Chapter 16:  Blindsided

It had been two weeks and Alex hadn’t heard a word from Olivia.  She’d called her several times but Olivia neglected to return any of her calls.  She had also emailed her a couple times with no response.  She began to assume that Olivia really wanted nothing to do with her anymore, despite saying otherwise.  This certainly was not how “friends” acted toward one another.  She couldn’t say she blamed Olivia, but that still didn’t make her any less sad or angry.  But she wasn’t really angry with Olivia, she was angry with herself.


That evening she was locking up her office when Jim came out of his.  “Wanna go grab a drink?” he asked.  “I know you’ve been pretty busy these past couple weeks, so I thought maybe you’d wanna unwind somehow.”


Alex smiled at him.  “Why not?”


“Then maybe we could go back to my place for a little fun,” he said, putting an arm around her shoulders expectantly.


Flashing him another smile, Alex tucked an arm around his waist and they started walking out.  “Sounds like a fine plan to me.”


As they waited for a cab, she contemplated her decision.  She hadn’t slept with him since before she and Olivia spent their weekend together because she didn’t want to do anything to make her retract her offer of friendship.  But since Olivia was purposely ignoring her, why should it matter?  She was lonely, hurting, and depleted.  In the past couple weeks the agony had been growing wildly with no sign of stopping.  Work helped her forget but after all was said and done, she was left with her demons.  She just wanted to feel some pleasure in the midst of all her pain and stress, and so she needed the escape afforded by Jim again.  Besides, if this was her coping mechanism, then who was Olivia or anyone else to discourage her?  Olivia had already told her that they’d never be together again unless she came out of the closet, so it wasn’t like she had a chance in hell with her romantically anymore.  She was tired of defending herself and her actions like she was committing some crime, tired of being made to feel guilty. 


Furthermore, she was tired of being blindsided by personal tragedies at every turn, tired of her anguish controlling her life, tired of her heart and emotions ruling her.  She was determined to take back control no matter what.  Holding in her emotions had always been a finely honed skill—at least in public.  Now she needed to master that in private for self-preservation.  She had to move on—from her painful past and Olivia.  She couldn’t continue sitting around stewing in grief and false hope.  Just as Branch had told Serena that prosecution had to be cold-blooded, she would have to be, too.  At this point, Jim gave her what she was seeking—complete oblivion—if only for a short while, so she was actually pleased with his offer.  Until something more fulfilling came along, this would continue to be her remedy of choice.




A couple days later, Jim asked her out for drinks again.  When she accepted, he grinned from ear to ear.  “Great.  How about Nick’s?  I know they sometimes have that speed dating thing going on Wednesday nights, but the bar is always clear.”


Alex smiled brightly.  “Sure.”


Several minutes later, they entered Nick’s Martini Bar & Lounge, which was bustling with people.  “Let’s make our way through!” Jim shouted over the noise.


“What can I get for you guys?” the bartender asked.


“I’ll have a Corona,” Jim told him.


“Scotch on the rocks,” Alex said.


While she was stirring her drink, she thought she heard a familiar voice.  Nah, you’re just imagining things, she convinced herself.  She downed the rest of her scotch and ordered another drink.  “I’d like a martini—extra dry, please.”


“Coming right up,” the bartender assured her. 


As she sipped her martini, she heard the voice again, and this time she knew she wasn’t mistaken.  She turned around and her heart dropped about two floors when she realized exactly to whom the voice belonged.  It was Olivia.  She looked drop dead gorgeous.  Every part of her oozed sensuality.  She had on a charcoal gray blazer with a very low-cut, silver satin top underneath it.  Long drop earrings adorned her ears.  Her necklaces only complemented the ensemble.


What?  She’s doing speed dating? Alex wondered, puzzled.  Jim was speaking to her, but she tuned him out.  She tried to listen to Olivia’s conversation, but it was hard with all the noise and people buzzing around.  She did catch bits and pieces, though.


“You don’t waste any time, do you?” Olivia said.


“Just being honest.  I can’t believe that you need help finding a date,” the guy responded.


She couldn’t make out what Olivia said next, but she did catch the end of her statement.  “…I don’t like to mix business with pleasure.” 


Alex rolled her eyes.  The hell you don’t, she thought bitterly.


“Ah, well, I’m on Wall Street, so my business will not interfere with our pleasure,” he replied, giving Olivia a wide grin.


She could hear Olivia laughing.  Her lips looked so glossy and kissable.  And her hair looked great; every strand was in place.  She’s so lovely, Alex thought longingly.  The small smile that had spread across her face quickly turned into another frown when she noticed how the guy couldn’t keep his eyes off Olivia’s ample cleavage.  Just look at the way she’s flirting with him! she thought in disgust. A voice in the back of her head told her, How can you get mad at Olivia for being here with a guy when you’re doing the same thing?  However, she wouldn’t be bothered to listen to rationale.  She could feel her blood beginning to boil.  She felt sick to her stomach.  “Let’s get outta here,” she told Jim.


“Is something wrong?” Jim asked.


Alex gave him the sultriest smile she could muster.  “I just think better things await us.”


Jim cocked his head to the side.  “Such as?”


Alex ran a hand down his arm and leaned in close.  “Such as in my bedroom.”


Jim threw some money down on the counter to pay for their drinks and jumped off the stool.  “I certainly won’t argue with that.”




“Any word?” Elliot asked the next day, walking in the squadroom with a case file in hand.


“Not yet,” Olivia replied, continuing to write and taking a quick glance at her computer screen.


Elliot grabbed the Post-It notes off his locker.  “Well…maybe you’re not his type.”


“Oh no, he was interested.  I could feel it, you know?” she said, turning around and smiling up at Elliot.


Elliot nodded.  “Yeah.”  He paused for a couple seconds; he was always worried for Olivia’s safety when she worked undercover.  And the fact that this guy was a suspected rapist didn’t ease his mind one bit.  “Think he’s our perp?”


“Couldn’t get a read on him.  Normally I need two minutes in the box with a guy to know if he’s guilty but…”


At that moment, a soft bell sounded on Olivia’s computer.  “Email?” Elliot asked while standing at his desk.


“I’ve got a match,” Olivia announced.


“Romeo?” Elliot queried, walking around to look at her monitor.


Smiling, Olivia crossed her arms and straightened out her shoulders.  “He wants to buy Rachel a drink.”


Elliot stared at the screen warily and tried to shake the unsettling feeling he had.  In his gut, he knew that this was their guy and he would be damned if he’d let him get close enough to try to rape Olivia.  He went back over to his desk and sat down.  He decided to change the subject.  “So…have you heard from Alex?”


Olivia closed out her email and began writing again.  “She’s called quite a few times, actually.”


“So how did things go?”


“Uh…they didn’t.  I didn’t take her calls.”


“So let me get this straight.  The love of your life calls you and you won’t answer or call her back?  Whatever happened to following your heart?”


“Following my heart would lead to Alex running over it with a Mack truck,” Olivia answered dryly.


“But you had a pretty good weekend together a couple weeks ago,” Elliot said.  “I don’t understand.  I thought you two were making progress.”


“I feel that the only thing we got closure from that weekend was the shooting but not what happened between us,” Olivia explained.


“And why’s that?  She was trying pretty hard to make things right from what I could tell.”


“Elliot, I know she’s trying, but none of that matters if she’s not willing to sacrifice everything for me like I would for her.  It’s all in vain.”


“What do you mean?”


“That Sunday night before I left, I told her that I couldn’t be with her unless she came outta the closet.”


“That’s understandable, but there’s nothing wrong with being friends.”


“Elliot, what you don’t realize is that Alex is the only one who can break me down like this.  I think we just need a little space—at least until my heart is stronger.  I still want to be friends with her, but right now is not the time.”


“Shouldn’t you give her a heads up, though?”


Olivia sighed.  “I will after this case is over.  But I just have so much going on now.  I need to have a clear head before I deal with any added stress.”


“Speaking of stress, you nervous about tonight?”


“Nah.  I can handle myself around men.”


Elliot chuckled.  “Now isn’t that ironic?  You can handle a rapist but not Alex right now.”


“That’s love for ya,” Olivia mumbled.




Alex had just walked into her apartment when the phone started ringing.  She put her groceries down and rushed to answer it.  It was her brother Victor.  “Why, hello stranger!” she said cheerily.


“Long time no talk, sis.  Listen, I know this is kinda late notice, but I’m having a dinner party this weekend at my place.  There will be about 30 guests in all.  Think you can make it?  Some of these people haven’t seen you since you got back.”


Alex smiled on her end of the line.  “I’d love to, Victor.  What time is it?”


“6:00 sharp on Saturday.  Oh, and Julie sends her regards.”


“Tell her I said hello,” Alex replied.  “Should I bring anything?  A bottle of wine?  Dessert?”


“No, everything’s being catered.  Just bring yourself, ok?”


“Ok,” Alex responded.  “Hey, I’m having a friend over later and I need to get dinner started, so do you mind if I give you a call back later?”


“Oh, sure, sure.  I just mainly called to invite you and see how you were doing.  Take care of yourself, Alex.”


“You, too, Victor.  See you this weekend.  Love you,” Alex replied.


“Love you, too,” Victor said, hanging up the phone.


She opened the door an hour later for Serena.  “Hey, Alex!” Serena greeted.  “Something smells good!”


Alex grinned.  “I made chicken parmigiana.”


“Boy, am I glad you asked me over!  I’m starving!” Serena commented, following Alex into the kitchen.  She sat down at the bar.  “How long before it’s ready?”


“About 10 minutes,” Alex replied.  “So how was your day?”


“Long and stressful.  How about yours?”


“The same.  Meetings all day long,” Alex said with a groan.  “The 8th floor is all over me.”


“Ah, the joys of being a bureau chief,” Serena joked.  “So…any plans to hang out with Liv this weekend?” she asked hopefully.


Alex frowned.  “No.  I haven’t heard anything from her since the night she left my apartment.  But I’ve seen her.”


“Really?  Where?”


“Last night at Nick’s.  She was doing speed dating.”


“Are you serious?  That’s odd.”


“She doesn’t have time to return my calls, but she has time to look for dates and flirt with random men.”


“Hon, I’m sorry,” Serena said, giving her a quick hug.


“And you wouldn’t believe how that guy was fawning all over her!  He looked like he wanted to jump her bones right then and there!”


“Hell hath no fury…” Serena teased.


“Don’t start,” Alex said, shooting her a warning look.


“Easy, tiger.  So what’d you do when you saw them together?”


“I left.  I couldn’t take anymore of that,” Alex replied.  “But in good news, Victor invited me to a dinner party he’s hosting this weekend.”


“Oh, that should be nice.  You haven’t seen him in awhile.”


“Well, at least I know someone cares enough about me to call—unlike a certain NYPD detective.  If she didn’t really want to be friends, then she should’ve just told me.”


Serena cocked her head.  “Alex…”


Alex sighed deeply and wiped her hands on a towel.  “I’m sorry, Serena.  I don’t mean to spoil the mood.  I know I’m sounding petulant.  It shouldn’t bother me what Olivia does with her life since we aren’t dating anymore, but it does,” Alex muttered sullenly.


“It sucks to see the one you love with someone else,” Serena told her.  “But you have to understand that it must be so hard for Liv.  Put yourself in her shoes.  Wouldn’t you be hesitant to get too close again?”


“I guess,” Alex mumbled.  She whipped the mashed potatoes one last time and then transferred them to a bowl. 


“Don’t you want her to be happy?”


“Yes, Serena.  You know I do.  But I wish I was the one making her happy instead of someone else.”


“I know, babe.  Maybe you’ll get another chance to do that one day.”


I doubt it, Alex thought dismally.