Fandom: Guilding Light
Spoilers: Anything up to April 17th... after that I kidnap them all into my own special Springfield.
A/N: Okay, so I lied. Faster update than expected! Woohoo! Did I mention this was going to be long? I'm seriously still laying the foundations here. ;)
Previous: 1 2
Olivia shut the door of her car and paused to look at the farmhouse for a moment. She couldn't imagine it looking any more beautiful. The sun was shining and the temperatures were unseasonably warm. The snow from two days ago was almost completely melted and the sound of dripping and flowing water filled her ears.
Natalia had somehow gotten the movers to take all of her belongings back to the farmhouse late yesterday afternoon. They’d spent the rest of the evening into the early morning putting everything back where it belonged. It was a late night that left her tired today, but there was an undercurrent of excitement that kept her going like the Energizer bunny. She’d caught up on almost all her work, and even started on a new project. She kept trying to remind herself that things could crumble with the slightest nudge, but she couldn’t help feeling that maybe soon life might resemble something sane again.
“Olivia! Get in here!” Natalia called out, suddenly appearing in the doorway with a tea towel in her hand. Olivia had been smiling a little as she thought of her day and took in her surroundings, but at the sound of Natalia’s voice her smile grew tenfold.
“What for? I’m enjoying nature!” she called back. Even from a distance she could see Natalia roll her eyes.
“Just get in here! We’ve been waiting for you.” Olivia walked toward the house.
“Waiting for me?” she asked when she got close enough to talk without yelling.
“Just come on. I hope you’re hungry,” Natalia said, and grabbed the scarf that hung loosely around Olivia’s neck. She pulled it off and winked before turning around. Olivia swallowed hard and pretended the simple act of Natalia pulling off her scarf didn’t make her heart pump faster.
“Surprise!” said Natalia, Rafe, and Emma all at once as she made her way through the door.
Olivia lifted her eyebrows and looked around. There was a banner that said “Welcome Home!” and a table filled with her favorite foods. Olivia covered her mouth and felt tears fill her eyes.
“Oh hey, no more of that,” Natalia said and linked her arm with Olivia’s. “This is a party, right guys?” she said, turning to Emma and Rafe.
“Yeah!” Emma said and jumped up onto a chair. She pointed at the table. “Look, Mom! Natalia got you that gross cold fish you like!”
Olivia laughed. “It’s called sushi, Jellybean.”
“Yeah, she got you shushi,” Emma said slowly and shrugged, knowing she hadn’t said it right, but not quite knowing which part she got wrong. “And she got my favorite! Macaroni and cheese!” She bounced in the chair.
“Anything that’s not mass produced has become my favorite food,” Rafe said with a smirk. “Are we gonna eat or what?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Natalia said and motioned for him to sit down.
Olivia turned to Natalia. “I can’t believe you did this.”
“It was nothing, really. Most of it was take out since I know you have a soft spot for it. Now sit so we can all eat. I thought you’d never get home.”
“I had a lot to catch up on at work,” Olivia said as they all settled in their seats.
“Me too, but I still got out of there at a decent hour. You shouldn’t work yourself so hard.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. “So you’ve told me a million times.”
“Well, it’s true,” Natalia said and reached out for Olivia’s hand. Olivia looked into her eyes as they grasped hands firmly. Soon they were all holding hands and Natalia began grace.
“Thank you, God,” she said, “for bringing us all back together so we can enjoy this wonderfully gluttonous meal.” Olivia opened one eye and peered at Natalia curiously. “Thank you for bringing happiness back into my life – for reminding me what happiness is. And most of all… thank you for Buzz Burgers with onions. Amen.”
Olivia laughed loudly. “Natalia! That wasn’t a very… reverent, was it?” Natalia laughed a bit wickedly and took a bite of her burger. “Plus, isn’t gluttony a sin?”
“God understood what I meant,” Natalia said with a mouthful of food.
“I think she was saying she’s really happy,” Rafe said as he tentatively picked up a piece of sushi.
“Bingo!” Natalia said, pointing at Rafe. “But happy barely covers it.”
Olivia smiled with wonder as she caught Natalia’s eye. Natalia bit her lip a little and smiled back.
“Hey!” Rafe said loudly, breaking up their little moment. “This sushi stuff is amazing! What the hell? Why didn’t I know about this before? What other weird shit do you like, Olivia?” He reached out and grabbed four more pieces.
“Rafe!” Natalia said with a look of horror on her face. “You will not use that kind of language at my table.”
Rafe covered his mouth and looked extremely apologetic, “Oh shit, Ma, I’m sorry… I mean! Oh, God…” He looked panicked.
Olivia discreetly covered her mouth because she felt laughter coming to the surface.
“It’s okay,” Emma said after swallowing a big bite of macaroni and cheese. “Mommy says that word all the time.”
Natalia let out a sound of frustration. “What am I going to do with all of you?”
“Keep us?” Olivia said with a big puppy-dog smile.
Natalia laughed and shook her head. “Oh don’t worry. I fully intend to… and maybe I can teach you all some manners in the process.”
“It was a wonderful dinner. Thank you,” Olivia said to Natalia after they watched Emma lead Rafe happily up the stairs toward her room. She claimed he was the only one who could read to her that night because the book she wanted to hear involved a boy who looked like Rafe. He readily agreed, but followed her with a feigned reluctance that left her giggling and pulling him along.
“My pleasure,” Natalia said. “They’re so cute together, don’t you think?” She turned to Olivia and smiled so widely Olivia felt her heart expanding to match the wideness of it.
Natalia sat on the couch and leaned back. She glanced up at Olivia who was still standing. “Want to watch a movie?”
Several voices in her head began screaming, “Say yes! Blanket! Snuggle with movie?! Yes!” But instead of listening, she closed her eyes and said, “Don’t you think it’s time we talked?”
“I know,” sighed Natalia. “It feels so magical to have you here… I didn’t want to break the spell.”
“Technically, I was barely gone a day.”
“It felt like you were gone a lot longer than that,” Natalia said and reached her hand up. Olivia took it and sat down.
“We can’t start doing this,” Olivia said, looking toward the window across the room. “We can’t go back to being two friends who share a house.”
“Who said I wanted to?”
Olivia closed her eyes and sighed sadly. “It’s against everything you believe in.”
“You don’t know that, Olivia. You just assumed it.”
Olivia turned sharply toward Natalia. “Isn’t it though? Doesn’t the Bible have very specific references to,” she waved her hand in the air, “this?”
“Yes,” Natalia said firmly. “The Bible devotes quite a lot of time to the topic of love.”
“Not love,” Olivia said, lowering her voice, “you know… the other thing.”
“Sex?” Natalia asked, feigning confusion.
“No!” squeaked Olivia.
“Oh, hmm. Not sure what you’re talking about then.”
Olivia threw up her hands in frustration. “Do I have to show you again?”
Natalia bit back a laugh. “Yeah. You know… I might need a visual. I just have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Olivia reached up and ran a finger slowly along Natalia’s jawbone. Natalia’s eyes drifted shut and she leaned into the touch. “You know exactly what I mean,” Olivia purred, “and there will be no visuals until we figure this out.”
Natalia opened her eyes. Olivia was taken aback by how dark they’d become in those few seconds. “Then let’s figure this out,” she said in a soft voice.
“Ball’s in your court,” Olivia said.
“Actually Olivia, I think I’ve made myself pretty clear. When I told you I’m in love with you I didn’t say it lightly. I know what it means. I gave up a lot to be able to say it, but I did it freely and it was my decision.”
“There! That!” Olivia said with a bit of anger in her voice. “That’s what I can’t handle hearing from you. I refuse to let you give up your life-long dreams because of me. In the end you’ll regret giving up on those dreams. You’ll resent me for their loss.”
“Olivia,” Natalia began but paused for a moment, thinking of a new way to explain. Remembering Olivia’s own words, she smiled and resumed, “It’s like making a pie.” Olivia tilted her head and didn’t look amused. “Sometimes a person may think their favorite pie is apple. So they go around town looking for the perfect apple pie. They decide to go to every bakery in the city, searching for the perfect one when suddenly they spot a really amazing-looking blueberry pie. The blueberry pie smells good and certainly looks like it would taste good, but they’ve got this idea in their head that they only want apple pie. They’ve spent so much time looking for the perfect apple pie, it seems wrong to stop when there are only a few more bakeries to visit. So they reluctantly leave the blueberry pie and go back to looking again for the perfect apple pie. Eventually they find an apple pie that seems absolutely perfect, but the memory of that darn blueberry pie keeps popping up. Just thinking about the blueberry pie makes the apple pie seem boring and not so tasty after all.” Natalia took Olivia’s hand. “See what I’m getting at here?”
“I’m not a pie,” Olivia said, but Natalia could tell by the quiet tone of her voice that she might finally be getting it.
“Alright, let me put it this way. You’re my new dream, Olivia Spencer. I’m not sure exactly when I fell in love with you, but when I finally realized it you were all I could think about. It scared me at first because it was so new to me. My thoughts… thoughts of you absolutely over powered me whenever I allowed myself a moment with them. It was overwhelming. I wanted to run in the other direction, and I’m embarrassed to say I did. I had my eyes closed and my heart clung to an old dream… a dream that turned hollow and crumbled under the power of you. Olivia, please, you have to understand me. The only thing I would ever resent you for would be not giving us a chance.”
Olivia took Natalia’s hand between hers and held it almost reverently. “What about God? You really think He’s okay with this?”
“How do you know?”
“When I look at you, when I think about raising our family together, when I think about being with you for the rest of my life I feel so filled with happiness and love… it's like nothing I’ve ever felt. That must be a gift from God, Olivia. Everything I’ve ever believed about God has been about love. I believe God is love. The love I feel for you is so true and strong… the real sin would be in denying its existence.”
“Really?” Olivia said.
Natalia bit her lip, struck by the heartbreakingly sweet look of hope and happiness that filled Olivia’s features. “I promise.”
Olivia lifted Natalia’s hand to her lips and kissed the back of it softly as a tear streamed down her face. “I love you,” she said.
“I love you too,” Natalia replied and lifted Olivia’s chin with her hand.
They slowly gravitated toward each other, lips almost touching, when Olivia backed away suddenly. “No,” she said shakily, feeling her own voice pierce her heart like a knife.
Natalia stared at her in disbelief.
“Trust me, I want to. Oh God,” she leaned back and ran both hands through her hair, “more than anything.”
“Then, why? Please, Olivia. I don’t know what I’ll do if…”
“Not no… just, not yet. Okay? Not until you tell Frank. Not until all the loose ends are taken care of. Please?”
“Of course,” Natalia said, immediately looking around, “I’ll get my phone and…”
“Your phone?” Olivia asked with disbelief.
Natalia blinked. “Oh… yeah,” she shook her head. “That would be absolutely terrible, wouldn’t it? I can’t believe I’d even consider that.” She cringed. “See what you do to me?” She swatted Olivia’s arm.
Olivia laughed and put an arm around the pouting Natalia. “I never claimed to be a good influence. How about we watch that movie?”
“Is snuggling allowed?”
“Hmm…” Olivia tapped her lip in thought. “I suppose that could be allowed.”
“I’m in!” Natalia said and hopped up to find a DVD.
“Keep your hands to yourself, though,” Olivia said with a laugh and left the room to find a good blanket.
“No promises,” Natalia said with a smirk once Olivia was out of earshot.