Author's Note: Ok, to be continued or not to be continued, that is the question. I must warn you, my muse is fickle and fleeting at the moment, though all the Christmas presents and cookies may bring her back so I can catch her. If you are a limer (a fan of Casey), I'm doing a project on Limer culture for sociology... and I was wondering if you all would be kind enough to participate in my survey... you can find a link at my forum, Babydykecate's Images for her Fanfic. Thanks to Kerry for her feedback on this story, and for being my angel. Je t'aime avec tout mon coeur. Cate.

As her heart wrenching eyes followed me talking to Simone, it was then I realized I loved her. I loved the good that rose from the bad, that her pain made her compassionate to a fault.

After the case, there was unspoken change between us. She was afraid of how I saw her now. I kept my distance, in fear of revealing my foolish heart. So, the next time we really spoke was several months later at Solero, the small wine bar we would go to occasionally for a girl's night out. I found her sitting at the bar, staring at her drink.

"I want this drink for the wrong reasons, and I can't bring myself to touch it."

My response was almost unintelligible as I sat down beside her, "Why?"

"My mother… it's the anniversary of my mother's death."

"Did she die from this?" I say pointing to her drink.

Her voice is even softer than my 'why', "yes."

"How about we talk instead of drink?"

"'kay," she says as she reluctantly follows me into a booth.

"What do want to talk about?" I ask.

"I don't know, whatever," she responds, her voice hollow and dejected.

"Umm..." I struggle to think of a conversation topic that won't upset her, "So were you a cheerleader or a loner in high school?" Simultaneously scared of the image of Olivia in a cheerleader outfit... and distracted by the same image... her legs in those tiny skirts... bad Casey, bad.

"Loner... you know, with my mom and all... I didn't feel much like getting close to people." She says with her voice breaking.

"So, did you date a lot when you were young?" I say, trying to change the subject again.

"Ya, pretty much the way I do now. You know, very short, less time to break your heart," she replies wth a soft smile. "I still remember my prom date though, Adam, he was a jock, star of the football team…"


"Well, he was handsome, and he kept asking…" She looks at me, as if weighing her options. "And all I could think about that night was… this girl." She eyes me for a reaction, then continues, "I was petrified of my feelings and decided that surely dating Adam would change them. At prom, we were dancing, and there was this guy dancing alone and really getting into the music. Adam turns to me and says, "What a fag." The comment hit way too close to home. Before I could think, I slapped him and said, "I think I can find my own way home. I left the school, and walked for a while, trying desperately to gather my thoughts. I strived so hard to be normal, to get society's approval, I didn't feel ready to give on all that yet. I didn't want to see myself as one of 'them'. 'Lesbian,' I couldn't even say it. I made friends with the gay guy dancer, and many more later, but I never allowed myself to ever think about my feelings for girls again. I've had a few one-night stands with women, but I always excused them as just a mistake I made when I was drunk. I really don't know why I am telling you this," through most of the monologue Olivia has been looking down and blushing profusely. Now she looks up, her face full of fear and disbelief, and then looks down again, "Maybe I am tired of forgetting my feelings…I don't know…anyway…"

"Olivia, I knew this girl when I was 14. One night we kissed, and well, it meant nothing to her and everything to me."

"No one else knows…" she trailed off.

"No one else needs to."

At this she smiled, "Maybe someday, someone will be worth everyone knowing."

"I hope it's someday soon." At this she blushed and looked flustered.

Then, out of nowhere, she says, "You know what was the hardest thing about my mom? Knowing she could never love me the way I wanted. Knowing I would look for that love, that attention, anywhere. Being afraid that it would make me vulnerable for others to hurt me. And so, I try not to love, or to allow myself to be loved. That's why I never allow anyone to get close."

"Olivia, I will treasure whatever closeness you give me."

"I trust you more than I like," she says with a faint smile.

My face is serious, "I won't betray you."

She mouths, "Thank you."