The April 24th episode of Guiding Light picked up right where we pleasantly left off, with Liv and Nat sitting quietly in a pew at the church… holding hands. Emma had wandered off, as kids are wont to do, giving Nat and Liv some quality time alone. Natalia tells Olivia that she knows everything will be alright. Having come to some measure of peace with herself, her beliefs and her faith, Natalia knows that God will continue to love them, no matter who they love, or possibly because of it.

Olivia tells Nat she’s so sorry that Rafe had to go away. Natalia replies that at least she has the rest of her family with her, Olivia and Emma, until he comes home. Liv wants to know where they go from there and Natalia suggests taking some time apart to think about things. Knowing that is a positive step for them, Olivia agrees.

Emma has other ideas, though. Bounding back in from wherever she had disappeared to (it’s okay, everyone, she disappeared in a church, I imagine she was rather safe) stating clearly she is hungry and her mother had promised her spaghetti after her play. When Olivia agrees and tells Emma to say good-buy to Natalia, the littlest Spencer replies guilelessly “I want both my mommies to come.” (UPS just delivered an anvil, did you get it?)

With Natalia unable to resist the Jelly Bean, an endearing family moment occurs complete with teasing and laughter and they rise from their seats. Olivia reaches for Natalia’s hand, which she easily takes, and they walk out of the church with their hands clasped. Let me repeat, they walk out of the church holding hands, people. With that simple gesture, they’ve taken yet another step forward.

They arrive at Towers where Natalia makes the first awkward mis-step when she tries so sweetly to show she’s accepting of her feelings when she blurts to the waiter that she and Olivia are “Friends… good friends” when he asks if they were together. Olivia smiles understandingly as she explains he only wanted to know if they were together for dinner.

Awkwaaaard…

The waiter seats them, hands them menus and walks away. Suddenly, it becomes a date. Stilted conversation, uncomfortable silences, glances that dove away when eyes were met… They were like 16-year olds going out for the first time… EVAR…

After eventually stumbling over the menu, they each blurted out “Banana Pancakes”, something Emma apparently does when she doesn’t know what to say next. Bursting into laughter, they realize they were making dinner a little harder than it was supposed to be and finally fall into a comfortable togetherness. (And watching Jessica Leccia say “cuckoo!” in explanation to the waiter was truly a funny moment… Nat was trying just a little too hard)

And I must say that Emma, whether intentional or not, is becoming quite the little schemer. Once again she managed to toss out a double entendre, wondering why Nat and Olivia weren’t holding hands, which made Liv and Nat glance at each other with a “What does the little goober know? Is it that obvious?” expression. It all had to do with saying Grace; however, and with matching looks of relief, they clasped hands and said a pre-meal prayer.

At this point, they fell into a companionable state of comfort. Conversation turned to work (how innocuous) and Emma’s Harriet the Spy book then took on a teasing tone as they nagged each other about money and dry cleaning.

At one point, Olivia snagged a meatball that looked to be about as big as Emma’s head off the Jelly Bean’s plate. (Can I say how true to life it was to actually see people eating on a soap opera? And what appeared to be real food, not caviar and tea cakes? Gratifying, I tell you, at how those in charge at GL have made a show that is much more real than other soaps, while still having very real soapy moments…) It was such an honest moment, what parent doesn’t take some food off their child’s plate, either because there’s just too much food for the kid to handle or they really just want that bite?

Dinner finished with Emma heading off to spend the night at her friends house and Natalia insisting on driving Olivia back to her room at the Beacon. Much like any one of a million dates that go on in the world, Natalia walked Olivia to her room to say good-night (now you know it was a date. Friends usually just drop each other off at the door, dates walk you to your door).

So they stood awkwardly at the door like two young lovers on a first date. Do they kiss? Do they shake hands? Maybe a hug? Olivia makes the first move (so to speak) and asks Natalia if she’d like to come in. Knowing better, Nat declines. So far, things have been rather normal and if she enters that room, all of that changes. Knowing Natalia isn’t quite ready for that change, Olivia graciously agrees.

The looks; however, that pass between the two during this exchange very clearly shows that they know they’ve already taken that next step. There were nerves and some excitement and desire and quite obviously want. It was awkward once more, but not like at the dinner they had just shared, but as if they knew the next step in the dance they were now engaged in yet still weren’t sure, or ready, to act on it.

They still need to be themselves around each other as they get used to this new phase of their relationship. Slowly, ever slowly, they’ll be able to take this to the next level. And the level beyond.

Still unsure, Nat asks what they do now, what happens next. Olivia steps close and takes Natalia’s hand. We say good night, she says. Natalia responds with a ‘good night’ and Olivia steps into her room, closing the door behind her. She leans against the door and a smile unlike anything we’ve seen in recent months (possibly the better part of a year) lights up Olivia’s face. It is so very obvious that Olivia Spencer is in love like she has never experienced before in her life.

It is now that we get to see the courtship. What happens as they slowly learn to deal with these feelings with each other, no longer internalizing them and drowning in their agony or running from their sorrow. From this moment on, we get to see the friendship become a romance…

And the truly nice thing about this episode is that Frankencooper was no where near the pair at all throughout the show. So either his tracking skills have been blunted by catching Natalia and Liv standing thisclose together at Emma’s school (seriously, wouldn’t you begin to wonder about your relationship if every time you stumbled upon your fiancé and her roommate, they were a) holding hands, b) hugging, or c) invading each others personal space?) or Nat made a quick trip to Cedars and had the microchip extracted…

However, he did continue being the most obtuse man alive when he straight-facedly told his father Buzz, that he knows he and Natalia will make it down the aisle and be married.

Oh, rly?

Mr. Oblivious, you’re table is ready. You will be dining alone.

One of the many things I love about this story is the little moments. The looks, the smiles, the gestures. There are wonderful eye-rolls, half-smiles, grins, little minutia that give the entire story its textured and realistic layers. For instance, watch the clip above and check out at 1:12 the fantastic look Jacqueline Tsirkin gives Jessica Leccia in the church after Emma says she wants “both her mommies” to go to dinner. It is priceless…

Thanks again to Yodaluver28 for the clip pulled from their YouTube page

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