An Education

An Invitation

"Mr. Grant, Hello! How has your first official day been so far?" Abby said. She glanced over at Olivia who looked horrified.

"It has been a great day, Mrs…no, no, don't tell me…you teach 5th grade…Whelan-Sanchez. Mrs. Whelan-Sanchez."

"Yes, that is correct. I believe I am the only staff person with a hyphenated name," Abby said.

Fitz was holding Olivia's laptop bag and class tote. He stepped directly in front of her. "As it turns out Olivia, I can't meet with you to finish our one-on-one today. I forgot about the principals' meeting at the Teaching and Learning Center. I have to leave here soon to get there in time. I will take these up to your classroom."

"Oh, it's no problem. I can take these up." Olivia reached for her tote and laptop bag, but Fitz would not let them go.

"I insist. I haven't been upstairs today." Fitz stepped to the side and began climbing the stairs.

Olivia glanced at Abby who winked at her with a knowing smile. "I am going to check my mailbox. Liv, stopped by my room before you leave."

She couldn't contain her smile. She turned around and followed Fitz up the stairs. He stopped and waited for her to catch up to him on the top step.

"You have quite a smile, Olivia."

"Thank you, Mr. Grant."

She stepped forward and led him around the corner to the first classroom on the right. Olivia fished her key out of her pocket and unlocked the door.

"Let's hope it's not too messy…" Olivia looked around and realized she was talking to herself.

"Mr. Grant?"

"So… you have class officers….President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and Parliamentarian…that's a great idea." Fitz was standing outside the classroom looking at her bulletin displays. There were campaign speeches and election posters.

"The kids get really excited about the election. The candidates create posters and signs. I let them do campaign commercials. Anjelica, our Parliamentarian, was nervous as a candidate. She knew she couldn't beat Ahmed who she thought was more popular. Ahmed is not the most well behaved student in the class. One day I asked Anjelica to tell me the qualities of a good Parliamentarian. Among other things, she said someone who is well-behaved. I asked her to think about that and create a commercial highlighting her strengths and her opponent's weakness without identifying him. Then I let the other candidates do the same thing. I reminded them that voters should judge the candidates by their track record."

He chuckled. "Are you teaching them how to mud-sling?"

"Well, she did win, so…"

"I guess you're right. This is great."

"Thanks." She walked into the classroom. "You can sit everything on this table, Mr. Grant."

"Please call me, Fitz."

"I can't do that, Mr. Grant. Next thing you know the students will start addressing you that way also."

"There are no students present now."

Olivia stepped around him and picked up her laptop bag. She walked with it to her desk. As she reconnected it to all her other devices, he closed the door. Olivia looked up at the sound of the door closing. Her eyes met his and he walked towards her. He stood in front of her, but the small table where her laptop and document camera was separated them.

"I heard you." Fitz said..

"Heard me? Heard me what?"

He did not answer her question with words. He gazed into her eyes. She looked into his. The room was absolutely silent. There was only breath and heartbeat. With each inhale and exhale the room seemed to close in on them, pushing them closer together. He leaned towards her and she leaned towards him. Olivia's breath quickened and she licked her bottom lip. His eyes dropped to her lips. Her lips parted. He reached for her cheek.

The sound of violins broke through their reverie. It was the theme song to the show, "Downton Abbey," signaling an incoming text message on Olivia's cell phone. Olivia jumped back and turned away to grab her phone.

A text from Abby appeared.

What the freak is going on in there? Just walked by. Door closed? SMH!

Olivia turned back to Fitz.

"You're wrong," Fitz said.

"Oh?...wrong about what?" Olivia walked to the white board and changed the dates to the following day.

"I have to get going to my meeting. It will be over around 6:30. Have dinner with me, but before you answer, know that this is not a date, date. Every Wednesday, my kids and I have dinner at Dave and Busters. It is a tradition we started about a year ago. Will you join us? It's the one on Colorado Blvd. Please say yes, Ms. Pope. If it makes you feel better, I will call you, that tonight."

"What exactly is the purpose of me being there? Is this a continuation of our meeting from today?" Olivia's heart was beating out of control. She hoped her voice didn't sound shaky.

"Okay, I'll say it, Ms. Pope. Have you and I met before today?" Fitz asked standing across the room from her with his shoulders crossed.

Olivia looked puzzled. "No, of course not."

"Don't tell the Superintendent, but I haven't thought about much of anything else today, but Olivia Pope. No strings. No pressure. I want you in eyeshot if for just a little while longer. Karen and Gerry are great kids."

"Don't answer now. Think about it." Fitz removed his cell phone from his pocket and dialed a number. The theme song from the political thriller, "House of Cards," chimed from Olivia's cell phone. "So you like those two shows, I see. That's me calling. Text or call either way, but I hope you will come. See you at 7:00."

And then he was gone

Olivia stood in front of the white board dumfounded.

"Look at her, Harrison!" Abby and Harrison opened the door and walked in.

"By the looks of it, he has some serious skills." Harrison walked over to Olivia and took the dry erase maker from her hand. He walked her to the back table and they all sat down.

"Liv, what happened?

"I think I am having dinner with Mr. Grant and his kids tonight." Olivia looked from Abby to Harrison.

Abby pushed her chair up. "Oh no, Liv, begin at the beginning."


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