Chapter 24:  Home Sweet Home

The shrill ringing of the phone woke Olivia out of a sound sleep on Christmas morning.  “Hello?” she answered, her voice laden with fatigue.


“Merry Christmas!” Alex said softly but cheerily.


Olivia let a smile creep across her face.  “Merry Christmas to you, too.  How’s it feel to be back home in East Amherst?”


“Good.  Almost like old times.  I’ve missed this place.”


“Yeah, I bet.  It’s good to have a place you can always call home,” Olivia said somewhat wistfully.


You’re my home, Alex thought.  “So what’s the plan for today?” she asked casually.


“Well, I’m going over to Elliot’s to exchange gifts.  Kathy and the kids will be over, too.”


Alex smiled.  “That’s wonderful.  You don’t need to be alone on Christmas.”


Olivia appreciated Alex looking out for her.  “So what are your plans for today?” she asked in return.


Alex sighed.  “The whole family will be here.  We’ll exchange gifts, eat, talk about our lives, drive each other crazy, eat some more, and play charades.  When Mom was alive, we’d all gather around the piano and she’d play while everyone sang Christmas songs.  So this year I’ll play.  I’m sure I’ll be worn out once the day is over.”


“Did you put up stockings this year?”


“Yeah.  I hung half along one staircase and Katherine hung the rest along the other.”


Olivia laughed.  “Tradition’s nice.  Tell Uncle Bill I said hi.”


“Will do,” Alex promised.  She sighed.  “I’ll really miss Mom’s eggnog.  She’d make it with peach brandy and cinnamon Schnapps.  It was always so yummy.  I’ll replicate the recipe and hope it tastes just as good.”


“Mmm, sounds tempting.  So what time did you get up there last night?”


“Around 8:30.”


“Long drive, huh?”


“Almost 7 hours.  Long is an understatement,” Alex replied with a small groan.


“I’m just glad you made it there safe and sound,” Olivia said.


Robert began stirring beside her, so Alex decided to cut their conversation short.  “Listen, are you gonna be around later?”


“Yeah, I’ll have my cell.”


“Ok, I’ll give you a call back.  Have a good day.  Bye.”


“Bye,” Olivia said softly.


“Who was that, Alex?” Robert asked, his eyes still closed.  He was lying on his stomach while Alex was lying on her back.  He tucked his arm tighter around her waist.


“Uh…just a colleague,” she answered, putting the cordless phone back in its cradle.  She shifted uneasily under his weight.  She found it rather possessive.


He slowly opened his eyes.  “Really?  One of your ADAs?” he pried, trying to figure out if her “colleague” was male or female.


Alex knew exactly what he was doing.  Not wanting to arouse any unnecessary suspicion, she answered, “No, she’s someone I used to work with when I was with SVU.”


Robert smiled, relieved that this person was female.  “You two are close?”


Alex froze for a second but quickly recovered.  The question had caught her off guard.  “Yeah.  Being the only women in a predominantly male unit…you know how it is.”


“So you two gravitated to each other?” he asked curiously.


More than you know, Alex thought.  “You could say that.”  Not wanting to talk anymore about the subject, she threw back the covers, gently removed his arm, and climbed out of bed.  “I’m gonna take a shower.  I’ll be back.”


Robert nodded and propped himself up on his elbow.  “Don’t take too long, sweetie.”


Alex gave him a noncommittal smile and walked to the en-suite bathroom.  The cool floor felt good against her feet.  She dropped her chemise and panties to the floor and turned the handles to the shower.  As the steam rose to the ceiling, she stepped inside and closed the glass door.


With a sly smile on his face, Robert got out of bed and walked to the bathroom.  Maybe I can surprise her with a special Christmas present, he thought with a chuckle.  He was sorely disappointed to find that the door was locked.  “Damn!” he muttered under his breath.


Alex had locked the door for a reason.  She wanted to be alone so she could be lost in her thoughts—which revolved around Olivia.  As she soaped and cleansed her body, she thought about the truly special night they had shared.  She was still on cloud nine.  They had been so carefree and content with each other that it was reminiscent of times when they were actually dating.  But even on their best dates, there was still the nagging fear at the back of her mind that someone would suspect they were a couple.  However, that thought hadn’t crossed her mind even once the other night—despite the times they had gotten pretty close.  So what was it that gave her the boost of courage then that she didn’t have all the time?  As she continued to replay their night, a goofy smile crossed her face.  Knowing the night meant just as much to Olivia as it did to her only made her ten times happier.


Squirting some shampoo in her palm, she massaged it into her scalp.  The way her fingers moved reminded her of how Olivia shampooed her hair.  Her strong fingers would travel from her scalp, down to her shoulders, over her back, down to her hips…  Alex bit her lip and let a quiet moan escape her throat.  She wished Olivia was in the shower with her at that very moment.  Before a hand could travel down to her center, she shook her head quickly and thought, I’ll never get outta here if I keep thinking like this.  She regretfully forced intimate thoughts out of her head and continued with her normal shower routine.


Wrapped in a towel, Alex returned to her bedroom 20 minutes later to find Robert reading the newspaper at the desk.  He put the paper down and gave her a warm smile.  “Good morning, beautiful.”


Alex flashed a smile in return.  “Good morning.”


He walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her waist.  “I thought I could join you in the shower, but someone had locked the door,” he said with a sly smile, giving her a quick kiss on the lips.  He started to untie his robe.


“Oh…that’s just habit,” Alex lied, disentangling from his grip.  She picked out her clothes for the day and went to get dressed in her dressing area.


Robert was puzzled as to why Alex was being so modest all of a sudden.  Did I do something wrong?  he wondered.  He decided to just brush it off.  Maybe she feels uneasy being intimate in the family house.  If that’s the case, too bad we didn’t stay in the guest house.


When she returned to the main area, she sprayed some perfume on her neck and wrists and ran a brush through her hair.  “I should go see if Victor and Katherine need any assistance.  I’ll see you downstairs,” she said, kissing him lightly on the cheek and quickly exiting the room.


Alex walked downstairs into the living room.  Murano centerpiece bowls with ruby red poinsettias decorated the wall niches.  The large, brightly lit Christmas tree sparkled over the presents stacked under it.  Around the base of the tree, the Lionel toy train lumbered along its tracks and tooted its horn intermittently as it passed.  Tinsel draped the walls and windows, and a fruit and evergreen garland adorned the mantel over the scagliola fireplace.  She walked over to a window and watched the snow falling on the lighted displays in the courtyard.  When she was little, her father used to sit by that same window in his favorite armchair and read stories.  She and her siblings would fight over who got to sit on his knee.  Other times her father would play hide and seek with them.  When she had once knocked over her mother’s favorite Majolica vase while running to find a spot for cover, her father took the blame.  “I love this place,” she whispered to no one.


The vast Italian Renaissance-style mansion never ceased to amaze her even after three decades of being accustomed to it.  It contained trompe l’oeil murals, wrought iron fixtures, stucco colonnades, bronze and plaster statues, ceramic busts, Venetian crystal chandeliers, Tuscan area rugs, silk curtains, marble flooring, and arched entryways.  The furniture featured intricate needlework, rich upholstery, and gilded carvings.  The 32-foot-high rotunda ceiling was graced with a hand-painted fresco of clouds, nymphs, and cherubs. 


She walked to her father’s library.  It was one of her favorite places in the house to be alone.  Large mahogany shelves lined every wall.  She used to spend hours browsing her father’s collection.  When she’d chosen the books she wanted, she would go to the adjacent reading room, turn on a lamp, and read until her eyelids grew heavy.


Next, she walked down the long corridor to the music room.  It was an airy, octagonal room with French doors that opened up to a rose garden.  In one corner was a beautifully-carved walnut cassone, which held songbooks, old violins, and bows.  A black Steinway piano stood in the center of the large room.  Her private music instructor would often open the doors while she gave her lessons.  For Alex, it helped her feel the music more.  Smiling as she ran a hand over the keyboard lid, she thought about how lovely it would be to bring Olivia there.  She wanted to take her out to the garden, pick fresh roses for her, and then play for her on the piano.


“Gee, someone’s smiling big!”


Alex turned around to find Katherine.  “Way to startle your big sis!”


Katherine grinned.  “Thinking about Robert?”


Alex nodded.  She hated lying to her sister, but at this point she felt she had no choice.  “He’s special.”


“Seems like it,” Katherine said, putting a hand gently on her back.  Her voice was lighter than her sister’s and Alex had always found it soothing to listen to.


Like her sister, Katherine possessed a regal beauty.  She was about an inch and a half shorter than Alex and had darker blonde hair, but otherwise they shared a striking resemblance.  With their slender frames and pale complexions, both women looked more like their mother had.  On the other hand, Victor had taken more after their father.  He was taller, had a tanned complexion, and had light brown hair with blond undertones.  Even his crashing handshake and booming voice were exactly like their father’s.


Alex looked at her.  “So how are things in your love life?”


Katherine shrugged.  “I’ve been dating, but it’s nothing serious.  My patients keep me so busy.  And there’s a conference at Johns Hopkins next month that I have to prepare for.  We have to present cases.”


“That’s understandable.  It has to be a lot to juggle.” 


“I always manage,” Katherine said with a confident smile. 


“Spoken like a true Cabot,” Alex responded with a grin.


Katherine sighed.  “You and Robert were made for each other, you know…and you seem so happy together.  Some women never find a guy like that,” she mused.


“I know,” Alex replied.  She decided to change the subject so she wouldn’t have to discuss Robert anymore.  “Do you remember when Madame Petrovna would tell us to ‘caress the violin strings like a lover’s skin’?  I would try so hard not to crack up.”


Katherine laughed.  “Yeah.  She was an excellent instructor, but I always thought she seemed a bit off.”


“Well, some of the things she said make more sense now that I’m older…” Alex murmured, looking off to the side.


Katherine studied her carefully.  “Something bothering you, sis?”


Alex turned back to her sister.  “I was just daydreaming.”


“You must really be in love.  I’ve never seen you like this before,” Katherine replied.


Alex smiled; her sister was correct, just about the wrong person.  “It’s a nice feeling.”


“There you are!” a deep voice called.  Alex and Katherine turned around to find Robert.  He walked over to Alex and gave her a kiss on the cheek.  “I thought I’d get lost in this place trying to find you.  One of the housekeepers told me she’d seen you go in this direction.”


Aware that Katherine was right beside them, Alex decided to act the part.  She ran her fingers through Robert’s dark hair and widened her smile.  “I’m glad you found me.”  Closing her eyes, she tilted her chin upward to gently capture his lips.


“Well, well, look at the lovebirds!” Victor bellowed, walking into the room with Julie.


Alex stepped back and faced her brother and sister-in-law.  “Good morning, Victor. Morning, Julie.”


Victor smiled.  “I’d give you the same greeting, but we can see that your morning is already going great.”


Julie laughed.  “We don’t mean to interrupt, but we just wanted to let you know that breakfast is ready.”


“Yeah, we know how Uncle Bill gets when people hold up breakfast,” Katherine said with a chuckle.


“Or any meal for that matter,” Victor stated dryly.


“Then what are we waiting for?” Robert asked, grasping Alex’s hand and following everyone else to the dining room.


A half hour after breakfast was over, Alex found Katherine standing on the balcony overlooking the rotunda.  She was leaning against the railing and staring down at the mosaic inlays in the marble with a pensive expression on her face.  “Are you all right?”


Katherine turned to her and forced a smile.  “Yeah… I’m just thinking about how much I wish Mom and Dad were here.”


Alex put an arm around her sister’s shoulders and gave a tight squeeze.  “I do, too.”


“You know…Christmas the last two years just wasn’t the same without you.  I’m so glad to have you back, Alex,” Katherine said, giving her a heartfelt hug.


Alex held her sister tight and felt tears prick the back of her eyes.  “You guys will never know how much I missed you.  I’m glad to experience a real Christmas again.”


For a few minutes, they stood in silence and watched the people bustle in and out of the mansion.  The children were dragging snow from the foyer to the rotunda, and the adults were trying not to slip. 


“Well, I guess I should go downstairs and meet and greet,” Katherine announced.


Alex nodded.  “Ok.  If you need help setting up anything, just let me know.”


“See ya,” Katherine said with a wave, jogging down the left spiral staircase.


Alex pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and snuck away to her mother’s powder room in the east wing.  She knew she’d have complete privacy there. 


She looked around the room and felt the familiar serenity she’d always experienced.  The room looked just as her mother had left it.  Antique sconces were on either side of the 19th century French Giltwood mirror.  On the wall opposite the mirror was a carved Giltwood bracket with seraphim and cornucopia.  She smiled to herself when she remembered how she’d stood beside her mother innumerable times as she put on her makeup for work, balls, charity galas, art galleries, cocktail parties, dinner parties, and various other social events.  Before she got too lost in the memories, she dialed Olivia’s number.


“Hello?” Olivia answered breathlessly, trying to get Dickie off her back.


“Hi, Liv,” Alex said.


“Liv, come play football with me!” Dickie demanded, wrapping his arms around her neck.


“No, come play my new game!” Elizabeth ordered, grabbing Olivia around the waist and holding on tight.  “Dad said I could use the Playstation first.”


Olivia laughed and pulled the phone away from her ear.  “Just a sec, kids.  Let me take this call.”  She put the phone back to her ear and said, “As you can probably tell, I’m kinda in a bind.”


Alex laughed.  “Sure seems like it.  But kids love you, so what can I say?”


“Yeah, a little too much sometimes!” Olivia joked.


Elliot came into the room and ordered, “Come on, guys.  Stop cutting off Olivia’s circulation and give her a little privacy.”  He pulled Elizabeth away from her with one arm and Dickie off her back with the other.


“Aw, Dad!  Liv was just gettin’ ready to play with us!” Dickie complained.


“Look, you haven’t even opened up all your presents yet,” Elliot replied.  “Munch told me he got you both something really cool.”


“They’re not moldy pudding cups, are they?” Elizabeth asked, wrinkling her nose in disgust.


Elliot and Olivia both laughed.  “No, I’m sure they aren’t,” Elliot promised.  “But you’ll never know until you open them.  So let’s go.”


Both Elizabeth and Dickie groaned.  “We’ll be back,” Dickie promised, looking at Olivia.  “Remember, football.”


“No, Playstation!” Elizabeth argued.


“Hi, Alex!” Elliot called back over his shoulder as he led his twins away.


“How’d he know it was me on the line?” Alex asked.


“He’s psychic,” Olivia teased.  “So what’s going on at Cabot Manor?”


Alex smirked.  “More family and friends are piling in.  I stole away to the powder room so I could avoid the ensuing chaos.”


Olivia smiled.  “I don’t blame you.”


Alex ran a hand over the marble sink.  “I can remember getting yelled at as a little girl for playing in my mother’s makeup.”


Laughing, Olivia replied, “I bet you were quite a handful.”


“I still am.”


“Don’t I know it!” Olivia teased.


“I wish you were here,” Alex said before she could stop herself.


Olivia paused on the line; she didn’t quite know how to respond.  “Are you that bored?” she finally joked.


“No, I meant that I wish you were here instead of—”


“Robert,” Olivia finished for her, her tone turning solemn.


“Right,” Alex answered softly.


Neither of them said anything for several seconds.  “Where is he?” Olivia asked flatly.


“Somewhere downstairs,” Alex replied.  “Have you been enjoying yourself at Elliot’s?” she asked, desperate to change the subject.


Olivia was glad of the subject change as well.  “Yeah.  They’re a fun crowd.  It’s nice watching everyone open up their gifts.”


Alex looked out the window.  Several of the children had their sleds and were preparing to race down the hill.  She chuckled and told Olivia, “I hope these kids don’t break their necks sledding.  I remember when I would race against Victor and Katherine and one time I just narrowly avoided a tree.”


“You on a sled?  That’s a sight I have to see,” Olivia replied. 


Alex chuckled harder.  “I’m a Jill of many trades.  Is it ok if I stop by tomorrow night?” she asked hopefully.


“Sure,” Olivia answered without hesitation.


Alex grinned widely.  “Ok.  Well, I guess I’d better go before someone puts a search party out for me.”


“Yeah.  I should let Dickie and Elizabeth continue to fight to the death over who gets to play with me first.”


“Oh, and Liv?”




“I didn’t get a chance to mention this earlier, but I just wanted to let you know how good it feels to be able to hear your voice on Christmas.”


Olivia felt her heart flutter at the statement; she knew how much Alex’s first Christmas out of the program meant to her.  “I’m so glad to hear it.”


“Tell everyone I said hello,” Alex continued.


“I will.  Have fun,” Olivia said, closing her cell.


Alex closed her own cell and held it under her chin.  Leaning back against the sink, she let out a happy sigh as she thought about what the morrow would have in store.




“I guess Santa came twice this year,” Olivia said, letting Alex in.


Alex grinned.  “Of course.”  She walked past her and took the food into the kitchen. 


Olivia could see all the food in the two large Tupperware dishes.  “Looks yummy.  It’s twice the amount you brought me for Thanksgiving.”  She opened one of the lids and bit into a piece of honey-baked ham. 


“There are some scalloped oysters in there, too.  We always serve them,” Alex said.


Olivia nodded.  She looked down at a large white bakery box.  “What’s in there?  A cake?”


“Close,” Alex said, holding up her index finger.  She opened up the box.  “It’s a gingerbread house.”


Olivia’s whole face lit up.  “It looks so beautiful I don’t know if I’ll ever wanna eat it!”


Alex laughed.  “I decorated it myself.  I want you to eat it sometime!”


“Well, I’ll take a picture of it so I can always remember how it was before I demolished it,” Olivia responded.  She ran in her bedroom to get her camera.  When she returned, she snapped a picture.


“Let’s take one together,” Alex suggested.


“Fine by me,” Olivia answered.  She pressed her cheek against Alex’s, held the camera out, and pressed the shutter.


They both looked at the display.  “That’s a great picture,” Alex said.  “Let’s take one more.”


After the next picture was taken, Olivia set her camera on the table.  “So how was the rest of your Christmas?”


“It was good.  Guess what announcement Victor and Julie made at dinner last night?”


“Julie’s pregnant?” Olivia guessed.


“Yep,” Alex said with a grin.  “I’m gonna be an aunt.”


Olivia leaned in and gave her a hug.  “Congrats, sweetie.”


Alex returned her embrace.  “Thanks.  It’s kinda weird imagining Victor as a dad.”


Olivia smiled.  “I’m sure he’ll be a great one.”


They put the Tupperware dishes in the refrigerator and walked to the living room.  “I can’t believe Christmas is over,” Olivia said.  “It doesn’t seem like it.”


Alex touched her arm.  “It doesn’t have to be.”


Olivia looked down at her hand.  “Just how are you gonna make it Christmas again?”


“Well, at the end of the night every Christmas, we all take turns lighting a candle.  After the last person has lit theirs, we then each make a wish and blow out our candle in succession.”


“What did you wish for?”


Alex looked at her with a knowing smile.  “Can’t tell you or it won’t come true.”  She stood up and brought a candle to the coffee table.  Lighting the wick, she told her, “Now it’s your turn.”


Olivia laughed.  “You really want me to make a wish?”




Olivia picked up the candle.  Holding it steady, she closed her eyes for several seconds.  Alex found herself holding her breath.  When Olivia opened them and blew out the flame, Alex expelled it.


“I hope your wish comes true,” she said, running a hand through Olivia’s locks.  Her hair was still damp from her shower and smelled of citrus.


Olivia smiled at her.  “I hope so, too.”


They spent the next few hours talking.  Before they knew it, it was 3:00.  Alex got up and stretched.  “Oh, gosh!  I hadn’t realized it was so late.  I should get home.”


Olivia touched her shoulder.  “Why don’t you stay the night?”


Alex looked at her with wide eyes.  “Are you sure?”


With a reassuring smile, Olivia nodded.  “Yeah.  You take the bed.  I’ll throw some covers on the couch.”


Alex shook her head and replied, “No, Liv.  How about I take the couch and you take the bed?”


“I insist,” Olivia said.  She stood up and went over to the linen closet.  Pulling out a towel, pillow, and blanket, she handed Alex the towel and continued, “You go shower.  I’ll set up my makeshift bed.”


“Thanks, Liv.”


When Alex finished showering, she walked to the bedroom.  Olivia had changed into a white wife beater and pair of gray sweatpants.  She was pulling back the covers to her bed when she noticed Alex.  She smiled and asked, “Did you have a nice shower?”


Alex nodded.  “The only problem is that I have nothing to sleep in,” she said, a playful smile curling her lips.


Olivia grinned and pulled one of her NYPD shirts out of a drawer.  “Put this on,” she said, throwing her the shirt.


Alex caught it and replied, “So I can pretend I’m a cop for a night?”


Olivia laughed.  “If you wish.”  She walked to the door.  “I’ll give you some privacy.”


“Rushing out a little fast, Liv.  Were you afraid I was just gonna drop my towel in front of you?”


“Wouldn’t put it past ya,” Olivia replied with a twinkle in her eye.  She shut the door behind her.


When Alex was dressed, she walked back out into the living room.  Olivia was curled up under her blanket and reading a book.  Alex sat down beside her.  “Whatcha readin’?”


Olivia held out the cover so Alex could read it.  “See for yourself.”


Alex leaned forward.  “A Grave Talent.  What’s it about?”


“It’s about this lesbian San Francisco detective who has just been promoted to Homicide.  She and her partner are trying to find out who kidnapped and murdered three little girls.  The prime suspect is a famous female artist who was convicted of murdering a little girl 17 years prior.  Even though the girls’ bodies were found near her residence, it appears she’s been framed.  Elliot gave it to me for Christmas.”


Alex smiled.  “Sounds intriguing.  May I borrow it once you’re finished?”


“Sure,” Olivia replied.  “It’s really good so far.”


“I can tell.  You’re already halfway through the novel!”


Olivia put her bookmark in place and closed the book.  Yawning, she said, “That’s enough for now.  You came to say goodnight?”


“As a matter of fact, I did.  Can I get a hug?” Alex asked.


“You just wanna press our boobs together,” Olivia joked.


“Damn!  You’ve figured out my sordid plan!” Alex said with a snap of her fingers.


Olivia laughed.  “Come here, you.”  She pulled her into a deep embrace.


Alex rested her chin on her shoulder and rubbed her hands up and down her back.  Olivia’s neck looked so soft that she had to fight with all her being not to let her lips brush her skin.  “You don’t know how good it feels to be in your arms now.”


Olivia stroked Alex’s back in return.  “I think I do.”


They slowly pulled back from one another.  “Night, Liv,” Alex whispered, kissing her on the cheek.


Olivia kissed her on the cheek, too.  She could feel Alex’s skin get warm under her lips.  “Night.”


Alex stretched out in Olivia’s bed and let out a long sigh.  The scent of Olivia immediately filled her nostrils.  She pulled the covers up and snuggled deeper into the pillows.  “Home sweet home,” she whispered, closing her eyes.


She woke up a couple hours later.  After her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she climbed out of bed and carefully made her way to the door.  The living room was dark save for the silvery streetlight pouring in through the window and causing shadows to dance on the walls.  She tiptoed over to the couch.  Olivia was sleeping peacefully—well, except for the covers she had thrown off herself.  Alex picked up the blanket and covered her with it. 


Alex’s movements caused Olivia to stir in her sleep.  She slowly opened her eyes.  “What are you doing up?” she asked drowsily.


Alex smiled down at her.  “Well…I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to come in and check on you.  I was covering you back up.”


Olivia smirked.  “Sure you were.”


Alex laughed softly.  “You don’t think I came in here to hump you in your sleep, do ya?”


Olivia sat up a little.  “I don’t know.  Did you?”


Alex rolled her eyes and motioned for Olivia to move her legs up some.  She sat down next to her feet.  “Watching you sleep is one of my favorite pastimes.”  She looked down at Olivia’s tight wife beater; her budding nipples looked like they were two seconds away from bursting through her shirt.  She had to resist the urge to lick her lips.


“Watching me sleep or staring at my tits?” Olivia asked with a shit-eating grin.


Alex lifted her eyes with lightning speed.  “Uh…well, I um…” she spluttered.  She looked off to the side and hoped that she could come up with a more coherent explanation, but she would have no such luck.  She pressed her legs tightly together to stop her spreading wetness.


Olivia could tell that she was blushing even in the dark.  “You know you could answer, ‘Both,’ Alex.”


“If I said that, you’d just say something like, ‘Friends aren’t supposed to stare at each other’s tits!’”


Olivia laughed.  “I think I’d give you a pass, considering.”


“Gosh, Liv, must you lay like that?”


“Like what?”


“In that ‘come hither’ position you’re in!  When you’re halfway between sitting up and lying down in a shirt like that, it’s like you’re being a tease!”


Olivia laughed even louder.  “Come hither?”


“Yes!  Exactly!” Alex replied, blushing even more.


Olivia shook her head.  “Next you’re gonna say I’m eye shaggin’ ya.”


“You’re probably thinking about it,” Alex responded.


Olivia noticed Alex’s nipples straining against the shirt and felt herself getting wet.  “I can see how the NYPD certainly has its perks,” she said with a lopsided grin.


Alex laughed at Olivia’s pun.  She followed her gaze down to her chest.  “I’ll say.” 


They lifted their heads and their eyes locked for a moment.  A shiver ran through each of them, although the room wasn’t cold.  Desire percolated every fiber in their being and threatened to make every rule they’d established between them obsolete.


Olivia swallowed hard.  Trying to lighten the air, she asked, “You’re gonna turn me into an insomniac, too, aren’t you?”


“It’s been so long since I’ve spent the night,” Alex said.  “I guess I’m just excited.  It kinda feels like the first time again.”


“Except the first time you spent the night, you actually slept,” Olivia quipped.


“That’s because I was so tired after working on that case,” Alex replied.


“I remember that you fell asleep on the couch.  So I took off your glasses, picked you up, and carried you to the bed.”


Alex smiled.  “And when I woke up, you’d packed my briefcase.  I thought that was really sweet.”


“That’s because you had papers strewn everywhere!”


Alex chuckled.  “That I did.  You have no clue how much I wanted to kiss you then but I was afraid of how you’d react.  I didn’t wanna ruin our friendship if my feelings weren’t returned.”  She looked at the clock.  “Well, I guess I should let you get back to sleep.”


“Yeah, I’m certainly sleeping in today.”


“I am, too,” Alex replied.  Not wanting Olivia to think she was taking advantage of her kindness, she quickly amended, “Um…I mean if that’s ok with you.”


Olivia smiled.  “It’s fine.”


Alex stood up.  “All right.  Well, I’ll see you in a few hours.”


Olivia could see that Alex had left the bedroom door cracked a couple inches.  She heard the rustling of the covers as she got underneath them.  Regardless of the problems either of them faced, Alex always brought an aura of warmth to her apartment.  Olivia wrapped herself in that warmth and soon once again succumbed to slumber.