Olivia stood in a corridor outside of the courtroom where she had just testified against Gregory Lars looking for Dana Barrington and her family. When it seemed like she had missed them in the bustle of people flowing out of the courtroom at recess just before , Olivia spotted a sixteen-year-old with brown hair and large brown eyes holding a baby carrier.
“Olivia!” Dana said, the moment her eyes reached Olivia’s.
She handed the baby to her mother standing next to her, crossed the corridor in three steps and hugged Olivia.
“Thank you,” she said, tears welling in her eyes. “Thank you so much.”
“It’s no problem. It’s what I do.”
Casey appeared beside them a moment
later, holding her tan Kenneth
“That went extremely well,” Casey said. “In fact, I half expect Lars’ lawyer to call me begging for a plea.”
“I hope he doesn’t,” Olivia said. “The rat should spend as long as possible behind bars.”
“Couldn’t agree more. How are you guys looking on that Drover guy for these kids?”
Olivia shook her head. “He looks
clean so far. Even after the line-up, his
“Well, let me know as soon as you get anything. We’re catching a hell storm at the DA’s and I’m sure you are too.”
“You wouldn’t believe it,” Olivia said. “But, we’ll call you as soon as we’ve got a lead on someone.”
An hour later, Olivia was at the 1-6 preparing herself with Elliot to re-interview some of Manny Scheibley’s friends who had not been as forthcoming with information as some of the others. At Olivia’s behest, Elliot created an image line-up for them to look through, but included both Drover and Kreider’s photos. Elliot was grateful that he and Olivia had not argued all morning and placed Kreider’s photo in the line-up just to keep the peace.
The moment she had arrived from the courthouse, Olivia had given him the expected look asking What’s wrong? but, he refused to mention anything about what had happened the previous night. He had waited as long as he could before waking Diana, and had promised to call her when he dropped her off at her apartment that morning, but he still felt the strong Catholic shame that came with sleeping with a woman who was not his wife, no matter the status of his marriage.
He had gone to confession that morning, had said the Act of Contrition, beginning with the customary O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and was feeling better about the entire ordeal until Olivia arrived. For some reason, seeing her brought back the same perception that he had done something wrong.
“You know…” Manny’s soccer mate Pete, said an hour later while looking at the line-up. “I’ve actually seen this guy before.”
“Which guy?” Elliot asked, eagerly.
Pete pointed to the image of Owen Kreider. “Him. I’ve seen him around the fields.”
“What was he doing?” Elliot asked. “Was he just watching the game or was he watching a specific kid?”
“I dunno,” Pete said, shrugging. “I just remember him being around a lot. I figured he was somebody’s dad or uncle, but…he might’ve looked like this guy too. I’m not sure. They kinda look alike.”
When Pete pointed to Drover’s photo as well, Olivia nodded at Elliot.
“Pete, do you remember seeing either one of them anywhere other than the indoor complexes?”
Pete looked upward, as if deeply concentrating. “I don’t think so. I just remember them at the fields.”
“Thanks Pete,” Olivia said. “You’ve been very helpful.”
“No problem,” Pete said in a soft voice. “I hope you find the one who did this because me and Manny…”
Elliot patted Pete on the shoulder as his voiced trailed. “We’ll find him. Don’t worry. As soon as we get him, we’ll let you know.”
Pete gave them a weak smile and nodded.
“You wanna talk to Kreider now or talk to a few more kids first?” Olivia asked once they were back in their car.
“That’s three for three on kids who saw both Kreider and Drover at the fields,” Elliot said. “Let’s go see this guy again.”
Two hours later, after slowly pouring through
traffic and stopping for a quick bratwurst for “lunch,” the detectives arrived
at Owen Kreider’s building to question him once
again. The building, located at
“Yes?” Kreider said, eyeing them suspiciously as he opened the door. “What do you want?”
Olivia was struck by how familiar Kreider now seemed and wondered why she had not noticed it previously. Kreider had the same clear, grey eyes, black hair and long face seen in Drover. At approximately the same height, anyone could confuse the pair of them at any point in time. She chalked it up to being frustrated and tired seeing as the day they originally questioned him was also the day Cragen made the public announcement about the case. She stepped further into Kreider’s view, showing him her badge.
“Owen Kreider? My name’s Detective Benson and this is Detective Stabler. May we talk with you a moment?”
Kreider squinted at her. “I just talked to you people. You can’t hound me like this. I know my rights.”
“Mr. Kreider,” Olivia said. “No one is hounding you. We just have a few questions. Now, you can either cooperate and we can ask you here in the comfort of your home or we can have this conversation down at our precinct. It’s your choice.”
Kreider slowly opened the door and stared at her. Olivia felt slightly unnerved by the fact that she could see herself reflected perfectly in his large eyes. He was dressed in all black and stood slightly hunched with his chin pointing directly to the floor, giving him the expression of shy, little boy.
“Fine,” he said, through his teeth. “Come in.”
Kreider’s apartment was just as disorganized as it was the last time Olivia and Elliot were there, however, sans cardboard boxes.
“Mr. Kreider,” Elliot began. “Do you have any reason to frequent any of the indoor soccer fields in the area?”
“No,” Kreider said. “I don’t play sports.”
“Do you know anyone who might play soccer? A son or daughter or maybe a niece or nephew?”
Kreider paused. “I don’t have kids and I don’t have family.”
“Can you account for your whereabouts this past Monday night?”
“Yeah, I guess I can about as well as any other person.”
“Well…” Olivia said. “Can you?”
He looked up at her again and she could see his pale skin turn rosy at the cheeks. “I was home.”
“Yes,” he said, swallowing. “All night.”
“Did you call anyone or - ”
“No,” he interrupted. “I didn’t call anyone or see anyone. I keep to myself because the people in this building are nuts, as evidenced by the crazy woman above me who has nothing better to do than keep her nose in other people’s business. That doesn’t mean I did anything wrong.”
“No one’s saying you did,” Olivia said.
Kreider opened his mouth to speak again, but Elliot spoke first.
“We noticed you got rid of all those boxes,” Elliot said, looking around the apartment.
“Yeah,” Kreider said, crossing his arms. “Well, since it seems that I could be labeled a killer just for having them around, I decided to get rid of them.”
“Why even keep them?” Olivia said. “You told us you were just moving in when we spoke on Wednesday.”
Kreider’s cheeks turned pink again when his focus returned to Olivia. “You didn’t hear me right.”
Olivia gave Elliot an exaggerated glance with an eyebrow raised. “It was the two of us who spoke to you then and I’m pretty sure we remember what was said.”
“Then, maybe I misspoke. I had some keepsake items in them that I still didn’t know what to do with since I’d moved in. All Mrs. Harvand had to do was tell me the boxes were bugging her and I’d’ve moved them.”
“Why keep keepsakes out in the hallway?” she asked.
“Because, in case you haven’t noticed, my place is small. I don’t have room for a lot of things, so I just kept them out in the hall because I’m on the end and I didn’t think anybody would mind.” The intensity in Kreider’s voice began to rise.
“Now, there’s no reason to get excited,” Elliot said.
“No, there is reason to get excited. I’ve got the cops in here for the second time this week harassing me because they’ve got a case they can’t handle. I say there’s plenty of reason to get excited.”
“Well, can you tell us where you were Tuesday morning?”
Again, Kreider blushed before speaking to Olivia and she involuntarily shifted her weight on her feet. “The same place I was Monday night. Home. And, no, I didn’t call anyone or talk to anyone or see anyone.”
Olivia pursed her lips as she glared at him. His tone was beginning to aggravate her and she had half a mind to bring him to the precinct and leave him in an interrogation room for a few hours just because she could.
“How ‘bout Monday?” she asked.
“Same as Tuesday and that’s the same thing with Sunday and Saturday and last Friday and last Thursday and the Thursday before that and the Thursday before that. I’m always home.”
“Well, you have to go to work some time,” she said.
“I work from home,” Kreider said.
She squinted at him and crossed her arms in front of her. “I thought you worked for Rohlman-Hayworth.”
Kreider paused his constant shifting on his feet and stared at her for a long time before speaking. “Well, aren’t you the clever one…Yes, I do work for Rohlman-Hayworth.”
“So, you lied just now…to the police.”
“I didn’t lie.”
“Yeah, Liv,” Elliot said, sarcasm biting in his voice. “He didn’t lie. He just told the opposite of what we know is the truth.”
“I didn’t lie,” Kreider repeated. “I do some work from home, but yes, I do work for Rohlman-Hayworth.”
“Well,” Olivia said, “then you aren’t always home, are you?”
“No, I guess not.”
“So,” she said. “Let’s try this again. Where were you Tuesday?”
“Look, I’ve already told you that I don’t go anywhere or do anything. I go to work and I come home.”
“You don’t go out with friends or anything?” Elliot said.
“No,” Kreider said. “I thought we’ve already established that people suck.”
“Well, not all people suck,” Olivia said. “You must have a girl or someone you like to talk to. Someone you confide in from time to time. I’m sure if we took a look at your phone records we could find a friend or two.”
“I know my goddamn rights!” Kreider shouted. “You people can’t just start looking at my phone records for no good reason.”
“We’ve got a good reason, Mr. Kreider,” Olivia said, her voice patronizing. “We’ve got five dead kids found all around this area, two of them in cardboard boxes, not unlike those we found around your apartment this Wednesday past. And then we’ve got you. Someone who can’t verify where he was for the times when every victim was found. We could take that to the district attorney today and have a warrant to not just look at your phone records, but go through every single thing in this apartment.”
Kreider stared at her for a moment, cheeks red and grey eyes shining. “Get out. Now. I know my rights and I know I don’t have to talk to you people. Out!”
Olivia nodded and she and Elliot walked out of his apartment very slowly.
“Well,” she said, once they were outside the building. “What do you say we get ask Casey about that warrant?”
“C’mon, Liv,” Elliot said. “We had more on Drover at this point and we still couldn’t get one for him.”
“We could ask.”
“I think it’s a waste of time.”
“So, lemme get this straight,” she said, glaring at him from over the car roof. “When you start gunning for someone, we pull out all the stops to get them, but when I’ve got something brewing on a suspect, all of a sudden, everything’s a waste of time.”
“Liv, I’m not saying that.”
“No, that’s exactly what you’re saying. When we
first met Drover all we knew about him was that he found one of the bodies and
knew the victim. That’s all we had and you wanted to drag his ass back to the
house that day! Now, we’ve got Kreider, who, by the
way looks exactly like Drover, the same Drover whose
“It is a waste of time if we know we don’t have enough on him! Why burn daylight even asking for a warrant if there’s more to this?”
Olivia shook her head. “You know what? You’re so full of crap you can’t even see straight.”
“Olivia! Look at the differences between Drover and Kreider. Yeah, they kinda look alike, but they don’t act at all the same! Drover has connections with kids the same age as the victims. He’s got access, nearly ‘round the clock and he looks like the kind of guy these kids would relate to and trust. If an athletic kid took one look at Kreider, he’d take off running in the other direction. He’s a conspiracy nut and judging by the look of him, he probably spends all his time indoors to avoid having any of rights broken by Big Brother. The guy’s a freak, but he’s got absolutely no connection to these victims. That’s why it’s a waste of time going for Kreider this early! Drover has the time, the means and know-how to lure these kids in and kill them at his leisure. That’s why I jumped at him the moment I saw him and that’s why I’m still gunning for him until we can arrest someone else. He has every marking of a pedophile.”
“You can call Drover a pedophile all day and all
night, Elliot, but that’s not going to make his
With those words, she got in passenger side of the car, slamming the door shut. Elliot shook his head and wondered if he should simply leave her in the car and take a cab back to the precinct instead.
As the tumult of movement rarely ceased in the
“What’s with you two?” he asked.
Both nodded in his direction, but neither said anything. Fin shrugged and settled into his own poignant cases. He knew the pair had been having their ups and downs recently and figured they were attempting to remain civil through yet another argument.
He and Munch had spent the majority of the morning
going through video cameras with the hotel surveillance trying to pinpoint the
location where Helena Fayden said she had been raped.
All they had been able to find was one tape that showed a girl who looked very
Munch had stayed behind to speak to
“What’d you find out about Kreider?” he asked, after having his fill of reading Helena Fayden’s account of what had happened.
They glanced up at one another before Olivia answered.
“Kreider’s got just enough crazy running through him to look good for this.”
Fin looked at Elliot who had become engrossed in the file open on his desk. “I take it you still don’t agree, Elliot?”
Elliot sighed and rested his arms at the back of his head. “I’m not saying Kreider’s not involved…I’m just looking at this from hindsight. We don’t want to waste a bunch of time on this just because he’s…off.”
“How off is ‘off’?”
“Oh, he’s more than ‘off’,” Olivia said. “The man’s certifiable. And, he’s the spitting image of Drover. I can’t believe we didn’t notice it earlier. We can now look at Kreider for each time a witness mentioned Drover or someone who looked like him.”
“What about his place? How’d it look?”
“Dark and depressing basement apartment in the corner,” she said. “But, it’s too small and his neighbors are paying attention too closely for him to do what he does there.”
“We gonna pick him up?” Fin asked.
“We don’t have enough on him,” Elliot said, “and I doubt he’s going to come willingly.”
As he finished the sentence, George walked into the squad room.
“George,” Olivia said. “Thanks for coming. I’ve got a question for you about this newest suspect, Owen Kreider. Now, we’re still struggling to get his sealed records opened, but Elliot and I just spoke with him and he’s giving off all the wrong vibes. What do you think you can tell us about our killer, ‘cause I’m really thinking that Kreider might be our guy.”
“Well,” George began. “I’d have to agree with what you were originally saying about the killer not actually being a pedophile. I think it’s just incidental that he’s killing young boys.”
“But, he’s sodomizing them,” Elliot said. “That’s gotta count for something.”
“It does,” George continued, “but not in the way you’re thinking. The rape is something he can do to maintain control. He lacks something dire in his life and feels that he control that by dehumanizing those who have what he does not. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had been molested at the age too.”
“So,” Olivia said, “you could say that a guy who sticks to himself might prey upon kids who are active and well-liked?”
George smirked at her. “You’re fishing for a quick answer, but it’s not that simple. That could be a part of his MO, but I would bring someone in based on that? Not even. There are a lot of loners in this city. What is it about your guy that makes you suspect him?”
“His demeanor mostly. He doesn’t come across as being even remotely alarmed that there’s a killer loose and he seemed more annoyed that we were even talking to him about it than anything else.”
“Plus,” Elliot added with a smirk, “he’s probably got a crush on her and she can’t stand it.”
Olivia narrowed her eyes at him, but George interjected. “What makes you say that?”
“He’d turn the colour of stop sign every time Olivia looked at him.”
George nodded his head. “But, that could also fit the pathology of your killer. Something he most likely can’t control is his relationship with women. He might’ve seen something in Olivia that reminded him of what he still can’t get.”
“C’mon,” Elliot said. “He can’t get a girl, so he goes after little boys?”
“Exactly, he goes after kids because he can control them.”
“I was just joking about the crush thing.”
“But, it’s the fact that he fits the pathology.”
“He’s gotta see women at work,” Elliot continued. “That can’t be all of it.”
“It’s not. It’s like I said. It’s not going to be cut and dry. The killer’s very complex.”
“We need to at least try to bring him in,” Fin said. “We talk to him in here, maybe he’ll spill.”
Elliot sighed, as if conceding defeat. “He’s not going to come quietly. He didn’t even want us talking to him and he kept asserting that he knew what his rights were. And, if Novak couldn’t get us a warrant based on what we had on Drover, I doubt she’s going to be able get one for this guy.”
“Why not?” Cragen asked. All present turned in his direction, no one aware that he had even joined them.
“Right now, all we’ve got is a hunch and a description. I say, based on what we just went through with Drover…let’s not waste the effort on asking for a warrant until we have something a little more concrete.”
Cragen nodded. “Keep
looking at both of them for the time being. I don’t want either one to simply
disappear in the night. And, we’re still in the wind on this Fayden rape. Munch just called. All the staff gave
“Did she say it was someone from hotel staff?” Olivia asked.
“She said the guys were wearing uniforms, but she couldn’t be sure.” Cragen turned to leave, but stopped. “Ask Novak for that warrant anyway. She might be able to finagle something with a judge.”
The detectives went back to their desks and George followed Cragen to his office. Elliot picked up the phone and watched as Olivia began to pack away her things.
“What’s up?” he asked, the phone still at his ear.
“Yeah,” she said, noting that the clock on her desk read . “I’ve just got a doctor’s appointment and I really need to get to this one. Let me know if Casey can get anything from what we’ve got so far.”
He stared at her for a minute. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah,” she said a little too quickly for even her own tastes. “Everything’s fine.”
The drive from Schreider’s Café had been silent and tense, as Olivia had decided not to turn on the radio in the car. She half hoped that the silence would allow Kathleen time to think and perhaps change her mind about telling her parents what they were about to do, perhaps about getting the prescription altogether.
Olivia’s mind raced as she changed lanes. Only the appearance on Kathleen’s face from the previous day could come to mind. When she saw Olivia and her father together, Kathleen looked almost guilty. Either way, she did not look like a mature individual who was ready to handle sex and birth control.
“Thanks for being so cool about this, Olivia,” Kathleen said, as she clutched her coat around her.
Olivia glanced in her direction. The heat was blazing in the car, but she could not help but notice Kathleen shiver. “It’s no problem.” She paused. “Have you thought anymore about telling your father about-”
“No,” she said quickly. “I mean, yes. I have thought about, but I’m not. There’s just no reason to. I mean…you know Dad. I just know how he’ll react and it won’t be good. It’ll be hard enough to just keep all this from him and Mom.”
Tell me about it, Olivia thought. “What about your mom? I’m sure she’d like to know.”
“Yeah, I’m sure she’ll wanna take them from me, telling me that I’m not ready the whole time.”
“Well, I doubt-”
“Can we just not talk about them for a bit?”
“Yeah, that’s fine,” Olivia said, allowing the uncomfortable silence to fall upon them again.
After several blocks of nothing but the sounds of city, Olivia decided to approach the topic from a different angle.
“Well, if you’re not going to tell your mom, just make sure you’re careful if you have any other medications. I doubt you’ll run into any complications, but it’s always good to mention it to your doctor.
“But, I don’t want our doctor to know,” Kathleen said.
“At your age, you don’t have to tell your doctor anything in your mother’s presence, so you can tell him what he needs to know.”
The tension in the car eased slightly and Olivia continued forward to the clinic. Once in the waiting room at the free clinic, Kathleen looked queasy once again. Her foot tapped nervously and instead of trying to change her mind again, Olivia tried to put her at ease.
“You know,” she began, “when I was…well, fifteen, a bunch of us all grouped together to get birth control pills.”
“Really?” Kathleen said.
“Yeah. It was something reminiscent of an after school special. My best friend told me that she and a bunch of other girls were going to get them and that I should too.”
“And you just went along with it,” Kathleen said sardonically.
“Yep. I wanted to fit in with everybody else for once. And Maya…she was always the cool one, the exotic one, the one that everybody loved, and I was just ‘that girl who was Maya’s friend.’ So, we all went to a free clinic, a lot like this one, to get them. I remember feeling so much older and cooler, but in hindsight, I’m sure we just looked really stupid.”
Kathleen laughed. “I knew a bunch of other girls who did that. They were all bragging about it and we were all, like, laughing behind their backs and stuff because they all looked so dumb.”
Olivia shared stories with Kathleen until she was
called back to be checked out by a doctor and then to the hospital pharmacist
and afterward, she took Kathleen to dinner in
Eventually, after receiving a big thankful hug, Olivia dropped Kathleen off at a movie theatre to meet some friends and drove back across the river. She wanted to change clothes and spend a little more time at the precinct sending e-mails and calling as many people as possible to get Kreider’s sealed records opened.
When Olivia found a parking space fairly close to her apartment, she turned off the car engine, yet remained inside the department-issued police sedan as she considered her dinner with Elliot's daughter.
She wrapped her hands around the steering wheel for a moment and squeezed the leather until her knuckles grew white. Her face suddenly hurt from the stress of keeping tears at bay and when it seemed like they were coming regardless, Olivia squeezed her eyes shut until the moment passed and she thought herself capable of walking.
With Kathleen's smiling face still bouncing in her thoughts, Olivia missed her mother more than she had in a long while. Each time she set foot in the apartment that once belonged to her mother, her heart would ache. She had hated everything that pertained to her mother once alcohol was involved, but Serena Benson was still her mother and as Olivia left the car on wobbling legs, she could only think of the potential husband her mother would never meet, the possible grandchild she would never hold and the simple idea that never again would her mother smile at her and call her "my baby girl."
By the time Olivia got to her building, a pretty black girl in her twenties had been buzzed into the building and held the door open for Olivia as she approached. They got onto the elevator together and Olivia could hear the music from the girl's iPod earbuds echoing against the lift's walls. The girl pressed "10" on the elevator buttons and, as Olivia pressed "8," she could see the name that glittered on her sideways hat read "Nitaysia."
She tried to repress a roll of her eyes as the music blared and the girl began to whisper along with the lyrics.
“We fall down...but we get up. We fall down...but we get up...for a saint is just a sinner who fell down...and got up...”
Olivia stepped off the elevator and the repetitious song was squarely stuck in her head as she changed clothes in her apartment, refusing to be driven away by her own stereo’s blasting of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Seven Septembers had come and gone since Olivia’s mother had died in an accidental fall and each year she would allow the anniversary to pass without as much as an errant tear or a burn in her stomach. However, it was not until after the New Year that the realization that her mother was gone would settle into her mind and Olivia found herself facing a random outburst of sadness at her loss.
She dressed quickly in her apartment and as she was heading towards her front door after changing, the telephone rang.
“Benson,” she answered.
“Hey,” Jillian said on the other end. “I’m glad I caught you.”
“Jill, hey,” Olivia said, moving back to her couch and intent on keeping any shred of melancholy out of her voice. “What’s up?”
“Just wanted to see how you were doing…I saw you on TV the other day. You looked so pretty…circumstances notwithstanding.”
“Well, thanks. I suppose it’s best to at least look good when you have to tell the city you’re having a time catching a killer.”
“How’s everything else going?”
“Not too bad, I guess. I just took Elliot’s daughter to get her first birth control prescription.”
“Why’d you have to do it?”
“Jillian, I swear that’s the sixty-four thousand dollar question,” she said as set her feet on her coffee table. “She came to me about it, like a week ago, and I just didn’t want to send her away empty handed.”
“So, Daddy’s partner had to come to the rescue?” Jillian mumbled, displeasure coating her voice.
“Yeah, well it was either that or let her go it alone.”
“Lots of women have had to go it alone, Liv.”
“And lots of women have had kids out of wedlock, too.”
“Still, she didn’t have to stress you out about it. Doesn’t she have a mother?”
Olivia sighed. “That’s what Jonathan said.”
“And, he’d be right. I bet you she was trying to pull something on you, Liv.”
“Oh come on, Jill. Why would you say that?”
“Because I have kids and I remember what it was like to be that age. Whenever my boys can’t get something through their father, they come running to me instead. They think one hand doesn’t know what the other’s doing.”
“She knows I work with her father.”
“But, I’m certain she looked at you and pleaded for
you not to tell her dad and you went along with it. I know what she did, too.
She looked at you with these big, weepy eyes and said, ‘Olivia, please help
“She didn’t hook me. She said she needed someone outside of family to talk to.”
Jillian sighed. “Olivia, I find it absolutely fascinating that you can be that smart and so stupid at the same time. She played you.”
“She did not.”
“She played you.”
“Jill, she was genuine.”
“She played you.”
“Was this really the reason you called?”
Jillian laughed. “Just letting you know how kids are. Anyway, how’s Jonathan?”
“Wheelin’ and dealin’ as usual,” Olivia said with a sigh.
“Good to hear. Well, I can tell from your sigh, that you’re either on your way out with Maya or you’re going back to work… I’m gonna guess back to work?”
Olivia remained silent and Jillian laughed again.
“Off to work it is…on a Friday. Well, I’m sure Jonathan’s working ‘round the clock too, so that’s why you’re good together. I’ll talk to you later.”
As she headed for the door again, she paused and decided to check her phone messages just in case Jonathan had wanted to meet her. To her surprise, she saw she had a call from Mrs. Fitzgivens’ son saying that he had a good time with her the previous night and that they should have dinner again.
“Hello,” a young male voice said from the other side of the phone after she dialed Philip’s number.
“Yes. May I speak to a Philip Fitzgivens, please?”
“This is,” he said.
“Phil. This is Olivia.”
“Oh, hey! I guess you got my message.”
“Yeah, I did. I…I thought we talked about this, Phil. I’m…I’m dating someone else already.”
“But, see, you met him first,” Phil said. She could hear him smiling into the phone. “I think that if we spent a little more time together, you might…well…want to…um…switch…”
Olivia sighed, wondering what to say to avoid hurting his feelings. “Phil…I…understand what you’re saying, but…Jonathan and I are very happy together.”
“Spend-your-life-together-forever happy or he’ll-workout-for-the-time-being happy?”
She laughed. “I can’t say for sure yet. Possibly the former, but it’s still too early to tell.”
“But…I did enjoy our conversation yesterday and I’d like it if we could just be friends.”
“Friends, eh? I ‘spose that could work out.”
“Okay…Well, Phil…my friend. I’ll talk to you later?”
“Yeah, that’s cool. Bye, Olivia.”
When she finally made it back to the precinct, it was past and many of the other detectives in the squad room had left or were on their way toward the elevators. As she approached her desk, she stopped dead in her tracks in complete surprise.
Olivia had expected Elliot to leave about the same time as Munch and Fin, but he remained, diligent at his desk.
“Hey,” he said once she approached their desk-pair. “I didn’t think you’d be back in tonight.”
“Yeah, I wanted to…play catch up for tomorrow.”
Elliot nodded. “Me too. How’d your doctor’s appointment go?”
She froze again. “Fine. Everything’s fine.”
“Okay,” he said staring at her. “Just making sure.”
He continued to watch her as she took off her coat and settled at her desk.
“Seriously, Liv,” he said. “You’re sure everything’s all right?”
She sighed. “I’d tell you if there was something wrong.”
He nodded again and they proceeded to work in silence. Not a word was spoken by either detective throughout the two hours that passed and Olivia felt so tense that she was physically exhausted by the time she left the precinct.
She told Elliot she was heading home, but when he offered to drive her home, she declined. At some point during the car ride home, she knew he was going to probe her again about the “doctor’s appointment” and she did not think she could lie to him while held hostage in his car.
When she paid the cab driver, Olivia saw Jonathan pacing back and forth in front of her building.
“Don’t you have a home to go to?” Olivia said wryly.
“This is home,” Jonathan said, smiling.
“You could call, you know. That way you wouldn’t have to freeze your ass off out here. You could call and we could meet like civilized people.”
“But then that would ruin the surprise. Besides, I love that look on your face when you get out of the cab and you see me standing here for you.”
“How long do you stand out here waiting for me each night?” she asked as she opened the door to her building.
He laughed. “Well, I pace in front for a bit, then I go back to my car and warm up. Then, I pace some more until one of your neighbors calls the cops on me. Back to the car and then back out again once they leave.”
She pressed “8” in the elevator once it opened and allow the door to close on the pair of them. “Aw, you’re like a little puppy waiting at the door.”
Jonathan moved her hair back from her neck and kissed her. “Yep,” he said as his arms snaked around her. “And, I’ve been missing you all day.”
She closed her eyes and smiled as he began to kiss a line down her neck. “You’re gonna get me in trouble. This sort of thing this isn’t allowed in the elevators.”
“Well, it’s a good thing we’re at your floor,” he said once the doors opened again.
Still gathered together with Jonathan as one, Olivia slowly made her way down the hall to her apartment, Jonathan’s hands moving all over her with every step. As soon as they were inside her apartment, they both became a flurry of movement against her door and Olivia wondered if they would even make it to her bedroom before their clothing would start to fly.
When Jonathan made to take off his coat, there was a knock at the door.
“Leave it,” Jonathan whispered as he pulled her bag out of her hands.
She nodded and they continued for another minute before hearing a second knock at her door.
“Damnit!” Olivia said and she flung open the door.
“Hey there,” Mark said, standing in the door his hands in his pockets. “Just wanted to make sure you were okay. I heard a commotion and I’d seen some guy just wandering around outside. He looked kind of suspicious.”
She opened her mouth to tell Mark to go away, when Jonathan stepped in front of her.
“Look, little man,” he said. “I’m not ‘some guy.’ My name’s Jonathan. Jonathan Halloway and yes, I’m of the New York Halloways and yes, I’m dating Olivia. Now, it’s great to meet you and I’d love to chat, but we’re kind of in the middle of something, so let’s do this meet and greet thing some other time okay? Thank you!”
He slammed the door in Mark’s face and Olivia shook her head at him.
“That was mean, Jonathan.”
“Why do you even put up with that anyway?”
“He used to be kind of close to my mother, I guess. But, that still doesn’t allow you to be mean just because.”
“Well,” he said, scooping her up in his long arms. “Let me make it up to you. And, I promise, I’ll even cook you breakfast in the morning.”
Elliot turned on the television in his living room as he set his Scotch on a coaster on his coffee table. He had half a mind to set the tumbler on the bare table, seeing as he was “free” to do what he wanted in his own apartment, but he thought better of it.
The only information that had been gathered on Jeffrey Drover sat in a manila file folder on the other side of the coffee table and Elliot stared at it, thinking all the while. He kept bringing the file to and from the 1-6, not sure what else he could do with it. There was no real need to keep it, as Owen Kreider was looking more and more like a possible suspect, but Elliot did not want to let go of Drover.
Before Olivia had arrived back at the precinct, Elliot had been searching through every file available to find information on Drover. Everything he saw, however, proved that Drover was a model citizen. Another detective, Andrea Cooke, had helped him uncover a few sealed files that bore Drover’s name with several other people, but Elliot figured that they were probably not incriminating when Andrea pointed out that they would have been made when Drover was just a boy.
Still, Drover remained in his mind. Perfectly average or not, he could have still managed to buck the system and become a killer. The BTK killer was found to be a boy-scout troupe leader and Elliot was simply not willing to put anything past Drover. The lines that pointed to him were just too clear.
Elliot had been tracking down child molesters for over a decade and his instincts were unrivalled when it came to pedophiles masquerading as the innocent. Each time he had encountered someone like Drover, who had multiple children within an arm’s reach at any given time, Elliot’s instincts would flow and he could ascertain from a single conversation whether someone was being inappropriate with children. He had been wrong in the past, but over the years, gut feeling had manifested itself to a sublime intuition. Drover was involved. He knew it.
He took another sip of his Scotch and his phone blinking on the other side of the couch caught his eye. He had messages, but he did not want to hear any of them. There was certain to be at least one from Kathy telling him he was being too hard on Dickie as well as one from Kathleen saying the same and probably another from Diana asking when they were going to see one another again.
Elliot shook his head at the thought of Diana and quickly ran down a list of gyms in the city that he knew remained open late in the night. Some were “males only” in the homosexual sense and he wondered just how far he would have to go to avoid seeing Diana again. It was not that he had anything specifically against her, far from it, but Elliot knew he was in no state to begin a relationship or even feign one with someone who was not much more than something to release some stress.
Unable to forestall the inevitable any longer, Elliot reached for the phone and checked the messages. To his surprise, the first was from Dickie.
“Dad…It’s me,” Dickie said with a sigh into the phone. “Look…I’m…I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry. I’m sorry I snuck outta your house…and I’m…I’m sorry I tried to lie about it. So…so can you please let me go out tomorrow? Please. ‘Cause Jessica’s having a whole bunch of people over for the game and I really, really want to go. So…I’m sorry. Seriously. I’m very sorry. So…can you call Mom and tell her it’s okay if I go out? Okay? Thanks…bye Dad.”
Elliot laughed to himself as he saved the message. He would replay it for Dickie someday when his son proclaimed that he never apologized for anything. When he heard Diana’s voice come on as the next message, he immediately deleted it remembering that they had a decent weight room at the 1-6. It was usually crowded around the time he liked to go, but he could wait for a treadmill and a bench. He figured it would be nice to workout with other cops every once in a while.
The messages on his cell phone faired no better. Though she had attempted to get the warrant signed by the most liberal judge she could find, Casey was not able to get a warrant on Owen Kreider based on their current evidence. Elliot made some notes on Kreider’s file and tried to keep a smug satisfaction from melting over his face. Even glancing at Olivia with an expression that read “I told you so” would most likely push them far apart than they already stood.
Kathy had also called, twice. Once to proclaim, as he had predicted, that he was being too hard on Dickie, then another apologizing for the former message and to ramble on endlessly about Kathleen’s continual refusal to speak to her and about Lizzie’s insistence on a new phone that came with pink rhinestones. Elliot deleted both messages, irritated by the tone in Kathy’s voice as she spoke.
There was always something in her voice that said there was more to what she was trying to say with the words coming from her mouth. Over the years, Elliot had become quite good at interpreting Kathy’s mixed and hidden messages, but after she had served him with divorce papers, he no longer cared to translate about what she had really wanted to talk when she spoke until the voicemail cut her off about cell phones that were a good match for teenagers Lizzie’s age.
As he closed his phone, his thoughts fell on Olivia and her random doctor’s appointment. In all the time that he had known her, Elliot had watched her cancel and reschedule more appointments with doctors, mediators and dates in general than he saw her actually attend. Why she would make an appointment at on a Friday and actually keep it when they both still had so much to do was beyond him.
He took another sip of Scotch and sighed, certain that Olivia had to be hiding something. He quickly ran down a list of all things that could be going on with her: pregnancy, cancer…egg harvesting?
Elliot shook his head and wondered how he could know so little about women and raise three daughters. The egg harvesting idea was a wash, but the thought of either pregnancy or cancer troubled him. If Olivia left for maternity leave, he might get stuck with another temporary partner and he knew that would lead to disaster no matter who it was. If she had cancer…
His stomach burned and he wondered if it was stress or the liquor. Watching his sister Colleen, go through the ordeal of breast cancer a few years earlier was hard enough and she and Elliot were not very close any more. How could he possibly handle it if Olivia had cancer, too? If she could not beat it? Coping with her temporary departure from the unit half dismantled him. How was he supposed to go on normally if happened to her?
In eight years’ time, Olivia had become more than just his partner and closer than a friend. There did not seem to be a word in English to equate what their partnership had become, which was why it frustrated him so much that they could not get back what they used to have. It was akin to finding a favorite old glove that had been lost and then worn by someone else. He was happy to have it back, but it felt like it could never fit right again.
Elliot’s life had been spinning in a downward spiral
in the months prior to Olivia’s first departure from the
He took a deep breath realizing he was getting too ahead of himself. He made a mental note to plug her again about the appointment, even though it might be in vain. Elliot could vaguely remember an incident several years ago when Olivia had called-in sick for the first time. Throughout eight years together, they both had rarely ever “called-in sick” for any reason. At one point, Kathy had actually tackled him at the door to keep him home when he was sick with a strong flu virus, but it was the only time he had stayed home.
Outside of the one incident, Olivia had never said that she was too sick to work. He had gone by her apartment to see her that day, but she refused to let him in her apartment and he did not want to invade her privacy by just letting himself inside her place as he had done with the building’s outer door. For the rest of that week, she appeared to be slightly pale and he thought he even saw her wiping away a few tears in the crib a few days later, but when he asked her about it, she denied that anything was wrong. A week afterward, she seemed back to normal and he dropped the issue, but he did not want to drop the present situation if it looked to be a problem, especially if it looked like she was crying again.
He flipped through the television channels, searching for a West Coast basketball game that had not yet ended, but to no avail. He was oddly proud of Dickie for finally apologizing and wondered which female had had the most impact on his decision to do so: his mother, his sisters or his crush, Jessica Barrow. Laughing to himself, Elliot remembered a time when Dickie could not look at Olivia without falling suddenly silent, unable say one word.
Again, his thoughts came on Olivia and onto her departure that night. She seemed so stiff and tense while they were pouring over paperwork that he could not stop worrying that something was severely wrong. While they had argued heavily earlier in the afternoon, in his mind, everything had more or less calmed, but she still did not want the customary drive home.
Before deciding to settle into listless sleep, Elliot made a note to bring Olivia muffins and coffee again and formally apologize for not being more open to the idea that Kreider, and not Drover, was their new target. As he allowed himself to fall into his bed, he said quick prayers for clarity on the case, that the state of his marriage would not have a scarring effect on his children and that whatever was troubling he and Olivia would pass sooner rather than later. Perhaps the jolt of caffeine and sugar combined with the apology could set them back on track.
I can always bring her chocolate, too, he thought as he drifted to sleep. Everyone always says chocolate cures all ails…