Tonight It Feels Like Home
back in the farmhouse but things still donít feel quite
Ahead: Guiding Light is a product of Proctor & Gamble
(like Mr. Clean, Duracell and Old Spice), and once appeared on
CBS. The characters are the creative property of the show and
its producers Ė I'm just borrowing them for my amusement,
and our fellow readers.
Tonight...It Feels Like Home
Our baseball team won. Our delicious feast Natalia made was
eaten. Our friends had gone home. Our kid was crashed on the
sofa downstairs...We were a family. I had no doubt.
My boxes were still unpacked, but on the bright side, at
least they were labeled.
I sat on the bed after finding my satin pjís. Natalia was
in the bathroom I just vacated and I could hear the sink water
running. I tightened my robe self-consciously - I was naked
underneath. I felt completely exposed.
Moving in officially meant...moving in.
Part of me was exhilarated at the prospect of her opening
that adjoining door and walking to the bed. Another part was
What if we didnít work? What if we clicked in every area
except this one...this one very important, fundamental area?
What if she changed her mind? What if she doesnít like it?
What if ĎIí donít like it?
I shot up from the bed and started to pace, trying to
escape all the Ďwhat ifísí that played in my head. I had
to get rid of the nagging thoughts and doubts. I was Olivia
Spencer. When I wanted something, someone, I did everything in
my power to feel the joy of possession. I didnít dance
around my desires...on that night though....oh, that night was
As we cleaned up the dishes in the kitchen, Natalia
specifically told me that she was all mine tonight, added
that, "We could go to bed and sleep ... or Ďnot sleep,í
but either way, itís your call."
I flirted back and gave her a confident,
Then she took my hand and led it up to her breast. Her
fingers covered my own and she gave a squeeze. It wasnít the
first time Iíd touched her intimately. Weíd kissed and
necked like teenagers for months - awkward at times, confident
at others, but always thrilling to me. On one hand, it was fun
- it was a second adolescence without the pimples. But at
other times, it was frustrating. If I were a man, Iíd have
had the worse case of blue balls in the world.
But then she left...
... and we didnít touch for a long time...
... and then she came back.
So there we stood in her kitchen - correction, our kitchen
- with my fingers squeezing her supple breast. What happened
next though captivated me the most.
Yeah, I was cocky with my ĎReally?" challenge. But
then she leaned in close, until her breath tickled my neck and
earlobe as she gave her response.
It was a plea a lover gives when begging for sexual release
- a seductive hiss; an affirmation of her affection and
desire. Just a single word answer - the kind that leaves your
mouth totally dry and your sex sopping wet. I probably would
have taken her in the kitchen if everyone we knew in
Springfield wasnít right outside the door.
Remembering that incident did help settle my nerves as I
sat on that bed the first night. I decided at that point I
needed to worry about doubt of desire on my end...now her, on
the other hand...?
I try to shake the feeling off and I looked around the room
- pictures of Rafe, and even Emma and me were still there. So
there were parts of me still left in the farmhouse, but it
just didnít feel the same.
Iím not sure if itís because I left her so she could
build a life with Frank and figured Iíd never be back. Iím
not sure if itís because when I asked to come back I was
rejected. Perhaps itís neither; maybe I was still stung by
her leaving. Maybe I thought Iíd roll over some morning and
sheíd be gone again - no voicemail, no note, no nothing.
Whatever it was that gnawed at me, well, it didnít have a
name. She opened the door, wrapped in the robe from our spa
trip. Her hair was damp, like mine, and fell over her
shoulders. I remember thinking, "Sheís gorgeous, I love
her... I want her... and judging by that look in her eyes, she
wanted me too..."
Still... I couldnít say it felt like home.
With one month to go before Francescaís arrival, Natalia
stayed at Company and helped Buzz hand out treats, while
Philip and I walked around town, going shop to shop, so Emma
could trick or treat. Out by the farm there was no one to
visit so we all went to town.
He asked me casually how it was going with Natalia and I
was honest. It was going really well. Sure, she had mood
swings now and then, but chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream
bars seemed to keep her satisfied. Thatís why I made sure
the freezer was packed with at least one full box at all
It became sort of a joke.
When she would get too unreasonably Iíd just go to the
fridge, pull out the treat and hold it out for her. She smiled
every time, except once... there was the night when she
started to cry instead saying how sorry she was for being a
bitch, and how last time she didnít have anyone to put up
with her mood swings and blahblahblah. I just Ďshussedí
her at that point and let her eat her treat while she put her
head on my shoulder. Not that I didnít care about her woe. I
did, and I still do, but this wasnít real woe. It was
hormonal induced craziness woe. Period.
As Philip and I walked around something did occur to me. I
asked him if the mansion felt like his yet. He smiled and
asked me what I meant. Itís that playful look he gets when
he knows whatís coming, but he just wants to hear it for
himself. So I told him that even after a month it still felt
like Nataliaís Farmhouse. Yes, I had my stuff there too,
"It doesnít feel like home."
It wasnít a question. He understood exactly what I meant.
Then he explained that he still would turn corners and expect
to see Alan there...and that maybe he still was because
sometimes heíd get the faint whiff of cigar smoke although
no one smoked at all there. But with each day, it happened
less and less.
I asked if he felt it Ďcheapenedí his relationship with
Beth that it wasnít Ďtheir homeí and he asked if thatís
how I felt about Natalia.
Was that the issue? I ran down my checklist. Are we
affectionate? Check. Do we communicate? Check. Did we agree on
which of our belongings weíd keep in the house and what
would go to storage? Check. Did we both make sacrifices to
call it our home? Check. Was the sex great? Double Check. I
had to say that everything was...great.
Still...I couldnít say it felt like home.
It was late - later than I usually liked to come to the
I know it was hard for Natalia to balance Francesca and
Emma. Neither of us had slept through the night in weeks nor
did we think we would. We were both prepared, and even though
Iíd offered a nanny, just for a few hours for some rest,
Natalia refused. She said sheíd done it before, she could do
it again. I reminded her that although I love her completely
thereís a big difference between 35 and 16.
I didnít have her strength. I admit it. I was napping at
the Beacon sometimes - sue me. I needed it though. I really
did. It gave me energy to take over in the evening so Natalia
could get some rest. Sure, Frank did take Chess on the
weekends when he could, but a 24-hour break - hell even a
48-hour break - isnít enough time to re-energize - not at
our age. Besides, although I was glad Francesca would have a
relationship with her dad, I felt more like her other parent
without Frank being front and center constantly. That was just
perfectly dandy with me.
So although Emma was helpful, and loving her role as big
sister (thank god), some days it just wasnít not enough.
I looked through the window as I walked up the dark
sidewalk and porch. She was there swaying back and forth as
she rubbed Francescaís back. Emma had Nataliaís shirttail
and was tugging it. Natalia smiled, but I could tell even from
the porch, it was a weary smile. She was tired. She was beat
and again... I was late.
The woman IS a damn saint for putting up with me, but she
knew the score. My absence wasnít because I was out chasing
men, or skirts. I wasnít out drinking with Doris and getting
loaded. Okay, that happened once and it was a three-martini
lunch to celebrate the baby according to Doris. Natalia never
found out, but regardless it never happened again.
Natalia gets the fact Iím trying to build something I can
give to the girls after weíre gone. Money canít buy
happiness - I know first-hand. However, money can provide
independence, stability and a sense of security that poverty
doesnít, something that my wife is starting to understand.
Yes, my wife. I didnít make it official in the eyes of the
law but I had Mel and Doris both draw things up as much as we
could to make our Ďunion legalí with each other.
Through all those late nights though, she juggled both kids
(one of them figuratively and one of them literally). I smiled
as I watched the three of them. I love my lady. I love my
daughters. I love my business... even if I have a late night
now and then that makes me feel guilty.
Yet even though itíd been months since we came back, and
Emma and I were happy here...
Still... I couldnít say it felt like home.
Iím standing in the kitchen, trying to compose myself, as
my hands gripping the sink.
I donít turn around. Sheíll see my eyes. But I canít
reply either because my voice will crack. I know it.
I hear Natalia move toward me. I can tell Iím breathing
hard because my shoulders are rising and falling. I feel
Natalia put her arms around my waist, her body flush with
"Is it your heart?" she asks me in a soft scared
Now Iím frightening her. This is stupid. I just darted
from the room with what probably looked like a terrified
I turn to face her and I just shake my head at first, still
not trusting my voice. I clear my throat and open my mouth. Iím
not sure how to say this without hurting her. Maybe I should
"I love you," I begin. Thatís a good start.
Warm her up a bit, right? Get on her good side? "And I
need to be honest. Being here, in this house, I..." Iím
not sure how to continue. Iím not sure how to tell her that
our house hasnít felt like a home to me, like I really
belonged there, especially when she does so much to make it
such a warm, loving place.
"Itís suffocating," she says.
Iím momentarily confused. "What?"
"You want out. You didnít sign on to be a mom again
a-and itís too much. I pushed you and now you want to leave,
but you donít know how since Emma loves it a-and-."
Sheís near tears now. Shit!
"No," I say a loudly and then catch myself. If I
donít keep it down, Iíll have Emma worried next.
"Sweetheart, no. I love you. I love our Baby Boo and
Jellybean. You, Emma and Chess - you girls are my entire
world. Itís just..."
"What Olivia?" she says taking my hands in hers.
"Since Iíve come back... the farmhouse hasnít felt
like home to me. Itís a place where the people I love live,
but...Iím not sure how to explain it, but it feels like Iíve
been living in your house."
"Olivia," Natalia sobs slightly. "Itís
your house too," she insists.
"Yeah, my name is on the deed, so legally, it is, but
it feels like itís been a temporary living arrangement; that
at any moment it might change."
"Is it something Iíve said or-?"
"No," I cut her off again. This isnít about her
actions or inactions at all. "Youíve gone above and
beyond to show youíre in this for the long haul."
She nods softly. "So whatís the problem?"
"Thatís the thing. I couldnít put my finger on it,
but something just happened in there," I say as I point
to the living room.
Natalia looks confused. "I donít understand. You
bolted after Emma said sheís happy to have another real
Christmas at home. Iím not sure what the problem is."
"Neither am I," I tell her and snort. This is
ridiculous. "Iím not sure what it was about that
comment but suddenly it hit me..."
I lower my head and I start to cry silently, the tears no
longer able to stay behind my eyes.
"What Sweetheart?" she coaxes me as she wipes my
tears away and raises my chin.
I start to grin.
"With Bean stringing popcorn by the tree and Boo
looking at her hands like sheís seeing them for the first
time...I looked around the room, and yeah..." I say as I
reach up and cup her face between my palms. "I can see it
now. This is our house; our home; our family. Itís the place
we all belong, even me too... and Emmaís right..." I
place a light kiss on her forehead.
"About?" she asks.
I smile at her and run my hands down her cheeks.
"Tonight, it feels like home."