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Could Have Been Colder

Chapter One

"This would have been our third Christmas together." Olivia said out loud. A photo of Alex firmly in her grip. How was it possible that she let it all go? Slip right out the door and never looking back. Six months without contact. Not even in the courthouse. Alex never came to the squad room anymore. She never showed up at a crime scene. Olivia was never called to testify. At least by Alex. Usually one of her junior ADA's, but never Alex. A slight chill ran down her back. She leaned away from the window and pulled the blanket tighter around herself.

_________

Glass of wine in her hand, Alex stared out the living room window. Wrapped in a white sweater. The white sweater. She remembered opening it last Christmas. One of many gifts from Olivia. Olivia. How did it get this far? No more late night dinners. No more "meetings" is her office. She had avoided her for six months. It was easy has a bureau chief. It was hard has a lover. She rested her head against the cold glass and looked down onto the street. Snow piled on the sidewalks and curbs. Fresh snow falling from above. Her breath fogged the window pane. He fingers traced a heart and she carefully placed an "A" and "O" inside. Her body shivered has she walked away.

Six Months Earlier

"Marry me?" Olivia said looking at Alex from across her desk.

"What?" Alex raised her head at the sound of the question. Her heart was pounding with pleasure.

"Marry me. We belong together." Olivia merged her hands together, folding them into one another. She left only the two pointer straight, on them rested a beautiful diamond ring. "Not apart."

"I …I don't know." Alex retracted. This is not what she had planned for this meeting.

"Don't know. How is that possible? You breathe I breath, you hurt, I hurt. You move, I move. You cli…" Olivia tries to control the panic in her voice.

"Okay I get it detective." Alex cuts her off before then comparisons become too much more personnel.

"Detective?" This is a personnel conversation and you call me detective? Wha… What's going on here Alex?" Olivia paced the room. Hands in her hair. Confusion and hurt racked through her body. Alex stared at her. Watching her like a tennis match. She was choosing her words carefully.

"Life does not always give us the chance to complete what we start. There are times when we need to look at things in front of us and say this is the best it will be." She paused. Olivia stopped pacing. She was standing right in front of her. "This is the best. Right now, right here." Alex closed her eye has she spoke the last words. She could not look at Olivia.

"The best!" Olivia smirks slamming her hand down on the desk top. In her palm was the ring. "The best feels pretty crappy."

"Choose to look at it anyway you like, Detective Benson." Alex said coldly moving around to her desk chair.

"Perhaps you would like to look at my backside leaving." Olivia turned on her heels and walked out the door. She shut it with such force, the glass rattled in the pane.

Tears trickled from blue eyes, landing on the pages of the law. It was her lover once again.

Christmas Night

"Benson." Olivia answered her cell for the third time that night.

"Detective, we got a body. 35th and 7th." The officer stated.

"That's Macy's." Olivia said while putting her shoes back on.

"Yeah. You aren't going to believe this either." The officer was staring at the body on the ground.

"I'll be there in fifteen." Olivia took the key from the door and turned down the hall. When she stepped outside the wind whipped through her hair. She pulled the collar of her jacket closer to her face.

"Another night. Could it get colder?" She jerked the handle on the sedan and slipped behind the wheel.

She took one look over her shoulder and pulled the car onto the barren New York street.


Across Town

"Alexandra" The concerned elder woman said. "You have hardly touched your dinner." The elder Cabot reached for her daughter's hand and held it with concern.

"I'm sorry mother." Alex said looking down at her plate. "I am just not that hungry."

"Are you not hungry or are you just not here?" Mrs. Cabot was suspicious of her daughter's behavior since her arrival.

"Mom, please let's not talk about this." Alex looked at her mother with pain in her eyes. "Not tonight, on Christmas."

"Leave her be Dear." Evan Cabot said. He too was concerned for his daughter, but he also knew this was not the time.

"She doesn't know does she?" Evan asked Alex. Alex looked at her father with teary eyes. He shook his head in understanding.

The butler appeared in the room and began to refill the wine glasses. "Thank you, Peter." Christina Cabot said. "I believe we will retire to the living room."

"As you like, Madame." The butler tilted his head forward and on his way up caught the eye of the younger Cabot. He gave her a concerned smile. She smiled back.

Glasses in hand, each Cabot took up residence in their favorite seat in the living room. Alex took off her shoes and placed her feet under her. Her chair was high backed and overstuffed. Its once white fabric now yellowed. Her mother did not change the upholstery on the chair when she had the room redecorated. That was Alex's place and was to remain the comfortable spot for her to retreat to whenever it was needed.

Taking a deep breath, Christina carefully spoke. "Before your lawyer kicks in, please hear all that I will say. Then, when I am finished, you may tell me the answers to my questions."

"Why do I think this was not a good idea?" Alex semi smiled. "Ha hem." Evan cleared his throat.

"Yes, mother I agree to your terms." Alex took a long sip of her water.

"We hold our breath Alexandra for tomorrow. We know that there are a lot of unknowns right now for us and especially you. But what we do know is that you are loved. Not just by your father and myself. But by Olivia." Alex began to squirm in her chair. Christina waited for her to calm herself. "Yes, Alex. Olivia loves you more then you allow yourself to know. And I believe..."

"We believe." Evan interjected.

"We believe not telling her is wrong. When you love someone and you accept their love in return you don't keep things from each other. You commit with your heart to love them, care for them, and receive the same in return. Without question or waiver." Christina stood from her seat and walked over to her daughter. She took her hand and sat next to her on the chair. "My darling, beautiful, brilliant child, why is she not here with you? Why are you hiding from her when you need her?" Tears began in other woman's eyes. "She is a source of strength for you. She gives you a will. You deserve to have that strength and happiness now." With that the older woman wiped the tears from her daughter's eyes and then from her own.

"Mother," Alex began. "I love both you and Daddy. I love what you have and what you have given to me. Undying, loyal love. It is perfect. It never changes." Alex began to cry again. "But tomorrow life changes. Tomorrow the perfect will become different. I wanted my time with Olivia to stop and never change from what it was. I wanted it to stay perfect, so that I had one memory that I could use to be strong with."

"My darling, do you not think that your mother and I have had arguments? Do you not know that each day presents its challenges to us?"

"Yes, daddy, but it's just not the same." Alex was trying her best to control her emotions.

"Oh yes it is. You are passing on something that is very real and very much a part of yourself. You are shutting something out that at this time you need. This time …"

'Enough!" Alex shouted. "What is done is done. I cannot go back. I have to do this on my own. I will survive this. And I will do it alone."

"You will have us." Her mother said in a mere whisper.

"Yes, and for me that has always been enough." With that Alex stood and walked from the room.

Evan waited till he saw that she was clearly out of ear shot. He motioned for Peter to enter the room.

"Tomorrow will be tough. Tomorrow we will need everything we can find to gain strength." He turned to their faithful butler. "Peter, tomorrow I am counting on you to get her there. Alex needs her."

"Yes, Mr. Cabot. I have arranged everything. Fingers crossed, she goes along." Peter and the Cabot's placed their hands one on top of the other and held them there for a moment. Each gaining strength from the other.


Back on the Streets

Olivia circled the body for the third time since the arriving on the scene. A transvestite dressed in a female Santa suit. Normal for New York these days. But the colorful part, the victim was being violated by a male mannequin. Olivia was just stumped has to how they were attached.

"What do you make of it Detective?" Officer Bryant asked.

"One sick puppy did this." Olivia said still starring at what was in front of her. "How long till the ME arrives?"

"Box said 20 minutes." Bryant looked at his watched. "That was 16 minutes ago."

Olivia raised her eye brow. "A simple 'should be here in five minutes' would have been fine."

"What have we got?" Warner was just snapping off her warm gloves and replacing them with thin latex ones.

"Best I can tell, rape and murder." Officer Bryant said. Warner and Olivia looked at him like he was interrupting an important all girl conversation.

"So, the usual Christmas event?" Warner said.

"Yeah only this one is a bit more colorful then the regular tinsel and wrapping paper." Olivia started moving from in front of the victim so Warner could get a clear view.

"Wow!" Warner said. "Gives new meaning to blow up doll."


Hope you like this new one.