Chapter 53:  Hot and Cold

Two hours later, they arrived at the hotel.  The bellman came to help them with their bags. They checked in at the front desk and rode the elevator up to their floor.  Alex slid her key card in the door and opened it up. 


“I’m a little worried that we have rooms side-by-side.  Does that mean we’re gonna have to listen to you guys fucking all night?” Casey teased.


“According to Stephen, we might have to listen to you fucking all night,” Alex responded with a grin.


After they tipped the bellman, they all gathered in Alex and Olivia’s room.  Alex looked at her watch and said, “It’s almost 7.  You guys wanna head out and get dinner?”


“Sounds like a plan,” Casey said.  “Where ya wanna go?”


Alex looked at Olivia.  “Where do you wanna eat, Liv?”


Olivia shrugged.  “Anywhere that isn’t $30 a plate.”


Serena smirked.  “How about Outback?”


“Close enough,” Olivia muttered under her breath.


“Don’t worry, Liv.  I have—” Alex began.


Olivia cut her off.  “Alex, I have enough.  It’s fine.”  She stood up and headed for the door.


Alex sighed and grabbed her purse.  “This is gonna be a long night.”




“Hi, welcome to Outback.  My name is Jenny and I’ll be your waitress tonight.  What I can get you to drink?”


“I’d like a cherry limeade,” Alex said.


“Strawberry lemonade,” Serena ordered.


“I’ll have the same,” Casey added.


“Can I get the Rum Berry Cooler and a glass of water?” Olivia asked.


“Sure.  May I see your ID, please?” Jenny asked.


Olivia pulled her fake ID out of her wallet and handed it over.  The waitress briefly looked at it and then nodded.  “Ok.  Would you girls like any of our appetizers?”


Alex looked at them and they shook their heads.  “No, thank you,” she answered.


“Ok.  I’ll be back with your drinks shortly,” Jenny said.


“Wow, Liv!  I can’t believe she didn’t even give it a second look!” Casey whispered after she left.


Olivia smiled.  “I can.  Works every time.”


“You think you can get us fakes sometime over the break?” Serena asked.


“Sure,” Olivia shrugged.


The waitress returned with their drinks.  “Are you ready to order your entrées or do you need more time to look at the menu?” she asked.


Serena looked up from her menu.  “We need a few.”


“Ok,” Jenny said with a smile.  “I’ll be back to check on you in a few minutes.”  Her eyes lingered on Olivia before she walked off.  Wow, she’s gorgeous, she thought.  Jenny had always had good gaydar, and Olivia pinged to high heaven.  I wonder if she’s with the hot blonde chick beside her?


Alex and Serena missed the look, but Casey and Olivia didn’t.  Olivia just decided to brush it off.


“Can I taste it?” Alex asked.


“Sure,” Olivia said, pushing her drink toward her.


Alex took a long sip.  “Delicious!”


“You want one?” Olivia asked.


Alex nodded excitedly.  “Yes, please.”  She looked at the drink menu.  “The Sour Apple Martini looks good.”


When the waitress returned, Olivia said, “Can I get a Sour Apple Martini?”


The waitress wrote it down on her pad.  “Sure.”  She looked at the rest of them.  “May I take your orders now?”


Alex looked around the table at everyone and asked, “You guys know what you want?”


“Yeah,” Olivia and Casey said in unison.  Serena just nodded.


After they had all placed their orders and the waitress walked off, Alex took another sip of Olivia’s drink.  Olivia frowned.  “Geez, Al, don’t drink it all.  Yours is coming.”


Hurt, Alex pushed her glass away.  “Sorry, Liv.”


Serena and Casey exchanged worried glances.  “Um…are you guys ok?” Casey asked.


“Just peachy,” Olivia said quickly.


Jenny returned with the martini a couple minutes later and asked, “May I get you girls anything else while you wait?”


“No, we’re good,” Olivia said.


Alex took a sip of her drink and said, “Mmm.  This is so good!”  She offered it to Olivia.  “Want some?”


Olivia took a few sips and said, “I agree; that is pretty good.  I like the tartness.  Maybe next time I’ll have to get it.”


As they waited on their food, Serena asked, “So…what are we gonna do first tomorrow?”


“Eat breakfast,” Alex answered.  Everyone laughed.


“I dunno…maybe we can go for an early morning swim.  I wanna hit the beach before it gets too crowded,” Olivia said.  “And maybe I can catch some good waves.”


Alex smiled.  “I can’t wait to learn how to surf.”


“Alex on a surfboard?  Oh, this I can’t wait to see,” Casey said, folding her arms.


“I’ll be right there with the videocam!” Serena announced.


“Whatever, you guys,” Alex said with a wave of her hand.  “I will kick ass tomorrow.  Just you watch.”


“You’ll probably be too busy making out with Liv in the water,” Serena teased.


“Liv’s still on probation, remember?” Casey said with a grin.


Serena let out a laugh.  “Oh, that’s right.  Sorry, I forgot.”


“Please!  Alex couldn’t hold out on me if she tried!” Olivia said with a smug smile.


Alex folded her arms and looked at her.  “Try me.”


Olivia picked the cherry out of Alex’s limeade and seductively ran it around her lips before slowly pulling the fruit off the stem.  Holding the cherry between her teeth, she held Alex’s chin and leaned in.  Alex tried to resist, but she lost all resolve when Olivia began rolling the cherry around on her tongue.  As was to be expected, Alex parted her lips and with a sensual kiss, Olivia expertly rolled the cherry off her tongue onto Alex’s.


Their playfulness did not go unnoticed by Jenny.  I wonder what other tricks she can do with her tongue? she thought, smiling to herself.


Serena and Casey clapped.  “Ok, that was pretty hot, Liv,” Serena complimented her.


Olivia waggled her eyebrows.  “I know.”


Alex blushed deeply.  “You totally wooed me.”


“And you loved every bit of it,” Olivia responded.


Alex smiled.  “That’s not the point.”


Several minutes later, Jenny returned with their entrées and refilled their drinks.  “I hope you girls enjoy your meal,” she said, leaving to go to another table.


“Liv, can I have a bite of your burger?” Alex asked.  “You can have some of my steak.”


“Ok.”  Olivia held out her Hickory burger for Alex to take a bite. 


Alex wiped her mouth and said, “Mmm…that’s good.  The bacon is so tender.”


Olivia cut into the steak and took a bite.  “Really juicy.”


“You can have some more if you want,” Alex told her.


Olivia shook her head and held up a hand.  “No, I’m good.”


“By the time I finish eating this, I’m sure I won’t have any room for dessert,” Alex said, digging into her baked potato.


Olivia smirked.  “That’s a first.”


“After that kiss, I’m sure Liv will be Alex’s dessert,” Casey joked.


“And she’ll probably ask for seconds,” Serena pitched in.


“Elliot and Kathy are so missing out!” Casey added.


Olivia laughed.  “We should call them from the beach and rub it in their faces.”


After the waitress brought them the check, Alex pulled out one of her credit cards.  “Don’t worry, guys.  I got it.”


“We can split it,” Serena said.  “I’ll pay for mine and Casey’s and you can pay for yours and Liv’s.”


Casey gave her a kiss on the cheek and said, “You’re so sweet.”  Serena just blushed.


“No, I’ll pay for mine and Alex’s,” Olivia announced.


“No, babe.  I’ll pay for ours,” Alex insisted, putting her card on the table.  She looked across the table at Serena and Casey.  “We can just put it all on my credit card and you can pay me.”


“Ok,” Serena agreed, sliding her money across the table to Alex.


“Alex, I’m tired of you flashing your money around whenever you get the chance,” Olivia snapped.


Alex didn’t even try to hide the hurt etched into her face.  “Liv, I wasn’t—”


“Whatever, Alex,” Olivia interrupted.  She threw some cash on the table.  “That should be enough for both of ours, including tip.  Put your credit card up.”


Blinking back tears, Alex took back her credit card and put it in her wallet.  “You don’t have to be so defensive, Liv,” she said quietly.


“Shut up, Alex!” Olivia snapped.


Serena decided to come to Alex’s defense.  “Liv, I don’t think Alex meant to offend you.  She just wanted to do something nice by paying for your meal.”


“Stay outta this, Serena,” Olivia demanded, glaring at her.


Serena frowned.  “What’s your problem, Liv?”


Casey looked from Serena to Olivia and said, “Girls…let’s play nice.”


“Whatever, let’s just get outta here.  I’m tired anyway,” Olivia said, sliding out of the booth.


Alex rushed to catch up to her while Serena and Casey hung back a few paces.  “Liv, why’d you have to embarrass me in front of our friends?” she whispered.


Olivia stopped in her tracks and turned to face her.  “I embarrassed you?  You never think about how embarrassing for me it is to have you always paying for shit!”


“Liv, I do it outta love!”


“Then let me do somethin’ outta love, too sometimes!  There are two people in this relationship!” Olivia retorted, walking off again.


Alex unlocked her SUV and silently got in.  Once Serena and Casey were buckled in, she asked, “Anywhere else you guys wanna go tonight?  It’s just a little after 9.”


“Nah.  We’re good to go,” Casey said. 


Once they were back in the hotel, Alex asked, “You guys wanna hang out for a bit?”


“Nah, Casey and I are just gonna chill.  But thanks for the offer,” Serena declined.


“You guys probably have some stuff you need to discuss anyway,” Casey added.


“I’m too tired to argue,” Olivia said, sliding her card in the door and going in the room.


Alex rolled her eyes and looked at Serena and Casey.  “Funny, she wasn’t too tired to argue with me earlier.”


“If you need to talk, just knock, ok?” Serena said, giving Alex a hug.


“Ok,” Alex replied.  “Goodnight.”


“Night,” Serena and Casey said in unison.


Alex was apprehensive about entering the room.  She didn’t want to get into another pointless argument with Olivia, but she didn’t want to go to bed with so much tension left in the air either.


Olivia plopped down on the bed and started surfing through channels.  Alex cautiously sat down beside her but Olivia didn’t even acknowledge her presence.  She slowly edged closer to her and tried to wrap her arms around her waist but Olivia immediately pushed her hands away.


“Liv, come on…” she coaxed.  “Don’t be like this.”


“Leave me alone, Alex,” Olivia ordered.  “I just wanna watch TV in peace.”


“I just wanna cuddle,” Alex said, trying to lay her head on Olivia’s shoulder.


Olivia pushed her away again.  “Knock it off!”


“Can’t we just talk, baby?” Alex pleaded.  “I don’t understand what’s wrong.”


Olivia turned to face her.  “Alex, seriously.  I don’t wanna talk right now.”


“But we need to.  You’ve been running hot and cold toward me all day.  One minute you’ll be kissing me and joking around with me and the next you’ll be yelling at me.”


Olivia focused her attention on the TV again and said nothing.  Groaning, Alex got out of bed and went to shower.


When she returned 20 minutes later, Olivia had turned the TV off and was on her side feigning sleep.  Alex rolled her eyes and silently got in beside her.  I hope Liv’s in a better mood tomorrow, she thought.  She fluffed her pillow and tried to get comfortable.  She started to wrap her arms around Olivia, but after Olivia’s behavior earlier, she sadly decided against it.  She turned her back to Olivia and willed sleep to quickly overtake her.




Crunch, crunch, crunch.


Olivia opened her eyes and blinked in confusion.  What the fuck is that? she wondered.


Crunch, crunch, crunch.


She tried to rub the sleep out of her eyes and slowly turned over on her side. Like a deer caught in headlights, Alex stared at her with a chip midway to her mouth.  “What?” she asked around her mouthful.


“Shit, Alex, do you mind?  It’s 3 AM and some of us are trying to get some sleep.  Can’t you go eat loudly somewhere else?”


“Just where do you want me to fucking go, Liv?” Alex asked angrily.


“How about the couch or maybe the bathroom?”


“I have as much right to eat here—”


Olivia sat up.  “Why?  Because you paid for it?” she said nastily.


Alex was taken aback at her anger.  “Liv, that’s not what I meant and you know it.  This is our room and we both have a right to enjoy it, but you’re making that hard for me!”


“Well, I certainly can’t enjoy sleeping with your loud-ass chewing!”


Alex threw the bag of Doritos on the floor.  “Fine, Liv!  Maybe I will just hold my breath ’til I pass out because I’m afraid it will interfere with your peaceful sleep!  Is that what you want?”


“I want you to have some respect for me!” Olivia yelled.


“It’s not like I started eating with the idea in mind, ‘Geez, how can I wake Olivia up?’  I woke up and was just hungry!” Alex protested.  “And it’s not like you’ve had any respect for me all day!  You’ve been constantly nagging and bitching at me for no good reason!”


“Oh, I had plenty of good reasons!”


“No, you didn’t!  First it was because of my luggage, then because I forgot my keys, then you had to pitch a fit at dinner, now it’s because of my eating!  Is there something else you’d like to tell me?”


“Yes, shut the fuck up!” Olivia ordered, turning back over on her side and pulling up the covers again.


“Fucking bitch,” Alex muttered under her breath before she could stop herself.


Olivia jerked back around with lightning speed.  “What did you call me?”


Defiance flashed in Alex’s cerulean eyes.  “I said you’re a fucking bitch!” Alex repeated boldly.


They stared each other down for several seconds.  Both their hearts raced anxiously for who was going to say the next harsh word and when.  Finally, Olivia broke the silence and declared, “I’m sleeping on the couch.”


“This bed is big enough for the both of us.”


“Apparently not!  Maybe I can tune out your smacking from across the room so I can get some sleep!”


“It was not that loud and you know it!  Why are you being so mean to me all of a sudden?  Things were just fine yesterday!”


“Oh, that’s right.  Whenever you can’t get your way, you say I’m being mean.”


“Well, you are!  It has nothing to do with me trying to get my way and you know it!”


Olivia rolled her eyes.  “Oh god, Alex…I hate when you add that pretentious little ‘and you know it’ like you’re always right and I just refuse to admit it!”


“Kiss my ass, Liv,” Alex said, turning over on her side and staring at the nightstand.


“Your head stuck up it is kinda obstructing my view!”


“Liv, why do you insist on hurting my feelings?” Alex asked, jerking back around to face her.  “What the fuck did I do to you?”


“You annoy the hell outta me!”


Scowling, Alex turned back over on her side.  “Well, if I’m so annoying, then why are you still with me?  Why don’t we just call it quits so you can go be a raging asshole to someone else?”


“Alex, you’re gonna make me say something I may really regret later if you don’t be quiet in about two seconds,” Olivia warned.


“You know what, I don’t have to stay here and take this shit,” Alex said, throwing back the covers and storming to the bathroom.  Olivia flinched as the door slammed loudly.  Alex sat down on the floor with her back against the door and just burst into the tears that she’d been trying for so long to hold back.


Olivia tossed and turned for several minutes, trying to tune out the sound of Alex’s crying.  The harder she tried, the more she failed.  The sound of it was like a knife grinding in her stomach, punishing her for being so cruel to the one she loved.  Shit, I hate making her cry, she thought.  Why do I keep fucking up?  She wished she could take back all the harsh things she’d said to her throughout the day and night.  A sour taste hit the back of her throat.


She got out of bed, crossed the room, and tried to turn the knob but it was locked.  She tapped lightly on the door.  “Alex…”


“Go away!” Alex yelled before bursting into a new fit of tears.


Hearing Alex in so much pain caused her own tears to start falling.  “Baby, please.”


“Don’t you dare call me that!”


“Sweetie, I’m sorry for taking my anger out on you.”


“Sorry doesn’t cut it this time.  Every time you say you’re sorry, you do something else to hurt me and I’m tired of it!”


“Alex…I’ve been so stressed lately—”


“Stop making excuses!  I’m tired of you taking your shit out on me just because you can’t cope with stuff going on in your life.  How many times do we have to have this conversation before you finally get it?”


“Alex, please don’t shut me out,” Olivia begged.


“You mean the same way you shut me out all of today?” Alex asked, looking over her shoulder at the door as if Olivia could see her.  “What was it you said to me?  ‘You can dish it out but can’t take it, huh’?  So how does it feel?”


“Alex, I feel like shit for what I did to you, ok?”  She pressed her hands against the door and sobbed against it.  “But please just forgive me, ok?”


“No, not ok!” Alex screamed defiantly.


“Alex, I need you…” Olivia said, sliding down to the floor in a broken heap of defeat.  “I can’t stand to lose you.”


“You should’ve thought about that before you said all those things!”


“Baby…we’ve been through worse!”


“It doesn’t matter!”


“I let my insecurities get the best of me this time.  I’m sorry,” Olivia repeated helplessly.  She pressed her body against the door, wishing she could transcend it and feel Alex instead.


“What do you mean?” Alex asked.


“I just feel so inadequate next to you that I can’t help but get jealous sometimes.”


Alex creased her brow.  “But why?  I’ve told you that whatever I have, you’re welcome to it.  We’re equals.”


“It’s just hard dealing with someone who has so much when you have so little,” Olivia cried.  “You have two great parents who don’t drink or hit you, you get showered with all these nice things all the time…I hate feeling that if you left me, I’d have nothing but you’d still have everything.”


Alex stood up, unlocked the door, knelt down on the carpet, and pulled Olivia into her arms.  “That’s not true, baby,” Alex said, rubbing a hand over her hair soothingly.  “If we broke up, I’d have nothing either.  Material things wouldn’t matter because I’d be so miserable.  And having Mom and Dad wouldn’t be a comfort either because they’re not the love of my life—you are.”


Olivia’s body continued to wrack with sobs against Alex.  “I’m so sorry to keep dragging you down into my mess.”


Alex kissed her forehead.  “Your mess is my mess, ok?  I told you that we’re in this together.”


“And I hate not having enough money,” Olivia continued.  “It makes me feel bad when you have to pay for this and you have to pay for that.  That’s why I made such a big deal about paying for dinner.”


“Liv, I’m sorry if I made you feel bad; that was never my intention.  But someone’s worth isn’t determined by how much money they have.  You’d love me if I didn’t have a dime, wouldn’t you?”


Olivia wiped her eyes.  “You know I would.”


“Then I love you regardless of how much money you have.  You don’t need to feel jealous or inadequate.  It makes me feel nice that I can give you things you’ve never had but that you so rightly deserve.  Besides, your feelings aren’t just one-sided.  There are so many qualities that you have that I wish I did.”


“Like what?” Olivia asked, wiping her nose on the back of her hand. 


Alex grabbed some tissues and started wiping Olivia’s face.  “For instance, you’re better at sports than I am, you’re stronger, you can run faster, you can tackle annoying guys and kick their asses…”


Sniffling, Olivia pressed her forehead against Alex’s and smiled.  “But you’re more elegant and you can do all those little flips and stuff that I’d probably break my neck trying.”


“You’re so street smart, too…you’ve taught me so many things that I never would’ve dreamed of knowing.”


“I never would’ve known which fork to eat with at fancy dinners if it hadn’t been for you.  And you taught me how to ride a horse.”


“You taught me how to shoot a basketball!” Alex said.


“You make better grades.”


“Not all the time!  And when I do, it’s only because I study so much.  When you study, there are plenty of times you’ve kicked my ass on tests.  Plus, you have a nicer body…it’s so curvy and sexy.”


“You have a nicer ass.”


“No, I don’t!” Alex protested.


“Do, too!” Olivia said, rubbing her nose against hers and leaning in to kiss her softly on the lips.  She picked up a fresh tissue and wiped Alex’s face.


After giving each other a tight hug, they stood up and walked back over to the bed.  Olivia picked up Alex’s bag of chips and put them in her lap.  “You didn’t finish.”


Alex smiled at her and put the chips on the nightstand.  “Eh, it’s the middle of the night.  I might as well just wait for breakfast.”


Olivia brushed her cheek.  “Baby, I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable eating around me.”


“Don’t worry, you’ll get a full show watching me attack my pancakes at breakfast,” Alex promised.


Olivia cuddled up to her and rubbed her stomach.  “Your tummy’s so smooth.”


“Well, so are your hands,” Alex said with a giggle.


Olivia captured Alex’s lips in a tender kiss that made butterflies flutter in both their stomachs.  Alex returned the kiss and let her hand linger on the back of Olivia’s warm neck.  When the kiss ended, Alex sighed deeply and said, “Thank you.”


“For what?” Olivia asked, brushing some hair back from Alex’s face.


“For being the Olivia who makes my heart skip a beat again.”


Olivia kissed her on the nose and said, “I’m sorry for not being that way all the time.”


“Your flaws are what make you who you are.  It’s just that some of them are a little bit painful and I’d rather see them directed at others.  I like to experience this warm, fuzzy side of you more.”


Olivia smiled at her.  “I know,” she said softly.  She wrapped her arms around Alex and placed her head on her shoulder.  “You ready to surf tomorrow?”


“You betcha,” Alex said, stifling a yawn.


“I’m sure you’ll be great.” 


“Yeah…” Alex trailed off, closing her eyes.


Olivia pulled the covers up over them and continued to gently stroke her stomach as she watched her girlfriend drift off to sleep.  “I love you,” she whispered in the darkness, thinking Alex was already asleep.


To her surprise, Alex responded, “I love you, too.”