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Guiding Light

altfic in passion_perfect

Life and Breath Part 8

Title: Life and Breath
Author: Pink Rabbit Productions
Fandom: Guiding Light
Pairing: Olivia/Natalia
Part: 8
Date: 1 July, 2009
Rating: Personally, I'd call it an R, but some might consider it NC-17 at some point.
Disclaimer: The characters and situations belong to other folks far wealthier, more important (or at least with better lawyers), and hopefully more charitable and kinder than I. They include, but are not necessarily limited to CBS, Proctor and Gamble, and Telenext. The actual arrangement of words, however, remains my own as do any original characters. Meanwhile, there is likely to be all female romantic and sexual activity ahead, so if this is likely to get you, me, or anybody else arrested should you take a gander, please move along. Also, if you find that sort of thing offensive, you really probably shouldn't hang around anyplace I'm posting. Just sayin'....
Archiving: The Pink Rabbit Consortium
Spoilers: Some early scenes definitely, plus anything through the spa trip is fair game.
Timeline: Unlike some folks, I don't have an exact scene where this one takes off. However, it's definitely set after the spa trip, but before Rafe's release from the halfway house.
Earlier Parts: | Part 1 (Prologue) | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 |


Life and Breath
by Pink Rabbit Productions

Part 8



Olivia Spencer was not, to say the least, what could ever be considered a morning person. Were the murder of innocent alarm clocks considered a crime, she would have been public enemy number one. In general, bears wakened from hibernation in the dead of winter were more polite and considerably less inclined to remove the heads of the poor fools dumb enough to get within paw-reach. In short, prior to the magic hour of ten a.m., her normal mode was bleary, grumpy, easily irritated and generally unpleasant.

Add in a nocturnal blast of unsatiated arousal, a cold shower, and a night spent sharing a bed with her daughter who was wont to deliver the occasional random kick, and she really should have been in an especially foul mood on waking.

Which was why it was so odd to find herself awake and about and even something approaching cheerful well ahead of any attempts to wake her by either Emma or Natalia. Emma was already up, doubtless dressed, fed and making sure the ducks would soon be in dire need of Nutrisystem memberships. Yawning sleepily, she ruffled her hair and stretched and found that she actually felt pretty good, especially when she noted just how early it was according to the clock on the nightstand.

All Natalia's fault, she concluded with a wry smile. She didn't want to waste a minute they could be spending together. The knowledge that Natalia was out there and awake and doubtless smiling that irresistible smile of hers made eight a.m. a much more appealing time of day.

"Sooo, sooo sappy, Spencer," she muttered to herself, but she was smiling as she said it and thinking she kinda like this new, mushy—at least where Natalia was concerned—version of herself. Jack and Beacon staff, be damned.

She was enjoying another leisurely stretch and yawn when the bedroom door opened and a small figure slipped inside on silent feet. Well used to her mother's morning habits and personality, Emma could sneak like it was nobody's business.

"G'mornin', Jellybean," Olivia greeted her daughter with a smile.

Emma spun and stared at her mother with a startled look. "You're awake," she said, sounding surprised.

Still smiling, Olivia nodded and ruffled her hair again. "Yup, ready to face a new day."

"It's eight a.m.," Emma replied uncertainly, her tone indicating some degree of suspicion while she peered at her mother as though she'd grown a spare appendage or two.

Ignoring the implication that perhaps she'd been replaced by a pod person while no one was looking, Olivia smiled brightly. "So, have you had breakfast yet?"

"Natalia just started making the batter, but she hasn't started cooking yet."

Rising to her feet, Olivia grabbed her overnight bag in search of clothes for the day. "Good. That means I have time to get dressed first." She was just straightening when she realized Emma hadn't moved.

Cocking her head to one side the girl peered at her mother with a quizzical look.

"What?" Olivia questioned, her tone taking on an is-my-slip-showing quality.

"You're..." A tiny hand rose and made a small, fluttery gesture. "...different..." Emma said hesitantly, pausing momentarily as she considered her thoughts before continuing, "...happy...in the morning," she added by way of explanation.

"I'm always happy," Olivia responded defensively.

One delicate eyebrow ticked upward as the girl stared at her mother doubtfully.

"Mostly," Olivia added under the impact of the knowing gaze that speared through her like a junior version of the look she often directed at less than honest personnel at the hotel. "Okay," she added as Emma's expression continued to call her veracity into question, "so maybe I'm not at my best in the early morning, but I'm...happy..." Even she couldn't make that claim without flinching ever so slightly. "...usually...." she added with a tiny fluttery hand gesture that was eerily similar to the one her daughter had made when starting the whole conversation.

Small arms folded across a skinny chest as Emma continued to peer at her mother expectantly. Clearly the CIA needed to hire the kid because Olivia was becoming increasingly certain the terrorist types wouldn't last five minutes under the impact of that look.

She was saved from further silent interrogation techniques when the bedroom door cracked ever so slightly and Natalia poked her head in. Her gaze went straight to the bed, then she twitched when she found it empty and she looked around the room until she spotted Olivia. "You're awake." She sounded even more surprised than Emma.

"Yes," Olivia confirmed with a touch of impatience, "I'm awake."

"But it's eight a.m.," Natalia pointed out needlessly.

"So I heard," Olivia drawled, thinking it might be easier to just sleep in from there on out. That feeling fled an instant later as Natalia grinned broadly, showing deep dimples in both cheeks. God, a body could fall for those alone.

"That's wonderful," the younger woman said happily, then grinned and flashed a tiny wink at Emma. "Which means Emma and I can start cooking."

Which was Emma's cue to join the grinning. "Natalia said she'd show me how to cook my own pancake...and pour it into a heart shape even."

"Wow," Olivia enthused, then tugged her daughter into a hug that threatened to turn into a tickling. "I guess I'll have to put you to work in the Beacon kitchen when she's done."

Squirming in her mother's loose hold, Emma giggled happily.

Standing off to the side, Natalia didn't even try to hold back a smile as she watched Olivia slide to her knees to tease and tickle her daughter, joking about putting her to work in the kitchens, chained to a stove to slave over pancakes for all eternity.

Judging by the volume of the laughter, Emma wasn't taking her too seriously.

"Oh fine," Olivia mock-pouted when mother and daughter were both breathing hard from laughter and exertion, "if you're just gonna go and enjoy the idea, I take it all back." Green eyes narrowed in a teasing glare that only made her daughter laugh harder. "You," she ordered her child with a sweeping gesture, "go make pancakes...but I promise you will never make them for the Beacon."

Emma giggled.

"I get no respect around here," Olivia complained jokingly.

"Yeah, you have it rough," Natalia drawled, inserting herself into the conversation again. Green eyes snapped up to meet her gaze and they shared a knowing look that seemed to suck all the oxygen out of the room.

"Mommy," Emma said abruptly, sensing she'd momentarily lost her position as the center of the universe. Which would not do. "Are you really up for the day?"

"I am indeed." Olivia ruffled her daughter's hair gently.

"Then can we go to the park after breakfast?" She turned a hopeful look Natalia's way. "Y'know together...all of us... like we used to?"

Olivia's jaw worked momentarily, then she flashed a mildly panicked look at Natalia. "I'd love that, sweetie, but I don't know if Natalia has other things to do today."

It didn't require even a moment's debate. "Nope," Natalia said instantly, her mouth splitting into a wide grin. "I'm available all day." She turned a high wattage smile Emma's way. "And I think the park sounds like a fabulous idea."

The girl let out a whoop of joy and wrapped an arm around her mother's neck even as she reached out to Natalia for a three-way hug.

Natalia couldn't have held herself back if her life had depended on it. Stepping forward, she dropped to one knee and slid one arm around Emma's small frame and the other across Olivia's shoulders. A gentle hand brushed her hair, then slid down to settle against her upper back, pulling her close with tender strength.

"It's best like this," Emma proclaimed what seemed painfully obvious to her. She looked back and forth between the two women holding her. "I miss having two mommies...and being a family," she said, her tone somewhere between complaining and pleading.

Brown eyes met green over the top of Emma's head in a moment of shared understanding. The child wasn't the only one with a few fantasies along those lines. Sometimes it seemed like Emma had a better handle on what was going on than most of the adults around her, even if she didn't quite understand what it was she understood.

"We all miss that, Em," Natalia whispered, her words for the child, though her expression was for her mother. Gaze still locked with Olivia's, she ducked her head and pressed a small kiss to the top of Emma's head. "And want it back," she mouthed for Olivia alone.

Olivia nodded, then kissed the top of her daughter's head. Emma was already starting to squirm. Time for more serious discussions later. "Tell you what," she suggested through a laugh, "why don't you two go on downstairs and get those pancakes started...and I'll join you in a few minutes."

"Sounds like a plan to me," Natalia said cheerfully as she rose and swung a giggling Emma up into her arms, spinning the child around while her mother looked on approvingly.

"All right, off you go," Olivia shooed after Natalia had made several complete circles, but she was smiling broadly, her eyes alight as she watched the two most important people in her life so utterly joyful.

Still laughing happily and carrying Emma, Natalia winked at Olivia, then hurried out.

Wearing a faintly bemused look, Olivia shook her head slowly as she tried to decide which sent her pulse spiraling faster, the dimples or the wink.

Decisions, decisions.

In the end, she just couldn't come down in favor of one or the other, and the debate threatened to make her late for breakfast. Which, judging by the heavenly smells wafting up the stairs, would be a bad idea.

Dressing quickly, she threw on a pair of faded, butter soft jeans, that curved close in all the right places, a pale button down blouse that left a deep vee of skin visible at the throat, and track shoes—not nearly as fashionable as the boots tucked away in her suitcase, but much better for keeping up with Emma.

A couple of minutes in front of the bathroom mirror for makeup and hair—kept simple in deference to the day's plans—and she was ready to face the day.

The smells coming from the kitchen had progressed during from pleasant to downright mouth watering by the time she reached the ground floor. Pushing the swinging door to the kitchen open with a careful hand, she paused as her eyes fell on the scene before her.

Emma stood on a step stool in front of the stove, her small profile screwed up in concentration, one hand raised, holding a measuring cup in pouring position, while Natalia was next to her, one hand around the child's back, the other steadying her grip on the measuring cup.

"Okay," Natalia said, her voice low and tender, "first we just barely drizzle the batter and make an outline of a heart." As she spoke, she helped steady Emma's hand, but was clearly letting the child lead the way. "Then let it set for just a second..."

As she watched the two, Olivia felt her heart clench and turn over with the kind of love she'd long dreamt of, but never quite believed really existed. At least not in the romantic love sense. Raising Emma had taught her a thousand things about familial love that her own growing up hadn't, but Natalia? Being with her meant a whole new set of lessons. Ones that left her weak in the knees and blown away by the overwhelming love and trust she felt.

"Now we just fill in the empty space," Natalia continued the cooking lesson, oblivious to watching eyes as she helped Emma pour more batter.

"How will I know when to turn it?" the girl questioned, her brow creased into a frown.

Natalia laughed softly. "There'll be bubbles in the surface and the sides'll be just a little bit brown."

It was such a simple tableau and yet Olivia suddenly found herself blinking back a few tears. Emma was everything to her and to have the person she loved care so much for her touched Olivia more than she could have imagined possible. She'd thought for a little while that could have a family with Bill only to have it blow up in her face. Her mistakes, she fully admitted, but he'd walked away from her daughter as well, punished her for the sins of the mother and hurt her in the doing.

Watching the two of them together, she knew in her heart the other woman would never turn away from the girl the way he had.

"Now we just lift an edge and slip the spatula under," Natalia instructed as she covered Emma's two-handed grip on the pancake turner with a steadying hand. "And...flip."

There was a soft, slapping sound, then Emma let out a happy whoop. "It's perfect."

"Absolutely," Natalia confirmed and hugged her lightly.

Emma leaned forward and Olivia tensed ever so slightly, but Natalia tightened the arm wrapped loosely around the girl's waist, making sure she couldn't unbalance herself.

"How will I know when it's done?"

"We'll just lift the edge and take a look," Natalia explained.

If Olivia hadn't already been in love with Natalia, she would have tumbled right then and there.

"See...like that."

And then suddenly Emma was flipping her freshly made pancake onto a plate and hopping down to the floor. She spun and suddenly her eyes went bright as she realized they had an audience. "I made my own pancake, Mommy," she bragged as she held up the fruits of her labor.

"I see that," Olivia said with a proud grin, ruffling her daughter's hair as the girl passed by her on the way to the kitchen table. "And a beautiful job you did too."

As she sat, the girl looked up at the two adults with a questioning expression.

"Go on and eat while it's hot," Olivia urged, then stepped up behind Natalia, settling a hand on her waist as she leaned close to a delicate ear to utter a simple, "Thank you for loving her."

Brown eyes swung her way, as Natalia searched her face, studying her expression with care. "Thank you for letting me," she whispered almost inaudibly. Her gaze dropped, touching on full lips for the briefest second as a shiver of memory and awareness of the night before worked its way down her spine.

"Are you gonna make your own pancake too, Mommy?" Emma broke in cheerfully, oblivious to the simmering undercurrents.

Olivia tossed an indulgent grin over her shoulder, while she brushed her thumb in slow circles at Natalia's waist. "Nope...Natalia's the heart specialist, not me...I'm just here to watch and learn."

A sculpted brow rose high on the younger woman's forehead. "You know how to cook pancakes," she whispered sotto voce.

Olivia's answering grin was pure wicked. "Who says that's what I'm going to be watching...or learning?" she teased lightly.

A blush crawled over Natalia's cheekbones, but she smiled nonetheless.

* * * * * *

TBC

Comments

This is so sweet
It seemed like a good time to raise the Sappiness Index (TM) a few notches. lol.
Fabulous. This is what us angst-frazzled fans need right now haha.
Fanfic authors too.

Glad you liked. Thanks for writing.
Another wonderful and sweet update. I know I'm invested in this story, as I find myself saying 'oh goody another chapter' :-)) Thanks for feeding my Otalia addiction on a regular basis. Favourite piece when Olivia says that Natalia's the heart specialist....so lovely :-))
So glad you're enjoying the story. T'is always good to hear.

Thanks for writing. :)
Aaaawwww, very sweet.
I try. :)

Thanks for writing.
Awww, so cute!

I love this story! And am totally happy and spoiled that you update so often, but... moar soon yes?
Glad to hear you like. :)

And a fresh update just got posted. I'm trying to keep up the pace. Can't guarantee every day, but I'm working on keeping it moving at a good clip.

Thanks for writing. :)
now THAT's a family... love it, especially now that I know how to make pancakes too LOL

pure magic!!
Many thanks for the kind words. Seemed like a good time for a bit of sweetness, and I just wanted a little slice of happiness for them. So glad you enjoyed. :)
Lots of warm fuzzies in this part. I especially love Olivia watching Natalia and Emma at the stove. I just love how much Nat loves Emma.
Yeah, I love that dynamic. There's just a sweetness and realness there that's very appealing to show. Glad you liked. :)
Awwwww. Jellybean!! She deserves her own little medal of cuteness, seriously.

For this chapter, you are hearby awarded the candyfloss medal of fluff. Enjoy. ♥

Eagerly anticipating the next chapter.
I shall wear my medal with pride. *big smile*

So glad you enjoyed. Many thanks for the kind words. :)
They are such a good family.
Yes, they are. *smile*

Thanks for writing.
*chuckles* I like the easy domesticity, despite all of the undercurrents of sexual tension. Nicely done!
What a wonderful update, I feel like my heart just grew three sizes in my chest. This update really left a nice warm glow and feelings.

Thanks as always for sharing. :)
They really are such a perfectly fitting family, aren't they? I love this chapter, so sweet and warm... You really write them well.
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