Chapter 20:  Nichya

Alex grabbed her coat and quickly ran out to Olivia’s car.  She threw her stuff in the back and then opened the front passenger side door.  She was just about to sit down when she noticed the bouquet of a dozen red roses in her seat.  She picked them up excitedly, inhaled their sweet scent, and then threw her arms around Olivia’s neck.  “Aww, thank you, sweetie!”


Olivia grinned.  “You’re very welcome.  I hope you like them.”


“Are you kidding?  I absolutely love them!” Alex assured her.  “But I have some for you, too,” she continued, reaching around to the back and presenting her own bouquet of red roses to Olivia.  She planted a kiss on her cheek and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, beautiful.”


“Happy Valentine’s Day to you too, babe,” Olivia responded.  She lifted a rose out of the bouquet and brushed it across her lips.  Alex took one of her own roses out and started brushing it against Olivia’s.


“What are you doing, sweetie?” Olivia asked in amusement.


“Our roses are kissing,” Alex said with a giggle.


“They’re not the only ones,” Olivia said, putting the roses down and leaning in to tenderly capture Alex’s lips.  Alex closed her eyes and happily let Olivia’s soft tongue traverse her mouth.


After they had pulled back from one another, Alex said simply, “Wow.  If you keep kissing me like that we’ll never make it to school!”


“Is that such a bad thing?” Olivia joked.


“Yes,” Alex said, poking her lightly in the chest with the stem of the rose.  “We’re already missing tomorrow.  Things would look really suspicious if we missed both days.”


Olivia sighed.  “You’re right.  But you know, any punishment we get would be totally worth it.”


Alex cocked her head to the side and said dryly, “Don’t be so sure of that.”  Shaking her head and laughing, Olivia put her car in drive again and drove off down Alex’s driveway.


When they arrived at school, Olivia pulled open her locker and was shocked to find a large card and box of Godiva chocolates.  She grinned when she saw a picture of them from the charity gala on the front of the card.  She untied the large red ribbon and opened the card to read the message inside.  Alex beamed as she watched Olivia’s eyes light up and fill with tears.


“How’d you manage to pull this off?” Olivia asked curiously.


“I did it yesterday afternoon right after practice ended.”


“This is so beautiful.  Thank you so much,” Olivia said, hugging her and giving her a big kiss on the lips.  She pulled back and frowned.  “Alex, I wish you’d give me a heads up when you plan to wear your 10 inch heels.  It’s harder to kiss you,” Olivia complained, looking down at Alex’s boots.


Alex laughed, unzipped her boots, and stepped out of them.  “They’re only 3-inch, Liv.”


“It makes me feel so short next to you,” Olivia said, pouting.


“Well, now there isn’t that much of a difference,” Alex mumbled, wrapping her arms back around Olivia’s neck and kissing her again.


The first bell rang to shake them out of their reverie.  Olivia groaned loudly.  “Perfect timing,” she muttered.


Alex rolled her eyes.  “Tell me about it.  Hey, I’ll text you during Euro, ok?”


“You promise?” Olivia whined, pouting again.


“I promise,” Alex said, quickly kissing her again before putting her boots back on.  Smiling, Olivia took her hand in her own and walked her to class.




At lunch, Olivia carved Alex’s steak into a heart shape.  “Aww, that’s so cute!” Kathy gushed.


“Wow, someone’s not smitten.  Not smitten at all,” Casey teased.


Olivia looked at her and retorted, “I know you’re not talking about anyone being smitten.  I heard Serena couldn’t even fit that hugeass teddy bear in her locker.”


Casey blushed as everyone at the table laughed.  “Oh come on, guys.  It wasn’t that big,” she protested.


“Right, right,” Serena said sarcastically.  She leaned over to Casey and planted a huge kiss on her cheek.  “But I love my Mr. Snuggle Wuggles.”


Olivia almost spit out her fruit punch.  “Mr. Snuggle Wuggles?”  She doubled over in laughter, along with everyone else at the table except Casey.


“Very funny, you guys.  But I didn’t name him that.  Serena did,” Casey responded in her defense.


Serena playfully shoved Casey’s shoulder.  “Oh, that’s right.  Blame it all on me.”


“So what do you guys have planned for the evening?” Casey asked the rest of them, desperate to change the subject.


“Well, I’m taking Kathy out to dinner,” Elliot answered.


Olivia gave him a thumbs up.  “Nice, El.”  She turned to Casey.  “Well, I have something very special planned for my little gymnast here, but I can’t tell you guys because it’ll spoil the surprise.”


Alex grinned from ear to ear.  “You’re so romantic, Liv,” she said, rubbing her nose against her cheek.


“Yeah, she’s a regular Cupid,” Elliot teased.


Olivia retaliated by throwing a fry at him.  However, Elliot ducked and it landed on the floor.  “Hey, no food fights allowed, Liv,” he said jokingly.


Olivia ignored him.  “So what are you guys doing?” she asked Casey and Serena.


“Well, I’m making dinner for Casey,” Serena answered.  “Then we’re gonna watch a couple movies.”


Alex looked at Serena and said, “God help her.”


“Hey!” Serena protested.  “I’m a very good cook, I’ll have you know.”


Alex laughed.  “What movies are you gonna watch?”


Imagine Me and You and Show Me Love,” Serena answered.


“Ooh, I really wanna see Show Me Love.  Can Liv and I borrow it sometime?” Alex asked.


“Sure,” Serena said, shrugging. 


“What are those movies about?” Kathy asked curiously.


“Well, in Imagine Me and You, a woman gets married to a guy and then falls in love with a woman she meets at her wedding, and in Show Me Love, these two teenage girls in Sweden fall in love with each other.  That movie is also called Fucking Amal,” Serena answered.


“Fucking Amal?” Elliot asked.  “Who is Amal and why is he being fucked?”


Everyone at the table laughed.  “Amal is the name of the little Swedish town they live in,” Serena explained.


“Ah, I see,” Elliot responded.


“Yeah, we’re gonna cuddle in front of the tv and then who knows where the night will take us,” Serena said, smiling at Casey.  Casey smiled back and gently kissed her lips.


“I bet I know where it’ll lead…” Olivia commented.


Alex coughed loudly and then whispered in a voice that was loud enough for everyone at the table to hear, “Sex!”


Casey and Serena both blushed deeply.  “Wait a minute, why would you automatically assume that means sex?” Serena asked.


“Hey, I can always tell when a happy couple’s finally done the deed,” Olivia said.  “There’s a certain glow.”


“And Serena and Casey have been glowing a lot lately,” Alex said, laughing and nudging Olivia in the side with her elbow.


Elliot and Kathy’s mouths dropped open and Casey put her head down on the table in embarrassment.  “Yeah, you definitely had it written all over your face the first time you and Liv did it,” Serena told Alex, rubbing Casey’s back.


“Yeah, she was a regular little glowworm,” Olivia replied.  Alex gasped and stole a fry off Olivia’s tray.


“What a great way to punish your woman, Alex,” Kathy teased her.  “Steal her food.”


Alex grinned.  “I think so.”


“Oh come on, Liv.  There is not a glow,” Elliot protested.


“Oh yes there is,” Olivia argued.  “And there are other little signs, too.”


“Stop it, you guys.  You’re embarrassing Casey,” Serena ordered.


Olivia scoffed.  “You’re one to talk, Serena.  Who was it who relentlessly teased me after she found out Alex and I did it?  Remember your little ‘Wet and Wild’ moniker?”


Casey lifted her head and started laughing.  “‘Wet and Wild’?  Damn, Liv.”


“Ok, ok.  I just thought it would be funny to use until you threatened to break my legs,” Serena retorted.  Everyone at the table laughed.


Alex leaned her head on Olivia’s shoulder and looked up at her cooing, “Livvie…I want a chocolate chip cookie.”


Casey raised her arm and looked at her watch.  “Ok, guys.  Let’s see how many seconds it takes Liv to get Alex a cookie and then come back.  Quick, Liv!  Time starts now!”


Olivia rolled her eyes as she gently lifted Alex’s head off her shoulder and stood up.  “Very funny, Casey.”  She looked down at Alex and kissed her on the top of her head.  “I’ll be back, sweetie.”


When Olivia returned, she had two warm chocolate chip cookies.  “I love you,” Alex said, grinning and taking a big bite of her cookie.


“I’m sure you do, babe,” Olivia said, patting her on the cheek and eating her own cookie.


In a few minutes, the bell rang for 5th period, which elicited groans from everyone at the table.  They all got up to return their trays. 


“Shit!  I forgot to do Petrovsky’s homework!” Casey exclaimed as they were walking out into the hall.


“Oh, we just had to look up some new form of legislature.  I printed out an extra one,” Alex said, reaching into her bag and handing it to Casey.


“Oh, thank God, Alex!  You’re a lifesaver!” Casey said gratefully.  “I’ll skim it and just bullshit some stuff when it’s my turn to discuss.”  She looked at Serena.  “I would’ve had one but Serena was an um…distraction.”


Serena smirked.  “Hey, I remembered my article just fine.”


Olivia broke into their little circle and joked, “Ah, how nice.  My three favorite lawyers in the making.”


“Although I don’t know how great of a lawyer Casey would be if she forgets to bring her case files to court!” Alex joked.


“Haha,” Casey stated dryly.


“My baby is gonna be a great lawyer,” Serena said, tilting her face up to Casey for a kiss.


Olivia wrapped her arms around Alex’s waist and rested her chin on her shoulder.  “I don’t wanna leave you,” she whined.


Alex reached around behind her and placed her hands on Olivia’s lower back.  “I don’t wanna leave you either.”


Serena rolled her eyes.  “One day you two are gonna get tangled up together.”


Olivia giggled.  “Good, then no one can make us separate.”  She untangled herself from Alex’s hold and said, “Ok, girls.  I’ll do you all the honors of walking you to the evil dungeon which is Petrovsky’s class.”


Serena, Casey, and Alex all laughed.  “Why, how chivalrous of you, Liv,” Serena teased.  “I’m surprised Alex is willing to lend you out.”


Alex smirked and draped her arm across Olivia’s shoulders as they started walking.  “All for a good cause, kids.  All for a good cause.”




After 5th period ended, Elliot tracked Olivia down at her locker.  “So let me guess.  You’re gonna be getting lucky tonight?” he asked as he watched Olivia pull a couple books out her locker.


Olivia stood up and grinned proudly.  “Well…it’s not like I thought about it too much or anything, ya know.”


Elliot laughed.  “Righttttttttttttt.  I bet you have a whole plan in your head about how you’re gonna serenade Alex.”


Olivia blushed.  “Ha!  No more than you have one about Kathy!”


“Do you have the rings on you?” Elliot asked, looking around to make sure Alex was nowhere in sight.


Olivia’s whole face lit up.  She nodded her head excitedly and said, “Yeah.  I wanna make sure I know where these are at all times.  I’d just die if anything happened to them.”


“Yeah, so would your piggy bank,” Elliot commented.  That warranted him a playful shove from Olivia.


“You don’t think they’ll freak her out or anything, do you?” Olivia asked, worry suddenly hinting in her voice.


“Nah,” Elliot responded, placing a hand reassuringly on her back.  “I’m sure she’ll be stoked.”


Olivia looked at her watch.  “Well, I have about 30 secs to get to Drawing, so I’ll see you later, ok?”


“Ok, Liv.  Good luck.  Let me know how everything turns out!” Elliot called out over his shoulder as he began walking in the opposite direction down the hall.


Holding her books to her chest, Olivia smiled excitedly and headed to Drawing.  She was nervous about what the night entailed, but she was confident that Alex would not be disappointed.




“Come on, babe.  Let’s get home,” Alex said, grabbing Olivia by the hands excitedly and pulling her toward the car.


Olivia grinned.  “Excited much?”


“Very,” Alex answered, continuing to walk backwards across the parking lot.


“Alex, you do know that if you trip and fall I’m gonna land right on top of you, right?”


Alex grinned.  “So?  It won’t be the first time.”


“Baby, usually when that happens we’re headed for the bed anyway.  This is pavement.”


Alex giggled and turned around.  “Ok, fine.  We’re like five feet away from your car anyway.”


After they were settled in the car, Olivia put her hand on Alex’s knee and said, “I can’t believe we get to go away again.”


“I know, right?  God, we’re gonna have so much fun.”


Olivia sighed happily.  “Away from our parents, our friends…away from everyone.”


“Yeah, it’s our own little home away from home,” Alex said, squeezing her hand.


They drove for several minutes in peaceful silence.  “We need to get groceries before we head to the cabin,” Olivia told her as they were waiting in traffic.


“Ok.  There’s a Publix not too far from the cabin.  We’ll get them there.”


“Sounds good to me,” Olivia responded.  “Do you have all your stuff packed?”


“Yeah.  Got it all done last night.  How about you?”


Olivia nodded.  “Wow.  I must say I’m pleasantly surprised.  As for me, I got up early this morning just so I could pack.”


“Wow, you getting up early?  Whatever you have planned must be really special.”


You have no idea, Olivia thought, grinning.  “You could say that, babe.”


Once at Alex’s house, they went up to her bedroom to get her things.  Smirking, Olivia picked up Alex’s bags off the bed.  “What?  No Tweety this time?”


“Nah.  I’m sure some of the activities we’ll be doing will be too x-rated for his innocent little eyes.”


Olivia chuckled.  “Fine by me.”


“No Tweety or the x-rated stuff?”


“Both,” she said teasingly. 


Alex threw a small teddy bear at her.  “Come on, let’s get outta here.”


“You told your parents we’d be spending the night at Serena’s, right?” Olivia asked.


“Yep.  Everything has already been taken care of.  Serena and Casey know the drill.”


“Good,” Olivia conceded.  “The last thing we need is our parents blowing our cover.”


“Don’t even say it,” Alex told her.  “You’ll jinx us.”


They stopped by Olivia’s house to get her things and then they were well on their way to Alex’s family cabin.  “Liv…” Alex began after they’d been driving for awhile.


“Yes, sweetie?”


“I’m hungry.”


Olivia laughed and shook her head.  “We should be there in about 20 minutes.  It’s good I remember how to get there, otherwise we’d be lost 50 times again.”


Alex rolled her eyes.  “I remember fine now.  And we just made a couple wrong turns.”


Olivia scoffed.  “A couple?  You’re a little young to be getting Alzheimer’s, aren’t you, Al?”


Alex sighed.  “We only got lost three times.  And the fact remains that I’m still hungry.”


“Look in the back.  There are some Doritos on the floor.”


Alex’s mouth dropped open in mock disgust.  “On the floor?”


Olivia rolled her eyes.  “You know what I mean.  They’re obviously still in the bag.”


Alex turned around to grab the bag of Doritos off the floor.  Feeling mischievous, Olivia reached over and lightly tickled Alex’s stomach.


“Hey!” Alex protested, giggling and pushing Olivia’s hand away.  “You better not do that while I’m eating.”


Olivia laughed.  “Yeah, I wouldn’t want to feel the wrath of hungry Alex.”  Alex threw a chip at her, which landed in her lap.  “Hey, don’t distract the driver,” Olivia joked.


“Oh, we wouldn’t want that,” Alex quipped, changing the radio station.


In several minutes, they were in the parking lot of Publix.  Olivia got out of the car and said, “Ok, Al.  We’re gonna go in, get what we need, and then come right out.  This is not going to be an hour long affair.”


Alex laughed as she shut her door and wrapped her purple knit scarf around her neck.  “I do not take that long in the grocery store.”


Olivia gave her a look.  “Alex, you take that long in every store.”


Alex shoved her shoulder.  “Let’s get inside.  And you’re pushing the cart.”


“Why, thank you for letting me do the honors.  That means I control what goes in it!”


Alex stuck her tongue out at her.  “So?  I can carry stuff in my arms.  You can’t control what goes in them.”


“Yes, I can,” Olivia said, cuddling up to Alex.  Alex automatically wrapped her arms around Olivia and held her tight.  “See?  I do have some control over what goes in your arms.”


Alex giggled.  “Not like I would ever object to holding you.  But come on.  Let’s get outta the street before people start honking.”


Twenty minutes later, they were returning to the car with their groceries.  “Alex, it does not take 5 minutes to decide between the dinosaurs fruit snacks and the sharks.”


“Hey, it was a big decision!”


Olivia sighed and began putting the bags in the back.  “Sweetie, you ended up getting both anyway.”


Alex chuckled.  “Ok.  I’ll share them with you as a peace offering.”


Olivia grinned.  “Bribing me with fruit snacks now, huh?”


“You got it,” Alex said, opening the passenger side door and getting in.  “Is it working?”


Olivia put her seatbelt on and said, “Perhaps.  Now are we done for the night?”


Alex leaned over.  In a low voice, she said, “Well…I actually had quite a few things planned…”


Olivia laughed.  “I mean do we have everything we need for the night?  Once we’re at the cabin I don’t plan on going back outside until we’re ready to leave.”


Lifting her eyes skyward, Alex paused to ponder for a moment.  “Yeah, I think we have everything.”


“Good,” Olivia answered, putting the car in gear.


Several minutes later, they finally arrived at the cabin.  Alex brought their luggage into the living room while Olivia brought the bags of groceries into the kitchen.  Olivia placed the groceries on the counter and began pulling items out.  Smiling at her, Alex silently began helping.


“Alex, you aren’t to do anything while I’m cooking.  Do you understand?  I want to take care of you tonight.  And the bedroom is off limits until I give you the ok.”


“But Liv…what if I get bored?  I just wanna keep you company,” Alex said, moving behind her and massaging her shoulders.


Olivia sighed happily and tried not to get lost in Alex’s soft but firm touches.  “All right.  You can watch me in the kitchen.”


Alex grinned and gave her a big kiss on the cheek.  “Mmm…I get to see your culinary prowess in action.”


Olivia grinned.  “Which will work even better if you continue to massage me.  Relaxation really gets the culinary juices flowing,” she joked.


“Are you sure those are the only juices?” Alex whispered sensually in her ear.


Closing her eyes, Olivia swallowed hard and bit her lip.  “Alex…you’re gonna distract me,” she whined.


Alex chuckled and sat down on a stool beside Olivia.  “Well, I plan on being treated to a scrumptious meal, so I won’t distract you too much.  Besides, there’s plenty of time for that later,” she added, grinning mischievously.


Olivia tangled a hand in Alex’s hair and roughly pulled her in for a searing kiss.  When they broke apart, both their hearts were racing.  “Wow…what was that for?” Alex asked, gasping for air.


Olivia grinned.  “That was to hold me over.”  She picked up the knife and started chopping vegetables as if nothing had ever happened.


Alex smirked.  “I’ll bet.”


After many minutes of just watching Olivia, Alex began to get restless.  “Livvie…” Alex whined, playing with a tendril of Olivia’s hair.  “Can I please just help out a little?  Pretty pretty please?  With whipped cream and a cherry on top?”


Olivia couldn’t help but smile at Alex’s eagerness to help.  “You can add some oregano to the stuffing,” she instructed.  “Just a pinch, though.”


“What chicken dish are you making?” Alex asked.


“Stuffed chicken parmesan breasts.”


“Mmm…that sounds absolutely delicious, sweetie.”  She reached over and popped a few finely chopped tomatoes in her mouth.


“Hey, sweetie.  Don’t eat all the tomatoes.  I need those for the stuffing.”


“Ok,” Alex conceded.  She popped a few pieces of apple and mango into her mouth as well.


Olivia grinned.  “I need those for the stuffing, too.”


“But Liv, you already have some Stove Top for the stuffing,” Alex whined.


“I wanna add a little extra to it.”


“You’re so hot when you’re cooking,” Alex whispered in her ear.  She began massaging her shoulders again and as soon as Olivia closed her eyes, she slowly eased a hand up to the cutting board to steal another piece of mango.  She almost had her prize in her possession when she felt Olivia slap her hand away.


“Don’t even think about it,” Olivia teased, her eyes still closed.


Alex pouted at her.  “No fair, Liv.  How’d you even know what I was gonna do?”


Olivia grinned at her and went back to chopping the rest of the mangoes.  “Because I know you too well.”  She poked her in the stomach and added, “And that little tummy, too.”


Alex laughed.  “Have I really become that predictable?”


“In a word, yes,” Olivia teased.


“Well, I guess I’ll have to change things up a little,” Alex responded.


Laughing, Olivia mixed in the diced tomatoes, celery, apples, and mangoes with the stuffing and then carefully packed the mixture into the cut chicken breasts.  She sprinkled the grated parmesan and bread crumb mixture on top of the chicken breasts and then placed the glass baking dish in the oven. 


“The food smells so good, Liv.  I’m trying hard not to drool.”


Olivia chuckled.  “I bet you are, sweetie.  Well, while everything is cooking, what do you say we go in the den and cuddle?”


“I say that sounds very tempting,” Alex said, holding her arm out to Olivia.


They went into the den and cuddled up together on the leather sofa.  Olivia pulled Alex into her lap and pressed her lips against her neck.  Alex smiled and kissed her cheek.  “I love it when you hold me, Liv.”


Olivia wrapped her arms tighter around her waist and replied, “And I love holding you.”


“I wish we could stay here forever.  No school, no obligations, no interruptions,” Alex said with a sigh.


“Me, too,” Olivia whispered.


“What are we having for dessert?” Alex asked about ten minutes later.


Olivia snapped her fingers and replied, “Oh, that’s right!  I need to get back in there and get started on it!”  She lifted Alex off her lap and sat her on the sofa beside her.


Alex followed her into the kitchen and asked, “Is there anything you’d like for me to do?”


“Yeah,” Olivia answered.  “Get the raspberries out of the fridge for me.”


“What are you making?” Alex asked again.


Olivia turned to her and smiled as she placed a large mixing bowl on the counter.  “Chocolate raspberry Bavarian cream.”


Alex licked her lips.  “You’re about to make my stomach orgasm.”


Olivia chuckled.  She leaned over and whispered in her ear, “And by the end of the night that’s not gonna be the only part of you that orgasms.”  Alex blushed deeply.


Smirking, Olivia drained the raspberries and set the syrup aside in a glass bowl.  “Can you pass me the gelatin?” she asked Alex.


“Sure,” Alex responded, handing her the packages.


After sprinkling the gelatin over the raspberry syrup, Olivia poured the bag of chocolate chips, milk, and sugar into a saucepan.  Alex picked up a spoon and began stirring.  After the chocolate was smooth and creamy, Olivia added the raspberry gelatin mixture.  “Can you get me another bowl, sweetie?”


“Sure,” Alex said.  She located another bowl from the cabinets and placed it next to Olivia.  “Now what do we have to do?”


“Well, add a little more milk and some vanilla extract,” Olivia instructed her.


“Are we done?” Alex asked, stirring gently.


“Well, for now.  I’m gonna refrigerate it for a little while.  In the meantime, we can have more time to cuddle.”


“And I can give you your present!” Alex exclaimed, jumping up and down excitedly.


Olivia laughed.  “Sweetie, you want me to open it now?”


“Yep,” Alex answered.  “Come on, let’s go!”


Olivia shook her head.  “Ok, babe.  But let me get this in the fridge first or we won’t have any dessert!”


After the mixture was in the refrigerator, Alex led Olivia into the den and presented her with her gift.  “Go ahead, open it!” Alex said excitedly.


Olivia grinned and took the wrapping paper off the box.  Taking off the lid, her face lit up when she pulled out the two white puppies kissing and holding each other’s paws.  “Aww!” Olivia gushed.  “This is the cutest thing ever, Alex!”


Alex beamed.  “I’m glad you like it.  See, stuffed animals aren’t always a bad thing.”


“Only when it’s Tweety,” Olivia joked.


“Hey,” Alex said, playfully shoving her shoulder.


“Maybe the puppies can chase Tweety around,” Olivia teased.


“They better not!”


“I kid, I kid,” Olivia said, pulling her close and cradling the puppies against them.


After several minutes, they returned to the kitchen to take the dessert out of the refrigerator.  Olivia folded the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture and poured it into an 8-inch fluted brioche mold.  She placed the dish in the refrigerator again and took out the blender to puree the remaining raspberries.  She then mixed in some whipped cream with them and set the topping aside for when the dessert was finally ready to eat.


“Now how long do we have to wait?” Alex asked.


“Just until it’s nice and firm.”


Alex grinned and said, “I like the sound of that.”  She dragged Olivia back to the sofa in the den and cuddled up in her arms again.


“You smell good,” Olivia observed, stroking her back gently.


“You smell good, too,” Alex replied, rubbing her stomach.


After several minutes of cuddling, Olivia remembered that she hadn’t set things up in the bedroom yet.  She untangled herself from Alex’s embrace and said, “I need to take our things upstairs.  No snooping around, kiddo.”


Alex grinned and brought her knees up against her chest.  “Ok, Mom,” she joked.  Olivia gave her a quick kiss on the lips before getting their things and retreating upstairs.


When she came back down, she found Alex in the kitchen.  “Hey, didn’t I say no snooping around?” she said, coming up behind her and wrapping her arms around her waist.


“Well, you were gone for so long that I got bored.  Seriously, I thought you’d taken a nap or something.  So I decided to check on the food.”


“You mean eat it,” Olivia said with a smirk as she wiped a little raspberry whipped cream topping from the side of Alex’s mouth.  She then looked into the oven and gently stuck a fork into a chicken breast.  “Well, the chicken’s almost done.  Give it a few more minutes.  Let’s get these rolls in the oven and the mashed potatoes done.”


Alex smiled brightly.  “Garlic mashed potatoes?”


“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


Alex threw her arms around her neck excitedly.  “I’ll make the salad.  You know the way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach, right?”


Olivia smirked again.  “You mean the way to Alex’s heart is through her stomach.”


Alex pulled out a salad bowl and began mixing the romaine and iceberg lettuce.  Olivia placed the yeast rolls on a baking sheet, put them into the oven, and then set the water to boil for the mashed potatoes.


“I absolutely love cherry tomatoes,” Alex said, popping one into her mouth.


Olivia dumped a few into the salad bowl and said, “I can tell.  But I think our salad will love them more.”


“Hey, you.  Stick to the potatoes,” Alex ordered.


“I have to wait for the water to boil before I can add them in, sweetie.”  She took some crumbled feta cheese and sprinkled it over the salad greens.  Then she added a few almonds as well.


Alex sighed.  “Liv, I do know how to make a salad.”


“I’m sure you do, babe.  But I told you I wanted to completely take care of you tonight.”


“Liv, we can take care of each other.  I just wanna be of some help.”


It was now Olivia’s turn to sigh.  The last thing she wanted to do was offend Alex and end up arguing on their perfect night.  “All right, sweetie.  I’ll let you finish making the salad.”  She went over to the oven to take the chicken out.


Alex stopped mixing the salad and went over to stand beside Olivia.  Placing a hand gently on her shoulder, she said, “Liv, I want you to know that I really appreciate all that you’re doing.”


Olivia flashed her a brief smile.  “Thanks.”


“The chicken smells delectable,” Alex said, brushing some hair behind Olivia’s ear.


“Hopefully it tastes just as good,” Olivia replied with a slight laugh.


“I’m sure it does.  You’re the best cook I know.”


Olivia grinned and replied, “Thanks, babe.”  Alex smiled and returned to her salad.


Olivia finished making the garlic mashed potatoes just as the oven timer went off.  Alex grabbed an oven mitt and ran over to remove the rolls.  “God, Liv, I’ve never been so hungry in my life!”


Olivia chuckled.  “Sweetie, that’s what you say every time you’re about to eat.”  She went to the refrigerator to remove the Bavarian cream.  Satisfied that the dessert had reached desired firmness, she slid it out of its mold and then topped it with the raspberry whipped cream she’d set aside earlier as well as some fresh whole raspberries.  “Can we eat dessert first?” Alex asked hopefully, practically drooling.


“Don’t even think about it,” Olivia teased, standing in between Alex and the chocolate dessert.  She carefully lifted the dish and placed it back in the refrigerator so it would be chilled when they decided to eat it.


Alex giggled.  “Hey well, a girl can wish.”


“Come on.  Let’s get the food in the dining room.  Don’t even think about touching the dessert until it’s time to eat it.”


They brought the meal into the dining room and sat down at the table.  While Olivia piled food onto their plates, Alex went to the wine cabinet and uncorked a bottle of Domaine Zind-humbrecht Pinot Gris.  Pulling out two wine glasses, she filled them and lifted hers to Olivia for a toast.


“I’d like to make a toast to the most beautiful, talented, and caring person on Earth.  You complete me.”


Olivia toasted her glass and replied, “And you complete me.”  And in a few minutes you’re going to find out just how much, she thought.


Alex immediately tasted some of her chicken and leaned back in her chair in sheer delight.  “Oh my god, Liv.  You’ve really outdone yourself this time.  This is beyond fabulous.”


Olivia grinned from ear to ear.  “I’m glad you like it.”


“I love it!  Seriously, this is the best chicken I’ve ever had,” Alex complimented her, taking a bite of her mashed potatoes.


“The salad’s pretty good, too,” Olivia said, pouring a little more honey mustard dressing onto her plate.


“Why, thank you,” Alex replied.  “But you’ve really gotta teach me how to make all these great dishes one day.”


“Sure thing,” Olivia promised.  “Cooking is one of my guilty pleasures.  When I was growing up, Mom would be out a lot, so I’d have to fend for myself.  So I experimented with a lot of stuff in the kitchen.  It especially came in handy when she was too drunk to cook for us,” she continued more softly, a hint of bitterness in her voice.


Alex reached across the table and caressed Olivia’s hand.  “You’re so strong, Liv.  I really admire you.  Seriously, I don’t know how you do it.”


Olivia smiled.  “Having you around makes it a whole lot easier.”


As they ate their dinner, Olivia felt butterflies increase in her stomach.  I really hope I don’t screw this up, she thought.  When they were finally finished, she took a deep breath and thought, This is it.  “Are you ready for dessert?” she asked Alex with a twinkle in her eye.


What’s she up to? Alex wondered.  She had noticed how nervous Olivia looked while they were eating.  Twice she had almost knocked over her wine glass.  Smiling sweetly at Olivia, she told her, “You bet.  I’ve been ready for it all night!”


Olivia pushed back her chair and stood up.  “Ok, babe.  I’ll be right back.  You stay right here.  Got it?”


Alex nodded.  “Whatever you say.”


Olivia pulled the Bavarian cream out of the refrigerator and set it on the kitchen table.  Once she had located a pie server, she cut slices for herself and Alex and placed them on dessert plates.  Making sure Alex wasn’t looking, she pulled one of the rings out of her pocket and carefully hid it under the whipped cream and raspberries of Alex’s slice.  Taking a deep breath, she carried the plates into the dining room and set Alex’s before her.  “Go ahead.  Dig in,” she told her, trying to contain her excitement.


As Alex began sliding her fork into her dessert, Olivia felt as if her heart would thud right out of her chest.  She quickly took a bite of her own dessert to try to calm her nerves.


Alex felt her fork clink against something.  “Wow, Liv.  Are you sure those raspberries were thawed?” she joked.  She removed the raspberry and saw what it actually was that had made the sound.  The raspberry dropped from her hand as she stared in awe at the simple gold band set with a single princess cut diamond inside its face.  It was partially covered in whipped cream and chocolate.  Tears silently began dropping down her face.  “Liv…this…this isn’t…”


Olivia picked up the ring and squatted down beside her.  “It’s not an engagement ring, sweetie.  It’s a promise ring.  I want you to wear it.”  She cleaned the dessert off the ring and gave Alex a lopsided grin.  “Of course, I don’t want your finger to be all sticky.”


Alex looked down at the sincerity and love on Olivia’s face and was so choked up that she couldn’t even find the words at first to accept the ring.  She just threw her arms around Olivia’s neck and sobbed.


After a few moments of comforting her, Olivia pulled back from Alex and asked, “Baby, why are you crying so much?”


“I…I…I’m just so happy!” Alex exclaimed, another set of tears wracking her slender frame.  Her brain could barely handle the flood of emotions running through it.


“I’m happy that I made you happy,” Olivia responded softly.  “Will you wear my ring?”


Alex’s mouth dropped open.  She was overwhelmed by yet another wave of emotion that hit her.  “I’m so embarrassed,” she said, desperately trying to wipe away the hot tears streaming down her cheeks.


“Don’t be.”


Placing her hand on Olivia’s cheek, she said, “I love you so much, Liv.  You keep doing stuff to make me fall more and more in love with you each day.  This is just so concrete…so official.”


“Sweetie, I never thought that I could ever love a human being as much as I love you.  Before you, I merely existed but now I know what it’s truly like to live.  I know I’ve made some mistakes in the past, but I don’t ever want you to doubt how much I love you again.”  Olivia smiled and brushed her fingers with her thumb.  “Before I put this on your finger, I want you to read the inscription inside,” she informed her.


Alex took the ring from Olivia and tilted it so she could read the inscription inside.  The bottom of the diamond was surrounded by her initials on the left side and Olivia’s on the right.  Opposite their initials, there was another inscription that was placed on the bottom of the gold band.  “Nichya,” she sounded out.  “What’s it mean?”


“In Russian it means, ‘No one’s.’  When I wear my ring, it means I’m promising to be no one’s but yours, and when you wear this ring, it means you’re promising to be no one’s but mine.”


Looking into Olivia’s eyes, Alex said, “Liv…I can’t believe…I mean I never expected…”  She kissed her lips gently and continued, “I know I’m not being very articulate now, but what I mean to say is yes.  I’d be honored to wear it.”


Olivia’s whole face lit up.  “Thank you, sweetie.  Thank you so much.”  She picked up Alex’s right hand and placed the ring on her ring finger.  Then she reached into her pocket and pulled out the other one.  Gently placing it in Alex’s hand, she told her, “Now put mine on.”


Following Olivia’s lead, Alex picked up her right hand and slid the ring on her finger.  They looked down at each other’s hands and admired how beautiful the rings looked.


Kissing the ring on Alex’s finger, Olivia felt her own tears start to fall.  Absently brushing them away, she vowed, “Alex, I promise to love you, cherish you, protect you, and never leave your side—no matter what obstacles are thrown our way.  I also promise to meet your every need in any way I can.  And last but not least, I promise to make you my wife someday.”


“And I promise the same to you,” Alex vowed, her heart bursting with love. 


“I may not have a lot of money,” Olivia began, her voice breaking.  “But my heart, my soul, my life is yours forever,” she continued, tasting the salt of her tears as they ran down her lips.


“And that’s worth more to me than any amount of money in this world,” Alex whispered, wiping away Olivia’s tears.


“God, Alex!  You have no idea how happy you’ve made me!” Olivia exclaimed, sobbing against her chest.


“Oh, sweetie,” Alex said, stroking her hair.  “Shh, it’s ok.  It’s ok.”


When Olivia pulled back, the front of Alex’s shirt was soaked with her tears.  “Sorry,” Olivia said, sniffling and offering her a dopey grin.


“Don’t be.  This is all so surreal, Liv.  I feel like I’m gonna wake up next to you and tell you about this wonderful dream I had where you gave me a promise ring.”


Olivia chuckled softly.  “Trust me, baby.  This is real.”


Even though she knew Olivia wouldn’t tell her, Alex felt compelled to ask anyway.  “How much did these rings set you back?”


“It doesn’t matter because I wanted to make this commitment to you.  When we were dress shopping, you told me to save my money for something else I liked.  This is what I saved it for.”


“Oh, Liv,” Alex whispered, kissing her again.  “Thank you so much.”


“You’re welcome, sweetie.”


“This ring is so gorgeous,” Alex said, admiring it on her finger.


“Thanks.  I wanted these to convey our love for each other without being flashy.”


“It’s perfect,” Alex told her, placing her hand on her cheek.  “Just like you.”  She pulled Olivia into a warm embrace.


Olivia smiled and stood up.  “Now let’s finish our dessert,” she said, returning to her seat.


Alex smiled across the table at her.  “There aren’t anymore pieces of jewelry I should be afraid of swallowing are there?”


Olivia laughed.  “No, sweetie.  I’m afraid that was it.”


Alex scooped some dessert into her mouth.  “This is decadent, Liv.  I could eat this all night long.”


“Why, thank you,” Olivia replied.


“So are you done with your fidgeting?” Alex asked.


Olivia laughed.  “I hope so.  God, I was so nervous earlier!”


Alex smiled.  “I could tell.”  She scooped up some of her dessert and held it across the table for Olivia to eat.  Olivia reciprocated by offering Alex some dessert from her own fork.


“I couldn’t be happier right now,” Olivia said.


“Me neither,” Alex agreed.  She took a sip of her wine and asked, “Does Elliot know what a big romantic softie you are?”


Olivia grinned.  “Yep.  He was with me when I got the rings.”


Alex laughed.  “Liv, he’s always with you when you get jewelry for me.”


“Well, he wanted me to help him pick out a necklace for Kathy.  And it never hurts to have a second opinion.”


“Aww,” Alex cooed.  “Well aren’t you two just the cutest little shoppers.”


“Hey, neither of us are opposed to shopping when it comes to the girls we love,” Olivia replied.  Alex smiled and they finished eating their dessert.


As they were putting the dishes in the dishwasher, Alex asked, “So what’s upstairs that’s so sacrosanct that I am forbidden to view it before you let me?”


Olivia grinned.  “As soon as we finish cleaning up here, you’ll see.”


Once they were done, Olivia pulled out a blindfold and put it over Alex’s eyes.  “Liv, what is this?” Alex asked in shock.


“It’s to make sure you see nothing before I want you to.  Now stay right here,” she ordered.  Olivia proceeded to sprinkle a trail of rose petals up the stairs.  When she came back down, she told Alex to take off her shoes and then began guiding her upstairs.


“Liv, you better not trip me up,” Alex joked.  As they walked up the stairs, Alex felt the smooth coolness of the petals against her feet and asked, “Wow, Liv.  Are these rose petals?”


“Yep,” Olivia whispered.  When they were at the bedroom door, she scooped Alex up into her arms and carried her across the threshold.


Alex let out a little squeal and said, “Wow, Liv!  You really plan on serenading me tonight or what?”


“Oh, you don’t know the half of it,” Olivia said, slowly removing her blindfold.