Chapter 41:  Full Circle

Olivia opened her door to find Alex standing there with flowers.  “Good evening,” she said with a bright smile, holding the bouquet out to her.


Olivia took the flowers and motioned for her to come in.  “What’re these for?”


“Well…I have something important I want to talk to you about,” Alex replied.


“Ok, so spill,” Olivia said, sitting on the couch.


After taking off her coat, Alex sat down next to her and turned to face her.  “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.”


“Ok…” Olivia began.


“And I want to be with you again.”


Olivia’s eyes widened.  “You do?”


“Yes,” Alex answered.


Olivia let out a laugh.  “So what happened?  This whole thing with Mike gave you some sort of epiphany?”


Alex took a deep breath and then let it out slowly.  “Yes, it did.”


“Um, wow…this is a lot to take in,” Olivia said softly.  She looked down at the flowers in her hand and continued, “Let me go put these in some water.”  Alex nodded.


After she’d put them in a vase, she sat back down beside her and asked, “Are you sure about this?”




“It sounds good in theory, Alex, but can you really put it into practice?  You’re still dating Robert.”


“Liv, I’m going to leave him.”


“But you moved in with him.”


“And I can move out!” Alex argued. 


Olivia was silent for a few moments.  “And you’re 100% sure of this?” she asked again.


“Yes,” Alex insisted, leaning in to brush Olivia’s lips with her own.


Olivia placed a hand on Alex’s face and returned the kiss.  But before she got completely lost under her spell, she pulled back and looked down.  “I just don’t think we’ve had enough time apart.  If we get back together now, we’ll be rushing into things and I don’t want either of us to have any regrets,” she explained.


Alex lifted her chin.  “Olivia, the only regret I have is breaking up with you in the first place.  If I hadn’t done that, then none of all this other horrible stuff would’ve ever happened and neither of us would be suffering so much.”


Olivia sighed.  “Well, we can’t change the past.”


Alex stroked her cheek lovingly.  “But we can change the future.  If you want me, I’m yours.”


Despite her hesitation, Olivia felt her heart leap at Alex’s proposition.  “Ok.  What should we do to celebrate?”


Alex was ecstatic.  She felt like she’d finally found her way again.  “You can start by helping me move my stuff back home,” she said, leaning in to kiss her once more.  “Then we can have our own little private celebration.  I promise I will make it worth your while,” she added, a twinkle in her eye.


Olivia ran a hand down her arm and looked happily into her eyes.  “Well, I was thinking about something a little less private.  I know you have to give that speech at the Crime Prevention Commission’s fundraiser on Sunday night.  It would be nice if we could go together,” she said, smiling at her.  She picked up her hand and started stroking it.  “You know, as a couple.”


Alex looked down at the motions of her fingers.  “Uh…I don’t know about that.  That’s a little too fast.”


Olivia’s entire face fell.  She shook her head and dropped Alex’s hand.  “I knew this was too good to be true.”


Shame colored Alex’s cheeks.  “Liv, I didn’t mean it like that.”


“Then what did you mean it like?”


“Just that a little discretion to start would be nice.  We don’t have to do everything at once.”


“To start?” Olivia asked, moving back from her on the sofa.  “We’ve been discreet since 2001!  It’s more than time to step it up a notch!”


“Branch is going to be at that fundraiser along with the Chief of D’s and several other very important members of the force and DA’s office.”


Olivia stood up.  “Oh, and none of them are as important as I am, huh?”


Alex’s mouth dropped open.  “That’s not what I’m saying and you know it!”


Olivia walked behind the sofa.  “I think you’ve said enough already.  You don’t want your girlfriend cramping your style.  Hate for all those important homophobes to think any less of you for being gay.”


Alex turned around to face her and frowned.  “You’re blowing this out of proportion!”


“Am I?  Don’t think so.  You want to impress all the political and moneyed bigwigs, and you’re afraid a lesbian relationship will compromise your precious future and reputation.”


“All I’m asking for is discretion,” Alex said, desperately trying to convince her so she could keep her love life and career afloat.  “I’m not saying I’m going to go to functions and pretend I’m dating some guy anymore.”


“Oh, why not, Alex?” Olivia asked sardonically, starting to pace back and forth in front of the window.  “You love to pretend!  It’s your favorite pastime!  That’s why you sleep with men and now have set up house with one!”


Alex realized Olivia was just speaking out of hurt and anger, but she didn’t know how much more she could take without losing her cool.  “Why can’t you just meet me halfway on this?  Why does it have to be all or nothing?”


Olivia stopped in her tracks.  Her eyes burned into Alex’s.  “I told you before that I couldn’t handle discretion anymore.  We have to act like any other couple, which means you can’t be in the closet.  If others can be open with their relationships, I want to be open with mine, too.”


“We can be open in private.  As long as we know we love each other, we don’t have to prove anything to anyone else.”


“It’s not about proving anything to anyone.  It’s about not being ashamed of our love.  Besides, it’s the discretion that has always caused problems in our relationship.  What happens the next time someone finds out about us?  Are you gonna freak out and dump me just like you did when Donnelly saw us kissing?”


Alex looked down.  “Liv…”


“Your hesitation was all I needed,” Olivia replied coldly.


A tear rolled down Alex’s cheek.  She got up and stood in front of her.  Grabbing her hands, she pleaded, “I just wanna be with you.”


Olivia looked down at their joined hands and sadly wondered if it would be the last time.  After a moment, she looked back into her eyes.  She felt herself tearing up.  She inhaled deeply to try to hold them back.  “I know and I wanna be with you, too.  But you’re not saying anything new.  You’ve always wanted to be with me, even when you were with others.  I’m not questioning your desire.  I question if you are actually able to be with me and stay with me.  You know the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”


“Liv, can’t I get a little more credit now?”




“This is because of Zoe, isn’t it?” Alex accused, dropping her hands.


Olivia’s jaw dropped.  “What?  No!  Where’d you get that?”


“Then if it’s not her, why aren’t you willing to give me another chance?” Alex demanded, not bothering to brush away the warm tears trailing down her cheeks.


“Because you’ve broken my heart, Alex!” Olivia yelled, turning red.  “I can’t keep going through that.”


“You think I ever purposely wanted to break your heart?”


“No, but I do think you’ve been very selfish.”


“Selfish?  Liv, I just told you I’m leaving Robert for you!  So how am I being selfish when I’m getting rid of something that only serves to benefit me?  Not only is he the perfect New York socialite, but he can also use his power and connections to double my chances of succeeding in politics!”


Olivia glared at her.  “Am I supposed to be honored that you’re picking me over this fine epicurean socialite?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.  “You only wanna dump Robert now because you are thinking about your needs with me.  Then if you think people are about to find out about our relationship, you’ll break my heart because you’ll only be thinking about your needs again.”


“That’s not true!” Alex cried.  She looked off to the side.  “I thought you’d be happy I was leaving him.”


“And why is that?” Olivia asked.


“Dumping him eliminates a huge problem!  I don’t have to sneak around with you behind his back anymore and you don’t have to see me with anyone else.”


“You’re not getting it!” Olivia shouted, throwing her hands up.  “He’s a complication, but he’s never been the source of the problem.”


“So you’re afraid that if we’re together, I’ll run off and later hook up with some other guy?”


“It’s not about you running off and getting with some guy, it’s about you running off, period.  When you broke my heart in July and then again in August, it wasn’t because of a guy!  It was because you were afraid of being outed.  We cannot come full circle.” 


“What do you mean?” Alex asked painfully.


“When you first returned to Manhattan, we started dating again without any outsiders.  Now we’d just be repeating that and things would work fine until we slipped up and someone caught us in a compromising position.  Then the drama and heartache would start all over again.  None of that would happen if we just didn’t give a damn and weren’t trying to hide our relationship in the first place.”


“Why don’t I just wear an ‘I’m a lesbian’ t-shirt and make out with you on every street corner?” Alex snapped.  “Would that be easier for you?”


Olivia glared again.  “Drop it.  I never expected you to frolic down the halls of One Hogan Place with me and sing that you’re a lesbian.  All I ever wanted was that if worst came to worst, you’d stand by my side through the crossfire and you can’t promise me that.  Alex, I won’t continue being your dirty little secret.  I deserve better than that.”


Alex crossed the room and put back on her coat.  “Well, if you think you deserve so much better, then I won’t waste your time anymore.  Goodbye.”  She grabbed her purse and stormed out the door.


“Arggh!” Olivia yelled out, slamming her fist on the sofa table.  Her frustration echoed throughout her apartment.  She was tired of this tug-of-war that was constantly going on between them.  Every time something brought them closer together, something else tore them apart again.  She wasn’t sure if they’d ever get a break.  Maybe it’s just not meant to be, she thought, the tears silently flowing down her cheeks.