Rating: PG-13 to start, for violence (non-sexual) and language. I am not any kind of a medical expert so if there are some glaring errors, please forgive me.
Disclaimer: I don’t own the Guiding Light characters, they belong to CBS and Proctor and Gamble.
Summary: This is set in the spring of 2009. I’ve taking some liberties with the storyline, mainly Natalia never slept with Frank, hence no engagement etc. So our girls have been just continuing forward raising Emma and getting closer to each other though they are still technically just friends, but that will change… This is a hurt/comfort story so they are headed on a rough ride.
Author’s Note: This is my first fan fiction so please be gentle. This would not have been possible if not for the persistent nudging and awesome editing of my beta/great friend croftlara. Comments are welcome.
( Part 1 ) ( Parts 2 & 3 ) ( Part 4 ) ( Parts 5 & 6 ) ( Part 7 ) ( Part 8 ) ( Part 9 ) ( Part 10 ) ( Part 11 ) ( Part 12 ) ( Part 13 ) ( Parts 14 & 15 ) ( Part 16 ) ( Part 17 )
Olivia opened the door to the little ICU room and looked over at the bed where Natalia was sleeping peacefully, then saw Buzz asleep in much the same position she had found herself a few hours ago. You’re going to regret that Buzz, that chair was clearly not meant for sleeping.
She approached the older man and put her hand on his shoulder to wake him.
“Buzz? You might want to wake up.”
“Ooowww, my neck.” Buzz’s neck cracked as he tried to straighten it.
Olivia cringed. “Should’ve warned you, sorry. How’s Natalia? Did she wake up?”
“Yeah a little while ago actually. She woke up and we talked a bit, her throat’s pretty rough so she wrote some too. I think she’s slowly remembering what happened, she was a bit confused at first.” He watched Olivia look over at the sleeping woman and debated whether he should mention it or not lest she be upset at leaving but reasoned that knowing Natalia missed her might actually help Olivia. “She wanted to stay awake for you but she couldn’t fight the drugs.”
Damn it, I’m not doing very well here.
As predicted Buzz watched Olivia close her eyes and assumed she was beating herself up again.
“Hey, ya know she’ll wake up again soon and you can talk to her then.” Attempting to change the subject he asked, “How’s Emma?”
Pulled from her self-reproach, Olivia smiled, “She was pretty upset at first, but recovered quickly. Not much fazes that kid.”
“She’s one tough cookie, just like her momma.”
Olivia paused, not so much lately Buzz. “I need to bring her in to see Natalia as soon as I can though. She needs to see her to know that Natalia’s okay. But I think it helped that Phillip was there.”
“Phillip? How did he..?”
Olivia interrupted, “The news. He was pretty angry with me for not calling him.” Needing to feel a connection, she walked closer to the bed and reached out to put her hand on the blanket over Natalia’s foot while admitting, “I suppose he had every right to be. I have to admit that he was great with Emma tonight and she loved having her father there.”
Buzz could tell there was more to the story but left it for now, “Well it’s good that he could be there for her, I’m sure they both needed it.”
Olivia looked distracted and Buzz wondered if she felt a pull to be with Emma tonight, “Olivia, would you like me to stay?”
“No, no go home, sleep. Thanks for staying with her Buzz.”
“Anytime. I’ll come and see her again soon. Okay?”
Buzz approached Olivia and gave her a kiss and a hug before leaving her alone with Natalia.
“Oh one more thing,” Buzz remembered as he started for the door, “Father Ray will be by tomorrow at some point. She’d asked me to see if he could come by.”
“Thanks for letting me know.” Uh oh, has she remembered shooting Brian? Maybe she just needs to see Father Ray…maybe it’s nothing…God I hope she hasn’t remembered yet, she needs to heal physically first.
As he got to the door Buzz turned back, “Try to get some sleep, good luck with that chair.” Buzz chuckled as he walked away while rubbing the back of his neck.
Now alone again with Natalia, Olivia desperately wanted to wake her friend and tell her about the confrontation with Phillip. Her head had started pounding again and she needed her best friend to hold her hand and tell her everything would be okay.
When did that happen anyway? When did I start needing you so much? Not just help with all of that heart transplant business but just needing ‘you’? I managed just fine before you nosed your way into my life, and now…now I need you like I need the air I breathe. You keep me sane and grounded. Your smile and those dimples…they remind me to smile and be happy when I forget.
Olivia approached the head of the bed and leaned down to whisper in the sleeping woman’s ear, “I need you,” she hesitated before she let out a breath and admitted to herself and Natalia what had been hiding in her heart for some time now “I love you.”
She kissed her friend on the forehead and stepped back toward the ‘torture’ chair as she had begun to think of it. Nope, not gonna fall for that one tonight. Olivia walked around the evil chair and headed to the window, there seemed to be enough of a ledge that she may be able to sit but there was no guarantee it would be more comfortable than her other option.
Sitting on the ledge with her back to the window frame for support, Olivia pulled her knees up so she could wrap her arms around them while watching the steady rise and fall of Natalia’s chest. She leaned her head back against the frame and thought about what Natalia was going to tell Father Ray tomorrow. Did she remember shooting Brian? Did she feel she needed to ask for forgiveness? Did Natalia need someone to confess her feelings to because Olivia hadn’t been here when she had woken up earlier?
Natalia’s forehead creased in sleep and her head turned to the side while she made a noise that sounded like a whimper.
Olivia moved from the ledge and like a shot was at Natalia’s side. She took Natalia’s hand, “Natalia honey? It’s okay you’re just having a bad dream. Shhh.” Olivia caressed the hand she was holding with her own.
Natalia was still caught up in a nightmare that she couldn’t seem to break free from, tears were now rolling from her eyes onto the pillow and she was breathing hard. “If I help him, he won’t hurt you… Emma.”
Olivia wanted it to stop. Please Natalia, not you too. She couldn’t bear it. “Natalia? I want you to wake up. Do you hear me? It’s over now; the bad men are gone okay? Please wake up.”
Natalia’s eyes flew open and her breathing was ragged. Olivia wasn’t sure if she was awake or if this was still a part of her dream.
She squeezed the frightened woman’s hand, “Natalia. It’s Olivia, I’m right here.”
“Olivia?” Searching tear filled brown eyes found green and held on, gradually coming into focus.
Olivia leaned into Natalia’s ear and while stroking her hair to try and calm the upset woman softly spoke, “I’m here, you’re safe. Nobody is going to hurt you.” Olivia assured her friend. “Just calm down.”
Natalia remembered fragments of the nightmare and wished she could just erase them. Looking into Olivia’s eyes she could trust that what she said was true, that she was safe and it was over.
Willing herself to calm down she could now see that Olivia still looked panicked. It’s okay Olivia, I’m fine, please don’t be upset. “Hey, I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“No, no Natalia. You don’t need to be sorry. I’m just worried about you.” With the side of her finger Olivia carefully wiped one of the tears from Natalia’s cheek, while she asked quietly, “Are you okay now?”
Natalia nodded but her eyes still looked sad.
“Could I have some water?” Her throat was feeling much better but just a little dry now.
Reluctantly Olivia released the hand she was holding and reached for the water jug. She poured a little and held it while Natalia drank.
“Mmm thank you. That’s better.” Natalia cleared her throat.
“Is there anything else I can get you?” Olivia wished she could just make everything better.
“No. I’m okay.” Natalia remembered where Olivia had been when she last woke up. “Buzz said you went to see Emma?”
“Yeah. She’s okay. She just really wants to see you. Maybe once we get you settled in a proper room, I could bring her?”
“I need to see her too.” Natalia realized.
Olivia had wanted to so much to tell Natalia about Phillip but from the moment the nightmare began all she cared about was making sure her friend was comfortable and safe.
Where do I start? What do I say? Olivia wanted so much to be here with Natalia but now that they were alone and she was standing over the healing woman, she didn’t know what to do. She’s just woken from a nightmare maybe she doesn’t want to talk about the home invasion.
Natalia looked at Olivia expectantly, waiting for her to say something. Because Natalia didn’t know if she should assume Olivia wanted to talk about last night. Stop just looking at me I don’t know what to say.
Both women could feel the weight of the tension of their unasked questions. Looking into each other’s eyes in unison they smiled and exclaimed; “Banana pancakes!”
Natalia and Olivia broke into a comfortable laughter. Natalia tried to hold back her laughter afraid of the pain that was building with each involuntary convulsion.
“Oh that hurts, and yet still funny.” Natalia managed to say as she tried to stop laughing.
Olivia suddenly concerned stopped her own giggles and continued to hold Natalia’s hand while she watched as the pain appeared to subside for her friend. “Sorry, about that.”
“Olivia, don’t be sorry! I love laughing even if it means it’s going to hurt a bit.”
Now serious, Olivia felt truly sad, “I don’t want you to ever hurt. Especially if it’s because of me.”
Here we go. Natalia knew where this could lead. She’s going to believe this was all her fault and I’ve got to convince her that it wasn’t.
“Just wait Olivia, before you start apologizing that what happened was your fault, I want you to know that I certainly don’t think that. You had nothing to do with them holding us hostage and I don’t want you beating yourself up about it.”
Olivia shyly looked away. “What would make you think that I’m beating myself up about it?”
“Because I know you. You think there was something you could have done differently but ya know what?” Natalia waited for Olivia to look back. “We both did the best we could considering the circumstances. We’ll both have regrets but Olivia I don’t want you thinking this,” Natalia rested her uninjured arm over her wound “was your fault. You saved me.”
Olivia started shaking her head as tears filled her eyes; she backed away from the bed. “Do you even remember everything that happened last night? Buzz said you seemed fuzzy about the details?”
“I remember enough.” Sadly Natalia admitted, “Every time I wake up, there’s more.” Natalia swallowed before taking a deep breath. “He hurt you, he hurt Emma. There was no other way.”
Olivia shook her head and turned toward the window and lowered her head for a moment. But you killed somebody.
Natalia waited for it. She expected it.
When Olivia turned back the tears had started to fall. “No. No I think you were right, if I’d just helped them from the start, things could have turned out differently.”
Natalia watched her friend as she started pacing. She hated this, what did it matter now?
She was about to express that out loud when the door to the room opened.
An overly cheery young nurse walked into the room. “How’s our patient doing?”
“Peachy.” Both Natalia and Olivia replied quietly.
The nurse looked at the women in front of her and thought everything was most definitely not ‘peachy’.
“Well my name is Suzie, and I’ll be your nurse tonight. So if you need anything, just press the call button and if you’re in pain you have the morphine pump on your right there as well,” Leaning down to Natalia conspiratorially she whispered, “but I bet you know the drill.”
Olivia rolled her eyes behind Nurse Susie’s back, while Natalia gave a little smile.
“I need to check and clean the wound then change your dressing so maybe your friend would like to come back in a few minutes?” Indicating to the angry looking woman with her arms folded across her chest.
Olivia stood firm and looked toward Natalia for her answer. “No, that’s fine; I’d like Olivia to stay.”
Suzie gave a thousand watt smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes, “Well alrighty then, why don’t we get started.” Suzie hated the parts of her job where what she was doing to help her patient also caused great pain.
With a kit of sterile equipment in hand, Suzie moved to the edge of the bed and pulled the blanket and Natalia’s hospital gown down to expose the bandages.
As she worked to uncover the wound the happy nurse chirped on about what she was doing or asked questions to distract from her ministrations over the injury.
“So I hear you’re leaving the ICU tomorrow? Dr. Gunn says you’re progressing well, I’m sure you’ll be more comfortable once we get you all settled in a nice room where you can have more visitors and maybe some flowers.”
Natalia was feeling very uncomfortable, even removing the bandage had hurt but she tried to keep the pain from showing. She absently responded, “Yes, I’m sure that will be nice. I didn’t actually know for sure that Dr. Gunn said I could leave the ICU. That’s good news.” For the first time since the procedure started Natalia looked at Olivia, “Right Olivia?”
“What?” Olivia hadn’t been paying any attention to what was being said, she was too busy trying not to throw up or pass out at the sight of the bright red wound, is that puss? She thought she would be fine, having gone through surgeries of her own but somehow seeing the injury marking her skin and watching Natalia battling the pain she could see on her face was nearly too much for the older woman. The last thing she needed was to faint or something, another reason for Rick to plug her back into a heart monitor, next thing she would know she would be having a CT Scan checking that head injury that was pounding like a drum.
“That it’ll be nice for me to get out of the ICU tomorrow?”
“Ah, yeah. Absolutely.”
Natalia watched Olivia. She looks so pale. Wait, she had a head injury. “Olivia, sit down.” If she was going to pass out Natalia didn’t want her to hit her head again.
Olivia absently rubbed the place on her head that connected with the wall and did what she was told and backed up to the window ledge. From this position she couldn’t see everything the nurse was doing but it was probably for the best. Breathe just breathe.
Nurse Suzie turned her head for a brief moment to take in the pale woman leaning against the window ledge. “Just about done here. Everybody okay?”
Absently, Olivia replied, “yeah”. While Natalia, whose pain registered an eleven out of ten now that the nurse had finished cleaning her skin with what felt like steel wool, merely grunted.
“Another minute sweetie.” The nurse reassured.
When Natalia moaned, Olivia was pulled out of her own discomfort and crossed to the bed. She took Natalia’s hand and tried to comfort her friend.
“Hey I’m right here.” Olivia’s eyes never left Natalia’s.
“Oooh, it hurts.”
“I know honey. I know. It’ll be over soon.”
The endearment made nurse Suzie smile and pause briefly. Oh, I get it now, that’s why Lillian told us not to hassle her ‘friend’.
“She done?” Olivia looked at the nurse who seemed to have stopped working.
“Oh, sorry, not yet. Just need to put another dressing on this.”
Long minutes passed until the dressing was secured and the blanket was pulled up to cover Natalia, only now it felt like it weighed a ton.
Suzie pulled out two syringes, “It’s time for more meds as well. So we’ll get some morphine into you and you’ll feel much better soon.”
Natalia nodded as best she could and closed her eyes against the pain while Suzie injected the medication into her IV.
“Okay, I’m going to let you rest, try to get some sleep. Just call if you need anything.” Suzie gave another one of her far too cheery smiles and left Olivia holding Natalia’s hand waiting for the pain medication to kick in.
“I don’t want to fall asleep.” It was said so quietly had Olivia not seen Natalia’s lips move she wouldn’t have known she’d said it.
Olivia began to rub Natalia’s hand with her thumb. “What? Why?”
“The drugs are going to put me to sleep but I… I have dreams and it’s like I’m not sure if what happened in them is real or not and it scares me. Then I wake up and remember more of what really happened but it doesn’t make the bad dream hurt any less.”
Hearing her friend too afraid to want to sleep tore at Olivia’s heart.
Olivia hadn’t spoken, so Natalia continued, “I know it’s silly. I’m a grown woman afraid of a little dream.”
“No,” Olivia interrupted, “it’s completely understandable.” She wasn’t sure if she should admit to Natalia that she wasn’t the only one having nightmares. She didn’t want to have to talk about them with Natalia and she knew the other woman would insist so instead she opted to keep her own secret and just try to help Natalia get through her fear.
“Do you want to talk about your dreams?”
Natalia’s eyes were feeling heavy. “Not really. I don’t know if I can stay awake much longer.”
“Well, you know I’m here if and when you want to talk about them but I’m not going to push you.”
“Thank you.” Natalia’s eyes started to close but she wasn’t ready quite yet.
“You should go to The Beacon and sleep. I’ll be okay.” Natalia didn’t really want Olivia to leave but she also couldn’t ask her exhausted friend to stay another minute, Olivia was always pushing herself too hard and she didn’t want her neglecting her health.
With a knowing smile Olivia leaned down to kiss Natalia on the forehead before she whispered in the Latina’s ear. “It’s okay. Just go to sleep. I’ll be right here; we’ll get through those bad dreams together. I’m not going anywhere.” And because she couldn’t help herself, she kissed the dimple on the fading woman’s cheek before she straightened and contemplated whether she should attempt to sit in the ‘torture chair’ or move back to the window ledge. The question was answered for her when the hand she was holding reflexively squeezed hers and held her more tightly. Good ol’ ‘torture chair’ it is.
To be continued...