This is going to be the last chapter of my looooooong story. Enjoy and thanks for sticking with it the whole time!
Alex and Olivia spent the better part of the day curled up in bed, watching movies and just taking comfort in each other's presence. Olivia held Alex tightly, rubbing her back, stroking her hair; all gestures meant to soothe Alex, and it helped.
They picked up Joshua from school and took him to see the new Harry Potter movie at the theater, which he'd been excited about for weeks. Olivia had been reading the books with him, and they'd just finished the seventh one a month ago.
Joshua sat between them, and Alex and Olivia intertwined their hands behind him. Alex remembered their second date – they'd gone to see a movie, but she couldn't remember what it was. She'd spent more time watching Olivia than the movie, and she remembered the spark of electricity when their fingers brushed together in the bucket of popcorn. She met Olivia's eyes and smiled, and she could tell Olivia was thinking the same thing.
That night, Alex drifted off to sleep, safe in Olivia's warm embrace, and she didn't have a single nightmare.
Both of them went back to work the next day. Olivia called Alex a grand total of seven times throughout the morning, until Alex finally said, "Liv, I appreciate your concern, but I'm okay. I need to get some work done and you're distracting me," to which Olivia laughed and apologized.
"Sorry, baby. I just worry, because I love you so much. I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you." Again, she didn't add, but Alex heard the words anyway.
"Liv, I know you're just trying to take care of me, but I need you to let me do my job. I'll call you if I need you, okay?"
Alex could hear Olivia's sheepish smile over the phone. "Okay, Alex. I'm sorry."
Alex softened. "I'll see you in a few hours, Liv."
"See you," echoed Olivia.
Alex hung up and went back to the mountain of paperwork on her desk, but she couldn't concentrate. She kept staring at the tiny white business card that she'd taken several weeks ago.
It wasn't that she planned on using it anytime soon, really. She'd gotten all the way to the psychiatrist's office, intending to con her into prescribing sleeping pills without Olivia's knowledge. She didn't want to keep Olivia up every night with her nightmares, with her screaming and thrashing and crying and fear, but she knew that Olivia would tell her that it was all right, that she didn't need sleeping pills, that Olivia would be there for her no matter what.
But somehow, she hadn't made it past the waiting room. She'd made the appointment, and then she'd sat on an uncomfortable plastic chair for 37 minutes before finally taking the business card and bolting. She hadn't intended on calling back, but after the night before last, she wasn't sure if she'd made the right choice. Even if it was just because she needed sedatives, maybe she should give it a try anyway. Maybe it would help.
But therapy, in and of itself, was a daunting idea. It would mean asking for help, and Alex wasn't good at asking for help, even from Olivia. But she couldn't keep hurting the woman – and the child – she loved, and if this was what it took, she would do it. She had to.
Her heart was pounding and her hands were shaking as she dialed the now familiar number on her cell phone. She was secretly glad when the call went to voicemail, so she wouldn't have to talk to anyone. She left a quick message, apologizing for not showing up to her previous appointment and asking if she could reschedule, and she left her phone number so the psychiatrist could return her call.
She had to do something, and it was all she could think of. Olivia wouldn't be able to continue to love her if she didn't at least attempt to fix herself, and Alex didn't know what she'd do without Olivia.
Two days later, Alex went to her appointment with the psychiatrist. She knew healing was going to be difficult, but her first meeting had gone well, and she was filled with confidence. She could do this. She was strong, and she had Olivia.
That evening, she went home and when she was in bed with Olivia, safe and warm in her girlfriend's embrace, she told Olivia that she'd gone to see a psychiatrist.
Olivia gave her a smile. "That sounds like a good idea, Alex."
"You're not upset?"
"Why would I be upset? You're taking control of your life again. You recognize that you need help and you're taking steps to get it. I'm proud of you, Alex."
"It doesn't mean I love you any less. It's just think this might help, too."
Olivia kissed her forehead. "I know."
Three weeks later:
It was the tenth anniversary of their first date. Ten long years in which they'd been through so much, but their relationship had survived, proving once and for all that they were truly meant for each other.
"Tonight," Olivia announced when she got home from work. "We are going out."
Alex smiled weakly. "Thanks, Liv, but Joshua needs help with an essay for English and I have to finish up with the McGrady file, and we –"
Olivia raised a hand to silence Alex's protests. "Do you remember what day it is?"
Alex thought for a minute and finally nodded.
Olivia smiled slyly. "Don't even try to argue with me, Alex. It's done. I made us a reservation for 8:00 at La Boehme. Wear your new red dress – you look absolutely stunning in it. I mean, even more stunning than usual."
Alex laughed. "Yes, o bossy one. I hear and will obey."
"Good. Mrs. Andre is coming over in an hour to take care of Josh. She'll help him with his essay." She grinned and took Alex's hand. "I'm going to shower. Care to join me?"
Alex pretended to consider. "I would care for it very much," she said primly.
Olivia chuckled and led Alex to the bathroom.
Two hours later – in a limo, no less – Alex and Olivia arrived at La Boehme, which was the restaurant they'd gone to on their first date. Alex had been the one to ask Olivia out, and she had been so nervous that she'd thrown up three times. She'd been second guessing her outfit, her shoes, her hairstyle, even the restaurant she'd chosen. It was well out of Olivia's price range, and she knew that Olivia was too chivalrous to let Alex pay. But it had been a perfect date, and it had led to hundreds more perfect dates.
Olivia opened the door for Alex and offered her girlfriend her hand. "Madame," she said with a little bow.
Alex smiled and took the proffered hand. Together, they walked toward the restaurant.
Olivia held open the door for Alex and ushered her inside, to an intimate table beside the window. "What's all this about?" she finally asked.
"Shh," said Olivia with a twinkle in her eye. "Let's get to the main course first – or dessert, if you think you can be that patient."
Alex bit her lip and smiled. "Dessert?"
Alex grinned. "I think we've already had it."
Olivia laughed. "And you say I have a dirty mind."
Alex reached out and took Olivia's hand. "Liv, you know patience is a virtue I lack."
Olivia squeezed her hand. "That's all right, princess. I know you're blessed with many others."
Then a waiter came over and asked if they wanted anything to drink. Olivia ordered them a bottle of wine and they looked over their menus, deciding what they wanted to eat. When the waiter returned, they ordered, and then fell into the comfortable rhythm they'd grown accustomed to over the years, bantering back and forth as they always had.
When their food came, Alex ate slowly, delicately, but Olivia scarfed down her food, watching Alex expectantly.
"What is it?" Alex asked, her eyes twinkling.
Olivia rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Cabot, for someone so smart, sometimes you're really dim."
Alex chuckled. "I don't understand."
"You really haven't figured it out yet?"
Alex thought for a moment and shook her head.
Olivia sighed theatrically. "Finish your dinner."
"Well, no. Now you're got me excited –"
"I think I did that a couple hours ago."
"Liv. I mean you've raised my expectations."
"I know what you meant."
Alex obediently took a bite of her pasta. "Okay, I'm done."
Olivia quirked an eyebrow. "Hey, don't rush it."
Alex leaned forward, meeting Olivia's lips and melding them in a deep, passionate kiss. Olivia obliged, opening her mouth to allow Alex's tongue entry. They kissed for a few moments, and finally Alex pulled back. "Mm. That was a delicious meal, and now I am honestly and truly done."
Olivia called the waiter over and he took their plates.
Alex sighed. "You're really intent on teasing me, aren't you?"
"You should really be used to it by now, you know."
Alex rolled her eyes. "Fine. Are we getting dessert?"
"Yeah. Our waiter will be over in a few minutes, my demanding one."
"But you wouldn't have me any other way."
"If you didn't drive me crazy on occasion, you wouldn't be you."
"Aw, thanks. What a sweet girlfriend I have."
"I know, right?"
The waiter returned a few moments later, bearing a vanilla cake with Alex's and Olivia's names written on the top in pink icing, and a heart drawn around them. He set it down on the table and winked at Olivia. "Enjoy, ladies."
Alex stared at the cake for a moment, the reason for all of this occurring to her all at once, and her breath caught in her throat. Was she ready? She knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Olivia – yes, she was ready. She wanted this. More than anything.
The next few moments were a blur to Alex. All she could remember was that Olivia got down on one knee, and she must have asked Alex to marry her, but Alex's heart was pounding so hard she was sure Olivia could hear it, and suddenly her eyes were swimming with tears. This must have been what happened, because she knew she said yes. She loved Olivia. That was all she knew.
Finally, it's done. Whew! Review if you liked this story!