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16 April 2009 @ 12:45 am
Fic: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 14), GL, Olivia/Natalia  
Title: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 14)
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 exposition with multiple characters.  I am very interested in knowing whether this style works how I have intended it, so let me know.
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.  And for this segment alone, a cryptic thank you to Steve Martin.  Yes, Steve "Wild-and-Crazy-Guy" Martin.  You'll know why when you get to it.



INTERSTATE 70 WEST SOMEWHERE EAST OF CAMEO, CO
NATALIA RIVERA

The snow came out of nowhere only ten miles ago and it seems to be following--no, chasing us--down the interstate.  I'm concentrating so hard on the road and the thwupthwup of the windshield wipers, a migraine is starting over my left eye.  You are not helping.

"Natalia, just--  You can slow down, you know."  You're gripping the dashboard in abject terror, your knuckles white.  "I mean, I'm in no hurry to drive through the guard rail into a flooding river.  Are you?"  Your nervous laughter grates on my last nerve.  I can't answer you because I'm too busy clenching my teeth against the words I want to say.  They're not nice.

We're already crawling down this dark, slick, twisted mountain road at 22 miles per hour!  What more do you want from me?  I haven't taken my foot off the brake for a split second in the last six miles!

"No, seriously, Natalia--do you want me to drive?  Because I will.  I...I'd really rather not have us go all to pieces, ya know?  Frozen, broken, bloody--"

"Okay, Olivia?  You can just--"  Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! I scream in my head.  The migraine instantly gets worse and I catch myself before I close my eyes against the pain.  Bad idea.  Very, very bad.  "--just be quiet.  I'm doing the best I can."  I glance at the GPS mounted over the radio.  "We've only got eight or nine more miles before we get to the hotel.  We'll make it.  I promise we'll make it.  Without your expertise behind the wheel.  And without driving the van into the river.  Okay?  Can you just relax for fifteen more minutes?  Can you?  Because up until now, you've been as silent as a stone.  I'm starting to think I liked it better that way."

My voice is short, sharp, and tight and I see it cut you.  Your hurt feelings bleed into your eyes, dark jade green in the dim light of the dash.  Then your mouth twists into a condescending scowl. 

Here it comes, I think, resisting the urge to roll my eyes.  That would only make it worse.  Because I've seen that look before.  You're about to let me have it.

"Fine," you snarl, baring your teeth at me in a sneer.  "You want to kill us all, be my guest!  So what if they never find our bodies?  So what if we drown at the bottom of some God-forsaken ravine?  As long as you get to be right, right?  As long as you--"

"Oh, stop it!  Stop it, Olivia!"  I risk prying the fingers of my right hand off the steering wheel for two seconds so I can punctuate my words with a gesture.  "Just don't.  In case you haven't noticed, I'm trying to drive--"

"Doin' a great job, too!"

I ignore you.  "--to drive down this twisty, crazy, icy road.  In the dark.  In a snowstorm!  I really don't have time for your asinine drama queen histrionics right now!"

"My what??"

I'm just about to say something brilliant like 'You heard me!' when Emma bursts into tears in the backseat and everything else flies right out of my head.  The snow, my migraine, the hurt in your eyes...everything.  You must be having the same reaction, because you're turning to your daughter even as I look desperately for a place to stop along the road.  There's no shoulder--just a rusty, ridiculous guard rail standing between us and a ribbon of deep, dark water--but there's a snow-spotted median separating the westbound and eastbound traffic.  Not that there's much of either at the moment.  I slap the hazards on and pull onto the rocky strip of earth.  I've barely put the van into park before I'm out of my seatbelt and my seat, climbing in the back to gather Emma into my arms.  I'm a second ahead of you and I feel your arms wrap around us both.

She sobs--heartbroken, shuddering sobs--and begs us to stop fighting.  I don't know about you but I feel like the biggest...the biggest heel on the planet right now.  I forgot she was there!  I was so...so tangled up in the weather and the driving and the argument with you that I forgot Emma was in the car.  God, I feel like the worst mother alive.

We talk over each other trying to soothe her.  "Shhh....  Sweetie, Emma...."  "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!  Sweetie, it's okay--"  "We'll stop.  We've stopped.  Emma?  Please, baby...."  "We didn't mean it!  We're just tired and--and being silly.  Please, Emma.  It's okay.  I promise, it's okay."

Eventually she quiets a little, her breath coming in short gasps, her face glistening with tears.  The blinking amber hazard lights on the dash give her tears a golden hue and I cup her face in my gloved hands and wipe them away as best I can.  You're searching the pockets of your coat for a Kleenex or something for her to blow her nose into.  I can see the silver tracks of your own silent tears before you surreptitiously wipe them away.  I've just gone from feeling like a heel to feeling like a Class-A jerk in a single heartbeat. 

"Why do you fight like that?" asks Emma piteously, between gulps of air.  Okay, scratch jerk.  I'm an ass

"Oh Emma," I sigh sadly.  "I'm sorry.  So, so sorry.  It was my fault--"  You're shaking your head and getting ready to argue with me again--I can tell--but I hold up a hand to stop you.  "I was...I was frustrated and scared because of the snow and because the road was steep and tricky to drive and--"  And your Mommy hasn't spoken a single word to me since we got in this stupid van this morning and I don't know why!  I want to know why!  "--and I took it out on your Mommy.  I shouldn't have.  It was wrong--"

"Natalia, no," you interrupt me, unable to keep quiet any longer.  "It was my fault!  I was...."  You swallow reflexively and I see the pallor of your face as if for the first time.  "I'm not...good with these steep, twisty--with the river right there!--and I was...scared.  Terrified, really.  And when I get like that, I go a little--okay, a lot crazy.  I should have kept my mouth shut.  I don't have...have any idea what I was thinking--"

Just as I'm about to tell you it's all my fault again, there's a knock on the drivers' side door.  We both freeze, looking at each other like deer caught in the headlights.  I don't know what to do.  Who could it be?

There's another knock and a deep, male voice calls "Colorado State Police!  Are you okay in there?"

You look at me helplessly and I realize that this is something I will have to deal with myself.  However unprepared I am for that at the moment.  I climb back up into my seat and roll the window down.  The snow is still coming down heavily and the officer outside is wearing one of those official police issue ponchos that I have always thought were so funny.  I don't know why, but the ponchos and the wide brimmed trooper hats together always make me think of ducks.

"We're fine, Officer," I say, smiling.  "We...um...pulled over because of the snow.  We just wanted to give it a minute to let up.  We don't know the area very well and...and it was coming down pretty hard."

The officer glances at me and then into the back seat.  He shines his flashlight right into Emma's eyes and she whimpers a little.  "Sorry," he says brusquely, but his eyes are kind, worried.  He points the flashlight back at the ground outside.  "Where are you headed?" he asks me.

"Grand Junction," I reply.  "We're stopping there for the night.  We're on our way to the Grand Canyon."  The snow hitting his poncho makes a hissing sound that's almost comforting.  I shield my eyes from a pair of approaching headlights.

He nods once.  "Well, you're almost there.  Just a couple of miles down the road here.  This snow should start to let up a bit in a few minutes but I wouldn't stay parked here too long if I were you.  These medians can get pretty boggy with mud.  Wouldn't want you stuck here for the night."

"Oh....  Thank you, Officer.  I never thought--"  He holds up a gloved hand and I fall silent.  He's frowning a little and suddenly I'm worried that he's going to ask for my driver's license and the registration for the van.  I have both but I don't really want to risk giving them to him.  I'll have to give him the real ones and then there will be a police report on file.  Frank could find something like that easily.  And Phillip, too, probably.  Our plan's success depends on flying as low under the radar as possible.  Attracting the attention of state troopers really doesn't qualify.

"Is the little girl okay?" he asks gruffly.  I glance back at Emma and smile softly.

"She will be.  We're all tired--a long day in the car and now the snow--  Her mother and I were arguing.  We upset her...a little bit."  Okay, a lot.  I'll make it up to her.  I will.

He issues me an official state trooper half-grin.  "I have two of my own," he says mildly.  "Makes you wish you could just drug 'em for the long trips, doesn't it?"

I laugh weakly and glance back at you, only to see you covering your eyes with your hand.  Before I can mumble a reply, the trooper tips his hat at me.  "You three be careful, okay?  Have a safe trip."

I thank him again and roll up the window, watching him in the side mirror as he returns to his cruiser.  He turns his turn signal on and pulls back onto the road, heading east away from Grand Junction now.  When his brake lights disappear finally, I let out the breath I've been holding.

"That was...."

"Close," you finish for me and your eyes are wide and gray in the dim light. 

I look at you and realize we're both a little rattled.  I should get us to the hotel, get us out of the snow and warmed up.  And...and I think we all need a little TLC after...all this.  I have an idea about how to make that happen and a slow smile spreads across my face.  But first things first.

"Emma?" I ask, turning to your little girl.  Her tears are all dried up but she still isn't smiling.  She looks a little...thoughtful.  Uh oh.

"Yeah?" she asks as you climb back into the passenger seat.  I hear the sturdy click of your seatbelt and it makes me smile a little.  You used to be hit or miss with seatbelts until I lectured you for five minutes one very cold winter morning.  With the heat off.  Now it's become a habit, you buckling up every time you're in the car.  It shouldn't please me as much as it does.  It really shouldn't.

"I want you to know how sorry I am about the...the argument and making you cry.  I didn't mean--"

"I know, Natalia," she says softly.  "It's okay.  But...."  She chews her lip, just like you do when you're wondering if you should say something or not.  As if the chewing can somehow hold back the words.

"But....?" 

"Well, since you were fighting with Mommy, shouldn't you...shouldn't you say sorry to her, too?"  Her eyes are worried but they're also confident.  She knows she's right.

'And a little child shall lead them,' I think.  I glance upward.  Thank You for reminding me.

I look at you and you have the same look on your face that I do, I bet.  Chagrined doesn't even begin to cover it. 

"It's okay," you whisper, averting your eyes.  "You don't have to--"

I put my hand on your arm.  "I want to, Olivia," I say sincerely.  "I should be apologizing to you.  She's right; apologizing to her is too easy."

"'Right....'"  You chuckle morosely.  "I wonder where she gets that from.  It's certainly not from me."

I shake my head at you.  "That's just not true, Olivia.  You're a wonderful mother.  I've been meaning to...to tell you that for a...while.  I'm sorry that I didn't.  I'm sorry, too, for taking my frustration with--"  I gesture out at the snow and the night and this whole frightening place we're in right now.  "--all this out on you."  I glance at you, then look at my hand on your arm.  I suddenly feel a little...lightheaded.  "Forgive me?"

You look sideways at me, grinning that crooked, mischievous grin that I love.

"Only if you forgive me first."

I laugh.  "Deal," I agree.  "After all, you were being kind of a--"

"Eh!" you say, holding up a finger in a very familiar way.  "Language!" 

I narrow my eyes.  You know very well I was going to say "a pain."  So I decide I'll change it to something else.  See how you like this! 

"--a poopyhead," I amend pointedly.  You and Emma both burst into laughter and my heart stops.  It's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard and I wish I could hear it every day.  Every single day.

"Well, this 'poopyhead' would like to get back on the road, if that's okay.  She's freezing her pooper off!"

Emma squeals with glee and suddenly I regret starting this.  "Olivia!" I scold, turning on the van.  I turn off the hazards and flip the right turn signal on.  I wonder briefly who I'm signaling to since not a single car has passed us--in either direction--since the trooper left. 

"What?" you ask, all innocence.  I smirk at you.

"Can I use that word?" asks Emma excitedly.

Our answer is emphatic, unanimous, and simultaneous.  "No!" we say--then look at each other, half shocked and half amused.

"Awww!"  Her disappointment makes her scowl.  I see her in the rear view mirror and almost laugh out loud.  She looks just like you when she does that.  She's adorable.

You cover your eyes with one gloved hand as I ease the van back onto the road.  "Yeah, that wasn't well thought out on my part, was it?"

"Not so much, no," I tell you, grinning at you.  "But I've learned to expect that from you." 

Your outraged look makes me laugh.  "That was fast!  What happened to me being 'a wonderful mother?'"

"Oh, you still are," I assure you.  "You just have a big mouth."

"Could be worse!" you counter.  "I could have your nose!"

"Ah!" I exclaim, covering my nose with a gloved hand.  "What's wrong with my nose?"

You laugh helplessly.  "I just have one question: when you stop to smell the roses, are they afraid?"

"Oh, you--you--poopyhead!"  I swat your arm indignantly.

"Wait--isn't this where I came in?" you ask, your eyes twinkling.  We continue the banter the entire way to the hotel and it isn't until I've parked and gone inside to get us a room--you've corralled a bellboy to help you with Emma and the bags--that I realize you probably did all that on purpose, to make the last nine miles fun for me rather than harrowing.  You put aside your own fear and made me laugh just so we could all get here in one piece...happily.  Suddenly I'm reminded of those too brief moments this morning, wrapped in your arms, feeling safe for the first time in a long, long time.

I glance at you standing in the front door of the hotel, directing the pimply boy with the gold name tag how to stack our bags on the cart.  You're holding the duffel bag in one hand and Emma's hand in the other and I want nothing more than to wake up feeling safe again, feeling protected.  I turn back to the pretty redhead behind the desk, chewing my upper lip. 

This is wrong, what I'm thinking.  Isn't it?  I shouldn't want this as much as I do.  But....

Before I know exactly what I'm doing, I ask, "I'm sorry, but can you change that room to a king suite?"

She stops typing and looks up at me, confused.  "Sure," she says.  "Will you need a roll-away bed or--"

"No," I say hurriedly, glancing at you over my shoulder again.  "No.  But I will need some room service.  Can I order that now?"

She blinks.  "Absolutely, Ms. Santiago.  What can I get for you?"

"Three cheeseburgers, one with onions, three fries, three orange sodas, three ice cream sundaes, and a big bowl of popcorn, extra butter.  And deliver the ice cream sundaes and the popcorn an hour after the dinner, if that's okay."

The keys rattle under her fingers as she types the order in.  "That shouldn't be any problem at all," she assures me.  She hands me a little brochure with the hotel's name on the front.  "These are your keys," she explains.  "Your room is 3115 and the elevators are--"

"Down the hall and to the left," I say, smiling apologetically.  "We're on a long trip," I explain.  "Lots of hotels."

She smiles but it doesn't quite reach her eyes.  My smile slides away.

"All set?" you ask, walking up beside me.  I nearly jump. 

"Oh...yeah."  I feel my face heat under your scrutiny and I almost turn to the girl at the desk again and ask for the other room back, the one with the queen beds.  But if I do that, then you'll know what I've done and...and how will I explain it to you?

'Sorry Olivia, but I just wanted to wake up in your arms again.  It was a mistake.  It won't happen again.'

Yeah, no.  First, there is just no way I could ever say that to your face.  And secondly, it...it's not a mistake.  I...I don't know why or how I know that, but it can't be.  It just can't be a mistake to feel warm and safe like that. 

Right?

We get into the elevator and I glance nervously at you.  You're looking down at Emma with a weary smile and I can hardly breathe for the anticipation that I'm feeling right this moment. 

The emotion is so strong I lean against the rail on the wall to support myself and I think desperately of stopping the elevator and running back to the desk once more.  This is...too much.  It gnaws a hollow place in my middle like hunger, but for what?  Why do I need this so much?  Then you stroke Emma's head and something in that caress is familiar to me. 

Comfort....  That's what I want.  Comfort....  Like the comfort given to a child...a child who was beaten and afraid.... 

And there's nothing wrong with that.  Not one thing, no matter which way I look at it.

I grin, relief flooding through me. 

I'm not going to Hell after all.

-----
TBC



Comments are love!

DiNovia
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
seftiri: Natalia Rivera Intenseseftiri on April 18th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
LOL Thanks!
sallyrider on April 16th, 2009 07:11 am (UTC)
I'm completely hooked on your series (and on a soap opera, of all things!!!!). I remembered your name from years ago, and a Voyager story you wrote that just stuck with me. But this series is just addictive -- I'm delighted to hear that you have at least 28 more to go!
seftiri: Natalia Rivera Intenseseftiri on April 18th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
Thank you! And thanks for the Voyager comment! I still consider that my "home" fandom! :D
runetraverse: Otalia OTPrunetraverse on April 16th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, Nat. *snugs* You aren't going to hell for loving Olivia, I promise! You two are just - there's no words, okay? You're right for each other, you fit, and it's okay!

*goes back to regular commentary*

Okay, OMG! I love it, I love it! *glee* It's totally Olivia to just keep her mouth shut and try to avoid the whole bed issue, and to focus on something else - i.e. her freaked-out babbling about the road - and fiesty!Natalia was a total win. I wanted to hug poor Emma, that baby girl has no idea why her mommies are so tense. xD Though her "apologize to each other" had me cracking up. Yes, sweetheart, you are definitely a) more adult than your parents on occasion and b) Olivia Spencer's daughter. Their hugging in the car was way sweet. And the cop? *eyeroll* You got another RL squeak out of me for that one, m'dear. When I read "Colorado State Police! Are you okay in there?" I honestly squeaked "No!" at the monitor.

What else to say? The banter was AWESOME, you've got that down so well - and the unanimous "No!" had me giggling, 'cause it was just perfect. And of course, the ending had me caught between wanting to hug Natalia for her fear and doing an absolute fangirl-squee at the cuteness of it all.

More, please! *assumes the usual puppy eyes* I know the betas are busy, but I gotta beg a little. ^^ Fabulous as always, m'dear.
seftiri: Natalia Rivera Intenseseftiri on April 18th, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it so much! :D And I'm glad the trooper got a squeak. Makes me grin a little evilly for later. ;)

(Deleted comment)
seftiri: Natalia Rivera Intenseseftiri on April 18th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
LOL! Thank you!

Particularly about the comfort scene. That was a really fine line to walk and I had help getting it just right. Glad to hear it worked! :)

And yeah, Jellybean = terror. LOL Wouldn't have it any other way! Look at her parents!
bellataggartbellataggart on April 16th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
Excellent story. Read the whole thing in one sitting, Totally addicted already. Looking forward to more :)
seftiri: Natalia Rivera Intenseseftiri on April 18th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
Thank you! Glad you liked it!
(Deleted comment)
seftiri: Natalia Rivera Intenseseftiri on April 25th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
First! Fabulous icon!

Second, I'm so glad you enjoyed this! :)

Thirdly, chapters 15 and 16 are up, too, now. :D