DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thank you to everyone who has responded so wonderfully to all my little offerings. Your kind words mean more than I can tell you. I hope I don't disappoint with the sequel. *edited note* Olivia isn't as strong in this as I would have liked, but this was still really a Natalia thing.
SPOILERS: Week of April 13th especially Friday's episode.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
End the Dance - Part 2
The sudden and very irritated pounding on the front door jolted Olivia Spencer upright and caused a small squeak of fear from her daughter. She had been curled up on the sofa with Emma in her arms, neither one of them paying much attention to the Disney movie flickering on the television.
"What the hell?" Olivia muttered as she gently disentangled herself from her daughter. She saw the scared look in the eyes that were already red from the tears she'd cried, worrying about Natalia. Olivia hated to see those eyes so sad. She ignored the pounding for a moment to push Emma's hair from her eyes.
"It's okay, Em. I'm sure it's nothing."
Green and brown eyes widened in surprise at the muffled voice coming from the other side of the door. Little brown ones lit with happiness, while green ones flickered with panic.
There were three more loud knocks. "Olivia Spencer, open this door. I know you're in there and I'm not going away."
"Natalia!" Emma pulled from her mother and ran to the door before Olivia could stop her and after fumbling with the lock, flung open the door.
"Hey," Natalia said with an oomph and a laugh as the small girl barreled into her. She dropped to her knees and pulled Emma to her and kissed her cheek.
"Are you okay?" Emma asked after a moment.
"I'm fine, honey. Or I will be after I talk to your mother."
Natalia got to her feet and smiled when Emma grabbed her hand to pull her into the living room, giving no thought to the arm she'd just nearly pulled from the socket.
"Why'd you run away from your wedding?" Emma asked with concern as they stopped close to where Olivia was still standing frozen.
Natalia's eyes clung to Olivia's and refused to let go. "It's complicated, sweetie." She saw Olivia roll her eyes as if to say, here we go again, and prayed for patience. "I'll tell you everything, but I need to talk to your mom first. Okay?"
Olivia finally found her voice. "What are you doing here, Natalia? Your pounding scared Emma and me to death."
"Oh god," Natalia said, in her rush to set things right, she hadn't realized "Emma, sweetie I didn't mean to scare you. I'm sorry." She looked into innocent eyes that seemed only filled now with happiness.
"That's okay. I wasn't scared."
Despite herself, Olivia snorted. "Of course you weren't," she said with a gentle smile. She honestly didn't know what she'd do with out this little girl.
"Emma, would you mind going upstairs for a little while? I need to talk to your mommy about some grown up stuff."
Emma was going to protest as she wanted to make sure the other woman was better, but at the words 'grown up stuff', she promptly agreed. She'd rarely found grown up stuff to be interesting.
"Okay. But don't leave without saying goodbye to me, okay?"
Natalia's eyes watered at that. For some reason that simple sentence hurt her. "I'd never do that, sweetheart. I swear."
Emma smiled happily and ran upstairs, leaving the two agitated women alone.
Olivia watched as Natalia began to pace. Her brow raised in slight amusement. It was rare to see this woman so disconcerted. After several passes, Olivia found herself getting slightly dizzy and impatient.
"You haven't answered my question, Natalia. Why are you here?"
Natalia stopped and glared at the woman she loved. "I'm here to find out why you always run away before I can finish talking to you."
"Don't 'what' me, Olivia. You always drop some bombshell on me and then never let me respond. I'm getting tired of it."
Olivia frowned as she sat down on the couch. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Natalia gave a small laugh. "No. I'm sure you don't. Let me refresh your memory with a few examples." She began to pace again and Olivia began to feel as if she was at a tennis match.
"You quit a job you loved without a fight to get my money back from Decker, and you wouldn't let me talk to you about it. You wouldn't talk to me after you encouraged me to marry Frank, you tell me you love me and won't let me answer, and then and then "
Natalia had to stop as the remembered words of earlier came flooding back.
"And then?" Olivia whispered, unsure of why she wanted Natalia to continue.
"And then, despite my telling you I love you, you tell me there is no "us". You tell me I'm ashamed of you and won't let me tell you how wrong you are."
"I'm not wrong, Natalia. You made that perfectly clear."
"Oh for ...would you just let me talk for once? Please?"
Olivia's eyes widened at Natalia's outburst and her mouth clamped shut. She nodded once in response. Natalia ran her fingers through the hair she'd finally let down and Olivia sighed, wishing that it was her fingers doing the running. She realized Natalia had started speaking again.
" could never be ashamed of you, Olivia. I swear, or what I feel for you. How can you even think I would?"
" Well, you didn't "
"Ah!" Natalia cut her off. "I'm not finished. No, I didn't just blurt out to Frank that I left him at the alter because I'm in love with you. I wanted to, but I couldn't. I just didn't really think that it was a good time for that. I need to talk to Frank alone and not on a day I had already hurt him enough. Can't you understand that?"
Olivia opened her mouth to reply, but at the look she received, she nodded instead.
Natalia finally went to sit next to the befuddled woman on the couch. She wondered if she would ever, in a million years, know what made her tick. She was more than willing to take the time to find out.
"Olivia, I would love nothing more to just run out into the street and tell the whole town I'm in love with you, but I can't. It has nothing to do with being ashamed of you. God, when I think of all the many ways you've shown you love me and I know that I've not given you half as much, but I wanted to and then there's "
"You're babbling," Olivia interrupted quietly. She smiled to show she didn't really mind.
"Oh. Right. Sorry. "She heaved a tired sigh. "You have to give me time to adjust, Olivia. That's all. I want to be with you. I do, but this is a relationship I don't understand. I know you understand that. You told me yourself, you're just as confused."
"I am," Olivia agreed reluctantly.
"Besides," Natalia continued, scooting uncomfortably close to the woman who made her crazier than any person she'd ever met. "Who was it that finally ended that travesty of a wedding? Aside from one bizarre outburst, you were prepared to just stand there and let me marry someone you KNOW I don't love. Why would you do that Olivia?"
"I want to see you happy," she repeated the phrase she'd been saying for weeks and Natalia believed it as much now as she did then.
"Do you? Do you think it makes me happy lying to a man I respect? To a family I love? Do you think it will make me happy letting Frank make love to me every night when I don't have those feelings for him? God, I nearly had a breakdown the one time I did sleep with him. What do you think it would do to me, having to do that for the rest of my life?"
The blood drained so quickly from Olivia's face it scared Natalia. "Olivia?" She reached out to touch that sweet, open face. "What's wrong?"
The image of Frank loving Natalia nearly made Olivia throw up. She remembered the anguish the sensitive woman went through when she admitted to sleeping with a man she didn't love. Oh god, she never thought of what this marriage would truly do to Natalia.
"I'm so sorry, Natalia." She burst into tears and buried her head into Natalia's shoulder, shivering as surprisingly strong arms wrapped around her and held on for dear life.
"I can't help the fears I have because of my religion, Olivia. I wish I could, but I can't. But you just have to let me work this out with God. We can do that together. I want to be with you more than anything I've ever wanted in my life, except my son home from prison. You just have to give me time. Just like I have to give you time." Natalia was crying as she felt Olivia's tears soak through her shirt. To Natalia, the thought of hurting the woman in her arms was the equivalent of hurting herself.
Olivia sniffed and looked up. "I can't bear the thought of you regretting "
Natalia pressed her fingers to the full lips she planned on kissing before the night was over. "That will never happen, Olivia. I will never regret loving you, or Emma. I will never hate you. Ever. If you doubt everything else I ever tell you, I want you to believe that."
Olivia was afraid. More afraid than she'd ever been. "I "
"I know you're scared," Natalia soothed. "You don't trust easily, and I know that. You've been hurt so many times before that you're afraid to trust in love. But you know me. Better than anyone ever has. Trust in me. Trust that I'll never hurt you. Not intentionally. I know my actions over the last month haven't done much to earn that trust, but you've got to believe that I'm in love with you Olivia Spencer and I always will be."
Olivia was nearly sobbing now as she stared intently into teary brown eyes looking at her with more love than anyone in her whole life ever had.
"Can I talk now?" she said with a trembling smile, her heart feeling lighter as she let herself begin to trust in what she saw.
Natalia gave a sobbing laugh. "Of course. I'm surprised you kept quiet this long."
Olivia gave her an almost affronted look. "Fine. I won't talk then."
Natalia started to apologize, but to her surprise, she found her words stopped by the soft, warm lips of Olivia Spencer covering her own and with a whimpering sigh, she surrendered to the woman who'd been fighting a silent battle for her heart for so long.
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