calliopes_muse: (Default)
Oops! I just realized that I had forgotten to post updates for this on LJ. SORRY!!!!

Anyhoos, this will give you all plenty to read now. :D

Chapter 4

Pictures of Natalia Rivera fanned out in front of Alan Spaulding. There was something off that had teased at the patriarch’s brain about her since the moment she had arrived in Springfield mooning over his long-lost son, Gus. Alan didn’t buy the story that Natalia had been looking for the father of her son, Rafe. Why now after all these years did she finally go looking for Gus? If the point was to give Rafe some fatherly influence, the time for that would have been when Rafe was a child, not now when Rafe’s almost a grown man.


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calliopes_muse: (Default)
A/N: Thanks for all the wonderful comments! I've really, really missed this interaction. There were no correct guesses yet on the sci-fi area this story was inspired by; however, "Logan's Run" was the closest. It's the right decade! This update is a little short, but the next one won't be. I'm going to try to be consistent and post a chapter every Friday. Also, I will be using some familiar scenes that played out on GL after Natalia returned. As the story progresses though, it will veer further and further away from canon. Just an FYI. That very well could mean that Olivia and Natalia could make sweet lady love sooner rather than later.

On with the show!

Chapter 2

ONE MONTH LATER

Olivia jerked her hand back from Natalia, the pain of the brunette’s departure written plainly on her tear-streaked face. “You broke my heart!”


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Hiding in Plain Sight

Rating: Ultimately, NC-17, but mostly PG-13 & R

Pairing: Otalia, obviously

A/N: So, um, I had a little bit of an obsession as a kid with this particular sci-fi idea, and it struck me one day that this would make for an interesting reason for the Nataway. It’s definitely…different. Can anyone pick it after only one chapter? *wicked grin*

Chapter 1

Natalia stared at the urine-covered stick, her heart racing as she waited for the stupid smiley face to show up or not. Her stomach rolled as it knotted in worry, a wave of excruciating pain shooting through her joints.

Doubling over, she grumbled, “God, please just let this be a bug.”


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Title: All the Time in the World
Fandom: Otalia/Xena crossover
Rating: PG-13 to NC-17 for language, violence, and sexual situation; most of it will be PG-13 to R
Warnings: Expect the usual Xena-style writing – war, fighting, killing
Summary: The spa weekend takes an unexpected detour.
Author’s Note: I have wanted to start this story for a long time. It’s been in my head for months, and I thought I better write it before someone else gets the idea. Xena was my first fandom obsession and the first piece of fanfic I ever wrote. Watching Otalia reminded me of my love for Xena and Gabrielle because I fell for them probably harder than I did for X & G. I don’t know how often I’ll get to update this with OVS and my co-writing venture with Geekgrrl “Hidden Treasure” going, but I’ll try to do it as often as possible, especially if you all like it. So, if you like it and want me to continue, let me know. Feedback is my drug of choice. ;)
Author’s Note 2: This takes place during the spa weekend hike. However, I’ve changed canon a bit. There was no confession by Olivia during the wedding, and likewise, Natalia took off from the wedding, but she didn’t make her confession in the gazebo either. In other words, this all happens while they’re still in limbo. Oh, and Natalia’s not pregnant here. This fic isn’t going to need any more complications.
Author’s Note 3: Back in the hayday of the BPD and when Guiding Light was coming to a close, there was a bit of a joke on the board about the Springfield time warp because people seemed to move across town at the speed of light. This idea was borne out of that.

Chapter 1

Natalia tilted her head a little, watching the sure gait of Olivia ahead of her as she bounced over fallen tree limbs and ducked around bushes. The weekend away had been uneventful so far. Olivia had given it to Natalia as a gift. Some time away, just to herself, to regroup and think.

Natalia had agreed that she needed it. Up until the moment she had run out on her wedding to Frank, she felt the world had been spinning out of control. Everyone was pushing her forward into a destiny she didn’t really want, when all she wanted to do was stop and think. What she really wanted though was a few feet in front of her, and she knew this. She knew it the moment Olivia had kissed her all those months ago. She really knew it when she practically begged for Olivia to go with her on this trip – a girl’s weekend away with manicures and pedicures. That’s what she had said to convince Olivia, but as she watched the well-shaped hips sway in tight jogging pants in front of her, she knew that she hoped more would come of this weekend than a good manicure. Finding the courage to confess her feelings though was the tougher mountain to climb.

Before she knew it, Olivia had taken off up a hill and she struggled to keep up. At the top, Olivia turned around and waved at her to hurry up, even as she bounced on her toes. “Come on, slow poke!”

Natalia finally reached the top of the hill, out of breath and not amused. She huffed out her words between breaths. “You forget, I’m a city girl.”

“Yeah, well, I grew up on an island so I walked everywhere.” Olivia smiled teasingly, her cheeks rosy with happiness and exertion.

The brunette rested her hands on her knees. “Lucky you.”

When she stood up straight, Olivia had stepped closer and took the lapels of her jacket into her hands. The blonde tugged her forward slightly, green eyes dancing with mischief and taunting. For a moment, Natalia wondered if Olivia knew exactly what she was doing to her and exactly what she hoped to happen.

Olivia’s hands slid down the satin of the jacket, along the zipper, until they rested at the V where it connected. Her voice husky, “You’re such a princess. It looks like you’re getting overheated; maybe you need to take this off.”

Natalia felt the zipper give way as Olivia worked it open, the motion pulling her forward more until they came in contact, hips and thighs brushing. She watched and waited, daring not to move or else break the spell, but she couldn’t keep her eyes off of Olivia’s full lips.

When Olivia licked her lips and sultry green eyes glanced down at Natalia’s mouth, the younger woman felt drawn in and unable to stop herself. This wasn’t how she planned it, but she couldn’t resist the pull of Olivia anymore than the tides can deny being affected by the moon. She was sure the spinning around her was her own imagination, until Olivia forced her eyes closed and grabbed onto her arm.

The blonde forced her words out around gritted teeth. “What the hell?”

Then Natalia noticed it too – the unsteadiness of her feet as the earth seemed to shift below her, the hard pull and heavy weight on her body, and the sudden flipping of her stomach as nausea and darkness overtook her.

***

The morning dew blanketed the valley below. Atop her horse, Xena surveyed the approaching army coming over the rise to the north. To her right, the sun rose clear and unhindered. In a couple of hours the valley would be cleared of the fog, and she’d have perfect visibility to deal with Caesar’s men. To her left, Gabrielle sat proudly and confidently on her own steed. The tall warrior smiled to herself. Over the years, she had watched firsthand as Gabrielle had transformed from an idealistic young girl to the leader of the Amazon nation and a warrior in her own right.

The blonde leaned forward in her saddle, resting her forearms on the shoehorn. “Looks like we’re outnumbered three to one.” She looked over her shoulder to the gathering of ragtag soldiers in the valley behind them.

Xena followed her line of sight and nodded. “Don’t worry, I’ll stay close to Darius.”

Gabrielle smiled knowingly at her. “He’s a good kid, Xena. I’d hate to see him get hurt.”

The dark-haired woman sighed and turned Argo around to head back to their camp. She hated it when Gabrielle let herself get attached to those they helped. When bad things happened to them, she always felt responsible. “Gabrielle?”

Gabrielle turned her horse around as well. “I know, I know. It’s the nature of war.”

Xena shook her head. “Come on; let’s get Darius and the other battalion leaders together. We need to go over the strategy again.”

***

Olivia groaned, feeling every muscle in her body aching like she had lost a fist fight with an 18-wheeler. She pushed up onto her hands and knees, looking around at the open land before her. Hovering a few feet above her head were patches of fog that had yet to lift in what appeared to be the mid-morning sun. It didn’t look familiar at all. Her mind flashed back to her last coherent thought – Natalia’s scream of agony as she felt her pulled from her grip.

She began to look around frantically in hopes of seeing her friend. She called out her name. “Natalia!”

She couldn’t hear anything except the chirping of birds. Walking a few feet, she looked for any sign of the other woman. When she saw nothing, she turned and went back the way she had come. A low-lying stretch of bushes drew her attention and she ran to them. She saw the white sneakers before she saw the rest of Natalia, huddled on the ground in a fetal position. The younger woman was still unconscious.

Olivia fell to her knees beside her. “Oh, thank God! Natalia, come on. Wake up!”

She rolled Natalia to her back and didn’t see any blood or injuries. She felt for a pulse and found it, strong and reassuring. She shook the brunette a little. “Come on, honey. Wake up.” A soft moan from the woman in her arms made her smile. “That’s it. Wake up.”

Slowly, brown eyes opened and connected with warm green ones smiling down at her. “There you are. You had me worried for a moment.”

Natalia rubbed her head where she felt a knot forming. She had a million questions but wasn’t sure where to begin.

Olivia saw the movement of Natalia’s hand to the side of her head and the grimace of pain. “Did you hurt your head? Here, let me see.” She sat Natalia all the way up and crouched down on her other side. She felt around on Natalia’s scalp and sure enough, just above her ear, was a bump and a nasty looking purple bruise forming.

“Does your head hurt?” Olivia asked.

Natalia nodded at the inquiry. Olivia continued, “What about dizzy?”

A sudden wave of nausea passed over Natalia and she felt her stomach tumble and roll. She nodded at the other woman again.

Olivia looked at her concerned. “You could have a concussion. We need to get you to a doctor. Here, can you stand?” She stood and put her hand out to Natalia, guiding her up by her elbow as well. “Now, just where the hell is a doctor? There’s nothing around here, and I have no idea where we’re at. How the hell did we get here? We just have fallen down a hill or something.”

Olivia began to guide Natalia out into the open, but the younger woman pulled back. “I…I think I should stay here.”

“What? Natalia you can’t. There’s nothing around here. We need to get back to the hotel room.” Olivia tugged at her hand.

“Hotel room? What hotel room? And why exactly should I go with you? I don’t even know you.” Natalia jerked her hand away and stepped back.

The blonde shook her head, unnerved by Natalia’s behavior. “What? What do you mean, Natalia?”

Natalia stepped further back out of her reach. “Is that my name? Natalia?”

Realization finally struck Olivia, and she was shaken by it. Natalia didn’t remember her or even her own name, and she had no idea where they were or how they got here. This was not a good situation. A sudden blaring of a horn behind her made her jump, and they both turned in the direction of the noise.

Coming over the hill were hundreds, possibly thousands, of soldiers on horseback. Their metal armor gleaming in the morning light as the thundering of hooves shook the ground beneath the women’s feet. Olivia stepped back and pushed Natalia with her, until they were hiding behind the bush where she had found Natalia. Over the rise to their left, a secondary force rolled down into the valley on horseback. Even from a distance, Olivia could tell that this group wasn’t professional soldiers. Their approach was erratic and disjointed, and they didn’t sport shiny armor or gleaming blades. She reached for Natalia’s arm to brace for the coming impact, but the space behind her was vacant.

To her right, along the tree line, she saw the black and white jogging suit disappear into a thicket of bushes. “Natalia!”

The violent clashing of metal-on-metal was met with blood-chilling screams of pain. Olivia turned back to see the two armies in a discombobulated mess in the field. The soldiers in red and gold uniforms were far superior in ability and numbers, but what that group had in skill, the others had in heart. Several of the far more experienced soldiers fell to the sword of the makeshift army.

Olivia had no idea what was going on. She raced after Natalia trying to figure it out as she went. Maybe she and Natalia had fallen down a hill and into some strange war re-enactment. There was really no other way to explain it, and when she thought of that as a possibility, she felt fairly stupid. She stopped running in hopes of finding Natalia and decided to simply get some help. She approached a man on horseback who was standing in the back of the action. He seemed to be supervising more than actually fighting, so Olivia figured he worked for the re-enactment company.

“Excuse me!” She yelled over the din of metal singing against each other. At least it seemed authentic, Olivia thought.

The muscular, dark-haired man looked down from his horse - a wicked smile showing off brilliant white teeth. “Well, what do we have here?” Olivia shivered a little at the look in his eyes – a look she knew far too well. She took a half step back to give herself some room as the man stepped down and moved forward.

She tried to quirk a sexy smile at him hoping to throw him off so she could gain a little edge back. When it came to men, she liked to be the one in control and call the shots. She tucked some hair behind her ear and looked at him coyly. “It looks like I’m a little lost. Would you happen to know the direction to the spa resort?”

The man looked at her completely confused. “The what?”

Olivia flailed her hands. “Or maybe just a gas station?” The guy tilted his head trying to make sense of her words. “Better yet, do you have your cell phone on you? I left mine in my room, but I can call the hotel and they can send a…”

Olivia stopped speaking when she heard the steady pounding of hooves against dirt. A look of fear came over the man as he spun toward the source of the noise. A high pitched wail rose over all the other sounds, drowning everything out. A sudden glint of light and the sound of a whoosh as a blade moved through the air was all Olivia saw until she looked down and saw the man’s head at her feet.

She jumped back as if she was on fire. The decapitated torso of the man she had been talking to falling within inches of her. “Holy fuck! That’s…that’s so not fake!”

“Come on; take my hand.” A deep feminine voice called down to her.

The blonde looked up to see a beautiful dark-haired woman in leather, a bloody sword in one hand and the other reaching out for her. “Aw, hell no! I don’t think so.”

Olivia backed away but before she realized what had happened, she found herself lifted from the ground and tossed over the saddle of a horse. She struggled to get up, but a heavy forceful hand pushed down on her back.

When the horse underneath her suddenly slowed down and drifted, she rolled her head to the side. Only a few inches above her back was the sharp end of a sword sticking out of the man’s stomach that had picked her up.

The dark-haired woman came up beside the horse and jerked the sword from the dead man’s guts as he fell from the horse to the ground. She looked at Olivia. “Will you come with me now?”

Olivia slid off the horse. She ran her hands through her hair. She looked around to find bodies, bloody and tattered, littering the valley. The armies were thinning out and dispersing. She looked back at the woman on the horse. “I have to find my friend…please. She’s hurt.”

The other woman nodded at Olivia. “We’ll find her.”

Olivia took the woman’s outstretched hand and was effortlessly pulled up to the saddle to sit behind her. “The name’s Xena.”

“Olivia.”

***

The woods became thicker as Natalia weaved her way through the trees. Underbrush hid roots that caused her to trip and she had a hard time focusing on maintaining any kind of path. The glare of the noonday sun was making her head pound and she felt nauseous. Finding a cool spot in the shade, she sat and rested against a tree trunk.

She had no idea what was happening except that she woke up to a woman with amazing green eyes staring down at her. There was something vaguely familiar about the woman that she couldn’t pinpoint, but she couldn’t remember anything about her, not even a name. Frustration ate at her making her head hurt worse. She couldn’t even remember her own name. Though she was pretty certain it was Natalia because that’s what the other woman kept saying.

All she knew was that there was too much noise and confusion. She couldn’t stay there. She had to get away.

She intended to rest her eyes for a moment – just enough time to will the headache away. As she fell into a deep slumber, she never saw the dark figure looming nearby or heard the wicked laughter that filled the air.

calliopes_muse: (Default)

The Walking Shadow by Calliopes_Muse
Betas: Ariestess, Cheerfuloceangazer, and Ceridwyn
Artists: Grumpybear1031 and Shaych03

Note: TeamOVS is looking for betas for Season 2. If you have an eye for detail and grammar errors drive you nuts, send an email to
otalia_vs@yahoo.com for consideration.

calliopes_muse: (Default)

Title: Feel My Love

Fandom: Otalia

Rating: PG-13 (?)

Warning/Spoilers: If you’ve watched Otalia, then none.

Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em. Sure wish I did though. *wg*

A/N: I was playing around with some Otalia screencaps, trying to learn Photoshop, and I got this image in my head of how the post-engagement party scene could have gone. This was right after everyone left and Olivia was cleaning up in the living room. From Natalia’s POV.

 

***

You touch my hand and stop me in my tracks. I have so much I want to say.

Don’t walk away!

Stop!

Please!

I love you!

I don’t want to marry him.

I want you.

But you move past me, promising that you’ll never interfere. You don’t have to say the words. I know what you mean. My heart knows it, and it’s known for a long time. From the moment you kissed me a little over two months ago in this very living room, I knew.

I knew tonight in the intensity of your gaze and the words that seemed to speak to my very soul.

I knew I’d never want to be kissed by anyone else but you.

But you promise me and walk away, and I turn to watch you go. The desperation and emptiness rise up in me like bile. I’m panicking and feel my hands start to shake. This can’t be happening! You can’t walk away without a fight. You’re the fighter, not me. I kept thinking that you’d swoop down and rescue me from this madness, but you’re actually walking away.

You’re handing me over to a man I don’t love and into a life that I don’t want. The only life I want is with you.

You reach the stairs, and I see you hesitate for a split second. Your shoulders sag under the weight you carry trying to hold up your end of this silent bargain that I didn’t know we had committed to. It’s in that split second that I hear the sniffle you try to cover up as you round the stairs.

And my heart makes a decision before my head can think better of it. I fly across the few short steps to the staircase and touch your hand. It’s unlike any other time I’ve touched you. The spark of acknowledgement flies between us.

You won’t turn and look at me, so I pull you back down the steps until you’re eye level with me. You still won’t look at me as if you’re ashamed of the emotions jumping between us.

I can’t stand it. I need to see your eyes. Those fiery, beautiful eyes that have told your deepest secrets and desires when you didn’t realize it. I saw it all in your eyes. Every look, every lingering stare. The glances down my body when you thought I wouldn’t notice gave you away. It’s why I need to see your eyes now. I need to know that what I’m about to do isn’t wishful thinking. I just need to be sure. One…last…time.

I caress my hand along your jaw, urging you to turn to me. You’re stubborn and try to fight me, but when my hand goes into the silky strands of your hair, I lose myself in the sensation and give your honey-colored hair a gentle tug.

You look at me and the tears streaming down your face cause my heart to clinch. I never wanted either of us to hurt like this. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The way I pictured us in my mind was never like this.

No.

I step closer to you, locking on those eyes that tell me everything I need to know, and it’s only a flicker, quickly erased by your fear, but it’s there. And I dive in. Heedless to the warnings or dangers, all I know is that I saw my heart reflected in your eyes, and as our lips touch, I know you can feel my love in our kiss.
 


calliopes_muse: (Default)
Tempora Mutantur by Wonkots42
Betas: Ariestess, Purplepapillon, and Commasplice103
Artists: Grumpybear1031 and Shaych_03

Thank you to all our readers for your patience. Team OVS loves you! *hugs*



calliopes_muse: (Default)
A special wallpaper from our resident episode artist, Shaych_03, direct from Otalia's Family Scrapbook. ;) Hope everyone is having a great weekend!



Next episode coming soon!

calliopes_muse: (Default)
Title: Cooling Off
Fandom: Otalia
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: Every character here is the property of P&G, CBS, and Telenext. Grrrrrr… No copyright infringement intended.
A/N: Thanks to my fellow OVS’er and partner-in-crime, Geekgrrllurking, for giving me the prompt. You have a little devil in you, Geek, and I think I like it.

The hot summer sun burned Natalia’s eyes as she exited the farmhouse to the backyard. She carefully balanced the tray of lemonade and glasses of ice and made her way to one of the picnic tables in the yard to set the tray down. Raising a hand over her eyes, she waited for her eyes to fully adjust to the glare.

It seemed like everyone was here. The 4th of July picnic that for so long had been at the Bauer’s had been switched to the farmhouse a couple of years ago when Rick and Mindy decided to take a last minute holiday vacation. They didn’t really get a honeymoon after their wedding, so this was their replacement. Natalia was sure they’d all go back to the Bauer’s since it was tradition, but the farmhouse seemed to stick and no one bothered to ever switch it back.

That was fine with her. She loved having so many people here and being able to share her life and family with the people of this town. Besides, it was easy to manage. She kept the food and drinks flowing. Phillip, Frank, and Rick handled the grill. Doris and Blake organized the softball game. Olivia took care of the kid’s games, which was perfect so she could chase Francesca around the yard. Her wife even went so far as to have an in-ground pool installed just for the kids to swim in. At least, that’s what Olivia said, but Natalia was pretty sure she had ulterior motives, like getting Natalia into a bikini.

A fast and furious blush erupted on her face remembering how they had christened the pool. There was nothing quite as sensual as feeling the cool water slide over your heated and naked skin. It only came second to the sensation of Olivia’s strong fingers moving into her as she wrapped her legs around Olivia’s waist. It was erotic and beautiful and… Natalia groaned as her eyes landed on the object of her sexy musings.

“My God,” Natalia muttered to herself. She took a deep breath to slow down her racing heart. She really thought after being together a while that these feelings would lessen, but every time she looked at Olivia, she thought she had been gifted with a goddess. Long legs that seemed to go on for days, strong shoulders that cocooned Natalia in safety, and fierce green eyes that melted every resistance that Natalia had ever built up. Her dark eyes traveled down to rest on the tight swell just below her waist.

Natalia sighed, long and deep. “And let’s not forget to pay homage to the ass that does not stop.”

She glanced around quickly and noticed that everyone was taken up with their usual tasks. The guys were drinking and barbequing, and Doris and Blake were setting up makeshift bases. Daisy and James played with Emma and Sarah in the pool while Rafe and Ashlee took turns playing hide and seek with Francesca.

Olivia stood back up straight as she set out the last touches on the three-legged race course. She tensed only for a second as Natalia came up behind her and tucked her hands under the edge of her white tank top. She ran her nails over the soft skin of Olivia’s lower back enjoying the shiver that visibly shook Olivia. The taller woman looked over her shoulder and raised her aviator glasses.

“Hey, you. Your hands are cold.” Olivia turned to look at her fully. The loose peasant blouse dipped dangerously low and Olivia licked her lips as she fought the urge to do a little dipping of her own.

Natalia tipped her head to the side and smiled. “I got drinks to cool everyone off.”

Olivia noticed the low register of Natalia’s voice and how her pupils were bigger than they should be for the bright sunlight. “Looks like someone else needs a little cooling off.”

The brunette dropped her eyes to Olivia’s ample cleavage, rivulets of sweat running down between her breasts. “You’re looking awfully hot too. Maybe we should get you out of these clothes.”

The blonde bit her bottom lip, enjoying immensely where this was going and hoping it wasn’t a tease. She had been watching Natalia all day in her tight white shorts, and it had been driving her crazy. “Do you have a solution to our mutual problem?”

Natalia sighed and looked to the barn in the distance. “Actually, I could use some help getting something from the barn. It’s probably a good idea to get out of the sun.”

“After you, my dear.”

Unnoticed, the two women made their way to the barn. Natalia could feel Olivia’s hot breath on her neck as she unlatched the door. Inside the barn was much cooler, but Natalia felt like she was on fire. She spun just inside the door and pushed Olivia against it. In seconds, she had divested Olivia of her tank top as her lips latched onto the older woman’s pulse point. Her hands desperately removed Olivia’s sport bra and made quick work of the button and zipper of the khaki shorts below. Her mouth moved lower as Olivia panted and wrapped her fingers in long dark hair. When the shorts were around Olivia’s ankles, Natalia sucked in a hard nipple waiting for her and sank her fingers into Olivia’s wetness.

On automatic pilot, Olivia raised a long leg and wrapped it around Natalia’s waist, opening herself more to the penetration. She wanted to take her all in. She wanted everything that Natalia could give her. Three fingers pushing into her made her head slam back against the wooden door.

“Oh dear fucking God…Natalia,” Olivia groaned her approval as her hips met the determined thrusts of her lover.

Natalia wrapped her free arm tightly around Olivia’s waist, pulling the woman impossibly close. She used her hips for leverage against her hand and added a fourth finger. Olivia nearly screamed, dancing deliriously on the precipice of pleasure and pain. The brunette let go of Olivia’s waist and pressed her weight into the older woman’s body to hold her in place. She wrapped her fingers into Olivia’s golden hair and pulled her down into a hungry kiss. She plunged her tongue into the warm depths as her fingers welcomed the tightening of muscles giving away the signs of Olivia’s impending orgasm.

Natalia broke the kiss and stared into the wild green eyes of her lover, who panted and strained for release. “That’s it, baby. Come for me, for only me.”

And she did. Olivia bucked hard against her a few times, drowning her screams into deep kisses, holding on savagely to Natalia as she trembled with release.

Olivia relaxed against the door, the rush in her body subsiding as the rough kisses turned gentle and full of wonder. She leaned back and traced a dimple. “You’re so amazing.”

She kissed the smaller woman again, taking in the power of their connection. She knew the world outside waiting on them, but for just a little longer, she wanted this. This moment where just the two of them existed.

Olivia pulled back from the kiss but kept Natalia close by holding her hand behind her head. “I need…” She had never had a problem putting her desire to words, but Natalia had changed everything. She was so emotionally overwhelmed by the other woman that she couldn’t seem to find the words anymore.

“What do you need, baby?” Natalia got her. She understood this feeling.

“Closer…I need to feel you.” She watched as the brunette slipped her blouse over her head and stepped back a little to take her shorts off. She came back to her and wrapped her arms around Olivia’s waist.

“Is this what you needed?”

Olivia nodded then she dipped her head to Natalia’s neck, guided on pure instinct. “Still need more.”

Natalia couldn’t deny her anything. “Then take it. It’s all yours.”

The taller woman turned Natalia around until her back was to the door then dropped to her knees. She nuzzled at the soft hairs on Natalia’s stomach. “I could never have enough of you…ever.”

Looking up from her kneeling position, Olivia urged Natalia to spread her legs. She traced her fingers through the wet curls and moved easily between her legs. The initial sensation of entering Natalia always took Olivia’s breath away. It didn’t matter how many times they made love. She never tired of it. Natalia didn’t break the eye contact. She watched Olivia as she slowly made love to her with her hands, her eyes, and her heart. She ran a hand through the sun-lightened tresses and gave her permission with a gentle tug. Olivia smirked a little and used her free hand to lift one of Natalia’s leg and put it over her shoulder.

That’s when Natalia gave up the pretense of contact. Her eyes rolled in the back of her head, and she dropped her head back to the door. She gave herself over to the intense sensations racing through her body. This still astounded her. No matter how many times they made love, she never tired of feeling Olivia love her like this, so thoroughly and completely and with abandon. She could feel every ounce of adoration in Olivia’s actions and movements.

She was so swept away by the power of Olivia’s love that she was surprised by the force and suddenness of her orgasm. She buckled in and quivered against Olivia, holding her close with her hand. When her legs couldn’t hold her anymore, she fell to her knees in front of Olivia and kissed her.

“I love you,” she whispered into the quietness of the barn. She wanted to hold Olivia and stay here shut away from the world, just loving her over and over again.

“I love you, too.” Olivia smiled and nuzzled into Natalia’s neck, lightly kissing the sweaty skin as they came down. This was perfect. To Olivia, this was Heaven and Natalia was her angel. She didn’t want to share this with the world. She wanted to keep this moment all to herself.

For a few more moments, they simply held each other, touching and kissing softly.

They were pulled out of it by a familiar voice outside the barn.

“Are you sure you checked everywhere in the house, Emma?” Rafe’s voice spoke louder than necessary.

They turned to each other as they heard Emma’s voice in the distance then jumped up to find their clothes.

“Check the attic, too, Emma!”

Dressed in record time, Olivia raced up to the loft urging Natalia to go ahead outside. Natalia turned and started to open the door then turned back as Olivia came back down smiling with a set of horseshoes in her hand.

“What? What’s wrong, Natalia?”

Natalia threw her hands up. “What are we doing?” She pointed to the stuff in Olivia’s arms. “Drop it.”

Olivia shrugged and tossed the stuff to the side. “Okay. Why?”

The brunette stepped closer and kissed her lightly. “You’re my wife. So what if we wanted a little alone time, right?”

A slow, sexy smile lit up Olivia’s face. “Whatever you say, honey.”

calliopes_muse: (Default)

READERS: Due to some RL issues, Episode 10 will be delayed until April 11th. In the meantime, the OVS team is treating you all to some special "deleted scenes" from previous episodes. We hope you enjoy and appreciate your patience. Hugs and lots of Purple Love to all!
 

***

The Otalia Virtual Season mini-sodes are representations of the talent of our writers and artists. These mini-sodes may or may not be actual scenes or plots that will be a part of the regular OVS episodes.

Title: The Terror of San Cristobel

Author: Geekgrrllurking

Disclaimer: Guiding Light and its characters are the property of Telenext and Proctor and Gamble. For entertainment purposes only, no infringement intended.

Rating: PG-13

Words: 1270

AN: Missing scene from Episode 8, Here Beneath My Skin. Insert slathering of suntan lotion here...

Natalia Rivera stretched out on her lounger in the shade of the big umbrella and stared out into the bright blue ocean. A gentle breeze blew, cooling her slightly, as did a sip of her iced tea. The cry of seagulls and the crashing waves calmed her, lulling her into a very lethargic and peaceful mood.

More here...

 


calliopes_muse: (Default)

I haven't done a video in a long time, but it felt good to get back in the groove. :)
calliopes_muse: (Default)
Now you all know I couldn't write Otalia without writing some smexy times in there. Just wasn't happening! There will be more fics coming, but not for a while. I have two big stories in my head that I'm going to work on, but I have several OVS episodes coming up that I'm going to focus on. If you haven't checked it out yet, get on over to OVS and catch up (http://grumpysdesigns.com/otalia_vs/index2.html). up.gif

Title: Heroes and Friends
Fandom: Otalia
Rating: NC-17 FINALLY! LOL th_tassle.gif
Disclaimer: These wonderful ladies and the rest of the town belong to CBS, Telenext, and P&G. I’m just having some fun with them.
Spoilers: I don’t think so. This story picks up at the “no more waiting” gazebo scene and goes off canon.
Summary: Nat gets the shock of her life and it turns Liv’s world upside down.
Warning: Not beta’d so if it sucks, there’s only me to blame.

A/N: Well, 88,385 words later blink.gif , and this is the end of the road, folks. WOW, I’ve never written anything this long! Thanks for going on this ride with me. It’s been a lot of fun, and I hope you all enjoyed it.

Links to previous chapters: Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16.1 - Chapter 16.2 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23 - Chapter 24a - Chapter 24b - Chapter 25

EPILOGUE


Natalia led the way back to the farmhouse as Olivia followed behind in the black SUV from The Beacon. By the time she pulled in the driveway, Natalia had nearly worn the cover off the steering wheel. She was anxious and nervous and basically scared out of her mind. Yet, it didn’t stop the excited quiver in her belly every time the words “this is it” flashed through her mind or the smirk that would light up her face remembering how aghast Olivia looked when she said she didn’t have food on her mental menu tonight.

God knows she wasn’t thinking of food at all right now, but she was starving. And it had nothing to do with food. She put the car in park as Olivia pulled in next to her, and she rolled her eyes towards heaven for a brief moment.

“Please God, don’t let me screw this up. Amen.” She wondered only briefly if there was something sacrilegious about praying for good first time sex, and there was that smirk again. She shook her head and got out of the car.

When she retrieved the basket from the backseat and turned around, Olivia was already there, taking it from her hands.

“Let me.” Even the simple words and courtesy did something to Natalia. It didn’t hurt that it was delivered with an unmistakable air of sensuality and desire. Olivia exuded a raw sexuality that spoke to something deep inside Natalia. She had felt that pull long ago but didn’t know what it meant and when she did, chose to ignore it. Even when they fought, even when they hated each other, it seemed to spark a fire in both of them.

It wasn’t until now though, staring into the smoky green depths of Olivia’s eyes that Natalia understood that what she and Olivia had was no mistake or deficiency. It was the purest manifestation of attraction. It was the completion of opposites and the blending of souls. They were perfectly made for each other, matched and complimentary in nearly every way. This understanding made Natalia’s heart swell and the more she thought about where they had been and who they had been before, and where they are now, the more she realized she wanted to understand all of the mysteries of their love. She didn’t want anything left covered or hidden. She wanted to know everything about Olivia and what they could be together.

Olivia led the way up the steps to the door, where she nudged the door open into the darkness within. She realized that she had forgotten to leave a light on so she fumbled in the dark for the switch. Roaming, curious hands swept up her back then back down to her waist, distracting her from her task. When she finally found the switch, she flipped it and the kitchen was bathed in light. Natalia immediately stopped her nuzzling at Olivia’s neck to take in the scene. The table was covered in an elegant cloth and adorned with a single candle and a bottle of chilled wine in the middle of the table.

“What’s this?”

Olivia turned in her arms, dropping the basket at their feet. “Looks like an interrupted dinner.”

Brown eyes looked up at her sweetly. “You made dinner?”

“It was gonna be a surprise. Guess that didn’t work out too well.”

Natalia brought a hand up to brush over Olivia’s cheek. “You did surprise me, and I’m not talking about a romantic dinner. You surprised me with you. You are the best gift I’ve ever had.”

Olivia looked at her wickedly as she wasted only about three seconds deciding if she could let the opportunity pass her by, which Olivia being who she is, simply couldn’t let it go. “So, tell me, are you ready to unwrap your gift?” Her voice was deep with seduction, and Natalia felt it warm her from the inside out.

“Only if I can rip the wrapping off.” Natalia then brought her down into a blinding kiss. Olivia felt herself pushed against the side table, tipping over their family pictures. “Bedroom. Now.” The younger woman gasped against her mouth as they broke the kiss.

In less than a minute, Olivia had her back pinned to the inside of the bedroom door and warm, soft hands were searching under her t-shirt. Natalia’s mouth had found the way from her lips to the tender spot under her ear, and it was making the older woman lightheaded. So many times she had imagined, as she struggled to get to sleep, what it would be like to finally be with Natalia. There had been many scenarios, but this had only vaguely been one of them. Olivia had never imagined that Natalia would be assertive, but she was so thankful she was.

A small voice of doubt still trickled into her mind and when she said Natalia’s name it was hinted in the tone and slight hesitation. The brunette pulled back, her hands itching to go the last few inches to finally cup Olivia’s breasts. Her eyes were dark and unreadable as the rising moonlight cast shadows across her face, but her words weren’t. They were strong and powerful and all Olivia needed to hear.

“Don’t. No more doubts, okay? I love you, Olivia. All of you.” She watched as the green eyes darkened and became hooded as she slid her hands up and over Olivia’s breasts, the feel of hardened nipples against palms and nails teasing over peepled flesh hidden by lace, made both women groan. “I fell in love with Olivia freakin’ Spencer, and I want her in my bed tonight, making love to me.”

Natalia drove her point home by pinching the nipples between her fingers then braced herself as she felt herself flipped around and pressed against the door. Long, deep searching kisses turned desperate in seconds as Olivia struggled to get out of her shirt and Natalia worked frantically at the buckle of Olivia’s jeans.

Shoes and jeans were quickly discarded until Olivia stood in nothing but her lacy black underwear. Natalia hissed when Olivia leaned back and scraped her fingernails over the sensitive skin of her stomach, eventually coming to rest just inside the waistband of Natalia’s pants.

Natalia let her eyes roam freely over the other woman’s body – the strong muscles of her shoulders, the generous swell of her breasts, the curve of hips, the soft skin on the inside of thighs. She licked her lips unconsciously.

“You’re so beautiful, Olivia.”

She smiled slightly at the breathy compliment, her eyes dancing down to the now kiss-swollen lips. Keeping her hands where they were, she moved into Natalia’s personal space, sliding her thigh firmly between her legs. A soft gasp was the response.

She teased her lips over Natalia’s and could feel the quiver in response. She stayed that way for long moments, less than an inch from Natalia’s lips simply breathing her in.

“Like this, right now. You’re far more beautiful, baby, and I want to show you just how beautiful I think you are.” Then she kissed her solidly, pushing all of her desire into it, until Natalia moaned in response and arched her back into Olivia’s seeking hands.

“God, Olivia.” Natalia threw her head back, offering her neck to the woman’s hungry mouth, getting lost in the sensations coursing through her body. She never knew it could be like this. It was like her whole body was thrumming and aching for Olivia’s touch.

She couldn’t stay passive anymore so she raked her fingers into Olivia’s soft hair, pulling her closer into her body as Olivia’s hands unbuttoned her blouse and kissed every inch she uncovered, moving lower. When she realized where Olivia’s mouth was leading, her head fell back with a thunk against the door as her shirt drifted to the floor and her bra soon followed. Thumbs brushed over her aching nipples and she hissed as a nail gently teased it.

But when Olivia’s warm mouth settled over her, sucking her in, her mouth fell open with an “Oh my God!”

Without thinking, she looked down and saw what had to be the most erotic image she’d ever known - Olivia on her knees, eyes closed, with her tongue twirling slow, tortuous circles around her nipple.

“Olivia.” It was a softly spoken request. Fiery green eyes opened and an eyebrow rose as she hovered over Natalia’s breast, before slipping her hand up Natalia’s back and pulling her hard into her open mouth. “Oh fuck.” Natalia rarely cursed, but she couldn’t stop the expletive. It seemed like the only word in her head at the moment.

Olivia quickly rose to her feet and latched onto the gaping mouth. She tucked her fingers into the top of Natalia’s pants and tugged her towards the bed, then losing the offending material quickly once she got there. Only one thing raced through Olivia’s mind when she heard the rushed curse – naked, bed, now.

She turned Natalia around and pushed her gently back on the bed. She slipped off her own bra and underwear, feeling the fire of Natalia’s heated look as it settled between her legs with a deep throb. She climbed up the bed and over Natalia, letting their skin barely touch. The instant it did though, Natalia arched up, seeking more contact. Breasts brushed against each other and thighs settled against wetness.

Olivia could barely hold herself up. She was shaking to give in and settle between Natalia’s legs. Suddenly, she felt her ass grabbed in a vice grip and pulled down tight against the other woman. She groaned her approval as their hips began to move instinctively against each other. Natalia moved her hands from Olivia’s lower back and wrapped her legs around her to hold her in place before wrapping a hand in her hair and pulling her down into a kiss. They gasped and strained against each other, unable to get close enough.

“Touch me…please.” Olivia wasn’t sure she heard right until she rose up on one hand and saw the abandon on Natalia’s face.

“Anything…anything you want.”

She slipped her hand between their bodies, testing and teasing. She wanted to love Natalia and give her everything she possibly could. She wanted so much to be everything to Natalia and the need was so strong it made her chest clench.

Slowly, she dipped a finger in, watching Natalia’s reaction, reading her body. She hesitated as Natalia’s eyes flew open in surprise. For a moment, everything stilled.

“Do I need to stop?”

Natalia could barely focus, but managed somehow to talk, her voice raspy. “If you stop now, I swear to God someone’s getting hurt, and it won’t be me.”

Olivia chuckled in relief. “We can’t have that.”

Natalia could only shake her head then threw it back completely as Olivia pushed all the way in. “Oh, Natalia.” Suddenly, Olivia lost all sense of time and space as she was buried herself deep inside Natalia, feeling her tight and wet against her. “Dear God, this is amazing.”

Natalia nodded against her shoulder. “Wanna touch you too.”

“You will...soon.” Olivia moved in and out, using her hips, thoroughly enjoying the feeling of loving Natalia like this.

She could feel the dark head shake against her. “No, now.”

Natalia’s fingers were already seeking her out, reaching for her. “Natalia.” She was going to tell her that she didn’t have to, not yet, until the other woman spoke again.

“Please, Olivia. I know you can’t deny me anything.”

Olivia paused her movement and looked down into her lover’s desperate eyes. It was so true. She couldn’t deny Natalia anything she wanted, so she moved one of her legs to straddle Natalia’s thigh. She never lost contact with the younger woman’s body as she sat back a little. She took one of Natalia’s hands off her hip and slid it between her legs, showing the curious fingers where she wanted her to touch. When Olivia felt herself filled with the probing fingers, she bit her lip and watched as Natalia closed her eyes.

Olivia leaned over and continued her ministrations all the while rolling her hips against Natalia’s hand. They were so close, lips barely touching and bodies racing towards the edge together. “Is this what you wanted?” Olivia panted into a brief kiss.

“Yes. So good.”

“Look at me, Natalia.” Dark eyes sought her out and connected with her. The seconds seemed to slow as they moved in perfect unison, finger sliding, hips moving, chests heaving, until their bodies, eyes, and hearts locked together in an eternal union.

ONE YEAR LATER

A warm breeze caressed her skin as seagulls screeched overhead and an enormous orange sun descended in the western sky. A rustle of fabric behind her was the only sign that she wasn’t alone. Gentle hands came to rest against her bare shoulders, brushing aside the thin straps of her dress, as soft kisses moving tantalizingly across her neck.

She sighed and leaned back against the strong body as arms wrapped around her waist from behind. She lifted one of the hands from her waist, and let her free hand caress the backs of the long fingers. She smiled at the matching gold bands side-by-side, glittering in the setting sun. Flipping the hand over, she traced a long lifeline with the tip of her finger.

She could feel the chuckle before she heard it. “You’re obsessed with my lifeline.”

Looking over her shoulder, Natalia gazed into the warm green eyes of her wife, giving her a soft kiss that held infinite promise on this honeymoon night.
 

calliopes_muse: (Default)
Title: Heroes and Friends
Fandom: Otalia
Rating: PG-13 for this chapter
Disclaimer: These wonderful ladies and the rest of the town belong to CBS, Telenext, and P&G. I’m just having some fun with them.
Spoilers: I don’t think so. This story picks up at the “no more waiting” gazebo scene and goes off canon.
Summary: Nat gets the shock of her life and it turns Liv’s world upside down.
Warning: Not beta’d so if it sucks, there’s only me to blame.
A/N: Well, folks, this is it. The last “official” chapter. The smexy epilogue will be forthcoming. I wanted to torture you all, but I love all of you too much for that. wink.gif partyman.gif


Links to previous chapters: Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16.1 - Chapter 16.2 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23 - Chapter 24a - Chapter 24b


Chapter 25

Olivia glared at the clock that read 7:43 AM, then rolled over to glare as well, with no effect, at her bouncing daughter. Natalia was already out of bed, slipping on a t-shirt behind Emma’s back, and unsuccessfully fighting the urge to laugh as Olivia was jostled from her sleep.

“Emma!” Olivia whined and buried her head under her pillow. “Visitor hours at the hospital don’t start until ten. This is cruel and unusual punishment.”

The little girl giggled and pulled at her mother’s pillow. “Aw, come on, Mom! We can go feed the ducks before we leave.”

“Oh joy!”

Natalia finally took mercy on her sleep-deprived girlfriend. “Tell you what, Em. Go get some of the old bread in the pantry and head out to the lake. I’ll make a pot of coffee for your mom, and I bet you she’ll be out there in no time.”

“Okay!” Emma was out the door and down the stairs before Natalia barely finished talking.

“And there she goes.” She sat down on the side of the bed, running her hand over Olivia’s hair, which was mostly hidden under the pillow. “Oh, to have that much energy again. You can come out now, Olivia. She’s gone.”

“Don’t wanna. It’s dark and cozy under here.”

Natalia smiled at her muffled reply. “Even if I make coffee and make it very strong.”

She could feel the sigh from the older woman even if she couldn’t hear it. “It’ll take a few minutes to brew, right? Fifteen, maybe twenty minutes? Just a little bit longer, baby.”

Natalia pulled up the pillow a little to give Olivia a kiss on the head. “Okay, but that’s it.”

Not even fifteen minutes later, the sweet aroma of freshly brewed coffee had Olivia up and out of bed. She smiled to see a plate of scrambled eggs and toast, still steaming, sitting on the table with her filled coffee mug next to it.

She saw the folded note next to her plate and picked it up.

“I knew you couldn’t resist a good cup of coffee. We’re down at the lake. Sit, eat, and then come join us. Love you, N.”

“Damn, she’s good.” She sat and ate, contemplating something. “Natalia’s always doing something for me or someone else. Maybe it’s time someone took care of her.”

Smiling to herself, she picked up her cell phone. Ten minutes later, she was sauntering down to the lake her plans for the night in place.

***********

On the other side of town, Rafe looked at his phone, dripping wet from the shower he had gotten out of twice in the last twenty minutes, then he started laughing at the request coming through the other end of the line.

“Dude, you two are freaks! Just ask her out or something or whatever two women do, have coffee or knit or something.”

The long pause made him swallow hard and wonder if he had enough of a head start to escape the wrath of Olivia Spencer. When she spoke, her voice was darkly even. “Knitting with your mother is not what I have in mind, Rafe.”

“Ew!!! I need to scrub my brain out now, Olivia. Thanks!”

She sighed, her patience wearing thin. “Are you going to help or not?”

“Well, you’ve already scarred me for life so why not finish the job?” He grumbled.

“I’ll take that as a yes. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, I guess. See you in a little while.”

He hung up the phone and shook his head then turned back to finish his shower. His very hot shower. One that’ll be hot enough to scald the image of his Mom and Olivia having a romantic dinner, and God knows what else tonight, from his mind.

*************

“Daddy!” Emma raced into the room and was quickly pulled back by Olivia before the little girl could leap onto her recovering father.

“Easy, Em.”

Emma turned pouting green eyes up at her mother. “Sorry. I just wanted to hug him to make him feel better.”

Now Olivia felt like a heel. “That’s fine, honey. Just do it gently, okay?”

Phillip watched the exchange with amusement then smiled big and opened his arms to Emma as she climbed on his bed to wrap her arms around his neck. “Hey, baby.”

“Are you feeling better, Daddy?”

He tweaked her on the nose, making her giggle. “Much better now that you’re here.”

An hour later, Rafe tapped softly on the door to Phillip’s room. When he didn’t get any acknowledgement, he poked his head in the room. What he saw scrubbed away the last vestiges of ickiness he had felt earlier. Seated comfortably in the hospital chair, next to Phillip’s bed, was his mother, her head tilted back laughing at a funny story Emma was telling everyone. Behind her stood Olivia, her hands resting gently on his mom’s shoulders. Occasionally, she would give the shoulders a soft rub and squeeze. He watched for a few seconds and realized he was smiling to himself. It was a smile that corresponded to the one on Natalia’s face. He was happy, and he finally understood that it was because she was happy too. He had gotten what he had asked for even if it didn’t come in the way he had expected, but seeing his mom smile made him realize that the unexpected gifts are some of the best kind.

He tapped on the door again and this time Natalia turned to see him. “Hey! How was Alan?”

Rafe stepped in and nodded at Phillip and Beth, then stuck his hands in his pockets, shrugging as he looked over at his mom. “You know, typical Alan. I’ve never seen a nurse move so fast to get out of someone’s room before!”

“I have.” Natalia joked as she playfully nudged her shoulder back against Olivia’s hip, making everyone laugh.

“Hey!”

“That’s why you needed me. I wasn’t taking your crap lady.”

Olivia smiled at the memory. “Thank goodness.”

Rafe looked down and cleared his throat. “Anyway, um,” he looked up at Olivia, “I was wondering if I could steal my mom for the afternoon, maybe Em too. Take my favorite ladies to lunch, maybe play with Munchkin in the park or something.”

Olivia’s mouth fell open and tried to come off as offended but it didn’t work. “Favorite ladies, huh? What about me?”

“Uhhh,” Rafe stalled but was mercifully interrupted by Olivia raising a hand and reaching into her pocket for her cell phone.

A quick pass of eye contact between Olivia and Rafe had her winking at him. She rolled her eyes at everyone else. “It’s Greg.” She flipped the phone open and proceeded to let Greg know he was seconds away from receiving his last paycheck if he didn’t talk fast. After a few moments of silence, she sighed, “Fine. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

Natalia looked up at her as she slipped the phone back in her pocket. “What’s wrong?”

“Oh, just small stuff like a major conference for one of the largest companies in the country, and we’re fortunate enough to have a chef with the stomach flu. Oh, and the new bartender somehow managed to tip over the most expensive rack of wine in the cellar. Good times!” She gave a hearty, but sarcastic, thumbs up on the matter.

Natalia reached for Olivia. “Oh my God, Olivia. We need to get over there.”

She waved her hand and shook her head. “No, no. Spend time with Rafe. The two of you have some quality time with Emma this afternoon. Really, it probably sounds worse than it really is. I’ll just swing by Towers and call in a favor with the owner for some wine. The kitchen staff will simply have to find a way to work around Fernando’s absence.”

“You’re sure.” Natalia looked at her sadly. It seemed like they’d never be able to just relax.

“Absolutely. And if I get on it right now, it won’t take that long.”

“Um, you don’t have a car, remember? Suicidal deer and all.”

Olivia raised her hands, having already solved the problem in her head. “No biggie. I’ll get a car from The Beacon then head to Towers.”

“Um, okay. If you’re sure. Eat something, okay?” Olivia smiled at Natalia’s obvious worry. She knew how Olivia got when she was stressed, and it was a characteristic that Olivia adored in her.

“I will.” She reached for Natalia’s hand and tugged her closer. She gave her a tender but chaste kiss on the lips. “Love you.”

Natalia couldn’t help but blush a little, and she felt something else stir in her…pride. “Love you too.”

Once the door to the room closed, the brunette turned back to look at her son who noticed she looked visibly relieved. “Well, that just made things a lot easier. Now I don’t have to think of an excuse to get away from her.”

Phillip and Beth looked at each other oddly and then at Natalia. Finally, Beth asked, “Why would you want to get away from Olivia?”

“Aside from the obvious?” Phillip joked.

Natalia ignored it and looked at her smiling children who were in on the whole thing. “It’s not a matter of want but need.”

Phillip looked at Beth again. “Clear as mud to me. How about you?”

“Come on, Natalia. What’s going on?” Beth crossed her arms.

She shook her head. “If it works out, everyone will find out soon enough.”

***********

Over at The Beacon, Greg scrambled into the kitchen with the most expensive wine the hotel carried while Fernando and Olivia filled a bag with a variety of pastas, meats, cheeses, and veggies. She stood back and looked around, making sure she didn’t forget anything. The two men stood by silently, still having no clue what was going on. When she was satisfied that she had all she needed, she picked up the bag and bottle of wine and headed for the back door.

“Aren’t you going to tell us what this is about?” Greg was dying to know.

“Nope! But thanks for your help.” She called over her shoulder as the door closed behind her.

************

The crew of three worked steadily and happily side-by-side in the small kitchen area as music played through the surround sound speakers. It was the one thing that Frank had insisted on having set up perfectly, and now Rafe was grateful for because it drowned out Emma’s horrible singing. Too bad it didn’t help improve his mother’s dancing. He cringed as she shimmied around the tiny space. All he could hope was that Olivia had rhythm and could teach her some. That brought a whole other mental picture to mind and he quickly turned with the bowl of fruit in his hand to the sink behind him to rinse, with really cold water.

Emma began to trim the crusts off the sandwiches she had just put together and looked at Natalia, who was mixing a cream cheese dip for the strawberries. “So, do you know what you’re going to say yet?”

Rafe cut off the water. He had to hear this. Natalia tried to focus on what she was doing, pretending that it wasn’t that big of a deal. She even shrugged her shoulders. “Not exactly. I mean, I have but I don’t have the exact wording down. Everything I think in my head sounds good until I start to say it outloud. Then it just sounds stupid and juvenile, like some Hallmark card.”

“Ma, you can’t just go in there unprepared. If you do it right, you may never get a chance to say it again. And if you don’t do it right, you definitely won’t get to do it again. Besides, there’s only so many ways you can say it.” He turned back to his task of drying and sorting the fruit, placing them carefully in a bowl.

A frazzled Natalia dropped the spoon into her mixing bowl. “I know. But what if I screw up? What if…?”

“You won’t screw up.” Emma commented matter-of-factly, sounding far too old for her age. “When you love someone and they love you, you can’t screw up.”

Rafe smiled at his incredulous mother. “From the mouths of babes, huh?”

************

Olivia worked fast around the kitchen. She had never mixed, stirred, or measured so fast in her life. She was mildly surprised the beeper for her pacemaker hadn’t gone off, but seriously, if it could survive her crawling through a sewer pipe on San Cristobel to save Natalia, it could handle her in Martha Stewart mode.

She tasted the sauce for the chicken and added a little more pepper. The timer on the oven went off and she removed the slightly toasted head of garlic. Finding the bread, she split the loaf in half and set it aside. Then reached for a small bowl and butter. She added the now softened garlic to the butter with some fresh oregano and melted it all together. She generously buttered the toast and slid the tray in the oven.

A few minutes later, she was putting the finishing touches on the meal and was setting the table when her phone rang. She answered immediately when she saw Natalia’s name. This keeps working out better and better. At least now she has some forewarning about when Natalia would make it home.

“Hey, are you three in trouble already?”

“Olivia.” There was a long moment of silence and she felt her heart falter. “I need you to come to the park.” Natalia’s voice sounded…strange.

“Is it Emma? Is she okay?”

“Emma’s fine; Rafe has her. I just…I need you.”

“I…I’ll be right there, baby.”

“I’m at the gazebo.”

“Okay, sit tight.”

Olivia only hesitated a moment, wondering what was making Natalia sound so scared and desperate. She moved around the kitchen and turned off everything. When she spun around to grab her keys, her eyes landed on the Virgin Mary sitting calmly on the shelf.

“Can I ask a favor? Could you please ask your boss to give us a break, just once? That’s all I ask. Just once.” She rolled her eyes at the silent statue and left without giving it another thought.

**************

Olivia looked at the clock on the console in her car as she slipped the gear shift into park. 4:45 PM. The sun was sinking lower in the late summer sky, giving the air a slightly brisk feeling letting it be known that fall wasn’t far away. There was still plenty of light to see though, and even from a distance, she could easily make out the long dark hair pulled back securely in a ponytail.

As she got closer, she didn’t get the feeling in Natalia’s body language that anything was wrong. In fact, the other woman was leaning casually against one of the posts by the steps looking out over the lake, one arm wrapped around the post. She made sure to make some noise as she climbed the steps in an effort not to startle her girlfriend. When Natalia turned, Olivia felt any fear from the phone call fall away. Natalia smiled at her warmly, the movement of her body to the side urging her to come closer.

“Hey,” Natalia spoke softly, almost reverently into the light breeze.

Olivia smirked at her, feeling something was up with Natalia, the coy look peeking out from under her lashes a dead giveaway. “So, where’s the fire, hot stuff?”

The brunette giggled and moved closer, tilting her head up to give Olivia a kiss. “I did need you and I still do, probably always will.”

Olivia brushed her hands along Natalia’s hips, until they were wrapped securely around her waist. “Uh huh, you’re up to something, Rivera. Spill it.”

Natalia sighed and rested her forehead against Olivia’s chest, relishing in the older woman’s scent. “Busted, huh?”

“So busted. You’re not very good at hiding things.”

Natalia pulled back out of her arms but held out a hand when Olivia moved forward to get close again. “Nuh uh, stay right there.”

She watched curiously as Natalia walked down the steps to the side of the gazebo. When Natalia came back around the corner, Olivia could see that Natalia carried what appeared to be a picnic basket in her hands. She shifted the basket in her hands as she negotiated the steps. Dark strands of hair fell from her ponytail and into her eyes. The smile on Olivia’s face disappeared as an image from a dream flashed through her mind. It was identical to the image in front of her down to the black jacket Natalia was wearing.

The words from her dreams came out as if they had a will of their own, and for a moment, the rush in her ears and the darkening of her peripheral vision made her wonder if she had even spoken them.

“So, what have you got there?”

Natalia started to answer until she remembered she had heard those words before too, in her dreams. Then she saw the unsteady sway of Olivia, her eyes glassy, and sweat popping out on her forehead. She quickly tossed the basket on the bench and reached for Olivia with both hands, steadying her. She pulled Olivia’s face down willing the haunted green eyes to look at her.

“No peeking. It’s a surprise.”

Olivia started to shake uncontrollably. “Oh my God, Natalia. What the hell?”

“Baby, it’s okay. Stay with me.”

The older woman was getting into full-blown panic mode, and Natalia squeezed her hands tighter, pulling her closer. “But I am here, Natalia. I’ve been here, and you were there too and then you left, just gone. I thought you had left me and you didn’t want me. I was so afraid…so afraid I’d never find you.”

“But you did, Olivia. You did. You found me and you saved me, in so many ways. You’re my very own superhero.” She was crying now, hard. They both were as they held each other tight. It took a moment for the panic to pass, but once it had and Olivia could focus, she pulled back.

She shook her head and took a deep breath. “What was that? Déjà vu?”

The younger woman steadied herself as she looked up at Olivia. “I don’t think so.” Another moment passed and she continued, “Olivia, when Edmund had me captive, I kept having this recurring dream. It was always the two of us. We were always here in the gazebo, and I always had a basket with me, just like the day when I came for Emma’s service project. Sometimes the dream was beautiful and romantic. Sometimes it turned into a nightmare. But it always started the same.”

Olivia stepped back and went to the bench. “I need to sit down.” She looked up at Natalia who was pushing hair out of her face. “I had the same dream. When you walked up those steps, for a moment, you looked exactly like you did in that dream, and I lost it. I thought it was happening again, but for real. Like a nightmare I couldn’t get out of.”

The brunette came and sat down next to her, taking her hand gently in her own, turning it over and tracing her lifeline with her finger. “You did that too.”

“What?” Natalia looked up at her.

“In another dream, out by the lake at the farmhouse, you did that.”

“Olivia, this is…”

“Unbelievable.” Olivia finished for her.

She shrugged. “I was going to say a miracle.”

“Why?” Olivia’s voice was soft and unsure.

Natalia bit her lip then just decided to go for it. This most certainly wasn’t how she expected this to go, but she knew now more than ever that this was their shared destiny. She tilted her head toward the basket. “Look in the basket, Olivia.”

Olivia swallowed hard. “I can’t. The last time I did, bad things happened.”

“That was a dream. This is real. But it’ll all make sense if you look in the basket.”

She knew she couldn’t resist Natalia anything, so she turned from her and raised the wooden lid on the basket. Inside was a small black box sitting atop a bed of white silk. She squeezed her eyes shut. It was just like in the dream.

She jerked her head back to the woman next to her. “Natalia.”

The younger woman stood and leaned over her, taking the box from its confines. She got to her knee and flipped it open to reveal a simple gold band with a classic diamond on it. “Everything we’ve been through, Olivia. Your transplant, losing Gus, the almost wedding, the kidnapping, the dreams, all of it has happened to bring us to this point and show us the immutable fact that you and I are meant to be together. That God brought us together and made us for each other. This moment, and what we just experienced, is proof that our souls are bound together. Even when we were apart, Olivia, we shared our dreams and you already had my heart, now I want to give you my body and my life. I love you, Olivia. And while our souls are bonded for all eternity, and of that, I am absolutely certain, I also know I want to join with you in this life as your wife. And I want to give you this ring as a symbol of our eternal bond.”

In the midst of Natalia’s proposal, Olivia had brought her hand to her mouth and was now crying freely. This was the life and love she had never thought she could have, a love that she never thought she’d be graced with. Her life experiences had tainted her ability to believe in God, much less fate or destiny, but kneeling before her was all the proof she needed. A woman of boundless grace and beauty and enough faith for ten people believed in their love enough to offer not only a lifetime but eternity as her mate. How did she ever get so blessed?

Natalia smiled as she read the expressions flash across Olivia’s face. She tilted her head to the side. “So, Olivia Spencer, are you going to marry me or not?”

Olivia started laughing through her tears. “Yes…absolutely, 100 percent…yes.” She pulled Natalia to her feet and stood as well.

With shaky hands, Natalia took Olivia’s hand and slipped the ring on her left hand.

“It fits perfect,” Olivia smiled down at her.

“Just like us?”

Olivia nodded in agreement before leaning down to kiss her fiancé. The kiss held all of their promises to each other and all of the life they have yet to live together in its tender embrace. They had kissed many times over the last few weeks, but this was entirely different from all the others. The first kiss had opened a floodgate of desire. It was passionate and needy, raw and desperate, a kiss borne of pent up desire. That was until Emma rudely interrupted with a nightmare. This though was something else entirely. Banked warm and low under the surface was the fire that had been there before, that had been existing between them for the last year, but it was tempered with faith and commitment, a knowing that only lovers who have a lifetime and more ahead of them can sense.

Olivia broke the kiss with a contented sigh, bringing an enraptured and smiling Natalia along with her as she reached for one last peck. Olivia gestured over her shoulder at the basket sitting innocently on the bench.

“So, is there food in there?”

Natalia nodded. “Yeah. Do you want something?”

Olivia started to shrug then shook her head, laughing softly, never letting Natalia go. “No, but maybe you should eat something. It’s getting late.”

The younger woman tilted her head and smiled knowingly, tracing Olivia’s full bottom lip with her finger. “I’m hungry…but not for food.”

Olivia’s breathing stopped for a moment almost afraid to move in case it broke the spell and Natalia changed her mind. But to Olivia’s great pleasure, she didn’t. The brunette instead took Olivia’s hand in one of her own and the basket in the other before looking back at Olivia. “Let’s go home.”
 

calliopes_muse: (Default)
Continued from 24a

Halfway across the park, Rafe unbuttoned his jacket trying to cool off as beads of sweat ran down the side of his face. “This sucks. They should have had it inside.”

“Well, it was planned when it was about ten degrees cooler so it made sense at the time.” Olivia stated. She was surprised when she felt Natalia’s hand casually take her own. She looked over at the brunette who seemed oblivious to what she was doing. The very idea that Natalia may not be taking heed or caution to expressing affection for her in public made her smile, especially when the first person they ran into was Father Ray.

The priest raised an eyebrow and glanced down at their entwined hands, as they approached. He did make an effort to be semi-cordial. “Hello.” He directed at Olivia who simply nodded. He directed his attention to the others then. “Natalia, Rafe, Emma…it’s so good to see you.”

Natalia made small talk with him, but she never let go of Olivia’s hand. Olivia stood proudly by Natalia’s side, never wavering as she watched and listened closely to his words. She mentally dared him to say something derogatory. But when he nodded his goodbyes and turned to walk to the front with Doris and the other dignitaries, she felt a little disappointed. Somehow, she expected more from him, but it was all well and good because today wasn’t really the right time for a verbal sparring.

Speaking of which, a loud noise from across the lake drew everyone’s attention. Olivia raised her hand to block the sunlight so she could see the figures who were arguing very loudly.

“Oh my God.”

Natalia stood on her tiptoes, wishing she had her heels on now so she could see over the crowd. “What is it?”

Olivia snickered to herself. “It’s Marina, I think. She’s arguing with someone.”

“Who? Mallet?”

Olivia squinted to see and then the person stepped into view. “Um, no…Eleni.”

Natalia looked up at her in shock. “Eleni? She’s here?”

“Well, honey, she was married to Frank and she is Marina’s mother.”

“Yeah, but how in the world did she find out about this?”

About that time, Doris and Blake nearly sprinted past heading for the arguing pair. Doris nearly growled at Blake. “I told you this would be a bad idea!”

“It was the right thing to do and you know it!” Blake fired back.

“I think we have our answer.” Olivia muttered to Natalia. They watched a moment longer as Buzz came up from the other side of the park, ready to break them up. Suddenly bored with the dramatics of Marina Cooper, Olivia turned to her partner. “While everyone’s distracted, let’s grab some seats.”

“Good idea.”

Eventually, the rest of the crowd grew bored with it as well and started to return to their seats. Nearly everyone from town was there except for Phillip, Beth, and Alan. The entire town knew Frank Cooper in some form or fashion, so it was a huge turnout. They found seats about ten rows back from the stage which was placed strategically on the bottom of a small hill that was topped with a pole sporting the American flag and a flag of the town seal just below it.

The stage was adorned with large sprays of flowers and flags placed around the perimeter. A few seats for speakers and family rested behind an inconsequential microphone and podium. Most seats in the audience were now full, except for one next to Olivia. When a shadow fell across her, she looked up and focused on the shadow blocking her light. She groaned when she realized who it was.

“Don’t worry, Olivia, I’m not going to sit by you and torture you the whole time.” Reva joked. “No matter how much fun that may be. I just wanted to…well,…damn.” She then sat down by Olivia and suddenly pulled her into a hug. Olivia was shocked and fought the urge to push her away. “I’m just glad you’re okay. I mean, be really glad you’re okay, Spencer, ‘cause if Josh had gotten hurt trying to help you, I would have had to kill you. And really, that’s just more effort than it’s worth.”

“Um, okay.” Olivia still didn’t know quite what to say so she just patted Reva awkwardly on the back.

Josh sauntered up and she caught his smirk over Reva’s shoulder. “So, ladies, something I need to know?” He caught Natalia’s eye. “Hi, Natalia.”

She waved at him and took the opportunity to put her arm possessively across the back of Olivia’s chair. “Hi, Josh.”

Olivia grumbled at Josh. “Yeah, don’t you wish.”

He held up his hand behind Reva’s back with his thumb and forefinger close together and mouthed, “Just a little bit.”

When Reva saw Olivia’s smirk, she quickly looked over her shoulder to an innocent looking Josh. He covered the position of his hand by swaying it out away from his body. “This way, my lady. I have your seat ready.”

“Uh huh, I bet you do.”

Suddenly a loud crack was heard from across the lake and for a moment everyone was still. When they saw Marina holding the side of her face and a furious but dignified Eleni walking away, they relaxed.

“Why do people get such blissful satisfaction out of smacking her?” Reva questioned as she stood.

“Because she’s an ass.” Natalia mumbled.

Reva looked at the brunette appreciatively. “Oh, a kitty with claws. She’s perfect for you, Olivia. I approve.”

Once the excitement had died down and everyone made their way to the stage, absent Marina who had stalked off in a pout, Doris gave a nod to Blake in the front row. The redhead spoke into a walkie talkie and in a few minutes the rhythmic thump of booted steps was heard as an officer procession entered from the rear of the audience seating area, led by Remy Boudreaux and an officer color guard. Behind them were the Springfield PD’s commanding officers serving as pall bearers for Frank’s flag-draped casket.

A rifle procession simultaneously entered over the hill, each member of the twenty-one gun corps, setting off a step from the other so they were placed in a perfect diagonal line across the hill. The choreography of the procession was perfect as the casket was brought to rest on its stand with Remy, the pall bearers, and corps lining up in a perfect line behind the casket. A moment of silence passed as Remy and his command snapped to salute.

In a booming voice, Remy gave the command. “Attention! Aim!”

Guns were raised at the ready behind him. “Fire!”

Thirteen more times, the guns were raised and fired off representing every year Frank had served on the force. Olivia felt Natalia lean into her, seeking her closeness with each new round of gunfire. She wrapped an arm around the back of her chair and cradled the brunette’s smaller hand in her own, squeezing it reassuringly. On the other side, she could see Emma curling up closer to Rafe, who was fighting a losing battle against his own grief as a single tear rolled down his face.

When the salute was over, Father Ray stood to lead the opening prayer. When he was finished, he turned the service over to the Governor, who spoke of honor and heroism in the most general of terms. The speech wasn’t intended to evoke emotion as much as it was designed to acknowledge Frank’s service and role in the community. The Governor, as would be expected, awarded Frank full honors for brave and distinguished service. He presented it to Buzz and the rest of the Cooper family in appreciation from the state of Illinois.

Doris stood and thanked the Governor for taking time out of his schedule to honor Frank. “But Frank Achilles Cooper, Jr. was more than a medal or even a police officer of our great town. He was our friend, our neighbor, a son, a father, and generally someone we always knew would be there to help if we needed it. The manner in which Frank gave his life, to help someone he cared about, is indicative of his character, and is the reason many of us liked him. He was just an all around nice guy. But, we shouldn’t forget him. For Springfield, we should and we will honor his life and his place in our community. That is why I am declaring today The Frank Cooper Memorial Day. From this day forward, today will be a day of service for our community, a time when we give of ourselves to help our neighbor. The town of Springfield would also like to present the Cooper family with a memorial plaque to be placed on the bridge that crosses the lake in this very park. We are also proud to announce that a large-scale anonymous donation has been made to the town with the express instructions to develop The Frank Achilles Cooper, Jr. Juvenile Justice Center in recognition of Frank’s deep love for troubled youth.”

A gasp rose over the crowd at the announcement and Natalia sat up straight. She looked at her son who was staring back at her with a disbelieving expression. “Ma, how did that…who?” She turned in her chair to look at Olivia who was trying desperately to keep her focus on the stage.

“Who in the world would do something like that, Olivia?”

The older woman looked at her with a poker face. “I have no idea.” She turned her face back to the stage, and she refused to look back at the searching brown eyes staring at her. She couldn’t fight the smirk that peaked out of the corner of her mouth. Natalia caught it and her eyes slitted. She’d let it go. She knew the truth; Olivia didn’t have to tell her.

The flag on Frank’s casket was folded and presented by Remy to Buzz. He couldn’t fight the tears as he cradled the red, white, and blue fabric to his chest. Eleni took his hand, and he took a deep breath to steady himself before he made his way behind the podium. Quietly and softly, he retraced the highlights of Frank’s life. He made the crowd laugh and cry in turn.

When he was done a long moment of silence stretched as he fought to hold back the tears evident in his quivering voice. “He was a good son.” Buzz lost hold of his grief, as he spluttered out the rest of his statement. “He was the best.”

As the service ended, the crowd silently and respectfully waited as Remy and the pall bearers exited with Frank’s casket the way they had come in. Loaded in the hearse, the crowd dispersed to their respective cars and followed the procession slowly down the road less than a mile to the church and the small cemetery out back. Father Ray gave his benediction as family and friends watched the casket disappear into the dark ground.

Olivia kept her arms tight around Natalia, feeling like she needed it now more than ever. Rafe stood close as well, bracing Emma on his hip with his one good arm, her slender arms wrapped securely around his neck.

The short service was over almost as quickly as it had started. People began to drift away or to give their condolences to Buzz. After a few moments, the crowd cleared and Olivia walked up to the man she had once loved and still did in so many ways. He quirked his mouth a little to the side and regarded her silently. She tilted her head and finally reached forward to pull him into a hug.

He smirked at her then, and she knew that look. Buzz was up to something. “I want you all to come to Company.”

She bit her lip and shook her head. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea after what happened.”

“And exactly what happened, Olivia?”

“Ahhh, well…” she stumbled.

“Frank did what he thought was the right thing to do. He made a decision and he knew the risks. That’s not your fault.” He looked over her shoulder to Natalia who was listening intently. “Or yours. Come on, it’ll just be a small group telling tall tales on Frank while he can’t argue back, and you know how nice that can be, and having some drinks. Come on, I really need some of my tears to come from laughter right now.”

Olivia looked to Natalia, who was already saying yes with her eyes, and she made sure to put an exclamation point on it when she leaned forward and kissed Buzz on his stubbly cheek. “Thank you, Buzz. We’d be happy to.”

A few feet away, Olivia and Natalia made their way to a small group that surrounded Eleni. As they approached, the other woman broke from the group and greeted them. “Good to see you both again.” Eleni gave her head a small shake, the curls of her long dark hair dancing around her face. “I guess that’s an awkward statement about now.”

The dark-haired Greek woman glanced down at Olivia and Natalia’s entwined hands, a smile of amusement tugging at the corners. “Seems there have been some interesting changes in Springfield since I left. Somehow, I thought if something ever happened to Frank that Natalia would have been standing in my shoes instead.”

Natalia didn’t hesitate and looked at her unflinching. “Obviously, a lot has changed since you left.”

“I’d say so.” She paused and regarded both women for a moment, pleased that neither seemed to waver under the scrutiny. “I guess the saying that opposites attract has never been more true.”

She watched as Natalia looked up at Olivia with adoring eyes and Olivia likewise seemed to pull the younger woman a little closer to her. For a moment, it was like the world disappeared for them, and Eleni felt like an invader in a private moment.

Natalia looked back to the other woman, and full smile on her face. “Never more true.”

Eleni put her hand out in a gesture to shake Natalia’s. When Natalia returned it, she stepped slightly closer, smiling. Her body language was decidedly different. She bordered on friendly where as before, Natalia had gotten the distinct impression that Eleni would have happily pushed her down into the dark hole in the ground behind her. “You’ll have to tell me all about it. Perhaps over drinks in a little while at Company?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“Good.”

On the walk back to the car, Natalia was still shaking her head in disbelief. “Well, that was weird.”

She smiled at Rafe and Emma running off in the direction of the car and then looked over at Olivia who was smiling strangely. “What?”

Olivia paused a few feet from the car and turned to the younger woman. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“You didn’t wilt. At all, to anyone. Not even Father Ray. You have no idea how much that means to me.” Olivia tugged her by the hand until they were inches apart. She was gauging Natalia’s comfort with their proximity even as others walked around them, some barely paying any attention to them. When Natalia relaxed the few remaining inches into her arms, Olivia completed the gesture by wrapping her arms around Natalia’s waist.

Natalia tilted her head a little smiling up at the woman she loved. “I think I have an idea.”

Then without provocation or encouragement, she leaned up and kissed the older woman softly on her lips. A small moan escaped Natalia’s lips.

Olivia mumbled against her lips. “Everyone’s watching.”

Natalia pulled back, smirking at her. “Are you embarrassed?”

“Um, no. Definitely not, but I thought you…”

The brunette shook her head at her partner. “I’m not embarrassed or ashamed, Olivia. I’m in love with the most profoundly stunning woman in Springfield, and I’m very happy about that. I don’t care if everyone knows, and I sure don’t care if anyone cares. It’s not their life. It’s mine…ours. So, please, let’s stop worrying about that.”

Olivia sighed and brushed a hand over Natalia’s hair, resting it gently against her neck. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, baby. I love you, insecurities and all. Now, let’s go have a drink and relax.”

*************

The rest of the day passed quickly, and it was something that both Olivia and Natalia were immensely grateful for. They watched as Rafe did his best to play foosball one-handed with Emma as she took him to the cleaners. The officially new siblings laughing and joking with each other made the women smile in spite of the occasion and the fact that Emma’s father was undergoing a very dangerous procedure at this very moment. They were pretty sure that Emma would be up well past her bedtime, but they agreed that they preferred to see her laughing and having fun instead of worrying about her father.

Company was packed with about fifty people, mostly members of the police force and close friends of the Coopers. There were toasts to Frank throughout the night and hilarious stories told of the man they had all known. Blake related a story of Frank disco dancing in his John Travolta white disco suit. When Natalia turned to Olivia in embarrassment that she would have considered marrying someone who thought that was cool, Olivia looked properly offended and quickly informed her girlfriend that she liked disco too.

“Yeah, but you’d look hot in that kind of suit.” Natalia flirted.

“I have one very much like it at home. I’ll have to wear it for you sometime.”

“Please do.”

As the day turned to night, the Spencer-Rivera family sat down to eat a huge meal of Buzz burgers, fries, and milkshakes. Rafe and Natalia couldn’t sit out on it so Buzz offered to make them special diabetes-friendly versions.

When they were done and the table was cleared, Doris walked up with Blake at her side. Olivia thought momentarily how it seemed like those two hadn’t been apart for more than a few minutes today, but it was chased away quickly by the devilish smile on Doris’ face.

“Uh oh, the Wolfe is on the prowl. Everybody hide!” Olivia’s comment made Emma and Rafe snicker.

“Oh, I’m not here for you, Spencer. I’m here for your kid or at least one of them.” She wiggled her eyebrows and looked down at Rafe, who quickly stopped laughing. “Do you have a moment?” He looked around the table, clearly ill at ease.

Natalia, always quick to Rafe’s defense, asked, “Can’t you talk to him here?”

“Stop it, Momma Hen. I’m not going to hurt your little boy. This is business.” She tilted her head and he stood from the booth to follow her.

“So, what’s that about?”

Olivia was stumped. “I have no idea.” Seeing Blake hanging back a few feet from Doris though triggered her earlier thought. “Is it just me or have Doris and Blake been awfully close today?”

“What do you mean?” The look on Natalia’s face amused Olivia. It was almost the exact same look Natalia gave her the night they kissed the first time. Olivia had the urge to use her “do I have to hit you over the head with this?” comment but decided against it.

Instead, she shrugged. “Maybe I’m just completely off base but they seem very friendly with each other.”

Natalia watched as Doris shook hands with her beaming son. If he smiled any more, his face was surely crack. As Rafe headed back to the table, she followed the two women as they moved on and stopped mid-sip on her shake as she saw Blake run a hand from Doris’ shoulder, over her back and down to her waist.

“No way!” She spun to look at Olivia.

Olivia was fighting the giggles. “Oh, I definitely think way.”

“Oh my God.”

Rafe stood in front of the table looking at his mom as she looked at Doris and Blake. “What?”

Natalia jumped back to the present and her son standing there looking at her oddly. She waved a hand in front of her face. “Nothing. What did she want?”

The same huge smile planted itself back on his face. “Oh, she was just wondering what I planned to study in school. You know, to see if it may fit in with being the Community Transition Assistant for the new juvie center.”

Olivia smiled proudly at Rafe and when it finally sunk in on Natalia what it meant, she squealed happily and jumped from her seat. “A job? Oh my God, Rafe…a job?” She threw her arms around his neck and he laughed.

Pulling back, Natalia wiped at her teary eyes as Rafe sat back down. “It’s just an assistant position. A glorified paper pusher, but she said that if I get my degree it could lead to other positions.”

“I’m so happy for you, baby.” Natalia reached her hand across the table to take his.

“We all are. Aren’t we Emma?” Olivia beamed.

“Yep! Now you can actually pay me for all those foosball games you lost.”

The table roared with laughter as Rafe feigned indignation. “Hey, you can’t do that! We’re like related or something now.”

“Keep it up, bro, and it’ll be with interest.”

He just shook his head and tried not to laugh. Looking at Olivia, he pointed at her. “She’s definitely your kid.”

She smiled sweetly at him. “I’d recommend hiring her in the future. You’ll want her on your side.”

Several hours later, Olivia’s phone buzzed. She glanced down at it and showed the name to Natalia before answering. The kids were tired, and Emma was already leaning heavily against Rafe, so she didn’t want to get her upset or excited at the news on the other line. But, she had to know. So she answered the call and felt Natalia take her hand under the table as they both said a quick prayer.

“Hello?” She listened for a moment. “Really? Wow, that’s…that’s amazing. He does? Okay, tomorrow then.”

She flipped the phone closed and looked at a perked up Emma. “Your Daddy’s feeling much better, baby.” She looked at Rafe then back to Emma. “Your grandfather too.” Emma was out of her seat in record time and in Olivia’s lap, bouncing with excitement.

She felt Natalia wrap an arm around her waist and lean against her shoulder. “It’s like a miracle.”

“Kind of looks that way, huh?”

The little girl couldn’t contain her happiness. “Can I go see Daddy now?”

“We can’t tonight, Em. He does want to see you though, but the doctors won’t let anyone in until visitor hours in the morning.”

“Yay! I’m going to be up before everyone else then.” She jumped down from her mother’s lap.

“I guess we need to get you to bed then, sweetie.” Natalia leaned an elbow on the table as she looked around Olivia at their daughter.

“Aw, Ma!” Emma whined.

Olivia laughed and felt herself get a little giddy inside hearing Emma use the new term of endearment. “You were about to drop just a minute ago! Come on, Bean, let’s go get a good night’s sleep.”

Rafe stood from the booth and stuck his hands inside his pockets. “Can I come with you guys? I’d like to see Alan.”

Natalia smiled at her son, knowing he was excited to share with his grandfather all of the great things that have happened to him in just a few short days. For once, Rafe was proud and confident in himself and he wanted to share that with someone important in his life. Without Frank around, Alan was the closest he had to a paternal figure. Natalia knew, in spite of her own misgivings of Alan exerting his influence over her son, that she also couldn’t deny Rafe a relationship with his grandfather. Besides, between Olivia and her, they’d make sure that Alan kept his long-reaching claws out of their son.

On the way back to drop off Rafe, they made plans to pick him up in the morning. It was nearing midnight when they pulled into the driveway at the farmhouse. In the backseat, Emma had stretched out and fallen asleep. Carefully, Natalia lifted her and carried her up the stairs to her room. Together, they tucked her in and headed to their own room. Barely sparing enough energy to change out of their dressy clothes, they crawled into bed and were instantly asleep.

calliopes_muse: (Default)
Title: Heroes and Friends
Fandom: Otalia
Rating: PG-13 for this chapter
Disclaimer: These wonderful ladies and the rest of the town belong to CBS, Telenext, and P&G. I’m just having some fun with them.
Spoilers: I don’t think so. This story picks up at the “no more waiting” gazebo scene and goes off canon.
Summary: Nat gets the shock of her life and it turns Liv’s world upside down.
Warning: Not beta’d so if it sucks, there’s only me to blame.

A/N: Forewarning...this is the longest chapter of this I've written so far, over 6,000 words and 14 pages...WHOOHOO! So, grab a 'tini, don't skimp on the olives, and settle in.


Links to previous chapters: Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16.1 - Chapter 16.2 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23


Chapter 24

A path of brilliant white sunshine cut across the bed like a golden sword catching Natalia directly in the face. She groaned and curled in closer to the body next to her, the scent of lavender from Olivia’s shampoo tickled her nose, calming her. With the bright light blocked by warm skin, she hovered between sleep and waking. Her mind rebuilt the images in her head just before waking, scraping together the lost pieces of her dream.

She sighed in contentment as Olivia’s arm curled around her. On auto pilot, she wrapped her leg around a thigh, an arm around a waist, and smiled into the warm skin that her lips brushed against. She thought back to the last time she had a dream that provocative and sensual. She rarely had dreams about sex, but this wasn’t even that. It was more. It was so reminiscent of that night they had shared in the hotel just a few days ago, but even that didn’t measure up to the dream.

Her heart still raced at the way it made her feel. Everything was perfect and beautiful, the scene as she looked out over a balcony, the view of the beach ethereal in its whiteness. Crystal clear blue waves that lapped at the shore. White seagulls soared overhead and called to each other. Warm, soft hands on her shoulders, gently dropping the straps on her dress as it pooled around her feet in an ocean of white lace and satin. She sighed and leaned back into the body behind her, strong and solid.

She was drifting back into the memory, picking up where it left off, when she was jostled awake by a chuckling Olivia. She rubbed at her eyes and looked up at the amused green eyes above her.

“What are you laughing at?”

“Do you always make those kind of noises when you sleep?”

Natalia huffed and propped herself up on an elbow. “I don’t make noises in my sleep.”

Olivia nodded. “Oh, yes you do. Very, um, interesting noises too.”

She could feel the blush start already and even though she stuttered, she couldn’t help but question. She was curious after all. “Like what? What did they sound like?”

The older woman closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip, a low moan slowly rising from her lips. She did the moan again, alternating between slower and faster, and once at a slightly higher pitch, and when her body got into it, Natalia put her hand over Olivia’s mouth to stop her. Natalia could only think of one word for the way Olivia looked when she did that…erotic. But, right now, and today of all days, she couldn’t go there, no matter how much she wanted to, and oh, how she wanted to.

“I don’t do that.” Natalia’s hand was still over her mouth so Olivia simply nodded her head. She glared at the green-eyed monster in her bed and refused to show any embarrassment over this. “Fine, so what if I did?”

She sat up and Olivia rolled over towards her, smiling. “Oh, believe me, I don’t mind at all. I quite enjoyed it in fact, but I am terribly curious about what you were dreaming about.”

Natalia turned back to her and smiled. She loved this part of Olivia so much. She never made her feel bad about herself, what she felt or thought or even believed. Though that last one took a little while to get past. Olivia always made her feel good and even now, Natalia felt completely loved by the simple fact that Olivia loved that she moaned in her sleep.

She ran her fingers up Olivia’s arm and marveled at the spattering of goosebumps that rose under her hand. “I’ll tell you one day, but not today. This is going to be a very long day, so we need to get up and get moving.”

Olivia rolled her eyes and flopped back on the bed. “Do we hafta?”

“Unfortunately, staying in bed all day and being lazy aren’t optional today.”

“I know! I just don’t want to do it. We got in so late from the hospital last night.”

Natalia crawled out of bed and looked down at her partner. She loved that adorable pout she always seemed to have in the morning. She couldn’t resist giving in to it. “Okay, I tell you what. Emma wants to take the cookies we made to Phillip, so you can sleep and I’ll take care of that. We don’t have to leave for the memorial until almost noon. I need to run an errand anyway, so that’ll give you plenty of time to sleep. Sound good?”

Olivia was already cuddling back into her pillow. She smiled at Natalia. “That sounds heavenly. Wait, an errand? For what?”

Natalia waved it off. “Just something for the house. Nothing big.” She stretched across the bed and gave Olivia a light kiss on the cheek. “I’ll set the alarm for 10:30 and leave you some breakfast so you’ll have it when you get up.”

“Okay.” Natalia shook her head. She was so much like a kid when it came to sleep.

************

She laughed as she watched the little girl go bounding up the steps with a container of cookies in her hand. They had already gotten dressed for the memorial later that day. Natalia had chosen a simple navy skirt suit with a conservative white button down that opened at the collar. She didn’t pick out her best shoes or even her highest heels because she knew the memorial would be in the park and walking in grass in heels was never one of her favorite pastimes. Because of the heat of the late summer day, she decided to pull her long, curly hair – thanks to the humidity – up loosely in a barrette. She took pity on Emma too and put her in a cool black cotton dress with spaghetti straps and pink flowers on the left hip, and finished it off with some well-worn black, patent leather shoes. She braided Emma’s hair so she wouldn’t be hot, pulling a few tendrils down the sides to give her a little more grown-up look.

She shook her head as Emma skipped to the door on one foot and realized she liked her exactly like this. She didn’t want her to grow up, and she didn’t want her to have to face any more hardships in life. All she really wanted was to give Emma a quiet life in the country where she could be a regular kid that liked to play with ducks and eat banana pancakes on Saturday mornings. Natalia sighed and looked down into Emma’s bright face as the little girl rang the doorbell to her dad’s house. She ran a hand over Emma’s hair. I just want her to have the life Rafe should have had, she thought.

The door swung open wide and Beth smiled as she let them in. “I have cookies for Daddy.” She smiled up at Beth.

“That’s wonderful, Emma. Let’s go take them to him. He’s outside on the veranda.”

Emma skipped ahead as Beth stayed back to walk beside Natalia. “I heard you had a harrowing ordeal.”

Natalia chuckled, “I think that’s an understatement.”

“I’m really glad you’re okay. That both of you are.” She tilted her head towards Emma who leapt into her father’s lap as he sat in the sun. “She adores you, you know? All she talked about while she was here was all of the things she wanted to do when her mom brought you back home.”

Unexpectantly, the younger woman felt tears spring to her eyes. She looked at Beth and the blonde had matching tears in her own eyes. They laughed awkwardly at both of them getting overemotional. Then Natalia spoke, “Thank you.”

“For what?”

The brunette shook her head. “Oh, just for being okay, with everything.”

Beth looked at her incredulous. “And why wouldn’t I be? Emma’s happy. Phillip’s happy because he gets to see his little girl, which I understand was very much your doing, and Olivia finally meets her match in you. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all good.”

They watched silently as Emma talked her father’s ear off about two of the ducks that like each other and how she hoped they had little baby ducks. Natalia’s eyes got big as saucers. They’d have that talk with her soon enough, but hopefully, it would be when Olivia was around to help her out. Both Phillip and Beth caught the panicked look on Natalia’s face and snickered.

Phillip distracted the path of that conversation by asking her about school, and she happily moved on. Beth looked at Natalia suddenly. “Speaking of Olivia, where is she?”

“Bed.” Phillip looked up at her, amusement on his face. “You know how much she likes her sleep.”

With Emma still rambling on he couldn’t do more than smirk and nod, and even though nothing was said, Natalia could feel her face burning. She shifted on her feet and looked suddenly at her watch. “Oh, wow Em, we need to go.”

“Oh, please, Ma. Can I stay? Just a little longer.” Natalia’s heart melted at hearing the endearment. It was the first time she had used it since their talk, and she wasn’t ready for the flood of emotion it brought. She didn’t miss the curious looks that Beth and Phillip were giving her either.

“I tell you what, if it’s okay with your dad and Beth, you can stay while I run my errands and then I’ll pick you up after I swing by to get Rafe.” She looked at the two other adults, and they both nodded their heads in agreement. She walked over and gave Emma a kiss on the head. “Be good. I’ll see you in a little bit.”

She looked up into the blue eyes of the older man, then leaned forward and hugged him, whispering in his ear. “I’ll say a prayer.”

Phillip pulled Emma close to him in a hug and mouthed over her head. “Thank you.”

Beth followed Natalia to the door. “This evening, right?”

The blonde looked down, crossed her arms, and nodded her head. “Yeah, we’re just going to spend the day, enjoying being alone and letting him conserve his energy.”

Natalia knitted her brow in worry. She did recall how Phillip was sitting the whole time and he wasn’t as exuberant as usual. Then, another thought came to her. “If this is too much, I can take Emma with me. I don’t want it to be too much.”

Beth held up a hand to stop the protest. “Every moment they can get together is precious now. Don’t worry about it.”

Natalia nodded. “Okay, if you’re sure. I won’t be long.”

“Take your time. Really.”

“Thanks.”

************

Exactly two hours later, Natalia was pulling up to the Spaulding Mansion with Rafe shifting uncomfortably in the seat next to her. She went back over her mental list. She made several stops including the Mini Mart for groceries, leaving what wouldn’t keep in a hot car at Frank’s…um, Rafe’s apartment. She knew it was going to take some time to get used to thinking that it was Rafe’s place now, but glancing sideways at her son, she knew it was time, even if he still acted like a kid on too much caffeine at times. Especially now as he tugged first on the sleeve and then at the pants and then shifted in his seat again.

“What’s wrong?” She laughed at him.

“It’s not me. It’s this monkey suit!”

She ran a hand through his unruly dark hair. “You look handsome. Just like your father. Besides, you better get used to one. You’re going to be the big man on campus. You’re going to have to dress to impress the college girls now.”

He laughed at her goofy smile. She still hadn’t gotten over how happy he was to tell her that he had already filled out a college application and even talked to an admissions representative at the school. She was so excited for him that she insisted they swing by the post office to drop his application off, even if it did make them late for the memorial. To her, this was far more important and something she had waited her whole life to see. For the longest time, once he shot Jeffrey, she didn’t think he’d ever have a chance like this. But here they were, and she couldn’t be prouder.

He kept shifting in the seat and she rolled her eyes. “Keep trying, hot shot, maybe you’ll get there. I’ll just get Em while you wrestle that monkey in the suit.”

“Oh, haha!”

Before Natalia was halfway up the steps, Emma ran out the door and down to the car with barely a backwards glance. She squealed when she saw Rafe and jumped in the back seat, then wrapped her arms around his neck from behind, effectively choking him.

He fake coughed and joked with her good-naturedly. “Oh, I’ll get you for that!” He tried one-handed to ruffle her hair but she jumped back laughing.

Natalia climbed back in the car. “Buckle up, Em!”

A few minutes down the road and a steady thump-thump was heard from the back seat. Natalia looked over at her son who was being slightly propelled forward by a small foot kicking at his seat. She tried to hold back her laughter at the look on Rafe’s face. “First the monkey suit. Now the munchkin. What did I ever do to deserve this?”

“Emma.” Natalia corrected in her perfect, don’t-mess-with-momma tone. The little girl giggled but gave in…for now.

**************

Natalia left the car running when she pulled up to the farmhouse.

“I’ll just be a minute.” She looked at her watch and started walking a little bit faster. They were cutting it really close on being late so she picked up her pace up the sidewalk.

“Hi, honey, I’m…,” she abruptly stopped the joking entry to the house when she saw Olivia look up from the peanut butter sandwich she was making.

She smirked at the stunned look on Natalia’s face. “Hi, baby. You’re late. I knew we wouldn’t have time for lunch, and I didn’t want your blood sugar getting too low, so I made us all sandwiches.”

The brunette looked down and saw several more matching sandwiches on the table with little bottles of juice by them. All of the sandwiches were neatly wrapped and ready to go. “That’s so sweet, Olivia.”

She shrugged. “It’s just a peanut butter sandwich.”

“But it’s so you.” She walked over to Olivia and pulled her into a kiss. It was slow and sweet and felt like home. “I love you.”

Olivia pulled back and rested their foreheads together, her hands coming to rest lightly on Natalia’s hips. “Mmm, I love you too.” She so wanted to kiss her again, over and over again, but she sighed instead. “I guess we need to get going, huh?”

“Unfortunately.”

“Get a bag and we’ll pack all of this up.” Working together, they got everything together and were out the door in record time. They all ate on the way to the memorial and finished moments before finding a parking space.

Continued in 24b...
calliopes_muse: (Default)
Title: Heroes and Friends
Fandom: Otalia
Rating: PG-13 for this chapter
Disclaimer: These wonderful ladies and the rest of the town belong to CBS, Telenext, and P&G. I’m just having some fun with them.
Spoilers: I don’t think so. This story picks up at the “no more waiting” gazebo scene and goes off canon.
Summary: Nat gets the shock of her life and it turns Liv’s world upside down.
Warning: Not beta’d so if it sucks, there’s only me to blame.

Links to previous chapters: Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16.1 - Chapter 16.2 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 - Chapter 22

Chapter 23

The drive back to the farmhouse was somewhat subdued without Rafe in the back seat entertaining Emma. Instead, the little girl sat silently and looked out the side window, watching the late summer sun start its descent in the sky. She wasn’t really sad, but she did seem contemplative, a tiny little frown marring her otherwise innocent face.

While Olivia needed to find Doris and talk about the memorial plans, they both agreed that it would be best to get Emma back to the farmhouse and into some kind of normal routine. So, while it wasn’t Friday night, they did decide to do a special pizza and movie night reminiscent of the night before Natalia went missing, only this time no one would be leaving unexpectantly.

As soon as they pulled into the driveway, Emma seemed to come to life. She sat up in her seat craning her neck to see the house.

“Are the ducks still here?” She asked eagerly.

“They were this morning.” Natalia chuckled over her shoulder. “Do you want to go check them out while your mom goes to see Doris?”

“Yeah!”

The car was barely parked when Emma bolted out of the door and up the sidewalk to the front door. “Come on, whatcha waitin’ for?”

Natalia turned to Olivia. “She’s definitely a Spencer. Bossy, bossy, bossy.”

“Hmmm, I think I see a little Rivera one-track-mindedness in there too.”

The brunette opened the door but then leaned back over the console between them. “Oh, do you?”

“Uh huh.”

Natalia leaned closer, her fingers stroking Olivia’s hand resting on the gear shift. “Well, in that case, this one-track mind is telling your bossy to get a move on and get back here as fast as possible.”

“Why? The pizza’s not that good!”

“No, but I am.” Then she kissed Olivia. Slow and gentle at first, until a soft moan escaped the older woman’s lips, making Natalia angle in for a deeper kiss. The tap on the window though and an overly excited Emma bouncing up and down telling Natalia to hurry up broke the erotic haze.

Both women groaned and pulled apart. Natalia brushed a thumb along Olivia’s bottom lip to remove her smudged lipstick. “Don’t be too long.”

“Okay.” Olivia sighed.

“Love you.” Natalia gave her one last peck and climbed out of the car.

“Love you too!” Olivia called as the door was closed. She watched for a moment as Natalia walked up the sidewalk with Emma jumping excitedly at her side. The slow smile that grew when the brunette turned back to wave sassily at her could have lit the entire town. “Gah! As fast as possible, huh? Hell yeah, I can do that!”

*************
This late in the afternoon, city hall was a literal ghost town. It was so quiet and the echo so prominent in the cavernous structure that Olivia could have sworn that the only people in the entire building were her, Doris, and the security guard waiting with a wand just on the other side of the metal detectors.

The large man waved her through with a friendly smile. Olivia had been there enough in recent months that he recognized her. “Good evening, Ms. Spencer. You’re here awfully late.”

“Hey, Sid.” She cheated a little taking a quick glance at his badge. “I have some business with Mayor Wolfe. I assume she’s still here. I saw her car out front.”

“She sure is.” He did a cursory glance at the screen as her purse was scanned through the machine.

She picked up her purse. “Thanks. Have a good evening.”

The ride up to the top floor was pretty quick. Springfield was a decent sized town, but aside from The Beacon, city hall was the tallest structure in town rising to a massive four floors. Olivia stepped off the elevator and strolled down the empty corridor to the richly engraved, solid wood double doors. Doris had told her the history of them once. It seems they were hand-crafted in France in the 1700s exclusively for the mayor at that time, who apparently had close ties with the royal family in France. The doors were moved several times over the years depending on where the Mayor would take up office. It was perhaps the most extravagant feature of the building and oddly out of place for a building that was no more than fifty years old, but it certainly gave the place character.

Olivia pulled one of the doors open. Several standard wooden office desks lined the walls leading to another set of doors at the end of the short hall. These doors were much more appropriate to the overall feel of the building. They were still beautiful in their dark brown, mahogany tones, but not nearly as overwhelming.

Since it was now after hours, nobody was seated at the desks so Olivia walked to the end of the hallway and knocked lightly on Doris Wolfe’s door.

Olivia could hear the shuffle of feet on the other side of the door, then a cautious, “Yes?”

“Open up, Wolfe. It’s your favorite constituent.” Olivia tried to sound acerbic, but she smiled through the gruffness, causing it to lose its effect.

She heard light laughter on the other side. “What’s the special gay knock?”

Olivia laughed heartily. “I don’t know if I know an Elton John tune in knock format off the top of my head. Just open up, would ya?”

The door cracked and Olivia was wrapped in Doris’ arms. Momentarily surprised, she relaxed and returned the hug. “I’m so glad you’re okay.” Doris pulled back trying to get her composure.

“Awww, I didn’t know you cared, Doris.”

“Well, you know, you have a huge stash of money that could be donated to my next campaign so…”

Olivia rolled her eyes. “Please…you missed me.”

Doris walked back to her desk then turned and leaned back against it. She crossed her arms and smiled. “Maybe a little.”

“Same here.” The silence and understanding was only slightly awkward. They were friends and they knew it, no matter what they said. “So, how are things coming with the memorial tomorrow?”

Doris smiled, unfolded her arms and rested her hands back on the desk. “Everything’s in place. I had no idea how much went into planning an officer’s funeral. But don’t worry, it’s all taken care of. Blake did a lot and Remy actually put together the ceremony. All you have to do is show up.”

“We’ll be there. It seems like the least we can do.”

Doris nodded her head in acknowledgement. Then she changed topics, “How’s Natalia?”

“She’s doing very well. I’m kind of surprised that she’s not having nightmares or something. Health-wise though, she seems perfectly fine. She does her insulin shots when needed and is eating right. That was never a problem for her though.”

Doris tilted her head to the side. “And the two of you?”

“Good. We’re good.”

“And?” Doris pressed, knowing that Olivia knew what she was getting at.

Olivia looked down and scratched at the back of her neck nervously, a hint of blush rising in her cheeks. “We haven’t yet, okay? We’ve kind of had other things on our minds.”

The Mayor smiled mischievously at her friend. “Sure you have. I know you better than that, Olivia. I might buy that from Natalia, but not you.”

“Okay, fine! I’ve thought about it…a lot. But I want it to be right. I’ll know when the time’s right. So, stop pushing.”

Doris held up her hands. “Hey, you’re preaching to the choir, okay? I’m just really happy for you. You have what so many of us only dream of.”

“You’ll have it.” Olivia reassured.

“I had it.” Doris blocked, a long pause passing between them, then she emotionally backed up. “Oh, by the way, your buddy the Governor will be at the ceremony tomorrow. You’ll want to have your best political game face on.”

Olivia knew there was more to Doris’ shift, but she knew eventually she’d get the whole story. “No problem. I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

Doris turned to go back behind her desk as Olivia headed for the door. “Oh, and Doris?”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks for everything. You know with Rafe and such.”

“That’s what friends are for, Olivia. I was happy to do it.”

*************

The walk back from the pond was relaxing. Natalia took a deep breath and watched as Emma ran in circles around a tree, skipping over the large roots that protruded out of the ground. This was perfection. Well, almost. The only thing that would make the moment more perfect would be to have Olivia there, walking by her side, holding her hand. Okay, even that wouldn’t be totally perfect. Maybe a little kissing, right under that tree where Emma’s standing, and of course, without Emma there. Maybe conveniently staying with her dad. Yep, that would be perfect.

Natalia sighed and turned to gaze at the setting sun. Orange and dark blue streamers of clouds and light stretched across the sky, casting golden shadows across the green grass towards the farmhouse. This is our house, Natalia thought. My family’s house. She smiled to herself. And when Olivia gets back, it’ll be home.

A shiver of anticipation ran through her. She couldn’t wait to be alone with Olivia. She wasn’t naïve. She knew what this meant. Living together, loving each other, being a family. All of the building tensions between them were culminating for this one moment in time. A time that would never come again. The first time. It all came down to this shaky, giddy feeling she had been feeling since getting out of the hospital. This thing inside of her that wanted to scratch through her skin and come to life. It was desire in its simplest form.

She wanted Olivia. She wanted to make love to her, feel her skin, and taste her lips. She wanted Olivia to scream her name in ecstasy and talk to her in hushed whispers in the afterglow. The fervent dance of lovers, a timeless and ageless movement of taste, touch, and emotion. She wanted it all and only with Olivia. Just thinking of the older woman was doing crazy things to her body and mind, and if anyone could see the images in her head, they’d be shocked. She wasn’t shocked, not anymore. Now she just wondered if her fantasies were going to be as good as the real thing, and honestly, she was dying to find out.

An excited hand tugging at her arm pulled her back to the moment, and she looked down to see a smiling Emma with open, expressive eyes like her mother’s staring back at her. “So can we do it?”

“I’m sorry, baby. Do what?” Natalia shook her head to get herself back in the present and focus on her daughter.

“Make cookies for Daddy. Maybe they can make him better.” Emma looked at her hopefully, as if the older woman had all the answers to the universe, and Natalia couldn’t bring herself to tell Emma that the cookies won’t make Phillip get better.

“Sure, we can do that. Come on, let’s go. It’s getting a little chilly out anyway.” She took Emma’s hand, and they walked back to the farmhouse.

Natalia scanned the numbers on the side of the refrigerator and found the one for the pizza delivery. She called in for a medium cheese for Emma and a medium pizza with everything, including extra olives, for her and Olivia. She watched as Emma pulled out the butter, flour, and eggs while she relayed the order to the person on the other end.

When she got off the phone, she pulled over a small stool. “Here, stand on this.”

“When will the pizza be here?”

Natalia looked at the clock. “In about thirty minutes, and it should be just in time for your mom too.”

“Yay!!!” Emma raised her hands.

“Yay!!!” Natalia raised her hands too, and they both laughed.

For the next few minutes, both of them were silent as Natalia got the right amount of ingredients and poured them all into a large bowl. She found a whisk and handed it over to her pint-sized assistant. The little girl smiled and started stirring too vigorously, causing flour to go flying all over herself and Natalia.

“Oops!”

Natalia laughed and brushed the flour off of her apron and the front of Emma. “It’s okay, baby. Just start gently.”

“Okay.” Emma went back to stirring but this time was much slower in her movements.

The batter was almost fully mixed when Emma spoke. “I was really scared.”

Natalia stopped putting away the ingredients back in the refrigerator and turned to Emma. “Scared? When?” She thought she knew, but she also knew the little girl needed to talk it out.

“When you and Mommy left.” She focused on stirring again. “I didn’t want Dad to know I was scared so I didn’t say anything. Because he doesn’t need to worry about me too.”

“Oh, sweetie.” Natalia ran a comforting hand over the long, dark hair.

“I was afraid the two of you would never come back and then Daddy wouldn’t be there. Who would take care of me?” Emma swiped a hand at her runny nose as she sniffed. Natalia reached for a tissue and handed it to her.

She wrapped Emma in a tight hug, tears falling at seeing Emma so scared and uncertain. “Emma, listen to me. Your mommy and I love you so very much and we’ll never, ever leave you.”

“But, you could die like Daddy might or Mommy almost did!” She was nearly hysterical in her fear. “Then I wouldn’t have anyone.”

Natalia leaned back and pulled Emma’s tear-soaked face to look at her. “Oh, my baby…you’re too young to worry like this. Here, sit down.”

Natalia knew she couldn’t avoid the discussion so she decided to be honest with her. She held onto Emma’s hand as she pulled out a chair and patted her lap. “Come here.”

Emma crawled into her lap and wrapped herself around Natalia’s neck. “I need you to understand something, Emma. Your mom and I have made a decision to be together and be a family. That means that you are our daughter and you are our first priority. We’ll never purposefully or willingly leave you…ever. You got that?”

The little girl nodded and pulled in closer to her neck. “That doesn’t mean that something can’t happen to one of us, that’s true. But if something ever happened to one of us, the other will be here, and if God forbid, something happened to both of us, we’ve thought about that too. Rafe and Ava both love you very much, and they’ll always be here for you. It won’t be the same, but they are your family. Okay? You’ll never be alone if we have anything to say about it.”

Natalia could feel the small head nod against her. Her sniffles had subsided and she raised a hand to wipe away the tears from Emma’s face. She kissed her on the top of the head. “I love you, Emma.” She pulled her tighter into the hug, and she felt it returned.

“Natalia?”

“Yeah, baby?” Natalia had unconsciously started to rock Emma much like she did when Rafe was little and had nightmares.

“You’re my mom too, right?”

Natalia smiled against her head. “Yes, I am.”

“Can I call you Ma like Rafe does?”

Natalia laughed and looked down at her. “I’d be honored.”

Emma smiled and wrapped her thin arms around her neck. “I love you too, Ma.”

They stayed like that for a few more minutes letting the comfort and closeness sink in deep. Emma eventually started to squirm and Natalia couldn’t help but smile. She let her go and gave her a playful nudge. “Open the oven, and I’ll put these in. They should be done by the time pizza gets here.”

She looked at the clock and then back at Emma. “Go wash up, honey. Your mom should be here any minute.”

When Emma bounded up the steps, she glanced back up at the clock. “What’s taking you so long, Olivia?”

A few minutes later, Natalia checked the cookies. They only needed a few more minutes. She looked overhead wondering what in the world had happened to Emma. “Jeez, Emma, did you fall in or something?”

A knock at the door let her know the pizza was here. She grabbed the money off the counter by the stove and went to the door. The teenage boy smiled at her shyly and handed over the pizzas. She gave him a healthy tip and wished him a good night. No sooner had she set down the pizzas on the table when her phone rang.

She looked at the caller ID. “Olivia?”

“Um, yeah.” Natalia pulled her phone from her ear when she heard a shrill alarm sound.

“What in the world was that?”

Olivia hesitated. “Sirens?”

“Sirens? For what? Olivia, what happened? Are you okay?” Natalia felt her heart drop and then start to race painfully in her chest. She put her hand up on reflex to keep it from beating out of her chest.

“I had a little accident.”

“Little…how little? Are you okay?”

“Yes, yes…I’m fine. Stop panicking, baby.”

The words didn’t hold much weight though when she heard another voice come through the line. “Ms. Spencer, we need to get you to the hospital.”

“Hospital! Olivia!”

She could hear Olivia addressing the voice Natalia had just heard. “I don’t need the hospital.”

“It’s a precaution. You need to have a scan of your head since you have a nice bump on it. Just to be safe.”

Natalia had already started to search for her keys and called up to Emma, trying to sound as calm as possible. When the girl came out, she told her there was a change of plans and that she needed to get an overnight bag.

When Emma went to her room, she gave her full attention back to her partner, talking sternly to her. “Olivia, go to the hospital. I’ll drop Emma off at Jane’s and be there in twenty minutes.”

“Natalia,” Olivia whined, “I’m fine.”

“Don’t argue, just go.”

“Fine, fine.” She flipped her phone closed and looked at the EMT. “No wonder men don’t argue with their wives.”

He smiled knowingly. “It’s just easier to give in.”

“Tell me about it!” She climbed in the back of the ambulance as he climbed in and closed the doors behind them.

*************
Olivia was sitting up in the hospital bed when the door to her room opened. Natalia walked in carrying a pizza box in one hand and a small bag in the other. The older woman smiled at her.

“We really need to stop meeting like this.”

Natalia sighed and set the box down in Olivia’s lap. “It does seem that we spend more time in hospitals than at home.”

Olivia took out a slice of pizza, and even though it was cold now, it was like heaven because she was so hungry. She moaned her approval. “We need to change that. I’m so sick of hospitals. No pun intended, of course.”

“Of course. So, what happened?”

Olivia hung her head. “A deer.”

“Ah, I see.” Natalia nodded her head in understanding.

A dark eyebrow was cocked at her. “I should have just hit it though.”

Natalia swatted her leg. “Don’t say that!”

“No, seriously. I may have done less damage. I ended up running off the road and hitting a tree.”

The younger woman winced, imagining the damage done to Olivia’s pretty white car. “Let me guess, the car’s…”

“Totaled, yeah.”

“Lovely.”

“And I have a nice little knot on the head in commemoration of this event.”

Natalia sat in the chair next to the bed. “And that’s why they want a scan.”

“Yep.” She handed a piece of pizza to Natalia, who gratefully took it since she could feel her sugar getting low.

“Have they taken you back yet?”

“Nope.”

“We could be here a while then.” Natalia looked at her sadly. So much for time alone tonight, she thought.

“Looks like it. Sorry.” Natalia stood up and leaned over the bed.

“Don’t, don’t feel sorry, Olivia. You couldn’t help that a deer ran out in front of you. I’m just glad you’re okay.” She brushed a strand of hair behind Olivia’s ear, letting her fingers trace soft skin across her jaw.

Olivia leaned into the touch, closing her eyes. “I just wanted to get home to you so bad. I’m beginning to think we’ll never have time alone.”

Natalia smiled and leaned over to kiss her. “Oh yes, we will. One way or another, I’ll make sure of it.”

Olivia smirked at her, feeling emboldened by Natalia’s obvious desire. “Oh, you will?”

“If I have to lock up the farmhouse like Fort Knox and ship Emma off to a month long summer camp, I will.” She laughed at her conspiring mind.

“I love you.” Olivia wrapped her fingers in Natalia’s long hair and pulled her in for a kiss. “So much.”

“Then make the world go away…please.” Natalia whispered.

“Done.” She sealed it with another kiss.
calliopes_muse: (Default)
Title: Heroes and Friends
Fandom: Otalia
Rating: PG-13 for this chapter
Disclaimer: These wonderful ladies and the rest of the town belong to CBS, Telenext, and P&G. I’m just having some fun with them.
Spoilers: I don’t think so. This story picks up at the “no more waiting” gazebo scene and goes off canon.
Summary: Nat gets the shock of her life and it turns Liv’s world upside down.
Warning: Not beta’d so if it sucks, there’s only me to blame.

Links to previous chapters: Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16.1 - Chapter 16.2 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21


Chapter 22

She curled tighter into the warm body next to her, burying her face in the long dark hair and wrapping her arms more securely around Natalia’s waist. Olivia sighed in contentment as Natalia nuzzled back into her, seeking more contact.

“Perfect.” Olivia mumbled.

“Mmm, good morning.” Natalia laced her fingers with the ones over her stomach. “How did you sleep?”

“Wonderful.” Olivia murmured huskily behind her ear.

“We need to get up and get Emma.”

Olivia groaned. “Nope. Just a few more minutes. This feels too good to get up just yet.”

Natalia nudged the grumpy woman with her hip. “If we don’t get Emma as soon as humanly possible, we’ll never hear the end of it.”

The older woman brushed Natalia’s long hair aside and nibbled on an earlobe. “Who’s gonna tell her?”

Natalia rolled partially over. “You know good and well that we don’t have to say anything to her. She’s a spy and she knows all.”

She dropped her head to the younger woman’s shoulder in defeat. “This is very true. The girl has mad skills.”

“You trained her well.”

Olivia smiled at her, proudly. “That I did.”

“I’ll make coffee. You get a shower.”

Olivia jumped out of bed at the magic words. “Coffee? Why didn’t you say that earlier? I’m up, I’m up!”

Natalia giggled at Olivia’s antics as she watched her stumble sleepily to the bathroom. She crawled out of bed and stretched, then went to the small suitcase they had acquired on the island to pull out a fresh pair of shorts and a tank top. Looking a little further, she located a white t-shirt and a pair of cargo pants for Olivia. She tossed them on the bed along with a pair of royal blue lace underwear, pausing only a moment to imagine Olivia in them before getting herself together enough to change and go downstairs.

When she came down the stairs, Rafe was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper and sipping some juice.

“Hey, did you sleep okay on the couch?” He gathered the paper together and followed his mom into the kitchen.

“Yeah, better than I thought I would. You?”

“Wonderfully.”

He tilted his head to the side watching his mom before sitting down in the chair at the table. “You really are happy, aren’t you?”

She turned to him after filling the coffee reservoir with water and smiled. “Very.”

He looked down and scratched nervously at the cast on his arm. “I’m really glad, Ma. I know I was really difficult and all, and I didn’t react well to it, but I really do just want you to be happy.”

Natalia could barely hold back the tears. She was so afraid she’d never hear these words from her son. Everything just seemed so bad after he found out. “I am, baby. I really am.”

“Good.” She came over and kissed him on top of the head, like she used to do when he was little. And he did something he hadn’t done since he was little. He pulled her close to him, with his one good arm, into a tight hug. For a long moment, they stayed like that until footsteps could be heard on the stairs. He quickly pulled away and wiped at his tear-stained face.

Olivia, more awake after her shower, slid into a chair next to Rafe and gratefully took the mug of coffee being dangled in front of her. “Thank you.” She looked at a smiling Rafe. “Mornin’.”

“Mornin’.”

Natalia smiled as she looked back and forth between them, feeling a little giddy jump of happiness in her stomach. Once Emma was there, she knew the picture would be complete. Her family would be together.

“Breakfast?” She looked at the duo as Olivia tried to get the business section of the paper from her son, who was holding on for dear life because the sports were on the back.

Olivia finally gave up with a sigh and found the comics. “Sure. Sounds good.”

Natalia turned to get started, pulling out eggs, bacon, and some pancake mix. After a few minutes and into her second cup of coffee, Olivia looked at Rafe.

“Do you want to go with us to get Emma?”

He hesitated and looked between his mom and Olivia. “I’d love to, but I, uh…I was kind of wondering if you two could drop me off at Frank’s apartment instead.”

The two women looked at each other and then back at Rafe. Natalia spoke first, “Sure, baby. If that’s what you want.”

He wiped a hand nervously on his pants. “I mean, I need to get some things anyway, but I kind of want to spend a little time there, you know? Not stay or anything yet. I don’t know if I can do that, but just hang out for a bit.”

Olivia reached a hand out to his. He didn’t have to say what he was feeling, she knew. She did the same thing after her mom died. She sat on the floor of their house for hours looking up at the rocking chair her mom had sat in for years. Like Rafe, her life had changed almost instantly and she hadn’t had time to cope. So she had just sat there feeling alone and empty. She could see the same loss and sadness in his eyes now. Frank had been more than a mentor to him. He had become a friend, and Rafe still needed to do some letting go. In his own way and in his own time.

“We can do that.”

He let Olivia take his hand and he smiled sadly at her. “I guess we better finish up then.”

************
Olivia and Natalia barely made it through the massive doors of the Spaulding mansion before Emma came racing through the foyer, tackling both of them as they knelt down to hug her. Olivia jokingly let out an overemphatic “ompfh” and Natalia giggled, pulling the little girl in as close as possible.

Phillip sauntered slowly up to them, looking remarkably good for a man on his death bed. “Welcome home!” He threw his hands out wide and smiled.

Natalia stood and walked over to hug him, surprise crossing his face as he looked sideways at his ex-wife making sure she wasn’t going to hurt him for touching Natalia. Instead, Olivia stood and wrapped an arm protectively around Emma’s shoulders and smiled at the exchange, and Phillip’s obvious fear.

She wanted to talk to Phillip privately so she asked Emma to go get her bag. When her daughter was out of earshot, she looked at Phillip.

“How are you?”

He shrugged his broad shoulders. “Hopefully, in a few days, I’ll be back to excellent.”

Natalia scrunched her eyebrows. “What do you mean?”

“It seems that Ed Bauer has found a possible cure for me.”

The two women looked at each other and then back to him. Olivia, in spite of it all, couldn’t stop herself from giving him a sincere hug. “Oh my God, Phillip! That’s wonderful. So, what has to be done and when?”

He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “Tomorrow actually, and it’s a bone marrow transplant.”

“Don’t you need a match for that?” Natalia questioned.

“Yep, and we have one…Alan.”

“Alan?” They said in unison.

Phillip laughed at the chorus and the looks. “Yeah, Alan.”

Olivia shook her head, disbelieving. “But you’re adopted, right?”

He looked pointedly at Natalia. “Hey, you believe in miracles?” She nodded. He gestured with her head to Olivia. “Explain to her how it works.” When both women were too speechless to respond, he continued on, giving the full explanation. “It’s really rare to find non-biological matches, but that’s the case here. The down side is that this is a very dangerous procedure, for both of us. There’s a chance that I may not make it or neither one of us could make it. But if I don’t try, I’ll definitely die. And, just so you know, I told Emma.”

“You did?” Olivia asked, not looking upset but concerned at how Emma took it.

“Don’t worry. She took it very well, and she’s had a lot of time to talk to me and ask me questions. I think it’s been good for both of us, no matter what happens.”

As if on cue, the precocious little girl came bounding down the stairs with her bag in hand. She dropped it at her mom’s feet and ran back to her dad and leapt into his arms. They hugged for long moments as he whispered into her ear and she nodded her understanding. Both women brushed away the tears in their eyes and Natalia said a quick prayer for Phillip, but mostly for Emma. The little girl had come so close far too many times at her young age to losing everyone she loved. She couldn’t lose her father now. It would just be too cruel, and her God didn’t work that way.

************

Rafe looked around as he stood in the doorway of Frank’s apartment. He wasn’t sure how to feel about being here after what happened in San Cristobel. A part of him fought the tears that threatened to fall. Another part of him wanted to trash everything he saw. He was angry and lost and hurt. It felt like Gus all over again. It seemed like every time he got close to someone, he lost them. He barely knew his father and then he died. He started hanging out with Frank and liking him, thinking he’d have plenty of time to get to know Frank once he and his mom got married.

But then everything changed again. He got close and then found out his mom had been lying to all of them. If he was honest with himself, that’s what bothered him so much about the wedding being called off. He had gotten close to Frank and thought for once he’d have someone he could trust and depend on besides his mother. That wasn’t to be either. He wanted his mom to be happy, that was true, but he wanted some happiness too. It felt like everything was conspiring against him in that goal. He just wanted to have a normal life, maybe a girlfriend and college or a job, but nothing had been working out for him since they had come to Springfield.

He sighed as he stepped further into the apartment. He ran his hands over the counter separating the almost non-existent kitchen from the living room and brushed the blue and white Greek flag with his fingers. The last several weeks had been crazy. He was raging at everyone and things felt so out of control. Hanging out with Frank had become a constant in his life and it seemed like the older man needed that steadiness as much as he did.

He looked at the pictures on the refrigerator. Most were of Frank and the rest of the Cooper family, but several were of Frank and his mom. He stepped closer and looked at one in particular. He pulled it off and held it close, his eyes really taking in the expressions on everyone’s face. It was the picture that Emma took of Olivia, Frank, and Natalia at the engagement party.

If he had just looked a little closer, he would have seen it. Olivia, beautiful and sad, with a look of longing on her face. She was bravely facing the loss coming, fighting the tears in her eyes. He could finally see it. Then there was Frank totally oblivious to the undercurrents of emotions and desire on either side of him. And finally, his mom. The smile wasn’t real. It didn’t reach her eyes or light up her face. She was heartbroken. He saw it now. It took him long enough. The tears that had been shimmering on the edge fell, and he brushed them away.

“Even then, huh?” He asked the rhetorical question into the empty apartment. He looked back at the woman in red. “I didn’t really hate you, Olivia. You were just an easy target.” He put the picture back on the refrigerator and ran a finger over all three images in it, then walked back to the small bedroom slash office reserved for him.

He opened one of the drawers and pulled out several pairs of t-shirts. Then he went to the next and found a pair of jeans and a button down shirt. From the cramped closet, he pulled out the dark jacket and tie his mom had bought him for his parole hearing. Running a hand through his dark curls, he looked around again and then sat on the bed. The corner of a manila envelope was sticking out of the desk in the corner, and it caught his attention. Even though it was an office, Frank had rarely used it for that purpose and as far as he knew never kept anything in the desk.

We walked over and pulled the drawer open. Lifting the envelope from the drawer, he noticed it was a large envelope, heavy with papers and documents. He reached in and pulled out the top piece of paper just enough to see the header. It was addressed to the landlord and was dated for a couple of days before they took off to San Cristobel. Attached to the corner of the envelope was a copy of a check written out to the landlord for six months of rent.

It wasn’t until he read the first paragraph of the letter that he kicked blindly with his foot to move the desk chair out. He then flopped down in it and continued reading, his breath coming in short pants. He laid the letter down and scrubbed a hand over his face.

“Damn, Frank.”

He wondered what else was in the envelope so he reached back in and pulled out the next document. He was glad he was sitting down for this one. A knock at the front door made him jump. He stood quickly, knowing it was his mom and Olivia coming by to get him after picking up Emma.

When Natalia saw his red and tear-stained face, she reached for him. “Baby, are you okay?”

Emma stepped forward, and when she saw he was crying, she ran to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. “What’s wrong, Rafe?”

“Nothing, Munchkin. I’m okay, really.” He was still holding the piece of paper he had pulled out of the envelope. He saw Olivia’s eyes take notice of it so he simply gave it to her.

As she read, her hand came up to cover her mouth and soon she had tears in her eyes too. “Oh, my God.”

Natalia reached for her too while still keeping a gentle hand on Rafe. The looks on their faces was really starting to worry her. “Olivia, what’s wrong?”

She looked up at her partner. “Nothing, but it seems that Frank’s left a $50,000 life insurance policy to Rafe.”

“What? You’re kidding.”

She pushed the paper towards Natalia. “See for yourself.”

Natalia could see that Marina and Henry were also listed as beneficiaries at $100,000 each, but the fact that Frank had thought enough of Rafe to do this was what overwhelmed her. “Oh, my God, baby.”

Rafe looked at Olivia, smiling knowingly. “I guess that means I don’t have to go in the Army now.”

Natalia’s head jerked up from the paper to look at her son. “The what?”

“I was going to.” He looked back at a beaming Olivia. “But I don’t have to now. This will pay for college.”

The brunette noticed that Rafe kept looking at Olivia, and a sudden burst of anger rushed through her. “And you knew about this?”

Olivia raised her hands. “Not until we came for you, I swear.”

Natalia quirked her mouth to the side and looked at the two of them. “Seriously?”

“Seriously, Ma.” He looked back and forth between them and rocked on his heels. “That’s not all though.” When he turned to go into the bedroom, they all followed him. He handed the letter he had first taken out of the envelope to his mother.

“Oh wow.” She looked at Olivia. “He prepaid six months rent to his landlord in the event that anything should happen to him in the line of duty and requests that Rafe be allowed to stay during those months.”

Olivia looked at Rafe. “So what are you going to do?”

He shrugged. “I guess I’ll go put my clothes back. I can’t believe he did this. I never had a friend do something like this for me.”

Olivia tilted her head and regarded him with a sly smile. She understood exactly why Frank did what he did. It was the same reason she asked Doris to pull strings with the parole board for Rafe. “That’s because he wasn’t treating you like a friend, but like a son.”
 

calliopes_muse: (Default)
Sorry for the delay in getting back to H&F. Funny how it's impossible to find time to do anything with a toddler running around. Go figure!!! Just to put your minds at ease, I have been working on this since about mid-January and have the ending written including an epilogue. I'll have a new chapter up everyday until it's all posted so no more big, long, painful breaks.

For those who are still reading, thank you. I've deeply appreciated your comments and support. I don't care what anyone says about "art" and such. Really, we just like to know people like what we write. Feedback IS crack!

On with the show...


Title: Heroes and Friends
Fandom: Otalia
Rating: PG-13 for this chapter
Disclaimer: These wonderful ladies and the rest of the town belong to CBS, Telenext, and P&G. I’m just having some fun with them.
Spoilers: I don’t think so. This story picks up at the “no more waiting” gazebo scene and goes off canon.
Summary: Nat gets the shock of her life and it turns Liv’s world upside down.
Warning: Not beta’d so if it sucks, there’s only me to blame.
A/N: For those who don't know the way-back history of GL, Nikki Landers was Russ Marler's assistant and they died in a plane crash. Rumors had swirled around Springfield that Russ and Nikki were having an affair, which Blake was obviously none too happy about. Come to find out that Nikki was a lesbian, so that's how she became a part of this story. I wanted to give Doris a past. biggrin.gif

We left off with our fearless duo packed up and ready to head back to Springfield with the gang and Frank's body in tow, while Doris and Blake are helping by getting prepped for Frank's memorial.


Links to previous chapters: Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16.1 - Chapter 16.2 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20

Chapter 21

This was unbelievable. She turned back to the Mayor and stared at her. “You’re fucking kidding me, right?”

Doris shook her head. She feared telling Blake this, not that she was a lesbian, but who her lover had been. “No, I’m not.”

“Nicole Landers…Nikki. The Nikki Landers that was my husband’s assistant and that went down in the plane crash with him.” Blake looked like she was somewhere between wanting to slap Doris and laugh at her.

“The one and the same.”

Now she definitely looked more like she wanted to slap her. “And when exactly did you plan to tell me this, Doris? How much longer were you going to pretend to be my friend before you told me?”

The look on Doris’ face made her look as if Blake had taken a swing at her. “What? Pretend? I never pretended to be your friend.”

The redhead crossed her arms and leaned back against the bar. “Sure. Because people in this town, after all I’ve done, just want to be my friend…willingly.”

“I do!” Doris tried to interrupt, but Blake continued to rant.

“What did you get out of it, huh? Some kind of vicarious happiness knowing that I was connected to Ross and he was connected to Nikki, so why not friend me, huh?”

Doris ran a tired hand over her face. This was so fucked up. “I loved Nikki, yes, and I fucking miss her like crazy, but that is not why we’re friends.”

“Why are we?”

Blake suddenly looked so small and unsure. She looked down and Doris had an urge to hold her and make the pain go away. While she hadn’t let herself get to know Blake until recently, the distant connection between them created by their mutual partners had allowed Doris to know a little about Blake’s shady background. She hadn’t exactly earned people’s trust or even desire for friendship, but looking at the woman before her – sad, broken, and expectant of heartbreak – pulled at her heartstrings.

Doris shrugged and stepped over closer to her. “It’s not for your past, Blake, that’s for sure. But what I’ve known of you in the past and the woman I see before me now are two very different people. I like who you are now.”

Blake contemplated her words and then looked up at the Mayor with a little smirk on her face. “I like who you are too.”

“Oh, you do?” Doris teased.

“Don’t get any nefarious ideas there, Mayor. You’re not as tough and hard-edged as you’d like to pretend to be is all. And you’ve been in love and you’ve lost. That changes a person.”

Doris couldn’t help but agree and nodded her head. Her phone chose that moment to ring. She looked down and saw the familiar name. She looked back at Blake. “Olivia. Are we okay?”

“Yeah, we’re okay. Next time though, tell me the important stuff sooner.”

“Deal.” Doris smiled and answered the call. “Hey.”

Doris listened to Olivia explain their plans and when they’d get in even while she followed Blake with her eyes as she went around to fill coffee for the customers. Doris didn’t hear what else Olivia said as Blake came by and ran a hand along her arm. Whatever fears Doris may have had about telling Blake about her were assuaged when redhead placed the coffee pot back on the burner and turned to smile at her.

“Doris?”

“Huh?”

“You haven’t heard a word I said, have you?” Doris rolled her eyes and turned away from the redhead that was suddenly distracting her.

“Of course, I have. You said that you guys are getting in late tonight.”

“Noooo, I asked how the memorial prep was coming along.” Doris couldn’t see the famous Olivia Spencer death glare through the phone, but if Doris had been an employee and not a friend, she would have so been fired! Olivia made a mental note to see if it was possible to fire friends. Doris, on the other hand, was oblivious and simply ignored any hints of irritation from Olivia.

“Oh, it’s coming right along. Don’t worry.” Doris was suddenly smiling as Blake came back around the counter, held up one of the coffee cups in her hands, and quirked an eyebrow indicated that it belonged to her. Doris listened half-heartedly to Olivia as she watched Blake settle back down at her laptop and begin her steadfast search for Frank’s ex-wife.

A shouted “Yes!” startled Doris even as she saw the shift and change on Blake’s face at having apparently found Eleni.

“What in the hell was that?” Olivia asked.

“Um, nothing. Gotta go, Spencer.”

**********

The small private jet had been in the air about thirty minutes when lights gradually started being turned off and blankets were doled out. Even little Henry was sacked out sound asleep on Mallet’s chest in spite of the noise and air pressure that tended to drive babies crazy.

Olivia handed a pillow to Natalia then flipped open the thick blanket that was big enough for both of them to curl up under. The brunette found the button for the armrest and lifted it out of the way so they could easily cuddle up together on the oversized seats. Olivia settled down with her own pillow and pulled the blanket up to her shoulders. She faced Natalia who didn’t look the least bit tired. The long nap they had earlier that afternoon had done them a world of good, but now they were wide awake.

“So,” Natalia whispered, “what should we do for the next three and a half hours?”

It took less than three seconds for Olivia’s mind to consider initiating Natalia in the Mile High Club before she slapped the devil on her shoulder then kissed and made up to it by promising they’d get to the good stuff later. Natalia was so much better than a quickie on a plane.

“You’re not tired?”

“Not even a little bit.” Natalia smiled and it showed off her dimples.

Olivia mentally glared at the devil mocking her, and he quickly tucked his pointy little tail between his legs and hunkered down. “We could talk.”

“About?”

Olivia smiled. “Anything…everything.” A somber look passed over her face. “We could talk about what happened with Edmund.”

Natalia sighed and closed her eyes. “I want to. I do. But right now, I’m just so happy that we’re together again, that my son’s safe, and that we’re finally heading home, and I don’t want to ruin that talking about what happened. We will though. I know I need to. So, I promise. We will, okay?”

The older woman nodded knowing all too well how hard it is to talk about being a victim. There were so many things they had to talk about and share, things that they had to learn about each other and their pasts, but for this brief moment, Olivia was just as happy as Natalia to simply bask in the joy of being together.

“Okay. Your choice then. What do you want to talk about?”

She could see Natalia’s blush even in the dim light of the cabin. The brunette quirked her mouth to the side and smiled. “When did you fall in love with me?”

Olivia rolled her eyes. “You couldn’t start with something easy like explaining quantum physics in fifty words or less, could you?”

Natalia giggled. “Nope.”

The laughter died down but the smiles remained as Olivia reached under the blanket to take Natalia’s hand in her own. “I don’t recall a specific moment. It’s like it’s always been there, this love I feel for you. I can’t remember ever not feeling it. But, I do remember when I admitted to it.”

Natalia scooted a little closer, her voice lower, as her hand played with Olivia’s fingers. She briefly closed her eyes trying to will away the mental images the sensation of touching Olivia’s hand put in her head. “And when was that?”

“The day last fall when I came to the prison after you talked to Rafe and you were so upset because you’d lost the money in that Decker deal. I just remember taking you in my arms and thinking ‘I never want to let her go.’”

She couldn’t see the tears in the now completely darkened plane cabin, but she could hear the sniffle and felt Natalia lift her hand out from under the covers to wipe at her eyes. “That long? You held it in that long.”

Olivia shrugged, then remembered that Natalia probably couldn’t see her either. “I didn’t want to lose you.”

“You couldn’t lose me.” Natalia’s voice was louder with the force of her conviction.

“I know that now, but then…Natalia, you were and are my best friend. The only real friend I’ve ever had, and the only person I ever trusted enough to let in and call family. It scared the hell out of me, and when I realized what I was feeling for you, I didn’t want to lose my friendship with you. I assumed that’s all we could ever be was friends, and I couldn’t risk losing that.”

She could hear the smile in Natalia’s voice. “But you did take a risk. We both did, and look what we got. We have so much more.”

There was a long stretch of silence as Olivia worked out in her head the question she had been wanting to ask for so long. “Are you really okay with this, with us, being together? I mean like really together.” She closed her eyes and sighed. Even thinking it through, she still mangled it.

She could feel the leather of Natalia’s seat move and shift as she slid even closer. A firm but gentle hand gripped her thigh and slowly moved up over denim, until she felt warm fingers lift her shirt and nails graze the base of her spine. She shuddered at the sensation and instinctively moved closer to Natalia. Hot breath was on her ear as lips nipped briefly just below the lobe.

“If you mean ‘this’ as in sex, I certainly hope this clears up any misunderstanding.” Olivia moaned as Natalia’s tongue teased the curve of her ear. “I want to make love to you, Olivia. Slowly, deeply, thoroughly, and quite often. Is that clear enough for you?”

The brunette smiled when Olivia audibly swallowed. “Crystal.”

“Good.”

Natalia pulled back and kissed her, letting her tongue play softly over her lips before breaking the kiss. Olivia groaned at the loss of contact. “This is going to be a long flight.”

Natalia took a deep breath to calm herself. She had never been very aggressive in sexual matters, but something about Olivia brought it out in her. She loved how she felt alive just being close to her. She smiled as Olivia took a deep calming breath too and racked her fingers through her hair. “So, I answered a question. I guess it’s only fair you get to ask me one.”

For months Olivia had restrained herself with Natalia and trying to not push her or tease her with sexual overtures, and she had every intention, at first, of playing nice with the younger woman but that kiss and the suggestive conversation set her off. It was going to take all she had not to commandeer the plane and make an emergency landing just so she could find the nearest hotel and ravish her. She wanted the first time to be at the farmhouse, but damn, if it wasn’t getting almost brutal in its torture.

Eventually, Olivia narrowed her eyes and smiled wickedly at her soon-to-be lover. Natalia was going to have to get used to Olivia’s sexual appetite, so right now was as good a time to start as any.

“Okay, fair is fair. Tell me, baby, what’s your favorite fantasy of me and of us?”

A few seconds of silence. “Um, that’s two questions.”

“Hopefully, the fantasy is one and the same, so technically, only one question.”

“Oh. Um…” Olivia tilted her head down to catch the brunette’s shy glance away. When Natalia didn’t respond right away, she got worried.

“You…you have thought about it, right?”

Natalia jerked her head up, hearing the doubt in Olivia’s voice. “Yes!” Then she quickly ducked back down when her exclamation was a bit louder than planned. She smiled and whispered as Olivia let out a relieved sigh, and giggled, “God, yes.”

Olivia felt her whole body warm with Natalia’s breathy whisper. She hoped to hear those two words spoken many times over in her lifetime and in exactly that same way. “Good.” She ran a finger across the younger woman’s lips. “Tell me then.”

“Okay.” Even in the darkened light of the cabin, she could see the darkness on Natalia’s face giving away her blush. “Well, I think a lot about that little makeout session we had on the couch. You know, the night before everything happened and Emma had that bad nightmare that interrupted us. And, um, I think about what I wanted to happen.”

Olivia could feel her heart racing and she felt suddenly nervous because Natalia was really going to tell her. She was really going to put her desire to words. It was almost too much.

“And? What did you want to happen?”

Natalia nibbled at her bottom lip. “I didn’t want to stop. I wanted everything, and I wanted it with you. So bad.”

Olivia watched the full lips moving and felt the desire shoot like fire right to the very heart of her soul. She inched closer, wanting to taste those lips. “Tell me about everything. What’s everything, Natalia?”

She could have sworn she heard Natalia groan, and if they had been alone, there would have been nothing to stop her. She knew without a doubt that she’d be making love to Natalia this very second if they were alone.

“When you touched me, Olivia, it felt so amazing, and I felt so alive. I just wanted you to touch me everywhere. I…I can’t explain it. It’s like, like I just surrendered. Something clicked deep inside of me when we kissed and I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be yours…completely yours. In every way possible.” Natalia got a dreamy look on her face.

They didn’t speak for a long moment. Olivia gently brushed some hair behind Natalia’s ear and Natalia got lost in staring down at their entwined hands. The older woman wondered what in the world she was thinking. She had been quiet too long and when Natalia got quiet, she got worried.

“What are you thinking now, baby?”

Natalia quirked her mouth to the side and blushed slightly before smiling. “That you have beautiful hands.” Olivia simply watched as Natalia softly stroked her fingers along the back of Olivia’s hand. “I think about your hands.”

Olivia sucked in a silent breath. “What?”

“I think about your hands and what they’ll feel like when we…” Natalia glanced up at her nervously, her face crimson even in the dark.

“You think about that?” Olivia asked incredulous.

Natalia nodded. Then she let out a heavy sigh. “This really is going to be a long flight, huh?”

***************

They talked a few more minutes being sure to steer clear of topics that neither could do anything about a few thousand feet in the air. They talked about their kids, agreeing that they’d get in too late to get Emma tonight. They’d get her first thing in the morning though. Both of them missed her terribly and couldn’t wait to be home with her. And they talked about the Beacon and getting back to work. Natalia was sure she’d have a pile of work waiting for her when she talked to Blake, and Olivia had a major conference coming in next week. She hated doing it without Natalia. She knew if the younger woman still worked for her everything would be in place right now, kidnapping or no kidnapping. She made a mental note to talk to Natalia about coming back. She really missed working with her.

Finally exhaustion caught up to them, and they fell off to sleep. The plane landed just as the moon was reaching its highest point in the night sky, and the jolt of tires hitting pavement unceremoniously pulled them from their slumber. Natalia reached over her head and stretched as the cabin lights blinked on. The others behind them stirred and yawned. They waited until everyone was off before climbing down the steps to the tarmac. Mallet and Buzz got the bags from the cargo bay.

Olivia pulled out her phone to call the city morgue when she saw an unfamiliar face in a dark suit walking up out of the shadows. She slipped the phone back in her pocket and walked toward the imposing man who was easily a foot or more taller than her.

“Ms. Spencer?”

“Yes, are you Jacob?”

He reached his large paw out to her. “Yes, ma’am, I sure am.” He gestured behind him to another man who was barely visible in the dark. “Ronald and I will take care of Detective Cooper’s body and have him prepared for the ceremony.”

“Thank you, Jacob. This is Detective Cooper’s family.” She motioned to Buzz and the others. “Take good care of them, okay?” She looked to a grateful Buzz and winked at him. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

He nodded to her and she turned away, guiding Natalia to the parking lot with a gentle hand on the small of her back, while Rafe followed behind. When they finally settled into her car, Natalia let out a heavy sigh, dropping her head back against the head rest, and Rafe curled up in the corner of the back seat trying to catch a moment of sleep.

She looked into her rearview mirror and smiled at Rafe, his eyes already drifting shut. “So, what will it be? The apartment or the farmhouse?”

He hesitated a moment and looked back at her with sad eyes. “I don’t think I’m ready for the apartment yet. I do want to go back, just not right now.”

She looked at Natalia, who was wearing the same sad expression as her son, and nodded. “Home then.”

************

When they walked in the front door of the farmhouse, they all breathed a deep sigh of relief, even Rafe. He was the first to move from the doorway and shuffle wearily into the living room. Olivia and Natalia followed and stood at the foot of the stairs as he slumped on the couch and laid back with a moan.

“Honey, you can sleep in Emma’s room.” Natalia offered. She got a mumble and a snore as a reply.

She looked at Olivia who shrugged. “I totally sympathize.”

“Me too.”

The two women slowly climbed the stairs and stood in the hallway outside their rooms. Olivia raised her hand and pointed to the door of her room. “I guess I’ll just…”

Natalia took the hand in her own. “You’ll stay right here.”

Olivia groaned. “I love you, you know that, but it’s late and I’m so tired.”

The younger woman rolled her eyes. “You’re so presumptuous sometimes. We can sleep together without sleeping together, Olivia. We’ve done it before. Right now, I want nothing more than to wake up in your arms, in our home, and in our bed. Please, stay.”

Olivia sighed and wrapped her in her arms. “I can’t refuse you anything.”

Natalia leaned back and smiled mischievously. “I’ll remember that when we’re not so tired.”
 

calliopes_muse: (Default)

Just in time for when you can't take the family togetherness anymore!!! An update to help you keep your sanity. Happy holidays peepers!

 

Title: Heroes and Friends

Fandom: Otalia

Rating: PG-13 for this chapter

Disclaimer: These wonderful ladies and the rest of the town belong to CBS, Telenext, and P&G. I’m just having some fun with them.

Spoilers: I don’t think so. This story picks up at the “no more waiting” gazebo scene and goes off canon.

Summary: Nat gets the shock of her life and it turns Liv’s world upside down.

Warning: Not beta’d so if it sucks, there’s only me to blame.

Links to previous chapters: Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16.1 - Chapter 16.2 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19

 

Chapter 20

 

By noon, Olivia had found Buzz and learned that the autopsy would be finished at any time and they’d be free to claim his body later in the afternoon.  She had also just caught Josh on his way out of the hotel.  She hugged him for a long time, and there didn’t seem to be enough ways that she could think of to thank him for his help.  Eventually, he threatened to kiss her in front of Natalia if she said ‘thank you’ one more time just to shut her up.  Josh mused at how quickly Olivia jumped out of his arms and joked about his ex-wife being well-trained before climbing in the cab and heading to the airport.

 

Before going up to their room, she found the hotel manager to thank him for providing such wonderful accommodations for her and her guests.  He went above and beyond on the ass kissing by giving her numerous free passes for all of their top of the line amenities, including unlimited and free use of their spa and salon and open use of the bar.  She extended the same courtesy to him and the hotel owner if they were in Springfield and did one better by offering a home cooked American meal at her house.  She remembered the rousing success the Xiao visit had been back before Natalia had the farmhouse.  She could only imagine how Natalia could amaze business associates now that she had full run of the house and kitchen.

 

It wasn’t until Olivia was standing in front of the elevator that she realized the ease with which she had assumed the farmhouse as her home and Natalia as her partner.  She even referred to her as such to the manager, and he didn’t even seem bothered.  A goofy smile spread across her face.

 

“You’re so gone, Spencer.”

 

The doors to the elevator opened and she pushed the button for the top floor.  In her pocket, her new phone vibrated, and when she saw Doris’ name on the screen, she didn’t hesitate to pick up.

 

“Hey.  Well?”

 

“I’m doing fine, Olivia.  And you?”

 

Olivia rolled her eyes, making hand gestures for Doris to get on with giving her an update, even though Doris couldn’t see it.  “Yeah, yeah.  Just tell me what’s happening.”

 

She listened as each ding insured she was getting closer to her floor.  “Really?  That’s…wow!  I never expected that.  That’s…oh my God!  I can’t wait to tell Natalia.”

 

Doris asked if she knew anything about when they’d be able to leave.  She told her friend that Frank’s body wouldn’t be ready until this afternoon, so she wasn’t sure if they’d want to leave today or in the morning, but she assured Doris that she’d call and let her know.

 

When the elevator finally got to her floor and the doors opened, she could barely contain her excitement.  She nearly sprinted for the room door and slipped her key through the reader.  The room was dark with the covers drawn, keeping out the harshness of the noonday sun.  The door to Rafe’s room was open, and she could hear the loud snores coming from the bedroom further in.  She gently pulled the door to and tiptoed to the bedroom where she had a sneaking suspicion Natalia would be.

 

Sure enough, curled up in the middle of the bed was Natalia.  She slipped off her shoes, slacks, and blouse until all she had on were her panties and slid under the covers.  Carefully, hoping not to wake Natalia, she moved over until she was spooning her.  The warm skin and sweet smell of the woman she loved doing vicious things to her libido.  If she could manage to get them home tonight, it wouldn’t be soon enough for her.  She was ready to get back to their lives and back to a sense of normalcy.  She wanted to have all of her family home, safe and sound.

 

Natalia stirred in her arms.  “Hey, did you see Buzz?”

 

Olivia kissed the shoulder in front of her.  “Yeah.  I’ll tell you everything when we wake up.  Right now, just sleep.  We have plenty of time.”

 

The brunette murmured.  “’Kay.  So tired.”

 

“I know, baby.  Just sleep.”

 

Olivia felt her own eyes beginning to drift shut in spite of her desire to simply lay there for the sake of being physically close to Natalia and relish in the feeling.  Her body had other intentions though.  Tonight…tomorrow, it really didn’t matter when they got home, not really.  Right now, she just wanted to take care of Natalia, and if sleep is what she needs, sleep is what she gets.  She marveled, not for the first time, at how resilient this remarkable woman was.  It must have been some kind of reserve strength she carried with her that she so commonly utilized when she was raising Rafe on her own, that kicked into gear again the last couple of days. 

 

She shook her head at it all.  For days she had been held captive and ended up malnourished and in a diabetic coma, even been tossed around like a rag doll by Edmund, yet she has been steadfastly by Olivia’s side since she was able to get out of the hospital bed. 

 

Olivia smiled in her near sleep.  “My freakin’ superhero.”

 

**********

 

Doris hung up the phone after confirming with Father Ray that he’d give the opening prayer for Frank’s memorial and then answered a text from Ashlee about how many chairs to have on reserve.  She looked up and saw a familiar redhead bent over a small computer screen.  Company had become the hub of planning for the memorial, where the coffee was never allowed to get cold, day or night.  So, Doris walked around the counter and found two clean cups.  She poured one for herself and another for Blake.  She poured a little cream in both, and one packet of sugar in hers and three in Blake’s.  She gave them a quick stir and took them over to the table.

 

“Hey, take a break.”

 

Blake jumped back at the sudden voice at her shoulder.  “Oh, hey!”  She rubbed at her tired eyes and then sighed when she saw the cup of coffee next to the computer.  “Thank you!  That was sweet.”  She took a sip and moaned.  “Perfect!”

 

The Mayor shrugged it off and quickly turned away to hide the blush the compliment caused.  “So, any luck?”

 

“Well, I guess you can call it progress that I’m only looking in California and Greece now.”

 

Doris sat down in the chair next to her.  “Why is it so important to find Eleni?”

 

Blake wouldn’t take her eyes off the screen, and Doris knew women well enough to know that was a classic avoidance move.  Usually when a woman couldn’t or wouldn’t tell you the truth, she couldn’t bring herself to look you in the eye.  The redhead just shrugged, acting nonchalant.  “I told you.  Eleni and Frank used to be married.  Marina is their daughter.  This seems like something important she should know, don’t you think so?”

 

“Granted, yes, but you’re taking a very personal interest in this.  We could easily get Remy on it or even a private detective to find her, but you’ve shown no interest in those options.  Why?” 

 

Blake took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes again.  “I don’t want to talk about it, okay?”

 

Doris pursed her lips at her, openly showing her displeasure, even if Blake didn’t see the expression because she refused to look at her.  Doris  threw up her hands, not sure what else to do, and wondering momentarily why in the hell she cared if Blake Marler told her what was eating at her or not.  “Fine.  Do your little secret search thing.”

 

Blake closed her eyes as Doris purposefully walked away from her and back behind the counter, the click of her heels stopping let Blake know she was standing at the counter. She looked over her shoulder to see Doris pulling out their best vodka and a martini glass.  She rolled her eyes and stood up, making her way over to the bar.

 

When Doris wouldn’t look up, she looked around then leaned a little further over.  “I slept with Frank.”

 

Doris lost control of the glass and shaker in her hand and both went flying through the air, comically flipping and bumping into each other, as Doris tried to catch them unsuccessfully.  Both landed with a loud crash to the floor.  Doris put her hands on the bar and just looked at Blake, who was chewing her bottom lip.

 

“Please tell me that I hallucinated what you just said, and that I didn’t waste a perfectly good martini over the mental image of a naked Frank Cooper.”

 

Blake winced at the mental image she got too and unfortunately, knew far too well the accuracy of the images.  “Look, that was a bad time for me and I wasn’t proud of it.  There were all kinds of crazy stuff going on with him, me, Eleni, and Alan-Michael.  I even tried to have her deported.  But, after all of the bad things I’ve done, I feel like the least I can do is tell her, personally, that Frank died.”

 

Doris threw her hands up in the air.  “Well, at least that makes sense even if my image of you went down a few pegs.”

 

Blake picked up the nearby bar towel and threw it at Doris, smiling.  “Yeah, well, let’s not talk about the mental images you and Alan bring to mind.”

 

Doris visibly shivered.  “Yeah, let’s not.”

 

“Big mistake?”

 

The Mayor laughed.  “I don’t think mistake is the proper word for that trainwreck.”

 

The redhead looked at her wistfully as she propped her chin in her hand.  “So, not an ounce of love there?”

 

“Um, nope…not at all.”  Doris picked up the towel and tried to occupy her hands and her mind by wiping the counter.  She was feeling more and more uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation.  She knew Blake’s reputation of never letting a bone go once she got a hold of it. 

 

“Have you ever been in love, Doris?”

 

Doris swallowed.  Oh shit!  “Ummm…”

 

“What about Ashlee’s father?”

 

Doris laughed to herself.  “Oh boy.  Um, no.”

 

Blake smirked at Doris, loving to hear the mysteries of love won and lost.  The romantic in her loved to hear these stories.  “No to ever being in love or just no to being in love with Ashlee’s father?”

 

The Mayor cleared her throat as her heart thumped dangerously in her chest.  “Just, um…just Ashlee’s father.”

 

“So, you have been in love.”

 

Doris fidgeted nervously with the towel in her hand.  “Yeah, sure.  It was a long time ago though and a pretty boring story actually.  You wouldn’t want to hear it anyway.”  She came back around the bar.  Hoping her seeming disinterest would throw Blake off the scent.  “Let’s get back to looking for Eleni, huh?  We have lots to do before they all get back.”

 

Blake reached for Doris’ arm and stopped her from getting away.  “It’ll wait.  What was his name?”

 

Doris closed her eyes, feeling so tired and now utterly defenseless against the green eyes practically begging for insight into what made her tick.  She looked at Blake with sad eyes and remembering that day so long ago she felt tears form in her eyes. 

 

“Nicole…Nicole Landers.”

 

************

 

She brushed at the irritating tickle on her ear and tried to roll over.  She was suddenly wide awake as she realized her face was nestled down between Olivia’s very ample cleavage.  Natalia glanced up to a smirking Olivia with her hair tousled and her eyes mischievous.  The look sent a jolt down her spine and made her stomach do the tango in her belly. 

 

“You’re not the only one who can have fun waking someone up, you know?”

 

“Payback?”

 

The older woman shrugged.  “I didn’t really think you’d want to sleep the day away.  It’s not like you to nap anyway, but I know you must be exhausted.”

 

Natalia slid up to be eye level with Olivia and braced herself on one arm.  “I could say the same thing for you.  Except for the nap part.”

 

“Oh, I like my naps!”

 

“I know you do.”  Natalia teased and ran a finger over the other woman’s jaw and across a full bottom lip, a lip she was dying to taste, and she did.

 

The rush of kissing Olivia and the havoc it put her body into reminded her of her very strong desire to get home…with Olivia…in their bed.  If what had happened between them the other night was any indication of how intimacy would be with Olivia and that was without sex, she wondered if finally making love to Olivia would put her at risk for permanent brain damage.  When she pulled back and touched those lips again with her finger, only this time Olivia sucked it into her hungry mouth, Natalia quickly decided that it didn’t matter.  Dr. Rick could say that she’d end up right back in that coma if it meant she’d get to make love to Olivia, just once.

 

She growled and pulled her finger away with a smacking sound.  Olivia only grinned at her, knowing she had hit the mark.  “If you keep that up, Olivia, we’ll never get out of this bed.”

 

“You say that as if it’s a bad thing.  I see that I have so much to teach you!”  Olivia rolled her eyes, jokingly, at her girlfriend, who swatted her.

 

“Maybe I’ll teach you a few things too.”  Natalia crawled out of bed and away from Olivia’s grasping hands.

 

“I sure hope so.” Olivia mumbled to the retreating figure strutting into the bathroom and buried her face in her pillow.  “God, I sure as hell hope so.”

 

************

 

An hour later, Olivia had called everyone up to their room and ordered up dinner.  She looked at the forlorn face of Buzz, who didn’t drift too far from a concerned Lillian, and was glad she assumed that going out and socializing would be out of the question.  Somehow, without Frank there, it just didn’t seem right.

 

After some light conversation, she brought the discussion around to leaving and when Buzz wanted to head back.  She thought she knew what the answer would be but wanted to be sure.

 

“As soon as possible.  All I have to do is call the coroner and let them know when we’re leaving and what flight.  They’ll…they’ll bring him to the airport for us.”

 

Olivia nodded.  “It’s a four hour flight back home, and it’ll take an hour or so just to get our things together and get to the airport.”  She looked at her watch.  “We’ll probably be midnight getting in, at the earliest.”

 

He looked up at her with the saddest eyes she’d ever seen.  “I just want to get him home, Olivia.  This very second can’t be soon enough.”

 

“I’ll take care of it.”

 

He looked down at his grilled chicken and pushed it around on the plate before sliding the plate away.  Lillian set her own plate aside and took his hand.

 

Olivia looked to Marina and Mallet and then over to Rick.  “What do you all think?”

Rick nodded in agreement but Marina turned away with Henry in her arms, mumbling, “Whatever grandpa wants.”

 

“Okay, I’ll get the plane readied.  Will an hour be enough time to pack?”  Everyone nodded or agreed verbally.  She looked at Lillian.  “If you need me to light a fire under the hospital, let me know.”

 

The older woman smiled kindly.  “Thank you, dear.  I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”

 

The group scattered and Natalia got busy doing what she did best, cleaning up.  She bustled around the hotel room picking up cups and cans that were left sitting around and throwing away napkins.  When the room was clear of people and Rafe was back on his side packing what little he had to take back, she walked up behind Natalia and wrapped her arms around her waist.  She could tell the younger woman was upset, probably from Buzz’s deep sadness that seemed to permeate the room, and now she cleaned with a vengeance to get some perspective on it.

 

“Slow down, baby.”

 

Natalia leaned her head back on the strong shoulder behind her.  “Do you think he’s going to be okay?  I mean, he’s dealt with a lot lately.”

 

She nodded her head.  “I don’t think so…I know so.  Did you see the way Lillian looked when he pushed his plate away?  She had this really fiercely protective and determined look on her face.  I’ve seen that look before on someone else’s face.”  She hugged the smaller woman closer and felt the chuckle underneath her hands.  “It does wonders for someone’s determination to survive when they have someone that believes in them and that will fight for them.”

 

Natalia turned a little in her arms, just enough to bring a hand up to trace along her cheek.  “Tell me about it.”

 

Realization suddenly hit Olivia as she remembered that she hadn’t told Natalia what Doris had said earlier that day.  “Speaking of believing in someone, I had a very interesting phone call with Doris today.”

 

Olivia loosened her grip and Natalia turned all the way around in her arms. “Really?”

 

“Yep, but let me back up and say that I had a moment of insight earlier and thought I’d just take care of matters.  Maybe I should have talked to you first, but I didn’t want to waste time either and go back and have something terrible happen.”

 

Natalia looked at her curious.  “What?  I have no idea what you could be talking about.”

 

“Natalia, you do realize that Rafe skipped parole to help find you, right?”

 

Natalia brought a frightened hand up to her face.  “Oh my God, Olivia.  He can’t go back to jail.  Not after all that’s happened and after all he’s been through.”

 

Olivia reached for her hands to calm her.  “That’s just it.  He won’t.”

 

“What?”

 

Olivia smiled at her.  “He won’t.  When I realized the hot water he’d be in, I made a call to Doris, told her the circumstances and what happened, and she told me not to worry that she’d take care of it.  Now, I don’t know all she did and I don’t want to.  All I know is that she called and told me she called in a few favors and not only will Rafe not have to go back to jail but his record will be cleared.  It’ll be as if nothing ever happened.”

 

The brunette’s mouth was hanging open wide by the time Olivia finished.  “Oh. My. God.  That’s…that’s…a miracle.”

 

Olivia shrugged.  “Works for me.”

 

When reality set in and Natalia wrapped her mind around what she had just heard, Olivia could literally see her fight the urge to jump for joy.  She bit her lip and the tears came down in rivers.  With a shaky voice, she pointed to Rafe’s door.  “Have you…does he…?”

 

Olivia shook her head and laughed as Natalia ran into his room, yelling, “Rafe!!!
 


calliopes_muse: (Default)

PHEW!!!  So glad you all liked the last chapter.  That had me worried, but I think my muse had a bigger message she wanted to get out there.  I think you all got it too! ;)  Don't worry, there's plenty of smexy to come.

 

Oh, and hope everyone has a happy holidays wherever you are and whoever you're with!  I'll have another update tomorrow, but after that, I'll be at the NOT-in-laws so I don't know how often I'll be able to update.

 

On with the story!

 

Title: Heroes and Friends

Fandom: Otalia

Rating: Back to PG-13 for this chapter

Disclaimer: These wonderful ladies and the rest of the town belong to CBS, Telenext, and P&G. I’m just having some fun with them.

Spoilers: I don’t think so. This story picks up at the “no more waiting” gazebo scene and goes off canon.

Summary: Nat gets the shock of her life and it turns Liv’s world upside down.

Warning: Not beta’d so if it sucks, there’s only me to blame.

A/N:  I know Chapter 18 was short, but the feeling of this chapter was so different from that one that I didn’t want to tack it onto 18 and mess up the vibe.

Links to previous chapters: Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16.1 - Chapter 16.2 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18

 

Chapter 19

 

The morning sun coming through the blinds greeted an already awake Natalia who had her head propped on her hand as she watched Olivia sleep.  Natalia smiled as goose bumps rose over Olivia’s bare back as she ran her nails over the exposed skin.  Olivia shifted in her sleep at the tickling sensation making the sheet that barely covered her hips slip a little lower.  The brunette let her eyes drink in the vision of a swell of hip and curve of breast as Olivia raised her arms over her head.  She bit her lip debating the intelligence of waking a usually morning grumpy Olivia with a bite on her shapely ass.

 

Normally, the thought of doing something so brazen and intensely sexual would have made Natalia blush, but after the dream she had last night and what she had experienced with Olivia just before going to sleep, she felt even more assured in the rightness of them.  Every sign and every moment seemed to confirm what her heart had been telling her for so long.

 

She smiled and decided on a slightly less aggressive method of waking the woman she loved.  She slid close, wrapping her arm around her waist, and kissed the sensitive spot just to the inside of Olivia’s shoulder blade.  She could feel the moan from Olivia reverberate into her body, but still the older woman didn’t stir so she nibbled at a dimple of skin and this earned her a gasp as hips jerked slightly.

 

Feeling Olivia’s curves move against her enticed her to do more.  She placed her palms on either side of Olivia and leaned over her, her thighs wrapping around one of Olivia’s as her hips slid against the older woman’s ass.  Using one hand, she brushed shoulder length hair aside and sucked at the sensitive spot behind Olivia’s ear.

 

Olivia didn’t want to let the dream go.  She wanted to hold on to it, but the persistent mouth on her neck and back had other intentions.  A wicked smile that was hidden from Natalia’s view danced over her lips as she reached back and pulled at a wandering thigh so she could grind back into the hips against her.

 

“Oh God.” Natalia’s head fell to Olivia’s shoulder.  “Olivia,” she whispered in warning.

 

Olivia chuckled to herself.  “You started it, baby.  Didn’t they ever tell you not to tease a sleeping bear?”

 

“But you’re not a bear.”  Natalia cuddled in close.

 

“You’ve seen me in the morning.  I pride myself on my bear-like qualities.” Olivia looked over her shoulder at the brown eyes twinkling back at her.

 

“If you mean cuddly and adorable, then yes, you have those qualities.” 

 

Olivia snorted.  “I’ve been called a lot of things, but cuddly and adorable are not usually two words associated with me.”

 

Natalia moved so Olivia could roll over, and Natalia hummed in pleasure as her body came back down to rest against her warm side.  “They just don’t know you the way I do.”

 

“This is very true.  Nobody knows me like you do.” 

 

She pulled Natalia into a kiss, but just as they were getting into it, the alarm went off.  Olivia smacked it hard and reached back for Natalia to continue the kiss.  The brunette slid from her grasp though and went the long way to get to the phone on the bedside table, ensuring she was out of Olivia’s reach.  Natalia ordered a full breakfast for three and hung up the phone.

 

Natalia reached for Olivia’s hand.  “Come on.  You have about fifteen minutes to brush your teeth and get dressed before the food is up here.”

 

The older woman took the offered hand even though it wasn’t necessary.  She was already half out of the bed as it was.  “Fifteen minutes?  They won’t be that fast.  They’re never that fast.”

 

“You’re not the only one who’s naked right now, so…come on, get moving.  I need my time in the bathroom.”

 

“Bossy!” Olivia rubbed her eyes and shuffled off to the bathroom.

 

“Yep!”  Natalia smiled at having some semblance of order restored to their routine.  She slipped on the robe from the floor where Olivia had tossed it last night and slipped it on, taking a second to breath in Olivia’s scent, before going to the dividing door between their room and Rafe’s.  She knocked and called to him.  She heard a muffled reply.

 

“Five minutes or I’m coming in!”

 

“MA!!!!!”  Natalia smiled when she heard stumbling as Rafe got out of bed.

 

A few minutes later, Olivia came out of the bathroom and slipped on a pair of navy blue shorts and a white tank top.  Natalia grabbed some clothes and changed places with her, bumping her hip playfully as she passed by.  When she came back out, the breakfast cart was in the room and so was Rafe who was seated with Olivia as they sorted out the food equally.

 

Olivia stabbed a waffle off of Rafe’s plate.  “You can’t have that.  It’s already like sweet and stuff.  Here, have an egg.”

 

“Fine, then give me the strawberries.  I don’t like oranges.” Rafe grumbled back, dumping the orange wedges on her plate, frustrated that he was unable to fight for his food very well with one arm.

 

“Fine.”  Olivia happily conceded and smiled up at Natalia who was shaking her head.  She filled a plate and sat down on the couch next to Olivia.

 

“Thank goodness Emma’s not here or else we’d have a full-fledged food fight.”

 

Olivia pointed her fork at Rafe.  “And she’d take you down for those waffles.”

 

“I don’t doubt it!” They laughed at imagining Emma beating Rafe up for the last waffle as they ate in relative silence.  “Speaking of the munchkin, when do we get to go home?”

 

Olivia swallowed before answering.  “Well, I need to talk to Buzz this morning to see if he knows when Frank’s body will be released, and then make a few phone calls to get some things set up back home.  It seems like the right thing to do is to be here to support Frank’s family. What do you think?”

 

“At least the non-crazy part of his family.” Rafe mumbled.

 

“Rafe!” Natalia fussed but then nodded her head.  Natalia set her plate aside and took Olivia’s free hand.  “Really, it’s the least we can do.  Besides, another day of resting won’t hurt any of us before we have to deal with stuff back home.”

 

Rafe nodded then smiled.  “I guess it could be worse.  At least, I’m stuck a little longer on a tropical island.”

 

*************

 

After breakfast, Olivia left Natalia and Rafe to spend some quality time alone.  Maybe to talk about what happened or at least for Rafe to admit that he joined the Army.  For the moment, Rafe seemed to be handling his mother’s relationship with her remarkably well, but Olivia worried that things would change when they all got back home.  Admittedly, she was even a little worried that Natalia may have some misgivings when reality finally set in.

 

For the moment though, she decided not to dwell on it and deal with what was directly in front of her, and that happened to be the suite down the hall.  She knocked praying that Buzz or Lillian opened the door and that Marina would conveniently be out with Henry.

 

She sighed and rubbed at the bridge of her nose though when she saw the shorter redhead on the other side.  Marina tried to menacingly cock her eyebrow at Olivia and crossed her arms.  She tried to look intimidating but really she just looked sullen.  The only consolation for Olivia was the dark red gash that ran down her bottom lip and the purple bruise on the corner of her puffy mouth.

 

“What do you want?”

 

Olivia sighed.  “Is Buzz here?  I need to talk to him.”

 

“No, he’s not.”  Marina glared at her and didn’t offer up any other information.

 

She flexed her hand and fought the urge to give Marina a matching black eye.  Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath.  “Well, where is he?”

 

“The hospital.”  Marina finally broke eye contact, looking down and biting her lip.  She visibly winced at the pain that movement caused and Olivia tried not to smirk.  “He’s trying to find out when my dad’s…body will be released.”

 

Olivia nodded, and seeing the pain in Marina’s eyes, she spoke softly.  “Thanks, I’ll see if I can find him.  Can you let him know I’m looking for him though when you see him?  We’re just down the hall in 1224.”

 

Marina sniffed.  “Sure.”

 

**************

 

Natalia hovered around Rafe’s room, folding towels and tucking in the bed covers.  Rafe watched her move around before finally having enough.

 

“Ma!  Stop already!”

 

Natalia tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear.  “This place is a wreck, Rafe.  You were barely in this room any time last night.  How in the world did it get filthy so fast?”  She picked up a chip bag and threw it into the nearest garbage can.

 

“There’s staff to do this, as you well know.  Stop.”

 

She straightened up from picking up a t-shirt off the floor and sighed.  “I’m a mom.  I can’t.”

 

He came over and took her hand and dragged her to a chair to make her sit.  “Please, Ma.  Just for a minute.  Besides, I want to talk to you.”

 

She finally looked at her son standing over her and noticed that he did seem a bit on edge.  She stood up immediately.  “Oh my God, Rafe.  Are you okay?”  She felt his head for a fever. 

 

He took her hand in his and sat her back down.  “Ma, I’m fine.  Please.”

 

“Okay.”

 

He slipped down into the chair across from her, and she could tell he was struggling to tell her something.  “Rafe, what’s wrong?”

 

“Actually, nothing.  I just wanted to say something and I’m not sure exactly how to say it.”  She waited, relaxing once he told her nothing was wrong.  She decided though it was best to let him find his own way. 

 

He scrubbed a hand through his thick hair and took a deep breath.  “Are you happy?”

 

The question wasn’t what she expected.  “What?”

 

“Right now, at this moment, are you happy?”

 

She smiled at him.  “Very much.”

 

He nodded his head.  “Have you been happy for a while?”

 

She scrunched her eyebrows confused about where he was going with this, but went along with it anyway.  “Yeah, I have been.”

 

He sat back and thought for a long moment on what else he wanted to know.  Then he leaned forward.  “When was the last time you weren’t happy?”

 

Something told her that this question wasn’t to be taken lightly and she paused for a moment seeking guidance on what to say.  She reached across the table and took his hand, then looked deeply into his dark eyes, really letting him see her and her heart.  “The last time I wasn’t happy, aside from the obvious of being kidnapped and separated from you, Olivia, and Emma, was standing in the church at the wedding on the verge of marrying Frank.  Not because of Frank though.  Because my heart was breaking as I tried to walk away from Olivia.”

 

He looked down at their joined hands, a wistful look playing across his stubbly face.  He was looking so grown up these days.  “She was frantic, you know.  To get to you.  I tried to stop her, but she wasn’t having any of it.  I’ve never seen anyone act like that about another person.”  He shook his head.  “I watched her and I knew.”

 

“Knew what, baby?”

 

“That it was real for her.  She wasn’t faking it, she really does love you.”

 

Natalia wiped at a tear that had leaked from her eye.  She never thought she’d hear this from Rafe, considering how he had acted before.  Perhaps the kidnapping and Frank’s death had served a bigger purpose.  If nothing else, it got her son to see their love was real.

 

“I could have told you that.  Oh wait, I did!”

 

He rolled his eyes.  “I know, I know!”

 

“Come here.”  She stood up and reached for him.  He stood up too and she pulled him into a long hug.  “I love you, baby.”

 

“I love you too, Ma.”

 

************

 

Standing outside the hospital, Olivia pulled one of the sleek new phones out of her bag.  Finding the icon for the phone on the screen, she put in the number she now knew by heart then selected “call” on the keypad.

 

“Doris?  Hi.”

 

“Olivia?”  The Mayor looked up into the shocked green eyes of the petite redhead on the other side of the counter from her.

 

“That’s Olivia?”  She reached for the phone.  “Give me the phone.”

 

Doris jerked back out of her reach.  “No.”

 

“Yeah, it’s me.”

 

“Oh my God, what in the world is going on?  Buzz and everyone took off out of here the other day like aliens had landed or something.  Just told Blake to hold down the fort.”

 

“And where the hell’s Frank?”  Blake tried to yell across the line to Olivia.

 

“Oh yeah, where is the cop that works on the city dime and just decided to take off without warning?”  Doris fussed into the phone.

 

“He’s dead.”

 

“What?”  Her face fell and she looked up at Blake, who was looking at her expectantly.

 

“Well?”  The redhead propped her hands on her hips, waiting.

 

Doris tried to whisper into the phone.  “Olivia, that’s not funny.”

 

“I’m not laughing.”

 

Doris swallowed.  “Oh my God.”

 

“Yeah…look, it’s a long story but the short version is that Edmund kidnapped Natalia, we took off looking for her – me, Josh, Frank, and Rafe, that is, Edmund shot Frank, and I killed Edmund.”

 

“What, Doris?  What happened?”  Blake threw down the towel she was wiping down the counter with, but Doris ignored her. 

 

When she got past the utter impossibility of the situation, she asked Olivia the next most obvious question.  “Is Natalia okay?”

 

“Yes…yes, she is.  Look, I called for a reason aside from passing along the bad news.  I want to do a memorial for Frank.  Something really nice but anonymous, if you know what I mean.  And there’s that nice bridge in the park, maybe a dedication or something?”

 

“Consider it done.” 

 

“Doris, are you going to tell me what’s going on or not?”  Blake came around the counter.

 

Doris put her hand on Blake’s shoulder.  “Please, just give me a minute.”

 

“And one other thing?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“I don’t think it’s occurred to Natalia and Rafe that he skipped parole and this could land him back in jail.”

 

Doris closed her eyes and put her hand over her mouth.  “Oh shit, that’s right.”  She sat up then, a determined look set on her face.  “Don’t worry about it.  I’ll find a way and take care of it.”

 

Olivia sighed heavily on the other end.  “Thank you.”

 

**********

 

Blake hiked up an eyebrow and raised her hands in the air, as Doris turned back to her.  “Well?”

 

The Mayor rubbed at her forehead, really wishing she had a martini in hand right now.  It sure would make this easier.  “Um, I…I really don’t know how to say this.”

 

“Oh God!  No, tell me no!” The redhead banged the counter making a businessman sitting a couple of seats down jump.

 

“What?”

 

“They eloped, didn’t they?”

 

“Wha…who?”

 

Blake gave her a “duh” look.  “Frank and Natalia!  That little tart!  I knew she wasn’t as innocent as she came across.  I bet she dumped Olivia and then begged Frank to take off with her to some exotic location and Buzz went to be his best man.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s knocked up too!”

 

Doris stared at her in wonder as she concocted a fantastical tale.  “Blake.”

 

“She’s probably got some huge stash of money hidden somewhere.  Hell, she’s probably some freakin’ heiress or something, and even thought the great Olivia Spencer was below her.”

 

When the redhead showed no signs of stopping, Doris grabbed a flailing arm and yelled to get her attention.  “Blake!  You really need to stop reading those trashy romance novels.  Where the hell do you come up with these things?”

 

Blake’s mouth hung open.  “I…”

 

Doris gave her a sad look and slid her hand down to take Blake’s in her own.  “I wish I could say that’s what it was, and for me to say that is a big deal, but it’s not good.  It’s not romantic or sexy or anything like that.”

 

She swallowed and worry started creeping up into her throat.  “Then what is it like?”

 

“It’s sad, honey.  I…,” Doris closed her eyes and decided to just bite the bullet, “Frank’s dead.”

 

“What?” Blake’s voice cracked.

 

Doris helped her onto a stool but never let go of her hand.  “It’s a crazy story, but he got shot trying to save Natalia from Edmund Winslow.”

 

Blake sat there in dazed confusion, everything not really registering completely yet.  “Edmund?  I thought he was dead.”

 

“Apparently not.”

 

“Oh my God.  Poor Buzz.”

 

Doris nodded.  She had thought about that too, and it reminded her of Olivia’s request.  Noticing that the shocked look on Blake’s face hadn’t really disappeared yet, it occurred to her that maybe this would be something good for more than just the Coopers.  “Olivia called not just to pass along the news of…but um, to see if a memorial would be done for Frank.  I think that would be a really good idea and fitting for all his years of service to Springfield.”  She cocked her head to the side.  “Would you like to help get it organized?”

 

When Blake didn’t respond right away, seemingly lost in her own world, she tightened the grip on the hand in hers.  Blake suddenly looked at her and gasped, “Yeah…yeah, I’d be glad to help.”

 

Doris squeezed her hand one last time as the smaller woman got off the stool and went around the counter.  She was surprised to see Blake pull out a bottle of expensive whiskey and pour herself a shot.  Blake moved around behind the counter, filling order and refilling coffees, but Doris noticed how inward she had turned with her thoughts and actions, a sad almost regretful look marring her alabaster features.  She didn’t think Blake had fallen for Frank, but maybe she had been wrong.  She shook her head, trying to rid her mind of that thought.  No, something else was going on, and she was going to find out.
 


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