“Mom, what’s a DILF?” Noah asks inquisitively from the kitchen table.
Olivia is standing at the kitchen sink and their sauce-stained dinner plates slip through her hands from shock, clattering loudly against the metal. She’s grateful that her back is turned to him to allow herself a moment to recover. She takes a deep breath and furrows her eyebrows together.
“Umm can you spell it, honey?” Olivia stalls.
Maybe, just maybe, she can skate her way out of this one. Maybe it’s just a simple case of mispronunciation. What other normal, innocent word could a ten year old mistake for DILF? There’s got to be one.
“I don’t know how it’s spelled. Kayla told me that her mom said Elliot is a DILF after he came to pick me up from my dance lesson. So, what does that mean?” Noah implores.
Olivia was really wishing she’d had that second glass of wine right about now.
It’s not too late to pour it. She can rewash the glass later.
Last week, Olivia had been in a bind. She was stuck at work and Lucy was already away for the weekend at a wedding. Olivia was supposed to pick Noah up from dance like she usually does on Fridays but she found herself being summoned to McGrath’s office. With no idea how long she’d be held up there, she needed a backup plan. Of course, Elliot and his sixth sense called her as she was scrambling and offered his help. She had hesitated. This was new territory for them. On the outside, it might just seem like a small favor for a friend, but in reality, it was her trusting him with the most important thing in her life.
“C’mon, Liv. You’ve helped get three out of five of my kids out of jail. I think the least I can do is pick your kid up from dance class. But hey, if Noah ever does get arrested, I will happily bail him out. Like mother, like son,” he teased.
“Very funny, Elliot.”
“Please, let me do this for you,” he pleaded.
She’d thought about it for a moment. Noah had quickly taken to Elliot, not that she was surprised. Elliot’s ability to connect with kids had always been one of his most endearing qualities. And now it was her kid. How many times had she sat up at night wondering if he’d ever meet Noah. How many times in the first few weeks she had him, did Olivia ache to be able to talk to Elliot. To ask him for reassurance that she was doing everything right. She had yearned to hear his voice telling her she’d be a great mom. She’d cried herself to sleep at the idea that he’d never be part of this chapter in her life. That he’d never see her be a mom. Now, he was back. But, she didn’t want Noah to get too attached to him just for Elliot to disappear out of their lives again. She wouldn’t put his heart at risk for her convenience. A part of her didn’t want to admit that she was trying to protect her own heart just as much. She didn’t want to get comfortable relying on Elliot to be around because what if, one day, he wasn’t anymore.
“I can hear you thinking pretty loudly on the other end. I’m not going anywhere, Olivia,” his voice had echoed from the phone, calling her out.
“Fine. I’ll send you the address and time. But you’re going to have to walk in to sign him out and I’ll have to call and let them know you’ll be doing the pickup.”
“You got it, Captain. How about all three of us grab dinner afterwards?”
“Can’t. It’s pizza night.”
“Well, aren’t we in luck? Last time I checked, it’s New York City and there’s a pizza place on every corner,” he quipped.
“Why don’t you quit while you’re ahead, Detective,” she warned.
“So, if I get a sausage and pepperoni for myself are you going to pretend you don’t want it ‘cause it’s too greasy but end up stealing my slices anyways? Or do you not do that anymore? What’s Noah’s preference?” Elliot continued, ignoring her rejection.
Olivia was almost to McGrath’s office and she was already exhausted by the conversation.
“He’s a picky eater. He only eats plain,” Olivia conceded.
“Eli too. I’m not sure he’ll be around but I’ll have plenty for everyone. We’ll see you at my place whenever you get out. Okay?”
“Okay. And Elliot?”
“I’m still going to steal some your slices.”
The pickup had gone smoothly and she had met them back at Elliot’s place. Noah seemed to be unfazed by the disruption to their usual routine. When she’d walked in the door, he’d given her a quick “hi mom, goodbye mom” before running back to whatever video game Eli was showing him. It had been oddly domestic and Elliot had a smug look on his face the entire night. Olivia had been too tired to overanalyze what it all meant so she sat down, took one of Elliot’s slices, and just let herself enjoy the moment.
Until now. Now, she was fervently regretting letting Elliot, muscular, ripped, Adonis physique, Elliot Stabler walk into a ballet studio filled with gossip hungry moms. She could only imagine the whispers that had been occurring. Olivia was friendly with a few of the moms of Noah’s classmates. They made small talk at recitals here and there but Olivia didn’t get to linger around as much with her hectic schedule and they were familiar with Lucy who would often fill in for pickups. So, she’s sure Olivia had provided quite the entertainment sending Elliot in her place.
“Moooommmm, what does it mean?” Noah whined, his patience running out as Olivia scrambled for an explanation.
It wasn’t that Olivia wasn’t honest with Noah. She always tried to answer his questions as directly as possible and offer the age appropriate explanation for his inquiry. But, she wasn’t really in the mood to explain this particular acronym and what it was implying about Elliot.
Would it make her the worst mother in the world to feign ignorance, just this one time? Didn’t she get some credit for the fact that Noah didn’t know what the word meant? That had to count for something, right?
“Is that another word for boyfriend?” Noah offered.
“What makes you say that?”
“Well, is Elliot your boyfriend? You guys sorta act like it. He kinda looks at you funny and you guys hold hands when you think me and Eli aren’t looking. Plus, you get all smiley and giggly around him, Mom.”
Olivia felt her cheeks turn red with embarrassment. Her ten year old son was calling her out on her acting like a schoolgirl with a crush.
Okay, yep, that second glass of wine was calling her name.
“Elliot is not my boyfriend. We were best friends for a long time before he moved away and we still care about each other a lot. So, right now we’re figuring out how to be best friends again. But, he might be my boyfriend someday. How would you feel about that?”
“He’s really funny and I like hanging out with him. So, I think it’d be okay. But if you’re gonna kiss, which is totally gross by the way, you should really get better at hiding.”
“I will take that into consideration. If Elliot does become my boyfriend, I promise you’ll be the first to know because no matter what, it’s always team you and me? Okay? And, would you look at that. It’s time for you to get ready for bed, young man. So, why don’t you brush your teeth and I’ll get the Harry Potter book ready to go,” Olivia said, redirecting the conversation.
Noah seemed satisfied with Olivia’s response and hurried off to the bathroom. She was relieved she’d narrowly managed to escape an explanation on that one.
“Hey, Mom?” Noah called out from the hallway.
“You should really figure out what Kayla’s mom was saying about Elliot. Maybe she wants Elliot to be her boyfriend.”
Olivia chuckled and shook her head.
“I think I will talk to her.”
Yeah and remind her that little ears were always listening and repeating whatever they heard.
She went through Noah’s usual bedtime routine and finally settled herself into bed before pulling out her phone.
< Apparently you made quite the impression at Noah’s dance studio last week. >
She typed out to Elliot.
She watched as three little dots popped up almost immediately.
< Good or bad? >
< I guess that depends. How do you feel about being a DILF? >
< The real question is do you agree with them or not? >
< I’m pleading the 5th >
< Being evasive again, Captain >
< You should’ve seen me trying to dodge that explanation with Noah >
< LOL. What did you tell him? >
< He thought it meant you might be my boyfriend >
< If u ever let me take u out, then maybe he’d be right >
< Sadly, I think I’m stuck in the “friend zone” :( >
< Where did u even learn what that means? >
< I’m a hip DILF >
< Eli keeps me up with the lingo >
<Rn we’re still DTR >
< ??? >
< Defining the relationship. >
< I think I’ve had enough acronyms for one night >
< Eventually you’ll say yes >
< I guess we’ll just have to wait and see >
< Dinner. Saturday. 7pm. I’ll pick you up at ur door. Wear something nice >
< U always look nice but u know what I mean >
< Plz ? >
She hesitated. He’d asked numerous times before and she’d always been able to come up with an excuse to decline. But, now she seemed to be out of them. Noah was supposed to be at a birthday slumber party Saturday and it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to not spend her night on the couch watching Golden Girl reruns.
< Okay. But I wanna know where we’re going >
< Can’t reveal all my secrets yet >
< Goodnight, Liv >
< Goodnight, El >