Meeting Baby Noah
Elliot put the phone down after Olivia's last text and smiled to himself. He was surprised at the invitation, thinking that maybe she was feeling a little weirded out after he told her he was in love with her. He wanted to be hurt that she didn't say it back but at this point he was just happy that she had forgiven him and was willing to spend time with him. Ultimately, he just wanted to be in her life. He started to think about the fact that maybe he was too late. Regardless of the reasons why it had still been four years and she had gone through so much.
In some ways she seemed like a different person. If she had her guard up before it was going to be like breaking in to Fort Knox to get through to her now. Then he had to think about the other side. What if she just didn't see him like that? All this time he assumed that she felt the same way. There was always this unspoken sexual tension between them and she didn't seem too happy when he said he was going back to Kathy. He tossed and turned the night before he knew he had to tell her about the reconciliation and even worse when he had to tell her about Eli.
"Shit," he said to himself as he got off the couch and picked up all the dishes and pots from their dinner. He was driving himself crazy going back and forth about the night. He suddenly felt like one of his daughters when he would overhear them on the phone with their friends going on and on about whether a boy liked them.
He smiled to himself thinking about how happy she was talking about her son and he was both nervous and excited at the thought of meeting him. They shared laughs and he'd seen glimpses of her being happy over the years but it was nothing compared to the glow she had when she talked about Noah. She deserved every bit of happiness after especially after what happened with Lewis.
His phone rang interrupting his thoughts. It was Kathy.
"Hey Kath. Everything ok?" he asked. He was concerned because it was pretty late.
"Yeah I was just calling to see if you can pick up Eli tomorrow."
"Sure, what time?"
"After school and I need you to keep him until about 8 or so."
"Oh..umm yeah that's fine," Elliot said remembering he was supposed to meet Olivia at 7.
"Are you sure? You sound like you have something else going on."
"It's fine. Ill get him. I'll just push my plans back."
"Oh. Well thanks." Kathy hung on the phone a little perplexed as to what Elliot could have to do. He said plans which means it wasn't work and he didn't do anything lately but work or just hang with the kids.
"Was there something else?" Elliot asked noticed she was just holding the phone.
"Nothing. It's none of my business. I'll see you tomorrow. Thanks again."
And with that she was gone. He figured Kathy was probably curious if he talked to Olivia or if his plans included her. She knew Olivia was back in the picture and as much as she wanted Elliot to just tell her how he felt, the thought of her fears and jealousies about their relationship being realized still hurt. It wasn't a deep hurt but a hurt nonetheless.
While lying in bed trying to sleep, Elliot's mind shifted to what she said about Lewis. He didn't know why he was putting himself through the anguish of thinking about what she went through. He promised when he got the files that he wouldn't read them and only listen to her version of what happened but he was tempted more than ever to read the file now. He hadn't seen any physical signs of the assault on her, he made sure to look as much as he could without being so obvious. To hear that she was burned turned his stomach. If he wasn't easily able to see the burns then that meant that they were in more intimate places and the thought made him queasy. He was suddenly back up and pacing back and forth in his apartment. He needed to call someone, anyone.
He had worked so hard on controlling his rage issues since Kathleen died but this was eating away at his core. He should've been there. He swore to her he would never leave her and that she and SVU were all he had left and he didn't want to wreck that but that's exactly what he did.
He found his way back to his chair in the living room and tried to take slow deep breaths and think of something positive and peaceful. He remembered thinking this was such a stupid thing to do when he first start therapy. The first couple of times he tried it didn't work and it just made him more frustrated. Eventually it started to work and what he thought about that caused him to calm down was always her. Thinking about their past times together or even imagining what her life was like. In this instance, he did the same thing. He thought about how it was to be in her space again talking like they used to and just hanging out. He thought about her smile and even them laughing at his Dean Porter jealousy. And he finally he thought about how it felt again to touch her and hold her.
They didn't hug much throughout their time as partner, a few standing out more than others like after Kathy had Eli and after Sonya was killed. Both times he held on for dear life as both were times he could have lost her and had to face the possibility of life without her. Tonight they hugged more times than they had in their 12-year partnership. She felt so good in his arms and there was hardly any unease despite how long they had been apart. Their text messages even brought a smile to his face.
Elliot's breathing and heart rate eventually returned to normal and he was able to pull himself back into the bedroom and get ready for bed. As he lay trying to drift to sleep he let images of Olivia happy with her son flash through his head and thoughts of seeing them both tomorrow. He silently thanked God for her forgiving him and allowing them to manage some sort of friendship. He didn't know what the future held but for now just getting the chance to be in her good graces was enough for him. He drifted off into a peaceful sleep hopeful and ready for whatever was to come next.
Olivia's alarm went off promptly at 6am and caused Noah to stir. She normally liked to let him sleep in so she could take a shower and get dressed before tending to him. Luckily he went back to sleep and she tiptoed into her bathroom and began to get ready for the day.
While she showered she thought again of her night with Elliot. She was so nervous about telling him about her last few years. Subconsciously she began to rub the scars on her breast as she thought about all that she revealed to him the night before. The conversation about Lewis was the worst part and she kicked herself for revealing more details than she planned to considering she wasn't sure how he was dealing with everything. He said he was doing okay and she could tell some things were changed but he was known to rage at any time before. She wasn't so sure that now would be any different. He hadn't been back in her life for that long and although she knew he had changed somewhat, she didn't want to do anything that would trigger him especially because she could see how hard he worked to put his life back together.
He told her he loved her. She kept playing the words in her head over and over again. She didn't know how to feel about it. It instantly brought a smile to her face when she thought about it last night and invited him to dinner tonight with Noah. But today in the light of day she wasn't sure what to think. It took her awhile to admit that she was in love with the Elliot she once knew when they were partners. She wasn't happy when he went back to Kathy and was always disappointed that he didn't make a move when he was separated. He told her after the Gitano case that her and the job was all he had left and he didn't want to wreck that. She took that at the time to mean he would never cross the line with her so she sat back silently while he went back to Kathy and had another baby. She even delivered the baby, the whole time hiding how she really felt about him. The first time she admitted it out loud was last year when she was interrogating a female cop who was covering up a rape for her partner who she was in love with.
Olivia didn't realize how long she had been in the shower with reflections of last night until her water turned cold and she heard the baby crying.
"Good Morning sweet boy. Mama's here, it's ok," she said as she soothed a crying Noah. He immediately calmed down in her embrace. She walked him to the kitchen and began to make his breakfast. While the little boy ate, she started to think about what she could make for dinner with Elliot tonight. She didn't cook often but after he cooked for her last night she thought it would be wrong to make him eat take out tonight. She sighed when she realized there wasn't much in the fridge and she knew with work she would have no time to shop, she barely thought she would have time to cook.
Lucy was coming in the door as Olivia slouched against the counter.
"Good Morning Olivia and Good Morning Noah," she said as she set down her purse and coat.
"Good Morning Lucy," Olivia responded sounding exasperated.
"Nothing just realized that I don't have any food and I was supposed to be making dinner tonight for a friend."
"Like a date?" Lucy asked and her eyes lit up. She often worried about Olivia because all she did was work and never seemed to have time for anyone special.
"Uhh, well not really just an old friend," Olivia said and walked away not meeting Lucy's eyes.
"Well Noah and I were going to go to the park today. How about I pick up some groceries while I'm out."
"No sweetie I appreciate the offer but you don't have to do that."
"It would be my pleasure. I need to pick up a few things for Noah anyway. Just text me what you want to cook and Ill take care of it. What time is he coming over?"
"7. Thanks so much Lucy. I'm going to be late if I don't hurry. Let me go get dressed and head out."
Elliot texted her that morning to tell her that he had to push dinner back to closer to 8:30. Olivia was actually grateful that the time was pushed back a little because it gave her time to get herself together a bit more and actually cook a decent meal. She decided on steak which was always a favorite of Elliot's. She left the precinct at about 6 a little earlier than she normally does and went home to prepare. Lucy was nice enough to leave everything out for her that she would need and she got everything ready as quickly as she could. Lucy left and smirked a bit at Olivia's obvious nervousness, which confirmed that it wasn't just an old friend. She made a mental note to knock before just coming in the apartment with her key in the morning.
While the steak was cooking, she took Noah to get him cleaned up and ready.
"Ok Noah, we are going to have Mommy's friend Elliot over for dinner tonight. He's really excited to meet you," she said as she changed his diaper and put him in his pajamas. Because Elliot pushed the dinner back, Noah was only going to be up for a short time because his bed time was usually around 8:30. She fed him and let him play with toys in her room while she got ready.
She mentally inventoried her closet while at work all day and could only come up with one black dress that wasn't overly formal or overly casual. She washed up, changed and tried to make her hair and make up look good without looking like she put in too much effort.
Ugh. I'm being ridiculous, she said to herself as she fussed over her hair for the tenth time in the mirror.
At 8:19pm her doorbell rang.
Shit he's early, she cursed out loud. The baby was content playing on her bed while drinking some juice. She picked him up and put him in his highchair,
Olivia took a deep breath and fixed her dress one more time before she opened the door.
"Hey there, you're early," she said with a nervous smile on her face.
"Hey," Elliot replied nervously as he eyed her from head to toe taking in how great she looked in the dress. "You look great."
"Thanks come on in. You look pretty good yourself." Elliot wore black slacks and a dark blue button down long sleeve shirt that fit snug against his muscular frame. "Thanks. This is my special meeting baby Noah outfit. Here I brought you a bottle of wine and a gift for the little guy."
Right on cue, Noah began babbling from his seat. Olivia walked over to him and picked him up. She was beaming as she held him in her arms.
"Noah this is my friend Elliot that Mommy told you about. Elliot this is my son Noah," she said as she was bouncing him up and down.
"Hi little guy. I'm Elliot. I'm really happy to meet you. I brought you something you may like." Noah looked back and forth between Elliot and his mom as if he wasn't quite sure how to react. He was a little indifferent with people he just met.
"It's a set of blocks similar to the ones I got Eli when he was little. He would play with those things for hours."
"Excellent choice. He loves blocks. Look Noah, look at the present."
She set him down while Elliot took the blocks out of the bag. They all kneeled down on the floor while Elliot sorted the blocks. Noah looked on in anticipation as everything was taken out. When Elliot started to put the blocks on top of each other he immediately perked up and started clapping his hands together making them both smile.
"Block mama," Noah said pointing and grabbing one of the blocks from Elliot.
"I see the blocks," she said helping him to put another block on top of another. Elliot sat back and took in the scene. Hearing Noah call Olivia mom released all of the nervous tension he had. He couldn't be happier for her and as he always suspected, she was a natural as a mother. He could tell how much the little boy adored her.
The kitchen timer went off signaling dinner was ready.
"Oh let me grab that," Olivia said getting up taking Noah with her. He began to wiggle and protest not wanting to leave his blocks.
"It's ok, you go check on that I will stay down here with him," Elliot said giving her a reassuring smile.
While Olivia was in the kitchen getting the steaks out of the oven and fixing the plates Elliot whispered to Noah. "You know what Noah. You have the best mommy in the whole world. You are one lucky little boy." He reached up and rubbed the little boy's hair as he continued to play with his blocks.
"Ok dinner is ready. Glass of wine?"
She placed the plates on her coffee table along with the glasses of wine and the bottle while Elliot collected himself off the floor.
"You cooked?!" he asked with a surprised smirk on his face.
"Well some things have changed Stabler," she deadpanned.
"Clearly. I was expecting Chinese takeout," he countered.
"Funny," she smirked at him, "Ok little guy tell Elliot good night. It's bedtime."
Noah whined a little when she picked him up from his blocks but started to rub his eyes and yawn so she knew he was definitely tired and would be sleeping in no time.
"Good night little man. It was nice to meet you."
"Night," Noah said and laid his head on his mom's shoulders.
Elliot collected the blocks and put them in the little boy's toy box. He heard Olivia talking to Noah and walked over to the room to watch.
He watched as she rubbed his hair and back as he easily drifted to sleep. He had seen her be so good with victims and with children but seeing her with her own child brought on another level of admiration for her that he didn't know was possible. She was right. Although a lot of things were the same, there was a lot that changed. Her life was nothing like it was four years ago and he hoped that he still fit into it.
"I love you. Sleep tight," he heard her say to Noah as she walked towards the door to shut it softly.
"He was exhausted he went straight to sleep. Thanks for the blocks. He really liked them," she said while they walked back over to the food on the coffee table.
"You're welcome. He really is beautiful Liv. Thanks for letting me meet him."
" Of course. I'm glad you got to meet him."
They both took a sip of wine and sat for a second in silence before Elliot spoke up.
"So..it's just me and you now," he said as he lifted his wine glass to toast her.
"Looks like it. Cheers."