By Shelley Johnson
Office of Dr. Emil Skoda
Thursday, November 1
Dr. Emil Skoda sat at his desk and contemplated the letter he just composed. It was addressed to Dr. Elizabeth Olivet. He wondered why he wrote the letter to her. And why was he professing the feelings he was having about her? For the most part, he regarded Liz as a fellow psychologist, nothing more. They didn't see eye to eye on a few cases, especially if they dealt with children. Skoda never looked forward to a trial that required a 'battle of the experts' testimony.
So, why was he having these feelings for Liz now? Could it be that life seemed a little too short to put things off now? Maybe he buried what he felt because he didn't want to get involved with someone who worked in the same field as him. Or that, she was already in a relationship. He was amazed that Liz's baby must be a toddler by now. Time was flying by too fast.
But the time seemed right now. They were both currently unattached. What was the harm in asking her out to dinner or a movie? So, what if the letter he wrote ended up being longer than a "can we get together" question. Being a psychologist, he was used to writing long, detailed diagnoses. And in this case, he not only asked her out but confessed his thoughts of her.
Skoda reread the letter several times, until he finally folded it up and stuffed it in an envelope. He put the letter in his outgoing tray and buzzed his secretary to bring in his next patient. He hoped he could now focus on his job and not daydream about Dr. Olivet.
Office of Dr. Elizabeth Olivet
Tuesday, November 6
Dr. Elizabeth Olivet sat in her office across from a very unexpected visitor. Ben Stone had arrived a few minutes earlier, and had asked if she had time to talk. One look at his hang dog expression and she couldn't say no. Although, she really didn't feel like talking to anyone at the moment. She had just received a very interesting letter from her fellow colleague, Dr. Skoda.
Liz tried to concentrate on what Ben was saying, but her mind was on Emil's words. She heard Ben mumble phrases like "returning to New York" and "everyone's moved on," but she could only focus on terms like "finding you attractive" and "more than a working relationship."
After 15 minutes, Ben got up and thanked Liz for listening and understanding what he was going through. She smiled and told him she was glad she could help. All the while, she had no idea what he was babbling about. She knew she should be ashamed for pretending to be there for Ben, but all she could think about was contacting Skoda. As soon as Ben left her office, Liz headed over to her phone.
Trial, Part 47
Wednesday, November 7
Ben quietly entered the courtroom and sat in the last row. Closing arguments were scheduled for today's trial. While the defense attorney expounded his client's innocence, Ben began to recall his return to New York. He didn't realize he had been away a very long time.
It seemed like everyone he knew and worked with had gone off and left him. Except for Lennie Briscoe and Lt. Van Buren, he didn't recognize any cop on duty at the 27th Precinct. He heard about Mike Logan being banished to Staten Island. And he didn't know anything about Rey Curtis, Lennie's partner after Mike and before his current partner, Ed Green.
Ben wondered why he decided to visit One Hogan Place. Adam was in Europe, Paul was in private practice, and Claire, well, was up in heaven. Nora was kind enough to show him around the old place, and he did see a few associates he had worked with in the DA's office. He asked about Jack, and was told he was in court for the day.
Ben's reverie was broken when he heard that orator voice of Jack's. Ben had to admit that summations were Jack's forte. As he listened to Jack's arguments, he noticed that his voice didn't seem as strong as it once was. But even with that slight setback, Jack could still make his audience listen to his words.
As Jack made his closing remarks, he turned and noticed a new face in the courtroom. Jack stared at him for a few seconds, then made his way back to his chair. He turned around again and caught a glimpse of the courtroom door closing. Jack wondered if he had just seen a face from the past or were his eyes playing tricks on him?
Ben left the courthouse and headed down the steps onto Centre Street. Seeing Jack brought back memories of the career and life he left behind in New York. He wondered if he made the right decision almost eight years ago. And was it too late to go home again? He had one stop left to make, and proceeded to flag down a cab.
Wednesday, November 7
Jack parked his bike near the outer gates. He always thought the roar of his motorcycle was inappropriate amid the serenity of the cemetery. Fortunately, he didn't mind the small hike to Claire's grave. As Jack reached the top of the small incline, he noticed that Claire already had a visitor.
Ben stood looking down at Claire's headstone, still holding the flowers he had brought. Jack quietly came up to him and placed his hand on Ben's shoulder. As Ben turned to Jack, they realized they both had tears welling up in their eyes. Jack bent down to place the flowers he had brought, then sat next to Claire's grave. Ben did the same, and sat on the other side.
Neither of them said a word for quite some time. Then, Jack broke the silence. He told Ben what he had truly felt for Claire. That despite Jack's past relationships, Claire was different. Ben listened to what Jack had to say, and was relieved to hear the words he had spoken. For if there was one thing Ben had felt guilty about, it was leaving Claire to be reassigned, and thereby vulnerable to Jack's wiles. Both men chuckled when they agreed that Claire was probably looking down at them, telling them that she knew how to take care of herself.
Friday, November 9
Jack and Ben agreed to meet for drinks at the posh Lower East Side restaurant. They sat at the bar which had an unobstructed view of the darkened dining area. It was Jack who first noticed a very familiar couple sitting at a cozy booth in the corner. When Ben saw the pair, he didn't recognize the man, but he definitely knew the woman. With the recognition came a touch of jealousy.
As Emil and Liz sat awaiting their desserts, they began to process the information they had learned about each other throughout the entire evening. They stared and smiled at one another, each waiting for the other to continue the conversation. Neither said a word. It was as though the psychologist in both of them came on duty sometime between the appetizer and entree.
Just when they both thought the dinner was a huge mistake, the hostess arrived at their table and handed Liz a red rose. She said it was from the gentleman at the bar. Liz and Emil looked over in that direction. Emil saw Jack shaking his head and motioning with his hands that the flower wasn't from him. And Liz saw Ben as he saluted her with his drink.
Liz turned back to Emil. He smiled and gestured that she could stay or go. Liz sat there, hoping the choice she was about to make was the right one.