Chapter 12: Let Us Romanticize
It was bright. Overly bright. Around the edges, the things around him, the people (so many people) they glowed. Fitz wondered where the light was coming from. (From inside?) Did he glow too? People were talking. So many voices rising, intermingling with one another to form a sort of god-like gibberish roar. Like the sound that emanates from a shell when you put it to your ear: unintelligible rushing, rising. He looked down. There was a hand attached to his, he followed the arm all the way up to Mellie's smiling face.
"Are you all right Fitz?"
"I'm sorry about the way I was in the car. What I said about not wanting to come inside. It's your 50th birthday. Of course you should be surrounded by people who love you."
The room, the smiling people holding glasses of (blood?) No of course not. It was red wine. They were holding glasses of red wine. A celebration for his 50th birthday. But didn't that mean that…Olivia. She would be here too. They had fought. The conversation, their last, they agreed. But where was she? And the light-it was blinding him.
"Who picked this place?" He asked looking at Mellie. She was glowing too. But that was alright, wasn't it? She was pregnant, wasn't she?
"What do you mean, Fitz? You picked it."
"Right. Right. Of course."
She looked at him, confused and then laughed it off.
"Come on, darling. To the main room now. People are waiting to dedicate a toast to you. To wish you happy birthday."
Then Mellie took off sprinting. The lavender of her dress billowing like wisps of smoke behind her as she ran. So fast. How was she going so fast? Her long pale arm was still visible floating, as she beckoned him forward. And Fitz tried to follow. But it was hard. The bright harsh quality of everything was receding and things were taking on a soft blurry hue and Fitz could barely see in front of him as he walked.
He couldn't even see his shoes. The big room that had been filled with people holding glasses of (blood?) (blood?) (BLOOD?) red wine was now empty and he was alone.
"COME ON FITZ! YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THE BIG TOAST!"
(Who said that?) A voice. Cyrus' voice. But where was it coming from?
His voice reverberated in the empty room, echoing back at him. No response.
"I don't know. I can't…I don't know how to find you." Fitz said.
There was no reply. The big toast, he was missing it. It would read in the papers the next day: President Too Important to Honor Birthday Celebrants With His Presence? He tried moving his legs. Moving in the direction into which Mellie and all her lavender had disappeared. But it was like he was on a treadmill. He could make no progress, remaining instead on the same four inches of ballroom floor.
"Goddammit." He said under his breath, "Goddamm_"
The blurry quality of the room receded and everything was solid once more. And there was Olivia in a gold dress standing right in front of him. His panic, his frustration, all of that disappeared into a distant, faraway past. He was looking at her. He was always happy when he was looking at her. And what a sight she was. The golden fabric skimming her curves, molding itself to her, until she was golden too. And wasn't she always golden? His golden girl.
"What are you doing out here?" She asked.
"Waiting for you." He said. He was always waiting for her. And wasn't it right that he should? She made everything better. Just by her presence, everything was better. As it should be. In its place.
"Oh." She said. She looked uncomfortable.
He didn't understand. Couldn't figure it out. She looked to her right. He followed her line of vision and there looming, towering beside her: Edison. How did he miss him? His arm around the curve of Olivia's shoulder, his smile firm but polite.
"Senator Davis." Fitz said.
"President Grant, you'll be late for the toast. Everyone is waiting for you."
Olivia looked torn. Her teeth worrying her bottom lip, so full, so lush. She seemed to come to a decision.
"Edison, why don't you go ahead? Fitz and I…that is to say, President Grant and I will be with you shortly."
Edison put a hand, soft, to Olivia's face and Fitz wanted to cut it off.
"Why are you doing this to yourself?" Edison asked, "He has nothing to offer you. He doesn't have enough. He never has." (Who said that?)
Olivia pulled Edison's hand from her face and backed away from him until she was standing next to Fitz.
"Let's go." She said, looking up into Fitz's eyes. And he thought that if all his life, his eyes only ever rested on the contours of Olivia's face, the peaks and the valleys, those wide brown eyes, it would be a life well spent.
"Where?" He asked and Edison was gone. Vanished to that place where lost things, that no one cares to look for, go.
"Anywhere." She said, smiling and they were walking. First down the hallway of the ballroom, then they were in the rose garden like magic and everything was magic with her. Magical that he could love someone so much, could want someone so much, the purest magic there was.
"Every time I see a rose, I think of you." She said, "Of being here with you." And her voice was like music carried and played by the wind.
He shook his head, "Everything is so scattered, so screwed up and_"
"Don't." She said, placing a hand over his mouth, "I know. Things right now are…but for now, we're here. This is our place. Our world."
"Our world," He repeated. Like a prayer.
"Yes. So let's…let's put on rose-tinted glasses."
She continued, "Let us romanticize all those things that exist in the other world. They don't exist. Not here."
And she was smiling as she said it so he kissed her. He couldn't help but kiss her. She opened her mouth to him and as he swept his tongue inside of her, tasting her, loving her, it felt like the most beautiful gift. And it shuddered him, all through him he was shaking, that she would offer this to him. That she always offered herself so freely to him. He held her closer, deepening their kiss.
"I don't want to lose you." He whispered and she smelled like roses. Her breath in his mouth, her taste on his tongue: roses.
He pushed her back against the wall of the gazebo, which stood in the center of the rose garden, like an island surrounded by water. This was their island. All around them roses, so many beautiful roses, they were untouchable here.
"I hate that you're here with him." He was burning kisses into her as he spoke. Her neck, her cheek, her tears and they tasted of roses. "I hate that you're with him. I hate the thought of him touching you like this, loving you like this."
"I know." She said, "I know."
He leaned in to kiss her again but she turned her face away from him. So he buried his nose in the crook of her neck instead. She tangled her fingers in the hair at the nape of his neck and he was at peace.
"It's not enough, Fitz." She whispered, "It's not enough, is it?"
"What's not enough?" He said, gripping hard onto her shoulders. Why did it seem like she was slipping further away from him. Becoming wispier, and more ill defined around her edges? Why did it seem that she was fading? What did he have to do to tie her to him? What did he have to do?
"What's not enough?" He asked her again.
"Everything you're offering." She said and her voice was fainter, like the wind. She was the wind. She was gone and Fitz was clutching useless at so much empty air.
"Olivia? Olivia!" He yelled into the wide and empty expanse of the rose garden. He was surrounded by roses. On an island buffeted by roses behind and before. And he was alone. So completely alone and it was killing him.
But then a voice.
"Olivia?" He asked.
"Time for the toast, darling." Mellie said and suddenly the garden was gone and he was at the head of a long dinner table. Mellie at his right and Cyrus on his left and Olivia was nowhere to be found. All around the table, faces he didn't recognize, people he didn't recognize, smiling. Raising glasses of (BLOOD?) (BLOOD?) (BLOOD?)
"Time for the toast." Mellie said again. And her smile was ominous. They all were ominous smiling at him. And Olivia, where was she? He needed her. He needed her.
"A toast!" Cyrus declared and his eyes were blood-red and his smile, "A toast!" He said again.
Then someone started screaming something. But Fitz couldn't make out the words. Something hit him harsh on the forehead and then again. He jerked backwards from the force of it. And they were all smiling at him still, their glasses of red upraised in toast to him. Fitz raised a shaking hand to his temple and when he pulled it away, it was covered with blood.
"OLIVIA!" He yelled but she was nowhere. "Olivia, please."
It's not enough. And then he was falling and everything was black.
Someone shaking him. He jerked up, gasping. Salt, he could taste salt. There were tears on his face. He opened his eyes, staring straight into Mellie's steely gaze.
"You were yelling her name in your sleep. Again." She said.
"Yes." Mellie's face crumpled. She put a hand to her mouth and tears were pooling in her eyes. "When is it going to be enough, Fitz? When is it finally going to be enough?"
"Mellie, I'm sorr_"
"I'm going back to sleep," She said, turning away from him. But Fitz couldn't sleep. He stayed awake, staring at the wide and dark ceiling, thinking of another place that was dark too. But it was a darkness with dimension. A darkness with warmth. And all those roses.
Olivia stood in front of the door to OPA. Her fingernails digging into her palm. And in her head, like a mantra, the words: He doesn't love you. He doesn't love you anymore. She pushed the door open. On the other side: Abby, Quinn and Harrison waiting for her. Here was a place where she could forget. Where she could lose herself. And Huck waiting in a dark hole for her to rescue him. That was something that she could do and do it well. Here were people that needed her and needed her desperately. She would not fail them.
"What's the status on Huck?" She asked.
Her voice was firm and unyielding and it seemed that all in the room exhaled a collective sigh of relief. Olivia was here. Olivia would handle this. Olivia would fix things. And all would soon be put to rights as it had been before.
Do I thank you? I feel like I don't do it enough. Thank you for all your reviews. I do read them, all of them, and I love them all. The flames, the balm for my flamed flesh, I don't care. Positive or negative, it is a treat to hear what you think about this story. It is a credit to Shonda's creation that you all feel so passionately about her characters. How do you feel about this chapter? Won't you tell me so? Leave me love. Or hate. I'm not partial :)