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10 March 2009 @ 04:51 pm
Fic: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 2), GL, Olivia/Natalia  
Title: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 2)
Author: DiNovia
Fandom: Guiding Light
Pairing: Olivia/Natalia
Rating:  Chapter=PG-13/Overall=NC-17
Archival:  P&P, Kimly, and AUSXIP of course.  Everyone else, please ask.
Spoilers:  None
Summary:  Phillip Spaulding has returned to Springfield with a vengeance.  Olivia Spencer, afraid that Phillip will take their daughter Emma from her again, flees Springfield with the help of her assistant, Natalia Rivera.  Can they stay one step ahead of Phillip?  Will they ever be safe again?
Content Disclaimer:  This is an AU story--based on a drabble I posted in February--that splits off from the "I can trust you with my life!" scene on 2/16/09.  All canon after that does not exist in this story.  Also, the Phillip Spaulding that returns in this story is still bat-shit crazy and evil. Graphic depictions of love between two consenting adult women are contained within, obviously, but not for a while.  
Source Disclaimer:  I do not own Guiding Light or the characters therein depicted.  I do not seek to profit from this story. 
A/N:  I tried to remain as close to character as humanly possible but as I have only seen YouTube clips of Otalia and no full episodes, I cannot guarantee the results. 
Thank You:  To mightbefound and bldy_destini for beta-ing this story. 



OVERLAND PARK, KS
NATALIA RIVERA


The lights from the car flash across a small green sign that welcomes me to Overland Park, Kansas, "A Top Ten City for Women," and I thank God for His mercy.  This could have gone so wrong, could still go wrong.  I glance at the clock over the radio.  Pale green numbers declare it 7:33am but I know it's not that late.  I subtract an hour for the time zone change and the darkness outside makes more sense now.  I do some quick math, figure I have about three hours to find you and Emma and get us back on the road before I'm missed at The Beacon and the calls start. 

Of course, the calls will all go to the cell phone I left on the kitchen table at home.

Home.  I miss the farmhouse, I do.  But it's safe.  I made arrangements.  Risky, maybe, but that's my house.  My first house and I'll be--be darned to heck before I let someone else get their hands on it, let someone take it away from my family.  I had to put my trust in Jeffrey and that was hard, considering.  But I do trust him.  He's a good man, like Frank.  I thank God for good men right now because so many aren't.   

And although I never thought I'd say this, I also thank God that Rafe's in prison right now.  Jeffrey promised to check in on him as often as he could and I know Frank won't let anything happen to him, no matter how upset with me he might get.  But that's that.  I can't drag Frank into this and I can't let you and Emma do this alone.  Maybe one day he'll understand why I had to do this.  I almost wish I could call him, just to say goodbye properly.  But that's not possible now.  My son is safe and we'll do our best to protect Emma, too.  Nothing else matters.

I look at the two pre-paid cell phones sitting in the passenger seat and thank God for them, too.  Since I'm praying anyway.  Today's technology certainly makes a lot of what we're going to have to do easier than I remember it.  I imagine that it will make it harder, too, and I worry we might be cut by a double-edged sword because I'm not familiar enough with some of these gadgets to know better.  I'll have to ask you about it when we have time. 

I reach for the Google maps pages I printed last week and flip to the first laundromat on the list: Sawyer's Self-Wash.  I don't want to pull over to read the map because I'm so exhausted, I'm afraid I'll fall asleep if I stop moving.  But it's too dangerous and I don't know exactly where I am and if I get pulled over this could all be over before it starts and I won't risk Emma that way.  So I pull to the side of the road and park next to a parking meter, resisting the urge to get out and drop a quarter into it.

I shake my head, confused.  I still want to be the good girl, the one who does the right thing, but you and Emma need me to be something else right now, something more complicated, less clear-cut.  But still good.  There is no doubt in my mind that I am doing the right thing.  Phillip Spaulding is everything you feared he would be.  It's in his eyes; they are empty of everything but rage.  I shudder just thinking about his eyes. 

They kept him in that cell for exactly 48 hours.  Not one minute more.  I almost didn't have enough time to--but I did and thank God you hadn't checked out of the Briarwood yet!  Frank called me as soon as Phillip was released, to let me know he and his lawyers were on the way to The Beacon.  I'm pretty sure Phillip expected to find you panicking.  I'm pretty sure he expected to find you, period.  I wish you could have seen his face when I told him you were out of town.  Well, no I don't, actually.  I was frightened of what he might do and there were witnesses!  He demanded to know where you were, when you'd be back.  When I told him, he called the lodge right in front of me to see if I was lying!  They must've told him you were there but unavailable because when he closed his phone, he looked very...pensive.  Like he'd underestimated you--which, of course, he had.  He ordered me to contact him as soon as you called in for your messages and threw a business card on the counter.  It was crisp, new.  It said "Phillip Spaulding, CEO, Spaulding Enterprises, Inc."  I remember thinking Well, that didn't take long.  It also explained why I hadn't seen Alan yet.  I had expected him to come gloating to you about Phillip returning, but I guess he had other things on his mind.

But the best thing, Olivia, the best thing is that Phillip forgot all about me, dismissed me completely from his mind almost as soon as he turned around.  Everything depended on him doing exactly that and he did!  I guess no one told him that we lived together.  They forgot to because I keep my head down, stay out of the spotlight.  No one remembers me or what I do, what I know until it's too late.  It's the only reason I've made it this far.

What am I doing?  I can't stop now.  I've got to find you, make sure you're okay.  You and Emma. 

Where am I?  Mission Road?  Sawyer's Self-Wash is on Santa Fe but Sunshine Suds, according this, is closer.  On West 95th.  And Squeaky-Kleen Coin Laundry is between them.  I bite my lip, wondering what to do.  What would you do?  It's amazing how many times I've asked myself that question this past week.  I look at the three maps, wondering which one.  Which one did you choose?

"Sunshine Suds," I decide, finally.  It's closer.  And it sounds happy.  You'd go there for Emma's sake. 

The horizon is getting lighter as I navigate through the sleeping suburbs toward yet another shopping center.  There are so many of them out here.  It's different than Springfield.  Lonelier.  I pass a man jogging before work, sweat stains dark on his gray KSU sweatshirt.  Across the street, a woman walks a tiny, ugly dog.  She doesn't wave or greet the jogger, though they've probably lived in this neighborhood with each other for years.  And as much as I hate it--my neighborhood in Chicago was more like Springfield than you'd think, with everyone in everyone else's business just as much of the time--this pervasive anonymity is exactly what we're going to need if we're going to stay ahead of Phillip for very long.

Suburbs.  Crowds.  Apathy.  Anonymity.  When you hear my plan, you're going to look at me like I've grown another head.  But it makes sense to me and I know I can make it make sense to you.  Besides, Emma won't ask as many questions, won't need to lie as much if we do it my way, and that's important to me.  I don't want her growing up like me--always waiting for the other shoe to drop, always running, trying to stay one step ahead of whatever's behind her.  Eviction, the heating bill, flu season.  Her father...

I make a right onto 95th and scan the street for the number I need.  My heart is beating so fast.  I see the light from the laundromat before I see the sign and I make a hard right into the nearly empty parking lot, parking crazily, not caring about the lines for once.  I run up to the plate glass window and look inside. 

What if you aren't here?  What if I picked the wrong one?  What if--

You're there.  You're there and I suddenly feel like I could fly.  You're there and--oh my God--you look so sad! 

You think I'm not coming.  I can see it in your face and it hits me like a baseball bat to the back of my head.  You think I'm not coming.  Oh God!  No, no, no--where's the door handle?  Damn it! 

You look up just as I figure out the door and you freeze, not believing what you see.  Then I'm through the door and you're crying and I'm running to you, wrapping you up in my arms, holding you so tightly.

"I'm here," I whisper, over and over.  "I'm here, I'm here, I'm here..."

"You found us."  Your voice is small and tears stream down your cheeks.  You look like you still believe you're dreaming.  I realize you very well could be; you look dead on your feet.  When was the last time you slept?  

"I found you," I say, cupping your face in my gloved hands.  Your eyes are wild and look straight through me.  I'm desperate for you to see me.  "Look at me, Olivia," I plead softly, resting my forehead against yours.  I'm aware of the stares of the nurse in the corner and the man behind the counter and I don't want to make us any more conspicuous than we already are.  I think I'm too late, though.  "I'm here.  It's okay."  My eyes dart from yours to our surroundings, looking for Emma.  I feel my insides unclench when I see her sleeping peacefully in a laundry cart.

I push you gently into one of the turquoise chairs, kiss your forehead absently.  I pull Emma closer to us and lean over to kiss her, too, careful not to wake her.  I strip my gloves off, touch her cheek.  I've missed her so much, worried about her so much!  As I ruffle her bangs, I notice how pale she is, how deeply she's sleeping.  Something's wrong.  I put my wrist to her forehead, half expecting her to be burning up, but her temperature feels fine.

I turn to you, a question in my eyes, but you're in no better shape than your daughter.  I didn't expect this but I know I should have.  I should have prepared you better, come to get you earlier.  I'm so angry with myself!  You weren't ready for this!  You're not strong enough yet and Emma-- 

I turn back to her, stroking her ruddy cheeks, and realize that she's totally exhausted from taking care of you, from making everything okay for you both. 

I want to weep.  I want to scream and throw things.  But we don't have time for that.  I can't fix the last week but I can damn well do better now that I'm here.

And if God has a problem with the word damn then He can just--just--bite me!

I take a deep breath and close my eyes.  I don't really mean that, I tell Him, apologizing.  Please forgive me.

When I open my eyes, everything seems brighter, sharper somehow.  I lean down to wake Emma while adjusting the plan in my head.  "Em, honey?"  I smile into her big, blue eyes as they flutter open.  "Em, honey, I'm going to pick you up, okay?"

"N'talia?" she asks sleepily, rubbing her eyes.  I lift her into my arms, blanket and all, and she hugs my neck limply.

"Yeah, sweetie, it's me.  Come on, I'm going to put you in the car, okay?  Liv," I say, and you look up at me blankly.  "Can you get the laundry and bring it with you?"  I keep my voice gentle but you're up off the chair as if it were electrified.  "I'm going to put her in the car.  I'm right out front." 

I lay Emma in the back seat and cover her with the blanket again, watching you through the windshield.  You're stuffing clothes and sheets into pillowcases blindly because you haven't taken your eyes off me.  Are you so afraid I would leave you behind?  Just the thought curdles my stomach.

Once Emma is settled, I come back into the laundromat to help you.  The sun is fully up now and I'm starting to perspire in my coat but I can't tell if it's because it's getting warmer or if it's just all this adrenaline I'm suddenly swimming in.

I open the trunk and throw the pillowcases in on top of my suitcases and the duffel bag I know I'm going to have a devil of a time explaining to you.  I slam the trunk shut and come to your side of the car to help you in.  I crouch down next to you and take your hands in mine.

"I'm sorry," I say, hoping you can see the apology in my eyes, too.  "I'm sorry I frightened you, Olivia.  I'm sorry you were all alone for so long."  I brush your bangs out of your eyes.  "But I'll make it up to you.  I promise, you won't ever have a reason to doubt me again."

You close your eyes briefly and when you open them, I see my forgiveness in them.  You open your mouth to say something but you stop yourself just as quickly, then sigh, looking away from me.  Shaking your head.

I squeeze your hands, trying to tell you it's okay if you can't forgive me quite yet. 

I'll just work harder.

-----

TBC



Comments are love!

DiNovia
 
 
 
Revolos55revolos55 on April 7th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
Ooh, love this chapter. My favorite bits are Natalia realizing Olivia thinks she's not coming and how she's invisible at work. Oh, and telling God to bite her, then apologizing. ;)