Chapter 1: Preface
“No way! I did not just see that!” Fin said, rubbing his eyes, like he was trying to rub that image out of them. The attempt was futile, as the scene persisted to play in his mind.
“I told you!” Amanda said smugly. She looked out the window to see the blushing ADA and her colleague, who was grinning widely, and who, by the looks of it, was trying to convince Barba that it was okay. Amanda smiled to herself.
“Two years ago!” Fin admonishes, still unbelievingly.
“Yeah, but I said they would get together. I say that walking in, well, outside to find them kissing, proves that they’re together.” Fin just grumbles, still shocked at their discovery and half annoyed at being wrong. Amanda chuckles before picking up some of the paperwork on her desk. She hated coming in after solving a hard case to find her desk loaded with paperwork, but she knew she had to get through it, and picked up a pen. When she looked over to the far end of her desk, where her pens were located, she could see the faint outline of Olivia’s body in her office. Something made Amanda stop and look again. It couldn't be, could it?
“Hey, Fin, does it look like Olivia’s crying?” She asked, watching the silloute of Olivia who was wiping her eyes with what looked like a tissue. It was hard to see through the half closed blinds and she tilted her head, trying to get a better look.
“Now that you mention it…” He says, looking intently at the office himself. “Nah, it’s probably nothing.
“Yeah, probably nothing.” Amanda said, but she wasn’t convinced. And she had to turn in the paperwork anyway, right? She suddenly had a reason to quickly finish up the paperwork, initialing here, writing a summary there, and bam! She was done in 5 minutes, probably a record time for completing paperwork. She moved to turn it in, but hesitated at Olivia’s door. What if she had been crying? She’d probably be the last person Olivia would want to see at that moment. Her hand hovered over the doorknob, unsure of what to do, until Olivia’s voice came through the door.
“Well, are you going to come in?” Olivia called out, slightly muffled through the thick wood. Amanda shook her head, as if drawing herself out of deep thought, and opened the door, striding in with more confidence than she had.
“I finished the paperwork.” Amanda said, putting it down on Olivia’s desk. Olivia nodded and blew her nose. Amanda took this opportunity to look Olivia over. She had red eyes and definitely a runny nose, but when you looked closer you could see possible tear streaks. “You okay?” She asked hesitantly as Olivia threw out the tissue.
“Yeah, just allergies. They hit me hard this year.” Amanda nodded in understanding, internally kicking herself. Of course it was allergies! It was May after all, so why the hell hadn’t she thought of that.
“You need anything else?” Olivia asked when Amanda didn’t leave right away.
“No. Have a good weekend, Olivia.” She said, nodding at Olivia. Amanda turned around, walking out of the office. If she’d turned around again, she would have seen a tear sliding down her boss’s face.
“Good night, Amanda.” Olivia whispered, long after the door had been shut.
Sorry it's been a while since I posted. I just haven't been terribly inspired to write this, as it's actually going to be a little dark, and I was writing some light fluffy stuff. Yes, I said it's going to be dark and yes, I changed it to rape/non-con. If you don't like that, don't read this. Sorry for the change, but I took a direction I didn't expect to go. Next chapter should be up soon, so you don't have to deal with the cliffhanger for too long!
Amanda sat at her desk, sniffling, finishing up the paperwork. She was the only one there, other than Olivia, who was in her office. She let a tear fall, knowing that if Olivia saw, she knew it was because of this case. It hit hard for both women, the victim being a gay addict. She lets two more fall and her words smudge as the water combines Witt the ink. She pushes ahead anyway, finishing up the summary. At least, she's trying too.
"Amanda, what are you still doing here?" Olivia asked, her words a little slurred. Amanda squinted her eyes, staring heavily at Olivia.
"I still have to finish this." She said, wiping her eyes dry.
"That can..." Olivia paused, "That can wait till Monday. Go home, Amanda. Sleep, cry, whatever, just don't stay here." Her words were definetly lightly slurred, the kind that happens if you're tired. Or tipsy.
"You okay, Olivia?" She asked. Olivia nodded and rubbed her eyes.
"Just tired, haven't slept much during this case." Amanda nodded, having slept only 7 hours these past 5 days herself.
"Okay, take care, Olivia." Olivia smiled sleepily and nodded as Amanda walked out. Once Amanda had been gone for a few minutes, Olivia pulled out the bottle that was already half-empty.
Amanda knew she should have gone home, fed Frannie, fallen asleep, but she couldn't. She was sad and angry, she needed a drink. She headed to her favorite bar, only two building's away from her own. She drank four glasses of Whiskey in quick succession and as she signaled for another, they bartender gave her a look.
"You have no idea." Amanda mumbled into her new glass, sipping from it slowly. She smiled drunkely as she felt the affects of the heavy amount of alcohol hit her all of a sudden. This was definetly her last glass, and she took a drink from it.
"I think I do." The guy responded, drying a glass. It was close to closing time, too close, and Amanda could tell that the guy was well aware of that. She didn't care, and sipped slower.
"No, buddy, you don't." She responded, a little menace in her voice, and he raised an eyebrow. She tilted her head back and swallowed the last drops of her drink. She questioned another, not quite sure of her earlier idea of 'last one', but he answered that for her.
"Last call was 5 minutes ago, so don't think about it." He said, clinking down the glass. She nodded and slid the glass back to him, getting on her feet, swaying slightly. "You gonna pay for those?" He asks, his arms crossed. The whole look wasn't as scary as he was hoping for with a dishcloth in his hands, but she didn't care. She'd always intended to pay him.
"Of course." She slapped down the money. "Thanks," she said, her drunken smile coming out. She mildly wondered if this was going to be an energetic or lathergic drunkenesss, but as he took the money and she walked a few steps, she knew she was falling asleep when she got home.
"You gonna be okay?" He asked and she instability walked to the door.
"Of course, I live close by."
"Be careful. The city isn't safe to walk in at night." He warned, and she was slightly touched at the rude bartender's thoughtfulness. At least some were helping drunk women not to become victims.
"Don't I know it." She said, and left before he could ask what she had meant. She fell into bed the second she got home, Frannie jumping up onto the bed with her, and she forgot the man, forgot the encounter, forgot the case, forgot the world.
A shrill ringing wakes her up, way earlier than she wanted to. It takes her a few minutes to figure out what the noise is and then she remember's her cell phone. She groans, rolls over, and tries to find it in her pile of clothes. She pulls it out of her pant pocket just as the last ring finishes.
"Fuck." She mumbles, looking at the screen. She'd missed 3 calls, all from the station. Her head pounded and she was tempted to just lie back down, but she knew they had a case. She was just hitting redial when the phone rang in her hands. This time she picked it up immediately.
"Rollins." She said in a brisk voice, trying not to sound tired and hungover for whoever was on the other end of that line. Most likely Olivia. She woke up fully when it wasn't Olivia's soft voice coming over the line, but a gruff one instead.
"Amanda, I'm sorry to call you, but you need to come in."
"Sarge? Where's Olivia?"
"Oh, she's here." Amanda furrowed her brow as she tried to figure out what Fin's words and tone meant, but he kept talking before she could figure it out. "We have a new case. Woman in her late 40's, raped and beaten."
"Okay, where do I go?" She asked, slipping on her pants, knowing she didn't have time to shower. That was pretty gross, especially as the last case prevented her from showering often as well.
"Mercy Hospital, the patient's in room 345, but check in with the desk in case they move her."
"Okay, Fin. I'll be there in 15 minutes if traffic's bad."
"Copy that, Rollins. Remember, this isn't going to be an easy case."
"You'll find out, but be prepared." Amanda hung up the phone. She slammed it against her forehead, not ready for whatever was about to come. She doubted she would ever be.
Amanda popped a few ibuprofen a she walked into the hospital, knowing that she would need all her strength for whatever case that was so rough that Fin couldn't tell her. The hospital was a bubbling flurry of sick people and kids with broken bones. She rubs her head at the noise level and walks up to the desk, to a busy nurse. She pulled out her badge, just as the phone rings.
"Detec-" She doesn't get farther than that as the nurse raises a finger to her and picks up the phone. Amanda taps her badge against the counter as the nurse talks and talks and talks. Amanda's sure that it's an important call, at least, it sounds like it, but she doesn't have the patience. "Excuse me. Detective Amanda Rollins." Amanda said in a tight voice, tapping the nurse on the shoulder. The nurse shoots her a death glare before asking the person on the phone to hold for a minute.
"What?" The woman asks in a snotty voice. Amanda resists the strong urge to roll her eyes at the women, for it's clearly been a busy day, and their both just trying to do their jobs. She plasters on a fake smile, just for her.
"Detective Amanda Rollins. What room is the rape victim in?"
"Don't you guys have communication?" She asked rudely, pushing her glasses up with her index finger. Amanda just keeps smiling, but she can't help but think that this woman's much ruder than she has to be. "I was asked this literally 20 minutes ago." Amanda just raises an eyebrow, the smile dropping from her face, giving the nurse an unamused and impatient look. "Room 345, third curtain down." Then the woman turns back to the phone.
"Thanks," Amanda said sarcastically, walking briskly to the room. As she gets closer and closer, her heart thuds in her heart. This can be no different than any other case. Just a woman who was raped and beaten; SVU's bread and butter.
No different. Terrible, but no different.
But she walks into the room, rounds the corner, and finds that it can be very very different.
Amanda's heart thuds and she hear's Carisi's voice coming from around the corner as she gets closer. Her mind goes into over time for what she's going to find. She images finding someone they know, a family member, a friend. She image's their injuries, their story. She images so much, her mind going to places she didn't know she could think up. She pulls out her pen and paper, ready to write, and ignore's whatever Carisi's saying. It's probably just the normal questions. She walks around the curtain, clicking the pen open. She takes a deep breath, ready for whatever it is, whatever Fin couldn't tell her, and says,
"Detecti-" For the second time that day, Amanda doesn't finish that word. She stops talking and walking in shock, her pen dropping out of her hand and clattering noisily to the floor. She'd thought of so many things, she'd thought of it being a friend or family, but not this. Not this at all.
"Detective Amanda Rollins." Olivia finishes for her, smiling sadly best as she can. It's hard as the simple action hurts. Amanda just stands and stares for a few long moments, looking at the woman she's admired for years. The woman she respects and cares about. The woman sitting in the hospital bed, the woman who's their newest victim.
"Olivia." Amanda says, remembering herself and rushing over to Olivia's side. "What happened?" A tear trickles down Olivia's cheek, followed by a few more. Olivia's not in good shape. Her arm is wrapped up and in a sling and so is her ankle along with her face being heavily bruised. She has a black eye and a split lip. And she has a woman inbetween her legs taking samples.
"I was raped." Olivia says, and more tears follow as the woman shamelessly pulls out a giant camera.
Amanda feels awkward, like she doesn't know what to do, what to say. She thinks maybe of saying something like it's going to be okay, we're going to find him, it's not the end, but she know's that Olivia already knows all of that. That she's told hundreds, if not thousands, of people that before. Amanda thinks about the fact that she's said it so many times that at this point, if she was in this position, she'd probably not believe it. Olivia probably wouldn't as well, so she just smiled reassuringly and she hands Olivia the cup of coffee and takes away her crutches.
"You ready to start the interview?" Amanda asks, sitting down opposite to her with Carisi on her other side. Amanda clicks her pen against the table, needing the motion to take away the edge. Carisi beside her shoots her a look at the annoying noise and she stops, her leg starts to shift under the table to make up for the loss of motion.
"Yeah, but..." Olivia takes a deep sip from her coffee and sighs. "Carisi, do you mind if I tell just Amanda?" She looks at Carisi with raw emotion, pain in her eyes, "Please, just this first time." Carisi smiles uneasily, nodding understandingly. As Carisi gets up, Amanda briefly wonders if they will be listening through the mirror like they always would.
"Of course, and we won't listen in." Carisi says, walking out of the room. Amanda believes him about not listening in. Once Carisi's out of the room, Olivia hesitantly starts to says something, but decides against it, closing her mouth and looking away.
"Did you want to say something?" Amanda asks, reaching out to touch Olivia's arm gently. Olivia moves away from her hand, from her touch, like she's been shocked. "Okay, I won't touch." Amanda murmurs, making a point of moving her arm away and keeping out of reach. Olivia reacts some and bitterly says,
"No, I didn't want to say anything. Let's just start the damn interview."
"Okay. Can you tell me what happened yesterday?" Amanda says, clicking the pen again, ready to take notes. Olivia bites her lip, then winces because of the split lip. Amanda grabs a tissue and hands it to her, since her lip started bleeding.
"Thanks." Olivia says, dabbing her lip gently, then moving to wipe a tear that escaped. "I um, I went drinking." Amanda struggles to keep a straight face, trying to be professional, but knowing of Olivia's drinking problems. She does though, and let's Oliviva continue at her own rate, offering more tissues and murmurs of encouragement where needed. "I went drinking because our last case had been really hard and I'd run out of booze here. I try to avoid bars because then I drink more than I should, but I was completely out." Olivia doesn't breach the alcoholic part, knowing that Amanda already knew about that, years ago.
"What bar did you guys go to?" Amanda asks.
"Marky's? Stupid name, but it's on the other side of town." Amanda nods, ignoring the nagging fact that she had been there just last night, drinking herself. Had Olivia been there when Amanda was there? Had Olivia already left, was being raped as she drank? Was Olivia going to be there later? Amand pushes the questions out of her mind, focusing on the task ahead of her and jotted down the name of the bar.
"And what happened while you were there?"
"Well, I don't remember too much. I remember talking to a guy."
"What about?" Amanda asks, subtly taking notes, not taking her eyes off of Olivia. She knows she could use a tape recorders, but she much prefers her own notes. It takes away from the pain of actually hearing their voice describe it over and over, while her notes are quick, precise, and emotionless.
"Just normal stuff. How hard my job is, I didn't tell him my job though," Olivia pips in quickly, just to clarify, "We talked about life. You know, the basic things when you're getting drunk."
"Do you remember his name?" Olivia pauses, thinking for a moment. So far every part of her story has been so sure, but Amanda can start to see where the alcohol has been making Olivia's memory fuzzy.
"No, I don't, if I even did get it."
"Okay, so you met this man..." Amanda prompts, taking down a few more notes.
"Well, we flirted, like you normally do when you're getting drunk at a bar. I, um, I don't have great memories of what happened next. Did he drug me or did I just get really drunk?" Olivia asks, hesitantly, and Amanda can see that Olivia's worried about the answer to that question. Which part, the drugs or the alcohol, she's not sure of.
"We did a drug test and you didn't have anything in your system, but you came in with a blood alcohol level that was at .09, and based on when you stopped drinking, you had at least a blood alcohol level of .20, but more likely .30. It's likely you don't remember much."
"I do remember something..." Olivia paused, thinking hard, "I uh... I remember, fuzzily, going back to his place."
"Did he take you there or did you go willingly?"
"I don't think he forced me, but I think I didn't know what I was doing. I was pretty drunk." Olivia admits. "I remember clutching to him for support and I felt nausea, I probably vomited a few times." Olivia hesitates again, not sure of what to say next.
"Okay, do you remember anything about the actual... The actual..." Amanda takes a deep breath, trying to pull herself together to say the word. Normally it would be so easy, saying it softly, kindly, but it wouldn't give her pause. Everything's different when you know the person though. "The actual rape?" Olivia wipes away another tear that's betrayed her by running down her cheek.
"I remember his lips on mine and I remember him asking me for consent. I don't remember saying no." Olivia's voiced cracked a few times as she said the last sentence.
"Did you say yes?"
"I don't think so." There's a moment of silence and it hangs uncomfortably in the air until Amanda has the courage to continue with the interview.
"So, do remember what happened next?"
"No, but I think I passed out. I'm sure I passed out because I woke up some time later and when I woke up..." Olivia takes a shaky breath, "I remember this part. When I woke up again it was a few hours later and he was on top of me." Amanda grinds her teeth as Olivia whispers her next four words, "He was in me."
"I am so sorry, Olivia." Olivia just nods, more tears escaping and she rubs them away angrily, wincing at her sore cheeks. "Do you remember what happened next? How'd you get beaten up?"
"I um, I'd woken up, and I think I'd thrown up while unconscious a few times, because I felt considerably less drunk. I pushed him off of me and screamed at him. He clapped his hand over my mouth, but I kicked him, trying to restrain him. You know, police training? Well, he was tall and strong, and I was still drunk. He started punching me and that's how I got all the injuries. Once he got me weakened, he um, he..." Olivia had rushed through the description, but at the last sentence she slows down, crying again.
"Take your time." Amanda resists the urge to reach out and touch Olivia's arm comfortably, like she usually would, but she already knows how Olivia would react.
"He re-entered me and kept going until he finished, despite me crying and saying no the whole time. I begged him to stop." Olivia whispered, looking away, her tears gone.
"Did you see his face? Could you identify them?"
"No, it was dark in the room." Olivia says, a little bitterly and angry, still looking away.
"Did he say anything, would you be able to identify his voice?"
"Yeah, he said in a deep, gruff voice... He said..." Olivia started crying again and Amanda handed her another box of tissues, dreading whatever was going to come out of Olivia's mouth. Whatever she was going to repeat. "He said to me, "I don't know why you don't like it now, I mean, you came three times while you were unconscious." Amanda's face paled.
"We are going to get this guy, Olivia, I promise you that." Amanda knows that she always says this, but she had never ever meant it more. "We are going to catch this fucking bastard." Olivia just nodded.
"Well, I um, I ran out of the room. Well, I didn't run with the broken ankle, but I hobbled out. He let me, saying things like "I knew I like it" and things like that the whole time I was leaving. I found myself in the hallway of an apartment building and knocked on his neighbors door. It must have been a bad neighborhood because the walls were thin and they probably heard me. Guy nearly slammed the door in my face, but I begged him to call 911 and give me a blanket. Next thing I know, I'm in the hospital."
"I'm so so sorry." Amanda says again, writing down the last of her notes, when Olivia says something. So quietly she strains to hear it.
"It's my own fault."
"I knew I had drinking problems. I knew I would get hurt, but I kept going."
"Olivia, you were drunk, you were unconscious, this guy's a predator. It's not your fault." Amanda said forcefully, hoping to get the message across.
"Yes it is. I'm an alcoholic and I went drinking. I run SVU, I should've known what would've happened."
"Olivia, would you ever tell a victim it was their fault because they were drunk?" Olivia shakes her head dejectively "This guy is the one who hurt you, it's his fault, not yours. Don't think for a single second that it is."
Olivia didn't answer, looking away and ignoring another tear that slid down her cheek.
Hey guys, I know it's been so so long, but I'm back, and I promise to give this more attention. In the meantime, this is really a filler chapter that needed to be written, but I'll almost a 100% likely will post the next chapter over this weekend.
Amanda shot another glace at Olivia as she put the pot in the dripper; Olivia was sitting quietly, swirling her fork round and round her pasta, but not saying a word. She almost looked like her normal self; posture straight, brave face, and this unbelievable sense of strength radiating from her. Almost. If it weren't for the fact that Olivia hadn't said a word, hadn't offered to help once, and wasn't eating her food, Amanda might have believed she was okay. But she wasn't.
"Olivia, is there..." Olivia snaps out of whatever thought process she'd been in and looks up at Amanda,"Anything I can do?" Amanda finishes hesitantly, touching her fingertips to the older woman's shoulder. Olivia flinches away from her touch, and Amanda immeditly retracts the hand. Olivia stares at her for a moment, that dark gaze now filled with pain and distrust in the world, and Amanda again feels uncomfortable underneath the brunette's strong gaze, but for entirely different reasons. Then she glances back at her food and whispers,
"No. I'm alright, Amanda." She makes a huge show of taking a large bite, but she can't swallow, it getting physically stuck in her throat. Amanda watches as Olivia tries to swallow several times before giving up and turning to her trash can and spitting it out. "Sorry, Amanda. It's really good." Olivia doesn't look at her, and not because she's lying, Olivia really does think it's good, but just because she can't face the blonde at this moment. She stands up suddenly, her chairing flying back, and pushes the table away slightly while doing so. "I need a shower."
Amanda forces herself not to sigh. She'd been there only 2 hours, but Olivia'd already showered 5 times since then. "Olivia..." She tries again, but this time Olivia gets annoyed. It wasn't rational, but Olivia was just so very frustrated that the younger woman had insisted on taking her home and pitying her.
"You don't have to baby me, Amanda. I think I can manage to take care of myself." Amanda opens her mouth to protest, but Olivia huffs, "I think you should go." before Amanda gets the chance to. Amanda tries to protest again, but Olivia looks at her, pain in her eyes. Amanda closes her mouth and Olivia walks to her bathroom. Amanda hears the locks click and Amanda knows she should leave. Just as she reaches the door handle, she hears the shower go on, and she has a moment of hesitance, but shakes her head and checks the lock before leaving, letting the door slam a little bit too let Olivia know she'd left. She stands outside the closed door, resting against it, and thinks, I don't know how to do this...
Amanda woke up, after a restless night of tossing and turning despite how tired she'd been after these past few cases, to a sick feeling in her gut. She knew that she shouldn't have left Olivia, that she was probably have a ton of trouble right now and there was no one there with her. She remembered what it'd been like after Patterson had... No! That's totally different, and this is about Olivia, Amanda told herself. But still...
She fed Frannie and took her on probably the quickest walk of that dog's life before heading over to Olivia's. She still had a key from her ordeal 2 years ago and she felt slightly guilty for using it, but she didn't want Olivia to push her away before she even saw her. She did, however, knock on Olivia's door once she got there and what she was faced with stunned her.
"Olivia..." She gasped, "Have you slept at all?" Olivia slowly shook her head and the smell of booze reeked, coming off so strongly Amanda could almost imagine stink lines like those in a cartoon. "Liv..."
"What you need, 'Manda?" Olivia's few words were slurred, almost incoherent, she was so drunk. Amanda slipped her arm around Olivia and practically dragged her into the apartment, kicking the door closed behind her. She laid Olivia down on her couch and pondered on what to do.
"Olivia, how much have you had to drink?" Olivia mumbles something, but nothing that would led to an answer. Amanda closes her eyes tightly for a few moments when she sees the bottles on the counter, but there's no way to tell how old they are, or how much she'd drunk. Amanda was actually concerned about the brunette's health, but didn't want to bring her to the hosptil, the media already gobbling up the story and making Olivia the victim for drinking. Olivia vomiting brings her out of her thoughts and she tosses a glance over. Olivia looks admittedly a little better, some of the alcohol making it out of her system the rough way, but still wasn't sure. She flipped open her phone and called Warner, the only person she could trust at the moment. Then she grabbed the paper towels, filled a bowl with warm water, and made her way over to Olivia.
"Olivia..." She murmered and the older women blearily open a single eye, acknowledge Amanda's presence, then closed it again. Amanda avoids sighing, knowing Olivia was taking this rough, and dipped a paper towel into the bowl and started cleaning up the lieutenant. Olivia murmured softly, the only thing that led Amanda to believe she was conscious, and continued, gagging on the smell the whole time. Just as she finished cleaning her up and threw away the solid paper towels did the buzzer go off and Amanda unlocked the door for the doctor. Warner came up, gasped at the sight of Olivia, then just snapped her gloves on.
"How long has she been like this?" She asked, feeling Olivia's pulse. Olivia grumbled at the intrusion and tried to pull her hand away, but the doctor was firm.
"I don't know, I only got here 10 minutes ago." Warner nods and shuffles around the brunette, preforming a few tests.
"Do you know how much she drank?" Amanda shook her head. "Did she throw up?"
"Yeah, cleaned it up before you came." Warner nodded, did one or two more things, then sighed.
"She'll be alright," Warner started, snapping off her gloves as she did so, "But I'd like you to stick around. If her condition says the same for a few hours or she gets worse, go to the hospital, otherwise she should come out of it." Amanda nodded in understanding and showed the doctor out.
"Thanks for the help."
"No problem." Warner's gaze shifted to the still motionless lieutenant, "Watch after her, even after..."
After the first hour, Amanda was convinced that Olivia would be okay, and moved to start cleaning up the apartment. She started off by grabbing a few trash bags and throwing out all the bottles of alcohol. Then she looked through all the cabinets, drawers, under the bed, under the sink, all the places where alcoholics hid bottles of alcohol. That done, she, risking the time away from Olivia, went down two streets and threw away the bags in a different ally's dumpster. When she returned, she cleaned the apartment. Amanda was greatful for the distraction. It gave her time to think, time to figure out how to help Olivia, and, as she was scrubbing the vomit stains out of a carpet, she knew she wasn't going to give up, no matter what.
She'd finished cleaning the apartment, made food, and was now reading in the armchair, waiting for Olivia to wake up. She couldn't focus on the book, but eventually she got into it. Just as she was really into it, Olivia mumbled, waking up.
"Amanda?" She slurred, her voice filled with sleep.
"Hey, Olivia. How are you feeling?" Olivia groaned, her head flopping back onto the pillow.
"There's some coffee and aspirin next to you. I know the coffee thing's a myth, but you're so addicted to it, I figured you'd need it too." Olivia grunted gratefully and took the medicine, gulping down the coffee.
"What happened?" She asked.
"I don't know. You wanna tell me what you remember?" Olivia squinted, raising her hand to her head, rubbing her temple.
"I was really upset, just... I don't wanna talk about it, Amanda." Amanda sighed. The brunette stood up, wobbling slightly and grasping her temple, but she moved to the table. "Did you throw out my alcohol?" Olivia asked, anger in her voice.
"Yeah. You were so drunk when I came over, Liv, it was scary."
"I'm fine, Amanda, okay? Stay out of it!" Olivia had walked back to her and was now leaning into her face. "I don't need your help!" Maybe Olivia wanted her to feel guilty or something like that. Amanda just felt sad. A deep feeling of upsetness inside her at how Olivia was struggling and she couldn't get her to listen.
"I called Warner you were so..."
"You callled Warner?!"
"You were nearly passed out, Liv, and I didn't want to take you to the hospital!"
"What I do is my business, Amanda."
"Get out, Amanda." Amanda opened her mouth to protest. "OUT!" Amanda'd never seen Olivia like this. There was a wild anger in her eyes, something she'd never seen there, not even with the worst perps. She knew she shouldn't have, but those eyes made her want to run. And run she did.
I know it's been a long time in between. I'm carving my way through. Next chapter, I promise, we are really going to start to get somewhere. Progress isn't made quickly.
Amanda was pacing the room back and forth, her heart in her throat, trying to claw it's way out. The situation with Liv had continued, despite her best efforts. She'd dropped by Liv's 4 times since she'd called Melinda and first thrown away her alcohol. The first time Liv had been tipsy, but, if the bottle in her right hand was any indication, she was well on her way to being drunk. Upon seeing Amanda, she had just stared at her for a moment before, without even saying a word, slamming the door in her face. The second time, Liv had been drunk enough to let her in. Olivia had, upon sobering a few hours later, kicked her out. The next few times went the same way. How do I help someone refusing to be helped? Frannie's head pushes against her legs, a whining sound coming from the dog. Amanda shakes her off, almost immeditly feeling regret for treating her loving dog roughly. "Sorry girl." Amanda said, scratching the dog's head. How does Olivia do it? How...
"What do I do, girl?" She asks, scratching Frannie's head before continuing to pace back and forth. Back and forth. Frannie whimpered and went to lie down in the corner. I can't give up on her, I can't. Amanda can remember a quote: Sometimes you have to give up on people; not because you don't care but because they don't. Amanda grimaced. That certainly could be true. At some point you were hurting yourself more than you were helping them. But that's not the case. Olivia doesn't not care, she just doens't know what to do, how to handle this. I don't know how to handle this.
Amanda kicks her trash can in a fit of fury. "Why can't I do it!?" She yells, staring at the trash spread across the floor. "Look at me, just making more messes." She says, staring spitefully at the tissues and paper. Frannie's come up to her again, pushing against her legs, almost as if she needs comfort. Amanda, like always, leaves her mess behind, goes to bed. Frannie hops up beside her and normally she'd fall asleep. But she can't. Olivia haunts her.
Amanda suddenly isn't in her room anymore. She's at Olivia's apartment. How did I...? "Amanda...?" A slurred voice in the corner says. She turns her head to see Olivia, laying on her couch. Olivia's half off it, falling to the ground, her legs barely holding onto the couch. There's vomit around her, vomit and spilled alcohol. Amanda can't tell what type it is, but it doesn't matter. All that matters is the mess of empty bottles, alcohol, vomit, and, in the center of it all and the most important of all, Olivia. She blinks her eyes blearily. Amanda rushes up, kneeling next to her. She gags, from the smell or the scene, she doesn't know, but she's forced to try and swallow the bile in the back of her throat. Olivia looks up at her. The normally warm, chocolate eyes are staring up at her, pure black and pain. They look dead.
"I am dead, Amanda." Olivia whispers, as if reading her thoughts. "I can't be helped, Amanda. Oh, you can try, but I'll pull you down with me." Amanda gasps, pulling her hands away and staring in shock. Olivia gets a almost manic smile, laughing, not drunk anymore. "You can go ahead and give up, you'll just fail again. Why do you think you can ever do anything right?" Olivia's laughing, laughing. "You can't, you never could," Olivia keeps laughing, saying this over and over until she changes. Suddenly Amanda's 5 again, her mother yelling at her for waking her father. "You can never do anything right! You'll never do anything right." And her mother hit her. "Never!"
Amanda awoke with a start, screaming. "I can't do it, I can't do it..." Amanda gasped, pulling her knees to her chest, her sheets falling away. "I can't." She whimpered. Her head fell to her knees and she started crying. By the time she'd calmed down, she was hiccuping, her legs soaked with water. Frannie whined, her ears lifting and she shifted her nose around her.
"I'm okay girl." She whispered, strocking the dog's soft fur. "I'm not the one in trouble.
Maybe there is someone that could help me help her...
"First off, I just want to thank you for meeting me. It really means a lot." Amanda says, feeling awkard, shifting in her seat, knowing where this conversation will lead. She took a deep breath, mentally preparing herself for her next sentence, but he cuts in.
"You called me, saying it was urgent and involved Olivia, of course I came. What's wrong, Amanda? Does this involve anything with the newspaper articles."
"Do I know it was Olivia? I was a captain and detective for so many years, you start to know who they're talking about when they're being "secrative" in an article."
"Yeah, I guess you would." Amanda, despite what she was here for, smiled at the man. He seemed truly happy. He was wearing some ridiculous clothing, designed for the beach, she's sure of it, and there's a kind of care free way about him that she's never seen before. It's nice to see Cragen happy.
"What's going on, Rollins?"
"Well, you already know about the rape I guess," Amanda says, wiping her hands on her pants, "Do you know... any details?" Cragen shook his head. Amanda jumped in, not fair, just enough to explain how Olivia had gotten into that situation. How she had been drunk. How she was still drunk.
"And you haven't been able to get to her?" Cragen asks. The carefree look about him has gone away. It went away the second she started telling him details; hell, it probably went away the second they'd started to talk about Olivia being raped.
"Not at all. I've tried 6 times now, she's always kicked me out. I'm starting to worry that I'm doing something wrong." Amanda suddenly felt very silly for that sentence. About making it about herself. She hid her face by staring at her pants, her fingers curling into little fists, avoid looking at Cragen.
"The feeling's normal, and don't feel guilty for making it about yourself, you're not." Amanda looked up in surprise. "I always had a knack for telling people, Rollins. I felt the same way, to be honest. Olivia's hard to get to, ultimelty, but you know what always gets to her?" Amanda shook her head empathatically, hoping he'd tell her how she could do it, how she could help Olivia. "Before I tell you, I want you to understand that not all people are like this." Amanda nodded in understating. Different people need different help, she'd learn that a long time ago with the victims. "Olivia needs you to be rough. She needs you to stand up to her. Wait till she's sober though. Do what you did last time. Throw away all the alcohol, then let her sober up. And tell her no next time she tries to kick you out. However, once she's let you in, you need to be patient and kind with her. Understanding. And never, ever, leave her when she's upset or have relapsed, because you'll have to gain her trust all over again, you understand?"
Ah! Progress, right? We'll really be getting somewhere next chapter, whenever that's up
How was she here? Standing here, in front of a door. But not any door. No, this one is wooden, a ridiculously hideous shade of forest green, worn, and ultimately way to familiar. Amanda's standing in front of it, one of her hands clutching the key to it, the other poised to knock. But the hand she's trying to knock with is shaking from nerves. Fear. How we she here, again? How and why and what the hell was she even doing? Amanda takes a deep breath, knocks three times, and knows why she's here. To help. Because she has to, and she will always have to help. There's no response, however, after half a minute and Amanda knocks again, finding it even harder to knock again. When there's no response, she raises the hand holding the key and lets herself in.
The first thing Amanda registers, the first thing she always registers, is the smell coming from the place. It smells like a cheap bar, a lot like the gambling ones she used to go to when she was desperate and didn't bother to go to the classy ones. No, it smells like alcohol, vomit, and regret. How did those places always have the pungent smell of regret when no such thing even existed? But it's there anyway, smelling of shame. There's a reason Amanda didn't get a response and that's because Olivia's passed out on the couch again. Amanda's sad at how little she is surprised. But there's no time for that now. She had to get busy. After checking that the brunette's okay, setting her up a little better, she gets to work. Again. She has to go through the whole apartment, again, finding all the alcohol. Luckily Olivia isn't really hiding it, so most of the alcohol's out in the open, but Amanda does find some under the sink, some in her dressers, and a small bottle in the medicine cabinet. No matter, it all goes in the bag which goes in the dumpster two alleys over.
Amanda's not sure how long it takes Olivia to wake up and sober up, but when she does it's with a groan and a definite hangover. Then she sees Amanda in the corner, book closed around her finger holding her place, and staring at her. There was no expression on her face. Not one of pity or anger, just plain staring. But sometimes not having an expression means something anyway, doesn't it? Olivia groans again, brushes her hand over her face.
"How many times do I have to tell you?" She whispers.
"More than 5 apparently." Amanda says. Olivia hums a bit in agreement.
"Which dumpster is it in this time?" Olivia asks, not even looking around the apartment before knowing what Amanda had done.
"If I told you that, would you go and get it?"
"God, no. I have enough money to buy hygienic ones. Get out, Amanda." Olivia says, finally standing up and going to her kitchen. There's no anger this time. Not even impatience. Just defeat, like she's ready for it all to be over. There's week old coffee and it must be disgusting, but Olivia drinks it anyway before spitting it into the sink. "Okay, that's vile." She admits to herself, pouring it out and making a fresh pot. She looks up to find Amanda still sitting calmly in her chair. "I guess you really don't want to get out, huh?"
"Well do. You know where the door is. Do you want it slammed in your face again or do you think you can show yourself out?"
"Olivia, I'm really wo-"
"Yes, I know you're worried!" Olivia yells at her, finally angry. "You've fucking told me for a million times. Worry about yourself, Amanda, and leave others alone."
"Out, Amanda. And I really fucking mean it."
"No." Amanda still hasn't moved an inch, still sitting in that damn chair. Olivia walks up to her.
"I want you out, okay? I want you to get out of my apartment and never-" Olivia grabs Amanda's arm and yanks her into a standing position, "come" Olivia spins her around, "back!" And she pushes Amanda toward the door, opening it for her and signaling she can walk out of it now. Amanda stares at her patiently even though her arm stings from where Olivia's arm was gripping it forcefully.
"No. I'm not leaving, Olivia. Not now, not ever."
"Are you just stupid?"
"No, I'm not, and I don't think for a single second you believe I am either. I'm not leaving." Amanda takes the door out of Olivia's hand an closes it. "So what are you going to do about it?"
"I can call the police." Olivia says, opening the door again.
"I am the police, Olivia. And you are too if you've forgotten."
"I'll make you."
"But you won't, Olivia, because you need somebody to tell you that it's okay." Olivia stares at her, for the first time truly staring at her. Anger seems to have gone from both women. "It's okay, Olivia." Amanda whispers. And it's over. Make or break moment, honestly, because Olivia could throw her out right now and Amanda would finally accept it. But Amanda also knows she wouldn't have to accept it, because she's gotten to Olivia by now. Olivia lets go of the door handle she was gripping and it slowly swung shut again. There are tears forming in Olivia's eyes and she nearly collapses, Amanda catching her last second and clutching her close as her body's racked with sobs. "It's okay." Even though it's really not. "You'll be okay." Amanda says, knowing that this time there was truth in her words. Olivia just cries harder.
Yup! We can get somewhere now, Olivia's accepting. I know I took forever to update, but RL. I have ideas for the next chapter(s), so there'll definitely be an update at some point in the future. Just, hang tight.
I'm sorry I take so long guys, but this is a hard piece for me to write. I'm chipping away slowly toward the end. Next chapter, real progress, I promise. Meanwhile, a kinda filler chapter.
"You repeatedly raped and beat up a NYPD Lieutant and you think you're going to get away with rape 3 and no assault?" Barba asked increduosuly. The lawyer hovered over the bastard, smug smile playing on his lips, looking at Barba calculating before uttering his defense.
"My client was unaware of Ms. Benson's inability to consent, constitutes rape 3." Barba's lips tightened in anger and he had to let out a, discreet, breath to keep his cool. He said, in a tense but calm voice,
"What about when she was fully unconscious, like your client bragged about, what about after she did wake up and strictly told him no, tried to fight him, and when she did, he hurt her physically with intent to injure. Look, we have his DNA in and on her, we have several witnesses seeing her leave the bar with him highly inebriated, and we even have a witness in the building who heard the commotion and is willing to testify against you defendant." The opposing lawyer, seeing his options, leaned over to his client and had a quick conversation. He rose slowly, blinking, and said,
"What are you offering?"
"20 years in prison for rape one, another year for assault 3, and he goes on the registry for life when he gets out." The client looks up at his lawyer, his eyes wide in horror, and he shakes his head slightly.
"Let me concur with my client for a moment." Barba nods tensely, all his cards out on the table. The two have a heated, and rather loud, discussion. The lawyer eventually convinces him and sticks his hand out.
"It's a deal." Barba looks at the offered hand then, at the last moment, says,
"And a public apology."
"What?" Simon, the defendant, spits out.
"You heard me, public apology and a full confession to what you did."
"No fucking way." The lawyer puts a hand on Simon's shoulder, but he shrugs it off, "That bitch had it coming. I'm not saying sorry." Barba snapped and said, the kindest way he could,
"That bitch is a highly respected Lieutant of NYPD's SVU. She puts men like you away everyday and she has 5 times the courage as your sorry ass. I think she deserves and would appreciate an apology, even if it's coming from some low life such as yourself." Simon glared.
"Still not doing it."
"Well, I should not have to bribe you into apologizing for raping someone, but I'll drop the assault charges. You'll get out in time to vote in the 2036 election. You're young, you might even get to have a life when you get out."
"Fine. What do I have to say?" Barba clicks his suitcase shut, again ignoring the lawyer's stuck out hand.
"You're lawyer will help you, and when you say it, say it with remorse. I'll send the papers over." And, with a curt nod, Barba was out the door.
It's late at night, probably technically early morning. And not somebody looking at their watching and laughing that, "Well, it's morning now!" Cause it's 12:01. No, it's late. Or early. Amanda doesn't dare to look at a clock, but it's probably around 4:00 am. And she's laying in a bed to familiar and too painful. The last time she'd slept in it was after a relapse 4 years ago. But now she's in it for an entirely different horrible reason. To watch Olivia sleep, the first real and needed sleep since who knows how long. Amanda smiles sadly at the brunette, who's breathing in softly and slowly, evenly. She looks so peaceful, something Amanda's never seen while she was conscious, or really unconscious either. Normally, Olivia's face is anguished in sleep too, riddled with nightmares and ghosts of a difficult past. Amanda places her hand softly on her boss's, friend's, soft hair and Olivia smiles subconsciously, safer.
Amanda removes her hand and sighs sadly. She remembers reading a quote, unknown speaker, but still: "Sometimes we create our own heartbreaks through expectation." That statement had never been truer. And it had absolutely nothing to do with Olivia, because Amanda knew she was fighting hard through it all. Rather, Amanda was dissapointed because a silly part of her had hoped that getting through to Olivia would be enough, but she knows, especially now, that they're still at the bottom of a very steep and long hill. At least she's clutching my hand and I hers. Amanda thinks, knowing that it's gonna be long and hard, but they'll get through it. She'd told that to Olivia just a couple of hours ago and she's not going to break her promise:
A few hours ago(10:30):
Olivia'd stopped crying, for now at least. Now she was just leaning against Amanda, tired and weak. Amanda doesn't know what to say, it seems she never knows what to say, even though she works for SVU. But this is different. This isn't a women she doesn't know, one she can say thinks like "you'll get through it" and "it'll be okay." So easily. It's Olivia crying and hurting and Amanda doesn't know what to do. So she waits for Olivia to say something, just continuing to give her physical support that Olivia craved at that moment.
"You hear from Barba?" Olivia asks eventually. It was the first time since the statemtn that she'd actually thought about what's going to happen. Amanda looks away for a moment, then back.
"Yeah, got a deal." Olivia hums. "How do you feel about that?" Olivia thinks for a moment, rather several long moments, before coming up with a curt answer.
"You wanna hear the details or just know he's going away?" Amanda asks, tucking on of Olivia's messy and greasy locks behind her ear.
"What'd the jackass get?" She asks, special venom in the word jackass.
"20 years for rape one, and he's being charged with assault 3, along with being on the registry for life when he gets out."
"How many years for assault 3?" Olivia asks right away, no visible reaction one way or the other about his sentence.
"I think it was included in the 20 years. Remember, it's 20 before he's eligable to get probation, he could spend some more time in there after that."
"And he could be out before if he has good behavoir. I know how the law works, a little too well, unfortunetly."
"How do you feel about the deal now?" Olivia thinks for a long while. So long, in fact, she just goes stone face and goes to get a glass of water, then drinks it without comment. Olivia stares down at the glass with a look on her face that Amanda knows too well. She's wishing it were alcohol, but Amanda's thrown all that out and hopes she never has to throw more out either.
"It's a pretty good deal and I'm happy he's going away so soon and effortlessly, but I kinda wish I could've testified. It did always bring back problems. Nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks, depression sometimes. But it also always brought me closure afterwards." Olivia shrugs. "I wonder how I'll do without it." Amanda nods slowly.
"There are other ways to get closure, Olivia. Knowing he's in jail, recovering, getting strong again, and I promise I'll be there the whole way to help you through it." Olivia nods and mutters a quiet, thank you, before going silent again. After a while and a lot of fiddling with the rim of her glass, Olivia finally has one last thing to say.
"I'm so tired." She says simply, but it has such a weight to it. Olivia was probably physically tired, not having slept in so long, but Amanda knew Olivia had meant it farther. She's tired of the same thing day in day out. She's tired of victims and perps. She's tired of having to be strong and get better. She's just tired. And Amanda could understand that. She was tired too, but it's like she hadn't slept for a week and Olivia hasn't slept for a year. If that's the ratio and Amanda's already so tired, how must Olivia feel?
So now, hours later, Amanda just watches Olivia sleep and sleep and sleep, knowing she'll still be tired when she wakes.
Amanda wasn't quite sure what to expect. She'd been in the SVU division for about a decade now if you combined her time in Atlanta and New York. But this was so much more personal. Her job required her to get them through the steps. The statement, finding the guy, convicting him, and everything in between. But Olivia was different. Not because Olivia was weaker or stronger, not because it was a new case that Amanda'd never seen before. 10 years, she's seen just about everything. But Olivia was close, a friend and someone that Amanda felt responsible for.
Olivia reacted differently than Amanda had when she'd struggled through her gambling addiction and her own rape. That might have been because they were different. Alcohol and gambling addictions, while both devastating, were different. And so were their rapes. And they were different too. Amanda tended to bottle things up, deny it over and over until it bubbled over in catastrophic ways. Olivia. Well, Amanda didn't know, but she was going to find out and be there to help. The symptoms blurred together to the point that Amanda couldn't identify which caused what. Was it the rape? Was it the need for alcohol? Was it both? Was it neither, demons from her past exasperated by recent events?
One of the first things Amanda was the morning after they shared Olivia's bed for the first time:
Amanda had woken up first, went to go and fix some breakfast she hoped she could coax the brunette into eating. Amanda hadn't expected Olivia to sleep solidly to 10:30, way past when she'd made the now cold food. That was okay, she'll make a nice lunch to make up for it. Whatever got her eating, because Amanda's pretty sure Olivia's lost several pounds over the last few weeks. When Amanda had passed by the room she'd been tiptoeing around all morning, she found Olivia nod only awake, but crying.
"Olivia, what's wrong?" Amanda, after her shock had dissipated, asked, walking over to the crying woman. She touched Olivia's shoulder gently, but Olivia jerked away, crying harder. Amanda was helpless for several moments, what do I do? She thought. Luckily, Amanda's looked down and saw that Olivia was clutching her Fearless pendent, no longer around her neck. Amanda slipped it out of the older woman's hand. "Is it about this?" Amanda asked, staring at the worn down pendent. Boy, this things seen some things. Amanda thinks, staring at the piece of jewelry that could probably stand a cleaning, but the way Olivia was looking at it now, Amanda was pretty sure that it wasn't every going to return to its previous location. Amanda put it aside, out of sight but not in a place where Amanda wouldn't be able to find it later. Amanda tried again to touch the brunette receiving a mild flinch, but not pulling away from the touch.
"Its gone now." Amanda whispered, gently rubbing Olivia's arm. What brought this on? Amanda wondered. Olivia'd always found strength in it in the worst times. Eventually, in no rush, Olivia stopped crying and calmed down enough to explain.
"I remember something. That, um," Olivia sniffed some tears back, "Um, he really liked the necklace. He was fiddling with it when he was, was..." Olivia's voice breaks again, a few more silent tears falling before she flicked her hair back and over her shoulder, looking at Amanda. "Where is it?" Olivia asked, not even bothering to look for it.
"I put it aside... do you want it?"
"No, I never want to see it again." Olivia spat out. Amanda nodded.
Amanda had taken care of it. She considered throwing it away, but kept it in the end, putting it in a little box and putting aside, just in case. Olivia never asked about it again, though. Amanda, however, did do her best to find some kind of replacement for the brunette's strength because she seemed different without it. More weak, more vulnerable, more scared. Almost naked feelings.
"Olivia," Amanda had started, a week after the incident. "I've been thinking a lot about your..." Amanda cleared her throat, looked away. "Your necklace." Olivia opened her mouth, emotions already flooding to her face, eyes, thoughts. "I wanted to give your something." Amanda said quickly before Olivia could get too far. Olivia looked at her, warily. "I, um, I know how important the um... how important it was to you and I feel like you're different without it, so I found this." Amanda brought out a little box, opening and handing it to Olivia, who gasped and looked at Amanda with appreciation.
"How'd you know about it?" Olivia whispered, lifting a different worn gold chain, tears in her eyes.
"I remembered that you told me about it." Amanda admitted, "You told me one of those long nights when I was fighting myself and I told you to tell me something about you, distract me." Olivia was gently fingering the pendent.
"Where'd you find it, though? I thought it was gone forever when she died." Olivia said, still staring at it.
"I had to do some searching, eventually I found out she had a security deposit box with this in it and it was pretty easy from there." Olivia was stunned silent. Amanda'd given Olivia her an old necklace, on her mother had given her, something Olivia'd always wondered about ever since her mother's death. It was gold and said courageous, two little birds on the word. Olivia had told Amanda that her mother had bought it for her when Olivia was 5, but had put into a safe box until Olivia was old enough to handle it. Somehow, through a few exchanges, her mother had ended up with it for a while, where it was lost. Olivia stared at it, her fingers brushing the right bird, the one her mother had joked about "being Olivia" the left one being her mother.
"Olivia?" Amanda asked, hesitantly, before squeaking as she was entrapped in a tight hug.
"Thank you." Olivia whispered in Amanda's ear, still hugging her, her right hand clutching the old necklace, which she later had Amanda help her put on.
But a necklace can't fix everything. In fact, just two days after Amanda'd given Olivia that pendent, Olivia had a relapse, getting rather drunk while Amanda was at work. That was okay, though. Throughout the whole exchange of Amanda finding all the alcohol, only two bottles, only one half empty, she talked to Olivia. Reassured her it was okay.
"Olivia, do I have to start repeating all the things you said to me when I relapsed? 'Cause I remember them all." Amanda said, crouching in front of Olivia who was sitting on her bed, silent tears shaking her. Eventually Olivia shook her head no, that she'd be okay. "We all can get there, Olivia." Amanda said, sitting down next to her on the bed, wrapping an arm around her, "It's going to be rough, though." Olivia nodded. Olivia laughed slightly, an uncomfortable bubble of laughter through tears, wiping away the last of the tears.
"Sometimes it feels as though I've been white water rafting my entire life." She said. Amanda nodded, having heard enough about Olivia's life to know that's probably true.
"But you always get that amazing happy thrills when things are still for a moment, right?" Amanda asked. Olivia nodded. Amanda paused a moment.
"Let's do something truly stupid." Amanda says before she can even think about it. "Let's go to an amusement park or something! What do you like to do for fun?" Olivia smiles, remembering advice she'd given a victim herself, almost 5 years ago. Treat yourself, do something to get through everyday. And her therapist used to tell her that, too; to get out of her normal routine sometimes. God, she had to contact her therapist, but that's for another day.
"Let's go to the movies." Olivia says. "I've been meaning to see Hidden Figures anyway, and I love the movies." Amanda smiles, pulling out her phone.
"There are shows at 5:30, 6:45, and 9:00. Which one do you want to go to?"
"Let's go to 6:45."
So they go. And watch a movie, something Olivia loves. It's a good movie, and it gets her mind off of things completely for the first time since she'd relapsed. Even chattering excitedly to Amanda, who was the same, after the movie about how much they liked it. And it's the first time in 3 months, since her relapse, she sleeps without nightmares or blacked out drunk.
Thanks for all the nice comments last chapter! Partly why there's another chapter so quickly! I have a couple of more ideas, but I think it's winding down soon. Let me know what you're thinking about it, 'cause I'm really not used to writing these types of fics!