“This book...ugh. I know we talked about this already but, the poor kid.” Amanda said, sympathy slipping into her voice as she took a bite of her chicken salad. She savored the bite and shot a look over to her missing partner’s desk. Carisi had showed up this morning with two tupperware containers full of his mother’s recipe and set one in front of her before sitting down. He’d been gone most of the day, digging through the old Edelmen house.
“I know. Its-” Benson was cut off by a staticky voice.
“SVU Portable to dispatch, we need a bus. 413 West 150th St. Possible Officer down.” The voice came over the walkie Amanda kept on her desk. She whipped her head in the direction of the muffled radio, but she’d been on the job long enough to recognize Montero’s voice.
“413 West 150th? Isn’t that our house?” Rollins asked. Benson and Fin furrowed their brows at the scanner, confirming her suspicion.
“What’s going on?” Fin asked, “who's out there?” He shot a look toward Carisi’s empty desk, the coffee mug from this morning still next to his keyboard.
“Carisi and a few others. It's a big house.”
Suddenly, the static started again and Montero’s voice came over the scanner again. “SVU Portable, actually, cancel EMS.”
Curious, Benson moved and grabbed the scanner, switching to a channel that only SVU operations had access to.
“Montero? Carisi? Everything alright?” She asked, clicking off the device.
It was a moment before a voice came back over; a cloud of brief tension hung around the desks. Rollins bit her lip, slightly worried for her partner. She trusted him; Carisi was one of the best cops she knew. But she didn’t like the idea of him potentially being hurt, in any capacity, whether a bus was needed or not.
“It’s Montero. Yep, all good. Looks like there are...boobie traps in this house. Your detective tripped one of them.”
Fin huffed a laugh and rolled his eyes at Montero’s answer.
“Is he okay?” Amanda asked, eyes going wide. She immediately was hit with a wave of anxiety, cursing the fact that she was all but chained to the desk at the station.
“Well, they canceled the bus.”
“Still. You met those brothers. Who knows what they’re hiding in that mansion of theirs.”
“Is he ok?” Benson asked into the walkie, putting an end to Rollins’ worry.
The walkie screeched with static, the voice on the other end fuzzy. They couldn’t make out what he was saying.
“Signal probably sucks in the crypts of that house,” Fin said, sighing. He moved back over to his desk, no longer worried about Carisi. He could handle a few bruises.
Benson put the radio down as Rollins bit her lip. She realized she would probably have to wait to realize he was okay.
Suddenly, a clear voice came over the speaker.
“Lt. Benson, Sgt. Tutuola, you’re gonna wanna get down here.” Montero’s voice was clear this time. He must have moved to a part of the house that was on the main floor or outside. The squad barely had time to react to his request before a more familiar voice came over the walkie on Fin’s desk, still set to the Dispatch frequency.
“SVU Portable, this is Detective Carisi.” Carisi’s voice was gruff, like he was nearly out of breath. “10-54 at 413 West 150th. We got a body.”
“Dead body?” Rollins asked, confused, “In the house?”
“Montero’s right. We better get down there.”
“Hopefully this is it,” Benson frowned. “Hopefully we’ve found Bobbie O’Rourke.”
Amanda perked up in her chair, completely ignoring her swollen midsection. “Liv?”
“No way.” Benson barked, rolling her eyes.
“But...if Carisi’s hurt...we could use an extra set of hands.” Rollins bargained. She very much doubted her partner was incapable of doing anything, he was one to get up and brush off an injury when it happened. But, if it meant seeing a crime scene, she was willing to throw him under the wheels of Benson’s steamrolling effort to keep Amanda on desk duty.
“Nice try. He’s well enough to find a dead body. No way Amanda. Stay here, we’ll call you with an update.” Benson laughed, rolling her eyes at her detective’s attempt. She reached for her coat as her Sergeant stood up from his desk. “Let’s go Fin.”
“Montero-” Benson called as they arrived, slipping through the gathering crowd of people. Since Carisi called in the 10-54, numerous emergency service vehicles were parked around the street, lights flashing and attracting the attention of bystanders.
“Inside, all the way in the basement. Watch your feet,” He warned as he finished talking to another uniformed officer.
“Watch our feet?”
“Boobie traps. They clearly didn’t want us finding something.”
They entered the residence, and stuck true to Montero’s warning, watching their feet as they moved through the ginormous house. The space became more packed as they entered through a dark hallway with numerous mementos and books scattered along the floor. Boxes were shoved aside as someone went through there in a hurry.
“Carisi?” Benson called when she saw her tall detective talking to a member of CSU, who scrawled down words onto a notepad. His suit was dusty, his sleeves rolled up and Benson couldn’t tell if it was a mistake from the light in the room or if there were angry purple bruises forming on his forearms. He turned when he heard his name. Pieces of his typically gelled back hair fell lightly into his face, covering a small white butterfly bandage on the corner of his forehead.
“You found the kid? Bobby O’Rourke?” Fin asked, looking past him to see what exactly CSU was photographing.
“No,” Carisi said, following Fin’s gaze, “Old woman, probably late 70s, early 80s. In the freezer.”
“An old woman...in the freezer. What...what exactly are we dealing with?” Liv asked, aloud.
“The woman is completely frozen. They’re gonna have to thaw her out before we know anything. We’re thinking...it's the mother.”
“How did you know to look in the freezer?” Fin asked, finally taking notice of Carisi’s obvious disgruntled appearance.
“We split up to search. These guys...they boobie trapped the house. Who knows what else is here.”
“You tripped one?” Liv asked.
“Montero told us over the radio.” Fin explained.
Carisi frowned, knowing for certain they had no doubt shared a laugh at his expense, “It was a tripwire; knocked a bookshelf over on top of me. I’m fine. We moved it and dug through some more stuff and found the freezer with a big padlock. Busted it open and…” He shrugged, looking back at the group of officers around the freezer.
“Jeez. You sure?” Benson asked, nodding her chin at his head.
“Yeah, yeah. EMS already cleaned me up.” Carisi said, brushing it off and moving onto more important things. “The real question is if we found their mother...what the hell did these guys do to the kid?”
“Heard you learned to Galumph.” Amanda said, waddling her way into the breakroom where Carisi sat at the table, eating what looked like a container of the chicken salad he’d brought her earlier that morning for lunch. The same container she saw him put in the fridge that she may or may not have been going after until she realized he was back.
“Galumph? That’s a big word, Rollins.” Carisi teased, smiling at her as he put his fork down. She stared at the bandage on his forehead and noticed the tightness in his arms as he shifted his position forward.
She pulled her phone out of her pocket, quickly typing something and reading it mockingly.
“To move in a clumsy, ponderous, or noisy manner.”
“What? Did ya’ google that?” He asked, rolling his eyes at her jokes.
“Nope, read it in a book.” Rollins retorted as she dug through a drawer for a spoon.
“Clever. Fin tell you that one?” Carisi said, finally chuckling.
“Maybe. I thought it was better than asking you how your trip was.” Amanda pulled out the other chair, sitting across from him. She noticed the bruises on his arms.
“How you’ feeling?” Carisi asked.
“You’re asking me?” Rollins asked as she attempted to slyly steal a spoonful of his chicken salad. He shot her a look but didn’t smack her hand away. “A bookshelf pummeled you and then you found a body in the freezer and you ask me how I'm feeling. I think if anyone’s having a bad day-”
“It's Rose Edelmen.” Carisi finished, cutting her off as his phone lit up with a text, “CSU’s got her warm enough for a positive ID. Guess lunch is over.”
He got up and reached down to grab the lid, to take the container from the table and store it in the fridge for later. Amanda reached her spoon over for one more bite when Carisi sighed and dropped the Tupperware lid.
“What can I say? You were right about your mother’s chicken salad.” Rollins answered, pulling the Tupperware closer to her.
“Glad one of us gets to enjoy it. I thought it was a tripwire, not a guilt trip.” He quipped.
“It’s the puppy dog eyes. Carisi?” She called as he headed for the door.
“I’ve got some Ibuprofen in my desk. First drawer. Might wanna take some of that before you feel those.” She gestured toward his arms.
“Thanks, but that doesn’t make us even.” He turned back to his partner and smiled. “Next time we go down to Jimmy’s Deli, you’re buying.”