Fandom - Guiding Light
Pairing - Olivia/Natalia
Warnings and/or Spoilers - No spoilers. This is an AU (Alternative Universe) story. So, yea, things will be different. There are drugs and curse words in the fic. And there will be darker things ahead. Be aware.
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
Notes - Oh, I don't know...lol. I am taking my time, because that is what the fic requires to be what I want it to be. But sometimes I just want to jump ahead.
/ / /
Frank Cooper knows that most people, when they think of him, they think ‘there’s a good man’.
He wears his badge with pride and with dedication.
He helps the old lady across the street and gets the cat out of the tree.
And guys like that deserve to win every once in a while.
At least that is how those fairy tales go… right?
Frank wants to apologize… again… to Natalia and so he waits for her to get home. He visits with his father, watching the door more than he is actually talking to the man.
“…and then the stove blew up. So, in two hours, we rebuilt the restaurant.”
“Hmmm, that’s nice Dad.”
Frank whips his head around and looks at his father, a frown already in place.
“Staring at the door won’t make it open, son…”
“I’m not staring.”
“No, course not. Must be my mistake.”
“Look, I am just waiting to talk to Natalia. That’s all.”
Frank tries to ignore the knowing smile on his father’s face. But his father won’t have any part of that.
“So, you’re finally going do it?”
“Do what, Pop?”
“Ask her out on a date. You know, instead of hanging around here and being all puppy-dog like.”
“What? It’s true!”
But they stop talking when the door opens, revealing Natalia Rivera and her…
Really big smile. She looks so happy. I can’t believe she can look so… okay after all that at the diner. But I am glad, must mean she is handling things well. And we’ll be just fine.
And Frank finds himself just staring and allowing a soft smile to spring up on his lips.
Because Natalia Rivera happy is a beautiful sight.
Her eyes glow with some kind of hidden joy and her body just seems to float around the room, right to Frank and his father at the bar of Company. And she turns that thousand-watt smile on Buzz first.
“I’d love a Buzz Burger and don’t—“
“Forget the onions, I know.”
“You seem to be having a good day…” Buzz states before going towards the kitchen, hanging by the end of the bar and Frank hopes the man doesn’t say too much right now.
‘Coz he loves to do that…
“Well, you know, Buzz… sometimes when things seem at their darkest is when you get a glimpse of light, just to make sure you keep going.”
And they are both staring at her now. Frank’s father looks like he always does, like he doesn’t have to understand what the person is saying, only how they are saying it.
Frank doesn’t understand the full meaning behind Natalia’s words either, but there is this little tickle in his gut that makes Frank wish he could have caused that surety in her.
Who gave you this happiness? Was it God, ‘coz I know you are religious. Did you pray over this whole matter concerning Rafe? Did you just decide to let things be? Or was it Rafe, did you forgive him?
And will you forgive me soon? Will I still be your friend… and is there a chance… that I…
“Natalia, can we talk for a minute?”
And those eyes are on him, deep brown pools that Frank could sink in to. And she nods her head, walking toward the corner booth with enough room to not be too close to the other person.
Unless you choose to be close to them.
Hope that isn’t a sign of how she feels. Not that I believe in signs. Not really…
“I know I said a lot at the diner and, well, I just don’t want you to think badly of me.”
“Frank, I… this will take time, okay? All of you lied to me.”
“I know and I am so sorry. It may sound like an excuse, but… I just wanted to keep Rafe safe.”
“Rafe is a grown man. I can’t stop him from making mistakes. Neither can you.”
“I guess that’s true. But I can assure you that I won’t let anything happen to him.”
“I believe you, Frank. I do.”
“So, are we okay?”
Natalia smiles at him, a warm and accepting smile and Frank finds himself mirroring the expression.
“We will be. I don’t want to lose a friend.”
“Neither do I.”
And the words are about to come out, they are about to leave his throat and race to Natalia’s ears.
He is about to say that which he couldn’t muster the courage to do for months now.
Frank is about to tell Natalia how he feels and how he thinks she is the perfect woman, how he’d love to take her out and get to know more about her, how she is the type of person a guy like him could imagine loving forever…
But just as he forms the first sentence, just as it rumbles to life – Frank sees Natalia’s face change.
The smile is still there, but there is a depth to it that wasn’t there before.
Like a stream turning into raging river, her smile now cannot be contained.
And her eyes are no longer fully open, they are fluttering as if the woman is shy and still completely aware, as if she can’t look away and she can’t look head-on at whatever has caught her interest.
And Frank turns around slowly, afraid of what he might see behind him.
And like a punch to the face, he sees Olivia Spencer.
/ / /
Natalia looks up and her heart stops, but it isn’t painful – though it could have been, on some other day in some other time – it is blissful and hopeful.
Olivia’s returned gaze is a gorgeous mixture of humor and sheepishness. And it holds Natalia spellbound until the woman looks away.
She wants to pay attention to Frank, because he is saying her name and his face looks like he has been struck. But she cannot focus on him. She can’t focus on Frank or the food that is suddenly before her.
All she can do is automatically answer the man sitting next to her.
“I, uh, I gotta go back to the station…”
And Natalia forcibly jerks her mind back to the present, watching Frank get up slowly. She calls his name and he turns around, that wounded look is still on his face.
Natalia runs back through their conversation and realizes what the man wanted to hear.
Needed to hear by the expression on his face. And I have it within me to do this… because he has been a good friend to Rafe and I for so long.
And God knows we all make poor decisions sometimes…
She shakes loose the musings and beckons him over.
She stands up to meet him and gives him a hug. If he holds on a little tighter or if he sighs a little heavy in her ear, Natalia doesn’t notice.
“I forgive you, Frank. I do.”
And she truly does. Despite the time spent in lies and deception, it really was out of sense of doing the right thing. Rafe is trying to fix his problems, albeit in a way I’d rather not have him do… but sometimes a mother has to let their child fall.
And Frank is just being a good friend, trying to protect my son and myself.
And Olivia is…
She releases the hold on Frank and smiles up at him, before sliding past the man and walking toward Buzz. Now that she is a part of this case… in a way… Natalia knows she has to watch what she says and how she acts around Olivia.
Not sure how good I will be at this task. I tend to gravitate to her. I’ve got to work on that and not blow her cover.
“I know that woman.” She says casually to Buzz. The man nods his head.
“She was interested in buying The Beacon.”
“Yea? Well, she was staying over there. I did her room.”
“Seems like a nice woman.”
“Yes. Sure does.”
And Natalia fights the grin on her face, turning it into some kind of smirk and Buzz notices it.
“What? Was she not so nice over at The Beacon?”
“Oh, uh… no she was fine.”
“Good. She’s staying here now.”
“Yep. She’s going to look at some more hotels in a couple towns over.”
“Hmmm. Well, I better head on up.”
“What about your food?”
“Your food. Burger with onions?” And Buzz helpfully points to her vacated table and her full plate.
“Riiiight. My food. I’ll get that.” Natalia says with a laugh and the slowest crawl of heat over her cheeks.
Got to get my head back in gear. C’mon, Natalia, stay sharp.
She grabs the plate, smiles over at Buzz… who is watching me too closely and too curiously… and she rushes upstairs.
And she takes a deep breath once she is in the hallway, glancing at each door.
She knows who lives across from her and Rafe. She knows who lives at the end of the hall.
Two options left. I should have asked Buzz which room she is in… but if I did that, he’d become suspicious. I wonder if I should pretend to not like her when we are around here.
Or… could I make it seem like we are becoming friends without giving away anything else?
I mean, I know my face is like a book sometimes. I am not a good liar...
“Are you lost?” The questions slides over Natalia’s ear, tickling the fine hairs upon her neck and she shivers a little bit.
God, what she does to me with just her voice… please give me strength…
However, when slender fingers reach out and steal several French-fries, Natalia faces Olivia and gives her a look of mock outrage.
“Hey! Those are mine, thank you very much.”
“What? Didn’t anyone teach you to share?”
“Didn’t anyone teach you to ask first before you take something?”
“Not at all.”
“That says a lot about you I think.”
“Maybe… but it doesn’t say everything.”
And Olivia lifts a fry, shaking it just a bit in front of Natalia’s mouth. And Natalia can’t help herself – she giggles and takes a bite.
Olivia is smiling at her and Natalia can almost believe that this is just a regular day.
Olivia isn’t a cop and she really is a hotel owner. And Rafe isn’t in trouble with the law.
No one lied. No one dealt drugs.
And Natalia just happened to meet this interesting and beautiful woman one day, not paying attention to her linen cart and Olivia just happened to be there, to help fold things and make them right.
And Natalia would tell everyone, even though some of them would be shocked or judgmental… but she wouldn’t care. She’s already talked to God. She’s already let these feelings trip her up a little bit and make her think a little more.
But, if this were just a regular day, Natalia wouldn’t need to hide.
She wouldn’t need to stay away from Olivia when all she wants to do is be close to the woman.
But that is some other day in some other world. And if… if not for all these things occurring, would Olivia even be here? Would she be here, in this hallway and in my life…?
So, Natalia sacrifices that regular day for this day – this day full of fear and worry, full of unknowns and full of make-believe…
And this day, right now, with Olivia beside me… stealing my food and making me laugh, smiling at me and pulling me further into a place of love… With this moment, I don’t need any other day.
Natalia pulls the plate away and Olivia pouts.
“Those fries are good.”
“Get your own.”
Natalia grins more and her body thrums with joy, with happiness born of something forgotten and denied for so long. I am giddy. Wow. It’s been a very long time.
“Which one is your room?”
“Buzz said nine, but it seems to have slipped down… so it is now six. Which, if you put it together—“
And Natalia knows she is blushing… for the second time today, wonderful… and she can feel the fire race up her neck and then to her face.
She is burning hot and can’t stop clearing her throat.
And Olivia’s satisfied smirk is not helping.
“…I’ll come visit you sometime.”
Olivia smirk softens and the woman tilts her head. Natalia finds herself rooted to the spot and not out of a sense of shyness, but from the weight of what she is feeling.
It is solid and massive. It is pushing her heart to new speeds. It is taking over her entire being.
Oh God… I want to kiss her again… but I can’t, not here at the boarding house with Buzz right down there… that would bring too many questions and then I’d have to tell too many lies… I can’t do that, not to Olivia’s cover and not to Rafe… But God, you’ve got to help me get out of here.
Because if you don’t, I am going to take Olivia’s face in my hands and kiss her senseless.
“That would be nice. ‘Coz I’m here for this case… but I am also here, you know, for… uh, for whatever… this is.”
Olivia’s struggle for words allows Natalia time to regroup and calm down.
And with her calm comes her ability to do the right thing… even if it doesn’t entirely feel like the right thing.
She picks up the burger and hands the plate of fries to Olivia. The woman takes them and looks from the plate to Natalia and back again.
“I’ll share, but just this once. And don’t expect full-service here, ‘Ms. Martin’. You’ll have to get your own coffee.”
And Natalia turns away, walking steadily to her room, turning to grin at Olivia before she slips behind door number three.
Oh Olivia… whatever this is… it is good. It is so good.
/ / /
Rafe walks up the steps quietly and opens the door to his mother at the tiny kitchen table, cutting out coupons from last weekend’s newspaper.
“I hope you are hungry. I’ve order you some chili from downstairs.”
And he looks at his mother, really looks at her. He can see the lack of tension… or at least there is less tension… around her eyes. He can hear a faint hum coming from her, like a random tune stuck in her head that just has to come out.
His mother seems happy… or at least happier than a night or two ago…
So, Rafe sits down and watches her as she picks and chooses which things are worth her time and her scissor-cut.
And like when he was just a little kid, Rafe reaches out and stacks them, tidying up her pile of savings.
She smiles over at him and he ducks his head, focusing instead on this familiar endeavor.
They do this silently for minute after minute.
And Rafe wants to tell her about tonight, about how scared he is and how sorry he is… but the words get stuck somewhere inside of him, refusing to come out.
‘Coz she already knows I am sorry. She knows everything now and she’ll hear about tonight, I am sure…
And he wonders if that is why she looks much more composed, much more at ease.
Rafe wonders if Olivia Spencer is responsible for his mother, sitting here and not grilling him… sitting here, preparing for her trip to the store, just like always…
And he wonders if truth will go both ways, if he were to ask. Would his mother just up and tell him what is going on, about Olivia and her?
Or would she lie, just like I did – to protect, to try and not disappoint…
“Are you working tonight?”
Rafe looks over at his mother and she is watching him, scissors unmoving in her hand.
And they both know this isn’t about some stupid job that a teenager might pick up for petty cash.
“Will someone be there with you?”
Just like that, the edge is returned to his mother’s face and it is sharp with worry. Rafe slides his hand over the pile of coupons and his mother meets him halfway.
“I won’t be alone tonight. Olivia will be there.”
And his mother is moving fast, gathering him up in a hug so fierce and so strong that Rafe feels the air get pushed out of his lungs. And his ribs protest. And he can barely move his arms to return the hold.
But this is good. She forgives me. She’ll be here for me. I won’t have to lie… ever again.
She is whispering a prayer over and over, leaning back to kiss his forehead. She studies his face for a long time, cupping his jaw.
“Ma, I’ll be okay. I will.”
“I know, I do… she’ll protect you.”
“Yea, yea she will.”
“I don’t want anything to happen to you. Or to her. I want everyone to be safe tonight.”
Rafe swallows any tactfulness and decides to jump right in.
“Ma, about Olivia, what is goi—“
“Later. After tonight. I promise.”
And his mother gets up, not before kissing his forehead one more time, and grabs the coupons. She slips out the door just a silently as he entered moments earlier.
And Rafe sighs out into the empty kitchen, alone with his thoughts about the night to come and how to get more information without getting caught.
/ / /