An Education

Fractured

"I need to handle this myself," Olivia said. She sat at the kitchen table across from Fitz and GG. They stared at her, the full weight of their objections apparent in their words and the united front they presented. The Grant double-team, a strategy she had only observed before, was now being used against her. She was determined to stand or sit her ground.

After dinner when Gerry and Karen had disappeared, Olivia told them of her decision to meet with Savannah about her allegations against Gerry. It had been 10 days since their return from Antigua. They had not heard from Savannah since the return. The wedding and honeymoon had been glorious, but now the house was filled with tension in the fallout of Savannah's allegations. They were all on edge, waiting for Savannah to make her move. There was also the strained relationship between Gerry and Olivia. He avoided her. He didn't attend their standing Wednesday night dinner at Dave and Buster's. He started skipping breakfast or coming down after everyone was done. He scarfed down his dinner and escaped upstairs.

Fitz reached across the table and took her hand. "Livy, I cannot let you do this. It's what she wants. You are doing exactly what she wants..."

Olivia rose from the table, pulling her hand away. "Fitz, GG, we have been talking about this for over an hour. I know how you feel about it. Savannah has gone to these lengths to talk to me so I need to hear what she has to say. I'll convince her to drop this and to leave us alone for—"

"Dear," Granny said, "Talking to your sister would not be good. It wouldn't accomplish anything. Who knows what else she has planned. Talking to her is...dangerous especially for you, dear. Remember what happened on the plane? You had to stay an extra day—"

"The doctor said I was fine to fly. Fitz insisted on staying the night, GG," Olivia explained as she began pacing.

"This is a criminal and legal matter now. Let us take care of it. You don't need this stress, especially in your condition," Granny argued.

Olivia sighed loudly. "GG, please call off whatever you are doing. The most important person right now is Gerry. He's the one who has been hurt the most. I am going to see Savannah tomorrow. I'm going to stop this...this...fixation she has once and for all. I don't want to talk about it anymore," Olivia said, kissing GG on the cheek. "Goodnight. Fitz, please bring up a glass of water when you come to bed." She turned and left.

"Fitz, I really don't like this. You have to convince her not to see her sister. What can it accomplish? I think Olivia feels guilty and responsible for what Savannah did and that is overriding her good sense. I don't understand how Gerry let this happen. I know it's not his fault, but he is smarter than this. He should have said something. But…he is barely 18. She obviously had a plan to snare him. Like she probably has a plan when she talks to Olivia," Granny reasoned, searching Fitz's face. "Why aren't you saying anything?"

"Granny, I can't stop her from talking to Savannah. She is adamant about doing this. I am just as adamant that she is not doing it...alone." He poured a glass of water and placed a brownie on a small plate. "Tell David to hold off on approaching Savannah."

"Okay," Granny agreed. "I guess I should start preparing to go home. I know I've stayed well past expiration."

"I'm going to ignore that," Fitz said, kissing her on the cheek. "Goodnight."

"Livy, baby, you can't go alone-" Fitz said after he joined Olivia in the bedroom.

Olivia slid back on the bed holding her laptop. "Fitz, I really don't want to talk about this anymore. I need to check my e-mail."

Fitz sighed. He placed her water and the brownie on the table on her side of the bed. "I'm going to check in with Karen and Gerry."

"Okay." She glanced up at him, their eyes holding. They both knew what she carried, the guilt, the self-blame of how Gerry had been used by her sister to get back at her, the wide gulf between she and Gerry that had never been there before, the embarrassment, and the underlying shame. She looked away. He tarried a little longer then left.

He returned to the bedroom half an hour later to find her head resting back against the pillows. The laptop has fallen to the side and off her lap. He grabbed it and tapped the mouse pad. She had typed a paragraph, but the rest of the page was filled with j's. He saved the document and closed the laptop.

"I am working on that," she mumbled, awakening abruptly.

"I thought you checking e-mails. You and the laptop were sleeping. It's time for bed, baby."

She stretched. "My first deadline is in a couple of weeks. I am trying to make some progress," she said eyeing the water and brownie. "Thanks for the water, but I didn't ask for another brownie."

"This brownie isn't for you. It's for Little Grant," he said lifting it to her lips. "Open up. He's waiting."

"Maybe she's waiting." She smiled at him before parting her lips to take a bite. Her eyes closed as she enjoyed the feel of the spongy cake and the taste of the rich chocolate. He fed her the remainder of the brownie.

"That was delicious. I need some water. It's so rich."

Fitz leaned forward and licked away the crumbs around her mouth. Then he kissed her deeply, tasting the chocolate she had just enjoyed.

"I like my chocolate second hand," he said before handing her the glass of water. "What time and where are you meeting Savannah tomorrow?"

Olivia took a long draw on the glass. "So you're coming too." It was not a question. She knew him well.

"Yes, I am. We can take separate cars. I'll follow you, but I'm not going to let you go alone since you are determined to do this. Since I can't stop you, I'll be there."

"Okay." She shrugged her shoulders. Her head fell back against the pillow, and her hand rested on her growing baby bump. "This is such a mess. Gerry is avoiding me. I can't bring myself to talk to my mom or Sierra about this. I wish we were back on the beach in Antigua. I can still smell the air and feel the sun on my skin."

"Yeah...me too. Livy, we will get through this. Gerry is embarrassed. He feels guilty. He'll come around." He studied her face. He eyes begin to turn red before they filled with tears.

"What did I do to make her like this? She is my baby sister and I only wanted to take care of her, but she always took and took from me. I don't understand…never have." She pondered through her tears. He pulled her into his arms, holding her there. He had no reassuring words, no quick and ready answers. He was determined to resolve this tomorrow.


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