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natalia butterflies

wonkots42 in passion_perfect

FIC: Crossroads Part 19/??; Guiding Light

TITLE: Crossroads
AUTHOR: Wonko
FANDOM: Guiding Light
RATING: PG 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.
A/N - There is some Spanish dialogue in this chapter, kindly translated by the increasingly wonderful ladyvictory. Except after she sent me her translations I fiddled with them a little, even though I speak about as much Spanish as a houseplant. So, if there are mistakes there they are all mine. English dialogue in a note at the end.

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10] [Part 11] [Part 12] [Part 13] [Part 14] [Part 15] [Part 16] [Part 17] [Part 18]

For a long moment Natalia wasn't quite sure what to say.  She stood, caught like a fly in a web between the two women who'd done the most to shape the person she was - her mother who had given her life, and Olivia who had given her everything else: love, respect, support, confidence, ambition...well, the list went on and on.

"Uhm, mom this is Olivia Spencer," she said at last, swallowing hard.  "My boss," she added at her mother's raised eyebrow.

Olivia raised an eyebrow of her own, but smiled and extended her hand.  "Pleased to meet you Mrs Rivera," she said.  "I'd like to say I'd heard all about you, but..."  She trailed off, still smiling, but a gleam that Natalia knew all too well had entered her eyes.

"I could say the same to you Mrs..." Natalia's mother glanced pointedly at the naked ring finger on Olivia's left hand, "sorry, Miss Spencer."

Natalia coughed.  "Uhm...coffee, Olivia?"

Olivia turned her most dazzling smile on her and Natalia was sure her heart had actually skipped a beat.  "That sounds absolutely heavenly," she said.  "I've just been out to O'Hare to pick up Emma.  I could really do with some caffeine."

"I got to fly on a plane all by myself," Emma said excitedly, bouncing a little.  "Uncle Jeffrey took me to the airport and a nice lady looked after me and I got free crayons to colour with the whole way!"

Natalia couldn't help but smile, and even Josephine's stony face lightened a little.  Emma's bubbling over excitement was reaching out, trying desperately to infect everyone in the room.

"Rafe, could you go and put on a pot of coffee please?  And I think there are some popsicles in the freezer if Emma wants one..."

Emma squealed in glee and followed Rafe from the room, almost making him trip over his own feet.  Natalia, Josephine and Olivia were left alone.  The three of them stood in the centre of the room, each experiencing various levels of discomfort ranging from very little (Josephine) to extreme (Natalia.)

"Sit down," Natalia said at last.  Olivia smiled and obliged, sinking gracefully onto the sofa.  Josephine took the easy chair, leaving the seat beside Olivia on the couch the only one free.  Natalia hesitated, then finally perched on the arm of the sofa, crossing her arms across her chest defensively.

"I'm sorry to burst in on you like this, Mrs Rivera," Olivia began politely.  "But when my daughter heard that Natalia was in town she insisted on seeing her."  She looked up at a flustered Natalia with a warm grin.

Josephine leaned back in her seat, clasping her hands together.  "What brings you to Chicago Miss Spencer?"

Natalia had the strangest sense that the two were circling each other like two competing predators, each looking for the best moment to strike.  For a moment she thought she almost saw the flash of the fangs.  "A little working holiday for me and my daughter," Olivia said.  "I own a hotel back in Springfield.  We're looking to expand.  Some of my partners suggested some properties for me to look at in Chicago and...well, here I am."

"And what does my daughter do in your hotel?" Josephine asked.  Olivia began to answer, but Natalia got there first.

"I'm Olivia's PA," she said, a note of pride in her voice.  She flushed a little when a brief expression of surprise flitted across her mother's face.  Olivia saw it too.

"I don't know what I'd do without her," she said softly.  Natalia snapped her head round.  Olivia's face was open and sincere, and Natalia knew that she wasn't just talking about work.  She looked back to her mother and with a thrill of fear fuelled adrenaline understood that Josephine had seen it.  There was no mistaking the look of love on Olivia's face.  It shone out as clear as day in the brief few seconds it took to school her features back to the appropriate expression of polite indifference.

Josephine's nostrils flared and her lips settled into a firm line.  "Que exquisito sentido del tiempo tiene tu 'Jefa'," she muttered, her eyes sliding from Olivia's face and onto Natalia's.

Natalia's eyes narrowed.  "Mom..." she began warningly.  Josephine carried on regardless.

"Ella no sabe que tu padre se murió?" she said, raising an eyebrow.  Natalia opened her mouth to respond, but Olivia got there first.

"Si, lo se. También sé que Natalia no ha oído de él, ni de usted, desde que ella tenia dieciséis anos."

A stunned silence settled over Josephine and Natalia - indeed, it was hard to decide which of them was more surprised.

"Tu...tu hablas Espanol?" Josephine said at last, her voice low and hesitant.

Olivia smiled.  "Con fluidez," she said.  Her eyes glinted dangerously, and Natalia felt she might suddenly burst into hysterical laughter.  The gauntlet had been well and truly thrown down.  Olivia and her mother stared unblinkingly at each other for a long moment and - amazingly - Josephine was the first to look away.

"What kind of properties are you looking at?" she asked.

Natalia felt her jaw drop.  Spencer one, Rivera nil, her mind remarked, and she grinned, a silly feeling of pride washing through her.  Almost without realising what she was doing she slid from the arm of the sofa to the seat, her leg resting against Olivia's as she settled herself.

"Olivia, do you take sugar?" Rafe called from the kitchen.  Olivia pressed her leg a little more firmly against Natalia's.  A deep flush rolled up from Natalia's chest and settled in on her cheeks.

"No, I don't," she called back.  "Just plain black, Rafe, as strong as you can make it."

Rafe brought the coffee in, followed by Emma who sat cross-legged on the floor at her mom's feet, nibbling happily on an orange popsicle.  Olivia sipped delicately at her coffee, and managed to take ten whole minutes to explain the ethos of The Beacon's expansion plans and describe the properties she'd come to look at.  "Basically we're going for personal, small town service in the heart of the big city," she said, sounding like she was wrapping up an investment pitch.  "We have a location opening very soon in Indianapolis and my partners and I are very excited about our expansion into Chicago.  In fact, I was hoping Natalia would be able to find an hour or two this week to help me with a few things."  She looked across at Natalia expectantly.

"Uh...yeah, sure," she said slowly, blinking once.

Olivia smiled and drained the last of her coffee.  "That's great," she said.  She nudged Emma with her foot.  "All right Jellybean, time to go."

Emma pouted.  "Aw, mom, do we have to?"

Olivia ruffled her hair.  "Oh come on, we're going to the park.  There'll be swings and slides and a teeter-totter."

Emma brightened immediately, then looked imploringly up at Natalia.  "Are you coming too?" she asked.

Natalia's eyes flicked up to meet her mother's.  Olivia shook her head.  "I don't think so baby-" she began.

"I'd love to," Natalia said, overlapping with Olivia.  Emma squealed and wrapped her arms round Natalia's legs.

Olivia watched Natalia from beneath her eyelashes as she leaned down and hugged Emma.  She glanced over at Josephine and met her eyes.  There was a challenge there, along with a question and a note of disapproval.  Olivia's jaw hardened and she held her head just a little higher.

"Come on then," she said.  "Let's go."

TBC...

A/N - A little short, but at least it was quick.

Now, translations, with thanks again to ladyvictory - Que exquisito sentido del tiempo tiene tu 'Jefa' = What exquisite timing your 'boss' has.

Ella no sabe que tu padre se murió? = Doesn't she know your father has died?

Si, lo se. También sé que Natalia no ha oído de él, ni de usted, desde que ella tenia dieciséis anos = Yes, I do. I also know that Natalia hasn't heard from him or you since she was sixteen.

Tu hablas Espanol? = You speak Spanish?

Con fluidez = Fluently.

Comments

*chuckles* Go Olivia! That was fabulous. Nice to see Josephine put in her place...
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