DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters, I don't claim to own the characters and I don't intend to profit from this story. Just doing it for entertainment purposes and as homage to the fabulous storyline and the amazing actresses depicting it.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Set after the episodes from 17th April 2009 with Frank & Natalia's non-wedding and the mutual admissions of love by Nat and Liv. Spoiler free for those wanting to avoid knowing what might happen next, just how I'd like to see the lovely ladies reconnect after Liv walked away. And just in case you spot any odd spellings etc, I'm English but am hooked on this storyline thank goodness for the Internet!!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
You're My Everything
By Liz M
The past week had been the most contradictory Natalia had ever experienced. She had gone from the incredible high of seeing Rafe released from prison to the exhilaration of finally hearing Olivia tell her that she loved her to the crushing realisation that she had unintentionally hurt Frank by leaving him at the altar and making him believe that she was ready to marry him, to the even greater depths of despair as she watched Olivia walk away from her after telling her, 'there is no us'. The days had seemed to drag so slowly by and yet the week had flown marking the passage of Rafe's brief furlough.
It had taken Natalia every waking hour and even a fair few when she should have been sleeping to mull over all Olivia's perceived obstacles and objections to acting in any way on their feelings for one another, but she felt that she finally saw clearly what her path was meant to be. The clearest indication had been the pain she had seen flash through Olivia's eyes the first time they had seen one another at the Beacon following their talk at the gazebo. It cut Natalia to the quick. But as quickly as it had been there, the emotion vanished from Olivia's eyes, replaced by a tender concern and imploring.
"What are you doing here? You should be at home, spending this week with your son before he has to go away again," she had said, brooking no argument as she gently steered Natalia back out of the door, threatening to take away her passkey should she return before Rafe's departure.
And now she was preparing to watch Rafe be taken away from her once again and all she wished for was for Liv to be there to help her deal with her pain. Mallet had agreed to take Rafe to the halfway house, Natalia knew that there was no way she could leave him there, not having had him home with her again, even for just a short week. They had talked; about Frank, about happiness, about the future. Natalia had tried to broach the subject of her feelings for Olivia with her son, to sound out his thoughts on the possibility of there being more to their relationship than simple friendship, but could never find the words to express the depth of her feelings whilst they were still so new to her. So she opted to bide her time, taking it as a sign that the time was not right, that it was not meant to be. Indeed, she mused, she had no way to know if there would be anything with Olivia, even friendship, following their brutally honest conversation at the gazebo. Besides the one brief encounter at work, they had passed each other only from afar around Springfield; one entering Towers as the other left, Natalia arriving to pick up takeout from Company in time to see Olivia's back disappearing back towards the Beacon.
Rafe knocked on the door to the hotel room, chewing on his lips as he waited to be granted an audience. The door swung open and the expression on the occupant's face would have made him crack out laughing had his mission not been so serious.
"Rafe, what are you doing here? Isn't this your last day at home? You should be with your mom." Olivia turned away, heading back into her room without waiting to see if the young man followed.
"Mom doesn't know I'm here. I wanted to speak to you before I went to the halfway house, I need to know why you've not been there for my mom this last week? You were maid of honour at the wedding and then what? She can't go through with the wedding but instead of being there to help her pick up the pieces and sort her head out, you disappear? I thought you'd changed, I thought you were her friend. So what is it? Did you sleep with Frank? Did you screw up my mom's wedding by stealing another guy from her?" Rafe asked all the questions he had been itching to ask, caring little about etiquette or small talk. Time was not a commodity that he could afford to waste and he didn't intend to let Olivia off the hook if she had yet again hurt his mom.
"What? No!" Olivia blurted, momentarily stunned but then feeling laughter swelling up from inside herself at how ludicrous that was. She sobered quickly as she saw Rafe's thunderous look. "Rafe, listen to me. I did not do anything with Frank that caused your mom to call off the wedding. That decision was her decision based on what she felt was right. She needs some time to process what it is she's feeling and I need to respect her right to take that time out for herself. She knows where I am when she wants to talk and she knows that she can talk to me about anything." Olivia paused looking at Rafe, seeing his stance soften slightly in the face of her open rebuttal of his fears. "How's she holding up with you going away again?"
"Trying to put a brave face on it for my sake but I can see she's hurting. If you really are the good friend you claim to be to my mom, please take care of her today. Put aside whatever it is that's going on between you two, whatever argument you've had, and go to her, please? I don't want her to be on her own." Rafe still had his doubts about the situation, the tension seeping from every pore of the two women was enough of a clue to concern even the most dense person, but he also knew that his mom did not make friends easily. Hers and Olivia's friendship had taken a long time to develop and it had given her a sense of peace and belonging during a period that could have been the loneliest of her life while Rafe was in prison. Olivia felt her heart flip as she thought of the woman she adored suffering alone through the loss of parting with her son again. Unable to speak without alerting Rafe to her near tearful state, Olivia simply nodded her agreement to do as he asked. "And do right by her, take care of her and see that she takes care of herself while I'm not there with her ok? I really would be happier about going if I knew you and Em were moving back to the farmhouse now Frank's not going to be moving in. I don't like thinking of her being there on her own, it's not safe and she needs to be with other people."
"I can't promise that." Liv swallowed thickly, trying desperately to control her voice and not let it betray her. "It's up to your mom if she wants us back at the farmhouse, I can't make that decision for, I don't want to assume to know what's best for her. But I can promise that I will not let any harm come to her, I'd rather die myself than see her hurt." Olivia stopped herself abruptly, fearing that she'd already said too much.
"Who'd have thought, after all that happened with Gus, you guys would be civil to one another let alone friends. But here you are, telling me you'd die for her. That's quite some friendship you guys have. And I can see, I can, I can tell now that you're genuine. So I can go and I can do what I gotta do for as long as it takes to convince them I'm not a danger to society, safe in the knowledge my mom's in good hands." Rafe approached the woman he had been so determined to hate knowing to be true what he had suspected for many months. "All I ask is that you're honest with her and make her happy. 'Cause I swear if you don't, I'll bring a whole world of pain to you."
"Rafe " Olivia began, trying to stall him but he interjected, cutting her off.
"She chose you at the wedding, didn't she? That's why she ran out and why you guys haven't spoken for the past week and why you're still here and not up at the farmhouse isn't it? Because you're both scared." He grasped Olivia's hands to prevent her from running away from the conversation. "It doesn't matter to me who my mom gets into a relationship with so long as she's happy and it makes her happy. Having you and Emma at the farmhouse, anyone'd have to be blind to not see how at peace and comfortable she is with the setup you created. I've never seen her that settled. I had my doubts about Frank, I kept asking her if she was happy, if she loved him and not once, ever, did she say a straight out 'yes, Frank makes me happy, I love Frank'. Now I know why."
"We didn't mean "
"I know. So you're going to be with her this afternoon right? Mallet's picking me up at two."
Natalia watched the car pull away from the farmhouse, her heart wrenching with each turn of the wheels as it took her son away. As the vehicle disappeared out of sight, Nat retreated into the house, its emptiness echoing the hollow feeling in her soul. She wandered around the lounge, looking for something to occupy her but came up empty. An idea sparked in her mind even as tears sprung freshly into her eyes and she crossed the lounge towards her kitchen, the scene of so many happy memories. She walked through the door and stopped in her tracks at the vision before her.
Olivia rose from where she had been seated at the table and opened her arms in welcome, beckoning for Natalia to lean on her as she had so many times in the past. The younger woman needed no second invitation, sinking gratefully into the warm embrace and holding onto Olivia's frame as though convinced she would disappear at any given moment. Olivia rested her cheek against Natalia's hair, feeling a sense of familiar belonging wash through her core, warming parts which had been numbed for the longest week of her life.
"How did you know " Natalia mumbled against the confines of Olivia's chest.
"A little jailbird told me." Liv admitted, stroking a hand through Natalia's silken locks.
"Rafe?" Nat raised her head to look at the older woman in surprise. Receiving a nod of confirmation, the young Latina quirked an eyebrow and sniffed.
"Seems he's quite the intuitive one, that son of yours." Liv confessed, even as she warred with herself over whether to share Rafe's admission to her with his mother.
"How so?" Nat asked, genuinely intrigued.
"Seems he already figured out what it took us all this time to." Olivia hedged, hoping Nat would fill in the blanks for herself, but forgetting how she needed to be spoon-fed information sometimes. "He knows I love you and I'm pretty sure he's figured out that you love me to. And he doesn't care so long as it makes you happy." Olivia cupped one hand against Natalia's cheek, soothing away a stray tear with her thumb.
"It what? He said that to you?" Olivia nodded watching Natalia process the information before burying her head back in the crook of Liv's neck with a gentle sigh.
"I've missed you this week. So's Emma. I don't think an hour's gone by when she's been in our room without her asking if you're ok, if I've seen you/spoken to you, when we can come and see you." Liv could not refer to their room at The Beacon as home, it could never compare to the true home they had both experienced, the home in which she now sat with a small amount of nervous trepidation but also a huge amount of relief at being back.
"I've missed you guys too. It's been so great having Rafe home and I've so much enjoyed my time with him but I kept thinking about how much better it would have been if you and Emma had been here to share it with us. I want to ask you something, and tell me if I'm asking too much of you, but would you consider moving back in? This place isn't right without you and it wouldn't mean we need to rush into any decisions about us but I love having you here and you and Emma love being here, why open ourselves to more unhappiness than we need to?" Olivia stopped her soothing motion on Natalia's hair as she listened to the request, tempering her response from her initial instinctive, 'of course, right now!'
"Are you sure? I mean, I'd love to but I don't want to risk an atmosphere between us. It's not healthy for Emma and I'm damn sure it wouldn't do the two of us any good either."
"Do you feel an atmosphere here and now?" Natalia asked, genuinely interested to hear Olivia's answer. For her part, all she could feel was an overwhelming sense of love and home which cast any doubts she had considered during their week-long separation into the deepest recesses of shade.
"Only the same one which made me fall in love with being here." Olivia admitted.
"Oh I see, it's not me you love, it's my house!" Natalia cracked, digging Liv in the ribs.
"Without you, it would be that, just a house. With you, it's our home." Olivia responded, tightening her hold on her best friend and light of her life.
"Then come home. As soon as you like." Natalia implored.
"I love you Natalia Rivera." Olivia murmured looking deep into chocolate eyes which could melt her soul.
"I love you too Olivia Spencer. You are my family, my friend, my rock, my everything. I know God wants this for me for us. I trust Him and I trust us to follow the path He has shown us." Reaching up, Natalia cupped Olivia's face in her own hands, guiding it down to meet her own, reverently covering succulent lips with hers and tenderly affirming her words through action.
"I trust Him too." Olivia whispered as they broke apart, her eyes letting Natalia know that she meant it wholeheartedly.
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