FANDOM: Guiding Light
RATING: PG-13 for this part
SUMMARY: Natalia needs to make a choice between her past and her future.
TIMELINE: Begins immediately after the episode on the 12th of May and goes off into its own little world at that point.
DEDICATION: This is dedicated to the memory of badtyler, a great writer and an even better friend.
Natalia had tried to call her back several times that day but Olivia had put the phone on silent and ignored her. She had listened to the voicemail messages though, which had gone from pleading to irritated within the space of about twenty minutes. At first there had been a lot of 'I'm sorry's and 'forgive me's but they had transformed soon enough into 'what do you want from me's and finally a 'grow up'.
Grow up? Well, Olivia was already a grown up and she was going out that night to do a grown up thing. She was planning to get completely, irretrievably drunk.
Emma had been safely deposited at Jodie's house for a sleepover before she headed to Towers to meet Doris. She had debated dressing to kill - maybe teasing Doris a little to get back at her for her relentless needling all week - but in the end she'd decided against it. She was angry with Natalia, but that wasn't any excuse to give Doris the wrong idea.
It was pretty obvious to Olivia that Doris was into her. Olivia always knew - she'd known about Natalia too, way before either of them was ready to admit it. She'd seen the signs - the physical signs anyway - and she was versed enough in the art of seduction that she could have taken advantage of them. But she had changed. She wasn't the Olivia of old who would have simply taken what she wanted and to hell with the consequences. She had quickly realised that a furtive fumble in the dark followed by shame and recriminations was not what she wanted. She'd said it to Josh; she wanted the real thing. She didn't just want to kiss Natalia, or touch her, or make love with her. Not just that. She wanted to wake up beside her every morning. She wanted to raise Emma with her. She wanted to know every facet of her. She wanted anything and everything the other woman would give her, for as long as she would give it.
Doris's interest was a little bit flattering, but it couldn't compare to that. The Mayor wasn't exactly being subtle about it. Her constant peppering of snide remarks about Natalia notwithstanding, Doris had been attempting charm over the last week. It didn't really suit her, Olivia had decided. It certainly wasn't having the desired effect - Olivia had found it more amusing than anything else, when she had the time to actually think about it, in between worrying about Natalia and their so-called future.
"Good evening Ms Spencer," said Doris smoothly, sliding into the bar stool beside her. She was wearing that red, white and black jacket again.
"Seriously, don't you have any other clothes?"
Doris smirked. "I didn't realise you paid such close attention to my wardrobe, Olivia," she said.
"To your closet you mean?" Olivia turned a deceptively sweet smile onto her companion and raised her glass. She had been waiting for ten minutes or so and had already got through two martinis and was on her third.
"Oh, very funny," Doris replied, gesturing to the bartender to bring her one of what Olivia was having. "How long have you been working on that one?"
Olivia shook her head. "Oh no Doris, I'm afraid that was completely spontaneous. I just don't spend that much time thinking about you."
Doris concealed her flinch quite well - she was a politician after all, good at lying - but Olivia saw it. "Well, obviously you thought of me enough today to ask me out," she said.
Olivia shook her head. "Okay, let me get a couple of things straight," she replied.
"No pun intended?"
Olivia rolled her eyes. No wonder Natalia hadn't found that line funny. "Ha ha," she deadpanned. "I'm serious."
Doris folded her hands primly on her lap. "Do go on," she said.
Olivia gentled her tone, suddenly feeling a little sorry for the other woman. "This isn't a date," she said. "I'm not interested in you. I'm in love with Natalia."
Doris sat very still with no expression on her face for a long moment, then she affected a look of confusion. "Ms Spencer I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about," she said.
Olivia hesitated, then nodded. If that was the way she wanted to play it. "Okay, my mistake," she said, and raised her glass to the other woman. "Cheers." They clinked their glasses together, and Doris downed her drink in one fast gulp.
"I thought you said dinner, not drinks," she said.
Olivia nodded, and they graduated to a table where they ordered a little food and a lot of wine. A little too much wine really, considering Olivia had been halfway to drunk before she even sat down.
"And get this, do you wanna know what she said?" Olivia gestured wildly with her fork, splattering a little tomato sauce onto the white tablecloth. "Ditto! Fucking ditto! What the hell is that?"
Doris, who hadn't had nearly as much wine, managed a tight smile. "Ah, the infamous ditto," she said. "That's what we closet cases say when we're too scared to say 'I love you'."
Olivia laughed bitterly. "Yeah, I get that. She's scared. Scared of what?" She took a gulp of wine. "Scared that her mother might disown her? Again? Big freakin' loss."
Doris frowned. "Her mother disowned her? Why?"
Olivia shrugged. "Sixteen, Catholic, pregnant, unmarried, do I have to draw you a diagram?"
Doris hesitated. This probably wasn't a good idea. But what the hell, she reasoned. In for a penny. "Don't you think you're being just a tiny bit unreasonable?" she said.
Olivia fixed her with a poisonous glare. "What?"
Doris shrugged. "I don't know Natalia very well," she admitted. "But she seems like an old fashioned type. I mean come on. She lives on a farm. She goes to church. She bakes." Doris almost shuddered. It always seemed to come back to the baking. "Family must be important to her."
"I'm her family," Olivia hissed. "I'm the one who's always stood by her. I'm the one who's always put her happiness first. I'm the one who loves her, dammit."
Doris sat back a little in her chair. "Okay," she conceded. "That's fair. But parents are tricky things. We do feel this strange loyalty to them, even if we really shouldn't. Even if they don't deserve it." She sighed. "Think about it from Natalia's point of view. Her dad's dead. She's never going to get another chance with him. However they left it all those years ago - that's it. No way to fix it. But she has this second chance with her mom. Can you really blame her for not wanting to screw it up right away?"
Olivia's lips thinned and for a long moment she didn't speak. "I should call her," she said at last, her shoulders slumping.
Doris shook her head. "Tomorrow," she said. "When you're sober."
Olivia looked for a moment as if she was about to argue, then crumpled, nodding. "Okay," she conceded in a small voice. She looked at her watch. It was getting a little late to call anyway. "I should get a cab," she said.
"I'll drive you," Doris said.
Olivia shook her head. "You don't have to-" she began, but Doris cut her off with a wave.
"What kind of Mayor would I be if I didn't see to the safety of my constituents?" she said archly.
Olivia laughed. "Can I tell you a little secret?" she said, leaning forward and dropping her voice to a whisper. "I didn't vote for you."
Doris raised an eyebrow as Olivia descended into peals of laughter. "All the more reason for me to do you a favour," she said, standing and holding out her hand to the other woman. "Floating voters are my bread and butter."
Olivia was still giggling drunkenly. "Does that mean you're going to eat me?"
"You wish," Doris fired back, pleased to see Olivia blush.
"Oh shut up," she said taking Doris's proffered hand.
They headed out to the deserted parking lot, drawing the occasional second glance on the way. Doris smiled placidly at everyone they passed, as if it was a perfectly ordinary sight to see the Mayor practically carrying a noted business-woman out of a restaurant.
Olivia stumbled when they got to the car, accidentally pushing Doris against the door and pinning her there. "Olivia," she muttered. "Jeez, you're heavier than you look."
Olivia laughed. "Charmer," she said.
Doris rolled her eyes. "Are you going to move?"
Olivia shook her head, lassitude creeping into her limbs. "I'm quite comfortable," she slurred. "Thanks anyway."
Doris looked around to see if any assistance would be forthcoming. There was no-one around she could see. "Okay, you asked for it," she said, then leaned forward and kissed Olivia. For one startled moment Olivia kissed her back - Doris assumed she was thinking of someone else - then roughly pushed her away, stepping back.
"What was that?" she demanded. Doris simply rolled her eyes and opened the car door.
"Well, you weren't going to move by yourself," she said.
"I...what...Doris, I don't-"
"I know," Doris replied. "You're in love with Natalia, blah blah blah. Would you just get in the car?"
Olivia stood there, still and silent for a long moment, then finally gave in and slipped into the passenger seat. Suddenly she felt very tired.
As the car pulled out of the lot neither woman saw Frank Cooper emerge from the shadows. He took a deep breath and exhaled through his teeth. "You utter, utter bitch," he muttered, and reached for his phone.