An Education

Everything at Once

"Do not forget to make sure they take home the "End of the Year Party" letter, Fitz. I was going to give it out Friday, but...well you know I was not there. And Fitz, bring home the papers from my 'To Be Graded' bin on my desk. And Fitz, tell them I'll be back tomorrow. And Fitz...I love you," Olivia said as he walked from the bed to the door and back with each, 'And Fitz…' "

"I love you, too. Livy. I will not tell them you will be back tomorrow. We will have to see if your nausea is under control, which is doubtful since it is getting worse and not better. I will call you later," He blew her a kiss and left the room. Since any smell could trigger her vomiting, he tried not to get too close after shaving and dressing.

GG entered the bedroom. "Olivia dear, it will get better after a few more weeks. The nausea will be gone."

"No, GG. It has to get better now. There are only 13 more days of school left. I cannot abandon my students. I think my nausea is psychosomatic anyway," Olivia said. She sat up in the bed and swung her legs to the floor.

"Psycho what?"

"I think it is all in my head. I am just stressed with the pregnancy...and now we pushed up the wedding date. I still cannot believe I am two months pregnant. There were zero symptoms, GG. Then, once the doctor confirmed it, the nausea started. I did not begin showing symptoms until I was told I was pregnant. In essence, I caused my own nausea…psychosomatic" Olivia was looking through the closet for something to wear. She glanced at the clock. It read 7:00. I can be at school in 45 minutes.

"Olivia, that is simply not true. Let us review this together," GG said slowly following Olivia into the closet. "You said that you did not have a real cycle last month. You have been very tired the last couple of weeks. You threw out all of the leftovers from Fitz's Asian Stir fry because it smelled bad. You love that dish and it was fine when he put it away. Add to that your fainting and nausea, it all adds up, dearie. That baby is growing and making itself known. You were pretty much ignoring all the signs. If you go to school, it will not be a good thing. You cannot teach from the toilet, dear."

GG followed Olivia from the closet to the bathroom. She observed Olivia pick up the tube of toothpaste and sniff.

Lifting a perfectly arched eyebrow, GG said, "Do you think that is a good idea?"

"This toothpaste smells ba…" Olivia was not able to make it the toilet. She bent over the sink and vomited.

"Just let it out, dear, though there is really nothing else in your system to let out." GG helped Olivia clean up and led her back to the bed.

"This is what we will do. You are not going to rest until you have something to do. Throw on some clothes and come downstairs with me. You can work on your laptop while I prepare some potato and leek soup for you. I think that might help your nausea. You need to get something down that will stay there."

"Thanks for putting up with me, GG. I know I am not the best patient. I will be downstairs soon."

Olivia grabbed her ringing cell phone from the bedside table. When she saw her oldest sister Sierra's face appear she was instantly happy. She and Sierra had been close once, but they rarely talked now. Between Sierra's demanding schedule as a nurse manager and her responsibilities as a wife and mother, it was easy for long stretches of time to pass between their calls and correspondences. They had been in more frequent contact since Olivia told her family about the wedding and pregnancy.

"Sierra, I am so glad you called." Olivia put her on speaker and changed into shorts and a tank top.

"How is the nausea? Is it getting any better?"

"No, not really. I do not remember you having this much nausea. I wish we lived closer so you could help me with all the baby stuff," Olivia said.

"Sweetie, I know, but you have Abby and…Savan-" Sierra said.

"Do not mention her name Si." Olivia said forcefully.

"Livia she is your little sister and you two need to work this out. You cannot just banish her from your life. Since you and Fitz moved the wedding date, you have another chance to ask her to be one of your bridesmaids. She wants to be there with you, Livia. She wants to make this up to you. This thing between you has gone on long enough. I am caught in the middle."

"Si, all four of my nephews spend time with me in the summer. If I was really holding a grudge I would only take Marcus and Davion, but I include Tray and Tony too. Do not push me on this," Olivia said angrily.

"I am not pushing you. It does not make since for you to have a sister so close…"

"I will not keep talking about this…"

"Okay, Livia I will change the subject, but it is not good. Okay, I'm just going to say it. I will not able to bring John and the boys with me to Antigua for the wedding. We can only afford one ticket for me. We had already booked the tickets for your wedding when it was going to be in November. We will come in November for the reception, but coming next month is not in the budget now…four tickets, hotel, is just too expensive for the budget right now. Do not take this the wrong way, sweetie. I love you and Fitz, but you really did not think this through when you changed the date on us. Mom and Dad...Dad especially will never admit that they are sincerely stressed out right now scrambling to pay for getting there. Livia, you had to realize what a burden this change of date and venue would be on all of us..."

Olivia just held the phone in a bit of a shock at this news. She and Fitz had immediately called their parents to tell them about the wedding date change and the pregnancy. Olivia did not recall either her parents or Fitz's raising any reservations. Now, as she thought about it, her Dad had become very talkative and her mother quiet, neither was not a good sign for her parents. Sierra's words caused Olivia's stomach to twist in knots with worry. She couldn't stop tears from welling up.

"I did not think about any of that, Sierra. How stupid could I be? I have been so consumed with my own life that I did not think about how these changes would affect everyone else, especially my family. The Grants had been planning a trip there before Fitz and I started dating. Is everyone mad at me?" Olivia said in a small voice.

"You are the topic of family gossip among the extended family, but no one will say anything to my face. Our extended family was not financially affected because they aren't coming to the wedding. They can indulge their nosiness in November at your reception. Sweetie, do not start worrying okay. Mom, Dad, Nana, and Papa will be there along with me…put those schedules on my desk," Sierra said to someone on her end of the phone before she resumed speaking to Olivia, "Livia I have to go. I am at work as usual. I will call you tomorrow, sweetie…sorry I have to run…bye."

After Sierra hung up the phone, Olivia wiped her tears away. She threw on her robe over her clothes, grabbed her laptop, and trudged downstairs. She added this to her long list of worries.

Fitz poured over next year's budget for and the staff placements. Everything looked to be in order. He was excited that there was not a lot of movement of teachers between grade levels. His mouth spread into a little smile when he saw Olivia's name on the teacher roster. He scratched out Pope and inserted Grant. He made a note to ask her about possible substitutes for her maternity leave when voices outside his door caught his attention.

"You cannot barge in there without an appointment. Mrs. Marks!" Quinn said.

Fitz looked up just as Sara appeared in the doorway of his office. "I need to speak with him now."

Fitz picked up on the anger in Sara's voice and demeanor. He could have dismissed her, but he needed to handle this.

"Quinn, thanks. I'll see Sara now."

Sara stepped around Quinn abruptly and further into Fitz's office. Fitz closed the door.

"Sara, it would have been appropriate for you to make an appointment with me. I have an open door policy, but with 110 staff members, appointments allow me to give everyone my full attention. Please have a seat." After his lecture, he extended his arm for her to sit. He took a seat behind his desk.

"I understand, Mr. Grant, but this is very important. I cannot transfer to another school. I would rather stay here. I know you are transferring me because I threatened Olivia. You cannot retaliate against me like this."

With a voice as smooth as silk Fitz responded. "I offered you a transfer because I thought you might be a better fit in another learning community. Based on your observations and reviews, you are at best a mediocre teacher. Perhaps a new environment will be the catalyst you need to improve your teaching practice and better collaborate with your team. I chose not to put you on a professional development plan because it would be a strike on your record. If you'd like I can add a PD plan."

Sara lowered her voice. "Please do not threaten me, Mr. Grant. You and Olivia may be engaged, but with one phone call I can…"

"Okay, Mrs. Marks, you leave me no choice. You will have to be put on a plan immediately…"

"Before you do this to me, I'll quit…I won't be back tomorrow."

"If you leave, that will be considered job abandonment. Any transfer you have will be automatically voided…"

Sara Markson made a hasty exit and slammed the door before he could finish.

"Mr. Grant, is everything okay. Did she just quit?" Quinn asked.

"Yes. This is for the best, Quinn. Please line up a substitute teacher for her class for these last two weeks. Pull the letter requesting that she return her keys, laptop, and name badge. Call Human Resources as well."

"Okay, Mr. Grant. I will send Ms. Bates to the class now."

Good riddance, Sarah Marks, Fitz thought to himself.

"I do not want to jinx it, GG, but I have not vomited in 4 hours." Olivia was propped up on a pillow on the family room couch.

"It is my potato and leek soup. I made enough for us to freeze for later. Do not think you are free and clear. Now, what is on your mind? You have not done much work."

"Nothing. I am enjoying a settled stomach."

"GG, have you ever had a falling out with a family member?" Olivia asked after a short while.

"Of course, we all have, I am sure. That is the normal course of things in families, why do you ask?"

"What if your family member, for instance, your sister did something terrible to hurt you…could you forgive her?"

"I guess it would depend on the betrayal and how she acted afterwards. I would hope I could forgive though," GG said.

"Liv, can I talk to you?" Karen demanded, entering the front door hastily.

"Hello Karen. It is polite to greet people when you enter a room." GG instructed.

"Liv, never mind, I'll talk to you later," Karen said running upstairs to her room.

"Okay, honey. I'll come up later," Olivia hollered after her.

"Karen has not been herself the last couple of weeks. I really need to talk to her," said Olivia.

"Why don't you rest right now, dear? Karen will be fine."

Olivia awoke abruptly and yawned. The clock beside the bed read 9:00. Olivia could not figure out if it was morning or night until she saw the night sky through the window. She was still dressed in her tank top and shorts from earlier that day. Where is Fitz?

Olivia went downstairs to search for him in his study. She opened the door and saw the top of his black curly hair. He was sitting at his desk.

"Fitz, hi. I think I have been asleep since four. I do not remember when you got home." Olivia walked around the desk to face him. He beckoned with outstretched arms for her to sit on his lap.

"GG would not let me wake you. I'm glad you are rested. So you are not nauseous anymore?"

"GG made potato and leek soup. Let's just say it has stayed with me since I ate it. How are my kids?"

"They miss you and want to know when you will be back. I told them, maybe Wednesday. I distributed the party letter and got your papers. Abby, Huck and Harrison plan to visit tomorrow. Sara Marks quit today. She did not want to be transferred so she just walked out."

"Really? She abandoned her kids? Wow."

"I need to find her replacement for next year. What else is going on?" Fitz asked.

"You should hire Quinn. She will graduate this summer."

Fitz looked at Olivia, considering her suggestion. "That makes a lot of sense, Livy. I forgot she was getting her teaching degree. She never says anything to me about it."

"She is probably afraid to. You can be so formal when you in you are in the Principal Grant role." Olivia snuggled against to his chest as he hugged her closer.

"Oh really. How was everything thing else today?"

Olivia sighed. So much had surfaced today. Her nausea, the broken relationship with her sister, the wedding, Karen's request to talk. Olivia knew there were many other worries she could list. She decided to let them rest until tomorrow. Tonight she decided to bask in Fitz's protective arms. "Okay, I guess. I am much better now that you are home. Your arms are all I need right now."

"That is great to hear."

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