It had been three months since Priti and Sonny had last been bouldering, so she forces herself out of bed. It is an effort and a half, but she ignores the ache in the pit of her stomach and stumbles into the shower.
The steaming hot water is refreshing and motivating. I can't miss today, I can't back out now, not after all the complaining I did to get Sonny to agree to this, she thinks.
Priti closes her eyes and rubs her abdomen, willing away the gnawing sensation growing there.
Raf is too busy at work and is too tired to do anything. Olivia has her happy little family and would rather spend all her time with them. At least you've still got Sonny. He is your best friend, he actually wants to spend time with you . . . or else he just wants you to shut up for a while so he can go back to hanging out with Amanda.
She frowns at the thought and turns off the shower head, takes a deep breath, and pushes down the queasiness in her stomach. Flinging on some leggings and a t-shirt, she rushes out of the apartment and drives to the bouldering wall.
She suspects that there is more than to Sonny’s friendship with Amanda and today is the perfect time to interrogate him. She knows that he lets his guard down when he is puzzling over a complicated climbing route and is more likely to be forthcoming with personal details.
Priti feels that it would be great for Sonny to finally have someone special in his life, but she can't shake the unsettled feeling inside her. Is it jealousy? she asks herself. There is no time for an answer, because as soon as she climbs out of her car, she hears him bellowing her name across the street.
“Priti!” he shouts, waving. He sprints over towards her with the usual huge grin on his face.
Priti can't help but smile, how could you not? Sonny always has a way of making you feel special, which is why his absence has been tough. “You made it! Finally, you have some time for me!”
“I’ve always got time for you, Priti. What are you talking about?”
“Do you remember the last time we hung out?”
She doesn't even wait for an answer. Bitterly she says, “It's okay, even my own husband doesn't seem to have time for me these days - it's not like I'm expecting miracles.”
“Hey, woah there,” Sonny puts a steadying hand on her shoulder. “I’m sure that’s not true. How could he not want to spend time with you. Just look at you.”
He waves his hand from her head to her toes, which makes her smile and blush a little. “And me, how could I not want to spend time with you?”
Then he winks, trying to give her a hint about what’s going on with him. “Well .. you and Amanda -”
“See, you'd rather hang out with Amanda than with me.” Priti turns and walks into the building.
“Priti, it’s not like that, it’s - “ he chases after her, grabs her by the elbow, stops her, and turns her around. “Look, you know how you’ve always said you think it would be great if I found someone?”
“Yeah?” she crosses her arms, suddenly forgetting the pain in her belly.
“Well, Amanda and me ...” he stutters a little and blushes. “Well we ...”
“You what?” Priti prompts, feigning ignorance. She has been feeling abandoned and believes that Sonny should be tortured… at least a little. And what better way is there than making him admit he had a thing for his partner?
He looks down and scratches his head. Why is this making him nervous? This is Priti - his best friend. This should be easy to admit to her, but somehow it isn’t.
“We, uh ... we’re kinda together now,” he whispers, talking to the floor and shuffling his feet. He nods his head a bit and adds, “you know.”
There he said it. She should be happy for him. He nervously looks up and meets her eyes.
“Sonny, that's great! Really wonderful.” She smiles at him, but it’s a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes. She isn't sure why it is suddenly so difficult.
He grins back at her, so relieved to have gotten this off of his chest that he doesn’t notice that she isn’t one hundred percent elated for him. It has been more than two months now. He isn’t one to keep secrets so he tells himself that it had just ‘never come up’ with Priti. But in reality it’s probably just because he has been avoiding her - instinctively knowing that a relationship with Amanda might bother her.
Priti had already ‘lost’ Liv to a baby and is trying to have one with Rafael, but so far that isn’t happening. So Sonny hadn’t been sure how she would take ‘losing’ her best friend to a woman with a child. But he is so happy to be able to finally talk with her about Amanda that he loses sight of his reservations in that moment.
“It really is great, huh? I mean Amanda, she ...” he stares off for a minute with a goofy grin, thinking of how much fun they would always seem to have together. How much fun all of them could have together someday, now that the cat was out of the bag.
Maybe this hadn't been a good idea after all, Priti thinks. I should have just stayed at home.
“Well, let's get cracking, Sonny, I thought we came here to climb!” she interrupts his silent reverie, brushes off her negative thoughts and sits down on the bench to put on her climbing shoes.
Sonny notices her tone and quickly comes back to the present. Oh shit. This was bothering her. His brow furrows as he watches her roughly pull on her shoes, tugging at them with a look of pain on her face. Snapping the velcro down tightly, gritting her teeth. This must really bother her - she looks like she is in physical pain.
“I’m sorry, Priti.” He knows her well enough to know he didn’t have to say any more. That she would catch his meaning without further elaboration.
"Sonny, I'm happy for you," she smiles a little sadly, but he knows the statement is genuine despite her expression.
"Come..." She pulls him up.
Priti approaches the nearest wall and ascends to the top, then jumps down nimbly. The impact with the ground does nothing to improve the stitch that had moved to her right side. She hides the flinch well, letting Sonny take his turn. She looks up, and the room lurches suddenly, tipping in a direction that is not physically possible. Priti closes her eyes and takes a deep breath and the room rights itself.
Sonny motions to Priti to try the next route. She tentatively takes a few steps up the wall. No pain, no vertigo. You can do this , she thinks to herself confidently, putting her foot on the next step, not noticing that the grip isn't quite stable.
What happens next is a blur for both Sonny and Priti. She doesn't even have time to shout, and before she knows what is happening, she is already on the floor. Sonny is at her side in an instant.
“Priti! Are you alright?” he yells, attracting the attention of fellow climbers.
Priti can only groan in response. She curls up into a ball holding her abdomen, searing pain shooting through her like a hot poker.
“What are you all just standing there for?” Sonny shouts angrily at those who are gawking. Yet within seconds his anger dissolves and he starts to panic. “Somebody call a bus!”
The full force of his anxious cry is directed at the scared looking teenager who is standing closest to him. In response, the teenager grips his cell phone tightly and creases his brows in consternation. He doesn’t understand.
Sonny shakes his head and briefly directs his attention back to Priti, who needs his comfort right now. He gently pushes her hair away from her face and rests his hand on her forehead, feeling an unexpected heat radiate into his palm.
“You’re burning up. Talk to me Halliwell, what's going on?” he pleads.
“Oh God, I think I'm gonna hurl,” Priti moans and rolls over onto her side.
Sonny rubs her back sympathetically. “I'm getting help, hang in there.”
He turns back to the frightened teenager and fixes him with a stern gaze.
“I am an NYPD Detective. This is a medical emergency and I need your phone immediately.” His tone is authoritative and final. The teenager hands over his cell without so much of a squawk of protest.
“This is Detective Sonny Carisi of Manhattan SVU, badge number zero, one, eight, eight. I need a bus to Steep Rock Bouldering, 1506 Lexington Ave. This is a medical emergency.”
“Sonny?” Priti’s voice is barely a whisper, but he is there by her side in an instant.
“What is it? I called a bus, hang in there, help will be here soon.”
“Sonny, I think it's my appendix … or else I’m pregnant and this is an ectopic ... but I doubt it.”