DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Eighth part of The Script Series.
Before The Worst
There are many things Olivia Spencer is good at.
Self-pity is one of them.
She dips her oversized spoon back down into the ice cream carton and sniffles heavily. The ice cream was for Emma and her to share, but the little girl had declined a 'girl's night in' to go to Jodi's instead.
Apparently, Mommy can't compete with new kittens and video games.
She can't compete with Frank either, so what did really she expect.
Stop it, she chastises. Stop being weepy. You're Olivia-Freaking-Spencer, alright?
Alright, she nods. Alright.
But in the next second she's shoving the spoon back into her mouth and turning the volume up on "Sixteen Candles" and feels Sam's pain. She never understood Molly Ringwald's character until tonight, because she had always gotten what she wanted. She even got Gus.
But Natalia Rivera was her Jake Ryan her impossible dream, the perfect catch.
A total babe.
Except, that wouldn't really work, because The Geek has a thing for Sam and not for Jake and it's just one convoluted mess that's spinning out of control, because it's just a movie and it still ends with her alone and crying over a bad hair-dos and out-dated language; a movie that she saw for the first time in 1984. When she was 14 and still wore training bras.
It was such a better movie then.
"I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek," Sam whines.
"Oh, well, that's your own fault," Olivia throws back at the television.
God, I'm pathetic.
The phone rings, shocking her out of her 80's-induced haze.
Natalia calling, the phone mocks her. Natalia calling, Natalia calling, Natalia calling, Natalia
She hits a button the on the side of the phone and the ringing stops immediately, leaving the room oddly silent. She hates the silence of the hotel room one of the reasons she never admitted as to why she loved the Farmhouse so much, besides being there with Natalia and her daughter, besides Natalia.
"Oh don't look at me like that," she snaps at the picture on the nightstand. Natalia and Emma's gaze she swears narrow at her, calling her a fool, an idiot. They're mocking her and calling her chicken-shit.
"Yeah, so what if I am. She's You're marrying Frank, you idiot."
But that's all her fault, she remembers. Because she's the one who pushed for that to happen. From the very beginning, when her heart started to swell in her chest every time Natalia walked in the room, she pushed Norman Rockwell and the perfect Catholic together to try and make some perfect little calendar babies and picture perfect Fourth of July parties. She did that.
All on her own.
And even after she figured it all out "I can tell she's into me," she told the bartender at Ladies Night she still pushed the two of them together, because she somehow thought it would all go away: Natalia would lie with Frank in their happy-ever-after bubble and she would move onto anyone, and her life would be just the way she liked it: fast and easy.
But lately since Natalia, if she wanted to be honest she liked slow and simple; leisurely paces and quick smiles.
All of the sudden, fast and easy jumping from one project to another, one man to the next doesn't sound like the way to live her life; doesn't sound like the example she wants to set for her daughter.
A year later and she still can't believe that Natalia Rivera maid, Catholic, subservient upturned her entire life like she was changing the sheets on a bed.
"You know, everyone in this family has gone total outer limits," on-screen Sam says to her father.
Oh Sam, we must be living parallel lives, she can't help but think as she shoves some more Black Raspberry Fudge into her mouth. She looks down at the carton, but ignores the fact that she's already plowed through more than half of it.
If need be, she can go to the gym with Jeffery, although last time they tried that, she ended up storming out after his annoying comments about Natalia.
Natalia just ruins her days.
All of her days.
"It's your own damn fault," she rebukes. "You can't blame anyone else than yourself. You kissed her, didn't you?"
"Yeah, you did," Natalia's voice answers her.
She whips around in a circle, expecting to see the younger woman standing in the doorway with a look of elegant disgust on her face. "Na-Natalia?"
"Why did you kiss me anyway?" Olivia sighs. "Well, I mean, I guess I know why now. But, and pardon my words, what the hell were you thinking? That I was just going to swoon because you forced me into a kiss? Or did you think that you and I could live in lesbian bliss forever on that Farmhouse?"
Olivia finds herself nodding mutely.
"Hmmph. Olivia Spencer lover of ladies. I bet you no one saw that one coming."
"Well hey now," she protests. "I'm an equal opportunity kind of gal," she finishes weakly.
She thinks she hears Natalia snort.
"Yeah, you're the poster child of equal opportunity. Come on Olivia, you're smarter than that. I'm Catholic, remember? I just don't drop my entire system belief to fall in love with a woman like you."
"I know," Olivia admits in a whisper.
"Oh don't do that," Natalia sighs. "Don't get all moody. You're Olivia Spencer, aren't you? You eat people who get in your way for breakfast, right? So you're not really going to let little ole' me be the one to break you, are you?"
It's a stupid question, because real Natalia, the living, breathing Natalia knows that she's the only one who could ever break Olivia Spencer; break her into a million little pieces scattered on the floor.
It might be the dimples or the smiles or the disarming, genuine goodness of her heart, but it just might be that Natalia Rivera refused to let Olivia get away with anything without retribution.
Natalia Rivera has tamed and tempered Olivia Spencer.
She deserves a medal or a happy life, at least.
"And you think that means I have to marry Frank?" Natalia asks with an incredulous voice.
Apparently, her dream-Natalia can read thoughts.
"Well, yeah, he's a good guy and "
"Could you stop advertising him for a minute? I feel like I can't breathe when you do that."
Olivia waits. This is ridiculous, she thinks. I'm talking to no one.
"I'm still here."
"Oh, be quiet." Olivia takes a breath and grimaces. "I didn't just expect you to fall in love with me, alright? I don't know what I expected."
"Yes you did," Natalia interrupts.
She sighs again. "Alright, so I did, I guess. I expected you to at least admit you felt something back, you know? I expected you to want me, eventually, and to get mad at me when I pushed you into Frank." Olivia snorted. "Although I remember that you don't get mad, do you?" Her mind flashed back to the hospital room where she sat and half-begged, half-yelled at Natalia to just get angry about anything. "I guess I expected you to do anything but ignore it."
"Catholic guilt," Natalia offers simply.
"And then I just thought," Olivia continues. "That someone like you would never want to be with someone like me, because I'm ruthless and heartless and bitter."
She thinks she hears Natalia smile. "On the contrary. I know for sure that you have a heart."
On screen, Grandpa Fred is pulling the station wagon out of the driveway. "Hey Howard, there's your Chinaman."
"Yeah," Olivia agrees. "I have a heart. But I don't use it do I?"
"When it comes to Emma you do. And," Natalia pauses. "And when it comes to me."
"Yeah," Olivia whispers. "Always when it comes to you."
"Olivia Spencer, I can honestly say that no one ever thought you'd want to settle down on a farm, of all places with a Saint of woman and a couple of ducks."
"Don't remind me."
She hears Natalia click her tongue and the feeling in the room changes, like there's a sudden sense of relief. "Well you know what? Maybe you should give yourself some more credit, yeah? Because you should know by now, everyone ends up falling in love with Olivia Spencer. You're irresistible."
"Not to you," Olivia mumbles.
Natalia says nothing.
She spins in her chair and the air around her feels empty and cool.
Instead, she settles back into the chair and pulls her feet under her, putting her spoon back into her carton.
"Ooo, this one is my favorite." Natalia's voice floats through the room.
"Yeah, well find another favorite. This one's mine," she snaps automatically.
She hears a low whistle. "Maybe you should put down the ice cream."
That's not part of her dream-Natalia. Dream-Natalia can call her a fool, but she doesn't get to make her put down her ice cream.
Slowly, she turns in her chair, suddenly aware of how dim the room is and how much a pathetic picture she must make.
But there's Natalia, fingers wringing nervously, key card in hand, with a sheepish smile on her face.
Olivia feels like fainting.
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