DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Proctor & Gamble. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Jinkies. I remember when there was just a smattering of Otalia stories on P & P. I go away on vacation for a few days and now I'm so far behind I swear I'll never catch up heh. I'm really trying, I swear.
SPOILERS: To be safe, let's say it covers up to and including the May 12 episode.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Doris Wolfe approached her office wondering why she ever thought being a prosecutor AND a mayor at the same time was a good idea. She was exhausted. True the pay was good and she couldn't deny the power was to die for, but lately she found herself feeling like something was missing. She couldn't help but blame Olivia Spencer for that.
Every since she'd found herself thrust into the bizarreness that was the budding romance between Olivia and Natalia Rivera, she started thinking about everything she had chosen to give up when she decided to hide who she was. For the most part, she had very few regrets. She liked where she was and the life she had, but still, it would be nice to
Her thoughts came to a screeching halt when she opened the door to find her nemesis sitting behind her desk, looking for all the world as if she owned it.
"I've gotta say, this chair is quite comfortable," Olivia said a little too casually, which told Doris more than anything that her visitor was not happy with her.
"I like it," Doris said, pleased with the calm tone of her voice. She'd never admit it to anyone, but if there was anything that made her nervous, it was an irritated Olivia Spencer.
"Perhaps I wouldn't mind sitting in it full time."
Doris was confused for only a split second, and then she laughed incredulously. "You? You want to be Mayor?"
Olivia shrugged. "Maybe. I'm thinking that it might just be the one thing that would keep you from sticking your nose in my business."
Oh boy, Doris thought. It appeared she'd talked to Natalia. "Would you mind getting out of my seat?" Doris asked changing the subject. "I just got back from court and now I need to prepare for a council meeting as well as increase the security outside of my office."
Olivia stood up since she'd made her point and now she walked around the desk and assumed an all too familiar position. "I had an interesting talk with Natalia last night."
Doris shifted some papers and looked up at her unwelcome visitor. "She said you were out of town."
"I was. Do you mind telling me what the hell you thought you were doing?" The icy tone was far more intimidating than full out yelling would have been.
Doris shifted uncomfortably. "Hey, I just went over there to tell her that I was trying to get Rafe a new hearing."
Olivia snorted. "That's crap and you and I both know it. You went over there to provoke her and throw it in her face that Frank wants to help her despite what happened. Why? What has she ever done to deserve the wrath of Doris Wolfe?"
Doris sat back in her chair. "Besides being a party to blackmail?" she answered glibly.
"That was my idea and you know why we did it, but that doesn't tell me why you had to deliberately try and hurt a good woman."
Doris sighed. "You're right," she conceded. "I really shouldn't have gone over there."
"Then why did you?" Olivia glared at the woman she had begun to think of as a friend and confidante. Hearing how quickly she'd turned on Natalia made Olivia rethink that assessment.
"I don't know," Doris admitted honestly. "It seemed like a good idea at the time. I mean I had just finished talking to Frank and I was really amazed that he was still willing to help Natalia after what had happened, then I thought about all you've done and were willing to give up for her and I suddenly felt the need to see the woman who can garner this sort of loyalty from people regardless of what she did."
"She didn't do anything," Olivia said angrily. "This whole thing was one big unfortunate mess, but she never wanted to hurt anyone. She's not like us, Doris. She's a good woman who'll go out of her way to not hurt people, even that means withholding the truth or even if it winds up hurting that person even more."
"I know that now," Doris agreed. "I can't say I understand it though. "
Olivia gave a little smile. "I don't either. I've never known anyone like her. Ever."
"I think we've had this conversation before," Doris commented as she leaned back in her chair.
Olivia shrugged again. "It's as true now as it was then. Natalia didn't deserve your snide little comments."
Doris had the grace to look ashamed at that. "I know. If I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn't have gone or at least I would have handled it differently. I guess part of me was still irritated with her for letting things get as far as they did with Frank, but mainly I really wanted to prepare her for what she was going to face and see how she would handle it. Frank Cooper is a very well liked man and there are a lot of people who aren't going to be happy with what she did. I'm not going to be the only person to say something to her."
Olivia's mind immediately recalled the thoughtless words Blake had thrown at Natalia at the spa, but at least then, Olivia had been there to help her through it. "Fair enough. Truthfully I have no idea how your mind works, so let's just say for the sake of argument that I buy your story. Why the hell did you have to do it while she was by herself?"
Doris thought for a moment, for the first time that she could remember, struggling to defend herself. Normally she didn't really care enough to bother. "You told me once that Natalia was stronger than anyone gave her credit for. I wanted to make sure she knew that. She's a grown woman, Olivia. You won't always be around to deflect the hateful comments directed at her."
The fact that she wasn't screaming herself hoarse at the Mayor right now was a true testament to the effect Natalia had had on her. "Okay, fine, but did you have to be such a bitch about it?"
Doris snorted, not the least offended. "You've had a year to learn how to be tactful, Olivia. It's still new to me."
Olivia really, really, wanted to stay mad at this irritating woman, but she found herself giving an amused snort of laughter. She did believe that Doris had been trying to help in her own, warped sort of way. "Well, keep practicing. You've got a very, very long way to go."
Doris nodded her head. "Can't argue with that. Look, I really am sorry and please tell Natalia I'm sorry. I really wasn't trying to hurt her."
"I'm sure you'll get the chance to tell her yourself, but I do want to know why exactly you think this is any of your business. You barge in on the wedding, you keep riding me to stop it and now you're harassing Natalia. You're interference isn't helping matters, Doris."
Doris stared at her paperwork for a few minutes hoping to find a reply already written down. She was not a woman who was comfortable sharing herself with other people, but then again, neither was Olivia. She supposed if Olivia could talk openly to her, it's only fair that she do the same thing.
"Believe it or not, Olivia I just want to help."
Olivia quirked an eyebrow in surprise. "Why? We've never even remotely gotten along."
"I don't know. I guess it's because I appreciate that you two are so close to having a chance for something that I've given up on for now and I just don't have the patience to watch you both throwing it away because you're scared, and " Doris paused, briefly debating whether she should continue, but then said to hell with it.
"And?" Olivia prodded, quickly losing her patience.
"And," Doris retorted sarcastically, "if you ever tell anyone I said this, I'll deny it to my last breath and then I'll make your life miserable, but the truth is, I actually like you. I don't want to see you get hurt because Natalia won't let go of her fears or can't figure out what she wants."
Olivia covered her surprise with a laugh. "Wow. I'm flattered."
"Yeah, well don't let it go to your head," Doris said uncomfortably.
Despite her sarcasm, Olivia was rather touched by Doris's admission. She had very few people in her life that truly wanted to look out for her. "I appreciate that, Doris and in the spirit of honesty, you've sort of grown on me too, but you need to let Natalia and I work this out ourselves. This is new to both of us and we're still trying to figure out how to move forward and not lose what we already have. Plus, neither one of us knows how to be in this sort of relationship."
Doris laughed out loud at that. "What do you mean you don't know how? Olivia you've been in how many relationships? Surely you know about the birds and the bees by now."
Olivia rolled her eyes. "Cute. You know very well what I mean."
The Mayor offered a heavy sigh of the long suffering. "Olivia, you and Natalia are going to over-think this relationship to death and it'll end before it's even started. Tell me, do you love her?"
"You know I do."
"She loves you?"
"Then what's the problem? Have you two even kissed yet?"
To Olivia's disgust, she found herself blushing. "No. Well yes, once but that was months ago and I was trying to make a point."
Doris briefly wondered if she could shake some sense into Olivia without winding up in the hospital. "For god's sake Olivia, what the hell are you waiting for?" She exclaimed in frustration.
"We don't "
" want to rush. Yes, so you've said. For crying out loud, you've already said 'I love you', how much harder than that can a simple kiss be?" The expression on Olivia's face told Doris she had an answer for that too and Doris dropped her face in her hands in either despair or disgust. She wasn't quite sure which.
"Have you considered that that's what's keeping you guys so on edge?" She pushed. "Olivia, just go home, kiss Natalia senseless and get it out of the way. You'll both see it's not so different if it's with someone you love and then you won't have that big freaking elephant tap dancing in the room every time you're together."
Olivia was more than willing to agree with Doris. She actually had a good point, but still. "Natalia "
"As I said," Doris interrupted. "Natalia is a grown woman, not to mention a mother. She knows full well what comes with being in love. If she's unable to even kiss you " Doris trailed off, not wanting to hurt the other woman, but she needed to give her something to think about.
Olivia looked down at the floor for a moment. She and Natalia had discussed why they loved each other at the spa, but they'd always skirted around the talk about intimacy, always referred to it as "that other stuff'. Would they ever be able to take that next step? Olivia had come so close to kissing Natalia on the hiking trail. She'd just looked so beautiful in the sunlight that she hadn't been able to resist taking hold of her jacket and pulling her closer. She had been thrilled when Natalia didn't pull away, but she still chickened out. After all, Natalia had nearly had an anxiety attack simply at the thought of them sharing a bed at the spa, though when she took her had, Olivia had been the one to nearly collapse.
Still, Doris was right. If Natalia didn't want the physical intimacy that was a part of a relationship, where would that leave them? They'd be right back where they were before the engagement fiasco. Could she live with that? Could she live with wanting Natalia and not being wanted back? Could she live with the alternative, not having Natalia in her life at all? She knew the answer immediately. She'd lived with these feelings for Natalia for so long anyway, but she couldn't imagine her life without Natalia in it.
"Alright, you've made your point," Olivia finally said. "Hopefully I've made mine as well?"
Doris wasn't fooled by Olivia's polite tone. She knew that she'd come very close to crossing a line and that if she did it again, she and Olivia would cross paths again but in a less than pleasant manner. She found she wasn't so much afraid of that as she was worried about losing the first real friend she'd ever had.
"Clear as crystal," she said agreeably.
"Good. I'll be on my way then."
Doris grinned, knowing instinctively where Olivia was headed. "Feel free to drop by again sometime," she said pleasantly. "Though it would be nice if you'd at least try making an appointment next time."
Olivia rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Perhaps if you stopped pissing me off, I wouldn't have to show up unannounced."
"I make no promises, Olivia. A girl's gotta have a hobby."
Olivia couldn't help but laugh as she left the Mayor's office. She had something important she needed to do.
Natalia was startled when she opened the door to see Olivia standing on the other side, looking a bit anxious.
"Hi." She greeted curiously as she stood aside to let Olivia pass.
"Hi. I hope you don't mind my stopping by without calling, but I needed to see you."
"You're welcome here any time, Olivia. You know that." She watched as Olivia pushed her hair back from her face in the way that always told Natalia she was disturbed about something. "What's wrong? Is it Emma?"
"No. No, I'm sorry. Emma's fine. I left her with Jane while I uh...took care of something."
The guilty look on Olivia's face wasn't hidden in the least. "You went to see Doris, didn't you?" Natalia couldn't keep the almost scolding tone from her voice.
"Yes, but that's not important right now," Olivia said sheepishly, looking to Natalia, adorably like Emma when she got in trouble for something.
"I didn't tell you what happened so you could accost Doris," she chastised.
"Did you really expect me to do anything else?" Olivia asked in amusement.
Natalia glared for a second longer and then smile broadly. "No. I suppose not. So if you're not here about Doris, why ?"
"Do you remember when you told Emma that if someone wanted to tell someone something, the best way was to just show them?"
"Uh huh," Natalia said cautiously.
"Well, I was .I decided " Unable to think of any other way to proceed and afraid that if she just asked, Natalia would say no, she took a page from the past. Moving quickly, she took Natalia's face in her hands and kissed her.
Just like before, Natalia squeaked in surprise, but this time, she didn't pull away. This time the squeak turned into a quiet moan and slender arms wrapped around Olivia's neck as they finally took that first step together. A step that went on for a very, very long time.
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