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
Rating: NC-17
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.

Part Thirteen

Olivia had no idea how long they had sat there together, before they finally moved. When they did, Olivia had been the first to stand. She had held her hand out to Natalia to help her up and Natalia never let go until they had gotten to Natalia's car. Once they were in the car Natalia had recaptured her hand almost before Olivia had realized she had let go.

She closed her eyes on the long drive back out to the farmhouse. They rode in silence. It wasn't a particularly tense silence, but Olivia wasn't sure what to say. So much had happened and she was exhausted. She was almost glad that Natalia wasn't insisting on carrying on a conversation. It let her focus on the soft warmth of Natalia's hand in hers, a simple comfort she'd been deprived of for the past months. Olivia's effort to block out the rest of the world drifted away from its original purpose. She felt herself sliding toward sleep and didn't resist. From the moment she had woken up alone and disoriented, not even knowing her own name, she had carried within her a certain tension. It was obvious from her condition that someone hadn't wished her well and she'd had no idea who she could really trust. Despite whatever had come between them, Olivia knew Natalia would not let any harm come to her. Content in that knowledge she could finally drift into a deep, dreamless sleep.

"Olivia." Waking to Natalia's thumb stroking her cheek was a reward in its own right. She rolled her head, nuzzling into Natalia's hand. She heard Natalia's soft gasp and opened her eyes.

"What's wrong?" She struggled to wake fully, her words slurring as she blinked her way back to consciousness. All she could see was Natalia's tears and want to fix it.

Natalia shook her head, futilely trying to hold back her tears. "Nothing." She swallowed. "You're so beautiful."

"That's why you're crying?" Natalia nodded. Olivia wrapped her hand around Natalia's wrist, the closest part of her that she could touch. "Don't cry, Sweetheart. I'm here."

Natalia took another gasping breath, clearly trying to do as Olivia had asked. "I've wanted to hear you say that so many times. You have no idea."

Without a word, Olivia put a hand behind her head and drew Natalia against her. It didn't matter that Natalia was awkwardly sprawled across the center console. All that she cared about was being back in Olivia's arms, surrounded by the feel of her, enveloped in her scent.

"Everyone's going to think we're crazy," Olivia murmured into Natalia's hair some time later. "Sitting out here in the car, in the dark."

"Don't care," Natalia said. She shifted, turning so that she could look up at Olivia. "They all think I'm crazy anyway."

"Oh?" Olivia asked, her fingers running idly through Natalia's hair.

"You don't think I took losing you well, do you?" Natalia asked, with a pained attempt at a smile.

Olivia shrugged. "We were fighting that night."

Natalia sat up so quickly that she almost fell off the seat and hit her head on the roof. Olivia steadied her. "You know I would give anything to take back everything I said that night."

"Are you sure you weren't...better off?" Olivia suggested. "No more crazy Olivia with her drinking and her bitchiness and her wild, unpredictability."

"No more person I loved to share my life with, no more my children's other mother. Oh, yeah, that was better off." Natalia rolled her eyes and pushed away from Olivia back into her own seat. "Don't be ridiculous."

Olivia huffed, folding her arms across her chest. "I'm not being ridiculous." But Natalia could see the beginnings of the faint smile tugging at Olivia's lips.

"No," Natalia conceded. "You're being you." She sighed, sinking down into herself a little. "I love you."

Olivia's smile burst fully into being; she reached across the seat between them and took Natalia's hand. "We should go inside. Check on the girls."

Natalia smiled faintly. "If Em isn't in a sugar coma." She glanced over at Olivia. "Are you sure you don't want to stay out here a little longer?"

Olivia laughed.

They found Jane inside, keeping an eye on one exhausted eleven year old and her much more energetic little sister. Francesca, having napped at some point that day, was enjoying her second wind buzzing around the room with as much energy as Emma and her friends had displayed earlier that day. The moment she saw Olivia she ran toward her holding out her arms and Olivia didn't disappoint, sweeping her up immediately.

"Mommy!" Seeing Olivia was enough to energize Emma again, jumping up off the couch only a moment behind Francesca. "You came back."

Olivia cupped Emma's face for a moment, holding her gaze. "I did, Jellybean. I'm not going anywhere anymore."

Emma hesitated. She was old enough now to be aware of the tension between her two mommies and she had certainly found it odd that Olivia had stayed at the Beacon after she had come back. It had taken many strained reassurances from Natalia for her to believe that everything was okay, and it had never quite seemed that way - the meaning of Natalia's words contradicted by the way she said them. "You're really back?" Emma asked again. She needed to know for sure and her mother had never lied to her.

Olivia seemed to sense that Emma was asking something more because she didn't look away or make light of the question. "I really am, Emma." She held Emma's gaze until she seemed to find what she needed in it and then Olivia bent - Francesca still balanced on one hip - to kiss Emma's cheek. "I love you so much, Jellybean," she whispered for Emma's ears alone. "Never forget that." Then she straightened, blinking until no traitorous moisture would slip down her cheeks.

She took in the living room - similar yet different - unfamiliar toys mixed in with the old ones strewn across the floor. The difference was that she couldn't tell which toys were birthday gifts or simply ones she wasn't familiar with yet. Her girls were all gathered around her, all in various states of exhaustion except for Francesca who was bouncing impatiently on her hip.

"I know what we need," Olivia declared, drawing their attention.

"Oh?" Natalia asked, smiling, more than willing to go along for the ride, waiting to be dazzled.

"We need dinner. Something light and easy to revive my tired girls."

"Oh." Natalia almost sounded a little surprised at the practical suggestion. "Actually that sounds wonderful."

Olivia didn't miss the weariness beneath the genuine appreciation of the idea in her words. She gave Emma's hair an absentminded caress as she reached for Natalia's hand, reclaiming it. "Hey. I thought we could do it together." She smiled. "Just like we used to."

The smiled that Natalia flashed her, bright and full of dimples, told her that she had said exactly the right thing. It had been too long since she had done this - even before she had been gone.

Getting the girls settled in the kitchen wasn't hard, Emma keeping an eye on Francesca as Olivia and Natalia washed up, deciding on a simple supper of soup and sandwiches. They moved around the kitchen easily, passing the mayonnaise before it was asked for and managing to catch the soup just before it boiled over.

"You're making it wrong," Natalia said teasingly under her breath as she looked back down at her own efforts, swiftly cutting it in two.

"Oh? And what am I doing wrong?" Olivia asked, matching her tone, grateful for Natalia's teasing and that she could use it to mask her own sudden ache of longing. She had missed them being together this way and the ease that they had shared.

"Not enough peanut butter," Natalia said, glancing at Olivia as she took the knife from her and began to smear another layer on top of the bananas, checking to see if Olivia was with her. She tilted her head toward Francesca. "That little one likes it with way more peanut butter than banana. Almost as much as Rafe." She made a funny face as she concentrated on getting it just so and Olivia gave up any pretense of helping just to watch Natalia.

Natalia looked up from her work and caught Olivia staring at her unabashedly. She smiled uncertainly under the scrutiny.

Standing at the table side-by-side, Olivia gave Natalia a playful bump with her hip to break the tension. "I see you still get as much on your face as on the sandwich," Olivia whispered. She was rewarded with another of those dazzling smiles. Each one made Olivia feel like she had made her first million all over again. Without thinking, she leaned over and kissed Natalia lightly on the lips.

It was impulsive and Olivia didn't regret it. She saw the surprise flash in Natalia's eyes as she drew away and worried for an instant that Natalia would fall at her feet with gratitude or make a big deal out of it. But Natalia's smile only grew wider as she glanced over at Olivia from underneath her lashes, almost shyly if that was even possible for two women who had spent the past several years of their lives together, living and loving one another.

"I should, uh, get more peanut butter," Natalia said, her brow furrowing, glancing down at the still fairly-full-to-Olivia's-eyes jar, and confiscating it.

Olivia watched her disappear into the pantry and glanced back at the small row of sandwiches that still needed to be completed. She redirected her attention to the oldest of the two girls. "You got this, Em?"

Delighted to be left in charge of something as important as dinner, Emma nodded, eager to show her mother how much she had grown and what a good job she could do.

Olivia nodded. "Okay, then. Be right back." It felt a little bit ridiculous to follow Natalia into the spacious pantry, but she did it anyway, her fingers running down the louvered doors as she stepped through them. This had been her first birthday gift to Natalia as a couple. Well, the most practical of them, expanding Natalia's beloved kitchen. The rest Olivia would admit had been completely impractical, with only the goal of spoiling Natalia as much as possible firmly in mind.

"Nat-" Her name died on Olivia's lips as Olivia caught sight of her. Natalia's arms were wrapped around her waist and silent tears ran down her cheeks. "What's wrong?"

Natalia couldn't reply; she just reached blindly for Olivia, who held Natalia without hesitation.

"You don't have to cry anymore," she whispered, her lips against Natalia's ear. She brushed a piece of hair back from Natalia's face and kissed first one cheek and then the other, kissing her until all her tears were gone.

"I'm sorry," Natalia said, straightening. "I didn't want you to see me cry."

"I want all your tears - and your smiles." Olivia tried a smile of her own, wobblier than she had expected. "All your hugs and kisses."

Natalia half-laughed and half-sobbed against her, a release of emotion in a burst of sound. "They're yours. All yours. But Emma and Francesca and Rafe might have something to say about that."

Olivia sighed like it just might be a deal breaker. "I guess I can live with that. If you promise they're the only ones I have to share with."

Natalia's hand tightened around hers almost painfully. "I do," she whispered.

Olivia laughed ruefully. "We've already said that once. I guess I kind of messed up 'til death do us part' huh?"

"Just...don't do it again."

"I'm not going anywhere - I promise."

Hesitantly Natalia leaned forward. Olivia caught her intention immediately. She had a moment to decide if she wanted to let Natalia kiss her or turn her head away so that Natalia got her cheek instead. Olivia wasn't sure what stayed her in the end, but she froze in place. Not moving away, but not bridging the distance for Natalia either. Then Natalia's lips were brushing softly against her own. Olivia gasped. Natalia's lips clung, tasted, sucking in her breath and deepening the kiss. Something flared between them, familiar and consuming. Olivia jerked back from it. Not frightened of it, but not ready to be burned up by it either.

"We should..." she swallowed and gestured behind her, taking a step back toward the doors. "The girls are waiting on us."

"Right," Natalia said, letting her slip away, managing not to look too disappointed, but Olivia knew her too well to miss it.

Dinner was a loud boisterous affair. Re-energized by the food, Emma was loud and talkative, rehashing the events of her birthday party for both her mommies. Natalia seemed content to let her sweep the rest of them up with her mood and Olivia was grateful for her energy - and that it made any other talking unnecessary.

"We should watch a movie," Olivia declared.

"Movie night?" Natalia repeated. "We haven't done that in forever."

"It could be fun," Olivia said.

"Can I pick what we watch?" Emma asked, almost shooting up out of her chair in her eagerness.

"After you finish your dinner," Natalia said, nodding at the unfinished sandwich on her plate.

Emma finished her dinner in record time. Natalia thought even Olivia was eating a little bit more quickly than usual in order to finish faster. She just watched on in amusement, not joining in on their antics. There were still dishes to be done and a kitchen to be cleaned after all.

But when she started loading the dishwasher, Olivia caught her wrist.

"Let it wait. Just for tonight. Please."

There was no way Natalia could refuse the softness in her voice or the look in her eyes. She smiled, charmed and a little giddy that Olivia wanted her there. They hadn't had time to discuss anything beyond Olivia coming back home with her, not the betrayal Olivia had felt at seeing her with Phillip or where they would go from here. It was a small thing, but Natalia had always treasured the small things. "Okay," she whispered. "Let me fix some hot chocolate?"

Olivia smiled back. "That sounds wonderful."

As much as she wanted to hurry into the other room, Natalia took her time and made it on the stove, the old-fashioned way. She knew how much Olivia liked it that way. She put on the finishing touches - whipped cream towering almost impossible high on top - and headed out to the living room. Her heart sank when she saw Emma tucked up against one side of Olivia and Francesca was sprawled out on the other. She mustered a smile anyway, handing Olivia her hot chocolate before taking a seat next to Francesca. Natalia missed Olivia's little frown as she took her first sip of cocoa and settled in to watch the movie. High School Musical was already playing - at Emma's insistence. Natalia was glad that they hadn't waited for her.

But Natalia did notice when Olivia leaned forward to put her mug on the coffee table and scoop Francesca up - much to the little girl's delight - and put her in her lap, cuddling her close, showering her in kisses. Shrieks and giggles ensued, drawing complaints and loud shushing sounds from Emma. Natalia smiled through it all, delighted to have her family surrounding her.

"Hey you," Olivia whispered, when Francesca had finally quieted, exhausting her amusement. "What are you smiling at?"

"Nothing," Natalia answered just as quietly.

"Well what are you doing so far away then?" Olivia asked in the same mock-indignant tone.

Natalia just shook her head, beaming the whole time. "I have no idea," she said simply, before standing to scoot closer.

Olivia pulled her even closer until Natalia was pressed into her side, snuggled up on the couch as they had been so many times before. Even with so many things still up in the air, Natalia was so happy she felt like she was glowing. God had given her this moment and she was going to hold onto it, savoring every bit of it.

Natalia let her head fall against Olivia's shoulder, settling in and relaxing to watch the movie. She had lost herself in the familiar singing and dancing for a few moments when Olivia touched her knee, her fingers curling over it possessively. Natalia glanced over just as Olivia turned toward her. Their eyes met and held.

"This is what I missed most," Olivia whispered. "This right here. All of us, piled up on the couch together, watching a movie." She sniffed and swiped at her eye. "I couldn't remember it. I didn't know what it was, but there was this hole in my heart, and this was the feeling it was missing."

Natalia swallowed hard, emotion welling up at Olivia's soft confession. "Was it horrible while you were gone?" she asked softly, grateful that Olivia was still willing to open up to her. There were so many things that she had thought that she'd never have a chance to do again, having conversations like this one was just one of them.

"Yes," Olivia said simply. "No." Her fingers on Natalia's knee squeezed harder. "It was like going back to living my life the way that I always had before you - even though I couldn't remember anything. But there was always this...feeling...that something was missing. I couldn't name it, but I couldn't forget it. It was just always there on the tip of my tongue, haunting me." Olivia shuddered. "I hated it."

She sounded so lost that Natalia couldn't do anything but wrap her arms Olivia and hold her. Olivia looked startled but she allowed it.

Putting Emma and Francesca to bed was harder than usual. Francesca had fallen asleep during the movie and Emma had been yawning with suspicious frequency by the time it was over, but once the credits had stop rolling both had revived, seeming more hyper than ever in Olivia's presence. They weren't ready for the day to end and Natalia couldn't blame them.

Finally they managed to get first Francesca and then Emma tucked into bed. Natalia had already tiptoed out of Emma's room, having said her goodnight's first, leaving Olivia and Emma for some special time alone.

"I'm so glad you came back, Mommy," Emma whispered, scooting closer to where Olivia was sitting on the edge of her bed. "This was the best birthday ever."


Emma nodded solemnly and Olivia bent to give her one last hug, kissing the top of her head before she straightened.

"I'm so glad, Jellybean. I love you so much."

"I know, Mommy," Emma said with a confidence that broke Olivia's heart. "I love you too."

As satisfied as she could be knowing that her daughter didn't doubt how much she loved her, Olivia rose and quietly left the room. She took a deep breath as she emerged into the hallway. Natalia would be waiting for her - in their room.

When she opened the door, Natalia was standing in front of the mirror atop their dresser, brushing out her long hair. She caught sight of Olivia in the mirror and stopped mid-stroke, lowering the brush and putting it down on the table. It was then that Olivia noticed that Natalia was wearing her favorite chemise, a thin golden strap-y number. Olivia could already feel the flimsiness of it under her fingers.

Natalia knew it was her favorite. She had worn it on purpose. Like so many other things, Olivia wasn't sure how she felt about that. So she ignored it.

"I don't have anything to change into," Olivia said, her voice hushed by the dim light and the feel of the room. She felt like a stranger in her own home.

"Your things are all still here," Natalia said just as softly. "I couldn't-" she shook her head. "They're all still here," she said, opening the drawer where Olivia had always kept her nightgowns and lingerie before.

"Okay, thank you." Even though Olivia knew Natalia wasn't, it felt as if she were watching Olivia's every move as she went to the drawer and pulled out a pair of pajamas, then went to the bathroom to change. It was awkward because she had been gone and because they were acting differently around each other. Olivia smiled bemusedly. It reminded her of the first night they had spent together in the farmhouse as a couple. Only then Natalia hadn't been having an affair with her ex-husband the week before.

Olivia sighed bitterly and stepped into the pajama pants with resignation. So things were different. She was back where she belonged. It would just take time. When she came back out, Natalia was already in bed. That made it a little easier to join her on the other side. Or at least that was what Olivia thought until she was actually in bed. Then she was forced to confront Natalia's proximity, her scent enveloping Olivia. It would be so easy to just reach across the small distance between them and touch Natalia. She already knew how tantalizingly soft and smooth her skin would be.

Olivia couldn't resist any longer. She rolled over onto her side and slid her arms around Natalia from behind, resting her chin against Natalia's shoulder. She breathed in deeply. "You know, you've never actually slept in that," Olivia whispered, her tone ironic.

"I know." Natalia hesitated then squirmed in Olivia's arms, not struggling to move away but to roll over so that she could see Olivia. "I don't know how you feel about..." she faltered and then steadied herself, looking down between them. "About me. About what happened." She plucked at the strap of the gown. "I didn't wear this to pressure you or anything. But...I love you and I've missed you so much."

Olivia swallowed, her mouth suddenly feeling dry. It wasn't pressure, but an invitation, if she wanted to take it. Natalia was putting herself out there, all wrapped up in a bow. "Natalia, I don't know that I can..." She shook her head and scooted closer. "I missed you too. God, I missed you. But-" she cut herself off.

"But what?"

"I don't think I can be with you here in this bed, not where you and-"

"No," Natalia said forcefully, cutting her off before she could finish that thought. "We never. I couldn't. I wouldn't have. Not here. Not in our bed."

"If I hadn't come back it wouldn't have been our bed anymore," Olivia said, feeling irritated with Natalia, picking at the scab that had barely begun to form. "It would have been your bed - and his."

Natalia threw her leg over Olivia's. It was the only way she could get closer than they already were. "Then I am so glad you're here."

"Are you?" Olivia asked bitterly. "Are you sure you don't want something easier? Less complicated. Phillip could give you that."

"But he's not what I want and he never could be," Natalia said fiercely. "Because the only thing I want is you."

"You make it sound so simple," Olivia murmured, reach up to play with the thin strap, slipping it down over Natalia's shoulder. "And it's not."

Natalia shivered as Olivia's nails grazed over her skin and she struggled to hang on to the thread of the conversation. "Tell me what you need," Natalia whispered.

Olivia's lips pursed. For a moment, Natalia thought she wasn't going to answer. "You." She picked up Natalia's left hand and placed a soft kiss on her knuckles - on her ring finger just above her wedding band. "You never took this off, did you?" She brushed her thumb against the band, shifting it on Natalia's finger to reveal the circlet of paler skin beneath.

Natalia shook her head, struggling to form words faced with the intensity of Olivia's gaze. "Olivia..."

"Shhh," Olivia shushed her, putting her finger over Natalia's lips. "Don't say anything."

Natalia squirmed as she struggled to comply. There was so much that she wanted to say, to beg Olivia for her forgiveness, to plead with her not to leave, to ask if she could still possibly love her. But she stayed silent. Even as Olivia rolled them over, until she was above Natalia, their legs intertwined. She hovered over Natalia for a moment, holding herself over her on her hands. Natalia was almost holding her breath, willing to let Olivia do whatever she wanted, but feeling more uncertain than she ever had before in their bed.

Finally Olivia shifted her weight to one hand, using the other to pull down the one remaining strap that held the thin garment on Natalia's shoulder. Olivia hooked it with her pinky and drew it down Natalia's arm, leaving Natalia's arms trapped at her sides by a slender gossamer strand. Olivia drew the garment further down, her index finger tugging at the center of it. Natalia watched her do it, feeling more exposed and vulnerable by the moment as Olivia drew it down. Tears were waiting just behind her eyes, drawn by the overload of emotions rushing through her. Natalia closed her eyes against them, struggling to keep it all inside, wanting to forget everything but Olivia's hands on her.

Olivia had shifted so that she was sitting up, straddling Natalia's hips. Her fingers drifted down the center of Natalia's chest, tracing a wavy path downward. She bent forward, her hair tickling Natalia's shoulders and began to trail kisses down her torso. Natalia whimpered when Olivia's lips found the curve of her breast and then worked her way across it until she could take her nipple into her mouth, sucking until her cheeks hollowed.

Her hands began to wander, skimming down Natalia's sides. She stroked Natalia's hip, lingering there, knowing that the silky smoothness of the chemise was nothing compared to Natalia's skin beneath it. Olivia began tugging on the material, pulling the hem upwards until she could slip her hand beneath it, her fingers skimming over the softness of Natalia's inner thigh.

She released Natalia's nipple with a loud pop as she stroked her fingers over Natalia's firm abdomen just above the waist of her panties. Olivia hooked one finger into the waist of them, but then instead of pulling them down she let her fingers wander down over the material and stroke back up. Olivia could feel the damp heat beneath the thin layer of material all too well. Natalia whimpered.

It was too much; she couldn't take anymore. The tears that she had been trying so hard to hold back began to slide down her cheeks. Natalia turned her head away in an effort to hide them, knowing it wouldn't be successful.

"Natalia?" Olivia asked, pulling her hands back at the sound of her gentle hitching sobs. "What's wrong?"

But Natalia just shook her head. She grabbed Olivia's arms, needing something to hold onto, and clung to her tightly. Olivia held her, turning her head to kiss every part of Natalia that she could reach, her cheek, the side of her face, her temple.

"Hey, it's okay," Olivia whispered soothingly. "It's going to be okay."

"You can't promise that," Natalia choked out. "You might change your mind or...or decide you can't do this after all, after I..." She couldn't finish that thought. It was like history was repeating itself. She had made a huge mistake again, big enough that it might be unforgivable. She couldn't stand the thought of living without Olivia; Natalia knew what that was like.

"I'm here," Olivia said. She hesitated a moment and then drew back so that she could look at Natalia. "Do you hear me, Natalia? I'm here."

Natalia nodded shakily, biting her lip. "I want..."


"To kiss you." Absolution.

"Then kiss me," Olivia said, leaning in, teasingly brushing her nose against Natalia's.

Natalia took Olivia's face in her hands and did just that, kissing her deeply. There were no teasing brushes of lips or tentative tastes, just a deep, demanding kiss. Her tongue slipped into Olivia's mouth as she reached up, grasping a handful of Olivia's hair. She needed more, more and more and more. Natalia finally had Olivia back in her arms, but the ache within her that was more than just something physical had yet to be assuaged. She was almost desperate to find a way to stop missing her, to make herself believe that Olivia was really here, really loved her. It was difficult when Olivia hadn't even said the words yet.

But they were here together, in bed, and that was something Natalia had thought she would never get to have again. She gasped into Olivia's mouth as she felt Olivia's hand resume its journey downward. This time she slipped her fingers inside Natalia's panties without hesitation, cupping her and then sliding her hand further down, stroking her with the tip of a finger.

Natalia squirmed, whimpering, wanting more than Olivia was offering. "Please," she broke the kiss to beg, reaching down and covering Olivia's hand with her own, pushing Olivia's fingers more firmly against her.

"Something you wanted, Natalia?" Olivia said, her voice deep and husky next to Natalia's ear.

"Oh, please," Natalia whispered again as Olivia's strokes grew firmer and then without warning she slid firmly up inside her, the heel of her palm pressed against Natalia's clit.

Natalia pressed her forehead against Olivia's shoulder and bit her lip as she clung to Olivia, concentrating on the ever-building sensation within her as Olivia thrust against her. Her orgasm hit her suddenly and she shuddered in Olivia's arms, feeling as if she were going to come apart. Slowly she calmed, her breathing beginning to slow back to normal as Olivia stroked her hair. She hadn't noticed how her heart was pounding until she was sprawled back bonelessly against the bed.

It took effort, but Natalia reached out, running her finger up and down Olivia's arms. She let out a wry chuckle. "You're overdressed."

Olivia glanced down, realizing then that she was still in her pajamas. "I guess I am." She tugged on the chemise that was still on Natalia, just a little bit worse for the wear. "But so are you."

Natalia grabbed Olivia's hand and struggled to sit up. "I could help you with that."

"You first," Olivia said, arching an eyebrow.

Her legs still felt like jelly but Natalia managed to get to her knees. She laughed as her knee came down on the edge of the gown and it caught her short, throwing her off balance and sending her falling into Olivia.

Olivia caught her, shaking her head at Natalia's not-so-smooth move. "Are you sure you're not drunk?" she teased her.

"Not drunk," Natalia said with a shake of her head. "Just happy."

"Yeah?" Olivia said, a smile tugging at her lips.

Natalia nodded again, pushing away from Olivia until she was balancing a little bit more carefully on her knees and then reached for the hem of the gown, lifting it over her head and pulling it off. She let it fall over the edge of the bed and out of sight. Then she shimmied out of her panties. It took a little bit longer and required her to lean against Olivia several times for balance, but neither one minded.

And then it was Olivia's turn.

The pajama shirt had buttons. Olivia rarely bothered with them. It was big enough that she could simply pull it on and off over her head, but this time she began at the top, undoing them slowly enough that Natalia grew impatient. She scooted forward, laughing at Olivia's amused, superior smirk and started unbuttoning it herself. They met in the middle.

Natalia giggled when their hands met, their fingers tangling together briefly as she leaned forward to nip playfully at Olivia's lips. The butterfly kisses continued until Olivia captured her lips and refused to let go following Natalia as she leaned away. Natalia moaned into the kiss and slid her hands beneath the fabric, easing the shirt off Olivia's shoulders. She tugged it downwards and let it fall away completely.

Olivia broke the kiss and pressed against her, wrapping her arms against Natalia's shoulders and "walking" a little bit closer, still on her knees. Natalia took advantage of the moment and tugged on the string tying Olivia's pajama pants together. It fell undone with just one pull and Natalia began to work them down Olivia's hips. There was a brief moment of confusion about who was leaning which way and Olivia lost her balance, tumbling back against the bed and pulling Natalia down on top of her.

They laughed helplessly until Natalia squirmed against Olivia trying to find a more comfortable position and her bare breasts pressed into Olivia's. Olivia grew quiet instantly, jolted by the feeling of skin-against-skin. The serious look in her eyes caught Natalia mid-giggle. She almost hiccuped as it cut off abruptly.

Then she began to scoot back from Olivia.

"Hey," Olivia protested softly. "Where are you going?"

"Nowhere," Natalia said. "Just finishing what I started." She tapped Olivia's thigh. "Lift."

When Olivia complied she tugged the offending pajama pants the rest of the way off her legs and dropped them down with the top, to be discovered later. She glanced back at Olivia and froze. Natalia couldn't help but stare at Olivia sprawled out before her on the bed, with what could only be called a come-hither expression on her face. Natalia just shook her head.

"You are so beautiful," she whispered, her hands trailing up Olivia's legs as she scooted back toward Olivia.

Olivia swallowed thickly. It always hit her hard when Natalia said that, not because she said it rarely, but because she meant more than just her looks. Each time it was stunning.

Natalia's hands were running up and down her thighs. Olivia couldn't help but be distracted. Her earlier smirk slipped back onto her lips. She knew what Natalia wanted, what she was thinking before she had even thought it. Natalia was looking at her like she wanted to devour her and Olivia heartily approved.

Natalia shook her head at the smirk Olivia was wearing, growing determined to wipe that look off Olivia's face. She slid down to the bed, so that she was just inches above Olivia, her head over Olivia's abdomen. She backed up a few inches, tilting her head and breathing in deeply, her nose pressed almost against the junction of Olivia's thighs. Natalia felt the muscles of Olivia's abdomen jerk and tilted her head a little further forward, her hair cascading down over her shoulders to hide her smile.

Instead of venturing further down, where Olivia was expecting her mouth to land, Natalia shifted, her hair trailing over Olivia's abdomen, and planted an open-mouthed kiss on the inside of her thigh. Her tongue flicked out over sensitive skin, and Olivia grabbed a fistful of hair at the nape of her neck. Natalia didn't let it hurry her, trailing kisses toward her destination and then when she was so close switching sides, going back down toward her knee.

Olivia made a whining sound and Natalia laughed. Olivia's grip on her hair tightened in retaliation, guiding her head back toward where she wanted it. Natalia licked the back of her knee and let herself be guided closer. She nuzzled closer, deliberately bumping her nose into Olivia's clit. She hissed, her nails scratching Natalia's scalp for an instant before she closed her fist again. Natalia licked once, slowly, deliberately and Olivia hissed again.

"Natalia..." Her name was part-plea and part warning.

Natalia smiled again, a too innocent smile. She began to lick again. When Olivia's hips began to move with her touch, Natalia shifted a little so that she could bring her hand around. Then she sat back a little, moving away from Olivia, replacing her tongue with her fingers, coating them in Olivia's wetness. When her fingers were slick, she slid them up into Olivia and bent over her once again. This time she found Olivia's clit with her lips and tongue, sucking on it as she thrust into Olivia.

Olivia gasped, her hips jerking upward more quickly, meeting Natalia's thrusts, until her steady rhythm turned erratic and her hips arched up sharply and then fell back to the bed as she came. Natalia felt the tell-tale signs of Olivia clenching around her fingers and sucked harder on Olivia's clit, making her jerk and whimper again.

"Oh, God, Natalia," Olivia gasped, between sharp panted breaths. "You're going to kill me."

Natalia froze at the panted words, resting her forehead against Olivia's thigh. "Then I guess we can't ever do that again, because I can't live without you."

Olivia froze and for a moment, the sound of her breathing the only noise in the room. Gradually it began to return to normal and Olivia's tight grip on Natalia's hair relaxed, until she was simply stroking her fingers through curly, tangled locks.

"But you did though. You can," Olivia said, finally speaking.

Natalia's arms tightened around Olivia's waist. "What I was doing wasn't living. It was surviving."

Olivia's hand never stopped moving in Natalia's hair. "Even Phillip?"

Natalia sighed, but didn't move to raise her head, her breath ghosting against Olivia's sweat dampened skin and raising goosebumps across her hip.

"Even Phillip. It wasn't something I ever intended to happen, Olivia. It just did one day." She began to trace patterns against the inside of Olivia's hipbone, running her nail lightly back and forth. "Not for any of the reasons you think, but because I couldn't breathe. I missed you so much I didn't think I could go on. He was there and he was kind. I could hold on to him."

Olivia twirled a strand of Natalia's hair around her finger and didn't say anything. The silence began to grow unbearable for Natalia. Finally she raised her head, propping herself up so that her chin was resting on her joined fingers at the base of Olivia's abdomen, leaving Olivia looking down her own body at Natalia.

Natalia could still feel the wet heat of Olivia pressed up against her abdomen. "Do you think you can ever trust me again?" Natalia hesitated. "I mean, really trust me." It was the most essential part of their relationship, an unfailing trust in the other that banded them together against everything. Without it Natalia wasn't sure what they would be. Or if there would be anything left to salvage of them.

Olivia sighed, still toying with her hair, dexterous fingers never ceasing to move. "Yes."

Natalia waited and when nothing came, she pushed herself up a little more. "Yes? That's it? Just yes."

"Did you want a speech?" Olivia asked. "You just fucked me senseless, Natalia. You can't expect eloquence."

Natalia sagged back down against her, laying her arms back across Olivia's hips. "Is that why you're saying yes?"

It was Olivia's turn to struggle to sit up. "You think because we just had sex..." Olivia shook her head. "If I didn't trust you, I wouldn't have let you touch me."

Natalia pushed herself up to her knees and then sat down so that she was facing Olivia. Suddenly she felt chilled and too naked. She wished for a robe but didn't want to get up to get one. She drew her legs up and rested her chin on her knee, wrapping her arms around them. She looked as if she didn't quite believe Olivia.

"Fine," Olivia said. "So that might not have always been true, but you've ruined me. I can't go back. I'll only make love to someone that I love."

Natalia glanced down and away, feeling the words like a knife to the heart.

"Natalia..." Olivia cajoled, realizing almost immediately what Natalia had heard. "That's not what I meant." She heaved another sigh and scooted across the bed until she was sitting beside Natalia on the bed, facing her. "So you slept with Phillip. That just proves you're human. Like everyone else." She grimaced. "I mean, who hasn't slept with a Spaulding or two?"

"It's not funny," Natalia said, crossly.

"I know," Olivia said, softening her voice. "I'm not funny. But what I'm trying to say - in my not-funny way - is that I can live with that." She tipped Natalia's chin up. "As long as you're still willing to live with me - flaws and bitchiness and all."

"Yes," Natalia said. "Of course." She searched Olivia's eyes for a moment. "You really mean it."

Olivia nodded. "I really do. I love you."

Natalia launched herself at Olivia, almost tackling her, pushing her back against the bed and kissing her, raining kisses over her face until she tired and dropped her head to Olivia's shoulder. The steady beat of Olivia's heart beneath her shoulder was soothing.

"Just promise me," Natalia said. "No more drunk driving."

Olivia sounded sleepy, her words slurring slightly as she spoke, tiredness setting in. "Wasn't driving drunk. Was drunk. But I took a cab home." She wrapped her arms around Natalia's waist and snuggled closer. "Still can't remember the accident - or what happened to the cabbie. Just waking up in some woods outside Salem."

Natalia had a moment of foggy panic, struggling to think clearly through the exhaustion that was slowly creeping over her as well. "Then no more accidents," she said, squeezing Olivia even tighter. "I might not let you out of my sight again. I can't lose you."

"I'm here, Sweetheart," Olivia said reassuringly. "Just go to sleep. I promise I'll still be here in the morning."

Natalia started to protest and then relaxed. They could face anything they needed to face in the morning - together. Natalia let herself go, falling into a deep sleep. Olivia dreamed.

"Gu-us!" The voice was a high-pitched whine. "What is...this?" Olivia could see the woman now. She was short haired and diminutive, but clearly had a commanding presence. "This-" she nudged Olivia with her toe "-creature is not who I asked for." She waved her hand dismissively, her irritation evident. "Oh, she looks close enough, but she's no Carly Manning! And that's who I want in a heap at my feet. Subject to my every whim."

"I'm very sorry, Madame. There was some confusion as to Ms. Manning's location and as I was busy with some of your other plans, I contacted some former associates to facilitate her arrival." He sniffed. "Unfortunately they were not very effective. Though I made certain that her disappearance was well covered. There will be nothing traced back to us, Madam. The local detective was told that she was seen getting into her car, after stumbling, drunk, across the parking lot." He smiled cruelly, smugly. "And then her car was disposed of, quite nicely. All the pieces fit perfectly."

The woman heaved a long-suffering sigh. "And yet it was all for nothing. Your little 'associates' didn't get me what I wanted, now did they?" She gave a disappointed shake of her head. "Discard this - with the rest of the trash. Dispose of her as they did the car. Gas her again if you must, make certain that she has no memory of what happened. Kill her for all I care. Just get her out of my sight and bring me the real Carly Manning next time. None of this idiocy." Olivia could hear the faint click of high heels. They grew quieter as she stalked away. "Oh, and Gus? Do be sure to hire a more competent class of goons the next time you feel the need to subcontract one of your errands." She huffed. "Such a bother. Can no one do anything right?"

Olivia shifted restlessly in her sleep and moved closer to Natalia - and warmth and safety.