Fandom: Guiding Light
Pairing: Olivia/Natalia (a bit of Blis seems to have wormed its way in as well)
Rating: PGish (so far)
Spoilers: This story begins after the episode which aired July 6th.
A/N: Have I mentioned that I love comments? ;) I hope everyone enjoys this part. I know not having Natalia and Olivia together and interacting in the fic yet is something of a bummer, but trust me, it's coming... oh, it's coming. :)
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Olivia’s feet pounded on the green grass of the farmhouse lawn as she ran toward the shed that stood behind the house. It felt good to run. It felt good to exert her body as much and as fast as her muscles would let her. She felt the edges of her tension spill out of her with each long stride. It felt good even though rain was hitting her face, and causing her to squint and blink against the droplets of water that fell down her face – at least it wasn’t tears.
She opened the door of the shed and stepped inside. It smelled of dust and earth and the scent jolted her senses into conjuring a memory of the early winter months. She’d just moved to the farmhouse and she and Natalia decided to take some time out to thoroughly explore the grounds. The day hadn’t been anything very special. It was just two friends talking and not discovering anything particularly interesting, but one moment flashed back to her in Technicolor brilliance.
“Be careful. Don’t fall,” Natalia told Olivia as she took tentative steps into the dark shed.
“What do you think I am? Some sort of…” Olivia was going to say “clumsy idiot,” but before she could, she stumbled over something and lost her balance. Natalia lunged forward and balanced her by wrapping arms around her waist before she could fall onto a rather jagged and rusty looking collection of farm equipment.
“You’ve really got to learn to listen to me,” she said with a laugh. Her arms were still around Olivia’s waist and she squeezed her gently before pulling away.
Olivia laughed a bit sheepishly and was glad it was dark in the shed because she was certain she was blushing. “Lesson learned.”
One of Natalia’s hands lingered on the small of Olivia’s back as if reluctant to end the touch. “We’ll see,” she said with a wide smile that showed off her deep dimples, and Olivia wondered why her heart skipped a beat.
Olivia placed one hand against the door frame to balance herself against the immediacy of the memory. “Even then she could unravel me,” she whispered with a shake of her head. She shook the memory away, retrieved something from a jar on an old wooden shelf, and jogged back to the house.
“I’m surprised you don’t have a crowbar or a pile of bricks to smash a few windows,” Doris said as Olivia bounded onto the farmhouse porch.
Olivia held up a tiny silver key and smiled proudly. “When I lived here, I hid it in the shed.” She began unlocking the door. “I locked myself out of the house once in the dead of winter. I had to wait for almost an hour for Natalia to get home. Lesson learned.”
They walked into the farmhouse and Olivia closed her eyes and fought against the desire to dive onto the couch, grab a pillow, and hug it to her nose in a desperate desire to drink in the scent of Natalia and the farmhouse. The word “home” clung to her thoughts and left her feeling scattered.
“I guess we better start searching,” Doris said and patted Olivia gently on the shoulder.
Olivia nodded and took a deep breath to collect her thoughts. “One of us can go upstairs; the other can look down here.”
“I’ll go up,” Doris said quickly, mainly because she’d never seen the upstairs and this was a perfect chance to snoop.
Olivia spread her hands in a motion that showed she didn’t care and stalked off toward the kitchen.
Doris smiled happily and jogged quickly up the stairs. After glancing into each room, she assumed the largest one was Natalia’s. It was a warm and inviting room and Doris was impressed by the amount of sensuality the room seemed to exude. The art that peppered the walls and furniture struck her as simplistic, but filled with motion and quiet passion. “You really can be a surprising woman, Natalia Rivera,” Doris said to herself in a whisper and began tentatively looking around the room.
She didn’t open any drawers, and the most she did was shuffle through a small pile of mail on Natalia’s dresser. She honestly didn’t want to find out just how surprising Natalia Rivera could be. If Olivia wanted to rummage through Natalia’s drawers, she could do it herself. After coming to the conclusion that there were no real clues in the bedroom, she decided to go back downstairs and see if Olivia had any better luck.
She was walking toward the stairs when she decided to stop in the bathroom to see just how disastrous she looked after the long day. She stared in the mirror and smirked a bit. “Still lookin’ good,” she said and adjusted the lapels of her blazer in the mirror. She leaned over to grab a tissue when her eye caught a glimpse of a box in the trash can. She closed her eyes slowly and opened them again. It was a blink of amazement that led to her mouth falling open.
“Oh my God,” she said in a voice that was accompanied with a slow gasp. She leaned down, grabbed the box from the trash, and ran down the stairs so fast she almost fell… twice.
Olivia imagined Doris ransacking Natalia’s bedroom and cringed a little at the thought, but she figured the nosey woman would probably find a clue if there was one to find. She sighed as she reached the door of the kitchen. It was dark and quiet. So unlike it used to be at this time of day. She remembered when the lights would blaze, and dinner would fill the table, and laughter would fill the air. She remembered how her daughter would bounce happily on one of the wooden chairs and recount her day. She remembered how Natalia would always listen with rapt attention and ask insightful and sometimes silly questions that would make them all laugh. She wondered what Emma was doing right now. She wondered if Natalia was safe.
Olivia ran her fingers through her hair and slowly looked around. The kitchen was extremely clean. There were no papers or pamphlets sitting on the table like she’d hoped. She was about to open the spice drawer, to see if Natalia had put anything in there, when her eye caught sight of a blinking red number on the answering machine.
“Seven messages?” Olivia questioned the air. She tilted her head and moved toward the machine. She knew Natalia rarely gave out the number to her landline phone. Olivia only knew of a small handful of people who actually had it. She hit the play button.
The first four messages were ones she’d left herself, and she deleted each one before she could relive the pain that drove her to hopelessly call the phone she knew Natalia would never answer. The fifth message was an unfamiliar man’s voice.
“This message is for Natalia Rivera. I’m sorry to bother you, Ms. Rivera, but my name is Brian and I’m a lab tech at Cedars. I’m afraid there may have been a mix up with your latest test. Please call us as soon as you can.”
Olivia frowned. “Test?” She listened to the next message, hoping it would explain things a bit more.
“Hello again, Ms. Rivera,” said the same male voice. “I apologize for calling so much. I’ve tried to reach you numerous times on your cell phone, but to no avail. It is very important you call me back. We’ve run your blood work again and need you to come in as soon as possible.”
Olivia heard Doris stumbling quickly down the stairs and through the front room. She didn’t look up from the answering machine, only listened in stunned silence to the last message.
“Hello, Natalia? This is Rick Bauer at Cedars. Your blood work got mixed up with another patient’s. You aren’t pregnant, and we think you may have a health problem that needs to be further examined. I heard you might have left town, but if you get this message, I need you to come to the hospital immediately.”
Olivia felt all the blood drain out of her face in fear and confusion. She looked up at Doris who was standing still with a box labeled “EPT” held out before her. They blinked at each other in stunned silence for a moment.
“Pregnant?” Olivia said when the initial shock finally wore off. “She thought she was pregnant?”
“Oh my God. That was why she left.”
Olivia ran her hands through her hair as she attempted to collect her thoughts. She began speaking, but more to herself and the air than to Doris. “We have to find her. What if she’s really sick? Why would that make her need to leave? I have to call Rick. Why didn’t he try to call me?” Olivia shook her head in confusion. “Pregnant?” she asked, this time specifically to Doris, as if the woman could offer her some sort of explanation.
“I don’t know,” Doris said helplessly. “What should we do?”
“Find her,” Olivia said as if it was the most obvious answer in the history of answers.
“How? Clearly, it’s easier said than done.”
“We need to...” She reached up, pressed the palms of her hands against her temples, and looked around as if searching for an answer to Doris’ question. “We need to find her.” It was the only thought she could form.
Doris walked over to Olivia and guided her down onto a chair. She bent down in front of her and took one of her hands. It was trembling. “We will find her. Okay? She isn’t gone forever. You know that, right?” Olivia nodded slightly. “We’ll find her and she’s going to be okay and this whole mess will be resolved.” Another nod. “Okay. Now, let’s think about this calmly for a moment. Natalia left because she thought she was pregnant. Did you have any idea?”
“No,” Olivia said. A confused look overtook her face. “She never mentioned anything. Never even hinted. I just don’t understand…”
“Okay, that’s okay,” Doris said quickly. Olivia’s face looked like it was close to breaking down into tears and she wanted her to remain steady. “We need to stay calm and figure out our next course of action. Clearly, we need to find her, now more than ever. I think we need to figure out what’s wrong with her first. You could go talk to Rick Bauer. Then, we need to figure out where she is. We need some sort of plan if we’re going to be able to reach her – those Catholic retreat places are harder to get into than Ft. Knox.”
Olivia took a deep, steadying breath and allowed Doris’ words to sink in. She suddenly felt like a blanket of calmness was settling over her. There were still bright flashes of anxiety and desperation that filtered through the blanket, but she felt the scattered pieces of her mind gathering together again as they began to form a plan. She was going to find Natalia and bring her home. End of story.
“Will you talk to your contact again and try to get more information? We need to know exactly where Natalia is. Now. We can’t waste anymore time.”
Doris released Olivia’s hand and stood up. “I can’t guarantee anything, but I will definitely try.”
“Okay. Good. If you take me back to my car, I’ll go to Cedars and talk to Rick.” She started heading back to the farmhouse door. “I have to know what’s wrong with her. If she needs medical treatment for something….” Olivia shook her head and opened the door for Doris. “I don’t know.” She closed and locked the door behind them. “I’ll figure out something.”
“Blake!” Doris said loudly as she knocked on Blake’s hotel room door. “I know you’re in there! Open the door or I’ll start making a scene!”
The door opened and Blake appeared. “You’re already making a scene, Doris. What do you want?”
“I need to know exactly where Natalia Rivera is.” She wormed her way past Blake and into the room.
“Yes, Doris, of course you can come in,” Blake said with a roll of her eyes and shut the door. “I already told you more than I should have.”
“No, Blake. You know what you should have told me? You should have told me Natalia thought she was pregnant.”
Blake cringed a little. “How’d you find that out?”
“It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that our Ms. Rivera isn’t pregnant at all.”
Blake’s brought her fingertips up to cover her mouth which had fallen open. “How did you…”
“Once again! Doesn’t matter.” Doris angrily took a few steps until she was standing in Blake’s personal space. “This isn’t a game anymore. Natalia isn’t pregnant, but she might have some sort of medical condition that needs treatment. I need you to stop this, and I need you to tell me where she is.”
“I…” Blake faltered and took a step backward. The imposing form of Doris Wolfe looming over her with anger filling her face was disconcerting in more ways than one. “Look, Doris, I don’t even remember the name.”
Doris sighed in frustration and began rummaging in her purse. She pulled out the list of retreat centers. “Is it on here?”
Blake took the paper. “No. I mean, I don’t exactly remember the name, but none of these seem familiar.”
“Shit,” Doris said and felt so much hope fade from her she collapsed down onto a chair.
Blake felt her heart go out to Doris. She was almost overwhelmingly impressed that the woman would go to such lengths to help a friend. Tentatively, she said, “I may not remember the name of it, but I drove Natalia there… and I do remember how to get there.”
Doris looked up sharply and a surprised smile spread across her face. “Will you take us?”
“If Natalia’s health really is in question, I don’t think I have a choice, do I?”
“Oh, thank you,” Doris said, a huge amount of relief evident in her words. She stood up and spontaneously hugged Blake. “You don’t know how much I’ve been through because of this.”
Blake patted Doris awkwardly on the back. She knew the Mayor wasn’t the hugging type, and felt a bit strange hugging the same woman who was basically threatening her a few moments ago. However, after a moment of hugging, she melted into it a bit. It had been a long time since she’d hugged anyone, and Doris had on a perfume that smelled almost sinfully good.
When Doris pulled away after a few moments she said, “Sit. Would you like some wine?” Doris nodded and sat down. Blake crossed the room and continued talking. “Since I’m going to be joining you on this grand journey to find Natalia, why don’t you tell me what’s happened so far?”
“I heard you were demanding my presence, Olivia,” Rick Bauer said as he walked into the waiting room at Cedars.
“What’s wrong with Natalia?” Olivia demanded.
“It’s nice to see you too. I’m very good, thank you,” Rick said in reply. Olivia rolled her eyes. Rick sighed and hugged the chart he was carrying to his chest. “How did you find out?”
“Her answering machine.”
Rick let out a small, judgmental laugh. “As unethical as you might be, Olivia, you know, as a doctor, I can’t reveal that kind of thing to a non-family member.”
“I am her family, Rick. You can tell me. Please? You know how close we are.”
Rick frowned. “If it was up to me, I would tell you, but it’s just not something I can divulge unless you’re directly related to the patient.”
“Rick, come on.” Olivia sighed when Rick only shrugged. “Okay, please. Just tell me this. Is she okay? Is something horrible going to happen if she doesn’t get immediate treatment?”
Rick considered her for a moment. “If she eats right and takes care of herself, she should be okay for the foreseeable future.”
Olivia tilted her head heavenward and released a small “thank you” into the air.
“But if she doesn’t,” Rick went on, “there may be health complications. I recommend, if you see her, to tell her to come in immediately.”
Olivia nodded and gave Rick a reluctant word of thanks before heading out of the hospital.
“I can’t believe you got arrested,” Blake said with a laugh. “If only I could have been a fly on that wall!”
“It’s not funny.”
“Oh believe me, it’s most definitely funny.”
Doris laughed a little despite herself. “I suppose I can see the humor, however I….” Her thoughts were interrupted by the buzz of her cell phone. She picked it up. “Olivia?”
“Yeah, did you talk to your little friend with the information?” said Olivia’s voice from the phone.
“I did. She’s taking us there in the morning.”
“Beautiful! But morning? Why not now? Natalia could be…”
“Olivia? I case you didn’t notice it’s almost 10pm. From what I’ve been told, the place we’re going is worse than the last one we went to. We’re going to have enough trouble getting in there during regular business hours. Go home; get some sleep.”
Olivia was quiet for a moment. “Fine. I need time to get some supplies for tomorrow, anyway.”
“Supplies?” Doris said warily. “No more megaphones, Olivia.”
“No. I have a better plan this time. I’ll see you in the morning, Doris.”
The line went dead and Doris stared at the phone suspiciously. She looked up at Blake, who was curiously looking at her. “I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be… interesting.”