First Things First
"Mr. Grant…Mr. Grant," Quinn said. She did not raise her voice because he stood close enough to hear her. She was puzzled by his none response.
"Mr. Grant, do you want Ms. Pope? I can get her for you," Quinn said, stressing her name just in case he had forgotten it.
"Yes…I do," he said. He walked to the front office foyer.
Quinn hurried after him. "I can send her a quick e-mail or page her over the intercom," she said.
Quinn shrugged her shoulders and walked back to her office when Fitz didn't respond. He was listening intently to the Media Specialist explain the operation of the Public Address system.As he listened to the instructions, his thoughts kept circling back to Olivia. Their meeting confirmed what he had felt when he first laid eyes on her. It seemed inadequate to categorize it as simple attraction.
He thought of Rachel whom his sister had set him up with two months ago. Both of his sisters were adamant that he 'bite the bullet' and start dating again. He enjoyed spending time with Rachel. She was pretty, intelligent, and funny. When he kissed her, it was nice, but there was not spark. It paled in comparison to the intensity of feeling he experienced when he met Olivia for the first time. He was attracted to Rachel, but he was enamored with Olivia. It has been a long while since he felt like this.
During their meeting, he had wanted to watch her…talk...smile…breath…be. He wanted to see all the expressions and mannerisms she made, the way she would avert her eyes and rub the back of her neck when she was nervous. She relaxed when he asked questions.
Fitz glanced at his watch after he gave his farewell message to the students and began calling the first load of busses. Thirty-five minutes, and I'll see her again, he thought.
"Hey, Ms. Pope!" The students in Abby's classroom greeted Olivia when she entered their classroom. They were engaged in various activities. Some were completing their end of the day jobs. Others were getting started on homework or chatting while they waited for their buses to be called.
"Hi, friends!" Olivia greeted them, using her stock greeting for students. Olivia walked over to Abby's desk and took a seat beside it. Abby was bent over a student explaining a homework problem.
"Kayla, you wouldn't have trouble understanding if you would read the directions, honey," she said with a smile and then walked to her desk. She plopped down next to Olivia.
"Whew, these kids are going to be the death of me," Abby whispered.
"So you will die smiling because you love them," replied Olivia.
Fitz's voice sounded over the intercom.
"Voices off!" Abby announced.
"Attention teachers and students, we are ready for the following buses, 2, 10, 5, 7, 3, 8, and 11," Fitz announced over the intercom.
"Listen to his voice, Liv. I have never heard a list of numbers that sounded so good," Abby whispered.
Olivia didn't respond verbally, but she couldn't help the slight smile that appeared on her face. She watched two thirds of Abby's class leave, and she waved goodbye. The remaining students went to the carpet and began chatting to each other.
"I know something is up with you, Liv. Don't you know I can sniff out a secret a mile away? Huck wouldn't exactly say, but I know something is amiss. Save yourself the trouble and tell me," said Abby.
Olivia pursed her lips and said, "Wait until we have an empty room, okay?" She rose from her chair and started straightening Abby's classroom.
"Leave my clutter as is please. I won't be able to find a thing when you are done," she said.
When the last students left the classroom, Olivia shut the door and locked it.
"Abby, there is something. It's not...don't make it bigger than it is, but it is about my meeting with Mr. Grant," she said.
Abby leaned in, her interest piqued. "Liv, what did you do? Did you two argue about his changes to the school policies? Was there an altercation?"
"No. No, nothing like that. We had a…good meeting. I am going back to meet with him again at 3:30 because we didn't finish," she explained, "I think it was a good meeting. We didn't talk about his presentation. He asked me about my background, family…just personal questions...not quite personal, but they didn't have to do with school really. He seems nice, likable. We both majored in history," Olivia explained.
"Olivia Caroline Pope! I wish you could see yourself and how you are totally crushing on Mr. Grant...wow," said Abby.
"Abby, keep your voice down. This is exactly why I didn't want to tell you. But I had to because I need your help. Yes, I do get nervous around him. I'm not crushing, just appreciating him. I have to work with him and when I am around him, I cannot think straight. I did not hear a word of his presentation. I was preoccupied with…his hair, his face, his voice, his walk…everything. What should I do?"
"Was it mutual? Does he like you too?" Abby asked.
"I don't know. I was too busy trying to play it cool. I didn't want to come off as unprofessional. But I don't think it was mutual. It can't be. I'm not good at picking up on that kind of thing. I know he's divorced but he has to be dating someone…not that it matters. I hope he doesn't pick up on anything from me. How embarrassing would that be? What should I do, Abby, because I have to see him again in about 20 minutes."
"Olivia, stop pacing and come here. Are you sure you didn't pick up on any vibes from him because if you did, that is a whole other ball game," Abby said.
"Like what Abby? He was nice to me. He gave me his undivided attention in our meeting. He has this way of looking at you when you are talking… as if every word you say is valuable…so important. I bet he does that with everyone. Women are probably always mistaking this for more than it is," Olivia said.
"Did he ask if you were married or seeing anyone?" Abby asked.
"Of course not, Abby!" Olivia said.
"Did you all fill up all the time talking? Were there any awkward moments?" Abby said.
"I honestly think he knew that I was nervous. That is the sign of a good leader. He knows how to put his people at ease. That's what I was responding to...him putting me at east. I knew talking to you would help…once you calmed down. I feel better now. When I go back in there, I am going to ask him about increasing class sizes and closing the Parent Center," Olivia promised.
"So you say he asked you all personal questions, correct?"
"Yes, Abby, but he--"
"How long did you all meet in comparison with the other teachers?" asked Abby. She had the look of someone trying to decipher a great mystery.
"He changed the order of the meetings. At first I was fourth to meet with him and then he pushed me to the last slot. He was done with all seven of the other teachers in an hour. He and I met for about an hour."
"Liv, Liv, Liv…it is obvious to me, from what you have described, that he has the hots for you too."
"Just to be on the safe side, I'll go with you to the meeting. I will observe to gather my data and then leave. Is that okay?"
"I don't think that is necessary. How would that look…me bringing…back up?"
"If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck, Liv. If you two are attracted to each other, the question is what are you going to do about it?" asked Abby as she walked with Olivia into the empty hallway. They continued to the stairs.
"Okay, let's just say for argument's sake that he is attracted to me. There is nothing to be done about it, Abby. He is the boss and I am the employee and that makes anything other than a professional relationship totally off limits. It's just that simple. We'll leave it at that, " Olivia said a little too loudly in the stairwell just before they walked right into Mr. Fitzgerald Grant.