DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for LJ community burn_ingcity's latest fic challenge that must include: Doris, a fedora, a pie (apple or blueberry), Emma, a mob/Witness Protection, and the phrase "as likely to happen as a Gay Pride Parade through Vatican City". Thanks to FlyingPeanuts for the kind words and the very speedy beta and also to Grumpybear for the answer to a very important question.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Hat Trick
By Ann


"Yum, this is really good," exclaimed an enthusiastic Emma, triumphantly slicing through a light, flaky crust and preparing to lift her fork to her lips for another taste. Her angelic cheeks had already been stained blue from the blueberry pie she was rapidly consuming, and she grinned as she watched the fork move closer and closer. She'd definitely chosen well.

"Hey there, jellybean, slow down," Olivia chuckled, stretching across the table to stop her daughter's motion before the young girl could successfully maneuver the fork into her wide-open mouth. "You'll get sick if you eat too fast."

Emma looked from the green of her mother's eyes to the overfilled tines of her fork, the gooey, blueberry-filled pastry teasing her with its nearness. "But it's so good." She frowned slightly at the scrumptious-looking pie and slowly shifted her attention to the woman who sat next to her mother, her ever-churning mind rewinding and stopping on an incident that had recently taken place at the farmhouse. "Natalia, how come we didn't make that blueberry pie last week?"

A light blush crept up the sides of Natalia's neck and settled on her cheeks, the pink complimenting Emma's blue ones nicely. She nervously glanced around at the patrons of Company as she searched for an answer, finally settling on one she hoped would put a halt to Emma's insatiable curiosity before it could take hold.

"I told you, sweetie. It was too early in the morning for pie."

Another frown – this one more deeply set – took shape, but before Emma could form her next question, a teasing lilt floated toward their table.

"It's never too early for pie," Doris said as she made her way closer to the family of three. "My mother used to tell me that, too, Emma." She winked at the young girl and whispered conspiratorially, "Now I eat it whenever I want to."

Narrowing her eyes, Olivia glared at Springfield's mayor, although the roaring fire that usually accompanied her anger was missing from her always expressive eyes. "Thanks a lot, Doris."

Emma ignored the adult banter and kept her focus. "But we ended up having blueberry pancakes for breakfast. What's the difference between blueberry pie and blueberry pancakes?"

"A filing error," mumbled Olivia softly enough for only Natalia to hear. Somehow, the blueberry pie recipe had been placed in front of the one for blueberry pancakes in their recipe box, but Natalia hadn't noticed the alphabetical error in her haste to return to their bedroom.

Beet red won out as Natalia's new shade of blush. Lightly rubbing the nape of her neck, she avoided eye contact with Doris and Olivia and concentrated solely on Emma. "The amount of sugar for one thing. Blueberry pie has much more sugar." Sticking to recipes would be the perfect defense. Surely, Emma would get bored and return to her piece of pie.

"Then why did you put the pie recipe on yours and mom's bedroom doorknob if we weren't going to make it?" Emma tilted her head in question, her innocence exaggerated by her cute blue cheeks.

Doris's eyebrow rose as she watched Olivia's complexion darken to a soft cerise, and a smirk edged its way to her lips as various scenarios began to play out in her mind.

"Eat your pie, Emma," Olivia said, pushing the dessert plate closer to her daughter. Distracting the young girl with sweets almost always worked. Almost.

"But if Natalia didn't want to bake a pie when you two got up, why did she pick that recipe?" Emma had been so excited when she'd zeroed in on the blueberry pie recipe that they'd make when her mom and Natalia finally crawled out of bed that she'd rushed to the kitchen and pulled out all the ingredients that they'd need before settling in front of the television to wait until it was time to bake.

"You know what, Emma, I think I want some pie, too. Think you can go over and order me a piece?" Natalia smiled sweetly at the young girl and prayed that her plan would work. It seemed she needed a little divine intervention to help distract her daughter.

Splitting her attention between her pie and the three adults, Emma slowly nodded and scooted off her chair. "Okay, but don't anyone try to eat my piece while I'm gone," she demanded, daring to put her hands on her hips as she stared at her mother. Olivia was notorious for sneaking bites when she thought Emma wasn't looking.

"I promise," Olivia swore, holding up her hand in a classic, judicial swearing-in position. "I'll make sure Doris doesn't eat any either."

The youngest Spencer looked up at the mayor and motioned for the older woman to stoop down. Cupping her little hand, she whispered softly into Doris's ear, "Watch mom for me, would you?"

Doris stood to her full height and laughed out loud as she followed the young girl's progress away from the table. Sliding into the chair across from Natalia, she grinned. "So, tell me how this recipe game works."

"It's just something we came up with on the mornings we're um… preoccupied," explained Olivia, watching as Emma was intercepted by Blake only a few tables away. The young girl spoke animatedly to the redhead and pointed back toward their table. "Emma knows that if there's a recipe on the door, it's going to be a baking morning."

Doris stifled a laugh. "So, that's what they're calling it now." She allowed a soft chuckle to escape. "A secret code, huh? What happens when there's not a recipe on the door?"

"Silly, it means that mom and Natalia aren't in the mood for baking, and we get to cuddle together in their big bed instead," informed Emma as she retook her seat and her fork. She dove back in with the same gusto as before, and Olivia didn't dare try to stop her.

"Ah," said Doris, not believing for a second that the two women were ever not in the mood for 'baking.' She gazed across at Natalia and Olivia and prepared to fire off a snarky comment, but she bit off her words at seeing their full attention turned to their daughter. Their smiles were as radiant as a bright sun reflecting off clear blue ocean waters. They truly were a picture perfect family.

Sighing softly, Doris glanced around Company and settled her focus on a familiar redhead who was heading their way, blueberry pie in hand. Doris smiled. Olivia and Natalia's recipe plan was brilliant.

"Why are we following your mother?"

Daisy had been game when Ashlee had asked her to accompany her on a top-secret surveillance of one of Springfield's city officials, but only because she'd thought the wanna-be-famous reporter had accidentally stumbled on breaking news, like when Ashlee had been directly responsible for the live broadcast of Bill and Lizzie's announcement that they were resigning from Spaulding Enterprises.

"She's been acting funny lately," reported Ashlee, easing her car to the far end of the hotel's parking lot. She turned off the ignition and kept her eyes on the entrance where her mother's car sat, unattended. They'd almost lost Springfield's mayor when a logging truck had pulled out in front of them, cutting off their view, but Daisy had alertly spotted Doris's car parked in front of the hotel minutes later.

Unfastening her seatbelt, Daisy angled in her seat to face Ashlee. "Funny? How?"

"She starts these weird conversations and then gets this panicked look on her face. I think she's been trying to tell me something, but she always chickens out. I'm going to find out what it is on my own."

"But, spying on your mother?" asked Daisy, knowing firsthand how it felt to discover one's mother was involved with someone else… a married man, at that. Well, an engaged man anyway. She just hoped Ashlee wasn't about to discover the same about her mother.

"It's the only way to…" started Ashlee, clipping off her words when she spotted her mother exiting the hotel's office. She frowned and leaned forward, squinting through the windshield and wishing she'd brought along a pair of binoculars. "What's on her head?"

"A hat of some kind." Daisy inched forward and watched Doris climb into her car and pull away from the hotel's entrance. The luxury car drove slowly in front of several rooms, before turning into an empty parking space.

"Why would she wear a hat? Mother doesn't like hats."

Daisy shrugged. "A disguise, perhaps?"

"Yeah, but a hat?" Ashlee asked incredulously. "Couldn't she come up with something better than that?"

"Oh hey!" Daisy exclaimed suddenly, remembering an old movie she'd seen last weekend. "Maybe she's in the mob. All those guys wear hats." She watched Doris step from her car. "Wow, it's one of those… um… um… fedoras!"

Ashlee focused on the brown hat with the curled brim. She was absolutely certain it was made of felt. "Well it's a horrible disguise." She narrowed her eyes and watched her mother look around nervously before sliding the key into the hotel door. With one final glance over her shoulder, Doris slipped the hat from her head, placed it on the outside doorknob, stepped inside, and gently closed the door.

"Why she'd do that?" asked Daisy curiously. Tagging along with Ashlee was looking better and better by the second. Doris Wolfe was definitely up to something.

"No idea," said Ashlee, worrying at her lip. "It must be some kind of signal."

"Like the coast is clear or 'x' marks the spot?" Daisy sat up straighter in her seat. This was playing out like some kind of spy movie. If she hadn't known Doris's history, she'd have wondered if the older woman had possibly been in the Witness Protection program, hiding out in Springfield, all these years.

Ashlee caught movement on the far end of the hotel and, once again, cursed her forgetfulness at not bringing her binoculars. The person stayed in the shadows and made it impossible to make out any features.

"I'm beginning to think it's a case of the fedora marks the spot," she muttered in frustration. "I don't get it. Why would mother sneak around like this?" She refocused on the figure that had suddenly stilled.

Daisy nodded absently; she was really getting into their impromptu surveillance. "Maybe she's seeing a married man. Hmm, let's see…" She raced through the short list of Springfield's married men, discarding them, one by one. "Nope, can't think of a single one."

"So, who else could it be? What could be so bad – or who could be so bad – that she'd feel the need to meet him at some hotel on the outskirts of town?"

Daisy opened up her mind to all the possibilities.


Ashlee glared at her friend. If she'd been Medusa and Daisy had been a man, a stone figure would now be seated comfortably in the passenger seat.

"Father Ray?"

Ashlee just shook her head and sighed audibly.

"Oh yeah, the God thing," Daisy mumbled as she extended herself further and searched the outer regions of her thoughts.

"How about a woman?"

Silence so thick a serrated knife couldn't begin to cut through it descended upon the car and began to engulf the two women. Ashlee stared at Daisy in disbelief.

"You're kidding, right? My mother and another woman? That's as likely to happen as a Gay Pride Parade through Vatican City."

"Sorry, my mind kind of… Whoa!" Daisy gestured wildly and pointed toward the hotel, almost pushing her finger through the windshield. "Isn't that Blake?"

So focused on their conjectures, neither woman had noticed that the hidden figure had finally emerged and was slowly approaching the room where Doris had disappeared.

"Think she's meeting someone, too?" Ashlee whispered, as if Blake had some kind of extra-special hearing abilities and could hear the younger woman's question. She watched quietly as Blake came to a stop outside of the room with the fedora doorknob.

Daisy bit back a knowing smile and focused on the hat. "I think she very well might be."

The two young women watched as Blake slowly glanced around the area much in the same way Doris had, before finally settling her gaze on the brown fedora. With a huge grin, she reached out, snagged the hat from its holder, and placed it snugly on her head. She then faced the door and knocked boldly.

Ashlee and Daisy held their breath and; endless seconds later, the door opened and a hand shot out and balled into the fabric of Blake's shirt.

The redhead threw her head back in laughter and allowed her 'captor' to roughly pull her into the room. The door slammed closed the moment Blake had cleared the threshold, the hat still firmly on her head.

"Um, Ashlee?" Daisy said softly. "Think the Pope has a pink mitre he can wear to MC the parade?"

The End

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