DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: No more Mister Nice-Frank I've decided to ignore the fact that Buzz would probably be at Company to hear all this. He would just get in my way. Heh.
SPOILERS: April 29th episode. What happens after the hospital.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Well, isn't this cozy?"
Several heads turned toward the front of Company, including the heads of Olivia Spencer and Natalia Rivera. The two women were having a working lunch and enjoying how they seemed to have regained most of their comfort around each other, though the love they'd finally admitted to each other was a constant and pleasant buzz around them.
"Frank? What are you doing here?" Natalia asked with concern, noticing the bruises on his face had seemed to darken over night. He had shown up at her house the day before, having been beaten to a bloody pulp and still hadn't explained. "You should be home, resting."
Frank barked a sharp laugh. "You really think I can rest? I haven't been able to rest since you ran out on me at our wedding. Though at least now I know why."
The sharp sarcasm in the normally friendly voice worried Natalia. He knew. Somehow he knew.
"Frank, I don't "
"Is there a problem Frank?" Olivia finally interrupted. The woman was not known for her patience on a good day and sensing that Frank was on the attack there was no way she was going to let Natalia be his target.
Cold, angry eyes followed her lead and shot over to Olivia. "Hell yes there's a problem. You're screwing my "
"You just stop right there," Olivia snapped. "I think we should take this somewhere a little less public. Don't you?"
Oh dear God, Natalia prayed frantically. She looked between an irate Frank and an increasingly agitated Olivia with despair. How had this happened? All she wanted was to love Olivia. Was that too much to ask?
"I'm not going anywhere." Frank glared at the woman who was once more dressed in a high priced power suit, reminding him of who she really was under that veneer of 'niceness' she had recently cultivated.
"It wasn't enough, was it?" He sneered. It became instantly obvious that the man had had way too many beers.
"What?" Olivia breathed in frustration. She sensed Natalia growing more upset as she fought to either stay calm or flee.
"You've slept with or married just about every man in Springfield, including both me and my father, but that still wasn't enough was it? Did you run out of male playthings and decide to start on women?"
"Frank, please," Natalia whispered desperately, but he ignored her.
"And worse than that, you had to dig your claws into a nice, god fearing woman. Was that fun for you?" He laughed bitterly. "Yeah, I imagine it was. You just love to toy with people, making them fall at your feet and then tossing them out with the garbage. "
Natalia watched the man she almost married, a man she thought was kind and decent, publicly rip Olivia to shreds in a drunken rage. What stabbed at her heart though was Olivia's almost calm acceptance of everything he said.
"Why Natalia, Olivia? I mean, first you took her husband from her and then you all but caused his death, and then you manipulated her into giving you his heart. Why did you have to go after her too? Were you bored? Or is it the fact that you'll never have even a tenth of her goodness so you wanted to destroy hers?"
"Frank," Natalia snapped. She understood that he was hurt and confused and she didn't blame him for being angry, but she knew his words were hurting Olivia, especially what he'd said about Gus. Olivia didn't deserve his attack. She'd done absolutely nothing wrong.
"It's okay, Natalia," he said, tearing his eyes away from the woman who'd gone pale with every word, but said nothing in her defense. "I don't blame you. God, I knew that the two of you living together was a bad idea. I know first hand what kind of woman she is and should never have allowed you anywhere near her."
"Allow me? Frank, I'm a grown woman. I make my own decisions. My own choices."
"You are so innocent and trusting," he said, sounding more patronizing than he ever had. "Even Alan Spaulding couldn't resist Olivia when she set her sights on him. She knew how easy it would be to manipulate your gentle heart. She wanted to corrupt you because I don't know, probably because of Gus, and you just didn't stand a chance against her."
Now, Natalia was angry. "This is NOT Olivia's fault, Frank. She did everything she could to encourage me to marry you. Does a certain romantic dinner ring a bell?" Natalia was unable to keep her own voice sarcasm free. She would not let this man insult one of the most honest, giving people she'd ever known.
"You yourself told me that she coached you on how to date me. All those special things you did for me, that made me think that marrying you could be something I really wanted, were because of her and you took the credit. All this time."
"It was all part of her plan, Natalia, don't you see? "
"What plan Frank?" Olivia finally spoke up. "What on earth could I possibly gain by having the woman that I love more than anything, marry you?"
Frank spun back to Olivia. "You're a vindictive bitch when you're bored, Olivia. I'm sure you'd find it really amusing to know that I was married to a woman who didn't really love me."
"You're drunk and acting like an ass Frank," Olivia snapped, turning back to the paperwork on the table. "Why don't you go sleep it off? Natalia and I have work to do."
"Work. Is that what you're calling it these days, you slu -?"
Natalia was on her feet and her hand was across his face before he could finish the insult. "That's enough. This is my fault Frank. My fault and no one else's. I was fighting my feelings for Olivia for so long that I convinced myself that marrying you would make me forget all these emotions that I didn't understand. And Olivia all but pushing me into your arms certainly didn't help any." She looked at the woman whose eyes were on the table but was frozen like a statue, then at the many pairs of curious eyes aimed in their direction and she knew what she had to do. What she wanted to do.
"I never meant to hurt you Frank, I honestly didn't. I handled this whole thing very badly and I'll regret that for the rest of my life. What you need to understand, what everyone needs to understand is that it took standing before you in church, so close to binding my life with yours forever, for me to finally realize what I truly wanted. It took knowing that Olivia was standing beside me, hurting so badly yet unwilling to do anything to prevent me from having what she thought I wanted, for me to know what a fool I'd been."
Natalia took a deep breath and then looked Frank dead in the eye. "I love her, Frank. I am in love with Olivia Spencer and have been for I don't know how long."
Frank opened his mouth, but Natalia stopped him. "No. You say nothing else. You've said more than you should have and knowing the kind of man you are, I'm sure you'll regret it tomorrow, but I want this to be perfectly clear. Olivia has done nothing but love me. The real me, not a version of me that she wanted to see. I've hurt her so badly with my refusal to acknowledge my feelings openly, but I'm doing so now."
The entire restaurant had fallen silent. Natalia felt everyone's eyes on her and she was enormously surprised to realize she didn't care. Not one iota. She watched Frank's face fall as he finally realized he'd lost and he spun around and left Company as quickly as he had arrived. She watched him go, deeply regretting what she'd done to him.
The brunette closed her eyes at the throaty, uncertain voice coming from behind her. She turned and felt her heart nearly break in two as she saw the almost anxious look on the beautiful face and the tears filling eyes that had followed her into sleep more nights than she could remember.
"Come here, Olivia," she ordered softly.
Olivia's heart was pounding so hard she was surprised her beeper didn't go off. She was reeling from Natalia's very public declaration, in Company of all places, but she stood and walked to Natalia.
"What did you do?" Olivia asked, afraid of seeing regret and humiliation in the brown eyes, but all she saw was love.
"Exactly what I wanted to," Natalia replied. She reached up to softly stroke down Olivia's firm jaw.
"Has anyone ever told you that you ask too many questions?"
Olivia started to reply but found her words cut off by Natalia kissing her the way she'd been dreaming of for so long.
They were totally unaware of the way the patrons immediately went back to their lunches and conversations and the clatter of a crowded restaurant picked back up as if nothing had happened.
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