DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm sure this has been done every which way from Sunday and back again but I found myself with a few lines that turned into pages that I just couldn't keep to myself. (It is also midnight and I couldn't sleep until it was finished.) This is my first try at writing anything Otalia. I'm a very avid reader of the couple but haven't given it a shot at writing for them until now. So, although the plot line is old, I hope you'll give it a try and let me know what you think.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Fear is dark and dismal and relentless. It has been a constant friend to you in your life. You feared you would not be able to make it on your own while pregnant. You feared you would not be a good mother then you dreaded the idea you would not make enough money to feed Rafe or buy his medicine.
You feared you would not win the heart of the boy, who was now a man, you loved since you were sixteen and then you were scared that Olivia Spencer would take your husbandyour Nickyaway from you. When Nicky died you were afraid that Olivia would simply give up on life and let Nicky's heart die.
You were terrified for your son as he remained in prison.
You were absolutely petrified when you saw Olivia lying on the cold floor outside Company, pale and not breathing. You feared your love for Olivia was leading you astray from your path of righteousness.
Now you fear that your love for Olivia will not be enough, not now, not anymore.
You know from experience that fear consumes no matter the cost or price upon its host, it grows and spreads to the outer most recesses leaving not a centimeter untouched.
Fear is a darkness that's sole purpose is to expand. Its yearning to build upon itself and grow is not an uncommon one.
Men and women feel the same desire in many different aspects of their lives.
Some wish to expand their wealth. Others wish to further their knowledge. Some want to build themselves a house to come home to. While others still, wish to find someone to share their lives with and increase the size of their families.
Funny, how this fear that's seed had only been planted the day before because of one simple possibility spoken aloud by Blake Marler of all people was about family. A growing family.
Blake had only asked a question, given a hypothesis, offered an explanation to her continued bug. It had been simple and had seemed so outrageous you laughed it off. That is until you still didn't feel better and spent another morning in front of your porcelain toilet.
So, you bought a home pregnancy test. You dreaded the resulthid it from Emma and Olivia. When you were alone again, before you had looked at the long thin life changing stick, you were afraid. The fear truly sank in as you dropped to your knees after finding yourself unable to keep down anything heavier then saltine crackers and water. When you saw the positive symbol on the dreaded plastic stick you didn't cry. You took a deep breath and went to the hospital to confirm it while ignoring Olivia's calls.
After your blood is taken you sit and wait.
You take Olivia's call and tell her you are going to be a little late. You hear the unadulterated happiness in Olivia's voice and imagine her blinding smile, and you feel sick.
You tell Olivia that everything is fine, when all you want is to curl up in her arms and beg her to take this fear from you. Hold her hand and let her reassure you that no matter the outcome of this test everything will be okay.
But you can't.
You loath the growing anxiety inside of you, its roots directly associated with your fear that Olivia will reject you before you even know for sureeven while you know the truththat you are pregnant.
So you lie.
You wonder how you can lie well enough to fool Olivia, you never have before. For now you take the blessings you can and pray.
Pray for strength and a fleeting courage that lies just out of reach.
Your fear, which has only been a seedling, is watered by the nurse's happy proclamation.
"Congratulations Ms. Rivera, you're pregnant!"
Your family is going to grow. Just not in the way you had originally planned.
The idea of a larger family was one that once would have caused a smile.
Now, all it has left is uncertainty, shame, and embarrassment.
You thought there was nothing left for Fear to overtake, no corner left unconsumed by its sheer force of will and growing strength, but you were wrong.
Your faith, the strongest constant in your life was left defenseless as you faced this new foe.
You look around the corridor filled with oblivious patrons to your plight and you know where you need to be.
Your fear was watered and nourished in a way you had never planned. With the new source of nutrition the simple seedling has grown like English Ivy. It can no longer be considered fear. It is strong now, too powerful for it to be fear alone.
Now it is a growing terror that continues to consume everything you once thought invinciblethat Olivia believed to be invincibleas each second passes as you drive to your sanctuary aware that you are not a superhero. Not right now.
Your drive to the church is short. You've made this journey countless times in the past. It is when you pass through the doors into God's house that you find yourself faltering.
The peace and serenity that once filled you whenever you walked through those same doors has vanished.
You can barely make it to a pew before your legs give out.
The weight of the dilemma that has brought you here is only now beginning to sink in.
You are carrying Frank's child.
Olivia is going to push you awaytowards Frank again.
You are going to break Frank Cooper's heart again.
Olivia is going to leave you.
You are going to lose everything you want.
You want Olivia to stay.
You never want to see, think, or hear about Frank Cooper ever again.
You desperately want to be with Olivia!
You want to come home after a long day of work to the farmhouse to hear Rafe's horrible music blasting from his room and Emma's laughter from the kitchen where she's doing her homework with the help of her mother. You want to walk in to the kitchen and see Olivia standing behind Emma's chair and have her turn to you and offer you her beautiful smile and a welcome home kiss.
You do not want to be home at the farmhouse after a long day of bringing the kids to their practices or play dates, with hours of housework under your belt that you'll just have to repeat the next day and the day after that! Only to have Frank come home from work to see the kids in the living room, coloring or sitting at the kitchen table doing their homework, quiet and peacefulwhen they certainly hadn't been! You do not want a future where you smile as you greet Frank and a kiss him hello and then serve him dinner.
But you are pregnant with Frank's child and you're terrified of what this means.
Your terror has created such a bleak darkness over your thoughts of the future it has caused you to panic. It seemed natural for your fear to grow into terror and terror into panic.
After all, everything you wanted is now on the line because of your past mistake.
This is your punishment. You are sure. It has to be.
God is punishing you for sleeping with Frank. You are being punished for being selfish. You used Frank in his time of need to help yourself forget about your growing feelings for Olivia. So now, after leaving Frank at the altar, breaking his heart repeatedly, to save Olivia's and your own if you're honest, you are now carrying his child.
The disgusting irony of it all!
The man you once thought you could love, have a family with, a life with, and the man you ended up not marrying is the same man you are now starting a family with.
When you want nothing to do with him. Nothing
Perhaps that is why God has seen fit to put this new challenge onto your path.
That wasn't the right word. Having a child could be a challenge. It certainly had been with Rafe, but you were young and naïve then. You were alone and only a teenager with an infant who depended on you. You are now older, wiser, and certainly better equipped to raise this child.
You have grown in the last two decades. You are certainly more financially stable then you had been when you were raising Rafe. You have everything that matters to offer this child. You have unconditional love, a safe home to come home to, money to support the both of you, and you have Rafe.
You might have Rafe.
The thought of your son brings tears to your eyes. He still cannot accept the decision you have made. He does not understand why you wish to be with Olivia in a loving romantic relationship when Frank still loves you and wants that with you.
You know that you have raised Rafe better than this, better than being so fully closed off to something that is different. You have taught him to accept others and their differences. You taught him to respect his elders, respect you. You never thought him disrespect, spitefulness or hatred.
You briefly wonder if it is the fact that you want to be with a woman that bothers Rafe more or that the woman you want to be with is Olivia. For now though, for the first time, you cannot concern yourself with what Rafe thinks or what he wants. The last two decades you have spent being fully concerned with nothing but his wellbeing.
Now you need to be selfish and focus on what you want, what you need, and how to get it.
What is it that you know?
You know that you love Olivia. You know thatalthough a surpriseyou love this child growing inside of you.
You know that you want to be with Olivia for the foreseeable future possibly eternity.
You know that Olivia loves you. You know that Olivia wants a future with you.
A future you are meant to start today at the Bauer Barbecue that you are currently not attending.
Olivia may want you but she will not want this child and you can't ask her to stay. It wouldn't be fair. This child is not Olivia's burden to bear.
Burden you shake your head at yourself. A child is not a burden and the thought alone that you believe this child to be one gives you pause.
All life is precious. That is what your God teaches.
But you wonder has God ever known what it is like to be alone and terrified of the darkness creeping in all around you?
You know that it is an unfair question, but you pose it to yourself anyway.
You receive no answer. You didn't expect to.
So, what is it that you know?
God is love.
You've spent weeks trying to convince Olivia that you believe itbecause you do!
God is love.
God does not forsake his children.
Yet with the darkness slowly encasing everything around you even as you sit before the candle light lit by others with faith, some by your own hands, and tears fall from your eyes while sobs escape you, you wonder.
Has God forsaken you?
"Please please, God, do not forsake me. Not now I'm so lost "
With your rosary beads gripped tightlyreverently nonethelessin your hands you pray.
You pray for guidance, for understanding, for courage, for support, for God to acknowledge your prayers and be your guiding light out from this darkness of fear once more.
You hear your voice being called and turn to see Father Ray stopping to stand before you. You greet him and hope he will not stay.
You are not here for his guidance. He is not your saving grace. He does not hold the torch you are meant to follow. You know this but still find yourself talking with him, listening to what he is saying, and scarily enough you start to see his point. You start to agree with him. Not on everything, certainly not on everything. He after all does not understand.
Father Ray is like Rafe. They are both afraid to accept your differences from the person they thought you to be. They both do not truly understand the extent of your feelings for Olivia.
You try to tell him, but words are truly inadequate to fully encompass a feeling so pure, and strong, and good as your love for Olivia.
Eventually you stop trying and listen to him speak.
In your fear, terror, and panic, you begin to think he has a point. While another part of you laughs and insists you leave and find Olivia instead of listening to this priest's sermon about seclusion being the answer to your prayers.
Seclusion is not the answer to your prayers. It is the antithesis to your prayers.
Being alone is what you are most afraid of. Why would you willingly allow yourself to be convinced that going away from those you love is the right answer? When it is clearly the ploy of a desperate priest trying to save one of his devote parishioners from the sin he sees in your love for Oliviaanother woman.
You are afraidterrified reallyand desperate.
In your fear and desperation you are blind.
It is wrong to leave without saying a word, but your panic has not been eased by Father Ray, and is still there growing, inside and around you.
You are terrified Olivia will reject you and your child. You're intensely petrified of the idea that Olivia will again push you towards Frank, a man you do not love or want, so you and this child will be happy. When the only one that makes you happy, makes you truly happy, is her.
Olivia Spencer makes you happy not Frank Cooper but even knowing this, you do not call Olivia.
Olivia sounded happy on the phone. Excited and happy and you can practically see the glow your sure surrounds her this very moment as she waits for you.
You suddenly feel sick to your stomach and have a migraine you think will never go away. You know it's not safe for you to drive, not right now. But instead of calling the person you should call and talk to, you call Blake instead.
You ask if she can come and pick you up, if she will help you escape from the dark abyss that is enclosing around you. She answers your call and comes to meet you.
You tell her everything that you need to. You know that she will not understand why you need to leave, but you've been through this before. You had a child on your own before and by God you would not be doing that again.
You just needed time to decide what to do and how to do it. Going on a spiritual retreat could help. You know that it could, but you also know it's not what you need.
As you pack your bag you think about leaving a note. You should at least leave a note! Just to let Olivia and Rafe know that you are not hurt or going somewhere against your will. You know you should, you're even getting a pen and piece of paper to do just that when your phone vibrates in your pocket. Not looking at the ID you pick up.
It's Olivia. She wants to know where you are and what could be taking so long.
You lie, again.
Tell her that you're done with work but aren't feeling well, which isn't exactly untrueyou haven't felt this sick in your entire life. If Olivia believes your 'stomach flu' is what is making you sick and not your self-loathing from lying to herfor being such a cowardthen so be it.
Again, it is Olivia's voice that nearly undoes you. You want to give in, beg her to come find you, offer you comfort. But you know that it is wrong to ask Olivia to comfort you over this.
You should not need comfort, not about having a child, yet you still wish for it.
That is why you need this retreat. You know it is, no matter how afraid you are you know that thinking of this pregnancy as something you need to be comforted oversomething that is a burdenis not right. Not when you are who you are.
You hang up with Olivia, apologizing, leaving her to think you are still on your way.
You want to be.
You are not the same woman that came to this town. You are self-assured and have a life that does not solely revolve around your son. You are strong and independent and respected. Somehow you can't find it in you to respect yourself. You are certainly not the woman you were before coming to Springfield.
The old you would not flee when things got tough. So the woman you are as you sit in Blake's car and familiar scenery begins to fade away into the miles behind you, you know for sure that this is not you.
You do not run from your problems! You face them head on!
You fiddle with your cellphone praying silently for the courage to flip it open and call Olivia.
You pray for the courage to understand that you are not alone in this and you will not be alone if you just ask for the help you so desperately need.
The courage does not come and you allow yourself to be whisked away from the family you were so close to finally having back in your life.
Fear consumes, you know this from personal experience. Fear is a foe you have faced throughout your entire life. You know that it is dark and dismal and relentless that it is a darkness that's sole purpose is to expand. It grows and spreads to the outer most recesses leaving not a centimeter untouched.
So although you have beaten your fears back countless times before, you are tired and this time you gave in.
You pray for forgiveness because you know you will need it.
You let fear win when you had every reason and possibility to fight back and win against this frightful foe.
For your cowardice and defeat you will be eternally regretful.
"We're here "
So you are.
You look around after Blake has left, the sisters have taken your cell phone, shown you to your new room, and when your done looking you let your tears of remorse fall.
You should not be here, but you are, and now there is no going back.
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