DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a sequel to my fic Turn To Me. It's one of a loose collection of planned 'Slices of Life' that occur in the Turn 'universe', for want of a better word.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A week after her final cast came off Olivia Spencer was officially bored.
She was bored of the farmhouse, bored of the sound of cows and ducks floating through the windows, bored of the hum of the furnace in the basement. She was bored of the TV, bored of her books, even bored of the Xbox Natalia had bought, ostensibly for Emma, but really for her because she'd been complaining so much.
Most of all she was bored of watching Natalia go off to work every morning without her while she lazed around at home 'recuperating'. Occasionally Christina would come over to break the monotony by torturing her. Then it would be back to the usual sitting around, pacing (as long as her leg allowed it) and waiting for Natalia, Emma and Rafe to come home so she wouldn't feel quite so much like she was going out of her mind.
Emma always arrived first. Olivia started listening for the bus at three, even though it wasn't due until three thirty. Then Rafe would come in from his internship at Springfield PD at around five. Finally Natalia would arrive at six exactly, usually carrying a pile of paperwork and a laptop bag, neither of which she would let Olivia see. "You're supposed to be resting," she'd said what felt like a hundred times. "No work!"
But as it happened, that day Emma was going straight to Jodie's for a sleepover, Rafe was going out for beers - sorry, sodas, he was underage after all - with a few guys he'd met at work, and Olivia was stuck alone in the oppressively quiet farmhouse, waiting for her lover to come home.
She suppressed a shiver. Her lover. Her lover, Natalia. She still couldn't quite believe it. According to her fractured recollections they'd been doing nothing but fighting just a couple of months ago. Except, of course, that it wasn't really a couple of months ago - it was nine months ago, and in those nine months the greatest love of her life had been conceived, gestated and birthed. She didn't remember a lot of the details, but she remembered the love. Deep down, she'd always remembered the love.
Heaving herself out of the comfortable easy chair she'd been languishing in, Olivia hobbled to the kitchen. Natalia had been expecting a hard day today. She'd mentioned it as they sleepily snuggled in bed that morning, before Natalia had been forced to concede to the third snooze alarm and get up. Olivia smiled. Natalia used to be so good about getting up early. Since they'd been sharing a bed though, the younger woman had found reason after reason to sleep late.
Olivia cast her eye over the food in the fridge and in the pantry. What might Natalia like after a bad day, she wondered. And what could she manage to make in the short window that her still aching leg would allow her to remain upright?
Chili, she decided. It might not be Buzz's chili but, dammit, Olivia Spencer knew her way around a pan. And she had a few tricks up her sleeve.
An hour later Olivia carefully placed two bowls of steaming chili and rice onto a table set with a fine linen tablecloth, good silver cutlery and long ivory candles. The moment she lit the candles she heard Natalia's key in the lock.
"I'm home!" her lover called form the living room. Olivia heard her tossing her bag and coat onto the sofa, imagined her arching her back and rubbing away some tension from the back of her neck.
"I'm in the kitchen," Olivia called back, then finally sat down, her leg throbbing and demanding rest.
"I'm too tired to cook tonight..." Natalia's voice floated through to her, growing louder as her lover drew closer. "Do you want to just call for takeou-"
Natalia stopped in the doorway, the word 'takeout' dying on her lips. "Surprise," Olivia said. The pain in her leg was forgotten as a slow, desperately sweet smile spread across Natalia's face.
"Olivia," Natalia murmured, and that one simple word seemed to contain everything from 'You never cease to amaze me' to 'I love you more than you can possibly understand.' She crossed the room in three quick strides and cradled Olivia's face in her palms. "You are so wonderful," she whispered, leaning down to kiss the bridge of her nose, both cheeks and finally her lips.
Olivia blushed. "It's just chili," she said.
Natalia shook her head. "Nuh uh," she murmured. "It's thought and consideration and effort and love. Thank you."
Olivia looked away, swallowing hard against a lump in her throat. "It'll get cold," she said at last. Natalia smiled and took pity on her, sitting down and grabbing a fork.
"Mmmm," she moaned as she tasted her first bite. "You really did used to be a chef, huh?"
Olivia smiled and nodded. "I sure did sweetheart."
Natalia paused with her fork halfway from the bowl to her mouth. "Sweetheart?" she repeated, in a tone that suggested she was testing how the word sounded.
Olivia shrugged. "Just seeing how it sounds," she explained. "Is it okay?"
Natalia chewed thoughtfully. "I guess," she said. "I don't hate it."
"But you don't love it," Olivia said quickly. "Okay, I can work with that. How about baby?"
Natalia made a face. "We're not twelve," she said.
Olivia chuckled. "No, okay, it sounded awful anyway." She tilted her head to one side. "Darling?"
Natalia wrinkled her nose and shook her head. "Not really my generation," she said, taking another bite of her chili. It really was very good. "Maybe it was popular when you were young..."
Olivia swatted her hand, then casually twined their fingers together instead of pulling her hand away. "Yeah, I'm a regular cradle snatcher," she said, rolling her eyes. "How about honey?"
Natalia smiled softly, remembering an afternoon in February when Olivia had wrapped a possessive arm round her waist and called her honey right in the middle of Towers, just to make a couple of gossipy women uncomfortable. God she'd been mad at her. A little madder than was really necessary - then again, she'd been on a lovely cruise back then and had already visited several pyramids.
"I could live with that," she said, then leaned forward. "What do want me to call you?"
Olivia shrugged. "I don't know," she admitted. "I hadn't thought that far ahead."
Natalia laughed. "I've got the best idea ever," she murmured. Their faces were very close together now; Olivia could practically feel Natalia's breath on her lips.
"Uh huh," she murmured absently, lips already parting in anticipation of the kiss she was about to receive.
"How about I call you...Olivia," Natalia whispered, and somehow managed to pack the months of love and the lonely years of hope, longing and searching that had come before into those four simple syllables. She kissed her, slowly and sweetly, with one hand held loosely in her lover's grasp and the other cradling the back of her head.
Olivia sighed when the kiss ended, and leaned her forehead against Natalia's. "Mmmm," she murmured. "Natalia..." Her voice was low and husky and promised everything. It ghosted along Natalia's skin and down her spine like an electric current looking for the quickest way to ground.
"You see?" Natalia said when she felt capable of speech. "I don't think we need anything else. Not when just having you say my name can make me feel like that..."
Hours later, in the darkness and warmth of their bed, after more Olivias and Natalias had fallen from their lips than they could even think about counting, Olivia was forced to concede that Natalia was right. They had no need for pet names at all...
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