It had been a year since they had moved into the White House and it was getting more and more difficult to be contain her feelings for him. It literally tore her apart inside watching him play the doting husband to Mellie. She started to feel like his dirty little secret, and it was starting to eat a part of her soul.
To his credit, Fitz knew that despite how hard Olivia tried to conceal it, she was becoming unhappy with their arrangement, and if he were a better man, he would have released her long ago so that she could find what she deserves. But he was selfish, he loved her and he couldn't imagine life without her. She was his best friend and at times felt his only ally.
At the dinner they were holding for the Prime Minister of France, he had discreetly watched her work the room. She was exquisite, graceful and his heart was full knowing he was hers.
Olivia wasn't feeling her best, she was tired agitated and she felt like she was backed into a corner unable to breathe and that all the walls were closing in on her. She looked up at the watch on the wall of the grand ballroom and saw that it was only just after nine. She sighed and made a deal with herself that she will slip away in the next half hour. Her gaze fell on to Fitz, as it always does somewhat automatically and watched as he worked the room with his wife by his side, his arm resting against her back looking at her attentively as she charmed the room. They had certainly come a long way. Even she bought their affectionate exchange. As though he sensed her gaze he looked up and saw what lay beneath the calm exterior. The hurt that hid beneath her eyes, instinctively he dropped his arm from Mellie's waist. She tried to give him a reassuring smile and turned back to her conversation with the Ambassador of France.
Olivia and John had gotten to know each other well since they had moved into White House, they had become good friends, John made the dinners and events more bearable. He flirted with her shamelessly, but he was harmless. She knew that John McCallister, the Ambassador for France was gay. Though he was discreet, he certainly wasn't hiding the fact that he was gay. He had learned to keep his private life separate from his political life, and Olivia couldn't help but admire that. Olivia knew that her undivided attention to John would rouse the jealous bear in Fitz, and they would more than likely argue about it later, but she just didn't care at that point.
Fitz wasn't sure at which point Olivia had disappeared. The last he saw her she was side by side with John McCallister laughing about something. It was unlike her to leave without saying goodbye. Unable to excuse himself he continued to search for her with some discretion. He caught a glimpse of her outside, leaning against the balcony looking out at the White House gardens. He watched as John approached her with a glass in one hand and present her with an aspirin in another. She thanked him gratefully and placed a quick kiss on his cheek. Jealousy raged inside Fitz, it almost trumped the fact that he realised she may have been unwell, but the caring boyfriend in him won out and worry won over jealousy. He trusted Olivia, and at the same time, deep down, he knew he had no right to play the jealous boyfriend card.
"Hey Cy, I'm going to head home okay." Olivia whispered catching him by the elbow.
"Oh hey, sure. You don't look so hot Liv. You okay?" Cyrus asked immediately concerned. Liv never got sick.
"Yeah Cy, I just need an early night."
"You going to say goodbye?" Olivia hesitated,
"Nah, just cover for me. I'll see you tomorrow." She said thankful that Fitz was preoccupied,
"Well if you don't feel well tomorrow don't come in. I can't have my work wife unwell." Olivia grinned and dropped a kiss on the side of his head,
"You're getting soft old man." Cyrus laughed and waved her off. Olivia made sure that Fitz wasn't scouting the room for her before she slipped out.
Olivia made it to her car and home without being intercepted. She got home, took a shower, jumped into her pj's and changed her sheets. There was nothing better than fresh sheets when she felt under the weather. It didn't take her long to fall straight to sleep.
Fitz who had keys to her place didn't think twice about letting himself in knowing that she was more than likely already asleep. He watched her for awhile as she slept wishing that things were different. He took his shoes off and stripped down to his boxers and undershirt. He slipped into the covers and spooned against her wrapping his arms securely around her. Olivia woke to his touch and snuggled deeply into his arms,
"You okay?" he asked in a whisper,
"Yeah, just tired."
"So I see John's still charming the pants off you?" Olivia stiffened suddenly in his arms. So much for an early night, she thought to herself bracing herself for an argument,
"He's a friend" she replied somewhat exhaustedly,
"He likes you."
"I'm a likeable person, seriously Fitz. John isn't someone you should be worried about."
"Why not, he's charming, smart, as far as I know he's single and you're single. You get along well. He'd be able to offer you everything I can't. He can hold your hand, kiss and hug you in public. He can take you out of dates. You wouldn't have to be hiding in dark corners. He wouldn't have to wait for his wife to go to bed and slip out to sneak into your home to be with you." Horrified Olivia broke free from his grasp and stood to her feet in outrage.
"Let me get this straight? You came here to tell me that I have your permission to date John McCallister?" climbed out of bed and reached out for her,
"No, don't touch me. Just don't. Are you looking for a reason to break up with me?"
"Wow, this I didn't see. And to mask it under the false pretence of a jealous boyfriend, that's a spin worthy of Cyrus's pride. Let's call a spade a spade here Fitz. It's getting too hard isn't it?"
"Livvy, you deserve more than I can give you." Olivia gasped and brought her hand to her mouth. It broke Fitz's heart watching her looking as though he had physically struck her,
"Don't make this about what you think I deserve. Before we moved you into the White House I tried to end this and you wouldn't let me. You said we can get through anything as long as we were together. That you loved me, and you and I loving each other was enough, that it was all that mattered. I went against my own better judgement, my principles because I loved you. You made me believe, you made me believe we had a chance. You should have just let me end it back then. You should have just let me go."
"I'm so sorry Liv. The last thing I wanted was to hurt you."
"Well Mr President, you failed. Now please get out." Olivia turned her back on him, not wanting him to see her cry, and she couldn't watch him put his clothes on to leave her.
"Liv," he said somewhat desperately,
"I guess I now know why you never told Cyrus. I always wondered and it always bugged me somewhere in the back of my mind. I guess I've always known, I just didn't matter enough." Fitz's heart dropped to his feet,
"Livvy no. I didn't tell him because,"
"Let's not. Let's not pretend I was more than just your dirty little secret."
Fitz was in front of her in seconds wrapping his arms around her desperately as she stood there lifeless and unresponsive.
"You are not my dirty little secret. You are the love of my life." He whispered in her ear, begging her to hear him. He pulled up and took her face in his hands,
"I love you. I will always love you. You're breaking my heart." But Olivia had closed the window to her soul and she stared at him blankly,
"And you broke mine."
"Livvy, please." He begged. This isn't what he wanted. This wasn't how their conversation was to go, and now she had closed herself off to him. Olivia removed his hand from her face and handed him his jacket.
"Goodnight Mr President."
Fitz didn't want to leave, he wanted to take it all back, beg her for forgiveness, but he couldn't. There was no happy ending for them, at least not now, and he had to let her go knowing she deserved better than what he could offer. They couldn't go on as they were, it wasn't fair to her and it would eventually become her undoing and he loved her far too much to let that happen. He prayed that one day she would understand. He took a deep breath and took his jacket from her. He stepped forward and placed his lips on her forehead one last time.