otalia fan fiction
An Otalia Wedding
It's 2029 and there's an Otalia wedding brewing that features siblings Emma, Rafe, Ava, Francesca and Elena. 
Violating the Rules
Blis (Blake/Doris) tale that mirrors the Otalia story set during the '1 year later' timeframe of Guiding Light with Olivia and Natalia trying to play matchmaker to the couple. 
Best Man Speech
Olivia tries to get to the heart of why Rafe dislikes her so much. 
Carino
Nothing but some NC-17 sexy smut. 
First Kiss... Revised
Story from Natalia's POV as she confesses sleeping with Frank.  
Frienemies
Upset that Natalia left her without a word, Olivia heads to ladies night to pick someone up only to find Doris who saves her from a mistake...or does she?  
Funny Shapes or Rounds
Two lovers enjoy the 'morning after' until a daughter demands breakfast. 
Girls Night Out
Natalia returns from the retreat but Olivia wants nothing to do with her. So Doris offers to take Olivia on a buddy adventure.
I Get By With a Little Help From My... Enemies
Doris offers a little bit of friendly advice and prodding to help Olivia and Natalia jump start their relationship.
I'll Be Home For Christmas
Olivia's closing a major deal in the Northeast but bad weather keeps her from getting to Springfield.
Like I Always Am
This was an altered reality/ what if story I wrote for my friend Dragonwriter who proposed, "What if Olivia didn't 'wake up' after her heart test & Natalia kissed her?"
Loving You Both
Olivia finds a way to help Natalia balance their love and her lovers' faith in God. 
Lunch Counter Confessions
Olivia gossips with Doris and Blake about Natalia and the wonders of lesbian sex.
Matt? Really?
This story was written on a daily/weekly basis and used spoilers following Natalia's return from the retreat. 
It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Natalia reflects on a Christmas past and their first Christmas with newborn Francesca. 
Merry Christmas Baby
A sexy NC-17 sequel to my Christmas 2009 story, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” 
One Kiss
Otalia’s first kiss told from one of the character’s perspective. ‘Nuff said.
Pass The Potato Salad
In this tale, pregnant Natalia goes to the BBQ, not the retreat. 
Promises Promises
Set a year after the infamous Bauer Barbecue, Natalia tells Olivia she'll 'meet her there' when she ends up running late and it stirs up old feelings. 
Road Trip 
Story based on spoilers that Doris and Olivia were going on a road trip to find Natalia. 
Score One for Natalia Rivera
Olivia's ex's gossip about her prowess as a lover and a drunken Natalia joins the conversation.
This isn't Supposed to Happen
Our gals late night musings as they lie in bed. 
Tonight It Feels Like Home
Olivia is back in the farmhouse again and trying to find a comfort level she once had before Natalia's bolt to the retreat. 
Two Mommies (Take Two)
Rafe examines the relationship of his mother and Olivia. 
Supply & Demand
Olivia and Natalia take Francesca trick or treating and the youngster learns a lesson in marketing. 
Dimples
A collection of short stories about Francesca Spencer told from various family members point of view with each chapter representing a year from her life. 
Until Death
Dark tale of what might have happened if Natalia went through with the wedding.
 

Title: Until Death 

Author: CN Winters

Rating: NC-17 eventually

Genre: Angst/Love/Smut

Pairing: Otalia / Natalia & Frank

Summary: Natalia married Frank and continued to work for Olivia, but desire wins out.

Standard Disclaimer Ahead: Guiding Light is a product of Proctor & Gamble (like Mr. Clean, Duracell and Old Spice), and appears on CBS at the time of writing this. The characters are the creative property of the show and its producers – I'm just borrowing them for my amusement, and hopefully for those few souls who read this.

Author Note: This is not a happy romance story. It's smut, it's sad, it's heartache. If you like puppies, rainbows, sugar and spice in your Otalia fic this might not be for you. Since I couldn’t decided on the ending I wanted I wrote six of them like a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ – that way you can pick the ending you think goes best with the story. There's even an NC-17 Threesome ending you can READ HERE or at the end of the story below.

Until Death

"Are you alright? You've been in there awhile, Natalia."

I look at myself in the bathroom mirror. She's still in bed, I'm sure. I can tell by how far away her voice sounds. She's curled up naked in the sheets. Cozy. Warm. She has no issues. No regrets. She's in love. Truth is…I am too. But am I alright?

Yes. I've never loved anyone like this.

No. I have to head home in a few minutes.

Or three…All of the above, maybe?

"Yes," I answer, trying to keep my voice steady.

These afternoons are getting harder and harder to handle.

I go back to washing my face; my hands; my arms; my…everything. Even as I'm trying to get her scent off me, trying to hide the real me, I miss that smell already. I watch the water spin down the drain, taking away the passion we just shared only minutes before.

When we're on the road together, buying up hotels for the Beacon line, it's different. We can lie in bed all night. Often we don't even eat out. She orders room service, but stops them at the door so the staff – even if they're in a different city - doesn't see us together. Being her PA has it's perks – for both of us.

But today is different. Today we're in Springfield and I can't go home covered in her aroma. Frank could be there. So I clean, washing away the 'sin' of our afternoon.

I tried so hard to do the right thing – to do what she wanted. And I did. I married Frank. I stood before him, his family, God… and her…and I promised until death do us part. Now each day I think I die a little inside. It's these afternoons – times like this – that keep me going. It's only with her that I really do feel alive.

Francesca is in first grade now so that gives me more time…time with Olivia. I honestly didn't plan this and it got really hard to explain to Frank why I continued to work after Chessie was born. The truth is, I missed being around Olivia. It was tortuous, at times, knowing how I felt about her and how she felt about me, but at the same time it was comforting. She was one of the few people who saw me for me. She didn't try to change me; she challenged me. Always.

For months, I replayed her confession at Gus's grave in my mind over and over. I considered things I could have done. That if maybe I had just kissed her she would have taken me back to the Beacon and not that damn church.

As the months went on I prayed she'd bring it up again, but she didn't. I even considered quitting. I'd gone so far as to type up my resignation letter, but I couldn't give it to her. I know seeing me hurt her, and I knew she probably figured that a little bit of something from me was better than nothing, although she'd never admit it. She didn't care if I had the same feelings because in her mind it was pointless. I was pure. She was toxic. She and I would never 'work'.

She couldn't have been more wrong – we positively burn together.

And here we are six years later and although the passion is stronger than ever… everything about this now feels wrong. I have to hide my love away. I can't hold her hand in public. Hell, I can't even smile at her at lunch for fear someone might see too much into it.

Perhaps what's worse is I play the role of devoted wife for a man I've never been in love with. That life - MY life - is a lie. That love, that passion, that's what I feel when I'm with Olivia. Frank's oblivious to it all. Olivia's my pal, my best friend, my top amigo. He has no clue and why should he. She and I are careful. He always has dinner on the table at 6 PM and has me in his bed on Saturday night. Food every night; sex once a week – he requires little else. I get through Saturday nights by closing my eyes and imagining my true love.

My passion, my fire, though…I save that for Olivia and I give it to her willingly. She takes all I offer and gives it back to me ten fold. I think what I love most about her is her kiss. I can feel everything in that kiss. All her love. All her devotion. All her promises. I'm everything to her and if I thought she'd take it, I'd give everything to her.

She's never asked me to leave Frank. Not once. And the subject never came up. People are curious though as to why Olivia Spencer, the man-eater, hasn't 'been to the buffet' in years. She fledges Emma and work being all she needs. She has no time or energy for a man. That answer seems to satisfy everyone. But I know the truth.

She has the time and boy does she have the energy.

We tried to deny our feelings. And we were successful…for a while. When I found out I was pregnant with Francesca, Olivia pointed out that, "See? You're meant to be with Frank."

All I could think is how much I wanted to raise that baby with her, like we were raising Emma, the four of us together at the farmhouse. I wanted to make Emma a big sister; not a distant cousin.

But a few months after Francesca was born, I returned from maternity leave and everything changed for us. Moving our relationship to the next level, the physical one, first required something we'd grown quite good at doing together …arguing.

And it was a fight about table-settings that ended with us falling into bed, unable to keep our hands off each other.

Chapter 2

"Natalia, you don’t know what you’re talking about."

Olivia was down the hallway as soon as the elevator doors parted.

"We’re talking about atmosphere here, not mass quantity of bodies," I argue. "Round tables are better," I insist again as we crossed the threshold to her bedroom.

"With rectangle tables we have more seats, which means more donors!"

"What good are more donors if you can’t get them to open their wallets as much! Rounds are more intimate, warm. Rectangle are for board meetings!"

"Forget it! I don’t know why I even asked your opinion!"

"And I don’t know why I even care!" I shout back. "Planning a re-election banquet for Doris Friggin’ Wolfe! I think the better question is why do you care, uh?"

She seemed taken aback by the question. "She’s my…friend."

"Friend, huh?"

"Yes, I’m allowed to have friends beyond you!"

"Are you dating her?"

I try to keep my voice square, neutral. I just can’t. The acidity slips out anyway.

She barks a laugh. "That’s a joke, right?"

I don’t answer.

"No, I’m not," she adds.

"That’s right, Doris doesn’t date," I say sarcastically. "Are you sleeping with her then?"

I might as well go there – it’s already out anyway and I need to know the truth. Maybe then I can move on; perhaps focus on Frank and our marriage. I can settle for what I have now rather than pining over something I’ll never have.

She tosses her planner and it slams against the wall with a bang. I flinch slightly as she closes the distance between us. She’s only a few inches away as she leans down to my ear.

"Jealous?" she whispers, her breath tickling me.

I expected her to rant. I expected her to rave. And I feel the goose bumps rise to my skin at this woman’s ability to surprise me. Even now. But she’s not saying anything. Instead, she’s waiting on my reply.

"Yes," I confess giving her a one-word reply to her single word question.

I let my planner drop to the floor. I can’t take this anymore. The flirting. The tap-dancing back and forth. My hands grip her hips with a confidence that neither one of us expects nor quite understands. I hear her breathe catch. I like the sound.

"You never answered my question," I remind her.

She shakes her head ‘no’ and doesn’t utter a sound.

"Why not?"

"You know why," she says as she tried to step away.

I tighten my hold and our hips gently collide. She groans at the contact and closes her eyes. My right hand rises up, over her arm and cups her cheek. She tries to turn away, but I won’t let it happen. She’s run from me long enough.

"Tell me," I beg her.

Now she forcefully pulls away and the tears come to her eyes. She starts to pace like a caged animal.

"Go home to Frank! It’s after five. Your day’s over. Go on." I refuse to move from my spot. "Go on!" she yells, still not making eye contact.

I dial my cell phone as she continues to pace, continuing to avoid looking at me.

"Hey, I’m running late, Reionna. Can you start dinner and let Frank know I’m in a meeting with Olivia? I’ll be home as soon as I can…Thanks. How’s Chessie doing?…Good. If you have an emergency though just call my cell…Thanks again. Bye."

"Right there!" Olivia says as she points to me while I put my phone back in my pocket.

"What?" I ask her.

"That’s why I can’t tell you; why I can’t say what I-I want to say! Don’t you get it! I’ve wrecked enough lives! I’m not going to ruin yours! I’m not going to have you lying to Frank!"

I creep closer to her, coming within a few feet again.

"I didn’t lie. We ARE in a meeting right now."

She rolls her eyes and her hands go to her hips. "So what comes next, huh? What do you want me to say?"

"Tell me the truth," I insist.

"About what?"

"About us, for starters."

"There is no US, Natalia. There never was, never has been and never will be. End of story."

Now I’m mad. She’s lying. There’s an US – it’s always been about US, from the very beginning.

"So let me see if I understand," I begin as I pull her back toward me. I capture her head and work my fingers into the locks of long brown hair, holding her firmly in place so she can’t look away. "You feel nothing by being this close to me."

"D-Don’t tease me," she whimpers and closes her eyes.

I give her hair a slight tug.

"Open your eyes. Look at me," I order her. I’m pleasantly surprised when she obeys. "Forget about our commitments – work, family, all of it. Forget about homophobia in the world. If it were just you and I, the last two people on earth, what would you do? Be honest."

She’s breathing hard again and she’s staring at my lips. I can see her indecision first. Then I see her conviction. It looks wild; predatory almost; and I can feel the excitement pool between my legs at the prospect of what she might do next.

Without uttering a word she claims those lips she was admiring seconds before. There’s no pretense; no build-up as her tongue forces it’s way through and into my mouth. I meet her stroke for stroke and before long both of us are winded, fighting for breath.

I feel her hands roaming everywhere – in my hair, down my face, over my breasts, cupping my backside. My hands are practically a mirror and follow the same course on her body. My fingertips squeeze and caress; pinch and pull. My desire to feel her, all of her, is overwhelming, but so is the desire to be felt by her. I want that sensation of her possessing every inch of me.

In unspoken unison, we take a step back and our power suit jackets fall to the floor as we tug them from our shoulders. God, we fit each other well, working in harmony. Soon we’re like two magnets and quickly slam back to one another, hands and mouths roaming once more.

I need to taste her skin almost as much as I need air to breath. I pull recklessly at her blouse and when the buttons refuse to cooperate I tug the hem from her waistline and lift the infuriating garment over her head so she’s clad only in her bra. Without warning I pull the straps from her shoulder, freeing her breasts. They bounce slightly, but only for a moment since I take immediate possession of them. My hand kneads one while my lips and teeth find the other.

She grips the back of my head as her back arches, driving more of the erect nipple into my mouth. We both moan in unison. I pull away and she looks disappointed, but it doesn’t last for long. I give her a slightly hard shove backward and she falls to the bed. I pull my blouse, along with my bra over my head as I make my way toward the bed, stalking her.

I love what I’ve tasted so far. Now I want to taste all of her. And by that look of hooded desire in her eyes…I will.

Chapter 3

"Natalia," I say as I move to my elbows.

I’m naked from the waist up, splayed across the bed where I landed. She says nothing as she uses her legs to spread my knees wider apart. She’s not asking for an invitation. She’s simply taking what she wants. The ache between my legs grows even stronger as I watch the look in her warm brown eyes.

Logic dictates that I should get up, grab my blouse and tell her no. I should. She has so much to lose and only one thing to gain – me. And I know I’m not worth that sacrifice. I can’t keep her safe like Frank, Police Chief. I can’t give her more children like Francesca. I can’t provide her a normal home for Rafe.

But the longer I lay here, and the closer she creeps toward me, I know it’s pointless. I can’t resist. I won’t resist. Logic has flown out the window; replaced by the desire I’ve been carrying for well over a year now. Hell, perhaps even since I met her.

She wants me. I can feel it deep within every inch of the marrow in my bones… and I love it. I succumb to it. She can have me. All of me. Besides, I’ve been hers for so long already. She’s just finally taking what’s hers.

As she approaches I rise up and capture the back of her head, devouring her mouth. Her full, naked breasts brush against mine. I’m excited by her physique, but also amazed at how healthy she looks after having Francesca just months before. Losing the ‘baby weight’ didn’t seem to be an issue for her. Grant it, she’s not as svelte as when we first met, but that’s a good thing. These extra pounds look great, and feel great, as she lays her body on top of mine.

She pulls her lips away and I moan a protest. She puts a finger over my lips for a moment as she straddles my thighs. I watch as her fingers unbutton the waistband of my pants and slide the zipper down. This is moving fast, too fast, and I reach down covering her hands with mine.

"Wait," I tell her. "There’s no going back from here. You know that, right? Once this happens…" I struggle with the next words, but I push them forward because they’re true…

"…I’m yours forever."

She doesn’t reply. I watch her stand up and a part of me feels my heart shatter. Her face is unreadable. Yes, I told her to slow down. I told her to wait, and yes, it’s what I thought was best, but now… I miss that warmth, that electricity she was bringing me. And now, I know the cold truth. She doesn’t want me.

I continue to watch as she gently takes my shoes off. Next, she pulls off my stockings. Her hands run up my calves and across my thighs until she reaches my waistband. She pulls my pants, taking the thong with them, past my derrière. She rises again and then takes each pant leg cuff, pulling both of them in one smooth stroke that leaves me completely naked. She tosses the unneeded garments to the floor and I watch as she kicks her own shoes off and slides her pants to the floor.

Neither of us has spoken, nor do we need to. Her eyes tell me everything. I’ve never witnessed such intense desire from anyone…ever. Her nipples are erect and I can smell her longing for me even at this small distance. It’s all too much and I find myself closing my eyes for a moment. Part of me expects she’ll be gone when I open them. But she’s not. She’s still there in all her beautiful naked glory. She tries to creep upon me again, but I’m done playing the submissive. She’s here. This is real. She’s offering herself to me and I’ll be damned, I’m sure, but I’m taking her.

She yelps slightly as I pull her briskly toward me and roll her on her back. We both grin briefly in response to her outburst. My thigh settles between the apex of her leg and I love the friction it creates. She’s soaked like I expected, but what I didn’t expect was how much it would make me wet in response. She smiles again at the contact between us, but as I start to roll my hips, pushing closer, the smile slips away. Desire washes over her face as her hands grip my buttocks. Her well-kept fingernails dig in slightly, spurring me on. I look down, mesmerized, at her gyrating hips.

"Fuck, yes," she sighs and arches her back for a moment.

My mouth goes dry and my sex gets wetter at the remark. Fuck, yes indeed, I think as I pick up the pace. My hips continue to roll for a few more moments, but she takes my right hand and places it between her legs.

"Inside," she whimpers. "I need you inside me, Liv. Please."

This woman doesn’t need to beg, but I still love the wanton sound of it. I slip one finger inside and she’s wet and warm and as wonderful as I expected. Her hand finds mine again quickly though.

"More," she says as she leads two more of my fingers inside her, filling her.

I don’t argue and when my thumb accidentally brushes across her clit the resulting moan of want is overwhelming. I smile…and do it again. Another moan. Then again. And again. Now her moans become groans of frustration. She wants – no, she needs more contact, but I’m playing with her, enjoying her lust.

Even in bed we still madden each other and I love it.

She grabs my hand again, this time holding it steady while she moves her body against me. She swings her hips, letting them rise and fall as she rides my hand. I can’t believe what I’m seeing.

Natalia Rivera really does like sex. Correction. Natalia Rivera loves to fuck…And I love Natalia Rivera – the rest of the world be damned.

But I can’t play the passive anymore. I start to move my hand again in time with her movements, but she suddenly rolls away. I’m not sure how it happened, but suddenly I’m on my back and she’s above me, that ravenous gaze returning to her eyes. Her long hair makes a trail down my body and she comes to stop just below my waistline as she places a few nips and kisses on my stomach.

I know what she’s about to do.

"You don’t have to." I reached down and stroke her hair.

"Yes, I do. I really do," she tells me with a smoldering smile before her lips latch onto my soaked sex.

My hips rise off the bed to meet her mouth of their own accord. I’m helpless to resist her.

Chapter 4

Her lips on my sex feels like heaven, even if it’s one more act that’ll condemn me to hell. One hand grips the bedspread while the other tangles itself in her long, dark locks, egging her on. Her tongue begins to bat rapidly at my clit and I know it’s not going to take much more for me to explode.

I try to say her name in praise of her efforts, but all I can manage to push from my lips is a whispered ‘Talia’. She’s stolen my ability to speak along with my heart as my libido climbs even higher. When one of her hands snakes up and she begins to play with my erect nipple that’s all it takes.

I had spend days, perhaps entire weeks, dreaming about this scenario and now it was finally happening. I could say it’s all I expected it would be. But it’s actually much more.

Her son, her church, her husband – fuck ‘em all. Right now, she’s mine. All mine…with her face between my legs and her tongue is buried inside me. I don’t care if the entire town of Springfield walked through that door at this very moment. There’s no way in hell I’d stop. The sensations are just far too marvelous, and unlike anything I’d experienced with any man. With that thought, I feel the spasms contract inside me as I come apart.

I cry out in response. It’s a mangled sound of love and sweat and passion that I simply can’t contain any longer. And I don’t want to contain it anymore. I want to explore it. I want to uncover more secrets with this woman. I want to make her break apart too. The need to hear her at the height of her own passion now consumes me.

The quaking hasn’t even begun to subside when I guide her up to me. She kisses me soundly and I can taste my passion on her lips. It’s a firm kiss, not tender in the least and I waste no time. I literally slide off the bed, not quite able to stand and I toss her legs over my shoulders.

She giggles for a moment at my anxious behavior, but she stops mid-chuckle and immediately moans when my tongue travels up her wet cleft to her throbbing clitoris.

"Liv," she sighs as both of her hands dig into my hair, pulling me closer.

I’ve never been with a woman, but I ‘know’ this woman. I waste no time and offer no build up as my tongue continues to bat at her pearl while two, and then three, fingers slide easily inside her. She’s so wet and open – there’s no resistance at all.

She starts to moan some words in Spanish and I damn myself for having taken French in high school. Even if I don’t understand what’s being said, I can definitely read her intent.

She’s excited and based on the fact she’s getting louder I know she’s getting closer. For a moment I wonder if Frank makes her sound like this, but I push that thought out of my head. Chances are, no, he doesn’t and never will. But he doesn’t matter right now – this is all about she and I. And quite frankly, I saw her first. I loved her first. She was mine…and right now…she still is mine to do with as I please… no matter where she’ll sleep tonight.

Now I’m determined. I’m going to make her come. Hard. I want to hear her scream to the heavens and if she says my name, that’s just an added bonus. I pick up my pace until my tongue is sore and growing tired. But the sounds she’s making spurs me on. She’s close. So close that I can’t stop now.

"Ooooolivvv," she cries out as her sex bucks against my mouth.

"Yessss," I hiss against her sex, making it vibrate, which causes her to buck even more. I’ve achieved my goal. While it wasn’t my entire name, it was close enough. Looks like she’s not the only one with the power to make women unable to speak. Her jerks and leg shaking subsides and I rest my cheek against her thigh, trying to steady my breath as I rest.

I feel her stomach moving and I raise my head to look at her with a smile. At first I think she’s laughing, but then I notice the tears. She’s not laughing at all. She’s crying.

Oh, shit. What have I done?

Chapter 5

I’ve never felt anything like this. Sex with Olivia is... overwhelming. I knew it would be explosive, but I had no idea it could be like this. Right now, I'm filled with so many emotions all I can do is collapse into tears.

I cry because I never imagined I could feel this happy; this sexually fulfilled.

I cry because I've made a promise that never should have been made to Frank.

I cry because I want to feel the sensations again, and I'm torn.

I cry because I let fear control my actions, and now I may devastate three hearts.

She tries to ‘shhh’ me. Still naked, she slides up my body and pulls me into her arms. I'm still crying even as I snuggle into her shoulder. At this point, I can’t form a sentence to explain the cauldron of sensations still flowing through me. I can feel her fear and concern grow, and I know I have to say something soon.

"I'm sorry," I hear her whisper into my hair.

"I'm not," I whimper. I try to add more. I want to tell her that I don't feel sorry for making love to her. I'm not sorry I'm in love with her. I’m not sorry she’s become such a center in my world. I'm not sorry I gave in to the desire I feel for her… but I'm not sure exactly how to begin. So rather than tell her I try to show her.

I raise my head and let my fingertips slide to the hairs near her sweat soaked temple. I pulled her to me and I kissed her with as much passion as we shared moments before. When a pull back, I can see the she's confused.

"Do you regret loving me?" I ask. I’m afraid of her possible answer.

"Never."

"What happened here today-."

"I know. It can never happen again," she says cutting me off.

I'm not sure what to say. I'm devastated at the prospect of never having her again. She doesn't want me.

"Why?" I don't know what more can say.

"You know why." She begins to rise up to sitting position and I follow her.

Hell, no I don’t know why and I’ll be damned if I’m going to just let her slip away.

"Before you interrupted me," I begin, sounding a bit stern, "I was going to say what happened here today is something I've wanted for months. In fact, it’s something I’ve waited my whole life to feel. I don't want this to end. Obviously, you don't feel the same way about me..." I can hear my voice cracking.

I'm not sure what's going on in her mind right now, but I feel myself melting down. But maybe I'm not what she wants sexually. I'm no fool. I know my experience is limited at best. I guess that must be showing and she doesn't feel that I'm worth the effort.

Then again, maybe she still feels the she's not the best choice for me. She practically drag me down aisle to marry Frank and she even used Francesca as evidence of her own decisiveness to walk away from me. But the thing is, she never left. Every gentle caress on the shoulder to get my attention, every smile from across a crowded staff meeting… she was always there…loving me from afar. And now that she has me perhaps she thinks she's made a mistake.

I don't even want to think of the third scenario - but maybe I was just another notch in her bedpost. One more lover she can add to her collection. I know in my heart though, that's not true. I may not be as sexual experience as Olivia is, but I know what love is, and I saw genuine love in her eyes. But again, maybe I was just blinded by my own magnetism to her. And maybe the real truth is… she never really loved me at all.

All these thoughts travel through my mind in a matter of seconds, but then I hear her voice.

"You need to listen to me," she tells me. "I want you to be safe, and loved, and treasured. So much so, that I'm willing to let Frank fill that role."

"Olivia," I try to interrupt.

"No, please let me say this. You have Francesca to think about now. She deserves to grow up in a house with her mother and her father. And me, I have to think about Emma. She's already lost one friend at just the speculation you and I were a couple. Imagine what’d happened when people find out that you left Frank, not only for a woman, but for Olivia freakin’ Spencer. It’s not just about us. Don’t you see?"

I'm quiet for a moment, while I consider everything she said. Nowhere in that speech though did I hear her say that she didn't want me.

"So what does that mean for us? And don't say that there is no us."

That sarcastic smile that she wears from time to time begins to come to her face, and I find myself grinning in response.

"I can't use that old excuse again, huh?" I wear a slight smile and shake my head. She starts to look serious again, but I can see that love in her eyes. "Honestly Natalia, I know there's an ‘us’. And I know I don't want this to be the last time for us… And I know I don't want you to leave Frank."

"I made a promise to forsake all others… but I can't forsake you. I just can't."

"Actually, I've watched the videotape of the wedding. I've watched it a lot. And I'm ashamed to admit that in the course of watching it a lot, I've consumed a lot of wine in the process. But even in my inebriated state, one thing I noticed was the vows."

"The vows?"

"Go home and watch it tonight. You'll notice that Doris did something quite peculiar. She never made you promise to forsake anyone. I know because each time I watched it I always wondered…did she do it on purpose to make room for me in your life. Even if I asked her though, I’m sure she’d deny doing anything that might help us."

"Whether I said it or not-."

"In your heart you did and it’s not the point. I get it," Olivia replies.

All I can do is nod.

"I'm not going to push," she begins. "But I'm not going to ask you to leave my life either. If we never do this again..." She pauses and I can tell she's holding back the desire to weep at the prospect of never having me again. I know in that instance, that she does desire me and I am the kind of lover that could make her happy. I know what we have is genuine and true. "…If sex never happens for us, again, I won't love you any less."

"Neither will I," I reply. It's all I can say at the moment, because I'm really not sure where she and I go from here. All I do know is regardless of what happens…I’ll love this woman for the rest of my days… and beyond.

Chapter 6

Six years have gone by since that first time. Some days it feels like a lifetime ago. At other times, it feels like just yesterday.

I tried a few times over the years to convince Olivia that she and I could have more; have it all, but she’s always rebuked the suggestion. Why? Oh hell, pick a reason – the kids, our jobs, our standing in the community, you name it. For every reason I had for leaving Frank, she had an excuse for me to stay. Eventually, I gave up trying. I had to face the fact she didn’t want me full-time. So I decided I would take what I could get – stolen moments at the Beacon or wild weeks on the road.

As for Frank and I…I love him. He is a good man. He’s kind to me, gentle. He can be overbearing at times by thinking he knows what’s best for me, but hell, so does Olivia. In the end though, he finally lets me have my say and gives in to my demands.

But lately he’s more of a roommate than a husband. It’s getting harder and harder to get through the ‘Saturday nights’ and I find myself with a ‘headache’ more and more. It’s not that he’s a horrible lover – he’s not. And honestly, there are some things he does that I enjoy, but I’d never tell Olivia that. But really, the energy, that uncontrollable passion – that’s what Olivia brings out in me. It’s what I crave more.

Today, it’s not the betrayal that weighs on me…it’s the lie. The lie that he doesn’t have the wife he thinks he does…That Olivia doesn’t have someone monumental in her life to show the world…That Chessie, and even Emma, are growing up without parents who paint a picture of what true love should look like.

It’s a disaster…and it only feels like it’s getting worse. I know something has to give…and soon. What that will be though, I don’t know.

I grin for a moment, thinking of how she and I were going to be ‘noble’ and forget a physical relationship. Yeah. That lasted all of one week. I had her half naked and she had me spread eagle across her desk one morning. We realized we couldn’t fight what we felt and furthermore, we didn’t want to fight it. Hell, we even did it once in Rick Bauer’s bathroom one Independence Day.

I walked in with Frank and Chessie, holding my contribution of chocolate chip cookies that Emma wanted me to bring. It didn’t matter that Emma was a teenager now - she still looked like a kid in a candy store at the prospect of my treats. She raced over and immediately scooped up Chessie and a cookie, in that order.

At four, Chessie was willing to follow Emma anywhere. The truth is, she still thinks Emma hung the sun and the moon. Olivia’s daughter was one of her favorite people in the world (mine too) and I had no doubt that she was safe in Emma’s care. With a warning to avoid going near the pool, Emma agreed to look after Chessie and they were on their way to the backyard.

That’s when I saw her - Olivia. She was giving me that look – the one that said she might devour me at any moment. She was reclined against the island, chatting with Doris, but her eyes never left me once I was in the room.

Frank, as usual, was oblivious to Olivia’s carnal stare…but I could feel it; even when I wasn’t looking directly at her. I barely nodded my acceptance to Frank as he said he was going to ‘grab a brew and talk to the guys’ who were gathered around Rick’s barbeque grill.

I walked over and slid the cookies on the counter between Doris and Olivia.

"Ah, Natalia cookies." Doris remarked dryly. "Olivia sure does like your cookies, Natalia."

"Is that so?" I replied without looking at her. I couldn’t take my eyes off Olivia.

Doris didn’t say anything at first. "Down girls. There are children present," she finally said in a whispered tease.

Olivia simply held out her hand to me. Without sparing a glance to Doris, I took the offered appendage. I felt drawn by some unseen force to follow Olivia wherever she was taking me.

Her fingers wrapped around mine as tugged me along gently. She led me to the bathroom on the second floor and pulled me inside. I turned around to face her and I watched her slowly turn the latch to lock the door. Her eyes mentally undressed me in the process.

I looked to my left and found the small window that offered a view of the backyard. All the partygoers looked happy – having drinks, playing games, laughing – my husband included. I turned back to Olivia and find her looking anything but happy. She was on a mission, looking my body up and down.

"That’s a beautiful sundress," she complimented.

"You bought it, remember?"

She took a few steps closer and put her hands on my hips.

"Miami, wasn’t it? That old Holiday Inn we bought?"

I nod and I close my eyes for a moment, reliving the memory of that franchise trip. We went shopping on the last night there and I tried on the dress. She said she had to buy it for me – no arguments. I relented and when I went to take it off, she followed me inside the dressing room to ‘help.’ She did me in the dressing room. I held onto the clothes hook for support and ended up pulling it from its riggings.

Today is much different though. In Miami, we knew no one. Now, as I look out the window I see everyone – my family, our friends, the entire town of Springfield. Maybe being alone with her here wasn’t such a great idea. Of course, that thought slips away as I feel her fingers start to pull the fabric of the sundress higher and higher. My breathing becomes unsteadier with every inch higher the material gets. When the fabric collects at my hip, one of her hands snakes down to rub my backside.

She grins wickedly at what she finds, or more correctly, what she doesn’t find.

"No panties?" she asked. I shook my head. "Why not? Did you have something in mind?" she added knowingly. I can only nod at first and she leans down slightly to whisper in my ear. "What did you want?"

The warmth of her breath. The tone of her voice. It makes me wet beyond belief. And I know my next words will melt her because she loves it when I’m direct. What did I want? I grin slightly.

"Your fingers inside of me," I whispered back. "…Pumping in and out," I said as I reach up and pitch the erect nipples through her sundress. "…Making me come."

She literally growls and turns me toward the window. I stumble slightly and I have to use the wall to catch myself. She stands behind me and without warning or build-up plunges her fingers inside of me. She slides in with ease. My palms flatten against the wall as she begins to stroke me fast and deep, rubbing against my clit. She feels so good inside me; I can’t control myself. I keep both my palms on the wall in front of me for support, and raise my ass higher, giving her better access to my center, as I look out the window. I see Frank talking to Josh Lewis, laughing about something, as Olivia continues to pump me from behind.

I should feel guilty or shameful, but at the moment it only turns me on even more to know I’m watching him while she’s fucking me – hard and good. So good. So fucking good.

I begin to move my hips, grinding down on her hand.

I feel Olivia grab my hair with her free hand and pull my head back toward her lips. She never stops thrusting inside me as her lips move right next to my ear.

"Yeah, baby, that’s it," she coaxed. "Wiggle for me, just like that. You want it bad, don’t you?"

"Yes," I hissed.

"You want ME to give it to you, huh?"

"Yes."

"Come on my hand."

Her words fuel me even more. I need more. One of my own hands snakes down and finds my clitoris. My own fingers races across my sex and I hear Olivia groan even more. She loves it when I get this worked up and start to fuck myself. I find myself grinding faster against both our hands.

It’s on my lips to ask her to squeeze my tit too, but before I can utter a syllable, her hand and fingers start to tweak my hard nipple and aching breast. Not only is the sensation fantastic, but the emotional connection – her simply knowing what I needed without asking – is what starts me over the edge. God, this woman knows how to pleasure me.

I feel myself start to come and I know I’m going to end up screaming out. I see a folded up washcloth on the nearby toilet rack and I grab it. I shove it in my mouth and I bite down, screaming as my orgasm rips through me. My head falls to the windowsill as my hips jerk out the last sensations of pleasure.

I’m spent, but now I’m ravenous. I know she’s wet and delicious and I want to taste her now. If she can fuck me in front of Springfield, I can fuck her too.

Chapter 7

Natalia turns in my arms. I think she’s going to kiss me, but instead she drops to her knees and her head darts under my sundress, disappearing from sight. My panties are already soaked. So as her tongue begins to stroke against me, it feels as if there’s no barrier there at all.

"God, Natalia," I sigh softly.

I put my fingers in my mouth - fingers that only moments before were buried deep inside her. My tongue rolls around each delectable digit, delighting in the taste of her essence.

I try to stroke her head, but the damn material of my dress is in the way. Instead, I find my hand gripping the windowsill in front of me. Everyone is out there, including our daughters and her husband. For a moment, part of me wishes that he’d walk in and see his wife – buried between my legs, licking furiously and making the most lust-filled sounds. She stops, but I feel her words against my wet flesh and it causes goosebumps.

"You can see him, can't you?" Her voice has a deep and naughty timbre to it that sets me aflame.

"Yes," I whisper, not trusting myself to say more.

She bats at my clit a few more times, but then pauses again.

"I watched him too," she says with her voice still husky. I feel two fingers slide inside me. I groan. "I watched him while you fucked me."

I can’t contain my moan of desire. It's wrong. I know it's not right. But that seems to be the exact reason why I feel incredibly turned on at this moment. I want to watch him as well and I find myself getting wetter at the prospect. She feels it too.

"It’s hot, isn’t it? Fucking while he’s only a few yards away?"

"Yes," I groan again.

"Talk to me," she tells me.

"Talk?" I’m not sure what she’s implying.

"Yeah, watch them down there on the lawn, and tell me what you're thinking."

At first, I say nothing. Then I feel her fingers leave me. She starts to move away and I know that's my cue to keep the conversation going. I quickly pull up my sundress so I can see her face. Before she can rise, however, I put one hand on her shoulders, keeping her on her knees before me.

"First, take off my panties."

She anxiously licks her lips as her hand trails up my calf, across my thigh; all the way up to my hips. She takes great care in making sure that her fingertips caress my legs on the way down. Gingerly, and using her shoulders for balance, I step out of the panties so I’m completely naked from the waist down. Without prompting, her hands are on my backside and her mouth finds my center.

She pulls back, only for a moment, long enough to whisper a single word…

"Talk."

I keep my sundress bunched at my waist; so I can look down to watch her feast upon me. I love watching her head bob and her tongue dart about. She has the most gorgeous tongue in the world and the things it can do…

My other hand, comes to rest behind her head, in silent praise of her efforts. Keeping up my end of the deal, I looked back out the window. I see Frank standing next to Buzz. Both men are all smiles as they continue to converse with Josh, Rick and Matt who are all gathered around the barbecue grill.

The thought of ‘every man's fantasy’ comes to mind and I grin.

"Olivia." Natalia issues a warning. The woman knows that I'm thinking, but I'm not talking like I promised I would.

"Talking, right," I whisper, my voice unsteady. "I see all the men... gathered in a circle... even Frank... and I know... if they had any idea... what you're doing to me now... they’d all be rock hard... and wanting to see more."

I hear Natalia moan below me and her tongue picks up its pace. I know my words are stoking a fire deep within her, perhaps in a place she doesn't want to acknowledge she has. Although we’ve never acted upon anything that might be considered outside the norm, I know that my gal has a side of kink. I grin wickedly knowing that I can build upon those mysterious places she's never explored. My hand reaches down and begins to caress the back of her head.

"That devilish part of you would like that, wouldn't it, Baby?" I feel her moan and nod again in response, but her fingers and her tongue don't stop. "You'd like to fuck me in front of them, huh?" Another nod. Her fingers now seem to be moving at lightening speed and I’m not sure how much longer I can last. "In front of Frank, huh? You’d like to show him…how…how…how to really make a woman come, huh?" I’m struggling with my words now and my legs are feeling a little weak, but I continue because I don’t want the sensation to stop. "You’d…you’d like to make them watch…while-while you made me come."

Her mouth leaves me as she looks up at me. Her fingers, however, don’t stop their movements.

"How would you want it, Liv?" She whispers with such desire it sounds almost like a growl. "Would you want it hard and fast like I did on that balcony over Central Park, huh? Or how about a long lazy fuck like when we found that little beach alcove in Mexico? Remember?"

I groan in response to what she’s doing this very moment, but also at the emotion the memory of us together.

"I re-remember," I say struggling with my words. "That couple on the boat, urggghhh." The way she moves those fingers is too much.

"They used their binoculars to watch us fuck, remember? We gave them quite a show and then they went below deck. Wonder what they did?" she asks, fully aware of the answer.

I feel my legs start to go, but she steadies me. I come to my knees too and we end up facing each other. She puts her hand back under my dress and I easily slid on three of her fingers. I start to ride her hand as she buries her face into my neck. I can feel her breath against my earlobe and the small hairs nearby.

"Ride me, Liv," she begs in a whisper. "That’s it, Baby. Come all over my hand."

She puts her thumb up and it begins to massage against my clit with each thrust. Before I know it my hips are shaking back and forth, so quick that it looks like I’m almost having a seizure. But I’m close. So close and just a few more seconds is all I…

"Olivia," Doris’s voice called from the other side of the door. "Frank’s looking for his wife. He’s on his way up."

"Don’t stop," I beg Natalia.

She looks torn for only a second. Then she looks determined.

"We’re not leaving until I make you come," she whispers and then bites my neck.

That does it. I’m over the edge now and she places her mouth over mine as I start to cry out. The next noise I hear is Doris coughing loudly, almost comically in a way. Frank is asking if she’s alright and then I hear a noise that sounds like hyperventilating even as I still feel the contractions of my passion.

"Need…" ~Croak~ "Drink…" ~Croak~ "Help?"

"Sure, Doris," Frank says, his voice starting to move further away. "Let’s go downstairs."

That day Frank Cooper almost caught us.

I didn’t know whether to thank Doris for distracting him… or curse her.

Chapter 8

"Natalia?" Olivia calls out again.

I look at my watch and I know it’s getting later. Frank will be coming home soon, but I still don’t want to go home. I love my daughter – I’d give my life for hers in a heartbeat – but her father…I simply don’t love the man the way he deserves to be loved…Not like I love Olivia.

That’s it. I have to tell her. This has to end.

I open the door and simultaneously we say the same words.

"We need to talk."

We both blush. As I expected she’s still lying naked in bed as I approach the foot, taking a few steps closer.

"You first," she says as she sits up and lets the covers slip down to her waist. Her nakedness is distracting.

"No," I insist. "You go."

She reaches down and pulls the covers up again, covering her exposed breasts.

"Matt Reardon asked me out again."

"Oh." I say. I know my disappointment is showing through. I look away, unable to face her eyes. He’s not the first one to ask her out over the years. Many men have and she’s always shunned their proposals by saying she was busy with her business and her daughter. Now Emma is growing up – driving now. She doesn’t rely on Olivia as much, which means…

"What did you tell him?" I ask her, my nervousness creeping in, although I raise my eyes to hers again.

"Yes," she replies.

There’s a long pause and I know there’s nothing I can say. I’m married for God’s sake. What can I say? Don’t do it? Of course she’s entitled to live her life, find love…find someone she can be open and honest with.

"I’m lonely," she confesses.

I can only nod at first. What right do I have here? It cuts and it hurts and I wonder if this is what she feels every time she watches me leave to go home back to the farmhouse…back to Frank.

"You have me," I remind her.

Initially, she says nothing. We simply look at each other in silence.

"Not really," she finally replies.

"Well…" I try to begin, but she continues.

"I wake up on Christmas morning alone with Emma. I-I watch the ball drop every year on New Years and watch you kiss Frank…I-I can’t hold your hand at the Bauer Barbeque. All I have are stolen moments in bathrooms, board rooms or hotels…I love you Natalia, I do, more than anyone I’ve ever known, but…I’m lonely."

"I understand," I mutter.

"I want someone to unwrap presents with on Christmas or someone to lean against while I watch the fireworks. A-and Matt’s a great guy, like Frank, you know? He’s sweet…strong…dependable. He’s a good man."

"I’m leaving Frank," I blurt out. Chances are she thinks this is reactionary and perhaps part of it is in this very moment. But it’s a decision that’s been a long time coming. Everything she wants, I’m offering. Now if only she’ll take it.

"I didn’t tell you this because I want you to leave Frank," she replies.

"And I’m not leaving Frank because you want Matt," I countered. "That’s why I said we had to talk. I’m leaving Frank because I’m tried of the lies – lying to him, lying to you…lying to myself. I’m done with it."

"So you expect me to come rushing out of the closet with you?"

I hate when she gets sarcastic. This has nothing to do with her. It has everything to do with Frank and our relationship.

"Not everything is about you," I tell her, making my thoughts known. I wince when I see her flinch at my words. She’s given up years to play the ‘other woman’ and the truth is she’s very much a part of my life. It’s just a part the world at large doesn’t truly know. "I’m sorry," I add. "What I mean is this decision…it’s about my relationship with Frank. Regardless of what you decide about us, my mind is made up. I’m leaving him."

Before I can add anything more, we hear the keycard swipe. We glance at each other in concern. Before we have a chance to move Emma bounds excitedly into the room.

"Mom, can I borrow-?"

The question dies on her lips as she sees her mother naked in bed and me standing at the foot. Yes, I’m clothed, but I’m sure the guilt on my face is so severe I might as well be naked too.

"…car?" she finishes dumbly. She starts to look between the two of us. At first, she seemed unsure of what she’s seeing and then it clicks. She faces her mother as she closes the door behind her.

"What the fuck?" Emma angrily utters in a voice above a whisper.

Chapter 9

"Emma!" My mom and Natalia both reprimand me in a stern voice at my vulgar outburst. Seriously, I walk in and see this…this…whatever this is. How am I supposed to react? My mom’s fucking her best friend?

"Fine then. What the HELL am I looking at here, Mom?" I insist.

"It’s not what it looks like," my mom says in reaction. I look to Natalia who looks to the floor. Both of their breathing is now labored and neither one seems to be able to look me in the eye. I turn back to my mom when I hear her add in defeat, "Okay," she sighs, giving up all pretense, "…it’s exactly what it looks like."

"I don’t believe this. How long?"

"Emma, it’s complicated-," my mom tries to speak, but I don’t want excuses. Right now I just want facts.

"HOW LONG?!"

My mother looks away and pulls the cover closer. Next, Natalia moves toward the bathroom while she digs into her purse.

"Where do you think you’re running to?" I ask her.

She silences me by giving me a stern look. Instead of speaking to me, she holds up her finger. She finishes her journey to the bathroom and returns with my mom’s robe from the back of the door. With her cell phone in one hand, she tosses the robe to my mom while she puts the phone to her ear.

"Hey, I’m running late, Reionna," she says into the phone. "Can you start dinner and let Frank know I’m in a meeting with Olivia? I’ll be home as soon as I can…Thanks. How’s Chessie doing?…Good. If you have an emergency though just call my cell…Thanks again. Bye."

My head is shaking as she hangs up and drops the phone into her purse.

"Make calls like that a lot, do you?" I ask Natalia unsympathetically.

"Too many and for far too long," she answers. The honesty in her response throws me for a moment.

"Someone here better answer my question," I demand. "How long has this been going on?"

"Just over six years," Natalia replies.

I feel my jaw drop. Out of my peripheral vision I can see my mom adjust her robe as she moves toward us.

"Six years? Six fucking years?" Then I start to do the math in my head as my mom and Natalia reprimand my cursing again, but I ignore it. Chessie is six, so that means... "You two have been…since you married Frank? Why?" I ask Natalia.

"Why what?" my mom asks.

I don’t look at my mother. I keep my eyes focused on Natalia for her response.

"Why stay married?" I ask her desperately. "Why not divorce him then?"

"She had Chessie to think about and I had you," my mom says.

"I don’t remember asking you a god-damn thing!" I shout at my mom.

That’s when the strike came across my cheek from Natalia’s hand. It wasn’t forceful. I knew it wasn’t meant to hurt me. It was merely meant to grab my attention.

"I’ll never strike a child in the face," Natalia began, "but you’re not a girl anymore; you’re a young woman. And I’ll be DAMNED if I’m going to stand here and listen to you disrespect the woman I love. Now if you want answers, we’ll give them to you, to the best of our abilities, since I don’t think either one of us have all the answers, but know this…you will not continue to speak to us in contempt. You got it?"

I start to tear up. Not from the sting of my cheek, but the sting in my heart. Six years mom and I spent alone and for what? Chessie? For me? I didn’t get it. I clear my throat and wipe my eyes.

"You said you had me and Chessie to think about? What does that mean?"

My mom nods. "Chessie deserved to have a home with both parents that loved her. And you, well, you’d already lost Derek when his parents thought Natalia and I were a couple. Remember the ‘Two Mommies’ report you did for Ms. Jenkins? Well, I didn’t want you, or Chessie, to grow up as social lepers."

"So instead of having Chessie be my sister, you decided to make her a distance cousins of sorts?" I watch them both shrug. "And instead of the farmhouse with a real family, around a real Christmas tree, I spent my years here in a hotel, watching you mope without knowing why? And this was better for everyone? Because?"

"You were just a kid," my mom tries.

"I’m not a kid anymore. Natalia just said so, but still, even as a young woman, this makes no kind of sense. How was this supposed to help any of us?!"

I feel myself growing angry again.

"Emma, calm down," Natalia tries.

"No," I point at her. "If you were my other mommie, you’d have the right to tell me how to behave, but you’re nothing to me, okay?" She looks wounded as she turns away, but I don’t care. She’s not my mom – she’s my mom’s fuck buddy. That’s all and nothing more. "And don’t tell me this secret fuckfest was for MY benefit. Jodi has two dads now and my friend Roger was raised his whole life with two moms. Neither of them are social pariahs. I don’t get to be your scapegoat because you’re too afraid to live your life in the open."

"I’m not the one who’s afraid!" Natalia shouts in my face. "For years, I’ve offered to leave Frank, but your mother wouldn’t hear of it. If I wanted to keep her I played by her rules, but I can’t do it anymore." I watch as Natalia appears to be directing her comments to both of us. "I can’t lie to Frank anymore."

I should feel for her as she stands there – her eyes moist with unshed tears, but I don’t. I’m still pissed.

"You won’t lie to Frank anymore," I say firmly. "Because he’s not going to stay in the dark about this."

"What are you saying Emma?" my mom asks.

"Either you end this…fling… or she leaves Frank, for good. You’ve got one week. After that, I’m going to Frank with what I know."

"You wouldn’t?" they both say in tandem.

"The hell I won’t," I say. "He’s a good man and he deserves the truth. Everyone deserves the truth. And if you don’t have the guts, I do."

"Emma, no," my mom begins.

"It doesn’t matter," Natalia interrupts and faces my mom. "I’m telling Frank tonight that I want a divorce. My statement from before Emma arrived still stands. If you want to date Matt, that’s fine. I’ll hate it because… you won’t be dating me. I’m not going to lie to anyone else anymore."

"Natalia," my mom tries again.

"And I will be leaving Frank," Natalia continues. "That’s going to happen no matter what you decide. So you have to make a choice. Are you brave enough to let the world know you love me?…Do you love me?"

Natalia’s voice cracks as if she’s afraid of the answer. I look to my mom too, waiting on her reply.

"More than life," she whispers with tears in her eyes.

"Then be brave with me. I don’t want Frank to think I’m leaving him for you because I’m not, Olivia." She then turns to me and says, "And I’m not leaving because you threatened us, Jellybean. I’m leaving him because it’s the right thing to do. I lived a lie because I didn’t want to hurt him and I didn’t want to lose your mom. I did what she thought was best, but…no matter how much I love her I just can’t do it anymore."

"What about Chessie?" my mom asks.

"She’ll be fine with two moms, like I would have been." I can’t hide the disappointment in my voice. I hang my head and I feel Natalia pull me into an embrace. She kisses the crown of my head as I rest it on her shoulder.

She pulls back and I lift my head to face my mom.

"I don’t want Frank to know of the affair now," Natalia says to no one in particular. "It’ll just hurt him more. But over time I do want a life with you, Olivia. And that means no more stolen glances. No more secret rendezvous. However, I still promise great, adventurous sex if you’re up to it."

I pull away from Natalia and shake with the willies. I hate the prospect of my mom and sex – not with Natalia, just anyone because…ewww.

"Too much information?" Natalia teases.

Okay. That was funny. I grin slightly.

"Anyway," Natalia says as she walks over to my mom. She kisses her tenderly on the lips and then strokes her face. My heart breaks again a little. Six years of possible happiness, gone, for everyone. "I’ll see you tomorrow…or maybe tonight depending on how things go with Frank. Mind if I crash here if it comes to that?"

"You can stay," I answer before my mom can reply. How could we say no? She’s my other mommie after all.

Chapter 10

When a woman says those four dreaded words, 'We need to talk,' it's never a good thing. Of course, the other four that came a few minutes ago were much worse - 'I want a divorce.'

I clear my throat after a long silence between us as we sit in our bedroom while Chessie watches cartoons downstairs.

"At least you're not leaving like Eleni did. You're not running off to California for months on end with our daughter." I clear my throat again. I start to feel overwhelmed by what's happening now, but I also find myself reliving what happened years ago. Another woman I love is leaving me. "You're not going to do that, are you? You're not gonna leave Springfield and take her?"

"I'd never keep your child from you," she answers. "Francesca loves you. A-and…I love you too, Frank - just not the way married people should love each other."

"Maybe it's not too late," I tell her, feeling excited at the prospect of rekindling things. If love is there, then maybe…. "Maybe we can get that spark back."

"That spark was never there," she says matter-of-factly. My hopes fall again. "I'm sorry, but it's true. At least for me, it's not there. I thought eventually it would grow, but it's not and…Life is short. I want that spark. You deserve that spark too."

"I have that with you."

"You need someone to reciprocate it," she counters. "I never will and it's time to stop pretending it might happen."

I can only nod. Truth is, I'm afraid to open my mouth. But the longer I'm quiet, the more anger I feel.

"Tell me this," I say trying to keep my voice steady. "You'll tear apart this family because you're…bored, and want some fireworks?"

She shakes her head. "This isn't about boredom," she replies.

I stand and start to pace. "Sounds like it to me. You'd rather break apart Francesca's stable home so you can find someone with a spark…or maybe you did find someone so now you're taking off."

She shakes her head. "I'm leaving for me – no one else."

I don't believe that, and the longer I look at her, the more I wonder…

"Are the rumors really true?" I finally ask.

She looks away. At first, I can't believe it. She's avoiding the question. They ARE true, but how can that be? She's the most devote Catholic woman I've ever know. But the truth is becoming unavoidable now.

"They are, aren't they?" I add.

"Frank," she begins.

I don't say anything. I just wait for her to continue, but she says nothing. And that tells me everything. She closes her mouth firmly and stands up. She takes my hands in hers.

"I'm leaving because I want to find a kind of happiness that you'll never be able to give me. I want Chessie to see her mother in a relationship where everything 'works'."

"What the hell does that mean? Works? We work Natalia."

She shakes her head and lets me go. I watch her walk to the closet and pull out her overnight bag.

"Where are you going?" I ask.

"You don't get it, Frank. You're not going to get it. I think it's best if I go."

"And stay where? Your girlfriend's hotel? Tell me Natalia, how many rooms at the Beacon have you done it?"    

"Frank…" she mutters as she goes to her dresser.

"She's a snake! She always has been and she always will be. You'll find out though. In a few months, maybe even a couple of years if you're 'lucky', she'll get 'bored' with you and you'll see first hand what happens." She continues to put items into the bag, but I can't stop. "She did it to me. She did it to my dad. Josh Lewis. Alan Spaulding. Hell, half of Springfield. But now she's working on the other half. Natalia, mark my words, the woman's a slut."

"Don't!" she pushes a finger toward my face. "You don't know her!"

"And you do? In the biblical sense?" Again, my wife looks away. "So it's true then?" I ask as I already begin to nod.

Natalia still hasn't said anything.

"I told you, and I meant it Frank," she starts, "I'm leaving for me – no one else. And you have no right to talk about Olivia like that."

"The hell I don't. That bitch is stealing my wife," I hiss only inches from her ear.

"I was never yours to begin with," she counters hotly.

 

My hands react before my brain can and I grab her arm roughly. She flinches and immediately I regret the action. I don't want to hurt her. I never wanted to hurt her. I only wanted to love her. But that's over now.

I release her and start to walk to the door. It's over now. It's really over.

"Take Chessie with you tonight. I have court in the morning."

With that, I leave the room as my wife leaves me.

Chapter 11

I’m not sure what’s happening, but I know it’s not good. Ma walked to the upstairs banister and leaned over the edge. In a quiet voice she said to pack an overnight bag. That might seem like nothing out of the ordinary, except that it's a school night. My first reaction is to ask where we’re going. But there's something about the look on her face that tells me not to say a word.

"Now?" I ask in a polite voice because, for some reason, I can tell something just isn't right.

"Yes, Baby. We're going to Olivia and Emma’s for the night."

Again, I should be happy. But the smile never comes. It seems like a really long time since we stayed with the two of them. Sure, I see them on holidays, and on the weekends now and then. But we don't often get a chance to have sleepovers. Yet this time, there's just something heavy in the air.

I watch Ma walked back into her bedroom as she passes Pop. He looks odd too. I think maybe they had a fight, but they don't seem angry. Or maybe…they seem more sad than angry. That’s it…they look sad. I don't question the way he looks as he walks by going to the kitchen.

I find myself rooting on my spot on the sofa. I'm not sure which direction I should go. Should I follow pop or do I go upstairs to Ma? When I hear Ma yelled down to remind me to get started packing, the decision is made.

I put all my items in my small duffel bag - shirt, jeans, underwear, pajamas. As I start to zip up the bag when I remember I forgot about my socks and my toothbrush. I grab the socks, but conveniently forget the toothbrush. It's only one night after all. With the way mom seems to be distracted I don't think she'll notice. As I finish, grab my brown teddy bear named Boo-Boo and tuck him under my arm. I got him two years ago from Grandpops after I broke my arm on the jungle gym at the park. I remember how mad Pop was at Olivia.

But wasn't her fault, and Emma did try to catch me. I lost my grip a little too soon and landed the wrong way. I still don't understand why he was mad with Olivia because she picked me up and carried me to the car as Emma opened the doors. Then she took me to the hospital really fast, and even crossed a few red lights along the way. If my arm hadn’t hurt so much I’d even say it was fun.

I think that Pop thought maybe if he or Ma was there that I wouldn't have gotten hurt. Sometimes though, no matter how protected you think you are, and no matter how you might try to prevent it… you can still get hurt.

I hear Ma call for me again, but this time I'm already on my way downstairs. She asked if I have everything, and I fib and say yes. She doesn't need to know about the missing toothbrush. What she doesn't know won't hurt her. Of course we are going to a hotel, and the Beacon does have complementary toothbrushes. So I might not get out of brushing my teeth tonight, but I can sure try.

The trip over to the hotel is unusually quiet. Ma seems to be lost in her thoughts. I'd like to say something, but I'm not sure what I could say. I decide I could always start with a question.

"Did you and Pop up a fight?"

"No, Honey."

There’s another long silence between us.

"You and Pop don't talk much anymore, do you?"

She turns to me for a moment and gives me a sad smile.

"You've noticed, huh?"

"Yeah," I say quietly as I nod my head. I'm not sure what more I can say.

"Well," my Ma begins, "I think it's best for all of us if your dad and I live apart for a while."

I'm not completely shocked by her words. But at the same time, it feels devastating. I love my parents. I also love my parents together. I have so many questions in my mind right now but I can't seem to form just one. It's a lot to take in. If you get married, you promise until death do you part. Both my parents are still alive. So what does that mean? In fact, that's a great question.

"So what does that mean?"

"Honestly," she begins, "I'm not sure Chessie."

"Are you leaving me?"

"No baby."

"Are you taking me away from dad?"

"No. I wouldn't do that either."

I'm quiet and I consider her words. Then I ask, "So we're all still going to live at the farmhouse?"

"No," she answers.

"If you’re not leaving, does that mean that Pop is leaving?"

"I don't know yet, Sweetheart."

I'm not sure how to react at the prospect of my Pop leaving me. Sure, he works a lot of hours; he's missed a few dinners over the years. But I know when I go to bed at night he's always there. Now I don't know where he's going to be, or even where I'm going to be, or even where Ma is gonna be. I feel like I want to cry, but I'm not sure why. It's not like I have a definite answer from anyone about what's happening. I have even more questions than before and now my head starts to hurt.

I guess I was right… Tonight isn’t going to be happy visit.

Chapter 12

I watch Emma open the door as Francesca and Natalia make their way inside. I’m not sure how I’d say they appear. Sad. Scared. I’m usually pretty good at reading people, but this time…I’m drawing a blank and I don’t like it.

I have to admit I’m shocked she did it. I didn’t think she’d ever leave him; at least not while Chessie was still in the house, but…stranger things have happened I guess.

Emma’s had a bug up her ass all night, but it’s nice to see she lowers her guard to let the pair deeper into the suite.

"Thanks for letting us stay tonight," Natalia says to no one in particular.

"That’s fine," Emma says in a short tone. She’s not happy with Natalia – not even a little. Her mood lightens though when she faces Chessie. "I got Rock Band 6 last night. You wanna play?"

Finally, the young girl gives a ghost of a smile and nods. Emma grins too and takes her by the hand, leading her to the other area of the suite. It’s just as well, we’ve got some planning to do.

"Doris," Olivia says as she waves me over. "Why don’t we head to the bedroom?"

"You know," I whisper with a teasing tone, "I’ve waited years to hear you say that."

Both women grin slightly at me before Olivia tosses one of the sofa throw pillows my way. In silence we make our way to the bedroom and Olivia shuts the door as Natalia and I take a seat on the bed.

"How do our chances look here?" Olivia says as she paces. It’s been years since I’ve seen her this nervous; unhinged. I’m not sure why. She’s getting the girl; everything I’d ever dream of, if only I had the courage. But this isn’t about me at the moment.

"He can’t discriminate against you based on sexual orientation. That’ll fall under the Curtis Weinburg Act of 2013. However," I stress. "He can try to show that Natalia is unfit because of the affair, her long work hours, trips away. Is it a solid case for him? No. Will he get sole custody of Francesca because of it? Probably not. Is there a chance I’m wrong? In the hands of a certain judge with a grudge…perhaps. I won’t lie. Anytime you go to court, it’s a gamble. But if you asked me if I thought this was the end of the universe for you all, in my professional opinion, no."

"So," Natalia says and then clears her throat. "You don’t see me losing Francesca by staying with Olivia? I mean if she still wants me."

I look to Olivia to see she’s not looking at Natalia. Maybe she doesn’t ‘want the girl’ after all. I try to put on a poker face as I address Natalia.

"Depending on how jaded Frank feels about it all, it can be a very hard and stressful time until Chessie turns 18. And if she gets married, has kids, well, you’ll still probably be arguing about where the grandkids will be staying for Christmas. You might be in for a long 12 years…and beyond. Then again, maybe Frank will let it go. If he’s been unhappy he might come to welcome the divorce. But I’m not the one you should be asking those question to."

"He was…mad," Natalia replies. "But…oh hell, I don’t know. I just…." She looks like she’s near tears. I look to Olivia and expect her to take the woman in her arms, but she doesn’t. She just continues to pace. What the fuck is her problem?

"Come here," I say as I open my arms to Natalia.

She easily slips inside my embrace. She’s warm, soft. I miss this contact with a woman – and a beautiful woman at that. If Olivia pushes this woman aside, friendship or not…Natalia would be a woman worth coming out for I think.

I close my eyes as I tighten my hold. She returns the embrace as well and that’s when I feel her begin to shake slightly. I can tell she’s crying. Great. I’ve got my best friend’s gal crying in my arms with ‘said best friend’ pacing like an expectant father in a baby delivery waiting room circa 1954. This is ridiculous.

I pull away and take Natalia by the upper arms. "It’ll be okay," I tell her.

"You don’t know that," she says.

"Yeah, I do," I tell her with conviction that startles me a bit. "You’re going to be fine. Chessie will be fine. And Frank too. Not in the next day or maybe even the next year. But this won’t last forever. You’ll all find life can be much more. You’ll see." Olivia hasn’t said anything and now I’m getting pissed. Yes, I agreed to come here as her friend; to offer some legal council and even represent Natalia if need be. I, however, didn’t sign on to be a shoulder to cry on. Besides, what’s there to cry about? They should both be happy she’s free now. When Olivia still hasn’t said anything, I turn back to Natalia. "Excuse us a minute, Natalia."

I then rise and grip Olivia’s elbow with slightly more force than necessary. Wordless, I lead her out of the suite and into the hallway.

Chapter 13

"What the fuck is your problem?"

Doris is pissed with me. I get that. I really do. I’m pissed with myself.

More than anything right now, I’m just…shell-shocked.

Emma ultimatum or not, I’m surprised she went through with it. She left him. Six years later…she left him. But will it be for good? Will she run back to him at the first sign of prejudice against us? Is there an ‘us’?

Of course there is an ‘us.’ I can’t deny that part of it. I love her to the depths of what little soul I have. But I also know deep down I should leave her. She needs more than I can give her.

"Olivia!" Doris hisses.

"What?" I ask impatiently.

"What’s wrong?" Her voice is softer this time…kinder.

"Nothing," I lie. Maybe she’ll let it go.

"Bullshit."

Of course not – this is Doris Wolfe. I watch her point to my suite as she continues and says, "The woman you’ve been pining over and…hiding with…wants a life – a real life with you. Yet you’re treating her like a leper. So what gives?"

"You don’t get it," I reply.

"Then make me understand why a woman as wonderful as Natalia is crying on MY shoulder tonight."

"I just…I can’t do it, Doris. I can’t do this."

"What? Be with Natalia. Because honestly, there’re a lot of woman who’d gladly take your place."

There’s something about the way she said the words sets me off a little.

"Are you gonna make a play for Natalia?"

"What the hell do you care?" she counters. "You can’t do it after all. You said it yourself."

"Don’t throw that in my face."

"You put it out there, Olivia. And for the record, I’d never try to steal Natalia, or any woman, from you. I’m a mega-bitch, I’ll give you that. But I do have my scruples. Again, not many – but they do exist."

"So taking another woman’s gal is on the list of ‘do nots’?"

"No, I’ve taken other women’s lovers. Just not yours. I wouldn’t do that to you." Oddly, I believe her. "Besides," she goes on, "even if I wanted her, she’s only got eyes for you. But I’m starting to think the feeling isn’t mutual…Be honest…Did she leave Frank for nothing?"

"She left Frank…for her. You heard what she said."

"Maybe," Doris replied. "But I also heard her sound so broken at the prospect that you might not want her now. So…do you?"

"Do I what?"

"Do you want her?"

"I’ve never wanted anyone more." And that’s the truth.

"So what’s the prob-?"

"Me. I’m the problem."

"Oh, God. Not more of the ‘I’m not worthy’ shit again," she sighs.

"No, well, yes, a part of me still feels I’ve got little to give her – just whispered stares and canceled play dates for Francesca."

"Olivia," she says impatiently.

"It’s more though." I stop her before she can start the pep talk. "I never wanted her to leave Frank for me because…"

"Because…?"

"I’m living on borrowed time, Doris. I always have been since Gus. With Frank, she’d have someone to grow old with. And with me she’s got someone to grow… middle-aged with at best, and nothing more."

Doris grins and shakes her head. It’s not a happy grin. It’s one I know well that usually comes with some kind of insult.

"You’re an ass." And there it is. "You don’t get it, Olivia. She’d rather have five minutes of real love with you than fifty loveless years with Frank, and I don’t blame her. Some people look their entire lives for less. I know personally that I’ve looked for it and I know if I had a woman like Natalia, well, coming out wouldn’t be an issue."

"Again, I’ll ask, do you have designs on my girl?"

"Is she your girl? Because right now she’s thinking you don’t want her."

"That’s not true."

"I know that look. She’s filled with so much doubt now and the one person she’s come to depend upon looks rattled to the core. That’s why instead of planning your future I’m in your bed holding her in my arms."

"You do want her." Bitch.

"Again, no. I’m pointing out that she’s worth holding on to – regardless of whether it’s for a few minutes or a few decades."

"I don’t have decades."

"Who’s to say any of us will be here tomorrow? But really, that heart that Rick put in didn’t have an expiration date like a gallon of milk, did it?"

I grin. Doris can always make me grin. "Did it?" she presses me again.

"No."

"No," she repeats. "So get in there and start living your life, Olivia. She’s counting on you…and honestly, so am I. You’ve finally got a chance to do the right thing, so do it."

She’s right, but I’ll be damned if I’ll say that out loud. With her smirk she’s wearing I know I don’t have to acknowledge it. She knows she’s right so resigned to my fate….my wonderful fate of a life with a great woman…I walk back into my suite with renewed confidence.

Chapter 14

I shoot up from the bed when I hear the door open and I watch as Olivia and Doris walk inside.

"You wanna live with me?" Olivia asks. "Make this real?"

"It's always been real to me," I tell her. "But…what about Matt? I though you wanted-."

"Forget Matt," she interrupts me. "I only wanted someone to be there. I just know I don't have much time with a borrowed heart and… I-I…I've always wanted you, always, but-."

"No 'buts,' Olivia. I'll take whatever time I can get and cherish it."

Olivia gets that bashful grin I love, but rarely see.

"That's what she said," she says as she pitches a thumb over her shoulder to Doris, who's standing behind her.

"For once, she's right," I tease. Then I look serious. "But are you…are you sure you want me, really?"

Olivia says nothing. I'm not sure what to do as she makes her way over. Without any warning she cups my face while possessively grabbing my hip. Our bodies shake slightly at the impact and immediately I feel myself grow wet with desire. It's just one simple gesture, and after all this time together, it still stirs something deep within me.

Her lips find mine – relentless and possessive. She answers my question without a word. It reminds me of when we started this secret affair. After our first sexual experience together we decided we'd take the high road; be noble. We'd put aside any attraction and focus on raising our daughters; building the Beacon; going through the other motions of day-to-day life. And we did…for exactly seven days. The pull for each other was just too great to resist.

We were in her office looking over sales figures for a property in Cincinnati. For most of the day my eyes kept traveling to her cleavage that her Armani suit jacket didn't cover. But I'd shake it off and quickly move my eyes back to the spreadsheets in hand. It was almost lunchtime when she finally caught me staring. I regained myself with a shy grin and put my nose back into the file folder I had in my hand. It took all I had, but I focused on last years' occupancy totals. But then I heard the door lock behind me click into place. I looked up to see Olivia had left her desk.

Closing the file, I turned around to see Olivia unbutton the jacket. She slowly pulled it off her shoulders, leaving her clothed in nothing more than her pen striped pants and the deep, v-next blouse.

"Wh-What are you doing?" I asked. My mouth went dry.

Wordless, she pulled me to my feet. She used her fingertips to start to gather the material of my skirt, pulling it higher.

"Olivia, you wanted to for-forget this," I stammered with my growing desire leaving me tongue-tied.

She still said nothing.

Silently, her fingers trailed up my leg and reached into my panties. My breath caught in my throat and I moaned instinctively. My body moved of its own accord and my pelvis thrust forward to meet her hand. It was just a single stroke. She removed her wet fingers and brought them to her own lips. I watched, my own mouth open, as she sucked and licked them dry. Then she did something I'll never forget. She kicked off her shoes and dropped the pen stripped pants. I watched as she ran her fingers inside her panties. When she pulled them out she offered them up to me.

I took her wrist and held her fingers there for a moment, just savoring the smell of her arousal. Once more, I moaned while she continued to remain silent. My mouth salivated at the prospect of tasting her again – something we swore wouldn't happen again. Being 'noble' though was getting harder. Finally, I couldn't hold back. Besides, it was just one taste. I could walk away after that so I pulled her wrist toward me and began to lick and suck her fingers. At one point I found myself performing a fellatio on her index finger and only then did she begin to make a sound. It was a whimper of lust and desire I'd never quite heard in my lifetime.

"Again," I begged in a throaty whisper. Turns out I was wrong. Once wasn't enough.

Instead of waiting for her to move, I led her hand back to her own center and together we began to guide her fingers across her sex, until they were glistening wet again. I brought her fingers into my mouth once more and sucked the sweetness from them.

She quickly pulled her fingers from my mouth and used her hand to capture the side of my head. Her other hand took my hip and pulled our bodies together.

Then she kissed me.

It reminded me of the last time. Our desire was unstoppable once more. As our tongues began to battle for control I knew at that point we'd lost ours – completely. There was no way I could be around this woman and stay in control. She made my pulse race far too much to ignore it. And the truth is, I didn't want to ignore it. I wanted to relish in it, dive into it headlong and never come back.

She pulled her lips from mine and began to search out my neck and earlobe.

"Please," she growled in a primitive tone as she nipped at my flesh.

It was just a word, but I knew what she was asking. She wanted to taste me, feel me, devour me…and I'd gladly give myself to her, no matter what half-hearted promise we'd made the week earlier.

"Yes," I whispered as my fingers worked into her long locks, pulling her closer.

With a grunt, she shoved everything off the desk in one large swoop. She pulled my skirt up and my panties down and mere seconds later she whisked me up to sit on the edge of the desk. With one thigh over her shoulder and one heel on the edge of the desk, I raised my buttocks off the desk as she dove between my legs. I began to grind back and forth, up and down, into her face. She lapped and licked and sucked and nuzzled every millimeter of my sex with abandon.

Her hands reached under and cupped my ass, pulling me even closer as her fingernails dug into the soft flesh. I cried out in pleasure and pain as I felt my orgasm approaching.

"Fuck me, Liv," I called down to her.

She moved away slightly and plunged three fingers inside of me without any warning or build up. Then she moved her hand at lightening speed.

"That what you want?" she asked, in a shortness of breath.

I could only nod as my pelvis thrust along with her fingers, striving for all the desire I could pull from them.

"Tell me," she demanded as her thumb reached up slightly and began to make contact with my clitoris. The quick bumping felt like heaven. Yes, it was incredible. Yes, it was divine. And yes, I'd never give this up…ever.

All I could manage though was the word "yes" over and over again as I continued to ride her hand and she continued to use her fingers to fuck me senseless.

My words turned to moans and grunts of need. I grabbed her wrist and held her hand still as I went to work, bouncing away on the appendage.

"That's it, Baby. Fuck my hand," she whispered to me. "Fuck it hard."

I looked down and watched her hand filling me, but what put me over the edge was the expression on her face when I looked up. She wore something that somewhat resembled a snarl as she bit her lower lip. She was totally engrossed in my desire and I knew in that moment the only 'noble' thing to do was giving myself to this woman. She was, without a doubt, the love of my life and with that thought I shattered and collapsed on her desk.

In this moment though, right now, back in her suite, her kisses still have the same power - everything else fades away when Olivia kisses me. All of it's gone – the impending divorce battle, the explanation I'll have to give Chessie for my 'new' relationship with Olivia…heck even the fact that Doris is in the room melts away until I hear her the woman clear her throat to get our attention.

"Sorry," I mutter as I nuzzle into Olivia's neck.

"Are you?" Olivia asks.

"What?"

"Sorry for kissing me like that? In front of someone."

"Who? Doris?"

Olivia only nods.

"Doris is nobody," I say as a wave her off.

"Gee, thanks," she says from the door.

I smile. "You know what I mean. You've seen us kiss before," I add.

"She hasn't," another voice adds.

We all turn to see Emma at the door of the Jack and Jill bathroom with Francesca standing there.

Emma pitches a finger toward Francesca.

"Now might be a good time to explain why her mommy and daddy aren't going to live together anymore," she suggests sarcastically.

Two thoughts enter my mind.

First, when did Emma become such a vindictive bitch and second…

Oh, shit.

Chapter 15

"Now might be a good time to explain why her mommy and daddy aren't going to live together anymore," Emma suggests sarcastically.

‘Oh, Christ’ is my first thought. I’d like to strangle my daughter some times; more days than not lately since a sixteen year old with hormones and chip on her shoulder are hell to live with.

At this moment, I’d give anything for some kind or reprieve; some distraction. Ironically, there’s a loud banging at the door that makes everyone jump.

"Olivia! Open the door!" Frank yells.

‘Oh Christ’ I think again. ‘Gotta be careful what I wish for.’

I’m not sure what to do and I see Emma rush past Doris and open the door. Frank moves inside swiftly and looks around. He assesses who’s there and surprisingly his eyes fall to Doris.

"What are you doing here?" he asks shortly.

By the way Doris has squared her shoulders at his remark I can tell…this isn’t going to go well. She’s getting pissed.

"I’m Natalia Cooper’s lawyer, that’s who. The bigger question is-."

"Get the girls out if here," he tells her as he points to Emma, who’d returned to Francesca’s side.

I watch my daughter put a protectively around Francesca’s shoulder. For a second I ache over what might have been if only I’d been braver. For starters, we wouldn’t be here, I’m sure of that. And although I’ve seen Frankie mad before, it’s never been like this. I can literally see the blood pumping in his veins, making the artery in his neck throb.

Doris looks to me with an unsure expression. She’s thinking the same thing I am. It might not be safe leaving the three of us alone, but she’s thinking of the safety of the kids too.

"Now Doris!" Frank yells and pulls his gun from its holster.

"Take ‘em to the lobby," I tell her. "Now!"

"Olivia-," she says unsure.

"Do it!" Frank tells her.

"No," Doris shakes her head. "Emma, get Francesca out of here. The girls can go, but I’m staying, Frank." No one is moving and Frank’s getting more agitated. He raises the gun and points it at Doris’s temple.

The room seems to take a collective breath.

"You too!" he tells her and cocks the trigger.

"Daddy, no!" Francesca yells.

I’m thankful Emma keeps a tight hold on her, preventing her from going near him. I find my body and arms are entrapping Natalia behind me, but I’m helpless when it comes to aiding Doris.

Doris looks over at Emma and Francesca’s, both of whom are crying and trying not to make too much noise in the quiet room.

"Auntie D," Emma says as she motions to the door, "come with us, okay? It’ll be alright. He won’t hurt anyone. Right, Frank?"

"I mean it, Doris, out!" Frank says taking a step closer, completely ignoring Emma. If I thought I was close enough, I’d dive for the gun. First things first though. The girls. We’ve got to get the girls out of here fast.

"I’ll make a deal," Doris says. "I’ll go with the girls, but you give me the gun. After you’ve had a chance to talk, you’ll get it back and I won’t report what happened here. So what do you say? I don’t want you pissing your life and career aside in a moment of anger. It’ll only hurt Francesca and the rest of your family. Deal?"

Doris turns slowly to Frank, who now has the barrel pointed directly between her eyes. I pray his finger doesn’t slip. The seconds feel like hours and suddenly I’m finding it difficult to breath. That’s when I realize I’m holding my own breath, waiting to see what he decides to do next.

Chapter 16

I can tell. He’s considering it.

"Please, Frank? Hand me the gun?" I ask.

My arm is steady, which is a shock considering I have a .38 pointed between my eyes. It’s not the first time I’ve been threatened with a gun, and knowing my track record with women on the down low, it probably won’t be the last.

"Don’t do it for me or even them," I say motioning my head toward Olivia and Natalia behind me. I then nod toward my left. "Do it for her," I say pointing out Francesca.

Frank looks over, and for the first time since entering the room, he notices her and how upset she’s become. Wordless, he lowers his arm and the room seems to take a collective sigh. Next, he uncocks the gun and spins the butt toward me. I take it off his finger gingerly and look to the girls.

I quickly open the revolver and drop the bullets into my hand, putting them in my pants pocket.

"Come on," I tell them. "Deal’s a deal. We’re outta here."

I motion toward the door and make sure the girls go out first. As I close the door behind me, I mouth to Olivia, ‘I’ll be back.’ She doesn’t nod with her head exactly – it’s more like a movement of her eyes that let’s me know she got the message.

Once in the hallway, I jog a short way to catch Emma and Francesca at the elevator.

"You can’t leave my mom in there," Emma says.

I don’t reply. Time is of the essence here. I can’t leave him alone with them for long.

"Aunt Doris-," she starts again as the elevator doors open.

"Get in," I say cutting her off.

"No!" Emma says as she turns and starts toward the suite door again.

I hook her by the arm and spin her so I have her pinned. I shove her inside the elevator car, taking Francesca with me too. Both girls end up at the back of the elevator as I press the ‘lobby’ button and climb inside, I make sure to block any exit path for Emma.

Once the doors were closed I address her.

"Don’t be a nitwit. I’m not leaving them! We need to get to the lobby so you can call the cops."

"But you said you wouldn’t tell…" Francesca starts.

"Sweetie," I try to say as diplomatically as possible. "Your dad is really upset right now and he’s not thinking very clearly. I have to go back in there, but we need the police to help protect everyone – even him right now. And for the record, I didn’t lie. I’m not going to tell the police. Emma is."

I then turn to Emma.

"When you get them on the line tell them there’s a domestic dispute and WAIT for them to show up. You need to tell them where to go so we don’t lose any time. Got it?" Emma nods. "I asked if you understand, yes or no?!" I insist.

The last thing I need is Emma Spencer-Spaulding going off all half-cocked and trying to play a hero here.

"Yes, I understand," she says.

"I don’t," Francesca whimpers. "I don’t understand anything. Why did Daddy show up with his gun? Was it because my mom was kissing Aunt Olivia? And why was she kissing Aunt Olivia like that? Are they in love now? I…I don’t know what’s gonna happen." She starts to cry.

Oh, what a clusterfuck this has become. My heart aches for this kid and I pull her to me and kiss the top of her head.

"Listen to me real close, okay?"

She nods.

"I need you to Emma’s helper right now, alright? Don’t worry about anything else right now, got it? If you help Emma do what she needs to do, then you’ll be helping your parents up there."

"Did you know Aunt Doris?" Emma asks. "About our moms, I mean?"

I just nod at first.

Francesca turns to me. "So mom loves Aunt Olivia and not my Daddy anymore?" she asks.

"I’m not sure if it’s love," Emma replies before I can say anything. "It’s more like lust."

"Lemme tell you something, Ms. Smart Ass," I say pointing a finger at her. "Your mom would die for her mother. And that’s the truth."

Emma’s quiet for a moment. "What if she does…What if she does die for her?"

I take a deep breath and blow it out, trying to relax myself.

"That’s what I’m trying to prevent."

The doors open thankfully before she could ask anything more. I motion them out and immediately press the suite floor.

"Go. Let the manager know what’s going on and make that call."

As the doors close, I see Emma nod and take Francesca by the hand as they head toward the front desk.

"…God, don’t let me be too late," I mutter to myself as I dig into my back pocket – credit card, driver’s license…ah ha! Pass key.

‘I’m coming ladies, just hang on.’

Chapter 17

"Storming my home? Threatening my friends and family with a gun? Frank, what are you doing here?" Olivia asks me.

There’s a sincerity and concern in her voice that catches me off guard.

"I don't know," I answer. "I really don't know. I just…I want answers! I need answers!"

"You haven't asked a question yet," Natalia says.

"What's the point?" I say, the defeat evident in my voice. And really, what is the point? I can't trust either one of them since they've been carrying on behind my back for… "How long?" I ask.

Natalia's head is down. She can't face me.

"A long time," Olivia says and then clears her throat.

"When?" I ask. "Last month? Last year?"

"Not long after Francesca was born," Olivia replies. That response makes Natalia's head shoot up. She looks at Olivia with disapproval. "What?" she asks my wife. "He wants the truth and it's time he got it."

For once, I agree with Olivia.

"Is it true?" I ask my wife. "Six years? Really?"

She only nods, but then she looks at Olivia and adds, "We didn't want to hurt you."

"Look at me!" I order her, which forces her eyes her way. "Don't look to her. I want YOU to talk to ME. At least have the decency to look me in the eye as you explain your… unfaithfulness."

"What else do you want to know, Frank?" she asks defiantly. Her nostrils flair; she's mad. Good.

"When. I want to know when this started!"

"The February after Chessie was born, okay?!" Natalia says.

I do the math in my head. "You slept with her after having Chessie, but before you slept with me again?"

I watch her shrug her shoulders. "Maybe – I don't remember when you and I had sex again."

"I do. You kept putting me off because of the 'baby' so we didn't have sex until almost Easter that year. I remember because it was the night we went to Pops to plan Easter dinner."

"Like I said, I don't remember, Frank!"

"You can't recall if you fucked her first after our daughter was born?"

Her jaw sets for a moment. "Yes, okay, I did. I just can't give you a specific day."

I shake my head. I can't believe she lied to me THIS long.

Then I hear Olivia say, "It wasn't long after Valentine's Day because I remem- It was around Valentine's…"

"What?" I ask when she pauses.

"Nothing," she says.

"Oh, it's something alright, so out with it. Finish your sentence."

"We're not gonna hurt you, Frank."

"I got news for you, Olivia, it's a little too late for that. So go ahead, say whatever you want to say."

She charges toward me and Natalia grabs her arm, trying to pull her back.

"Fine! I remember thinking, it was a little late, but I got what I wanted most for Valentine's Day! I got her - HER Frank! The love of my entire life – the one I trained you to impress – she felt the same way about me! So yeah, it's been six years. Every trip we took together out of this goddamn, judgmental town was a blessing! She wanted to leave years ago, but I pushed her toward you because I only had a decade left, at the most! You, on the other hand, could take care of her for years. So I begged her to stay with you anytime she entertained the idea of leaving you! Is that what you want to know? Are you happy now with the truth?!"

"Nothing about this makes me happy! You have no idea what this means! Not only am I losing my wife, I'm losing her to a woman she's been fucking for years!" I bark out in a miserable laugh.

"Oh please!" Olivia spouts. "Are you telling me you had NO clue about us? Really?!"

I look away. Yeah, I had my suspicions.

"Come on, Frankie!" Olivia continues, "You want truthfulness, right?! How about being truthful with us too?!"

"Yeah, I had doubts! People talk, but sometimes its just talk! Besides she was still fucking me, Olivia. Did she tell you that, huh? Did she tell you how wet she'd get?"

"Frank!" Natalia yells.

Olivia, however, smirks.

"How many nights were her eyes closed, Frankie? 'Cause I'm bettin' she was thinkin' of me at the time."

"Enough!" Natalia yells. "Both of you, stop it!"

"No!" Olivia says as she waves her finger condescendingly at me. "Admit it."

"Admit what?" I yell. "I've done nothing wrong."

"Admit the real reason you looked away and didn't acknowledge it. If the affair was out in the open then that means-!"

I know what it means. I know why I didn't face the rumors. I'd rather let the lie go on than face the emasculation of not being 'man enough' for my wife. If I was a real man she wouldn't have gone to a woman. People would point and stare and say, 'That's the man that turns women gay.' With that thought, my hands find their way around Olivia's neck.

Her words are cut off and she's gasping. I hear Natalia scream, but I can't pry myself away. Neither can Natalia as she grabs my arm. I pull Olivia with me outside to the balcony as Natalia follows along, shouting and tugging at my arm. It's only after we're outside that I let go of Olivia and grab her by her oxford shirt. I slam her against the concrete and iron barrier and hoist her up so her shoulders are pointed toward the street while her ass is on the railing. Only my grip is what's saving her from careening over the edge.

"How's it feel, Olivia? Huh? Remember when you tried to chuck Ava over a balcony? Tell me how it feels, Bitch!"

"Frank, put her down!" Natalia screams.

I ignore my wife. "Twelve floors is a long way to fall, Olivia. Think you'll survive?"

"Don't do this Frank," Natalia screams again. I use my free hand and shove her away by the face. She falls on her backside and I focus on Olivia again.

"Still love my wife now? Do you?"

Olivia is holding onto my forearm, her nails digging into my skin. I give her a shake.

"You still love her now?! Answer me or I'm letting go!"

I know when faced with certain death Olivia will cave and Natalia will see the real Olivia who's only interest is protecting her own hide. Natalia is already on her feet again. I watch as Olivia turns her head and looks at Natalia who's still trying to pull us back from the edge.

"Short of my children…I've never loved anyone or anything in this world more," she replies to my astonishment.

Chapter 18 (I have six different endings to this tale because I couldn't decide which one I wanted to go with, so pick your favorite to end with.)

Ending #1

"Short of my children…I've never loved anyone or anything in this world more," she replies to my astonishment.

The look Olivia gives me as she utters the words seems less like a profession of love, but more of a final goodbye. She and I both feel the enormity of it.

It was always more than sex. I love this woman to the depths of my soul and she truly loves me.

I watch Frank release his grip on her shirt, but Olivia hangs on to his arm and starts to slip. I reach over the banister to try to grab her.

Maybe I can lead her to the wrought iron railing between the stone pillars if I can get a grip on her hand.

Before I can get that far though her body starts to swing from the momentum of being set free. This action throws Frank off balance too and he starts to slide over the edge with Olivia, who’s still hanging on. I reach for his waist to try to pull him up, but it’s no use, he starts to fall over the edge, taking me with them.

The last thing I feel is my shoe being pulled from my foot.

The last thing I see is Olivia’s fearful yet loving expression.

~~~~~

I’m in the lobby when I hear fearful screams and shouts as people on the sidewalk point upward toward the Beacon.

"What’s going on?" Francesca asks me.

Oh, shit.

"You stay here," I tell her. I see the night manager and call over to her. "Kelly? Don’t let her outside. Watch her. I’ll be back."

Francesca starts to say, "But Doris said to not…"

The rest of what she’s saying I tune out.

As I push my way through the lobby, I see people entering and I hear them. They’re saying things like, "What are they doing up there?" and "That woman’s going to fall! We gotta tell somebody."

I push myself through the crowd and a collective sound of awe and panic sweeps through the gather, before I get completely outside. Some people point their fingers skyward; others just cover their mouths with their hands in shock and fear. I finally make my way out enough to look up and I see two figures falling and then a third not far behind.

The sounds of three thuds are sickening. I can’t walk over there although people are racing to help. All I can manage is running to a nearby bush and throwing up.

~~~~~

I’m on my backside where I landed after trying to grab Natalia. In fact, I’m still holding onto her shoe, the only part I managed to snag.

I was too late… Goddamn it!

I don’t want to look over the edge. I’m afraid of what I’ll see. I can only hear the screams and voices shouting in a controlled panic, trying to get help. They’re down there. Dead. Down there where the…

"Girls!"

Immediately get to my feet and run back to the elevator. No child should see what just happened.

~~~~~

TWO YEARS LATER

I place a fresh bouquet of summer flowers in the iron vase. Behind the vase, a gravestone says, "Olivia Spencer" and the date of her birth and death. Immediately, to the right, is a double tombstone that reads ‘Cooper’. It too has the dates of Frank and Natalia’s birth and death. Aside from the birth dates there is one other difference. Natalia and Olivia’s death show a date that’s three days sooner than Frank’s.

I hear footsteps behind me and then feel a hand on my shoulder.

"I’m glad you could make it Auntie D," I say without turning around. I rise up and she puts an arm around my waist.

"How’d you know it was me?" she asked.

"I recognize the rustle of your coat; the speed of your steps, the smell of the perfume on your wrist."

"You’ll do well at law school next year. Keen observational details you have."

"Yeah, pity I didn’t figure out Mom and Natalia, huh?"

"They were careful…They loved you very much, both of them," she says.

I believe they did, but….

"You know one of the last things I said to my mom -- she was a coward and I hated her for the life she stole from me…and then she died." I start to tear up, but I push it down. I feel Doris kiss my temple. "And I was the one who opened that door. I let him in and…"

"Frank’s responsible here, Emma. You didn’t push them of the ledge and you had no inkling Frank would go to that extreme. Hell, I might have opened the door, if just to tell him to go away," she says firmly. "And she knows you love her and she knew you were just upset and reacting to the news the only way you knew how at the time."

There’s a quiet between us as I consider her words. I motion to the tombstones.

"I can’t believe Rafe was so blind to what happened. Even after the eyewitness accounts, he blamed my mother for ‘corrupting’ his mom and then still bury them together."

"Yeah, Frank might be there, but look where your mom’s at - right by Natalia’s side where she belongs."

"Cost me a pretty penny to buy it that lot from that old couple." I feel myself smirk. "But the look on Rafe’s face when he found out what I’d done was worth every penny."

"Despite what Rafe thinks…Your Mom and Natalia belong together."

"They do," I say with great certainty. The threat of tears start to surface again because I wish I had told her as much. I wish I had left Frank on the other side of the door. I close my eyes tight, trying to keep the ‘only if’s’ at bay.

"I always have one other comfort," I consider out loud.

"What’s that?"

"Frank Cooper went through a great deal of pain before he finally died. Mom and Natalia, the way they landed, they were gone in an instant…Am I wrong for being glad he suffered?"

Doris gave a light grin. "I actually prayed that he’d live."

I can’t hide the shock on my face. "What?"

She chuckles, "I did. If he survived he would have ended up in prison and believe-you-me…the inmates really, really don’t like cops. I would have made sure he was placed in general population. So in a way…the bastard got lucky. But yeah, I’m glad it wasn’t an easy exit for him."

I nod.

"I miss her so much," I say as I start to sob a little. "Natalia too. She was always there. Now Francesca’s living with Rafe and…"

Doris seems to pick up on my mood because she wraps her arm around mine.

"Hey! Enough doom and gloom! What do you say to lunch at Towers? My treat!"

"Oh, I’m eighteen now so lunch isn’t automatically free anymore," I tease.

"Hey, I just offered you a place to live these last couple of years. You didn’t think I’d let you’d have room and board forever, did ya?"

"Sure, I’ve got Spaulding money and all, but…yeah, I did!" I tell her with a chuckle.

She squeezes my hand. "Well, you’re right. I would," she says with the sincerity returning to her voice. "You picked me over everyone – your brothers and sisters, your uncle, your step-mother Beth…so if you need anything, just ask."

We get to the car and I pause. "I know I’m not the only one who feels guilty here." She turns away and starts to play with her jacket, but I take her hands, which forces her to look at me. "You went back up there when a lot of people would have run the other direction…and you tried. Don’t ever forget that because I know I won’t."

I watch her tear up too and nod.

She frees one of her hands and cups my face and says, "Your Mom would be proud of the woman you’ve become."

I know I gotta lighten things up. "And you know, Ms. Wolfe, if you decide to run for Senator, you’ve got a multi-millionaire backing you."

That makes her laugh slightly and I feel better.

"Thanks for the offer Miss Spencer. Come on," she says happily, trying to change the subject. I release her hand and she motions me to climb inside the car. "I’m starving."

I smile and open passenger door as Doris goes inside. My smile slips though as I look over at the gravestones and what might have been. With that thought, I climb inside too.

The End

Chapter 18

Ending #2

"Short of my children…I've never loved anyone or anything in this world more," she replies to my astonishment.

The look Olivia gives me as she utters the words seems less like a profession of love, but more of a final goodbye. She and I both feel the enormity of it.

It was always more than sex. I love this woman to the depths of my soul and she truly loves me.

I watch Frank release his grip on her shirt, but Olivia hangs on to his arm and starts to slip. I reach over the banister to try to grab her.

Maybe I can lead her to the wrought iron railing between the stone pillars if I can get a grip on her hand.

Before I can get that far though her body starts to swing from the momentum of being set free. This action throws Frank off balance too and he starts to slide over the edge with Olivia, who’s still hanging on. I reach for his waist to try to pull him up, but it’s no use, he starts to fall over the edge, taking me with them.

Suddenly, I’m pulled back and I fall on my backside with someone next to me. I turn my head and see it’s Doris. I quickly jump up and I attempt in vain to maybe grab Olivia. Yes, it’s impossible, but at this point my brain is trying anything it can think of. I hang over the edge and watch as they continue to fall. Doris roughly grabs my arm, pulling me from the balcony railing. She places her hand on the side of my face and buries my head under her chin, holding me in place. All I can do is cry as she and I both shake in each other’s arms.

ONE YEAR LATER

I place a fresh bouquet of summer flowers in the iron vase and continue to kneel there. Behind the vase, a gravestone says, "Olivia Spencer" and the date of her birth and death. It seems like such a small gesture for the love of my life.

"I miss you everyday, Olivia," I whisper. "Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you, but I’ve had some help to make the pain hurt less. But you know that, I’m sure."

I hear footsteps behind me and then feel a hand on my shoulder. I smile because it’s a touch I’m staring to learn well.

"I’m glad you could make it, Doris," I say without turning around. I rise up and she puts an arm around my waist.

"How’d you know it was me?" she asked.

"I recognize the rustle of your coat; the speed of your steps, the smell of your perfume on your wrist. I really love that perfume."

I turn my head and I kiss her softly on the lips. She pulls back looking leery of our closeness. I giggle.

"It’s okay," I tell her. "I think she understands."

Doris looks at our feet.

"I just keep thinking of those monster movies. You know, the ones where the hand reached up from the earth and brings upon some mortal doom? I can’t shake the feeling she’s gonna reach up and slap me, or worse."

Okay, that makes me chuckle. But that’s one of the many reasons I began to look at Doris as more than a friend. I can laugh with her and for a little while, if just a few moments, the world is a brighter place.

"I think even if she did have that power, Olivia would be glad we’ve found happiness."

"Do I make you happy?" she asks.

I can hear the concern in her voice. I’m one of the few people she drops her guard for. I’m honored that she allows me to see her real self.

"You do." I can’t contain my smile, nor do I want to. "Do I make you happy?"

She beams. "Very."

"Good." I move to the balls of my feet to kiss her again. This time I’m thankful she’s more relaxed.

"I want you to know something," she says. "I know the score."

"The score?"

"I know that she’s the love of your life – a soul mate some might say. Well, not me because I think that soul mates sounds corny, but I know she’s…she was the one and I’m…I’m rambling. The point is, I do love you and you make my life richer, but I know I’ll never be able to fill her place in your heart."

"Of course not, because Olivia’s still in that place. But I have a pretty big heart. I CAN love you both…and I do. I do love you, Doris. You got me through this year and you didn’t ask for anything in return."

"I needed you too. I lost my best friend. And misery really does love company sometimes…I’m just glad you didn’t freak out much that first night I kissed you."

"Stop," I say as I slap her arm playfully.

"You only fell off the sofa once – twice tops."

I laugh again and before I can say anything we hear a car pull up and I look. It’s Emma and Chessie. They make their way over and Chessie is carrying two sets of flowers. She hands one of them to Emma before they arrive to us.

"I wanted to bring Daddy some flowers since Emma was bringing some for her Mom."

"Okay, Sweetie," I tell her. "We’ll walk over since it’s not far, okay?"

I turn to Emma and give her a sincere, "Thank you."

"Despite what I think of him," she says. "He’s still her father. She has the right to morn him."

"I appreciate that, and so does Chessie. Isn’t that right? It was nice of Emma to get the flowers for your Daddy."

"Yep. And I said thank you at the flower shop. Didn’t I, Emma?"

"You sure did," she answers. "Why don’t you guys go over? Doris and I will take this to my Mom, okay?"

"Okay," Chessie says as she takes my hand. "It’s this way, isn’t it?" she asks as she pulls me along.

"Yep," I tell her as we walk. I look over my shoulder and I see Doris with her arm around Emma, rubbing her arm as they talk.

"Do you think Daddy went to Heaven?" Chessie asks. I’m surprised this question didn’t come up before now. I take a deep breath.

"I think your Daddy was a good man, but he…he let his anger get the better of him and he forgot how good he could be. That’s why he’s not here anymore."

"But you didn’t answer my question," she says.

No, I didn’t, did I? It’s one I’ve thought about often in the last 12 months actually.

"I can’t say for sure. I think God looks at all we’ve done in our lives and the decides if…if we’ve been virtuous and led a good life as a whole."

"Do you think you’ll see him in heaven someday?"

Truth is, when my time comes, I’m not sure how God will look at my life. I’ve damaged so many around me because of my actions…or inactions…

"Mommy?"

"I don’t know, Sweetie, but if I do, I’ll make sure to tell him you send your love, okay?"

She nods and I point out the gravestone. She takes off into a run and stops shy of the vase. I watch her put the flowers inside and I hold back a potential sob.

Maybe if I left that church on the wedding day. Maybe if I left right after my first afternoon with Olivia. Maybe…maybe she’d still have her Daddy alive and Emma would have Olivia… I would have Olivia… I start to feel my doubt and guilt creeping upon me when Doris’s hand takes mine.

"Don’t."

It’s only one word, but she knows. I give a snort and ask, "How do you do that?"

"Know that you’re feeling guilty?" I just nod. "I know you a lot better than you think. I’ve been watching you for a long time."

"Oh really," I tease. She simply nods. "Since when?"

"Since you stormed into my office with Olivia to blackmail me," she replies.

"You’re making that up," I say.

She shakes her head. "Nope," she says as she raises her right hand and puts the other one over her chest. "I even told Olivia that you’d be a woman worth coming out for…and here I am…Living in my girlfriend’s farmhouse with her daughter and my best friend’s daughter. It’s been months, but Ashlee still snickers at how ‘domestic’ you’ve made me."

"I’m a powerful woman then, huh?"

"A force of nature if ever I met one," she replies and kisses me gently on the cheek.

We’re not overly affectionate in front of the kids. I’m not sure if either of them is ready for that, but we don’t hide our growing love. I’m grateful when Doris tighter her hold on my hand as Francesca runs back toward us.

"Can we get pizza, Ma?" she asks.

"Sure, you wanna ride with us or Emma?" I ask as I motion to Emma who’s waiting in her car.

"Who’s getting the pizza?"

"Us."

"Then you," she says happily.

"Okay," Doris says, "but no eating pizza on my leather seats. You have to wait until we get home."

"Emma then," she says, changing her mind and running toward Emma’s car.

Once Chessie is buckled in Emma rolls down her window and asks, "Small black olive and sausage for me?" We nod and she waves saying, "See you at home."

"Drive safe!" I yell well after she’s started on her way. Doris – with grin on her face – is already shaking her head at me. "I worry, okay?" I add in defense.

She leans down and kisses me on the forehead. "And it’s adorable."

"Are you patronizing me?" I ask playfully.

"Not at all. I’m admiring you."

That, I can live with. It’s the kind of thing that makes me smile.

Chapter 18

ENDING #3 – Perspective 1 (Doris)

"Short of my children…I've never loved anyone or anything in this world more," I hear Olivia say.

I’m shocked at what I see – Frank suspending Olivia over the balcony while Natalia tries to pull them back.

"Don’t do it, Frank," I say from behind him, letting them know I’d arrived. "Pull her up. Now"

"Doris," he starts.

"Now!" This isn’t open to debate.

"Or what?" he taunts me as he continues to focus on Olivia. I cock the weapon and put it at the back of his head. "Shoot me and she falls," he says.

Damn it, he’s right…But…"She falls and you’re off to prison or dead," I reply. "Don’t toss your life away. Pull her up now."

Roughly, Frank reaches down and pulls Olivia back to the balcony and I watch as Natalia quickly gathers Olivia in her arms. As I watch them huddled on the balcony floor Frank suddenly charges at me, screaming.

"Frank! Stop!" I shriek in response. But he still keeps coming at me, his arms flailing.

I react. My finger squeezes the trigger repeatedly until the gun is empty, Frank falls at my feet a bullet riddled, bloody mess. Suddenly, it's very quiet, except for the people on the street who are pointing up at the balcony.

I lower my arm and then the revolver slips from my hand. I start to shake as my adrenaline begins to wear off. Natalia leaves a sitting Olivia, propped against the railing balcony. She makes her way to me and opens her arms, which I accept.

"You didn't have a choice," were the first words that she said. No ‘thank you.’ No ‘are you okay?’ It's as if she reads my mind as I consider how grave my actions turned. Legally, I know that she's right. I didn't have a choice. With his rage, we’re all certain Frank would've killed us all. So the only thing that I can do at this point is nod my head in agreement with her.

I look over to Olivia, but something that right. She seems to be staring, yet not focused on anything in particular.

"Olivia?" I call over.

Natalia turns and looks, but she quickly looked back to me in concern. Simultaneously, we both rushed over to Olivia. I put my fingers to her throat, as Natalia gently pats Olivia's cheek.

"Can you hear me, Sweetheart?" Natalia asks her.

There's no response. I put my head to her chest.

"She's not breathing," I tell Natalia. I then, lay Olivia on her back and begin chest compression. "Call the paramedics," I add.

Natalia leaves the balcony as I continue to pump Olivia's chest. I know my work is in vain, but I continue anyway. The truth though, is she's gone and her time, finally, did run out.

Chapter 18

Ending #3 – perspective #2 (Natalia)

"Short of my children…I've never loved anyone or anything in this world more," I hear Olivia say and my heart melts in adoration.

"Don’t do it, Frank," I hear Doris say from behind us, letting us know she’d arrived. "Pull her up. Now"

"Doris," he starts.

"Now!" I can tell by her tone this isn’t open to debate.

"Or what?" he taunts her as he continues to focus on Olivia. She cock the weapon and puts the gun to the back of his head. What’s she doing? "Shoot me and she falls," he says pointing out what we all know.

"She falls and you’re off to prison or dead," Doris replies. "Don’t toss your life away. Pull her up now."

Thankfully yet roughly, Frank reaches down and pulls Olivia back to the balcony. I quickly gather Olivia in my arms. As I watch Frank suddenly start screaming and charging toward Doris.

"Frank, no!" I yell as Doris screams, "Stop!" in response. But he doesn’t. He keeps coming at her, his arms flailing.

The noise is deafening. I hear shot after shot but Frank is still moving toward. He’s almost touching her before he falls to the floor, a blood mess. Even after he’s on the ground, and the rounds have been spent, Doris continues to pull the trigger. Finally she seems to notice that Frank is a bullet riddled, bloody mess and she drops the gun. Suddenly, it's very quiet, except for the people on the street who are pointing up at the balcony.

I whisper into Olivia’s ear as I prop her against the railing balcony. "I need to help, Doris."

The woman is shaking so I make my way to her and opens my arms, which she accepts.

"You didn't have a choice," I tell her. I know she doesn’t want to hear anything like thanks or if she’s okay. She knows we’re thankful and I know she’s not okay this instant. She’s just taken a life and although it’s justified I’m sure it’s devastating just the same.

She doesn’t reply - she nods my head in agreement. A few seconds later though I watch her get a peculiar look on her face as she looks over my shoulder. Something’s not right. I can tell.

"Olivia?" she calls over.

I turn and look. No, something’s not right. Not at all. I look back to Doris in concern. I feel frozen at first. Both of us seem rooted, unable to move in part confusion and part fear. But then simultaneously, we both rushed over to Olivia. I take her hand while Doris puts her fingers to Liv’s throat. I start to gently pat Olivia's cheek.

"Can you hear me, Sweetheart?" I ask her.

There's no response.

Doris puts her head to her chest.

"She's not breathing," she tells me.

Not breathing. Why?! Why isn’t she breathing?! She was breathing just a second ago!

Again, I feel frozen. I watch Doris lay Olivia on her back and begin chest compression.

"Call the paramedics," she says.

I struggle to get to my feet and I leave the balcony as Doris continues to pump Olivia's chest. I make the call and tell them what’s happened as Doris continues to work. She starts to yell at Olivia and literally pounds on her chest. I feel the tears come to my eyes. She’s cheated death so many times…I don’t think she’s going to survive this one.

I return and it seems like hours go by as I watch Doris trying to resuscitate Olivia, but Liv’s hand is growing colder and colder in mine as the minutes pass.

My knees feel wet and I look down to see Frank’s blood trail has made it to where Doris and I are working on Olivia. Once the medical team arrives Doris and I stand. She pulls me toward her and we both huddle in each other’s arms as they begin to work on both Olivia and Frank.

The police arrive too and start to question us about the events. I’m vague aware of their interrogation. Doris has things well in hand. My attention is focused on Olivia, praying for a miracle. No miracle comes though. When I hear the medic say to ‘call’ her time of death I know… God had truly forsaken me.

Chapter 18

Ending #4

"Short of my children…I've never loved anyone or anything in this world more," Olivia replies to my astonishment.

I can’t believe this bitch. Faced with certain death and she STILL has to try to upstage me. Fuck that. If I can’t have Natalia, no one can...especially this cunt.

I let Olivia go and she tumbles toward the ground in a spiral motion. Natalia tries to reach over the railing, but I push her back toward the sliding glass door. She’s crying. She’s screaming. She won’t shut the hell up.

"You really loved her, huh?"

"You goddamn psycho! I hope you rot in hell you, son of a bitch!" she screams and starts to charge toward me.

Enough of this. I bend over and pull my .22 revolver from my ankle holster. When she arrives a few feet from me and grab her by the back of the head, wrapping my fingers in her hair to prevent her from moving.

She falls silent and I can tell she’s scared. That’s good. She should be scared because she’s gonna die. If she wants Olivia, she’ll have her…but not in this world.

"Frank," she starts to plead as I put the revolver to her temple. "Don’t do this."

"Doris Wolfe is a dumbass. You always have a back-up weapon… always."

"Frank," she tries again.

"You know the great thing about a .22, Natalia?" I say cutting her off. "At close range, unlike a larger caliber, these bullets rattle around in the head. It’s not nearly as messy. You’ll even be able to have an open casket funeral I bet. You’re lover girl downstairs probably won’t be as lucky."

"Frank, don’t," she whimpers.

"It’s not up to me. It was up to you...But now it’s too late. Besides could you really live without her? Don’t think of this as a punishment. Think of it as the ultimate favor."

I pull the trigger and a half second later her body sways and then falls to the ground.

Good. It’s done. It’s over.

"Don’t move Frank!" I hear Doris say behind me.

"You knew, didn’t you?" I ask without turning around. "I mean before tonight. You knew about them, huh?"

"Put the gun down, Frank!" she yells and starts to approach me. "The police are on the way. You can’t get away, so you might as well give up now."

I turn around to face her, the gun still in my hand. I could take her. I know I can. I raise the weapon fast and the sound of gunfire fills the air. The bullet hits her square between the eyes, and she falls backward. It was a clean shot.

But I notice something - - her barrel has a faint whisper of smoke coming from it. Immediately after see it I feel a pain in my chest and look down. She hit me. Sure, she’s dead…but that bitch got a shot off.

"Well played Wolfe," I compliment her.

My legs can no longer support me and I fall to my knees as I see Officers Oley and Tommer make their way inside.

"Chief?" I hear them say as they rush toward me.

As I struggle to breath, my last thought is…

Chapter 18

Ending #5

"Short of my children…I've never loved anyone or anything in this world more," Olivia replies to my astonishment.

"Frank, please," I beg him in a calm voice. "Bring her back up, please."

"Natalia," he starts to whimper.

He’s having second thoughts. Now’s my chance. I reach out and I grab a solid hold of Olivia’s shirt and start to pull her back toward the balcony. This time, Frank helps me.

Olivia falls safely to the balcony platform and I wrap her up in my arms. We’re huddled together and crying now. Frank stumbles back toward the glass patio door. He slides down it until he too lands on the balcony floor, a shaking mess himself.

"I-I don’t know what came over me. I’m-I’m sorry," he mumbles. "I’m so sorry, Natalia. I just wanted to come over to talk about a solution that wouldn’t hurt Francesca and I…I never intended any of this. I swear."

I turn to Olivia, who looks like she’s going to say something. I place my finger over her lips before she can utter a sound. The last thing we need to do is open a new can of worms here.

"Don’t," I tell her, although it comes out more like a plea. I turn back to Frank. "The only solution Frank is to end this marriage."

"Did you ever love me?" he asks. "Really love me, I mean?"

"Yes," I tell him. I did love Frank, tremendously. He did make me smile and he was good to me. To my son. To our daughter. "You’re one…well, until about ten minutes ago, you WERE one of my best friends in the world." And I mean it.

"Then why?" he asks as he motioned toward the two of us.

"Because she’s not just one of my friends…she’s the one –period. She’s the one I was destined to be with. I truly believe that. And honestly, neither of us planned it, Frank. It just…happened. Truth is it started before you and I were even married although we never acted on it. I didn’t want to hurt you because I did love you. Of course, in hindsight, carrying on the way we did, letting it go on…I made it worse and that’s my fault."

I see Officers Oley and Tommer come into the room escorted by Doris. They come to the balcony and look at all of us crumpled on the ground.

"Chief Cooper?" Oley begins. "We have reports of a domestic dispute."

"I told you," Doris began, "This man-."

"Was upset," I cut her off before she can start to rant. "We needed to sit down and talk about things calmly. I would like him to leave right now and if he goes quietly I won’t press any charges. Of course, that’s if he’s really sincere about being sorry and swears nothing like this will happen again."

"I swear," he says. I’m sure Olivia and Doris would call me a fool, but I believe him. He might not be the love of my life, but I have spent over six years with the man. I can tell when he’s being honest or when he’s trying to fib. I’m certain he feels remorseful. Besides…although dangling her off a balcony is horrible, she’s made me feel that way too sometimes. She can be THAT infuriating. Of course, I just never acted on that frustration. By the slump of his shoulders, I’m certain that Frank won’t act on it again.

"I would ask that our daughter stay with me though. She’s in the lobby with Olivia’s daughter, Emma. Can you bring them both up here Officer Oley while Office Tommer escorts Frank out?"

He nods. "Certainly, Ma’am." He then motioned for Frank to join them, which he does.

"Natalia!" Doris says hotly in a whisper as she comes over to me. "You can’t let him get away with this!"

"I know what he did!" I tell Doris just as vehemently. "But we need to get him out of this suite and away from all of us! So quit squawking!" As Frank makes his way deeper into the suite, I grab Officer Tommer’s elbow. "I do want to file a complaint, but I need him out of here first. Frisk him and then put him in custody. I’ll explain after I know he’s cuffed. Please?"

"Ma’ma, I can’t just cuff him. I have to know what-."

Doris pipes in, "He put a gun to my face; nearly chucked Olivia over her balcony for starters. And if she doesn’t press charges, I will. So make the arrest officer, or look for a new line of work."

We watch Officer Tommer talk to Frank briefly. Frank puts his hands behind his head willingly as Tommer pats him down. He then extends his arms back as he is cuffed. All three of us seem to give a sigh of relief as he’s led away.

"So tell me, lawyer," I say to Doris, "What kind of time is he looking at?"

"Hmm, with good behavior, three to five years," she replies.

"I feel awful," I say out loud. I do. "I didn’t want any of this to happen."

"I know what you mean," Olivia adds. "He over-reacted and now…in a matter of minutes all the years he spent building his life is gone."

I nod and then look over at Doris who appears dumbfounded.

"Are you both insane or just stupid?" she replies. Leave it to Doris to cut to the quick.

"Okay, yes, that was scary as hell," Olivia concedes, "but you have-."

"There is no ‘but’ here, Olivia," Doris cuts her off. "The man went psycho."

"I can relate," Olivia counters. "If I lost Natalia, I’m not sure I’d be much different."

Doris looks dumbfounded again. "Is this town filled with crazies?"

"You ARE the mayor here. What’s that say about you?" Olivia quips.

Okay, that was funny. I smile for a moment while Doris looks indignant.

"Doris," I say turning serious again. "I love Olivia. I want to build a life with her and Chessie and Emma, but – and yes, here’s the ‘but’ – I don’t want to destroy Frank in the process. I don’t want ‘revenge’ – I just want everyone safe."

Doris rubs her forehead. "I’m getting a headache," she says. "Can we just get him locked up tonight and then talk about it all tomorrow?"

"Certainly," I say. "Your office at 9 A.M.?"

Doris nods as the kids run back into the room and then cling to us.

"I’m so sorry Mom," I hear Emma whisper to Olivia. "I didn’t think that he’d-."

"It’s okay," she tells her. "Everyone is fine now."

We both look at each other a moment as we hold onto our daughters.

Later that night, after putting Chessie to bed in Emma’s room, I walk into the bedroom. Olivia is propped up against the headboard with a slight smile, which makes me grin in response.

"This feels different," I tell her.

"What?"

"You laying in bed…waiting for me."

"It’s not the first time."

God, I love that sexy smirk. "I know. But this time…it feels…"

"Strange?"

"No. It feels right. No secrets; no hiding."

"Chessie’s still trying to wrap her head around the concept of us, you know?"

"I do," I say as I move toward her, crawling on all fours. "But she already adores you."

"Her brother though. I’m not sure how he’ll take all this. He really loves Frank and as for me…"

I cup her face in my hands. "Then let him marry Frank."

She snorts. "It’s not that simple."

"No, it is. He’ll just have to deal with it. He’s an adult now. He has is own life. If he wants to exclude me because of who I love it’s his loss."

"And yours."

She’s right. It would hurt. For a moment I look away. "Yes," I admit. "But I’m ready to fight any of the narrow minds who want to stand in our way – even if one of those narrow minds belongs to Rafe."

She smiles and I light up inside. "Well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. We’ll take it one day at a time."

I nod and she settles into the bed, opening her arms up to me. We’ve been like this at least 1000 times over the years but tonight…tonight it’s genuine.

"I love you," I whisper to her.

"I hope I do all I can to earn that love," she answers as she starts to run her fingers through the ends of my hair.

"You already have," I tell her. "What you said to Frank…I…" I rise up and look down at her. She looks angelic with her hair splayed across the pillow. I’m not there for long though. She cups my cheek and I lean into her hand.

"I meant every word, Natalia. You’re my world. I think you have been since you first came into my life and I will love you until the day I die."

I kiss her deeply and when I pull back she settles me next to her again. After a few moments of silence I feel her breathing deeper. She’s out and I know I’m not too far behind.

The next morning I open my eyes and I look at the clock. It’s seven ‘o one. I look over and Olivia is still in bed, which is far from a shock. After last night though I figure she deserves to sleep in so I hop in the shower. As the water washes over me I wonder if last night was a nightmare, but I realize that no; it did really happen. I hope Doris would offer us some kind of assurance that didn’t involve destroying Francesca’s father’s life. I know Doris is all law and order and I’m more…peacemaker.

I dry off and pull Olivia’s bathrobe down from the hook on the door and slip it on. It’s a mix of her shampoo and perfume and it’s the closest thing to having her arms wrapped around me. I smile as I tighten the tie.

When I walk out I see she’s still asleep, but we need to get moving soon and get the girls ready for school. I climb back across the bed toward her.

"Liv?" I call out as I move toward her. I snuggle into the pillows as I press my body into her back. "Gotta wake up, Sweetie."

She doesn’t protest. No groaning. No begging for five more minutes. She’s dead quite. I place my hand on her arm and it’s cold. Ice cold. When I roll her over, her eyes are closed. I stare for a moment at her chest, but she’s not breathing.

Suddenly, her words from the night before rushing back.

"You’re my world. I think you have been since you first came into my life and I will love you until the day I die."

I can’t help but cry.

Chapter 18

Ending #6

I nod and she settles into the bed, opening her arms up to me. We’ve been like this at least a thousand times over the years, but tonight…tonight it’s genuine.

"I love you," I whisper to her.

"I hope I do all I can to earn that love," she answers as she starts to run her fingers through the ends of my hair.

"You already have," I tell her. "What you said to Frank…I…" I rise up and look down at her. She looks angelic with her hair splayed across the pillow. She cups my cheek and I lean into her hand.

"I meant every word, Natalia. You’re my world. I think you have been since you first came into my life and I will love you until the day I die."

I kiss her deeply and when I pull back she settles me next to her again. After a few moments of silence I feel her breathing deeper. She’s out and I know I’m not too far behind.

The next morning I open my eyes and I look at the clock. It’s seven ‘o one. I look over and Olivia is still in bed, which is far from a shock. After last night though I figure she deserves to sleep in so I hop in the shower.

When I walk out I see she’s still asleep, but we need to get moving soon and get the girls ready for school. I climb back across the bed toward her.

"Liv?" I call out as I move toward her. I snuggle into the pillows as I press my body into her back. "Gotta wake up, Sweetie."

She doesn’t protest. No groaning. No begging for five more minutes. She’s dead quiet. I place my hand on her arm and it’s cold. Ice cold. When I roll her over, her eyes are closed. I stare for a moment at her chest, but she’s not breathing.

Suddenly, her words from the night before rushing back.

"You’re my world. I think you have been since you first came into my life and I will love you until the day I die."

I can’t help but cry.

Suddenly, someone is shaking me and my eyes fly open.

"Tali? Wake up, Sweetie."

Olivia is over me and I’m lying in bed. I look around the room, getting my bearings. It’s dark and the clock reads three o’ four. My cheeks feel wet and I wipe them, realizing I’ve been crying. Across from us, on the dresser, are two pictures. One of me, Emma and Olivia at our first New Years and one of me, Emma, Francesca and Olivia at Christmas. This Christmas! It was our card. I remember the argument with Francesca about wearing the blue sweater and how Emma couldn’t wait to get it finished since she had the Homecoming dance that night. I look over at Olivia.

"Are you okay?" Olivia asks. "You were crying."

I sit up next to her and pull her into a tight hug. My fingers press into her to make sure she’s not an illusion.

"You’re real and you’re here and I’m here and everyone is here, right? Emma, she-she’s in high school and she’s in a play this week, right?"

Olivia looks confused and then starts to grin. "Uh, yeah."

"Francesca’s soccer team is in the play-offs, right?"

"Yeah again."

"And I never married Frank?"

Now she laughs. "Well, you almost did many years ago, but no." The smile of laughter melts into one of love. "You married me instead."

"It was a nightmare," I sigh.

"Marrying me? Because I thought I was doin’ pretty good."

"No silly," I say slapping her arm. "I had a dream that I married Frank. The girls didn’t grow up together. We never lived here because you and I were having an affair behind his back for six years."

She starts to giggle again.

"It’s not funny," I tell her.

"Was it hot? Was it one of those firey, ‘can’t resist you’ type of flings?"

Now she’s straddling my waist and leaning into me. I have to grin.

"As a matter of fact, it was," I tell her as I pull her down with me toward the bed. "Except until Frank found out and almost chucked you off the Beacon Penthouse."

"Ouch," she says as she nibs on my ear. "I’m sure it would have been worth it though."

I giggle a little, but then the end of the dream comes back to me and I wrap my arms around her.

"You’re really here," I whisper.

She senses my mood and she stops kissing my neck and rises up to look at me.

"I am," she answers. "But I take it that in the dream I…wasn’t?"

"You died. I-I finally left Frank and that night you died, in the dream I mean."

"Obviously it was in the dream," she says teasingly and then waves her hand toward herself.

"I told you, it’s not funny," I reply. "It…it felt so real. We were both miserable and Emma…oh Liv, she was a total B-I-T-C-H, lemme tell ya."

"She is now," she giggles.

"No, our Emma just gets a little hormonal around the 18th of every month. This Emma was…a train wreck, and Chessie, poor Chessie was gonna lose her dad because Doris wanted to send him up the river for pulling a gun on us and-."

Olivia kisses me soundly and any other thought that I had is wiped away by her lips. When she pulls away she gets a sexy smirk and says, "Enough gloom. I’m real. You’re real. Just tell me the hot parts."

I chuckled when she wiggles her eyebrows.

"I can’t tell you," I say feeling embarrassed and self-conscious. She starts to pout. "How about I show you instead," I offer.

"Now that idea I like."

Yeah, I like that idea too.

The End (or for those 'brave' enough I do have an NC-17 threesome ending with Frank, Natalia and Olivia by CLICKING HERE)

 

 

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