“Who knew you’d be a friendly drunk?” Fondly exasperated, Alex shook her head and kept her eye on Olivia.
The ‘company’ Christmas party had started out normally enough. Various detectives, management, a few scattered ADA’s and a handful of political types packed into a favorite local watering hole. The energy levels were fairly low key, but there was that constant undercurrent of tightly leashed energy that Alex had grown accustomed to. It was the cops, of course. With their lives, these folks higher on the food chain had long learned to harness their more dangerous impulses.
Glancing over at several shifty-eyed detectives, Alex amended her internal thoughts. Most of them learned control. Some just became more dangerous. There was a look in a few pairs of eyes that scared her worse than some of the perps she dealt with.
The night was ripe and the alcohol had been flowing freely. Sipping her more coke than rum, Alex reminisced at how she’d come to be here in the first place.
“C’mon Alex,” Olivia had cajoled merrily. “You never go. We’re starting to think you don’t love us.” The men had smirked at Liv’s puppy-dog flirting. None of them could get past their ADA’s aloof demeanor.
Alex looked at the hot cup of Seattle’s Best Coffee that Olivia had stuck in her hands before draping a friendly arm around the blonde’s shoulders. “You’re bribing me,” Alex complained mildly and Olivia protested innocence.
“Me? Never. I’d just be fun to have another girl there. I’m so sick of these boys.”
Elliot, John and Fin rolled their eyes simultaneously and Alex had to chuckle. So, Olivia had managed to charm the ADA into the police function.
Thankfully, and not entirely unexpectedly, Olivia had had proven to be a riot to hang out with. She’d been ecstatic when Alex strode into the bar, and immediately dominated the blonde’s entire night. A brunette Energizer bunny of enthusiasm, Olivia had dragged Alex all over the bar. Even Alex’s well-honed sense of political poker wouldn’t give her the skills to remember everyone she’d been introduced to that night.
Was there anyone in New York law enforcement that didn’t know Olivia? Or was it just that that the woman was gorgeous, single and friendly? One of the frightening, dark cops was taken aback as Alex stepped up to place proprietary hands on Olivia’s arm. “Hey Liv.”
“Alex! Where have you been?”
The brown eyes were bright and unfocused and Alex was a little worried. ‘Please let it just be alcohol,’ she prayed to herself and flashed the now-glowering suitor what she hoped was an apologetic smile. “Hey, excuse us, won’t you? Liv, Melinda’s here. You wanted to say hi.”
Delighted, Olivia slithered away and pounced on the startled medical examiner. The look on Melinda’s face was priceless as she managed to catch Olivia’s sloppy kiss on the cheek and not somewhere more embarrassing. Not that Olivia didn’t try.
“Merry Christmas,” Melinda drawled dryly and Liv laughed like she hadn’t a care in the world.
“Mistletoe,” Liv cackled as a handsome man stepped up behind Melinda with a bemused look. Alex scrambled to retrieve her drunk detective.
“You need a leash,” Alex grumbled as she grabbed a laughing Liv, hauling the muscled body against her own. “Sorry Melinda, she’s the goofiest drunk I know.” Tucking the unresisting body against her side, Alex offered a hand to the man with Melinda. “Alex Cabot. This is Olivia Benson.”
The man grinned, white teeth flashing in his handsome, dark face. “Roger Warner. I recognize your names. It’s good to finally have faces to put to the stories.”
When Olivia suddenly tried to escape, Alex tightened her grip; unintentionally ignoring Roger’s offered hand. Olivia leaned her head back to press her dark head to Alex’s. “You take such good care of me.” Alex’s surprise at the soft comment was covered by the raucous cry of hello that went up from the guys. Melinda returned the greeting and headed for her other coworkers.
“She’s right,” Roger suddenly spoke up, distracting Alex’s attention from the friendly press of Olivia’s relaxed body. “There’s mistletoe here.” Sure enough, there was a spring of the distinctive evergreen taped to the doorframe. Olivia laughed in delight and batted her eyelashes as Roger leaned in to peck her on the cheek. Alex blushed when she received the same. Roger stepped away with a chuckle as Olivia managed to twist around in Alex’s arms.
Elliot startled when Kathy spluttered into her drink. “I think we need to cut Olivia off before she does worse.”
Oh, poor Alex. Olivia had wrapped herself around the smaller woman and planted a wet, sloppy kiss on her. It was a slightly painful embrace by the odd angle Alex’s nose was currently twisted. A roar of laughter went up as Alex stood frozen in shock. Elliot was on his feet and had his partner in a chokehold before the others could even start booing. “C’mon Frisky,” he ‘dad’ voiced Olivia as she squawked in surprise and indignation. “No more mistletoe for you. Sorry Alex, she doesn’t get like this very often. It’s a safety zone thing.”
Wiping the back of her hand across her mouth, Alex tasted whiskey, a strange brand of lipstick and something earthy that had to be Olivia herself. “No problem. I’ve had worse propositions. Though rarely so sloppy.”
Elliot chuckled. Despite what a hard-ass Alex was at work, he liked her. “Come sit down. Maybe you can help me keep this one occupied.”
Occupied wasn’t quite the word. Minutes into a conversation with Roger and Kathy, Alex felt Olivia press into her heavily. Wincing as the dark head clonked into her ear, Alex flinched and Olivia nestled into her shoulder. “Y’know,” the lawyer deadpanned. “There’s a reason I never had pets.” That earned a round of chuckles, but the others noticed that Alex treated the inebriated Olivia kindly and gently. She reached up as best she could to adjust the way the detective was slumped, to minimize cramping. That lasted for awhile longer, Alex soothed by the warm, light snore on her neck. Then Liv, deeply asleep, tried to curl into Alex’s side, clutching at her arm. Startled and a bit alarmed, Alex nonetheless didn’t pull away, for which the others gave her silent kudos for.
“You holdin’ up?” Elliot asked, equal parts amused and concerned. His partner could get friendly, but this was a whole new level. Alex looked like she was trying to be patient with a hundred and fifty pound lapdog.
“I suppose neither of us will ever live this down,” Alex sighed as Olivia snuggled happily into her. The others only laughed.
“That’s okay, counselor,” Fin chimed in. “We’ll still respect you in the morning.”
That was pretty much how the rest of the night went. Before the witching hour, Alex decided that she’d had enough and waved a waitress over. There was a storm of protest when she asked the woman to call a cab. “Some of us have to work in the morning,” Alex admonished dryly and was assaulted by tossed peanuts and a single sugar cookie. Chuckling, she poked at Olivia until the dark woman scooted out of the booth, grumbling like a sleepy kid. “C’mon then, up on your feet.” Reluctantly, Olivia climbed to her feet, stretching luxuriously and treating anyone interested in a show of every tight curve. She jumped in surprise a bit when her arms came down, and Alex pulled the right one over her narrow shoulders. Dark eyes were still bleary, but not nearly as much as earlier in the evening. “You ready for bed?” Alex asked in an exquisitely gentle tone and Olivia nodded sleepily, yawning so big that her jaw cracked and her eyes watered.
“You two going to be okay?” Kathy asked softly, standing and pressing Elliot back into his seat.
“S’okay, I promise not to be any trouble,” was the smirking answer before Olivia leaned closer and pressed a sloppy kiss to Kathy’s cheek, very close to her nose. “Pass that around, willya? Merry Christmas everybody!”
In the doorway, Alex pulled a puzzled Olivia to a halt and flashed an uncharacteristically wicked grin over her shoulder. There, beneath the mistletoe, Alex pressed a loving kiss to the corner of Olivia’s relaxed mouth. It was a closed-mouth, chaste gesture, but Olivia found herself flushing from the sweetly unexpected touch. “Merry Christmas, Liv.”