Scent - Chapter One
DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf. All the other characters are fictional and have come from depths of my imagination. This story is an original work of fiction set in the pre-existing world of Law & Order: SVU. All original characters and major storylines contained within this story belong to the author. The pre-existing characters have been borrowed for the purposes of good clean fun…well maybe not clean. Take heed: This story contains coarse language and sexual violence (assault), brief graphic depictions of violent crime and trauma. There are also scenes of sexuality and mature themes between two female characters.
Authors Note: A special thanks to Torrie and Becca Boo for inspiring The Kid; to Shelley for introducing me to Nipple Confidence and all the other shenanigans and to Joe Walsh and Deborah Wood for editing this story. Lastly to all my friends who have put up with me…I know I can be a mess!
Law & Order: SVU
An Original Law & Order: SVU Story
Copyright 2009 by K. Walsh
Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson
Stephanie March as A.D.A Alexandra Cabot
Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler
Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch
Ice-T as Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola
Dann Florek as Captain Donald Cragen
Tamara Tunie as Dr. Melinda Warner, M.E.
Mary Stuart Masterson as Dr. Rebecca Hendrix
Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot had been back in New York City practicing law for three years. She had waited so long for the opportunity to come back, to have her life back. When she returned from the dead, as it were and was released from the Witness Protection Program, time had marched on but her life had not. The blonde had a difficult time adjusting to her old life and many of her friends and family were having an equally hard time understanding her situation. After answering so many of their questions, most people that were supposed to care about Alex just could not get over the betrayal they felt from her leaving and not telling them the truth. The more awkward relationships between the tall blonde A.D.A and her family and friends became, the more adverse Alex became to telling anyone from her old life that she was alive and back. There came a point where she just could not tolerate any more questions or disappointments. The person she wanted to tell that she was back the most she could not bear to see. Detective Olivia Benson was not quite five-eight and was all legs, something Alex found incredibly sexy. Olivia Benson was more than sexy, she was gorgeous. The brunette's laugh, sense of humour, honesty, boldness and her ability to sympathize and comfort made Alex want to be around Olivia as often as possible. Oh, and then there was the Detective's trade-mark crooked smile and her deep brown brooding eyes. Before the A.D.A. had gone into the Program she and the Detective had engaged in quite a loving affair. Affair might be too strong a word; they had a loving fling, for lack of a better term. They had slept at Alex's place most of the time, it was the Upper West Side for God's sakes why wouldn't you? The only time they stayed at Olivia's place downtown was when they went to 904.
Detective Benson had been working in Manhattan's Special Victims Unit for about a year and a half, which is exactly how long she and Detective Elliot Stabler had been partners. They caught a case involving a rape victim named Rebecca Northcote. Olivia has a knack for bonding with victims, and this case was no different. Rebecca, or Becca as she is known to most, and Olivia stayed in touch; the detective helped Becca get into a great group for therapy. Nine months after Becca's attack, she opened a high-class members-only lesbian night club called 904. Olivia had a lifetime pass to 904 and was allowed to bring whomever she wanted, any night she wanted.
Alex and Olivia's relationship before the tall blonde went into the Program was loving, sexy, passionate and on the down-low. They worked together and it was early in Alex's career. Neither woman wanted anyone to know. 904 was the only club the women went to because it was discreet. Olivia and Alex had been exclusively seeing each other for six months prior to Alex's departure. Once the A.D.A. was back, she wanted more than anything to see the brooding brunette. However, at the rate relationships were ending for Alex, she thought that it was best that she did not disturb Olivia. The last thing Alex wanted was to taint the beautiful memories of herself and the detective with the harsh reality of her life now.
Life had other plans. Through a series of almost comical errors, it seemed life had no mercy for Alex. She spent the last three years as the Bureau Chief of a group of A.D.A.'s but had suddenly been thrown into her old job, as the A.D.A. for Manhattan's SVU. It was pretty much how she had left it years earlier. The squad consisted of four detectives: John Munch, Odafin Tutuola, who everyone called Fin, Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson. Donald Cragen was still their captain; it was nice to see some things never change.
Alex should have called Olivia, should have told her that she was back years ago when she had started as bureau chief. When Alex walked under the crime scene tape on her first case back with SVU the usually stoic detective's jaw dropped and emotions flooded over her. Olivia looked Alex up and down; long slender legs, expensive skirt suit, alabaster skin that had a rosy hue to it in the cold January air. Her long silky blonde hair, haunting sky blue eyes and those thin black framed glasses; Alexandra Cabot was the most breath taking woman Olivia Benson had ever laid eyes on. Was it was possible that after the years she spent away, Alex had become more beautiful?
It had shocked the entire squad that Alexandra Cabot was back as their A.D.A., it was nice, though. The most shocked of all was Detective Benson. She had not even known that Alex was back in New York City. It took some time but both women agreed to have lunch together one Thursday afternoon. Lunch Thursday turned into dinner Friday. The dinner spun into a date on Saturday night at 904. It did not take them long but Olivia and Alex fell right back into their old routine and they relished in it. Very little was said or asked about the years the two had spent apart or why Alex was suddenly back; in her old job and in Olivia's personal life. Neither woman wanted to spook the other. The unbridled affection, attraction, and sex was finally back for both women and neither wanted it to ever go away.
Chapter One: The Vic
Monday May 14, 23:05
He waited in the back alley; he knew it was only a matter of time. He played with the knife in his right hand. Terrence came out with a bag of garbage. Terrence turned, opened the dumpster with one hand and threw the garbage bag in with the other. He came up behind him, put his left arm around Terrence's forehead, and with his right he ran the knife across Terrence's throat. The blood sprayed across the inside lid of the dumpster as Terrence's carotid artery was severed. Terrence went limp in his arms and the dumpster lid slammed shut. He laid the man down in the alley and entered the diner through the back door that Terrence had left open.
As he walked silently through the kitchen he saw Shelley. The kitchen was fully lit; he realized he was going to have to move fast. He had the knife by his side, blood dripping from the end of it, leaving a trail of drops from where he left his first victim of the night. He cannot wait for the grand finale. Shelley was washing the floor of the kitchen as he approached her from behind. He moved quickly. He put his left hand on her forehead, forcing her neck to be more exposed. Before she could even scream he sliced the knife deep across her throat; spraying blood across the walls and up on the ceiling as he let Shelley's body drop to the floor.
The man moved through the kitchen efficiently, the knife by his side again still dripping blood. Two down, one more to go, he thought to himself. The power he felt as he moved silently out to the counter was growing by each step. He could hear her before she came into his view. She was so small, but she needed to be taught. He could not let her go on in the world without teaching her how to please a real man. She turned towards him as she mopped the dimly lit dining room floor. She looked up, startled by his presence.
"What are you doing here? Tony isn't here."
He moved closer to the end of the counter that separated the two. "I'm not looking for Tony."
"Oh, uhhh…who are you looking for, because Terrence and Shelley are somewhere around here…"
He stepped out from behind the counter, his entire body now in plan sight of her. She looked down as the light emanating from the kitchen caught the blade of the knife. "You."
She started to back away from him. Fear gripped her insides as she stammered. "Me? Why uh…why do you want me?"
He lifted the knife as he stepped closer to her. "You need to be taught Jessica. You need to learn!"
He lunged for her, but she evaded him and ran for the front door. She tried to open it, but it was locked. She put her hand on the deadbolt in an attempt to unlock it but he grabbed her by her hair. He yanked her back and her fingers slid off the deadbolt. He pulled her by her hair behind the counter. She yelped at the pain and screamed out of fear. He bent her over the counter, pinning her on her stomach. He pulled her hair tight, forcing her head up and exposing her neck.
"Shut up. If you scream again Jessica I will cut you from ear to ear." He hissed into her left ear.
She fell silent. He held her head to the side and forced it onto the counter with his left hand. He slid the blade of the knife between her skin and the waistband of her underpants and jeans. He cut off her pants with the knife in his right hand. The young girl's eyes went wild. She wanted to scream, wanted to kick him, but she couldn't. He put the knife in his teeth and pulled down his pants with his free hand. He retrieved the knife and leaned into her, over her. He hissed into her ear.
"I've been waiting a long time for this Jessica. It's time for you to learn." He licked her cheek with his tongue. A single tear fell out of her left eye and over the bridge of her nose.
He put the knife in his left hand; she could feel the handle dig into her scalp. He cannot wait. He had all the power now; no one could take it away from him. He bent down over her, putting most of his weight on her. He pushed his crotch into her backside, letting her know what a real man felt like. He looked into her eyes. He saw the terror, and he knew he had her. He licked his index and middle fingers in her sight. He moved off her slightly and slid them up and down her inner thighs. She closed her eyes and started to whimper. He took his penis in his right hand and rubbed it back and forth between her legs.
A sound at the front door stopped him from proceeding farther up between her legs. He looked up and saw Tony unlocking the front door. "What the fuck?!" He pulled up his pants quickly and took the knife in his right hand. "You say I did this and I'll slit your throat Jessica." As he said this he ran the blade of the knife across the left side of her throat.
Tony got the door unlocked and opened it. "You guys about done closing?"
He pushed off the young woman, turned and ran. Tony saw the back of him as he headed for the kitchen. "What the fuck?" Tony ran after the man. When he got around the counter Tony saw Jessica, she had her hand over the left side of her neck. "Jess, honey what happened?"
She slid off the counter and onto the floor behind it. Tony came towards her to help her. She brought her knees up to her chest and yelled, "No, no, no…stay away. Stay away from me!"
7th Ave and W 27th Street
Monday May 14, 23:40
The lights were on in most of the diner now. Police and Crime Scene Investigators were collecting evidence. Detective Olivia Benson and Detective Elliot Stabler arrived at the scene and exited their vehicles. They looked at each other and nodded.
Elliot let out a low whistle as his partner came into full view. "Where are you coming from in that outfit?"
Olivia was wearing boot-cut jeans and a red sleeveless v-neck satin top, which she was putting her well-worn black leather jacket over. As she walked, the four-inch heels on her boots clicked against the concrete and asphalt. She had been at 904 with Alex. Olivia looked sideways at her partner as they walked. It was obvious he had come from home, given that he was wearing a well-worn pair of jeans and a black t-shirt. "I was out." She looked him up and down, sizing him up. "Where are you coming from?"
Stabler looked at her with a grin on his face. "Home. You were 'out' huh? With who?"
Deep, auburn coloured eyes studied her partner. She was not giving up the goods on her and Alex…yet. They needed more time to figure out where they were going. "Does Kathy like the way you walk?"
Elliot could tell where this was going. He squinted at his partner. "Yes, why?"
Olivia answered in a dark tone. "Because if you don't drop this you'll be walking funny for the next two days."
Stabler let out a sigh and nodded his head. "Duly noted."
The partners walked towards a uniformed police offer and showed him their identification. He acknowledged them and they ducked under the crime scene tape that stretched around the entire front of the diner and across to the side alley. Stabler looked at the uniformed cop again. "Whatta we got?"
The officer looked back at him as they walked through the side alley into the back alley. "Three victims total. This guy went on a real rampage. It's bloody mess Detectives."
When they reached the back alley the medical examiner, Melinda Warner, was kneeling down beside the body.
Benson looked at Warner. "We got an ID?"
Warner looked up to Benson. "The owner of the diner ID's this victim as Terrence Cozier." She nodded to the open back door of the diner. "The other homicide victim he identified as Shelley Carver. Cozier, an African-American male, 26 years old, 6 '3, approximately 210 pounds."
Benson furrowed her brow. "Cause of death?" Warren turned back to the body in front of her. "My initial exam tells me his carotid artery was severed. The attacker came up behind him as he was taking out the garbage and slit his throat. There is blood spatter on the inside of the lid to the dumpster. It appears to be the same cause of death for Shelley Carver. She is Caucasian, 31 years old, 5'8 and weighs approximately 150 pounds. Her throat was slit as well. It's a hell of a mess in there. She was washing the floor of the kitchen."
Stabler looked from the body to Warner. "What sexual trauma did Cozier or Carver receive?"
Warner looked to Stabler and shook her head. "None."
Stabler furrowed his brow. He had left his warm bed and hot wife for a case that should have been given to the Major Case squad? He was losing his patience. "Then why were we called out here?"
Warner stood up. "You caught the case because of the third victim. She was identified by the owner as Jessica O'Malley."
Benson looked from Terrence Cozier to Melinda Warner. "Was her throat slit too?"
Warner shook her head. "Not exactly. Jessica O'Malley received what appears to be a nasty laceration to the left side of her neck. The attacker cut her pants off." Warner closed her eyes, shook her head and then opened them. "She's inside; she won't let anyone come near her, including paramedics to exam her neck. Poor kid, she's really shook-up."
Stabler looked at Warner with a confused look on his face. "Kid?"
Warner nodded her heard. "Your third victim is fifteen years old."
Stabler furrowed his brow, opened his mouth slightly and shook his head as he looked from Warner to his partner. Benson's jaw dropped in shock as she looked from the M.E. to Stabler. What was a fifteen year old doing closing a diner on a Monday night?
Benson and Stabler each put on a set of booties and latex gloves before they walked through the back door of the diner and through the crime scene inside. The uniform cop had been right, there was blood everywhere. They were careful not to disturb the blood trail or anything else at the crime scene as they stood above Shelley Carver's body. She had fallen onto her left side after being attacked. The partners followed the blood pattern with their eyes, across the wall and up onto the ceiling.
Elliot looked at Olivia. "That uniform wasn't kidding."
Olivia's mouth was open as she took in the scene. "This is a lot of rage for one person; these attacks were personal. The attacker must have known the victims."
Elliot looked down at the body and nodded his head. "The attacker would have to be familiar with this place and their closing routine. He knew where each of his victims would be. These killings were intimate."
Olivia stared down at Carver. "He didn't kill the third victim. Why?"
Elliot looked at his partner and she returned the look. "I don't know, let's ask her."
The partners walked through the kitchen and to the counter. They saw Jessica O'Malley sitting behind the counter, her back against the wall, knees drawn up to her chest. Benson walked over to her until the young girl visibly flinched, then she knelt down. "Jessica O'Malley, I'm Detective Olivia Benson." Benson pointed to Stabler, who was behind her and also bent down. They had both been doing this for years. There was a fine line you walked with victims, children especially. They needed to be comforted but you also had to draw out the worst thing that had ever happened to them. "This is my partner Detective Elliot Stabler. Can we ask you a few questions about what happened tonight?"
The young woman did not answer; she sat in a somewhat catatonic state staring at the floor in front of her. Stabler got up slowly and disappeared.
"Jessica you can call me Olivia. Is there anyone I can call for you? Your parents or a relative?"
Jessica stayed silent, staring straight ahead at the floor. Elliot returned with a blanket in his hands. He bent down and held it out to the young woman without getting too close. She looked down at the floor but took it from him gently, with a trembling right hand. She put it around herself gently and pulled it up to her mouth. Still looking at the floor she stated, "He told me if I said it was him he'd slit my throat from ear to ear."
Detective Stabler looked hard at the young woman, which didn't go unnoticed by her despite the fact she was transfixed on the floor. During their initial contact with victims Olivia was usually the more sympathetic of the two Detectives and Elliot played the heavy. "So you do know who did this to you?"
The young woman nodded her head but said nothing. Detective Benson looked down at the victim with understanding eyes. "We can protect you."
"How?" Jessica replied.
Stabler continued to look at her. "We can put you in what we call protective custody."
"The man that did this to you, he also murdered two of your co-workers. We can move you to a safe house where he can't find you. You will be protected twenty-four hours a day by police officers," Benson said moving slightly closer to the victim, pushing her boundaries; trying to redefine the victim's fine-line of comfort. There was a long pause as Jessica considered this prospect. She was terrified he would come back. He knew where she lived; he could come back at any time. Benson moved even closer to the victim. "Jessica, that cut looks like it's deep. Will you let us take you to the hospital to have it looked at?"
The thought of having someone touch her repulsed Jessica. The doctor would have to touch her in order to exam her neck and stitch the cut. She was also embarrassed and ashamed. "He cut my jeans. I don't want anyone to look at me," the young woman said in a quiet voice.
"No one will look at you. You can put the blanket around yourself", Stabler said.
The teenager was obviously petrified. She knew her attacker; once she identified him it would make the detectives' job a lot easier. For the first time the girl looked up at Benson "Swear to me no one will look at me."
Benson's deep brown eyes meet hazel ones. "I swear."
The young woman pulled the blanket tighter around herself. Benson looked back at her partner and nodded her head. Stabler got up and left. Having been partners for the better part of twelve years, a lot can be said in a look or nod. The teenager got up slowly and pulled the blanket completely around herself. She looked up at Olivia, who had turned her back as to not look at the girl. "K"
"Hold on just one second," Benson said.
Stabler came into view and looked at this partner. "Clear, Liv."
"Can I turn around?"
"Yeh" the teenager said wearily.
Olivia turned around and nodded at Jessica. It was always hard for the detective to tell if you should smile at a victim. On the one hand why would you want to? If the roles were reversed would you want someone to smile at you? On the other hand sometimes a smile can be comforting. Benson gave the young woman a small smile. "Let's get you to the ambulance."
As Detective Benson led Jessica out from around the counter and through the diner every cop had stopped what they were doing and had their back to the victim. They walked out the front door.
Mercy General Hospital
365 West 32nd Street
Tuesday May 15, 12:45
While the rape kit was being done on Jessica O'Malley, Stabler had stayed at the crime scene and taken Tony Carpino's statement. He was the owner of the diner. On the way to Mercy General, he called Captain Donald Cragen to update him on the case.
Jessica's clothing was seized as evidence. Although it had taken Benson and a female nurse ten minutes to convince the girl to take her clothing off. Jessica had done so only when both women promised to leave the room and not come back in until she opened the door. She was now clad in a cotton hospital gown.
A rape kit was normal standard procedure in most sexual assaults, provided the victim agreed to one; Jessica O'Malley's was no different. She had begged not to have one done; stating that she had not been raped. Benson stayed five feet away from Jessica once she had been allowed back in the room and pleaded with the teenager to have one done. "Jessica, you said he rubbed his penis between your legs. There might be small amounts of semen present. We need all the evidence he left behind."
It took a few minutes but the teenager agreed and signed the forms. "Are you going to be in the room when they do it?" Jessica asked, looking at the Detective.
Benson looked down at the girl. "I don't have to be, but I can. It's up to you."
"St…stay," was all Jessica could get out.
Olivia was careful to keep her distance from Jessica during the exam; she did not want to make the young girl more uncomfortable than she already was. Benson took Jessica's statement about what happened that night. The detective said she could take the statement after the exam, but Jessica insisted she wanted to get it over with. Olivia couldn't blame her. As she took the teenager's statement, Benson noticed Jessica had multiple piercing in her ears and one through her tongue. She also saw a hint of what appeared to be a tattoo on the child's right bicep. Olivia thought it was odd for such a young person to have acquired all these things.
Once the rape kit was done, the pictures were taken and Jessica's thighs and cheek were swabbed for fluids, the doctor stitched up Jessica's neck. Stabler joined them in the exam room. Once the doctor finished the last stitch on Jessica's neck he got up. "You'll have to come back in ten days and get the stitches out. We need your parents' phone number now; we can't put it off any longer."
Jessica bit down on her lower lip, her right hand still shaking.
Stabler gauged the child's reaction. "Is that who hurt you, was it your father?"
The young woman shook her head. "No. I...I don't have a father."
Benson made her way closer to the girl, trying to gauge how comfortable she was with the Detective. "We can call your mother?"
Jess looked down at herself. "No, no you can't. She's dead."
Stabler kept his distance. He knew his partner was making progress. "We can call your guardian. Who is it?"
Jess continued to look at herself. This was the scariest most humiliating and degrading thing she had ever experienced. Now she had to explain her situation to the Detectives. "No one, I live alone; above the diner."
The detectives looked at each other and then at Jessica, trying desperately to hide their shock and disbelief. The Detectives were nice enough, especially the woman. Olivia reminded Jessica a little of her mother. She looked up for the first time. "I've been thinking, about that protective custody thing you mentioned earlier."
"You would be protected twenty-four hours a day by police officers. The man who did this to you won't find you" Benson said as she put her hand out for the girl's left hand. It was a bold move on the detectives' part. It was on rare occasion that a victim would trust that quickly, especially after a rape kit. Jessica took the detective's hand. She had been through so much that night it was some-what comforting to have even a total stranger express kindness. Olivia Benson's hand was soft and warm; Jessica was nervous and cold from only having the hospital gown on.
"What police officers would be protecting me?"
Benson held the child's hand gently; quite surprised she had taken it at all. Jessica's hand was cold to the touch, which did not surprise the detective. She looked down at Jessica on the hospital gurney. "We're not sure yet. But they will protect you and keep you safe."
Jessica did not want to go home, she did not want to see the diner and she sure as hell did not was to see him again. The detectives that stood before her had promised her safety, she was going to take them up on that promise, but it was going to be on her terms. Jessica looked from Benson to Stabler as she spoke. "I only want you and Detective Stabler. I'll only say who the man is if you and Detective Stabler protect me."
The detectives look at each other. They were primaries on Jessica's case, as well as the murders of Shelley Carver and Terrence Cozier. It would be unorthodox for either of them to recuse themselves from a case for this reason. As the detectives looked back at the young victim on the gurney, the case that each of them would plead to their Captain ran through their minds. Both detectives wanted to give up their stake in the case to protect the teenager.
Manhattan SVU Squad Room
Tuesday May 15, 01:30
Benson was the first of the partners to plead her case to Captain Cragen, in front of Stabler and their A.D.A. "Cap we need to know who this guy is. Just let me take her home with me and she'll talk."
Stabler looked from his partner to their Captain. "Look Captain, I have room at my place with Maureen out on her own. I know I can get through to her. I'll take her home with me and protect her."
Captain Donald Cragen holds both of his hands up, halting his Detectives' arguments. "Hold on, both of you. What makes either of you think you are taking her home? If Ms. O'Malley wants protective custody then we'll work with Alex to set it up. But I will not have either of you involved."
A.D.A. Alexandra Cabot weighed in for the first time. She had not had time to go home and change either, opting instead to grab a cab from 904 to her office to retrieve her car. Alex knew she would be called into the SVU squad room that night. She had grabbed a long charcoal grey jacket from her office to try and cover the clothing she had on. "He's right. As the responding Detectives it goes against ethics. You're both involved in the investigation; you can't keep Jessica O'Malley safe and investigate her attacker at the same time. Don't forget this will be a capital case, two people were murdered."
Olivia sighed and looked from Alex to her Captain. "Fine. Take me off the case. I've bonded with her. She let me hold her hand in the hospital. For her to take my hand she has to trust me on some level despite the attack she endured."
"Liv's right" Stabler said as he realized his chances of protecting the girl had evaporated and Olivia's were the only ones left. "She did take Liv's hand in the ER. A level of trust has already been established in Jessica's eyes. If she is going to open up to anyone, trust anyone, it'll be Olivia."
Cragen looked at Alex and she shrugged at him. "Don, our budget isn't what it used to be. Finding the money to put her up in a hotel and feed her is going to be a tough sell, capital case or not."
Cragen pondered this and then looked hard at Benson. "Fine. Benson you are officially off the attempted rape and double homicide. You are Jessica O'Malley's protective detail until further notice."
"I'll have the paperwork drawn up, you can sign it in the morning," Alex said with a nod as she started to leave the Captain's office. She desperately wanted to get out of there. Olivia had not had time to hide what she was wearing; Alex had gotten away with her appearance so far, and did not want to press her luck. It could be disastrous if Elliot, Olivia's partner, was to see her wearing the hip hugging designer blue jeans and white and blue patterned satin halter-top she had on under the long coat. Not to mention she was not wearing a bra, which she knew would not go unnoticed by Elliot.
The Captain's voice stopped them all from leaving his office. "Not good enough. This is a double homicide. I want the paperwork drawn up tonight and signed. The D.A.'s office will pick up the rest of the tab for Jessica O'Malley. We are already going to be down a detective because Benson is going on protective detail. I want Ms. O'Malley's ID taken, now. Then I want you to take her home with you Olivia. I want her out of here ASAP. Munch and Fin are canvassing around the diner; once you have Ms. O'Malley's ID I want everything on this guy, Elliot. I want him caught before this hits the papers."
Everyone nodded and left."I'll draw up the paperwork and run it over here ASAP", Alex said as she followed the detectives towards the stairs to the crib and the doors out of the squad room.
Stabler nodded towards Alex. "Hey Alex, nice heels. You have a hot date too?" He raised his right eyebrow. "Whatta wearing under that coat?"
Alex smiled. Years in the courtroom had taught her to keep her composure, even when she was caught off-guard. It had been a rookie mistake to have not changed her four-inch heels. "Something like that Elliot…and you'll have to imagine what's under the coat."
A devilish grin played across his face as he looked from Alex's heels to her face. He had missed the A.D.A. in her absence, although not as much as his partner had. Olivia had taken Alex's 'death' pretty hard. He thought it might have to do with the fact that Alex 'died' in Olivia's arms. "Awww…come on, not even a little peek?"
Alex looked over the thin black frames of her glasses at him. "Sorry Detective, you'll have to settle for gawking at your partner." Alex looked at Olivia and winked. "You look good Liv."
A hot blush had found its way up Olivia's neck and onto her cheeks. She was thankful Alex had put on the coat but had not been prepared for the compliment. "Uhhh..thanks Alex."
Elliot shook his head. "We'll be taking Jessica's ID in the crib."
Benson opened the door to the crib and she and Stabler walked in and closed the door behind them. They walked over to the young woman, who was sitting on one of the metal cots against a wall. Jessica's knees were drawn up to her chest and she had her arms around them. The hospital had given Jess greens to leave in. Olivia bent down beside her. "We spoke to our Captain and I'll be your protective detail."
The girl gave a small smile, her right hand still shaking."Can you tell us who did this to you?," Stabler asked, hiding his anxiousness to start looking for the girl looked down at the floor; a single tear fell from her right eye and down her cheek.
"Mitch Simpson. He is a regular at the diner. Tony, the owner, he knows him…we all know him. Comes in everyday for lunch. Orders a grilled cheese and onion rings every day." Jessica answered the last part matter-of-factly.
"Mitch Simpson. I'm going to run him down in the system. We're going to get him Jessica. Thank you." Stabler got up to leave. He glanced at his partner who met his eyes. They had both been correct at the scene when it came to their initial read of the crime.
"Jess," the girl said to both detectives without actually looking at either of them, "Please, call me Jess."
"Jess, we're going to get him, I promise." In the almost thirteen years they had been partners, Olivia had never heard Elliot promise any victim anything. It surprised her. Elliot was taken with Jessica. Jess looked up at him and nodded as he turned and left.
Olivia turned her attention to Jess. "We have the rest of your statement. If you want we can get out of here."
Jess looked at the Detective. "Where are we going?"Olivia hadn't thought that far ahead. She has a two bedroom place but she hadn't intended on company.
"My place." Olivia smiled slightly and took the girls' left hand in hers.
As they walked down the stairs Elliot was at his laptop. He was determined to keep his promise to Jess and putting a face to her attacker's name was the first step.
"Hold on one second. There are forty-four men with the name Mitch Simpson in the DMV database. Jess can you identify which Mitch Simpson attacked you?" Stabler asked turning his laptop towards her.
"I don't want to see him. Please don't make me look at him" Jess started to hyperventilate. She did not want to see his face. All she could see when she closed her eyes was Mitch licking his fingers. Olivia squeezed her hand gently and it brought the teen out of her thoughts.
In a gentle tone Benson pleaded. "It's okay Jess, he can't hurt you anymore. If you don't identify him, though, we can't catch him. Please, will you take at look at the photos on the screen and pick him out if you see him?"
Jess nodded. She started to move closer to the laptop but stopped short. Sensing she didn't want to be so close to a man, Stabler rolled his chair slowly away from his desk and laptop. As he moved away Jess continued to move closer until she was directly in front of the laptop. She scrolled through the drivers' licenses' that the DMV program had assembled. She was uncomfortable; it was too quiet in the room. "Can you two talk or something. I…I…there needs to be noise in the room. I don't want anyone to look at me."
Olivia looked at her partner. "Okay, we'll talk."
"I want to follow you back to your place tonight," Elliot whispered as he stood up.
This garnered a questioning look from Olivia. "What? Why?"
"Just want to make sure you two get there."
Olivia rolled her eyes at Elliot. "El we'll be fine. I can protect her. I don't need your help."
Elliot smiled. "I know, I know, it's not that. I…I really wanted to take her home with me. There is something about her. Mother's dead, no father…ever, lives by herself. She's fifteen Liv, I just want to help her. Please just let me follow you home, for my own peace of mind."
Benson sighed. Elliot had five children of his own; she could tell he genuinely wanted to help Jess. "Fine, you can follow us home. You're not coming up though."
Elliot smiled at his partner. "Wouldn't think of it."
They turned to look at Jess just as she started to breathe rapidly and slowly back away from the laptop. Concern shot through Olivia as she watched the young woman. "Jess, what's wrong?"
The smile drained from Elliot's face immediately. "Jess is that who attacked you?"
A small noise escaped Jess's throat as fear gripped her small body.
Benson pleaded calmly trying to reassure the young victim. "Jess if that's the man you have to tell us. He won't hurt you again, I promise."
"Unnnn….that's him. It's him", Jess whined in a panicked tone as she looked down at the hospital greens that clad her legs.
"Okay, okay. It's alright. He's not here. He's not going to hurt you," Stabler said as he walked slowly over to the laptop and turned it so the screen was no longer in Jess's eye line.
"Jess, it's okay. You did really well. Now Detective Stabler can find him and arrest him," Olivia said calmly.
Jess's breathing was still erratic but the panic in her voice had dissipated. "I want to leave now. I want to put on real pants. Please can I put on real pants?" Jess was becoming increasingly more aware of her feelings and emotions. She was having trouble understanding them or putting them into words. Olivia could hear it in her voice.
"Sure. Come on I'll take you to my place."
Stabler hooked his cell phone up to his computer while Jess and his partner walked towards the door. He downloaded the license to his phone and disconnected it from the laptop. He caught up to the women in the parking lot. He followed them all the way uptown; the entire time giving instructions over his cell and making sure they weren't being followed.
Detective Olivia Benson's Residence
488 Amsterdam Avenue
Tuesday May 15, 02:30
As they walked into the apartment, Olivia turned on the lights and Jess took in her new surroundings."Nice place."
Olivia picked up some stray clothing that were lying on the couch. It had been a mad dash from the time she got home that evening until Alex had come over. Olivia had spent almost thirty minutes trying to decide what she was going to wear that night to the 904. "Thanks, I really wasn't expecting company."
Jess shrugged. "It's cool. Can I ask you something?"
"Sure, anything."Jess looked up at the brunette. "Can we go to my place and pick up some of my clothes? You took the ones I was wearing and I can't deal with these hospital greens."
She looked at the young blonde with soulful eyes. "You can't go back to your place until Mitch Simpson is caught. I can send Elliot over tomorrow, though, to pick up some things for you."
"Okay," Jess said looking depressed. The thought of having to sleep in the hospital greens disgusted Jess. She felt dirty and the greens were not helping.
"Look, all my clothes are going to be too big for you. But I bet I can find some sweat pants and a shirt for you, if you don't mind them being too big."
Jess smiled slightly. "That'll be good. Thanks, I really appreciate it." Crisis averted. Olivia seemed to be really kind and it made Jess feel better knowning that she was going to stay with the detective.
Olivia smiled sympathetically at Jess. "Come on, I'll show you to your room"
As Olivia looked through the drawers of her dresser for a sweatshirt the buzzer went off. Jess, who was standing beside her holding a pair of sweatpants, jumped and started to breathe quickly, her eyes going wild. Olivia tried to reassure her. "Jess it's okay, it's the buzzer."
Jess was on the verge of hyperventilation. "I know. He's here. He knows I told you."
"No, no, it's Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot. She has the paper work for your protective detail. I called her and asked her to bring it here just before we left the station." Olivia tried to explain in an attempt to calm the girl.
"No...It's Mitch. Olivia it's him. I know it."
"It's not," Olivia took Jess's left hand and looked into her green eyes. "I swear." Jess' s breathing slowed ever so slightly."I'm going to talk to her before I let her come up here. Come with me, you'll see." They moved to the door and Olivia pressed the buzzer."Who is it?"
"It's Alex, who else would it be at 2:30 in the morning," Alex said quietly.
"Come up," Olivia said buzzing Alex in."You can go into the spare room and change while she's here if you don't want to see anyone." Olivia offered.
She was relieved and bewildered. "No, it's okay. I'm sorry. I really thought it was Mitch."
Olivia looked into Jess's eyes and took her left hand in her own. "It's okay. You're safe here. I won't let anyone hurt you."
Jess's breathing eased. "Thanks." There was a light knock at the door that startled Jess. Olivia squeezed her hand gently and reassured her, "It's okay, you're safe." Olivia let go of Jess's hand and opened the door for Alex.
Alex came through the door and Olivia closed it behind her. She still had her jacket on, but it was open now. It was unfortunate that their night had been cut short. Alex looked incredible. Olivia introduced the women to each other. "Jess, this is Alex Cabot. Alex, this is Jess."
The two women nodded at each other. Alex's eyes were sympathetic. "Here is the paperwork for the protective detail. It's been signed off on." Alex handed the papers to Olivia.
"Thanks for bringing it over, I know it's late."
Alex looked at Jess and pursed her lips. "For Jess, anything." It was not often that Alex saw the victim that soon after an attack. Normally she preped them for their testimony well after their wounds have healed, at least their physical ones. She almost always received a somewhat sanitized version of the attacks. Alex couldn't help but notice the stitches in Jess's neck or that her right hand was trembling. The young woman had been through so much already; the very least Alex thought she could do was get some paperwork together. Plus she got to see Olivia, which was always a great thing. Seeing the Detective with those jeans, that top and those four-inch heeled boots made Alexandra Cabot weak in the knees.
"Thanks," Jess said. "I'm gonna shower and change into these, if that's okay with you?" she asked looking at Olivia. She nodded at Jess and the teenager retired to the bathroom.
"Has she said much?" Alex asked.
Olivia shook her head. "Not really. She's given her statement. She told us she's an orphan who isn't in the system, which I would like to find out more about. She wants to go back to her apartment for clothes. I told her she couldn't go back until Simpson is caught but that I'd have El go over there tomorrow to get some stuff for her."
"She's so young. Has she cried?" Alex asked.
The detective sighed. "I know, God she's 15. She has cried only a single tear from what I've seen."
Alex raised her eyebrow. "Really? Are you going to try and talk to her?"
Olivia shook her head. "Not tonight, I think I'll just try and get her to go to sleep. I'll try to get her to talk tomorrow. I'm sorry about tonight. I was having a great time at 904. Until Simpson is behind bars, Jess is staying here so that kindda puts the kibosh on any dates at all."
The A.D.A. held up her hands. "Oh Liv, don't worry about it. Jess is your priority."
After twenty minutes Jess reappeared, with wet hair and wearing a sweatshirt and pants of Olivia's. Alex couldn't believe how innocent the fifteen year old looked. She wasn't sure if it was the oversize clothes or the sadness in the teenager's eyes. Her heart ached for Jess. The pain the young girl had endured that night, Alex could only image. It sickened her and made her glad she would at some point get to prosecute Jess's attacker."It's late. I'm gonna go and let you two get some sleep." Alex said, finality in her voice.
"Goodnight," Olivia said and smiled.
Jess looked up at the tall blonde. "Thanks, Alex. Goodnight."
"You're welcome Jess. Goodnight," and with that Alex turned and left.
Olivia closed and locked the door after her and then turned to Jess. "It's late, do you want to go to sleep?", Olivia asked.
"I guess." Jess tried to keep her voice steady. Sleeping was the last thing she wanted to do. In some way, she wished that woman Alex had stayed. The thought of being alone, in a dark room terrified Jess. Throwing up and crying were pretty much the only things running through her mind. Olivia must be tired, though. It's late, Jess thought.
"I'll get changed and come in to see you before I go to bed," Olivia said taking the young woman's left hand in hers and squeezing it. Jess was not sure why but it felt good when Olivia did that. Jess's right hand hadn't stopped shaking. It scared her that it was shaking at all, but she was glad Olivia hadn't made a big deal about it.
"K," was all Jess could get out as she and Olivia walked down the hall still holding hands. They parted ways at the room Jess was to sleep in. It was a nice sized room, bigger than her own. It had a queen sized bed, closet, dresser; night stands on either side of the bed and a good-sized window on the opposite side of the room from the door. She walked over to the bed, drew the covers back and sat down. The only light in the room was from the light on the nightstand on the opposite side of the bed. The young girl laid down and pulled the covers over herself. She didn't want to close her eyes. She didn't want to see him, hear him, smell him. Jess couldn't do it; she was going to be sick. As the teenager turned to run to the bathroom, Olivia came in the room. Jess put her hand over her mouth and ran past Olivia, through the doorway and across the hall into the bathroom. She made it just in time. Olivia came into the bathroom, but didn't touch Jess. She wet a cloth and gave it to Jess.
Calmly she coaxed the young woman. "Put this on the back of your neck."Jess did and instantly felt cooler. She was relieved Olivia hadn't put it on the back of her neck herself. Olivia opened the cabinet above the sink; Jess was sitting on the floor now looking up at her. She rummaged around and found a toothbrush still in its package. She handed it to the girl. "When you're ready, you can brush your teeth with this."
Olivia said looking down at Jess. She was mortified. She couldn't believe Olivia had just seen her throw up. Fuck."Thanks," Jess replied sheepishly. Olivia knew Jess was embarrassed; she tried to reassure her. "It's okay. It's a natural reaction to what happened to you tonight."
Jess tried to regain some dignity through her sarcasm. "Great what's next? Is my head going to spin around on my neck and am I going to vomit pea soup?"
Olivia smiled slightly. "It's a pretty safe bet you're head won't spin around. I can't promise much beyond that. Everyone reacts differently."
The teen's tone changed completely, she now whispered. "Why won't my hand stop shaking?"
Olivia looked down at her. "I'm not sure. It might be stress related. I can take you to see a doctor tomorrow."
"No, no...I don't want to see any more doctors. The rape kit, the pictures, they...they were enough. Please don't make me go to a doctor," Jess pleaded.
Olivia put her hands up, palms out. "Okay, okay. You don't have to do anything you don't want to. Its okay to feel scared, it's natural to get sick, to be angry or hurt."
How about feeling weak, ashamed, embarrassed, guilty? Any of those normal? Jess wanted to ask, she couldn't bring herself to say them out loud. Olivia sat on the floor on the other side of the bathroom, her back against the wall.
"You are going to feel a lot of things. They are all normal, but they are going to be very powerful. They are going to be incredibly overwhelming for you to deal with on your own. I know you don't want to see a doctor, but you might want to think about seeing a therapist. You don't have to decide now, just...just think about it."
"When I was a little girl and couldn't sleep my mother would read to me. Do you want me to read to you?"Jess thought about this for a minute. She wouldn't be alone, the light would have to be on for Olivia to read and it wouldn't be quiet.
She nodded. "Yeah, I'd like that."
Once Jess had brushed her teeth she joined Olivia in the living room. Out of all the books Olivia had there was only one that caught the young woman's eyes. It had come out in the movie theater last year, but had been a very successful novel before Hollywood had sunk its teeth into it. She picked the book out and went to the bedroom where she was to sleep. The blonde got in bed and pulled the covers up. Olivia entered the room with a chair in her hands.
Jess looked at Olivia, confused. "I don't get it, what's with the chair?"
Olivia met Jess's eyes. "I'm going to put it here beside the bed to read to you."
"You can lay in the bed, just…just…" there it was, but Jess couldn't say it. She wanted to, she just didn't know how. How can she explain herself if she doesn't even comprehend her own feelings? Jess wanted Olivia to be close, but not too close. She was unsure why she wanted Olivia to lay with her. Jess didn't even know her.
Jess pulled the comforter from the other side of the bed over to herself and bunched it up, leaving just the sheet on the other side.
"You want me to lay there?" Olivia asked looking down at the empty side of the bed.
Jess could not make eye contact with Olivia. "Yeah."
"It's okay, I won't touch you, I promise," Olivia said softly.
She pulled a blanket from the end of the bed and propped up the two pillows on the empty side of the bed. She sat down on the bed and stretched her legs out and leaned back against the pillows. She drew the blanket around herself, looked down at the teenager and smiled. Olivia had never once touched her while she got into the bed. Jess met Olivia's eyes and smiled back at her. Olivia cracked the spine of the book and started to read. After the first chapter Jess could feel herself fading between awake and asleep. She was hugging the bunched up comforter that was acting as a barrier between her and Olivia.
"Olivia?" Jess said in a very sleepy tone.
"Uh huh," Olivia replied.
"You're welcome, Jess."
As Olivia took a breath and continued reading, Jess drifted off. Even though Marley was being destructive and amusing, the last thing the young girl remembered hearing was Olivia's calming voice and smelling the faint scent of her perfume.
The muffled sound of car horns honking ten stories below on the street woke Olivia up. Her guess was it was sometime in the eight o'clock hour. Sun was peeking out from behind the blinds on the window and the noise of rush hour in New York City was in full swing. Olivia's shirt felt tight, as if it had twisted under her while she turned in her sleep. Olivia hadn't moved though, she had unconsciously respected the boundary of the comforter that Jess had built the night before. Olivia was still propped up on the pillows and the book was dog-eared on her lap. As the brunette's gaze passed over the book, it fell on the young girl beside her. Jess looked even younger and more fragile than she had at any point the night before. It always amazed Olivia how much younger people looked when they were sleeping. She was glad that blonde had fallen asleep. The last thing Jess said to Olivia made the detective glad she had fought to take the child home with her. Years of experience had allowed Olivia to fill in most of the blanks last night. She wouldn't always be able to do that; Jess was going to have to see a psychiatrist whether she liked it or not. It was then that Olivia realized why her shirt felt so tight. Jess had a handful of the bottom left side of the shirt clutched in her fist, along with some of the comforter. Jess's hands were pulled right up between her mouth and nose. Olivia smiled as the sight pulled at the strings of her heart; it was one of the most endearing sights she'd ever witnessed. The child's right hand had stopped shaking. Not wanting to wake her, Olivia closed her eyes and tried to drift back to sleep.
Olivia woke next to the sound of her shower running. Her shirt was stretched but no longer tight and the bed beside her was empty. Olivia turned over and touched where Jess had been curled up, it was cold; she had been up for awhile. Olivia got up and sauntered into her own room and for the first time that day looked at a clock, 9:30 a.m. Coffee and the paper.
Looking up from the Times that she had delivered to her apartment when Jess walked into the kitchen, Olivia motioned over to the coffee pot.
"There's coffee if you want some."
"No, I'm good. I don't drink anything hot."
Olivia raised her eyebrows at this comment. She looked at the blonde to question this when she realized the young woman was wearing her clothes. She had on pair of Olivia's jeans that were rolled up at the bottom and a hoodie with Siena College written across the front of it. The hoodie, like the jeans was too large for the 15 year-old's body. Jess was about five feet tall and maybe weighed a buck-ten, Olivia was just less than 5'8 and weighed more than 110.
Instead of commenting on the coffee thing she decided to comment on the clothes.
"That's my favorite hoodie you have on there."
Jess had been on her way to a kitchen chair when she froze. "I'm sorry. I know I should have asked before I took your clothes. I didn't want to wake you though. I can wear another shirt if you'd prefer."
Olivia smiled her trademark crooked smile, leaned over and took Jess's left hand in her right. "You are welcome to my clothes, even my favorite ones, anytime but why don't we go shopping and get you some new ones."
"Thanks but that's too much. I think I'd just like my real clothes, from my apartment. Can we give a list to Elliot like you said last night?"
Olivia winked at Jess. "Absolutely, if you don't drink coffee what do you have for breakfast?" It occurred to the detective that the woman sitting before her was only fifteen. It had been somewhat foolish of the brunette to think the teenager could get by on only coffee for breakfast.
"Eggs, home fries, bacon, toast and chocolate milk. I go down to the diner for breakfast every morning before school, Tony cooks it for me." Jess smiled at the thought of Tony, but the smiled faded quickly as her thoughts went back to the night before.
Olivia contemplated this for a minute. In the fridge she had exactly six beers, three condiments and a jug of milk on the cusp of expiration in the fridge. Clearly, they'd be getting breakfast from a drive-up window today.
"Why don't you watch TV. I'll get ready and we'll head to the station house."
Jess looked at the paper in Olivia's hands. "Can I read the paper instead?"
Olivia smiled at her "Of course. I won't be long"
As Olivia ran around her room with her wet hair in a towel she made a mental list in her head.
Get her to make a list for Elliot
Get status update on the case from the guys
Take Jess to school to get homework from her teachers
Make sure she gets her clothes
Go grocery shopping
When Olivia entered the kitchen to retrieve Jess she realized the young woman had turned on the radio. Years of experience told the detective Jess was showing signs of not being able to understand how she felt or even what she felt. Add psychiatrist appointment to the list of things to do today. Jess was doing the Sudoku. She looked up over the top of the paper at Olivia as she entered.
"You know you have no food in your fridge right?"
Olivia smiled sheepishly. "Yeah I know, today is grocery day."
"If I wasn't here it wouldn't be grocery day would it?" Jess deadpanned.
Olivia raised her right eyebrow at Jess and the right side of her mouth tugged up in a half smile. The kid had actual made a joke and it was funny.
The brunette nodded, still in a half smile. "Touché. Take the paper to go; we are going to the station house now."
The car ride had been quiet but not uncomfortable. Jess had played DJ, opting for the all '70's and '80's radio station. It was a nice surprise. They got breakfast in a paper bag from a guy in a drive-up window. Olivia parked her car in the lot and the two women walked up the stairs of the 1-6 and into the squad room, breakfast bag in hand.
Manhattan SVU Squad Room
Tuesday May 15, 10:30
"You walked in here with breakfast and didn't call in to take our order, that takes some hutspa," Munch said as he walked away from the coffee maker with his second cup that morning towards his desk, Olivia and Jess.
Jess took Olivia's left hand in her right and hid behind her slightly. It was the first time the girl had reached out for the detective. Olivia squeezed her hand gently. John had not met Jess the night before; she knew he would not have been as social if he knew she was their only living vic. Olivia tried to quell the young woman's fear.
"It's okay", Olivia whispered behind her, "That's Detective Munch. He works with me."
Jess came out from behind Olivia but didn't let go of her hand. Jess sized up Detective John Munch. He was much taller than her; probably Jewish given his use of the word "hutspa" and despite being pretty loud he seemed like a nice enough man. He met Olivia and Jess in the middle of the bullpen.
"I'm sorry John; it's been a busy morning. Detective Munch this is Jess, Jess this is Detective Munch. He is investigating your case."
It was then that it registered for John just who the young woman with Olivia was. He shouldn't have made a big deal about breakfast. The two nodded at each other.
"Hey Liv," Fin said coming down the stairs from the crib. Olivia and Jess turned to see Fin.
"Morning Fin. Jessica O'Malley this is Detective Tutuola, he is also investigating your case."
"Hey Jessica, you can call me Fin."
A small smile creased Jess's face. "Hey Fin, you can call me Jess." Fin was also much taller than Jess; he had a larger build than Munch. That should have made Jess fear him, but Fin's eyes were kind.
Olivia was also still looking at Fin. "Where's El?"
Fin looked from Jess to Olivia. "Sleeping in the crib. He was the last to hit it last night."
Olivia looked at Jess and motioned to Elliot's desk. "You can sit at Elliot's desk for now."
Jess pulled out the chair, sat down and dove into the brown paper bag of food. She was starving. It was rare that she ate breakfast this late; normally she was at school by now.
Olivia, Munch and Fin watched her and spoke quietly to each other.
"Whatta we got on this case gentleman?"
"We could tell you", Fin said.
"But then we'd have to kill you," Munch finished.
Olivia rolled her eyes at the other detectives. "Come on guys."
Fin looked at her. "No way Liv, you're not on this case."
Benson looked between Munch and Fin. "I don't need to know the particulars. I just want to know where the case is at."
Munch sighed. He knew he should not tell Olivia anything, but since they didn't have much, it was not like he was divulging anything.
"Elliot called me on his cell and had Fin and I check out the address he got from DMV, once we finished at the crime scene. Fin and I sat on the house most of the night; he never came back. Elliot went over Tony Carpino's statement. He couldn't ID the killer. Cabot had a judge woken up at the crack of dawn this morning to sign a search warrant, off Jess's ID, for Simpson's residence."
"Stabler met Munch and me at Simpson's place before the ink was dry on the warrant. We tossed the joint and found some interesting pictures." Fin raised his eyebrows.
Olivia looked surprised. "What kind of pictures?"
"Pictures taken with a telephoto lens.", Munch said.
Olivia was slightly creeped out. "What are the pictures of?"
"Not what, who; they're all of Jess. Dating back probably about two years," Fin said.
"Bastard's been stalking her." Olivia was visibly angered. "She says he comes into the diner for lunch every day, orders the same thing. What else was at Simpson's place?"
"Not much. Found some pay stubs from a telemarketing company. Stabler said he'd run it down this morning. A laptop that we sent over to Computer Crimes at One P.P. Simpson's neat but this guy leads a meager life."
Olivia raised her right eyebrow. "That says a lot coming from you, John."
"We have a bigger problem. Unless Stabler finds him at work today, we've got zip on Simpson. No bloody clothes, no knife, and no bloody shoes. The only pictures we found in his place were of Jess; no family pictures. No credit card receipts or bank statements. He's got a driver's license but no vehicle registered. We ran his social and he does have a chequing account that we are tracking. We left a squad car at his place but I doubt he's comin' back. If he ain't at work, he's in the wind," Fin said as he shook his head.
The three were interrupted by Jess's weak voice. "Did you find him?"
The detectives turned to look at her and realized she wasn't addressing them at all.
They saw Stabler standing beside Jess.
"Not yet Jess. We're working on it though. We've been to his apartment and I'm going to where he works now to see if I can find him. If he isn't at work, do you know anywhere else he might be?"
Jess shook her head as she looked up at the detective. "All I know is that he would come into the diner at one o'clock for lunch."
"You never saw him outside of the diner?"
"No, never. He creeped me out. I was only cooking his food, but he would watch me, through the cutout in the wall between the kitchen and dining area. He always stared at me. After the third time he came in and did this I told Tony. Tony would try to talk to Mitch while I was cooking his order to distract him."
Jess was really uncomfortable talking about Mitch. She understood that she had to answer the detective's questions but she hated doing it.
"Did it work?" Olivia asked. Jess had the attention of all four SVU detectives now.
The young woman shook her head. "Not really. Mitch would talk to Tony but still watch me. Tony couldn't always talk to him either. The lunch rush isn't over until around two-thirty; the diner was hoppin' until around then. Tony did his best, but the place was normally packed."
Munch looked at Jess. "When did he start coming into the diner for lunch?"
Jess looked down at Elliot's desk. She felt sick to her stomach talking about Mitch and the diner. She swallowed hard and tried to continue. "About two years ago. I only started cooking at the diner after my mom died. She waitresses there for years before she died. I practically grew up in the last booth by the windows. Tony and his wife Connie gave my mom a good deal on the rent for the apartment above the diner if she opened every morning at five. She did, which means I did. She would have the cook make me breakfast every morning before I was picked up for school. I would be dropped off at the diner after school and do my homework in the last booth by the window. If I got my homework done Tony would let me do small things around the diner, scoop ice cream; take small orders out to people. After my mom died Tony and Connie were really there for me. Tony taught me how to cook in the kitchen. Connie talked to my teachers so I would only have to go to school in the morning. After school I go to the diner and cook for the lunch and dinner rushes. When it's slow, I do my homework in the booth."
"Jess I'm going to see if I can find Simpson at his work. I may have some more questions for you later though if you're up to them."
Elliot could see the child withdraw; they had pushed her to her limit and she needed a break. If you push a vic too hard too fast you can cause more harm than good.
"Yeah," he said as he grabbed his jacket off the coat rack in the corner of the room.
Jess, turned to look at Elliot. "If you find him, will you let me know?"
"Of course." Stabler smiled at the young woman and she smiled back. The four detectives moved away from Jess to talk.
"I should go with you to Simpson's place of work."
Elliot looked at his partner. "No, Liv you can't. You can't be involved in the case. I'll be fine. I doubt he'll be there anyway."
Olivia sighed. "Fine. I need someone to go over to Jess's apartment to pick up some things. I'll have her make a list."
Munch looked at Olivia. "We can do that. We were going to talk to Tony at the diner anyway. Maybe he can shed some light on Simpson."
Olivia nodded. "Did the rape kit or DNA come back from the lab yet?"
"Nothing yet, they probably only started processing it an hour ago", Fin said, looking at Olivia.
"We'll let you know when it comes back."
Olivia smiled slightly. "Thanks guys."
Stabler turned and left for Simpson's work. Olivia turned to Jess. "Hey Jess, you wanna make a list for Detectives' Munch and Fin? They are going over to your apartment and the diner."
Jess tensed up. She really did not want Munch and Fin getting her clothing. She would feel more comfortable if Olivia got her clothing. "Uh, can I talk to you for a sec?"
Jess furrowed her brow. "Privately?"
Fin looked at Olivia. "Olivia we're gonna head out. Text us with the list. Later Jess."
"Wait, you're going to see Tony right?" Jess asked. She did not have anything personal against Munch or Fin. They were men and she really just felt uncomfortable with them going through her things.
"Yeah we have some questions for him."
"When you talk to him can you tell him I say hey, that I'm safe and that I miss him and Connie?" Jess genuinely did miss them both. If Tony had not come back last night when he did, Mitch would have absolutely raped Jess.
"Yeah sure, we'll let him know."
"Thanks. See ya."
Munch and Fin grabbed their coats and left; Olivia leaned on Elliot's desk and looked down at Jess.
Jess looked up at Olivia. "Can't you go to my place?"
Olivia shook her head. "No, I'm sorry I can't. Once I became your protective detail, I was taken off your case. I can't help in the investigation, including going to your place."
The more the teenager had thought about a man getting her clothing the less comfortable she had become with the prospect. "I…I don't want them going to get my clothes." Jess looked away from Olivia not being able to bring herself to look at the detective.
Olivia leaned down trying to get Jess to make eye contact. "How come?"
Uncomfortable with the prospect of the two male detectives going through some of her clothing Jess's tone changed, she weakly whined, "Unnnn…they're going to see."
Olivia squinted her eyes. "See what? What don't you want them to see?"
Jess looked directly at Olivia, her facial feature change from meek to anger. "What do you think?" she hissed as she got up and hustled upstairs to the crib.
Stunned, Olivia racked her brain. She was supposed to be able to fill in this blank. Why couldn't she? What wouldn't Jess want Fin and Munch to see? The blonde was fifteen, how the hell was she supposed to know this shit? If she didn't figure this out immediately and go after Jess, Olivia will lose any trust she had build with the young woman. Before Olivia even thought about it, her fingers were dialing the number.
"Hello," came the voice on the other end of the call.
"Hey Kathy, it's Olivia."
Worry set in Kathy voice. "Hey Olivia…Is Elliot okay?"
"Oh yeah, yes he's fine. Sorry, I didn't mean to worry you."
Kathy sighed in relief. "It's okay. Sorry, it's just an automatic response. What's up?"
"We're working on a case and I need some advice."
"From me?" Kathy questioned.
"Yeah, I need a mother's perspective. A fifteen-year-old girl was attacked. She can't go back to her apartment, but she wants things from inside it, like clothes. She asked me to get her stuff, but I can't, I have to send Fin and Munch. She got really upset but won't say why. What am I missing? What wouldn't a 15 year-old girl want us to see?"
"You're kidding right?" Kathy said sarcastically.
"No, what is it?"
"You said among other things she wants clothes right?"
"Would you want Fin and Munch to get your clothes?"
"Look, Munch is a little weird but I wouldn't care if he grabbed some jeans and shirts for me."
"This isn't about Munch or jeans and shirts. Think about it, Olivia. What else would you need them to get for you?"
Kathy sighed. "Uh…seriously? They go under the jeans and shirts, Olivia."
It hit Olivia. "Shit! She doesn't want them to see her bra and underwear."
"Absolutely. I mean come on, John Munch getting your bra and underwear for you? Would you ever let that happen?"
Olivia closed her eyes and sighed. Mental headslap. "No. Shit. Now what? I can't go over there."
"I don't get it. If you're all working the case, why can't you?" She opened her eyes. "I'm not working the case in the conventional sense."
"It's really none of my business but if you want to elaborate on that I'm listening."
"The victim is in Protective Custody, my custody. I can't investigate her case and protect her so I can't go over to her apartment."
"She's fifteen huh? Good luck with that. They're hard to deal with at that age. I can only imagine what she is feeling."
Olivia looked down at the floor of the squad room. "I know. Up until now I was doing pretty well, I think. She's not talking very much, but it's almost as if she wants me to read her mind. Like I'm supposed to know how she feels or what she wants. The traumatic part I think I'm doing okay with. It's the everyday stuff I'm having trouble with. You know the clothes, the food…"
"Food, what food?" Kathy questioned.
Olivia looked around the room and sighed. "I have no food in my fridge. We got take-out for breakfast. While she did eat it, I get the distinct impression she's expecting real food for her next meal."
"Most likely. If she is used to home-cooked food I'm sure she'll want that now more than ever. I know you can't discuss the case but if you need any more advice, call me. If you have time you can always bring her and yourself over here for some real food. Feel free to bring my husband too."
Olivia could tell by her tone Kathy was sincere but was also smiling.
"Thanks so much Kathy. I may take you up on the offer."
"Anytime, bye Olivia."
Olivia hung up and climbed the stairs to the crib. She stopped short when she saw Jess sitting on the couch outside the crib. Olivia walked over and sat down on the other side of the couch. She looked at Jess.
"I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking about all the clothes you would need. Why don't you limit the list of clothing to pants and shirts and I'll take you shopping for the rest."
Jess shrugged and stared out over the squad room, not being able to make eye contact with Olivia. "It's okay. I don't know why I got so angry with you. It's not your fault, you've been nothing but nice to me. I shouldn't have freaked out on you. I just…don't understand myself. You don't have to buy me that stuff. I can buy it if you would just take me to a store."
Olivia knew this was coming; the mood swings, over-reactions, being uncomfortable with most people in general, but especially men. It was all a normal reaction to her attack. Olivia tried to reassure Jess that she had not taken the over-reaction personally.
"Jess, I have been doing this job for a long time. Plus I am Elliot Stabler's partner. It is going to take a lot more than what you did to offend me. You are working through a lot of emotions right now. I told you last night they were going to be powerful. It is completely normal. As for the clothing, I won't be buying them for you, the city of New York will."
Jess finally looked at Olivia with a questioning look on her face. "I don't get it?"
Olivia gave the child a half smile. "As part of your protective detail, anything that needs to be bought for you the city of New York pays for."
Jess raised her eyebrows. "Seriously?"
Olivia nodded her head. "Yup."
Jess furrowed her brow. "How many people in this city have a protective detail in a year?"
Olivia shrugged her shoulders and estimated. "It varies but in any given year hundreds, give or take."
Jess expelled some air. "Shit, no wonder this city is fuckin' broke."
It was the second joke Jess had made and Olivia had to laugh, it was pretty good.
"Why don't we go back down to the desks? You can make a list, I'll text it to Fin and then I want to hear more about this only going to school until noon thing."
Jess looked across the desk at Olivia and held out her hand. "Here give me your phone, I'll text Fin."
Olivia handed Jess her phone across the desks, with a raised eyebrow. With a few clicks Jess had a partial list made:
1. Everything in the third and fourth drawer of the dresser.
2. Picture of my mom on the bedside table.
3. All textbooks sitting by the computer.
"Olivia can they bring my computer back here?" Jess asked without looking up from the cell phone.
"No, it's too much. Hopefully you won't be away that long. Is there something specific you need off of it? I can give them a flash drive and they can get it from the computer for you."
Jess looked up at Olivia from the phone. "No, I just need a computer to do my homework and communicate with my teachers."
Olivia met Jess's eyes. "Yeah about that. You can't go back to your school but I can have
Elliot go over there and talk to your teachers."
Jess shook her head. "Naw, there's no need. I can just email them and they can send me my assignments. I've pulled extra shifts at the diner before and missed school. My teachers are pretty understanding. I keep my grades up whether I'm at school or not. Can I borrow your laptop; I can do it right now?"
Olivia smiled and nodded at Jess. "How about that list first."
"It's done, here." Jess hit send on the phone and the message was sent. She pushed the cell across Elliot's desk and Olivia took it.
Olivia raised her right eyebrow. "That didn't take long. Are you sure you don't want
"Yeah I'm sure."
Olivia pushed her laptop across the desks. "Here is my laptop"
Grabbing the laptop, Jess checked her email and sent some emails to her teachers requesting homework for the day. She didn't tell them about what happened last night, only that she wouldn't be at school for a few days.
Jess looked over top of the laptop. "Can we go shopping now?"
Olivia looked at her and smiled. "Yeah let's get outta here."
Jessica O'Malley's Residence
7th Ave and W 27th Street
Tuesday May 15, 11:30am
"Got a text from Liv, Jess just wants the clothes from the third and fourth drawers of her
dresser, a picture of her mom and all the textbooks by the computer. I'll grab that stuff," Fin said as he walked into the bedroom with a bag.
"Not much here. The only things worth anything in here are the guitars, violin, the computer and the records," Munch said loud enough for Fin to hear him in the other room.
"She's fifteen and trying to make it on her own; what were you expecting Paris Hilton's penthouse?" Fin asked.
"No, but most fifteen-year-olds have cell phones, iPods, video game systems. Jess has guitars, a computer, record player and records," Munch observed.
"I get the impression Jess isn't like most fifteen-year-olds. Plus that computer isn't just any computer. Double monitor set-up, two towers, external hard drive; Jess has got thousands of dollars worth of equipment there. Check this out," Fin said coming out of the bedroom and stepping towards the fridge. He picked up a list that was held to the fridge by a Coke magnet.
The two detectives stood beside each other "Cell phone, iPod, laptop, trip to Disney World,Hudson University' s journalism or screen writers programs, Harvard's Law school…what is this?"
"It's a list of things Jess wants; wants to have, wants to do, wants to achieve," Tony said.
"And you are?" Munch inquired.
"Tony. I own the building. Is Jess okay? No one will tell me anything, where is she?"
Fin looked at Tony "We can't tell you where she is, but she's safe. We have some questions for you."
Munch pulled out a pad of paper, a pen and he and Fin both pulled out their badges. "I'm Detective Munch and this is my partner Detective Tutuola. What's your full name?"
"How well do you know Mitch Simpson?" Fin asked
"Mitch? Is that who did this? Is that who killed Terence and Shelley and attacked Jess?"
"He has been identified as a suspect," Munch admitted.
"That mother-fucker! I'll kill him!"
Fin moved towards Tony. "Sir, calm down."
Tony calmed slightly. "I want to see my little Jess. I want to make sure she is okay."
"You can't, she's in protective custody. What do you know about Mitch Simpson?" Munch pushed.
"He's a fuckin' creep. Always sat at the counter for lunch at one o'clock. He stared at Jess the whole time. I just thought he was a little pervy. You deal with all kinds of people in the diner, punks, suits, cops, lawyers, homeless, blue-collar, hookers….a guy watching my cook was sceevy, but it seemed small in the grand scheme of things," Tony looked down at the floor, visibly troubled that he had misjudged Simpson. He could not believe Terrence and Shelley were dead. He also could not shake the glazed-over distant look in Jess's eyes as she sat behind the counter after the attack.
"Aside from watching Jess, did Simpson ever do anything else out of the ordinary?"
Tony shook his head as he looked at Munch. "Not that I recall. He's the type of guy you forget as soon as he's out of sight. The only reason I remember the little I do is because he has come in everyday for like two years and ordered the same thing for lunch."
"How did he pay?"
Tony looked at Fin. "Cash, exact change every time. Can you please tell my little Jess that I am sorry I didn't come back sooner? I wish I could have stopped him. I…I just can't believe he hurt little Jess…," Tony broke down. He put his hands over his face as he cried.
Munch put a hand on Tony's right shoulder as it shook. "We'll tell her. Once we catch Simpson, you can see Jess. She wants to see you, too. She's been asking about you and your wife. Can we go downstairs to the diner? We need to look at the crime scene again."
Tony collected himself. "Yeah. Come downstairs."
Fin grabbed the textbooks and put them in the duffel bag along with Jess's clothing and the picture of her mother. The three left the apartment, locking the door behind them. The detectives followed Tony down to the diner.
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