"So you can make your own lists and name them what you want. Then you do searches and pin them to those lists. Like this," Lizzie said pressing buttons on Olivia's iPad. "And there you go. There's recipes, decorating ideas, book suggestions, fashion tips, everything."
Olivia looked on in wonder and was surprised by how intrigued she was with the site. "So that's it? Wow. I should've had this when I was decorating the baby's nursery."
Lizzie got up from the sofa and put Noah in his high chair. "No, you did a really good job with her nursery. I'm impressed. I was actually going to ask you if that should be my next project."
Olivia laughed and continued to scroll through Pinterest. "Are you sure you don't want to be a party planner or something? You really have been on quite a roll lately."
"Oh no," the blonde replied putting some grapes on Noah's high chair. "It's these darn apps. They make you think you can do anything. I'm telling you Pinterest changed my life Liv."
Olivia sat up straight on the couch and muted the television. "I guess I understand your point. I've been watching HGTV for the past week and I'm convinced I can remodel this whole house for less than $5,000."
"Don't let dad or Dick hear you say that. They were working around the clock on this place. I'm glad it's finally done and ready to go. It's pretty cool," she said looking around.
Olivia observed Lizzie maneuvering around the kitchen. She had been there everyday for the past week and hadn't complained once. Normal kids her age would be out partying for their senior year and going out all times of the night but she was perfectly content staying at home and taking care of her family. For all the ways that she had a lot of Elliot in her, her nurturing nature clearly came from her mom.
It had been six days since Elliot left and a day longer since she went on bedrest and she was going completely insane. All the usual suspects came by to visit her, Munch, Don, the squad and all of the kids but it wasn't a substitute for her husband. She tried to distract herself with television shows but when that wore off she moved on to her iPad, which previously had only been used to look at crime scene photos and emails, and distracted herself with apps and games. Lizzie suggested a bunch of apps for her including Pinterest and she found some pregnancy related ones that were interesting.
"Is it almost time for your doctor's appointment?" Lizzie asked looking at her watch.
Olivia tried to put her shoes on when she noticed the time. "Yes it is. Are you sure you are ok with taking me? I can call Alex or Casey."
"It's totally fine Liv. I would actually love to go. It will be cool to hear about the baby firsthand," she said feeding Noah the last of his snack. "Ill get this little guy's shoes on and then we can get going."
At the doctor's office, Lizzie and Noah came to the back with her while she was examined.
"Well look who we have here," Dr. Wilder said bending down to see Noah who was standing next to Lizzie.
"This is Noah. Can you say hi?" Lizzie asked Noah who was acting shy.
He put his hands up for Lizzie to pick him up before he spoke. "Hi."
Olivia laid down trying to get comfortable and formally introduced the kids. "That's the infamous Noah. And the beauty holding him is my stepdaughter Lizzie."
She glowed at the compliment, "It's nice to meet you."
"Well I can definitely tell Elliot is your father. I'd recognize those blue eyes anywhere," the doctor commented.
"Are you still feeling ok?" she asked Olivia.
"Yeah just bored out of my mind but you will be happy to know I've been staying off my feet and doing a whole lot of nothing," she said rolling her eyes.
"And I've been making sure of that," Lizzie interjected. "My dad will be gone another week so definitely don't want my sister coming before then."
"Well it's a good thing she has you because if I know Olivia, she wouldn't have been so easy to convince to stay off her feet especially without Elliot around to supervise her."
The doctor checks her and discovers that she is a little more thinned out than last time and a centimeter dilated. Olivia immediately the disappointment on her stepdaughter's face.
"Do you think I will make it another week?" Olivia asks concerned.
"It's hard to say. You could go in to labor tomorrow or go another two weeks. I can't really tell you one way or another. She's going to come when she wants to come."
Everything else looked fine and she sent Olivia home with an appointment again in later in the week. While she gathered her paperwork from the doctor she saw Lizzie texting on her phone and she looked concerned. During the car ride home she tried to feel her out.
"So do you have any plans tonight?" Olivia asked.
Lizzie kept her eyes straight ahead, tension radiating from her. "Well I was thinking I could pick up some ice cream and me, you and Noah could watch a movie."
"You mean the same thing we did last night," she retorted.
"Ok I'll mix it up. You like board games?" Lizzie said forcing a smile.
She watched her for a moment and decided to be direct. "You want to talk about it?"
She gave Lizzie a knowing look.
"Can we talk about it when we get home?"
Home. Olivia was beginning to love that word more and more and was happy that she considered their house her home even though she didn't live there full time.
When they made it back to the house, Dickie and Lucy came over for dinner which Lucy cooked and even Simon and little Olivia visited to check on her and brought over more food. Her and Simon got a chance to talk while Noah played with his cousin.
After everyone left Olivia put Noah down for the night, the one task she insisted on doing no matter what, and sat back on the couch waiting for Lizzie. She could hear her in the other room on the phone and the conversation sounded a little stressed. While she waited for her to come out of the other room, she settled on the couch with her feet up and plugged her headphones into her phone.
She smiled to herself thinking about the audio message she found the morning Elliot left of him reading stories to Noah and Charlotte. He recorded a separate message for both of them and she played it for each of them every night. She laid back getting comfortable on the sofa, stretching the headphones across her huge baby bump and listened to the soothing sound of Elliot's voice reading "Love you Forever."
She missed this. It had only been a week but she missed hearing the low timbre of his voice when he would talk to her at nights in bed, or try and calm her down or when he was talking to the children. She worried about his safety and prayed that in his hopes to get back in time for the birth that he wouldn't put himself in harm's way and try to end the operation early.
She started to doze off listening to his voice until she heard Lizzie's footsteps enter the room.
"Hey Liv, you need me to help you to bed?" she whispered.
"Oh no I'm good," she responded and sat back up on the couch. "Come sit." She patted the space next to her and Lizzie obliged. "So tell me. What's going on?"
Lizzie sighed and looked straight ahead at the quiet TV gathering her thoughts. Her long blonde hair was pulled up in a messy bun and she was wearing the glasses that reminded Olivia so much of when she was a little girl playing around in the squad room on the rare occasions that Kathy brought them. She made it a point to only wear them at night or when no one was around convinced they made her look less beautiful than she was.
"I heard you on the phone. Things were a little tense. Everything ok with you and Dean?" she asked her trying to spur her on.
Lizzie shifted uncomfortably. "Liv, how did you know when you were ready to…you know..have sex?"
Olivia smiled slightly. Not only was Lizzie was still a virgin which she was sure Elliot would be thrilled about, but she was actually opening up to her about something difficult for her to talk about. Sensing her discomfort she decided to talk to her less as a parental figure but more of a friend.
"Honestly, I didn't really think about it all that much and I should've. Sex for me was a little different because it was a means of escape for me. It wasn't really about love."
Lizzie was intrigued and shifted her body facing Olivia. "How so?"
"My mom was a mess and I was looking for any and everything to take my mind off of it. I was young. Much younger than you are and I think I was looking for the attention."
"How young?" she asked eagerly. Olivia hesitated briefly.
"It's ok you don't have to tell me." She got ready to turn back around but Olivia put her hand on her knee to stop her.
"I was 15 and he was one of my mom's students. In his 20's. He eventually asked me to marry him when I was 16 but the relationship didn't work out."
"So you regret it?"
"Yes and no. I wish I would've viewed sex differently and took it more seriously but then it's hard for me to regret anything about my life these days because I'm right where I want to be," she said flashing the youngster a smile that she returned.
Lizzie looked at her a little longer with a content smile on her face. "He really does make you happy doesn't he?"
"Yes. He does," she said simply. They didn't need to say names. She knew exactly who she was referring to.
"I guess it's hard to have a worldly or realistic view of sex when your parents were each other's first and your dad marries every woman he's slept with."
Olivia's face registered her surprise and Lizzie looked at her amused. "Oh so you didn't know."
She shrugged. "I just never asked. He was separated and I know he dated but..how do you know this?"
"I know my dad and I paid attention. He went on a few dates when they split the first time, none of them more than once or twice and he was never interested enough to take it further. I think he was still mourning the marriage. And well..you know how things were when he and mom finally divorced. The last thing on his mind was being in a relationship with anyone…other than you."
Olivia sat and thought through Lizzie's words and suddenly everything to her made sense. While Kathleen was sick, Dickie rebelling and Maureen was out of the house, Lizzie was the quiet, consistent child that was always there. She didn't go to the school dances and party like her siblings, she chose to stay home. A choice that allowed her to see more than she should've seen and hear more than she should've heard at a young age. She was all about her family and losing her sister and watching her parents' marriage fall apart was moreso the reason she tried to put everyone back together.
"Lizzie you are a smart girl. Smarter than any girl I know. You will know when it's the right time. I figure if we are having this conversation, then you are already nearing that point. Just tell me he's not pressuring you," she said watching Lizzie for any indication that he was.
"No. The opposite actually. I'm having all these feelings and I've been kind of avoiding him because I don't want to be tempted I guess. I know it's stupid," she said fidgeting with her hands.
Olivia placed her hands over hers to still them. "It's not stupid. I get it believe me."
"God I'm going to want to kill myself for asking but…" she rolled her eyes and fidgeted a bit more suddenly finding the wall behind Olivia very appealing instead of looking her straight in the eye. "Look I want to believe that my dad is a guy who has never had sex because..he's my dad and that's just gross to think about but with the plethora of kids he has running around on Earth including myself and the one in your stomach that's staring me down right now I just have to face reality," she rambled and Olivia laughed. "How did you know it was the right time with my dad?"
"Ironically I waited longer with your dad and thought it over with him more than I have with anyone else I've had sex with."
Lizzie jumped in quick, her curiosity getting the better of her. "How many have there been?"
"And that's something we won't be discussing," she said playfully pointing her finger at her. "Anyway, I waited longer because I loved your dad the most, more than I've loved anyone and I knew it was going to drastically change us either way. Anyone else it didn't matter if it didn't work out but with your dad it was…everything. I had to know that I was ok with it going to a different level and being in deeper than I have ever been before in my life."
Lizzie listened intently and her expression changed as if something Olivia had just said had made her mind for her.
"I hope that makes sense," she said rubbing her back.
Lizzie smiled back. "It does. Thank you…you know for everything. It's cool to have someone to talk to about this stuff."
Olivia thought about her childhood and how much she wished she had someone to talk to when she had these kinds of thoughts.
"You are welcome sweetie." She leaned over and pulled Lizzie into a hug. "It's cool to be here to talk about this stuff with you. I know I'm busy a lot and will be more busy when this little one gets here," she said touching her stomach, "but you can come by the station or here anytime and just…talk. Ok?"
"Really?" Lizzie looked genuinely surprised. "I know I drive everyone nuts."
"Really. I want you to. As a matter of fact, why don't you and I have a standing date to get together at least twice every month just me and you. We can talk, go get manicures, whatever you want."
Lizzie looked as if she was almost about to cry but held it together and nodded her head in agreement.
"Ok. It's a date. Now go to bed, I'm going to..well I guess I'll just lay here for a little while longer," she laughed making fun of her state of not being able to do anything.
"Good night Olivia."
With Lizzie upstairs and Noah fast asleep, she started the audio recording of Elliot reading over again and listened to it in the quiet of her home. Olivia thought about her life and how one way or another everything seems to come full circle. Her relationship with Elliot and becoming a mother. She also remembered the girl who needed somebody to talk to and be there for her when she didn't understand her circumstances and couldn't talk to her mother and how this woman touched her so deeply that she would name her daughter after her. Somehow on this random night when she was wallowing in thoughts of boredom and bedrest, she was able to be that person for someone else.
"We're here," Casey yelled from the foyer. "Liv?"
"I'm here, just laying here," she responded in an annoyed tone from the sofa. "Because you know where else would I be?"
Casey, Alex and Melinda each passed each other cautious glances knowing they were probably stepping into a landmine. It was now twelve days since she had been on bedrest and Elliot was still undercover. Olivia's mood had deteriorated over the last few days and she was getting increasingly uncomfortable. A fact that she was sure to share with anyone who bothered to ask.
Melinda decided to brave her wrath first. "We bought you some lunch and some magazines."
"Thanks," she groaned.
"How are you feeling?" Alex asked out of obligation and caught the murderous glances of Casey and Melinda.
"Well since you asked," she said sitting up and grimacing at the pain in her lower back, "there is not one part of my body that doesn't hurt, ache, itch or something else that's just getting on my nerves. My own son I think is even tired of me. I tried to play with him earlier and couldn't so I tried to read to him instead and he looked utterly bored," she complained.
Casey gave her a sympathetic look. "I'm sorr-"
"And THEN, because I tried to hold on to some sense of reality I called Fin to try and get an update on what's going on at work," she interrupted "he gave me some lame line about oh don't worry everything is fine and rushed me off the phone. So I thought I would just call Nick, you know the one that was my partner, well clearly Fin got to him too so he wouldn't spill. Amanda just dodged my call and they even got to Carisi. I even tried to call him Sonny, that stupid name he keeps telling everyone to call him and that didn't work either. He just told me not to worry and rushed me off the phone."
The ladies didn't know what to say to her. They hadn't seen Olivia this irritable since Elliot turned in his retirement papers.
Olivia rubbed her belly a little irritated because the baby was moving and it was starting to become painful. "I mean this is crazy right? I hate being like this. I mean I'm 48 years old, I know that it's a miracle that I'm even pregnant so I feel guilty for being so miserable. I should be grateful. She's healthy and everything's fine," she said starting to cry. "I just…"
"You just miss Elliot," Casey finished.
"God, when did I become this person? I've never been this dependent on anyone."
"Sorry to break it to you Liv but you and Elliot have always had this codependent thing going on," Alex teased trying to lighten the mood.
Olivia chuckled lightly wiping her face. "Yeah I guess you are right. I just want him here and I want her here," she said motioning to her belly and sighing. "What if she comes and he doesn't make it back in time?" she whispered.
Judging by Olivia's symptoms with being thinned out, the pain in her lower back, Melinda knew that she was likely to go into labor at any minute but she didn't want to alarm her any more than she already was. "He will make it Liv. If I have to go and get him myself. He will make it."
Lizzie, Dickie and Lucy returned later in the afternoon as the ladies were leaving with a tired Noah in tow. Olivia sat on the couch and held him as best she could with her belly getting in the way. She faintly heard a knock on the door before Dickie announcing that he would get it.
"Oh hey Mom," she heard Dickie say.
Her head immediately shot up not expecting Kathy to be at her door.
"Hey squirt," Dickie said and Olivia remembered it was their weekend to have Eli.
Kathy guardedly walked into the living room holding Eli's hand.
"Olivia!" Eli squealed running over to her but then stopping abruptly when she removed her blanket. "Oh wow. You're stomach has gotten even huger since the last time!"
"Eli!" Kathy scolded him.
Olivia couldn't help but laugh at his candidness, the thing she loved most about kids his age.
"It's fine Kathy," she said waving off the comment. "She's moving around now do you want to feel?"
Eli stepped closer and put his hand on her belly.
"Baby," Noah said putting his hand on there as well.
"That's so cool. I can feel her kicking," Eli said in awe. "She kicks a lot. Maybe she will play soccer like me."
"Maybe so," she said kissing his head.
Kathy stayed back by the entrance to the living room not fully coming in. Despite all the progress the family had made, she still wanted to respect boundaries and not overstep.
"I have his clothes and everything in his bag. I know Elliot's on assignment," she said apologetically. "He just really insisted on not missing his weekend here. I would've kept him, I can see you have your hands full."
"It's perfectly fine. Besides I'm tired of seeing the same ole people in out of here, it will be nice to spend my time with someone else."
"Come on squirt, get your stuff let's take it upstairs," Dickie teased. "I'll take Noah up there too. See you later mom."
Kathy waved and stood frozen in place. Olivia noticed her body language and gestured for her to sit down.
Kathy smiled and held her hand up to politely turn down the offer. "I didn't want to stay too long. I just wanted to say I appreciate you being supportive of Elliot going undercover to help out Maureen."
Olivia was a little surprised that she knew but then again she and Elliot seemed to be communicating better these days.
"It's no problem. Of course he's going to do whatever he has to do to help his daughter."
"Yeah I know but just with you being so close to your due date and everything I know he would rather be here than working."
Olivia winced as she made her way to stand up. "I would prefer him be here but..shit.." she cursed leaning over to balance on the coffee table.
"Are you ok?" Kathy asked rushing to her side.
"Yeah just…maybe..I sat too long," she struggled to say holding on to her lower back.
"Is the pain in your back?"
Olivia grabbed Kathy's hand and shoulder as she felt a sharp pain shoot through her. She yelled and Lizzie came running out of the kitchen. "Is everything ok?"
Kathy shot Lizzie a look and mouthed 'Call him' to her while Olivia looked down struggling through a contraction.
"Olivia listen to me. Have you had any other stomach pains today?" Kathy asked.
"I felt a little weird after lunch but that's it. Oh no, this can't be happening already," she cried and tried to breathe.
Lizzie ran to the other room frantically pulling out her phone and searching for the number her dad gave her to call if anything happened.
"Hi Agent Whelan this…this is Elizabeth Stabler, Elliot's daughter."
"Yes is everything alright?"
Not one to mince words she cut straight to the chase. "Pull him."
Lizzie walked back to the living room with a bemused look on her face and saw Olivia on the couch holding her stomach still wincing in pain.
"What's wrong?" Kathy whispered ushering her away from Olivia.
"Nothing. Umm..they are going to pull him. Do you think she's in labor? I've been here with her she hasn't been having contractions," she asked. She was so nervous she was swaying from side to side unable to keep still.
"It sounds like it may be in the early stages but we need to get her to the hospital just to be on the safe side. Nothing will really happen until.."
"Oh god," Olivia groaned.
Kathy and Lizzie rushed back over to her side and saw her eyes wide and mouth gaped open.
"I think my water just broke," she said with tears in her eyes looking down at the liquid on the sofa and floor.
Kathy saw the fear in her eyes and didn't think she had ever seen Olivia look so vulnerable. "Ok, it's ok. Lizzie, go tell Dickie and Lucy to stay here with the boys that we are going to take Olivia to the hospital."
"We?" Lizzie and Olivia asked simultaneously in shock.
"Yes Olivia. My daughter may think she is Superwoman but under this kind of stress I would prefer if I drove you to the hospital and Lizzie can ride with us. Ok?"
Before she could answer she had another contraction and yelled out.
"But…Elliot isn't here," she choked out while in pain.
"It's ok Liv, I called he's on his way," Lizzie assured her before yelling upstairs to Dickie and Lucy and running to the hallway to grab Olivia's bag she packed a few weeks ago.
"Wait," Olivia said before walking out of the door. "Can you go grab Noah?"
Lizzie looked confused for a second until she saw her mom glare at her to do whatever Olivia asked. After bolting upstairs, she was back down in less than a minute with the tot in her arms.
"Come here sweetie," she said holding on to him tight and burying her nose in his hair. Olivia couldn't explain the sudden need she had to embrace the only baby she ever had before she brought another one into the world. She was in too much pain to talk but hoped he understood everything she was trying to say with her embrace. Noah had come to her during a time when she thought that motherhood was out of the question and he healed her in more ways she thought possible. Now she knew this baby would do the same for other members of her family in the same way.
"Bye mama," he said as Lucy took him back in her arms.
Lizzie helped her to the car as she buckled her seatbelt and got settled. Kathy gave her a comforting smile while she started the car. During the ride in between contractions while Lizzie texted furiously on her phone and Kathy drove her cautiously to the hospital to deliver her and Elliot's child, Olivia couldn't help but smile and think to herself how life works itself out.
That everything really does have a way of coming full circle.