We aren't ready for this. I am not ready for this. He isn't ready for this. We can't be having a baby. Not now.

These thoughts were consuming Maureen's brain as she laid upon their bed waiting for the timer to beep. In less than five minutes her future would be changed forever. His could be changed forever. Would he stay? Would they get married? Would they break up? How will I explain this to Dad?

Maureen would never forgive her mother for trapping her father for the second time in his life. She had sensed their separation from the moment he found it better to call Olivia than his wife about marital problems. She wasn't naive. Peoples emotions can change on a whim. It is a fault in human nature. People marry out of love or obligation. Unfortunately for her parents, they married for the latter. Love came later, if it did at all. She knew Olivia Serena Benson held the keys to her father's soul. So did everyone who saw them together. Especially her mother. The moment Kathleen called her late one night to say her father was actually at home made her weary of her mother's intentions. When news of her mother's pregnancy came about, she was furious. Maureen knew her father, he was too catholic to be able to be separate from his new child's life. She watched as he broke his and Olivia's heart in one moment and couldn't help but hate her mother for hurting her father this way.

She didn't want that to be the case in her reality. She was very much in love with Chester Lake. They were happy. They loved one another. Would he stay because he loved her or was in love with the baby they created? She didn't want him to walk out the door twenty years later. She didn't want to trap him.

The buzzer rang. She wiped away her stray tears and entered their bathroom. His cologne filled her senses and it soothed her shaky hands. Closing her eyes, she picked up the stick and silently counted to three. Opening her eyes, she gasped and dropped the stick. "Oh God..."

"What have you made out the notes Lake?" Stabler bellowed from the corner of the stair case.

Lake had been studying the notes as if there was a timer on his belt and any slow movement would electrocute him. He was able to decipher the majority of the first note with some semblance of pattern. The perp was instigating the squad as a whole, meaning that this effected one or more of their top detectives. Most were looking toward Elliot, seeing that the victims' related to him in some way, physically. Lake couldn't rule himself out though silently. He and Maureen had tried to keep their love quiet, but secrets aren't known to last in New York City.

The playing cards stored in evidence were each a deuce, first of diamonds, the other of clubs. Appropriate to the victims, Emily was very wealthy and Jenna worked at an irish golf course in Long Island. They knew that two more deuces needed to be played and they didn't want two more victims.

After Lake provided his analysis, Elliot was still irked by one of the segments in second riddle. It read:

What is between a pond and an ocean you may ask? could it be a...

ha ha. you think I would address the obvious. Look around you detectives.

Olivia can see the tension taking hold of her partner's shoulders. She came behind him, resting her hands upon his shoulders and began easing the knots in his muscles. "I don't care what Kathy would say, you tell her you need sleep tonight. This is a big case. She can handle getting out of her freakin bed to get crackers and pickles with ketchup without you. You are our top detective on this case. We don't need you breaking on us, 'kay?"

Elliot tried to laugh, but was too intoxicated by her smell and the way her hands were magic on his body to focus. Before he mumbled something incoherent and potentially life changing, he grasped her hand within his and smiled at her tiredly. "Thank you, Liv. I miss..."

"What El?" she asked turning to him completely.

"Us." He stared at her with broken eyes and rubbed her knuckles. He saw the raw pain beneath her perfected tough exterior and it broke him knowing he was part of her armor.

"El, we had our chance, but I will not be the reason your family is broken." She touched his jaw slightly and smiled sadly at him. "Please don't make this harder than it needs to be."

"I can't help who I love, Olivia."

"I love you too, but I am in love with the man who is dedicated, loyal, loving and compassionate. If you walk out on Kathy, you will destroy that man and I would never forgive myself."


"Im going to get some tea for myself, but do you want some coffee?" Olivia asked speaking slightly louder noticing John studying their quiet conversation as if they were one of JFK's conspiracies.

Catching on, Elliot nodded and asked for coffee. He couldn't stare at her or he would break on the spot. He needed rest. He needed to be back to holding her warm body in his arms and he needed it to be before he found out Kathy was pregnant, and before God teased him with a sense of happily ever after.

Lake was getting tired. He was thankful his shift would be over in two hours. As much as catching this bastard would sooth his long term stress, he needed Maureen to remind him of the goodness and purity this world can provide. As if she sensed him, his phone rang and saw her code name, "SLTY1" appear on his phone. He opened it and quickly whispered "hold on" and motioned to his partner that he would be up on the roof. Once he got there, he was able talk. "Hey baby."

"Ches..." Maureen said in a distressed tone.

"Reen, what's wrong?" he asked, scared that the perp might have gotten to her.

"I need to see you. Can you get off early?"

"Is this about the doctor's visit? What did he say? Are you alone?"

Confused, she replied, "Yes, Im alone and yes, this is about what the doctor said. I need you, Ches."

"Okay, where are you?"

"At our place."

"Stay there. I will be there in ten minutes. Stay calm and remember I love you."

"Bye, baby," she whispered.

Lake rushed down the stairs and to his captain's office like a storm. Rushing in, Cragen looked up and saw the worry lines upon his young detective's face and asked, "Is there an update on the case?"

"No, but I need to go. There is an emergency within my family I must attend to."

"Sit down Lake."


"I said sit down!" he said sternly.

Praying Maureen would be okay a while longer, he closed the door and sat before his superior officer. "Is there a problem?"

"Does he know?" Don asked, looking at Chester questioningly.

Lake froze and responded, "They know about the latest updates of the case. But Sir, what are you asking?"

"Im asking if Stabler knows that you and Maureen are together." When Don saw fear pale his young detective's face he raised his hand in as a flag of calm and said, "Im not here to bust you and I am not here to tell Stabler if he doesn't know. But I need to know if you are getting too close to this case."

Taking a breath, Chester looked up and said, "I met Maureen ten months ago when I was still working narcotics. We met through mutual friends and we quickly became best friends. Then one night we decided that we should give each other a shot. We have been romantically involved for about six months."

Sighing, he turned away and looked out to observe his squad. Elliot was talking to Olivia and Munch and Fin were about to head to the Hudson on a lead about the case. "Does Elliot know?"

"No, Sir. I want to tell him, but I want Maureen to be with me but she isn't ready."

Don nodded and said, "Is she okay?"

"She called me crying. I need to be with her. I just..."

"Come back in the morning. If Stabler and Benson can get a handle on this guy, we may be able to bust him but the end of the week. But you know the ass holes in the courts. We need all the evidence specified before proper action can be made by us. Are we clear?"

He nodded and made his way quickly out of the squadroom.

"When we find this prick, Elliot, I will not stop you from kicking his ass." Elliot smirked and moved next to Olivia at the picture board. He placed his hand on her lower back, rubbing it in circular motions and she took a heavy breath. "Just look at what he did to their bodies. Its truly heinous."

It was then that a light bulb lit in his brain and he stiffened beside her. "Lake."

"Excuse me?" Olivia said turning to him.

"Liv, we have been thinking literally of what is between a pond and an ocean. We were thinking of the Hudson for some sort of location. But he was talking about Lake."

"El, do you think that Chester had something to do with this?"

"No, Im saying that he may know more about the pattern between these victims than meets the eye." Staring at the victims and back at Lake's desk, he asked aloud, "What are you hiding, Lake?"

Running up the stairs, Lake rushed to open his apartment door and found Maureen waiting on the couch holding onto her pillow as if it were her lifeline. "Reen?" he asked, closing and locking the door and moving to her side. "Reen, you need to talk me baby. What's going on?"

"Please don't hate me," she cried, burying her face into his chest.

"Shh... That's impossible, baby girl. I love you so much. Just tell me what's going on with you. What did the doctor say?"

Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, Maureen touched her lover's face and pressed a quick kiss to his lips before whispering, "Im pregnant."