The Wild Card
After a week of being in the house with Noah, Olivia was finally able to get back to work. He never got the Measles and Dr. Lee gave him the all clear to resume his normal schedule. She was happy to get back to some normalcy but she had to admit she enjoyed being in a bubble for a little while with Elliot and her son. There were short visits from the squad to drop off paperwork and check on her but for the most part her days were filled with the two of them. They watched TV together, played with toys, laughed, talked and ate dinner together. It was becoming more and more like it used to be with her and Elliot. They were comfortable and at ease with each other in a more intimate way.
As Noah slept she initiated a few makeout sessions with Elliot but he quickly put an end to them because they were both getting too caught up. He told her he knew she wasn't ready to take the next step yet and he didn't want to pressure her. The closer they got, the harder it was for him to control himself around her so he tried his best to eliminate the temptation all together.
She pulled out her phone and went through a few of the pictures they had taken during the week and smiled to herself. The picture of Elliot and Noah sleeping at the hospital was the one she liked the most. She traced her finger over the screen across the image as she thought to herself that it was time to tell him she loved him. There had been so many times over the past week that she could've said it but she didn't. She didn't know why she kept holding back but she figured now was the time to tell him. He was going to be in Virginia for the next couple of weekends so she planned to get off early, go get Noah and surprise him at his house by cooking him dinner.
"Hey, do you still have the Williams file?" Amanda asked causing Olivia to jump.
"Oh yeah, it's here somewhere. Oh here you go."
Amanda hung around a little bit wanting to talk. She and Olivia never really did girl talk but she noticed a difference in her lately and had a feeling it was due to her former partner. She and Nick had never met Elliot but they saw how it affected her when Elliot left and they were both worried.
"Umm…hey so glad to hear Noah is ok," she added trying to open the door to a personal topic.
"Yeah it is." She knew what Amanda was trying to do. She had been a detective for too long to not notice that she wanted to talk about something.
"Ok, ill just go."
"Come sit down Amanda," she motioned to her chairs. "What's on your mind?"
"Look..I don't want to get in your personal business. You just seem really happy lately," she added nervously.
"I am happy. For the first time in awhile but I'm sure that's not what you want to talk about."
"Well yes and no," she struggled for the words. "We weren't here when Elliot was here before but we saw the after effects. We are just concerned. You've been through so much lately and we just want to make sure you don't get hurt again."
"Hmmm. Well I appreciate your concern as well as Nick's who I assume is the other part of we that you are referencing, but I can take care of myself," Olivia said more defensively than she meant to sound. She saw Amanda flinch and decided to clean it up. "Look..I get it. The truth is I was a mess when he left and you probably saw a side of me that I'd rather forget. I wasn't being sarcastic when I said I appreciate you guys caring so much. You all have seen me at the lowest of the low especially with all that Lewis stuff. You know how hard it's been for me to forgive and move on in situations so trust me when I say the fact that I have forgiven Elliot means there was good reason. It's ok. Trust me."
"You're right. I'm sorry," Amanda apologized while heading for the door.
"Don't be sorry. Don't stop checking up on me. I need it," she said offering the blonde a reassuring smile.
Elliot was at home beginning to start preparing for his trip. He was getting his coursework and everything in order because he spent so much time at Olivia's house lately he was behind. He didn't regret the time he spent there and hated having to go back to work even if it was on weekends. He didn't want the distance between them to grow and with her hectic work schedule he was worried he wouldn't get to see her as much. He was only able to spend so much time with her lately because of Noah being sick.
He decided to get in some extra time with Eli since he was going to be missing the weekends. He was on his way out the door to pick him up when he ran into Kathy at the front door.
"Hey, I was just on my way to get him," Elliot said surprised.
"Daddy!" Eli screamed and ran into his arms hugging him.
"Hey buddy. You ready to spend some time with your old man?"
"Yeah can we go to the park and get ice cream and go get pizza and.."
"Whoa whoa Eli, maybe you and your daddy can just do one thing," Kathy said patting the top of his head.
"Ooookkkk," he whined walking into the kitchen to grab a snack.
Kathy and Elliot stood in the doorway awkwardly before he finally invited her in. He sensed there was something she wanted to talk about.
"Can I get you something to drink?" he asked.
"No I'm good," she replied timidly.
"What's on your mind Kathy?"
"How did you know?"
"We were married for over 25 years Kath. I think I can tell when something is on your mind. Talk to me," he coaxed her.
"I don't want to fight Elliot," she said.
He took a deep breath to steady himself and brace for whatever she wanted to talk about.
"Have a seat." He motioned toward the couch. She sat down clutching her purse. "Ill send Eli to his room for a bit and have him watch some cartoons."
When he came back he sat next to Kathy and waited for her to talk.
"Elliot I know that we are divorced now and what you do is none of my business…"
"I talked to Maureen. She told me about the hospital stay and how it may have brought up some bad memories for you about Kathleen," she was getting emotional at the mention of her deceased daughters name.
"I'm ok Kath. How are you holding up?" he asked taking hold of her hand to comfort her.
"I'm ok. Some days better than others. But we're all healing Elliot, I just want to make sure it stays that way."
"Why wouldn't it?" He was confused as to where she was going with this.
"Olivia. It's her son that was in the hospital."
"Ahh, so that's what this is about. Olivia."
"I knew it wouldn't be long before you reached out to her. We even talked about it when you were getting better it's just…"
"When Maureen told me about the hospital stay and you being upset I just got concerned that maybe you being around her and her son may be too much too fast for you. I don't want you to lose all the progress you have been making. It was bad Elliot. Really bad."
"YOU DON'T..you don't think I know that?" he yelled then calmed himself back down aware of Eli in the other room. He started pacing around in the living room trying to gather himself.
"I don't wanna fight," she said again.
"I don't either. I'm sorry. Kathy I know I was in a bad way. I'm committed to staying on the straight and narrow for my kids. There are things that are going to come up that are always going to bring back memories of that time in our lives. I have to face it or it will always be this pink elephant in the room. I can't live my life dodging everything. It doesn't help anything."
"You're right. I'm just being too overprotective I guess."
"It's ok," he said softening to the conversation. "Thanks for looking out for me and for everything you did to help me during that time. I love you Kath. Always will," he said placing a kiss on her cheek.
"But not as much as Olivia though right?" she whispered. It was so low that Elliot thought he heard her wrong.
"I'm sorry I shouldn't have said anything."
"Kathy we've talked about this while I was going through therapy. You are the one that told me to call her."
"I did that because I had no choice Elliot. I knew she was the only one that could help you come to terms with everything or..at least give you something to live for."
"I thought we were past this."
"I thought I would be ok with it but when I talked to Maureen and then last week when it was evident you had plans it just all became a little too real. I'm going to work through it I have no choice. You and I aren't married anymore."
Elliot cursed himself for being so naïve to think that everything would fall into place with incorporating Olivia back into his life. He wanted his family on board and he knew that started with Kathy but she was the wild card.
"It doesn't matter that we aren't married anymore. You will always be in my life," he paused knowing the next statement would hurt her. "And if I have it my way so will Olivia. I won't lose her again. I just want..""For us all to get along?" Kathy responded with a sarcastic chuckle.
"Yes. For the kids sake."
"I've always liked Olivia and I know that you two have always loved each other."
"Calm down. I didn't say you slept with her but you and I both know you have loved her for a long time and I know she felt the same."
"How do you know that?"
"Women know these things. I've had enough interactions with her one on one to know how she felt. She was in love with you but she never acted on it and I have to respect her for that."
Elliot kept quiet as she kept talking.
"Sometimes I wish she would've when we were separated so it would've made it easier for me to hate her but she delivered my child, she helped Kathleen when we couldn't get through to her. I will always be grateful to her," she said while starting to cry.
"Come here." He pulled her into a hug.
"You deserve to be happy Elliot. I will never stand in the way of that. It's just going to be hard to see you with her. She was such a part of our family and it's awkward. I want to be able to be civil and I will do my best. Just know that it's hard and there are going to be missteps. Ill work through it though."
"That's all I could ask for. You know Liv. She would never do anything to make this harder on you."
"Yeah. Saint Olivia," she said sarcastically. Elliot frowned. "Sorry. See I told you there would be some missteps."
"Can I ask you a question? It's personal and you don't have to answer."
"Go ahead," he agreed reluctantly.
"Have you guys made it official? Taken that step?"
He knew what she was getting at.
"If you are asking if we slept together, no. She hasn't even told me she loved me."
"What? Well you know she does."
"I assume she does, but she hasn't said it. Ironically I think you are a large part of that."
"Me?" Kathy asked confused.
"I think she's worried about how you would feel and if you would hate her. She thinks she is the reason our marriage didn't work out."
"Well she was a part of the reason. I'm not going to sugar coat that for her but I also know that if she wasn't in the picture we would've divorced at some point anyway."
"Yeah well I think she needs to work through her feelings about all of that and that may take some time which is fine with me. I don't want to make this situation hard on anybody, including the kids. I want them to see us have a united front."
"You want me to get the kids on board hunh?" she asked.
"I just don't want them to see any tension. If there are any issues you have with Olivia, or me I want us to talk about it. Not with the kids. I know they are all grown now except Eli and you all talk but if you could just try and have those discussions with me I think it would be helpful."
"Ok. I'll do that. I don't want them to have any more pain. They've been through enough. I do think you are worrying over nothing though. Lizzie and Maureen both love Olivia. They always have. Dickie has even come around a bit. He told me the two of you talked."
"Yeah but liking Olivia and liking her in a relationship with me is two different things. There's also another child to consider. Noah. There's just a lot to get used to."
"Noah. That's his name?" Kathy asked.
"Yeah. He's a beautiful kid," Elliot said and Kathy could see the affection he had for him in his eyes.
"Sounds like you are pretty attached to him."
"He's a great kid. She's let me spend some time with him recently while he was sick."
"Well sounds like one big happy family," she said sarcastically. "I'm sorry," she apologized right after. "I'm going to get better at this I promise."
"Yeah you will. Thank you for at least being open to it. I know it's not easy."
She nodded acknowledging his statement.
"Well I'm sure Eli is ready for some ice cream. Why don't you join us?"
"Oh no I should get going."
"It won't take too long. I have ice cream in the freezer, even bought some toppings for him to make a sundae. I know that's his favorite."
She set her purse down while Elliot got Eli from the back. The three of them enjoyed sundaes in the dining room and laughed like old times. Despite the weight of the previous conversation, it was lost in sounds of Eli's laughter and ice cream.
Olivia decided to leave work a little early and headed home to grab Noah. She wanted to pay Elliot a surprise visit and instead of cooking, she decided that her and Noah would take him out for a bite to eat. She liked that she could spend time with both her son and Elliot and Lucy was finally able to have a little time off after she was constantly relying on the young woman to watch him at all times of the night.
She pulled outside of Elliot's place and woke Noah up who drifted off to sleep from the drive.
"Come on sweetie. Let's go see our friend Elliot," she said as he struggled to wake up.
She knocked on the door and it took him a moment to answer.
"Hey," he said surprised.
"Hey we came to surprise you and take you out for a bite to eat," she said enthusiastically until she heard voices from the background.
"Oh…well I can't right now I—"
"Daddy who's at the door?" Eli yelled.
Before Elliot could explain Kathy came to the door. The two ladies locked eyes and Kathy looked over at Noah in Olivia's arms who was now fully awake.
"Well hello Olivia. I haven't seen you in awhile, it's nice to see you."
Olivia was obviously caught off guard and fought to regain her composure.
"H-hey Kathy it's nice to see you too." She turned her attention to Elliot. "I uhh Noah and I umm came to invite you out for something to eat before you left but umm I can see you are busy so we can just go. Sorry," she said nervously turning on her heel to leave.
"Olivia don't go," Kathy called out cutting Elliot off. "Come in, join us."