Detective Olivia Benson awoke from her dreamless sleep, vaguely aware that it was early around mid-morning. It was the first time in a while she'd slept for more than 4 hours at a time, and she still wasn't quite ready to get up yet. After another particularly grueling case dealing with a piano teacher who was molesting his students, Captain Cragen ordered Olivia to take a week's vacation, no work related activity whatsoever, no negotiations. It was only day 2 of her mandatory holiday and she had honestly run out of things to do. After fixing her bathroom sink, vacuuming, dusting, doing dishes, finishing 3 loads of laundry and watching hours of trashy daytime TV, Olivia officially had no idea what to do with herself.
She now breathed a heavy sigh as she rolled herself onto her back and forced her eyes open, contemplating her options for how she could spend her day. She finally settled on doing what many people liked to do when they couldn't think of anything better to do; eat. After sitting up and throwing back the covers she ran her fingers through her already tousled hair and got to her feet. On her slow shuffle to her kitchen she briefly stopped to stare at the photo of herself and her now ex-partner that stood on a table in the hallway. It had been nearly six months since the tragic shooting at the station house. Since Elliot resigned himself from the Special Victims Unit, Olivia felt as though she had lost a part of herself. It had been so long since she felt her best friend standing by her side. Despite her feelings of shock, disappointment, and abandonment, within a few weeks life had returned to the usual.
I wonder what El's up to today.
She spared half a moment to consider the idea of calling him on the phone when she was knocked out of her private thoughts by the distinct noise of her empty stomach growling. Continuing on her original mission, she moved into the kitchen. Reaching out a hand to open the top cupboard she was presented with her only three options: a bottle of ketchup, an unopened box of gravy mix, and an expired can of a brand of Campbell's soup that she didn't even like.
Oh right, I forgot, I didn't get a chance to go grocery shopping this week.
Knowing what she'd probably find but trying her luck anyway, she moved onto the refrigerator and pulled open the door: a box of baking soda , and a bag of week old-Chinese takeout. For fun she checked the freezer, and sure enough she found a bag of frozen meat, covered with enough freezer burn to render it unrecognizable. Between her aching, rumbling belly and the breakfast options in her kitchen, Olivia wasn't sure if she should laugh or cry. Being a bachelorette for most of her life, Olivia never found the initiative to stock up on groceries to last her more than a week at a time. She spared a moment to reminiscence about when her ex-partner used to tease her about her dependence on take-outs and delivery and didn't even realize that the corners of her mouth had turned into a weak smile. She heaved a sigh and stared up at the ceiling.
Well, I can either get dressed and go find some food, or I can go back to bed and starve.
Purposely dragging her feet, Olivia made her way back to her bedroom to find some clothes to throw on for her hopefully quick and uneventful trip to the mini market up the street.
And here I thought I could get away with staying in the apartment for a whole day. Please God, no surprises. . .
Olivia slowly walked up and down the aisles, blankly tracing her eyes over the names on the cereal boxes, knowing that she didn't really care for any of them. She glanced at the basket she held at her side, trying to jog her memory on what other fundamental items she needed to pick up while she was there. Deciding that she had at least enough to get her to the end of her mini vacation, she started to make her way to the cash registers. While walking past the freezers, she caught a quick glance at her reflection in the glass doors. She barely recognized herself in jeans, a loose sweatshirt and her hair up in a messy ponytail and absolutely no make-up. Although it had taken over a decade for her to build up to the "business casual" portion of her wardrobe, she had to admit it was a rare and wonderful gift to switch back into "civilian gear" once in a while.
She finally made up it up the check-out counter and began to load her items on the converter belt.
"Bless my heart, I must be dreaming . . . is that you, Olivia?" exclaimed the older gentleman behind the register. Olivia smiled and rolled her eyes.
"Morning, Jake. How've you been?"
Jake beamed at her in a way that genuinely warmed her heart.
"Not as well as you, honey! I barely recognized you without your badge and gun. You didn't get fired did you?" Olivia shook her head as she pulled her wallet out of her purse.
"Nope, I got put on mandatory vacation. My boss threatened me and everything."
"Well it's about time! You work too hard. Too much work is bad for you, it puts stress lines around your eyes and mouth." He eyed her purchases as he scanned them and placed them in the large brown paper bags. "You planning on cooking dinner for a date tonight?" he asked hopefully.
"Nope, just stocking up on enough to keep me alive for the week."
Jake clicked his tongue as he rang up her total. "Pretty girls like you shouldn't be having dinner alone at home. You sure I can't fix you up with someone? You know son has some friends of his from work. . ."
"Unfortunately not all men are as sweet as you, Jake," she interrupted, handing him her money.
"Amen to that, darlin'" He opened the register to give her change and print her receipt. "I don't know what's gotten into young fellas these days, no manners and even less class. I tell you what, if you don't get a date with a nice gentleman, and I'm still alive, how about I take you out for a night of dinner and dancing?"
Olivia laughed as she pocketed her change and picked up her bags. "Well gee, that's awfully tempting, Jake, why don't I get back to you?"
Jake smiled and waved at her as she made her way to the sliding doors. "Don't hurry back with the answer! If my wife Helen finds out she'll have you arrest me!"
Olivia shook her head again as she walked back out into the sunshine, it was windy but warm. As she walked down the sidewalk attempting to carry her two bags along with her purse with only two arms, she pondered the idea of possibly heading back out after breakfast to take a leisurely walk in the park. She immediately thought of Captain Cragen lecturing her, as if he could read her thoughts.
"I should've known you couldn't help yourself. One week, Benson. I told you no work for one whole week. Can't you just stay home and watch Netflix like everyone else?"
It's not really working if I'm off the clock, she reasoned with herself. I'm just going for a relaxing walk, getting some fresh air, maybe I'll feed the ducks. . .
"HOLD THAT BUS! HOLD THAT BUS!"
Olivia was suddenly knocked out of her thoughts by the voice of someone shouting behind her.
"WAIT FOR ME! HOLD THAT BUS!"
She barely had a chance to turn around when the body belonging to the voice suddenly crashed into her and someone else walking in the opposite direction. Olivia stumbled slightly and managed to keep her balance but the man had roughly jolted her arm and she'd dropped one of her bags and its contents on the sidewalk. The man rushing to the corner, wearing a shirt and tie and carrying a briefcase barely yelled a "Sorry, Lady!" over his shoulder before managing to flag down the driver and hop on the bus that was just about to pull off.
Olivia stared after him and groaned as she stooped over to collect her belongings.
I can't believe I got out of bed for this.
"Are you okay? Here, let me help you with those."
"Oh that's okay, I got it," Olivia muttered without looking up.
"No, really, I insist."
The other man who had also been nearly knocked over a moment ago immediately crouched next to Olivia and helped her return her disposed items back into the brown paper bag.
"Jeez, some people. . .that's the second time this morning I almost got mowed down." He picked up Olivia's bag and handed it to her and he dusted off his jeans and stood up again.
"Yeah, tell me about. Thanks though, I really appreciate your-," Olivia stopped mid-sentence as she finally caught a good look at the person who had been speaking to her.
He was tall. NBA player tall, she noted. Standing at full height in her sneakers, the top of her head barely came to his shoulders, and she suddenly felt rather childlike standing next to this large man. If she could see herself staring at him with her mouth hanging open, she would've kicked herself. The man looked at her for a moment as if waiting for her to finish her sentence. When she didn't, he immediately put his eyes on the ground as he searched the pavement for something. He suddenly took 2 giant steps and picked up something behind Olivia; a pair of sunglasses that had flown off his face when the business man had shoved passed him. One of the lenses had popped out and the man picked that up too and held it up in front of Olivia.
"Well there's 40 bucks down the drain." He shrugged and placed both the items in his back pocket. "Are you sure you're okay?" Olivia still hadn't taken her eyes off of him yet.
He was young, not exactly in his twenties but definitely younger than her. She had to tilt her head back to look at him, but she couldn't help but stare into his face: he had a strong and sleek jawline, and rather pronounced nose, and eyes that were a hybrid of greenish-brown. His dark brown hair was glossy, as if he had just stepped out of the shower. He was slender but not skinny, and Olivia took half a second to notice his strong biceps protruding from his black t-shirt. He reminded her of a young Marlon Brando. It took the sound of a car horn passing by and a quick shake of her head to snap her back into reality.
"Um yeah, I'm okay. I've been almost-tackled by running pedestrians enough times how learn how to keep myself from eating pavement."
Olivia almost wished she hadn't made the joke in the first place when the man started to laugh; he had large, practically immaculate, white teeth that sparkled along with his eyes. "Wow, you must be a pretty tough lady then," he said.
"I guess so." she shrugged. He was staring at her now too, and naïve part of Olivia's mind wondered if he could even hear her thoughts. She decided to break this awkward encounter before she said or did something she would regret.
"Um, well I've got to get going, but thanks again for the help. It was very nice of you."
For crying out loud, you sound like you're his mother.
She had taken a few steps when he called to her, "Actually before you take off, I was wondering if you could help me with something?"
Olivia stopped in her tracks and turned her body halfway towards him.
"I was wondering if you knew a place around here that sells 5Krazy's? I heard only a couple of stores in New York still sell them, and I've already been to 3 different places."
He's so. . .long. Is he a model or something?
Olivia forced herself to stop gawking at him long enough to let his words register in her mind.
"5Krazy's? Oh yeah, I think they sell those in there," she used her chin to point to the market that she had just came out of. "They're in the refrigerators by the front registers."
The tall stranger followed her gesture to the store up the street.
"Oh really? Hey, thanks a lot, you just saved me another smelly ride on the bus." He gave her a wink that almost made her drop her bag again, but she managed to maintain composure. "You take care now, ma'am."
The sound of the last word made her face dim almost immediately, and if the man had not continued to walk on in the opposite direction, he would have seen her reaction for sure. As Olivia turned around and continue to make her way back home, her mind started to take jabs at itself.
'Ma'am'? I can't believe he called me 'ma'am'! I guess he was trying to be respectful but still. . .that'll teach me to leave the apartment looking like a soccer mom. . .
In the opposite direction the young stranger was replaying the last few minutes to himself in his mind. He glanced at the corner market as he walked by, but he did not go in and instead continued to walk leisurely up the street, briefly checking over his shoulder to make sure the woman was completely out of sight. He knew that store carried 5Krazy's, and he knew because he'd been in there once this week to stock up on the fizzy energy drink. He'd only asked the woman where he could find them to make conversation. Of course he had noticed her gaping at him, but he didn't mind, he was used to women staring at him, and why not give the lady what she wanted?
While the random encounter had provided him with a little bit of entertainment, right now he had other plans in mind. He had only been in New York City a week and he was already growing anxious and impatient. He knew exactly what he wanted; he went through his entire life knowing precisely what he wanted and how to get it. It was all just a game to him. A wild game in which he knew without fail, how to stay in total control.
After walking around for another 10 minutes, he found himself in front of an Ace Hardware store. He stopped in his tracks to pull out a credit card from his pocket and tilted the plastic card in the sunlight to read the name printed on the bottom: Trisha Moreno.
Just a little while longer, Trish. Then you'll have me all to yourself.
He stared considerately at the name for a moment, getting his thoughts in order, and then slipped it back into his side pocket. He then swiftly walked through the sliding doors entering to the hardware store, but not before depositing the broken sunglasses, which he had stolen, into a garbage can next to the entrance.
I'm not 100% happy with this chapter because it was pretty boring and I think it could have been more detailed. Things will definitely pick up in the next chapter, I promise!
Reviews are welcome!