Chapter 60:  Love and War

Alex woke up the next morning with an incredible headache.  The first thing she noticed was that her ring was missing and the second was that Olivia was not beside her...or even in the room.  She threw back the covers and forced herself to throw her legs over the side of the bed.  When she stood up, her head started swimming.  She had to hold on to the nightstand until the dizziness subsided and she could make her legs function.


She saw that the bathroom door was closed and knocked gently on it.  “Liv, you in there?”


When she heard no answer, she tried the doorknob to see if it was locked.  It opened easily and she went inside to investigate.  Still no sign of Liv.  “Where could she be?” she muttered.  She also wondered why she was in the same outfit she had on the previous night.  After taking a couple aspirin, she brushed her teeth and decided to go next door.


After about a minute of knocking, Serena came to the door in her pajamas.  She certainly didn’t look like she was in a good mood.  Of course, Alex just attributed it to being woken up early in the morning by her banging on the door.  “Where’s Liv?  Did she go to breakfast without me?”


“No,” Serena answered curtly.


Alex was put off by her attitude.  “So where is she?” she asked again, getting scared.  “Did something happen to her?  Is she ok?  Did she decide to catch some early waves?”


“She’s inside and she’s fine.”


Alex breathed a deep sigh of relief; it didn’t dawn on her that Olivia hadn’t even slept in the same bed with her.  She just assumed she’d gotten up early, showered, and decided to go to Serena and Casey’s room to chat so as not to wake her.  “My head feels like it’s going to split in two,” she groaned.  “What happened?”


“You got drunk off your ass,” Serena informed her, folding her arms.


Alex looked at her in confusion.  “Drunk?  What…?”


“Yes.  Piss ass fucking drunk.”


Alex looked at her hand again and suddenly remembered the other reason she’d knocked on their door.  “Did I…did I lose my ring?” she asked, trying not to panic as tears began streaming down her face.


“No, you just threw it at Olivia because you accused her of wanting Casey!” Serena snapped, turning red.


Alex wrinkled her brow.  Her mind was still in a haze and the details of the previous night were jumbled.  “What?  Why would I do that?”


“People do irrational shit when they’re drunk.  That’s why we told you to stop before you did something you would regret.”


Momentarily forgetting her headache, Alex slapped her forehead and then winced at the pain.  “Oh my god, I can’t believe I took my ring off!   How did the fight start?”


“She was actually trying to get away from you,” Serena replied.  “But you said a lot of hurtful things and just wouldn’t let up.  You started talking about your sex life and then when she walked away, you tried to strip so you could go skinny dipping and threatened to have sex with someone else.”


Alex’s heart started pounding in her chest.  “Please, I have to see her!” she said, trying to push her way into their room.


Casey came to the door and stood beside Serena.  “Alex, just go back to your room.  Liv’s not ready to talk to you.”


Alex cried harder.  “Please, you guys!  I’ll do anything!  I just need to talk to her.  I need to explain…”


“Explain what?” Casey asked.  “Why you treated us all like shit last night?  What was it you said?  Oh, right.  You wanted Serena and me to go skinny dipping with you so you could see if I was a firecrotch.  And you accused me of trying to make out with Liv!”


“But I didn’t know how drunk I was…” Alex said helplessly.  “I’m sorry.”


All the commotion woke Olivia up.  She groaned when she heard Alex’s voice. 


Serena sighed.  She could see how remorseful Alex was and began to feel a bit sorry for her.  “Why don’t you come back later in the day?” she said in a softer tone.  “Now’s not a good time.”


Olivia walked up to the door and held up a hand.  “No, it’s ok, guys.  I really appreciate your generosity and how you stood up for me, but I think I got it from here.”


Alex looked at her hand and felt comforted that she hadn’t removed her ring.  But the comfort didn’t last long when she saw the disappointment and sadness in her eyes.


“You sure, Liv?” Casey asked.


Olivia nodded.  “Yeah.”


“If you need anything, come right over,” Serena said.


Olivia flashed a smile.  “I will.”  She followed Alex into their room.


No sooner had the door closed did Alex say, “Baby, I’m so sorry for everything I said and did to hurt you.  I wish I’d never gotten so wasted!”


“How I wish that were the case, too,” Olivia replied.  “You dumped me, told me to go back to my ‘drunken mother’ when we get home, and threw your ring at my back.”


Alex sobbed even more.  “I just…oh, Liv, please forgive me.  You know I didn’t mean any of those things, right?”


Olivia felt her own tears start to fall.  “They say a drunk mouth speaks a sober heart.”


“But that’s not always true!  You have to believe me, baby!” Alex desperately cried.


Olivia sighed.  “I…I don’t know what to believe.”


Alex grabbed her hands.  “Baby, I’d never want you to go back to your mom when I know how she treats you!  I’d never actually want you to be in danger and you know I’d never want to take my ring off!”


“I thought I knew it…but you did.  It was like you didn’t even love me,” Olivia replied, her voice choking up.


“I love you more than anything!” Alex insisted, squeezing her hands tighter.


Olivia looked down but didn’t try to pull away.  “I don’t quite understand…you’ve been drunk before and you’ve never acted that way.  It made me think you just had some suppressed anger from the times I’ve hurt you.”


“Did I mention anything we’d ever fought about?”


“No…” Olivia said.  She hadn’t thought about that.


“If I had been suppressing my anger then I would’ve thrown things back in your face.”


Olivia had to suppress a smirk.  She’ll make a good lawyer, she thought.  “Well, you were still being really mean.”


“Did I start off being mean?”


“No, you started off telling very intimate details about our sex life.  I got upset and walked away, which in turn pissed you off.  Then it all went downhill from there.”


“I was drunk and not thinking rationally…that’s where the anger came from.  I misconstrued things and blew them out of proportion.”


Olivia sighed again.  “Yeah, Alex…but what you don’t understand is that when I saw you like that last night, I had zero attraction for you.”  She saw her face completely fall at that point and felt bad for saying it, but she knew she had to continue because she was always honest with Alex.  “You weren’t the Alex I know and love.  You were some completely different person—yelling at me, insulting me, slurring your speech, acting shady—all because you were drunk.  In short, you were my mother.”


Alex felt like collapsing through the floor as her memory of the night before started clearing up.  As each event pieced itself together in her mind with what Olivia and her friends had told her, she felt more and more horrified at her rash behavior.  “I hate that I put you through that.  When I think about how shitty she treats you, it breaks my heart.  Now it breaks it even more to know that I could ever remind you of her.”


“It was a nightmare,” Olivia responded.  “You taunted me, kept trying to take off your clothes, and you even said you’d cheat on me.”


“Liv, do you honestly think I could cheat?  Even when we were broken up, I couldn’t get into my kiss with Lexie, so how do you think I’d be able to get through actual sex with someone else?”


“Making the threat is still hurtful enough, even if you’d never act on it.  Besides, you were sober with Lexie.”


“But Liv, I’ve never slept with anyone while drunk—even before we were together!  Is it really fair to judge my entire character on one night’s random outbursts?”


“Alex, if it hadn’t been for Serena stopping you, you would’ve stripped buck naked right there on the beach.”


Alex closed her eyes as more tears slid down her cheeks.  She had never felt so ashamed in her life.  “But I wasn’t trying to kiss or have sex with anyone,” she said, desperate for Olivia to believe her.  “Why can’t you get that it was just me saying bitchy things to get a rise out of you that I’d never have the intention of doing?”


“Alex…”  Olivia looked off to the side before meeting her eyes again.  “I don’t even know what to say.”


“Haven’t you said things to me you didn’t mean?  Like when you said that I don’t play real sports?  And when you said to me, ‘Dick’s not so bad.  Maybe you oughta try it sometime?’”


Olivia sighed.  “Fair enough.  But…”


“But what?  It hurts so much to think that you think I have a desire to cheat on you…and I don’t,” Alex sobbed.  “I don’t know how I can make you believe me!”


Olivia brushed a tear away from Alex’s face.  “I don’t really think that…I guess I just couldn’t get past my hurt.”


Alex felt a wave of nausea rising.  “I think I’m going to be sick!” she exclaimed, holding her stomach and running to the bathroom.


Olivia stood in the room and listened to Alex wretch up the contents of her stomach.  After a minute of withstanding her cries of misery, she went in with her.  Even though she was still hurting, she wanted to take care of her.  As Alex continued to vomit, she pulled her hair back and held it with one hand.  With the other, she gently stroked an arm.


“I’ve never been this sick before,” she whined.  “I feel like I’m dying!”


“Then don’t drink so much next time,” Olivia responded in a voice that was soft and firm, but surprisingly not accusatory.


“I can’t believe I was such a fool,” Alex replied.  Another wave of nausea hit her and she quickly turned back to the toilet and heaved again.  After wiping her mouth and gasping for air, she finished, “And I can’t believe I was such a bitch to you.”


Olivia could clearly see how awful Alex felt and her anger started to subside.  She realized she’d felt the same way when she’d hurt Alex and was begging for forgiveness.  It was like looking into a mirror.  She recognized the fear, pain, remorse, and desperation.  “We all make mistakes,” she assured her.


“Do you still love me?” Alex asked, scared and tearful.


“Of course I do.” 


“Thank you,” she said softly.  Gripping the toilet seat as the vomit rose in her throat again, she prepared herself for another round.


When Olivia was sure she didn’t have anything left, she said, “Come on.  Let’s get you in the shower.”  She took her arm and gently pulled her off the floor.


Alex lifted her arms so Olivia could undress her.  “I can’t believe I’ve been in the same clothes since last night.”


“Better you in them than out,” Olivia said with a twinge of bitterness in her voice.


Alex looked like she’d just been kicked in the stomach.  “Liv, I wish I could just erase it all.  You don’t know how sor—”


“I know,” Olivia quickly interrupted.


Alex was even more hurt that she had cut her off.  She silently grabbed their toothbrushes and opened the shower door.


Olivia leaned in to turn the handle and guided Alex under the spray.  She took a few seconds to strip off her own clothes and then joined her.  When Alex gave her a surprised but welcome look, she explained, “Well, it’s not like we haven’t seen each other naked.”


Alex gave a small laugh.  “Yeah, that’s true.”


Olivia grabbed the body wash and flipped up the cap.  After pouring it on the pouf, she began to wash Alex’s back.


“I hate that I ruined our pact about not arguing anymore during Spring Break,” Alex said.


“Well, no one could’ve anticipated this,” Olivia replied, moving the pouf to her torso.


“That kinda tickles,” Alex said as the tips of Olivia’s fingers brushed her stomach.


Olivia smirked.  “Yes, bath poufs are now the hottest new sex toy.”


Alex was reminded of the explicit things she’d revealed about her birthday.  “I really hate that I embarrassed you by talking about the vibrators and stuff.”


Olivia gave a dry laugh.  “I think Serena and Casey were scarred for life by that info.”


Alex laughed.  “They probably secretly took notes, though.  I bet they’ll have their own collection in about a week.” 


After they’d been in the shower for a few more minutes, she wrapped her arms around Olivia’s neck and held on tight.  “Have I ruined everything we had?” she asked.


Olivia cautiously brought her arms up to embrace her.  “No.”


“I was so scared I’d never feel you holding me again,” Alex said in a small voice.


“I’ve felt that way several times,” Olivia confessed.  “So I understand.”


Filled with joy and relief, Alex wiggled closer to her and began drumming her fingers at the nape of her neck.


Olivia giggled; she’d always liked when Alex did that.  “I’m supposed to still be livid at you.”


Alex held her tighter.  “But I’m so cuddly.”


“As cuddly as a skinny girl could be.” 


Smiling, Alex broke away from her and gently turned her around.  Then she poured some shampoo in her hand and massaged it into Olivia’s hair. 


Olivia tilted her head back and relaxed.  “I’m only forgiving you because of your shampooing skills,” she joked.


“Then I’ll do this all day if I have to,” Alex replied.


After her hair was rinsed, Olivia returned the favor.  Alex suddenly heard her chuckling.  She turned around to look at her and asked, “What’s so funny?”


“I just remembered that you called the pokies ‘pookies’ last night.”


Alex leaned down to kiss her nipples.  “Oh babies, I’m sorry.”


“Hey, no freaky stuff,” Olivia said, suppressing a shiver.


Alex turned her around again.  Olivia looked over her shoulder curiously as she began washing her back.  “I think you just wanna stare at my ass.”


Alex brought the pouf down her spine and said, “Damn!  Busted!”


When they returned to the bedroom several minutes later, Olivia unzipped Alex’s suitcase and pulled out her pajamas and some underwear.  After handing them to her, she opened up her duffle bag and pulled out underwear, a tank top, and gym shorts for herself.


“We really need to put our stuff in the closet,” Alex said as she pulled on her pajamas.  “Maybe later when I get more energy.”


“I think you need some rest,” Olivia said, putting the trash can beside the bed.  “You look exhausted.”


“Will you stay with me?” Alex asked.


Olivia shrugged; it couldn’t hurt.  “If you want.” 


“I do,” Alex responded, moving over and pulling back the covers.


“Just don’t throw up on me,” Olivia joked.  She grabbed a bottle of water out of the refrigerator and gave it to Alex.  “Drink this.”


“I hope I can keep it down…I don’t even know when I’ll be hungry again.”  She unscrewed the cap and obediently took several sips before putting it on the nightstand.


Olivia got in bed and rolled on her side to face her.  “You got a headache?”


“The aspirin helped a little,” Alex replied.  “Hopefully I can sleep it off.”


“I wouldn’t mind a few more hours of sleep either,” Olivia replied.  “I was awake most of the night.”


“Why?” Alex asked, even though she knew she was the cause.


“I kept trying to make sense of everything…sometimes I wondered if it was even real.”  She sighed.  “I ended up crying myself to sleep.”


Alex felt another sharp pang of hurt shoot straight through her heart.  “Oh, sweetie…I’d soak up all your tears if I could.”  She put her hand on Olivia’s heart and started to rub gently.  “Is it better now?  I only want to see your heart sing, not cry.”


Olivia took some comfort in seeing her perform the same gesture she had done when she’d hurt Alex.  “Yeah…once you explained yourself.”


“So are…are you still my girlfriend?” Alex asked hopefully, her blue eyes wide.


Olivia smiled and linked her fingers with Alex’s.  “It’s gonna take a lot more than some drunken meltdown to scare me away.”


Alex smiled back.  “I love you.”


Olivia kissed her forehead.  “And I love you.”


“May I have my ring back?” Alex asked shyly, still so ashamed of what she’d done.


Olivia got out of bed and went to retrieve the ring from the shorts she’d worn the previous night.  Returning to her spot again, she said, “You have to promise me you’ll never do something like that again.” 


“I swear on my life,” Alex assured her, holding out her right hand. 


Olivia noticed that she was shaking.  “Don’t be nervous, baby,” she said as she slid it on her finger.


Alex threw her arms around her neck.  “Thank you for giving me another chance.”


Olivia rubbed her back.  “Well, you’ve given me a million and one.”  She pulled back and ran a finger down her jaw.  “All’s fair in love and war, right?”


“Right,” Alex said, leaning in to kiss her.