( 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 ) ( Part 50 ) ( Read more... )
Olivia stood under the shower spray as she considered the last few hours, from waking up to that terrible nightmare, the panic attack and the comfortable but scary familiarity of lying with Natalia so close. Damn it! Olivia slapped her hands against the shower wall. What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I just ‘get over it’ so I can concentrate on the good things like whatever seems to be growing between Natalia and I? The voice in the back of her mind screamed, ‘because you’ve been here before, and you know how it doesn't just end and you don't just 'get over it'.’
Olivia took the time to wash her hair and scrub the feeling of hospital off her body before she exited the shower and still frustrated roughly dried off and pulled a robe around her.
She came out of the bathroom to find Natalia sitting up in bed wearing her sweat pants. She didn’t even try to hide the smile that sprang to her lips. Her frustration abated as she looked at her friend and thought about how wonderful it felt waking up with her and hearing her contented 'mmm'. I think I could have kissed you… You’ve been the best part of my day for sure. “Are you stealing my clothes now?”
Natalia looked over at the fresh looking woman, “Yep, didn’t think you’d mind.”
“You’re welcome to anything of mine.” Oh that sounded dirty, hope she doesn’t take it that way… or maybe…
“Thank you, I think right now I need your bathroom.” Natalia scooted off the bed and made a mad dash leaving Olivia shaking her head and smiling.
Olivia was just pulling a t-shirt on when Natalia came out of the bathroom with a sigh. “That’s better.” Looking at what Olivia had chosen to wear she commented, “I see you’ve gone for a matching ensemble.”
“That’s right.” Olivia was dressed in a pair of navy sweats and a white t-shirt proudly sporting ‘The Beacon’ logo. “I have a feeling sleep will be the main thing on the agenda for today so why not be comfortable?”
There was a quiet knock at the door.
“That would be breakfast. Why don’t you have a seat, I hope you’re hungry?”
Olivia did as she was told and sat down in a chair while Natalia answered the door and admitted the porter with their cart. “Thanks Anthony. How’s your wife and little girl, Sophia?”
“Very well Miss. Rivera, Sophia was just in her second grade play at school, she played a carrot.”
“I’m sure she was adorable, I expect pictures next time I see you.”
“Oh we only took about a hundred, I’m sure I can find one or two for you.”
“Perfect, you have a great day Anthony, give that little girl a hug for me and tell Maria I said hello.”
Natalia closed the door and turned back to Olivia.
“What?” Natalia asked at the look on Olivia’s face.
“I had no idea he had a wife and kid.”
“Well I worked more closely with him when I was a maid. He’s a really good man and his daughter, oh Olivia she reminds me of Emma, she’s just so full of beans.”
Olivia laughed briefly then got quiet. Emma.
Natalia put Olivia’s breakfast on the table in front of her and noticed that the older woman’s green eyes looked sad.
Sitting down and taking a bite of her own omelet Natalia asked, “Are you okay, you got quiet?”
“Hmm? It’s nothing just… I don’t know, things have been crazy lately but…”Olivia picked her omelet apart with her fork as she put her thoughts into words, “I know I've said this before but I really want Emma here, with us. After yesterday though, I just don’t know if I can trust myself and I certainly don't want Emma to see me like that."
Natalia remembered back to Olivia’s heart transplant recovery. Just like when you were sick before, Ava took care of Emma, you didn’t want to put her through seeing just how sick you were.
She glanced up to see the concerned look on Natalia’s face and continued, “I mean it's bad enough I physically hurt you but then I end up at the hospital myself.” She continued to absently play with her meal as tears of frustration threatened to fall, “What the hell kind of environment can I provide right now?”
Natalia put her fork down and put her hand on Olivia’s arm, halting the assault on the older woman’s breakfast and forcing her to look up. “You’re not alone Olivia, I’ll help you. I want her here too.”
Underneath her look of fear, Olivia felt hope that maybe it was time to bring Emma home. It couldn’t be to the farmhouse yet but she could come home to their family.
“Hey,” Natalia waited until Olivia looked at her before she continued, “how about this, she’s still at Phillip’s for another night anyway, so why don’t we see how today goes then tomorrow we can make the decision?”
Olivia nodded, “Okay.” She hesitated then admitted, “I miss my Jellybean.”
“I know.” The separation has been hard for you both but it’s been hard on all of us, I hate being away from her too, it’s like a part of me is missing. It’s almost like I feel without Rafe.
After having almost forgotten about her pill, Natalia swallowed the last of her medication and looked over at Olivia who was still playing with her breakfast. I know you’re sad but you have to eat. “Olivia, stop playing with your food and eat it, you must be starving.”
Olivia looked up and gave a small grin, “Always worrying about me, eh?”
“I’m grateful for that,” Olivia admitted as she put her fork into her massacred omelet and dug in while Natalia looked on surprised for a moment before she resumed eating.
Both women ate the rest of their breakfast in silence each lost in thought.
After both women were sufficiently stuffed full of eggs and toast, Natalia rolled the cart into the hallway to be picked up by room service.
“You’re moving a lot better now?” Olivia observed.
“Yes, I am. I may not be ready for any marathons but I feel much more confident in my walking.”
Olivia shook her head, “I’m glad. I don’t know how you did it last night.”
“Take care of me, walk to the ambulance then around the hospital… you really are a superhero.”
Natalia stepped in front of Olivia and put her hands on either side of the older woman’s face, “There isn’t much I couldn’t… wouldn’t do for you.”
I should be capable of that sort of conviction too because I love you and I don’t ever want to hurt you like I did yesterday again. Realizing Natalia deserved a lot more than what she had been getting from her, Olivia wanted to prove she was willing to take another step toward healing so she made a decision, “Sit down Natalia.”
The Latina looked at Olivia questioningly as she sat down across from the older woman. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Natalia’s face started to warm. I didn’t say something I shouldn’t have did I? Was I wrong about your feelings? Just don’t tell me what’s happening between us isn’t what I think it is.
Wondering what had put the look of fear into the brown eyes across from her Olivia began, “About last night,” and saw a look of almost relief cross the other woman’s features. Determined to not get sidetracked she cleared her throat and continued, “Last night I had that dream again, the same recurring nightmare I’ve been having since…since the invasion.”
Natalia’s relief it wasn’t about their budding relationship was replaced by surprise as Olivia seemed about to finally to go into detail about her dream.
“I don’t know what you remember about what I’ve told you about my dream but basically, we’re at the farmhouse and you’re playing with the kids in the field across from the house, while I’m watching from the porch. I have this feeling of contentedness, like this is how it should be, everything is perfect. But… but then I’m held by some unseen force as Danny and Brian come after you and I can’t yell or get your attention, I’m helpless.” Olivia paused, fighting the embarrassment of feeling so impotent. After a deep breath she continued, “I... I can’t get to you…I can’t save you.” Olivia stopped to catch her breath realizing she was actually saying these words out loud. “They shoot you first… they shoot Rafe… then… Ava and Emma.”
Natalia said nothing as it seemed like Olivia had more to say, though she was desperately fighting the urge to hold her and take away the pain she saw in her eyes as she recounted her dream.
“Last night was a little different.” Olivia let out a breath and rubbed her brow, praying she would be able to finish before the tears she fought broke free. “Last night… it started the same but when all was said and done I…” Olivia swallowed, “I was standing over the bodies and when I looked down at my hand…” Olivia was looking at her hands now as if seeing something there that couldn’t be, she licked her lips in an effort to overcome her suddenly dry mouth, “When I looked at my hand, I had the gun.” She paused again and Natalia could feel her own heart clench.
Olivia wasn’t done, as if to further torture herself she made herself say the words, “I killed you, I killed all of you… I killed everyone I love.” Closing her eyes against the tears that stung, Olivia bowed her head and whispered harshly, “Even in my dreams how…how could I ever do that?” Pleading eyes no longer able to hold back the tears looked up at Natalia and asked, “What’s wrong with me? How could I be such a terrible mother and friend.”
Natalia had tears in her own eyes at the pain she could feel radiating from Olivia after her heartbreaking explanation. Oh sweetheart, no wonder you were so upset, you’re letting your dream convince you that you could do something terrible. Leaning forward she put her hands on Olivia’s knees, “Olivia, that’s not true. You know it isn’t, you have to know. I’m sure you’ve heard it a hundred times already but your dreams, they’re just trying to sort out what happened.”
“But the gun was in my hand. I didn’t shoot them, I shot you.”
You didn’t shoot them that night Olivia and you certainly didn’t shoot me either, you just feel guilty that I got to the gun and you didn’t. “You didn’t let us down Olivia.”
Olivia looked up, “What?”
“That’s what your dream is really about isn’t it? You feel like this…” Natalia covered her wound with her hand, “you feel like it’s your fault, don’t you?”
Olivia lowered her eyes in shame. “I left the door unlocked.”
“You think that’s why this happened? We always leave the door unlocked, it’s not the same as actually putting a gun in your hand. You don’t need to feel like you did anything wrong or that you made any mistakes or didn’t do enough. You have no reason to feel guilty.”
How does she always know exactly how I’m feeling? “I’m working on that.”
“Work harder Olivia, the only person who blames you is you.” Natalia reached up and wiped a tear from Olivia’s cheek. “I know that your dream brings up all of those insecurities about failing us but that’s not what happened.”
“I know.” Olivia sighed, “I just don’t know how to make my brain stop making me feel this way and stop showing me these images because then I feel guilty for things that rationally I know I shouldn’t, I just can’t help it.”
“Well this is a start. We’re just going to keep talking about it until the dream loses any power it has over you.”
Olivia released an aggravated sigh, “It won’t let me sleep. God, I’m just so tired, all the time. “ Olivia paused to rub her brow. “Then I make bad decisions and I hurt the people I love… I really hate it Natalia. I fucking hate it!” Olivia barely contained the emotion that crossed her face by covering it with her hands.
“I know you do honey and that’s why we’re going to fight it… together.” Natalia moved Olivia’s hands away to take her face in her hands, “No more guilt, no more nightmares, Olivia I promise you we can fix this, you’re not alone.”
“I just want it to stop.” Olivia pulled away from Natalia, stood up and began pacing. “I feel like I’ve lost control over everything, my body, my thoughts... I don’t like it.” It scares the shit out of me. It makes me feel like before.
“It’s going to be okay Olivia.”
“You say that so casually, like it’s easy but it’s not easy. Once you lose that control… it’s not easy, it’s not comfortable and you have to fight to get it back… those men Natalia, they took it and I have to get it back, I just have to.”
Natalia watched Olivia with concern. Where is this coming from?
“Reva said something yesterday about how I ‘need to be in control of everything and part of the reason I’m so messed up from this is because I couldn’t control the situation.’” Olivia shook her head, “She’s right Natalia and she knows too… once somebody takes it from you…” Olivia’s words trailed off as she looked down lost in thought.
Natalia stood, walked over to Olivia and put her hand on the distressed woman’s arm startling her. “Are you okay?”
God I don’t want to do this right now.
“Olivia? Tell me where all of this is coming from? What do you mean when you say you ‘have to fight to get it back’? Who took away your control before?” Natalia questioned as she took Olivia’s hand and drew her toward the bed.
Releasing a breath as she sat down with Natalia, Olivia shook her head and dismissed the conversation, “It was a long time ago and… I… I’m just not sure it’s something I want to talk about. Why don’t we just go to bed?”
“You can trust me.” You’re trembling Olivia, what is it?
“I don’t doubt that for a second.” Olivia quickly responded.
Brown eyes searched green looking for answers and suddenly Olivia needed Natalia to understand despite her exhaustion.
“Natalia…” Olivia hesitated and took a deep breath, “what do you know about my history with Jeffrey?” Olivia asked.
To be continued...