On me dit que nos vies ne valent grand chose
Elles passent en un instant comme fanent les roses...
On me dit que le destin se moque bien de nous
Qu'il ne nous donne rien et qu'il nous promet tout
Parait que le bonheur est a portée de main
Alors on tend la main et on se retrouve fou
Pourtant quel qu'un m'a dit que tu m'aimais encore
C'est quel qu'un qui m'a dit que tu m'aimais encore
Serait-ce possible alors?
- Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
Whenever Olivia completed a very trying case she rewarded herself and her team by giving them a real weekend off. It had been a long time since any of them had had a real break and with Abby out on maternity leave they all had to put in extra work to make up for her absence. The case they had just finished had been messy and sometime along the way Olivia had lost count of the of the number of laws she had "bent" to keep her client from being extradited. She let out a loud sigh as she gracelessly settled onto the couch and slipped out of her nude Cole Haan pumps that noisily clattered onto the floor as she began massaging her stocking clad feet. When it became apparent that the ache in her arches would not be so easily relieved she tucked her legs beside her and reached for the remote, clicking on the television.
The large screen lit up, displaying a crystal clear shot of the President stepping out of his helicopter on the South lawn and waving to the cameras. The anchor could be heard talking off screen about the President's return from a peace conference in the Middle East that many felt had not been very effective. Felton had been in office for a year and had not gotten much done but everyone from all sides of the political spectrum agreed that he was a much better choice than Sally Langston; even a number of Republicans did not support her old-fashioned, conservative beliefs.
As Olivia watched, absentmindedly toying with a loose thread on her pants, the screen faded to show the news anchors who began to heatedly debate the President's performance. Liv nodded in agreement when one said that the new POTUS was simply too much of a pushover. - despite being a Democrat he had yet to keep any of his promises regarding lowering taxes for the lower and middle class families or marriage equality in the remaining states because he was hesitant to upset the GOP. The other remarked that President Grant had also been a bit of a pushover to the Democratic agenda in passing the Dream Act among other reforms, but had still managed to accomplish a number of positive changes during his term without ostracizing himself from one party to align with the other. The two then switched gears and launched into trying to answer the question that had plagued the country for the last year and a half - why hadn't President Grant run for reelection?
At the mention of his name a recent shot of him flashed onto the screen, evoking a twinge of regret in Olivia. The picture showed Fitz sitting in a small plastic chair, his guitar poised to play in his lap as he smiled at the group of children in hospital gowns surrounding him. He was wearing jeans and had the sleeves of his maroon shirt rolled up to his flexed biceps. The smile he wore was infectious and Olivia felt the corners of her lips tilt upwards at the sight of it, as well as a pool of desire form in her belly. She hadn't seen him in person since having helped him regain the seat as President after his shooting but the sight of him looking so casual and carefree reminded her of the better days they'd had, though it pained her to know they might never have them again.
At least he looks happy, she thought, watching as the picture onscreen was replaced by one of him having lunch with a very grown up looking Karen. At least one of us is happy.
Olivia mentally slapped herself, remembering having resolved to put an end to the self-pity parties she had often indulged in after their last separation. They did nothing to alleviate her stress or put a smile on her face. She quickly snatched up the remote from where it had fallen by her feet and and changed to the cooking channel, hoping to distract herself. Half an hour later, having though of nothing but Fitz and his heartwarming smile and the swell of his forearms an the curl of his hair, she turned her television off with a huff and retired to her bedroom, confident that even sleep could not erase him from her thoughts.
"Do you know what you do to me?" Fitz's voice was barely a whisper, his breath hot on her neck as he ghosted his fingers across her pelvic bone.
Olivia let out a soft moan, turning her head to touch her lips to the hollow beneath his ear. She brought her arms around his back, pulling him deeper, trying to feel his heartbeat against her chest, to fuse them together. She finally had him, she did not plan on letting him go.
"Do you know what you do to me?" he repeated, all the sensuality gone from his voice without warning, replaced by a tone of anguish. Olivia felt a tear spill from his eye onto her shoulder, branding her skin like acid, and she hissed in pain.
"It hurts, Fitz," she cried, and though he sped up his thrusts she felt no pleasure.
"What you did, Livi, that hurt." He dug his nails into her hips, causing her to cry out again. His hands felt harsh and calloused against her sensitive ski, noting like the delicate touches she recalled. "You don't know pain, sweet baby."
As his nails tore into her she willed herself to fight, to pull away, but found her body frozen underneath him. His weight was suddenly suffocating. She whimpered, begging him to stop but unable to form words. As if hearing her silent pleas Fitz lifted his torso look her in the eyes. Olivia gasped in horror at the sight of him - his normally passionate pools of grey were a dull charcoal and held no recognition of her whatsoever.
Olivia was jolted from her slumber by the sound of her own shrieking. She sat up in her large bed, wiping the sweat plastered hair from her forehead, and shot her hand out to turn on the bedside lamp. Instead, her knuckles made contact with her alarm clock, knocking it to the floor with a loud thump. She swore loudly and cradled the injured hand in the other, clutching them both to her stomach and doubling over them. She knew that she would only continue to hurt herself unless she calmed down and proceeded to count backwards from ten, breathing deeply through her nose. When Olivia reached for the lamp again she found the string effortlessly and gave it a light tug, casting a dim glow across the room that made her shadow dance on the wall.
To say she had not dreamt of Fitz since their last encounter was a lie. Once he had haunted her dreams every night for three weeks, and while the dreams always made her feel some kind of way - they ranged from pleasant to depressing to unbearably sexy - never before had dream Fitz terrified her in such a way.
She thought back to the last time they had been together. After he had been shot she'd been devastated and when his eyes had finally opened, her name on his lips, she had easily been the happiest woman alive. On his last day in the hospital he had leaned over her so their foreheads touched and asked her to stay. So after handing the reins of OPA over to Harrison she had taken back her position as his fixer and campaign manager. She had been the driving force behind his reinstatement as President and promptly resumed her position as his Director of Communications. Their relationship picked back up where it had left off before she'd left the White House the first time. Everything had been going very smoothly until one night, as he had tiptoed through the residence, clutching her heels to her chest and feeling inexplicable cheap, she had inadvertently seen Mellie sitting on a couch in the nursery, crying into a balled up blue onsie. Olivia knew that the stress behind Fitz's shooting, and possibly even her own return into their lives, had been the reason Mellie had lost the baby. Liv had allowed the guilt to consume her until m for the second time, she had stolen away from the White House in the dead of the night. After that time, she had never looked back.
Following her abrupt departure she had returned home to Alexandria, spending time with her family and watching her sister's kids while simultaneously avoiding calls from everyone but Harrison. Finally, the phone had stopped ringing.
She knew that she had hurt Fitz and that he blamed her for everything that transpired between the two of them but she couldn't understand why he didn't see that she had been suffering when they were together. They had both always thought that once Fitz's presidency was over he would immediately divorce Mellie and Olivia could live happily ever after with him but she wasn't sure she would ever get over the fact that she had broken up a family or rigged an election for him. Every morning she would wake up and lying beside her would be a reminder of everything she had ever done wrong. After a while she had resigned herself to the fact that she and Fitz could never be happy together - no relationship that started like theirs had a chance in hell of lasting in the real world.
Olivia sighed heavily, running her fingers through her sweat dampened hair. Thinking about her and Fitz and what could have been was useless and she would not spend her time off from work crying in bed. She pulled her shoulders back and lifted her chin, a gesture that was lost in the dark solitude of her bedroom but which made her feel that everything might be bearable in the morning. She fell back onto her stack of pillows and rolled over, slowly falling into a restless slumber.
The next day, as she slipped out of her car and into the brisk fall weather, Olivia couldn't help but feel self conscious about how she looked. Her sleep had been fitful and she felt as if she'd had none at all. Her hair was pulled back into a messy bun with an overflow of curls springing loose because she hadn't the energy to straighten it and she had forgone her usual make-up, opting instead to don a pair of large white sunglasses to hide the redness of her eyes. She prayed no one recognized her as she drew her trench coat tightly around her, concealing the plain t-shirt and cardigan she had worn. She just wanted a calm day of shopping by herself, something she rarely got to do.
She was met with a burst of warm air and the overzealous smile of a saleslady as she stepped into the department store. Olivia masterfully avoided the bombardment of offers to try a new scent and made her way to the shoe department. She let out a sigh of relief, fingering a cream colored pump and circling a display of boots.
"Liv? Hey, Liv, is that you?"
Olivia stifled a groan and turned, searching for the person who had so loudly interrupted her. From across the shoe section she spotted a girl weighed down with brown paper bags bounding towards her excitedly. As the girl approached, dropping her shopping bags onto a chair, Olivia recognized her to be Karen who swept her into a tight hug.
"Oh, Liv, it is you! I haven't seen you in forever."
Olivia chuckled, returning the girl's hug. "Hi, Karen. Yeah it has been a while. Are you here with your parents?"
Karen scoffed and pulled back from the embrace. "I'm nineteen. I don't need my parents to take me shopping. Besides, the two of them haven't been in the same room since the divorce was finalized."
Olivia tried to keep her expression calm but Karen, having always been rather observant, caught the sharp intake of breath and quirked an eyebrow. "You mean you didn't know? Yeah, Mom put up a pretty big fight at first but in the end she cam to terms with it. That's why it took them so long. It was all pretty discreet but I was sure Dad would have told you before anyone."
"What would make you think that? I haven't worked for Fi- your father in years."
"Olivia, I love you like a big sister but please don't patronize me. I've always known you and my dad are more than just coworkers, it just took me a while to figure out how much more."
"Karen," Olivia began slowly, "let me explain."
"You don't have to explain, Liv. My parents weren't in love. They weren't happy. You make Dad happy and as much as I want to be mad at you sometimes I know their shitty relationship was over long before you came along. I'm glad you and Dad found each other. I just can't for the life of me figure out why you two aren't together." Karen paused, and when she was met with silence, calmly said, "Now you can explain."
An awkward beat followed Karen's request and Olivia furrowed her brow. While she felt she owed the young girl some kind of explanation - they had been close and Olivia never forgot that in leaving Fitz she had left Karen as well - she did not want to admit her deepest feelings to this girl. As grown up as Karen carried herself she was still young and probably would not understand a lot about the reasons behind Olivia's decision. Instead of offering a reply, Olivia tried to distract her.
"How about we get some coffee and catch up?"
"Only if you're paying and don't even think you're getting away with not answering me."
The two ladies sat across from each other in the dimly lit cafe, hands wrapped around steaming cups. Olivia shifted her sunglasses to rest on top of her head and took a sip of her drink, ignoring when it burned her tongue.
"So how's college life treating you?"
"Partying, studying, avoiding my detail. The usual." Karen waved her hand absently to emphasize how trifling the matter was before leaning forward. "Not nearly as interesting as what you're about to tell me."
Olivia looked to the ceiling and blew upwards in frustration. The girl had always been persistent, and coming from an affluent family who indulged her had not helped. "Look, things between your father and me just didn't work out. That's all there is to it."
"But why? If you two were so in love you would risk a presidency and ruin a family, why would you decide now, when you can finally be together, that you can't work things out?" There was no bitterness in Karen's tone, just the whiny desperation of a child who couldn't get what she wanted.
Olivia chewed her lip nervously, thinking of a way to explain it gently. "Sometimes, Kare, you want something so badly that you'll do anything to have it, but by the time it's yours, the wear and tear from the battle are too much to repair. It's not the same as it was in the beginning. You dad and I aren't the same people we were all those years ago and our relationship couldn't handle the change on top of the external challenges it was dealing with."
A tear fell from Karen's eye and she angrily swiped at it, her face becoming red. "But if you love someone you should want to work thing out. You haven't even tried."
Liv reached out a hand and touched Karen's where it rested on the table. "Love isn't always enough."
"Don't you think I know that Olivia? My parents loved each other once. They never spoke to each other unless it had to do with Jerry and me or politics and eventually they forgot they were in a relationship." Karen looked Olivia dead in the eyes, a steely resolve sharpening them, likening her to her father. "He still loves you. He hurts over what happened - I've seen him cry - but he keeps this hope that someday you'll call and it's killing him inside. He's got this picture of the two of you from the campaign trail and he just stares at it sometimes." She stood, ignoring her untouched cup of coffee, and gathered her shopping bags. "I know you still care about him, Liv, and I just want you both to be happy." With that she turned on her heel and stomped out of the door, leaving Olivia frozen in her seat.
Karen's outburst had stirred something in Olivia, but mainly it was the knowledge that Fitz still thought about her without becoming furious that twisted her stomach into knots. That he thought about her at all caused her to shiver with excitement. Of course he was probably still upset with her, and there was no way she could simply stroll back into his life after having abandoned him a second time and having let years pass with no contact. But the thought that there was even a chance for them to reconcile made her giddy, and the rush of caffeine she felt from downing the rest of her coffee did nothing to help. Her first reaction was to call him but there was no way to guarantee he still had the same phone number; besides that, she would feel odd having such an important conversation over the phone. She knew from quick conversations with Cyrus that he frequently stayed at his new house in Foxhall and before she had time to think about it, Olivia was racing through the parking garage to her car and stumbling into-ti the driver's seat, not even bothering with her seat belt before speeding towards the upscale community.
The closet her car got her destination, the closer she was to seeing Fitz, the harder reality began to set in. By the time she reached the wooded outskirts of the neighborhood she could hardly breathe through the knot in her chest and the edges of her vision were beginning to blur. She barely saw the ball that rolled into the street but the shock of it hitting her wheel sent her foot slamming onto the brake. Her head hit the steering wheel with a thud but she recovered quickly, searching for the child who should have come rounding the hill to reclaim the ball but none came. The road was deserted.
Olivia gripped the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white, trying to ignore the pain spreading in her brow. Indignant tears dropped into her lap as she silently berated herself. Again and again she had gotten hurt chasing Fitz, and she'd hurt him, and countless other people, and yet they continued with the same elaborate number, picking each other up with sweet words and phenomenal sex only to be hurt again. Here she was, about to kill herself rushing to be near him on the word of an emotional teenage girl. She hadn't called Fitz in years, but he hadn't called her either and even if he still couldn't sleep at night, fraught with thoughts of her, it didn't necessarily mean he wanted her in his life again. And Olivia wasn't sure, past the unreliably primal instinct telling her to bed for his forgiveness, that she wanted to be a part of his.
Lost in though, she didn't notice the group of teenage boys that jogged over the hill, apparently in search of their lost ball. One of them tapped on her window and she was jolted out of her reverie, pressing the button to lower the glass partition. She turned towards he boy, her eyes glassy and unfocused.
"Hey, we're really sorry lady," he apologized, his eyes flitting rapidly from her chest to her face. "Do you want me to call an ambulance?"
Olivia faltered, her tongue feeling dry and too large for her mouth, and managed to force out a pathetic "no."
"Are you sure? Your nose is bleeding pretty bad and I think you might have a concussion."
Shocked at this revelation, Olivia lifted a stiff hand to touch her upper lip, feeling the sticky warm liquid and pulling her hand back to inspect it. "Uh, no. I mean, I'm fine. You just...be more careful."
The boy nodded, not at all convinced but evidently impatient to return to his friends. "Alright then." He hesitated by her side for another moment before sprinting around the car and disappearing over the hill.
Olivia leaned over the console and snatched a wad of tissue from the glove compartment before squeezing it around her nose. No, she decided, it was not the right time to go see Fitz. She would go home and clean up, try to take a nap. Give herself time to think once the haze of her newly obtained knowledge about him wore off. Perhaps then she would try to talk to him.
Behind her a car honked; a long, drawn out reminder that there was a here and now that needed tending. She peeked into the rearview mirror to see the line of cars filled with disgruntled drivers that had formed. She adjusted herself in the seat and pulled her seatbelt securely around her, beginning to really feel the dizzying effects of her head injury, and made a U-turn, heading towards home.
A/N: This is the last chapter, everyone. I'm actually a lot more sad about this ending than I was expecting to be. It was a short collection of little stories that somehow managed to take over my life. I hope that you all enjoyed reading them as much as I did writing them. If I do start another story (I'm thinking something plot driven and more long term) it probably won't be for a while but I won't be disappearing altogether so feel free to reach out to me on here, on twitter ( anjelica_jasmin) or tumblr (jelzz). And don't forget to leave one last review :)