A/N: So, I thought you guys might enjoy this over a preview Thursday, I mean, it was just a hunch… and as it's so close to Saturday, I'll be updating no later than Tuesday instead, I mean I was staying up to watch Afterbuzz (And when I do that, I've started chatting) anyways… perhaps I'll be updating an occasional Tuesday – but finals are coming up so probably not (or as a reward to myself, or just because I can't I'll come up with a new one)… Enjoy :)
When You're Through
Chapter Five: Begging, and Pleading, and Loving
Olivia woke up bright and early on Monday morning. She took her shower, popped her head into Lucy's room to wake her up for school, and went downstairs to the kitchen to make breakfast. At first Olivia had felt so proud of herself when she had mastered a few basic recipes to whip up for Lucy and herself. Now, it was so simple she could make most of Lucy's favorites with her eyes closed. Which some mornings, was far too close to the truth for comfort. By the time she was shoveling eggs out of the pan and onto a couple plates for her and Lucy – her highness was arriving in the kitchen. Olivia smiled when she saw that she had chosen to wear one of the new outfits she had gotten her for her birthday.
"Here you are, beautiful girl," She put the plate in front of her daughter, then went to giving her hair a quick fix.
"Thanks, mom," She replied, digging in as Olivia finished up her hair and sat down to eat herself.
"Jeff's not coming back, is he?"
"No," Olivia said, settling into her seat across from Lucy – she went silent, "Are you ok? Do you want to talk about it? You don't have to go to school today if you don't want. We could go do something fun."
"Can we do something fun after school?" She asked simply, taking another bite of her breakfast, and Olivia nodded.
"We can do whatever you want."
"We're making bouncy balls today in science."
"Well, you can't miss that," Olivia smiled at her little girl, "Keep the ones you make, ok? I want to see them."
"And maybe we can go down to the bowling ally after school?" Olivia tried naming something Lucy always wanted to do, "And we can play around in the arcade for a while."
"Ok," Lucy repeated, and Olivia nodded, "Hey mom."
"What is it, sweetie?" Olivia asked, taking note of the very serious look on her little face.
"Does this mean that President Grant's going to be around now?"
"I don't think so," Olivia told her, and it broke her heart, "He might show up once or twice though."
"Oh." She said it like a statement of fact, trying to hide her disappointment – Olivia didn't miss it, "Did Jeff leave because of something I did?"
"No, sweetie – Jeff adored you," She told her, then took a deep breath, "Sometimes adults just can't make it work between them."
"Did Jeff leave because President Grant showed up?"
Olivia's immediate plan for the future of having a male figure in Lucy's life for a while was to ask Huck to be a little more visible for a while. He was always around, well – more recently. Fitz hanging around meant that Huck didn't get his usual schedule of being able to relax a little bit before coming along in the distance, so Lucy wouldn't see him if they went out. Then at night he would go home and sleep. They couldn't ease up until they were sure Fitz was gone, and there was no way to know that as of yet. He had left them alone Sunday – but something told Olivia he was regrouping.
"Ok," Olivia said as they finished up breakfast, "Go grab your backpack and make sure that you've got everything."
Huck, who was on morning detail at the elementary school – making sure that the littler kids were getting to the right classrooms – waved to her as Lucy climbed out of the car. They had their routine, they had had it for nine years now, poor Lucy lived in a bubble. They did their best to keep her from knowing, Huck would go on to middle school and high school with her. It would be hard when she was heading off to college, but they would manage. They had to keep an eye on her, they had to protect her.
After she dropped her off at school she headed over to the office that she usually worked in the field for. It was the Sacramento City Hall – she handled all their press releases and all of their public relations. This was in addition to the occasional case that she took – but it was exceptionally hard to keep mother's hours with those. She hated making Huck actually babysit, which happened a lot when she was on a case. Today she was working in the office, mostly because they were having an internal problem with one of the advisors.
She left early, having to run to the grocery store before she went and got Lucy from school. She drove back into town and ran into the grocery store for the last couple of things that she needed, and got back to the house about an hour before she had to go get Lucy. She left her trunk open as she started lugging her grocery bags inside. She brought the things that needed to go into the fridge or freezer immediately, things like Lucy's favorite ice cream, the milk, and the eggs. She dropped her keys on the counter and went to head back out to get the rest of them – but froze.
"Hi, Miss Pope," Tom said, friendly as he set a couple grocery bags down on the counter for her.
"Hi, Tom," Olivia had to hold herself back from giving him a better greeting as Fitz walked in behind him carrying about four more bags.
"We got them all," Fitz informed her, setting his bags down next to Tom's, "And I shut the trunk for you."
"What're you doing here?"
"I wanted to talk to you," He replied, "Sorry, I had Gerry's soccer game yesterday – he's playing for USC now, but I do want to continue our conversation. And, I thought you might appreciate a little help bringing in the groceries."
"I could have gotten them myself," She told him, "And I have to put these away and go get Lucy from school. I don't have time to talk to you, Fitz."
"I'll send Tom to pick Lucy up," He offered, "And I'll help you put them away."
"No, Fitz," Olivia could feel her own blood start to boil, "Anything that we had ended ten years ago. What're you doing here now? Demanding to speak to me? Just walking right into my home? Offering to help me put away the groceries? Maybe if you had shown up within five years of me leaving…"
"Liv, I've been searching for you for ten fucking years," He forced his voice into a monotone instead of yelling, she could see his anger rising as his face reddened, "And you know damn well that between you and Huck you made it pretty impossible for me to find you. You two made it impossible for anyone to find you. If Mellie hadn't seen Lucy, figured out she was yours, and thought she was mine, and given me a tip as to where you were. In typical Mellie fashion not telling me about Lucy - I would have never been able to find you. You did everything short of changing your name, Liv."
"I thought about it," She replied, and Fitz rolled his eyes, "You're not going to go away until we talk are you?"
"No," He said firmly, "At least until we talk."
"The pantry's over in the closet," She pointed to it as she handed him a bag with some of Lucy's lunch box snacks in it, "Make yourself useful – I'll make a call and have Huck bring Lucy home from school."
"So, why'd you really take off?" He asked, and she swallowed as she piled individualized apple-sauces into the fridge, "C'mon…"
"Washington's a nice city," She took a deep breath, reciting what she had said a million times as Tom walked into the living room, "But it's no place to raise a kid – and I had to get away anyways."
"Why did you have to get away?" He asked, pausing with a bag of corn chips in his hand – weight a little more on one leg than the other, and she had to look away, "Why? You didn't owe me anything. You didn't have to tell me, I would have understood you not wanting to be around…"
"I-" She had to think quick, and then decided that the best lie was as close to a truth as possible – an old fixer trick, "There's no way I would be able to avoid you completely – you wouldn't have allowed it until you found out. It was like I was saying the other day – I was trying to protect you. I know what it's like to see the love of your life having a child with someone else. I know that pain, Fitz."
The look on his dumbfounded face was killing her. She hated lying to him. She wanted to tell him, right then, he needed to know, but he couldn't. No one could, least of all him. She hated to pull a guilt trip, but she knew him – she knew he would stop asking about that if she did.
"I know you do."
"Well it wasn't something I wanted for you," She replied.
"But why cover your tracks so well?"
"Clearly I didn't cover them enough."
"I just feel like we left everything so unfinished."
"Where were we supposed to go, Fitz?" She asked as she went back to putting groceries away, "Can we put this on hold for a second? I have to call Huck."
"Yeah, while you're on the phone with him ask if he can watch Lucy tomorrow night," He said, "I want to take you out to dinner."
"I don't care that you had a kid with someone else," He said simply, "I don't care what happened to make you run away like you did – so close to me leaving office. I don't care about whatever your relationship with this Jeff guy was because you didn't marry him. And there is a reason for that and you and I both know what that is. And don't tell me we were finished all those years ago, because we both know that's bullshit. You haven't even been able to look at me for longer than five seconds. And, I think it has everything to do with you realizing the fact that we belong together, Liv. I'm taking you out to dinner, or you can get used to little visits like this for a long time."
"I have to call Huck," She replied, and walked out the back sliding door to do so.
"Liv?" He answered, not used to getting calls from her during the day.
"I need you to snag Lucy from her class at the end of the day."
"Ok, anything up?" Huck asked, and Olivia took a deep breath.
"He's here, he wouldn't leave until I talked to him," Olivia said as she sat down at the picnic table – picking at the wood.
"Are you talking to him? Because the longer he hangs around, the more trouble we're in."
"He wants me to go out with him tomorrow night."
"Can you make it so that he'll go away after that?" Huck asked and Olivia knew the answer.
"I think so," Her guilt starting to get to her, "Would it be so bad-"
"Yes, it would."
"How do we even know it's still a problem?"
"Are you willing to risk it to find out?"
"There's your answer," Huck said, then failed to muffle the phone properly as he yelled, "Hey, stay on the black-top!"
"You're on recess detail?" Olivia checked.
"I don't think that I can go, Huck."
"You have to," He replied, "You have to do whatever it is that will protect your little girl. And I'm here to help you with that, but I can't help you get rid of him."
"Ok," Olivia said, taking a deep breath as she stood up from the picnic table, looking out across the yard, "Tell her I'm sorry, ok? I promised her we'd do something fun – let her know we still will. I just got held up."
"Do you want to call me when you want me to bring her back?" Huck asked, and Olivia looked back at the house – she could see Fitz still working on putting away the groceries.
"No, he'll be gone pretty quickly once I agree," Olivia replied, and she hung up the phone.
This was going to be hard, possibly the hardest thing she was going to have to do since Fitz had shown up. She crossed her arms as she walked back into the kitchen, and Fitz was standing there waiting for her. His arms too were crossed, as were his legs as he leaned back against the counter and just sort of looked at her. He cocked his head ever so slightly to the side with a little smirk. She looked at him, she was going to have to learn to stomach it. He had his sleeves rolled up on his forearms, and his hair was slightly tossed – like he had just ran his perfect, ring-less hand through it.
"So did you come to a conclusion?" He asked, and she nodded.
"One dinner," She couldn't even utter the word date, "Then, you go. You leave me alone, you leave Lucy alone, and you get out of here."
"Ok," He replied, seeing the seriousness on her face, and held up a hand, "Scout's honor. One date, and if nothing arises from it – if you still feel the same way as you do now, I'm gone."
"Ok," She took a deep breath as he walked towards her a little bit, and she forced herself into a step back, "What're you doing?"
"I have been fighting myself this whole time not to kiss you," He said, still heading towards her as her back hit a wall of cabinets.
"What, Livy?" He asked, his nose nearly to her's – he was intoxicating, and he knew it.
"One d-d-date," She reminded him as she side stepped out from his range, and he nodded, "Now get out of here before I change my mind."
"Of course," He replied, then tipped his head back to call for Tom, "Tom!"
"Coming, sir," Tom replied, nodding to Liv as he started to follow Fitz out of the kitchen, but Fitz paused.
"I'll pick you up around seven," He told her just before he left.
Olivia had about five minutes before Lucy ran into the house, Huck not too far behind her as Lucy ran right up to Olivia – dropping her bag on the kitchen table on the way by. Olivia took her into a hug and then let her go.
"How was school? Where are your bouncy balls?"
"Here, I made you one, mom," She said, handing Olivia a multicolored ball of rubber.
"Thanks, sweetie," Olivia said, nodding to Huck and he headed out the back door while Lucy was paying attention to her, "So what do you want to do? The whole afternoon is ours."
"Can we go get ice cream, and go to the playground?"
"Ok, but go get ready for soccer first, you have practice at six," She told her, and she ran up the stairs to her room, "And we have to feed you dinner. What do you want?"
"A burger!" She called back, and Olivia nodded – of course.
A half an hour later she was sitting at Lucy's favorite burger place – watching her little tiny daughter trying to eat a burger that was much bigger than she was. Olivia chuckled a little as she took a fork full of her salad and chewed slowly. Lucy then put down her burger and looked up at her mother.
"I have more questions about my dad," Lucy said, and Olivia took a deep breath – she needed this day to be over – but she knew that the next day would be worse.
"Shoot," She told her.
"What did he do?"
"He worked in Washington."
"Where you lived before you came out here?"
"Does he have any other kids?"
Olivia looked at her for a second, she had promised to tell her. But would this hurt her more than anything else? To know that he has other kids, ones that got to know him? Ones that got to hang around with him and call him dad. Lucy already knew the answer from her silence – and she never told her that she would answer every single one of her questions, just that she would try.
"You ready to head to the park?"
"Older or Younger?"
"Older," Olivia told her as she took another bite of her salad.
"So why couldn't he be my dad too?" Lucy asked, she was starting to get upset, and Olivia took a deep breath.
"He was a different guy than he was for them when they were little," Olivia tried to say, but Lucy wouldn't understand that, "Lucy, I did what I thought was best."
"But he doesn't even know I'm here," She said, "He doesn't even know to look for me."
"Lucy," Olivia said, not having realized that it had been such an issue for her, "What do you mean by that?"
"Lucy, sweetie, tell me," Olivia replied, and Lucy shrugged, just crossing her arms.
"No," She replied, and Olivia nodded.
"Ok," She said, "Are you ready to head to the park?"
"Yeah," Lucy said, slipping out of her chair as Olivia covered the bill, and they got back into Olivia's car, "So I'm not an only child."
"I guess not, technically," Olivia replied, not wanting to bring attention to the fact that she was keeping her away from them, too.
That was the thing that really kept her up at night. Lucy had siblings, Karen, Gerry, and Teddy, not just Fitz that she was missing out on – but there was no way to make it work. Lucy had a whole family that she couldn't know about. There wasn't a simple fix here, and once Fitz was gone it would get easier again. They would settle down and Lucy wouldn't have half the questions that she was having now. All they needed was to be left alone, and things would settle while Lucy relaxed. Maybe Olivia would take her on vacation for a little while – Lucy would love Boston, and she hadn't been yet. Olivia had been too worried about her popping up on some sort of trackable record. But now Fitz knew they existed, once he was gone they were a little freer.
"Mom," Lucy said from the back seat once they were almost to the park – Olivia had had enough for one day, "I love you."
"I love you, too," She said, then took a deep breath, "We do ok just the two of us, right?"
"Yeah, of course, mom."