Chapter 1: He's Awake
Olivia wasn't quite sure what to say. The heat of the cell phone against her cheek acted as a reminder that she actually had to say words since Cyrus was unable to read the expressions flitting across her face. She cleared her throat.
"What do you mean he's awake?"
"I mean Fitzgerald Grant is awake and he's asking for you." Cyrus responded
"What?" Olivia said, her voice sounding soft and weak, so unlike the clipped tones she usually spoke in. "I don't understand, what…what are you saying?"
"Olivia we can stay on the phone with you asking me stupid questions and me answering your stupid questions or we can stop playing this stupid game where we waste time talking about your disbelief at the fact that Fitzgerald Grant has finally opened the pretty blue eyes you've been losing sleep over for the past month since he was shot."
Olivia took a deep breath. "Right. Of course, you're right. I'll_um, I'll_"
"For heaven's sake Olivia get your ass down here now!" Cyrus said before promptly hanging up her.
Olivia held the dead phone in her hand, feeling the weight of it draw her arm down to her side while she repeated over and over again to herself the same refrain: He's awake. He's awake. He's awake. She didn't realize her whole body was shaking until she heard the phone clatter against the floor beneath her.
Fitz had woken up from a coma that the doctors told her could last anywhere from a couple hours to forever. And yet although a couple hours had long passed and forever was months and months away, Fitz was awake. He was awake and he was asking for her. So she went.
Although Cyrus had sounded testy on the phone, upon seeing him, Olivia noticed that the light that had left his eyes in the month since Fitz was shot had returned.
He clasped her shaking hands between his. "Well, that didn't take too long. Honestly the way you sounded when I told you, I wouldn't have been surprised if you'd fainted. In fact if you hadn't shown up, I told myself I would go to your house to make sure you were still vertical and functioning."
She laughed although the furrow between her brow grew deeper instead of disappearing.
"How can you joke about this. About any of this. I feel like I'm going to explode with everything that I'm feeling right now."
"How can I joke?" Cyrus asked with a booming laugh. "Olivia, don't you see that everything is all better now. That thug Sally Langston is going to be booted out on her rear and I can finally stop babysitting."
Cyrus spat out the word like it was profane.
"Cyrus." Olivia said, "Don't even try to front, I know you love that baby."
"And I want to keep loving her. Trust me, spending all my available time with her is not the best way to accomplish this. In fact it just encourages other less amenable feelings. Don't you know babies are best loved from very, very far away? That way I can appreciate her chubby cheeks and milky smiles without having the evidence of said milk splattered against my T-shirt when said cheeks belch out milky burps!"
Olivia impatiently tapped her bitten nails against the fabric of her grey trousers. They both knew that she hadn't come here to discuss Sarah, Cyrus' newly adopted baby.
"Is Mellie here?" She asked
"She's gone to pick up some of Fitz's things from_"
"Surely she could have sent someone to pick up his things for her, I mean I would think if I were lucky enough to be here when he opened his eyes that I wouldn't want to leave his side so much so that I would send someone to go pick up his damn_"
Olivia's voice broke. She pressed her trembling hand against her mouth.
"Olivia," Cyrus said softly, "I think the clothes were just an excuse. Fitz is asking for you. Mellie didn't want to be here while…"
"Of course not." Olivia said pulling herself back together.
In the course of grieving for Fitz she had forgotten her role in their little Greek tragedy. She played the part of the selfish, dirty mistress. All the nights of the past month crying and clinging to her pillow for comfort, longing for Fitz to open his eyes had served to make her forget. It was funny that she afforded herself more honor while he lay unconscious, but now that the one thing she had been longing for had finally happened, she castigated herself once more. How despicable was she? That she would make The Wife feel she had to leave The Husband's bedside because The Mistress insisted on seeing him.
However, despite the reemergence of Olivia's self-loathing, it wasn't enough to keep her from Fitz. If she was to be the dirty mistress in this play, at least she could be the dirty mistress that got to hold the philandering husband when he opened the eyes she'd never thought she'd see open and lucid again.
"I'm sorry about that. I am. It's not fair that she should have to_"
"You don't have to justify yourself to me Olivia. I'm just happy he's awake and we can exorcise that impostor from the White House once and for all. If you played a part in waking him up so that I could drag that wannabe out of the oval then you have my eternal gratitude. Besides, Mellie is a big girl. She'll get over it."
"Is he still in the…Where is he?" Olivia asked
"He's straight through there." Cyrus said pointing at the innocuous room at the end of the hallway.
Olivia nodded and began walking towards the room.
She paused and turned around, "How do I look?"
She had thrown together her outfit seemingly in a daze not bothering to scrutinize the particulars of what she put on her body. The result was a mish-mash selection of clothes consisting of grey dress trousers, hot pink flats, a beige negligee underneath a cable knit button down sweater.
At Cyrus' telling silence, Olivia rushed to add, "I didn't have time to, that is I know I should have spent more time putting together a cohesive outfit. I just wanted to get here as quickly as possible."
Cyrus gave her a small smile. "Olivia, I don't think that man would care if you walked in wearing a chicken suit."
Olivia felt the relief rush through her. She hadn't realized she'd been holding her breath until that too came out of her in a rush.
"Right." She said, walking to the door. She placed her hand on the handle, "Right." She said again before pushing it open and walking through.