Chapter 37:  The Perfect Measure

Olivia ran up the steps to Elliot’s house and rapped her knuckles on the front door.


“It’s open!” he yelled from inside.


Olivia pushed open the door and walked into the living room.  “Hey.”


“What’s up, Liv?” Elliot asked, moving over on the couch so Olivia could sit down.


Olivia leaned back against the pillows.  “Well…as you know, Alex got her car a couple days ago.”


Elliot laughed.  “How could I not know?  That’s practically all she’s talked about at lunch for the past couple days.”  He regarded Olivia carefully.  “Why?  Is something wrong?”


Olivia sighed.  “Not exactly.  But I’m starting to feel more than a little uncomfortable with all this.  I mean…she spent way over $200,000 in two days.  And that’s just on jewelry and a car!  Our dresses are being custom made and together they’re several thousand dollars as well.  I just don’t understand how someone could blow that much money on trivial stuff.  She’s too spoiled for her own good.”


Elliot did a quick eyebrow jump.  “I agree, Liv.  That’s all pretty excessive.  But you only turn 16 once.  She just wants her party to be memorable.  Besides, you knew this was going to be over the top.  It’s Alex Cabot we’re talking about here.”


“I know, El…but she just throws away money.  Her parents didn’t even give her a limit on how much she could spend on this party.  It makes me feel inadequate.  How are we going to build a life together—just the two of us?  I want to be able to share equally in the expenses and I can’t if she wants to live in a fucking million dollar house and have $100,000 vehicles all her life.”


“Liv, this is just one time, though.  She doesn’t spend this much on a weekly basis.  I’m sure you’ll be able to compromise on things you share that far into the future.”


Picking up a piece of notebook paper, Olivia absently began tearing off pieces and balling them up.  “What about our first apartment?  She’s gonna want to get this penthouse or condo, and we all know I could never afford anything like that.  I want to be able to pay half on everything.  I refuse to live off her money and have her supporting me.”


Elliot shook his head.  “You’re worrying too much, Liv.”


Olivia gaped at him.  “Am I?  It will be at the most a couple years until we get our own place.  She’s gonna want to dip into that trust fund and go crazy with everything, and I’ll feel like shit.  We have a really great relationship and I don’t want to damage it by arguing about money.”


“Like I said, Liv.  When you reach that point, then you can discuss things and reach a common ground.  Sure, she likes money but not as much as she likes you.  It’s not that big of a deal.  Definitely nothing to lose sleep over.”


Olivia folded her arms and gave him a look.  “So if Kathy was filthy rich and spent all this money for just her birthday, you wouldn’t have a problem with it?”


“I’m sure I would at first, Liv, but I’d get over it.  This party should be all about what she wants and what makes her happiest.  Sure, rich kids can be annoying, but those are the ones who think everyone else is a sack of crap.  Alex isn’t like that.  She doesn’t have a preppy little clique, she’s pretty down to earth, and she genuinely cares about all her friends.  I’ll admit I thought she was a snob, but that’s before I got to know her and saw how much she loved you.”


Olivia smiled in spite of herself.  “I guess you’re right.  I know she loves me more than anything, but I just…I dunno…I just always wanna be enough for her, you know?  She comes from this kind of life where she’s always had really nice things, and I don’t want her to hate me for taking her out of her element.”


Elliot put a hand comfortingly on her back.  “Liv…she could never hate you.  I mean, I’ve seen the way this girl tears down the halls like the building’s on fire to get to you.  She loves you for you, not for what you can give her.  But all she wants to do with this party is splurge and make sure we all have a good time.  She has us all arriving in a limo, a private dinner beforehand, and a special VIP section for us at her party, for crying out loud.  She isn’t being entirely selfish, Liv.”


“I know, El.  I’m not saying that she’s selfish, just a little too spoiled.  I mean, I love spoiling her, too and she likes spoiling me, but I’m always worried that my gifts will never measure up to the stuff she’s used to.  I promised her that I was gonna make her birthday the most special day of her life like she did mine, but how can I compete with all this shit?”  She angrily threw a ball of paper onto the floor.


Elliot picked it up and threw it into the wastebasket.  “So you’re afraid she’s not gonna like the stuff you got her for her birthday?”


Olivia looked down.  “Yeah, kinda.”


Elliot smiled at her.  “Oh come on, Liv.  You know that’s not true.  I think you’re more worried that she won’t like your presents the best.”


Olivia gave a lopsided smile.  “Maybe.”


“Liv, you could gift wrap a rock and give it to her and she’d bring it to lunch and show everyone.”


Olivia laughed.  “Come on, Elliot.  You’re completely exaggerating there.”


Elliot shrugged.  “Yeah, maybe you’re right about that one.  But the point is that she values anything to do with you above all else.  Just let her have her cake and eat it, too for her sweet 16.  I know if I had a daughter and had all the money Alex does, I’d wanna make it as special for her as possible.”


Olivia patted him on the back.  “Thanks, El.  I know I can always depend on you to get my head straight.”


Elliot ruffled her hair.  “That’s what best friends are for.”




Later that evening, Olivia opened her front door to find Alex standing before her, smiling brightly.  “Hey, baby,” she said, pulling her to her and planting a quick kiss on her lips.  She looked out and saw Alex’s new Range Rover parked in her driveway.  “What are you doing here?”


“Daddy let me drive my car since I told him I was only coming over here, and I promised him I wouldn’t get on the highway.”  She ran her fingers through Olivia’s wet locks.  Olivia had on a white wife beater and some gray sweatpants, both of which were slightly damp.  Alex grinned.  “Just get outta the shower?”


“Yeah, I did as a matter of fact.  What’s up?”


“I just wanted to spend some time with you,” Alex replied, putting her hands on Olivia’s waist and moving in close. 


“Nothing wrong with that,” Olivia said, smiling and kissing her again. 


Alex looked down at Olivia’s chest and said, “I can see through your top.”


Olivia grinned.  “That’s cuz my boobs are still wet.”


“Mmm…I noticed,” Alex said, slipping her hands under Olivia’s shirt.


“Feeling frisky, Cabot?” Olivia teased. 


“Just a little,” Alex said, smiling deviously.  She grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her mouth to hers.


Once the kiss ended, Alex grabbed her hands and pulled her outside.  “Hey, wait a minute, don’t you wanna come in and sit down?” Olivia asked.  “It’s chilly out here.”


Alex noticed Olivia’s nipples hardening through her top and said, “I can tell.”  She reached out and gently pinched one.


Olivia laughed and shook her head.  “Is that the only reason you made me come out here?”


“Well…I didn’t exactly plan on making you come right here,” Alex teased.


Olivia playfully pushed her shoulder.  “Alex!  Potty mouth!”


“Hey, I learn from the best,” she replied.  Pushing her into the side of her SUV, she placed her palms against Olivia’s and linked their fingers.  “I wanna take you someplace special.”


Olivia raised her eyebrows and smiled.  “We’re not gonna get in trouble, are we?”


“Of course not.  But anyway, what happened to your daring side?”


Olivia chuckled.  “I’m saving it for a rainy day.  So where are we going?”


“I can’t tell ya.  It’s a surprise.”


Olivia couldn’t help but smile at the excitement on Alex’s face.  “Well, let me go in the house and get a jacket for this little surprise,” she said, pulling away.


Alex grabbed a hand and pulled Olivia back toward her.  “No, that’s ok.  I have an extra jacket and a couple throws in the backseat.  We have plenty to keep us warm.”


Olivia went around to the back and popped up the trunk door of her SUV.  She moved the throws to the side and pulled out the extra jacket Alex had been referring to.  She gave her a look.  “You mean my letter jacket is the extra you just happen to have stashed away?”


Alex shrugged and smiled sheepishly.  “Well…it smells like you so I like to sleep with it.”


Olivia shook her head.  “And here I was thinking that it was buried underneath a pile of clothes in my closet.”


Alex folded her arms and pretended to be mad.  “How did your closet get dirty so fast?”


Olivia shrugged.  “I’ll clean it up later.  I guess I got caught up in other stuff.”


Alex draped her arms across Olivia’s shoulders.  “Ok.  I’ll let you off the hook this time.  Come on, let’s get going.”


They got inside and Alex started the engine.  “Seatbelt on, Liv?” she asked, backing out her driveway.


Olivia smiled.  “Yes, Mom.”


“Just making sure,” Alex said, adjusting the heat.  “Is your seat too warm?”


Olivia shook her head.  “Nah, it’s just right.”


“Good,” came the reply.


"You know, it feels so weird to have you driving me around,” Olivia remarked.


"Why?" Alex asked, flipping her signal on and turning right.


Olivia shrugged.  "I guess I'm just so used to driving you."


Alex spared a glance at her and smiled.  “We can split it.  I’ll drive sometimes and you’ll drive sometimes.  I really look forward to picking you up for school.  I know you get annoyed sometimes when you have to wait for me, so it’ll motivate me to get ready earlier.”


Olivia smiled and put a hand on Alex’s thigh.  “It’s ok, sweetie.  I don’t mind driving you around—even when I do have to wait 3 hours for you to decide which shirt looks better and we barely make it before the second bell.”


Alex gave a deep, throaty laugh.  “I so do not take that long in the morning!”


“Ok, I wasn’t being fair.  It’s really more like 2.5 hours,” she teased.  Alex picked up little Tweety off her dashboard and threw it at her.


After they had been driving a few more minutes, Olivia asked, “So you’re not gonna even give me a hint to where we’re going?”


Alex shook her head.  “Nope.  You’ll see in a little while.”


Olivia looked over at the navigation system.  Alex reached her hand out to cover the screen.  “Hey!  No peeking!”


Olivia put her hands up in surrender.  “Ok, ok.”


A little while later, Alex turned off the road onto a rocky trail leading into the woods.  Olivia smirked and commented, “You’re really taking this whole off-roading thing seriously, aren’t you?”


Alex grinned.  “Hey, you know Range Rovers are made for rugged terrain.  This baby rides smooth on and off the road.”


“If you say so, babe,” Olivia replied, looking out the window at the trees whizzing by.


Alex followed the trail until she drove up to the top of a waterfall.  Olivia stared in awe at the sight before her.  “This place is absolutely gorgeous, Alex.”


Alex smiled over at her.  “I knew you’d love it.”  She unlocked the doors so they could get out.


Olivia opened the trunk and retrieved the throws while Alex pulled out two thermoses filled with warm tomato soup.  Alex found a perfect spot on the smooth rock surface just a few feet away from the crisp, cascading water.  She took a throw from Olivia and placed it on the rocks.  Once they had sat down, Alex placed the other throw across their shoulders.


Olivia looked around appreciatively.  “This is so serene.”


“I know,” Alex agreed.  She opened up her thermos and took a sip.  “Mmm…I love tomato soup.”


Olivia took a sip as well.  “Me, too.”  She tenderly brushed some of Alex’s hair back behind her ear.  “Thank you for bringing me out here.”


“You’re very welcome,” Alex replied, kissing her on the cheek.


Olivia grinned.  “How long have you planned this?”


Alex shrugged.  “It came to me in the middle of the day.  When I was a little girl, my grandfather used to bring me here for walks sometimes and I would always marvel at the waterfall.  After you dropped me off, I looked up the directions online.”


“Thank God for Mapquest or we would’ve been driving around for hours like we did when I first tried to find the cabin.”


Alex poked her in the stomach.  “All part of the adventure.” 


The gentle roar of the rushing water was both romantic and relaxing.  Olivia turned Alex’s chin toward her and let her lips brush across hers.  Alex returned the kiss and parted her lips so that Olivia’s tongue could slip through.  Olivia placed a hand on the back of her neck and deepened the kiss.  After the kiss ended, Alex placed her head on Olivia’s shoulder and the two sat in silence for several minutes.  Occasionally, they took sips from their thermoses.  Olivia picked up a pebble and threw it into the water.  “At least now we have a new getaway spot.”


Alex smiled.  “Yeah.  We’ll have to come back up here some weekends.”


“Maybe we can start a little fire and roast some marshmallows,” Olivia suggested.


“We can roast hotdogs, too!” Alex said excitedly.


After another hour, it began to get dark.  “Come on, we should be getting back,” Alex said, standing up.


“Yeah.  I don’t wanna stay out here too late or else I’ll have to fight off wild animals,” Olivia said with a smile.


Alex returned the smile.  She loved Olivia’s protective nature.  “Yeah, we definitely don’t want that wife beater torn by some animal’s angry paws.”


Olivia chuckled.  “Actually, the only little paws that would try to tear my shirt off belong to a certain soon-to-be birthday girl.”


Alex laughed and folded the throws while Olivia grabbed the thermoses.  Olivia was about to open the passenger door when Alex said, “No, wait.  Let’s cuddle for a few more before we go back.”


“We’re gonna cuddle in the dark?” Olivia asked.


“No,” Alex responded.  “I’ll turn on the interior lights.”


They climbed in the back and cuddled up together.  Alex laid her head in Olivia’s lap and said, “Man, I wish my party was this weekend.  I don’t know if I can wait another week!”  When Olivia didn’t say anything, Alex continued, “Are you excited for my party, Liv?”


Olivia played with some of Alex’s hair.  “You know I am,” she said softly.


Alex noticed that Olivia seemed a little reserved.  She sat up and asked, “What’s wrong, sweetie?”


“Nothing, really,” Olivia replied.


“Yes, there is, Liv.  Come on, tell me,” Alex prodded gently.


Olivia sighed.  “Well…I was thinking about our future and all.  Would you be happy with me if we were poor?”


Alex wrinkled her forehead.  “What spurred this?”


“I was just thinking about when we’d get our first place together.  I want us to be able to split everything half and half and I’m not gonna be able to pay half on a luxury apartment.”


Alex laughed and kissed her on the cheek.  “Oh, silly.  Stop worrying about things like that.  We’ll find a place we both like and can afford.”


“But you didn’t answer my question,” Olivia said.  “Would you be happy with me if we were poor?”


“Liv, we’ll never be poor,” Alex said matter-of-factly.


Olivia frowned, a little disappointed that Alex was dodging her question.  “That still doesn’t answer it.”


Alex placed a hand on Olivia’s shoulder and looked her in the eye.  “Sweetie, yes, I would be happy with you if we were poor.  I’d give up everything I had if it came down to it just so I could be with you.  Why would you ever think I wouldn’t?”


Although she took comfort in Alex’s sincere words, Olivia still sighed and looked around her Range Rover.  “I dunno.  It’s just that sometimes I feel like I don’t measure up to all the expensive stuff you have.”


“Liv, you’re the perfect measure.  I couldn’t ask for anything greater than you,” Alex declared, kissing her from the depths of her soul.