Chapter 14:  Scarred

“So what was the big surprise?” Elliot asked Saturday morning.


“She took me to dinner at The Water Club and then to see Spamalot.”


“Wow…nice.  Spamalot…wasn’t that the play you were gonna see with what’s his face?”




“So how was it?”


“Great,” Olivia said with a tight smile.


Elliot noticed her reservation.  “Did something else happen?”


“We kissed—again,” Olivia replied with a strained sigh.


“I thought you said yesterday it seemed too soon.”


“Yeah, yeah I know.  But it’s easier said than done when the woman you love is right in your face and piling on the charm.”


Elliot chuckled softly.  “Yeah, I know the feeling.  But as long as she doesn’t get you in bed…”


Olivia scoffed.  “The Siren won’t get that far, I promise you.  I can sleep beside her without sleeping with her.”


“I don’t know of anyone who could refuse that woman.”


Olivia glared at him.  Elliot grinned.  “Whoops, did I say that out loud?”


“You’re looking at her,” Olivia snapped.


Elliot held up his hands in surrender.  “Whoa there, Liv.  I was just making a joke.”


Olivia decided to brush his comment off.  “She’s starting to chip away at the wall around my heart again.  I don’t like it.”


“In a way I think you do.”


“I don’t need this right now, El.  She can’t stomp all over my heart and then expect me to fall right back into her arms.  She damn well doesn’t deserve it,” Olivia said bitterly.  This battle between her head and her heart wasn’t getting any easier, and at the moment she didn’t know if she was angrier with herself or Alex for letting things be that way.


“Sometimes I don’t know who is more stubborn—you or Alex.”


“It’s not about being stubborn, Elliot.  It’s about protecting myself from being hurt again.  And every single time I think of a reason to put on the brakes, Alex makes some persuasive argument to keep me sticking around.  I don’t know why in the world I agreed to stay with her this entire weekend.”


“Well, she’s a lawyer, what do you expect?” Elliot asked with a smirk.


“And it’s not that I don’t want to repair things between us.  I do—just at a much slower pace.  But it’s like we went from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds.”


“She did do a helluva lot to hurt you, Liv, so maybe she’s overcompensating in her efforts to make things right?”


“Yeah, that’s probably it.  But it doesn’t mean I have to accept everything so easily.”


“But when you’re with her, are you happy?”


Olivia paused for a few moments before answering.  It was the same question Alex had asked her the previous morning.  “Yes.”


Elliot smiled.  “Then that’s all that matters.  Follow your heart and the rest will follow.”




That evening Alex noticed that Olivia was somewhat distant towards her.  She turned her attention away from the program they were watching on tv and moved closer to her on the couch.  “Is something bothering you, sweetie?” she asked, doing those lazy circles on Olivia’s thigh that drove her absolutely wild.


Olivia groaned inwardly.  Here we go, she thought.  “I’m just thinking that we’ve been too close lately.”


Alex swallowed hard.  She had feared that was the cause of Olivia’s reservation but secretly hoped that it was just a stressful day at work.  She moved back.  “Liv…I’m sorry for coming on so strong these past couple days.  It was not my intention at all to make you uncomfortable.”


“I know, Alex.  I don’t want to seem ungrateful—”


“No, I don’t think you are at all.  But I should’ve been more mindful of how this would all affect you before just jumping into things.”


“It’s all a little hard to swallow, I guess.  I’d like to take a step back so I can just process everything.”


Alex nodded.  “I understand completely.  Well, I’ll just get started on that dinner I promised you then.”


Amidst the acceptance in her voice, Olivia also noticed the pain and disappointment.  “Is there anything I can do to help?” she asked.


Alex shook her head.  “I think I have everything under control.”  She went into the kitchen and started pulling out ingredients.  She fought back the tears that threatened to surface.  She didn’t want to cry because Olivia would hear her and she didn’t want to make her feel guilty.  She couldn’t believe she’d been so stupid.  In her heart, she had already reclaimed Olivia as her girlfriend, even though in her head she knew that they were nothing of the sort.  Geez, I hope I haven’t fucked up everything between us. 


Back in the den, Olivia leaned back against the sofa and placed her hands on her forehead.  She hadn’t wanted to hurt her feelings.  Elliot’s words echoed in her head.  Follow your heart and the rest will follow.  But was that really the best decision at this point?  She didn’t want to start following her heart if Alex was going to turn around and begin following her mind again.  And although she was now uncomfortable with the closeness they’d exhibited the past couple days, she would have preferred that any day over the tension that had floated between them for almost two months.  Taking a deep breath, she forced herself to get up from the sofa and join Alex in the kitchen.


Alex turned to her with a look of surprise.  “Liv, you didn’t have to—”


Olivia held up a hand to stop her.  “No, but I wanted to.  Listen, I think I should clarify something.  I want to be comfortable with you but not too comfortable, ok?”


Alex smiled.  “Ok.”  She finished chopping up her vegetables and pushed them to the side of the cutting board.  “So how was your day today?”


“Good, but tiring as usual.  How was yours?”


“Hectic as usual.”


Olivia chuckled and sat down on a stool.  “I hope we’re not relegated to small talk now.”


Alex stirred more vegetables into her tomato sauce.  “That wouldn’t be much fun, now would it?”


“I’d think not.”  She got up to pour a glass of water from the refrigerator dispenser and returned to Alex’s side.  “You look tired.  Why don’t you go lie down for a few and finish up later?”


“Nah, I’m fine.  We’ll sleep well after our stomachs are full.  So what do you want to do on your day off tomorrow?”


“Maybe we can go to the Met.”


Alex grinned.  “Sounds great.”


“Yeah, I just hope I don’t get called in on a case.”


“Let’s not jinx ourselves,” Alex said, placing her slices of eggplant in a frying pan. 


“That smells really good already,” Olivia complimented, her mouth watering.


“Taste the sauce,” Alex told her, dipping her spoon into it and then holding it out to Olivia.


Olivia tasted the sauce and then licked her lips.  “Mmm.  That is perfect.”


“Does it need anything else?” Alex asked.


Olivia shook her head.  “Not at all.”


Several minutes later, Alex began layering her eggplant, sauce, and cheeses in a baking dish.  Olivia opened the oven door so Alex could slide the dish in.  Alex wiped her hands on a towel and dragged the back of one hand across her brow.  “Who knew that cooking could work up such a sweat?”


Olivia laughed.  “I’m sure it’ll all be well worth it in the end.”


Alex looked off to the side thoughtfully.  “Yeah.”




After they had finished eating dinner, Olivia put her fork down on her plate and said satisfactorily, “Alex, that was absolutely the best eggplant parmesan I’ve ever had.”


Alex blushed lightly.  “Why, thank you, Liv.”  She cleared away their dinner plates and then poured Olivia another glass of red wine.  “Let’s go into the den.”


Olivia stood and silently followed Alex into the den.  She set her glass down on the coffee table and leaned back on the sofa.  “So what’s next on the agenda?”


Alex sat down beside her and curled her legs underneath herself.  “Well, we can channel surf or watch a movie if you want.”


Olivia took a sip of her wine.  “A movie actually sounds better.”


Alex stood up and browsed her DVD collection.  “Let’s watch Aimée & Jaguar.”


“What’s it about?” Olivia asked, putting a pillow behind her to get comfortable.


“Two women fall in love, one a Nazi wife and the other a Jew, in Berlin during World War II.”


“Hmm…that sounds like a recipe for disaster.”


Alex offered a wry smile.  “Well, the tagline is ‘Love transcends death.’”


When the movie ended, they were both in tears.  “That movie was so poignant,” Olivia remarked.


“The most tragic thing about this is that it was a true story, too,” Alex replied.  “Felice took the ultimate risk and sadly, it cost her her life.”


“Do you think she should have fled Germany with her friends or stayed with Lilly?” Olivia asked, studying Alex’s expression carefully.


“That’s hard to say because we’ve never lived in such a perilous time.  So if I had been in her situation, I don’t know what I would’ve done,” Alex responded quietly, her eyes downcast.  She looked up at Olivia again and placed a hand over hers.  “But I know that if I was going to leave, I wouldn’t have without saying goodbye.” 


Olivia nodded.  “Well, I can appreciate what she did.  If she’d left, she may have never seen Lilly again.  So I guess in Felice’s eyes, it was better to risk dying one death than to die everyday without her.”


Alex reached for another tissue.  “I know the feeling.”


They sat in silence for a few minutes.  Olivia broke the silence with a change of subject.  “You know…I remember when Branch made the announcement on the news that you had died.  He talked about what an asset you were to the community, how many victims you’d fought to get justice for, and how they were all determined to catch your murderer.   People at the DA’s office were wearing black ribbons, but I covered my badge with a black band because you deserved the honor.  I knew some cops viewed that as something that was sacrosanct to members of the force only, but breaking tradition didn’t bother me because in my eyes, you were as much a part of the force as Elliot or any other cop.  If it hadn’t been for you, all the criminals we caught never would’ve been brought to justice.”


Alex was speechless for a moment.  When she finally found her voice, she asked, “You did that for me?”




“Oh, Liv,” she said, grabbing her and hugging her.  No one on Earth could love her more than this woman.  She pulled back and sighed deeply.  “I remember that today was the day of our meeting.”


Olivia nodded.  “Yeah.  Earlier that evening we’d stopped by the funeral home.  The funeral director told us that only your immediate family was allowed to view your body.  To everyone else, it was closed casket.  I was so hurt because I wanted to see you and say goodbye.  But I didn’t say anything to your mother because I knew I had no right and I didn’t want to go against her wishes and be disrespectful.  Then we went back to the squadroom.  The place was frozen in silence.  Then again, what could anyone say?  Talking wouldn’t bring you back.  I was out of my mind with grief.  Elliot had the late edition of the Ledger on his desk and I can remember the headline as plain as day—‘No leads on slain ADA.’  Then Elliot and I were given that message about closing out the case…”


“Sweetie, c’mere,” Alex prompted softly, pulling Olivia into her arms again.


Olivia took comfort in Alex’s deep embrace.  She drew in a shaky breath.  “I thought I’d never feel your arms around me again.”


Alex gave her a kiss on the cheek and squeezed her tighter.  After a few more minutes, she pulled back to gaze intently into her eyes.  “Well, now we don’t have to worry about that again.”  She paused for a few seconds before asking solemnly, “Liv…I know this is hard, but what was my…funeral like?”


“It was the most beautiful funeral I’ve ever been to,” Olivia replied, fighting back tears.  “It wasn’t as hard as it would have been since I’d just seen you the night before, but it was still very painful.  There were these blown-up pictures of you on either side of your casket.  I remember it was dark cherry.  I got up and spoke some words on your behalf, as did Liz, Elliot, Cragen, Munch, and Fin.  I looked out over the crowd when I was speaking and my heart was just filled with warmth as I thought, ‘Wow, she was loved by so many.’  The church was packed wall to wall.”


“Oh, Liv,” Alex breathed, reaching out to squeeze her hand. 


Olivia offered a weak smile before continuing.  “And then we stood out at the cemetery as the minister committed your body to the ground.  I remember throwing a handful of dirt on your coffin.  And although I knew you were alive, that still didn’t stop the tears from flowing.  It was still a loss because you weren’t there physically with us anymore.  My heart just broke to see all the other officers dressed in full uniform standing at attention as the bagpipes played.  Then we all saluted you.  It was kinda hard to imagine that you weren’t really dead in that atmosphere.  I had to keep telling myself that the coffin was empty, it wasn’t you, you were really safe and sound, and it was a secret I was prepared to take to my grave if I had to.”


“I am so sorry,” Alex said, brushing her cheek.  “I just cried so much that day because I knew there were so many people who would be mourning my death and paying their last respects.  It was like I was deceiving all of them.  It just wasn’t fair.”


Olivia wiped the warm tears away from Alex’s face.  “You had to do it.  If you hadn’t, there was a chance Velez would try again until he succeeded.”


“I just wish I could go back in time and erase it all,” Alex cried.  “Those are two years of my life I’ll never get back!  And I think about all those moments I could’ve shared with my mom if only…I couldn’t even go to her funeral when she died and—”


“Shh…don’t think about that.  It’s over.  It’s all over now,” Olivia comforted her, pulling her close and rubbing her back.


“How do I ever fill such a huge void?” Alex continued.  “I may have been released from the program, but these things will haunt me for the rest of my life.”


“It will all get better with time,” Olivia assured her.


Suddenly Alex’s phone began ringing.  Olivia and Alex both frowned when they saw on the caller I.D. that it was Jim.  Alex rolled her eyes and flipped open her cell.  “Hello?”


“Hi, Alexandra.  I was just wondering if you wanted to get together sometime this weekend and hang out,” Jim proposed hopefully.


Olivia rolled her eyes and tried to suppress a groan.  Alex noticed and gave Olivia’s knee a reassuring squeeze.  “Jim, I’m sorry but I can’t.  I have plans.”


“Plans?” Jim asked.


“Yeah.  Listen, I have to go.  I’ll see you at the office, ok?”


Jim couldn’t keep the disappointment out of his voice.  “Ok.  Well, have fun.  Bye.”


Alex ended the call and turned off her phone.  “Sorry about that.  But don’t worry.  There will be no more interruptions.”


Olivia forced a smile.  “I’m sure.”  She shook her hair out of her face and began, “Alex…may I ask you something?”


“Sure, Liv.”


“Why Jim?  I mean…why not some guy you met in a bar or somewhere else?”


Alex sighed.  “Because we already had a connection when I joined the bureau.  I wanted to feel comfortable.  I’ve known him for almost seven years now.  He’s a good friend.  He’s someone I can trust.”


“Aren’t you afraid of this potentially ruining your work relationship with him?  What are you gonna say if he starts to fall for you?”


“I made it clear to him that I just wanted sex, nothing more.  And if he can’t accept that, I’m still his boss, so he still has to show me respect at the office.”


Olivia smirked.  “I did the same thing with Cassidy and that didn’t stop him.”


“Well, he’s already asked for more before, but each time I’ve reminded him of what we agreed to.”


“Alex, this is only going to add to your problems.  Ever hear of a little thing called unrequited love?  If he’s already asking for more, that means he has feelings for you and you need to end things.  How many hearts do you plan on breaking?” Olivia demanded, raising her voice and standing up.  “Are we all just casualties of the war you have with yourself?”


“I’m not trying to break anymore hearts, Liv.  I just wanted to feel something besides the cold,” Alex desperately explained to her.  “I felt so…dead without you.  All the stress I’d felt before just became that much more apparent when you were gone.  Work became more of a hassle and it just got harder to cope with all my emotional scars from the program…sometimes I feel like a whirlwind is going on inside me and I just want to make it stop.  And it’s definitely not any easier being in the closet.  He just seemed like the best of no good choices, the lesser of evils.”


“It’s not going to eradicate your pain or your problems.  It only momentarily helps you forget,” Olivia said, looking down and shaking her head.


“You’re right; it temporarily gives me reprieve from whatever turmoil I’m facing.  And he gets rid of an overwhelming feeling of loneliness I get sometimes.  But with Jim and every other guy I’ve been with, sex has been nothing more than a means to an end, something done to satisfy me in the heat of the moment.  It’s not something I savor afterwards.  But with you, it means everything.  I feel complete.  I feel alive.”


Olivia sighed and sat back down on the sofa.  She felt the same way Alex did, but she didn’t want to encourage her.  Alex moved closer to her and placed a hand on her shoulder.  “Don’t be mad at me, Liv.”


Olivia jerked her head up.  “How can I not be?”


“Liv, it’s not like I left you for him.  You and I broke up before I ever considered sleeping with him.  And it’s always been you and only you who I love.  You know that.  It was you I fought to see on this night two years ago—not Jim, Serena, or anyone else, regardless of how long I’d known them.  You were the one I couldn’t bear to leave without letting you know the truth, even though I knew it could mean certain death for not only me but my mother as well.”


“Yeah, but it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach.” 


“I’m sorry this hurts you, Liv.  That was never my intention,” Alex said, starting to stroke her cheek.


Olivia recoiled as if Alex had cut her.  Alex felt a sharp pang of hurt shoot down to her stomach.  Acting like she didn’t notice the pain that had crossed Alex’s face, she stood up and said, “I don’t want to talk or think about this anymore.  I’m tired.  I think I’ll turn in.”


Alex hated that Olivia had closed up to her again just as quickly as she’d opened up.  But she couldn’t blame her for reacting in the way she did.  She nodded regretfully.  “Ok.  Good night.”


“Same to you,” Olivia replied, downing the rest of her wine and heading upstairs.


That night Alex slept in her own bed.  She lay on her side and stared out the window.  She wanted more than anything to hold Olivia while she slept as she’d done the previous night, but she did not want to overstep her bounds again and push her farther away.  She hoped the progress they’d made hadn’t been undone by the unpleasant subject of their last conversation.  She wondered what the morrow would hold in store for them.  Would Olivia be icy to her or warm like she had been?  Her stomach was tying itself in knots just thinking about it. 


Olivia lay in her bed and stared at the ceiling, hoping sleep would come soon.  After a few minutes of lying there, she was no closer to sleep than she’d been before.  She grunted and turned over on her side to get more comfortable.  She hated that she’d been reminded of the very thing that had made her so upset in the first place.  And she wondered that if they were going to be friends again, would they always have to keep their private lives hidden so as not to hurt the other?  But more importantly, could she ever forgive Alex for all her mistakes, especially if she kept making the same ones over and over again? 


She didn’t even know why Alex sleeping with someone else was bothering her as much as it did.  God knows they’d endured much more serious circumstances together.  She quickly shook her head to clear out her thoughts.  She only had one more day with Alex that weekend, so she decided she might as well enjoy it.  She’d deal with everything else later and hopefully the quagmire that had been looping through her mind would finally be resolved.