him not to speak about their relationship. He had always made her feel attractive and was slightly more stimulating than Robert.

Robert, Alex felt light headed with dread.

His interest in Alex had been welcomed because he could take her places, help her to make contacts, meet important people that could further her career.

With all of this swimming in her head she had just about managed to take a cat nap before going to the office and had called Robert to ask him to meet her for lunch.

He had sounded surprised and pleased and Alex's heart had sunk when she heard his cheerful voice.

He was not a bad guy and she knew that he would be devastated when she told him that she could not marry him.

Alex sighed loudly but was interrupted by a knock at the door.

"Yes?" she called.

"Hey Alex," Jim's head appeared.

"Jim," Alex composed her face.

"Is everything OK," Jim checked over his shoulder before entering her office and closing the door.

"Of course," Alex said quickly.

"I was disappointed that we didn't have dinner last night," Jim said with a suggestive smile.

Alex rose from her chair and walked around her desk and perched on the edge of it. "Jim, we need to talk."

"Sounds serious," Jim folded his arms and his smile wavered.

"We have to stop this," Alex pressed her finger tips together and looked at him earnestly.

"This?" Jim played dumb.

"Whatever is happening between us," Alex elaborated. "I can't do it anymore."

"I thought we were just having fun," Jim unfolded his arms and placed a comforting hand on Alex's elbow.

"It's not fun anymore," Alex looked him directly in the eye, the ice maiden had returned.

"Are you developing a conscience?"

"Yes," Alex said shortly.

"Robert won't find out," Jim squeezed her elbow. "I can promise you that."

"It's not Robert that I'm worried about," Alex said.

"You have someone else?" Jim's expression was one of disbelief but then he looked impressed.

"I'm breaking things off with Robert too," Alex said.

"Wow," Jim marvelled. "He must be some guy."

Alex did not respond.

"Don't I get to find out who the lucky guy is?" Jim pressed.


There was an uncomfortable pause.

"Well, it sounds as though you've made your mind up," Jim looked as though he did not know what to say as he opened the door. "I guess I'll talk to you later."

After he left Alex collapsed in her chair in a heap.

One down, one to go.

Olivia watched Alex enter the coffee shop.

She watched the man behind Alex press his hand against the small of her back and Alex turn and smile, although the smile was a little subdued.

"It's her," Elliot whispered out of the corner of his mouth. "I don't believe it."

He had lowered the newspaper that he was using to shield his face and was staring in disbelief at the blonde woman standing at the counter.

Robert Whittingham placed a tender kiss on Alex's hair and lingered as though he was inhaling the scent that emanated from the young woman.

Olivia was huddled in the corner, semi-hidden by a pillar, her fist curled in her lap.

Elliot's expression was compassionate and he said; "it looks like this guy is really into her," and he raised the newspaper slightly.

"Elliot, we were in love with each other, I know that you always doubted it but I know what Alex and I both felt when we were together. There was something strong between us," Olivia abruptly pulled back behind the pillar as Alex looked vaguely in their direction.

When Alex looked back at the menu boards Elliot turned his attention to Olivia. "I'm not saying that you didn't love each other then but things are obviously different now."

Olivia sighed and as she moved her leather jacket creaked.

"Elliot, they're sitting down," Olivia craned her neck to get a better look at Robert's face.

Elliot lowered the newspaper again and looked at Alex.

She had taken up residence at a table by the door and her male companion was standing at the counter paying for their coffee and sandwich.

"I need to go to the bathroom," Elliot made to stand up but Olivia tugged him back down.

"She can't know that I'm here, it would look like I don't trust her," Olivia hissed.

"You don't trust her," Elliot replied simply.

"She doesn't know that," Olivia repositioned herself behind the pillar. "Let's just wait for a few moments; this shouldn't take long. I'm sure you can hold it in."

Alex was sitting alone looking at the pattern of the paint swirls on the wall; nervously drumming her fingers on the table.

She had been thinking about what to say to Robert all morning but nothing was coming to mind.

She looked at him as he paid for their lunch. He was so handsome and strong and smart, Alex thought; and boring and stuffy and sexually dull.

He gave her that charming smile of his as he approached with the tray of food and coffees.

Alex forced a return smile but it was weak.

"I must say," he said as he placed the tray down; "I was surprised when you asked me to lunch. It's very unlike you."

Alex cleared her throat but could not say anything.

"Is everything OK, sweetheart?" he looked a little concerned.

Alex fiddled with her hair. "Actually, it's not."

"I don't like the sound of that," Robert positioned her sandwich and coffee in front of her and placed the empty tray beneath the table. "Tell me about it," his tone was still cheerful.

Oh well, here came the sucker punch.

Alex took a deep breath.

"Come on Alex," he smiled but this time there was nervousness in his voice.

What could she say?

Alexandra Cabot was never lost for words.

"Robert, I'm sorry but I can't marry you in December," she blurted.

Shock spread across his face but instantly his composure returned. "If you want to put the wedding back then that's fine; we can have a summer wedding."

"No," Alex said quickly. "What I mean is that," she took a deep steadying breath. "I can't marry you at all."

"At all?" Robert looked at her in dismay.

"I'm sorry," Alex looked away from him.

"Why can't you marry me?" his voice shook and he frowned as though in pain. "I thought that we were happy. Have you met someone else?"

Alex's long pause told him everything that he needed to know.

"Who is it?" he swallowed hard, desperately trying to hold it together.

"It's someone from the past; someone that I didn't think would want me but they do and I want to be with them," Alex reached out and put her hand on Robert's knee. "I'm so, so sorry."

He clenched his jaw, the veins in his neck visible as he struggled to control himself.

"I love you Alex. I want to make a life with you."

"I know," was all that Alex could think of to say.

"Is there any point in me raising an objection to this?" his voice was beginning to break.

Alex shook her head sorrowfully. "Robert, you and I, we're just not that compatible."

"It's the sex isn't it?" Robert fished. "We can work on it. Go to counselling or something," his voice was a whisper.

"It's not that," Alex said although the sex was pretty awful. "Please don't do this to yourself. It's not you; I need to see if I can make something else work."

"Why are you willing to risk all that we could have for something that isn't a sure thing?" Robert fidgeted with his napkin. "You don't take chances like that. It's completely out of character for you."

"I need to start taking chances," Alex said gently.

Robert inhaled deeply. "They told me you know. They said to me that you were the ice maiden and not to be tangled with. People said that you were frigid and career hungry and didn't care about other people but I thought I saw something more than that in you. I bet this other guy is some other hot shot that can further your career because that's all that interests you."

Alex said nothing but allowed him to have his rant. It did not matter what he thought about her, everything from the day she went into the WPP had been an act and it was time to find the old Alex again.

They sat in silence for a few moments then Robert said "I'm going to leave. You can drop by my office and collect your things in a couple of days."

"Thank you," Alex said softly.

As he stood up Alex slid the engagement ring off her finger and pressed it into his hand. "Goodbye Robert."

He looked down at the ring, put it into his pocket and left without saying a word.

"Well," Elliot said quietly. "That sure looked like a break up to me."

Olivia felt a little bad for Robert but could not contain her elation. "It sure did," she said with such enthusiasm that Elliot shook his head disapprovingly.

They waited patiently for Alex to gather her belongings and she left without touching any of the food on the table.

Elliot looked out of the coffee shop window as Alex crossed the street at a set of lights.

"Let's go," he said to Olivia and they made their way to the door.

As she passed the table where Alex had been sitting she eyed the fresh sandwiches. Without a second thought she wrapped them up in a napkin and pocketed the packets of sauces.

"What are you doing?" Elliot's tone was incredulous.

"Cops have got to eat, right? It seems a shame to let them go to waste." she handed one to Elliot. "Let's get to court."

Alex rested her head against Olivia's chest and gave a contented sigh. She had been ecstatic to find Olivia waiting outside of her office for her at the end of a crappy day.

She needed to be held and had not felt that need for a long time.

"So how did Robert take the news?" Olivia stroked Alex's forearm and admired the decoration of Alex's living room in her new home.

"He was upset, obviously," Alex rubbed her cheek against Olivia's shoulder and inhaled the familiar smell of her body. "I'm sure he'll get over it."

Olivia swallowed. "I have a confession to make."

Alex looked up at her and smiled. "I know that you were there."

Shock splashed across Olivia's face. "How do you know?"

Alex laughed. "I've been watching my ass for how many years in the WPP? Did you honestly think that I didn't see you as soon as I walked into the coffee shop?"

Olivia looked ashamed. "I guess I'm busted."

"It might have been a little less easy to spot you if Elliot hadn't kept wafting that newspaper all over the place," Alex's eyes were mischievous.

"He was happy to see you," Olivia lowered her head and kissed Alex gently on the mouth.

Alex welcomed the kiss. "I'll have to come and see everyone," she said when Olivia pulled away. "I'll do it as soon as you and I have things back on track."

"Do you think that we can get things back on track?" Olivia whispered.

"I hope so," Alex linked her fingers with Olivia's. "I feel nervous around you but sitting here like this feels so right."

"Me too," Olivia concurred. "It's like starting all over again."

"Well," Alex tilted her head up and kissed Olivia's chin. "We can just take things very slowly."

"That would be good," Olivia smiled then wriggled away from Alex and stood up.

"Where are you going?" Alex wailed. "We just got comfortable."

"I need a shower," Olivia stretched revealing taut stomach flesh to Alex's hungry eyes. "I have the stink of the City all over me. I need a much nicer and more fragrant scent on me," she winked at Alex suggestively and turned and walked to the living room door.

Alex sat up looking a little disgruntled at her departure.

"Aren't you coming?" Olivia called over her shoulder. "I don't know where the bathroom is in this place."

With a huge grin Alex did not need a second invitation. She pulled her tee shirt over her head, dropped it on to the floor and followed Olivia to the bathroom.

The man stood on the corner of the street and watched Alex come down the front steps of her home. She had not left her apartment all weekend but he knew that she was not alone.

She was followed by a tall, lean brunette.

He opened his cell phone and dialled.

"Do you see her?" he said when a voice answered.

"Yes, Sir," came the reply.

"Follow her," he instructed. "Is that the lady cop?" he asked into the cell phone.

"Yes Sir, that's the one," was the reply.

"I knew it," he was angry. "Wait until the cop turns her back and then do it. Let her see what happens when you meddle with the wrong person."

"I understand Sir."

He closed the cell phone and watched the beautiful Alexandra Cabot as she said goodbye and carried on walking.

Alex felt groggy.

She could not breathe, something was covering her head. She could not move her hands, and she struggled against something that burned her wrists when she tried to move.

Suddenly light streamed on to her face and air rushed up her nostrils.

The darkness had been removed and she squinted against the brightness.

A shadow appeared before her and Alex could make out a familiar silhouette.

"Hello, Alexandra," an identifiable voice said.

Alex waited until her eyes grew accustomed to the light. It was cold and she could hear something blowing in the wind, the sound of distant traffic. The place smelled of timber and chemicals. She lifted her head and looked up at the man standing in front of her.

"Robert?" a whisper of disbelief escaped from her bloodied lips.

"You made a mistake, Alex," Robert's voice was high-pitched with rage. "A very stupid mistake."

"What are you talking about?" Alex shook her head, trying to displace the ringing in her ears.

"I'm talking about you selling me out to that lady cop. SVU for fucks sake, Alex!" Robert's face contorted with hatred.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Alex said weakly.

'How did he know about Olivia?'

"Don't play innocent with me, Alexandra," Robert caught hold of her chin roughly and put his face close to hers. "You should respect me."

Alex stared into his eyes that had once been filled with love but were now filled with anger.

"Respect you for what?" she held his penetrating gaze with a steely iciness of her own.

"Stop fucking around," he pushed her face away brutally and turned his back, panting like a boxer that had gone ten rounds.

"All this because I dumped you?" Alex sounded unconvinced.

"Don't play dumb," he rounded on her. "I know that you've had me under surveillance."

"What?" Alex shook her head. "Had you under surveillance for what?"

Robert looked at her and then at another man that was standing in the room.

It was the first time that Alex noticed anyone else was there. Two men were standing by the door and one man was standing at Robert's shoulder.

"Is it really necessary to have me tied up, Robert?" she struggled against the bonds that held her hands to the chair. "I'm not likely to go anywhere with the heavy squad here."

Robert thought for a moment and then gestured to one of the men; he walked over and cut the ropes.

"Thank you," she said as she rubbed at her bloodied wrists.

Robert flung a chair in front of her and sat down, crossing his legs in a business like manner.

"Right, Alex," he scrutinised her. "This is where you get to bargain for your life. You tell me everything that you told that lady cop about me and I might let you live, just maim you a little."

"Olivia," Alex spoke her lover's name.

"Benson, that's right," Robert's voice was dangerously level.

"Why do you want to know what I told her about you?" Alex rubbed her hand and realised it was bleeding.

"Get her some ice for that," Robert instructed one of the heavies.

"Where from?"

"Improvise, you moron." Robert screamed.

He turned his attention back to Alex as the heavy trudged out of the room.

His footsteps echoed so loudly that Alex knew they must be in one of the derelict houses that Robert had bought to redesign and sell on. It could be one that they had chosen together and she tried to recall addresses.

"Come on, Alex," he coaxed. "What did you tell her?"

Alex sighed. "Robert, if this is about your ego then I'm sorry but…"

"Bitch," Robert shouted as he stood up and kicked the chair away. "Stop playing fucking games with me. The dumb blonde act just doesn't suit you."

Alex cowered back in the chair but then glared at him angrily. "I told her that you were a lawyer that you went to Yale that your father is a Governor that you iron your socks and fold your fucking underpants before you go to bed!"

Robert's fist struck her left cheek with a resounding crack.

"What did you tell her about my business dealings?"

"Nothing," Alex raged. "I don't know anything about your business dealings."

He struck her right cheek and this time it took a little longer for Alex to regain her composure but she looked up at him. "I didn't tell her anything," she said weakly.

"Then why else would they have you under police protection?" Robert grabbed her hair and forced her head back so he could look right into her face.

"Police what?"

"Protection. You know what that is don't you?"

"Yes," Alex replied but feeling even more confused.

"So, why was Benson at your place keeping you under police protection if you didn't tell her anything?"

Olivia had been pacing in the ladies bathroom for forty minutes when Elliot burst in.

"Patrol has spotted the car!" he threw her jacket at her.

"Where?" Olivia followed him out of the door.

"Down at a burger restaurant. Three tidy bullet holes in the back of it."

"Did they follow it?" Olivia was running now and Elliot followed.

"Yup, to an abandoned building that's under construction."

"Oh Lord," Alex breathed.

Robert observed her deflated state.

"Oh no," she said and leaned forward putting her head in her hands.

"What's the matter, Alex?" he snarled menacingly. "Are things falling into place?"

"Yes," Alex nodded slowly. "But not in the way that you think."

"Are you ready to talk?" his demeanour was calm.

"Robert, you are the dumbest prick that I have ever had the misfortune to come across!" Alex raised her head to look at him. "You stupid, arrogant asshole."

Robert's expression did not flicker.

"You think that I've sold you out to SVU but you're wrong," Alex continued and got shakily to her feet so that she could look right into his eyes. "I haven't sold you out at all."

"Oh really?"

"Really," she assured him. "The lady cop, as you call her, was staying over because she's the one that I dumped your fat, arrogant ass for!"

Elliot was weaving in and out of the traffic dangerously.

Olivia did not object, she just clung on and hoped for the best.

Her cell phone rang, momentarily distracting her from the terror.

"Benson," she answered.

Cragen offered no greeting. "It turns out that the Feds have been carrying out an investigation into Robert Whittingham for some time."

"What for?"

"Everything under the sun," Cragen replied grimly. "Finn and Munch are on their way with back up. This guy is dangerous."

"We should be there in three minutes," Olivia said.

"Watch your backs," Cragen said seriously.

Robert looked disbelieving at first.

"You what?"

"You heard," Alex sank back down on to the chair. "You stupid bastard you have all of your wires crossed."

Calling him names was making her feel slightly better.

"You're… a...?"

"A dyke?" Alex snapped. "Yes, if that's what you want to call it,. Or lesbian, or any other term you want to use."

Robert looked at the two heavies questioningly.

One shrugged. "How were we meant to realise that they were…"

"How were you meant to realise?" Robert strode across the room to him.

"They don't look…"

"You stupid…" Robert trailed off then spun around to look at Alex.

"I don't believe you!"

Alex shrugged. "It's true. Why would I make something like that up?"

Robert's face drained of colour.

Now that he realised his mistake he had no idea what to do with her.

If she was telling the truth then he had made things a thousand times worse.

Kidnapping a Bureau Chief was not a good plan.

"Sir," one of the heavies spoke.

"Quiet!" Robert yelled. "I need to think."

The room was silent and then a door clanged and heavy number three's footsteps could be heard.

"I had to get ice from the burger…" he trailed off as he entered the room and saw Robert's grimacing face.

Alex looked at Robert. "Just let me go," she pleaded. "It's the best thing that you can do right now."

"Shut up, Alex," he snarled. "I'm not letting you go."

Olivia was twitching as they looked at the building the car had pulled up in front of.

"These guys clearly aren't professionals," Elliot muttered. "Either that, or they're so arrogant they think they won't get caught."

"Where the hell are Finn and Munch?" Olivia twisted around and looked out of the back window.

At that moment she saw Finn and Munch roll up and flash their lights.

Elliot picked up the radio. "OK, we're going in nice and easy. You two take the rear."

"I always liked taking the rear," Munch's humourless voice replied.

Olivia got out of the car and immediately removed her gun from her belt.

"Stay focussed," Elliot warned quietly. "We don't know how many other heavies there are."

She gave him a furtive nod and they made their way to the building.

"What the hell is this?" Robert snatched the cup of ice.

"It's ice."

Robert sighed and shook his head. He took out his handkerchief and put the ice into it and then handed it to Alex. "Press this to your face," he instructed.

Alex did as she was told and one of the men reached for his gun.

"Do you hear that?" he asked.

"What?" Robert looked up.

"Something out the back."

"Well go and take a look," Robert grabbed Alex's arm and hauled her to her feet.

The three men disappeared out of the door with their guns out.

"Maybe your little girlfriend has come to find you," Robert whispered into Alex's ear.

"Maybe she has," Alex retorted. "You're not going to get away with this, either way."

"Don't you worry about that," Robert dragged her to the hole in the wall where a window should be.

There was construction scaffolding outside and boards running the length of the building. He stepped out on to it to take a brief look into the street. The plastic was blowing in the wind and he swept it away with ease.

"Just let me go," Alex said again. "A goodwill gesture."

"Goodwill is dead," Robert reached into his jacket and pulled out a gun and dug it into her ribs. "If you don't stop talking I'm going to shoot you and take my chances."

Alex wriggled against the uncomfortable metal pressed against her.

The footsteps of the three men could not be heard any more and Alex swallowed hard.

"I just can't believe that you dumped me for that cop," Robert laughed. "It's…"

Before he finished his sentence a sheet of plastic was ripped away from one of the windows.

He pulled his gun away from Alex and took a shot at the glassless window.

The plastic fell into the room with a soft whooshing noise.

He pushed Alex on to the floor. "If you move I will shoot you," he threatened and pointed the gun at her.

Alex watched as he crept towards the window.

To Alex's left another piece of plastic twitched.

She turned her head slightly and almost screamed when she saw Olivia's face looking at her.

Olivia beckoned to her but Alex shook her head.

If she moved at all Robert would hear and that would be it.

All Alex could think about was how Olivia had got up and on to that scaffolding.

Olivia beckoned to her again, a little more ferociously this time.

Alex shook her head and then inclined it towards Robert's back.

Olivia leaned in to the room and looked at him. She resisted the temptation to shoot him in the back right there.

Suddenly Elliot leapt into the room through the window and tackled Robert to the floor. The gun flew from his hand and he yelled loudly.

"Boss!" a voice shouted.

Elliot punched Robert in the face and Olivia bowled herself into the room.

There was the sound of commotion beneath them and Finn's commanding voice sounded loudly, barking instructions to Robert's accomplices.

Olivia scooped up Robert's gun and slid the clip out of it then went to help Elliot restrain him.

Alex was still sitting on the floor shaking.

"You piece of shit," Olivia stood on Robert's hand for good measure.

"Bitch!" Robert spat.

"You're my Bitch now," Olivia said as she cuffed him tightly.

She immediately got off him and went to Alex.

"Oh my God," she looked at her girlfriend's bruised and bleeding face.

"Olivia," Alex clung to her.

"I'm here baby," Olivia whispered and held Alex tightly. "It's all over."

"I thought he was going to kill me," Alex's voice shook.

"No one is going to hurt you now," Olivia promised.

They all looked up as Munch burst into the room.

"Everyone alright?" he asked.

"I think so," Olivia said.

"Hey, Alex," Munch greeted her. "It's nice to see you again, just not in these circumstances."

Alex smiled weakly and allowed Olivia and Munch to help her to her feet.

Elliot yanked Robert up and threw him against a wall. "You like hitting women do you?"

"Your tough cop act won't wash with me," Robert muttered.

"Believe me," Elliot snarled. "It's not an act."

He handed Robert to two cops that had followed Munch into the room and then went to Alex.

"Hi," he said tenderly.

"Hey," Alex collapsed against his strong body and he embraced her tightly. "Thanks," she murmured into his shoulder.

"Well, there was no way we were going to lose you after just getting you back," Elliot stroked her hair.

When Alex pulled back she was sobbing.

"Let's get you to the hospital," Olivia took Alex's hand and led her to the door.

Alex was lying on the sofa when Olivia got home from work. She had gone to the gym afterwards, upon Alex's insistence that she could take care of herself and she did not want Olivia babying her. It had done Olivia good to work out some of the aggression that she felt towards Robert Whittingham.

The hospital had allowed Alex to come home under the condition that she rest, for a long time.

She had a slight concussion, bruising, a few cuts and a fractured rib.

"Hey you?" she greeted Olivia with a lazy smile.

Olivia tossed her keys on to the coffee table and gently dropped on to the sofa next to Alex.

The blonde woman inhaled the shower fresh smell of Olivia's hair.

"Hey, yourself," Olivia kissed her on the cheek. "How was your day?"

Alex shrugged. "I think I might be addicted to talk shows. Did you enjoy the gym?"

"Yep," Olivia picked up the newspaper and looked at all of the completed crosswords and puzzles. "Too much time on your hands?"

Alex nodded sorrowfully.

"Well, another week or so and then you can go out and get a job," Olivia stood up. "Are you ready for dinner?"

Alex reached out and grabbed Olivia's hand. "Nope," she smiled suggestively. "But I am ready for something else."

"Alex," Olivia said. "I don't think that you're in any fit state to…"

"I will be the judge of that, Dr Benson," Alex purred.

"What about your rib?" Olivia tried to ignore the arousal that was tingling in her pelvis.

They had not made love since Alex had come home.

"My rib is fine," Alex pulled Olivia down to her.

"Your face," Olivia objected.

"I know it's not perfect," Alex smiled. "You can close your eyes if you want to."

"You are perfect," Olivia whispered and put her hand to the back of her lover's head pulling her up for a passionate kiss then pulled away. "You are beautiful and perfect and sexy."

That was all Alex needed to hear.

She tore at Olivia's clothing and then at her own until there were two naked bodies on the sofa.

As Olivia covered her body in kisses Alex lay back and smiled.

"I love you," she whispered.

"What?" Olivia looked up distracted.

"I said – I love you," Alex repeated.

Olivia's face broke into a smile.

"I love you too."

"Then prove it to me," Alex tangled her fingers into Olivia's hair as the brunette began to work that old magic that Alex had missed for too long.

The End

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