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 the longer bits of exposition. I am very interested in knowing whether this style works how I have intended it, so let me know.
A/N*: I should have mentioned this before. I know that this is not canon, but I have chosen to place Springfield in Ohio, mostly to make my research life that much easier. Yes, I am obsessive about my research, which is why Natalia was able to make it to Overland Park, KS in one night to be present for it's sunrise at 6:54am (7:54am Springfield time) on 2/23 (roughly when chapter 2 took place). No, really. I looked all that up. And more. I'm that much of a fact geek. Sad, but true.
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.
CLARK COUNTY JAIL
"Rivera!" barked the CO, making Rafe look up from his carb-laden dinner. The short and stocky officer motioned for Rafe to join him at the doorway, and the young man sighed. While not exactly heartbroken that he'd apparently be missing Salisbury steak night, he dreaded the hunger that would come later, in the middle of the night, when his brain would betray him by remembering his mother's arroz con pollo that she was practically famous for...or her sanchoco, sopping up the juices from the bottom of the bowl with her arepas. He wouldn't sleep tonight, but it wasn't like he could refuse the summons. He sighed again and took his tray to the two big garbage cans in the corner of the cafeteria, trying not to mourn the loss of overcooked meat covered in gravy that tasted more like paste than anything else. Brown paste.
The CO, Barton, known to all the inmates as "Jake," frowned. The motion of brows, mouth, and jaw looked like a rockslide on his chiseled features. "You're wanted in interrogation, Rivera," he said, and his voice was not unkind. Barton liked the Rivera kid well enough. He had manners and tried to keep his nose clean more than the others, and the CO suspected that had to do primarily with the kid's mother, who rarely missed a visitor's day. Had rarely missed them. Until recently.
"Interrogation?" asked Rafe, surprised.
Barton didn't elaborate. He led Rafe through two sets of barred gates and out into the book-in area, opening one of the myriad identical doorways along the hall, all of them painted a chilling shade of industrial beige.
"Take a seat," he said to Rafe, shoving him toward one of the metal chairs. Rafe lowered himself into it, ignoring the cold and discomfort of the utilitarian chair, too busy regarding Frank Cooper with unreadable brown eyes, the mirror of his father's.
"Where is she?" asked the detective, his face hard and angry.
Rafe's eyes widened slightly but otherwise remained inscrutable. "This is about Ma?" he asked, unable to keep the confusion from his voice.
Frank's eyes hardened, turning the color and temperature of rain-drenched slate. Suddenly, he lunged forward, slamming both hands on the table that separated him from the younger man.
"Don't play games with me, Rafe," he ground out, his jaw clenched with rage. "Where. Is. Your. Mother?"
"I don't know, man!" Rafe's eyes had begun to simmer and he turned a fiery look at Barton. "Take me back to my cell," he ordered, rising halfway out of his seat only to see Frank nod sharply at the CO. His ass met the chair again a second later, Barton slamming him back into it without a word.
"Jesus!" complained the young Latino. "What's it to you, Frank? Not getting any pops from that fake Amber Alert? Whose idea was it to make Ma look like some wetback illegal, anyway?" His mother hadn't really told him much about what she was doing when she'd last visited--just a vague story of helping Olivia keep Emma safe from Phillip Spaulding. She thought the less he knew, the safer he'd be. Looking at Frank Cooper now made Rafe realize that his mother was one smart woman.
Frank's eyes narrowed. "You don't know what you're talking about."
"I don't? Frank, man, did you watch that thing? It made my mom look like a fucking criminal."
"Watch your mouth," warned the detective.
"Fuck you," snarled the young man. "You're in Spaulding's pocket. On his leash, like one of those freakin' Taco Bell dogs. Which is really messed up if you ask me because didn't he kidnap Harley's kids and make her beg for them? You're really working with that cabrón? If Harley knew, she'd be pissed. Those boys are everything to her. That sucks, Frank."
"No, I'm not working with Phillip!" exploded Frank, running his hand through his hair, agitated. "We just want to find her--"
"Emma?" asked Rafe, and Frank hesitated just a second too long. "You're not after Emma, are you? That's Spaulding's angle. You're after Ma...."
"She shouldn't be out there, Rafe. Olivia--I don't know--seduced her somehow, made her do those things, made her go--"
Frank's disgusted features glazed over with a cold fury. "It appears," he said tightly, "your mother and Olivia might be...in an unnatural relationship."
Rafe froze in his chair for a long moment, regarding Frank Cooper with dark, searching eyes, like he was a bug under glass. Then he threw his head back and laughed.
Frank's confusion was palpable. Even Barton shifted uneasily from size 13 foot to size 13 foot. "What's so funny?" asked the detective.
"'An unnatural relationship?'" repeated Rafe incredulously. "Man, even if that's true--and until Ma tells me herself, I won't believe it--you have got to come up with a better way to say that."
Frank blinked once, then frowned deeply. "That's your problem? I tell you that Olivia Spencer has put some sort of--of spell on your mother, a pure, naive, innocent--"
Rafe threw up both hands. "Whoa, man! A spell? Are you serious?"
"How else do you explain it, Rafe? Why would Natalia go with Olivia like this otherwise? Why would she put herself at risk like that? Why would she leave you? Her home? Why would she chase after Springfield's own whore of Babylon?"
"Frank, dude--'whore of Babylon?' You're making this all a little too--biblical. Isn't it possible that Ma saw a friend who needed her help and she did the one thing that comes naturally to her: she helped her out?"
"No." Frank shook his head again. "Not this time. This time it's different. Olivia's in charge, pulling all the strings. And she's ruining a good, sweet, pure woman who never hurt anyone--"
Rafe snorted. "Are you listening to yourself, Frank? Do you even remember why Ma and me came to this crappy town? She stole Gus from your sister! She locked Olivia in a bathroom and almost killed her! My mother isn't a saint, Frank! She's just Ma!"
The wind dropped out of the detective's sails just a little; he seemed to have forgotten Natalia Rivera's "prior bad acts" until just that moment. "But Olivia--" he tried again, his voice not as strong in its conviction as it had been.
"Seriously, man?" Rafe leaned forward in his chair, palms face down on the table in front of him. "If you think anyone has the power to make my mom do anything that she doesn't want to do, you don't know my mom. She was sixteen when she had me. No one wanted her to keep me--not her mom, not the Church, not her friends. But she kept me anyway. Her mom threw her out on the street, calling her puta and worse, thinking that would be the end of us both. But Ma never backed down. She kept a roof over our heads, food on our table, and clothes on our backs--all paid for legally--with nothing more than half a high school education, a prayer, and her fucking will.
"You wanna know who the whipped one is, Frank? It's Olivia. Who got Olivia to fight for her life after the transplant? Who got her to move out to the farmhouse? Who makes her take her medicine every single damned day? My mom, that's who! I wouldn't have believed any of those things were possible but I've seen it for myself."
The young man pushed away from the table, crossing his arms over his chest. He snorted at Frank with derision he didn't even bother to conceal. "You don't know my mother at all," he sneered. "You need to open your eyes."
"What if they are...together, Rafe? Like that?" The detective's anger slowly crept back into his voice and into his eyes, though Rafe was hard-pressed to tell if it was anger at his little speech or at something else. "That's wrong. It's against God and nature and your mother knows that. You know that! What are you going to do about it?"
"What am I--" Rafe laughed again, but there was no mirth in it. "Since when are you Mr. Church?" When he got no immediate answer, the younger inmate rolled his eyes. "This isn't about religion with you. Not really. This is about you losing to Olivia." He shook his head. "You really are a tool, Frank." He stood and this time Barton didn't slam him back into the chair. Rafe took this as a good sign and he moved toward the door, wanting to go back to his cell to get a head start on remembering his mother's cooking. He turned back just before Barton opened the door.
"Look," he said, his eyes vaguely troubled. "I thought Olivia was this place's resident man-eating bitch, so I don't believe what you say is true. I don't even get why you'd think it. But even if it was true, Frank, as long as my mom is happy and loved and taken care of the way she deserves, I'll stand by her. You know why?"
Frank raised his eyebrows at the boy.
"Because she stood by me. Even when I fucked up my life and hers, pulling that trigger that day." His dark eyes filled with sadness and guilt. "Plus she's my mom, Frank. I love her."
Rafe turned without waiting for the detective's response. He had better things to do.
AN ABANDONED BARN
Phillip Spaulding watched Grady Foley's legs swing slightly in the dim light slatting through the spaces in between the boards in the wall, the creak of the meticulously tied rope the only sound in the abandoned barn. It would be days--perhaps weeks--before anyone would find the hapless hit man, and when they did, they would find the note Phillip had forced him to write. Or they wouldn't. It truly didn't matter to Phillip either way. The only thing that mattered was that his daughter's kidnapper had been sent to Hell where he so desperately belonged.
His cousin Dinah's little stunt at the television station had piqued Phillip. Thwarted for the moment in his pursuit of his youngest daughter, Phillip had turned his attention to his eldest, hoping to bridge the gap between them with promises of protection and vengeance on her behalf. He had learned of Lizzie's kidnapping from a very uncomfortable Doris Wolfe after he'd sought the mayor out for information on one Raphael Rivera, son of the inimitable Natalia Rivera. To say he was surprised that Gus' bastard had found himself a guest of the county government was overstating things, to be sure. And however difficult it might be to utilize the unfortunate young man from his current...accommodations, Phillip was nothing if not persistent. From the mayor, Phillip had discovered that the young man would be eligible for a hearing regarding possible early release sometime in the next month or so--if the boy continued to behave himself. The younger Spaulding intended to have that hearing moved up, if possible.
What, after all, would the lovely Latina helpmate of his ex-wife do when faced with the unexpected release of her son?
That plan had been put on the back burner, though, the instant he'd learned of Lizzie's kidnapping. When pressed to reveal the possible suspects in his daughter's case, Doris had responded with a name so obvious as to be ridiculous. Bill Lewis simply lacked the twist of cruelty that would allow him to forcibly confine another human being in a basement, blindfolded, restrained, and afraid. His nerves would have undone him long before his plot came to fruition. Phillip dismissed the possibility immediately and asked who in Springfield had that twisted cruelty inside them? Who had the ability to frame an innocent man? Who had the requisite skill set to execute such a heinous act?
"Other than you?" Doris asked, and Phillip had smiled. Doris could only give him one name--other than his own, that is--and, unable to reach his eldest daughter in any other meaningful way, Phillip hoped that avenging the terror-filled days she'd spent in the company of Grady Foley would convince Lizzie to give him another chance.
He had expected Grady Foley to say almost anything to allay his fate once he realized that his time upon the Earth was soon to end. He had not expected to have Dinah Marler's ruination handed to him on a silver platter.
Who's John the Baptist now? he thought, looking up at Foley's purpled face, frozen in the rictus of a gasping death.
The serendipitous discovery of Dinah's involvement in Lizzie's kidnapping only further proved to Phillip Spaulding that God Himself was on his side.
Foley, of course, had needed to die. His affront against Lizzie was not only inexcusable, it was something he couldn't manipulate to his benefit. And once the displaced Australian had played his final card, damning Dinah as his luckless--but not innocent--co-conspirator, he was simply no longer useful. Like yesterday's news or an empty wine bottle, making Grady Foley useful again would have taken too much effort. Better to discard him now.
Dinah, on the other hand....
"Well, you wanted a rematch, cousin dear," he said, turning finally from the scene of Grady Foley's demise, brushing his gloved hands on his jacket.
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