Manhattan Diner - 9p
Amanda walked into the unusually quiet diner and upon spotting Liv, sitting alone in an empty booth, headed over to her.
She slowly sat down across from her and set her things down to the side.
“Thank you for meeting me.” Liv said to her as she poured some sugar into her coffee. “I know it’s late. Carisi with the girls?”
Amanda nodded. “Yeah.”
Liv picked up her spoon and stirred her cup. “After I sent you home I called IAB and before the other end even started to ring, I hung up.”
Amanda eyed her a bit curiously, slightly surprised by her admission.
The Captain set her spoon down and locked eyes with the blonde. Her eyes started to soften and so did her voice. “I do need to call them about all this. And I will. Tomorrow morning. But I wanted to sit down with you first and talk this through. Because what happened earlier wasn’t that. It was me reacting. In the heat of the moment. I did a lot of talking before. Now I’m ready to listen. Can you tell me how we got here? How you two got here?”
Amanda sighed and nodded.
“Carisi and I we…had a moment at the wedding. He read me a portion of the speech he wrote for it and though I know he aimed for it to be about Fin and Phoebe, it was about us. And it really hit me hard. How for years I’ve been ignoring the fact that I had something good standing right in front of my face. I think it had been partly because we were such good friends and I didn’t want to ruin that. And also because I always thought he could do much better than me. But in that moment none of those things mattered to me anymore. My heart was speaking louder than my brain and I…I kissed him. Then he kissed me back. And we realized there was no going back to the way things were before and neither of us wanted to.”
Liv nodded. “So it was serious from the start?”
“Yeah.” Amanda said as she sat up a little bit straighter in her seat. She fixed her mouth to continue but was interrupted by the waitress.
“Can I get you anything?” She asked her. “Coffee?”
Amanda gave her a small smile. “Yes. I’ll take a decaf. Thank you.”
The waitress nodded and headed off.
Amanda ran a hand through her hair and continued on. “Carisi immediately pointed out the implications of an undisclosed relationship and thought we should come out about it right away and I knew it was something we couldn’t and shouldn’t hide forever, but…it was so new and special and I really wanted to keep it between us for a little while before announcing it to the world and he agreed. We never thought it would drag on as long as it did.”
Just then the waitress came back with Amanda’s coffee.
“So why did it?” Liv asked.
Amanda poured some creamer into her cup. “I don’t know. Partly because, with us being so short staffed, it felt like there was always something more pressing going on and the timing of it all just never seemed right. I also wondered too if after disclosing, people might not want us working together and that if we wanted to keep the relationship going, one of us would need to transfer. So it made me at least not want to rush to disclose it. With all the changes that have been taking place recently, the last thing I wanted was to not be able to work with him by my side. But then…”
“You found out you were pregnant.”
Amanda nodded as she added some sugar into her coffee and stirred.
“Sonny and I talked. We knew we needed to disclose our relationship and the fact that we were doing it in conjunction with a pregnancy announcement wasn’t going to blow over well. Especially considering how pregnant I am.”
“How far along are you?
“8 weeks.” Amanda said, biting her lip. “But I swear I just confirmed it yesterday. My periods have always been wonky and we had been very careful. Or so I thought. It never crossed my mind I could be pregnant until I started feeling a little different. A bit off. Anyways, I told Sonny later that day and then we disclosed today.”
“How do you two feel about the baby?” Liv asked as she took another sip of her coffee.
“Another baby was definitely not something I saw for myself. Especially at my age and with already having Jesse and Billie. And though him and I hadn’t really talked about it, considering how new everything was and still is, I always got the impression he understood that and respected the season and time of our lives in which we were getting together. But then life threw us a curveball. And of course the timing in which this one happened isn’t great. I mean, us not disclosing and the ramifications of that decision was one the first things we discussed when I sat him down and told him I was pregnant. Still, we’re really, really happy and excited about the baby. If we could go back and handle how we went about moving forward with our relationship we would, but neither of us regret following our hearts and what’s come out of it.”
Liv nodded and remained quiet for a long while as she appeared to soak in and process everything Amanda told her before finally commenting.
“I am not surprised to hear that you two are together. It’s been obvious how Carisi has felt about you for a long time and while you’re not the type of girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, I always had the sense you felt the same way about him, just that you were a bit more hesitant to admit it to yourself. And I can understand the conundrum you were in regards to disclosing because, though it wasn’t nearly on the same level of seriousness as you and Carisi, I once found myself in a somewhat similar situation with—“
“Haden?” Amanda asked as she sipped some of her coffee.
Liv chuckled lightly and nodded. “Guess I wasn’t as discreet as I thought. Anyways, I understand, more than others, the worries you had and how unfair it can all feel that you might have to choose between pursuing your heart potentially at the expense of your career when most people in other professions aren’t faced with those same concerns. That being said, you and Carisi had to know you couldn’t stay in limbo forever.”
Amanda nodded. “I know.”
Liv tucked a loose strand of her brown hair behind her ear. “I know you think the timing of the baby was less than ideal, but I think this little one of yours is exactly what you needed and came at exactly the right time. Because he or she gave you and Carisi the swift kick in the behind you needed to come forward and own up to—“
“I suppose, but more importantly your relationship. Which if it’s truly as serious as you and I both know it to be, needed to be revealed. Because a secret relationship that can’t be shared isn’t really a relationship at all, is it?”
“You’re right, it’s not.” Amanda said agreeing. “And the girls and the baby deserve better than being wrapped up in something like that.”
Liv nodded. “They do. And so do you two.”
Amanda gave her a small smile, but then followed up with the one question that had been weighing most heavily on her mind. “So what happens next?”
Liv pressed her lips together and thought quietly to herself before finally responding. “Like I said, I do need to talk with IAB and honestly at this point, there’s a good chance they’re already aware of this situation and will be reaching out to me first thing in the morning. Either way, they’re going to sit down with you, gather facts, and likely make a short term decision on what to do until they hear the results of the DA’s investigation on Carisi’s side of things that Hadid told me about. Particularly in regards to how this effects any cases and if those two convictions in particular could be thrown out. I don’t have final say in regards to what will be decided for you, but as acting deputy chief my input and word is going to be taken into serious consideration and…while I do think you both deserve to face some consequences for your actions, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that you being fired or transferred isn’t one of them. And though I definitely don’t have as much pull on the DA end of things, I’m going to try my best to see that Carisi gets a fair shake and can come out of this similarly.”
“Really?” Amanda asked in disbelief, growing a bit teary eyed. “I’m not even sure I deserve you going out on a limb for me, especially considering the position I put you in as my supervisor.”
“I don’t want you to worry about that.” Liv tried to assure her. “And while this definitely wasn’t one of your greatest moves, I don’t think you need to pay the ultimate price for it. Besides, we are all worth more than the worst thing we’ve ever done and SVU is a much better place with Amanda Rollins in it as opposed to out of it.”
“Thanks, Liv.” Amanda whispered to her.
The Captain nodded and then reached for a menu that rested off to the side. “I’m sure you’ve probably eaten dinner considering how late it is but if you haven’t and you’d like to join me, please do. It’s on me.”
“I did have dinner, but honestly…I’m still hungry and could eat a second one.” Amanda admitted, blushing a bit.
Liv chuckled softly and then attempted to get the waitress’s attention so they could order.
The Next Day
Amanda’s Apartment - Wednesday Morning
“How’d it go with IAB?” Sonny asked as Amanda entered into the apartment and plopped down at the kitchen table.
“Suspended, with pay, pending ‘further review’ meaning—“
“They’re waitin’ to see where the DA’s investigation goes.” Sonny said as he handed her a glass of orange juice.
Amanda nodded. “That’s what I’m guessing.”
“At least they’re giving you pay.” Sonny said as he joined her at the table. “That’s a good thing.”
Amanda took a sip of her juice. “It is. But I got the impression they only gave it to me because Liv pushed for it. But I’m not complaining. I’ll take what I can get. I guess now it’s just wait and see. While I don’t like all the digging into our personal life, I’m not concerned because I know you were upfront with them about it all and they aren’t going to uncover anything bad. But I am kinda worried about the court cases.” She confessed to him.
Sonny ran a hand through his messy bed head. “Me too. I know we handled each of those, from investigation to the trial, by the book but the optics of it all still might overshadow that. And if they end up being appealed and the convictions get set aside…I’d feel terrible.”
Amanda sighed. “Same. But let’s just try to hope for the best.”
Just then, Amanda’s cell went off. Sonny sat quietly, not entirely able to gauge what it pertained to listening to only her side of the conversation.
“Everything alright?” He asked after she finished her call.
“Yeah.” Amanda said as she set her phone down on the table. “It was my doctor’s office. I had an appointment Friday to do my initial ultrasound, but they wanted to know if they could move it up. There was an opening this afternoon and, since it’s not like I got much else to do, I decided to take it. You coming with?” She asked, a bit nervously.
Sonny raised an eyebrow. “Did you really think I wouldn’t want to?” He asked her. “Even if I did have somethin’ going on today, I’d move around or cancel whatever it was to make sure I could be there with you. I don’t want to miss a thing. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
A big grin slowly spread across Amanda’s face as he reached across the table and took her hand into his.
“You ok?” Amanda asked, smirking slightly as the two made their way out of the doctor’s office and made the walk toward his car.
A very smiley Sonny nodded his head slowly.
“It was a pretty neat experience, right?”
“It was incredible.” Sonny said as he reflected back. “Seeing our baby on the screen…being able to hear the heartbeat. It all feels so much more real now. And put some things in perspective for me.”
Amanda stopped walking and looked up at him. “Yeah? How so?”
“That no matter what ends up happening with us job wise, none of it’s as important as this.” He said as he gently placed his hand on her stomach. “And that you, me, Jesse, Billie and the baby are going to be just fine. Wherever we end up.”
Amanda nodded confidently. “We will be.”
The two began walking together again.
“So what are you hoping it is?” Amanda asked curiously. “Boy or girl.”
Sonny shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. As long as it’s healthy.”
“Yes that’s definitely the most important thing, but if you could choose, is there one way your leaning a bit more?”
Sonny sighed and gave her a small smile. “Ok, ok. I guess if I could choose, I’d like it to be a girl.”
“Really?” Amanda asked, sounding surprised.
Sonny nodded. “I really enjoy my time with Jesse and Billie and partaking in all the activities they love. From the tea parties to the nail paintin.’ I feel like I’m startin’ to get the girl dad thing down and would like to keep it goin.”
“You’re the best girl dad.” Amanda said grinning up at him.
He smiled back and the two continued on their way.
“Can’t believe the baby’s due on Memorial Day.” Sonny laughed out as they crossed the street.
Amanda chuckled lightly. “I know. It’s kind of kismet in a way.”
“It is.” Sonny said agreeing. “It is.”
Four Weeks Later
Precinct - Early Friday Morning
“I wonder if them calling us in together is a good or a bad thing.” Sonny asked as the elevator doors opened up into the nearly empty squad room.
“I guess we’re about to find out.” Amanda said as the duo made their way toward Liv’s office, where both her and Hadid were waiting for them.
Liv motioned for them to sit.
Hadid started the conversation. “So while the personal side of things, like the investigation into the timeline of your relationship, checked out fairly quickly, the main reason the other half of the investigation has been dragging as long as it has is because of the court cases, especially those last two in which Detective Rollins testified in and seeing whether or not those convictions had a chance of being upheld or not.”
“Do you think they will be?” An unsure sounding Sonny asked. “Or does it look like they’ll be overturned?”
Liv followed up with more information. “Johnson has been diagnosed with stage four 4 lung cancer. He was granted a compassionate release and is in hospice care. This would be happening regardless of the situation at hand. And Brooklyn’s cold case squad just linked Pearson to a 2005 murder in Crown Heights. He confessed to it during an interrogation. So while he could technically pursue a reversal of his rape conviction, he’s still going away even longer for the murder.”
“You two got lucky with how those cases ended up.” Hadid added. She then turned her attention to Sonny. “Because of the outcomes, and the fact that despite the optics of the situation, you handled them all as they should have been handled, this pretty much ends here. You are going to be censured, but your suspension is over after today. I expect you back at work Monday morning.”
Sonny nodded slowly, but then asked. “So I’m not being transferred?”
“Am I?” Amanda asked looking at Liv.
The Captain shook her head. “No. You aren’t being transferred, fired or demoted. You’ll be returning to work here on Monday as well. On desk duty. It’s technically a continuation of your punishment, but I would’ve been putting you on the desk anyways for obvious reasons.”
Amanda remained quiet, but nodded.
“How is this going to work moving forward?” Sonny asked, a little confused. “Especially if I can’t prosecute a case she takes the lead on?”
“We’re going to start making better use of Corporation Counsel, which hasn’t been done with much regularity since the Pippa Cox days.” Hadid said to him. “So an ACC will be brought in more to assist not only with SVU’s juvenile cases but also be available to prosecute ones in which a plea deal can’t be reached and Detective Rollins served as an integral part of the investigation and would need to be put on the stand to testify.”
Sonny took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Ok.”
“I hope this was a lesson learned.” Hadid said sternly to the couple as she stand up. “I need to get back to the office.” She then excused herself and exited the room.
“I can’t believe this is all finally over.” Amanda said aloud, still in a bit of disbelief.
“Yeah well not entirely. Her tone and demeanor made it very clear that we still got some work to do in regards to building our professional reputations back.” Sonny said in reference to Hadid.
Liv nodded. “You do with some. But you’ll get there. And remember, the comeback is always greater than the setback.”
The two both looked at each other and then gave the Captain a small smile.
Liv put her glasses on and began ruffling through some files on her desk. “Ok I’ve got a ton of work to catch up and you both are still technically suspended. So head on out and I’ll see you next week.”
The duo nodded and headed out of the office, where they noticed Fin and Velasco sitting at their desks.
“We just saw Hadid fly out of here on her broomstick.” Fin said to the couple, rolling his eyes. “So what’s going on? Y’all back?”
Sonny nodded. “Yes. We both start on Monday. Punishments are over. Well, except for me. I’m bein’ censured. But I’ll take an official public reprimand over a suspension of my license or a disbarment.”
Fin took a bite of his jelly donut. “I’m glad it’s all done with and that you’ll both be back. It hasn’t been the same around here. Not to mention both of your temporary replacements were of little to no help to us these past few weeks.”
“Especially that ACC they saddled us with.” Velasco said rolling her eyes.
Sonny chuckled. “Well I’m not sure which one they brought in to cover for me, but get used to someone comin’ in from that office to assist every now and then.”
“To cover some of the cases involving kids and I’m guessing others where you’re heavily involved?” Fin asked Amanda.
The blonde ran a hand through her hair. “Yeah.”
Sonny checked his watch and then turned his attention to Amanda. “We should get going.” She nodded her head agreeing.
“We’ll catch you later.” Amanda said to her two colleagues as she and Sonny started to make their way out.
“Wait.” Fin yelled out.
The couple turned around.
“I almost forgot to tell you congratulations.” The sergeant grinned. “Still can’t believe we didn’t even know you two were a thing and now you’re about to have a baby together. But it’s cool. I’m happy for you two.”
“Same.” Velasco added. “Congrats.”
The couple exchanged small glances with one another before turning their attention back to Fin and Velasco.
“Thanks, guys.” Amanda said smiling.
The two once again headed out and as they did Velasco shouted out to Amanda, “There’s donuts in the break room. Have some. The Boston creams are pretty good. I know you’re all about Staten Island these days, but you should branch out a little.”
Amanda playfully rolled her eyes and shot him a look while Fin, Velasco and Sonny chuckled. Her and Sonny then continued on out of the squad room.
“We dodged a bullet in there today.” Amanda said to him, still a little surprised with how events unfolded, as the two made their way out of the precinct toward his car.
“We did.” Sonny agreed. “I’m glad we can start to put this behind us and move forward.”
He paused for a moment and then, after looking down and noticing their hands absentmindedly intertwined, commented. “It’s funny, a few weeks ago before we disclosed, we never would’ve been walkin’ together like this, hand in hand, out in public. Especially this close to the precinct. And I never woulda done this…”
Sonny stopped walking, caressed her cheek with his free hand and kissed her.
“It’s nice to be able to be open like this.” Amanda said to him when they finally pulled their lips apart.
“That it is.” He echoed back to her.
The two then continued on their way together.
“So how should we spend our last day of suspension?” Amanda asked him.
Sonny pondered for a moment before saying, “Well my lease is up next month and I know yours is up in January. I think it’d be a good time to start lookin’ at some three bedroom apartments. See what’s out there and start plannin’ for the future.”
Amanda smiled up at him. “I like the sound of that.”
Sonny’s Office - Monday Morning
“We should be in good shape.” Sonny said to Liv, who sat across from him, as he fingered through the files in front of him. “How’s Morgan?”
“A little nervous.” Liv admitted. “But she’s determined to get up on that stand and have her voice heard. I think it’ll go well today.”
Sonny nodded. “Me too. I—“
His words were interrupted by a soft knock on the door. Him and Liv both looked over and saw Amanda, with the baby, emerge.
Sonny stood up and walked over to them. “Well this is a nice surprise.” He said as he gave Amanda a quick kiss on the lips and kissed his little blue eyed baby girl on her cheek. “What are you two doing here?”
Amanda handed him a notebook. “Sammie noticed you forgot your notebook by the front door and she insisted that we bring it to you. She knew you needed it for your big trial today.”
Sonny quickly set the notebook down at his desk and then headed back over to Amanda and scooped the baby up into his arms.
“Thank you for coming out and bringing it.” He said to her. “I really did need it.”
Amanda smiled softly and nodded.
At that point Liv stood up and headed over to them. She grinned at Sammie, who stared at her quietly, comfortably nuzzled up in her father’s arms.
“She’s just the cutest.” The Captain said to the couple. “I still can’t believe she’s a redhead.” She said commenting on Sammie’s pretty light red hair. “Who’d she’d get that from?”
Amanda pointed to Sonny and Liv raised her eyebrows in surprise.
Sonny nodded. “My grandmother had the same red hair.”
Liv chuckled. “So I’m guessing you’re not as Italian as you pretend to be?”
He playfully rolled his eyes. “I never claimed to be 100% Italian. Clearly I have some other things floatin’ around in my DNA.”
Amanda checked her watch. “We should get going. I know you and Liv are doing some final prep and I don’t want to keep you from it.”
Sonny nodded and handed Sammie back to Amanda. “I’ll walk you two out.”
The two had only made it a few feet when Sammie randomly spit up all over her shoulder and arm.
“Ugh.” Amanda said looking down at herself.
He ushered them into the near by break room. “There should be some paper towels and stuff in here.”
As the trio entered the fairly busy break room, Amanda stood close to the door with the baby while Sonny quickly gathered up a few paper towels. He gave a couple to Amanda to wipe herself up with and then took one himself and cleaned up Sammie’s face.
Just then, a small group of young and middle aged female attorneys, who had been standing by the water cooler chatting, noticed them from afar and made their way over to them.
“Dominick, is this Samantha?!” A young brunette woman asked as she grinned down at the baby. “What a cutie!”
Sonny nodded and smiled softly.
“She’s adorable.” An older blonde said to Amanda.
“Her hair is beautiful.” Another attorney commented. “And so are those blue eyes.”
“Thank you.” Sonny, blushing a bit, said to them.
“We know you have a trial starting later this morning so we won’t keep you.” The young brunette said to him. “Good luck.”
Sonny smiled softly, nodded and then watched as the small group then dispersed and headed off in separate directions. Sonny and Amanda then exited the break room themselves and started off down the hallway.
“Well it looks like Sammie IS water cooler talk. But the best kind.” Sonny said chuckling.
“That she is.” Amanda laughed out.
“You ready to start back next week?”
Amanda sighed as she cradled the baby close to her. “Kinda. It’ll be nice to be back out there. Especially after being stuck on the desk for so long. But I’m not looking forward to leaving Sammie.”
“I know but she’ll be in good hands.” Sonny said to her as he stared at the engagement ring he had recently placed on her left hand a few weeks prior. “None as pretty as yours, but good ones.”
She smiled up at him as he wrapped his arm around her and the trio continued along their way.