Disclaimer: I don't own Scandal, though I do wish I were Shonda sometimes….
A/N: So I originally made myself a promise that I wouldn't start a new fanfiction series without finishing Apparitions in the Night. So, as I see it this will be a 3 chapter arch of goings on and guessings of episode 2x07, but I wanted to get it out before the episode aired… I will continue working on Apparitions in the Night until it is finished…but meanwhile, enjoy : ) The title's a song by All-American Rejects.
A Gala to Remember
Part I: Damn Girl
Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III.
My brilliant idea of using the G8 conference to give myself space was a complete failure. With the exception of making the queen laugh, I hadn't really gotten anything done. For example, I hadn't been able to convince myself that I was any less in love with Liv than I had been when I had walked into that restaurant. The idea of burning the bridge and leaving for two weeks hadn't helped me in the least. Now not only was I more in love with her than any time before, I missed her.
I was sitting in the oval office the morning after I returned, looking over some paper work and trying to forget that my birthday was just around the corner. I took a deep breath and kept reading, even though I'd lost what remote interest I had in the subject fifteen minutes previously and was daydreaming about something else – but I had to read it over. I had to find a way to concentrate while my mind kept going to Liv.
I set the papers down for a minute, desperate for anything that could distract me when I opened the drawer to my desk. I opened it up al l the way and pulled out a file folder that I didn't remember having in there when I left for the G8. i put it on the desk, and was puzzled – it wasn't even labeled. Cyrus usually went through my desk once a week and organized what I hadn't during the week – at first I had gotten annoyed, but that hadn't stopped him. Over the course of time, I had just gotten used to it.
I flipped it open, and narrowed my gaze. I wasn't even sure what I was looking at, it was a stack of photos, sure, and the first one was time stamped from about a week ago. It was too dark to see anything really, I just made out blurry shapes. I flipped to the next one, and could clearly see what was going on, my heart breaking with each passing photograph of Livy, my Livy, and Senator Davis. His arms around my Liv, his lips – I couldn't even think about it anymore.
My jaw clenched and I felt my stomach sinking like a rock. I genuinely was afraid for a minute that I was going to vomit – all over the oval office. I wondered for a second how many presidents had gotten sick in there, but was quickly put back on track. There was only two people who would put those photos in my desk, and only one of them had the resources to get them. I threw the photos back in the folder, and went straight for Cy's office.
"What the hell are these," I said, slamming the folder onto Cyrus' desk.
"This wasn't me," Cyrus said, flipping through the photos.
"Then who the hell was it?" I replied, "They were in my desk, Cy."
"Oh, you found them quicker than I thought you would," Mellie said briskly as she walked right by me to hand Cyrus a paper of some sort, "So there will be no objections to giving Senator Davis his plus one?"
"For what?" I could barely swallow.
"Your fiftieth Birthday Gala," She said, as if he were a complete moron for not thinking of it himself.
"I told you I didn't want a big party," I replied and Mellie gave me a faux sympathetic look.
"You can't always get what you want," Was her only response, and I sighed.
So that was how I ended up where I was that night, sitting across the room from the woman I loved while she enjoyed the evening on the arm of Senator Davis. She was pleasantly avoiding me, and had since she had come through the door. I got the feeling that she wanted to be anywhere but here, but Mellie had orchestrated it so that she had had limited options. What? Was she going to tell her newly reinstated boyfriend that her ex was the president and that's why she couldn't go to his Birthday Gala – no, she wasn't.
I couldn't help myself, but I was staring over at her table the whole evening. Part of me knew how cruel it was, and the other part hoped that she could feel my eyes on her all night. I watched every interaction that she had with Senator Davis like a researcher might watch some rare species of bird that he was trying to save from extinction.
I barely touched my meal, which didn't go unnoticed by anyone at my table, all of whom had noticed my mental absence from any sort of social activity. I would be getting and earful from Cy the next morning, but I really didn't care – not when I had a perfect view of Senator Davis' hand on her shoulder. I could feel my face go to stone and suddenly I wasn't angry. I wasn't mad, I didn't want to go over there and snap his neck, and take her for my own – I was sad.
I was just sad that she was there with him, and not me. I was sad that I was there with Mellie and that I hadn't been enough of a man to have the courage to call it quits. I had let the ambition that I had had as a young man, the one that was thirsty for politics and power hungry. I wasn't that man anymore, I was meek, and tired, and love starved , and all I wanted was to have Olivia, my Livy by my side. The big white house that I had convinced myself that I had wanted meant nothing, I was cold, I was dead, and I was drowning.
The servers came around and collected all the plates and dishes from dinner as the band started up, and they opened the floor to dancing, calling for me and Mellie to be the first out there. She plastered on her fake public smile, and I got up out of my seat, taking her hand and leading her out onto the dance floor. At least it would be a break from having to sit at the table. I glanced several times over at Liv, who now had no excuse not to be looking at me as the whole room clapped. I wondered how all of those clapping would feel if they knew exactly what was going on.
"Pull yourself together, Fitz," Mellie whispered, she was furious beneath her smile – as per ususal.
"I'm doing my best," I replied and she rolled her eyes.
I hoped that no one picked up on the fact that I was holding her about a foot away from myself – but I just couldn't stand to have her any closer. I knew Olivia noticed, but she wouldn't say anything.
"It wasn't my idea to have her here."
"She dumped you, she's back with the senator," I knew if we weren't on a dance floor she would have been screaming at me, "Get over her."
"She didn't dump me," I finally just came out with it, "I pushed her away."
Mellie stopped, shocked – but luckily it was the end of the song, and the band was starting up the next one. People were flooding the dance floor, and I walked away from her. I wasn't even worried that someone might be watching me, and made a b-line for the bar. I needed a drink. If I was going to manage to get through tonight, I was going to need a drink – or a few.
I sat down at the bar, made a little small talk with guests that were over there as had a couple scotches. I kept looking over at Livy, how beautiful she looked, and how wrong it was that Davis was spinning her around the dance floor instead of me. Mellie had gotten over my revelation, and was making her way around the room talking to people I wasn't even sure that I had met before.
"Everything ok, Sir?" the bartender behind the counter asked.
He looked like a college kid that they had hired for the evening, but somehow he looked genuinely concerned.
"I'm fine," I smiled back at him, "Just one more scotch, ok? I won't bug you for the rest of the evening."
"Ok, sir," He said as he poured him a new glass, and then went back to serving the others.
I looked back out on the dance floor and had lost Olivia, no idea where she had gone. I spotted Senator Davis chatting with a few of his pals, smug bastard. If Liv was mine, I wouldn't see the point in any time alone. He had her and he didn't even see how precious she was – how perfect she was.
"Mr. President," It was Liv, popping up by my side.
"Liv," I replied, going to throw back my drink when she caught my hand, "Hey."
"That's enough, Mr. President," She said, setting the glass down on the bar and taking my wrist.
"I don't think that's up to you.." I started, realizing that, perhaps I had had one too many.
She was leading me off down the hall, away from the party – towards the Oval Office. She was mumbling under her breath the whole way, I could tell that all she really wanted to do was turn around and slap me – it was what I deserved.
"C'mon, Liv – just hit me, it would be more humane," I said as we stopped off in a side conference room.
"I'm not going to hit you," She said, sitting down on the couch – that was when I realized I was sitting on the ground, "It wouldn't even begin to cover the stunt you just pulled. It wouldn't even begin to cover you watching me the way you have – all night."
"I'm not worth it, Liv," I slipped out, then added, "I let you go when I should have fought like hell. I could say that it was what I thought it was what you wanted – but you and I know that's bullshit. It would be easier, if I could let you go. Wouldn't it? Wouldn't it be so much easier?"
"Fitz, you're drunk," She tried to stop him.
"I know I am," I replied, "But I still know that I still love you – and I always will. There's never going to be a time when I'll see you with him and not want to disappear. I'm not mad – I'm just…"
"You always thought that somehow we'd figure out how to make it work," She said, "I did too."
"So why don't we make it work?" I asked, forcing myself to get up and onto the couch next her – I felt nauseas.
"Here," She handed me the trash barrel that was next to her, "Go for it, you'll feel better after. Maybe we can make you presentable after."
"Thanks, but I don't need it," I said, but kept it right in front of my face, "Why don't we make it work?"
"Because, Fitz," She said, "You're the President of the United States, and you're drunk off your ass. I'm a scandal fixer and I'm a major contributor to the one of the century-"
"I don't know about that," I pointed out, "I still say Kennedy and Monroe've got a quite a few points on us."
"That's not the point."
"That is the point," Fitz said, "I'm the Preident, and the only way I could make it through my own birthday Gala without shooting myself was to get shitfaced. Like a kid, Liv – this, whatever we're trying to do now? It's not working either. You must see it too."
"I do," She replied, "But we have to at least try."
"We have been trying," He replied, "I tried getting over you the adult way, I tried getting over you by drinking you away. I was drunk for eighty percent of that G8 conference, Liv. That's how I got the Queen to laugh – I was buzzed."
"You can't drink like that," She said.
"I can't live like this," I replied, "We've got to figure out something better. You can't honestly tell me that you're happy with Davis."
There was a long silence.
"I'm not," She admitted, "But I could be."
Just then, I couldn't hold it in anymore. There was a burning in my throat as I felt the entire contents of my stomach, which wasn't much – empty into the trash bin. I took a breath, and realized that Liv was rubbing circles around my back when I went and got sick again. She waited a few minutes after I was done, and took away the trash bin from my face.
"C'mon, Fitz," She said, taking me by the wrist again and heading into the bathroom across the hall, "Let's clean you up."
"Liv," I said, as she wetted a cloth and washed my face for me – there was a knock on the door.
She went to open it, and came back with a small bag, a bagel, toasted with cream cheese, and a coffee. She put the coffee down on the counter next to my hand and handed me the bagel.
"Eat," She said as she took a small comb out of the bag and started fixing my hair.
"I don't think I'm going to be presentable," I mumbled, "No matter how well you patch me up."
"So sit at a table with Cyrus and a few other people," She said, "Make small talk and drink lots of coffee and water."
"Fine," I replied, mouth full of bagel, "And what're we going to do about our situation?"
"I really don't know, Fitz," she replied, handing me a toothbrush as soon as I had finished the bagel, "Right now, all I'm worried about is getting you back out there without anyone realizing that you managed to drink yourself sick."
"Fair point," I replied, spitting into the sink, and then throwing the toothbrush out, she handed me a piece of gum, "You're fixing me, right now, aren't you? Is there going to be any time when you won't be there to save me?"
"No," She replied, throwing the comb into the trash as well.
"So we're still us?"
"We are definitely still us."