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What if you Stayed?

By Kinetic-K

Drama / Romance

What if you Stayed?

After replaying everything that Nick had confessed to her earlier at the party, something deep inside of Olivia's unconscious awakened. The vulnerable look that was in his eyes had a longing there. Although his words said ‘I'm leaving’ his eyes were begging for her to stop him. She wondered had the surprise of the news set off certain emotions or had they been there all alone. Olivia knew the answer to that rhetorical question but was uncertain of how to proceed. She was feeling vulnerable so she let her true emotions come to the surface, which she rarely did.

Neither Olivia nor Nick ever spoke about the chemistry between them but deep down, they both felt a stronger connection than just a regular co-worker or friend situation. The obvious reason why neither acted upon the feelings were clear. He was married when they were first partnered up, and then Olivia started dating Brian Cassidy and now she was his boss. Olivia always thought that there was more to Nick not liking Cassidy but she didn't want to rock the boat. This night, however, would be the night to break old habits. The thought of Nick leaving without knowing how she truly felt wasn't an option. "If he's leaving, then he's going to have all of the facts before he goes," said Liv to herself.

Later that night when she was all alone and her son Noah was sound asleep, she picked up her phone to make a call. She dialed and hung up three times before placing the phone on the table. "I can't do this, this is insane" she thought to herself. She debated for what seemed like an eternity before she finally made the call without incident.

"Hey what's up? It’s late, are you guys alright?" asked an alarmed Nick.

"Yes, nothing is wrong we're both good," replied Olivia. "Sorry to call so late, hope I didn't wake you."

Laughing at her statement Nick said, "No you didn't wake me, insomnia and I are having our nightly fling. What's up?"

Liv nervously laughed at his joke as she tried to keep her cool. "I really would prefer to talk about this in person, would you mind coming over?" inquired Liv.

"I'm on my way, you're scaring me. I will be there in fifteen," answered Nick.

"Don't be worried, I'm fine just something we should talk about. See you soon," Liv said as she ended the call.

Seriously second guessing her decision to invite Nick over, Liv tried to calm her racing mind and turbulent stomach. She walked over to the mirror and took a good look at the woman standing before her. She silently encouraged herself with her infamous 'get your shit together' look that is uniquely hers. After her silent pep talk, Liv made sure that she looked presentable but she didn't overdo it seeing that it was after midnight. Satisfied with what she saw, Liv then went into the kitchen where she grabbed two glasses and a bottle of red. She poured herself a glass and embraced the bittersweet liquid as it helped to calm her rattled nerves.

"Hey it's me Nick," she heard followed by two knocks.

"Coming," said Liv as she opened the door to find a confused looking Nick standing there. "Stop scowling, you're going to get frown lines," teased Liv.

"Ha-ha very funny. You sure you're alright? You're not the most forthcoming person that I know," said Nick with a smirk on his handsome face.

Amused by his accurate analysis Liv replied saying, "I'm fine, Noah's fine. Stop worrying. I uhm…I actually was just thinking about our talk and the news that you shared with me earlier."

Visibly relieved that Liv and Noah were fine, Nick pointed at the wine bottle and said, "I see you started the party without me."

Amused by his joke, "Please join me, friends don't let friends drink alone," said Liv smiling at her longtime friend and current object of her affection.

"And we both know how much I value friendship so make it a double," quipped Nick.

Laughing at his wit, Liv poured his drink and took a long gulp of her own as she began to speak. "Well," started Liv in her most sincere tone. "I've been thinking about you telling me about your decision to leave the unit. As excited as I am for you to experience your next chapter; I feel that your chapter here is incomplete."

Nick looked confused as he replied, "Look Liv, I'm going to miss you. You were the reason why I almost decided to stay here but you know that I'm viewed as damaged goods to the brass. I can't work without any possibility of growth in the NYPD department whatsoever. I feel stuck here."

"I wasn't talking professionally, this is on a personal level," said Liv in a hushed toned that was full of emotion, as she looked at him in a way that told him everything without saying anything.

Knowing exactly where she was going with this Nick stopped her, "Wait…" he said. His heart was beating rapidly, while his scrambled brain tried to catch up. "Let me stop you there, I think I know where you are going with this and there is something you should know," said Nick as he sipped for some liquid courage. "I've been seeing Amanda."

Silence clung to the room and shock was etched into Liv's pretty face. She finished her wine in one long setting as she tried to process the blow that she just received. Still trying to recover, Olivia poured herself another drink before she said, "Oh…I'm uh, I'm sorry, I didn't know. I certainly wouldn't have tried to…"

"No, no, no stop," interrupted Nick. "You did nothing wrong, in fact I'm the one who is wrong. If I weren't so afraid of rejection I might not even be in this predicament."

Confused, Liv sat up a little straighter and tilted her head as she asked, "And what predicament are you in?"

Nick finished his wine and looked her straight into those chocolate colored eyes and said, "I'm in a situation where I can't be with the woman of my dreams because I'm spending time with a woman just to fill a void."

Taken back by his brutal honesty, Liv asked in a vulnerable whisper, "I-I'm the woman of your dreams?"

"Yes!" exclaimed Nick. "I just knew that you couldn't possibly want me and then there was that jackass Cassidy, so I kept it all inside. Now as I sit here looking into those beautiful eyes and see that you feel the same way…well I think you feel the same way since I cut you off before you got started."

A small smile stretched across her pretty face as she responded, "Yes I feel the same way, and we've always shared a special bond. Then when you told me that you were leaving, something inside of me clicked. I felt all of these emotions rushing inside of me that I usually keep at bay but I just couldn't anymore. The thought of you not being here anymore, is something that I can’t fathom."

Nick couldn't believe his ears; everything that he wanted to hear from the woman that he wanted to hear it from had his head spinning. He always felt that Liv was out of his league. Her beauty, intelligence, resilience and toughness were a combo that set her aside from other women and Nick had admired all of those qualities plus more for a while now.

Jarring Nick from his rapid thoughts Liv said, "I'm sorry to just dump all of this on you. I didn't know about you and Rollins. I'm not a home wrecker and I respect you both; I would never want to come between you two. So, let's just pretend that this conversation nev—“

"Shhhhh," whispered Nick as he placed his index fingers gently on Olivia's lips. "I could never forget this conversation even if I wanted to and trust me, I don't want to," expressed Nick.

As Nick removed his finger from her lips, he grabbed both of Liv's hands and placed them into his. He looked her directly into those swoon-worthy eyes and inched closer to her. Her sweet smell of lavender and vanilla intoxicated him like a drug. His visual assault continued as he looked at her mouth, longing to know what her lips would feel like against his; this had him inching even closer. As he leaned in to what he wanted more than his next breath, Ray Charles' voice singing "Georgia on My Mind" slammed him back into reality. With a look of pure disappointment and sorrow etched on his face Nick said, "It's Amanda."

Chapter 2

"Hey, is everything alright?" asked Amanda in her southern Georgia accent.

Not taking his eyes off of Olivia, Nick replied, "Uhm, actually something has come up. Where are you?"

"Your apartment," Amanda answered. "More importantly, where are you? It's late."

"On my way back, I uhm, I went for a little run. I will be back soon, give me twenty," Nick said as he ended the call.

The energy in the room had shifted from desire and want, to uncomfortable awkwardness. Nick was staring at his phone and damning its existence. Olivia was silently chastising herself for letting things almost cross the line with Nick, knowing that he was involved and with a woman she that considered a friend nonetheless. Liv ran a nervous hand through her smooth brunette locks as she stood up to put the glasses in the sink.

"I think you should go," said Liv.

"Yeah, I uhm, I think you're right. Not that I want—“

"Just stop Nick, alright. Let's just drop all of this. It was a bad idea; I shouldn't have brought it up. I didn't think this through."

"No! I'm not just going to drop this, Liv, and neither should you."

Ignoring his last statement as well as his presence, Liv emotionlessly says, "Do me a favor? Whatever it is that you plan on telling Rollins, please don't let it be on the account of anything that I’ve said tonight. I've had some wine, today has been emotional with Noah's adoption finalizing and everything else. I also don't want her to think that her friend betrayed her. So don't end whatever you have expecting an 'us', there is no 'us'."

"Liv don't—“

"Lock the door on your way out," Liv said, cutting Nick off as she headed for her bedroom door.

Slam. That was the sound that Nick heard as he stood frozen in Olivia's apartment in total disbelief. The confessions, the near kiss, then boom the call that ended it all. Nick's mind raced as he trudged his way back to his apartment. He never knew that Olivia had any sort of feelings toward him; he was convinced that it was all one-sided. Now to hear that he could have had a shot all alone had Nick furious with himself. "Perra asustada!" screamed Nick at the top of his lungs, kicking over a trash can also while he was in full rage mode. Nick was almost home when his phone buzzed in his back pants pocket. Without looking at the caller ID he answered, "Amaro."

"Hey, it's me," coming from that familiar soft voice that he loved so much.

"Liv, hey, I was just thinking—“

"We caught a case," Liv interrupted. "I was also calling to tell you that I'm going to be your partner again until you leave. I'm preparing for the Lieutenant's exam, so I've temporarily relieved my command post to Lt. Murphy so that I can have some extra time to prepare."

Shocked and excited by this news Nick cleared his throat to reply, "Ok just like old times, even better since I've decided to stay here and with SVU."

"What about your kids, Nick? Your desire to grow in the department? You're not thinking straight."

"Oh I'm thinking straight. I'm seeing things clearer for the first time since I can remember. I was still debating leaving anyway; all I needed was a reason to stay and I definitely have one now. Things fall into place when things you once thought were impossible becomes possible. Everything is going to work out; I'm going to make sure of it."

"Nick let's not get into this again, we have a case. I was just calling so that you would know why I was at the crime scene. See you soon."

Nick took out his phone and sent a quick text to Amanda. Hey I caught a case, sorry. Let's meet for lunch later. We need to talk.

A vibration beeped a minute later with a returned message to him. Ok, be careful. Lunch sounds good, except the 'we need to talk' part. See you at noon.

Nick read the message and sighed. He knew that Amanda would be worried until they talked but he couldn't pretend like his world wasn't just shook after his talk with Liv. He always prided himself in being devotedly faithful and forthcoming, so he couldn't pursue anything with Olivia until his hands were completely untied with Rollins. He would be lying if he said that he and Amanda were just a fling, he cared for her deeply but he also knew that he wasn't in love with her. Knowing it's the right thing to do wouldn't make it any easier and Nick was dreading the future talk that he and Amanda would soon have.

Time flew by as Nick and Olivia examined the crime scene, jotted down witness statements and made a trip to the hospital to check on the victim. Nick tried to remain focused on the task at hand but he was easily distracted by the presence of Olivia after their night of confessions. She looked amazing to him as usual in her fitted charcoal black slacks, her half black and half almond long sleeved top that fitted her just right. She had caught him staring on more than one occasion and shot him a 'stop effing looking at me like that' look. He smirked at her facial expression even though he knew that she meant business.

11:30am came faster than Nick had expected, fresh cases always had a way of consuming time and energy. Nick grabbed his phone, energy drink and keys and headed toward Olivia's new desk. "Hey I'm about to head out; you should head home and get some rest."

"You're reading my mind; this was an easy case thanks to the DNA match in CODIS. He goes back to prison and our victim can get the help that she needs to move on with her life." Olivia stood to gather her things, lifted her head to look Nick directly in his dark eyes and said, "Thanks for not making me feel so awkward, although you did stare a lot, thanks."

A smirk stretched across his unshaven sexy face, "I can't help if I like what I see. Look I have something to do right now but can we have dinner tonight?"

"Uh Nick, I don't think that's a good idea. We're trying to get back to normal, remember?"

"No, no I don't remember ever agreeing to that at all. Look we're just having dinner. I will be at your place at 6:30." Before she could object he was out of the squad room's door.

"Hey, I thought you forgot about lunch," said Amanda as she got up to greet Nick with a hug and chaste kiss.

"No I didn't forget, just had some paper work to finish before I left. Uhm, you ready to order?"

"No, I'm not really hungry. I want to hear all about this talk that we need to have."

Nick reached for her water and drank as he prepared to let down someone he actually cared about, "There's no easy way to say this Amanda but I have to be honest with you."

Visibly alarmed, Amanda sat up straight and asked, "Honest about what?"

"I can't be with you anymore, I know we said that we would try the long distance thing when I went to California but there's no need, I'm staying here in New York."

Confusion expressed in her bright blue eyes, "I-I don't get it, if you're staying here then why can't we be together anymore?" asked Amanda in her southern belle accent.

Dreading what he had to tell Amanda next had Nick's stomach flipping. "I care for someone else and I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you, I-I feel terrible," Nick said as he dropped his head in disgust with himself.

Fighting back the tears stinging her eyes Amanda tried to make sense of what she was hearing. "But you-you pursued me. I was just trying to get my life back together when you wanted to play Mr. Hero and rescue me. You stalked me, inserted yourself into my life, and made me fall for you, for what? To, to tell me that you want someone else? Why the hell did you even bother me you son of a bitch?"

"I never meant to hurt you; I never expected to stay in New York let alone fall…" Nick stopped himself for the sake of Amanda's feelings.

"You're such an asshole you know that?" Amanda asked rhetorically as she gathered her things, "Since we're being so honest are you going to tell me who she is?"

"I-I want to respect her privacy, plus I don't know if she wants me or will even have me," explained Nick.

"Wow, how long has this been going on?"

"Nothing is going on, I didn't cheat. I've had feelings for her for a while but I never thought I could be with her."

"Oh so I was just your what, warm body to occupy you while you pined for someone else?"

"No! I wouldn't aim to purposely hurt you Amanda, it's just after the party I started talking to her and things just started, ya know cli—" Nick stopped knowing that he had said too much.

"Wait a minute, just wait. What party? Noah's party?" The light bulb finally went off in Amanda's head and she knew exactly who Nick had feelings for. "Wow, I thought I was crazy, 'no' I would tell myself, 'they're just partners' 'she went through a lot after being kidnapped by Lewis' 'he's just worried about her' and all this time you two were just laughing at the silly naïve girl from Georgia. I'm such an idiot. Well she must be a killer in bed to satisfy your insatiable appetite huh?"

Nick's eyes nearly popped out of his head, "Amanda stop it, I told you that I didn't cheat and I never said that it was Oli—"

"Come on cut the BS," interrupted Amanda. "You know what never mind, you both deserve each other. You both over compensate on being morally sound and have this savior complex because you're both afraid that underneath you're both monsters just like your screwed up fathers," hissed a pissed off Amanda.

"You shut the hell up, Amanda! Don't you ever compare me to my goddamned father and Liv is nothing like the monster that conceived her. You better not ever let me hear you even mention our fathers again or I swear to God, I'm gonna…" Nick paused abruptly to get himself under control.

"Mmmhmmm, see what I mean," drawled Amanda as she walked past him. Amanda stopped just before she opened the door; turned back to Nick and asked, "Did you ever love me?" Nick just kept his face buried in his hands as Amanda left saying, "Yeah, I didn't think so."

It had been a long 24 hours for Olivia. An adoption was finalized, a party, a love confession, a case opened and shut and a date on the horizon. Liv searched her closet looking for something to wear. She wanted to look nice but not overly sexy; it was just dinner but dinner with him nonetheless. Nick had been on her mind all day, she put on a good face in front of the squad as well as him but inside she was melting. His sexy five o'clock shadow and messy hair had Liv losing focus multiple times throughout the day. Just when she thought that she had found the perfect outfit she heard a knock at the door. "He's an hour early," Liv said to herself. She opened the door and was stunned at who she found outside of her door.

"H-hi, Rollins," said a breathless Olivia.

"Hey boss, you got a minute?" drawled Amanda.

Chapter 3

Instead of going directly home, Nick decided to go and take a walk in the park. It was an exceptional day. There were kids playing, people jogging and couples picnicking. Nick found a park bench and enjoyed the scenery as he tried to erase the last few unpleasant hours with Amanda from his memory. The horrible things that she said made him lose his temper and he had been working so hard to control his anger but the comparison to his father sent him over the edge. He was very touchy about his father and Amanda knew it. Erasing that unpleasantness from his mind he decided it was time to tell his ex-wife and kids about his change of plans. "Hey Maria, its Nick, got a minute?"

Back at Olivia’s apartment she had an uncomfortable situation going on of her own. "Uhm, sure I have a minute, come on in," stepped aside an utterly shocked Olivia.

"Hate to barge in on you like this but this is important," said Amanda.

Olivia's inner monologue was running a marathon of thoughts. I'm going to kill him, yes I am. I told him to drop this. Yes he's dead, D-E-A-D, dead. Well maybe it's about work or something…nope, he's dead. That idiot, dammit! "No worries, it's fine, can I get you anything Rollins?"

"No, I'm fine, uhm," Amanda tried to keep herself together as she looked at her friend and mentor with disbelief that she could do this to her. "Actually yeah you can get me something, how about a damn explanation of how you could do this to me?" anger was oozing from Rollins' pores.

Taken back by Rollins' anger and accusation, "Am I supposed to know exactly what the hell you're talking about?"

"Oh don't try to be cute, it's not becoming for a woman of your age," the gloves were officially off. "I talked to Nick, yeah that's right; he told me all about your little talk after the party. How long have you two been going behind my back?"

Olivia, always in control, tried her best to keep calm even though Rollins was testing her patience, "Amanda, I want you to listen to me, really hear what I'm saying, I haven't done anything behind your back, I didn't even know you and Nick were dating. You should know me well enough to know that I'm not that type of woman. That night, I was vulnerable and…"

"Wait; wait just a minute, what night?"

Olivia, smart as a whip, realized that she has just added kerosene to an already blazing fire. "Uhm the other night, I uhm, asked Nick to come over so I could talk to him."

"Yeah, Nick told me he was out running that night. So you're telling me he was over here with you after midnight just for a friendly chat?"

Liv knew that this conversation was ten seconds from blowing up big time. "Amanda,"

"Stop ok, just stop. I've looked up to you from day one, admired everything about you but now I see the real you; a lonely, desperate, back stabbing, manipulative, bitch." Amanda seethed as she was getting ready to leave.

Olivia had been called a bitch hundreds of times. In her line of work, she was used to it. Perps loved to put her in her 'place' but hearing it from a friend and fellow woman nonetheless, had really hurt Liv. She jumped up to grab Rollins' arm as she passed by her. "Amanda, I never betrayed you, you have to believe me."

Rollins jerked her arm free in a violent sweep that barely missed Liv's nose, "Keep your goddamn hands off me!" Rollins exclaimed as she opened the door and just laughed at the irony. "Well if it isn't Ricky Ricardo, ready for his horizontal mambo session." Nick stood at the door completely flabbergasted. His eyes met Olivia's, sorrow mixed with anger in his dark eyes. After sending a silent apology to Olivia he met Amanda's gaze with ferocity as well as compassion, he knew that she was hurting.

"Amanda what the hell are you doing here?" inquired Nick.

"What? We're all 'friends' right? I came to ask my 'friend' some questions," replied Amanda.

"Don't play games with me, Amanda!" shouted Nick.

"Oh please you're the one that's been playing games. Using me because you couldn't have her," said Amanda as she nodded her head towards Olivia. "You tell me that you're practically in love with someone else while you're with me but I'm the one playing games?" Olivia looked up, stunned at what she had just heard. She knew that Nick had feelings for her but he didn't tell her that he was in love with her. Nick and Liv's eyes locked as his secret was revealed in the most embarrassing way. They stared at each other looking for some sort of answers, and then smack! That was the sound heard as Rollins' palm connected with Nick's chiseled jaw followed by her exit.

With hurricane Mandy long gone, a mortified Liv tried to put together what in the hell had just happened. "Nick, you jackass, I told you not to tell her anything on the account of me or us!" exclaimed a pissed off Liv.

"I didn't, she figured it out when I let it slip that I talked to 'her' after the party. She knew I was talking about Noah's party then went on and on how she always knew we were canoodling if you will."

"Canoodling? Really, that's the word you're going to go with?

"Well what else do you want me to say? Fine then, hooking-up, bumping-n-grindin', getting down with the g—"

"Ok, ok, ok," laughed a slightly amused Liv. "I got it." After the brief light-hearted banter, both were back deep in thought wondering what was next as Liv broke the uncomfortable silence. "This is bad, Nick, really bad. Rollins is livid! She called me a lonely, manipulative bitch."

Nick knew that Amanda was pissed but she had so crossed the line, especially considering that Olivia never betrayed her. "I don't care how pissed she was, she shouldn't have said that to you. You didn't even do anything, what did you say after that?"

"Nothing, I was shocked more than anything and hurt. I tried to stop her from leaving and she told me to get my goddamn hands off of her and she gave me the vilest look. I actually thought that she was going to slug me."

"She wouldn't do that, although," Nick said as he rubbed his freshly slapped jaw, compliments of hurricane Mandy, earning a slight smile from Olivia. "I really messed this up big time huh?" Silence clung to the room both doubting that there was going to be a way to resolve this disaster.

"Nick, w-what Rollins said about you loving me…"

"She exaggerated, you know, blood pumping and emotions rushing. She was going for shock and awe." Nick looked down not wanting his real feelings to be known, he wanted to tell Olivia he loved her but not like this, not now.

"Oh, yeah I figured it was just her emotions. I uhm, I have no clue how we are all going to work together. She won't even hear me out nor does she believe that nothing happened I don't know what to do."

"I know; I mean I knew there would be backlash but I wasn't expecting this."

"Kind of make you wish that I had kept my big mouth closed," fished Liv, hoping that he would disagree.

"No. I wish that I was never in this predicament. I shouldn't have even been with her. It was past due for me to end things; I was just scared and tired of being alone. I'm glad you were braver than me and spoke up; you inspired me to do the right thing and that was letting Amanda go. I want a chance with you, Olivia Benson, only if you'll have me." He looked her square in the eye to let her know that he meant everything that he was saying.

Shifting ever so uncomfortably, Olivia processed everything Nick said but a nagging feeling was upon her that she couldn't shake. "You know there's a saying that 'what begins in chaos, ends in chaos.'"

"Who said anything about ending?" Nick said as he got alarmingly close to Olivia. He tucked a stray brunette lock behind her ear and brushed her cheek with his fingertips. Her breathing became shallow as her brain went numb with thoughts of anything but desire. She closed her almond shaded eyes and leaned into Nick's mouth. He kissed her softly, holding back the hunger that wanted to devour her. Soft, sensual, smooth lips came together for the first time. Subtle moans escaping both mouths and curious hands in search of skin. Before the kiss went deeper and all control was lost she pulled back freezing him mid kiss.

"I can't Nick, not like this. Everything still feels so unresolved, I keep thinking about Amanda. Her rage, I've never seen her like that. I have to try again to talk to her, clear my conscious before I can start anything with you."

Nick's libido was screaming expletives at Olivia but his other head knew that Liv was that kind of person to consider others' feelings over herself. "I understand, when we start I want everything to be perfect. I should leave because if I stay I will have you compromising your integrity and I can't have that," Nick teased with a sexy wink. They said their goodbyes and tried to focus on getting through the next day at work.

Olivia woke up refreshed; she had a plan on how to deal with Rollins. She would take her to lunch and remind her of their friendship and its importance. Satisfied and quite convinced that her plan would work, Liv shot Rollins a quick text. We ARE going to lunch today. Just us, you know me. You know I would never do anything to hurt you Amanda, you're my friend. See you soon. Liv pocketed her phone and headed out the door to work. On her way in the precinct she kept getting these weird looks, so naturally she started adjusting her hair and clothing to make sure that everything was in order. She walked into the squad room and dropped everything in her hands, she couldn't believe her eyes. There were WANTED style posters of her visibly intoxicated and suggestively hugged up against her former partner Elliot Stabler plastered everywhere. She squinted her eyes to read the caption saying, WARNING! Home Wrecker On The Loose. "That bitch," hissed Olivia.

Chapter 4

Lt. Declan Murphy was back in command of the Special Victims Unit while Sergeant Olivia Benson stepped down to prepare for the Lieutenant's exam. He didn't necessarily hate being commanding officer but it wasn't his most favorite job either. The Lieutenant definitely preferred to be deep undercover busting the scum of the earth, with a cocky grin on his face as he did it. He was excited to start his second day in command, eager to make sure that things stayed running smoothly at the 1-6. Impressed at how Benson had been running her unit, his goal was to not screw anything up and be on his way. Unable to foresee the storm brewing amongst his current squad, Murphy was optimistic that his time there would be smooth and without incident. That's why Murphy was utterly shocked when he stepped into the squad room's door that morning. The place was covered with flyers of the respected Sergeant Benson in a compromising position with a man Murphy didn't recognize, along with a caption just as repugnant.

"What the hell is this shite?!" uttered a very confused Declan in his mild Irish brogue. He yanked one of the flyers off of the wall to get a better look at the damning propaganda. "Home wrecker on the loose? What the hell is going on?" Declan quickly sprang into action as he desperately tried to rid the squad room of the embarrassing flyers. He had gotten rid of half of them before he heard a crash in the entrance of the squad room behind him. "Shite!" Declan mumbled under his breath as he turned to see an equally shocked and horrified Benson. So much for smooth and uneventful thought Declan as he braced himself for the incoming storm.

Amanda washed her face for the third time in the precinct's restroom; desperately trying to get prepared for what she knew would be an explosive morning. Staring at her reflection briefly, she was trying to convince herself that she did what she had to do. Seriously wishing that she would've went another route had Rollins' head pounding. I had to, she deserved it. Her and that goody two-shoes act, I had to take her down a notch. It's really his fault, he made the commitment to me, plus she said that she didn't even know we were dating. I seriously don't see her being that woman. Dammit! Amanda's inner thoughts were on a roll before she said out loud, "Maybe I should go and take them down?" Amanda was getting ready to exit the restroom but was startled when she heard a crash coming from the squad room. Her heart sank to the pit of her stomach when she realized that she was too late.

Olivia stood in the doorway of the squad room frozen. She simply could not move her body. Her eyes were scanning the room frantically trying to make sense of what she was seeing. The shock had slowly started to wear off as her brain began to function again. Her mind now began to work like a detective asking all of the important questions; after the brief ponder, she knew her answer. One question that she didn't know the answer to was how Rollins got that picture of her and Elliot. Thinking of other people seeing that picture out of context had Olivia fuming. Rumors like this had a way of taking on a life of its own and Liv couldn't afford to have those negative images in the minds of her unit. "Where the hell is Rollins?" shouted Liv to a still stunned Declan.

"Benson, first of all calm down. Secondly, I haven't seen Rollins, lastly are you telling me that she is responsible for this?" questioned Declan.

"Aww shit," said Detective Odafin Tutuola as he picked up one of the flyers off of the floor. "What the hell is going on in here?"

"That is what I would like to know." Both men looked at the sergeant for answers that she didn't have.

Olivia closed her eyes and inhaled deeply as she tried to figure out what she should do. She was furious with Amanda but she didn't want to involve any more people in this undesired drama, especially at work. She began to speak, "I-it's uhm, it's nothing guys. Just help me get them down please and to a shredder ASAP." All three of them began to remove the posters and shred them before anyone else could see them. Liv trusted Declan and Fin to not say anything but she knew the few others who witnessed the posters were probably already gossiping.

Trying not to let her mind go there, Liv went back to the spot where she dropped her belongings when Fin came up behind her. "Liv, what is going on?" She saw the concern and confusion in his eyes.

"Nothing Fin, really."

"I've known you for a decade and a half; I know when you're lying. Tell me, you know you can trust me.

Olivia looked at her longtime friend and decided to tell him the truth. "Your partner has gone bat shit crazy!"

"Amanda did this? Why?"

Olivia was having an internal battle on whether she should reveal this next part or not, screw it, she thought. "She thinks that Amaro and I have been screwing around behind her back. I told her that wasn't true but she's concocted this whole story in her deranged mind."

"Wow, yeah she's losing it. She's in her feelings, big time, then you and Amaro? Please. You want me to talk to her?

Liv caught that 'Amaro' comment but didn't have time to dwell on it before she answered Fin. "No, I will be handling that personally. Also I would appreciate not menti—“

"Say no more. I'm here Liv if you want to talk or vent about anything, including my crazy partner."

"Thanks Fin, I'll keep that in mind."

Amanda had worked up enough courage to finally leave the restroom; she opened the door and ran straight into Nick. Great, she thought. She was so mad at him that she seriously thought about slapping him again. She suppressed the urge seeing that they were at work, and also the whole assault of a police officer nonsense. Nick knew that Amanda was blindsided by his sudden end to their relationship but he hoped that they could stay cordial and professional. Trying to forget their last encounter which resulted in a thunderous slap, Nick tried to engage her.

"Good morning, Rollins."

"Morning, Detective."

Relieved that she even responded Nick thought he should test his luck, so he grabbed her arm and took her aside before they made it into the squad room. "Look, I know I messed up but I want you to know that I'm sorry. Liv and I have never done anything behind your back, ever. You have my word. So I hope we can move on and be civil and work together. Hell, one day be friends again, all of us."

Overcome with emotion after Nick's speech, Amanda was now certain that she had just made a big mistake. Trying to remain strong and keep her emotions at bay, the blonde detective looked up to meet Nick's sincere gaze. "I-I'm sorry for slapping you. I'm also sorry for what we're about to walk into," said Rollins as she walked off, leaving a confused Nick behind.

Amanda walked into the squad room timidly; she noticed that there were no signs of the posters. She was relieved for Nick's sake but she knew that Liv had seen them. She went straight to her desk not even glancing in the direction of her sergeant. Amanda didn't know how but she was going to try and explain herself to Liv when she got a chance. Nick walked in a short time after Rollins and felt a strange energy in the room. He couldn't put his fingers on it but something was definitely off. He glanced over at Fin looking for answers but found none. He then looked at Liv and he saw that she had on serious resting bitch face. What's up with that?

"Benson! Rollins! My office now," demanded an irritated Declan. He closed the door behind them as they both entered his office. "I'm not going to ask any questions and I don't want to hear a word, just listen. I don't know what the hell is going on here but it ends today. You both have an hour off to resolve whatever it is that is going on, then I want you both back here focused and ready to work." Declan then directed his attention to strictly Amanda. "I'm only going to warn you once; if you ever pull any horse shit like this again, you're out on your ass. Number two, she is your boss! You're lucky that she doesn't file a grievance complaint against you and have your ass back in a uniform. Now get the hell out of my sight."

Amanda turned to leave, just as Benson was about to do the same Murphy stopped her. "Just a quick word please, Sergeant." Liv turned back to face Declan as he began to speak. "I hate to pry but that seemed uncomfortably personal, you have to remember they are your subordinates now. You're no longer a player, you're the coach, even outside of work there should be a difference. You can't blur the lines or things like this will continue to happen in the future. You're dismissed, oh and Sergeant, work it out."

Olivia walked out of the office seriously thinking about what the temporary CO had just said. A lot of it made sense which made her even more cautious about being involved with Nick. This Rollins thing was more than enough to make her think twice. Feeling sick to her stomach, Amanda grabbed a few things from her desk and headed to the elevator. She felt like a fool, her emotions got the best of her and she embarrassed herself in the worst way. She dropped her head and wanted to scream out of frustration.

Olivia went to her desk; visibly upset which had Nick walking over to her. "Is everything alright? What did Murphy want?"

"He wanted to talk to me about your crazy girlfriend and how she vandalized the squad room with damning posters of Elliot and me."

"She is not my girlfriend and what kind of picture of you and Elliot?"

"I can't get into this right now Nick, Declan is demanding that Rollins and I go resolve this, which I don't see happening, so I don't have time for your questions." Olivia said as she walked away from Nick without another word. Nick stood there unsure of what to do, as he felt Liv distancing herself from him before they had even began.

Olivia walked toward the elevator, heated, wanting to get this over with. She was angry and was ready to let Rollins have it. She turned the corner to find a bent over Rollins, looking like she would be sick. Rollins was barely holding it together, but she straightened up when she heard Liv's stern voice saying, "Come on, this won't take long at all."

Chapter 5

"Hey Fin, you got a second?" without waiting for an answer Nick asked another question. "What kind of photo did Rollins put up of Liv and that old partner of hers?"

Slightly amused by Nick's obvious jealousy Fin replied, "You know he does have a name, right? Elliot."

"Yeah man, whatever. What kind of picture was it? What were they doing?"

"It was a picture man, they were hugged up. They looked a little wasted but it was nothing. Why you buggin' about that picture? Something going on between you and Liv?"

"Nah man, I was just curious. I thought he was married that's all."

"He was married."

"What do you mean was? H-he isn't anymore?"

"Hey gossip queens!" interrupted Murphy, "You guys gonna work today or what? We caught a case, here's the address. Sorry to break up your tea party, go."

Across the street from the 1-6 was a coffee shop that Olivia and Amanda had visited several times before but never under these particular circumstances. People were chatting, reading and enjoying their beverages all around them. However, there was nothing being enjoyed at their small table in the corner but silence. Neither woman had said a word since leaving the precinct, nor was there any eye contact being made. Olivia didn't trust herself to speak, fearing that she might say something that she couldn't take back. Amanda was too ashamed of how she let this situation get out of control. Knowing that the reason why they were there was her fault had Amanda stepping up to break the uncomfortable silence.

"Liv, I feel like a fool. I-I'm so—"

"Stop," interjected Liv. "Just don't, I let you go off on me and call me names because I knew you were hurting but now I really don't give a damn about your feelings. You so crossed the freakin' line. I've worked hard to earn my reputation and the respect of my colleagues. To have it in question because of your antics, due to the fact that your boyfriend dumped you truly baffles me. Instead of blaming me, you should probably blame yourself for being an insecure, adolescent, psycho! I recognize that you wouldn't know what it's like to have a good reputation with your gambling, lying and almost screwing or probably screwing Murphy to save your ass but I do." Olivia ran her fingers through her hair in an attempt to calm down before she said even more than she already had.

Feeling all of Olivia's words hit her right where it hurt, Amanda swallowed hard before she said anything. "I guess I deserved that. I uhm, haven't been feeling like myself lately and then all of this came out of the blue. I just kind of lost it. Then I saw Nick at your place and I just felt betrayed by someone I respected and then thinking went out of the window from there."

Olivia heard what the blonde detective was saying and understood but she couldn't give in to her needs right now because she still had questions. "I have two questions for you, no just make it one. Where in the hell did you get that picture from?"

"I uhm, I can't tell you that. It's my only one though and I really am sorry about this, all of it. Even if you two were doing whatever, I had no right to bring it to work. I know you can't forgive me now but I hope one day we can put this behind us and possibly be friends again."

"You know I'm a trained detective so I will get to the truth, eventually. I hope whatever the reason why you're keeping that a secret is worth it."

Amanda was seriously pondering whether she should just let everything out or let Liv figure it out on her own. It couldn't get any worse or could it, thought Amanda. Amanda decided to play all of her cards right now; however it had her stomach on the verge of erupting. "Well after I suspected you and Nick, I uhm, did some digging. I knew you were extremely close to your last partner so I looked at old files, your personal lives etc. That's when I discovered that his wife had a private investigator follow you two."

Olivia couldn't believe that she and Elliot were being followed and didn't notice it. She made a mental note to ask Elliot if he knew anything about that, later. What else did the PI have on them; she shook off that unpleasant thought and refocused on Amanda. "Not that I owe you an explanation but I want you to know, that picture was taken out of context. We were undercover, playing a role, that's all. Look, we have to work together; I'm not promising anything more than professionalism. That's all that I can give at this moment, who knows the future?"

Amanda realized that this was better than the alternative and she could work without worrying about retaliation. "I will take that and I am sorry."

"I know, let's get back to work."

The end of the day was finally upon the detectives and they couldn't be happier. Although they did important work, the dark nature of their job was hard to bear at times. The inhumanity that they saw everyday had them grateful for the times that they could actually help to prevent others from being hurt. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood so Lt. Murphy decided they should all go out for a drink after work, it was Friday after all. They arrived at the bar, Get Lucked Up ten minutes after leaving the 1-6.

"I'd like to make a toast," began Murphy. "You guys are a pain in my arse but at the end of the day you get the job done, cheers."

"Cheers," agreed everyone in unison.

"I also would like to make a toast," everyone rolled their eyes and sighed loudly making the toaster laugh. "Seriously, I know that I'm the new guy and just got here but thanks for letting me into the family," said new Detective Dominic Carisi, Jr. aka Sonny.

"Who said you were in the family?" joked Fin, receiving more laughs from the other detectives. "Nah I'm just giving you a hard time playa, welcome to the family rookie." They all drank in agreement to Fin's statement as the night carried on.

Murphy, a true Irishmen, was the highlight of the night to the detectives. He was buying shots, jigging and overall just killing it as the life of the party. He showed the squad that he knew how to enjoy himself outside of work. Two hours and countless of cocktails later had the group buzzed and chatting about nonsense. Nick was now unable to keep himself from gravitating towards Olivia. Thanks to the liquid courage that he had been imbibing all night, he felt no need to stay away.

"Having fun?" asked a slightly impaired Nick.

"Absolutely, I had no clue that Declan had this in him," laughed an equally buzzed Olivia.

"Yeah, that guy's a maniac. Anyway, I couldn't stop staring so I decided to come and talk to the best looking woman in the bar."

"Stop it, I'm impaired, my inhibitions are low and your lines just might work on me."

"Well that's the encouragement I needed to keep going," a devious smirk stretched across his attractive face. "You know, we never had our dinner."

"That's right, we got interrupted by a pissed off blonde, and you got the best slap I've seen dished out in a long time." Olivia let her head fall back and laughed at the memory.

"You liked that huh? Well I'm glad you enjoyed that and hope you didn't get any ideas."

"I wouldn't dare put my hands on you in that way."

"So you would put them on me in some other way?"

"Nick…"

"Liv, everything else is falling into place, so it's time for you to follow suit woman. I need to know if I have an honest shot with you."

Olivia swirled her finger around the rim of her glass getting lost in the eyes of the stimulating man in front of her. "Nick, you're uhm, putting me on the spot here; in front of everyone at that. You know that I have feelings for you but—“

"Nope, no buts. Leave it at that and let's enjoy the rest of our evening." Nick moved in closer to Olivia as they continued to talk, kind of separated from the group. Amanda was just leaving the restroom as she noticed the two looking awfully cozy. Son of a bitch she thought to herself. Unwilling to cause another scene she decided to let it go and 'get lucked up'.

"Ya know I never thought you liked me," slurred Carisi.

"I don't," deadpanned Amanda.

Laughing almost obnoxiously, "You're funny, you know that?"

"Yeah, I'm a riot."

"Want another shot?"

"Why the hell not? Bartender," yelled Amanda.

Fin was getting ready to call it night. They came, they drank, they were merry, and he figured it was time to get home. These white people don't know when to take their ass home, Fin thought to himself. He was preparing to say his goodbyes when he saw a hammered Carisi struggling to make his way back from the restroom. Damn rookie, Fin thought as he let everyone else in on his little discovery.

"Hey who's going to babysit the rookie? It's not gonna be me, I got shit to do," asked a slightly amused but irritated Fin.

"Shite, what a lightweight," chimed in Declan. "I will make sure the poor bastard gets home alright."

"Actually, uhm, I will make sure that he gets home ok. We're in the same neighborhood," drawled a clearly inebriated Amanda.

"I don't think that's a good idea," intervened Nick.

"Great, I don't remember asking for your damn permission Dad."

Aw shit, here we go; damn I was almost out the door, thought Fin. "I agree with Nick baby girl, you two won't be able to defend yourselves against anyone in your conditions. Come on let's share a cab."

"I'm not ready to go yet; I'm still having a good time."

"You should listen to your partner, Amanda," said Nick.

"Don't say my name!" exclaimed Amanda. She took a deep breath and tried to simmer down before she made yet another scene. "You know what Fin, let's go. Thanks to Mr. Buzzkill, my good time is ruined."

"Look I'm just trying to loo—“

"Let it go, Nick. Just let her be," cut in Olivia.

"Yeah, you should listen to your girlfri…just leave me alone, Amaro. Fin come on, let’s go."

Can't take these damn folks nowhere, dramafied asses. "Alright partner let's hit it. Peace, everybody get home safe, see you Monday." Just as Fin and Rollins were leaving, Carisi stumbled over to the table confused.

"Hey w-where's Mandy?"

"Who in the bloody hell is 'Mandy'? blurted out Murphy. "You know what, never mind. Come on you pathetic lightweight, Mandy's gone."

"Damn, I should've never gone to the restroom. Can, can we get some food? I need like a lot of bread, like a lot."

"Christ almighty, see you two Monday," said Murphy as he and poor Carisi left Amaro and Benson alone.

"Well this was fun," said a sarcastic Liv.

"Yeah, sorry about Amanda, she's just well Amanda."

"Don't apologize, as a matter of fact, let's not talk about Rollins."

Happy to change the subject, Nick slid his chair over to Olivia and asked, "No problem, so what do you want to talk about?"

Olivia finished the last of her Manhattan and said, "Nothing." She kissed Nick right there in the bar. Unbothered by their surroundings, they let themselves get lost in the kiss. Their lips glided in sync with each other, like they had been acquainted forever. His tongue invaded her mouth with greed for more of what she was willingly giving. The only thing that they felt was pure desire and the necessity for air. They broke away from each other and came back down to Earth as whistles and claps filled their ears.

Grinning that mega-watt smile Olivia softly spoke, "I lied, Nick. I do want to talk about something."

Still mesmerized by that kiss, Nick tried to form the words, "Yeah what's that?

"Who's place, yours or mines?"

Chapter 6

Nick couldn't believe his ears, the one and only Olivia Benson was more than ready to take him to bed. He had always wondered what she would be like aroused and uninhibited. His mind began to wonder back to when he saw her in that red fitted dress that accentuated every curve perfectly. OH-LIV-I-AH! Silky brunette locks flowing, full cleavage spilling over, as tan skin glowed against her red dress had Nick's mind full of lust. Seeing the woman of his fantasies before him, eyes burning with desire had Nick anxious and ready to get her home.

Nick threw some bills on the table, grabbed their jackets and headed towards the door. Olivia had shocked herself at how forward she had been with Nick. The truth was that she trusted Nick and he wanted her and she wanted him, end of story. They took a cab to Nick's place, since it was the closest, arriving fifteen minutes after leaving the bar. Nick ran over to Olivia's door and opened it for her as he took her hand and led her into his building. The elevator took them to the eleventh floor as they got off and proceeded to Nick's apartment. His place was lightly furnished and very manly; after Maria he decided not to stay in the house that was once theirs.

Nick opened the door and headed straight towards the back, leaving Olivia slightly confused. He returned a moment later, smiling with his hand extended to Olivia. She took his hand as they went to his bedroom and was delighted by what she saw. The room was dark with four glowing candles in each corner of the room. She looked at him, amazed that he would even have candles, let alone know how to use them to seduce. He took her face in his hand and whispered, "He estado esperando por ti hermosa." I've been waiting on you, beautiful.

He kissed her softly, trying to express what he was feeling through his actions. The kiss quickly deepened as passion took over. Their tongues were dueling feverishly, as hot moans escaped their mouths. Nick then focused his attention to her neckline as he started to unbutton her slacks. Encouraged by his haste to undress her, Liv began to follow suit. She removed his shirt and let her eyes journey over his chiseled chest and abs. His pants were soon out of the way as he removed her blouse, leaving her in nothing but a black bra and black lacy panties.

Nick's eyes danced with heat at the sight of Olivia half dressed in his room as the candles illuminated her bronze skin. The kissing quickly reconvened now that clothes weren't a problem as Nick guided them to the bed. His hands were everywhere; the feel of smooth soft skin had his erection straining against his boxer briefs. He removed her bra without missing a beat on the kissing. He traveled his way down her body stopping at soft ample breasts. He cradled one breast with his hand while his tongue went to work on the other one. He licked and teased her nipples as they pebbled into his oh so hot mouth. Nick was totally a breast man and Liv had more than enough to fulfill his appetite.

Olivia was losing her mind; his hands were driving her crazy while his tongue worked its magic. She was so turned on; she thought she might explode from wanting him so bad. She soon discovered that she hadn't been driven crazy yet until Nick slid her panties to the side and blew on her sex. "Oh my gosh, Nick, stop teasing me," whimpered out Olivia.

More than happy to give her what she wanted, Nick removed her panties, put her legs over his strong muscular shoulders and went to work. He moaned with pleasure after tasting her arousal. His fingers stimulated her nipples as he kissed her clit, making her hips buck from the sheer pleasure of his ministrations. His dark eyes blazed with lust as he watched her enjoy his every action. He couldn't get enough of her as he forcefully pulled her thighs drawing her sex closer to his mouth. His skillful tongue licked her up and sucked her down as he felt her legs begin to tremble. Encouraged by her moans and sighs had Nick working overtime to get her release. "Nick, don't stop, I'm almost there." With that being said Nick inserted two fingers inside of her as she exploded around his fingers.

Olivia was literally having an outer body experience. She was panting and trying to catch her breath when Nick got on top of her. He kissed her with tongue giving her a sample of what she tastes like. "You look so sexy when you come," said Nick as he kissed her a little deeper this time. He broke the kiss, reached over to the nightstand and pulled out a condom. Olivia licked her lips seductively when she saw XL on the wrapper. Olivia took the wrapper from Nick and proceeded to roll on the condom painfully slow causing Nick's breathing to become choppy.

"Now who's teasing who?" asked Nick as he took her hands and pinned them to the bed. He coaxed her making sure that she was nice and ready for him and he smirked that devilish smile when he felt that she was more than ready. He entered her in one smooth stroke causing both of them to gasp. "It's even better than I imagined," muffled Nick as he stilled, trying not to embarrass himself by finishing before they began. He reclaimed control and started to thrust slowly inside of the sexy sergeant underneath him. The feel of her was indescribable; she was hot, tight and dripping for him. He picked up the pace as he found a nice rhythm; his thrusts serving as the bass drum. This was undoing Olivia as she moaned low sexy ohs, she met him stroke for stroke driving him wild. She grabbed his tight ass, which sent him into overdrive as he began to slam into her rapidly. Olivia was in pure ecstasy as Nick took her higher and higher. She felt the intense orgasm nearing as she clenched on to Nick internally causing him to let himself go and come hard screaming her name. Their simultaneous climax went on for what seemed like forever. He steadied himself on his elbows as he continued to throb inside of her.

"That was…"

"I know," mumbled Nick. His face was buried in Olivia's hair while he was still inside of her. He carefully slid out of her as he rolled onto his side of the bed.

"I-I mean, that was, you were…" Olivia stuttered trying to form some type of sentence.

Nick laughed as he ran his skilled fingers through her tousled hair. "I'm sorry if I was a little rough; I kind of lost it when you did that thing."

"No need to apologize, you were perfect."

"No you were perfect," said Nick as he kissed her softly.

After lying there for what seemed like an eternity basking in their afterglow, Olivia made the first move, “I should go."

"No, stay, don't leave."

"I have to, I have a son remember?"

"How about I come with you?"

"I don't know about that, I don't want Lucy to see you."

"Well how about you go and I wait an hour after you leave then I come?"

"I like it," said Liv as she kissed Nick and started to look for her clothes. She freshened up and was ready fifteen minutes later and was on her way out the door. Nick hopped in the shower and let the hot water run over him as he replayed every dirty detail. He was aroused again and couldn't wait to get his hands back on Olivia. He jumped out the shower, dried off and started to pack a bag for the night. He was dressed and headed out of his apartment on his way to Liv.

Olivia thanked Lucy profusely as she left the apartment. Olivia closed the door behind her and let her head fall against the door. Still floating on cloud nine, she couldn't stop smiling. She headed for the shower with Nick on her mind. Twenty minutes later she was clean from head to toe, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Nick. She checked her phone and saw that she had a few missed calls from a number she didn't know. Just as she was about to call the number back her phone buzzed with an incoming call from the same number.

"Benson."

"Hi, this is Nurse Mills calling from Mercy Hospital."

On high alert Liv snapped into sergeant mode, "What's wrong?"

"My patient, Amanda Rollins, has you down as an emergency contact."

"Is she alright?" a scared and concerned Liv asked."

"I, uhm, shouldn't say over the phone, you should get down here quickly."

"I'm on my way."

Chapter 7

Amanda's eyes fluttered as she tried to figure out where she was. There were IV lines hooked into her arms, a machine monitoring her heartbeat, and a nasal cannula to help her breathe. She was desperately trying to piece together what had led her to this hospital room. The last thing that she could remember was riding home with Fin after leaving the bar. Panic set in as her breathing became erratic; a calming hand gently squeezed her shoulder trying to get her to relax. Her breathing began to even out as her eyes fully opened as she adjusted them to the light. She looked over to where she felt the comforting hand and met sincere almond brown eyes gazing at her with warmth and concern.

"Hey there, how are you feeling?" whispered Olivia.

"Confused and thirsty," mumbled Amanda.

Liv walked over to pour the young detective some water and adjusted the straw so that Amanda could drink. "Is that better?"

"Yes, much better, thank you. Wh-why am I here?"

Olivia knew this talk wouldn't be easy or comfortable but she had to tell the truth, she took a deep breath and then proceeded to tell Amanda what happened. "Well, there's no easy way to say this but you had an ectopic pregnancy, the doctors did everything that they could but you lost the baby. I'm so sorry Amanda."

Tears were spilling from the corners of Amanda's eyes as she processed what Liv was saying to her. "I-I didn't even know I was pregnant. I never would have been out drinking, I did this. I'm the reason why this happened."

"No," Liv stopped her. "It was that way from the beginning, you didn't do anything wrong. Your fertilized egg was growing in your Fallopian tube from conception. It's nothing that you did wrong, so don't blame yourself, don't go there."

"Who brought me to the hospital? I can't remember anything."

"You were at another bar and some lady found you in the restroom stall passed out and bleeding. She called 911 and they rushed you into emergency surgery, you had lost a lot of blood but they got it under control and you're going to be fine."

"That's right; after Fin rode away I walked over to the bar across the street from my apartment. I guess I'm lucky that I wasn't home alone. How did you know to come?" Amanda thought about it for a second and remembered she was her emergency contact person. "Oh you're my in case of emergency person; you didn't have to come…"

"Stop, don't even try it. Of course I was going to come, I care about you Amanda, I do. I was worried sick while I was waiting, I couldn't shake the sick feeling of the unpleasant coffee shop talk possibly being our last conversation. I'm so glad that you're going to be alright."

The tears flowed freely and Amanda couldn't stop them, she was truly touched by Olivia's words and her actions by being there for her. She couldn't believe that through all of their issues that Olivia was still a stand up woman and Amanda was so grateful to have a person like that in her corner. "I don't know what to say, I've been such a bitch to you lately and yet you're still here." She reached for Liv's hand and locked her intense blue eyes on the sergeant. "I'm glad that wasn't our last conversation also, I'm so sorry for everything. You being here, in spite of all of the BS, mean so much to me. I don't have any family here and even if they were here, you would probably still be my emergency contact. Thank you Olivia, thank you so much."

Olivia was now fighting tears of her own as she listened to the sincerity in Amanda's voice. She squeezed her hand affectionately before responding. "That's what friends are for."

Relieved that their 'feud' was behind them, the blonde smiled before asking a serious question. "Liv can I ask for one more favor?" Olivia nodded, "Please don't tell Nick."

Oh God, Nick. Olivia thought to herself before answering. "Not a word," said Liv as she secretly thought what her explanation would be to Nick why she wasn't home. Then it dawned on her that Amanda was pregnant with Nick's child, her Nick. And then to top it off she had just promised not to say a word to him about it. How the hell am I going to keep this from him?

Nick felt defeated; he couldn't figure out why Olivia wouldn't open the door or answer his phone calls. He replayed the last few hours in his head looking for what went wrong and he couldn't figure it out. He feared that she regretted it, maybe embarrassed and was now going to shut him out and pretend it didn't happen. Everything seemed so perfect, what happened in that hour? Nick was frustrated as he tossed and turned in his empty, cold bed, which still smelled of Olivia. His phone vibrated on the nightstand and he was relieved to see Olivia's face on the screen. "Hey what happened?"

"I'm sorry something came up, I uhm, I had to go to Mercy." Olivia thought that she should tell as much of the truth that she could.

"Mercy? I didn't get a call, we caught a case?"

"No, it's nothing really, it was something I had to check on, don't worry about it. I'm sorry for not calling before I left, I was in a rush." Olivia knew Nick wouldn't just stop with the questions so she decided to distract him and get his mind focused on to something else. "I hope that you know that I thoroughly enjoyed myself with you, and I'm pretty sure that you remember what I enjoyed the most. I don't want you to think that I regret sleeping with you, because I don't."

Nick let out a breath that he wasn't aware of holding as his face lifted up into a half smile. "Yes, I definitely know that you enjoyed yourself, twice if I'm not mistaken." Got him, it worked thought Liv. "I'm so glad that you said that Liv, my mind has been racing for the last few hours. I thought I did something wrong or that I freaked you out. I didn't know what to think."

"No, you didn't do anything wrong. I told you that you were perfect. I'm sorry that our night was interrupted."

"There will be plenty of other nights, plenty," Nick said matter-of-factly.

"Is that so? You're very sure of yourself, aren't you Detective? Your ego is very much intact I see."

"Well, you were the one who stroked it for me. And man did you stroke it."

They both laughed at his joke until silence clung to the phone before Olivia spoke. "Nick, what are we doing?"

"Something that we should have done a long time ago. I want you, Liv. I know it's a lot of little issues in our way but that doesn't change the fact that I want to be with you."

"The issues aren't little Nick, I'm your boss. I have a new son and don't forget about Rollins." He has no idea about Rollins; he deserves to know what's going on.

"Work will be fine, I have a plan, so don't worry. I won't let Noah down just like I won't let you down. And to hell with Rollins, I'm over her and all of her little stunts; I've had it with her."

"Nick, don't say that, she's got a lot going on. Please, just cut her some slack."

"Wait, so now you're defending her? Why are you defending her?"

"Like I said, she has a lot going on right now and she needs her friends,” explained Olivia.

"What are you not telling me?"

Liv scrambled to give some type of reason without revealing the truth. "Nothing, I'm just saying it can't be easy for her right now that's all, so just drop it."

"Fine, whatever. I don't care about the other stuff, I care about you."

"I care about you too. We have to take it slow though, Nick. I can't rush into this with you and as amazing as tonight, well last night was, I can't sleep with you again until I'm sure of what I want. The sex clouds my judgment and I can't think rationally."

What?! You've got to be kidding me. "Uhm, really? I mean, yeah ok, I get that. I guess…" The last part of his statement earned a laugh from Liv. They talked for a few more minutes before they ended the call.

The weekend went by rather quickly after that long Friday night, early Saturday morning. Olivia and Nick took Noah to the park Saturday afternoon, which he enjoyed thoroughly. They talked and laughed like they had several times before but there was a difference. Their feelings were out in the open and they both knew that this could be the start to a future together. They held hands as Noah played and took pictures together to remember the special day. Sunday morning Olivia went to visit Amanda before she was discharged to make sure that she got home ok.

"You didn't have to come, I told you that I would be fine," said Amanda in a hushed southern tone as Liv helped her out of the taxi.

"Yes I did, I had to make sure that you got home alright. Do you have your meds?"

"Yep, I've got everything I need; you can go, enjoy your Sunday."

Olivia walked to refrigerator to see if there was anything she could whip together for Amanda. "You have old Chinese food, ketchup, expired yogurt and two sad eggs; wonderful. Ok, I'm going to run to the store to pick up a few things, and then I'm going to stop by the deli to pick up some soup. Any requests?"

"Please, you don't have to do that. I will just order take-out or something."

"See you in an hour; take your meds, rest," said Olivia as she exited the apartment. She returned a little over an hour later with groceries and soup as promised. She was happy to see Rollins sleeping peacefully on the couch. She didn't want to disturb her so she put away all of the items and left a note by the soup. Hey you were out cold and I didn't want to wake you. I put away the groceries and left the soup on the counter. Rest and take it easy, I will check in on you after work tomorrow. I can't imagine how you must be feeling but I want you to know that I'm here if you want to talk. Talk to you soon. –Liv. Amanda stirred a few hours after Olivia had left. She saw the soup on the counter as her stomach began to growl in anticipation. Before she got to the soup she read Liv's note and unshed tears started to blur her vision. The detective was truly grateful to have someone like Olivia in her life even though she felt that she didn't deserve her generosity. Amanda looked for her cell phone as she prepared to make a call.

"Hello?"

"Hey, I uhm, I need to talk to you. Can you come over?"

"Amanda, look I don't think that's such a good idea."

"I had a miscarriage Nick, please. I need you," cried a devastated Amanda.

Nick swallowed hard before responding, "I'm on my way."

Chapter 8

Amanda was sitting on her couch sobbing uncontrollably. Although a baby wasn't in her immediate plans she still mourned the incredible loss. Motherhood scared her because of her own upbringing but she knew in her heart of hearts that she would have done her best to make sure that her offspring wasn't raised like she was. Thinking of her loss automatically made her think of Nick, his comfort and nearness is what she craved. She missed him terribly and didn't care that she was still mad at him, she needed him close. The break-up completely blindsided Amanda, she loved Nick and wanted him back. Losing their baby was the salt added to an already exposed wound. The knock on the door jarred her from her see-saw of emotions as she cleaned her face, and then went to open the door.

"Nick," she muffled through tears as she wrapped her arms around his neck, breathing in his familiar scent. He returned the embrace and held her close for a long while before he released her and spoke.

"Are you ok?" his dark intense eyes locking with her puffy blues awaiting a response.

"No, I'm not. I found out that I was pregnant and lost my baby all at the same time. Physically I'm ok, the pain meds help but I feel, I feel so empty." She broke down again as Nick wrapped her in his arms and led them to the couch. He cradled her in his arms as he stroked her blonde locks, soothing her as well his aching heart.

"I'm so sorry Amanda; I don't even know what to say." Nick's eyes burned with unshed tears but he refused to let them flow to so that he could be there for the broken woman in his arms. He placed soft kisses to the top of her head and reassured her that she would get through this. "I'm here for you, you're going to be ok, trust me." Amanda felt so safe in his strong arms; she emptied her mind of her troubles and focused on the man comforting her as she drifted off. Nick realized that Amanda was sleeping after her choppy breathing now relaxed into a subtle wheeze. He lifted her off the couch and placed her gently on the bed; he placed one last kiss to her temple and began to leave as a hand grabbed him.

"Stay," mumbled a half sleep Amanda. "I need you, please."

Nick had never seen her so vulnerable and his heart broke for the desperation that he heard in her voice. "Of course I'll stay." Nick removed his shoes and shirt leaving him in jeans and a black tank top. He stretched out beside her as Amanda draped her right leg and arm over his solid body. He slid closer to her and caressed her face with his left hand and planted several kisses to her forehead before sleep overtook them both.

Olivia woke up Monday morning refreshed, re-energized and ready to work. She enjoyed her weekend with Nick and had spent Sunday thinking about a possible future with the man that was the main star of her fantasies. Friday night had been on repeat in her lustful thoughts. She shook her head trying to stay focused and remembered that she wasn't going to sleep with him again until she knew what she wanted. The sergeant knew that it would be difficult, very difficult but she was determined to stay the course to ensure a future not fueled by sex alone. She finished getting dressed, kissed Noah and headed to the 1-6 ready for the week ahead.

As Olivia walked into the precinct she received a few unsavory glances from a few people but she didn't let it bother her as she approached the squad room's door. Those damn posters. She knew that Amanda wouldn't be in but she was a little surprised not to see Nick, given that she was a few minutes late. She placed her items on her desk and headed straight for the caffeine as Lt. Murphy called for everyone to gather up for a brief meeting.

"Ok listen up, Rollins is out on some personal time and Amaro called in sick as well. We have been short staffed lately and I feel that it's time for a new member to be added to this elite squad, so I put in for a request last week. I want everyone to welcome Detective Kara-Lynn Snow. She comes to us from Memphis, TN MPD Narcotics, highly qualified with an impeccable reputation. Benson she's with you this week, Fin you've got Carisi. Get to work."

Kara-Lynn Snow was 5'8 with caramel skin, slender build, dark hazel cat eyes and short curl-spiked hair. Her face was pretty and welcoming as she took in the slew of faces surrounding her. Kara had been in New York for exactly two weeks; she was eager but nervous to work in such a big city. Olivia's mind was elsewhere, she had stopped listening to Murphy after she heard that Nick was out sick. She fell asleep early Sunday night, missing his call. When she woke up she figured she would just see him at work and apologize in person. She retrieved her phone to send him a quick text. Hey sorry I missed your call yesterday. I didn't know you were sick, hope you feel better. Give me a call if you're up to it. I will swing by after work.

"Sergeant Benson?" Kara asked trying to get Liv's attention.

"Yes," responded Liv, quickly putting away her phone.

"Nice to meet you, I've heard so many great things. Kara-Lynn Snow." She extended her hand awaiting a hand in return. Olivia smiled and gripped the young woman's hand.

"Thank you, Olivia Benson. Nice to meet you as well, Kara-Lynn."

"Just Kara, I'm a Yankee now." Olivia chuckled at her choice of words as they both went to grab their jackets.

"Come on, we've got a victim to interview."

Olivia was truly impressed how the young detective conducted herself during the interview. She was warm, professional, understanding and reassuring. She would never admit it to Murphy but he had made a great decision bringing in Kara. They were headed back to the 1-6 when Liv realized they were right by Amanda's apartment. She had told Rollins that she would stop by after work but since she was in the area she decided to stop now plus she wanted to see Nick after work. Olivia told Kara they had a quick detour and pulled up in front of Rollins' apartment building five minutes later.

"I'll be quick, and then I'm going to take you to lunch. You're ok for a rookie." Olivia smiled and hustled into the building heading for Rollins' floor. She knocked on the door as she glanced around, always checking her surroundings. A familiar male voice had her attention placed back on the door in front of her.

"Liv,"

Olivia saw the stunned look in his eyes. She checked him out, noticing his bare feet, missing watch and bed tousled hair. Her eyes then gazed slightly to his left where she saw Amanda in a robe with her wet hair tied with a towel. Trying to keep her composure, Olivia took a deep breath and tried to calm her racing heart before she spoke.

"I-I was here to check on Rollins, I didn't mean to interr—"

"Liv, it's not what it looks like," interrupted Nick. "I was just, Amanda called and I just…"

Liv threw up her hands to stop him from making it worse. "I should have called Amanda, I just wanted to check on you but I see that Nick clearly has that covered. I've got to go; my rookie is waiting on me in the car." Liv stormed down the hall as Nick was hot on her trail. He lunged forward to grab her arm as he spun her around.

"Liv wait, let me explain."

"Don't touch me!" exclaimed Liv as she forcefully pulled her arm away from his grip.

"She had a miscarriage, Liv. I was just trying to be there for her, she called me all upset and crying, I felt terrible. What you saw, think you saw…"

"Nick, just stop. I know what I saw and I knew about the miscarriage. She told me not to tell you and now I see why, looks like it worked. You don't owe me anything, you're not mine. So go and continue to 'comfort' her, I know she is hurting. I can't do this with you anymo—" Nick kissed the words right off of her lips. He wrapped his arm tight around her waist and pulled her into his body as he ran his fingers through her silky brunette hair. Feeling her resolve weakening by the second Olivia pulled away and looked him directly in the eye; staring back at her was sincerity, remorse and heat.

"Nothing has changed Liv, nothing."

"I've got to go Nick." Olivia left Nick standing in the hallway as she made her way back down to the car where Kara was singing some God awful country song that Liv had never heard. Kara stopped singing and turned down the radio when Olivia entered the car.

"Hey is everything alright? You look…bothered." A genuinely concerned Kara asked.

"Yeah everything is good. Sorry to bust up your concert," teased Olivia. "Country music, huh? I'm going to have to get used to that."

Kara was smiling from ear to ear, slightly embarrassed but amused nonetheless. "Back home my family and friends would tease me about my love for country music. Like a sistah can't like country music? I might be a Yankee now but I will always love my country, I will try not to torture you too much."

"I appreciate that." Olivia smiled, she liked Kara a lot, and she felt that she would fit right in with the other detectives. "Let's go and grab some lunch."

After Olivia left him standing alone in the hallway, Nick trudged his way back to Amanda's apartment. He saw the hurt and shock in Liv's eyes when he opened Rollins' door and he wanted to kick his own ass for causing her any amount of pain. He knew that he was playing with fire by spending the night wrapped in Amanda's arms while he was pursuing another woman. The news of the miscarriage had stirred some emotions in him and he felt an obligation to not let Amanda go through that alone. He put his head against the apartment door before he entered; preparing himself for what awaited him on the other side. Nick stepped inside to find sad blazing blue eyes glaring at him.

"Do you love her?" asked a broken Amanda.

"Amanda…"

"Do you love her, Nick?"

"Amanda, I'm not going to discuss her with you. Last night I may have blurred the lines for you but I wanted to be here for you and for myself. It was my child too."

"And I'm glad that you were here for me but I don't just want one night and if you don't love her come back to me. Yes last night was about comfort but there was something else there too, I know you felt it." She closed the distance between them, grabbed his shirt and planted a kiss right on his lips. She tilted her head to deepen the kiss, encouraging him to take it further. He did still have feelings for Amanda but they weren't strong enough to make him stay. He kissed her softly before pulling away with a hand on her cheek, looking into a sea of blue; he planted one more kiss on her forehead and pulled her into a strong embrace. What am I doing?

The rest of the day went by without incident. Liv showed Kara the ropes and briefed her on what to expect with the job and gave her the lowdown on some of the people that she would be working with. She told her about how certain cases would affect her emotionally and that if she ever needed to talk that she would be there. The sergeant was ready for the day to end and six o'clock couldn't come fast enough. Olivia had tried not to think about Nick or Nick with Amanda but her mind kept going there. She felt bad for Amanda sure enough but was also convinced that Rollins was more than happy to have Nick 'comforting' her. She just couldn't get the image of her and Nick together alone in her apartment out of her head. He's not yours, you can't be mad. It still bothered her regardless of the fact that their relationship or whatever was title less.

The tired brunette made it home around seven as she dropped all of her bags by the door and went searching for Noah. She found Lucy on her laptop with Noah sleep in his crib. Her phone buzzed with a text message and she prayed that it wasn't a new case. Hey partner I'm in the city, let's get a beer. Don't text back anything but where. See ya soon. A smile stretched across her face as she imagined the bossy voice in her head, she responded a minute later. Where? She checked with Lucy to make sure it would be ok if she left for a few hours, which was fine. A quick shower and forty-five minutes later she was ready to go, she kissed Noah on her way out of the door.

Nick decide to walk home after leaving Amanda's, he figured that he could use some fresh air and clear his mind. He replayed the last seventy-two hours in his head trying to make sense of it all. Friday night he was making love to the woman he'd been longing for to Sunday night being intertwined with his destroyed ex. His choice was easy but why did he feel so guilty about it. Spending the night with Amanda and kissing her had Nick feeling sick to his stomach. He tried to think about if Olivia would have done that how would he react and the images had him seeing red. The thought of someone else consoling or kissing her besides him drove Nick mad. He had to see her right then and explain everything that he was feeling. Nick hailed a cab and headed straight for Olivia's apartment.

"Liv, open up, it's me," screamed Nick followed by two loud knocks.

Olivia’s babysitter Lucy opened the door to a wild looking Nick. "Hey she's not here, she's out."

"Out? With who?"

"She said her partner, I-I assumed it was you."

Nick's face fell as he figured out who she was 'out' with. Son of a bitch. "Do you know where they are?"

Chapter 9

Olivia sat at the bar with her friend reminiscing about good times while thoroughly enjoying herself. Considering the start to her day, she did not see it ending on such a high note and was grateful for the invitation. Having a distraction from thinking about Nick and Amanda was exactly what she needed and she was always happy to see someone she loved so much.

"I'm so glad that you texted, I was having some kind of day," smiled Liv.

"I'm glad I texted too. I was bummed that I couldn't make Noah's party because I was out of the country, so I decided I should get you drunk and beg for forgiveness."

"I like the way you think, cheers," she clinked their glasses together before she spoke again. "I'm still so jealous that you were in Mexico, so how was it?"

"It was absolutely perfect. After the divorce I just needed to get away, clear my head and figure out my next move. Tequila, sun, sand and senoritas were just what the doctor ordered."

"I'm sorry about the divorce, I know how hard of a decision that must have been," sincerely expressed Olivia.

"Thanks, but we both knew it had been coming for a long time, after I retired we didn't have the excuse of work being the reason why we weren't working," he shrugged.

"Yeah, although I still love my job, it's not the same without you. However, I'm glad you're not there because I know you would be such a pain in the ass with me in charge of the unit."

"What? I would be your best Detective," Elliot smiled fluttering his eye lashes in a mock innocent school girl way. The two had remained close after his decision to retire after twelve years of partnership between them. "I miss you too, Liv. I worry about you, your safety. No way in hell would that whole Lewis thing would have happened if I was still your partner, no way. That still bothers me to this day and I worry," Elliot reached for Olivia's hand and squeezed it, gazing at her with sad and concerned blue eyes.

"Elliot, I'm fine, trust me. All of that is behind me now, I've got Noah and I've got Ni—" she stopped, not realizing how comfortable she was at claiming Nick as her own. "I'm happy El, being a mother is so fulfilling. I've wanted it for so long and now I have my little guy and he is perfect."

"I'm happy for you; you deserve nothing but the best. You know that right? The absolute best," he stared into the windows of her soul as he continued to gently stroke her hand. Olivia was overcome with emotions but she didn't want to bawl all over the bar so she wrapped her arms around Elliot's neck. He returned the embrace and felt her body subtly rock with sobs. "Shhhh, it's ok." He rubbed his hands up and down her back trying to console the only other woman that he had ever loved.

Nick entered the bar thirty minutes after Lucy had told him where he could find Olivia. Although they had met a couple of times, Nick wasn't very fond of Elliot, mainly because Elliot didn't think that Nick had her six and was good enough to be Liv’s partner. If Nick was being completely honest he also saw the way that her former partner would look at her and he knew that look very well from personal experience. He had always wondered if the former partners ever crossed the line, their close bond always made him a little envious. Nick scanned the crowded bar looking for Liv when he spotted her wrapped in the arms of Elliot. What the hell is going on? Nick walked over to where they were embracing and Olivia's eyes went wide as she saw Nick approaching them.

"Mind if I cut in?" asked Nick in a cocky, condescending tone. Elliot spun around to see who the hell was interrupting them and rolled his eyes when he saw the young detective standing there.

"Nick, wh-what are you, how did you know I was here?" inquired Liv as she unhooked from Elliot and dabbed at her eyes with a napkin.

"I, uhm, I went by your place to see you and Lucy told me that you were out with your partner and how surprised she was to see me, since you know I am your partner," said Nick emphasizing I with a scowl for Elliot.

Elliot was truly amused by Nick's obvious jealousy that he decided to have a little fun of his own. "Look Junior, as entertaining as your little temper tantrum has been, you're interrupting us." Elliot then turned his back to Nick and faced Olivia before saying, "Now where were we?" Olivia knew both were short tempered and the stunt that Elliot had just pulled pissed Nick off, dismissing him so rudely.

"Nowhere is where you were, Liv can I talk to you for a minute?" Olivia downed the rest of her drink and decided to talk to Nick to diffuse the two human ticking time bombs in front of her.

"Just give me a minute, El," Liv said before leading Nick to the corner of the bar.

"Take your time Liv, I will be right her, waiting for you, always" said Elliot as he glared at Nick.

When they were alone in the corner and out of earshot of Elliot, Olivia questioned Nick. "Nick, what the hell are you doing here? Are you stalking me?" asked an irritated Liv.

"No! I'm not stalking you; I came to talk to you. I needed to see you and try to explain everything. Then when Lucy told me that you were here with that prick, I kind of snapped."

"Why? Are you worried that I might have been doing whatever it is that you were doing with Rollins?"

Low blow but touché. "Liv, look, I felt I had to be there for her. It was my baby too; I got caught up. Then when you stopped by and saw me there, the look on your face…" Nick stopped, shaking his head trying to get that image out of his mind.

"Nick you don't owe me an explanation, we're not exclusive. If anything this was a red flag to let us know that we were moving too fast. You obviously have unresolved feelings for Rollins and I don't want to be caught in between you two."

"You're not in between anything; I want you, only you." Nick grabbed both of her hands and kissed the right palm lightly. Looking deeply into the eyes that he loved so much had Nick leaning down to find her lips. He kissed her gently as he wrapped his arms around her waist. If she was done with him, the kiss didn't get the message. She let his tongue invade her mouth willingly as she adjusted her head to get a better angle.

Elliot was wondering how much longer Olivia was going to be. He had ordered another shot, chatted up a few people and she still hadn't returned. He figured that he ought to go and check on her to make sure that loco Amaro wasn't upsetting her. Elliot found them in the left corner of the bar engaged in a passionate kiss. His jawline twitched with tension at the sight of the young detective's tongue down his partner's throat. He watched in awe as Nick's hands dragged lazily over her body. The heated kiss was coming to an end and Elliot didn't want to be caught spying so he headed back to his stool to wait on Olivia.

"Nick," breathed Olivia with her eyes still closed. She wished that she didn't feel so strongly for him but she did. "What are you doing to me?" He kissed her again briefly before he answered.

"Trying to get in here," his hands intertwined with hers over her heart. "All you have to do is let me." He backed her against the wall, pressing his erection against her as he captured her lips again. The kiss was so hot and so was Olivia, she wanted him right there but she broke the kiss biting his bottom lip before she released him.

Realizing where they were and that Elliot was waiting on her, Olivia regained her composure before she spoke. "That was very distracting from what I have to say to you," blushed Liv but she got serious so that he knew that she was serious. "I don't appreciate being stalked nor do I appreciate this pubescent pissing contest that you have going on with Elliot. He's my friend and he's going through a tough time with his divorce. So I wish you two would get over whatever it is that you're holding on to."

A divorce huh? Now he's looking to move in on my woman, it ain't gonna happen my dude. Nick knew how much Elliot meant to her and he wouldn't want to upset her so he decided to play this a different way. "Anything for you beautiful, anything." Olivia was expecting a very different response from the hot head standing before her. His reaction caught her off guard causing her to stumble over words.

"W-well, uhm, thank you for that, I think…" she said skeptically, while Nick had this stupid goofy grin on his face. "I should get back to Elliot; I'm surprised that he hasn't come looking for us yet."

"Ok, maybe I should head back to your place to relieve Lucy and wait up for you?" Nick said seductively while stroking her hips.

"I uhm, I don't know." Damn, why can't I resist this man? I will not sleep with him…

As if Nick was reading her inner thoughts he grabbed her right hand, pecking it with his lips before speaking. "Don't worry, I won't try and sleep with you unless you ask. And I have this weird feeling that you will be begging for it," a cocky smile was on his face when he drew Olivia into an embrace before he left. "See you later, Sergeant." He brought his lips directly to her ear and whispered, "Sexy, sexy Sergeant."

Damn. Olivia stood there watching Nick leave, wishing that there was some assurance that being with him was the right decision. It wasn't just her heart that she was protecting but also Noah's. Noah was crazy about his Uncle Nick and she didn't want to jeopardize him not having Nick in his life. Her face felt flush and she knew that Elliot would have a hundred questions so she decided to hit the ladies' room before rejoining him.

"Hey sorry about that, you know how it is, partner stuff. The next round is on me," said Liv trying to smooth things over.

Elliot contemplated on how he wanted to handle this. Should he let her know that he saw them or should he see if she's going to tell him the truth? "Partner stuff huh? Hot case?" He decided to go with the latter.

"Uhm, no, just other stuff. You know how it gets between partners." Elliot then decided to let her know because he and Olivia never crossed a line that he just saw in the corner, not that he didn't fantasize about it.

"No, I don't think that it ever got like that between us." Olivia raised a suspicious perfect eyebrow before Elliot continued. "I saw that hot little make-out session in the corner. I guess I missed out on all of that 'partner stuff.'"

Olivia blanched. Of course he saw, here we go. "El, it's not what you think."

"It's not? I think it was pretty clear and I think I saw you with your tongue down his throat, I think." Sarcasm was dripping from his pores. "How old is he anyway? Cougar much, Liv?" Elliot put a small smile on his face to cover up some of the surprise hurt that he felt.

Jackass. "Really El? Wow, you know you can be a real asshole sometimes!"

"Look, I'm sorry; it just caught me off guard. You haven't mentioned that you were seeing anyone so I was kind of shocked to see you kissing that jerk."

"What is it with you two? I guess because you're so much alike is the reason why you butt heads. I didn't mention seeing anyone because it's new and I'm not sure where it's going plus I knew you were going through a lot with your divorce. Then on top of everything else you and Nick act like you hate each other."

"First off I'm nothing like that basket case; secondly I have issues with him because he's not good enough to be your partner. Lastly…it's hard for me ya know, seeing you with anyone let alone that douche bag. I don't know, maybe I'm just not ready to see my other girl leave me too." Elliot said that just barely above a whisper, not making eye contact with Olivia. She grabbed his chin so that they were eye to eye.

"I'm never going anywhere, never. You can't get rid of me. You're my family El, always will be." Olivia always felt that if Elliot wasn't married when they were partners that they would have been perfect together. He knew all of her secrets and she knew his. She had stated several times that he was the longest relationship with a man that she ever had and he secretly liked it that way. His unexpected retirement, gave her time to get over the unspoken but obvious feelings that they both had for each other. It was easier for her to move on without them working so closely together every day. However looking at him vulnerable and unsure of himself had her heart aching for him. He finally looked up to meet her gaze and saw unshed tears in sincere, soft brown eyes.

"You're my family too, Liv," said Elliot as he pulled her into a strong, loving embrace. God she feels amazing. He looked at her with intense blue eyes, caressing her face gently. What am I doing? Before he could talk himself out of it, he leaned in to kiss her softly on the lips. He was relieved when he felt her kiss him back but before he could get lost in the kiss she pulled back. Damn. He was slightly embarrassed but didn't regret going for it. "I-I'm sorry Liv, I just got caught up in the moment."

"No, I'm sorry, uhm," Liv stumbled over her words as she laughed nervously. What the hell was that? "We both got caught up, I uhm, I don't know what to say. W-where did that come from?"

Full disclosure or bullshit? Oh what the hell, here it goes. "Honestly? I think that we both were always curious."

True. "I uhm, well—“ her phone buzzed on the bar with a text message. Hey babe I'm here waiting on you...I might have to punish you for making me wait so long ;)

Here she was with the man of her past that had her heart for years sitting before her vulnerable and available. The sexy man of her future was texting her to come home to him where the hottest sex she had ever had waited. If the irony wasn't so cruel she would laugh. Just as she was ready to take a chance on the future, here comes her past ready to rear its ugly head. Not so ugly, and the kiss wasn't bad either.

"Liv!" Elliot called jarring her from her raging inner monologue. "What is it? Do you have to leave?"

She looked at her old partner, her old everything feeling like no time had passed at all. Where is all of this coming from? The divorce or that kiss? Olivia, Nick is waiting for you…but Elliot is here in front of you. Confused, aroused, and curious to know what else Elliot was feeling she answered him. "No, I don't. We weren't finished yet…were we?"

Chapter 10

After Nick had sent Olivia a text encouraging her to come home, he began to prepare for her arrival. He fed Noah and then they played before it was the little one's bed time. After Nick put Noah down he began to busy himself with chores as his thoughts quickly turned to Olivia. He felt like an idiot for getting caught up with Amanda when he was sure of whom he really wanted. The attractive detective thought that he should have something special prepared for the object of his affection when she got home to apologize for his recent behavior. The thought of surprising her put a smile on his handsome face. Knowing exactly what he would need for his surprise had him making a quick phone call to acquire his items. With the plan in motion, he decided to text Olivia again to inform her about his plans.

Sorry to bother you again but I want you to know that I have a surprise for you when you get home. Text me on your way home. See you soon, beautiful.

Olivia's phone buzzed again distracting her from what Elliot was saying. She read the text and smiled wondering what Nick was up to. Her emotions were all over the place, the alcohol wasn't helping. She began to respond to Nick's text when Elliot called her name, slightly irritated.

"Liv, are you listening to me?"

"Yes El, I heard everything that you said." She decided to put her phone away and focus on what was in front of her. "I'm listening; I guess I'm just confused."

"So am I, I know you think I'm on the rebound or whatever but come on we both know that it was always something there whether we spoke on it or not." Elliot shrugged and took a long sip from his beer before speaking again. "I don't know Liv, I always figured that if I wasn't with Kathy that maybe you and I…" he trailed off not wanting to make eye contact with the attentive brunette beside him.

Olivia was taken aback by his honesty and bluntness. There was a time when she often fantasized about those words coming out of his mouth but now she's unsure. "Wow, El…I don't know what to say. When you first told me a year ago that you two were separating I just thought that you would get back together like previous times. When you told me that the divorce was final I felt that maybe you wanted to be single again and explore being on your own for a while. I guess I'm not sure where you are going with this." That infamous eyebrow of hers rose in search of an answer.

Elliot digested what Liv was saying to him. He thought about his words carefully, chugged the rest of his beverage before his intense blue eyes met confused browns. "Look I know I don't want to rush into anything serious now but I am dating. And I have yet to meet a woman even halfway as amazing as you are." That last comment caused Olivia's cheeks to blush and a sweet smile spread across her face. "I don't know if you're exclusive with that kid or not but if not, I would like for us to spend some time together. No partners or past memories, but getting to know each other for who we are now. Have dinner with me Olivia Benson?" His smile was charming and confident not cocky but very confident and she liked it.

Still reeling from all that Elliot had just said, Olivia tilted her head to size him up and answered him. "I would love to. However, I want to be honest and up front with you, I am also dating Nick, we're not exclusive. It's new and if you can't deal with that then I understand."

Elliot was happy that Liv had agreed to have dinner with him, just slightly irritated that she was dating Nick but he wasn't worried. He didn't view Nick as a threat, the former detective felt that he knew her better and their history outweighed anything that she may have with that kid. "It's not a problem at all, although junior might have a problem with it," teased Elliot.

"Elliot…"

"I'm just joking Liv, you should tell him though."

Now that's going to be some conversation. "I am, I don't want him to hear it from a third party," Liv said this with expressive eyes gazed at Elliot causing him to laugh.

"Seriously though, I just want to spend some time with you. Show you who I am without any strings holding me back. No wife, no job, no distractions. I want you to see me and I'm certain that you're going to like what you see."

Damn. "We've been out hundreds of times but I must admit that I've always wondered what Elliot Stabler on a date would look like." She smiled shyly playing with her straw.

"Well you won't have to wonder for very much longer. How is tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow is perfect."

"It will be, I’ll pick you up at 8. Looking forward to it."

The events of the night flashed through Olivia's mind as she walked home. She was so excited about her upcoming date with Elliot; the simple fact that she was even going on a date with him blew her mind. She had given up hope of them being anything more than close partners and friends years ago; his retirement cemented any other shred of hopefulness that she had left. Now life was kind enough to bring her and Elliot together but not before she was actively falling for someone else. Olivia knew that Nick would be pissed about her date but she felt that they weren't exclusive and that he couldn't get mad after that stunt he had just pulled with Rollins. Resolve came upon her as she got closer to her apartment and she just decided to tell Nick straight up and be done with it. Hey Nick, I'm on my way home. Something I need to run by you. See you soon. Her nerves were on edge anticipating the talk that she needed to have with Nick but she knew that it was necessary.

Olivia opened the door to her extremely clean apartment and she didn't remember leaving it in such a condition. Her eyes scanned the room as she found a note with an obnoxious arrow pointing down saying 'open me.' She picked up the letter and read it as she blushed like a school girl. If anyone deserves to be pampered, it's Olivia Benson, the most giving woman that I know. Her eyes glanced back up and looked for Nick as she headed to Noah's room where she found him peaceful and sound asleep. She placed a kiss on his forehead before exiting his room, careful not to disturb his slumber. The sergeant continued her search into her room where she found another note. Follow the aroma. That led her to the bathtub where Nick stood by a tub filled with bubbles surrounded by candles.

"Now before you say anything," Nick began, noticing the surprised look on her face. "Tonight is all about you. I know that I have been one of your stressors lately so tonight I want to help you de-stress in every single way." That sexy smirk that she loved so much was on display as he poured her a glass of wine. "Now undress…relax and enjoy, part two will be waiting when you get out." He gave her the glass, kissed her cheek and left her standing there with a smile on her face.

I guess that I can wait to talk to him until after part two. Olivia was so grateful that Nick thought of the bubble bath because her body definitely agreed with his thoughts. The hot water, the mixture of bath salts, oils and wine had her in a very relaxed state. The anticipation of 'part two' had Olivia finishing her bath early. She dried her body off, brushed her teeth and shrugged on her bath robe that hung on the back of the door. When she entered the bedroom as her brown eyes darkened at the sight of Nick shirtless with a black bowtie around his neck. Faded blue jeans hugged slender hips just right, while he held a towel and massage oils in his skilled hands. Olivia's mouth went dry at the sight of the sexy detective looking like a Chippendale's stripper.

"Wow," breathed Olivia.

Nick licked his lips and smiled at the brunette beauty. "Wow yourself, you ready for part two?"

Hell yes. "Uhm what exactly is part two? Judging by your getup I'm guessing a strip show?"

He laughed heartily at her joke before he replied. "If you're lucky that could be part three…but no. Part two is a full body massage, lie down and lose the robe." He said that with fire in his eyes as she followed his command.

Desire and arousal coursed through Nick's body when Olivia dropped her robe and slid onto the table that was setup beside the bed. He swallowed hard trying to get his libido under control before he slid the towel across her ass. Showtime. Nick got serious about this massage; he applied the oil to his hands, rubbing it slowly to warm it up. When the oil temp was just right he made contact with smooth skin. His hands kneaded tense shoulders and rubbed her lower back as she felt the tension leaving her body. He continued his manual exploration of her body, as he squeezed tight calves and caressed toned thighs. He was satisfied with his work as he appreciated the glistening bronze skin before him.

"That was amazing," whispered a satisfied Olivia.

"I'm glad you enjoyed that," Nick leaned down to whisper directly into Olivia's ear saying, "Now turn over and lose the towel."

Olivia's eyes widened at Nick's words causing her to shutter as she felt his breath on her tepid skin. Eagerly obeying, Liv turned over exposing herself to Nick's hungry gaze. The affect that she had on him made her feel confident and sexy. She decided to give him a little show. Her delicate fingers began to skim across her neck, dipping into the valley of her cleavage before they stopped just after reaching her sex. His eyes followed each stroke intently as his pulse began to quicken. My turn. Nick locked eyes with Olivia and began his journey across her body. He stroked long legs leading to curvaceous hips that squirmed under his touch. She bit her bottom lip as his hands made contact with her breasts; he massaged and squeezed before rolling tight nipples between his thumb and index finger. His ministrations sent shockwaves to the needy throb between her legs, causing her to squeeze them together tightly trying to get some form of relief.

Nick saw her body writhe with every sensitive touch. The heated look in her eyes told him what she needed but he promised to make her beg for it. He continued rubbing her body down becoming dangerously close to where she wanted him the most but pulled away at the last minute. His fingers ran up her inner thigh just grazing her sex before heading to her stomach. Frustration was etched into her heated face and Nick repeated his last action lingering on her sex a little longer before moving away.

"Nick…" gasped an aroused Olivia.

"Yes?" His voice was low and sexy, stimulating Olivia even more.

"Touch me."

"But I am touching you baby," his voice was full of mischief and it was having its desired effect on the writhing woman under his hands.

"Please Nick, touch me," she grabbed his hand and placed it exactly where she wanted it. "Here."

Both Nick and Olivia gasped as she guided his fingers directly to her clit. His jeans were becoming uncomfortably tight in the groin area as his erection surged. Fighting against his own need to be touched, Nick's thumb began to drag small, lazy circles across the tight bundle of nerves. Her hips mimicked his motions as he used his free fingers to lap up and down her drenched folds, teasing her entrance. Unable to stick to his plan due to his personal lust, Nick slid two fingers inside of her. Olivia cried out instantly at the pleasure that her body was experiencing. He picked up the pace as his left hand reclaimed her nipple. The familiar pressure in the bottom of her stomach began to increase as he stroked and slid talented fingers in and out of her. She was so close and he knew it.

"You look so beautiful, come for me baby," whispered Nick. Those words did it, she lifted her hips and clenched down as he curled his fingers upward triggering her release.

"I'm coming, oh Nick, don't stop," she grabbed his left arm and pulled him into a deep kiss while she rode out the wave of her climax with vibrations zinging throughout her body. Olivia's body began to settle when he broke the kiss, gently removing his fingers from inside her. She nearly came again at the sight of him licking her clean off of his fingers. Holy shit.

"Now that's a happy ending," said Nick with a satisfied look on his face.

"Oh I totally agree," laughed Olivia but something distracted her, she looked up and met his gaze. "You're going to bust through your pants any second now," she nodded her head to his straining erection. "You should let me help you out."

Nick swallowed hard and tried to remember that tonight was about her only. "No, tonight's all about you, I will be fine." Like hell I will. "I love pleasing you, don't worry about me."

It was as if Nick wasn't even speaking because she ignored him as she rose from the table. She pressed her naked body against his as she wrapped her arms around his neck. When their bare upper body skin connected he sighed into her mouth before he claimed her lips. Their tongues got reacquainted as her hand headed south finding his aroused groin.

"Liv," he whispered as his breathing became choppy. "Y-your night remember?" Still ignoring him she removed his bowtie and slid his jean down his muscular thighs as his erection sprang free. Olivia's eyes went dark with full lust before she dropped to her knees in front of him. "Oh Dios mio."

She smiled at his reaction and choice of words. She began stroking the throbbing organ before she took him in her mouth. His hand instantaneously locked in a fist full of brunette curls. Her tongue slid up and down his lengthy shaft as he sucked in sharp bursts of air. Now focused on the head, she began to suck while her hand kept up a steady stroke pace. "Oh fuck," Nick knew that he was close and as much as he was enjoying himself, he wanted to be buried deep inside of her when he came. He drew back abruptly, pulled Olivia up and bent her over the massage table. "I need to be inside of you," panted Nick.

There was desperation in his voice and it ignited her all over again. She heard the telltale sound of the condom wrapper and licked her lips in anticipation. A strong left hand fisted her hair while the right hand was busy testing the waters. Satisfied and ready to go, his knee opened her legs wider as he filled every inch of her in one smooth stroke. "Ahhh Nick..."

"You feel amazing," he began to thrust as their moans filled the room. They rocked in sync as their bodies glistened beautifully. His grip on her hair became tighter as he slapped her ass and picked up the pace. That slap sent a rush of heat straight to her core as she cried aloud. Her desperate cry for release had him bringing both hands to her hips as he pumped mercilessly into Olivia. He began to throb deep inside of her as she gripped him tight internally, sending them both over the edge of ecstasy. "Holy shit," said Nick as he collapsed onto Olivia's back.

Their breathing was heavy as they tried to regain their senses. Both were slick with sweat and sex as they calmed down. Nick realized that he was crushing Olivia and began to move when he felt her hand reach around and stop him from moving. "Don't move, not yet," said Olivia barely above a whisper. He trailed kisses on her damp back and neck causing her to flinch, reminding her that he was still deep inside of her. He carefully removed himself from her, pulling her up slowly, gently spinning her around to face him as he framed her face with his hands.

"I've fallen for you, Liv, hard. I'm crazy about you and I'm never going to get enough of you woman," explained Nick. He kissed her lightly, there was no hunger or greed it was sweet and soft, "Never." His dark eyes were sincere and honest.

His honesty pulled at her heart strings, filling her with the need to be honest as well. She brushed his damp hair aside and looked him directly in the eye, "I'm crazy about you too, Nick. Let's go to bed." His heart jumped at Olivia's words and he couldn't be more thrilled, spending the night was the cherry on top. They intertwined their nude bodies as sleep overtook them, tonight they had each other unconcerned about tomorrow.

Chapter 11

The night floated by and morning came with Olivia and Nick still wrapped up in each other's arms. Nick began to stir first, his eyes slowly opened as he took in the sight of the woman entangled with him. He took the time to study the features of the face that he loved so much. Not a stitch of make-up on and she was as beautiful as ever. Chestnut tresses were sprawled across the pillow; her cheeks were naturally flushed from her slumber. A hint of a soft smile was on her lips as peaceful eyes started to flutter open revealing dark golden brown eyes. The young detective could definitely get used to waking up with the sergeant in his arms. He placed soft kisses on her cheek, neck and collar bone before she was fully awake.

"Good morning," said Olivia in a sexy sleep voice with a smile on her face.

"Buenos dias preciosa," whispered Nick, showering her with more soft kisses.

Olivia felt so treasured and valued with Nick. His words that he gave away so freely warmed her heart. She wasn't used to such care and affection; those were things that she lacked in past relationships. "You know," she began in a sincere voice. "I could really get used to this." She leaned into him as she brushed her lips against his. They got lost in the kiss as passion took over. The quiet storm brewing outside served as the perfect background music as their morning sexcapades had both of them running late for work.

The well-rested and sex satiated sergeant walked into the 16th precinct fifteen minutes after eight. Being late was a pet peeve of hers but her reason for being late this particular morning had a ridiculously wide smile stretched across her glowing face. After dropping off her belongings at her desk, Liv made a beeline straight to the caffeine. The sergeant felt a new energy enter the room and she turned around to find Nick just arriving at his desk. That stupid smile was back and she had to force herself to stop visually assaulting him before everyone else noticed. Just before she could tear her beautiful brown eyes away from the delicious Nick Amaro, a hand swiped back and forth in front of her face. Busted.

"Damn babygirl you're about to stare a hole in the brother ain't it?" teased Fin.

Olivia rolled her eyes before she began to answer the amused man beside her. "Shut up Fin, I wasn't staring."

"Yeah ok Miss Not Staring, you were practically undressing him with your eyes…so are y'all just smashing each other or are y'all together?"

Liv laughed out loud, hard, at Fin's bluntness and his choice of words. "Smashing? Really Fin?" She tried to put on a semiserious face before she asked her next question. "Now Fin, you wouldn't be questioning me about my personal life now would you?" she smiled so innocently at him that it caused him to chuckle.

Fin stuck to his guns because he wanted to know if he should expect more drama from hurricane Mandy and company, he also just wanted to know the low down. Instead of interrogating her in a way to make her clam up he decided to have some fun with her. "Yes Liv, I am. We're friends and I need to know that you've finally gotten over me and moved on with your life after all of these years of wanting me. I want you to finally be happy even though you can't be with me baby."

That last statement caused Liv to let her head fall back as she laughed heartily as tears formed in her eyes. She just loved Fin and his sense of humor so much. "I don't know, you're just so hard to get over stud," she replied, dodging his question. Just as he was about to ask again seriously this time, the newest detective, Kara saved Liv from having to answer him.

"Sorry to interrupt Sergeant and Detective but the Lt. wants to see us in his office now," said Kara as she turned towards Murphy's office. Benson, Amaro, Fin and Snow all filed inside of the office so that they could be briefed by Murphy. The Lieutenant informed them about a sensitive case that the four of them would be working involving a celebrity. The squad listened to the details regarding a classic DV case; the victim was reluctant initially but was now willing to file charges against her abusive husband. Murphy told them that he didn't care that they were both celebrities but the victim wanted their discretion to make sure that there were no leaks until she put out an official statement.

"Fin, Amaro go and have a chat with the husband to get his side. I don't give a damn what show he stars in, treat him like any other wife beating asshole," barked Murphy. "Benson, Snow go and talk to the vic. Make sure that she is still willing to press charges, reassure her of our discretion. Alright everyone, you've got your orders now head out."

Amanda was still at home recovering from her ectopic pregnancy. She was heartbroken not only from her miscarriage but from also losing Nick. She finally realized that they were over for good the last time that he was at her apartment. He was in love with Olivia; she suspected it all along but when the sergeant had caught him in her apartment she knew it. Amanda saw the connection they shared just by observing their silent exchange in her doorway. The time off of work allowed her to get lost in her grief over the loss of her unborn child and Nick. Normally when she felt so low she would throw herself into her work or other vices but the down time had her on the edge of a nervous breakdown. A light rap on the door had her face twisting with confusion as she wondered who could be knocking. Amanda opened the door to find Carisi there with a giant 'get well soon' balloon.

"Carisi, what are you doing here?" inquired Amanda with her infamous southern drawl.

"I wanted to check on you, the Lt. said that you were out sick. So I decided to stop by and tell you to get well, I miss having you at work to bust my balls," said Carisi with a shy smile on his face.

Amanda was touched by the gesture, she normally would make fun of him for being so soft but she was grateful to have someone checking in on her. "That's sweet Sonny, thank you."

"No problem, look I have to get going but take care. I'm here if you need me to come over or if you just want to talk." He saw her arch an eyebrow before he started to speak again. "Just as friends, I know you're not into me like that. Seriously though, call me anytime that you want Amanda, anytime."

Amanda was touched and amused. "Thanks Sonny, I'll keep that in mind."

The work day had been taxing on the SVU squad. The sensitive nature of the case caused them to tread lightly which had them not working as fluently like they normally would. Now that everyone was back at the 1-6, they started to brief Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba on the information that they had gathered. Amaro and Fin filled him in on the husband. They informed the Counselor that they didn't have a doubt in their minds that he was guilty as sin. Benson and Snow showed the ADA photos of the victims' injuries and years of abuse documented that were inflicted by the hands of her husband. After the briefing the detectives went to their respected desks to finish up some paper work. Nick had been thinking of his previous night and morning with Olivia all day. Fin busted his chops a few times about it but Nick just shrugged it off, remaining tight lipped about his relationship with the sergeant. Nick was more than ready for a repeat performance so he made his way to Liv's desk to set up plans for later that night.

"Hey you," said Nick with that signature smirk on his face.

"Hey yourself," blushed Liv as she looked at the man that she had started to fall hard for.

"As you know I thoroughly enjoyed myself last night as well as this morning." He leaned down closer to her before he whispered, "I've been replaying every dirty detail all damn day." Olivia's face flushed instantly at his words causing her to flashback to that memorable night, morning. "I can't get enough of you woman, I need to see you tonight."

Damn this man is so sexy; he's going to be the death of me. The sex on a stick detective had Liv's mind gone straight to the gutter. She was just about to accept Nick's offer before she remembered that she had a date with Elliot. She had planned on talking to Nick about it last night but he distracted her in the best possible way. She was now scrambling to find the words to tell him about her date. "Uhm actually Nick, I uhm, I have plans." This next part was going to be hard but she owed him her honesty at least. "I actually have a date Nick…"

What the fuck? "A date?" he was shocked and pissed the hell off. "Who are you going on a date with?"

Olivia knew that Nick was about to blow a gasket so she nodded her head towards an empty interrogation room so that they could have some privacy. He followed her and slammed the door behind him; she took a deep breath before she began to speak. "I have a date with Elliot. I was going to tell you last night but as you know I got distracted."

"Are you fucking kidding me?! Don't you find his timing a little suspicious? All of those years and now he asks you out after he saw you with me? That guys a fucking piece of work and you're falling right into his plan!"

"Nick, I don't think that Elliot is that calculated. I give him more credit than that. And I'm not falling into anything, I make my own choices. I made a mistake by not telling you last night before everything happened."

It finally dawned on Nick that Olivia had already accepted a date with Elliot before they slept together. "So let me get this straight. You knew before we slept together that you had a date with that asshole and you didn't tell me? So what was I, something to keep you coming while you waited for that bastard to finally take you out?" He was fuming.

She knew that he would be mad but he was acting like a straight up jackass. "I was going to tell you but—“

Nick cut her off, "But nothing! So all that shit that you said to me about being crazy about me was what? You just trying to make me feel good? Or were you just thanking me for servicing you?"

"Don't be an asshole! Nick I meant every word of that, I am crazy about you but that doesn't mean that I don't have doubts about us. Our work situation, Rollins..."

"There is no situation with Rollins! I told you that," Nick screamed at the top of his lungs, he was so frustrated.

Olivia tried to remain calm although she was getting pissed off at how Nick was yelling at her. "Look I didn't have to tell you. I wanted to be honest because I do care about you and your feelings. But if you keep yelling at me this conversation will be over."

Nick was mad as hell but he did need to calm down being that they were still at work. "Ok, so be straight with me, do you have feelings for him too?"

Shit. "Honestly Nick, I don't know. We've only known each other as partners and friends but there were always unspoken feelings between us. We never crossed that line though, he was married and I'm not that type of woman. After the whole Rollins thing I felt that we were both free to explore other people. I felt like you two had unresolved feelings for each other, so I kept telling myself that you didn't belong to me in case you went back to her. I didn't want to get my hopes up and end up hurt. I had to protect my heart, Nick."

Nick could not believe that this was happening. He didn't have anyone to blame but himself, if he wouldn't have been caught up with Amanda, Liv wouldn't have reasons to doubt the seriousness of his feelings for her. He wanted to tell her that he was in love with her right then but he didn't want her to think that he was just saying that to keep her from going out with Elliot. However, Nick was completely in love with her, had been for a while and when they began to spend time together, it solidified his feelings. The thought of her with someone else sent such a rage through his body that he couldn't think straight. As much as he didn't want her to go, he knew that he couldn't stop her and upsetting her before she went out with another man was a dumb move. He definitely didn't want to give her a reason to look for comfort in another man's arms. Nick punched a filing cabinet and sighed deeply before he spoke.

"I'm not going to lie, I hate this so much. Just the thought of any guy…" he paused trying to gather his composure. "This is only going to make me work harder to show you how much you mean to me. I'm not going to say have a good time because I want you to have a fucking miserable time and wish that you were with me." That last comment earned him a small smile from Liv, relieving some of the tension from the room. "I will be at home probably getting shit-faced waiting on a call from you saying to come and rescue you and take you home." A deep red blush crept into her cheeks. He closed the distance between them and backed her against the wall. His hands cupped her face as he brushed his lips on hers trying to convey all of his emotions with that one kiss. Just as it was getting good he pulled back and stared her right in the eye as he said, "I will fight for you if I have to…and I will win." He placed another kiss on her lips before he left her dazed in the interrogation room.

Olivia's emotions were all over the place. After her talk with Nick she was seriously considering on canceling her date with Elliot. She really wasn't in the mood and the look of hurt in Nick's eyes kept replaying in her mind. When she got home Noah was happy to see her and his adorable antics instantly put her in a better mood. Motherhood fit Olivia like a glove and she was thankful every day for her sweet baby boy. After she finished playing with and feeding Noah, Liv headed into her room to pick out something to wear. She didn't know where they were going so she decided to text Elliot to figure out her attire for the evening. Hey where are you taking me? I need to be appropriately dressed. A reply message came in a minute later. I thought you were about to cancel on me. Dress casually, maybe you can rock that hot little leather jacket that you used to wear. It was always a favorite of mines. Can't wait to see you. Olivia smiled as she searched her closet for her infamous leather jacket. An hour later she was dressed in dark blue skin tight jeans, a low cut tank top accentuating her cleavage with an American flag on it. Her classic brown leather jacket and brown ankle boots completed her ensemble. She gave herself a once over in the mirror approving of her hair and make-up. She heard the knock at the door and butterflies filled her stomach as she headed out to open it. She opened the door and her mouth went dry at the sight in front of her. Elliot was dressed in light blue jeans that fit just right. A muscle hugging black three quarters length shirt with a dark tan fedora perched on his head. A thin shadowy goatee completed his look as Olivia continued to check him out.

"Wow," exclaimed Elliot as he was busy on his own exploration of Olivia's body. "You look great and that jacket…" Elliot's blue eyes darkened with lust as he appreciated the low cut tank top and the tight fitting leather. "Hot."

A deep crimson spread across Liv's face before she spoke. "Thank you, you're looking pretty hot yourself. So are you going to tell me where we're going?"

He smiled slightly before he answered her. "I remembered how much you love The Beatles so we're going to see an excellent cover band, The Red Coats. They're amazing; Sir Paul himself is a fan. So I was hoping we can check them out and catch a late bite? If you hate the idea we can do whatever you want or…" he was rambling and Olivia thought it was so cute, he was nervous. She put a stop to his excessive chatter.

"It sounds like a great idea and I'm so excited, you know how much I love my Beatles. Let's go!" Elliot was visibly relieved as he led her out of the apartment.

The duo headed out on their way to see The Red Coats. Elliot was so nervous, but he was also thrilled to finally be on a date with Olivia. There was nothing holding him back and he wanted tonight to be perfect. If he was being completely honest with himself, he never thought that anything would ever happen between them. He figured that while he was still trapped in his dead marriage that someone would come along and sweep her off her feet. He knew that she had something going on with Nick but he wasn't worried, he figured if she accepted his offer to go out with him then they couldn't be that serious. The former detective wanted to show her a good time and reveal himself to her in a way that she hadn't experienced before. They arrived at the venue half an hour after leaving Olivia's apartment. Elliot hustled over to open Liv's door as they proceeded towards the establishment.

Elliot held open the door when they entered the building. They quickly found out that the place was much larger on the inside than it appeared on the outside. There was a large stage decorated with pictures of the iconic band with bright red letters above the stage with The Red Coats name above it. Two fully stocked bars were on the left and right sides of the room. The lights were dimmed and the crowd was an eclectic group of people, overall the atmosphere was very chill and Liv liked it.

"Do you want to head over to the bar and grab a drink? We have about half an hour before the show begins," asked Elliot as he gestured towards the bar on the right.

"Yes, I'm so excited!" Olivia was smiling so hard and it made Elliot feel so good that he picked something that she would enjoy. Her smile was infectious and he couldn't help but flash his own signature smile back at her before they headed to the bar. It was crowded, so he took her hand and led them through the crowd; he also wanted people to know that Liv was with him. Elliot's hand grab took Olivia by surprise and she was more than willing to let him lead her through the crowd. They found two seats and waited for the bartender to come their way.

"What do you want to drink? Although I don't think that you need any alcohol, you seem like you're already on something," teased Elliot. That earned him a playful jab to the right shoulder.

"Shut up! I can't help it if I'm naturally high on life and I'll take a beer."

"Lightweight." That earned him another punch.

"Not everyone guzzles tequila like its water."

He laughed as he ordered two shots of tequila and one beer. "Nope but they should, cheers," they clinked their glasses together as he threw his first shot back. He was about to down the other one when Olivia swiped it from him. Before he could even protest, she had downed it flipping over the glass when she finished it. He was amused and impressed, "You're so going to regret that in the morning lightweight." He ordered another shot and beer while they waited on the show to start.

The show was about to begin so Elliot took Olivia's hand again as he found them a spot in front of the stage. The band opened with Twist and Shout which had the excited crowd in a frenzy. Olivia was so impressed, she was a diehard Beatles' fan and The Red Coats were more than doing them justice. The energy in the room was electric. People were singing and dancing as the drinks flowed freely. Olivia didn't know if it was the alcohol or her dancing but she was over heated. She removed her jacket and she could swear that she had heard Elliot gasp.

"I didn't think this jacket thing through, I'm burning up," explained Olivia as she tried to figure out what to do with it. Yes you are. Elliot was staring, his eyes roamed over the super tanned skin and dipped down to her plush cleavage. Olivia saw him gawking at her so she repeated herself causing him to snap out of it.

"Yeah uhm, yeah…it is pretty hot in here. As much as I love that sexy leather jacket, I think I love what's under it even more. You look great," he smiled while she blushed, that didn't go unnoticed by him. "Let me go check in your jacket, I'll be right back. Do you want another beer?"

"Sure, hurry back handsome," she said seductively as she shot him a sexy wink; it was now his time to flush.

God she's so sexy. He placed his left hand on the small of her back as he gently pulled her to him as he whispered in her ear. "I'll be back before you know it, gorgeous." Olivia's knees buckled, his scent was so intoxicating and his nearness caused her heart to race.

Elliot returned a few minutes later as he found Olivia swaying side to side singing along to I Feel Fine. He took a second just to watch her move. Brunette curls flowed as her curves hugged her jeans in a special way. Smoldering chocolate eyes widened as the band transitioned into A Hard Day's Night. Elliot was amused as he laughed to himself, you would think that she was watching the actual Beatles perform instead of a cover band. He made his way over to her, delivering her beer.

"Thank you," said Olivia as she graciously accepted the beer. "I am having so much fun! The Red Coats are like the Beatles reincarnated and the lead singer is so charismatic." She was so giddy, Elliot wasn't used to seeing her in full fangirl mode often but he had to admit that it was pretty damn cute. He was about to comment before the song changed to Come Together. The iconic bass rift began and the crowd went wild. The beat dropped as she grabbed his hand and began to dance towards him. She was mouthing the words to him as she got closer before turning her back to him. Elliot glided his hand down to her hip pulling her closer as they began to move in sync, her back to his front. They got lost in the dance, their bodies fit together perfectly and being so close had affected them both. He spun her around to face him as he looked her in the eyes; he traveled down to her lips that were perfectly glossed and parting in anticipation. Before he could claim her lips some drunken jackass bumped into Elliot causing him to spill beer all over Olivia's tank top.

"Holy hell that's cold!" yelled Olivia. Elliot's hands started patting frantically on her chest area which caused her to jump. "Whoa, hey there…I got it, I got it," she laughed as it finally sank in to him that he was groping her. His hands froze as he held them up in a surrendering type of way.

"Yeah yeah yeah, s-sorry. I wasn't trying to just ya know it's just, I mean I was just…" he was rambling and stuttering all over his words as she continued to laugh.

"It's fine, calm down. You look like you're about to stroke out, you're so red. I'm going to hit the ladies room to try and dry my shirt." Olivia handed him her beer as she left him standing there, he downed the rest of it to calm himself down. I totally just inadvertently felt up Olivia Benson. He was still shaking his head when Olivia returned from the restroom a few minutes later. His eyes glanced up her body as they landed on her chest, her head lights were on and at full attention. Damn it; stop staring Stabler before she busts you.

"Well I dried it off best I could but I reek of beer," said Liv as she continued to fumble with her tank top.

"I'm sorry about that, do you want to leave?" He was secretly hoping that she didn't want their night to end so soon. Just as she was about to answer the band fired up another one of her favorites, Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band. The respected Sergeant Benson let out a very uncharacteristic high pitched shriek, which startled a cackling Elliot. I will take that as a no.

"I love this song!"

"Yeah you've said that for like the last five songs." It was as if he wasn't even speaking because Olivia just jumped around singing and dancing. The night continued on without any other incident. The show ended with Here Comes The Sun as the crowd dwindled down. They both headed back to the bar where some people remained enjoying a few after the show drinks.

"That was amazing; I had such a great time! Thanks El, I think that this was the best first date that I've ever been on."

Hell yeah. "I'm glad that you enjoyed yourself. I swear for a second there, that you actually thought that Paul, John, George and Ringo were performing," he teased. Elliot tossed his head to the side flinging his imaginary hair. He blinked several times adjusting his voice before he started to mock her, "Oh my God I love this song. You rock Red Coats. Long live The Beatles. I want to hold your hand too. El this is so awesome. Oh my God, arrrghhhh!" She gut checked him but it only made him laugh even harder.

Olivia was laughing her ass off. She knew that she should have been embarrassed but she wasn't at all. She had enjoyed every minute of her night, even the beer spill couldn't dampen her mood. "You asshole, I do not sound like that."

"Maybe not regularly but tonight you were a complete groupie. If I wouldn't have been here with you, you probably would be backstage right now trying to jump the lead singer's bones. I saw him looking at you while singing I Saw Her Standing There. I thought that I was going to have to catch you from fainting." Gut check number two.

"You know you might be right, he was pretty cute. I should've ditched your sorry ass and hung with the band," she teased as it was now her turn to receive a friendly shove. "Seriously though, I couldn't have asked for better company. Plus you've got some pretty sweet moves, Stabler, I was impressed."

"Nah, you just made me look good hot stuff. I just hate that I spilled beer all over you, thanks to that wasted idiot. He ruined what would've been my favorite part of the night." He had a little smirk on his face as he met her gaze trying to read her.

"Yeah, well the night is still young," a beautiful smile spread across her face as he sighed with relief.

"I was hoping that you would say something like that." Elliot looked around and noticed that the place was turning into a club scene. The jukebox was playing and people were dancing all around them. "This place is still roaring I see. You ready to grab a bite?"

Olivia took in the crowd around her as the jukebox kept thumping out Beatles' classics. "Actually I'm not hungry. Would you mind if we stayed?"

He noticed her eyeing the dance floor and smiled to himself. He definitely wouldn't mind being pressed up against her soft body all night long. "No I wouldn't mind staying at all. I'm enjoying spending time with you, Liv. As many times as I've fantasized about being on a date with you, I have to say that the real thing is way better than I could have ever imagined." She blushed as Elliot extended his hand out to her flashing a charming smile. "Can I have this dance?"

Olivia got lost in a sea of blue as her stomach filled with nerves. "Absolutely." He guided them smoothly through a slew of people before finding an empty spot on the floor. They faced each other as Yesterday began to play. Elliot wrapped his arms around Olivia's waist as she draped hers around his neck. They moved effortlessly together as Paul's voice filled the room. Oh I believe in yesterday. The song took on a new meaning for Elliot. He equated Olivia to the good part of yesterday and he was happy that he finally had a shot with her in the present. He leaned in close to Liv's ear as he whispered, "I'm so glad that my yesterday is here wrapped in my arms today."

She leaned her head back so that she could see his face. Sincerity was the only thing staring back at her as he tilted his head towards her mouth. Elliot captured her lips in a breathtaking kiss that was long overdue. The sudden abrupt kiss in the bar shouldn't even count because this kiss blacked out everything that was around them. He showered her with soft open mouth kisses before his tongue started to gently massage against hers. He pulled away but not before leaving her with one last lingering kiss. The only reason why he pulled away was because he knew that if he kept going that he wouldn't be able to stop. "That should've been our first kiss," gasped a breathless Olivia.

"Yes, it should have been." His fingertips were skimming across her reddened cheeks, while losing himself in deep brown eyes. He just couldn't resist kissing her again as his hands joined the party. He ran his fingers over bare toned arms before moving back to her hips; he pulled her in closer to his muscular body as their tongues dueled. He sighed heavily as her breast glided over his chest and their lower bodies came into direct contact. Elliot could stay there and kiss Olivia all night long but he pulled away to catch his breath. "I think we keep topping ourselves," mumbled a hot and bothered Elliot.

"I think you're right." They were still in each other's arms seeing each other truly for the first time. "El, is this really happening?"

"God I hope so," he reclaimed her lips again. This kiss was pure fire, no sweetness only pure desire and want. He gripped a hand in her hair as he cupped her ass, squeezing it while trying to get her even closer. She had her left hand hooked around his neck while her right one glided over firm pecs and taut abs. They acted as if they weren't on a dance floor full of people as they made their way around first and second base. The feeling was exquisite and all that Elliot wanted more than his next breath was the sexy woman in his arms. "Liv…come home with me," breathed Elliot, his voice was full of desperation as he locked eyes with her.

Olivia's mind was racing; the kiss had totally disoriented her from thinking logically. She wanted to answer him but words failed her. Seeing her struggling with words had him leaning to her ear whispering, "I've never wanted anyone more than I want you right now. I don't want to pressure you and I will respect your decision either way. Trust me Olivia Benson, you're worth the wait."

Oh my God. I can't do this, can I? "El…"

Chapter 12

Detective Nick Amaro was about to begin his first day at the 27th precinct as a homicide detective. His nerves were starting to get the best of him, so he decided that he should hit the gym to take off the edge. An hour after leaving his apartment, the detective found himself covered in sweat attacking a punching bag. He put together combos of jabs, right hooks and uppercuts until his arms tired. The tension was slowly leaving his body as his workout came to an end. Nick showered at the gym since it was closer to his new job. The water cascaded down his face and body as his mind drifted to the woman who had been haunting his dreams lately. It had been four weeks since Olivia and Nick spent the night together and three weeks since they had last seen each other. Their last real conversation replayed constantly in his mind.

"Nick, I uhm, we need to talk…"

"Nothing good ever comes after that statement. What do we need to talk about?"

"Us…and uhm Elliot."

"Elliot huh? You know you've been acting really weird and distant ever since that night you two went out. Did you sleep with him?"

"You know what, this was a mistake. I can't do this with you right now just forget it. I think that we need some space. I'm choosing—"

"Him?!"

"Nick—"

"No! Just be honest with me. Are you choosing him over me Olivia?" Not wanting to hear the painful answer Nick stormed out without another word exchanged between the two.

The words that they exchanged were burned into his brain. No matter how he tried to distract himself, his thoughts always went back to that night. Nick already had his transfer in motion so there wouldn't be a conflict of interest when Olivia took back control over the Special Victims Unit. His former co-workers were shocked when they learned about Nick's transfer. They had no idea that Nick had plans in motion to leave SVU. The reason why he was leaving wasn't lost on Olivia or Amanda. His going away party was the last time that he saw Olivia. He considered the squad as family and they sure warmed his heart with their sweet send off. The highlight of the night for him was no doubt Olivia's speech. Even though the last time that they had talked ended on a bad note, she put that aside and delivered the best speech of the night. He remembered every word.

Nicholas Amaro, Nick…my partner and so much more. I don't even know where to begin. When you first came to SVU, I was going through a rough time. Some might have believed that you drew the short straw on getting me as a partner during that time, but I have to say that I drew the lucky straw getting you as a partner. You rejuvenated me and reminded me why I chose to be a part of the Special Victims Unit. Your work ethic, passion and dedication are just a few of many things that I admire about you. You've saved my life, literally as well as figuratively and that's just regarding work. On a personal level you've been a very important part of my life. You became a father figure to my son without even thinking twice or without me even asking you to do so. That alone permanently solidifies a special place in my heart just for you. As for me, well to keep it simple, I simply can't imagine life without you. You're the absolute best and I hate to lose you but I know that you will shine just as bright at the 2-7. You're irreplaceable at the 1-6 and in my heart, I'm going to miss you so much partner. Congratulations, you deserve it and so much more.

Nick couldn't stop the tears that were forming in his eyes. That was the closest that Olivia had ever gotten at expressing her love for him. He knew that she didn't exactly say the three little words but he felt the love pouring from her heart into her words. And the feeling of being loved by Olivia felt absolutely amazing. That night was the last night that he saw Liv and he missed her as well as Noah terribly. This was going to be an adjustment for Nick, but he felt ready for the change. Anything to occupy his mind was exactly what he needed. God, I miss her. I wonder if she misses me? The detective shrugged off those thoughts as he continued to prepare for his first day in the homicide unit. He wanted to make a good impression on his first day and to do that he needed all of his focus to be on the task at hand, not on the beautiful sergeant that stayed on his mind.

Back over at the 1-6, things were finally starting to get back to normal. Amaro's departure left the squad in kind of a funk. The unit considered themselves family so it took them time to adjust without him. Everyone was staying mum on the reasons why he left. They speculated but they didn't have the balls to actually ask Olivia if she knew the reason why he suddenly left. There was an obvious difference in Liv and her co-workers worried about her. They didn't want to pry but she looked sad and tired all of the time. Instead of harassing or bothering her, the squad decided to give her space. They allowed her to fly solo instead of partnering her up right away. They didn't know it but she was very grateful for the much needed space that they gave her.

Amanda was going through an adjustment phase of her own. She had been back to work for a month since her miscarriage and dissolvent of her last relationship. The blonde detective was finally starting to feel like she could move on with her life. Even though she missed Nick at work, his leaving helped her to really move on without having to see him every day or see him and Olivia's sickening chemistry. When she first got back to work after her time off, Amanda noticed some of the changes around the office. Murphy was still acting CO and they had a new detective in Kara-Lynn Snow. Amanda was thrilled to finally have someone with a similar upbringing that understood 'southernisms' in the unit. The two southern belles hit it off instantly. Rollins was also busy trying to rebuild her relationship with Olivia because Kara wouldn't shut up about how amazing the sergeant was. Amanda knew from personal firsthand experience how amazing Olivia was. Rollins also knew how Olivia would hide and disguise her pain not wanting to burden anyone else with her problems. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that she was going through a tough time. Amanda decided to extend her hand of friendship and be there for Olivia, like the brunette had selflessly been there in her time of need.

"Hey Sergeant, you done for the day?" inquired Amanda.

Olivia was daydreaming when Amanda approached her. The timid southern drawl jarred Liv from her thoughts. "Hey, yeah I am, I was just…uhm did you need something?"

"Actually yeah, I need to take you out for a drink. You look like you could use one…or three," Amanda teased with a sincere smile.

Olivia had been relieved when her 'feud' with Rollins had been squashed. The incident which caused the resolution wasn't idea but a resolution was a resolution nonetheless. The two women had been slowly trying to rekindle a friendship as they treaded lightly with each other. This, however, would be the first time that the two went out alone before the rift. Olivia smiled somewhat unsure of her answer, "I uhm, I don't know. I'm not really good company these days."

"Well then, I will be good enough company for the both of us. Come on, my treat."

Olivia laughed; the feistiness that Amanda possessed had always amused her. "Well how can I say no to an offer like that? Give me ten and then I will be ready to go."

The two women left the precinct together twenty minutes later. They walked a few blocks with minimal chatter. It didn't feel as awkward as Olivia thought it would. There was no tension or weird energy coming from Amanda. They walked into Rollins' favorite hideout when she didn't want to risk running into anyone that she might know and vice versa. Fin and Kara were the only ones that Amanda had ever brought to her little hideaway. The place had a small crowd but everyone seemed consumed in their own misery, grief or liquor. The two ladies found two stools at the bar and were waited on immediately as they took their seats.

"Hey Amanda, your usual?"

"Yep, thanks Jay. And whatever she's having is on my tab." Amanda nodded her head towards Olivia.

"And for you, pretty lady?" Jay winked at Olivia as Amanda groaned and rolled her eyes causing Olivia to laugh.

"Make that two of Amanda's usual, please Jay," The sergeant flashed the young bartender a sweet smile.

"Coming right up and the first round is on me…" he extended his hand to Olivia so that she could tell him her name.

The brunette extended her hand to shake, "Olivia. And thank you Jay."

"My pleasure—"

"Ok, ok break it up," teased Amanda. "Jay go away, Liv and I are trying to talk."

Jay mouthed 'hater' to Amanda as he placed the women's drinks in front of them. "Here you go ladies; just holler if you need anything." He left with one last lingering look at Olivia that didn't go unnoticed by Amanda.

"Gosh he's such a creeper sometimes, sorry about him. Cheers," saluted Amanda.

"He's alright, cute even. Cheers," Liv clinked their glasses together. She took a nice sip of her beverage before stopping, her throat felt like it was on fire. "What the hell is this? It tastes like gasoline mixed with cinnamon."

Amanda had forgotten that Liv mimicked her drink. She laughed at the pained expression on her face and her accurate description of their drink. "It's Fireball, cinnamon whiskey. I can't believe that you've never had Fireball."

"And I can't believe that you like this stuff," said Liv as she looked at her glass with disgust swirling the liquid around the glass.

"It's good! Kara loves it too. I guess it's a southern thing," shrugged Amanda.

An hour had passed by while the two made small talk. They even caught up on a little office gossip, happy that it wasn't about them for the moment. The new gossip was that ADA Barba was probably banging the notorious defense counselor Rita Calhoun. Fin saw her leaving Barba's office late one night while he was there trying to get a warrant. When she saw Fin, he said that she looked like she had just gotten busted smoking weed in the school restroom. Amanda also filled Liv in on about a little mild flirtation going on between Carisi and Kara. This gossip was definitely news to Liv's ears. The sergeant had been so consumed with her own issues lately that she had missed all of the juice.

"No way, Rita and Barba?" asked an unconvinced Liv.

"Yes way, I've picked up on a few subtle things myself. I like it though, ya know?" drawled Amanda. Her accent would thicken the more that she would drink. "He's all cocky and mouthy and she seems like she doesn't take any of his shit. He needs a woman that's not intimidated by all of his fast talking. I can totally see her telling him to just shut the hell up, ya know?"

Olivia laughed at Amanda's candid description of how she thinks of Barba and Rita's fictitious relationship. "Yeah, I know what you mean." Fireball may not be her drink but it was definitely doing the job. She felt the effects of the cinnamon fire coursing throughout her body. "And Carisi and Kara? Really? How did I miss that?"

"I think it's more of a one-sided thing. He's always in her face and inviting himself to our outings. She thinks he's nice and all but I don't know if she is as into him as he is into her. You know Carisi; he can come on a little strong."

"Yes, I know exactly what you mean; Carisi takes some getting used to. I liked Kara right away though. She's good police and she's a great person. Her choice in music is questionable though. The week that we were partnered up she almost killed me slowly via radio. I can't get with that country music. It definitely takes some getting used to."

Amanda feigned offense, "Excuse you? That is good music ma'am. You don't know how nice it is to finally have someone in the squad that gets me. My partner Fin, God bless him, is straight up old school hip-hop which is ok. Carisi likes all of these unknown local bands. Nick was always too serious for music and would ride silently. And you have Beatles' Mania like it is 1965. Kara is the only one that can appreciate Loretta Lynn as well as Luke Bryan."

The mention of Nick's name sent Olivia into a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. The last few hours Amanda had successfully kept her mind preoccupied. However, the mention of his name brought her right back to her present stressors. Amanda saw the sudden and obvious change of disposition in Olivia's face. She knew that it would be risky to pry but that was her whole reason behind the outing. Amanda decided to go for it, "You wanna talk about it, Liv?"

The weary brunette thought that talking about the man that caused their rift wasn't a good idea. "No, I-I don't think…no."

"Liv, it's obvious that you've been going through a tough time since Nick left. No one wanted to bother you but I'm biting the bullet because I'm worried about you. No BS, all of that other crap between us is in the past. You can talk to me, have you talked to him?"

Olivia looked up to meet Amanda's gaze. She didn't see the angst or disgust that was once there when Nick came up. "Amanda, I know that we're trying to rebuild our friendship but I feel a little uncomfortable discussing him with you."

"That's all water under the bridge Liv, honestly. I can see that you need someone to talk to. No weirdness and it will stay just between us."

Olivia sighed heavily as she pondered unloading her problems on Rollins. She came up with a way to get it off her chest without making it too weird for her. "Ok, ok, I'm going to tell you but I'm using different names so it doesn't feel so awkward." Amanda nodded and smiled at Liv's obvious discomfort and at her finishing off the disgusting Fireball. "So I haven't seen Chad in weeks. The last time that we talked he got so pissed off at me and stormed off before I could barely get a word in."

"Why was Chad so pissed?"

"He thought that I was sleeping with and chose Elli—I mean Kevin over him."

Amanda could barely keep up. The fake names mixed with the liquor had her desperately trying to keep it all straight. "Ok let me get this straight…you're dating Ni—Chad and uhm, what's his name again?" Amanda waved her hand in a circular motion hoping that Liv would help her out.

"Kevin. And yes I was dating both of them," Liv said as she dropped her head, exhausted and frustrated with her messy love life. "Jay!" Amanda jumped at Liv's sudden outburst. "We need more fire please."

The blonde detective busted up laughing, "Two more fire…balls please Jay." It then dawned on Rollins what Liv had said before her request for fire. "You said 'was' dating them, so does that mean that you're not dating either of them now?"

"No, no I'm not."

"What happened?" Olivia's mind flashed back to her amazing date night with Elliot. Everything was perfect before the end of the date.

"Liv, come home with me?"

"El…I can't. It's not you, it's just…"

"Nick?"

"It's me. I need to figure out what I want before we take things to the next level. You understand that right? It's not you, you've been amazing tonight and your offer is very tempting but it wouldn't be—"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah I get that. No worries, tonight was still amazing. Come on let me get you home."

"Liv!" snapped Amanda. "Where'd you just go?"

"Sorry, what did you ask me?"

"Why aren't you dating Chad or Kevin?"

"Oh yeah that's right. I told Kevin that I needed some time to decide what I wanted before we moved any further. I was going to tell Ni—damn it! I was going to tell Chad the same thing before he accused me of picking Kevin over him and banging him of course. I was just trying to tell him that I was choosing myself until I was sure of whom I wanted to be with. But of course I couldn't even get a freaking word in before he lost it."

"Yeah that sounds just like him," Amanda back tracked. "Not that I know him or anything, just from what you've been telling me tonight," Amanda said desperately trying to smooth over her last comment. She got serious again before she asked Liv a question. "So have you made up your mind yet?"

"I uhm, I thought I had but now I'm not so sure. I haven't heard from Chad since he stormed out on me."

"And Kevin?"

"We've talked some but he's giving me my space to make my own decision without any pressure but I just—"

"Want Chad…right?"

Olivia snapped her head up suddenly taken aback by the bluntness. The brunette beauty pondered the question. She tilted her head slightly before she opened her mouth to answer, "I uhm—“

"Well, well, well…how did I know that I would run into you here, Georgia?" said Kara to Rollins not even noticing Liv as her back was towards the door. Olivia turned around to see Kara approaching. "Sergeant, I'm uh sorry, I didn't see you there, hello." Both Olivia and Amanda laughed aloud at Kara's awkward formality. It was obvious that she basically idolized the vet.

"God Tennessee, lighten up," teased Rollins. "I swear that she thinks you walk on water Liv."

"Amanda! Don't listen to her Sergeant, she's obviously drunk."

"Please, we're in a bar, drop the sergeant, Tennessee."

Kara laughed at the use of the nickname that she and Rollins would use with each other. That relaxed the young detective as she settled into the stool next to the women. "Well alright then Olivia. Jay, can I get my regular please?"

"Let me guess, Fireball?" asked the sergeant.

"No that's Georgia. I'm a Jägermeister and red bull type of girl," smiled Kara.

"What the hell are you girls' liver made of?"

The two southerners laughed, they were used to people being shocked by their drinks of choice. The three women settled into a nice conversation. They laughed, drank and got better acquainted with one another. Kara was becoming more relaxed around Olivia as the night progressed, the Jäger definitely helped with that. It was nice to have female camaraderie with fellow police women that understood what you did for a living. There was no need to explain how certain things affected them because they knew from personal experience. After another hour of drinks and laughs, Olivia figured that she should get home before the two young detectives drank her into oblivion. "Alright ladies I'm going to call it a night while I can still remember by name."

"What a lightweight," scoffed Kara, shocking the hell out of the other two women.

"Well someone has definitely relaxed," teased Rollins.

"I see that." Liv tried to put on her best stern sergeant voice before saying, "Don't push it, Rookie."

"Yes, Sergeant," said Kara almost robotically causing the other two to laugh.

"I think you should give Chad a call," said Amanda. Liv stopped laughing instantly, realizing what was just said. "Not tonight though, drunk-dialing is the worst. But you should call him when you're sober as a judge." Rollins shot the brunette a sincere gaze and was reciprocated with a silent thank you. Kara sensed that they were having a moment and decided to talk to Jay, giving the two women some privacy.

Liv shook off her temporary daze and said her goodbyes. "I had a great time ladies, we must do it again. Georgia, Tennessee, good night. Get home safely."

Olivia caught a cab home. The ride there was her time to reflect on the night. She was grateful for Amanda sensing that she needed a friend to confide in. It was unexpected but much appreciated. The advice offered up wasn't bad either and she tried to figure out her next move. Did she even know what she wanted? I think I do, I just don't want to hurt him. The sergeant started to put her plan in motion right there in the cab. Twenty minutes later Olivia trudged her way up to her apartment. After she was settled in her bed, Liv took the time to check her phone. She decided not to reply to any messages or emails in her current buzzed state. Sleep quickly overtook her soon after she finished up with her phone. Two hours later her slumber was interrupted by a knock at the door. The sergeant instantly went into cop mode. She grabbed her gun from the nightstand as she headed to Noah's room. She saw him sleeping peacefully in his crib as she let out a breath that she wasn't aware of holding. Before leaving her son's room she barricaded him in making sure there was no way anyone could get in without the keys, which would have to be pried from her cold, dead hands.

"Who the hell is it?!" screamed an irritated Olivia as she pointed her gun towards the door.

"It's me, open up," replied the familiar voice.

The sound of his voice immediately relaxed her. She stopped pointing her gun at the door as she sighed heavily trying to get her emotions under control. Without another thought she began to unlock the door. "Hi," whispered Liv.

"Hi…"

"W-why, I mean what are you doing here?"

"I uhm, this couldn't wait." He pulled her into his arms and kissed her with everything that he had. "Olivia…I love you and I don't care about anything else. I love you and I want to be with you." Tears streamed down her face as her heart contracted with so much emotion. She didn't trust herself to talk so she grabbed his face and pulled him into another long, loving, sensual kiss.

Chapter 13

The tears were freely flowing as the two kissed in Olivia's doorway. They could have been there for thirty seconds or thirty minutes because time stood still as they expressed their love. This kiss wasn't about desire; it was about connection and love. Their lips sank into each other as the union of them being together felt so right. He pulled away and looked deeply into the eyes that made him weak in the knees before his lips claimed hers again. He could not stop kissing her; she pulled away as her brain had finally caught up with everything that was happening.

"You love me?"

"Yes, I do. I just told you that but if you want to hear it again…I love you Olivia Benson. I could say that a million times and it still wouldn't be enough."

"I love you too. I was too afraid to let myself love you but I'm not afraid anymore. I trust you with my heart, my son, my everything. I need and want you in my life. I'm in love with you Nicholas Amaro."

Her words were his undoing. Nick had been holding his breath hoping that she would reciprocate his love. He was unashamed as he let tears of his own fall. It was a big risk that he took in coming over and professing his love, for all he knew she could have been with Elliot. But she wasn't, she loved him and the emotions that he felt were indescribable. When your fantasy becomes actuality, it is the best feeling in the world and Nick was overjoyed.

"You just don't know how many times that I've imagined you saying those words. My imagination doesn't have anything on reality. This last month without you has been hell for me. I don't ever want to be without you again, ever. I know I'm not the perfect man Olivia. I lose my temper, jump to conclusions, raise my voice, act paranoid and sometimes act like a total jackass. But I will do everything in my power to make sure that you and Noah are happy, safe and loved."

"No you're not perfect but your imperfections make you perfect for me."

They finally closed the door and settled into Olivia's apartment. The weight of the world instantly removed from both of their shoulders. It almost felt like a dream because it was so easy just being with each other, open and free. Nick ran his fingers through silky brunette hair as he stared into a sea of chocolate. He just wanted to be with her, wrapped in her arms. He took her hand and led Liv to her bedroom. He removed his clothes quickly leaving him in only boxer briefs.

"Come on, let's go to bed," said Nick. Olivia nodded in agreement as she got settled on her side. Nick snuggled in next to her as he got settled as well. Her back was to his front and his left arm and leg was draped protectively around his woman. "Good night, beautiful. I love you." He pressed soft kisses on her neck.

"Good night. I love you too, so much."

The next morning came quickly and Olivia was awakened by the screams of bloody murder coming from Noah's room. There was no doubt of the unconditional love that she had for her son but man did she wish that he would shut the hell up and let her sleep. When she could no longer ignore the screeching, she started to stir. She reached behind her searching for Nick and felt an empty space. That's strange. She hit the bathroom and quickly took care of her business so she could attend to her son. Where is he? I didn't see a note. When she reached Noah's door and realized that it wasn't deadlocked like she thought a zip of sadness went through her body. "It was just a dream, all of it. Nick was never here, I dreamed it." Olivia scooped up Noah and held him tight while she sobbed into his tiny little body. Her crying confused him and he began to quiet down and wrapped his tiny little arms tighter around her neck. Olivia tried to pull herself together for her son's sake.

"It's ok baby, it's ok. Mama's ok. Mama had a sweet dream that turned into a beautiful nightmare, that's all. We're alright, come on let's get some breakfast." She put him in his highchair as she made their breakfast. Tears were still swimming in her eyes as she thought about how real her dream had felt. She also cried because it took a dream for her to be able to finally express her feelings for Nick, even if it was subconsciously.

"Mama…" Noah reached out his pudgy little hands towards Olivia. She scooped up her little man and embraced him tightly. A knock at the door interrupted their little love fest. Olivia opened the door for Lucy who was there to babysit Noah. Lucy noticed Olivia's puffy eyes but didn't intrude on her privacy; she gave a sincere smile and busied herself with taking care of Noah.

Olivia took her time getting ready for work. She knew that she wouldn't be any good in her current state, so she made sure that her emotions were under control before she went in. After Liv was showered and dressed she sat on the edge of her bed with her phone. She contemplated calling Nick, it had been so long since they talked and she just needed to hear his voice. Unable to shake the need of talking to him she dialed him up.

"Hey you've reached Nick Amaro, leave a message…"

Olivia was about to hang up but decided to leave a message. "Hey it's uhm, me. I uhm, it's been a while. I just wanted to…well I just wanted to say hi, so hi. Uhm well, just give me a call back when you can, bye." Olivia ended the call and immediately dropped her head into her hands. What the hell kind of a message was that? She shook off the awkward call and headed to work. One last kiss for her favorite guy and she was out the door.

Why of all days did work have to suck so bad today? That kept running through Olivia's mind as the day went from bad to horrible. The only good thing about the word day was that she was sent home early, bad news was that she was sent home early for going all Fight Club on a perp. The normally under control sergeant completely snapped and lost it in the interrogation room. All sex offenders made her sick but this guy had a cocky attitude, showed no remorse and kept baiting her. His words triggered something deep inside. She was already having a shitty day and his presence just pissed her off even more. That combined with all of her other frustrations was enough to push her over the edge.

"So you're saying that she wanted to be tied up and gagged for hours Mr. Evans while you sexually assaulted her repeatedly?"

"Yes, she was a whore so there was no assault. I paid her and she had to service me. She wanted it. What don't you understand? God women are stupid."

"Oh I understand that even when she was screaming and crying for you to stop, you're saying that she still wanted it?"

"Yes, how many times do we have to go through this? You know, if I didn't know any better I would say that you want it too. Women like you think you're so fancy and God's gift to men…how much to get that stick out of your ass or drive it in deeper if that's something you're into…"

Olivia was pissed but kept her cool with a small little smirk on her face. "Let's stay on task, so when you were done, you left the money on the night stand and left. Why didn't you untie her after you were finished? Being that it was consensual and all. Were you afraid of retaliation from Ms. Tyler?"

He smiled devilishly, "Women don't scare me at all, including you. I didn't untie her because I didn't have time, I was in a rush. Now getting back to you…you never told me how much? I bet you like to think that you're worth a lot but I can see right through you. You're lonely, sad, dried up and all you have is this job. That's why you're such a miserable bitch, huh?"

"We're done here. Come on Kara let's go. We've got all that we need from this asshole; you're going down Mr. Evans, hard. I have a feeling that you like being on your knees; have fun being someone else's bitch."

"You're the bitch!" He jumped up from his seat. "Come on why are you so miserable? Nobody loves you? Are you barren, no kids? Did daddy give you that 'special' love when you were a little girl? Was it you guy's dirty little secret? You liked it didn't you? That why you do this job? I will pay you a visit and give you what you've been missing baby."

That did it. When she turned around he was in her face, spewing all kinds of threats. He pointed his finger to her face and she slapped his hand away and slugged him before she knew it. She knocked him flat on his ass as her boot found his neck as he struggled beneath her. She removed her boot long enough to give him a nice kick in the nuts before Kara wrapped the sergeant up in a bear hug from behind and dragged her out of the room. "You fucking bitch you're going to pay for that! I will kill you! Everyone that you love is dead, you stupid bitch!" Uniformed officers rushed in to restrain the irate man as he was ushered off to a cell. Liv was still resisting Kara's restraint on her as she finally got her into the squad room.

"Get the hell off me Kara, let me go! Let me go right now goddamn it!"

The rookie ignored her mentor and continued to hold onto her while she calmed down. She felt Liv stop resisting and her breathing had calmed down. "Are you good, Sergeant?" asked Kara in a calm and controlled voice despite the amped up situation.

"I'm good, I'm good." Liv threw her hands up in a surrender to let Kara know that she was alright.

"Benson!" shouted Murphy.

"Damn it."

Instead of going straight home, Olivia stopped by the gym to work out the rest of her frustrations. She was relieved when she saw a kickboxing class about to begin. She quickly changed and jumped in the class as it was beginning. The workout let her release the tension in her body and she was grateful. After class the rejuvenated brunette wanted to get some cardio in as well. On her way to the elliptical a familiar face had her making a detour.

"Fancy meeting you here," said a glistening Olivia.

"Liv, hey. Wait, why aren't you at work? It's the middle of the day."

"Funny you should ask…I actually pulled a Stabler today and got sent home, I let my anger get the best of me. Sounds familiar right?" The sergeant said with a teasing smile.

Elliot let out a hearty laugh as he grabbed his towel and water bottle. They walked towards the juice bar and found a booth as they talked. "Anger? Get the best of me? Noooo," his signature smile stretched across his handsome face. "I can't believe that you got sent home. You really need to get that under control, Sergeant Benson." Olivia laughed at his joke as he continued to tease her. "Oh, let me not give you advice on rage. What is that you said to me?" He tried to mock Olivia as he changed his voice, "The poster boy for rage is going to tell me how to control my anger?"

Olivia was shocked and amused that he even remembered that. "I can't believe that you remembered that. That was a long time ago and a rough time…well I guess this is a rough time too."

"Want to talk about it, Sergeant?"

She couldn't talk about it to him, could she? He was her best friend and she knew that she could confide in him but everything was different now. Their feelings for each other were out in the open and she didn't feel right discussing another man with him. He could practically hear her thoughts; the serious expression on her face told him that she was contemplating whether or not she should tell him.

"Look Liv, you can talk to me. Even though some things have changed, me being your best friend and someone you can always talk to won't ever change." His words were softly spoken as his sincere blue eyes connected with hers. That was the moment that she had no doubts of whom she belonged with.

"El, I can't—"

"It's ok Liv, I promise. There's nothing that you can tell me that will ever mess this up," he pointed between the two of them. "We have the worst timing ever, huh?" He lifted his face into a half smile to reassure her that he understood.

Tears started to form in her eyes but she shut them, refusing to let them spill. "It seems like we do. Elliot, I'm so sorry. I didn't—"

"No," he reached for hand, intertwining their fingers together. "Don't apologize to me ever, please."

"I do love you Elliot, always will," she could no longer fight the tears as she looked into the eyes of the man that she once thought would be it for her.

"I love you too Liv, always will. Go," he nodded his head towards the door. "Let him know, don't worry about me. I will be ok."

That was the final push that she needed. Olivia pulled Elliot up by their still intertwined fingers and embraced him firmly. Tears burned his eyes, he knew that he was doing the right thing but it still hurt. Even if it couldn't be him to make her happy, he wanted her to be happy nonetheless. He closed his eyes and inhaled the scent that is uniquely Olivia's. When they finally finished their hug, Olivia tilted her head and placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

"Thank you Elliot," whispered an emotional Liv as she headed for the exit.

Olivia left the gym still in her black yoga pants and NYPD tank top with nothing but a black sports bra underneath it. Her hair was in a messy ponytail and sweat still clung to her adrenaline fueled body. Her mission was get to Nick; she was totally unbothered by her appearance. She arrived at the 2-7 fifteen minutes after leaving the gym. The sergeant flashed her badge and headed into the squad room searching for her detective. Officers and other detectives were looking at Liv strange, she looked absolutely deranged. Nick's eyes nearly bugged out of his head when he saw Olivia in his squad room in her work out clothes. He jumped out of his seat to meet her; surprised that she was at his job.

"Olivia what are you doing here?" He was confused and slightly on edge, her sudden visit unnerved him.

"I need to talk to you."

"I'm at work, can this wait?"

"No, it can't," she grabbed his hand and lead him to an interrogation room like she owned the place. Nick was shocked and a little embarrassed; all eyes were on them as she basically dragged him out of the squad room in front of everyone.

"Liv, you just can't barge in here and drag me away from my desk. I'm at work, I'm—" Olivia silenced him as she crashed her lips against his. The kiss was needy and uninhibited. She missed him and she wanted to pour everything that she had into the kiss. He was resistant to the kiss at first but he couldn't resist long, he missed her so much. He wrapped his arms around Liv's waist and pulled her closer as he glided his tongue inside of her willing mouth. They were still in sync like before like no time had passed, every touch, every feel was so right. Olivia reluctantly ended the kiss so that she could tell him why she was there.

"Don't talk, I need to say this and I need to say it without you interrupting me. I had an amazing dream about you last night and it seemed so real." He raised his eyebrows in a suspicious gesture; she knew what he was getting at. "Not that kind of dream, you perv. Anyways when I woke up I was so sad because it wasn't a reality. This last month…it's been extremely difficult for me. I couldn't fight my feelings anymore. When you left, it seemed as if a part of me left with you too. Then after our awful fight, weeks went by without hearing from you, I thought you didn't care anymore. Well you've expressed to me several times how you felt for me and I think that it's time for me to express my feelings to you. I'm in love with you Nick, I can't fight it anymore and I don't want to. I love you and I want to be with you. I don't know if you still want to be with me but I want you in me and Noah's life. You don't have to answer right now, I know that I'm catching you off guard but I couldn't wait another minute to tell you. I love you, Nicholas Amaro.” She kissed him lightly, lingering for just a second before speaking again. “Ok, I'm going to go now."

Chapter 14

Olivia exited the interrogation room, leaving Nick completely shocked. She was now more than aware of her appearance and the looks that she was receiving from the other officers and detectives. Strangely enough she still wasn't embarrassed. Her task was to let the man that she loved know how she felt and she had completed her mission, that's all that mattered. Well a positive response from him also mattered but she figured that she would have to wait given the spontaneity of the confession. Olivia continued to strut out of the precinct with confidence and her head held high as she made her way onto the city's busy streets. A euphoric kind of feeling radiated throughout her body as she walked. Even though she left before Nick could respond it felt good to finally own her feelings, something that she had struggled with her entire life.

The brunette walked the entire way home floating on cloud nine. When she opened the door Lucy shot her a confused look, being that it was the middle of the day and Olivia was in gym clothes. Olivia dropped her bag at the door with this big goofy grin on her face. Lucy was worried, this morning she was visibly upset and crying and now she was giddy. Is she drunk? Thought the sweet babysitter.

"H-hey Liv…"

"Hey Lucy!" said Olivia almost giddy.

What the hell is up with this chick? "Uhm, it's the middle of the day…is everything alright Olivia?"

Olivia headed to the refrigerator and pulled out a water bottle. "Yep I'm great. How are you?"

"I'm ok…no, no I'm confused. It's the middle of the day. Why aren't you at work? And why are you in workout clothes?" inquired Lucy.

"I got sent home early for roughing up a sick bastard who deserved that and so much more," shrugged Liv so nonchalantly. "So I went to the gym to blow off some steam and now I'm home. Where's my boy?"

Lucy was just as confused before Olivia started explaining herself so she decided to drop it. "He's napping…"

"Ok thanks Lucy, you can take the rest of the day off. Go do something fun."

Lucy started gathering her things. "O-okay, thanks Liv. See you tomorrow?"

"Yes you will thank you again. Bye." Olivia closed the door behind the baffled babysitter with that dopey smile still on her face. Her vibrating phone stirred her out of her endorphin induced high. She walked the short distance to the counter and answered.

"Benson."

"Hey Sergeant..." a timid voice replied.

"Hey Kara, what's up?"

"I just wanted, uhm…I wanted to apologize to you for today. I know that you out rank me and I respect you and look up to you and I should have backed your play earlier. I should've been helping you kick his ass instead of holding you back and I feel shitty like I had a part in you getting sent home when we both should have been sent home if I would've stepped up and had your back. I know I'm new and you might not want to work with me again but I'm sorry and I—"

"Stop," Kara was rambling and had barely taken a breath, she was talking so fast. "Kara, first off I need you to breathe jeez. Two you have nothing to apologize for, you did the right thing, and I was the one at fault. I lost it for a minute. My yelling at you was just in the heat of the moment, nothing personal against you at all. You did back me up in there; you kept me from doing something that would cost me my badge. Yes you're new but you handled that situation like a vet and I appreciate it. You're ok for a rookie."

Kara was relieved; she took a couple of deep breaths to settle her rattled nerves. "Wow, not at all what I was expecting but I'm glad to hear that we're ok. Thank you Sergeant," Kara released a nervous laugh before continuing. "Do you know when you can come back?"

"Lt. Murphy told me not to come back until I got my head out of my ass, calmed down and was prepared to act like a leader. I'm only one for three so I might take another day," said Liv with a humorous tone and a smirk on her face.

"Right…well don't stay away too long, we need you around here. Take care Sergeant."

"Thanks for that Kara. You take care; I will be back soon better than ever. Bye."

Back at the 27th precinct, Nick was sitting in on an interrogation that he was supposed to be participating in. Ever since Olivia had come into the precinct, his mind was everywhere but where it needed to be. He certainly wasn't expecting a love confession from Olivia out of the blue. After all, they hadn't talked in over a month and he figured that she had moved on. He had just avoided the situation altogether by burying himself into his work. However, there was no denying the love that was still there but he tried not to let himself go there often given the fact that he and Olivia weren't in communication with each other. All of the things that he had been wanting to hear for forever she said to him basically in front of his whole squad. The young detective had drifted further into his daydream when Detective Lupo shouted his name.

"Amaro! Can you step outside with me for a minute?" asked Detective Lupo with a bit of an edge to his voice.

Nick knew that the detective was pissed at him for spacing out during the middle of an interrogation. "Yeah man sure."

"What the hell is going on with you Amaro? You’re off in space somewhere, what’s going on?"

"I know man I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I was distracted but I'm good now, I'm good."

"This is an important case to me; I've been chasing this bastard for months now. I know you have a lot on your plate and no one is blind. We all saw you and Sergeant Hotness' little scene earlier but come on man I need your head in the game. Do I need to bring Bernard in for this one or can you handle it? I need you one hundred percent focused for the rest of this case. Can you do that?"

Nick knew that he was dropping the ball and he didn't want his new colleagues to doubt his abilities. He made the choice right then and there to not focus on anything else until the case was over, however, he couldn't just leave Olivia hanging. "No you don't need to bring in Bernard, I've got this. I'm focused and I'm ready to close this case with you. Give me five and I will meet you back inside of the interrogation room."

Nick quickly left Lupo and headed toward the restroom. He silently chastised himself for letting his personal affairs affect his work. He had his share of issues at work when he was at the 1-6 but he wanted to give his best work for his new job with a clean slate. Nick washed his face and pulled out his phone to send a quick message. I'm not leaving you hanging but I have a very important case right now and I need to focus. You caught me completely off guard and my head has been gone ever since. I'm going to be working non-stop until this case is closed. When I finish I will call you so that we can meet up to talk. Hopefully it will be over soon. –Nick. With that taken care of, Nick put on his game face and got back to business while the woman on the receiving end of the text message was left with nothing to do but wait.

The next day Olivia woke up anxious and nervous. The text message that she received from Nick was vague and didn't really answer any burning questions. But she knew how it was when you were knee deep into a case, although she had never been on this end of it before. Liv had decided not to go into work to spend some time with Noah and to visit her therapist. Dr. Lindstrom had been a very instrumental part of Olivia's recovery after her kidnapping and she still saw the respected doctor to ensure that she kept progressing. Olivia and Noah had just gotten back home from their play date when Lucy arrived at the apartment.

"Hey guys did you have fun at your play date Noah?"

"Say yes we did Lucy. We also threw blocks at some of our friends and that wasn't very nice," said Liv with a look of disbelief for Lucy.

"Noah? Come here big guy," Lucy took him from Olivia's arms. "Buddy I know that you're going to be a great pitcher someday but for now we need to just build the blocks and not throw them ok," she tickled his little neck causing him to squeal which made her and Olivia laugh. Liv loved how good Lucy was with him. It was such a burden lifter to know that while she was out doing her job that her son was safe, cared for, and loved.

"Well our little pitcher is probably ready for a nap. I have an appointment in an hour. Can you put him down while I get ready?" Lucy nodded and Liv grabbed Noah to shower him with kisses all over his cute little face. "See you later sweetheart, I'm going to miss you. Mommy loves you, be good for Lucy." The brunette left the living room area and headed to her bedroom.

During her shower, thoughts of the things that she told Nick flashed through her mind. Those memories put a smile on her face but it quickly faded when she was saddened by the fact that they still hadn't been able to talk about it yet. She was definitely going to mention it to Dr. Lindstrom to see what he thought about everything. Before she had a chance to make it to therapy she received a call from Lieutenant Murphy. He had requested that she come in immediately; she knew that something was up by his tone and her stomach started to turn at the possibilities of what could have gone wrong.

Olivia walked into the squad room twenty minutes after she received the call from her Lt. She was greeted by a few stares from a few officers who witnessed her lose it on Scott Evans. Unbothered and on a mission, she made a beeline to her former office. "Lieutenant, you wanted to see me?" asked the worried sergeant.

"Yes, close the door and have a seat," began Declan, visibly worried about something. Olivia did as she was told and was preparing herself for the worse. "As you know, I don't like to sugar coat or beat around the bush so I'm just going to be blunt. Scott Evans' confession was thrown out, his lawyer argued coercion and his battered face backed up his claim. He was released earlier this morning. All we have is the DNA but he claimed that she was a prostitute and that the sex was consensual."

Olivia was fuming; she couldn't believe that he was back out on the streets. "He confessed before I ever laid a damn finger on him! This is such bullshit! Snow was in there with me, she can corroborate my story."

"It's done Benson! He's a free man unless we can find more evidence to prove that it wasn't consensual. As for now all that we have is a he said she said and an angry female cop with a vendetta against the accused," explained Murphy.

"Ok what about him charging at me and threatening a police officer?"

"He never physically put his hands on you so no assault. And his lawyer claimed those things were said in the heat of the moment while an out of control cop beat and provoked him to lose his temper. They promised not to press charges against or sue you if we didn't take the threats seriously. We didn't charge him but we are taking the threats very seriously, trust me."

Olivia was so outdone. She ran her fingers through her hair as rage and anger coursed throughout her body. "I can't believe this. That sadistic son of a bitch is getting a free pass. You know he's going to rape again right?"

"There's more that I needed to tell you," Olivia wondered what could possibly be worse news than that. She took a deep breath to prepare herself for the next blow that she was about to receive. "Evans threatened you and we believe him. This guy is dangerous and is mad as hell at you. I've assigned you a protective detail and one for your family."

Olivia started to protest but she thought about Noah, no way would she let her stubbornness put him in harm's way. "Ok, just assign the detail to watch Noah and Lucy. I don't need one while I'm working…"

"That's the last thing that I wanted to talk to you about," said Declan. What now? "Although Evans didn't press charges, IAB still heard about your little incident and they forced me to file a disciplinary action against you. They also wanted me to pass the word that another incident like that and you can forget about making Lieutenant, their words not mine. This is your squad Benson, play by their rules so that you can keep it that way."

"Yes sir, anything else?"

"Yes, on a personal note…I don't think that this guy is anywhere near as psychotic and obsessed as Lewis was but a threat is still a threat. I want you and your family to be safe Olivia. Maybe you should stay with some family or friends until Evans make a mistake and we catch his ass."

Olivia thought about Murphy's suggestion for a minute and decided that it was actually a good idea. "Thanks Lt. I think that I will make a call to a friend. Do you think that I could have tomorrow off too? I just want to make sure that Noah is protected. I also want to make sure that I have a clear head when I come back to work."

"Absolutely, do what you need to do and I will see you back here the day after tomorrow. Be safe, Benson."

"Thank you, Lt. Murphy."

Olivia headed back out into the squad room where Carisi, Rollins, Fin and Kara were waiting for her. She sighed heavily because she knew that she was about to be bombarded with a million questions. She also knew that they were just concerned and wanted to make sure that everything was alright but she was really eager to just get back home to Noah.

"You alright? I know Evans' bitch ass threatened you," asked Fin with a knowing look. He and Rollins were the only ones around during the Lewis fiasco and they didn't want to take any chances of a repeat performance.

"Yeah," said Liv trying to reassure the concerned detective. "I'm just pissed that I'm the one responsible for that piece of filth being back on the street."

"It wasn't your fault Sergeant," said Kara. "He charged at you first and I told the Lieutenant that. I don't understand how they let him go, especially after he threatened you."

"One PP and the city will do anything to keep their ass from getting sued even if it means putting a dangerous man back on the streets," chimed in Rollins.

"We've got your back though, Sarge," reassured Carisi.

"Thanks guys I really appreciate all of your concern but I will be fine. They put a protective detail on Noah and Lucy so they will be safe also. Plus Noah and I are going to be staying with a friend until all of this mess is over with," explained Liv as she lowered her head trying to avoid but eventually making eye contact with Amanda. There was still some awkward tension there, just a little. Rollins shook off the image of Liv and Noah staying with Nick and refocused on the task at hand.

"So what do you need us to do?" asked Amanda.

"Nothing, I'm all set guys. I'm going to take a day to clear my head and to get Noah and I settled. I need to make sure that I'm under control when I see that prick again."

"We understand, go and do what you need to. We will be holding it down until you come back, be safe Liv," said Fin.

"Thanks Fin and thank you all. See you guys later."

Olivia headed out of the precinct on her way to Noah. She felt like such a fool for letting that low life get the best of her and under her skin. She kept thinking about what a disservice that she had done to the victim, Lisa Tyler. Her temporary loss of composure had ensured that Ms. Tyler wouldn't get the justice that she deserved unless they found more evidence. And Olivia was more than ready to make sure that she found whatever needed to put the nail in his coffin. Before she went deeper into her rabbit hole, the sergeant decided to make a call that she had been unsure about. She dialed the number and waited for the voice on the other end to pick up.

"Hey Liv,"

"Hey El, I know I'm probably the last person that you want to hear from right now."

"No. That's not true, I mean I am a little surprised but I told you that we're good. So what's up?" asked Elliot.

"I need a huge favor and you know that I wouldn't ask you if it wasn't important."

"Anything Liv, what is it? What's going on?"

"There was a threat made against me and our acting Lieutenant put a protective detail on Noah and my babysitter. He also suggested that I stay somewhere else until we can bust the perp. So I was wondering if we could stay a few nights with you. I know things are weird with us but I don't want to take any chances after everything—"

Elliot stopped her excessive chatter and explanations. "Liv of course you guys can stay. I uhm, I don't want to make things more awkward but why aren't you staying with…"

"He's deep into a case right now, I haven't even told him about the threat. It's a huge case for him, he needs a win and I don't want to distract him right now. If it makes you feel uncomfortable we can always go to a hotel."

"No Liv, I was just curious that's all. You two will be safe here, I'll make sure of it. Anything you two need."

"Thanks El, normally I wouldn't be so freaked out over a silly threat but after everything that I've been through plus I have Noah to worry about now, I can't take any chances. I really appreciate it you helping me out."

"Anytime Liv, I've always got your back, always. Call me when you're on your way."

"Ok, see you later."

Olivia ended the call and felt a weight lift off her shoulders. She was happy that Elliot meant what he said and was willing to still be her best friend despite her choice. The other internal battle that she was having was whether she should tell Nick or not. She definitely didn't want him to hear from anyone but her that a threat was made against her. She also didn't want him to find out that she was staying with Elliot and hadn't told him. Olivia felt like Nick made it clear that he would contact her and that he needed to concentrate right now. So she decided not to bother him and would fill him in after both of their cases were closed.

Later that night…

"Tell that bitch that this is all her fault…" Several shots rang out and the room went silent. Five minutes later the room was flooded with cops and EMTs. The place was wrecked. Broken glass and blood was scattered throughout the apartment. Two gurneys ushered out two bullet wounded bodies to the ambulance. Nick was one of the detectives on scene following a lead. He didn't expect to see the young rookie detective that had recently joined the 1-6. The promising young lady that Liv had told him about and had been so impressed with lied there on the gurney fighting for her life. The guy he recognized as Scott Evans was one of the names given by the main suspect in the big case that he was currently working on. The suspect named Evans as a co-conspirator. Nick knew that Olivia would want to be there with Kara so he gave her call.

"Nick…hey I've been hoping to hear from—"

"Liv," he interrupted. "This isn't about…Kara Snow has been shot. She's in pretty bad shape; you need to get down here ASAP."

"Shot?! What? How? Who shot her?" Olivia started firing off questions left and right.

"A guy named Scott Evans." There were no more questions from her. Silence was all that Nick heard until Liv's cellphone hit the ground. "Liv! Liv can you hear me? Liv! Are you alright? Liv!" If Elliot hadn't been there to catch her, Olivia would have had a similar fate as her cellphone. This is all my fault.

Chapter 15

Nick was still calling Liv’s name when he jumped into the back of the ambulance that was rushing Kara to Mercy Hospital. The EMTs were working feverishly trying to stop the hemorrhage from her left arm and right side. She was unconscious and was bleeding out right before Nick’s eyes. Olivia still hadn’t responded to him as he continued calling her name. Just as he was about to hang up to call back again, he heard a male voice answer him.

“Hey she’s alright, she just almost fainted. She’s in a daze right now but she’s fine. Which hospital are you heading to?”

Nick looked at the phone confused, wondering who in the hell was he talking to. “What do you mean almost fainted? Is she ok? Who the hell is this?”

“This is Elliot. Liv is fine; she’s just trying to wrap her head around what’s going on. What hospital are you at so that I can make sure that she gets there safely?

What the hell is she doing with him? Now is not the time, focus on Kara. “We’re heading to Mercy Hospital now. Where is Noah?”

“He’s here with us. He’s also fine, I just texted Lucy to come and watch him while we’re at the hospital. I’ve got everything under control. As soon as Lucy gets here we will be on our way to Mercy,” assured Elliot.

Nick didn’t particularly like the guy but he was happy that he knew what to do in the middle of a crisis. He’s still an asshole. “Ok thanks. How is Liv? Is she still out of it?”

“She’s ok. I think she’s back, wait a minute,” said Elliot to Nick. He put the phone down on the floor as he started to stroke Olivia’s hair out of her face. He kept soothing her as he started talking to her. “Liv, hey you’re alright. I need you to nod if you can hear me,” she nodded. “Ok good, I know that you’re still in shock but I need you to hold it together for me, alright?” she nodded again. “Come on stand up with me honey, stand up,” commanded Elliot in a mild tone. Once Olivia was on her feet, she looked at Elliot as tears clouded her eyes. She reached out and grabbed him as she sobbed into his chest. “Shhhh, it’s alright Liv. You told me yourself that she’s a fighter. It’s ok sweetheart, it’s ok.” Nick heard the entire exchange over the phone. He knew that he shouldn’t get upset but he didn’t like the fact that Elliot was the one consoling her one bit.

Nick was sick and tired of listening to Elliot doing his job over the phone so he started yelling Liv’s name so that they would know that he was still on the other line. “Liv! Hey Liv, talk to me. You alright?”

Olivia let Elliot go and searched for Nick’s voice. She picked up her phone off the ground and said her first words since receiving the news that Kara had been shot. She wiped her face and tried to compose herself before she spoke. “Nick, how is she? How’s Kara?” her voice barely above a whisper.

“She’s fighting hard Liv. I rode in the ambulance with her and she was unconscious but she was still fighting. The EMTs managed to stop the bleeding in her arm but they were having a hard time controlling the bleeding of her side. They rushed her into surgery as soon as we made it to the hospital.”

Olivia listened closely as Nick updated her on Kara’s condition. Knowing that she was the reason why the young detective was fighting for her life broke something deep down inside of Olivia’s heart. “It’s my fault you know…” she said it so lowly that Nick didn’t hear her.

“You say something Liv?”

“It’s my fault why she’s in surgery bleeding out right now. I got her shot, Nick. It’s entirely my fault.”

Nick was so confused as to why Olivia would be blaming herself for Kara’s shooting. “That guy was a low life; it’s not your fault. He was an animal; he has two bodies under his belt that we know of.”

 Three including Kara and I’m the one to blame. “I know he’s an animal. I’m the reason why he’s back on the streets…” Liv was about to finish the rest of the story when Lucy and two officers knocked on the door. “I’ve got to go Nick, Lucy just got here I will see you soon.”

She was gone before Nick could respond to anything that she had just said. He had many questions but they would have to wait. Now was the time to rally around Kara, praying that she pulled through. Olivia explained to Lucy what was going on and made sure that the officers stayed with the two of them until they were sure that the threat was completely over. With one last kiss for Noah, Olivia was out the door with Elliot hot on her heels. He drove silently, waiting for her to speak first. When she didn’t he decided to break the ice.

“So does the perp that you beat the other day have anything to do with why you’re taking this so personally?” asked Elliot, reading the situation perfectly.

Amazed at how well Elliot read her, she nodded before speaking. “Yes. Kara was doing the interrogation with me, when I snapped. He threatened me and everyone around me because I embarrassed him by kicking his ass. He couldn’t get to me so he attacked her. I’m the reason why she’s clinging onto life right now. If I didn’t lose my temper she would be just fine but no…I provoked him and now Kara might die. She’s just a rookie El, a sweet young black chick that likes country music of all things with her whole life ahead of her.”

“You can’t blame yourself. Yeah you attacked him, yeah you lost your temper but you didn’t pull that trigger, he did. It’s not on you, Liv. So stop blaming yourself and get it together before you head into that hospital. She needs your strength right now, not all of this doubt and blame.”

They pulled up right outside of the emergency wing of Mercy. Olivia cleaned her face and gave herself a once over in the mirror before taking Elliot’s hand. “Thanks El, you’re right. You always know just what to say well…except for when you don’t,” smiled Olivia for the first time that night. “Honestly El, thank you for everything that you’ve done for me today. You’re the best, I mean that.”

Accept it Elliot, friend zone. “I know,” smiled Elliot as he released her hand. “Well I got you here safe and sound. Go on in and be strong for your friend.”

Olivia thought that Elliot was coming in with her but she understood why he decided against it. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, “I will be thanks again.” And with that, Elliot drove off into the night as Liv prepared to go in to be with her squad.

The emergency wing of Mercy Hospital was filled with a sea of blue. The NYPD had packed out the small waiting room, waiting impatiently to hear some good news about their wounded sister in blue. Olivia frantically scanned the room looking for Nick or any other members of her squad. The first person that she spotted was Carisi in the corner to himself with his head in his hands. Liv fought through the crowd to reach him as she put a hand on his shoulder.

“Carisi has there been an update?”

Carisi shot up, smoothing his hair back before he answered his Sergeant. “Nothing Sarge, they haven’t told us a goddamn thing!” People started to look at the duo as Liv tried to calm him down.

“Ok Carisi, it’s ok. Where is everyone else?” asked Liv.

 “I don’t know. I just came back from outside after some nurse refused to get a doctor to give us an update.”

Olivia was no fool, she saw that there was more than him being upset about just a co-worker but now was definitely not the time or place for that conversation. “Ok come on, let’s find the others.”

 The two of them weeded their way through the masses looking for their squad. Finally Liv laid eyes on the only other person that she wanted to see more than Kara right now. His eyes met hers and they naturally gravitated towards each other. Without thinking they both threw their arms around each other and stayed that way for what seemed like an eternity. This was home, Olivia knew it and Nick knew it. In the midst of chaos and confusion, they settled each other simply by being themselves. When they finally ended their embrace, they looked into each other’s eyes for the first time since they both knew that this was it for them. A doctor finally coming out with an update is what snapped them out of their temporary euphoria. As soon as everyone saw the doctor, people started speaking all at once before he silenced them all with a whistle.

“Detective Kara Snow is still in surgery; she’s lost a lot of blood and required a transfusion. The bullet in her left arm was through and through. The bullet that pierced her side caused a tear in one of her kidneys and hit a few other arteries. We’re trying to stop all of the bleeding now. If the kidney is too damaged we will just remove it. It’s too soon to tell now because of the blood loss but we’re doing everything that we can for her. Has her next of kin been notified?” asked Doctor Henderson.

“Her parents have been notified and are on the next plane to New York coming from Memphis,” answered Lt. Murphy.

“Good that’s all for now and we will keep you updated.” The doctor turned to leave before turning back around to inform the officers about another patient. “Oh before I go, Scott Evans died thirty minutes ago in surgery. That’s all.”

“Nobody’s going to shed a tear over that sorry son of a bitch,” said Fin. His fellow detectives nodded in agreement. The detectives settled in to stay, waiting on the fate of the rookie detective. Everyone was shaken up by one of their own being shot but Nick noticed how personal that Liv was taking it. Before saying a word to her, he grabbed her hand and escorted her outside so that they could talk.

“Hey how you holding up?” asked Nick.

Olivia shrugged not wanting to get into what all of what she was feeling on the inside. She was afraid that if she told him that she would break down and not be able to pull herself back together for Kara and the rest of her squad. Even though Murphy was still acting CO, Liv felt that they were still her squad and they deserved the best from her at all times. 

“I know this is personal for you Liv. First of all, I know that you’re very fond of Kara and the second thing I can’t quite put my finger on it. But it’s something though, I can feel it,” explained Nick.

Olivia sighed deeply before she spoke. “The other day at work, Kara and I interviewed Scott Evans for raping Lisa Tyler.” Nick’s interest peaked, given that Evans was heavily tied into his case as well. Liv continued, “He confessed to raping her by saying that you can’t rape a prostitute. Before the interview finished, he got all in my face threatening me and I lost it on him. Kara had to pull me off of him as he continued threatening me and my family.” Nick’s fists involuntarily clenched. “I got sent home and wrote up for assaulting Evans. When I got back the next day I found out that they threw out my confession claiming coercion, the let him go Nick.” Olivia didn’t have to explain the rest; Nick knew exactly where this was going.

“I can’t imagine how you must feel but you’ve got to know that this isn’t your fault babe. This guy should have been locked up a long time before he even raped Lisa Tyler. Evans and his partner Patrick Moore have five bodies under their names, two of them belonging to Evans. He should have been locked up babe, it’s not on you. Don’t blame yourself; it’s not your fault.”

Olivia absorbed all of the information that Nick had just relayed to her. Logically she understood it but it still didn’t assuage her own guilt. “Whoa, that’s a lot to take in but I understand. And before you ask, the only reason why I didn’t tell you was because you were knee deep in your own hot case. You told me that you needed to focus and I didn’t want to distract you so I took care of it myself with Elliot’s help…” She slipped the last part in there hoping that he was still reeling from a previous confession.

Nick took a deep breath like he had learned in anger management. He did this several times, feeling his body calm down with each deep breath. He closed the distance between himself and Olivia as he took her face in his hands as he spoke. “For future references, when someone threatens my family please distract me. Two, I know that Elliot is your best friend or whatever but I’m your man. You come to me first when you have a problem and then we can figure it out together. Lastly, I’m going to need you to know the difference between an emergency and the need for us to talk about something that we both already know is inevitable. If I would have known any of this I would have given my case off to Bernard or somebody else. You’re more important to me than a big case, Olivia.” He released a deep breath before continuing, “I want you to understand how hard that was for me to say without yelling, progress.” She smiled at his obvious unnatural self-control; she could tell that he was pissed. He brushed her lips lightly before he added, “I can’t promise you this same reaction if this happens again.”

Olivia couldn’t hold in her laughter any longer. She grabbed the back of his neck bringing his lips to hers as she planted a deep kiss on him. He welcomed the kiss as his hands tightened around her waist. She broke the kiss, as she continued to run her fingers through his hair. “I love you, Nick.”

“I love you too Olivia, so much.” He kissed her again with all of the passion that he felt in his heart for the sexy brunette in his arms. All of the drama, lonely nights and longing were worth it if the end result was having this woman in his arms professing her love for him. Their moment of bliss was cut short by a voice coming from the entrance door of the hospital.

“Oh uhm, sorry to interrupt but Doctor Henderson is back with an update,” drawled Amanda.

Olivia sighed heavily and grabbed Nick’s hand before responding, “We’re right behind you.” Olivia prayed for the best while knowing that if the worst happened, she didn’t have to go through it alone.

Five months later…

Olivia was now back in charge of the 16th precinct, Special Victims Unit, as Lieutenant Olivia Benson. Her squad had just gotten back into the swing of things. The squad had been through a storm and they were now finally out on the other side of it stronger than ever. Olivia had a surprising new number two, that she worked well with in Sergeant Odafin Tutuola. He had initially refused but Liv persuaded him into being her second in command. Although Olivia liked to believe that she was the one responsible for him taking the job; Fin came to the conclusion that he was getting ‘too old for this shit’ and figured that he would enjoy dishing out orders from time to time.

Rollins and Carisi were still holding it down for the 1-6. Rollins didn’t give Carisi such a hard time anymore given all that they had been through. He was like a little brother to her and she now enjoyed showing him the ropes. Olivia looked at her squad from the comfort of her office admiring how they all had grown. Her eyes traveled to the desk that used to be occupied by Detective Kara-Lynn Snow as a sad smile stretched across her face. The shooting of Kara changed a lot of things at the 1-6. It brought the squad closer as they said goodbye to the rookie from Memphis, Tennessee. She decided to head back home after the shooting to be closer to her family. Even though she only was with the unit for a short period of time, the detective definitely left her mark in all of their hearts, especially Lieutenant Benson’s.

Olivia arrived home around seven thirty that night after a rather smooth day at the office. She walked in to the smell of home cooking and the laughter of her two favorite guys. Her face lit up when she saw Nick and Noah’s faces covered in spaghetti sauce. Not only had her squad grown stronger in the last five months but so had her relationship. She and Nick were now living together in Olivia’s apartment until they found a house of their own. They were in love and committed to each other and they couldn’t be happier. The future was on the horizon and she couldn’t wait to take the journey with Nick by her side.

“How are my two favorite guys?” asked Olivia with that signature thousand watt mega smile on her face.

“Now that you’re home, we’re great. Right buddy?” asked Nick to a giggling Noah. “You should take that as a yes,” joked Nick. “How was your day babe?”

“Good but so much better now, I missed you today,” said Liv as she kissed Nick tasting the sauce that still covered his face. “You taste good,” she kissed him again. “And I missed you too big boy,” she took Noah from Nick’s hands as she peppered his face with kisses sending the adorable little boy into a frenzy.

Olivia never thought that she would have a family life. Never in a million years would she think that she would feel so content being so domesticated but she was. She still loved her job but nothing compared to the happiness that she felt when she came home from work to the two best guys in the world. After dinner they put Noah to bed early so that they could have some celebration time, celebrating nothing in particular. After a very physical round of love making the two lovers lie in each other’s arms reflecting and lounging in their afterglow.  

Nick pressed his lips to Olivia’s temple before he whispered, “I love you baby and you make me very happy.”

“I’m sure you do, most guys would after what I just did to you,” teased Olivia which earned her a playful swat on the ass. “Oh, I’m just joking babe. I love you too.”

“You better because you’re never going to get rid of me. I want this forever, Liv. I’m ready for the next step whenever you are,” said Nick as his serious gaze found her gorgeous eyes dancing with delight.

“Wow, you know Nick, I never thought that all of this would come as a result from that one night that I decided to take a chance and put myself out there. I am so glad that I did and I’m so happy that you’re mine. I remember that night when I wondered what if you stayed…never did I expect to have the life that I always wanted from the man conceived in my dreams. I’m so glad that you stayed my love.”


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