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.

By carpesomediem


Part 17

Ethan Cambias wore a grim look on his face. He sat at a large desk, overseeing Pine Valley's most prestigious buildings. This would be the new American headquarters of Cambias Industries, parked next to Enchantment and in direct competition with just about everybody's patience in town. He stood, rigidly, and turned to face the skyline.

"He ruined this town, my whole family did," he said quietly, talking to himself, "And I've been sent here to try and redeem our name somehow." He shook his head. "But how do I redeem our name when so much has happened? How do I face the heir to Cambias Industries when today could very well make things even worse?"

He closed his eyes, shook his head again and sat back down to look over the contracts and legal paperwork faxed to him this morning. His grandfather's will was very, very clear; Ryan Lavery was entrusted with overtaking the company after his passing, but after everything that had happened and come out over the last year, Ryan decided that what the company needed was to be in the hands of the good left in the Cambias name. That meant him and Miranda Montgomery. Since Miranda was just a child, Bianca Montgomery would take over until she was old enough to inherit

That was Ryan Lavery's idea. He thought it was only right that Miranda should get everything, since she was legally the heir to the empire, but more so because she deserved more than just carrying around the emotional baggage of being the product of rape. She deserved the world, and Ryan thought that Cambias Industries would give her enough financial backing to do whatever she wanted when she grew up. Convincing Bianca of that took little nudging, even though she seemed a bit hesitant, but who could blame her?

Ethan was keen to run the business himself, he'd been running enterprises for as long as he could remember, even though his lineage only came to light in recent months. Though he hadn't met Bianca, yet, he knew enough from the media attention of her pregnancy and cause of it to know it wasn't going to be easy convincing her of his good intentions.

"I'll try," he told himself, "And hopefully, that'll be enough to save my name. My family's name."

"Mr. Cambias," Ethan's assistant knocked as he let himself in, "The appeal's started, sir. It's on KCRW, Channel 6."

"Very well," he turned, "Thank-you." He nodded and picked up the small remote on his desk. He turned on the projection TV on the wall and sat as the press stood outside the courthouse waiting like vultures for the next rapture. He sat at his desk, looking over the contracts before him and hoping when Bianca Montgomery walked through his office door, that she'd come with a smile on her face instead of tears. But if Pine Valley had taught him one thing in his short time there, it's that you can never expect for good when all the world around you is bad.

Maggie Stone stood still. She faced the judge like the world depended on her to do so. If she turned around, she would've found Bianca staring at the back of her held like a hawk. She was a wreck, and her eyes were trained on Maggie since the officers brought her into the courtroom. During the short walk in, Maggie wouldn't look at her or anything else but the ground before her. When Jack walked by, behind her, he reached out and squeezed Bianca's hand gently before showing her an encouraging smile. Despite the tears she held back, she smiled back, and no matter how hard she tried to be strong, her mother beside her knew she was breaking once more inside.

"Bianca, come and sit with me, we need to talk," Erica grabbed her daughter's hands and pulled her to the sofa. She sat up straight, smiling. Bianca knew something was up.

"I need to finish getting ready," she said. "I... I need to be ready for today."

"I know, Bianca, but I wanted to talk to you about today," Erica replied, having gone over the scenario in her head since Jackson landed the appeal. "I just want to make sure you're prepared, that's all. Today is going to be hard. For both of you."

"I'm not the one potentially going back to jail today, mother," she stood up, "I should've known you were going to do this. Of all the things I needed today, this was not one of them. I need to finish getting ready."

"Bianca, wait," Erica stood now, peeved. "I can't just see you breaking like this. All she's brought you is pain and suffering, I know you love her, but enough is enough."

"Enough is not enough!" Bianca turned, anger washing over her face masked by tears streaming down her cheeks, "I love her, mother, I love Maggie with every ounce of my being. Every single ounce, and you may not understand that or even care to understand that, but it's the way things are. I'm not going to stand by and let you or anyone else in this town tell me to back down or walk away or stop loving her. Because it's not going to happen! Not now, not ever!" Erica stood, jaw agape as she watched Bianca storm into her room and with a slam of her door, the head of the Kane household knew there was no getting through to her youngest daughter. Not now. Not ever. Just like she said.

"Why doesn't anybody get it?" Bianca sighed, splashing her face with water. She locked the bedroom door before heading into the bathroom, hoping her mother wouldn't follow. She was tired of constantly hearing how she needed to move on by all the people who said they cared about her. The only people in her life at the moment that seemed to support her were her Uncle Jack and Myrtle. Myrtle had been her rock through all of this, no matter what happened or how the situation tested her, Myrtle always believed in Bianca's heart. And Bianca's heart wanted Maggie, even if irons bars stood in the way of their happiness.

Bianca, too, stood rigid. Erica Kane had made her way into the courtroom shortly after she did, taking the time to give a few statements to the press. If Bianca had seen then, she would've seen how fake her mother was being through it all, as usual. Bianca said nothing to the press, as had been her tactics throughout the duration of this mess. Of course, there would be the post-contract signing press conference for Cambias Industries she would need to attend and speak at, but that would hopefully be a time of joy and she held onto the hope that Maggie would be coming home to her arms tonight. It's all the hope she had left.

Jackson, meanwhile, tried to relax. He did everything he could to speed up the appeals process as well as prepare Maggie for this day. The only thing he could do now is wait for it to be over and hope for the best. It seemed that's all anybody could do now.

Anna, David, the rest of Pine Valley's regulars stood, too, facing the judge as she took her place behind the bench. She peered out into the crowd, shook her head ever so slightly and smirked. This trial had turned into a spectacle, and this didn't bode well with her as she took her position to hear today's testimony.

"You may be seated," she said, waiting for the crowd to settle before she, too, sat overlooking the overflowing case file before her. "Today, we're here for the appeal of Mary Margaret Stone vs. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Most of you, I'm well aware, are familiar with this case. So, let's get this underway. Mr. Montgomery, please begin."

"Thank-you, Your Honor," he nodded, putting a hand on Maggie's arm in reassurance before standing. "Your Honors, members of the court, family and friends, we're hear today to..." Maggie drifted off in thought as Jackson gave his opening statement. She should've been paying attention, but a lingering dream she'd been having overcame her as she sat there, bored out of her mind and nerves driving her up a wall.

"Bianca..." Maggie breathed out ruggedly. "Thats' so... That feels so good." Bianca slid up Maggie's body, taking a nipple into her mouth and tugging gently, looking into the smaller girl's eyes. Maggie gripped the sheets below her, digits wrapping tightly around them as Bianca continued her ministrations between her thighs. There was silence, and there was writhing and there was Maggie feeling complete for the first time in her life as passion rippled through her body sending tremors through Bianca as well.

They laid side-by-side, Bianca covering Maggie with a sheet as she faced her wife.

"How are you feeling?" Bianca asked, smiling.

"Good," Maggie replied, closing her eyes momentarily as Bianca took her hand in her own. "Real good."

"I'm glad," Bianca's smile broadened as one crossed Maggie's face. Maggie brought Bianca's hand to her lips, kissed it gently and then rolled herself on top with a mischievous grin.

"My turn," she smiled, swooping down to kiss Bianca and tug at her bottom lip.

About fifteen minutes later, just as the daydream heated up, Maggie was jarred back to reality when a firm hand grasped her shoulder. She looked up to see the shock washed across Jackson Montgomery's face and all she could do was stand, turn and face Bianca who wore the same shade of shock. The judge's denial of her appeal rocked the courtroom.

"That's outrageous!" David Hayward yelled, jarring the crowd into a frenzy as Bianca and Maggie shared one last moment before she was taken from the courtroom and led out of the building. Maggie mouthed: "I love you," just quiet enough for her to hear.

"I can't believe this," Opal drawled out, Myrtle just shook her head. Similar reactions rippled through the crowd as Bianca made a quick exit of the courtroom just minutes behind Maggie. There was no need to catch up, there eyes said it all.

The press yelled and catcalled from all around the steps to the courthouse as the police brought her out to a squad car, hands cuffed behind her and head bowed to keep herself from crying for the world to see. Bianca was left behind in a chaos that swarmed the courtroom after the judge's denial.

"Ms. Stone! This is the New York Times, please! A few words!"

"Ms. Stone over here, please! CNN! CNN would like a few words!"

"Maggie! A statement! For the Inquirer!"

"Ms. Stone, please, it's the Pine Valley Press! Just a moment of your time!"

"Ladies and gentlemen, please!" Jackson threw his hands in the air to try and divert the media's attention to him. "Please, if you will! Damn it!" He watched as Maggie was led away, and his pride was broken. 'Today wasn't supposed to be like this,' he thought, 'This was supposed to end.' "I have a statement to make!"

"Mr. Montgomery!"

"Please, Mr. Montgomery, MSNBC!"

They all clamored around him as the squad car sped away.

"Please, everyone, if you'll quiet down, I'm prepared to make a statement on the unfair verdict today in a never-ending cycle of injustice Maggie Stone has faced in this court," he replied, as calmly as he could, "Now, please, settle down." A few moments later, he began, "This is not the end of this appeal. If we have to, we will take this all the way to the top. Maggie Stone did this community a right, however wrong it may have been, and she's since paid the consequences of her actions more than tenfold. I, along with my offices, will be doing everything in our powers to see that her incarceration is overturned. That's all."

"But, Mr. Montgomery, is it true that another appeal might not take place until late next year?"

"Mr. Montgomery: If Ms. Stone's appeal was denied in Pine Valley, is it safe to assume that even the district or state courts will lay down the same mandate? After all, this is the first time in decades that law has been upheld in the city..."

"Enough!" Jackson Montgomery turned, angrily at the crowd, "I will not dignify this group with another response. You want answers, talk to my office's press liaison. In the meantime, I have more pressing matters..." He turned to see Bianca hiding in the shadows with Erica and Kendall at her side. 'At least she's not crying this time,' he sighed. "How are you holding up?" he asked, ushering her back inside away from the press.

"I honestly don't know," she responded, calmly. "I don't know anymore." In truth, she didn't feel much of anything right now. The look shared between them said it all. There were no room for tears, fears or hopes and dreams anymore; there was just the simple acceptance, that once again, Bianca and Maggie would have to wait to resolve their feelings.

"Here we go," Ethan Cambias composed himself, standing. He was alerted the moment Bianca Montgomery stepped foot into the building and prepared himself as best he could. He turned off the TV and waited, nervously, as he could only imagine this was one more nail in a coffin bed that was already long since shut tight.

Moments later, Bianca Montgomery strolled in, dispensed the pleasantries, signed the contracts and walked out all in under 20 minutes. Ethan Cambias never saw such a more stone cold business moment than what just transpired; he held the contract in his hand and hoped he'd see more of Bianca in a few minutes at their first joint press conference.


Part 18

Bianca Montgomery stood, rigid in front of the silver-lined mirror.

In a matter of ten minutes, she managed to compose herself after barricading the door in the public restroom of Cambias Industries lobby. Somebody tried to come in, and after struggling with the knob for a few seconds, gave up in defeat giving Bianca a change to further bury the gut-wrenching feeling that what she was doing at that single moment was fundamentally wrong.

"I should be storming the prison," she said aloud, looking at herself in the mirror, knowing the circles hiding under her eyes would still be there tomorrow. 'Another sleepless night,' she throughout morosely, 'Another sleepless night without... her.' She smoothed down the front of her shirt and adjusted her collar, frowning at the pools of tears welling up in her eyes. 'I can't even say her name. Or even think it.' "I should be breaking her out."

She sighed.

"But, I'm not," she turned away, tucked her locks behind her ear and tipped her head back slightly to take a deep breath. "I'm here. About to make a public appearance as the face of a Fortune 500 company."

She still wasn't sure why she agreed to any of this. When Ryan confronted her about taking over as co-head of Cambias alongside Ethan, she didn't even think it was a possibility. How could he ask her something like that?

"It's simple, Bianca, I need you to run Cambias here in Pine Valley," Ryan explained, "Miranda is the rightful heir, as is Ethan, it's only fair that you take care of Miranda's obligation until she's old enough to run the company herself."

"Miranda's obligation?" Bianca replied incredulously. "She has no obligation to Cambias. And neither do I."

"That's not what I meant," Ryan replied, putting his hands on his hips. "I just meant that she's due her share of that company, it's money, it's... everything. It's part of her future whether she wants it or not. Whether you want it or not, Bianca, she's part of the Cambias line and it's fortune. It's only right she has her share, after everything you've been through..."

"This isn't about me," Bianca argued, seething. "This is about a little girl who hasn't even seen her first birthday, yet, and corporate America trying to paint a bullseye on her back. I will not subject my daughter to that, not from Cambias, not from you."

"Bianca," Ryan reached out and grabbed her arm as she turned to walk away, "Bianca, please, just hear me out... I'm only looking out for Miranda's best interest. For your best interest."

"Ryan, I do not want Miranda to have anything to do with Cambias Industries. I want nothing to do with Cambias Industries." Bianca sighed, loudly and sat down on the sofa. The emotional breakdown she was long delaying threatened to spill over at any minute, but she was stronger than that now, and she closed her eyes to keep the tears at bay before continuing. "Miranda will go through enough in her life because of the Cambias name. The last thing I want to do is seal her into running a company she won't even understand until she's older. I will not force my daughter into a future she has no say in. My mother did enough of that to me growing up, she tried to force Kendall into the same mold, and look what happened? Our family was torn apart by it, and we're still trying to pick up the pieces. I will not force Miranda to be something she's not."

"I'm not asking you to, Bianca," Ryan sat next to her, "I'm asking you to let me do right by her. Let me set-up a trust fund, let me give her the option - when she's old enough - run the company that rightfully belongs to her. Otherwise, Ethan will get it all. He's a good guy, headstrong, but he's nothing like... the others... he's a good man, Bianca, and he, too, will want Miranda to have a share."

"But what does this all have to do with me?" Bianca asked.

"I want you to run Cambias until Miranda makes her decision. If you're willing, that way you can teach her everything she'll need to know to make the right choice. There's no better candidate for the job than her own mother." Bianca nodded, understanding to an extent, but she was still hesitant to attach her name to anything stained by Cambias blood. She was still hesitant to attach her daughter's name to anything stained by Cambias, but sooner or later, her daughter would ask questions. She could only run so long from her family tree, and Bianca knew as a Kane woman that there's no running from what's in your blood. Even if your forgot, there was always someone around to remind you of who you were inside.

Now, Bianca Montgomery stood ready to announce to the world that she was embracing her daughter's namesake on her behalf. To give Miranda Mona Montgomery a chance for a future of her own forging. It should be a day of celebration, of happiness, of achievement, but instead, it was a day of mourning... she shouldn't be here, not now, but where else would she go? She had a future to look towards, even if it wasn't the one she envisioned.

Bianca smoothed her shirt once more, closed her eyes to relax, and then headed out into the madness that was sure to follow whether it was today, tomorrow or sooner rather than later.

A short memo was released before the press conference. It's contents where short, precise and filled with thick legalese. Even the most ignorant of the law could figure out without reading the document what it said: Anybody who attempts to ask Bianca Montgomery about anything related to Maggie Stone was going to have a rude awakening. There wasn't a journalist in the tri-state area that would dare violate the contents of that memo.

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank-you for coming out on such short notice," Ethan Cambias announced, "If you'll all take a seat, we'll get underway. We have a lot of ground to cover during this conference, and I'd like to get started." A few minutes later, after everyone had taken their seat, Ethan began by showing a video presentation on the new direction of Cambias Industries.

While the company had a foothold in every major market in the world and was considered one of the foremost leaders in economic pursuits. However, recently, the scandals that rocked the company from left to right is what caused a downfall in stock prices and caused most of the board to run to smaller companies with a better name. In all honest, Ethan and Ryan weren't even sure they could turn Cambias around.

And that's where Bianca Montgomery came in.

Of course, neither would tell her that, at least not to her face, and it would be only a matter of time before she figured it out herself. But nonetheless, having someone so hurt by the Cambias name heading up the same company would boost stock confidence as well as bolster economic growth. If only Bianca realized at the moment just what running Cambias Industries would mean to the world around her, but she was blinded by her own world around her and thinking about the one person she swore she wouldn't.

"Miss Montgomery?" Ethan tapped her on the shoulder. "Care to say a few words?"

"Oh," she stood, blushing, as she took the podium. "Thank-you all for coming..."

Maggie only caught the end of the press conference, but she heard just about all she wanted to hear when the CNN anchor said Bianca Montgomery was now co-CEO of Cambias Industries. It was the only time she cried that day despite everything that happened. She cried most of the day and eventually to sleep only to wake and realize she was still trapped by concrete, steel and the impending doom that being trapped in prison continued to strangle her with day in and day out.

Part 19

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