An Education

Point of No Return

Olivia squeezed the corner of Fitz's desk, closed her eyes, and drew a couple of deep breaths to calm herself against the onslaught of emotions that gripped her in the presence of her sister. She turned around to face Savannah who had already taken a seat on the couch. GG was right. She did look as cute as a button with her thick black hair falling in waves around her face. Savannah had the good hair in the family, inherited from their maternal grandmother. Savannah never had to worry about the peril of humidity or water turning her hair to cotton. At the first sign of moisture, it did not tangle into coils like Olivia's and Sierra's, instead her locks became waves. She wore a peach colored silk blouse and grey trousers with black sling backs.

Olivia sat down opposite Savannah on the far end of the couch and stared at her. Her heart softened as she considered her sister. This was why she didn't want to have any contact with her. It made it harder to accept that Savannah hated her and Olivia didn't know why.

"You look really good, Livia…practically glowing. Sierra said you were having trouble with nausea. You are what nine or is it ten weeks? Fitz and GG seem great," Savannah said, brightly. She smiled at Olivia, revealing the deep dimples in each of her cheeks, another family trait, but this time from Nana on their father's side.

Olivia felt a burning anger in her chest, but she didn't want it to affect her demeanor. "Savannah…why are you here, at my home…when you know we are not on speaking terms. Stop pretending you are happy for me. I will not allow you sabotage-"

Savannah moved closer to her. "I am here because we are family. My only motive is that I love you, and I hate myself for how I have hurt you in the past. For the last two years, there has been a big whole in my life, Livia. You are my sister. Our relationship is such a big part of who I am as a person. Tray and Tony love you too and they cannot understand why we don't talk or get together like Sierra and me. They may be young, but they know something is wrong-"

"Something is wrong…you being here is wrong. You called my fiancé? How dare you…after all you've done? This is your same pattern. You are here to destroy-"

"No, Livia! I have been working with a therapist and she has helped me to understand the root cause of our issues," Savannah said moving yet closer to Olivia's side of the sofa.

"And what is the root cause of our issues?" Olivia asked. Her hope to remain calm was slipping away.

"You, Livia…and our relationship growing up. Do not look at me like that. Let me explain before you pass judgment on—"

Olivia stood up from the couch and began pacing from one end of the sofa to the next.

"It was my fault that my little sister went on an all out rampage to sleep with any and every guy I liked in college and then lied to me about it. You had me believing I was the problem…that I was some sort of man whore magnet until, of course, you tried to get with Harrison. He and I never even liked each other like that, but I guess you had to have him too. Thankfully, he was a true friend and told me what you tried, but I still didn't believe it until Edison. You are a married woman with kids and you sleep with my boyfriend? I regret not telling your husband, but my desire to hurt you was outweighed by my need to be done with you for good. So now you are back in my life and I can only imagine that you want to try to...I can't even say it. I'm happy for Bryon's and the boy's sakes that you are getting some help. I do want to continue seeing the boys, but I will not have you in my life, Savannah. You have hurt me too many times. I need you to leave and stop reopening this wound."

Savannah rose to her feet also. "I deserve all your hatred and—"

Olivia squeezed her eyes shut to hold in the tears. "But I don't hate you! I have to protect myself from you…I can't let you do this again—"

"Livia, please just let me have my say and then I will leave you alone…Sit down. Please. Just listen, okay? I promise I will not bother you again," she said, reaching out to grab Olivia's arm.

Unable to keep her tears at bay, Olivia let them fall. Savannah pulled a handkerchief from her purse and offered it to Olivia who took it cautiously as she sat down on the couch after pulling her arm out of Savannah's grasp.

Savannah waited for Olivia to dry her tears before she spoke. "As you know, the ongoing family joke is how I was your baby instead of Mom's. You treated me like I was your little doll from when you were two years old when I was born and it never stopped. You taught me everything. We were inseparable. You fought all my battles for me. My therapist taught me that however loving our relationship was it was not healthy for my growth. I was bonded to you in an unhealthy way. I always wanted your total and complete attention…like you gave me when we were little. I was jealous of your boyfriends and used sex to alienate them from you. After you broke up with them, you were completely emotionally available to me again."

"What about Abby? She and I became really close friends. You never tried to...I don't buy that Savannah. It's an excuse."

"Your friendship with Abby was not a threat because I was always going to be your sister. Abby couldn't blot that out by being your friend-"

"But a guy could? This makes no sense. I don't know what you told your therapist for her to come up with this, Savannah. You're my little sister. Of course I doted on you! That is very normal behavior. It is not my fault that you responded by humiliating me. It all sounds pretty contrived to me. Are you saying that I should have treated you like garbage then you would have treated me better and not betrayed me over and over? Savannah, I can't keep talking about this. Believe me, I've tried to figure this out. I've mourned the loss of being in your life as a sister, but I cant…I have heard you out, and would like for you to leave now. Please do not contact my family or me again. It has to be this way."

"But Livia, you are getting married. You are giving birth to my niece or nephew. I want to be part of that. Please do not push me out." Savannah's face contorted as if she was going to cry. Olivia looked away and stood up again. She walked to the window and pulled back the drapes. It was fully dark now. A cloud covered the moon, pushing out its light.

"How fitting," Olivia said aloud, but soft enough to keep to herself. She turned around and faced Savannah. "We both know why you are here. Deep down you know it too. Why is it that you never come around when I am single? I have not been in a real relationship for two years since Edison. Why didn't you come around then during all that time? Why didn't you really apologize and break it off with him immediately. This is what I think happened. Mom, Dad, and Sierra have been telling you about me and my fiancé and my marriage and the baby. Because of whatever sickness you have….there's this-this…urge you have to do all that you can to squash it. I will not take the chance of you succeeding. Please leave."

Savannah stood to her feet defiantly and glared at her. "You make me sound like some evil monster. I have my own husband and kids. I do not want yours. If your fiancé loves you, there is nothing I or anyone could do to make him cheat on you. I am trying to mend our broken relationship. Stop being so difficult. If you can't stop being so rigid, you can forget about getting Tray and Tony in the summers." Olivia see a trace of remorse on Savannah's face. She was familiar with this reaction from her sister.

"I'll miss them dearly, but you have not changed, Savannah…to use them against me like this. It's only going to hurt them."

"I'm not going to beg you. Goodbye, Olivia," Savannah said, but she did not make a move to leave.

Olivia walked out of the room to find Fitz and GG sitting in front of the television, not really watching. She walked to the front door and opened it for Savannah who was just now walking out of the study.

"Thank you for your hospitality, Fitz and GG. Olivia has made it clear that I am not welcome in her life," Savannah said as she exited the door. Olivia closed the door behind her.

Olivia held the door knob. She turned around and sighed heavily. "That was…"

Fitz walked over and pulled her into a hug. GG joined Fitz and hugged both of them.

"I do not want to break up, Karen. I am sorry for being such a jerk to you last week. I want to talk to you about this in person," Ethan said, pitifully over the phone.

"Please stop calling me, okay? I am not going to tell Gerry what happened. I want you to leave me alone. It is over between us," Karen said.

"But that is not what I want, Karen! Come on, please!"

She disconnected the line, feeling empowered after talking to Olivia.

"Come in, Gerry," Karen said in answer to the knock on her bedroom door.

Gerry walked in and plopped on the bed next to Karen. He eyed the greasy white bag by her pillow. "Is that a Zombie Apocalypse burger from the Vortex? Did my favorite sister bring one for me too?" Gerry was already digging into the bag. "And fried pickles too?"

"Go ahead, Gerry. Until Liv has the baby, I am your only sister. Unless of course it is a boy…which would be a shame considering I would be outnumbered."

Gerry was too busy chewing to respond. He picked up Karen's cell phone, which buzzed as a new text message came in. Karen tried to grab it, but he held it out of her reach.

"Ethan says he loves you! Ugh! He is so whipped. What is going on with you two any way? He has been moping around the last couple of days and you have been weirder than usual."

Karen began putting away her textbooks and repacking her book bag. "We broke up, Gerry, okay? It happens all the time. I am sure he will have my replacement very soon. Now get out of my room," Karen said, half teasing and trying to keep it light. The thought of Ethan with another girl stung a lot, but she consoled herself with the fact that school was almost over and she would not be forced to see them in the hallway or at school events.

Gerry frowned. "Broke up? He kept asking about you at school today. He was coming over, but I told him you were with Liv. Did he…try something with you, Karen?" His expression and voice took on a rare serious edge.

Karen laughed. "Nooo, Gerry. Both of you are headed to college. Why delay the inevitable, right? I broke up with him. It's no big deal. Now please get out."

They both looked at her phone, which buzzed again with another text message. Gerry grabbed the phone again and read the text aloud. "From Ethan again… 'I love you. Please forgive me. We need to talk'…Forgive him for what? What the hell did he do? He is seriously begging."

Karen snatched the phone from Gerry's hand and turned it off. She was losing her ability to stay cool. "He broke up with me, okay? I did not…um…take it very well so he is apologizing for that. He just doesn't want to piss off his best friend. I am over it, Gerry. Now get out of my room before I post your butt naked baby pictures on Instagram!"

"You have never been good at lying to me Kare. I'll find out myself." He looked at her suspiciously and left the room.

"Mmm, Fitz, honey that feels divine. You are seriously hitting the spot," Olivia said.

"Quiet, Livy, before they think I am doing something other than massaging your feet," he said. Olivia was propped up on three pillows against the headboard of their bed. Fitz sat at her feet, pressing the heel of his left hand into the arch of her foot. "How did it go with Karen?"

Should I or Shouldn't I? It is late. I will have to spend most of the night talking him down. I cannot tell him that his little girl has had sex for the first time. Not now, right? I swear I will do it tomorrow before I make the doctor's appointment for her.

She closed her eyes as she contemplated her next move.

"Livy, are you falling asleep on me?"

"No. I am enjoying this massage. Karen has…boy trouble. She and Ethan broke up and it has been hard for her."

"Really?" Fitz said with a happy lilt to his voice. "I think that is for the best. She should not be dating at this age." He kissed her toes. "Livy, you have just made my night. Who did you and Karen see at the Vortex. You said, I would never guess…?"

Olivia's eyes flashed open. "Today has been roll tide on Olivia day. I completely forgot about that. Celeste." She closed her eyes again.

"Celeste what?" Olivia opened one eye and flexed her foot wanting him to continue.

"Celeste. She was there…at the Vortex. She invited Karen and Gerry to some promotional thing and then proceeded to try and intimidate me in the bathroom. She knows about our wedding and the baby. How did she find out considering she lives in another state."

"What did she say?"

"She came off as nice at first, but then she tried to insinuate that you are marrying me because of the baby. She is seriously delusional. But it's okay. She

"I will have a talk with her. I haven't spoken to her since that day when the detectives were here. She has called me a couple of times, but I admit, that I've avoided returning her calls. I need to so I can explain..."

"She's calling you? You didn't mentioned that." Olivia pulled her feet away. "So you have been talking to her behind my back."

"No." He returned her feet to his lap. "Absolutely not. When she calls, I do not answer. It's only been a couple of times. I will call her husband first and then her. You can listen in if you want to, Livy. There is no need to be jealous. Why would I cheat on a woman who broke my hand and almost poisoned me. I will not be on an episode of Snapped. 'Olivia Grant was a beloved teacher until she cut her husband up into little pieces and buried the little baggies of his body parts in Ambrose Elementary's community garden'…"

Olivia threw a pillow at him. "Very funny, Fitzgerald. If I so much as harmed a hair on your head, GG would have me knocked off quick."

"No, you have it backwards. If I hurt you in any way, GG would help you have me knocked off."

They had a good laugh about that.

"Are you up to talking about Savannah? Things got pretty intense in there between you two from what GG and I could hear…and yes, we were listening in."

"I do want to talk about it because it makes me…sad. I miss my little sister. I wish she could be in my life, but she is sick…she likes to hurt me. You must promise me that you will never talk to her if she calls you or contacts you for any reason. She is dangerous."

"This dress is absolutely perfect!" Abby said.

Abby, Karen, and Olivia's mother looked at Olivia with adoring eyes. She stood in front of the six-paneled mirror. Her eyes started to water as she imagined her wedding day in this dress.

"Oh baby," Olivia's mother, Selena said. "You are stunning."

The white dress was strapless with intricate silver beading embroidered around the chest. The dress tapered at the waist where the same intricate beading pattern created a wide band around the waist. It flowed into a full skirt that would provide room for her expanding belly. Olivia swung her hips from side to side.

"Look Mom, I have always wanted a dress that swings like a bell. I have cleavage too." Olivia said.

Later they sat at a table at The Vortex. Olivia suggested it because she wanted her mother to try the fried pickles and it gave her a reason to get an order too.

"Karen, you were right. We did it. We did not stop until we found my dress and the bridesmaids' dresses. I feel so much better now," said Olivia.

"Everything is coming together nicely, baby. I hope you have not been worrying too much. Savannah told me that you two talked this week. Did you know that she purchased a block of tickets for us to Antigua?" said Selena. Olivia froze. "All of us can come now. I did not want to say anything, but we weren't sure how we were going to get there. That was really generous of your sister to do that for us."

"Are you okay, Liv?" Abby said.

Olivia took a long swig of her soda. "I'm fine. I'm just eating too many of these pickles." She pushed the tray away. Her phone rang. It was Fitz.

"Hey, honey. We found my dress and the bridesmaids' dresses," Olivia said, "What's up?"

"Olivia, Gerry has been arrested. He attacked Ethan at the park today. I'm headed to the police station now."

Olivia immediately thought about Karen and the possible cause of the melee. "I'll meet you there. Text me the address."

"You stay there. I called to let you know, babe."

"No, I want to come."

"Okay, but please do not bring Karen or tell her about this. Meet me at the police station on Chandler. I'll text the address."

"I'm coming now," Olivia said. She hung up and then stood to go. "Abby, could you take my mom and Karen back to the house? Fitz, needs me to pick him up….something about a spasm in his hand. It is not serious, but he wants me to come now. Mom, I'll give you a call later."

"Liv, I can come with you?" said Karen.

"Kare, you should stay and eat your food. Get me an order of those pickles to go," Olivia said, squeezing her shoulder. I will see you all back at the house later."

Olivia walked through the restaurant. When she was outside she sprinted to the car.

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