DISCLAIMER: This is an Otalia-Uber fiction. The characters in this story portrays the physical and some personality attributes of the characters Olivia Spencer and Natalia Rivera from Guiding Light but they belong to me.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my first real fanfic attempt. I'm an uber-writer, simply because I like the freedom that it gives me. Also, I've only watched Otalia via youtube and haven't done so since GL wrapped up so hopefully I'll do the characters justice.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
When you came in the air went out
And every shadow filled up with doubt
I don't know who you think you are
But before the night is through
I wanna do bad things with you
I'm the kind to sit up in his room
Heartsick and eyes filled up with gloom
I don't know what you done to me
But I know this much is true
I wanna do bad things with you
I wanna do real bad things with you
Bad Things; Jace Everett
"Do you see? Do you see what they think?"
Natalia stared at Olivia in shock. Her head was still reeling from the feel of Olivia's lips on hers and Olivia wanted her to see what who was thinking? Then her befuddled haze lifted and her eyes widened. "Oh my God..."
Olivia rolled her eyes. "Oh, finally."
Natalia's thoughts were rushing into her head now. "Oh they think we're..."
Olivia looked relieved that Natalia was finally catching on. "Mm hm."
Natalia blinked as the implication sunk in. "They think that we're...!" she repeated herself, incredulity tinging her voice. She could not finish her sentence. No wonder Olivia had such trouble trying to explain what she meant earlier.
"But we aren't," Natalia continued.
Olivia could see the wheels turning in that dark head and a brief feeling of regret shot through her at Natalia's words. She did not have time to contemplate the reason behind the emotion, however, because Natalia was now on a roll.
"Then... then why did you kiss me like that?"
Natalia tossed and turned in her bed, her mind a hive of activity even though she was more than ready to fall asleep and forget the events of the day.
No such luck, it seemed.
Sighing, Natalia sat up in her bed and turned her bedside lamp on. She pushed her hair behind her ears, pulled her knees up to her chest and rested her chin on them. Her lips formed a pout unconsciously as she thought about Emma's presentation, Olivia and her going back to the school to look for Miss Jennings, her date with Frank...
Oh, who was she kidding? All she could think about was Olivia's lips on hers.
It had never crossed her mind that something like this could happen to her. She wasn't that naive. She knew what--oh, she couldn't even think the word--women loving women were. After all, who did not know Ellen Degeneres and her girlfriend with some posh sounding name?
But all that was so far removed from her world that she would sooner believe Olivia telling her that Philip Spaulding was back, reformed, and they were going to have an amicable relationship sharing Emma.
The thought broke Natalia's reverie and she scoffed. Yeah, like that would ever happen. So if the thought of Olivia and her being together that way was harder to believe than a mentally stable Philip Spaulding... Natalia sighed. If that was the case, then why couldn't she stop thinking how good it had felt when she was in Olivia's arms?
Natalia left the farmhouse at the crack of dawn. She hadn't been able to sleep and it made sense to put some physical distance between herself and the contributing source of her insomnia. With Emma at a sleepover and the automatic coffee machine set to go in her absence, Natalia was sure that her presence would not be missed.
The early morning air was fresh. Natalia tapped her fingers on the steering wheel to the beat of a song playing on the car stereo. The further she drove, the more normal things felt. She was just being silly the night before. Olivia was always the decisive, confident one in their relationship--in their very platonic friendship, that is--and she had only kissed her to establish a point.
Natalia sighed. She could be so slow sometimes. If she had caught on a little earlier, then Olivia wouldn't have had to kiss her. She touched her fingers to her lips unconsciously at the thought and had to slam on her brakes to avoid hitting someone on the road.
"Oh my God, are you okay?" Natalia asked as she exited her car. All right, what was this? Ever since Olivia kissed her, she'd used the Lord's name in vain a number of times. There would be a lot to confess at service this week.
"Ow, ow, ow!" A female voice responded.
Natalia grimaced. "I'm so sorry," she said, lowering herself to help the woman up, getting a strong whiff of alcohol in the process. Then she bent down to retrieve the woman's hat and purse.
"Are you okay? Do you need me to take you to the hospital?" Natalia asked, handing the woman her belongings. The little scrape on the woman's right knee did not look serious at all but Natalia wanted to be sure. When her eyes finally fell on the woman's face, she did a double take. "Mayor Wolfe?"
Doris squinted at Natalia. "Hel-lo..." she said, slurring slightly. Natalia gasped and caught her elbow when she swayed dangerously. "What's a girl like you doing in a place like..." Doris looked around her and shrugged. "...here?"
"Wha -" Natalia blinked several times. Did Doris Wolfe just use a pick up line on her? "Come on, let's get you off the road before another car comes along," she said, steering the woman towards the passenger side of her car.
"Oh yeah, you could get me off anytime you want!" Doris said with a slight leer, making Natalia's eyes bug out. Unable to come up with an appropriate response to that, she quickly deposited the mayor in her car and slammed the door shut.
"Where're you takin' me, sweetheart?" Doris asked when Natalia got into the car herself.
Natalia chewed on her lower lip as she thought about that. "The Beacon," she said finally. She wasn't sure if Doris was sober enough to direct them to her place and she didn't think the mayor needed to be hospitalised so The Beacon seemed like the best place for her to tend to Doris' scraped knee.
"Ooh. Classy. I definitely scored with you," Doris said with a smug smile before her eyes fluttered shut.
Natalia shook her head and pinched her own arm to see if she was dreaming. Nope, definitely awake... and bewildered. Natalia returned her attention to the road lest history repeated itself.
By the time Natalia pulled up at the Beacon, Doris looked like she had passed out. Natalia chewed on her lower lip, trying to determine her next move. For one, it would be difficult to lug the mayor into the Beacon; secondly and more importantly, she was sure Doris did not want to be seen being lugged anywhere in this state.
Scratching her temple nervously, Natalia did the first natural thing that came to her: she rang Olivia.
Olivia's sleepy and extremely grumpy voice made Natalia smile. "Olivia, I have a problem."
Two beats. "Natalia?"
Natalia's smile deepened. "Yes, Olivia. I kinda need your help on something. The, um, coffee should be ready in the kitchen."
"Help. Coffee. Got it."
Natalia bit back a laugh at Olivia's brief monologue. She could imagine Olivia making her way down the stairs grumpily, with slitted eyes and rumpled hair. The mental image warmed her and made her lower her face and press into her cellphone a little more as she waited.
"Natalia? What's wrong? Are you okay?"
Olivia and caffeine have made contact. "I'm fine," Natalia said quickly, her lips quirking at her inner voice. "It's just... I was driving in to town and almost hit Doris Wolfe. She's really drunk and I didn't think it would be safe to leave her, so I've got her in my car now and I've taken her to the Beacon so I can tend to her scraped knee and hopefully get her to sober up -"
"Wait, wait, Natalia, slow down. Caffeine is good but it's not miraculous."
Natalia's lips twitched again. She could imagine Olivia holding her head in her hand, frowning into the cell. "I'm at the Beacon and I have a passed out mayor in my car. Help?"
With the help of Tim, a bulky security guard who had worked at the Beacon for over ten years now, Natalia managed to get Doris into a room at the Beacon through a back way without drawing too much attention.
"Thank you so much, Tim," Natalia said after he deposited a lightly snoring Doris Wolfe on a bed.
"My pleasure, Ms. Rivera." Tim cleared his throat. "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
"No, I'll call Housekeeping if I need anything, Tim. Thank you. And this..." Natalia gesticulated with her hand, "...stays between the four of us." She shot Doris Wolfe and frowned. "Make that three."
Tim nodded earnestly. "Ms. Spencer made it quite clear."
"Great, thanks again, Tim," Natalia said, smiling warmly. When Tim left, Natalia swivelled around with her fists on her hips and sighed. This was a completely unexpected turn of events.
Doris woke up feeling like something had died in her mouth. She grimaced even before she opened her eyes and rolled over in her bed, reaching for a pillow to hide her head under. Her brows furrowed when her hand met a pillow that felt foreign to her. She risked cracking open an eye.
Did she score?
Muddled images fluttered into her brain, making her grimace again. Thinking hurt. She opened her other eye to survey her surroundings. If she did score, she scored a classy chick, that's for sure. Then she looked down at herself and frowned. She was still fully clothed, sans shoes and jacket.
Doris sat herself up in bed, moaning when her world tilted. She felt a wave of nausea rising and took a deep breath to try and disperse the feeling.
"You're up. How're you feeling?"
Doris almost jumped out of her skin at that. She looked around the dimly lit hotel room and finally made out someone standing at the door. "I'll live. Where am I?" she croaked, cringing at the sound of her voice.
"The Beacon. There's a bottle of water by the bed if you need it."
Doris risked another look at the woman as she reached for the water. The last thing she could remember from the night before was how she had her hands entangled in a dark mane of hair at Farley's, gasping when sharp teeth grazed her lower lip. The thought made her lower lip tingle in response.
"Did you want any money for the cab or the room?" she asked, guessing that they must have cabbed it; she had been absolutely hammered. She gulped the water down hungrily, feeling a tad better immediately.
Natalia frowned. "What cab?"
Oops. "Sorry, honey, things are a little fuzzy at the moment. Did you drive us here from Farley's?" Doris frowned at the woman. "You were pretty drunk yourself, if I can recall. Damn, you bit my lip really hard. I'm surprised you didn't draw blood," Doris said, chuckling to herself as she touched a finger to her lip. Actually, her body ached all over. Perhaps she did score after all.
Natalia's eyes widened. "Wha - I did no such thing!"
"Don't be shy. I like aggressive women," Doris said, wiggling her brows slightly before she grimaced. That hurt.
"Mayor Wolfe, I don't know who you think I am, but whoever it is, I'm not her," Natalia said firmly as she stepped further into the room, allowing Doris to see her face fully.
Oh shit, shit, shit.
Olivia almost fell off her chair laughing when Natalia recounted her run-in with Doris Wolfe over lunch at Company.
"What's so funny!" Natalia whined even though her own lips were twitching uncontrollably. It felt good hearing Olivia laugh like that. It felt even better knowing that she had made Olivia laugh like that.
"Oh God, I needed that," Olivia said when she caught her breath. She reached for her almost empty glass of water and finished it. Then she reached for Natalia's glass and proceeded to drink from it.
"You can just ask for a refill, you know?" Natalia said with a faint smile.
Olivia set the glass down and lifted an elegant brow. "Why? Yours is equally thirst-quenching." Natalia brushed her bangs out of her eyes absently and picked up her fork. She felt a little funny being addressed by Olivia in that tone, with that smirk playing on her lips. The memory of their kiss made her eyes flutter shut briefly.
"So how does it feel being hit on by the very drunk, very female mayor?" Olivia asked, trying but failing to keep a straight face. She began laughing again.
"Olivia..." Natalia said, unable to stop herself from giggling. Olivia's laughter was infectious. "Everyone's looking at us," she said, trying to hush her friend.
Indeed. "Fine. What time do you have to go get Emma anyway?" Natalia asked, poking at her salad.
"Not till three. Would you be home tonight? I was thinking maybe we could rent a movie and order some pizzas -"
"Hey, ladies." Natalia and Olivia looked up at the interruption to see Frank smiling down at them. Olivia rolled her eyes subtly and Natalia gave him a half smile. "Having lunch?"
Anyone with half a brain wouldn't even have to ask the question, Olivia thought unkindly.
"Yeah," Natalia answered. "How are you, Frank?"
Sweet, kind, Natalia, Olivia mused. So unlike me. She watched Natalia tilt her face to talk to Frank and took the opportunity to observe her unhindered.
Natalia's long, dark hair was straight, loose and currently tumbling over one shoulder. She was wearing a rose coloured collared shirt that revealed a slender throat and her gold cross. When she smiled, her dimples flashed and Olivia's lips would twitch in response. Natalia had such soft lips...
"Olivia? Olivia." Natalia frowned at her lunch companion, who was looking at her intently with a faraway look on her face. "Olivia."
"What are you thinking about?"
Olivia shook her head as she quickly averted her eyes. "Oh, nothing. Where's Frank?" Olivia asked, feeling slightly flustered. She made a show of looking around for Frank, much to Natalia's amusement.
"Why, did you want to speak to him?" Natalia asked, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. "He said goodbye to you but... you were too occupied so he left."
"Oh. What did he want?" Olivia asked casually.
"He, uh, wanted to know what I was doing later," Natalia said shyly.
Olivia felt immensely annoyed that Natalia was wearing that expression because of Frank. "Oh. So I guess you're going out with him later," she said, her annoyance quickly replaced by disappointment. No longer hungry, she placed her fork on her plate.
Natalia looked at Olivia, her brows furrowing. "No... you said movie and pizza with Emma, right?" she asked, sounding slightly confused.
Olivia was pleasantly surprised by Natalia's answer. Then she bit on her lower lip, suddenly feeling selfish. If their roles were reversed, Natalia would want her to go out and have a good time. "You should go out with Frank if you want."
Natalia shook her head. "You asked first. Besides, I miss Emma." Olivia felt a warmth spread in her chest at Natalia's words; it meant the world to Olivia that Emma had someone like Natalia love and care for her. "Olivia, what's wrong? Is something bothering you?" Natalia asked, concerned that her friend kept lapsing into silence.
"No, no. Everything's just... peachy," Olivia said, picking up Natalia's glass of water again.
"Hey! Get your own refilled!" Natalia complained, smacking Olivia's hand playfully. She gave Olivia an indulgent smile when Olivia brought the glass to her lips with a smug look on her face.
Olivia set down the glass when it was empty and picked up her fork. Her appetite was back.
Natalia heard the sound of someone clearing their throat and looked up to see Doris Wolfe standing beside the elevator. "Mayor Wolfe," Natalia greeted politely with what she hoped was a professional smile. The mayor looked a lot better than when she had left her this morning.
"I would like to have a word with you, if you don't mind," Doris said stiffly. She hadn't been able to stop thinking about their conversation this morning and each replay made her cringe even more than the last.
Natalia nodded. "Of course. I trust that the room was to your satisfaction?"
"Yes, the room's fine. I wanted to talk to you about our little... conversation this morning, and the state you found me in."
"Consider it forgotten, Mayor," Natalia said. Amusing as recounting it to Olivia was, she very much wanted to forget the conversation herself.
Doris blew out a breath of relief but she still wasn't fully convinced. Nothing in life came for free. "Because if you say anything, it would be my word against yours... and you really don't want to go up against me."
"That sounds suspiciously like a threat."
Two head swivelled around at the voice--one relieved and the other aghast.
"But then why would the mayor be threatening my personal assistant?" Olivia said in a smooth, casual tone that belied the dangerous glint in her eyes. "Unless, of course, she wants to make sure that no one hears about her little drunken escapade this morning."
Doris gasped. "You -" she stared accusingly at Natalia.
"Hey, eyes here, thank you very much," Olivia said, directing the mayor's attention to herself. "I think my assistant's been on the receiving end of your lewd attention enough."
"I -" Doris felt sick. Her career was over. Her life was over. And she had been so very careful for so many years!
"Olivia..." Natalia started, only to be silenced by a quick look from Olivia.
"What do you want?" Doris said finally.
"What do you mean?" Olivia asked innocently.
"What do you want in exchange for your silence--for both your silence?" Doris straightened herself to her full height, refusing to look defeated.
Olivia tapped a finger on her lips as she pretended to consider. "I think... dinner. And drinks."
Doris shot Olivia an incredulous look. "You want me to buy you dinner?"
"God, no. I want you to buy Natalia and I dinner. And drinks," Olivia added, with the emphasis on 'drinks'.
"That's it? Dinner and drinks?" Doris asked skeptically. She had expected... she did not know what she had expected but this was not it.
"Yup. To celebrate. You know, after you make some calls to get a hearing for Raphael Rivera," Olivia said with a winning smile.
Natalia's jaw dropped open.
"Olivia, I'm not sure if that's what I want."
"Dinner and drinks with Doris? I know, I should have just asked her to foot our bill without the pleasure of her company, right? I just thought I'd try to be nice. Practice makes perfect, right?" Olivia said, sparing Natalia a quick glance and a sheepish smile before returning her attention to the folder in her hand. She absently chewed on the tip of the pen in her hand.
Natalia let out a long suffering sigh. She knew Olivia knew what she was referring to. "That's not what I meant."
"You don't want a hearing for Rafe?" Olivia looked up from the folder again, giving Natalia a confused look.
"No, of course I want that."
Olivia shook her head, feigning innocence. "Then you've lost me. I'm not sure what you're talking about, Natalia."
"Don't... you... It was the way you did it, Olivia!" Natalia said finally. "It was... unethical."
Olivia closed the folder and sighed inwardly. She knew that Natalia would have a problem with her method but the opportunity had presented itself and it was just too good to pass up. "Would you have let her buy us dinner and drinks?" she asked gently.
Natalia paused. "Yeah..." she said after a moment's consideration.
"So how's that different from asking her to make a few calls for the possibility of an early parole for your son?" Olivia pressed on, hoping that Natalia would see it her way. "We're not asking her to do a bad thing, Natalia. And if you recall, Doris Wolfe's press conference played a big part in getting Rafe convicted. This is her a chance to right things."
Olivia's reasoning made complete sense. Deflated, Natalia fell silent and sat herself down across from Olivia, who gave her a reassuring smile before flipping the folder open again. Olivia looked so serious and beautiful in her gunmetal grey pants suit.
To be honest, she had been amazed at how deftly Olivia had turned the tables on Doris Wolfe. She was brilliant. Beautiful, confident, sexy, brilliant Olivia. How could anyone who had been with her ever let her go? Natalia's hand itched to brush an errant lock of chestnut brown hair away from Olivia's eyes. Then her eyes dropped to full lips, which were playing with a very... lucky... pen...
Oh my God, what am I thinking?
Olivia looked up when Natalia pushed herself off the chair abruptly as though it had scalded her. "What's wrong, Nat -"
"I just remembered, I forgot to do something really important," Natalia said, hoping that Olivia would not notice that her cheeks were flaming from her bad, bad thoughts. She quickly let herself out of Olivia's office and almost ran to the bathroom.
What was wrong with her!
Natalia watched fondly as Emma scrambled onto the couch in excitement after accomplishing her grown up job of slipping the DVD into the player. The girl had the remote control in her hand as she bounced up and down the couch, asking when she could hit the Play button.
"Emma, careful!" Natalia exclaimed when it looked as though Emma had missed her footing. She recovered her equilibrium quickly though, and Natalia blew out a breath of relief. "Maybe you could look at the Special Features while Mommy's in the bathroom?" Natalia suggested as she walked over to the coffee table with two pizza boxes, a bottle of lemonade and three plastic cups.
"Okay!" Emma said, settling down on the couch. But before she could scroll down the menu to the Special Features option, Olivia appeared. "Mommy's here! We can start the movie now!"
Olivia shared a smile with Natalia at Emma's young exhuberance before sitting herself down on the couch next to her daughter. She pulled Emma to her for a hug, inhaling the scent of her shampoo when she planted a firm kiss on her hair, chuckling when her daughter began squirming. "Mommy!" Emma whined, trying to get away.
Olivia threw her hands up in the air with an exaggerated eye roll. "Fine, no more hugging and kissing..." Her expression turned devious and she reached for her daughter's slender torso. "But I can tickle, right?"
"No!" Emma squealed, trying to avoid her mother's fingers.
Natalia laughed softly at Olivia's antics. Every time she saw Olivia with Emma, a warm, fuzzy feeling would envelope her. This was her family--her unexpected gift from God. The only way it could be made better was if Rafe was here; the thought no longer seemed so far away after what Olivia did today. She felt a rush of gratitude and said a silent prayer to thank God for Olivia, Emma and Rafe.
Sitting herself down on the couch beside Olivia, who was breathing hard after a tickle session with Emma, Natalia ran her hand down the older woman's back. "If you kids are ready, maybe we could start watching the movie before your bedtimes?" she said with a wry look.
Olivia turned her attention to Natalia at that. "Us kids, huh?" she said with a lift of a brow, still sounding slightly out of breath. Natalia felt her own breath catch in her throat for no reason. "I know when Emma's bedtime is, but when's mine?"
Suddenly, Natalia felt like Olivia was sitting too close to her. She could feel Olivia's breath on her skin when she spoke and the back of her neck felt tingly. Natalia pulled her legs up onto the couch and shifted slightly, all the while still looking at Olivia. "Um..." What was the question? "When's your what?" she asked in a soft voice. The movie had started.
"My bedtime, Natalia," Olivia drawled in an equally soft voice, except it was also low and velvety, and it sent a faint tremor down Natalia's side. How could those words sound so... un-innocent when strung together by that voice?
"What about it?" Natalia asked, vaguely aware that she was sounding like an idiot.
Olivia looked amused. "Never mind," she murmured, giving Natalia an assessing look before reaching for the pizza.
Two slices of pizza, some lemonade and shared laughter later, Natalia found her mind drifting again. The animated movie that they had rented was actually pretty entertaining but Olivia's proximity was doing weird things to her body.
Natalia snuck a peek at Olivia and shifted slightly. The entire length of her body closest to Olivia had gone all buzzy and sensitive. She pushed her hair behind one ear as she stared at Olivia's hand, which was resting on the couch between them. Her hand wanted to reach out for Olivia's but the thought of it made her heart race.
What was wrong with her? It wasn't as though they had never held hands before. In fact, they frequently held hands; she had never given their handholding much thought before, so why was she starting now? She couldn't quite work out why she was suddenly hypersensitive around Olivia.
She thought about her reaction when she realised that the other parents thought she and Olivia were in a romantic relationship. Now that she had time to think about it, she would probably have reacted the same way if Olivia was a man, simply because what they thought wasn't true. But if that was all there was to it, then why...
"Hey, are you okay? You seem real quiet over there," Olivia turned and whispered in Natalia's ear, startling her out of her reverie.
"Yeah, I... was just thinking."
Olivia looked concerned. "About? Rafe? What happened with Mayor Wolfe today? Natalia, I'm sorry if -"
Natalia held two fingers to Olivia's lips, not wanting her to finish her apology because if anything, she should be thanking Olivia for what she did. "No. You were right. I would have let her take us out to dinner... and her press conference did play a big part in Rafe's conviction so you have nothing to apologise for," Natalia said firmly.
Olivia's lips felt so soft against her fingers...
Natalia pulled her fingers away quickly, willing her thoughts to quieten. "Thank you, Olivia, for what you did today. I am so grateful that you're in my life. You are... you and Emma mean so much to me."
Natalia watched as the colours in Olivia's eyes shifted before a smug smile materialised on her face. "I think that's the least fight you've ever put up before admitting that I'm right."
Natalia rolled her eyes. It figured that Olivia would fixate on that amidst everything she had said. They returned their attention to the movie but not before Olivia threaded their fingers together and planted a kiss on Emma's crown, feeling utterly content with her lot that very moment.
Olivia pottered around the farmhouse listlessly. Emma was asleep and Natalia wasn't home yet. She settled on the couch with a glass of wine, wondering what she could do to entertain herself. When nothing in particular struck her fancy, she got up to put some music on. The farmhouse felt so empty without Natalia.
She wondered where Frank had taken Natalia on their date. That, in turn, made her think about when she herself had gone on a date. She was aghast that she couldn't even remember the occasion. Had it been that long? Somebody just shoot her already! No wonder she was feeling off-kilter lately. She'd probably even forgotten how to kiss.
Or maybe not. The memory of her grabbing Natalia and crushing their lips together made her shift on the couch. She finished her glass of wine in two gulps.
Come to think of it, Natalia had been acting a little funny lately. She hoped that she hadn't freaked the woman out too much by kissing her. Her eyes fluttered shut and she allowed herself to call back the memory of the kiss.
There really wasn't much to it. It had lasted for, what, ten seconds, if that? But in that ten seconds, Olivia could have sworn that there was a point where Natalia had actually relaxed into it and might have even kissed her back if reality hadn't kicked in.
Reality, schmeality. Totally overrated, if anyone bothered to ask Olivia.
Green eyes shot open. Wait, what was she thinking? Had she wanted Natalia to kiss her back? Olivia righted herself and went into the kitchen to refill her wineglass. Still deep in thought when she returned to the couch, she got a little scare when she saw Natalia sitting there wearing a small frown and pout. "Hey."
Natalia looked up and her pout relaxed into a smile. "Hey. Drowning your sorrows?" she asked, dark eyes falling on the glass of red Olivia was holding in her hand.
"Not quite. Not much sorrow in my life these days," Olivia said truthfully. "Would you like some?"
Natalia thought for a moment, then shrugged. "Sure, why not."
Olivia placed her wine on the coffee table and went back into the kitchen. When she returned, she saw that Natalia was drinking from her glass. The familiarity that action exhibited made Olivia smile.
"Sorry, I needed that," Natalia looked at her with a sheepish smile. Olivia sidled next to her on the couch, ready to listen if that was what Natalia needed her to do. Natalia gave her an indescribable look before averting her face.
Olivia frowned. "Is everything okay?" When Natalia did not answer, Olivia pressed on. "How did the date go? Natalia? Talk to me, please?" Her worry increased tenfold when she saw Natalia's shoulders shaking. "Natalia?" She slid an arm around Natalia, trying to pull her close.
Natalia let out a shaky breath as she leaned into Olivia's embrace, allowing herself to enjoy being held. When she finally looked up, Olivia realised that she had been laughing, not crying like she had thought. Now she was even more confused.
"Sorry," Natalia said, shifting slightly so that she was sitting back upright. She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "I don't know what's gotten into me. I just..." She gazed at Olivia and shook her head helplessly. "It's just that Frank's... so... boring! I don't know how I managed to stay awake the entire time!"
When the words sank in, Olivia's lips began twitching. "He's... a good man," Olivia said instead of agreeing with Natalia.
"A very boring good man," Natalia amended before burying her face in her palms. "Oh, I am a horrible person. I can't believe I just said that!"
Olivia chuckled, rubbing Natalia's back with the palm of her hand. "I think we're entitled to find someone boring."
"He just... has this hopeful expression on his face all the time, like... like he's hoping that what he's saying is of interest to me. And I feel so bad because he's just so..."
"Boring?" Olivia finished Natalia's sentence with a wry grin.
"Exactly!" Natalia exclaimed. "And he tried to hold my hand tonight. I mean, who does that anymore?" Her eyes fell on their linked hands in surprise. She hadn't even realised when that had happened.
Olivia followed her line of sight and shrugged. "We do, I guess," she said, wondering if she should pull her hand away.
"But I like it when we do," Natalia said in a soft voice.
Suddenly, both women became very aware of how each other's hand felt. Natalia turned Olivia's hand in hers gently and rubbed a thumb across smooth skin. Then she trailed her index finger down Olivia's palm with deliberate slowness and drew a circle in it.
Olivia froze, mesmerised by the movement of Natalia's finger. There was definitely something happening here. Olivia wished she could see into that dark head to find out what Natalia was thinking.
Then Natalia's touch stopped and Olivia let out a small breath. "Thanks for listening," Natalia said, breaking the silence that had fallen around them. "Talking to you was the best part of my night."
Olivia's eyes fell on Natalia's cheeks and lips when Natalia smiled sweetly at her. "Talking to you was the best part of mine," Olivia replied, surprised that she actually meant it.
"Well, I'd better get some sleep," Natalia said, getting up from the couch. She gave Olivia's hand one last squeeze before she released it. "Goodnight, Olivia."
"Yeah," Olivia said, watching Natalia make her way up the stairs. "Goodnight."
Natalia woke up with a smile on her face, trying to hold onto the last wisps of her dream. She cracked open an eye and realised that it was raining. Letting out a soft sigh of contentment, Natalia pulled her quilt more snugly around her body and burrowed her face into her pillow.
Emma scampered into Natalia's room and climbed onto her bed. "Morning, sweetie," Natalia murmured, chuckling at the look of happiness on Emma's face.
"I know, baby. Wanna snuggle?" she asked, lifting her quilt for the girl to crawl under.
Emma nodded and Natalia waited until she found a comfortable position before she tucked the quilt over the both of them. Emma rested her face on Natalia's chest, feeling its rise and fall and listening to the steady beat of her heart. "Natalia, will you tell me a story?"
"Um... okay..." Natalia's eyes fluttered shut and her lips curved up. "Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess named Em -"
"Okay, Natalia. She lived in a beautiful castle in the clouds and was friends with all the birds. She had a magic whistle that allowed her to call any bird she wanted."
"That's so cool. I want one too," Emma mumbled. The pitter patter of rain on the window continued steadily.
"Well, the princess could only teach one person in the whole wide world how to use this magic whistle, so she chose to teach her very best friend, Emma, how to use it."
"Yay..." Emma said drowsily.
"One day, a big grey cloud loomed over the kingdom in the cloud when Natalia and Emma were out playing with the magic whistle. The big grey cloud brought with it an angry wind and sharp needles of rain. Emma and Natalia were very scared because they had never seen a storm before and they knew that this was the legendary Storm of the Century."
"Oh no..." Emma murmured, her brows furrowing even though her eyes were closed. "Where's Mommy? She must be really scared, all alone."
Natalia opened her eyes to look down at her precious bundle. "Olivia was the best... umbrella maker in the kingdom. The secret art of umbrella making was passed down from generation to generation in Olivia's family for this event."
"Can we go get Mommy? I don't want her to be alone," Emma asked, squirming in Natalia's arms.
Natalia bit her lower lip. "Okay, sweetie," she said finally. The way Olivia slept, she probably wouldn't even know that they were there.
Two heads poked themselves into Olivia's dim room. Natalia held a finger to her lips and grinned when Emma imitated her. They tiptoed towards Olivia's sleeping form. Natalia smiled at the sight of Olivia, who was curled up under her quilt, looking toasty warm. Her stomach did a lazy flip at the thought of crawling into Olivia's bed uninvited.
"Come on, Natalia!" Emma urged in a loud whisper as she climbed onto Olivia's bed. "Mommy will keep us safe!"
Natalia chewed on her lower lip and threw caution into the wind. Surely Olivia wouldn't mind it that much; this wasn't that much different from them cuddling in front of the television. Besides, it was getting too chilly to be standing around. She slipped under Olivia's quilt; her hands and feet sought out Olivia's warmth immediately, making the woman shift in her sleep.
"Okay, Natalia. You can continue the story now," Emma instructed, peeking over Olivia's shoulder.
Natalia and Emma had started running before the needle sharp rain pelted down on the kingdom. They wouldn't have bothered if Natalia and Emma's bird friends hadn't flown around them, chirping madly for them to seek cover before the Storm of the Century hit them squarely.
Emma led them to a small cave that she had discovered one time when she was out playing after her lessons. It was a good thing Emma was such a good little navigator because without shelter, the needle sharp rain would have really hurt the two girls.
But because they were in the cave, no one could find them. Everyone in the castle was worried because they all loved Natalia and Emma. So the King summoned Olivia, the best umbrella maker in the kingdom to help him locate his daughter and her best friend.
Now, Olivia, like her ancestors before her, had trained her entire life for this event and she was eager to prove herself to the King. She ran off with her umbrella, searching high and low for Natalia and Emma.
The howling of the angry wind made it impossible for her to shout for the girls and the rain made it impossible for her to see where she was going, so the only thing Olivia had left was her sharp instincts and wit. She decided that the only way she was ever going to find the girls was if she made the Storm go away. And so she travelled under the safety of her umbrella--one that withstood the painful rain and held against the howling wind--to the foot of the highest mountain of the kingdom.
Olivia began climbing the mountain. She almost slipped several times--it was hard work climbing a mountain with an umbrella tucked under your chin--but she finally reached its peak. There, she folded up her umbrella because the peak was above the big grey cloud. All of Natalia's and Emma's bird friends were there, waiting out the Storm.
They told Olivia to wait with them, but Olivia was bent on finding Emma and Natalia. The birds told her that they had already warned the princess and her best friend, and that they were safe in a cave somewhere, but Olivia wasn't satisfied. She wanted to stop the Storm and make sure that the girls were safely returned to the King.
So the birds directed her to precipice that overlooked the eye of the Storm. There, Olivia realised that the angry wind and sharp needles of rain were actually sent down by an unhappy witch named Doris. She asked Doris to stop the wind and rain so that she could find the princess and her best friend but Doris refused to do it, secretly pleased that someone was actually as unhappy as she was. So Olivia got really mad and challenged the witch to a duel, which Doris accepted.
Doris, though unhappy, was a very powerful witch. She directed the angry wind at Olivia and that almost got her blown off the precipice into the eye of the Storm, which was a very dark and lonely place. But Olivia was quick; she hooked the curved handle of her umbrella onto the side of the precipice and hung on until the angry wind lost its steam, thinking that Olivia had been blown into the vacuum.
When Doris saw Olivia standing there, looking windblown with leaves in her hair but otherwise intact, her unhappiness grew and she let loose a torrent of needle sharp rain from her fingers.
This time, Olivia was ready for Doris. She opened her umbrella, pulled its curved handle off, and stuck the now straight end into the ground. The umbrella protected her against the needle sharp rain but she knew that she had to do something if she wanted to defeat the unhappy witch. She looked around and saw that there was a big rock on her right. She braced herself and leaped behind the rock, not caring if she got hurt by the needle sharp rain.
Then she made her way around the rock, and another rock, and another rock, until she could approach the witch from behind.
Olivia tapped the witch on her shoulder when she was finally standing behind her, causing her to turn around, surprised. No one had ever touched the unhappy witch before, you see; that's why she was so unhappy. Olivia gave the witch a warm smile and wrapped her arms around her shoulders, pulling her into a tight, breath-stealing hug.
The witch's eyes almost fell out of her face! But when her surprise wore off, she began to smile as she relaxed into the hug, which felt really, really nice.
Overcome by happiness, the witch could no longer summon the angry wind and sharp needles of rain. But she didn't need to anymore because now she had a friend.
Olivia told her new friend that she would come by and have tea with her right after she found Natalia and Emma. The witch told her to bring the two girls along with her because now that she knew how good it felt to have friends, she wanted more of them. Olivia promised her that she would and went off to seek Natalia and Emma out.
Natalia and Emma crawled out of the cave when they realised that the rain had stopped pelting down and the wind had stopped blowing angrily. But what was this? The entire landscape had been reshaped by the Storm. They no longer knew where they were. Emma told Natalia to blow her magic whistle; maybe the birds would help them find their way back to the castle.
And so Natalia did. And the birds came. But they weren't alone. Natalia and Emma were surprised to see a woman with them. The woman hopped off the back of a huge bird and came to stand before them, looking all proud and beautiful. Olivia had finally found what she was looking for: the princess and her best friend.
Natalia peeked over Olivia's shoulder and saw that Emma had fallen back to sleep. She bit back a smile at her crazy tale and let out a gasp when a husky voice asked, "So what's Olivia's reward for saving the day?"
Natalia was glad that Olivia's back was to her. She was mortified that her story had fallen on the wrong Spencer's ears and was sure that her embarrassment showed on her face.
Olivia's sleep-coated voice made Natalia's eyes flutter shut briefly. Then, realising the proximity of her body to an awake Olivia, Natalia tried to back herself up on the bed as inconspicuously as she could. "I can't believe you heard all that," Natalia mumbled, dropping an embarrassed forehead on Olivia's back. She could feel Olivia's silent laughter vibrating through that point of contact.
"Olivia, the brave, fearless... umbrella maker?" Olivia asked in amused disbelief as she turned to face Natalia.
"Well, it was the Storm of the Century," Natalia continued mumbling, refusing to meet mirthful green eyes. "Who better to save the day, right?"
Olivia cracked up again, muffling her laughter behind a hand so that she wouldn't wake Emma up. It felt so cozy tucked under the quilt like that, with the rain falling steadily around them; Olivia could almost believe that they were the only people left in the world.
"Stop laughing at me," Natalia said in a loud whisper, biting back her own self-deprecating laughter.
Olivia took a deep breath to try and calm herself. "Well for what it's worth, I really enjoyed it. And I'm sure Emma did to, right up till she fell asleep," she said, amusement still evident on her face.
They laid there silently for a long moment after that, just looking at each other with faint smiles playing on their lips. Natalia felt more and more self-conscious as the seconds ticked by. Her senses were all heightened again and, for some reason, her eyes could not help being drawn to Olivia's lips.
"Huh?" Natalia realised belatedly that Olivia was saying something. "Sorry, I was just... what did you say?"
"I wanted to know what my reward is," Olivia said, giving Natalia a strange look. If she didn't know better, she would have thought that Natalia was staring at her lips.
"Oh, um... whatever Olivia wants, Olivia gets," Natalia replied, oblivious to how her statement could be construed as suggestive.
Olivia lifted a brow. "Really." She hadn't meant to husk out the word but she did and she noted Natalia's reaction with interest. She would have missed the emotion that flitted across Natalia's face briefly if they weren't lying so close to each other with nothing around to distract them.
Natalia cleared her throat. "Mm hm." Olivia watched as dark eyes darted around nervously. "Are you hungry? Would you like pancakes as your reward?"
Olivia's stomach rumbled at the mention of food. "Throw in crispy bacon and coffee and you might have a deal."
Natalia moved to push herself up, grateful for a legitimate reason to leave the room. "Okay, I'll get -"
"Wait," Olivia said, reaching for Natalia's hand over the quilt to stop her from jumping off her bed. "There's no hurry," she said slowly, running her thumb across the back of Natalia's hand like Natalia had done with her own the night before.
Natalia stared at their linked hands for a moment, then quickly shook her head. "No, I... do have to hurry. I need to use the bathroom!" Natalia said with a weak laugh. She pulled her hand away from Olivia and got out of the bed. "I'll let you know when breakfast is ready," she added with a half smile.
Olivia nodded amiably as she watched Natalia exit her room. Then she turned to Emma and planted a kiss on her smooth forehead before her mind drifted back to a few moments ago.
She hadn't missed the emotion that had flitted across Natalia's face ever so briefly, in reaction to her voice. It was an emotion she had seen many times before. Natalia desired her; whether Natalia knew it or not was a different matter altogether.
The way Natalia had been acting of late made more sense to Olivia after her little epiphany this morning. Her suspicions the night before had been accurate; something was definitely happening between Natalia and herself. She just wasn't sure how she felt about it.
For two people who had started off barely tolerating each other, their lives had gotten so intertwined. They shared Emma, lived and worked together. Say they both miraculously had no problems with getting together. What if things did not work out? What if either of them freaked out? It had taken them a lifetime to get to the point that they were at; the last thing Olivia wanted was to jeopardise everything they had for a bunch of question marks.
"Natalia! Mommy said she saved us from the witch! Can you tell me the story again tonight? I promise I won't fall asleep before the end this time," Emma said from the dining table. She was kneeling on a chair, drawing with crayons.
Natalia turned crimson, much to Olivia's amusement. It was endearing how self-conscious Natalia was at times. "We'll see, sweetie," Natalia said noncommittally. "I might not be able to remember the story though..."
"You could always improvise," Olivia interrupted, earning herself a glare from Natalia. "I think you should repeat the story for both Emma and I tonight. Whaddaya think, Jellybean?" At Emma's excited nod, Olivia shot Natalia a smug smile. "What Olivia wants, Olivia gets, remember?" she reminded Natalia. "I'm the hero of the day, after all."
"Oh, why did I ever..." Natalia mumbled under her breath as she puttered around the kitchen, putting away their breakfast dishes.
"Here, let me help you," Olivia said, reaching for the dishes. "You made breakfast. I'll do this."
Their fingers touched and Olivia noticed the way Natalia pulled away quickly. Intrigued, Olivia wrapped an arm around Natalia's waist loosely under the guise of ushering her away from the sink. Again, Natalia's reaction of first leaning into Olivia before pulling away quickly was notable.
"All yours," Natalia said, raising her hands up in mock surrender before going over to sit with Emma. Olivia trailed after Natalia with her eyes. She was about to say something when the phone rang.
"I'll get it!" Emma cried out, jumping off the chair. Olivia saw the way Natalia looked at Emma with such love on her face; it made her own love for Natalia respond in kind. "Natalia it's for you! It's Frank!" Emma said, handing the phone to Natalia, who took the receiver with a tentative look on her face.
"Hello?" she said in the receiver. She met her eyes to Olivia's briefly before she went into another room to continue the call.
Irritation shot through Olivia upon hearing Frank's name. Surely Natalia wouldn't be seeing him anymore after her small outburst the night before about how boring Frank was. The dopey-eyed image of Frank appeared in Olivia's mind involuntarily, making her grimace. Not that it was any of her business who Natalia went out with, of course. She just wanted the best for Natalia and Frank definitely wasn't it.
"What did Frank want?" Olivia asked casually when Natalia reappeared.
Natalia pursed her lips and touched her fingers to her nose, looking slightly uncomfortable. "He wants to see if I'm free to go to the movies tomorrow night. There's one he really wants to watch."
"Oh... which one's that?" Olivia asked, hoping that Natalia would shrug and tell her she didn't care because she wouldn't be going out with boring old Frank anymore.
"The one with Meryl Streep in it."
"So... you've changed your mind about Frank then?" Olivia trailed off, wanting to know for sure if Natalia had agreed to another date with Frank.
Natalia shrugged. "I haven't been to the movies in a while."
Olivia flinched, feeling slightly hurt that Natalia would agree to another date with Frank after what she had said the night before and what Olivia had seen on her face just this morning. "Who knows, he might grow on you," she said, not meaning a word of it.
"Maybe," Natalia said noncommittally before turning her attention to Emma, effectively ending their conversation. She hadn't meant to say yes to another date with Frank but he had kept pressing in that gentle, pleading tone of his; turning him down felt a cruel thing to do--almost like kicking a puppy.
Olivia studied Natalia's profile with a small frown. Suddenly all the reasoning that had seemed so valid to Olivia to disregard their growing attraction for each other flew out of the window; Olivia felt like throwing a tantrum, stomping her feet, and demand for Natalia to give her what she wanted: herself.
Natalia thought that she might be going mad.
All day at work, Olivia suddenly seemed unable to do anything without her assistance or opinion. Natalia could handle the 'being around Olivia' bit easily enough; after all, she had a PhD in second guessing Olivia's needs and wants at work and they frequently spent a lot of their time together, be it at work or home. It was the 'being around a touchy feely and very flirty Olivia' bit that was unsettling.
The thing was, Natalia wasn't even sure if Olivia was aware of her own behaviour. To the naked eye, nothing would seem out of the ordinary. But Natalia's heightened senses were picking up on touches that lingered, looks that seemed to mean more, and the increased appearance of Olivia's low, velvety tone... directed at her. Natalia did not know what to think.
"Natalia, can you look this over with me for a bit?" Olivia called out, shaking Natalia out of her fevered reverie.
"Of course," Natalia said, going over to Olivia's side. Garbed in a fitting black blouse with way too few buttons done up--in Natalia's opinion, anyway--a black pencil skirt that hugged her curves snugly and a black pair of stiletto heels, Olivia Spencer looked magnificent, as usual. But she must have done something different with her make up because something about Olivia just felt different and it made Natalia nervous.
She tried to maintain a respectful distance between Olivia and herself but clearly, Olivia did not have similar concerns. Natalia had to clench her jaw to try and focus on what Olivia was saying as they peered into the manila folder that Olivia held between them. Olivia's perfume was invading her senses and her head was reeling at their proximity. When Olivia looked at her expectantly, Natalia almost let out a groan: she'd managed to not hear another one of Olivia's questions again.
"I'm sorry, Olivia, I don't know what's gotten into me today," Natalia said, taking two steps back from Olivia. She felt so off-kilter, maybe because she missed attending service the Sunday that had just passed due to the heavy rain.
"Are you feeling okay? You look a little pale... maybe you should go home early and rest," Olivia said, sounding a little concerned. She touched the back of her hand to Natalia's forehead.
Olivia's genuine show of affection touched Natalia. "I'm fine," she murmured. Then her breath hitched when Olivia, instead of retracting her hand, trailed it past her temple to cup her cheek gently.
"Are you sure? Because I don't want you to fall sick."
Natalia placed her hand on Olivia's to give it a reassuring squeeze. "I'm fine, really," she said softly.
Her eyes widened slightly when Olivia moved her face closer; for one brief moment, Natalia thought that Olivia was going to kiss her again and her heart skipped a beat. But at the last moment, Olivia turned her face slightly and they ended up in a warm embrace. Natalia breathed in the scent of Olivia's shampoo, conscious that their cheeks, chests, and thighs were pressed against each other.
"If you're sure," Olivia murmured in a low voice, making Natalia's eyes flutter shut. Neither of them heard the door swing open.
"Well, well, well. No wonder you were immune to my charms. I should have known."
Natalia and Olivia jumped apart at the wry voice. "Did you forget to bring your assistant to knock on doors for you, Mayor?" Olivia asked with a raised brow with a decidedly cool voice.
Doris shrugged, seemingly unaffected by the jibe. "Left her at home with the part of me that cares what you think."
Olivia narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. "How can the Beacon be of your service today? Are you currently inebriated, dateless, and looking to hit on my assistant? Oh, wait. Been there, done that, didn't get the girl. So what else can we help you with?"
Natalia watched the volley between the two women and felt a sense of pride that Olivia was on her team. She secretly admired Olivia's snark, even back when it was directed at her--only then, it had infuriated her to no end as well. Doris straightened herself perceptibly and pressed her lips together in a thin line. "I've made a few calls, as promised."
Natalia raised a hand to her heart with an earnest, hopeful expression.
Doris rolled her eyes. "I got him a hearing in a month's time. The rest is out of my hands."
"Oh my God, thank you," Natalia said, her voice breaking slightly. "Thank you," she repeated, this time more firmly. Doris looked surprised at the look of gratitude on Natalia's face. She was used to being taken from; Natalia's tearful expression made her feel like she had freely given.
"Well. Anyway. I came to ask about the other part of our bargain." At the baffled looks on Olivia and Natalia's faces, Doris sighed. "Dinner and drinks? You know, you can just charge the bill to me. I'm not sure I wanna waste an evening with the two of you."
Olivia lifted a brow. "Oh, but we'd so love for you to join us, Mayor Wolfe. You look like a woman who knows how to... have a good time," Olivia said, dropping her voice an octave when she said the last four words. Doris shot Olivia a dark look.
"Fine. When do you wanna do this?" Doris asked brusquely.
Olivia turned to Natalia. "How about tonight?"
Natalia was almost about to nod when she recalled her movie date with Frank. She gave Olivia a pained expression. "I can't tonight. I'm meeting Frank, remember?"
Olivia stopped herself from rolling her eyes. "Of course. Well. How about Friday night then?" She shot Doris a quick look.
Doris nodded curtly. Before she could turn to leave, however, Natalia walked over and placed a hand on her arm.
"I know you think that Olivia forced you into doing what you did... and maybe she did manipulate you in some way... but you could have chosen differently. So thank you for choosing to make the calls and thank you for making it happen. You don't know how much this means to me. Thank you."
Doris looked taken aback at Natalia's little speech. Her mouth flapped open but no sound was emitted. Then Natalia wrapped her arms around her before she could protest and Olivia had to bite back a laugh at the expression on Doris' face. She recalled the scene in Natalia's tale where the unhappy witch got hugged and the thought finally made her chuckle out loud.
Doris's motor function kickstarted at the sound of mirth and she hurriedly stepped out of the unexpected embrace. Clearing her throat, she spared Olivia and Natalia a nod before turning on her heels.
Olivia was bored. She trailed the rim of her martini glass with a finger, stopping when it touched a cocktail stick of olives. She picked it up and brought it to her lips, which parted to enscounce the first of three olives. She touched her tongue to it and used the muscle to loosen it from the cocktail stick.
The sound of someone clearing their throat made her look up reflexively. She rolled the olive in her mouth and lifted a brow at Doris Wolfe, silently asking what the mayor was looking at.
"How about buying me a drink for all my hard work?" Doris asked with a raised brow of her own.
"Is that a pick up line? Because if it is, I'm not interested," Olivia drawled, giving the mayor a pointed look.
Doris sat down on the empty stool next to Olivia. "Oh please. Don't flatter yourself."
Olivia smiled grudgingly. She nodded at the bartender, who came over to take the mayor's order. "What are you still doing here?"
"Had lunch at your fine establishment with my daughter. She left not too long ago." Doris sipped at her drink gratefully. She needed it after an hour with Ashlee; her armour felt heavy and battered, and she longed to take it off. And somehow, she could do that with Olivia even though she didn't like the woman much because, well, Olivia knew her secret. "So where's Natalia?"
Olivia narrowed her eyes at Doris. "Why?" she asked, drawing the word out in a sinister tone.
Doris caught the implication and threw her hands in the air whilst rolling her eyes. "Oh for heaven's sake, I thought she was someone else when I said all those things to her, okay? I'm not interested in your... woman."
My woman. Olivia had to admit that the phrase didn't sound half bad. "She's not... that," she corrected Doris with a soft sigh.
"She's on a date with Frank." A bitter taste enveloped her mouth when she said that. Olivia polished off her drink and signalled the bartender to bring her another one.
"Frank Cooper?" Doris asked with a tone of incredulity. Springfield was definitely running low on men if someone like Natalia only scored a Frank Cooper. "The cop?" she asked, wanting to be sure.
"Please, the world already has one too many Frank Cooper," Olivia muttered darkly.
Doris smirked at that. "I detect animosity." She beckoned for the bartender to top her drink up. "Make it a double this time," she instructed with a polite smile.
Olivia shot a sideway glance at Doris. "I'm not sure I want to have this conversation with you. I don't recall liking you very much."
"Suit yourself. I was enjoying our conversation up till now," Doris said frankly.
Olivia bit the inside of a cheek. "Yeah, me too," she said, rather surprised at the fact.
"So... how about we put our differences aside for one night and just... talk? Because I could sure use a friend right now." She saw the skeptical look Olivia threw her way and rolled her eyes. "That's how the saying goes, okay? I'm not saying that you and I could ever be friends."
"Huh. Be sure to keep that in mind," Olivia said, picking up another cocktail stick of olives. For the life of her, she could not get the memory of Natalia's story out of her mind. Maybe a hug and some friends were exactly what Doris needed to stop being a... witch.
God, she must be turning soft in her old age.
Natalia heaved a sigh of relief when Frank finally left. He had insisted on following her back to the Beacon in his car when she said she had to go back to the hotel to do some work in a bid to end the date right after the movie.
She had spent the second half of the movie dodging his hand, making it next to impossible for her to concentrate on the film. In fact, she felt so tensed now she was actually considering getting a drink before heading back to the farmhouse.
Natalia glanced at the time on the wall and was surprised to see how early it still was, considering she had already watched a movie on a work day. She stopped by the office to look through some files; she didn't think she'd retained much information that day. Perhaps Olivia was right. She might be falling sick.
Olivia's office was still lit. Natalia frowned. Surely Olivia wasn't still at work? The woman must have missed dinner again! Sometimes Natalia wasn't sure how Olivia survived this long before she came along, making her eat and doing her laundry. Her laundry bill over the years could probably pay for the farmhouse mortgage. Emma must be with Jane or at a friend's for Olivia to still be here.
The door to Olivia's office was half open; Natalia tapped on it lightly and, upon getting no response, pushed the door fully open. The office was unoccupied. Natalia quickly saw that Olivia's belongings were still there. Perhaps she got hungry enough to leave the office for some food. Natalia's stomach rumbled and she backed out of the office after flicking the light switch off. Knowing that Olivia was still around put a bounce in Natalia's step.
The Beacon bar and restaurant was bustling with activity. Natalia scanned the place for Olivia. She chewed on her lower lip as she made her way further into the restaurant when she did not see Olivia at the bar. She was about to give up when a familiar laugh wended its way through to her. Natalia whipped her head around and finally spotted Olivia in a far corner of the restaurant, looking like she had way too much to drink and was having way too much fun with one Doris Wolfe.
Natalia's eyes widened when Doris leaned in close to Olivia. She could see that the mayor's lips were moving but it would be equally easy for Doris to lean in just a bit more and... Natalia could not finish her thought, which rocked her into action. She made her way to the two women with a stern expression on her face. What was Olivia thinking, drinking this much anyway?
Neither woman took any notice of her when she stood over them with her arms crossed in front of her chest. Natalia frowned when Doris, thinking that she was there to take their orders, raised a hand to wave her away. She could not believe that she had hugged this woman just this afternoon. Or tended to her scraped knee the other morning. Maybe her knee would get infected and she would have to go to the hospital and leave Olivia alone.
Natalia sucked in a panicked breath at the thought. Had the mayor hit on Olivia too and was actually succeeding? Dark eyes narrowed.
Olivia and Doris finally looked up. "Natalia!" Olivia said, trying to fix her unfocussed eyes on her assistant, friend, housemate, woman. Her evident happiness at seeing her tugged at Natalia's lips. She looked so much like Emma in that moment. Then Doris said something and Natalia's frown returned.
"Where's Frankie?" Olivia asked, looking past Natalia. "Good old boring Frankie," Olivia added, sending Doris and herself into a fit of laughter.
Natalia's eyes rounded and looked around hastily, hoping that no one had heard Olivia. "Olivia!" she hissed, then went over to Olivia's side when it looked as though Olivia was about to keel over.
"Natalia," Olivia said when she felt Natalia's hands on her arm and back. Their eyes met and Olivia grinned. "What are you doing here?"
"I... came to take you home," Natalia said. "It's late. We should go. I bet you haven't had dinner yet, right? And where's Emma? Is she with Jane?"
Olivia clutched at her head. "Wait, wait, you're going too fast." Doris began giggling, which started Olivia giggling; their sudden camaraderie annoyed Natalia to no end.
"Olivia, where's Emma? Do we have to pick her up from anywhere?"
"Sorry," Olivia said after she caught her breath. "She's staying over at Jodie's. What are you doing here?"
It looked like Olivia wasn't going to budge from her seat anytime soon. Natalia quickly made a decision and sat herself down beside Olivia. If you can't lick 'em, join 'em. "Getting a drink." She waved someone over. "Can I have two shots of tequila and a rum and coke chaser, please?" she asked with a dimpled smile.
Olivia and Doris exchanged skeptical looks. "Are you sure you can..."
Natalia leaned back and met both their eyes with her own. She crossed her arms in front of her again, looking for all the world like a defiant teen. "Oh, I can," she said, drawing the words out.
"But you -" Olivia started to say when Natalia's drinks arrived. She watched in wide eyed fascination when Natalia brought the shot glass to her lips, tilted her head back and slammed it down. Then she watched Natalia repeat her movements with the other shot of liquor.
"Hot," Doris commented, blinking her eyes several times.
"I didn't know you..." Olivia trailed off, gesticulating with her hand.
Natalia leaned back in her seat again, feeling rather pleased with herself. "Oh, there're a few things about me you don't know, Olivia."
Olivia lifted a brow, impressed. "I think I'm starting to find that out."
When Olivia left them to use the bathroom, Doris looked over at Natalia and sidled next to her. "How're you holdin' up?" she asked.
"Fine." Natalia was staring into her drink blankly--a third double shot rum and coke in a tall glass. Then something made her smile deeply, revealing her dimples and lighting up her eyes; Doris was intrigued.
Natalia finally looked at Doris. "What what?"
"What were you thinking about when you smiled?" Doris asked. Natalia Rivera was a beautiful woman but her smile gave her beauty an ethereal quality.
"This," Natalia said with a shrug, oblivious to Doris' thoughts. "Just sitting down, getting drunk, without a care in the world. It's... been a long time since I've done something like this," she said, her eyes taking on a faraway look.
"You hold your liquor well," Doris commented. "I'm impressed."
Natalia gave Doris a sideway glance and a half smile, which Doris found highly attractive. "You know what they say. You can take a girl out of a city but you can't take a city out of a girl."
The alcohol seemed to have loosened Natalia up slightly. Doris didn't know the woman well. From the handful of interactions that they had had, Natalia had come across as a little uptight and safe. Her opinion of Natalia was shifting, however.
"I have to say, though, the room is spinning a little," Natalia said. "Olivia's taking a long time."
"How do you feel about Olivia?" Doris asked suddenly. Olivia and she had been talking a fair bit before Natalia showed up. Doris had opened up a little about her relationship with her daughter and Olivia had told her a little about Natalia. She was curious about how Natalia felt about Olivia.
Natalia blinked. "What do you mean?" she asked in a guarded tone.
"You know what I mean."
"I don't even know you. Why are you asking -" Natalia started saying, then paused. Maybe Doris was trying to suss her out to see if she had a chance with Olivia. Natalia may not know many things but she knew that she did not want Olivia in Doris' bed. "You're not interested in Olivia, are you?" she asked sharply.
Doris' gaze turned shrewd. "Well, I've since learnt that you two aren't a couple so..." she trailed off, letting Natalia take it whatever way she wanted.
"Olivia doesn't like women," Natalia said with certainty. "You're barking up the wrong tree."
"Olivia is a sexual creature. I'm sure she would go for women if she's attracted to one," Doris said, awaiting Natalia's reaction with interest.
The phrase 'Olivia is a sexual creature' did funny things to Natalia's stomach. She spotted Olivia making her way to them and her breath caught in her throat. Olivia looked so good in her all black ensemble. Natalia had never considered walking to be a sexy activity but Olivia striding towards them in those heels would easily put a model to shame.
The alcohol in her system seemed to have muted her voice of inhibition.
Olivia caught her eyes with her own, making Natalia's world contract to just Olivia and herself. She felt breathless even though she was seated. Olivia had the most amazing eyes, lips, body, stance, legs, feet. Feet, legs, stance, body, lips, eyes. Natalia licked her lips unconsciously.
The room suddenly felt claustrophobic. She wanted to get up from her seat, meet Olivia halfway, grab her face in her hands and repeat the kiss that had been on her mind ever since it happened. Except this time, she wouldn't just stand there, frozen. She wanted to run her fingers through Olivia's hair, down her neck, around her shoulders, along her arms...
Olivia made her feel, want and desire the way she had never done before in her life. She was tendrils of black smoke, wrapping around smooth flesh, gently caressing, deceptively harmless. She was liquid heat, all consuming, burning a track down Natalia's body. She was gravel, gritty and rough against skin, then velvet, silky smooth and tempting.
Olivia's perfume reached her, making her eyes flutter shut for a brief moment. The scent felt tangible; Natalia wanted to reach out and wrap her fingers around it, bring it against her face and caress it.
"Natalia, are you okay?" Olivia asked, feeling a little self-conscious at being looked at like that by Natalia. Her own reaction confused her; she normally felt empowered when men looked at her with desire.
That was it, though. Natalia wasn't a man. Natalia was... Natalia. Olivia swallowed, suddenly feeling nervous.
Doris cleared her throat softly, her eyes darting from Olivia to Natalia. She slid out of her seat and made a beeline for the bathroom, wanting to give the ladies some privacy. Even just sitting there made her feel like she was intruding.
She found it fascinating that these two women who were as different as night and day could find a common ground with and grow this close to each other. It gave her hope that maybe one day, she could find someone who would complement her as well as she did them.
Alan Spaulding had approached her with Emma Spencer's "My Two Mommies" presentation and she had been entertaining the idea of holding a press conference to address the issue--for revenge and a little bit of fun, of course--but after today, she knew that she would do no such thing. Alan would just have to deal.
Natalia barely noticed the mayor leaving their table. She reached for her drink blindly and tossed it back in two gulps, her eyes still trained on Olivia's face. Her heart was racing. She stood up, her face inches from a startled Olivia's.
"Natalia?" Olivia's voice was weak and tentative.
Natalia could feel Olivia's breath on her face and make out the swirl of colours in Olivia's eyes. Another inch forward and the tips of their noses would touch. Olivia wasn't even aware that she was holding her breath until she let it out shakily. She didn't think she had ever seen Natalia in this light before.
Of the two of them, Natalia had always been the sensible, caring, nurturing one. She was the one who made sure that Olivia ate well, had clean clothes to wear, did not give in to depression and give up on life. She was the one who knew where Emma's books were, woke up in time to make sure Emma had her breakfast before the bus came, the one who prepared Emma's lunch. Olivia knew she loved Natalia for all the good that she had brought into their lives.
But the Natalia before her right now... she was that same person and more, and Olivia didn't know... she just didn't know what she felt.
Olivia was all for exploring the physical effect she recently discovered she had on Natalia. It had been thrilling for her to see Natalia flustered around her. But she wasn't prepared for... whatever this was... when Natalia looked at her like that. It made her chest ache and her heart race; it made her feel like she was the only person Natalia saw.
"I think maybe you should take me home," Natalia said in a soft whisper, feeling herself sway slightly.
Olivia could feel Natalia's breath on her lips and she swallowed hard. "Take you home?" she asked in a strangled voice. That could mean two very different things... Oh, as if Natalia would... Olivia's thought was rudely interrupted when Natalia's face came closer. Olivia's lips tingled from the nearness of Natalia's lips and she thought she might be underestimating Natalia again.
"Yes, Olivia. Which part of that very simple sentence don't you understand?" Natalia asked with a raised brow and a slight smirk. She had regained her equilibrium.
What was it that Doris had said earlier? Hot. Olivia was acutely aware of Natalia's eyes on her lips; her own eyes were drawn to Natalia's. Olivia's body felt like it was on fire and they weren't even touching; this was madness.
"Okay, I'll call for a car to take us home. We should give Doris a ride -"
"No." Natalia's tone was firm.
Olivia lifted a brow. "No?"
"Call another car for the mayor. I don't wanna share you any longer," Natalia said. Olivia looked at her in disbelief. If this was what alcohol did to Natalia, maybe she should invest in a winery... or never let Natalia near any alcohol again.
"Well, okay. I'll just let Doris know that we're leav -"
Natalia looked downright petulant and Olivia couldn't help but laugh at her expression. It dispersed the charged up energy between them and Olivia felt a little more normal. "What now, Princess Natalia?"
"I'll let her know we're leaving. You call the cars. That's plural. Two," Natalia said, wanting to be sure that Olivia understood her.
Olivia looked amused. "Anything else you'd like your humble servant to do before you dismiss her?" Her smile faltered when Natalia looked like she was seriously considering her answer. "Uh, that was a rhetorical -" The sentence caught in her throat when Natalia's hands came up to cradle her face. The temperature in the room rose exponentially with that move, and once again, Olivia was caught offguard.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to sound so pushy," Natalia murmured, her lips hovering close to Olivia's. Olivia did not dare move a muscle. A part of her found it highly ironic that she, of all people, was frozen by the prospect of a kiss.
"Natalia..." Olivia said warningly. There was too much to consider, too many things they had to talk about, too many things she had to think about, and both of them had had too much to drink...
"Hm?" Natalia sounded so gentle and looked so beautiful... There was that ache in her chest again. And Natalia's eyes were fixated on her lips. Hers, of all people!
To hell with it. Olivia inched her face closer till the tips of their noses were touching. She watched as Natalia's eyes left her lips to lock with her own and her breath caught. She couldn't. Natalia meant too much to her for her to...
Natalia heard someone address her but she didn't care because it wasn't Olivia. She slanted her face and touched her lips to Olivia's.
Olivia's lips were soft and yielding. Natalia let out a soft whimper when it hit home that she was actually kissing Olivia. Dark, shapeless doubts were still in the background, shifting and whispering, but the roaring sound of blood rushing to her head drowned them out for the moment. Her hands, which were still cradling Olivia's face, splayed open when her lips parted. She slowly slid her fingers through Olivia's hair as she touched a tentative tongue to a full lower lip.
Olivia felt her breath rush out of her lungs when she felt Natalia's tongue on her lips and hands in her hair. They had had a lot to drink. What if Natalia was kissing her, thinking that she was Frank? The brief thought made Olivia grimace inwardly.
"Olivia?" Her heart skipped a beat at the soft utterance of her name--tentative, nervous, a question... a question which squelched her doubts. Natalia knew exactly who she was kissing. Olivia finally moved her limp arms and slid them around Natalia's waist, pulling their bodies tight against each other's. She heard Natalia gasp and managed a smug half smile before dipping her head to claim soft lips.
Natalia tangled her fingers in chestnut brown hair, losing herself in the feel, scent, touch of Olivia. If she allowed herself a moment of rational thought, she would stop and this felt too good to end. So she slid her tongue against Olivia's instead, and felt the intimacy of the contact in the pit of her stomach. Olivia's answering growl fuelled her passion; she raised herself on tiptoes and slid her arms around Olivia's shoulders, only vaguely aware that her hair was falling forward and enveloping their faces in satin darkness.
Olivia sounded as breathless as Natalia felt. It made Natalia smile. The room was spinning slightly when she opened her eyes, but she wasn't sure if it was from the alcohol or the kiss. She touched a finger to Olivia's lips, wanting to stretch out this moment and imprint it in her inebriated mind.
Then she felt someone's eyes on them and looked over with a slight frown. It quickly morphed into a look of surprise when she saw who it was. "What are you doing here, Frank?"
"I -" he sputtered, his mind still reeling from what he had witnessed. "I thought I'd see if you've finished what you had to do -" He caught himself explaining to her and shook his head. "What are you doing?" he asked, hurt and accusation lacing his voice. He shot Olivia a disgusted look.
"I..." Natalia's eyes shifted from Frank to Olivia and she sighed softly when she realised that Olivia's arms were around her, albeit loosely.
"Natalia?" Frank called out when Natalia didn't seem to be engaged in their conversation. He wanted to stalk over and pull her away from Olivia, who was obviously responsible for all of this.
"Frank, go home," Olivia said finally, feeling highly unsettled at the way Natalia was still looking at her. Her thoughts were everywhere but if there was one thing she knew, it was that neither of them owed Frank Cooper any explanation.
"Natalia?" Frank said again, ignoring Olivia.
Natalia looked over to Frank and bit on her lower lip. "Sorry Frank, you're a great guy but..." You're not Olivia and you don't make me feel like she does and you don't have her smile, her scent, her softness, her forcefulness, her intelligence and beauty... and you definitely can't kiss like she does. "...we're better off as friends."
"That's it?" Frank asked, incredulous. "Natalia, you're clearly drunk. Let me take you home," he said, taking a step forward, much to Olivia's annoyance. She tightened her hold on Natalia unconsciously.
"Frank, I'm not a child. I know what I'm saying and doing even though I've had a few to drink," Natalia said, frowning slightly. She knew the man was disappointed but it wasn't as though she was engaged to him or anything. They had gone on three dates.
"You don't know Olivia. She's -" Frank started.
"Frank, listen to Olivia and go home," Natalia said. "I think I'm old enough to decide what I want." Olivia's brows jumped at that but she remained silent, content to let Natalia take charge.
"Natalia..." Frank said, unwilling to let it go just like that.
Natalia eased herself out of Olivia's arms and went towards Frank. "Frank, we've only been on three dates," she said softly to take the edge off the words. "You don't own me."
"But I thought we had something," he said petulantly. "You're just drunk and not thinking straight -"
Oh Frankie, you finally got something right, Olivia thought with a silent chuckle.
Natalia frowned. "Stop telling me what I'm feeling. Only I know what I feel and I'm telling you, I feel fine. I'd like us to still be friends but if this conversation continues, I'm not sure..."
"Fine," Frank said finally. "Call me when you're sober. Then we'll talk." He gave Olivia one last look before he turned and walked away.
Doris Wolfe sauntered over to Olivia with a smirk on her face. "Why is it that all the good stuff happens when you go to the loo?"
Natalia woke up with a grimace. Her head was throbbing. She reached out blindly for another pillow to cover her face and almost jumped out of her skin when her hand made contact with warm flesh.
Natalia's eyes shot open; she sat up on the bed so quickly that her headache actually disappeared for a brief moment before it crashed back into her. When the excruciating pain lessened to a dull throb, Natalia opened her eyes again. "Olivia?"
Images from the night before slowly came back to her. They had stumbled home and up the stairs. They hadn't been able to stop giggling for some reason or other and had gotten ready for bed separately. One of them had suggested that they talked about what had happened at the Beacon, so they had crawled into Olivia's bed together but no talking had ensued. Instead, Natalia could only remember feeling very comfortable and drowsy lying there, holding Olivia's hand, before she drifted off to sleep.
Natalia rummaged through her blotchy memory again and concluded that there had been no more kissing after that one kiss at the Beacon. She bit her lower lip as she gazed upon a slumbering Olivia. Now that day had broken, and alcohol and nighttime fancies had taken flight... where did that leave them? What did she want? What did Olivia want? What about Emma? Rafe? What about her religion? What would people think?
Oh God, what have I done?
Her eyes fell on Olivia again and the sight staved off her rising panic. Natalia reached out a tentative hand and allowed it to hover a breath away from Olivia's face. She wanted so much to stroke Olivia's cheek but she didn't want Olivia to wake up and think that Natalia had taken further liberties with her. So she contented herself with her imaginary caress.
Whatever the outcome, she would not apologise for this, she decided. There could be no wrong in this... in loving Olivia. If God is love, then God would not condemn any kind of love, as long as it did not inflict pain or harm on someone else... right? She needed to go to church to reconcile her love and trust in God with what she felt for the woman lying next to her. This could not be a sin. Love could not be a sin.
Yes, but the things that you want to do with Olivia, on the other hand... Natalia blushed slightly at the thought. Therein laid her dilemma. She had never felt this overwhelming urge to be physically close to someone before.
"What are you thinking?" Natalia's gasp died in her throat when her eyes flicked up to meet Olivia's sleepy but amused ones. "Whatever it is, it must be good," she added in her husky, sleep-coated voice.
Natalia swallowed and blushed again. She made to return to her side of the bed when Olivia caught her hand and stopped her. "Stay." Her voice was soft and small, and it made Natalia want to stretch her body out against Olivia's and bury her face in the crook of her neck but she did not think that it would be appropriate.
Instead, she looked at their joined hands and gently moved her thumb across Olivia's knuckles. Then she uncurled Olivia's fingers by straightening her own. She looked on, mesmerised, as the back of her fingers caressed Olivia's palm. She traced Olivia's palm lines with her index finger, loving its soft yet firm texture.
Her name was a sigh, falling from those lips. Natalia raised her eyes again.
"What are you doing to me?"
She could see the conflict in Olivia's eyes, splashed across Olivia's face. It worried yet emboldened her at the same time. "Hopefully the same thing you're doing to me," she answered truthfully. She would not reveal everything but she would not step back either.
"What am I doing to you?" Olivia looked curious. She pulled Natalia's hand to her face and pressed it against her cheek, smiling when Natalia did.
Natalia searched Olivia's face for a long moment. "You make me feel."
"C'mere," Olivia said finally, urging Natalia to lie down facing her. She shifted herself so that Natalia could share her pillow. Their tangled fingers lay between them.
"We're gonna be late for work if we don't get up soon," Natalia informed Olivia softly after a quick glance at the clock.
"We're taking the day off. Boss' order," Olivia said brusquely.
Natalia lifted a brow, amused. "We still have to let someone know that we're not coming in and cancel all your appointments for today."
"Fine, we'll call them in two hours."
Natalia was now sure that she had gone mad because even the utterance of such a mundane sentence in a no nonsense manner made her want to have her way with Olivia. She shifted backwards slightly and was alarmed when Olivia shifted forwards, cutting the gap between them in half. "You can't do that," she said finally in a shaky voice.
Olivia's brow rose. "Do what?" Her voice was low, scratchy--unintentionally so, Natalia was sure, but it sent a faint tremor through her.
Natalia tried to collect her thoughts. "Come this close to me," she said in a whisper.
"If I recall correctly, you kissed me last night."
Hearing Olivia acknowledge that sent Natalia's stomach into a frenzy. She swallowed hard. "I... did do that."
"And you also broke up with Frank," Olivia said in a softer tone.
Natalia frowned. "It's not really breaking up when you've only been on a few dates, is it? We haven't even kissed yet."
Olivia grimaced at the thought of Natalia and Frank tangling tongues and exchanging fluids. "Ew." At Natalia's bemused expression, Olivia's face softened. "So you're... we should talk about what happened last night?"
Natalia chewed on her lower lip and averted her eyes. "We don't have to," Olivia continued hurriedly. "We both had had a lot to drink and people do stupid things when they're drunk and..."
Natalia's frown returned. "It wasn't stupid and I knew what I was doing."
"Oh." Olivia did not know what to think. Natalia was actually owning up to her actions.
"And I wanna do it again. If it's what you want too, of course," Natalia said hastily.
"Oh." Olivia did not know what to think. Natalia was actually expressing her desire to repeat the kiss. Sober.
"Unless you don't..." Natalia wasn't sure what Olivia was feeling at all with her one-worded answers.
Olivia opened her mouth but no sound was emitted. She forced it shut again, then realised that her silence might be taken the wrong way. So she gave up thinking, leaned forward and planted a chaste kiss on Natalia's lips, loving the thrill the simple gesture gave her.
They smiled at each other stupidly, their lips a breath apart. "We still have to talk but I do want this too, okay?" Olivia said, her heart doing a mini set of acrobatics in her chest.
"Okay," Natalia said, trying to calm her racing heart down. "So... coffee?"
Olivia nodded. "Coffee."
Olivia watched Natalia putter around the kitchen. It was a scene familiar to her but for some reason, she felt as though she was seeing it, and Natalia, for the first time. How did they get to this point without her realising it?
They had started to finish each other's sentences, read each other's thoughts and anticipate each other's needs; that could all be explained by their closeness, which was brought about by their living and working arrangements. But when did her eyes start softening, lips start curving up, heart start skipping beats when Natalia looked at her, smiled at her or touched her?
"Here," Natalia said, placing a mug of coffee in front of Olivia. They exchanged a tentative smile.
"Thanks." Olivia brought the mug of coffee to her lips and blew on the hot liquid before taking a sip. "Oh, much better," she murmured under her breath.
Natalia smiled. Face tilted up with her eyes closed, Olivia looked utterly content. She let out a small sigh when her eyes fell on Olivia's lips. A part of her still could not believe what had happened between them.
Olivia cleared her throat. "So..." she began, not knowing what else to say after that. Natalia pursed her lips together. She didn't know what to say either. "What happens now?" Olivia asked finally.
"I don't know," Natalia said.
"We can go back to Miss Jennings to set her straight again," Olivia said jokingly, eliciting a giggle from Natalia and effectively dispersing the awkwardness that had crept up between them. "Or... we could go on a date."
Natalia bit on her lower lip to contain the smile that was threatening to split her face in half. "We could."
"Because, you know, we could have a really horrible date and decide we're better off as friends," Olivia said. "Then all this talking would be for nothing."
"A complete waste of time," Natalia agreed.
"All right, then..." Olivia said, feeling better now that they had agreed on their next course of action. "Where would you like to go on our first date?" Her lips curved up at the blush and sweet smile that invaded Natalia's face at that. "Why are you smiling like that?" she asked in a tone she rarely used. It was soft and shy and full of affection.
"Because... I don't know, you said 'our first date'..." Natalia trailed off, feeling rather silly.
Charmed, Olivia shifted closer to Natalia and placed her hand on hers, aware that her heart was going a hundred miles an hour. Something had changed in the last twelve hours because what she was feeling for Natalia right now had increased in its intensity. There was the kiss, of course, but Olivia knew it wasn't just that. She would figure it out eventually, she supposed, but right now, she had other things on her mind.
"Can I kiss you again?" Olivia asked, her eyes falling on Natalia's lips.
If Natalia was surprised by the request, she did not show it. In reply, she cupped Olivia's cheek with one hand and drew her face closer, loving the smile that played on her lips and answering it with one of her own. Her heart did a lazy flip when she saw that desire had coloured Olivia's eyes a shade darker.
Olivia was looking at her like that, she thought dizzily. Then their lips touched and Natalia's eyes fluttered shut.
The kiss was maddeningly slow. Olivia brushed their lips together ever so lightly before she took Natalia's lower lip into her mouth and sucked on it gently. Natalia ran the tip of her tongue across Olivia's lip, hissing slightly when she felt Olivia's teeth grazing her. Then Olivia slanted her face a little more and deepened the kiss, sending a spike of desire through Natalia with the first stroke of her tongue. Natalia moaned in response and tried to bring Olivia's face closer.
Natalia's gentle urging was Olivia's undoing. The tangle of their tongues became more urgent. Olivia lifted a hand to palm Natalia's cheek; the tips of her fingers stroked the soft skin below Natalia's ear. She broke their kiss gently, and Natalia opened her eyes, looking slightly dazed.
"You taste so good," Olivia whispered in wonder before dipping her head again. Natalia whimpered as the assault on her senses, mind and mouth resumed.
She had wondered if it would be different to kiss Olivia when they were both sober, if the alcohol that she had consumed had enhanced the sensation of their kiss the night before. Now she could safely say that their kiss the night before had absolutely nothing on the kiss she was experiencing now.
The church was peaceful and welcoming, as it always was for Natalia. She breathed in deeply when she stood at its entrance; the first step that she took into the church felt momentous after everything that had happened in the last week and a half. She had so many things to be thankful for.
She made for the votive candles and lit the first one for Rafe. The church was her first stop of the day; the prison was next. Natalia had trouble calming her jittery nerves.
Natalia turned around to see her priest, Father Ray, approaching her with a welcoming smile on his face. "Good morning, Father."
"We missed you at service last week," Father Ray said, standing beside Natalia with his hands clasped loosely in each other before him.
"Yes, I'm sorry, the rain..." Natalia started explaining.
"It's okay, Natalia. I just wanted you to know that you were missed." Father Ray gave Natalia the once over and noticed the slight flush in her cheeks. "I trust that you've been well?"
Natalia lowered her face slightly and smiled at the question. "Yes, Father. I'm here to give thanks and to pray for Rafe. He's getting a hearing in a few weeks. We're hoping to get him an early parole."
"Oh, that is good news indeed!" Father Ray said, a smile breaking on his usually composed face.
"Yes. Olivia and the mayor made it happen," Natalia said, her voice softening when she said Olivia's name. The flood of warmth that washed over her at the simple mention of Olivia reinforced her decision.
"We'll have to praise the Lord for doing his good work through them," Father Ray said, smiling. "And to thank the Lord for their presence in your life."
Natalia nodded, unable to stop smiling. She went to the pews, sat down, and crossed herself. She prayed for Rafe and gave thanks for the mayor and her help, for Emma, and for the gift of Olivia. Then she took a deep breath and prayed for guidance.
What she was feeling around Olivia wasn't anything she could remember feeling for anyone. The 'love' bit she had accepted easily enough; it was the 'lust' bit that she was having a slight problem with. Clearly not enough to stop you from acting on it. Natalia felt her cheeks warming at the thought.
But if the love she felt for Olivia was a gift from God, then shouldn't it follow that everything else that came with it was also a gift? Surely feeling passion borne out of love for the person you could see yourself being pledged to could not be a sin.
Olivia walked down Main Street with a bounce in her step. She was trying to hold on to her good mood and disregard the niggling voice in the back of her head that insisted on reminding her that good things never ever happened to her... not for long anyway.
Natalia had dropped Olivia off at the Beacon to make sure that their last minute absence hadn't created too much of an upheaval while she took the car to visit Rafe. Olivia glanced at her watch and her stomach did a small cartwheel when she saw that it was nearing the time for them to meet up again. Olivia smirked at herself; it was oddly thrilling to associate these newfound feelings with Natalia. She would never have thought, could never have imagined herself falling for Natalia.
But that was exactly what she went and did anyway.
Olivia stepped into a florist and took a deep breath. Date equals flowers, wining and dining, with the possibility of making out at the end of it, right? Right.
Olivia analysed the events from the day before in the attempt to pinpoint the exact moment where everything changed for her. She had known that Natalia fancied her, and had taken it upon herself to tease Natalia with seemingly innocent touches and looks all day long at the Beacon. She had been well aware of the effect she had had over Natalia, had seen the flustered look on Natalia's face each time she ran a hand down her arm or leaned in close to say something. Then Natalia went on her date with Frank and she had felt so irritated. But up till then--and Olivia was pretty sure about this--making Natalia flustered had just been a challenge for her.
Things probably first changed when Natalia sat herself down with Doris and herself and ordered her drinks, Olivia thought as she looked at the different flowers in front of her. No, it was when Natalia did those shots of liquor, Olivia decided, chewing on her lower lip. Or maybe it was when Natalia folded her arms and gave her that look when she said there were still things Olivia did not know about her. Or maybe...
"Excuse me, can I help you?" a warm, friendly voice broke Olivia out of her reverie.
"Oh, yeah. Uh, I wanna get some flowers," she said before she rolled her eyes at herself. She was at a florist, for God's sake. What else could she be after? "For a date," she continued. "It's our first date and... I need it to be perfect... not too over the top..." she rambled.
The woman smiled. "How about we put something together for you? How about white lilies? They're simple and elegant. Or irises? Or would you want to go with roses?"
Olivia tapped her finger on her lips. "Irises," she said finally. She liked the way the striking yellow and deep purple on the flower petals contrasted with each other, kinda like Natalia and herself. Please tell me you did not just think that, Olivia thought, aghast. She was Olivia Freakin' Spencer, not some sappy, lovesick fool! She gave the woman a weak smile and watched her pick out the flowers.
Olivia exited the florist, feeling exceedingly pleased with herself. The flowers were housed in a long, white box that was lined with soft, lavender paper and tied up with a bit of brown string. She hoped Natalia would like it. Olivia leaned against a post box where they had arranged to meet and rummaged her purse for her ringing cell phone.
Olivia looked up and was filled with dread when she saw Frank approaching her with a frown on his face. "Hi, Frank," she greeted in what she hoped was a nonchalant voice. The ringing had stopped, so she straightened herself to prepare for a confrontation with Frank.
"Don't 'Hi, Frank' me. What do you want with Natalia?" he demanded, brown eyes flashing.
Olivia lifted a brow. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"You... don't you remember what happened at the Beacon last night?" Frank asked. "You and Natalia were..."
"Kissing," Olivia supplied helpfully, much to Frank's ire. "So?"
"So? What do you mean so? It's wrong! You're both women -"
Olivia nodded. "Good job, Frank. What clued you in? Our perfectly manicured fingers?"
"I'm warning you, stay away from Natalia. She doesn't need your influence. You and Emma should move out of the farmhouse because..."
"Olivia! Sorry I'm late." Frank and Olivia whipped their heads around at the same time. Natalia was hurrying towards them in a pair of tight fitting denims and a white ribbed singlet, her dark hair flying into her face because of the wind. Olivia didn't think she had ever seen anything quite so beautiful. Then Natalia reached them and floored Olivia with a kiss on her cheek. "Hi."
Olivia swallowed. "Hi," she said, not trusting herself to say anything more.
"Natalia, can we talk please?"
Olivia closed her eyes briefly and willed Frank to fall off the face of the earth.
"Sorry, Frank, we're already late as it is," Natalia said, turning to Frank. "And I'd really appreciate it if you stopped harrassing either of us."
"But Natalia, Olivia -" Frank persisted, only to be cut off by Natalia's frown.
"Frank, I have a teenage son whom I brought up on my own. I've taken care of both him and myself since I was sixteen. Do I really seem so helpless and stupid to you?"
Frank shook his head. "But you don't know Olivia -"
"Frank, I'm... grateful that you're looking out for me but you're really overstepping your boundaries here, okay?" Natalia said, hoping that Frank would hear her.
Frank snapped his mouth shut at that. "Fine," he said, throwing both women a dark look. "Don't say I didn't warn you."
Olivia could not help throwing him a smug smile and a tiny wave goodbye before she turned to Natalia. "Go, Natalia!" she said, impressed.
"Come on, let's go!" Natalia said, pulling at Olivia's hand.
"Wait, what's the rush? You just got here," Olivia said, half jogging behind Natalia. She felt her breath catch in her throat when Natalia turned to her with a dimpled smile.
"We're late for our date, silly."
Natalia drove them to a quaint restaurant that overlooked water. Olivia looked around, still holding on to the box of flowers she had gotten for Natalia, feeling like she was in a dream. "Reservations for Spencer-Rivera, party of two?" the maître d' asked.
Olivia lifted a brow. She could get used to hearing that. Spencer-Rivera. It had a nice ring to it. They followed the maître d' to their seats. "Busy morning?" Olivia asked, amusement lacing her voice.
Natalia blushed slightly. "You can say that."
"He's good. Ecstatic about the news. Hopeful," Natalia said with a big smile. Olivia was infected by her happiness and began smiling too. "I... told him that I was going on a date with you."
Olivia's brows jumped into her hairline. "You did?"
"He asked why I wasn't at work and where I was going, so I told him. And... he mentioned this place for a date." Natalia looked around. "My son has good taste, doesn't he? Except I'm not sure where he got the money to eat at a place like this."
"That's it? He told you where to take me?" Olivia asked incredulously. Things couldn't be this simple; things were never this simple.
Natalia bit her lower lip and Olivia instantly knew that she was hiding something. "What else did he say?" Olivia asked, preparing herself for the worst.
"He said... I scolded him for it, Olivia," Natalia said, meeting Olivia's eyes, which were filled with apprehension. "He said he'd kick your... behind... if you do anything to hurt me."
Olivia stared at Natalia. "Lemme guess, he got scolded for using the word 'ass'," she said when she recovered from her surprise.
"Yes, and for suggesting that he would kick you under any circumstance," Natalia said, making Olivia snort. "Okay, what's that and is it for me?" Natalia asked, looking pointedly at the white box that Olivia had been carrying with her.
"Um." Olivia handed the box over to Natalia, feeling a little self-conscious. "Yes, it's for you."
Natalia pulled on the bit of brown string and opened up the box. Her smile deepened. "Thank you," she murmured, touching a finger to the flower petals. "They're beautiful."
The waitperson arrived with their drinks and Olivia quickly reached for her wine. She could not understand why she was feeling this nervous around Natalia; they had had countless meals together, for heaven's sake. She caught Natalia studying her and let out a shaky breath. "What?" she asked self-consciously.
"I think you're wrong," Natalia said finally.
"About?" Olivia chewed on her lower lip; her nerves were acting up again.
"I know it's just started but this is probably one of the best dates I've been on."
At that, Olivia's nerves flew out of the window and she smiled. Maybe, just this once, things could be this simple. "Oh, you haven't seen anything yet." At Natalia's questioning look, Olivia continued, "Wait till we get to the kiss at the end of the date."
Natalia's breath hitched and she blushed.
Olivia tapped her pen on her desk absently as she ruminated. Everything in her life was going scarily well. In her world, it meant that something bad of an equal or greater magnitude was going to happen to balance things out because Olivia's happiness never lasted. She was anxiously waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop.
When no shoe miraculously fell from the ceiling, Olivia sighed and tossed her pen onto her desk, watching it skid to a halt at a picture of Emma and herself. Olivia picked up the photo frame and traced her daughter's smiling face with her finger. Then her cell rang, shaking her out of her reverie.
"Mommy, can you come get me?"
Olivia heard the tears in her daughter's voice and her brows furrowed as she stood up quickly, reaching for her purse and car keys. "Of course, baby, are you okay? Where are you? What happened?"
"I'm still at school. I'm not allowed at Derek's house," Emma said tearfully.
"Why not?" Olivia punched the elevator button impatiently. Emma was meant to go over to her classmate's house for a play date after school.
"I'm not allowed to play with him anymore." Emma sniffled. The sound tore at Olivia's heart.
"Emma, baby, Mommy'll be there in five minutes. Don't go anywhere, okay?" Olivia said when the lift door slid close. After getting a soft acquiescence from her daughter, her cell went dead due to the lack of reception in the elevator. Olivia thumbed the elevator button for the hotel lobby anxiously.
The shoe was supposed to fall on her, not her daughter, damn it!
Natalia hummed as she dropped freshly cooked meatballs into tomato based sauce that she had simmering on the stove. Olivia and Emma weren't due back for another hour and a half, so she had plenty of time. Her brows furrowed when she heard the slamming of car doors. She cleaned her hands on the tea towel and went to see who it was.
"Hey sweetie," Natalia greeted when Emma trudged up the driveway. She frowned at the sullen, tear-stained face. "Is everything okay? What happened?" she asked immediately, bending forward with her palms on her thighs.
Emma flung her arms around a worried Natalia, who squeezed her tightly. Natalia met Olivia's eyes over Emma's shoulder. Olivia walked over to the two of them and pressed a kiss to Emma's head. "Come on, baby, let's get changed. Natalia made your favourite spaghetti meatballs today," Olivia said, trying to inject enthusiasm into her voice.
"Okay," Emma mumbled as she dragged her feet into the house and up the stairs. Natalia followed Olivia and Emma with her eyes before she went back into the kitchen.
Olivia made it downstairs before Emma did and made a beeline for the kitchen. "What happened?" Natalia asked in a concerned, hushed voice.
"Apparently Emma's not allowed to play with her friend Derek anymore," Olivia said, her face taut.
Natalia frowned. "Why not?"
"Because of her presentation." Olivia pinched the bridge of her nose. "Because of us."
Natalia felt a sickening lurch in her stomach at that. "Have you... what did you..." Natalia chewed on her lower lip, feeling a sense of dread creeping up on her for reasons she could not pinpoint.
"Oh, I wanted to drive over and give them a tongue lashing when Emma finally told me but..." Olivia shot a worried look up the stairs. "I didn't want to upset Emma further..."
Emma appeared then, effectively ending their discussion. Natalia served everyone their dinner and tried to lighten the mood several times but she could not shake off the sense of impending doom that seemed to be growing by the second. Her dinner tasted like sawdust in her mouth.
"Mommy, why doesn't Derek want to play with me anymore?" Emma asked in a small voice when they were halfway through the meal. Natalia immediately raised her eyes to Olivia, who avoided meeting them.
"Baby, do you remember your class presentation?" At Emma's sullen nod, Olivia took a deep breath. "There are different types of families. Some families are made up of a daddy and a mommy, some just have one daddy or one mommy, and you..."
"I have two mommies," Emma said, looking from Natalia to Olivia.
Olivia nodded as she searched for the right words to say. "That's right. And sometimes people get scared of things that are different."
Emma frowned. "Derek is scared of me because I have two mommies?" she asked in disbelief.
"No, baby, Derek's parents are probably the ones who don't like that you have two mommies. And so they've told Derek that he can't play with you anymore because instead of a daddy and a mommy, you have two mommies."
"That's stupid," Emma said finally. "I don't want to play with him anymore either!"
Olivia was about to agree when Natalia said, "They're just ignorant, Emma. And sometimes ignorance make people do things that aren't right. But you shouldn't stop trying to be friends with Derek just because of what his parents think."
"But he doesn't want to play with me anymore," Emma argued. "So why should I still try to be friends with him?"
"Sometimes people don't see that what they're doing is not right and you have to be patient with them. If you start ignoring him too, it will just make him think that his parents are right, that you're not someone he wants to play with. If you're still nice to him, one day he'll question why his parents don't allow him to play with you anymore because you're still the same Emma Spencer."
Olivia finally met her eyes to Natalia's. "I think Natalia's right, baby. There's nothing wrong with your family and there's nothing wrong with you. You don't have to be extra friendly to Derek but you shouldn't ignore him either. One day, hopefully, he'll see that there's nothing to be afraid of."
"I like having two mommies," Emma stated, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "Derek's just a scaredy cat."
Olivia smirked and was about to agree when Natalia lifted a brow at her. Olivia rolled her eyes. "He's just trying to be a good boy and listen to his parents, okay baby?" She looked at her daughter, who looked like she had found her appetite.
"This is really yummy, Natalia," Emma said, waving a meatball in the air.
Olivia blew out a breath as she half listened to Emma tell Natalia about her day. She knew that Natalia was picking up on her mood but there were things that she needed to think about. This incident was a reminder that the world could be a hostile place.
After tucking Emma in, Olivia went and got herself some wine. By the time Natalia came to join her on the bench, she was already halfway through her second glass and feeling a little more relaxed.
Olivia raised her head to see a tentative looking Natalia standing beside her. "Hey." A part of her felt like she needed space to think but another part of her wanted to pull Natalia close and forget that the rest of the world existed.
"I just wanted to say goodnight," Natalia said softly. She swallowed the lump that had materialised in her throat and breathed out shakily when Olivia did not answer her. "Well, goodnight then," she said, turning to go. She felt the burning feeling of tears rushing up from within her.
"Sit with me... if you want," Olivia murmured. She shifted over slightly when Natalia sat herself down beside her. "Wine?" she offered.
Natalia shook her head. She stared into the night, feeling... lost. They soaked in the silence around them; Olivia did not feel the need to speak and Natalia did not know what to say.
Then finally, Olivia broke the silence. "Good things don't happen to me." She gave Natalia a sideway glance. "I'm Olivia Spencer, and..." She let out a soft, deprecating laugh. "...good things don't happen to me. You, Natalia? You're a good thing. You're the best thing. And you scare the hell outta me."
Natalia made to speak but stopped herself when she saw Olivia take a breath to continue.
"I was just sitting in my office earlier, thinking about this. Waiting for the other shoe to drop--or rather, for the brick to fly in my face. And then Emma called and..." Olivia shook her head. "Good things just don't happen to me, you know?" she said, sounding wistful.
Natalia bit on her lower lip as she considered what Olivia was saying. "Have you... ever considered... that you're the good thing in my life?" she asked haltingly. At Olivia's skeptical look, Natalia trudged on. "You have made me happier than I can ever remember being, Olivia."
"I love being with you. I love the way you look, the way your laugh sounds. You're the first thing I think about when I wake up and... I've replayed all our kisses to the point of exhaustion in my head." That finally got a smirk from Olivia; it made Natalia smile despite the sadness that was spreading through her chest at what she was about to say next. "But you know what? If you tell me now that you don't want us to be together... that way... I will still love everything -"
Olivia leaned in at that and captured Natalia's lips before she could continue. She sank her fingers into smooth, dark tresses to bring Natalia closer. The kiss was soft, like a healing balm, and it sent a faint tremor through Natalia. Then Olivia slid her tongue past Natalia's lips and moaned softly at the heat she found there.
When they were together like this, nothing else mattered.
"I feel like Derek, the scaredy cat," Olivia murmured when they finally broke apart.
Natalia smiled sweetly. "That's okay, because I won't stop trying to be your friend."
"Oh, if this is what being your friend means, I'm signing up for the best friend position," Olivia said with an evil smirk and a lift of her brow.
"Olivia!" Natalia exclaimed, blushing slightly.
"Oh, wait. I already got the position, haven't I? So what're my special best friend benefits?" Olivia continued with her teasing, feeling so much better than she did before.
Natalia threaded their fingers together and rested her head on Olivia's shoulder. "You get to know that I'm always on your side. And if the brick does fly in your face, I'll be there to revive you with an ice pack."
Olivia chuckled. "And mouth to mouth resuscitation?"
Natalia rolled her eyes. "If that's what you need, sure."
"I think I need one now," Olivia said, peering down at Natalia. She laughed at the glare Natalia gave her. "I'm serious Natalia. My heart's about to stop. Oh, it's stopped. Mouth to mouth," Olivia said, pointing to her lips.
Natalia giggled and touched her fingers to Olivia's face. Instead of adhering her request, however, she held Olivia's eyes with her own and willed her to see what she was feeling. "I love you, Olivia Spencer."
Olivia's breath caught in her throat. Despite being married five times and having numerous love affairs and lovers, she had never been looked at in this manner by anyone. She dipped her head and sighed when Natalia's eyes fluttered shut in anticipation of her kiss.
Natalia thought that her heart might stop, what with all the skipping, racing and flipping it had been doing. She could not recall ever feeling this much for anyone before; it was crazy, thrilling, scary and intense all rolled into one.
She did not have much to compare this with. After all, her one big love had been Nicky. Despite having to bring their child up on her own with only the memory of their love to give her strength, Natalia had never lost hope that one day, Nicky and she would be together. In retrospect, her thinking was a little juvenile and perhaps more than a little naive. But she did not regret any of it. It was the dream of being with Nicky that had gotten her through some of the hardest times in her life.
When Nicky passed away, she had been certain that she would never feel that way for anyone ever again. And in a way, it was true because quite frankly, she did not think it was possible to love two people the same way. She would always cherish what she had with Nicky; her memories of him--the boy that he was, the man that he had become--would always hold a special place in her heart. Nicky was her past, whereas Olivia was her present and, God willing, her future.
"So. I won't be seeing much of you tomorrow. I have an early start and I won't be at the Beacon most of the day," Olivia said when they reached the second floor landing.
"Mm hm. I know. Your assistant and I are tight," Natalia said with a wry smile.
Olivia lifted a brow, amused. "Is that right?"
"Mm hm." Natalia turned to face Olivia and backed herself towards her room. "I'll pick Emma up from school tomorrow. If you're good, there'll be cookies waiting for you when you get home."
Olivia smiled, suddenly feeling awashed with contentment. Their simple exchanges about the most mundane things were better than any declaration of love she had ever given or received. Natalia made her realise that she had never truly felt she belonged with anyone until her. "Ooh. Choc chip?" she asked, wriggling her brows.
"Mm hm," Natalia said just as they came to a halt at her door. Suddenly, the atmosphere changed and the look in Olivia's eyes made her heart skip.
"Define 'good'," Olivia said, her voice dropping an octave as she closed the distance between Natalia and herself until they were a mere breath apart.
Natalia swallowed nervously. If anyone had told her a month ago that she would love being trapped between Olivia and a door, she would have told them that they were crazy. But look at her now, loving being trapped between Olivia and a door. Her stomach flipped lazily.
"Because, you know, I would hate to miss out on choc chip cookies," Olivia continued, slanting her face slightly so that her lips hovered just above Natalia's. She was standing so close to Natalia she fancied she could see herself in those dark eyes.
Natalia whimpered unconsciously. Her body was tingling with the anticipation of coming into contact with Olivia.
"Natalia..." Olivia murmured, trying not to grin.
"I love how I can make you not hear a single word I say."
Natalia slid her arms around Olivia's shoulders and they both shuddered slightly at what felt like a long awaited contact. "You might wanna say that again because I didn't hear you," Natalia said, her lips quirking into a smile, revealing her dimples.
Olivia pulled at Natalia's waist so that their bodies were snug against each other's. "You are... so... beautiful," she whispered, trailing a finger down Natalia's cheek.
Natalia blushed and ducked her face, resting her forehead against the crook of Olivia's neck. They stood frozen in the embrace for a long moment, intensely aware of each other, as well as their own racing hearts.
"Natalia?" Olivia finally broke the silence between them.
"Wanna look up so I can kiss you goodnight?" Olivia's voice cracked slightly, the only indication that she was feeling a little nervous.
Natalia lifted her face at that. "Goodnight, Olivia," she said softly, her eyes flicking from Olivia's eyes to her the curve of her lips.
Olivia smiled. "Goodnight, Natalia," she said before touching their lips together.
Natalia tightened her arms around Olivia, her head swimming in the sensation of Olivia's soft, lingering kisses. She could not get over the way Olivia's lips moved against her own. It made her sigh, and the sigh made Olivia deepen their kiss.
Desire crashed over Natalia like a wave. Olivia made her want so badly. How could anyone have that much effect on someone else?
"Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow evening then," Olivia husked out at the end of the kiss, her eyes lingering on Natalia's slightly bruised lips.
Natalia nodded, not trusting herself to speak.
Olivia linked their hands as she pulled away from Natalia to go to her room. "And I'm gonna be thinking of your... cookies... all day tomorrow while I'm being very good for you," she said with a seductive lift of a brow before she released Natalia's hand.
It had to be wrong how evil could feel this good.
Olivia tried her best to tread softly as she made her way up the stairs. When she reached the landing, she was surprised to see a line of light under Emma's room door; it was almost eleven and way past Emma's bedtime. A quick peek into the room caused Olivia to sigh softly. Emma looked as snug as a bug in a rug under her quilt, and Natalia was lying on the covers beside her with an arm draped protectively across her middle. A book laid open between them. It was one of the most beautiful sights Olivia had ever witnessed.
Olivia stepped out of her shoes and shrugged out of her jacket before making her way towards the bed. She pressed a soft but firm kiss on Emma's forehead before smoothing her hair from her face. Then she picked up Natalia's hand and stroked it gently, silently thanking whatever it was that had brought Natalia into Emma's and her life.
"Mm... you're home..."
Olivia smiled at Natalia's sleepy voice, aware of the warmth that had spread across her chest at the sound. When she had started feeling this way for Natalia no longer mattered; the only thing that mattered now was that she did. "Sorry I'm so late. I missed you two."
Natalia pulled Olivia's hand to her face and tucked it under her cheek. Her eyes fluttered shut again and her breathing deepened. "We missed you too," she murmured softly after a long moment.
Olivia's heart did a lazy flip when Natalia brushed her lips against her inner wrist. Olivia Spencer, sultry seductress, reduced to a heap of mush by a kiss on her wrist. Who would have thought?
"Pull me up?" Natalia requested. She relinquished Olivia's hand so that Olivia could come over to the side of the bed that she was on. Natalia rolled onto her back and lifted her hand but instead of taking it, Olivia lowered herself onto the narrow bed instead; Natalia's heart dropped dangerously into her stomach at Olivia's sudden proximity and was instantly wide awake.
"You look so comfy," Olivia murmured by way of explanation. Her breath was warm and it tickled Natalia's ear. Natalia sucked in a breath when Olivia slid a tentative hand across her waist. "Is this okay?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper.
Natalia nodded, not trusting herself to speak. The entire length of Olivia's body was pressed against her own and it felt amazing. It brought her back to the rainy day not too long ago when Emma and she had snuck into Olivia's bed.
Olivia seemed to be on the same wavelength. "Tell me a story," she whispered, a smile playing on her lips. "I wanna hear about the adventures of Olivia the Umbrella Maker."
"Olivia..." Natalia blushed and shifted slightly.
"But if you're gonna keep calling my name in that tone of voice, maybe we should take this to my bed instead," Olivia said, causing Natalia's heart to trip over itself. She lifted her eyes to Olivia's and touched her fingertips to Olivia's lips. "And if you're gonna keep looking at me like that," Olivia continued, her voice dropping in both volume and octave, "we should definitely take this to my bed." Her lips were once again tingling from the nearness of Natalia's slightly parted ones. She could not recall ever feeling this excited at the prospect of kissing someone.
Natalia took a shaky breath and rested her hand on Olivia's neck. "How about I go make us some tea and you can have some of the cookies that Emma and I made for you?" she suggested.
"Or we could do that," Olivia said, quickly backpedalling. What was she thinking, making such forward requests? "I'll grab a quick shower while you make the tea," Olivia said and was about to get up when Natalia stopped her with a hand on her cheek.
"I'll meet you at the couch in ten minutes," Natalia said softly before leaning in and brushing her lips against Olivia's. "That was all I could think about doing the entire day," she confessed shyly when she pulled away.
"Well I hope your boss doesn't know that," Olivia quipped, feeling immensely pleased and curiously... cherished. Being the object of Natalia's affections was unlike anything she had ever experienced.
Natalia smiled and leaned in to steal another kiss. "Oh... I think she does."
Olivia towelled herself dry and tried on a few combination of comfortable sleeping attire, all the while looking at the mirror to check her reflection. The look that she was after was 'effortlessly hot, even in cartoon printed pyjama bottoms'. She felt silly for caring how she looked like before bed but... 'Let's meet on the couch in ten' had sounded suspiciously like a date.
She padded down the stairs and saw that the coffee table was laid out with cups of steaming hot tea and a plate of cookies with her name on it. Literally. "If I start eating them, they'll no longer spell out 'Olivia'", Olivia whined as she sat herself down on the couch. She caught Natalia's shy smile and her look turned devious. "Hm... 'Olivia' in butter, flour, eggs and chocolate chip. What were you really thinking, Natalia?"
Natalia frowned for a second, then began blushing. "You know, you're really not that funny all the time," she admonished playfully.
Olivia smirked and picked up an 'O' as she pulled her legs up under her. "No," she agreed. "Sometimes I'm just plain old sexy," she said, giving Natalia a smoky sideway glance as she nibbled on the cookie.
Natalia bit on her lip as she watched Olivia devour the cookie slowly, briefly wondering if she could survive being intimate with Olivia if one look from her could make her feel this way. She reached for a cookie to distract herself and gasped when she felt a playful smack on her hand.
"Leave my cookies alone," Olivia said in a low voice and half lidded eyes.
Natalia reached for her cup of tea instead and thought to hide behind it to give her brain a chance to kickstart.
"Natalia?" Natalia looked at Olivia above the rim of her cup. "I was only kidding," Olivia said. She finished her cookie and dusted her fingers before peering at Natalia. "That was good. Thank you." She scooted closer to Natalia and noted the widening of Natalia's eyes with silent amusement.
"Emma said she has to make Valentine's Day cards for school next week and I told her I'd ask if you'll be free this weekend to help her out," Natalia said quickly. Her eyes fell on Olivia's hand, which was innocently placed on her knee.
"Yeah, that'll be fun. Would you be around?" Olivia asked, not wanting to assume that Natalia would always want to spend her time with them. Their living arrangement made everything slightly confusing but Olivia wasn't sure if she wanted to entertain the thought of moving out either.
"Yes, after I visit Rafe in the morning. We could have a picnic lunch after," Natalia suggested, then frowned when Olivia took her cup of tea out of her hands. "What are you doing, Olivia? I made you a cup..."
Olivia placed the cup on the coffee table and turned back to Natalia, making her intentions known very quickly.
"Oh," Natalia said breathlessly after Olivia kissed her softly. She rested a hand on Olivia's shoulder and backed up on the couch, her heart doing a funny dance in her chest as her eyes followed Olivia's advancement. Olivia's lips touched hers again and Natalia pulled Olivia onto her with a hand on the back of her neck. She heard Olivia growl softly when their upper bodies made contact and her mind idly noted that she loved the feel of being trapped between Olivia and any surface. Heat rushed through her body at the thought.
Olivia sighed into their kiss, loving the feel, scent and taste of Natalia. She felt as though she could never get enough of kissing her; and if kissing was all that they did, well, Olivia would still be in this, body and soul. The thought died when she felt a tentative hand slip under her T-shirt and trail up her waist and back. Green eyes shot open, then fluttered shut when the same hand cupped her breast. "Natalia... what are you... oh fuck."
Natalia rubbed her thumb over a nipple, fascinated by the reaction she was getting from Olivia from her simple touch. She slipped her other hand under Olivia's top and repeated her motion with both hands, thrilling when Olivia moaned loudly. Then she took both nipples between her fingers and gave them a light squeeze, gasping when Olivia suddenly grinded her hips into her and plunged her tongue into her mouth in a rough kiss.
"Oh, God," Natalia breathed out when the kiss finally ended. She was stunned by the look of raw desire on Olivia's face and was certain that her own face held the same look.
"I think... we better stop," Olivia rasped out, uncomfortably aroused. Her thoughts and heart were racing; what was up with her acting as though she had never been touched before? But the way Natalia's touch had felt... Olivia swallowed and tried to push the thought out of her head lest she lost all control.
Natalia nodded and slid her arms around Olivia's shoulder, pulling her tight against her body in a hug, both breathing a little hard. The knowledge that she could make Olivia feel the way Olivia could make her feel made Natalia smile.
Olivia could not stop thinking about Natalia. It was crazy, this incessant thinking, imagining, remembering. And whenever she managed to put Natalia out of her mind, there she would be in flesh and blood, smiling at her with those tantalising lips, flashing those ridiculously attractive dimples, flipping her long, dark hair.
Christ Almighty. Whoever would have thought that Natalia Rivera could wield such power over her?
Olivia was familiar with the courtship dance--that is, if you could call stalking a prey and reducing them to a quivering mass with your body that. She was used to thinking that everyone, including herself, had an agenda.
Olivia looked up and frowned. Talking about agendas... "People generally knock on doors before they open them, and not verbally after they've let themselves in," she said, leaning back in her chair and glaring at a smug looking Doris Wolfe, who had waltzed into her office and sat herself down across her. "And by all means, sit down, take your shoes off, and how about a foot massage..." Olivia muttered under her breath. "What do you want?"
"I have to reschedule our date for tomorrow night." Olivia frowned and Doris rolled her eyes. "See, I told you, why don't you and Natalia just go have that dinner and drinks already and just send me the bill? It's obvious that I'm neither needed nor remembered."
Olivia crossed her legs and studied Doris' face silently. After a long moment, Doris cleared her throat and touched a tentative hand to her face. "What? Do I have something on my face?" she asked, looking around Olivia's office to see if there was anything in there that could catch her reflection.
"You know, for someone who comes across as cocky and self-sufficient, you're actually... not," Olivia said finally, thinking that her observation on the mayor could be used on herself. "We'll do it next week. You're not getting out of it quite so easily," Olivia said firmly. She didn't know why she bothered... or maybe she did; maybe she recognised a little of herself in Doris Wolfe. Both of them were perceived as strong women. Their hard exterior made it difficult for anyone to get close to them and so, over time, people stopped trying. It did nothing for their self-worth--that, Olivia could testify. She wouldn't go as far as giving Doris a warm smile and a hug but dinner and drinks peppered with snarky comments--that, she could do. Natalia would be so proud of her.
"You don't need me there," Doris persisted.
Olivia nodded and watched the mayor's face fall a little. "But we want you there."
It was amazing what a few kind words could do. Olivia could see Doris' countenance brighten almost immediately. It brought her back to a time where Natalia's unrelenting patience with her had been the only spark of hope in her life; she felt a small surge of happiness at the knowledge that she was in love with someone so kind and good.
In love with? Olivia's eyes widened and she deposited her forehand in her hand, much to Doris' amusement.
"For your information, inner dialogues are not heard externally and therefore cannot be followed by the people around you. So dish." Olivia frowned at the expectant look Doris was giving her. "What? You can say things like wanting me around and I can't listen in to your thoughts?"
Olivia's frown deepened. "They're completely irrelevant."
"You know you wanna talk about it," Doris said persuasively and scooted forward in her seat. "You've got enough handle on me to know that you can tell me things."
Olivia bit on her lower lip and gave in. It felt rather good to have someone to talk to, actually. "I think I'm in love with Natalia," she said in a small voice.
Doris waited. When Olivia did not continue, she threw her hands up in the air. "That's it? That's what's gotten your panties in a wad?" She ignored the dark look that Olivia sent her way. "Anyone who's been around the two of you would know that! So what's the problem? She evidently feels the same about you."
"I've never..." Olivia tried to find the right words. "Everyone I've ever loved... or thought I've loved... there was always something attached to it. It was never this simple..." she trailed off, gazing unseeingly at the pot plant behind Doris.
Doris finally understood. "You're freaking out because you think that Natalia doesn't want anything from you."
Olivia flicked her eyes to Doris. "She doesn't."
Doris sighed. "Of course she does. She wants your love and your loyalty. She probably wants you to share your life with her. That's a lot bigger than money and power--which, I'm guessing, were what you wanted of people and vice versa. And you're freaking out because you probably want the same things from her."
Olivia bit on her lower lip looking unconvinced. Doris decided to try another tack. "Can you imagine seeing her with someone else, sharing what the two of you have?" she asked with a lifted brow.
"What? No!" The thought of Natalia kissing someone else... touching someone else... or even looking at someone else the way she looked at Olivia was a highly displeasurable one.
"I rest my case." Doris pushed herself up from her chair. "I do find our talks rather engaging," she commented as she made her way to the door.
Olivia snorted. "As much as I hate to agree, I do too," she said grudgingly. She picked up her pen from her desk and clicked it with her thumb. "So. Next Friday?"
Doris nodded. "Next Friday."
Olivia hurried to her car, thoughts of Natalia and her conversation with Doris roiling around in her head. Natalia and she were going to pick Emma up together and grab some dinner before going home.
Home. With Natalia. The thought put a smile on Olivia's face. This was unlike anything she had ever known. Feeling this happy about something this ordinary was something she had never experienced before. She drove her car around to the front of the hotel where Natalia was supposed to be waiting for her. Olivia felt her heart rate pick up speed at the prospect of seeing Natalia and had to roll her eyes at herself. They were at work together the entire day, for heaven's sake.
But when she pulled the car up next to Natalia, she couldn't help the smile that played on her lips when their eyes met. Loopy, Olivia thought to herself happily. She was definitely loopy. "Hey," she greeted when Natalia got into the car.
"Hey," Natalia smiled shyly as she pulled the car door shut. She wanted to lean over and kiss Olivia but it seemed a little silly to do that when they had just seen each other at work.
"So, uh, let's go get Emma from Jane's and... pick somewhere to grab dinner at?" Olivia said as she put the car in gear.
"Yeah, I..." Natalia trailed off and bit her lower lip. "Olivia, I feel like I haven't seen you all day even though I obviously have," she said finally.
Olivia looked over to Natalia, loving the way her heart reacted to what Natalia just said. "No, I... feel the same," Olivia said, placing her free hand on Natalia's before focussing her attention on the road again. She smiled when Natalia threaded their fingers together in her lap. Giddy, Olivia thought. She was definitely giddy as well as loopy. Somehow, after her unexpected chat with Doris Wolfe that afternoon, Olivia finally felt at peace with what was happening.
"Where would you like to go for dinner?" Natalia asked in her soft, lilting voice, breaking Olivia out of her reverie.
Olivia shrugged. "Emma can choose. I'll be happy anywhere with the two of you," she said as she swung a left.
Natalia felt a blush and a smile creep up her face at the offhand comment. She couldn't remember a time Olivia did not make her feel this way even though logic told her different. Olivia was sweet and wonderful and funny... "You make me so happy," Natalia said softly, caressing Olivia's profile with her eyes and her hand with her own.
Olivia did not know what to say to that; Natalia seemed to have the ability to reduce her to speechlessness. So she brought their linked hands to her lips and pressed a firm kiss on the back of Natalia's hand, hoping that Natalia would know how she felt.
Olivia trailed after Natalia and Emma as they entered Company. Natalia slid into the booth across from Olivia and Emma, chuckling softly at Emma's rendition of a song that her classmates and she had come up with in school that day. She watched Olivia roll her eyes dramatically and stick her fingers into her ears when Emma repeated the song yet another time.
"Emma, sweetie, how about we order some dinner first before you continue?" Natalia suggested. "I'm sure you must be starving by now and we'll have to give Buzz time to make your burger."
"Yay, I love Buzz burgers!" Emma said, stopping in the middle of her song. Olivia shot Natalia a grateful smile that made Natalia feel warm all over. "Hurry up, Mommy! Buzz has to make the burgers!" Emma urged.
Olivia widened her eyes and scoffed in disbelief. "Oh, so now it's 'Hurry up, Mommy'. Who was the one who forgot her book at Jane's and made us go back and get it?" she asked Emma with a pointed look.
"If you weren't late, I wouldn't have taken the book out to read, Mommy," Emma explained, shaking her head.
Natalia laughed at Emma's sharp wit. "I don't know about you two but I'm ready to order."
"Three Buzz burgers then?" Olivia said, looking at her dinner companions for affirmation. Then she made a show of sighing loudly before she slid out of the booth and went to the counter, where Buzz was standing, cleaning a glass. "Hey Buzz."
"Olivia," Buzz said warmly before he frowned. "What's wrong with you?"
Olivia lifted a brow. "What do you mean?"
"You look happy," Buzz said, making Olivia's smile widen. "All right, who's the lucky man?"
"What lucky man?" Olivia asked, feigning innocence. For some reason, it pleased her that her happiness was so obvious to everyone around her. "There's no man in my life," she said coyly.
"Uh huh." Buzz looked like he didn't believe her but he didn't press her either. "So what can I get you today?"
"Three Buzz burgers, one with extra onions," Olivia said. "Three sodas and some fries to share."
"Coming right up," Buzz said. Before he went into the kitchen, however, he leaned over the counter. "So who's the lucky man?" he asked in a hushed voice.
Olivia could not contain the smile that spread across her face. "Natalia." She barked out a laugh at the look of surprise on Buzz's face before she turned on her heels and walked back to the booth where her two favourite people were seated.
Natalia's reflection stared back at her as she reapplied her lip gloss. The door to the ladies swung open and Natalia's eyes shifted reflexively in the mirror. She gave Doris Wolfe a half smile when their reflections made eye contact. To be honest, Natalia still did not quite know how to take the mayor. She was grateful that Doris managed to get Rafe a hearing, and the mayor was a lot less hostile since their impromptu drink session but... the bond that had seemingly sprung up out of nowhere between Olivia and Doris irked her.
Was this what jealousy felt like?
Natalia balked at the thought and exited the ladies. Jealousy was not an emotion that she was familiar with. When she had seen Gus with Harley, she had felt sad; when Olivia and she were vying for Gus' attention and affection, she had alternated between anger and fear. In fact, she couldn't recall ever feeling this way, and for no valid reason too. It was a little disconcerting.
Natalia glanced at her watch, mindful of the time; Jane was expecting them back at the farmhouse at eleven and she didn't want to be late. When she looked up, she saw that Olivia wasn't alone at their table. Natalia felt her own lips curve up when she heard Olivia's laugh, but her smile quickly faded when she saw Olivia lean in to stroke a stubbled cheek with her hand in a more than friendly manner.
Olivia smiled at Josh Lewis fondly. He was probably her favourite ex-husband and they still got along rather well. He had spied her sitting alone at the table and had come over for a bit of a chat.
"That's what friends do for each other. So if you ever need a hand with anything--and I do mean anything--you know who to call, right?" he asked teasingly, offering his handy "clock making" skills to help Olivia fill up her time.
"You're a sweet man," Olivia murmured, peering at him through her dark lashes with a smile still playing on her lips. "But I'm good for the moment."
"Just sayin'," Josh said, grinning. There was definitely still a spark between them. And while Olivia was and would never be Reva, he had and still loved her in his own way. His eyes followed the trek of Olivia's hand as it brought her glass of wine to her lips. Before she could set it back on the table, he reached for it, brushing his fingers lightly against hers. "Offering my services to a beautiful woman's gotten me all thirsty," he said with a wink. But before he could touch his lips to the wine glass, it was abruptly ripped out of his hand. "Hey -"
"Sorry, that's mine," Natalia said, standing in the space between their seats.
Josh looked up, slightly confused. "Oh, sorry Natalia. I thought... Olivia drank from it, so..."
"Oh, this does belong to Olivia," Natalia said, raising the glass with a pointed look at Olivia, who was looking a little apprehensive. Josh looked from Olivia to Natalia, not quite following the conversation. Natalia finished the wine in two sips and set the empty glass on the table. "Nice to see you, Josh," Natalia said, sparing Josh a quick glance before she walked away, much to Olivia's surprise.
"Nata -" Olivia got up from her seat and caught up with Natalia. "Where are you going? Josh and I were just talking."
Natalia shrugged Olivia's hand off. "It's close to the time to go anyway. I'll relieve Jane from her duties so you can take as long as you want." Olivia scanned Natalia's face for any telltale emotion but Natalia seemed calm--nonchalant, even.
"We could go together," Olivia said, throwing a look at their table to see if Doris was back from the ladies. By the time she looked back at Natalia, she realised that the woman was no longer there. Cursing under her breath, Olivia made her way back to their table.
"Is everything okay?" Josh asked, looking a little worried. Doris sat there with a smirk on her face. Obviously, she had managed to witness the entire episode. The woman seemed to have a radar for such things.
Olivia flapped around for a moment then sat back down. "Yeah, Natalia's just gone home to relieve Jane's babysitting duties," she said with a small frown.
"What was all that about with the wine glass?" Josh asked, still confused about what had transpired. "I hope I didn't offend her or anything."
"It's... Everything's fine, Josh. Don't worry about it," Olivia said at last. She picked up Natalia's glass of wine and took a sip from it; her mind was still trying to process what had just happened. "Would you like to join us?"
Josh shook his head regretfully. "I was just on my way out actually. Well ladies, you have a good night." Josh gave Doris a smile as he got up from his seat. "Olivia," he said with a nod and a wink before he left.
"Why are you still sitting here?" Doris piped up the moment Josh left the table.
"What do you mean? I'm finishing my... I mean, Natalia's drink," Olivia said sullenly.
Doris rolled her eyes. "She obviously wants you to go after her."
Olivia shrugged before finishing the wine in Natalia's glass. "She just left. It's not like I didn't offer to go with her. Maybe she's just tired."
Doris rounded her eyes. "You sound like a man! Have you been with so many men that you're actually beginning to think and sound like one?" Olivia frowned and was about to open her mouth to say something when Doris cut her short. "Can you imagine walking back from the ladies to see Natalia flirting with, say, Frank Cooper?"
Olivia gave Doris a distasteful look. "Ew. Josh is not even remotely like Frank!" Then she added, "And I wasn't flirting..." At Doris' lifted brow, Olivia bit her lower lip. "...was I?" At the look on Doris' face, Olivia groaned. "This is just way too hard. Why didn't she just say that she wasn't happy with the way I was acting with Josh instead of just taking off?"
"Oh, because you so would have gone up to Frank and punched him in the face if the roles were reversed," Doris said dryly. Olivia pinched the bridge of her nose. "So...? What are you still sitting here for?"
"Well, I -" Olivia sputtered. "You and I can still have a few drinks before I have to go. Natalia said I can take my time now that she's going home..." At the exasperated look on Doris' face, Olivia's face fell. "I'm doing this wrong, aren't I?" Doris nodded. "I guess I better get going then..." Olivia trailed off, not really looking forward to it.
"You know, I heard that make up sex is pretty hot," Doris quipped, smirking at the blush that began to show on Olivia's cheeks. "Not that you would consider having sex with Natalia or anything... you probably wouldn't know what to do without a man! Maybe you should take Josh up on his friendly offer to... help you and Natalia out."
Olivia's eyes narrowed at Doris, feeling genuinely affronted. Olivia Spencer, not knowing what to do in bed? "Not in this lifetime."
"Well then, what are you still sitting around here for? Go get your girl!" Doris urged, shaking her head at Olivia.
That rocked Olivia into action. "I'll, uh. Thanks for dinner," Olivia said, looking around for her purse. "I'll give you a call soon?" she asked distractedly.
Doris smiled. "That or I'll drop in uninvited as usual. And you're welcome."
Olivia tapped on Natalia's door nervously after she took a second to check in on Emma. When she did not hear anything, she considered leaving it; perhaps Natalia would forget all about it in the morning and save Olivia from the awkwardness of having to... explain herself? Apologise? Honestly, Olivia wasn't sure what was expected of her. But before she could take two steps, Natalia's annoyed voice stopped her. "Where do you think you're going?"
"Huh?" Olivia swivelled around. Had she managed to get herself into more trouble in a span of ten seconds? Unbelievable.
"Never mind," Natalia said, moving to shut her door when Olivia jumped into action and held the door open with her hand.
"I thought maybe you were sleeping..." Olivia trailed off. Her reasoning sounded weak to herself. Natalia had probably only gotten home ten minutes before she did.
Natalia did not answer; she walked back into her room and Olivia scratched her temple before following. Natalia's room was dimly lit, putting the emphasis on a queen size bed that seemed to dominate the room. Suddenly Olivia felt a little awkward; she cleared her throat. "I never knew you had those," she said, indicating Natalia's bedside lamps. "Cute," she said, sounding a little lame, even to herself.
"What do you want, Olivia? I'm tired," Natalia said, tying her hair up in a ponytail.
Olivia blew out a breath. "I'm sorry. I didn't realise I was flirting with Josh. I didn't mean to... it's just... old habits die hard, you know?" She decided to jump right in to the heart of the matter. Maybe then they could get on to the making up bit a little faster. At Natalia's frown, Olivia trudged on. "It didn't mean anything."
"If you don't think you did anything wrong, then why are you apologising?"
"Doris said -"
Natalia thought her head might explode. "Why don't you just date Doris and Josh then!" Flirting with one and listening to the other...
Olivia caught the look on Natalia's face when she said that and finally understood. She bit on her lower lip in a bid to cover up her smile. Natalia was jealous because she had spent the evening laughing and joking with Doris Wolfe before flirting with Josh Lewis.
Jealous was good.
Jealous was hot.
Jealous totally made her feel desired. She took a step closer to Natalia, who didn't notice her advance because she was on a roll.
"I get that he's your ex and she's... I don't know, Olivia, what's Doris Wolfe to you? Your new buddy, it seems," Natalia said, gesticulating with her hands. "The two of you think you're so funny but you know what? Not so funny all the time, okay? And... what are you doing...!"
Olivia slid her arms around Natalia's waist and backed her up against a wall, loving the feel of Natalia's arms pressed tightly between them, palms flat against Olivia's chest. "You look so beautiful when you're mad," she said with a smile.
Natalia felt her stomach flip lazily at Olivia's sudden proximity and words but she refused to let it show. "I'm in the middle of saying something." Oh, she did so love being trapped between Olivia and any surface.
"I know. And I'm still listening," Olivia said, lowering her lids at a flustered looking Natalia. Doris' words had given her something to think about and Natalia's rant had given her the boost that she needed. She took one look at Natalia's dilated pupils, her gentle flare of nostrils and her parted lips, and her own heart skipped a beat. Okay, maybe she wasn't listening so much, but she was definitely attentive.
"It's not... I don't like it, Olivia. I feel really strongly about this... what are you doing?" Natalia whispered when Olivia leaned in close and tickled her ear with her breath.
"I like it when you're jealous," Olivia murmured softly, sending little currents of desire down Natalia's neck and chest. "I'm sorry I made you upset and I promise I'll be more aware of my behaviour next time and I'm not trying to get out of trouble by doing this but I can't help myself..." Olivia trailed off, touching the tip of tongue to Natalia's ear, making her jump.
"Olivia..." Natalia's voice was weak and she was trembling a little.
"And I really like it when you call my name," Olivia said, trailing her tongue down a slender neck. She smiled at the soft gasp that she had elicited. She pulled her face back and met her eyes to Natalia's, feeling her own breath rush out at the desire her brief ministrations had brought about. "I want you."
Natalia felt her knees buckle at the low, gravelly tone in which the words were delivered and slid her arms around Olivia's shoulders in response. Then Olivia's lips were on hers and all she could think about was how hot, soft, deep, thrilling and wet kissing Olivia was. She squirmed against Olivia and the wall, feeling a rush of heat and wetness go through her body. When their kiss broke for her shirt to come off, both of them were breathing raggardly.
Natalia gasped when her back met the cool, rough surface of the wall. Olivia's open mouthed kisses across the curve of her shoulder and down her arm made her warm and tingly all over. She could hear her own breathlessness, the pounding of her heart, and the roaring of her blood. Then all semblance of thoughts flew out of her head when Olivia's sharp teeth found her aroused nipple through the fabric of her bra.
Natalia's eyes slammed shut and her head hit the wall. She lifted a hand to cradle Olivia's head, moaning at the incredible sensation that was going through her body. Everything in her head screamed for her to get closer to Olivia and she adhered by hooking a leg around Olivia's waist; she was too preoccupied with what she was feeling to contemplate her wanton behaviour.
When Olivia looked up again, her eyes were dark and voice was rough with arousal. "Natalia, I... Can I..."
"Anything," Natalia breathed out, pushing their bodies tighter against each other's. "Anything you want."
Olivia swallowed and felt her breath rush out.
Natalia's body was soft and hot against hers and the look in her eyes caused Olivia's heart to pound hard against her ribcage. She lifted a hand to untie Natalia's hair and her breath caught in her throat when Natalia shook her head lightly as her dark hair tumbled loose. A brief moment of doubt flittered through Olivia's mind: how could she be sure that the intensity of their look, the heated warmth of their smiles and the slight tremor caused by their kiss were shared?
Dark eyes searched green. "Everything that I am, I give to you," Natalia said in a barely audible whisper.
Olivia froze at the words, stunned and slightly overwhelmed. This was the moment where she had to make a choice between all or nothing. Could she risk her heart again, knowing that if things did not work out with Natalia, it would leave her in pieces? Making love to Natalia would change everything. It would not, could not be just sex. Was she ready for that? Would she ever be?
Then Natalia touched the back of her fingers to her cheek and smiled, revealing her dimples, and Olivia knew that the choice had already been made a long time ago. Probably during one of their fights about her not doing enough chores around the house, or when they were cuddling in front of the television with Emma, laughing at something silly. "I've never had this kind of love before... and I don't think I ever will again," she rasped out before crushing their lips together in a ravaging kiss. She could feel Natalia everywhere--in her head, rushing through her veins, along her limbs, in her toes.
Natalia whimpered at the softness, roughness, fullness of it all and sank her fingers into Olivia's hair to bring her face closer. No matter how hard she tried, Olivia still felt too far from her. She wanted to consume Olivia, wanted their desire for each other to burst into flames around them and seal them from the rest of the world. She felt Olivia steering them and moved accordingly, never once opening her eyes or breaking their kiss.
They bumped into the dressing table and Natalia felt herself being pushed up on it. She let go of Olivia's hair so that she could brace herself on the flat surface, laughing into the kiss when she felt and heard Olivia sweep everything on it off, not caring that they clattered loudly across the wooden floor. "Olivia, you might wake Emma," Natalia said breathlessly.
"Oops. Sorry," Olivia murmured before resuming their kiss and running her hands down Natalia's back. She made quick work of unclasping Natalia's bra, taking a brief moment to feel impressed by her own deftness, and moaned when her hands found Natalia's naked breasts. She tore her lips away from Natalia's to survey her newfound prize and the sight of Natalia, sitting on the dressing table with her head to one side and eyes heavy with desire for her almost made her heart stop.
"You are incredibly beautiful," Olivia said softly, reverently, and dipped her head to take Natalia's nipple into her mouth.
If she had been turned on before when Olivia had scraped her teeth across her nipple through her bra, then Natalia did not know the words to describe what she was feeling now. She threw her head back and pushed her centre against Olivia's stomach, groaning at the contact. "Olivia, I..." Natalia gasped, already forgetting what she had wanted to say before she had begun.
"What, Natalia? Tell me." Olivia rested her cheek on Natalia's chest; they were both breathing heavily.
Instead of trying to speak, Natalia began unbuttoning her jeans. Olivia caught on quickly and helped her remove the offending article of clothing. Then Natalia tugged Olivia's shirt over her head and threw it on the floor beside them. She palmed Olivia's cheek and brought their lips together again.
Olivia's breath hitched when she felt Natalia's hands trail down her cheeks, neck, across her shoulders and back up to gently cradle her face again. Her hands went around Natalia to pull their bodies tight against each other's. She could feel and smell Natalia's arousal and it excited her. Then Natalia's legs went around her waist and Olivia thought she might faint with desire. She loved how Natalia's hair enveloped them when Natalia tilted her head down to kiss her.
Her. Natalia. Natalia. Her Natalia. Olivia could not think of anything else but the scent, feel and touch of this woman in her arms and all around her. She kissed her way down Natalia's neck, between her breasts and down her stomach, feeling nervous, empowered, excited and sick to her stomach with fear all at once. She eased Natalia's underwear off and took one last look at Natalia's face before she touched her tongue to the core of the woman she loved.
"Olivia..." Natalia's breath rushed out of her lungs at the idea and feel of Olivia there, between her legs, loving her with her lips. It made her blush. She threw her head back--so far back that her hair almost touched the flat surface of her dresser. Olivia spread Natalia's legs wider with her hands on her knees and ran her tongue down Natalia's length, thrilling in the sounds that she was eliciting from her.
Natalia could not think. Could not care less if she never thought again. Did not care about anything or anyone other than the woman before her. "Olivia, that feels... oh..." There were so many sensations in the world and then there was just the one. It filled her up and made her want and need and yearn; it rose and expanded, and finally encompassed her in its light. If only she could remain suspended in it for one... more... moment.
Natalia took a loud, gasping breath when her orgasm crashed over her. Her head snapped up and forward; she slumped into Olivia's waiting arms, breathing heavily and shakily. "Oh, God, Olivia..."
Olivia buried her face in the crook of Natalia's neck and inhaled deeply. "I love you, Natalia. I love you so much."
Natalia wrapped herself around Olivia for a long moment, waiting for her heart rate to slow and her breathing to calm. She smiled faintly at the tickle of Olivia's breath against her neck when she told her she loved her. Olivia could have said anything else and it wouldn't have mattered because she could feel what Olivia meant with every fibre of her being.
Natalia trailed her finger down Olivia's neck and across her shoulder, only pausing briefly to hook Olivia's bra strap in it. Natalia swallowed as she stared at the audacity of her finger; the sight of the bra strap falling limply off Olivia's shoulder made her stomach flip and her centre throb.
Olivia's breathy voice added to the flipping and throbbing sensations in Natalia. "I want to touch you all over..." Natalia responded in a soft whisper, "...crawl under your skin for want of being close to you."
Olivia whimpered at the imagery that Natalia was painting. Her head was reeling at the surrealism of the situation. She would never have picked Natalia as someone who would say something like that. Then again, she would never have thought in a million years that she would be clasped between a woman's legs, rapidly being reduced to molten liquid by an imagery.
Natalia eased the other bra strap off Olivia's shoulder; Olivia felt as though she would go out of her mind with the slow intensity of Natalia's movements. Natalia tightened her legs around Olivia, smiling at the involuntary moan that the move elicited. Then she released Olivia's breasts from their confines and lowered her lips to them.
Olivia's head snapped back at the first touch of Natalia's tongue to her nipple. It was light, tentative, but it grew bolder at the low, velvety moans that escaped Olivia. Finally, Natalia took as much of Olivia's breast as she could into her mouth; the deep, hot, wetness made Olivia's knees buckle as heat rushed from her point of contact with Natalia to the area between her legs. "I... can we... bed?" Olivia finally managed out.
Natalia paused in her ministrations and looked up at Olivia with a seductive smile. "Are you propositioning me?"
Olivia lifted a brow at the sultry question, amazed by how turned on she was by a bold Natalia. "I think I've done more than that by now," she husked out, maintaining their eye contact and smirking when Natalia blushed.
Natalia eased herself off the dresser and held onto the waistband of Olivia's pants. She angled her face up, sighing softly when Olivia's smiling lips touched hers as she steered Olivia backwards. They tumbled onto her bed; Natalia braced herself up on one elbow and tucked her hair behind her ear as she smiled down at Olivia. She trailed her free hand down Olivia's neck and between Olivia's breasts. Then Natalia closed the gap between them and Olivia's eyes fluttered shut at the incredible softness that was Natalia.
"You feel amazing," Natalia murmured as she moved her breasts against Olivia's experimentally. The growl that escaped Olivia heated her blood and she took Olivia's lips in a bruising kiss; the contrast between the roughness of the kiss and the softness of Natalia's breasts against her own aroused Olivia to the point of combustion. She flipped them over on the bed and began kissing her way down Natalia's body. Natalia spread her legs reflexively and that was Olivia's undoing.
"Oh my God, Olivia, what are you doing?" Natalia asked in a rush when she felt Olivia's fingers between her legs, sliding in her wetness, stroking her heat.
"Touching you." Olivia lowered her face to take one nipple, then the other, into her mouth. Natalia's hips began moving against her fingers; Olivia tore her mouth away from Natalia's breasts so that she could look at the writhing, heated, aroused body under her. Natalia's eyes were half closed, her cheeks were flushed and her lips were parted. The sounds that she was making were doing funny things to Olivia's body. She could not recall sex ever being this way: it was almost as though they were merged as one, instead of two people mindlessly searching for their own fulfilment.
"Olivia, please..." Natalia's soft request shook Olivia out of her reverie and her lips curved up at the thought of what she was about to do.
Natalia's breath rushed out in a low moan when she felt Olivia sliding into her and filling her up. She held onto Olivia's arm and looked into Olivia's eyes before she began moving her hips, taking more and more of Olivia into her. The look of lust and love on Olivia's face brought Natalia closer and closer to the edge; she could not believe that she was about to orgasm again. "Don't stop," Natalia said breathlessly, thinking that she might actually lose her mind if Olivia pulled her hand away.
"Never," Olivia husked out, scraping her teeth against Natalia's shoulder and pressing her thumb against Natalia's clit, making the woman under her gasp loudly. "I'll never stop."
At that, Natalia squeezed her eyes shut and her body arched off the bed, knowing that Olivia would be there to catch her when she fell.
In Natalia's opinion, sleep was overrated. Olivia and she were lying on their sides, facing each other, and Natalia was trying to come up with a valid reason to wake Olivia up from her snooze. She shifted herself closer to Olivia, smiling faintly when their breaths intermingled. She never thought she would ever feel this way for anyone, much less Olivia. But she did and it was good and she wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
She lifted her head, leaned closer, and stole a kiss. Her heart skipped a beat; Olivia's lips were so soft and they tasted vaguely like... her. Heat rushed from her cheeks down her body.
She pressed another kiss onto Olivia's full lips and shifted closer, so that their bodies just touched. Then she dipped her head and touched her lips to the curve of Olivia's shoulder, down Olivia's arm, and lightly against Olivia's nipple. Desire spiked through her at the sight and feel of Olivia's bare breasts and she shifted uncomfortably, feeling like a thief--or worse still, a pervert. She was about to pull her face away from the tantalising body part when she felt Olivia's hand on her cheek, stroking softly.
Natalia swallowed. It was insane how much a simple touch like that from Olivia could make her feel. She raised her eyes; Olivia was smiling faintly with her eyes still closed. Natalia felt a warm rush of affection and a thrill of excitement go through her. She rolled Olivia onto her back and slipped a leg between Olivia's, frowning slightly when she realised that Olivia was still half dressed.
Natalia trailed her eyes across Olivia's features, wanting to commit every line, curve and plane into her memory. She covered Olivia's hand with her own and turned her face slightly to plant a kiss in the middle of Olivia's palm. When she looked back down, Olivia's eyes were open. Her heart tripped over itself; how could someone make her feel this much just by looking at her?
Natalia lowered her face slowly as her heart rate picked up. She felt Olivia's hand slide into her hair. Her own hand slid down Olivia's arm to rest on her waist. Then they were kissing and the rest of the world fell away.
There were too many things to feel at one time. Tongue, pleasure, lips, desire, teeth, thrill... The kiss began heating up and Natalia heard a moan; it turned her insides into mush and she bore down harder on Olivia, suddenly able and needing to feel more. She slid her hand up a smooth waist to cup Olivia's breast. Her fingers found an aroused nipple and Natalia whimpered. She tore her lips away from Olivia's and their eyes met.
"I can't get enough of you," Natalia said in wonder before she latched onto Olivia's pulse point, loving the moan that escaped full lips. She dragged her lips down Olivia's neck and chest, and began sucking on the curve of Olivia's breast, deliberately avoiding her nipple. Blood was roaring in her head. This woman loved her. Olivia loved her.
"God, Natalia..." Olivia grounded out as her body arched off the bed slightly in frustration. She tried to bring Natalia's mouth to where she needed it most.
Natalia unbuttoned Olivia's pants and began pulling it off of her. Olivia gasped softly at the soft, wet kisses that followed and her eyes fluttered shut. Her body was already tingling from the build up of unsated desire. Then Natalia slid between Olivia's legs and pressed her stomach against Olivia's centre, causing her to gasp breathlessly at the contact.
They kissed again, this time more urgently. Olivia's hands roamed Natalia's back; she curved her fingers, digging into smooth flesh when Natalia's lips finally closed over her nipple. Her centre throbbed uncomfortably and her mouth went dry.
Natalia slid her body down Olivia's, enjoying the feel of smooth friction. She gathered her hair and pushed it over one of her shoulders. Olivia whimpered at the contrasting sensations of Natalia's mouth on her, skin against hers, and hair trailing lightly down her length. She was so close and Natalia wasn't even halfway where she wanted her most.
"You're killing me here," Olivia breathed out finally, thinking that if she didn't say something, she might just expire from need.
Natalia raised her head in surprise. Then her lips quirked into a smile that revealed her dimples. "Oh, we wouldn't want that, would we?"
Olivia shook her head. "Nuh uh."
Natalia wet her lips with her tongue nervously. She wasn't sure if she could give Olivia the same pleasure that she had been given. Then she breathed out shakily and trailed her hand down Olivia's body, deciding to trust her instincts and hope for the best. The heated wetness that met her touch made her gasp in surprise and arousal. "Olivia..."
Olivia's head was swimming. Her legs felt weak and the flames of frustration licked at her deliciously. She grabbed Natalia's face and brought it down to crush their lips together the same instant Natalia entered her. Olivia thought she might die then, with Natalia's tongue in her mouth and fingers filling her up again and again.
She managed to flip them over and quickly straddled a surprised Natalia. "Oh, God, Olivia..." Natalia murmured; the sight of Olivia moving on her with her head tilted to one side, her eyes half closed, and her tongue wetting her lips was... out-of-the-world amazingwonderfulsexyincredible... "You are so... I have never... Olivia..." Natalia seemed to have lost her ability to form coherent sentences. There could be no one else for her--Olivia was it, if she would have her.
Olivia swallowed as she struggled to keep her eyes open. Her legs and lower belly were tingling and her skin was slick with sweat. She reached behind her with one hand and found Natalia's heat, making the woman under her gasp in surprise. The feel of Natalia's arousal sent Olivia over the edge but she did not stop moving her hand, in the hopes that Natalia would follow her free fall into release.
Natalia slowly surfaced from her slumber. It was going to be a cold day; she could feel it. She rummaged her brain for the list of things to do but her body felt heavy and languid and the last thing it felt like doing was to get up. She felt so good all wrapped up like a warm cocoon, curled up against... Dark eyes shot open.
"Olivia..." The name escaped her parted lips like a tendril of smoke.
Natalia shifted carefully, so as not to awaken her sleeping companion. She propped herself up on one arm, caressing Olivia with her eyes and trailing her fingers down her arm and across her knuckles lovingly. She said a silent prayer, thanking God for His gift to her, and promised to cherish it with all her heart.
Natalia raised her eyes to sleepy green ones and couldn't help the huge smile that threatened to engulf her face. "Hey." She shifted closer to Olivia quite unconsciously, loving the feel of Olivia's warm, smooth skin against her own. "Coffee?"
Olivia burrowed her face into the pillow just beside Natalia's arm and mumbled something incoherent, much to Natalia's amusement; just when she thought she couldn't love this person more... Natalia slid her fingers through Olivia's tangled hair, smiling indulgently.
Olivia slipped an arm around Natalia's waist to pull herself closer. She rested a cheek on Natalia's arm and nipped playfully at a conveniently placed nipple, causing Natalia to gasp and blush at the spike of desire that shot through her. The sound made Olivia lick her lips reflexively and she peered up at Natalia through her lashes. "Emma will be up soon," Natalia said softly, regretfully. She lifted her hand to Olivia's cheek, smiling when Olivia's eyes fluttered shut at the gentle contact. Her eyes wandered past Olivia's shoulders, down her bare back. Her quilt cover was draped loosely over the small of Olivia's back and legs; the erotic picture it painted stirred Natalia's passion and she had to avert her eyes quickly.
"What are you thinking..." Olivia husked out in a sleep-coated voice. The blush on Natalia's face gave her an inkling but she wanted to hear Natalia say the words.
"Nothing. I'll make us some breakfast," Natalia said hurriedly.
"Nuh uh. Not so fast," Olivia murmured, tightening her hold on Natalia's waist. "Tell me what you were thinking just before."
Natalia's stomach flipped lazily at the feel of Olivia pressed up against her. She could quite happily remain in that position forever. "I was thinking... how..." hotsexyincrediblemagnificentdropdeadgorgeous "...good you look."
"Uh huh." Olivia lifted a skeptical brow. She trailed her lips across Natalia's chest and came to a halt at the base of her neck. "Are you sure that's all? Because I happen to know that lying is a sin." Natalia could not believe how quickly Olivia could reduce her into a puddle with a few chosen words and that voice... "Lying's a bad bad thing, Natalia."
Natalia took a shaky breath. "So is everything that I want to do with you."
Olivia paused and pulled her face back to look into Natalia's face. Her stomach lurched nastily. "You think... that what we did... is a sin?" Oh God, please no.
Natalia's eyes widened. She shook her head vehemently. "Never. I... just meant... you... I... When I look at you, I think of such bad things... Not bad bad things, but, you know... bad naughty things..." Natalia blushed again and she ducked her face.
Olivia swallowed, pacified by Natalia's explanation. She did not know what she would do if Natalia told her that she could not be like this with her after everything that had happened. "What sort of... naughty things?" Olivia asked, enjoying Natalia's obvious discomfort now that she understood what Natalia meant.
"Olivia..." Natalia was blushing wildly now and she could not meet her eyes to Olivia's.
"Tell me..." Olivia urged, charmed by Natalia's shyness. "You once told me, whatever Olivia wants, Olivia gets. Now I want. Give me."
Natalia took a deep breath and slid her arms around Olivia's shoulders after shifting herself so that their faces were on level with each other's. "I should never have come up with that story," she murmured, smiling deeply. "You were bad enough before but now, you're just gonna be incorrigible, aren't you?"
Olivia chuckled and touched her nose to Natalia's. "I didn't realise how much I'd enjoy being a hero and saving the day until your story," she admitted.
Natalia smirked. "You frequently save the day. You got me my investment money back, moved in to the farmhouse so I can make the mortgage, gave me a good paying job, got the mayor to get Rafe a hearing..."
Olivia's brows shot up her hairline. "I'm a regular hero!"
Natalia chuckled, palming Olivia's cheek. "Seems that way."
Olivia shifted her face closer until their breaths intermingled and her eyes fell onto Natalia's lips. "And I finally found my princess," she said in a hushed whisper.
Natalia's breath hitched and she wet her lower lip unconsciously. "The umbrella maker gets the girl," Natalia said laughingly and squealed when Olivia slipped her other arm under her and rolled them over, nipping at her neck playfully. "Olivia, I..." Natalia trailed off when their laughter ceased.
Olivia smiled and touched her lips to Natalia's. "I know... But say it anyway."
"I'm busting to go to the bathroom and you're pressing on my bladder," Natalia said, then laughed when Olivia quickly shifted her weight off of her. "Gotcha!" Natalia said, eyes dancing.
Olivia narrowed her eyes. "Oh, you think you're smart, don'tcha?" she growled, advancing on a giggling Natalia.
"Olivia..." Natalia said warningly, trying to stave off the impending attack.
"It's too late now, Natalia. I gave you your chance but you left me with no option. You're mine, for eternity." Olivia threw a leg over Natalia as she pulled her close. Both of them whimpered when their naked torsos rubbed against each other's.
"I am, you know," Natalia said softly, touching her finger to Olivia's face.
"You're what?" Olivia asked, smiling indulgently at the woman in her arms with her long, dark tressed and her dark, fathomless eyes.
The way Olivia was looking at her sent faint tremors down Natalia's body. She wanted to feel this way every minute of every day. "Yours, for as long as you want me."
Olivia swallowed, wondering if her heart would hold out with all the acrobatics it had been performing since... since that impulsive kiss that had brought about all of this. Then she smiled. If it didn't hold out, well, it wouldn't be a bad way to go at all. She leaned in close, rubbing her nose against Natalia's, loving the thrill Natalia's smile gave her.
Their lips met.
The out of town establishment that Doris Wolfe had urged Olivia to check out was as the mayor had said: classy, sexy, with a hint of badness. The dominant colours in the club were ochre, red and gunmetal gray, and low, throbbing beats hummed through the floors and walls. Olivia smoothed a hand down her tight, sleek dress the colour of blood as she scanned the room idly, already feeling several pairs of eyes on herself. She licked the rim of her martini glass before taking a sip from it. The liquor burned a trail down her throat and into her restless stomach; she was jumpy with the anticipation of seeing Natalia.
Natalia. Just thinking her name made Olivia's eyes flutter shut with desire. Images of tangled limbs, breathy sighs and bodies slick with sweat crashed over her, sending a faint tingle of want through her body to settle between her legs. Olivia opened her eyes and threw one leg over the other in reflex. She glanced at her new pair of heels and a slow smile crept up her face. She was dressed to the nines this evening for the benefit of one Natalia Rivera.
"Compliments of the lady in black at the far end of the bar," the bartender informed Olivia while pushing a glass of dirty martini her way. Olivia turned her head in the direction the bartender indicated and was about to reject the drink when her breath caught in her throat. There was Natalia, with one hand resting lightly on the bar counter, and a sweet, coy smile on her face.
Her hair was like a sheet of dark satin, framing her beautiful face, falling around her shoulders and down her back. She was wearing a small black number that Olivia had never seen her in before; the amount of cleavage she was showing made Olivia want to do all sorts of bad bad things to her right there and then.
Natalia began making her way to Olivia, aware of the intense gaze that followed her every step. She felt as though her heart was going to thump right out of her chest; everything that she had come to associate with loving Olivia was only new but Natalia could not remember a time where she did not feel this way--so alive with heightened senses and an overworked heart.
Then Olivia uncrossed and crossed her legs, and Natalia suddenly felt weak. Her gaze swept up the lethal combination of sleek black heels, smooth legs, a tight red dress, expressive green eyes, elegantly arched brows and full red lips, and her mouth went dry. No adjective even came close to describing the woman sitting there, looking like she wanted to devour her--her, of all people--body and soul. And Natalia would let her do it too, quite willingly.
There could be a hundred people or no one around them; nothing mattered outside of them. Natalia reached Olivia and plucked her drink from her hand to bring to her own lips. She took a sip of the liquid without breaking their eye contact. Olivia breathed in long and deep and dropped her eyes. She loved the shape and look of Natalia's slender fingers as they picked up the cocktail stick of olives. Olivia's eyes followed the trek of Natalia's hand, mesmerised by the sight of a pink tongue and even white teeth before Natalia's lips closed around a helpless olive.
Natalia placed the now empty martini glass on the counter and leaned in as close as she could to Olivia without actually touching her. She moved her head slowly, knowing that Olivia could feel the same tingly sensation as she did whenever they were close, and hoped that it was driving her crazy too.
Olivia lifted her hand to stroke Natalia's cheek and bring her face before her. Her eyes fell onto Natalia's lips. "You're late," she said in a low voice.
"I couldn't find the right underwear for this outfit," Natalia said in an equally soft voice. She smiled when Olivia's brows jumped into her hairline. "In the end, it got too hard... so I went without."
Olivia's mouth went dry. Bathroom? Surely they could sneak into a stall together; people did it all the time, didn't they? Or a hotel room. They definitely needed a bed or some kind of furniture for Olivia to do everything she wanted to do to Natalia. Then again, maybe a closet would do. Olivia just needed some privacy with Natalia lest she went out of her mind. She slid off the stool and rose to her full height, causing Natalia to tilt her head back slightly to look at her.
"You have the devil in you, Natalia Rivera," Olivia growled, her voice a mix of gravel and molten lava.
"Not yet, I don't," Natalia said as she leaned in close to place her lips just beside Olivia's ear. "But if you can find us a dark corner, that could be arranged."
Oh. My. God. Olivia's legs almost buckled at the words. Desire spiked through her body and she sucked in a breath. Who was this woman and what had she done with Natalia?
Natalia slid her hands up Olivia's arms to link behind her neck, leaving a trail of goosebumps in their wake. "I think you should buy me a drink."
Olivia lifted a brow. Her lips curved up. "Do you now?"
"Yes. Then you should come back to my hotel room so I can take your clothes off and have you scream my name over and over."
Okay, she was officially drunk and hallucinating. Perhaps her drink got spiked. Olivia slid her hands up Natalia's almost bare back and moaned low in her throat. This felt too real to be an illusion. "What room?" she husked out, hoping that the nervous flipping of her stomach would not cause her to twitch outwardly.
"There's a hotel a block from here... I got us a room there," Natalia said, suddenly feeling shy. She did not want to be presumptuous but it had seemed like such a good idea and she had wanted to surprise Olivia.
The contrast between a bold, sultry Natalia and a shy, self-conscious one always threw Olivia off-balance. She was crazy in love with all the different sides of Natalia. Natalia... She was everything she wanted, needed, craved.
"I will let you take my clothes off and I will scream your name over and over," Olivia said, her lips hovering just above Natalia's. "Name your poison."
Natalia sucked in a breath; her dimples flashed when she smiled. "Olivia Spencer. Extra dirty."
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