DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The first time it happened, Olivia didn't even realize it until hours later.
Ever since that first morning, they'd been getting Emma on the bus to school without a hitch. Natalia had somehow managed to rearrange their mornings in a way that had Emma, dressed, fed and ready to go minutes before she had to be out the door.
And curiously enough, Olivia herself was usually dressed and on her second cup of coffee by the time she waved to her daughter from the kitchen window instead of half asleep and in her pajamas. Somehow, Natalia had turned her into a morning person. Olivia still wasn't used to liking the world before nine in the morning, but she'd quickly gotten used to having most of her routine work done before noon. The new schedule gave her the opportunity to both spend more time with her daughter and work on her plans to franchise The Beacon.
It had been during one of those mornings (Emma was already on the bus and Olivia was finishing her coffee while she looked over some paperwork Natalia had prepared for her the day before) that they shared their first kiss. Well, second kiss, but the first one didn't count.
Natalia had an early meeting with the kitchen staff at the hotel and was fully dressed and ready to go. She'd quickly repeated Olivia's schedule while she was going through her purse, searching for her car keys. Triumphantly, she'd pulled out the elusive item and smiled at Olivia. "I'll see you at eleven? We can go over my meeting on the ride to the florist and be back in time to pick up Emma."
"Okay, sounds good." Olivia had looked up from her paper and smiled, and then very quickly Natalia had leaned down and kissed her goodbye, before she was out the door with a smile and a wave.
Olivia hadn't even realized what had happened. She'd just finished with her paperwork and then packed up her car with their dry cleaning. She'd checked to see if all the doors were locked, before she drove into town to begin her day.
Just before eleven, she arrived at The Beacon and as she was getting out of the car, she suddenly realized what had happened that morning. She'd been going over her schedule in her head, checking that she hadn't forgotten anything, when she thought, 'Did she say anything else before she kissed me goodbye?' The thought froze Olivia in mid-step. She stumbled slightly, before she came to a complete stop. That morning, it had seemed like nothing. For weeks, she'd been hyper aware of every time Natalia touched her, but the kiss that morning hadn't even registered. It had just seemed so normal. Felt so right. As if they'd been kissing each other goodbye for years. Instead of going in, Olivia leaned against the car to catch her breath.
The second time it happened was her fault. They were both slightly tipsy as they made their way up the stairs. Olivia had quietly arranged for a lawyer to keep an eye on Rafe's case so that they wouldn't miss any opportunities. A recent recommendation from the guard who oversaw the inmates at the library had allowed them to file for an early parole hearing and everybody was hopeful. They'd celebrated with a bottle of bubbly, the price of which, Olivia would never disclose. She also had not disclosed her involvement with the day's events. She didn't want Natalia's gratitude. So she was very surprised when, at the top of the stairs, Natalia hugged her fiercely and mumbled a thank you against her neck.
"Why are you thanking me?"
"For nothing. Just being you, I guess. For being there today. For all of it." Natalia had leaned back, but had left her hands on Olivia's waist.
"You know me. I'm just happy for an opportunity to open up a bottle of the good stuff." Natalia actually giggled. She looked so incredibly cute that just for a second Olivia could forget all the reasons why kissing her best friend wasn't a good idea. It was barely more than a peck. It was really the full minute that they stared into each other's eyes afterwards that gave it its meaning. Olivia whispered a good night and quickly vanished into her room.
The goodnight kiss had apparently been some kind of signal for Natalia, because from that day on there'd been regular goodbye and goodnight kisses. All on the cheek. Olivia was torn between elation and frustration and just a little impatience. She'd lost fear on the day that Natalia had gently wiped lipstick from her cheek.
Olivia didn't deal with impatience very well. Additionally, Natalia teasingly smiled at her after every kiss, as if they were playing a game that Olivia just didn't know the rules of. She also suspected Natalia was winning. She couldn't let that happen.
Thanks to Olivia's inability to lose, she found herself pressed against the door of her bedroom later that evening. It hadn't started out that way. She'd thought she'd take back some control over what was happening between them, by controlling their next kiss. So, instead of holding still and smiling as Natalia pressed her lips to her cheek, Olivia took a step forward and pressed her lips against Natalia's. She really hadn't thought things through, though, because once they were kissing, she realized she couldn't stop. Two full weeks of affectionate gestures from the woman she loved had understandably left her slightly defenseless against the emotions that took over her higher brain functions the second their lips touched. When Natalia took a step forward, all Olivia could do was hold onto the other woman as she leaned heavily against the door behind her. It wasn't her, but Natalia, who ended their kiss. Before she untangled herself from Olivia's arms, she smiled brightly and pressed a short kiss against Olivia's cheek. "Goodnight."
A sleepless night and a cold shower had spawned the dangerous combination of determination and recklessness inside Olivia that had gotten her into trouble in the past. For once, she was in the kitchen before Natalia. She quickly made some coffee for the two of them and then got to work on her computer. A dozen emails and three text messages later, she had cleared her schedule for the day and had arranged a play date for Emma. She quickly returned to her room and dressed in her favorite outfit (which it had become instantly after Natalia had said that she looked beautiful in it). She quickly woke Emma and told her that they were preparing a special breakfast for Natalia.
"Is it her birthday?"
"No, it isn't. I just thought we'd do something nice for Natalia."
"Can we make pancakes? She loves pancakes."
"Then we'll make pancakes." Together, the Spencer women tiptoed back into the kitchen. Emma helped with the pancake batter and then raced up the stairs to get dressed and wake Natalia. It was still early and dark outside. With a smile, Olivia dimmed the lights slightly and lit a few candles. The table was set with everything they needed. She remembered the flowers she'd had delivered the day before and quickly snatched a red tulip from the bouquet on the couch table. She put it in a small vase in front of Natalia's plate before returning her full attention to cooking. She slid the last pancake on a sizable stack as she heard Natalia asking Emma why she was already dressed.
"It's a surprise!" When Olivia saw a still sleepy Natalia come into the kitchen (dragged by their adorable daughter), she could only smile. As Emma let go of Natalia so she could have a seat at the table, Olivia stepped closer to the clearly surprised woman.
"What's all this?"
"Breakfast." Olivia's answer was simple and so was the kiss against Natalia's cheek. She pointed to the table. "Sit. I'll get you some coffee."
Even though their morning was far from 'normal', Emma was dressed and ready to go at her usual time and Olivia and Natalia stood next to each other as they waved to her from the kitchen window.
"Thank you." Natalia's words were soft as she leaned against Olivia. They watched Emma as she got on the bus and kept watching the street long after the bus was gone. Somehow, Olivia's hands had ended up around Natalia's waist, with Natalia's hands drawing lines from the tips of her fingers to her wrist. Before they reluctantly separated, Olivia whispered a soft "you're welcome" against Natalia's ear and pressed a kiss right behind that delicate ear. At Natalia's sharp intake of breath, Olivia grinned briefly, before turning back to the table. Together, they quickly cleared away dishes and candles and Natalia picked up the flower carefully, intent on taking it to her room.
She was on the first step up the stairs when Olivia stopped her by taking her hand. She tugged on her hand until Natalia turned around. Still standing on the first step, Natalia was just a tiny bit taller than Olivia. She couldn't help but admire the picture before her. Without make-up and in her pajamas and an old robe, Natalia was beautiful. Slowly, Olivia stepped right in front of Natalia, taking both her hands. "Do you know?"
"Do you know that the first time you kissed me, I didn't even realize it?" She watched Natalia frown and smiled. "You kissed me goodbye and I thought nothing of it, because it felt like the most normal thing in the world. The first time I thought of you as my friend, I didn't think about it at all. It just was. When I fell in love with you I didn't even know until my daughter told a classroom full of people that she has two mommies. I hadn't recognized love, because it somehow felt as if I'd always felt that way. As if it was the most normal thing in the world. And it is. And it isn't. Having you in my life has become normal. I can barely remember a time before Emma and I knew you. And then, my life with you has brought me the most extraordinary happiness." She grinned briefly. "There was a little sadness in-between." Slowly, she tugged on the lapels of Natalia's robe until she leaned forward. There was nothing quick or chaste about their kiss. Still, once they separated, Olivia had to tell Natalia, clearly and with no room for interpretation. "I love you."
Natalia basically fell into her arms. Thankfully, she'd been standing only on the first step; otherwise they would've probably ended in a heap on the floor. She heard Natalia echo her last three words and then they were kissing again.
Olivia had been pretty sure what Natalia's answer to her declaration would be, but hearing her actually say those words took a weight off her shoulders nonetheless. It was a long time until Olivia broke their kiss once more. "Is this a good time to tell you that I rearranged our schedules? We have the day off."
"Playdate at Cindy's directly after school. We're picking her up at five. I ordered tickets for Monsters vs. Aliens and got us a table at this tiny Italian restaurant downtown."
"On a school night?"
"Well, it is a special day. Besides, the movie is done at seven, our reservations are for seven-fifteen. Emma will be in bed by nine at the latest."
"I see you thought of everything. Except one thing."
Olivia frowned. "What did I forget?"
"What are we gonna do until five?" Natalia's smile could only be called one thing: seductive.
Olivia's frown turned into a teasing smile. "Actually, I thought, since I took care of breakfast and dinner, you could help me figure out what we should do in-between."
"I see. Well, I guess you better stick close while I try to think of something." Natalia grabbed Olivia's hand and led her up the stairs. "I'm sure if we work on this problem as a team we can figure something out."
They were both smiling. "We always do."
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