Title: One Universe to the Left
Fandom: Guiding Light
Characters: Frank Cooper, Natalia Rivera, Olivia Spencer
Category: Romance, Drama, Humor, Angst
Word count: 4,852 (Total)
Summary: What if...the world was completely different? What if...one little decision could change everything? Maybe it would be a bizzaro world without shrimp. Maybe...
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: Like the fpreg fic, I've been planning to write this one for about a year now. Just a little under actually. And why you ask would I want to write something like this? As a challenge to myself, to see if I could do it, to see if I could make it believable. So I wrote this for me. Read it or not as you want. I'm not expecting you to like it.
Beta: Beta free on this one, though the usual suspects have read it already.
Natalia was still clinging to her hand six hours later. Olivia's hand was almost numb from the way Natalia had been squeezing it with a painfully strong grip every time a contraction had hit. Olivia had a sneaking suspicion that she would wish her hand was numb the following day. There was no way she'd say anything about it to Natalia though - not when she already had so much on her plate.
Twice in her life, Olivia had given birth. And both times she had been alone, except for the doctors and nurses surrounding her. They were two of the loneliest moments of her life. She might not be Frank - the person Natalia really wanted by her side - but she would do her best and make sure that Natalia never felt as alone as she had. It was the least she could do after everything Natalia had done for her.
"Olivia." Her name came out of Natalia's lips as a pained, drawn out cry.
Reflexively Olivia squeezed her hand back. "I'm here, Sweetheart," Olivia said, the endearment falling off her lips just as it had for the last few hours. She had known for months now how much she had valued Natalia's friendship, realized it when she and Emma had moved out of the farmhouse after Christmas and found herself unexpectedly missing Natalia, but seeing Natalia in so much pain had brought out an unexpected tenderness in Olivia toward the other woman.
Olivia brushed Natalia's bangs off Natalia's forehead and kissed her brow, then slid her hand behind Natalia's back once more, supporting her. "You can do this," Olivia encouraged. She grinned. "I know better than anyone just how strong you are." And she would have the bruised hand to prove it.
"I wish," Natalia panted. "I wish Frank was here."
"I know," Olivia soothed. "I know you do. And I will kick Mallet's ass into next week if he doesn't get Frankie here in time. I promise you."
Natalia let out a weak snort of laughter and then gasped. "Oh, please don't make me do that. It hurts. Everything hurts."
As the contraction gripping her body eased, Natalia let her head fall down to Olivia's shoulder, resting there until the next one caught her in its grip and she strained forward once more, her body bowing with the effort.
Olivia stayed with her mentally and physically every step of the way, as much as she could be, even as she cursed Frank internally. He was supposed to be the good man - the one who would take care of Natalia and give her what she deserved. And if he didn't come through, well, then Olivia would certainly make good on a few of the promises that she had taken Frank aside to make on his wedding day.
"It's going be okay," Olivia whispered, for Natalia's ears alone. "You can do this. I know you can. And your little girl is going to be so strong and healthy. All this will be worth it the first time you hold her."
"Promise?" Natalia said, turning her head just enough to look over at Olivia.
There eyes met and Olivia felt...something. Something that she couldn't find words for. She swallowed and nodded.
The door to the delivery room was shoved open with such force that it clattered back into the wall, making them all jump and breaking Olivia and Natalia's gaze.
"Are you okay, Baby?" Frank asked, as he burst into the room, looking ridiculous and out of place, wearing leather pants, a shirt that was open at the chest and hair slicked back with ridiculous amounts of product.
"He really was undercover," Olivia muttered. Natalia squeezed her hand harder.
"I'm so sorry I wasn't here sooner. You and the baby mean so much to me. I could never forgive myself if I missed this," Frank said, crossing the room quickly to take Natalia's other hand in his. "You're the most important than in my life." He leaned over to kiss her, their lips brushing just before another contraction hit Natalia. Frank ducked back just in time to avoid getting his nose smashed as Natalia tensed, rising up against the pain.
Olivia held on, her hand still at the small of Natalia's back supporting her, until she felt Frank's hand bump into hers. There was no need for both of them. She jerked her hand back, and suddenly didn't know what to do with it, now that it was no longer being useful. She would have let go of Natalia completely, but Natalia still had her hand in a death grip as she bore down.
Finally Natalia sagged back and Olivia stroked her thumb over the back of Natalia's hand, a parting goodbye before she pulled away.
"Hey. Where're you going?" Natalia slurred with exhaustion, raising her head as Olivia stepped back.
"Just outside the door," Olivia said with a small smile. "I'm not going anywhere, but Frankie's here. This should be your moment - just for the two of you. You'll never get another one like it." And some day you may wish I hadn't been here - intruding.
Another contraction was coming - Olivia could see it - Natalia could feel it.
"Thank you," Natalia gasped out, just before it consumed her, her face and the lines of her body lost to pain and arced with tension. A long pained groan was torn from her. Frank's face looked ashen.
Olivia forced herself to walk out the door before she changed her mind.
"It's a girl!" Frank burst out into the hallway as loudly as he had burst into the room.
Olivia laughed. They had known that for months. But there was no slowing down a proud papa like Frank. He deserved to have his celebration.
"Congratulations, Frankie," Olivia said, pulling him into a hug before Buzz, or Blake or anyone else could get there. She had been leaning against the door and was closest to him. "I'm so happy for both of you," she whispered, feeling emotion well in her throat.
Frank squeezed her back so hard that her eyes watered and her chest protested. "Thank you. Really, thank you. She told me everything you did for her."
Then he pulled away to accept hugs and congratulations from everyone, getting bounced around the crowd from person to person, until he had come back to the beginning.
"She's perfect," Frank crowed. "Six pounds, two ounces and with gorgeous brown eyes just like her Mama."
"What's her name, Frank?" Buzz called.
If possible, Frank's grin got bigger. "Isabella Olivia Cooper."
Olivia smiled, but couldn't hold his gaze. Her heart felt like it would burst.
"We did it," Natalia said, leaning back against the upraised hospital bed as she cradled little Isabella in her arms, stroking her cheek.
"You did it," Frank said. "You were amazing - so strong."
"I had help."
"I'm sorry I wasn't here, baby," Frank said. "So sorry. But I'm glad Olivia was here for you. She's been a good friend." It still amazed him a little, the changes his wife had wrought in Olivia.
"The best," Natalia agreed. "I'm glad we gave Isabella her name. She should have a strong, confident female role model in her life. I don't know anyone else like Olivia."
Frank nodded. "She's a lucky little girl to be so loved by all the people in her life."
Natalia looked up at him, smiling. "Thank you."
Frank looked startled. "For what, Baby?"
"For everything - for loving me, marrying me, making me the happiest woman I know. I've never felt like this in my life. And you gave it all to me."
"Me too," Frank said, leaning over to kiss her, his lips brushing lightly against hers in deference to her exhaustion. "I love you so much and I'll never stop."
Natalia leaned back, relaxing against the bed, loving the feel of Frank's arms around her and the warmth of the babe held against her chest. It was the most content and loved she had ever been.