The lace caressed her skin, beginning at her shoulders drawing down her arms and cuffing at her wrists. The ornate Baroque designedly lace opened at her décolletage, hugging the heart of her breasts and trim waist, she knew its design would gather a few glances. A heavy trim waist flowed into a heavy ball gown. The dress was nothing short of breathtaking. She had dismissed all help. She wanted to take these last few moments to gather her sanity. She wanted her solitude before facing them all.

There were thirty buttons.

She had managed fifteen without asking someone to return. Her hands struggled to shove the rest through their loops. As her hands stretched, muscles burning, and attempting to accomplish the impossible of her heavenly dress, she felt another touch. A familiar touch and the rough calloused fingers against her bare skin made her shudder.

Button 16.

She damned picking an opened back dress.

He stroked his finger against her spine again.

Button 17.

He paused and her breath hitched, her eyes fell shut and heavy lashes touched the apples of her cheeks.

"Liv," He spoke roughly.

"Mr. President," She whispered and raised her head steeling her gaze ahead, "If you would finish, I have a wedding to attend."

It had been three years since she sent him back.

Their contact had been very limited, corresponding at State dinners, fundraisers, mutual friends' birthday parties and the occasional dalliance that she afforded herself. There were moments when the pull was too strong and Olivia had to stop torturing herself.

The days when he smiled into the camera and said, "hello," she crumbled. She swore that he was speaking to her. His charming smile, eyes crinkling, and brown curls blowing in the bitter winter breezes. He never looked more handsome. The moments when she swore, he knew that she would be watching. Sometimes, she would call and others it seemed like he… knew. They had been become more infrequent in the last year with the inclusion of David and birth of Abby and Stephen's son.

Everyone was busy. Everyone had a job to do. She had once told him, there was a perk to working for yourself. She found it was hardest to be 'the boss' now. It was hard to be Olivia Pope. It was toughest to hold everything together. She found that her resolve crumbled. She couldn't be the glue so easily anymore. Maybe, it was her age. Maybe, it was all the changes. Maybe, it was the lack of him in her life. Whatever it was – it hurt.

"Livie," He attempted again and undid one button, his hand slid around her waist and rested on her hip, "Listen to me."

Clenching her eyes shut, she ground her teeth momentarily, shook her head quickly, took a deep breath and stepped away.

"No, Fi-Mr. President."

The slip nearly bypassed her. She refused to take that step back now.

"Olivia," He cleared his throat to clear the gruffness, "Why are you doing this?"

She whipped around, absolutely furious. He didn't have any grounds to question her judgment. He was hardly the picture of moral character, "Finish the damn dress or get out."

Her eyes narrowed warningly and he seemed to understand that she was not kidding. Olivia teetered on her heels. They were hardly any height but she felt anything but sturdy on her legs right now. She attempted to regain her composure, turning her head away, swallowing her pride, and keeping her back to him. She could feel his heavy breathing – deep, long, and unrested breaths as if he were contemplating his next move.

She knew that he was.

"Finish the dress, Mr. President," Olivia implored him quietly.

The tears welled in her eyes and all she could do was keep breathing. If she didn't keep breathing, she would never leave this room. She had to leave this room. She had to leave this room. She had to walk away because Olivia couldn't keep being that woman.

His woman.

Her eyes fell shut again. A soft struggled breath found its way beyond her lips and Olivia's hand clasped together. She wrung her fingers and insisted, "The dress."

"I.." Fitz began, he swallowed thickly and he fumbled with a button, "I can't, Livie."

She took the step away and toward the door. Her foot snagged on the hem of her long dress. She shook in her heels and Olivia could feel herself falling.

Suddenly, his hand was gripping her bicep. The other rested easily on her waist. Then, he was grabbing and tugging her to his chest. She was sure that his hands were everywhere. Olivia was disappointed that they weren't. She felt consumed by his touch. A touch that she managed to abstain from for nearly a year and Olivia had felt like she had graduated from AA. Stephen and Abby had cautioned her from inviting him. She was sure that she hadn't. Somehow, Mellie always seemed to obtain an invitation to anything and everything that she wanted to attend. Olivia knew that this was the final nail in the coffin for the First Lady. Olivia was no longer the mistress. She was just… Olivia Pope, bride and if only life were so simple.

Her breaths came hard and fast. She could smell his spicy cologne. It reminded her of winter and his love of camping in the Californian mountains. Finally, Olivia looked at him. The few moments earlier had been in rage and her eyes hadn't truly looked. Now, she braved it. It was a mistake. His hair was grayer. It only intensified how undeniably sexy that Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III was. There was nothing that did not ooze sexiness about him. David was sweet and cute, but Fitz was sexy. Olivia hated herself for comparing them. She was cuddled against his chest. A hard chest that never seemed to soften with age and her fingers were tightly nestled in his black coat. Her heart was hammering in her chest.

His eyes met hers. He was going to kiss her. Olivia's fingers tightened and she wanted to tug him toward her. He had matured. They both had. She had wanted everything from him. He had the world at his disposal. He could buy her Tiffany's in an apology. At first, their had been millions of dollars worth of gifts. Eventually, he had understood. The only thing that she had ever wanted would never be obtainable. Not because he wasn't willing to give it but because of the same reason as before. He was still Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III.

A great man.

The tuxedo brought her back down to reality. A sick twist of irony.

She was in a wedding dress.

At her wedding.

But not theirs.

Olivia wrenched herself from his arms and brought a hand to forehead. She was so angry. She was so furious that he had overstepped his boundaries and touched her. Technically, he had saved her from falling onto her ass but that was beside the point. She stared at the ground and willed the words to come. Olivia could hear the sound of her breaking heart. It was followed by the sudden sound of gulp. He had swallowed his reply.

Olivia knew that she had won.

Finally.

It was over. She had been attempting to 'escape' him for years and was incapable. In the small Victorian room, she had managed to reduce the President of the United States to silence. It was a great win but Olivia didn't feel victorious. She steeled her job and waited for the tears to settle in her eyes. They came and she squeezed them away with a heavy mind. She had wished that this battle had never been hers to fight. Olivia wished that things could be so different. She brought her hands down to the dress' skirt and pressed out invisible wrinkles. She needed to busy her hands and inadvertently busy her mind. In a few moments, they would be asking her to step outside, put on a smile, and "marry the man that she loved." The man that she loved had yet to button up her dress. Olivia couldn't speak again, she may ask him to unbutton it.

Nevertheless, his fingers made quick and silent work of the buttons. They looped in and out of the silk slips without any resistance. At the last button, he paused and she held her breath. She felt him take a step closer. His footsteps were nearly silent on the hardwood floor. She wondered how he had even managed to sneak in. Olivia took a deeper breath and waited for him. She waited for the inevitable. Despite knowing that she shouldn't had, Olivia's anticipation heightened and a shot of arousal spread over her body.

One last time.

His cheek brushed against her that had been pinned into a classical chignon. Fitz had always admired her hair in loose ringlets. He had occasionally caught the more natural curls and enjoyed it. She could practically feel his disapproval radiating in waves. This wasn't his wedding though. His opinion made little difference to her. She attempted to convince herself of this.

Chewing on her lip, she waited and inadvertently relaxed when his breath tickled her ear, "Fitz," she whispered.

His hand wrapped around her, resting on her stomach, and Olivia sucked in a breath. It had been so long. The flat palm of his hand on her stomach made her entire body hurt. She didn't want this to be the last time. Olivia wanted to tell him. She wanted to plead with him to ask her again. She wanted to explain, she had been foolish then. She was wiser now and knew that living without him was impossible. Olivia wanted it to… say it all. She knew that was irrational. She knew that she couldn't. That was impossible. His words struck her.

"Be happy, Olivia," He added brokenly and his lips skimmed her cheek before pulling away.

Forever.


Hello everyone.
Thank you for reading and hopefully, enjoying my stories.
No, I don't own these characters or any characters of my fan fictions. I simply enjoy manipulating them to my own devices.

I would like to clear up any possibly confusion. This does read as a "one-shot," but it is a multi-chaptered story.

I would appreciate any reviews or constructive criticism that you have to offer. All the best, S