DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Not sure this is one of my favorite stories. but the idea woke me up the other night so I figured I might as well write it. I also normally don't care to do stories in 1st person but once again, I had no control over what came out. Lastly, I hope the changes from past to present isn't too confusing.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A small smile drifts across my face as I sit in a chair watching the woman currently sleeping in the bed. Try though I might, I can't stop my smile from widening as I notice that Olivia has curled up into a ball and is lying so close to the edge that it's almost an inevitability she's going to fall out. Apparently, even in her sleep, Olivia is always thinking about me. She had sworn up and down last night before bed that she would behave herself and now she just looks so cute if uncomfortable.
The beginnings of our weekend away were anything but idyllic. Given the history of our relationship, I suppose I shouldn't have expected anything else. It started with Frank accosting Olivia at the hospital. He had been informed of our relationship by Doris Wolfe, (I admit, I do feel a bit sorry for her when Olivia gets back to Springfield), and he didn't believe her. His defense of me was what led to him being beaten up and once again I was overtaken by guilt. My inability to face my feelings had caused this man an inordinate amount of pain, both physical and emotional, that he didn't deserve. When he went after Olivia, however, my guilt was immediately replaced with a white hot anger that I was unfamiliar with.
He was so mean and vicious as he blamed Olivia for everything and she just stood there and took it. I still need to talk to her about that. What happened to the woman who'd once told me that when someone kicks her, she kicks them back? I wound up having to step in as it became obvious that once again, Olivia was going to take the fall for something that wasn't her doing. I hated to be blunt with Frank, but I knew it was long over due and I was not going to let anyone cause Olivia any more pain than she'd already been through.
I told him. I told him to back off. I told him that the person he needed to be angry with was me. Olivia had been more than willing to ignore her feelings and let me marry him. I was the one who couldn't do it. I was the one who lied to myself and buried my feelings for so long that I found myself doing a lot of things I hadn't planned on. I apologized profusely for hurting him, but I was in love with Olivia and had been for a long time. If he felt the need to yell at someone, or call them names, I was the one who deserved it, not Olivia.
Finally he understood and he left without a word. The look of cautious happiness on Olivia's face almost made that scene worthwhile. It always surprised me when I saw that expression. Olivia Spencer was an extremely confident, stubborn and formidable woman, but over the last few months, she'd become uncertain and insecure and I have to admit, it almost broke my heart to see it.
I know she still has doubts about my feelings for her, but she forgets that I can be as stubborn as she is and I vowed as soon as Frank walked away, I would show her everyday how much I loved her. Sadly, that vow went awry the next day when we left on our weekend trip.
When we arrived at the resort, we had both been surprised and more than a little scared to find out that due to an unexpected problem, we would be sharing a room. As a hotel owner, Olivia knew that these things sometimes happened, so her surprise had quickly given way to understanding. Me? I over reacted. Again. I accused Olivia of planning this whole thing. She had promised that there'd be no pressure, yet here we were, conveniently forced to share a room. Why is it that everyone, myself included, automatically blames her for everything that ever goes wrong? I love her, I should know better.
Interestingly enough, she turned around and said exactly that to me. She told me that she thought I would know that she'd never manipulate me like that. She was right and I kicked myself. I always seemed to be hurting her with either words or actions, despite the fact that that was the last thing I ever wanted to do.
Her words took the wind out of my sails and I apologized for freaking out. I just panicked. It wasn't fear of people seeing us, or thinking we were together. I actually didn't care so much about that. It was fear of what would happen at night, when we were alone and in bed that put me on the offensive.
Olivia had obviously read something in my expression and immediately let go of her own anger. Her ability to switch emotions so quickly is one of the things about her that fascinates me so. She is someone I don't think I'll ever truly be able to figure out completely and I find that to be a challenge I look forward to undertaking.
After we put aside our fears, our anxiety and our anger, we unpacked and went out to enjoy the spa and do some shopping. I found myself finally relaxing and Olivia and I soon reached that level of comfort that we used to share so easily.
We had a nice dinner in town where we were finally able to be almost normal. Olivia would smart off about something and I would lecture her about it and then we'd laugh. I missed these moments, more than I ever imagined.
The conversation did take a serious turn as we ventured into the inevitable discussion of how we came to be where we are. Guilt was one of the first things we both brought up.
"I'll never regret anything more than trying to steal Gus from you," Olivia had said sadly. "Especially on your wedding day."
"I forgave you for that a long time ago, Olivia," I assured her. "Besides, how can I possibly judge you for that, when I did the same thing when he was married to Harley?"
"That's different," she protested and I sighed. No matter the situation, Olivia always tried to make me feel better.
"It's not and you know it."
"It's my fault he died," Olivia blurted and my heart hurt that she'd been feeling this way for so long. I covered her hand with my own and became briefly distracted. I love Olivia's hands. They are so strong yet so gentle.
"No it isn't," I said seriously, willing her to believe that. After it happened, I did blame her but I was hurting. It didn't take me long to see that it was just an accident. Nothing more.
"He was on his way to find me "
"What about me?" I interrupted, needing to derail her thoughts. "I was so threatened by you "
"With good reason," Olivia muttered glumly.
"You really should consider not interrupting so much," I teased her, wanting to see her smile. When she obliged, I continued.
"I locked you in the bathroom. I didn't give one thought to the fact you were waiting to hear about a heart. I'm the one who was responsible for you missing your chance at a new heart." Suddenly the full implication of that action hit me like a brick. "Oh my god, Olivia. You could have died."
The thought of a world without the other woman in it was only slightly less devastating than the thought that it would have been my fault. Tears immediately left my eyes only to be met instantly by Olivia's thumb.
"Stop Natalia. Please, don't cry," she whispered to me and in a blink of an eye, my despair turned to something else entirely. I covered the hand that rested on my cheek with mine.
"I'm sorry," I said, though I wasn't sure which thing I was apologizing for.
"Maybe we should leave the past in the past, hm?"
"I love you," I said in response. It occurred to me that that was the first time I've said it to her since the almost wedding. Watching her smile that contented smile, made me swear never to wait so long again to say it.
"I love you too."
After another glass of wine and some dessert, we left the restaurant and walked back to the hotel in a surprisingly comfortable silence. After only a few minutes I found myself reaching for Olivia's hand. She twitched in surprise and I smiled, rather pleased at myself for being able to knock her off guard for a change. Her hand tightened around mine and I saw her give a slow smile. Who'd have thought such a simple thing would make this sophisticated and worldly woman so happy.
Back at our hotel, I waited as Olivia unlocked the door and suddenly remembered the last time we were in this situation. That time, I had the choice to leave or stay. Thinking back on it, I still wonder how I was able to resist the way Olivia had looked at me with those hypnotic eyes of hers. This time, I had to go in or sleep in the lobby.
I entered first and the feeling of Olivia so close behind me sent shivers down my back. Why was this so difficult? People see me as some innocent, naïve child, but I know desire. I've experienced desire. Sure this is different, being that my desire now is for a woman, but she's my best friend too. I don't want to be uncomfortable around her.
"Are you alright?" she asked me. She always could read me like a book.
"Yeah. I turned to face her. "I'm just wondering if this is ever going to be easy between us."
Olivia sighed and sat on the bed. I think it was a good sign that my mind didn't go straight to the gutter at that. Telling myself to stop being such a coward, I sat down next to her.
"I've been wondering that too," Olivia said casually. "Maybe it's the sexual tension."
I literally felt my face turn several shades of red, but she laughed and I hit her in the arm. "That's not helping," I said unable to stop a grin. Her eyes went straight to my lips and I nearly fainted. No one should have eyes like hers. It's so not fair to the rest of us who have to look into them.
"We're both in the same boat, Natalia," she finally said turning so she could face me directly. "Neither of us has ever been with a woman. Quite frankly, I have no idea how it.. how we'd... well "
This time it was Olivia's turn to blush and I fell in love with her all over again at the sight. "Why Miss Spencer. I thought you were the expert between us on all things intimate."
"Well not on this," she protested rather loudly and I laughed at her almost affronted expression. She scratched her nose and grinned shyly as she realized I was only teasing.
"I know what you mean though," I admitted turning serious. "We know we love each other, but with 'regular' couples, the natural progression of falling in love is " I gestured at the bed nervously and then sighed. "I love you, Olivia. So much. I think of you constantly when you're not around, I know that I have all these feelings and desires when you look at me, yes, just like that, but I don't know what to do with it all."
Olivia gave a little half smile. "I feel the same way. I love you and I do want to be with you Natalia. I guess we just need to sort of work our way up to that?"
"Well, you're the business woman. How do you propose we do that?"
Olivia smiled and then reached out to touch my cheek. "Well you could start by not flashing those dimples at me so much. It plays havoc with my ability to think."
"Sorry," I smiled even wider. I loved teasing this woman.
"Anyway," Olivia said in feigned frustration, "I was thinking. We have kissed before."
I fought a whimper as I suddenly remembered the feeling of Olivia's kiss from what seemed like forever ago. It was at that moment the light bulb went off for me, I think.
"I thought that didn't count," I choked.
"You're the one who said that," Olivia reminded me. "It was very real for me."
As brief as that kiss had been, it had shaken me so much harder than Frank's kiss had. "Kiss me again, Olivia."
Green eyes widened in surprise. "Really?"
"I think you're right. When you kissed me, I know I panicked, but it wasn't for the reason I told you. It was because it was it felt more right than anything I'd experienced in a long time. Those few seconds had me feeling things I I want to feel again. Kiss me."
Olivia offered a lazy smile that was so different than the ones before. This one had temptation written all over it. "I love it when you boss me around," she said in what had to be the most seductive voice I'd ever heard in my life.
"And I love it when you actually get around to listening to me." Unable to wait for her to finally do something, I grabbed her face like she had mine so long ago and kissed her. The feelings that went through me at the contact were almost too much, but this time there was no pulling away and asking 'why?'
The groan Olivia uttered went straight into me and I wanted to cry. Instead, I slid my hands around her and trembled when her arms went around me. I honestly have no idea how long we sat there kissing, but I do know it was the most intense and emotional kiss I'd ever experienced.
Finally, Olivia pulled away and rested her head against mine. "I never thought I'd say this," she said after a long breathless moment, "but if that's all we ever get around to doing, I'm not sure I'd mind."
I still had a hard time reconciling this romantic Olivia with the woman I knew so long ago. "Liar," I whispered in her ear, earning a little chuckle. Olivia took a deep breath and pulled away getting to her feet.
"I think it's time for bed .sleep," she immediately corrected herself with another blush, causing me to laugh again.
"Nothing will happen," Olivia swore and I believed her. I didn't tell her I wasn't opposed to her holding me through the night, but I figured that day would come soon enough.
Eventually we were both in our pajamas and after a few awkward moments we climbed into bed and turned off the light. Both of us lay in the dark unable to sleep. Finally I couldn't stand it anymore. I turned on my side and lay my head on her shoulder and after a brief hesitation, I felt her arm wrap around me and pull me closer. It was only moments after that that we both drifted into a contented sleep.
Now I sit here and look at the woman I love. Apparently during the night she turned away from me, trying to keep her promise, unaware of the fact that she now ran the risk of winding up on the carpet. I can't help but quietly move my chair closer to the bed. I remember the last time I sat this close to the sleeping woman. I love to watch her at rest. I take in the little lines around her eyes and long to caress them. Her lips are relaxed and I long to kiss them. When she sleeps, her strong face is finally free from the stress, worry and unhappiness that has so often appeared on it. My God she's beautiful. No. Beautiful doesn't even begin to describe it. Even sexy is too limited a word to describe the force of nature that is Olivia Spencer.
As I had once before, I reach out to brush a lock of hair from her face. I just can't seem to stop touching her. At the contact her irritatingly long lashes flicker open. This time she doesn't jump and this time I don't pull way.
"Good morning," I whisper.
"Mm?" she mutters groggily and I smile. Her morning surliness is just one of the things I love about her.
"You gonna lay in bed all day?" I stroke along her cheek and across her mouth, gasping when she takes my finger between her lips.
As her mouth was currently full, she only nods, the gleam in her now wide awake eyes sending tingles throughout me.
I pull my finger back a bit reluctantly. "I don't think so," I smile. "We didn't come all this way just for you to sleep."
A mere quirk of an eyebrow has me blushing furiously. I quickly rise to my feet ignoring the soft laughter coming from the sleepy woman. "Come on Spencer. I'm starving and I'm sure you need a cup of coffee."
Olivia grunts and utters several words of the four letter variety, finally dragging herself into a sitting position and rubbing her eyes. My heart nearly stops as I fully take in the wonderful gift that God has given me and I offer up a silent prayer of thanks.
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