DISCLAIMER: These characters don't belong to me. They belong to Guiding Light, TeleNext, Jill Lorie Hurst, Ellen Wheeler, etc.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for the International Day of Femslash, July 18, 2009. Completed July 17, 2009. Thanks to my ever-faithful beta, Erin Bree, who not only put up with my fandom-pushing, but is now as, ahem, 'invested' as I am about this couple. Thanks for being a great sport!
SPOILERS: Up through and including the July 6, 2009 episode.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Something, Not This
By Susan P.
She'd known she would end up in this position when she had gotten the distraught phone call. Well, maybe not this position. Not this exact position. Something equally uncomfortable, perhaps, but more in the metaphorical sense, really...
Her body was twisted at an odd angle to accommodate the somewhat awkward embrace, and she was just about to suggest a change in position when Olivia pulled back and scrambled further back onto the bed, sitting up close to the headboard and bringing her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them and rocking slightly.
Olivia reached up to scrub a hand across her face, haphazardly wiping away some of the tears there.
It was only a brief respite; Doris could see the signs of another impending storm clearly enough. So, she kicked off her shoes, and took up a seat next to Olivia, propping the pillow behind her back and stretching her legs out in front of her, trying to get comfortable, and just waiting to catch Olivia, when the time came.
"I just don't... I don't..." Olivia started again, in what had become an almost familiar pattern of 'word vomit.' "I DON'T," she sobbed, caught herself, and tried again, "I don't under-stand," and the last syllable came out as a strained whisper that was just a harbinger of even more sobbing.
"Okay," Doris soothed, reaching out to gather the other woman into her arms again. "Okay, come here."
Olivia allowed herself to be pulled into a loose embrace, molding herself along Doris' side, and sobbing against her silk blouse, while Doris rubbed her back gently.
They'd done this before: the sobbing, the shaking, the confusion, and the half-articulated questions. The 'I don't knows,' and the 'how could shes,' and the 'where is shes,' and the 'what did Is,' and the 'what happeneds.'
And, Doris had offered her own harmonies to the ineffectual chorus, with her 'I don't know eithers' (because she was as mystified as Olivia), and her 'it'll be okays' (even if she was no more sure of that than the other woman), and the 'she'll be backs' (even if she didn't know what she would be coming back to, given the shape Olivia was in, now), and the 'she'll explains' (even if she didn't know how Natalia could possibly make up for the damage she'd caused by leaving).
And it was all just noise, Doris knew, because even the statements were questions, and the only one with the answers was nowhere around to hear them, much less respond. It was necessary noise, but still just noise, and Doris was grateful when Olivia quieted somewhat and settled against her more closely, wrapping an arm across her waist. Mostly because it meant she didn't have to contribute to the 'noise,' either, but also because she hoped Olivia might be able to calm down, a little. All this agitation couldn't be good for a recovering heart-transplant patient, could it? Olivia had mentioned an episode with her heart, not too long ago, and Doris now regretted not having asked more about it, at the time, because she had no idea how worried she should be about Olivia being in this state.
She shook off that thought and, resting her chin on the top of Olivia's head, continued rubbing her back, trying to offer what comfort she could, insufficient as it was.
They sat like that for a few minutes, during which Olivia had gotten quieter, and, Doris hoped, calmer.
She was wrong, it turned out. Doris felt the change in Olivia before she knew what it meant: a certain tension that hadn't been there a moment before.
When Olivia shifted against her, Doris tightened her hold on her and murmured an, "It's okay," against her hair. When Olivia nuzzled against her neck, she tried to ignore the sensations caused by Olivia's warm breath whispering across her skin. When Olivia turned to plant a line of kisses up the column of her throat, she nearly jumped out of her skin.
"Olivia," she gasped, utterly unprepared for both Olivia's actions, and her own reaction.
"I don--" she hadn't even finished her objection before Olivia captured her mouth in a searing kiss.
It was grief, and confusion, and anger, and frustrated need, and--Damn it!--it was good, and Doris gave in, at first, in spite of herself. But, she knew how it would end. How it would have to end, if she didn't have sense enough to end it herself.
She tried to push her away, but Olivia gave no quarter, intensifying the kiss and sliding a hand over her right breast, and Doris' body betrayed her by arching into the contact, for just a moment, before she managed to find the resolve and the strength to push her away.
"Olivia!" she said as sternly as she could manage, under the circumstances. Olivia had a glazed look in her eyes, and tried to move in for another kiss, but Doris held her back. "No," she said more gently, "Please. Just no."
"That wasn't-- You don't want--" Olivia asked, uncertainly. She seemed to crumple in on herself, and Doris hated that she had had anything to do with making the other woman feel even more insecure.
"Of course it was, and I would be a fool not to want you, but... This isn't about what I want. It's about what you want, and you and I both know that I'm not the one who can give it to you.
"We could do this. We could. But you would just wind up hating yourself for it, and then you'd wind up hating me for my part in it. Your relationship with Natalia might survive the indiscretion, but I'm not sure our friendship would, and I--" she took a deep breath, before admitting, "I need it. I've come to need it. As much as you do. So, I'm asking you not to throw it away. Not for this."
Olivia pulled back slightly, squeezing her eyes shut as a tear escaped to slide down her cheek. "I'm sorry," she whispered, taking a deep breath before looking Doris in the eye. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be." Doris wanted to reach out and wipe the tears from Olivia's face, but that seemed too intimate a gesture, somehow, so she simply reached out to squeeze Olivia's shoulder, reassuringly. "No harm done."
"Really?" Olivia asked, looking genuinely worried. "We're--we're okay?"
"We're fine," she reassured her. "And, honestly, if I didn't know where your heart was..." she took a deep breath, not at all sure she should admit what she was about to admit: "Natalia Rivera would have one hell of a fight on her hands."
When Doris saw how Olivia seemed to deflate at the very mention of Natalia's name, she was sorry she'd said anything.
"Hey," she tried to coax Olivia out of her dark thoughts. "She'll be back. And when she comes back, you can talk to her, and get her to explain. Try to work things out."
"You really think so?"
The spark of hope in Olivia's eyes was wonderful--and painful--to see, and Doris spoke with more conviction than she really felt, when she replied, "I know so."
She wanted to believe that, of course, but, having no more idea about Natalia's reasons for leaving than Olivia did, she couldn't really be sure what frame of mind Natalia would be in when she returned. Or what that would mean for her relationship with Olivia. She hoped that she would come back, prepared to be with Olivia, in every way, and that she would be willing to fight for it. She thought back to Olivia's words at the wedding: 'I want that for her--more than I want her for myself.' She wanted that 'happy ending' for Olivia.
I can be good, and kind, and decent--when I want to be, she thought to herself. But, so help me, if Natalia Rivera comes back here, and is too blind or stupid to see how lucky she is to be loved by Olivia Spencer... Well, then, all bets are off.
Her partly-feigned conviction had the desired effect on Olivia, whose mood seemed to lighten, if only fractionally. Olivia made a half-hearted attempt to wipe the tears from her face, before asking, "Can you-- Is there something you need to get back to?"
"No. When I heard how you sounded on the phone, I had my assistant reschedule the rest of my afternoon appointments, so I'm free."
"So, will you stay?"
"No, I mean " Olivia looked down for a moment, before mumbling, "I don't want to be alone tonight."
It took her a moment to realize Olivia wanted her to stay the night, and when she did, she just shrugged slightly. It would be an odd little sleepover, but at least she would be able to make sure Olivia tried to get some sleep.
"Um, sure. I'll just need to call Ashlee to tell her where I'll be."
Olivia looked worried, for a second. "I promise I won't..."
"Look, Olivia, what happened, happened. It doesn't have to become this weird thing between us, okay?"
"Good." Doris pushed herself up and swung her legs off the bed. "I'm just gonna...call her." She got up, walked over to the sofa, and retrieved her cell phone from her purse. When Ashlee answered, she greeted, "Hi, sweetie. I just wanted to let you know I won't make it home tonight. ... No, not exactly. I'm going to be staying with a friend. She's having-- Yes, I do have friends! ... Does it matter?" She looked over at Olivia, who made a 'go ahead' gesture with one hand. "It's Olivia, okay? She--she's just having kind of a rough time, right now, and-- No. Not physically, no. She just...got some 'news,' and she's taking it hard. ... No, I can't really--I don't want to betray a confidence. She'll be okay. I--I just want to make sure that she eats a little something and gets some rest tonight. ... Okay, I'll tell her. There's a little cash in the drawer of my nightstand, if you need it. ... Okay. Call my cell if you need anything. Love you."
Once she hung up, she looked at Olivia apologetically. "I'm sorry about that."
"Don't be. I wouldn't want you to lie to her on my behalf. But thank you for not...going into detail."
"No problem. She's worried about you."
Olivia bowed her head and muttered, "Well, that makes three of us." She ran a hand through her hair and looked back up at her. "She's a good kid."
"She is," Doris smiled. Thinking about her daughter made her wonder about Olivia's. "Oh, what about Emma?" She walked back over to stand by the side of the bed.
"Good. That's good." Doris leaned over to brush a stray lock of hair behind Olivia's ear, cupping her cheek for a moment, when Olivia seemed to lean into the contact. "She doesn't need to see you like this."
"I know. I know I need to find a way to keep it together, for her sake, but I don't know what I'm gonna tell her about Natalia."
"Just tell her that Natalia went on a trip and that she'll be back."
"I wish I could believe she would."
"Of course, she will. Her life is here; her son is here. You're here."
Olivia flopped back on the bed unceremoniously. "Well, you've got the order right, it seems."
"Hey," Doris tried to coax Olivia out of her despondent state. "Whatever this is, you'll work it out."
Olivia shook her head twice, but said nothing. Doris studied her closely, but her friend seemed calm enough, for now. Her eyes were dry, at least, so she might not burst into tears again. Yet.
"So, have you eaten anything today?"
Olivia's hesitation was all she needed to hear. "Uh-huh. And what am I going to have to do to get you to eat a little something?"
"I don't really have an appetite..."
"That wasn't my question. In fact, it wasn't a question at all. It's obvious you've barely slept, and you haven't eaten, and the last thing either of us needs is for you to get sick. So, I'll just keep bugging you about it until you give in--and you will give in. So, you'd be doing both of us a favor if you just gave in sooner, rather than later, and save us both from having to make the effort to fight about it."
Olivia just stared at her as if she were crazy, for a long moment, but then just sighed, scrubbed a hand across her face, and said, "Order whatever-the-hell you want, Doris, and get enough to share. Charge it to the room."
Doris just smirked at her happily, before plopping down on the bed to call room service and order a couple of burgers with fries.
"I told you I wasn't hungry. You didn't have to order another burger for me. I could've just shared your fries," Olivia groused.
"Oh, you'll eat," Doris poked at her, lightly. "Besides, I don't want you poaching off my plate."
"Whatever," Olivia grumbled, but she was almost grinning, as she said it, so Doris considered it a minor victory.
"So, do you have anything I could borrow to sleep in?"
"Um, yeah." Olivia didn't move, except to gesture at the bureau vaguely. "Third drawer. There's some yoga pants, t-shirts. You should be able to find something that fits."
"Thanks. If I have to sneak out of here in the morning wearing the same clothes, I'd at least prefer that they not look as though I'd slept in them."
"Sneak? Ha! I'm a catch! Being caught leaving my room the morning after could only enhance your rep."
"Yes," Doris smiled in spite of herself, "You are a catch. Just not the kind I'm supposed to be fishing for."
"But the kind you'd prefer to be fishing for."
"Well, yes," Doris admitted, as she bent over to grab a pair of pants with a drawstring waist and the first shirt she could find. She closed the drawer and turned back toward the other woman to find Olivia propped up on one elbow, eyeing her speculatively. She looked as though she wanted to ask something--or several somethings--but she remained silent, so Doris went into the bathroom to change.
When she emerged a few minutes later, Olivia was again lying on her back, staring blankly at the ceiling. Doris studied her closely, for a moment, and she was glad to see no evidence of fresh tears.
She was walking around to the other side of the bed when someone knocked on the door. "Well, that was quick," she uttered under her breath, but she moved eagerly toward the door--already tasting the burger, in her mind--only to have the pleasant anticipation turn to acid in the back of her throat when she saw who was on the other side of the door.
"Where the hell is she, Olivia?"
Olivia pushed herself up into a sitting position, looking almost cowed as she answered him, "I don't know, Rafe."
"What the hell do you mean, you 'don't know?'" Rafe finally spared a glance in Doris' direction, and he stopped short, looking her up and down in a way that made her skin crawl, before turning to look at Olivia in exactly the same way.
"Or is it that you just don't care, anymore? So, what? Have you already moved on?" He gestured vaguely at Doris, while keeping his eyes locked on Olivia. "Is she your latest conquest?"
Olivia just looked back at him, mouth gaping, hurt and disbelief waging a battle for her facial features.
"Oh, grow the hell up, Mr. Rivera!" Doris couldn't keep silent, and decided that she would have to settle for having chosen the most charitable of the many, many things she would have liked to have said to him. "Look at her. Take a good look. Tell me: is that the face of someone who's just had, or is about to have, carefree sex, to you? She is miserable, and, believe it or not, the reason she is miserable is exactly the same reason that you are so damned angry, at the moment.
"Your mother left. Without so much as a word of explanation as to why she was leaving, never mind where. Not to her. Nor to you, apparently. Her own son. So, if you're looking to accuse someone of being faithless, then you're looking in the wrong direction. Because that is not the way to treat people you claim to love."
"Who the hell do you--"
"SHUT.Up," Doris all but shouted, unable to let the ungrateful little bastard off the hook. "If, however, Mr. Rivera, you might one day decide to look for anyone to thank, for--I don't know... Anything. Then you can start--after your mother, of course--with Ms. Spencer. Who do you think it was who helped broker the deal to get you moved to a minimum security facility? It was Olivia, because neither she, nor your mother, could bear to watch you get your ass handed to you on an almost-daily basis by the big boys in maximum security."
"Doris..." Olivia tried again, and Rafe turned back to look at the other woman.
"And who was the first person to offer you a job, when you were released from the halfway house? How dare you look at her as if she were beyond contemptible!"
"DORIS!" Olivia shouted, effectively derailing her rant. She turned to look at a now, seemingly, calmer Olivia, who met her eyes, for a moment, before turning back to look at Rafe.
"Look, Rafe, all I know is that she went away to some religious retreat, apparently. Father Ray wouldn't tell me where, or how long she might be gone. Talk--talk to him. Maybe he'll tell you more."
She rubbed a hand across her face wearily and Rafael Rivera seemed to take the Mayor's advice, because he was looking at Olivia closely, and he actually seemed to be seeing her for the first time since he had burst through the door.
"Oh. Okay," he mumbled, before backing toward the door.
"Just--" Olivia started, then stopped and took a shaky breath. "If you do hear from her, would you just...let me know that she's okay. Or, if you don't want to talk to me, could you at least talk to Emma? Because I don't know how to explain this to her."
Doris wasn't sure Rafe would be perceptive enough to notice, but thinking about Emma had clearly brought Olivia close to tears again. Although, Doris had to admit that the young man was looking a little unsettled, in the face of Olivia's obvious pain. Unless it was only Emma he was worried about.
Rafe just nodded once and spared Doris a brief, almost contrite, glance, before turning to walk out, pulling the door closed behind him.
Doris rounded on Olivia. "Why did you let him get away with speaking to you like that?" She hated the way Olivia almost flinched at the accusation, and she wrapped her arms around herself, trying to get her emotions under control. Olivia really didn't need anyone else piling on, at this point.
Olivia just shrugged, sadly, and swung her legs over the side of the bed to sit on the edge of it. "I--I didn't know what to say to him."
"Well, I hope I gave you some ideas for the next time!" Doris started pacing, trying to expend the energy she would rather have used to track down that little punk, and teach him the importance of treating people with respect--by force, if necessary.
She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts, she didn't even realize Olivia had gotten up until she felt strong hands grasping her shoulders, stilling her forward momentum.
"Hey," Olivia stepped up behind her, close, loosening her grasp into something more like a caress. She moved slightly, trying to get a good look at Doris, questioning, softly, "Hey? You're shaking."
"I'm angry," Doris admitted in a fierce whisper, still unable to let it go. "Why aren't you angry?"
Olivia rubbed her arms, for a moment, before sliding one arm around Doris' waist, pulling their bodies together. "He's her son. What good would it do?"
"It would do you good!" Doris insisted, deciding against pointing out that they were actually talking about two different Riveras. "You don't need to take that kind of crap from him. You don't need to take it from anyone. You deserve better, Olivia."
"It's okay," Olivia soothed, and her friend's warm, solid presence behind her actually did have a calming effect on her. It felt good, being in Olivia's arms. A little too good, really, for something that couldn't lead to anything. Nothing lasting, anyway.
"And, thank you," Olivia continued, pressing a gentle kiss against her temple.
"For what?" Doris hated the breathy quality she couldn't quite keep out of her voice.
"I'm not used to having anyone willing to fight for me. And, when most people try to tell me what they think I deserve, the word 'better' doesn't usually come up. So, thank you."
"Oh. You're welcome," was all Doris could think to say.
Olivia moved from behind her and gently turned her until they were facing each other. Doris was lost, for a moment, in a sea of green, when she met Olivia's eyes.
"Look, I'm sorry. I know I said I wouldn't, but..." Olivia apologized, before leaning down to capture her lips again. It was tender, and passionate, and all-too-brief. It left Doris breathless, and when it ended, she hid her face in the crook of Olivia's neck, unable to meet her eyes. Not until she could get her reactions under control.
"You've really got to stop doing that," she whined, even as she snuggled into Olivia's embrace.
"I know," Olivia croaked.
"No. I mean, really."
"I know," Olivia sighed, rubbing Doris' back. "I know. I just... It's good to feel close to someone."
"Yeah, it is," Doris had to admit. Yes, it was the wrong person, and the wrong time, but it was still all too easy to revel in the sense of warmth and closeness she found in Olivia's arms, and she was no more eager to pull away from the embrace than Olivia seemed to be. It had been too long since she'd had anything like that, with anyone, and she was as vulnerable, in her own way, as Olivia was, right now. They both needed something, or someone. Just not this.
The moment was interrupted by another knock at the door, and Doris groaned, a little, in frustration.
"That's probably your food," Olivia commented, and Doris' hunger pangs came back with a vengeance.
She pulled back a little and poked lightly at Olivia's chest. "Our food. You will eat."
"I--okay." Olivia pulled back reluctantly. "You win. I'll eat...something."
Olivia went back over to the bed and sat down, while Doris went to get the door. This time it was room service, and Olivia watched in amusement as her employee interacted with Doris and looked surreptitiously at the two of them, trying to figure out what was going on. He looked at her nervously, for a moment, when Doris handed him a tip.
She smiled at him. "It's okay, Jimmy. Thank you."
He smiled back at Olivia, mumbling, "You're welcome, Ms. Spencer," before gingerly taking the bill from Doris' hand, thanking her, and backing out of the suite, pulling the door closed on his way out.
Doris looked at her curiously. "Do you have some policy against accepting gratuities?"
"It's a hotel, Doris. Of course not." Olivia smiled at her, "I just make him nervous, in general, think."
"Ah," Doris replied, not at all surprised by that. "Come on, let's eat!"
Doris grabbed one of the plates and settled in on one corner of the couch, watching as Olivia got up, grabbed the other plate, and settled into the opposite corner, facing her. Satisfied that Olivia would make the effort to eat, she happily attacked her burger.
They ate in companionable silence, and much of the sexual tension from earlier seemed to drain away, leaving behind two friends, sharing a meal. And, if one or the other of them stared at the other's lips for a couple seconds too long, on occasion, then neither of them chose to acknowledge it.
To Doris' surprise, Olivia managed to finish off her hamburger, if only a portion of the fries, which was more than she had hoped for, really. When they had finished, she cleaned up the mess and wheeled the cart back out into the hallway, so they wouldn't be disturbed again.
Olivia looked to be a little more stable, emotionally, but she was clearly exhausted, blinking as though she were fighting to stay awake. It was nowhere near time for bed, but Doris managed to convince Olivia to go lie down. Olivia complied, but looked at her plaintively, until Doris gave in and climbed onto the bed beside her.
Olivia rose up on one elbow, looking down at her, eyes begging for more, but saying nothing.
Doris knew she probably shouldn't, for her own sake, but the need in Olivia's eyes was more than she could bear, so she just muttered, "C'mere," softly, and slid an arm across Olivia's back as her friend lay against her side.
Olivia snuggled into Doris' body, sliding an arm across her waist and resting her head on Doris' chest. Once settled, Olivia sighed contentedly, and Doris resisted the urge to sigh in response. She could get used to this. She shouldn't get used to this, but she definitely could.
Olivia turned her head, slightly, to place a gentle kiss against her chest, and Doris admonished her to, "Behave, Olivia."
"Okay, sorry. I know," Olivia apologized. "Just...thank you."
"We're friends, Olivia," Doris sighed, suppressing the inner voice that said they were a little more than that, now. "You don't have to thank me for being your friend."
"Yeah," Olivia replied, her words already beginning to slur a little, as she slid towards sleep, "I kinda do."
Doris just rubbed her back soothingly and told her to, "Get some rest."
Doris hadn't been tired--not at all--but it wasn't long after Olivia's breathing had become regular and even, that her own eyes started feeling heavy. She gave in, closed her eyes, and let herself believe, for just a moment, that this was something she and Olivia both could have. If not together, then with other people. The right people.
It was her last coherent thought before sleep claimed her.
Return to Guiding Light Fiction
Return to Main Page