Fandom - Guiding Light
Pairing - Olivia/Natalia
Warnings and/or Spoilers - No spoilers. This is an AU (Alternative Universe) story, so you might recognize some stuff, but other things shall be new. Be aware that some warnings will change based on individual chapters, so pay attention. :)
Summary - Olivia Spencer is falling apart and takes an undercover case in order to ignore her pain. But along with drugs and crooked cops and an unexpected ally, she finds a reason to finally heal and live again. Multi-chapter thing.
Rating - PG currently, hard-R in later chapters
Note - Much easier tonight. Yay!
“Hey there, jellybean… “
“Where are you? Daddy says it’s a secret.”
“And daddy is right, okay? But I want you to know that I miss you more than anything, sweetie… more than anything in this world.”
“Will you be home soon? I have a puppy. His name is Max and he is brown.”
“I’ll be back as soon as I can and you can introduce me to Max.”
“Grandpa didn’t like the puppy because Max peed on his leg.”
Olivia doesn’t hold back the laugh that rushes up her throat and out of her lips.
Serves Alan right. I’ll have to give Max a lot of treats when I get back.
But the laughter kind of dies inside of Olivia’s body, replaced by the cold knowledge that in the time spent away from Emma, Phillip’s family is trying to step in.
And I am sure Alan loves that.
There is no love lost between Olivia and Alan Spaulding. No one was ever good enough for Phillip, not according to Alan. He treated his son like a trophy, gold and worthy of envy.
And when Olivia breezed in with her foul mouth and her take-no-bullshit attitude, Alan didn’t waste any time on getting her out of their rich little lives.
Phillip, weak from years of mental beatings, didn’t put up much of a fight.
Alan fed the man’s paranoia with lies and Phillip fell apart, watching Olivia’s every move as if she would kill him if he looked away.
That’s when I made a break for it. Better to get away from the insanity than to court it.
Emma is rattling off everything she has been doing – from feeding horses, to eating a chocolate rabbit in a park in France, to school and friends and all the wonders of childhood – everything that Olivia is missing out on.
“Can I speak to your daddy, Emma?” Olivia asks, interrupting the run-on sentence.
Two seconds later, Phillip’s voice comes across the line.
“I don’t want your father around her. Got it?” She demands.
“I didn’t want him here either, Olivia. The man has a habit of doing what he wants.”
Phillip sighs audibly and swiftly changes the subject.
“Have you thought about what I mentioned?”
“I try not to pay much attention to what you say.”
“Olivia, I am offering a truce. I am offering a chance for you and me to raise our little girl. No more fighting. No more games. Just… just putting Emma first.”
Olivia recognizes this crossroad, this opportunity to ignore the past and forge a new future… just like Rafe wanting to tell Natalia everything and hope for the best… but she is wary of such changes.
Her trust took a real hit in her youth and she never tried to cultivate it again.
Better to distrust than get hurt again. Isn’t that right?
And yet, that motto has garnered her nothing more than empty beds in the morning and a life lived very much alone. It never used to bother her much. But with Emma gone and… damn Natalia Rivera lurking in every thought I have… Olivia Spencer wonders if she is smart to turn down these ‘new’ chances.
“How can I trust you?”
“I know I’ve not made it easy—“
“I never wanted things to go this way. They just… did. But watching Emma, seeing how good she is… she is all we are not, Olivia. And I don’t want to lose that little girl. Do you?”
And she has to agree with him, in her head if not verbally. Emma is kind and sweet and trusting.
Not like Phillip, with a family to haunt him and hound him.
Not like me, with scars that won’t heal and insecurities that won’t shut up.
“When I get back… we can talk.”
It is hard for Olivia to say it, but she knows it is the right thing to do. It is the right thing for Emma.
And even though the rest of her is screaming to take it back, to not open the lid on this possible Pandora’s Box… Olivia just ends the call.
Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I can be real nice to Phillip some other time.
And so Olivia steps a little closer to the ledge, deciding that if Rafe Rivera wants to piss off his mother… she might as well help out.
/ / /
Frank Cooper glances up from his third case-file and into Rafe Rivera’s eyes. The boy wears the expression of someone needing a favor.
I’ve seen that look before. What usually follows is not good.
“What’s up, Rafe?” Frank asks, going back to his paperwork.
“Well, Frank, man… it’s like this, okay, I’m gonna… you know, just tell Ma.”
Frank pauses, the pen in his hand going still. And he slowly tilts his head up, fixing Rafe with what is surely a shocked stare.
“Are you crazy?”
Rafe rolls his eyes and starts pacing back and forth, muttering something in Spanish that Frank cannot make out. But his mind is still locked onto the fact that Rafe wants to tell Natalia about…
Drugs and dealers and my involvement in putting him in all that. Just great. That’s a wonderful way to make a person like me.
It was no secret to anyone with eyes – Frank liked Natalia. As in liked Natalia.
But he didn’t make a move. A busted marriage made him a hesitant guy when it came to affairs of the heart. Once you get kicked in the gut by a woman, you are not in a hurry to have that repeated.
Not that he thought Natalia would do that to him. He just didn’t have a clue on how to read the woman and whether she was at all interested.
He never saw her on a date. He never heard her mention anyone.
It’s like she just works and goes home. Every day. All year.
“…so you need to come with me. She might not kill me if you are there.”
Rafe’s voice cuts into Frank’s thoughts and he blinks.
“I need you there when I tell her. It’ll make her feel safer about it. I hope…”
“I think if you want her to feel safe, you shouldn’t tell her. That’s my advice to you, my friend.”
“God, you sound like Olivia…”
Frank resists the urge to contest that comparison, since he and Olivia Spencer don’t really get along.
We should get along, because we are the good guys. But no… she is such a sarcastic…
“Be there tonight, okay? Don’t leave me hanging out there on my own, Frank.”
“You going to tell her I am involved no matter what, eh?”
And Rafe smiles at that, turning to leave the station.
Frank shoves the paperwork away and feels the beginnings of a headache.
This is going to be one crappy night.
/ / /
Natalia Rivera didn’t know what to expect this night.
She finished eating a small dinner, watching the door for her son. She was ready for this talk – she was ready to know the truth.
And to not get upset at him or anything like that. Just to know the truth will be a great start. Then we can go from there.
All in all, her day was a success. If you consider a day spent avoiding one person a success…
But Natalia did her job, did it well, didn’t blow up at anyone and didn’t see Olivia Martin.
Score one for me.
When the door finally opens, revealing not only her son but Frank Cooper, Natalia begins to believe that her expectations for the evening were too high.
“Ma, umm, Frank is here.”
“I can see that.”
Frank stays by the door. “Good evening, Natalia.”
Natalia looks between the two of them – Rafe looking nervous, Frank looking concerned – and she jumps to one conclusion.
Oh no, what did he do?
“Rafe?” She questions, the panic edging into her voice.
“Ma, calm down.”
“Are you going to jail? Frank, is he going to jail?”
The panic gets more pronounced, causing her breathing to catch painfully somewhere in-between her lungs and her mouth.
“I’m not going to jail, Ma. Just relax. No jail… right Frank?”
“Uh, yes. No jail for Rafe.”
Natalia places her hand over her chest and casts a quick glance to the ceiling.
“Thank God, thank God… okay, so, what is going on then?”
But once Rafe starts talking, Natalia releases any belief in this being a good talk or a good place to start. The truth hits her like a punch, making her heart skip a beat.
And Frank isn’t helping, saying things are ‘fine and everything will be okay’, when all Natalia can think is… is…
My sweet boy is out there, doing stupid things with dangerous people… because he was already doing stupid things all on his own. And he has been lying. All this time. The both of them, my son and my friend, lying to me!
“Frank, I’d like you to leave now.”
“Uhh, well, I mean—“
“Now. I need to talk to my son.”
She is barely aware of the apologetic gaze that Frank slides Rafe’s way. She is focused on the young man before her, the young man who has been under her roof – with drugs and with lies.
And all the anger from earlier in the day just floods her body once more.
“Ma, please, understand… I was trying to fix things.”
Fix things. Oh yes, fix things. I’ve heard all this before, from my parents trying to ‘fix’ my pregnancy to… to some woman in a gazebo trying to fix things and just making them worse…
“You don’t fix things by lying, Rafe. You don’t fix things by hiding and deceiving. You don’t fix things by doing drugs—“
“Not doing, just selling!”
“And that is better, Rafe?! How could you do something so wrong, so illegal? How could you bring drugs into our home? All the times I just let you leave, just let you go and trusted you to be smart and this is how you repay my trust? By lying to me over and over!”
Natalia feels on fire, so much so that she is shaking with the heat, ready to boil over and explode.
She cannot believe her son to be this foolish and to have so little regard for her feelings.
Not to mention his own safety. All the times, all the times he was out there and I didn’t know… he could have been killed!
A small voice reminds her that she didn’t ask Rafe about where he was going enough, didn’t push him enough out of fear of losing him. But Natalia doesn’t want to hear rationality – she wants to be mad.
“Ma, please, just believe me when I say that this time, this time it is for a good reason, okay? Frank is right, I am okay out there.”
“And I don’t believe you, Rafe.”
And there it is, the coldest thing Natalia has ever said to her son, to her little boy, to the only person that kept Natalia alive for so many years. She has always heard him and listened to him and believed in her son… but, tonight, she is shattered, broken apart in so many ways…
I don’t know how to put any of this back together again.
Without another word, Natalia leaves the room and leaves the boarding house.
/ / /
Rafe jumps up when the door opens, hoping it is his mother. But it isn’t.
“So, how’d it go?” Olivia asks and Rafe sits back down, not bothering to look at the woman, just staring at the floor.
“Not good. You were right; I should have kept my damn mouth shut.”
“Well, you know, she would have gotten upset no matter when you told her. There is no perfect moment to let your mom know you are a drug dealer.”
Rafe props his head against his fist and keeps staring at the ugly pale-yellow tile floor under his feet.
And he thinks back on every single time he could have stopped all of this from ever getting out of hand.
He could have not agreed to helping with this case, for one.
And just give me a time machine, so I won’t go the clubs and I won’t start dealing at all.
“Where is she?” Olivia questions and Rafe just wants the woman to leave, to get out of his life so he can pretend that this never happened.
But life doesn’t go this way. You make mistakes and you have to pay for them somehow.
When he finally looks up, Rafe notices that Olivia is holding his mother’s flashlight.
“She left and wasn’t too happy. If you find her… keep telling her I’m sorry.”
“If I find her? What makes you think I am going to look for her?”
“’Coz I know you are.”
And Rafe just keeps his eyes on Olivia, watching the woman’s face freeze and then thaw, a mask slipping down and then racing to be back again.
“I can do that. If you like.” She says softly and Rafe nods his head ‘yes’.
When Olivia turns around and walks back out, Rafe looks around the small kitchen. He sees the touches of his mother everywhere. In the cross on the wall, in the photographs in frames, in the wallpaper he knows she picked out… His mother is everywhere in these two rooms.
And for the first time since the diner phone-call days ago, Rafe feels like crying.
And he does.
/ / /
This is crazy. I am crazy. I shouldn’t do this. I need to stay away. Far away.
But here she is, Olivia Spencer, walking around the streets of Springfield, dusky blue shadows everywhere. And in one of those shadows is Natalia Rivera.
But what to do if I find her? Just blurt the truth out?
One part of Olivia thinks this is the wrong idea. Natalia has just taken a large blow and is probably angry, Olivia believes. The woman doesn’t need any more reasons to dislike me.
And yet, there is this other part of Olivia – a part that has only recently been revealed – that thinks Natalia might just… need Olivia right now.
Maybe, you know, kinda-sorta-maybe… Or is it that I need her? Hmm?
“Dammit.” Olivia mutters out loud as she turns on the flashlight, finding the park first and scanning the landscape for one ticked-off lady.
And she goes back to thoughts of ‘needing’ someone, how it makes her alternately cringe and gape in wonder. When have I ever needed anyone? Not since I was a child. Not since I was too young to realize that people are more trouble than they are not.
But here she is, Olivia Spencer, looking for Natalia Rivera.
And in the beam of light, like déjà-vu, Olivia finds the woman what where she left her.
/ / /