Chapter 37:  Windows

“We have a few hours before our movie.  What do you wanna do?” Alex asked.


Olivia threw the remote down on the sofa and replied, “After today I think I need a power nap.”


“May I join you?” Alex asked hopefully.


Olivia cocked an eyebrow.  “That depends.  Will you be sleeping or trying to seduce me?”


Smiling, Alex rolled her eyes.  “I promise I’ll behave.”


They walked to the bedroom and Olivia put her cell phone down on the nightstand.  “Don’t let me sleep for too long.”


“Will you put mine over there?” Alex asked.


“Sure,” Olivia said, taking her phone from her.  After putting it down, she pulled back the covers.  Sitting down on the edge of the bed, she took off her shoes and slowly stretched out on the mattress.  “This bed feels so good.”


Alex pulled the covers over them and rolled on her side.  “And warm.”


Olivia turned over to face her.  “You just like being in my bed,” she said with a smirk.


Alex grinned.  “Who wouldn’t?”


A few moments of comfortable silence passed.  Neither could take her eyes off the other.  Alex gingerly brushed some of her hair out of her face.  “You really are beautiful, you know that?”


Olivia burst out laughing.  Alex looked confused.  “Did I say something wrong?”


“I half expected you to start singing, ‘You are so beautiful,’” Olivia teased.


Alex laughed softly.  “Can you ever just take a compliment?”


“I’m afraid I’ve reached my compliment quota for the month,” Olivia responded with a lopsided grin.


Alex poked her in the arm.  “Smartass.”


A couple minutes later, Olivia asked, “Alex, are you staring at my boobs?”


Alex blushed.  “Well…when you lay like that in a tank top, they look like they’re about to pop out!”


“Horny much?”


“When it comes to you, yes,” Alex admitted.


“I guess honesty is the best policy,” Olivia quipped.  She closed her eyes and said, “Ok.  Power nap starting now.”


It wasn’t long before she was asleep.  Alex watched her for a few minutes before drifting off, too.


Half an hour later, Alex’s cell phone started ringing.  Olivia jerked awake and mumbled, “So much for the nap.”  She picked it up and looked at the outside display screen.  “It’s Serena,” she said, passing it to her.


Alex suppressed a yawn and flipped open her phone.  “Hello?”


“Hey, how are you?” Serena asked.


“I’m good.  What’s up?”


“Well, Kay and I are going out for Japanese and we were wondering if you’d like to join us.” 


“Hold on just a sec,” Alex told her.  Putting her hand over the speaker, she said, “Serena just asked me if I wanted to meet her and Kay for dinner.  Wanna go?”


Olivia sat up and shrugged.  “Sure.”


“Ok, we’re on,” Alex told Serena.  “You don’t mind if Liv comes, do you?”


Serena smiled.  “Not at all.  Meet us at Matsuri in an hour?”


“That’s perfect.  See you then,” Alex replied before closing her phone.


“Where are we eating?” Olivia asked.


Alex stretched her arms above her head.  “Matsuri.”


Olivia looked down at her tank top and sweatpants and chuckled.  “Somehow I don’t think this outfit is appropriate.  I’m gonna shower and get ready.”  Smirking at Alex, she added, “No peeking.”


Alex snapped her fingers.  “Damn, Liv, you’re no fun.”  She got out of bed and started walking toward the door.  “I’ll give you some privacy.”


Several minutes later, Olivia came out in the blue cashmere sweater Alex had bought her for Christmas and a pair of sexy, tight jeans.  Alex stood up from the sofa.  She let her eyes travel over her body and smiled.  “Wow.  You look just…amazing.”


“Me or my cleavage, Cabot?” Olivia teased.


Alex looked up to meet her eyes.  “Both.  Everything’s part of the same lovely package, you know.”


Olivia walked toward her until they were only a few inches apart.  “Are you planning on flirting shamelessly all night?” she asked in a husky voice.


Alex shivered.  “If you keep teasing me, that won’t be all I have planned,” she countered.


Olivia let out a laugh and shook her head.  “I should stop while I’m ahead.”


Alex was disappointed.  “What’s the harm in flirting?”


Olivia cocked her head and gave her a look.  “Because flirting leads to other things.”


“I can control myself.”


“Famous last words,” Olivia said.  She went to grab her coat and scarf.   “Come on.  Let’s catch a cab.”




Once they had all met up, Serena introduced her girlfriend to Olivia.  “Kay, this is Detective Olivia Benson of Manhattan SVU.  Liv, this is Kay Hartley of Whitman Worth & Hartley.”


Olivia offered her hand.  “Defense attorney, huh?”


Kay gladly shook it.   “Yeah.  I know you probably don’t like us very much, but I promise I do have a soul.”


Olivia laughed.  “Good to know.  How’d you manage to get last minute reservations?”


Kay smiled.  “I pulled a few strings.”


After the hostess had seated them in a booth on the main floor, Alex looked up at the enormous paper lanterns ornamented with Japanese calligraphy.  They hung from a high vaulted ceiling with wooden ribs.  “This décor is beautiful.”


“I agree,” Olivia replied, looking around and appreciating the cavernous, dark wood interior. 


“It’s very romantic,” Serena said, tucking some hair behind Kay’s ear.


Smiling, Olivia waggled her eyebrows.  “I take it that’s a plus, right?” she teased.


“You know, for a cop you clean up well,” Kay complimented.  “I’m honored to be dining with a sexy sex detective.”


Alex looked at Olivia and smiled.  You’re not the only one, she thought.


Serena rolled her eyes.  “Liv, please excuse my girlfriend’s ridiculous flirting.”


Olivia chuckled.  “I happen to think ‘sexy sex detective’ has a nice ring to it.”


“You should have a shirt made,” Alex joked.


“Perhaps I will,” Olivia said. 


A waitress came over to explain the menu and specials.  She was soon joined by the sake sommelière, who offered suggestions and expertly guided them through the large selection of tantalizing sakes.  After discussing the wine and food options with Serena, Kay ordered for them, followed by Alex and Olivia. 


Serena smiled at Kay.  “Wow, I didn’t know you could speak Japanese.  The sommelière looked like she was pleased as well.”


Kay grinned.  “There’s a lot you don’t know about me.”


Alex looked from one to the other.  “Good to know you two are still getting along so great.”


Kay put her hand on Serena’s back.  “What can I say?  She’s an amazing woman.  I can’t get enough of her.”


Serena grinned from ear to ear.  “You’re too generous.”


Kay kissed her on the nose.  “I just call ’em like I see ’em, sweetie.”


A server brought a carafe of sake and some glasses of water.  Alex poured some for herself and Olivia and said, “Great sake is the perfect ending to any day.”


“I agree,” Olivia replied, taking a sip.


“I can think of another…” Kay said, rubbing Serena’s shoulder and whispering something in her ear that made her blush.


“Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that one,” Alex quipped.


“Seems Serena’s got herself a wild one,” Olivia added.


Kay raised an eyebrow and gave her a sly smile.  “You look like a wild one, yourself.”  She spared a glance at Alex to gauge her reaction.


Alex busied herself with drinking her sake.  “The ladies certainly never get bored,” Olivia said with a wink.


“I bet they don’t,” Kay said.  She turned her attention to Alex again.  “It’s a pity you don’t play for our team.  Liv seems like quite a catch.”


Alex put her glass down and looked at Olivia.  “Yes, she is.  She’ll make some lucky woman very happy one day.”  Kay noticed an almost wistful tone in her voice as she said it. 


Serena nudged her girlfriend in the ribs.  Kay turned to her with an innocent look and said, “What, baby?  I’m just making conversation.”


Serena smiled and rolled her eyes.  “Sure you are.”


Luckily for Alex, Olivia changed the subject.  The four of them engaged in lighthearted conversation over the next several minutes.  In fact, they were so entrenched in dialogue that it didn’t seem long before two waitresses were bringing their dishes. 


Olivia picked up her chopsticks and dipped a piece of yellowtail sashimi in the ginger vinegar sauce.  “This is the best hamachi I’ve ever had!”


Alex took a bite of her sake black cod.  “This is absolutely delicious.  Melts in your mouth!”  Holding out her fork, she said, “Taste some, Liv.”


Olivia happily accepted.  “That is good.”  She placed a piece of fatty tuna sushi on Alex’s plate. 


Alex dipped it in a little of Olivia’s wasabi and some soy sauce and ate it.  “Now I know why you love otoro so much, Liv.”


Olivia smiled.  “Can’t go wrong with it.  Tastiest tuna out there.”  She picked up another piece to eat herself as Alex continued eating her cod.


Kay and Serena exchanged bites of kobe beef tataki and sea scallops before indulging in their sushi and sashimi platter.  From time to time, they gave each other little kisses during the meal.  Alex and Olivia enjoyed their plates as they admired the level of comfort Kay and Serena had with each other.


Olivia took a sip of sake and asked, “They’re a beautiful couple, aren’t they?”


“Yes,” Alex said.  She reached for a piece of salmon nigiri and her chopsticks inadvertently met Olivia’s.


“Oh, sorry!” Olivia exclaimed.  “You take it.”


“No, no, it’s ok.  It’s the last piece, you go ahead.  I’ll eat a piece of the pink snapper or fluke,” Alex insisted, gesturing at the sashimi nestled in the yuzu and ponzu sauces, respectively.


“How about we share it?”


Alex ran a hand over Olivia’s hair.  “Ok.”  She dipped the piece of sushi in soy sauce and fed Olivia half before eating the rest.


They were unaware that Kay and Serena had stopped to watch.  Before Kay could say a word, Serena looked at her sternly and ordered, “Don’t.”  Kay just grinned.


“You’ve got a little rice on the side of your mouth,” Alex said, reaching over to brush it away.


“And you’ve got a little soy sauce,” Olivia said, brushing it away and sucking it off her fingertip.


Serena almost choked on her eel cucumber maki.  Kay folded her arms and leaned back satisfactorily when she noticed the slight flush that passed over Alex’s face. 


“I think you’ll find that the ponzu tastes a little better,” Alex said, feeding her some fluke sashimi.


Olivia grinned.  “You’re right about that.”  She returned the favor.


A waiter came by to bring another carafe of sake and refill their water glasses.  Once they had finished their meal, Kay asked, “Ok, so who has room left for dessert?  My treat.”


Alex looked at Olivia, who shrugged.  Smiling brightly at Kay, she answered, “Sure.  Liv and I will have some.”


Kay ordered green tea tiramisu with red been ice cream for everyone.  “Wow, sweetie.  Great choice,” Serena complimented.


“I agree,” Olivia said, digging her fork into the smooth, creamy layers.


As they ate their dessert, Kay observed Olivia and Alex’s interaction.  Even in the dimly lit restaurant, she noticed their subtle touches, the way Alex glanced at Olivia with such tenderness, the way Olivia’s eyes lit up when she did.  Deciding to test them, she said, “So Alex, you and Robert still enjoying Park Avenue?”


Just as she expected, she noticed Olivia’s features hardening a bit.  Alex also stiffened.  She could tell they were both holding back their emotions. 


“Um…” Alex began, “it has its perks.  Very pleasant atmosphere.”  She shot Olivia an apologetic glance, which Kay also noted.


This time Serena was the one to change the subject.  “So what do you two have planned for the night?”


“We’re gonna see a movie,” Olivia answered.


“Which one?” Serena continued.


Alex smiled at Olivia.  “We haven’t decided yet but we were leaning toward a comedy.  It’s been a long week.”


Serena reached across the table and placed her hand on Alex’s comfortingly.  “You holding up ok?” she asked, smiling sympathetically.


“Yeah,” Alex responded.  She rubbed Olivia’s back.  “Liv’s been a big help in getting me through it all.”


Kay grinned.  “Ooh, a cop with a sensitive side.  I like that.”


Serena shook her head.  “Kay, you’re relentless.”


“Isn’t that what you love about me?” she asked, feeding her some dessert.


Alex dipped a piece of ladyfinger into some ice cream and ate it.  “So what’s on the agenda for you two?”  Grinning, she added, “Or do I want to know?”


Olivia laughed.  “I think we all know the answer to that.”


“We may check out a jazz club and after that, I’m sure we’ll have a long and satisfying night,” Kay replied.


Serena laughed.  “You’re gonna have me exhausted by Monday morning.”


“I intend on it,” Kay responded with a wicked grin.


A waitress brought their checks in a few minutes.  Kay pulled out her credit card to pay for herself and Serena. 


Alex opened her wallet but Olivia pulled out her own credit card.  “I got it.”


“Liv, you sure?” Alex asked.


Olivia smiled.  “Even cops like to splurge sometime.”


“Oh, Liv…you shouldn’t,” Alex insisted.


“Since you were so generous to pay for dinner at Sea Grill, let me pick up the tab here, ok?”


Alex tucked her credit card back inside and closed her wallet.  “Ok,” she conceded.  “Thank you.”


“You’re very welcome,” Olivia replied.


After the waitress returned with Kay and Olivia’s credit cards, Alex stood up and said with a grin, “Well, we have a movie to get to so I’m gonna have to say goodnight to you lovebirds.”


Olivia stood up, too.  “Night.”  She nodded at Kay and said, “It was nice meeting you.”


“You, too,” Kay replied, giving her a bright smile.


“Don’t wear yourselves out,” Alex added, winking.


“You lied to me,” Kay accused after they left.


Serena wrinkled her brow.  “Excuse me?”


“You told me Alex wasn’t a lesbian.”


Serena sighed.  “She’s not,” she lied.


“Oh, please!  I saw the way she kept looking at Olivia.  Those two are fucking!”


“They are not,” Serena insisted, rolling her eyes.


“Well, if they aren’t fucking now, they have fucked or want to be fucking sometime in the near future.  What’s more, they look like they’re in love.”


“Have too many drinks, Kay?” Serena teased.


Now was the time for Kay to roll her eyes.  “The way Alex looked at Robert as compared to Olivia was the difference between night and day.  With him, everything seems forced.  With Olivia, the affection seems natural and the funny thing is that she wasn’t even trying to come off as affectionate with her; she just couldn’t help it.  You can’t fake the kind of intimacy they had.”


“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were a detective, not a lawyer.”


Kay smiled.  “The eyes are the windows to the soul.  Try looking at Alex’s next time and you’ll see what I’m talking about.”


Of course, Serena knew exactly what she was talking about but she would never out her best friend, not even to her girlfriend.  The times she’d gone to Alex’s bureau so they could go to lunch, she’d also noticed that she had a blank, lifeless look in her eyes when she had been talking to Jim.  The vacant look had only become more apparent with Robert since she was losing more of herself by actually dating and cohabitating with him.  The only time she’d seen her eyes spring back to life was when she was with Olivia.  For Alex’s sake, she only hoped that others weren’t as astute as herself and Kay.


Kay waved her hand in front of her face.  “Earth to Serena!”


Serena shook herself out of her thoughts.  “Sorry, I was just…thinking.”


“Thinking that maybe Alex has been keeping secrets from you?”


Serena smirked.  “You’re really having fun with this, aren’t you?”  Touching her shoulder, she stood up and said, “Come on.  Let’s get outta here.”




“Should we go back to your place or mine?” Olivia asked after their movie ended.


“How about yours?” Alex suggested.  She loved the warmth and coziness of Olivia’s apartment, and she also knew there was no chance of Robert dropping by.


“Mine it is,” Olivia said.


Once they were back at her apartment, Olivia turned on the heat as Alex shivered.  “How about a nice hot cup of cocoa?” she asked.


Alex smiled.  “I’d like that.”


A few minutes later, Olivia returned with two steaming mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows floating at the brim.


“Thank you,” Alex said, taking her cup.


“You’re welcome,” Olivia replied, sitting down beside her.


Alex looked out the window to see light snowflakes falling.  “Boy, am I glad I’m not out there now.”


“Yeah, tell me about it,” Olivia agreed, taking a long, satisfying sip of her cocoa.


“You know, I really appreciate you letting me spend the night again.”


Olivia smiled.  “No problem.”


“I loved having marshmallows in my cocoa as a child.”


Olivia laughed.  “From the looks of it, you still do.”


“What can I say?” Alex asked with a grin.  “They’re just as good now as they were then.”


“You know what’s also good?  White hot chocolate.”


“Ooh, yes!  I’ll be sure to pick some up so the next time you come over to my place, I can make it for you.”


Olivia’s smile faded.  “I take it you probably won’t have a reason to be there much now.  You have a new one.”


“Whenever you want me to be there, I will,” Alex said, touching her shoulder gently.


Olivia looked down at her hand.  “Alex, did you just stealthily cop a feel?”


“I was reaching for your shoulder!”


Olivia smirked.  “Is that what they call it nowadays?”


“Well, you can cop one on me so we’ll be even.”


Olivia’s jaw dropped.  “Alex!”


“Hey, I was only half-joking!” 


They finished their mugs of hot chocolate as they watched the snow continue to fall.  “Serena and Kay really chose a wonderful restaurant,” Olivia said.


Alex nodded.  “I know.  Thanks again for dinner.”


Olivia waved her off.  “Oh, it was nothing.”


“No, quite the contrary.  It really meant a lot to me,” Alex replied, her eyes locking with Olivia’s.


For a moment Olivia was speechless.  When she found her voice again, she spluttered, “I…um, I’ll go wash our mugs.”  She stood up and quickly left the room.


Alex sighed and leaned back against the arm of the sofa.  When Olivia returned, she asked, “Did I upset you?”


Olivia shook her head.  “No, it just gets hard sometimes.  You know…knowing you’re with someone else.”


Alex moved closer to her and stroked her arm.  “I know…but he’s not here and most importantly, he’s not you.”


“I…I don’t want to think about him anymore tonight,” Olivia responded.


“I don’t either,” Alex said.  “Listen, let’s just be ourselves tonight, ok?  My feet get tired from running from myself all the time.”


Alex’s words resonated with Olivia in a profound way.  After taking a few moments to ponder them, she decided, “Ok.”


Alex smiled and lay back on the sofa again.  She patted her lap.  “Come on.  Lean back and let me hold you.”


Olivia turned around and leaned back in her arms as Alex wrapped them snugly around her waist.  “You’re not gonna try to slide your hands in my pants, are you?” she teased.


Alex kissed the top of her head and rubbed her stomach.  “Only if you want me to.”


After several minutes, Olivia asked, “Are we just gonna lie here all night?”


“I honestly wouldn’t have a problem with that.”


“Then I’m just gonna use your boobs for a pillow,” Olivia said, getting comfortable.


Alex grinned.  “Be my guest.”


“I’m not gonna wake up naked and confused, am I?”


Laughing heartily, Alex said, “You’re so silly.”


Smiling, Olivia closed her eyes and replied, “Gotta love a chick with a sense of humor, huh?”


Alex squeezed her waist.  “I sure do.”