Elliot was running from his squad car, tears burning in his eyes.
How could this have happened?
He shoved uniformed officers out of his way; male or female, he did not care. His child, his only son! How could this have happened?
Red and blue flashing lights
blinded his already blurred vision momentarily as he came onto a clearing in
Olivia stood next to the form on the ground. "Elliot...wait," she said with eyes wet.
Elliot would not listen to her and pushed against her until she too moved out of his way. He pulled back the sheet and let out a cry of terror and absolute anguish. His son, his only son, lied on the ground, violated and strangled. His blue eyes were glazed and empty and his sun-touched skin appeared grey in the flashing light.
Elliot pulled Dickie's lifeless body to him and shivered against his son's cold skin. He never had a chance to say he was sorry for the past night. He never had a moment to talk to his son again, to tell him everything was okay, to tell him that he loved him. Tears flowed from his eyes like rivers and Olivia's outward sob was completely overshadowed by his scream upward to the heavens as if asking Why with his tears.
Elliot sat upright in his darkened bedroom completely covered in sweat. His breath was coming in jagged huffs and his hands were shaking. He looked around quickly and sighed realizing he had just awakened from a terrible dream.
It was the not first time he had had the nightmare that he found one of his own children murdered in the city, and like all the others, this one was specifically related to his current most troubling case.
Elliot relaxed and fell back against his bed to face the ceiling. He glanced at his alarm clock and winced. He had wanted to sleep until at least , but his tumultuous thoughts had forced him wide awake. He sighed and closed his eyes becoming quickly chilled from the drying sweat on his body.
He had talked to Dickie prior to speaking with Kathy the previous night and he had wanted to take him to his indoor soccer practice this morning, but Dickie flat out refused. His punishment still fresh in his mind, Dickie had all but said he wanted nothing to do with his father for the time being. Elliot had hoped to patch up things between him and his son on the drive, but as teenagers went, Dickie was not cooperating.
Thoughts of his dream floated back to his mind and bits of psychology classes taken long ago intertwined with the vivid memory. Obviously, he had been worried about Dickie’s safety since he and Olivia had been more or less unsuccessful with finding out any further information on their current killer, but he was still morbidly bemused by how his mind worked. Olivia had been among the many faceless officers, but he did wonder: Where was Kathy? He wondered why his subconscious had not thought to place her on the scene as well, but the sounds of a car with a faulty muffler passing by his apartment drove the thought from his head.
He sighed again and rose from his bed. Neither a good night’s sleep or weekend to sleep past eight were going to be possible as long as the person who had murdered Jacob Lewendale and Connor Whickfield still lurked Manhattan’s streets. He would go to the gym early and hope to run and weight lift the memories of his past dream out of his mind…for the time being.
Olivia sat at a booth in the small restaurant, tucked away from the majority of the milling crowd, and took a sip of her two-sugared black coffee. She got to the café early to make sure she got a table out of the way just in case Kathleen’s intended conversation turned to something she would just as soon not have uttered to a restaurant full of people.
The café was filled mostly with college students taking in their last moments of freedom before having to return to classes the next Tuesday. She was surprised to see the place as crowded as it was on a Saturday morning and she wondered just how and why Kathleen picked the restaurant in particular.
While it was located a ways from Kathleen’s own home, it was also well-removed from the 1-6, which reduced the likelihood that she and Olivia would be seen by anyone who knew her. She had put a lot of thought into this meeting and Olivia felt her eyebrows furrow slightly as she grew concerned. The restaurant was as far as possible from anyone Elliot’s daughter could know, but in perfect walking distance to Olivia’s apartment. Kathleen had planned the meeting almost too carefully. If Olivia had been as paranoid as Munch, she would have assumed Elliot’s daughter had planned a hit on her for that very moment.
From her booth, Olivia could see the front door of the restaurant and when the doors opened again, she sat up expectantly. Two kids in their twenties walked inside looking like a cup of coffee was the only thing that was going to keep them from falling over while on their feet.
Sighing, she opened the newspaper she bought from a newsstand on her walk to the restaurant. On the second page stood a large article claiming that the NYPD was still stumped as to who had murdered Jacob Lewendale and that the same killer seemed to have struck again with Connor Whickfield. She rolled her eyes wondering who at the 1-6 had made some off-handed comment to a reporter. Reporters would be beating down hers and Elliot’s doors if not by the end of the day, then definitely by Sunday.
Both Jacob and Connor had come from more respectable families and their faces were sure to be spread across the Times and the tabloids alike. Faces like theirs sold newspapers and it irritated her that the public would soon become outraged that the police had yet to find the killer of two blue-eyed boys, but when children were murdered north of 120th Street, interest in justice on their behalf would always seem to diminish.
She set down the paper when the door to the restaurant opened again and she straightened in her seat as Elliot’s daughter walked inside with a slightly worried expression on her face.
Olivia flagged her down and Kathleen broke into a large smile as she hurried to the booth.
“Thanks so much for coming, Olivia,” she said removing her coat and sitting across from her.
“No problem,” Olivia said.
She hoped that Kathleen would simply jump into her intended conversation, but instead she ordered eggs, toast, cantaloupe and orange juice from the stout waiter who appeared the instant Kathleen took her seat.
They made small talk while they waited: Kathleen was doing better in school, staying out of trouble and was looking forward to going to college somewhere warm; Olivia was still seeing the “wealthy guy,” Jonathan; Lizzie was stealing Kathleen’s makeup and Dickie was constantly hogging the remote control at their house; work was tough as usual.
“So, Kathleen,” Olivia said after a half hour of fervently waiting for the other shoe to drop, “what did you want to talk to me about?”
Kathleen set down her fork full of eggs midway on its trip to her mouth and frowned.
“Well…I wanted to just thank you about not saying anything to my parents about last year…”
Olivia pursed her lips as she remembered the incident.
“Why are we here!” Olivia had shouted a year earlier. “It’s so loud, I can’t even think straight!”
“It’s supposed to be loud, Livia!” Maya had shouted in return.
They were seated at a table in a dark, noisy bar in Midtown and as Olivia took a swig of her Apple Martini, she wished that she had declined Maya’s invitation to come out to the newest “it” bar in the city. Maya had wanted her to come so they could, in Maya’s words, “look beautiful and be hit on by younger guys,” but Olivia quickly tired of shouting to have simple conversation and found herself wondering why she indulged Maya as much as she did.
“You’ll have to break up with him eventually,” she said as same song played for the third time that night.
“But, he’s fun and new,” Maya said, moving her shoulders to the music. “And besides, in six months, I probably won’t even know Mason anymore.”
“That’s what you said about that grad student. What was his name…Eric, or something? It was a year before you got rid of him.”
Maya rolled her eyes. “That was an isolated incident. I’m telling you. I give him three months. Six tops!”
Olivia shook her head and laughed. She allowed her eyes to scan the room as she drained her new Long Island Ice Tea. A green-eyed twenty-three year old had bought the drink for her minutes earlier and she quickly brought the tall glass to half full.
Her line of sight hit a flash of hair just beyond Maya’s shoulder, but on the other side of the room. At first, she thought the three and a half drinks splashing in her stomach were taking a far faster toll on her than normal, but as she continued to stare past Maya, Olivia knew she was not seeing things.
“What?” Maya said turning in her chair. “D’you see somebody we know?”
Unable to answer because her mouth now sat gaping, Olivia continued staring at a blonde form dancing with a dark haired man with a large drink in her hand. The blonde girl was twirled by her beau and her eyes crossed the room as she laughed, her drink overtaking its sides as she twirled. Her gaze met Olivia’s and she stopped dead as her eyes grew wide.
Olivia tilted her head forward, her mouth still gaping and still hoping that she was imaging what she was seeing. Elliot’s seventeen-year-old daughter was staring at her from the other side of the room.
“Livia?” Maya said. “What’s wrong?”
She stood, keeping her eyes on Kathleen across the room who had just mouthed “Oh shit” with her own eyes fixed on Olivia.
“Can I get you another?” a different twenty-something said sliding into Olivia’s view.
She scorned at him and quickly tried to get around him to find Kathleen again in the crowds.
“Aw, c’mon,” the boy said. “I love big, brown eyes.”
Olivia brushed past him as he shouted something about her skirt and squeezed through the horde of people until she saw a flicker of long blonde hair nearly sprinting toward the back exit.
Nearly slipping in her heels, she took off across the dance floor and followed Kathleen out the heavy metal door.
“Kathleen!” she shouted into the cold January air. “Don’t make me chase you all the way across this goddamn city!”
Kathleen, several meters away, came to a stop at the mouth of the alley between the bar and club next door to it, and Olivia quickly caught up with her.
“Ohmygodohmygodohmygod,” Kathleen said continuously, shifting on her feet as Olivia approached her.
“I can’t even believe this!” Olivia yelled staring at Kathleen who, wearing a dress that left very little to the imagination, appeared very pale in cold night air.
“Oh my God. Oh my God, Olivia. Oh my God, Olivia, please don’t tell my dad.”
“That’s the only thing you’re worried about!” Olivia screamed. “You were dancing with a man twice your age and drinking something that would’ve made me too drunk to figure out where I was!”
“I know, I know! And I’m sorry, but please, please don’t tell my dad.”
Olivia put a hand to her forehead as her breath came in quick hyperventilated huffs. She had never been so angry in her life and Kathleen was not even her child.
“Olivia,” Kathleen continued, her breath making wisps of heat in the cold. “This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this and I swear to God I’ll never do it again, but you can’t tell my dad. He’ll kill me. I know he will.”
“Kathleen,” she began with punctuated words. “I don’t think you understand the severity of what I just saw.”
“I do! Olivia, I-”
“No! You don’t! You’re at a bar rubbing up against a grown man you just met and you’re only worried about getting in trouble with your father. This is…crazy!”
“I came with a bunch of friends, but they all left and I still wanted to have a good time, but I was ready to leave anyway when that guy came and started dancing with me and I was going to just get a cab and go home. I swear to God, I was just about to leave…”
Olivia ran an icy hand over her face and stared at her partner’s child who was looking at her with wet eyes. Sympathy swam over her as she remembered the number of times Elliot looked aggravated or tired over a new situation with Kathleen.
“After all your father did for you after you got caught drunk driving…You’re in here, under aged and drinking like a goddamn sailor.”
The innocence left Kathleen’s face as a mild indignation appeared in her eyes and she folded her arms across her chest.
“Hey!” she said defiantly. “I saw the drink you had in front of you! It was half gone and it was twice the size of mine!”
All sensations of chill vanished from her skin as Olivia suddenly grew hot with bridled rage. Her bottom lip fell for a moment as she glared at Kathleen.
“I’m not seventeen years old, Kathleen! I’m an adult and I can do whatever the hell I want! You’re too young to even be in a club, let alone draining a drink with a grown man!”
“I know, I know,” Kathleen said, taking a step backward. “I…I…”
“How the hell did you even get in there!”
As if on command, Kathleen produced an ID from inside her dress near her shoulder and quickly handed it to Olivia.
Olivia snatched it from her and held it up in the dim light of the alley.
“Who the hell is ‘Laura Stanton?’”
“I…I don’t know. My friend Melissa had them made up. She just asked me for a picture and some money and she got them done. I swear this is the first time I’ve ever used it.”
Olivia stared at the fake license again and glanced at Kathleen vaguely remembering the first fake ID Maya had given to her when they were Kathleen’s age. A part of her thought she was being slightly hypocritical speaking to Kathleen about her actions, when Olivia could remember performing a similar action two decades earlier. One of Maya's sisters had nearly caught her, but Olivia had made it into a cab before Maya's sister caught up with her. Another part of her, however, knew she could not let Kathleen away without some kind of punitive measure.
“All right,” she said. “I’m taking this.
“Yes, absolutely,” Kathleen said nodding her head furiously. “I totally understand.”
Olivia scoffed. “Yeah, I bet you do.”
“Just…for the love of God, Olivia, please. You can’t…You can not tell my dad. He’ll go crazy and not in a good way. Please. You know how he can be. If he finds out, I’m grounded ‘til I’m thirty.”
“And you should be!” Olivia said shaking her head, growing angrier again. “And, if I remember correctly, your father was just telling me a few days ago that you were grounded this weekend for sneaking out of the house last week!”
“I know, which is why you can’t tell him. Please. Olivia, please! I swear to God. I didn’t even want to come out tonight, but my friends…they just kept telling me that this place was opening tonight and that we had to go. I didn’t even want to come because I knew I was grounded.”
“If you knew it was wrong, then why am I freezing my ass off listening to you give this sorry excuse?”
Kathleen pursed her lips and shook slightly, either from the cold or extreme stress; Olivia did not know which.
“I’m so sorry,” Kathleen continued. “And I swear on my life, I’ll never do anything like this again, but…just take the ID. It cost me two hundred dollars and that was all the money I’d saved for months, but please…Please! Please don’t tell my dad. I’m begging you. He can’t find out about this.”
Olivia put her head to her forehead wishing she had accepted the drink from the boy in the bar.
“Livia?” she heard Maya’s voice call a minute later.
“I’m here, Maya,” she said never taking her eyes off Kathleen.
“What the hell?” Maya said. “That guy bought us both drinks even though you took off. What are you doing out here?”
Kathleen’s eyes grew wider at the thought of another party privy to her lapse in judgment. Olivia simply shook her head and sighed as Maya approached them.
“Who’s this?” Maya asked brightly.
“Kathleen, this is Maya,” Olivia said in a low voice. “Maya, this is Kathleen…Elliot’s daughter.”
“Oh!” Maya said starting to smile, but then the situation quickly dawned on her and her smile quickly faded. “Oh…Okay…Well, I’ll be up by the door for a bit.”
Olivia glared at Kathleen who was staring back, eyes turning pink and very pale.
“Please?” Kathleen repeated. “I’ll give you anything-”
“You don’t have anything I want.”
“I’ll do anything. Anything you want, but please don’t tell my dad.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. “Well, the first thing you can do is apologize for ruining my night…”
“I’m so sorry,” Kathleen said quickly. “I’m so, so sorry. And, I swear I’ll never do anything like this again. I swear to God.”
“All right. That’s enough swearing for one night,” Olivia said ushering her toward the sidewalk. “I’m putting you in cab and you’re going straight home. And, I expect to hear that you’ve been doing things to help out your mom over these next couple of weeks too. I should be able to say to your dad, ‘Hey. How’s Kathleen doing?’ and I better hear something like, ‘Well, she’s been doing the dishes and the laundry and doing everything she can to help her mom around the house.’”
“You will,” Kathleen said nodding her head again. “I sw-…I promise.”
Olivia managed to hail a cab quickly and pulled some bills out of her purse. “This should get you back home. You have my cell and I want you to call me from your house phone the second you get back there.”
“I will. I will. The second I get through the door.”
“And I assume you won’t be going anywhere for the next three weekends. Right?”
“I won’t be going anywhere,”
Kathleen said still nodding her head as she got into the cab. “I’m going to
“I’m not doing boroughs,” the cab driver said turning toward her.
Olivia rolled her eyes and slid twenty dollars through the slot in the plastic partition. “You are for now…And, Kathleen. As long as you keep up your end of our little bargain, I won’t tell your father, but if I hear about one slip up…”
Kathleen pursed her lips and her eyes looked tearful once more. “I promise, Olivia. Just please…please…”
“I won’t,” Olivia said. “Now, go home.”
“Thank God,” Maya said the moment Kathleen’s cab had driven down the street. “It’s about time. It’s two degrees out here! C’mon, I know the bouncer. I’ll get us back in and we won’t even have to pay the cover.”
“No,” Olivia said shaking her head again. “I’m…I’m done for the night. That was just a little too much reality for my Saturday.”
Another passenger-less cab appeared as if on cue and Olivia quickly backed toward it.
“I’ll call you,” she said to Maya. “But, um, find my coat in there if you can though. I just got that from Barney’s…”
“I thought we agreed we wouldn’t speak of it again?” Olivia said, snapping out of her reverie.
“Right, right,” Kathleen said bouncing in her seat slightly. “Well, I don’t know if my dad said anything to you or not, but I’ve been dating this guy, Mike, for a while now…”
Olivia tilted her head in Kathleen’s direction. “Okay…?”
“And…” Kathleen refused to meet Olivia’s eyes any longer. “We’ve been…talking for a long time about our…uh…relationship and stuff.”
Olivia nodded her head and bit her lip. A knot appeared in her stomach and she suddenly had the light taste of bile at the back of her throat. She knew exactly where the conversation was heading and she immediately wished she had spoken to Elliot earlier. Perhaps then, Kathleen would have been forced to find another confidante.
“Well,” Kathleen said so soft Olivia could just barely hear her. “I was just wondering if maybe…maybe you could give me some advice on birth control or something.”
Olivia swallowed the coffee she had let sit in her mouth and took a deep breath. “Birth control?”
Kathleen nodded at her with eyes wide and expectant.
“You know, Kathleen,” Olivia began, “this is really something you should talk about with your parents.”
She and Kathleen stared at one another for a moment, simultaneously thinking that a conversation about birth control with Elliot would be nothing short of a disaster.
“I mean, your mother, at least,” she added quickly.
“I know,” Kathleen said, pushing her eggs around her plate. “I tried, but Mom just keeps trying to talk me out of it. She won’t even listen to me. It’s not like I’m gonna go race off to sleep with him. I just want to know stuff and she keeps changing the conversation to my grades instead.”
“Well, it’s ‘cause she wants what’s best for you.”
“Yeah, but when I say that we’ve talked about it, Mike and me, she says we’re too young and that we just shouldn’t. She doesn’t even want to talk about the ‘What if.’”
Olivia stared at the eighteen-year-old girl sitting across from her. She remembered the feeling of wanting so badly to go to her own mother about this same scenario and knowing it was not even a possibility. Her mother only allowed her to spend much of her childhood and teen years with Maya and her family because she wanted Olivia to learn another language and culture. Outside of the Shah family, Olivia’s mother did not want her associating with anyone, especially boys.
“And, I can’t talk to Maureen about it,” Kathleen continued. “ ‘Cause she’ll just go into big-sister-protection-mode, and I know she’ll go straight to Mom and Dad.” She paused. “Olivia, I wouldn’t’ve bothered you, but I need to talk to someone about this and I…I just didn’t want to go to any of my friends because sooner or later it would be all over school and I just don’t need that right now.”
“Kathleen, you are not a bother to me. You can always come to me. Anytime, with anything. It’s just that…” Olivia allowed her voice to trail unsure how best to proceed. If Elliot knew what she was even considering to discuss with his daughter, he would throw a violent fit, if she were lucky. He and Kathy might just get back together in their mutual hatred for her upon finding out about this discussion.
“Well,” she said unable to disguise the resignation in her voice. “Have you two talked about it? I mean, really talked about it.”
“Yes,” Kathleen said nearly shouting. “We’re in love.”
Olivia suppressed a roll of her eyes remembering that not too long ago, Kathleen was in “love” with a completely different boy.
“Okay,” she said. “But, you know you can be in love with someone without having sex.”
Kathleen sighed and set down her fork, pouting slightly. Olivia was losing her and she knew that if she did not give some advice, any advice, Elliot would most likely become a young grandfather.
“Well,” Olivia continued, “if you two really think you’re ready…” Her voiced trailed again and she looked down at her half empty coffee cup, unsure of how to proceed with the conversation.
She had gone to her far more experienced friends back when she decided that she was ready to have sex and she silently wished Kathleen had done the same. Olivia never had an older woman in which she could confide and she never spoke to her own mother about sex. Not once. There was also the issue of Kathleen’s mother. Olivia felt a hot flash as she thought about how irresponsible it was for Kathy to refuse to discuss this with her daughter. She knew that Elliot and Kathy got pregnant when they were not much older than Kathleen and one would think that Kathy would do everything in her power to make sure the same thing did not happen to her own daughter.
Kathleen sat still eyeing her expectantly and Olivia knew her only options were to either dispense advice or allow Kathleen to go off on her own.
She sighed, suddenly too warm and the knot in her stomach growing tighter. “What were you two thinking of for protection?”
“I figured just condoms, but I heard that guys don’t really like them, so I was wondering if there was anything else.”
“In the end,” Olivia said, “it’s not a matter of whether or not they like condoms. It’s a matter of protecting yourself.”
“I know,” Kathleen said slightly dejected and pushing her eggs around her plate again.
“Are you sure?” Olivia said. Perhaps she could put Kathleen on the defensive or maybe scare her just enough to make her rethink the decision. “Because it’s not just pregnancy you have to worry about. There’s Herpes, AIDS, Hepatitis, Gonorrhea, Syphilis. The list goes on. Condoms are your only protection against STDs. Well, besides not having sex.”
Kathleen simply nodded. “Okay, so we should just use condoms then? You know, until I know he doesn’t have anything.”
Olivia shook her head. “Your birth control should not be an “either-or” option. It’s more like…uh, your fall back, in case the condom breaks.”
“They break?” Kathleen said, her eyes wide.
“Yeah, they do,” she said as she quickly recalled an unfortunate experience in college when said event happened to her. “More often than you’d think.”
“Whoa, I didn’t know that. Why don’t they tell you these things in school?”
Olivia shrugged. “I guess that’s why I’m here.”
Kathleen gave her a big smile and Olivia continued.
“Okay, so first thing’s first: the both of you have to get tested for any STDs.”
“But this’ll be the first time for either of us,” Kathleen said, her eyes almost dreamlike.
Olivia paused a moment, trying her best to put the idea into perspective for a teenager. “I’m not saying anything against…Mike, but there’s no real way to tell if a boy’s had sex or not.”
“But, he said-”
“Okay. If he says he’s a virgin, fine, but this way, you’ll both know for sure. If you both get tested at the same time, it’ll be like…I don’t know…a bonding experience for the two of you. Just imagine the relief of knowing for an absolute certainty that you’re both free of anything.”
Kathleen stared at her plate, but nodded her head.
“Kathleen,” Olivia said. “If he
loves you, he’ll agree.” She immediately felt bad for saying it. There was a
real possibility that Kathleen and her boyfriend could very well be as much in
love as kids their age could be, but he could become completely aggravated at
Kathleen for even suggesting that he could pass an
Kathleen gave her a small smirk, but still stared at her plate.
“So,” Olivia continued. “Like I said, condoms are an absolute must. I suggest latex Trojans.”
“And they protect against everything right?”
“Yes, as long as they don’t break. But you’ve got to get the latex ones. There are sheepskin ones out there and they just barely keep you from getting pregnant.”
“Latex,” Kathleen said finally meeting Olivia’s eyes. “Got it.” She looked as if she were making a list in her head as Olivia spoke.
“Right. So, there’s lots of different birth control types. There’s the pill, of course.” Olivia felt herself launching into a readied mantra for this discussion. She had given the birth control talk to several other young girls who had come to her looking for someone they knew they could trust, and she almost had the entire conversation memorized.
“But,” she said. “There’s also the patch, hormonal injections and the ring. Plus, there’s also-”
“Well, which one do you use?” Kathleen interrupted.
Olivia felt her face grow slightly warm. “I use a combination of things. I use the pill, and condoms and I have a diaphragm.”
“Diaphragm. That’s like a condom for girls, right?”
“Not exactly. It fits inside of you and you have to use a spermacide to make sure it’s effective. And it’s not something you can just pick up at the drug store. You have to be fitted for one with a gynecologist.”
Kathleen sighed. “That means I’d have to go through my parents to get one, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes,” Olivia said, knowing what was coming next. “Yes, it would.”
“But, I wouldn’t need them with the pill?” Kathleen asked.
“You would still need a prescription from your doctor, but…” She wanted to say that Kathleen could get the pill without her parents knowing, but the words could not come. She could vividly imagine the argument with Elliot and probably Kathy too, if, no when they found out that she had given their daughter advice on birth control, and helped deceive them in the process. She was about to change the subject onto how the pill should be taken, but Kathleen made the connection regardless.
“I could get it without them knowing about it?”
Olivia simply nodded her head. Somehow nodding did not feel like she was actually giving Kathleen the green light to get around her parents.
“And you use the pill and condoms and a diaphragm…at the same time?”
It was Olivia’s turn to sigh. The conversation was becoming far more complicated than she had hoped and far more than she had been wanting for a Saturday morning. She did not want to lie to Kathleen, but she was not sure she was prepared to tell her about her own experiences.
“If I’m dating someone,” she began, “and we’ve both been tested, and we’ve been together for a very long time…we might…might not use a condom. But, I always take my pill and I’ve only ditched the condom when I knew for certain that he didn’t have anything and if…”
“If?” Kathleen pressed.
“…if the moment warranted it,” she said in quick succession. “But, again, I always take my pill.”
“Okay,” Kathleen said nodding and visibly adding to her mental list. “So, which one do you use?”
“Well…there’s lots of them out there-”
“But, which one do you use?”
“Nordette. There are several generic brands of it, but it works for me.”
“Why do you use the pill? ‘Cause the other day, one of the girls in locker room was showing off her birth control patch and she said that most people use it.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. At times she forgot about the absolute ignorance of teenaged girls, running around and parading just how sexually active they were. “I use the pill because I know it works. It’s been around forever and I know it’s effective and it’s safe.”
Kathleen nodded. “What about, like, weight gain and stuff? I heard the pill makes you fat.”
“Old wives’ tale,” Olivia said. “It happens some times, but as active as you are, I doubt you’ll have much to worry about.”
“Did you? I mean, when you first started taking it?”
Olivia shook her head. “No, but your hips are going to get a little wider, because the pill basically makes your body think it’s pregnant until you take the placebo pills and you get your period.”
Kathleen’s eyebrows shot up at the mention of placebo pills and Olivia continued. “If you decide on the pill, you’ll get them in this 28-day pack. The first twenty-one will be the actual birth control pills. The ones with the hormone. The last seven will be placebo pills and once you’re done with those, you’ll get your period.”
“Okay,” Kathleen said nodding again. “So, I’m gonna have wide hips?”
Olivia smiled. “Well, not so much that it’ll be automatically noticeable, but yes. But, on the plus side, your cramps will be very light and you won’t have any pimples.”
“So, what else? Do I just take them in the morning or what?”
“You start taking them on the Sunday before your period or the first day of it.”
“Tried and true practice, I suppose. I guess since it’s the first day of the week, it’s easier to keep track of yourself that way.”
“Is that what you did?”
“Yep. And you have to make sure you take it every, single day, at the exact same time.”
“Oh. Or, what happens if you don’t?”
“Well, then you’re gonna get pregnant.” She hated having to be so blunt with Kathleen, but she still half-hoped that she could talk Kathleen out of considering sex with her “love.” Olivia also figured she would have a much easier time trying to relay this conversation to Elliot, if she could be certain that Kathleen got the full message. “Missing a pill here or there is how most of the kids in this world are born.”
Kathleen stared at Olivia with wide eyes. “Okay, so every day. Don’t miss it.”
“What time do you take yours?”
“I take mine everyday at seven in the morning. But, I suggest you take it at a time you’ll know you won’t miss it. Maybe it’ll be better for you to take it at night or before you go to bed. Just as long as you take it at the same time everyday.”
“Like, to the minute or-”
“Within an hour, or else you’re just asking for trouble.”
“Okay. So, how long does it take before…you know.”
“It takes at least…fourteen days before it’s effective,” Olivia lied. She knew it was seven days and she knew there was a strong possibility that Kathleen knew it was seven days, but Kathleen seemed to be taking her every word at heart. Perhaps if she had to wait a little longer, maybe there would be time to talk her out of it or at least get her to talk to her parents.
“But,” Olivia continued, “to be on the safe side, you should wait until you’re on it for about a month. That way you know how your body will react to it.”
Olivia nodded. “‘Fraid so. But, at least after a month, you’ll know that you’re absolutely ready.”
Kathleen nodded to herself. “You said the pill was like something to fall back on. Does it sometimes stop working?”
“Well, no method of birth control is a hundred percent effective. Only abstinence.”
“But, I mean, it’s safer than other things right?”
“If you take it diligently, every day at the same time, then it’s about ninety-eight to ninety-nine percent effective.”
“And what happens the other two percent of the time?”
Olivia shrugged. “Anything can happen. The pill is supposed to keep your body from releasing an egg. Sometimes, it doesn’t.”
Kathleen sighed. “That just doesn’t seem fair. I mean, if you’re taking it everyday like you’re supposed to…”
“Well, like I said, nothing is a hundred percent. Even in cases where women have had their tubes tied, they still end up getting pregnant. It’s one of those mysteries of life, I suppose.”
“Yeah,” Kathleen said, lost in thought.
Silence fell between them and Kathleen started nibbling on her toast. Olivia felt the worst was over, but she wanted to get out all of the possibilities then instead of dealing with dozens of calls in the coming weeks that she would have to hide from Elliot.
“You have any other questions? Anything else you want to know?”
“No, not really,” Kathleen said matter-of-factly.
“Okay,” Olivia said. “If you have any other questions, just let me know.”
“Yeah. I will.”
Kathleen looked at her watch and started to gather her things. “I’m about to be late for Dickie.” She took out her wallet.
“No, no,” Olivia said holding up her hand. “It’s all on me. Do you need a ride back?”
“No, I’m okay. I drove,” she said with a big smile. “Thanks Olivia.”
“No problem at all.”
She started to walk away, but then stopped and returned to the booth.”
“You’re not gonna tell my dad about this are you? ‘Cause if he finds out-”
“I won’t,” Olivia said unsure of how true the statement was. “I promise.”
“Thanks. Thanks a lot.”
“Oh, and Kathleen,” Olivia said as she started to walk away again. “Please…please come talk to me before you do anything okay?”
Kathleen nodded and took several steps away from the table, but turned around and sat back in her seat. “Wo…would you come with? To go to the doctor’s office. You know, to get the prescription?”
“Well, if you decide you don’t want your mom or Maureen to go with you…yes. Just tell me when and where.”
Kathleen smiled and came around the table to hug Olivia. “Okay, now I really do have to go. Thank you so much, Olivia.”
After Kathleen left her presence, Olivia’s thoughts fell immediately upon her partner. In the past, she had seen him literally enraged due to happenings at work. Criminals who walked free, leads that went nowhere, lives lost or corrupted forever. However, she knew that everything else took a backseat in comparison to his children.
He's going to literally kill me when he finds out, she thought as she paid the bill. Both he and Kathy.
Instead of walking back to her
apartment, Olivia decided that she should go to Elliot's to judge his mood. If
he was feeling more upbeat, she would hint to her conversation with Kathleen.
If he was already in a bad mood, she would just bring up their current cases.
She mentally considered the trains she would take to get Woodside and then
checked her wallet to see if she had enough cash to take a cab from the
The air was cold and her face was stiff against the January wind. Her body was tense throughout and her head suddenly hurt at the realization of what had happened that morning occurred to her.
Throughout the entirety of her partnership with Elliot, never had she willingly deceived him, especially in regards to his children. There had been personal instances that she wanted few people outside of Maya to know about, but she had never lied to him and though she had yet to do so, she knew it was coming.
Her insides squirmed at the thought of Elliot's rage at finding out she had lied to him and she wanted to cry. It seemed so simple and yet, it was so serious at the same time. She and Elliot still walked a rocky road as partners and this was just the type of thing that would make them worse than where they were earlier.
After a while of thinking and
walking, Olivia found herself on
"Help!" a man’s voice yelled. "Someone please! I think he’s hurt!"
The voice came from the direction of Avenue A and Olivia turned and ran instinctively toward the sound.
A number of people had gathered around an alley halfway toward Avenue A and she flashed her badge as she tried pushing her way through to the front of the crowd.
"'Scuse me!" she said. "N-Y-P-D. Let me through."
"Oh God!" the same voice said again. "I think he's dead."
Olivia came to a clearing in the alley and saw a man crouched over a large box that sat against a building. As she slowly approached the box, the knot in her stomach that had eased slightly from her breakfast with Kathleen twisted tight as matted brown hair could be seen just at the top of the box. She reached the box and saw the form a young boy, folded into the box with skin so ghostly white that it sent a chill down her spine.
Elliot sighed as he pulled his car
close to the menagerie of parked NYPD squad cars that lined
He walked toward the alley, through the crowd of people that had gathered in the street, and through the police barricades to the crime scene. Once in the alley he saw Melinda making notes over a brown box that sat against one of the buildings. She looked up as he approached and simply shook her head.
"It's the same guy," she said. "I'm sure of it. Same ligature marks, same amount of bruising. Plus, he's gone back to the box."
"Is the box marked with anything special?" Elliot said deadpan. "I mean is it from a store around here?"
"No. It's completely blank, but so was the first one."
He sighed. "How are we on an ID?"
"Still nothing, but he fits the same bill as the others. White male, about twelve or thirteen."
Elliot nodded. "Where's Olivia?"
"She's over there," Melinda said pointing to the other side of the street, "talking to the homeless guy who found him."
Elliot stared at the boy, studying every facet of how he was set in the box and anything on and around the box, before walking in Olivia's direction. She had called him that morning saying that another boy had been found, but she did not have a lot of details that usually came with hearing about the case from an officer at the scene.
Olivia stood with her back slightly curved and hunching toward the shorter man who stood beside her. He was speaking rapidly and appeared looked as if he had not slept indoors in quite some time.
"I just ain't never seen a dead kid before," the man said his eyes wide.
Olivia nodded as she scribbled something on her notepad and upon eyeing Elliot, she told the man to speak to a set of uniformed officers who could get him a cup of coffee.
"Homeless guy was digging through some trashcans in an alley," she began, "and found the victim in a box. He actually flagged me down when he found him."
Elliot squinted at her in the cold sunlight. "What were you doing around here?"
She froze a moment and stared at him before replying. "I was...uh...meeting a friend for breakfast and just started walking. I didn't even realize where I was going until I got all the way over here."
He nodded and stared at her unsure of what she was hiding. They had worked together long enough for him to know when she was not being entirely truthful with him. "We know anything about the victim yet?"
"No," she said quickly. "But, as I'm sure Melinda told you it's more than likely that it's the same guy who murdered Connor Whickfield and Jacob Lewendale. I'm also willing to bet he probably played indoor soccer in the city."
Elliot looked back toward the
street that was quickly filling with curious passers-by. "You know Drover
lives on 14th
Olivia stared at him, eyebrows high. "You looked up his address?"
He nodded, but continued. "Last night, after I dropped you off, I went back and started a file on him."
"Just thought it was necessary. We'll be talking to him anyway about what he knew about the other kids."
She stared at him suspiciously. "Why even bring it up now?"
Elliot shrugged. "Just thought it was interesting. This is the third kid we've found in this area and Drover lives just up the way."
"Six blocks away," she corrected.
"Still though," she said
sardonically, "a hundred thousand people live between here and 14th
Elliot nodded and changed the subject. "We should look at Missing Persons to see if-"
"Munch and Fin are already on it," she interrupted. "I had images of the boy sent to them and they'll be calling me in a bit to let me know if they find a match to him in the system."
"I see," he said walking back to the body.
He was not going to mention that he had gone back to the office the previous night and he had hoped that he could go a few days without Olivia learning that he had started some paperwork on Drover.
Best laid plans of mice and men, he thought to himself as he walked.
Regardless of their previous conversation, Elliot knew there was more to Drover than what Connor Whickfield's teammates had said. There was that air about him that went beyond gut feeling and he knew the sooner he started the documentation on Drover, the sooner they would be able to start talking to him. He also wanted to keep Olivia from knowing because he hated the look of pity in her eyes each time the realization of how his life had changed fell upon them. At a time not too long ago, Elliot would have dropped Olivia off at home and raced to his own house to spend the precious little time he could with his family. Now, however, things were different.
The detectives spent another hour at the scene, noting every thing possible about it and getting information about the crime from Melinda. Elliot could hear Olivia calling Jonathan to cancel a long-planned lunch date as their crime scene analyses continued past and he made a mental note to call his youngest daughter later that day to tell her about the ballet tickets he got from Olivia.
"Benson," Elliot heard Olivia say into her phone a while later. "Okay, hang on a sec...Schrader? That was 266...okay...wait, who's Vonnex?...Oh, okay...I got it. We'll notify them."
She hung up her phone. "That was Munch. The victim is Ricky Schrader and his parents filed a Missing Persons report on Thursday."
guess," Elliot said. "He's from the
"Three murders in less than fourteen days...something tells me this guy's just getting started."
"Let's notify the parents and get a positive ID," she said, "then we can compare all three of them."
Elliot nodded and they drove to the
Once they contacted the family of the most recent victim, Drover's name would most definitely come up in the conversation and it would most likely launch another argument. If Drover came up for the second time in their investigation, they would be forced to look at him in regards to the first murder and interrogate him altogether. One detective was going to be proved right, the other wrong, and both hated to be the latter.
"Oh my God," Mr. Vonnex said once Elliot delivered the news that Ricky Schrader had been murdered. "He just...he was just..."
Mr. Vonnex sat down on the sofa next to his wife who sat her mouth gaping and tears welling in her eyes.
"I'm so sorry," Olivia said.
"He'd run away," Mrs. Vonnex said quickly. "He usually came back the next morning, but when he didn't come home..."
"Did Ricky run away a lot?" Olivia asked.
Mrs. Vonnex nodded and readied herself to launch into a lengthy story. Olivia had arrived at the Vonnexes expecting to hear that Ricky Schrader was a perfect angel, but the idea that he had previously run away from home had her intrigued.
"We tried everything we could to make sure Ricky felt like he was part of the family, but he just didn't seem to want to," Mrs. Vonnex said. "We knew he'd been bounced back and forth from his mother to other families and we'd hoped he'd think of this as home."
"But he never did?" Olivia asked.
"He kept running away," Mr. Vonnex said. "Back to his mother. She'd allow her boyfriends to hurt him, but he still kept going back to her."
"How long would he stay at his mother's?" Elliot said.
Mrs. Vonnex wiped her eyelashes. "Not more than a day. He'd be back by dinner all the time. We’d give him some spending money, you know an allowance, but he never had any money. When we asked him about it, he told us he'd been paying for cabs to go see his mother."
"That's what he said,"
Mr. Vonnex continued. "But, Ricky's been having
some problems with smoking and drugs. One of our friends even caught him on the
"But, he was doing better," Mrs. Vonnex interrupted. "He's been more interested in school and in soccer." She turned directly to Olivia as if pleading with her. "He's been so hesitant to get active, but we knew he'd be good at soccer. And he is. He really is. He's just been starting to apply himself to it. He's really been getting into it..."
Olivia repressed a sigh. Mrs. Vonnex still referred to her foster son in the present tense and Olivia knew the difficult times awaiting the woman once she came to realize what had truly happened.
"He really is a good boy," Mrs. Vonnex said. "He's just had it so hard and it's difficult for kids his age to adjust to changes like these."
"How long did you have Ricky with you?" Olivia asked.
"Almost three years. His
mother...she'd beaten him severely, again and he called the police on her.
Thank God for that. Then
Mr. Vonnex put his arm around his wife and allowed her to weep on his shoulder.
"You said Ricky played soccer," Elliot began. "Did he play in the Tri-State Indoor Soccer Association?"
Mr. Vonnex nodded.
"Does the name Jeffrey Drover sound familiar?"
Mr. Vonnex glanced between the detectives and his eyebrows furrowed. "No. I can't say that I've ever heard that name. Why? Do you think he would know what happened to Ricky?"
Elliot and Olivia exchanged looks and Elliot continued. "The manner in which Ricky's been found...we have several cases still open where boys Ricky's age have been found and had been killed the same way. We're just trying to make a connection between them."
Mr. Vonnex shook his head. "I don't remember anyone by that name."
"The team Ricky played on," Olivia said. "Did they have an athletic trainer or a set of assistant coaches?"
"No," he said. "Ricky was just getting into the sport and they wouldn't've had trainers at his level."
Olivia nodded and glanced at Elliot again.
"Do you know where Ricky's
mother lives?" Elliot asked. "I know you said someone had found him
"No," Mr. Vonnex said. "We're not even certain that she lived down there. We didn't know anything about her, except that she did drugs in front him and beat him when he tried to get her off the stuff."
"At least," Mrs. Vonnex said, tears now covering her face in shining glaze, "at least, she can't hurt him anymore."
Fin Tutuola sat staring at the flat-panel monitor that stood on his desk, wondering how best to word the information he had received that day. The latest case that had come to him involved an Ethiopian woman who was admitted to a hospital having been raped and beaten. She had insisted that she was not hurt, but Fin had managed to get her to say that someone in her family had hurt her. He was about to get her to name her attacker when her immense family appeared at her side and informed Fin that she just had a bad fall. The woman later changed her story and insisted that she simply fell, however while her mouth said that she was not raped, Fin knew from past experience and the expression in her eyes that someone who most likely stood by her bedside, had hurt her and would probably do so again.
A small investigation would ensue in hopes of getting the victim to talk, but they would eventually end up closing the case having no complaining witness for whom they would appeal justice. While it happened far too often, Fin still did not know how best to notate the case to say that, yet again, the victim recanted her statement and the detectives would be moving on to more pressing cases.
He set his hands on the keyboard to type as he saw John Munch doing the same. Munch had made a last ditch effort with the victim again that day, but he had been refused entrance to the premises. He was angered with the entire case from beginning to end, though he was not sure what bothered him more: the fact that no justice would be received for the victim or the fact that it was the victim's family who was preventing the rapist from being apprehended.
"Detectives," Melinda said entering the squad room and halting the fast-moving fingers of Munch and Fin.
“What’s up, Doc?” Munch said.
"I've been looking for Elliot and Olivia, but I think they're with the latest victim's family because neither one of them is answering their phone."
Munch looked at the small clock on his desk, never quite trusting the clock in his computer task bar, and frowned. "They've been over there for a couple hours now. The parents are probably going on about how much of an angel this one was too."
"That's kinda cold," Fin said.
"The parents always say that their kids are angels and then we come to find out that their kids are murdering their peers because they didn’t fit in or having wild sex parties at thirteen or…beating their siblings to a pulp for no good reason. If these kids were as angelic as their parents said they were, we wouldn’t have a job, would we?”
Fin shook his head. “Don’t mind him,” he said to Melinda. “He’s just venting about our latest case. What’ve you got?”
She nodded. “More information on this string of murders. When I was doing the autopsy on Jacob Lewendale, I found some fingerprints that weren't in the system."
"I thought you said you had new information," Munch interjected.
"But, I noticed," she continued as if he had not spoken, "that they were smaller than a full grown man's hand. More like the size of a preteen kid."
"The boy's?" Fin said.
Melinda shook her head. "That's what I thought at first, but when I ran his prints, they weren't a match. Well, when the second victim was found, I saw smaller fingerprints again. So, just out of curiosity, I cross referenced the prints of the first two victims." She pulled out a piece of paper and showed it to Munch. "Connor Whickfield's prints are all over Jacob Lewendale."
"Connor killed Jacob?" Fin said eyes narrowed at the doctor.
"No," she said. "The bruising that looks like hand prints on Jacob isn’t a match for Connor's hands. They're far too big, not to mention that the same exact marks are found on Connor himself. But..." She pulled out another sheet of paper and showed it to Fin. "This newest victim, Ricky Schrader, his prints are all over Connor Whickfield."
Silence fell over the detectives and the medical examiner as the magnitude of what she said was appreciated.
The matter understood, Fin broke the silence. "The killer made his newer victims help kill the older ones."
Elliot's drive across the river had been somewhat peaceful, though images of his dream from earlier that day continued to spring back into his mind. His son was still not speaking to him and Kathleen had called him that afternoon to tell him such. He wondered if the tone of her voice when she spoke was frustration from his marital situation or aggravation over him in general. Either way, he did not detect anything off about her as Kathy had suggested.
He pulled into the last empty spot on his street and was in his apartment several minutes later. The day seemed to drag on forever and the general unpleasantness that seemed to follow him throughout the day was exemplified by the fact that Drover had had no contact with Ricky Schrader.
Elliot had been so sure about Drover. He and Olivia had investigated cases with child molesters who looked just like Drover and based on his demeanor those few days ago, he was worth bringing into the squad room to interrogate.
At the desk in his apartment, he
made some notes to remind himself that he and Olivia needed to check up on a
few of their other open cases. They had caught the cases for two women over the
past week and neither of their rapists had yet been apprehended. Both women had
been attacked in alleys, though one on the
He was about to get in the shower when the phone rang.
"Stabler," he said into the phone.
"Daddy?" a young female voice said.
"Hey, Lizzie," he said with a smile.
"Oh," he laughed. "Sorry...
"It's fine, Daddy. Just try to remember."
"Because, it's my name and besides, Lizzie's like a baby name, you know?"
"Well, you’re my baby..."
"Oh come on, Daddy," she said her voice drawling. "We're not really babies."
"Okay, okay," he said. "Hey! I wanted to tell you. Since you didn't want to go to that game with Dickie and Me the other day, I got some tickets to the Sleeping Beauty ballet."
"Yeah. You think you'd be interested?"
She was silent for a few moments. "Yeah...that sounds cool. When is the ballet?"
"Middle of February."
"What's wrong?" he asked. "You don't want to go?"
"No, I want to go it's just that..."
"What is it?"
"Well, I just have this feeling that...that you're gonna end up canceling on me or something."
Elliot opened his mouth, but he
could not speak. He wanted to tell his youngest daughter that he would not
cancel on her; that he would be there for her; that he would pick her up for
the ballet promptly at seven, but he knew he could not. He had missed more
piano recitals and school choir performances than he cared to remember and
there was nothing that he could say to Lizzie to reassure her that he would not
cancel on her. With this latest string of murders not withstanding, there
were always new victims coming through the
"I'm not going to cancel on you," he lied.
"Seriously," he said. "Through hell or high water, I'll be at the house to pick you up at ."
"Okay, Daddy," she said and Elliot could hear a smile on her voice. "Well, cool. Anyways, I wanted to know if you could talk to Olivia about her piano music."
"Yeah, sure. You want some more?"
"Well, I've got that recital coming up in a few months and I just wanted something cooler to play and I know she said she'd played some cool stuff at her recitals back in the day."
Elliot laughed. "I'll definitely ask her."
"Thanks!" Silence fell over them for a moment before Lizzie began again. "Um...you know," she said softly in the voice she often used when tattling on her siblings. "Kathleen took Dickie to his indoor practice this morning."
"Yeah," Elliot said hiding the annoyance in his voice from his child.
"Did she tell you that this morning at breakfast?"
His eyebrows furrowed in slight confusion. "No. I didn't have breakfast with Kathleen this morning."
"You didn't?" Lizzie said. "Well, she said she was going to breakfast this morning before she dropped off Dickie. I figured it was with you."
"No, she didn't meet with me. Where'd she go?"
"Somewhere near NYU, I think. I'm not sure."
"And, she didn't hint at who it was?"
"Nope. It mighta been that guy Mike she's been dating...I don't know."
"Anyways, Daddy. I've gotta go. Meaghan's having a sleepover and I need to get going."
"Okay," he said slightly
glum. "Well, have a good time Liz-I mean
She laughed. "I will. Bye, Daddy."
He hung up the phone, but he continued staring at it. He knew Kathleen had been dating a new guy for a while now, it was likely it was him who she met for breakfast this morning, but he still did not like the idea.
Olivia carefully balanced her bag of groceries on her raised knee as she fumbled in her coat pocket for her apartment keys while the January air whipped around her threatening to sway her brown bag off of its unsteady shelf. Her cold, ungloved hands made contact with freezing metal in her pocket and she fished out the key to the front door of her apartment building.
It was nearing at night and Olivia had just caught the man at the market several blocks away from her building prior to his closing for the night. She had not gone shopping in a while and still needed quite a few things, but she had promised Jonathan that she would cook dinner for him Sunday evening in exchange for her canceling their lunch plans that day. She was certain there was nothing currently edible in her fridge and she knew Jonathan would not be amused by a repeat of her last "home-cooked" meal of grilled cheese sandwiches and beer.
Olivia opened the door to her building and opened her mailbox. White and yellow envelopes almost spilled out of the box and she caught them all in her grocery bag. She got onto the elevator, set down her bag, pressed "8" and began to quickly sift through the various envelopes. Among the throngs of offers for pre-approved credit cards and free siding for her home, she saw a card from her Aunt Sylvia, half a dozen utility and credit card bills, and more than ten pieces of mail for her neighbor, Mrs. Agatha Fitzgivens.
The elevator doors opened and she knocked on the door of the third apartment from the elevator.
"Olivia!" the elderly woman said with a smile as she opened the door. "How wonderful to see you!"
"Hi, Mrs. Fitzgivens," Olivia said in a low voice.
She was nowhere near the mood needed to "deal" with her always upbeat and overly happy neighbor. She had spent the majority of her afternoon speaking with the Vonnexes and tiptoeing around Elliot about the fact that Ricky Schrader had not known Drover. She never mentioned the fact, but it hung over them like a grey cloud of tension as they drove through the city. Munch and Fin had also delivered the unfortunate news that their killer had been kidnapping his victims and making them assist with the murder of the others.
She and Elliot also had to dodge a mass of reporters who had begun to gather around the latest crime scene. The detectives were attempting to find witnesses in the area, but the press followed them at nearly every building they attempted to visit and obstructed them as much as the law allowed them to do. Reporters from all walks of life shouted questions at them, demanding answers as if they were truly concerned about the welfare of the victims and their families. In truth, the more fuss they made, the more newspapers and magazines were sold and the higher the ratings for the local new stations.
With everything that was going on that day, she had all but forgotten her discussion with Kathleen that morning, until Elliot received a call from her on their way out of the squad room for the evening. Olivia was stressed and all she wanted to do was take a bath and allow her troubled mind to stop thinking about the young lives touched by this killer. While she often entertained Mrs. Fitzgivens out of pity and her own loneliness, Olivia knew she could not handle the woman's demeanor at this point in her day. She would prefer not to deal with her at all, but as their mail carrier often set Mrs. Fitzgiven's mail in Olivia's box, Olivia was forced to knock on her door at least once a week.
Mrs. Fitzgivens was constantly asking Olivia if she could come visit or wanted to try her new cookies or pies or whatever she happened to be cooking at that moment. Though she had mentioned having several sons, Olivia had never seen any grandchildren and more often than, not Mrs. Fitzgivens seemed lonelier that Olivia.
"I got some more of your mail," Olivia said handing the stack to her.
"Oh! Why thank you!" Mrs. Fitzgivens said eyes wide and beaming up at Olivia.
At sixty-seven years old, Mrs. Fitzgivens' hair had gone completely white and she always wore it pinned up in a near "beehive" formation as well as large silver rimmed glasses that made her light blue eyes appear twice their actual size. She had the appearance of someone who was once an attractive young women, but the sun and time had taken a great toll on her skin and the lines on her face were numerous and deep.
"Can you stay a moment?" she asked Olivia.
"No," Olivia said. "Actually, I can't. I've...uh...got my groceries...and, uh...you know, the caseload."
"Oh, but you must meet my youngest boy, Philip. He's here visiting me this weekend."
Olivia began to protest. "No, really. I can't. I'm just swamped..."
Mrs. Fitzgivens slowly took Olivia by the hand and pulled her slightly into the apartment. "Oh, it will just take a second. I wanted you to meet him. Philip is in computers and he's doing very well for himself."
Olivia suppressed a roll of her eyes as Mrs. Fitzgivens brought her into view of her son. Philip Fitzgivens stood at nearly six feet five inches, but looked to weigh no more than one hundred-thirty pounds. His lanky frame seemed overwhelming in the small apartment and he wore glasses that were nearly identical to those of his mother.
"Philip," Mrs. Fitzgivens said. "This is my neighbor, Olivia; the one I've been telling you about."
He extended a long arm toward Olivia and she was pleasantly surprised by the heart-warming smile that appeared on his face.
"Hi there," he said brightly.
"Hi. Look, I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got lots of things to do and...you know, the caseload."
"Oh, okay, that's fine," he said looking slightly disappointed. "I understand. Everybody's got to keep their eye on the job."
"Right," she said. "Well, I should be going. Mrs. Fitzgivens, I'll see you later. Philip, it was a pleasure to meet you."
Olivia walked to the door, but Mrs. Fitzgivens stopped her in the doorway.
"You know," she said, nearly whispering to Olivia, "Philip is my youngest boy."
"Is that so?" Olivia said, the sarcasm lost on the old woman.
"Yes, and I've been trying to fix him up with a nice woman with a good head on her shoulders." She beamed up at Olivia and Olivia bit her lip, trying her best not to laugh in her face.
"Well," she said with a smile, "I'll let you know if I meet any."
"Oh, you!" Mrs. Fitzgivens said laughing. "Aren't you just terrible. But, I'm serious. Philip really is a nice boy."
"You do know I've been dating Jonathan Halloway for quite some time now?"
"I know, I know," she said. "But, I just figured that you might like to just have dinner with someone without any pretension or family...issues to bother you."
Olivia nodded her head. "I see...okay, well, let me think about it and I'll get back to you. Bye."
She sighed as she opened the door to her apartment moments later. She listened to the messages on her phone and heard that Mark had called her twice telling her that he got a hold of some free tickets to Dreamgirls which he knew she had been wanting to see and was inviting her to come see the film with him.
It's time to move, she thought to herself.
She opted for a quick shower instead of her planned bath and reviewed the notes she had made on Ricky Schrader's case. Ricky looked more like Jacob Lewendale and she wondered morosely if the next victim would look like Connor Whickfield; as if the killer were switching the hair colour of his victims. The case was disturbing from the forefront and learning that the killer made his victims assist in his murders was simply unnerving. Olivia could feel her stomach turn at the thought and she sought refuge from the images by playing her cello.
Her mother had bought the instrument for her when she was just twelve and she took to it immediately, though it was slightly too large for her at the time. Unlike the violin, which her mother had forced upon her, the cello's rich sounds of baritone and bass seemed to melt into Olivia's own spirits and after a few years, she was able to play not only the sonatas of the old masters, but pieces that simply came to her as she moved her handcrafted Pernambuco bow across the instrument's four strings. She had the ability to fuse jazz with Haydn and take pieces that were Major and bright and turn them Minor to fit her mood at the moment.
When Jonathan arrived at her apartment a while later that night, she was well into playing a piece by Bach and he simply spread himself across her couch with a bemused expression on his face, and listened to her play into the night. She finished the piece and simply continued playing whatever music came to mind as the cool moonlight poured into her apartment. At times of trouble and deep stress, Olivia had always turned to music to help flush away her demons. Between her mother's drinking and the pangs of adolescence, she knew as a child that music was the only way she could keep her sanity. Now, as an adult, sometimes only the vibrato movements of her left hand or the legato techniques of her right could push away the faces of all the Jacob Lewendales she had seen in her career and give her peace for the night.