A/N: To all the followers of Only You, I know I'm supposed to be working on Chapter 8. The good news is that it's mostly written and will be posted before Christmas. Chapter 8 will be the last chapter at Camp David and then I'll return the President and his Fixer to the real world. I love Only You, but it is very heavy and emotional to write and I was kicking this lighter, more fun version of Fitz and Olivia around in my head. I thought I would put it to paper and see what you thought.
"Olivia, will you come in here?" Fitz bellowed from his office.
Olivia rolled her eyes, she hated when he shouted for her rather than use the intercom like a civilized executive. She pressed the button linking her to his office, responding, "I'll be right in." She groaned as she rose from her seat. She knew when Fitz entered the office at 10am barking orders, his eyes hidden behind sunglasses, that today was going to be a long day. Hopeful that she could improve his mood, she swung by the kitchen, grabbing two cups of coffee, before heading to her boss's office.
"What's up, boss?" she queried, looking expectantly at the beautiful man exquisitely dressed in a custom-made chalk stripe Brooks Brother suit perched on the edge of the desk, waiting for her. Fitz, born Fitzgerald Thomas Grant, III, was the COO of Grant Enterprises, one of the top architectural firms in Miami.
Grant Enterprises was founded in the 1940s by Fitz's grandfather, Fitzgerald Thomas Grant, Sr., and he ruled the company with an iron fist until he retired in the 1980s, leaving the company in his son's very capable hands. Now, nearly 40 years later, Fitzgerald Thomas Grant, II, or Big Gerry as he preferred to be called, was ready to retire and leave the company in someone else's very capable hands. Fitz had emerged as one of the leading candidates, but his well-publicized social life as one of Miami's most eligible bachelors made him a risky choice for the Board.
That was, until nine months ago when he met Melody Carmichael and reformed his bad boy ways. Theirs's was a whirlwind romance and, after quietly dating for only six months, Fitz proposed. Olivia wasn't sure how or why, but Fitz was able to keep the news of his relationship and subsequent engagement quiet and only recently had the rumors begin to swirl that there was a new woman in Fitz's life. Everyone was eager to meet this woman but, thus far, he had only introduced Mellie to his parents, a handful of close family and friends, and Olivia.
Fitz couldn't hide the smile spreading across his face as Olivia Ballard, his Girl Friday, sashayed into his office. She was impeccably dressed in a form fitting white A-line dress with plunging neckline that pushed the boundaries of appropriate work attire. Olivia handed him his coffee and settled into one of the visitor's chairs facing his desk, waiting for his response.
"Mellie and I broke up," he blurted out with no preamble.
"What? How? I thought Mellie was in New York on a girl's shopping trip."
"She was, but she flew home early to surprise me. Only the surprise was on her when she found Tiffany, or maybe it was Amber, a wine angel at Cibo in our bed."
"Did she still have on her wings?" Olivia asked, barely containing her laughter.
Fitz released a full belly laugh. "You know me well, but no, she wasn't wearing wings. Mellie strutted in the bedroom, wearing only her favorite pair of Jimmy Choos and started screaming her head off when she saw Tiffany…"
"Or maybe Amber," Olivia cheekily interrupted.
"True," Fitz responded through his laughter. He was in a shitty mood when he entered the office less than an hour ago but somehow, in less than five minutes, sitting here with Olivia, he was laughing and felt like things would be okay. "As I was saying, there Mellie was, in all her beautiful glory, screaming and cursing at me for being a lying, cheating asshole. It took all of my Grant charm to get her calmed down but, after a few minutes, I was able to get her to stop screaming and willing to hear my side of things."
"Your side of things? What could you possibly say to get yourself out of this mess? There were two naked women in your bedroom and only one of them was your fiancée."
"Would you quit interrupting my story? Now, where was I? Ah, yes, Mellie was calm and willing to listen to me, that is, until Tiffany, or Amber, wakes up from her drunken stupor and vomits all over Mellie's favorite shoes."
With that image in mind, Olivia folded over in her chair, laughing uncontrollably. "So, she was willing to forgive the naked woman in your bed, but vomit on her favorite shoes was unforgivable?"
"Exactly," Fitz exclaimed. "Women, I'll never understand them."
"You should try talking to us with our clothes on. We are much easier to understand when you aren't distracted by our boobs."
"Is that the secret to our success? You know," he paused for dramatic effect, "our relationship is my longest relationship with any woman. I've never even thought about cheating on you," he teased.
"That's right, buster. You haven't seen me naked and you never will," she joked, waving her decorated ring finger in his direction. "You thought Mellie leaving was bad, you don't want to know what I'll do to you if I catch you eyeballing another assistant."
"Relax, Liv, I only have eyes for you. But, have you seen Lisa from the sixth floor? She makes my dick twitch."
"A, how many times do I have to warn you not to sleep with the staff and, B, you can't talk about your dick in front of your female staff. You are an HR lawsuit waiting to happen. I thought you wanted the Board to appoint you CEO when your father retires at the end of the year."
"A, have you seen the ass on that girl? I bet even you want to fuck her. B, you're not female staff, you're my Liv, you're not going to sue me. Finally, you're right, I do want to be CEO, almost as badly as you want to be the CEO's executive assistant, the most powerful assistant at Grant Enterprises."
"Your, Liv? You chauvinistic asshole, you're lucky I tolerate you. And, for your information, I haven't wanted to fuck a girl since college."
Fitz groaned loudly. "Now you're making my dick twitch."
"Stop talking about your dick. I'm married, it's inappropriate," she explained, once again waving her right hand around.
"How can I forget? You're shoving that three carat pear shaped diamond in my face every chance you get. Now, stop distracting me, I have a story to finish. After the vomit incident, Mellie kicked off her heels, hurled her engagement ring and keys at my head, good thing she has terrible aim, screaming that our engagement was over and wishing me luck impressing the Merkles without her. She marched out of my apartment leaving a trail of vomit footprints in her wake."
Olivia was laughing hysterically at Fitz's story until he mentioned the Merkles. "Oh shit, Fitz, I forgot this weekend is the Merkles' retreat. You need to close this deal with Merkle Industries before the Board's vote to appoint a new CEO. There's no way they could deny you the position with old man Merkle's business. They are expecting you and your fiancée in the Hamptons on Thursday. What are you doing to do?"
"That's why I called you in here."
"How can I help? What can I do?"
"Join me this weekend at the Merkles."
"What?" she questioned. Olivia and Fitz's professional relationship was unconventional at best, but it had rules. She tolerated his vulgarity and entertained his stories, often told in graphic detail, because he was an excellent boss and she was his most trusted advisor. He valued her contributions, encouraged her development, and never discounted her role in his success. He was quick with a compliment, generous with praise, and made sure her salary and bonuses where the highest among the assistants.
Over the years, they had grown to be friends and occasionally they were a little flirty, but their relationship was completely platonic and both understood that they would never ever to cross the boundary into the physical. She was happily married and she demanded that Fitz respect her marriage and not view it as a personal challenge. Simply put, Olivia had no interest in being another one of his conquests. She loved her job, but Jake was the love of her life and she would quit in a heartbeat if she ever felt her priorities shifting.
"Come with me to the Hamptons." He looked deeply into her eyes, noting, not for the first time, how beautiful her chocolate brown orbs were, "Olivia Pope Ballard, will you be my fiancée for the weekend?"
Her breath hitched at the intensity of his gaze. "Is that why you called me in here?"
"No, I called you in here to ask to you contact some local talent agencies and help me find an actress that could pretend to be my fiancée for the weekend. But, as I sat here with you, I realized that it would never work. Thursday is three days away. There is no way I could teach an actress enough about me and Grant Enterprises in three days that she could successfully pull off pretending to be my fiancée for four days. But you, you're perfect. I wouldn't have to teach you anything, you already know everything about me and the company."
"Fitz, I can't, I'm married."
"I know you're married to James."
"Jake, my husband's name is Jake." Fitz knew that, but intentionally called him something else whenever he had to refer to him by name. Olivia was a beautiful, intelligent, charming, sexy woman and Fitz had no idea why she was married to that fuckboy, Jacob Ballard. Jake and Fitz met in graduate school. They were never friends, but they traveled in the same social circles and knew each other well. Although Fitz respected Olivia was off limits, he would never understand how Jake convinced her to marry him.
"I know you're married Olivia and I'm not asking you to violate your vows. I just want you to pretend to be my fiancée. Think of it as a business trip. We've traveled together before. This won't be much different. I'll pay you for your time if that will make it easier to say yes."
"I'm not a prostitute or call girl, Fitzgerald," Olivia responded coolly, stalking away from him. "I won't betray my husband for money."
Fitz quickly crossed the room to where Olivia was standing and quickly spun her around so that they were facing each other. "I'm not asking you to betray your husband. It's a business retreat, not an orgy. Stephen Merkle, President and CEO of Merkle Industries, is a huge family man. He hosts this retreat every year for his business partners and potential business partners and their wives. It's his way of making sure his business partners share his personal values. This weekend would involve some light PDA at most. I'll be on my best behavior, I promise. You're the second most important woman in my life, behind my mom. I would never do anything to jeopardize what we have."
"If Mr. Merkle wants to ensure his partners share his values, how did you get selected to represent Grant Enterprises? You're a manwhore."
"You wound me, beautiful. My father selected me as a test. He wasn't convinced that I had turned over a new leaf with my engagement to Mellie. Wasn't convinced that I had finally left my youthful indiscretions in the past."
"You're not that young and your last indiscretion was less than 12 hours ago."
"My father doesn't know that. As far as he is concerned I'm still engaged and traveling to New York for a long weekend with Mellie. Liv, with your help, I can use this weekend to close the Merkle deal and cement my future as CEO before my father learns that Mellie called off our engagement. I can still pull this off and take my rightful place as the head of this company, but I can't do it without you. The Merkles know that I'm engaged, but they haven't met Mellie and they don't know you. You are as invested in this weekend going well as I am. What better way to ensure that it's a success than to be there by my side?"
Olivia was reluctant to admit it, but she was intrigued by Fitz's proposition. She knew that together they made an impressive team and had no doubt that she and Fitz could convince the Merkles they were engaged. Hell, most of the other assistants and some of the executives already assumed they were sleeping together. Someone even started a rumor that Olivia was secretly divorced, but continued wearing her wedding ring to provide cover for her relationship with Fitz. She also knew that if she went along with Fitz's plan he would be generous with her compensation. Olivia wanted a family, but Jake argued they needed to be more stable first. This unexpected bonus would make a nice nest egg for their future little one.
"You mentioned payment. How big of a bonus are we talking about? I'm not one of the cheap whores you are used to dealing with," she teased before taking a sip of her coffee.
"I know exactly how much you are worth," he countered. "I was thinking two hundred and fifty thousand dollars would be reasonable compensation for the chore of having to pretend that you are in love with me."
Upon hearing the sum of money involved, Olivia choked on her coffee. Her annual salary was only ninety thousand dollars. "Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars? Why not a million?"
"Honestly, I thought about it, but I worried that with a million dollars you wouldn't need this job and would quit after the weekend. If I'm going to be successful as CEO, I need you with me. You're the best assistant I've ever had and I can't be the reason why you leave the company."
The truth was that Fitz knew Jake and Olivia were still recovering from recent financial difficulties and hoped that this generous sum would make his offer too good to refuse. After graduate school, Jake did a brief stint at Zyscovich Architects before starting his own company. He, with Olivia's help, ran a small, but successful firm, until the Great Recession of 2008. Jake put up a gallant effort, but Ballard and Associates didn't have the resources needed to survive the economic downturn and his company closed their doors in 2010. Olivia came to work for Grant Enterprises shortly after that and worked her way up to Fitz's office in two years. It took a couple of years, but Jake eventually found work with another firm. They didn't interact often, but when they did, Fitz sensed Jake was jealous of his success and his relationship with Olivia. Fitz was Olivia's new work husband and her real husband hated it, but was powerless to do anything about it.
"And what exactly do you expect in return for this bonus?" Olivia asked uncertainly.
"I need to be able to introduce you as Olivia Pope."
"Olivia Ballard," she corrected.
"Olivia Pope," he countered. "All of your social media profiles are linked to Olivia Ballard. We can't have someone try to friend or follow you and discover that you're happily married to someone other than me."
"Continue," she declared, waving him off.
"I will introduce you to everyone as Olivia Pope, my fiancée of three months. While everyone is looking, we will be a loving and devoted couple. I'll be the perfect gentleman, opening your doors and pulling out your chairs, but secure enough in my masculinity to hold your hand and defer to your wishes. You will be the perfect girlfriend, charming enough to capture the attention of my male colleagues, but innocent enough not to draw the ire of their wives. At times you will so overcome by for your adoration for me that you will spontaneously place a chaste kiss on my lips or cheek. Occasionally, to remind every man in the room that you're mine, my hand will travel a little lower on your back or higher on your thigh, slightly out of the friend zone. We will be the couple perfect that no one believes exist."
"That's because we don't exist as a couple," she teased. Fitz took that as a good sign. She hadn't immediately rejected his offer and now that she knew exactly how profitable this weekend could be, he believed she would agree. "And, when no one is looking?" she asked.
"We'll go back to being Fitz Grant and Olivia Ballard. The same people we are here in the office and on business trips. This is not a clever attempt to get in your pants. I respect you too much for that. You are a happily married woman and I will expect you to behave as such when no one is looking. It's just four days of playing house so we can both move into the CEO's suite. We can do this Liv."
"I'm going to need the rest of the day off to consider your request."
"Of course. Take as much time as you need, but I need an answer by the morning. It'll take us a couple of days to transform you into the future Mrs. Fitzgerald Thomas Grant the third."
"I don't require transformation, asshole," she called over her shoulder as she exited his office.
"I love you too, soon to be Mrs. Grant," he shouted after her as she left. Fitz leaned back in his chair, watching the sway of Olivia's hips as she walked away. He chuckled softly to himself, this weekend may just turn out better than either one of them expected.
A/N: So, what do you think? Is it worth continuing or has the storyline been done too many times to bring something new to it? I'm thinking a short story with short fun chapters about our favorite couple, but I'm curious to read how you feel. Until next time, ciao.