DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Sixth part of The Script Series.
Talk You Down
They both speak at the same time and it's Natalia who blushes and looks away first. It's like a first date, with all the awkward stop and starts and their hearts racing and their palms sweating.
Except, now that Olivia has seen Natalia and her farmhouse and Frank driving away with a smile on his face, she knows she can't do it anymore.
"I'm not marrying Frank "
"You should marry Frank "
Their sentences overlap, each of them stopping at the word "Frank" but Natalia heard her, and she heard Natalia.
"Not this again," Natalia groans. "I told you. I told you! I'm not marrying him, because I "
But Olivia won't let her say it. She doesn't want to hear it.
It'll break her so hard she won't know how to even begin to think about putting the pieces back together.
Natalia can do that to her.
And it scares her down to the very core, cuts through all her defense, makes her want to run away forever and never come back.
"I want you to marry Frank," she says, lying through her teeth.
"No you don't." Natalia's voice is filled with desperation, but her eyes are hard and set.
"It's what's right, Natalia. It's right for you, and for Rafe and for Frank. Just get married to him, okay?" Her mind flashes back to Phillip locked away in a jail cell, when he told her "I'm okay with it," and to when Jeffery leaned across the bar and repeated her own words: "She makes you happy."
Olivia just wants to make Natalia happy.
"What the hell is wrong with you? How many times do I have to say this for you to understand? I. Don't. Want to. Marry. Frank." Natalia's steps away from her now; she could reach out and touch the younger woman's face if she wanted to.
"I love you, Olivia Spencer, and God knows why, but I do."
"See! See? God. You can't love me, because of your God. Because it's not right. I know, it's not right!" She's vaguely aware that she's screaming at the top of her lungs; that Rafe is probably inside and he's figured everything out by now.
Don't you see Natalia, her inner voice says sadly. Don't you see that this is for your own good? That I could only ever hurt you and cause you pain and we would be miserable? Don't you get that marrying Frank is what'll make you happy in the end?
"Stop. Stop it right now. Don't bring God into this Olivia Spencer."
"But he is. He's part of this, this nonsense we've convinced ourselves we're in."
Natalia's eyes are flashing, but in the dim, waning light of the late afternoon, Olivia can tell that they're flashing tears instead of fire, and it spurs her on.
If she's going to do this, she needs to cut all the ties she's managed to build; she needs to break the two of them down into nothing into what they were before, back to where Natalia stood in her doorway and said "I hate you." She needs that back if she's going to do this.
If she does something, it doesn't just happen: it happens big.
"This is all just one big misunderstanding, you know? I mean, we were all the other had for a while, and, and, and, have you ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome?" She's joking now, being sarcastic, and trying to make a joke of it.
Natalia is crying now, tears streaming.
But Olivia Spencer does things big.
"I think, you know, that since you were pretty much holding me hostage in that hotel room, and then at the farmhouse, it just, we became friends sort of "
"Sort of?" Natalia whispers fiercely.
Olivia ignores her. "And you were practically raising Emma, and it just made sense, alright? It made sense that I would develop these, these feelings. Phantom feelings, because I couldn't go out and find someone else, you know?"
Natalia doesn't know; Olivia can see that much.
"I wanted to apologize for you getting mixed up in that, and "
"Shut up Olivia."
But she's on a roll, every hurtful word planned out in her mind like a road map with a red line from Point A to Point B and she has to do is start the car and make the appropriate turns.
"I just wanted to make sure that you knew the right thing to do, which is, by the way, to marry Frank. Because he can give you the world, on a silver fucking platter, alright? So, go marry him, alright? Because I don't, I, I don't ."
But she can't actually bring herself to say it. She can't tell Natalia she doesn't love her, because the words won't fly from her throat and instead, they settle in her stomach like a heavy weight, dragging her to her knees and leaving her there.
"I don't, I " she tries again, but she can't.
Natalia can't feel anything right now her entire body is cold and numb, and yet, her heart keeps beating and her ears keep hearing Olivia breaking it.
Her heart is breaking.
"Stop it," she pleads, acutely aware that she's pleading, begging and the only other thing to make her more pathetic is to drop to her knees and clutch Olivia's hands in her own.
If it comes to it, she'll do it.
But Olivia keeps it up, keeps spewing trash and twisting reality.
"This," she says, gesturing between the two of them so furiously that she has to take a step back to avoid being swatted with Olivia's hand. "This is a serious, grave, misunderstanding and it got out of hand, because we were, I don't know, lonely. Yeah," Olivia nods, as if she's figured everything out and Natalia feels another chunk of her heart drop. "Yeah, we were lonely and raising a child together and it all got hectic and confusing and we imagined something was there."
Olivia takes a breath. "But we were wrong."
"Wrong?" Natalia manages to sputter.
"Wrong," Olivia emphasizes. "I mean, who the hell were we kidding anyway? You and me? It's a match made in hell. We make each other miserable and we fight over just about anything and that's not people in love, that's mortal
"Olivia Spencer, just shut your goddamn mouth for one second."
Olivia's jaw snaps shut, but she tries not to give her surprise away in her eyes. It's too late though, because Natalia knows everything. She knows every facial tick, she knows the meaning behind every sigh, she knows that Olivia's coffee is cream but no sugar, she knows that every time Olivia walks into a room, an angel swoons.
"You do not get to tell me that what we had, what we have, is wrong and confused and misconstrued."
Olivia snorts. "What exactly do we have, Natalia? A shared living experience for a couple of months, a Christmas and a more fights than either of us can remember?"
"No," she forces out, her teeth clenched so that she can stop herself from shaking. "We had a family and a life and a daughter and a future. And you're going to just throw that away? Well, I won't let you."
And so help her God, if Olivia snorts one more time, she's going to scream. But the other woman does it anyway. "A future? Yeah, okay Natalia. Here's our future."
Here is where Olivia breaks her heart; Natalia can feel it in her bones.
"Your son gets out of prison for good," Olivia continues. "But he can't get a job, because he's a convicted felon so he'll be miserable because of that. Then, he'll be miserable because he doesn't get a father, instead, he gets Olivia Spencer, who took his real father away from him and started this mess in the first place. And Emma, poor little naïve Emma, is going to lose all her friends at school, because no one wants their kids to play with the girl who has two mommies anyway, and she'll be confused and angry and as she grows up, she'll realize it's all our fault and she'll hate us for it."
Olivia takes a breath, but before Natalia can jump in not that she knows what she'll say, because Olivia sort of maybe kind of has a point the other woman is going again.
"And you and I, because our kids mean so damn much to us, we're going to be spiteful towards each other, and angry at ourselves, and moody and touchy and we're going to end up doing nothing but arguing. And we're going to end up going our separate ways."
"Really, we're just avoiding the inevitable," Olivia says so matter-of-factly.
"Oh yeah?" She feels her temperature rise a hundred degrees and she knows her entire body is on fire in anger. "And what if none that happens? What if I raised Rafe differently than that, and what if Emma is strong enough to handle it, and what if our kids love us for the rest of our lives? And what if we argue, but we still love each anyway?" She takes a shuddering breath. "What if this works?" she asks desperately.
"It will," Natalia insists. "Because I love you, Olivia Spencer. And I will never love anyone else the way I love you."
Olivia stares at her and Natalia waits with baited breath, hoping that it's enough for Olivia her love.
"You love me?" Olivia finally asks, but it's not a question in wonder or awe, it's sad and defeated.
Natalia finds herself nodding anyway.
"If, if you love me," Olivia starts to say. "If you love me, you'll marry Frank," she finishes in a whisper.
"Olivia, please " she begs.
"Marry Frank," Olivia whispers again, closing the distance between them, pressing her lips against Natalia's forehead reverently. She can feel Olivia's lips trace the line of face and before she even understands what she's doing, her lips are finding the corner of Olivia's own, capturing them completely.
She kissed Frank once, slept with him, to make him feel better, but this isn't the same thing this is different.
She's kissing Olivia because she loves her; because there is no one else in the world she'd rather be with than Olivia.
And all too soon, Olivia is pulling back, wiping her mouth on the back of her hand, and turning on her heel.
"Olivia!" The other woman turns around, her eyes filled to the brim and overflowing with tears, her mouth set in a hard line.
"Please," she whispers so lightly that Natalia almost doesn't hear her. "Please marry Frank."
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