Olivia groaned, rummaging around in her purse to stop the Teletubbies theme song from playing. Before the Teletubbies could say "Eh-oh!", Olivia finally managed to answer the phone, pausing to shoot a glare at a sniggering Petrovsky and a smirking Alex.
Abbie, who was covering her mouth with her hand to try and stifle her laughter, bumped her shoulder into Olivia's playfully. "Who is that?"
"I'm not sure that I want to know," Olivia sighed, uncovering the receiver. "Benson."
"Damn, girl, you supposed to be on vacation. What's the last name for?"
"Fin! Your partner is a sick, sick man."
"Aw, hell no. What'd his bony ass do this time?"
Serena snorted, a far stretch from the dignified way that she usually held herself. "That's Fin? Don't tell him, Olivia! He'll kill Munch..."
Petrovsky rolled her eyes. "Those two are like a married couple."
"Did you know that the conservative pastor and televangelist Jerry Falwell accused the Tinky Winky character of being a gay role model for infants and toddlers because of his purple color and the triangular shaped antennae on his head?" Maura asked. "Also, using television as a teaching medium for the developing brains of small children is still a controversial subject-"
Jane groaned, cradling her forehead in her hand. "I can't take you anywhere, can I?"
Fin, who could hear snatches of the conversation from the other end of the line (partially due to Olivia's excellent cell phone service), started to grow confused. "Liv, am I hearing right? Munch and I are married, and now we're Teletubbies?"
Abbie giggled. "Aw hell, we already knew that."
"Okay," Olivia said, raising her voice to cut through the confusion. "Fin, if you see Tinky Winky, tell him that his ass is mine once I get back from vacation. He changed all the IDs and ringtones on my cell phone."
"Yeah? What was I?"
"Teletubbies ringtone and the ID said 'Token Black Guy'."
"Oh no he didn't. That old bastard's really askin' for it this time."
Petrovsky raised her eyebrows. "John Munch changed all of Olivia's ringtones?" she asked Alex. "Dare I ask what yours was?"
The blonde attorney just shook her head and took another sip of her water to avoid speaking. Abbie was more than willing to fill the judge in, however. "He put me as 'Redneck Woman' and Alex got 'What Is Love'."
"Be grateful that you're not on my speed dial, Lena," Alex said dryly. "I considered using the Wicked Witch theme from The Wizard of Oz for your number."
Maura's face brightened. "Did you know that several literary critics have interpreted The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a commentary on the Gold Standard and the politics of America in the 1890s?" she asked excitedly. "The Wicked Witch of the West actually represented the western railroads, and the Cowardly Lion was a caricature of-"
"William Jennings Bryan," Alex interrupted. "My second major was literature for my undergraduate degree."
"Really? Can you believe that, for sixty years, that interpretation didn't even exist until a high school English teacher named Littleton..."
A frustrated Jane Rizzoli put a gentle finger over Maura's lips, forcing her to stop talking. "I think it's really sexy when you turn into a walking dictionary, but please don't ruin Judy Garland for me, honey."
"Jane, are you insinuating that you like to taste the rainbow?"
The detective choked. "Oh my god, that is wrong on so many levels..."
"I thought it was rather clever," Petrovsky added her two cents.
Beside them, Olivia was finishing up her conversation with Fin, leaning away from the booth and using her arm to try and muffle the noise. "Listen, I gotta go. You know how it is... yeah... Uh-huh... I'm at a table with six ladies and I'm talking to you, bonehead. What's wrong with me?"
When she ended the call, Olivia turned to Alex, about to explain what had prompted Fin to contact her, when another cell phone started ringing, this time with a regular vibrating sound. Automatically, the other six women checked their respective purses to find out which of them was being contacted. Petrovsky was the lucky winner, and Alex, Abbie, and Serena could not help raising their eyebrows at the sleek, expensive black phone that she held to her ear. "Hello... yes? What, really?" Dismayed, Petrovsky held the phone away to check the time. "Well, damn it." Wearing an irritated expression that Alex was very familiar with, she hung up without saying goodbye.
"Uh-oh," Abbie said in a mock-whisper, "someone's about to have their balls nailed to the wall."
"Ovaries," Petrovsky corrected flatly. "My nieces are getting married tomorrow. It's why I'm in Provincetown, actually."
"Congratulations," Maura said with a broad smile. "That must be very exciting for you."
"Yes and no. It's a double wedding. Chelsea is my favorite relative and her future husband is a fine young man, but her sister, Theresa, is a nightmare, and I've been dreading this trip since they announced the wedding six months ago."
Jane, who was uncomfortable in loud, social gatherings that involved dress clothes instead of jeans and baseball jerseys, nodded in sympathy with the forlorn looking judge. "At least it's not an Italian wedding," she offered.
"I would prefer that. At least those have decent food. In addition to being terribly spoiled, Theresa is always on some sort of diet, and she'll probably bully the caterers in to serving everyone something pretentious and inedible."
Alex understood completely. She had eaten similar meals at society gatherings, and in her secret heart of hearts, she really preferred pizza and alcohol. Except for an occasional sip from Olivia's beer, she usually substituted wine, but the idea was the same.
"Why is she going along with it?"
"Because their mother insisted, and Chelsea doesn't want to disappoint her. She also realizes that a wedding is only a ceremony. A special, life-changing ceremony, of course, but what really matters is the life you get to live afterwards."
"That was incredibly romantic," Maura said, gripping Jane's hand lightly under the table. Even though she was not overly fond of public displays of affection, the tough detective allowed her girlfriend to keep hold, even smiling when the pad of Maura's thumb stroked her knuckles and the scars on the back of her hand.
"Poor Chelsea. I would never let anyone push me around like that," Abbie stated vehemently.
There was a moment's pause as everyone around the table turned to look at Petrovsky. Her eyes brightened with mischief as a sudden idea blossomed in her scheming brain, and she rubbed her hands together gleefully, looking almost like a plotting supervillain from a 1960s pulp comic.
"Um, Your Hono- Lena... are you all right?" Alex asked, concern lacing her voice.
"I'm perfectly fine, Alexandra. I've just had an idea. An awful idea. A wonderful, awful idea."
"Uh-oh," Serena whispered.
"How would you ladies like to be my guests at the wedding rehearsal dinner this evening? It would annoy my sister and Theresa immensely, and I'm sure it would amuse Chelsea and her fiancé. I'm not cruel enough to disrupt the actual wedding ceremony, but this is just the rehearsal dinner. I'm sure the six of you can be very entertaining after a few drinks..."
"A hitchin'? Hell, yeah!" Abbie crowed. "We've got nothing better to do."
Alex rolled her eyes. "Abbie blocks time out in her schedule to annoy other people."
"Yeah, well, you just got lucky, Cabot, because your name got crossed off in my day planner and I'm substituting Petrovsky's niece."
"I'm not sure this is a very good idea," Olivia protested, ever the voice of reason. Alex would have a good time - as much as she pretended to dislike Abbie's antics, she secretly enjoyed making snide comments from the sidelines - but something about the suggestion seemed funny to her.
"C'mon, Benson," Jane said, "free drinks! You're not gonna turn down that."
Olivia shook her head. "Fine, whatever. But I'll be the designated driver tonight, and if you five - six -" she amended, glancing at Petrovsky, "get into more trouble than you can handle, I'm not bailing you out."
"Damn..." Abbie Carmichael let out a low, impressed whistle at the size of the reception hall, eyeing the high ceilings and elegant, cloth-draped tables with approval. "Hey, Petrovsky, how much did they shell out for this wedding?"
Lena Petrovsky rolled her eyes. Unfortunately, she had come to expect this kind of behavior from Abbie even though they had not seen each other in several years. "Has anyone ever told you that you are incredibly rude, Ms. Carmichael?"
"A time or two," Abbie said, rocking back on her heels and placing her hands behind her back in an unconvincing gesture of innocence.
"Are you sure we're allowed to be here?" Jane asked Alex, who looked just as out of place as she felt even though she still carried herself with a respectable amount of poise and grace.
"Not entirely," Alex murmured. "I have a feeling Petrovsky is up to something."
"Y'know, at first I was pretty freaked out when I saw Abbie. Then I thought it was pretty cool having a body double. Now I'm just terrified that she's going to ruin my name and get into trouble somehow... what if she streaked through the rehearsal dinner and they posted her picture on the internet?" Jane asked, her eyes widening in horror. "If it went viral, I'd never be able to convince the guys at work it wasn't me."
"Nonsense, Jane," said Maura, who was listening to their conversation with unconcealed interest. "You have a heart shaped birthmark above your left buttock that I'm sure Abbie does not possess. Its absence in the photographic evidence would clear you of any wrongdoing."
"Too much information," Jane hissed, resisting the temptation to clamp a hand over the blonde medical examiner's pretty mouth. She was gorgeous, intelligent, and fascinating to converse with, but sometimes she really wished that Maura would keep certain facts to herself.
"Aunt Lena? Wow, you have an entire posse! Are you a gang leader now?" All six of the younger women turned to look in the direction of the new voice, watching as a woman with curly brown hair and a rosy, smiling face approached them in a sleek purple dress. Not many people could pull that color off, but she looked very nice. Alex and Maura glanced at each other, then back to the woman, and nodded their approval.
"Hello, Chelsea," Petrovsky said fondly, opening her arms for a hug and greeting her niece. "I thought I would bring the entertainment tonight."
"Please tell me you didn't hire prostitutes," the bride-to-be added cheerfully. "Oh well, if you did, at least they're expensive ones! I think that's a Vuitton handbag?"
Maura smiled down at the bag. "Despite your insinuation that I am a prostitute, which I am going to assume is a joke, I am glad that you appreciate my handbag."
Jane, who was looking particularly smug, nudged Olivia with her elbow. "Handbags get you laid, girl," she said to her fellow detective in a loud whisper. "Trust me..."
"For Alex, it's shoes," Olivia responded.
Alex laughed. "I suppose both Maura and I are easily bought. Hello, Chelsea... Petrovsky?"
"Yes. Aunt Lena is my father's older sister," Chelsea explained. "And you are?"
Chelsea laughed. "Really? Aunt Lena has told me stories about you! You're the one she threw in jail all those years ago for being a smartass in her court, right? She tells that story all the time." Both Alex and Olivia were relieved that Chelsea did not bring up Alex's fake death and stint in WITSEC, although they could tell from her actions that she knew about it. Surely Petrovsky had mentioned the shooting and subsequent resurrection of her (secret) favorite ADA.
Alex had the decency to blush while Olivia sported an evil grin on her face. Yeah, well, this smart ass is all mine, she said, placing a possessive hand on Alex's behind. "That'd be right," she said, extending her other hand for a shake. "I'm Detective Olivia Benson. I doubt your Aunt has mentioned me by name, but I'm sure I've given her my fair share of headaches over the years as well."
"Also right," Petrovsky mumbled.
Chelsea shook her hand. "And who are the twins?" she asked, gesturing from Jane to Abbie.
"Actually, funny story... we just met last night. I'm Detective Jane Rizzoli and this is my girlfriend, Maura."
"I'm the chief medical examiner for the Boston PD."
"And I'm Abbie Carmichael... another former ADA that argued a few court cases before your Aunt. I think I gave her more headaches than Alex-"
"-with your outside the courtroom behavior," Petrovsky quipped.
"-and this is my girlfriend, Serena. She actually took my job when I went to work for the Feds."
Chelsea's eyes widened. "Aunt Lena, you brought six law enforcement lesbians to my wedding reception?" For a moment, Olivia was worried that the young woman was upset. Then, Chelsea squealed and gave Petrovsky a giant, bone-crushing hug. "That's so awesome! It's the best wedding gift ever! They'll terrify Mother."
"That's us," Jane joked, "the Law Enforcement Lesbians. We should be like the Justice League and form our own group. I call Batman!"
"Would that make me Robin?" Maura asked, not sounding pleased with the prospect. "The online comic fan community often infers that they are in a homosexual relationship as a joke."
"Nah, you know who you'd be? Jean Grey from X-Men... You don't look like her at all, but she's got telekinesis and telepathy and uses her brain for all this cool stuff."
"Ooh, can I be Catwoman?" Abbie drawled, trailing a teasing finger over Serena's exposed collarbone, making the blonde shiver. "I do own a latex corset somewhere..."
"Saving the world when it's in trouble..." She shot a glance at Abbie from the corner of her eye. The Texan was looking longingly over at the buffet table, which the servers were beginning to set up. "Or maybe causing it."
"You got that right, sweet cheeks," Abbie said. "C'mon, I wanna meet this mother of yours, Chelsea."
Alex groaned. "Oh no... just don't let Abbie get her paws on any more alcohol. She'll probably do something even more stupid than usual."
"Hey, I resemble that remark! I'm not stupid, just..."
"Annoying?" Olivia substituted. Alex, who was getting tired of the distracting touch on her behind, carefully removed Olivia's hand when she noticed Petrovsky watching them with a subtle smirk. Even though she had gotten to know more about the Judge in the last few hours than she had ever imagined she would want to, she was still a little uncomfortable. Sometimes she forgot that she had not returned to the District Attorney's office yet, so she and Olivia were not required to hide their relationship.
"May I ask a favor of you six?" Chelsea smoothed down the front of her dress, glancing over her shoulder to check on the guests arriving and sitting down at the tables. "It's free seating tonight, but I think I want you over at my table." She gestured to the big table in the front. "Some of the cousins will probably throw a fuss, but I think it'll drive my twin and my mother absolutely insane. It'll be payback for the hell they've put me through for the past few months getting ready for this shindig. I swear, Theresa has become a total Bridezilla. It's well past the point where Jason and I just want to elope."
Alex gave Olivia a nudge. "Olivia and I felt a little like that when we told our colleagues at work about our relationship," she said. "Spending a week on some exotic island sounded a lot more appealing than coming clean with our friends. The teasing still hasn't stopped and it's been over a year."
Abbie gave her friend a playful hip bump. "Hey, Cabot, it's hard to score points against you. I'm gonna take any advantage I can get!"
"You're just jealous," Olivia said, leaning over to give the taller blonde attorney a kiss.
They were interrupted by the sound of a throat being cleared no more than a few feet away.
Slowly, Olivia pulled away, breaking the short kiss. It had not been inappropriate, but she still felt a little embarrassed. Alex's expression, however, was cool and unreadable as she turned to face the noise. "Yes?"
"Who, may I ask, are you, and why are you kissing another woman at my wedding reception?"
"My name is Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot, I believe I am a guest of your sister-in-law's, and I am kissing Olivia Benson, who happens to be the love of my life. Why do you ask?"
Completely taken aback by Alex's succinct answer to her question, the older woman began sputtering. The wind had been taken out of her sails, and she had no idea how to respond. However, like the stubborn mule she was, Lena Petrovsky's sister-in-law picked herself back up, put on her best glare, and said, "I hardly think that is appropriate behavior for a wedding!"
"Would you prefer a funeral?" Maura deadpanned.
The joke was so droll and unexpected that everyone else at the table burst out in uncontrollable laughter. The tense moment was instantly broken.
"I'm sorry," Chelsea gasped while the rest of the women tried to regain some of their lost composure. "Mom, this is Alexandra Cabot, Olivia Benson, Abbie Carmichael, Serena Southerlyn, Jane Rizzoli, and Maura Isles. Aunt Lena brought them. Isn't it wonderful?"
Trying not to look flustered by the numerous names and the strange, eccentric group of women they belonged to, Chelsea's mother settled for a disapproving frown. "Well, my name is Maria Statler Petrovsky, and I happen to be the mother of the brides at this pre-wedding dinner, and -"
"Don't lecture them, Maria," Lena said, adopting a tone of bored disinterest now that her laughter had faded away. "They are here as my guests." Jane was still snickering in the space to her left.
"That was brilliant, Maur!" she whispered, her voice far too loud despite her efforts.
The medical examiner smiled, pleased with her successful comedic timing. She did not usually read social cues well enough to pull off one-liners successfully. "Thank you, darling."
"Oh goodness... are they all...?"
"Drunk? Not yet!" Abbie piped up.
Serena fluffed her hair. "Gorgeous? Your daughter did ask if we were prostitutes..."
"Insane?" Olivia muttered. She figured her guess was probably closest. "Yeah, they are. All five of them." She shot another glance at Petrovsky. "Excuse me, six."
Maria Statler Petrovsky looked as though she had just swallowed a frog. Her complexion was turning a very unnatural shade of green, at any rate.
"I think she wants to know if we're all gay, Olivia," said Jane.
"We aren't." Maura smiled. "Olivia and I are actually bisexual, which is a healthy variation of female human sexuality, most effectively demonstrated by the Kinse-"
"Maura, hush!" Jane put a finger to Maura's lips.
"Lena, why on earth did you bring six... six..."
"You can say the word lesbian without catching it, Mom," Chelsea said cheerfully. She was very much enjoying the sight of her mother being "harassed" (even though the six unlisted guests had not done anything very bad... yet).
"... these people to Chelsea and Theresa's rehearsal dinner! They aren't included in the wedding party!"
"I wish they were," Chelsea muttered. "They're more fun than Cousin Beatrice."
"Lena was kind enough to ask us here for a drink and some socializing," Alex said, automatically slipping in to the role of speaker for the group. "We were grateful for the invitation."
"I must admit, it was a surprise to see four acquaintances from work gathered in Provincetown -"
"In a gay bar!" Abbie added.
Maria Petrovsky's complexion turned an even more vivid shade of vermillion at that pronouncement. Obviously, she did not approve of homosexuality, whether it was present at her twin daughters' wedding party or not, and gay bars were even worse. The idea of her sister in law frequenting a gay bar was unthinkable.
She couldn't really blame Maria for being uncomfortable with that one, Alex decided as she considered the situation. She wouldn't want to run in to Petrovsky at a gay bar either. Seeing her at a diner was all well and good, but a gay bar? Too much.
"I wasn't present, but I hear they had a lovely time," Petrovsky corrected gently. Maria could not seem to decide whether this information should relieve or horrify her.
"Really! I'm shocked that you associate with such people, Lena, particularly in your line of work," she said, the first name tumbling awkwardly from her lips, which were too thin to be welcoming.
"In my line of work, I meet rapists and murderers every day. Besides, Alex Cabot is a well-bred Manhattan socialite, and Maura Isles comes from one of the richest families in Boston."
Maura blushed. "The tri-state area, actually," she said modestly.
Alex's eyes suddenly widened. "Wait, you're that Maura Isles? No wonder your name sounded so familiar. It wasn't just that we knew each other through Melinda Warner."
"I suspected that you were one of the New York Cabots, but I had no idea you were the heir to their sizable monetary assets." For someone born in to money, Maura seemed almost uncomfortable talking about it. "I suppose we have other mutual acquaintances."
"I should say so..."
Jane snorted. "Well, Maur, I wish all your rich society friends were as fun after a few tequilas as Alex!"
"Are you saying that because she gave Detective Benson a lap dance yesterday evening?"
Petrovsky grinned wickedly, Chelsea laughed, Abbie and Serena high-fived, and Maria looked as though she were about to faint. Immediately concerned, Maura stepped forwards, one hand extended to offer support. "You don't look well, Ms. Petrovsky. Are you ill? I am a doctor. Maybe I should examine you for any symptoms of -"
"No!" Maria shouted so loudly that the entire room turned to look at them.
Feeling the fresh sets of eyes, Abbie patted down her hair. "Well howdy," she said. "We've got ourselves an audience."
"No," Maria repeated, quieter this time. "I'm perfectly all right."
"This is better than reality TV," Chelsea whispered to her Aunt.
Petrovsky winked at her favorite niece. "That's not hard to accomplish, dear, but I agree. These six ladies can be very entertaining!"
"Maura's right," Olivia said, starting to get worried. For some reason, she felt like the only member of the group that had retained some of her senses. The others were bothering Maria just for the sake of being argumentative, and they weren't even drunk yet! However, she did not want to completely ruin the rehearsal dinner, and pestering the mother of the brides until she fainted from shock was probably a very bad idea. "Would you like to go and lie down for a while, ma'am?"
"At least she has some manners," Chelsea's mother sniffed. Hesitantly, she accepted Olivia's steadying arm.
"Here, let me help," Maura insisted, taking out her purse and rummaging through it. "Her color is very poor. Her heart might be straining itself. I probably have some opiates in here... Mostly for pain, but they should work as sedatives in a pinch."
Abbie's eyebrows lifted higher on her well-shaped forehead. "Well, damn. D'you always carry around opiates in that Vuitton of yours, little lady?"
Maura shrugged, producing an unmarked bottle of pills from her purse. "Of course, doesn't everyone?"
"No," Alex informed her, looking down curiously at the items spread out on top of the table. Ignoring her manners and good breeding, she opened Maura's wallet when a colored slip of paper caught her eye. Pulling at one corner, she was surprised to see a picture of a large, spiky looking reptile. "Oh, Maura, is that your Tortoise?"
The word Tortoise, stated in Alex's loud voice, was strange enough to catch Maria's ear. "What?" she said.
"My Tortoise," Maura repeated, happily picking up the picture and holding it out for the older woman to see. She loved showing off Bass, and most people she knew (the worthwhile people, at least) thought that he was a very interesting companion for her. Somehow, owning a Tortoise suited Maura's introverted nature.
Maria looked horrified. "That - that thing is your pet?" A horrible thought struck her, and she glanced around her feet nervously. "You didn't bring it with you?" she asked frantically.
The medical examiner rolled her eyes. "Of course not! Bass is too large to carry around like a designer Chihuahua. Besides, he doesn't like people that are prone to hysterical fits." She glared pointedly at Maria.
"Oh no," Chelsea said in a loud whisper, drawing everyone's attention away from the indignant Maura, who was still holding a photograph of her beloved tortoise in one hand and a small orange bottle of white pills in the other. "It's Theresa..."
Moving as one, the group turned to look. Another young woman was swiftly approaching the cluster of uninvited guests surrounding her mother. She was slightly thinner than Chelsea, had chosen a different dress, and wore her hair in a severe style reminiscent of Alex's in the courtroom, but otherwise, the two twins were almost identical.
Caught between horror and relief, Maria Statler Petrovsky took her daughter's arm as soon as she was within reach, clutching tight. "Theresa, your Aunt has brought several uninvited guests to the rehearsal dinner!" she moaned, stating the obvious.
Theresa frowned - first at the strangers, then at Lena and Chelsea. "Where is the catering staff? Perhaps you can convince them to show these... people... out?"
"They're caterers, not bodyguards," Alex drawled. "They're probably in the kitchen doing their jobs."
"Oh, I don't know," Maura added, "I've paid someone to escort a trespasser off of my property before."
"That was Korsak, you paid him in French pastries, and the person he happened to be escorting was your stupid ex-fiancé. I would have kicked his sorry ass out the door myself, but you insisted that I stay with you and try to have a good time..." Jane's face darkened at the memory, but Maura seemed unperturbed.
"You were engaged?" Serena asked, looking at Maura with fresh curiosity.
"Unfortunately," Maura sighed. "He - Garrett Fairfield, I mean - was only interested in my money and my last name. I didn't want to be trapped in a marriage like that."
To Jane's surprise, Alex squeezed Maura's shoulder reassuringly. The ME usually disliked physical contact, but she seemed to accept it from Alex without complaint. "I know how you feel. I was engaged, too, and for the same reasons."
"Ugh." Abbie wrinkled her nose. "The Toad. Don't remind me."
"Didn't you tell Robert some lie about having sex with Alex at Coney Island?" Serena asked, squinting her eyes a little and tapping her chin as she tried to revisit the memory. "I think it involved a Ferris wheel and one of Nathan's infamous corn-dogs..." Petrovsky let out an undignified snort. Encouraged by Serena's attitude, Chelsea grinned as well.
Maria let out a startled gasp and clutched her hand to her chest, while Theresa's eyes nearly popped out of her head.
Abbie shrugged and gave her girlfriend a sheepish grin. "Well, uh... I really wanted them to break up. I figured pretty boy would dump her and she could find someone better."
"Thanks, Abs," Olivia said. "For once, your perverted stories and your habitual lying did me a huge favor!"
Jane, who was looking at the buffet table with glazed eyes, only heard the first part of the conversation. "Mmm, Nathan's corn-dogs," she said, sounding like she was in a trance. "I'm hungry. Mind if we go eat something, Your Honor?"
"Not at all, and please call me Lena, Jane," said Petrovsky, waving a dismissive hand at the buffet table. "Any friend of Alex Cabot's is a friend of mine. Besides, you're all my guests, and my niece's as well, if I'm not mistaken."
"They are certainly not!" Theresa opened her mouth to protest, the glare on her face making it plain that she wanted to give the group and her Aunt a piece of her mind, but Chelsea interrupted her.
"Listen, Theresa, these are Aunt Lena's friends, and I want them to stay."
"Stay? At my wedding rehearsal dinner?" Theresa was appalled. Maria seemed equally horrified by the idea.
"At our wedding rehearsal dinner. You're the one that wanted to have this huge, monstrous wedding in the first place. I wanted to elope to the tropics with Mom and Dad and Aunt Lena, and just have a small party for the rest of the family when we got back, but nooo... you had to invite over two hundred people! I don't even know most of them. And there's well over fifty here tonight - almost all of them are your friends or mother's friends. I didn't even get to pick most of my own bridal party. Well, you know what? I want these people to stay, and unless you want me to make a scene and ruin the rehearsal dinner even more, you'll shut up and go away. Got it?"
There was a long, tension-filled pause.
I'm a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie Wo-o-orld
Life in Plastic, it's fantastic!
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhe-e-ere
Imagination, life is your creati -
Olivia hurried to find her cell phone before Barbie could go party with Ken. "Oh my God," she muttered, desperately pushing buttons to try and stop the song. "Benson. Who is it? This better be good, because I'm on my vaca- Oh, hi, Elliot... uh, yeah... did Fin forget to tell you that Munch changed all my contacts and ringtones? ... He got Teletubbies, so don't let him give you any shit - Hold on, I'll check and see."
Everyone watched with bated breath as she glanced down at the screen to see what Munch had dubbed Elliot. "Apparently, you're 'Girly Man', partner. Oh well, maybe it's a reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's pretty buff... No, I don't think so either." Another pause. "Uh, I'm at a wedding rehearsal, actually... it's not a good time. Yes, Alex is here. And you'll never believe the two new friends we made. One of them looks just like Abbie, but she's a cop and she isn't a pervert. It's pretty cool. Okay, I should probably go, everyone's staring at me like I'm crazy... bye."
Olivia hung up her phone, wisely choosing to put it on silent. The group continued staring. "What?" she said defensively, tucking the offending object away.
"Normally, I would scold you for answering your cell phone during a social event while you aren't on call, but that conversation was priceless, judging from your side of it." Unable to hold back any longer, Alex, Abbie, Serena, Jane, Maura, Petrovsky, and Chelsea burst into uncontrollable laughter.
It was too much for poor Maria, who allowed a mortified Theresa to shepherd her off to a quiet corner. Both of them looked worse for wear, and obviously needed the recovery time.
"Is your partner a hypermasculine person that would take offense to being labeled as a girl or a homosexual, Olivia?" Maura asked, eyes watering.
Olivia grinned. "Worse. He used to be in the Marines. He doesn't care that I'm gay, but after being called a Girly Man, I have a feeling Elliot is going to be handing Munch's ass to him..."
Maura looked momentarily confused a the colloquialism. "They're going to beat him up or get him back somehow," Jane translated. "You've heard me use that expression before, Maur."
"Sorry, I was momentarily distracted by the unusually humorous situation. By the way, I think we have emerged victorious over Lena Petrovsky's relatives."
"Yeah," Chelsea said gleefully. "Thanks! Seeing those two put in their place made my night. Maybe my wedding won't be so bad after all..."
"Glad to be of service, although I think Olivia's cellphone stole the show," said Serena. "Now that the trash has taken itself out - no offense, Your Honor, Chelsea... - who wants to hit up the buffet?"
"I'm so in!" Jane said eagerly.
Several minutes later, the six friends, Petrovsky, and Chelsea were clustered around the left side of the table of honor, having stolen several seats from other tables in order to make room. They were introduced to Chelsea's fiancé, Jason, a pleasant-faced young man with sandy blonde hair. Chelsea's father was curiously absent, and Lena dryly postulated that her brother had probably overheard some of the commotion and hurried off to comfort his fuming wife and daughter. "Let him," Chelsea said dismissively. "He's missing a good time!"
They were also introduced to Jason's parents, who seemed equally amused by the confrontation. They looked a lot like their son, although both had graying hair, and they shared Chelsea's attitude towards her parents. "We like Chelsea, she's been a good influence on our boy, but her mother's a nightmare," Jason's father confessed to Olivia while they both tucked in to their lobster - a Provincetown specialty.
A quarter of an hour later, a sour-faced Theresa returned with her mother and a gaggle of pompously dressed friends in tow, heading towards the unoccupied right side of the long table, plates in hand. They were whispering back and forth, but no one could hear what they were saying.
"Just ignore them," Lena said, looking rather pleased with herself for causing her sister in law and niece so much trouble.
"Hey, I'm not complainin'," Abbie said. "I may be a Southern girl, and we don't always call 'em lobsters, but I sure as hell love to eat 'em!"
"You love to eat anything," Serena added, leaning over to steal a bite from her lover's plate. Their playful banter was interrupted by a loud, high-pitched gasp of surprise and dismay. Everyone turned to look.
Theresa, who had been passing behind her sister's chair with her friends, had apparently allowed her plate to slip, spilling the contents down the back of Chelsea's dress. Everyone stared, waiting for some kind of reaction from the shivering, angry-looking bride-to-be.
The first response came from Alex. Calmly picking up her glass, she tossed the contents in Theresa's face, watching with grim satisfaction as wine trailed down her neck and chest in bright crimson lines. Her perfect hair was ruined, and so was her rehearsal dinner dress.
That did it.
Following her friend's example, Abbie grabbed a handful of greens from Olivia's plate and hurled them at Maria, who didn't seem to know how to react to anything that was going on around her. One of Theresa's friends returned fire, hitting Jane in the middle of her forehead.
"It is so on!" the detective growled, getting up out of her chair and grabbing a basket of dinner rolls to use as missiles.
Abbie looked positively gleeful. "FOOD FIGHT!" she hollered, her eyes sparkling with mischief. Olivia groaned and ducked behind the table, hoping that no one decided to actually throw the lobsters. The shells might hurt, and she had a feeling that things were going to get ugly.
Olivia Benson, brave NYPD detective, well trained in several types of armed and unarmed combat, shifted nervously underneath the table where she was hiding. The loud crashes and bangs echoing through the room made her flinch occasionally, but so far, she and her clothes had escaped mostly unscathed.
"God, has the entire world except for me gone insane?" she muttered, daring to peek out from under the draped tablecloth in order to see what was going on.
Her lover was currently making the most of the soup bowls and soaking all opponents who came near her, but someone had dumped a salad over her flawless blonde hair, complete with dressing. There was still a leaf of spinach behind the arm of her glasses. Serena had teamed up with her former colleague and was lobbing bread rolls like a shot-putter, occasionally ducking behind the table to avoid return fire.
Maria Statler Petrovsky was spinning around in a wild circle, tossing wine from an overflowing glass at anyone who came within a few feet. Theresa was pulling her sister's hair while Chelsea smeared something that had once been food into her face.
Meanwhile, Abbie was chasing some of Theresa's friends with a lobster, pincers fully extended. The thing had long-since been boiled, but those claws were still sharp. Olivia's fellow detective, Jane Rizzoli, was using a chair as a shield as she threw croutons at the girls Abbie was corralling towards her.
The biggest surprise of the evening was probably Maura. When the woman let go, she really let go. It was obvious that the medical examiner had declared war when she pulled the entire tablecloth out of place with a firm yank, covering almost everyone nearby in debris. Petrovsky had declined to take part in the food fighting, and was currently leaning against the wall, laughing hysterically with a satisfied gleam in her eye.
Olivia wondered if she was in some kind of deranged alternate universe. No sane adult would ever engage in something like this.
Suddenly, her phone started to ring.
I'm... too sexy for my shirt...
Too sexy for my shirt
So-o-o sexy it hurrrrts
I'm... too sexy for -
Reluctantly, Olivia answered the phone before the annoying song drew any attention. "Hello, John," she said sourly.
"Olivia! What kind of greeting is that for your friendly coworker and conspiracy theorist?"
"The only conspiracy I'm interested in right now is who changed all the ringtones on my phone. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you, Munch?"
"No. So sorry to disappoint yo-"
" - WE'RE TAKING FIRE! DUCK! - "
"Son of a whore! That was my favorite handbag!"
Munch paused. "Two things. First of all, Olivia, you're on speaker somehow. Second of all... what's going on?"
"Munch," Olivia sighed, watching Maura brandish her ruined handbag like a weapon, empty it of her wallet, and throw the remains at the back of Maria Statler Petrovsky's head. Unfortunately for the poor woman, when she turned around to gape like a stunned fish, Alex nailed her at the same time with a particularly juicy tomato slice. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you..."
"Saw Varsity's horns off! A-a-a-whoop!" The school yell was accompanied by a loud crashing sound, but the NYPD detective decided not to look up to see what was happening.
"... Abbie having a good time?" Munch asked.
Olivia cradled her forehead in her hand, almost dropping the phone. "Um."
"You know I'm going to ask everyone about this when you come back, right?"
"You're usually more verbose than this, Olivia. Are you sure everything is all right?"
"Bullseye! Dammit, my heel..."
"... Is that Alex?"
Olivia chose not to answer. "Goodbye, Munch," she said firmly, hanging up the phone and hiding back out of sight underneath the table.
Ten minutes later, almost everything available to be used as a missile had already been destroyed. Most of the tables had been overturned. Plates and silverware littered the floor. Everyone had some kind of food on them, and there were several missing handbags, shoes, and coats. Alex's hair was a lost cause. Abbie was still brandishing two lobsters instead of one, and Jane Rizzoli had sustained a cut above her left eyebrow. The mother of the brides had collapsed against the wall, eyes glazed. Maura, wiping some kind of sauce out of her eyes, held up one hand and let out a sharp whistle, stopping the remaining skirmishers in their tracks. "Let me through! She's gone in to shock."
Bending down, the medical examiner picked up the small bottle of pills that she had dumped out of her ruined purse and hurried over to the limp, middle-aged hostess, checking her pulse and the dilation of her pupils before attempting to give her some of the pills, massaging her throat in order to make her swallow them. "This," she explained to a disheveled Serena Southerlyn, who was watching her with unconcealed interest, "is why I find it necessary to carry around opiates..."
"You get into these kinds of situations often?" Alex Cabot said dryly, running her fingers through her hair and dislodging some dressing and onions.
Maura shrugged. "You can never be too prepared. Oh, my goodness... we've made a terrible mess."
"Tell me about it," Olivia muttered. Finally determining that it was safe to make her reappearance, she climbed out from her hiding place and brushed herself off, even though she had only suffered a few stains. Compared to the rest of them, who looked like they had gone swimming in a landfill, she was clean as a whistle. "All of you should be ashamed of yourselves." She leveled a steely glare at Theresa and her friends before turning it on Alex. The attorney pouted, but Olivia remained firm.
Jane, at least, had the decency to look sheepish. "Uh... I guess we should clean this up?" she said, gesturing around at the ruined dining hall.
"There goes the deposit," Theresa muttered.
"Don't even..." the Boston detective snapped. "You started this."
Olivia sighed. "Is Mrs. Petrovsky all right?" she asked, kneeling next to Maura.
"She's fine. The symptoms will wear off quickly now that things have calmed down. Her heart rate is elevated, but nothing to be concerned about."
"Good. Keep an eye on her, and put something on Jane's forehead. She's bleeding like a stuck pig." Olivia stood up. Much like Maura had moments before, she whistled shrilly and got the entire crowd's attention. "All right! We're all going to follow Jane's advice and clean up this crap. Also, Serena here..." she clapped a hand on the blonde's shoulder, "will be taking five bucks from each of you so the establishment can get this carpet steam cleaned. Alex, go get trash bags from the catering staff." She gestured at the door to the kitchen, where several uniformed people were peering fearfully out at them.
"You," she continued, pointing at Theresa and Chelsea, "get cleaning supplies for the windows and plenty of paper towels. And apologize to each other! You're sisters. Tomorrow is your wedding. Stop acting like jerks." Both sisters, especially Theresa, hung their heads.
Silently, the group went to work rounding up supplies and cleaning up the mess they had made. Abbie tried to sneak off to the bathroom, a lobster in each hand, but Olivia caught her before she had gotten more than a few yards away from the rest of the crowd. "Stop right there and reach for the sky," she said, jabbing the brunette in the back. "All right, Miss Texas A&M, you're on dish duty until further notice, and don't think I won't keep an eye on you to make sure you stay out of trouble." Abbie squawked in protest, but a determined Olivia dragged her by the ear to the kitchen, where she forced the grumpy Texan to throw away her lobsters and start cleaning up pieces of broken glass and porcelain.
Under Olivia's careful supervision, all of the wedding guests cleaned up the toppled food and plates until the room no longer looked like a freak tornado had blown through. With everyone covered in food, it was almost hard to tell the two sides apart. As she watched a messy - but somehow, still refined looking - Alex Cabot throw food into a large black trash bag, Olivia heard soft laughter beside her ear. Turning around, she saw Lena Petrovsky watching the clean up crew with a huge grin on her face. Olivia opened her mouth to scold the judge, but couldn't find it in her. From what she had seen, Her Honor had not participated in the food fight, even if she had lit a match next to a powder keg by bringing Alex, Abbie, Serena, Jane, and Maura to her nieces' wedding.
"Here," the judge said, slipping a crisp bill into Olivia's hand. "Make sure to tip the catering staff. Besides, this was the best dinner and show I've been to in years! It was worth every penny."
Olivia snorted. "You knew this would happen, didn't you?" she accused the older woman.
"I wasn't anticipating a food fight, but I will neither confirm nor deny that I might have entertained the possibility that something dangerous and slightly insane would occur when I introduced your friends to my relatives."
"God, you sound like a lawyer..." the detective muttered.
Petrovsky only winked. "I was, once upon a time."
Olivia suddenly felt sorry for whatever judge had presided over Petrovsky's cases all those years ago, and she also felt a little less sorry for all of the times Alex had caused Petrovsky headaches. Obviously, karma was a real thing.
Return to the Academy