was so unlike her. Olivia went
through about three alarm clocks a year because she pulverized them on chilly
mornings like this. Usually, all she wanted to do was huddle back under the warm
covers. And more recently, snuggle closer to the warm body next to her.
But here she was, less than two weeks away from having her life change
yet again with the birth of her third daughter, and she found herself in a new
position…awake…early. She fought the groan rolling low in her chest so she
wouldn’t wake the sleeping woman next to her.
Instead, she quietly sat up to turn off her alarm before it had a chance
to chirp annoyingly and then leaned over to watch Natalia sleep.
last few days had been chaotic, to say the least.
They had not just one, but two, false alarm rushes to the hospital.
The doctor had explained it as Braxton Hicks contractions.
They weren’t uncommon late in a pregnancy, but they had scared Olivia. The second time it happened Natalia had some spotty bleeding,
but the doctor again reassured them both that it wasn’t a bad sign and to
continue on with life as normal. Olivia
brought Natalia home each time, and each time she made her sit on the couch
while Olivia made her some tea and wrapped her in a warm blanket.
She even built a small fire so they could huddle under the blanket and
listen to the soft winds outside bring in the change of the seasons.
was changing - the seasons, their lives, and the depth of Olivia’s love for
Natalia. She thought she loved her
before, and she thought the love could never get stronger; however, when Natalia
cried out in pain at the false contractions, and Olivia saw the small hint of
blood on Natalia’s thigh, the fear of loss, a gut-wrenching rending of her
soul, was so intense it took her breath away. Even now, looking down on Natalia’s serene features,
Olivia’s hands shook at the remembered rush of fear.
she watched Natalia sleeping peacefully in their bed, she pushed away the fear
and allowed herself a moment to relish in the warmth that spread through her
every time she looked at her lover. She
couldn’t imagine ever being without this profound feeling of love for Natalia
that left her awestruck.
Yet it still seemed so surreal at times, and she found herself
seeking reassurance in the most tactile of ways by doing what she was doing now,
reaching over to brush her quivering fingers lightly over the other woman’s
swollen belly. The solidity of her
and the child inside calmed Olivia like nothing else.
Natalia really was here. She
really was back. And she really was hers. Natalia
was okay, and Olivia would do everything in her power to ensure it stayed that
was roused from her musings by slender fingers slipping between her own and a
drowsy mumble. “Stay.”
I stay, I’m going to do far more than cuddle, and it’ll definitely wake you
up.” Olivia whispered.
Don’t mind.” Natalia said.
smirked at Natalia’s semi-nocturnal confession, but the smile quickly faded.
“I know you don’t mind, but you and the baby need to sleep and rest.
Doctor’s orders. I’ll be back to check on you at lunch. Sleep.”
brushed dark hair away from Natalia’s face, enjoying the heavy feel of the
strands teasing the skin between her fingers, until the other woman’s
breathing deepened. Natalia visibly
sank further down into her pillow and the warmth of the bed. Olivia wanted nothing more than to slowly wake her lover up
with heated kisses and touches. Instead,
she sighed and got out from under the toasty covers, making a quiet but hasty
run for the bathroom where she jumped into a steamy shower.
minutes later, she emerged from the bathroom and dressed in a tailor-fitted tan
suit and high-heeled brown boots. Slipping
on her long brown jacket from the closet to guard against the chilly fall
weather, she looked in the mirror and drew up short. Except for the highlights in her pulled-back hair being
slightly darker, she looked almost like she did on the surprisingly cold spring
day when, over Gus’ grave, she confessed her love for Natalia.
Stepping aside, she saw the reflection of the woman in question sleeping
soundly in bed…their bed.
It was hard for her to believe that barely six months had passed. So much had happened. So much had changed. Yet things felt exactly right, the way they should be.
shook her head to clear her thoughts. Natalia
was here now. She had come back to
her and that’s all that mattered.
on the last of her jewelry, she moved to the side of the bed and gazed down at
Natalia. Even with her mouth
slightly open and a hint of drool on the corner of her mouth, Olivia thought she
was the most gorgeous woman in the world. She
slipped her hand along a warm cheek, gently caressing the soft skin, her fingers
tracing the full lips. With an
internal groan, she fought the desire to strip down and climb back into bed, and
instead let her “worried partner” side come out and argue that Natalia
needed rest more than sex. She
contented herself with running her fingers softly along Natalia’s cheek and
kissing her tenderly on the lips. “I love you.”
“Love you too.”
glanced at the clock on her desk for the third time in ten minutes, finally
tossing down the file in her hand in frustration and sighing.
‘em.” Olivia jumped at Doris’ voice coming from the doorway.
who makes you sound like that and fling innocent files at only,” Doris glanced
down at her watch, “10:45 in the morning must be fired.”
smiled at her friend and leaned back in her chair. “It’s not that.
Well, not quite.”
mayor smoothed down the non-existent wrinkles in her tight gray skirt before
sitting across the desk from Olivia. “So…spill.
What is it?”
a hand in the air at Doris, Olivia feigned nonchalance. “Just want to get
smirked, one eyebrow quirking up naughtily. “Those cookies Natalia bakes must
be really good to have you so anxious to get home so soon.”
horrible, and that’s not it at all.” Olivia shook her head and sipped her
coffee, “Poor Natalia can hardly move, much less do…that.”
goodness I don’t have that kind of lady trouble!”
let her inner eight-year-old out to play and shot a rubber band at the other
woman. “You wouldn’t complain. Trust
me, I haven’t.”
latent softball skills came in handy as she deftly caught the flying object in
one hand. “Please…do tell me all about it, because I just can’t picture
your personal Virgin Mary doing anything more intimate than bathing you in holy
water. In fact,” Doris stood and
grabbed her coat and purse, “you can tell me over an early lunch and a
love to kiss and tell with my disturbingly nosy friend, but I really do have to
go home to check on Natalia.”
that’s just disgusting.”
are so whipped!”
shot another rubber band at Doris’ head.
“I’m not whipped. I’m
She’s not due for a couple more weeks.” Doris shrugged, completely
unconcerned for Natalia’s health.
worried frown creased Olivia’s face and she avoided Doris’ eyes. “She
started having some false labor pains last week.”
Well, she’s obviously okay, right, or she wouldn’t be at home?”
nodded, tapping a pen nervously on her desk. “Right.”
the baby’s far enough along that it would be fine if she delivered early.
It’s going to be fine, Olivia. Don’t
worry so much.”
rubbed the bridge of her nose. Her
emotions were too close to the surface, and she really didn’t want to break
down in front of Doris…again. “I
can’t help but worry. I know the
odds are low that anything really bad could happen at this point, and the doctor
has given both her and Francesca a perfect bill of health.”
leaned forward, resting her arms on the desk. “But I just got her back,
Doris.” The tears popped into her
eyes before she realized what was happening, and she quickly brushed them away.
“I just got her back and the thought of anything going wrong
is…terrifying.” Olivia nodded
her head in resolve and continued on, “Only a little while longer.
I just have to keep her from overdoing it.”
waited silently somehow knowing that Olivia’s rant wasn’t quite done.
Doris smiled to herself when Olivia kept talking. “And it’s not
helping that Keira is sending me all these health and medical articles about
women having babies after 35 with all these medical problems.
I know she means well but…”
stared at her friend for a moment, stunned by the absurdity of the outburst,
before bursting into laughter. Seconds
later, Doris started to chuckle as well.
Olivia wiped at the tears of laughter in her eyes. “Thank you; I needed
welcome.” Doris picked up her
purse and walked around the desk to kiss the top of Olivia’s head.
Olivia smiled up at her friend not letting her shock show at the
uncharacteristic affectionate gesture. “Now, go home to your girl.
You won’t get many more moments alone.”
drive back out to the farmhouse was idyllic.
The fall sky was a startling shade of blue and a light wind dusted fallen
leaves across the road and into Olivia’s path as she steered her car along the
road. She took Doris’ advice and
left a little early to spend quality time with Natalia and their unborn baby.
Olivia opened the door, everything was silent until an overhead crash alerted
her to the fact that someone was upstairs.
She climbed the steps quietly and shuffled down the hall until she was in
front of the nursery door, the room that had once belonged to her.
She cracked the door open and caught sight of Natalia feverishly
reorganizing and mumbling to herself. “No…no there.
Maybe here. No, then the
diaper caddy will be on the other side of the room.”
swung the door open fully and Natalia immediately stiffened, knowing who was
there, without turning around.
honey. You’re home early.”
crossed her arms. “And what exactly do you think you’re doing?
The doctor said to rest.”
turned eager brown eyes on Olivia. “I am, by getting ready for our little girl
to make her debut. It’s kind of
it is, but we agreed that we’d work on her room this weekend.
There’s hardly anything left to do anyway.” Olivia came up to her and
ran the back of her fingers along Natalia’s chin.
know, but something…I can’t put my finger on it, just isn’t right yet.
Something doesn’t feel right.” Natalia
spun around to face the room, taping a finger against her lips in contemplation.
smiled at the realization she was having. “You’re nesting.”
I’m not.” Natalia shook her
head and adjusted the bedside lamp by a mere fraction of an inch.
that, Olivia sighed, knowing she had probably walked right into a trap.
next words confirmed it. “What’s with that mile high pile of diaper coupons
on the kitchen table then?”
shrugged. “It’s practical though. You
can never have too many diapers.”
quirked her mouth and regarded her partner as she took Olivia’s hand and came
closer. The protrusion of her
belly, which seemed to be growing exponentially on a daily basis, kept Natalia
from getting as close as she wanted so she tugged at Olivia’s coat to bring
her face down until their lips met in a kiss.
know, honey, but if you keep buying at this rate, we’ll have enough for all of
our grandkids until they go off to kindergarten.”
smiled at her and leaned down into another gentle kiss, relishing the idea of
them old and gray and spoiling a house full of grandkids.
When she pulled back, she noted that Natalia wavered a little on her
feet. “Whoa, have you eaten lunch
waiting for you.”
come on; let’s get you downstairs and off your feet for a little while.
I’ll make sandwiches for us.”
readily complied and followed Olivia downstairs. Olivia slipped off her jacket when they reached the kitchen
and pulled out a chair for Natalia. Natalia
didn’t sit down right away. Instead
she went to the refrigerator and started pulling out condiments, including the
new jar of pickles that Olivia had bought the day before then sat down at the
giggled at her, sliding into the chair across from her. “I got some ice cream
too…you know, just to complete the pregnant woman stereotype.”
speared a pickle from the jar and leaned back in her chair, her hand resting
conveniently on her belly. “Hmmm, the other stereotypes don’t seem to bother
glanced down at Natalia’s ample cleavage, reminding her of one stereotype that
she was thankful for. “They
don’t bother me, believe me. Except
for that whole ‘standing on your feet all day, slaving around the house,
nesting’ thing when you should be resting.
That…bothers me a little.”
watched for a moment as Olivia worked on their sandwiches.
“I’m sorry. I guess I am nesting, huh?”
put the finishing touches on Natalia’s sandwich, passed it over, and then held
up her thumb and forefinger about an inch apart. “Just a little.”
the overstuffed ham sandwich finally finished and in front of her, Natalia
lifted it and took a hearty bite, humming her approval. When she set it down, she looked at her partner nibbling on a
just not right here. There’s
Olivia knew the comment didn’t have to do with her sandwich, and she wasn’t
sure how to really feel about it. She
thought this – this home, family, her – was all Natalia needed.
Apparently, she was wrong and she wasn’t sure she wanted to know what
the other woman meant. She got lost in her thoughts and picked at the tomato on her
wrap, so she didn’t notice Natalia get up from the table.
jumped at the exclamation and followed her absent partner’s voice into the
family room. Natalia was standing
in the space by the windows next to the front door.
that Christmas tree you got from the Beacon last year?” Natalia’s face was
glowing with excitement.
shuffled her feet. “Yeah, you hated it.”
didn’t hate it. It just wasn’t
homey or…” she smirked at Olivia, “real.
What was real was the warm feeling it gave me to have you and Emma here,
in this house with our tree and decorations and food.
We - the people in this house - make it a home.
I want that again this year.”
got it but she was still somewhat confused at where Natalia was going with this.
She shrugged her shoulders. “You’ve got that.
We’re here. Just like we
were last year.”
went up to her and took her hands. “But it’s not just us anymore, is it?
And the situation is very different than it was last year.
We have this little one here to consider and we have to think about the
world and life we’re bringing her into.”
started to feel a little uneasy, wondering if Natalia was hinting that their
family wasn’t a good life for Francesca.
A moment of panic, borne of years of waiting for flying bricks to hit her
in the head, started to set in and tears sprang to her eyes.
felt a surge of sympathy at Olivia’s reaction and moved as close as the baby
told Frank at the ultrasound, before you got there, that I want this baby
surrounded from day one by all the people who love her.
What better time to start than Thanksgiving?”
scrunched her eyebrows together. “What?”
know what this place needs. I know
what I want. A big ol’ family
dinner on Thanksgiving, right here,” Natalia turned, looking at the space
currently occupied by two chairs and a small table, “with all of our family
and friends to share it. What do
you’ll become completely consumed with getting ready for this, and you
shouldn’t push yourself that much. Besides,
Sam and Ava are coming, and that’ll be enough to get ready for.
We don’t need to add more work to it.”
considered the comment and quirked her face in a half-smile before adopting a
full-blown pout. “Please? I never
got to do this with Rafe. It was
always just the two of us, and sometimes I even worked on Thanksgiving so I
ended up bringing home leftovers from the restaurants I worked at.
I really want to do this for Francesca…for us and our family.”
Olivia still seemed hesitant, Natalia turned the pout into a bright, winning
She smiled all the more, knowing full well what Olivia was talking about.
dimples. Those things should come
with a warning label. You flashed
those dimples and batted those pretty brown eyes and half of Springfield fell
for you, including me.”
this mean that we’re having Thanksgiving dinner here?” Natalia bit her lip expectantly.
threw her hands up in surrender. “As if I have a choice?
The dimples have spoken.”
bounced with excitement and kissed her partner thoroughly. “I love you so
much, Olivia Spencer.”
we can have a big ol’ family dinner every week if you keep kissing me like
that!” Olivia smiled happily, loving it when Natalia was happy too.
But she raised a finger in warning at Natalia. “You have to promise me
though; you’ll let me and Emma help you.
That you won’t go crazy getting ready for this.
Natalia added a sexy smile to the already prominent dimples, Olivia held up a
finger of warning again.
Olivia joked then got serious. “Okay, I’ll talk to Keira about bringing in
some catering and I can have the logistics guys bring over enough tables and
chairs for everyone. Oh, and maybe
Greg can get one of his flower-arranging buddies to do a huge centerpiece for
more Olivia talked, the more Natalia’s smile faltered. “No…No, Olivia.”
we’re having a traditional family dinner here.
That means I’m cooking dinner, with your help, of course; you’ll
personally invite everyone; and you’ll carve the turkey.”
spluttered, “Carve the turkey? Why
do I have to carve the turkey?”
smiled lovingly at her partner and kissed her on the cheek. “I cook it.
You carve it.”
mouth hung open as she watched Natalia waddle back into the kitchen and sit down
to finish her sandwich. She
followed her back into the kitchen, slumping back into her own chair, and looked
at her smug girlfriend. “There’s a problem with this little plan of
dark eyebrow curved up. “Oh really?”
huh. You’re using this as a
roundabout way to do your,” Olivia flailed her hands around her, “nesting
thing. When I leave for work,
you’ll probably bake fifty thousand batches of cookies or something. You have to promise me that you’ll take it easy and let me
and Emma help you.”
Natalia dragged the word out in exasperation then looked at Olivia through
slitted but amused eyes, “And what if I don’t promise?”
pushed her plate aside and leaned across the table, propping her breasts up on
the table to enhance her cleavage. When
she saw Natalia look down and swallow hard, she knew she had her attention.
She stroked one long finger along the other woman’s exposed wrist,
watching goose bumps pop up along the tan flesh and smiled seductively at
Natalia. “Let’s just say that
with what little time is left between now and when the baby’s born, you really
don’t want to be so exhausted
from cleaning and cooking that you can’t manage any other activities.
Now do you?”
drive a hard bargain.” Natalia licked her lips and swallowed hard.
smile became feral. “Oh, honey,
you have no idea how hard I can drive that bargain.”
breath catching was audible and Olivia couldn’t resist her.
The sound Natalia was making was a reminder of the sounds of pleasure
Natalia made, low in her throat, deep and breathy, as Olivia would make love to
her. For Olivia, pleasing Natalia
was a drug that had hooked her on the first kiss and right now, she needed to
feed her addiction. She stood and
moved around to the front of the other woman’s chair, kneeling in front of her
and sliding her hands along still-shapely thighs as her fingers disappeared
under the hem of Natalia’s skirt. “Perhaps a demonstration is in order?”
lover’s breathing quickened and her dark eyes were nearly black with desire.
“When do you have to be back in the office?”
smirked and glanced at the watch on her wrist before sliding her hand under the
skirt again. “About 30
Natalia closed her eyes, imagining all of the wonderful things they could do in thirty minutes, and her body instantly responded. “Plenty of time.”