Hello, everyone. I haven't written stories in quite a long period of time. I'm more of a poetry writer. But Olivia and Fitz are such dynamic characters that they begged to be written in some capacity. So my story is a little different but it has some elements of Scandal in it too. Of course I don't own these characters but they are such fun to write about. Please leave me review. I love all feedback. Thank you.
Chapter 1 - Good Things in Small Packages
Summers and holidays were always the best time for Olivia. It wasn't that she did not enjoy spending the rest of the year with her father – she did. Her father, Dr. Julius Pope, was a brilliant man, a hard worker and an exceptional surgeon. He provided a loving home for Olivia but she had to admit her life with him was very mundane even boring. He never dated, no matter how much she encouraged him to. She knew he didn't pine over her mother, Denise Pope; they had been divorced since she was 6 years old. But he was just overly-devoted to his job. He made sure she had the best of everything; he was always available when she called and for that she was profoundly thankful. So, in turn, she endeavored to make him proud of her.
Her father had insisted that she spend the school year with him for the reason that he found a renowned college preparatory school in Washington DC that would challenge her intellect and encourage her to excel scholastically. And it did. In school, she often exceeded most of her teacher's expectations. She tried not to dwell on the fact that they possibly had a initial low estimation of her because of her race. That only propelled her to push herself harder and in the end she was head of the majority Caucasian class. She was set to be the Valedictorian of her class. She was proud of herself and her achievements and it warmed her heart to know her mother and father were proud of her also.
Unfortunately, school no longer presented the challenge that it once did. As time went on, she found it easier and easier to do well in her classes. And because she did not find a thrill or rush of excitement from school or home with her father she often daydreamed about the next time she would join her mother in California and assist in her law firm – which just so happened to be coming up in a month. In Olivia's eyes, her mother was simply phenomenal. Denise Pope was a strikingly beautiful woman, who despite her petite stature yielded much influence in the California justice system and in many political circles. Five years ago she joined a partnership of attorneys at Jackson, Wright, Pope and Associates. However, she remained the chief legal counsel to one family – Governor Fitzgerald Thomas Grant II. Although she had known the family for 10 years, she had been on their retainer for the past 3 years. The family had been involved in enough potentially scandalous situations to keep her busy for years to come.
Olivia loved the way her mother involved her in her business. Since Olivia was 12 she allowed her to be stay at the office and learn all she could from the other attorney's. This thrilled Olivia. She loved the excitement of the office. She often would try to inconspicuously eavesdrop on conference meetings with clients; eager to soak in as much information as she could about legal matters. She knew that she wanted to be exactly like her mother. Her mother could speak confidently in front of any person – woman or man – regardless of their position. Olivia would try to suppress the urge to snicker behind her hand when her 5'3, 125lb mother would stand toe-to-toe with men three times her size and take them task by demanding their compliance on an issue or commanding them to fulfill a certain task. Her mother was a powerhouse. Olivia could tell that her mother had earned a great amount of respect from her peers.
Alone, though, her mother was a different person. She was loving yet firm. There would be countless conversations with Olivia about what it meant to be a strong, independent Black woman. Denise' way of teaching life lessons made Olivia hang on her every word - always to look people straight in the eye; always walk with her head held high, , never cower in a corner; pretend like you own the world because you do; you own your world, you control your future and your destiny. Denise repeatedly made sure Olivia knew that no one was better than her just because of their race. She built Olivia's confidence in her own beauty and intellect and taught her how to harness her abilities and use it to wield her power and influence over others.
Olivia knew men were attracted to her mother. She had even overheard several men ask her mother out for a date but she never accepted. In matters of romance, her mother was a mystery. She never dated while Olivia was around and each time Olivia came to stay, she half-expected for her mother to announce some type of boyfriend that had come into her life. But it never happened. She asked her mother about it once but all she said was "Men complicate your life and my life is already challenging on its own." Although Olivia was puzzled by it, she decided not to press the issue.
She had a fleeting thought her mother was in love with someone when she came to her one day three years ago and said that she would be taking Olivia to meet a new client she would be working for. She wanted to make sure that both her and Olivia looked perfect. Olivia noticed her mother seemed overly nervous about their appearance which was uncalled for since she always dressed immaculately and Olivia followed suit. But she seemed fretful and full of anxiety to see this new client and initially Olivia excused it as jitters over the first meeting with an important person.
In the drive to Sacramento, Olivia asked about the client. Denise explained, "Well this is a very important family. In fact, the father was just elected as the Governor of California. You may know him, Fitzgerald Grant II," she glanced over to find Olivia nodding her head in recognition of the name. Denise continued, "I've known the family for many years, in fact, you used to come with me to their home when you were a little girl but I doubt you will remember since they did not have any little girls for you to play with only two little boys – Theodore and Fitzgerald III..."
Olivia frowned at this because she could not remember the family. She knew the Grant name from her interest in politics but she could not recall meeting them personally. She was now eager to do so. Her mother continued to explain, "My firm has decided that I would be kept on retainer as the chief legal counsel for the family. Their previous attorney died and since I used to assist him on several cases involving the family they thought it would be a good idea for me to continue in that capacity."
Her mother spoke so matter of factly but Olivia felt that something else was there. She asked her mother a question that she never asked her before, "Are you nervous?"
Her mother looked at her in surprise. Olivia didn't think her mother expected her to pick up on the emotions she was feeling. But the surprise was immediately turned into a genuine smile, "I forgot how good you are at reading people. You have a skill baby that allows you to see the emotions and feelings of people. Continue to use that in your life, it will help you greatly in learning how to deal with others. I'm so very proud of you", as she patted Olivia's leg.
The conversation was halted as her mother drove her car through the gates and up the driveway of the biggest home Olivia had ever seen. It was beautiful. She was amazed by it but in looking over at her mother's frown, she could tell she did not feel the same. She wondered at her mother's look but dismissed it.
Before she could get out of the car, two men came and opened their car doors and escorted them into the home. 'This must be how it is to be rich', Olivia thought. When she stepped in the home she felt small almost unworthy of being there. Her mother knew it too because she whispered in her ear, "Don't cower honey, these are people more flawed than you and I will ever be. They are no better than we are. Stand straight, look them in the eye and be your most charming self." And with that Olivia felt 10-feet tall.
Through a door off to the side of the foyer a tall Caucasian man, that Olivia recognized to be the Governor, came out dressed casually in khaki pants, collared shirt and a V-neck sweater. He was an older man, slightly graying but he was extremely handsome. As soon as he saw Denise, his face lit up in a genuine smile. "Hello Jerry, how are you?" her mother said as she stuck out her hand to shake his. But the man looked at the hand and apparently decided that was not good enough; he pulled her mother into a tight embrace saying, "Better now that I see you." Olivia saw the look on her mother's face as she hugged this man; her mother's eyes were closed and she looked to be in a momentary state of peace. She had never seen this look before on her mother's face and immediately thought that she must really care about this man.
Under Olivia's watchful gaze, the embrace lasted longer than average greetings occurred and when they pulled about each person appeared slightly disappointed. Denise turned to introduce her daughter, "Jerry you remember Olivia right?"
Olivia stood confident and extended her hand saying, "Hello Governor, I'm very pleased to meet you." He shook her hand but there was a look of surprise in his face. Olivia could tell that he did not expect her to act in this polished manner. She secretly enjoyed shocking people in this way. It was part of her secret power that her mother taught her to use effectively.
After shaking her hand, the Governor ran his hand through his hair and appeared a bit disconcerted. Then he smiled in that charming way of his, "Why, is this little Livvy? I should have expected that she would be as beautiful as you, Denise. My Lord, she is a little imitation of you. It's been too long. I am very pleased to meet you as well Olivia." He stared a bit longer at Olivia before remembering his manners and saying, "Let me get the family together, make yourself comfortable in the study." And with that he took off to gather the rest of his family.
Denise led Olivia to the study. As Olivia watched her mother, a flood of questions ran through her mind – How does my mother know this place so well? Why did she seem so comfortable hugging the Governor? He's a married man, right? Was this why my mother wanted to make sure we both looked our best? Once again she kept her concerns to herself and thought it best to simply wait and observe.
Within minutes, the Governor was back with his family. Olivia's memory was jogged to a news story featuring the Governor and his family and she recalled thinking how handsome the entire family was. He was pushing the wheelchair with his beautiful, frail, and impeccably dressed wife. And they were followed by their two sons. They all took turns greeting Denise with warm hugs of familiarity. Then the Governor introduced Olivia. Olivia stood up from her seat and walked over to greet the Governors wife first then she greeted the two sons – Theodore and Fitzgerald. Both sons were extremely handsome, taller than their father, with dark hair fierce blue eyes. Although Theodore was the oldest, Fitzgerald was the tallest. They both had this charming smile that made Olivia's heart skip a beat. She was young but she could appreciate good looking men. Theodore insisted she call him Teddy and Fitzgerald insisted that she call him Fitz. She smiled at their kindness.
When they all sat again, she was taken aback by Fitz kind attention to his mother. He made sure she was comfortable and asked repeatedly if she need anything. She responded with kind smiles of love and adoration for her son. The conversation whirled around Olivia and she was content to sit and listen – she learned more that way. In the course of the conversation she learned that both Teddy and Fitz were being groomed to pursue politics – although Fitz seemed a little less eager about the idea than Teddy was. Teddy was 28 and Fitz was 21 years old. They were on break from their college studies and interning at the Governor's office. Teddy was engaged to be married to a lovely girl named Millicent. At the mention of her name, Olivia noticed that all except Jerry flinched. It was obvious the rest of the family did not really care for her. Teddy also just finished a brief stint in the US Navy while Fitz was scheduled to go in about a year. Once again Olivia noticed how Fitz seemed a bit saddened by the future plans his father was sharing. Olivia couldn't help but feel sad for him also simply because it appeared that his life was being planned without his consideration.
The Governor announced, "Denise and I need to discuss some business matters. Why don't you all take Olivia and show her the grounds?" It was clear that this was not a suggestion but a command and the entire family complied. Olivia shot a look to her mother, who smiled reassuringly. Olivia too did as she was told as Mrs. Grant smiled at her to give further assurance that all was well.
After leaving the study, Mrs. Grant announced that she was a bit tired. Out of nowhere, a nurse appeared to take her to lie down for a nap. Fitz asked, "Do you need anything mom? Can I help you get to your room?" Mrs. Grant responded, "No sweetheart. I'm fine, you go and show this pretty young girl around and bring her back for lunch in about an hour. I will be back down by then and we can all have lunch together." She kissed his cheek and allowed the nurse to escort her to her room.
Teddy's cell phone started to ring. Olivia and Fitz stood there listening to his side of the conversation.
"Mellie, what's going on?"
"Why are you here?"
"I told you I would call you later."
Teddy sighed heavily and said "Alright, alright, I'll wait for you at the house. Goodbye." After he hung up the phone, he gave Fitz a knowing look. Fitz asked, "So why is she coming here?"
"She said she had some free time and wanted to spend it with me." Olivia wanted to laugh because Teddy did not appear to want Mellie's company at all.
"Well, you can wait for her. I'll take Olivia and show her around. I am not eager to spend any more time in the company of Mellie than absolutely necessary. Sorry bro." Fitz patted his brother on the back and turned to Olivia with a charming smile, "You ready to go?"
"Sure," was all Olivia could get out before Fitz took her hand. She admitted to herself she enjoyed being in the company of both Teddy and Fitz. They were nice people and they humored her. Olivia reasoned that they probably looked at her like a little sister of sorts.
When they were out of the house, Fitz sighed heavily, released Olivia's hand and ran his fingers through his hair. A mannerism that reminded Olivia of the Governor and she wondered if Teddy did the same thing. Then he remembered his company and smiled at Olivia, "Anything in particular you would like to see first?"
"I cannot say for certain since I don't know what there is for me to see. I'm not aware of my options." Fitz was immediately taken aback that she was so articulate for a young girl. And Olivia inwardly smiled. He stopped walking and looked at her.
"How old are you?"
"Do you normally ask young ladies that question, because it's quite rude? I'm not personally offended. I don't mind telling my age. I just think you should be more careful with what you ask in general. I am 14 years old. Does that shock you?"
Fitz chuckled. "Yes, I guess it does. You seem a bit older and you certainly do not talk like a 14 year old girl normally does. Have we met before?"
"I don't remember meeting your family however; my mother reminded me that I previously came to visit your family when I was much younger. I assume that it was not remarkable since again, I was a much younger girl and you don't have any young sisters that I could have played with."
He quietly walked on and Olivia kept in step with him.
"Why don't you like Mellie?"
Fitz shot Olivia a side look and smirked. "Mellie, I guess she is ok. I'm just happy I don't have to marry her. She can be - what's the word I'm looking for…mmmm….Irritating as hell!"
For the first time, Olivia laughed full on. And she felt a little more comfortable in Fitz' presence.
Fitz laughed too and said "Too bad you didn't come around more often, you would have been a great little sister to have." Olivia smiled at his statement. As an only child, she too would have loved to have older brothers.
"So will your marriage be arranged as well?"
Fitz stopped again and put his hands in his pockets. He frowned first and then smiled at Olivia. "Oh you caught that did you? It's obvious that Teddy doesn't love her either. Well in families like mine marriages are more like contracts designed to merge two families together. It ensures a properly bred successful blood line. Love is not part of the arrangement. So to answer your question, I expect my marriage will be arranged as well." He looked off at some imaginary spot and appeared to be lost in thought. There was sadness in his face that once again made Olivia feel sorry for him. She noticed that his eyes changed colors to a light grey. It was a beautiful color but she supposed it changed to express his shift in moods.
"I can tell that this saddens you."
"Olivia, Livvy, can I call you Livvy? Where in the world do you come from? Young girls are not as outspoken as you are especially around grown men." He laughed at his own observation especially when Olivia cocked her head to the side with a quizzical expression of her own.
Olivia shrugged and ignored his questions. "If our conversation makes you uncomfortable I apologize, that was not my intention. It was just an observation."
"Well to be honest, my situation does upset me to a certain degree." Fitz looked down and continued, "I would much prefer to control my own life and future. I would prefer to marry for love. But since that is not to be the case…" He trailed off and shrugged as if he was resigned to his fate.
"What would you do with your life if you could choose?"
Fitz thought for a while. No one had ever asked him that question. No one ever bothered to consider what he thought. His life was always chosen for him. As he had gotten older, it became more and more irritating. He felt like a puppet on a string, constantly controlled and manipulated. He wanted so much more out of life. Exactly what that was, he did not know but it pained him to follow in line with what his father wanted for him. Teddy had easily complied but Fitz didn't want to.
He looked back at this young girl who asked him more questions about his personal feelings than anyone cared to or even dared to. He was touched that she was interested in how he felt. He was sincere when he said he wished she was his younger sister. It would have been nice and refreshing to have her around more often. He realized she was patiently waiting for an answer from him. Her inquisitive large doe eyes were staring at him and he saw her reading every expression on his face.
"I would choose to be happy."