"If She Said Yes"

An Original Otalia Story

2009 by Patricia L. Givens

April 2009

Disclaimer #1:This story is an original work of fiction set in the pre-existing Town of Springfield, as seen on Guiding Light. As such, many of the characters and references used within belong completely to someone else. I have borrowed them for the purpose of creating this scenario and promise to return them unscathed, and smiling, as soon as I am done. No gain, monetary or otherwise, is expected from their use and no copyright infringement is intended or should be inferred.

Disclaimer #2:All original characters and storylines contained herein belong to the author. (Like anyone else would claim them!  ) This story may be archived upon request with the stipulation that it must be posted exactly as it was written, with all disclaimers intact.

Disclaimer #3:This story does depict a romantic relationship between two women. If this disturbs you then please go out and rent Brokeback Mountain. It is a heartwarming wholesome tale of two clean cut lads that herd sheep for a living. You will love it, really. If you are under 18 then don't forget to set your recorder for Bad Girls. I'm sure it comes on after your bed time and every growing lesbian needs her daily dose of Helen Stewart... If this is illegal where you live, then PLEASE, grab a cab, hop a plane, buy a bus ticket, jump a fucking freight train, whatever, but get the hell outta there!!


"Meeting you was fate,

becoming your friend was a choice,

but falling in love with you I had no control over."

Natalia Rivera sat quietly, staring up at the blank wall in front of her as she tried to make sense of what was about to happen. The little room she currently occupied was filled to overflowing with flower bouquets and balloons, gaily wrapped packages and cards of all shapes and sizes with words like 'Forever' and "Congratulations' emblazoned across them. Scattered between them were the religious representations she had come to know and love well. Crosses, differing in size and appearance, were spaced out along the other three walls and The Virgin Mary stood solemnly behind her, her porcelain hands steepled in pious contemplation.

Normally, just a glimpse of the Virgin Mother would fill Natalia with a deep sense of peace; a divine stillness that allowed her to find the answers within herself that she was always so desperately looking for.

But not today.

Today the tears that trailed down those perfect alabaster cheeks seemed to be directed at her, conveying a profound disapproval she could neither understand nor refute.

But then, maybe it was just her; considering she had the exact same reaction when she looked at any of the items sent by the dozens of well-wishers waiting in the church proper.

In any event, Natalia had found the one blank wall the only safe place to rest her eyes as she tried to sort out the maelstrom of emotions that were threatening to overwhelm her.

When she had agreed to marry Frank, she had told herself it was all for the best. That he was a good man; that he would be a good provider for her and her son, when Rafe eventually came home. But even then, before the long nights spent in silence when Olivia started taking Emma back to the Beacon, she had known she was only fooling herself.

What she wanted from Frank was to use him as a shield against the feelings that were becoming harder and harder to deny.

How had this happened? She had spent the first few months after Gus died heartbroken and destroyed, vowing that she would never love another man because there were none that could compare.

Natalia laughed sadly. Well... I guess I was right about that one. She thought to herself.

She had expected to live her life alone. She had expected to get used to the loneliness.

What she had never expected... was Olivia.

Loud and brash, angry at the world and not willing to hold her tongue about it, Olivia had entered her life like a raging storm and once she was there, had refused to let go.

Not that Natalia had wanted her to. For the life of her she couldn't explain what had driven her to take care of the ailing woman early on, but when their relationship had finally blossomed into the intense friendship it came to be, she had thanked the Lord that she followed his path of wisdom and turned the other cheek.

But nothing stays the same forever and when the love growing between them had not plateaued, when it had simply continued to grow with a quiet, steadfast determination that took her breath away, she had done the one thing that she could do to save her sanity.

She denied it.

She shoved it all the way down into her chest as far as it would go and covered it over with Frank. With his dogged determination to have her it was an easy thing to let it happen; to just shut her eyes and hold her breath and be the good girl she had always tried to be.

Except now, whenever she shut her eyes, Olivia was there, smiling at her, making her drown in that look she always reserved for Natalia alone. The one that seemed to draw her into those deep green eyes and wrap her up in a warmth she had never known existed.

Not even with Gus.

Standing, she walked to the door and opened it slightly; just enough to peak out at the growing crowd waiting on her entrance. Craning her neck, she looked out over the congregation to the very front row, her heart catching painfully in her chest as she took in the two empty spaces in the first pew.

Swallowing hard, she pushed the door shut and dropped her head into her hands, willing herself not to cry. Daisy had already done her make-up twice and she didn't think she could stand the knowing looks a third round would cause.

Olivia had never said she would come. She had never even acknowledged the invitation Natalia had quietly slid under her door three weeks earlier.

And Natalia had never asked.

That part had been complete self preservation. There was no way she could have handled even one more heart filled glance.

You did this to yourself. She silently admonished. You put yourself in this position.

And it was true. But she had only wanted to do what she felt God would want her to. And God had very specific views on this subject.

Didn't He?

Natalia heard the music begin and took a deep breath. It was time. Time for her to walk down the aisle for the second time in her life; to look another man in the eyes and give him the answer he was waiting for. If she said yes, it would be the start of a whole new life for her and her son.

So why did it feel like the end of something precious?

There was a soft knock on the door and she let out the breath she had been holding.

If she could just remember to keep doing that, she might be able to get through the ceremony.

She opened the door to find Buzz looking at her somberly. His eyes held her gently, as though he knew that she was as fragile as her heart. He held out his arm and with one last deep breath in and out, she took it.

* * * * * * *

Natalia stood at the front of the church, the simple white train of her dress stretched out behind her. She hadn't wanted to wear white, but Frank had insisted that, despite her past, she was still the most pure and innocent woman he had ever known. Eventually she had given in and that in itself had bothered her; that she had given in to him just to get him to shut up.

This was the life she was choosing?

She focused on a point just above and to the right of the Priest's forehead as he read from the large book on the podium before him. She was infinitely grateful that she had succeeded in denying Frank's request for them to write their own vows. Somehow, having to speak would have made the situation all the more unbearable.

"...this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined..."

Natalia stiffened. She had been so lost in her own thoughts that she hadn't realized the ceremony had progressed this far. She glanced at the man standing proudly next to her, his tuxedo perfectly pressed, his hand wrapped gently around hers as his smiled broadened with every word the Father spoke.

Swallowing hard, Natalia closed her eyes tight. She breathed in...

And prayed.

"If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace."

The moment hung for what felt like forever as Natalia waited for the one voice that could tear free the pain in her chest and allow her heart to beat again.

That voice never came.

But the one that did caused her breath to rush out of her body so quickly she almost felt faint.

"I wanna say something."

Natalia turned around slowly, willing her heart not to break as she dropped her gaze down to look at the girl standing at the bottom of the steps. "Emma?" She took a step forward but Frank's hand on her arm stopped her.

"No." His face was tight with the anger he was trying not to show. "I'll handle this." He quickly strode over to the small child, bending down to shove his face into hers. "What are you doing here Emma?"

"Frank!" Nat looked at him in horror. "She's a child!"

"Yeah, a child of her mother and don't think for a minute I don't know why she's here!" He turned back to the girl, who was standing in front of him with her back straight and her chin thrust out belligerently. "You're mother sent you here to screw this up, didn't she? To screw up the most important day of my life!"

Emma shook her head. "No! Mommy hasn't come out of her room all day. I can hear her in there crying but she won't answer when I knock! Mommy doesn't know I'm gone." She set her jaw defiantly. "And I didn't come here to talk to you!" She turned her attention to the woman at the top of the stairs. "I wanna ask you something."

Natalia nodded slowly, her heart aching in her chest as the child lost some of her courage, her small body seeming to fold in on itself.

"How can you do this to my Mommy?" Emma whispered finally, brushing away the tears that trailed from her eyes.

"Oh, Honey..." Nat smiled at her sadly. "This doesn't have anything to do with your Mommy."

Emma gave her a look that called her a liar, liar, pants on fire. "I heard you praying... lots of times."

Natalia went pale.

"I heard what you said," Emma continued. "All the things that you said. So how can you marry him, when you love my Mommy?"

"That's enough!" Frank's voice boomed out over the congregation as he reached down and grabbed Emma by the arm. "You don't know what you're talking about!" His face twisted as his voice rose and, after glancing back at his wife to be, he took a moment to try and reign himself in before he continued. "Emma, honey, you're wrong about this. You've just mistaken the kind of love between your mommy and Natalia for the kind of love she and I share. That's all it is. Now, you just need to-"

"No. She hasn't."

Frank looked up the steps, the shock he felt registering on his face as Natalia removed the veil covering her eyes. In them he saw the truth he had known all along.

"I did that, Frank." Nat whispered. "Not Emma." She handed the veil and the bouquet of yellow roses she was holding to Daisy, registering the small smile on the young woman's face. She glanced nervously at the congregation, and then the priest, before turning back to face her soon to be ex. "Frank... you are a wonderful man. You are everything that I ever told myself I wanted. You're smart and you're kind, and you truly care for me and Rafe." She took a deep breath. "The problem is… that I've been lying to myself. And I just don't think… well… I just don't think I can do that anymore. No matter what it might cost me."

Frank release Emma and climbed the steps to take her hands in his, his eyes begging her to reconsider. "Natalia, you don't know what you're saying." He frowned. "You're just confused. You love me, I know you love me."

Natalia nodded. "You're right, I do love you." She touched his cheek gently. "But I'm not in love with you, so it's just not enough." She turned to leave and he dragged her back, hugging her tightly.

"Tell me what you need!" He whispered fiercely. "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it!"

Nat pulled herself away and held him at arm's length. "You can't"

"I CAN'T WHAT?"

She swallowed, glancing at Emma for a moment and finding her courage in eyes so like her mother's.

"You can't be Olivia."

Frank's face turned purple with rage. "So that's it?!? You're telling me you're a… a…"

Daisy leaned forward slightly. "I think the word you're looking for is 'lesbian'."

He glared at her for a moment before returning his attention to Nat. "So you're going to stand here, in this house of God and declare your love for that… that…"

"Lesbian." Daisy snickered.

"It's a sin!" He threw his hands up in the air before turning to the priest in desperation. "Tell her Father! Tell her she's going to burn in hell!

She squared her shoulders and raised her eyes to meet the clergyman's. He had always been sweet to her, but now his face was closed, unreadable.

"Is it true?" The priest asked softly. "Do you love this woman?"

Natalia swallowed. This was it, the moment she had almost sold her heart and soul to avoid. If she said yes, she could lose more than she thought she could bear. And yet… "Yes." She whispered.

He stepped forward and took one of her hands gently within his. "God is love." He smiled. "Love well, love true and he will never forsake you."

Natalia's chest loosened as a huge smile transformed her face. She nodded at him quickly before turning and dashing down the steps, scooping Emma up in her arms along the way. "Come on, honey." She smiled at the joy and love she saw reflected back at her from her daughter's eyes. "Let's go find Mommy."

**********

The farmhouse was quiet when they pulled up and Natalia was surprised to see Jeffrey lounging on the bench to the right side of the porch. He stood when he saw them, a huge smile splitting his handsome face.

"Jeffrey? What are you doing here?"

The tall man walked forward, his hands tucked into his tight tuxedo pants as his broad shoulders shrugged against the silk of his shirt. She wondered absently where the jacket had gone.

"I saw the beginning of the show." His grin grew impossibly wider. "I high-tailed it out of there. Figured I could make it back here before you did."

Natalia eyebrows rose in confusion. "Why?"

He winked at her and then bent at the waist to talk to Emma. "Hey you. Your two mommies have some things they need to discuss. I bet its going to be all kinds of boring. What say you and I go get some ice cream?"

Natalia flushed when she realized what Jeffrey was trying to do, but only had a moment to wallow in her embarrassment before Emma tugged on her hand. "Hmm?"

Emma shuffled her feet slightly. "If I go, will you be here when I get back?"

"Yes, honey, I will be."

"You promise?"

She smiled and ran one finger over her chest. "Cross my heart."

"Ok!" Emma grinned and grabbed Jeffery's hand, babbling at him about ice cream flavors and waffle cones as they disappeared out of site.

Natalia looked up at the farmhouse, her eyes naturally coming to rest on Olivia's bedroom window. There was a faint glow, like that of a candle, coming from inside. She felt the familiar rush of excitement and fear that she had come to associate with Olivia as she gathered her dress in one hand and headed into the house.

********

Olivia slid the old .45 out of its sleeve, pausing for a moment to blow the dust from its grooves before dropping it onto the Crosley Traveler Turntable she had found while pulling the last of her boxes from the attic. It was ancient, she vaguely remembered using it in junior high, but when she plugged it in it had worked. She stared at the label on the record for a few moments before finally picking up the arm and setting the needle carefully against the black vinyl. The music was low, scratchy in a way that was somehow comforting and as the lyrics began, she picked up her glass of wine and carried it over to the window. She stared out at the snow covered yard as she sipped the deep scarlet liquid and let the words crash into her heart one by one.

You give your hand to me
And then you say hello
And I can hardly speak
My heart is beating so
And anyone can tell
You think you know me well
But you don't know me

No you don't know the one
Who dreams of you at night
And longs to kiss your lips
Longs to hold you tight
Oh I am just a friend
That's all I've ever been
Cause you don't know me

I never knew the art of making love
No my heart aches with love for you
Afraid and shy I let my chance go by
The chance that you might love me too

You give your hand to me
And then you say goodbye
I watch you walk away beside the lucky guy
Oh you will never know
The one who loves you so
Well you don't know me

You give your hand to me
And then you say goodbye
I watch you walk away beside the lucky guy
Oh you will never know
The one who loves you so
Cause you don't know me
Oh no you don't know me
OOhh...you don't know me

"But I do know you."

Olivia started violently, her wine glass smashing to the floor as that voice cut through her like a knife, leaving her open and defenseless as she turned to face Natalia. The sight was more than she was prepared for.

Olivia has been very careful to never see the dress; to never subject herself to seeing Natalia look so heartbreakingly beautiful for someone else. But now, she profoundly regretted that decision as she took in the gorgeous white silk the dark skinned beauty was wrapped in. It was a simple dress, with a low waist and a modestly cut breast line, but the way it clung to every curve, leaving nothing and everything to the imagination, left her weak and warm in ways she had come to associate only with Natalia. But even as she choked on the pain that tightened her throat, even as her heart pounded so loudly she was sure that Natalia must hear it from across the room, she still would not give an inch. Raising one eyebrow, she picked up the wine bottle and poured a generous amount into the water glass at her bedside, taking a long drink before asking quietly, "Isn't there somewhere you're supposed to be?"

Nat crossed the room in five quick steps, stopping just shy of pressing up against the older woman. She raised one hand and trailed trembling fingers down the side of Olivia's face, her body beginning to shake when Olivia closed her eyes and leaned into the touch. "No," Nat whispered. "I am exactly where I am supposed to be…"

Olivia looked deeply into her eyes and Natalia saw all of the hurt, all of the pain, and all of the love she had hidden deep within herself. She wrapped her fingers in the front of Olivia's sweater and pulled the woman forward; meeting her lips softly at first, until her body tightened and she felt her knees go weak. Then she opened her mouth, allowing Olivia to slide her tongue inside to play gently with her own. She felt Olivia's fingers release the zipper on the back of her dress, felt warm hands slide the silk down and off her shoulders, exposing her overheated skin to the cool, late afternoon air as she quickly unbuttoned Olivia's sweater to run her own hands down smooth skin stretched taut over slender ribs and smooth flesh. Without thinking, she pulled the older woman against her, throwing her head back with a gasp when the bare skin of their upper bodies collided.

She wasn't sure which one of them moaned, but the sound set her pulse racing as she backed towards the bed. When she reached it, she fell back, pulling Olivia down on top of her. For several long moments, she stared up at Olivia in wonder, tracking the woman's incredible lips with one finger until Olivia kissed her fingertip gently and whispered, "I love you, Natalia."

The younger woman felt her heart skip in her chest. "I love you, too." She leaned up to capture the other woman's lips again.

Olivia smiled slightly and pulled back, her eyes glassy with tears. "I need to know that this is real, that you're all in, just as much as I am. Are you… Nat?"

Natalia closed her eyes and took a deep breath. If she said yes, everything she knew would change and nothing would ever be the same again.

For the first time in her life, she didn't even hesitate.