Lie To Me Fan Fiction / Law And Order - Series Fan Fiction ❯ The Meaning of Family: Kinship ❯ Chapter 2: First Encounters ( Chapter 2 )
The Making of a Family: Kinship
Chapter 2: First Encounter
Of all the things that could have made Olivia late to what could be one of the most important meetings of her life, she couldn't believe she might have made herself late over clothes. She knew... she knew... the drive would be completely dependent on traffic and would need at least 30 more minutes then what she had to be safe. All she could do though was straightened up in her car seat and forced herself not to speed as she once again glanced at her radio clock. She was really close on time but getting a ticket would not help anything especial as an out-of-state cop. It didn't help that her bedroom looked like a bomb went off by the time she left that morning and she still wasn't completely satisfied that she had made the right choice. She hadn't been this concerned about something as silly as what to wear since she was a teenager.
Usually she would just throw something on without putting too much thought but still look the part for whatever the day's brought whether it be work or dates or even running to the store. This though... What was the etiquette for something like this anyways? Would dressy seem pretentious or would causal seem flippant? There was really no rules or life experience to draw from except that making the right first impression often means everything. Truthfully, she has gone on blind dates less nerve racking.
Eventually, she settled on a pair of comfortable dark washed jeans, maroon blouse, and boots. Her hair was pulled back in a neat ponytail allowing her bangs to frame her eyes. She also had grabbed a jacket to dress her outfit up just in case. On her passenger seat was her jacket along with her purse and off duty weapon since she was still deciding whether if she wanted to stash it in her purse or glove box.This was because although she had heard nothing but good things from Doctor Matterson she still couldn't help but worry about what mark their father might have left within her brother. Just as she couldn't help but worry about how she was affected by his violent genetic legacy.
Relief filled her as she saw the sign for her exit and she knew she was going to make it to the diner on time. It had been awhile since she has had any reason to go to Philadelphia or leave New York for that matter but she was familiar enough with the area to find the cafe Doctor Matterson picked for their meeting place and was soon pulling up in the parking lot. As she directed her car into a space she spied a young man sitting on a car with D.C. plates and quickly recognized him from the pictures included with his background check.
Taking a moment for a quick glance in the mirror, Olivia grabbed her purse and slipped her gun inside before getting out of the car. Olivia made sure to carefully studied the man as she approached him and couldn't help smile at how similar their clothing choices were. He was wearing jeans, boots, a button up shirt with a brown jacket. His hair was full of messy curls and he had a good amount of growth on his face. Overall it said laid back and approachable though she could sense a nervous air around him as he pushed away from his car to face her.
"Eli Loker?" Olivia question as she approached him.
"Detective Benson?" He questioned in return as he took her offered hand.
"Olivia," she told him, "and you.."
"Eli's fine," he assured her as he let go of her hand and leaned in with a quick glance around as if he didn't want to be heard.
"Just so we are clear I've never done anything violent towards a woman and I never will. I believe in trying to solve problems with words foremost but that pacifism and aggression both have their proper time and place. To be honest I have been in my share of fights but in my defense they were mostly in self-defense. My mouth mixed with my unique tastes have a way of making people want to beat the crap out of me," Eli voice was calm and steady and his face showed nothing but earnest as he dropped this bomb on her.
"I just thought that we should kick that elephant out of the room from the get go or we really won't learn anything about each other," Seeing that Olivia was trying to think of a protest he quickly continued to cut her off," I mean it is only natural to wonder. The thought crossed my mind about you, you know but I figure you're a girl who has been on the force for more than a decade without getting kicked off so there is a lot less risk of you being a psycho then if you were my brother. Me on the other hand you wouldn't know until you really got to know me so I see no reason to be offended or hide the fact you probably have your off duty weapon close by," Eli tried to say as casually as possible as he leaned back into his car.
Olivia couldn't help but make a slight fish impression as she tried to process what was just said, "It's in my purse actually. You really don't hold back do you? Doctor Matterson tried to explain some of your ah... quarks to me but that was... Truthful I don't know what that was."
"I call it radical honesty. Well you didn't deck me so that's good for a couple of reasons; strengthens my belief you are not a psycho and gives me hope we can get through the next hour without me making you hate me before you get to know me," Eli told her.
"I have a thick skin so I think I can take a little bluntness from you stranger. Might make this a whole lot easier actually," Olivia told him.
"I do hope that is the case. Although I'm thinking George has to have made a mistake somewhere because there is no way a girl as beautiful as you that drives that car can possible be apart as the same gene pool as me," Eli told her as he gestured to her and then her car.
Olivia not sure how to respond settled on a , "uh thanks?"
"Sorry it's a compliment really," Eli said with a blush, his first hit of nervousness since the original adrenaline of meeting was wearing off.
Olivia just gave him a heartfelt smile. She couldn't believe the relaxed atmosphere that was already starting to form between them. She knew she should still keep up her guard around him and her cop instincts wouldn't just let her put her guard down but when he just came out and called her on her worry like that, breaking most socially acceptable norms in the process she couldn't help but believe him. Though only time would truly tell the character of her slightly dorky younger brother.
"I know as I said Doctor Matterson explained your quarks to me."
Quarks? Well Eli decided that he should just be glad George didn't describe him as the fruitcake he thought Eli was back when they first meet. Their first meeting had not gone well though they had eventually became friends despite the rather rude comment he had made about George's then girlfriend. So it was a bit warming that George had took it upon himself to soften Olivia's first impression of his radical honest in order to help Eli not make a fool of himself.
"Well I don't know if I should be offended or grateful about that. Who am I kidding? I'll be the first one to admit I'm a bit on the strange side but it's still not fair though since now you have a clear advantage over me. George wouldn't tell me a thing about you so I almost ran you through the FBI data bank. Would probably have had to explain why though and that is a conversation I'm not sure I would have been ready to have. If you know what I mean," Eli told her with disarming smile and a voice full of conspiracy.
George really hadn't told him anything and no amount of begging on Eli's part had swayed him. He stood firm on the point that he didn't know her well enough to cast any judgments that might influence Eli's first impression of her. At the time Eli had been annoyed but now he got the point because no words could accurately describe the woman before him. Her posture and aura said cop, tough and slightly unapproachable, but she was also feminine and had a gracefulness that spoke of a wise maturity people rarely achieve. Oh and yeah she was beautiful with a great car. There was really no way she could share genes with someone who was as much a nerd as he was.
"Yes I do. This is not something a person just drops around the office cooler. Should we go inside?" Olivia said while indicating the door to the dinner.
"Oh, right we should. Why stand out here talking when we could be in there talking? And eating!" Eli told her as he opened the door for her to go in.
"Don't forget drinking coffee!" Olivia said and Eli could see a playful side coming out to meet his. She was the charmer.
"So Olivia," Eli started as if testing her name, "How did you meet Georgie?"
"Georgie?" Olivia laughed.
"Sorry, Doctor Matterson. How did you end up at his lab?" Eli clarified.
"Well I was working on a case where we need to find the biological father of an abducted boy," Olivia explained but paused as the waitress took their drink orders and gave them their menus, "The mother committed suicide after the media accused her killing her son and the only lead we had on who might have taken the boy was a past boyfriend who could be the boy's biological father but we had no leads on who he was. Our medical examiner brought up kinship DNA analysis as a way to find a member of his father's family if anyone had ever been incarcerated on a felony. It worked and we got the guy which got me thinking about my DNA. If I ran mine would anything pop? I almost just ran mine as an official request which would have been ah.."
"A big no no?" Eli interjected to show he was actively listening.
"Yes that's one way of putting it considering it would have been illegal," Olivia continued with a small smile, "I ended up mentioning my thoughts to Melinda, that's our medical examiner, and she referred me to Doctor Matterson."
"What kind of detective are you? Missing persons? George mentioned you worked Manhattan," Eli questioned
"Oh I work with SVU actually," Olivia watched Eli closely to gauge his reaction as she told him.
"Special victims? That is a voluntary unit right?" Eli questioned with a raised brow, "Did your mother's experience have anything to do with you choosing to become a cop?"
Olivia was surprised again. She was just not use to being around someone so blunt, no matter how much she was trying to play it off. Not really surprising considering she spent most of her time trying to drag and trick the truth out of people. It was really refreshing though and she could feel her hopes starting to rise that her brother was a decent guy that might want her in his life. His bluntness and humor were a disarming mixture.
"Yes mostly. I always hated the fact that the man never paid for what he did to my mother, the way he made her suffer. I always wanted to be the one who fixed that. My mother was not thrilled about my choice especial when I joined SVU because she thought I was living too much in the shadow of the circumstances surrounding my birth but that's not really the case. Well not completely... I just like or actually it might be closer to need, need to see justice done for people who can't help themselves. It gives me purpose in a world that I have known since childhood is cruel and ugly."
"I completely know what you mean," Eli told her, "Knowing how bad it can be makes you want to search out the counterpoint even if you only see a glimpse of it now and then. For me it is truth and for you it's justice though it is really ease to lose sight of it when it is so rare to see."
"Yes exactly," Olivia agreed before they both fell into a comfortable silence.
Soon the waitress was back taking orders and much to both their surprise they ordered similar things two different burgers but hold the mayo and extra pickles and onions please. Olivia could feel a strong connection already growing with the young man that was unlike anything she had felt before. Although she just realized she had been the one doing most of the talking and she had yet to learn much about him yet, besides that they seemed to have similar taste in food. She could tell he was one of those people who could easily lead a conversation and while doing a lot of talking could walk away without giving anything significant away. This could be especially true if he always said what was on his mind because that would make it difficult for people to look past the surface. As a detective and his big sister she was not going to let him get away with that though. She wanted to know everything about him, for good or bad.
"Are you and Doctor Matterson good friends?" Olivia asked breaking the silence as the waitress brought their food.
"I guess you can say that since we have known each other since college," Eli told her as he took a sip of his coffee, "He needed help in some of his classes and I tutored him. After that we often hung out and even were roommates for awhile."
"You tutored him? Isn't he a good deal older than you?" Olivia asked as she tried to picture Doctor Matterson in her mind.
"Don't let the black glasses and white lab coat fool you. He is only three years older than me and we started NYU at the same time," Eli explained.
"I read that you started at sixteen so does that mean you were one of those eggheads?" Olivia asked with a teasing smirk.
"Oh no nothing like that. You see I moved around a lot growing up thanks to my dad's occupational hazards," Eli started.
"Occupational hazards?" Olivia questioned.
"The polite way of putting it. You see on a good day he was a conman, a normal day he was a petty two-timing thief and always a psychopathic liar. It made staying in one place very long nearly impossible so instead of always restarting in a new school my mom just home schooled me. I didn't mind because I didn't make friends easy anyways and I would rather spend my days with my nose in a book. My mom was an extraordinary teacher so I was always ahead whenever I did get go to school. By the time I was 15 I was just tired of playing the high school game so I just decided to test out and go for my GED. After that college was just the easy way to leave home at 16 without enlisting under false pretense or joining the circus. ," Eli said nonchalantly making Olivia laugh.
"Oh you're a funny one. NYU is a private school though it must have been costly," she commented making sure to take the lead in the conversation.
"My mom graduated from their nursing program. Now she was the one with the high IQ. She got a free ride private scholarship. She knew what boots to kiss to get me enough partials to help pay while I worked through," Eli explained wistfully.
"She sounds like a wonderful person," Olivia told him.
"She was.. for all her intelligence I will never understand why she put up with my father or at least the man I grew up thinking as my father," Eli decide to put out there.
"You didn't know growing up?" Olivia asked after deciding that she wanted to go their if Eli was willing to lead.
"Did you?" Eli unintentionally deflected.
Seeing his question for what it was Olivia decided to open up a little more in hopes of getting him to open up about this area as well since it was the best way to quickly judge his core character.
"I don't really remember not knowing though I know I had to have been old enough to understand before she explained it to me."
"I only found out five years ago but the signs were always there. Looking back with what I know I can see the fear clearly," Eli interjected after seeing her willingness to open up in an effort to lead him.
"I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. That look that says she is wondering what you might be capable of," Olivia did know, "I never understood it growing up. Only that it put her up in arms against my father whenever he tried to get me involved in things that were aggressive like wrestling or football. Oh and I can remember this time when he was completely drunk and went at me and I fought back. The look of horror on my mother's face... let's just say I tried not to fight back after that. I thought she was worried I was becoming my father but I guess the really question was which one. She was never sure herself. Don't get me wrong she loved me but my childhood was strained and well just plain strange on the best days."
"I know what you mean. My mom always tried her best to make sure I knew she wouldn't trade me for anything but that didn't stop her from becoming a drunk in her effort to deal what was done to her," Olivia told him.
Olivia and Eli fell into more silence as they eat as she wasn't sure what to say. She saw herself in his story but wasn't sure if she was making the right decision revealing so much of herself this early in the game. Almost as if Eli knew where her thoughts were drifting to he looked at her thoughtfully for a moment before smiling at her seriously but slightly impish as he leaned in closer to her so not to be heard.
Eli was enjoying the silence while relaxing in the knowledge that he was talking to someone, his sister, that understood things that no one ever has or ever has tried to. Things that truly influenced his core character. All of that and she didn't even trust him yet! How could she with what their connection truly was. It wasn't easy to ignore and much less forget what actually bonded them, violence and evil that was once harbored in the very soul of their biological father. So after a few more minutes he made a decision after forcing his thoughts in a more positive direction causing him to leaned in with mischief all over his face.
"Well Ms. detective lady I think I should teach you some of the benefits of radical honesty by playing a question game to really get to know each other," Eli challenged.
"Okay but I get to go first," Olivia said as she shifted forward a little excited to meet his challenge, "what cereal do you eat captain crunch or....
As the question game progressed so did time with lunch falling away to coffee and then coffee leading into dinner. Questions eventually became stories and confession that made them feel as if they were old friend.
"Okay so there was this time when Homeland Security wanted Lightman to test out their new handheld polygraph. So Lightman order this African egg that arrived the day of the test," Eli told her with laughter in his voice.
"An egg?" Olivia asked skeptical.
"Yes they were first used in West Africa during trials to determine if someone was lying because it responses to the anxiety of the person holding it by breaking. So Lightman handed it to the guy newly appointed as TSA deputy, who was the guy in charge the handheld project mind you while completely tearing the accuracy of the devices to shreds and it broke when the guy got angry. The look on the guy's face was a rewind moment. One of the perks of working in an office where almost everything is detailed recorded for research sake is I get viewing privileges."
"Oh really," Olivia responded with laughter.
"Yes I have a top ten hit collection that I will so have to show you someday," Eli said.
"I look forward to that."
"So I will admit my partner can be a hot head sometimes but under the circumstances I would have probably held the guy under until he at least passed out. Sometimes it is just hard to keep your emotions under control especial when the case involves kids," Olivia said as she came to the end of a short explanation on her co-workers.
"You care about him don't you?" Eli asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Who Elliot? Of course I care about him he's my partner," Olivia said trying to sidestep what she knew Eli was implying.
"No I mean care about him. Come on I told you about Ria, it's only fair. Besides it's all over your face. Isn't that against regulations?" Eli said bluntly refusing to let her avoid the question.
"Yes that would be against regulations if that were the case but there is nothing like that between us. Okay I would be lying if I said it has never crossed my mind but Elliot is the best friend I have ever had. That probably sounds sappy but it's true and besides he's married and I don't go for married men. Cathy and the kids are good for him and he needs them more than even he knows and what kind of friend would I be to complicate the best thing he has in his life? Actually at the moment he is separated from his wife and I'm making sure to stay clear because he really needs to wake up and make up with her before she decides being a cops wife is more trouble than it's worth," Olivia explained.
"Relationships like that are rare and should be treasured. Your partner is lucky to have you watching his back in multiple areas," Eli told her wistfully as he had yet to have had the privilege of such a relationship.
Olivia opened her mouth to continue even though she wasn't sure what else to say on the manner when Eli's phone vibrating saved her the trouble.
"Sorry I have to take this. It's my boss lady," Eli told her apologetically before bringing the phone to his ear.
"Hello....Uh well...sorta not... actually I'm out of Washington at the moment but I'm planning on being home tonight why?...Really how sick?... well that's bad timing... no there isn't much left to do I only left him with the last bit because Mark said he wanted to sink his teeth in a bit...Really? and Lightman just decided not put that on the schedule? Okay so I'll just handle it... no really it makes more sense anyways since I did the majority of the analysis anyway... I was already planning on double checking on him in the morning to make sure before the hand off... um for me probably 30 minutes to an hour assuming it's close to what I left him with..." As Eli talked Olivia just took the time to observe his part of the one-sided interaction enjoying his open but serious expressions.
"I'll take care of it tonight so that there won't be any problems with the hand off... A new client... sure I don't mind what time... oh it's close but doable... will I get Torres or is she going with you... okay... no I'm sure we can handle it on our own... what's the info," Eli asked as he reached into his bag a pulled out notebook and pen before starting to scribble for a minute, "hand off at 8:00, Professor Sam Hendricks at 8:30 got it...uh huh... yeah have a good night Dr. Foster," Eli put his phone on the table and gave Olivia an awkward smile.
"Should we call this a night?" Olivia asked while gesturing out the window to the darkening sky, caught off guard by the deep disappointment she felt at the words.
"Unfortunately, I guess that might be best. We both got at least a couple hour drive back, probably more with traffic," Eli tried to say lightly but Olivia could tell he felt the same disappointment.
They both got up to leave and what Olivia thought would be to pay but Eli just waved at the cashier and wished her a good night as he opened the door for Olivia to step through. She did walk passed him outside but not without throwing him a confused look.
"I arranged to pay the bill before you got here. Cuts out the awkward arguing that always comes up when grown ups eat together as we try to remind ourselves that we are civilized and generous," Eli told her with a smirk.
Olivia laughed and held out her hand, "Your phone please."
"Oh right. Good thinking," Eli said as he pulled his phone out of his pocket, "I'll give you mine if you give me yours."
Olivia handed hers over as she accepted his and started programming her cell and work number into his phone. After she was done she took a moment to snoop on his phone by scanning his contacts and pictures. Deciding that she felt comfortable enough to admit her curiosity she brought up a picture of two girls.
"Who are they," she asked getting Eli's attention. He handed her phone back to her with a sly smile before looking at what she bought up.
"The beautifully exotic looking one is Ria and the other is Emily, Lightman's daughter," Eli told her before taking back his phone.
"So..." Olivia started but then didn't know how to continue. She really didn't want to say goodbye since it felt like there was no guarantee they would speak again.
"So let's agree to talk and/or text tomorrow. I mean only if you want to," Eli said with his head turned away from her and his hand touching his head, "I would like to continue to get to know you better."
Olivia smiled, "I would like that too. So then goodnight Eli. We'll talk tomorrow."
"Goodnight Olivia," Eli said before stepping forward and taking her off guard with a quick hug before quickly retreating and heading back to his car.
Tomorrow...tomorrow had promise to be a good day.