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Jun 11 16 1:29 PM
Not So Gullible
Jun 17 16 9:17 PM
Two of UnHoly Trinity
Title: Confessions Lead to Strange Bedfellows
Fandoms: Guiding Light / All My Children
Pairings: Olivia and Natalia / Lena and Bianca
The characters of Olivia Spencer, Natalia and Rafe Rivera, Frank, Buzz,
and Marina Cooper, Doris Wolfe, and Alan Spaulding, are owned by
CBS/TeleNext and Proctor & Gamble. The characters of Lena Kundera
and Bianca Montgomery are owned by All My Children, ABC/Disney and
Prospect Park. The original characters of Detective Sergeant Langston
Malloy, Attorney Danika Kováč, and their daughter, McKenna, Jacqueline
(Jacqué) Morgan, Lorcán Malloy, Daněk Kováč, Bennett Thomas, and Dantéa
(Téa) Rivera are the property of this author, and any resemblance to
fictional characters, or real persons, living or dead, is purely
copyright infringement intended with regard to Guiding Light,
CBS/TeleNext, Proctor & Gamble, AMC, ABC/Disney, or any other
entity. With the exceptions of the Farmhouse of Love, Company, and
Cedars Hospital, the settings, dialogue, and story content in these
scenes are original. Written for fun, not profit. All other standard
thanks to my friend and favorite FFW, WickedWanda926, and to my friend
newfan64, for their ongoing willingness to edit my stories. Words
cannot express how much I appreciate the two of you and your steadfast
support of me, both personally, and as a would-be writer. Thank you to
all who continue to read and/or comment. I appreciate the time you have
invested in this story, and truly hope you continue to enjoy.
Rating: Chapter 18 is rated PG-13 for language.
Confessions Lead to Strange Bedfellows
Copyright May 2009
“For the greater the love, the greater the grief, and the stronger the faith, the more savagely will Satan storm its fortress."
— C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
Chapter 18.2 – What Price We Pay:
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… The Cottage, Martha’s Vineyard—8:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time
Almighty, Langston,” Jacqueline sighed, sounding exasperated as she
looked her niece over, head to toe, searching for injuries for the
second time in as many weeks. She had already tended to Dani’s cuts and
scrapes, and been assured that Lena was completely unscathed. With the
exception of a few minor abrasions, thankfully, this time, Langston
appeared to be injury free, as well.
the shot rang out, Lena was already out of harm’s way, heading toward
the covered staircase, and Langston had literally tackled Dani to the
ground, covering her wife with her own body. Thankfully, they’d hit
sand and not rock, cushioning the blow. From there, they’d crawled
their way toward the staircase, the sound of an engine roaring to life
giving them some sense of security. The unmarked vessel disappeared in
an instant, leaving them to wonder who was aboard, and why they were
gunning for someone inside this household. Langston recalled hearing
the bullet strike somewhere in the deck above their heads only seconds
after she’d tackled Dani. Silently, she vowed to go retrieve it once
she was assured they were all safe.
“I’m fine, Jacqué,” Langston said, stilling her aunt’s hand with a gentle touch. “Really.”
met her niece’s clear blue gaze, her own darker one filled with
affection. “Do you think perhaps you could stay out of the line of
bullets for a while this time?” she asked rhetorically.
Langston smiled. “I think I can manage that.”
thank heavens you’re all right, the lot of you,” Jacqueline said,
shifting her gaze first to Dani and then to Lena. They were gathered in
the family room just off the kitchen where all views from the outside
could be blocked off with something more substantial than simple
curtains or drapes. Other than the bathrooms, it was the only room in
the cottage where that was possible.
whimpered, and curled up on her bed near the hearth. Lena reached
over, stroking the dog’s fur, soothing her. “You were a good girl,
alerting us,” she praised. Placated, Sandy sighed, and laid her head on
her front paws, her coal black eyes shifting from Lena to Bianca, and
back again, as if assessing the situation.
idea what this is all about?” Bianca asked innocently. Lexie, who was
curled up in her lap, babbled quietly as she played determinedly with
the necklace wrapped around her mommy’s neck. Instinctively, Bianca
pulled her closer.
“I have plenty of ideas,” Langston stated. “What I lack is any sort of proof whatsoever.”
“What about contacting the local authorities?” Bianca suggested.
aren’t the kind of people you call the authorities on,” Langston was
quick to warn. That was the last thing she needed—to have to explain to
some small-town rookie cop why they were dodging a sniper’s bullets
while they were supposed to be on vacation.
“But you’re a cop,” Bianca pointed out unnecessarily, stressing the detective’s line of work.
“Yes,” Langston sighed. “But I’m also the daughter…”
Jacqueline’s voice sounded edgy as she warned her niece to tread
lightly, with nothing more than the utterance of her name.
all right, Jacqué. Lena knows who we are,” Langston said, as if that
explained everything. “I don’t expect her to keep it from her wife.”
“Who are you?” Now Bianca’s curiosity was piqued.
“Ever heard of Lorcán Malloy?” Langston queried.
“The crime boss who was arrested a few weeks ago?”
“Yes,” Langston confirmed. “He’s my father.”
“And Daněk Kováč is my father,” Dani offered in the vein of self-disclosure.
heard the name, and immediately she felt empathy rise within her. “I
heard he was killed shortly after he escaped,” she said quietly. “I’m
sorry for your loss, Dani.”
you,” Dani said softly. What else could she say? That he was a
monster, and he deserved to die? That she hoped he rotted in hell?
she was contemplating her feelings, or lack thereof, where her father
was concerned, Dani noticed the expression on Langston’s face. And then
she knew. “Oh, my god. That’s what you think this is about, don’t
“What?” Langston replied, feigning ignorance.
father’s position, his power,” Dani said, voicing Langston’s worst
fear. “You think they’re gunning for me because I’m a threat to their
“They, who?” Bianca asked.
“My father and my brother, Pearce,” Langston answered.
“So I’m right,” Dani said matter-of-factly.
yes,” Langston sighed. “But again, I have no proof. Bottom line
though, is we need to get off the grid,” she declared, glancing around
the room. “All of us. At least until I figure out how they found us
“I don’t think that’s necessary,” Lena disagreed.
of us are safe out in the open like this,” Langston argued. “Now that
they’ve associated us with you, your family is at risk, and for that,
I’m deeply sorry.”
no need to be sorry. And there’s no need to run. My brother-in-law
has security forces that are tighter than the Secret Service,” Lena
reported. “I’ll ask him to put a detail on the house, no questions
nodded. “Thank you,” she said, gratefully accepting the assistance.
“I need to grab a few throw-away cell phones. Where’s the nearest…”
her hands, Lena stopped Langston mid-sentence. “There’s no need. I’ll
have Zach send several with his men. I think it best if we all stay
put for a while.”
“I agree,” Langston said. “But I need to get some answers—and fast.”
was already on her cell, dialing Zach back in Pine Valley. When he
answered, she placed him on speaker phone, and allowed Lena to explain
what they needed. As expected, Zach’s protective side was immediately
in motion, and he assured them they would have a full security detail,
and all the throw-away phones they needed within the hour. And when
they were ready, a safe escort wherever they needed to go.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Bennett Thomas’s Residence—6:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time
Wolfe tapped the button atop her phone, listening for the “click” that
would confirm it was securely locked. Her face held an expression of
concern as she set it on the bedside table, and rolled toward Bennett.
“Olivia isn’t answering her phone,” she said, sounding a bit troubled.
on earth are you calling her at this ungodly hour, anyway?” Bennett
queried. Her voice was still gruff from sleep. She yawned, and pressed
a kiss to Doris’s bare shoulder.
were supposed to meet for coffee this morning,” Doris reported. “But
apparently I have a campaign strategy meeting instead.” Her campaign
manager had woken her with a text announcing the meeting ten minutes
prior. She sounded almost annoyed as she relayed the information to
second thoughts about running?” Bennett asked. Stretching her left
arm, she bent it, propping her head against it as she contemplated her
Doris said forthrightly, as she mirrored Bennett’s pose. “On the
contrary… I’m looking forward to being the next Governor of the great
State of Illinois,” she countered in suitably political tone, a slight
grin forming on her lips.
had been approached about running for the office of Governor after the
massive takedown of state officials a few weeks prior, and after several
lengthy discussions with Bennett and their girls, she had decided to
run. It would be a public service, after all, given that the hapless
twit of a Lieutenant Governor who, by law, had taken over when the
sitting Governor was arrested, was so deeply embedded in Alan
Spaulding’s back pocket that he would be picking lint from his teeth for
the remainder of his term.
most difficult part of the decision had been about which platform she
would adopt, because while she couldn’t imagine taking a stance against
anything involving the LGBT community or women’s rights, the remainder
of her belief system was fundamentally conservative. She and her
campaign manager were still trying to mesh the divergent elements into a
cohesive campaign that would garner the votes of her constituents on
both sides of the political spectrum, taking her to the Governor’s
“You sound rather confident,” Bennett said teasingly.
“What, you think I can’t win?” Doris volleyed.
“Oh, I’ve no doubt you’re going to win,” Bennett answered.
grinned, and scooted closer, wrapping an arm around Bennett’s waist.
“And then you’ll be the First Lady of the State of Illinois,” she
announced, pressing a kiss to Bennett’s mouth.
“Not exactly,” Bennett disagreed. And then her expression turned curious. “Do you think they’ll let the Governor shack up?”
Doris let out a hearty laugh. “I think they’ll let the Governor do anything she damned well pleases.”
Bennett gave her a look of reproach. “That’s what got us into the political mess we’re in right now.”
Looking suitably contrite, Doris nodded. “You’re right,” she agreed. “We… I need to remain cognizant of that going forward.”
Planting her palms on the mattress, Bennett slid upward until she was leaning against the headboard of their bed. “That is something we need to be thinking about though,” she said, turning back to her previous comment. “Living arrangements.”
“What, now?” Doris sounded confused. Sitting upright, she turned toward Bennett, awaiting a response.
Doris’s cheek, Bennett offered a reassuring smile. “I think we’re good
for now,” she said. “I’m talking about once you’ve won the Governor’s
“We’ve already discussed that,” Doris said dismissively.
it with a comment about crossing bridges, is not discussing it, DJ,”
Bennett retorted, emphasizing the discussion part. “Now do you want to
be with me or not, dammit?”
Doris flinched. “Why would you even ask such a thing?” she replied.
It wasn’t really a question. “You know I want you more than anything.
Why else would I have involved you in the decision? I don’t want the
governorship, if it means I can’t have you.”
“Then how can you be so dismissive about something so important?” Bennett asked, sounding hurt.
it’s a non-issue for me,” Doris answered forthrightly. “I intend to
run my campaign as an out lesbian, so where I go, you go—and that
includes the Governor’s mansion. So we break protocol… Who cares?” she
“Alan Spaulding will make a huge stink out of this,” Bennett warned.
“Let him,” Doris said fiercely. Never would she cower, especially not to the likes of Alan Spaulding.
I’d forgotten what a barracuda you can be when you’re cornered,”
Bennett growled. Threading her fingers into the thick brown locks at
the base of Doris’s neck, she gathered her close, and kissed her. “I’m
sorry for doubting you.”
impossibly closer, Doris pressed another kiss to Bennett’s mouth.
“You’re entitled to a lapse in judgment now and again,” she declared.
She sounded playful, but Bennett knew she meant it. “Just don’t make a
habit of it.”
“You have my word,” Bennett guaranteed, deepening the kiss. “Now, how long do we have?”
long as we need,” Doris answered around Bennett’s probing tongue. Her
level of arousal was rising faster than the mercury in July. “The
campaign can wait. I can’t…”
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… The Hallway Outside the Emergency Waiting Room, Cedars Hospital—6:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time
Glancing at her phone as it buzzed in her hand, Olivia sighed. Sorry, Doris. I’ll have to get back with you later,
she thought, as she tapped button to extinguish the sound. Ordinarily,
she would have taken Doris’s call immediately, but this morning, she
had far too much on her mind—and other phone calls, other conversations,
that were much more important. None of them would be easy. But at
this point, she had no choice. And so it was with a shaking hand, that
she tapped her contacts icon, and began typing.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Company—6:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time
Cooper snapped his antiquated flip-phone closed and dropped it on the
slick wooden bar top with a weary sigh. He’d worked the nightshift,
filling in for his lead detective for the fifth time in as many nights.
He understood, all too well, that Langston needed the time away. And
he didn’t mind doing it. He figured it was good practice, being up all
night, given that babies never tended to sleep through the night. At
least that was the way it had been with Marina.
so glum?” Buzz asked, as he swiped the bar top with a thick blue
utility cloth. He tossed the cloth aside then, and set a steaming cup
of black coffee down in front of his son. And then he stepped through
the swinging door that led into the kitchen.
Furrowing his brow, Frank groused, “Natalia’s not answering her phone.”
glanced at his watch. “It’s summertime, and it’s still early,” he
noted, keeping up the conversation through the service window. “Maybe
they slept in.”
“Maybe,” Frank muttered. But something didn’t feel right.
why the early-morning call, anyway?” Buzz asked, sensing his son’s
unspoken concern. He reappeared through the swinging door, carrying a
plate filled with bacon, eggs, and toast, setting it down in front of
“Thanks, Pop,” Frank answered distractedly. He took a sip of his coffee and set the mug back on the bar.
“Well?” Buzz pressed.
“Well, what?” Frank took a bite of his scrambled eggs, chewing mindlessly.
“The call, Frank,” Buzz reminded. He shook his head. “I think you need to lay off these midnight shifts.”
Pop,” Frank said contritely. “Furniture shopping,” he finally
supplied. “I need a crib and a few other things for Dantéa.”
saying his baby girl’s name made his heart smile. At this point in his
life, he’d thought the possibility of more children was gone—and then
Natalia had told him she was pregnant, and his whole world changed.
“Natalia said she wanted to help pick them out.”
“Oh,” Buzz said, sounding surprised. “Well, that’s nice. I guess that means you guys have worked some things out.”
“I was the one who needed to work things out. I’ve been a real ass,” Frank admitted.
“I won’t argue with you there,” Buzz said forthrightly.
“Gee. Thanks, Pop,” Frank said dryly.
I’m glad things are better between the three of you,” Buzz said
sincerely. “This baby deserves the love of all three of her parents.”
know,” Frank sighed, accepting the inevitable—that Olivia Spencer was
going to be his daughter’s other mommy. “And that’s how it’ll be.”
“Good,” Buzz declared with that wide grin. “Now finish your breakfast. You have baby furniture to buy.”
just as soon as I can get Natalia to answer her damned phone,” Frank
groused. He lifted the phone from the counter, but before he could dial
it, it rang in his hand. The caller was the last person on earth he
expected to hear from—especially at six in the morning. His hand
shaking as he opened the phone, he tapped the receive button, and held
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… The Chapel, Cedars Hospital—6:45 a.m. Central Daylight Time
exhausted and emotionally drained from countless hours of waiting and
worrying, Olivia Spencer leaned forward in the front pew in the Chapel
at Cedars Hospital. Releasing a weary sigh, she propped her elbows on
her upper thighs, and buried her face in her hands. This was the last
place she ever expected to find herself, and the last thing she ever
thought she would be doing. Yet, here she was, and she couldn’t imagine
being anywhere else at a time like this. Except perhaps with
Natalia—but that just wasn’t an option. And so she closed her eyes,
released another long, slow sigh, and did what she’d only done a handful
of times in her entire life:
TBC in Chapter 18.3…
Jun 17 16 9:27 PM
shyone wrote:Uh oh a lone shot rang out....thats not good ...thats NEVER a good thing . Rafe having flashbacks about his father. Great updateHI kimHope all is well in your part of the world....a little toasty here and its not going to cool down for a while...mother nature and her mood swings...one week have on the furnace the next the ACLauren
Jun 18 16 12:02 AM
Aug 12 16 4:23 AM
The characters of Olivia Spencer, Natalia and Rafe Rivera, Ava Peralta
and her late son, Max Harlan Lewis, Frank Cooper, Ashlee Wolfe, Mel
Boudreau, and Alan Spaulding, are owned by CBS/TeleNext and Proctor
& Gamble. The characters of Lena Kundera, Bianca Montgomery, and
Zach Slater are owned by All My Children, ABC/Disney and Prospect Park.
The original characters of Detective Sergeant Langston Malloy, Attorney
Danika Kováč, and their daughter, McKenna, Jacqueline (Jacqué) Morgan,
Lorcán Malloy, Commander Marc Daniels and his second-in-command, Agent
Shaw, Dantéa (Téa) Rivera, and Dr. Valerie Blaine are the property of
this author, and any resemblance to fictional characters, or real
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
copyright infringement intended with regard to Guiding Light,
CBS/TeleNext, Proctor & Gamble, AMC, ABC/Disney, or any other
entity. With the exception of Cedars Hospital (in general), the
settings, dialogue, and story content in these scenes are original.
Written for fun, not profit. All other standard disclaimers apply.
Ramblings: I do appreciate your patience, and I’m truly sorry this one
has taken so long. It’s not as lengthy as I would’ve liked, but given
all the inquiries I’ve been receiving, I wanted to get you all something
as quickly as possible.
thanks to my friend and favorite FFW, WickedWanda926, and to my friend
newfan64, for their ongoing willingness to edit my stories. Words
cannot express how much I appreciate the two of you and your steadfast
support of me, both personally, and as a would-be writer. Due to the
rush to get you all this update, however, this content has not been
edited. Thus, any mistakes contained herein are solely my
responsibility. Thank you to all who continue to read and/or comment. I
appreciate the time you have invested in this story, and truly hope you
continue to enjoy.
This section of Chapter 18 is rated PG-13 for coarse language. Read:
Olivia Spencer is super pissed, and she doesn’t give a shit who she
offends. This will likely continue into the next update, as well.
“For the greater the love, the greater the grief, and the stronger the faith, the more savagely will Satan storm its fortress.”
Chapter 18.3 – What Price We Pay:
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… The Cottage, Martha’s Vineyard—9:45 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time
to his word, Zach Slater dispatched a security detail that rivaled that
of the Secret Service, and within the hour, the team arrived at the
cottage ready to serve and protect. Swiftly, they swept the cottage and
surrounding landscape, identified areas of potential access, and sealed
them off. And then Commander Marc Daniels approached Langston,
assessing her with a keen eye. “I understand you’re a detective, and
that you’ve had extensive training in covert ops,” he said, as easily as
if he’d been inquiring about that morning’s surf report.
tall and lean, and dressed impeccably in a designer suit, he looked
every bit the part of a former operative. That, in and of itself,
incited both confidence and respect in Langston. A single nod of her
head accompanied her response. “Yes, Commander,” she answered
formally. She hadn’t functioned in that capacity for a number of years,
but the training never failed her in a tight situation.
“Are you armed, Detective Malloy?” the Commander asked.
shook her head. “Langston, please,” she said, granting familiarity.
“And no, not for this.” The only weapon she had with her was the Glock
Dani bought her back in college—the one she’d lost the night she was
shot. She had been surprised when, a few days after the incident, Chief
Cooper summoned her to a private meeting in a dilapidated auto shop
over on Fifth Street. To her knowledge, much of that area had been
burned to the ground a number of years before, and subsequently rebuilt,
but the old shop stood as a reminder of what Fifth Street once was—a
throwback to the past.
she called out, as she stepped through a narrow doorway at the side of
the shop. It was marred by the passage of time, and it creaked loudly
as she pushed it open, but it was solid enough to keep vandals out.
“In here, Malloy,” Frank called out from behind a makeshift partition.
stepped around, her eyes widening at the sight of Frank Cooper in a
tattered ball cap and matching dark gray coveralls that bore a trademark
mechanic’s patch with his name on it. Streaked with grease and sweat,
he was bent over a Harley, socket wrench in hand, as he tinkered with
the engine. “My bike!” she exclaimed. “How did you…”
you grab me that 5/8ths socket?” he requested, motioning toward the
toolbox on the bench nearby without taking his eyes off the engine. He
knew instinctively that she wouldn’t need further instruction. Anyone
who rode a bike of this caliber knew exactly how to maintain it.
“Sure thing.” Taking two steps toward the bench, she fished the socket from its slot, tossing it toward him.
he grunted noncommittally as he snatched it from the air with his free
hand. Swapping the socket out, he pocketed the original, and attached
the wrench to another bolt. The familiar click, click, click, pause, click, click, click of the ratchet echoed in the practically empty space as he tightened the bolt that held the engine block to the frame.
when he was finished, he looked up, meeting Langston’s astonished
gaze. “I was a mechanic before I became a cop,” he said simply, as he
wiped sweat from his brow with the back of one hand. There was a streak
of grease across his left cheek that said he’d done the same there at
some point that afternoon. “Used to chop cars, actually,” he grinned
against the rickety countertop, Langston crossed her arms beneath her
breasts, and grinned. He never ceased to surprise her. “I never
“Yeah, well, I don’t exactly go around broadcasting it,” he grinned.
Langston laughed. “I can understand why.”
piece of machinery,” he commented, gesturing toward her Harley. “I
cleaned up the dents and scratches, and made sure the engine wasn’t
“Thanks,” she said, almost sheepishly. It was the one constant reminder that she came from money—dirty money—and
oftentimes that still really bothered her. Just… not quite enough for
her to part with that bike. “How did you end up with it?”
a shop towel from the bench near the toolbox, he wiped his hands
clean—at least as clean as he could get without a generous helping of
Goop®. And then he tucked the towel into the back pocket of
his coveralls. “It’s not the only thing I ended up with,” he said a bit
watched him with a curious eye, as he moved toward the counter. He
fished a set of keys from his front pocket, and reached for the dented
lockbox at the back edge of the wooden counter, pulling it toward him.
Grasping the lock, he slipped a key inside, turning it to release the
latch. And then he reached inside, revealing a handgun—the Glock
Langston had been carrying the night she was shot.
Once again caught off-guard, Langston’s mouth dropped open. “Chief—”
might want to keep a better handle on this,” Frank said, as he turned
the gun over to its rightful owner. His tone was kind, yet firm, and
she understood it for what it was: a direct order.
“Yes, Sir,” Langston quickly acquiesced. “But… I don’t understand how…”
paused, mid-sentence, as the memories of that night came flooding back
to her. “Oh, my god, it was you!” she exclaimed. “You were there the
night I was shot. You… and that semi… blocked the hailstorm of
bullets. And then you peeled me from the pavement, and took me to
Dani’s hotel room…”
A simple nod was Frank’s response.
Langston gulped. How did he know where she was? How did he know she
was in trouble? How did he even know about Dani? Let alone, where to
find her? The questions pummeled her faster than she could think. But
the one thing that stood out was the fact that he had rescued her. “You
saved my life, Chief,” she said, emotion evident in her tone.
“And I’d do it again,” Frank said forthrightly. “But I’d rather hope that won’t be necessary.”
“Ten-four,” Langston said with a wobbly grin.
fell silent then, both of them contemplative. Langston shuffled a
foot, her boot scuffing against the gritty concrete floor. “You can’t
tell me how you knew, can you?”
shook his head. “No, Malloy, I can’t,” he answered. To do so would be
to sacrifice the greater good, and they both knew he never would. “But
just know that I’ll always have your back—all of you.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Langston said sincerely.
Frank acknowledged her appreciation. “Just… next time, could you give
me a little heads-up when you think there’s gonna be movement?” he
requested. “We don’t need you getting shot again.”
Langston grinned ruefully. “Sure thing, Chief.”
with that, their conversation was over. Frank had revealed himself as
an ally, and Langston was assured she and her family would be protected.
That was all that was necessary.
in the present, Langston was drawn away from the conversation by the
sound of Commander Daniels’ voice, as he continued his assessment of
their situation. He was across the room, peeking out of the portal his
team had left, allowing them to survey the beach without being seen.
“We’ll get you outfitted, just in case; but I’d prefer it if you’d leave
the heavy lifting to my team.”
Langston acquiesced. She wasn’t one to let others fight her battles,
and being left out of the action went against her instincts, but her
family was her priority right now, and she would gladly stand down if it
meant making sure they were protected.
bounded into the room, offering Langston a smile. “Hey, Gorgeous,” she
said sweetly. Flinging her arms around Langston’s neck, she kissed her
soundly, before noticing the Commander in the room. The quiet clearing
of his throat alerted her that they weren’t alone, and her face flushed
with a touch of bashfulness.
grinned at the expression on her wife’s face. “Hey, Love,” she greeted
in return. Deliberately, she drew Dani closer, wrapping an arm
securely around her waist. “Where’s McKenna?”
with Jacqué,” Dani answered, her hand coming to rest in the center of
Langston’s chest. “They’re playing in the girls’ room.”
Langston said. “That room is probably safest,” she noted. It was the
center room on the western side of the cottage, with no direct line of
sight from either the beach or the roadway.
“I agree,” Marc said, deference for Langston’s assessment evident in his tone.
“Who knew you were here?” Langston asked Dani, as she moved from her side, and began pacing the floor.
“Just… you, Mariana…” Dani shrugged and shook her head, indicating she was at a loss.
“You didn’t tell anyone from work?”
told them I was taking some time away,” Dani answered. “But I never
told anyone where I was going, or who I was going with.”
Stopping, Langston planted her hands on her hips, and nodded. “Okay,” she sighed, thinking they were back at square one.
“Who is Mariana?” Marc inquired in that moment of stillness.
“Oh, she’s our nanny,” Dani reported. “She’s not a threat. She’s been with my family since I was a little girl.”
looked unconvinced. “She would never betray us, Commander,” Langston
assured. “She’s had our backs since we were kids. Even more so once we
were teenagers, and involved romantically. She didn’t rat us out even
when her job was in jeopardy.”
Nodding, Marc accepted her at her word. “What about you, Langston?” he asked. “Who knew you were headed out here?”
Chief,” Langston answered. “One of Lena and Bianca’s friends—Um,
Natalia, I think, is her name.” She looked to Dani for confirmation,
and Dani nodded. “Uh, Phillip Spaulding, and… his pilot.”
“You trust your Chief?” Marc inquired.
“Implicitly,” Langston answered without hesitation.
“And what about this friend—Natalia?”
glanced at Dani for input. “Natalia’s trustworthy,” Dani assured.
Everything about the woman told her the woman wasn’t a threat.
“And Spaulding?” Marc pressed.
“Phillip I trust,” Langston said with conviction. “His father, on the other hand…”
“Oh, my god!” Dani exclaimed. “Alan…” She cringed at the mere thought of him.
“Exactly,” Langston concurred.
snake would sell his own mother down the river if she weren’t already
dead,” Dani remarked. She knew, only too well, how dangerous that man
could be. His treachery was second only to that of her own father—and
perhaps Lorcán Malloy.
“Maybe taking the Spaulding jet wasn’t the best idea,” Langston admitted in retrospect.
wherever you go from now until we get this under control, you’ll be on a
Cambias jet,” Marc reported. “And no one other than my team and our
pilot will know you’re aboard.”
“We can’t keep running,” Langston said firmly. “But we do need to make sure Lena, Bianca, and their girls are safe.”
can assure you, they will be,” Marc said with certainty. “Mr. Slater
has another team waiting at the airport to escort them home. Our goal
today is to get you all out of here safely. Then we’ll regroup, and
figure out who’s behind this.”
“I can’t thank you enough, Commander,” Langston said. “Let us know when you’re ready to move?”
nodded an acknowledgement of her appreciation. “Will do,” he said. “In
the meantime, check in with Shaw. She’ll get you suited up. I have
strict orders to make sure you don’t get shot again.”
Brow furrowed, Langston started to ask, “How did you…”
“It’s my job to know, Detective,” the Commander said forthrightly.
Sir,” Langston said with a sense of finality. And with that, she turned
on her heel, and went in search of Shaw, Dani following quickly behind
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Emergency Waiting Room, Cedars Hospital—7:15 a.m. Central Daylight Time
sound of Ashlee’s tear-filled voice drew Rafe from the fear, the panic,
and the inexplicable sense of grief that had gripped him the moment he
saw the expression on the doctor’s face. Instinctively, he knew that
life would never be the same again. Glancing upward, he met her gaze,
his own face streaked with tears. He didn’t say a word as she sat down
beside him, taking his hand into her own, their fingers intertwining.
didn’t you call me sooner?” she asked, her voice filled with concern
for him. “You didn’t have to go through this all alone.”
“I’m not completely alone,” Rafe sniffed, swiping at the tears on her cheeks. “Olivia and Frank are around here somewhere.”
they’re not doing you any good right now, are they?” Ashlee sounded
incredulous as she stroked his dark wavy hair. There was something
unexpectedly fierce about her in the way she protected him, and it never
occurred to either of them to question it.
“Don’t be mad at them,” Rafe said. “They’re upset about what I told the doctor. And honestly, I don’t blame them.”
“What did you say?” Ashlee asked with a sense of urgency evident in her tone.
by the sting of his own words, Rafe’s memories drew him back to an hour
prior, when the doctor finally made an appearance in the waiting room,
Olivia and Frank, in tow…
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Emergency Waiting Room, Cedars Hospital—6:15 a.m. Central Daylight Time
“So we’re at a crossroads right now.”
after a lengthy explanation of Natalia’s current medical status—and the
underlying medical condition that had led to her emergency admission to
the hospital—both of which went way over everyone’s heads, Dr. Valerie
Blaine’s statement fell on anxious ears. The anger and fear in Olivia
Spencer’s eyes was palpable, and Val wouldn’t have blamed her if she
screamed—or even if she threw things. She’d had to threaten Olivia to
get her out of the trauma bay so that she could do a thorough
examination. And now, she was facing her again, this time with news
that was certain to shake the formidable hotelier to her core.
could you miss this?” Olivia demanded accusingly. Her irrational mind
screamed incompetence, but reason said otherwise. Dr. Blaine had been
her obstetrician when she was pregnant with Emma, and she had been
wonderful. That’s why she’d entrusted Natalia and their unborn child to
her. “She’s been under your care from the moment we found out she was
Dr. Blaine swept loose tendrils of ash blonde hair behind her left ear,
and sighed softly. This was the part of medicine she detested—the
element of the unknown. “The symptoms of her condition aren’t
noticeable unless you know to look for them, Olivia,” she attempted to
explain. “And without a complete family medical history…”
“I don’t want excuses, dammit, I want answers!” Olivia snapped. “And I wanna know what you’re going to do about this.”
know this is difficult, Olivia,” Dr. Blaine said, placing a caring hand
on the hotelier’s shoulder. She was equally as worried about Olivia’s
heart as she was about Natalia and their unborn child. “But I don’t
have any answers. At least not the ones you want.”
“Then what do you have?” Olivia demanded.
“Bottom line?” Dr. Blaine replied, seeking assent to give it to them straight.
Olivia nodded. Frank offered a grunt of approval.
we don’t deliver the baby immediately, we risk losing them both,” Dr.
Blaine said forthrightly. “The longer we wait, the higher the risk.”
strangled whimper escaped Rafe’s tight lips, and he buried his head in
his hands, daring the tears to come. Why was this happening? What had
his mother ever done to deserve this?
it’s too early,” Olivia said on a strangled whisper. Experience told
her it was true, and the depths of her fear were evident in her tone.
Olivia was right, Frank felt the weight of their situation settle on
his shoulders, burdening his entire body. “What about my daughter?” he
asked, tears flooding his blue eyes. Helplessly, he leaned against the
wall, and grabbed the railing to steady himself, afraid his legs might
pushing steroids to stimulate lung development, and we’ve called in the
top neonatologist in the country,” Dr. Blaine announced. “We’ll do
everything in our power…” God, even saying the words made her feel
“But?” Frank pressed. Tightening his jaw, he stiffened for her response.
Blaine’s face took on a sorrowful expression, her heart heavy in her
chest. “I’m sorry, Chief Cooper,” she said compassionately, her dark
eyes filled with empathy as she shook her head; “Her chances aren’t
weren’t words that she ever wanted to say to an expectant parent, let
alone three of them in only a few short hours. But the truth was the
baby was far too early, too under-developed, to survive. Only a miracle
would save her.
heart was torn in two. She loved that baby. She’d wanted her from the
moment Natalia realized she was pregnant. And the thought of losing
their daughter was more than her heart could bear, especially given the
loss of her grandson, Max, shortly after his birth. That loss was still
so raw at times, Ava’s absence from Springfield being an almost
right or wrong, she loved Natalia more, and she wouldn’t willingly
sacrifice her for anything—or anyone. “Do what you have to do to save
Natalia,” she finally said, tears of grief streaking down her face.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?” Frank snarled, accusation in his tone. “You have no right…”
“Fuck you, Frank,” Olivia growled, her sense of grief overwhelming. “You heard what the doctor said. We’ll lose them both.”
“What, so we just cut our losses, and move on?” Frank snapped.
bitter argument ensued between the two of them, both posturing for some
semblance of control in a situation where there was no control to be
found. Frank knew Olivia was right, but reason didn’t stop the anguish
in his heart. What he didn’t understand, not yet anyway, was that
Olivia’s anguish rivaled his own.
the tension mounted between them, Dr. Blaine turned toward Rafe. “What
would you like us to do, Mr. Rivera?” she asked with urgency in her
tone, shocking both Olivia and Frank back into their senses. “We don’t
have much time to act now.”
“What?” Rafe stammered. “Why are you asking me?”
Natalia is unconscious, so legally, you’re the one who has to make the
decision,” Dr. Blaine explained. “You’re the next of kin.”
erupted into a rage. “I’m her partner for Christ’s sake!” she
screamed, emphasizing the intimate nature of her relationship with
understand that, Olivia. And I don’t mean to trivialize your
relationship,” Dr. Blaine said gently. “You know that.” She had been
nothing but respectful of their relationship from the moment Olivia
introduced Natalia as her partner, and as she’d gotten to know Natalia
throughout the pregnancy, she’d come to realize that Natalia was a
perfect match for the formidable Olivia Spencer. But the law was the
law, and she couldn’t sidestep it, even for Olivia. “But unless you
have medical Power of Attorney…”
back the sobs, Rafe shook his head adamantly. All he could hear was
the echo of the doctor’s words, talking about things he didn’t want to
hear—like his mother’s uterus, her placenta, and the obscure hereditary
medical condition that now placed her life, and the life of his baby
sister, at risk. He hated what he had to say, but he had no choice but
to say it—to say otherwise would be to smite God and summon His wrath.
“The Catholic Church says we can’t sacrifice the life of one to save the
other. We just… we have to let God’s will be done.”
He barely choked out the words before he began to vomit profusely.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Emergency Room Parking Lot, Cedars Hospital—6:30 a.m. Central Daylight Time
the emergency waiting room into the parking lot, Olivia Spencer let out
a raucous scream, followed by a string of expletives so coarse they
would’ve made a sailor blush, as she hurled her half-empty coffee cup
against the side wall of the hospital. It smashed against the
sandy-colored brick, the dark, lukewarm liquid cascading down the wall
as the cup dropped unceremoniously to the ground.
“Let God’s will be done? Are you fucking serious?”
she fumed, as she paced the asphalt outside the emergency entrance.
She cursed some more, as she reached into the pocket of her jeans,
pulling her phone out. Frantically, she searched for Mel Boudreau’s
number in her contacts. There had to be something she could do!
was midway through a rambling message to her attorney when Frank came
barreling through the door, chasing after her. “What the hell are you up
to?” he demanded. He knew it was something, and it wasn’t likely
good—at least not for his daughter.
“I’m calling Mel,” Olivia snapped, covering the phone with her hand.
“What, are you gonna try to buy off a judge?” Frank asked accusingly.
“Fuck you, Frank,” Olivia growled, not for the first time that morning.
it off, Olivia. You’re not the only one who’s hurting here. You’re
just pissed because you’re not getting what you want,” Frank hurled.
on a snarl, Frank’s accusation only served to piss Olivia off more.
“What I want, you narrow-minded jackass, is for both Natalia and our
daughter to be okay!” she screeched.
“You think I don’t want that too?” Frank actually sounded hurt. “Dammit, Olivia, I love them both, just like you do.”
they were on the same page, just perhaps on a different paragraph,
Olivia softened. “I know,” she huffed, leaning against a concrete
pillar. “We’re just…”
“Faced with an impossible situation?” Frank supplied. His tone was almost grief-stricken.
Olivia sighed. And then she remembered she had Mel’s voicemail
practically on hold. She lifted her phone again, saying, “Listen, just
call me, okay? As quickly as possible. We don’t have the luxury of
time here.” And with that, she terminated the call.
away from the pillar, she began to pace again. “I hate this, Frank,”
she said, anger rising in her tone again. “I fucking hate it.”
you should’ve thought about that before you fucked Natalia senseless
the other day,” Frank said accusingly, referring to what he’d witnessed
when he walked in on them at the farmhouse.
Olivia’s neck snapped toward him, and jade eyes turned black with anger as they met his in a menacing glare. “Excuse me?”
heard me,” Frank reiterated, making certain his intent was loud and
clear. “And don’t try to argue that this was just some genetic
bullshit. I saw what you were doing to her—and what you were doing it
you,” Olivia exhaled, unable to believe he’d had the audacity to
actually say something so disgusting. Deep down inside, she knew it
wasn’t true. She’d heard what Dr. Blaine said about Natalia’s medical
condition. How she’d likely inherited it from her mother, and how there
was nothing they could have done to prevent this from happening.
Still, his words burned in her soul like hellfire. Jade eyes flooded with tears.
past him, she nearly knocked him to the ground, as she rushed back
inside in search of Rafe. Now, more than anything, she needed to
convince him to do the right thing… for his mother and for her, of
course, but mostly, for himself. She knew in the end, regardless of his
reasons for inaction, if anything happened to his mother, Rafe would
never, ever forgive himself.
TBC in Chapter 18.4…
Note: Again, my apologies for taking so long to update. As you might
well imagine, this particular part of the story has been kind of
emotional to write, and will likely continue to be, as we move forward.
Thus, I’ve distracted myself with a little fluff piece involving the
WayHaught fandom from the Syfy series Wynonna Earp. Please know that
just because I’m writing a bit for them, I am not in any way intending
to abandon either Confessions or Snapshots. Once this section of
Confessions is complete, I will resume posting on Snapshots, as well.
You all have my word that both stories will be followed to completion,
without any loss in terms of the quality of the storyline. Again, I am
so thankful for your continued interest in my stories, and as always, I
appreciate your kind words and support.
Aug 12 16 4:28 AM
shyone wrote:Good thing for Sandy...she earned her scooby doo snack for alerting everyone . Buzz was always the voice of reason on GL....at least in the later year. And YES Frankie you have been an ASS. Olivia praying...oh this is not a good sign at all.great updateHi KimOH next time you see Mim tell her hi for me unless she sees is here then...HI MIM.Yes mother nature and her mood swings...I dont think its suppose to be 100 in the middle of june...lolLAuren
Aug 13 16 1:44 PM
Aug 23 16 4:38 AM
The characters of Olivia and Emma Spencer, Natalia and Rafe Rivera,
Josh Lewis, Frank Cooper, and Ashlee Wolfe are owned by CBS/TeleNext and
Proctor & Gamble. The original characters of Dantéa (Téa) Rivera,
Dr. Valerie Blaine, Dr. Maya Carter, and Dr. Kaitlynn MacKenzie are the
property of this author, and any resemblance to fictional characters, or
real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
copyright infringement intended with regard to Guiding Light,
CBS/TeleNext, Proctor & Gamble, AMC, ABC/Disney, or any other
entity. With the exceptions of the Farmhouse of Love and Cedars
Hospital, the settings, dialogue, and story content in these scenes are
original. Written for fun, not profit. All other standard disclaimers
Chapter 18 is rated PG-13 for some coarse language. Read: Olivia
Spencer is super pissed, and she doesn’t care who she offends. Oh, and I
think it goes without saying, but… Frank Cooper is a dick.
Chapter 18.4 – What Price We Pay:
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… The Farmhouse of Love—2:30 a.m. Central Daylight Time
“Rafe! Rafe, wake up!”
voice sounded strained as she called out from the doorway of the guest
room where he slept. She hadn’t been in this room since he came home,
and was surprised to see how tidy he kept it. Strange thing to think about given the circumstances, she thought. But then, everything seemed strange at the moment. Nothing felt right.
he didn’t budge, she rushed into the room, placing a hand on his
bicep. It trembled so fiercely that she didn’t have to bother shaking
him. “Rafe, wake up. I need your help,” she said, her tone now
the…?” Understandably startled by the late-night intrusion, Rafe
groused, still half asleep. He rubbed his eyes as he sat upright in the
“I’m sorry I startled you,” Olivia apologized. “But I need you to get up and help me with your mom.”
eyes, so much like Natalia’s, opened to her, and she nearly lost her
balance as she watched the fear set in. Tossing the covers aside, he
sprang from the bed. “What’s wrong with my ma?”
“It’s the baby, Rafe,” Olivia informed. “I’m not sure what happened, but we need to get her downstairs and into my car.”
“What about the EMTs?” he asked, already scrambling to into his jeans and sneakers, not even bothering with socks.
was shaking her head. “There’s no time to wait,” she reported with a
sense of urgency he’d never before seen in her. “She’s losing a lot of
Rafe cursed. He grabbed a discarded t-shirt from the laundry basket,
and pulled it over his head. And from that instant, everything else was
a blur until the moment he’d watched the taillights of Olivia’s car
disappear into the dead of night, leaving him standing there all alone,
covered in his mother’s blood, and terrified.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… The Chapel, Cedars Hospital—7:45 a.m. Central Daylight Time
how much time had elapsed since he’d watched her drive away. She’d
only asked that he stay behind long enough for Jane to get there to look
after Emma. And the moments dragged by as he waited, his anxiety
rising exponentially with the passing of every single one. He’d had the
wherewithal to shower and change while he waited, but even the warm,
relaxing water did nothing to curb his anxiousness.
later, in that barren E.R. waiting area, with nothing else to occupy
his thoughts as he waited to hear their fate, every single detail had
come back to him, in living color—the image of his mother, her limp
body, her tangled hair, lying on the bathroom floor in the master
bathroom, the pool of blood growing larger with every moment that ticked
by. He didn’t know anything about medical conditions, but it seemed
like she was slipping in and out of consciousness, even then. And now
he had answers. But none of them were what he wanted to hear. He felt
so grateful when Ashlee showed up. He should’ve known she would come
immediately when he called. She was always there.
glanced at her, sitting there beside him in the chapel, and reached
over, taking her hand into his own. “Tell me I did the right thing,” he
said, his dark eyes pleading for absolution.
stunned, not only by Rafe’s confession about what he’d said to the
doctor, but also by the scene that had just played out before her,
Ashlee took the time to process before speaking—an anomaly, to be
certain. “I understand why you said what you did, Rafe,” she finally
said after several minutes of deliberation. “What I don’t understand is
why you believe that inaction doesn’t constitute a choice on your part.”
“I don’t understand,” Rafe said, confused.
the doctor to intervene would at least give them a chance, even if the
chances aren’t very good,” Ashlee reasoned. “By doing nothing, you’re
effectively choosing to end both of their lives.”
“No, I’m not,” Rafe disagreed. “I’m choosing to let God decide what happens. Life and death are in His hands, not mine.”
think that’s a copout, Rafe,” Ashlee said bluntly. She’d heard exactly
what he said about not blaming Olivia and Frank for being angry with
him. She’d also heard the fear and the sadness in his voice as he’d
recounted their interaction. He wasn’t okay at all with the decision
that he’d made, and she was certain she knew exactly why. “I think
you’re scared, and you don’t want to face the responsibility of making
the wrong choice, so you’re hiding behind your faith. That way, it’s
God’s fault, not yours.”
words stung, and the expression on his face made him look as though
he’d just been slapped. The problem was, she was right, and he knew
it. Dropping his head, he closed his eyes as he blew out a breath.
“God, Ash, I don’t know what I’d do if something happens to my ma,” he
cried. “I don’t wanna be the one to make that decision.”
over, she ran her hand across his back in a comforting caress. “That’s
what Olivia was trying to say to you,” she pointed out. “She’s afraid
you’ll regret this decision, Rafe. She’s just too upset right now to
say it rationally.”
he said nothing, Ashlee continued. “If this decision was up to Olivia,
and she’d said what you did, what would your reaction have been?”
“I would’ve raised hell, just like she did,” Rafe answered.
“I think you’ve just answered your own question, Rafe,” Ashlee pointed out.
guess I did, didn’t I?” Rafe sighed, realizing he had no grounds to
argue. He glanced at her then, meeting her gaze. “Thanks for callin’
me on my crap, Ash,” he said with a sigh. “I can always count on you to
be honest, even when you know I won’t like what you have to say.”
Shrugging, Ashlee smiled at him. “That’s what friends are for, right?”
Rafe nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “And I’m really glad you’re mine.”
Ashlee and Rafe talked quietly inside, Olivia frantically paced back
and forth along the hallway just outside the chapel. Upon her return
from the parking lot a few minutes earlier, the ensuing conversation
with Rafe had gone nothing like she had planned. Instead, it was more
like a futile scrimmage that ended with an explosion of epic
found him in the Chapel with Ashlee. He’d gone there to pray—to beg
God to intervene so that neither of them would be lost, only to hear
silence echoing back at him. He felt lost, and angry, and… scared. But
most of all, he felt abandoned by the God he was trying to appease,
despite the blistering ache in his own heart and conscience.
then there was Olivia, standing in front of him, looking so lost and
scared herself. She reasoned, and he countered with Church doctrine.
She begged, and he cried tears of anguish, but he wouldn’t relent. She
cursed and screamed, and he just sat there, helpless. Unlike his mother
in recent months, he was doing what she had always taught him was
right—he was holding fast to the teachings of their Church—or so he told
the Catholic Church, Rafe!” Olivia howled in a final bid to get him to
move. She was terrified and desperate, and at that point, she didn’t
give a damn about offending God… or anyone else for that matter. All
she wanted was to ensure that she wouldn’t lose Natalia, and that their
daughter would have at least a modicum of a chance at survival. After
all, miracles did happen—Natalia always insisted it was true. “What has
that fucking place, those uptight, judgmental bastards, ever done for
her, except to condemn her—for getting pregnant with you and with Téa—for loving me?”
calming sound of Josh Lewis’s voice brought instant silence. She
turned toward him, tears streaming down her face. “How did you…”
called, after you heard from the doctor,” he answered before she could
even finish the question. “He thought you might need a friend.”
went to him without a moment’s hesitation, allowing him to gather her
into his protective embrace. “Oh, god, Josh, I’m so glad you’re here,”
she sobbed into his chest, the dam of despair finally giving way as he
held her close, gently stroking her hair.
“I’m so sorry this is happening, Olivia,” he whispered against those soft chestnut locks. “I can’t imagine how much it hurts.”
“She could die, Josh,” Olivia cried. “We could lose them both.”
“I know, Darlin’,” he gently soothed. “I know…”
hadn’t a clue how long she’d stood there, crying in his arms. But when
she finally regained her composure, Josh encouraged her to come out
into the hallway where they could talk without disturbing the sanctity
of the chapel—he was, once upon a time, a minister, after all. And
there he listened intently to her as she poured out the details of
Natalia’s medical condition and the danger to both her and the baby, and
as she vented about her frustration and fear, all while she wore a path
in the linoleum flooring.
really sorry to interrupt,” Dr. Blaine said respectfully when she came
upon Josh and Olivia in the hallway. Olivia had finally settled down,
and she was sitting next to Josh on a bench just outside the chapel
“No, that’s okay,” Olivia said, turning toward the doctor. “How are Natalia and Téa?
“We all need to talk,” Dr. Blaine said forthrightly. The expression in her eyes said it wasn’t good news.
Olivia motioned toward the chapel. “Rafe’s inside.”
Dr. Blaine nodded, following Olivia and Josh into the small room, taking a seat across from Rafe.
Rafe’s heart rate double-timed and he sat up straight. “How’s my ma?”
afraid we can’t wait anymore,” Dr. Blaine said, gravely. “Things have
taken a turn for the worse, and we have to do something, or we’re gonna
lose both of them.”
ahead with the surgery,” Rafe finally relented, his tone calm, yet
distant. “Do what you can to save them both, but…” Pausing, he reached
over, taking Ashlee’s hand into his own, as he met her gaze, seeking
When she nodded, he drew in a deep breath, exhaling slowly. “If you have to choose, save my mother,” he instructed. “Please…”
“Okay,” Dr. Blaine said with a nod, acknowledging his directive.
“What?” Frank snapped from where he stood in the doorway, listening. “Rafe, you can’t just…”
his protest was drowned out by the sound of Olivia’s voice. “Oh, god…”
She exclaimed, as she exhaled a breath she hadn’t realized she was
holding. And then her emotions overtook her again, and her eyes welled
up with tears. “Thank you, Rafe,” she cried, as her heart
simultaneously ached and rejoiced. “I know this isn’t easy.”
“Don’t thank me,” Rafe said absently. He felt numb inside. “Thank Ashlee.”
sound of Frank’s heavy boots pounding against the worn linoleum echoed
off the walls, but not nearly as loudly as the booming sound of his
voice as he screamed at Rafe, accusing him of all manner of evil things,
including being a murderer. Cowering, Rafe lay there on the pew,
sobbing in Ashlee’s arms.
stepped in, warning Frank to calm down—or else; even as Dr. Blaine
threatened to have him removed from the hospital if he didn’t get
himself under control.
is neither the time, nor the place, Chief Cooper,” Dr. Blaine said
sternly. “Right now, we need to focus on getting your daughter
delivered, and then do our damnedest to save both their lives.”
Effectively silenced, Frank slumped down into a pew, sulking.
“You’ve got specialists lined up?” Olivia inquired, sniffing back the tears. “I don’t care what it costs. I want the best.”
got calls out to them,” Dr. Blaine assured. “We can conference in by
phone, if necessary, until they can get here. Our staff is fully
capable of carrying out directives in their absence.”
Olivia sighed. That wasn’t exactly what she wanted to hear, but it was
better than nothing. “Okay,” she said, trying to sound optimistic.
“All right, then,” Dr. Blaine said. “I’ve got to get going so we can get her prepped. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.”
“Can we see her?” Olivia asked, sounding hopeful.
“Olivia, she’s still unconscious,” Dr. Blaine reminded. “She won’t know you’re there.”
“I understand that,” Olivia said. “But we’ll know.”
empathy, rather than intellect, to lead her, Dr. Blaine considered
Olivia’s point of view, and then nodded. “Okay,” she agreed. “But only
for a minute or two, all right? We need to get things moving.”
nod of agreement was almost frantic, as she reached for Rafe, lightly
shaking him. “Hey, come with me,” she said gently. “We’re gonna go see
your ma before they take her back.”
Numbly, Rafe nodded as he swiped at the tears with his shirt sleeves. “Okay, yeah,” he said absently. “Yeah, I wanna see her.”
Olivia and Rafe followed Dr. Blaine from the chapel, Josh took a seat
next to Frank, hoping to talk some sense into him. From the expression
on Frank’s face, he realized it would likely be the hardest sell of his
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Emergency Room, Cedars Hospital—8:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time
“Five minutes,” Dr. Blaine said sternly as she left Olivia and Rafe alone in Natalia’s cubical.
nodded. “Understood,” she agreed, as she and Rafe moved to opposite
sides of Natalia’s gurney, each taking a hand into their own. Leaning
close, Olivia’s tears fell against Natalia’s cheek and shoulder, as she
brushed light kisses against her forehead and temple, while murmuring
quietly to her, telling her how much she loved her. Everything in her
wanted to crawl right into that bed with her, and just hold her until
the danger dissipated. She hated feeling so helpless.
gotta hang in there, Ma,” Rafe said, sniffing back more tears. “The
doctors are gonna try real hard to fix everything, but you gotta stay
strong for us, okay?”
right, Sweetheart,” Olivia said, pressing another kiss against
Natalia’s temple. “Dr. Blaine is gonna get Téa out of there, so they
can fix what’s wrong. We have the best doctors to help you, and they’re
gonna do whatever it takes to make sure you’re both okay. You just…
you have to stay strong for us, just a little while longer.”
then they stopped talking, and just settled quietly into the moment
with her, each praying silently for a positive outcome for both Natalia
and the baby. A few minutes later, Dr. Blaine returned, indicating that
it was time. Simultaneously, they nodded their understanding, and with
a few more whispered words and light kisses to Natalia’s temples, they
released their holds on her hands, backing away from the gurney.
even a moment’s thought, Rafe wrapped an arm around Olivia’s shoulders,
allowing her to lean into the strength of his body, as they watched the
orderlies wheel Natalia away. “She has to be okay,” he said, more to
himself than to Olivia. “She just has to be…”
Nodding, Olivia sniffed back tears. At least now, she had a fighting chance, and for that, Olivia was profoundly grateful.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… The Chapel, Cedars Hospital—8:30 a.m. Central Daylight Time
eyes flickered upward in response to a noise that emanated from the
back of the chapel, and turning toward it, she found Phillip standing in
the doorway. She sighed heavily. “I can’t deal with you right now.”
Her heart ached, and her voice was filled with exhaustion.
“Olivia, please. I’m not here to cause trouble,” Phillip said, quietly. “I just want to help.”
“I don’t need your kind of help,” Olivia spat.
the room, cautiously, he inched closer to her. “I don’t blame you for
hating me.” His tone was accepting. “I just… I remember how powerless I
felt when Lizzie was sick, and I… I wanted to offer whatever resources
you might need,” he said empathically. “No strings.”
Olivia glanced up at him again, eyeing him warily.
read the guardedness in her eyes, and reached out, gently placing a
hand on her shoulder. “I swear, Olivia, no strings,” he reiterated.
The sincerity in his voice reflected in the clear blue of his eyes.
a slow breath, Olivia nodded her head. Natalia had said that she
trusted him—and Olivia trusted Natalia, so she relented. As long as he
didn’t mention anything about taking Emma, she was willing to give him a
chance to prove himself again. “Natalia’s in surgery right now,” she
reported. “They’re taking the baby.”
“I know,” Phillip said.
A sharp laugh snapped from Olivia’s lungs. “I don’t suppose you’re at liberty to tell me how.”
Phillip grinned. “Not if I value my sources in this town.”
nodded. She could certainly relate. “Dr. Blaine has a call in to a
neonatal specialist from St. Louis,” she reported. “We’re waiting for a
“This doctor is better than anyone in Chicago?” Phillip inquired gently, concern in his tone.
her head, Olivia said, “There’s a Dr. Kait Mackenzie in Chicago. She’s
supposed to be the best there is, but she’s unavailable—out of the
country or some such bullshit.” Dr. Blaine had explained this just
prior to taking Natalia into surgery.
“Well, then we’ll get her back in the country,” Phillip said, as if he had the power to make her appear at will.
shook her head. “She’s at a conference halfway around the
world—there’s no time. The specialist in St. Louis—a Doctor…” She
searched her memory for the physician’s name, “Dr. Maya Carter—is
apparently our best chance.”
send the Spaulding jet immediately; have it waiting at the airport for
Dr. Carter when she calls. And while we’re waiting, I’ll make sure this
Dr. Mackenzie is on board as well. I don’t care where the hell she is,
she can weigh in. That’s what video conferencing is for—right?” he
Olivia said nothing in protest, he turned to leave. And then he heard
his name being called in a voice so faint, it nearly brought him to his
knees. The fight was clearly gone from her, and her pain was so
palpable he could feel it in his soul. He wanted nothing more than to
ease it, if only for a moment.
back to her, he placed his hands firmly on her shoulders. “You don’t
have to say anything, Olivia,” he whispered. Gently, he pressed his
lips to her temple, as he squeezed her shoulders supportively. “I
simply nodded in response, and with that, he took his leave, already
dialing the Spaulding pilot as he stepped from the room.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Geneva, Switzerland—5:30 p.m. Central European Summer Time
the other side of the world, Dr. Kaitlynn MacKenzie tucked a lock of
shoulder-length chestnut hair behind her right ear, and leaned back into
the plush leather of her office chair, the elegant material of her
cream-colored linen suit rustling as she crossed her legs, right over
left. Skillful emerald eyes scanned the documents that had just been
received via electronic transmission over a secure line, as she settled
into the conference room that had become her temporary office.
world-renowned specialist in the field of neonatology, she was
accustomed to being called in for consults on tough cases, even from a
distance. In fact, her specialty was exactly what had brought her to
Switzerland, where she was now conducting clinicals with a small group
of the world’s most promising young neonatologists-in-training.
Ordinarily, she wouldn’t have accepted a consult case while teaching,
but the details as they were presented to her, were intriguing, to stay
the least. And it hadn’t hurt that the request had come from Phillip
deeper she delved, the more intrigued she became with this particular
case. The records were devoid of any identifying information—a means of
ensuring the patient’s privacy—yet the particulars of the case felt
like déjà vu. Not only with regard to the mother who, as of last report
was still deemed to be in serious condition following the emergency
Caesarean section, but also to the newborn baby girl whose fragile life
hung in the balance. If she hadn’t known any better, she would have
sworn they were…
No, they simply could not be.
she shoved the disquiet from her soul; though, she couldn’t deny the
similarities to the past case. They were, in fact, the reason she had
been contacted for a consult on the case in her hands. She couldn’t
leave Geneva at the moment, but she could, and would, consult with Dr.
Carter, the specialist who had been called on-sight. History made her
fear the outcome—and it also made her prudent. She knew it would be in
the best interests of everyone involved to have a world-class pediatric
surgeon on call… just in case. Fishing her cell phone from the pocket
of her pleated linen trousers, she hit the contacts button, and scrolled
through to the “R’s”, tapping on the cell number of an old colleague
and friend. If this case didn’t destroy her, it just might bring her a
touch of healing for the loss of a child she could not save; no matter
how much she had loved her.
TBC in Chapter 18.5…
Aug 23 16 4:43 AM
shyone wrote:I want to smack both rafe and frank...I bet the both of them would vote for trump Love a cussing Olivia ...shame GL was on reg TV I would have loved to have heard here if GL were to be on cable TV. Cliffhanger cant wait to see where this goes HI KimHope all is well. This weekend we both might need our water wings ...and the temps...well it is AUG . This is the kinda weather that hits you in the face when you open up the front door. Glad to hear you had a great time when Mim was in town. Lauren
Nov 9 16 11:28 PM
Confessions Lead to Strange Bedfellows
Guiding Light / All My Children
Olivia and Natalia / Lena and Bianca
The characters of Olivia and Emma Spencer, Natalia and Rafe Rivera, Phillip
Spaulding, Ava Peralta and her late son, Max Harlan Lewis, Lillian Raines, Frank,
Buzz, and Marina Cooper, Doris and Ashlee Wolfe, and Mel Boudreau are owned by
CBS/TeleNext and Proctor & Gamble. The original characters of Detective
Sergeant Langston Malloy, Attorney Danika Kováč, and their daughter, McKenna,
Jacqueline (Jacqué) Morgan, Dantéa (Téa) Rivera, Dr.
Valerie Blaine, Dr. Maya Carter, Dr. Kaitlynn MacKenzie, Nurse Casey Graves, Commander
Marc Daniels and his second-in-command, Agent Logan Shaw are the property of
this author, and any resemblance to fictional characters, or real persons,
living or dead, is purely coincidental.
copyright infringement intended with regard to Guiding Light, CBS/TeleNext,
Proctor & Gamble, AMC, ABC/Disney, or any other entity. With the exceptions
of the Farmhouse of Love, Company, and Cedars Hospital, the settings, dialogue,
and story content in these scenes are original. Written for fun, not
profit. All other standard disclaimers
thanks to my friend and favorite FFW, WickedWanda926, and to my friend newfan64,
for their ongoing willingness to edit my stories. Words cannot express how much
I appreciate the two of you and your steadfast support of me, both personally,
and as a would-be writer. Due to the rush to get you all this update, however,
this content has not been edited. Thus, any mistakes contained herein are
solely my responsibility. Thank you to all who continue to read and/or comment.
I appreciate the time you have invested in this story, and truly hope you
continue to enjoy.
Chapter 18, overall, is rated PG-13 for coarse language. Read: Olivia Spencer
is super pissed, and she doesn’t care who she offends. This particular section
is far less intense, but she’s not finished being pissed.
isn’t as long as I had hoped it would be, but I heard from a few people who
just needed a little pick-me-up after last nights’ upheaval, so I wanted to get
y’all a little something. It’s not the “happy” I wish I could give you, but I
do think it has a touch of hopefulness.
Be kind to
yourselves and to each other. We’ll get through this together.
Confessions Lead to Strange
Copyright May 2009
“For the greater the love, the
greater the grief, and the stronger the faith, the more savagely will Satan
storm its fortress.”
Lewis, A Grief Observed
– What Price We Pay:
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Natalia’s ICU
Cubical, Cedars Hospital—3:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time
still sleeping. She’d awoken briefly following the surgery, obviously groggy,
and thus, disoriented, but she’d been awake, and according to her nurse, that
was a positive development. Before she could even ask about the baby, she’d
fallen asleep again, leaving Olivia to worry more. Noting Olivia’s unease, the nurse
had reassured her it was normal, given the anesthesia. Not that Olivia didn’t
know that—at least in theory; but she was thankful for the reassurance.
Everything about this situation had her rattled, and she couldn’t think
to Dr. Blaine’s post-surgery consult, Natalia was still in serious condition,
and would remain in the ICU for the foreseeable future. Mercifully, she was sleeping
soundly, thanks to the pain medications Dr. Blaine had ordered, and for that, a
part of Olivia was grateful as she sat there next to her, holding her hand. If
she were awake, she would be asking about Téa, and Olivia
couldn’t handle that. Not right now. Not after the visit she’d just made to the
NICU. The baby was so tiny—tinier than Max when he was born, and Olivia felt
overwhelmed with emotion just looking at her lying there in that incubator with
all those tubes and wires connected to her fragile little body, keeping her
Olivia and Frank had listened intently as Dr. Carter explained about Téa’s condition. There was a lot of talk about short-term
complications, some of it expressed in words that they could barely comprehend.
But they didn’t need to understand the medical jargon to get the gist—despite
the combined best efforts of Dr. Mackenzie, Dr. Carter, and the NICU team,
their daughter was in trouble.
Marina were with Téa now, Frank not wanting to leave his daughter’s
side. And Rafe was with Ashlee, Lillian and Buzz in the waiting room just down
the hall. He’d been in to see Natalia briefly, but the atmosphere in the ICU
made him anxious—all those machines and noises. He hadn’t been able to bring
himself to see Téa at all, because he knew the NICU would be even scarier, and
he just wasn’t ready to face it. Olivia could certainly empathize.
had come by not long after Natalia was out of surgery, offering what encouragement
and support she could with regard to Natalia and Téa’s medical conditions, as
well as her apologies for taking so long to get back with Olivia. She took the
opportunity to encourage Olivia to have medical power of attorney paperwork
drawn up for the two of them as well as Emma and Téa, post haste; to which
Olivia muttered a sarcastic comment thanking her for bringing that up now,
rather than six months ago when they first got together. Mel took the
chastisement with a grain of salt—it was Olivia Spencer, after all, and she was
under serious emotional stress. No one understood that as well as Mel did,
given that she had been through the loss of Max with Olivia and their families.
The loss of her nephew was a crushing blow to them all. She couldn’t imagine
having to face that again, and her heart went out to Olivia, Natalia, and their
Natalia was in surgery, Olivia reached out to Jen and Doris, bringing them up
to speed with what was happening. Jen was quick to reassure her that all would
be handled at the Beacon, so she could just focus on Natalia and the baby. And
busy as she was, Doris offered to clear her schedule, and come to her
immediately. Thanking her, Olivia declined, assuring her that there was nothing
she could really do. She did let her know that Ashlee was there with Rafe, and
that she so appreciated the support Ashlee was lending to their family. If not
for her intervention with Rafe, both Natalia and Téa could have been lost. It
was a truth Olivia would never forget.
here she was, sitting with Natalia, her thoughts never far from their precious
new daughter who was fighting for her life at the other end of a sterile
hospital hallway. “You know I’m not religious, Natalia, but I swear to you, I’m
praying my heart out for you and our baby girl,” she whispered, pressing her
lips against the hand she held tenderly in her own. “I’ve been begging God for
His mercy and grace. I just… I don’t know if He’ll listen to me though, given
my track record with Him, so… I really need you to help me out here. I need you
to be okay, because I can’t do this on my own.”
have to, Liv,” Natalia managed groggily, as she stirred in her bed.
gasped, and smiled against Natalia’s hand before pressing another kiss to her
knuckles. It was the first time she’d heard Natalia’s sweet voice since their
arrival in the ER last night. “Natalia,” she breathed.
up, she leaned over, pressing kisses to Natalia’s forehead, cheek, and temple. “I’ve
never heard anything more beautiful in my life, than the sound of your voice
here, Honey,” Natalia said softly. “And you’re gonna hear plenty more of it, I
Olivia declared, a giddy chuckle tumbling from her lips. “Because I’m terrible
at this prayer thing.”
smile played on Natalia’s lips. “We’re both still alive, aren’t we?” She knew
it was true because Olivia had said she was praying for them both.
smiled. “Yes,” she said triumphantly. “Yes, you are.”
think you’re doing great so far,” Natalia declared. She struggled to sit
upright, and Olivia cautioned her to be careful. “I need to go see Téa.”
gentle hand, Olivia settled her. “Let me call for your nurse,” she suggested,
reaching for the call button. “You can’t go anywhere until Val checks you out.”
It was thanks to Val that she’d been allowed to stay in the ICU with Natalia,
and she didn’t want to chance having that privilege taken away.
and in some moderate pain, Natalia didn’t have the strength to argue. Instead,
she simply nodded her head in agreement.
welcome back to the land of the conscious, Ms. Rivera,” Natalia’s nurse greeted
cheerily upon entry into the cubical moments later. She looked to be in her early
thirties, and she was wearing the most adorable yellow scrubs with hearts and
teddy bears scattered about the top. Her thick, ash-blonde hair was pulled back
in a messy tuft, and the bright smile on her face reflected in her deep brown
eyes. “My name’s Casey, and I’ll be taking care of you today.”
Casey,” Natalia croaked out hoarsely. Parched, she licked her lips. “May I have
some water?” she requested.
at Casey, seeking permission.
nodded in approval. “Sip it slowly though, and don’t drink a lot at once,” she
said, as she pulled the blood pressure cuff from the monitor on the wall with
practiced ease. “It could make you nauseous due to the anesthesia, and trust
me, you don’t want to vomit with that incision if you can help it.”
like you speak from experience,” Natalia responded warily.
smiled. “I’ve been doing this for a while.”
toward the tray, Olivia unraveled the cellophane from the plastic cup, tossing it
into the trash. And then lifting the pitcher of water, she filled the cup half
bring you up a bit here,” Casey commented, at the same time she hit the lift
button on the railing, to bring Natalia into a more upright position. “Let me
know if you’re uncomfortable.”
thanks,” Natalia assured. “When can I see my baby?”
soon as Dr. Blaine gives the okay,” Casey said reassuringly. “You’ll need to be
released from the ICU before you can go down to the NIC-U.”
nodded and sighed. She was afraid to ask how long that would be.
stepped to her side, offering the cup of water. She held it for Natalia,
allowing her to sip through the flexible straw. “Thank you, Honey,” she said,
when she’d had a small drink.
Olivia set the cup on the bedside table, taking Natalia’s hand into her own.
And then she stood vigil as she watched Casey complete the routine vitals
check. It was a process she’d undergone so many times she could rattle the
steps off from memory.
it’s tough, being away from her right now,” Casey empathized, her warm gaze
shifting between the two of them. Wrapping the blood pressure cuff around
Natalia’s other arm, she pressed the button to activate the automated monitor
attached to a pole on the cart. Immediately, the cuff began to inflate. While
waiting for Natalia’s pressure to be read, she clamped a monitor to her index
finger, and then dipped the tip of her thermometer into the dispenser,
attaching a protective cover, and slipping it into Natalia’s mouth.
moments later, both machines beeped, indicating the readings were complete. She
removed the thermometer first, checked the reading—it was slightly elevated—and
then pressed the notch to release the protective covering into the waste basket
beside the bed. Turning to her tablet, she noted the readings for temperature,
heart rate, blood pressure, and blood gasses in Natalia’s electronic chart. And
then she released the adhesive strips on the cuff, and removed it from
Natalia’s arm, returning it to the wire bin on the monitor cart.
tell me how she’s doing?” Natalia asked, once the cuff was released.
toward Olivia, Casey offered a faint smile, causing Natalia to look to her, as
well. Olivia slid a hip up onto the bed beside Natalia, still holding her hand.
“She’s having a rough time, Sweetheart,” Olivia gently reported.
time?” Natalia queried, the expression on her face matching her distraught
tone. She looked to Casey again. “What does that mean?”
speak to her condition, Ms. Rivera,” Casey said regretfully.
not?” Natalia challenged, her worried gaze shifting rapidly from Casey to
she’s not Téa’s nurse, Honey,” Olivia said gently. “Let’s see if
we can get Dr. Carter down here to give us an update, okay?” she
Carter?” Natalia questioned, brow furrowed in a mixture of confusion and
concern. That was not the pediatrician they’d chosen for their daughter.
neonatologist who’s taking care of your little girl,” Casey explained.
her in from St. Louis,” Olivia reported. She glanced at Casey. “Would you mind
checking to see if she’s available for us?” she requested.
course,” Casey immediately agreed. “I’ll send a message down to the NIC-U as
soon as we’re finished here.”
you,” Olivia said with a tremulous smile.
Why?” Natalia demanded. The expression on Olivia’s face told her she was hiding
something. “What’s wrong with the doctors here?”
but the best for our baby girl,” Olivia smiled, as she squeezed Natalia’s hand,
hoping to ease her distress. She glanced at Casey, letting her know she had it
nodded. Having efficiently moved through the process of taking Natalia’s
vitals, she checked in to see if she needed anything else. Once again, Natalia
thanked her, and assured her that she was fine, just really tired. “Alright,
then,” Casey said, after reassuring her that being tired was normal. “I’ll let
Dr. Blaine know you’re awake. I’m sure she’ll be in to see you shortly.”
wanted to roll her eyes, and say something sarcastic, but she held her tongue.
From personal experience, she knew her idea of “shortly,” and the definition of
that word coming from medical personnel, to be two entirely different things. “Great,”
she said. “Thanks.”
was gone, Natalia pinned Olivia with a glare. “What aren’t you telling me?” she
you need to stay calm,” Olivia said with gentle firmness.
me to stay calm,” Natalia snapped uncharacteristically. “What’s wrong with Téa?”
are common in preemies, Sweetheart,” Olivia tried to reassure.
complications don’t require a specialist from another state, Olivia,” Natalia
challenged, the expression on her face stern. “Now, dammit, tell me what’s
best effort, Olivia couldn’t stifle the grin that tripped across her lips.
“Well, you certainly rallied quickly,” she said wittily. “I’m betting you’ll be
out of this ICU and into a private room by days’ end.”
to be cute,” Natalia said dryly.
slow sigh, Olivia dropped back down onto the bed beside Natalia. “I’m not,” she
said. “I’m just trying to protect you, and I seem to be failing miserably.”
Liv,” Natalia said penitently. “I’m just really scared.”
too, Honey,” Olivia said, sounding more vulnerable than Natalia had ever heard
her. “And I hate that I don’t have any answers.”
own face took on an expression of extreme vulnerability. “Will you just hold
me?” she quietly requested.
Sweetheart,” Olivia murmured empathically. “Of course I will.”
up, she kicked her shoes off, and turning her body, she eased her other hip
onto the mattress, sliding in next to Natalia. Being careful of the tubes and
wires, she wrapped her right arm around Natalia’s shoulders, pulling her close.
Intertwining the fingers of her left hand with Natalia’s, she pressed a light
kiss against her temple. “How’s this?” she asked. “Are you comfortable?”
nodded, and rested her head against Olivia’s upper chest. “Tell me about Téa,” she requested. “How long is she? How much does she weigh? Does
she have hair?”
smiled. At least one of those questions didn’t have a scary answer. “She has
quite an impressive mop of jet-black curls, just like you,” she reported
Natalia pressed, her tone begging the questions.
really tiny, Sweetheart,” Olivia said with a hint of concern.
tiny?” Natalia pressed.
quite two pounds,” Olivia answered reluctantly. “She’s about fourteen inches
Natalia gasped, tears welling up in her eyes. “I really need to see her, Liv,”
she said, desperately.
“I, uh… I
have a few pictures on my phone,” Olivia reluctantly admitted. The mere
anticipation of Natalia’s reaction to seeing their daughter made her nervous as
you say so?” Natalia mumbled. It wasn’t a question.
sighed. “Because I’d hoped to wait until you were a little stronger before
showing them to you,” she admitted.
protect me from this, Liv,” Natalia said softly. “I need to know.”
Olivia granted. “I just hate that we have to go through this.” What she hated
even more was the realization that she might’ve been the cause of it. Frank’s
tirade earlier that morning had taken more of a toll on her than she realized,
and she’d been playing the blame game in her own head most of the day.
Natalia quietly agreed. “Show me the pictures now?” she persisted.
Olivia shoved her hand into the front pocket of her jeans, pulling out her
phone. She entered her passcode, tapped the icon for her photo albums, and then
scrolled down to the file marked “Téa.” She’d been adding photos
to it since their first ultrasound, and now, it was full of pictures of their
new baby girl. “Now, she has lots of tubes and wires, so it looks a little
scary,” she cautioned. “But Dr. Carter says it’s all totally normal, given how
early she is, okay?”
in a deep breath, Natalia nodded as she released it slowly. “I’m ready,” she
said, hoping she sounded more certain then she actually felt.
she is,” Olivia said with affection, turning the screen for Natalia to see. “Mop
full of dark curls, and all.”
gasped at the sight of their daughter. “Oh, my god, Liv; she’s so tiny,” she
said, sounding terrified, as her eyes scanned the photo.
had miniature cuffs wrapped around both arms and legs, with thick wire leads
attached, and the oxygen tube was so huge it looked like it might swallow her
whole. The incubator looked like a giant plastic terrarium compared to her tiny
body lying in a thickly padded pallet in the center. And that was nothing in
comparison to Olivia’s hand there next to her head, providing a scale for
measurement—it couldn’t have been much larger than a baseball. Suddenly,
Natalia realized she’d never been more scared in her entire life.
is, Sweetheart,” Olivia said gently. “But Dr. Carter and Dr. Mackenzie agree
she’s a good weight for being this early.”
“Who is Dr.
Mackenzie?” Natalia asked, confused.
another specialist we called in,” Olivia answered. “She’s based in Chicago, but
consulting from Geneva where she’s teaching right now.”
like Switzerland?” Now Natalia was really worried.
Natalia scrunched up her face.
she’s the best,” Olivia answered forthrightly. “She recommended Dr. Carter to
us because she couldn’t be here personally, but Phillip made sure she was
available for consult.”
Natalia said, processing the information aloud.
nodded. “He’s been really supportive,” she grudgingly admitted.
allowed him to be,” Natalia commented, pleasantly surprised by the change in
didn’t exactly make it easy for him,” Olivia sheepishly confessed.
“Why am I
not surprised?” Natalia said with a soft laugh. It wasn’t really a question.
Her laugh quickly morphed into a moan due to the pain, but she brushed aside
the concerned expression on Olivia’s face. “I’m fine. Really,” she assured.
rest,” Olivia said, pressing a gentle kiss to Natalia’s temple.
Natalia didn’t argue. She simply nodded her head, and leaned it against
Olivia’s chest again. “Wake me up when Dr. Carter gets here?”
I will,” Olivia said, brushing another kiss against Natalia’s temple. “Now
Olivia’s reassurance, Natalia relaxed against her side, allowing sleep to take
her again. And for the first time since Natalia had awoken her last night,
Olivia relaxed, as well, pulling her impossibly closer. And in the wake of the
events of the past twelve hours, as she held her now, she vowed that she would
never take for granted the simple act of holding the woman she loved. Not for
one single moment.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… ICU Waiting
Room, Cedars Hospital—6:45 p.m. Central Daylight Time
floor in the ICU waiting room, Olivia pressed the tips of her fingers against
the bridge of her nose, as she searched her memory for the pediatric surgeon’s
name, “Dr. Somebody Robbins—I think someone said her first name is a State. I
don’t really remember.”
and turning toward Phillip, she planted her hands on her hips. “Who the fuck
names their baby after a State?” she huffed.
offered a look of complete loss in response.
Olivia sighed, dismissing him with the wave of her hand, “whatever the fuck her
name is, she’s apparently the best pediatric surgeon in the country.”
on her way here?”
nodded. “Thanks to the doctor who’s consulting from Geneva, yes,” she acknowledged.
Phillip said, seeking confirmation.
Olivia answered. “Given Téa’s tenuous condition, she thinks it’s
best to have a specialist readily available.”
this Dr. Robbins is the absolute best?” Phillip queried. She’d already said it,
but he wanted to be certain.
to Dr. Mackenzie, she is,” Olivia answered.
will she arrive?”
hours, I think,” Olivia reported. “She’s flying in from Seattle.”
a car waiting for her at the airport,” Phillip announced. Before he even
finished the statement, he had his phone out, sending instructions to his
driver. “Does anything need to be done with regard to getting her privileges? I
can get with our Chief of Staff, if need be.” There were advantages to having a
Spaulding on the hospital board, and he wouldn’t hesitate to call in favors in
his family’s name.
shook her head. “Rick already took care of it, like he did earlier with Dr.
Carter,” she reported.
Phillip said, nodding his head as he paced the floor, his mind running
scenarios and looking for anything they might have missed.
looked at him then, her eyes filled with a mixture of gratitude and fear.
“Thank you, Phillip,” she said softly.
smile touched his lips. “It’s what we do for family,” he said simply.
nodded. “Yes, I’m beginning to see that.”
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Safe House
near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada—10:30
p.m. Mountain Daylight Time
technically a ‘safe house’, but you’ll definitely be safe here,” Commander Marc
Daniels announced as he led Dani, Jacqueline, Langston, and a very sleepy
McKenna through the front door of a quaint cottage in the foothills near the
hamlet of Lake Louise, on the southernmost edge of Alberta in Western Canada. The
house was located in an exclusive gated community, with separate quarters out
back, where his agents would stay. “No one will think to look for you here,” he
around, Langston quickly sized the place up, noting the placement of windows
and doors, much the way Marc had the cottage on the Vineyard the moment he’d
set foot on the property. The living room, dining area, and kitchen were
completely open, and she could see the door in the kitchen that she presumed
led out back, from her vantage point in the living room. Down a hall toward the
right of the front door, she noted four doors—presumably three bedrooms, and a
bathroom. “Are there any other exits?” she inquired.
bedroom has a walk-out onto the back deck,” Marc answered.
deck is backed by the mountainside?” Langston inquired.
less,” Marc answered. “There’s a small cabin out back where my agents will
bunk, and then the trees. The grade is steep back there. Not much chance of
anyone risking access.”
nodded. That was good news, but still, she didn’t like that there was an access
point out of her line of sight. But she knew she would just have to accept it.
Regardless of its imperfections in terms of security, she was grateful for the
shelter away from the dangers of their family.
“One of my
agents will be stationed in the main house ‘round the clock for your
protection, just in case,” Marc assured, noting the look of concern on the
can’t thank you enough, Commander,” Langston said sincerely. She didn’t ask any
questions with regard to how he’d managed to get them into Canada without
revealing their identities. They’d flown in via private jet under cover of
night, landing on a runway in an obscure location, somewhere outside Calgary,
as far as she could tell. And then they’d been transported in an unmarked SUV
to the house where they would stay for the foreseeable future.
Marc,” the Commander said, granting the familiarity he realized should have
been extended hours ago. “And it’s my pleasure, Langston. I’ll be taking the
night shift, and Agent Shaw will assume command in the morning. I’ll have
several more of my people here by then, and she’ll work out rotation while you
and I focus on figuring out who’s behind all of this.”
has ever sounded better, Marc,” Langston declared. McKenna’s increased fussing
drew her attention then, and she turned toward Dani and Jacqueline. “I think we
could all use some rest,” she said. “What do you say we get ourselves and this
cranky baby to bed?”
Jacqueline made noises of unanimous agreement. They were all exhausted, and
Jacqueline knew that Langston, in particular, was desperately in need of rest
given that she was still recovering from a bullet wound, and Jacqueline knew
she would be up at the crack of dawn to start working with Marc on tracking
down the culprits of the most recent attempt on her life. “Why don’t you put
McKenna in with me?” she suggested. “You need rest more than any of us, Lang.”
actually a good idea,” Marc was quick to agree. “The guest room on the left
faces the back yard, with only one exterior window. It’s probably the safest in
Langston readily agreed. She didn’t have to ask how Dani felt, because her wife’s
head was already nodding in agreement. “Thanks, Jacqué.”
nodded. “Of course,” she said. “Just bring her in when you’re ready.” Clutching
the handle on her small suitcase, she excused herself then, heading down the
hallway to get settled.
first thing, Marc,” Langston said, nodding toward the commander. And then
grabbing the handle of Dani’s suitcase and her own duffle bag in one hand, and
McKenna’s portable crib in the other, she moved toward the bedrooms, Dani in
tow. The work of unraveling this mess would begin early the next morning, and
she needed to rest if there was any hope for a swift resolution.
Disclaimer: The character of Dr. Arizona Robbins is owned by Grey’s Anatomy,
ABC/Disney, and Shondaland Productions. Previous disclaimers apply.
May 14 17 8:29 PM
The characters of Olivia and Emma Spencer, Natalia and Rafe Rivera, Ava
Peralta and her late son, Max Harlan Lewis, Josh Lewis, Frank Cooper,
Doris Wolfe, Phillip Spaulding, and Dr. Rick Bauer are owned by
CBS/TeleNext and Proctor & Gamble. The character of Dr. Arizona
Robbins and Dr. Callie Torres are owned by Grey’s Anatomy, ABC/Disney,
and Shondaland Productions. The original characters of Bennett Thomas,
Dantéa (Téa) Rivera, Dr. Valerie Blaine, Dr. Maya Carter, and Dr.
Kaitlynn Mackenzie are the property of this author, and any resemblance
to fictional characters, or real persons, living or dead, is purely
copyright infringement intended with regard to Guiding Light,
CBS/TeleNext, Proctor & Gamble, Grey’s Anatomy, Shondaland
Productions, or any other entity. With the exceptions of the Farmhouse
of Love, Company, and Cedars Hospital, the settings, dialogue, and story
content in these scenes are original. Written for fun, not profit. All
other standard disclaimers apply.
thanks to my friend and favorite FFW, WickedWanda926, and to my friend
newfan64, for their ongoing willingness to edit my stories. Words cannot
express how much I appreciate the two of you and your steadfast support
of me, both personally, and as a would-be writer. Due to the rush to
get you all this update, however, this content has not been edited.
Thus, any mistakes contained herein are solely my responsibility. My
sincere apologies for the long delay in updating. The past several
months have been a bit challenging—an ongoing struggle with chronic
migraines—and I’ve been adjusting to some major life changes—a sister
and a niece moving in with me, and settling in to the job I’ve been
working toward for the past 12 years. Rest assured though, all is well.
I’m grateful for those of you who continue to read and/or comment. I
appreciate the time you have invested in this story, and truly hope you
continue to enjoy.
Overall, Chapter 18 is rated PG-13 for coarse language. Read: Olivia
Spencer is super pissed, and she doesn’t care who she offends. Section 6
of Chapter 18 is a bit more tame.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who are reading. I hope you’ve all had a blessed day.
Chapter 18.6 – What Price We Pay:
Wednesday, July 8, 2009… Natalia’s ICU Cubical, Cedars Hospital—8:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time
really hate this, Liv,” Natalia whined uncharacteristically. She felt
trapped there in the ICU. “I just don’t understand why Dr. Blaine won’t
let me go see Dantéa,” she sighed. “I’m fine!”
on the edge of Natalia’s bed, facing her, Olivia nodded. “I know,
Sweetheart,” she commiserated, taking Natalia’s hand into her lap.
was about to offer reassurances that Dr. Blaine would release her to
see the baby in the morning, when a ray of sunshine in the form of a
chipper blue-eyed blonde unexpectedly popped through the curtain into
the cubical. Ordinarily, she would’ve arrived on wheels, given her
fondness for motion sneakers. They were fun, and gave her an interesting
way of connecting with her young patients—her “tiny humans,” as she
often called them. But having been called in as a precautionary measure
in a serious case, she tried to hold back on her characteristic
bubbliness, at least a bit.
there,” the woman chirped, her smile shimmering in those bright blue
eyes. Her streaky blonde hair was pulled back in a messy tuft, loose
tendrils playing around the chiseled edges of her angular face as she
smiled, causing a perfect set of dimples to form on her cheeks.
Extending her right hand toward Natalia as she sidled up to the bed, she
said, “I’m Arizona Robbins, the pediatric surgeon Dr. Mackenzie called
in to look after Dantéa.”
was clear from her appearance—navy blue scrubs and pristine white lab
coat—that the woman was a doctor, even before she introduced herself. At
the outer edges of the lapels on her lab coat there was a cute little
monkey on the right side where it boasted Seattle Grace Hospital,
and a little gray kitten on the left, just above her name: Arizona
Robbins, MD, along with a few other credentials that were distorted by
the folds in the material.
Natalia accepted the proffered hand, shaking it. “Natalia Rivera,” she greeted. “And this is my partner, Olivia Spencer.”
Arizona nodded. “Ms. Rivera,” she acknowledged. And then she shifted to shake Olivia’s hand. “Ms. Spencer.”
“Olivia. Please,” Olivia insisted, at the same time Natalia insisted upon a first-name basis, as well.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Robbins,” Natalia said. “Thank you for coming all the way out here.”
“Yes, thank you,” Olivia agreed. “Dr. Mackenzie speaks very highly of you.”
again, Arizona smiled. “My pleasure,” she said. “Mac and I go way back.
We’ve worked a few similar cases together, so she thought it best that I
be close by until we’re sure Dantéa is in the clear.”
“Similar cases?” Olivia arched an eyebrow, her tone asking the question. A moment later, she was nervously pacing the room.
glanced toward Natalia. “May I speak freely?” she asked. She figured it
would be all right, but neither Natalia’s nor Dantéa’s charts indicated
that in writing. Not yet, anyway.
of course,” Natalia said, granting permission. “Olivia has a right to
any information she wants about me, and about our daughter.”
Nodding, Arizona said pointedly, “I would encourage you to put that in writing.”
Olivia offered a faint smile. “It’s already in the works with our
attorney,” she assured. She had instructed Mel to start the paperwork
after their discussion earlier that morning—the one where Mel confirmed
that Olivia had absolutely no legal rights where Natalia and Dantéa were
concerned. “I’m just sorry we didn’t get it done before. We thought we
had more time.”
understand,” Arizona empathized. “Okay, so I’ve taken a look at
Dantéa’s chart, and consulted with both Dr. Carter and Dr. Mackenzie,
and we have two different issues that we’re dealing with here,” she
explained. “Now this is gonna sound scary, but let me assure you, it’s
both typical for preemies, and totally fixable.”
Hanging on Dr. Robbins’ every word, Olivia and Natalia nodded in unison. “Okay…” Olivia said cautiously.
has a tiny hole in her heart caused by a duct that didn’t close the way
it should have when she was born,” Arizona reported, holding up a
cautionary hand when the two mothers gasped in fear. “The condition is
called patent ductus arteriosus, which again, I know sounds kinda scary,
but with the help of medication, it usually rights itself over time.”
“What happens if it doesn’t?” Natalia inquired.
“We’ll keep a close eye on it, and if it becomes necessary, we can go in and repair it,” Arizona reassured.
information made Natalia feel a little better. But it didn’t quell
Olivia’s unease. “What’s the second issue?” she asked warily, as she
resumed wearing a hole in the linoleum flooring.
also has a condition called Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome,”
Arizona reported. According to Dr. Carter, the symptoms—fast breathing,
rapid heart rate, chest wall retractions, expiratory grunting and
flaring nostrils, and the bluing of skin—began shortly after birth, and
they had grown worse in the hours that followed. Arizona explained this
by saying, “Basically, she’s having a really tough time breathing
because her lungs are underdeveloped.” What she didn’t tell them was
that the condition was the leading cause of death in preterm infants.
They had enough worries for the moment.
“What can you do about it?” Natalia asked.
have her on oxygen and intravenous fluids,” Arizona answered. “If we
have to, we’ll insert a breathing tube, but Dr. Carter wants to hold off
on that for now.”
“Do you agree?” Olivia prodded.
I do,” Arizona responded without hesitation. “It’ll be traumatic enough
if we have to intubate her for surgery, so we wanna avoid any
Satisfied with Dr. Robbins’ response, Olivia nodded. “So it’s just wait-and-see?” She sounded less than pleased.
right now, yes,” Arizona confirmed, empathy in her tone. “But let me
assure you, Dantéa is in excellent hands. Aside from Dr. Mackenzie, Dr.
Carter is the best neonatologist in the country.”
Olivia nodded. “Yes,” she agreed. “She came highly recommended.”
with good reason,” Arizona assured. “She and I are both staying here at
the hospital. We’re in an on-call room just outside the NICU, and we’ll
be taking twelve-hour shifts monitoring Dantéa’s progress. If anything
changes, we’ll let you know immediately. You have my word.”
Relieved, Olivia and Natalia nodded in unison.
in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate
to have your nurse page us,” Arizona added. “Your baby girl is our only
“Thank you, Dr. Robbins,” Natalia said sincerely. She felt infinitely better now, having met one of Dantéa’s doctors.
“Yes, thank you,” Olivia agreed, grasping Arizona’s hand in a firm handshake.
a reassuring smile on her lips, Arizona nodded. And then she turned on
the heel of her brightly colored sneakers, and slipped back through the
opening in the curtain, disappearing from the ICU.
she exited, Olivia returned to Natalia’s side. Edging a hip onto the
mattress, she wrapped her arm around Natalia’s shoulder, and leaning
back against the bed, she brushed a kiss against Natalia’s temple.
“These doctors are the best of the best,” she reported. “I checked them
out as soon as I heard their names. So everything’s gonna be all right,”
she said reassuringly.
against Olivia’s side as best she could given her incision, Natalia
nodded. “Thank you for taking such good care of us,” she murmured
“Right now, you and Dantéa are my priority,” Olivia declared.
“I appreciate you,” Natalia sighed softly.
Olivia pressed a few more light kisses against Natalia’s temple. “Ditto, Love,” she murmured.
“How is Emma?” Natalia asked. “Is she all right? This has to be scary for her.”
nodded against the top of Natalia’s head. “She was a little scared at
first, when I told her that her baby sister arrived a little early. But
she’s fine now. Rafe is with her, and he’s been amazing—with both of
us,” she reported.
eyes lit up. “Really?” Natalia sounded pleasantly surprised. She loved
hearing that Rafe was not only stepping up for Emma, but also for
“Yes, really,” Olivia smiled reassuringly. “Difficult as it’s been, I think this is a turning point for us.”
“I sure hope so,” Natalia sighed softly.
too,” Olivia readily agreed. “He’ll be back in the morning, and he’ll
bring Em along if you’re up to it. Otherwise, Jane will pick her up.”
“I’ll definitely be up to it,” Natalia was quick to announce. “I miss our little girl already.”
misses her Mama, too,” Olivia said softly. She glanced at her watch
then. “She’s probably still up. Wanna give her a bedtime call?”
Natalia beamed. “Perfect way to end this day.”
another kiss to Natalia’s temple, Olivia grinned. “Couldn’t agree with
you more,” she declared, fishing her cell phone from the pocket of her
jeans. Within moments, they were on the line with Emma and Rafe, wishing
them both a good night, each of them entertaining thoughts of doing the
same with Dantéa someday soon.
Thursday, July 9, 2009… Bennett Thomas‘s Residence—6:15 a.m. Central Daylight Time
Olivia seem to be in a better place this morning?” Bennett asked as she
plated the two English muffins that had just popped from the toaster.
Lifting the plates, she carried them toward the small glass-top table in
the breakfast nook in her kitchen.
Doris answered sounding pleased. Setting two mugs of steaming black
coffee on the table at their respective places, she turned toward the
refrigerator to retrieve Bennett’s favorite liquid creamer. The judge
didn’t indulge in creamer often, but when she did, it was only in the
morning, and it was always hazelnut. “Natalia is doing really well this
morning, so Dr. Blaine released her to a private room. She gets to go
visit Dantéa in a few hours.”
“Oh, thank goodness,” Bennett sighed in relief. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to be separated from your newborn baby.”
“Neither can I,” Doris empathized.
“Did she say how the baby’s doing?” Bennett asked.
it was a bumpy first night,” Doris answered, setting the creamer on the
table beside Bennett’s coffee mug, along with a teaspoon and knife.
“But she’s holding her own.”
Babe,” Bennett said, as Doris slid into her seat next to her. “I guess
that’s as good as we can hope for at the moment,” she commented.
Reaching for the knife that Doris had set beside her plate, she slid the
dull blade through the softened butter in the crystal dish, and helping
herself to a generous portion, she spread it on the two halves of her
English muffin. Instantly, it melted, soaking into the spongy bread roll
just the way she liked it.
said they brought in some of the best doctors in the country,” Doris
commented, unable to argue with Bennett’s supposition, but not wanting
to agree with it either.
I’m glad to hear that,” Bennett said, her tone brightening. She reached
for the creamer, pouring a generous serving into the steaming hot mug
of coffee. Capping the bottle, she lifted the spoon, lightly stirring
the liquid. “Hopefully we’ll hear even better news by days’ end.”
hear!” Doris said, lifting her coffee mug in toast to Bennett’s
well-wishes for their friends. Taking a sip, she set the mug back on the
table, and reached for the butter dish. “Speaking of days’ end,” she
said casually, as she spread a small amount on her English muffin. “I
think I’ll drop by to check on them in person after work, so I probably
won’t be home until late.”
at Doris over the rim of her coffee mug, Bennett’s gray eyes shimmered
with joy, and she could barely restrain the smile that flickered across
“What?” Doris sounded intrigued, and maybe a little excited that Bennett was eyeing her so brazenly.
“Nothing,” Bennett shrugged. “I just really love hearing you call this place ‘home’.”
smiled in response. Leaning in, she tangled her fingertips in the thick
raven locks at the base of Bennett’s neck, pulling her forward into a
kiss. “I love that it feels that way, even more.”
Thursday, July 9, 2009… NICU, Cedars Hospital—11:15 a.m. Central Daylight Time
just… I can’t believe how tiny she is, Liv,” Natalia said. “She looks
so fragile; even smaller in person than in the pictures.” Her tone was a
bit anxious, as they gazed at their daughter through the glass walls of
her incubator. Despite what seemed like endless amounts of tubing and
wires, Dantéa was wrapped snugly in a white receiving blanket with
pastel-colored teddy bears scattered about the soft fabric.
Olivia tightened her hold around Natalia’s waist, careful not to place
pressure on her incision. “I know, Sweetheart,” she murmured against her
ear. She didn’t dare voice it, but she was anxious too. Max had been
small, but not nearly as small as Dantéa. The contrast, especially given
Max’s fate, was alarming to her. But Natalia didn’t need to hear that.
What she needed was a reason to have faith. “But Dr. Carter says she’s a
“She’s definitely that.”
and Natalia turned toward the sound of a vaguely familiar voice to find
Dr. Arizona Robbins smiling brightly as she walked toward them. “From
what I hear, she takes after both of her mommies.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. “Let me guess, Rick Bauer?”
Arching an eyebrow, Arizona laughed. “Does he hit on every woman he meets?” she intoned jovially.
the beautiful ones,” Natalia smiled, recalling his efforts to charm
Olivia a time or two. She glanced toward Olivia, giving her a
Arizona sidestepped the off-handed comment. “My information didn’t just
come from Dr. Bauer,” she informed. Reaching for the baby’s chart, she
began perusing the most recent data.
The expression on Olivia’s face begged the question.
“I met Dantéa’s father last night,” Arizona supplied. “He had lovely things to say about you both.”
Two sets of eyebrows vaulted suspiciously.
“He did,” Olivia said, sounding unconvinced.
Glancing upward, curious blue eyes met Olivia’s gaze. “Yes, he did,” she said with conviction.
Olivia grinned. “Wonders never cease,” she muttered.
Natalia tapped Olivia’s abdomen with the back of her hand. “You behave now,” she insisted.
chuckled to herself. There was definitely some juicy history involved
in their story. “He spent the whole night here in the NICU,” she
reported. “Said he was beyond grateful to you and Mr. Spaulding, for
getting the best doctors to handle Dantéa’s care, Olivia.”
“Anything for our baby girl,” Olivia said with conviction.
Smiling, Natalia squeezed Olivia around the waist. “Seems her dramatic entrance is working some miracles.”
pressed a kiss against Natalia’s temple. “Indeed, it does.” And she was
perfectly fine with that… as long as both Frank and Phillip remembered
their respective places in the girls’ lives.
“So what’s the latest, Doc?” Natalia queried. “How soon do you think we can hold her?”
A faint smile flickered across Arizona’s mouth. “I know it must be hard, not being able to hold her right now,” she empathized.
“That must be your way of saying ‘Not anytime soon’,” Olivia surmised.
sorry,” Arizona said genuinely. “She really is very strong, but she’s
still struggling. Her lungs need a little time to grow stronger before
we can risk her being out of the isolette.”
“I understand,” Natalia nodded, disappointment flashing across her face.
know it’s not the same, but you can reach inside and touch her,”
Arizona offered in exchange. “You can stroke her skin and feel those
sweet little dark curls,” she smiled.
“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?” Natalia gushed.
are,” Arizona agreed, her mind drifting for a moment to another mop of
thick dark curls—the ones sported by a very sexy orthopedic surgeon
named Callie Torres, back at Seattle Grace. That woman was hot enough to
curl Arizona’s toes just thinking about her.
like her Mama’s,” Olivia beamed. She loved the way Natalia’s thick dark
curls splayed out across her pillow when she slept. And the way it fell
forward, creating a curtain around them as Natalia leaned down in bed
to kiss her. And the way it cascaded down along the curve of her spine
when Natalia arched her back as she came astride Olivia’s thighs, her
pregnant belly brushing against Olivia’s abdomen. God, she was
blushed at the compliment, and buried her face against Olivia’s chest.
“You stop,” she commanded, giving her a bashful swat.
grinned knowingly. “I’ll leave you two to bond with your baby girl,”
she announced. “Don’t hesitate to page me if you need anything.”
“We won’t,” Olivia assured as she ushered Natalia closer to the incubator so that they could reach inside.
“Thank you, Dr. Robbins,” Natalia said, the depth of her appreciation evident in her tone.
that, Arizona nodded and excused herself, leaving them to get
acquainted with their beautiful baby girl with the thick dark curls and
perfect olive skin, just like her Mama.
Thursday, July 9, 2009… Olivia’s Office, The Beacon—11:15 a.m. Central Daylight Time
wouldn’t care to have a romantic lunch date with me, would ya?” Tracy
asked, popping her head into Olivia’s office where she found Jen
finishing up the morning reports. She looked right at home behind that
desk—the picture of competence: confident and powerful. It was a potent
aphrodisiac for Tracy.
up, Jen couldn’t help but smile. “Oh, I don’t know,” she said, sounding
reticent. “My fiancée might get a little bent out of shape if she
catches me with a sexy younger woman.”
Tracy grinned. “She’s the jealous type, is she?”
“Green-eyed monster, and all,” Jen teased.
Laughing, Tracy pushed the door open further, stepping inside. “Watershed okay?”
perfect,” Jen readily agreed. Sliding the stack of reports into the
daily folder, she stood from the desk meeting Tracy halfway across the
room, where she pulled Tracy directly into her arms. “Anywhere with you
is perfect,” she declared, leaning in for a kiss.
“Sweet-talker,” Tracy lightly accused, smiling into their kiss.
her, Jen draped an arm over Tracy’s shoulder, casually guiding her
toward the door. “I think I’ll order something for Olivia and Natalia as
well; take it over to the hospital for them,” she commented. “The food
over there is dreadful.”
“That’s a great idea,” Tracy said. “Maybe I’ll join you.”
“I’d love that.”
“Any news on Dantéa?” Tracy asked, when Jen stopped to lock the office door.
“‘Rough night,’ was really all Olivia said in her text this morning,” Jen reported. “But Natalia is doing a lot better.”
gosh, I’m so glad to hear that,” Tracy said, sounding relieved. It was a
sentiment that would be echoed time and again, as the news of Dantéa’s
birth and the associated difficulties spread not only around the Beacon,
but throughout Springfield.
“Yeah,” Jen sighed. “Me too.”
I can’t wait to get my hands on that baby,” Tracy gushed as they
sauntered down the hall toward the newly-renovated atrium. Josh Lewis’s
crew had done a spectacular job of making Natalia’s plans a reality—a
sentiment echoed by Beacon staff and guests, alike.
“Yeah, just don’t go getting any ideas,” Jen said teasingly.
“No worries, Cara,” Tracy said nonchalantly. “At least not until we’re married…”
Thursday, July 9, 2009… NICU, Cedars Hospital—11:30 a.m. Central Daylight Time
Dr. Robbins stepped away, Lacey, Dantéa’s NICU nurse approached, at the
doctor’s request, to show the new mommies how to safely interact with
their daughter. “I know all of these lead wires can be a bit
intimidating at first, but you’ll get used to them,” she empathically
assured. “Before you know it, you’ll barely notice them.”
just have to take your word for it,” Natalia commented with a grin as
she slipped freshly scrubbed hands through the access portals on the
incubator. She couldn’t wait to touch their baby.
“It’s true. I promise,” Lacey smiled.
offered a faint smile that said she wanted to believe her, but just
wasn’t quite there yet. The machines, and tubes, and wires were
overwhelming. She made a mental note to talk with Olivia about whether
or not they should allow Emma to visit before the tubes and wires were
the expression well, Lacey patted Natalia’s shoulder supportively.
“She’s due for a diaper change,” she informed. “Think you might be up to
sooner the parents were involved in routine care, the quicker that
truth would become reality. She knew that from experience.
looked slightly panicked for a moment, and then, with the gentle touch
of Olivia’s hand on the small of her back, she quickly rallied. That
simple touch was always enough to bolster her courage, and settle her
fears. “No time like the present,” she declared.
“Great,” Lacey declared, her moon-shaped grey eyes dancing with mirth. “Her diapers are in the drawer beneath her cart, Olivia.”
down, Olivia unlatched the lock, and pulling the stainless steel drawer
toward her, she retrieved a fresh diaper, handing it to Natalia. It
wasn’t much bigger than the palm of Emma’s hand, and the realization
startled them both.
“I’ve never seen a diaper this small,” Natalia gulped, suddenly feeling a rush of anxiety flood over her.
“They are really tiny, aren’t they?” Lacey commiserated knowingly. “Believe it or not, Dantéa’s aren’t the smallest we use.”
“Really?” That one simple statement gave Natalia hope, and her tone of voice reflected it.
“True story,” Lacey smiled. She recognized that sparkle of hope in the frightened mommy’s voice.
“You’re good at this, you know,” Natalia remarked.
“Good at what?” Lacey feigned ignorance.
“Making scared mommies feel better,” Natalia replied.
Lacey offered a reassuring smile. “It’s my pleasure to care for mommies, daddies, and babies, alike.”
“What about big sisters?” Olivia inquired. She’d been content to sit back and enjoy the positive interaction until now.
“Dantéa has a big sister?” Lacey inquired.
“Two of them, actually,” Olivia informed. “And a big brother.”
“Our oldest two are adults though,” Natalia supplied.
think I saw her older brother peeking through the glass last night,”
Lacey commented, recalling the handsome young Latino man she’d noticed
outside the nursery window. He had the same curly dark hair as Natalia
and Dantéa. “Seems he’s not quite ready to come for a visit.”
imagine Rafe is as nervous as we are,” Olivia surmised. He’d been
rather quiet when he brought Emma in to visit Natalia earlier that
“That’s understandable,” Lacey normalized. “I’m sure he’ll come around soon.”
“Emma is already chomping at the bit to meet her baby sister,” Natalia said.
“I take it she’s your younger daughter,” Lacey deduced.
“She’s eight,” Natalia reported, pride evident in her tone.
“Going on thirty,” Olivia supplied on a wry tone accompanied by a grin.
“Oh, you stop,” Natalia censured lightly, drawing a chuckle from both Olivia and Lacey.
do you think Emma will be allowed to visit?” Olivia inquired. She’d
been so disappointed earlier that morning, when she hadn’t been
permitted to meet Dantéa.
“Oh, Liv, I don’t think she should visit just yet,” Natalia interjected.
Surprised, Olivia tilted her head, green eyes filled with inquiry. “Something wrong, Sweetheart?”
“The tubes, and wires, and…”
Smiling faintly, Olivia nodded. “A bit overwhelming?” she said empathically.
Natalia nodded. “If it’s overwhelming to me, imagine how it might make her feel.”
think that’s for the best,” Lacey agreed. “Once Dantéa can tolerate
being outside the incubator, she’ll be ready to meet her big sister,”
she suggested. “We just need her lungs to be a bit stronger.”
“You’re right,” Olivia conceded. “As much as I hate to disappoint Em, I agree.”
“I’m so sorry,” Lacey empathized. “I know this is difficult.”
is,” Olivia concurred. And then she pulled Natalia close against her
side. “But I’m grateful for the struggle, because Natalia is by my side,
and Dantéa is doing well, all things considered. I could’ve lost them
allowed the statement to finish itself, and received a nod of
understanding with Lacey as Natalia nestled into her side, pressing her
face against Olivia’s chest.
on a husky whisper, the quiet “Amen,” that slipped from Natalia’s lips
soothed Olivia’s soul more than any word ever had, or ever would.
TBC in Chapter 18.7…
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