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10 April 2009 @ 04:20 pm
Fic: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 13), GL, Olivia/Natalia  
Title: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 13)
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.
Style Note:  As some of you have noticed, I am switching POVs for every chapter.  Natalia, Olivia and Emma will tell their stories in their own words, first-person present tense.  Any other exposition needed will happen in third-person past-tense.  This will cover the urgency I need and will also allow for omniscience for the longer bits of exposition.  I am very interested in knowing whether this style works how I have intended it, so let me know.
A/N*:  I should have mentioned this before.  I know that this is not canon, but I have chosen to place Springfield in Ohio, mostly to make my research life that much easier.  Yes, I am obsessive about my research, which is why Natalia was able to make it to Overland Park, KS in one night to be present for it's sunrise at 6:54am (7:54am Springfield time) on 2/23 (roughly when chapter 2 took place).  No, really.  I looked all that up.  And more.  I'm that much of a fact geek.  Sad, but true.
Thank You:  To mightbefound and bldy_destini for beta-ing this story.  Thank you also to Tiff for helping me to figure out the major plot problems I'd been having and for being on call when I forget them and need to review.  ;)  Thank you to djshiva for your comments and general enthusiasm for this story.   


Throughout his life, Phillip Spaulding had rarely met a barrier that he couldn't eradicate.  From prep school clashes with fellow students (and sometimes administrators) all the way to his recent brush with madness, Phillip had risen above whatever barriers stood between him and his ultimate goal.  When he wasn't bulldozing through them.  Therefore he gazed on the two strips of Do Not Cross tape affixed to the side door of Natalia Rivera's home with something akin to mild amusement.  They fluttered to the ground with one precise swipe and he stepped over them as he entered the home, his conscience unsullied by guilt, or indeed any thought that he might be engaging in criminal activity.

He knew when he arrived that there was no one home.  The house was a dark hulk in a snow-covered field, lit by the occasional weak ray of cold light as the moon struggled to illuminate the night through a milky cloud cover.  It was sad-looking, really.  He judged by its bones that it was a good, strong house.  It had a striking, traditional profile that no doubt blossomed into full-fledged Norman Rockwell homeyness when the household's lights were lit.  The very idea that Olivia Spencer lived here willingly....  It did not bear speculation.  He would have to see for himself.

A strong smell of bleach assaulted his nostrils as he entered the kitchen.  He flipped the light switch, shielding his eyes briefly against the golden light that blazed forth.  He wasn't worried about the neighbors.  If they came to investigate, he would explain that he was looking for his daughter.  Parental concern would garner him more compassion than distrust out here, he assumed.  Not that it wasn't true.  Finding Emma was his primary goal at the moment.  Almost everything else he had planned for Springfield hinged upon his daughter's disposition.  He would have his revenge.

The kitchen was very green, he decided, disliking it immediately...and immensely.  Green was not one of his favorite colors.  Upon further examination, however, he saw that it was well-appointed, if a little eclectic.  A stainless steel double chef's sink, a six-burner gas stove, a stainless steel Sub Zero refrigerator, and a Burberry Roman shade competed with the kitsch of an entire set of floral and evergreen dish ware, displayed ostentatiously around the room, with numerous Catholic icons and crosses littering every available surface, and a dining set that could have easily been used by the Walton family of television fame.  The decorative bowl of pine cones on the counter by the sink was something Phillip didn't think should be discussed in polite company, let alone embraced as a decorative piece.  But the whole...worked.  Not for him, of course, but he could see Olivia in the room easily.  What wasn't Olivia's contribution had to be Ms. Rivera's. 

She was an unsophisticated decorator to be sure, but he would be damned if he would dismiss her based on that alone.  He was afraid he had already underestimated her once; he would not do it again.

He left the kitchen and entered the living room.  It was depressingly more of the same.  A smattering of good pieces interspersed with homey kitsch and Catholic relics.  In another lifetime, he might have found the home to be comforting.  Now, he found it to be a puzzle to be solved.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

He scaled the first flight of stairs and opened the door at the top of them, his resulting smile brief and as close to warm as a smile of his ever got.  He'd found his daughter's room.  True, it was a stereotypical ode to the colors pink and purple but that didn't matter to him.  What mattered was that he felt closer to her already.  He could feel her energy in this room, her sweetness, her potential.  It was as if Lizzie had come back to him, in a way.  It was as if he could start over with her through Emma, could regain what he'd lost through the manipulations and toxicity of this Hell on Earth.  She was the key.  He and Emma would exact his revenge upon the depraved wreck that was Springfield.  He and Emma would bring them all to their knees. 

He just had to find her first.

He looked around her abandoned room one last time, his heart swelling with paternal pride.  "I will find you, Emma, sweetheart," he said aloud, touching the face of a doll that lay propped against one of her pillows.  "Don't worry.  Daddy's coming."

He stood for a moment longer then shut the door quietly behind him, almost reverently.  He opened the next door along the corridor and grimaced.  Olivia's room...in all its "finery."  It was a pigsty, and Phillip breathed a sigh of relief.  This was the Olivia Spencer he remembered.  Passionate, volatile, but most of all, disorganized.  Someone prone to making mistakes.  Someone that--when left to her own devices--would self-destruct long before she achieved her goal.  This was largely the reason she was unfit to be a parent, especially to Emma.  The joint custody arrangement he'd agreed to in the divorce was a mistake, obviously.  He should have destroyed her then and there.  He'd had the ammunition at the time.  It was a testament to how low the madness had brought him that he'd had the means to annihilate Olivia and yet chose not to do so.  He would not make that mistake twice, either.

However, he reluctantly had to admit he did not completely know the Olivia Spencer that resided here.  Rick had insisted she'd changed.  He hadn't believed him at the time--such words were often wishful thinking--but something allowed Olivia Spencer, bloodsucking opportunist that she was, to live here, in a farmhouse of all places.  It certainly wasn't Ms. Rivera's financial prowess, he knew.  Perhaps it was a dependency borne of unusual connection: the problem of Gus Aitoro's heart.  Whatever it was, it was a variable he had to pin down and he knew he wouldn't be able to find the answer in this catastrophe of a room. 

He shut her door and ascended the last flight of stairs. 

The first doorway on that hallway opened into a minimally furnished and rather blank guest bedroom.  The second opened into the guest bath, which felt unfinished, too, somehow.  The third opened to reveal the master suite and Phillip grimaced again, but this time for an entirely different reason.  Unsophisticated, it turned out, didn't even begin to describe Natalia Rivera's decorating style.  Other words came to mind now that he saw how this palatial--almost regal--suite was underused and under-appreciated by the simple woman.  Plebeian, bucolic, artless...all these words and more flooded his mind upon seeing a bed the size of a postage stamp haphazardly pushed against any old wall, upon seeing the rustic and mismatched furniture and the jarring colors of the country quilts--the only color in the room.  It was nothing short of painful to see such a beautiful suite wasted in such a way.

The cross over the bed alone...well, it was too horrible to contemplate.  He would have turned on his heel and fled had it not been for the three photographs lined up on an ill-appointed bedside table.

He walked toward them, curious to see who Ms. Rivera would keep enshrined in such a way.  The table held only the three photographs, nothing else.

The first was of Natalia Rivera as a younger woman...with sad eyes and the hands of someone who had seen more than her fair share of manual labor.  Beside her sat a laughing child, no more than ten.  A son, perhaps?  He filed the supposition away for later contemplation.

The second photograph was of Gus Aitoro, though in it he was no more than a teenager.  It smacked of a relic from a past life, something like Natalia's crosses and her Virgin Mary statues.  Symbolic, representative, well-worn.  But rote.

When he lifted the third photograph from the desk, his eyes fell first on the little girl in the center.  Emma.  He felt that wash of paternal pride again, seeing her strong features; her clear, intelligent eyes; her hair, the color of his own.  This would be his heir.  This would be the only one of his children to inherit his fortunes, his plans, and his vision.  The others, they were lost to him now.  Too old or too far away or too poisoned against him to even begin to understand what potential they had once had, or how it had been squandered. 

Not so for his youngest child.  The one upon whom all his hopes rested. 

He ran a thumb over Emma's features and then let his eyes take in the rest of the photograph.  Natalia Rivera stood on Emma's right with her arm around his daughter.  The two of them were looking straight ahead at the photographer, laughing, perhaps at something he or she had said.  Olivia, to Emma's left, was not looking at the photographer at all.  She was, in fact, looking at Natalia Rivera and the look on her face told Phillip Spaulding everything he needed to know about why Olivia Spencer suffered to live in a farmhouse on the edge of town rather than in her high-end uptown hotel. 

Olivia Spencer was in love with the plucky young widow with the big brown eyes. 

It was written all over her face.

Phillip weighed the revelation for a moment.  Most men, he knew, would find the possibility titillating.  He did not.  He studied the idea with an almost clinical detachment, sensing in it its potential as a fulcrum upon which to rest the lever of his will.  It was...an unexpected turn of events, to be sure, but not unheard of.  And certainly not out of character for Olivia, who had always been an untamed spirit.

It was out of character for the younger woman, though, he suspected, and he wondered if Olivia had been requited yet.

Whether she had or she hadn't been, one thing was abundantly clear: Phillip Spaulding had just discovered a chink in Olivia Spencer's armor. 

And he meant to exploit it.



"Nothing?  Nothing at all?"  Frank Cooper pushed passed Mallet to reach his phone, which was ringing off the hook.  "Cooper," he barked into the receiver.  He held up a hand as he listened to the caller, his face falling after a few seconds.  "No, Dad, we haven't heard anything here either....  Yeah, I'll let you know....  I know, Dad.  Later."  He dropped the phone back into its cradle and returned his attention to Mallet.
"Do you have anything?" he asked the junior officer plaintively. 
Mallet shook his head.  "Sorry, Frank.  I checked with all the wrecker companies, with EMT services, I even called both morgues--"
"Morgues??"  Frank's eyes nearly popped out of his head. 
"It's SOP, Frank.  I didn't find her."  The taller man sighed, his frustration beginning to show around the edges.  "It's as if she just disappeared."
"People don't 'just disappear,' Mal," Frank replied angrily.  "They don't just leave their cell phones on their kitchen tables, pack their cars, and run off to--to--who knows where!  It just isn't right!"
The younger cop eyed his superior thoughtfully.  "Is that what you found at the farmhouse?  You think she--what?  Left town?"
As much as he hated to admit it, Frank Cooper had no choice.  "I think Natalia went after Olivia and Emma.  I think they're on the run."  He sank into his chair and stared straight ahead blankly, wondering why the woman he loved hadn't at least confided in him.  If she'd only come to him first, he could have made her see reason, he could have stopped her.  He carefully avoided the tiny voice in his head that suggested that was exactly why she hadn't come to him.
Mallet's eyes narrowed.  "Because Phillip's back," he said...and it wasn't a question.  Phillip's return had upset a number of his ex-wives and Mallet was sure that their primary concern was the safety of their children.  It didn't surprise him that, of all of them, Olivia had reacted decisively and immediately.  Beth might be feeling insulated from Phillip's return, what with Lizzie an adult now and with James off at prep school.  Plus she had always been the one loved Phillip, no matter what.  Believing in him, rescuing him...even defending him when no one else could or would.

Harley, living in Greece, was about as removed from the situation as she could be and still be on the same planet. 

Only Olivia, mother to Phillip's youngest child, might actually have a reason to worry.  Phillip's rationalization--if you could call it that--for the kidnapping of his children in 2004 had been that he was saving them from the poison of Springfield and its inhabitants.  If that was still his goal now, Emma alone still resided in town as a dependent child.  She alone could "benefit" from Phillip's intervention in her life. 

Mallet thought if Emma were his, he might have left town with her, too.

"So what do you want to do, Frank?" he asked.  If Olivia and Natalia had fled Springfield with Emma, so what?  That wasn't against the law.  Olivia was Emma's biological mother and had custody, didn't she?  She could take Emma to the moon if she wanted to, as far as the law was concerned. 

Frank didn't answer right away.  In fact, he didn't answer for so long that Mallet wondered if he'd heard him.  He was about to repeat himself when Frank finally looked up at him.  There was something almost feverish in the detective's eyes.

"Expand the APB on Natalia's car," he said, his voice hard.  "Make it national."

"Frank, if Natalia's with Olivia and Emma, they haven't done anything wr--"

"Just do it!"  He exploded out of his chair and again pushed past Mallet, exiting his office only to run into Phillip Spaulding in the main squad room.  Mallet followed. 

"Frank Cooper.  Just the man I was looking for," said Phillip mildly.  He ignored the junior officer who seemed engrossed in one of the computers at the desk.

"I would have thought you'd want to steer clear of here, Phillip," said Frank, sneering slightly.  "Having second thoughts about wasting taxpayer money with a trial?  Come to confess?"
Part of him wished it would be that easy to put Phillip Spaulding in jail.  A larger part of him salivated at the thought of watching Springfield's Golden Boy being ripped apart in open court.  The long feud between the Spauldings and the Coopers aside, Frank simply didn't like the man.  Convicting him of the kidnappings and locking him up would go a long way toward wiping Phillip's face of his smug superiority, and Frank couldn't see a downside to that.
"I'd like to know where my ex-wife and my daughter are, Detective.  I decided to follow official protocol in the matter...even though I have serious doubts about the competence of Springfield's finest."  His condescending grin was glacial.
"Why is it any of your business where Olivia and Emma might be?" countered Frank.  "Waiting for your chance to kidnap Emma again, are you?"
"I haven't been convicted of that incident--"
"You will be.  Trust me on that!"
Phillip sighed.  "Be that as it may, I haven't yet been convicted.  In fact, a trial date has not even been set.  I am innocent until proven guilty, am I not?  Legally speaking?"
"You're not innocent, Phillip.  You were probably born scheming for something," spat Frank.  But reluctantly he agreed with the man.  "Legally speaking, though, yeah.  You're innocent until proven guilty.  So what?"
"It means I have every right to know the whereabouts of my child, Detective.  I have come here seeking your assistance with that."
Frank had the sudden sinking feeling that he'd just walked blindly onto thin ice.  He could almost hear it cracking and the pit of his stomach hunched back into his spine as if hiding from a predator.
"Olivia has custody of Emma," he said slowly.  "She's under no obligation--"
"We, in fact, share custody of Emma," corrected Phillip.  "An agreement we made during the divorce...which I now regret, of course."
Frank's face fell.  "But when you died, custody went to Olivia," he ventured uncertainly. 
"Do I look dead to you, Detective?  Because really, I feel fine."  There was no ire in Phillip's voice, no accusation, no incredulous anger.  In fact, he seemed unhurried, unruffled.  Unnaturally so.
Mallet looked up from what he was doing.  He had a really bad feeling about where this might be going.  Especially considering the emailed report currently displayed on his monitor.  
Frank shook his head at Phillip.  "That custody agreement had to have been violated when you faked your death," he said sharply.  "It constitutes abandonment or--"
"I did no such thing.  My father arranged for my 'death' and then kept me prisoner in a warehouse where I received inadequate mental health care until I finally escaped.  Since there was no intent on my part, there was no abandonment.  I could bring my lawyers down here to explain it to you, if you'd like.  No?  Then I would be much obliged if you would tell me where my ex-wife and my daughter are.  I would like to bring my daughter home.  She needs to be with her father."
Frank ran his hand over the back of his neck.  "We...don't know where they are."  Why did those words feel like the hardest words he would say all day?
"Then you admit you are looking for them."  Phillip's eyes turned hawkish but his voice remained even. 
"No.  No, not...really.  I--  We--  Well, Natalia might be with them and I...just wanted to make sure she was safe.  She...didn't tell me she was...leaving."
Phillip gave Frank Cooper a long, appraising look.  Could it be?  Was there an honest-to-God love triangle here with Natalia Rivera as the prize?  This just got better and better. 
"I see.  And have you found Ms. Rivera?"
"Not...not yet."
Mallet pulled a copy of the email he'd received off the printer and handed it to Frank, keeping one eye on Phillip Spaulding.  He knew they'd have to disclose this information but he wanted Frank to do it from a position of relative strength rather than because he'd been backed into a corner.  That corner seemed to be getting closer. 
Frank looked down at the report.  It was a routine notification from Overland Park, Kansas reporting that an abandoned car registered to Olivia Spencer of Springfield, Ohio, had been impounded and would be held for sixty days, at which time legal proceedings would begin to transfer ownership to the city of Overland Park so that the car could be liquidated at auction. 
Fucking hell, thought Frank.  He had a good idea what this meant.  He had a feeling he'd known this all along.  This was just a confirmation of his fears.  One he couldn't really ignore.  He shared a look with Mallet and the younger man shrugged almost imperceptibly, as if to say This ball's in your court.  Sorry.

No matter how he looked at it--whether he told Phillip or not--he was screwed.  He decided he'd rather be screwed for doing the right thing rather than the wrong thing.  He just couldn't figure out which was which at the moment. 

"Yes, Detective?" prompted Phillip, sensing that the younger Cooper man was struggling.  "Does that--"  He indicated the piece of paper in Frank's hand.  "--pertain to our conversation?"

Frank made a disgusted sound and shoved the report at Phillip, who read it twice before smoothing the creases it had received during its rough treatment and handing it back. 

"In that case, Detective Cooper," he said softly, "I'd like you to issue a national Amber Alert for Emma.  Today."

Mallet had to hand it to Phillip Spaulding.  He might be bat-shit crazy, but he was bat-shit crazy like a fox.

Frank opened his mouth, closed it, then took a deep breath.  "I'm sorry.  I must have misheard you.  I thought you just asked me to issue a national Amber Alert on Emma."

"I did."  Phillip's inscrutable eyes did not leave Frank's.

"Are you kidding me?"  The police detective leaned heavily on the counter separating him from the younger Spaulding man.  He viciously fought the urge to reach across it and strangle the man on the spot.

"No.  I want every effort made to return my daughter to me.  That report says that Olivia's car has been found--abandoned--in Kansas.  We don't know what's happened.  It's possible that Olivia and her 'friend'--"  He said the word friend with open scorn.  "--have Emma and are intending to keep her from me.  At the least, that is custodial interference and since they've crossed state lines--many of them, in fact--that calls for a national Amber Alert.  It's also possible that something has befallen Olivia and Emma, something terrible over which they had no control.  In which case, an Amber Alert is utterly required."  Phillip pinned Frank with an openly hostile glare, the first since he'd entered the building.

"Because they've crossed state lines, I could call in the FBI," he said, his voice deceptively serene.  His eyes were anything but.  They blazed with fury.  "Do I believe that Olivia has kidnapped Emma in order to deliberately cause her harm?  No, of course not.  She mistakenly believes she is 'saving' Emma...from me.  But the FBI will not care what I think.  They have procedures, protocols.  Olivia and possibly Ms. Rivera will be branded kidnappers.  When the FBI apprehends them--and they will--they will charge both of them with a felony, a federal crime.  They will be tried in federal court and--whether they are convicted or not--their lives will be ruined.  However, if you issue an Amber Alert and if we arrange a...televised plea of some sort, a request for contact, I feel confident that Olivia or Ms. Rivera or both will turn themselves in without us having to involve the FBI.  I will have my daughter back, safe and sound, and perhaps then I will not be so inclined to press charges.  Against either woman."

"You bastard!"  Mallet just managed to grab Frank before he launched himself over the counter.

"Frank!" he said, pulling the detective away from Phillip.  The blond man hadn't even flinched.  In fact, he looked rather...disappointed by the interruption.  "Frank, don't!  It's what he wants.  He wants you unbalanced.  He wants you to hit him and he wants you to do it in front of witnesses.  You said it yourself--he was born scheming.  Don't let him buy an acquittal on your back, okay?"

Phillip raised an eyebrow at the exchange, mentally chastising himself.  It appeared he was slipping.  This is the second time I've underestimated someone who seemed unassuming.  It will also be the last.

Frank pushed Mallet off of him but made no further move toward Phillip.  Instead he straightened his shirt and tie.  He looked straight at the younger Spaulding, his eyes burning with hatred. 

"Mallet, issue the Amber Alert," he ground out.  "And then meet Mr. Spaulding and me at the television station.  We're probably going to need backup."

"Backup?  Why?" asked Mallet, momentarily confused.

"I have one word for you: Dinah."

Mallet's eyebrows shot up, a little surprised.  But after he'd thought about it for a minute, he realized Frank was right.  His ex-wife was a bit on the unpredictable side. 

He wondered if he would be overdressed if he wore Kevlar.



Dinah Marler sat at one of the unused console desks on the news set, going over programming schedules.  She could have just as easily done this task in her office, but her office was quiet.  Private.  Dull.
She preferred the hustle of the studio, the constant burr of conversation underscored by a low electronic hum, the kinetic sense that something was just about to happen, that something tangible was being created all around her.  It made the drudgery of programming schedules or budget cuts bearable somehow.  Plus it made her accessible to her staff and kept her in the know about the more subtle goings-on in their lives.  In fact, she sometimes knew more about her staff than the staff itself seemed to know, and therefore personnel problems hardly ever blindsided her.  It was a win-win situation.
Dinah Marler was many things.  Stupid was not one of them. 
So when she glanced up from her spreadsheet to see Frank Cooper and Phillip Spaulding enter the studio together, heading for her office, she narrowed her eyes and had a single thought.

Aloud, she merely said, "Ashlee, do we have any strychnine in the building?"
The earnestly efficient production intern looked up from her laptop, which she had perched on a dais nearby.  She liked to be immediately available to Dinah as much as possible, so when Dinah worked on the floor, so did Ashlee.  Simple as that.
"Strychnine?" she asked.  "Isn't that...a poison?"
"Rat poison," agreed Dinah, her eyes tracking the approach of Frank and Phillip as they left the area of her empty office.  Someone must have told them where she was.  Double fuck.  "Do we have any?"
"Why?"  Ashlee was facing Dinah and did not see the men approaching.  Her confused look would have been more entertaining to the station owner under different circumstances.
"Because it looks like we're about to have a rat problem," said Dinah warily.
"Dinah, we need to talk," barked Frank Cooper, startling Ashlee as he and Phillip came to a stop at the edge of the desk.
"I knew it; you're breaking up with me," deadpanned the aggrieved station owner.  "How ever will I go on?"
Frank cocked his head to the side and glared at the woman.  He was in no mood for Dinah's usual antics. 
"I need a favor," he said, trying again, his voice lower but no less tense.  
"A favor," she repeated.  "And you brought tall, blond, and crazy with you to...what?  Intimidate me?"
"The favor concerns me," said Phillip, his voice only slightly exasperated.  "In a way," he amended, realizing that that assertion might not get him anywhere with his acerbic cousin.
"Let me guess.  You're looking for the next hit reality series.  Phillip and his ex-wives on prime time, squabbling over the kids, the money, the psych meds, the faked death.  Nice.  Has potential.  I pass.  Talk to Fox."  She went back to her spreadsheet.  Ashlee snickered quietly.
"We're issuing an Amber Alert on Emma."
That did the trick.  Ashlee's chuckles stopped abruptly and Dinah slowly looked up from her problem weekend schedule, her eyes flashing with barely concealed shock backed by a healthy dose of indignation. 
"The crazy is contagious then?" she asked, her voice lower, deadlier.  "Because really, what the hell are you talking about, Frank?"
Frank sighed and ran his hand through his hair.  "Olivia and Emma left over a week ago for a weekend ski trip up at the lake.  They haven't returned.  Now Natalia is gone, too.  No one's seen her in a couple of days and the farmhouse is all locked up.  I got a report a little while ago from a town in Kansas, saying they'd impounded an abandoned car.  It's Olivia's.  It looks like...it looks like Olivia and Emma are on the run."
"And I would like my daughter back," added Phillip unnecessarily.
Dinah looked from Frank to Phillip and back, completely unable to fathom what had brought the two of them together on this, as unlikely and unattractive a team there ever was.  Then she remembered.  Natalia.  The sugary-sweet widow of Gus Aitoro who was Olivia's personal assistant and Springfield's resident Catholic saint.  She thought she also remembered that Frank and Natalia were dating.  Sorta. 
Everything suddenly became very clear to Dinah.  She didn't like it one bit.  She pinned Frank with a look that would have chilled most people to the core.
"You're working with him--" she said, pointing to Phillip, "--because you want St. Theresa of the Ducks back?  Seriously?"
"Frank's motives for assisting me are immaterial, Dinah," countered Phillip.  "He's doing his job.  Now we would like you to do yours."
"And what job is that exactly, Phillip?  Because I'm pretty sure once that Amber Alert hits the airwaves, you'll be the lead story at six and eleven without any help from me.  Hell, they might even break in with a 'special news bulletin!'"
"We want you to do a...  We want you to talk to Olivia directly in a thirty second spot.  Convince her to turn herself in.  She'll listen to you.  And we'll...listen to her.  We'll tap the 800 line, try to trace the call."  Frank's plea was earnest, sincere, and--to Dinah--fucking unbelievable.
Dinah blinked twice then laughed.  "You want me to--"  She couldn't finish for the laughter.  She actually sounded almost manic.  Ashlee watched worriedly.  Then Dinah cut it off, like turning off a faucet.  "Yeah, no.  I'm done.  Have a nice day, really, but have it somewhere else."  In the distance, she saw someone else enter the studio, groaning when she recognized her ex-husband.  Mallet looked off towards where her office was located then turned and headed in their direction.  Dinah was oddly pleased that he still knew her that well.

"Dinah," he greeted, nodding as he came to a stop on the periphery of the group.

"Ex-husband," she replied, nodding back at him.  "Can you get these two jackasses off my front lawn?" she asked, indicating Frank and Phillip.  "I've had enough of their hee-hawing."

"You have to do it, Di," Mallet said softly.  "Do the spot.  Help us help them.  No one wants the alternative."

Dinah froze.  Something in Mallet's voice frightened her more than anything Frank or Phillip had said so far.  "What's the alternative?" she asked cautiously.  Her bravado was gone but she'd be damned if she let Phillip see that.

"The FBI.  Felony kidnapping charges.  Ruined lives."  His eyes slid to the side, glancing at Phillip for just a second, but Dinah knew her ex well enough to see the gesture for what it was: an accusation.  "Let's salvage what we can from this, okay?"

Dinah looked at Mallet for a long moment until she finally nodded a short, business-like nod. 

"Ashlee, set up a camera here.  We'll use this set.  And get me Pete.  Just Pete, no other cameraman.  Got it?"

The younger woman nodded.  "Got it," she said, her eyes wide as dinner plates.

"And not a word to anyone, Ashlee.  I mean it.  If this becomes a circus, I'll make you the clown.  And you know how much I hate clowns."

"Lips sealed, check.  Anything else?"

Dinah looked to Frank.  "I assume the SPD will be setting up the phone line and the wire tap, yes?"  When he nodded, she waved her hand dismissively.  "Then you'd better get them here, Frank.  And Ashlee, this set is off limits until I say otherwise."  She rubbed her forehead briefly with one hand, sighing deeply. 

Oh, Ollie, she thought sadly.  What have you done now, you big lunkhead?

Everyone was still milling around in front of her when she looked up and her melancholy worry for Olivia ignited in her gut, becoming wrath.  "Did I stutter?  Now!  I want this over with before I decide to go through with the machete fantasy playing in my head!  Move!"

They moved. 

Actually, they scattered like cockroaches under a bright light, Ashlee moving faster than all the rest.

She knew where Dinah kept the machete.


Comments are love!

carinjocarinjo on April 11th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
i've just found this story yesterday and absolutely loved it. i'm also pretty new to this fandom (read: 2 weeks). you write phillip very well. don't know how he is in GL, but here his evilness is brilliant. keep it up can't wait to read more.
seftiri: Guiding Light Springfield Signseftiri on April 11th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
Well, currently on GL, Phillip is not evil or crazy. My story is sort of a "what if" on that point. LOL

Glad you are enjoying it and welcome to Otaliaitis. Your patient packet and chronic illness tips and pointers reference card should be issued shortly. ;)
runetraverse: Otalia OTPrunetraverse on April 11th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
*stare* Okay, not fair.

To explain: After reading up on GL and watching some episodes, I started liking the returned, non-crazy Phillip. Mostly because Alan's such a manipulative bastard, and anybody raised by that SOB would probably have a few screws loose anyway, but Phillip seems to actually care about his kids and trying to make things right. He may not be a fully good guy - hullo, throwing people off cliffs - but he's trying.

So you can understand me being shocked when I not only chanted "nah-na-na-na-na, no Emma for crazy boy! Sucks to be you!" when Phillip was searching the farm house, but yelled "Oh f#$k you!" at the monitor when I got to the part about the Amber Alert. Your Phillip is so well fleshed-out and realistically diabolical that I'm hating on him in spite of liking the actual character! That, m'dear, is genius.

Actually, that goes for Dinah in reverse, too. I disliked what little I saw of her series-wise, but your!Dinah is absolutely awesome. Mallet is pretty danged cool in his own way - and Frank, well, he's Frank, but he's somehow not as irritating as he could be. Exasperating, yeah, but not annoying in the sense of "omg just kill the character and be done with it already." You've done a decent job making him appear human, if insanely dense. *eyeroll* And little characters like Ashlee just add a great sense of depth to the whole thing.

If I beg and offer cookies, can we have the next chapter sooner? xD I'm totally hooked. Great job!!!
seftiri: Guiding Light Springfield Signseftiri on April 11th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
Secret? I like sane!Phillip on the show, too. :)

That being said, however, I'm ridiculously pleased that my evil!Phillip has inspired actual outbursts at the screen. That's exactly what I was hoping for with him. So thank you!

More will be coming soon, I hope. Glad you are liking the story so much!
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seftiri: Olivia Spencer Sweet Smileseftiri on April 11th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
I wish I had an Olivia Spencer ::squee:: icon to use because I am so glad you approve. Yes, I was worried. Yes, you can smack me upside the back of my head if you wish.

I'm hoping to have 14 up by Tuesday. :) I am working on some homework at the moment then plan to write the rest of 14 tonight and get it off to the betas, four amazing women who act like a forge to my untempered steel. We'll see if I manage it. I am woefully behind on the homework front.

Too bad I didn't realize I'd also be majoring in Otalia this semester....

PS: a little nugget for you to ponder...the earrings become important later. /cryptic ;)
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seftiri: LMAOseftiri on April 12th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
::rubs back of head:: Consider me properly chastised! ;)

Your patience will be rewarded. Promise!

Now I'm off to finish chapter 14. Yay!