DISCLAIMER: I own nothing but my love of Kinks. Yes, yes, I'm riding that sled into hell. Pervy writer and director thank you.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I've recently become perversely entertained by AMC and have been watching it nightly on Soapnet. This new fic series is the result. I hope you like.
AUTHOR'S WEBSITE: http://www.dreiser.net/
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
What Happens When Bad Dressers and Drama Queens Fall In Love
Being a cynic, no... scratch that, being a realist is what kept Lena Kundera alive. The ability to step away from her emotions, control them, and then look at situations with the crystal clear gaze of a realist was her greatest trait. That was how she survived the Communist rule in Poland. That was how she survived the years with Michael Cambias.
And that was how she would survive this.
After hours of talking with Gordon and his colleagues, wading through the piles of paperwork and photographic proof, Lena knew the gravity of the situation. If she didn't do this now... if she did not help them then the danger Bianca and Miranda would cease from being a possibility and become a certainty.
Being a realist, Lena knew this. That's why she stared at the phone in front of her, reaching out with shaky hands to dial the numbers she knew by heart to begin the conversation meant to shatter hearts. Hers and more importantly, Bianca's.
Because if she caused Bianca's heart to be broken and in pieces, the woman would stay far from Lena. Which would allow Lena to do her job. To work with Gordon and his people to seek out Michael's former business partners... taking care of them one by one.
Taking care of them. Did that mean killing them or arresting them? Lena wondered, thinking back on Gordon's words. In a daze, she realized she didn't care much. The only thing she cared about was keeping those evil men away from Bianca and Miranda. It didn't matter to her that these men were a danger to U.S. security as Gordon had told her, it just mattered they threatened Bianca and Miranda. That was something Lena would never allow or forgive. Not in any way shape or form.
One ring... two rings... three rings...
There it was. The voice she loved, soft and gentle and kind and everything that was good in the world. That was Bianca Montgomery in a nutshell. Lena knew she never deserved her but god, she loved her with all that she was. That's why she had to do this. Swallowing hard and closing her eyes, Lena began the act, praying that she could somehow make it through this.
"Bianca," Lena drew the name out as she had so many times before, luxuriating in the sound and smiling at Bianca's reaction.
"Is something wrong?" asked Bianca in quiet concern. "You sound... well, you don't sound like yourself, Lena. It isn't your mother, is it?"
"No, it isn't Mama," replied Lena, steeling herself for what was to come next. "In fact, it is something far different. Bianca... I won't be returning to Pine Valley. I have decided to stay here."
Horrible echoing silence and it cut Lena to the bone. She could practically see Bianca's face in her minds eye. The hurt look in deep brown eyes, the quivering chin, the pained voice... it killed her to do this but she had to. She simply had to in order to keep the woman she loved safe.
"Lena... why...?" Bianca whispered brokenly. "Don't you love me? What about the rings and our promise? I thought we were going to be a family. You, me, and Miranda."
"I've met someone else, Bianca," said Lena in aloof and matter of fact tones. Speaking as if she were explaining a set of directions to a lost tourist on the highway. "I didn't plan on this happening, certainly, but all the same, it has. I felt it best to tell you soon as possible. It was the least that I could do."
"This isn't you," said Bianca in hushed but relentless tones. Her voice rising in octaves with every word she said. "This isn't you!! What's going on, Lena? I know you and this isn't you! Tell me the truth, baby, please... we can work through this together. Just tell me."
"I have told you," Lena said, her voice cold to the point of freezing. "You haven chosen not to listen. This is part of the reason, Bianca. Despite all that has gone on you remain an immature child. I have found someone on my own level so now we are through. After today I will not call again."
"Lena!!" Bianca shouted, a heartbroken wail.
That sound was the last thing Lena heard of Bianca before she hung up the phone and pulled the cord from the wall to prevent an instant call back from the woman she loved. She knew all too well how stubborn Bianca could be and because of this, Lena also knew the conversation was far from over. Which meant she would have to do this again... she would have to keep doing this until Bianca finally gave up on her. The mere thought of continuing to hurt Bianca destroyed the last of Lena's hard fought self control. Slipping from the chair and onto the floor of the living room, Lena pressed her face into the velvet material of the chair seat, soaking it through with her tears.
For the second time in her life, Lena Kundera had done the right thing and in doing so, she hurt the person she loved more than any other. But all the same, she had done the right thing. The only hope that she had was that perhaps that thought could sustain her through the upcoming nightmare. A life without the love of Bianca Montgomery.
The next morning, Babe did as she always did. She woke up, rubbed her eyes, ran her fingers through her messy hair, and wandered down the hall to Miranda's nursery. That's where she found Bianca, sitting in the rocking chair holding her daughter and looking out the window with a far off expression.
"Bianca?" asked Babe, frowning at the scene. It looked exactly like usual but something about it felt wrong. Something was going on.
"Lena broke up with me last night," Bianca replied without moving her gaze from the window. "I asked her why... she said she had met someone else. Someone more mature than me. She... she told me she wouldn't be calling again," Bianca's voice broke at this and she turned to Babe with tears in her eyes. "I don't know why but she's saying she doesn't love me anymore but I know it's not true, Babe. I just know it. That wasn't my Lena last night... I know it wasn't. Maybe I'm crazy but I need to prove that. I need..."
"You need to see her," finished Babe for her. She could relate to the feeling all too well. When the truth had come out and she found out everything JR had done... she had to confront him. To simply see for herself, no matter how very badly it hurt. Bianca needed the same thing in regards to Lena now. "All right," said Babe with a nod of her head. "You're goin' to Poland and I'm comin' with you."
"Babe? No..." Bianca frowned, rising to her feet as Babe opened up Miranda's closet and pulled out her diaper bag. "I can do this on my own. Besides, I need you to stay here with Miranda. I can't take her with me," said Bianca in a bare whisper, looking at her sleeping daughter's angelic face. "I don't want her to be around that kind of thing. I want to keep her happy and safe. That's here with you until I can come back. Hopefully bringing Lena with me."
"Nope. That's wrong," said Babe firmly, opening the diaper bag and starting to pack it. "That's here with Kendall. I gotta say you're right about not bringin' that little angel into such a stressful situation but there's no way I'm lettin' you go alone, Bianca. Not when I know how hard this whole thing is gonna be for you. Besides," Babe formed a lopsided smile, "you know Mimo's crazy Auntie Kendall will go nuts at the chance to spend an extended visit with her niece."
"I guess," said Bianca with a weak smile. "But what about when she finds out why we're really going? Kendall will..." Bianca trailed off, not really knowing how to word it.
"She'll go as wild as a Minister in a whore house?" Babe offered, her face forming a mischievous smile, her eyes twinkling. "Yeah, I gotta say that's true. Still, you can't say it's not sorta amusing."
"In a Soap Opera melodrama kind of way, I guess," Bianca rolled her eyes. She watched as Babe continued to pack and said softly, "Thank you for this, Babe. For being here for me. I appreciate it."
"Hey," Babe paused in her mad packing to walk over to the other woman. Clasping Bianca's arms gently, she ducked her head down to meet their eyes and smiled tenderly. Pushing back a lock of hair behind Bianca's ear, mimicking a gesture that had tugged at her heart so many times before, Babe murmured, "You don't have to thank me for anythin'. I wanna do this. I love you, Bianca. I love you as much and maybe more than I've ever loved anyone. I mean that."
Bianca was about to reply when Miranda decided to wake up and announce her presence with a healthy cry for sustenance. Both of the women jumped at this then Bianca laughed nervously, looking up at Babe with sheepish eyes.
"Someone's hungry," Bianca chuckled. "I'm going to feed her. Could you call Val and see if he can arrange for us to take Enchantment's corporate jet? Then we can call Kendall. If I'm right, she should probably be at Fusion starting work right now."
"Not a problem," said Babe, watching Bianca exit the room. As soon as she left, a frown formed on Babe's face and looking across the room at the framed picture of a smiling Bianca and Lena, she said in a harsh whisper, "Lena. What in God's green Earth are you thinkin'?"
It struck Kendall as humorous that Fusion started off as probably nothing more than a petty revenge scheme aimed at her mother. A way for her and Greenlee to irritate the woman who had put them down in so many forms that they felt bound and determined to do something to show her how wrong she was. Thus Fusion was born. Meant to compete with Enchantment in every sense possible, they wanted their upstart company to become the perpetual thorn in Erica's and Enchantment's side.
Now it was more than that. Fusion was a validation of who they were, living and breathing proof that they weren't spoiled brats who were only good at disrupting the lives of others. The company had become the symbol of the change in them. Showing they were more than rabid man chasers. Though that sentiment was up for debate lately.
Kendall watched with veiled eyes as Ryan sat on the edge of Greenlee's desk, his head bent down and close to hers. The two of them laughing softly at whatever private joke they were sharing. She honestly hated herself when she was around Ryan. For whatever reason, he consistently brought out the worst in her. The selfish spiteful Kendall that she thought she had left long behind in Florida, the one she would like to forget ever existed.
Feeling the weight of Kendall's gaze on him, Ryan looked away from Greenlee to meet the blue gray eyes of the woman he loved. Though at this point, he would rather die than admit so. He was sick and tired of Kendall and the games she played. Which was why he decided to marry Greenlee. The other woman provided a nice buffer between himself and Kendall because Ryan knew all too well Kendall had her pride. One that prickled every time she saw him with Greenlee and each time she did, Ryan was assured that pride would make Kendall keep her distance.
The fact that what he was doing hurt Kendall was irrelevant to him at this point. After all, Kendall had hurt him countless times already and what comes around does go around. Ryan was a big believer in karma and that belief system placed both him and his actions absolutely in the right.
"Can we help you with something, Kendall?" asked Ryan sarcastically. Letting her know without a doubt that he was aware she had been watching them for some time. "Did you need advice on how to ruin relationships? Oh wait," Ryan formed a mocking face of false realization, "you already know how to do that. Actually having a healthy relationship is what stumps you. Is that why you're looking at Greenlee and I? Because we have one?"
Instead of replying, Kendall simply averted her gaze and forced herself not to respond physically and verbally to Ryan's words. In doing so, she hoped this would end before it started. She just didn't have it in her to bicker with him today. Fighting with the man she had once loved so dearly, had trusted almost on the same level as her beloved sister, was exhausting Kendall. Some might think she found this kind of interaction enjoyable and perhaps at certain times, she did. But not right now. And not with Ryan. Not this way... not with such calculating cruelty.
"Last time I checked Jerry Springer's not the gauge healthy relationships are set by," a forceful voice that practically dripped with disdain announced. One that Kendall recognized immediately and as she turned to face Maggie, a smile was already forming on her face.
The younger woman was back in her usual odd mishmash of clothing styles. Wearing a tight black t-shirt that said Sega Club in a series of nearly blinding florescent colors, a pair of worn tan corduroy pants, pink flip flops, and a bizarre looking beanie on her head that had an odd green face on it. She looked utterly ridiculous and almost comically absurd but Kendall couldn't recall a time where she had been happier to see another human being.
"Those aren't the clothes I got you," Kendall said, rising to her feet and arching an eyebrow as she stood in front of Maggie. Giving into her impulses, Kendall reached out and pulled the beanie down further, just above Maggie's eyes. Grinning as the shorter woman scowled slightly and moved her attention from Ryan to Kendall. "Your alarm didn't go off on time, did it?"
"Yup," said Maggie with a humorous popping sound. She moved closer to Kendall who blinked at this then said in quieter tones, "Are you all right? What he was saying to you when I came in..."
A small and insistent tug to her heart.
It didn't happen very often but when it did, Kendall knew all too well what it meant. The person who caused it was someone she would grow to care for... to love with a depth and intensity that sometimes scared her, it was so strong. Del had caused it, Erica had caused it, Bianca had caused it, Ryan had caused it, Miranda had caused it, and now there it was again.
All for Maggie Stone.
"I'm fine," replied Kendall softly. Then, unable to help herself, she gently pushed a stray lock of hair from Maggie's face. "Thanks to you, that is. You provided a nice distraction from his latest attack."
"He does that a lot?" Maggie frowned deeply. Just the thought of Ryan treating Kendall like that on a regular basis ticked her off and hazel eyes narrowed then fixed on Ryan who felt her gaze and matched it in a silent battle of wills. At least until Kendall sighed and cupped Maggie's chin in the palm of her hand, causing Maggie to look up at the other woman with a slightly baffled expression. "Kendall?"
"Ignore him," Kendall murmured with a smile. "He's not worth my time anymore so I definitely know he isn't worth yours. Besides," she continued playfully, "I have a very important question to ask you."
"Yeah?" asked Maggie curiously, tilting her head to one side.
"Yeah," said Kendall as she pulled the beanie off Maggie's head and pointed to the green face on the front of it. "What in the world is this freaky thing on your hat anyway?"
"That's Mr. Yuk!" Maggie looked strangely horrified at Kendall's lack of knowledge concerning the advertising icon. "You know? Mr. Yuk for Poison Control? He was that sticker your parents put on a phone or something in the house so they'd know who to call in case you swallowed rat poison or something." When Kendall looked at the hat in contemplation, Maggie waved her hands in an expressive gesture. "Mr. Yuk! Poison help! Yuck poison is bad! Get it?"
"I never swallowed rat poison," answered Kendall blankly.
"Neither did I," said Maggie, rolling her eyes. "But that's whole the point of Mr. Yuk. To make sure that you don't do that sort of thing. It's why they created him."
"Is he green because he just swallowed some rat poison?" Kendall asked mischievously, a smirk tugging at her lips on observing Maggie's frustration which she found oddly cute. "That's a pretty awful face he's making so it would make sense if he did."
"You're messing with me," Maggie accused, pointing up at the taller woman who laughed at this.
"Just a little," admitted Kendall with a warm smile and she carefully placed the beanie back on Maggie's head, gently pulling it down. "I don't mean any harm though, I promise. It's just a sign of affection on my part. There," Kendall sounded pleased as she finished her beanie adjustment, "you look perfect."
"Thanks," said Maggie roughly, her throat suddenly dry. They remained in amiable silence, Kendall smiling at Maggie and Maggie staring at Kendall until she realized one of them should speak and it was probably her turn to do so. Giving a short cough and looking across the room, far away from Ryan as she really had no desire to see him, Maggie began, "I came to see you because in the middle of Professor Richards lecture on the intestines I realized I don't have your phone number." Pulling her eyes back to Kendall who still had her fool proof dazzling smile on her face, Maggie bit her lip nervously and hoped she didn't look as idiotic as she felt. "And we're supposed to do the joint babysitting gig tomorrow but I didn't know at what time..." Maggie trailed off on seeing the dazzling smile turn even more dazzling yet while Kendall ducked her head slightly and covered her mouth with her hand. "Oh boy," Maggie murmured in semi-morbid tones. "What did I do now?"
Despite her best efforts to keep them hidden, uncontrolled giggles soon escaped Kendall's lips and keeping her head ducked down, these words managed to somehow make it through her giggling fit, "I remind you of intestines?"
One one thousand... two one thousand.. three one thousand...
Then Maggie's brain registered Kendall's giggle induced words and her face turned redder than any tomato. Which just made Kendall giggle all the more when she looked up at the other woman. As this went on, Ryan and Greenlee watched with open curiosity from the other side of the room. Curiosity and more than a bit of jealousy if they were to be truly honest with themselves.
Too bad honesty is the rarest thing to encounter in Pine Valley.
"I know this is your way of showing affection but for the sake of the few remaining capillaries in my cheeks, stop teasing me," said Maggie wryly. "Otherwise, I'm just not sure I can help you with the grand task of babysitting Mimo."
"I'll be good, I'll be good," Kendall repeated rather breathlessly. She appeared to be trying her best to stop the giggles that had taken over her system. "I'm sorry," she gasped out, looking almost sheepish, "have you ever just started laughing and you can't stop?"
"Yeah, I have," said Maggie, fondness showing in her gaze and she perched on top of Kendall's nearby desk. "But I haven't seen you do it before now. I'm not sure that me causing that reaction is really a good thing." Forming an overdone woebegone expression, Maggie sighed mournfully, "It's like the tears of a clown." She frowned and her nose scrunched up as she considered what she just said. "Except I'm a medical student and not a clown and I'm not crying. But you get the gist of it, I think."
"I definitely have the gist of you, Maggie Stone," Kendall agreed, nodding firmly and sitting next to her on the desk. They looked at each other and together they formed a set of matching smiles that when added up created a smile of such dazzling proportions even Kendall would have been incredibly impressed by it. Leaning into the other woman gently, Kendall ducked her head and lowered her voice for her next words. Though she acted otherwise, she was still vaguely aware of the fact that Ryan was in the room but somehow he didn't seem so important when Maggie was there. Maggie's presence removed Ryan completely from the picture of her mental landscape and Kendall found she liked that. She liked that a whole lot. "Yes," she nodded solemnly. "I have the gist and I like the gist of you and your capillaries."
"You like my capillaries, you really like my capillaries," Maggie feigned overwhelmed excitement ala Sally Fields and Kendall had to giggle again. Then an obnoxious midi version of Respect blared from Kendall's cell phone sitting behind them on the desk.
Picking up the phone, Kendall's eyes lit up as she saw who was responsible for the interruption. "Binks," she said happily while she pressed the talk button. "What can big sis do for you?"
Immediately Maggie noticed the change in Kendall, the way her body language went from relaxed to rigid and the easy smile on her face faded into a worried frown. Knowing better than to ask what was going on while Kendall was on the phone, Maggie chose instead to scoot closer to her companion and quietly cover Kendall's hand with her own, lacing their fingers together. At this gesture, Kendall shot Maggie a grateful look which echoed of deep concern for Bianca as she talked with her sister.
"I see," said Kendall finally, heaving a soft sigh. "No! Binks, no, don't think that!" Kendall responded in almost a panic. "Of course I'll watch Mimo... I'm more than happy to. I just... I don't want to make you more upset but I'm really, really, really, angry at Lena right now. I'm back at lock me behind bars in jail, Derrick, level angry," Kendall chuckled in derisive tones. "Listen, you do what you need to do and no matter what happens we'll be here for you when you get back. The whole family, got that?" There was a pause then Kendall formed a pained yet amused smile. "Yeah, we do stick together despite being damn dysfunctional people, don't we? I think we're the new twisted version of The Brady Bunch." There was another long moment of silence and Kendall closed her eyes then murmured in heartfelt tones, "I love you too, Binks. I'll be there in a few minutes, okay? And don't worry... I'll take care of Mom."
Disconnecting the call, Kendall lowered the phone and stared at in her right hand while her left hand remained firmly entwined with Maggie's who sat quietly at her side. Realizing that Maggie wanted to wait for a sign she was all right before she asked what the call was about, Kendall lifted her head and gave a wary smile.
"That was Bianca," said Kendall, dimly aware that this was probably the most idiotic and obvious thing to say at the moment. Who else could it have been but Bianca? Only one person in the town of Pine Valley, hell, probably the world, would go by the nickname of Binks and that was her sister. "She called to ask if I would mind watching Mimo for an extended period while she and Babe take a trip to Poland."
"Poland?" Maggie frowned before her eyes went wide in slight horror. "Is Lena's Mom...?"
Clenching her jaw and rising to her feet, Kendall gathered her purse and put her cell phone into it firmly. "No, it's not her mother," Kendall said in tones of controlled anger. "It's not that at all."
"Then what?" asked Maggie in definite confusion.
"Lena," said Kendall with some difficulty, forcing the name out while squeezing her eyes shut and gripping her purse tightly. "Has left Bianca for someone else. She called late last night to say they were through and Bianca... doesn't want to just accept this. So she's going to Poland and Babe is going with her. Because she shouldn't be alone in case Lena... in case Lena..." Kendall broke off and snapped her mouth shut, a tick forming in her jaw.
"In case Lena breaks her heart," Maggie said the words for Kendall though she winced at the thought.
"Again," Kendall forced the words out, meeting Maggie's sad eyes with her own which reflected a simmering anger. "This isn't right," she whispered. "This shouldn't be happening, Maggie."
Seeing the confusion, hurt, love, and rage boiling over in Kendall's expression Maggie stood up and took the taller woman's hand back in her own. "I know and you're right," she replied softly. "But we have more important things to do now. Like going over to Bianca's and helping her with anything she needs. Including expanding our nifty fun adventure in babysitting into a much longer time span. I'm all for that as long as we don't get lost in Chicago like they did."
Despite herself, Kendall couldn't help but form a faint smile at Maggie's movie reference and said, "You can be Elisabeth Shue. I never liked her much after Leaving Las Vegas. Too depressing."
"Well, I am the blonde among us," Maggie laughed, lightly swinging her hand that was holding Kendall's as they walked out of Fusion. "But for your own good don't tell any dumb blonde jokes."
"Me? Heaven forefend," said Kendall dryly.
The conversation continued all the way into the elevator, out of Fusion, the drive to Bianca's, and up to the front door of the house. Stopping only when the door opened and two pairs of sympathetic eyes rested on Bianca and she found herself embraced by the loving arms of her big sister and best friend. While they comforted Bianca both Kendall and Maggie shared a silent communication with Babe. One that promised to keep Bianca happy and safe.
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