Part Eight

"This is really good, you know," Natalia said with a contented grin. "Amazing actually."

"It's not cold?" Olivia asked with a frown.

"Well, it's fruit," Natalia said with a mischievous look. "It's supposed to be chilled."

Olivia snorted and shook her head. "That's not what I meant and you know it."

"Oh, fine, but it's still good."

"There's nothing good about cold eggs," Olivia disagreed. "Let me fix you some more."

"You're going to spoil me," Natalia said with a grin that couldn't be more satisfied. "And don't you dare get up. They're still a little warm - and delicious. See!" she commanded, spooning up a forkful and eating it. Almost immediately she let out a satisfied moan and sank back against the pillows. "Oh, that is so good."

"Must be the pregnancy hormones," Olivia said dryly.

"Hey," Natalia protested, swatting her shoulder. "Don't be mean to me or I won't share."

"Oh?" Olivia said, sitting up a little straighter and looking hopeful. Natalia just shook her head, and picked up a strawberry, holding it out to Olivia.

Olivia smiled and made no move to reach for it. Instead she leaned forward and took it from Natalia's fingers with her teeth, her lips brushing over Natalia's fingertips. Natalia shivered as Olivia still looked out from beneath her lashes as she took a bite.

"Mmmm," Olivia said as she finished chewing. "I see what you mean. That was delicious."

"You want more?" Natalia offered, part instinctive politeness and part eagerness. She wanted Olivia to look at her that way again, as if it were her Olivia wanted to devour rather than the strawberry.

Olivia smiled up at her. "How could I refuse an offer like that?"

It wasn't Natalia's imagination that Olivia's voice had gotten a little bit deeper, that she sounded a little bit more flirty and coy. Matching her smile, Natalia just shook her head. "You can't."

"You got that right," Olivia said with a little nod, still grinning up at Natalia. She reached out and brushed her index finger across Natalia's dimple. "Especially when you look at me like that. You do know how dangerous these are, don't you? You could get me to do anything you want me to - just flash these babies at me."

"Olivia..." Natalia raised her hand to hold Olivia's to her cheek.

"Hmmm?" Olivia murmured when Natalia didn't say anything else.

Natalia's grin got a little bit wider, her smile tugging at the edges of her lips and deepening her dimples. She shook her head. "Has anyone ever told you you're distracting?"

Olivia's face lit up. "Maybe," she said, tugging her smile back under control as she reverted to looking coy. "Do I distract you, Natalia?" Her thumb slid out from beneath Natalia's hand and smoothed lightly across Natalia's lips.

Natalia snorted. "You know you do." It was meant to be a soft, teasing accusation, but instead her voice came out in a hoarse whisper.

It was a heady thought for Olivia that she could affect Natalia this way. Straight, uptight Natalia. Someone who Olivia wasn't even sure until recently was interested in having a sexual relationship. It jolted Olivia to the core. Knowing Natalia wanted her was a huge turn on. But thinking about sex made her think about leaving, about the painful encounter in her suite at the Beacon. This time though, Olivia didn't flinch away from the thought, but resolved to face it head on. Running away was what she was putting behind her. After all, Natalia was here.

"I love that I can do that to you," Olivia admitted, scooting closer to Natalia.

Obligingly Natalia let go of her to put the tray that was between them over on the nightstand and then reached back to take Olivia's hands in hers. "But?" Natalia prompted her.

"Did I mess this up?" Olivia blurted it out in a rush. Talking about issues directly wasn't really her style. Case in point; the past few days. She was much more a brood, sulk, and scheme kind of girl, really. But here she was - with Natalia - and this wouldn't work if she didn't turn over a new leaf. It was terrifying, but she had to try.

"This, what?" Natalia asked with a frown. "I thought we already talked about-"

"Right." Olivia squeezed the hands that held hers a little bit more tightly than she had intended to amidst her nerves. "We did, but...we never talked about the other night, yesterday at the Beacon, and how you feel about that."

Natalia sat back against the pile of pillows stacked up behind her. Only her hands, still holding onto Olivia's kept Olivia from panicking. She needed that connection with Natalia and right now Natalia's face was blank, revealing nothing. Olivia wished she prayed. If she did she could have asked God to please make this okay or at a minimum give her a clue as to what the hell was going through Natalia's mind. Erasing this whole conversation might not be a bad idea either.

Natalia let go of one of Olivia's hands and wrapped it around her abdomen, just above the swell of her belly. It was a tight, excluding gesture - Natalia huddling in on herself.

"We don't have to-" Olivia bit her words off as Natalia flashed a glance up at her. "Sorry," she murmured.

Natalia's thumb smoothed over the back of Olivia's hand. She was too tightly wound to appreciate it properly. "I'm not sure what to think," Natalia said at last, this time managing to hold Olivia's gaze. "I thought that we shared something really beautiful. It was so special to me, but..." She looked so doubtful that it made Olivia's heart ache. "Obviously it meant something different to you. I don't know how something can mean such a different thing to both us." Now Natalia looked like she was about to cry, but was fighting valiantly against it. "I thought we understood each other, knew each other so well, but if I thought we had this beautiful connection and it tore you up so badly, then what does that mean?"

"Oh, Natalia, no," Olivia said immediately, leaning forward to take the other woman into her arms. As Natalia tried to get her question out she had lost the battle and tears streamed down her face. Natalia didn't try to resist as Olivia pulled her into her arms. "No," Olivia repeated, more fervently than before. "It wasn't like that." Olivia stroked her hair and buried her face against Natalia's cheek, wondering how she had let things get this messed up. This wasn't supposed to happen. It was supposed to be their happily-ever-after, but she'd never been good at that.

"It was... I never imagined it could be like that, Natalia. The way you made me feel... I imagined and I hoped that one day...but I never thought it would be real. And when you came in there, when you sought me out, you touched me and held me and pulled me into your bedroom, it felt like so much more than I had ever imagined." She lowered her voice, and put her lips beside Natalia's ear. "And I have a very good imagination."

Olivia felt the shiver that went through Natalia's body and couldn't help but smile. She hated that she was going to be the one to ruin this perfectly good moment. Olivia wanted to focus on something else instead; to run her mouth over Natalia's skin, to taste and touch with more than just her fingers. But this was the drawback to trying to be a grown up about things, damn it. Talk, talk, talk. She was meant for actions, not just words. But this was important.

"Then why?" Natalia's fragment of a question was enough for Olivia to know what she meant.

Olivia closed her eyes, regretting the loss of the sensual - and frankly, much more fun - moment and wished that she had a better answer for Natalia. "I was scared." Olivia opened her eyes to Natalia's confused expression. She winced. "It was...I've never felt anything like that before. Not what we were doing - but how that, how you made me feel. I'd never imagined something could make me feel so safe, so loved. It was like for the first time since you left, I could see everything we could have, how amazing it could be. It was more, better, even than before... I felt so full that I couldn't contain it all. It was like I was going to burst from happiness...But then lying there in your arms, it was like I couldn't move, couldn't was this other part of me that couldn't stop hurting. I couldn't think; I couldn't breathe. It was like this constant ache that I couldn't hold in. I was so terrified that I would lose you again. That it would be worse, now that I knew completely what I would be losing. It wasn't the sex. It was what it made me feel. God, Natalia, so many things. And I was so terrified and hurt and...the happiest I'd ever been? It was too much - and it hurt so badly. It was like one extreme and the other at the same time. I didn't know what to do."

Now it was Natalia's hand running up and down Olivia's arm in a comforting motion. Olivia was grateful for the touch and the sense of connection that came with it. She wanted to stop Natalia's hand and solidify that, but she knew Natalia would take it the wrong way and see it as an admonition or rejection.

"And now?" Natalia asked, her voice gentle.

Olivia swallowed and gave a little shrug. "I'm still scared. I told you that earlier, but...being with you will always be better than being without you."

Natalia sniffed. "I don't want to hurt you."

"Hey," Olivia said, immediately reaching out to touch Natalia's chin, bringing her face up. "You're not." She tried a smile. "You make me happy. Remember? Bursting."

Natalia's lips twitched. "You're sweet."

Olivia couldn't help but snort at that. "Remember who you're talking to, Sweetheart. I'm many things - sweet is not one of them."

"You are," Natalia insisted. "To me. All the time. The things you've done for me and for Rafe..."

Olivia shook her head. "You make it easy. You make me want to do things..." she smiled shyly.

"You make me want to do things too," Natalia murmured.

Olivia didn't miss the implication of her words. She swallowed. Hard.

"Kiss me, Olivia," Natalia purred.

For a moment, what Natalia had said stalled in Olivia's brain. She heard the words, but couldn't grasp their meaning. And then she did. Suddenly her palms were sweaty and her heart was racing inside her chest. Olivia brushed Natalia's chin with her thumb and leaned closer. Her gaze flicked up to Natalia one last time as she drew closer, checking to make sure that this was still what Natalia wanted. When she found no hesitation, she closed the distance between them.

Her lips closed over Natalia's and lingered until Natalia responded, sinking her hand into Olivia's hair behind her neck and pulling Olivia down to her. Olivia went willingly, stretching until she was forced to move. Then she braced her hands on either side of Natalia's shoulders and leaned over her. Natalia's delicate fingers ran down her neck and then slipped down her torso, brushing across her breast and making Olivia shiver, until Natalia's hand reached Olivia's hips. Natalia pulled Olivia closer without hesitation, dropping her head and burying her face against Olivia's neck.

For a moment, Olivia worried, but then Natalia's lips found her neck and she gasped, dropping her head back involuntarily to give Natalia better access. Feather-light kisses brushed against sensitive skin teasingly, never lingering long enough for the sensation to deepen, but tantalizing with their ephemeral nature.

Olivia groaned under Natalia's onslaught and shifted. The sound seemed to energize Natalia. She raised her head just long enough to speak.

"You taste so good." Natalia spoke in a low murmur.

The words alone sent a heady bolt of desire through Olivia and she was painfully aware of every brush of Natalia's lips and flick of her tongue against her own skin as she spoke.

"Natalia..." She clutched at the back of Natalia's neck with one hand, holding her in place, directing her loving attention until it was just so, where it would make Olivia writhe and squirm the most.

If nothing else, Natalia was a quick learner and before Olivia knew it, Natalia's hands were roaming her body, slipping beneath her shirt and finding bare skin, gliding over Olivia's taunt abdomen with a brief drag of her nails that made Olivia twitch at the sensation. Almost before Olivia could register it, Natalia had moved on, one hand slipping below the smooth material of Olivia's bra and cupping her breast, squeezing a nipple between thumb and forefinger then letting go to gently rolling it.

Olivia's hips began to rock involuntarily against Natalia, more turned on by this than she could have imagined, overwhelmed by the way Natalia was touching her and aching for more. As if Natalia could hear what Olivia was thinking, Natalia let go of Olivia's breast and let her hand trail back down Olivia's stomach until she was fumbling with the buttons on Olivia's jeans. Without fanfare, without stopping to push the zipper down she stuck her hand inside the thin material of Olivia's panties. She found Olivia wet and wanting.

Olivia bit her lip and pressed herself against Natalia's fingers. She was already so close to coming. Just being around Natalia was enough to leave her on edge and wanting. It didn't take much for Natalia to stoke the embers of her desire. Olivia gasped as Natalia pushed her hand further down and suddenly it all felt wrong. Not the consuming passion that gripped them, but the frantic rush of desire, the desperation that already had her arching into Natalia's hand. Olivia didn't want a repeat of the hurried, desperate sex at the Beacon - or even the slower, more tender coupling of their first night together. She wanted something that didn't leave either of them hurting.

"Wait," Olivia breathed, hating herself even as she clutched at Natalia's wrist, willing her to stop. "Just...wait a minute. Please." Her voice cracked. She was Olivia Spencer. She didn't turn down sex, not with Natalia, not when she wanted her this badly and Natalia wanted her just as much.

Her words penetrated the haze of Natalia's desire and she froze. "Olivia? What's wrong?" She sounded young and scared.

"Nothing." Olivia put her forehead against Natalia's, seeking connection and offering apology. "Nothing," she repeated herself. "I just...I think we need to slow down."

"Olivia," Natalia protested.

Olivia pulled her hand up, kissing the back of it, then the tips of her fingers, still damp. "I want to make love to you. Please. I want to show you that I'm done being driven by fear. I want this to be different. I want it to be..." she hesitated and then finished the thought. "I want it to be everything you thought it could be."

"It already is," Natalia said, her voice softening. "You make it that way for me."

"Really? Even what we did yesterday? At the Beacon."

Natalia let out a sigh. "You were hurting. So was I."

"That's no excuse, Natalia."

Natalia laid a hand on Olivia's chest, letting it trail down until it covered Olivia's heart. "I don't regret what happened."

"How can you not?" Olivia asked with a snort of disbelief.

"Because I was with you," Natalia stated as if it should have been obvious. "I will always love you - even when it hurts."

"I don't want to hurt you," Olivia said, the words tumbling quickly out of her mouth.

"Then don't. Be here with me, in this moment. Love me."

"I do," Olivia murmured, leaving no doubt in her heartfelt tone.

Some of the tension left Natalia and she sank back into the pillows behind her. "I know." She squeezed Olivia's hand. "Show me then, if you think I don't. I'm yours."

Olivia licked her lips and looked down at Natalia. Gently she let go of Natalia's hand and then reached down to take the hem of Natalia's t-shirt. "Help me?" she asked, flicking her eyes back up to meet Natalia's gaze.

Obligingly Natalia leaned forward a little and lifted her arms. Olivia pulled the shirt up and over her head and discarded it behind her without caring where it went. There was a time and a place for neatness - this wasn't it.

Just like the morning before at the Beacon, Natalia wasn't wearing a bra. Her upper body bared before Olivia, dusky nipples stood pert against the swell of Natalia's breasts. Below it was the firm, roundness of her belly. Olivia pressed her palm to it and felt nothing. She had half-hoped to feel the baby beneath her hand, but all she felt was Natalia. The thought and her own ridiculousness made her smile. She leaned over and brushed a kiss against the smooth skin just beside her hand.

"I want to get to know you," Olivia said. "To explore every part of your body until I know it better than the back of my hand."

Natalia swallowed and looked a little bit nervous, but nodded. "Okay."

Olivia smiled. "I've always loved your hands," she murmured, unable to resist, pressing another kiss against Natalia's skin. This time it was just to the left of her belly button. "You're so strong, but you have such delicate fingers."

"Tell me more?" Natalia whispered, her voice trembling.

And so Olivia worked her way up her body, commenting on this and that as she went, noting the crook of Natalia's elbow and the freckle just below her bottom rib. Sometimes making Natalia smile, charmed by what she had said or laughing at the ridiculousness of Olivia's comment. By the time Olivia had worked her way up to Natalia's shoulder, Natalia was trembling faintly.

Olivia stretched out fully on the bed, pressed up against Natalia. She ran her hand back and forth over the swell of Natalia's round belly and smiled, studying her. "You are so beautiful."

Natalia's hand covered hers, stilling it's gentle motion. Olivia gave her a questioning look. Natalia grinned and rolled closer to Olivia until she could capture her lips in a searing kiss. Their finger twined and slowly Natalia began to guide Olivia's hand downward.

Olivia needed no encouragement, smiling into the kiss.

"Off," Natalia said with urgency, tugging at Olivia's shirt.

Olivia was forced to move her hand from Natalia but being pressed up against her, bare-skin-to-bare-skin when her bra was gone, was worth it. Natalia's hands had barely even trembled as she undid the clasps.

A joke about Natalia becoming a pro at this died a quick death on Olivia's tongue. She wanted this to be perfect.

Olivia's hand trailed down its previous path alone this time. She lingered though, her hand drifting down the inside of Natalia's thigh and back up again. Natalia shifted, spreading her legs a little bit wider for Olivia.

With each pass of her hand Olivia's fingers rose a little bit higher until Natalia was biting her lip with anticipation.

"Olivia." The breathy, needy tone of Natalia's voice caught Olivia off-guard as she pleaded for more. It made her want to give in to Natalia and give her what she wanted immediately, and simultaneously the desire to draw the moment out longer; to win another soft, pleading noise like that from Natalia.

Natalia's fingers clamping down on her shoulder made Olivia's decision for her. There would be plenty of time later to see just how long she could drive Natalia to distraction. Now Olivia wanted to give Natalia everything she desired. Olivia bent closer, laying a kiss just above Natalia's nipple and let her hand slide upwards. Natalia made a small whimpering sound and pushed against Olivia's hand.

It was so different from before, from the first time that they'd had sex in this bed. Not the physical sensation of it. That was the same or maybe better. She had already started to learn Natalia's body, to know what Natalia liked. No, what was different this time was how it made her feel. Olivia wasn't worried or scared. She was fascinated, enraptured by Natalia. She wanted to be as close as she could to Natalia. It was a craving that only this woman could satisfy.

"I love you," the words spilled unbidden from Olivia's lips.

Natalia gasped and clung tighter to Olivia, their bodies moving in unison now to push her higher. They were lost in silence, the only sound the sounds of their bodies moving against one another. Everything else - worries, fears and uncertainties - dissipating into nothing. Their eyes locked and gazes held. Olivia shivered at the intensity of it all.

The look of concentration deepened on Natalia's face; her eyes fell shut. Olivia felt pistoning hips jerk and still, muscles clenching around her fingers at the same time. For a long moment Natalia seemed frozen in her arms, caught in the grip of something powerful and then she eased, sinking languid against Olivia, her face buried against Olivia's shoulder.

Olivia stroked Natalia's hair and pressed a light kiss against the top of her head. Natalia let out a soft snort. Olivia craned her head to look down at her.

"What's so funny?" Olivia asked, pushing long, slightly damp hair back from Natalia's face.

"Nothing," Natalia said on another soft huff of air.

Olivia looked at her askance.

"Nothing," Natalia repeated the word more gently, limply raising her hand to touch Olivia's cheek. "Did you ever imagine when we stood in that freezing cold gazebo and I told you that I loved you for the very first time that we would ever be here someday?"

"No," Olivia said with a rueful shake of her head, beginning to see where Natalia's amusement was coming from. It was like coming out of a fifteen car pile-up unscathed. It just didn't happen. "Never," Olivia added, a smile tugging at her lips. "Did you?"

"Oh no," Natalia said, not even having to think about her answer. "I could never have imagined anything like this." She covered Olivia's lips with her fingers. "I didn't think we had a chance."

An unseen eyebrow shot up. "You're the one who chased after me, who told me you knew what it meant to tell someone that you loved them."

Natalia pushed herself up on one elbow, tousled hair falling down around her shoulders in glorious, dark waves. "Because the moment you told me that there was no us I realized how much I wanted there to be an 'us'. I need you, Olivia."

"You have me," Olivia said, more tremulously than she had intended. She was all in - really she was - but admitting that, declaring it with no-holds-barred was still frightening. She was holding nothing back now.

"I do, don't I?" Natalia asked rhetorically, leaning over Olivia and kissing her gently.

The kiss was like a promise, one meant to ease Olivia's soul. She drank it in, deepening the kiss until she could get lost in it and slipped her arms around Natalia's waist, pulling Natalia down on top of her. Their bodies fit together as if they were meant to be, a slight shift to one side all that was necessary to accommodate Natalia's belly. Olivia loved the way that Natalia seemed to cover her with body and spirit, leaving nothing exposed.

The kiss lingered, even as Olivia's body ached, demanding to be seen, heard and dealt with. Olivia ignored it in favor of soaking in Natalia. It was all part of her desire to savor every moment of this, every second that she got to spend with this woman. All of it seeped into Olivia, filling the cold, lonely places left by Natalia's disappearance and slowly erasing the pain that had been her constant companion. Her legs came up, tucking her ankles behind Natalia's thigh and holding her in place above Olivia. Natalia didn't seem to mind.

Long dark hair spilled over Natalia's shoulders and fell around them both, like a dark cocoon, a world where only they existed. Olivia had never felt more connected to anyone, with Natalia's thigh pressing up against her. She felt Natalia's leg flex, deliberately pushing against her. She pushed back instinctively, the motion between them growing steadily more urgent. It left Olivia gasping, her breath coming in quick sharp pants. Her clit ached and she slid a hand down between them, the surge of Natalia's thigh not quite providing the aching relief she needed most.

To her surprise, Natalia's hand caught hers, pulling it away from Olivia's body and bringing it to Natalia's lips. A huff of displeasure found it's way past Olivia's lips.

"Natalia," she pleaded, the part of her brain that was still trying valiantly to form coherent thought wondering why Natalia was torturing her like this. It wasn't nice at all. Then Natalia let go of her hand and covered Olivia's clit with her own fingers. The sight of Natalia's hand on her, the thought of Natalia touching her, was far more of a turn-on for Olivia. The motion of her hips grew ever wilder and more urgent with every thrust, until with one final thrust she jerked and stilled, suspended in one long endless moment consisting only of Natalia - Natalia above and against her, with her in every way - and aching, blessed relief.

They lay that way for some time as the wild beating of Olivia's heart began to calm, returning to its usual state. When Natalia made to move off of Olivia, Olivia roused herself enough to shake her head and curl her arms around Natalia more tightly. "Uh-uh," she said firmly.

Natalia grinned and bit her lip at Olivia's adorable grumpiness, all too reminiscent of her usual early morning behavior. With a sigh, reality came back to Natalia as she remembered Emma and the rest of the world that awaited them outside the farmhouse doors. "We should get up," Natalia murmured. "Emma." She glanced down at Olivia. "She had a bad dream last night-"

"Shhh," Olivia said, a smile easing her tone. "I know." The mention of Emma seemed to sober her, forcing her to throw off the last of the fuzzy comfort that had been granted her. "I talked to her and she's fine. She's happy about us and the baby. She was a little worried about Phillip, so I let her go see him. But I promise she's fine." Gently she stroked hair back from Natalia's face, tracing the line of Natalia's cheek with her fingers. "Why don't you go back to sleep? It's still early. I know you and the baby need all the rest you can get."

Olivia saw the hesitant look on Natalia's face before she could contain it and hated that she was the one responsible for putting it there. "Sleep," Olivia said again. "I promise I'll be here when you wake up."