Title: The Accident
Fandom: Guiding Light
Characters: Olivia Spencer, Natalia Rivera, Emma Spencer, Francesca Rivera, Frank Cooper, Rick Bauer, Phillip Spaulding, my dead body
Category: Angst, Romance, Drama
Word count: 33, 714 (total)
Summary: The devastation and moral decay of one Natalia Rivera.
Spoilers/Timeline Generally through September '09, though nothing terribly specific I think.
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: I got this idea from a throwaway line in one of Rysler's fics that would make sense to no one who wasn't inside my brain. And even by my standards it was a pretty crazy idea. But then I thought it over and with a little bit of nudging. That's crazy became why not? After all what is fandom - and fan fiction - for if not asking, if x changed then what would happen?
Beta: What can I say? aimlessla was freaking awesome for beta'ing this for me, even as much as the whole damn thing traumatized her. I appreciate her invaluable advice, grammar assistance, not throwing her hands up at the pitiable state of my commas and poking her finger at as many of my plot holes as she could find. This one was really above and beyond.
With thanks to Kelinswriter also for offering some general thoughts on the whole thing! Much appreciated, dude!
Warning: This fic has sexual content. Unrelated to that, but additionally it is very dark in nature. Very dark. Do not that this lightly. If you hated "Even If It Killed Her" to the point you stopped reading, you'll like this one even less. No, seriously.
For Rysler, for supporting this crazy, bat-shit idea of mine every step of the way, and me as I wrote it over an absolutely frantic fourteen day period in an effort to start NaNo on time. And everything else.
Have you read the warning? No seriously, have you? Because you need to read it.
"So, what are you saying, Natalia?" Olivia demanded, no longer even trying to rein her temper in. Natalia had always been able to infuriate her, with her goody-goody-ness and holier than thou attitude. Most of the time, Olivia saw that as charming now, part of what she loved so much about Natalia, but every once in a while it turned into a blazing argument, as ferocious as any that had taken place during her recovery.
Sometimes their fights ended with red cheeks and heaving chests; one thing leading to another. Yelling one moment and kissing the next, tearing clothes off and stumbling for the bedroom, yet never quite making it there. That was Olivia's preferred method of solving their differences, but it wasn't going to end that way tonight. Natalia was too upset and the passion that they usually shared - whether fighting or making love - had been replaced by an ache in Olivia's chest that made it hard to breathe.
Somewhere between everyday nagging and all-out yelling, the argument had become too real, and neither one wanted to back down.
"I'm saying that if you want to kill yourself slowly, I'm not going to sit here and watch it. Every drink you take, shortens your life, Olivia. Takes time away that we could have together."
It was the "I'm not going to sit here and watch it" that caught at Olivia's heart. She heard it and then could hear nothing else. "So you're just gonna leave, is that it, Natalia? Things get a little bit hard and you just..." She pressed her lips into a fine line. "Fine!" She spat out the word, her voice rising with each one. "Fine!" She couldn't stand here and listen to this, listen to this.
"What are you doing?" Natalia sounded scared and Olivia hated it. She had heard Natalia angry at her many times, but never, even when she had been at her cruelest had Natalia sounded frightened of her. Disgusted maybe, but never scared. It choked down the apology that had been about to spill over her lips, cut off the urge to fall to her knees and beg Natalia to give her another chance.
"I'm leaving. You should be familiar with it."
Natalia gasped and blanched. The satisfaction that Olivia had expected to feel at such a palpable hit refused to come. Her hands tightened into fists and she fled outside before she could say something she might regret even more.
Olivia pressed the heel of her hand into her chest and sagged against the door of her Nissan, catching herself against the car. The ache had changed to a tightness. God, she couldn't breathe. Couldn't do this. Not again.
She needed a drink.
*** *** ***
Dinner had been an exercise in misery, Emma asking questions about Olivia's whereabouts that Natalia couldn't answer and two-year-old Francesca crying out her unhappiness. She was still too young to catch all the intricacies of the situation, but she was certainly feeding off the tension in the room.
Emma was grumpy and uncooperative as they struggled through homework. It had taken nearly twice as long as usual and, there was still Francesca to bathe and put down when she was done. Chessy's temperament hadn't improved any and even Natalia's nearly infinite patience felt sorely tested before she was done with Francesca's bath, much less finally gotten her to sleep.
And Olivia still wasn't home.
Natalia knew exactly where she was - drinking with Doris. It was a well-developed pattern. Olivia always ran to Doris when there was a problem. Natalia didn't have a problem with that; she knew all about sounding boards. But what she hated was the way that Olivia staggered home at the end of the night, so drunk she could barely stand. Natalia had pleaded with her to stop it more than once, but Olivia never seemed to understand that the pleading came from fear.
Long before they had fallen in love, when Olivia was still just the woman who had Natalia's husband's heart, she had gone to Olivia's appointments with her and heard the statistics, straight from Dr. Rick's mouth. With her borrowed heart, Olivia had ten to fifteen years if she was lucky. Just the fact that it was Gus's heart - a man's heart - already reduced Olivia's chances. Time was the enemy, constantly slipping away. With every drink Olivia took, all Natalia could see was it slipping through her fingers more quickly. She didn't want a handful of years. She wanted a lifetime. But Olivia never seemed to hear her.
Natalia bit back tears.
Suddenly Natalia didn't care if Olivia was drinking, she wanted her home. Not because she wanted to stop her, but because she needed to hold her and be held. A flash of anger surged through her. She needed Olivia and Olivia was just throwing their time away, as casually as she pleased. Natalia would be the one left with four broken-hearted children and a life she didn't know how to live alone anymore. It was maddening and only one thing would ease the anguish in her heart.
Natalia reached for her phone and quickly typed out a text.
Come home. Please.
Short and simple. Part of her wondered if Olivia would even respond. For a few hopeful moments, Natalia sat on the couch waiting for a reply. When there was none, she moved to the kitchen and started cleaning up. There was no way she would be able to sleep any time soon.
*** *** ***
Natalia was folding laundry when she heard someone pounding at the door, loud, angry, urgent slams that jolted through her. She dropped Olivia's shirt and headed for the door. Her heart had leaped, irrationally hoping that it was Olivia, but she had her keys. There would be no need to knock. And she certainly wouldn't do it that loudly and risk waking Francesca. Maybe it was Doris, probably more than a little tipsy herself, bringing Olivia home in her blind-leading-the-blind fashion.
But Natalia's chastisement died on her lips when she found Frank standing there, cap in hand.
"Oh, Frank." She pushed her hair back from her face and tried to shift mental gears. It was so late. "Francesca's already in bed..." she trailed off not sure what else to say. There was something in his expression she couldn't quite place. He looked beyond weary.
"Natalia, there's something I need to tell you," he intoned.
"Can it wait for tomorrow?" she asked, in no mood to deal with this. "It's so late." And Olivia wasn't home. Anything Frank had to say, he could say it to them both.
Frank shook his head, clutching his hat even tighter, almost crushing it in his hands.
"There was an accident."
It took a moment for his words to sink in.
Slowly Frank nodded.
"Oh, God." She clutched at her throat, terror gripping her instantly. "Is she at Cedars? How bad is it? I have to-"
But Frank was shaking his head again. "We found her car in the river, Natalia. It was..." He swallowed. "There was no way she could have... We haven't found a body yet, but it's just a matter of time. They're still searching. I thought you should hear it from me, before..." He kept speaking, but Natalia couldn't hear any of it. She just felt numb.
Olivia was gone.