DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Week of April 13th.
An Alternate Ending
"So what happens to us?"
Olivia fought to ignore the hurt look in Natalia's pleading brown eyes. She'd never been able to resist that look before, but this time she didn't have a choice.
"There is no us," she said as resolutely as she could. She had to look away as Natalia's eyes instantly filled with tears at the rejection. The coldness that suddenly ripped through her, no longer had anything to with the temperature outside.
"You love me," the pure happiness Olivia had felt when Natalia had said those words had been washed away with every half answer the bride had given to Frank and it was just too much to take, "but you'll wind up hating me for this. I can't live with that." Unable to take the panicked look in Natalia's eyes, Olivia did what she did best. She walked away.
Natalia's heart felt as if it had just been yanked out of her chest. There is no us. The fact that Olivia had just destroyed her the same way she'd destroyed Frank, wasn't lost on her. The tears fell as she watched the woman she loved walk away from her again. Suddenly, something snapped inside of her and before she could shed another tear, she ran after Olivia, grabbing her arm and stopping the crying woman before she could escape the gazebo.
"Oh no you don't. You are not running away from me, Olivia Spencer. Not this time."
Olivia tried to pull her arm free, but Natalia's grip was firm. "Let me go."
"No. This has got to stop Olivia. You're hurting both of us for no reason."
Olivia's watery eyes widened at that. "No reason? Are you serious?"
"More serious than I've ever been. " Natalia took Olivia's gloved hand and led her back to the bench. "Sit down."
Olivia was going to protest. She would have no trouble pulling away from Natalia, but she couldn't do it. Not again. So she sat.
"Thank you. " Natalia offered a tentative smile that exposed those damned dimples and Olivia sighed.
"It's cold out here, Natalia. I think we've pretty much gone over everything there is to go over."
"No we haven't. Not even close." Natalia looked at the woman who'd turned her world upside down. She'd only seen her so defeated once before, after her transplant, and it was not something she'd ever hoped to see again. Sighing she sat beside Olivia, keeping her hand tightly in her own.
"I'm sorry," she said sadly. "I know how what I said to Frank must have appeared to you, but it's not like that."
Olivia shrugged. "It's exactly like that, but you know what? It's okay," she tried very hard to put on her brave smile, unaware of how badly she failed. "When I realized I had fallen in love with you, I knew nothing could happen, even if you did feel the same way. Your values .your beliefs, they don't define you, Natalia but they are part of you. I love who you are and wouldn't change it for the world. I can't ask you to do it either."
"That's not exactly true, is it?" Natalia watched her curiously.
"Of course it is," Olivia protested.
"Olivia. I know you love me. I know how much you've been willing to give up for me, but with all of that, you've been pushing me at Frank without so much as asking me what I wanted."
"I couldn't," Olivia argued. "I know you, Natalia. I know that a relationship with me never even made the list of things you wanted."
Natalia shook her head, trying to hold her frustration at bay. "You're very good at making assumptions, Olivia. You know, Frank told me it was you that told him basically how to pursue me. The romantic dinners, all of it."
Olivia looked away in embarrassment. "I just "
"Do you have any idea what it did to me to find out that it was you romancing me all along? Those things that Frank did that I thought Frank did, were part of what made me agree to marry him. I thought, if I couldn't have you, then I'd have someone else who seemed to know me just as well and low and behold, I didn't. I had you by proxy."
"I'm not finished. You got to have your say, now it's my turn."
Olivia couldn't stop the tiny twitch of her lips as she watched Natalia in full rant. Despite everything that was going on, she couldn't help but find it a little sexy. Natalia's eyes narrowed and Olivia quickly wiped the smile from her face.
"Go ahead," Olivia prodded. "I'm listening."
"Hm," Natalia muttered, planning to address that look a little later. "Let me ask you something. Twice now you've broken my heart and excused it by saying 'you can't live with that'. Have you thought about asking me what I can live with?"
"Do you think I can live with not seeing you and Emma every day? Do you think I can live with being bound to a man I don't love for the rest of my life, while spending my days working with you? Knowing that I'll never get to hold you or " Natalia had to stop as the images she was putting into her own mind were about to send her into hysterics.
"I love you Olivia," she said as she had before. "I'm sorry that I wasn't as truthful with Frank as I wanted to be. I was trying to, I was, but you cut me off with yet one more lie I have to tell."
"I told you why I did that," Olivia protested.
"I know. And what a fantastic load of crap that was too."
Olivia's eyebrows shot up in shock. "What?"
"I can't believe that you would ever think that I'd be ashamed of you, or my feelings for you."
"Well what am I supposed to think?" Olivia nearly shouted.
"You're supposed to think that I'm trying to figure out away to not hurt an innocent man anymore than I already have," Natalia replied bluntly.
The wind sort of went out of Olivia's sails at that. "Oh."
Natalia found herself smiling a little. She didn't think she'd ever reconcile the fearless woman she'd met and fought with so long ago, with this insecure woman sitting before her.
"Yes, oh," she said, and then her smile faded. "I am afraid, Olivia. You should understand that. Neither one of us was even remotely prepared for this to happen, were we?"
Olivia chuckled. "That's an understatement."
"You grew up learning not to care about what people thought of you and in a way I envy that. I can't help that I didn't. Nor can I help what my religion has taught me."
"I know that, Natalia. That's why "
"You know, this conversation would go a lot faster, if you'd stop interrupting me," Natalia stated calmly. She decided she enjoyed having control for once. Especially as Olivia seemed to be obeying.
"What you've never given me the chance to tell you," she continued, "is that you've taught me just as much. You've taught me what courage is, you've taught me to stand up for and to believe in myself," Natalia reached out and took Olivia's chin in her hands, turning her to face her. "Most importantly, you taught me to fight for what I want. I want you, Olivia and for once I intend to get what I want."
Olivia smiled through the tears she was now crying. "Oh you do, do you?" she sniffed, with a touch of the old arrogance in her voice and a look in her green eyes that sent a welcome heat all through Natalia.
"Yes, I do," she replied without hesitation but with a watery smile of her own. "All I ask is that you give me time to break this to Frank and the Coopers the only way I know how. Give us a chance to get used to this. I know you too, you know. You're not exactly ready to contact Dinah to put our relationship on the news."
Olivia finally laughed. "True."
Both women were silent as they looked out at the snow covered ground, both clinging tightly to each other's hand.
"Take it back," Natalia finally ordered quietly.
"What?" Olivia had been lost in her thoughts and figured she'd missed part of the conversation.
"You said there's no us. I want you to take that back."
Olivia turned those mesmerizing eyes on her and Natalia was glad she was sitting down. "Are you sure?"
Natalia reached out and stroked Olivia's chilly, red tinged cheek. She thought she could just touch her forever. "I've never been more sure of anything in my life. I love you and we'll figure this out. Together."
Olivia's hand reached out to mimic Natalia's. She paused as she took off her glove, needing to feel that soft skin she had touched once before.
"I love you too. So much it scares me. I never meant to push you, or hurt you."
Natalia moved her fingers over Olivia's lips. "I know that. You've never done anything but love me. I didn't always know why you did what you did and most of the time I didn't even know what you were doing, but I have no doubt about how you feel for me. I hope you don't have any doubts about me."
Olivia shook her head and took Natalia's fingers from her lips, but not before kissing them lightly. "I don't, Natalia. I'll give you all the time you need as long as you can ignore my occasional bursts of self doubts."
Natalia smiled again, her heart lighter than she could remember it being since she agreed to marry Frank. "I'm still surprised you have them," she chuckled, "I won't ignore them, Olivia but I will promise to help you work through them."
Olivia heaved a sigh. "Okay then."
"Well?" Natalia asked after a long moment.
Olivia cocked an eyebrow and grinned. "What now?"
"Are you going to kiss me or not?"
Olivia laughed outright. "God, you're bossy all of a sudden," she smirked. "I like it. A lot."
"Good." Tired of talking, Natalia leaned forward and covered Olivia's cold lips with her own instantly warming both of them. Olivia was careful of Natalia's beautiful hairstyle and contented herself with holding onto the nape of her neck, caressing the soft skin with her fingers.
Natalia had no such qualms and quickly pulled the hat off Olivia's head and slid her fingers into the silky mess. Frank, the wedding guests, everything faded into nothing as Olivia took control and deepened the kiss. There was no way that something that felt so good and so right, could ever be wrong.
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