DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To Geekgrrl.lurking[at]gmail.com
Need You Now
"That rat bastard!" Doris Wolfe growled and tossed her pen across the room in anger before slamming the phone down onto the cradle with a satisfying thump. She didn't notice the office door had opened and a honey blonde head was peeking into the room, until the pen bounced off of the door frame just missing her visitor.
"Jesus, Wolfe. I think you need to cut back on the caffeine." Olivia stepped into the mayor's office and picked up the pen from the floor before, smirking as she deposited it back on Doris' desk.
"Don't you start on me now too." Doris ran a hand through her thick red hair and sighed. "Blake wants me to start taking Mindful Meditation classes with her at the community center."
Olivia snorted and dropped down into the nearest chair.
"Hey she's your girlfriend. Maybe if you took her out every now and then instead of lurking in the closet together, she might cut you some slack." Olivia smiled softly at her friend. "So who was it getting your knickers in a knot?"
"Who else? That asshole ex-husband of yours." Doris leaned back in her chair and considered her options. Unfortunately there was only so much that she could divulge to Olivia about city business and some of the deals she'd had to broker the last few months. And she trusted her more that just about anyone else in her life, with the exception of Blake or Ashlee. At the end of the day though, Spaulding Enterprises was part of Emma and Rafe's legacy and she knew Olivia would fiercely protect their future. Besides she needed to take care of her own messes.
"I'd ask which one," Olivia smirked "But I think I smell the tell tale stench of Alan Spaulding. And he's not my problem anymore, talk to Natalia Spaulding about keeping that man under control." Olivia shook her head, as if the weak brunette would ever be able to keep that man in check.
"Well, enough about my miserable day, to what do I owe this unexpected pleasure." Doris spun a little in her leather chair and waited. Olivia never just dropped in without some sort of ulterior motive. It's was what made their friendship so beautiful, they completely understood each others tough business sides. There was nothing like going head-to-head against each other a few times on various committees and a little harmless political blackmail to forge a strong friendship. If Blake didn't have such a tight grasp on her heart, Doris would be tempted into trying to bed the mercurial woman, lure her to the "Dark Side" as it were.
"It's Phillip." Olivia glanced down at her hands, realizing that this was going to be harder than she thought to ask for help. She'd do it for Emma's sake though. Olivia's eyes snapped up, determined. "Is there any way to get him to stay away from her, for me to deny him from seeing her."
Doris leaned back in her chair and peaked her fingers in front of her lips in thought. "I don't see how. He's been checked out and cleared by the psychiatrists at Ravenwood Mental Health facility and Alan was able to take care of any criminal charges that had been laid against him when Philip tried to take the kids. Philip at this point could be able to get visitation rights of some sort. Supervised mind you."
"Fuck." Olivia ran a hand through her hair in frustration. "I figured as much. Time for Plan B then after all."
"What are you up to now?" Doris leaned forward. She loved watching Olivia's mind work. It was like a master class in deviousness. Olivia however simply stood with a mysterious smile and made her way to the doorway.
"Let's just call it Operation Dimples and leave it at that, shall we?" Olivia disappeared out the door with a small wave over her shoulder at the very curious mayor.
The warm late afternoon sun shone brightly as children played in the park, people jogged on the many trails, and dogs barked happily at their humans. A typical gorgeous day in Springfield, except it didn't feel anything close to typical as Rafe stood on the small foot bridge, scrolling through his emails.
Rafe had hesitated before contacting his mother; wanting to be sure he wasn't making a mistake, getting involved again. So he had waited several days before making the call, still not one hundred percent sure that he was ready to open a door where his mother was concerned. She had hurt him so much with her rash jealous actions; totally screwing with the life of a woman he considered family now as well. Time seemed to heal, or at least scab things over so they didn't hurt as much.
And then there was Alan.
Growling softly under his breath, Rafe ran a hand though his short hair. The idea of that old man cheating on his mother, after she had given him everything Rafe shifted and made a concerted effort not to think about everything she had given him.
He sighed, trying to release some of his anger and slipped his phone into his pocket. He looked out across the slowly moving creek, before leaning heavily on the railing of the small bridge, watching the ducks swimming and playing by the shoreline. Sharp footfalls could be heard on the weathered wood planks to his right. Turning, he couldn't stop the small smile as he met familiar dark eyes staring back at him.
"You came." Rafe swallowed hard at the sight of his mother. Long flowing dark hair, curling softly around her shoulders, a robin's egg blue blouse and well tailored black slacks, with open toed sandals. She was a sight for sore eyes, despite all his anger and frustration with her and he knew in that instant that he had made the right choice.
Now he only hoped that she listened to what he had to say.
"Of course I came, Raphael." Natalia stepped a little closer, finally coming to rest beside him. "I'll always come when you need me." Her eyes traveled across his features, as if memorizing every little detail. Her hand moved as if she was going to reach out to touch him, but she seemed to catch herself and pulled back again, instead gripping the bridge rail tightly. "How have you been?"
Rafe smiled. The more things changed, the more they stayed the same. She always seemed worried about him, but then that was what mom's did.
"I've been fine. The diabetes has been under control, no issues. Olivia and Dad even " Rafe's eyes darkened as he remembered again that his father had left his life again. Tossed to the side like he was nothing, with vague promises to see him once he had settled down in Chicago with Harley. Totally oblivious to the emotional debris he'd left behind. He prayed he would have more sense when he started his own family someday.
Rafe bit down on his anger with his father and focused instead on his mother. After all when God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window, right? Or at least that's what his Ma had always said growing up. He cleared his throat a little and continued on.
"Uh, they found this great doctor that I've been seeing and I'm feeling really strong, y'know." He shrugged a little. His mother smiled wider, her hand moving from the railing and this time coming to cover his own.
"I'm so glad." Natalia looked up at him as she squeezed his hand tighter. They were silent for a moment before her eyes dimmed a little. "How is your father?"
Rafe sighed and glanced back out over the slowly moving water flowing past.
"He's fine, I guess. In love." A tone of bitterness crept into his voice. "I've been keeping an eye on Olivia and Emma. Emma's pretty hurt that Dad left, but with Phillip back in town she seems a little happier that her real daddy is around."
"I'm sure Olivia's not too thrilled about that," Natalia's eyebrows rose in surprise. "Still he is her father."
"He's looney tunes, Ma. I don't care what anyone says." Rafe frowned at her and shook his head. "Emma has no idea how badly this is messing with Olivia's head." He ran his hand through his hair again. So much to worry about, but they were his family; he would do anything to protect them. Anything.
He looked back at his concerned mother. She was his family too, he needed to take care of this mess with Alan now and help her pick up the pieces. Get her the hell out of that mansion before it was too late.
"Speaking of Phillip and crazy father figures, I wanted to talk to you about Alan. That's kind of why I wanted to see you." Rafe began a little awkwardly and then paused. There was just no good way to do this other than to blurt it out. "I saw him, Ma. With another woman."
Rafe expected anger and fireworks, or at the very least shock. Instead his mother simply closed her eyes and bowed her head, as if resigned to her fate. What the hell?
"You knew." Rafe shook his head in disbelief. "You knew and you've done nothing?"
Natalia's eyes flared with anger, but she took a calming breath before speaking. She looked down at her hands, her thumb idly twisting her diamond wedding ring around and around on her finger. At times like this it felt like a noose around her neck.
"She's not the first, Rafe." She finally bit out. "When I first discovered his indiscretions I moved to the other side of the mansion. I've been trying to work things out, he keeps saying that he's changed and that he's turned over a new leaf." She glanced up at him, her eyes tearing slightly. "And he has been, but " She ducked her head again. "I can't trust him. Still, he's my husband and I had to try to salvage our relationship."
Natalia turned to watch the flowing water, not able to meet his eyes. She flipped a hair strand out of her eyes and tucked it behind an ear as Rafe patiently waited.
"I've been talking to him about getting a divorce, but he keeps putting me off." Natalia sighed. "And with Phillip back in the house, well, it's gotten a little complicated."
"That's bullshit, Ma." Rafe finally exploded, throwing his hands in the air.
"Raphael!" Natalia frowned in disapproval. "I take my vows, given before God, very seriously. I had to try to make it work "
"Does he have something on you, is that what's making you stay there?" Rafe started to pace, his anger building. He couldn't believe she would still be under the same roof with the man.
"No, he doesn't." Natalia sighed. "He was there for me when no one else was. He deserved a chance to redeem himself. Everyone does."
Rafe just stared at her as if she had grown a second head. Where was the anger and fire he remembered the woman was capable of while he was growing up?
"Right." Rafe stepped away from his mother's grip. "Listen, I've got to go." He needed some time to cool off or he was just going to say something that would make this all worse. He stalked off of the bridge and headed for his car in the parking lot. He heard his mother's voice call out, but he didn't turn around.
Olivia stood at the edge of the playground in the park, keeping an eye on Emma as she played on the monkey bars. She could easily make out the small footbridge from her vantage point, clearly seeing Rafe and his mother talking.
"Emma, baby? We should go." Olivia smiled down at her beautiful nine-year-old as she bounced to her side. Threading their fingers together, they started to make their way along the slow moving creek.
"Mom, is that Rafe?" Emma pointed to the couple on the bridge, who were obviously arguing with each other at the moment.
"Hmm. Yes, I think it is. Did you want to go say hi?" Olivia grinned as Emma nodded excitedly and started tugging on her arm. They were just about at the bridge when they saw Rafe stride off, angrily heading back to the parking lot and his car.
"Oh, that's not good." Olivia murmured, smirking slightly. Not that she wanted Rafe hurt, but if that woman didn't know how to have a decent relationship with the boy, she would gladly keep him as her own. Her eyes narrowed and she moved closer to the obviously distraught woman.
"Uh, hey there." Olivia watched the brunette turn to look at her with pain filled eyes and then glance down to find Emma standing quietly by her side. "We didn't mean to intrude. Emma wanted to say hi, but it looks like Rafe had to go."
Natalia wiped at her eyes and sniffed slightly as she just nodded.
"Are you Rafe's other mommy?" Emma asked innocently.
"Yes." Natalia smiled softly. "We've never really talked much have we? I'm Natalia."
"I'm Emma." Emma smiled back warmly.
Natalia glanced up at Olivia, obviously charmed by the girl. Olivia smiled; this was going to be easier than she thought.
"Listen, I've been thinking about what you said about Phillip seeing Emma, and supervised visits." Olivia began, very aware of little ears listening in. She ran a hand along Emma's hair, tucking a loose strand behind an ear.
"Really?" Natalia blinked, surprised. "Phillip would be so grateful, Olivia."
"Right." Olivia nodded. "I'm not doing it for him. I'm doing it for Emma. To be honest, I just don't trust the man." She edited herself, as she glanced down at her suddenly very quiet daughter. "Anyway, Emma wants to see him and well, I want her to be safe, and I'd like you to be the one supervising the visits."
Natalia stood stock still, obviously not quite believing her ears. Olivia almost laughed at the look on her face, but the woman finally spoke.
"Me?" Natalia boggled. "Why me?"
Olivia rolled her eyes. Did she have to spell everything out for the woman?
"First of all, you suggested it to me as I recall." Olivia said with a long suffering sigh. "Second, I see the man Rafe has become and that speaks volumes about how you raised him so I trust you with my daughter. And finally," Olivia's voice dropped dangerously low, her eyes flashing menacingly. "Don't you think you owe me after everything "
Natalia's eyes nearly bulged out of her head. Olivia simply waited, knowing that Natalia's guilt would work in her favour. What she didn't expect was the help from another source, one much harder to say no to.
"Please Natalia? I just want to see my daddy." Emma's wee face looked up from beside her. Who in their right mind could resist that child? Apparently not Natalia, as the woman seemed to melt before Olivia's eyes. The brunette warily glanced up at Olivia before kneeling down to Emma's height and talking to her directly.
"Ok Emma, since you asked me so nicely." Natalia glared up at Olivia, making her point. She was doing this for Emma too. "I'll see what I can do, all right?" The girl nodded excitedly and then looked over at Olivia as her cell phone buzzed.
Jumping slightly, Olivia pulled the offending BlackBerry from her pocket and grimaced as she checked the call display.
"Damn it don't they know I have the afternoon off." Olivia grumbled, and then glanced at Natalia. "I'm sorry. I have to take this call. Would you mind watching Emma for a few minutes?"
Natalia smiled widely and nodded, taking Emma's hand.
"Want to help me feed the ducks?" Natalia had all the answer she needed in the delighted look the girl gave her. Olivia shook her head and wandered towards the parking lot watching the two of them head for the far side of the small pond.
Lifting her cell phone to her ear, Olivia started to wander and to the casual observer she appeared to be talking to someone. She nonchalantly made her way towards a gray sedan, parked in the corner of the small parking lot. A scruffy looking man leaned against the front fender of the car, a high-end digital camera in his hands with a large zoom lens. He brought it up to his eye and snapped off several shots before Olivia paused to stand before him.
"That her?" The man nodded towards the pond, where Natalia and Emma stood watching the ducks play.
"Yes." Olivia smiled grimly. She opened her purse and tossed a thick envelope at him. "Here's the first installment. I'll send you the dates when I get them. Make sure you document everything."
"Gotcha, Ms. Spencer." The man tucked the envelope into his jacket. "Not to worry, I can make the most innocent meeting look like a visit to Sodom and Gomorrah."
Olivia snorted. She was counting on it. She was paying the private detective an obscene amount to guarantee it. She turned to watch the brunette smiling and laughing with her daughter.
One way or another, Natalia Spaulding was going to help her keep custody of her little girl.
Rafe sullenly nursed his diet Coke, staring up at the football game playing on the flat screen television mounted behind the bar at the Beacon. He barely noticed when someone sat down in the barstool beside him.
"Dirty martini, Eddie," Olivia's subdued tones caught his attention. "Extra olives and extra dirty."
Rafe grinned to himself at how naughty she could make placing a drink order sound. He spun his stool to look over at her.
"I guess I don't really need to ask how it went," Olivia smiled sadly at him. Rafe sighed and looked down into the depths of his drink. "Emma and I were in the park and we saw you leave. I'm sorry, honey." Olivia reached over and squeezed his arm.
"I just don't get it," He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "She knew already."
"Natalia knew about the affair?" Olivia raised an eyebrow, a little surprised. A most interesting development, one she didn't expect from the high and mighty Mrs. Spaulding. Then again, all the old church ladies would have their panties in a knot if they knew what was really going on in that mansion. She looked up as the bartender slid her drink towards her and then discreetly disappeared.
"Apparently it wasn't even the first one," Rafe cursed under his breath. "She gave me some lame excuse about moving to the other side of the mansion and Alan not wanting to divorce her. Come on! This is the twenty first century, leave the bastard already."
Olivia chewed at the inside of her cheek. She didn't even want to venture a guess as to what Alan Spaulding might have on the woman to keep her tied to him. She had experienced the joys of being married to the man and ended up tied up in the crazy ward at Ravenwood for it. She wouldn't wish that man on her worst enemy then again, Reva could probably handle him quite well, now that she thought of it.
Olivia quickly took a sip of her drink to hide her grin. Rafe was upset and this wasn't the place for her to make wisecracks. Putting her glass back down on the polished counter, she reached out and squeezed the boy's arm.
"Listen, I actually spoke with your mother at the park this afternoon as well," Olivia eyed the boy, watching for his reaction to her words. "I've asked for her help with keeping an eye on Emma during supervised visits with Phillip."
"Phillip!" Rafe turned to stare at her, very surprised at this new twist. He didn't trust Phillip any more than he did Alan. "Are you insane?"
Olivia popped an olive into her mouth and chewed, thinking how best to respond.
"As much as I want to, I can't keep Emma from visiting her father." Olivia finally said with a long sigh. "One way or another I know she'll try to see him. So I need to control the visits and that's where your mother comes into the picture." Olivia leaned forward on the bar and glanced over at the curious young man.
"What can Ma do? She can't even escape from Alan," Rafe asked, a little worried about what could happen to his mother if Phillip went off the rails again.
"Trust me, Natalia can be very resourceful. I should know after all, having been on the receiving end of that before." Olivia huffed and took another drink of her martini, not really wanting to visit that pity party again. She took another gulp of her drink, letting the cool liquid slide down her throat, soothing her as it went. Rafe just shook his head and waited for her to continue.
"Anyway, I've hired a private detective to follow him and to take photos of all the visits. I want everything documented, so that I can prove Phillip is a bad influence or still a nut bar to a judge." Olivia sighed, running a hand through her hair. "It's my only hope of keeping sole custody of Jellybean without killing the asshole."
She looked up and met Rafe's sympathetic gaze. They were quite the pair where the Spaulding's were concerned. Can't live with them, can't shoot them. Unfortunately.
"I can't believe Ma agreed to it," Rafe finally muttered, moving to pop a peanut into his mouth, taking note as Olivia shifted slightly on her stool. He stilled and looked at her a little harder. "Ma did agree to it, didn't she?"
"Well " Olivia waffled a little under his steady gaze.
"Olivia!" Rafe sighed.
"Okay, so I haven't exactly told Natalia the plan, but part of that is so she will act naturally," Olivia thought a moment before realizing that there was a little more to it. Despite their rocky past history, deep down she knew Natalia was at heart a decent person. "At the end of the day, I trust her to look after Emma. If no, when Phillip screws up, I've paid that private investigator enough that he will step in and I know that your mother will do the right thing."
Olivia conveniently left out her backup plan of trying to catch Phillip and Natalia doing something inappropriate around Emma. She knew Philip, knew his needs, and having an attractive woman living under the same roof who was on the outs with his father, well it was like a siren's song to the man. Hell, she was sure that it was only a matter of time, if they weren't already doing the horizontal mambo.
She glanced over at Rafe, already miserable with the outcome of his meeting with his mother. There was no need to muddy the waters, when it might not even happen anyway. Olivia sighed and looked up at the flat screen television behind the bar as Rafe spun the ice in his drink, clearly thinking.
"I just don't want Ma hurt, y'know? We may not be as close anymore, but the Spaulding's are all bastards," Rafe sighed and tossed a rogue peanut on the countertop back into the bowl. "I wish "
"You wish what, Rafe?" Olivia looked back at the troubled boy, curious what his answer would be. He quietly took a sip of his drink before meeting her gaze.
"I wish I was a Spencer."
Olivia's heart nearly exploded in her chest, the wave of emotion washing over her. She reached out and squeezed his hand, holding tight.
"You are, Rafe," Olivia pulled the dark head close into a tight hug. "You already are."
To Be Continued
Return to Guiding Light Fiction
Return to Main Page