"The Courtship of Emma's Mother"
An Original Otalia Story
Copyright 2009 by Patricia L. Givens
Disclaimer #1: This story is an original work of fiction set in the hectic little town of Springfield, as seen on Guiding Light. Most, if not all, of the characters and references used within belong completely to someone else. Someone who recently found a clue but could still use a swift kick in the rear, so I have borrowed them for just a little while 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. (In other words, all I am really hoping to get out of this is some hot sex with my girlfriend so please don't sue me!)
Disclaimer #2: All original characters and story lines 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. (Ralst and The Athenaeum don't have to ask!)
Disclaimer #3: This story does depict a romantic relationship between two women. Some scenes may be graphic, but they are lovingly so. If that bothers you than you are wound too tight for daytime TV! I mean really, how can you be okay with someone marrying their cousin's sister's nephew's son and still bitch about a well done romance between two beautiful women?? Ever hear the old saying that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones? (Unless of course they're trapped in said house, then throwing a stone or two might actually be a good idea...but I digress.) If you are under 18, then you're never going to understand the title reference. Ask your mom. (And get her to watch Otalia! We need all the MILF's we can get!) If this is illegal where you live, check your local ladies night for women in trench coats and silly hats. Hey it couldn't hurt...
I had to go into FicSec (Protective custody for fanfic authors) to write this!! The A/O shippers have teamed up with the J/7 shippers and they're threatening to arrest and assimilate my ass so...write reviews! (How that relates I don't really know but...what the hell!)
Just a quick note: Since we don't know what is going to happen I am approaching this as my own little A/U. Everything up until now is cannon.
Thanks to all of the wonderful Jesbians on the What Comes After forum, to Otaliafan for providing the clips that melted my brain, to Big Purple Dreams for giving madness a home, and to Ky and Emma for sliding into Otaliawe with me. Most of all, thank you to Beep, for giving me one more thing to obsess over. (You just HAD to do it didn't you??)
This is dedicated to Emma, for supporting everything I do and trying her hardest to keep the snickering to a minimum. I love you, Tidbit. You're the reason for everything.
To All Your Big Purple Dreams!
Love is everything it's cracked up to be…
It really is worth fighting for, being brave for,
risking everything for.
Chapter One: Now what?
"So what happens... what happens to us?"
"There is no us. You love me. But you're going to hate me... one day for this. I can't live with that. I can't..."
Olivia carried the last box down the stairs, setting it gently on top of the small stack that was perched on the edge of the coffee table. She took a deep breath and looked around.
So this was the last of it. Everything else had been taken back to the Beacon by the movers. All that was left was this small stack of her life with Natalia; her make-up and toiletries, a selection of clothes and the items that she absolutely needed every single day. She had left them here thinking that she and Emma would come back to the farmhouse one last time after the wedding. Spend one last night together in a place where they had both been so happy. Frank and Natalia had booked a romantic room in town anyway, so it wasn't as though they would have been intruding.
And then it had all gone wrong.
She had tried so hard to keep how she felt to herself. She had wept in private for what she was losing, keeping a smile firmly in place whenever Natalia was around to see. She had truly believed that what she was doing, what she was willing to do for Natalia's happiness, was the right thing.
So how had she allowed it to all go to hell?
Standing there, at the grave of the man who had given his heart to both of them, she had screamed her feelings at Natalia, her chest heaving with an ache she had never experienced before as she fought to convince the person she loved more than any other in this world... that they could never be together. And every argument Natalia had thrown back at her opened the wound a little bit wider, cut into her a little bit more, until every sound, every word, every brush of the winter air on her face was like a knife across her skin. And in the end she had forced her heart to go cold, taking Natalia by the hand and leading her back to the church, to Frank, while she wondered if she would ever feel warm again.
She should have known the cold wouldn't last.
Standing there beside Natalia, listening to her speak her vows, she couldn't stop the tears that coursed down her cheeks. She had held each breath she took a few beats longer than she should, trying to force an ache that would give her something, anything, else to focus on.
Then Natalia was gone. For a moment she had been dumbstruck, angry at the wild hope that had flared with unwelcome strength within her chest. Then she had followed her... found her... heard her say the words she had been secretly dieing inside to hear. But hearing them did not wipe away the shame that had followed in their wake.
And she knew. Natalia could never be hers. She would always be God's, she was Emma's...and she could even be Frank's. But not hers. Never hers.
So she did the only thing she could do to save them both.
She broke her own heart...for good this time.
Olivia sighed heavily as she took in the room around her. Everything about it screamed Natalia and she swallowed, willing herself not to cry again, she had done enough of that the night before. After her daughter had fallen asleep she had cried for hours, and not just for herself. As miserable as she was, she knew that Emma had lost just as much. She had lost the home and the woman she loved, just as her mother had. She couldn't even bring herself to let Emma come with her today, choosing instead to send her off on a sleepover with one of her little friends.
Olivia laughed bitterly. A year ago the pain she was feeling would have eclipsed everything else in her life, including her daughter. But living with Natalia had taught her about living for other people.
Something in the top box caught the sunlight streaming in through the window and Olivia stared at the small glass figurine for a few moments before finally picking it up. Tears tracked down her cheeks unchecked as she studied the delicate crystal duck in the center of her palm. It had shown up on the small shelf above her bathtub sometime after Natalia had teased her about her and Emma playing with the ducks in the back yard. There had been a post it note stuck to the wood beneath it, written in the younger woman's slanting script: 'The Olivia Spencer version of a little bathtub ducky."
How pathetic was it that she still had that post it note?
Olivia closed her eyes tightly. Was there anything that didn't hurt? Would she ever reach a point where it just wouldn't matter anymore?
Somehow, she didn't think so. But that wasn't the worst part. Not by far.
The worst part was that she didn't want it to. Because the hurt from loving Natalia was better than not having a piece of her at all.
Olivia gasped as a sharp pain cut through her hand. She opened her fingers to see that she had snapped off the corner of one delicate wing. She stared absently at the blood that was welling up through the cut. It wasn't serious enough to worry about and it gave her something else to focus on, if only for a moment.
She clenched her fist as she looked up, her heart spasming painfully in her chest when she saw Natalia leaning up against the entryway to the kitchen. For a moment, their eyes locked, then the brunette frowned as she noticed the red drops collecting on the floor at Olivia's feet.
"Olivia??" She quickly moved to her side, prying open her fingers to gently pull the crystal figure from her grasp. She set the duck carefully on the table and ran to the kitchen, returning with a towel and a small first aid kit. She pressed down on the cut, frowning when Olivia winced. "I think there's a piece of glass in there. What happened?"
Olivia closed her eyes, savoring the warmth of having the other woman near, the gentle touch of her fingers along the edge of her bleeding palm. "No.. nothing." She swallowed and shook her head. "Accident."
"An accident?" Natalia shook her head. "Okay, sit down." She pressed Olivia down onto the couch and placed her hand palm up on her thigh. She opened the first aid kit and pulled out a set of tweezers, some cotton balls, and the hydrogen peroxide. She cleaned the tweezers thoroughly before using them to fish the small triangle of crystal from the cut. She poured peroxide on the wound, then covered it with a bandage, holding on to her fingers tightly for a moment before releasing her. "There. All better?"
Olivia snorted. "I'm not Emma."
A flash of pain traveled across Natalia's features, then she sighed and let it go. "No, you're not. But that doesn't mean I can't try to keep you from hurting."
"Little late for that."
Fire replaced the hollow, lost look in the younger woman's eyes. "Now wait a minute, you're the one that walked away."
"And you're the one that let me go."
Natalia swallowed hard, flinching at the pain she heard in those quiet words. "I needed... a little time." She stood up and moved to the fireplace, trying to put some distance between them. It had always been hard to think when Olivia was close to her, but lately she found that she couldn't even put two words together; the other woman's presence just seemed to overwhelm her, leaving her caught up in her voice and almost drunk on her scent. She cleared her throat, trying desperately not to think about the way Olivia's hair smelled. "I needed to think."
Olivia sighed. "About what?" She stood up, looking around for her keys. There was one she still needed to remove from the ring.
Olivia froze, grateful that her back was to the other woman. She fought to keep her voice even and her body from trembling. "I told you, there is no us."
"No!" The older woman let her shoulders slump. "I can't keep doing this with you..."
"I can't keep tearing my own heart out. I don't think that's what you had in mind when you gave it to me." She breathed in harshly, unable to stop the sobs that shook her frame and broke her voice. "I can't keep hoping and failing..."
"I'm done with this." She picked up the little crystal duck, her eyes flooding when her finger ran across the jagged edge of wing.
"Olivia!" Natalia finally snapped. She reached out and grabbed the older woman's hand, taking the statue away from her. She looked at it for several long moments before finally meeting Olivia's eyes. "I can fix this." She whispered.
Olivia brushed the tears from her face. "You can't fix everything."
Natalia smiled. "I disagree. According to Emma there's nothing that can't be fixed with enough crazy glue."
"Well, you've got the crazy part down.."
The younger woman rolled her eyes. "You know, now I understand why you've been married so many times. Are you always this difficult when someone is trying to ask you out?"
Olivia blinked. "You...you're trying to ask me out?"
"Well…..yeah…I mean... I think that's…how things like...like... this... are supposed to start right?"
Olivia tilted her head to one side, her mouth quirking slightly as her eyes danced for the first time in days.
"What?" Natalia straightened her sweater self consciously.
The other woman shrugged. "I kind of assumed...I would be the one to ask."
Natalia's eyes widened slightly in panic. "Well I don't know how this goes!!"
"Have you ever been the one to ask? Someone out, I mean?" Olivia asked curiously and then held her breath when the corner of Natalia's mouth quirked up adorably, showing one of her dimples in all it's glory.
"No.." She pouted slightly and Olivia had to fight the urge to run a fingertip across that lower lip. "but….then…this whole thing is something new, right? So I figured.. why not start at the top?"
The older woman smiled gently. "Okay."
Natalia looked like she was holding her breath. "Okay?"
"Well....okay!" Nat straightened her shoulders. "I'll pick you up in an hour at...uhm... the bottom of the stairs?"
Olivia managed not to laugh but couldn't stop the gorgeous smile that transformed her face.
Natalia had been backing away and found herself so enchanted by that smile that she ran into the corner of the couch. Stumbling slightly, she pointed her finger at Olivia. "Stop it!"
The brunette frowned. "Just... don't be late!"
Olivia watched her go, the heavy hammering in her chest making her feel like she was alive for the first time in weeks.