An Education

Notes on a Scandal

Monday, February 11

10:30 pm

St. Joseph's Hospital

Cyrus was frantic. The love of his life was in the hospital. He had gotten the call 20 minutes ago. His heart had leapt for joy when Mellie's name flashed across the caller ID. A call from her meant she wanted to see him. When he had answered, she didn't sound like herself. Her voice was muffled, and she spoke slowly. He had kept asking her to speak up, but to no avail. Her words were unintelligible over the phone. Once he had gotten her location and room number, he left home immediately.

He took deep breaths in the elevator as he watched the numbers transition from floor to floor. Then he was at her door. He walked in just as the doctor was speaking to her.

"Mrs. Grant, we are going to keep you overnight for observation. Our goal is to get the swelling around your eye and on the side of your head to go down. Once the pressure is relieved the healing can begin."

Cyrus winced at the sight of her. She looked so frail and helpless in the hospital bed. White gauze and bandages covered her face. One of her eyes was and her right hand was bandaged.

"Mellie…Oh my God…Mellie," Cyrus rushed to her side concerned etched on every contour of his face. He bent down and pulled her into his arms. Lifting up he smoothed her hair and whispered, "Baby, what happened?"

Her red-rimmed eyes darted to the doctor and back at him. She was trying to cue him to keep their relationship a secret he guessed. Cyrus walked to the doctor and introduced himself. "Hello, I'm Cyrus Beene, a work colleague of Ms. Rosemont. What happened?"

"I'm Dr. Richardson. Is the surname, "Rosemont" or "Grant"? She checked in as "Grant."

"Her last name is officially, "Rosemont." "Grant" is her married name, but she is divorced. I am not sure if she has changed her documents. That is probably the cause of the name mix up. In any case, what happened?" Cyrus asked impatiently.

"I don't know the details of the attack, but she received some sort of blunt force trauma to her head. She has multiple contusions on either side of her head. That is why there is so much swelling. I've admitted her so that I can observe her while we get the swelling down. There are also several lacerations along the fingers of her right hand. We have given her morphine for pain. Later, I'll give her a sedative to help her sleep."

"Thanks, Doctor." When he left the room Cyrus closed the door and returned to Mellie's side.

"Baby, are you okay to talk? I could barely understand you over the phone."

"Yes, I can speak, but it hurts when I move my face so I try not to move my lips too much," Mellie said as she pushed the button to raise up the head of the bed.

"Cyrus…It was…the person who did this is…" Mellie motioned towards the side table for a tissue. Cyrus handed her one and she dabbed the tears flowing from her eyes. "It was…Fitz…he did this to me, Cyrus." She turned her head away.

"What? Fitz?...What are you saying?"

"Fitz attacked me earlier today at the house." Mellie reached for Cyrus's hand and squeezed.

Cyrus pulled a chair close to the bed and looked her in the eyes. "Please explain to me how this happened. In all the years I've known him, I've never known Fitz to be violent. What happened, Mellie? Are you sure it was Fitz?"

"How can you ask me that question? Where is your loyalty? Is it to me or is it to Fitz? Yes, it was Fitz who did this to me," Mellie's words were laced with anger. How dare he take Fitz's side? Mellie took deep breaths to calm down.

"I'm sorry, Mel. This comes as a big shock to me. Please just tell me what happened." Cyrus reached up to stroke the part of her chin that was exposed and not bandaged.

"No, I'm sorry…this is just too much for me to take. I never would have thought Fitz would resort to violence either. He came to my house unannounced today. Of course I let him in because we are on good terms…and the kids, of course. He asked me why I visited Ambrose and spoke to Olivia Pope. I told him that I was touring elementary schools on behalf of the school board. I did speak with Olivia Pope because she volunteered to give me a tour around the school. She comes across as someone who…is power hungry or looking for advancement based on the sorts of questions she asked me." Mellie stopped her explanation and took a sip of water.

"Go on. Did you and Fitz argue about Olivia?"

"He told me that she was upset that I had visited. I was surprised at that since she volunteered to give me the tour. He then demanded that I not visit again. I wasn't going to tell him what she said to me because I didn't want to start trouble. But then I thought about how this woman was around my children so…I decided to tell him what she said to me. Cyrus, she told me to stay away from Fitz because she had the right stuff between her legs to keep him satisfied. I…was shocked that something so base and hideous could come out of a teacher's mouth."

"Olivia Pope said that you? I never would have suspected that. She is so professional and…" Cyrus stopped when he saw Mellie roll her eyes and inhale deeply. At that point, he decided to keep his comments to himself until she told the complete story.

"Continue, Mel. Sorry for interrupting again."

"I told him that I didn't judge him for dating a teacher because, I, too have had my indiscretions. Cyrus, I told him about us…our affair. I wanted him to know that I understood how it felt to cross that boundary. I assured him that you and I were in love and that made the sacrifice worth it…the sacrifice of keeping our relationship a secret. I told him that I didn't think Olivia Pope was worth that kind of sacrifice. Cy," she said, rubbing his hand. "He exploded when I told him about our affair. I have never seen him like that before. He demanded to know when the affair began. He pulled out the Scotch from the cabinet and gulped back a mouthful before throwing the decanter across the room. I was frantic when I saw him pick it up again. I reached for it and that is how I got these cuts. Cy…he was like a madman. He kept screaming, 'Why? Why? Why did you do this to me, Mellie?' He grabbed…" Mellie started sobbing loudly as she explained "He grabbed me by the hair and slammed my face into the wall several times. I tried to get up, but he grabbed my hair again and slammed my head into the doorknob. I guess I passed out. When I woke up, I was able to crawl to the phone and call 911."

Cyrus considered Mellie's words. A deep sadness filled him because he knew her story did not add up with what he knew was true. Cyrus didn't know what was going on exactly, but he knew that Fitz could not be responsible for this. Cyrus loved Mellie and knew her very well. She had her faults, but she would never intentionally hurt anyone. He had to get more information so he decided to keep his reservations to himself.

"Mellie, you told him about us? I know that was a big step for you, revealing your feelings for me to yourself and to him. So he responded in anger and started beating you?"

"Yes. He was so angry about it and couldn't face that our affair caused the divorce and…"

There was a knock at the door. Cyrus opened it and was met by a man and a woman dressed in the staid business attire of detectives.

The woman, who wore a bob, flashed her badge. "Good evening, I am Detective Adams and this is my partner, Detective Robinson. We are here to see a Ms. Grant."

"Actually, it is "Rosemont". She is right here," Cyrus said.

"Thanks for seeing us now. Ms. Rosemont. We have a few questions and we'll be out of your way. You had a meeting planned this afternoon with Mr. Grant?" asked the woman detective.

"Yes, he called me around 4. He said he wanted to meet and talk. He didn't sound mad at the time. We have been on good terms since our divorce so I didn't have a problem with him coming over," Mellie said as the detectives took notes.

Cyrus continued to listen to their questions and Mellie's answers. He had lost count of the number of discrepancies between what she had told him and what she now relayed to them.

"Ms. Rosemont, do you want to press charges? We will continue our investigation, but we can get him off the streets and bring him in for questioning. We have the reports from the police on the scene, but we would like to go by your house tonight and give it a thorough going over," said Detective Robinson.

Cyrus couldn't stop himself from intervening. "Does she have to let you know tonight?"

"No, Mr. Beene, we will leave our contact information. She can press charges whenever she likes, but it is best to do it as soon as possible." Detective Adams pulled out his business card and laid it on the side table. The other detective followed suit.

"Ms. Rosemont wants to think this through and get back with you. Right, Mellie?" Cyrus said.

"What is your relationship to Ms. Rosemont if you don't mind me asking, Mr. Beene?" said Detective Adams.

"We are work colleagues, but I consider her a friend. If it is okay with Mellie, I will accompany you to her home to let you in."

"Thank you for your time, Ms. Rosemont. Again, please call us if anything else comes up." Detective Adams shook their hands.

"I'll meet you all downstairs. I want to say goodnight to Mellie." The detectives walked out and shut the door.

Cyrus walked to the bed and took Mellie's hand. He brought her fingers to his lips and kissed them gently.

"Mellie, I love you so much. It pains me to see you like this. I don't understand what is going on. But I am certain Fitz is not to blame for this. Your stories don't add up. The one you told me and the one you told them are inconsistent." Cyrus placed his finger over her lips when she began to protest. "Shhh, Mellie and listen. This is a man's life we are talking about…the father of your children. Do you really want him to go to jail? Please think about this. I will help you work through whatever this is. Let's do this together. Please don't talk to those detectives about pressing charges. If you do, they are going to investigate further. This is going to get out into the press. This will not end well for you or Fitz, but especially if you are not completely honest. Sleep on this Mellie. I'll be back in the morning to take you home."

Cyrus kissed her cheek and left the room.

Mellie laid back on the bed and considered Cyrus' words. She decided to look at her face in the mirror. She had avoided seeing the damage that had been done, the damage she had done. She walked to the bathroom and turned on the light.

She gasped at what she saw. She didn't recognize her reflection. It was swollen and puffy as if she had had an allergic reaction to something. She cried real tears now. These were tears of regret and hate. She hated herself for what she had done. She fell back against the wall and sank to the floor.


"How was Camaria's Quinceañera?" Lydia asked Ruben before snatching one of his fries. They had just left their last assignment of the night and were getting a late dinner at Rita's Diner.

"Keep your paws off my fries Detective Adams! You wouldn't have to ask me about it if you'd shown up to celebrate her 15th birthday and brought little Christopher. Where were you? On another date with the mystery man?" Ruben took a bite of his Philly cheesesteak.

"Sorry Ruben. I hope Camaria liked her gift certificate to Massage Envy, though." Lydia said after taking another fry.

"Yes, she loved it. So what do you think about the Rosemont-Grant case? Her face was beat up pretty bad but something doesn't add up about this. I can smell it. If her ex-old man beat her up that badly by slamming her against the wall, I don't think she would be alive to tell it," said Ruben.

"We are on the same page. We need to find out about that blood on the edge of the door. She didn't mention a door in the attack. Once we talk to Mr. Grant, I think we will be able to piece it together. I'd bet anything that Cyrus Beene is her lover."

"Lydia! Yes! That's what I was thinking too. But you know what was funny? He didn't look like he believed her story either."

They shared a laugh.

"The truth will come out as it always does," Detective Robinson said before they moved on to discuss another case.


Tuesday, February 12

Mellie's house

8pm

"Cyrus, thank you for helping me check out of the hospital and for staying with me all day," Mellie snuggled closer into his chest.

"You don't have to thank me, Mel. That's what people do for those they love." Cyrus gave her a peck on the cheek. "Would you like more soup?"

"No, I'm fine. How does it look, Cy? Has the swelling gone down?" Mellie couldn't bring herself to look at her face again since seeing herself in the mirror in the hospital bathroom.

"Baby, you are always beautiful to me. You should take a look."

"No, I can't. Tell me."

"Okay. The majority of the swelling has gone down. As Dr. Richardson said, it will take a week or more for the bruising to go away. Is the pain still bad?" Cyrus asked.

"Yes. It hurts to laugh or make facial expressions since the morphine has worn off. My pain meds are pretty powerful so I only feel a little ache. But you know what would make me feel better?" Mellie asked using her fingers to crawl up his chest with her unbandaged hand.

"What's that?"

"I want you to make love to me," Mellie said quietly.

"I can definitely do that, but there is something we need to talk about first."

"What?"

"Fitz and pressing charges. Did you think about what I said? Are you going to press charges, Mel?" Cyrus didn't ask her if the charges were true or false. He knew for certain that Mellie knew he didn't believe her and that her story was a fabrication. They had not talked about the source of her bruises, but he felt, in his gut, that they were self-inflicted. Soon, he planned to talk her into getting some psychological help, but he knew that he had to take this slow while keeping a close eye on her.

She was silent before the the tears started to fall, but she didn't brush them away. "No. I am not going to press charges. When you left to go to the grocery store, I called Detective Adams and told her."

"Oh, Mellie. Don't cry. You are going to be fine. I am going to protect you and help you through this," he said kissing her gently.


Thursday, February 14

Valentine's Day

3pm

Mellie was feeling restless. It was Valentine's Day and she was at home alone. Cyrus had stayed with her all week. He was at work now, but they had plans for later that night.

Mellie couldn't stop thinking about Fitz. She wanted to reach out to him. Valentine's Day held a special significance for them. He had proposed on Valentine's Day. Since then not a Valentine's Day had passed without them communicating in some way. It didn't matter to her whether that communication was cordial or not. She needed to hear his voice.

Mellie dialed his cell phone and office phone, but wasn't able to reach him. She decided to contact Karen and Gerry.

"Karen! Happy Valentine's Day, honey! It's Mom!" Mellie said with as much excitement as she could muster.

"Hi Mom, Happy Valentine's Day to you, too! Did you get our card? Gerry and I sent you one with a little surprise inside," Karen said.

"No, honey. I haven't checked my mail yet. Where's your brother?"

"He's in the ice cream aisle stocking up for tonight. Do you want me to get him?" Karen asked.

"No, just tell him what I said. What is going on tonight?" Mellie asked.

"We are going to Lauren's for dinner. Granny, Granddad, and Grandma are in town. We are having dinner and Gerry is making Root Beer floats," Karen explained. She wanted to invite her mom, but she wasn't sure how that would go over with the family.

"What are you doing tonight?" Karen asked at the same time that Mellie asked,

"How's your father? I bet he will be making his famous Valentine's Day mimosas!"

"Mom, I'm sorry, you go first."

"Oh no, I was just asking about your dad and his Valentine's Day Mimosas." Mellie said excitedly. She was happy that the conversation was going so well. Karen wasn't whining about something she wanted her to do.

"Dad is fine. He is out of town."

"Oh, that's right, he said something about being out of town with…Olivia. I am so happy that he has found someone. I am glad you all are getting along too." Mellie knew that well placed bait could often yield a good catch.

"He told you? They'll be back tomorrow," Karen said.

"Who is staying with you and Gerry while he is gone?"

"Granny is staying with us…okay, Mom, I have to go. Gerry needs some reeling in. He has 6 tubs of ice cream in the cart. Happy Valentine's Day," Karen said before hanging up.

Mellie forgot all about her newfound peace of mind about Fitz. She immediately called his home number.

"Grant residence," said Granny as if she was a receptionist at a business office.

"Hello, Granny. How are you doing?" Mellie asked calmly.

"Who might this be?" Granny asked.

"This is Mellie."

"Hello, Mellie. The children and Fitz are not here right now. Shall I leave a message that you called?" Granny asked refusing to relax her formal demeanor now that she was talking to her grandson's ex-wife.

"Granny, I know. I just spoke with Karen, and Fitz told me he would be out of town on a little rendezvous with Olivia Pope." Mellie laid the bait for Granny, but her silence meant she didn't bite.

"Millicent, shall I leave a message that you called?" Granny asked unperturbed.

"No, Granny, that won't be necessary. How long are you in town for?"

"I'm not sure. Do you want me to leave a message?" Granny asked again.

"Granny, I will always consider you to be family. Fitz and I didn't work out, but we will always be family because of Karen and Gerry. I am happy for him…that he has found someone." Mellie tried again.

"I pride myself on showing good manners at all times. However that won't prevent me from speaking my mind. You were married to my grandson for almost two decades. I know you. You don't give a flying fig about those kids or me. You certainly are not happy that Fitzgerald is dating one of the most beautiful, brilliant, and compassionate women I have ever met. So I repeat, do you want to leave a message?" Granny held the phone waiting for an answer.

"No," Mellie said and hung up the phone.

"Ugh! That dried up old bitch!" Mellie threw the receiver across the room. "How dare she speak to me that way when I was trying to be nice!" Mellie sat down on her bed and stewed. She rehearsed all the wrongs that had been done to her by Fitz and his family. She even thought of things to blame on Karen and Gerry. She grabbed her purse and looked for Detective Adams' business card. As she dialed the numbers, she regained her peace of mind. She knew what she needed to do. This would be her gift to herself on this Valentine's Day.


Friday, February 15

5:00 am

Aboard the private jet…

"You two are so cute!" Celeste said with genuine glee in her voice. She and her husband Martin set across from Olivia and Fitz aboard the private jet. Olivia was eating a bagel. She would take a bite and then pull off a piece for Fitz. They were on their way back to Denver.

"No, she is the cute one," Fitz said. He gazed longingly at Olivia.

"Olivia, you have completely enchanted this man. I've never seen him like this…even about me," Celeste added.

"What do you mean by that?" Olivia asked, looking between Fitz and Celeste and back at Martin.

Martin's eyes widened at Olivia's question. "You haven't told her, man? Uh oh! Celeste and her big mouth does it again."

"It's nothing, Olivia. Really. Fitz and I dated in college and some years afterward," Celeste said.

Olivia gave Celeste a thorough going over. She was in a word, stunning. Olivia wasn't sure of her age, but her body and bone structure screamed, model quality. Her hair was brown with auburn highlights and was cut into a short pageboy. This was the kind of hairstyle that complimented her features perfectly, almond shaped eyes and high cheekbones. Her face seemed to be perfectly symmetrical. Her legs were long and lanky, supporting curvaceous hips, probably from childbearing. Her breasts were ample and she revealed just enough cleavage. There was no comparison. In Olivia's estimation, Celeste was more beautiful than she was.

Last night before they finally went to sleep, he explained that his old friend Celeste had arranged the private jet and the gig with The Roots for him. Apparently she was an entertainment lawyer with many friends in high places. The plan was for them to have dinner with Celeste and her husband, Martin, last night. Instead, Fitz and Olivia had snuck out of the ballroom after their dance to "Golden Lady". She had been particularly amorous, whispering all the things she would do to him if they left right then.

Now they were headed back home accompanied by Celeste and Martin who also had spent Valentine's Day in Vegas. Olivia admitted to herself that she was a little jealous, but she chose to brush it aside, determined not to let it ruin the day.

"It's okay. Fitz and I have only been dating for a couple of months. I haven't told him about many of my guy friends and former exes who are as freakishly good looking as you, Celeste. They are all dying to meet you Fitz, the man who has been taking up all my time," Olivia said as she kept a poker face.

"What guy friends are you referring to, Olivia? Huck and Harrison?" he said turning to face her.

"They are my close friends, but I never dated them. Honey, we can talk about this later." Olivia smiled at him and patted his cheek. "So Celeste, what celebrities have you worked for?"

"Livy, I want to talk about this now," Fitz said.

"Later, okay."

He turned to face Celeste and Martin who were shaking their heads and laughing at him. He thought he heard Martin say, "totally whipped" but he wasn't sure.

"I mostly handle entertainment contracts. I've worked with The Roots, Esperanza Spalding, Rhianna, 50 cent, Demi Lovato, Green Day, and Lauren Hill to name a few. I also represent record labels."

"How interesting?" Olivia said yawning, "Maybe you can come and present at Ambrose for career day in May?

"That would be awesome. I don't know how you are going to make it through teaching today after a night in Vegas, girl. I couldn't do it," Celeste said.

"You two should get some sleep. We will be touching down at 6," said Martin.

"Fitz, I meant to ask you how you got those scratches on your face. They look pretty fresh, man." Martin couldn't resist.

When Fitz's cheek turned a bright shade of red, Martin responded, "Enough said," laughing as he walked back to the bathroom.

Fitz led Olivia back to their seats. He turned towards her, "Were you deliberately goading me back there or do you really have that many guy friends? I am sorry I didn't tell you about Celeste and me. It was years ago that we dated. I consider her a friend and nothing else."

"I feel the same way about my male friends. We are just friends as well." Olivia leaned in close so that her face was inches from his. "I would never kiss them like this." She gave him a deep kiss. "I wouldn't dream of touching them like this." She looked around and made sure Celeste and Martin were in their seats rows in front of them before she shoved her hand down the front of his pants to stroke him. His eyes widened at her touch. He removed her hand and pulled her up to her feet.

"I am not through with this best friend conversation, but there is a more pressing matter we need to attend to now in the bathroom."

The next sound that was heard was the click of the knob changing from "Vacant" to "Occupied."


Friday, February 15

6:15 am

In Fitz's Vehicle

"Celeste is right. How am I going to keep my eyes open today at school?" Olivia said yawing as they drove from the airport.

"Let's stop by the house. Granny will be up and she will have a pot of coffee brewing. I'll get us to school by 7:30. Did you make sure that Abby placed your car at the consignment shop?" Fitz said making the turn towards his house instead of the school.

"Yes, it is there."

Fitz pulled into his driveway, noticing the police car and other unmarked vehicle parked on the street.

"Why is a police car here?" Olivia asked.

"I don't know."

He drove up to the door of the garage, but didn't open it. They both got out and walked to the cars. Two police officers and two plainclothes detectives excited the cars to meet them.

"Officers, can I help you?" Fitz asked.

"Are you Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III?" the woman detective asked.

"Yes."

She flashed her badge. "Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III, you are under arrest for the assault and battery. You have the right to remain silent…" After those words, Fitz didn't hear anything else she said.

"What is going one?" Olivia said. "Assaulting who? He has a right to know who made these charges."

As the detective mirandized Fitz, the police cuffed him and walked him around to the back of the police cruiser. It was then that the detective answered Olivia.

"Millicent Rosemont."

Hearing that name broke Fitz out of his shock induced trance.

"Olivia, call my dad and Celeste too. I am going to need a lawyer and she can provide a referral. Her number is in my cell phone." He mouthed, "I love you" before the police shut the door in his face. Olivia watched as the cars drove away. She rushed to the car to get her bag and Fitz's phone. She laid on the door bell.

Granny opened the door.

"Olivia, what is wrong? Where's Fitzgerald?"

"He's been arrested for assaulting Mellie," she said.


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