DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Olivia was unbuttoning her blouse when her cell phone rang. She frowned a bit, when she saw that Natalia was calling her, but smiled as she brought the phone to her ear.
"What's up?" There was only silence on the other end and the frown immediately returned to her features. "Natalia?"
"Wastodayourfirstdate?" It took Olivia a few seconds to decipher Natalia's rush of words, but when she did, her smile was brilliant.
"You think I let my daughter set me up and accompany me on dates?" She heard Natalia take a deep breath. The other woman had only left a few minutes ago and she couldn't have gotten far. "Where are you?"
"Could you come back here for a second? I need to ask you something."
"You're talking to me now."
"This is really more of a face-to-face kinda question."
"Okay." Olivia chuckled, when the other woman ended their call. She quickly rebuttoned her top and tried to order her thoughts. She frowned slightly, when there was a knock on her door, but Natalia didn't come in. There was a time, when neither of them would have waited for an invitation. "Come in." She heard the beep of the key card opening the lock and then Natalia was back in her room. "Hey."
"Hey there. Again."
They just smiled at each other for a few seconds and it took a questioning look from Natalia, for Olivia to remember that she'd asked the other woman to come back. She walked closer to Natalia, taking her hands in a gesture that was so familiar between them. She watched her thumbs moving over the smooth flesh and just enjoyed the fact that she didn't have to hide her feelings while she did it. "You were wondering if this was our first date." Natalia smiled at her nervously. "It wasn't." She pulled Natalia closer by her hands. "It was merely one stop on our road back to normal." She looked directly into Natalia's eyes as the silence between them thickened.
"You said you wanted to ask me something." Natalia's voice had a breathless quality to it that Olivia had never heard before. It was doing things to her.
"Yeah." Olivia barely recognized her own voice. She had to close her eyes to gather her thoughts. She cleared her throat. "Would you like to go out on a date with me?"
Natalia's answer was simple and came quickly. "Good." Olivia took a deep breath. "Good." She hadn't known how nervous she was until that moment. "Then we'll go out." Tension was thick between them and Olivia had to do something. "I'll have to discuss the when and where with my assistant, but she'll give you a call."
Natalia freed one of her hands to hit Olivia's shoulder. "You wouldn't." Natalia's smile was wide and the twinkle in her eyes was something Olivia had needed to see for the longest time.
"What? Ask my assistant to arrange my dates? No, I wouldn't." She recaptured Natalia's hand. "Even though if I had my will, any decisions about my dates would have to go through you." And just like that, the tension between them returned tenfold.
"I know you said that we need to go back to a place where we can be ourselves again. I understand that and I need that too. I need to know that I can be who I am with you and that you can do the same with me." She brought Natalia's hands to her lips and kissed her knuckles. "I've hidden myself from you. Since I became aware of my feelings for you, I've been modifying my behavior in ways that I never had before." She brushed some hair off Natalia's face. "I know you said we should take some time and we will. I think we should wait before we go on that date. Just a little while." Olivia thought she might cry when Natalia caught her hand and pressed it against her cheek. "I'm just not sure if I can go back to just 'normal'. I think normal might need a little update." Before Natalia could ask what she meant, Olivia pressed her lips quickly against Natalia's. She barely gave Natalia enough time to respond and when she did, Olivia quickly took a step back, before she lost control. "Okay." She cleared her throat. "That was yeah." She had somehow lost her train of thought.
"Yeah." Natalia was smiling. "I think I know what you're saying." She stepped towards Olivia and hugged her fiercely. "I guess it's pretty clear that we both know where we're going and that we'll get there by putting one foot in front of the other, carefully and slowly."
Olivia leaned back. "And together."
For a minute they just stood in front of each other, enjoying the forces around and inside them that were pulling them together. "I should go." Natalia made no move to actually leave and it told Olivia more than any declarations would have. With a smile she separated from Natalia, the distance between them left her cold, but the anticipation of the progression of their path warmed her from within.
"Go home, Natalia. I'll see you tomorrow morning. Emma only has to leave at ten, because they're going to Natural History Museum. She'll be home from her sleep-over by nine. You could come in and say goodbye before she goes to school. She'd like that. I'd like that."
"I could bring something special for her lunch box."
"Just like before."
"Yeah." Both were thinking of hectic mornings at the farmhouse and mad dashes up and down the stairs to find a missing book or hat. Natalia picked up her purse from the floor by the door. Olivia hadn't even realized that the other woman had left it there. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow then." The plan for their next meeting had apparently given Natalia enough strength to tear herself away. Olivia was glad, because she was just a few moments away from just grabbing Natalia and demanding that she stay the night. She had a feeling that that wouldn't go over well.
"Goodnight Natalia." She watched as Natalia smiled with uncertainty. "Go home. I'll see you in a few hours." Natalia nodded.
"Goodnight Olivia." After the door clicked shut Olivia let herself fall on the bed behind her. She felt like all energy had drained out of her and had left her with a pleasant exhaustion that she felt deep in her bones. She hadn't been sleeping well, but as her mind replayed random scenes from her evening with Natalia, sleep almost came easily.
Her dreams for the first time in a long time were of a happy future.
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