Disclaimer: All characters (unless otherwise specified) belong to Aaron Spelling, E. Duke Vincent, Gary Tomlin, NBC, et al and are used here strictly for non-profit entertainment purposes.
Rating: PG 14
Spoilers: The whole series is fair game as this story is a prequel that follows the show's canon.
Summary: The disintegration of a marriage...or, Gregory and Olivia in the early 80's.
"I want…things to be the way they used to be."
"The way they used to be? When? Before Del was murdered and you started to think of me as a suspect? Or back to the days when you would work twelve hours a day and you'd come home and you wouldn't say a word? Or back to the times when I tried to talk to you, I tried to get you to love me and you wouldn't?" (Episode 10)
Chapter 1: "Morning Happiness"
The early morning sun beat down on the patio, warming the stones with its golden rays. Clouds hung low in the sky, puffy dollops of cotton dotting the blue. The waves crashed loudly on the beach, white foam flying up as the ocean met the sand. A seagull swooped down, gliding along the surface of the water as he searched for breakfast.
Caitlin jerked the fork out of her bowl of fruit, causing a plum colored grape to catapult across the glass table. "Look Mommy!" she exclaimed as she pointed with the utensil, her small hand wrapped around the royal blue handle. "A birdie!" She squirmed in her mother's lap as she turned to watch a smaller seagull hop across the stone patio. The gull's feathered head bowed to the ground as it prodded the flyaway fruit with its beak before snatching it up and flying away.
Olivia tucked a loose piece of hair behind her ear as the four year old turned back to her breakfast. "I don't think birds are supposed to eat that Caity," she murmured as she picked up her glass mug and blew lightly on the steaming coffee.
"I'll give her my toast tomorrow," she decided as she pushed her plate away, littered with the remnants of cheesy scrambled eggs. She leaned back against Olivia's chest, playing with the pale green silk that belted her mother's robe. "Can I have a pet?"
With a soft chuckle, Olivia wrapped both of her arms around Caitlin as she tilted her head back to look up at her. "You know that pets make Daddy sneeze." She rested her chin on the top of Caitlin's head and smiled in amusement as the little girl sighed.
"Even fish?" A persistent child, just like her father.
"We'll see," Olivia conceded as she glanced to her right. A cloud passed overhead, a beam of sun staining the crystal blue water of the pool. Water sprayed as Gregory's arms and legs harshly cut through the surface. Back and forth, he swam one hundred lengths when all was said and done.
As Caitlin tapped her fork against the different glasses on the table, gauging the varying pings they returned, Olivia's eyes never left the pool as she leaned back against the chair. He was content with his routine, rarely deviating from it. Up at six thirty every morning and twenty minutes on the treadmill before he consumed the first of many cups of coffee and attacked the morning papers. Laps in the pool after a light breakfast and then a quick shower before he drove downtown to the office.
He was always so ready to face the day and everything that it held. Somehow, she wasn't sure exactly how, he managed to get up without the aid of an alarm clock. When they first married, he teased that he wanted to spare her the torture of a blaring alarm when there was no need for her to be up so early too. It was no matter. She began to drift out of sleep when the bed shifted as he got up, the warmth he brought to the bed escaping as he threw back the covers.
His days overflowed with complex legal matters, depositions to take, and precedents to argue. Long meetings with the partners at his firm that stretched late into the night after grueling mornings in court. Wining and dining clients at night, a seemingly never ending string of weekend cocktail parties where he was surrounded by throngs of admirers that hung on his every word. Legal expertise from the mouth of Gregory Richards, Esquire was gold in the California legal community. To argue the language of the law with the fastest rising star at Erickson Vickers, LLP was a profound experience.
Was it any wonder that he could be up with the sun? His days held promise. The only promise that hers held was sadness.
She looked down as Caitlin tugged on the sleeve of her robe. "Can I get up now?" Olivia straightened one of the blond pigtailed braids over her daughter's shoulder as she bobbed her head. She grinned in excitement, revealing two perfect rows of pearly white baby teeth. "Please Mommy?"
Before Olivia's nod of allowance was complete, Caitlin jumped off her lap with an exclamation of glee and flew down the shallow steps to the poolside. "Not so fast Caity!" she called out after her. "And not too near the edge!"
She shook her head indulgently as her daughter came to an abrupt stop half a foot away from the edge and began skipping up and down the length of the pool, following Gregory's strokes. Their daughter could follow her father around all day if they would let her. She loved her daddy and Olivia smiled softly as she watched the scene playing before her. She knew what it was like to be a little girl and worship the ground your father walked on. To smile up at your father and bask in his love as his arms enveloped you in an embrace. For your father to smile back at you before he kissed your nose.
At least Gregory still smiled at one of them.
Water drops flew up from the pool as he continued to plow through the water, painting Pollack-like spots on the stone patio. Caitlin's braids spun out from her head as she whipped around and looked hopefully at her mother. She smiled sweetly and hopped anxiously from one foot to the other.
"Yes sweetheart. You may wait on the top step for your father."
Caitlin grinned and carefully pulled off her pink terrycloth dress, a strand of appliqué strawberries on the collar. She folded the cover-up over the arm of the lounge chair and lowered herself slowly to the step, kicking her feet in the shallow water. Olivia shook her head in exasperation and tucked her feet beneath her when she saw the bathing suit Caitlin wore. The mint green and white gingham suit was her favorite, despite being slightly faded because she wore it so often. The little ruffled skirt on the suit danced in the light breeze that rolled off the ocean.
With a sudden stop, Gregory braced the ledge and the pool stilled. Olivia sat up and watched as he sucked air into his lungs, his hands slicking the wet hair back on his head. He turned around slowly, his arms stretched back behind his head. She smiled as he jumped back in surprise when he "noticed" Caitlin, causing the little girl to cover her mouth and giggle loudly. He swam over to her, wide strokes that conjured baby waves in the water. As he got closer to Caitlin, she scrambled up and backed away from the pool, her scream turning into a shriek of delight. Gregory laughed and slowed to a stop, about a foot and a half from the spot his daughter just vacated.
As he held out his arms, Caitlin dashed toward him and leapt into his arms, yelling, "Catch me Daddy!" She hit the water with a small splash, her happy laugh eclipsed by the sound of her feet furiously kicking behind her.
Olivia sipped at her coffee as Gregory tossed Caitlin lightly in the air, another loud shriek coming from the small girl. Yes, Caitlin loved her daddy. Whom else would a little girl trust with such a carefree leap? She knew Gregory would always be there to catch her. He would always be there for her, his arms extended wide.
She glanced back at the pair in the pool. Gregory was pulling Caitlin deeper into the pool, her arms no doubt locked tight around his neck. Her face, no longer chubby with baby fat, pressed into the water as she blew bubbles. Water streamed off her face as she blinked furiously and smiled broadly as Gregory's deep voice assured Caitlin she did wonderful.
Olivia couldn't tear her eyes from this dose of morning happiness, even though it wasn't hers. It was the only comfort she had, the only lifesaver to buoy the loneliness that threatened to overwhelm her when Gregory left.