Fandom: Law & Order SVU
Disclaimer: Neither the idea nor the characters are mine
Summary: This started out as an excuse for sketchy porn, and turned into a weird very non-porn AU backstory. Based on the song by Fountains of Wayne. You know which one it is.
TJ Langan is a fucking asshole. He’s in the grade below me, but he just hit his growth spurt, and started dating a girl in my grade. He was always an asshole, but now he’s a shitload worse. Most of the kids in my grade had have gotten over on picking on me because of my shitty clothes and lack of a real family, but TJ seems to find it to be the diversion he’s been looking for.
In the beginning of the year he came up to me at lunch and asked if I wanted to go on a date with him. I was ready for him and turned him down flat. He was just the sort of asshole who would ask a girl out just to laugh at her when she thought he was serious. It was possible that he wanted to go out with me because he liked me, but even if he was, I’m not sorry.
He was an ass nearly every day of the year. Finally, we got into it, and I trashed him. But since I was a girl he was the one who got into trouble and his mom came and picked him up.
I was sitting out in the office when she came in. Pops wasn’t going to pick me up, and by now the aides knew it, so they just let me hang. I didn’t think she was a mom at first. She looked incredibly awkward, and I thought that maybe she was a kid from the high school, except for the pearl necklace she wore. That was a hint that she wasn’t a student. Her dark hair was swept up in a ponytail, and she wore heavy make up that I think was intended to make her look older, dark mascara and lipstick. But in the end she just looked nervous.
“Mrs. Langan?” said the aide, and she started at the sound. She never looked at me, but her eyes passed in my direction, and she had the deepest, sweetest dark eyes that I had ever seen. But she was TJ’s mom, and that was a “hell no!”
* * *
The next week it was starting to feel like summer and I figured it was time to start my lawn-mowing business. I printed out a bunch of fliers at school and took them around the neighborhood.
I wanted to hit all the houses on high street, because they were all fucking rich, but I was going to skip the Langan’s. I didn’t need any more time near TJ than I had already. But as I was going to walk past their mailbox I saw TJ’s mom getting their mail. She was only wearing a skimpy halter bikini top with cargoes, and I wanted a better look, so I went over to her. She glanced at me, and then did a double take like most people do when I’m not wearing my cap. But today I was wearing it, so the look wasn’t for my blonde hair and blue eyes that were a pretty big contrast with my ratty t-shirts and secondhand jeans. I didn’t know what she saw. Most people think I’m a boy on first glance, but I had started developing, so maybe she was looking at my boobs.
I handed her my flyer and she read it, then gave me another appraising look.
“You any good?”
“I’m the best,” I said. There was no point in false modesty in advertising. She gave me another look, first suspicious, but followed by a smile. I grinned back. Again her gaze slipped. This time I was sure she was looking at my boobs.
“Ok, get over here first thing on Saturday.”
She winced. “Don’t call me that. I’m not old enough.”
“What should I call you then?”
“Call me Olivia.”
I gave her a glance over, trying to match the name to the look. She was a fucking hot Olivia. I saw her start to blush at my look, which was fucking strange, but kind of a turn on.
“Ok, Ms. ‘Livia.”
“See you this weekend,” she glanced down at the flyer and then back at me, straight into my eyes, “Alex.”
* * *
TJ had baseball on Saturdays, so I was home free. I showed up at the Langan’s at 9 sharp and the door was opened by Olivia, rubbing her eyes, and dressed in a silk robe. I was thirteen, and my hormones had decided to make themselves known right then.
I followed her out to the garage where she showed me the mower and gave me directions. I was checking it over, making sure all the connections were tight, and it just fell out of my mouth.
“How come TJ’s suck an ugly little fuck with a mom like you?”
Olivia’s jaw dropped. “Um, I’m just his stepmom.”
I gave her a second glance. That made more sense. “There we have it.”
“You… really shouldn’t say things like that…”
“Shit! It’s the swearing isn’t it? Bad company, what can I say. I’m working on it.” I pleaded for mercy, and she smiled again, sort of embarrassed, which was so cute it made me want to bite her.
“I know it’s tough to fix. Keep it up.”
She was about to leave, but I didn’t want her to.
“How do you know?”
She just flashed a grin over her shoulder as she left. “Let’s just say I know about bad company too.”
* * *
She paid me fifty bucks. I was back there bright and early next Saturday. Olivia was lying out on a chair on the porch, a book draped over her face.
“Hey, Ms. ‘Livia.” I said as I passed her on my way to the garage. She started up and made a catch for both her book and her bikini top, which was untied. I was impressed. She gave me a dirty look.
Olivia glanced down at her book. “Dracula,” she said, it seemed like she wasn’t totally sure. “I found it on the shelf and it looked more likely to be interesting than an investor relations manual.”
I chuckled. “I read it. It was pretty good.”
“You read it?”
“Sure. I was into vampires for a while.”
“I think I like Anne Rice better.”
“Can’t stand her,” I replied. “If you’re fighting through that kind of language you might as well be reading a real classic.”
“So I suppose if I finish this I’ll have actually read something?”
“Well, it means that you have something to say at parties, and you can criticize all the new vampire movies with a snooty attitude.”
“Sounds worth it.”
“It picks up. There’s a great chase scene.”
“Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it.”
* * *
“Alex!” This time Olivia missed her bikini top and I covered my eyes so I wouldn’t embarrass her, but only after I got a good look. She had great breasts. She was starting to get a tan line though, and I debated on telling her that sunbathing topless was a good way to go. I wouldn’t have minded.
“You putz. I was actually sleeping.”
I shrugged. “Just getting the mower.”
“Yes. I finished it. And yes, you were right. It picked up. I liked it a lot.”
“Unfortunately all I have now is 1000 Years of Solitude, and I think it will take me that long to finish it.”
“I haven’t heard of it.”
“What’s your favorite book?”
“Don’t play dumb. You read Dracula, and you’re what, fifteen?”
“Thirteen.” A look of horror crossed Olivia’s face, but she covered it quickly and merely looked uncomfortable. “I’ll be fourteen in a couple of months.”
“Sure, I’ll be twenty-three in a couple of months too, eight of them.”
“I’m fourteen in August.”
Olivia shook her head. “Ok, still, you’re thirteen and you read Dracula, which I found pretty tough going, so you must be pretty smart.”
I glanced down at myself. Most people didn’t expect me to be smart because of what I wore, and where I lived. I hadn’t tried particularly hard to prove them wrong. It felt good to have Olivia tell me that though, even if she was grossed out at how young I was. I wished I had lied and gone with her estimate of fifteen. I could have said I was seventeen and legal, but she probably would have seen through that.
“Tell me what your favorite book is.”
I shrugged. “It’s hard to say. I really liked Ivanhoe. And Connecticut Yankee, I’ve been going through a knights kick.”
“Ivanhoe,” she said, as if feeling the word on her tongue. I wanted to feel her tongue. “All of the women around here read Danielle Steel, or Janet Evanovitch, but the two things I hate most are romance novels and murder mysteries.”
“They’re trash,” I said. “Why do you hate them?”
Olivia lay back down and shaded her face with the book. “They remind me of my life,” she muttered, and dismissed, I went to get the lawn mowed.
* * *
Olivia was nowhere to be found and I didn’t have a reason to knock, so I got to mowing right away. About halfway through she came and stood on the porch, in silky pajamas, watching me. It was a hot day and pushing the mower made me sweat like crazy.
She watched me for a while, and then went back inside.
I put the mower away and she was waiting on the porch with two glasses of lemonade.
“Sorry I wasn’t here when you came. I stayed up too late, reading.”
“Yeah?” I grinned. The lemonade was great. So were her eyes, which she had a harder time keeping from running over my shirt since it was wet through and stuck to my body like a second skin.
“You have good taste in books.”
“I like the story.”
“Who’s your favorite character?”
“Brian de Bois-Guilbert.”
“No kidding? The villain?”
Olivia shrugged. “I like him because he’s so passionate. He might be a hypocrite, but he’s not weak. And when he decides he wants Rebecca he just goes for it. And he loves her, he’s not worried about her being a Jewess.”
“I think it’s less of a problem when all you want’s some nookie.”
Olivia disagreed. “He’s more serious about her than he realizes.”
“I like her,” I said. “I mean, self-sacrifice can get on my nerves, but for her it’s totally honest. She does it because it’s what she knows she should do. And she’s crazy fiery when she’d rather jump off a tower than fuck Guilbert.”
“She is.” Olivia shook her head. “Why do you read so much?”
I shrugged. “It’s something to do. And it’s free. Thank god for public libraries. I remember my mom reading to me before the accident. And when you don’t want to be here, it’s good to be able to be somewhere else.”
“It is.” Olivia paused, then eyed me hesitantly. “The accident?”
I set down my glass. “Thanks for the lemonade, Ms. ‘Livia. I’ve got some more lawns to mow.”
* * *
“What are you doing here?”
“What does it look like, dipshit, I’m mowing the lawn.”
TJ glared at her, and then ran up to Olivia, who was reading, as usual, on the porch. “What is she mowing our lawn for?”
“I hired her,” said Olivia, unfazed. “Alex decided to make some money this summer, rather than spend it smoking weed behind the gym.”
TJ flinched, but turned towards me, still speaking to Olivia. “Maybe she’ll use some of it to buy some better clothes. She looks like a hobo, a boy hobo.”
“Don’t be rude, TJ. Alex is…” she paused, “a very attractive young woman.” I glanced back and noticed that her eyes were fixed on my ass. “Whatever clothes she wears.”
* * *
“Are you an idiot? Mowing the lawn in the rain?”
Olivia had caught me in the garage.
“Rain or shine.”’
“Did you walk here? You’re soaked.”
“I’m fine, it’s a warm rain.”
“Lord save me from cheerful martyrs.”
“Come on inside. Don’t mow today.”
Instead we sat and drank coffee and talked about books. And we looked at each other.
She brought up the accident again. I didn’t like to talk about it, so I said, “If you tell me about your bad company, I’ll tell you about my shithole past.”
She agreed, so I told her how my mom and dad had died in a plane crash when I was a kid, and I was sent off to my uncle, who lost all my money in a crashing triangle scheme in the stock market, and then fled the country. I was put into foster care and after a few messes, I ended up with Pops, who basically left me alone if I left him alone. She watched me with surprise in her wide dark eyes the whole time, and the fact is, it did seem like some crazy romantic story, from Kidnapped!, or some shit, but unfortuntately, my uncle Ebeneezer didn’t have the same thrifty qualities as Davy Balfour’s. It didn’t matter what my name was. I had no money and no family. I was a ward of the state, and Pops had a tidy little income off of taking me in. Olivia got the point at the end, and looked sad. I didn’t want her to feel sorry for me. I hate pity.
“Since you gave me your life story… I guess I’ll give you mine.” She looked tired and a little worried, like she was going to tell me something that would destroy my innocence. But my innocence had been fucked at four, so I didn’t know why she was scared. “I used to live in a trailer not far from yours.”
I stared at her. No kind of bad company could make this leisure-class housewife into my old neighbor.
“It was in the next town over. I wasn’t smart like you, well, I guess I didn’t work very hard. I hung out with my girlfriends, dating, movies, part time job. When I graduated I managed to score a job as a secretary at a law firm. I had just realized that my life was going to be just like my mom’s, mired in shit with alcohol for buoyancy. Langan showed an interest, and hotshot lawyer, with a house and an inheritance, why would I pass that up?” She closed her eyes. “Somehow I didn’t realize that having money wouldn’t actually make any difference to the dismal trajectory of my life.”
This was a bit heavy. I preferred our sketchy flirting. But it made me wonder what she really thought fucking me would do. Did she see me as a second chance? Or was she really looking to go to jail for stat rape? Not that she would. I wasn’t planning on complaining, and unless her husband caught wind or something, no one gave a fuck about what happened to a kid from the wrong side of the tracks.
* * *
There had been some sort of party the night before. I was early. I was walking up the street when a black car pulled into the driveway and a man got out, a man in a crumpled suit with his tie hanging loose around his neck. Olivia came out of the house. She looked tired, and was wearing a red velvet gown, and I couldn’t stop staring.
“How could you do that to me?”
The man scowled and looked annoyed. “I don’t see what your problem is. It’s not like you see any of those people more than once a year.”
“And what are they going to say about me all year? That’s Trevor Langan’s wife, you know, he didn’t even leave with her at the last event. He went home with some whore.”
Langan snorted. “As if they think enough of you to have that hurt your reputation. They all think you’re a rotten little gold digger. They know where you came from. All they’ll think is that you got too high and mighty, and started refusing me sex. It’s not a lie.”
I had hidden behind the hedge to watch this incident.
“You’re ruining my reputation.”
“You don’t have a reputation to ruin. You’re a whore. You sold yourself to me for a cushy life, and I’m giving it to you. Why aren’t you happy? Do you really think you could have a better life than this? Do you think that ‘Alex’ you moan about in the shower could take care of you better than I do?”
My heart stopped.
“No. I don’t.”
“Good. Remember that the next time you have a headache.”
Langan stormed inside. Olivia stank into a deckchair. I waited a few minutes and then came out from behind the bush. She saw me, and hurriedly wiped her eyes. It didn’t help the black marks of her run mascara underneath.
“How long- how long have you been here?”
“You look really pretty in that dress.”
Olivia groaned, but sort of smiled. “After a night of sitting in the hallway in it?”
I shrugged. “I think you look pretty good in ‘most anything.” She blushed. “But you know that, don’t you? The topless bikini’s my favorite, I think, but this is close.”
“You’re a little pervert for a thirteen year old, aren’t you.”
I shrugged, with a grin. “I dunno if I’m as much of a pervert as you.”
Her smile was gone, and she looked cold and stern.
“I’ve never touched you.”
“That doesn’t mean you haven’t wanted to.”
She bowed her head. “You have been here for a while.”
I shrugged nonchalantly. “You hear your name associated with showers and moaning, and you want to listen in.”
“Fuck.” She stood up.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“Away from here. You can quit if you want. You don’t have to come back.”
I crossed my arms. “Shut up, and get back here. I’m not done talking.”
“You’re telling me what to do, you little brat?”
“I’m telling you that you’re running scared of nothing. I’m not going to fucking out you as some child-banging pervert.”
“And I should be comforted by this?”
“Fuck this. I knew you were into me since you checked me out while I was giving you the flyer.”
“And you kept coming?”
“Why shouldn’t I? I never said it wasn’t mutual.”
She eyed me slowly.
“But you’re the mature one. You get to make the first move.”
“I don’t really know if I’m more mature than you. But I’m not going to make a move on a thirteen year old. No matter what I think about, what I do is a different story. I’m not going to touch you.”
I sighed. “Yeah, I didn’t think so. But it was worth a shot. It’s just fucking embarrassing, to have such a major hard-on for TJ Langan’s mom.”
* * *
She remembered my birthday. I showed up the last weekend in August and she had cupcakes and lemonade waiting for me. After I mowed the lawn, which I had to fight her to do, we went swimming. I was just in my underwear, and she was wearing a skimpy black bikini that left nothing to the imagination. Her legs were amazing, and all the tanning that summer had lightened her hair and made her skin go as brown as a bean. I just freckled.
She had hardly worn anything that summer, so I wasn’t really distracted by her nakedness. But she was totally weirded out with seeing me. I was weirded out seeing me. I like hiding in my baggy pants and flannel shirts. In just my underwear no one was ever going to mistake me for a boy. Olivia said as much. She was looking at me, all surprised and shit, and she reached out to touch me, before jerking her hand back.
It was disappointing. I was fourteen and ready to roll, but fourteen wasn’t old enough. I wished again that I had lied, or that I had the nerve to do something. She groped me when we were messing around in the pool, but it seemed to be half on accident. It was also disappointing because I knew that the summer was ending along with my lucrative part time job.
But to be honest, I felt sad because Olivia was someone who treated me as if I were smart, grown-up, and sexy. She was the only person who saw those things in me. And to be honest, until I met her, I hadn’t even seen those things in myself.
She walked me out to the road, and stood awkwardly behind the hedge as if she was trying to get up the nerve to say something. I didn’t want to say any of the things that were going through my head, about goodbye, and how really frustratingly in love I was with her.
“So, school starts next week,” I tried. She was still silent, and still looking at me. Then finally she moved, lifting off my cap. Her fingers stroked my cheek and she didn’t even seem to notice my straggly pool hair. Then she kissed me.
I stared at her in shock when she broke the kiss. She didn’t look miserable and ashamed like I had expected her to.
“Thank you, Alex.”
I just gazed at her lips, wishing that I could kiss her again, but not quite sure how to start.
She leaned in again and brushed her lips against mine for a second time, although shorter and more like goodbye.
“I think you changed my life.”
* * *
During that school year I heard through the gossip that TJ’s mom had moved out. He looked pretty cut up about it and I went over to ask him. He didn’t want to tell me anything, but he admitted that she had left.
I don’t know how it happened but TJ and I ended up becoming something like friends. We both missed Olivia. She had been his only mother figure who had ever managed to see through his shit. I didn’t tell him what she had been to me.
Weirdly enough we ended up going to the same law school, and I helped him study, or he would have totally flunked out. Sometimes he got a letter from Olivia that he would let me read. She never wrote to me directly, but there were lots of things she said in letters to TJ that went totally over his head, but that I understood.
* * *
The day I received notice that I was being transferred to SVU, Branch dragged me to a cocktail party hosted by the DA’s office. He patted me on the shoulder and showed me around like a prize pony. “There are some people I’d like you to meet,” he said, leading me over to a group that had tucked themselves out of the mingling and near the drinks table. “You’ll be working with them come Monday.”
He introduced me to Cragen, on the outskirts, and then past him, into the little gang of four that was laughing together. “And your detectives.”
The men didn’t even register in my vision. All I could see was Olivia, in a red dress and heels, looking as absolutely perfect as she always had.
I could see the shock of recognition in her eyes too. She gaped at me, looking more incredulous than when she found me drenched in the garage. Then her eyes dropped and she gaped some more. Baggy jeans and flannel shirts were not allowed at the DA’s office.
I faked my way through the introductions. I couldn’t have come up with one of her partners’ names if my life depended on it. But somehow I managed to smile and make small talk until I could escape. I ducked into the hall to try and recover my senses. I had dropped into panic mode, my heart going a mile a minute and sweat breaking out on my hands. I wasn’t a hormonal teenager anymore. I couldn’t brazen it out.
Suddenly Olivia was behind me. “Alex,” she whispered, and my face heated up. I felt thirteen again and desperately in lust. “How did you… How did this happen?”
I just looked at her. How should I know? I didn’t have any explanation for us both ending up here at the same time. But somehow I knew that I wouldn’t have been here without her. “You told me I was smart,” I said, “so I stopped fucking around in class.” The way I used to speak slipped all too easily from my tongue.
Suddenly she burst out laughing. “It really is you! I couldn’t… I couldn’t believe it.” She looked at me, an odd smile on her face, scanning me from my heels to my neck, but clearly not looking at my face. Still, she had stared at my boobs when they were covered by three layers of ratty cotton, why shouldn’t she now that they were on display? “You look so different… And yet not different at all.”
“Well, what are you doing here?” I said, trying to hide my mortification. “Trophy wife.”
She just smirked, not insulted. “Well, some brat of a lawn care specialist once made me realize that my life didn’t have to be as worthless as it was, so I made some changes.”
“But seriously, a cop?”
Olivia shrugged. “I figured if there were no underage brats to stare at me, working out was a more interesting activity than tanning.” I laughed. “And maybe it was all those weird books I was reading, but I thought the chivalrous thing to do was to try and make a difference.”
“With sword and pony on the road to Palestine.”
Olivia grinned. “Hey, I have a shield.”
“And I’m not underage anymore,” I blurted, and couldn’t believe I had made such an idiotic non-sequitor. But she didn’t laugh; she just looked at me. I could see her trying to see me as I was now, and not as a thirteen year old from the wrong side of the tracks. I didn’t really want her to try and separate the two. She was the only one here who knew me as I was then, and because of that, she was the only one who really knew me.
“I’m not married anymore,” she said, impossibly softly.
“Do you want to… to get out of here? Go somewhere we can catch up?”
“Yeah,” she said, still looking at me oddly. Then she caught my hand and tugged me into the bathroom. That wasn’t actually what I had meant. I stood puzzled as she dampened a paper towel and turned back to me. She held my chin firmly and started cleaning off my lipstick.
“Don’t talk.” She finished, and admired her handiwork. “There you are,” she said in a soft tone. “That’s the girl I’ve been waiting for.”
She kissed me, and this time I knew how to kiss her back.