Chapter Two

Neither Olivia nor Elliot said anything during the entire car ride to Mercy. Olivia did not know how to react to who the victim was. She did not even know if she should be going along with Elliot. She knew that they were partners and Elliot agreed to go with her. However, she was unsure about the whole thing. The fact that Elliot also was not speaking added to her uncertainty. Was he hiding something?

Elliot parked the car and started walking towards the hospital. "I'll talk to the doctor," he said in a dispassionate tone of voice.

"Are you sure?" Olivia asked him. "If you know the victim…"

"Olivia, I said I'll talk to the doctor," Elliot snapped at her. As soon as the words left his mouth, he wanted to take them back. He had to say something else. Quickly. He needed to set things straight between the two of them. "I mean, I would appreciate it if you could talk to Anna. You can relate to the victims better than I can," he said. "I trust you."

Olivia nodded slowly as she eyed Elliot conspicuously. She did, however, agree to talk to Anna. Once the two of them entered the hospital, they split up. Olivia walked over towards the private room where Anna was being treated. She held out her badge and knocked on the door lightly to announce her presence. "Hi," she said softly as she walked over towards the bed. "I'm Detective Olivia Benson from Manhattan Special Victims Unit," she introduced herself.

"Anna Connors," Anna replied. She exhaled deeply. "I suppose you know why you're here." She then shook her head slightly as she fought back tears. She never thought it would be this hard to admit. She was a psychologist. She treated rape and abuse victims and helped them through their pain. She never thought it would happen to her. She never before understood what it felt like. "I'm sorry," she said.

"It's ok," Olivia said soothingly. "We're here to help whenever you're ready."

Elliot was panicking inside. How could this all be happening? Anna did not even live in Manhattan, nor did she work in Manhattan to the best of his knowledge. He was almost certain she lived somewhere in Westchester County. He definitely could not go in there and see her. He was done talking to the doctor. Anna had vaginal bruising. The rape kit was positive for fluids, but negative for semen. He had everything he needed, except his partner. Olivia was still in the exam room talking to Anna.

He could not go in there. He knew how he felt about Olivia and Kathy. Sure, Kathy was a wonderful woman. He liked her. She was the mother of his children as well as his wife. He should be able to love her more than he actually did. He should be able to care about her more than he does. But Olivia…He had more than just a physical attraction to her. He had been through a lot with her. After each case, he felt closer to her. He was afraid to say it, but he thought he loved her.

Anna was a psychologist. Certainly she would pick up on how he acted around her. She might not notice it right away, but if she knew that Elliot was Olivia's partner, she might ask for them to handle her case. And if she asked for them to handle his case, she would notice the interaction between him and Olivia. It was like giving the mouse the cookie in that book he had read to the twins the night before last. No good would come out of it.

He peeked into the window. Olivia was standing up. Certainly she was on her way to see him. He took a step back away from the door to allow her to come out into the hallway.

"Does she know who did it?" Elliot asked. Hopefully, the answer would be yes, so he could personally volunteer to arrest the guy. That would be his best option. That way he could still seem like a good man in Anna's eyes, but he would not have to stick around and actually talk to her.

Tragically, it would not work out that way. Olivia shook her head no. "She has a vague description of the guy, so we'll have a sketch artist come in tomorrow morning when she gives her official statement." She glanced up at her partner. He was definitely anxious about something. Why wouldn't he be? It was Friday at almost nine-thirty at night. "Go," she said gently. "I'll take care of her. You go be with Kathy and the kids."

"What about you?" Elliot asked. He appreciated the invitation to get off work and out of the hospital, but he could not leave Olivia there alone. If he left, he would have to take the police car. "How are you supposed to get home? Your car's at the station."

Olivia shrugged it off. "I can take a cab," she said calmly. "It's not that far."

"Then at least let me give you a little money to help cover the cab fare," Elliot insisted as he pulled out his wallet. After handing her a ten, he thanked her for the opportunity to leave. He had to get out of there. "Good night, Olivia."

"'Night Elliot," Olivia responded as she walked back into the exam room.

It took Elliot about forty-five minutes to get home. The lights in his house were still on. He was certain that Maureen was still awake. She was sixteen, after all. She was probably e-mailing her friends or watching television or something. He wanted to think that Kathy would still be awake, but after a long week of work and taking care of the children, he could not be certain.

He unlocked the front door and stepped inside. He could hear the television in the other room. "Hey, Maureen," he called in greeting to his eldest daughter. His greeting earned him a muffled "Hello" from the television room.

"Hey, there," came a voice from the kitchen. It was Kathy. Elliot smiled as he walked over towards the kitchen. He saw Kathy doing the dishes and walked over towards her. He wrapped his arms around her waist then swung her around so that she was facing him. He hugged her tightly.

Nothing. He didn't feel anything. Sure, he could feel Kathy's body (more parts of it than others) pushing up against his body, but he felt no affection towards her. This contact did not excite him. He tried leaning his head down so that he could kiss her lips.