Manhattan Sex Crimes prosecutor Rafael Barba picked up his cell phone with his left hand. His right hand held a steaming cup of coffee. "ADA Barba," he answered.
"Counselor, this is Nick Amaro. I've got some really bad news. Amanda and I are at Olivia's apartment. She's been raped and beaten and we're sure it was William Lewis. He left his legal aid attorney's card on the counter and the rooms are littered with the same evidence he left at Alice Parker's place. Cassidy is here, too. Both of them are unconscious and we're waiting for the EMTs and Forensics. Thought you'd want to know right away."
Barba tried to gather his thoughts. He sat down heavily at his desk. He felt ill. Would there be no end to the suffering this socioopath had wrought?
"I'll be right over." He jotted down the address Nick gave him realizing that Benson lived only a few blocks from his own apartment. And both of their places were near this office on Hogan Place. He stood, rolled down his shirt sleeves and grabbed his jacket. Then reconsidering he sat back down at his computer. He quickly searched for the Legal Aid website and dialed their number.
When the receptionist answered he demanded, "this is ADA Barba. I need to speak to Vanessa Mayer immediately."
When she came on the line he skipped any pleasantries "Do you know where William Lewis is? I'm on my way to Detective Benson's apartment. She's been raped and her boyfriend has been beaten. Both are unconscious."
"Oh my God," she said. "But how do you know it was him?" she asked still fully supporting her client.
"Because he left your business card on top of a pile of bloody torture instruments: cigarette stubs, hangers… I'll call you later. The police need to find him before he commits any more violence." He disconnected the line.
Barba exited the taxi and quickly paid. He noticed three police cars and and two ambulances on the street. Uniformed officers stopped him at the building's entrance and he produced his court badge. They let him pass and he headed up the stairs. He was met at Olivia's door by Amaro. Amaro put his hand on Barba's chest to stop him.
"Counselor, this is a really bad scene- just want to warn you. When it's one of our own we…" his voice cracked. Barba pushed past him and saw pans of water on the stove. The kitchen counter was littered with cigarettes, drugs, and bent hangers.
He turned around to see EMT personnel wheel out Brian Cassidy. It must be Cassidy, he thought, although the man was hardly recognizable with a bloody gash on his forehead, missing teeth and a broken nose. Gazing around the apartment he asked Amaro, "Is Olivia still here?"
Nick pointed to one of the doorways. "In there."
Barba walked into the room and stopped. His eyes widened and he let out an audible sigh. Two EMTs were huddled over a naked Olivia cutting off electrical cords that had bound her to her bed posts. There was blood everywhere.
Rollins came over and grabbed his arm. Her eyes were red and she was sobbing. "We should have known he would try something like this. We could have stopped him."
Barba awkwardly hugged her. He put his hand on her head. "It's not your fault. Not any of you. And we're going to get him this time and put him away for good," he grimly promised.
When one EMT moved and wheeled the stretcher closer to the bed Barba saw dozens of cigarette burns on Olivia's body. Her right arm appeared to be at an awkward angle. It's broken, he thought. But her face was spared unlike Cassidy's. No burns or cuts marred her good looks.
Nick stayed behind to work with the forensics team. Barba got into the unmarked car with Rollins, neither one of them able to speak on the short ride to the hospital. They were met in the emergency room by Captain Cragen and Fin.
Several hours later just after Amaro joined the group an ER doctor came out to update them on Olivia's condition . "We've set Ms. Benson's fractured arm. She's on intravenous antibiotics and we're treating the various burns. She may require plastic surgery at some point. She's been given the morning after pill and we'll do an AIDS test. The internal damage from the rape will take a while to heal, but on the whole she is lucky the injuries were not life threatening. The other officer…" he looked questioningly at the squad.
"Cassidy" interjected Rollins.
"Yes, Cassidy," said the doctor. "He's in really bad shape. He sustained multiple blows to the skull. We're keeping him in an enduced coma. We may have to operate. Does anyone have contact information for him? His family really should be here."
"I'll notify 1PP," answered Cragen, "they'll know his next of kin."
"When can we see Olivia?" asked Rollins.
"She's been conscious off and on but I'd like her to rest for a while. In a couple of hours one or two of you can sit in the room. When she wakes up don't tire her."
Barba looked around at each member of the squad. It's taken a while, he mused, but now he really felt like part of this team.
He stood up, removed his jacket revealing his pink and purple striped suspenders.
"We'll be here a while," he said. " I need some coffee. Anyone else want some?"
It had been several hours since Olivia had been moved to a private hospital room. Rollins and Barba were sitting in two chairs by her bedside. Cragen, Amaro, and Fin had gone back to the squad. Amaro would take Rollins' place in a few hours. Barba insisted on staying.
"I'm going to get something to eat. Can I get you something? A refill?" Rollins smiled indicating his coffee cup.
"Sure. Black. Thanks," Barba responded.
Olivia's eyelids fluttered and she gradually opened her eyes.
"Do you know where you are and what happened?" Barba asked as he approached her bed.
She glanced at her left arm with the intravenous line, then at her right arm in a cast.
She nodded. "Hospital. Lewis raped me," she spoke hoarsely. "Can I have some water, please?"
"OK, OK," he spoke slowly in that thoughtful familiar way. He picked up the water cup, removed the stick with the spongy end and moistened her lips.
"Cassidy?" she asked.
Barba frowned. "He's here, Olivia, upstairs. But his condition is very serious. They might have to operate. "
Rollins returned followed by a doctor. The doctor asked Barba and Rollins to give Olivia some privacy and he pulled the curtain around her bed. He spoke to her at length about her injuries and treatment.
The doctor pulled aside the curtain and spoke. "So you will probably be released tomorrow around noon. I don't want you to be by yourself. You'll need to stay with someone for a few days or go to a rehab facility."
Rollins spoke up. "She can't go home. Her apartment is a crime scene. Then it'll take a while to be cleaned." She remembered the blood, the broken furniture, the torture instruments she had seen littering Olivia's place. "She can come home with me," she offered, "but I have only one bedroom and I haven't replaced the couch that my sister…."
Barba interrupted. "Olivia, no argument. I have a guestroom. You're coming home with me. I insist."
Barba's dreamless sleep was broken by screams. He didn't know what the sounds were or where they originated . He sat up in bed and realized the screams were coming from Olivia sleeping in his guest room. She must be having a nightmare. He turned on his bedside lamp and slipped out of bed reaching for his eyeglasses. He retied his pajama bottoms as he hurried down the hall. Passing a mirror he saw his hair sticking up in uneven spikes. He smirked at his image.
He turned the wall switch on and saw Olivia thrashing about in the double bed. Her feet were caught in the bedclothes she had tried unsuccessfully to kick off. Her screams had turned into soft moans. She was flailing her arms from side to side. Barba tried to hold onto her hands but she pushed him away and almost knocked off his glasses. He gently shook her shoulders.
"Olivia, wake up. It's all right. You're safe. You're safe."
She opened her eyes. She was breathing heavily.
It took her a few seconds to realize where she was and to recognize him. She finally stopped moving.
"Barba," she whispered. "It was like being raped all over again."
Barba untangled her feet. She sat up. When he turned to get her a glass of water from the bedside table she grabbed his wrist and begged "Rafael, don't leave."
"I'm not leaving, Olivia. I'll stay with you until you fall asleep," he calmly assured her. He pulled a chair closer to the bed.
"Will you hold me?" she pleaded.
"Of course," he replied.
He removed his glasses and turned off the light. A nightlight faintly illuminated the room.
Barba lay on the bed next to her. He lifted Olivia slightly and laid her head on his chest. Her long damp hair tickled his naked skin and made him shiver. He began to lightly stroke her hair. He remembered how his mother had done so to soothe him when he was ill as a child.
"Try to sleep, Liv " he urged.
Olivia regarded Barba with curiosity. "I didn't know you wore glasses, Rafael."
"I usually wear contact lenses," Barba admitted smiling. "You know how vain I am."