Chapter 1: Snow White
From the television: "Being in the most romantic city in the arms of the sweetest guy I just felt like a real life Disney princess."
Oh no. No no. No guy wants to hear that. – Carisi (he is holding Jesse in his arms and turns to look over at her)
Rollins? Are you crying? - Carisi
No. I'm not. - Rollins (she is)
Oh you are so busted! - Carisi
(They laugh and smile)
The sun is streaming through her bedroom window, softly illuminating her sleeping face. It is warm to the touch as he bends over to kiss her.
She sighs as she awakens to the kiss and he pulls away.
"Got something for you," he says in that thick Staten Island accent of his.
"What?" she smiles.
He picks up a plate of sliced apples from the nightstand. "I thought you might want some of these."
She sits up and takes one absently asking him, "Has Jesse had any of these yet?"
He grins with a half-smirk and his eyes twinkle with mischief.
"Uh, yeah. I had her spit up all over them for you."
"What?!" she says in mock alarm.
"Yeah, you know. Sounded like you wanted to be treated light a Real Life Disney Princess last night so Jesse helped me to accommodate you . . . . She poisoned the apple, if you will."
Amanda giggles, takes a slice of apple and shoves it into his mouth, "Well then you get to eat them, too."
He chomps on it voraciously and then grabs his throat, pretending to choke, and dramatically keels over onto the bed.
"Carisi you are too much!" She is laughing hard now and trying to pull him up from the bed where he's playing dead. But he can't stay dead for long and just starts chuckling right along with her. He rolls over onto his back and as she's leaning over to kiss him her cell goes off.
She looks over at it on her nightstand. Her mother. She stops laughing and lets out a deep sigh.
"Don't worry, I'll handle it." Carisi jumps off the bed and answers her phone before she can get to it. And, yes, he handles it.
He puts her phone back on the nightstand and she reaches out to take his hand. "Thanks."
He kisses the top of her head. "No problem. That's what princes are for right - vanquishing evil queens?"
She smiles up at him seductively.
"That's one of their duties," she says as she pulls him under the covers.
Chapter 2: Cinderella
They had been in the shoe department. Like forever.
"Come on, Rollins, make up your mind already. Jesse's getting fussy. Aren't you Jesse?" He has Jesse on his hip and is vigorously bouncing her around.
"Yeah, you're making her fussy."
"No, I'm soothing her."
"No you're not!" She reaches for Jesse. "If you bounced me around like that I'd throw up all over you. Give her to me."
"Nah, uh uh." He pulls Jesse away from her grasp. "You need to focus. Pick something. We'll never get out of here if you take a Jesse break."
She grumbles and goes back the pile of sandals she's considering buying. He takes a good look at the pile too and sees an opportunity.
"Why are you even considering those pairs with like those bright doodads on them and stuff? Don't you girls worry about matching or something?"
"Matching? Are you serious Carisi?"
"Yeah, Jesse's with me on this one, aren't you, baby girl?" He reaches down to pick up a brightly colored sandal and waves it in Jesse's face. She ducks away from it in fright, burying her face in his chest. He knew she would do that. He can't help but grin wickedly back at Amanda.
"Give me that," she says and grabs the sandal away from him. "Scaring Jesse like that . . . "
"Hey, we were just having fun. Weren't we Jesse?" He has gotten the baby to smile again and turns back to Rollins. "Your little girl here just knows how ugly that shoe is."
"Shoe, sandal, whatever. Just buy something." He says casually.
Amanda picks up a virtually unadorned pair of sandals. They are fashioned out of clear plastic. "Will these do?"
He grins. "Yes, those will do nicely."
"Boys," she says to Jesse, looking up and rolling her eyes at him.
She turns to the clerk. "Ma'am? Do you have these in a six?"
Carisi returns to the store later and finds the clerk that had been helping them.
"Excuse me, Miss? I was in here earlier and we were looking at some shoes."
"Yes, I remember. You've got an adorable baby with good taste."
"She does have good taste, doesn't she?" Carisi smiles, but then lowers his voice conspiratorially. "Do you remember which shoes we bought? What size they were?"
"Dammit! What the hell?"
Carisi hears Amanda banging around in her closet.
"Can I help you with anything?" he pokes his head in and asks her, but has to quickly remove the involuntary smile from his face when he sees why she's pissed.
"Yeah." she says waving the clear sandals they had purchased the other day in his face. Then she drops them on the floor. "Look."
She puts a foot into one of them and it's so loose that the back strap won't even go up onto her heel. She shows him how her toes slide around and the heel falls off and when she just tries to take a step. "I literally can't walk in these things. What are they, a ten?"
"That's unfortunate." He is trying very hard to keep a straight face. Very hard.
"Seriously, right? I don't know how this got mixed up. God, now we have to go back to the store and exchange them so I have something to wear to that dance-thingy tonight. These are the only sandals I have that match that dress I got." She brings her hand to her brow and shakes her head. "Ugh. I so did not want to spend my day this way."
"I can't believe that witch sold my sandals to someone else!"
"Hey, it happens." He grins to himself not looking at her.
"Let's get something else. Not here."
"What are we going to do? Go door to door until we find the perfect shoe?"
"Yeah, something like that."
"Princess," he says wryly and gives her that look.
"What? I'm not a princess."
"Hey, if the shoe fits . . ."
She's about to protest when she notices him pulling something out of a bag he's been carrying.
She looks down at him kneeling in front of her as he finishes tightening the clasp of the sandal he has just lovingly put on her foot. When he's done he takes her foot into both of his hands and looks up at her warmly.
"Feel like a princess yet?"
"I think so," she says softly and reaches forward to run her fingers through the streaks of lighter hair near his temple.
"Good." He chuckles. "Because you won't be getting any more of this Prince Charming stuff from me."
"Not even tonight?" she leans even farther forward, her hand on his cheek now, tipping his chin up. Her blue eyes lock with his. "You know, technically it IS a ball. That's when the princes come out I hear."
"Well . . . " he hesitates.
She wriggles her eyebrows at him and he grins back. " . . . Maybe just for one more night."
Chapter 3: Sleeping Beauty
"Wow they really ran with the theme, eh?" Carisi asks Rollins.
"Yeah, I think they might have gone overboard," she says.
As Rollins, Fin, and Carisi scan the room, they notice that there's a gigantic castle façade at the back of the ballroom, roses made into corsages for sale at a little 'gift shop' called the Briar Rose just off of the dance floor, and a band called 'The Spindles' performing. Rollins was wondering where Sleeping Beauty's bed might be. But having one, even as a decoration, would probably be in poor taste. They were attending a fundraising ball for the Sleeping Beauty Association, a charity to advocate for the victims of sexual assault by medical practitioners while under sedation. They had worked a case like that over a year ago, and the girl that they had helped was the keynote speaker. She had invited them to the event.
"I think we should get you a rose," Carisi says as he ticks his head to the side towards the gift shop, offering his arm.
"Do we have to?" She doesn't take his proffered arm.
"Yeah, do we have to?" Fin says grumpily.
"Come on you two – don't be such sticks in the mud. All profits go to charity, remember?"
"Fine, you guilted me into it," Rollins laces her arm through his.
"You two lovebirds go along."
They both groan a bit.
"Will you stop with that already, Fin?" Carisi asks.
"Yeah," Rollins seconds him.
"Are you two an item or not?"
They both give him withering looks.
"Thought so. Now go along." He waves them away, turns towards the dance floor, and crosses his arms.
"Why's he so grumpy tonight?" Rollins asks as they head towards the gift shop.
"Beats me. Probably because he doesn't have a date."
"Why should that matter? As far as I know he hasn't had a real one in years."
As they are looking at the various rose corsage options Rollins says to Carisi, "You know, I really wish you hadn't spilled the beans about us in front of basically everyone back at the precinct like that. It was embarrassing."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to embarrass you," he says sincerely.
"It's okay. It's all out now. Everybody knows - thanks to your big mouth."
They both smile.
"But just so you know, Fin's been on my case about it ever since. He's like a dog with a bone - he's real protective of me."
"Yeah, I get that."
"He doesn't want me to make another mistake by being with yet another cop that I work with day in and day out."
"You don't have to worry about that. I'm different," he says with assurance.
"Declan? Nick? They left you."
"And you're not going to?"
He clears his throat and looks away, a little embarrassed himself now. He finds a way to quickly distract her from the conversation at hand.
"Hey lookie here! How about this orangey one?" he says picking up a pin-on corsage.
"It's peach," she corrects him.
"No it's not," he scoffs. "It's a rose. That's all they sell in here."
"Hey, you worried it won't match your outfit?" he asks.
"I'm wearing white."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It matches anything."
"Matching again, huh? You know, I was right back at the shoe store. If you had purchased one of those crazy-colored sandals you were looking at you'd be locked into a specific choice of roses here. Lucky you listened to me instead and bought the clear ones, huh?"
"You know what? Since you're such an expert, I'm going to let you pick the rose." She smiles at him and starts towards the door.
"No, don't do that," he begs trying to stop her. "Just tell me what you want. It's too much pressure."
"I'm sure you can figure it out."
She ducks back outside and joins Fin.
Carisi waves over a clerk and asks, "Now, I heard somewhere that you gotta be careful when getting a gal a rose . . . like the different colors mean that you have different intentions and stuff. Can you give me the low down on that?"
"Fin, give me a break, will you? I'm okay. It's okay."
"I don't like it."
"You don't like it? Or you don't like him?"
"Aw, it's not like that. Carisi's a decent guy."
"I've made my point."
"Did I hear my name out here? Are you guys talking about me?" Carisi says when he rejoins them, corsage in hand.
"No." Fin retorts.
"Always," Rollins says at the same time and turns towards him with that twinkle in her eyes that he finds so cute.
"Anyway . . . " Carisi presents her with the deep red rose pin-on corsage that he got for her. He wonders if she gets it - what it means. He studies her. She doesn't appear to. Oh, well. "Don't get too attached, Rollins. They die, you know."
He pins the rose to her dress, sticking her with the needle in the process.
"Sorry. I always do that. You gotta watch out for me."
"Why, cause you're a prick?" Fin interjects sarcastically.
There's a pause . . . and then they all laugh.
"You're a riot, Tutuola." Carisi good-naturedly slaps him on the shoulder.
"We're going to go dance." Carisi says. "That is . . . if you're up for it, Rollins."
"Sure," she says. And then adds, "I can't wait to dance to 'The Spindles.'"
"Hey, you guys. Before you leave . . . " Fin stops them. "Be careful. I don't think those dudes up there are professionals. This is probably their first big gig. It looks like there's something wrong with their electrical set-up. So don't get too close to those speakers in front of the stage - they look like trouble."
"Yes, Dad." Rollins rolls her eyes, grabs Carisi's hand, and leads him to the dance floor.
"Can you believe him?" she says once they're out of his earshot.
"He's just looking out for you."
"He doesn't need to. I can take care of myself."
"I know," he says.
Fin watches them dance while sipping a drink at the bar. They've been out there a long time when a damn fine woman pulls up next to him and smiles. He finds himself distracted from his worry over Amanda for a bit.
"Watching someone?" she asks, nodding at the dance floor.
"You noticed that?"
She just gives him a knowing look.
"Not anymore," he says smoothly, checking out her curves. "I've only got eyes for what's in front of me here."
She smiles again, although a little more shyly now.
"Besides," he tells her, toning it down. "She's a just friend. With a new boo. I'm just looking out for her, you know."
"Yeah, she's my partner."
He proceeds to tell her all about being a cop for SVU. She seems impressed and eager to listen. He relaxes and enjoys himself as he spins a tale of his life on The Force.
Rollins keeps dancing too close to the stage, a mischievous grin on her face.
"Hey, Fin warned us not to get to close." Carisi shouts.
"What?" she shouts back.
The speakers are too loud for them to hear each other.
He wraps his arm around her waist, pulls her body close, and practically shouts in her ear, repeating himself.
She pulls away shaking her head like she can't hear him. Backing away from him, she trips.
And then, disaster.
Fin sees the burst of light from the front of the stage as the sound cuts out from one of the speakers.
"Amanda," he says as he runs out to the dance floor. The musicians stop playing.
He sees her unconscious on the ground, Carisi trying to rouse her, a crowd forming around him.
"Let me through," Fin demands, pushing people aside as he barges through the crowd.
Carisi is shouting, "Amanda! Amanda! Wake up!"
When Fin gets to Carisi he shouts down to him, "What are you waiting for man? Give her True Love's Kiss already."
Carisi just looks back at him, perplexed.
"Start CPR," Fin clarifies.
Carisi starts doing just that.
Sometime later, a woman breaks her way through the crowd. "I'm an EMT. Here, let me help."
It's the woman from the bar. She takes over for Carisi until an ambulance arrives. He and Fin stand and watch anxiously, having put Amanda's life into someone else's hands.
"You saved her life, you know." Fin says as they sit side by side in the hospital waiting area.
"Nah, I think your new lady friend over there saved her." Carisi points at the hot EMT Fin had been hitting on at the bar.
"Hey, don't sell yourself short man. She wouldn't have gotten there in time."
Carisi doesn't say anything. His face is still lined with worry for Rollins.
"Carisi?" Fin says, eyeballing him up and down. "You're alright man. You're alright."
"Hey Sleeping Beauty," she hears a gruff voice speaking to her as she rises to consciousness.
She sees the pale face of a man she thinks she should know leaning over her. His startling blue eyes look concerned. Concerned and then relieved. The voice she heard doesn't match the face. She is swimming in confusion.
She sees his mouth move but nothing comes out. Everything fades back to black. But now she can hear him. It's not the same voice that called her Sleeping Beauty.
"Nurse! Nurse! She's out again." The anxious voice is one she knows she should recognize. She actually feels a hand tightening over hers now, too. "Hold on, Amanda. Stay with us."
She fully awakens with sunlight streaming through her window. Two men are passed out in chairs right in front of it. They don't look very comfortable.
"Guys," she says. They are unresponsive.
"Guys!" she says a little louder.
They both startle in their chairs. Once Carisi figures out what is going on, he is at her side in seconds. He takes her hand. Fin is right behind him.
"What happened?" she asks.
"You danced too close to the fire, baby," Fin says. "I warned you."
She gives him a puzzled look.
"What he means to say is that you tripped over an electrical cord and fell on a loose socket," Carisi tells her.
"At least that's what we think happened," says a pretty woman in a disheveled evening gown, who has just entered the room with a nurse. She introduces herself. "I'm an EMT. I was on the scene."
"You had a heart attack," Carisi tells her seriously. "You could have died."
"Oh my God. Really?"
"Yeah," he says as he strokes the top of her hand.
She had been near death? She gulps. She might not have ever seen her baby girl again. Suddenly all she wants in the world is to hold her. Almost frantically she pleads, "Jesse. I want to see Jesse."
"I'll get her for you." Carisi says calmly.
"Okay," she says, trusting him.
"But only if you promise not to dance with anything electrical while I'm gone," Carisi jokes, pointing up at all the hospital monitors hanging around her.
"No," Fin interrupts, "You two hang tight. I'll go get her."
"Are you sure?" Carisi asks him.
"Yeah, I got this. You two might want some alone time after all of this."
"Thanks," Carisi and Rollins both reply.
"Drive you?" the pretty EMT says to Fin.
The widest smile Rollins has ever seen crosses Fin's face.
Once they're gone she asks Carisi, "What was that all about?"
"It's something we can tease him about endlessly once we're all back at the precinct."
They laugh and then she looks over at the red rose corsage that someone has put on the tray table beside her. Carisi notices that she looks a little wistful.
She turns back to him.
"You look like you want something," he says carefully.
Truthfully she tells him, "Well, I've wanted something like this for a long time. What I have with you."
"Yeah, but you look like you're still waiting for something."
"Yeah, but I'm embarrassed about it," she says without looking him in the eye, twisting her fingers about each other, a slight pink rising to her cheeks.
"I think I know what it is."
She looks back at him and he slowly says, "It's been a long time coming. Too long."
He is leaning over her now, stroking her cheek, and softly says, "I think you've been waiting for True Love's Kiss."
Now she flushes bright red but before she can say anything his lips are on hers. Softly, gently, not heated, just caressing.
When the kiss ends he rests his forehead on hers. "I can give you that. Because I love you, Amanda."
"I love you, too," she whispers and her eyes get a little wet as he pulls away.
"Oh, no, you're not crying again are you?" He teases her.
"No," she denies it.
"I think you're crying," he argues as he touches her cheek with his finger and pulls it away for her to look at. "See, wet?"
"Stop it," she laughs and bats his hand away.
"But seriously, do you feel like a Real Life Disney Princess now?"
"Yes," she smiles warmly.
"Good. I'm glad I could give you that." He smiles back. "But I don't want you turning into a sap on me now. You know I'll never let you live that down."
"Never," she says firmly.