Lie To Me Fan Fiction / Law And Order - Series Fan Fiction ❯ The Meaning of Family: Kinship ❯ Chapter 5: Turning Point: Repair ( Chapter 5 )
The Making of Family: Kinship
Chapter 5: Turning Point: Repair
Olivia sighed with relief as the elevator door opened to reveal her floor. She was glad to be done with her current case. First the evidence led them to believe it was Reverend Curtis who had the affair with Richard and killed him, but then the wife shot Curtis. This opened a new line of thinking which lead them to find out it was the son who had the affair. Then it turned out to be the assistant who murdered Richard which made the whole case sink to a whole new level of tragic pointlessness. The only thing she wanted to do now was to talk to Eli and find out about the bomb that went off in front of the Lightman Group. His text said he was okay which logically she knew should be enough but after spending a couple weeks in open contact, her little brother's distance worried her.
Presently, Olivia gave an exasperated sigh when she saw someone sitting on the floor by her door and made a mental note to speak with the doorman once again about the lapse in security. These thoughts quickly left her mind as she got a closer look at who it was. Eli was sitting there with his knees pulled up to his chest. Her blood started racing when he looked up at her and she saw the condition of his face. Eli's face was covered in cuts and some were showing signs of infection.
"Eli your face!" She exclaimed as she knelt down to get a better look at him.
"I'm sorry for just showing up like this. I hope it's not to creepy I just couldn't stay there but I really have nowhere else to go. I just couldn't...I guess I needed an escape," Eli rambled obviously nervous at the thought of not being welcomed.
"It's okay, let's get you inside. Have you been out here long?" Olivia asked as she gently helped him to his feet and opened her door to guide him inside.
"A couple hours," Eli answered as he scanned the inside of her apartment, "I'm sorry that..."
"Nothing to be sorry for," Olivia cut in as she took her jacket off and emptied her pockets, "You could have called me and I would have called the landlord to let you in."
"Is this from the bomb?" she questioned as she walked closer and raise a hand to his face, heart clenching.
"I was right there...I saw the guy...I just spoke to him and then he was dead... I could have been killed Olivia and it was just an annoyance," Eli told her as he moved away and flopped defeated on her couch.
Olivia was confused as her mind tried to play catch up, "An annoyance to who?"
"Lightman," that one word spoke volumes of betrayal that her brother was obviously feeling.
While Olivia wanted details on the bombing itself and the terrorist she knew that it could wait. That one word was overflowing with betrayal and sadness and it was coupled with a look in his eyes that was something she unfortunately encountered a lot in her work. Something had broke today and she knew it was the main reason her brother drove all the way to New York to see her. He needed someone to put him together again.
"I know that look Eli. I've seen it more than enough over the years, heard that tone," Olivia told him after she grabbed her first aid kit from her kitchen.
"And what would that be?" Eli asked. His eyes begging for her to get it right.
"Defeated, broken. Did Lightman have something to do with the bomb today?" Olivia asked as she started dabbing antiseptic into the cuts, some she could see should have had stitched.
"No, well yes actually but that's not... well... what this is..." Eli said while using his hand to wave at himself, "or rather it was the catalyst... maybe...it's just that...it's just... have I told you yet how I meet him in the first place?"
Olivia shook her head no, "Cal Lightman has always meant hope or something to me. In a weird mostly twist way granted but well I was only seventeen when he first barged into my life. He changed everything... I mean opened doors I didn't even know existed, expanded my horizons in ways I could never have imagined. He took something that was so deeply embedded in my core that I only knew how to use to self destruct and showed me that there was something to be made out of it."
The day was sunny and pleasant for that time of year in New York not that the boy, who was about to be beaten down by a much older and very angry jock, noticed at the moment. He was too busy thinking that maybe his last comment may have hit too close to home but it wasn't like he was going to take it back. That was the point of radical honest after all, to say the truth even when the reality of the situation was the truth was going to get his face kicked in.
Thankfully, some professors and security guards decided to walk by and disperse the crowd successfully diffusing the situation. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth Eli decided not to press his luck and quickly gathered his book and folder that had been knocked out of his hand earlier and made a beeline for the library. That was until a voice quickly derailed his plan as he tried to leave the area.
"Now that was just blinding, mate. My wife among many tells me I have a way of getting under people's skin but you well... you just nailed that guy without even trying," exclaimed a short older man with a obvious British accent, "so what do you call that now Loker?"
"Radical honest?" Eli answered automatically but shifted himself defensively, "who are you and how you know my name?"
"Oh I know plenty about you boy and now that I got to see you in action I know I can definitely make use of you," the man said while giving Eli a noticeable once over officially making him uncomfortable.
"Okay... creepy old guy... I will be going this way now," Eli said while gesturing toward the path to the library, "and you will be going another."
Eli took off walking but the man just fell in step with him, with a little difficulty he noticed smugly, "I will have you know I am not old!"
"This you defend? And yes you are. You're over 30 aren't you and considering I'm not even legal yet that makes you old and creepy, " Eli said as he tried to pick up his pace while making sure not to look at the man.
"Okay relatively speaking I guess I can give you that one and I will have you know you are not the first person to call me creepy... this week in fact."
"Right..." Eli stopped and stared the man down as he tried to decide if security would hear him yell for them.
"Dr. Zimmer!" The man exclaimed with his hands in pacifying gesture as if that was the answer to everything, which of course wasn't because everyone knew that answer was 42.
"Excuse me? What does she.." Eli started
"Your Professor sent me out here to find you. She is an old friend of mine from University days. We meet when she spent a semester abroad at Oxford. I came here to ask her a favor. You see I need a research assistant and she has a similar field of study. When I asked her your name was the first to come to mind and thanks to that little display back there I now know why," the man finally explained.
Eli turned and started walking again in a different direction, "Let's move this to Dr. Zimmers office then. Mr..."
"Not very trusting are we? Good. Dr. Cal Lightman," Lightman said as he extended a hand and shook Eli's before taking control of their walk.
"Of creepy old men who randomly walk up to young men offering them suspicious work? No I'm not. So you'll forgive me if I want to confirm you know my professor. But since you're here what kind of work," Eli couldn't help asking.
"You would be helping me research truth... or lies... I guess it depends on how you want to look at it. Look it will take a while to explain and will go easier to just show you but working for me will count towards your practicals and I'm flexible with hours if you can be ..."
"From then on Lightman just welcomed me into his home and I mean literally. His lab was his converted garage. There were others who worked with him too but they left after the first couple years and well he just treated me differently. Probably because of my age but he encouraged me and taught me the science. It didn't end there either. I was always invited to dinner with his family and Emily always did her homework on either the corner my or her father desk," Eli explained with a small smile on his face as he was caught up in the memories.
"A father figure," Olivia stated as she tried not to pass judgments.
"I doubt he ever saw it that way but yes I will admit that. He was the first man to come into my life that had anything in their character I wanted.... I mean if you could just see the way he is with Emily, back then and now... it just made my heart burn and for the first time I felt... well the only word I can think of right now is safe. The way he is with Emily has always, even right now after all that has happen today, shown me that under all the arrogance and jadedness Lightman is a good, decent, truth seeking man. A man I could follow and put my efforts, talents, and desire for truth into helping succeed, no matter the venture..."
"There is a lot of present tense as if you are trying to believe what you saw is still there," Olivia noted as she finished applying the last butterfly bandage.
"I was willing to risk taking a bullet for him, Olivia. Just because I could stand the thought of losing him,” at his sister's horrified face he pulled himself back on track, “not today, before we meet actually long story. Where was I?”
“The first two years I worked for Lightman, Lightman and his family almost made me feel like I was a Lightman. The last seven...well let's just say I've spent a lot of nights wishing for the first two," Eli stood and started pacing the room.
"What changed?" Olivia asked letting the rabbit trail go til later.
"See... that was what I never understood or accepted," Eli told her as he turned to face her and started gesturing as he talked, "Lightman's actual job was with the government. What I was apart of was what he did to continue perfecting and advancing the science he pioneered but the group in truth was closer to being Lightman's hobby. We did help him some on his work though it was limited considering none of us but Lightman had security clearance. Anyways one day he left for Washington on an assignment and three weeks later when he came back he was not the same man."
"He really changed that much?" Olivia questioned.
"Yes, his marriage fell apart quickly after that. I mean they always had their share of fight and such but suddenly it was like Lightman wasn't all there anymore to work through them. He stopped inviting me to dinner and well treating me fatherly for a lack of a better word. A couple weeks after that trip he added Foster into our lives and he was no longer solely working for the government rather working on starting a private firm. The weird thing about that time was during all this he managed to write and sell a book, don't ask me how, but along with withdrawing he became snide and harsh with all the staff. Everyone but me eventually left that year. After I graduated we moved to Washington."
"You said you didn't understand does that mean you do now?" Olivia asked as she straightened up to focus more fully on observing her brother.
"Yes, I do," So Eli proceeded to explain what all that happened that day. He left nothing out. Every detail and every emotion he let himself lay bare before the only person he had every felt connected enough to, to even dare try. The anger at Lightman for not even pretending to feel the way Eli wished he did to the jealousy and contempt he felt for Foster for being apart of the horrifying events that were responsible for changing Lightman but still managing to be one of the most important things in Lightman life right after Emily and Zoe.
"I never let myself think about the way he treats me because like I've said I know deep down there is a good man but I can't lie to myself anymore. He loves Emily and he cares about some who work at Lightman group and I mean Foster and Ria but he does not care about me. I might be inclined to say he hates me but that would imply I cross his thought for something other than my usefulness but the truth is I don't think I'm even on his radar. I just don't matter to him anymore and I can't even blame it on my mistake because he hasn't cared for a long time. Only difference is he now has Ria to replace me with. Who he does try to be a father figure too but she is his protegee after all," Eli stopped as if a thought occurred to him.
"What?" Olivia questioned unsure as Eli turned thoughtful eyes on her before sitting on the couch across from her.
"Its nothing just thank you," Eli told her tiredly.
"Your welcome I guess but I haven't done anything. I've hardly said anything," Olivia told him as she wished she could say something to ease the hurt he was feeling but she was too angry at the moment to try.
"You let me in your home and listened to me rant even though you worked all day," Eli told her sincerely, "and the best part is that I don't have to wonder why you did because it is written all over your face. I don't deserve to have someone angry for me, Olivia, but I thank you for caring enough to take my side."
Olivia took a moment to assure herself that he read her because he was suppose to be an expert not because she was obvious before deciding to vent her thoughts. This was something that had been nagging at her and steadily growing since she meet her brother. She did care for him, a great deal in fact which scared her but if they were going to be a family they were going to have to learn to fight like one and still get along. She has spent too many years as a detective not to know she would receive resistance no matter how obvious her request should be to him.
She turned to face him and looked him straight in the eye, "Eli you need to quit and walk away from the Lightman Group."
"No hear me out. As you have yourself said not ten minutes ago Lightman doesn't care about you and frankly he is taking advantage of you. You have spoke of many things this last couple weeks that sound board line abusive not to mention he hasn't even paid you in a year. I know you have been with him a long time and he is important to you but I think you need to walk away," she told him firmly.
"Olivia I thank you for your concern but I can't do that. You just don't understand," Eli told her steadily and calmly.
"As I said that day I meet Lightman changed everything. I mean at the time I was already going for a degree in individual studies because I wanted to study truth. Radical honesty came out of my own research on the matter long before I met Lightman. There really is no degree for that or practical application but I didn't care. I just took whatever classes I thought would help me understand better, psychology, sociology, criminal justice you name it. Then Lightman showed me what I could be. Everything I study from then on was for the purpose of fitting into Lightman group. I started taking computer courses and several other seemingly random things to be better equipped in serving the Lightman Group as a researcher. When I graduated I became a full time employee and when he left New York for D.C. I followed him. It wasn't only because of the whole human lie detector thing either. I knew deep down under all that arrogant pathology he was a good decent man that would never sacrifice truth for anything or anyone I mean look what he just did for a known terrorist who deserved justice? There is a reason for what i believe and what i am doing in my life and when all's said and done Lightman group is the best chance i have at accomplishing what I have spent a great majority of my life on. I can't really put it into words but I can't leave...I won't leave. Besides now that I know the truth I'm no longer blindly emotionally invested. I can just do my job. Beside my skill set is not exactly transferable. I have nowhere else to go, at least nowhere I would want to go," Eli tried to sell this as confident but the effect was ruined when he yawned.
"Okay well we can discuss this more in the morning. I'll get you some bedding. The couch pulls out into a bed."
Eli examined the chicken that was in the pan he was holding trying to determine if he forgot any seasoning before opening the oven door and sliding the pan in. After setting the timer Eli turned to the counter and started chopping up bell peppers and onions in preparation to make omelets. Falling into a steady rhythm Eli let his mind wander back yet once again to the events of yesterday.
Yesterday had been horrible and testing but at the same time surprisingly freeing. He felt like weights he hadn't even realized he was carrying on his back had been striped away leaving him lighter and with clearer vision. Now this might seem strange to anyone who knew him if one didn't consider the timing in his life. If yesterday had happened a month ago, all the events and discoveries, it probably would have sent him running to his covers where he would have hid until he could fall back into his state of denial and continue on until he completely self destructed. Today was different though because today he was not alone. He had completely let himself fall apart and Olivia had helped him vent and sort out the mess in his head until he got a proper perspective on the whole thing. He knew now he could continue on with his ambitions without the weight of blind loyalty and masochism that he knew went with it or at the very least he had to try. He would never admit it to anyone not even Olivia but he couldn't help but feel he owed Lightman that much even if he never saw or cared about his reasons.
"Hey what is that wonderful smell? And how is it coming out of my kitchen? You cook?" Olivia asked as she came out of her bedroom.
"Omelet?" Eli answered as he picked up his egg mixture to show her.
"Yes please but how? I know I didn't have much in the refrigerator," Olivia said as she sat at the counter and watched Eli cook.
"That's the understatement of the year. Are you sure you actually live here? I made a trip to the store this morning in a state of near panic once I finished snooping around," Eli told he as he pointed his spatula at her.
"Hey it's not that bad," Olivia told him trying to sound indignant.
"Oh yes it is. When a fridge only has orange juice and coffee creamer in it, it is a sure sign my sister is trying to put herself in a early grave by eating take out all the time," Eli served Olivia her omelet with a flourish as if to emphasize his point.
"I know there is more in there then orange juice and coffee creamer... Oh this is good," Olivia tried to argue as she took a bit.
"You mean the out of date condiments and salad dressing? I threw those out by the way," Eli told her as he started doing some dishes.
Olivia took a minute to eat in silence before asking a question that she had since walking into the room, "What else are you doing in here. I know all those pots are not just for the omelets.
"Oh that is going to become a month worth of individual sized lunches and dinners for you." Seeing her confusion he showed her his stack of container and continued, "See once it is done I will portion it out into these handy containers and freeze them. They can last up to three months and all you have to do is pull them out and microwave it for a few minutes."
"Why would you go to all that trouble?" Olivia asked touched.
Eli reached over and opened a drawer full of takeout menus and just looked at her for a moment, "I'm not saying you have to completely stop eating out and i know you are super busy so this way you can eat healthy home cooked meals without the hassle. I do this for myself when I have a free day. Its health and economical and from what I'm cooking here I can make four different yet similar dishes for variety."
"Well thank you. If it is as half as good as this omelet then I can't wait to dig into them, but you have to let me help and show me how you do it. I'm a terrible cook you know. After we should go catch a movie," Olivia said as she got of her stool and walked into the kitchen.
"Sounds good and on the way back we can stop by the store for dinner tonight. I'll make you whatever you want."
It was late Saturday afternoon and Eli was spending his time moving and vacuuming under furniture. Olivia had left a little over an hour ago to pop in at the station before running a few errands leaving Eli left to his own devices. The apartment was by no means messy. In fact even the piles of clothes at at bottom of Olivia's closet seemed to have an order but Eli couldn't help notice the collection of dust that had gathered that spoke of the fact that Olivia didn't spend much time at home. Maybe he just lived the life of the neat freak roommate for too long but he wanted to help his sister out in any way big or small that he could.
Finishing the task, Eli started to put the vacuum away when he felt his phone start to vibrate. He pulled it out of his pocket and was surprised to see that it was Foster. Contemplating Eli helplessly scan the room as he quickly try to decide what to do. For all his mental breakthroughs he knew he might have trouble controlling his tongue if she tried to play off everything as normal over a work call. Knowing hiding wasn't going to help anything since he would be dealing with her Monday anyways he hit send before putting it up to his ear.
"Eli, it's Gillian. Are you free to talk right now?" Foster asked.
"Yeah I'm not doing anything at the moment. What do you need? Something for work?" Eli asked knowing full well by her voice that this was no work call.
"No, no nothing like that. I...ah...I'm just calling to see how you are doing. If you are okay," Foster said slightly slurred.
"Foster are you drunk?" Eli asked unbelieving.
"Of course not I just haven't slept since before....but that is besides the point. Are you okay?"
"I'm perfectly fine. Why wouldn't I be?" Eli asked somewhere between suspicion and sarcastic.
Gillian let out a deep sigh, "That's what I would like to know because the Loker I know would never hack my personal computer and spy on me."
"Look Foster I'm not going to apolo..." Eli started.
"Gillian," Gillian stated.
"Excuse me?" Eli asked not sure he was following.
"Eli you have known me for seven years I think you can call me Gillian," she said forcefully, "and not only to make a point."
"Yes because we are such close friends," Eli replied not bothering to hide his bitterness.
"Look I'm sorry. You are obviously still angry about yesterday..." Gillian tried to cajole.
"Really?" Eli spat and started pacing not noticing Olivia's return, "What inflection of my voice gave that away? Or is it simply the years of studying psychology or maybe a little thing like common sense that maybe clued you into the fact that I don't just hang around the Lightman group to add character to the background? That maybe being dismissed and lied to by two people who are on a very short list of people I thought I could respect and possible trust feels a whole lot like betrayal? I'm not angry Gillian I'm devastated to realize that after all I have put into this company I don't....I mean all the work I do doesn't mean a thing to either of you."
"It does matter!" Gillian exclaimed with a frustrated sigh, "Look, Eli I didn't call to pick a fight."
"Why did you call, Gillian?"
"To see if you were okay. Look the truth is I have been doing a lot of thinking about the last few years and I need to admit to you I'm ashamed. I lied to Cal in order to keep him and his family safe and after all that's happened I still stand by that decision because as we both are fully aware he would not have backed down. What I was not prepared for was the collateral damage," Gillian confessed.
"Collateral damage? All lies have consequences. You of all people know that," Eli said firmly.
"I know I just never stopped to consider that part of the damage was my relationship with you," Gillian explained.
"Yes, when I first met you, you were a mouthy kid with a major chip on his shoulder. I never actually expect you to stay around with the changes Cal and I were making. Everyone else left and I expected you to do the same once you graduated but instead you moved to Washington with us," Eli smiled at the truth of the statement, "That kid I first meet adored Cal and was pretty impressed with the way I quickly adopted the science and would never had thought of arguing or defying either of us much less hacking our personal files."
"I'm not a kid anymore and truth is I doubt I was much of one back then either I was 19, you know," Eli informed her.
"You grew up from a mouthy kid with a chip to a mouthy adult and I have been realizing I don't know anything more about you now then I did back then. For all your talking and radical honesty I don't know a thing," Gillian continued, ignoring him, "I don't know anything about what caused that chip, or anything substantial about your family, or even why you didn't just quit yesterday. I'm a psychologist and I'm suppose to help people but instead I ignored one person right in front of me that looking back I realize could have used that help because I was too busy trying to remain unattached so I could carry that lie properly and I'm sorry."
"Gillian," Eli said softly not sure what to do with her self discovery.
"I want to know and I know it's selfish of me but I would like a chance to learn about you. To become friends and understand why you didn't obey me and then lied about it. Why you stuck around after and more. I want a chance to do things right," Gillian implored.
"You don't need permission to be my friend Gillian. You already are. Actions speak louder than words and we can start over Monday if that is really what you want. Okay so get some sleep and I will see you in a couple days."
"Okay I'll see you Monday," Gillian said relieved that she been understood and hung up.
"Is everything okay?" Olivia asked from where she seated herself on the coach making Eli jump.
"How long have you been there?" Eli question bringing a hand to his chest.
"Awhile, so is everything okay?" Olivia asked smirking.
"Geez woman you are like part ninja or something? But to answer everything is more than okay," Eli answer knowing it was the truth, "So did you pick up a movie?"