Chapter 11:  Nuances

Elliot regarded Alex and Olivia with concern.  “You two seem a little sluggish today.  Long night?” he asked with an amused smirk.


Olivia stopped poking around at her food and gave him a look.  “Don’t start, Elliot.”


“Gee, I wonder how the night was spent,” Casey remarked, nudging Serena with her elbow.  Serena burst out laughing.  Alex shot daggers at them with her eyes.


“Sweetie, I told you we should’ve skipped,” Olivia whined.  She yawned.  “Man, I’m so tired!”


“Well baby, just imagine how comfy your bed will feel once tryouts are over today,” Alex replied, rubbing her back.


“Thank god I still have that pack of Red Bull in my trunk,” Olivia said.  “Or else I don’t know how I’d get through tryouts.”


“Hey, don’t drink them all.  I’ll need one, too,” Alex told her, taking a fry off Olivia’s tray.  She frowned.  “Liv, why didn’t you get any ketchup?”


Olivia smirked.  “Because I didn’t think my girlfriend would be wolfing down my fries.”


Alex shrugged.  “Hey well, the pizza looked better behind the glass.”  She laid her head on Olivia’s shoulder.  “Livvie…will you get me some ketchup?”


Olivia blushed at the mention of Alex’s nickname for her.  Everyone else at the table snickered, including Alex when she saw Olivia’s obvious embarrassment.  Olivia frowned at her.  “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be on my side, Alikins?” 


Alex turned red.  “Never mind, I can do without the ketchup.  We only have a few minutes left anyway,” she mumbled.


“Livvie?  Alikins?” Casey asked, laughing hysterically.  “Hahaha, what the fuck?”


Both Alex and Olivia turned their attention to Casey.  “Hey, it sounds better than The Casester,” Olivia snapped.


Casey looked at Serena in surprise.  “You told them you nicknamed me that?”


Serena burst out laughing again.  “Well, I told Alex.  And by default that means Olivia.”


Casey rolled her eyes.  “Thanks a lot, babe,” she said sarcastically.


“Aww girls, don’t feel bad!  You should hear the nicknames I have for Elliot,” Kathy gushed with a huge grin on her face.


Everyone turned their attention to Kathy.  “Nicknames?” Olivia asked in amusement.  “As in plural?”


Elliot looked at Kathy in panic.  “Um…Kathy, I really don’t think that’s necessary.”


“Oh come on, El.  They’re nothing to be ashamed of,” Kathy responded.


“Spill!” Alex ordered.


Elliot looked at Kathy with pleading eyes, which of course, Kathy ignored.  “Well, there’s this one that I gave him because it reminds—” 


Kathy was cut off by the shrill sound of the bell ringing.  “Saved by the bell,” Elliot said gratefully, pushing his chair back and standing up.


Olivia smirked at Elliot.  “This isn’t over, Stabler.  We will continue this little discussion tomorrow.”


Elliot laughed.  “Don’t count on it.”


As they were walking over to put their trays up, Alex poked Olivia’s arm and said, “Next time you get fries make sure to get ketchup.”


“Anything for you, Alikins,” Olivia said, tugging on Alex’s ponytail.  Their friends laughed loudly behind them.  Alex swatted at Olivia’s hand and put her tray down briefly to tighten her ponytail again.


“Alex, you’re holding up the line,” Serena whined.


“Well, tell Olivia to stop playing with me!” Alex complained.  That brought forth another round of laughter from their friends.  Alex turned crimson when she realized exactly how that had sounded.  “Oh, never mind,” she mumbled.


When they were outside Alex’s classroom, Olivia gave her a quick kiss on the lips and said, “I’ll see you 6th period, ok?”


“Ok.  I’ll text you,” Alex promised.


“Good,” Olivia said with a smile.  “Don’t miss me too much now.”


Alex laughed.  “Trust me, I won’t try too hard.”


Olivia playfully shoved her shoulder.  “Hey!”


“I’m kidding.  I’m kidding.”  Alex gave her a small kiss on the nose.  “Love you.”


“You too, babe.”  Olivia acted like she was turning to leave but quickly turned back around and pulled down Alex’s ponytail.


Alex turned around in shock and exclaimed, “Liv!  Now my hair is all messed up!”  She frantically tried to fix her hair back in a ponytail.


“Hey, it always looks like that after we’ve—”


Alex hit her with her notebook and said, “Liv, class—now.”  Olivia just laughed and walked off.




Alex had just completed her exercise on the vault and was walking back over to join the rest of the girls when she saw Olivia standing in the doorway.  Smiling, she walked over to her.  “Hey, come to see the show?”


“Yeah, we got out early.  I thought I’d come by and see my little gymnast in action,” Olivia said with a grin.


“Swim tryouts letting out early?  Wow.  That’s definitely weird.  So did you see me vault?” Alex asked excitedly.


“You bet.  I came in just in time.  You looked amazing,” Olivia praised her.


“Well, thank you.”  Alex placed her hands on Olivia’s cheeks.  When she removed them, she giggled at the traces of magnesium carbonate white chalk left behind.


Olivia smiled.  “Very funny, sweetie.”


“That’s what you get for pulling down my ponytail earlier!”


Olivia laughed and put her arm around her waist as they began walking back over to the rest of the girls.  “So how many more little jumps and flips do you have to do?”


Alex rolled her eyes and laughed.  “I’m done for the day, actually.  Just have to wait for everyone else to finish vaulting.”


“Damn.  Next time I’ll just have to get here a little earlier,” Olivia said, smiling sweetly at her.  They sat down on the bottom row of bleachers together and watched the rest of the tryouts.


When they got to the locker room, Alex pulled her shower caddy and towel out of her locker and told Olivia, “Hey, I’m gonna take a quick shower and then I’ll be back, ok?”


Olivia took Alex’s hands into her own and pulled her in to kiss her lips.  “Don’t stay in there too long, sweetie.”


“I won’t,” Alex promised, bouncing off.  “Too bad you’ve already showered or you could join me!” she called out as she disappeared around the corner.  Olivia shook her head and chuckled to herself before going over to the sink to wash the chalk off her face.


Several minutes passed, and Olivia was sitting on the bench reading when Abbie came up to her.  “Hey, Liv.”


Olivia glared at her and snarled, “It’s Olivia to you.  What the hell do you want?”


Abbie sighed at Olivia’s hostility.  “I wanted to apologize for my behavior yesterday.  I was being a bitch.”


Olivia just stared at her before responding, “Yeah, you were.”


“It’s just so hard to see someone you really like with someone else,” Abbie explained.  “But it seems like Alex really loves you, so I guess I have to respect that.”


At first, Olivia didn’t know how to respond to what Abbie had told her.  She had never expected her to actually admit why she was being so catty.  In the end, she just simply replied, “Ok.”


Alex came around the corner in her towel.  She frowned when she saw Abbie standing in front of Olivia.  “Abbie, what are you doing here?”


Abbie turned her attention to Alex.  “I was apologizing to Olivia for the way I acted yesterday.  I was gonna stick around so I could apologize to you, too.”


Alex folded her arms over her chest.  This was just too good to be true.  “Is that so?”


“Yes, Alex,” Abbie responded.


Alex smirked.  “Are you sure your fingers aren’t crossed behind your back or something?”


Abbie laughed.  “Trust me.  They aren’t.  I just figured we should all try to get along.  I mean, we do see each other everyday.”


Thankfully not too much of each other, Olivia thought.  “Yeah, we do.”


Abbie shifted her bag on her shoulder.  After an uncomfortable silence, she said, “Well, I’ll let you guys get back to doing…um, whatever it was you planned on doing.  See you around.”


Olivia gave her a tight smile.  Alex gave a slight wave and said, “Later.”


“She’s so full of shit,” Olivia said when she was sure Abbie was out of earshot.


Alex shrugged and took a seat beside Olivia on the bench.  “Who knows.  I just hope she keeps down the drama for awhile.”


“Maybe I should hook her up with Rebecca,” Olivia joked.


“Haha, yeah.  She needs someone to keep her occupied.  But I think Lexie would be more her type.  They’d actually make a really hot couple.”


“Not hotter than us,” Olivia replied.


Alex grabbed her hand and leaned over to kiss her cheek.  “That’s right.  We’re the dynamic duo.”


Olivia smiled.  “Yep.  Alex and Olivia Benson.”


Alex’s mouth dropped open and she started laughing.  “Wait a sec.  Why Alex and Olivia Benson?  Why not Alex and Olivia Cabot?”


Olivia grinned.  “Because it has a nice ring to it.  Plus, I’m older.”


“Well, I’m taller,” Alex said with a smug smile.  She stuck her tongue out at her.


“Not by that much!  Besides, I’m stronger.”  Olivia flexed her muscles.


As a reflex, Alex reached out and felt her biceps.  “Hey now.  My muscles are getting pretty pumped for gymnastics.  I think I can give you a run for your money.”


Olivia raised an eyebrow.  “Oh really now?”


Alex grinned.  “Yep.”


“Ok.”  Olivia rested her elbow on the bench and wiggled her fingers at Alex.  “Let’s arm wrestle.”


Alex firmly grasped Olivia’s hand and said smiling, “I thought you’d never ask.”


“Ready?” Olivia asked.


“Yep,” Alex answered.


Olivia tightened her grip around Alex’s hand and began to push forward.  Alex gritted her teeth and struggled against her, but the force of Olivia’s strength was too much.  Knowing that she was going to lose, Alex yelled out, “Ouch, Liv!  You’re hurting me!”


Olivia panicked and immediately stopped pushing Alex’s arm back.  All Alex needed was that split second and she quickly forced Olivia’s arm down.  Alex laughed victoriously.


“Alex!  You cheated!” Olivia whined.


Alex giggled.  “Haha, fooled ya.”


Worry crinkled Olivia’s brow.  “I didn’t really hurt you, did I?” she asked, rubbing Alex’s hand.  Memories flooded back from the locker room incident the previous semester.


“No, Liv.  Of course not,” Alex assured her.


Nonetheless, a downtrodden look clouded Olivia’s face.  “Don’t joke around about that, Alex.  You know how I feel.  It reminds me of something that never should’ve happened in the first place.”


Alex wrapped her arm around her shoulders and pulled Olivia to her comfortingly.  “Oh, Liv.  I’m sorry.”


Olivia gave a small smile.  “It’s ok, sweetie.  I just got a little scared is all.”


Alex gave her a hug.  “I can understand that.  But you didn’t hurt me.  Besides, I like that you’re strong.”


Olivia smirked.  “Why’s that?”


“Because you can pick me up and carry me around,” Alex responded, a huge grin crossing her face.


Olivia laughed.  “You love my chivalrous side, don’t you?”


“You know it.  But soon I’ll be able to carry you around,” Alex responded, flexing the muscles of one arm.


Olivia squeezed them lightly and cooed, “Aww, you’re so cute.”  She got up off the bench, picked her up in her arms, and began swinging her around.


“Liv, you’re making me dizzy!  My towel is gonna fly off!” Alex protested.


Olivia stopped spinning and said, “Hell, I’m making myself dizzy.”  She gave her a lopsided grin and asked, “And what’s wrong with your towel flying off?”


Alex shook her head.  “You’re incorrigible, Liv.  Now put me down so I can get dressed.”


As soon as Alex was dressed, she looked at Olivia expectantly.  “What?” Olivia asked.


“Carry me to the car.”


Olivia burst out laughing.  “Alex, you’re not serious.”


“Oh, I’m completely serious.”  She pretended to pout at Olivia.


Olivia looked into Alex’s ocean-blue eyes and knew she couldn’t refuse her anything.  “Alex, you and those eyes.”  She lifted Alex up in her arms again and kissed her on the cheek.  “You know I’d do anything for you, right?”


Alex grinned and wrapped her arms around her neck.  “I know.”


Olivia smiled and began walking out with her.  “You’re lucky I don’t plan on throwing you in the pool.”


Alex gasped.  “Olivia Benson, don’t you dare!”


Olivia chuckled.  “Don’t worry, babe.  I don’t want you to kill me in my sleep tonight.”


Alex grinned again.  “And just how do you know I plan on spending the night?”


Olivia stopped abruptly.  “Wait, you aren’t?”


Alex giggled.  “I am.  I just wanted to see your reaction.”


Olivia shook her head.  “Oh, Alex.  The things you do to me.”


“But you love me anyway.”


Olivia smiled.  “Yep.”




As soon as they got back to Olivia’s house, they went straight to her bedroom.  Olivia changed into a tank top and pajama pants and then collapsed onto her bed next to Alex.  “God, this bed feels soooooooo good, Alex.”


“Tell me about it,” Alex agreed. 


“Baby, aren’t you gonna get hot in that sweater?” Olivia asked.


Alex stopped to ponder for a moment and answered, “Yeah, you’re probably right.”  She pulled off her sweater to reveal a tank top underneath.  She then tossed the sweater across the room.


“Hey, wasn’t it you who made me start throwing my clothes in the hamper?” Olivia asked jokingly.


Alex laughed and stared up at the ceiling.  “Well, I plan to put it back on when we get up.”  She turned on her side to face Olivia.  “You know something?”




“Tweety hasn’t gotten to see the new bed, yet.”


Olivia rolled her eyes.  “Rule number 1.  No Tweety.”


Alex actually looked hurt.  “And why not?”


Olivia slid closer to her and wrapped her arms around her.  “Because I want you all to myself all the time.”


“Come on, Liv.  This bed is certainly big enough for all three of us.”  She pouted at Olivia.  “We don’t want Tweety to feel unloved.”


Olivia sighed.  “All right.  But he can never sleep between us.”


“Deal,” Alex said, shaking her hand.


Olivia shook her head.  “You and your toys.”


Alex smirked.  “I wouldn’t talk if I were you.  You seem to have a few toys of your own.”  She jerked her head in the direction of Olivia’s nightstand drawers.


Olivia gasped.  “Hey now.  Those aren’t just for me.”


Alex gave her a stern look.  “Never in a million years, Liv.”


“Aw, why not?” Olivia demanded.


“They just make me nervous, is all.”


Olivia chuckled.  “Oh, Alex.  They don’t bite.”


Alex laughed.  “I’m not so sure about that.  And I’m not anxious to find out, either.”  She buried her face in a pillow and pulled the comforter up more.  “I’m so sleepy.”


Olivia closed her eyes.  “Me, too.  Man, I feel like I could sleep for days.”


“You’re tellin’ me,” Alex mumbled, turning over.


Olivia snuggled up to her back and deeply inhaled the scent of her hair.  Rubbing a hand over Alex’s bare arm, she commented, “Your skin’s so smooth.”


Alex smiled.  “Mmm.  Keep doing that.  It’ll make me fall right to sleep.”


After a few minutes, both of them were almost asleep when Olivia said quietly, “I love you, Alex Benson.”


Alex’s eyes flew open.  “Wait a minute,” she said, laughing.  “I thought we got this settled, Olivia Cabot.”


“How about Benson-Cabot?”


“Or Cabot-Benson,” Alex suggested.


“B comes before C, Alex.”


“I’m too tired to do this now.  We’ll come to a resolution later.”


“Deal,” Olivia said with a smile, holding Alex tighter.




Serena Benson opened the door to Olivia’s bedroom and peeked in.  She had to suppress a gasp when she saw Alex and Olivia cuddled up together asleep, Olivia’s arm wrapped snugly around her waist.  This is certainly odd.  Exactly how close are these two? she wondered.  After pondering the issue back and forth in her mind, she decided to just brush it off.  Well, if my daughter was a lesbian, I’m sure I’d know it.  I guess girls are just closer these days.  It’s probably nothing to be alarmed about.  They are fully clothed, after all.  She quietly closed the bedroom door and walked back down the hall.