An Education

Loose Ends

"Who's that at the door?" asked Granny. She stepped around the corner wiping her hands on her apron.

Celeste's eyes widened in silent communication to Fitz. She stepped through the door and stood beside Fitz on his other side as if she were answering the door with him.

"Hello, detectives, I'm Celeste Albertson, attorney for Mr. Grant in this case. How can I help you?" Celeste extended her hand to both detectives. The three sets of eyes inside the house fell on Celeste in disbelief.

What is she doing here? I thought I told her to stay home, thought Fitz.

What the hell is she doing here? I thought he told her to keep her ass at home, thought Olivia.

Let me fix this, Granny thought with a sigh.

"I'm Detective Lydia Adams and this is my partner, Detective Ruben Robinson we want to ask Mr. Grant more questions. May we come in?" she said as they flashed their badges.

"These charges have been dropped so I am not answering any more questions," Fitz said.

"Mr. Grant, I'll handle this. I need to see the-" Celeste said.

"Detectives, I think there has been some mix up. Why don't you come in, have a seat, and I'll get you some coffee? We can resolve this," Granny said, walking by Celeste with a dismissive look. Granny couldn't understand why she was there pretending to be Fitz's lawyer or why she was present.

Olivia tried to turn out of Fitz's side embrace, but he wouldn't let her go.

"Ma'am our questions are as clear as that scar on Mr. Grant's face. Where did you get that scar by the way, Mr. Grant?" Detective Robinson asked.

"I did that. It was an accident. I bumped into him while we were standing on a plane," Olivia said stoically.

Celeste and Granny spoke simultaneously.

"You don't have to answer that…" Celeste began

"Detectives, My name is Lillian Grant, and I request that you speak with me privately before you question my grandson. Please go down the hall and take the first door to the left to the study. I'll be right there." Granny didn't smile this time.

"Okay, so long as that will get us closer to just getting a few questions answered," Detective Adams said before they walked to the study. When they were out of earshot, Granny said, "I'll be right back, after I handle this. Why are you here dear?"

Celeste realized Granny was addressing her. "Fitz told me what happened when I spoke to him early this morning. I thought I could lend my expertise to help Fitz resolve this problem."

Granny's brow furrowed. "Hmm. I'll be back."

"I'm going to finish in the kitchen," Olivia said hastily. She rushed out of the room. Her stomach was in knots and her chest was very tight. She hadn't felt this way for a long time. Her emotions were teetering. She needed to get out of there before she lost her equilibrium. She was having trouble breathing.

"Livy, we can get those later…" Fitz called after her but she didn't stop.

"Celeste, why are you here. It's a two-hour drive from your house. I told you this was not necessary."

She walked to him and gave him a hug. "Fitz, I had to come. I couldn't risk you incriminating yourself or…"

He pulled her back. "But you practice entertainment law. If you felt that concerned, you could have given me a referral."

She ignored him and took a seat on the sofa. "What's wrong with Olivia…trouble in paradise already? It's only a matter of time before your relationship comes out at school. You need to think about how you will handle that."

Fitz looked at Celeste. She wasn't acting like herself. The unannounced visit was the biggest clue that something was very wrong.

The detectives and Granny walked into the room interrupting Fitz's thoughts and their exchange. "Mr. Grant, we are sorry to have bothered you. Ms. Grant explained everything to us. Please enjoy your weekend," Detective Adams led the way as both detectives walked to the door and left the house.

When Olivia heard the chime of the door closing, she walked back into the front room. Fitz spotted her and mouthed, "Come here." Olivia ignored him and twisted the kitchen washcloth around her hands.

"Granny, what did you say to them?" Celeste asked.

"Celeste, that's your name, right? How do I know you, again?" Granny asked.

"Fitz and I are friends. We dated in college, remember? I used to be Celeste Fitzgerald. It was a joke that my last name was Fitz's name first. You even joked about it one time?" Celeste said.

"So Albertson is your married name? How long have you been married? And do you have any children," Granny asked.

"15 years. I have two children." Celeste rushed her answer.

"Granny has saved the day," Olivia said giving her a kiss on the cheek, but ignoring Celeste. She took this as her chance to exit. "I need to get home. Thanks for the breakfast." Olivia turned and walked up the stairs to collect her bag.

Fitz didn't try to stop her, but he knew what would. Her keys were hanging in the kitchen on the wooden key holder where Granny had placed them. He walked in the kitchen and retrieved the keys, placing them in his pocket. Granny grinned when she picked up on his line of thinking. He returned to the front room just as the doorbell rang. Olivia walked into the room with her purse and bag. Celeste was making herself comfortable on the sofa, channel surfing.

"Who's knocking now I wonder?" Granny opened the door to a man who was visibly angry.

"Is Celeste, my wife, here?" Martin asked in a strained voice.

"Yes, she is here. Would you like to come in?" Granny said with a welcoming smile. Martin stepped inside.

"Celeste, there is someone…" Granny began.

"Martin?" Celeste asked. She met him at the door looking up at him in disbelief. "What are you doing here?"

"I should be asking you the same question." Martin answered evenly as if he was trying to contain his temper.

"Didn't you get my note?" Celeste whispered.

"This note doesn't make sense. How are you going to leave our house to drive two hours to help him? And on the day when my parents were due to bring back the kids? I couldn't bring myself to tell them that my wife had decided to leave her husband and kids chasing... The kids are in the car waiting. Let's go." Martin grabbed her arm. She looked over his shoulder and saw Karen and Gerry standing beside his idling car playing peekaboo with the kids.

Celeste looked back at Fitz, Olivia, and Granny. She turned around and left without a word.

Granny closed the door. "Well, now, that was interesting."

"Thanks for everything Granny. I really need to get going now." Olivia walked to the kitchen to get her keys.

"Where are my keys?" Olivia called from the kitchen.

"Well, it's obvious you two need to talk. I'm going to my room to catch the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network and possible take a nap. All these visitors have worn me out. Olivia will come around. I don't know about Celeste. She was out of place today. I can't believe she left her children."

"I want to talk to you too, Granny. What did you say to those detectives to make them change their tune so quickly," Fitz asked. Olivia returned to the family room with a stony expression.

"I already talked to you, dear, but I don't think you believed me." Granny smiled at them both and left the room.

Fitz walked to Olivia and faced her.

"Where are my keys?" she asked, shakily.

"Olivia, we need to talk," he said, taking her bags.

"Since you're not going to let me go until we talk, then talk." They stood nose to nose.

"Stop trying to run away from us. This past week has been full of reasons to run. Mellie and these bogus charges…Celeste…I don't know what's going on with her. The good has outweighed the bad, though. Valentine's Day was hands down, one of the best days of my life, just second to Gerry and Karen being born…and then there was that first day I met you."

They sat on opposite ends of the sofa and faced each other.

"I don't like Celeste. I know she's your friend, but I just don't like her. She dismisses me. Even on the jet, she talked about me, but not too me. Martin spoke to me, but she didn't. It's obvious that she has feelings for you. You don't see it, do you?"

"I admit that her showing up here was out of line. It was a total surprise. I can't understand why she would do that. The roads are messy because of the snow. It's a two-hour drive. Martin was obviously upset so he didn't approve. Celeste and I haven't been involved for a long time. We've just been friends. That's all. This is out of character."

"Why did you break up? I know it's been awhile, but…"

Fitz took a deep breath. "Celeste and I met and started dating during our last year in college. She and Mellie were best friends. At the time, I really didn't like Mellie. There was something about her that rubbed me the wrong way, but I tolerated her because of Celeste. We were engaged 2 years later when Celeste was in law school. One night I went to see Celeste, but she wasn't home. Mellie was there. They were roommates. She showed me some pictures of Celeste with her ex-boyfriend. They appeared to be having sex. I was angry and hurt so I slept with Mellie. Celeste walked in on us."

Olivia's eyes widened at his admission.

"I am not proud of that. Celeste ended our engagement and we didn't speak for over two years. It was strange because Mellie had no remorse or regret. She and I continued seeing each other and she became pregnant with Gerry. She told me she was on birth control. I didn't want to marry her and my family supported me, but I couldn't leave her to raise a child alone, so I married her. Celeste contacted me two years later after she heard about our marriage. During our talk we compared stories and the truth finally came out. The photos were fakes that Mellie photoshopped. Her boyfriend wasn't even with Celeste the night the pictures were supposedly taken. By then we felt there was nothing we could do about anything. Too much time had passed and we had both moved on. A couple of years later, we ran into each other at the airport and stayed in touch. Celeste was engaged to Martin and I was married to Mellie so we kept the past in the past and moved forward."

"I have a question, Fitz. I want you to think before you answer. Do you love Celeste?"

Fitz didn't answer immediately. He knew what she was asking.

"No, Livy. I do not love Celeste as anything other than a friend. She has always appeared to be happy with the life she has built with Martin." Fitz moved closer to Olivia on the sofa.

"Do you ever wish that things would have worked out differently between you and Celeste?"

Fitz moved closer until their thighs touched. He took both of her hands and entwined them with his. "I don't regret anything because everything that has happened, the good, the bad, the ugly has brought me to this moment with you. I hope I've gotten smarter and more honest with myself. If I am honest, I will admit that I shouldn't have accepted all the gifts and favors from Celeste over the years. I don't have feelings for her, but she could have some for me. I see that now. That's me being completely honest."

Olivia looked down at their linked hands. She brought them to her lips and kissed them. "I love you so much, but I'm scared. It's only been a couple of months, but my feelings are so strong and they happened so quickly. When the feelings become too much or I feel threatened, I try to distance myself from you. But you've never let me get too far away. I just want to say that I will try to stop running from us."

He lifted her chin and touched his lips to hers.

"What's going to happen with Mellie? The charges were dropped, but she needs to be held responsible for what she tried to do to you." Olivia looked worried.

"I don't know. I need to talk with Granny. She knows more than we think. She told me she had the charges removed completely. I am unclear about what she means. She handled those detectives. Lauren has always said that Granny is a powerful woman. Let's not think about it right now. I want to enjoy the remainder of our weekend before Monday," Fitz said.

"That's another thing we need to talk about. School. It is only a matter of time before someone finds out about us. It's getting harder and harder to keep our relationship a secret. It's not a total secret because my friends know. Anyone looking, really paying attention could figure it out. Let's talk about our options." Olivia sighed.

"The problem is that you are dating me, your immediate supervisor. If we didn't have the supervisory relationship, it would be okay, though some schools frown on staff dating each other at all. The only option is for one of us to leave Ambrose, Fitz said."

"I don't want to leave Ambrose, Fitz, so I guess you'll have to leave after the year is up. We are going to have to tread lightly to get through these last 3 months."

"I know you like working at Ambrose, but you should consider working in leadership or writing more books. You have so much talent. I think it's time for you to expand your horizons."

Olivia turned around on Fitz's lap and straddled his waist. Putting one arm and then the other around his neck, she said, "Maybe now things will slow down for us. We deserve some calm."

"Lillian, she is at St. Joseph's on a 72 hour hold," Mellie's mother said.

"When is she leaving Denver?" Granny asked.

"At the end of the hold. We won't be able to get together for coffee or tea. Mr. Rosemont and I would really love to see you, but we won't have time."

"Maybe another time. We need to make sure Mellie gets the help that she needs so she won't try to hurt my family again. We will get another opportunity to fellowship. I want you to know that I don't want to keep Mellie from seeing Karen and Gerry. When she is able, I'm sure we can arrange something."

They said their goodbyes and hung up. Granny returned to watching Ina Garten make Beef Wellington.

Cyrus and Mellie's parents stood in her room. She had been sedated and looked to be resting calmly.

"When will she be able to go home? I am prepared to help as much as possible." Cyrus rubbed her hand.

Cyrus, loyal to the end. He must really love me. But I already knew that. If only Fitz would love me this much.

"After she leaves here, we are taking her home to Portland with us. She needs intensive therapy and consistent meds to help her through this. I'm afraid she is too much of a danger on her own. She was prepared to let the father of her children go to jail. She was having him surveiled…and the violence she did to her face. We must prevent her from doing something worse next time." Mrs. Rosemont became overwhelmed as she spoke. Her husband wrapped his arm around her as she wept.

If they think I am leaving Denver with them, they are just as crazy as they think I am. This is not over. Not over.

Mellie finally let the sedatives lull her into unconsciousness.

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