DISCLAIMER: I do not own these characters; I believe P & G or Telenex or someone besides me does. I am only writing this for fun and because TPTB have messed up the storyline.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Erin Bree for being my beta reader, and to my girl Krazy, who inspires me.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Love is a Battlefield
Chapter 1 - Maneater
"You gonna break up this wedding, too??"
Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath Olivia thought, just ignore him. He's just a boy missing him mom and trying to act like a man. But it had been a hard couple of days and quite frankly, she was tired of his shit. Maybe if she answered his question he'd just go away.
Turning to face him, she answered. "That's what you think; that I broke up the wedding? What where you not there??"
"No, you don't get to talk now. I get to talk! You want to be a man? Then act like one. You asked me a question; now face my answer. Or, are you still a little scared boy?" It was more like a statement than a question.
"Don't push me." His face close to hers.
"What? You'll hit me? Is that the way you still deal with your problems, with violence? Did you learn nothing the last year or so?" She could see the tightening of his jaw as he fought for control. "Good to see that you learned something after all."
She was in his face now, but she had to give him credit, he wasn't backing down. "I stood there . at that altar, with tears in my eyes, and watched the person I loved the most in the world say vows to someone else, knowing that she would never say them to me." Now she could feel tears forming again as she fought for control of her emotions. "I was prepared to let her go, Rafe. But she decided not to go through with it. It was her decision; not mine."
Olivia could tell by the look in his eyes that he didn't quite believe her. Well, the more she thought about it, what did it really matter, since she wasn't sure that she and Natalia were still together. "You know what? I don't give a damn whether you believe me or not. I'm tired of feeling like I have to handle you with kid gloves. This discussion is over." With that, she turned to go, determined not to be the floor show and ruin the wedding, only to be roughly turned around.
"You think ya can just screw up people's lives and not pay for that?"
"What about my life? Emma's? She left us!! We were supposed to be a family. You, me, your mother, Ava, and Emma God, we were going to finally tell her about us." She couldn't help it the tears started to flow.
The last part had come out so softly that he almost didn't hear it. "Finally?? Stop lying, Emma knows; she told me!"
At the auburn haired woman's incredulous look, Rafe continued. "I saw the Two Mommies' thing. Emma said that everybody knew you two loved each other and stuff."
"As friends. We didn't tell each other how we felt until the day of the wedding. Months after Family Day when Emma had showed everyone how she thought of us all as a family."
"No... she said I mean she sounded so sure." He was running his hand through his dark hair and staring at the ground. He looked so much like his father.
No wonder he was mad, she thought. He thinks that he was the last one to know. "Look, if you want to go somewhere and talk about this, we can."
"No I gotta think... about stuff. I I gotta go."
"Rafe!" He never looked back. Now he reminded her of his mother; when things get tough, just up and run.
Chapter 2 She Has Away About Her
He didn't know where to go. Rafe only knew that he couldn't stay there and listen to Olivia's lies. They had to be lies. If they weren't, then the things that he said to his mother were even more hurtful than when he had uttered them. Blindly, he started past the other wedding guests, only to be slowed by the sound of a woman's laugh.
Glancing over, he saw a shock of blond hair and a curvy body. When the woman turned, the first thing he noticed was her smile. When he looked up into her eyes, his widened in awe as the woman was none other than Ashlee Wolfe. She gave him a slight smile before turning back to listen to what her companions were saying, and he continued on to the grove of trees right beyond the field, where he could think in peace.
Fifteen minutes later he still had not made any concrete decision, but the wedding was about to start, so he headed back. Right before he took his seat in the back, he felt someone come up behind him.
"You're not having a good time." He turned around to see his former love, Daisy, watching him intently. "What's wrong, Rafe?"
"Nothing to sweat bout."
"I don't know, you and Olivia looked like you were talking about something pretty heavy earlier."
"I don't want to talk bout it, all right?" It came out more forcefully than he had wanted. He could tell that he had hurt her feelings and that was the last thing he wanted, since they had recently became friends again. "Sorry... it's just that I got a lot on my mind, ya know?"
"Hmm you mean about your mom and Olivia?" She asked quietly.
Huffing he replied, "Friggin' great. Does everyone know?"
"I'm not everyone, Rafe; I'm your friend. And no one told me. Between what you said a while back about them lying to you, and me overhearing my Uncle Frank talk about how he and Olivia made some sort of peace about her and Natalia... I just sort of put it together."
Part of her wanted to reach out and touch his face. He was in so much pain, but she didn't want him to get the wrong impression. She cared for him, even loved him in a way, since he was her first love, but she was not in love with him.
"I just don't get it... why her? I mean she's a royal bitch."
"So... it's not really about your mom being with a woman... it's more about that woman being Olivia?"
"Maybe... I guess. I mean... yeah it's sorta freaky that she's with... ya know a woman.. but if she had to go there, why not with somebody who I know won't hurt her?"
"How do you know that Olivia will?" She asked, narrowing her hazel eyes at him. "She's been there for your mom and you."
"Right.. by having the whole town talk about us."
Shaking her head, Daisy thought about how within the last two years or so the town had reason to talk about all of them and most of their family members. Between her getting pregnant, Rafe's father dying causing him to go off the deep end a bit and accidentally shoot Jeffery, and add in her pulling a gun on Alan Spaulding after her uncle Coop's death and yep, there was enough to keep the town talking for at least the next two years.
"Rafe... I think we've all done enough to keep the town talking. All I'm saying is that Olivia got you that job in the prison library, she"
"Hold up. She did that? I thought that Frank had done that?"
"No, I'm pretty sure it was her. I heard my uncle say that he was glad that Olivia had some pull, so that things would be a bit easier for you."
He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Well, he was sure if it was true, it was because she was only trying to get to his Mom through him. "If Olivia did do that, it was only to get to my Mom."
"If Olivia did what, exactly, concerning your mother?" They hadn't heard Frank Cooper approach. "What's going on, you two?"
"Nothin' Frank we're just talkn', that's all."
"Uh, huh. And why don't I believe that it's nothing? Daisy?" He asked his niece. "Care to tell me what's going on?"
"It's not my place, Uncle Frank. Plus, I need to go help Ashley with wedding stuff."
"Yeah, I'm gonna go help, too."
"Not so fast." Frank said before stopping Rafe from leaving. "Talk to me. What's going on?"
Shoving his hands in his pants pockets, Rafe took a deep breath and tried to explain to his mentor. "Daisy said that it was Olivia and not you that got me that job in the joint. Is that true?"
"Yes, it's true. She also helped your mother to hire the lawyer that defended you. So, what's your point?"
"So, even back then, she was after her. Why didn't we see it?"
"Because I don't think that's true." Sighing Frank continued. "Look, I've had a lot of time to think about things. And if Olivia was really after your mother back then, like you think, then why would she push the two of us together? She was the one that told me what your Mom liked. That's how I was able to make such a good impression on our first date."
"I donna know... I mean its Olivia Spencer we're talking about. She's experienced; ya know... she probably had some plan or somethin' for getting my Ma."
"At first I thought something like that, too. But now that I've had some time and distance to put things in perspective, I'm not sure anymore. More and more I've come to believe that Olivia truly wanted your mother to be happy and, at the time, she thought that I could do that."
Great, thought Rafe, another Olivia convert. "All I know is what I see, Frank."
"And what's that, besides your mom suddenly gone away to a retreat, and Olivia sadder than I've ever seen her? Look, you're a man, so I can't tell you what you should do. I can only tell you how I've dealt with this. Olivia and I talked. Yes, it was hard to do it, but I'm glad I did. And, as I told her, I don't want to move forward with any bitterness. So, we've made a peace of sorts." Looking Rafe straight in his eyes to make sure he got his point, Frank continued. "It'll take me a while to totally get used to it, but if she and your mom want to make a try at being together, I'm not going to stand in their way. I'm moving on with my life."
The wedding went on without a hitch which really surprised everyone since Alan had made clear his thoughts that his granddaughter marrying into the "Hillbilly Lewis Clan" meant the end of the world. Speaking of the Spaulding Family patriarch, he was headed his way. Still reeling from his talks with Olivia, Daisy, and Frank, the last thing he needed was to get into a heated discussion with his grandfather about Rafe's "lack of ambition".
It wasn't like he wasn't working but he was sure that being a part-time salesman at a hardware store wasn't what Alan thought that someone with the Spaulding bloodline should be doing. Well, let him give his little "the company is our legacy" speech to a grandson who cared like James. His goal was to keep working at this job until either something else here came along or his parole was through and he could look outside of Springfield for work. In fact, the more he thought about it the more the latter sounded like the best idea. "Yeah, that's what I'll do."
"Rafe, are you talking to yourself? I've never known you to do that but then I haven't seen you for a while."
"Uh, hey Ash. You... um... look good." And she did. He especially liked her hair up like that. It made her stark blue eyes stand out even more.
Blushing she started to thank him only to be interrupted. "Rafael, there you are. I'd like a minute of your time to discuss...family things."
"Sorry, Alan, but Rafe promised to dance with me." And with that she pulled him by his arm towards where several couples including the bride and groom were swaying to the music.
"Yo, Ash thanks for helping me out back there."
"I didn't just do it for you; I don't like Alan Spaulding very much." she replied as she placed her left hand on his shoulder. "Plus, I want to say that at least I got to dance once at this thing."
"I can't believe that no one has asked you to dance. I mean you look...you know...hot and all." At the look on her face he hasten to amend, "Uh, I meant that you look like I said before, you know, nice."
"I rather like being called hot." She smiled as he took her other hand in his. "So, what do you think of the two love birds finally getting together? Neat, huh?"
"I guess so. I mean at least one Springfield wedding finally got off without too much trouble."
She could tell by his furrowed brows that he was probably thinking back to his mother's botched wedding. "Everything happens for a reason, isn't that what they say?"
As his quizzical look she continued. "I mean no offense, but your mom really didn't look all that happy at her almost wedding to Frank. And look at Frank now...he's dancing with Blake and smiling. He's happy. Maybe things are the way they should be."
"When did you get all philosophic like on me?" Smiling slightly hoping to change the subject.
She knew what he was doing, but realized that this might not be the time to push him about his Mom and Frank. So instead she played along. "Maybe I've always been that way and you were too wrapped up into Daisy to notice." She answered with a slight smile of her own.
"You might be right." He answered looking into her eyes. "Since one good turn deserves another or something like that. Why don't we have dinner tomorrow as a thank you for saving me from Alan?"
"Are you asking me out on a date?" Ashlee asked before grinning and answering her own question. "Yes you are. So yes."
"Cool, I should be home about 6:30. Do you just want to meet there?" At her nod he thanked her for the dance and slipped away before anyone noticed.
Chapter 3 Hail Mary's
"So, you're having dinner with Ashlee Wolfe?" Frank asked with a smirk on his face. "When did this happen?"
"What? I can't have dinner with a friend? Jeez, Frank, just cause you don't have a social life "
"Hey, I'll have you know that I have plenty of friends. Some of them are women, too."
"Sure, Frank if you say so." Rafe laughed as he sat on a kitchen chair and tied his shoes.
"Well, don't stay out too late. You have work in the morning. Plus, I wouldn't want you to get a reputation or something." Smiling, Frank left to go to the station. He'd been putting in late nights trying to deal with the Edmund Winslow case.
Right on the dot the doorbell rang. "Hey, Ash. Come on in."
"Thanks. I saw Frank. He told me not to hurt your rep. What did he mean?" She asked.
"That's just him trying to be funny. Don't worry about it."
"Oh, I get it. Old people humor." She laughed. And not for the first time in two days he thought what a great smile she had.
Looking around, she thought that Frank's apartment was small but nice. There were slight womanly touches like the hand sewn throw pillows on the couch. She wondered who helped him with those. "This is pretty cute. Did your mom help him decorate? I know that they're still friends."
"What? No in fact the last thing I want to talk about is my mother. Okay?" He huffed as he pulled on his jacket.
"Rafe, if we're going to be well, good friends, then you have to know that you can talk to me about stuff. I know in the past I've been a motor mouth, to put it lightly, but you're not the only one who's changed this last year." Looking him in the eye she continued, "Tell me what's wrong. Please?"
He needed to trust someone and, looking into her eyes, he saw her sincerity. Sighing he said, "It seems that my mom's in love with Olivia. So, ya know, she's a lesbian or whatever."
"So's my mom." At his shocked look, she went on. "I think lately she's been trying to tell me. Seeing your mom and Olivia together has made her think about what might have been or even what could be. Who knows?"
"And you're alright wit it?"
She shrugged her shoulders. "It doesn't really bother me. It's who she is and has been for awhile. I mean no matter what we've been through she's still my mom. We don't agree on everything. Okay, on most things. But, she's always been there when I needed her the most. What worries me is that the talk will turn to who my dad is and I'm not sure I want to go there."
"Yeah, I get where you're coming from with the whole dad thing. But, yo I mean doesn't it sort of freak you out about her being with a woman?"
"I want her to be happy, and it makes her happy. I mean, when she tries to live like most everyone else well, you know the whole story when she married Alan. It made me so crazy that I shot him. So, I'd rather have a sane life than an insane one."
"I guess it's just different for me. I mean, for the longest time it was just my mom and me. A coupla guys asked her out and stuff but mostly it was just us."
"Maybe she didn't think that any of those guys could measure up to your dad."
"That's just it; I don't think that Olivia measures up, either."
"Maybe you should talk to Olivia and see if she's serious about your mom."
Sighing Rafe said, "I tried that. I went by the Beacon and she wasn't there. That's when I ended up watching Emma when her babysitter booked to be with her boyfriend. Em and I talked, and that's when I started believing that everybody else knew about them 'cept me."
He got up and shoved his hands in his pockets and glanced out of the apartment window. "And Ash, the things I said especially to my ma I'm not sure if she'll forgive me. She's always said that once you say something you can't take it back."
"Look," she began coming up behind him and slightly hesitating before placing her hand on his upper back. "If there's one thing I know about your mother, and mine, it's that they'll always be there for us. I mean let's face it; you and I both have done some things that would make other parents run. But ours didn't."
Rafe knew that she was right. His mother had always been there for him, often placing her life on hold to sort out his problems and now when she had finally found some happiness in her life he had probably helped ruin it for her. But, damn it, he couldn't just turn his back on everything that he had been taught, either. His faith had gotten him through tough times in prison. Maybe there was some middle ground or something. Right now he only knew that he needed to talk to his mother, and soon.
"I think I'm going to call Father Ray and find out when she's coming back. If it's not soon, I think I need to go find her."
The ringing of Ashlee's phone interrupted whatever she was about to say. "Sorry, but it's Daisy; let me see what she wants."
It gave him a chance to observe her. Funny, they had always sort of hung out together but never really got to know each other since, during that time, he had been dating her best friend. He liked the way that she looked like a real woman - none of that skin and bones like most girls. Even Daisy now seemed to be trying to look like a runway model. Add in her wicked sense of humor and Ashlee had it going on.
"We've got to go. Now!" Ashlee's shout broke him out of his thoughts. "Daisy needs our help." Heading for the door, she added, "Oh, and something about Olivia acting strangely."
"Crap! Just great. Where are they?"
"Uh... in a bar." Ashlee said sheepishly.
"Let me guess... Daisy used another fake ID, right?" True, he had tried getting a drink after he couldn't get into the Police Academy, but he was afraid that he was seeing a pattern with his former love. "Which one?"
"Some place on 10th Street. Or, did she say 20th? She was sort of slurring her words so I'm not sure. I think it's something like the Blue Marlin or--"
"Not the Blue Dolphin?" At Ash's nod, Rafe had a real sinking feeling that things were going to get worse. "Damn. My ma used to work there. The owner is a real a-hole. Come on, let's get down there and see if we can get them out of there."
Rafe reflected on the scene before him. Daisy was partially on a bar stool, her head propped up in her hand on the bar, looking like at any minute she would slip to the floor. Olivia was ranting about having seen his mother enter the bar, and was demanding to know where she was, which was not making the bartender happy. "Damn. This is bad."
He took a step towards Daisy, figuring that Olivia could handle herself until he got his ex-love out of there. Only then did he see his Mom's old boss heading his way. "Hey, don't I know you?"
Before he could answer, he heard Olivia scream, "Where is she??" Glancing at the older woman he saw her look at him with a slight smile before she stepped in front of the man and handcuffed herself to the bar rail. "I know you know where she went, you bastard!" She was practically spitting in the owner's face.
The distraction was all the time he and Ashlee needed to get Daisy up and moving towards the door. After telling his blonde friend to go ahead, he turned back, only to see Olivia glance towards the cuff and slightly shake her head. He got her point; if he stayed and the cops caught him there, it would be him handcuffed along with her.
A few weeks ago it would have been much easier to leave her stranded and not care what happened. His mother's feelings be damned. But now he was conflicted. For one thing, if Olivia was to be believed, they hadn't lied to him. They were going to tell him about their relationship. Also, Olivia was Emma's mother, and he didn't want to contribute to anything that would hurt the little girl. Glancing back one more time, as he neared the exit, Rafe saw that the auburn-haired woman was more than able to handle herself. He now saw the bar owner had a panicked look on his face, as Olivia gave him a piece of her mind, which included the words 'fuck' and 'god damn'. Shaking his head as he exited the bar, he muttered, "Ma would tell her that's at least 15 Hail Mary's."
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