DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Final part of The Script Series.

The End Where I Begin
By gilligankane


If she had something in her mouth right now, she would sputter and it would end up halfway across the room. But as it was, she managed to swallow her last spoonful of Black Raspberry Fudge unscathed.


"Na – what are you doing here?" It's the sixty-four-thousand dollar question and Natalia just smiles again at her, her eyes bright with laughter and not an ounce of regret.

"I'm taking back your key card," she mutters under her breath. Natalia doesn't react except to come into the room further, letting the door shut with a soft click behind her.

Natalia isn't saying anything – just staring at her with a soft, sad smile, and it's making Olivia increasingly nervous. "How old were you when this movie came out anyway, 8?" she asks, voice heavy with sarcasm, trying to lighten the mood of the heavy room.

The younger woman lets out a loud laugh. "Yeah, 7 or 8 I think."

"You didn't even appreciate this movie the first time you saw it," Olivia bites out.

"And you were the true movie critic then?" Natalia snaps back.

Olivia lets out a heavy sigh and turns back to her ice cream, drawing lazy circles in the melted dairy.

"We're better than this," Natalia says softly, drawing Olivia's gaze back to her.

"No," Olivia says, shaking her head. "This is all we are. We're…

"We check up on each other and we tell each other the truth, and you said you watch Dr. Phil, so you know that makes us friends," Natalia interrupts. "And I love you, so I know that makes us more," she adds. Olivia's head snaps upward so violently that a soft crack reverberates through the room like a firecracker going off in a box.

"Please don't start this again…"

"You started it. I'm finishing it."

So Olivia waits and Natalia just sits there with her mouth open, like she's going to say something.

"So finish it," Olivia finally says, exasperated. Just finish it and leave already so I can wallow in peace, her mind screams. "Just finish it already," she repeats out loud.

"Shut up, I'm thinking."

Natalia – this new Natalia that apparently doesn't care about the way she talks to anyone, especially Olivia – is giving her this look that says more than just shut up; it says shut up and just let me…

Let me what, Olivia wonders? Break your heart? Leave you in pieces on the floor? Wreck the rest of your life?

Olivia just sits back, her hand itching to grab another spoonful of ice cream, but the rest of her body too aware of Natalia Rivera sitting on the edge of her bed, hands in her lap and her brow knitted in thought. She takes a minute – to breathe, to think, to watch.

And in that minutes, she realizes that she's, well, she's at peace, here in this room, with Natalia in reach and hers to just look at. She realizes that if Natalia breaks her heart right now, she'll still have this to hold onto; this one moment of pure silence.

But then Natalia looks up and smiles at her and it all rushes back to her: every shared look, every laugh, every smile. All the movie marathons and the work arguments and prayers over dinner all come back to her in a flash of light that hits her square in the solar plexus and makes her feel like she can't breathe; can't do anything but bask and drown in the memories and the potential of a life in happiness and bliss and something she can be proud of, something that's hers.

And the Natalia opens her mouth and the illusion – because it's nothing more than an illusion, Olivia reminds herself – is shattered.

"Here's the thing Olivia," Natalia starts, and Olivia feels her heart jumpstart in her chest at the way Natalia's voice cracks a little. "You are the, most irrational," she continues, and now her heart's not jumpstarting, it's faltering, falling to the ground like it jumped from the top of an eight story building, plummeting to the ground without an respite of a rescue. "Frustrating, insane, annoying, pestering, moronic, potentially mentally unstable…"

She waits with bated breath as Natalia pauses and she's afraid that nothing is going to follow her faults; that Natalia will list none of her strengths; none of the things she thought the younger woman would see in her.

And she waits.

Natalia is trying to choose her words carefully, knowing that one slip could cause their leaning tower of, of whatever they have – love, she decides in the next thought – to come crashing down around them, leaving them in the rubble battle-scarred and torn.

So she takes a deep breath and finishes her thought:"Loyalist, most determined, courageous, dependable, trustworthy, eccentrically brilliant, faithful, truest, passionate, heart-felt, perfect person I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, and becoming friends with, and loving."

Olivia just stares back at her with her mouth open – because it'd been opening more and more and more since Natalia had started talking, creeping slowly down until Olivia's jaw was practically toughing the floor.

"That's, that's," Olivia stutters. "That's the most backwards compliment I've ever received," she finally decides on saying.

"I'm not done," Natalia announces as soon as Olivia finishes speaking. "You're all of these things, and not to mention – you're cunning and witty and as sharp as a tack." She blushes. "And you're smoking hot," she says without looking at Olivia, her eyes finding the solid-colored comforter instead.

"That's why I love you Olivia Spencer, because you're everything and you never apologize for it. You're everything I wanted in Gus, and everything Frank could never be, and, God, Olivia, aren't you going to say anything?"

But Olivia just sits there.

And Natalia feels the world get smaller and smaller with each breath she takes and every second that Olivia just. sits. there.

"I thought you were going to break my heart," Olivia finally sobs out and Natalia feels her entire insides clench.

"I could never," she stresses, "never, ever hurt you."

Olivia tries to smile through the tears that have started running down her face. "But you did. When you slept with Frank, and when you accepted his proposal…"

"You told me to!" Natalia can't stop herself from almost shouting. "You're the one who pushed me into that."

"Because I could see it in your eyes, because every time I opened my mouth, I could see the fear in your eyes and I could see you thinking "please don't say anything, please don't say anything" and I didn't, I don't want you to be afraid of what I feel for you." Olivia wipes under her eyes furiously. "Don't you understand Natalia? I was too afraid of what I felt for you and I couldn't handle you being afraid of it either."

"But I told you, I told you I loved you and you still tried to push me into…"

"I love you," Olivia interrupts, her voice soft.

She looks at Olivia, sitting in her sweats with her hands wrapped around a melting ice cream carton in the middle of the day in her suite with the shades down, and wonders how one sentence from her – just three words – can stop her in her tracks.

Frank told her he loved and the most she could was try not to roll her eyes.

It should have been one of her first clues, along with everything else that he ever did.

Because in all the time she'd known Frank Cooper, he had never been that guy. He was nice enough, a little cookie-cutter if anything, but he wasn't the "candlelight dinner" on a bad day kind of guy.

Olivia was that kind of person.

"Aren't you going to say anything," Olivia asks when she doesn't say anything for a minute. The older woman's hands clutch the carton nervously, her knuckles visibly white from where Natalia sits.

"I was waiting for you to say 'but,'" she answers with a shrug. "Because every time you've told me that you love me lately, there's always a 'but' following it."

Olivia opens her mouth, but Natalia beats her to it.

"'I love you, but I want you to marry Frank,' or 'I love you, but I'm going to let you go throw your life away,' or 'I love you, but I'm not going to do anything about it,' or…"

"I get it."

"Do you?" she asks with a sad smile. "Do you really get it Olivia? I love you, and there's no 'but' after it. It's just that: I. Love. You. But if you," and her voice catches, because she's thinking now (now, after all of this, she'd finally getting around to thinking) that maybe there will always be a "but" in their love; that Olivia will always leave that word hanging at the end of her sentences. "If you don't…"

"I do," Olivia insists, the ice cream carton dropping soundlessly to the carpeted floor as she rises from her chair, crossing the distance between them in easy steps. "I do," she repeats.

Whenever Frank touched her, she would tense, as if she was expecting his touch to burn and scald or sting. But as Olivia slides her palm across her cheek, her fingers slipping behind her ear, she feels nothing but electricity; nothing but static pressure that calms her and roots her to the ground. It warms her heart and her head and she knows that this touch – a simple touch to the hand or her shoulder – is the one she's been trying to find for the last eighteen years of her life.

Olivia is the one she's been looking for.

"If I kiss you," Natalia whispers. "Are you going to yell 'don't' at me or tell me to go marry Frank? Because I want to kiss right now, but since our previous attempts have been," she searches for the right word.

"Disastrous?" Olivia supplies.

"I was going to say a little less than perfect, but that doesn't really matter." She grins. "Kiss me Olivia."

Their first kiss was a surprise – Olivia trying to "show her" exactly what everyone else thought of them.

The second kiss was a plea – Natalia trying to prove that she wanted Olivia.

And the third kiss was a desperate attempt to make Olivia understand; to make her realize what it was they both wanted but refused to let themselves have.

Their fourth try is better.

Natalia slants her lips over Olivia's, catching the older woman's bottom lip in her own. She wonders if this is what kissing is supposed to be like – this fire in her belly and feeling like even if she kissed Olivia for the next hundred years, she would never get tired of the shape of her mouth or the taste of her lips (like dry gin, which she expected, and something like vanilla, which she didn't).

She's been doing it wrong for the last thirty-four years of her life if this is the way it's supposed to feel.

Olivia's hands are still on her face, fingers interlocked behind her neck, and as Natalia steps closer and closer she can feel Olivia's hips cant into her own, fitting like they belong there, like they've always belonged there. Hesitantly, she slips her tongue past Olivia's lips, exploring the contours of her mouth and her knees almost buckle in relief when Olivia does nothing put pull her impossibly closer.

"I've been doing that wrong," she dumbly whispers into Olivia's hair when they finally break for air. She presses her lips against the older woman's forehead continually, kissing every inch of her face she could reach.

"Doing what?" Olivia asks out of breath.

"Kissing. I've been doing it wrong." Olivia's hands move slowly across her back. "It's never felt like that," she explains.

"I…" the older woman laughs a little. "I'm going to let that one go, alright?" Olivia smiles and moves her hands back up to Natalia's face, stilling her kisses. "But I will say that I'm an idiot for thinking that I'd be fine if you were with Frank, because after that…" She takes a shuddering breath. "Well, after that, I'm not ever letting you go."

"Is that a promise?" Natalia asks almost mutely.

"Cross my heart and hope to…"

"Don't hope that."

"Well then," Olivia grins. "Cross my secondhand heart and hope to live forever." With you, she reads in Olivia's eyes.

Olivia leans forward slowly again, but Natalia is quicker, pressing her mouth against Olivia's fast and hard, trying to convey everything she's thinking in one kiss.

"I love you," she's trying to say. "I love you and your heart. I love you and your heart and stupid one-liners and your bad jokes and your daughter and your hair and your smile and your ass in that one pair of jeans you own and your eyes and the way you tell me you love me."

She wonders if Olivia understood that – if she got that out of the kiss – but she kisses her again, just to make sure.

"This won't be easy," she feels the need to mutter.

Olivia nods, their foreheads pressed together. "I'm not sure if you figured this out yet, but I don't do things easy. I manage to make everything one big, unnecessary battle against the odds."

On its own accord, Natalia finds her hand on the space in between Olivia's collarbone where she knows the skin is slightly pinker, a little more torn than the rest of Olivia's soul.

"Didn't anyone ever tell you that I'm a sucker for lost causes and romance?" She winks at Olivia and smirks.

"No, no one told me that. You didn't tell me that."

Natalia pretends to think it over. "Hmm, well now you know."

"So I'm a lost cause?"

She looks up at Olivia through her lashes and for a brief second she's afraid that Olivia's being serious until she sees the other woman smirk slowly, the smile stretching across her face minutely.

And before she can even get a word in, Olivia is pushing her back down on the bed and standing in front of her, her strong hands cupping Natalia's face and lifting it upward. "I can't believe I fell in love with a saint," she murmurs.

"Hey, I have some devil in me, isn't that right?" Natalia smirks at the way Olivia's eyes light up a little.

"Natalia Rivera…"

"Can we go home now?" Natalia cuts in, glancing around the room with disdain. "It's…depressing in here."

Olivia rolls her eyes and leans down to press a quick kiss against Natalia's lips. "Well, I'm sorry about that."

"Don't be sorry, just pack your stuff – and Emma's – so we can, you know, get a move on," she says, already moving off the bed to pick up the clothing scattered across the room. She wonders how Olivia could get back in the habit of being so sloppy so quickly, musing over the fact that the three and a half days since she'd been gone had felt like a lifetime.

She feels Olivia's arms wrap around her waist from behind – we're never going to ever get anything done if this is how it's going to be, she finds herself thinking, and in the same thought, not caring.

"What if Frank is camping out on your front porch when we get home?" Natalia's heart skips a beat when Olivia calls the farmhouse "home" and then another when realizes that Frank in a sleeping bag with a lantern and a bag of cookies isn't only just a ridiculous picture, but a likely occurrence.

"Rafe called me and told me he wasn't giving up," Olivia tells her, shrugging. "He said a few other things, but" she lifts her hands to ward off Natalia's questions. "I swore myself to secrecy. Although, it was something to do with getting my 'shit together and fixing this mess I made.' What have you been telling that kid?"

"We'll go in through the backdoor," Natalia offers, ignoring Rafe getting into her business, but seeing the faltering look in Olivia's eyes. "So that we can just attack him from behind. You know, throw a pillowcase over his head and roll him down the stairs and tell him to, I don't know, get a life. Or do his job," she continues. "Does he even go into the station anymore? I mean, I know he's Detective Cooper, but does that require any work?"

Olivia is silent for a minute, her eyes slightly widening before she realizes that Natalia just made a joke. She watches as the realization spreads across Olivia's face and tries to hide her smirk.

"I'm sorry, was that a joke?" Natalia's heard this one before, but she can't stop the giggle that erupts from her throat regardless. "I didn't know you could smile."

"Olivia," she says seriously. "I'll tell him. I'll tell him that there's never going to be a way that I'll fall in love with him, because I have you. I'll tell everyone that I love you and that we're a family and that nothing could ever break us apart. If you want me to, I'll even go to Chicago and tell my parents, because they already disowned me." She smirks. "You'll never have to meet my parents."

"I have to meet your son," Olivia points out.

"He loves you," Natalia whispers.

"Does he?" Olivia asks, and there it is, the Olivia Spencer Natalia knows and loves – the insecure, hesitant Olivia who wanted to give her away when she should have pulled her closer.

So this time, Natalia pulls Olivia closer and marvels at how they fit: physically, emotionally, personally. "You know what he said? He thought, when I went to go tell him that I was engaged to Frank," Olivia flinches. "He thought that I was going to tell him that you and I broke up. Because I apparently looked like death warmed over."

"We both did.'

"That's because you were being stupid," Natalia says without thought, then winces, expecting Olivia to shut down in her arms again.

"Alright, you're right, but if you're done insulting me," she says instead, with a grin, "can we go now?"

"We're going, we're going," Natalia says dismissively, pulling Olivia closer again just to kiss her. "One for the road," she explains.

Olivia loops an arm around her neck and kisses her face continually; littering little kisses everywhere: her forehead, her brow line, her temple, her check, her nose, her chin. Natalia laughs into Olivia's hair and it spurs Olivia on and the other woman doesn't stop.

"The whole town, huh?" Natalia nods into Olivia's shoulder, the two of them standing in the middle of the suite just holding onto each other, pressed against the other, content in the moment.

"Why?" Natalia asks after a beat of silence.

"Well, you know, if we keep it a secret, at least, for a little while, just think of all the hats we could buy," Olivia offers with a slight pout.

"Olivia. Spencer," she grinds out, trying to keep her face blank.

But then Olivia smiles and before she can stop herself, she's laughing so hard she feels like her insides will burst.

This is what being with Olivia Spencer feels like, she decides. Like I'm going to explode into a million pieces all at once and she'll be there to put the pieces back together every time. Like it's okay.

"Hold on," Olivia says as they're almost out the door, moving to turn back into the room, but Natalia keeps a firm grip on Olivia's hands, locking their fingers together.

"Olivia, leave the ice cream."

She pretends to ignore the pout on Olivia's face, and instead, kisses her in the hallway. "And they lived happily ever, right?"

"Hmmph," Olivia mumbles unintelligently, she smiles anyway.

The End

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