DISCLAIMER: ABC Daytime owns all. I just took BAM out to play.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a very, very, very long serial that has been in progress since 2005. So, stick with it, because it's good... it's just lacking regular updates.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"I propose a toast," Michael Cambias rose a glass of champagne. Looking smug, he smiled at the crowd gathered at Erica Kane and Jackson Montgomery's wedding reception rehearsal. Nobody said a word. Nobody moved. "What? Aren't you happy to see me?"
The swing of the baseball bat connecting with the wine glass and eventually with Michael's skull brought everyone back to life. He collapsed to the ground like a bag of bones, champagne spilled all over him. The violent act had caused most of the room to jump and scream in unadulterated shock.
"No, dear God, no," David muttered under his breath. Maggie Stone looked defiantly at the lump that was Michael Cambias as he held his bleeding ear and stood up, angrily.
Nobody had told Maggie Stone of the events of the past few weeks. David thought it was wise for everybody involved if Maggie stayed as far away as possible from Bianca's rape, and more importantly, her rapist. Everybody in Pine Valley knew that Maggie and Bianca were meant to be with each other, even they knew that and they loved one another very much, but other circumstances always kept them apart which had also been detrimental to the deep-seeded friendship they had shared since Maggie arrived in Pine Valley in search of answers for her sister's death.
David thought that if Maggie found out about Bianca's rape, as well as the fact that Michael had seemingly been released scot-free, she might find her way back to make him pay. His worst fear had just become reality. Now, he could only watch in horror as his cousin lost it in the name of love. Anna pulled David close; there was no stopping Mary Margaret Stone now.
"What the hell did you do that for?" he demanded, trying to stop the bleeding, desperately grasping at the side of his ear. Once again, nobody moved, even Bianca was frozen in her spot watching with as much horror as everyone else in the room.
"That," Maggie titled her head, "That was for coming to Pine Valley." Maggie cocked the bat back and let it swing. It connected with Michael's solar plexus, sending him tumbling down the few steps that separated him from the foyer and the main ballroom where the reception was being held. "And that," Maggie made her way down the stairs, "That was for coming to Pine Valley to harass the Kane women." Kendall smirked at that remark, and Erica just looked at Bianca, who watched with discontent and guilt.
Michael rolled onto his back, gasping for air, in pain. Maggie cocked her foot back and kicked him hard in the ribs, forcing him into a fetal position.
"That was for going after Erica," Maggie said, kicking him again in the ribs, breaking his right hand. "And that was for going after Kendall."
"Maggie " Police Chief Anna Devane stepped forward, trying to stop her from doing something she would later pay the price for. "You can't do this, you know better..."
"Why not?" Maggie snapped back, making eye contact for the first time since her unexpected arrival. "All any of you did was stand back and let this bastard destroy this town."
"Maggie," Anna took a few steps forward, everybody watched as she brought her to her gun. Meanwhile, Michael had rolled onto his stomach and was trying to regain a standing position. "I can't let you do this."
"What are you going to do?" Maggie spat angrily, "You going to shoot me?" She threw her hands open, holding the bat loosely in her right hand as to make herself an easier target. Michael was on his feet now, and he turned around to face Anna.
"Don't just stand there!" he shouted, obviously having lost hearing in his right ear, still bleeding.
"Shut up, you son of a bitch!" Maggie grabbed his shoulder, turning him around and throwing him off balance. She pointed the bat at his chest, sending him stumbling back down to the ground. "You haven't had a tenth of what I'm going to give you for raping my best friend"
"I need backup," Anna pulled out her walkie talkie. "Valley Inn. Now." When Michael went tumbling down, Anna pulled her gun, dropping her walkie talkie. "All right, that's enough, Maggie!" she shouted. "Drop the bat. Now! That's an order."
"Oh, wait a minute," Michael began laughing, trying to get back up to his feet, again. "Wait a minute. I get this now You're you're who she was screaming for " Maggie had a murderous glint in her eyes, and Bianca closed her eyes tightly, memories of the rape flooding back to her like they were happening to her all over again. He began pointing at her, taunting her to finish the job, "She was screaming for you to save her. Over and over again. 'Maggie! Maggie! Don't let him hurt me. Please!'" He had a mocking tone in his voice.
"Shut up," Maggie said quietly, resisting every urge in her body to kill him on the spot. She was shaking now, as was Bianca, and Jackson had grabbed a hold of Bianca to keep her from falling over. Maggie gripped the bat anxiously; it looked like she could snap the bat in two if she clinched any tighter.
"Both of you, hands up! Now!" Anna shouted as four officers made their way behind Maggie into the ballroom. "That's it. It's over." Maggie turned her head and saw the officers in her view. She turned around to leave, ready to drop the bat, when Michael said his last words.
"She said your name when I came," Michael said matter-of-factly, grinning. Bianca's attention snapped to Maggie when she heard him say that; Erica gasped, and Jack reached for Kendall's shoulder to steady her as well.
What happened next was a blur to everybody in the room. They saw Maggie turn around and swing the bat with a ferocity that she had never seen before in the young woman. It connected with Michael's ribcage and the sickening break of bone was the only sound to be heard in the room. Within a matter of milliseconds, the bat was being swung over and over again, connecting with every part of Michael Cambias' body in sickening breaking of bones, splattering of blood and mashing of flesh and tissue all over Maggie Stone.
By the time the officers and Anna were able to pry Maggie from destroying Michael Cambias, all that was left was a bag of flesh and blood. It took three officers to contain Maggie, and even then, she continued screaming and yelling at the dead man like a banshee. Nobody had ever seen her so unbridled before; it came as a shock to even David, now crying freely as they readied to take her to the police station for questioning.
"Oh my God, Bianca," Erica pulled her youngest daughter into a hug. She was now crying freely, so many emotions flooding into her body, she didn't know how else to react. All Erica could do was try to shield her youngest daughter from yet another horror in her life.
"Maggie, calm down, honey," David tried stroking her face to get his cousin to calm down and eventually it worked. Maggie calmed down enough that the officers let her go. Anna, watching grimly as the paramedics made their way into the ballroom to clean up the mess, knew that what was about to occur was only going to make things more difficult for everyone involved, especially Bianca.
"Maggie," Anna began, "You realize what you've done?" Maggie merely nodded, unable to make eye contact with anybody, though she knew that everybody was watching her with mixed emotions. "I have to arrest you." Some happy that somebody had finally stood up to Michael Cambias; others, saddened, because another young woman from Pine Valley had just lost part of her life to tragedy. "You have the right to remain silent "
Then, there was Bianca Montgomery, who watched with an overwhelming amount of sadness as the love of her life, Maggie Stone, was being led to the gallows by Anna a flock of officers. It was the first time in years anybody in Pine Valley had ever seen a true crime of passion up close and personal, and most were sure it would not be the last.
Jackson Montgomery, after ensuring that his niece was relatively okay, was one of the first people to see Maggie Stone after the Michael Cambias incident at the Valley Inn. He immediately offered to defend Maggie, and she graciously accepted the offer.
"What the hell were you thinking?" he demanded, finally allowed access to her. David and Anna sat next to her as he made his way behind the desk in the interrogation room. He had asked the question on everybody's mind.
"What the hell was everybody else thinking letting that scumbag rape Bianca?" Maggie yelled back, standing, wanting to hit him. He just held his gaze, both angry, not necessarily with each other but with the situation. The question stung, but it was often one he asked himself, so, he bit his tongue.
"Maggie," David reached up for her. She turned her head to him before sinking back down into her chair, shrugging. "You aren't helping anybody by being angry."
"I can't help but be angry," she met Jack's gaze again, "Nobody did anything to stop this. So, I came back, and I stopped it. I don't care if I go to jail. I don't care if everybody in this town thinks it was stupid. I don't care if I'm cast into hell with the rest of the drudge of Pine Valley. Now, that asshole won't walk around hurting her with that smug look on his face like she was a prize at a fair that he won "
"We tried, Maggie," Jack said, sitting now, too, and rubbing his temples. "We tried to put him in jail. We tried to keep him there but there wasn't enough evidence."
"I know there wasn't enough evidence," Maggie sighed, rolling her head back, and looking at the ceiling. "I know Bianca burned her clothes, took a shower, I know everything she told me."
"Bianca told you?" Jack leaned forward in disbelief. Maggie nodded, making eye contact again.
"When? When did she tell you?" Anna asked, turning to face her. Jackson resigned to listening intently. This was news to everybody, because as far as they knew, Maggie was unaware of the events of the last few months. That's the way everybody planned to keep it, too, for as long as they could. Unfortunately, Bianca had different plans entirely.
"A few days ago," Maggie explained, sinking even further into her chair, "She called me, crying, it had to have been like four in the morning London time. She always forgets the time difference when she calls... She was upset she had woken me up. She knew I was preparing for a test, I had one that day, and she forgot about that but when she remembered she tried to convince me to go back to bed, that it wasn't important but I could hear the pain in her voice. And so I got up and I listened "
Maggie trailed off, closing her eyes, and fighting back her own tears. David wrapped his arms around Maggie's shoulders in support. Anna also put a hand on her shoulder to steady Maggie as she began to tremble.
"And she told me about what Michael had done to her. She told me everything that nobody else wanted to tell me. God, we must've been on the phone for eight nine hours I missed my test and a meeting with my adviser I didn't care, she needed me, and I would never I would never turn my back on her." Maggie closed her eyes again and took a deep breath. "When she told me that he had made bail for the rape, and then the charges were dropped, because there no evidence I just lost it but I don't think she knew that. I tried to be as calm and as a strong and everything else she needed me to be."
Jackson nodded, listening carefully.
"I had never heard her so so defeated, so hurt, so lost. It was like Bianca was no longer Bianca but just a shell masquerading around in her own body. I wanted to reach out and touch her, and hold her, and protect her " Maggie met Jack's eyes, "I love her, Jack."
"I know," he sighed, "Trust me, I know." Maggie didn't argue the fact. All he had to do was see the look in her eyes when she looked at his niece; he had known for years what Maggie never wanted to admit to herself.
Maggie related how when Bianca finally was done talking and they hung up, how she sat there and broke down herself. A few minutes later, the only thing she could think of was getting back to Bianca. She booked a flight and left everything at school behind, the next thing she knew, she had murdered Michael Cambias and was now sitting in the Pine Valley jail.
"This isn't going to be easy," Jack admitted, "But I'm going to do my best to keep you out of jail if you're willing "
"Willing to what?" Maggie perked up slightly.
"If you're willing to admit how you feel for my niece," he said, "I think we have a very good shot at keeping you from serving any time." Maggie sighed, defeated once more. 'Easier said than done,' she thought, 'Easier said than done.'
Meanwhile, Bianca was a nervous wreck. She didn't want anybody to touch her or go near her for that matter. When Erica tried to get her to open up, to talk about what happened, Bianca effectively shut down. Along with Kendall, Erica managed to get Bianca back to their penthouse without much of a struggle. They urged her to relax, to try and get comfortable, and she indulged them by changing into her pajamas and laying down on the sofa.
"Do you think it's true?" Kendall pulled Erica into the kitchen to discuss the night's events. "Do you think she really "
"I don't know," Erica shrugged, trying to be strong, "I can't even imagine her being "
"Yeah, I know." Kendall sighed, leaning against the refrigerator. "I can't believe I mean I knew Maggie loved Bianca "
"David and I talked about this a few days ago," Erica confessed, sitting down on a barstool and sipping a glass of water. "We talked about what would happen if Maggie found out "
"Oh?" Kendall raised an eyebrow. "I didn't realize you and David were on speaking terms "
"Well, we weren't," Erica sighed, "But with what happened to Bianca and him being so involved in making sure that she was okay He confided in me and told me he hadn't told Maggie, yet, because he wasn't sure how he would react. He thought it was safer to keep her in the dark until Michael Cambias was locked up for good... in case Maggie came back "
" and then he got out because of the lack of evidence "
"And somehow Maggie must've found out," Erica finished, "I don't know how, though, I mean, it's not like she reads the tabloids or any of that nonsense " Erica raised a hand to her mouth; something donning on her that hadn't before that moment.
"What is it?" Kendall raised an eyebrow, perplexed.
"Do you think Bianca told her?" Both their hearts sank as they decided to make their way back into the living room. They found Bianca laying on the sofa curled up in the fetal position. She was crying, sobs violently shaking her body. 'Why did I tell her?' Bianca berated herself. 'Why did I tell her what happened? I should've just I should've just kept it to myself like I intended to all along '
"Oh, honey!" Erica sat next to her, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Are you okay?"
"I'm I'm " Bianca stammered, "I don't know! Just, please, leave me alone "
"It's okay, Binks," Kendall sat down on the floor next to the sofa, running a hand through her sister's hair. "It's okay, just let it out." She began sobbing more violently, feeling as though another whole had been ripped through her soul. Maggie's actions had killed more than just Michael Cambias; it felt like they had also killed whatever chance they may have still had to be together.
Jack didn't get home until half past five in the morning. By then, he was more than exhausted, but when he walked in he found all three Kane women asleep. Bianca on the sofa, Kendall on the floor and Erica on the recliner. He tried to sneak in undetected, Bianca was the first one up like a bolt of lightning. After everything she had been through, it's no wonder something as simple as a door opening could jar her from her slumber.
"So, what happened, Jack?" Erica asked, standing. Kendall sat up, as did Bianca, who looked more composed than she had earlier. She wrapped a blanket shawl around her shoulders and just listened as her uncle related what had happened down at the station, keeping her attention focused.
"I really wish you would've told us you told Maggie," Jack said right off the bat, before even saying hello, "We might have been able to prevent "
"I didn't tell her so she'd come here and kill him!" Bianca stood, yelling, which shocked everybody. It was more emotion than she had shown in weeks since the rape. She was angry, she was hurt and she just wanted to let it all out.
"Bianca, it's okay, honey," Erica tried to put an arm around her, but she didn't want to be comforted. She was angry, beyond angry, and she was sick of bottling up her feelings. She was ready to explode, and explode she did.
"Stop, don't touch me, okay?" Bianca snapped, walking around the sofa and putting some distance between her and the rest of her family.
"Look, Bianca, nobody is blaming you for anything," Jack tried to explain calmly. "We're just saying David had concerns He was worried something would happen "
"I was worried something would happen!" Bianca threw her hands in the air, "God, do you know how long it took me to figure out just what to tell her and when? I wanted to tell her from day one! I wanted to call her after it happened. I wanted her to come home and hold me and tell me it would be okay but no, she was over there in England she might as well not exist she was so far away. So, when I called to tell her, I just wanted to tell her, and I just wanted her to listen to me because nobody's wanted to listen to me talk about it... talk about the things I need to talk about it and I told her things I didn't even want to tell myself "
"Bianca " Jack reached out for her but she stepped away sporadically. She looked up at him, tears staining her face.
"He was right," Bianca said, defeated by the admission, "I did call out for her I did want her to save me I did I did pretend it was her instead " Bianca became intensely quiet and introspective, a shadow of the angry woman she just was.
"I didn't ask her to come back. I didn't ask her to do this. I just asked her to listen, and she did, and she listened to what I need to say and she didn't try to sugarcoat everything like everybody else has been doing " Bianca wiped the tears from her face, "And now she's going to go to jail and I'm never going to see her again and I just can't lose her again, not after this, I can't." Bianca calmed down, sighing, and put her hands on her stomach. "I can't raise Miranda alone. I don't want to raise Miranda alone. I'm so tired of everything in the world standing against us. I love her, and I've always loved her, since the first day I met her and it's just it's not fair. It's not fair that we can't be together, and I don't want to do this alone, I don't want to do this without her but she doesn't know about Miranda I didn't tell her that "
"This is not your fault," Jack said, pulling her into another hug. "This isn't your fault. You couldn't have known "
"But maybe if I had told her about Miranda maybe she wouldn't have done it?" she sobbed into his chest. He held her tighter, kissing the top of her head. "Maybe we could've been together?"
"I think she would've done it no matter what you told her," Jack said so only Bianca could hear.
At Maggie's arraignment, a day later, the judge ruled that no visitors other than those approved by the judge and the lawyers involved were allowed to visit her until the day before the sentencing. This was to prevent any more outbreaks or uproars over the events that took place leading to Michael Cambias' murder. Even the number of people who could visit her was whittled down, all of whom had to have approval from the judge, the defense, the prosecution and Maggie herself.
The list was narrowed down to two visitors everybody agreed to, including Maggie, however reluctantly: David Hayward and Bianca herself. These would be open visits, which would allow Maggie to be in an interrogation room, door closed and two officers outside.
The last one was a deal breaker with Jack. He needed Maggie to confess how much she cared for Bianca before she took the stand the next day; they both had been through so much hurt and pain, and tomorrow would be even worse if they couldn't at least come to terms with the fact that Maggie did what she did because she loved Bianca. Maggie was still refusing to give in to that, and he thought if they just shared some time together, alone, it might just break down those walls Maggie had built up around her.
"All right, Maggie, time's up," Anna stuck her head in to announce. "Bianca's waiting." Maggie nodded, both her and David standing. He pulled her into a tight hug. As soon as Anna mentioned Bianca by name, Maggie's stomach began tying itself into knots. Even though she knew she was seeing Bianca that day, part of her still wanted to believe that they wouldn't have to sit in the same room, especially after what had happened at the Valley Inn. Bianca had already been in enough pain, and Maggie felt she was causing even more for her by having to meet with her today.
"Thank-you for everything, David," Maggie gushed, leaning against the interrogation room door. Bianca rose when the door opened; preparing her nerves as well, to meet with Maggie and watched with a small smile as Maggie parted ways with her cousin.
"Anything for family," David turned around and smiled. "I'll see you tomorrow morning," he continued, "I'll have everything here around six." Maggie merely nodded, trying to calm her nerves. Maggie sighed and looked around the Pine Valley jail before her eyes met Bianca's for the first time in what felt like forever.
"Hi," she barely managed to get out, slumping against the door frame, and wishing Jack hadn't been so adamant about their meeting.
"Hi," Bianca replied, smiling, but realizing Maggie wasn't going to catch it. Seconds later, Maggie entered the interrogation room and sunk down in her chair. Bianca, after getting an encouraging nod from Anna, entered, too, shutting the door behind her. "So, is this how it's going to be?"
"I don't know," Maggie shrugged, "I didn't I didn't think. Oh, hell, I don't know." Bianca sat her purse down on the table and just watched helplessly as Maggie sank further into herself. She'd never seen Maggie so resigned before, especially from her. 'She was my rock once,' Bianca thought morosely. 'Now, it's my turn to be her rock.'
"Can't you look at me at all?" Bianca asked, walking around the table towards Maggie. Maggie leaned back in her chair, leaning her head back, too, in an almost unnatural position and sighed, her blonde hair splaying against the back of the seat. "Maggie, please?" She opened her eyes to find Bianca had kneeled next to her, her right hand on the arm of the chair and her left hand on her shoulder.
"I'm " Maggie closed her eyes again, trying to regain some sort of composure, "I'm sorry."
"For what?" Bianca reached up instinctively to push a stray strand of Maggie's hair behind her ear. She didn't remove her hand, which surprisingly calmed both girls down immensely.
"Bianca " Maggie arched into the touch, closing her eyes, "This isn't the right time for this."
"Then, when is?" she asked, gently moving Maggie's head until they made eye contact. "You risked your entire future to... to stop him. To stop him from haunting me."
Maggie quickly pushed the chair behind her as soon as Bianca had begun to cry. It was an instinct and before she knew it she was sitting against the wall of the interrogation room with Bianca in her arms. Maggie rocked Bianca gently, whispering to her that it would be okay and that it was over now. A few minutes later, Bianca had stopped crying, and they sat their in silence relishing the moment.
"Maggie?" Bianca relaxed a bit.
"Yeah?" Maggie laid her head on Bianca's, kissing the top of her head softly. Bianca closed her eyes for a moment and then admitted what had been in heart for years.
"I love you." She said it and felt a wave of relief wash over her. Maggie, however, felt her heart heave in her chest as a wave of guilt washed over her. It had finally come. The words she so desperately wanted to hear but now a new roadblock stood in their way: One that involved orange jumpsuits, manual labor and not dropping the soap.
"Bianca " Maggie practically slammed her head against the concrete wall, "Oww "
"Oh, Maggie," Bianca turned around, crossing her legs, forcing Maggie to prop her knees up and over them. She brought her hand to Maggie's cheek, caressing it softly. 'Well, she's not running away,' Bianca thought to herself, her heart beating in her chest, 'That's a good sign even if she has nowhere to run to ' "I know what you're going to say you're going to say this is the wrong time you're going to say this just isn't going to work "
"It's not," Maggie replied, closing her eyes again, trying to give herself the strength to tear away from Bianca's touch, "I'm going to go to prison."
"No, you aren't," Bianca said, smiling, "Uncle Jack told me. He told me what he's planning to do tomorrow."
"Of course, he did," Maggie sighed. "It's not as simple as your uncle makes it out to be Please, don't look at me like that " Bianca looked like she was going to cry again. "God, Bianca, you know why I did it, isn't that enough for you?"
"No, it's not," she shook her head, "I love you so much, Maggie, you know that. You feel that. I know you do." Maggie just nodded in response. "Why can't you just open yourself up? Why can't you just let me touch your heart in all the ways you've touched mine "
"I don't want to hurt you, Bianca," Maggie said, closing her eyes, "You've already been hurt so much, and I came back here all GI Joe-ish, and look what it did? Look what it's going to do? Tomorrow, I'm going to be thrown in an orange jumpsuit and shipped off to God knows where for half a lifetime "
"It doesn't have to be that way "
"Yes, it does," Maggie reminded Bianca. Every time they managed to come to an understanding something popped up that dashed their hopes of young love and romance. Similar roadblocks had occurred during the last four years that had stood in their way. They knew they loved each other, most people knew they loved each other, but every time they were close enough to give in, something happened to one or the other and sometimes both. Now, Bianca was willing to put everything else on the back burner for Maggie, but she wasn't so sure the woman she loved wanted the same thing because of the impending doom of the trial.
"It can be different this time," Bianca pressed, "It really can. I want it to be different. I want everything else to just fall away. I want to be with you, Maggie. I love you."
"I'm so afraid that if I say okay, and I go to jail "
"You aren't going to go to jail," Bianca leaned forward onto her knees and cupped Maggie's cheeks. "Uncle Jack. He's the best lawyer in the world. He's going to see to it." Maggie was crying now. "Why are you crying? What's the matter? Please don't shut me out."
"When you told me," Maggie turned her head, "When you told me what happened that day I would've traded places with you in an instant, if I could've "
"Don't say that," Bianca shushed her, putting a finger to her lips. Maggie met Bianca's eyes and a tear fell down her cheek. Bianca swooped in to wipe it away. "Don't ever say that."
"I love you, Bianca," Maggie said, smiling for the first time in days. "I love you so much. And I would never let anybody hurt you like that. Never."
"I know, Maggie, I know," she said, sitting down again. "I love you so much. I know you'd never let anybody hurt me Does this mean?"
"I don't know, does it?"
"I think it does," Bianca nodded, smiling, genuinely happy for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. "But there's one more thing I have to tell you " Bianca pulled away, standing.
"What is it?" Maggie asked, standing, too. "Is something wrong? What aren't you telling me?"
"I didn't want to tell you on the phone," Bianca began, "Because well, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do and a lot of things happened, and there's just been so much confusion surrounding my decision to do to keep "
"Do? Do what? Keep what? What's wrong, Bianca?" Maggie grabbed her arm, and Bianca turned to face her, taking the arm and grasping her hand. She guided it to her stomach, and Maggie looked down then back up to Bianca before looking down again.
"No " Maggie choked back tears, "You're not " Maggie turned her head away as if just looking at Bianca would flood back every bad memory of the last few months. 'She can't be, she just can't be carrying that that monster's child.'
"Yes, yes, I am," Bianca nodded, keeping Maggie's hand firmly placed on her stomach, where her child was growing. Bianca was worried, Maggie's face was blank, and she began to have a sinking feeling in her throat.
The silence between the two was deafening. Neither budged or even breathed loudly. Bianca kept her attention solely on Maggie, waiting for any sign of response, for better or for worse. When she decided to keep the child, others had responded with a sort of mixture of concern and complacency. After all, it was her choice, but Maggie had killed the father of Bianca's child what would she see in the pregnancy?
"So, what does that make me?" Maggie broke out into the biggest grin Bianca had ever seen on her face. "Like? Do I get to be a mommy, too?" Maggie now had both hands on Bianca's stomach, and she met her eyes once more, bringing a hand to her cheek. It was the first time since Maggie had returned that Bianca saw the flicker of life she had grown to admire in her best friend. Maggie's face was lit up with hope that they could have their happy ending. They both could.
"I suppose we could work out the details later," Bianca beamed, taking a few steps closer to Maggie, watching with excitement as the blonde's smile continued to brighten. "I mean, if you follow my uncle's plan tomorrow "
"Oh, if he told me to jump off a cliff, I'm pretty sure I'd do it right now," Maggie pulled Bianca into a hug and held her close. "I love you, Bianca, I love you so much." Maggie felt a sense of calmness sweep through her as she held Bianca, for those few sweet moments they were just together, and that was enough for now.
"I love you, too," she said, their moment in the sun interrupted by Anna informing them that their time was up. They both merely nodded, holding one another for a few more minutes, before Jack stuck his head into the room to see the results.
"So, ladies, is this a good sign?" he asked, smiling, seeing the look of adoration in his niece's eyes. Both girls had enough spunk at the moment to light up a whole city block.
"A very good one," Bianca nodded, smiling, taking Maggie's hand in her own. She took a look at Maggie who was still smiling what appeared to be a permanent grin.
"I'm going to be a mommy Kinda," Maggie grinned, tilting her head to the side trying to figure out what to call herself in relation to the child.
"That you are," Jack said, putting a hand on her shoulder and leading both ladies out of the interrogation room, "That you both are " Jackson Montgomery made a silent prayer to any God listening to help keep Maggie Stone out of jail. For the sake of his own niece, and for the sake of her unborn child. He knew nobody would ever love both than Maggie. Nobody would ever come close.
A week and a half later, after pleading guilty to a lesser sentence, Maggie was now poised to be sentenced. Most of Pine Valley had shown up and filled the courtroom, often overflowing into the foyer and front steps of the courthouse. Since Maggie had been barred from any more visitors except for Jackson, the few moments she shared with Bianca in her three courtroom appearances had meant the world to her.
Bianca sat behind the defense steadfast in support for the woman she loved. Today was no exception. However, today an overwhelming sense of sadness overcame her. If something went wrong in that courtroom, if something went wrong with the verdict, Maggie would be snatched from her world for a very long time. 'We've already waited so long for this,' Bianca thought sadly, 'I'm so tired of waiting. So tired of it.'
Maggie must've sensed Bianca's pain, because at that moment she turned around and smiled at her. It wasn't a smile of pain or sadness, but of hope for the future. Hope for them. Bianca found herself smiling back as a sense of relief washed through her as she went over just how her uncle planned to keep Maggie from serving any sentence.
"It's going to be okay," Maggie whispered so only Bianca could hear. "It'll all work out like your uncle planned." Bianca forced another smile.
"I know it's going to be okay," Bianca replied, reaching out and leaning her hand on the wooden divide that separated them. Maggie cupped Bianca's hand with her own, both letting the small amount of contact calm their nerves just a bit. "I just I want this to work out this time."
"I know. I do, too, Bianca." Maggie met Bianca's eyes and held her gaze. "I love you."
"I love you, too, Maggie," Bianca didn't hesitate, "I love you so much and no matter what happens today I'm going to love you forever. Don't forget that. Don't ever forget that."
Jackson cleared his throat, signaling that bailiff had just walked into the courtroom; Maggie pulled her hand away from Bianca's and turned around without another word. Bianca sank in her seat slightly, saddened by the loss of contact. Erica wrapped an arm around Bianca's shoulder, pulling her closer, and whispering into her ear words of encouragement and support.
"It'll be okay, Bianca, this will all be over before you know it," Erica said soothingly. Bianca just nodded, trying not to cry, she wanted to be strong for Maggie. Strong for their child. 'I can be strong,' she told herself, 'I can be strong for them. I have to be strong for them.'
"Well, this is it, Maggie," Jackson leaned over and said quietly. "You and Bianca will be together very soon." He was more than confident that pleading guilty to the less murder charge was the way out for Maggie. He had formulated his plan based on Maggie's love for Bianca. Something that couldn't be argued against, he believed, even though the defense tried to use Maggie's sexual confusion which had been well documented by the many tabloid rags in the city against her case. Although it had worried him, he was more than sure the look in Maggie's eyes as she looked at Bianca was more than enough to make her a free woman.
"I know, Jack, I know," Maggie nodded, smiling on the inside, but trying to remain calm and collected on the outside. They often say that right before someone dies, there entire life flashes before their eyes, but as the judge walked into the courtroom and everyone rose, not just any part of Maggie's life began to flash before her eyes what brought her back to Pine Valley did.
Maggie continued to fidget in her seat. She had practically blown all her money on the first class ticket to get her on a plane first thing that morning. She couldn't even order a drink to calm her nerves. 'What am I going to do when I get off this plane?' she asked herself, 'Who am I kidding? I'm going to Bianca. I'm going straight to Bianca and I'm not leaving. I will never leave her again.'
With less than an hour to go before she landed, she looked out the window and sighed throwing the English version of Cosmopolitan to the empty seat next to her.
"Can I get you a drink, ma'am?" the stewardess asked. Maggie turned her head slowly and looked up at the woman, shaking her head. "Are you sure? You just seem"
"So out of it?" Maggie finished, shrugging, "I am but I'm afraid I don't have enough money for the massive amounts of alcohol I would need to keep me from spacing out."
"It's okay," she whispered, "Just don't tell anybody." She handed Maggie two small bottles and headed back behind the curtain that divided first class and the rest of the plane. 'Well, well, well, Stone,' she smiled for the first time since she boarded the plane, 'This is your lucky day.'
She quickly opened one bottle, setting the other one on the seat next to her under Cosmo. 'Vodka,' she nodded, 'This is going to sting.' She realized she had nothing to chase the bottle with as her half-empty Sprite was flat and she wasn't going to chase something this good with something that flat.
"Bottoms up," she took a shot. Shaking her head from the burning sensation on her tongue, she felt a little better already. "Woah, that packs a punch."
Maggie continued to take shots leisurely, relaxing a bit and getting comfortable in her seat. She began to think about what she would say to Bianca when she first saw her. Thoughts ranging from telling her how much she cared about her to what she wanted to do to Michael Cambias
Maggie grasped the empty Vodka bottle in her hand and practically threw it against the seat in front of her, letting it fall to the ground with a loud crash. It didn't break, but it was quickly forgotten as her thoughts turned dark and she began to visualize all the things she would do to Michael Cambias if she was able to get her hands on him.
'I'd kill him,' she clinched her teeth, eyes glaring, 'I'd kill him and stop him. I'd stop him from haunting Bianca. I'd stop him from hurting her. I'd make up for everything that had happened in the last six weeks to her that nobody else seemed to want to do for her. God, I know her mom has connection. Why couldn't she at least hire somebody to do the dirty work for her? Why didn't her uncle just beat the shit out of him? He's got a hard edge, hell, he's been face-to-face with some of the most brutal and uncaring jerks on the planet working at the courthouse. Why didn't David or Anna or Ryan or anybody else do anything? Why did they just let him get away with it? Why? Why? Why?'
Maggie laid her head back, closing her eyes, 'That was the question she kept coming back to: Why? Why didn't anybody in Pine Valley realize Bianca was a target? Why didn't anybody do anything to protect Bianca? They protected Lena, from what Bianca told her, they had officers trail her in the event that Michael tried to pull something after she testified against him. Erica and Kendall were safe, they, too, had security but everybody had seemingly neglected Bianca.'
Maggie opened her eyes and smiled. She loved Bianca so much. So completely. So unlike anything else she had ever felt before. Why on earth did she go to England to try and get away from her? To try and deny what she was feeling so Bianca could pursue things with Lena? But Lena was out of the picture now, Bianca had been raped and was now broken with heartaches on every level. Why go back now and probably hurt her even more? Who was she kidding? 'I'm going back for one reason and one reason alone,' she sat up in the seat, a new confidence coming over her. 'I'm going to make Michael Cambias pay.'
"The Captain has informed us that we will be making our descent shortly," a stewardess said over the intercom system, "Please fasten your seat belts, it has been a pleasure serving you today on American Airlines." Maggie was jarred from her train of thought, fastened her seat belt and looked out over Pine Valley. 'Yeah, Michael Cambias, you're going to pay for what you did to Bianca if it's the last thing I do.'
Jackson buttoned the bottom of his suit jacket and stood tall. He had been in this position many times before but for some reason it felt as if the stakes were higher. 'Please, let this work out for Bianca,' he closed his eyes briefly, 'Travis, if you can hear me, please give this to your daughter. I'm begging you. Please. Give her the happy ending you've always dreamed about for her. Please give her the happy ending I've always dreamed about for her.'
It was at the finish of that short prayer that Jackson's memory was flooded with the events that led up to his defense plan. It wasn't that he doubted it; it was just that his years as Pine Valley's District Attorney had prepared him for the worst, and now he thought back to his plan with mild relief in preparation of the sentencing to come. Jackson thought back on his lingering doubts and his concerns for Bianca as he held the life of her love in his hands.
Jackson Montgomery paced around his office in a frenzied pace. He had thrown his suit jacket across the room, not caring where it landed as soon as he entered and hadn't stopped his frenetic pace. Erica would've thrown a fit at the careless action. After all, she had paid close to $6500 for that particular suit but at that moment, he didn't care, all he could focus on was figuring out how to keep Maggie Stone out of prison and put her into the arms of his niece.
It was the day after Maggie had murdered Michael Cambias. Bianca was a wreck over it, and he tried to console her but there was nothing he could do. He left her in the hands of Erica and Kendall at their shared penthouse in the hopes that they could coax Bianca out of her coma-like state. Ever since her outburst last night, Bianca hadn't said a single word. She just listened, nodded her head and tried not to cry. But she cried. Just like she had cried herself to sleep, just like she had waken up crying and just like she continued to cry at even the slightest memory of Maggie surfaced.
He watched her acutely in the kitchen earlier that morning, he offered to make Bianca anything she wanted but she just blew him off after pouring herself a glass of water. She wouldn't even look at him, she was broken, dejected. Her heart was aching in ways she never thought possible, and it was written all over her face. He recalled those moments with aching clarity, as it had now become clear that was how she was going to live her life. Like a robot. It's all she could to do to stop herself from falling apart and just ending it all. She was just going through the motions to keep herself from dying all together even though it was clear to the world she was already dead inside.
In many ways, he imagined this is how she would've looked had they known she'd been raped the night it occurred. She'd finally broken down those walls and let those around her see how hurt she really was. He didn't think she did this of her own accord; she just couldn't hide the pain anymore.
Jack watched intently as she made her way to the refrigerator, mechanical in movement, opening the door and reaching in for a gallon of spring water. She set it on the counter next to the fridge, reached up into the cupboard for a glass, set it down and began to pour water into it. Pouring that glass of water was just going through the motions for Bianca. 'Just a shell,' he thought sadly, 'Just a shell of the woman she used to be '
Maggie killing Michael Cambias while the intention was noble also proved to be Bianca's undoing. Jack knew she blamed herself for Maggie's plight. If Bianca hadn't told Maggie about what happened, chances are Maggie wouldn't find herself in the situation she was in now. Jackson didn't buy that for a second, but Bianca believed it. Bianca believed it with all her heart and soul. She loved Maggie Stone. She had loved Maggie Stone forever and now she may never get to act on that love, yet again.
"How in the hell am I going to get her out of this?" Jack slammed his fist into his mahogany desk and sank into the chair. He leaned back, closed her eyes. 'Eye witnesses, a full confession,' he sighed, 'This is a prosecutor's dream.' In all honesty, Jack didn't know if he could get Maggie out of this and this lingering doubt kept him in limbo for the days to come.
"Would the defense rise," the Bailiff said matter-of-factly. Jackson Montgomery was the first out of his seat. He put a hand on Maggie's shoulder as she, too, stood and looked around briefly for support from Bianca. Bianca just smiled at her, nerves frayed.
Jackson Montgomery felt the same limbo now as he stood next to Maggie Stone that he felt the day he formulated his defense plan. Maggie focused her attention on him and smiled, bringing his focus back to the events playing out before him. He couldn't help but have a bad feeling about this. 'Youthful innocence,' he forced a smile back to reassure her, 'Let's just hope this is enough for you both.'
'Grandma, if you're listening, now would be the time for that miracle we talked about,' Bianca thought, bringing back memories of the night before when she visited Mona Montgomery's resting place.
Bianca Montgomery entered the graveyard and looked around uneasily. This place always made her feel uneasy. Something about the fact that many of the loved ones she lost over the years hadn't had the chance to live out their lives fully. People like Frankie, Maggie's twin sister, laid to rest here as did Leo du Pres, her best friend and constant companion when she arrived back in Pine Valley. So many wonderful people, so much tragedy. She didn't want Maggie to become another tragedy, her grave to be prison, not the earth.
"Grandma, I know I haven't been by in awhile," Bianca began, sitting Indian-style on a patch of ground in front of Mona Kane's grave. "I've just I've been bus I don't think busy is the right word to use. I've been so distant lately. From everybody, not just mom and Uncle Jack, but you and Leo and Frankie." Bianca's chin quivered as tears began to form, she held them back desperately, this wasn't the time to break down. "I don't want to cry anymore, grandma, I don't. I'm so tired of crying and feeling so so broke inside. And I'm trying not to cry, because Maggie doesn't need that right now. She needs me to be strong and brave and tough and all the things she is for me all the time that I never noticed until the last few days "
Bianca wiped her cheeks. Tears staining her porcelain skin. "It's just not fair, grandma. It's just not fair. She came back her for me. She she killed him," she choked back more tears, "She killed him for me and she didn't know it then but she knows it now she came back ," she hiccuped, " and she killed him for us. For me and my child. She killed him for us." Bianca bowed her head into her hands and just let the tears come. Moments like she looked up towards the sky and closed her eyes, feeling the early morning sunlight pour down onto her face.
"Why can't anything in my life just be easy? I love Maggie, grandma, you know that. We've talked about this before " She hesitated, as if she expected Mona to suddenly shake the earth in response to her statement. Bianca laughed through her tears. No matter how much older she got, she still thought that someday Mona Kane was going to break out of her coffin, unearth herself and knock some sense into Pine Valley. "I love Maggie so much, and she did what she did because she loves me. I could never have hoped or dreamed or wished in a million years for her to love me like she does." Bianca began crying freely again, " but once again we've hit this roadblock. Every single time either one of us has ever come close to this moment, it's like one of us gets hit by a car and spins out of control until the other can no longer can use their breaks."
"I just want a happy ending, grandma. It doesn't seem to be too much to ask for after everything that's happened this last year " she trailed off, closing her eyes again, fighting back her tears. She didn't want to cry anymore. She just didn't want to cry. She was so tired of crying. "I want to be with Maggie. And Maggie wants to be with me. But she might go to prison for what she did. How can an act of love send someone to prison? I mean, I know what she did I know " Bianca was trying not to get angry, but it was hard. It was always hard to control her anger nowadays. She had struggled her whole life to keep the ugly side of the Kane family tree from rearing its head. On occasion, she had failed, but lately, it was as if even the most remotely connected things triggered her into tirades that put even the great Erica Kane to shame.
Therapy, lots and lots of therapy, had helped her work through some of the issues surrounding her rape, but there were many, many more sessions to go through before she ever returned to a sense of normalcy in her life. Carrying Michael Cambias' child did nothing to ease the pain, frustration and anger she still held inside. Knowing he was dead was both a burden and a relief for Bianca. A relief, because he no longer would haunt her dreams day and night, and a burden because the woman she loved and swore allegiance to through thick and thin would suffer because of him. Suffer because of what he did to her Michael Cambias didn't even lay a hand on Maggie, yet, he managed to destroy her life, too.
"Uncle Jack is sure he can keep her out of prison, grandma," Bianca continued, diverting her train of thought. She just didn't want to go there today, not on the day of Maggie's trial. She wanted to be strong, supportive. She wanted to be everything Maggie had always been for her. She wanted to be Maggie's rock. But despite everything she did to keep her anxiety in check, she couldn't help but feel the lump in her throat grow. It couldn't be as simple as Uncle Jack made it. Nothing in Pine Valley is ever simple. Nothing. "I'm not so sure he can "
Bianca zoned out long enough to miss most of what the judge had said but was jarred from her reverie by the silence that overcame the courtroom. She looked around and slowly began to realize that the happily ever after she had hoped for was about to be snatched once again as the look that overcame the judge's face as she read the sentence was enough to tell her what was to come.
"Mary Margaret Stone: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby sentences you to ten years in a minimum security prison without the possibility of parole"
"No!" Jackson Montgomery's voice cut off the judge before anybody else had the time to react. "Your Honor!" Jack's simple words were enough to lull the court into an uproar. Bianca tried to stand but found she had lost all use of her legs as her mother pulled her into a half hug to keep her from following in her uncle's footsteps.
"Mr. Montgomery," she slammed her gavel hard in front of her, "If you say one more word, I will hold you in contempt of court." He bit his lip, hard, tasting blood as he turned to face Bianca with the most abject look of sorrow on his face. The only other time he had worn that look on his face was when he broke the news to Bianca that her father had passed away mere days after she arrived in Pine Valley.
Erica stood up, steadying herself on Bianca's shoulder. Bianca just looked up at her, tears streaming down her face. She couldn't even compose herself to react to the verdict. It felt as if she was ripped from her world once again and forced to watch from the sidelines. If someone told her to move, she was pretty sure she wouldn't be able to use her limbs to do so. Jack looked at Erica now, closed his eyes and turned around, nodding at the judge in some sort of agreement that he wouldn't say another word.
Meanwhile, Maggie had bowed her head and closed her eyes tightly as she heard the verdict. There were no tears, no words, no emotions. It was at the exact moment the judge said ten years that she cut herself off from the world. If Maggie was good at anything in the world, it was her ability to cut her losses and run. She'd been running from her past for over a decade, she had been running from her feelings for Bianca for the last couple of years, and now to ensure that Bianca would move on with her own life instead of waiting for her, she was willing to run from the progress they had made and the promises they shared just a few weeks ago. It was all Maggie could do now.
'Ten years,' she thought sadly, forcing herself not to cry, 'Ten years. That might as well be the rest of my life if I can't be with Bianca. If I can't be with her child.' Maggie looked up, opened her eyes, and kept her attention focused solely on the judge. The rest of the courtroom stifled whispers, tears and in a few cases violent outbursts.
"This is just great," he whispered to Anna, "Just great. I should've known better than to trust her case with that hack Montgomery" Anna nudged him in the ribs with her elbow, basically telling him to shut it. Erica had taken her seat. Kendall wrapped an arm around her sister's shoulder and pulled her close. She could feel Bianca trembling, her eyes fixed squarely on Maggie despite not being able to see her face. 'If these are my last few minutes with her, I don't want to forget a second,' she told herself, trying not to fall apart. 'Be strong.' She repeated that mantra over and over again as the judge spoke once more.
"Now that you've all calmed down," she seethed, "I'll continue." She composed herself, taking a small breath and looking directly at the audience in the courtroom. "While most of Pine Valley is used to deal-brokering, bribery and leniency when it comes to trial of this nature, I'm not going to turn my back on the basic principles of law. While what Michael Cambias did beyond the scope of comprehension, I can not stand by a let the letter of the law be ignored because somebody decided to take justice into their own hands. That somebody being you, Ms. Stone," she focused her gaze on the young woman, "However, because I do recognize the intent behind your actions, as I was going to explain before I was interrupted. While you are being sentenced for ten years, to be served out here in Pine Valley, I have decided to make you eligible for parole in December 2006." Maggie gulped. 'Two years is still a long time.' "Court adjourned." She slammed the gavel and returned to her chambers.
"I will do everything in my power to appeal this," Jackson turned to face Maggie as the court went into continuing the uproar from earlier.
"Oh, Maggie!" Anna threw her arms around the young girl and pulled her into a hug. These were her last minutes as a semi-free woman and all she could think about was the woman crying into the arms of her mother seated behind her. "We're going to get you out of this!"
"Yes, we are," David said, putting a hand on her shoulder, "I think we'll start by getting a new lawyer " He glared at Jackson who returned the look before rolling his eyes.
"Enough of this," Anna said politely. "We can deal with this later."
"I don't want to appeal," Maggie said curtly, keeping her attention on the two officers coming to take her out of the courtroom.
"What?" David and Jackson said in unison. 'What the hell is she thinking?' Jackson wondered, taking a look over at Erica and Bianca. Kendall was trying to comfort his niece as well, but it just wasn't enough. It never was enough.
"What do you mean you don't want to appeal?" David asked incredulously. "Of course, we're going to appeal. Just because we got some self-righteous do-right judge doesn't mean you deserve to go to jail " Anna began talking to the officers, bartering for a few more minutes.
"It's just not meant to be," Maggie muttered under her breath, turning ever so slightly to see the sight of Bianca crying in her mother's arms. Her heart ached. She wanted nothing more than to rush over to her, wrap her arms around Bianca and just hold her until the rest of the world disappeared. Maggie sighed.
"Ms. Stone," one of the officers interrupted the argument brewing between Jackson and David about her appeal. "If you'll come with us " She just nodded, extending her wrists so they could put the handcuffs on her. Maggie managed to get one more look in Bianca's direction before she was out of sight. Bianca looked up, saw Maggie being left away and bolted into a standing position startling her mother.
"Bianca " Erica turned to see where her attention was focused. Bianca was watching, painfully, as the two officers led Maggie out of the courtroom as a criminal. 'I'm not giving up this time ' she told herself, 'Never again.'
She wiped the tears from her cheeks and resolved to tell Maggie she loved her. She had to tell her she loved her once more before she was taken away. Bianca didn't know when she'd see her again, but no matter what, Bianca loved her. Maggie had to know even if she already knew. "Bianca don't " Erica reached up to grab her arm, but it was too late her daughter was going to talk to Maggie come hell or high-water. Nobody, not even two armed police officers, were going to stop her as she caught up to the officers, stopping them from leaving the courthouse by blocking their way.
The two state correctional officers holding Maggie by each of her arms stopped in their tracks. They looked at Bianca Montgomery, standing before them, battered and broken. Mark, the officer on the left, had seen the same look of dejection time-and-time again. His fellow officer, Tom, who was new to this type of job duty, just stood and observed with sadness in his heart. 'Similar situations, different circumstances, cases of the heart always led to some form of heartbreak. It was inevitable,' he thought sadly.
Maggie Stone wasn't a criminal. She was a hero. A tragic hero who had finally given in to her heart's desires and did what was right. However, what is right isn't always what is right by terms of the law. She was sentenced to ten years. Ten long years behind bars and no matter what the promise of parole, two years ten years it was all the same to her. She refused to look up at Bianca when she called out her name and despite the fact that the officers were going to give her the opportunity to speak to the woman she loved she silently refused by keeping her mouth shut.
"Look at me, Maggie," Bianca said, inching forward, fighting back tears. She was getting good at keeping her emotions under wraps. She'd been doing it for months now. As much as Bianca wanted to lose it, wanted to slap some sense into Maggie, there was no way she could lay a hand on her that way. She'd never hurt Maggie, and she just wished Maggie knew that.
Maggie sighed, closing her eyes tightly. 'Just pretend she's not there. Pretend this isn't real,' she repeated over and over again, hoping to just disappear. She had done this plenty of times before. She had ignored the overwhelming urges to hold Bianca close, kiss her, touch her, and be in the same room with her. At this precise moment in time, Maggie wanted nothing more to not exist. Only then would the pain of shutting down once again stop for good.
"Maggie," Bianca's voice cracked, "Please " She placed her hands on Maggie's cheeks and forced her to look up. The two officers stepped to the side, but well within reach, and gave them a few moments of privacy. "Don't do this. Don't shut me out. Not now. You can't do this. D'you hear me? You can't do this."
"Yes, I can," Maggie seethed, tearing her head away from Bianca's hands to look at Mark. "Take me out of here. Now. I don't want to talk to her." He merely nodded, both officers returning to their positions at her side.
"I'm sorry, miss," Mark said to Bianca. "We have to go." Bianca sighed, loudly, dejected by the scene in front of her. There was nothing she could do. She was helpless. Again.
"No, you don't!" she yelled, standing in his way. "I'm not letting you take her. Not, yet. Not until I get through to her." Bianca was beyond angry. She wasn't going to let Maggie get the upper hand here, if she was going to jail for the next ten years, Bianca was sure as hell going to get to talk to her before her sentence began. She wasn't going to let Maggie run away this time; she wasn't going to let Maggie run away ever again.
"I'm afraid that's not your call," Tom said matter-of-factly. "We're taking Miss Stone to the state correctional facility. You can facilitate your visit with them." They began to walk, Maggie keeping her head focused on the floor as they guided her, and Bianca just stood their speechless.
"How in the hell did that happen?" Bianca threw her hands in the air and began crying.
"Oh, Bianca!" Erica wrapped her arms around her daughter's shoulders. "I'm so sorry!" She pulled away, wiping the tears from her eyes once more.
"I can't do this right now," she watched as the officers walked Maggie out of the courthouse and to the waiting squad car. She just shook her head. 'I don't know what you're think Mary Margaret Stone, but there's no way I'm going to abandon you now. Come hell or high-water, I'll get through to you. Some way, some how. I'll get through to you.'
While Erica pulled Bianca to the side to give her some sort of motherly pep talk to keep her spirits up, Maggie was situated into the squad car that would take her to the Pine Valley State Correctional Facility. The facility was mostly a minimum security prison, and luckily, most of those from Pine Valley who were convicted were kept her close to home. 'If only she had sent me elsewhere ' Maggie thought sadly.
Maggie knew sooner or later she would have to deal with Bianca. She would have to sit face-to-face with her and discuss what their future was going to be like. Ten years was an eternity. The last five years had been one, too, and now that they both were on the same page all the hopes they had invested in her getting off with nothing but probation seemed so childish. 'How could we be so naïve?'
Bianca stared at the passenger window. 'How appropriate,' she sighed inwardly. A steady downpour had begun to pelt Pine Valley. Kendall turned her head slightly, keeping an eye on the road but paying more attention to her sister. She offered to drive her back to her apartment only to keep Erica and Jack from smothering her with an outpouring of love that would only showcase itself in the worst possible way right now.
"It's not really fair," Kendall broke the uneasy silence. "None of this is fair. Maggie doesn't"
"Life isn't fair," Bianca rolled her eyes, "Life is never fair. You'd think I would've learned that by now "
"This isn't your fault," Kendall read her thoughts, "Nothing that's happened this past year is your fault."
"Isn't it, though?" Bianca sighed, slumping back down into the seat and looking out the window. "Everything bad that's happened in Pine Valley this year has revolved around me. It's like I'm cursed or something that's what Maggie would say."
"Would she really?" Kendall asked, curiously. She knew Maggie had a twisted sense of humor. It was one quality that both Frankie and Maggie shared, and it's one of the few things that brought Maggie and Bianca together when the former first came to town. Of course, Kendall at the time was just trying to destroy Bianca, but that was a lifetime away from where their relationship was now.
"Yeah, she would," Bianca smiled despite her heart-aching. "Maggie has a well, weird way of looking at the world. She's one of the most unique people in the world, and she always thought this bad year was making up for all the good I've ever had. She always used to tell me that I needed to keep my head up, because sooner or later, my luck would have to turn around because life balances out I just can't help," she closed her eyes, "I just can't help to think by the time my life does balance out, like she says, it's going to be too late and I'll have lost everything that matters the most."
"Like Maggie," Kendall added, understanding.
"Like Maggie." Inside, Bianca was on a battlefield, part of her wanted to take up her mother's suggestion and continue on to Paris. They had talked about it extensively after she found out she was pregnant. Erica thought it would do her good to get away from the limelight following her and have her child in peace. Bianca was ready to give in to her mother's suggestion and leave the country when Maggie returned and all her plans were dashed. Even the plans she only dreamed about in the back of her head. The one were her and Maggie were together, raising her unborn child. Forever. 'Dashed,' Bianca shook her head, 'Always dashed.'
Bianca just wanted what every girl dreamed of. Love, life and happiness. Everything she wanted was summed up in two words: Maggie Stone. Bianca believed in love, because her love for Maggie was the only love she ever truly knew. No matter who had walked into her life, whether they stayed or left on good or bad terms, nobody ever reached out and touched her heart like Maggie Stone. Nobody ever would.
"If Maggie is worth fighting for, you need to hang in there," Kendall said, "I know that I'm not the best one to give advice on love considering the train wreck that is my love life, but if there's one thing I learned so far is that true love is out there. And if you've found it, you have to fight for it, no matter what."
"When did you get so wise, Kendall?" Bianca asked seriously throwing Kendall off. Kendall just chuckled, shaking her head, too.
"You live and learn, kid, you live and learn."
"I'm living," Bianca said as they pulled up in front of her apartment building, "I don't know what I've learned, yet, though." She hesitated after opening the door, planting one foot firmly on the ground, and turning to face Kendall again. "Thanks, Kendall, for everything this week."
"I'm always here if you need me to be," she replied, smiling, "Just hang in there. If I know one thing about Maggie, she may be stubborn as a rock, but she's full of surprises. Give her time."
"Time is all she's had," Bianca said as she stepped out of the car and closed the door behind. "And now time is all she got." Bianca waved as Kendall drove off, and she just stood outside letting the rain fall onto her head and shoulders. She leaned her head back, feeling the raindrops beat against her cheeks and knew that rain wasn't the only thing that would stain them that night.
"I should've done more!" Jack threw his briefcase across their penthouse. It came into contact with the far wall and snapped open, spilling its content across the floor.
"You did all that you could, Jack," Erica said, setting her purse down on the end table. "You did all that you could and now you have to keep your focus. You can't let Maggie sit in prison a day longer than she has to, she did the right thing! You know it, and that judge knows it, too!"
"It's not that simple," he continued, "My plan was fail proof. It was fail proof. Even that scumbag Hayward signed off on it " Jack was pacing nervously now, angrily even, Erica hated when he did that. She was sure that one day he was going to wear right through the carpet and into the hardwood floors beneath it.
"Look, Jack, you did what you could," she continued, sitting down on the sofa, "You need to calm down, relax and gear up for the fight ahead. Bianca needs you at your best for Maggie's appeal. Maggie needs you at her best." Jack stopped, sighed and rubbed his head with his right hand before placing it on his hip.
"You're right, Erica," he admitted defeat, "I need to focus on what's ahead. Bianca needs me to be on my game. I don't want to let her down. She's been through so much this year. I don't want to add to it."
"And you will be on your game, darling," she replied, "Bianca doesn't blame you for what happened today. You have to know that."
"I know, I just don't know how I'm going to win Maggie's appeal if my initial defense didn't work. I really, honest-to-God, Erica, thought it was fail proof." He made his way to the sofa and sat down next to her. "I just don't know what I'm going to do now to save her. To save Bianca."
Jackson Montgomery reflected on his defense strategy again. His plan was simple: Prove that Maggie acted out of love. Selfless, unadulterated, passionate love. Everyone in Pine Valley knew Maggie Stone was madly in love with his niece, they'd have to be blind not to see the unyielding amount of love pouring from her heart. Unfortunately, the plan backfired, badly. Maggie had a bad habit of shooting Bianca down. Every time they became close, close enough to taste each other's lips, Maggie pushed Bianca away. That's what the prosecution used to secure a victory. You see, if Maggie truly was acting out a crime of passion as Jack so valiantly defended, then, Maggie never would've shot Bianca down multiple times. They'd be in love, they'd be together and life would be just a little bit easier for the both of them. Alas, nothing in Pine Valley is easy. Especially love.
"You'll think of something," she reassured him, putting a hand on his thigh. He sighed again. "You'll think of something, and you'll save my little girl from heartache."
'I just hope whatever I come up with is enough,' he thought. 'I won't let Bianca down again.'
Maggie Stone kept her eyes fixed firmly ahead. Hooting, hollering and general comments were thrown her way as she was escorted by two female guards to her cell at Pine Valley's prison. Luckily, she wouldn't have to share a cell with anyone. One too many violent outbreaks over the years had forced the state to spend the extra money and build individual prisoner cells.
"Lights out is in fifteen minutes," one of the guards said as the cell opened. "Your orientation will begin in the morning."
"Thank-you," Maggie said, stepping into the cell and letting the bars slam shut behind her before even attempting to take in her new home. She turned slowly, her eyes darting around the cold stone bricks, metal bed that resembled a cot she'd take camping with her and small sink next to the toilet. All the amenities of a prison she'd seen on television, well, except without the butch roommate. "Home sweet home," she muttered, still clutching her plastic Rubbermaid bin in her hands. She sat it down next to the bed, sat down and popped the lid open.
She could hear other prisoners chatting, moving about in their cells as well as the odd creaking of the plumbing system. Maggie was focused, though, if she was going to spend the next decade in prison, she had to keep focused. David was coming to visit her in a few days, bring some belongings, like books and other things to keep her busy. Because all she had was time, that's all she had in the world, that and a picture of she now clutched in her hand. Maggie lay down in that small bed, still holding Bianca's picture in her hand as she closed her eyes and tried to drink in the emptiness of her heart.
Maggie woke up the next morning to the intercom system alerting the prisoners that the day was beginning. It couldn't have been any later than six in the morning; Maggie opened her eyes, groggily, having slept without getting much sleep.
"Oh, shit," Maggie bolted up, desperately searching for the picture of Bianca she fell asleep with. She found it lying face down on the floor next to her plastic bin and sighed in relief. "What would I do if I lost you?" She smiled, looking at the picture, but the more she thought about what she just asked, the idea that she would be spending the next decade alone, without her, made her heart ache.
She laid back down on her bed, if you could call it that, and clutched the picture to her chest. 'I can do this,' she said, 'I have to do this. I have to do this for Bianca.' She sat up again, saw the other women begin stirring and decided in resolve that she just couldn't give up. Bianca's heart was already breaking; hers was already broken, she didn't want to break her love's heart anymore. 'I'll do this for Bianca.'
"We've waited this long," she said aloud, "What's ten more years?"
Maggie Stone spent her first day in prison sulking. What else is there to do? Sulking over lost moments, lost memories and lost loves... Bianca. She sighed, moving stale breading pudding around her plastic tray with a spoon. 'It's going to be a long ten years,' she thought morosely. 'Very, very long if I have to keep eating... this.'
"Hey... aren't you that broad that got Michael Cambias?" an older woman, mid-forties, asked, sitting down next to Maggie with a tray. "I saw it on the news. You're her, aren't you?"
"Great," Maggie rolled her eyes. 'A fan...' She pushed her tray in front her, done eating and just shrugged.
"Yeah, I guess I am."
"That bastard got what was comin' to 'im," the woman said, "I'm Grace."
"Yeah," she smiled, "It's a shame you're servin' any time a'all."
"Tell me about it," Maggie sighed again, standing and storming off to her cell. She didn't want to ask what this Grace was in here for, most of the inmates here were murderers, rapists and had committed other horrible crimes. She wasn't one of them, even though she was, and it was something she didn't want to dwell on. After all, she had time to figure out where she fitted in amongst the inmates, but for the time being, she just wanted to be left alone.
Maggie wasn't there to make friends. She was there to save herself or at least the part of herself that matter. The part of her that was in love with Bianca. Nothing else mattered to her but keeping Bianca's memory alive in her head; there was no doubt Bianca would visit, but it was quite possible that it wouldn't be for some time... and that thought alone was enough to kill her. But she had to hold on, had to keep herself occupied on anything but the raven-haired beauty her heart resided with if only to keep herself strong enough to make it through each and everyday.
She spent the rest of her day getting acclimated with the prison, the "feel" of things if you could call it that. There was orientation that lasted over three hours but felt like it went on forever. A video documenting the history of the prison as well as key rules and regulations in place was how the orientation started. Rule one: Listen to the guards. Rule two: Keep your mouth shut. Rule three: If you're lucky, you'll make it out of here. Rule four: You probably won't make it out of here, so get comfortable spending the rest of your life tormenting yourself over your past mistakes. Maggie drifted off a bit during the video, she missed most of the rules but came to the last conclusion herself while listening to to the prison chaplain, Reverend Davies go on about God and saving oneself from their own personal purgatory of a prison cell.
"Is this boring you Miss Stone?" Dahlia, a prison guard asked caustically. Maggie tried stifling a yawn but it escaped anyway. She was startled by the question and caught off guard. Perhaps, if she had been a little more in tune to what was going on, she wouldn't have ended the rest of her day locked in her cell without even seeing the sunshine in the paddock during afternoon exercise.
"That's the last time I open my mouth," she shook her head, staring at the picture of Bianca she kept hidden, "The last time."
Six weeks later, when Maggie was finally allowed her first visitors, David and Anna stopped by to drop off a few things as well as to discuss more pertinent matters. Since she was still in her orientation phase at the prison, only immediate family members were allowed to visit. However, in this case, the judge made an exception for her cousin and his wife since Maggie had no other family to speak of.
"How are you holding up?" Anna asked, mentally checking off every little detail she could of Maggie's appearance and demeanor through the Plexiglases that divided them. David didn't want to sit, it made his chest heave to think his niece was stuck in prison when she did the right thing. He still couldn't quite grasp the situation and the fact that there was nothing else Jackson Montgomery could - or at least in his mind, would - do to get her out of jail for free.
"How do you think she's holding up, Anna?" David threw his hands in the air. "She's stuck behind bars because that idiot Montgomery doesn't know how to defend his clients. I knew it was a waste to hire him! I knew it, and I told you and everybody else, but nobody listens to me... nobody"
"Hush, David!" Anna said, not even paying attention to him. Maggie tried to hold back tears, but one rolled down her cheek. As much as she liked Jackson Montgomery, on some levels, she felt anger that he couldn't do more... he had promised much, not so much in words, but he promised she would be free and alas, she was not. She was stuck in a four-walled prison, not just with concrete but also the muscle around her heart. "Now, how are you holding up? Are they treating you all right in there? I know the warden, I can make sure..."
"I'm fine. Really," Maggie interjected. "Hunky dory and all that jazz." She sighed again, wiping the tear from her cheek and closing her eyes momentarily. 'I wish I could see your face in person instead of just when I close my eyes,' she thought, instantly regretting she closed her eyes, because now whenever she did, all she saw was Bianca's shining face. Bianca's beautiful eyes, Bianca... 'No. Stop.' "I really am fine. I haven't dropped the soap. Haven't been shivved. Haven't been made someone's prison bitch. I'm fine."
"Maggie..." David trailed off, finally calming down a bit and standing still next to Anna. "It's not something to joke about. You shouldn't be back there. You shouldn't, and we all know it. That jackass! It's all his... Damn it!" He grabbed his side, Anna having elbowed him to quiet down which seemed to work except for a few exasperated sighs here and there as they spent the next hour talking before visiting hours were over.
Maggie cried herself to sleep that night. Visits never really help, she concluded, they just make you realize what you're missing.
"All right, Uncle Jack," Bianca crossed her arms after closing the door to his office. "This is gone on long enough. How are we getting Maggie out of jail?"
Eight weeks. Eight long weeks had passed before Maggie Stone was permitted visitors outside her lawyer and immediate family. Eight very long, very stressful, very silent weeks for Maggie. Her day-to-day life was filled with meaningless tasks, unless of course you count the volumes of books she had gone through during that time. While most inmates were finishing GED courses, working or going about other business, Maggie spent all her time trying to avoid one thing: Thinking about Bianca. So, when the time came for her first visit, Maggie almost broke into a million pieces as she once more knew what happiness felt like inside.
Bianca reached out first, touching the Plexiglases that separated them. Maggie hesitated, still wondering if this was a dream. One she so often wandered off into laying on the uncomfortable cot that doubled as a bed in her cell. She was used to the cot, but she wasn't used to the overwhelming sense of foreboding that overcame her in this moment. In all her daydreams, scattered over the last two months, nothing inside her wanted to stop her from breaking through the barrier that now kept her from Bianca.
"Hi," Maggie choked on her own words, bringing her own hand to the glass, leaning forward to get as close as she could. "Shit!" Maggie knocked the chair out from beneath her a tumbled forward, despite trying to keep her hand on the glass. A few other prisoners who were entertaining visitors looked on at the clamor and stifled laughter. Maggie froze, looked up at Bianca from her place on the floor and broke out into the first real smile in months. Bianca, in turn, giggled at Maggie's clumsiness and the stalemate between the two of them dissolved in that shared moment. "Sorry about that," Maggie gathered the chair, sat and relaxed, amazed she remembered how to let herself do that.
"Figures," Bianca shook her head, "Only you were turn a Hallmark greeting card into something that should be submitted to America's Funniest Home Videos."
"Hey!' Maggie threw her hands in the air, "This is being taped, after all, I bet if we split the prize with the prison we could win..." Bianca rolled her eyes, happy to see a little bit of the old Maggie back. A few minutes of silence drifted between them. Both not sure what to say or even where to begin.
"So, how have you been?" Maggie asked, eager. Bianca shifted in her seat, leaning back a bit. Maggie took in the sight of a pregnant Bianca, a small lump now turned into a larger belly. 'Wow, even pregnant, she's even more beautiful,' Maggie thought, 'If only I could live in this moment for the next ten years.'
Bianca went on about doctors, working with her mother and trying to take down Fusion. She went on about how she didn't want to know the sex of her baby until it was born. Something about being old-fashioned. Maggie was talking very little, a few nods of the head here an okay there. She was taking in as much as she could from her time with Bianca so she could relive every second of it after she left for the day.
"I decided if it's a boy, I'm going to name him Travis, after my father," Bianca rubbed her stomach, "And if it's a girl, I'm going to name her Miranda." She spouted off about the reasons why and all the other things she had to take into considerations about her pregnancy. Maggie just sat in awe, she was taking being in prison so hard and felt so lonely, but Bianca had been so strong throughout everything the last year. It was so clear by the conviction she spoke about in regards to her child.
Maggie shied away from Bianca's probing questions: What do you do during the day? What do you eat? Is prison food really as bad as it is in the movies? She answered each question in as few words as possible so as not to upset Bianca, who despite her interest, was just worried about Maggie being locked up a place that was treating her poorly. Bianca - the girl who always cared too much - did care too much for Maggie and her inquiries were only a way to remind herself that Maggie was okay, despite being locked away in a stone prison faraway from where she belonged.
As they said their goodbyes, shed a few more tears and touched one another's hands through the Plexiglases once more, Maggie fell even more in love with Bianca than she knew possible. That love... would get her through. Hopefully, it would be enough for both of them.
Erica Kane stood, overlooking Pine Valley, from her office. All her thoughts were on Bianca. She wanted to go with Bianca to visit Maggie, to be a rock for her, but Bianca would have none of that. None of it at all. Her exact words were: "Don't worry, mom, I'm not going to do something to get myself locked up, too..." Erica only half-believed her.
"I have to do something," Erica said aloud, frustrated to no avail, "But what?" Thus, the most powerful woman in Pine Valley, too, was working on getting Maggie Stone out of prison early. The sooner, the better, it was the Christmas season.
Even with the power Erica had obtained over the years, the influence she held over prominent members of Pine Valley, she felt almost helpless (without admitting it, of course) in the current situation. If Jack couldn't find a loophole, a way out, then, how was she expected to find a way on her own? The legal system was complex, for sure, and she had played it many, many times before but she always had a loophole. In this case, there was no loophole, Maggie really did purposefully kill Michael Cambias. How do you dispute that? How do you appeal something like this?
"I know," she smirked, picking up the phone. 'Like this.'
Over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas and the months following, Maggie saw David and Anna again, as well as a few other random Pine Valley regulars. Since visitors were scheduled well in advance here, as well as few and far between, it was hard to see anybody on a regular basis. Letters as well as weekly phone calls reminded her that many people on the outside cared about her, but none more so than Bianca, who wrote daily. Maggie had more letters from Bianca stored in her cell than she did anything else, and those letters became an almost-sort-of-madness for her giving her both something to do, something to motivate her but also something that drove her to tears.
Bianca visited twice since then and each time it was the same stifled silence and uneasy talk between the two. The love was so deep, so grand, that it killed them both to have to be on opposite sides of a piece of glass no thicker than the width of an index finger.
Three months later, on March 19, 2004, Bianca gave birth to healthy baby girl: Miranda Mona Montgomery. Maggie found out watching the local morning news the day after.
"Look, do you know who I am?" Erica practically screamed into the phone. "I'm Erica Kane. I run this town. With a flip of my hair I can bring dynasties down!" A few seconds later, "Yes, I understand that, but still... I'm sure there's something I can donate or build or fund that will help you change your mind-"
"-Ms. Kane," Elizabeth Harris, the presiding judge over Maggie's trial interrupted curtly, "I will only ask you once to cease and desist. Bribing a judge is not something you want to add to your rap sheet."
"I can assure you I am not trying to bribe you," she continued, "I'm simply saying that perhaps you'll reconsider your-"
"-There will be no reconsideration, Ms. Kane. The verdict stands as is. It would be wise of your to cease this course of action. At once." The judge hung up on Erica before she had a chance to respond. She threw the phone down, slamming it against the receiver causing a vase of flowers next to it to teeter back on forth threatening to spill out onto the floor below.
"I didn't just hear what I thought I heard..." Jackson entered her office. Erica hadn't realized she left the door ajar.
'Oh, great,' Erica put a hand to her forehead, "I'm not going to justify my actions to you or anybody else, Jackson. My daughter is dying inside, and all you and your legal team have done so far is argue over how to appeal Maggie's case. I'm an action woman, I didn't get to be on top by playing by the rules!"
"Erica. Listen to yourself. You wanted to bribe a federal judge." He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her to stand in place. "Bribery. It's a federal... crime. You could do jail time for that, too, even longer than Maggie's serving now!"
"I don't care!" Erica stepped away, trying to compose herself, "My baby girl is hurting, and if you aren't going to do anything, I certainly am not going to stop trying!" By this time, Erica was crying freely but she wouldn't give Jackson the satisfaction of seeing her cry over this. "I can't just stand by idle and do nothing. I know how to use my money, my power, my wealth, but none of it does any good this time! None of it does any good You do what you have to do, Jackson, I'll do what I have to do."
Jackson put his hands on his hips, sighing. 'What on earth is she thinking? She can't win this case like this. She's dealing with the only righteous judge Pine Valley has ever had since its creation... She isn't going to win. And neither am I if I can't come up with a plan to get Maggie Stone out of jail.'
"We need to appeal. Now. The sooner, the better, before this kills her anymore," David stormed around the cabin, ready to break something or someone. "Jackson Montgomery is a hack! All he cares about is the legal system and justice and all the do-good mumbo jumbo he spews around this town! His magnanimous, do-right sense of morality isn't going to help us, Anna!"
"You need to calm down this instant!" Anna yelled. "You getting worked up isn't helping the situation. Jackson Montgomery is the best lawyer in this town, and you're throwing him to the dogs because he isn't doing things your way. And what would you do David? Spring Maggie from prison? Blow up the cell next to her, drug a few guards and take her on the run from the law for a few decades-"
"-It'd be better than what's happening now. Two words for you, Anna: Absolutely nothing!" He kicked the sofa in frustration, lacing his hands behind his head and looking up towards the pine wood ceiling.
"This isn't easy for any of us, you know," Anna sighed, sitting down on the sofa and trying not to let her frustration get the best of her, too. "And getting angry isn't going to solve anything-"
"-Well, maybe it'll motivate some of us to do something other than stand around and wait..." David replied, closing his eyes and sighing, again.
"We all want to do something to help Maggie, and Bianca," Anna motioned for David to join her and a few seconds later he sat down, loosening his tie and trying to relax. "But there's very little we can realistically do. The judge was very clear on the sentence. Ten years without the possibility of parole."
"...But that doesn't mean we can't appeal."
"That's what Jackson is trying to do," Anna reminded him, patting his leg as it had begun shaking anxiously, "He's doing the best he can, David. I wish you could believe that." David shook his head, his animosity for Jackson Montgomery showing through gritted teeth.
"That spineless excuse for a human being is only serving his interests..."
"And what interests would that be? Trying to get Maggie out of prison so she can be with his niece?" Anna failed to see David's logic in this equation.
"Exactly!" he threw his hands in the air, trying to drive his point home.
"Isn't that our interest?" Anna asked.
David blinked. Staying silent.
Three months and one day later
Maggie Stone stood in awe. She crossed her arms, felt her legs turn to spaghetti. The blonde wanted to cry but didn't think she could shed anymore tears. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. She'd missed a lot of moments in her life, a lot of moments that revolved around Bianca... but this one, this was the one that hurt the most.
"We're happy to announce that Pine Valley's sweetheart, Bianca Montgomery, gave birth to healthy baby girl last night," WCRW's Anita Larson reported, "Everyone here at WCRW would like to send their congratulations and best wishes to Ms. Montgomery and her daughter. We'll bring you more updates as we receive them..."
Her jaw opened slightly, words forming but not vocalizing. She didn't know what to say, but she felt she should say something as the women around her began discussing the news. Some of the inmates looked her over, smiling, pointing and nodding in her direction as they went about their business. Some even tried to talk to her, congratulate her but Maggie had no words.
She just stood there, hair now hanging down in her face to hide the well of tears that threatened to flood over
With a resounding sigh, she headed back to her cell, sitting on her cot, finally letting the tears come to her.
A few hours later
"Ms. Stone," an officer approached her cell, "You have a visitor." Maggie sat up abruptly.
"A visitor?" she replied, astonished. It wasn't visiting hours, and she certainly wasn't expecting anybody. Then, it hit her. 'Bianca...' She rose, composed herself as quickly as she could, throwing her hair into a messy ponytail and took a deep breath, grinning from ear-to-ear.
"Erica." Maggie's heart sunk in her chest. The grin she wore on the way off the cell block, down a few corridors and into the visitor's area disappeared instantly. Erica Kane, in all her glory, couldn't even bring a light to Maggie's face after the culmination of emotion that swelled in her heart with just the mere idea that Bianca might've been able to have her baby, be cleared for check-out at the hospital and make it to the prison all in a span of eighteen hours after giving birth.
"Maggie..." Erica noticed the young girl's change of demeanor as she embraced her tightly. Since this was a special, uninterrupted visit that Erica was able to procure from the warden thanks to a donation to the prison library, they were able to sit, talk and engage in physical contact. "Not happy to see me?"
"I was just expecting-" Maggie broke off, a small sob escaping.
"-Bianca. You thought Bianca was coming to see you," Erica finished, still holding onto the girl tightly. "I'm so sorry you had to find out due to that wretched news report; I always said WRCW left something to be desired for."
"It's okay, Erica," Maggie broke away, turning her back to the one woman in Pine Valley that was shorter than her, "Life goes on, obviously..." Erica didn't know how to respond to that, to see the sadness and pain in Maggie's heart was to see the same pain in Bianca's heart.
"I brought some photos, of Miranda," Erica rifled through her purse. Maggie took a seat, as did Erica a few minutes later after finding all of them. Maggie reached for them eagerly, and she studied each one for minutes on end. Some of just little Miranda, freshly cleaned from the birth and then some of Bianca holding the little munchkin. A few scattered pics of Miranda with Kendall, Erica, Jackson and Dr. Grey rounded out the bunch.
Maggie's gaze rested with one particular picture.
It was the most adorable of all the pictures Erica brought with her, and Maggie found herself wiping tears from her cheeks as she smiled seeing how happy Bianca looked with her daughter.
"I also have a letter," Erica spoke up, not wanting to disturb Maggie's moment, "A letter from Bianca."
"A letter?" Maggie looked up, still holding onto the picture, having thrown the others on the table before her. Erica nodded, fished through her purse once more and handed Maggie the letter in an unsealed envelope.
"She wrote it this morning, she insisted I couldn't come to visit you without it. It meant a great deal that you read it today." Maggie nodded, taking the letter and immediately ripping it out of the envelope. The envelope dropped to the floor as Maggie furiously began reading the words on the college-ruled paper that Bianca must've scribbled instead of resting after the long night and labor.
Today was the single happiest day in all of my life. Despite all the pain, the sadness, the heartache of the last couple of years, today made up for everything, even the last year. It made up for the loss of Frankie, the loss of Leo, everything except the loss of you... I don't know what the future holds for me, Miranda, you or us, but I do know that despite it all you have been my rock. My knight in shining armor. And I have no doubt that when this is all said and done, you will be there for me, whether it's tomorrow or ten years from now. We've both done our fair share of waiting, if I have to wait a little longer, then, so be it.
All my love,
"Hey there, little girl," Bianca cooed, holding Miranda in her arms. A plethora of Pine Valley had been in and out of her room since the wee hours of the morning to welcome her little bundle of joy into the world. However, as much as she enjoyed seeing everyone, especially the time she spent with Kendall, she knew part of the joy of her new little girl was missing because Maggie wasn't there to share it with her. "Don't worry, Maggie will be with us soon, Miranda. I promise." She held her daughter close, closed her eyes and tried to convince herself that her hopes were true.
Bianca Montgomery stood outside the warden's office with Miranda cradled, sleeping, in her arms waiting for the green light. As much as she should be resting at home with her newborn, she was getting ready for an open visit with Maggie. Luckily, her mother still had some pull in Pine Valley, even if she couldn't get Maggie out of jail, at least Bianca could still see her and introduce her to Miranda in person.
"Ms. Montgomery," an officer peeked his head into the small waiting room, "It's time. If you'll just follow me." He motioned for her to follow him, and she rose, albeit it slowly. Bianca's nerves were aflutter. This was the moment she'd been waiting for. The moment Erica and Jack promised her. The moment when she'd finally get to spend some real time with Maggie. More real than the moments shared through Plexiglases, limited touches and longing in each other's eyes.
These last few weeks, while filled with absolute joy for Bianca, were filled with absolute terror for Maggie. Maggie Stone. Convict. Murderer. Sorta mother to Bianca Montgomery's child. Those connections didn't work out in her mind. The more she thought about it, the more she really wished this moment hadn't come. She stood on the other side of the steel door, still in handcuffs, guarded by two female officers awaiting for the go-ahead from the warden to enter the visitation room.
Maggie Stone and Bianca Montgomery would be meeting in the Warden's Office itself. That morning saw maintenance workers move furniture around as well as unhinge the secondary door to the office. The latter security concern was in case the prisoner tried to escape. While the detail wasn't known to Bianca, Maggie knew if she made any sort of attempt to leave that room while there, she would be shot on sight. As much as that would put a damper on the festivities, Maggie was looking forward to the visit too much to be disturbed by that simple fact.
"Ms. Stone, it's time," the warden said, "You know the terms and conditions of this visit. While I may not agree with the special privilege we're allowing you, just keep in mind that this isn't an everyday favor." Maggie just nodded, butterflies fluttering in her stomach even though a smile would be the most appropriate response, she willed herself against it.
"The Warden will be right in, Ms. Montgomery," the guard said before closing the door behind him and standing watch. Bianca was the first in the room. She looked around at the grey walls with a few modern expressionist paintings adorning them to add a splash of color to the room. She smiled half-heartedly as a guard stepped outside the main entrance.
"It's okay," Bianca rocked Miranda in her arms gently, as she stirred from her brief nap during the wait. "It's okay, baby girl, mommy Maggie will be here soon and we'll be a family for a little while." Bianca closed her eyes briefly; she was bound and determined that she would not cry for any of this. She didn't want to miss a single minute with Maggie. Most importantly, she didn't want to miss a single minute of Miranda's first hours with Maggie. She wanted to cherish these moments for as long as she could, because she didn't know when she would get the chance to visit with Maggie like this again.
"Ms. Montgomery," the warden walked into her office. Bianca rose from her seated position on the plush leather sofa. Miranda cooed as she smiled at the warden and extended her right hand.
"Thank-you so much for this," Bianca said, "I can't tell you how much this means to me."
"It's my pleasure," the warden grimaced through gritted teeth in the form of a smile. The only reason this visit was taking place is because of Erica Kane's large donation to the prison. Otherwise, something like this would never occur. "Ms. Stone will be right in." The warden left without another word to her. "Ms. Stone," she said as she passed the petite blonde in the hall, "Don't make me regret this."
Bianca stood, watching the door like a hawk while rocking Miranda gently left and right. Miranda just cooed, excited by the movements. Maggie, meanwhile, closed her eyes briefly as she began walking towards the open door that led to the warden's office. If nervousness was personified, it would be Mary Margaret Stone. Her stomach buckled, her feet lurched, it took everything in her power not to just run into the room and wrap her arms around Bianca and never let go. But she knew better. If they even knew she was thinking that, they'd probably shoot her without question.
So, as Maggie walked towards the room, she gained all the confidence she had left in the world to show Bianca the biggest smile she'd ever seen. She didn't think she'd be able to pull it off as she walked over the threshold and met Bianca's eyes. And she smiled. A real smile not even her confidence could've produced.
"Bianca." Maggie said through her grin. Maggie, though not wanting to break eye contact, turned around, lifting her handcuffed hands in the process. "Hey, guys, think we could take off the armor? It does nothing for my outfit." The younger of the officers chuckled and removed the handcuffs before both stepped right outside the door.
"Maggie, I can't believe my mother pulled this off," she stepped forward, almost forgetting Miranda was in her arms, "This is Miranda. Miranda Mona Montgomery."
"Can I hold her?" Maggie asked eagerly.
"Oh, of course!" Bianca handed her Miranda and watched with the biggest smile as Maggie began talking baby talk to her daughter. They walked over to the sofa and sat down, Maggie still talking animatedly to Miranda who seemed to enjoy it.
Bianca just watched over the next couple of hours, just enjoying Maggie's interaction with Miranda. They talked a bit, held hands and for a few hours, the world around them ceased to exist and they were able to just be a normal... whatever they were.
"Ladies, I'm afraid it's time," an officer interrupted a short time after Miranda had fallen asleep in Maggie's arms, "Ms. Stone." Maggie nodded, handing Bianca Miranda and rising, before half-hugging them both.
"I love you," Maggie whispered, her voice cracking a bit as she threatened to cry for what seemed like the millionth time that day.
"I love you, too," Bianca stepped back, still holding Maggie's hand tightly. "I'll see you soon, I promise."
"I'm going to hold you to that," Maggie smiled, "Boys." She rose her hands, "My wrists await." She was handcuffed, still staring back at Bianca as she was escorted back to the general population. And they parted, once again, Bianca still watching as they took her away. But neither girl was saddened by the other's departure, instead, the day had inspired both that even though ten years was a long time as long as they held onto the love they shared, they'd get through it just fine.
Maggie settled comfortably in her cell, sitting on the bunk and leaning against the concrete wall. Pictures of Bianca and the ones of mother and daughter that Erica dropped off were now taped to the wall. She had made it past having to hold onto the pictures every second of the day or to fall asleep at night. In fact, Maggie realized that living in this hell hole shouldn't bring her down. It should bring her up, bring her back to the passionate little firecracker she used to be. She should be fighting for freedom, for Bianca and for Maggie. From that moment on, that's what she decided to do.
Bianca entered her dark apartment carrying Miranda in her car seat. The little one kept teetering between crying, sleeping and wiggling around under her straps during the drive home. Bianca put her down, changed into her pajamas and then laid down in bed pulling the covers over her body. Despite all the fighting she wanted to do for Maggie, to get Maggie out, she realized there was absolutely nothing she could to free the woman she loved. It killed her inside. The thought ran through her mind that she should move on. And that's what cried her to sleep.
The next morning
"Hey, Mr. Montgomery... I mean, Jack, it's Maggie."
"What can I do for you, Maggie?" he asked, smiling at his desk. 'Maybe she's finally come to her senses,' he hoped beyond hope.
"I want you to get me the hell out of here." She leaned back in the steel chair she sat in, notes scattered on a yellow pad before her.
"Well, it's about damn time!" he exclaimed, grinning. "Let's get you out of jail."
"Okay, look, I'm tired of being in here. I'm tired of being away from Bianca and Miranda and from real food..." Maggie trailed off as Jackson listened intently on the other line. "I know the last bit isn't that important, but trust me, if you were in here, you'd understand..."
"I do, Maggie," Jackson finally interrupted, "Now, let's take a deep breath and start from the beginning. Your appeal is coming up in less than six weeks. We petitioned for it as soon as the verdict came down, and I know you expressed... hesitation... in going forward with it."
"Hesitation be damned! I was out of my mind!" Maggie became excited, standing up from her seat by the phone. She began pacing, albeit it a short distance, as the excitement that she might get to hold become for real soon formulated in her mind. It was all she thought about since her visit with Bianca and Miranda. The mere sight of her love's little bundle of joy made her heart melt. She loved two girls with all her heart, and nothing, not even a jail cell would keep them apart any longer. "Get me out of here, Jack!"
"I'm going to do whatever I can to get you out of there, but we need to be realistic," he said cautiously, not wanting to get the young girl's hopes up, "We need to go into this with worst case scenario in mind. That your appeal will be denied." Maggie listened intently, coming down from her emotional high and leaning against the concrete wall the pay phone was affixed to. "In all probability, Judge McLaren will deny your appeal. She's proven to be a tough one to crack, if you haven't already figured that out."
"Yeah, go figure," Maggie rolled her eyes, leaning her head back and sighing softly. 'Of all the things to go down in Pine Valley, why did I have to get the righteous judge?' she thought. 'I must be the unluckiest person in the world...'
"Now, I don't want that to discourage you," he went on, "I do believe your time currently served as well as the fact that good behavior and community service will factor in and at least have some sort of sway with her."
"Sway is better than nothing, I guess," Maggie's voice was filled with sadness, and it broke Jackson's heart to hear it. It reminded him of a conversation he had with Bianca the previous night.
"Bianca, you have to have hope."
"But I have no more hope to hang onto, Uncle Jack," Bianca sulked. "To see her in there, away from me, from Miranda and me, I just don't know how much more I can take. I want to be strong for her, be strong for our family, but what if-"
"-No what ifs, Bianca," Jackson sat next to her, holding her hand to comfort his niece. "No matter what happens, you hold onto the hope and the love you share with Maggie. I know it hasn't been easy. Waiting all these years for her love, and then to have it taken away. It seems the world around us has a way to take away what we want most when we realize we can't live without it."
"That's the story of you and mom, too," Bianca broke into a small smile. "Isn't it?"
"I suppose it is," Jackson returned the smile and nodded. "But no matter how crazy she drives me - and boy, does your mother drive me crazy - I know that deep down inside there's not a single second I wouldn't want to spend loving her for the rest of my life. And that's enough for me, because she's worth it. And what we have is worth it. And our future together is worth it whether it's today, tomorrow or, even, ten years from now." Bianca nodded, closing her eyes momentarily and sighing.
"I know you're right, I just wish I could believe in it. The last year has been so..."
"I know," he nodded, pulling her into a hug as she began to sob. "I'm going to do everything I can to bring her home to you. You have my word."
"Thank-you, Uncle Jack," Bianca said through stifled sobs, "For everything. I don't know what I would do without you." Then, Jack just held her while she cried.
"Look, Maggie, this is going to be hard, but if you love Bianca like I know you do, you will be strong and you will continue to fight. That's the only way we're going to win this appeal. It's the only way to bring you home," he reiterated. Maggie just nodded.
"So, what do I need to do?" Maggie asked.
"You need to walk into that courtroom and show them that what you did, you did for Bianca. Out of love for her and her family," Jack said, "That's the only way to show the judge that what you did you did because you love." Maggie nodded. She knew what she needed to do.
Maggie Stone wasn't one to let the world get to her. When she was in elementary school, she was the first one up out of her seat for show and tell even if she didn't have anything to tell, let alone show. In middle school, she punched Jimmy Heath in the jaw when he wouldn't give back Frankie's juice box. In high school, that dumb blockhead of a jock tried to feel her up when she was in line at the concession stand during homecoming, she was pretty sure that was the last time he ever felt anything in his hand. Maggie Stone could do anything. She was tough as nails, inspired confidence in those around here and never let anyone or anything stand in her way: Until now.
The only thing standing between Maggie Stone and freedom was herself. She was staring herself down in the warped plastic mirror that was supposed to serve as some reminder of the life a criminal lived once. You were supposed to look into that mirror and look at the world around you in a different perspective; a perspective that had you locked in a cage that you may never get out of. But now that Maggie had the chance to reach free of that cage, climb out and breathe in the fresh air of a world that threw her into captivity, she knew she would never look at being imprisoned the same again.
"All right, Mary Margaret," she said aloud, "You can do this. What are you waiting for?"
"How are you holding up?" Anna asked with a smile. Maggie just shrugged, her appeal in less than three days now. "I brought you a fresh change of clothes for court and some new shoes, I hope they're okay."
"I'm sure they'll be fine," Maggie replied, "I'm just... nervous. I've been practicing." She shifted uneasily in her seat. She hadn't slept well the previous night, and all she'd been able to think about all day was trying to speak in court and not being able to say a single word in her defense.
"Practicing?" Anna rose an eyebrow.
"Yeah. Practicing. Like a little kid rehearsing for their first recital in elementary school," Maggie said. "I think I figured out what to say. What my heart wants to say. And whether that courtroom wants to hear it or not, I can't by speaking from the heart."
"Well, it took you long enough to figure that out," Anna chuckled. Maggie smirked.
"Yeah, well, us Stone girls are a pretty stubborn bunch. Especially when it comes to feelings, but I expect you figured that one out already."
"I think everybody in Pine Valley has figure that one out, darling," Anna responded, shaking her head slightly and still smiling.
For the rest of the hour, Anna caught Maggie up on the goings on in town, and she only half-heartedly listened. Instead, focusing on images of Bianca, Miranda and her as a family, living in their house surrounding by a white picket fence with their 2.5 kids playing in the snow during winter. From there, she saw images of their wedding, surrounded by family and friends and pre-empted by a bachelorette party that ended up with both parties going skinny-dipping at Willow Lake. Other daydreams floated through her mind, but one in particular kept interrupting the other ones: Bianca, clad only in a satin sheet, after they've made love for the first time. It was something Maggie through of daily, but the only recurring image of Bianca with bed head, waking up after a short spell of sleep after a night of making love continued to flood into her mind no matter what she was doing during the day or night.
"You look like you're a million miles away," Anna smiled, guessing who Maggie was thinking about.
"You have no idea," Maggie smiled in reply, finally cheering up a bit. They made smalltalk for awhile longer before Anna said her goodbyes. Maggie headed back to her cell to read her mail for the day, among the letters, one stood out more than any other: A new letter from Bianca.
She read it with a real smile plastered on her lips knowing that more than anything, there love would get her through the coming days and her appeal. After all, it was the only thing she had left to hope for.
Three days later
"Please rise for the Honorable Judge Caitlan McLaren," the bailiff announced unexpectedly. Maggie Stone stood up, slowly, as did Jackson Montgomery. Bianca watched from the sidelines as packed courthouse followed the simple command, her eyes trained on Maggie. The petite brunette turned around and smiled at Bianca, she returned the smile and then everyone set their eyes on the judge as the appeal hearing began.
"Well, this is it," Maggie whispered to Jackson. He smiled down at her, she back at him and then they both faced forward and put on their brave faces as the judge stood ready to seal Maggie Stone's fate.
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