DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: First part of The Script Series.
She doesn't know it, but Natalia is somewhere else probably the farmhouse crying too.
She's sitting in her room at the Beacon because she moved out this morning before the wedding, and she's crying, the tears running shamelessly down her face and off her chin, hitting the ground silently. Emma is in the next room, so she's barricaded against the bathroom door, on the floor, with her knees up against her chest, like if she stays that way, she can't fall apart.
Her daughter knocks and Olivia physically recoils at the harsh sound of knuckles against the hardwood.
She takes a deep breath and tries to calm her racing heart. "Yeah baby?"
"When are we going to the wedding?"
"Uh, we'll, we'll get ready soon, alright Jellybean?" She waits as Emma thinks it over and she can hear the little girl smile through the door.
"Okay. Can I call Natalia?"
Olivia takes a shuddering breath. "Sure, go ahead."
She takes another deep breath and wonders how it ended up this way; how she screwed everything up by pushing Frank and Natalia together; how this is all her own fault.
She only has herself to blame.
She's the one who had Frank waiting at the house with all of Natalia's favorites when it should have been her standing in the candlelight, sheepishly prideful smile in place. She should have been the one to say "You've had a hard day, and I wanted to do something special for you." It should have been her.
But she knows: she's not even remotely good enough for Natalia.
She highly doubts Frankie is either, but he's closer to perfection than she'll ever be.
"If I ever get the chance to fall in love again," she had told Harley. "I'll do the opposite of everything I've ever done."
The Old Olivia Spencer would have grappled for what she wanted; she would have dug her claws into Natalia and never let her go and anyone stupid enough to try and stop her would end up in the dust, with a heel imprinted on their forehead because that's what you get for trying to take something from Olivia Freaking Spencer.
But the New Olivia Spencer just gives sheltered glances and smiles in pain and pushes Natalia into someone else's waiting arms. The New Olivia Spencer sits back and takes hit after hit to the heart, ignoring the pulling feeling in her chest that she's sure means her heart is breaking, once and for all.
Natalia Rivera, eternally and hopelessly Saint Natalia, has managed to reduce her to the kind of woman who locks herself in the bathroom and cries herself to sleep.
Natalia did that to her, with her sugary sweet smile and her prayers and her 'happy-go-lucky' attitude that frustrates her to no end. Natalia.
"Mommy, is it time to leave?"
She wants to say "no." She wants to say "baby, we're going to the farmhouse, right now." She wants to say "I love Natalia and we need to go tell her." She wants to say "don't you dare put on that flower girl's dress, because I'm going to stop this wedding."
But she can't.
She can't say any of those things, because Emma won't understand. Natalia won't understand.
Because Natalia didn't see it before, in her eyes, every time she looked at the younger woman.
Natalia never saw it because she didn't want to.
She lets her head fall back against the door, ignoring the dull ache that accompanies it. "Yeah, baby, put your dress on and Mommy will be out in a minute." She stands and braces her hands on the edge of the sink, staring at her reflection in the mirror: at the dull eyes and the sunken cheeks and the water tracks down her pale skin.
"God I look like shit," she breathes out. She tries to stand a little straighter and breathing becomes a little easier.
She's got a wedding to get to, but she's got to make a stop first.
She doesn't know it, but Olivia is crying too.
Rafe is in the kitchen, making enough noise to wake even the deepest sleeper even Olivia wouldn't be able to sleep through his ruckus.
The thought of Olivia makes her tears come a little harder and hotter.
She's supposed to be getting married today, to a wonderful man who's done everything right.
And maybe that's part of her problem.
He's done everything right. Sure, he pushed the wedding thing a little too much, but he's shown her nothing but devotion and love and that's why she needs to marry him.
She's going to ignore how he makes her feel passionless; going to ignore how the spark inside of her heart is dying off quickly every time he just agrees with her. She's going to ignore how he never yells, how he treats her like she's some tiny, fragile being; ignore how Olivia never did that to her, just expected her to grow thicker skin.
She knows that the most her and Frank will ever argue about is whether to serve corn or peas with dinner when guests come over.
With Olivia, there are so many opportunities to create an argument she can't even venture a guess as to what they won't fight over.
And it makes her feel alive.
Alive and loved.
Frank is a good man, but he's got no spirit, no passion, no dark smoldering eyes that show her exactly what Olivia is thinking, just an elastic face and a plastic smile. He's a good man, but he wants her to fill this role she doesn't think she'll be able to fit in.
Because if she does, if she fills the hole in his life, she'll dig a new one in Olivia's.
The hole that she'd just spent the last year repairing.
It'll be her fault.
"Ma?" Rafe's heavy footsteps echo down the hallway and she quickly brushes her hand across her face, trying to clear the traces of her tears. Rafe will know, if he sees her. He'll see the red-rimmed eyes and her pale cheeks and he'll know that something is wrong.
She just doesn't want to deal with it right now.
Her son laughs a little. "Why do you always assume something is wrong?"
Her own laugh is empty. "Because it usually is."
He stares at her, his eyes narrowed and all she can think is "please don't ask me about it, please don't ask me about it." He must see it in her eyes, because his face relaxes and he gives her a soft smile, the reassuring smile that Gus used to give her when she felt like her world would fall apart.
The same soft smile that Olivia gave her whenever she felt like she couldn't hold it together anymore.
"Well, nothing is wrong, but," he checks his watch. "We're going to be late if you don't at least start your hair now."
Unconsciously, she pulls at a loose strand, wondering briefly the last time Olivia said she liked her hair. She shakes her head a little: she can't wear her hair for Olivia.
Today is about Frank and the life they're going to start together.
"I'm working on it," she says softly. Rafe nods and his face drops a little.
"Do you love him Ma?" Her head snaps up at her son's question and he has to see the fear in her eyes; the fear that Rafe knows.
"Yes," she finally says, shakily. And it's true, because she loves Frank.
She just doesn't love him.
Rafe's smile is sad and she has to look away, out the bedroom window, across to the dock and the pond. She closes her eyes and she can see Emma running through the snow that's begun to fall, her smile wide and childlike carefree. She can see herself chasing after the little girl, finally collapsing to the ground and she can hear Olivia's laugh drift overhead; can see Olivia leaning down and helping her up, pressing a kiss to her forehead and brushing the snow off her shoulders. She can see Emma grinning, her hands forming a snowball, taking aim at Rafe who's standing by, just smiling.
She can see herself with her family.
"Ma?" She jerks herself out of her daydream and realizes he must have been calling her for a least a little while, because his dark eyes are concerned. "Just, if it takes you that long to say that you love someone, maybe you should think about if you really love them, you know?"
"I'm just saying," he defends, putting his hands up.
She sighs. "I know."
Her eyes stray back out the window and little Emma is looking up at her, looking into her soul through the window, and waving.
She blinks and they're gone Olivia and Emma are gone and it's just her and Rafe standing in the cold snow and she feels the emptiness all the way from there.
She takes a deep breath and pick up her rollers, idly looping her hair around the cylinders.
She's got a wedding to go to, but she's got to make a stop first.
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