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: Thanks to Blue for her great beta-ing skills!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Benjamin Cameron was madder than hell. The last thing he had expected after everything that he had done for his sister was to get called in to the police station for questioning. Unlawful imprisonment? He was trying to right the wrong that was Jack Canning!
In the eight hours that he got held at the station, four of them were spent sitting in a cell, where he had fumed to the point of explosion. He could not believe how things had turned out. The shares that he had coveted were now Kristen's and she was evidently trying to get him out of the picture so that she, her girlfriend and the lousy Taters crew could reap the benefits of his hard work.
He slammed his mobile on the table with a shaky hand. Liam had not returned any of his calls or messages and it was driving him crazy. He knew from the police that Liam had also been called in for questioning; he needed to know what Liam had told them. Perhaps Liam was still in custody. He would wait a few more hours before he tried calling him again.
Business at Taters was still quiet but Ramsey was sure that it would pick up in time. Without Jack Canning sabotaging them at every turn, they would not have to look over their shoulders all the time.
Shaking his head, Ramsey finished filling up another container with sliced cucumber. To think that a mere few months ago, he had thought that his life could not get more boring.
Since the appearance of the boss' daughter, Taters had been vandalised and sabotaged, Russell had gotten into an accident and was now a reformed alcoholic, Kristen had fallen in love... with said boss' daughter, who got taken by Kristen's brother in the attempt to blackmail Kristen's ex-husband...
Hell's bells, Ramsey thought, when it's summarised that way...
"Hey Ramsey, is Russell around?" Tammy called out from the window that linked the kitchen to the rest of the restaurant, interrupting his musing.
"Out back, having a smoke," Ramsey said, looking up. "What's up?"
"There's someone here to see you guys... I'll get Russell. Do you mind coming out to the beer garden?" Tammy asked, sounding a little uncomfortable.
"Yeah, sure, Tammy. Is everything okay?" Ramsey asked, washing his hands at the sink.
"Yeah. I'll... go get Russell," Tammy said.
When the trio entered the beer garden, Russell growled. "What the hell are you doing here, Liam?"
"Russell, please, just listen to what he has to say," Tammy said, laying a hand on Russell's arm. "He never wanted to hurt Frances."
Liam's head was bowed. When he raised his face, Ramsey could see that he looked stricken. "I'm really sorry, Russell. It was never gonna be like this, I swear. I just wanted to apologise. I'm so, so sorry."
"You took my daughter and held her against her will. There is no forgiving that," Russell said in a still voice.
"I know. I... Look, I don't want to shirk my responsibility in this. It is true. I did take Frances. But I told her what was going on and she agreed to help me. It was never my intention to keep her there for longer than a day. But things dragged on... you know what they say about the best laid plans. It was never, ever my intention to keep her there against her will. Things went too far in a blink of an eye... and if I could take it all back and do it over, I would, I swear."
Ramsey looked from Liam to Russell and blew out a breath. "Russell, why don't we just sit down and listen to what he has to say?"
"Please, Russell. Liam's really not the bad person you think he is. He thought he was doing the right thing, helping Benjamin trap Jack Canning," Tammy said earnestly.
Russell bristled but took a step towards the chairs. "Fine. You wanna talk? Go for gold."
Frances' work was surprisingly good and sympathetic towards her plight. It was decided that she would be signed on as a casual tutor, working four days a week for the next three months, whereupon her contract would be reevaluated. The time frame was perfect for Frances. It would allow her to save up and consider what she wanted to do next.
The elevator dinged, shaking Frances out of her reverie. She strode into the lobby, searching for Kristen. Before she could locate her, however, her mobile went off and she began rummaging in her bag for it.
Kristen smiled to herself as she approached Frances from behind. When she was positioned right behind Frances, Kristen hit the end call button on her own mobile and cleared her throat.
Frances whipped around at the sound so close to her ear with a frown on her face. Then her eyes and face lit up in recognition and she sucked in a breath. "Um." Her throat went dry and her mind went blank. Kristen had straightened, lightened and cut her long, wavy hair; it now framed her face and rested softly on her shoulders.
Frances' brain tried to catch up with her eyes as they trailed down said shoulders, which were bare. A few keywords banged around in Frances head--halter neck, cleavage, tight jeans, heels, hot, sex! now... please?--and she had to shake it lightly in the hopes of regaining her ability to form coherent sentences.
"Hey you," Kristen said with a nervous smile playing on her lips. She presented the single stalk of long stemmed red rose that she was holding behind her and her smile widened at the dazed look on Frances' face.
Frances took the flower from Kristen and smiled deeply. "Um." She cleared her throat. "Thanks," she croaked.
"Don't I at least get a kiss for this?" Kristen asked with a lift of a brow, amusement threatening to overcome her. She recalled the last time she had come to get Frances from work and how she had been struck dumb at the sight of Frances in her workclothes. Payback's definitely a bitch.
Frances' mind went blank again before she nodded. "At least," she agreed, her eyes still fixated on Kristen's new hairdo. "Why are you with me?" she squeaked, conscious that she sounded slightly hysterical. "You can have anyone you want."
"Oh, goody. Cos' I want you," Kristen said, sliding her arm around Frances' waist to claim her kiss.
Frances' brain kickstarted the moment Kristen's lips touched hers. This, she knew how to do. Lifting a hand up to comb through silky soft hair, Frances cupped Kristen's cheek as their kiss deepened. She stroke Kristen's face gently when the kiss ended; her eyes fluttered open. "Hi, baby."
"Hi," Kristen responded with a smile that revealed the edges of her teeth.
"I think my brain short-circuited back there," Frances murmured. Kristen chuckled as she steered them towards the building exit, enjoying the feel of Frances pressed up against her side. "You look really nice."
Suddenly feeling shy at Frances' frank appraisal, Kristen ducked her head and felt a slight blush creeping up her cheeks. "Thank you." They bumped shoulders as they made their way to the bus stop.
Frances had had the entire day at work to daydream about Kristen. Her mind had kept flicking from raunchy images--her legs around Kristen's waist, her hair blanketing them as she cradled Kristen's face, the way Kristen looked at her with half lidded eyes--to a few snippets of conversation... like the one with Isobel, for instance.
Her relationship with Kristen had progressed so naturally that when she had time to take a breather, it would sometimes hit her just how quickly she had fallen for Kristen. She had surprised herself at how easy it was to be honest about the way she felt for Kristen--how right it felt to declare to anyone who asked that Kristen was the one for her.
The few minutes that she had spent talking to Isobel only further proved how connected she felt with Kristen--both mentally and physically. Kristen got her, on almost every level; it made her feel immeasurably fortunate to have found someone who fit her so well, someone she did not have to explain herself to all the time, someone who got her humour.
"You're awfully quiet," Kristen commented when they reached the bus stop. "Long day? How did work respond to... what happened?" she asked, concerned, hoping that Frances was up for sharing.
"Work's good. They're signing me on for three months on a casual basis," Frances said with a shake of her head and a faint smile. "I was just thinking about... us."
Kristen lifted a brow. "Why are you thinking about us when the flesh and blood version of us is right here?" she teased. "Unless you're thinking dirty thoughts, which... I guess I'll have to allow because I know from experience that it can't be helped."
Frances smirked and threaded their fingers together. "I was just thinking... how much I love being with you. How happy you make me. How well we fit together... in every way." She raised her face to place a soft kiss on Kristen's cheek, her cheeks flushing a little at her impromptu declaration.
"Wow. If that's what I get for one rose, I'm buying you a flower shop tomorrow," Kristen said, touching her hand to the spot on her cheek that Frances had just kissed.
"That might be overdoing it just a tad, Kristen," Frances said wryly.
Kristen smiled. Their bus was approaching but she could not care less if they missed it. People milled about them, anxious to get on the bus but Kristen felt like she was suspended in a bubble with Frances.
"Just a tad?" Kristen asked as they miraculously made it up the crowded bus.
When they found a spot to stand in, their bodies pressed comfortably against each other's, Frances stroked her cheek with the back of her hand.
"I'd buy you a field of flowers if that's what it takes to get you to smile at me like this everyday," Kristen said softly, thrilling at Frances' touch and the way she was looking at her. It made her breath catch and her stomach feel funny.
Frances' smile deepened, as did her dimples. "Kristen..." she said, rolling her eyes and blushing. "Never would have picked you to be a closet romantic."
"Seems like you have the knack of making me come out of all sorts of closets," Kristen quipped, eyes narrowing slightly.
Frances giggled. "Now look who the smart ass is."
"You're a bad influence," Kristen said breathily in Frances' ear, making her shiver slightly. She pulled her face back slightly to look into Frances' eyes. "And you make me very happy too."
"Um. Mozart?" Frances asked as she waltzed into the lounge room. "That's... different," she commented, sliding onto the couch next to Nell, who was staring intently at the television and punching the buttons on her game console, trying to destroy what looked to Frances like a very big statue.
"Gets my mojo goin'," Nell said distractedly. "Die, you piece of shit!" she muttered under her breath.
Frances pulled her feet onto the couch and pressed a bag of ice to her ankle as she watched Nell maneuver her character around. "Oh, that's a sick move," Frances said, quickly drawn into the game. "How do you know to do that?"
"Trial and error," Nell said with a shrug. She risked giving Frances a quick glance. "Mostly error," she said with a grave nod, making Frances chuckle. "Yes! Teach you to mess with me, stupid statue!" Nell shouted at the screen.
"Nell, you're blowing a hole in my eardrum," Frances complained good naturedly. "How're you going?" she asked as the next stage of the game loaded. "I missed you. Feel like I haven't hung out with you in ages."
"I'm good. Kristen came by to check out the car we're fixin' up. She placed a deposit on it."
"Cool," Frances said, smiling sweetly at the mention of Kristen. "But I was asking about you, not Kristen."
"Mm... I'm good." Nell paused the game and set the console down. "I, uh, kinda hooked up with someone at the party," she confessed.
Frances grinned. "Kinda? What, you got to third base and chickened out?" Frances yelped when Nell jabbed her side with her fingers.
"Anyway, whew, it's been a while," Nell said, hitting the volume button on the remote control so they didn't have to raise their voices for the conversation. "Good to know that all my parts are still working," she said with a cheeky smile.
"Anyone I know?"
Nell bit her lower lip. "Yeah. Izzie."
Frances' eyebrows shot into her hairline. "True! That's... unexpected. But cool," she said quickly, not wanting Nell to think that there was anything wrong with them hooking up.
"We were both pretty trashed. And she's pretty cool." Nell looked at Frances silently for a moment. "I missed you too. I'm really happy that you and Kristen are so into each other but sometimes... it's nice to just hang with you."
"I know. It is. It's just that after the whole abduction thing..." Frances began explaining, only to be cut off by Nell's shake of head.
"Hey, it's cool. I'm just sayin'," Nell said, cuffing Frances playfully.
"Anyway, things will go back to normal when she goes back to work. It's ridiculous how I start missing her the moment she's not there. It's a little psychotic!"
Nell snickered. "You're in love..." she teased. "It's fantastic, darl. It's good to see you happy."
Frances snuggled into the side of the couch a little more as she sighed. "She's pretty amazing." Then she shifted. "So... you gonna start seeing Izzie?"
Nell shrugged. "Nah, doubt it. She's nice and all but you know I'm really not looking for anything. I made it quite clear."
"Dearest, you're never looking for anything."
"Mm hm," Nell nodded, picking up her game console. Frances ruffled Nell's hair fondly before settling back to watch her continue with the game.
"Darl, trust me. Izzie is the last person I'd wanna go out with," Nell said, trying to figure out just what it was that the game wanted her character to do. There was no one around and she was jumping around, slashing blindly at walls and partitions in the hopes of activating something. "Oh yeah," she mumbled when wooden partitions crumbled to reveal two topless women in the water. "What... Check that out..."
Frances lifted a brow. "And what exactly - oh my."
Nell snorted in disbelief as she followed the instructions given to her on the screen. "'Oh my' is quite right..."
The knock on her door surprised her. Kristen hastily arranged a sheet over her almost complete painting for Frances and wiped her hands up and down her thighs. She slid the chain on door before pulling it open and peering out.
"Jack," she said, surprised. He looked slightly rumpled.
"Kristen." His voice was low and gravelly, as though he had a sorethroat. He cleared his throat awkwardly.
"What are you doing here?" she asked suspiciously, glad that she had had the foresight to slid the chain on.
Jack bowed his head slightly. "To talk."
Kristen frowned. "Ever heard of the phone?"
Jack looked up and Kristen could see his bloodshot eyes. "I needed to see you," he said, his voice breaking slightly.
"I don't feel comfortable about this, Jack. And I don't think we have anything to say to each other anymore."
"Please? I just... need to talk. And then I'll go. I promise," Jack said beseechingly.
Kristen sighed. "After everything that's happened, your word hardly means anything."
Jack nodded slowly. "I guess I deserve that," he said, clenching his jaw. "Can we... can we arrange for a place to meet... tomorrow?"
"Please, Kristen. I will sign the divorce papers, do anything you ask of me. I just need... closure. Please."
Kristen felt herself relenting. "Tomorrow, twelve, at Sophia's. It's next to Taters," she said. That way, she was close enough to help if she needed any without actually causing any waves by bringing Jack to Taters.
"I'll be there," Jack said, turning away. "Goodnight, Kristen."
Kristen shut her door wordlessly and pinched the bridge of her nose, hoping that she had not made the wrong decision.
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