An Education

In Love and War, All is Fair, Part 2

Granny broke into a speed walk up the driveway to Fitz and Jake who were embroiled in a full-fledged fist fight. Jake was starting to put up some resistance to Fitz's punches. He leveled a punch under Fitz's left eye.

Fitz! Jake! Stop this nonsense now!" Granny said in the sternest voice she could muster when her heart was pounding. Neither man responded to her plea. "Fitz, stop it now! You need to attend to your wife. Where is she? Jake, the police are on the way!"

Jake paused for a moment as if he was considering her words. Fitz had not quite come to his senses so he took advantage of Jake's distraction and pummeled him in the midsection. Jake doubled over, but quickly recovered and charged shoulder first into Fitz. They fell to the ground locked into a tangle of swinging fists. Granny made a decision. She reached deep into her purse and pulled out what she knew would stop this fight. The shock of the tazer caused Jake to go still. Fitz froze when Jake's body went stiff.

"Granny? A..tazer?" Fitz said, pushing Jake off him. He grimaced at the stinging and metallic taste of blood in his mouth. He spat out the crimson liquid and raised to his feet.

"I sure did. I'll use it again on you, if you don't stop this. What's wrong with you, Fitzgerald? Didn't you hear me? Snap out if it and go check on Olivia while I handle the police," Granny ordered.

Fitz frowned and blinked his eyes. For a moment he had forgotten that Olivia was there. He turned around, looking for her.

"Livy! Where are you? Livy?" He was inside the house now. "Liv, baby, are you okay?"

He finally found her leaning against the doorway to the hallway bathroom. She was clutching her belly breathing rapidly. He rushed to her.

"Honey, what's wrong? Is it the baby?" He tried to walk her to the family room, but she shook her head in protest.

"You should sit down. I'll call the doctor," he said.

She grabbed his arm. "No…I-I-I'm not moving," she said weakly. "This can't be happening." She squeezed her eyes shut and threw her head back. Fitz saw tears streaming down her face.

"What's happening?" he said. He refused to believe what she seemed to be saying.

"I don't know what just happened. There was this pain and now I'm wet. My underwear is…wet, Fitz. I can't look. I…can't move. I won't move from this spot. I'm scared to…move," she said, squeezing his arm.

"You don't have to move. I have you, Livy. We'll go to the hospital now," he said, lifting her up in his arms. He walked swiftly down the driveway and to his car, ignoring the two police cars. Before he could attempt to figure out how he would open the door with Olivia in his arms, one of the officers rushed over to him.

"Sir, you aren't going anywhere. I need to talk to you. Please put the woman down, sir."

Fitz winced under the strain that holding Olivia put on his bruised hands and chest. He gestured to Jake who was sitting on the ground talking to the other officer. Granny was standing there as well. "That bastard on the ground attacked my pregnant wife. I think she is bleeding. I have to get her to the hospital. Please help me and then I'll do whatever you want."

"So you are Fitzgerald Grant and this is Olivia Grant?" the officer asked.

"Yes, yes," Fitz said, "Please help my wife!"

Olivia whimpered in his arms. "Fitz, we have to get to the hospital," she said.

"We can get you an ambulance in-" the officer said.

Another officer came from around the house. "Hey, I know you," said Officer Ralston as he approached them. "What the hell is going on here? Is she okay?"

Fitz experienced a little relief when he recognized him as the officer whom they encountered on a number of occasions.

"Officer Ralston," Fitz said, glancing at his name badge. "I need to get my wife to the hospital. Could you open the car door for me, please? You can follow me there, " Fitz said, glancing down at Olivia who looked scared and small in his arms.

"Hollingsworth, you finish up here. I'll transport them in my squad car," said Ralston.

"But that is against policy, Ralston. What about the liability if something happened?" Hollingsworth said.

"I'll worry about that later. Come on. Let's get her to the hospital," Ralston said, redirecting Fitz to the squad car. "Looks like you need a doctor too."

Fitz's eyes met Granny's as they drove off, her expression, a mixture of sadness and anger. For the first time, Fitz felt a touch of shame at his actions. When he caught sight of Jake sitting in the back seat of the police car, he felt justified. Fitz looked away and back at Olivia. She was his primary concern now, but lodged deep within him was the realization that his lack of restraint would have consequences.

Olivia's lids raised slowly, letting the light in. She instantly recognized her surroundings. A pang of fear took her breath away. She reached for her midsection. The rise of her belly caused a flood of relief to replace the fear. Fitz was holding her hand, but he let it go, understanding her need to check. He covered the hand on her stomach and leaned over to kiss her.

"You're awake. How are you feeling?" he asked.

"Tired. A little drowsy. I'm hungry, too. Is…is…? What did the doctor say about the baby?"

"He is fine, Livy. You did have some bleeding. The doctor said you ruptured a blood vessel. It's supposed to be common in pregnant women. He does want to keep you overnight for observation."

She closed her eyes again, rubbing her belly while taking some deep breaths.

Fitz watched her for a moment. "Livy, what are you doing?"

She didn't answer, but continued rubbing and tapping. When she felt the tickle of movement across her lower abdomen, she sighed and opened her eyes. "I needed to feel him move."

Fitz nodded. He placed his hand where hers had been now looking for his own assurance.

As he stood over her, she touched the bruise under his eye. She took his other hand, the same one she had injured in the door. It was bandaged. "How are you, Fitz? What happened with Jake?"

He sat on the bed. "I don't know. The police may have taken him in. I'll have to talk to them later. Let's not dwell on him right now. You don't need any additional stress, honey," he said.

A chuckle escaped her lips, but it was empty. She looked away from him. When she turned to face back to him, her eyes were red. "Additional stress? Additional stress, Fitz? Really? How can you say that when what you did took a situation I had under control and magnified it? You are acting like someone I don't even know!"

"Livy, I'm not proud of-"

"Stealing my phone? Pretending to be me and luring Jake to some fake meeting so you could…could what Fitz! What were you planning to do?" she asked, her voice filled with anger and hurt.

Fitz was surprised by the hurt he saw on her face. He knew she would be angry, but he never expected what seemed like grief. He searched her eyes trying to understand, "I was trying to protect you. I knew he wasn't going to give up trying to have you-"

Her eyes widened. "Give up? Have me? I'm not some possession to be protected by you or taken by him! There's not a lot of distance between you and Jake in the way you see me. Neither of you have any respect for me. If you, my husband, did you would have let me handle this in my own way. Instead of lying and scheming behind my back-" Tears of anger were flowing freely now.

"I love you, Olivia. I respect you. It's just that you couldn't or wouldn't see Jake for what he really was. It's my job to protect you. I won't apologize for that. I was wrong for taking your phone, and pretending to be you-"

"Have you looked in the mirror? You are a principal, Fitz! How are you going to explain those bruises? You didn't have to punch him-"

Fitz couldn't bring himself to give on that point. "But he touched you, Liv! He is the reason you are here!"

"No, this is your fault. You are the reason I am here! I lay this at your feet, Fitz. I don't know who you are anymore…and…and I don't want to see you right now. Please leave…" she said. It broke her heart to say this. A fresh helping of tears streamed down her face, but she wiped them away. Fitz didn't move. His face was smothered in grief.

"I'm sorry, Livy, but I'm not…I won't leave until we've resolved this," he said.

Olivia hugged herself and looked away from him. She shook her head and wept.

"What's going on in here? I can hear your voices outside. This is a hospital," said Granny. She appeared around the door after a brief knock of alert that she was entering instead of a request to enter.

Olivia turned her head toward Granny's voice. Fitz stood, immovable, still watching Olivia.

"GG, please I want Fitz to leave the room, but he won't go," she said, her voice breaking. She refused to look at him, knowing she wouldn't be able to keep her resolve if she met his gaze. She needed to be strong and not capitulate. For the first time, she hated the power he had over her.

"Olivia, look at me, please," he begged.

Olivia squeezed her eyes shut and turned away from him.

Granny touched his arm. "Fitzgerald, dear, we should let her rest. She's tired okay? You can talk to the police now. I'll stay with her," she said.

"Livy…" he said.

"Fitzgerald…" Granny said.

He sighed tiredly, but more in defeat. He leaned over and kissed her forehead. "I love you," he whispered. He turned and left the room.

When the door shut, Olivia opened her eyes and cried anew.

Granny rushed to her side and hugged her. "Oh dear, I know this is difficult. I'm here. Just let it out." She held her for a long while. When Olivia pulled back, she grabbed a napkin and dabbed her wet cheeks.

"Thank you, GG," she said managing a small smile. "My hormones are going in all directions today."

"My dear heart, I don't think your tears have anything to do with hormones. Talk to me dear. You can't keep this inside. There's no room," she said, planting herself in the chair beside Olivia's bed.

"GG…I-I…" she said.

"Olivia, Fitz is my grandson, yes, but I'm not blind to his faults…"

Olivia looked over at Granny and took a deep breath. "I know Fitz loves me, but I don't think he respects me…I wonder if it's because I've let him run over me or reinforced some view he has of me…that I'm weak or something. Whenever I love someone, they think I'm weak and try to take advantage of me. That's what Savannah thinks…that I'm weak. He took my phone and set up a meeting with Jake in some sort of testosterone fueled effort to mark his territory. Then he flew into this violent rage and starting pummeling Jake…well you saw that."

"So you think Fitz did this because he doesn't respect you, otherwise he would have let you handle it?" Granny asked gently.

"Yes…he should have let me take care of this. I did have a feeling about Jake so I decided to end the partnership. I was handling it," she said.

"You're right dear. You were having a business conversation with Jake and your husband just walked up the drive way and punched him. He was out of line, I agree, dear," said Granny.

Olivia pursed her lips at Granny's words. She was beginning to feel better now that the energy in the room was less fraught, but she wasn't going to be manipulated by what she saw as Granny's reverse psychology. "GG, I know what you're doing. Yes, Jake overstepped his boundaries by showing up at the house like that. It is evident now that his intentions were impure. And yes, he touched me inappropriately, just as Fitz appeared at the house…"

Granny looked shocked. "What am I trying to do dear? I'm agreeing with you that Fitz acted inappropriately. When he saw Jake grabbing you, he should have stood back and let you handle it," she said.

Olivia rolled her eyes. "GG, come on, I know he wasn't going to just stand there, but he could have waited a second before punching him."

"Yes, Olivia, dear. Fitzgerald should have stood there waiting for your word that you needed his help…"

Olivia sighed heavily. "Had Fitz not arranged the meeting, Jake never would have come to the house like that," she said.

"Oh…and why did he come to the house, dear?" Granny asked.

Olivia frowned, but continued. "He came to tell me what Fitz had done with my phone… and to warn me that Fitz wanted to stifle me and was basically abusive," she said.

Granny nodded. "So Jake's motivations were pure then. He came out of concern for you, but why did he grab you?"

Olivia was becoming impatient with Granny. "You already know," she said.

"Dear, yes, it's was the oldest reason in the book. He saw you first, right? He was none to happy about you and Fitz...that he passed him in line so to speak. Now it all sounds backwards, but that's it essentially," Granny said.

"Yes, GG. That's it, but I'm not concerned about Jake. Fitz should have trusted me. He actually thinks I would be unfaithful…maybe because Mellie was or because what's going on with Brent and Patrice," she said.

"I don't like to pry, but I doubt any of this had to do with any feelings about what Mellie did. I do know Fitz loves and respect, dear. He made some serious mistakes although it's hard to imagine a scenario where he wouldn't have attacked Jake after he touched you in that way. It is interesting to hear you compare this to the differences you have with your sister."

They sat quietly for a moment. "I suppose I need to talk to the police to give a statement. Did they take Jake to the station? Was he arrested?" asked Olivia.

"Yes, they did, but based on my statement. It'll be up to you and Fitz to press charges, real ones, that stick," Granny said.

here was a knock on the door. "Dinner," a voice said outside the door.

Even though she was hungry, disappoint settled over her. She was missing Fitz already, hoping it was him. After she had eaten a few spoonfuls of too salty soup, Olivia reached from the applesauce. "GG, you can let Fitz back inside," she said.

"Of course dear, but don't you think that would be premature? He probably needs more time to consider his wrongdoing. Why should you take away his opportunity to really understand you're point of view? Perhaps next time, he'll think twice before being so heavy handed. But I'll call him back in if you want," Granny said.

Olivia smiled. "You're right. I'll talk to the police then. Could you check and see if someone is still here?"

"Of course, dear. Now get some rest," said Granny.

It was dark and cold when Olivia woke up the second time. She reached for the blanket, but it was already thrown over her.

"What's wrong, honey? Are you too cold or hot? I can get another blanket or take this one off…"

She was instantly comforted by his voice. She looked over at him stretched out on the small hospital cot. It had to be uncomfortable. An involuntary smile spread across her lips. "I'll take another blanket."

"Fitz, you should have gone home. That cot looks like it was built for a child," she said.

He didn't respond to that. "Do you need anything else? I have some snacks if you're hungry. I know that dinner was crappy."

"Really? What do you have?" she said, starting to sit up.

"A muffin and a bag of chips…I know its not the healthiest…" Fitz said. He grabbed a bag from the table and sat on the edge of the bed. He opened the muffin and handed it to her.

"Would you like some water?"

She nodded in agreement just as he pulled a bottle from the bag. "Ice?" he asked.

"No. I'll drink it room temperature. It's cold in here." She rubbed her arms.

They sat in an awkward silence. He wanted to hug her, but didn't want her to get upset. He watched her chew and swallow. After a couple of bites, she handed the water and remaining muffin to him. He placed it on the table.

She reached for his bandaged hand and examined it. "Did they do an x-ray? You didn't injure it again, did you?"

He turned his hand over and entwined his fingers with hers. "No, It's just a scrape, broken skin."

"Oh, where's Karen? I just realized she wasn't with GG today even though she was supposed to bring her home," she said.

"She's at home with GG now. I don't know where she was today, though. I'll have to check on that…Livy, I was a fool today. I was wrong. I don't regret the fight, but my actions before that made everything worse. I do respect you, Livy. I need to be better about showing you that. I know you're still angry with me about the phone. I'll never invade your privacy again. You can put a lock on it, keep the code secret…I don't care. Will you forgive me?" he said.

"Yes, Fitz. Just make sure you don't do it again," she said.

He nodded.

She reached for him.

He spread out on the bed next to her and hugged her. He winced and groaned when she inadvertently elbowed him in the stomach.

She chuckled. "I'm sorry, babe. It's not funny that you were in an actual fist fight. I'm just wondering when our life will start to get boring. I need some boring."

"Me too, Livy. Me too."

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