Disclaimer: Unfortunately I don't own Scandal

AN: 1. I'm sorry this took so long

2. This is it

3. Happy Reading

Chapter 55: The Lady in My Life

And I will keep you warm through the shadows of the night
Let me touch you with my love
I can make you feel so right
And baby through the years even when we're old and gray
I will love you more each day
'Cause you will always be the lady in my life

- Michael Jackson: The Lady in My Life

Early Spring 2026

It was a Thursday. With these two, important events always occurred on a Thursday. Since they first met on that cold yet sunny winter day during the campaign, which happened to fall on a Thursday. That's what started it all. That's what had them sitting across from their oldest currently.

"Joss, you wanted to speak with me and your dad," Olivia prompted, no longer wanting to think of possibilities as to why her soon to be 16 year old daughter had called a meeting with her parents.

"I did. I do," Josslyn corrected as she tucked a curl behind her ear. "It's rather important and affects all of us, so I wanted to confer with you both first," she teenager explained.

Her grey eyes watched carefully as both her parents sat straighter. Her mother's eyes narrowed at her word choice and her father fiddled with his shirt collar.

"Alright," Fitz began, " lay it on us," he patted his denim clad thighs.

"For the last few weeks, we've been discussing US presidents in my history class. We're reaching the end of the unit, focusing on presidents of the 21st century..." Josslyn trailed off as she watched the light bulbs go off in her parents' minds.

"And given there have only been 4 presidents during the 21st century..." Fitz began but was interrupt by Josslyn.

"5, there have been 5 presidents. You forgot about Langston, who was sworn into office while you were in a coma after the shooting," Josslyn corrected. She watched as Olivia moved her petite hand to Fitz's shoulder, and his larger one covered hers briefly. The exchange was quick but the significance wasn't lost. As young as Josslyn had been, she still remembered the aftermath of her father's shooting. "It was short lived but she was still the president. "

"You're right, Joss. It was 5. Given that I'm the 2nd president to hold office during the 21st century, you'll be discussing me and my administration soon," Fitz stated.

"Correct. Since I've already read ahead, I know what some of the talking points will be," Josslyn said vaguely, but Olivia knew exactly what her daughter was hinting at.

"You're discussed in the book," Olivia said as a statement. Fitz looked between his wife and daughter who were staring at one another intently.

"I am. I want to know the appropriate thing to say. I know there are things we don't discuss in public about your relationship or me, so I need to know what to say. Or better yet, what not to say," Josslyn stated clearly.

"Since you've read the book, give us a brief overview," Fitz requested. He turned to look at Olivia and he could see her attempting to come up with a plan.

"Well as far as I'm concern, ethics and the threatened impeachment, the shift within the Republican Party and the age old question," Josslyn shared.

"What age old question?" Fitz frowned.

"The one that only falls short of the Clinton and Lewinsky scandal. 'Did the fixer have an affair with the president?' Personally, I'd like to know as well," Josslyn stated boldly.

Fitz and Olivia turned to look at one another at the same time. They couldn't hide the truth from her forever. She was a well-adjusted, seemingly happy, and mature teenager. She'd never asked before, so there was no need to start lying now.

The couple turned their attention back to their daughter. The decision was made. It only took one minute. One minute was all they needed. It would always be one minute.

"Yes," Olivia spoke firmly. "Your father and I had an affair."

"And I'm a byproduct of that affair?"

"You are," Fitz answered, trying to read her face. She'd perfected her poker face over the years.

"If I did my math correctly, I was conceived around inaugural week. Right? And the whole IVF story was made up?"

Fitz looked at Olivia with a small smirk as he remember their time together before giving his daughter a slight nod.

"How do you feel about this," Olivia questioned. She could telling something wasn't sitting right with Josslyn, but she didn't know what.

"I'm content with it, I guess," Josslyn shrugged "I've known for a while that I wasn't an IVF baby but it would have been nice if you would have told me. Especially when you had Robert. That's when I started going on the Internet and reading things. Huck did a great job fabricating your medical records. You should have told me. That's all," Josslyn expressed calmly in attempt to keep her true emotions at bay " I mean... Here I was, thinking that I was some experiment and RJ was made from love. Although I've always felt you were lying. about your relationship, there was still this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that was telling me my gut was wrong," she sighed. " you're my parents. You're supposed to protect me. "

"You're right, we should have. You deserved to know that you were conceived out of love..."

"... But when RJ was born, you were still quite young. Your dad and I didn't think it was fair to give you such vital information and then ask you to keep it to yourself," Olivia picked up her husband's thoughts.

"When RJ was born, you were the same age as Jerry was when he found about you and my relationship with your mom. It was unfair of us then to ask a 12 year old to keep such a secret, and it would have been unfair to do the same with you," Fitz rationalized, recalling a conversation he'd shared with Olivia.

"I'm not Jerry! You could have told me. You should have told me! Dad, you're always saying that each child is different, and you have to tailor your partnering to each individual, are you not?" Josslyn posed.

"Yes, I do say that, but Josslyn I refused to make the same mistake twice. That type of pressure on a child is a lot to deal with. Hell that sort of pressure for an adult is a lot to deal with. Your brother and sister, especially Jerry was forced to grow up quicker because of my decisions," Fitz explained. " Your mother and I weren't going to allow the same to happen to you.

"It doesn't matter, Dad. It doesn't matter! I had a right to know. This is my life. My future. Things I need to know to figure out who I am and where I belong. But instead the two of you decided to hide this. You both cooked up this plan..."

"I came up with this plan to protect you," Olivia interjected. " I know you can't see this now but it's for the best. I refused to let you be portrayed as Pres. Grant's bastard love child. The little mixed breed. Because that's what people were calling you. That's how people saw you. And your siblings, they were bring tormented at school. Especially Karen. We did this because we love you and your siblings. "

"When did you intend to tell me," the young woman inquired.

"Around your birthday," Fitz answered firmly. "We hadn't selected a specific date, but we had a general time frame. "

"You know, I've heard the whispers," Josslyn shared, "over the years. You could have told me sooner. The thing about politicians and their wives is that they never forget. The media never gets. The Internet holds all the answers. While Mom never was labeled your mistress, it didn't squash the whispers of a sexual relationship between you."

"How do you feel about our affair?"

"I know Dad and Mellie never had a traditional marriage. I've gathered that so much over the years. But I'm still curious about your marriage, Mom," Josslyn continued, watching her mother closely. She had her father's charm and mother's uncanny ability of reading people. "Were you guys still having an affair while you were married? Is that why you got divorced? Is Dad the reason you left Mel and broke his heart?"

"Josslyn, it's not that simple," Fitz said when he realized Olivia was unsure as to how she should approach the question.

"It is. It's a yes or no question."

"Jossie, no your dad and I never had an affair while I was married to Mel, but I wasn't a good wife. I was in love with your dad. So yes, Fitz is one of the reason Mel and I got a divorce. It wasn't fair of me to stay married to him when I was still in love with your father. Mel deserved better. Someone like Vanessa who was as equally committed to a marriage as he was."

"Josslyn. I've always had my professional life in order, my personal life, not so much. I've always had a plan for my life. When I joined the campaign and met Fitz things changes. My personal life and professional life became intertwined. When you came along, I had to separate the two. I tried to detach myself because it was the morally correct and appropriate thing to do. And Akmal came along and he was... He was Mel," Olivia said simply.

"Mel is the best," Joss said softly. Next to Fitz, Mel was the second most important male in her life. He still treated her as if she were his biological child. Josslyn loved him dearly.

"On paper and in my mind, Mel was the perfect guy. We were the perfect couple but he wasn't Fitz, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't change my feelings. Mel, he didn't deserve to have his heart broken anymore, to have a wife who was carrying on an emotional affair with someone she could never cut out of her life," Olivia explained. Her marriage with Mel was time she didn't care think about. She'd hurt him greatly and didn't want to relive

"Why did you marry him?"

"Because he loved us. Because he was my chance to have normal, something stable. We needed stability."

"You keep saying we," Josslyn interjected with a scowl. Her eyes were stormy, dark, and cold with arms crossed at her midsection. "But it sounds to me you made these decisions for you. Because you didn't want your life to be in an uproar. Because you wanted normal. It wasn't for me. I'm just the scapegoat. You're just using me to justify your selfish decisions. You lied about me. You married Mel for convenience. To separate yourself from any romantic tie to Daddy...All of those things sound selfish. I thought loving, caring moms were supposed to be selfless, not use your children as justifications for their short comings and..."

"JOSSLYN ARIA GRANT THAT IS ENOUGH," Fitz yelled starting his daughter. Josslyn's eyes became wide saucers as she dared to look at her father.

He'd yelled at her. Fitz never yelled. He was the diplomatic parent, the peace maker. On a rare occasion he'd raised his voice, but never actually yell.

"Fitz..." Olivia began but when she looked at him, she backed off.

"You will not speak to your mother that way. There is expressing yourself and then there is disrespect," Fitz spoke sternly.

"But, Daddy," Josslyn began to argue. She softened her eyes and formed a little pour in hopes to soften him up.

"But nothing, Josslyn," he stopped her immediately. "You have every right to be upset with us. The both of us. Mom and me! We jointly made the decision to deceive you because it was in your best interest," Fitz sighed momentarily. " I'm certain you have many emotions at the moment, but you don't have the right to lash out and verbally attack your mom. "

Fitz leaned over to his wife and whispered in her ear. Olivia nodded her head slightly and Fitz went back to an upright position.

"Josslyn, I am going to give you time to get it together. Clearly you've lost your common sense. So when you're ready to behave accordingly -civilly -I'll answer any and all questions you have," Olivia stated in a detached tone. "And cancel your plans for the next four days."

"What?! That isn't fair," Josslyn argued with a clinched jaw. "Daddy," Fitz shook his head.

"You heard your mother. Four days. "

"And if you keep whining and complaining, I'll make it an entire week," Olivia threatened.

"A week? For what? Saying how I feel that's complete crap. You're just upset I told you the truth about yourself. And you want to punish me for that," Josslyn rolled her eyes as the words slipped passed her lips.

"No, a week for blatant disrespect. The more you talk, the more you hang yourself. You're now up to 10 days," Olivia declared and Josslyn frowned and turned her head away from Olivia. " look at me while I'm speaking to you,Josslyn. You are on extremely thin ice. You have to the right to be upset and confused and hurt and angry. However, you don't have the right to act out. If you continue to do so you'll only make things more difficult for yourself," Olivia spoke evenly. "I am the parent. You are the child. As long as you live in this house, as long as I have breath in my body, you will respect that... Now gather your things."

"For what," Josslyn bit back. She was testing her parents.

"You know the rules," Fitz answered. "When you're grounded you stay in the spare room. Away from your belongings. Locking you away in your room where you have access to technology and gadgets isn't punishment. Now do as your mother told you."

"Josslyn," Fitz called as he cracked the door open. He found her curled up in bed reading a James Baldwin novel. Her curls were pulled back into a bun and she had a bowl of popcorn on the night stand. She looked very much like her mother in that moment.

"It's safe to come in," Joss lightly joked. She marked her page and patted on the bed.

Fitz chuckled lightly "Stealing my moves I see."

"Something like that. No use in delaying our talk," she sighed with a soft smile.

Fitz sat across from her on the edge of the bed "Would you like to begin?"

Josslyn stared at him briefly. She opened and closed her mouth a few times before finally speaking. "You yelled at me. You never yell at me. "

Fitz inhaled deeply and pinched his nose," And I apologize. That was not the best reaction. However, my poor communication skills doesn't excuse your behavior. You were out of line. "

"I know," Josslyn replied quietly, casting her gaze away.

"There is a lot you don't understand about that period of our lives."

"Mom made you lie to the press. She made you lie about me, about your relationship. She used Mel and broke his heart. How could you forever her? How could he?"

"Josslyn," Fitz leaned backwards. "I can't speak on Olivia and Mel's marriage. However, I want to make one thing abundantly clear; Your mom didn't make me do anything. We both decided what was best for her, for me, and most of all for you. I originally wanted to tell the world I was in love with Olivia. That I had been for years, but I couldn't. She would have been crucified. And her life was finally going in the right direction. She was finally smiling again," he paused briefly. "I wanted you both to have normal lives. So I chose to lie. Your mother got married ,and she was happy. You both were. Did it hurt me to with watch her move on? Definitely. But that was my decision to let her go."

"But how? How could you forgive her. I've seen pictures and it looks like you weren't there for that first year because of Mom. Then Mel enters the picture . How did you forgive that?" Josslyn asked wide eyed.

"We both made mistakes, did things, said things..." He sighed, shaking his head. "But love, love allows for forgiveness HoneyBee. I think that love, at the end of the day, is stronger than some mistakes somebody made."

He reached out and patted her leg. Josslyn grabbed Ella. After all these years she still had her elephant. Fitz could see the tears and confusion and frustration welled in her eyes.

"I don't have all the answers, Jossie. I can only tell you things from my perspective. If you want to truly understand,you have to talk to your mom," Fitz said quietly before standing to leave.

"Stay," his daughter requested. "Will you please stay?"

"Anything for you," he sat beside her this time, wrapping his arms around her.

When Fitz walked into the bedroom, he was shocked by the sight before him. Olivia with a soft smile. Her hair was parted down the middle, curly and damp. She was propped up against the headboard, a glass of red wine one hand and a navy colored leather journal in another.

"Well this isn't what I was expecting," Fitz said as he crossed the room." You're smiling."

"I needed a loosen up," she looked at him and then down at the tray he'd brought to the room. Freshly made kettle corn and red wine. "I see you brought my two favorite food groups," she leaned in to kiss him briefly.

"You need it," Fitz declared as he situated himself in the bed and wrapped an arm around his wife. " which one are you reading?"

"The haggis story," Olivia said shared with a small laugh.

"Oh, one of my not so fond memories as chief diplomat," he joined her.

"I still can't believe you did that," Olivia laughed, the resulting grin on his face wide and bright.

"Well, what was I supposed to do? I had no other choice," Fitz chuckled. "When the First Minister of Scotland offers you haggis, you eat it. And then when he isn't looking, you spit it out into you napkin. Discreetly, of course."

"Oh, Fitz, only you," Olivia sighed, the laughter still echoing in her voice. "I wish I could have seen that."

"Me too," Fitz agreed.

"If I could have been there, I would have," Olivia softly said.

"I know, Livvie. But you're here now, and you won't have to miss anything again," Fitz told her.

"I know." Olivia agreed,"Lucky me, I missed out on being a glorified house wife."

"You would have never been a glorified house wife. The American people would have grown to love you being involved,"Fitz said, trying to imagine Olivia as his first lady during his years in office.

"I'm not too sure about that,but none of that matters now. We're together and happy now. It took us long enough to get here,but we finally did,"Olivia leaned into him,and he let out a hum in agreement.

A long pause filled the air , both lost in thoughts of what could have been and what was. Olivia broke the silence, her voice quiet . "Fitz, do you think, well, I know we've talked about this before but I think…"


"Well, I think Joss needs to talk to someone about all of this," Olivia told him.

"You mean like a doctor or therapist? Because you know I'll give Dr. Thoms a call for suggestions. ."

"Now we have to get her to agree," Olivia sighed and took a gulp of her wine. "She is so damned stubborn."

"That she is," Fitz agreed as he brought her glass to his lips.

"She's so much like me. All of her accusations were truthful," Olivia murmured.

"They were, except she out of line, and she knows it. "

"We have a teenager... I have a teenager," she paused to let the words sink in, " since you've already raised two. "

"And you think that was any easier. My son would go through phases where he wouldn't talk to me because of my treatment towards you or Mellie...and Karen was wrapped up in Christian and dealing with the kids at school. While she never rebelled, she asked at lot of questions I didn't want to answer ,because they forced me to be honest with myself. "

"At least you have some experience. This is my first go around... I miss the days where she'd dance through the house and give me Eskimo kisses," Olivia thought back to a smaller Josslyn.

"She still does those things, she's just more talkative and opinionated now. She'll always be my HoneyBee. She'll always be your Poppet. She'll always be our first born ,but we have to let her grow."

"I know, I know," Olivia nuzzled close to him. " I'm just worried I'll screw her up. "

"You won't Liv. You're an excellent mother. I know you struggled when the kids were younger, finding that balance, but you've done it. Trust your gut. If it brings you any comfort, it gets easier with each child. Not by much, but it's still something."

" At least we still have the twins and RJ. "

"When Tanya is this age, I think you'll have to start a bail fund for me and Mel, since I already know Josslyn's will be used. "

"Girls, girls are easy... But boys, we have to worry about all the girls coming around and wanting to do God knows what with my baby boys. "

"Livvie, if our girls are anything like you, it won't be easy," Fitz shook his head.

"What is supposed to mean," she gave him a pointed look.

"Well, you once joked Josslyn may take after you and date older men. The same may apply to Tanya. Josslyn already wants to go to prom with AJ," Fitz groaned.

"Josslyn only wants to go to prom with AJ because his girlfriend broke up with him and she doesn't want him to be dateless. He's like her brother, trust me," Olivia attempted to assure Fitz ,but he still wasn't too pleased.

"We'll see."

"Back to my original statement; Max may take after Mel and get married fresh out of high school. And RJ, oh my little Robert, I pray he doesn't act like you doing your younger years," declared and Fitz furrowed his brow. "Oh don't look at me like that Fitzgerald. You slept with so many people. And there's nothing wrong with that. It was your choice, but there are so many more diseases now," Olivia paused, " I know there is a possibility that our kids will be sexually active teenagers, but I just want them to be safe and vigilant."

"Well this is new territory for me," Fitz said and Olivia gave me a pointed look. "Karen wasn't sexually active as a teenager. And Jerry was smart about his decisions; he didn't feel pressured. What if Josslyn is?"

"Fitz, Josslyn will be fine. I know you don't want to think of her having sex,but at least she's open with us. She comes to us. If not, she has Mel and Camille, her older siblings. If and when she decides to enter into a sexual relationship, she'll make the decision that's best for her," Olivia commented, deciding to ignore the comment about Karen's sexual experiences as a teenager. Some things didn't need to be brought to light. It was Karen's choice to disclose and Olivia would respect her privacy.

"You're right,but we do need to find her a therapist. I don't want her to make any rash decisions right now as a result of this news," Fitz said, pausing briefly, then exhaling loudly. "I'll make the call to Dr. Thoms first thing in the morning."

"I'm sure times like these makes you miss The Oval," Olivia teased,trying to lighten the mood.

"I bit,just a bit. If I had to choose, I'd always chose this role. Always,"he tilted his head and kissed her softly.

"Knock,knock," Josslyn heard a familiar yet missed voiced call ,and her face immediately lit up.

"Jerry!" She exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"

"Hey Joss," he hugged his younger sibling warmly before sitting on the couch. "Did you forget I was going to be in town for a conference?"

"No, I just haven't been paying much attention to dates," Josslyn answered, her smiling fading away momentarily. "I'm so happy you're here. Especially right now. As soon as RJ comes home he's going to monopolize all of your time."

"Well ,Joss, Dad filled me in," he referenced her learning the truth. "Ask away."

"I spoke to KC , and she told me that you'd probably understand how I felt more than anyone," Josslyn began.

"In some aspects," Jerry nodded in agreement. "I will say that when I first discovered the truth- when I learned about you- I immediately painted Dad as a bad guy in my mind," Jerry shared with his baby sister. "It really effected my relationship with him during those years. It wasn't until right before I went off the college, after the shooting, that I took the steps to truly mend our relationship."

"Why was the shooting everyone's aha moment. Mom,Karen, you?"Josslyn said aloud even though she knew the answer.

"The possibility of losing someone close to you is devasting. I'm sure you don't remember much about my behavior during that time, but I struggled a lot... I love my mom and I love Liv as well. Even though I know my parents didn't have the perfect marriage, I never thought Dad was that guy. The guy to sleep with his subordinate, to cheat on his wife. I looked at things from a black and white lense. It wasn't until I spoke to Mom, Liv, and Dad that I fully understood."

"I'm want to try Jer but..." Josslyn huffed in frustration.

"...but it's difficult. I know. Just talk. Sit here and talk with me, to me , and we'll work it out together," Jerry offered. Josslyn nodded and began to speak. She let out all her frustrations, uncertainties, and questions.

There was something about sharing with Jerry that made her feel a bit at ease. Perhaps it was his easy going demeanor or the react she spent a great deal other childhood being his shadow, much like RJ was to her. Whatever the case was, once she'd finished unloading on him, the possibility of having a talk with Olivia seemed plausible. Especially his last words before RJ came barging in.

"You know what helped me? Realizing that Dad was human. He makes mistakes. He isn't perfect. He may have been one of the most powerful men on the planet, but he still was only human. He has flaws like you and I. Remember that when you talk to your mom. She's only human and does the best she can. "

Josslyn padded down the hallway to her parents room. As she walked, she ran various conversation scenarios through her mind. She wanted to phrase everything right to get all the answers she needed. So silently she stood once she'd reached her destination. Then she knocked firmly 3 times and waited.

"Come in," Fitz's voice called and she pushed the door open slowly.

As she entered the room, she saw her parents wrapped in one another contently. Their legs were stretched and intertwined. Fitz's arms were secured about Olivia's midsection. Olivia had her fingers interlaced with his. They were watching a documentary it appeared.

"Mom, can we talk?" Josslyn requested.

Fitz looked down at Olivia, and she gave him a small nod. He kissed her quickly. Then he detached himself from her and climbed out of the bed.

"The room is all yours, HoneyBee," Fitz declared, kissing her cheek before he left the room, closing the door behind him.

Josslyn remained against the wall, staring at Olivia who had changed her posture. She was now sitting upright with her back pressed against the headboard.

"Are you going to hold the wall or would you like to sit?" Olivia questioned, waiting for Josslyn to speak.

"I'm good over here. Thank you though."

"Well, I'm an open book,"Olivia spoke, trying to open the path to a successful conversation. She wanted to help her daughter work through her confusion and frustrations. "I'll answer any questions you have."

"When did you decide to divorce Mel?" Josslyn stared at Olivia, her grey eyes piercing and sharp.

"You are certainly my child," Olivia announced before answering. "After your father was shot. That's when I made the decision?"

"Why then?" Joss questioned, crossing her arms. She didn't like to think about the shooting.

"Did you know your dad left me in charge, not Mellie?" Olivia asked and Josslyn shook her head. "I was in charge of everything. Apparently it had been set up like that for years. Since before he was sworn into office, but no one knew," Olivia shared. "Making those decisions, being there, planning his funeral in my head," she inhaled deeply as her feelings began to stir," It was a wakeup call. I couldn't deny my emotions. It's sad that it took him almost dying for me to realize just how much I love him, but it did...I made mistakes, but I'm not perfect Josslyn. I loved Mel. I did, but I was never in love with him. And I know you adore him and you're upset. But I want to know,I never intended to hurt him."

Josslyn stared at Olivia and nodded. She walked over to the California King Size bed,taking a spot on its plush end. " Did you even try? Or did you run back to Dad?"

Olivia reached over to her night stand and took a sip of her wine. "Josslyn I fought until the very end. I made vows , vows I intended to keep. I fought even when everyone told me to let it go. I realized, once again I was being selfish. I was thinking about me and not Mel or you or your siblings. That wasn't a healthy environment. We would have grown to resent each other. ... It was a scary time for me,"Olivia laughed softly as she saw the look of shock on Josslyn's face.

"I know, me admitting I'm scared is unheard of ,but I was. I had so much to work through. I went from being in a relationship with a married man to having and hiding his child to trying to sustain my own marriage but still keep Fitz in my life. I was a mess. "

"You always seemed to put together. When Daddy was shot and you a Mel split, you were sad but still seemed in control,"Josslyn shared her point of view. "I just couldn't wrap my mind around you being out together yet so many other people were hurt."

"I thought I was doing the right thing. I really did, Josslyn, "Olivia sighed. "I shouldn't have hid you from your father. I'm sorry for that. I am. I apologize for deceiving you all these years, but I'll never apologize for doing what I felt was best for you. That's my job as your mom. "

Josslyn stared at Olivia and caught the protectiveness in her eyes. "Tell me more."

"What else would you like to know?"

"Start from the leak of my parentage and we'll work from there."

Josslyn moved further into the bed and listened as Olivia shared with her. The more she listened, the more her young mind understood. She thought of Jerry's words to her. Her mom had just been doing the best she could to hang on. She was human and was simply doing the best she could. Despite what may have been portrayed, Olivia Pope didn't always have it all together. Josslyn was beginning to see that.

Little RJ walked down the house of their home. His play date was cancelled because his friend had come down with a stomach virus. Max and Tanya were gone for the next two weeks, staying with Mel and Vanessa.

"Joss," he knocked on the door that was already half way open.

"Hey,what do you need?" Josslyn placed her composition book down and offered a smile to her youngest sibling.

"I'm bored. Tyler can't play because a virus. And I miss Max and Tanu," he announced as he sat next to her on the floor. "Did you ever get lonely when Max and Tanu left before I was born?"

"Nope," she shook her head. "I liked having Mommy and Daddy to myself. I was actually a little sad when Mom was pregnant with you."

"How come?" RJ stared at her with inquisitive eyes. "Didn't you like me?"

Josslyn laughed and ruffled his brown curls. "Oh Robby," she used his other nickname to loosen him up. "It's not that I didn't like you. I just enjoyed my alone time with our mom and dad. I knew when they had you things would change, that's all," Josslyn explained kindly. She noticed his slight pout at her confession so she decided to extend her statement. "But having you as a little brother is well worth the change!"

"Really?" RJ perked up at that news.

"Yes, really. When Max and Tanu were born I was little. I was your age actually. So when you were born I was a little older. I got to help Mom and Dad with you," Josslyn smiled, remembering the first time she'd fed him table food. It has been a messy experience.

"Was I a nice baby?"

"Yes, you were. You always would laugh and liked to be tickled. Just like you do now," she answered, reaching out to tickle his sides.

"Stop, Jossie," the little boy gasped as his older sibling tickled him mercilessly. Josslyn laughed as RJ's arms flailed.

"Not until you tell me who's the best big sister," Josslyn continued her attack.

"Tanu," RJ answered between laughs, driving Josslyn even more.

"Who? Who?"


"Karen? Karen is? Guess I'll have to keep tickling you," Josslyn moved to his belly, knowing he was extra ticklish there.

"Okay. Okay. You are Jossie,"he breathed.

"Huh? Can't hear you?!"

"Josslyn, you're the best," RJ laughed.

"And don't you forget it," Josslyn pulled him to her, hugging him tightly. "So mind telling me why all the questions?" She inquired once his laughter had subsided.

"Well, Karen is having a baby. I was thinking that it might not like me."

"And why wouldn't the baby like you?" Josslyn inquired.

"I don't know," he shrugged timidly.

"Well this baby is going to love you, and you're going to love it. In a few years it'll be your age, getting ready to start kindergarten. Then you can go to school together. Won't they be fun. You'll be a protective uncle. "

"An uncle? Like Daddy is Johnny's uncle?" RJ inquired enthusiastically. He hadn't made the connection before.

"Yes, just like that. "

"Wow!" The young boy explained widening his eyes. He jumped up and ran towards the door.

"Where are you going ,RJ?" Josslyn asked quiet puzzled by the sudden enthusiasm.

"I have to tell Mommy and Daddy,"he announced hurriedly.

"Tell them what?"

"That I'm going to be an uncle," he replied in matter of fact tone. Josslyn shook her head at her brother's enthusiasm. As she watched him take off down the hallway it was hard for her to imagine a time she'd felt insecure about his presence in their household. While her parents would often say she was guy that brought them together in the end, Josslyn felt RJ strengthened them as a family. From Karen on down, they'd all bonded over his presence to their family.

When Olivia arrived home, she was greeted by perhaps one of the most enticing sights she had seen in days. Fitz was sprawled on his stomach on the bed, his hips wrapped in a towel, his hair still damp from a shower. However, he was lying at an odd angle, and he had an ice pack on his lower back, and two small prescription bottles on his nightstand. "Are you okay?" Olivia asked.

"I threw my back out," he growled, grimacing as he tried to look at her over his shoulder. "The hot shower helped, but it's starting to seize up again."

Olivia quickly moved to sit on the bed, reaching out to stroke his hair. "Yes, I heard. Johnny called me. How are you feeling?"

"Better now that you're here," he sighed, closing his eyes as her fingers tangled in his hair, her nails lightly scraping against his scalp the way she knew he loved. He shivered in response, nuzzling his head towards her.

"Are you cold, baby?" Oliva asked him as his shoulders and back erupted in goosebumps.

"A little," he admitted. "But I was going to be damned if I was going to ask Johnny or the for help again. They've had a few too many laughs today at my expense."

"Do you want your sweatpants or just a blanket for now?" Liv asked. "And anything else? Have you had anything to eat? Have you taken your meds?"

"A blanket, please. Josslyn forced the meds down my throat before the shower and I'm starting to feel stoned from those. And maybe you could just lay down with me for a little bit, if the kids are okay?" he asked hopefully, and she smiled.

"Let me grab a blanket and check on the kids, and I'll be right back, all right?" Olivia said, leaning down and pressing a kiss to his cheek. She scooted off the bed and grabbed a throw blanket and placed it over him, then went back down the hallway into the kitchen, where Johnny, Josslyn and Max were assembling sandwiches and heating up soup.

Josslyn was the first one to notice her mother's return "How is he?" she asked.

"He's pretty knocked out from the pain and the meds. Will you guys be okay if I stay in the room for a while to take care of him? Mom will be here soon since Quinn is still out with RJ," Olivia shared. "Johnny, you don't mind staying longer do you?"

Johnny shook his head, "I'm here as long as you need me, Aunt Liv," he said in a somewhat teasing tone. " Tanya and Kaitlyn are off doing god knows what and would probably appreciate the extra time."

"Are you hungry, Mom?" Max asked, holding up a huge sandwich that looked like it had every ingredient in the kitchen. The sight of it made Olivis slightly nauseous.

"Uh, not right now sweetheart. Maybe in a little while. I just want to get back to Fitz. I'm going to call Karen first and see if there's anything I can do to help him."

"We'll be right here, Mom," Joss said. "Let us know if we can help."

Olivia grabbed Fitz's cell phone , since hers was dead, and dialed Karen'snumber. "Hello Dad!" Karen answered on the second ring.

"Actually Karen, it's Liv," she corrected.

"Oooh, even better, but don't tell Dad I said that!" Karen giggled."I didn't expect to hear from you quite so soon. We just spoke this morning, not that I'm complaining. Why are you using Dad's phone to call?"

"My phone is dead ,and I was feeling rather impatient. Apparently your dad slipped earlier this morning and threw his back out. I understand he saw a doctor , but I wanted to check with you to see if there is anything I can do to help."

"Oh, poor Dad," Karen clucked. "This has to be the 3rd or 4th time he's done that now. I know you'll make he sees his chiropractor first thing tomorrow. "

Olivia listened as she walked down the hallway to their room. Fitz was lying in the same position she had left him in, his eyes closed.

"You know me well" Liv said quietly, watching to see if Fitz would react to the sound of my voice. His eyelids fluttered and he looked at her, a soft smile on his lips. He didn't look like he was in as much pain as before, and for that she was grateful.

"He's already covered the basic steps. He's taken a hot shower and is using an ice pack,"She shared with her step daughter, sitting down again by Fitz's side. Fitz slowly moved towards her, putting his head in her lap and snuggling against her, wrapping one arm around her waist. Olivia's fingers automatically went to his hair and started stroking and tugging on the strands. Fitz moaned at her ministrations, tightening his grip around her waist and shifting even closer to her.

"If he has some medicated cream you can use on his back, something to soothe sore muscles that may help. Ask him if he took the a double dosage of the medicine like he normally does."

"Fitz baby, Karen wants to know how much you took?" Liv said, leaning down and cupping his cheek with her hand.

Fitz turned his face and pressed an open-mouthed kiss onto her palm, his tongue wet as he traced patterns on her palm. Her body clenched in response to his unexpected erotic action. "I took all the meds our daughter gave me , sweetheart. I feel fine now, except I'm really stiff right here," Fitz slurred, rolling to his side and guiding their intertwined hands down to his erection. Olivia gasped and Fitz groaned as he thrust his hips towards her

"Liv, did Dad take the painkillers?" Karen asked again.

"Yes, he did," she answered, "I know what that means..."

"...It will make him seem quite drunk, especially if he took the double dose as prescribed, and he will wake in the morning with one hell of a hangover." Karen finished Olivia's sentence.

As Karen's words were rang in Olivia's ears, her husband's behavior was clear. Fitz was reacting to the drug like he normally, and he had no idea what he was doing. However, she sure as hell knew what he was doing to her as he held her hand to him and cursed, moaning loudly as he shifted his hips, his erection gliding in and out of their hands in time with his thrusts.

"I'll take care of him, Kare," Olivia said faintly. She wouldn't have been surprised if Karen could probably hear every noise her father was making.

"Have Dad call me tomorrow, please Liv." Karen's warm voice was full of concern and a touch of humor, which made it certain that she was able to hear Fitz.

"Okay, thanks!" Olivia said quickly ending the call

"God, I thought you'd never finish that phone call!" Fitz said, pressing her back against the bed. He grabbed his phone from her hand and moved to toss it away, throwing it harder than necessary and crashing it against the wall. "Oops!" he laughed, the sound ending with a slight giggle that made Olivia smile.

Olivia reached up with both hands and held her husband's face between her palms. She kissed him, long and thorough, slowly pushing and guiding him until he was lying on his back again , and she was hovering above him. He moaned in disappointment when Liv I started to retreat, his arms reaching up to pull her back to him. It was one of the hardest things she had to do, resisting his kiss and seeking hands.

She had to bite back a giggle when he stuck out his lower lip in an exaggerated pout and crossed his arms over his chest, huffing out a sigh at what he deemed was her rejection. He resembled their four year old greatly. "Don't be angry with me, Fitz. I'm going to go get some lotion and give you a massage," She tried to appease him, hoping that she could get his body to relax enough for the medicine to kick in and allow him to fall asleep. "Go ahead and roll over onto your stomach, and I'll get what I need from the bathroom, okay baby?"

Fitz's eyes were a little glassy as he followed her movements, a tale tell sign that the medicine was indeed kicking in. She found a tube of sports cream in the medicine cabinet and grabbed it, along with some regular lotion. She stopped at the linen closet in their room and grabbed another blanket and, then made her way back to the bed with the supplies.

Fitz reached for her the moment she was near, wincing as he overextended and pulled at his back muscles. Olivia shook her head at him. "That's why you need the massage. Roll over."

"What do I do about this?" he asked with a slight whine, wrapping his fingers around his erection and slowly working his hand from base to tip and back down again.

Olivia bit her lip at the sight of him working himself, but she firmly shoved the inappropriate thoughts aside. "Fitz, roll over. You'll be fine."

He grumbled but did as she requested, grimacing again as he situated himself. Although she didn't know what body part stiffness caused his discomfort. She waited until he was somewhat comfortably positioned, then grabbed the sports cream and started to warm it between her hands. "Where does it hurt most?" Olivia asked him softly.

"My lower back," he grumbled into his pillow, hissing when her hands made contact with his skin. "Cold," he growled.

"Sorry," she said, biting back a giggle at his grumpy started to rub gently, feeling the cream warm against his skin. She worked the muscles on either side of his spine in a gentle up and down motion before spreading out across his back, and then back and forth. She didn't apply much pressure, not wanting to aggravate the injured area, but he sighed in contentment as the heat started to penetrate the sore muscles.

She used the sports cream on his entire back and his hips, using more pressure on his shoulders and hips to try and ease some of the tension in those muscles. Olivia couldn't help the smile that formed when he groaned and moaned as she continued her ministrations, glad that he was enjoying her touch so much. She made a mental note to give him a massage when it wasn't a matter of a medical treatment, and when could both enjoy a happy ending.

Then she switched to regular lotion and massaged his arms and legs as well, and by the time she was done, her arms, hands and fingers were sore ,and Fitz was asleep, snoring softly. She covered him with the extra blanket before she went to check on the kids again.

Olivia pointed at the kids "Go to bed you three." Olivia turned and pointed at Fitz. "And you, too. You've had a long day."

"Awwwwww Mom!" the kids whined.

"Awwwwww Mom!" Fitz imitated them, his tone decidedly dead-on.

"No whining," she said, trying to keep the smile off her lips. She didn't think she was very successful, because they were all smirking back at her, with Fitz's smirk being the widest. He rose from the couch, and I had to stop myself from ogling his ass as he stood in front of her before turning to help her up.

Tanya went first to give them a good night hug and kiss. Then Max gave Fitz hugs goodnight before turning and giving Olivia hugs and kisses as well. Finally Josslyn repeated Tanya's initial actions. Fitz and Olivia watched them bickering good-naturedly as they climbed the stairs together. She turned to find him with the same fond smile on his face that she could feel on hers, and she felt a surge of love for him man that she often felt that the loved the twins as much as she did; as if they were his flesh and blood like Jossly and RJ.

Fitz caught her watching him. "You need to stop looking at me like that, Livvie," he warned.

"Like what?" She asked, her voice low.

"Like you're going to throw me against the wall and have your way with me," Fitz said.

"That's a very tempting idea," Olivia breathed, stepping forward. Fitz stepped back at the same time, and Liv continued forward, the corners of her lips turning up in a naughty smile as he tried to escape. Fitz continued stepping back until he was pressed up against the door. His breathing was shallow, his eyes bright with excitement and arousal. She stood directly in front of him, close enough to feel his breath on her skin, but not touching him.

"Livvie," he groaned.

"Fitz," she whispered back.

He leaned down and pressed his lips to mine. His right hand reached for her left, his fingers found the cool band of her engagement ring and stroking it in time with the movement of his lips. "I don't think soon is going to be soon enough to start making love with my wife," Fitz groaned, sliding his arms around her waist and pulling her against him. She tried to lose herself in his kiss, but when he mentioned making love, her mind circled back to the words Josslyn had spoken a short while ago. Fitz noticed her distraction immediately.

"Liv?" he questioned, pulling back, studying my expression. "Where'd you go, Livvie?" he said softly, brushing her cheek with his fingertips

"I'm just thinking about something Joss said,"she admitted.

"What are you worried about?" he asked.

"She said something about it being 'just sex, no big deal'," Olivia said, struggling to recall her daughter's exact words.

"You know that's not true," Fitz argued, shaking his head in denial.

"I know that's not true of us, of course," Olivia reassured him. "But what if Josslyn feels that way? What if Zack has convinced her that sex is no big deal? What if therapy hasn't help? What if she's already...?"Olivia couldn't finish voicing the thought past the lump in her throat. Josslyn and both her parents had had the sex talk at various ages and stages, and had discussed abstinence as well as forms of protection. In addition they discussed all the repercussions , the emotional as well as the physical .She and Olivia had even reached a pact, back when she started her period that she would go to her mom if she was considering becoming sexually active, so that they could discuss putting her on birth control. However, the idea that her fifteen-year old daughter may be sexually active sometime over the last two months had Olivia panicking.

Fitz scowled darkly. "He's too scared of her detail to try something. "

"Fitz, I don't know that she and Zack have done anything," Olivia interrupted, trying to calm him.

He waved toward the staircase. "Well, go up there and find out, will you? I'll be right here waiting to find out if I need to go over and kill that boy. "

"You'll do no such thing even if they have, Fitzgerald Thomas Grant!" Olivia admonished him.

"It worked with Christian!"Fitz argued, and Olivia had to bite her tongue.

"And you will not be down here waiting either. Josslyn would be horrified if she knew I was even talking to you about this. And it's not that it's you, Fitz, she wouldn't want me discussing this with anyone. Hell, she won't want me discussing it with her, either. But I promise I will tell you what you need to know, okay?"

Fitz didn't seem convinced. He looked more like he wanted to march up the steps beside Liv and speak with her as well. Fitz finally reluctantly acquiesced. "All right, we'll do this your way. I love you," Fitz said, leaning down and pressing a kiss to her lips.

"I love you too. "

Olivia watched as he climbed the stairs. She sighed heavily. What had started out as a fun evening with the girls, then turned into one of family, could now possibly turn into one of the most nerve-wracking discussions of motherhood she could ever imagine.

Olivia finished up her wine before climbing the stairs. She peeked into Max's room first. He was already fast asleep, sprawled across his mattress and snoring softly into his pillow. RJ had wandered into his room and was curled up into a ball. Olivia smiled, watching them for a couple of minutes before she flipped off the light.

As Liv passed Josslyn room, she could hear her talking softly on her telephone, followed by a breathy giggle and the name 'Zack', which only furthered her resolve to speak with her. Olivia went to her room and changed into her night clothes. Fitz was doing some reading with his glasses perched on his nose. Olivia took time to brush her teeth, hoping Josslyn would be finished with her conversation by the time Olivia went back to her room.

When Olivia padded down the hall and stood outside her door, she could hear Josslyn giggling. She tapped on the door lightly, and she heard the rustling of covers and more whispered conversation.

"Yes?" Josslyn called out, her voice low.

"It's Mom."

"Just a sec," Josslyn said. Olivia heard her muffled whispers and then the beep of her phone. "Okay, come in."

"Hey Poppet," Olivia said, opening the door. Josslyn was in bed, under the covers. Her bedside lamp was on, her phone on the nightstand, and a book open beside her on the bed. "Not sleepy yet?"

"No, I was just calling Zack and telling him about that Karen was having a little girl," Josslyn told her mother with a warm smile and a distant look in her eyes when she mentioned his name.

"Have you seen him since you got back from New York?" Olivia asked.

"No. Dad said he could over to dinner with us if it's alright with you. You don't mind do you " she asked hopefully.

"No, not at all. Actually, I wanted to talk with you about Zack, if you don't mind," Olivia said, trying to figure out how to ease into the topic. Her relationship with Josslyn was finally back to a semblance of normalcy.

"Sure Mom. What's up?" Josslyn asked.

"How are things between you and Zack?" Olivia asked.

"Good," Josslyn replied, and Olivia loved the happiness she heard in her daughter's voice. "Really good."

"And he treats you well?" Liv questioned.

"Like a princess, Mom. He opens doors, and carries my books, and helps me with my coat and everything. He's such a gentleman. Sometimes too much of one," she grumbled, and Olivia thought she sounded irritated.

"What do you mean 'too much of one'?" Olivia inquired curiously.

"I don't know if I can talk about that, Mom," she said, looking down at her comforter and picking at a loose thread, a blush coloring her freckled cheeks.

"Jossie, I came in here to talk to you about your comment earlier about sex," Liv stated bluntly, using the silence to shock her.

It worked. Josslyn's head snapped up, her mouth open and her eyes wide as they met Olivia's. "What comment about sex?" she asked, astonished.

"About it being 'just sex' and 'no big deal.' That's the kind of comment that's a very big deal to a teenage girl's mom, so much so that she starts to worry about what her daughter thinks about sex, and what her daughter is doing about sex, especially when her teenage daughter has a older boyfriend."

Josslyn covered her face with her hands, shaking her head back and forth so that her unruly curls swung with the movement. Her shoulders shook and the muffled sounds coming out of her mouth worried Olivia at first. Then she recognized the sound; Josslyn was giggling. The giggles turned to chuckles, then to laughter. She even snorted a few times for good measure, until she was clutching her stomach and laughing so hard tears were running down her cheeks.

When her laughter died down, she looked up at me and started giggling all over again. "You... should see...the look...on your face!" she gasped. "Oh... I can't... I can't breathe!"

"I am...confused, Poppet" Olivia admitted.

"Mom, I am not having sex with Zack. In the two months I've been dating Zack, he has kissed me exactly twice. The first time was three weeks ago, and it was on my cheek. The second time was the night before I went to New York, and it was a quick peck on the lips. I am absolutely dying for him to kiss me properly, but you definitely don't have to worry about anything as far as sex goes. At the rate we're going, Zack and I will be married for three years before we make it to second base."

"Wow! " Olivia replied. She should have known her daughter would be the aggressor.

"Yeah. We're not that serious, obviously. Even I didn't realize how shy Zack was when it comes to relationships. He said he's been trying to work up the courage to ask me out for almost a year now. I think AJ may have given him a hard time about getting close to me, since I'm seen as his little sister. But he does hold my hand, and he puts his arm around me , and I'm encouraged by the kisses. I do hope that he kisses me…really kisses me, and soon!" she said with a dreamy sigh.

"So when you said that earlier, about sex being no big deal?" Olivia asked, leaving the question out there for her.

"Well, it's obviously no big deal for a couple like Jerry and Nina, or you and Dad, who love each other and are in a relationship. It's not like you guys have any reason not to have sex," She looked up at Olivia then, her expression serious. "But how do you know, Mom? How do you know when you're serious enough, when you love each other enough to take that step? How did you know with Dad back then, or even with Mel?"

"Damn, that's a hard question to answer as a mom. I'm going to go for honesty here. Mel and I met when I was testing out dating again. He was understanding and accepting of my lifestyle. We didn't start sleeping together until I felt comfortable with having you around. I didn't want to put myself out there again, only to end it because you two didn't click. Nothing came before you." Olivia paused briefly, looking for the right words. "I'm wont lie to you and say that I was in love with Mel. Looking back, I was never in love with him. I felt great affection for him that turned into a love. But what I'm saying is iit wasn't a short-term relationship, based solely on hormones or physical impulses."

"And you and Daddy were different," Jossly stated matter-of-factly.

"Yes," Olivia answered truthfully. "I'd never met anyone like Fitz before, and it scared and I actually both fought our attraction to one another for a while. But when we realized we had feelings for one another, things did move pretty fast When we finally decided to have a physically intimate relationship, I was the one to initiate it. He was the aggressor but he wanted me to feel safe and loved and still in control. However, when we gave it another shot all those years later, we took our time. The one thing Dad was determined to do was take me out on a date as a single man. To simply hold my hand and kiss my cheek, and that's exactly what he did," Olivia smiled. " There's no reason to rush these things. Sex isn't something to be taken lightly. "

"I know ," Josslyn said, her eyes wide.

"I know what it's like Josslyn. Believe me when I say I know what it's like to want more physically , but don't rush it. Let things progress naturally, " Olivia said softly.

"But I told you, Zack hasn't even really kissed me yet," Josslyn said, her eyes a little sad.

"And there's nothing wrong with that," Olivia told her. Her baby was having her first real romance, and I didn't reallY didn't know all the details. Liv reached out and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear, and she leaned Josslyn's cheek against her palm. "Tell me about Zack."

"Mom, he's so wonderful," she whispered. "He's smart, and he's funny. He can be kind of clumsy when he's nervous, but if you get him in the water or on the soccer field, he's so graceful. Some of girls just ogle for his body, but when I look at him, all I see is the kindest, most gentle soul I've ever known. I think he's beautiful, and wonderful, and so amazing."

"He must be special if you feel that way about him," Olivia said, suddenly very grateful for Zack's old-fashioned, gentlemanly ways. If Josslyn was anything like Fitz, it wouldn't be long before she'd want to consummate their relationship.

"Why did it take so long for you and Dad to move in together?" Josslyn asked.

"We had to reach a certain level of commitment before moving in together ."

"But if you're already having sex, isn't that the commitment Mom?" Josslyn asked seriously. "I mean, you're giving each other everything you've got there, mind, body and soul. Moving in together is kind of secondary to the physical relationship, isn't it?"

There were times, like those, that Josslyn was truly wise beyond her years. She had just summed up what Olivia had been trying to say to her for the last half hour. "Yes, Joss. The physical relationship is a commitment in and of itself. And I believe that it should accompany a commitment on other levels as well. Now a lot of people will tell you otherwise, that sex for enjoyment's sake is fine too. And I suppose for some people it is. But for me personally, I can't imagine sex without affection, and I can't fathom either without commitment. And these are things that you will know in your heart, things that you will know because you will discuss them with the person that you care for, and things that you will wait to experience together."

Josslyn leaned forward and rested her head against Olivia's shoulder, and Liv wrapped her arms loosely around her torso, stroking her hair. "Thanks for talking to me, and not treating me like a little kid, Mom," she said.

"Hey, you're almost sixteen years old. I wasn't much older than you when I had sex for the first time. I don't want you to feel like you can't come to me when you've got questions or concerns. That's why I do these check ins," Olivia pulled back a little bit and cupped Josslyn's chin with her hand, smiling mischievously. "And I want to be someone you to come to tell when you do finally get that first kiss from Zack, okay Poppet?"

Josslyn giggled and nodded. "I promise, Mom, I'll tell you when I get the kiss. And I'll talk to you if we progress past that stage, deal?"

"Deal. If for whatever reason you don't feel like you can come to me you have your dad, Jerry, Karen, and Camille." Olivia yawned hugely and looked at the clock. "It's past midnight, and I have an early morning netting I'm going to get to bed. See you tomorrow, okay?"

"Okay. Love you, Mommy."

"Love you too, Poppet."

Olivia kissed her forehead and left her room, padding down the hallway to her room. It has nice to have an open conversation with her oldest after months of hostility. When Olivia finally reached room, she first noticed the light on the nightstand was still on. An indication Fitz was still up reading.

"It's about time. Do Tom and I need to make a late-night visit to Zack's house?" Fitz questioned .

"Well hello to you too," Olivia joked.

"It can't be too bad if you're teasing me like that," Fitz said, relief evident in his voice.

"If she's being honest with me, and I'm pretty sure she is, we have nothing to worry about. He hasn't even kissed her yet." Olivia shared, crawling into bed.

"Why? What's wrong with the boy?" Fitz asked, shocked.

Olivia laughed at his sudden change in tune. "It seems that Zack is very shy, and very old-fashioned. Jossie is hoping for a proper kiss sometime very soon. She is quite taken with him. But we did have a long talk about her comment about 'just sex' and even a little about my relationship with Mel and with you."

"Really?" Fitz asked, sounding a little worried.

"I didn't go into exact details, but obviously she now knows that you and I were having sex during the campaign. She assumed—and I confirmed—that you and I were intimate before we got as well. When the time comes in this relationship or some other one in the future, I think she feels comfortable enough to come to either of us."

"I pray that her love life is wiser than ours" Fitz mumbled.

"It will be," Olivia laughed. "Joss and I actually had a really good discussion tonight that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise if I didn't offer up some disclosure. Karen and Jerry turned out fairly normal and look at all they had to deal with." She leaned over and kissed his stubbled cheek. "You worry too much sometimes."

Fitz laughed at her choice of words," That's rich coming from you," he joked. "We should try to get some sleep. We both have long days." He reached over and turned off the small light. He rolled on his side and pulled Olivia close to him. His fingers automatically went to her ear lobe , causing her to melt into him. With his head tilted downward, he kissed her shoulder three times.

"I love you,Livvie," Fitz spoke softly.

"I love you too,Fitz," she said with a whisper. "And don't shave before you wake me up in the morning," she mumbled before she drifted off into a sound slumber.

Fitz and Karen sat on the swing, watching at Josslyn and Tanya wrote in chalk with RJ. She had decided to take a long weekend and visit her parents and siblings. It amazed Fitz just how much his girls had grown. Tanya was in middle school. Josslyn was nearing her 16th birthday. Karen was on the verge of becoming a parent herself; a thought he was still having difficulty wrapping his mind around.

"Dad," Karen called as she caught his staring at her swollen abdomen.

"Yes, KC," he smiled at her.

"You're a great dad," she smiled back at him.

Fitz chuckled at his oldest," Why thank you. You were my experiment child. So if you think I'm a good dad then clearly I did something right."

"You know you'll always be my first love," Karen kissed his cheek.

"You warm an old man's heart."

"I do my best," Karen paused briefly. "Seriously though, you are a good parent. I look at all of us. Me being 30 and RJ almost 5, and everyone in between. You're good with all of us. I wonder how you do it. How do you parent such diverse children? Especially Joss, Tanya, Max, and RJ?"

"This little one has you thinking about those things, doesn't she?" Fitz gave her a small smile.

"She does. I've spoken to Mom, Lilliana, and Liv. They've all given me their perspectives, but for some reason I think you're the person I need to talk to," Karen shared as she rubbed her abdomen.

"Why me?" Fitz asked curiously.

"You're the one who is white that raising children of color."

With those words, the switch clicked on ,and he nodded. "Now I see."

"My fear is that I'll do something wrong. Maybe I won't give her the right tools to navigate the world or I'll cause her to have some sort of identity complex," Karen shared.

"The sheer fact that you have those thoughts is a good sign that you're already thinking about parenting in the right direction," Fitz began, giving her hand an assuring squeeze. "Now there is no manual to raising your child, but I will let you what I've learned over the years. Educate yourself. If I'm unsure of something, I talk to Liv. Read up in issues that will potentially impact your little girl's life. Always have an open mind. Don't place her in a box. Let her discover her own identity, but at the same time make sure she's aware of what it means to be a person of color and of mixed heritage. Let her know there is no shame in claiming and trying to identify with both sides. Never ignore race. "

Karen nodded "I can't stop thinking about those talks I had with Lilliana and Liv and you after the news of the Josslyn broke. What do I do when someone asks me the ignorant question "where did you get her from?" I'm just my 16 year old self again, replaying those conversations."

"Karen, there will always be ignorant people in this world. I will say in the last 15 years, people have become more accepting of biracial children. That isn't to say that persons who fall into that group won't face struggles, but that the as a collective community, people have become more open minded," Fitz offered," In the same respect, I will also say, our country has become less racists, but people of color- especially those of African American and Latino descent -still face grave and unjust hurdles. All you can do is combat the ignorance, educate yourself, pass that education along to your child and love her... Some days you'll feel useless and helpless because it's something you'll ever have to experience. On those days, just hug her tightly and love her fully and pray for her greatly. "

"How did you become so wise?" Karen asked him, taking his words in and making a special mental note of all he'd said.

"I've had lots of practice," he chuckled. "You're going be an excellent mom. Trust your husband; he will be your greatest ally. And you'll have a great support system at your fingertips. "

Karen nodded, feeling a little more at ease after their conversation. "I love you, Dad."

My Sweet Baby,

Today was my 50th birthday party, and I don't think I've been this happy in quite some time. We danced a thousand dances. You sung sweet nothings to me. While I know I can no longer claim you as my own, you'll always be my Sweet Baby, my Livvie.

I know is letter is short, shorter than most, but words can't begin to capture how I feel. How you've made me feel.

So I'll leave you with the same words as always:

I love you. I love you. I love you. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.


"Livvie, why are you reading this?" Fitz asked as his eyes skimmed the words he'd written roughly ten years ago. He was nearing his 60th birthday, Karen was due any day now, and he found Olivia becoming more reflective.

Rolling onto her side, Olivia smiled up at her husband and brushed his hair back. "You're turning 60. I want it to be special. Don't start with that, "you're my snorting special mushy stuff," I already know that. There's something special I have in store for you. "

Fitz pulled her into his lap and brushed a few hairs out of her face. "Why do I feel an Old Man Grant comment coming on?"

Olivia tilted her head to the side and let out a loud giggle. "No Fitz baby, not this time."

"You aren't just saying that to appease me?" Fitz questioned with a small pout, and Olivia couldn't help but laugh. Olivia though RJ had learned his infamous pout from his siblings or cousins, but it was evident his father had been behind the pout.

"Never," she responded, shaking her head.

"Ok," he nodded back. His fingertips danced across her back as they stared at one another. "Let's make a deal."

"A deal?"

"When I turn 75, so in 15 years, you can spoil me immensely and throw me the largest party you'd like. "

"I can do that," Olivia told him, and Fitz smiled. If someone had been looking in on their exchange, it might be assumed Fitz was smiling, because he'd gotten his way. In actuality, he was smiling because he knew Olivia was going to add more to her statement. "Only if you promise not to do anything extravagant until I turn 50."

"You drive a hard bargain, but I can hold out for 3 years," he tapped her nose lightly.

"Look at us negotiating like an old married couple."

"Livvie, old married couples are boring. We're anything but boring," Fitz corrected.

"You make an excellent point," Olivia agreed. "I keep us young."

"You keep us young?" Fitz questioned and watched as she bit her lower lip and nodded. "I'll have to do something about that then. I can't let you have all of the fun." He declared as he began to tickle her sides. She squirmed in his arms, and he tightened his hold on her midsection as her laughter echoed throughout their bedroom.

Josslyn had been watching the security feed, watching for the black monster vehicle, Xena, to pull into the drive way. To say she was eager would be an extreme understatement. This was a reunion she'd been waiting months for.

Before the doorbell was even pressed, Josslyn opened the door and offering a warm hug as a greeting.

"Mellie!" Josslyn beamed. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you as well," Mellie returned as Josslyn wrapped her arm around her former step mother.

"Hi Keith," Josslyn turned around to greet Mellie's current husband, before turning her attention back to Mellie. " Hal and Steve" she acknowledged the agents as well.

Many had been surprised when Mellie announced she was running for the highest office in the land. They assumed she'd finish her career as a senator. In the beginning of the campaign, some were weary she'd make it far. Once word was out that Olivia had agreed to help. tunes began to change. In the months that followed the partnership, pieces were written on "The Two Mrs. Grants " working together again.

"Hi Josslyn," Keith waved as he closed the door behind him.

"Mom and Daddy are in the kitchen. Dad is cooking and Mom is has already cracked open a bottle of wine. You should really come by more often or invite me over. I mean I know you're busy running a country and being president and all that other good stuff, but I miss you dearly."

"I miss you as well,Jossie. You know you have an open invitation," Mellie hugged her as Keith followed behind them.

"Mom, Daddy, Mellie and Keith are here,"

"Mellie, Keith," Olivia greeted warmly with two wine goblets in hand. "It's good to see you!"

"It's been forever," Mellie hugged her.

"Well you've been a little busy," Olivia laughed. "Keith, you're looking good. Finally acclimated to DC weather?"

"Hey Liv," Keith gave her a small hug. " I guess you could say that. I miss California, but being First Gentleman has it's perks," he looked over at his wife and gave her a wink.

"Oh gawd, you guys are as bad as those two," Josslyn bemoaned as Fitz snaked his arms around Olivia and nuzzled her neck. "Dad, you're being rude."

"Hey Mel,Keith," Fitz raised his head before nuzzling back to Olivia.

"Where are the kids?" Keith asked, taking in the quiet.

"Jerry and Nina let them tag along to the bakery, but they should be back shortly," Olivia answered

Jerry and Nina had meet while Jerry was in London. She had been his superior and was reluctant to begin an relationship with her. After he'd brought chai from her favorite shop every day for 3 months, she'd finally caved. Jerry had recently proposed and the couple had some to the states for a month to spend some time with the Grant family.

Being of Pakistani descent, the twins, Tanya in particular had taken to Nina a great deal. It was someone closer to her immediate family to which she could culturally relate to as being Desi.

"They are brave souls," Fitz chuckled.

"Who's a brave soul," Nina asked with RJ secured on her hip.

"You and Jer for taking those 3 with you,"Josslyn answered.

"We have names,Joss,"T anya said with a bit of snark.

"Oh here we go," Max shook his head.

"Hi Mellie. Hi Keith," RJ greeted as he planted his feet on the ground. He quickly went to give them hugs. This sparked a round of hugs and kisses.

"Nina, your ring is even more marvelous in person. I didn't think it was possible," Mellie raved over the ring her son had designed himself. "Jerry definitely inherited his father's romantic side ."

"Don't sell yourself short, you can be romantic," Keith complimented his wife.

"Well whoever Jerry inherited it from, I'm grateful," Nina smiled at her soon to be in laws.

Nina always found it interesting to watch her fiancé's parents interact knowing what she knew about his childhood. Looking at them now, they appeared to be old friends. One would never be able to guess the pain they caused one another over the years or even detect the fact they'd been married to one another for over 20 years.

RJ make his way over to his eldest brother and tapped on his leg. "Jerry will teach me how to be with someone as pretty and smart and fun like Nina is.'

Jerry stole a glance at his fiancée before looking bad down at his youngest sibling. "Sure thing,kiddo."

"Why not ask me," Max piped up, feigning hurt and disappointment.

"'Cause you aren't old enough. I'm smart enough to know that!" The group, with the exclusion of Max, laughed at the little boy's declaration.

"At least the kid has common sense," Keith chuckled.

"He gets that from his mother," Fitz said as he kissed Olivia's cheek.

With his arms crossed," If this is a trait he gets from Mom, I'd like to know what she's teaching him. That's just rude. He needs to learn some manners," Max huffed.

"Mommy, is Max being a big baby?"RJ asked from Jerry's side.

Olivia took a sip of her wine and silently laughed to herself as she thought of a response. However, before she could offer one, Josslyn spoke up.

"Because he's sensitive," Josslyn said bluntly.

"There's nothing wrong with being sensitive," Fitz and Jerry bellowed at the same time.

"Now look what you've done, Joss," Tanya poked at her sister.

Keith looked over at Mellie,"We should certainly come over for dinner more often. They're much more entertaining that the Prime Minister of Germany."

"Okay, children...settle down," Olivia finally spoke. "As Fitz and Jerry have already pointed out, being sensitive is perfectly normal. Don't pick at your brother, Joss. You may need something from him when dad and I are old and grey."

"But Dad is already old and grey, Liv," Jerry inputted and Fitz shot him a glare.

"Let me rephrase that, when your father is old, grey, and senile!"

"Thanks, Liv," Fitz pouted and she gave him a quick kiss which he happily accepted.

"RJ, your brother was just being silly. Max didn't take it personally," Olivia explained.

"Well I'm going to say sorry just in case," RJ told Olivia before looking in Max's direction. "Sorry Max!" Then he looked back at Olivia. "That way when you and Daddy are old, grey, and semen I can go to him."

The bunch laughed at RJ's mix up of words. "What's so funny? I want to laugh too!" He cried.

"You said semen instead of senile, Sweetheart," Mellie answered.

RJ looked at the group, still rather perplexed. "Well what's semen?"

"Your mother will tell you in a few years, son," Fitz answered. Olivia turned to give him a side eye.

"Why me?"

"Because I'll be old, grey, and senile remember?" He answers cheekily.

"Jer, we need to spend more time with your family," Nina stated with a soft laugh. "We never fail to have a good time when we're all together."

Josslyn left Mellie's side to stand between Jerry and Nina. "Just to think, if it weren't for me we wouldn't be here together!'

"You?" Jerry scoffed.

"Yes me, JerBear! I'm the common factor. Everyone here, except Nina and Keith, are directly linked to me," she boasted.

"What about me? Why aren't I the link?" RJ inquired.

"If Mom and Dad didn't think to have me, they'd be no you," Josslyn answered with a hint of sass.

"Oh Josslyn,no one can never deny that you are a Grant,"Mellie laughed at her former stepdaughter.

"Don't put that on me, "Fitz jumped in to defend himself. "I'm a humble being. You need to look at her Pope genes."

"Fitz, we were married for over 20 years and share 2 children. I know Grant traits when I see them,"Mellie replied.

"Thank you,Mellie. Mr. Humble is also trying to be Mr. Innocence I see," Olivia lightly hit Fitz's shoulder.

"I can't believe the both of you are ganging up on me!" Fitz bellowed.

"Oh you and Mel do it all the time. Toughen up," Olivia teased him.

"As I said, all roads lead to Josslyn," the curly haired teenager laughed.

Camille and Olivia sat on the kitchen counter, giggling behind their hands like young girls. Fitz and Dominic had accomplished one hell of a task: pissing Sofia off.

"Do you think I'm stupid?" Sofia huffed, glaring at Fitz and Dominic, both of them sitting by the kitchen table with slumped shoulders. "I swear to God…" Her hands went up , and she strangled air, which brought on another round of suppressed laughter from Liv and Cami.

Fitz and Dominic had gone meddling in Sofia's love life. Her dear friend in North Carolina had retired from Duke early in the year to move to DC. Unlike Olivia and Camille who had known Nate for years, Fitz and Dom were skeptical of the man. Since everyone was in town to celebrate Fitz's birthday, the two took it upon themselves to interrogate Nate.

Camille leaned into her cousin," I wonder who she's strangling in her head; Fitz or Dom?"

"And you, Fitzgerald! I can't believe you! You're supposed to be the damn adult!"

"My guess would be her beloved son in law."

"Hey, I'm not a child, Tía! I'm over 50," Dominic defended. "I was just protecting you. You need someone to do that after all these years of being single."

"Oh, you shouldn't have done that, hubs. " Camille whispered.

"No, he shouldn't have done that." Olivia shook her head.

"Yeah, I agree," Fitz chimed, nodding at Dominic. "He sounds like a real ladies man, Sofia."

"Stupid men." Camille muttered with a head shake and eye roll.

"Blind leading the blind."

"I beg your pardon?" she growled" Do I look like I need protection? Huh? Do I? I'm old enough to be your sister," she pointed at Fitz" and your mother !" She directed to Dominic.

"Aw, they're quiet now. How come? Afraid of Auntie Sof," Cami snickered and Olivia fell into her side.

"Nate is a very fine man, and he's been a great support all these years, which you would have known had you only asked!"

"You go, Miss Sofia" Harrison howled.

"Yeah, you tell them, Mom!" Olivia cheered. Fitz shot a glare at her, and she blew him a kiss.

"Believe me, boys, you're going to pay for this!" Sofia seethed. "And when you get to the bar tomorrow, you be sure to give Huck the same message,

Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III!"

"Ooh, she middle named his ass," Camille added.

"And he flinched. I understand, though. I would flinch, too. That is not a good voice."

"Yes, ma'am," Fitz mumbled.

"Good," she barked out. "Now. Get on to apologizing! I want to hear you first, Dominic !"

"I'm ' sorry, okay?" Dominic exclaimed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "But in our defense, we were only-"

Sofia cut him off "Let me guess, dear. Trying to help? Well, try again!"

"She's fire," Harrison whispered to Olivia who nodded in return.

"You're next, Fitzgerald."

"I'm sorry, Mom," Fitz said hoping to butter her up. "You know I love you as if you were my own mother and only have the purest intentions."

"Poor baby. Come here," Olivia gestured with an extended hand. Fitz dramatically dragged his feet across the floor until he was stand in front of his wife. He leaned down and pressed his lips against hers, softly, quickly. "You know Mom and Nate have been close for years,but I still find it endearing that you're so concerned."

"You Pope women will be the death of me," Fitz pouted as Olivia ran her fingers through his curls.

Camille was about to say something else, but RJ informed them that the movie had ended and his siblings and cousins would not put on another for him.

"I'm just gonna help RJ!" Fitz announced , leaving the kitchen as if his ass was on fire. "Daddy's coming, Bud!"

"Well, that was fun," Olivia mused.

Dom glared at her, but she just shrugged.

"Sometimes I forget Olivia gets her feistiness from you. Remind me never to upset you," Harrison chuckled at Sofia.

"Don't upset me," she said , not missing a beat.

"This is why you don't meddle in your parents' or aunt's love life. I learned that lesson long ago," Camille announced.

"You both did. That's why I love my girls," she kissed them both on the cheek,"Just make sure you pass that along to your husbands. "

"Oh I'm certain Fitz has learned that one. You're one of the top ten women he never wants to piss off," Olivia laughed.

" Oh FAPOTUS, such a softie at heart," Camille shook her head in laughter.

"Will you ever stop calling him that?" Olivia inquired. " I swear he head grows with each use of the word. "

"Well don't you like it when his head grows," Camille snickered.

"Almost 50 and still making dirty jokes! Why would I expect anything less," Olivia sighed.

"You love me for it," Camille kissed Olivia's cheek before resting her head on her cousin's shoulder. The pair began to swing their legs in a back and forth motion causing Sofia to laugh. As the years went on, Olivia and Camille became comfortable in their motherhood, but they failed to bring out the playfulness and youthfulness in one another.

"You're different, KC."

Karen turned to her side to find Jerry looking at her, his expression mildly curious. She felt instantly self-conscious, wondering if he was picking up any of her new mom anxiety.

"Whoa. ." Jerry laughed and touched the pad of his finger between her eyes, making her go crosseyed. He laughed again, same old Jerry. "I didn't mean it in a bad way."

"Well, what did you mean then?"

"I don't know how to explain it. You're just..." He shook his head, looking her over again. "You look good. You've finally found your footing in this crazy family of ours"

Karen grinned, looking out over the room, watching everyone huddle and chatter. "They have their moments, but I think I'll keep them." She made a wry face. "I mean, it doesn't look like I have a choice. They won't give my baby back." Her ever watchful eyes tracked Isa as she was handed from Lilliana to Fitz.

"Wow," Jerry muttered. "That's still so crazy to me. I can't get used to the idea of you being a 's... weird."

"Yeah." It still made Karen's head spin. She was now responsible for another person.

Her brother nudged her. "You know, I miss you a lot,but I'm glad I got to be here for this. This is a good thing."

Josslyn walked over and sat on the side of the bed, thrusting herself into the conversation. "What are you smiling about?"

"I was just telling her how elated I am that I got to be here for the birth of our first niece,"Jerry answered.

"As I am. Motherhood suits you,KC, as cliche as it sounds,"Josslyn added.

Karen's mouth quirked up into a smile. "You think?"

"Yeah. I don't think you've ever had a smile so wide. It beats you on your wedding day, which I never thought would happen." Josslyn smiled at her older sibling.

"You know, almost 15 years ago to this date I was holding you in my arms for the first time," Karen replied with a soft smile. "I finally had the little sister I always wanted."

"That we always wanted," Jerry corrected.

"Now we have the niece we always wanted,"Josslyn leaned into Jerry.

"Dad if officially a grandfather,"Jerry said with a small chuckle.

"That means we get to up the old man jokes now. His youngest child and his first grandchild are 5 years apart," Karen thought aloud.

"That's what happens when you have another mid life crisis baby," Jerry joked as she turned to their father who was cooing over the newborn" He seems happy with the whole grandfather thing. Then again, Dad has always been a natural with kids. Who knows, maybe he and Liv will have another baby."

Karen shook her head," That's not happening. Liv has assured me RJ was the last Grant to leave her womb."

As if she could sense the conversation, Olivia caught their gaze. The trio smiled at her, which she returned wight he same warmth.

"They really love each other. That's one thing that can't be argued," Karen said cheerfully as she watched Fitz and Liv with Isa. She had always been their secret cheerleader. The three sat in a easy silence for a while until a thought came to Josslyn.

"KC, you never told me if you liked my gift to Isa?" Josslyn posed as question. She'd made Karen swear she wouldn't open the gift until little girl was born. When Josslyn as walked into the private suite, she was the opened box in the corner.

"Jossie! I love it. Thank you so much," Karen leaned forward and kissed her sister's cheek.

Jerry looked on perplexed," Mind filling me in?"

Karen pretended to weigh her options before giving him a response. "Josslyn was able to find a replica to Ella for Isa to have for herself. Her name is Ellie."

Jerry let out a small chuckle, some things never changed.

He excused himself then to inhale another of one of the thousands of plates of little cookies and appetizers that were scattered around. He stopped Fitz in the middle of the room, waggling his fingers playfully at Isa who didn't seem impressed.

Fitz was still chuckling as he came to take Jerry's place at Karen's side.

"Hey, little bird. Are you hanging out with Grandpa?" Karen asked her daughter, not taking her from Fitz's arms but stroking her soft cheek.

"Well, when I can wrestle her away from everyone else."

Karen smiled, her eyes still on her daughter as she stroked the tufts of dark hair. Isa had Christian's jet black locks,but Karen's piercing eyes. The infamous Grant Eyes.

"This right here is a Kodak moment you know," Fitz said softly. "Me and my Grant Girls, minus Liv and Tanya of course."

"Meh, who needs them," Josslyn joked.

"You see when they're this size, they're cute. But then they grow up to be little trouble makers," Fitz relayed to his oldest who could only shake her head.

"Lies! Isa is going to be as sweet as her Auntie Joss. Not only is she me and Dad, she's also a September baby. You have nothing to worry about,KC."

"If only you'd come a few days sooner little one. You could have been an August baby like me," Fitz whispered to the infant who was drifting back to sleep.

As the two sisters began to make plans for Josslyn's next visit, Fitz tore his eyes away from granddaughter briefly and casted his gaze to his son in law. He was looking at his beautiful wife and his little girl,who Fitz could tell was already the apple of his eye. In the room, they were surrounded by a family that truly loved him. Fit knew the look in his eyes. It was a man completely satisfied and loving his life. Fitz couldn't help but agree.

Fall 2026

Josslyn and Tanya stood infront of the mirror, appreciating their new haircuts. Josslyn's mixture of brunette and blonde hair was straight and sleek with a middle part. She'd received layers to add more dimension once she returned to her curly state, which would be sooner rather than later. Josslyn appreciated the sleek look, but felt more herself with her curls.

Tanya on the other hand appreciated her straight locks. She would much rather wear he hair straight than in its loosely curled state. Her dark hair that was usually black, held hints of chocolate and auburn from sun bleaching. Her hair was parted down side to show off her new bangs.

"Your hair is so full Joss, even when it's straight," Tanya complimented her sister.

Josslyn turned and smiled, she touched Tanya's hair lightly," yours is as well. I guess we can thank our dad's for that," Josslyn chuckled.

"They both do have nice hair. Mom clearly has a type," Tanya stated.

"A type?" Olivia peaked her head in.

"Oh we were talking about Dad, Tripp, and hair," Tanya answered.

"They both have somewhat curly, thick heads of hair. You have a type," Josslyn pointed out, looking back at Olivia who simply nodded.

"I guess I do. Certainly when you include height, gorgeous eyes and being a bit on the hairy side," Olivia joked.

"Ugh," both of the girls groaned.

"Why the hairiness, Mom?" Tanya whined. "My legs and my arms!"

"Oh that's nothing, I have a faint happy trail that I wax," Josslyn complained.

"But you don't have hair in your legs at all ,so your argument isn't valid,," Tanya quipped.

"Hairiness is alluring," Olivia poked at them and both girls rolled their eyes.

"You're full of jokes, aren't you Mom," Josslyn shook her head.

"Only a few," Olivia wrapped her arms around her daughters. "You girls have nothing to worry about. One day you'll find a significant other that will appreciate and love all of you, even the hairiness."

"Or we can continue to wax," Tanya quipped.

Josslyn gave her sibling a high-5 "Yes, that sounds like a better plan. I think Mom secretly wants us to be forever alone, so she and Dad will always have someone around."

"Now who has jokes," Olivia laughed,"Fitz and I already have our calendars marked for the day that RJ goes off to school."

"Wow, Mom, that's cold!" Tanya exclaimed.

"Isn't it. The kid hasn't even started kindergarten yet," Josslyn added on.

"In 13 years I'll be 60 and will probably have a grandchild. I'll welcome a child free home. "

"Then why did have us if you're so eager to get rid of us?" Tanya questioned sassily.

"Oh to appease your grandmother." Olivia answered quickly.

"You said that quickly! Now the truth comes out! "Josslyn gasped.

"We'll have to make sure RJ doesn't find out. Max can handle the truth, but poor little RJ would be crushed," Tanya declared.

Olivia gave a bellyaching laugh," The two of your are so dramatic. Just like your fathers, blowing everything out of proportion," Olivia shook her head "I guess I do have a type and it came out in the gene pool, but I love you both nonetheless." She kissed both of them on the cheek.

"Of course you do, we're your darling daughters," Josslyn beamed.

Olivia stood behind them, her smiles mirroring theirs. She was amazed by how she'd grown as mother, and her appreciation for her own mother grew. Helping her girls navigate through the ups and downs of life strengthened her skills as a mother. It softened her and helped her to be more attentive. Sofia had juggled being a working mom and poured her all into Olivia. Olivia knew she had to offer her kids the same. Looking at her girls, she knew that was exactly what she was doing.


Fitz grinned and scooped RJ up. "Hey, buddy. How was school?"

"Good. Miss Chelsea said I drawed—drew -the best picture," he announced proudly just as his teacher joined them in the hallway. "It's in my backpack."

Fitz offered a chuckle and nod. "I bet it's awesome as always."

RJ loved to draw; Fitz and Olivia had a whole wall at the house full of his art work. Noticing that RJ's teacher obviously wanted to say something, Fitz looked up with a polite smile.

"Dr. Grant, I just wanted to remind you of the field trip we're going on tomorrow," she said kindly.

He nodded, knowing all about it. RJ's class was going to the National Zoo tomorrow. "Olivia will be here at 8:00 sharp," he replied. "She'll bring the snacks, too."

Olivia and the kids planned to spend the evening baking cookies for RJ's class.

"Excellent," she said, smiling widely. "Please thank Ms. Pope for me again, will you?"

"Will do."

A few minutes later, he was helping RJ into the Rover as one of the parents approached. Smith's mother, he believed. A blonde in her early thirties. Most of RJ's friends had parents in their late twenties/ early thirties, but the young boy never commented on it. However, Smith was a boy RJ wasn't too fond of.

"Dr. Grant ?" she inquires, her name failing him.

"Yes?" Fitz turned to her fully after making sure Nate's buckled in in his car seat. "What can I do for you?"

"Oh, I was just wondering…" She fidgeted with the strap of her purse, and Fitz's eyebrow rose, and he began to wonder why she looked so uncomfortable or shy. "There's a rumor going around. We haven't seen Olivia lately. Are you by any chance single? If you are, I—I was wondering if you'd like to go on a date some time?" she asked nervously.

Fitz sighed internally," Sorry," he offered a tight-lipped smile. She wasn't the first mother to ask him if he was separated from his ,a question he thought was silly seeing as he and Olivia were often making page 6 for attending events. "Liv and I are still happily married."

"Oh, okay." She hid her disappointment quickly and wished him a good day before walking away.

"What's single, Daddy?" RJ laughed and Fitz heard Tom chuckle.

Fitz shook his head, a little amused. "It's when someone isn't in a relationship"

"Oh okay," RJ nodded.

"Ready to see Max and Tanya?"

"Yes, I've missed them," he said frankly as Fitz pulled out of the parking lot. "Plus Nessa always gives me candy."

The ride over to Mel and Vanessa's only took a few minutes, so it's not long before Fitz parking his car next to Vanessa's SUV.

"Can I ride on your shoulders?" RJ asked as Fitz helped him out of the car. "Mommy says I'm too heavy."

"You got it," Fitz chuckled, and Tom locked the car for him, giving him the opportunity to pick the little boy up and position him on his shoulders. "Jesus, Mommy's right," Fitz grunt. "You're a big boy, RJ."

Fitz looks over at Tom who was chuckling. "Not a word to Liv." Tom offered a simple nod.

"Like a grown up?" He let out a giggle and grabbed two fistfuls of his father's hair. "I wanna be biggest!"

"I'm sure your siblings will have something to say about that."

"Nah," RJ shook his head.

"Enjoy being a kid, RJ." Fitz laughed and waited for Vanessa to open the door. It only took seconds for her to greet them. As Fitz entered, he ducked his head to make sure Robert didn't bang his head. He wouldn't want to explain to Olivia why their youngest had a knot on his head. "You're already growing up too quickly for my liking," he mumble under his breath.

"Wow, you're really up high, sweetie," Vanessa smiled at RJ

"I'm the biggest," he answered.

She chuckled and faced Fitz again," The kids heard you when you pulled up ,so they should only be a few minutes."

"No rush," Fitz told her.

"Max," the young box exclaimed from his father's shoulders. "I've missed you."

"You act like I've been gone for months," Max shook his head.

"We do this every time we go home to Mom and Tripp," Tanya said to Max as she went to hug her stepfather.

"Nessa,guess what happened today?" RJ asked as Fitz moved the young boy off his shoulders.

"What sweetie?"

"Smith's mommy asked Daddy if he was single. That's silly because Mommy and Daddy are 'ttached to the hip," RJ shared, and everyone began to chuckle.

"You're right, that is silly," Nessa continued to laugh.

"It's so silly that you should tell Mommy so she can get a laugh as we'll," Tanya joined the conversation.

"Tanu always up to no good I see," Max looked over at his twin.

"You were thinking it. I just said it for the both of us," Tanya declared.

Max gave her a shrug, not able to dispute her claims. For as long as he could remember, if seemed as if he and Tanya shared a brain, and Tanya was generally sharing for the both of them. Max honestly didn't mind. At the times he disagreed with her or felt he needed to make clarification he would. As his grandmother often said "he was saving breath he'd need on his death bed."

"You guys are funny," RJ declared.

Max reached out to ruffle his younger sibling's curls," Well I could say the same about you. "

"Is Mom going to be home for dinner?" Tanya inquired as Fitz picked up one of her bags.

"Yes she will be. She won't be there to help me cook, because she's picking up Josslyn." Fitz answered.

Vanessa looked over at her stepdaughter and began to laugh, knowing she was up to no good. "Fitz, I think she's up to something"

"She certainly is. My twin senses are never wrong." Max laughed.

Tanya left out a grunt and turned to Fitz," Don't listen to them, Tripp. You know I'd never do such a thing."

"I know that you are your mother's child, I should never underestimate you," Fitz chuckled. He glanced at Vanessa who was busy check the time and figured that was a cue for them to leave. "Let's get the bags in the car so we can head back to the house. "

"Nessa give Papá a hug and kiss for me," Tanya requested as she hugged her stepmother.

"Same here," Max said.

"As if you have to ask. You're just giving me another reason to hug and kiss him." Vanessa teased.

"You're almost as bad as Tripp, it's ridiculous," Tanya stated rather loudly.

"Okay, enough picking at us. Let's get going," Fitz ushered. "Thanks Ness."

This was normal life for them. The juggling of cultures, schedules, and expectations. They'd found a way to successfully raise a blended family.

RJ looked up at Olivia with a smile. He placed his hands on her cheeks, and then touched her nose as she often did to him.

"Mommy, you have a beautiful face." RJ simply said

"Thank you, baby. Aren't you a little charmer?"

"You're smart and the best Mommy ever!" RJ continued on and snuggled closer to her. Olivia loved having him in her lap. She didn't want him to grow any larger. He was the perfect size. Her baby was growing too fast for her. "What do you want Mister?"

"Oh, nothing. You're just such a great Mommy ,and you know you want to let me stay up ,so I can spend time with you, since you're such an awesome Mommy."

"Ah, now I see! You're trying to butter me up. I see you've been talking to your father," Olivia shot a look to Fitz. He was reclined on the couch with his back into the arm rest and glasses secured on the bridge of his nose.

"Don't look at me," Fitz raised his hands, let his book fall into his lap. "You need to be talking to your baby boy Max"

'Is that right, RJ? Has it been your brother"

"I'm not at liberty to say!"

"You three: you ,Max, and Daddy" Olivia shot Fitz another look "But I love you nonetheless"

"That means I can stay up because you love me, right?"

"Good try, but no. You have to abide by your set bedtime."

"I understand, Mommy," RJ sighed as he slide from her lap. "I still love you."

"And I love you," she called after him as he began to walk away.

As he left the room with a pout, his parents heard him mumble "I should have listened to Joss not Max."

"Your son,"Olivia shook her head once the young boy was out of earshot.

Fitz turned around to look at her, his reading glasses perched on his nose. "My son? Now he's my son?"

"Yes," she nodded with smirk, "he gives that pout and those sad eyes; he's definitely your son."

"I'll definitely remember that the next time Josslyn or Tanya use the lip quiver," he threw back playfully.

"Lip quiver? I know not what you speak of,"she feigned innocence. He often teased her about her lip quiver, especially during the make up stage of an argument. It had become another inside joke between them, but she wouldn't dare acknowledge it.

"The patented Olivia Pope lip quiver. You know exactly what I'm talking about, Livvie. I'll let it slide this time though," he chuckled softly. He gave her a small smirk and licked his lips before returning back to his book.

Winter 2026

"Jesus. You're killing me."

"I want all of it," Olivia whimpered.

"I need to kiss you," he grunted, claiming his mouth again. He pushed his tongue into her mouth, and she meet him, pushing back. "Too good, Livvie"

He started panting and rubbing her harder. Their lips brushed together, their bodies slide. "I'm there."

He cursed and apologized before she saw the pleasure take over him. However, she's going down with too. Screwing her eyes shut, she grit out a moan. It wasn't a long-lasting orgasm but several small explosions. Small gasps slip through her lips between each one. When it was all over, it still felt as though she was still high.

Olivia slowly opened her eyes again, her breathing far from regulated, and she was greeted by Fitz's face, so close to her own. His teeth were imbedded in his bottom lip, his eyes were closed, his brows were furrowed.

"Did you at least come?" He peeked at her, only one eye opening.

A breathy laugh escaped her, making Fitz groan since he could most definitely feel it.

"Can't you tell?" Olivia wheezed out through laughs.

Fitz breathed out in what seems to be relief. "Sorry." Slowly, with a slight grimace, he pulled out and collapsed next to her . "I was drowning in my own orgasm. I couldn't tell left from right." He chuckled and threw an arm over his eyes. "I think I gotta work on my stamina."

Olivia let out a gasp ," What is this I hear? Are you admitting to being old?"

"Perhaps, I am 60 after all. Then again, I have a pretty young thang to attempt to keep up with."

"Alright, MJ," Olivia giggled. "You were perfect," Olivia murmured, scooting closer. Fitz hummed and lifted his arm, and Olivia rolled half her body on top of his. Her chin rests on his chest, still heaving a little with each labored breath. "You always are."

He smiled and finally uncovered his face. His eyes show that familiar softness.

"I should probably take you out on a date. It's been a while," he blurted out, and she laughed again, because he was being cute and silly. "Stop that." He narrowed his eyes at her, failing to hide his happiness. "You're my Sweet Baby."

"I'm already yours, you know," Liv offered softly.

His smile widened, eyes constantly bright now, and he tucked her into his side. Arms securing her, a leg hitched over her hip, and his lips kissing her forehead.

"At times it's still difficult for me to wrap my head around it," he whispered, fingers playing with her hair which was beginning to curl, "God, I love you, Olivia."

Curious and surprised, she peered up at him. "Olivia?"

He offered a one-shouldered shrug. "Your name is beautiful." He kissed her nose. "Olivia, Liv, Livvie…honey," A playful growl against her cheek. "My Sweet Baby. Doesn't matter"

She just grinned and lowered her gaze to his ribcage again. As always she felt loved and cherished. Her finger traced over his scar. Reminding her of the event which was a blessing and a curse. The catalyst to their life together.

"I love you too," Olivia whispered. "You're my sweet potato, Fitz baby."

When Rita Bennett sat down with former President Fitzgerald Grant III and Olivia Pope in a rare interview with them together, she wasn't sure what to expect. It had been years since she'd interviewed them together, but time had been more than kind to them.

They both are unbelievably beautiful: her luscious hair, her expressive eyes, and that body one could die for, especially after four kids; his chiseled face, his animated eyes, and, of course, the hair.

When they met during the 2008 presidential campaign, the furthest thing on their minds was a life together. The then presidential candidate was focused on marking it out of the primaries, and she was the woman who was brought in the save the day. A close bond was formed, and the two remained close friends after Pope resigned from White House to open her own crisis management firm. Grant often referred as a close confidant.

Eight years later, they started off by keeping their relationship under wraps. Both parties were in the middle of amicable divorces. Pope was focused on juggling single motherhood once again, and Grant was busy adjusting to post presidential life. Once their relationship became public, it fueled the desire from public and press alike to know more about DC's newest couple.

Rita : You two are a very private couple.

Fitz: We'd like to think so. As private as one can be when it comes to politics.

Olivia: [smiles and lets out a small laugh] We are but being a crisis management fixer does help.

Fitz: We just request that others respect our wish to be private when it comes to our children. They didn't ask for this life.

These two come from different walks of life.

Grant was born to political royalty. His mother, Cassandra Grant, grew up in politics. Her family working with the Kennedys. His father, Senator JR Grant, two times governor and has held a position as senator for over 30 years. However, he worked his way up on his own merit, choosing to serve his country and practice law briefly before taking office.

Pope was an exceptional child, through her education quickly . Her father was a chef and her mother, an anthropology professor. She had some aspirations toward practicing law, but she was fully bitten by the political bug. Soon after, she entered the world of crisis management.

As the segment continued, more details of their lives came to light. From their current involvement with politics and aid, to the growth of Olivia's firm. They very little of their children. They spoke briefly on the vast age range, the adventures of rearing a blended family, and Fitz's new status as Grandpa Tripp.

Rita : If I were to ask you where you would be five years from now, what would you say?

Olivia: Working, raising a family, enjoying our time together. What else is there to life?

Fitzgerald : I don't know about that. There is traveling the world, publishing another scandalous presidential memoir, winning a few more awards, oh maybe a Tony.

Olivia: A Tony? You're going on Broadway? Being a little ambitious? [glancing at Fitzgerald]

Fitzgerald : Why not?

Olivia: You have the foundation.

Fitzgerald: I also have an able bodied staff and support team .

Olivia : Hmmm. Not Broadway. Maybe local theater.

Fitzgerald : I thought you loved my singing voice.

Olivia: I do,but we've had enough spotlight in our lives. Let's agree to sit back and let things unfold.

Fitzgerald: Sounds reasonable enough to me.

Olivia: I love you.

Fitzgerald : And that's all that matters. I love you [ he leaned over and kissed her cheek]

Rita: And that is all that matters for these two—love. [turns to the camera] Thank you for joining me this year.

Fitz looked down at Olivia to be greeted with a matching grin.

"The finishing product was great," Olivia spoke first.

"It was. We're a beautiful couple. I still can't believe that was our first sit down interview as a couple," Fitz rubbed her arms and kissed her shoulders.

"You know how I feel about giving interviews," Olivia said and Fitz nodded.

Resting his head on her shoulder," I know you aren't fond of them. You like to be behind the scenes are representing someone else, which is why I thank you. We handled it like a pro."

"We did handle it like a pros. Then again, we were named the most fascinating people of the year."

"We've had quite the year," Fitz announced. "From you helping Mellie win, to me releasing my first memoir."

"I still can't believe you admitted all that you did," Olivia told him honestly.

His memoir had been something they'd fought about. Olivia felt he was being too revealing and may give room for people to discover the true nature of their relationship. Fitz on the other hand saw it as the perfect opportunity to express himself and love for her. In addition, he didn't see the harm of the truth coming out. They were the "IT" that everyone adored. Eventually they came to a compromise.

Fitz would write that he'd always felt a connection to Olivia, but never pursued it. As much as he held reservations about being her sperm donor, there was a piece of him utterly thrilled to be creating a life with her. He even shared that he contemplated not seeking a second term in order to pursue a life with her, but once she'd met Mel, he rid that notion from his head.

"You spent all that time worrying for nothing," he teased her.

"Oh hush," she turned to kiss him.

"Such a bossy woman," he returned the favor. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

"Sweetheart? You okay?" Fitz asked gently. His voice brought her back to the present. Olivia turned to him right and smiled, squeezing his hand in reassurance. He leaned over and kissed her gently on the temple in response.

"I'm fine, I promise," She answered. Her fingers stroked through his hair lovingly.

Fitz looked around spotting his oldest and her husband in the corner, where Christian was perched on the arm of the sofa, hovering protectively over Karen. His first granddaughter, Isabel or Isa for short, was sleeping soundly in her arms. . She was three months old now and the apple of her parents' eye.

Olivia looked around the room at the piles of discarded boxes and torn wrapping paper. She closed her eyes and smiled at the sounds of her family. The sounds of laughter and running feet could be heard above them as children played and enjoyed their new toys. Karen was shifting to get more comfortable on the sofa as Christian cooed over Isabel. Camille was telling Dominic she was going to hide the batteries to their son's laser gun as the annoying electronic noises continued to drift down the stairs, and Nina's soft snores Jerry would never dream of telling her she made.

Olivia opened her eyes again and simply smiled. She interlaced their fingers and led them to the porch, walking away from the chaos for one minute alone.

There was a time she dreamed having actual Christmas day with him. A time where she imagined the sounds of their children filling the house. These sounds holding as proof that their life together did exist.

As they stood together, watching the sunset, neither could think of a more beautiful way to spend alone time together. They had spent many days watching sunrises, a signal that their time together was ending and limited.

Since they'd married and forever more, sunsets stood from something greater. They'd never have to be apart. A treasure time wouldn't steal away ,because unlike the sunrises of the past, they wouldn't mean goodbye; it only symbolized they'd still be hand in hand to keep each other warm and watch the same sun rise and set again, day in and day out.

"What are you smiling about?" Fitz looked down at his wife, taking her the tiny smile that graced her lips. Her fingers toying with the ring she now wore at a pendant.

"I'm just thinking our conversation on my first wedding day. This is our alternate universe. Puerto Rico. We woke up the lulls of the ocean and rays of sunshine. And we have our little boy, Robert."

"I'm Mr. Mom ,and you're still a fixer. We walk the dog together and occasionally argue over the cooking and dishes," he recalled the conversation.

"And I don't have a reason to miss you," Olivia tacked on.

"And you never will. You'll always be the lady in my life, because we're in this together," he kissed her shoulder.

"We're in this together," she echoed as a small smile graced her lips.

Their love was everlasting, a true testament. When a couple loved the way they did, no secret, no tragedy, no obstacle would stop them from being together. They weren't perfect but they'd always walk away from the obstacles together, stronger ,side by side, right where they were meant to be.

AN: That's all she wrote. Thank you all so much for allowing me to share this story with you. The reviews, PM, anon tumblr posts, tweets, gif tumblr post, etc... I appreciate each and every one of them. For those of you who have been with me since one, I commend and thank you for sticking it out until the end. For those of you who joined somewhere in the middle, thanks for joining the ride! This story will always been special to me. I am so humbled how many of you have read this story and love this version of Olitz and of course (baby) Joss. I could say more, but I won't. Don't be a stranger, feel free to tweet me or tumble with me.


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