DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
TIMELINE: Could occur any time between March 26th and April 13th.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The body beneath her on the couch is warm, soft, pliable, sweet-smelling, responsive, and Olivia thanks her long-discarded god that the lights are low because she doesn't want to see, doesn't want to look at this impostor she's picked up in a final attempt to get rid of this...thing...this thing she can't and won't name, not yet, because names have power and she thinks the...thing has enough power already.
"You feel so good..."
"Ssh," Olivia hushes her with a kiss. "Don't talk." Not her voice. Not her face, not her heart, not her laughter. Olivia crushes the litany of absences as she slides her hands under the impostor's shirt, feeling the other woman's stomach muscles contract, drinking in her heated gasp.
"Olivia, are you ho- what the-?"
"Natalia?" Olivia jerks her head round fast enough to give her whiplash and takes in the pale and shocked expression on her friend's face. "Hey," she says, pasting a seductive grin from another life onto her lips and sliding off the uncertain woman - girl, really, she's young enough to be her daughter, Olivia sees that now that she's bothering to look at her for more than a certain familiarity in eyes and hair and skin. "This is...uh, sorry, I've forgotten your name?"
"Laurie," she supplies hesitantly, her glance sliding from one woman to the other: Olivia flushed, her lips swollen and wet from their kisses; Natalia ashen, an unreadable expression in her eyes. "I should go..."
"No, stay, stay," Olivia urges, turning the full force of her considerable charm onto her. "I tell you what, we'll take the wine," she pauses to take an extremely large gulp, "and go up to my room and finish getting to know each other, hmm? I'll start. My name's Olivia, I'm 43, very single, two children, married five times, never quite seem to get it right, how 'bout you?" More wine disappears down her throat and she refills the glass with a shaking hand.
"You're drunk," Natalia snaps. "And you're embarrassing yourself."
Olivia's anger is sudden and violent, her eyes flashing fury as the glass smashes in the fireplace, causing Natalia to jump and Laurie to beat a hasty retreat, not even bothering to lie about calling as she escapes out the front door. "Oh, I'm embarrassing myself, am I, am I really Natalia? You mean I'm embarrassing you."
A muscle clenches in Natalia's jaw. "I'll get a broom," she says tightly, turning towards the kitchen.
"Don't walk away from me," Olivia yells, grabbing Natalia's elbow and spinning her round. They're close to losing their footing as Natalia stumbles and Olivia scrambles to catch her. When their eyes meet again Olivia is holding Natalia's upper arms tightly. "Please," she whispers. "I'm sorry. Don't walk away from me. Not this time, please."
They are frozen for an interminable moment before Natalia sinks into Olivia's arms, wrapping her hands round the other woman's head and pulling it down to rest on her shoulder. She can feel the beginnings of sobs, but she can't hear them; there's a roaring in her head like when you hold up a seashell to your ear, close your eyes and block out the world.
"Don't hate me," Olivia begs through her tears, but it takes two repetitions before Natalia responds, with a kiss on her temple and a caress from her neck to the small of her back which she intends to be soothing. Olivia's breath hitches. Natalia feels the press of warm lips on her neck and her world falls apart.
"Don't," she breathes. "Don't, please..."
"Just once," Olivia begs, her hands coming up now to cup that lovely face she so adores, her lips tracing the curve of her trembling jaw, bodies moulding together as Natalia leans into her, unable to stop herself.
Natalia's mind flashes back to the confessional, to the sins of omission she's committed time after time, no longer able to confess to thinking of this in the dark of long nights spent sleepless, the words of the Act of Contrition sticking in her throat, burning like bile. Sin no more she's supposed to say but she does sin, every night, every time she closes her eyes, every time Olivia gets within ten feet or looks at her with those intense eyes, looks at her like she's the only person in the world, like no-one else matters.
"Just one time," Olivia continues, her hands in Natalia's hair. "I promise I won't ask you for anything else, just let me have this...this once, before you go to him, just this..." Her plea trails off as she tilts Natalia's head up to face her, kissing away the tears meandering down her cheeks. "You can blame it on the wine."
"I haven't had any," she manages to reply, her voice hoarse.
"I've had enough for us both."
Natalia barely has to move at all in the end, just a dip of her head, a softer than soft sigh as her lips part and then Olivia is kissing her, breathing life and light into her, filling her from the inside out.
"Once," she moans, sliding Olivia's jacket from her shoulders and burying her face in her neck, drinking her in.
"Once," Olivia agrees.
It's their third once. In the morning Natalia will pretend nothing has happened and Olivia will bury the question of what it means, like so much else she wants.
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