Chapter 28:  Lifeline

When Olivia woke up, it was early afternoon.  The hot sun pouring through her window beat down painfully on her face.  Squinting, she forced her eyes open and struggled to sit up, a headache hitting her full force.  Groaning, she threw her legs over the side of the bed.  They felt as heavy as lead, but she forced herself to get up and head to the kitchen for some aspirin. 


She was surprised to see her mom in the kitchen.  “Hey…” Olivia said, looking down as she headed over to the cabinet.  Swallowing the pills, she caught her mom staring at her.  “What?”


Her mother held up the empty glass and the bottle of scotch.  Shit, I must’ve forgotten to put it up last night, Olivia thought.


“What the hell is this, Olivia?  Have you been drinking?” her mother demanded.


Olivia put her hand on the counter and leaned back.  “Mom…”


“What the hell were you thinking?”


“I dunno, mom.  Maybe the same thing you think whenever you drink,” Olivia spit out.


“Don’t try to turn this around on me.  I am an adult.  You are sixteen, young lady.  Last time I checked the legal drinking age was 21!”


“Oh, so just because you’re an adult that makes it ok for you to get smashed every night?” Olivia shot back.


“I don’t get smashed every night, Olivia and you know it!” her mother retorted.


“Oh, I’m sorry, mom.  I stopped counting over the years.”


“This is not about me!” her mother yelled, angrily slamming down the bottle.  “You’re getting out of control, Olivia!  Haven’t you made me suffer enough?”  She shook her head as a tear fell down her cheek.


Olivia stared at her mom, hurt.  Gritting her teeth, she angrily retorted, “Fuck you mom,” and stormed out.


“Come back here, young lady!  This conversation is not over!  You will not talk to me that way!”


Olivia kept walking until she got to her room and slammed her door shut.  Grabbing her keys and her wallet, she walked to the front door.  “Wait!  Olivia, where are you going?  Come back here!”


Ignoring her mother, she got in her car and sped to the gym.  Heading to the punching bags, she began pummeling away at the nearest one.  Then moving on to the treadmill, she ran several miles before she was finally exhausted and decided to return home to shower and eat.




Meanwhile, Elliot rang the buzzer for the third time at the Cabot mansion before he heard Alex’s voice.  “Who is it?” she asked groggily.




Groaning, Alex responded, “Go away, Elliot.”


“I’m not leaving until you open the gate,” he insisted.


“Go home and take Olivia with you,” Alex replied.


“I’m alone.  Come on, Alex.  I’ll sit here all day if I have to.”


Groaning again, Alex buzzed Elliot in.  When he got to the door, Alex was standing in the doorway.  Moving to let him by, she slammed the door and plopped down in a recliner.  “What are you doing here, Elliot?”


“I promised Liv I’d try to talk to you.  Alex, she’s really hurting, you know.”


Alex looked at him incredulously.  “She’s hurting?  What about me?  I’m the one who got dumped twice and then caught the girl I love—loved—getting out of the backseat of a car with Nick Ganzner!”


Elliot leaned back and folded his hands over his stomach.  “So you do still love her.”


Alex looked around uncomfortably.  “I said loved.  Past tense.”


After you said love.  Listen, Alex.  I know you’re angry.  I know you’re hurting.  And—”


“Livid is more the word,” Alex interrupted.


“Ok, fine.  And you have every right to be.  Liv told me everything that happened and I—”


“Oh really?  Did she tell you how she fucked me and then dumped me the next day?” Alex demanded.


“Not in those exact words,” Elliot replied, looking down.


“It’s like I was nothing but a piece of meat to her.  Her cheap little toy until she found something shinier.  She dumps me and then she’s willing to fuck some dude the next day?  And then she has the nerve to get mad at me because I’m hurt by what she’s done.  ‘My sex life is none of your business.  We’re not together,’” she imitated.  “Yeah, Elliot, I feel her pain,” Alex continued sarcastically.


“Alex, I’m not trying to downplay anything you’ve gone through.  I agree—Olivia did a shitty thing.”


A shitty thing?” Alex asked, her mouth open wide.


“Ok.  Several shitty things.  But she regrets them all.  She said she’s sorry for everything and wishes she could take it all back, and she just wants to make things right.  She also said she’s in love with you and she’s never been in love with anyone before.  And I can tell she really means it.  I’ve never seen Olivia so distraught over anything or anyone.  But she was scared, Alex.  People do stupid things when they get scared.  Can you at least just give her a chance to explain herself?  Put yourself in her shoes.”


Alex shook her head.  “No.  I don’t want to see her again.”


“Alex, you know that’s not possible.  You go to the same school.  You have class with her.  You’ll see her everyday.”


“Well, I can talk to my parents about changing that.  I can always go to boarding school,” Alex said, folding her arms.


Elliot snorted.  “Yeah right, Alex.  You two are miserable without each other.  You can’t stand being away from Liv anymore than she can stand being away from you.”


“Wanna bet?” Alex taunted.  Then softening her voice, she said, “I thought we had something special Elliot.  I really did.  I was stupid enough to let her take my virginity.”


“Wait…Olivia was your first?  You mean first girl, right?” Elliot asked, shocked.


“First anyone,” Alex said quietly, looking down.


Elliot let out a breath.  “Wow.  I just never expected you to be…you know.  A virgin.  You’re hot.  When Liv made that comment about trying dick sometime, I thought she was just being an ass.  I never even expected you to be gay until Liv told me she liked you.”


Alex smiled for the first time since he’d been there.  “Can’t judge a book by its cover.”


“Same with Liv.  Listen, Alex.  She puts on this tough exterior like nothing fazes her but inside she’s scared.  She’s scared that she’s fucked up the one good thing in her life forever.  I saw real fear in her eyes last night, Alex.  She didn’t even look like that when she was afraid dating you would out her.  Just think about what I said, Alex.”


Alex frowned again.  “Don’t count on it.”


Sighing, he got up and started walking to the door.  “Is there anything you want me to tell Liv?” Elliot asked, his hand on the doorknob.


“Yeah.  Tell her I thought about what she said.  Maybe tonight I’ll go try some dick and see how I like it.  Oh, and tell her to go fuck herself.”


“Alex…” Elliot began.


Alex held up a hand.  “Save it, Elliot.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get ready.  I’m going shopping with Serena.”  And with that, she stormed up the stairs.




Olivia threw down the remote and went to go answer the door.  Seeing Elliot standing there, she said, “Hey.  What’s up?”


“Not much,” he said, walking past her and sitting down on the couch.  “Is your mom home?”


“Nah.  Thank God she was gone when I came back.”


“Where’d you go?” Elliot asked.


“To the gym,” Olivia replied simply.  “I figured I needed a good workout.”


Elliot chuckled.  Then taking a deep breath, he took the plunge.  “I just came from Alex’s.”


Olivia sat up straight, her eyes wide.  “Really?  How’d it go?”


“She’s still pretty mad,” he replied, looking down.


Olivia slumped back in her seat.  “Figures,” she mumbled.  “So what’d she say?”


Elliot fidgeted uncomfortably.  Olivia noticed, immediately getting worried.  “Elliot.  What did she say?”


“How are you feeling?” he said, trying to change the subject.


“Elliot.  I’m serious.  Just tell me.  There’s nothing else that can hurt worse than what she said to me last night,” Olivia said sternly.


Elliot sighed.  “She said maybe she’ll go try some dick tonight and see how she likes it.  And to go fuck yourself.”


Olivia slapped her hand to her forehead.  “Oh godddddd.  Elliot, I didn’t mean what I said!  I hope she doesn’t go out and do anything stupid on account of me.  I just wish she’d give me a chance to explain.  Oh well, it’s not like she can avoid me forever.  I’ll see her on Monday unless she pulls an ‘I’m gonna play sick so I don’t have to see Liv’ again.”


Elliot took another deep breath and exhaled.  “Actually, she said she was thinking about going off to boarding school.”


Olivia began to panic and jumped to her feet.  “Shit, Elliot!  No!  Then I may never see her again!  Elliot, you can’t let her go.  You just can’t!”  The tears started flowing again.


Elliot quickly moved over to her and held her.  “Shh.  Olivia, it will be ok.  She’s not going anywhere.  She was just blowing smoke.  I told her you two are miserable without each other and she knows she can’t stand being away from you anymore than you can her.”


“But what if she’s serious, El?  I have to talk to her before she decides to do anything.” 


“Liv…just calm down.  You have to give her time.  She’s not gonna be receptive to you right now.  I’m lucky I got her to talk to me for as long as she did.”


“I love her, El!  I love her so much!” she shouted, sobbing against his shoulder.  “How did all this happen?  I feel like I’ve lost my whole life.”


“Shh, Liv.  No you haven’t.  Everything is gonna be all right.”


Olivia looked up at him with more fear than he’d ever seen in her eyes before.  “I have to talk to her.  I just have to.  The more time that passes, the more she’ll hate me and the more she’ll slip away from me.  Alex is my lifeline.”


Elliot’s heart went out to Olivia at her words.  Placing a kiss on the top of her head, he said, “You’ll get her back, Liv.  She still loves you.”


“How do you know?” Olivia asked with a glimmer of hope in her eyes.


“Because when we were talking she said ‘the girl I love’ but caught herself and changed it to past tense.”


“I hope she still does,” Olivia murmured.


Opting for a brief change of subject, Elliot said, “I didn’t know Alex was a virgin.”


Olivia pulled back from him.  “She told you that?  She’s not regretting anything is she?”


Elliot remained silent.  Olivia prodded, “Elliot, answer me.  She doesn’t regret losing her virginity to me, right?”


Elliot patted her shoulder.  “Liv, you have to understand that Alex is really upset right now—”


Olivia slapped his hand away.  “Elliot, stop playing games.  What did she say?” Olivia asked through gritted teeth.


Elliot sighed.  “She said she was stupid enough to lose her virginity to you.”


The tears resurfaced.  “Oh god,” Olivia cried with a hand over her mouth.  “What she gave up was really special to me, El.  Our lovemaking was always so beautiful.”


He pulled her into his arms again and hugged her.  “I know, Liv.  I know.  I’m sure she doesn’t really regret it.  She’s just mad.”


“No, she does regret it.  Oh god…now I’m sure she hates me.”  Olivia dragged her hands down her face.  “How did my world turn completely upside down?  A few weeks ago we were so happy together.  Elliot, please tell me this is all just a bad dream.  Or maybe some sick joke.”


Elliot patted her back.  “Liv…sometimes you have to lose something just to realize how important it is to you.”


Olivia stared at him.  “Are you saying that Alex wasn’t important to me before now?” she accused.


“No, Liv.  All I’m saying is that sometimes we get so caught up in the present and the comfort of having something that we never really stop to think how it would affect us if it was all taken away from us one day.”


Olivia wiped away angry tears.  “I can’t believe I was so fucking stupid.  I always wondered what it would be like to be head over heels in love and then when it happened, I threw it all away.  All I want is another chance.”


“And you’ll get it, Liv.  Love is like a magnet.  You two are drawn to each other, no matter what.”


“I…I just want her to know, to believe, how much I really do love her.”  She suddenly looked up at Elliot.  “I have to go over there.”


“Uh, Liv…that’s not such a good idea.”


“Why the fuck not?  It’s not your love life that’s on the line,” she said nastily.


“Just give her a little space, Liv.  She’s hurting bad and—”


“And I’m not?” she asked angrily.


“I know you are, Liv.  I’m just saying that seeing you so soon will open up fresh wounds for her.  If you want her to heal so you can move past this together, don’t do anything to exacerbate her pain.  Besides.  She wouldn’t be there anyway.  She told me she was going shopping with Serena.”


Olivia sighed.  “I don’t know what to do, El.”


“Just wait and be patient.  That’s all you can do right now.  But in the end you’re gonna have to fight for her.  You may even have to do something drastic.”  He looked at his watch.  “Hey listen.  I gotta go meet Kathy soon.  Are you gonna be ok?  You can come with us if you want.”


Olivia forced a smile.  “Nah, El.  I’ll be ok.  I just need some time to myself, that’s all.”


He nodded and gave her a hug.  Opening the door, he said, “Bye, Liv.  Call us if you need anything.”  She nodded.


She thought about what Elliot had said about giving Alex her space, but she couldn’t stand the thought of Alex wanting her completely out of her life.  She needed to get her to change her mind, and she didn’t want Alex to think she didn’t care enough to try to make things right.  Olivia Benson was not one to go down without a fight.  All she wanted was to hear her voice and make her understand how much she loved her.  Olivia tried calling Alex several times after Elliot left.  She wasn’t surprised when she didn’t answer the phone, but each time she called, she had a little sliver of hope that she just might.  Finally giving up for the evening, she slumped onto her bed and cried herself into a fitful sleep.