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 ) ( Part 18 ) ( Part 19 ) ( Part 20 ) ( Part 21 ) ( Part 22 ) ( Part 23 ) ( Part 24 ) ( Part 25 ) ( Part 26 ) ( Part 27 ) ( Part 28 ) ( Part 29 ) ( Part 30 ) ( Part 31 ) ( Part 32 ) ( Part 33 ) ( Chapter 34 ) ( Part 35 ) ( Part 36 ) ( Part 37 ) ( Part 38 ) ( Part 39 ) ( Part 40 ) ( Part 41 ) ( Part 42 ) ( Part 43 ) ( Part 44 ) ( Part 45 )
Olivia sat in her parking spot at The Beacon with her hands on the steering wheel. The car was turned off and there was no reason to be sitting there but she couldn’t bring herself to go inside. The ‘session’ with Reva had been mentally and physically exhausting and her head was splitting since the morning’s Tylenol had long since worn off. Adjusting her rearview mirror so she could see her reflection, Olivia removed her sunglasses and noted the red rimmed, weary green eyes looking back at her; her make-up washed away in a torrent of tears.
Tilting her head sideways to examine the fading bruise she winced at the touch, “Go away,” Olivia whispered. I look like shit. Scratch that; I feel like shit, I just look like I’ve been to hell and back. ‘Sounds about right… I feel like I could sleep for a week but I can’t even risk a nap right now, Emma should be here soon if she isn’t already.
Surprised to find that it was almost four, Olivia realized she had spent a great deal of time with Reva. Who would have thought I’d go to Reva for help, much less that she would actually want to help me? Olivia smiled as she remembered how they had actually had a good chat after all of the business with the dream was over. I didn’t even know that Reva enjoyed scrap booking. That woman has a ton of pictures of Jeffrey…I mean a scary amount. Despite the friendly conversation, Olivia wished she were home with Natalia and Emma. Yet here she was and she couldn’t bring herself to go in because she knew that Natalia would spot her exhaustion the second she walked into the room and question her until she broke.
Olivia had delayed as long as she could, she replaced her sunglasses on her face to hide her eyes, then opened the car door, picked up the ‘Barnes & Noble’ bag that held Natalia’s book, glad she had stopped to pick it up on the way to Cross Creek rather than wait until after her talk with Reva, and headed toward the entrance for a quick stop in the bathroom to clean up her face before going to her room.
“I’m all in!” declared Natalia with a smile on her face as she pushed all of her pennies into the centre of the table.
“Oh I fold,” Buzz threw his cards down in a show of frustration. “What are you gonna do Miss. Emma?”
“I call,” the little girl pushed in all of her pennies.
When the cards were revealed Emma jumped up and squealed, “I won again!”
Buzz looked at Natalia, “And I thought you were the shark?”
Natalia smiled, “Who do you think taught Emma?”
“Can we play again?” Emma asked hopefully.
“Oh Em, I think Buzz is played out. How about you draw him a picture to take home to thank him for playing with us?”
“Okay.” Emma happily ran over to the desk and pulled out a sheet of construction paper and her markers and began to work on a picture for Buzz.
“Hell of a poker face, that kid,” Buzz commented as he nodded toward Emma.
Natalia laughed, “I think she gets that from her mother.”
Buzz began to gather up the cards and put them back in the box. “Deadly combination, poker face from Olivia and skills from you. Give her another few years and she’ll have to join the poker tour and make some real money.”
“Somehow I don’t think that’s what Olivia has in mind for her daughter. Business school yes but poker tour… umm… probably not.”
Natalia watched him put the pack of cards into his pocket, looked over at the clock and toward the door in a motion which was becoming increasingly repetitive. The looks hadn’t gone unnoticed by Buzz, “You okay there?”
“Oh yeah, I’m fine.” Natalia turned back toward Buzz after glancing at Emma, “Buzz, I’m not sure when Olivia is expected home and I don’t want to hold you up. I didn’t realize how late it was.” Where are you Olivia? Are you okay? “I know that you need to get ready for the dinner rush, I’m sure Olivia should be back anytime.”
“Company won’t fall apart without me, I’m not in any rush I’m just out of pennies,” Buzz offered.
At the mention of money Emma looked up from her drawings and smiled.
“Yeah, you just get back to your drawing there little lady,” Buzz directed at Emma who giggled and got back to work. He leaned forward toward Natalia and said quietly, “What about Emma?”
Natalia paused before responding. What about Emma? Would she be able to take care of her without Olivia? Decision made she answered, “Emma and I will be fine, won’t we honey?”
“Yeah.” Emma quietly responded, while diligently working on her picture for Buzz.
“No. I have my orders and I intend to follow through. Plus, other than losing almost every poker hand, I’m having a great time.” He watched Natalia shift in the chair across from him and noticed her wince. “Hey kiddo, do you want to lay down for a bit? You haven’t rested much since your walk.”
“No.” Natalia shook her head and she looked over toward Emma. “I’m fine where I am thanks.”
Three sets of eyes suddenly turned toward the sound of the door opening as Olivia walked in. “Hey everyone.”
“Mommy!” Emma dropped her marker in mid stroke and raced across the room throwing herself into her mother’s arms.
Olivia barely had time to drop her purse and the ‘Barnes & Noble’ bag to catch her excited child. “Jellybean!” She hugged Emma tightly and kissed her cheeks, neck and head before she told her that she loved her and let her go. Whoa, I needed that.
Buzz and Natalia glanced at each other both thinking that something didn’t seem right.
“Well that’s some greeting,” Buzz observed. “If I come running at you like that…”
“You’ll get hit,” Olivia interrupted.
“Gotcha.” Buzz made a mental note not to do that.
Olivia picked up the book and her purse and walked over to Natalia. She deposited the book on the table, put her hand on Natalia’s cheek, bent down and kissed her on the top of her head. “How are you?” She asked with concern in her voice.
“A little tired but otherwise fine.” Something’s wrong, her headache for sure but she looks wiped out. Natalia looked over at Emma and found her to be intently working on her picture again and paying no attention to them whatsoever so she quietly asked, “Are you okay? Where did you go?”
“We’ll talk about it later,” Olivia answered before turning to look at Buzz. “So how was the poker lesson?”
“Ha! I suspect you know how that went. I got schooled! And not just by Natalia, your kid took all my pennies.”
Emma walked around the desk toward Buzz with her finished picture in hand, “Oh Uncle Buzz, if you want your pennies back, you can have them. I have lots in my piggy bank.”
“No sweetie, you won those, fair and square. You keep ‘em, okay?”
“Yay!” Handing her picture to the man she added, “I made this for you, it’s you, me and Natalia playing cards.”
“Oh I see that, now what are all those brown dots in front of you?’ Buzz asked the child.
“All my pennies!” Emma burst out laughing. “See they’re just in front of me and not you or Natalia because I won.”
The three adults couldn’t help but laugh. Buzz shook his head, “Well I’m going to practice up and then we’ll play again, okay?”
“Okay.” Emma answered.
“Thank you for my picture, how about a hug?” Buzz hugged Emma and then stood up to say goodbye to the women.
“Okay I’m getting out of here before I lose anything else. Unless you need me?” He offered.
“We’re fine.” Olivia answered as she hugged him. “Thanks again. Would you be free tomorrow afternoon at the same time?”
Both Buzz and Natalia studied Olivia before he answered, “Ah, yeah but we’ll have to find something else to play.” Bending down he kissed Natalia on the cheek. “Anything in particular that you’re not good at?”
Natalia smiled, “Lots of things but you’ll have to find out on your own.”
“Oh thanks. I’m out of here. Have a nice evening girls.” And with a wave he left the women.
After watching Buzz leave Olivia sat down in the chair he had vacated and patted her lap. “Come here Jellybean. I need a little cuddle.”
Emma climbed up on her mother’s lap and curled into her. Olivia wrapped her arms around her daughter, rested her cheek on Emma’s head and closing her eyes she breathed in her baby’s scent as she gently began to rock her.
Natalia watched the pair, normally when she saw Olivia this affectionate with Emma she would smile and remember the days when she would cuddle Rafe like that but it was clear that something wasn’t right with Olivia. It has something to do with where you’ve been for the last three hours. I wish I could ask you but I’ll wait until Emma goes home with Jane, somehow I think it’s not going to be an easy explanation for you.
Olivia’s Blackberry began to ring from inside her purse. Natalia awkwardly reached for the purse so that Olivia didn’t have to break her hold on Emma. “Do you mind?” Natalia asked Olivia who shook her head, no. Natalia answered the phone, “Hello? Olivia Spencer’s phone.”
Olivia watched as Natalia listened to the voice on the other end.
“Oh hi Phillip, how are you?”
At the sound of her daddy’s name Emma pulled back from her mothers’ arms and sat up straight, “Daddy?”
“Yes they’re both right here actually; I’ll give the phone to Olivia.”
“I want to talk to daddy!” Emma cried from her position on Olivia’s lap.
“In just a second Em.” Olivia accepted the phone from Natalia, “Phillip, what can I do for you?”
Olivia listened for a moment then moved to get up, easing Emma off her lap. She stood and walked toward the other room as she said, “Oh I don’t know Phillip, that’s a lot.”
Natalia focused on Emma while Olivia closed the door to speak to Emma’s father.
“So honey, what are you going to have for dinner tonight?”
Emma’s attention turned to Natalia and she shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know.”
Natalia watched as the child climbed up onto the chair across from her. She looks sad. “What’s wrong sweetie?”
“If I can’t stay with you and mommy, why can’t I stay with daddy? I like Jane and we have fun but I don’t understand because I have fun with daddy too.”
With a look toward the closed door Natalia shook her head slightly. Olivia, you should be here, this isn’t a question that I should be answering. “Well first and foremost, your mommy and I love you very, very much and you’re going to be back with us soon.” At that Emma smiled a little.
“And the reason that you’re not staying with your daddy, although I’m sure he’d love it because he adores you, is just that Jane knows your schedule and she knows the things you like to eat and play. And it’s not that daddy can’t learn those things but right now we just don’t want you to have any more changes than you need.” It sounded like a cop out and a bunch of baloney but it was better than the other more truthful response of ‘Honey, your mommy just doesn’t trust that your daddy won’t kidnap you again.’
Natalia watched as Emma thought about what she had said.
“Because of the bad men,” Emma said as she lowered her head.
“Emma?” Natalia looked at the child with concern. Natalia had been aware that just like her mother, Emma hadn’t talked much about the home invasion and she wanted to encourage her to continue. Natalia stood, ignoring the pain, and took the child’s hand leading them to the bed. “Hop up there.” Emma climbed up onto the bed as Natalia asked, “What do you mean?” Natalia sat next to Emma on the edge of the bed with her hand on her back.
Emma drew her knees up to her chest and spoke quietly, “I can’t live with you and mommy because the bad men hurt you and you aren’t all better yet.”
Natalia paused and tried to think of something to say. But it’s the truth…”Well that’s true Emma.”
“It’s not fair and I don’t like it.” Emma pouted as she crossed her arms over her chest.
“No sweetie, it’s not fair.” Natalia watched Emma for a moment. The little girl seemed lost in thought, “Honey, is there something bothering you?”
Emma dropped her hands and lowered her head as she shyly asked, “Natalia did they shoot you because I had to go pee?”
Natalia’s eyes went wide. Oh my God. Is that what you think? She took Emma’s face in her hands to force the child to look into her eyes. Emphatically Natalia said, “No. Nothing about this was your fault. Don’t you ever think that. They were bad men and they did bad things and nothing you or your mommy or I did made them do those things.”
“Mommy is sad.”
You picked up on that too eh? “I know baby.”
“I don’t want her to be sad.”
Emma looked hopeful, “Maybe we can go back to the farmhouse, mommy’s always a lot more happy there.”
I hope some day that’ll be true again. Natalia gave a sad smile and answered honestly, “Well, we have to fix some things before we can go back there.”
Emma’s face fell. “Okay. Then what can we do to make mommy happy here?”
“We can give her lots of hugs and kisses and tell her that we love her.”
“And chocolate!” Emma exclaimed.
Natalia chuckled and she pulled Emma into a hug, “You are the most amazing little girl in the world, did you know that?”
Emma giggled, “Yes, ‘cuz you and mommy tell me that all the time.”
“Well, that’s because it’s true.” Natalia squeezed Emma a little harder.
“I love you Natalia.” Emma laughed as she thought, maybe I can make Natalia happy too if I give her hugs and kisses and tell her I love her.
“I love you too Emma.”
As Natalia and Emma were hugging, the door to the second bedroom opened and Olivia emerged, she looked at them questioningly. What did I miss? She walked over and sat on the other side of Emma. “Your daddy asked if you wanted to stay with him this weekend.”
Natalia looked over at Olivia with a look of surprise on her face. Are you okay with that?
“Yay! Can I?” Emma looked between Olivia and Natalia.
Natalia answered, “If your mommy says it’s okay…”
Olivia found Natalia’s eyes watching her intently. “Yes baby, you can stay with daddy.” She looked back down at Emma. “He’ll pick you up here soon and take you to Jane’s to get some things. She’s going to put some clothes together for you and a couple of your books.”
Emma launched herself at Olivia, “Thank you mommy.” She hugged and kissed Olivia and said, “I love you,” before looking back at Natalia with a smile and a wink.
Natalia chuckled and winked back.
Olivia and Natalia watched as hand in hand Phillip walked Emma toward the elevator. Natalia put her hand on Olivia’s tense lower back and reminded her that it was just for two days and he had agreed to call three times a day.
They walked back into the room, Olivia now supporting Natalia, and moved to the bed to let the injured woman sit after she had been insistent about seeing Emma off at the door.
After getting Natalia settled, Olivia asked, “Can I get you anything?”
“Sit down Olivia, we need to talk.”
Oh great here it comes, time to tell her about Reva. Olivia did as she was told and sat next to Natalia on the bed.
“While you were on the phone with Phillip Emma had some questions.”
What? Oh yes it did seem like they had been talking about something when I came out of the room. “Is she okay?” Concern was evident in her voice.
“She’s worried about a few things. She doesn’t understand why she isn’t staying with her father if she can’t stay with us. I’m really glad you’re letting her stay with Phillip this weekend, it’ll help her.”
Olivia grew more concerned, “What else did she say?” And why do you look like you’re about to cry?
Natalia fought the tears that threatened to escape. “She knows that you’re sad and she wants to help you.”
Olivia closed her eyes and swallowed the growing lump in her throat as she felt yet another wave of guilt wash over her and sighed as Natalia continued, “She believes that the reason she can’t stay with us is because of the bad men…and …Olivia she asked me if the bad men hurt me because she had to go pee?”
“What?!” Olivia stood and began to pace as she thought about this. “So ultimately she thinks the reason she’s not staying with us is because she made them angry and they hurt you for it?”
Natalia sniffed and nodded her head as the tears fell.
The thought that her baby felt responsible for what had happened to Natalia threatened to break her heart into a million pieces.
Through her own tears she asked, “What did you tell her?”
“That it wasn’t her fault! That nothing any of us did made those bad men do those things.” Natalia put her hand to her mouth, “I didn’t know what to say, I just wanted to hug her and make it all go away.”
Oh sweetheart, if only that would work… Olivia walked to the bed and sat down next to Natalia and pulled her into her arms. “I’m so sorry you had to deal with that on your own.”
Natalia shook her head against Olivia’s chest. “I’m happy to talk to her about anything Olivia, I just hate that she feels that way and I don’t know if what I said made it through to her.”
Olivia let go of Natalia and lifted her Blackberry, dialing a number on speed dial and waited for the other end to answer. “Rick. I need a referral.” There was a hesitation, “No not for me, for Emma.” Her voice cracked on her daughter’s name. “I think she needs to talk to someone who can help her work through this because I’m not sure how to help her.”
Natalia watched as Olivia wrote down the information she was getting from Rick. Good for you Olivia, you’ll do anything for Emma. I just wish you’d ask him who you could talk to for this.
Olivia disconnected the call and immediately called the number Rick had provided her with, it was nearly five and she wasn’t sure the office would still be open. When the call was answered she made an appointment for next week with the psychiatrist Rick had suggested.
When she was finished she filled Natalia in. “She’s got an appointment on Tuesday at three with Dr. Felicia Boudreau.”
“Remy’s mother?” Natalia observed.
“Yeah, Rick said she’s really good with children so we should give her a try.”
With adults too or so I’ve heard, I see what you’re doing Rick and thank you. You think if you can get Olivia in there she might open up too. “My check up is around that time too, isn’t it?
“Yep, we’ll pick Emma up at school and get you both to the hospital for your appointments.”
“Okay good.” Natalia hesitated unsure if she should ask or not but realizing she wanted to know the answer to the following question and since she wouldn’t be able to stay awake much longer with her growing exhaustion after the days emotion, it was now or never. “So why don’t you order something for dinner and while we wait for it you tell me where you went today and where you’re going again tomorrow at the same time?”
To be continued...