This is the sequel to "This Glassy Surface" and takes place 7 months after that story ends. Told from alternating viewpoints of Alex and Casey. Alex/Casey pairing of course. Rated T for language and intense situations.
To summarize the story - Alex and Casey are married and just starting their lives together, when something happens that forces Casey to keep a terrible secret...which nearly destroys her. What kind of affect will it have on her personally? And how will it affect her happy life with Alex? Can she keep the secret for long, and what happens when she finally reveals it? Read to find out!
As soon as I open the front door and walk through the kitchen to the living room, I hear Alex's voice.
"I want that chair on more of an angle….and can you move it back further, closer to the wall? Yes, that's good…and put the other chair in the same position on the other side of where the couch is going to be."
I have a huge smile plastered on my face as I enter the living room and see Alex standing in the middle of the room, her back to me, barking orders to the small group of furniture movers in our living room. These poor guys; they look frustrated. I hope my wife hasn't been giving them all kinds of hell.
Alex isn't expecting to see me until later. I just got back from Washington and was supposed to go directly to Senator Palmer's office, but I had to stop by our new house and make sure my wife is behaving herself and hasn't ripped any heads off. She took the day off she could be home when our furniture was delivered.
I sneak up behind her and snake my arm around her waist, causing her to jump in surprise. When she sees it's me, she immediately relaxes. "Casey! I'm so happy to see you!" She pulls me against her and gives me a deep kiss.
"Hi, wifey. I missed you and wanted to see your pretty face before I head to the office." I look around the living room. Nearly all our furniture is moved in, excluding the couch. "And I wanted to see if you wanted me to stay and help you out here? It looks like you have a handle on it, but I'd still be willing to stay."
Alex takes my hand and smiles at me. "I got it; but thanks, sweetheart. How was your flight?"
"Same as it ever is. Nothing exciting," I report. "Not long enough to nap but just long enough to bore me to death."
"That's good. There's a problem with our new couch. The store can't deliver it until the end of the week. So we'll have to make do without it until then."
She seems upset and stressed about this, so I give her a kiss to calm her down a little. She gets too worked up about things she can't change and things that aren't that big of a deal. "That's all right, baby. It will be fine. Being in our house together at last will be wonderful; couch or no couch." A grin breaks out on my face. "Our bed is here, so…"
Alex catches my drift and raises an eyebrow. "Point taken." She returns her attention to the group of movers, who are now watching us awkwardly and awaiting their next set of instructions. "I'm okay here; really. Go ahead and go to work. Just make sure you're home by six. I want to take you out to dinner tonight to celebrate our first official night in our home together."
That sounds perfect to me. I give my wife one last lingering kiss, and then I head back outside. I'm still smiling. In fact, I've been smiling for nearly seven months, since I married the love of my life.
It's now late March. I can't believe how quickly times go back. It seems like just yesterday I was walking down the aisle with my father and looking at Alex in that beautiful dress and knowing my life was never going to be the same again. That was back in August; it seems impossible.
Senator Palmer won his re-election and I'm back in my regular position in his Manhattan office. A nice set schedule, no weekends. I still have to be in Washington every Monday but I've been flying home Monday night or early Tuesday morning and thus far it hasn't become an issue. Most days I'm able to be home by five, or at the very latest, six or six-thirty. Sometimes an issue comes up that requires me to stay longer, but that's rare. And Alex has gotten so she comes home around the same time every night too, so we spend our evenings together.
I love it. We talk about our days and eat dinner together, then go for a walk or cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie. Sometimes we go out to the theater to see a movie or grocery shopping. It doesn't matter what we do; we just love spending time together.
Seven months after the wedding and we're still just as affectionate with each other as we were before we were married. Everyone said the newness would wear off quickly and we'd value private time, but we've found this isn't the case at all. We crave each other's affection and much prefer to be together than to be one on our own.
This is part of the reason I try to fly home from Washington on Monday nights whenever possible. It's hard for me to sleep in a hotel room alone without being cuddled up with Alex. Of course we Skype, but it isn't the same. I sleep much better with my wife. Am I aware that's pathetic? Yep…but I don't care. I know she feels the same way, which makes us both pathetic.
Another great thing that has happened over the past seven months is that we've repaired our relationship with Olivia. The three of us are friends now. It wasn't an easy road; especially for me. I was very nice and civil to Olivia but for the longest time still held her responsible for what happened with Alex. Holding a grudge is very rare for me, but in this case I couldn't help it. And then slowly I started to let it go. We would go out with Olivia and her girlfriend Renee and after a while it felt natural and easy. I no longer saw or felt anything between Alex and Olivia. I think Olivia had been sincere when she said she was letting Alex go and moving on. And Renee is a very nice girl; I'm happy for her. The four of us try to get together at least once a week and we always manage to have a good time.
A week ago we signed the final papers and closed on our house. I couldn't be more excited. I haven't lived in a house since I was a kid, and this one is beautiful. I never imagined myself living in such a place. It's in a very nice residential part of Manhattan. The house is two levels and very modern, with a huge yard. Alex is excited about landscaping possibilities and I'm excited because the large yard will be perfect for a dog. Our back deck opens up to a large underground pool and a hot tub. The pool area is all marble and a newly added addition to the house. Added since the last owners, to generate more interest in the house. We have a patio with sliding glass doors that will provide me with good grilling space, and an upstairs balcony. A three car garage; big enough for both of our vehicles and my motorcycle. Hardwood floors, crystal chandlers, central air, brand new appliances…the regular American dream.
I never thought I'd be living this life. I thought an apartment in downtown Manhattan was the furthest I'd ever go. Living in a huge house with a pool and a three car garage was never in the realm of possibilities for me
And it almost never happened. When we first looked at this house, I didn't like it. Not because it isn't beautiful; but because I thought it was too much. There are only two of us and we don't plan to have a family so I thought a two level house with four bedrooms on each floor was ridiculous. What would we use all the extra space for? And then Alex started talking about hiring a yard and pool service. Never in my life have I ever had anyone work for me like that. It's not something I'm comfortable with or used to.
So our first real argument as a married couple had been about this house. Alex wanted it; I didn't. I thought it was too expensive and too big and impractical; but Alex saw such potential in it. She talked about making two of the rooms on the second floor into offices for both of us and dedicating another on the second floor to her paintings and artwork and converting another into a game room. I started warming to the idea when she put it like that. Although I think the finished basement would make a better game room. Alex says it's up to me.
"It's just like that sandcastle you built in Costa Rica. Remember Casa Alex? You said the Queen's wife had a game room in the castle. Well, this is our castle, Casey; Casa Cabot, and you'll have your game room," she had said, in an effort to win me over.
So I gave in – after some compromises. I agreed to a yard service since neither of us know anything about landscaping and are too busy to mow the large lawn or plow the driveway, and to the pool service because it's just practical. Professionals maintaining our pool is a sure way to keep it up and running properly for a long time. Plus it's only seasonal, so we'll only need to employ the pool service for a few months out of the year. But the stipulations on me agreeing were simple – no maids or cooks. I can't stand the thought of someone doing house work in my own house or cooking for me. I know Alex is used to it…but I'm not. And I'll never get used to it.
I know we both have busy schedules and cleaning and other housework will be a challenge, but we can do it. We can do anything – we're Calex!
I'm so busy thinking about our current place in life that I nearly drive right by Senator Palmer's office. I have to quickly switch my turn signal on and slam on my brakes for my turn, which wins me an angry honk from the car behind me. Oh, deal with it – this is Manhattan. I'm not the only crazy driver. And I'm a girl deeply in love – cut me some slack.
If I had been on my motorcycle I would be paying more attention. I tend to use extreme caution when I ride it; after all, I did promise Alex. But I'm banished from it until the snow melts completely. Winter driving is too dangerous on a motorcycle.
I'm dismayed to see a certain black Grand Am parked next to my usual parking spot. Great; Jenna is working today. I actually groan as I go to open my door and step out.
I dislike Jenna very much. She just started in Senator Palmer's office this past January, having worked for a State Representative for a number of years. She is a few years older than me and her resume and credentials had been impressive and the Senator hired her to work on his constituent outreach staff. She goes between the state and Washington at least three times a week and always somehow manages to make her two days in Manhattan when I'm working. Aren't I a lucky girl?
It's not Jenna is a bad person; quite the opposite. She's outspoken and bubbly and very intelligent, making her exceptional at her job. She deals with constituent issues very professionally and in a timely manner. I have a lot of respect for her professionally.
But I don't enjoy working beside her. I get the strangest vibes from her – like she's interested in me. She'll say something or look at me in such a way that gives me the creeps. And I know she has a boyfriend, but this does nothing to help me shake this strange feeling I get when I'm around her. When I walk through the office, I swear I can feel her eyes on me. When Senator Palmer is back in state and I need to accompany him somewhere, Jenna is always the first to want to tag along. She doesn't go with anyone else. She'll next to me in the van or limo, making the whole trip uncomfortable.
I know everyone works with someone like this and whenever I tell Alex about her, she just laughs at me and says I'm reading too much into it. Jenna has never tried anything and she knows I'm married, so as far as Alex is concerned, it's a harmless crush if anything at all.
Crush or not, I still don't like it.
I try to put a pleasant smile on my face as I enter the office. I've been fighting off a headache since I got up this morning and somehow I know it's going to be worse by day's end since Jenna is here. I say hi to Scott and Tommy, and head for the office I work out of. I like to refer to it as 'my' office, even though it really isn't. Three of us work out of here, to save space and office costs. Rarely at the same time, but it still isn't without problems. My stuff is always getting moved or misplaced and someone uses my laptop without plugging it in so I'm always left with a nearly-drained battery. No one will own up to it; but I know it's one of my office mates.
I sigh as I sit down behind the desk and start going through the stack of piles with my name attached. I have a lot of work – lucky me. A few newspapers want a comment from the Senator regarding gas prices and there are a few unpleasant issues and topics I'm going to have to put a happy spin on.
I'm about to pick up the office phone and call the Post and tell the editor for the millionth and one time Senator Palmer is for lower gas prices, when there's a soft knock at the door and it opens before I get a chance to tell the person to come in.
It's Jenna. She smiles cheerfully at me, her perfectly white teeth practically shining under the fluorescent lights in the office. "How was Washington?"
My headache is getting worse and I am so not in the mood for small talk. It's going to take everything I have to be nice to her right now. I force myself to smile. It's possibly the fakest smile of my entire life. "It was good; you know Washington."
"Unfortunately yes," she says, pulling up a chair and sitting down in front of the desk like we're old college chums about to catch up on our lives. "I'm always glad to back in New York."
I try to polite. "Me too. I can't imagine traveling there as often as you do."
That was the wrong thing to say. I gave her the impression that I'm interested in her life; now I won't get rid of her. She'll sit there yacking my ear off about what it was like working for the Representative and how different the Senate is; the same spiel I've heard over and over again since she started.
"It is a challenge," she tells me. I pop open the lid of my laptop and attempt to look busy so she'll go away. "But I really enjoy it." I just nod, keeping my eyes on my computer. "How do you handle it, coming from no political background at all?"
I peel my eyes away from the screen and look at Jenna, doing my best to keep my expression soft so I don't appear angry. "I'm really sorry, Jenna, but I have a lot of work to do. I was a little late today because I had to stop home before coming to the office. So if you don't mind, I need to get to it."
Jenna doesn't say anything at first, but she does get up and set the chair aside. Her mannerisms tell me she's upset, but she seems to get over it quickly. "Okay; I understand. I have work to do myself. I just wanted to gossip with you. And ask if you're going to the fundraiser for the Democratic Party at Senator Palmer's Washington residence next weekend?"
"Yes, my wife and I plan to attend," I tell her, making sure to emphasize the word 'wife'.
She smiles again. "Good. I'm sure there will be an excellent turn out. I'm going myself."
Great. I'll turn cartwheels as soon as she leaves. Why don't we fly out together so she can sit next to me on the plane?
"And I heard his place in Washington is pretty much a mansion. Have you been there?"
I shake my head, showing even disinterest. Does the girl ever take a hint?
Jenna then finally leaves my office, leaving me alone to my work. As soon as she's gone, I let a curse slip out under my breath. She would have to be going. Something I was actually looking forward to has become something I am dreading now.
But I have to attend. Senator Palmer says I need bigger exposure within the Democratic Party and need to start making connections if I'm even thinking of possibly having a career in politics. And the truth is, I have been considering it.
Maybe something will come up and Jenna will be unable to attend. Then Alex doesn't have to endure her.
Then a smile creeps across my face as I realize it will be the first time that Alex meets Jenna. Maybe she'll say the wrong thing or look at me the wrong way and really piss Alex off. Alex has a tendency to be jealous. Maybe she'll go off on her.
That thought makes me smile and instantly brightens my mood.
My bright mood doesn't last long, however. As the day drags on, my headache develops one of my migraines. By four o'clock I'm sitting with my head down on my desk, moaning from the stabbing pain in my head and completely nauseated. I can't lift my head because the lights in the office make it so much worse.
Tonight is going to suck. I'm going to spend the first night in our new house stuck in bed. Once I'm stricken with a full-fledged migraine, it takes hours to go away, even with medication. Our plans are going to have to be canceled. There's no way I can sit at a restaurant. Or participate in the activity I wanted to do afterwards; an activity that included being naked.
Somehow I manage to lift my head long enough to hit Alex's speed dial on my cell. I expect to get her voicemail, but surprisingly she answers. "Hey baby! Are you going to be out by six?"
I groan. "Alex…I have one of my migraines. It's a bad one. I don't think I can do dinner. I think I see a dark room and bed in my future tonight. I'm sorry."
"Oh, baby, it's okay!" Alex is quick to say, her voice full of concern. "I'm so sorry you don't feel well. I know how bad your migraines are. We'll go to bed right away when you get home. I'll come pick you up."
I love Alex so much. She is always so concerned and worried about me, out of love. But I don't want her to pull herself away from tending to the house just to pick me up. I know there's no way I can drive in this condition, but I am capable of taking a cab or catching a ride with someone from the office.
"No Alex; don't do that. I can take a cab or get a ride from someone."
"Nonsense, Casey. I took the day off, remember? I'll come and get you now. Are you ready?"
I do have more work to finish, but it's not anything that has to be done before tomorrow. And besides, I don't think I could do it anyway. The brightness of the computer screen would probably kill me right now and if I had to read anything my head would explode. I wouldn't want Alex to have to clean up the mess from my head exploding.
So I give in. I really do feel miserable and would love nothing more than being with my wife right now. So I say, "Okay; come and get me."
I can actually hear a smile in Alex's voice. "I'm on my way. Just hang in there. I'll bring your pills, even though you say they don't help. I love you."
After I disconnect the call, I remain seated at the desk with my head against the cool mahogany for several minutes. I know it will take Alex at least a half hour to get here if she hurries; which I know she will.
Nearly forty minutes later I hear the sound of footsteps coming down the hall approaching the door, and two voices conversing back and forth. The one voice I'd recognize anywhere – it's my wife. And the second voice sounds a lot like Jenna.
Suddenly the door opens and before I can even lift my head Alex is beside me. I feel her warm arms wrap around me and the scent of her sweet floral perfume. She presses a kiss to the top of my head and says, "I'm here, baby. Let's get you home."
I'm not normally a big baby; I swear. I'm usually very independent and I don't like anyone fussing over me.
But I let Alex help me stand and put her arm around my shoulders. My head feels like it's going to split open. As soon as I stand, the room starts spinning and I feel my stomach do a flip-flop. Alex barely has enough time to grab the garbage pail from beside my desk before I'm emptying my stomach contents into it.
She waits until I've finished and rubs my back gently, putting the garbage pail down. I apologize for what just happened and she says softly, "Don't apologize. It's okay."
I don't feel as sick now but my head still throbs so I hold onto Alex as we make our way out of the office. The lights are literally killing my eyes so I squint to avoid their brightness.
And even though I'm squinting, I can still see Jenna standing right outside the door waiting for us. She looks concerned. "Is everything okay?"
"She just has a migraine. She gets them frequently. She's okay," Alex tells her. "She just needs to rest."
Jenna follows us down the hall and I can feel her eyes on me again. She starts giving Alex instructions on what to do to make me feel better. "Make sure you turn the lights out. And give her warm milk or honey for her stomach. Make sure she sleeps. If she isn't better by tomorrow, I can – "
Alex lets go of me long enough to spin around and glare at Jenna. "I know how to take care of my wife. Thank you for your concern," she says harshly, her tone no-nonsense.
"I'm sorry. I was only trying to help," Jenna says, a hint of hurt in her voice. "I hope she feels better."
Neither of us pays her any attention as we walk out of the building, our minds only on each other and what we can salvage of the night ahead of us.
I take the cinnamon applesauce out of the fridge and empty a small amount into a bowl, sighing. I hope Casey will be able to eat it. She can't go all evening without eating.
I have to admit this is not what I envisioned for our first night together in our house. We've been gradually moving things over from our apartment for over a week and the last of our furniture excluding our new couch was delivered today. All utilities have been turned on and we managed to get cable and internet hooked up a couple days ago so we'd be all set when we officially moved in.
I had big plans for tonight. I was going to take Casey out to dinner to celebrate and then surprise her with a movie afterwards. There is new superhero movie I know she wants to see and I was willing to subject myself to it to celebrate the occasion. Then we were going to come home and cuddle up in bed and possibly make love. That was how the evening was supposed to go.
But instead Casey and I went to bed before seven PM, lying in the pitch black bedroom while Casey fought off another of her migraines. She has improved since I first brought her home from work and she has managed to not get sick since the office, but she's still miserable. I feel so badly for her; I don't like it when my Casey doesn't feel well.
She is very prone to migraines and I made her see a doctor at the beginning of the year because of it. I was afraid that there was something medically wrong with her that was causing the frequent intense migraines she was getting much too often. We had sat in Doctor Sherman's office and listened to him explain all the possibilities to us. The scariest was that she could have a brain tumor. I remember feeling a chill go down my back when he had suggested that. To rule it out, they sent Casey for an MRI the same day she saw the doctor. And then we had a three day wait for the results. Those were the longest, scariest three days of my life. I couldn't stop thinking the worst and wondering what I'd do if Casey in fact did have a tumor. We'd talk about it at night and assure each other that everything was going to be fine.
And luckily it was. The MRI showed no tumor or severe abnormality in her brain that would be causing the migraines. She was given a prescription that she is supposed to take when she feels the onset of a headache and told to keep a log identifying what seemed to trigger the migraines. For two months we tried to pinpoint a cause, but came up with nothing. They seemed to occur suddenly and without warning and from what we could conclude, weren't triggered by anything in particular. We had ruled out the usual triggers. Sunlight and flickering lights didn't seem to trigger them; Casey could play her video games for hours without resulting in a headache. Caffeine didn't seem to do it, and lack of exercise certainly didn't apply to Casey. So we, along with Casey's doctor, concluded the migraines are mostly brought on by stress and Casey was told to take her medication as soon as she feels a headache coming on.
Whether or not it's really stress that triggers them, I don't know. All I know is that they are extremely painful for Casey and sometimes can last for hours. I wish she wouldn't be so stubborn and would take her medication. She claims it doesn't work. Seeing Casey in so much pain and suffering hurts me deeply. I love her so much and every time she gets one of these awful headaches I just want to take it away from her and inflict it upon myself.
And then there's Jenna, that strange woman Casey works with. When she first told me of Jenna's apparent attachment to her, I thought she was exaggerating. In my mind it sounded like nothing more than an overly friendly individual trying to befriend someone; the same way Casey had been with me when she came back to the DA's office and I was annoyed by her. But after meeting her today and seeing her reaction to me and her over-concern for Casey, I'm beginning to wonder if she really is fixated on Casey.
If so, she's flirting with disaster. Casey is a happily married woman…and I have a tendency to get jealous and act accordingly. I might have to bring down the wrath of Alex Cabot on her if she continues to make Casey uncomfortable.
I go back into the bedroom quietly and am shocked when I discover the bedside lamp on and Casey sitting up in bed. She's leaning back against the headboard and smiles hesitantly when she sees me.
"What are you doing up? You're supposed to be resting," I scold her, taking my place on the bed and handing her the small bowl.
"I'm feeling a bit better," she says, looking down at the applesauce disapprovingly. "But not well enough to eat. I wouldn't be able to keep it down. I'm still nauseous."
I'm not going to force her to eat it. She loves cinnamon applesauce and I know it's easy on the stomach, but if she doesn't feel up to eat I won't make a big deal out of it. At least she's sitting up and has some color back in her face.
I settle back against the headboard as well, and Casey immediately adjusts herself so she's lying against me. I start stroking her hair gently. "Want me to turn out the light?
"No; it's okay for now. It doesn't bother me as much as the overhead light. You can turn on the TV if you want; I know it's early and you're not tired."
I finally talk Casey into letting me have a TV in the bedroom and she wants me to utilize it now while she's suffering like this? I can't believe she would even suggest that. There's no way I'm turning on a bright noisy TV when Casey is fighting off one of her migraines. I have more sense than that.
"No TV tonight. You're more important." I continue stroking her hair, feeling love every time I touch her. I love holding her this way. I know it makes her feel better and it fills my heart with pride and joy to know that Casey loves me enough to let me comfort her this way.
She sighs, snuggling deeper into me. "I'm so sorry for ruining our evening. Our first night in our new bedroom in our new house and we're trapped in the bedroom before it's even eight o'clock because of me."
My heart breaks when I hear those words. Casey's voice is dripping with guilt and disappointment. But this is not her fault. She didn't cause or choose it.
"You didn't ruin anything, Casey. We'll have more of a celebration tomorrow night. It's okay. You can't help that you don't feel well. I'm not disappointed or mad in the least. The important thing is we're spending tonight together. And you know how much I love lying here holding you. It's my favorite thing ever. I love you so much that I'd be happy lying on the floor with you if we had to."
Casey actually laughs at that. "So besides me being miserable, tonight isn't a complete bust?"
"No," I assure her, beyond happy that she's conversing with me instead of lying in bed moaning the way she was a couple hours ago. "And I even got to meet the great Jenna, at long last!"
That causes Casey to burst out laughing, which she immediately ceases and regrets. "Ouch….laughing hurts right now. Please don't make me laugh."
"Sorry," I apologize, sliding down in the bed so I can lie on my pillow and taking Casey with me. "But I see what you mean about her. She is a little creepy. As soon as she found out who I was, it was like I was her best friend."
"I told you," Casey says. "She thinks I'm her BFF and it's very irritating."
"Well I just want you to limit your contact with her. I know you work with her, but…don't do anything to lead her on. Just keep reminding her that you're married and stick to professionalism. You don't have to be rude to her, just let her know that her over-attention is inappropriate."
"I will, Alex," Casey tells me, her voice weak. She moans slightly again, and I feel my heart break once more.
She got active too quickly and that light shouldn't be on. She needs to rest. I quickly reach over and switch the lamp off, bathing us in darkness again. I'm kicking myself for bringing up Jenna; I could have a chosen a much better time to a broach the subject instead of when Casey is in the grips of one of her headaches.
My poor baby. I start stroking her again, holding her close to me. "It's okay, baby. I've got you. I'm not going anywhere. Just sleep."
Casey relaxes into me, quieting immediately. I continue talking softly to her while making circles on her back until I hear her breathing evening out and her body giving into slumber.
This is what marriage is all about. Being able to comfort the one you love with a simple touch and soft words. Having them love you so deeply and completely that they will forget the pain they are in the second they hear your voice and receive your touch. And getting the same thing from them.
These past seven months have been the happiest of my life. I didn't think it was a possible to love another person with every fiber of your being and every part of your soul until Casey and I looked into each other's anxious eyes and vowed our love forever. Since that day at the Botanical Garden, I have become a different woman. My whole life revolves around Casey and our relationship. I've altered my work schedule to allow us to have most evenings together. The emotion that fills me when I get in my car after a long stressful day knowing I'm about to go home to the love of my life is indescribable. Never before I have put another person to the front of the line, completely above everything else.
I know it sounds clichéd to say, but my life is perfect. I am deeply in love with my wife, I have a career that I love, and we just moved into our new home together. Our future is shining so bright that we both need sunglasses.
And I can't imagine of a better way to end our first night in our new home than holding my beautiful wife and dreaming of what's to come for us.
Did you like it? The main point of this chapter was to establish where Alex and Casey are in their relationship and in life. I hope I accomplished that! I will update soon. In the mean time, please review and let me know what you think. Things start happening quickly in the story; it won't be all roses for long...