Chapter 28:  Secrets

Olivia was pummeling away at a punching bag when she heard a voice behind her say, “Ouch.  Glad I’m not that bag.”


She turned to find Alex with a sheepish grin on her face.  “What are you doing here?”


Alex took a few steps closer to her.  “You don’t have to look like you’ve just had a tooth pulled.  Elliot told me I could find you here.  I thought I could get that rock climbing lesson you promised me.”


Olivia wiped her brow with the back of her arm and replied, “Think I’ll have to take a rain check.  I’m a little worn out for that right now.”  But she had to admit that Alex looked beyond sexy in a blue tank top and light gray drawstring pants.  Her outfit accentuated her slim, lean figure in all the right places.  Her hair was pulled back in a high ponytail and she looked like she was ready for business. 


Alex looked at Olivia—sweat dripping off her chin, white tank top clinging to her like a second skin—and felt her heart skip a beat.  Her black shorts showed off her muscular thighs and toned calves.  She imagined those strong thighs gripping her tightly as Olivia rode her like there was no tomorrow.  Fuck rock climbing!  I wanna climb her instead!  When she was able to think and speak coherently again, she said, “It’s ok.  We can do it some other time.”


Olivia picked up her water bottle and took several swigs.  Wiping her mouth, she asked, “Are you gonna stand there and look pretty or are you actually gonna exercise?”


Alex laughed.  “I guess I could do some free weights.”  She walked over to the rack and picked up the 10 lb. dumbbells.  She started lifting while Olivia lay down on a mat and began doing bicycle crunches. 


“So what’s the real reason you came?” Olivia asked a few minutes later, not skipping a beat.


Alex’s hand froze midair.  Slowly lowering the dumbbell, she said, “Well, I know I really dropped the ball with you a couple weeks ago.  I wanted to patch things up but I thought I’d give it all some time to blow over first.  Will you accept my apology?”


Olivia stopped her crunches and sat up.  “What’s the catch?”


“There’s not one.  I just don’t wanna lose you.”


Olivia sighed.  “Ok.”


Alex smiled gratefully.  “Thank you.”  She resumed her lifting.  “So have you finished that book yet?”


“Which one?” Olivia asked, furrowing her eyebrows.


A Grave Talent,” Alex replied. 


“Oh,” Olivia said.  “I finished that long ago.  You wanna borrow it?”




A short silence ensued.  Olivia flipped over on her stomach and began doing pushups.  “You’re never gonna work up a sweat lifting those tiny things,” she said with a smirk.


“I guess I could always run,” Alex decided.  She put down the dumbbells and started up a treadmill.


When Olivia had finished her set, she stood up and announced, “Gonna get some more water.  You want anything?”


“Thanks.  A Propel would be nice,” Alex answered, her ponytail flopping from side to side.


Olivia took a few seconds to stare at the alternating motion of her curvy hips.  Damn, those pants really do her justice.  “Coming right up,” she replied, finally running off. 


She returned less than a minute later.  She sat down on a bench and wrapped a towel around her neck.  Taking her water bottle, she squirted it all over her head.


Alex’s eyes almost bugged out of her head at the scene.  Oh dear god, she thought, gulping. 


Olivia looked at her as she continued squirting.  “Somethin’ wrong, Alex?”


“Shit!” Alex swore loudly as she tripped.  She grabbed the console just in time.


Olivia laughed.  “You know, Alex, you should really look straight ahead when you’re running.”


Alex turned beet red.  She decided to change the subject.  “How was work today?”


“The usual.  Too many cases, not enough time or leads.”


“The exciting world of the justice system,” Alex commented dryly.


After she’d run a couple miles, she got off and asked, “How’s that for a sweat?”


Olivia smiled and handed her a fresh towel.  “It’s a little better.”


Alex sat down next to her and opened up her drink.  After taking several swallows, she announced, “I signed up for yoga.  Start next week.”


Olivia laughed.  “So you’re actually gonna do it?”


“Yeah, my therapist said it would be a good idea.  She said it could help me with my…symptoms,” Alex responded, looking down.


“Your PTSD,” Olivia said for her.  She touched her arm.  “Alex…it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Nothing that happened to you was your fault.  You had one traumatic experience after another before you could heal from the previous one.  Anyone else in your shoes would have it, too.”


“I know.  It’s just…inconvenient.  Sometimes it creeps up on me when I least expect it.  What if yoga doesn’t help?”


“It will,” Olivia promised.


“But what if something triggers it after I start?”


“Alex, even if yoga only helps 1%, that 1% is better than nothing at all.  That could be one less nightmare, one less flashback, or one less panic attack you’d have to go through.”


Alex let out a distressed sigh.  “I suppose you’re right.  But I just want to be normal again.”


Olivia smiled.  “You weren’t normal before.”


Alex flicked her towel at her.  “Hey!”


Olivia laughed.  “I kid.  But Alex, no one is completely normal.”


Alex gave a small smile.  “Well, I do look forward to using that mat you gave me.  I was reading the literature they gave me at the studio.  It’s supposed to calm the nervous system by discharging negative energy that results from trauma.”


Olivia smirked.  “So simply put, it unifies the body and mind.”


Alex laughed.  “Right.  One of my ADAs takes yoga.  She enjoys it.”






“Oh.  Are you two in the same class?”


“No.  I have it on a different day with another studio.”


Olivia drank the rest of the water in her bottle and stood up.  “I’m gonna go grab a shower.”


Alex quickly rose to her feet.  “Ok, I’ll come with.”  Olivia raised an eyebrow.  Alex chuckled and explained, “I meant separately.”


Olivia snorted.  “Right.”


After they finished showering, Alex asked hopefully, “Would you like to come over for dinner?”


“Uh…I can’t.  I’m meeting a friend.”


Alex’s eyes widened.  Which friend? she wondered, but she didn’t dare ask because she knew it was none of her business and she didn’t want Olivia to think she was being a nosy parker.  However, she did find it odd that she didn’t give specifics because generally she would have.  Could it be a date? she feared.  She quickly pushed that thought down.  Nah, it probably is just a friend of hers I haven’t met, she rationalized.  “Oh…we can have dinner another night then,” she said, trying to hide her disappointment.


“Yeah.”  Olivia could tell that Alex was trying to figure out who it was.  She found it slightly amusing to see her squirm.  She threw the strap of her gym bag over her shoulder and started walking toward the locker room exit. 


Alex threw her brush into her own bag and hurried after her.  “Hey, wait for me!”


When they were outside the building, Olivia said, “Well, I guess I’ll see ya later.”


“Yeah.  See ya,” Alex replied with a slight wave.  She watched as Olivia retreated down the sidewalk.


In the past, whenever one of them would run into each other at the gym, they always left together.  This time they were going their separate ways.  She hoped that was not indicative of permanent directions they would be taking in their lives.  Will it always be like this? she feared as Olivia disappeared in the crowd.




Olivia was just lighting the last candle when she heard a knock at her door.  She rushed to open it.  Zoe was standing there with a casserole dish.  “I’m known for my famous pasta bake.  It’s Emma’s favorite.”


Olivia leaned down to take a whiff.  “Can’t wait to try it.”


After they finished eating, they cuddled up on the sofa.  Zoe pushed some hair behind Olivia’s ear and murmured, “These past two weeks with you have been incredible.”


Olivia smiled.  “I agree.  And it doesn’t hurt that you’re a really good cook.”


Zoe laughed.  “Thanks.”  She looked around the room.  “These candles were a really nice touch.”


“Glad you like them.  Thought they would set the mood,” she replied, a playful smile curling at the corner of her mouth.


Zoe bunched together the front of Olivia’s shirt and pulled her closer.  “Somehow I don’t think we would’ve had any problems in that area,” she whispered, closing her eyes and seizing her lips.


As Zoe kissed her, Olivia noticed something was different—not with Zoe but with herself.  She didn’t feel the same excitement that she had before.  She attributed this to seeing Alex that afternoon.  Instead of solely concentrating on the pleasure she was receiving, images of her kept flashing through her mind.  She was reminded of her smell, her touch, her hair, her moans, her lips.  She saw her lying naked before her in all her delicious glory, every ounce of her body competing for her undivided attention.  She wouldn’t have realized when Zoe started to undress her if she hadn’t motioned for her to lift her arms.


This cannot be happening, she thought in annoyance, trying to force the thoughts out.  She refused to let them overtake her and ruin their evening.  She started remembering how much Alex had hurt her and Robert’s place in her life.  As Zoe unlatched her bra, she thought about Robert unlatching Alex’s.  She thought about him kissing her, stroking her, moving inside her.  She envisioned Alex screaming out in the heat of passion.  And just like she had told her that the claims adjuster whispered “Emily,” she imagined Robert whispering “Alex.”  Her anger pushed out her reluctance and her zeal for Zoe returned. 


As soon as her bra was off, Olivia pounced on Zoe, forcing her on her back.  Zoe ran her tongue over her lips.  “Ooh, someone’s quite a tiger tonight.”


“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” Olivia growled, straddling her waist and ripping open her shirt.


Zoe moaned in pleasure as teeth raked over her cleavage.  Soon her own bra was on the floor and Olivia was desperately pulling her pants and underwear down her legs.  She let out a sharp gasp and arched her back as three fingers were shoved inside.


Olivia slammed her eyes shut.  With each thrust, she allowed herself to fall deeper and deeper into oblivion.  She felt liberated, no longer bound by the prison of her mind.  All she concentrated on was bringing this woman pleasure.  Curling her fingers, she pushed harder and harder until she felt Zoe’s walls clenching around them. 


With a piercing scream, Zoe shook violently as her orgasm overtook her.  Her chest heaving, Olivia collapsed against her and willed her breathing to slow.  A gentle arm wrapped around her back and she snuggled in closer to Zoe.  Nothing was said; nothing needed to be said.  She wanted to remain lost in the land of comfort her embrace provided.  She kept her eyes closed for fear that if she opened them, reality would settle in again.




Alex opened the door to let in Serena.  “Hey, you,” she greeted.  “How’s Kay?”


Serena smiled.  “She’s good.  But I guess you didn’t call me here to just get the dish on my relationship with her.”


Alex laughed and led the way to the living room.  She motioned for Serena to take a seat on the sofa.  “Guess who I saw at the gym today?”


Serena smirked.  “Cleopatra?”


“Ha ha,” Alex said dryly.  “Liv.  We worked out a little.”


“Really?  How did that happen?”


“I asked Elliot where she was.  I didn’t bother with the phone or email route this time because I didn’t want her ignoring me again.  I just showed up and went up to her.”


“So she’s not still mad at you after the whole Robert fiasco?”


“She didn’t mention it, but I apologized.  I’m just glad she talked to me at all.”


“Yeah, that argument you two had was pretty rough.”


Alex leaned back in the armchair and stretched her legs out on the ottoman.  “Hell, if you think that was rough, imagine the torture I felt having her in the shower right next to me today.”


Serena laughed and shook her head.  “Knowing you it was unbearable.”


“Damn right.  I thought I was gonna lose it.”


Serena grinned and crossed her legs.  “I see a hot and sweaty Olivia Benson turning on the water, soaping up—”


“Serena, are you trying to make me have a heart attack?” Alex interrupted.


“Oh, come on.  It’s not like you weren’t thinking it.  I’m surprised you were even able to concentrate on showering.”


Alex smiled.  “Can’t help it.”


“You think she was thinking about you, too?”


Alex blushed.  “I sure hope so!”  Her smile slowly faded when she remembered where Olivia was going afterwards.  “But something she said makes me wonder.”


“What?” Serena asked.


“I asked her if she wanted to have dinner but she said she was meeting a friend.”


Must be the woman from the bar, Serena thought.  She was determined to keep her face expressionless.  “Friend?”


“Yeah,” Alex replied.  “She didn’t say who and I didn’t ask.  You don’t think she’s dating anyone, do you?”


Serena shrugged.  “I uh…why would you think that?” she asked, trying to stall.


Alex sighed.  “I dunno.  It just seemed like she was being all secretive.”


Oh, what the hell.  Now or never, Serena decided. “Alex…I think you should know—” she began.


She was cut off by the ringing of Alex’s cell phone.  “Hello?” Alex answered, standing up and walking a few feet away. 


Serena watched her as she talked.  When she realized she was talking to Robert, she decided against telling her the news about Olivia.  If Alex was going to continue actively living a lie, she wasn’t going to give her the ammunition to try to ruin whatever Olivia had with her female companion.  Olivia shouldn’t have to be lonely, she thought.  Why should Alex have all the fun?


Alex closed her phone a few minutes later and put it in her purse.  “Oh, Serena…sorry, but I have to go.  Robert wants me to meet him for dinner.  What was it you were gonna say?”


Serena forced a smile and stood up.  “Uh, it wasn’t important.”


Alex wrinkled her brow.  “Are you sure?”




Alex was not convinced.  “You were saying you thought I should know something,” she said skeptically, folding her arms.


“I was just gonna say that you should know Olivia’s heart is with you,” Serena lied.  Well, I’m not being entirely untruthful.


Alex breathed an internal sigh of relief.  She smiled and gave Serena a hug.  “I can always count on you to quash my fears.”


Serena returned her embrace.  Then you’re gonna be in for a rude awakening this time, she thought sadly.