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Alex was the first one to get to their cafeteria table. She had her head buried in a book when Olivia and Elliot got there. The two of them noted that Alex had brought her lunchbox, so there was the intention of eating lunch. Neither one of them had to look to figure out that Alex was reading a book for one of the pre-law courses she'd be taking at college. Alexandra Cabot was born to be a lawyer, and absolutely nothing was going to stop her from fulfilling her destiny. However, she very easily could be momentarily distracted from said destiny. 

"Oh look, here comes Novak," Olivia said as she nudged Elliot with her elbow. Alex's head shot up from her book and she looked around, trying to find Casey Novak in the cafeteria. Once she realized that Olivia was lying to them, she put her head back down and continued to read. 

"Ha ha, you got me," Alex deadpanned. Not even a minute later, a shadow covered some of the natural light that'd been coming in from the window. Alex glanced up at Olivia and Elliot, who both were grinning suspiciously. Alex turned her head a bit and saw the familiar stripes of the school's softball jerseys behind her. Alex tilted her head up a bit to see Casey behind her, leaned over slightly as she talked to people at the table behind Alex. "Don't you dare." 

"Hey Casey!" Elliot called out and Casey turned around. "Why don't you have a seat?" 

"Sure. Can I sit here?" Casey asked Alex. Alex moved her bag and gave Casey a small nod. Casey slid into the seat next to Alex and gave the blonde a polite smile. "Hey, you guys coming to the opening game tomorrow night?" 

"Probably," Elliot answered. Olivia nodded in agreement and Casey looked over at Alex. Olivia noted that Casey looked hopeful, like she really wanted Alex to be there at the game as well. "Alex, you wanna come to a softball game tomorrow?" 

"You could use a break from all that pre-studying you're doing," Olivia pointed out. Alex didn't have plans, and it was an excuse to watch Casey play that didn't include her using the shitty parking lot. Alex glanced over at Casey to see if it seemed like she thought it was okay, and then nodded. 

"Sure, but you're gonna have to explain it to me again Liv," Alex said as she set her book in her bag. 

"I could give you a quick run through if you'd like," Casey offered. "We're both in the library for last period." 

"Just ask your stupid question," Alex told Olivia as the two of them sat in the restaurant Olivia had picked out. Normally, it'd be Olivia, Elliot, and Alex eating dinner together, but Elliot had a date with Kathy and homework. Olivia had some too, but she'd just have Alex help her out with it. Olivia was smart, but she wasn't effortlessly smart like Alex was. Alex never had to try when it came to her core classes, so she was always open to help Olivia out. It helped that Alex had a soft spot for Olivia from their little relationship. 

"You looked pretty happy when Casey walked you to your car," Olivia pointed out. Alex shrugged the comment off and took a sip of her lemon water. Alex knew Olivia was hinting at the crush that Alex had developed on Casey Novak. In all honesty, Olivia understood what Alex saw in Casey. The redhead was a year behind them, but she was in all advanced classes. Casey was smart, attractive, athletic, and a genuinely decent person. Olivia had heard about Casey getting in one of her teammate's faces whenever the other girl needed her behavior checked. Olivia had also heard from Amanda that about a week after that girl had graduated, her and Casey settled it the old fashioned way. So, the junior could definitely hold her own. 

"Liv, come on. I didn't tease you about Amanda nearly this much. Actually, I didn't tease you at all about Amanda." Olivia sighed, knowing that Alex was right. In fact, Alex had put in a good word with Amanda for Olivia's sake. The least that Olivia could do was lay off of Alex just a bit, maybe even tell Elliot to stand down with the teasing too. 

"Why haven't you asked Casey out Alex?" Olivia asked her friend. Olivia knew that Alex wasn't a coward, their relationship had been initiated by the blonde. Although, Olivia did notice that Alex got a lot more flustered around Casey than she had anybody else. Alex Cabot didn't blush easily or trip over her words, but she did when Casey Novak was involved. 

"I don't want it to end badly. When we broke up, we didn't talk for two weeks Liv, and it nearly killed me. I know that Casey and I aren't close, but I like it when she walks with me places, sits with me in the library, and smiles at me in the hallway," Alex admitted. Olivia frowned and reached out and grabbed Alex's hands. "I ruin relationships. I know I'd fuck it up with Casey." 

"I trust that you won't," Olivia promised Alex. Their little moment was interrupted by Amanda, Olivia's girlfriend, joining them. Amanda was dressed in her practice gear, meaning that the softball practice had just let out. "Hey you." 

"Hi," Amanda said as she leaned in to kiss Olivia. Olivia's hands moved away from Alex's and the tall blonde found herself focusing on the menu instead of her friends kissing. It hurt a little bit, but Alex knew that Amanda was perfect for Olivia. The two of them clicked way more naturally than Alex and Olivia did. That didn't stop Olivia from making sure she stayed in Alex's life to keep an eye on her. "I hear you're coming to our game tomorrow Alex." 

"Casey asked us if we were coming today at lunch," Alex said casually. Olivia and Amanda shared a look and Alex started picking at the corner of the table. "I figured if Eliot and Olivia were going, then I'd go to."

"I bet you're gonna look great in Casey's jersey," Amanda said and Alex choked on air. Olivia nudged Amanda as a warning to cut it out. "Sorry, I forgot that you and Casey aren't actually together. She just talks about you all the time, had me fooled." 

"She talks about me?" Alex asked, her voice suspiciously higher than it usually was.

Casey had no clue how Amanda managed to convince her to do this. At first, Casey had been waiting for Alex in the parking lot, but then she got nervous and went to the fields. Casey realized that Alex didn't normally walk past the fields in the morning because the path to the front doors used a different sidewalk going in the opposite direction. Casey saw Alex walking with Olivia and Amanda, the three of them talking about something. Alex's cheeks were flushed a bit and Casey wondered if maybe one day she'd get lucky enough to make Alex blush. If it wasn't for the way that Amanda made it obvious that she was with Olivia, Casey would have assumed that Alex and Olivia were still together. 

"Case!" Amanda yelled as she saw the redhead heading up to the stairs near the front doors of the school. Casey paused and turned around to see the three other girls about 20 feet behind her. Amanda pulled Alex and Olivia forward, excited to see Casey finally make a move with Alex. Amanda liked her younger teammate and wanted her to be with somebody who genuinely did make her happy. It helped that Alex was a good friend and it'd make Olivia feel less guilty having Alex around as a third wheel when they hung out. "Liv and I will be inside. You two should talk, I bet Casey's got a really important question for you." 

"Amanda!" Casey shouted as the shorter blonde ran inside with Olivia. Casey took a deep breath and then looked at Alex, who looked a bit confused. "So, um, I know that you're not like my girlfriend or anything, but Amanda suggested that you could wear one of my jerseys to the game tonight. If you don't want to, that's fine too. It's stupid of me to ask that. I'm sorry." 

"Casey," Alex said, almost too quietly for the redhead to hear her. "Do you want me to wear your jersey to the game?" 

"You could say that," Casey answered. Alex reached out and grabbed the bunched up shirt in Casey's hand. "It's from last year. Amanda said that you and Liv thought those were good ones, so I brought that one." 

"Thank you," Alex said and Casey nodded. Alex glanced past Casey to see Olivia putting on the jersey in the doorway as Olivia and Amanda watched Casey and Alex on the stairs. "I guess I wear this all day." 

"You don't have to, I'm sure you know what that'll make people think," Casey said quietly. 

"I do, and I don't mind," Alex admitted. The corner of Casey's mouth quirked up and she held her hand out to take Alex's backpack. It was heavy from books, but no heavier than any of the ones Casey normally carried around. The jersey was a bit loose on Alex, but not as loose as Casey's for their current year would be. Alex had noticed that Casey's arms looked a bit bigger and the younger girl had gained some muscle. "How does it look?" 

"Good, really good," Casey told her. Alex took her backpack back from Casey and the two of them walked inside together. Amanda and Olivia were waiting by their lockers, which were next to Alex's, but clear across the hallway from Casey's. 

"Now that looks perfect," Amanda said as she smoothed out the jersey. 

"We'll work on getting you a hat too," Olivia teased as she linked her arm with Alex's. 

"I don't wear hats," Alex told her. 

"Casey just hasn't asked you to yet," Amanda pointed out. 

Alex leaned against Olivia's shoulder as she watched the game. It wasn't really interesting, and Alex didn't pay attention unless Casey or Amanda were doing something. They were up by 2, but the other team was batting and their bases were loaded. Amanda pitched the ball and with a loud crack, the ball hit the batter's bat and went soaring through the air. Olivia swore under her breath as the music for a home run played and the other team surged forward. Alex frowned, she could see the look on Amanda's face already. This was supposed to be in the bag for them, but it wasn't. 

"She's gonna feel bad about that one," Olivia said sadly. It was true, Amanda was going to fret over that for the rest of the night, even if they won. There wasn't much longer to the game left, just one more chance for them to turn it around or at least tie it up. The other team didn't manage to score again and Amanda was first up to bat when their turn came again. Olivia stood up and cheered when Amanda threw it and ran straight to first base. A few more girls batted before Casey came to the plate. "Here's your girl." 

"She's not." Alex glanced down to hide her blush, but looked up when she heard a loud crack. Casey threw the bat behind her and everybody on the bases ran for home. It was enough to put them ahead again. Casey looked back at Alex in the stands and waved at her. Alex waved back and Olivia nudged her. "What?" 

"Quit being cute," Olivia told her. Alex rolled her eyes and watched the rest of the game. Elliot went home by himself and Olivia dragged Alex over to where the team was celebrating. Amanda ran into Olivia's arms and Casey kind of nervously walked over to Alex. Something was up and Alex wasn't sure what it was. 

"Come on Novak, too late to back out now," Amanda told her teammate. Casey took Alex's hands in hers and dragged her away from the rest of the team. Amanda and Olivia could still see them, standing over near one of the lights. 

"I want you to know that I totally would have at some point wanted to do this, even if Amanda wasn't pushing me," Casey told Alex. Alex was about to ask what was up when Casey put her hand on the side of Alex's jaw. "Can I kiss you?" 

"Yes," Alex breathed out and Casey leaned in and pressed her lips against Alex's. Alex brought her arms up to rest around the back of Casey's neck and Casey's other hand came to rest on the small of Alex's back. Alex started kissing Casey back and the two of them stood on their little part of the field kissing until one of the lights came on, spooking them. "You want to go to dinner Saturday night?" 

"Absolutely," Casey answered. Alex leaned in to kiss her quickly before the two of them went back to find Olivia and Amanda. They learned that the two had left, leaving Casey as Alex's ride back home. "Almost feels like this was arranged." 

"I don't mind them playing matchmaker. I don't know if I could have asked you out otherwise. You make me nervous," Alex admitted. 

"I make you nervous? You're always so cool and calm, I don't believe it, but I'll take the compliment."

Chapter Text

The next morning after the softball game, Alex woke up extra early. She sent a text to Olivia that her and Amanda didn't need to worry about meeting her for breakfast in the morning. Alex stopped on her way to the bathroom connected to her bedroom and stared at Casey's jersey, draped across the back of her desk chair. Alex had washed it almost as soon as she'd gotten home. Alex was a little sad that it didn't smell like Casey anymore, but Alex would have had a difficult time returning it if it did. Maybe, if their date went well, Alex would end up with some of Casey's shirts to wear around the house. Her parents would ask a few questions about where she got the clothing, but it was easier to pretend Casey was a guy than it was to pretend that Olivia was. 

Alex had told her parents several times that she was a lesbian. They had ignored her time and time again, until she brought home Olivia Benson. Alex's parents had met the other girl as Alex's friend before. They'd even pretended that Alex and Olivia were just friends until Alex started making it hard to ignore. When Olivia and Alex had broken up, her parents had been weird about Alex and Olivia hanging out for awhile, but then they went right back to not caring. With Casey, Alex could actually tell them about their relationship and it not become as awkward. Alex just had to be careful whenever the time came for Casey to start coming over to her house. 

"Al, honey, you're up early," Alex's father noted. He always woke up before her. She got the "early riser" trait from him and the insomnia from her mother. At least that was what her uncles liked to joke. Alex was never running on the amount of sleep that the doctors and therapists had told her to. It wasn't like she could help it though, Alex had always been that way. Even as a small child, she would have fits of restlessness  even when she was dead tired, and then when she finally fell asleep, Alex would wake up with the sun. For a little while, Alex's parents had put her in different sports programs, hoping that would tire her out. Alex wasn't overly unathletic, but she was only really good at tennis and golf. Tennis days were bonding days with her mother and golf days had always been the daddy-daughter days. Neither sport was really enough to tire her out to the level she needed for a good night's rest though. 

"There are only so many hours in a day to get what you need done," Alex told her father. It was something Alex's grandmother had told her. It was true, but Alex was pretty sure that part of why she'd beat her alarm by almost an hour was not attributed to her ambition. Alex was, simply put, nervous. She had kissed Casey last night, several times after the game. Today, Alex was going to have to see Casey. At the very least, she'd give back the jersey and maybe they'd discuss the details of their date tomorrow night. "Saturday night, I have a date. Is it okay if I skip going to the club with you and mother?" 

"Of course, who is the lucky person?" Alex wanted to lie, but she was an honest person. At least her father was making more of an effort than her mother was. 

"A softball player, Casey Novak. We are going to dinner," Alex told her father. He nodded and smiled at Alex. He knew that Alex had no actual interest in the softball games she'd been going to since before Olivia and Amanda had started dating each other. He had also seen Casey Novak in the papers quite a few times for her athletic feats and a few academic ones. She had won the junior law mock trial, the girl was born to be a prosecutor, much like his own daughter. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that this girl would be going to bigger places than the last girl that Alex had brought home. It wasn't that Alex's father had anything against Olivia Benson, but the girl's ambitions stopped with the police academy. 

"You have fun on your date, and be safe." 

Post-game pre-school practices were Casey's least favorites. Casey liked sleeping in when she could, especially after games. At least they hadn't lost the game because Casey doubted she could have mustered the strength to run laps. Casey's game had been good that night, but they'd almost lost the game. Casey wasn't exactly on board with the coach chastising Amanda for that grand slam the other team got, especially since for the opening game, Amanda's performance had been phenomenal. Casey didn't know Amanda all that well, but she liked to believe that they were friends with each other. Casey didn't really talk to anybody else on the team, and Amanda may have just gotten Casey a girlfriend. 

"Novak, I'd pay attention if you want to start the next game," coach warned. Casey nodded and kept her head forward. The little meeting at the end of their practice ended after Casey was congratulated for her big hit and they were told to hit the showers if they wanted. Amanda left to get breakfast with her girlfriend and Casey cleaned herself up before going back to the parking lot to put up her things. 

"Casey." Alex's voice startled Casey. It was a bit early for students to be arriving, but it didn't surprise Casey that Alex was there early. Casey turned around and saw her old jersey being extended towards her by Alex. "I washed it for you last night. I wasn't sure when you'd want it back." 

"Thank you," Casey thanked Alex. She put it in the backseat, next to her softball bag. "Do you want to have a seat inside? Maybe we can talk about the date tomorrow." 

"Of course," Alex agreed. On the outside, she managed to remain calm and collected, but on the inside, Alex was terrified that Casey was rethinking their date and wanted to cancel on her. At least Casey had the decency to cancel on her in person instead of over the phone or in a text. 

"How about we start with the easy stuff? I don't have your number Alex," Casey said and Alex glanced at the phone being extended towards her. Alex put in her information and then texted herself so she had Casey's number too. "Okay, do you want me to pick you up or do you want to meet me somewhere?" 

"I'll text you an address to meet me at actually," Alex said and Casey smirked at her taking charge. She knew that Alex Cabot was confident and assertive, but Casey had never experienced it firsthand. "I'm paying by the way." 

"We'll see about that," Casey told Alex. "Where did you have in mind for our date? I do have to know how to dress for the occasion." 

"Elvino's?" Alex asked and Casey sputtered as she shook her head. "Do you not like Italian?" 

"I thought you'd want to go somewhere like Chili's. We're high school students, not socialites," Casey told Alex. Alex looked down at her hands, immediately feeling bag. Sometimes, it was really clear that Alex had grown up in a wealthier household than her peers. The only reason she was even at this school was because Alex wanted to experience a normal life before she went to college. Casey glanced over at Alex and sighed, realizing that she'd hurt the blonde's feelings in some capacity. Instantly, she felt awful, but Casey put on a stoic front and turned to Alex. "I'm sorry, that was insensitive. This is all making me pretty nervous and you didn't exactly suggest a place that I could come close to topping for a second date. I get it if you don't want that anymore though, or the first date." 

"Are you kidding me? I've wanted to go out with you for like a year," Alex admitted. Casey bit her lip and smiled at Alex. The two of them sat there in silence for a moment before Casey spoke up. 

"Can I be honest with you?" Casey asked and Alex nodded. "I don't know what you're expecting from this. I really like you, I have for awhile, and I'm so happy that you're giving me a chance. I don't want to ruin things because even if you hadn't wanted to kiss me, I'd still want to be your friend Alex. I don't want to disappoint you, but when it comes to physical stuff, I won't do anything until I'm sure that it's the right time." 

"Don't worry about that now. It's a first date, we'll eat some fancy food, maybe take a walk in the park, and then wait by the phone to text each other for a couple of hours," Alex said, a light tone to her voice. "If we have fun, we'll have more dates. The only way you could disappoint me is if you stood me up. We don't have to do anything you don't feel ready for. I'm willing to wait just to hold your hand." 

Casey wasn't really sure she should have said to Alex in that moment. A million things were running through her head, but the look of understanding from the blonde let Casey know she didn't have to answer. So, she just leaned over and pressed her lips to Alex's cheek. Alex ducked her head down a bit when Casey backed away to hide the blush creeping up on her cheeks. Casey was blushing too, but Alex didn't see that. It seemed like Alex never did notice that, not yet anyways. 

"Novak, just the girl I was looking for," Olivia said as she stopped Casey in the hallway. Alex had been happy when Olivia saw her first that morning. Olivia needed to have a chat with Casey to make sure that Casey kept Alex in such a good mood. Casey stopped as Olivia grabbed onto her wrist and let herself get dragged into an empty bathroom. 

"Can I help you?" Casey was trying to act tough. Olivia didn't doubt that Casey wouldn't give her a run for her money, but if Casey hurt Alex, Casey didn't stand a chance. 

"Yeah, you and Alex see each other this morning? She had this smile on her face, it was lame and dopey. Totally unlike Alex, but it was nice to see her genuinely happy. The two of you aren't even really anything officially yet and you already are making her happy. That's great," Olivia told Casey. Casey was sensing a 'but' coming, so she just waited to response. "But if I hear that you hurt her, we're not gonna be so friendly. I like you Casey, I really do. You've got a good head on your shoulders, you are a good kid, but Alex means a lot to me." 

"I get it," Casey told Olivia. Olivia nodded and patted Casey on the back before she left the bathroom. Casey stood there and stared at herself in the mirror until someone new came into the bathroom. Casey kept a calm head as she walked to the library, where Alex was already seated at a table. Piles of notes were set out in front of her. She was copying them down and Casey noticed that she saw Olivia and Elliot's names on two folders. "I'm pretty sure they can take their own notes." 

"They can, but Elliot's handwriting is so messy I doubt he can read it all the time, and Liv's working out to get into shape for basketball season. I don't know why she is, she never was out of shape. They don't make me do this by the way, I just think it's a better use of my time than sitting in here bored," Alex said as she glanced up at Casey briefly. Casey nodded and pulled out a study guide for her upcoming chemistry test. Casey was smart, but to say she had been struggling in that class was a bit of an understatement. By most standards, Casey was ahead of the game, but Casey knew what she needed in order to make it to the colleges of her dreams. 

The two of them didn't really talk much that period. Alex noticed every so often that Casey looked frustrated. Her brows were furrowed in a deep concentration that would break every five minutes or so. Alex wasn't staring at Casey, she'd swear until she was dead that she wasn't, but the little groan whenever she lost her place or missed a question that Casey made gave it away. Alex wanted to offer her help, offer to let Casey come over sometime to study, but she didn't. Olivia, Amanda, and Elliot were coming over Saturday morning to study before the three of them hit the gym later and Alex had to get ready for her date with Casey that night. 

"What I wouldn't give to be able to skip this class," Casey said as she shoved the papers back into her backpack. Alex watched Casey, anger rolling off the girl in waves. "I think I'm gonna hit the cages for awhile tonight." 

"Cages?" Alex asked and Casey nodded. 

"Batting cages, I'll take you sometime. I'd love to teach you how to swing," Casey said and Alex blushed at the thought of it. Casey's body pressed against hers, a chance to really feel how "built" Casey really was. Alex had heard Elliot and Olivia brag on how good Casey did in weightlifting before, but she had ignored their gym rat talk most of the time. It wasn't that she didn't care, she didn't, but more that she didn't want to get distracted thinking about her crush's arms. 

"I would only embarrass myself, but I'll let you take me to the batting cages if I can take you golfing sometimes," Alex offered. 

"Let me drive the cart and it's a done deal." Casey was only joking, but Alex took her seriously. 


Alex's hands were practically shaking as she held them in her lap. She had texted Casey the address of the restaurant where their reservations were. Alex decided not to wait at their table, instead staying in the waiting area for her date. A part of Alex wondered if she'd picked a place too fancy for their first date. Casey had been pretty adamant on her not picking a place where the bill would be more than $100. Olivia had been the same way, but something told Alex that maybe she'd be able to keep Casey around long enough to get the redhead used to be spoiled a little. Alex's father spoiled her mother and despite how distant they could be with her, Alex knew that her parents really did love each other. Sometimes, she swore they loved each other more than they loved her, but Alex knew it only seemed that way because she'd never let herself become too dependent on them. 

"I'm so sorry I'm late," Casey said as she came running into the restaurant. Alex hadn't noticed Casey's car pulling into the parking lot or the softball player literally sprinting over. Alex did notice the flush on Casey's face and the slight breathlessness. Alex stood up and for once, she was taller than Casey. Normally, she believed they were the same height, but Casey had opted for wearing a pair of black Vans instead of heels for their date. Alex had picked out a nice dress that she hoped caught Casey's attention without being too revealing and a nice pair of heels. Casey had worn a pair of black skinny jeans, a checker patterned and a short sleeved checker patterned shirt. 

"You look nice," Alex told Casey. Casey ducked her head down a bit and smiled at the compliment. 

"Thanks, you look absolutely beautiful. I didn't think it'd be this formal from the texts." Alex took Casey's hand in hers and walked past the hostess and straight to their table. It was the same table that her parents normally reserved. They sat down and almost immediately a waiter came in with menus and complimentary water. 

"Don't worry about how much anything costs. I've got you," Alex told Casey. Casey scoffed when she saw the first few entrees on the menu. "Relax, just pick something that sounds good." 

"Alex, this is like a week of a summer job wages," Casey told her date. Alex heard the nagging voice in the back of her head berating her for going overboard on the first date. It was a bit awkward after they ordered. Alex didn't want it to ruin the date, so she made Casey an offer. 

"Look, I obviously don't date a lot. Olivia and I had this problem too, there's some miscommunication between the two of us. Your normal and mine aren't the same, but that's okay. Yeah, I'll probably end up taking you to a country club some weekends because that's what I'm used to, but I want you to let me experience your normal too. I want to know what Casey Novak would normally do on a date. Obviously I missed the mark a bit, but the more time we spend together, the closer I'll get to the bullseye." 

"That's fair," Casey reasoned. "Thursday, before the game, I want to take you out for pizza. We'll go downtown, get a box, maybe some sodas, and then we can sit at the fields together. And since you're insisting on paying for this, I'll take the next date, okay?"

"Okay," Alex agreed. Casey smiled and visibly relaxed a bit. Conversation came easily between the two of them. Casey was a lot dorkier than Alex had expected her to be. Alex was a nerd, she had never really done anything to hide that, but Casey had the cover of being a student athlete. Alex had learned that night that Casey spent most of her nights alone with law documentaries playing on her television while she did homework or just relaxed. Casey learned about Alex being on the school's tennis team as well as in a private league sponsored by a few country clubs in the state. Casey managed to get an invitation to one of Alex's matches and Alex managed to come home with the jersey that she had just given back to Casey. As Alex laid down in her bed that night texting Olivia about the details about her date, she wondered how Casey managed to get it smelling like her again. 

Chapter Text

Casey sat on the stairs in front of the senior parking lot as she waited for Alex to show up. Since Casey didn't have practice after school, she told Alex that she didn't have to use the field lots. Most people who used that parking lot off the team were sketchy. They more than likely had something in their car that they couldn't legally bring onto campus. Casey knew now that Alex just parked there so that she could see Casey when she walked to her car after school. It was sweet and cute, something that would make a romantic story to tell one day. Hopefully Casey got to that "one day" with Alex, but she knew that high school relationships didn't usually last all that long. Alex would probably go to college, find a better girl, and leave Casey behind. 

"What's with the kicked puppy look?" Elliot asked as he sat down next to Casey. She jumped a little, not having noticed that Elliot had been there. Casey glanced up at him and sighed. 

"Thinking," Casey told him. Elliot didn't push her for more than that, knowing that sometimes when he got to thinking he came across something he wished he hadn't. "How's Kathy?" 

"She's got a pretty bad cold. Won't even let come and check on her." Elliot kicked his heel against one of the stairs. Casey wondered if Alex would check on her if she got sick. She hoped that the blonde would, but at the same time, she didn't want Alex to see her all gross and sickly. "You waiting for your new girl?" 

"Y-yeah." Casey blushed as she looked down at her hands. 

"I take it your date went well then?" Elliot asked and Casey nodded. "You wanna talk about it or..." 

"She took me to this fancy restaurant. I'm taking her for pizza before the game Thursday," Casey told Elliot. There wasn't a whole lot for Casey to tell him. She enjoyed the date with Alex, who had no doubt told Olivia and Amanda. Well, it was more likely that Alex told Olivia, who told Amanda what happened. Casey hadn't disclosed any details to Amanda, but the blonde had called Casey to ask how good of a kisser Alex was in private. 

A small smile found its way onto Casey's face as she thought about kissing Alex. She wanted to walk Alex through the hallways, holding her hand, and kissing her cheek whenever they dropped each other at their classes. Casey wanted to get the whole high school relationship experience, at the least the ones that she saw in the movies. It was unrealistic, she knew that, but a girl could always hope. Homecoming had already passed, but maybe if Casey was lucky, she'd be able to have a movie moment with Alex at the winter formal. 

"I think this is my cue to leave," Elliot said and before Casey could ask him what he was talking about, she noticed Alex getting out of her car. Amanda and Olivia hopped out of the backseat and ran ahead of Alex to catch up with Elliot. Casey got off of the stairs and walked over to Alex's car. Hopefully she didn't come off as desperate or clingy, waiting for Alex like that. While she'd been waiting, it hadn't occurred to her that it could come off like that. Now, as she was walking up to Alex's car, Casey was suddenly terrified of what Alex would think of her. 

"Good morning," Alex greeted Casey. "Can I give you a kiss?" 

"Of course." Alex leaned in to give Casey a quick and chaste kiss. Casey smiled as she watched Alex grab her backpack out of the passenger's seat of her car. "I can take that if you'd like." 

"You don't have to carry my stuff for me Casey," Alex told her. Casey reached out for the bag anyways and Alex handed it over to her. Casey slung it over her free shoulder, not caring that she had two backpacks and her softball bag was by the stairs. "So, um, I had fun Saturday. I'm really excited about Thursday." 

"Good, hopefully it'll be fun. If it isn't, can I request a do-over date?" Casey asked and Alex nodded. 

"Has Amanda mentioned anything to you about a double date?" Alex asked and Casey shook her head. "Well, she's trying to get Liv to convince me to agree to it. I figured that I'd try to ask you before anybody else had a chance. We don't have to, but normally after school Liv, Amanda, and I go out to eat. Sometimes I help them with their homework, sometimes I just third wheel." 

"Are you asking me out again?" Casey asked and Alex nodded. "Great, just give me a time and place and I'll be there." 

"Tonight, and since I'm asking you out, you can't argue with me when the check comes," Alex told Casey. 

"You drive a hard bargain, but I guess I'll let you buy me dinner again," Casey said in a playfully dramatic tone. Alex took Casey's free hand and held on tightly as they walked up to the school. Even past the doors, she kept a tight hold on Casey's hand. Luckily, Casey didn't even try to let go of Alex's hand until they got to Alex's locker. 

"Liv, come on! We are so late!" Alex yelled as she sprinted across the parking lot of the diner. Amanda and Casey were already waiting in the normal booth near the back, engrossed in a conversation. Alex skidded to a stop in front of their booth and sat down next to Casey. Almost immediately, Alex just put her head down on the table and tried to catch her breath. "Sorry... we're... late." 

"You aren't late," Amanda told Alex. "We always meet up at 6 here." 

"You always get here at six. Liv and I get here at 5:40. We were 20 minutes late," Alex explained. Casey quirked an eyebrow at Alex, but didn't say anything. Once Alex had calmed down a little, she lifted her head and looked over at Casey. "Hi, how was your day?" 

"It was alright, but you know that already. You asked me in the library," Casey reminded Alex. "How was your day?" 

"Same old, same old." Alex leaned her head against Casey's shoulder. 

"Alex, stop being gross," Olivia teased as she sat down. Alex scoffed and sat up straight as the waitress brought over menus for everyone. 

"You know, neither of you have any room to complain about PDA. I'd bet that Amanda's hand is on your thigh and with your arm wrapped around her, your hand is on her hip," Alex said and both Olivia and Amanda scooted away from each other. 

"I hate how you just know," Amanda said as she closed her menu. Alex smirked a little as she looked between her two friends. "Eventually, we'll figure out your thing and point it out too." 

"Alex has quite a few things," Olivia teased. Alex blushed and hid behind the menu. Casey just turned her head completely and stared out the window, not being able to meet anybody's eyes. "Relax Novak, it doesn't have to be like that. Ow! Did you just kick me?" 

"I did and I'll do it again if you don't shut up," Alex said with a sweet smile. "Behave because you forget that I know your dirt too." 

"Maybe we should behave Mandy." 

Thursday couldn't come fast enough for Casey. She had seen Alex at school on Tuesday and Wednesday, but now it was the day of their date. Alex had worn Casey's jersey and invited Casey to come sit next to her at lunch. It was the first time that Casey had ever seen Alex not reading a book at lunch. Even with all the noise around them, all Casey could focus on was Alex sitting next to her. The two of them talked a little bit about possible weekend plans. Alex was going to the country club on Saturday all day and then she'd at least have to be at brunch on Sunday. Casey had to study for a test on Monday, but Alex offered to come over and help her study. 

"I really thought that we'd be sitting inside and eating," Alex said as she sat in the passenger's seat of Casey's car. Casey shook her head and leaned her seat back a bit. 

"It was crowded in there. Crowds can be kind of scary," Casey told Alex. A part of Alex wondered if maybe Casey wanted to hide Alex. She pushed that thought out of her mind and just tried to enjoy the private time that she was getting with Casey. "So, um, we should probably head back to the parking lot. Traffic gets bad here around now." 

"Can you eat and drive?" Alex asked and Casey nodded. "Is that safe?" 

"We'll get to the field like 10 minutes before the national anthem, not a lot of driving going on," Casey told Alex. The blonde nodded and watched as Casey pulled into traffic. She was right, they drove maybe three blocks before hitting traffic. "You know, I don't see you actually driving to school that often. Normally you ride in with Olivia or Elliot." 

"I have a car and I can drive, but I don't really like it. It makes me sort of nervous I guess," Alex admitted. 

"I love driving, so I guess it works out pretty well for us." Casey shot Alex a smile that made Alex's heart beat a little faster. Casey turned up the radio a bit as they ate their pizza. Alex noticed that Casey kept tapping her fingers against the steering wheel, humming along to one of the classic rock songs playing. Alex had heard it before in Olivia's car, but it what she normally found herself listening to. Alex liked music, but she primarily listened to it whenever she was doing homework or studying, so most of Alex was familiar with was classical music. "Tell me something about yourself Cabot." 

"My parents made me take piano lessons after I accidentally shot my cello bow at my instructor," Alex said and Casey laughed at that. "Okay, your turn." 

"You, uh, you were my first kiss." Casey blushed and ducked her head down a bit, rubbing the back of her neck. Alex couldn't help the proud little smile on her face at the thought of getting to be Casey's first kiss. If Alex thought about it, she couldn't remember ever seeing Casey being around someone who she could have been dating. Still, she couldn't believe that nobody was out there trying to kiss Casey Novak, it was all she'd been thinking about doing for almost a year. 

Alex turned in her seat slightly and leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the corner of Casey's mouth. Casey looked up at Alex and pressed a kiss to her lips. It was soft and sweet, something that made Casey think of the summer loves that she'd never gotten, but always heard about. Alex deepened the kiss a little bit and Casey moaned slightly. She was blushing furiously whenever they parted, but Alex didn't have a chance to reassure her because the cars behind them began to honk. Casey gripped the steering wheel a bit tighter than usual and moved forward, not looking over at Alex until they were back at the fields and Alex was giving Casey a kiss for good luck. 

Chapter Text

Casey looked over her room one more time before she finally went downstairs. She had cleaned it Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night, and once again on Sunday. There was no way that she could make it look any cleaner than it was without just throwing all her things away until it was empty. Casey was nervous, she'd had people over before, but none of them were Alex. None of them had been like Alex either. Casey had never really thought about dating anyone, mainly because her parents were pretty strict about her making good choices. So, as far as they knew, Alex was just a friend. Not to mention that Casey hadn't come out to her parents, and they were dense enough that she doubted that they had noticed enough to come to that conclusion. She was pretty sure that they thought Elliot was her boyfriend, even though he'd shown her father pictures of him and Kathy every single time that he came over for school projects. 

"Casey, honey, there's someone here to see you!" Casey's mother shouted. Casey grabbed the door from behind her mother and pulled it open to see Alex standing nervously on her front porch. "Oh, there you are. I thought you were still throwing stuff around your room." 

"Mom, I was cleaning. Anyways, Alex, why don't you come upstairs. I've got my desk set up with the notes and everything," Casey said and Alex stepped inside. Casey's mother took care of closing the door as Casey brought Alex upstairs. "Sorry about her." 

"Your mom didn't do anything, she seems fine," Alex said and Casey huffed. "She have a habit of embarrassing you?" 

"Not as bad as my dad. I think he wanted a boy because I'm always his 'little champ' except for whenever they made me go to the church dances. Then, I'm his precious little girl and every boy has to stay at least 4 feet away from me," Casey joked. Alex laughed a little, knowing how overprotective fathers could get. She remembered her father giving Olivia a shovel talk, even if it was after Olivia and Alex had already broken up. Casey pushed open her door and shut it behind her once Alex had stepped inside of her room. Alex sat down at one of the chairs that'd been pulled back at Casey's desk. Casey sat down next to her and flipped straight to the section she was having trouble with on the study guide. 

Alex walked her through the equation and gave her some short cuts on how to solve it. Casey had to have it explained a few more times, but eventually had it down. Alex watched as Casey worked through some practice problems and then double checked Casey's work. Casey didn't seemed to be concerned with a perfect grade, but rather just passing that particular test. Chemistry wasn't a class that Casey thought would pertain to what she wanted to do in life, but it was one that she'd been placed into because the other science classes were already full and she needed a third credit. Alex knew that, so she didn't stress too badly whenever Casey would make a small mistake in her math. The instructor cared more about the ability to apply the right equations than the accuracy of the math on tests. 

"You wanna go out for dinner?" Casey asked as she checked her phone. It was just a bit past 7 and Casey had been feeling a bit hungry. "Or we can call in a pizza. I think my parents went out." 

"I, uh, I'd like that," Alex answered. Casey pulled her phone out and flopped onto her bed. She glanced over at Alex and nodded for Alex to join her. "Are you sure?" 

"Yeah, we're not doing anything here," Casey pointed out. Alex couldn't argue with that, so she got up and sat next to where Casey was laying down. "So, um, what kind of pizza do you like?" 

"I normally eat whatever Liv and Elliot order. So, you can pick," Alex told her. 

"Nah, you're gonna tell me what you want and I'll order it. You pick," Casey said as she handed her phone to Alex. Alex scrolled through and picked out a couple of toppings before giving it back to Casey. She looked over the order, added some breadsticks and a couple of sodas, and then checked out. "Oh thank god you didn't put olives on that pizza." 

"Olives are fine. Maybe a little weird on pizza, but they're fine," Alex said and Casey rolled her eyes. "How long until the pizza comes?" 

"32 minutes." Casey rolled onto her back and reached out to hold Alex's hand. "It wouldn't be, like, weird or anything if I asked you to lay down with me, would it?" 

"No, that's not a weird thing. I just, didn't want to overstep or anything," Alex told Casey. Casey shifted a little to give Alex more room and Alex laid down. It was hard for Alex not to end up touching Casey a little since Casey's bed was just a twin sized one. "You know, my parents got me a king sized bed. It's got a lot more space." 

"I bet you were a kid who got bunk beds even without siblings," Casey joked. 

"No, I didn't want bunk beds. I will admit I had a canopy bed though with pink lace curtains," Alex admitted. Casey laughed at that and Alex pouted at her. Casey leaned over a bit and pressed a kiss to Alex's nose, which immediately stopped the pouting. "Did you want bunk beds?" 

"More than anything for the longest time. Then, I got too old for it. My room now is pretty cool though, no king sized bed, but it's alright." Alex nodded in agreement and Casey looked around her room, trying to find something for her eyes to settle on. It was hard, she wanted to look at Alex, but she didn't want things to get weird. The two of them ended up going downstairs and hanging out in Casey's living room while they waited for the pizza to arrive. Alex couldn't remember if her and Liv had ever had a date that casual and relaxed. A part of her was sad about missing out on the potential of that with Liv, but she was glad that she did get that chance with Casey. 

"I passed!" Casey excitedly yelled as she chased Alex down in the cafeteria. Alex didn't even have a moment to react to what was happening before Casey picked her girlfriend up and spun her around in a hug. Casey set Alex down and excitedly shoved the test paper in Alex's face as she repeated herself, "I passed!" 

"I can see that," Alex said with an amused chuckle. 

"And the rest of the cafeteria is very proud of you honey," Amanda teased as she tugged her teammate towards the table where Olivia and Elliot were sitting. Alex followed them there, trailing behind and holding Casey's hand. "I think Casey passed her test." 

"Oh really? I really wasn't sure on account of the yelling," Olivia joked. Casey blushed a little in embarrassment and ducked her head down a bit. Alex put her hand on her girlfriend' back and traced the letters on the back of her shirt. "So, I take it your study date went well. You keep space for Jesus?" 

"Novak's bed is too small for Jesus," Elliot teased. Casey kicked him under the table and he swore as he dropped his fork on his tray. "Seriously though, you've got a tiny little children's bed." 

"It's big enough for me. I ask for a bigger bed and my parents are gonna ask who else is supposed to be sleeping there," Casey pointed out. "Not a question I'm here to answer unless you wanna vouch for me Stabler." 

"Casey, I don't see how you fit on that bed," Alex admitted. Casey shrugged and started playing with the lid of her milk bottle to distract herself. 

"You can all discuss my tiny bed and the issued there. I'm going to shovel this shitty food into my mouth so I don't have to be subjected to it," Casey told her friends. Alex sighed and tried to distract them from the fact that she'd spent most of her Sunday evening alone and pretty close with Casey. It was a bit of light teasing, which she didn't mind, but there wasn't really much behind it. Also, it made Casey get shy and nervous, which Alex definitely did not like. 

"I'm sorry about them," Alex apologized for their friends as they walked to Alex's next class together. "I'll tell them to stop." 

"Hey, it's what friends do. I'm sure that I've given just as good as I just got back there. So, um, here you are," Casey said as they stopped in front of a classroom door. Alex leaned forward to press a kiss to Casey's cheek as she took her backpack from the redhead. "I'll see you in the library." 

"Be good," Alex told Casey, knowing that the redhead had a class with Stabler. The last thing she wanted to hear about when they met up in the library was about how she'd gotten in trouble for "being hostile" with the boy. Alex knew both of them were fiery and sometimes from the outside things looked worse than they tended to really be. 

Amanda smiled as she watched Casey running from the field to Alex's car to kiss her girlfriend goodbye. There had once been a time whenever Amanda had been ridiculously jealous of the taller blonde. Now, it seemed that things had worked out for everybody. Amanda had Olivia, Alex had Casey, and Olivia and Alex got to keep their friendship. If things had gone any different, Amanda doubted that she'd have kept any of her friends. She knew that she was the "new one" to the group and other than Fin, Olivia had been Amanda's best friend. 

"They're dorks," Olivia said as she wrapped her arm around Amanda's waist. Amanda glanced up at her girlfriend and smiled a little wider. "How does Novak not fall running over the gravel like that?" 

"Determination not to embarrass herself in front of Alex. Casey has fallen by the way, several times actually. Most of them were last year, running to find someone to give her a ride home. Finally, I felt bad for the girl and told her to just wait for me." Amanda chuckled a bit at the memory. Casey had been tall and gangly then, but it seemed that over the summer, she'd definitely grown into herself and adjusted to the height. "Novak, you ready to hit the gym?" 

"Yeah, sorry. I wanted to tell Alex bye," Casey explained to them. Amanda nodded and opened up the door to her truck for her friend and girlfriend. The drive to the gym seemed to be mostly Olivia questioning Casey about the study date with Alex and Amanda occasionally butting in to ask a question or two herself. It felt nice to Casey to be able to talk about their little moment together without teasing from the rest of the group. 

"You know, if it bothers you, we'll stop the teasin'," Amanda told Casey. "Seriously, but you gotta let us know." 

"Okay," Casey agreed. Amanda clapped her on the back and then walked into the gym. Casey grabbed her bag out of the back and followed the older teens inside. They changed in the locker rooms and then went out to see what machines were and weren't taken. Casey checked her phone to see what had been put in her improvement notes from the workout sessions from softball practice. Amanda seemed to mostly stick with Liv, but Casey didn't mind being on her own. 

About halfway through her workout, Casey's phone had buzzed with a text from Alex asking if she was having fun. Casey took a quick picture in one of the mirrors and sent a text back to Alex about how it was kicking her ass pretty hard. Alex didn't text Casey back for about an hour and Casey didn't think much of it until she'd gotten home. Casey may not have dated anyone before, but she had been through her fair share of fuckboys that tried their luck with her. Before Casey's mind could get the better of her, Alex texted her back asking if maybe she could come along with her the next time. Casey beamed as she quickly let Alex know that she was absolutely fine with the two of them going together. 

"Good, I didn't fuck it up," Casey said to herself as she fell back against her bed. Casey laid there for a moment to rest and then got up to find something to keep herself busy with. 

Chapter Text

"This is stupid Alex," Olivia groaned as Alex pulled her into the fifth store that day. Whenever Olivia had accepted Alex's offer for them to get something to eat at the mall after school, she hadn't expected to be dragged to countless stores so Alex could buy workout clothes. "You know what we all wear to the gym?" 

"You told me already, but I take it you'll tell me again," Alex said as she looked through a rack of leggings. 

"We wear ratty old shirts with the sleeves cut off and basketball shorts usually. Amanda has these really hot spandex shorts she wears sometimes though." Alex turned to look at Olivia, unsurprised to see brown eyes slightly glazed over. Alex snapped her fingers in front of Olivia's face getting her attention. Olivia sighed as she watched Alex move to another rack of leggings. "Casey won't care what you wear." 

"That doesn't mean I don't want to look good for her," Alex pointed out. Alex looked back at Olivia and the brunette could see the nervousness on Alex's face. Immediately, she felt kind of bad for giving Alex shit. Olivia knew that Alex really wanted to make sure that Casey liked her, so she was making an effort to do new things with the redhead. Olivia decided then and there that she'd help Alex out, like really help her. 

"Okay, well, you should get a pair of these black ones. They're simple and you can't go wrong with those. Sometimes the gym is hot, so maybe you should look for shorts too. We can go to where Amanda gets her stuff if you'd like," Olivia offered. Alex nodded and actually picked out a couple different pairs of pants. They checked out, Alex got Olivia another pretzel to eat, and then Olivia took her to another sporting goods store. Alex got a couple of shirts and a new sports bra, one that Olivia told her didn't look that functional. Alex didn't care much about that, doubting that she would have to work out that hard with Casey and the girls. Casey had told Alex that they'd take things slowly at the gym and figure out what Alex could handle. 

"Hey Liv?" Alex asked quietly as Olivia drove the blonde home. 

"Yeah." Olivia turned briefly to look at Alex. 

"Thank you. I would have driven myself crazy if I'd gone alone. Then, I probably would have backed out too." 

"Alex, whatever you need, I'm here to help you. Amanda is too, if you ever need her help," Olivia told Alex. 

Basketball was not Casey's game. She was tall and could make the baskets fairly well, but had a tendency to foul other players. Not to mention she had quite the temper. Casey had played basketball throughout middle school, but decided her freshman year that it wasn't her sport anymore. Her dad had been a bit bummed out about the change of heart, but Casey really stuck with softball. She had put her nose to the grindstone and made sure that he had a daughter to be proud of. 

"Shit, I'm sorry," Casey apologized as she offered a hand to help Amanda up. One of Elliot and Amanda's friends, Fin, was back in town for a bit, so the three of them had invited Casey to play a game of basketball with them at the park while Olivia and Alex hung out together. "Are you okay?" 

"I've been better," Amanda said as she dusted herself off. She looked at Casey, who backed away from her and frowned. "Hey, it's okay. We'll pretend it was an accident and you forget about me telling you to join the team." 

"She fouls worse than you do El," Fin teased. 

"Maybe I should take a break," Casey suggested. Amanda followed Casey over to the bench. "I am really sorry about knocking into you." 

"Hey, you didn't hurt me too bad. Girls played like you did back home all the time, city musta made me soft," Amanda reasoned. She placed her hand on Casey's back as the two of them watched the guys play against the each other. "I wouldn't mind having you on my team next time we do this though." 

"You'd be okay with there being a next time?" Casey almost couldn't believe it. She knew that Amanda told them they were friends, that she was part of the group, but Casey had always kept herself a little bit distanced anyways. 

"Oh yeah, I would like little more than to see you knock Stabler on his ass. Wait until Liv's here too, she'll want to see that," Amanda chuckled. Casey smiled and nodded, liking that she could be included in shenanigans. 

"Case, come on, we gotta go!" Elliot called out to her. Casey bid a farewell to Amanda and Fin before letting Elliot drop her off so she could get ready. 

"I feel overdressed," Alex said as she looked at what her friends were wearing compared to what she had on. Olivia scoffed, remembering the fact that she had told Alex about what they normally wore to work out. Not only had Alex went out and bought expensive athletic clothing, but she'd also ironed all of it. Olivia knew that Alex would deny it if she was asked about it, but Olivia knew Alex too well to let that one just slide. 

"Alex, I'm pretty sure overdressed is your natural state of being," Olivia pointed out. Alex scoffed at the comment as she turned her back to Olivia. Just as she did that, she caught a glimpse of Casey walking out of the locker room, Amanda trailing behind her. Casey was the only person who Alex had ever seen Amanda trail behind whenever they walked places. Amanda had always walked sort of fast, like faster than Olivia and Alex, whose legs were definitely longer than the short blonde's. "Remember to take it easy. You don't want to overexert yourself." 

"I won't," Alex promised. She wanted to show Casey that she could keep up, but Alex wasn't really sure what she was keeping up with. Obviously, Alex knew that Casey was in better shape than she was. Amanda walked past Casey and followed Amanda over to the opposite side of the gym. Alex walked over to Casey, hoping that she didn't look too nervous. 

"You know, this is the first time I've seen you without your glasses," Casey noted as she offered Alex her hand. "You look good." 

"Thanks." Alex ducked her head down a bit, trying to hide the blush on her cheeks. "What are we doing first?" 

"Stretches." Casey walked Alex through everything, even offering to help her hold certain positions. Alex had politely declined, doubting that she could keep her composure with Casey's hands all over her like that. After stretching, Casey let Alex take a break to get water before they started actually working out. Casey kept them off machines as much as she could, deciding body weight stuff would be a better starting point for the two of them. 

"How often do you do this?" Alex asked, absolutely struggling to catch her breath. 

"A couple times a week at least. Amanda and I normally go on Saturday after morning practices by ourselves and then we come with Olivia during the week. Do you think you'll be joining us again?" Casey asked Alex. The blonde lifted her head up from between her knees and looked at Casey. Alex did want to keep coming with her, but she wasn't sure how many times a week she could do this. They weren't even finished and most of Alex's body was best described as feeling like a sore jelly. "It's okay if you don't want to." 

"I don't want to slow you down," Alex admitted. 

"You aren't. I'm really impressed, Olivia told me you aren't super active aside from country club sports," Casey teased a little. Alex pouted at that, but the pout was gone as soon as Casey pressed a kiss to her cheek. "You're keeping up and you've got great form. Also, after this, I'll totally take you out for donuts. You've earned it." 

"Doesn't that defeat the purpose of all this?" Alex asked and Casey shook her head. 

"I always get donuts and a hot dog after working out. I need something to keep me awake on the drive home," Casey pointed out. Alex wrapped her arms around the back of Casey's neck and let the redhead pull her onto her feet. "Don't hate me, but now we have to go run a little bit to cool down." 

Alex let out a whine and Casey told her that she could just walk for a bit. Three miles for Casey and one mile for Alex later and the two of them were back in the locker room, getting ready to go. Alex was grateful for the single stall showers. It was obvious now that Alex wasn't really in shape, she was just scrawny. Despite how difficult it seemed, Alex decided that she was going to make it at least once a week to the gym with Casey. Besides, Olivia had told her on multiple occasions the soreness in your muscles the next day was actually a great feeling. 

"Hey, you ready?" Casey asked as she smoothed down her shirt. Alex nodded and Casey grabbed her bag for her. 

"Thank you," Alex muttered as she leaned against Casey's side. It wasn't too long of a walk through the parking lot to Casey's car. Casey drove them to the donut shop a couple blocks from the gym, which she normally walked, and the two of them ate in her car. "You do this all the time?" 

"More or less. The workouts are a good way to not have to think, kind of like softball. The donuts just taste good," Casey chuckled a little. Alex yawned, suddenly feeling really tired. "Do you think you could give me directions to your place before you fall asleep?" 

"You could drop me off at Olivia's and she'll drive me home," Alex offered. 

"I don't know where anybody else lives. I mean, I know where Stabler lives, but that's only because we go to church together," Casey told Alex. Alex put her home directions into her phone and let Casey use that while she slept in the passenger's seat. Hopefully Alex wasn't mad at her in the morning whenever she'd wake up.

Chapter Text

"Dad, I look ridiculous," Casey said as she tugged at the bottom of her skirt. Alex had invited her to the country club, which meant golfing and tennis apparently. Casey had never really been one to play either game, but Alex had sounded so excited about them going on Saturday and playing a couple rounds of each game. So, Casey had gone to her father to ask what was appropriate for such games with a friend. 

"It's the attire. Now, you're sure that there aren't going to be any scummy little rich boys hanging around?" Casey's father asked her. She rolled her eyes, wishing a little bit that she could just tell her parents it was a date. Alex was her date, and Casey's dad didn't have to worry about any sort of "scummy" "shady" or "sketchy" boys. 

"They have gendered facilities," Casey assured her father. He gave her a small nod and put his hand on Casey's shoulder. She expected some sort of lecture or talk about "remembering where she came from" that she had gotten whenever she'd transferred schools. Technically, she was a public school kid, but she'd managed to make it into the nicer public school. The one that nobody else from her neighborhood went to. They all went to Catholic school, just like she had before convincing her parents this other school was better. In reality, she knew it'd only be a matter of time before someone at her old school figured her out, there was already speculation. 

"Well, you stay on the girls' side then. Have fun honey, but not too much," he told her. Casey gave him a small smile as he walked away from her. Alex's pulled up on the street shortly after and Casey all but ran out of the house. Alex switched sides to the passenger's seat, letting Casey take the wheel. 

"You don't like driving do you?" Casey asked Alex. 

"Not really. I got my license out of necessity," Alex answered. Casey gripped the steering wheel and pulled forward slowly. She played things safely, not really looking over at Alex until they were about six blocks away from her house. As Casey pulled up behind a car at a red light, she leaned over and pressed a kiss to Alex's cheek. Alex blushed a little bit and turned her head to kiss Casey properly. 

"I was hoping you'd do that," Casey admitted bashfully. Alex hummed happily as she turned her attention forward. The light changed and Alex plugged directions in for Casey. "Did you eat breakfast?" 

"I thought we could eat at the club," Alex suggested. Aside from being nervous about not being familiar with the fancier selection of food, Casey didn't have an issue with that. She could just hope that they served pancakes and eggs. When they got closer to the club, Alex got out her ID so they could get in. The more of the club that Casey could see, the more she realized that she didn't naturally fit into Alex's world. She didn't go golfing, she hadn't swam in a pool nicer than a hotel one before, and she didn't really know anybody who rode horses that weren't police. "Relax, you'll do fine." 

"Casey, you're facing the wrong way." With an exasperated sigh, Casey started turning again. 

"Better?" Casey asked as she looked back at Alex. Alex gave her a nod and just sat back. Casey started to wind back, which was when Alex stepped in again. "What am I doing wrong now?"

"You're gonna hurt yourself swinging like that," Alex told her. The blonde stepped in behind Casey and helped her get into position. She leaned forward and wrapped her arms around Casey, ignoring the way that the younger girl's breath hitched. Alex stayed there and guided Casey through the entire swing and made sure she followed through. "Do you think you can remember to do it like that next time?" 

"Y-yeah," Casey stuttered out. Alex took her swing and then they got in the cart so Casey could hit her ball onto the green. Alex let Casey drive the cart, which was the only part of their day so far that Casey was actually enjoying. The breakfast had been amazing, but she really wished that all of those rich people would have stopped staring at her. Golf was not going well for her, Alex having to constantly remind her to face the right way or how to swing the club. It should have come easy to her, but it wasn't and she was getting sort of frustrated. However, she was intent on making sure that Alex thought she was having fun. 

"There's your ball," Alex said and Casey stopped the cart. They got out and Alex helped Casey get set up for the swing. "Remember what we worked on?" 

"I think so." Casey took a couple of practice swings before going for it. The ball flew through the air and right over where Alex told her she needed to hit it. "Shit!" 

"Do you want to take a break?" Alex asked. Casey looked over at her girlfriend and shook her head. Alex sighed and walked over to Casey, rubbing her hands up and down the redhead's biceps. "It's okay. This is my fault. I didn't take you to the driving range to practice first." 

"This isn't your fault Alex. It's not anybody's fault. I think I'm gonna call it quits on this game though," Casey told her. Alex nodded, thinking maybe that was a good idea too. Casey put the rented clubs back in the bag and sat in the cart. It didn't take Alex very long to finish up that hole and then they went up to return the clubs. Alex let Casey drive around the country club a bit before they ended up at the tennis courts. 

"You're gonna want to be careful moving around the court in that skirt." Casey looked down at her outfit, regretting it once again. Alex noticed Casey's little frown and walked over to her. Casey leaned against Alex a little bit and the blonde wrapped her arms around Casey's body as she pressed a kiss to Casey's cheek. "I'm sorry this isn't fun for you." 

"You shouldn't be," Casey mumbled. Casey turned her head to the side and buried her face in the crook of Alex's neck. Alex rubbed her back, content to just stand there holding Casey for hours. "Okay, let's try this." 

"Are you sure? I can take you home," Alex offered. Casey shook her head and picked up a tennis racquet. Alex walked her through the swing for tennis and then walked over to the other side of the court so that they could play a game. Casey wasn't as bad with tennis as she was golf, but there was definitely still an adjustment period. If Alex managed to talk Casey into coming back to the club with her, they'd probably stick to the courts unless the weather was nice enough for them to hit the pools. 

"You know, we could have just eaten at the club, right?" Casey asked Alex. The two of them were sitting on a park bench a couple blocks away from Casey's house. Alex had insisted on leaving before the lunch rush at the country club and they'd driven around until Casey was whining because she was so hungry. 

"Yeah, but you don't like it there. And that's okay. Olivia didn't like it either and we'd argue about me making her go. I don't want to argue with you about stupid stuff like that," Alex told Casey. Casey smiled as she grabbed Alex's hand. Alex tucked herself under Casey's arm, cuddling into the younger girl's side. 

"I don't mind driving you around the club. And it wasn't totally boring watching you play golf I guess." Casey twisted the hair tie around her wrist. Alex ducked her head down a little and turned Casey's face towards her for a kiss. Casey kissed her back, but was careful to keep it pretty chaste. "We should go to the movies next weekend." 

"The movies? Anything good playing?" Alex asked. Casey shrugged and Alex leaned back against the bench. "Whatever you want to do, I'm there." 

"Great, I'll get the tickets Wednesday then," Casey told her. "Oh, and before you ask. It's a surprise Alex." 

"This is starting to sound like a revenge date, but okay," Alex joked. The two of them finished their lunch and then Alex dropped Casey off at her house. Alex went home and Casey just went upstairs to her room, glad that her parents had gone out for the day. Casey showered and changed into something more comfortable before laying down for a nap. By the time that she woke up, her father was home and cooking steaks on the stove. 

"Casey, honey, can I ask you something?" Casey had heard that tone of voice before. It was the "I know something troubling, but I don't know if it's true or not" voice. 

"Go ahead Dad," Casey told him. He sighed and pulled her into the dining room so they could both sit down. 

"Your mother and I stopped at the grocery store before we got home, and Mr. Newman and his wife, Shelley were there. They said that Brett saw you kissing a young lady in the park today. Is there something that you'd like to tell me about your friend Alex?" 

"There's nothing I want to tell you, but I guess I kind of have to now, don't I?" Casey let out a dry laugh. 

"Not at all. You do not have to say anything that you don't want to. Just, keep the skirt length past your fingertips from now on." He clapped Casey on the back before going back into the kitchen. "Your mom is out. You mind helping your old man kiddo?" 

"Yeah dad, it's no problem," Casey told him. He handed her a bowl of potatoes to peel and slice. Casey was glad for the easy, menial task to help distract her and slow her heart rate a little. 

Chapter Text

Either Casey's mother hadn't heard the news about Casey kissing Alex like her father had, or her mother was just really good at denying it. Casey wasn't sure whether or not her parents were homophobic. She found out that her father didn't really care either way, as long as Casey was being safe and smart. Casey's mother hadn't ever said anything in memory that Casey could think to figure out her mother's mindset. So, that meant there was a chance that neither of her parents would get upset about Alex and Casey being together. 

"Casey, you're going to be late!" Casey's mother yelled up the stairs. Casey glanced over at her alarm clock and swore under her breath. Her mother was right, but Casey wasn't even dressed yet. She hadn't even picked her clothes out for the day, so in a panic, Casey just grabbed the first things she saw that sort of looked alright. It came as a lucky break that Casey's mother had gone back up to her room or was busy in the kitchen as Casey rushed out of the house. Her mother was convinced that Casey went to an upscale school, so Casey always had to dress nicely. Today's attire was a pair of old shorts from her summer spent as a church camp counselor and a shirt that Casey usually wore to the gym. That had been an accident, especially since Casey knew she'd get dress coded for the cuts along the side of the shirt. 

"Are you okay?" Alex asked Casey as she saw the redhead running up towards the front stairs. "Isn't it kind of cold for those shorts?" 

"Not when you have to run a quarter of a mile from your parking spot. It actually makes the hoodie a bit too warm," Casey panted as she readjusted her backpack. Alex rolled her eyes and gave Casey a quick kiss on the cheek. "So, it's been over a week since my dad talked to me." 

"What's your mom said?" Alex asked and Casey sighed. "That bad?" 

"She hasn't said anything. My mother is like the gossip queen on our block, there's no way she doesn't know. I even went to church with her and nobody said a thing. It's making me nervous." 

"Maybe they don't care Casey," Alex suggested. Casey shrugged and pushed open the door, holding it open for Alex. "Such a gentlewoman, thank you." 

"You're welcome," Casey muttered as Alex leaned forward and kissed her cheek again. Casey walked Alex to her first class, pausing to give her a kiss on the lips, and then walked off to her first class. Alex sounded pretty certain that everything would be fine for Casey, so Casey decided to go along with Alex's optimism. There was no use in stressing herself out and not enjoying all the time she could with Alex. 

"Hey Novak, you okay?" Elliot asked as he dropped down to sit next to Casey on the grass. It had warmed up quite a bit, enough for the class to convince their history teacher to let them sit outside for the period. 

"I'm good, not really sure why I wouldn't be," Casey answered. Elliot gave her a look, one with a good amount of surprise and disbelief. "Is this about Alex and me in the park?" 

"Oh yeah, my mom asked me about it last night. The stories are absolutely wild now, was it a kiss or was it..." Elliot trailed off, a light blush rising to his cheeks. Casey's eyes widened and she hit him in the chest, hard. "Ow!" 

"It was a kiss. Alex and I haven't, done anything." Casey's voice was higher than usual, but Elliot could tell from the embarrassment that she wasn't lying to him. 

"Okay, I was just checking. Better me bringing this up than your parents, right?" 

"Debatable Stabler," Casey told him. Elliot let out a small chuckle as the bell rang, letting them out for lunch. Casey rushed into the cafeteria, just barely beating Stabler there. Alex was already sitting at her usual spot, just waiting for Casey to join her. Casey pressed a kiss to Alex's temple as she sat down and then started digging into her food. 

"Do you want to get dinner with me tonight?" Alex asked Casey. "My parents are out of town and I'm kind of a shitty cook." 

"Sure, we can hang out after school too," Casey suggested. "No softball, no country club sports, and no gym." 

"Just us and some Netflix," Alex told her. Casey agreed to that, liking the idea of getting to just relax with Alex for an afternoon before they went out to eat. Casey made a note to invite Alex over whenever her parents went on a date night to cook for her. Casey knew she wasn't Martha Stewart, but her mother had worked hard to instill some traditionally feminine skills in Casey. She always did say that softball wasn't going to be there forever. 

"Congratulations on your trip to space Alex," Olivia teased as she sat down across from them, Elliot and Kathy behind her. 

"My trip to space?" Alex asked. She knew she shouldn't have asked, betting it would be a jab at her and Casey somehow. "I've never been to space Liv, I'm not an astronaut." 

"Coulda fooled me, I mean Casey's staring at you like the put the sun in the sky yourself this morning." Alex kicked Olivia under the table and the brunette winced. Amanda rolled her eyes as she sat down, knowing already why Olivia was rubbing her shin. "She kicked me 'Manda." 

"And you deserve it, I told you that space thing was stupid. You okay Case, you look distracted," Amanda said, nudging the redhead under the table. 

"Y-yeah, just a lot on my mind, that's all." It was plausible that neither of her parents cared about the liking girls thing, but Casey sincerely doubted that once they heard the sex rumors, they would be so keen to turn the other cheek. Now, she knew it was only a matter of time before some sort of fallout. 

Casey hadn't been the same since lunch. Whatever fears that had been bothering her about her parents before were back, and maybe even worse. Alex wasn't a fan of whatever it was. She wanted to hold Casey's hand and kiss her as they walked out to the parking lot, but instead, Casey kept her distance. It was like she didn't want Alex to touch her or anything. Alex knew it was hard coming to terms with one's sexuality, but it had felt like Casey had a better grasp on herself. 

"Do you actually want to hang out with me?" Alex asked as Casey started her car. "Because if not, we don't have to." 

"No, I want to hang out. Why would you think otherwise?" Casey looked shocked, suddenly afraid she had done something to Alex. "D-did you not want me to come over now?" 

"I want you to come over Casey, I really do, but I don't want our relationship to get stuck behind closed doors," Alex told her. Casey ducked her head down, staring at her lap as she tried avoiding Alex's gaze. "Are you ready for that Casey?" 

"I don't know," Casey admitted. Alex unbuckled her seatbelt and opened up her door, ready to get out of Casey's car. "Can I at least drive you home Alex?" 

"Casey, it's fine. We'll talk about this tomorrow, okay?" Alex asked and Casey just watched her go. Alex ran to find Olivia's car and get a ride home from her instead, glad that Olivia didn't ask too many questions about why Alex was so upset. Casey went back to her parents' place and just flopped down on the couch. 

"Hey slugger," Casey's dad said. She looked up at him, a mix of emotions etched on her face. All he saw was the hurt in her eyes and the small quivering of her lip as she tried steadying her breathing. "What's going on Case?" 

"I think I ruined my relationship," Casey sniffled. He knelt down by the couch and brushed his daughter's bangs out of her face. "I don't know if I'm ready yet. It's scary, people here will talk and then mom will get upset and-," 

"And it won't matter as long as you're happy. Casey, you're a big girl and we trust you. You know to be safe, you know to leave if you're uncomfortable, and you know how to throw a mean hook if someone isn't letting you go. If you want to date this girl, then I think you should go talk to her now. Are you okay to drive there or do you need some help from your old man?" 

"I've got it, thanks dad." Casey sat up and put her shoes on before running out of the house. She booked it going down the street, eager to get to Alex's before it was too late. She most definitely passed Olivia's car on the way there, which was when the possibility that Alex could have not been there hit her. Casey gripped the steering wheel a little tighter as she pulled into Alex's driveway. Casey planned on marching right up to Alex's front door, but when Alex stepped out of her house and called out Casey's name, Casey fell out of her car. 

"Are you okay?" Alex asked. Casey just hopped up onto her feet and dusted herself off, having taken worse falls in softball and the summer she played volleyball. Gym floors were not the most forgiving of surfaces. "W-were you crying?" 

"Honestly, yeah I was. That tends to happen when I think I've fucked up. Alex, I want to go on dates and hold hands and kiss you and I want you to be my girlfriend. It's just a little scary, that's all. My mom used to tell me that I'd make someone the most beautiful bride and that my husband would be so happy to have me. I didn't want her to hate me because the chance that I'd never have a husband was suddenly there. I'm sorry if I made you feel like I didn't want you around." 

"God, you are something else," Alex said. Casey ducked her head down at the compliment to hide her blush. "I wanted to be so mad at you for letting me walk away, but I can't. You were doing something for someone else and you deserve to do things for yourself. I realize that me telling you this is selfish because I want you too, but I'll go on dates with you, hold your hands, and kiss you." 

"What about being my girlfriend?" Casey asked. 

"Yes, I'll be your girlfriend Casey," Alex agreed. Casey turned her back to Alex and pumped her first before spinning on her heel and kissing Alex's cheek. "God, how old are you?" 

"17. My birthday was in September, remember, I brought you a cupcake at lunch?" 

"That was rhetorical. Come on, I believe that we agreed on an afternoon of Netflix. I'll let you pick out the first movie." 

"Oh, I've got a good one!" Casey exclaimed as she ran past Alex and into the house. Alex shut the door to Casey's car for her and then went inside to find Casey sitting next to Alex's blanket. Alex settled into the little space Casey left for her and curled up against the softball player. Personally, Alex wasn't into Casey's movie, which was stupid and vulgar, but she definitely loved the way that Casey laughed at the jokes.