The Five Stages of Grief
I prithee send me back my heart,
Since I cannot have thine;
For if from yours you will not part,
Why, then, shouldst thou have mine?
Maybe she'd pick up this time. His office was dark except for the one light on his desk, illuminating his face and his stormy gray eyes. All his paperwork was done. The briefings dealt with and put away. Mellie was asleep in residence and he felt no pull to join her.
"Pick up." He whispered to himself and whatever God could hear him. The ringing continued into the night, taunting him and torturing him with every ring. Why wouldn't she pick up? Did something happen? He had done everything she asked him to.
Not everything. A voice in his mind whispered and he quietly told it to go to hell. She would pick up and they would banter. And she would tell him about her day. Her struggles. Her life outside of the circus that was his life. He would tell her he was divorcing Mellie, damn the consequence. They would live together and never be separate again.
If only she would answer the phone.
Maybe he wouldn't call tonight. She had begun to time how many times he would call. How long he would sit on the line in silence into her answering machine. Her eyes stayed awake and waited for the ring that she would never answer. That connection, as small as it was, still brought her comfort he still cared. It made her sick how weak he made her. Like a teenage girl pining over the phone. Who did he think he was? How dare he?
He wouldn't call tonight and he wouldn't still love her. She would go to work in the morning and take down all his pictures. She would make sure all the channels were on some wacky game show even if Abby caught a fit. She would change her number and work until her brain hurt. There would be no more Fitzgerald Grant. She knew it.
The phone rang.
How can one describe a fight with no winners? No victory? No gain? This is what it felt like in his head and he couldn't stop it. This punishing rage? This visceral dissatisfaction? This plummet into the depths of his own internal hell. He had yelled at her. He had removed her shoes. He had run off, gun in hand. He had thrown that man in her face. That man. That man who had all of Fitz's dreams and hopes and could snatch them because he was free. He was free to love her. He was free to kiss her. He was free to make love to her. He didn't care if he was impolite. He didn't care if she didn't like it. He didn't care if her feelings were hurt.
All he could feel were his dreams vanishing. The small life he had given himself of hope and happiness was gone with the ducks flying south.
It was supposed to be me! Was all his brain could utter. It was supposed to be me!
His heart pumped faster.
"Is he all you you've ever dreamed of?"
He wanted to pound his fists against the ground. Throw his antique rifle into the water. Run. Run and escape this misery that was his life. How could it be fair to find love and then lose it in such a way? For fifty years he didn't need it and now he couldn't live without it. He had found a home and now he was losing it.
He could hear her yelling at him but not what she said. But he could hear her anguish. And then they were kissing and his soul burned for her. He didn't care about where he was. He didn't care who was watching.
She loved and hated him. The bark of the tree dug into her back as his tongue licked her neck. She missed him. She missed him and she hated that she missed him. Hated that she was so lost to his touch. That when he kissed her she floated. She was no longer on the ground but somewhere else.
His groan and the feel of his hands unbuttoning her coat made her mad. What right did he have? What right did he have to do this to her?
She felt the weight of her words as they touched the air and saw his face crumble. She ran to the SUV, her rage getting more and more out of the control.
"Fuck!" She screamed in the forest and let the tears fall. The ducks flew off in the distance.
He pretended he was happy in hopes that whatever bad karma he had put out into the world would stop kicking his ass. Cyrus was shaking he head again but he would never ask another favor over Olivia again. He had to stay focused or she wouldn't come back. She wouldn't come back if he was not a better man and he was being better all the time.
"Fitz. You're staring again."
He stared at Mellie as if she had grown a third head. The Oval Office was quiet and he had let his staff go home early. That should earn him points, right?
"I'm sorry, Mel. I…how was your day?"
Mellie gave him a dirty look. "Are we doing this again?"
"Pretending. I've had enough of your back and forth to last me a lifetime."
Fitz merely stared at her until she shook her head and walked out of his office.
Karma remained undefeated.
Edison was always a charmer. There were many nights in their old home in Georgetown where he would take her out for sushi and fine wine and they would come home and make love with his whispers in her ear. Telling her all she wanted to hear. He hadn't changed a bit.
"C'mon. Going to the ballet is a wonderful excuse to work on my case. You should even take it pro bono."
"Not a chance. You can't afford me."
"You'd be surprised at what I can afford."
She gave a soft laugh and he returned a smile. There was an soothing quality about their banter. A comfort she hadn't felt in a long time. She felt a tug at her heart but ignored it. Maybe if she were good it would go away. Maybe if she accepted the tug would finally leave.
"Alright, hot shot. Pick me up at eight."
"Mr. President, wake up."
He brain felt sluggish and his eyes hurt from the sun coming through the Oval Office windows. He was unsure how he fell asleep on the desk but he did know he was nursing a major hangover of epic proportions. Cyrus glared at him with a look of disappointment and anger.
Fuck Cyrus. He thought as he laid his head down again. Spying bastard.
"You have a meeting today, Mr. President."
"Cancel it. Tell them I'm sick."
"You don't cancel on the Prime Minister of Russia."
"Today I do." He said muffled under his arms.
"You sad sack of shit."
"Right." Fitz mumbled.
"She's not coming back, sir. She's never coming back."
He sat up and leaned back in his chair. "You don't think I know that, Cy?"
Cyrus cocked his head, his anger becoming more apparent.
"You need to get up out of the chair. Take a nice long shower. Get some coffee and bread inside your gut and get over it and over yourself, sir."
Cyrus stormed out of the office and Fitz merely sat in response.
She didn't know why she was crying. Everything had been going well. Her cases had been great. Her team was getting along much better. Edison had been wonderful to her.
Yet here she found herself crying in her office, the door closed.
She had tried to throw away a picture of him and she didn't know when the tears started to flow but they did. Huge racking sobs rippled through her until she hunched over the trash can and threw up. It was like someone had given her a punch in the gut. She couldn't breathe.
She let herself think of him and his face crumbling as she told him she wasn't his. She let herself think of the first time they made love, and the second, and the third and many more in her mind. The sobs lessened. The madness ebbed. She finally stood straight and went to her desk to get a tissue. This was nothing. She would be fine.
"I'm letting you go."
How many times had he told himself he could never say those words? He had practiced saying them in a mirror over and over to convince himself he knew how to do it. But it was different looking into the face of the woman he loved to say it.
"I'm letting you go. This…this isn't healthy for you or for me."
Her lips trembled and it took everything in his power not to grab her to him. Not to comfort her and tell her he didn't mean it. That he wanted to keep her forever.
"Oh…I…I'm glad you've come to that decision, Mr. President."
He knew she didn't mean it but he wouldn't push her. His heart felt like it was about to come out of his chest.
"I love you." He said simply. "I love you and I want you to be happy. I want you to have a regular life and...I want you to find a love that is worthy of you."
How many nights had he tortured over the fact that he wasn't worthy of her? He wanted her but deep down he knew. He knew.
"Fitz." She whispered his name tenderly and he tried to resist the urge to kiss her. Consequences be damned. He stopped looking at her because he knew if he continued to look he would lose his resolve. She would be happy. She would find someone who could give her what she needed. That man wasn't him and he accepted that. He had to let her go.
He rose and didn't look at her. He couldn't look at her and still leave. And he couldn't let her see him cry.
This is what you wanted. Her brain mocked her as her heart crashed and broke. Tears flooded through her but she was unsure if they were tears of relief or utter sadness. Her soul screamed for him but her mind told her it was time. She had to let him go. She had to move on. For both of their sanities she had to let him go.
But the tears kept falling.