* I originally wrote this story five years ago during the small run of Conviction and it was written as a 10 part chapter story. But I decided to post it here as one part. It is an A/O story- if you don't like that pairing then it is your not to read it. I hope you enjoy, please let me know what you think- I am working on some new material and I hope to be posting some of my new stories soon.*
I had a child when I was fifteen years old. most people don't know; in fact the number is less than ten. She is perfect, ten fingers, ten toes, and the most adorable smile; well that's how I remember her at least. I haven't seen her since the day she was born. She was born on October 12, 1988. She turned 18 years old two weeks ago.
I could only imagine what she looks like now. In my imagination she had long blonde hair, the same deep brown eyes she was born with, and that same smile. I did not care about anything else, as long as she still has that smile. I imagine her at five on her first day of school, in a cute frilly and flowered dress with bows in her hair and a backpack, which sports the hot new cartoon character. I can see her at 12 when she is starting middle school and playing the flute or trumpet or maybe blocking the goals like an expert for her school soccer team. At her Sweet 16 birthday party, gazing at the boy she has a crush on from across the room and hanging out at the arcade and coffee shops with her friends; acting like she is all grown up. I still have hope for her graduation though; I might be able to see that.
I didn't even know her name. I had a name for her in my mind; I named her Kate, short for Katheryn. In my fantasies I called her Kit Kat when she was little and Katie when she got older. Now it's just Kate, because I know that she would want to be seen as a grown up.
It was 9:00 the morning of October 26, 2006 when there was a knock on my door. I looked up to see a young woman with short, shaggy, dark blonde hair, deep brown eyes, and wire frame glasses. She was wearing a grey tank top, cargo shorts which feel below her knees and beaten up flip-flops. She had the traditional backpack slung over her shoulder.
"Can I help you?"
"Are you Alexandra Cabot?"
"Yes. Is there something I can do for you?" My schedule was full for the day, but I still placed my glasses on my nose when she ventured into my office and placed a piece of paper in front of me. It was a birth certificate. " Baby Girl Cabot. Mother Alexandra Cabot. Father unidentified."
I looked up at her, my eyes filling with tears and my mouth hanging open. "Hi Katie."
She looked at me with profound confusion on her face, "My name isn't Katie."
My head shook as I tried to regain my composure; this wasn't all in my mind. She was really here in my office looking at me. As I stood out of my chair and rounded my desk I said, "of course it's not, I'm sorry. What is your name?"
I didn't even know her name.
"Sarah. It's Sarah."
"Oh, God, I'm sorry." The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them and my eyes grew wide as a hand came flying up over my mouth. "Oh, wow I did not mean to say that!"
Where are all if those great litigating skill now, counselor? Going gets tough and the tough get tongue-tied?
She let out a laugh as her face broke into a huge grin. The smile I remember. "It's okay. I hate it, too."
We stood there staring at each other, we both had identical posture with our arms wrapped around our middles— a soft smile played on my face as I noticed the similarities for the first time. "Well Sarah, I'm Alex. It is great to meet you."
And then she was in my arms, hugging me. I never felt so complete in my life as I was in that moment; holding my daughter in my arms, smelling the fruity scent of her shampoo as her arms clung around my middle. "I named you Katie. In my mind, I always called you Katie," I whispered into her hair as tears started to run down my cheeks.
Saved, Part 2
I did not know why she came to find me after so long, or why it even mattered to her. Of course, it made sense that her record got unsealed when she turned 18 but still, she had good parents, didn't she? None of that mattered though, because I was holding her in my arms. Finally. After she let go of me I drew back and picked up her hands, making sure once more that all ten fingers were there and looked down to make sure she had all ten toes, as well. They were there— a little dirty but there. I should talk to her about not wearing flip-flops…
She had both ears, even if they had too many holes in them, and a full head of hair. She looked like a normal 18 year-old girl. She looked like the perfect mix of her father and me. And, oh my God, her eyes looked exactly like Olivia's. Huh, that's odd.
Olivia. Shit. This was going to be interesting to explain. I can hear it now, "Sweetie, you know how we have been together for six years, and living together for four of those? And you remember how I said that we would have no more secrets from each other? Well here's the thing, there's one little thing I didn't tell you. Well, I mean it was little then, but it's a good amount bigger now (nervous laugh). I have a kid."
That should work. After I have my ass repaired from where she chewed it off, and after she is wakes up from the catatonic state she is bound to fall into, everything should be just dandy.
But for now I am staring at my daughter— my perfect little daughter. Then, there was a knock on the door. It was Brian reminding me we had court in ten minutes. And then he started appraising my daughter. No one, especially that womanizer, appraises MY daughter. All of this and I have known her for five minutes.
I was nervous in court that day. This case was as tight as the lid on that pickle jar I had Olivia open the other day. Seriously, nothing could slip by me on this one, but I was nervous with my Sarah sitting right there. I still hadn't asked her why she was here instead of in school or if her parents knew where she was. The scary part was that I really didn't care. An hour and a half later court was over for the day and I had my assistant cancel all of my other appointments.
It was still to early for lunch but we went to my favorite café anyway. I have never seen a girl guzzle coffee that fast before in my life, well with the exception of Olivia after she has been on a case for 48 hours straight. She's a sweet girl, I had deducted that much already, and she is very smart. But she avoided the topic of her parents, or where she lived until I confronted her about it.
"Do your parents know where you are?"
"I'm 18, I am legally an adult and do not have to tell them everything."
After giving her my patented courtroom stare, she finally started to fidget and at least had the decency to look ashamed as she broke.
"No they don't, and yes they are probably worried sick, but I don't know how to tell them that I am currently in New York City talking to my birth mother."
Currently in New York City…
"Where do you live?"
I could feel my heart pounding and my chest tighten.
"What!" Oh shit.
Saved, Part 3
Half an hour, one semi-civilized phone conversation with very concerned parents, and a promise that I wasn't a druggy, prostitute or alcoholic later, Sarah and I were walking around The City talking about everything, nothing, and all the things in between. I was still scared out of my mind. I hadn't told her about Olivia yet, about me.
So far I had learned that Sarah attended St. Katherine's, an all girls private school, played the tuba in her high school band, was the current contender for Valedictorian, and had a boyfriend, named Steve, who was in a garage band. Her parents did not like him very much, and apparently that was part of his appeal. She is a lot like I was as a teenager. Except, I can tell she's wiser than I was then, after all, she never got pregnant.
Five hours later I was in the kitchen of Olivia's and my apartment trying to scrounge something together for dinner and Sarah was getting to know her home for the night, I had chickened out telling her about Liv, it was easier to just let her guess based on the pictures, and the fact that there were no male products in the bathroom. When I emerged from the kitchen I found her sitting on the couch holding a framed picture. She was hunched over with her arms resting on her knees staring at the photo, I don't even know if she heard me enter and sit next to her.
It was the picture taken in park two years before, when we had gone with Elliot and his family for a picnic. We had been playing a very biased and unfair game of flag football when I had decided to take a break and help Kathy set out the food. Out of nowhere, Liv bounded up and tackled me to the ground. Elliot had managed to snap off the perfect picture capturing our laughing faces as we fell.
Never moving or taking her eyes from the picture she finally whispered, "Who's this?"
"Olivia Benson, NYPD detective. And my partner." I could only stare at her, wondering what was running though her head.
"Homosexuality is unnatural." I paused and nodded my head slightly, taking in a breath.
"Not to me. The only time I have felt unnatural was when I was 15, trying to be "normal", and ended up sleeping with my first and subsequently only boyfriend. I learned then that I had to be true to myself, it was scary but it was the only way for me to be happy."
I looked from her to my hands clasped in my lap and back to her. She was still staring at the photo. I couldn't tell if the look on her face was because of intense thought or curiosity.
"Is that what your parents told you, that it was unnatural? Or do you actually believe that?"
Sarah finally looked up with tears in her deep brown eyes, "They wouldn't understand. Hell, I don't even understand. I like Steve, I have known him for years, but I don't want to sleep with him. Whenever I kiss him I see someone else in my mind. I don't want to be different."
By this time she was crying openly and for the second time in one day I took my daughter into my arms.
I was so focused on her, making soothing sounds and running my fingers though her short hair that I didn't even hear the key in the lock.
"Well, I'm not sure which I should be more worried about, the fact that you actually left work early for once, or that you are in here with a younger woman."
All I could do was look up, startled, to see Olivia Benson leaning lazily against the wall perpendicular to the couch with arms crossed and one eyebrow raised in silent question.
Saved, part 4
"Hi Livvie," I finally said as I got up from the couch after glancing down at Sarah. Other than the fact that her now red eyes had suddenly grown to twice their normal size, I was pretty sure she was okay.
"Okay, now I know something is wrong. You only call me Livvie when you know I am going to get upset."
"Liv," I began, trying to gain courage through the oxygen I was taking into my body in great amounts, "This is Sarah Johnson… my daughter." And I froze.
Olivia looked at me, then down at Sarah and seemed to study her before moving her eyes back to me. " She looks like you."
I was startled— I wasn't expecting that. I was expecting an explosion, or at least some cursing. I just jumped into an explanation, rambling on in order to hopefully prevent the inevitable.
"I was 15 and scared out of my mind when I found out I was pregnant. I didn't even tell my parents. We had moved right after Brian and I broke up and my parents were gone for months at a time, so I figured they would never notice and no one at my new school knew what I was supposed to look like. I even begged and bribed the maid and nanny to not say anything. I was right, my mother just lectured me about watching my weight and the kids at school figured I was just a loner with baggy clothes and an eating problem.
" I contacted the adoption agency myself and told them my situation. I think they were shocked to have a girl from such an affluent family come to them. Normally our parents would just marry us off. It was the "proper" thing to do. I didn't want that, Liv. I wanted to go to college and law school and to grow up. I was still just a confused, messed up kid. But I love her, and thought about her everyday."
By this time both Sarah and Olivia were looking at me wide eyed. They weren't expecting that. Hell, I wasn't expecting to say all that.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
I glanced down at Sarah, trying to give her a small smile. She had tears running down her cheeks again, but I could see in her eyes that she was trying to imagine being pregnant at 15.
"She was mine. My secret. I kept her entirely to myself. I saw her in my imagination and gave her a name. I could pretend that I saw her first step and hear her first word and send her off for her first day of school. But it was my fantasy. I never actually expected to meet her."
"You still should have told me. We agreed no more secrets Allie. My God, six years Alex, and not one word except that you knew you were gay after sleeping with your first boyfriend. This is a little bigger than just sleeping with someone! Oh my God, I can't believe you have a daughter."
"Neither can I. And check her out, she comes in a pre-raised package. The hard part is already done."
At least that got half a smile.
While we were talking I had moved away from the couch to stand in front of her. She was now standing there, her hands gesturing wildly as she ranted. I reached up to cup my partner's face. "Are you okay?"
"No, Alex. No, I'm not. Elliot invited us over for dinner tonight. I'll go over there for a few hours, but why don't you stay here with Sarah. Get to know your daughter." She can barely get the word daughter out; I can tell she is trying to fight off tears. She always has to be so strong.
She turned to Sarah who was still sitting on the sofa, trying to not look uncomfortable with the fact that she was the topic of conversation. "Are you staying here, sweetie?" She asked with a small smile. After receiving a small nod in reply she continued. "Good, then I'll get to talk to you later."
With that Olivia was heading back towards the door, still in her work clothes and jacket. Gun and badge on her hip.
Without turning, she paused, twisting her head around slightly. "Don't worry, I'll be back in a few hours."
I have never felt as helpless as I did at that moment.
Saved, Part 5
Sarah and I had eaten dinner and were sitting back sitting on the sofa watching TV. I swear that girl could make the most stoic person laugh. She I could imagine that she had the amazing ability to make anyone feel better, just by listening and making well placed one-lined comments. We were watching, and making fun of, some really bad Lifetime movie when Olivia came back in around 10pm. We both immediately fell quiet and swiveled our heads to the door when we heard the key in the lock.
She came in, hung up her coat and went straight into the bedroom without a word or a glance in our direction. It was only after she was out of eyesight that I turned back to notice Elliot leaning in the doorway.
"I didn't trust her to drive herself home. She was crying so hard, I doubt she would have been able to see the road," he stated matter-of-factly as his eyes surveyed Sarah. "You must be the long lost offspring."
Sarah only stared at Elliot looming in the doorway, and I could tell by her silent nod that she was intimidated. I still don't think there is a time when Elliot Stabler isn't intimidating.
"You did good Alex, she looks like you, and you even managed to give her Liv's eyes. You'll have to work really hard to get yourself out of this one, Cabot— you hurt her a lot."
After he left I just stared at the door and let out a very unladylike puff of air before turning back around and patted Sarah on the knee as I pushed myself off the couch. I wandered into the bedroom and closed the door behind me. She was sitting on the bed, her back to me holding something in her hands. She had finally taken off her belt and jacket, leaving them in perfect order on the chair in the corner. That's where she always leaves them. I came around to crouch in front of her brushing the hair out of her face in the process.
The object she was playing with was the eternity band she had worn on her left hand for the past four years. It scared me that she had taken it off. I took it out of her hands and placed back on her finger, that's where it belongs.
"Remember when we were talking about having a child a couple of years ago, and you always said you wanted to have a boy? Was that because of her?"
I looked up into her eyes, "Yeah. I couldn't stand to have another daughter, to corrupt the image I had of her in my mind."
Olivia nodded, stood up and headed towards the bathroom, "I'm going to bed. You should do the same. It's been a long day, and tomorrow will be another one."
"Sarah's parents are flying in tomorrow." That caught her attention.
"Flying in? From where?"
"Funny, that was my reaction. And apparently they are devout Christians, with the view that homosexuality is unnatural."
"Oh, shit. Well, at least that explains why she wanted to find you, its not like she could tell her parents that she was gay."
All I could do was stare. How the fuck does she do that?
It was three in the morning when I felt Olivia get out of bed and heard the bedroom door creak open. I could hear them talking in the other room, I should have known that Sarah wouldn't be able to sleep either.
"Hey sweetie, big day huh?"
"Yup. Are you two going to be okay? I don't want to cause any trouble."
"Hey, this is not your fault and we'll be all right. It's not like she hasn't had to drag things out of me before. Granted, none of those things involved a child. She'll just have to work for it for a few days."
There was silence for a while. I could just imagine both of them sitting side by side on the couch, slouched down, feet propped on the coffee table, drinking from bottles of water or soda and maybe staring at some infomercial.
"How did you two meet?"
"Before she made big bad Bureau Chief, she was the ADA for our squad. We got into a fight over the first case she was there for. She called me a bull headed detective wannabe. I called her an uptight society bitch and said that she needed to get laid. A few weeks later she was. Funny how things work out like that." I could hear both of them quietly laughing at the memory. I smiled softly to myself until I heard Olivia speak again.
"So… Indiana huh."
"You Cabots don't do anything half way do you?"
"Olivia, I'm scared."
"I know sweetie. I know."
Saved, Part 6
It was 10:00 am when the buzzer rang announcing that Sarah's parents had arrived. I glanced up from my coffee cup and into Olivia's eyes. At the insistence of the buzzer ringing a second time I finally pushed myself away from the table and shuffled over to the door, my arms covered in my favorite fluffy sweater wrapped around my middle. Sarah was right behind me and Olivia leaned against the doorway to the kitchen, trying to blend into the woodwork, but not quite succeeding. This wasn't her battle; it was mine, but I knew she would be there to support me.
It was surreal to open the door and come face to face with the people who raised my daughter. Their daughter I corrected myself. She was theirs. Under the polite exterior I could tell Caroline and Jake Johnson wanted nothing more than to rip me new one and drag Sarah back to Indiana. Not that I blamed them.
Sarah looked scared as she greeted her parents and glanced nervously between Liv and me. As we settled in the living room Caroline caught a glance at the picture of Olivia and me, that Sarah had been looking at the night before. How was that only yesterday? She sucked in a short breath and glanced around until she spotted Olivia leaning in the doorway for the first time. I just watched as she glanced at me and then caught her husband's eye. After approximately five second she stood turned to Sarah and announced that the three of them were leaving.
It took less than five minutes for that woman to learn all she needed to know about me.
"I'm not leaving."
With those three words, four heads swiveled to face one defiant looking Sarah.
"I. Am not. Going. Anywhere. I came here to meet Alex and to get to know her and her life and to get to know myself. So, I am going to stay here, talk with her and Olivia, walk around the city, take a tour of NYU and try to figure out who the hell I am. Now, either you can stay here with me or I'll see you back in Indiana when I am ready to go back."
Based on the amazed expressions on Caroline's, Jake's and Sarah's faces, I am pretty sure that was the first time she had ever said something that defiant to her parents. Olivia and I just stood together watching the scene unfold in front of us; this wasn't our battle and I had already told Sarah that she could stay with us as long as she liked.
"We are not going back to Indiana without you."
"Well, I guess it's settled then."
Olivia was able to pull some strings, well actually call our friend Tony who runs one of the nicer hotels in New York, and got the Johnsons set up for a few nights. Sarah insisted staying on our couch, and the fact that I agreed didn't help endear us to her parents.
Once again we found ourselves sitting in the living room but this time Olivia was sitting next to me with her hand on my knee trying to keep me calm. She knew my opinion of closed-minded parents, and at this moment if did not matter if she was still mad at me. An uncomfortable silence had overcome us, everyone observing each other. I kept noticing Caroline's eyes darting to Olivia's left hand resting on my leg and the ring that adorned her finger. I changed my focus when I heard Jake finally speak.
"So Olivia, Alexandra what exactly do you two do for a living?"
Olivia glanced over at me, and then gave Jake her full attention. I could hear the pride in her voice as she answered, "Well, I am a detective with the NYPD and Alex is a Bureau Chief in the District Attorney's Office."
"Really, I am a detective in Indiana, nothing compared to the infamous New York City, but it is always nice to meet a fellow officer."
The silence was back. But this time it was broken by Sarah who had also noticed her mother's gaze, "Liv, you never got to tell me last night, how long you and Alex have been together. It's been a while, right?"
"Yeah, six years next month," She glanced down at the engagement ring on her finger and let out a half laugh, "we didn't want to rush into marriage or anything. You know how so many couples end up in divorce nowadays."
It was something we joked about often and I smiled at the memories. It was less painful to think of it as our choice instead of society's. Sarah let out a small laugh and her parents just looked startled. I am still not sure if was for the amount of time we had been together or Olivia's front of flippancy towards the law.
I was just bracing myself for the inevitable explosion to come.
Saved, Part 7
Lunch was strained, with all five of us trying to make polite conversation. The tension in the air only thickened as we went with Sarah to tour NYU, apparently her top choice university for the upcoming year, pending acceptance of course. She was beaming as she gazed at the buildings and the small courtyard, but her smile faltered as she turned to look at her parents.
"It has one of the best writing and English programs."
Caroline turned to look at her daughter, and I could see what could probably be classified as betrayal in her eyes, "we all know the real reason you want to move to New York."
"Mom, it has nothing to do with that."
"Really, this was your back up school until you found out your birth mother was in New York, and then it became your top choice."
"I changed my mind because I decided I wanted to write instead of go into business like you and Daddy want me to. I didn't even know if Alex would want to see me. I need to get out of here."
Olivia and I had tried our best to blend into the background once the fight broke out. And it looked to me as if Jake was trying to do the same. I had the feeling that this fight was not a new one. When Sarah took off from the group her parents and I yelled after her, but Olivia just stayed quiet, put a hand on my arm and told me she would be right back. They had talked for a long time the night before; I couldn't ignore the connection they had built.
"I don't want those two alone together."
I just turned to look at Caroline, I could feel the confusion on my face, "Why?"
"You know why," the words were practically spat in my face.
"You have got to be kidding me. Olivia is a good woman, and they were up talking half the night; they get along really well. Liv has a way of making people open up, so just give them a few minutes."
Why do people think that way? The echo of voices saying 'that's fine as long as you don't hit on me.' or 'Just don't look at me in the locker room' replayed in my head. People are so ignorant and disgusting sometimes.
A few minutes later the duo came walking back to us, and Olivia announced that Sarah and her parents were going to dinner together. We could figure out our relationship later, now it was about Sarah and her parents.
After being together for 6 years, Olivia and I had fallen into a pretty routine life, one that didn't include late afternoon quickies, but by God after the last few days it was needed, and it felt good. We just lay in bed afterwards, Olivia held me tight, neither of us said anything the entire time, we didn't need to. Finally, we pulled ourselves out of bed so we could grab something to eat, and a few minutes later there was a knock on the door announcing Sarah's return.
She didn't talk about the time she spent with her parents, and neither one of us pressured her to. But we got the idea some things did not go as well as they could have.
It was 2 in the morning when I heard a knock on the door. Liv and I were already curled up in bed, her head resting on my shoulder as she slept, but I couldn't shake the fight from earlier. It's not like I'm not used to animosity from relatives, especially when it involved my relationship with Olivia, but this was different. My daughter was involved in this. I listened as the front door creaked open and the hushed voices of Sarah and a person I assumed to be her mother.
The door closed and the voices got louder as they moved across the room to the couch. When Olivia started to stir next to me I leaned over, gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek and crept out of bed. The minute I opened the bedroom door both voices ceased and through my bleary eyes I saw two heads swivel to look at me.
"Good morning. Anyone want some coffee?"
Olivia came stumbling out of the bedroom about half an hour later, Sarah, Caroline and I were sitting around the living room talking quietly, trying to sort some things out even though I still didn't know the whole situation. I could tell Liv was still half asleep and she looked adorable her hair sticking in every direction and dressed in plaid pajama pants and a t-shirt that I had given her as a gag present one year. It read "Have you kissed your ADA today?" She mumbled something almost unintelligible about the bed being to cold and what I think was the Boogie Man, and promptly skidded her way around the room to plop down on the sofa with her head in my lap. I just sighed and pulled the throw, which was on the back of the couch, over the sleeping detective. Sarah was trying to hide a grin and Caroline blushed and looked away.
I tried to suppress a laugh and said in a teasing whisper, "The big bad cop doesn't like to sleep alone."
"Shh. Go back to sleep." I whispered as I leaned down to kiss her temple.
After six years of 3:00am wake up calls for cases, I had gotten used to a cold bed in the middle of the night, but every time I leave the bed, during a sleepless night to finish paperwork, Olivia comes stumbling out and falls asleep on the couch next to me. I know the nightmares wake her up, I've just always been surprised she needs me to get back to sleep. How could people not understand that this was love, no matter the form?
Saved, Part 8
I woke up at 9:00 Sunday morning; I don't even remember what time we finally got to sleep. But what I did know was that I was lying with Liv on the couch, Sarah was curled up in, what looked like a very uncomfortable position, in a fluffy chair and Caroline was already awake and perched on the love seat. I looked at her, blearily and then peered down to see if Olivia was still asleep. She was dead to the world. I "skillfully" crawled over her to land with my feet on the floor and made my way towards kitchen to start the coffee. After the maker was brewing I looked up to see Caroline leaning in the doorway, her peppered grey hair pulled back in a claw clip and her arms crossed over her front. She actually looked slightly nervous.
"Hi. Would you like some coffee or breakfast? Liv is probably going to come in here in a few minutes and beg me for waffles so I figured I would get a jump start."
She just looked at me for a minute, "can I ask you something?"
I put down the coffee cups and leaned against the counter looking at her. Here we go.
"Why do you do this to yourself? Yesterday I heard at least three people comment on your lifestyle. Why do you live like that?"
I looked at her, down at my hands which were fiddling with each other, and back up at her.
"You can't change who you love anymore than you can change who you are. And I don't feel sorry for myself when someone calls me 'dyke', I feel sorry for them. I won't lie too you, it hasn't always been easy. When I was younger it wasn't as accepted as it is now and I was scared to date anyone, let alone be out in with public her. In between Brian, Sarah's father, and law school I didn't really date anybody, but the only way I would feel sorry for myself is if forced myself to be something that I'm not. I have a good life— a good job, Olivia, friends, we were even thinking about adopting a few years ago but its just not the right time yet." By this time Caroline had come all the way into the kitchen and I turned to pour the coffee.
"Do I hate that there is a large amount of tension at family reunions, and the fact that I have to have this conversation with you? Yes, but I wouldn't change my life for the world. I know you don't agree with my 'lifestyle', or with the fact that I got pregnant at 15, but this has nothing to do with you or me, it has to do with Sarah and the fact that we both love her." We were both silent for a few moments, coffee mugs grasped in our hands, eyes wandering.
"I know about Sarah." She stated slowly, "Her father is clueless, but I've known for a while. I just don't know how…" I looked up at Caroline's revelation.
"Let her come to you. She needs to come to you."
She looked at me, and I think for the first time since we met I saw respect in her eyes, "Okay."
Our momentary bonding was interrupted by Olivia yelling, "where are my waffles, woman?" from the living room and Sarah's subsequent laughter. When I opened the kitchen door I peered out to see Olivia and Sarah sitting on the couch trying to look innocent with Looney Tunes playing in the background. The dishtowel I threw landed perfectly on her face.
"If you want waffles get your lazy butt in here and make them yourself. And what have I told you about calling me woman?"
"That you find it chauvinistic, and domineering, and that if you wanted to be treated like that you would have married Trevor Langan," she recited as she came shuffling into the kitchen with an impish grin on her face, "But it's probably a good thing that I cook, we wouldn't want you burning down the kitchen in front of guests."
"Oh, dear God, it was once five years ago! And it wasn't even a big fire, will you let it go already?"
By this time I was backed up against the counter with her arms on either side of me, "but then I wouldn't get that fun reaction out of you. Now go out there and watch cartoons." She leaned in to give me a good morning peck on the lips and swatted me on the butt as I made my way out to the living room.
With that I was regulated to watching Sunday morning cartoons while Caroline stayed to help make breakfast. I looked back warily at the swinging kitchen door, this was the first time they had been left alone together. I shouldn't have been worried though; Olivia can make almost anyone like her. I'm jealous of that.
Saved, Part 9
Olivia Benson found it slightly ironic that she was nervous around this woman. She dealt with hardened criminals everyday and it was now that she felt completely helpless. Maybe if she had her badge and gun…
It was quiet in the kitchen and Olivia was wandering around gathering up all the ingredients she needed for breakfast and ran her hand through her short hair. She had just cut it again a week before and enjoyed the chopped feeling of it. Alex loved to play with it— making it stick up at various angles. Apparently it was extremely amusing.
"You murmur in your sleep."
Olivia cracked an egg into the bowl then turned her head and looked up at the random comment. Caroline was leaning against the counter, both hands holding the mug of coffee; a look of intense curiosity was in her eyes.
"So I've been told. Nightmares."
She nodded, looking down into her coffee seemingly for answers, "My husband does the same thing. He works homicide, do you?"
"Umm no, Special Victims— Sex Crimes."
"Tough job. Is that why…"
"Why I'm with Alex, instead of married with 2.5 kids and a dog?" Olivia quirked an eyebrow and let out a half laugh, "it may be part if it. I honestly don't know. But I could be with a thousand men and never feel the connection I have with her. She gets it."
"My daughter likes you."
"She's a good kid, runaway tendencies not withstanding. It's nice to meet one who's not damaged." Olivia paused stood up straight and looked Caroline in the eyes, "She loves that kid. Give her a chance, okay?"
Caroline looked over at Olivia; she could see the finality followed by a moment of sadness in other woman's eyes. It was a brief pensive look, but it was there. "You didn't know."
A tear rolled down her cheek. She really had tried to get over it, "we were thinking about having a kid a couple of years ago. Alex kept on insisting that we adopt so we could make sure it was a boy. I finally relented- I had wanted a biological child. Then she kept putting it off, saying the time wasn't right yet. We fought about it constantly. Eventually the topic just dropped. Now I know why."
Caroline walked up to the crying woman and put a comforting hand on her back, "I think she is ready now."
They could hear the laughter from the adjoining room, and the sounds of the Roadrunner and Coyote filtering in. Olivia smiled, it wasn't the grin that could make anyone melt; it was a small hopeful smile. "I think you are right. Now, pass me that waffle iron, we have a couple of hungry blondes to feed."
Caroline chucked and passed the device over, chatting happily about various topics, she couldn't help but like the compassionate woman standing next to her. Maybe it wasn't too late for her to learn a thing or two about life.
By the time the food was done, Jake had arrived from the hotel and had made himself very much at home laughing at the television. Olivia was content just to stand back and watch her newly founded unconventional family. Maybe now she wouldn't be afraid to tell Alex about the consultation she had had a week before at the fertility clinic.
Saved, part 10
Considering that the trio would be headed back to Indiana the following day, everyone agreed to give Sarah and me the day alone together. Sarah was going to stay with her parents that night in the hotel to make things easier on everyone, but I couldn't let her go. I didn't want to let her go, not again. I was clinging to my daughter so hard, hugging her so tightly. I finally forced myself to pull back and took her face in my hands. My thumbs brushed over her cheeks as I told her to call me at any time. I wanted to hear everything. I couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my face as I kissed her on the forehead and pulled her into one last hug. Then I told my daughter that I loved her and turned to walk down the hall.
When I returned to the apartment I found Olivia curled up on the couch attempting to finish a novel that had been at the bedside for the past year. When she saw me the book was discarded, once again forgotten for another day, and her arms opened for me. My girls— I love them both.
A week later I found myself pounding impatiently on the bathroom door. Olivia never took this long to get ready in the mornings and she certainly never locked the bathroom door. When the door finally creaked open I found a perfectly dry Olivia, still dressed in her pajamas giving me a shy, guilty and slightly nervous look.
What happened now?
"Alex, you might want to sit down."
"Liv what's going on, you've been in there for half an hour and you aren't even showered yet. Why are you holding your hand behind your back?"
Olivia took my hand and led me over to the bed, sitting me down on the still rumpled sheets. I have been nagging her for years to actually make the bed. She never listens.
"Olivia, what is going on?"
"Here." With that she handed me a…pregnancy test? Oh. Shit.
"It's pink. Why is it pink? Why do you have a pregnancy test? Last time I checked I couldn't get you pregnant." With each sentence my voice raised in level, I couldn't help it and it's not like I actually cared at that moment how loud I was talking. She was… oh, God, she was…
"I had an appointment at the fertility clinic a couple weeks ago. I was tired of waiting Alex, and it's not like I'm getting any younger."
"You got inseminated and you didn't tell me? And now you're pregnant?"
"Yeah, that pretty much covers it."
"This isn't funny, Liv."
"Alex…" Olivia was starting to cry, and God forgive me I wanted her to cry. How could she do something like this and not talk to me first?
I locked myself in the bathroom. When I finally came back out Olivia was gone and there was a note saying that we would talk tonight after I had had a chance to cool down.
I had been smiling the entire week since Sarah had left, I had met my daughter and I was on cloud nine, but today I stormed into the office and I swear the pencil sharpener dove for cover. None of the ADAs dared to come near me, even Christina who had become somewhat of a protégé to me, knew better than to come within 20 feet. Only Jim dared to approach me, I'm guessing since he had known me for years he felt he had prerogative. After a few not so nice names had been thrown around and a jab or two about his, and my, masculinity he finally dragged it out of me.
He sat back and listened as I told him the whole story about Sarah, Olivia and the baby. Of course, he already knew about Olivia and me. I was mad, I felt guilty for being mad, and was mad about feeling guilty. I was a mess.
Jim didn't tell me what to do; he just sat there and listened. After I quit talking he reached over, squeezed my hand and gave me a reassuring smile. He said everything would be all right before getting up and leaving the office.
Everything will be all right…
My stomach was still flip-flopping from what happened this morning, both the test and the fight. I was so scared and so happy at the same time. I don't regret what I did. I know I should have told her about the appointment, but lately every time I would bring up children she would change the subject. Eventually I just gave up. Then I got tired of giving up, I wanted a child. I understand now why she was so hesitant, why she wanted to adopt, but it's too late— I'm already pregnant.
I walked into work and plopped down at my desk. Elliot looked up at me when I breathed out a giant gush of air. He just leaned forward and propped his head up with his chin in his hand, he knows me too well. With a raised eyebrow he waited for me to spill my guts. He'll be waiting for a while. I don't want to talk about it, well, maybe I do, but I'm not giving him the satisfaction.
About two hours later I broke.
After work I found myself wandering around the city, looking into the windows of baby stores, wondering if I would be buying little sneakers or little patent leather shoes with pink bows. Wondering if I would be buying a new apartment. My hand rested comfortably on my stomach, I could pretend that I already felt a bump.
An hour later I finally arrived home clutching a bag in my hand. I couldn't help it— I had to buy them. Alex was huddled on the couch, arms wrapped around her knees. She looked so young, so scared.
"Where have you been? Elliot said you left work hours ago."
"Walking." She sounded like she was accusing me of something. I did not need that right now.
"Sorry, I was just scared. You don't normally just disappear."
"I'm still here, don't worry."
"You should have told me Liv. Before you went, or at least before today."
"I know. But I figured if it didn't take then…"
"You weren't going to tell me!" Her voice went up an octave.
I should have expected that screech.
"Oh, no. You are not going to explain. You are going to sleep on the couch." She jabbed her finger at me and then at the couch in emphasis.
I tossed and turned for half the night, and it had nothing to do with the fact that I hate sleeping alone on the couch. Especially when the blanket I grabbed is too small for me. After a few hours I gave up and stormed into the bedroom. I jumped directly into my tirade; I knew she wouldn't be asleep either.
"Okay, so you get to listen to me know. I know why you are mad, hell, I would be too, but you need to listen to me. I tried to talk to you about this. Hell, I have been trying to talk to you about this for two years. But you are the one that kept shutting me down and putting it off. I am not getting younger, Alex, I am pretty much up on time. So, I made a decision. I wanted a child, I wanted to give birth to one, so, I made it happen. You know what the donor looks like? He looks like you. And don't even get me started on secrets. Just be happy I didn't bring up Sarah."
I stopped my rant and tried to catch my breath. Alex was propped up on her elbows on the bed, her expression blank.
"Go back to bed Liv."
I just lay back down on my makeshift bed and stared at the ceiling. How could I make this right? I didn't want to lose Alex, but it's not like I could turn back time. Ugh. My hand made its way down to lie on my abdomen. I was lost in thought as my hand made small circles over my tummy, the other tangled in my hair. I was lost in a trance until I felt another hand on top of mine. I looked up in time to see Alex climbing over me to lie on her side with her back against the couch. Her head rested against my shoulder, and it was her hand that rested against my tummy this time.
"So what's in the bag?"
"The shopping bag you had when you came in, what did you buy?"
A silly grin broke across my face as I replied, "booties, " I started to laugh as I spoke, "I bought little green baby booties."
"Baby booties… I think I can get used to that. Now, are there any other life changing events you want to let me in on?"
"Not at the moment, but I hear Maureen has yet another boyfriend who is a strong contender for 'the one'."
"Isn't that the third 'one' this year?" I could see the quirked eyebrow and playful smirk on her face, but my own smile died as I looked in her eyes.
"I love you. You know that right? I didn't mean to hurt you."
"I know. I know. Now go to sleep, both of you need your rest."
As my eyes drifted closed I could feel her fingers in my hair and I heard 'I love you so much' whispered into my ear.
Everything was going to be all right.