An Education

The Once and Future Mrs. Grant

It was day 7 of their carte blanche agreement. Olivia had slept in that morning because she had a free day from school thanks to Fitz. She didn't know what he'd told GG or the kids to explain her absence that morning nor where he'd taken GG so they could have the house to themselves. By 8, she felt the bed give way to his weight as he reached for her. He had really learned how to navigate without hurting his broken, yet mending hand. The brace was much smaller now.

"Okay, The Once and Future Mrs. Grant, our domicile is empty so let the games commence, my lady," he said in his best medieval accent.

She squealed in delight as he snatched back the covers, grabbed her by the ankles and pulled her towards him all with his good hand. Despite her sexual exhaustion, she gave herself over to more lovemaking. Afterwards they collapsed on the bed. Fitz reached for the tainted mimosa to quench his thirst. "Whew! I am parched and drained my lady," he said. Olivia's smile turned into a horrified grimace.

"Don't drink it, Fitz!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. She snatched it from his fingers. The orange liquid sloshed over the sides of the goblet and onto her. The liquid ran down her body like a cloak of guilt.

"Olivia? What the…?"

She smiled, embarrassed, realizing how crazy she must look naked and dripping with orange juice. "It probably tastes stale after sitting out all night," she explained weakly. "You should head downstairs. I'll clean up this mess and make breakfast, okay?"

"It is not that serious, Livy. I'll start breakfast and you can clean up…unless you want me to lick the mimosa off you," he wiggled his eyebrows wickedly.

"No. No. No. I'll see you downstairs." She rushed into the bathroom still gripping the goblet. She closed the door and fell back against it.

"I have turned into a complete maniac," she said aloud to herself. As she showered, dressed, and changed the bedclothes, Olivia couldn't escape the guilt of what she had almost done. She knew she had to tell him even though she wasn't sure how he would react. Between almost drugging him and breaking his hand, she knew this was probably the last straw and the shortest one at that. She wanted to call and talk to Abby, but then she remembered that her advice had gotten her into this mess to begin with.

Olivia wondered how she would tell him. She practiced in the mirror.

"Fitz, I love you and would never hurt you, but I tried to put you to sleep with Ambien because I wanted a break from sex," she said looking in the mirror earnestly pretending she had taken his hands and gathered them to her chest.

"Too earnest. Seems fake."

She tried again.

"Darling, guess what I was planning to do to you last night, all so that you would fall asleep," she pretended as if she was laughing uncontrollably at the suggestion. "I put an Ambien in your mimosa, isn't that hilarious, babe?"

"Sounds too perky."

Again she tried.

"Fitz, I am a horrible person. Breaking your hand was just the tip of the iceberg; I tried to drug you last night too. But don't you see that they were both for good causes?"

She rolled her eyes at her reflection. Olivia knew two things for sure. She had to tell Fitz. He wouldn't forgive her when she did. With those two thoughts in mind, she joined him downstairs.

Fitz was on the phone with a call from school while Olivia loaded the dishes from their breakfast into the dishwasher. She was totally inside her head trying to figure out how to broach the subject.

"Quinn, please just tell her I will speak with her tomorrow. I know, but I… she was informed a week ago about her transfer. Just tell her…She can't do that… I will be back tomorrow. If she walks away from her job, that action will be considered abandonment, which will void her transfer and any other chance she has in getting a job in this school district. Thanks, Quinn…no, it's not your fault. Okay. Bye."

Fitz hung up the phone, fed up with Sara Marks and her shenanigans. After everything she had done, he was surprised that she expected to remain at Ambrose next school year. He granted her a transfer, although he preferred to have her paneled. Unfortunately, that would put his relationship with Olivia under undue scrutiny so he'd forgone that option.

He walked back to the kitchen where Olivia was cleaning up their breakfast dishes. His eyes scanned her from the top of her mess of curly hair to the soles of her bare feet. From the look on her face, she was deep in thought. Her lips were pursed to one side as she bit the skin on the inside of her chin with her teeth. This was a nervous habit he noticed early on in their relationship. It appeared whenever she was thinking or worrying. The water was running over a plate as she absently scrubbed it with the brush. One of her legs was bent as she balanced, one foot flat and the other foot's sole resting against her ankle. Sara Marks was forgotten as all he wanted to do was slide his hands along those brown shapely legs that were visible under short her khaki skirt.

Fitz stepped behind her and shut off the faucet. "Earth to Livy," he whispered in her ear. His hand was venturing under her skirt.

She turned around and faced him. "Fitz, we need to talk."

His brow furrowed. "That doesn't sound good." He pulled her over to the couch.

"What do we need to talk about?"

"I want you to remember that I really do love you, more than anything, but I will understand if you want to break off our engagement after I tell you this," she said cautiously.

Fitz didn't respond at all. He waited.

"I've been so stupid. This celibacy pact was an idiotic idea. See, I get these grand ideas in my head, and I don't think them through sometimes. So when you made the carte blanche condition, I thought it was only fair that I accept. But Fitz, after some time, I got tired of all the sex. I didn't say anything to you because I knew you would veto my celibacy idea."

"I knew it! I knew you were getting weary. That was the plan, Livy. I was trying to get you to give in. I think you hated me interrupting your sleep the most, but you called my bluff. You never said a word about it. You should have. But it's okay. You won. The next six months are going to be hell, hell, hell. But I love you, love you, love you. I figure I'll get in the best shape of my life with all the exercising I'll be doing. Your idea wasn't idiotic just very undesirable. But you keep it interesting to say the least." He smiled at her but she continued her look of distress.

"Fitz, I'm not done. Instead of talking to you about it, I got it in my mind to force you not to have sex with me last night and today. I guess a better word would be, "incapacitate"… I tried to incapacitate you. I ground up an Ambien and put it in your mimosa, only you didn't drink it so…I was screwed twice."

Liv's words hung in the air. She looked at Fitz waiting for him to be angry. She swiveled her engagement ring round and round her ring finger. He just looked at her, his eyes boring into hers, like he was trying to understand. Olivia waited for the onslaught of anger.

Then he engulfed her in a big hug and laughed like a hyena.

"Liv, you are absolutely mad…" he said and then resumed laughing. "No, I am mad for loving you…" he continued laughing and more laughing.

"From now on, I will need a taster before I eat or drink anything you prepare for me…" he said with yet even goofier laughing came from him.

Olivia pushed him away. "Stop laughing, Fitz. This is serious. I could have killed you. First I break your hand and now this. Aren't you mad at me?"

"Okay, I'm sorry, baby. I am surprised…a lot shocked…and a little afraid, but not angry. You think I am going to call off our engagement because of this?"

"Well, yes, I mean, what I did was beyond the pale. How could you want to marry me now? Doesn't this call everything about me into question?"

"Livy, are you trying to get me to break up with you? What you almost did was not smart and very much LifeTime Movie Network worthy, but I'm thankful you told me. Next time, just talk to me about whatever is bothering you. So, does that mean the celibacy thing is done? Please say it is," he pulled her onto his lap.

"But Fitz, why don't you hate me? I hate me for doing this."

"I could never hate you. Why are you so upset that I am not mad? You shouldn't be mad at me for not being mad at you."

"I don't understand you or your family, for that matter." She pulled out of his arms and started pacing.

"I mean why do you even love me? I overanalyze everything. I worry too much. I can be double-minded, but then sometimes, I'm single-minded to a fault. I'm black. I become consumed with work at times. I-"

"Wait! Back up! You're black? Did you just say, 'I'm black?' I assume you are listing your faults…is being black one of them, Olivia?" he asked. His voice lost all traces of humor from before.

"Yes, I said it. Someone has to. I don't think it is a problem, of course, but 400 years of American history says differently. From the transatlantic slave trade to slavery to the Civil War to Reconstruction to the Jim Crow era to the Civil Rights Move…"

"Olivia, where is this coming from? What does the transatlantic slave trade and everything else you are saying…being African-American…have to do with our conversation at present?" Fitz was up on his feet, facing Olivia as she paced back and forth.

"Well, I carry that history with me and the present struggles of my people. I just don't understand why it…me being a black woman isn't a problem for you or your family. They all seem to really like me. Your dad, the staunch Republican too, even likes me. They all like me. GG loves me! She is in her 80s so she should have some sketchy, racist views about me. I mean they don't care that we are getting married. They wanted us to. I mean we might even have children! Only Mellie has been what I expected. She was offensive about our school serving racial ethnic minorities…she was borderline racist…"

Fitz was livid. He grabbed Olivia's hand as she strutted by on her pacing walk. He gripped her arms, shaking her a little, "Olivia snap out of it! This is bullshit!"

She inhaled and her eyes widened in shock at his anger. "Fitz you're hurting me!" He picked her up like a rag doll and released her on the couch.

"Listen and listen good, Olivia. I am sooo happy that Mellie of all damned people lived up to your expectations of how white people should be, racist and insincere. Do you feel that way about Abby? Last time I checked she was white. I am equally sorry that my family and I didn't live up to your expectations. We love you for you! I love you for you! How many times do I have to tell you that? Racism and inequality exist, but it has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with us right now. I am not going to defend myself or my family to you, to prove that we really are the closet racists we should be… just waiting to unleash our racial epithets and injustice on you. Oh my god, Olivia! You are really afraid of us…our relationship…our getting married, aren't you? You are reaching at anything you can find to break us up. We move past it and then you search and search for something else. I don't think you were ever intending to drug me. You just wanted something to feel guilty about so you could get me to break up with you!" He walked back to her on the couch and knelt so they were nose to nose. "Well, guess what Olivia? I AM NOT GOING ANYWHERE! I may end up in an institution like Mellie before it's over but we are getting married. You are worth fighting for even if the biggest fight is with you, okay?"

He waited for her acknowledge. She closed her eyes and released the tears that had gathered there. His forehead touched hers, hands cupping her cheeks and brushing away her tears.

"I'm sorry, Fitz. I didn't mean to say those things about you, the family, and especially GG…"

"Not the family…say, my family…you will be Mrs. Grant in 6 months…if you don't kill me first, Livy."

"I am happy to hear you call my 'Livy' instead of 'Olivia', and Fitz I think we would benefit from premarital counseling. What do you think?"

"Um…yes. We can get that set up very soon. Pastor Hawthorne, I'm sure, would be delighted to counsel us," Fitz said pulling her up. "I'm sorry for being rough with you. I would never hurt you. I was just…feeling everything at once. I'll even be willing to do the celibacy thing for…3 months."

"Fitz, no. Absolutely not. No more rules or pacts. Let's go walk Rolfo," she said.

"Sounds good to me."

"And Fitz, I really do love you, despite my actions to the contrary," she said as they put on shoes and leashed Rolfo.

"I love you, too."

GG was truly enjoying herself at the Senior Center. She was done with water aerobics and her pottery class. She wouldn't normally take two classes like that back to back, but Fitzgerald had insisted. GG didn't make a fuss because she knew he wanted the house all to himself. She felt very content because she knew why he really wanted the house and it wasn't to move Olivia's things without disturbing her. She knew they were having sex like bunnies today. For some reason, they had been going at it like that for the last couple of days. Hopefully, they were being as reproductive as those little furry animals. GG wanted to add to her brood of Grant great grandchildren.

Now she was sitting by the receptionist's desk holding court with the young people who worked there as lifeguards and instructors.

"Okay, I know what "LOL" means, but what does "LMFAO" mean and isn't that a singing group too?" GG asked.

The 5 young people gathered looked at each other and began to snicker. Just as one of the workers started to answer, GG's phone chirped. She looked at the caller ID. It was Mellie's mother. "Excuse me. I must take this." Granny walked away.

"If you are calling me, there must be trouble," GG said.

"Yes, Lillian. Mellie is moving back to Denver very soon. Really, any day now, she'll be back. There was nothing else we could do. She has been very compliant and was able to prove to the staff that she is ready to be on her own. The only problem is that she has them convinced that she has Bipolar Disorder. I don't know if she really is stable or not. My advice is for Fitz to never be alone with her. I know it sounds drastic, but…"

"No, you are correct. I really appreciate your call and head's up about Mellie. I'll never forget how you've helped me. Please let me know if I can ever return the favor." GG hung up the phone, planning her next move.

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