DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: March 26 episode and probably the ones preceding that just to be safe. The events of the April 1st episode sort of make me wish I had of waited to start writing this. (Crystal Chappell can just rip a girl's heart out with only a look, can't she?-She should never be allowed to look sad on television. It's too heart wrenching).
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Awakening –Part 2 Natalia
By Karjens40


God, What have I done? I mutter the prayer as I collapse on the couch. Frank has finally left and I heave a bigger sigh of relief than a newly engaged woman probably should. And even I know that wishing you had been the one to stay behind after the toast is highly inappropriate. But I can't help it. When you walked away from us, from me, all I wanted to do was grab your arm and force you to stay. It hurt me to let you go. Frank, of course, believed you when you simply said you had plans, but I know what you're doing. You're going to drink yourself into oblivion and that scares me. It scares me for your health and it scares me to know I'm the one who did this to you.

I push my fingers through my hair in a small bout of frustration. Oh Olivia. What am I going to do with you? You like to think you are so independent and invulnerable, but you aren't. Not completely. Not to me. I'm one of the few people who know that those giant walls you put up around yourself are flimsy at best.

I drop my head into my hands, trying not to cry. I honestly didn't plan on saying yes to Frank. When I called him to come over, I had no idea what I was going to tell him. The memory of how my heart raced when I finally touched you in the hospital urged me to tell him no, (why did you have to wake up just then?) but the echo of your words telling me that I should marry Frank, made me wonder if I had misread your feelings for me. But I was wrong. Even as I was making Frank so happy, I instinctively knew that I was breaking your heart as well as my own.

I sigh and lean back on the couch and stare at the ceiling. I smile a little, remembering your face as you congratulated me…us. You were so proud of yourself weren't you? You thought you were hiding your feelings so well, but you can't hide from me, Olivia. You never could. Those amazingly beautiful eyes of yours give you away, every time. And what they do to me….

How did this happen? I'm a good Catholic woman. I've done my share of sinning, just like everyone else, but I always try to follow my faith. Then I met you. You nearly destroyed my life when you went after my husband. I don't know how, but we made it past that. Perhaps I somehow instinctively understood, even back then, how afraid you were and that you didn't know any other way to cope. I don't know. Then Gus died. I could do nothing else but give you his heart. It made me so angry to watch you giving up. Despite having two precious daughters, you just didn't seem to care. I refused to let you die, though. At first it was for your children's sake, then as I began to know you, it became for mine. I can only pray now, as hard as I ever have, that you aren't slipping back to that dark place. You know that excessive alcohol isn't good for your heart, yet here you are. You're probably one drink away from passing out as I sit here and it's my fault. My eyes fill with tears at that thought.

I actually figured out a long time ago how important you were to my happiness, Olivia, but you made it so hard for me in the beginning. You almost seemed to go out of your way to hurt me. It wasn't until we had that argument at Company, after you left the hospital yet again, that everything became clear to me. You were so sick and afraid and you just looked for ways to misunderstand me. Your words were cruel and I didn't understand what you were doing then. I thought you were just being 'Olivia'. When you said I didn't give a damn about you? That tore me apart inside. Your voice was just so full of pain. I swear I didn't mean it when I told you I didn't care about you. Nor did I mean to imply that no one else did either. I realized the instant it left my mouth, that nothing I said could have hurt you more. I also comprehended at that moment why you were fighting me so hard. You're afraid of letting people care about you. You expect to be alone so you're always preparing for it. When I understood that, I swore to change your mind.

Now I'm doing exactly what you expected. I'm marrying Frank, a man you know full well I don't love and you're going to be alone. Again. I can't stop the tears as they begin to fall. The thought of you putting your walls up again and shutting people out, of you and Emma being alone, hurts me. Why didn't I see what you were doing when you told me to marry him? It was a test, wasn't it? Just like the one I gave you when I told you I was waiting for a sign. It was a test and I failed it.

We are quite a pair aren't we? But Olivia, the last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you. You have done so much for me and almost every time, I never knew until you'd already done it. You always seem to know when I need you and without a word you save the day. You've never bragged about your efforts on my behalf. Most of the time I have to nearly beat a confession out of you. Even then you play it off as if you did it for your own benefit.

You've made yourself sick I don't know how many times standing up for me. You never said anything, but I can put two and two together, you know. Almost every time you've wound up in the hospital lately, it's because you've stressed yourself out…for me. I hate you for that. I love you for that.

You don't know what it does to me to see you so helpless. You, the strongest woman I've ever met. I remember the day you hired me, when you collapsed mid-rant. When Remy said there wasn't a pulse…I wasn't even sure I liked you then, but when I thought you were gone, I died inside a little. I couldn't deal with the thought that you'd never irritate me again. So many times I've seen you weak as a kitten and when I hear your voice on my phone saying you need me, it takes all I have not to fall apart. The fact that I'm the only person outside of your doctors that you allow to see you like that, should have told me. It should have clued me in to where we were going but it didn't. The fact that you ignored your fear of nearly dying and another surgery just to bolster my own self confidence should have told me. But it didn't. If that makes me naïve, then I guess I am. The thought of someone like you, so self assured, so confident and beautiful, wanting someone like me just never would have occurred to me.

I can't help the wistful sigh as thoughts of you race through my mind. You are such an amazing woman. Even when you're at your weakest, you try so hard to be strong. When you allow yourself to cry, it breaks my heart, yet it also humbles me that I'm the one you come to.

I know you probably think I agreed to marry Frank because of my faith and what my religion says about my feelings for you. I suppose you may be right, a little bit. What you don't know is that I've made my peace with God on that. I believe that he wouldn't have kept us together this long with everything we've been to each other and gone through, if he didn't approve of this. No matter what happens, we always wind up here, together. No, Olivia, the truth is, I am afraid. I'm afraid of what will happen to me if I lose you. Each time you falter or collapse, I wonder if this is the last time. I barely made it through Gus's death. Yours would destroy me.

I let my eyes drift over to the statue of Mary that has been a comfort to me so many times. I finally ask her why she didn't take away these feelings like I asked. If my being in love with you is so wrong, why didn't God answer my prayer and make it so I loved Frank instead?

Almost immediately in response I hear Remy's voice from the day you nearly died. I had told Remy that God always answered prayers. Remy just said: He doesn't always answer the way you want. Then a little montage runs through my head. The times we fought, the times that despite everything, you fought for me or my son and the many ways you've tried to raise my self confidence. I see you playing with Emma. I love how much you love her. I see you collapsing in front of me, I feel you holding me after I told you I'd slept with Frank.

I can still feel your warm skin under my cheek and your fingers running through my hair. You thought I was talking about Frank when I said I'd hurt some one close to me but I wasn't. You were the one I was worried about. Yes, I knew it would hurt you and yet I still told you. You were hurt and yet you still held me. Your quiet words of assurance at that moment told me more than actual words how you felt about me, yet you still tried to tell me and we got interrupted. It would have been almost comical if I hadn't been trying not to hyperventilate.

The last image that crosses my mind is your face after Frank said we were engaged. Those beautiful sleepy green eyes, only by myself can I dare think the words 'bedroom eyes', seemed to cry out directly to my soul, even as your lips, lips that had kissed me so wonderfully months before, lifted in a smile. It hits me like a bolt of lightening. God had answered my prayer. He had been answering me all along. He answered when he saved your life, he'd been answering me when I got the opportunity to buy this house and ask you to move in. He was answering me when Emma wrote that sweet report, leading us to this. His answer to my prayer was you.

I jump to my feet to find my phone. My heart feels like a huge cement block has been lifted off of it. I have to call Frank and tell him I made a mistake. Then I have to find you and when I do, I'm going to kiss you like you kissed me so long ago. I'm going to kiss you the way I wanted to in the hospital when you so were so rude as to wake up and interrupt me.

Then, I'm going to tell you I'm in love with you. I swear to you Olivia, you'll never be alone again.

The End

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