Mellie took off to California almost as soon as the results were called. Andrew soon followed. Fitz supposed being the wife of a Governor of California for the second time would fit her nicely. He got the divorce papers a few days before Thanksgiving.
For a couple of weeks, the White House felt like one of those quiet abandoned houses you’d find in a dying city. Most of the administrative staff had already found other positions throughout Washington in the weeks leading up to the Inauguration of Sally Langston. Cyrus railed against the dangers of that woman having access to the nukes before he got his cushy job at Harvard and left before the Holidays.
Maybe he should have been more concerned about the zealot who hears voices in her head being in control of the most powerful army in the world. But mostly he was thinking about dogs.
He missed Hank.
Mellie said Teddy needed the dog so Fitz sent him on his way back to California. He missed having Hank sleep at the foot of Jerry’s bed with him. He missed seeing his tail wag in excitement when he’d see him. He missed the slobbery licks he would get in the face when he pet him.
Fitz gritted his teeth through the Inauguration Ceremony, plastering on a false smile and promising himself that was the last time he’d ever wear it. Tradition said that he’d fly off from the south lawn of the White House, but he broke with it. He had the limo drive to a run down part of D.C. He couldn’t believe that the shelter was still opened today, it seemed everything else in the city closed for the changing of the Presidents.
He walked down the line of cages with the dozens of yapping dogs making their presence known. She didn’t make too much noise, but as soon as he saw her big brown eyes, he knew she was the one. He listened to all the care instructions for her very carefully as he held her. She squirmed in his arms, straining to lick him.
They got stuck in traffic waiting for the Presidential parade to go by, which amused Fitz for some reason. When he finally found himself in front of her door, he hesitated a moment before he knocked. While the first campaign brought them together, this last one practically tore them apart. He still didn’t know quite where he stood with her, what she wanted and if he could ever really provide it.
He finally found the courage to knock. Olivia opened the security window and although she looked surprised, she didn’t hesitate to open the door. Her mouth dropped a little when she saw the mostly white and tan mop of a dog in his hands. “What’s this?”
“I think it’s some kind of mix between a Shih Tzu and a Yorkie,” he answered as he handed it to her while he took off his coat. The little dog barked happily and looked like she wanted to kiss Olivia’s face. A beautiful smile spread across Liv’s face and she actually laughed. It seemed like ages since he heard her laugh.
“Did you actually get me a dog? I can’t take care of a dog. I can’t even take care of a plant.” The words coming from her mouth were very practical, but he knew she was already gone. Her eyes never left the dog’s as she vigorously ran her fingers through its hair.
“Well, she’s small. You can easily fit her into one of your big purses as you traipse around crime scenes and through a horde of media.” He walked up to them and started petting the dog himself, his fingers tangling with Olivia’s. “Or I can take care of her; we could both be waiting for you when you get home.” He looked her in the eye, hoping to find the connection they had always shared. “Vermont, D.C., anywhere in the world you want to call home, Olivia.”
He saw a little moment of fear in her eyes and steeled himself for rejection. “This doesn’t change everything. We still have problems.”
“Yes, we still have problems,” he acknowledged. “But I love you. And you love me. And I think the problems are worth working through, don’t you?”
She studied him for awhile before she slowly nodded her head, a slow grin spreading across her face. She touched the side of his face as her lips gently traced his before he deepened the kiss. The dog suddenly jumped up and licked their faces. They both laughed. “Well, I hope you know how to potty train this thing, because I haven’t got a clue, Fitz.”
“Don’t worry, I got all the instructions. We’re going to be good, Olivia,” he assured her.
“We’re going to be good,” Olivia repeated as she petted her new dog standing next to the man she loved.