Olivia shivered under the blanket on her bed and she shifted around for a moment before finally opening her eyes. She had awakened cold in her bed for the first time in months and it was not until she looked around her darkened bedroom that the events of the previous night came flooding back to her.
Sighing as she leaned back into her pillows, she wondered how so many things could go wrong in just four hours. She had all but ruined her relationships with both Elliot and Jonathan and there did not seem to be any sort of resolution. Things were said and actions taken; no amount of wit could smooth things over with either man.
She turned onto her side to stare at the alarm clock that read just past seven in the morning and wondered if it was too early to call either one, but shook away the thought. Not enough time had elapsed for Elliot to stop fuming and Jonathan would probably refuse to take her calls.
“Aw, crap,” she said aloud and she sprang up in the bed.
Olivia snatched her cell phone off the nightstand and nearly yelled “M-J” into the phone.
“Yes,” Maya said in a solemn voice.
“Maya? It’s me.”
Olivia was met only with silence.
“Maya…? Are you okay?” She could hear Maya sniff into the phone, but she said nothing.
“Maya?” Olivia said again. “Talk to me. What’s wrong?”
“Are you serious?” Maya finally spat. “I had that crazy bitch banging on my door for half the night and you’re asking me what’s wrong?”
“Olivia, I thought she was going to break down the damn door,” Maya continued. “She was screaming at me and-and…she was yelling out racial slurs that didn’t even fit me. She kept calling me a Wetback or something and there are marks all over the door where she was kicking and scratching all over the place!”
“I told you to call the police.”
“I don’t have to call the police. I call you. Why go through a bunch of people when I knew you could help me? I’d have helped you! Anytime you want some legal advice on something else you’ve done, I give it to you any time, day or night, but the one time I ever call on you in a real emergency…”
“Maya, I’m sorry.”
“You should be! You said you couldn’t handle me…God, Livia. Am I that big burden on everyone?”
“No,” Olivia said guilt weighing on her in every direction. “Maya, no. You’re not a burden. It’s just that Jonathan had just left the second you called and I was just…losing it. But, are you okay? Is his wife still there?”
“No,” Maya said, her voice sounding as if she was still crying. “She left around two in the morning.”
“How she even find out?”
“I don’t know. Through all her ramblings, I think she found a picture or something.”
“But, how did she find your address?”
“I guess Mason must’ve given it to her. Ha Ishvara…How do I get myself in these situations?”
“Maya…I’m sure she’ll calm down. Do you need me to come over?”
“No…” Maya said after a long pause. “But…what happened to you last night? What did you mean by ‘Jonathan just left?’”
Olivia sighed and launched into what had transpired the previous night regarding Jonathan and even mentioned that she had collapsed into Mark’s stubby arms, but made certain to leave out any word concerning Elliot.
“Wow,” Maya said once Olivia had enfolded all the details. “No wonder you couldn’t handle me.”
“Maya, I’m sorry,” Olivia said. “I really am, Hon. I didn’t mean that.”
“Livia, if it had been me, I probably would have screamed out something worse. Do you need me to come over?”
“No,” Olivia said smiling. “I’m fine. I was just such a bitch to everyone I knew last night, that I figured I’d start out calling you first.”
“Yeah, you figured I’d be the quick fix,” Maya said.
“Well, no…I just knew it would take a lot more than that to pull the plug on thirty years.”
They ended the conversation amicably and Olivia sighed as she prepared herself for the precinct. If Elliot was there, she might have a chance to talk to him and smooth over things a bit. If he was not, it would mean that he was far more infuriated with her than she had originally thought.
When Olivia entered the squad room and saw Elliot’s empty chair, she wanted to sink through the floor and the only thought that uplifted her was the memory that Kathleen was staying with Elliot from the previous night and that he would probably be spending the day with his daughter.
As she settled herself into incoming reports of Kreider sightings, Olivia could see an officer pointing a middle-aged woman in the direction of Olivia’s desk. Olivia sat up a bit straighter at her desk as the woman approached her.
“The officers downstairs told me I need to talk to Special Victims,” the woman said. “Is this where I am?”
“Yes,” Olivia said standing as she spoke. “I’m Detective Benson. How can I help you?”
The woman sat in the chair next to the desk pair Olivia shared with Elliot. “My name is Maura Davies and I think my neighbor might’ve been attacked last night.”
“What makes you think that?”
“There was just a lot of yelling and screaming and banging around all through the night and…I know she’s had a fair amount of men going in and out of there, but when I knocked on her door just a little while ago there was no answer, but her car is in her space. I tried calling too and she isn’t answering.”
“Do you expect any specific foul play?” Olivia asked
wondering why the woman was directed to the
“Well…Mary, that’s her name. Last year I know one of those men…raped her in her apartment. The last time no one looked in on her and she was hurt very badly. I just don’t want the same thing to happen again.”
“Her name was Mary?” Olivia said taking notes.
“Yes, Mary Duschene. It’s 512 Greene.”
Olivia nodded as she wrote and Mrs. Davies continued. “I don’t mean to be a bother, but I just want to make sure that everything’s okay.”
“It’s no bother, Mrs. Davies,” Olivia said. She glanced at Fin sitting at the other desk pair who nodded back that he had heard the conversation and within ten minutes, they were knocking on the apartment door of Mary Duschene.
“Wish my neighbors were like this?” Fin said as they waited for an answer.
“Mine too,” Olivia said.
Even throughout two lengthy and heated arguments in her apartment, Mark was the only one of several neighbors who even bothered to see what the problem was and he knocked on her door constantly. Olivia stifled a sigh when she considered that Mrs. Fitzgivens, even though she desperately wanted Olivia to date her son, had not called or inquired if Olivia was all right after Elliot had left.
She and Fin waited a moment longer before the door flew open to display a smiling petite face.
“Yes?” she said glancing back and forth between the detectives.
“Mary Duschene?” Olivia asked showing her badge. “I’m Detective Benson and this is Detective Tutuola. We were notified of a disturbance by one of your neighbors and we just wanted to make sure that everything was okay.”
Mary nodded. “Oh…yeah, I, uh, just had a really bad fight with my boyfriend last night. I can’t believe they’d send detectives just to check on me.”
“Your neighbors were concerned,” Fin said. “After what happened last year…”
Mary’s pale face turned red and her gaze dropped to the floor. “Yeah…well, I’m glad they even worried. But, I’m fine. We just argued and we even made up this morning, so everything’s really cool.”
Olivia nodded wishing her own morning had gone as swimmingly.
“Sorry,” she said once they were back in the car. “I figured it might’ve been a waste of time, but you never know.”
“S’all right,” Fin said. “Besides, I needed a break from Kreider.”
“Anything look promising yet?”
“Naw, but I think we should press a littler harder on some of his co-workers at Rohlman-Hayworth.”
“Why? You think they’re hiding him after what he’s done?”
“They may not be hiding him, but some of them gotta know something. You can’t work next to somebody for years and not have a little idea about who they know and how they spend their time.”
She smirked at him. “Well…that’s not always true. Besides, how long did we work together before I even knew you had a son?”
Fin simply shook his head at her as they returned to the precinct.
Perfectly browned toast jumped from the red toaster in Elliot’s kitchen and he grabbed the slices to add a light spread of butter to them. He had awakened earlier and had intended to take Kathleen out for a breakfast meal, but once he realized that a deep conversation was needed considering the events of the previous night, he decided it would be prudent for them to have breakfast alone.
Kathleen treaded softly into the kitchen while he finished with the eggs and sat silently as he set a plate in front of her. She pushed the eggs around a bit before taking a small bite of toast.
“Are we going to talk about this?” Elliot said after a full minute’s silence between them.
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
“I think there is,” he continued. “Obviously something’s wrong since you’ve just decided that you can’t go to either me or your mother about your problems.”
“It’s not a problem, Dad,” she said, looking him in the eye for the first time that morning. “I had questions that I…just couldn’t ask you and Mom refused to answer. Olivia was the only one I could count on.”
“Maureen lives twenty minutes away. You couldn’t talk to her?”
Kathleen rolled her eyes. “Dad…you have an older brother. When was the last time you went to Uncle Bryce about something going on in your life?”
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Everything! You’re telling me that you’re fine when he gives you those ‘holier than thou’ looks when you’re trying to explain something to him?”
“Maureen doesn’t do that.”
“Yes, she does. She looks at me like she’s supposed to be my role model or something and I’m just supposed to follow her example. I mean I tried, I really did try to talk to her about Mike and me and she told me that I shouldn’t even worry about it because I didn’t need any other distractions in my life right now.”
“And she’s right. You don’t like her giving you advice because you know she’s right. You went to Olivia because you know she didn’t know the whole story so she couldn’t give you the best advice.”
“What whole story?” Kathleen yelled. “All I wanted was to know a little about the pill and everybody was acting like I was trying to find some tricky way to have an abortion or something! Olivia was the only one who talked to me like a normal person.”
Elliot sat back in his chair and Kathleen continued. “You know, in some families, this sort of thing would barely even matter. In a normal family, I could’ve gone to Mom or Maureen and we would have this heart-to-heart talk about it and be closer in the end because of it. But not ours. We have to pretend like I’m not supposed to want to have sex with my boyfriend or even want to know anything about birth control. It’s just ridiculous.”
Elliot sighed, knowing that each of his daughter’s words were true and guilt washed over him for the way he treated his partner the previous night. When his daughter thought she had nowhere else to turn, Olivia stepped in and quite possibly saved his daughter from even further downward spiral.
“What’d you do last night, Dad?” Kathleen asked breaking the silence that had descended over the table.
“What?” she repeated sardonically. “I heard you come back last night and you didn’t even come in to check if I was still here. What’d you do to her?”
“Olivia! I know you went storming off to her place, so what’d you do to her?”
He shook his head. “Nothing. We just talked about it.” She simply glared at him and he corrected himself. “We argued about it because…because whether or not you came to her in confidence, you’re still my kid and she had no right to keep that from me.”
“I told her not to say anything, Dad. I asked her to keep quiet about it.”
“And regardless, she still should have told me.”
“So you could yell at her earlier rather than later?” Her voice began to rise in intensity. “You know, I think the fact that she didn’t say anything says a lot more about you than it does about her.”
“How?” he said crossing his arms.
“She knows how you like to blow up over nothing and she knew that this…” She pulled out the Nordette package out of her robe pocket and dropped it on the table. “…was really not that big a deal. She knew I just needed a little help and it was just common sense not to tell you.”
“You should’ve come to me or your mother about it!” he yelled, frustrated once again.
“Why? It’s just the pill!”
“It’s not just the pill! It’s hormones, it’s sex, it’s babies, it’s life! It’s not just about the pill! Only someone in the family would be able to talk to you about all that and know whether you were ready for this!”
Kathleen shook her head. “You just want to keep thinking I’m eight for the rest of my life. I’m eighteen, Dad, but you don’t even want me out past eleven on Friday and I wouldn’t be if you had your way.”
“Because I’m your father and I know you.”
“You don’t know everything. I haven’t even been going out that much lately, not that you’d know anything about that.”
“How would I know if you refuse to talk to me?”
“Because I know you keep looking at me like I’m a little kid.”
“Because I’ve known you since you were a little kid and behavior-wise, not much has changed.”
“And that’s why I went to Olivia. She’s the only person who could look at the situation as-is and help me based on what I had to say. Not looking at me as if I was still a little girl. Mom couldn’t do that, Maureen couldn’t do that and you sure as hell couldn’t do that. I had to talk to somebody and if it wasn’t her, then who?”
Elliot fell silent and sighed again. Truthful words aside, he could just barely hide the pain of knowing his child did not think she could come to him with her problems. As he looked at her, he remembered viewing her not yet fully-formed body on an ultrasound with Kathy, the first time she looked at him and said “Dah-dee,” the wave goodbye she gave him when she left for her first day of kindergarten, the feeling when he let go of her bicycle seat and she took off down the sidewalk without training wheels for the first time, her squarely telling him that she was a virgin while they were practicing soccer when she was twelve, the first time she brought home a boy she called her boyfriend and the way she looked at that moment as he realized that she was nearly grown.
He felt the burn of tears growing in his eyes, but he took a deep breath to keep them from appearing. Somewhere between her very first word and Kathleen asking him “ then who,” he had lost his daughter to the world. In between all the criminals caught and arguments with Kathy, Kathleen had grown up and his bond with her felt weaker than it had throughout all the time she had been alive. His little blue-eyed angel had to find solace in his friend because she thought she could not confide in her own father. Instead of being the one she came to first with everything from fights with Maureen to questions about homework, he was now dead last on her list of advisors and friends.
Elliot sat a little straighter in his chair, determined not to allow his relationship with his daughter to deteriorate any further.
“You could’ve at least tried,” he said.
“I did and I told you how Mom and Maureen reacted.”
“You never once came to me.”
Kathleen rolled her eyes. “You wanted me to come to you about birth control?”
“I didn’t get to forty-three without learning a few things about life. You can talk to me.”
“So, you really want me to talk to you about sex?”
His eye twitched as his daughter said that last word, but his resolve strengthened. “Yeah…yes. I mean, I plan on telling your mother about all this because she’s worried out of her mind about what’s been bugging you lately, but you can talk to me…about anything. You can always talk to me.”
A smirk spread across Kathleen’s face as she stared at him. “Anything? And you promise you won’t treat me like a child?”
“I promise. You can talk to me about anything you and…I’ll try to listen as best I can and if I can’t help for some reason, then we’ll figure out something together.”
“Anything and everything.”
“Okay…so, when I decide to sleep with Mike…,” Kathleen paused and stared at her father who had taken the moment to pile eggs in his mouth, “…and, we’ve been tested and…say we’re talking after the formal…alone…and we’re getting ready to-”
“You know what?” Elliot interrupted. “I think…I’m thinking…this idea about you talking to Olivia about this is…um…is a good idea. In fact…yeah, I think it’s a great idea.”
Kathleen grinned at her father and shook her head. “If she’ll even want to after your talk last night.”
“Well…I’ll talk to her again. Give it my blessing or something. If you’re gonna talk to someone about things you’re not comfortable coming to family about, I’d rather it be someone I trust, like Olivia, than anyone else.”
“I know, Dad,” she said pushing her plate away from her. “That’s why I went to her. I didn’t get to eighteen without learning a couple things about life either.”
He chuckled and grabbed her last bit of toast. “Little girl, I’ll forget more than you’ll ever know about life.”
“Sure, Dad,” she said rolling her eyes. “Whatever you say.”
The drive to the West 50s was silent save for Fin’s music in the car, but Olivia’s mind was a torrent of thought.
She and Fin received a call as they were leaving the Mary Duschene’s apartment regarding Helena Fayden’s still open case. Representative Fayden had appeared in the city and was demanding a status report in person. While Olivia was simply annoyed that they were being summoned at Fayden’s insistence, Fin was livid as they approached the hotel.
“Can’t even believe we gotta
show up like this,” he said as they were driving up
“Trust me,” Olivia said. “I don’t like it anymore than you do.”
“We tell people that everybody’s treated the same, but this is proof that we don’t. We could be tracking down Kreider’s birth mom, but instead we’re busy kissing ass. Ridiculous.”
Olivia only nodded in reply.
“Where’s Elliot in all this?” he asked and Olivia felt herself go tense.
“He...uh, has Kathleen with him. I think he's spending the day with her.”
“Okay…Is that all that’s up, ‘cause I know you two’ve been arguing more than usual.”
“What do you mean ‘more than usual?’” Olivia said. “We hardly ever argued before now.”
“Like, I said…more than usual.”
She sighed and began her story of how Kathleen had come to her for help and how Elliot lost it when he found out about it.
“He’ll probably never want me to even look at his kids again.”
“Naw,” Fin said. “He’ll realize she’s better off having you to talk to and he’ll come around.”
“Yeah…” Olivia said not quite believing Fin’s words.
When they arrived at the hotel,
“Is there anything else you can remember about that
night?” Olivia asked after she and Fin had informed Mr. Fayden
that while they were still on the case, they had very little on which to
“No,” she said softly. “I don’t remember anything.”
Fin sighed and Mr. Fayden
walked out of the room. Olivia was about to follow when
“What is it?” Olivia asked.
“This. I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.”
“What do you have to be sorry for?” Fin said. “It’s not your fault you were raped. Lots of people black out what happened to th-”
“You weren’t raped?” Olivia said.
“Why did you lie?” Olivia asked.
“I…I didn’t mean to. I just…I brought these guys back with me and I didn’t want people to think I was some kind of…some kind of whore.”
Olivia felt every muscle in her body tense as she
resisted the urge to tear into
“I thought it was just…just a little white lie. I
didn’t think anybody would really look into it,”
“Of course we’d look into it!” Fin said. “We take every rape case seriously. Especially with your father. What did you think was gonna happen?”
“No, you didn’t,” Olivia said. “You didn’t think. You didn’t think about the hours we’ve spent combing the city for your phantom rapists and you didn’t think about how your lie disrupted the lives of every man on the hotel staff or how your lie makes it that much harder for any other girl who comes to us with this same story. If you’re lucky, your father will take on the cost and burdens of having wasted so much of our time.”
“Please don’t tell my father,”
“What do you want us to do?” Fin said. “Keep your case open just for the hell of it!”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry! Just…please don’t tell my father.”
“We’re not,” Olivia said. “You’re going to tell him. I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear that his own daughter wasted hundreds of the city’s man hours on a lie.”
“And just so you know,” Fin said. “The murders of six kids had to hang on hold just for you. Think about that the next time you feel like telling one of those ‘white lies’ to keep your ass outta trouble.”
“What’s going on?” Mr. Fayden
“You’re daughter’s got something to tell you,” Fin said as he brushed past the congressman.
Without another pause they left the hotel and drove back to the precinct each sharing stories about all the so-called victims they had seen who not only wasted their time, but hardened them just enough when it came to any real victim who shared the same story.
Elliot took in his old neighborhood for a moment as Kathleen raced into the house with the new dress he just bought for her.
He had spent the better part of the day with her going from shop to shop as she looked for a dress for the upcoming formal dance at her school on the weekend before Valentine’s Day and, with the “perfect” one finally found, he indulged her even though it was far too expensive.
Originally, he had picked out a dress for her that only showed her neck and forearms and to retaliate, she picked out a second dress that was so revealing, he mocked passing out on the floor of the boutique. Eventually, they settled on something Kathleen liked and Elliot was only slightly disturbed about her wearing.
Kathleen had openly told him her plans for the night of her formal and she promised that had not made up her mind about spending the night with her boyfriend, but if she did, she would tell him. While he was not sure he believed her, Elliot was comforted just to hear her say it.
Once inside his former home, he sighed and looked about the living room trying to see if there was any sign that he was missed. Everything, however, seemed to be in place and he resisted the urge to pull off his shoes and watch television with Lizzie, who was spread across the couch speaking rapidly in the phone.
He nodded at her when she caught sight of him and she pulled herself from the phone.
“Meaghan, hang on a sec. Hey, Dad,” she said. “Dickie’s at that Jessica ‘s teaching her to play Final Fantasy XII and Mom’s downstairs doing laundry.”
Elliot wanted to ask her whether how her Friday had gone, but as she had quickly returned to her conversation, he walked down the hall toward the basement.
Kathy had the dryer going and the radio on loud and he smiled at the scene of his wife, ex-wife, folding laundry as she hummed along with one of Lizzie’s pop music stations.
“Hey,” he half-shouted and she jumped at the sound of his voice.
She turned down the radio and pulled open the dryer. “God, you scared me. Did Kathleen find a dress she liked?”
“It took six stores and most of the day, but we found something.”
“How much was it?”
He shrugged. “Too much.” She stared at him and he smiled. “It’s only money. Won’t be able to take it with me when I die. Might as well spend it now.”
She rolled her eyes and pulled some towels out of her clean clothes pile to fold. As she began to fold the laundry, Elliot stared at her, feeling a pang of longing in his chest. He wanted nothing more than to wrap his arms around her waist and bury his face in her, neck but he knew with the final stroke of the “R” in his name on the divorce papers, all hope for a special moment of that sort was lost.
“So,” Kathy said, knowing he stood behind, watching her. “How’s Diana?” Her tone said that words that she would not: Are you sleeping with that woman?
“Fine, I suppose,” Elliot said, knowing their game well enough to use the homologous tone: I haven’t seen her in days and it didn’t mean anything.
“Oh, okay.” You can say what you want, but I know you, Elliot and no woman would look at you that pissed off if something wasn’t going on.
“How are you doing?” Please tell me you’re over whatever mid-life crisis that made you leave me and that I can come home now.
“Everything’s fine.” How can I let you back when I know nothing’s changed with you; a fact reiterated from when we spoke on Wednesday?
“Okay.” I don’t know what else you want from me, Kath, but I’m trying as hard as I can right now.
“How’s Olivia?” Why won’t you ever give me a solid answer on whatever’s been going on with the two of you because every time I think of her getting to spend every minute with you, it makes me sick and I need to know that she’s not what’s caused all this distance between us.
“Same old, same old.” It’s the same thing I’ve been telling you since the day she became my partner: nothing is going on between us and nothing ever will.
“That’s good.” I want to believe you, but I’ve heard this same story from other cops’ wives and I know there’s no way could spend all your time with that leggy brunette without some off thoughts running through your head.
Elliot sighed knowing that he was getting nowhere quickly through small talk with Kathy and turned to go back upstairs.
“Oh,” he said, pausing on the bottom step knowing exactly what would get Kathy to speak normally to him. “I found birth control pills in Kathleen’s room last night. I’ll see you later-”
She had dropped the towel she was folding and had closed the gap between them in two steps.
“Oh, you didn’t know?” he asked innocently.
“No, I didn’t know. When did she get the pill?”
“Well, I figured she would’ve come and talked to you about it.”
“She said that she and Mike were talking about it, but that was it. I told her she should wait it out a little, when she had known Mike a little longer.”
“Looks like they’re doing more than just talking.”
“Is that what’s been wrong? She’s been trying to hide birth control from her own mother?”
“Not the birth control. How she was getting them.”
“How was she getting them?” Kathy asked eyes wide.
Elliot paused wondering how best to phrase the next words. If he did not do it right, Kathy would revert to short phrases filled with meaningful tone and he just got her speaking to him again.
“Apparently…she didn’t feel comfortable coming to me or you or even Maureen, so…she went to Olivia.”
“Olivia, you’re partner?” You mean Olivia, as in the partner that I don’t even feel comfortable having around my ex-husband has now, not only infiltrated my children, but done so to the point that they feel more comfortable talking to her about their problems instead of family. That Olivia?
“Yeah. I guess she gave Kathleen whatever advice she needed.
“I see.” I’m gonna kill her.
“I know what you’re thinking, Kath, and I was pissed at first too.”
“Uh-huh.” So, you’ll understand when I turn around and knock her front teeth in?
“Kathy,” Elliot said, hoping to get her to open up to him again. “Kathleen said she tried to talk to you about it and you told her to wait. She tried to talk to Maureen and she said the same thing. She didn’t even bother trying to come to me. Isn’t it better that she went to Olivia, someone she knew she could trust, rather than just going it alone?”
Kathy turned to pull another towel out of the basket. “She’s got aunts, she’s got friends…”
“But, she only felt comfortable going to Olivia.”
“When did this even happen?” Kathy said shaking her head. “I don’t even remember Olivia being here enough for them to even get that close.”
He shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is that I’m probably never going to be able to have an in-depth conversation with our child about sex and I doubt you will either. I trust Olivia and I’m glad our kids know that they have someone other than Mom and Dad that they know they can trust.”
“God, El,” she said sighing. “I don’t remember having these problems with Maureen…I mean it’s like one second she’s asking me about Bratz dolls and she’s all grown up the next.”
“Tell me about,” Elliot said.
Kathy put her hand to her forehead and he could see she was starting to look sickly. He closed the gap between them and, a moment later, he had Kathy wrapped in his arms. They embraced for a moment and he felt her sob just once into his shoulder, shedding the quick tears that he could not.
When she released him, they stared at one another for an awkward moment before he spoke.
“I better go.”
“Yeah,” she said returning to the laundry.
As he went back upstairs, he heard Lizzie’s feet pounding across the stairs as she raced to get back to the couch from her vantage point by the basement door. When he got upstairs, she sat lounged on the couch again, pretending as if she had not moved from the spot. Elliot rustled her hair, causing her to shriek from the disturbance of her ponytail, and yelled a goodbye to Kathleen on his way out the door.
Once inside his car, he let out a long sigh while he pulled out his phone. He needed to talk to Olivia, but he did not want to see her that day and he could not talk to her on the phone. He only wanted to leave a message and meet her some time later; any time other than after leaving his family to return to the loneliness of his apartment.
As the phone rang, he felt his nerves tingle.
Please don’t answer, he thought. Please don’t answer, please don’t answer, please don’t answer…
“Right here?” the cab driver said as he slammed on his brakes.
“Yes!” Olivia said catching herself from sliding into the plastic partition in the cab.
She paid the driver and paused on the sidewalk as she noticed a figure leaning against her building near the front door. Her hand slid on her waist toward her holster as she stepped toward the building, unable to make out the man’s face, but knowing for certain that the lanky frame did not belong to her Jonathan.
“Olivia!” he said, when she had come nearer to him.
“Philip?” she said, relaxing a bit. “Why are you standing out here in the snow?”
“I didn’t want to miss you when you came home.”
She rolled her eyes. “Your mother lives directly next door to me. Why didn’t you just wait inside?”
“Don’t know,” he said. “I thought it would seem kind of…romantic or something…with the snow and everything. Besides, I’d really like to just remove my mother from our situation.”
“What situation, Philip?” she said sighing. “We don’t have a situation.”
“But, see I think we do. I just want to get to know you a little better and you just hung up on me last night.”
Olivia paused, wondering if news about her recent argument with Jonathan would elicit the kind of new hope in Philip that she was attempting to squash. “I’d just had a huge fight with my Jonathan when you called and I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone.”
“A fight, eh?”
“Yes, a fight. Not a relationship-ending fight, but just an argument where…I hope time will cool it over. So, like I said, we don’t have a situation. Okay?”
She brushed past him and headed for the door, but he reached out and grabbed her arm.
“Let go,” she said immediately.
“Please, Olivia,” he said. “Just give me a chance. I just want to talk to you.”
“Philip. We have nothing in common to sustain a relationship and even if we did, I’m dating someone else. This…” She pointed between them. “…is not going to happen.”
Turning on her heel, she jammed her key into the building door, but Philip followed after her.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m coming in to see my mother. I can still do that, can’t I?”
“Fine, whatever. I’m taking the stairs.”
Eight flights of stairs and an aching back later, Olivia walked through her apartment door aggravated that no matter how she tried, it seemed that she could never make her relationships with men work.
She noticed her phone blinking when she took off her shoes and she sighed as she ran down a list of who might have called. It was either Maya calling to schedule a night out, Jillian insisting that Olivia come to Connecticut to see her son play basketball, Jonathan calling to say that he was returning her key and never wanted to see her again, or Elliot saying that he did not want her anywhere near his children.
She ignored the blinking orange light on the phone for an hour as she put her feet up to relax from a day of rogue criminals and general liars, but her curiosity got the better of her and she quickly dialed into her voicemail.
“Liv, it’s me,” Elliot’s voice said through the message. “Look…I, uh…I need to talk to you, but I don’t want to just talk over the phone. How ‘bout you meet me at The Sixth Cup tomorrow about eight or so and…we’ll talk? Okay? I’ll see you.”
A smile slid across Olivia’s face as she deleted the message and she wrapped herself in the afghan on her couch, feeling contented for the first and only time that day.
The Sixth Cup
Olivia’s foot tapped under the table in the coffee shop as she looked at her watch for the third time in twenty-eight minutes. At first she thought that she was just early, then she began wondering if she had the right restaurant. When eight-thirty came and went, she realized there was possibility that Elliot had had a change of heart overnight and would not show for their breakfast meeting.
She had tossed and turned all night in her bed, partly because she found herself extremely cold and missing the heat Jonathan had supplied to her bed, but mostly because she could not think of how she could further explain her actions to her partner. The message he had left sounded as if he wanted to resolve things between them, but as her watch hit eight-forty, she sighed and prepared to leave.
As she reached for her wallet to pay for her coffee, the door to the restaurant opened and Elliot stepped through, looking very red from the cold. He approached her table quickly and waited for the owner to bring him a coffee before he even looked her in the eye.
Olivia took a long sip from her cup. “I thought you’d stood me up.”
“Yeah…I thought about it,” Elliot said. “But, I figured only an ass would do that.”
“Very true. So…” she said hoping she could keep him talking.
“Kathy and I talked,” he said without any emotion.
She nodded. “So, is she coming to cut my throat now or do I have time to pick up my dry cleaning first?”
“Olivia,” he said exasperated. “I’m sorry about Friday. I should’t’ve picked a fight with you like that, but you don’t understand. I-”
“Elliot, I do understand. Kathleen is your daughter, your baby and, I know that no parent wants to think that their kids are growing up to quickly, but-”
“No, that’s not it,” he said, his voice drawing attention from the couple sitting several tables away from them. “To learn that your kid can’t come to you when they need help…Liv, it hurts. I always thought we had a relationship where she could come to me or Kathy with any problem. And now…I feel like I’ve screwed up with her.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong. Most girls think it’s hard to talk to their parents about sex and birth control because they think they can envision what the conversation would be like. Half the time, we go to our friends who know less about it than we do. And if there’s no one to talk to, girls just wing it and hope for the best.”
“I know,” Elliot said. “And, I’m glad she went to you. I mean…when Kathleen and I talked yesterday, just hearing her say the word sex bothers me. She told me I’ll never see her as anything other than an eight-year-old girl and she’s probably right. And, I want her to talk to you about this kind of stuff because she apparently trusts you a lot and since Kathy and I can’t seem to get ourselves together…that is, if you want to.”
“I do. I will. But…you still wish she’d gone to you or Kathy first?”
“Maybe Maureen. I don’t know.”
“Listen, Elliot. I’m so sorry. I should have told you. I was going to tell you, but I couldn’t figure out the best way to say it without you…”
He smiled at her as he picked up a menu. “Without me flying into a rage like Friday?”
“Yeah,” she said sighing.
Silence settled between them, interrupted only by the bustle of the nearby kitchen.
“Liv, will you just promise me one thing?” he asked from behind his menu.
“If any of my kids confides in you again will you…at least drop me or Kathy a hint that something’s going on? Please?”
“Consider it done.”
Olivia picked up her own menu, though she was not hungry in the least.
“There’s nothing I need to be talking to Dickie or Lizzie about right now, is there?” he added.
“Not to my knowledge.”
“Well, all right then.”
The shop owner came by offering biscotti and the three argued for a bit as Elliot and Olivia insisted on paying, but the owner refused to accept their money. His case won, the owner left them each a biscotti and a blueberry scone and soon stood arguing with a customer who had a deep southern drawl at his counter as Elliot and Olivia sat in silence.
“So,” Olivia said, the silence eating away at her, “this…um, Diana. Will I ever get to meet her?”
“Not unless I’ve lost my goddamn mind.”
She raised her eyebrows with a smile. “Swearing on a Sunday morning, Elliot? Tsk, tsk.”
He smiled in return. “Fine. Not unless I take complete leave of my senses.”
“You can’t leave a woman out to dry, Elliot.”
“What makes you think I did anything like that?”
“Because you always look so guilty each time I bring her up.”
He rolled his eyes and quickly changed the subject to Kreider’s whereabouts until it was time for him to join his family for church. Olivia could not help but notice that this week, Elliot did not invite her to church with him. Instead of worrying about it further, she chalked it up to not being Catholic and took the train to the precinct to catch up on case paperwork for the week.
As she planned to return phone calls and file relevant paperwork on open cases, she found an older note on her desk to check on Evelyn Rivers again. Olivia sighed as she stared at the note written in her own haphazard script knowing that Evelyn was most likely a lost cause and short of an actual murder on his hands, Micah Diorel would be free to walk around beating women until the end of his days.
Olivia rolled her eyes as she approached the
“Evelyn?” she asked as the door squeaked.
She entered the darkened apartment, eyes darting toward every corner.
“Evelyn?” she repeated. “It’s Detective Benson. Are you okay?”
Olivia heard a gasp from the corner behind her and she pulled out her weapon as she turned to the sound. On the floor in the corner, Evelyn sat, knees pulled to her chest, hair matted and covered in a shower of her own blood as she bled from open sores on her face neck and down her legs.
“Oh my God, Evelyn,” Olivia said.
“He…he ch-changed,” Evelyn stammered as she shook in the corner. “He said he was going to ch-change.
“What happened Evelyn?” Olivia said, taking off her coat to cover Evelyn who sat in just a cami and pajama shorts. “Who did this to you?”
Evelyn rubbed a bloody hand over her face, smearing red across her cheeks and forehead. “He said he was s-sorry. He didn’t mean it before.”
“Was Micah here? Did he do this?”
“He said he was gonna change…”
“Okay,” Olivia said softly taking Evelyn by the arm. “I’ve got to get you to a hospital. Can you stand, Evelyn?”
“No!” she yelled grabbing hold of Olivia and pulling her toward the floor. “You can’t. He’ll kill me!”
“Not if I’m with you at the hospital.”
“Please! I can’t leave! He said to stay here.”
“Evelyn, you’re hurt. I need to call an ambulance. You need medical attention.”
“What about Micah? He’ll come for me.”
“And this time we’ll get him and you can press charges.”
Evelyn shook her head. “He said to stay here. Right here. He said he’d know if I moved from this spot. He said to stay right here.”
Olivia glanced around the room again. “Did he leave? Evelyn, is Micah still here?”
Evelyn let go of Olivia, shaking her head and pulled her knees closer to her chest.
Olivia pulled out her phone and pressed 9 on her speed dial. When the 911 operator came through the line, Olivia gave her badge number and announced that she needed an ambulance at Evelyn’s address as soon as possible. She shivered slightly in the cold, dark room somewhat missing her coat as she had wrapped Evelyn tight in it.
“The ambulance is going to be here soon, okay Evelyn?”
Evelyn said nothing and continued to rock in her corner.
“It’s okay,” Olivia said softly. “It’s over. I’m gonna take you somewhere he won’t find you. I promise.”
Evelyn shook her head and Olivia heard a creak from behind her. She stood quickly pulling out her gun again and stared into the darkness.
She stepped further into the apartment towards the kitchen with eyes wide, hoping to grasp the slightest trace of movement. Gun in hand, her arm stretched forward at the sound of another creaking floorboard and she steadied herself on her feet.
Olivia had barely brushed his name past her lips, when Diorel’s shadow jumped from the kitchen’s murk wielding something long in his hand.
“You bitch!” he yelled as he swung at her head.
Olivia fell to floor just as object in Diorel’s hand made a metallic clang against the kitchen archway. Evelyn screamed on the other side of the room and Diorel took a second swing at Olivia. She rolled away, again, just in time and cocked her weapon upward and pulled the safety with a click.
“Don’t make me do it!” she shouted. “Don’t make me kill you!”
The single sliver of light that glinted in through the nearby window highlighted Diorel’s heaving figure as he held the long pipe in his hand.
“Just step back,” she said. “Face the wall.”
He only stared at her and she hopped up to steady herself with an exaggerated spread of her feet.
“Do it!” she yelled.
Diorel narrowed his eyes at her, but dropped the pipe, which clanged loudly on the floor inciting another yelp from Evelyn in the corner. He slowly turned to face the far wall and Olivia took a step toward him.
“Put your hands on the back of your head!” she said.
He placed both arms in the air and pulled them toward the back of his head with an annoyed expression on his face. Olivia stepped directly in back of Diorel, cool metallic handcuffs taken from her back pocket in her hand catching the only light in the room. She opened one of the cuffs, but Diorel quickly pulled his leg and kicked backwards, hitting Olivia in the stomach.
“No! Don’t kill her!” Evelyn screamed as Olivia lost her balance.
The kick took Olivia by surprise and she took several steps backward trying to keep herself from falling, but hit the fridge on the opposite wall instead. The door handle slammed directly into the large, round bruise on her back and she dropped her gun in conjunction with the searing pain.
Diorel, hearing the gun hit the floor, whirled around and kicked his leg out toward Olivia’s stomach again. She caught his foot as it made contact with her stomach and she pulled him upward bringing both feet out from under him. A crack rang through the apartment as Diorel’s head hit the floor with Olivia holding his struggling leg in the air.
He struggled a moment for a moment, dazed from the
knock and Olivia took the second to handcuff him before he regained his sight.
Her breath was coming in haggard gasps both from the pain Diorel
had inflicted in her stomach to the throbbing from her back and Olivia let
loose her anger and frustration on the violent felon by kicking him repeatedly
as he writhed on the floor. She would have kicked him the rest of the day and
through the night if the sounds of sirens and
Evelyn cried for both herself and Diorel the entire time she was loaded into the ambulance and Olivia rode to the hospital with her, reassuring her that “it” was all over for her, while refusing any medical treatment herself. At the hospital, Evelyn finally gave a statement claiming that Diorel had assaulted her and Olivia called Elliot to include charges of rape and assault to Diorel’s current charge of assaulting an officer.
Elliot arrived at the hospital just after eight in the evening announcing that Diorel had said he was going to butcher Olivia, but she shrugged off the statement with a laugh.
“He’s an arrogant sonovabitch, isn’t he?” Olivia said as they sat next Evelyn’s sleeping form in the hospital room.
Diorel had broken Evelyn’s arm and inflicted a mass of wounds on her aside from raping her again and, when it was suggested that she spend the night in the hospital, she wept openly until Olivia guaranteed not to leave her side until she fell asleep.
“Well, he came at you even with a gun on his head,” Elliot said. “So, I’d say yes.”
“Diorel is an idiot,” Olivia said. “And anyways, at least he won’t be beating on her anymore.”
Elliot sighed. “On another note…They took the detail off Drover. The higher-ups felt it was a waste of manpower.”
“Well, it’s not your fault,” she said. “He’ll screw up soon enough and then we’ll have him.”
“You could file charges against him and we could get him off the street today.”
“That’d be two attacks on my life in forty-eight hours. With that, I’d have you, Cragen, Munch, Fin and the rest of the whole damn department driving me home. And if I thought that would bring any comfort to Veronica Schrader, I would.”
Evelyn stirred for a few moments and then bolted upright in the hospital.
“Hello? Where I am?” she said.
“Is Micah here?”
“No. He’s in jail and he won’t be hurting you anymore.”
“Are you leaving?”
“I have to leave eventually, but I’ll wait ‘til you fall asleep again. Tomorrow, I’m taking you to the All Saints House. It’s a halfway house and they’ll make sure you can get back on your feet.”
Evelyn nodded and rested back into her pillows. Five minutes later, she was asleep and Elliot offered to drive Olivia home, but she wanted to go back the precinct first to speak to Diorel. Throughout the drive to the 1-6, Elliot tried to talk Olivia out of it, stating that he seemed to have a lot of anger directed at her, but she insisted.
“So, Micah,” Olivia said sitting across from Diorel in an interrogation room twenty minutes later. “Would you like to give a statement and cop to this now?”
“I’m not copping to nothing!” He sat with one arm cuffed to the table and visibly shaking with rage.
“You sure? You could save the city a lot of money.”
“Kiss my ass, you dyke bitch. I’m not saying nothing, ‘specially since I got all these bruises on my stomach.”
Olivia felt her lips curling into a slight smile. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. You fell. Besides that you were resisting arrest and that’s not going to wipe away your handprints on Evelyn’s face.”
“You don’t have nothing on me.”
“Except for the word of a seasoned officer against that of repeated felon. And, I’m sure Evelyn’s testimony will be able to nail your ass just fine.”
Diorel leapt up from his chair and managed to slightly pull the table with him as he dove for Olivia.
“I’ll get you, you stupid bitch! You make my girl lie on me! When I get outta here, I’m gonna rip you in half! I swear to God! I’m gonna work you over three times from Sunday!”
Olivia stepped out of the room, with Diorel still tethered to the table, a smirk on her face. She had hoped that he would say something incriminating, but he, as women-hating abuser, remained vigilant.
Elliot invited Olivia out for a celebratory drink, but she declined. With the day going as it had, she had told herself the only thing she wanted to do was take a long bath and roll up in her afghan. She knew deep down, however, that she held the deep desire that Jonathan would call or simply appear at her apartment and spending the evening with Elliot would make any prospect of reconciling with Jonathan a severe problem; if a reconciliation was even possible at this point.
He didn't mean it, she made the excuse for herself. She knew he had not meant what he had said. He was angry and, if she was honest with herself, he had every right to be.
No negative reference had been made to her sexuality since she was in college and she had slapped him too. It was a reflex. "Olivia, you're a whore." SLAP. She had slapped her mother when she had said it as well. It was just a normal reaction to the insinuation, but Jonathan was different. He had made a point in his intrepid honesty and she had not wanted to hear it.
Jonathan had refused to divulge his last name during their very first date or even the day afterward when they had talked on the phone all night. It was during their second date, two days afterward, that Olivia had decided, surname or not, she had gone far too long without the feel of strong arms and a lean, muscular body touching her in every way she needed to be touched; she was only momentarily deterred after learning that Jonathan was not just any tall, handsome, wealthy man, but part of a family that made pumping out such examples of men an artform.
Olivia stepped into her apartment and headed straight for her bathroom to draw a bath for herself. Pausing at her mirror, she shook her head at the reflection.
Spots of Evelyn Rivers’ blood had landed on her sweater and threw it into the corner she reserved for ruined clothes. An oblong shape nearing the colour of the bruise on her back was beginning to come into focus on her stomach and she brushed her hand across it, wincing at the pain of her own fingers.
She pushed away an unpleasant memory from the past and closed her eyes once she had emerged herself into the steaming bathwater. Within minutes, however, Jonathan’s voice began ringing through her thoughts.
“If I didn’t struggle to drag things out of you, I wouldn’t know the bits and pieces that I do!”
It was the truth, as much as she hated to admit it.
While Jonathan had refused to confess his wealthy relations, Olivia had
continuously told Jonathan that she was just a detective; never an
She had not wanted to tell him about the
Each time a case seemed like it would be the final blow to push her over the edge, Jonathan would wrap his arms around her and remind her of the all the lives she had touched. Holding her tight, he would whisper trite sayings about how she was making the world a better place with each hour on the job.
"If this world had more Olivia Bensons," he would say, "there'd be no need for Christ's second coming. We'd already have paradise on Earth."
It had also been a year after they had begun dating before she revealed anything about her mother and months after that before Olivia had mentioned that she was the product of a rape. The only reason she had said anything was because he mentioned that she never spoke about her father. She had resisted the subject for weeks and changed the topic each time, until his final prodding about "Well, I'd like to know who's going to be giving you away if we ever decide to tie the noose." Even then, Jonathan had remained committed to her saying that if an alcoholic victim could raise an Olivia Benson, then she must have been Superwoman.
He had been so good to her in the past and it was only
after her time in
Perhaps he was more hurt by my leaving than I thought? she thought as she pulled the bathwater. Elliot sure was.
Then there was Jonathan’s sheer competitive nature. He had asked why he had not known about her near fatal incident with the blade of Victor Gitano's knife and she had absent-mindedly revealed that she only had two Case of Emergency People: Elliot Stabler and Maya Shah. He never voiced it, but being in any place other than first was as abhorrent to Jonathan as golddigging friends and women itching for their piece in his never-ceasing financial security in the city.
Hair still wet from her bath and Jonathan’s favorite
movie, Primal Fear, ready in her
Without even glancing through the peephole, she flung open the door to find Mrs. Fitzgivens standing in her doorway with a very cross expression on her face.
“Yes?” Olivia said, trying to hide her dismay.
“Philip’s told me what you’ve been saying to him,” Mrs. Fitzgivens said.
Olivia sighed. “Then, I’m sure you’ll realize why I’m about to close the door.”
“Just talk to him once more,” she pleaded. “He’s a nice boy and he likes you a lot.”
“Mrs. Fitzgivens,” Olivia said wondering how best to make the woman before her understand her own frustration. “I’m sorry, but Philip and I…we don’t have anything in common. He’s too young and too weird for me and it’s just not going to work out. And besides all that, I’m in a relationship right now.”
“Well, these walls aren’t exactly thick, Miss Benson. I know what goes on in this building.”
“Look, I went to dinner with him because you asked me to, I’ve let him down as easy as I could and now, I think I’m done with this whole situation.”
“Would you please just-”
“No,” Olivia said cutting her off in mid-sentence. “I’m done. Goodbye.”
She closed the door and sighed, annoyed that she had
probably made an enemy of the woman who lived directly next to her and also
that there was no sign of Jonathan. He had called after she threw him out for
mentioning her squad. He had called after she threw him out while she was
working on the recent Sennet case. He had even called
after she threw him out following their first argument when she returned to the
Surely by now, she thought as she pulled out her cello bow instead of returning to the television, he can tell when I’m just having a bad week.
Olivia sighed as she tossed away a report sighting
Owen Kreider on a plane to
The majority of Monday had been spent catching up on
paperwork and chasing down leads on Kreider. While
some of the public outcry had died down since Thursday past, reports on his
whereabouts still poured into the
Olivia was also brought the unsettling news that Micah Diorel had been released on bail during his arraignment. He apparently had a very large family that helped post his $100,000 bail by the end of the business day. Casey had called immediately apologizing and insisting that if there was any evidence that Diorel could have raised that amount so quickly, she would have pressed harder for remand. Olivia told her not to worry about it, but her senses were on high alert for the rest of the day.
“I’ll be by to see how you’re doing on Wednesday,” Olivia had said when she visited Evelyn at the halfway house that day.
“Okay,” Evelyn had said looking very small in the large white room. “Just…don’t forget about me.”
“I won’t,” Olivia had said. “I promise. Anything you want me to bring you when I come?”
Evelyn shook her head, but gave Olivia a long “thank-you” hug before she left. She refused to tell Evelyn about Diorel’s bail, but made sure that all the staff had a picture of Diorel and knew that he was not to be admitted under any circumstance.
By eleven-thirty, only she and Elliot remained in the squad room and while she still felt some residual jubilation from getting Evelyn out of Diorel’s immediate clutches, an overwhelming depression, which she had been attempting to stave off at every turn, bore down on her minute after minute.
Elliot yawned on his side of the desk pair and Olivia smirked at him from her own stack of records.
“Go home,” she said. “You’ve done enough for one day.”
“You go home,” he said. “I’ve got another six pages to comb through.”
“It’ll be here tomorrow morning.”
“Those’ll be here tomorrow morning, too.”
She threw a crumpled up piece of paper at him, which he batted away with the stack of papers in his hand.
After another twenty minutes, he sighed as he set down his stack and stretched.
“Come on,” he said. “Let me drive you home.”
“No, I’ve…” she paused for a moment, unable to come up with a valid excuse. “…I’ve got some more things to catch up on. Need to make sure Evelyn Rivers will be okay and I’ve got to sign off on this report Fin just finished on the Fayden case.”
“What can I do to help?”
“Look, Elliot. I know you’re worried about Micah Diorel, but I’ll be fine, okay? He’s not the first perp to shout idle threats at us.”
“There’s Diorel…and Drover…and Kreider…and that kid, Philip, you’ve been telling me about…”
She sighed. “I just need to look over a few more things and I’m done. I’m actually right behind you. Probably by the time you get to your car, I’ll be heading for the elevators.”
He nodded. “Okay. Well…call if you need something.”
Olivia wanted to say “I will” but she could not manage to form the words in her mouth.
As he walked toward the elevators, she reached for a file folder that teetered on the edge of her desk, but before she could catch it, the folder slid to the floor, spraying its contents across the hard tiles.
She bent down and started laughing at the minor predicament, yet as she picked up sheet after sheet, her laughter began to well in her chest and, a moment later, she was sitting on the floor with her back against her desk, crying.
Elliot, having watched the entire situation from his vantage at the elevator, walked back into the squad room and sat down next to Olivia.
“What’s going on, Liv?” he said softly as she sat with her hands covering her face.
Olivia shook her head and spoke through her hands. “Nothing.”
“Nothing? That’s always the answer, isn’t it? Any time I ask what’s going on, it’s always nothing.” When Olivia did not respond, he continued. “You’re sitting here all alone on the floor crying and you’re telling me nothing’s wrong? Come on, Olivia.”
She took a deep breath and pulled her hands from her face. “It’s so stupid.”
“It’s…I mean, I can’t believe I’m actually crying over it.”
“You two have a fight?”
“A big one?”
“And, I take it he didn’t come by?”
She shook her head. “Didn’t even call.”
“It’s not the first time you’ve had a fight.”
“But, not like this, Elliot. This was for real.”
“That was Tuesday. He’s probably been just as busy as you have.”
“No, see, I threw him out the first time on Tuesday and then he came by this past Friday right before…”
“Right before I nearly brought down the walls of your apartment,” he finished staring at the floor.
Explains why she didn’t fight back as hard as I figured she was going to, he thought.
“He came by to make up, but he was being a complete ass about it and I told him to get out. And now…I don’t think he’s coming back.”
“Olivia, he’ll call you.”
She laughed out loud. “I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation.”
“Liv, you’re allowed to be upset about him. You’ve been together for a while and when you fight, it affects you. Trust me, I know.”
“I just…I just keep playing Friday night over and over in my head and I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
“There’s nothing wrong with you.”
“No, Elliot, there is. And, Jonathan pointed it out.”
“What could he have said?”
“He said I push people away. He called me a whore.”
“He said…he told me that I was incapable of allowing myself to be happy.”
“Liv, you know that’s not true.”
“It is. It makes perfect sense…when I look back on my life…it just fits.”
Elliot put his arm around her and rubbed her back as she pulled her knees up to her chest. “C’mon, Liv. He was just angry. There’s no truth to that.”
“He was in Virginia, Liv. It wasn’t meant to be anyways, right?”
She shook her head. “Cassidy and I had a lot in common…”
“You worked together. You knew that wasn’t going to work out.”
“We could've made it work...hell, he even as much as said the same thing as Jonathan.”
“Cassidy said you won’t let yourself be happy?”
“Olivia, it would’ve been a flash in the pan romance and then it would’ve been over. Cassidy wasn’t the one.”
“I guess so…Christ, I fought for Matthew and he was a complete ass. I didn’t let him go until it got really bad.”
“You never seemed too happy with him, anyway.”
“Exactly! I wasn’t happy, but I kept on trucking with that relationship until it became absolutely unbearable. God, Elliot…I am so screwed! Jonathan…he was the one, wasn’t he?”
“There’s no way to know that. You’ve been together for just two years, but besides that, there’s no reason to even think of him as a ‘was.’”
“He was just screaming so loud on Friday. He said he wanted to marry me…grow old with me and now he’s not calling.”
Elliot pulled her closer. “Liv, he seems like a good guy. If he’s worth a damn, he’ll call. If he doesn’t, you move on.”
She put her head on her knees. “I don’t want to move on again. Moving on is hard. I’m tired of it. When is this supposed to get easy?”
“It doesn’t. Look, at me, Liv. I was married for twenty years and it never once got easy. Now, I’m divorced and it’s even harder.”
“But at least you’ve got twenty years of happy memories under your belt.”
“It’s easier to remember the bad times more than the good.”
“And, you’ve got your kids…”
“Who are growing up so fast I can’t even think straight. Next time I turn around, Dickie’ll be telling me he’s asked this Jessica Barrow to marry him.”
Olivia smiled at him, but the smile faded quickly. “Elliot…I…”
“What? What is it?”
“I was just getting used to not being so…alone.”
“You’re not alone, Liv.”
“I know. I know I have people in my life. Maya calls every other day and I know her family better than I know the little that I have. God, her grandmother calls me her jarda nātina, her pale granddaughter. And then there’s Jillian and so on and, of course, I’ve got you, but at the end of the day…I’ve got no one.”
Elliot gave his watch an exaggerated glance. “Look, it’s . It’s the end of the day, and I’m right here.”
She smiled at him again and leaned her head on his shoulder. “I’m a cop, I’m a leader and I’m thirty-seven years old and I’m sitting here crying about my boyfriend. What’s wrong with me?”
“Nothing. You’re human. You’re allowed to let your guard down every once in a while. Besides, I’ll make sure no one knows about it…for a small fee, of course.”
She nudged him. “Take me home, Elliot. This floor is too damn hard and cold and, if I’m going to feel sorry for myself, I might as well do it in the comfort of my own home.”
Elliot made the slow and steady drive to Olivia’s apartment through the torrent of snow that had descended upon the city and by the time he parked in an empty space by Olivia’s building, she had fallen asleep in the passenger seat next to him.
“Wake up, Sleepy,” he said as she jumped in the seat and looked around a moment as she tried to get her bearings.
They sat in silence for a moment watching the snow fall on the car windshield.
“Come up with me,” Olivia said finally. “We’ll watch old movies, eat ice cream and Mallomars and we’ll both feel sorry for ourselves. It’ll be fun.”
He hesitated before replying, alarm bells ringing in his head, telling him that going to Olivia’s apartment so late at night could lead to disaster, but when she nudged him with a smile as she urged him again, he could not resist.
Shoes at the door and feet propped up on Olivia’s coffee table, they sat on her couch, a box of Mallomars in Elliot’s hand and a bag of Milano’s in Olivia’s as Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire danced “cheek to cheek” on the television. They laughed about old times and teased one another about how neither one could ever move as gracefully as Rogers or Astaire.
Elliot felt his eyes droop as Helen Broderick entered the film and a smile spread across his face as he glanced at Olivia who had fallen fast asleep next to him. He turned off the television and pulled the Milano bag out of Olivia’s hand, wondering if he should leave. Two choices lay before him: he could either wrap a blanket around her and make sure she was comfortable before locking her door with the key she had given years earlier and leaving for his own apartment, or he could simply stay.
A spray of snow hit the nearby window and Elliot sighed dreading the idea of having to face the cold again. Instead of easing off the couch, he pulled her closer and wrapped Olivia’s blanket over the two of them, allowing himself to fall asleep next to her.