"How have you been, Cy?" Liv asked Cyrus when he settled in the chair across from her. He'd been showing up at her office for lunch almost daily over the past week. Ever since Fitz left the hospital.
Cyrus let out a deep breath. "I've been better," he said, stretching his legs out in front of him. Cyrus contemplated the last seven days and could only describe them as…weird. "He remembers me, mainly because I met him over six years ago, but he doesn't remember that I ran his campaign or anything at all, Liv," he said.
Looking away, she cleared her throat and asked, "What have the doctors said? Is there a chance he'll gain his memory back?" she asked, holding her breath.
Cyrus replied, "They don't know. He's back on his feet though. Dr. Stanley has assured us that memory loss is a completely normal side effect when people sustain head injuries and that he could gain all of his memories back or none at all." Cyrus quietly added, "We should hope for the former but prepare ourselves for the latter."
Glancing up at Olivia, a stranger would think that she was calmly taking in the news as an impartial listener, but Cyrus was no stranger to Liv. He saw the minute details that showed themselves through her body language. He noticed how she briefly clenched her pen tighter. He also noticed how her mouth trembled, just a little, and how she looked down so as to hide any escaping tears from him.
Fitz only remembered Cyrus because he met him before his 15th year anniversary, but he met Liv almost three years ago. Olivia had been Cyrus' star pupil, the best student he'd ever had the honor of mentoring, and after all their history together, it felt almost unnatural that Fitz didn't even know who Olivia was, let alone that she was the love of his life.
"Look on the bright side," Cyrus said, taking a bite out of his pasta salad. "At least this time, you can make a better first impression," he said, winking at her.
That startled a laugh out of Olivia. Then she said, smiling, "Believe it or not, he actually liked my first impression."
It was Cyrus' turn to laugh then. Turning serious, he said, "He wants to see you."
Olivia's smile slowly faded from her face. She couldn't see him. This past week had been utter agony without him and she was expected to just go see him? And somehow stop herself from throwing herself into his arms and peppering his face with kisses? Who did Cyrus think she was, Wonder woman?
"How could he want to see me, Cy? He doesn't even know me," she said.
Cyrus answered, "It's been a week, Liv. He may not remember you…yet…but he still needs to make a decision about whether or not he wants to take authority back from Sally Langston. Vice President Langston is getting restless and I don't blame her. If the brain-addled man living upstairs was a few memories away from taking my position of power, I'd be nervous too.
"Fitz needs to make a move. He could take the presidency back, but if she fights him on it, does he have the knowledge and strength to beat her? And if he did, will he have the support of the people on his side? I leave strategizing of that caliber to you and you alone, Livy." Leaning forward in his seat, he added, "Plus, Tom said he wanted to meet the woman who won him the election the first time around."
Olivia pushed aside her soup and breathed deeply. She didn't know if she could do this, but what choice did she have? She couldn't feign sickness or tiredness. And she couldn't flat out refuse. Besides, he needed her right now, at least until he got his presidency back from Langston. And she'd never been able to turn her back on him when he needed her. It was that simple.
Liv asked, "When and where does he want me?" And of course, her dirty mind went there. It always did when it came to Fitz.
"At Camp David," Cyrus replied, finishing his meal. Standing, he said, "Right now."
Fitz was taking a tour of Camp David when Tom approached him, saying, "Cyrus is on his way with Ms. Pope. They'll be here in approximately 15 minutes, sir."
"Thanks, Tom," Fitz replied, nervous to see Olivia again. When he saw her in the hospital, she'd been tired and obviously didn't want to stick around and talk to him. But now, he could talk to her, in broad daylight, and ask her all the questions he wanted. And, hopefully, he could spend some time alone with her.
"This is the last cabin before we reach the main house," Fitz said to Tom as they came to the door. "Who's staying here?"
Tom said, "No one currently, sir. You ordered that the cabin was to remain unoccupied."
Fitz looked at him, confused. "Why?" he asked.
Tom looked him in the eye and said, "You spent a lot of your free time in this cabin when you were first made President, sir."
Fitz read between the lines. This must have been where Fitz and Olivia stayed when they were away from the White House.
Without hesitating, Fitz opened the door and stepped inside. He didn't know what he expected, though. Memories didn't rush at him at the furniture or the view. It looked like a normal cabin with clean furnishings. Fitz went to each room and took in every detail but nothing jogged his memories. None of the passionate kisses that he'd shared with Oliv—Livy—in the pictures.
Fitz stopped at the bed. He recognized the headboard as being in the background of some of the photos on his computer. So, it did happen. It was real.
Leaving the cabin, Fitz walked with Tom and the rest of his detail back to the main house. "I still don't want anyone else living there," he said.
"I figured as much, sir," Tom replied stoically.
Olivia's hands were sweaty.
A fact that she found annoying and nerve-wracking. For the fourth time, she rubbed them against her pants leg as she tried to focus on the meeting ahead. Cyrus was driving and had just cleared the security gate at Camp David as memories assaulted her.
She remembered when Fitz had unexpectedly arrived at her cabin door the first time. When he'd come the last time. The arguments and debates they'd had with Cyrus and other members of their strategy team. The late nights and the wine.
And other things.
"It'll be fine, Livy," Cyrus said, patting her hand.
"You're coddling me," Liv said, smiling slightly.
"I don't coddle. Coddling is for overprotective fathers who don't want their daughters to be hurt by some idiot boy," Cyrus said absently.
Liv jerked her head around to stare at him for a long moment. Finding her voice, she said, "I wasn't complaining. Coddling looks good on you."
Smiling, Cyrus parked and got out of the car. Finding her courage, Liv grasped the door handle and prepared herself. She wasn't worried about the strategical part of the meeting—she could handle that in her sleep. No, what worried her was handling the look on his face. Liv didn't dare hope that it would be a look of recognition or of homecoming. But the look of a stranger or an acquaintance.
She steeled herself against being hurt by that look and put to the forefront of her mind the fact that she'd made Fitz a promise. She told him that if he woke up for her, she'd tell him everyday how much he meant to her. And whether by word or deed, Liv fully intended to stick to that promise.
Everyone, thank you SO MUCH for all of your wonderful and kind reviews. As a writer, it is the most flattering thing to happen, so don't be shy, keep them coming! How do you think the meeting between them will be? Awkward? Passionate? A little like their first meeting? I haven't decided yet. Update coming soon!