“We canvassed the entire neighborhood. No one had any idea Aurora was being hurt, let alone who did it. They all claimed she rarely left the house.” Amanda Rollins sat down on top of the table.
“How is that possible?” Olivia asked. “The doctors said she seemed to have a long history of abuse.”
Captain Cragen walked out of his office. “The hospital discharged Aurora. That’s it then. If she doesn’t want to press charges, we can’t do anything else.”
“Captain,” Olivia said. “We know someone hurt her.”
“And without her permission, you can’t do anything!”
“Please. Just let Amaro and me go and talk to her. Just this once.”
Cragen sighed. “Fine. Once. If she doesn’t want to talk, come right back.”
“This is it,” Amaro said, checking the address. He knocked twice on the door. A couple of moments later, it creaked open.
Aurora’s face filled with surprise as she saw them. “I thought I told you to leave,” she whispered, her voice shaking. “Now’s not a good time.” She started to close the door.
“Aurora, we just want to talk,” Olivia said, catching the door and pushing it open.
“Aurora!” a voice shouted. “Who is it?”
Aurora’s face paled as a man walked up to Nick and Olivia. He had an athletic build and seemed huge next to Aurora. Cold blue eyes shone under his blond hair.
“I’m Detective Amaro and this Detective Benson.” Nick said, flashing his badge. “We’re here to speak to your…girlfriend?”
“Wife,” the man said, putting his arm around Aurora. “I’m Matt. Go ahead. Aurora and I have no secrets.”
Nick raised his eyebrows. “Then I guess you don’t mind if we come in.”
They walked through the living room and into a small dining room. As they passed the hallway, Olivia noticed the door of a closet swing shut and she almost smiled.
“Um, sorry to bother you, but could I use your bathroom?”
Aurora looked up, startled. “Sure. Down the hall to your right.”
“Thanks.” Olivia got up and walked down, stopping in front of the closet. She stared at it for a moment, then opened the two doors and looked down.
A girl gazed back at her, wrapping herself tighter among the pile of clothes, as if trying to make herself disappear. She really couldn’t be more than seven or eight years old, and her huge blue eyes and pale skin made her appear even younger. Unlike other children however, her eyes were rimmed in black with eyeliner and she had streaks of purple in her hair. All the same, she was an almost spitting image of Aurora.
“Hi,” Olivia said softly, lowering herself down. “My name’s Olivia. I’m a police officer.” She held out her badge, looking at the girl.
There was no response, and the girl turned away.
“What’s your name?” Olivia asked.
“I bet it’s really pretty. Will you tell me?”
“Skylar,” the girl whispered finally; her voice so soft Olivia barely caught it.
“That’s beautiful. Can I sit with you, Skylar?” Olivia crawled into the closet next to the child.
Skylar continued to stare at the wall, not allowing her eyes to meet Olivia’s.
“What are you doing with my daughter?” Skylar and Olivia both looked up to find Matt staring at them.
Immediately, Olivia felt Skylar tense up.
“I was just talking to her,” Olivia said.
“Well I think you’d better go.” Matt looked at them a moment longer and then walked away.
“I guess I’d better leave now,” Olivia said to Skylar, “but in case you want to talk, call me, okay?” She held out her card.
Skylar ignored her. Sighing, Olivia dropped the card on the floor and got up
Before she left, Olivia took one last look at the girl. There were stories in her eyes. They carried the wisdom and past of someone much older. Olivia tried to imagine the innocence of a child, but all she could see were painted portraits of what had been. She sighed again and stood up to meet Nick.
As they drove back to the precinct, Olivia couldn’t get the image of the little girl out of her mind. What is your story? She asked silently.
“Well?” Captain Cragen asked as they walked in.
“Nothing,” Nick said. “She’s still denying everything. We met her husband though.”
“Husband?” Cragen asked.
“Definitely the man of the house.” Nick laughed drily.
“There’s another thing,” Olivia said. “She’s got a daughter.”
“A daughter?” Fin asked. “Did you talk to her?”
“Yep. Barely said a word,” Olivia sighed.
“That’s it then,” Cragen said. “There’s nothing else we can do except for wait.”
Days turned into weeks and Aurora never turned up. Olivia still found herself thinking about Skylar. Work kept her busy, but so many cases reminded her of that little girl.
There was one of a twelve-year-old who was kidnapped. She was found before anything happened. When her parents got her back, they started crying, and then smiling and laughing; the family holding tight onto each other. Olivia thought about how lucky that girl was, yet she didn’t really know it. She thought about how Skylar never had that kind of childhood, and it made her sad just how unfair the world was.
If Amanda and I could take care of Skylar, I would give her the life she never had.
Then, when it seemed like nothing would turn up, a call disrupted the silence of the 16th precinct.
“Benson,” Olivia answered. A moment later she looked up in horror.
“What is it?” Nick asked.
“Neighbors called and said they heard shooting. Aurora’s place.”
Cragen stood up. “Let’s go.”