DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I still miss 'em. Here's something that could've happened, but we never got to see. Title comes from this sweet little Toni Braxton song, "Snowflakes of Love".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Snowflakes of Love
This might not have been their first family vacation, but it certainly would be the most memorable for them. Olivia had been able to convince Rick into letting her borrow the Bauer cabin for the Christmas break. It only took me a promise of letting him stay for free at the Beacon's location in Chicago for a doctor's conference in February. Cheap bastard.
She shook her head as she drove up the winding road to the mountain in Natalia's forest green SUV. Natalia was the map reader and overall co-pilot of their little adventure. She's the best partner in life that a gal could ever ask for. Who would've thunk it? Olivia smiled to herself as she thought back over the last three years.
I am so blessed.
The Beacon had grown despite the at the time bad economy. Olivia was able to franchise it, and therefore opened locations in Indianapolis, Chicago, and the latest one in Detroit. Ava had met a nice, if at times dim-witted, man named Johnny in San Francisco. After a whirlwind courtship, Johnny and Ava married and were now expecting a little boy, Timothy, to be born in April. Rafe was doing great, enjoying the discipline that the Army had to offer. Natalia, of course, missed her son, but she was so proud at the young man he had become. Truth be told, Olivia was proud as well. He's such a good man.
Her little girl Emma was hardly a little girl anymore. The boy crazy, hormonal, and at times stubborn twelve year-old girl made Olivia long for the days when she was her Jellybean, all sweet and innocent. And, Francessa. Oh my baby. She's growing up so fast. At three, Chessie already had the big heart of her daddy, the stubbornness of her Mama, and of course, the sense of humor of her Mommy, Olivia. Olivia chuckled as she remembered when she came home from work one day recently to find Francessa in time out for hiding Emma's science fair project in the trash can. Can't say I blame her. The damn thing was about compost and the whole kitchen smelt like cow shit.
And, then there was Natalia. Oh my. How wonderful the last three years had been with her. Just when she thought she couldn't learn anymore about the younger woman, she found something else out. Some things were not surprising, such as her favorite movie growing-up was The Sound of Music. Other things were very surprising, such as Natalia liked to play dress-up with Olivia. A wicked grin spread across the hotelier's face. Oh yes, naughty Catholic school girl is definitely one of my favorite surprises. But, more than that, Olivia felt so very loved by Natalia. She was adored, comforted, and needed by the younger woman. For the first time in her life, Olivia had a real home and a real family. She glanced over at the love of her life and smiled broadly as she took one of her hands in her lap.
"Hey," Natalia said, returning with her own smile, fully dimpled.
"Hey, yourself." She squeezed the soft hand and then interlaced their fingers. "So, we're doing pretty great on time. How far away are we? About 30 minutes?"
"Yeah, unless you think we need to stop for snacks?"
"Nah, we'll be fine. We're almost there."
"Since when did you become so anti-snack anyways?" Natalia asked.
"Oh I don't know, since you made me want to live for a very long time. You know, I had to go and fall in love with you and all," Olivia winked.
Natalia smiled again, pulling Olivia's hand to her lips and placing a sweet kiss against her knuckles. "So, it's true then."
"What?" Olivia asked, focusing back on the road.
"That an old dog can learn new tricks." Natalia giggled.
Olivia's eyes went wide, and she pretended to be offended. "Oh you think you're pretty funny, don't ch'a?" Natalia laughed harder. "I'll show you just what kind of tricks this old dog can do to you once we get to our room." She waggled her eyebrow suggestively.
Watching the conversation from the back seat, Emma piped in, "Eww...Mom! That's gross."
"What? I love your Ma very much, Em."
"Yeah, whatever. But I don't need to know about it...like that. Ugh," She popped back in her earbuds and rocked her head to the Jonas Brothers on her Ipod.
Natalia just chuckled as Olivia shrugged. "Hey, you'd think she'd be used to you oogling me by now, Olivia."
"I know, right?"
Natalia leaned over and whispered, "It's okay. I'm definitely looking forward to you teaching me a thing or two new this Christmas, baby. Just don't make me wait too long."
Olivia took her hand away from Natalia and roughly placed both of them firmly on the steering wheel. She pressed her foot down hard on the accelerator. Christmas couldn't come soon enough.
The week passed by in a blur, and soon enough, it was Christmas day. Emma and Francessa woke them up early, bouncing up and down on the bed in their adorable flannel pjs. They led a groggy Olivia and chipper Natalia to the lit up tree, where Francessa beamed happily, pointing to the wrapped presents, "Santa...toys...me!"
Natalia went to make coffee as Emma grabbed her Hannah Montana blanket for her and Chessie to snuggle under together.
"Here you go, honey," Natalia said as she handed Olivia the hot mug and sat down beside her.
"Thanks, sweetie." Olivia took a long sip. "Mmm...I love you."
"I love you, too." Natalia grinned. Then, she looked to her little girls and asked excitedly, "Now, who's ready to open some gifts?!"
Both Emma and Chessie squealed and clapped, "MEEE!!!"
Olivia and Natalia shared a quick, but loving smile and boomed as well, "MEEE!!!"
After making their way through the mountain of presents, Natalia and Emma made a breakfast of banana pancakes, crispy bacon, scrambled eggs with Swiss cheese, and fresh squeezed orange-grapefruit juice. Meanwhile, Olivia and Chessie played with her new Barbie dolls.
Once they finally ate their delicious breakfast, Olivia made an announcement to her girls. "I have a surprise for three of my favorite girls. But, it requires everyone to be bundled up! Now, shoo!" She sent Emma to get dressed and then help Chessie.
In their bedroom, Natalia pleaded, "You're not going to give me one clue?" She pouted, her full, bottom lip jutting out and her big, brown doe eyes wide. "Please. Just one little clue." She batted her eye lashes at Olivia.
Olivia briefly considered it, but held strong, "Oh, you're sooo tempting." She brought a gloved hand to Natalia's cheek and stroked it before helping her tie on her scarf. "But, nope, not even one...little...clue." She gave Natalia a quick kiss on her lips and walked out the door. "C'mon slowpoke. Time's a-wasting!" She yelled, winking over her shoulder at her lover.
"Okay, Olivia...what's going on?" Natalia asked confused as they waited out front of the cabin in the snow.
"Yeah, Mom. Are we just gonna play in the snow? 'Cause that's not really a surprise," Emma whined, her cheeks and nose red from the crisp, cold December air.
"Oh ye of such little faith," Olivia replied, bending over to poke Emma on the nose.
Just then, bells could be heard jingling in the distance, getting closer and closer with each moment. "Mommy, look! Pony!" Chessie screeched in her Mama's arms as a horse drawn sleigh came bounding around the corner of snow-covered evergreen trees. It stopped right in front of a stunned Natalia, an excited Francessa and Emma, and a smug Olivia.
"Yep, Chessie, that's a horse, and here's our ride." Emma pushed through her two mommies and sister up onto the red and black sleigh and sat behind the driver. Natalia handed a squirming Francessa to her big sister. Then, she turned back to Olivia with sparkling eyes filled with wonder.
She murmured softly, "Oh Olivia. This is just...I love you." She threw herself at the older woman, wrapping her arms around her neck and giving her a tender kiss.
Olivia pulled back, slightly breathless and held out her hand for Natalia, with a twinkle in her jade eyes. "I love you, too. Your chariot awaits, m'lady." Natalia smiled as she jumped up into the sleigh sitting across from Emma and Chessie. Olivia hopped on and slid next to her. She grabbed her hand in her own.
The driver shouted over his shoulder, "Are we all ready to go, ladies?"
Olivia answered, "Yes, we're ready." She looked deep into Natalia's eyes, with love, and said softly as the sleigh took off across the snowy fields, "Forever."
After spending the early afternoon on the sleigh ride through the forest and fields surrounding the cabin, the cold, yet happy family relaxed in the living room playing cards and board games. Emma, of course, used what she told Olivia was her 'Spencer poker face' to swindle her two mommies out of their chocolate coins during a fierce game of go-fish. Then, Chessie and Natalia beat the two Spencer girls at a mean round of checkers. Olivia finally won as she sunk Natalia's battleship.
Following the intense session of gaming, Olivia decided to make dinner for her special gals as they watched some movies on the Bauer's flatscreen tv. She created a special Christmas dinner from her home on San Cristobel which consisted of baked fish with a mango-orange salsa, roasted sweet potatoes and carrots, a fresh green salad with a balsamic vinagrette, soft, buttery dinner rolls, sparkling cider for the kids, a fine bottle of white wine for the grown-ups, and for dessert, a homemade apple cobbler that Natalia had prepaired earlier at the farmhouse in Springfield.
When the Spencer-Rivera gals ate their fill of delicious food, they all sat on the large green couch together and watched "It's a Wonderful Life" before tucking Chessie and Emma in bed.
"Night, my little angel," Natalia whispered as she leaned down and kissed Francessa on her forehead.
"Love ya, Mama an' Mommy," the little girl replied, her eyes fluttering shut as she fell asleep, cozy under the covers.
Natalia brushed a piece of her hair off of her face. She sat there for a moment and smiled. "I love you, too."
Olivia bent over and kissed Francessa's cheek softly and murmured, "Your Mommy loves you, too, Chessie."
Natalia looked up and smiled at Olivia. Olivia helped Natalia up and then they walked up to Emma's bed. The pre-teen was listening once again to her Ipod, the latest teeny-bopper music playing loudly in her ears. As soon as her two mommies reached her bed, she pushed pause.
"Hey 'Bean, " Olivia said taking a seat at Emma's side. "You got fifteen more minutes, and then it's lights off. Alright?"
" 'Kay, Mom," she responded. She waved Olivia closer and whispered in her ear. Olivia pulled back and shook her head yes. "Good," Emma said with a huge grin on her face. "It's about time."
"What's about time?" asked Natalia confused.
"Oh...that I'll do the dinner dishes," chuckled Olivia with a hint of mischievousness in her eyes.
"Well, that's true," laughed Natalia. She pulled Emma into a hug and kissed her forehead. "I love you, Em. Sleep well."
"I love you, too, Ma. Have a great night." Emma winked at Olivia.
"We will, honey. Love ya." Olivia kissed Emma's forehead as well and stood to leave. "Sweet dreams." Olivia clicked off the light switch and lead Natalia away. "Now, about those dishes..."
Twenty minutes later with the kitchen cleaned, Olivia appeared in the living room and sat next to Natalia on the couch, who was reading. The fire in the fireplace was crackling. The Christmas music was softly coming from the CD player on the table. "Here you go, Sweetie," Olivia said as she handed Natalia a steaming hot mug of cocoa.
"Thanks," Natalia said with a smile as she sat down her book. She looked down in the cup and noticed something was missing. "Hey, you forgot the marshmallows."
Olivia went to stand up, but Natalia put her hand on Olivia's wrist to stop her. Natalia stood and said, "No. I'll go get them. You've done enough for tonight."
Natalia walked into the kitchen and stopped suddenly. "Oh Olivia," she murmured. "What in the world?" The kitchen was bathed in light from a single red candle. Next to the candle on the counter top, there was a bunch of marshmallows in a line. Natalia gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. "Oh my god." The marshmallows spelled out an important question: 'Will you marry me?' Then, there were two red and white candy canes set together in the shape of a heart. In the middle of the heart, there was a small, black velvet box.
Just then, Olivia slipped her arms around Natalia's slender waist from behind. "Hey," Olivia whispered softly into Natalia's ear.
Natalia turned around in Olivia's arms, tears shimmering in her eyes. "I love you."
Olivia smiled broadly and then released Natalia and grabbed the box. "I love you, too. This is your Christmas present." She got down on one knee and looked up into the eyes of her true love. "I figured that since the good people of the state of Illinois finally got their collective heads outta their asses this November that it was time that I made a proper woman out of you. "
Natalia laughed as Olivia took her left hand. Olivia opened the box, revealing the most beautiful diamond ring that Natalia had ever seen. "Wow."
"You like it, huh?" Olivia asked with a smile.
"Oh yes," Natalia nodded vigorously, flashing Olivia a brilliant, shining dimpled smile.
"I thought you would. It's just like you...just like your love...simple elegance. Graceful strength. Enduring forever."
Natalia started to cry as Olivia continued, stroking her thumb over Natalia's delicate finger. "So, I ask you tonight to fulfill my Christmas wish and do me the honor of being mine forever. Will you marry me, Natalia?" Eager jade eyes searched the chocolate depths above.
Quickly, Natalia pulled Olivia up, who was now crying happily as well, into her gentle arms. "Yes!" she exclaimed. "Yes. A million times yes, Olivia!" She grabbed her face in her hands, threading her fingers through her soft, wavy hair and kissed her passionately, pouring all of her love, her heart, her very soul into the woman who she'd spend a million lifetimes loving, forever.
Finally, they broke apart from their never ending kiss, and Olivia slipped on the sparkling ring. Natalia grabbed Olivia's hand and lead her to the living room. Together, they put out the fire in the living room's fireplace, turned off the CD, and made their way up into their bedroom. There, words ceased to exist as Natalia gave Olivia her Christmas present, worshiping that night, and for the rest of their lives, at the temple of her goddess with satin and lace, tender touches and breathless kisses. It was a Merry Christmas indeed for Natalia and Olivia. Merry Christmas forever.
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