DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For The Holy Innocent and Cabenson. I managed to combine yours into one. Ain't I smart, Ma? Btw, Olivia says thanks for the drinks. ;) These three vignettes are all from actual events in episodes. I: Dinner with Decker, Nov. 2008. II: My Two Mommies, Jan. 2009. III: Aftermath of My Two Mommies, Feb. 2009.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Three Times Olivia Really Needed a Martini,
or Three Times Olivia Realized She Was Falling in Love with Natalia
The whole night had the makings of one of the biggest cluster-fucks of the century.
It wasn't bad enough that every time she tried to stand, the planet chose to twirl, curtsy, or promenade in its freakin' barn dance with the universe, sending her reeling, barely able to keep her balance. No. She had to have Decker and the Xiaos parked in the living room of Cassie's quaint little farmhouse, waiting for a home cooked meal, a friggin' meal that wasn't supposed to be until tomorrow.
Fuck, she needed a drink.
She was running out of small talk, she'd forced her kid into doing parlor tricks like some sort of trained monkey, and she had no doubt that Natalia was doing a pretty damn good impression of "Maiden Having Fit of Vapors" in the kitchen. If she was even still there. The look of utter and complete panic on Natalia's face as she'd ordered up five martinis would have been priceless if her whole fucking career with Galaxy weren't riding on this.
If Natalia had any brains at all, she wouldn't have let the door hit her on the ass as she made a run for it. And to be honest, part of Olivia wouldn't blame her. Of course, the rest of her would hunt the brunette down and show her exactly why, in graphic detail, she was known as 'Olivia "Freakin'" Spencer'. Among other, choice sobriquets.
Thank God, spelling wasn't one of Emma's best subjects, she thought, as she watched her daughter struggle to get the right letters out. M-A-R-T-I-N-I. And what kind of mother was she, offering up her kid as the before dinner entertainment? Damn. Sometimes she was fairly certain that the universe just liked fucking with her.
And she needed a fucking drink.
Then, as if preordained by God himself, the sky opened up and the angels sang and Natalia appeared with a tray of martinis in canning jars, the best frigging martinis she'd ever tasted, announcing that dinner would be ready soon. Natalia, looking beautiful, a little flushed from exertion, a faint coloring of pink on her cheeks. Natalia, smiling charmingly and complimenting Mr. and Mrs. Xiao on their hotels. Natalia, serving up the perfect, simple, delectable meal. Natalia, saving the day and Olivia's ass. Again.
With Decker and the Xiaos finally gone, Olivia sank down on the sofa, energy depleted and eyes slipping shut as the wave of relief washed over her.
"If I'm this tired, you must be exhausted," she said to Natalia with a slightly worn out grin.
Gazing at Natalia's answering smile, Olivia knew that it must feel like to run headlong into a glass door: stunned at the impact, but more than that, surprised to find that she hadn't seen what was right there in front of her. She let the feeling sink down inside her, like the sensation of having swallowed a particularly large, slightly bitter pill. She took in steadying sips of air as the effects of it slipped like an unusually virulent poison through her veins.
As she watched Natalia head in to finish cleaning up the kitchen, Olivia realized three things: One, she was so tired she could barely lift her head off the back of the couch.
Two, moments of epiphany really sucked, because she had no fucking idea what to do with the sudden shift in her feelings, the dizzying sense that, while she couldn't put a name to it, what she was feeling for Natalia no longer qualified as just friendly.
And three, she really needed a martini.
Hell, who was she kidding? She needed a fucking pitcher of them.
No skimping on the olives.
"Then...then...why did you kiss me like that?" Natalia's normally even tones were decidedly uneven, her finger pointing accusingly in Olivia's direction.
God damn it.
She was royally screwed. The lingering traces of alcohol slowed her brain. At least she tried to tell herself that was the reason it took her seconds longer than necessary to come up with an explanation that wouldn't send this whole thing spiraling off like an out of control Frisbee.
The phone. Her phone was ringing. Oh, thank God. Someone up there likes me. A little?
"You gonna get that?"
"It's not Rafe." Natalia stated dismissively, returning the phone to her purse.
Nice, Olivia thought. Apparently God just likes screwing with me, too.
"Well, say something." Why, oh, why can I not just shut up when I'm ahead, Olivia thought, even as the words left her lips.
"I did. I asked you why you kissed me like that," Natalia responded, her adamant demand and the terrified look in her eyes clearly at odds as to whether she really wanted the answer to that loaded question.
"You...you ever hear the expression 'actions speak louder than words'? Natalia, I kissed you because you have to be the most naive person on the planet," Olivia explained, swinging the issue back around to Natalia's absolute cluelessness about Emma's essay and the resulting train wreck.
When up against a wall, attack. It was a lesson Olivia had learned years ago. After all, the best defense is a good offense, right?
Because she was in definite need of a defense. Not for actually kissing her. She could talk her way out of that. Could convince Natalia of the pedantic motives for her little demonstration. Mainly because it was such an aberration, but also because Natalia wanted to believe her. Wanted to believe that it was just another instance of Olivia being Olivia. Over the top. Brash. Impatient.
Olivia could see the look of shock, the tremor in Natalia's voice, the wide-eyed scrambling to somehow put the whole thing in perspective. To rationalize it to the point that having her best friend and roommate grab her and kiss her in the middle of their living room made perfect sense.
That wasn't what she needed a defense against.
She needed a defense against the kiss itself. Against the warm rush of heat through her body. Against the tingling she could still feel, arching along the vertebrae of her spine. Against the taste of Natalia's lips under her own, a taste that eclipsed the lingering traces of vodka and vermouth. A taste that left her longing with a startling intensity for another sip. And another.
Fuck, she needed to kiss her again.
Or she needed another martini.
She was pretty certain which one she was going to have to settle for.
Coming down the stairs from tucking her daughter into bed, Olivia felt the chill of an empty house. She dropped, boneless and exhausted, onto the couch, pulling one of the throw pillows across her chest, hugging it tightly.
Okay, she could admit that this afternoon wasn't her finest moment. Well, probably not even in her top five.
She just couldn't seem to help herself sometimes. It was like she had some bizarre form of Tourette's. Instead of cursing, she taunted, used her well-armed arsenal of biting remarks and sarcasm to reduce the enemies to stuttering troglodytes. Gave in to every unkind instinct, lashing out with unerring accuracy. Leveling everything in her path.
Unfortunately, there was always some collateral damage.
The younger woman had fled, her face a pale mask of anger and disappointment. Fled to Frank. To safety and blandness and a guarantee of normalcy.
And she couldn't quite blame her. After all, she'd pushed them together as her first fears and doubts had slithered into her mind, long before they'd moved here. Before Christmas. Before Emma's essay.
She'd really had no idea that Natalia would get so upset by her little display for those two unenlightened PTA moms. The fact that her own motives in doing so were more than a bit ambiguous had nothing to do with it. Nor did the fact that the words that had spilled effortlessly from her mouth had done so because they were the truth.
Olivia was happier than she had ever been. Natalia was a wonderful mother. She was a really great cook. She was a hottie.
Okay, that was probably something she needed to stop herself from thinking. Like, immediately. Before that thought went any further. Before it made a beeline for other thoughts she didn't need to have. Thoughts about the dense fall of Natalia's hair around her face. About the subtle, rounded curves of that face, the fullness of lips.
About other curves, curves that Olivia had felt under her hand as it lay along Natalia's waist. Curves that had melded perfectly into her own as she held the other woman close to her side. Curves that she hadn't been able to stop herself from noticing every time she looked at the brunette.
She needed to figure out some way to fix this situation. Some way to stop her latest bout of logorrhea before she managed to ruin something precious. Something that had turned her life into something infinitely warm and loving and content. Something that she had begun to realize she couldn't live without.
If there was anything that Olivia Spencer was good at, it was assessing a problem and coming up with a solution. She knew exactly what the problem was: she had somehow, quite inadvertently, fallen in love with her best friend. A best friend who came with more religious baggage than the last meeting of the Vatican College. A best friend who loved her daughter as much as she did. A best friend who had, literally, saved her life.
Olivia had never had a best friend. Hell, she hadn't had many friends at all. But even so, she was rather clear on the whole "thou shalt not fall in love with your best friend" proscription. There was no way that it wouldn't just end up being messy and strained and heartbreaking.
There was no way it could end well.
And then she'd lose all this. The farmhouse. The banana pancakes. The Friday movie nights. Emma's other mommy. Everything.
Everything that mattered to her.
Forcing her legs to move, Olivia walked slowly into the kitchen, crossing to the high cabinet where they kept the liquor. She needed a drink. Badly. Needed several, in fact. Pulling down the slender bottle of Grey Goose and the green-tinged bottle of Vermouth, she crossed to the counter, grabbing a random glass from the shelf. At times like these, substance definitely outweighed form.
Ice. Vodka. Vermouth. Olives.
Heat and cold spreading through her chest.
Ice. Vodka. Vermouth. Olives.
Lassitude and calm settling into her bones.
Ice. Vodka. Vermouth.
Numbness and drowsiness.
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