An Education

Love is Like a Butterfly

Fitz sorted through the mail while he waited for the water to boil. He pulled out a letter marked, "Personal & Confidential," that was addressed to Mellie. Why is her mail coming here?

He placed it aside and made a mental note to mail it to her. It was his night to cook so he planned on something simple: spaghetti and salad. He grabbed a beer out of the refrigerator and leaned against the counter to take a sip. His mind drifted to Olivia Pope. He wondered what she was doing at 6:30 in the evening. He knew she wasn't at school because he had been scoping out her Land Rover through his office window with its view of the parking lot. He had planned to "run into" her as they walked to their cars. Ms. Perkins had come into his office at 3:45 with the teaching placement request forms for the following school year, and he had been distracted. When he glanced out the window at 4:20, she had been maneuvering her SUV out of the parking lot.

"Damn," he had whispered to himself.

Now, standing at the stove, he wondered if she had a Facebook or Twitter account. He had decided not to call her after their conversation about falling in love had gone horribly wrong. His question had made her angry. Wisdom dictated that he forget about her given the circumstances. But it was difficult. He wanted to reach out to her in some non-threatening way.

Feeling a burst of energy, he grabbed his laptop from his study and placed it on the marble top kitchen island. He quickly added the pasta to the boiling water and stirred the sauce and brought it to a low simmer. He decided against social media since that was more dangerous than e-mail. He googled her name brought up her teaching website. He admired all the resources she had included for students, parents, and teachers. He saw an "e-mail me" button and couldn't resist clicking on it. He reasoned that this e-mail would be more private than her school account.

He typed out a message:

A certain someone granted another someone a night like no other. You gave me the best night I'd ever had. Let's top it. Next Wednesday...same time…same place.

~A. C. Someone

He pressed the "send" button just before noticing the boiling over pot of pasta and the ringing phone. He removed the lid from the pan and wiped up the excess water. He grabbed the phone.

"Hello."

"Hey! What are you up to?" Sybil's voice caused a grin to spread across his face.

"Hey Syb. I'm burning dinner and you?"

"We've already eaten dinner. It's always five o'clock sharp here, but that is easy to do since I work from home. So, Fitz I need…no, we need the details about your new love interest." Fitz heard laughter in the background.

"Sybil, is that Lauren on the line too?"

"Yes, it's me, little brother. We decided to hear it from the horse's mouth. Are you dating someone, and, if so, who is she?" Lauren asked.

"What makes you ask that?" Fitz said.

"Your ex-wife called me at ten o'clock last night to ask about your love life. She seemed pretty adamant about finding out after seeing you with someone at Dave and Busters. Sounds like she wasn't invited," said Lauren.

"Lauren and I are calling to check up on you. What's going on?" said Sybil.

"Mellie has been acting strange this week. She sent me flowers, 24 white roses to be specific, on my first day at work. Then she showed up at Dave and Buster's last night. I can't believed she called you, Lauren!"

"Mellie is always up to something so be on your guard. Now, let's move on to more important things. Who is this woman? Karen says that you really like her," Sybil said.

Fitz took a deep breath. "Olivia Pope."

"And?" his sisters said simultaneously.

"She teaches fourth grade at Ambrose, and I really like her."

"Oooooo. This is juicy. Stop making us pull it out of you. It is in your best interest to tell us everything, little brother." Fitz felt like he was a child again.

"Well, I met her at work and…I…there was this spark…instant. She probably thinks I'm creepy because...I didn't try to hide my attraction to her. I invited her to eat with us at Dave and Buster's last night under the guise of continuing a meeting, but I simply wanted to see her again. After the dinner, I called her at home and in no uncertain terms she…basically told me to leave her alone. She's right, I know. Any romantic relationship between us is against district and state professional standards. So...I…"

"So she is playing hard to get, Mr. Unethical Principal?" Sybil asked.

"No, Sybil. She is doing the ethical thing, but I know she is attracted to me too. It's just that I want to explore this connection we have. If I could move to another school, I would. Then she'd really think I was certifiable!" He stirred the sauce and saw that it had scorched.

"Wow. You aren't holding anything back. Let us help you. This is what you should do to get-"

Fitz interrupted Sybil's explanation. "Lauren, Sybil, I don't need your help. I succeeded in getting her to go out with me the first time, and-"

"Listen, little brother. You need to back off. Don't ask her out. Don't seek her out. Keep your interactions with her cordial and professional, nothing personal. Don't mention your time at Dave and Buster's either," Lauren said.

"Yes, Lauren is right. It seems that you made it clear how you feel about her. You planted the seed so just let it grow. Don't overwater," said Sybil.

"You know what they say, 'Love is like a butterfly. When you chase, it flutters away. When you aren't looking, it catches you unawares and lights on your nose'," Lauren said.

"You two are on a roll mixing metaphors left and right, but I don't need your help with this. One of you can help me, though. Invite Gerry, Karen, and me to dinner tonight. Seems I've burned ours," said Fitz.


Olivia was happy that Friday had finally arrived. She hadn't heard from Fitz last night. If she was honest with herself, she would admit that she had been hoping for a phone call from him last night, especially after the e-mail she had received through her teacher website from "A. C. Someone." She had laughed at the surprise of it all. She almost called him, but good sense won out. Now she wished he would call.

As Olivia began her Math Workshop rotations, she noticed Fitz peeking in her classroom. She sat at the rectangle table with 6 students. The other students were in small groups around the room, either playing math games or engaged in independent seatwork. When he entered, Olivia's heart skipped a beat. She then noticed the laptop he carried. Is he going to evaluate me? When an administrator entered your classroom with a laptop, chances were they were doing one of three yearly evaluations. Olivia was thankful that she wasn't giving a test since that was what usually occurred on Fridays. He walked around her classroom. She was keenly aware of his presence. She was working with students on fractions. Olivia tried to block him out, but it was difficult. He looked so good in his suit. He sat in a chair and observed her as she led the small group. She noticed him typing notes on his laptop. After she led two groups he began walking around the room and observing the other small student led groups. After about 25 minutes, he left the room. She couldn't stop thinking about the visit. He hadn't met her eyes. He had been totally focused on the observation. There had been no sign of personal acknowledgement.


"Oh, he also observed Huck and a couple of other teachers too, Liv. Did you think you were special?" Abby said.

Abby, Harrison, and Olivia stood together on the playground during recess.

"No, I didn't think he would do an evaluation on a Friday since we are usually giving tests, Abby."

"So, has he called you again?" Harrison whispered his question.

"No." Olivia tried to hide the disappointment in her voice.

A couple of students came over to them. "Ms. Pope, would you play the game with us?"

Abby answered for Olivia. "No. Go play."

"No, I'll play." Olivia gathered in a circle with 10 students who were holding hands. One student was in the middle and had to try to break through their linked arms while students sang, "My momma's bread is burning, and you can't get out." Olivia had taught them games to play at recess when she found that the kids didn't really know how to play. Now they loved to enlist her to play with them. In this instance she played with them to keep her mind off Fitz.

Later that day, as Olivia was leaving to go home, she stopped in the mailroom to place a document in the Media Center's mailbox.

Fitz was also placing an item in someone's mailbox.

"Good Afternoon, Mr. Grant," she said. She glanced at him. He looked at her quickly and turned back to the mailboxes.

"Hello, Ms. Pope. That was a great Math Workshop today. Keep up the good work."

Olivia smiled, as did he. He breezed past her and through the door to the front office.


Days came and went, but Olivia did not receive a phone call for Fitz. Every night she would hope in vain for his call. By Wednesday of the following week, Olivia was on edge about it. She saw him sporadically. He was held up in meetings onsite and offsite. When she did see him, he was always friendly, but never engaged her the way he did that first day. He still held the favor of most teachers despite the changes he wanted to make. He explained that no changes would be pursued until he had heard everyone's concerns.

Olivia was straightening up her classroom on Wednesday afternoon when Abby walked in.

"So you are going to dinner at Harrison's tonight, right?"

"Yep. I'll be there."

"So is Mr. Grant continuing to give you the cold shoulder?

"Yeah. I think he…I don't think he is interested in me anymore," Olivia said, not hiding the disappointment in her voice.

"Liv, this is what you wanted, right? You told him he was pushy and that you weren't interested."

"Well, I didn't say I wasn't interested. I said we could be friends," said Olivia.

"That's what he's giving you. He's really busy. I mean what do you want…picnic lunches during recess?"

"No! But he is obviously avoiding me. He barely speaks to me."

"I'll see you tonight, Liv. We'll talk more then, okay?" said Abby.


Olivia sat at the table not really participating in the lively conversation of her friends in Harrison's dining room later that night. They had finished dinner and had moved on to a delicious pumpkin spice cake, compliments of Harrison's wife. Olivia knew it was Wednesday and Dave and Buster's night for Fitz and his family. As she pushed her cake around on her plate, she replayed last week in her mind.

"Earth to Olivia." She looked up at the sound of Abby's voice. "She is pining for Mr. Grant. He hasn't called her in a week."

"Abby, shush, okay!" Abby laughed at Olivia's frustration and returned to her conversation with Huck's wife.

As the night wore on, they moved into the family room. Olivia looked at her watch. It was 8:30. She decided to say her goodbyes and head home.

As she drove, she found herself heading for Colorado Blvd. She tried to talk herself out of it, but she couldn't. Twenty minutes after leaving Harrison's house, she was driving into a parking spot at Dave and Buster's. She spotted Fitz's car two spaces away from her. She felt a rush of excitement as she saw him place a bag inside his car, shut the door, and turn around. When he turned around, their eyes met. He walked to her. Both their faces held silly grins.

"Hi," he said.

"Hi," she said.

They stood there for a moment basking in each other's presence.

"Ms. Pope, to what do I owe this honor?"

Olivia looked embarrassed, but she pushed her feelings aside. "I am here to see A. C. Someone. I want to top the last time I was out with him."

Fitz moved closer to her.

"How do you plan to do that?" he said.

Olivia rose up on her toes, slid her hands around the nape of his neck, and pulled his lips to hers. She threw caution to the wind kissed him with all she had. The kiss was intense. It was as if they were trying to make up for the two other failed attempts. When they pulled apart, Fitz said, "Oh, you topped it."

They laughed. He extended his hand to hers. She placed her hand in his and they strolled into Dave and Busters to find Karen and Gerry. The two were so totally engrossed in each other that they didn't see that someone was sitting in a car across from the parking lot watching them. It was Mellie. Her face was filled with disgust. After they disappeared inside, she replayed the video of what she had just witnessed.

"Who is this woman? I'll find out soon enough." Mellie started her car and left.


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