Chapter 27

Silence beckoned the room for a moment, until Fin looked at Brian.

"You know, I'm getting a little hungry. I don't know about ya'll." Fin rubbed his belly and turned to Brian. "If I give you a twenty, do you think ya could go pick us up some pizza?"

"Um, what's this about?" Brian inquired suspiciously, raising one of his dark eyebrows. "If I didn't know better, I'd suggest you were trying to get rid of me. What's this about, Fin? First you show up yesterday and insist you and Liv take a walk without me. Now you're trying to shoo me away? I don't follow. Why are we keeping secrets from me?"

"Chill, bro. It's nothing that pertains to you. And I'm honestly hungry. What about you, Liv and Amanda?" Fin looked between Amanda and Olivia. Olivia could understand why Fin might want to discuss Nick without Brian's presence. Brian hated him, and whatever it was would likely just make Brian hate him more. Olivia in no way condoned Nick murdering his wife, or any of the other stupid shit he'd done recently, but she knew in her heart that Nick was a good person. She'd worked beside him for a year. He had a good heart, and he had to have motive to do what he'd done.

"I'm starving," Amanda insisted. "I haven't eaten anything other than a donut last night around midnight. I'm down for pizza. How's pepperoni and sausage sound?"

"I love pepperoni and sausage," Fin agreed, looking at Olivia. "What about you?"

"Well, actually…" her stomach gargled, and she patted her stomach lightly. She hadn't realized how hungry she really was. She concluded, "That sounds great."

"There you have it, Brian," Fin said, pulling out a twenty dollar bill out of his wallet and handing it to Brian.

"We could get delivery," Brian offered, seemingly desperate to stay for the conversation.

"Nah, I don't trust those delivery boys," Fin said.

"Well, I'm glad to know you trust me," Brian said, rolling his eyes, taking the money, and reaching for his coat. "I'll be back shortly, so talk about whatever you need to quickly." He stormed out of the apartment.

Fin sighed, looking at Olivia. "Your boy has an attitude."

Olivia shrugged. "Can you blame him?"

"Munch was telling me about when he worked at SVU and how he apparently had a thing for you then, and you denied him…apparently he snapped a few times."

"It's a long story," Olivia said, "that I don't want to go into, Fin."

"I'm just looking out for you, Liv. You're like a sister to me."

"Brian's a good guy. He's just a natural detective who has the desire to know what's going on at all times. I'm the same way. Now, tell me what's going on with Nick. Has there been a break in the case? Have they found Zara and him?"

"I'm pretty sure you'd have heard already if they did, but no. Liv, we wanted to know if Nick had tried contacting you at all. I know you said yesterday that he hadn't. But something's changed…"

"What?" Olivia's eyes widened. "No, Nick hasn't tried calling me. What's changed?"

"This is the reason we couldn't have the conversation with Brian in the room," Amanda said slowly. Her blue eyes gazed into Olivia's. "Olivia, Nick called me late last night, around an hour before they estimated Tucker's vehicle went off the road."

Olivia's heart dropped, having a feeling she knew where this was going.

"What did Nick say? Did you tell anyone?"

"He told me he was calling from a payphone, but he wouldn't say where. He said that he and Zara were safe, and he wanted me to know that he had no intentions of hurting her. He said that he felt horrible for doing what he did, and that he only did it for Zara's well-being. He mentioned that Maria had accepted a job in California and planned to take Zara with her."

"How long was this call?" Olivia asked.

"Like five minutes. It ended with me telling him that I had no choice but to tell Tucker, and he freaked out. Then the line went dead."

"Did you call Tucker?"

"No," Amanda said quietly. "I was going to, but then I decided that I'd be betraying him. I mean, I know I could get in big trouble if it comes out, but I can't tell anyone now. It's been too long, and they're going to question why I didn't tell someone right away. Nick trusted me enough to call me. I don't know why he called me and not you…"

"It's not like we've been extremely close lately," Olivia admitted. "So, I'm not surprised."

"We've never been exactly close, either. I just haven't taken the opportunity to get to know him, I guess. If anyone here knows him at all, Liv, it's you."

"He's changed since his wife left him," Olivia said quietly. "I don't know him anymore."

"It takes a crazy man to do what Nick did, I'm sorry," Fin said. "I'm assuming you don't know the details, Liv."

"All I know is what the television told me," Olivia responded. "Why, what did he do?"

"Well, apparently he drove to Washington D.C. and picked Zara up from school. Apparently he wasn't on the authorization list, so the teacher hesitated to let him take Zara, but Zara was so ecstatic to see her daddy, that they let him take her. Then, apparently he went to Maria's residence and entered the house. We don't know complete details, but we can assume he told Zara to stay in the car. He entered the house and shot Maria with a single bullet to her heart then fled with Zara."

"Wait, you said he was AWOL yesterday morning, and I heard about this on the news yesterday evening. You said he'd been missing since you heard about El. Where did he go between that evening and doing all this?"

"We don't know, Liv. It's possible he was plotting out exactly what he was going to do. Nick's a smart guy. He wouldn't go into a situation unequipped."

"That's true," Olivia admitted. "Wait." She looked back and forth at Amanda, remembering something Amanda had said earlier. "It ended with me telling him I had no choice but to tell Tucker."

"What, Liv?" Amanda and Fin both asked.

"You said that you told Nick you were going to tell Ed Tucker that he called," Olivia noted. "You don't think that it's possible that he's somehow…involved?"

"It really wouldn't faze me," Amanda admitted, looking at Fin, who sighed and nodded.

"I have my suspicions. And if Nick is involved, that means he's in the city, or at least he was last night."

"Nick is not dumb enough to stay in the city long," Olivia said just as Brian was walking in with a box of pizza in his hand. "That was quick," she said, looking at Brian.

"I said that I would be quick," Brian grinned, setting the pizza down and kissing her cheek. "Now, what were we talking about?"

"We were talking about how damn good this pizza is going to be," Fin insisted, opening the box and reaching for a piece of pizza.

"I see," Brian said, doubtfully. He reached into his pocket and pulled out some change, handing it to Fin. "Here's your change."

"Thanks," Fin said with a mouthful of pizza in his mouth. Fin looked around at the other three. "Well, what are you waiting for? Dig in!"

Olivia looked at Amanda and Brian, who shrugged. They were all soon devouring the pizza.

Once they were fed, Fin stood up and looked at Amanda. "Well, we should get going." He turned to Liv. "It was nice talking to you, and I'll be seeing you back at the station soon, no?"

"Um, yeah…" Olivia trailed, thoughts ran through her head that she didn't want to share with Fin at the time. She was due back at work Monday, though she didn't know what was going to happen now in light of Tucker's death. She was surprised she hadn't heard from Internal Affairs or One Police Plaza recently. They were all likely shook up over Ed's death that they had completely forgotten about her. One could only hope.

She stood and Fin gave her a hug. "Take care of yourself, Liv."

"I will. You guys, too."

Fin and Amanda parted, and Olivia cleaned up the table. Brian still sat in his chair. Olivia noticed he was staring intently at her.

"What?"

"Nothing," he replied.

"Why are you staring at me, then?"

"Just thinking," he said.

She sat across from him and reached for his hand. "Tell me what's on your mind, then."

"You're beautiful," he told her.

"I am? Well, if you say so. I don't think I am," she shrugged.

Brian chuckled. "When will you learn to take a compliment?" She didn't answer, because for most of her life she hadn't thought she was worthy of compliments. She'd never had a high self-esteem. Nonetheless, she'd tried to portray herself as confident for the sake of her job. She knew that her job was never going to be the same again. Her professional life had crumbled over the past few days, and she wasn't sure she could take it anymore. When Fin had told her that he hoped to see her back soon, her first thought in her mind had been I don't. She loved her coworkers. They were like family to her, and nothing could terminate her relationship with Fin, Munch, or Cragen. However, her job wasn't her life anymore. She gazed into Brian's adorable eyes. He was.

"Brian, you know I love you, right?" she whispered.

"You've said it a few times, I think," Brian smiled, walking behind her and gently rubbing her shoulders. "I love you, too, and not just because you're the sexiest woman I've ever met."

She blushed. "You're too kind." God, that feels good, she released a moan as Brian massaged the tension out of her shoulders.

"I just don't know why Fin wants to be hush-hush around me," Brian sighed.

"He knows Nick is a sore subject around you, that's all," Olivia insisted, knowing that wasn't the entire story. Olivia knew that if Brian had been present in the room when Amanda had confessed that Nick had called her, he would have insisted they immediately report it. Though, Olivia understood Amanda's reasoning for not reporting it. Now, it was too late. However, Olivia knew that if IAB learned of the call shit would go down. Shit, I can't be part of this anymore, Olivia thought. It's too much.

"Brian," she whispered.

"Yeah, baby?"

"I think I want to quit Special Victims."

She couldn't believe the words that had just released from her lips.