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29 June 2009 @ 06:22 pm
Fic: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 25), GL, Olivia/Natalia  
Title: Hide Beside Me (Chapter 25)
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. 


Emma springs up in the bed like a jack-in-the-box as I open the door to check on her.  "Natalia?" she asks breathlessly before she sees me in the doorway.  "Oh.  Mommy."

"Jellybean," I sigh, dropping my hand from the doorknob.  I cross to the bed and sit down beside her.  "Natalia has her own room.  We talked about this--"

Her face crumples.  "But why?" she asks, her voice a high, plaintive whine.  But she answers her own question before I can even open my mouth.  "I know," she sulks.  "The police."  She glares at the rumpled comforter between us.  I wonder if she blames me for all of this.  Why wouldn't she?  I do.

I look at my little girl as she pulls her knees to her chest and hugs herself, the frown on her face making her look much older than her eight tender years.  She's so angry, so confused...and I'm so afraid that what we're going through is poisoning her spirit somehow.  How can I let that happen?  How can I ruin that surprising sweetness, that precious innocence?  Those things that come more from you than from either of her biological parents?  She's my baby girl and I'm dragging her all over the country, scaring her half to death, putting her and both of us at risk every day just to keep her from--

Just to keep her from Phillip.  Who stole her once, right out of her tiny bed with the pink and yellow Winnie the Pooh sheets.  Who was going to take her away, somewhere where I couldn't find her, where she'd be lost to me forever. 

I have never been so terrified in my life.

God, I love her so much! 

Tears rise up in the back of my throat and sting my eyes.  My body practically vibrates with the need to protect my baby and I know--right to the edges of my soul--that I would kill or die to keep her safe.  But....  We can't keep doing this.  We can't go on like this.  Now I'm the kidnapper in this story and every day my reasons for doing this to her are diminished by the price she has to pay--she's already paying.

This is no way to live.  This--this is just another kind of prison.  For her, for me.  And it won't work anyway.  I can feel him catching up to us.  He's like wildfire in a drought and we're the terrified deer fleeing the flames, bounding ahead blindly.  Eventually we'll run out of something--time or ground or luck or even gas--at just the wrong moment and wham!  He'll have her anyway and we'll all be ruined.

I cover my face with my hands for a moment.  This is all so--so crazy!  So out of control!

And you....  You're so turned around you almost.... 

I close my eyes for a moment and touch my lips with my fingers, remembering the almost-kiss on the train.  You were so close, I could feel your breath, your heat on my skin.

I could almost taste you....

I stifle a groan and push the memory away.  If that doesn't prove that all of this has spun way, way out of control, I don't know what does.  Jesus, you almost kissed me! 

A small voice inside me wants to know what's so wrong with that, reminding me that kissing you is all I've been able to think about for the last month.

The rest of the voices inside me point out, loudly, that letting you kiss me would have been a disaster!  That it was probably just adrenaline or something else just as dumb because there is no way that you, the Catholic saint of Springfield, could ever--would ever--

Love me back, I think, my heart aching.  Even--even if you tried, it would all go horribly, horribly wrong somehow.  And how could you?  Your faith wouldn't allow it and you....  If you didn't have your faith, you wouldn't be Natalia Rivera anymore.  Trying to love me would change you and I don't want that.  I couldn't live with that. 

I sigh, looking back at Emma.  She's still angry and hurt and confused, still curled up in a ball, her eyes turned away from me.  I put my hand on the back of her head, stroking her gently, my fingers tangling in her long hair.

So out of control, I think, wishing I could just--just fix this.  Fix everything.  Phillip, Emma, you....  Make everything better.  But how do I do that?

The small, unpopular voice from earlier clears its throat and suggests that I take control of the situation instead of simply reacting blindly to everything that happens.  I smirk at myself.  Now I know why this voice is so unpopular....

It also happens to be right.

I take a deep breath and think about what I can control and how. 

First, there's Emma.  We've crossed a line here and lying to her about some magic ring just seems ridiculous now.  She's a good, strong girl.  She's not a baby anymore.  Maybe it's time for her to know what's really going on....

"Em, sweetie?" I whisper.  She turns her big, blue eyes toward me and I can see they're filled with hope and distrust at the same time.  She hides nothing, my little Jellybean, all her heart broadcast on her face and in her eyes.  "Emma?  What--  Do you remember anything about your...your father?"

"Daddy?" she asks, her voice trembling.  She looks off into the distance, searching through pale, worn away memories for something to give me.  Concentration makes her chew her bottom lip like I do.  My heart aches with a mother's love and part of my consciousnesses marvels at the sensation, remembering that the heart that is practically clawing its way out of my chest toward my daughter is not the heart that inhabited the same spot when she was born. 

This is my child.  This is my child...and it doesn't seem to matter whose heart I have.  My body knows.

Suddenly Emma's eyes widen and she turns a sickening shade of milk white.  I wonder if she's going to be sick again.

"There was an airplane," she tells me, her voice quiet but sure.  "It was small and dark and hot inside.  I was scared but a boy sat down next to me and held my hand.  He gave me a cup of water."

"A boy?"

"He had yellow hair and it was in his eyes.  He held my hand the whole time after Daddy left."

Yellow hair?  In his eyes?

I try to remember what Phillip's other kids looked like back then, but I'm stuck, drawing a blank, because I was so wrapped up in Emma and Bill and Billy trying to deport me and...and.... 

And I never stopped to think what was going on with Phillip's other children, with their mothers.  The same terror that I was feeling mirrored on other faces.  The same desperate, begging deals with God being brokered by other mouths.  The same electric need to fucking do something making other fingers twitch.

Then it hits me--a flash of a flash.  Jude.  Jude Bauer always had a mop of shaggy blond hair that he was constantly having to brush out of his eyes.

Rick and Harley's son took care of my baby, held her tiny hand in the dark, made sure she had water....

Tears flood my eyes but I blink them away.  I don't have time to feel guilty about that.  I don't have time to wish things had been different between Harley and I, that I could talk to her about this, that I could thank Jude for what he did.  We were friends, once, Harley and I.  Weren't we?  It all seems so long ago.

I force myself back to the present, back to Emma's big, blue eyes.

"What did your daddy do before he left, baby?  Do you remember?"

She shakes her head.  "He talked for a long time about stuff I didn't understand.  Stuff about Springfield and about mommies and daddies and how sometimes mommies were bad...."  She looks up at me.  "I was scared.  I cried and Daddy told me not to--that he would take care of me.  But I didn't believe him."

She cocks her head to one side.  "Why are you asking about Daddy, Mommy?"  She answers her own question--again--and I'm a little concerned about how good she's getting at that.  "Is Daddy the bad man Natalia told me about?"

I nod slowly.  "Yeah, baby.  He is."

I watch my eight-year-old connect the dots of the last three weeks in her head, see it when realization hits her. 

"There's no magic ring," she says...and it's not a question.  She hugs herself a little tighter.  "Daddy wants to take me away again."

"Yeah.  He does."  My voice is a lot calmer than I feel.  I scoop my little girl into my lap and wrap my arms around her lean, lanky form.  I'm suddenly cognizant of how fast she's growing up, of how some of that is happening right now, right here...no matter how much I wish I could stop it.  "But Natalia and I aren't going to let him, okay?  We're going to figure this out.  We are."

"I miss the farmhouse," she says and my heart breaks a little.  As much as it seems like a change of subject, we both know it isn't.  It's the only place she's ever felt safe in her life.  Hell, it's the only place I've ever felt safe.  Really safe.  Safe and at home. 

"Me too," I whisper against her hair just before I kiss the top of her head.

"I hate hotels," she says bitterly.  I laugh but it's a sound without mirth.  As ironic as it may be for a hotel owner to say it, I hate hotels right now, too.  I consider how hard it's going to be for my little farmer-girl to manage The Beacon one day.  I reluctantly acknowledge the possibility that she'll sell it.  I don't have it in me to blame her.  If I want it to stay in the family, I can always give it to Ava.

"I know, sweetie."

Still, her brutal child's honesty reminds me that I can take control of the Phillip situation, too.  Sort of.

I need my little brother, though.  Where is he?

I mean, my sneaky ninja planning skills kinda petered out after I called him.  I won't admit it--not even to you--but I have no idea how he can help us or even if he can.  I just wanted there to be someone else on our side out here, someone who won't fuck us over.  I'm tired of being fucked over. 

Actually, I'm just tired in general.  Tired of running, tired of being afraid, tired of dirty cars and bad food and feeling grimy all the time and miles and miles of endless highway....

I need to stop.  For five minutes.  To think.  To figure all this out.  Everything's spinning and I just need five fucking minutes.

And I need a Plan C.  In case Sam never calls.

That's why I need you, you know.  You're my go-to girl.  You're the one who figures everything out--and I know this isn't quite the same as my crazy schedule at work or keeping straight all the medications I take but it's what you do.  You fix things.  You keep everything together.  And maybe if we can keep everything together for just a little while longer--

I need to talk to you.  Right now.

I pull away from Emma and look down at my sleepyheaded little girl. 

"Do you think you can sleep now, Bean?" I ask softly, running my fingers over the back of her head again, thinking idly that her hair needs a trim.

She nods and burrows under the covers again, turning over on her side and pulling them up to her chin.

"I need to talk to Natalia for a couple of minutes, okay, sweetie?  Will you stay here in the room while I go next door?"  I'm silently thankful that we gave in to Emma's tantrum about the separate rooms just this once and got two rooms with a connecting door.  Frankly, I was surprised that they even existed anymore, what with all the media hype on hotel break-ins.  I guess Oklahoma City hasn't quite caught up to the perils of the twenty-first century.

Emma nods and closes her eyes.  I lean over to kiss her.

"If you need anything, just come get me, okay, Em?  I'll leave the connecting door unlocked on both sides."

"Okay," she says softly, already half asleep.  "'Night, Mommy."

"Sleep tight," I whisper.  "I love you."

"Love you, too," mumbles my little girl and I watch her for a moment longer until I'm sure she's well on her way to dreamland.  I check the main door to make sure it's securely locked and bolted from the inside, then I open our side of the connecting door, knocking lightly on your side.  I'm surprised when your side swings open a little under the pressure of my hand and I peek in.  The main part of the room is empty but I can see a light coming from your bathroom.  I imagine you're washing your face or something and I let myself in, leaving both sides of the connecting door cracked in case Emma needs me.

"Natalia?" I call softly but you don't answer.  I wonder briefly if you're in the shower and I stop to listen for running water.  Hearing nothing, I approach the shaft of white-hot light slicing across the king-sized bed that easily takes up half your room.

I come around the door and open my mouth to say your name again but it dies on my lips as I take in the sight in front of me.  My heart lurches in my chest and for a second I think I've entered a murder scene, my brain--in shock--processing the hair strewn on the counter and floor as blood. 

"Oh, my God," I breathe, blinking the false scenes of carnage out of my eyes.  What I see when my vision clears isn't much better. 

Your hair.  Your long, devastatingly gorgeous hair.... 

It's gone.  It's all gone and my eyes are wide and round in the mirror.  I lift my hand toward you, reaching out to touch what's left--a short, blunt-cut bob that falls just below your ears--but stop when I see my hand trembling in the reflective glass.

"What have you done?" I ask, my voice nothing more than a heartsick whisper.

You look at me in the mirror, silent as a stone.  You clutch a pair of silver scissors in both hands.  Your dark eyes bore into me and they seem different somehow.  More centered.  Less fearful.  I have a dizzying sense that you've shed some now useless part of you like a snake sheds a skin.

The tears that I successfully battled while talking to Emma rush to fill my eyes again and I can't stop them.  I want to scream "Why?" but I know why.  This is about the Amber Alert, about how it made you look like some illegal opportunist who'd turned on her rich boss.  The police may be looking for all of us but the public is bound to remember you first because of your heritage, your coloring, your name.  So--once again--you have to sacrifice.  You have to change.  To protect me.  To protect my daughter.  It's always you that has to endure, that has to make due.  It's always you that gets told there just isn't enough left over for you.

Your boyfriend disappears on you and your family throws you out when you get pregnant at sixteen.  Nothing left for you.

You spend eighteen years devoted only to your son and his survival.  Nothing left for you.

You're reunited with the man you love and you marry him, only to have him die in a senseless, stupid accident.  Nothing left for you.

The son you've sacrificed your entire adult life for shoots a man in the heat of anger and ends up in prison.  Nothing left for you.

You invest the payout from the sale of your dead husband's house in Decker's "no-fail" hedge fund and the market tanks practically overnight.  Nothing left for you.

You finally buy the house of your dreams, but my crazy ex-husband comes back from the dead to threaten my daughter and you leave it all behind to take care of us.  Nothing left for you.

Now this.

A strangled wail rises out of me and you turn toward me, your huge brown eyes filled with concern.

"Olivia--"  You reach for me but I step backwards out of your range.

"No, no, no, no...."  I swing my head back and forth, trying to deny what I see despite the evidence all around us. 

"Olivia," you plead, taking another step toward me.  I stumble trying to get away from you and my back connects with the wall beside the bathroom door.  Tears blur my vision as I reach out, tugging on the ragged ends of what's left of that glorious mane of ebony silk that was once your hair.

"Bring it back," I beg you and your face crumples into sadness...but not regret.

"I can't," you say softly, shaking your head gently.  Your hair shivers briefly with the movement.

"I want it back!" I cry and you surge forward, taking my face in your hands.  They're so soft, so warm....

"Olivia!"  Your voice is sharp and desperate but I can't listen.  I can't!

"NO!" I roar at you.  "Don't touch me!"  I push you away and the shock and hurt in your eyes, on your face nearly kills me.

"Why?" you ask, crying now, too.  "Why won't you let me touch you, Olivia?"

The words are almost out of my mouth before I can stop them.  "Because I--I'm in--"

No!  I won't do this to you.  I won't hurt you like this.  I'd die first!

"I'm so sorry," I whisper and I turn, fleeing the bathroom, bulldozing past you as if my life--or yours--depended on it.  I head toward the connecting doors, trying to put as much distance between you and me as I can, when I hear your voice ring out behind me, clear and strong.

"You!  Stop!" you order.

And--much to my surprise--I do.


Comments are love!

shay: gbiconshaych_03 on June 30th, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)
ahh such sweet, sweet torture. love the mingling of past and future history... it all intertwines so beautifully.
dirtysoapboxdirtysoapbox on June 30th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
oh, for the love of Pete.
could you please, just shut UP?!!

(by which i mean, of course, write more.


are you writing yet?

how 'bout now?
seftiri: Olivia Spencer Beautifulseftiri on August 16th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
Re: oh, for the love of Pete.
I have to say, this is one of my favorite comments of all time. Honest. Every time I see it, it makes me laugh. :)

I'm so far behind on responding to comments that I'll be 80 before I get caught up, but I had to take the time today to respond to this one.

Thank you for your unique sense of humor and for making me smile.

Chapter 28 should be up tonight, I hope. :)
nike_ravus: Humannike_ravus on July 1st, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
You keep on making me hope for rationality, but then the emotion comes and bites it! Yet i still hope!
Love Olivia owning up, and then needing to plan, and needing Natalia to plan, and then flipping out about the hair!

More soon please!
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