Disclaimer: I don't own Law and Order.
Author's Note: A shortie for my annual Valentine's Day fic because I've been busy with my own reviews and plans with the Teen Titans fandoms and I am afraid I'll miss my deadline with a longer project. I had this idea when I was in the kitchen making a cup of soup.
Beta: H.Moth, you know the drill.
Dedication: Moonbeamdancer, don't read too much into this. Shifty eyes. But go ahead and do anyway.
Timeline: We'll say early Season 16 just to make sure.
"Ouch! Damn it!"
Abbie grumbled as she cut her finger as she was slicing a block of Mozzarella in her kitchen. She eyed the clock.
'4:40. I still got time. He won't be home until 5:30 as usual.'
She wiped some sweat off her forehead with her arm and looked at the ingredients she assembled.
'Okay, I got the veal pieces in the baking pan. Now I got to make the sauce next. Cutting it close; didn't get out of work until 3:00. God knows how many favors I have to owe for that. And then I blew another hour to get my materials and start it right after like the third time. Couldn't make it this morning or he would have smelled the ingredients.'
She cut another finger.
"Damn it! I don't even know why I bother with this. Not like he would care about the effort, would he?" She rubbed her finger with her thumb and washed it in cold water.
'Arrogant workaholic bastard. Wonder if he'd make a meal like this for me. Probably wouldn't, who am I kidding?'
She washed off the finger and resumed cutting.
'At least I got few more slices to make, since I finished the ham, amazingly without losing any fingers.' She hesitantly sliced again.
'Workaholic, what else is he? A womanizer, yeah, God knows how many women he's been with before he met me. Let's see—into his toys like other men, a smirk to drive me insane because he thinks he's so right.'
She finished the slices and found a large skillet, sprinkled three tablespoons of flour into drippings on the pan and then stirred in white wine, the vegetarian concoction known as "V-8", chicken broth, and lemon juice in specific proportions according to the recipe. She set the burner on low heat and just waited.
'I would have ordered out if I known it was going to be this long or boring, although that sounds tacky after all those Chinese meals.'
The A.D.A. sighed and was half tempted to take a swig from the wine bottle. 'Why not? He certainly drinks the scotch.' She drank from the bottle.
'That's enough, I don't want to add alcoholic to my resume, which is what I fear if he keeps it up,' she sighed again.
'Why do I worry about him so much? He keeps getting more and more reckless with his habits, which goes hand to hand with his job consuming him. I just wish he'd quit that job already and move on. He's done more than enough to rack up points to impress the robe off of St. Peter.'
She stirred the sauce. 'I know why he does it just wish I knew why he continues, he's done his time. At the rate he's going, he might be on the receiving end of a threat or something worse, like Cabot or Novak in my old stomping grounds of S.V.U.,' she sighed heavily again.
'I wonder if it's demons or male ego fueling this. I sure picked one hell of a guy to be with.' Abbie noticed ripples on the sauce before it started to thicken.
'If I have fallen for that and I have, what does that make me? A masochist? A fool? Or just someone in love? Seems to be the latter—it has to be. Right?'
The sauce thickened and her reflection distorted.
'Or maybe just a masochistic fool in love. Why did I fall for him again? Damn it, sauce is thickening. Time to do the next step.'
She positioned her Mozzarella slices and slices of prosciutto ham over 8 veal cutlets in the baking pan and inserted it into the oven. She set the timer for 10 minutes and waited and glanced at her recipe. "10 minutes or when cheese melts, I hate waiting."
'Where was I? Oh, right, why do I love this smug, womanizing, workaholic bastard again? Let's see, we share similar thoughts and views, let alone political issues as it came with the job, although I think I take things one step further than even he does. And yet we still argue on things, rather funny irony for two people to be so similar to do that. We're combustible at times but not all the time, usually we can be as calm and as quiet they can get.
'We certainly mesh well together, I know I never got along this well with a man before him, even telling him things I never told anyone before.' Her mind drifted to her rape. 'And he didn't falter when I tell him things—he is a strong man, believes in himself and doesn't care about people might say. Although, I do wish he wasn't as brazen with his past with all those women. With my past, it's rather hard to overcome that, but at least he isn't flaunting it. Not like he used to. Maybe it is just he's getting older and wiser.' She had another sip of wine.
'I certainly never had a man excite my passions like he has in our debates, our conversations, or well, that will come later tonight if I don't lose my fingers to gangrene with these cuts. I just wish his own passions could be transferred off before it comes back to bite him. I don't know. The job is getting worse and worse with him as he's getting burnout, but I know he can't quit for the same reason why I can't—for the children and those who had their share of abuse like the two of us. Yet another similarity,' she snorted.
'I just never thought I'd see such similarity from a man who should be the direct opposite of me. I always wish I could explain my attraction, even now after so long. What drives me to him? What makes me want him?'
The bell sounded off and the cheese fused with the cutlets. 'Whoops.' She grabbed the baking pan and placed it on top of the oven. She rummaged the kitchen for a platter.
'What drives me to make such a meal? What drives me to be not the hardass A.D.A. but instead be a woman around him?'
She poured the sauce on the cutlets.
'What drives me to be myself when I'm around him? Is his charm that strong? Am I that weak? Are we that compatible together? I wish I knew.'
She gave off a tired sigh and searched her spice racks.
'Where the hell did I put the Saltimbocca? If I can't find it, one of these lesser spice jars will be wishing it wasn't made.'
She dug in the further corner of the spice rack and located what she was hunting for.
'And with this, I am now done, with…5 minutes to spare. He better not be late because I am not reheating this.'
She brought out the platter into the dining room, sat down and eyed the door.
'Look at me—I feel like I'm Harriet Nelson. If only the other A.D.A.s would see me now. I almost feel like a joke but yet with him, I don't. How does he restrain the harsh image I've built for myself and all the walls I've made? I wish I knew the answer. Is it similarity? Is it loneliness? Is it empathy? Is it understanding? What is it?'
The A.D.A. burned a hole staring at the door and walked off to the kitchen.
'Figure some red wine would help with the occasion. Already have too much white wine.' She delved for a bottle of wine and heard a door open.
'Figures. Just when I am distracted.'
"Figures, I'm waiting at the door and the minute I get distracted, you finally show up."
"Sorry, that last closing and traffic stalled me." She heard that infamous mature voice.
"Yes, I can see the criminals of New York stalling you just so you'll miss my dinner." Abbie came up to him and kissed hard on the lips.
"Good enough of a theory as far as I'm concerned. What was that for?"
"I don't know. Must I need a reason?"
"Not really. What smells so good? Smells like ham and cheese, with I think…veal?" He placed his briefcase and coat on a chair.
"In a way; just something homemade. It's called Saltimbocca alla Romana."
"Family recipe?" She grabbed his hand and led him to the dining room.
"Actually, it's a recipe from a restaurant I used to go in Dallas, named Mario's. I don't know if it's still open or not for obvious reasons, but I thought I'd make something that would be up your alley since I don't think you're the type for Crab Meat Bel Paese."
"It wouldn't matter, especially if you made it." He leaned over and kissed the back of her neck.
"I thought the intimate touch was needed here, as Mario's was famous for that. In the old days, Mario himself would take part in a tableside conference, discussing the ways and means of special dishes before retiring to the kitchen."
"I suddenly feel this is more than a meal. Thank you, truly but…why? I'm sorry, just this isn't something I'm used to." He wrapped his arms around her. Abbie turned around and just gazed deeply into his entrancing eyes and smiled.
'I think I got my answer after all.'
"Because simply put…I love you, Jack, that's why. Do I need an actual reason?"
Jack just evoked one of his infamous smiles before he kissed her again and sat down, dragging her with him. "Not at all. The best reason there is."
The meal was the last thing on their minds as they kissed again.
Happy Valentine's Day to not only to Moonbeam, but to the rest of you as well. To those following me, I'm sure you all are aware of the amusing irony of this Valentine's piece vs. my previous one with 35 pages.
The recipe in case anyone asks:
Saltimbocca alla Romana from Mario's of Dallas.
(Veal with Ham and Cheese)
8 pieces boneless veal, 3 ounces each, pounded until paper thin
1/3 cup butter
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup "V-8" juice
1 can (10 ½ ounces) condensed chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices
8 thin slices prosciutto ham
Sprinkle veal with salt and pepper. Dust veal with flour. In a large skillet heat butter and brown veal slices on both sides. Remove veal and place pieces side by side in a greased shallow baking pan.
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons flour into drippings in skillet. Gradually stir in wine, "V-8", chicken broth, and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Place 1 slice Mozzarella and 1 slice prosciutto over each veal cutlet. Bake in a preheated 375 F. oven for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Place cutlets on a platter. Spoon hot sauce over meat. Garnish Saltimbocca with watercress sprigs.
Book: Campbell's Great Restaurants Cookbook, U.S.A.
Leave a review if you wish, see you in the funny papers.