DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
TIMELINE: Takes place directly after the episode of 15th June '09.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Question and Answer
"So what does this mean for us?"
The question was out before Olivia even realised that she'd asked. She hadn't meant to. She'd already decided that it was the wrong thing to do, that she shouldn't even be here at the farmhouse, that it would come across as selfish, as putting too much pressure on the other woman at a time when pressure was the last thing she needed.
That was one reason she hadn't meant to ask. The other reason, of course, was that she was terrified of what Natalia might say. The thought that the other woman's response might not match what she so desperately wanted to hear filled her with dread, and she regretted the words the moment they had passed her lips.
Natalia's answer, a simple 'I don't know,' seemed to confirm all her worst fears. After all the weeks and months of anxiety and uncertainty, of never quite knowing where she stood and when the next heartbreak would occur, they'd finally been getting somewhere. The last few days had been the best she'd ever spent with Natalia, despite the issue of Rafe's homecoming lurking on the periphery like a giant storm cloud, just waiting to burst. And now, suddenly, the rug had been pulled from under her feet and they were back at the beginning again. Olivia glanced down and busied herself with the tablecloth, desperately in need of some kind of distraction, knowing that if she met Natalia's eyes, even for a second, she would cry.
"No, that's wrong. I do know." The sound of Natalia's voice startled her, and she looked up to see the other woman walking slowly towards her, an unreadable expression etched onto her face.
Olivia's heart quickened and she had to remind herself to breathe as she eyed the other woman quizzically, both anticipating and dreading her next words. "Tell me."
Natalia waited until she had closed the distance between them and had taken Olivia's hands in her own before offering an explanation for her change of heart. "It means... It means that I need to know," she breathed softly.
"Know what?" Olivia frowned slightly, still unsure where this conversation was leading. Natalia was still holding her hands and Olivia longed to reach out and pull her closer, but she didn't dare while the connection between them was still so dangerously fragile.
"I need to know that you love me." Natalia's voice barely crept above a whisper and there was a sadness in her eyes that Olivia hadn't seen for a very long time. She slipped one hand free and raised it slowly to Natalia's face, tenderly tracing the contour of her cheekbone with the back of her hand, her eyes full of love.
"You know I love you."
"I do." Natalia smiled for the first time since the other woman had arrived, but even her smile was tinged with a despair which seemed to break Olivia's heart. "I know you love me. But I need to feel it. I need to feel you."
Olivia thought her legs might give out then and there as she absorbed the real meaning of Natalia's words. Her head was swimming. Natalia was asking for physical confirmation of their love, that much she understood. But beyond that she was lost. They'd talked about sex only the day before, agreed it was what they wanted, but she'd never expected it to be this soon. Why now? And more to the point, why wasn't she ripping Natalia's clothes off then and there? After all, this was what she'd wanted for a while now. So long that she'd almost grown used to the dull ache of sexual frustration which had made its home in her groin. She eyed the other woman carefully, still not quite sure how to interpret the expression on her face.
"Natalia," she probed gently. "Tell me what he said to you."
Natalia looked away, a tell-tale stubbornness creeping into her features. "This isn't about him."
Olivia reached out and gently turned the younger woman's face so that they were eye to eye once more. "Tell me," she repeated softly, her tone firm, yet unmistakably full of compassion.
Natalia shook her head and turned away again, refusing to meet Olivia's gaze. "Trust me, you don't want to know." She felt sick just thinking of some of the words Rafe had thrown at her before he left, and the thought of repeating them, of giving them form again, was more than she could bear.
"I'm a big girl. I can handle it." Olivia gave a weak smile to accompany her attempt at a joke, but when Natalia still didn't look up she tried another tack. "Don't go through this alone," she pleaded. "Let me be there for you."
Slowly, Natalia's focus shifted from Olivia's feet to her face, taking in her body in a way which made the older woman shiver with anticipation. Natalia knew that what she was about to say would hurt the other woman as much as it had hurt her, maybe even more, and that made her want to swallow the words on the tip of her tongue and bury them as deeply as she could. But Olivia was right. She didn't want to go through this alone. She couldn't. Telling Olivia might destroy them, but not telling her certainly would. Rafe's words would eat away at her, at them, until there was nothing left and she couldn't let that happen. She couldn't be without Olivia. When she finally spoke, her voice was so quiet that Olivia had to strain forward to hear.
"He wanted me to tell him that this wasn't real. He wanted to believe that you had pressured me into this somehow." She took a deep breath, steeling herself for the words that had damaged her the most. "He told me that we were going to hell."
For the second time since she'd arrived, Olivia felt as if the ground might give way beneath her and her eyes grew wide as the enormity of Rafe's words sunk in.
"The whole time I've been telling myself that our love can't be wrong." Natalia continued, her voice rising in pitch. "I could ignore Frank, I could even ignore Father Ray. But Rafe?" Natalia's voice cracked then became a whisper once more. "I need you to show me that he's wrong."
"Ok," Olivia whispered, moving forward to take Natalia's hand and leading her into the house. Silently Natalia followed her up the stairs as Olivia willed her mind to work faster, to somehow unfreeze itself so that she could process what was about to happen. Was she really about to make love to Natalia Rivera? This wasn't how she'd imagined their first time. She'd fantasised about romance, about wine and candlelight; she'd certainly never thought that it would come two hours after a blazing row with Natalia's son. A large part of her wondered whether it was the right time to be doing this, whether Natalia wasn't just trying to prove something or searching for some form of escape. But another part of her was certain that she knew Natalia better than that. Another part of her knew that on some level this made sense. Their relationship had never been about romance. It had been about comfort and trust, and the kind of love that spreads from there. They'd spent months already waiting for the right time. They'd always found a reason not to and Olivia was sure that they always would.
She didn't realise they'd reached the bedroom until she heard Natalia shut the door behind them. She turned to the other woman and was shocked to note tears flowing freely and silently down her cheeks. Guilt stabbing at her chest, she rushed over to her and cupped her face, ineffectually trying to wipe the tears away with her thumbs.
"Are you sure?" Olivia hardly dared say the words, unsure of what she wanted to hear in response.
Natalia didn't reply to the question. Instead she gently wrapped her own arms around Olivia and pulled the other woman close, nuzzling into her neck.
"Why can't they see how good you are for me? Why can't they see how whole I am when I'm with you? Why can't they understand that I love you?" Question after question tumbled from Natalia's lips, each one sending a stab of pain coursing through Olivia's body. She held Natalia as tightly as she could and soothed her, hoping that the younger woman could not tell how perilously close she herself was to dissolving into tears. Her hands stroked through long dark hair as she planted soft kisses on the top of Natalia's head and forehead. Gradually she felt Natalia's tears subside and she pulled back slightly to look the other woman in the eye.
Olivia stood transfixed by the sadness and longing in Natalia's gaze, only realising that they were about to kiss when she sensed Natalia's lips mere millimetres away from her own. Her lips parted automatically to make way for Natalia's tongue and suddenly both were pouring everything inside them into this one action, as they clung to each other as though their lives depended on it.
Natalia was the first to break away as she pulled back to slip Olivia's denim jacket back over her shoulders and discard it on the floor. Snaking her hands around Olivia's hips and up her back, she pulled her red top over her head in one deft movement, then stood entranced by the woman standing before her in just a pair of black jeans and a simple black bra.
"God you're beautiful," she whispered, standing back to take in the full picture before moving forward to wrap her arms around Olivia once more, nuzzling into her neck and kissing a trail along her left collarbone to her shoulder. Olivia moaned quietly as Natalia's fingers slipped between her breasts and inside the satin of her bra, her skin hypersensitive from the weeks and months of anticipating the younger woman's touch, her nipples straining towards Natalia's roaming fingers.
She fought for control as her body arched into Natalia's, pulled by some invisible force of attraction. In her mind, she wanted nothing more than to give herself over completely to the other woman, but a tiny part of her was still holding back, unable to believe that this was really happening, aware of the fragility of their emotional states and the connection between them. A moment later, however, Natalia's fingers were on the clasp of her bra and Natalia's mouth was on her ear, whispering.
"Show me how much you love me."
Olivia needed no further encouragement and with a whimper she let go of her inhibitions and crushed Natalia's lips against her own. Minutes later, Natalia's shawl and dress had joined her own upper garments on the floor and she was gently steering the other woman backwards towards the bed, while her agile fingers made short work of Natalia's bra.
"Oh God," Natalia breathed as Olivia lowered her back onto the bed and straddled her, manipulating her nipples with soft circular movements of her tongue. Natalia groped for the zip of Olivia's jeans as Olivia continued to tease her, tracing intricate patterns on her breasts with her fingers and tongue. She stopped short however a couple of moments later as Natalia's fingers, having finally located their goal, pushed her jeans down over her hips and slipped underneath the hem of her black satin underwear.
Natalia hesitated there, seeking out Olivia's eyes in silent assent, as Olivia's whole body seemed once again to arch towards her. Olivia's world seemed to freeze, suspended for a moment as her whole being focussed on the two fingers which Natalia was slipping gently inside her and she briefly wondered how she could have considered anything but this to remove the ache she'd been feeling for the last few weeks. She closed her eyes as her hips began to remove rhythmically against Natalia, wondering at how right this felt, and how it could be possible that they'd not done this before.
She heard Natalia moan as her own fingers traced a path up the inside of the younger woman's thigh and their eyes met as Olivia's fingers hovered so close to Natalia's centre that Natalia could almost feel their presence.
"Are you sure that you want this?" Olivia whispered, suddenly insecure, terrified of losing everything by pushing it too far.
Natalia nodded and when Olivia still did not move, she took her free hand and placed it over Olivia's fingers, guiding them to where she'd needed to feel them for so long. Olivia closed her eyes and exhaled deeply as she made contact with Natalia's wetness, and she felt the other woman moan and thrust towards her, pushing her deeper. Their hips easily found a rhythm, urging each other on as their bodies responded of their own accord.
Olivia climaxed first, her body impatient with desire, but she kept pushing a few moments longer until she felt Natalia shudder and tense, and she clasped the younger woman tightly in her arms as they both drifted slowly back to reality, aware for the first time of the late afternoon sunlight filtering through the window and framing their tangled bodies. They lay in silence for a long time, wrapped in each other's arms, each comforted by the heat radiating from the other.
"How can that possibly be wrong?"
Only after Natalia had spoken did Olivia realise that she'd been waiting for those words, her stomach knotted with the unbearable possibility that she'd been unable to reassure Natalia of her love. She breathed a sigh of relief and turned to the other woman, stroking her dark hair back from her face and kissing her as tenderly as she knew how, aware that her own face was now moist with tears.
"We'll get through this," she whispered, as Natalia's fingertips stroked her cheek and the other woman smiled and snuggled into her outstretched arms, a more powerful answer to her initial question that words could ever supply.
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