Chapter 31:  New Beginnings

First thing Monday morning, Alex found Olivia waiting by her locker with a single yellow rose.  Alex’s whole face lit up as she accepted the rose.  “Liv…you didn’t have to do this.  It’s beautiful.”


Olivia grinned.  “Just a little something to mark our new beginnings.”  She wrapped Alex in a warm hug and whispered in her ear, “I missed you.”


“Aww, Liv!  It was just a week, silly!” Alex said, returning the hug and then pulling back to smell the rose.  “Mmm…thank you.”  Grabbing a bottle of water from her locker, she unscrewed the cap and stuck the stem of the rose in.  “Well, it’s not a vase, but it’ll have to do.”


Olivia smiled.  “So Miss Cabot, may I carry your books for you?”  Then giving Alex an appreciative once-over, she added, “Or I’d be happy to carry you if you’d let me.”


Alex smiled and looked down.  “Liv…remember?  Just friends first?”


“Hey!  Friends carry friends to class sometimes!” Olivia joked.


Alex playfully slapped her on the arm.  “Books will be fine.”


Smiling happily, she took Alex’s books and walked her to class.  “So I’ll see you next period?”


Alex nodded.  “Yeah.”


Olivia gave a lopsided grin and said, “And I assume I’m not still banished to the other side of the room?”


Alex giggled.  “Hey!  You banished yourself there a couple weeks ago, remember?”


Olivia’s smile slightly faded.  “But I didn’t have a choice last week.”


Alex looked down at the floor.  “Liv…you know why—”


Olivia put a finger to Alex’s lips and said, “No no.  Let’s not talk about that.  Remember?  New beginnings?”


Alex nodded and touched her arm.  “You’re right.  New beginnings.”


Olivia smiled again.  “Ok, then.  I’ll see you soon,” Olivia told her.  Alex waved as she walked out the door.




When Alex walked into psychology the next period, she found Olivia already waiting for her in her old seat.  “Hi,” Olivia said softly.


“Hi yourself,” Alex replied, smiling.


A few minutes into class, Olivia looked over and noticed goosebumps all along Alex’s arms.  Taking off her letter jacket, she leaned over and wrapped it around Alex’s shoulders.  “Thanks,” Alex whispered as she put her arms through the sleeves.  Olivia just smiled in response.


At the end of class, Alex started to take off the jacket.  Olivia stopped her and said, “No no no.  Keep it for the rest of the day.  I’ll see you after practice.”


“Ooh, so I can pretend I’m a basketball player for the rest of the day?” Alex joked.


Olivia smirked.  “You a basketball player?  Haha, right.”  Alex slapped her on the arm and flexed her muscles. 


“You look so cute,” Olivia cooed, wrapping her arms around Alex’s waist and pulling her close.


“Olivia…what are you doing?” Alex asked her, freezing up.


Olivia quickly pulled back.  “Oh…sorry.  Just a reflex.”


Alex flashed a brief smile.  “Right.”  Turning to leave, she said, “So I’ll see you after practice?”


Olivia nodded and watched as Alex walked off before heading to French.




Olivia took a huge bite of her burger as Elliot sat down across from her.  Opening a bottle of coke, he began, “So I saw Alex wearing your letter jacket today.”


Olivia swallowed and smiled.  “Yeah.  She was cold so I let her borrow it.”


“Let her or insisted?” Elliot asked as he cut into his chicken.


Olivia grinned.  “A little bit of both.”


Elliot shook his head.  “So I bet you’ll be sleeping with the jacket tonight, huh?”


Olivia threw a fry at him.  “Elliot!”


He chuckled.  “Oh come on.  You know it’s gonna have her scent on it.”


Olivia ignored him.  “I brought her a rose today.”


Elliot’s fork stopped mid-air.  “Oh boy.”


“Don’t worry, El.  It was yellow, not red.”  As an afterthought, she smiled and added, “She liked it.”


“Mmhmm, I bet.”


“I made plans for us this weekend,” Olivia continued.


Elliot’s eyes got wide.  “Wait…you made plans?  Did you ask her if she was even gonna be free?”


Olivia looked at him as if he’d just told her the sky was green.  “I’m sure she will be.”


“Olivia…didn’t Alex say she just wanted to be friends first?”


“Elliot, it’s not a date,” Olivia responded, irritation hinting in her voice.


“But in your mind it is,” he replied.


Olivia looked to the side and clucked her tongue.  “I love her, Elliot.  All I wanna do is spend time with her.”


Elliot put his fork down and sighed.  “I know you do, Liv.  But you need to let her set the pace.”


“It’s just gonna be a picnic in the park, a carriage ride, and then a movie, Elliot.”


“Olivia, how many picnics followed by carriage rides and movies have you and I had?”


“None,” Olivia said crossly.


“Exactly.  So it sounds like a date to me.”


“Elliot…” Olivia warned.


“Listen, Liv.  I’m not trying to upset you.  All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be so pushy at first.  You know as well as I do that if she says no, your feelings are gonna get hurt, you’re gonna want to know why, you’re not gonna like her answer, and then you two will fight.  You guys are tryna patch things up and things’ll be ruined before they even get started.”


Olivia sighed.  “Ok, El.  What do you suggest I do?”


“Well…first you should ask her if she’s doing anything.  If she says no, then ask her if she wants to do one of the things you planned…preferably the least blatantly romantic thing, which would be the movie.  If she says she’s busy, don’t get upset, just say ok and then that should be your cue to let her do all the asking from then on.”


“Fine, Elliot,” Olivia relented.


“Oh and Liv?  Let her buy her own ticket.”


“But Elliot—” Olivia started.


“Remember, Liv?  It’s not a date.”


Olivia looked off to the side.  “I know, I know.  But speaking of dates, I’m asking her to prom no matter what.”


“Liv…it’s only the third week of November.  Prom is five months away.”


“Yeah well, I’m making my reservation early.”


Elliot couldn’t help but laugh.  “Your reservation?  I’m sure Alex will love to be thought of as that.”


Olivia rolled her eyes.  “I’m surprised that jerk Jake hasn’t asked her to prom yet.  He still hasn’t shut up about taking her to homecoming.”


“Don’t tell me you’re jealous of that guy.”


“I just don’t like him,” Olivia said, throwing a fry down.


Elliot smirked.  “Liv, you were about to end our friendship just because I wanted to dance with her.”


“I was not, El.  Besides, I only would’ve been mad if I hadn’t danced with her and you did.  You know that.”


Elliot decided it was best to just change the subject.  “Are you and Serena getting along?”


Olivia frowned at the mention of Serena’s name.  “I don’t talk to her.”


“You guys should at least be civil to each other for Alex’s sake.”


“I agree—that’s why I don’t talk to her.  I figure it’s the best way we can peacefully coexist without tearing each other’s eyes out.”


Elliot just shook his head and laughed.  “Ah, women.  Can’t live with ‘em—”


“Can’t live without ’em,” Olivia finished, turning her head and staring off into space.




Olivia walked into the locker room just as Alex was getting dressed.  Turning around and seeing her, Alex opened up her locker and gave her the jacket.  “Thanks for keeping me warm today,” she said softly.


Olivia smiled.  “Anytime.”  As Alex stood there in jeans and a bra, Olivia tried hard to keep her eyes from traveling.  Taking a deep breath, she said, “Well, Alex, I guess I’ll go hop in the shower.  I shouldn’t be long, though.  I can give you a ride home if you wanna wait around a few.”


“No…that’s ok, Liv.  Serena’s taking me home.  She just had to take a make-up quiz.”


“Oh, come on Alex.  We’ll go get a milkshake.  My treat.”


Alex smiled.  “Steak and Shake?”


Olivia grinned.  “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


“Ok.  I’ll send Serena a text and tell her I’ve got a ride,” Alex said, turning her back to pull her cell phone out of her bag.


Olivia smiled happily.  “Five minutes,” she promised, as she ran into the shower.  Alex giggled at Olivia’s excitement.


Olivia came out in a towel.  As she began to undo it, Alex turned her back.  Olivia noticed and commented, “You know Alex, you don’t have to turn away.  It’s not like you haven’t seen it all before.”


Alex smiled weakly.  “I know Liv.  It’s just that…”


Olivia gave a tight smile.  “It’s ok, Al.  I know.  Friends.”


Alex looked down.  “You’re hot, Liv.  I’m just trying to avoid temptation.”


Olivia smirked as she pulled on her clothes.  “Trust me, Al.  You don’t know how hard it is.  Seeing something you want and knowing you can no longer have it.”


“Liv…if it’s too hard for you to—”


Olivia shook her head fervently and walked over to Alex.  “No.  I can handle it.  I wanna be a part of your life.  But I think about you all the time.  That’s all.”


Alex reached out to touch her arm.  “You’re not alone.”


Olivia smiled, secretly happy at Alex’s confession but willing to drop the subject for now.  “You ready to go?”


Alex nodded.  “Whenever you are.”




The girls slid into a booth at Steak and Shake and ordered.  While Alex sipped her milkshake, Olivia asked her, “Are you sure that’s all you want?”


Alex nodded.  Olivia pressed, “Come on, Al.  You need to eat something.  I can’t have my bab—I mean my friend malnourished.”  Olivia blushed.


Alex giggled at Olivia’s slipup.  “No, really Liv.  I’m fine.”


But Olivia was relentless.  “Please, Al.  Just take a bite of my burger.  Come on.  Do it for the pokies,” she said with a pouty face.


Alex blushed brightly.  “Liv!  We’re in a restaurant!”


“Alex, if you don’t take a bite of my burger, I’m going to stand up and announce to the whole restaurant that I love you.”


Alex looked horrified.  “You wouldn’t!”


“Try me,” Olivia said as she began to stand up out of her seat.


“Oh my god!  Olivia, sit down!” Alex begged.


Olivia ignored her.  “Everyone, I’d like—”


Alex grabbed her arm and yanked her back down.  “Olivia, fine!  I’ll take a bite!  Just please stop.”


Olivia smirked and held out her burger to Alex, who took a huge bite.  After she’d swallowed her food, she said shaking her head, “Liv…I cannot believe you did that.”


“Did what?  You wouldn’t let me finish,” Olivia said with a sly grin.


Alex buried her face in her hands.  “I can never show my face in Steak and Shake again.”


Olivia giggled as she took a bite right out of the area Alex had.  Reaching over and pulling Alex’s hands away, she said, “Come on, Alex.  You’re not really mad at me are you?”


“Yes!”  Alex tried to frown but burst out giggling instead.  Olivia laughed even harder. 


“You’re so silly, Liv,” Alex said, munching on one of Olivia’s fries.


Olivia picked up a fry and dipped it into Alex’s milkshake.  “Hey!” Alex protested.  “You have your own!”


“But I like yours better,” Olivia responded with an eye shag.  She took another fry and dipped it in Alex’s milkshake before offering it to her.  Alex started to refuse but after remembering the incident from a few minutes before, she took the fry into her mouth.  “Good girl,” Olivia teased happily.


Alex shook her head.  “What am I gonna do with you, Liv?”


Olivia grinned slyly.  “Oh I can think of a few things.”


Alex’s mouth dropped open.  “Don’t even go there, Olivia Benson!”


“Where?” Olivia asked innocently.


Alex slapped her forehead.  “Oh boy.”


“You’re so cute when you’re flustered,” Olivia cooed.


Alex blushed and continued sipping her milkshake.  Olivia leaned over the table and asked, “So…any plans for the weekend?”


“Yeah, to not be caught dead in any other public place with you.”  Seeing the hurt flash across Olivia’s eyes, she softened her voice and said, “I’m kidding, I’m kidding.”  Olivia still looked like Alex had killed her puppy.  Alex felt for Olivia’s foot under the table and brushed up against it with her own.  “Liv…what you did was really cute.”


Olivia looked up.  “Really?” she asked, her eyes lighting back up.


Alex smiled and rolled her eyes.  “Oh god, I’ve encouraged her.”


Olivia giggled.  “Trust me, I don’t need any encouragement.”  Reaching for Alex’s hand, she asked again, “So what are you doing this weekend?”


“I dunno, Liv.  It’s only Monday,” Alex replied.


“Hey, I like to plan early!” Olivia responded, grinning.


“Hmm…I don’t know how exciting this weekend is gonna be.  We do have that major psych test coming up.”


“So how about we study together?  Then we can take a break and catch a movie,” Olivia suggested, smiling into Alex’s eyes as she rubbed her hand with her thumb.


“Liv…I dunno.  You have a tendency to not behave.”


Olivia stuck out her lip and said, “Please.  Pretty please.  With whipped cream and a cherry on top.”  Then grinning slyly, she added, “Yes.  Definitely with whipped cream and a cherry on top.”


Alex swatted at her arm.  “See!  Exactly!”


“I’m kidding, I’m kidding.  I promise I’ll behave.”


Alex smiled.  “Ok, ok.  But I’m holding you to that.  If you don’t, I’ll punish you.”


Olivia opened her mouth to say something but Alex exclaimed, “Don’t even think about it!”  Olivia just smirked and finished eating her food.




When Olivia pulled up to Alex’s house, she asked, “Can I give you a call later?”


Alex smiled.  “Sure.”  Olivia smiled back and leaned over to kiss her on the cheek.  Alex blushed.  “What was that for?”


“Because I love you,” Olivia said simply.


Alex blushed again.  “Aww, you’re sweet Liv.”


Olivia grinned in delight.  “I try,” she responded softly.


Alex opened the door.  “Talk to you later, Liv.”


Olivia waved.  “Bye, Al.”