Title: Home Tonight
Fandom: Guiding Light
Archiving: Just ask, I'll say yes.
Disclaimer: I don't own Guiding Light, but I hear it's for sale. Anyone want to chip in?
A/N: Just a little speculation on how Olivia returns to Natalia from San Francisco.
Olivia Spencer shut the car door as quietly as possible, exhaustion written in every line of her body. It had been a very long, very bad day.
Leaving Ava had been bitter sweet. In the midst of packing and unpacking they'd had a great deal of time to talk, about life and love and their relationship. Olivia had also seen it as the perfect opportunity to discuss her feelings for Natalia, a kind of trial run at explaining what Natalia had become to her.
She'd been relieved at Ava's easy acceptance. Her daughter had simply reached out and hugged her. "She makes you happy. I can see it on your face. You simply light up when you talk about her." Olivia had smiled and nodded, unable to express how right Ava was.
But when Natalia had called for their evening phone call that night, she'd sounded so sad that Olivia could barely stand it. The other woman had tried to cover with talk of Emma and the farmhouse and things at the Beacon, but right before they'd hung up Natalia had almost whispered, "Come home to me soon. I miss you." Olivia's eyes had filled with tears at the softly uttered words, and she'd immediately pulled up flight reservations on her laptop, booking one for the next day.
So, despite the fact that she was sad to leave Ava following so brief a visit, she was very anxious to get home to the rest of her family. After a somewhat tearful goodbye, she climbed into a taxi and headed to the airport. Traffic had been horrible, as had the line for security, and she'd just made it to the gate as they were announcing final boarding. Slightly out of breath, she'd found her seat in first class, forgoing the offered Champaign, merely wanting to sit back and fall asleep for the next six hours.
Unfortunately sleep had proved elusive. Whenever she closed her eyes Natalia's face appeared. This was not an unusual or unwelcome occurrence… most days. Olivia felt the separation as if it were a physical blow, and the peaceful continence of the woman she loved did not bring Olivia the normal measure of comfort. She wanted to be home, damn it, and she wanted it right now.
She fidgeted. She tried to read. And eventually, she took the flight attendant up on that glass of Champaign, hoping to ease her nervous energy a bit. She'd set her watch back to Springfield time in the taxi, and now the timepiece seemed to mock her with its slow progression.
An hour before their scheduled arrival time the pilot came on, announcing that due to a heavy fog sweeping in from the Great Lakes, they were being rerouted. For a moment, Olivia though she might actually lose her mind. Apologies and platitudes continued to drone on from the speakers, but she didn't hear any of it. A passing flight attendant noticed the panicked look on her face and stopped to offer reassurance.
"Did you have a connecting flight ma'am? I'm sure they can figure out how to reroute you."
"No, I'm flying home to Springfield." Olivia's voice was controlled and steady. "Any idea where they're going to land?"
"It will probably be Iowa City. That's the closest." The fight attendant looked up, obviously wanting to move on to other travelers.
"Thank you," Olivia murmured. Iowa City, her brain raced to calculate the distance. Five hours. Iowa City was five hours from Springfield. She already knew that she wouldn't be flying into Springfield tonight. Olivia was a seasoned traveler. They didn't reroute planes for no good reason. If the fog really was that bad, then no one would be landing in Springfield. No, if she wanted to get home tonight, then she was going to have to drive.
By nine o'clock, a full two hours after she'd been due in Springfield, she was on I-80 in a rental car. She'd sent a text to Natalia as soon as the plane landed, explaining the delay and her plan. At this point she knew that it would be the wee hours of morning before she made it back, and as much as she'd been planning to head directly to the farmhouse, she didn't want to put Natalia in the position of waiting up for her. I'll head to the Beacon, and see you in the morning, she'd sent, fighting back tears.
Natalia's response had been a simple, OK. Not a lot to pinpoint the other woman's emotional state, and definitely no comfort what so ever to her own. Olivia Spencer would have given anything at that moment just to feel Natalia's arms around her.
The road became more treacherous once she crossed the state line. Fog blanketed everything, and she was glad that she'd rented an SUV with its high beam lights. The normal hour and a half drive turned into three in the poor visibility. Finally the green Entering Springfield Township sign came into view, and Olivia felt herself smile in relief. So relieved in fact, that she accidentally turned left instead of right, heading away from the center of town and out into the country.
Accidentally, eh? Her mind had questioned. Olivia had snorted at her own self-delusion. She was going home. Emma had been correct; home wasn't the Beacon. Home was the farmhouse. Even if she didn't get to see Natalia until later in the morning, just knowing that she was in the same space, sharing the same air, the same dreams, was enough for tonight.
Olivia made her way slowly to the kitchen door, letting herself in quietly. Her purse landed on the kitchen table with a soft thud. The couch beckoned as she passed it in the darkness, but Olivia wanted to peek in on Emma. Besides, there was a perfectly good bed waiting for her in her old room.
Emma's door was cracked, nightlight shinning merrily out into the hall. Olivia smiled at her baby, arms wrapped around her favorite stuffed animal, soft snores filling the small room. A weight seemed to shift from Olivia's shoulders, as if the house itself was soothing her.
She took a few small steps toward Natalia's door, wanting the same visual reassurance that all was right in her world, but she hesitated. This door was closed, and the last thing Olivia wanted was to startle her awake. She let her fingers trail over the wooden portal, silently wishing Natalia peaceful dreams.
Olivia retraced her steps and walked to the bathroom, washing her face and cursing herself for leaving the small carry-on bag in the SUV. By the time she made it back out into the hall and pushed her old bedroom door the rest of the way open, she was more asleep than awake. Jeans were unbuttoned and thrown toward the chair, bra slipped out from under her t-shirt. Her hand was on the quilt ready to pull it back and crawl in when Olivia stopped dead.
It had taken her eyes a moment to adjust from the light of the bathroom back to the darkness of the sleeping house. She'd missed the person shaped lump curled up on the bed. There was no doubt, even if Olivia couldn't see her face. Natalia's dark hair fanned out over white pillowcases, spilling down the colorful quilt. Olivia felt her heart overflow with the love she felt for this woman.
A small voice whispered that perhaps climbing into bed with Natalia wasn't the best idea, but Olivia either chose not to hear it, or simply didn't care. She eased the quilt back, sliding under its surface and into the warmth of Natalia's body heat. She spooned the other woman without touching her, feeling her heart speed up at the closeness despite her complete exhaustion.
Olivia closed her eyes, took several deep breaths, and willed the tension from her body. Just being in the same room with Natalia was like a balm to her soul. Her heartbeat evened out, her limbs lost their rigidity. She was but a hairsbreadth from sleep when Natalia shifted back into her, bringing their bodies together.
"Mmm… 'Livia," Natalia mumbled in her sleep.
Olivia was too close to unconsciousness herself to do anything other than wrap and arm around Natalia's middle and pull her closer with an equally mumbled, "Love you."