Title: The Name of the Game
Author: Adrienne Lee & Miranda Rafferty
Feedback address: adrienne_miranda@yahoo.com
Date in Calendar: 30 November 2004
Fandom: Law & Order: SVU
Pairing: Alex/Olivia
Series Completion Date: 11/13/2004
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC04

Disclaimer: "The Division", "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," "Birds of Prey," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," the characters, and situations depicted are respectively the property of Lifetime Television, Kedzie Productions, Viacom Productions, and Paramount [The Division]; Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, and CBS Productions [CSI: Crime Scene Investigators]; Tollin/Robbins, DC Comics, and Time/Warner via the WB [Birds of Prey]; and Wolf Films, Universal Network Television, and NBC [Law & Order: SVU]. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "The Division", "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," "Birds of Prey," "Law & Order: SVU," Lifetime Television, CBS, the WB, NBC, or any representatives of the actors.

Story Notes:


Night Without Light || Out of the Darkness || Walking in Beauty || Unknown Waters


Part 1. Alex

I'm so mad at you right now, I can't even think straight. I wonder if Cragen knows how distracted I am standing next to me. Both of us watching you and Elliot interrogate the suspect, on the other side of the mirror.

I can't believe how you can be so calm, so nonchalant. I can't believe how you can act like nothing happened. Fine, let's forget about me, forget about my feelings. Maybe I overstepped my bounds when I tried to console you. But I've known people to show more emotion when their pet goldfish died.

Sometimes I feel like I'm looking at you through a mirror. Can't touch you; can't see through you. And just when I think I'm getting somewhere, the ice cold glass hits me in the face and I remember it's all an illusion.

The truth is, I don't know you, can't get to know you. Because you won't let me.

I'm sorry about your mother; I'm sorry you're hurting.

I know you've got be hurting, even though you're acting like you expected it all along, like it doesn't faze you. And I try to approach you, try to be nice and talk to you. And offer you a shoulder to cry on, if you need one.

It's not something I'd share with anyone. In fact, I've shared with no one. But I do understand, and maybe, just maybe I can help. If only you'd let me. For I too know what it's like to lose a parent to alcohol. I know how difficult it is to watch someone you care about self-destruct and not being able to do anything about it.

Sort of like what I'm doing right now.

No matter how hard you try to ignore your feelings, Olivia, how well you've grown accustomed to compartmentalizing your emotions, I can see, I can almost touch, the pain in your eyes. The guilt. Even the relief.

How can I be so sure? I hide behind walls and facades just like you do. Better than you do, if I do say so myself.

I know what you're feeling, or trying your damnedest not to feel, must be eating you alive.

I care about you, Olivia, whether you know it or not. Whether I like to admit it or not, I care about you very much.

Perhaps too much.

All right, so we haven't been working together for that long. What is it now, three months? Almost three months. But we've known each other much longer than that. We have mutual acquaintances, even mutual friends. We've gone to lunch together, just you and me, many more times than I can count.

You took me under your wing when I first started with the squad, when everyone else hated me.

Everyone still hates me.

But you've always been there. To extend the invitation to after hour drinks when no one else would. To listen when I needed an ear, and play devil's advocate when I wanted one. And help me through particularly difficult cases, which is almost every one of them so far.

I've let you make yourself available, to be there for me. Why can't you let me do the same for you?

Why do I have to find out about your mother's death from the office grapevine. Not from you, not even from a member of the squad, but the damn office grapevine. I thought we were friends.

I really, really thought we were friends.

And when I tried to talk to you about it, what did you do? You yelled at me. Yelled and glared at me like I had pushed your mother down the subway stairs intentionally, with my bare hands.

What the hell is wrong with you?

Why do I waste time thinking about this? I should be focused on your conversation in the next room, the case. I shouldn't be thinking about problems that are decidedly not mine, especially since you've told me so, in no uncertain terms.

What the hell is wrong with me?

Part 2. Olivia

I know you care, and I know you meant well. I just can't let you near me right now.

You think you know me. If you really did, you'd know to stay away like the others, but you didn't. That's why I went off on you, and even though I really felt badly for doing that. If you're dumb enough to come around me again, you'll get another dose. If you really want to help me, just stay away.

I wish I had the patience to explain it to you, make you understand it's just the way I am. I don't mean to hurt you, or lash out like that. I'm not like you, it doesn't help me to talk about what's bothering me. I never had anyone to talk to when I was growing up, so, I learned to keep everything inside and to myself.

I'm really sorry you're mad at me, but you brought it on yourself.

I hope someone says something to you. Let's you know how I am. Tells you I don't grieve in public.

You think it's all about my being in pain about my Mother's death. I wish it were, but it's more about guilt. I feel responsible for her death. I know it isn't really my fault on some level, but deep down I suspect I'll always have some doubts about that.

I still can't believe what happened, it didn't seem like such a big thing at the time...

We met for lunch at her place. She noticed I was smiling more than I usually do and I was actually humming while I helped her clean up the kitchen. I sometimes sing to the radio, but I don't normally hum. She asked, and I busted out in a grin, I couldn't help myself. I told her I thought I was in love, and she asked me who the lucky person was. I told her it was you, and I thought she would be happy for me.

That's when all hell broke loose.

I don't think we've ever lashed out at each other like that in my life. She said absolutely venomous things about you. How you'd leave me when you got bored with slumming. That I would never fit in your world, and you'd never try to fit into mine. That you would be just like Jonathan what's his name, the rich boy I had dated at Siena.

“She'll dump you just like he did,” she said.

I reminded her I broke up with him and you're nothing like him. How could she say those things about you when she didn't even know you?

She said she knew your kind, some rich snotty little bitch, enjoying a little of the low life excitement you'd find with someone like me.

She asked me if I had even told you how I felt. When I told her we hadn't officially gone out on a date yet, she laughed. She laughed, but it was a dry, bitter sort of laugh, the kind that leaves you feeling cold and angry at the world. And at that moment I hated her, so I slapped her… hard. I've never felt more ashamed in my life. In all the times my mother lectured me, or when we fought, we never laid a hand on each other. Now the big red imprint of my hand was on her cheek. She was furious and yelled at me to get out. So I left.

And that was the last time I saw her alive.

Now you wonder why I can't talk to you about my Mother. What do you want me to tell you? That I killed her because of what she said about you? I'm sure that would complete this warm and fuzzy moment for you.

No I didn't push her down the stairs, but I sent her off on another bender. That was something I'd never been responsible for since I became an adult. I was always so careful not to be the cause of her drinking, not to give her any reason to fall off the wagon and go on one of her infamous binges.

I guess I saved the best for last.

I knew one day it would happen, something or other would make her tie one on and she'd get hit by a car, or mugged in an alley, or fall down the stairs like she did. I hated having to worry about her all of the time. It seems like sometimes I was the adult and she was the irresponsible child. I know it wasn't true, but it felt that way.

I got so tired of cleaning up after her, checking on her only to find her in another drunken stupor. I'd get angry. Then she'd cry and promise to do better, and I'd hug her and tell her it was okay. There would be AA meetings and she'd be good for a while. Something would upset her, drive her into that deep depression and off she'd go again. Finally, I just accepted that was how it was always going to be, so I learned to live with it. Or I thought I did until she died.

The real confession I have to make to myself is that all I really felt was relief. Relief that it was finally over, I didn't have to worry anymore, that she was free…and so was I.

So you see, Alex, not only did I kill my Mother but, I felt good about it.

I didn't cry; I wasn't devastated. I didn't cry at all because it felt good to be out from under that burden, to feel the weight off my shoulders. It felt wonderful not to jump or dread every time the phone rang or there was a knock on my door late at night.

So be glad you don't really know me. Go ahead and believe your fairy tale you've created for me. You see a caring cop, who empathizes with the victims I try to help. You see what I want you to see and nothing more. I don't think you'd like the person I really am under that facade I wear. In my own way, I'm just as weak as I perceived my Mother to be. Maybe she had the right idea, maybe it wasn't an accident, maybe she saw her chance to escape and she took it. I guess I'll never know.

If you're smart you'll run now while you have the chance. Stay away or I'm liable to drag you down too. I'm the worst thing that could happen to you, and God help me I want you in spite of all the pain I know I'll cause you.

Part 3. Alex

I'm not sure why I bother. Why I even try.

I didn't hold any grudges against the way you treated me the other day; I can't. These are extraordinary circumstances, and I should be understanding; and I am. You seem to have acknowledged that in your quiet way. When you came over to my office to update me on the case, I thought things have calmed down between us. Why would I think that? Because you could have sent Elliot? Munch? You could have also called, instead of coming all the way over here, in person.

Now I don't know why you came by at all. What? You just needed to get away from the station? Then go take a walk. Need a personal whipping boy? I'm sorry to tell you this, Olivia, I'm not your candidate.

To think I actually thought it would be safe to broach the subject. Silly me.

What's wrong with me asking about your mother's funeral arrangements? Is it so wrong for me to go pay my respects? Or at least send flowers? Every member of the squad is doing one or the other, or both. I just wanted the information to come from you.

All right, maybe I also wanted to find out if you actually prefer that I go, or not. Well, I guess I found that out, didn't I?

Fine, I didn't know your mother. I doubt anyone else has ever met her either; maybe except for Elliot, and I have doubts about that too. Must you act like I'm asking for some State secret? Or for your ultimate confession?

Was it just grief or anger talking? What's going on in your head?

Have I done something to piss you off, besides showing concern? Am I somehow doing things that are hitting on nerves that I don't know about? I wish you would just come right out and tell me.

This hot-one-second-cold-the-next thing is extremely irritating.

And confusing as hell.

Now we're sitting together at the table with the suspect and her attorney. We're supposed to be on the same side. Yet, we can't even look each other in the eye. What's wrong with us? Why can't we act like grown ups?

It's a good thing our work doesn't seem to suffer when we don't get along.

But this constant adversarial atmosphere is stressing me out. It's one thing when it's in the courtroom; I live for it. But when it's amongst colleagues? Arrgh!

We do good work together, Olivia. We believe in almost the same things. Granted, you're able to deal with grayer issues, while I'm more dogmatic, but essentially we share the same values, same opinions. We even vote the same way.

And from what I gathered, we even like similar non-work related things. We certainly have the right ingredients to be friends... IF you want to be friends.

Sometimes I wonder if it's me. Well rehearsed in climbing social and political ladders, but inept at making friends. Really. Considering my one best friend is in fact my cousin, my blood. Just because we look so different, and we both find it convenient, we choose to forget the fact that we're related at all.

Personal, intimate relationships? We won't even go there. Suffice to say, work has been my one great love.

How truly pathetic, if you think about it.

So, maybe it IS just me. If not, maybe I should write you off as lost cause and move on. I haven't invested that much into our friendship, if I can call it that.

But I can't.

Just what kind of hold do you have over me?

I'm not sure I want to find out.

I definitely am not ready to acknowledge it.

Part 4. Olivia

Why do you even bother? I'm not sure why you try.

I know you're trying your best not to hold my outburst against me. I know you're a very kind person despite that “ice queen” exterior you push off on everyone else.

I don't dare tell you the real reason I blew up at you. If I did, you'd really think I was some sort of sicko. I can just hear my explanation now.

“Hey, Alex. I told my Mom I was in love with you. She got mad, we yelled a lot, I popped her one, she told me to get out. She went on an extreme bender, one of her more spectacular ones and off-ed herself.” Yeah that would really win you over. Give you a wonderful conversation topic with all of your lawyer buddies.

So that's why you'll never hear the real reason I blew up at you. I'm in love with you, pure and simple. Not that I'll ever tell you, I can hear you laughing me all the way out to the street on that one. What a sublime and utter fool I'd make of myself.

Sorry, Sweetheart, that's not gonna happen. I'm going to keep my mouth shut and keep my emotions to myself. It's what I'm good at, being alone. Being with people is not one of my better skills.

I'm not sure why I came to your office. Updating you on a case was the best I could do, and it even sounded lame to me. I suppose I could have sent Elliott, but he would have told me to just call you and not bother with the hike, that's what phones were for in his “infinite” wisdom. I love Elliott but he's about as subtle as a tank.

I was going nuts with the guys tippy toeing around. Fin offered to get me coffee, Elliott tried to buy me lunch, and Munch tried to have a “sensitive” chat with me. Even the Captain looked like he was going to try to hug me and tell me everything was going to be okay. Why, oh why can't they just leave me the fuck alone?

So now you get to put up with me, oh joy oh raptures, I am sure you're just impressed to no end. If I wasn't supposed to be so damned depressed and grief stricken all of this might be darkly funny. I really do wish I could open up to you, Alex, you really are a decent person and you've done nothing to deserve me being such a bitch, and I know at some point I'm going to piss you off and that's going to be the end of it.

All you did just now was ask a simple question. I know you wanted to do the proper thing and be supportive. I couldn't even give a little bit and let you send some damn flowers.

The truth is it's going to be hard enough with Elliott and the Captain there. I want to tell you how much it means for you to care so much. It's like I told myself earlier, it's not you I don't trust, it's me. Maybe, I shouldn't try being your friend, all I do is upset you.

I see the look on your face. I hate that wounded shell shocked look I put there. I wish I could just take you in my arms and … and what. Kiss you until you're slack jawed and your glasses melt. I'd like to do so many things to you and with you. If we could film my daydreams we'd make a fortune in porno… oh, but we'd both have a problem since the industry exploits women…

I'd love to have you with me, but not at a damn funeral even I don't want to attend. I loved my Mother for all of her faults and all of mine, but this is one journey I wish could pass me by.

Besides, if you knew the things my Mother said about you…well, let's just say you'd feel a great deal less motivated about attending her funeral. You might gladly pay your last sentiments, but if it were me they wouldn't be very respectful. I can't have you being nice about my mother, attending her funeral after everything she said. I'm sorry, Alex, I just can't.

I know I'm pissing you off and confusing the daylights out of you to the point of extreme frustration, I swear I can hear your teeth grinding against themselves. I came over here to mend fences and try to tell you in some small way how much I appreciated your concern. Then you asked me about the funeral and I just reacted with my gut. It was fear. I wanted to just run out of your office and hide.

So, what now. I guess we'll just go on working together and pretend like neither of us exists. I think we'll just talk when we have to and no more. That sounds like a better idea than risking my real feelings showing for you. You can continue with your “ice queen” persona, and I'll be the bitchy cop from hell.

That's going to work perfectly, we should win lots of cases that way, don't you think? Who am I kidding, I'll be lucky if you don't bury me under a truck load of rejected case files just for spite. Why can't I act like an adult? Is it so hard? It must be for me, because every time I'm around you I screw up, what in the hell is wrong with me?

I know you're devoted to your work, and I promise to do my very best not to fuck things up for you. I know if I just stick to my job, what I know and what I'm good at, everything will be all right.

I'll try to get us back to how we used to be. We were friends. I think you actually enjoyed my company, and I know I enjoyed yours. Maybe if I can just get myself back under control we can get back there before I totally turn it all ass over end.

I wish it could get back to how it was a year ago. I remember that December night, you would too. It was the Night Without Light. And somewhere in the back of my lizard brain, I'd like to think it was our first date, since it'd be as close to a date with you as I'll ever get.

I remember having lunch with you, sharing our thoughts on all the impacts of the AIDS crisis. It was like one altar boy talking to another; no preaching necessary. Then somehow our conversation moved to Day With(out) Art, and I was surprised and happy to know we even have that in common. For a brief moment, I thought I had finally found my soul mate.

I remember those short fifteen minutes we stood together, wrapped in the silent darkness of the city. It sounds so corny to say it was magical. I came so close to kissing you and telling you how attracted I am to you. The lights flashed on and stopped me. Still, I saw that ethereal glow in your eyes as the lights of New York came back on. For one brief moment you were wrapped in the enchantment of the city, and then I blinked and it was gone.

Emotional ties to wrap you and I up in a neat little package called “us”. I know I wasn't ready for it then, and I sure as hell am not ready for it now. Maybe after all of this drama settles down, we can try being friends again. I think I can handle friends, I hope you'll give me another chance.

Please, Alex.

Part 5. Alex

This is it, Olivia Benson, this is the last chance I'm going to give you. Choose wisely, use it wisely, I strongly advise you. I don't have time for your little mind games.

This was what I had been telling myself all night last night; same thing since I woke up. I think I had myself convinced when I walked into the station, when I approached your desk. It was six forty-five in the morning, and this was the day of your mother's funeral, but somehow I knew you'd be there. I wondered if you even tried to stay away, and maybe mourn.

Then you turned around, and gave me a look that told me you knew it was me. I guess you recognized my walk… You're a great detective; you notice things. I'm not sure why I was at all surprised. I was, however, justifiably surprised when you asked me if we could talk.

“Sure, Detective,” I smiled at you. I couldn't even call you Olivia at that point; didn't want to. “What would you like to talk about?”

For a second, you seemed taken aback. Did you hear the resolve in my voice? Or maybe it was the hardness in my eyes. Perhaps you're an even better detective than I gave you credit for. So I smiled again, a little warmer this time.

You picked up your cup, and stared into it. “The funeral's this morning.”

I nodded, confirming my knowledge, acquired through the grapevines, again. “You have my deepest condolences, Olivia. If there's anything I could do…” I told you, fully expecting you to start talking about the current case, or even the unseasonably warm weather that we've been having lately.

“I told Elliot I didn't want him to go. I told the Captain the same thing. So they're not going.”

Oh, so I shouldn't take your reaction the other day personally, that's what you're trying to tell me. I remember thinking then.

“Sometimes my mother asks me, well, she used to sometimes ask me, why I stay in SVU.” You continued, still staring into your coffee, as if it was your prompter. “And I'd tell her because I wanted to help people, to get justice for victims, to do for them what no one ever did for her. Well, I never said the last part, but it was understood.”

“I'm really sorry, Olivia, but…” I wanted to tell you how proud of you your mother should be, before you waved your head.

“I really like the people I work with. They really care about the people they're trying to help. My mom really liked the Captain.”

“They've met?”

Apparently you didn't hear the skepticism in my voice, or you did and chose to ignore it.

“My first day on the job, she showed up, and brought lunch for everyone.” With an almost amused smile, you explained.

Then, to my surprise, you kept talking, “When I was in school, every year, she'd take the day off from her busy schedule and go to school with me, just so she could meet all my teachers on the very first day. To make sure the nuns knew that she was an educated, independent, working woman who cared about her daughter's education and upbringing, that I'm not just some unwanted bastard. When I got older, it embarrassed the hell out of me.”

I think I hung onto your every word; I can still hear you clearly in my head, talking about your mom. I certainly saw the regret and the turmoil you were feeling in your eyes.

“I wish my mother had the chance to meet you, she would have liked you, Alex. I know she would.”

“I'm sure I would have liked her too. She was a remarkable woman, from what you've told me.” God, what I said seemed even more inadequate, now that I've had time to think about it. But you caught me by surprise.

“Anyway, the service starts at ten, St. Joseph's, my mom's church, but I'm sure you're really busy, since you're already here, at this hour.”

It had been years since I stepped foot in a Catholic church, since my grandfather's funeral. I didn't even think about how I'd feel about attending another funeral mass, I just told you I'd be there.

“Do you need a ride? I need to go home and change, but I can pick you up.” You offered.

I didn't know what to say. I still don't. I walked into the squad room, prepared to raise the draw bridge, flood the moat, and keep you away for good. Instead, I got an engraved invitation to enter your fortress.

You must have sensed my hesitation when you proposed to fill me in on the case during the drive to Long Island City. Is work your only solace? Or do you think that's all I care about?

Things went well for the rest of the day. We seemed to be friends again. If I didn't think it'd be inappropriate, I'd even compliment you in your dress. I don't think I've ever seen you in a dress… Anyway, the mass wasn't so bad, maybe because I was focused on you, and not my own bad memories.

Somehow, though, I can't shake this feeling that's something's wrong…

It's almost like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff, and just when I least suspect it, a hand's going to appear from nowhere and push me over. And I won't know when I'd hit the ground.

I can't tell you how much I hate that feeling.

How much it scares me.

Part 6 Olivia

“Liv, are you sure you're going to be all right? I can stay and take you home…”

I'm trying not to snap at my partner; I know he's just being sweet, but right now that isn't what I want. “Elliot, I promise I'll be fine, just go home,” I say, hoping for once he'd listen. I really want him to go. I just want to be left alone. Finally, he sighs his exasperation and pats me on the shoulder. Finally, he leaves.

Fin, meanwhile, is still at his desk doing paperwork. It must have been something unwritten between the four of them. Someone was going to stay with me to make sure I didn't implode with grief, or something. What that something might be, I don't know.

Without saying a word, I go back to reviewing the stack of files piled high on my desk. He's not saying anything or even attempting to make a conversation. Thank god. But I can feel him look up every so often, probably checking to see if I'm okay. That can be just as annoying. As annoying as hell.

It's not like I'm going to break down, or go into spasms of grief. I don't do that, I just keep busy, just stay focused on the job at hand.

I can't afford to let myself feel anything.

Then I hear your steps. Each click of your heel echoing through the empty corridor. The noise is almost deafening.

I watch you walk in, the expression on your face is one of determination. You seem to have your mind set on something, and whatever it is you're fixed on succeeding. I have a very uneasy feeling it has to do with me.

Please stay away, Alex. I beg you silently. Please, please, please stay away, I chant in my head.

We're actually on the fast track to getting back to being okay, maybe friends. If you're here to be “helpful” again, you're only going to cause more problems. Please just either sit down and be quiet or better yet, go away and leave me alone.

You're stopping a few feet from my desk. Just so you have a clear overall view of me perhaps. “I've been calling you for hours,” you tell me.

I can only say, “I know.”

“Why didn't you answer?” You demand.

You aren't going to go away without some answers, I can see that all too clearly. I stare at you briefly, not saying a word. Then I rebury my nose in my work. Maybe if I just ignored you, you'd leave.

Of course you don't leave. Instead, I hear you sigh loudly, and feel the vibration as you pull out Elliot's chair and sit.

“Good night, Liv, Alex.” I hear Fin say. I guess he thinks now that you're here to stay, he might as well go and leave you to sort me out.

I ask again, why can't everyone just leave me the hell alone.

I don't bother to look up. If I do I'll have to acknowledge the fact that you're sitting right in front of me. Watching me. I'm not sure what you're thinking, but I'm sure you'll tell me eventually. I don't think you're going to give up that easily, although right now I wish you would.

I hear the door close behind Fin; and you and I are now completely alone in the squad room. Under any other circumstances, I'd love to be with you alone, to have your undivided attention. Tonight's not one of those times.

Don't know if it's a blessing or not, but I know this couldn't go on much longer. You would say something, anything to get me to talk.

So I decide to take the offensive. “Alex, you should go home and get some rest, it's late,” I tell you, still refusing to face you directly. Maybe if I were cold enough, I could chase you away. “I've got a lot of work I still need to finish, I really don't have time to talk.”

“Do we have to do this again?” you ask me, lowering your voice and sighing loudly. “This one step forward, two steps back thing? Actually, make that half a step forward.”

I invited you to my mother's funeral. What more do you want from me? I want to ask you, but I don't. “I don't know, I've always thought it's just some sort of dance.

“You can be as sarcastic as you want,” you tell me, swinging your feet onto Elliot's desk. “I'm not leaving. You shouldn't be alone right now.”

“Go away, Alex. Go away. You don't know me well enough to know whether I should be left alone or not.” I dismiss your concern with as much venom as I could muster. I never want to hurt you, but I can't bear to be with anyone now. I don't deserve to have your comfort or anyone else's. Nor do I want it. Please. Can't you leave me in peace?

“I know human nature enough that people in your situation shouldn't be left alone. Why don't we go for a ride?” You offer, I think as a compromise.

“No talking?” I ask.

“Only if you want to.” You promise, and head towards the door.

I think for a moment. Go? Not go? Do I really have a choice. Oh, what the heck. I get up and grab my jacket. You're waiting by the door, so sure I'd follow you. Instead of gloat though, your smile was actually comforting.

We must be driving for hours. At least it seems like it.

I stop paying attention to the road a long time ago. Just taking comfort in the movement of the car and the silence. Besides the silence, I really don't care. Don't care where we go. Don't care about anything. I tell myself and empty my mind.

Somehow, scenes of my mother's and my life replay themselves in my head like a goddamn endless loop. It hadn't been an easy life for her; I doubt I made it any happier.

True to your word, you remain quiet. You just drive, and occasionally you reach over and touch my shoulder or my hand. It's brief, it's spare, it's never lingering, still, it's almost a reassuring sort of touch. Somehow though, each time you pull away, I find myself missing the connection a little more.

Finally, you put the car in park and shut off the headlights. I can see, just beyond, the shimmering darkness of water. Wherever we are, it's secluded, yet even without my gun, I don't feel any danger from the remoteness. It's just nice and quiet, and without light.

I don't know why, but suddenly I feel tears streaming down my face. I don't know why I'm crying. I can't stop; I'm not sure I want to.

You never made a sound as you pull me into your embrace. I don't complain. No.

I just hang onto your arms, and sob like a lost child, I don't know for how long. I only know that at some point, I feel your lips against the top of my head, bestowing a kiss.

And at some point, I realize I don't want you to ever let go.


Part 1. Alex

Great, just great. Can't we go through a single, solid week without fighting like cats and dogs? What are we? Teenagers? I think teenagers act more mature than we do sometimes.

Wait, why am I admitting responsibility for our current dispute? I'm not the guilty party; you are. The worst I've done is refusing to let you get away with murder.

If you had murdered someone, I might be less angry with you. I'm sure it would have been a justifiable homicide; or there would have been enough reasonable doubts for me to at least absolve you in my mind. What you said to me just now was unforgivable.

Spying on you? I can't believe you had the arrogance or the audacity to accuse me of that! You forget Hank and I are friends, that I've known him since the day I started with the DA's office. I can't help it if your best friend decided to tell me you two share a birthday. Spying on you. Let me tell you, Olivia, you have real ego issues.

And just what's wrong with a friend wanting to do something special for another friend's birthday? We are supposed to be friends now, aren't we? Just last week, you told me how nice it was to have a friend at work who understands what it's like to be a woman in a man's world, doing a thankless job, and having no life of one's own. You were touching my arm and looking at me when you said that. So, unless John or Fin or Elliot had a recent sex change that I don't know about, I can only assume you were referring to me.

Sometimes you make me so angry, I could throw a book at you. Or more like it, a Con Law treatise!

We go to dinner together all the time now. What's the big deal about dinner, and then show of your choice? It's not like I have some unspeakable ulterior motive. I'm not going to try to get you drunk and seduce you. If you know anything about me, you'd know just how ludicrous an idea that would be.

Granted, you're a beautiful woman. Strong. Attractive. Some might even say you're hot. I'd have to be blind to not see it; but that doesn't mean I want to jump into bed with you. I swear to G…

Before I finish the sentence, I stop, and I sigh. No sense in getting hit by lightning.

Who am I trying to kid, anyway?

Try as I may, I can't deny just how appealing I find you, and how much I've been fantasizing about you lately. Not a day goes by without me wondering what you might do to me, if somehow I manage to find an excuse to get naked in your presence. I really should be ashamed of myself.

Sure, I can blame you. As far as I'm concerned, you started the whole thing. You try to take over my calendar, I left yours alone. And the outrageous way you've been flirting with me, the way you've been staring down my shirt, there can be one thing and one thing only on your mind; and I'd have to be dead to not react.

Then, sometimes, on days like today, I question if I'm not just projecting, if it's not only wishful thinking on my part.

Maybe you said what you did earlier because you saw where I was heading, Maybe you saw where I wanted to go and decided to nip it, before I embarrassed myself completely. Maybe you were only acting barbaric for my sake, to save my emotions from irreparable damage. Maybe you were just trying to help my potentially fragile little ego out.

You certainly are capable of that level of consideration on most days, under most situations. Fundamentally, you're a caring, thoughtful person, I have to admit. That's probably why I'm so attracted to you.

Still, there is a wishful part of me that wonders differently. That part of me hopes that you do feel the same way I do, and that you're just scared like I am. Maybe we're snapping at each other every other day because of the tension between us.

Of course if this hopeful part would learn to shut up, I'd have fewer issues…

Actually, maybe you're just under a tremendous amount of stress. I opt for the safest and most rational excuse. Your mentor just got brutally raped. I'm sure you'd rather be sitting in the hospital with her, watching over her, making sure she's all right. Instead you have to go out there and try to find the perv or pervs who brutalized your hero. That cannot be easy for you.

Yeah, that's got to be it.

I should have been more understanding.

Besides, it's your birthday. By right, you should be able to do whatever you want to on your day. As your friend, I shouldn't get so bent out of shape. I really should be more understanding. Maybe you'll let me do something for you next year.

Maybe one day we'll figure out how to get along. Maybe one day I'll be able to look back, and forget all the difficulties we're going through...

You know what they say about time.

Part 2. Olivia

I see the range of emotions play across your face after my outburst. The last one I see is the one that hurts the most.

You're furious, I can tell by the way you stalked off. You don't understand why I got so upset.

I'm truly sorry I yelled at you, but right now I don't have time to hunt you down and explain. I've got a lot more to worry about than whether I bruised your feelings.

You asked me about my birthday. How can you even think of something so damned trivial? I can't believe you did knowing about the case we're on. Were you just trying to cheer me up, or take my mind off something you thought was upsetting me? I'm trying to fathom what possessed you, but I truly am at a loss to understand why you thought it might be helpful. I had hoped you knew me better than that.

Besides that, just how did you find out about my damn birthday? Did you read my personnel file or did you worm it out of Elliot or Munch? I know Fin wouldn't tell you, he's got better sense. He minds his own business.

It's just another day, Alex, I have never celebrated it. And why should I? It's just a reminder of how I came about…

I put up with Hank dragging me out to our favorite bar to commemorate another year of staying alive. After all, it's his birthday too. But I've never spent it with anyone but him, and I'm not about to start now… Wait, maybe Hank told you! That meddling son of a bitch! If he did, I will ring his neck!

Maybe after you've had time to cool off and consider everything involved you'll realize why I got so upset.

One of the few people I really care about is laying in the hospital brutally raped. Karen's not only my friend, she was my mentor. She took an overzealous cadet straight out of the academy and turned me into the cop I am today.

Whatever she wants from me, whenever she wants it, I'll do it.

All of those things you say you admire about me when I'm caring for the victims, well, she taught me. Taught me that to protect and serve wasn't just a hollow motto. She meant it, and she drilled it into me until I felt the same way. She always had my back…always, even when I popped off and got myself in trouble. When I needed to be called on the carpet she did. Like any good leader, Karen never hesitated to ream me out when I needed it.

Before I left the hospital she told me to find who did this to her, and she knows I won't stop until I do. I owe her so much, I'm not sure how I'll ever pay her back. I could spend the next twenty years trying and I would never be able to. But she would never expect me to even try, that's the kind of person she is.

Even to my own ears, I'm beginning to sound like I'm preaching about what a great cop Karen is. Why am I trying so hard to defend her? Especially in my own head?

Is it because I'm afraid she's no longer the person I thought she was? Has she gone over to being one of the bad guys too? One of the IAB Nazi's seems to think so. I don't want to believe it's true, I can't really be doubting her, can I? I feel so guilty, I know Karen would never wonder about me. What kind of half-assed friend does that make me?

And what kind of friend am I to you?

God, I can't believe I could be so stupid! To go off on you like that? I'll be lucky if you ever speak to me again, at least about anything other than work. I promise I'll make it up to you. Somehow. Some way. Maybe it wouldn't be so awful to go out and celebrate my stupid birthday after all of this is over with, provided you still want to.

I hope I haven't blown any chance I might have had with you…

Maybe it's like Karen said, rookie paranoia on my part; if they don't like you, they won't pick on you. So, if they want to celebrate your birthday, that means they must like you right?


It could be I'm just dreaming and you were just being nice. We're just co-workers and nothing more…

Oh, God, I hope I'm wrong, I hope it's just some sort paranoia.

Please, just let it be that.

Part 3. Alex

What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to do my job? How, as an officer of the court, am I supposed to uphold the law and serve justice, when the victim doesn't want justice?

All right, maybe justice will be served one way or the other. The crooked cop will rot in jail much longer for drug and money laundering charges than for the rape. But what about the law? A crime is committed; and the correct punishment should be exacted.

Sure, it's technically the People's case, and the People would be happy as long as the perv gets locked up and kept away from society, the longer the better.


I sit in this same chair for the second time in as many days, and I still have yet to find my answers, still have yet to resolve my conflict. I'm looking at her, and I can see how much she doesn't want me here. Hearing her talk about her job, listening to her view on justice doesn't stop me from asking the same questions over and over again.

Why am I here anyway? I reflect, staring at the blank legal pad and pretending to weigh Karen's options and mine. Am I here to try to convince her she should reconsider dropping the charges for the rape? To hear for my own ears that this is indeed what she wants, to preserve her career, and not merely out of fear?

Just what am I trying to achieve? I know when it comes to the IAB, the DA's office is going to bend over backwards. I know without her, I won't have a case. I also know that if I were in her shoes, I probably would make the same decision she's making.

So why am I really here?

Am I really here, under any justifiable pretext, so I could meet with your mentor again? To talk one-on-one with the woman who shaped and trained you into the cop that you are today? To perhaps find out what kind of person she is, to have that kind of hold on you?

Oh great, just great! Listen to yourself, Cabot, you sound like you're jealous of the victim.

“Look, Ms. Cabot, I'm sorry you can't appreciate my situation,” Karen speaks again. “But there's really nothing you can say to change my mind. I won't testify.”

I take a deep breath, and close the file. “I'm sorry we've wasted each other's time.” I tell her, and tug the folder under my arm. Before I can get up from the chair, she reaches for me.

“You know you two are so much alike.” Karen tells me with a smile.

"You mean…" Olivia and I? I slide my glasses higher, as if the clear lenses will shield the surprise and unease in my eyes.

“She has a hard head, too.”

I can't help the laugh from bubbling up my chest. “Tell me about it.”

Then her expression turns serious. “She's a good cop because she cares. Sometimes she cares a little too much for her own good. I'm sure she hasn't slept since the other morning, when she fell asleep watching over me.”

“Yeah, she never stops.” I smile, remembering how involved you always are with your cases. I think that's one of the things l like most about you. “She is one of the best cops I've ever worked with.”

Karen nods, smiling briefly; she's obviously very proud of you. Then, holding my eyes captive, she continues, "For as long as I've known Olivia, she's always been afraid to care about anybody, besides the victims. Because sometimes she loves too deeply and cares too much. She's so afraid she'll get hurt, once in a while, she'll even rebel against her own feelings. I imagine it must be difficult for the other person."

Shock, confusion must be written all over my face right now. I remain silent. Really, what can I say? Is she telling me what I think she's telling me? Is she trying to explain your behavior around me? Did she play confessor for you like Hank did for me? Or am I just this transparent? If she can see through me, then who else? Can you?

"I'm not sure..." I try to come up with something, anything.

Without letting me finish, Karen crosses her arms again. A sign of dismissal for me.

"You're going to drop my case, right?" She asks as I approach the door.

"I'll think about it."

Part 4. Olivia

Why am I here? I mean, why do you want me here?

I'm surprised you want to see me, much less talk to me after the way I acted. I was awful to you. I yelled at you, went off on you. All because you wanted to celebrate my birthday.

Am I here to get myself reamed out? I wouldn't really blame you if that's the case. If that's what you want, I'll sit here and take it. I definitely deserve it. So go ahead if it will help you feel better.

Oh, but right now you're on the phone with your boss. So all I can do is sit here and wait for the sword of Damocles to fall on me.

Sitting here, I can't help but wonder why you've decided to drop the charges. Is it because of what I said to you on the street, or did you go back to talk to Karen again like you said you would? Did she finally convince you that her way is the best for everyone? Maybe she did to you like she's done to me and so many others. She just listened, then blew you out of the water when you're through. If so, I hope you didn't take it personally. That's just the way she is.

Maybe you dropped the case as a favor to me? Or is it just my ego speaking?

Honestly, I'd like nothing more than to haul the bastard in, then sit in court and watch you nail him to the wall. He's a rapist and a dirty cop, right now I can't think of any other worse kinds. For me though, I can take solace in the fact that he'll sit in jail for much longer than he would for the rape, and Karen could keep her job.

I know it's not so easy for you. I know sometimes you have to make yourself see the different shades of grey. I know it's hard for you to not follow the law. You take the idea of justice so seriously. Sometimes a little too righteously, but I'd never tell you that to your face. After all, it could be worse, much worse. You could be a slimy deal maker who takes the easy way out.

And I'd have to get my head examined for feeling the way I do about you.

Anyway, I know regardless of the reason behind your decision, it is eating you alive. I can see it on your face as you talk to your boss about the math. You sound more like you're trying to convince yourself.

You're doing the right thing, I want to tell you, but I can't, not right now.

Although now you're quiet, and you're nodding lightly to yourself. The way your lips press together and part and press together again, and the way you heave your sighs speak of resignation. I wonder if the DA's giving you one of his famous chats. One of those life lessons he bestows on his favorites, that's supposed to teach you and help you feel better at the same time. So maybe whatever he's saying to you can help you feel better.

Judging by the slouch in your shoulders, somehow I doubt it…

I know I've had my hand in making things difficult for you, with this case. I'm so sorry about that. I'm supposed to be your friend, and I didn't bother to listen to you, or even admit to you that you're right in your desire to follow the law. All I did was ask you to drop the charges, to stop pursuing this, or you'll blow my mentor's career.

I asked you to put my wishes before everything you believed in. If you had asked me to do the same, the answer would have been an emphatic no.

Maybe I'm giving how you feel about me too much credit. I'm sure the DA agreed with you dropping the charges as well.

You are one of the most dedicated people I have ever known. You are so good at this job. I know you sometimes don't sleep, you skip meals and keep a change of clothes here just in case you don't go home. How many nights have you slept on this couch I'm sitting on? I'm sure too many.

I think your dedication is what draws me to you. Well, and your beauty. Your smile. And so many other things I could write tomes of poetry about, but I'll spare you that aspect of me. Something tells me you don't appreciate mush. Although maybe I'm dead wrong…

Anyway, I'm sorry I couldn't back you up on this one, Alex. I know I let you down, hurt you, and ignored you. I just expected you to agree with what I asked, do it and to hell with what you believed in. To top it off, I blew up at you about wanting to celebrate my birthday. And I don't even have the decency to apologize to you.

Well, actually, I just haven't found the guts to…

Finally, you hang up the phone. I guess it's the moment of truth. Time to find out why you called me in here.

With a forced smile, you tell me it's finally over with. No one will know about Karen's rape, she'll be free to go on with her cover safely in place. I know you aren't happy about it. Truthfully, neither am I. Really, I understand more than you know.

Instead of telling you how much I do understand, I get up from the couch and come around to your desk.

“Thanks, Alex, thanks for dropping the charges, I do know how difficult it was for you.” I say the lame words I'd been rehearsing on and off since our talk on the streets. And I try my best smile, actually getting a small one in return.

“I know there really isn't much cause to go out and celebrate, but let's do it anyway.” I smirk at you, emboldening myself. “I'll even let you buy me dinner.”

“Why would I buy you dinner?” You ask, I think a little amazed at my suggestion.

“Because you never did anything for my birthday…” I grin at you, trying to tease you out of that glum mood.

Smiling brightly, you stand up and grab your jacket and purse. “You're on, but I'm choosing where we eat. And it's going to be someplace nice, with tablecloths, a good wine list, and a maître d'.”

“You're buying, who am I to argue?” I follow you to the door. “But I do get to pick the movie you're taking me to afterwards, right? Maybe even a double feature?”

“Sure. Why not.” You beam as you lock your door.

God, I love that smile.

I think it lights up my world.


Part 1. Alex

This is like déjà vu. You're sitting in my office, with your head in your hands. Every once in a while, you'd get up and pace. You'd make some comments, comments I know you don't mean. You'd throw your arms up to vent your frustration, to hide your distress. Inevitably, you'd flop back down in that chair in front of my desk, and you'd ask me, “What am I supposed to do, Alex?”

Depending on the context, I'd either shrug, and smile sympathetically. Or I'd tell you, like I do now, also with a smile, “Do what you always do best, Liv. Your job. You're a good cop, sometimes you have to do things you don't like. You can't let everything bother you.”

Just like I can't let aspects of my job bother me. You told me so yourself last week, when Paula Varney approached me outside the courtroom, to plea for her husband's life. When I paced and vented in front of you, in the crib.

“But I just can't get Colin Tandy's face out of my head.” You whisper, sinking lower into the chair, staring at the pile of paper on my desk. “I can still see him, with that video camera, the look on his face when I read the card…”

And you hate yourself for trashing his dead wife's name, for everything you put him through, including the part where he had to ID his dead wife, and probably the fact that Veronica Tandy had to die. You don't say any of that, but I can see the torture on your face.

“And what Grace Mayberry did to her son…” you continue without looking up. “And what her son did and said after we found him. I can't get that out of my head either.”

You never told me what “that” was, you just told me you and Elliot found them in bed, where Jason had already killed his mother. From photographs and reports of past cases, from the descriptions you had to give me so I could paint the pictures for the jury, I know you've seen worse, much worse. Why do you let that case bother you so much? Are you going to tell me in your own time? Or are we just going to forget it by next week, and pretend it never happened?

Just like we always pretend this never happened? What is “this” anyway? Pouring your soul out in my office? That's what this amounts to, pretty much, right? I can't even remember when you started doing it. I only remember that first time so long ago, when we haven't even started working together yet…

Somehow I think these sessions help you. Well, they must. Why else would you keep coming back? Simply for the pleasure of my company?

Anyway, I'm glad you find me a worthy listener. I'm glad you're letting me see into your soul, and find out what makes you tick.

“Look, Olivia,” I start to say. I'm not sure what exactly I should say.

You're the one who always come up with consoling words for me. You were the one sitting with your arms around me when I told you about Huang's meeting with Danielle Varney at Bellevue. You were the one who convinced me I should feel good about letting Varney off based on his incompetency. What can I say to you that you haven't heard before, that you don't already know? Still, I'm going to come up with something.

“I think…” I begin slowly, hoping something would present itself.

“Hey,” you say with a suddenly cheerful smile, slapping your palms against your knees and sitting up. “Thanks for listening. I appreciate you playing ear. But let's not talk about this anymore.”

As always, I'm grateful for the interruption, and I smile back at you. “So what would you like to talk about, Detective?”

You shake your head, “Not Detective. We're going to talk about where you want to go for dinner, and what you'd like to do afterwards.”

Hm. How about your place, and me? I want to say, and one of these days, I just might. But not today. As casually as possible, I tell you, “We've gone somewhere almost every night the last two weeks, I'm a little tired of restaurant food. Why don't you come over?”

You raise your eyebrow at me. “You'll cook?”

“No, I'll provide the ingredients, and the kitchen.”

“What if I don't feel like cooking?”

“Then I guess you'll have to eat whatever I put in front of you.”

“Hm… A girl can take that many ways,” you smirk.

I swear I didn't mean it that way, it was really an innocent comment. But, from recent experience, I know if I protest, you'll just make it worse. So I just stare at the yellow pad on my desk and blush.

“Okay, I'll cook. Think about what you want, and I'll make it happen.” You wink at me, grinning like a Cheshire Cat as my cheeks grow warmer by the second.

You're doing this on purpose. I know you are. “All right.” I tell you. “I'll pick up the stuff from the market on my way home. Just meet me at my apartment after work.” There, I don't think there's anything in my words you can twist out of shape.

Still you try, I can see the cogs moving in your head. Finally, you give up. Thank god.

“I'll see you at around six then.” You stand up, pausing briefly in front of my desk, then looking away quickly when I lean back in my chair and smile up at you.

My smile says, Aha! I caught you red handed!

You flee, and I redo the button on my blouse.

Part 2. Olivia

Lunch with you, it's getting to be an almost daily event. I like that a lot, maybe a little too much. I've just about taken over your calendar. I'm not even penciled in anymore, like a mathematical equation, it's become a given. Now we've moved onto dinner. Is this just dinner, or have we actually made a date?

Have we been dating for at least the last few weeks?

Don't get carried away, Benson. You'll tie yourself in a knot you'll never get undone. I warn myself.

I'm actually going to your apartment and cooking for you. Isn't there something mildly ritualistic in that? Like Phase 1, Step 2 of Courting Rituals 101? Why do you make me feel like such a hormonal teenager? All I can think of sometime is how much I want to lock your office door and have my way with you.

Damn, there I go again.

You had one little button undone, I reacted just like the Victorians must have over a bit of ankle. What are you doing to me, Alex? I'm obsessed with you, and it's getting stronger every day. I can't think about you objectively anymore.

It isn't just hormonal fantasies I'm having about you, that's the least of it. I find myself caring about you more and more. I think about you first thing in the morning when I wake up, wishing you were there beside me. So I could kiss you awake and feel your radiant smile fill my heart with hope for a good day ahead, if there's such a thing in our line of work. Hey, a girl could hope!

Throughout the day, I catch myself looking for reasons to call you or come see you. An hour at lunch is no longer sufficient. I know I'm encroaching on the precious little time you have away from work. Time you must need for yourself. I feel bad about it at first, at least a little guilty about my selfishness. You don't seem to mind though, so I'm taking that as a go-ahead. Lately, I seem to need to fill every waking hour with your presence. Would you call that obsession? I certainly would.

Have you noticed it yet? The way you walk into the squad room lights up my face like a stadium light.

At odd, random moments of the day I find myself thinking about you. I come out of these short daydreams finding Elliot giving me one of those quizzical looks or smirking at me and I blush. I've never blushed about anything in front of Elliot before, now it's almost a daily occurrence.

What am I letting you do to me, Alex?

On a more serious note, when did I start needing a confessor? Now I'm coming to your office at the end of each case, good or bad, and unloading all of my doubts and frustrations at your feet. You always listen patiently and manage to say something, anything to help me feel better. And I always get one of your radiant smiles. Do you know how much that has come to mean to me? Of course not, you probably think I'm some pathetic loon babbling away. Yet you always listen, you really seem to care.

Today, weeks after the end of the case, I finally unloaded on you about Colin Tandy. How horrible I felt for everything I had to do. What I put him through left me ashamed. In the end all he could do was bury his dead wife and baby, and then go home to his motherless children. How did bringing his wife's killer to justice help him?

You talked me down on that one. Told me all the things I needed to hear, even though I knew them. How I was still a good cop, that sometimes I had to do things I didn't like, even hated. How do you do it? I am in awe of you. You helped restore an understanding I thought I had lost. You have no idea how much you help me keep my sanity.

I even surprised myself during these last couple of weeks. On more occasions than one, I found myself standing between you and Elliot. I really thought I was going to have to separate you two. Deeper still, I was prepared to defend you against him, take him on if I needed to, whatever it took to protect you.

Don't know if you noticed, but he did.

I saw the hurt in his eyes, I've never let anyone come between us before until you. I know he felt I was betraying him, siding with the enemy. Yes, to him, you're the enemy even though we're all on the same side. Probably because he blames you on the procedural exercises that the system requires of you, of all of us. Anyway, we've always defended one another. He thought I would always have his back, always be there to side with him. He never said a word about it, and that's a good thing. I don't trust myself not to blow up at him and tell him to find himself a new partner. He probably knows that, too.

You know what's really amazing though? I really didn't care one way or the other what he thought. If I am honest with myself, I'd have to admit coming to your defense was a simple gut reaction. Should it disturb me? Probably, especially since I'm not sure how you feel about me. Is it going to stop me from doing it again? No.

Whether you want a protector or not, you have one.

I came to you for comfort, to purge my demons and rid myself of the sick feeling I have at the end of every day. Elliot and I used to do that for one another, or the whole squad. We would go down a few beers and talk about what a great job we did. Anything to blunt the horror we carried around inside, liquid expiation so we could come back and do it again.

Now I run to your office, shut the door and the world out. I spill my guilt, my doubts, even some of my fears to you. I can't tell you about some the savagery I see, the demonic things people do to each other. I can't tell you the number of crime scenes I see with too much blood. Spread across the walls, floors, and the victims, as if some mad artist had been given free rein with a brush.

It was like that with Grace Mayberry and her son. I couldn't tell you how we really found them. Fortunately, this time I don't have to. Jersey gets this case, not us, and one way or the other Jason Mayberry will be locked up for life, so I don't have to tell you. For once, I could spare you from the depravity, from the graphic details. I'm so glad I could; at least one of us doesn't have to carry that around with her forever.

Despite all of the things I don't tell you, talking to you do make them go away. Somehow they don't come back to haunt me after our soul searching sessions. I think you may have missed your calling. Did you ever think about being a therapist? You would have been every bit as good as Huang. Maybe even better.

I'd pay anything to have you be my personal therapist for life.

You make me whole again, Alex. No one has ever been able to do that before. Even if you don't feel about me the way I want you to, I'll always love you for that and so much more. I can think of many worse things than going to bed and waking up with you in my head and heart.

Although going to bed and waking up with you in my arms would be even better...

Suddenly, I hear Elliot chuckle. He is looking at me and grinning. Oh God, how long has he been watching. How do I do this to myself? I feel the warm red flush creeping up my face. It only makes his grin wider. I hate him sometimes. He is such a jackass. He enjoys these moments way too much.

“That must have been some daydream.” He comments.

I take a deep invisible breath to push the blood from my face, and smile. “You have no idea.”

“Guess it's not something you're going to share either, huh?”


He shakes his head at me and goes back to his paperwork. “You know, Benson, you're just no fun anymore.”

I laugh. “Bite me.”

Part 3. Alex

How did it happen? Suddenly so quickly?

Wasn't it only a few weeks ago that we were taking dinners together? Suddenly, you're a fixture on my weekends, in my apartment, my every waking every sleeping moment.

All right, I'm exaggerating, but everyday, I see you at work. Afterwards, I go home, and I wait for you. Or, you're swinging by my office to pick me up; we go out, or we head straight back to my place. Inevitably we end up in my bed, talking the night away, falling asleep in each others arms.

Falling asleep chastely. It almost felt like a two-person slumber party. In a way, it was comforting. Almost reassuring. Especially when you kept coming back.

Especially since you haven't been pressuring me for anything. Not even a kiss. In fact, I was getting tired of waiting for you to make the first move. I'm not made of stone, you know? You flirted with me, leered down my shirt, slept in my bed, and the most I've gotten were good morning pecks on the cheek.

I think my mother's hello kisses were warmer than yours.

And I was beginning to think you're not interested. That maybe you're looking for a friend, or a surrogate sister at best.

I've heard so much, too much about your reputation. How you would screw them on the first date, take them to heaven and leave them in hell. That it's almost impossible to get a second date with you, especially if they didn't put out. Or maybe if they did put out. Were those all lies? Now I wonder.

Considering where we're heading right now, I hope they were just lies. Better yet, I hope the rumors were true, but you behaved, are behaving differently around me because I'm different. Because I hold a special place in your heart.

It's not too egotistical for me to think that, is it? God, I really hope it's not just my arrogance, or my self-delusion… I want more than just a night, well, an afternoon, of passion with you. So much more.

I can't believe this is really happening. Finally happening. The first time I step foot in your apartment. The first time. In your bed.

Why are your fingers trembling? It's your own shirt you're unbuttoning, for crying out loud. Aren't you supposed to be the last of the red hot lovers? I try to hide my amazement and confusion, I think I somehow managed.

“Let me,” I smile at you, and brush your shaky fingers away. And I watch you hold your breath as I reach the last button, as I slide your shirt off your shoulders. Watch you inhale sharply and close your eyes when I free your breasts from their black satin confinement. I've always wondered if you're a cotton, satin or lace kind of woman. Finally, I have an answer.

Maybe there's more than one answer. I hope I'll have the opportunity to find out. Just in case I don't, I let my gaze wander all over your body, committing all of you to my memory.

I know you're watching me as I make love to you with my eyes. I think I'm even managing to seem more experienced than I really am. That's good. That's such a relief.

I draw you to me, tracing your features with the tips of my fingers. I've been wanting to touch you for so long; finally, I can.

I touch you with my breath; I touch you with my kisses. Soft chaste kisses that make you still your breathing, that make you sigh.

I let my palms drift from your cheeks across your shoulders, testing them. They're broader than mine definitely, but not intimidating. I can feel your biceps pulse, straining as you hold your hands still, softly, so gently around my waist. Are you always so patient? Or do you rip off their clothes and get to business?

Then I tease you with my fingers, rolling lightly your hardening flesh. Watching you swallow and take in a deeper breath, feeling your softness press into my hands. Somehow, the way you whimper widens my smile.

You're so different from what I've imagined, from what I've heard. So different from the few people I've been intimate with. So very, very different.

As I roam and nuzzle your skin, tasting you, faces of people from my past weave back and forth behind my eyes. Trevor who's nice, who could have been my brother; Alan Messinger who I'd rather forget; Prescott who I could have married; Kenneth who loved me; Leon, my cousin, the first boy I kissed. All the men and boys who could have been but never were. Funny, I'm even remembering the day my best friend and I decided to take our own virginity, for our blood-sister pact, on our eighteenth birthday… so people won't know; so now you won't know…

Ah. Here she is. The girl. My first love. I was beginning to wonder if she'd show up. I made myself forget that face so long ago. Sometimes I look at you, and I see glimpses of her, and I wonder if I'm just chasing her shadows in you. Not anymore. I promise you, I promise myself.

I bring your head up and I kiss you, deeply, fiercely. It's you, Liv, that I'm kissing, that I'm in love with. I tell you with this kiss. Don't know if you hear me or not, but she does. I know this, for as quickly as she appears, her image vanishes again from my memory.

Now I see only you. Only me and you, sitting, facing each other, in your bed.

I think now I'm ready. I'm ready for this.

Slowly, reluctantly, I pull away from you, away from your lips, your lingering kisses. With my hand on your arm, I ground myself, and I wait. Wait for you to open your eyes, to see my smile. For you to dance your fingers across the fabric of my sweater, then my shirt, then my skin.

For you to drape your body so carefully over mine.

We move together, flesh to flesh. Your hands your mouth on my breasts, my hips, my thighs, my legs. Your torso, your full softness pressing down my body and back. Your hair tickling as you paint liquid kisses all over me. As you lick and tease me open, circling, sucking, so sweet and slow…

Until I rock against you. Until I tense and hold you to me.

Then you sweep your lips, your kisses upwards, still sweet and slow, until we're face to face.

So I can taste myself on your mouth, your cheeks, your chin.

So you can watch me smile back at you. Watch me close my eyes and rake my nails across your skin and shudder against you. Hear my sighs and shouts dissolve into your name.

As you slide your fingers gently, deep inside me.

For the first time.

Deep. Roughly into my heart.

Part 4. Olivia

Try as I may, I still can't get the image out of my head. It's been weeks now, Grace Mayberry half naked, covered in blood soaked sheets, Jason laying next to her. Why this case, you ask me. I honestly don't know.

Really, it's always the same blood, the same gore, just different settings, different victims. I've never been able to explain how I can go back day after day. It's enough to drive most people insane, I know. Well, at least most normal people. Suppose we all have our ways of dealing with it. For me, I work like a mad woman until the case is finished, then I rock climb or run until my body gives out and exhaustion sets in. Then I have no choice but to sleep.

Meanwhile, I still don't know how you do it. I've watched you study all the photographs and review all the reports. Combing through every detail of every case, going over every statement until you can recite them in your sleep. Sure, you don't see the actual crime scene, and the last time you saw a dead body you lost your lunch. But does that really matter? Does it make your job any easier? I don't think so.

Somehow you manage to steel yourself, to know what you have to, in order to get some sort of justice for the victims and their families.

If I could, and I wish I could, I'd make it so that you won't have to see any of that ugliness…

At least I eventually get away from it. I don't have to come to court unless I have to testify. You have to do all of that research and then live it every day until the trial is over, sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months. When you lose, you blame yourself, I know you do. Even when you win, you still carry the images and details with you, I'm sure of that, too. Sometimes, when your guard is down, I can see them in your eyes.

Physically, I'm admittedly stronger than you are; it sort of goes with the job. If I'm honest about all of this, though, you're by far the stronger of two of us.

You're definitely the wiser; you make me stop and think.

These last few weeks have definitely been a new experience for me.

For the past weeks, I've spent almost every night in your bed, with you in my arms, just sleeping. There's been nothing more than that, just an occasional kiss on the cheek if I was lucky. I'm not sure why that hasn't bothered me, and I'm not sure I really care.

Nothing like that has ever happened before…

With you, everything just seems right.

Somehow, it's enough for me to just hold you and listen to you talk. The myriad fragrances that fill my senses, your perfume, your shampoo, even the soap you use, they all blend to create a bouquet of scents that rival all of the gardens I've ever enjoyed. The warm softness of your skin as you lay against me robs me of what little reason I have. In the low light of the bedside lamp, your hair shines like a halo of gold.

When you look at me I could drown in the ocean blue of your eyes. And when you smile, at me, I feel like I would die of happiness.

Now we have come to this moment of ultimate intimacy…

I am in awe of your beauty. Stricken mute by the sight of your magnificent body, given to me now as a precious gift. I am humbled by your trust and emboldened by the passion in your eyes. You hold out your hands to me and draw me into your embrace.

I will remember this day for the rest of my life.

I've always been terrified to love anyone, afraid that it wouldn't last. With you, I'm willing to deny those fears. The fear of losing you is far greater.

We seem perfect for one another, a complete union of hearts, minds, and spirits. You restore me and complete me, Alex Cabot.

Until you came into my life I was on a collision course with madness. Nothing obvious, slowly a little bit at the time. I was slipping further and further away from sanity, first into sleeplessness and after that a mind numbing routine from which there seemed no escape. I was lost and alone in a journey to my own destruction and damnation.

You come along and refuse to take no for an answer. You're determined to save me from myself. You restore me both body and soul. You make me laugh when I wanted to cry. You make me smile and realize just how foolish my anger is.

As stupid and corny as this may sound, heck, as any of it may sound, I'm a big sappy mush ball when it comes to you… I feel as if I were a decaying building already prepared for demolition when you found me. When I became your rehabilitation project.

With incredible patience and understanding, you salvage my cynical soul.

Being with you is as if I am walking in beauty every single day. No words describe it, no songs do it justice, and no amount of fervent exclamations can give you the praise you deserve. You restore me; you are my salvation.

Without you, I am nothing.


Part 1. Alex

Should I? Or should I not? It's a big step for all of us. It's always been just my mother and me at the Foundation. If I asked you, would you go?

It could be potentially awkward, and I'd be putting you on the spot.

What if you have other plans? What if you simply don't want to go? Maybe you'd think it's too soon. Considering we've only been intimate for six months, and I'm not really sure what we are to each other yet. Six month's not a long time, is it? Leon's been dating the same girl for what? Four years now? And she had just started attending family functions, and not even all of them.

And Thanksgiving at Destin was never a function for the entire family.

Maybe it doesn't have to be a big deal. Maybe I can tell you it's just for the children. They really would love a visit from a real life cop, especially after 9-11. You would do it for the kids, and not think too much into the whole thing, right?

Meanwhile, my Mother would get to meet you.

I don't know why she's been asking so many questions; it's almost like she wants to know everything there is to know about you. She never cared before, about any of the people I brought home, friends, classmates or otherwise. I wonder why she's starting now?

Maybe you answering my phone two weekend mornings in a row had something to do with it. I still can't believe you did that. It's embarrassing then; and it's still embarrassing.

I'm really not sure if I want Mother to know who's been sharing my bed, or who's been making me blush like I'm blushing now.

Just how did I get myself into this? Maybe there's a way I can get myself out without involving you… Though I'm not sure if that's at all what I want.

Part of me really wants you and my Mother to meet. Yeah, sure, six month's not a very long time, and really, I don't know how you feel about me. But I know how I feel about you. I don't think another six months would make any difference. I'm sure I love you as much as I'm capable of loving another person.

In my heart, I'm pretty sure you're “the one”. I just hope you feel the same way about me. If you do, will you tell me? When?

On the other hand, maybe right now it's not a very good time for us to talk about this. It almost seems frivolous, definitely trivial, considering what you're going through at the moment.

What are you doing right now, anyway? Where are you? For the second day, I'm watching the clock on my office wall tick through lunch. Are you held up at the lab or something? Or maybe another interrogation? I wish you'd call and let me know.

Maybe I should go grab something for me. But what if you decide to show up while I'm gone? If you decide you want to talk, I want to be here for you.

I can only sigh, and reach into my desk drawer. I don't even look as I pull out a random foil package; they're all the same anyway. Hello health bar, guess you're it for lunch.

I do hope you'll come around soon. Or at least talk to someone else.

Elliot actually called me yesterday. I could tell he was concerned, but he didn't know how to explain to me why he thought I'd care enough to… well, care.

You and I never talk about this, but I think Elliot knows about us, and I know he didn't hear it from you.

Anyway, I know how difficult this latest case must be for you.

Knowing you, you're probably wondering if you inherited a violent gene, too. Knowing you, you're probably also questioning if your mother had ever felt about you like Martha Shelby felt about her son. You might even be asking yourself if your mother hated you like Susan Guan felt about Darrell growing up…

Yes, Elliot told me everything. Your meeting with Starnes. The look on your face when you realized he could have a son out there committing the rape - murder. Your partner even told me how you shut him out after Bronxville. How you grabbed Darrell and pushed him into a brick wall before throwing him onto the ground, and the way you acted afterwards.

Yeah, if I were you, I'd be having issues, too.

Maybe if you don't want to talk to me, you'd at least go talk to George. He's a psychiatrist, he can help. It's got to be a difficult case for him as well; he might actually understand more than you think. Would you do it if I asked you to?

Would you talk to me, if I come to you?

Part 2 Olivia

I'm here sitting on my bench in the Park again today, just like yesterday. I hope you'll forgive me for not showing up for our usual lunch date. I've got a lot on my mind with the Guan case, and I just need to be by myself.

Right. Who am I kidding?

Since the trial, I've been afraid to be alone with you. I could be just like him, a time bomb waiting to go off. What's going to be my trigger? Will it be a dream while you're sleeping in my arms? I can't bear to think what I might do to you in a moment of madness.

This is why I have to stay away from you. I can't risk hurting you, the person I love most in this world. It's a real possibility that I could just become unhinged one day and be just like my father. You've got to know that Alex, you're never going to be truly safe with me.

Why did I ever think I could have a normal life? How could I be so damned naïve? What difference is there between Guan and I? Or any other perverted bastard who rapes? I'm a product of rape. My grandparents disowned my mother for keeping me. I ruined her life and all their hopes and dreams for her. They couldn't even bear to look at me, that's why we stopped seeing them. Mother never said it, but I know it's true.

Did Mother drink her life away because she never got over being raped? Because every time she looked at me, she remembered her ordeal? Remembered him?

I wonder if somewhere deep inside she carried the same hatred for me that my grandparents did? I know she said she loved me, but part of her had to hate me too. Look at Darrell's mother, she admitted it to me. She hated Darrell as much as she loved him, maybe more.

I've always looked down on my mother, resented her and pitied her too. Couldn't understand how she could be so weak, so pathetic, drowning herself in a bottle. Well, no wonder she did. And no wonder she was a workaholic, she buried herself in work then would drink herself into oblivion just so she didn't have to face me. All this time I blamed and hated her…

It turned out to be my own damn fault. My own damn existence.

No, I didn't ask to be brought here, but I'm here and I've always tried to make the best of it. But now I wonder, is there some genetic time bomb inside me just waiting to go off? I'll never know and I'll never be able to risk being around you when it does. I know it will, one day. When? I don't think anyone's going to be able to tell me.

Everyone from the Captain to Munch is worried about me. They don't say it, but now I wonder, are they worried about how the case upsetting me? Or are they worried when I'm going to crack and start acting the same way? My own team having to hunt me down in dark alleys, to pick up the pieces after me? You throwing the book at me?

Okay, I know I'm sounding like a paranoid lunatic. But can you blame me?

I know Elliott told you everything. My meeting with Starnes, the look on my face when I realized that I could be my father's child, more than I ever was my mother's. Then I tried to pound Darrell into the building. If Elliott hadn't pulled me off I might have killed him. He was just running away, he wasn't trying to hurt either of us. If it were me in Guan's place, fleeing, I doubt even you would have charged me with resisting arrest, and you're one of the most zealous prosecutors I've ever known. Maybe that's where I belong, locked up somewhere before I can really hurt anyone.

You're probably wondering where I am now, and maybe I should call to at least tell you. But I'm afraid you'd want to talk. I'm not sure if I'm ready to face you. Not when I'm like this.

I know you Alex, you'll be conciliatory and sympathetic. You won't believe someone you could love might be capable of that sort of horror.

You know they say every monster has one or two good qualities. Ted Bundy was charming, and a good son. Gacy loved being a clown for the neighborhood children. Well, I'm sympathetic to the victims and I have the good sense to love you. Still, I'm probably no better than they are. Someday I'll crack and do something just as bad, or worse.

Maybe I should go talk to Huang, maybe he can tell me if I'm cracking up, or if I there's any chance of me turning uncontrollably violent. Hopefully, he'll convince me I'm just paranoid, that all human beings have choices. After all, haven't I been making mostly right choices?

I'm not sure if I'm a monster, I hope not, I certainly don't want to be. Do I really have any choice?

Part 3. Alex

Now at least I know you've been avoiding me on purpose. Why? Do you think I might look at you or think about you differently because of this case? If you do, you really don't know me at all.

You definitely don't know yourself.

You came to the trial everyday, like I knew you would. And everyday you flew out of the court room before I could speak to you. I'm not going to let you do that today.

I hope you're listening right now. I hope you know the questions I asked, the arguments I'm making, all of which are for your benefit as much as they're for the jury's.

It is perfectly understandable that you wouldn't grow up to be a well adjusted individual. Come on, look at me, my dad supposedly loved my mom, even drank himself to death for that love. I'm sure I'm fucked up somehow simply because I have knowledge of that fact. So, for what you've gone through, growing up knowing you were a product of rape and living with an alcoholic, I think you're a remarkable human being. I'm sure many people without my bias would agree with me.

You're the proof, Olivia, that we're not just the result of our genetic programming, or the product of our upbringing. You're proof that we have choices. We all do.

I hope you can see that. I hope you know I'm not just arguing to win a case. I mean every single word I'm saying.

And I know you're nothing like Darrell Guan.

Finally, I've done all I can for the victims and their families, and we're waiting for the verdict. Finally, I have my chance with you. Maybe I have more power vested in me in this department. Maybe. Anyway, if Mohammed runs away from the mountain, the mountain will find him and sit on him.

“Come to my office while we wait?” I ask you, although I let you know by the tone of my voice that it isn't a request. Just to make sure we're clear, I add, “I want to talk to you.”

You sigh, in defeat, and follow me reluctantly.

I lean against at the edge of my desk, making a point not to shield or hug myself, and I tell you, “I've missed you. For lunch. And everything else.”

“I'm sorry, Alex, I've been busy.”

“Too busy to even call and cancel lunch?”

“I'm sorry.”

Well, we can keep at this and we won't get anywhere. Fine. Let's just cut to the chase. “You're not like Darrell Guan, Olivia. You haven't raped and murdered anyone.”

You look down at your shoes, and kick your heel. “Not yet, Alex. Not yet.”

“I can't believe I'm hearing this!”

“What about all the times I come in and shove you up against the wall, Alex… It's only logical to…” You look and sound so guilty.

Something tells me you want me to convince you how wrong you are. Guess that's what I'll have to do. “It's not, Liv, you haven't done anything thing against my will. If I had told you to stop at any point, you would.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because I know you, Olivia, you're not a product of your genetics, Darrell Guan is not a product of his genetics. He had choices, just like you have choices.” I repeat myself, just in case you didn't hear me in court just now. I open my arms to you. “And I know you'll always make the right decisions.”

You inch a little closer. “Well, maybe I just haven't…”

If I reach out to you, I can touch you. So I do, and pull you close, resting my arms on your shoulders, and softly caressing the back of your head and neck. “Come on, Liv, I'm sure you and Darrell Guan aren't the only products of rapes. There are many like you out there. And I'm sure, just like you, they are perfectly non-violent, law-abiding citizens.”

“But you and I both know…” You start to place your hand on my thigh, but you pull back, and you're still refusing to look at me. “I can be aggressive, and I have a temper.”

“Look at me, Liv,” I demand, with an edge to my voice.

You raise your head, looking like you're waiting for judgment day.

“I too have a temper, and you're making me cranky.”

You cringe. I'm so sorry.

Still, you're not done wallowing in your guilt, your self-doubts. “What about my mother? She drank…”

“Many people had terrible things happened to them.” I pull you into my embrace, and try to be gentle in my directness. “Not all of them attempt to find solace in the bottle,” I tell you, and kiss you softly on the lips. “You can't blame yourself for everything.”

“I guess…” you sigh. “I'm sorry for not calling.”

“I'm sorry for being cranky with you just now,” I too offer my apology, while soothing out the line between your brows with my touch.

“I'm just… I was afraid, I'm still afraid, I'm going to hurt you.”

“I know you're not like your father. Just trust me on this, all right?”

Part 4 Olivia

I wish I could say I was surprised when you pull me to you. I can't. Part of me was hoping you would, as much as I wanted to run away to keep you safe from me. I wanted you to show me I'm all right, that I'm worth loving.

You do, Alex. You do so well. And I so want to believe you.

In your arms, I feel safe. I feel sane. Your touches feel so good, so right. How can I doubt we belong together? When you do things like this every thought rational or not flies out of my head. All I know is the warmth of your hands on my body, and the heat of yours against my skin.

How can I let you seduce me so easily? I have no backbone, no will of my own. You only need to smile at me, and I surrender.

And all I want is you…

I want to believe you, I really do, that I'm not the sum of my genetics. But maybe I'm just lucky, for now.

I didn't turn into an alcoholic just because my mother was one. I admit I've tied one on a time or two, but I rarely do that anymore. I've certainly done my share of stupid things while under the influence, like sleeping with Cassidy. I made a conscious choice not to drink to that extent again, and I haven't. Score one for my side. Maybe you are right.

Maybe I'm lucky, I do have a choice.

I'm lucky, but who knows for how long. I feel the rage seething just below the radar. There are times I want to let go and lash out at all the things that make me angry. I want to cause the same kind of pain and suffering other people have caused. I know you would try to tell me that it's a normal reaction, but it isn't. You and I both know that.

One day, Alex, I'm afraid I'm going to take it out on you. I don't know what it will be, but I live in fear of that every time I'm with you. Am I going to let that stop me from seeing you? Of course not, I'm too damn selfish for that, and I'm going to keep endangering you until one day my luck is going to run out and you'll be my victim.

God, I hope I never see that day.

I'm too easily seduced by you to stay away. I'm also far too selfish to give you up willingly. I know I love you, but I can't even bring myself to say it. I wrap it up in so much fluff and nonsense, that if I say it, our love will die.

If I do let you hang around me I know at some point I'll hurt you one way or another.

Am I going to say anything to warn you? Share my greatest fears with you? Probably not, because I'm terrified you'll finally realize that the wonderful person you think you see is nothing but a horrible fraud. I don't ever want to hurt you, Alex, but I'm so afraid I will. I think sometimes I should just get in my car and drive as far and as fast away from you as I can, then you'd be safe, at least from me.

Alcoholism and perverted violence are two different things. The substance abuse develops over time, but the violence is a sleeping beast. At least with the drinking there are some physical clues that you've got a problem. With the other thing, I can't even name it, it just happens, no warning, no hints. Should I cause you that kind of harm, I think I'd kill myself.

I hope you can understand that I'm going through a lot right now, having a few strange thoughts, lots of rage. You aren't safe around me. Maybe you think you are, but trust me, Alex, I know myself well enough. Someday, when you're least expecting and certainly not prepared for it, I'll go off on you. Like some violent explosion.

My advice to you, Alex my love, Is head for the point furthest away from me and stay there. It's the only way you'll ever be truly safe.

At least from me.

Now, if only I could bring myself to warn you. If only I could stop myself from coming back to you, time and again, for your reassurances, your comfort…

I guess I should go talk to Huang.

Part 5. Alex

Elliot is a funny guy, and underneath all the anger and gruff exterior, he's a nice guy. At least he cares about you enough to call me. Call me to tell me you had just talked to Huang, even though I know it still kills him to be nice to me. And he's stopped trying to explain why he thinks I should be concerned. I'm sure if you and he switched shoes, you wouldn't have called me, and he wouldn't have expected you to. Like I said, Elliot is a funny guy; I'm glad he has your back.

So you've talked to Huang. I wonder what he said to you. Something helpful, I hope. Sometimes I don't know how you can lug around so much guilt. I don't know how any sane person can…

“Hey!” you say as you pop your head in. Whoa!

“Sorry if I startled you. Guess I should've knocked.” You grin sheepishly as you flop down in the chair across from me.

I just shrug and smile. Somehow your presence always make me smile. “Lunch time already?”

“We can wait a little if you're not hungry.” You offer. I can tell by the tone of your voice you're here early to talk.

“Yeah, if you don't mind.” I come around the desk and hop up on top, letting my feet dangle in front of you. So what do you want to talk about? I wonder silently.

“I had a little chat with Huang today. Right before I came here, actually.”


“He told me pretty much the same thing you did the other day.”

“Aha! And you wouldn't believe me!” With the toe of my shoe, I nudge you playfully on your leg.

“I still don't know.” You sigh softly to yourself. “Can I be really be that lucky?”

Well, you have me. I want to quip, but I don't. That's too egotistical sounding, among other things. “I don't think it has anything to do with luck.” I tell you instead.

“Anyway,” you smile, grab my foot, and slip my shoe off. “What would you like to do for lunch?”

I close my eyes to the gentle massage. “You could keep doing that.”

“I'm sure I'd get hungry later. Elliot's gonna wonder what I did for lunch.”

Winking, I tease, “You can tell him you did me.”

“I'm serious. I want food-food, in addition to you-food.”

“Aren't we greedy.” I take my left foot back and give you the other one. “Hey, I have something I've been meaning to ask you.”


“What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” I decided to take the plunge. “My mom and I usually spend ours at the Foundation, maybe you'd like to go with me this year, and visit the kids?”

“Oh, Alex, I'm so sorry,” you tell me, seemingly regretful. “I told Elliot I'd spend Thanksgiving with them. I suppose I can cancel…”

“Don't.” I hide my disappointment and my relief, and smile. “I'm sure his kids are looking forward to seeing their Auntie Olivia. Considering you've stopped going around as often these days.” Ever since we started spending time together actually.

“Maybe next year? If the invitation's still open?” you ask and press your lips gently to my calf.

“Mmm. Sure.” I can feel myself responding to your touch. “You locked the door?”

You nod, your lips drifting higher and higher.

Yeah, there's always next year; and there's right now…

Part 6 Olivia

I talked to George like you suggested. You were right, he's good and he helped me a lot. He said the things I needed to hear. He agreed with me that sometimes situations require me to be aggressive, even violent. He even told me how perfectly justifiable it is for me to apprehend a perp with force, if he or she is fighting to escape. When I face a criminal committing a crime, sometimes I will have no choice.

He assured me that when faced with choices, he thinks I will make the right ones. I chose to protect people from those who would hurt them.

Well, basically, he told me everything you did. It's not that I didn't believe you. I wanted to. I do. But I also wanted an opinion from someone without your bias. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I don't think you can be objective when it comes to me.

Oh, but neither am I suggesting that you're incapable of stepping back, and seeing things as they are… I'm sure if I start acting strangely you'll sit me down and have a not so friendly chat.

Why do I feel like I'm digging a hole for myself?

Anyway! I feel better about trusting myself to be here with you now. I can't second guess the unknown, I certainly let something that may never happen impede my future. Maybe if I continue to be lucky, a future with you?

I'm lucky in so many ways that Darrell Guan wasn't. I have a support system, I have people who care about me, and accept me as I am. People who give me more credit than I'm willing to give myself.

And most importantly, I have you.

I know I startled you when I walked in like that. You were so deep in thought, you looked a million miles away. I hope I caught you daydreaming about a quiet island somewhere on a beach towel for two. With me, of course.

You give me one of your sweet, radiant smile, and ask me what I want to talk about. I tell you that George told me pretty much the same things you did. Fortunately you took it really well that he got through my morass of self doubt and loathing faster than you did. Can you be any more fantastic?

Suddenly, I don't want to talk anymore. I'm watching your beautiful legs dangle in front of me. And what lovely temptations you offer for the eyes and the soul.

I slip off your shoe and begin with a foot massage. After just the briefest of moments, I feel your tension melting away. It may have been my imagination, but I think I'm hearing soft little moans from you as I progress from your toes to your heel, then from your left foot to your right.

I tell you I not only want real food for lunch, but you as well. You seem to think I'm teasing you, but I can assure you I'm not. I want you in all the best ways, but not in a heated rush.

I need to prove to you to me that I can be gentle, that I can be trusted.

Pulling me from my reverie, you ask me a serious question. Would I like to spend Thanksgiving with you and your Mother at the Destin Foundation. For a moment I'm stunned speechless. This is the family holiday right behind Christmas, in the big top five of special family times together, and you're inviting me!

Wait. It would mean meeting your Mother!

I'm suddenly scared half to death. Am I ready for that?

Is your Mother ready for that.? Does she really want to know who's been sharing her daughter's bed. Hm. I guess she probably does.

I've been told I clean up nicely, maybe I wouldn't embarrass you too much… While I'm debating in my head, you explain that it's for the kids at the Foundation. Maybe it isn't such a big deal after all.

Then it hits me. I promised Elliott I would spend the holiday with he, Kathy and the kids. How could I be so stupid? I may never get another invitation from you!

I tell you about my promise to Elliott, and you sound genuinely disappointed. Maybe I still stand a chance. “Maybe next year? If the invitation is still open?” I ask you, and kiss you gently on your calf.

“Mmm.” Comes your soft sigh. “Sure,” you reply and I feel you respond to my touch.

I smile when you ask if I had locked the door. And I concentrate on an especially sensitive spot by your knee. Slowly, I inch higher along your leg, sliding your skirt up as I go. Much to my pleasant surprise you're wearing garters, your underwear worn over them.

I slip my fingers beneath the pink lace and ease the soft material down your fair skin. Raising your hips, you let me slide them off. Moving closer to the edge of your desk in the process, closer to my waiting lips.

“So. Were you expecting or hoping?” I breathe against you as I tease up the insides of your thigh. I'm so close to you now, so close to your center. I can feel the heat from your body, and scent your desire, as you try to push against me, to welcome me.

I stop and look up. “Well?” I wait.

Blushing, you deny, “Neither.”

When I lightly trace and circle your flesh with my tongue, you confess, with a moan, “Both.”

“Good girl.” I say, and take you into my mouth.

Food-food can wait.