Fandom: Guiding Light
Archival: P&P, Kimly, and AUSXIP of course. Everyone else, please ask.
Summary: Phillip Spaulding has returned to Springfield with a vengeance. Olivia Spencer, afraid that Phillip will take their daughter Emma from her again, flees Springfield with the help of her assistant, Natalia Rivera. Can they stay one step ahead of Phillip? Will they ever be safe again?
Content Disclaimer: This is an AU story--based on a drabble I posted in February--that splits off from the "I can trust you with my life!" scene on 2/16/09. All canon after that does not exist in this story. Also, the Phillip Spaulding that returns in this story is still bat-shit crazy and evil. Graphic depictions of love between two consenting adult women are contained within, obviously, but not for a while.
Source Disclaimer: I do not own Guiding Light or the characters therein depicted. I do not seek to profit from this story.
A/N: I tried to remain as close to character as humanly possible but as I have only seen YouTube clips of Otalia and no full episodes, I cannot guarantee the results.
Style Note: As some of you have noticed, I am switching POVs for every chapter. Natalia, Olivia and Emma will tell their stories in their own words, first-person present tense. Any other exposition needed will happen in third-person past-tense. This will cover the urgency I need and will also allow for omniscience for exposition with multiple characters. I am very interested in knowing whether this style works how I have intended it, so let me know.
Thank You: To mightbefound and bldy_destini for beta-ing this story. Thank you also to Tiff for helping me to figure out the major plot problems I'd been having and for being on call when I forget them and need to review. ;) Thank you to djshiva for your comments and general enthusiasm for this story.
MASWIK LODGE GIFT SHOP, NEAR THE GRAND CANYON
Mommy cried again. She isn't now and you tried to make it like it wasn't crying when I saw it but I know it was. And even though you weren't crying, your eyes looked funny, like maybe you were trying not to. It was right after we left the McDonald's and you were holding Mommy's hand so tight--just like you held my hand when we went through the Haunted House at the Fall Festival last year. I was scared then but the ghosts and monsters were really silly and after a few minutes I was laughing at them.
I wish you were holding my hand now.
You're being too quiet. You aren't saying anything to Mommy and she isn't saying anything back. She just stared out her window the whole way here and you kept looking at her and sometimes in the mirror at me with a worried look on your face. It's been hours and the quiet is too loud! Why aren't you saying anything? You always say things! Funny things, silly things, happy things! Mommy doesn't always talk. Sometimes she's busy or sometimes she's mad and she--what's that word you taught me? Oh right. Sulks. When Mommy isn't talking, though, you are! And now you aren't!
Something's going on. I know it is. Something bad.
I look at Mommy, wondering if it's her heart again. But she doesn't look like she did when she was in the hospital when she got her new heart. She looked sick then but she doesn't now. She looks...scared.
And I know you told me that sometimes grown-ups get scared, too, but I don't want Mommy to be scared. It makes my tummy hurt.
This is worser than when you fight! I cried when you were fighting in the car the other night because when you and Mommy fight it hurts. I thought you were mad at each other but you said it was the road and the snow and you were afraid of driving in it and that made you mad so you took it out on Mommy. It took me a little while but I understood that. It made sense.
But now we're here, in this stupid gift shop, and I don't understand why you and Mommy are still so quiet! It's making me so mad!
Suddenly you see a table with baseball hats on it and you finally say something.
"Ooh, would you like to get a hat, honey? We're going to be out in the sun later. It'll protect your fair skin," you say to me but your smile isn't a real one. It's the one you use when you're tired of Uncle Frank being around and you send him home.
"I don't care," I mumble real low, hugging myself.
I guess you don't hear me because you bend down. "What, honey?" you ask.
And all of a sudden it feels like someone stuffed all the mad in the whole wide world inside of me and there isn't any place for it to come out except my eyes and my mouth.
I make my hands into fists and I shout, "I don't care, you--you--POOPYHEAD!"
You stand up real fast and your eyes get very big and sad. "Wha--?"
Mommy turns to me just as fast and her eyes are all scrunched up. She's really, really mad.
"What did you just say to her?" she asks. Her voice is really low but it feels like she's yelling at me at the top of her lungs.
I back up.
"Don't--" you say to Mommy, grabbing her arm but she pulls away from you and comes towards me.
"Answer me--" and I know she's going to call me by my whole name, like she always does when she's mad at me, but she stops and looks around the shop and she...doesn't.
"Answer me," she says again, her voice back to being low. "What did you just call your mother?"
You make a funny sound and cover your mouth with your hand and Mommy looks suddenly surprised. She closes her eyes and shakes her head as if she's talking to herself in there.
When she opens them, she's back to being mad. "I'm waiting," she says.
"No, Ol--" You grab Mommy's arm again, stopping before you say her name. You close your eyes for a second, too, and when you open them, you're Homework Now Mommy. "Don't. Just--just pick out a hat and some sunglasses for her...and for me. I'll take care of this."
Mommy looks like she's going to argue again but you stare into her eyes for a long time and then she kind of.... It's like she's a balloon after all the air has come out. She nods, looks at me again--she's still mad; I can tell--and walks over to the sunglasses.
When she gets there and picks up a pair of purple ones, you turn to me and get down low so you can see in my eyes. But I'm not looking at you.
"I'm not mad, Emma," you whisper. You whisper so low, I can't hardly hear you. "I am worried, though." I look up at you and your eyes are all shiny and you look like you want to cry again. "Can we go for a little walk?"
I nod and you reach out your hand. I take it and we go back out through the big glass doors we came in. It's cold out and there's still snow on the ground here. There's a wooden bench built into a little tan wall around the sign to the shop and you lead me over to it.
Every step I take I can feel my tears filling me up like the angry did and when you put me on the bench and crouch down in front of me, they're all the way up to my eyes.
"Want to tell me what's going on?" you ask and your voice is so nice--like when I'm sick and I need extra blankets and extra stories.
I just start crying, hard, and I hug you around the neck as tight as I can. You hug me back and kiss my head and say, "Shhh.... It's okay. It's okay, Jellybean."
"I'm sorry! Please don't be mad, Natalia! I didn't mean it! Please don't leave us!" My face feels hot and sticky even though it's really cold out here and I can't stop crying. If you leave, Mommy will never, ever, ever forgive me. And I won't either.
You pull back and wipe my face with your hands. You still have your gloves on and they're soft. "First of all, I am not leaving you or your mother. Okay? No matter what happens. And I'm not mad. I know you didn't mean it." You kiss my forehead, quiet for a long time. "You must be so confused right now." You sigh and look at me and there's a tiny smile on your face and in your eyes--a tiny sad smile--but I don't think you're really looking at me...even though you are. You shake your head and then you're looking at me again. "Your mommy and I are confused, too. But we're going to figure it all out so you don't have to worry, okay?"
"Figure what out?" This is really weird. You're talking now but I don't know what you're saying.
Your smile gets a little bigger and you look to each side very slowly, as if making sure no one can hear us. "Can you keep a secret?" you ask.
"Like...like when you broke Mommy's favorite coffee cup in the sink by accident and you went all over Springfield to find her a new one and never told her?"
You blink at me for a second and then gulp. "Yeah, like that. Just like that."
I nod. "Yeah, I can keep a secret."
"Well, your mommy and I are on a secret mission--"
"Like in Spy Kids??" My mouth hangs open after I ask.
"Yes! Like in Spy Kids! Except your mommy and I don't have super powers or anything like that. See, a man came to Springfield a little while ago and your mommy has something that he wants very badly. But we can't let him have it because it's not his and...and he wants to take it away from your mommy forever. So she and I decided we had to run far away from the bad man and since it's just us taking care of you, we had to bring you with us! We called it a vacation because we couldn't really call it a secret mission, could we? Then it wouldn't be secret anymore!"
But then I wonder about something. "What's Mommy have that the bad man wants?"
Your smile gets wider but it stops being a real one. "Um...it's a--a--magic ring! Yes, a magic ring that...that can be used to...do great evil...or great good--depending on who has it. Right now your mommy has it so it does great good. If yo--if the bad man got it, it would do great evil."
I don't believe you. "Can I see it?"
You look back at the door to the shop then pull off one of your gloves. You show me your wedding ring from Gus, the pretty one with the big diamond. "We had to keep the magic ring a secret so your mommy...gave it to Gus who gave it to me before we got married."
Really?? Wow! "That was really smart!"
"It was," you say, nodding. "But when the bad man came, we were afraid he'd find out. So I sent you and Mommy away as a diversion--that's a sort of trick--then I came to find you, to help on the secret mission." You look at me and you're worried. I can tell. "We found out while we were at the McDonald's that the bad man figured out that your mommy has the ring and he's trying to get us back."
That makes me feel scared. A lot scared. "Is he going to find us?"
You hug me. "No, sweetie. He won't find us. Not if we're careful." You look down at me and smile again and it's a real smile this time. "But you know what we need?"
"What?" I ask. Laser binoculars? A helicopter? The Army?
"Spy names! The bad man knows our real names but if we use other names maybe it will confuse him. Your mommy and I have already picked out our spy names but now you need to pick one, too! Can you do that?"
"Yeah!" I wipe my face with my coat sleeve.
"Good! Great!" You look around again but there's no one standing near us. It's too cold. I'm starting to get the shivers. "I picked 'Laura Santiago'," you say, kinda low. "And your mommy picked 'Melissa Anderson'. Whatever you pick will have that same last name--'Anderson'." You brush some of my hair out of my face. "So what do you think? What would you like us to call you?"
I think really hard. My best friend at school is named 'Jodie' but she wouldn't let me play with her DS at lunch the last time I was there and I'm still mad at her about that so I don't want to use her name. I like the name 'Jane', like my babysitter, but it doesn't sound like a little girl name. And it should be something real--not like 'Dora' or 'Ariel' or 'Jasmine' or 'Belle'....
"There was a new girl in school the other day and she's really nice. She has hair almost like mine and eyes, too! Ms. Jennings says we're almost twins," I tell you. "She has a really pretty name. Can I use that?"
"What is it, sweetie?"
"Zoe," I say. "She says it means 'life' in some foreign language."
Your eyes go all shiny again and you hug me. "That's a beautiful name. 'Zoe Anderson' it is." You pull away and look down at me, all serious all of a sudden, like when you told me I couldn't play alone in the elevators in The Beacon anymore. "You have to remember really hard that that's your name now, okay? And you have to call me 'Laura' from now on, not 'Natalia.' Can you do that?"
I nod. "What do I call Mommy?" I ask.
You laugh. "'Mommy,' silly!" you say, tickling my tummy.
I laugh and try to get away, but you don't let me. You stop tickling after a few minutes and you get on the bench with me and put your arm around me.
"Ready to go back in?" you ask.
I'm cold and I really want to get warm, but....
"Is Mommy still gonna be mad?" I ask. 'Cause if so, I could probably stay out here a little longer. Maybe.
"No, sweetie. She's going to be fine. Let me take care of that, okay?" You stand up and reach your hand out. "Come on. We've got to get some lunch before we all starve to death. And we have to get your mom out of that gift shop before she buys sixteen sweatshirts or something."
I giggle. "Sixteen sweatshirts," I say. "She doesn't even like sweatshirts!"
"That's never stopped her before, has it?"
I shake my head. "Nope! But she'll stop if you tell her to, Na--Laura. She always does."
You stop for a minute and look all funny, like you're thinking really hard about something. Then you shrug and we go inside.
Mommy is standing inside near the counter with a shopping bag in each hand.
"Everything okay?" she asks and she looks at you first, then me.
"Yep," you say. "We had a little talk and everything's fine." You point to the bags. "What's in those?" you ask, your smile getting bigger.
"I got hats and sunglasses like you said," says Mommy, holding up one bag. "But they had the cutest little sweatshirts--"
You crack up laughing and I do, too. We're too late! She bought them anyway!
"What?" she asks, following us out of the shop toward the cafeteria. "What's so freakin' funny??"
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