“Yes we know he’s targeting clubs. Problem is, we don’t know which ones and at what times, and he’s attacked four times now and we still don’t have him. We have to do better than this.”
Olivia’s voice pierced the room, the sharpness of her tone nearly making her detectives jump. She was always authoritative when she needed to be, that much they were used to. But as she stood in front of the whiteboard, glasses in hand and her other balled into a fist, their hair stood up on the backs of their necks and Amanda just coughed. This case had clearly gotten to their Lieutenant; someone was targeting LGBT clubs and bars, and had already assaulted, beaten and tortured four individuals. None of them had gotten a good look at the perp, and so they were always back to square one when it came to identifying the man (that much they knew because he’d spoken to the victims). He was careful to avoid cameras, never bought anything, and was basically in the wind.
“Leiu, we’re trying – “
“Try harder, then, Carisi.”
“I’m trying to tell you,” he rebutted, leaning into the table and flipping through his notes. “We found something. I just got a text,” he said, holding up his phone with the screen displaying the message. “One of our guys found a few likely targets.”
“Can we narrow it down?” Liv said, breathing out slowly and trying to calm herself. She wasn’t sure why this had gotten to her, but she was nearly pulling her hair out in frustration that bordered on anger.
“He usually targets more lowkey areas, probably to avoid too much press,” he added, puffing out his chest as usual while he went into an explanation that always held far too much detail. “So I sent out a few unis to scout and did a little looking online. There are three bars in particular that seem like prime spots for this guy, and so far he’s attacked every week on a Wednesday – “
“For a month, yes, we know,” Amanda interrupted, rolling her eyes. “Which places, Carisi?”
He pouted and gave his phone to Amanda, who read the names silently and snickered.
“I think I know what place he’s going to target,” she said softly. “I’ve been there before. And we know he likes blondes; the place is always full of them for some reason.”
“Do we want to know why you were there?” Olivia laughed.
“With a friend,” she said absentmindedly, scrolling through the phone. She held it out to Olivia once she’d found an image. “This is the place. Surge. Not popular, but growing.”
“Okay. Well tomorrow is Wednesday,” Olivia said sternly. “So I guess we’re sending in a couple of UCs.”
“Why not one?”
“All the victims were with their partners the nights of the attacks,” Olivia pointed out, putting her glasses on top of her head. “So, we need two. Tomorrow, we see if we can get him to bite. Amanda, you’re up.”
“What the hell do you mean you’re sick?”
“I can barely move, Lieu,” Amanda explained over the phone. Her voice was strained, and she sounded faint, if that was possible. “I’ve been sick all night and all morning, I had to call the sitter to come pick up Jesse and take her to daycare.”
“Are you okay?”
“We’ll see in a couple of days, I guess,” she replied, sighing. “But right now, my head feels like someone’s jabbing an ice pick in it and I haven’t left the bathroom in 6 hours.”
“Alright. Get well, Amanda. Take care of yourself.”
Olivia hung up her phone and leaned back in her chair, pinching the bridge of her nose and sighing loudly. Fin was in her office with her, and his brows furrowed as he realized the situation.
“She’s not coming in.”
“No,” Olivia replied, wracking her brain for any solution. “And the perp likes blondes, so I’m out. Surge is a lesbian bar, so Carisi’s out.”
“You sure?” Fin said, grinning widely. “I think he might enjoy himself.”
Olivia smirked despite their situation and balled up a piece of paper to throw at him, which he narrowly missed. “Funny. But seriously, we’re fucked unless Amanda finds a miracle cure.”
“It’s only ten o’ clock in the mornin’, Liv,” Fin pointed out, shrugging his shoulders as he headed for her office door. “You’ve got time to think of something. You usually do.”
“Let’s hope I do,” Olivia said as he closed the door, and she stood up and pulled her jacket over her shoulders. She was going to take an early lunch and figure this the hell out.
As she walked out of the precinct doors, Olivia was frazzled, frustrated, and hungrier than she’d originally thought. She’d skipped breakfast that morning, which she wasn’t used to doing, because Noah had whined about not going to school. She remembered a bar she’d been to with Alex during their last case and recalled that they had decent enough food and a quiet place to think. Plus, it wasn’t a cop hangout, and she wouldn’t have to make small talk with other lieutenants and sergeants. Perfect.
As she walked into the place and sat down at the bar, ordering fries and a water, she thanked God for the empty atmosphere. There were one or two other patrons this early, none of them very talkative, and she pulled out her files from her bag to try and work out this scenario.
She wasn’t in there for more than five or six minutes when she saw a flash of blonde hair in her peripheral.
“See? I knew you’d like this place.”
“Alex,” Olivia sighed, giving her a soft smile and closing her booklet. “Hey. Yeah, it’s quiet. I needed a space to think for a bit. Want to join me?”
“I wouldn’t want to interrupt your quiet thinking time,” she said dramatically. “But I think I will anyway. Cabernet, please,” she said to the bartender before sitting down next to Olivia and crossing her legs. “So what’s going on?”
“Who said anything’s going on?”
“Your face,” Alex said smoothly, smirking and tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “I was a prosecutor for twelve years, remember? I’m good at reading faces, especially yours, Liv.”
When she heard Alex use her nickname, she turned to really look at her. She had on a black long sleeve top and jeans, a much more casual outfit than she was used to seeing her in. Olivia had to admit, she was gorgeous; more than once she’d caught herself staring at her in the courtroom when she sauntered about in one of those black pencil skirts she favored, or when she’d snapped orders at her and the other detectives. She was pretty sure Alex never knew she was attracted to her; she was typically very careful to hide it, as she was everything else. Nonetheless, she sometimes wished she’d said something. She valued their friendship too much to destroy it, and besides, Alex was straight as a board as far as she knew.
“True,” she eventually sighed, smiling. “We’re supposed to have an undercover operation tonight. There’s a man attacking gays and – “
“Lesbians in clubs, I know. I saw it on the news.”
“Right. Anyway, he usually goes after blondes that have partners with them, so Amanda and I were going to go into Surge, where we think he’ll go next, but…”
“She’s sick,” Olivia sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose again. “And I don’t have another female detective, much less a blonde one.”
She looked up at Alex and saw deep thought in her features. She took a small sip of water and waited for the blonde to speak.
“So send me.”
Olivia choked on her sip of water and swallowed, coughing a few times and setting the glass down with a thud. “Um, no, Alex. Civilian, remember?”
“So what?” Alex said, smirking and sipping her wine. “Make me a C.I.”
“And exactly why are you so interested in going under at a lesbian bar that you’d risk your life?”
“I’m not risking my life,” she scoffed, leaning one elbow on the counter and swinging one heeled foot back and forth between then. “I’m helping. And I have experience with that sort of thing, so I might be an asset.”
Olivia really would have spit out her water then, and she thanked God she hadn’t taken a sip. Her stomach did a flip and she raised an eyebrow. “You’re…you’ve got…”
“Yes, Liv, I’m gay,” Alex said, rolling her eyes dramatically and laughing. “Honestly I’m surprised you didn’t know. I mean I don’t shout it from the rooftops, but I’m not exactly closeted.”
“You were to me,” Olivia rebutted, popping a fry in her mouth and praying that this wasn’t a dream. “I never knew.”
“Things like that tend to go over your head,” Alex pointed out, and Olivia slapped her arm.
“Either way, why do you want to do this? I don’t wanna put you in that kind of situation, Alex. You’re a civilian. You were a prosecutor, not a court officer.”
“I know how to handle myself, Olivia, trust me,” she cooed, taking a gulp of her glass of wine and crossing her legs in the other direction. Olivia gulped when she noticed how tight her jeans were. “I clubbed when I was younger. I know a lot that you probably don’t, and I also know how to get you in.”
“I think I could get in just fine, thank you.”
“Not into Surge,” she said sharply. “Surge is…a very particular sort of place. It’s not sleazy, but you need the right look. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”
Olivia thought about it for a minute, popping another fry in her mouth. Alex could certainly help in the investigation, she knew. She would know how to handle herself and could probably teach her a few things and keep her in line, as she had zero experience with this kind of thing. She was a former prosecutor, and it would probably be easy to get someone to sign off on it. Not to mention that she wasn’t a stranger to the squad, so she’d be easy to work with for the most part.
“Alright. I’m in. But don’t fuck this up, or so help me God.”