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 ) ( Part 46 ) ( Part 47 ) ( Part 48 ) ( Part 49 )
Rick found Dr. Edwards in the hallway speaking to a nurse; he waited until the young woman in pastel scrubs walked away before he approached his colleague, “Mark?”
The older man turned back, “Rick? What can I do for you?”
“I think the question is, what can I do for you? I think you’re tending to one of my patients, Olivia Spencer.”
“I am, I’m still waiting on her blood work to see if she’s had a heart attack. Is there anything I should know about her?”
“I’ve known her for a long time. She’s a heart transplant patient… and… well let’s just say she’s a challenge.”
“I see.” Dr Edwards understandingly nodded.
“Do you mind if I look in on her?”
“Of course not,” Dr Edwards directed Rick to Olivia’s room, “I’ll just be a few minutes, I have another patient to check on then I’ll be back to see if we have any results for her.”
Rick nodded and entered the exam room he had seen Olivia in many times before. Taking in the room with a doctor’s eye he evaluated the various apparatus and monitors before lowering his gaze to the woman on the bed. Her eyes were closed but her breathing seemed even and approaching the bed, he reached out and took the apparently sleeping woman’s hand, “Olivia?”
Green eyes blinked open, “Rick?” she groaned.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to say it, not yet anyway but just know that it’s coming.” I’ll say, ‘I told you so’ when I know you’re okay.
Whatever Rick, I really don’t want to hear it right now. “Natalia?”
“She’s in the waiting room with Jeffrey and Reva.”
“Are you in any pain?”
She shook her head in response, “Natalia didn’t need this.”
“Neither did you. Wanna tell me what happened?”
Before or after I got drunk, pushed Natalia, passed out and had the worst nightmare of my life? “Not much to tell, I panicked and suddenly my chest felt like it was being crushed.”
Well that’s not the whole story. “Okay, well Dr. Edwards is just waiting for some results then we can tell you if it was in fact a heart attack. How are you feeling now?”
“Why don’t you close your eyes and rest, I’m going to see if Dr Edwards is back yet and see if he has any more results then I’ll go and talk to Natalia. Do you want me to bring her to see you?”
Of course I do but can I face her? Yeah. “If she wants to come back Rick then yes bring her in.”
If she wants to? “Alright, I’ll just be a few minutes, you hang tight.”
Olivia closed her eyes after she watched Rick leave. God I hope this isn’t all starting again, I barely survived the transplant thanks to my guilt over Gus’s heart but I finally see the gift I’ve been given, time with my girls… time with Natalia… Even after all that’s happened, in spite of all that’s happened, I want to live more than ever. “Please God, I know I’ve asked for a lot this week already.” Olivia opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling. “I want to be here, I want to see Emma grow up, I want to be the mom to Ava I always should have been. And Natalia? I don’t know what’s happening between us here but I want to let it continue, I have to see where it’s going. Please God, I’m not ready for this to be over.”
Olivia squeezed her eyes shut and began to cry as she whispered, “Not yet. Not this time.”
Rick had spoken with Dr Edwards after his visit to Olivia, although he didn’t feel he had gained much information yet, he felt it was important to speak to Natalia and take her back to the exam room as quickly as possible to support her friend. Olivia was naturally bound to be frightened but he was concerned with everything that had happened recently the possibility of a heart attack on top of it all might send her into a depression which she couldn’t mentally afford right now. Rick knew the one person who could help re-balance her mental state was Natalia… her roommate… her best friend.
When Rick entered the waiting room area he saw Natalia leaning her head on Jeffrey’s shoulder while Reva held her hand.
All three looked up as Rick approached, “I saw her.”
“Is she okay?” Natalia asked.
“We’re still trying to determine if it was a heart attack. You’ll be happy to know that she seems calm and she’s breathing okay now, she’s just incredibly tired. “
“Can I see her?”
Rick smiled, “How did I know you were going to ask? How about I grab you a wheelchair and take you back?”
“I can walk.”
I don’t know about that. “Just give me this one okay?” Rick walked to the entrance and took one of the wheelchairs left for patients coming into the ER, returned to collect Natalia and with a flourish said, “Your chariot awaits.”
Smiling, Natalia reluctantly let Jeffrey help her into the chair, “I don’t really need this you know?”
“Of course not but why not take a ride when you can get it? We’ll be right here if you need us.” Jeffery responded.
Rick pushed Natalia through security and down the long hallway toward Olivia’s room. “Is she in that same room?” Natalia asked with surprise in her voice.
“Yep, I think we need to rename it the ‘Olivia Spencer Suite’.”
Natalia shook her head and laughed quietly.
The door to the room was closed and Natalia could envision her friend on the bed, surrounded by steadily beeping monitors. Against her will, tears sprang to her eyes and she took a breath to prepare herself to go in. You can do this Natalia, just like always.
Rick paused, “Are you okay? Are you ready to go in?”
With a quick nod of her head Natalia let out a breath and prepared to confront the reality of what she would see when she entered the room. She’ll be hooked up to all of those heart monitors again, won’t she?
Her question was answered as Rick pushed her past the threshold: IV, blood pressure, nasal cannula, heart monitors… I hate this… seeing you like this scares me. I don’t want us to have to go through this again.
Olivia’s head turned toward the door as Natalia and Rick entered.
“If you two are okay, I’ll be back in a bit.”
Olivia looked over at Natalia with a worried look on her face. “We’re fine,” Olivia answered. I hope.
Natalia pushed the brake into place and because she didn’t want Olivia to analyze the wheelchair too much, she got up to move over to the bed.
“How are you feeling? You scared the heck out of me.”
Olivia sighed, “I’m sorry for that.”
Natalia took Olivia’s hand, “It’s okay, it just frightened me.” Natalia swallowed around the growing lump in her throat as she fought the urge to cry at seeing Olivia back in this room, “Really though, how are you? Your colour is definitely coming back.”
“Feeling much better, they gave me some medication to help me relax; I’m just really tired now. They… they still don’t know if it was a heart attack.”
Natalia tenderly brushed the hair from Olivia’s forehead, “Why don’t you close your eyes and we’ll just wait quietly for the doctor?” Oh honey, you’re so scared, I can hear it in your voice and see it on your face.
Olivia’s green eyes locked onto the brown watery ones looking down at her. “I’m so sorry for this.”
Natalia sighed to contain the exasperation she felt at yet another apology, “You don’t have to be sorry, just be okay.” Natalia bent down and kissed Olivia’s forehead and whispered, “Close your eyes, rest.”
The hand Natalia held squeezed hers so she pulled back enough to look into Olivia’s eyes and reassured, “I’m not going anywhere.” To reinforce her words, Natalia reached over and pulled up a chair next to the bed, stifling the groan that sprang to her lips as her own injury made itself known, “You’re stuck with me no matter what.”
Olivia noticed how awkwardly Natalia moved, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” Natalia lied with a smile.
Although Olivia didn’t believe her she couldn’t keep her eyes open, though she tried and as her breathing deepened her last thoughts were, sometimes I don’t know why you stay with me Natalia but I thank God that you do.
Natalia watched Olivia’s eyes close and hoped that her friend might have a dreamless sleep. The dream prompted this episode, whatever happened may very well have given you a heart attack and I won’t let this happen again, not if I can help it.
Time in the ‘Olivia Spencer Suite’ passed slowly while Natalia waited for word from the doctors. Olivia had been sleeping quietly for close to an hour and Natalia was grateful for every moment. I’m glad you’re sleeping Olivia, you need that more than anything. Natalia shifted and couldn’t help the pained sound that escaped. I’m going to be sore tomorrow but it’ll be worth it as long as I can stay here with you. I just hope I’m going to be able to get some sleep too or I won’t be of much use to you.
Finally, a short time later both Dr. Edwards and Rick entered the room with grim looks on their faces.
Rick introduced Natalia to Dr. Edwards. “Natalia, this is Dr. Edwards, he’s been taking care of Olivia tonight.”
“Doctor, it’s good to meet you. Have you found out what’s going on?”
“Natalia, can we speak with you for a moment before we wake Olivia up?”
Natalia’s heart began to race, “Um… sure.”
“Let’s just move out in the hallway for a moment.” Rick stood behind the wheelchair. “Hop in.”
Rick raised his eyebrow.
“Okay fine.” Natalia reluctantly sat down with Rick’s help before the three of them moved just outside Olivia’s door.
Without ceremony Rick said, “Olivia’s drinking, I assume you’re aware of it?”
Natalia closed her eyes and tipped her head back, she didn’t want to betray Olivia’s trust but she needed to be honest with Rick, how else could they help her? “Yes, she got drunk tonight… before you ask, no it wasn’t the first time…” Natalia lowered her eyes both embarrassed at the confession and at her perceived betrayal. “I don’t even know if she realized how much she was drinking but I think she passed out from it.” I never really considered how much she drinks or how often…
Rick nodded sympathetically. “Her blood work shows the balance of her fatty acids is off the scales… as is her blood alcohol level, they’re far too high for someone in her condition. Between her heart and the concussion, not to mention the stress of recent events, I’m not surprised she’s had an episode.”
“An episode? You mean it wasn’t a heart attack?” Thank God but what caused all of this?
“No, not this time it wasn’t. What Olivia experienced was a panic attack they can manifest much the same way.”
Natalia’s eyes closed in relief, “Thank God.”
“She was lucky but that much alcohol is going to affect her, the fact is her heart can’t take this much stress. I know how she’s going to react and I think you do too. She’ll play it off like it’s no big deal but Natalia it’s important that we try to help her before she does some real damage.”
“You expect me to be able to tell her not to drink?”
Rick shrugged, “Well I can’t make her take my advice but she listens to you more than anyone. I don’t expect miracles but it’s important that we all understand the severity of that much drinking.”
“I understand Rick, I do… I’ll do whatever I can to help her, I just want her healthy.”
“Then we want the same thing.” Rick smiled his encouragement. “Why don’t we go in, wake her up and give her news, then we’re going to keep her overnight for observation.”
Natalia let out a relieved breath and sagged a little in the chair.
“Hey, you okay?” Rick bent down to look Natalia in the eye and studied her face with a physician’s perspective.
Natalia nodded and forced a smile, “I’m okay… sore and worried but I’ll be fine, really. I’d like to get back to Olivia, thank you Rick, Dr. Edwards.”
Rick put his hand on her arm, “You need to make sure you take care of yourself too Natalia.”
“I will, I promise.”
“Olivia? You need to wake up.” Rick stood over the sleeping woman, he hated to wake her when she seemed to be sleeping so peacefully but they needed to talk.
Green eyes blinked open and took a moment to focus on three faces staring back at her. She found the one she wanted to look at the most and gazed into the brown eyes she recognized so well, “Natalia?”
“Hi honey, the doctors have something they want to talk to you about. I’ll be right here.”
Olivia’s forehead knit as she looked over at Rick, “Am I okay?”
“Yes and no. Fortunately it wasn’t a heart attack, what you experienced was a panic attack. “
“Oh… well… that’s… good news, I guess?” The look on Rick’s face made her question how good this news really was.
“It is, we’re going to keep you in overnight but you’re going to be fine. I do want to talk about your blood work however.”
Oh here we go. Just leave me alone about the drinking Rick.
“Your levels are a problem Olivia.”
Olivia turned away to look at the wall.
“Hey,” Rick said, “look at me.” When Olivia reluctantly looked back he continued, “I know that you’re aware of it, you’re not a naïve woman but you’re making some bad choices Olivia and between your heart and your head you’re playing a very dangerous game.”
Olivia lay there quietly until finally Rick raised his voice and asked, “You hear what I’m saying right? You want to be here for your daughters and Natalia, don’t you?”
Olivia tilted her head to the side, “That’s dirty Rick… Of course I do! I’m fine, you don’t need to worry.”
Rick shook his head as he let out an exasperated breath, “You’re not fine or you wouldn’t be here.” Olivia started to turn away again, “I’m not joking Olivia, this is damn serious, no drinking. Not a glass of wine or martini, nothing. You don’t need anything else messing with your head and you certainly don’t need the additional stress on your heart.”
“No Olivia, this isn’t up for debate, no drinking.”
“I hear you Rick.”
“Do you? I just hope you do or next time it may be something more than a panic attack.”
Olivia let out an annoyed sigh.
Natalia fought the urge to stand up for Olivia and tell the doctor to leave her alone but Rick had to give her the medical implications because in the end it was for her own good. Besides, hadn't she just agreed they were on the same page?
Seeing this discussion was aggravating his patient, Dr Edwards chose that moment to speak up in order to break the tension, “Why don’t you try to go back to sleep, we’ll monitor you all night and see where we’re at the in the morning when I expect we’ll release you.”
“Thank you,” Olivia addressed both doctors though she felt like she had been chastised like a child.
Taking that as his cue to leave Olivia so she could rest Rick said, “I guess I should let you sleep.”
Natalia was glad that the doctors were going to leave them alone; it would give her time to find out how Olivia felt. Suddenly she remembered Jeffrey and Reva in the waiting room, “Oh Rick, would you mind letting Jeffrey and Reva know what’s going on? I don’t want them to sit here all night if they don’t need to.”
“Jeffrey and Reva are still here?” Olivia groaned as she rolled her eyes.
“You may not remember but I called Jeffrey,” Natalia flashed a dimpled smile in apology, “they came right away.”
Olivia sighed, “Great.” I would rather everyone doesn’t know about this, I really don't want Emma to find out.
“Okay I’m going to go, as always call me if you need anything and yes Natalia I will go let them know what’s going on so they can go home if they want.” Rick gave Natalia a hug and squeezed Olivia’s hand, looked into her eyes and added, “I’m glad you’re okay, let’s keep it that way.” Just as Rick reached the door he called back to Olivia, “I’ll check in with you soon, night ladies.”
“Thank you.” Natalia said sincerely to their friend as he left.
Meanwhile, Dr. Edwards began removing Olivia’s nasal cannula. “Your sats look good so you won’t need this now, I’ll have the nurse bring in some water, your throat is probably a little dry from the oxygen. We’ll keep you on the rest of the monitors tonight and I’ll check on you a little later.”
Natalia watched him leave as well before she stood up from the wheelchair and resumed her seat on the chair in the room next to Olivia. Now alone in the little room Natalia hoped Olivia might be willing to let down the walls she had erected for her doctors. Looking down at Olivia, Natalia noted just how worn out and confused her friend appeared but also, beyond all that, how beautiful, “How are you?”
“I’m okay... but a panic attack?” Olivia shook her head, “That’s just not me.”
“Olivia, maybe it’s not you but circumstances are a little beyond our control right now.”
Olivia’s eyes filled with tears. I thought I was going to die and there was nothing I could do. My girls… all three of my girls… I’m not ready... I need… I need that control back.
Natalia took Olivia’s hand in both of hers. “Oh sweetheart, hey it’s a panic attack it’s not your heart, there was no permanent damage done. This is good.”
Olivia shook her head as she sniffed.
“What’s wrong? You’d rather it was a heart attack?”
“No… no… I don’t know, it’s like it’s more in my head than anything physical. At least if it were physical it would mean I wasn’t going crazy.”
Natalia shook her head, “You’re not going crazy and lots of people have panic attacks.” Natalia put her hand on the side of Olivia’s cheek and looked deeply in her eyes, “I’m not going to lose you over this Olivia, not now.” Not after what I did.
Olivia saw something in Natalia’s eyes, something that made her own breath stall in mid release, a ferocity she wasn’t expecting. She could only turn her eyes away, nod her head and weakly whisper, “Okay.”
Natalia let go of Olivia’s cheek and leaned back to ask her next question, though she was fairly certain how the discussion would play out.
“What about what Rick said? The ‘no drinking’?”
Olivia let out a light chuckle, “You know how much I love a good lecture.”
“I’m not talking about the lecture; I’m talking about the message.”
“I heard the message Natalia.”
“And that’s it?”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
Natalia tried to read Olivia’s face. So you’re embarrassed, you can’t even look me in the eye right now and you don’t want to talk about the drinking. Well that’s fine but I’m sure that’s not the end of it.
Rick walked back out into the waiting room and spotted Jeffrey and Reva in the same position as he had left them earlier.
He sat down next to them and explained the situation.
“So it was a panic attack?” Jeffrey questioned. “I’m a little surprised but certainly thankful it wasn’t anything more.”
“Yeah, she’s lucky. I know it scared them both but maybe it’ll help Olivia in the end, make her realize she needs to make some better choices for her health.” Rick avoided mentioning the drinking as it wasn’t his place to say anything but by the look on Reva’s face, she knew exactly what he was talking about.
“Well I should go home and get some sleep. Natalia just asked me to let you know in case you wanted to go home yourselves.”
“Thanks Rick for everything.” Jeffrey shook the doctor’s hand and wished him a good night.
“Well what do you think? Should we stay?” Reva asked Jeffrey as they watched Rick walk away.
“Let’s leave them for tonight, they’ll probably just sleep. I’ll come back in the morning and make sure they get home okay,” Jeffrey reasoned.
“Sounds good to me,” Reva said as she stood up and stretched. “What do you say you take me home and give me a nice massage?”
Jeffrey laughed quietly, “And what do I get in return?”
“Oh I’m sure we can find something.” Reva winked and led her husband toward the exit to the parking lot.To be continued...