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15 June 2009 @ 09:20 pm
Fic: Hide Beside Me, GL, Olivia/Natalia  
Title: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 24)
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 and fewthistle 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.



DAYS INN -- OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
NATALIA RIVERA

This is the smallest coffeemaker I've ever seen, I think, looking down at the tiny white machine next to the sink in this minuscule bathroom.  I'll have to run it twice just to get enough for your first cup.

If you'll even let me do that anymore. 

I look in the mirror over the sink.  I look...tired.  My face is pale and there are purple shadows under my eyes again.  I've never been so tired in my whole life.  Not even when Rafe had croup and I was up with him for thirty-six hours straight, walking him back and forth in that tiny, hot bathroom in that tiny studio apartment on the South Side that I hated.

My eyes are empty and I can't even manage to--  I don't feel anything.  Everything seems trapped, frozen beneath this blank look on my face. 

"I'm in love with Olivia," says my reflection and there's no reaction, nothing beyond a slow blink.  Why?  I search for my feelings in the depth of my eyes, in the tiny lines around my mouth...but there's nothing.  I've felt this way so long now--forever it seems--that my face has forgotten how to acknowledge it.

"She loves me back," my reflection continues and there's no stopping the wave of elation that overtakes me, crashing into me with the force of a house falling out of the sky.  Everything in me comes to life with that thought and I can feel again.  The dark smudges under my eyes disappear briefly under the heat of my joy...until....

Until I remember you walking away from me this afternoon and my heart shrivels in my chest.

I didn't think I'd ever get you back in the car.  I really believe it was the fact that Emma was in the car that made you get back in it.  I don't know how many times I said, "Please, Olivia!"  But you kept walking along the shoulder, tears blurring your vision, and I kept edging up behind you, pleading with you through the open passenger side window and praying that no state troopers would see us.  Finally Emma called out to you and you stopped, staring at her...or through her.  You got back in the car and, relieved, I pulled back onto 40 before you'd even managed to fasten your seatbelt.  I wasn't going to risk you changing your mind. 

You haven't said one word to me since the argument on the side of the road.

I'm getting used to it, actually.  I don't know what I'd say to you if you decided to talk to me, anyway. 

Except...I do. 

I'd say, "Please, Olivia...." but what I'd mean is Don't walk away from me.  Not this time.  Not ever again. 

I'd say, "I love you...." but what I'd mean is I see you--all of you--good and bad...and you fill me up.  You're in places inside of me that I never even knew existed.  There is nothing about you that isn't a part of me now, too.

But...what would you say in return?

"I can't," you said last night, just after I almost kissed you.

Why can't you?  What's stopping you?

You love me.  You're in love with me.  I'm sure of it.  I saw it!  I saw it in your eyes...and seeing it made me realize how many times I've seen it before.  In the laundromat in Kansas, in the bathroom doorway in Omaha, across the dinner table from you in South Dakota....  A thousand times before those, too--and after.  You love me and that's what my entire life has been about.  I know it now--see it clearly for the first time.  Everything I've been through, every terrifying moment that I endured, that made me stronger, has been preparing me for this, for being here for you and for Emma.  This is God's will, His Divine Plan for me.  You are the love of my life and that's God's work!  I refuse to be blind to it or fight it any longer.  

But...why won't you tell me?  Why wouldn't you let me kiss you?

Is it...me?  Something about me?  Is it because I'm a woman?  Or poor?  Is it my past?  Is it something else?

I know...I know I'm nothing special.  Just a Colombian throwaway with a bastard child.  I don't even have a high school diploma.  And you're...you're Olivia Spencer! 

Is it the differences between us keeping you from me?  Am I not good enough?

I feel tears sting my eyes and I cover my face with my hands.  I don't want to cry.  Not over this.  Not when Emma's in so much danger, not when you have so much to fear. 

You--both of you--need me to be strong, to be here for you.

I look through my fingers and something glints in the mirror, reflecting the bad fluorescent light.  My rings. 

Actually, Gus' rings...one of them deemed 'magic' so we can lie to your daughter just a little longer.  And really, they were magic to me...for a while.  But looking at them in the mirror, I realize the magic has worn away, and now they're heavy on my hand, weighing me down, tying me to a dream that's been dead and gone since that cold morning I buried Gus on that hillside.  Once those ties comforted me, reminded me that I was Gus' wife--even if it was for just a little while.  But now I know...I know that marriage was only a dream.  From the beginning. 

For seventeen years, Nicky was all I thought about.  I stayed faithful to a fantasy, conjuring him every night at the lonely dinner tables that Rafe and I ate at, or in my empty bed, praying for a day that he would come back to me, to us, and make our lives real again, whole again.

I found him--unexpectedly--and finding him seemed like God's will, written in the stone of my heart.  I came to Springfield, my eyes filled with fantasies so consuming that I stole a stranger from his family and made him mine.  I almost killed you in the process, but for a few blessed months, the man I thought of as 'Nicky' sat--solid and real--at my lonely dinner table and slept beside me in my bed.  I had all that I thought I wanted...until he died and the dream turned to ashes in my hands. 

But even after he died, I held on.  His heart in your chest.  A reason to go on living, to keep you going on, too--the woman he cared so much for.  Believing he lived on through you. 

All delusion, because....

"Because Harley was the love of your life, Nicky.  And I always knew that.  Somehow, I always knew."  I close my eyes and conjure Nicky again, imagining him standing behind me, his dark eyes apologizing, even still.  Apologizing for ruining my girlhood, for leaving me alone with nothing but Rafe to hold onto, for loving Harley more than he loved me.... 

I saw it all but I hid from it, a child under the stairs, believing noises to be monsters.  And Gus never said a word, thinking he owed me, thinking he was protecting me-- 

I look back up into the mirror, into my eyes, and I realize in a flash what it is that's keeping you from acknowledging what's going on between us.  You think you're protecting me, too!  You're...you're doing what he did.  Apologizing for what you are, for what you think the truth will do to me.  Gus didn't think he loved me enough and he kept the truth from me, making our marriage a lie.  You....  You think you love me too much.  Oh my God.  You think your love for me is wrong!  That it will hurt me somehow....

Heat, this time from anger, melts the last of the inertia from my body.  I don't need your protection!  I need you!

There it is, determination in my eyes.  The 'freakin' superhero' you're so obsessed with is back.  No more second-guessing myself, no more blame.  God put me here for a reason, brought us together for a reason.  We're going to protect Emma.  We're going to figure this all out.  And somehow, we're going to do it together.  We're both superheroes.  It's us together that's going to make all the difference.

I look down at the pair of scissors, glinting in the light next to the bowl of the sink, resting innocently on the faux granite counter top.  I reach for them and they're cold and hard in my hand, solid and real. 

The first step....

I'm still the one that people are going to remember from the Amber Alert.  I won't leave you.  Not now.  That's the thing I can't do.  It would be impossible.

So I have to change how I look.

I grab a hank of my hair with one hand and raise the scissors with the other.  It's like a rope, long and strong and dark.  Black coffee strands of history in my hand, like that tribe that kept its records tied up in knots of string.  I saw them in a museum, once.  The sign said no one knew how to interpret them anymore, a thousand years of history lost in the long, stretched-out time between knowing and forgetting.

I take a deep breath and slide the scissors over my fist, closing my eyes as I close the blades, the long, sharp sniiiiiiiiiiiiip sound jarring me.  My history comes away in my hand.  Long, dusty summers in the cartel's compound followed by long, lonely years running from my father's rage....  I hold it in my hand, then let it go, watching it drop to the floor around my bare feet.  After a long moment, I look back up into the mirror, tears of defiance blurring my vision.  I close a fist around more dark locks.

This hair was growing before I came to Springfield.  Before I saw Nicky again, after seventeen years of longing and wishing and hoping.

Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip.

Before I slept with him.  Before I told Harley that I had.

Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip.

Before I took him from her.  Before I married him.

Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip.

Before Gus died, rushing to your side in the hospital.  Before I gave you his heart.

Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip.

Before Rafe shot Jeffrey.  Before he went to prison.

Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip.

Before I lost the $80,000.  Before you got it back for me.

Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip.

Before I bought the farmhouse.  Before you and Emma moved in with me.

Sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip.

Before I realized what was happening between us.  Before I gave you my heart....

I blink at my reflection in the mirror.  I'm still holding the last of what I cut in my hand and it feels...strange.  Dead and lifeless, even though I know it was dead before, too.  What's left of my hair curls softly along my jawline and my head feels both light and vulnerable, like I've taken off armor or put down a shield.  The woman that looks back at me from the mirror is both familiar and completely unknown to me.  Naked now to God's plan...and to whatever you decide about us. 

But I'm not afraid.  I was born to do this.

I'm still staring at the new Natalia Rivera, my past scattered along the counter top and the floor, when you suddenly appear in the mirror beside me, your emerald eyes paling with unconcealed horror when you see me.

"Oh my God," you breathe, staring at my reflection.  You reach out one hand as if to touch me...but you don't.  You're shaking and I can't tell if it's with guilt or despair.

"What have you done?"


TBC

Comments are love!

DiNovia
 
 
 
shay: fallingshaych_03 on June 16th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)
oh god that is so good. so wonderful and lush with imagery. *sigh* it's almost too much to endure, but so, so worth it.

and now i'm imagining her with short hair. yum :)

more soon, please? :)
carinjocarinjo on June 16th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
i loved the way how you described her cutting off her past. looking forward to the next bit.
soul2angel on June 16th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
awesome
wooow this is sooo deep and amazingly beautiful and inciteful... just wicked
hurry back please
soul2angel on June 16th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
awesome
wooow this is sooo deep and amazingly beautiful and inciteful... just wicked
hurry back please
(Deleted comment)
Revolos55: Otalia - Advocate Blooper LOLrevolos55 on June 22nd, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)
Love the "I love Olivia"/"She loves me back" contrasting reactions :D

Until I remember you walking away from me this afternoon and my heart shrivels in my chest. - Awww :(

There is nothing about you that isn't a part of me now, too. - Great line.

I saw it in your eyes...and seeing it made me realize how many times I've seen it before. - Love that realization.

I know...I know I'm nothing special. Just a Colombian throwaway with a bastard child. I don't even have a high school diploma. And you're...you're Olivia Spencer! / Is it the differences between us keeping you from me? Am I not good enough? - Oh, that's so sad :(

I came to Springfield, my eyes filled with fantasies so consuming that I stole a stranger from his family and made him mine. I almost killed you in the process, but for a few blessed months, the man I thought of as 'Nicky' sat--solid and real--at my lonely dinner table and slept beside me in my bed. I had all that I thought I wanted...until he died and the dream turned to ashes in my hands. - Awesome stuff!

You think you're protecting me, too! You're...you're doing what he did. Apologizing for what you are, for what you think the truth will do to me. Gus didn't think he loved me enough and he kept the truth from me, making our marriage a lie. You.... You think you love me too much. Oh my God. You think your love for me is wrong! That it will hurt me somehow.... - More awesome stuff!!

Heat, this time from anger, melts the last of the inertia from my body. I don't need your protection! I need you! / There it is, determination in my eyes. The 'freakin' superhero' you're so obsessed with is back. - Woot! Yee-ha!!!

MOAR!

Edited at 2009-06-22 06:10 am (UTC)