Comments: I got tired of waiting for blips of Otalia, so I decided to write my own version to work out the frustration. Here goes:
please put in a LJ cut.
“Why would you do that?” Natalia asked, not understanding why Doris, of all people, would help her and Rafe.
“Because I owed Frank a favor and he used it to help a woman who just dumped him.” While that sunk in, Natalia felt a pang of remorse, again, for hurting a man who was nothing but kind and loving toward her.
As Doris walked out the door, she muttered, “Enjoy your baking.” Okay, that was about the last straw for this horrible day. Not only is Olivia gone, but Emma’s pushing to move back into the farmhouse, having to talk to Buzz, then listening to Doris – who is such a hypocrite – taunt her and lecture her on “coming out?!” What was that all about? If Olivia was here, she would have lit into Doris without batting an eye. This is one of those times I wish I was more like her, rather than acting like a deer caught in the head lights! It’s no one’s business! I need…
“Hi, Olivia. It’s me. Um, please call me back. It’s not a, an emergency or anything. Everything’s fine. Emma’s doing great. Um, I just, I know what we said at the spa and everything, but ah, it’s really kinda hard here without you. So, I, you know, I just, um, I guess I just, I really want you to come home.
Olivia came back from the restaurant with food in hand, cursing herself for leaving her cell phone behind. She hoped Ava was in the mood for Thai food. In her haste to get something to eat before she passed out from hunger, Natalia would have my head, she just ran out.
“Ava? Food’s here. I hope you want Thai.” Olivia called out as she looked around for her phone. She was punching in her password when Ava walked in.
“What did you say, Mom?” Ava quickly quieted down when she saw Olivia on the phone. She watched the smile fade from her mother’s face as she hung up and quickly asked, “What’s wrong?”
Olivia was focusing on two different things. The first, that Natalia was obviously upset, although she tried really hard to hide it and the second, she wanted her to come home. She didn’t say what happened, but obviously something had upset her.
“Mom? Mom!” Olivia came back to the present and Ava who had grabbed her arm.
“What?” Olivia asked, not understanding why Ava looked so stricken.
“I asked what was wrong. You were all happy and smiling one minute and the next you look like you just lost your best friend. What happened? Who was calling?”
“Um, nothing, it was Natalia, she, um, she was telling me that everything’s fine and she wants me to call her.”
“Mom, seriously, what’s the matter. Is Emma okay? What happened?”
Come home? Home as in the farmhouse? It seems like that was what she was saying, but she really wasn’t clear. I really need to call her back.
When Olivia went to pick up the phone to dial, she realized that Ava was looking at her. “What?”
“What is the matter with you? I asked what happened. Is it Emma?”
“Huh? What? No, Emma’s fine. Really, it was Natalia asking me to call her. Everything’s fine, nothing to worry about.”
“Then why did you have that sad look on your face?”
Sometimes, Olivia thought, being just like your mother… me in this case… can be a pain in the neck. Olivia sidestepped the inevitable conversation with Ava and reassured her that everything was all right as she excused herself to go and call Natalia.
As the phone rang, she wondered what had gotten Natalia so spooked. That was how she seemed, anyway, since she usually stuttered when she was upset about something. Getting the answering machine, she left a quick message and dialed the number for Natalia’s cell. Not getting an answer there either, she left another message, telling her to call as soon as she could.
Walking back out into the kitchen, Olivia was still lost in thought when she practically bumped into Ava.
“Okay, Mom. Out with it. What in the world is going on with you?”
Olivia sighed as she sat down at the table where Ava had set out the food and plates. She wasn’t really hungry anymore, but she knew she had to eat. She promised Natalia that she’d take care of herself and that was part of the deal.
Looking at Ava, Olivia decided that it was now or never. And honestly, I’d rather have this conversation in person rather than over the phone. “Have a seat. Trust me, you don’t want to be standing for this.”
“Okaaayy. But, Mom, are you all right? I mean, you’re not sick or anything are you?”
“Oh, Ava, honey, no. I’m fine, really. Better than fine, actually.” Sigh. Okay here goes…
“Remember when we had that conversation a while back about me not liking living at the farmhouse so much and the problems I was having getting along with Natalia?” At Ava’s nod, she continued. “Well, that’s not really a problem anymore. We’re getting along well, really well. And Emma’s been very happy there.”
“Well, that’s good, right?” Ava interjected. “I mean, you seemed happier as time went on and when we spoke, you talked about liking it there.”
“Yeah, well, there’s more. Natalia was supposed to marry Frank…”
“Yeah, right, what ever happened with that?”
“How much do you know?” asked Olivia, hoping that she didn’t have to get into the whole story.
“Well, I know they didn’t get married, but I mean you were there, right?
“Yes, I was her maid of honor. Do you know why they didn’t get married?”
“Actually, no I don’t. Dad just said that it didn’t happen and that if I wanted details, I should ask you. I got so caught up in things here, that I just forgot to ask.”
Thanks, Jeffrey. I can’t wait to see you again when I get back. “All right, here’s the short version. Natalia left Frank at the altar because she was in love with someone else.”
“Wow, really? Do you know who it is? I mean was she dating anyone else?”
“Not really, no. She just realized that she couldn’t marry Frank because it would have been a mistake since she didn’t love him the way she should.”
“Oh, well, that’s better than having to get a divorce down the road. So, who’s the lucky guy?”
“Well, you see, that’s where it really gets complicated.” Olivia hesitated, “Um, it’s not a guy.”
“Huh? Who would have thought? Well, then you must know who it is? I mean who has she been spending time with other than Frank? You guys work together, right? And you live together, so you spend all kinds of time with each other and ….” Suddenly, the pieces started to fall into place. Emma’s essay about her “two mommies”, Mom always talking about Emma and Natalia – which is often – and the way she protested, too much, that their living arrangement was innocent.
Olivia watched as realization dawned on Ava and she prepared herself for the outburst. When none came she heard Ava whisper, “It’s you, isn’t it Mom? And you feel the same way, don’t you?”
“Yes. To both questions.” Olivia watched as Ava processed the information. Her face was unreadable. She had no idea what Ava was thinking and wasn’t really sure what else to say. “Say something.”
“Um, well, I have no idea what to say. To say that I’m shocked, though, would be an understatement.”
“Are you upset?”
“Upset? What? Why? I mean, I’m surprised, sure, Mom. Let’s face it, your reputation with men precedes you. However, this would explain a lot.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, it explains why, first of all you haven’t been dating – at all. It explains why your eyes light up every time you talk about her, even when you’re trying to protest that it’s not all fun and games and that she’s like Mary Poppins. But most importantly, it explains why you’re so happy. I’ve never seen you this happy and content, Mom, ever. You’ve also changed a lot.”
“Well, you’re nicer!” Ava laughed at Olivia’s look of incredulity. “C’mon, Mom. You’re softer and kinder. It’s like the edge has worn clean off you!”
Olivia could try to deny it, but it was true. Natalia had changed her. Not in an obvious way, but by example. Being around her, seeing her true goodness and generosity made Olivia want to be a better person, a better mother.
“I won’t deny it. I have changed. I want to be better. I want to live up to her example. She is a beautiful person, inside and out.”
“Wow, Mom. Who knew? Wait! Who does know? I mean, am I the last to know? Does Dad know?”
“Well, at this point, you, yes, your father – long story – and Frank, besides me and Natalia.”
“Frank? I’ll bet that didn’t go over well.”
“To say the least. However, we’re, this is all very new. We really haven’t gone beyond acknowledging that we love each other. Despite my reputation, I really have no idea how to go about this. I’m used to being aggressive and going after what I want, regardless of what the other person wants. With Natalia, it’s different. I mean, not because she’s a woman, necessarily, but because she’s so good. I’ve never felt this way, with anyone.”
“You’ve got it bad.” Ava chuckled and reached over to give her mother a hug.
“So you’re really not upset? I mean this has to be strange for you too.”
“Honestly, I really am okay. I can see how happy you and Emma are and why would I care how that happens? If she loves you like you say she does, then you have my blessing, if you need it.”
With that, Olivia burst into tears and held onto Ava. “I didn’t realize how much I needed it until you said it. Thank you.”
“Okay, now that that’s settled – wait – do you have anything else to tell me? Any other surprising news?”
“Ah, no, that about covers it. Although, I haven’t really explained anything to Emma yet. We’re really just trying to figure this out together and Emma just wants us all to live together. She loves Natalia very much and we are all happy living at the farmhouse.”
“Wait, I thought you moved back to the Beacon.”
“We did. But that phone call I got from Natalia – she, she asked me to come home. I think she means the farmhouse. I’m not sure. She sounded upset, but I wasn’t able to get hold of her to find out what’s wrong.”
“Well, why don’t you call her?”
“I did. She didn’t answer at the house or on her cell.”
“Do you think there’s something really wrong? You seemed very concerned when you hung up.”
“I have no idea. She said everything was fine, but I could tell by her voice that it isn’t. I wonder if she talked to Frank again.”
An idea formed in Ava’s mind. “Look, Mom, why don’t you go back to Springfield?” I’m okay. I got to spend some time with you. You got to see my place and that all is well. But, there’s a string attached.”
“After you get back and get things settled, you have to come back out here with Natalia and Emma and spend a week.”
“I can absolutely guarantee that it will happen.” Olivia hugged Ava again and got up to go pack. Ava called out to her.
“Hey, Mom. You forgot to eat! If you don’t, I’m telling Natalia!” At Olivia’s loud grumblings, Ava laughed and picked up her plate.
“That’s not playing fair.” Olivia picked up her plate and stabbed at the food.
“Hey, who said life was fair? Just eat, so you can stay healthy. I want you around for a long time and if Natalia is the person who’s going to make that happen, she’ll get all the help I can give her. Oh and for the record, Mom, I’m happy for you.”
Olivia’s smile was all the reply she needed.