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Everything Has Changed

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The clock ticked over to 6:30AM as the sun began to peak through the blinds on Amanda Rollins’ bedroom window. Amanda’s alarm on her phone began to ring out and she groaned. She rolled over to turn it off and squinted at the absurd brightness of her phone screen. After turning it off, she slumped back on the bed and stared at the ceiling in her dark bedroom and contemplated going to work or calling in a mental health day.

Things haven’t been the same at Special Victims Unit since her partner and best friend moved over to the DA’s office and left her behind. He was one of the best things that ever happened to her and it seemed like he threw their strong bond out the window. She hated that she was angry at him for leaving. She should be happy for him; he was following his dream after all. He put himself through night school at Fordham while working insanely long hours at the precinct just to get where he is. Why did she have to be so clingy and stubborn?

Amanda eventually decided to go to work because she did not really want to leave the Captain short handed especially after last week with the 3 cases they got slammed with at midnight. Thinking about those couple of days put a knot in Rollins’ throat because she couldn’t help but think of the screaming match that she and Sonny Carisi had in the middle of the squad room. She regretted it deeply and hated herself for being awful to him. She was just lonely without her best friend at her side.
She rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom to shower. She turned the water to almost boiling because she liked to take extremely hot showers as it always seemed to get her blood circulating. After her 20-minute shower, she got out and wrapped herself in her blue towel and pulled her shower curtain closed. The room was filled with steam and it felt like a sauna in there. She opened the bathroom door and the air conditioning smacked her in the face which felt fantastic. Rollins was trying her hardest to be quiet so she wouldn’t wake Jesse and Billie because getting ready for work with two children running around wasn’t easy. That’s another thing she loved about Sonny—he was always there to help with the girls when she was busy. As she went into her bedroom, she flicked the light switch on and opened up her closet door. Running her fingers over the blouses and pants lining the closet, she chose a white blouse, black dress pants, and a black blazer to go over top.

After getting dressed, drying her hair, and putting on some light makeup she decided it was time to wake the girls up since Sienna would be here soon to babysit for the day. Amanda had to be at work in a little under 30 minutes so Sienna was bound to show up within the next 5. She crept into the girls’ room and turned on the light.

“Good morning, sweet peas…” Amanda spoke with a soft voice as she went over to Jesse’s bed.

She gently stroked Jesse’s messy hair from her face and gave her a smile when she opened her eyes. She leaned down and gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead.

“Hi there, pumpkin. Mommy has to go to work very soon so Sienna will be here in about 5 minutes, baby.”

“Okay, mommy.”

Amanda rose from Jesse’s bed and went over to Billie’s crib where the 1 year old was still sound asleep. Amanda’s heart melted as the little girl in front of her snoozed away.

“Wakey, wakey, angel…” Rollins gently picked Billie up which caused her to wake up.

The toddler looked at her mother in disgust for waking her up and pouted. Amanda chuckled at the little girl’s expression and stroked her blonde hair.

“What’s that look for, baby girl?” she questioned.

Billie whimpered and tapped her mom on the face. She was not a morning person and highly valued her sleep. She was unhappy that her mother had woken her up; it was like she stole her favorite blankie. Amanda gave her some gentle bounces then heard a knock on the door. She carried Billie to the front door and opened it. She expected to see Sienna there, but that wasn’t the only person. Sonny was standing there too.

“Look who I found on the way in.” Sienna said with a chuckle and came into the apartment.

Amanda felt extremely awkward as she made eye contact with the native New Yorker in her doorway. She cleared her throat and tried to find the right words to say. She really hasn’t spoken to him much since their fight in the squad room.

“Uh..h-hey..what are you doing here?” she asked as she passed Billie off to Sienna.

Carisi felt just as awkward as she did. He scoured his brain for a believable excuse.

“I was just passing through on my way to the courthouse and I figured I’d give you a lift to the precinct and we could get coffee on the way…” he said softly knowing that Amanda’s girls had just woken up.

Amanda wasn’t stupid enough to believe that, but she played along anyway.

“Oh, um, okay… let me just grab my stuff.” she said and moved to the side so Sonny could come in.

“Uncle Sonny!” Jesse bellowed as she saw the tall Italian man come into the apartment.

“Hey there, squirt!” he knelt down and opened his arms for a hug.

Jesse went running into his arms and gave him the biggest hug her little 4-year-old arms could produce. He hugged back with the same enthusiasm but made sure he didn’t squish her. He gave her a kiss on the side of the head and smiled at her.

“What are you doing here so early?” Jesse asked as usually Sonny would come over in the evenings, not in the mornings.

“Well, today I’m going to take your mommy to work.” He smiled at her again.

“Oh, okay!” she said then waddled off to the kitchen where Sienna was beginning to make the kids’ breakfast.

Amanda strolled across the room to get her purse and jacket. She knew this upcoming car ride would be tense and awkward and she was trying to mentally prepare herself for it. After she collected her things, she headed back to the kitchen to say bye to the girls.

“Mommy will be back later tonight, okay? You be good for Sienna.” she kissed Jesse and Billie on the head and smiled at them.

“I love you, girls. Call me if you need anything, Sienna.” She said.

“Ready?” Carisi asked as they approached the front door.

“Mhm.” she nodded and went out the door that Carisi opened for her like a gentleman.

They both walked down the hallway towards the elevator in awkward, deafening silence. As they waited for the elevator to reach Amanda’s floor, Sonny broke the silence which was both great and what Amanda was afraid of. She really wasn’t ready to have this conversation yet.

“So…last week…did you really mean all of that?” he asked awkwardly, afraid to know the real answer.

Amanda took in a deep breath and sighed. She hated being vulnerable around people, especially Sonny, even though he is the one person who allows her to be. She awkwardly scratched the back of her neck and looked down at her feet. Sonny assumed the worst of her silence and just looked at the elevator doors that were still closed as the elevator hadn’t reached them yet.

“Alright, then.” he said blatantly.

“Carisi…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to blow up on you like that. It was really uncalled for. I was just stressed, and I shouldn’t have taken it out on you…” she said when the elevator doors opened.

They both stepped on and Carisi pressed the button for the first floor. He looked over at Rollins who was staring up at the ceiling. She could feel his stare burning through the side of her face, so she looked over at him.

“You said I walked out on you.” he stated, a little hurt.

“I didn’t mean it like that, Carisi. Like I said, I was stressed. I didn’t mean any of it.”

“Well…does this mean you aren’t mad at me anymore?”

“I’m not mad at you, Sonny…” she looked down at her feet after she spoke with a sad voice.

“Hey…are you okay?” he asked as he put a hand on her arm.

Rollins felt butterflies as his hand made contact with her arm. She tried to shove them down and ignore them. He’s your best friend! You can’t have feelings for him! She yelled at herself inside her head, trying to deny the feeling she got any time Carisi touched her or was even around her. Over the past few days, she wonders if these feelings were the cause of her blow up in the precinct rather than out of work stress.

“Yeah..I-I’m fine…” she cleared her throat as the elevator doors open again on the ground floor.

The two of them walked to Carisi’s car where he already had coffee waiting for the two of them in his center console cup holders. Amanda was bewildered.

“I thought you said we would get this on the way?” she asked as she picked up her cup that had ‘Rollins’ written on the side.

Carisi smiled at he buckled his seat belt and started the car.

“Surpriiiissseee.” he said with a smirk.

Rollins smiled and playfully rolled her eyes. She could never stay mad at him forever even though sometimes he did things that made her wish she could. She took a sip of the coffee and she felt the weight of the world lifted off her shoulders. There was nothing that a cup of coffee couldn’t fix.

As Carisi drove her to the precinct, she couldn’t help but have so many thoughts running through her head. You can’t be with him. It’ll ruin your friendship. Don’t be so stupid. All of these thoughts circled in her brain as she watched him from the passenger side. She couldn’t help but look at his hands gripping the steering wheel and how she wished those hands could caress her face as they kissed for the first time.

“What?” Carisi noticed her staring at him.

“Huh? Oh…nothing.” she mumbled then took another sip of her coffee.

“You sure?”

There were those stupid butterflies again. She loved how he was always looking out for her even though it got on her nerves a lot of the time.
“Yeah, I’m good. Just tired.” she chuckled a little to play it off.

Carisi pulled up to the 16th precinct and unlocked the doors so she could get out. She looked over at him and her heart quickened a little. A thought of kissing him popped in her brain but she buried it.

“Thanks for the ride…and the coffee.”

“No problem, Amanda. I’m glad we cleared things up between us.” he smiled gently at her.

“Yeah…me too. Well, I better get inside before Benson kills me. I’ll see you later.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Alright. See ya.” he said as she opened up the door and got out.

Butterflies filled his tummy too.

“Bye…” she said lightly just before closing the door.

“Bye…” he said in return then she closed the door and walked off towards the precinct.

She smiled to herself as she walked in the building but quickly wiped it away when she stepped up to the opening elevator. There was Benson and Kat stepping off.

“Captain, what’s up?” she asked.

“The principal from Greenwich Village Elementary just called. She says a little girl disclosed to her about her teacher abusing her.” Benson said as she stepped off the elevator with Kat.

“Oh no…how old is she?” Amanda asked.

“5.” Kat said with sadness.

Amanda felt a sinking feeling in her chest. A 5-year-old girl being abused by her teacher, it’s absolutely disgusting. She couldn’t even imagine what would happen if that happened to one of her girls. The thought made her stomach twist into knots. She sighed as she followed Kat and Olivia out of the building. She knew that today was going to be a rougher day than she expected.