The knock comes unexpectedly, yet not unwelcome by any means.
A smile graces her lips as she checks the peephole and sees Maureen Stabler, standing nervously at her door, clutching her purse and staring at her feet.
“Hey, Maureen, how are you?” She greets, unlocking and opening the apartment door.
And then her smile turns to a frown when she hears the crack in Maureen’s voice, the way Maureen stares back at her with a worried look in her eyes and she knows the younger woman is fighting back tears, and it only brings worry into the pit of her stomach.
“Maureen, Sweetie is everything okay?” She asks, ushering her inside.
“No. Yes. I don’t know?” She hears the indifferent answers. “I’m sorry to bother you, it’s nothing, Olivia—” She says, about to turn around and walk back out the door.
“Maureen, don’t leave.” She stops her, and sighs in relief when Maureen doesn’t move.
It’s quiet for a long moment, but Maureen finally turns around and faces her, no longer trying to leave.
“What’s wrong?” She pries, wracking her brain of what it could be.
Elliot was doing as could as could be at the moment.
Eli was staying out of trouble.
Bernie was, well, Bernie.
Kathleen had been fine and been updating her on everyone’s statuses.
“I know Katie and Dad and everyone come to you when they have problems, and I didn’t know who to talk to about this. You’re just–” she hesitates, taking a breath, “you’re always there for us. I know I shouldn’t bother you, with this, but I just–I need my–I need a—”
Olivia can barely make out what she’s even trying to say towards the end, but as she thinks it through, it hits her.
Maureen needs Kathy.
Needs a mom.
And she’d come to her, because she was—
“—and you’re the next best thing. I’m–I should—”
“Maureen.” She says, pointedly, motherly, and it quiets Maureen for a moment.
She watches as Maureen stares down at her feet again, holding her purse against her body before she pulls it away from herself and digging inside it for a moment.
She removes her hand from it and holds the box out between the two of them and Olivia looks at it intently, trying to get a read on Maureen’s feelings about it.
“Where’s Carl? Is everything okay between the two of you?” She asks tentatively, testing the waters while still being aware of everything.
She knows if this was an abusive situation, there'd probably visible evidence on Maureen’s body if something was really wrong.
“Everything is okay,” Maureen’s quick to reassure. “Carl’s just on an actual business trip. They’re canvassing a new area for the build so he had to accompany them. And Dad’s watching the boys right now. I just,” she lets out a long sigh, “the timing of this makes it seem weird because he’s not here and I needed—”
Liv just nods her head, knowing.
Her mom. She needed her mom, but Kathy wasn’t there.
“You can always come to me, day or night if you need me, Maureen.” Olivia says, placing her hands atop Maureen’s, giving them a light squeeze.
Maureen smiles in appreciation, taking a deep breath.
“I’m just terrified. The boys... they were our rainbow babies through IVF and spent weeks in the NICU. I never went on birth control after just because of how hard it was to even conceive with them. We just let whatever happens, happen. And nothing did.” She pauses and takes a ragged deep breath. “Except I’m late now, and I thought I had the flu but it’s been longer than that. And I just want my mom. She was here for this all before and I don’t think I can do this without her.” Maureen had given up on trying to wipe the tears away in an effort to stop them from falling, and they’d freely been rolling down her cheeks as she shared her story.
“I’m sorry I’m such a sobbing mess.”
Olivia’s heart broke at how she was trying to apologize for this. “Maureen, sweetie, please don’t apologize. This is understandably a lot, but I will be right here with you, as much as you need me, okay?”
Maureen nods, and Olivia reaches up, wiping a tear from her face.
“Let’s take this one step at a time, okay? Let’s find out whether or not there’s actually a baby to worry about just yet. Can you do that?” Olivia asks, and Maureen nods again.
She points her towards her hallway bathroom, giving Maureen some privacy and heading back to her living room to wait, absentmindedly looking at her phone, replying to a text from Lucy saying she and Noah should be home shortly and orders pizza, enough for all of them, from an app on her phone while she still waits.
Maureen steps out of her bathroom with her phone in one hand and the test in the other.
“One minute left.” She says, holding up her phone and showing Liv the timer ticking down to seconds.
“My sitter is on the way home with Noah, and I ordered pizza—”
“I should get going then—” she interrupts, trying to not be a burden.
“Maureen, I ordered enough for all of us. Please stay.” She insists.
Maureen’s phone chimes, startling them both and Olivia reaches for her bicep, rubbing it softly, reassuring her that everything would be okay as she watches Maureen turn over the test.
She can’t gauge what the results are, as another round of tears grace Maureen, but the soft squeak of I’m pregnant clarifies Olivia’s suspicions and she smiles brightly.
“Congratulations.” She whispers, and pulls Maureen into her arms.
She feels Maureen tuck her face into her shoulder as she cries a little harder and Olivia rubs her hand up and down Maureen’s back.
“You know she would give anything to be here with you, right now.” Olivia whispers to her.
Maureen sighs into the embrace. “I know. I just didn’t expect to be doing this again, without her. I don’t know if I can do this without her.”
“If you are anything like both your parents, and I know you are, you’re so strong and you can do this. You know she’s watching over you and this new baby. No matter how scary it might be to do this without her, she’s always going to be with you in your heart.”
Olivia just feels Maureen nodding against her shoulder.
“Will you–” She pauses, thinking over her words. “Never mind.” She brushes off, but Olivia pulls back from the hug and looks at her.
“What, Sweetie?” Olivia takes one look at her before reading her just as easy as she could read her father.
Maureen looks down as Olivia still holds her arms, avoiding asking too much of the woman who’s seemingly always put their family first.
“Olivia, it’s too much. No.” She tries to deny.
Olivia just shakes her head in disagreement and squeezes Maureen’s arm gently.
“I will be here as much as you need and let me be here, okay? No questions asked. Promise me, promise me you’ll call or text me if you need me or even if you just need to chat, okay?”
This time it’s Maureen, pulling her into a hug and holding onto her tight.
“Your family is going to be so excited for you, your dad, god he’s going to be a grandpa again. I can't wait to tease him about this. He’ll be over the moon for you. It’s exactly what you all need. Some happiness, rainbow after the storm, right?” Liv teases a smile, thinking about how great her old partner was with kids.
She smiles to herself, excited that this time she’ll get to hopefully be around to see Elliot be a grandfather to his upcoming grandchild.
The front door suddenly opens, startling them both as Lucy and Noah walk in. Maureen does her best trying to rid her face of the evidence that she’d just been crying and Olivia takes to introducing her to Lucy before she leaves, and greeting Noah, letting him know that Maureen would be staying for dinner.
“You’re Seamus and Kieran’s mom, right? Right Mom? Elliot had a lot of kids, it’s hard to remember who’s who.” He says and Maureen laughs, nodding her head.
“Yes,” she confirms. “They’re mine. We’ll have to have you over for a play date if you’d like. The boys haven’t stopped talking about you since Christmas. They got a new Lego set they said they want you to help them build.” She offers, looking expectantly at both mother and son.
“That sounds fun. Can we, Mom?” He looks to her with a hopeful smile and Olivia rests her hand atop his curls.
“Definitely.” She replies, smiling back.
“Is everything okay?” Noah asks curiously.
Olivia goes to reassure him, but Maureen beats her to the punch.
“I needed a mom, so I borrowed yours for a moment, I hope you don’t mind.”
Noah looks at his mom with a smile and then back at Maureen. “She’s the best mom. Anytime you need her I’m happy to let you borrow her.” He extends.
Maureen wraps the young boy in a side hug, “Thanks, Kid.”
Olivia then ushers Noah off to his room to put his backpack away and wash up before dinner, giving her and Maureen the room to continue talking until the pizza arrives.
“I’m sorry I didn’t reach out when—”
“Maureen, water under the bridge. You’re here now. I’m here now. We can’t change the past.” She says softly, not wanting to dredge up the past. “And you heard my son, anytime you need to borrow me, I’m here now.”
Maureen smiles back. “Thank you.”
Olivia doesn’t realize the extent of the olive branch she’s extended to Maureen until she gets a text a few days later from her, telling her that she’d finally told her husband about the baby.
Liv sends her back a few emojis, including a thumbs up, a bright white heart, and the baby face as she sees the reply bubbles pop up, indicating Maureen was typing a response already.
>>First appt is next week
>>I’m sad mom can’t be here for this, but I’m glad I finally told Carl and that you’ve been here
>>so thank you, again
You’re more than welcome Sweetie<<
She can’t help but feel absolutely excited for the younger woman, someone who she’s known for over half of her life, blossoming into such a wonderful wife and mother, and getting to be apart of this, Olivia’s so happy to be there for her in whatever aspect Maureen allows her to be.
She’s in the middle of having lunch with her squad as they review a case Carisi’s brought over when there’s a text and a video attached to it and she sets down her file, unlocking her phone and reading the message with a smile.
Underneath the video she’s declining to play is the caption of baby’s strong heartbeat and then a second message just underneath clarification: just one baby! And it makes her crack a smile.
“What’s got you grinnin’ like the Cheshire Cat, Cap?” Amanda asks her, clocking the bright smile across her usually stoic captain’s face.
Liv bites her bottom lip, unsure of what to say next because this isn’t her place, nor her family, but the squad was her family. She takes a deep breath before starting.
“It’s really early, no one except her husband and I know, but Elliot’s eldest daughter is pregnant again. She was just texting me after her first appointment.” She says softly, deciding to click on the video Maureen had sent her and turned the volume all the way up.
There’s a few voices over the video and then a hush draws over and the echo of the rapid little fluttering heartbeat fills the speakers before a sniffle passes through and Olivia can only assume Maureen was crying at the sound of her baby’s heartbeat echoing through the doppler.
Fin, Velasco and Carisi all have small, polite smiles across their faces and Amanda’s eyes soften, a hand over her mouth in awe.
“God, I feel like it was yesterday I was just hearin’ Jess and Billie’s heartbeats through a monitor like that. Send her our congratulations when she tells everyone.” Amanda says sincerely and Liv nods.
“I definitely will.” She confirms.
Olivia tends to forget about the baby and Maureen even being pregnant due to the fact they’re still short staffed and overworked. She’d been pulling longer days at the office and working late into the evening, trying to get things squared away when she hears the familiar voice of Maureen Stabler from outside her office door.
“–you aren’t really allowed to bring up food without an appointment, especially to the captain if she isn’t expecting you, Miss.”
She can almost feel the Stabler Stubbornness from across the pen as she hears Maureen reply to one of the uniforms taking intake at the front.
“Officer, I can guarantee I’ve known Captain Benson longer than you have, and she’s family. I know I haven’t made an appointment with her, but I didn’t realize rules have changed so much—”
Olivia decides the uni has dealt with enough, and so has a pregnant Maureen and she takes pity on them both by showing her face and greeting Maureen.
“Officer Thomas, you can put in a note that any of the Stablers don’t ever need appointments to come see me. Their father and I were partners for a lot of years, I’ve known these kids for decades. Maureen, hi sweetie. We can go to my office now, I’m sorry about that, protocol.” She greets with the excuse and Maureen waves it off in understanding.
Maureen lifts the bag she’s carrying in her hand and smiles. “I went to pick up dad’s order from the deli across the street and they asked if I wanted to try the other half of the order, the Benson half, so I got that for you, figured you were the Benson it had been named after.” Maureen smirks and Olivia blushes.
She smiles thinking about the deli, and how often her and Elliot used to eat their sandwiches in squad cars or in the precinct or sometimes just at her apartment after long days.
“Yeah, that would be me. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had this. I’m surprised they still keep it on the menu.”
“Guy at the front said it’s pretty popular with the tourists, they think it’s famous because it’s a different name from the rest of them.” She shrugs, helping Liv take out the boxes from the bag.
“Not that I mind the company, but what brings you by?” Liv questions, picking up her sandwich and taking a bite, reminiscing on the past as she takes a bite.
Maureen looks down at her food, picking up one of her fries and poking it around. “Today marks the second trimester.”
Olivia breaks out into a big smile and puts her sandwich down, wiping her hands and reaching for Maureen’s.
“Oh, Honey, congratulations. I know there’s still a long road ahead, but you’ve made it this far. I’m so happy for you.”
Maureen’s eyes start to water and she sighs in annoyance. “Ugh! I told myself I wasn’t going to cry.” She says and the two of them both laugh before she tries again. “I want to tell Dad, and the rest of them. I just wanted you and Noah to be there too. So I came to invite you. I was thinking of having it at Dads. I’m going to dress the boys in shirts that say big brother on them and see if he notices. I just, you said this is such a good thing after such a long, hard year and you’re right. I’m still working through it, and I get really sad sometimes that my mom’s not here with me to experience it, but right now, for just this moment, I am okay. I am happy and excited and it’s outweighing the fear and sadness.” She rambles out with a watery smile.
Olivia sighs contently, giving Maureen’s hand a gentle squeeze. “Then be, in just this moment.” She says softly. “That’s all that matters right now. Just this moment. Your dad is going to be so happy for you guys. Just tell me when and where. Noah and I will be there.” She promises.
Maureen thanks her, silently, as they continue picking at their food, catching up a little before Maureen excuses herself to go pick the boys up from school, extending an offer for a play date of having Noah come over soon if he’d like and Olivia appreciates the gesture, promising to talk to her son and figure out a date for them all.
She stands at Elliot’s door a few days later, holding Noah’s hand in hers, much like months prior for the Christmas party they’d attended here together.
Elliot answers the door with a puzzled look on his face, seeing the mother-son duo standing at his door, eagerly awaiting to be greeted.
“You gonna let us in, El?” She teases, and he scratches his chin, quickly sidestepping with an apology.
“Sorry, Liv, I didn’t realize you were coming.” He says and Maureen greets her with a smile, walking over to hug her and greet Noah.
“I invited them, Dad.” She says before Olivia continues to receive greetings from the rest of the Stabler family and Noah’s off to join the twins and Eli in a Mario Kart battle on the switch.
They have a nice, sit down meal together as the rest of the family remains quite clueless.
Maureen had invited everyone under the guise of a family dinner in honor of the anniversary of Mom’s death.
It was just a few days past the official one year date, and without knowing why she was here, Olivia would have felt wholly out of place.
But just as she takes note that the twins and Carl had disappeared off a few minutes earlier and she and Maureen strategically tried to keep conversations flowing with everyone else who wasn’t engrossed in a video game battle, the three return and Maureen catches her eye with a smile.
There’s a loud squeal, and Kathleen is hauling one of the twins in her arms, clumsily upside down and making him laugh as she carries her nephew over to his mother with an excited and shocked look on her face.
“Mo! Are you pregnant?!” She squeals and Maureen breaks into a smile as Elliot’s head whips around so fast, finding his eldest daughter’s eyes.
Maureen nods in confirmation as her husband stands next to her, pulling her into his side and hugging her close.
She rests a hand on her belly, pulling up the oversized knit sweater she had on and showing off the hidden bump as a round of congratulations circled to the growing family.
Elliot watches after everyone’s shared their congratulations with his daughter, the way Olivia slides onto the couch next to her and wraps her arm around her, giving it a squeeze as she tilts her head against Mo’s and speaks softly enough that he can’t make out what she’s saying.
He watches as Mo pulls Liv into a hug, and Liv rubs her back in such a motherly way, it makes him realize it.
He finally gets a moment alone with her, while his daughters are all discussing baby things, and the men and young men of his family are teamed up playing on the switch still, he refills his glass of wine and sidles up next to her as she’s standing against the back door, out the outside of his family, seemingly watching over them as she’s always done.
“Thank you.” He says without any prefacing.
“For what?” She asks, not completely following.
“For being there for her.”
Liv bows her head, looking down. “Elliot it was—”
“Don’t say it was nothing. It’s not nothing, it’s a lot. And I’m really grateful that she can come to you for this. Carl said she’d been taking this pregnancy really hard without Kathy, but knowing you’re here has been helping her. So thank you.” He says again.
Olivia just smiles and raises her glass towards him in a toast. “To your soon to be third grandbaby.”
He clicks his glass against hers.
She’s picking Noah up from Maureen’s one Sunday evening, him having another play date with the twins and it has given herself some time to stay late at the office and go over more cases for the upcoming week without being interrupted.
Maureen greets her at the door as well as three matching groans. “Clearly they’re not having any fun.” She jokes and Olivia laughs, stepping inside, giving Mo a hug. “Oh! I’ve been meaning to give this to you, by the way.” She says, handing a blank envelope to Olivia and watching her take it.
Liv examines it and notes the obstetrics seal address in the corner, raising a brow towards Maureen.
“Mo,” she pauses.
“No, Carl and I discussed it, we wanted you to know first. We want to do a small gender reveal party instead of a full blown baby shower seeing as this isn’t our first kid. And we’d like for you to be the only one to know the baby’s gender before we hand the envelope over for balloons or confetti canon or whatever the hell we decide on.” She reassures and Olivia’s eyes start to water.
“Are you sure?”
Mo nods her head. “Y-Yeah. I–” she pauses, taking a deep breath and putting her hand to the ever growing little bump. “I have a feeling. I’m really hoping for this one to be a boy too, just because I would’ve liked to have my mom here to experience having a granddaughter, but as much as I wish it was a boy, I’m almost positive it’s a girl. I felt this way since you had me take the test. So, please. Find out, we want you to know.” She urges.
Olivia looks across the living room towards Carl who gives her a reassuring nod before she untucks the flap of the envelope and pulls out the ultrasound photo, encircled in white with bold letters and she gasps, pressing it against her chest before fumbling and stuffing it back into the envelope.
“Are you really sure you don’t want to know? You’re telling me I have to keep this a secret now?” She taunts.
“Just until next weekend!” Mo laughs, and Olivia captures her in a hug.
“I am so proud of you.” She whispers, pressing her nose against Mo’s hair.
“What did I say about making me cry?” She whines, choking out a laugh through her tears, making them both laugh.
Olivia just squeezes her again, one last time before beckoning Noah to get going with her.
“Saturday! Don’t forget!” Maureen calls as she watches the two Bensons walk down the hall in the opposite direction.
“Saturday!” She hears the echo back.
Olivia couldn’t wish Saturday to come quick enough.
Kathleen had known that Maureen let her peek, and that she knew the sex of the baby and it was eating them both alive. Olivia had wanted to cave, not liking keeping secrets from people, and Kathleen was waring her down hard, with almost daily texts whether the baby was a boy or a girl, and Olivia had almost slipped up a time or two in questioning.
She had to give it to Kathleen, for years around her detective father, she’d picked up quite the skill in interrogating.
But it was finally Saturday, and Olivia had put on a pink fuzzy sweater, the April chill still lingering enough for her not to be too hot in it, and her bluest of blue jeans before finding one of Noah’s pink and blue plaid shirt and a pair of khaki pants for him, instructing him to get dressed so they could get a move on it.
She’d wrapped and packed the gift in hopes that no one would see that she had bought a specific gendered gift for Maureen and Carl’s newest little one and grabbed her purse and keys, ushering Noah out the door.
Elliot’s apartment had been quite lively, with some people she’d never even met before and had felt slightly out of place. She’d been introduced to Carl’s parents, as well as a few close friends of his and Mo’s before Maureen had finally made her way around to her, greeting her with a hug and a knowing smile.
Once everyone had fully arrived and settled in, everyone was corralled to Elliot’s patio where two handheld confetti cannons rested on the tiny table, waiting to be popped.
The small crowd gathered around the expecting parents, and Olivia had snuck in next to Elliot and Bernie, feeling Elliot’s arm rest over her shoulders as he beamed with excitement.
She just smirked at him as the double pop was heard and pink confetti pieces shot from them, a round of screams echo out and she watches Carl pull his wife into a kiss and hugging her tightly.
“When did Mo tell you?” Elliot asks her as the crowd starts to taper down.
“I found out last Sunday when I picked Noah up from a play date with the twins. She found out just now.” She smirks, teasingly.
Elliot feigns hurt, putting his hand over his chest. “And you didn't tell me?”
“You didn’t even know that I knew. Kathleen’s been texting me every day trying to get it out of me and I almost slipped up.” She says and he laughs.
They stand in silence for another moment, and a round of cheers circles again. She leans into Elliot a bit more, and his arm around her shoulder tightens ever so slightly.
“I would’ve told you if you asked. You know I don’t like keeping secrets from you.” She says softly.
He just gives her shoulder a reassuring squeeze in reply.
Once everyone had congratulated the happy couple, Olivia walked up to Maureen and wrapped the younger woman in a hug, officially congratulating her on her soon to be daughter’s arrival as they both fought back tears.
“She’s going to live on through this little one.” Olivia whispers to her and Maureen nods, smiling back.
Noah’s out of school for the summer, and between dance camp and sleepovers with his friends, Olivia doesn’t get much of an excuse to stop over and check in on the eldest Stabler offspring under the guise of picking up her son from a play date with the twins as much as she would’ve liked.
They’re able to grab lunch twice within a month, and Maureen keeps her updated on all the checkups, even without asking, making Olivia’s heart fill with pride.
She’s happy to hear that baby girl is growing nice and healthy under the protection of her mother and every time Olivia sees Mo, she seems to be glowing.
She’s awoken one night at almost four in the morning by the shrill ring of her phone and she fumbles with it before checking the caller ID and frowning at the unrecognizable numbers but takes the call anyway, seeing the New York area code.
She recognizes the voice on the other end, but can't quite place it at first.
“Yes?” She replies.
“Oh! Thank God this was the right number. Hi, it’s Mo’s husband, Carl.”
It clicks, and Olivia sits upright in bed, fully awake now.
“Carl, hi. Is everything okay?” She asks cautiously.
“Everyone’s fine, kinda. Mo just wanted me to call you she’s in labor.”
“Oh! Congratulations. Do you need me to come watch the boys?” She asks, getting ready to get out of bed and get dressed.
“No, actually my mom is over there. Mo was wondering if you could come to the hospital, instead?” He asks.
Olivia’s shocked for a moment and doesn’t answer right away.
“You can bring Noah over to our place and my mom can watch him if you need, or if you really can’t come, please don’t worry about—”
“No, no. Noah’s at a friend’s house for a sleepover actually. I just–I am a little surprised that’s all. I can be there soon. Just text me what room you two are in, I’ll be there shortly.” She says and Carl thanks her before hanging up.
She’s dressed and walking into the hospital with two coffees and an iced tea when she spots Carl pacing in the hallway of the maternity ward.
He catches her on his downward lap, thanking her for the coffee and taking a gracious sip before tapping his fingers against the paper cup.
“This is so much different from the boys.” He says and Olivia nods, waiting for him to continue. “It was an emergency C and it all happened so fast. It was like there was no time. She was just wheeled back and by the time I was gowned up to go with her I was a dad of two very tiny twin boys.” He says, smiling and thinking back about the day. And then he frowns, “Her mom had been there with me and stayed with her while I went to the nicu with the boys. I just feel out of place now, and I know she’s taking this pregnancy a little harder without her mom, but your presence has been helping more than you could ever know. So thank you.” He says sincerely and Olivia bows her head a bit.
“Mo’s amazing. I’ve known her since she was a kid and just getting to be here with her through this means so much to me—” their conversation is interrupted by a scream of pain and both Olivia and Carl share a look before deciding to walk into the room, finding the laboring expectant mother rocking back and forth on a yoga ball.
“Oh! Oh thank god you’re here.” Maureen practically cries the moment she lays eyes on Olivia.
Liv can see the sheer terror in her eyes as the next contraction courses through her and Ilivia sets down the tray with her coffee and Mo’s iced tea on the hospital table before hurrying to her side and reaching for Maureen’s hand.
“I’m right here.” She reassures her and Maureen just locks eyes with her, silently thanking her because she didn’t have the words to speak.
“I’m scared.” She finally huffs, gathering the courage to speak. “And she’s not here.” Two tears roll down her cheeks one after the other.
Liv rubs her thumb over Maureen’s hand in a soothing motion.
“I know, I know, Sweetie.” Liv says, wrapping her free arm around Mo’s shoulder and helping her breathe through the next contraction. “You are so strong, Maureen, and this little girl is almost here. You can do this.” She reassures. “You can do this.”
“I want the epidural.” She says, looking up at her husband and he nods, offering to go find the doctor in hopes that they can give his wife one.
Maureen’s labor progresses a bit more calmly once she’s been administered her epidural, and she’s able to rest. Liv takes the time to chat with Carl, getting to know him a little more than just the quick greetings they’ve had during play date drop offs or the dinner parties they’ve both attended.
She asks about his work, and shares a few stories of Maureen in her younger years, talking about how proud she is of the woman she’s become.
The sun rises, peeking through the cracks of the hospital blinds and casting bright rays through the room when Maureen stirs.
They help her adjust, sitting more comfortably, when Olivia looks at the clock on the wall, noting how much time has passed. “Has anyone told your dad?” She asks.
Maureen’s eyes widening in embarrassment. “No…” she admits and her eyes start welling with tears. “Liv, I’m sorry I’ve kept you here all—” she doesn’t get to finish because Olivia puts her hand up, waving her off.
“I’ll call him and let him know. He’ll probably want to be here.” She says and Maureen just nods as she pulls out her phone.
There’s a soft knock on her room door and her doctor pokes her head in, walking in to come and check on Maureen and the baby’s progression. Liv excuses herself to the hall to call Elliot while the doctor sets up.
Liv ducks out, scrolling through her apps and finds her phone app, scrolling her recents and clicking Elliot’s name.
He clears his throat, answering with a sleep laden voice that makes her almost laugh audibly. “Yes Captain?” He greets.
“Hey, you might want to make your way down to the hospital, your granddaughter’s on her way.” She says, and she’s pretty sure he could hear her smile through the phone.
There’s a fumble, and then Elliot’s voice in the distance. “Are you serious? I’m getting dressed now. I’ll be there soon.” He says and she can almost picture him struggling, tangled in a shirt as he’s trying to rush around.
“Take your time, it’s been slow going at the moment. The doctor’s checking her now. She was only five centimeters dilated two hours ago.” She tells him and she can hear him exhale in relief. “She and the baby are doing well. Just…get here safe?” She asks.
“I will. And Liv?” He says before she can hang up. “Thank you, for being there with her.”
Olivia smiles. “Just get here soon, my hand needs a break.” She jokes, trying to alleviate some of the attention on herself.
The call ends and she presses the phone against her chest, taking a moment and leaning against the wall and handrail in the hospital’s corridors, staring at Maureen’s closed door in front of her.
She exhales a long, slow breath, thinking about the excitement that is about to come and the experience she’s been graciously invited to be a part of and she fights to hold back the tears.
The door opens, and Maureen’s doctor appears, holding the tablet in her hands. “Maureen’s doing great. She’s currently seven centimeters and the baby’s head is down just like we’d like. It shouldn’t be too much longer, maybe by this afternoon your grandbaby will be making her appearance.” The OB told her and Olivia beamed.
She doesn’t bother correcting the doctor who’s engrossed in a page, already beginning to walk off in another direction.
Carl pops his head out, looking around for her when he catches her eyes and smiles. “She’s like almost there. Doc says just a little longer, she's seven centimeters.” He repeats what the doctor had just informed her.
“I heard. Her dad’s on his way.”
Carl nods. “She’s facetiming with the boys right now, they’re helping Nana make breakfast, apparently.” He says awkwardly, just trying to fill the silence.
It’s not needed for much longer when she spies Elliot taking long strides through the hallway, headed their way.
He greets Carl with a firm handshake and a clap on the shoulder to his son-in-law, and then rests a hand on Olivia’s arm, silently communicating with her, punctuating it with a soft smile.
“How is she?” He asks, ready to walk in, but patiently waiting for permission.
“Doctor just came by. She’s seven centimeters. She’s facetiming the boys now if you want to go say hi.”
Elliot nods and pulls at the latch handle, pushing it open with a soft knock and Maureen’s head turns towards the door, seeing her dad walk in flanked by her husband and Olivia.
“Look! It’s Grandpa!” She says, turning her phone towards her dad who makes a silly face at the camera at his grandsons who break into laughter.
Olivia slides into a chair in the corner, watching as Elliot takes a seat on the edge of Maureen’s hospital bed and Carl resumes his spot in the chair beside Maureen’s side as the three of them squeeze into the tiny phone screen frame.
She watches on as the three of them talk animatedly to the twins for a while longer, chiming in every now and then when prompted, and checking her phone for the next almost hour.
The hours tick by slowly, and Liv remains stoic in her chair in the corner, either looking away or feigning a phone call right around every hour mark when the doctor comes to check on Maureen.
She steps back in after a genuine phone call to Lucy, making sure she’d gotten to Noah’s friend’s house easily, not realizing the doctor had still been in checking on the expecting mother.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” She apologizes and Mo’s head turns towards hers.
She’s about to try and step out again as she notices the doctor pulling up the stirrup attachments from underneath the bed when Maureen’s hand drops Elliot’s and she reaches out for Olivia.
Liv can see the sheer exhaustion, desperation and fear in her eyes, and she knows there’s absolutely no way she’s going to be able to leave now, no matter how much she feels like she’s intruding on this very intimate experience.
“Are you sure?” She asks, hesitantly, trying to decide if she could still back out.
Maureen’s eyes plead with her. “Someone’s gotta keep dad from fainting.” She tries to joke, but Olivia knows it’s a poor excuse. Then, Elliot takes a step back, leaving ample space for her and she walks forward, sliding her phone into her pocket.
She grabs Maureen’s hand with one hand and pulls her thigh up, mirroring Carl’s actions on her other side just as the doctor had instructed as she directs Maureen to start pushing.
She holds Maureen’s thigh up to her chest and watches on in awe as the doctor instructs her to push, stop pushing, push again and then is placing the screaming baby on top of her mother’s chest, and she drops Maureen’s hand immediately, placing a hand at the baby’s back in an effort that she won’t roll off of her mother’s rounded belly.
Carl’s cutting the cord and she looks from the baby and back to Maureen with a weak, proud smile on her face. “Congratulations Mama.” She says, wiping a lock of sweaty blonde hair out of her face. “See? You did it.” She says, pressing a kiss to the crown of Mo’s head, noticing a shuffling in her peripheral.
She looks up, seeing Elliot pacing back and forth, his back towards all of them when she sneaks up next to him, resting a hand on his upper back.
He turns facing her and she can see the proud tears fighting at the edge of his eyelids and she pulls him into a hug, letting him wrap his arms around her and sink herself into the feeling for just a moment.
“—hold your granddaughter?” She hears, bringing her back to reality.
It’s then she notices that the hospital staff have cleared out, leaving just the handful of them there and Maureen is looking on expectantly at her father as Carl adjusts the newborn in his arms and prepares to pass her to him.
Elliot accepts the bright eyed little bundle, looking between her and her mother before settling his eyes on his daughter for a moment. “I’m so proud of you.” He barely manages to whisper.
Olivia watches on, peering over Elliot’s arms and staring down at the precious little baby as her eyes blink open and closed.
The moment feels surreal, and it takes her back for a moment, much similar to this when Elliot’s youngest had been born, and he’d pulled her into a hug and she watched him meet his newest child for the first time, yet from afar.
Now, she can’t help but think how different this moment was. There’s no heartbreak. There’s no underlying jealousy or what-if moments circling around her mind anymore. There’s just peace, and excitement as she stares down at the newest bundle of joy in the world.
She’s in awe and barely catches Maureen’s insistence at her father to pass the baby over and is confused when Elliot’s placing the newborn into her arms, she shoots him a questioning look.
“—hogging her and keep passing her around.” It finally registers and she realizes Maureen was talking about her.
She looks down at the baby, content in her arms, her little eyes staring right back at her with curiosity. “Hi Sweet Girl. You are so beautiful . Just like your mom.” She whispers with a hoarded voice, apparently choking back tears.
She’s too entranced with the newborn to notice the near silent conversation going on between the other three occupants of the room as she slowly sways and paces at the foot of Maureen’s hospital bed.
“—Liv?” She hears her name pulling her back in.
She looks up with raised brows, as if she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar.
“We wanted to know if you’d like to be her honorary Grandmother.” Mo asked nervously. “You’re not nearly old enough yet, but you’ve been part of my family for as long as I can remember and we know you love her already. You deserve to be more than just Olivia to her.”
Olivia fought back the tears in her eyes as she looked between the baby in her arms, Elliot and the new parents before pulling her bottom lip between her teeth in thought.
“I am more than happy being just Olivia to her, but if it’s okay with her, I’d like that.” She says softly.
“She’d love that.” Maureen emphasizes. “She’s got Nana, Carl’s mom, Great Grandma Bernie, and Grammy in heaven, but she’d like to know if you’d be her Gigi?” She goes down the line, looking towards Olivia expectantly.
Liv just nods, looking down at the baby in her arms, speaking softly. “I would love that. Y’know, I heard Gigi’sare supposed to do all the spoiling, right?” She asks the baby and she’s only answered with a tiny, sleepy yawn.
Elliot peers over her shoulder as she watches the little one lull into sleep, mesmerized by the little life form in her arms.
“Look at your granddaughter. She is absolutely precious. ” She smiles, silently passing her back into Elliot’s arms.
“Yours too. Uh, ours—” he stutters. “I uh, I hope that’s okay. Maureen had asked me a while back and then again earlier and I told her it was up to you. And I bet she’s excited to meet her Uncle Noah too.” He adds. Liv’s breathing hitches at the mention, and her heart melts, thinking about how they all have seamlessly included her and Noah into their lives.
She traces a finger over the baby’s rounded cheek, watching her reflexes already kicking in and her nerves flinch in her face. “ Our granddaughter is the most precious little girl I’ve ever seen.” She says, inadvertently answering him.
Liv keeps herself pressed against Elliot’s side for another moment, watching on before he decides to pass the baby off to her awaiting parents.
He makes sure Maureen and the baby are settled before he extends his arm out to Liv, and she loops hers in his, the two of them walking out of the room to give the new family some privacy.
“Y’know, I imagined you holding a baby before, I’ve seen you holding a baby before, but nothing prepared me for seeing you hold our —”
She presses a hand against his chest, stopping him, but he places his atop her wrist, shaking his head, overriding her.
“No, Liv. Let me say this. I’m sorry I missed so much of your life, Noah’s life—”
“El,” she pleads, looking down at his hand on top of hers on his chest. It’s like his is holding hers there.
“ God, seeing you with a baby now? ” he pauses. “If I’d never come back, if I’d left again?” She swallows hard at the mere mention of him even thinking about leaving again.
“Not now, Elliot. You’re here now. I’m here now. And we get to be grandparents together to that perfect little girl in there and that is all that matters right now. Just,” she pauses, trying to calm her breathing as she looks between his eyes and their hands still pressed to his chest. “Just this moment.” She settles on.
His head bows and he rests his forehead against hers, closing his eyes and they both release their breaths, breathing in sync with each other with their eyes closed and hands tangled between them.
Their moment is short lived when they feel pressure collide with them and a fury of giggles, and Olivia’s eyes open, seeing the twins in front of them, pulling at both her and Elliot’s arms.
He lifts one of them up over his shoulder, upside down, sending Seamus into a fit of laughter as she grabs Kieran underneath his arms and swinging him in a circle as Carl’s mother finally catches up with them from her pace down the hall, apologizing that the boys were so energetic.
They both brush it off as no bother, listening to the twins fire off questions, one after the other.
Liv urges Carl’s mother to enter and meet her newest grandchild in calmness while her and Elliot entertain the twins for a moment, letting her slip away unnoticed.
A few moments later, Carl opens the door, greeting his sons and ushering everyone back into the room from the hall and he places both of the twins squished up on either side of Maureen, the baby in her arms as the boys peer over staring at their new little sister.
“Meet your new baby sister, Maeve Kathleen.” She finally introduces.