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16 May 2009 @ 04:51 pm
Fic: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 20), GL, Olivia/Natalia  
Title: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 20)
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. 


Something--a sound, maybe, or the train jostling along the tracks--wakes me from a sleep that I never intended to fall into.  There was so much to do, but right now I can't remember what any of it was.  I try to move my head, hissing with pain.  The crick in my neck is excruciating and my eyes are dry and sticky.  I feel grimy and gritty and unclean and I really, really want to take a shower.  I raise my hands to rub the last of the sleep from my eyes, only to realize I'm clutching my cell phone like a lifeline.  For a second, I have no idea why.  Then I remember....

Oh my God!  Sam!

I check it for recent calls and there's nothing.  Dammit.  Where is he?  I sigh, realizing he could be anywhere in the world.  I wouldn't know.  How would I know?  I hardly ever talk to him.  My own freakin' brother, the last of my blood family, the little boy who used to follow me around like a puppy when we were kids...and I can't be bothered to call him more than once a month.  If that.  He still sends me flowers every Mother's Day and signs the card the same every time: "To the best big sister ever.  Thanks for being a mom for us when we needed one."  The first time I got that bouquet, I didn't get out of bed for a week.  Some Gerber daisies and a tiny card was all it took to knock me on my ass, drowning in guilt and shame.  The last time...well, it barely even registered.  It was after my transplant and I was still...not well.  Not ready for anyone to love me again.  Not ready to love myself again.

Emma's head is in my lap and she's fast asleep.  I know she's snoring softly though I can't hear it above the noise of the train.  I run my fingers over the side of her face and through her hair.  She has a lot of Sam in her.  Her curiosity, her boundless energy, her sweet temperament....  Those things didn't come from me and they damn sure didn't come from Phillip.  It has to be Sam.  And here I am, practically ignoring the man that could be so much more to Emma.  The father figure she needs and deserves.  A man whom I trust and love already, who won't run out on me, on us.  Who won't make promises he can't keep.  And I've relegated him to the realm of...what?  Obligation?  Is that any way to treat family?

No.  No, it isn't.  You taught me better than that.
I look across the aisle of the train to where you're sitting.  You're awake and looking out the window, watching the lights of sleeping towns go by as we roll past them in the darkness.  Your hair is unbound and falls around your face and shoulder like an ebony curtain, hiding your expression from me.  You are so beautiful.  My heart fills with a confusing mixture of love and anguish, clenching in my chest like a fist, stealing my breath.

Dammit, Gus, I curse, feeling tears sting my eyes.  You forgot something!  When you went away, you left your love for her in this beautiful heart you gave me.  And now it's in me so deeply, I can't remember what not loving her feels like!  She's changing me....  Cell by cell, atom by atom, she's recreating me.  And it feels so right!  Like this is who I was meant to be!  But it isn't, is it?  It's just a dream I can never have.  She would never understand, never accept my love for her.  How could she?  It's...it's not worth having.  It's not safe, not normal.  And I'm not worth having either. 

You lift one hand and wipe something from your cheek.  It's then that I realize you're crying.

No, no, no.... 

I know I should keep my ass in this seat.  I know I should stay right where I am.  But I won't.  I can't.  I'm drawn to you like the sea to the sand, stretching toward you even as I'm pulling away.  Back and forth I move and you, my constant shoreline, are blissfully unaware of the spell I'm under.  It'd be laughable if it weren't so sad. 

I slide out from underneath Emma, making sure she's comfortable and still sleeping before I cross the aisle to you.  Our car is nearly empty of other passengers and the few that are here are either sleeping or are safe inside their artificial bubbles of privacy afforded by mp3 players and laptops and--for the old school amongst us--thick paperback books.  I sit in the aisle seat next to you and place my hand on your arm.  You jump.

"Hey," I say softly.  I try for soothing but you look anything but calm.  "Are you okay?"  I know the answer before you even open your mouth; I see the Bible in your lap.

You wipe your eyes and you don't look at me.  I can feel you trembling and I pull my hand away so I don't imagine it's me who makes you do that.  "It's all my fault," you whisper brokenly.  "I'm so sorry, Olivia.  It's all my fault...."

I have no idea what you're talking about and I shake my head.  "What's your fault?"

You glance up at me with frightened eyes, black under the dim reading light over your head.  "We almost got caught...back there.  Because of me.  Because I couldn't walk away."

Oh, that.  I smirk at myself.  How soon we forget.  A couple of hours of crappy sleep on a train and the sight of you crying, and my memory turns into Swiss cheese.

Then I frown.  I don't know what happened in the cafeteria.  One minute I was about to fall asleep in my Pasta Primavera while Emma asked me if you'd be bringing her more ketchup and the next minute, I was on my feet, ready to come get you.  I couldn't hear what was going on but everything in your bearing said you were arguing with that woman.  And everything in me wanted to come to your rescue.  Except I didn't think you needed it.  You seemed to be handling it fine on your own.

"Couldn't walk away from what?"  I don't really want to know, do I?  I can tell by the look in your eyes, the one that's making my stomach lurch with dread.  But I'll hear this confession, powerless to turn away from you.  "What happened?"

"I--I don't know.  I don't know what she saw or what she thought she saw but--but a woman--a stranger--called us 'filthy'...'godless'...and I couldn't...couldn't hear that.  She had no right!  She doesn't know us!" 

'Filthy?'  'Godless?'  What?  Who says things like that to a complete stranger?  Especially when that stranger is you?  Anyone can see--  I mean, what would ever make anyone--  Oh.  Suddenly I know what it was and my heart sinks like a stone.  Oh, no....

I close my eyes.  It's so much worse than I imagined.  Some vicious cow saw what's in my heart and attacked you for it.  Fucking hell!  I'm ruining everything without even trying.  God!

"She didn't know what she was talking about," you continue angrily.  "She had no idea what she was saying!  It was just hateful and...and wrong!  But I couldn't walk away!  I had to...to stop her.  And because of that, the other woman recognized me and called the police!  Oh God, Olivia!  I'm so sorry....  I almost got us caught.  Because of me, Phillip almost had Emma!"

"Shhh...."  I pull you into my arms, fully, painfully aware of the Bible pressed between us.  I run my fingers through your hair, trying to keep my touch light, comforting.  "It's okay.  It's not your fault."

"If I had just kept my mouth shut...."  Your head is tucked under mine and I feel your voice against my breastbone.  It makes me shiver even when I know better.  I can't help it, even now.  Goddammit!

I pull back for a moment and catch your eye.  "It could just as easily have been me, you know.  I offered to take care of the spill, didn't I?"  I chuckle morosely.  "Think about what would have happened if she'd said those things to me.  Remember Towers--with the PTA mommies?" 

Your eyes widen as realization dawns in them and now my voice is serious.  "You got us out of there, Natalia.  You kept your head, came up with a plan, and executed it flawlessly--without any help from me.  Or anyone else, for that matter.  I couldn't have done that."  

You shake your head, not believing me.  "But--"

"No buts," I say, cupping your chin in my hand.  "It's all true, isn't it?"  When you finally nod--reluctantly--I let a small smile curve my lips and let you go.  "Forget about what happened in the cafeteria.  We're fine, everything worked out--"

"What if it hadn't, Olivia?  Where would Emma be now?  Where would you or I be?"

Suddenly my mouth feels like it's filled with sand.  Your eyes, your beautiful eyes, are stained with dread, with doubt and...and I put it there.  Me!  This is my fault!  I look at you more closely and see the exhaustion that you're trying so hard to hide, see the worry and the tension in your face, your body.  My heart begins to race in my chest like an over-wound clock, like time slipping through my fingers.

"We're fine, Natalia," I say, my voice pleading.  "It's fine--"

"No, it isn't!" you hiss, burying your face in your hands.  Please don't cry! I think.  I can handle anything but that right now.  Please don't cry....  "You don't know that!" you continue, swiping angrily at your tears as they fall.  "It's not fine!  Everything's moving too--too fast!  It's spinning out of control and I can't--I don't--"

"You said we could do this," I whisper harshly.  I know I'm practically begging now, but I don't care.  You said we could do this.  Don't...don't do what you did when Alan started in on me about Emma.  Don't--oh God--you're giving up and I don't know what to do, how to fix this.  The laundry metaphor isn't going to work here, I think, whining.  This is too big, too fucked up.  I can't...breathe right.  I feel dizzy.  "Natalia, you said--"

"Olivia," you say, taking my hands in your own.  Your voice is calm, empty of inflection.  Your eyes are empty, too.  I've never seen you like this.  You're scaring me.  "Olivia, we should--we should split up."
For a second, I have no idea what you've said.  By the time my brain catches up to my ears, it's like a bomb has gone off inside my skull.  I can't hear anything.  Not you, not the train, not even my own heartbeat.
You're leaving me.  It's too much....  All this...it's too much for you so you're going.  Just like that.  You're going.

The whole world and everything in it stops.  Just stops dead, contracting down to that one airless, incomprehensible concept.  Then--without warning--it explodes outward again, like the Big Bang, obliterating everything in its path, replacing it with this new, sickening reality.
Oh God!  You're leaving me!  I did it, I fucked it up, and I wasn't even there when it happened!
Gus' heart was too open.  I couldn't--I couldn't stop it.  I couldn't hold back my love for you and it--it ruined everything.
Tears rush to my eyes and I can't stop them.  I think I'm going to throw up.  Everything is swimming in front of me, your face melting inside my tears, your hands reaching for my face.
The pain comes then, and I knew it would.  Somehow I knew this was all it would take to end me: you walking away.  Agony lances through my chest like I've been stabbed--like I've been ripped open by one of your fucking garden claws--and I clutch at the place where there should be a gaping hole.  Where there should be blood and meat and bone.  I pitch forward in the seat, struggling to breathe.  My lungs are made of wet newspaper and I feel my throat closing around the ache of un-wailed grief.
I'm going to die.  Right here on this fucking train to Albuquerque.  In front of you.  You, the one thing I can't have.  You, the one person that I'd give anything to keep.  Oh, God!  You're leaving me!  I've pushed you away and this fucking cowardly heart can't take it, can't keep beating for me anymore. 
A hissing noise that I can't place crowds out the rest of my thoughts and a veil of white gnaws at the edges of my vision....
I'm going to die.  Right here, practically in your arms.
And all I can think is I wanted to go home with you.  To our kitchen, green and warm.  Just one last time....


Comments are love!  (Unless they're death threats, in which case, they aren't so much love as...well, death threats.)

Repeat after me:  "She always writes happy endings...."


runetraverse: Otalia OTPrunetraverse on May 16th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
*can't speak, stares dumbfounded at the screen*

No, Olivia she's not - honey she doesn't blame you - Nat don't cry - it's not your fault, she's a bitchy old cow - good Liv, see, it's okay - no no no! Nat, don't SAY it like that!!! I know what you mean, but don't say it like that! - OMG, Olivia, don't you dare have a heart attack! No no no no no - *sticks fingers in her ears* La la la la la la la!!!!! I can't hear the bad things!!

You are so incredibly gifted, m'dear. *iz ded* As intense and emotional as this chapter is, I literally could NOT stop reading until the end, and then it killed me that there wasn't more. *pleads* More soon, pretty pretty please? And with Sam! (aside from the fact that the guy who plays him is gorgeous, bringing him in was utterly awesome. ^^)
(Deleted comment)
shayshaych_03 on May 16th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
and we have to wait *how* long?

it's a good darned thing i love this story to bits and bits.

you're killin' me here. killin' me!!

bellataggartbellataggart on May 17th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC)
OOOHHHH i love angstttt. And i cant believe you left it there!!! Seriously!
i literally cant wait for more. GREAT update.
Moutardmoutard on May 17th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
i almost cried there.
this is amazinglywonderful.

ah. still so addicting.
Revolos55: Charmed - Love Kills Your Soulrevolos55 on May 21st, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
"To the best big sister ever. Thanks for being a mom for us when we needed one." - Aww :D

You taught me better than that. - Glee!

Gah! I love that whole section of Olivia talking to Gus. Heartsqueeze!

for the old school amongst us--thick paperback books. - Heh!

Some vicious cow saw what's in my heart and attacked you for it. Fucking hell! I'm ruining everything without even trying. - Grrargh! No no no. Stupid misunderstandings!

"Think about what would have happened if she'd said those things to me. Remember Towers--with the PTA mommies?" - Oh dear...

I put it there. Me! This is my fault! - Man, this is the nonsense that had me tearing my hair out with the show. For the love of Pete, talk to each other!

Please don't cry! I think. I can handle anything but that right now. Please don't cry. - Awww :(

This is too big, too fucked up. I can't...breathe right. I feel dizzy. "Natalia, you said--" - Ack!

"Olivia, we should--we should split up." - ....What? NO! Nononononono!

The pain comes then, and I knew it would. Somehow I knew this was all it would take to end me: you walking away. Agony lances through my chest like I've been stabbed--like I've been ripped open by one of your fucking garden claws--and I clutch at the place where there should be a gaping hole. Where there should be blood and meat and bone. I pitch forward in the seat, struggling to breathe. - Oh fuck! Shit! Not good!

...Please, for the love of God tell me that the next chapter is coming soon.

*deep breath*

"She always writes happy endings. She always writes happy endings. She always writes happy endings. She always writes happy endings"