"Elizabeth this is….."
"Olivia?! Oh my god," the young woman squealed.
Olivia stood still in shock not believing this whole scene was playing out in front of her.
"You guys know each other?" Nick asked confused.
"Yeah we do," Olivia finally spoke up. "This is Elizabeth Stabler. My ex-partner's daughter."
"Oh", Nick replied surprised.
Before Olivia could react any further Elizabeth ran into her arms and gave her a big hug. It caught her completely off guard.
"Oh my god Olivia it's you. I was hoping they would send you," she cried with tears in her eyes. Olivia could tell at that moment that she was just starting to come to terms with everything that happened that night. Being a cop's kid had toughened her up some but she was only twenty two years old and had just lost her roommate to a violent crime.
"Come here, come sit down,” Olivia said taking her hand. “Nick can you go grab her some water?"
Olivia guided her to a small area with some chairs away from prying eyes and other cops. Once they sat down Olivia tried to talk to her again.
"Honey are you ok? I know that's a dumb question considering…"
Elizabeth wiped her eyes and stared at Olivia as if she had just seen a ghost. "I'm ok. I've missed you so much. Having you here makes it easier. I can't believe Kat is dead."
The words were pouring out of her. She was overwhelmed with everything going on around her and seeing her dad's ex-partner after such a long time just made the night even more unbelievable. She had always felt such a sense of comfort from Olivia. Despite everything that happened with her and her dad, she missed her being around. Her absence had such a profound effect on her family, more than she would probably ever know or be comfortable with.
Olivia gave her a few moments to try and contain herself and as she got ready to continue, Nick walked up with some water.
"Elizabeth, here you go."
"Lizzie. Call me Lizzie," she replied flashing a small smile to Olivia. It was her way of letting her know that some things were still the same despite all the time that passed.
Olivia took her hand in hers again and gave it a comforting pat. "Ok, I know this is difficult Lizzie so just take your time honey and tell us what happened."
Lizzie took a deep breath and began to tell the story. "We had all been on high alert since the stories of the rapist came out. We went most places in pairs and always text each other to let one another know where we were."
"When you say we. Who is all included in that?" Nick asked while writing down notes.
"Me, Kat, Jamie Lyons and Tori Kepner. Jamie and Tori live across the hall from us in our off campus apartments. We are all pretty close."
"Ok continue," Olivia coaxed her along while holding her hand.
Lizzie squeezed her hand and continued. "I fell asleep in the apartment and stayed sleep longer than I thought. Kat had to go to the music building to work on her solo. She's a music major. She tried to wake me I guess and I didn't get up so she left me a note."
She reached in her pocket and pulled out the note to hand to Olivia.
Tried to wake you. Running to the music building to try and record one more solo. Won't be long. Text me when you wake up.
"I woke up about 11:30 and saw her note. I text her and she didn't respond. I waited about 5 more minutes and text her again she didn't answer. So I signed into her icloud account and traced the phone. I saw it was near the library, which is not where she said she would be going so I immediately grabbed my keys and left. I knocked on Jamie and Tori's door but they weren't home and I didn't have time to waste."
As she talked, Olivia looked over at Nick who was frantically writing notes and also seemed a bit surprised at the story as well. There was no doubt that Lizzie was a cop's kid based on how well she was holding up considering the circumstances. She knew all the protocol and what would be asked.
"What time do you think it was by the time you got here?" Olivia asked gently.
"It was 11:51pm. I made a point to look at the time because I know that's important. So I went looking around…"
"You went looking around by yourself? You didn't call anyone?" Nick interrupted.
"When I got here I called campus police and…."Lizzie started to hesitate.
Olivia instantly knew where this line of questioning was going and she held her breath awaiting Lizzie to continue.
"I called my dad. He didn't answer so I left him a voicemail and told him to call me right back because Kat was missing," she explained while looking over at Olivia.
"What did campus police say when you called?" Nick continued trying to ignore the awkward tone that settled over the interview.
She set her cup down on the table and pivoted towards Nick giving him her full attention. "They told me to stay there, asked me for her name and my exact location and they would be there in five minutes."
"Let me guess. You didn't stay put."
Lizzie gave him a guilty look. "Well I was going to but as I started to walk back towards the corner where the police could see me I saw this guy running away and he looked suspicious so I followed him. Sorry." Nick looked up from his note pad and saw that the apology was to Olivia.
Lizzie knew that she was putting herself in danger and that under normal circumstances Olivia and her dad would be scolding her about it.
"Can you give us a description?" Nick asked.
"He was about 5 feet 9 inches tall, brown hair, about mid to late 20's, not the most athletic because he couldn't run that fast, maybe about 190 lbs. I think he normally wears glasses because he seemed to have trouble seeing in the dark based on how he was running. He stayed close to the street lights and then just disappeared off into a corner near the parking lot."
Yeah she's definitely a cop's kid. Nick thought to himself.
"I should've followed him but then I heard a gurgling sound and something move by the side of the library. I went to see what it was and it was Kat. She was gurgling and losing consciousness. I just held her in my arms until campus police arrived. She was already gone when they got there," Lizzie stated matter of factly with tears running down her cheeks.
"You did a good job Lizzie."
"A good job?! I should've gone after him. Who knows what he is going to do to someone else," she shrieked. She was getting more and more upset that there was yet another situation she couldn’t control.
"Hey, that's our job to get him. You were with your friend and held her while she passed away. That's what matters. We are going to get this bastard. Don't you worry," Olivia promised her.
"Thanks Liv. I'm so glad you are here," Lizzie affirmed scooting close to her and giving her a hug.
"Did Kat say anything while you were with her?" Nick asked.
"No, she couldn't,” she shook her head. “The injury to her throat, she couldn't talk."
With that last statement, Nick gave them a minute. There was an obvious maternal connection that Olivia had with Lizzie. She didn't talk about her ex-partner much but he was taken aback to see that she had such a close relationship with his children too. Olivia had only met Zara a handful of times and seemed to keep her personal and professional life separate as much as she could. He got the feeling from watching this exchange that it didn't always used to be that way.
"Do you think you could work with a sketch artist?" Nick asked interrupting them.
"Absolutely. That was going to be my next suggestion to you guys," Lizzie said as she wiped her face.
As they stood up Lizzie reached into her pocket to grab her phone. She had several missed calls and text messages. Most of them were from her dad.
Olivia and Nick looked on as she scrolled through all the messages.
"Lizzie, everything ok?" Olivia asked when she saw a look of concern on her face.
"Umm, I need to call my dad back," she declared awkwardly and stepped away towards the common area.
"Wow. She's something else," Nick commented to Olivia who suddenly looked very tense.
"Yes, she is definitely her father's daughter. She always wanted to major in Criminal Justice. I'm guessing she did," Olivia replied. She felt very numb and confused at the sight of Lizzie. She needed to concentrate because of all the optics on this case and the media that were bound to show up at any moment but she knew that somehow this case was going to put her on a crash course with Elliott.
"Dad. You're here!" Lizzie cried as she ran into her father's arms.
Olivia kept her back turned and took a deep breath. Nick noticed her tense body language. "Don't worry Liv. Ill handle it."
He walked out to greet Lizzie and Elliott while Olivia continued to stand with her back turned. She took several deep cleansing breaths and kept her eyes clothes as she braced herself for the meeting. After four years, this was it. She imagined so many times what she would do and say when she saw him again but she never thought it would be under these circumstances. Her mind started to race and her heart was beating through her chest.
"Lizzie are you ok? Baby what you did was crazy! You could've been killed! I called you a dozen times why didn't you answer?" Elliott screamed as he held the side of her head. Lizzie's tears started fresh. Others may have been put off by his intensity but it was obvious that Elliott was very protective of his daughter and loved her very much.
"I'm sorry dad. I had to go check on her. I called you though just like you told me to and I called the police. I just couldn't wait," she explained as she was hugging her father.
"I would die if something happened to you," he cried holding her tighter.
"Mr. Stabler. I'm Detective Nick Amaro with the Special Victims Unit. I was just interviewing your daughter," Nick introduced himself as he walked up to them.
"Yeah hi," Elliott flinched a bit at the sound of hearing SVU again but of course they would be on the scene. He looked around outside a bit and didn't see anyone he recognized so he figured they weren't there yet.
"Your daughter has been extremely helpful with getting us a description of the perp. We want to get her with a sketch artist as soon as possible so we can get the description out to the public," Nick went on to explain.
"Yeah I know the routine it's just that she's been through so much. Lizzie you sure you want to right now? Maybe I should take you back to my apartment and you get some rest"
She shook her head and remained strong. "No dad. I want to do this. For Kat."
He thought it over a little and then agreed.
"Ok. Amaro was it? No offense but I'm going to want to tag along and make sure everything is handled ok."
"No problem. My boss is here so we can all get going to the station."
Before Elliott could fully register what that statement meant, she walked up.
"This is Sergeant Olivia Benson. I believe you two already know each other."
With that she approached them slowly. Elliott watched as the scene played out in slow motion.
"We do. Hello Elliott. Been a long time."