Title: July 5th
Fandom: Guiding Light
Characters: Olivia Spencer, Natalia Rivera, Emma Spencer, Rafe Rivera, Blake Marler, Frank Cooper
Category: Angst, Romance, Drama
Rating: NC-17 eventually, with mostly PG-13 stuff for now.
Word count: 36,471 (total)
Summary: It's the fifth of July. What will Natalia do?
Spoilers/Timeline Spoilers for everything through July 9th. Goes off canon after that.
Disclaimer: All characters (Olivia Spencer, Natalia Rivera, blah blah etc.) and situations belong to Guiding Light, Telenext, Proctor & Gamble, etc. I'm not them.
Author's Note: Just for the record I'd like to mention that this is not the fic that I called "worse than the BJoD, but minus Frank" on Twitter the other day. This is a completely different fic than that one. Don't worry. That one's coming soon. Er, no pun intended.
Beta: Many thanks to aimlessla for looking over this massive thing for me, pointing out plot holes and my constant comma issues.
"Are you sure you want to do this, Sweetie?" Blake pressed Natalia's hand between her own. "You can still change your mind."
Blake Marler was no major fan of Olivia Spencer's. There had, in fact, been a time in their lives when she would have wished Olivia nothing but ill-will - the period during her marriage to Josh Lewis for starters - but the look on Olivia's face when she informed her that Natalia wasn't coming to the barbecue and didn't want to see Olivia either, would have been enough to draw pity from anyone. Blake recognized that kind of devastation; it had surprised her to see it coming from Olivia. She hadn't thought Olivia was capable of it.
"I-" Natalia glanced away, her attention drawn by the elderly nun who had taken her bag and was rolling it toward the main building. "I need to do this," Natalia said with a shaky voice. "I have to figure out what's right." Her hand hovered over her stomach.
She wasn't showing, Blake noted, not really. It wasn't like Natalia wore form-fitting clothes anyway. Her jeans might be getting a little bit tighter, but who didn't add on a few pounds now and then?
Blake nodded, trying to be supportive. She wasn't sure this was the best way to go. Not telling Frank about this made her uncomfortable. He was a good man and she had known him for decades. But Natalia was her friend and she had promised Natalia that she wouldn't say anything to anyone; it was a promise she very much intended to keep.
"If you need anything," Blake said, giving her hand another squeeze. "Just let me know."
"Thank you," Natalia murmured, the words sounding more rote than heartfelt. "You've done so much already."
"Natalia-" Blake wished there was something she could say that would take away all of the other woman's obvious doubt and heartache, but she didn't think it was quite so simple. Blake shook her head. "Just take care of yourself." She smiled. "And your little one."
Natalia nodded, but there was no smile. That worried Blake the most. Almost from the moment Natalia had come to Springfield she had been dealing with one thing or another - and none of it easy - but Natalia had always had a ready smile and a positive attitude. Today there was no sign of that; it wasn't like her at all. Even though Blake knew this was what Natalia wanted, it made her reluctant to leave.
There wasn't anything else she could say though, or any reason she could think of to delay. Blake took her time getting into the car and she couldn't help one last glance back at Natalia just before she pulled out of the drive. It didn't seem right, leaving her like this.
The woman - Sister Mary Francis - who guided Natalia inside and showed her to her small room was kind and welcoming. There was a peace about her that Natalia thought might have been soothing under the usual circumstances. Today it just chafed, reminding her of what was eluding her at the moment.
"Would you like the tour, dear?" Sister Mary Francis asked. "You have a little while yet before dinner."
"No," Natalia said, sinking down onto the small bed. "Thank you." The small courtesy coming to her from years of habit. "I think I'd just like to be alone for a little while. I need to...think."
Think about what she had done and what she going to do. Somehow Natalia needed to try to make sense of this mess that she had created, so that she could do the right thing. If only she knew what the right thing was.
"Of course," Sister Mary Francis said gently. "Dinner is at 7." She paused. "If you ever discover that you need someone to talk to, that is what we are here for. Do not be afraid to ask." Sister Mary Francis waited a moment longer to see if this would prompt Natalia to say anything and when it didn't, she simply smiled, nodded and left Natalia to her own devices.
The small room was comfortably decorated, but not lavish or sumptuous like the Beacon suites or any of the other hotels where she had worked through the years. The floor was covered with medium-blue industrial carpeting, and a plain chair and desk sat beside the bed. There was a Bible sitting next to the lamp. Natalia put her hand on it, but didn't pick it up. She knew what she would find in there.
Her fingers trailed over the Bible as she let go and sank back onto the bed, curling into a fetal position. Natalia's hand rested over her stomach. She didn't feel any different. Just a little bit nauseated but that had been her default for the past week. How could she have gone so long without realizing what was happening? It was ridiculous. She should have noticed.
Natalia bit her lip and struggled not to let her tears fall. Discovering you were pregnant was supposed to be a happy time in a person's life; not a time that made them wonder what they had done to deserve this. That made Natalia feel even worse. It wasn't fair to her unborn child - her baby - to think of him or her that way. Her little one had done nothing wrong, hadn't asked for this at all.
God, why had she slept with Frank?
She knew the answer. Olivia. She had known it at the time. Natalia wanted so badly to believe that she could be happy with Frank. She was so desperate to feel something other than the way Olivia made her feel that she had tried to summon that feeling with Frank. Only it hadn't worked, not at all. The only thing that Frank had made her feel was ashamed and dirty. And what made it worse was that he had thought they had shared something beautiful. At the time, she had wished she felt the same way, but in her heart, she knew the truth.
Frank would never make her feel happy and content - like she could aspire to more - not the way Olivia did. She had a growing suspicion that Olivia was the only person who would ever make her feel that way.
Abruptly, Natalia rolled to a sitting position and grabbed her purse off the desk, throwing it open to search for her cell phone only remembering then that she had handed it to the nun at the registration desk to be kept with all the other visitor cell phones until she was ready to leave. It had seemed like a good idea then; now wanting to hear Olivia's voice, needing to speak to her more than anything, it seemed like a terrible idea.
Natalia dropped her purse and stood up, pacing around the small room, bringing her fingers to her mouth as she paced. Her moment of decisiveness was replaced by hesitation. She could go and ask for her phone. It wouldn't be that hard to get it back, but what was she going to say to Olivia once she had it?
How could she tell Olivia that she was pregnant? Rafe's refusal to accept them - his hatred - was the last thing that had stood between them being happy and together. Now she was bringing another child into the mix, one that brought Frank back into their lives in a way that there would be no escaping from. Because Natalia knew Frank. She knew that when he found out she was pregnant with his child, he would want to do the right thing, want to marry her. Everything inside her - years of tradition and ingrained beliefs and years of listening to reproofs and slights - screamed at her that a child should be raised by its parents, born into wedlock. But that was the last thing her heart wanted. Was it selfish of her to deny her child this just because she wanted - wanted Olivia, wanted a life that was more than just tradition, duty and what was expected of her?
Natalia had told Olivia that they had dealt with the whispering that had gone on around Emma after her "My Two Mommies" presentation, but she was under no illusion that there wouldn't be more whispers as time passed. It would always be more difficult for their children, if they were together.
But they could deal with all of that, if being with Olivia was the right thing to do. Natalia had faith in that. She just wished that she knew if it was the right thing. What she wanted, most of all was a sign, something to tell her, this is right or this is wrong.
Why couldn't it be that easy?