“Guiding Light” mini-cap 4/24: Making it official

At the Beacon, a frustrated Olivia (Crystal Chappell) is in the closet — looking for Emma’s hat. Where is Doris when you need her? Natalia (Jessica Leccia) walks in. That passkey from her housekeeping days comes in handy. She tells Olivia that she didn’t know she would be there. Did Emma send up the Nat signal?

Natalia and Emma share a maternal moment and talk about today’s Betsy Ross performance. This is the new, 21st century, school production of the progressive Betsy Ross who sews the first PFLAG. A cold-spirited Liv asks Natalia if she told Rafe about “us.” Natalia says she didn’t know what to say. Unfortunately, all the copies of Coming Out for Dummies were checked out at the library. Liv doesn’t want Natalia at Emma’s play.

At Company, Blake kisses Frank on the cheek. She says she’ll call him and take him out. She better not bake him cookies or the next GL couple will be Flake or, better yet, Blank. Frank gets a call about Rafe. He turns on his Nat tracker, and off goes Inspector Clue-doh in pursuit.

At the school, Natalia’s expression says, “How do we tell Ms. Jennings we really are what she was thinking?” Don’t worry, Nat, she never believed you in the first place.

Alone in the classroom, Olivia chides Nat that she doesn’t know what comes after saying “I love you.” Nat snaps back, “Then you tell me then.”Flashback. Hell, party of two. Judging by the fire and brimstone, Liv has been sneaking peeks in her hotel room’s Bible. If she gives up shellfish and relinquishes her property, we will know for sure. Liv, get out of Leviticus. Page forward, it gets better!

Olivia keeps asking Nat if she’s thought this through. Well, Liv, let’s re-cap: Just yesterday Nat confessed at the grave of her dead husband that she is in love with her best friend, left her dim groom at the altar, and trekked back through a blinding snowstorm to the Otalia farmhouse of love. I’m thinking Nat is spot on when she says she has been unable to think about anything else.

Imagining the guilt and the public judgment, Liv says it’s best the romance is over before it started. Liv provokes Nat to walk away and forget she ever said I love you. Like a freshman tired of being stuffed in her locker, Natalia suddenly stands up to Liv’s mean girl persona. Natalia accuses Liv of always thinking she knows better because she is worldly and has been around (and around.) Ah! Plumber Josh told Nat about the Saran Wrap.

As if watching the Lifetime Network for reference, Olivia points out they would have to face so many more obstacles than other couples. The ice queen thaws as Nat takes Liv’s hand, looks deeply into her eyes and says, “I know what it means to tell someone you love them.” Affected, Liv tells Natalia her religion is like a carry-on bag with a broken wheel. She will have to drag it around Hades in that puffy coat. Nat counters that her religion is more a tote bag of love. Putting Natalia’s hands up to her cheek, Olivia wants to know if it’s that kind of love in her bag. Natalia lets go, but feeling unsteady, returns for another handhold.

Frank runs up the stairs and interrupts. He always knows where to find Natalia! Does he have a GPS (girlfriend positioning satellite)? Did they finally have Emma fitted with a locator chip since she is always wandering off? Seeing Frank, Otalia let go of their hand caress. There has got to be a special class somewhere in this school for this man.

Since their attempt at “opposite marriage” turned into a big white mess, Rafe has to report to the halfway house by nightfall. Natalia leaves with Frank to see Rafe. Rafe again tells Nat that he just wants to see her happy to be with someone she loves, not just someone to be his daddy. That can be arranged. How about Rafe has two mommies? Who’s your daddy now?

They stop in to see Father Ray before Rafe has to leave. About the wedding, he says there is no right or wrong way to move forward, everyone is different — except for those of us who are the same. Father Ray wants them to light three candles, one for blessings and health, one for loved ones, and the third for God’s forgiveness of sins and living according to His teachings. Natalia’s thinking, well, two out of three ain’t bad.

Natalia is sad after Rafe leaves. Olivia and Emma happen to be strolling by the church. It was such a nice day for a walk. Yesterday’s blizzard had melted away. Natalia asks Liv to come into the church. I’m not sure that is what Liv meant by “You can ask me anything.”

Olivia, Emma, and Natalia sit quietly in a pew. Liv breaks the silence and wants to know what they are doing there. Nat says they are “being together” and puts her hand over Liv’s hand. Olivia smiles for the first time today, comforted that it is her here with Natalia and not Frank — though if I were Liv, until they disable the Nat tracker, I would be looking over my shoulder.

Natalia is at peace. It will be difficult, but life with Liv is going to be OK. Natalia knows that God loves her and wants her to be happy. He said so in that best-selling book He authored; I think it was an Oprah selection. Otalia, Emma, and Rafe are a family defined by their love for each other.

Liv wants to know what’s next for them. Nat wants to take some time and think. Oy vey! Enough with the thinking — just live it. Have a meal or something. Right on cue, Emma comes back hungry from wherever she wandered off. She wants spaghetti and her two moms to share it with her. Otalia walk out holding hands…is it me, or does anyone else have visions of Lady and Tramp right now?

They arrive for dinner. Emma wanders off to a friend. The bartender asks if they are together. Nat says they are friends — good friends. Liv clarifies and says Otalia, party of two. The meal starts out new and awkward. The food arrives; Emma is back and wants to know why they are not holding hands. The little matchmaker covers with grace. The awkwardness falls away as they start speaking laundry. The meal ends, Emma overnights with a friend, and Natalia offers Liv a ride home.

There is that all too familiar tension at Liv’s door. Nat wants to come in, but she is not ready for this yet. In the vein of an old black and white classic, they hold hands, they smile and say goodnight. Olivia leans against the closed door and smiles, for the first time as Otalia.

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