DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Striking it Lucky
"Why did I let you talk me into this again?"
Olivia glanced up at Doris who was holding a pair of bowling shoes by the laces as if they were radioactive. "Because," she said, smirking, "Blake is going to be here. You're still trying to get into her pants, right?"
Doris flushed a shade of scarlet rarely seen in nature. "You have to make everything crude, don't you?"
"It's my specialty."
Doris bit her lip, still holding the shoes out at arm's length. "Does she know I'm coming? I mean...you're not plotting some horrible blind date or something are you?"
Olivia rolled her eyes, then smiled when she spotted Natalia coming through the front entrance with Emma, Blake and Clarissa in tow. "No plotting required," she said blandly. "As soon as Blake heard you were coming she practically jumped at the chance."
"Really?" The shy hope in Doris's eyes tugged at Olivia's heartstrings, but she wasn't about to let that show. Not when there was still so much fun to be had at the Mayor's expense.
"Really," Olivia confirmed. "She seems really eager to spend time with you. Frankly, I think all that time in a coma a few years back must have addled her brain."
The arrival of the four other members of the group forestalled Doris's caustic response. Olivia greeted Natalia with a kiss while Blake pushed her hair behind her ears and smiled shyly. "Hey Doris," she said. "How are you?"
"I'm good Blake...uh...you?"
"I'm feeling pretty good right now...thanks."
Natalia and Olivia's eyes met. Warm brown bore into mischievous green, and a silent conversation passed between them in the ten seconds it took Emma and Clarissa to decide that two teams of three would play against each other, with the losers buying the winners dinner as a forfeit.
Be nice, Natalia's eyes said.
Who, me? Olivia's replied. I'm always nice.
And I'm Mother Theresa.
You act like her.
Fine! I'll be good.
"So," Olivia said, tearing her eyes from Natalia's with an effort. "It'll be me, Natalia and Emma against Doris, Blake and Clarissa. Everyone okay with that?"
Blake glanced up at Doris with a small, enigmatic smile gracing her lips. "Very okay," she purred. Olivia opened her mouth to say something in reply, but then caught Natalia's eyes, correctly interpreted that she was treading on thin ice, and closed it again.
Doris watched Olivia and Natalia leading the way to their lane hand in hand, and thrust her own hands into her jeans pockets to control the sudden urge washing through her to reach out for Blake. "I...uh...have to change my shoes," she said, gesturing to her sneaker-clad feet. "I'll catch up to you."
Blake hesitated very briefly, then nodded. "Don't take too long..."
Doris swallowed hard, taking the opportunity to watch Blake's ass as she walked away. She thought she heard a muffled snort, and looked up just in time to see Natalia smacking Olivia's arm and quietly admonishing her as Blake and Clarissa joined them. Blushing, Doris turned her attention to the sweaty bowling shoes that were, apparently, required for this little ritual.
"When I think of the fungus that must be in these things," she mumbled to herself, fumbling with the laces. "The things we do for...well, not love exactly."
Her relationship with Blake was hard to define. True, they had both been frequent visitors to the farmhouse since Olivia and Natalia had re-united, and true, they had become friends based on their shared affection for Springfield's hottest 'label-free' couple. But it was more than that, and Doris suspected they both knew it.
But suspicions could be nothing more than wishful thinking, and she was damned if she was going to put her heart not to mention her reputation on the line with such insubstantial foundations.
"If I catch some horrible disease from these shoes I'm going to sue," Doris grumbled when she eventually joined the group.
"Oh stop being such a drama queen," Olivia shot back. "You act like you've never bowled before."
A dark flush rose up on Doris's cheeks. "Well..."
Clarissa gaped. "Oh man, we're gonna lose, aren't we?"
Olivia laughed uproariously, ignoring Natalia's pointed looks. "Looks like Team Farmhouse Faction is going to score a win today," she crowed, giving a beaming Emma a quick high five.
"Don't worry, I'll show you the ropes," Blake murmured, sliding up beside Doris and running what was supposed to be a comforting hand down her arm. Doris suppressed a shudder. "And Team Wolfe Pack'll give you a run for your money, don't worry about that!"
"Wolfe Pack?" Doris repeated slowly.
Blake smiled. "Come on, you need to choose a ball." The redhead led the Mayor over to a shining array of multi-coloured bowling balls. Doris picked up each in turn before finally selecting a bright pink ball in the second lowest weight category. "Okay," Blake said with a grin. "So...you just put your fingers in the holes..."
"She's used to that," Olivia said, earning a hard swat on the arm from Natalia and a glare from Blake. "Hey, what did I say?"
"And then roll the ball towards the pins," Blake continued, as if Olivia hadn't spoken.
"Okay," Doris exhaled. "Let me at it..."
"Beginner's luck," Olivia grumbled as she slapped her credit card down onto the table at Company. The waitress took it away, correctly assuming that she didn't want to be involved in the conversation that was sure to follow.
"Sore loser," Blake and Doris shot back in chorus.
A wicked smile spread across Olivia's face. "Aww, look at you two so in synch. I wonder what else you do simultaneously- hey!" She broke off to rub her arm where Natalia had smacked her. "I'm getting a little sick of this domestic abuse kick you have going on these days."
Natalia grinned. "That's not what you called it last night," she whispered, and Olivia flushed crimson.
"Rivera one, Spencer nil," Doris said, impressed. Olivia flashed her a sour look.
"And don't you ever forget it," Natalia added, but smiled softly at her girlfriend and kissed her cheek to soothe her ruffled feathers.
"You see, she thinks she can just flash those dimples and get away with anything," Olivia muttered.
"That's because I can," Natalia retorted, and this time reached up to push a lock of hair behind Olivia's ear and peck her gently on the lips.
Doris chanced a look at Blake who was looking at their two friends with something of a gooey look on her face. Suddenly Blake turned and caught her looking. Doris's breath caught, but she didn't look away. Slowly Blake began to smile.
"Mom, can I have a sleepover with Clarissa and Maureen?" Emma called loudly from across the restaurant.
Olivia pulled herself away from Natalia to glance across at the table her daughter and Clarissa had rushed to as soon as they'd entered the restaurant. She met Matt's eyes and smiled when he shrugged magnanimously. "Okay, sweetie," she said. "But don't yell indoors, okay?"
"Okay!" Emma yelled excitedly, and Olivia rolled her eyes.
"Definitely your daughter," Natalia murmured.
"How come she's our daughter when she's sweet and lovely and my daughter when she's being a brat?"
"You can ask me questions like that or you can take me home," Natalia replied, smiling sweetly. "You know...home to our quiet, secluded, and more importantly empty for the first time in weeks farmhouse."
Doris was sure she could actually see Olivia's pupils dilate. "Well, it's been fun, you can find your own way home Blake, right? See ya."
Somehow Olivia managed to recover her credit card, tip the waitress exorbitantly, help Natalia into her coat and slip on her own, all in the space of about fifteen seconds.
"Bye..." Natalia called over her shoulder as Olivia grabbed her hand and all but dragged her from the restaurant, but it was abundantly clear that her mind had checked out and was hurrying off to the same happy place as Olivia's.
Blake smiled tolerantly at their retreating backs. "So, Clarissa and I came in Natalia's car," she said.
Doris blinked once, then twice. "Oh," she said at last, finally catching on. "You want a ride home?"
Doris pulled up outside Blake's house ten minutes later with the unmistakeable sensation of butterflies doing aerial trickery in her stomach. "You coming in?" Blake asked.
Doris shook her head. "Uh...no...thanks, I mean...uh...early meeting tomorrow, you know?" She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel nervously.
Blake shook her head indulgently. "You know...this is kinda cute," she said softly, leaning over, grabbing Doris's right hand and pulling it into her lap. "But I've decided that if I wait for you to make the first move we'll be U-Hauling to a retirement home..."
"Huh?" Doris murmured, turning her head to face Blake's gentle smile. "What are you-mmph..."
The last of her question was cut off by the sensation of Blake's lips capturing hers and kissing her, sweetly and briefly. Doris leaned forward instinctively when Blake pulled back, a whimper escaping her throat. Blake grinned.
"Maybe next time we go on a date we can manage without the chaperones, hmm?" she whispered. Doris just blinked like the proverbial deer in the equally proverbial headlights and Blake laughed and kissed her again. "Goodnight, Doris."
For a few moments, Doris remained stunned. When she recovered her senses she quickly wound down the window and called after the redhead who had just made it to her door. "Date?" she said. "This was a date?"
Blake flashed an affectionate glance over her shoulder. "Of course it was, dummy."
"Oh..." Doris murmured. "Uhm...do you want to maybe...go out to dinner?" she asked. "Without the chaperones," she hastened to add.
Blake smiled. "I'd love to. Saturday? Seven?"
"Okay. I'll...I'll pick you up."
Blake blew her a kiss. "Perfect," she said, and then disappeared into her house.
Doris sat in her car staring at the door for several long minutes might, indeed, have gone on staring for some considerable time longer if she hadn't been distracted by the chime of her cellphone text alert.
So, did you get lucky after we left?
Doris rolled her eyes. Olivia, of course. Quickly, she tapped out a reply.
You know what, I think I did. Now to use my mayor muscle to get reservations at Luigi's for Saturday on this short notice...
Doris smiled as she tossed her phone back into her purse and put the car into drive. Maybe Olivia and Natalia could be persuaded to let Clarissa sleep over on Saturday...
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