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
By Dreiser

Part Six...

The one thing that never ceased to surprise Bianca was the fact that how very quickly things can change in life. In mere seconds her heart was broken and it took again mere seconds for it to heal as she realized it wasn't real. That Lena for some reason was lying to her, that Lena did still love her, and she probably always would. Only Bianca didn't know why. Now she did and it cemented the truth she'd always known in her heart of hearts. Lena loved her more deeply and truly than anyone ever had in her entire life.

She tried to leave to protect them. To protect Bianca and Miranda, to keep them safe. Staring at the papers that Lena had given her and looking up at the CIA agent standing before them Bianca decided to face her fear. Apparently her presence here went against their plans but she couldn't pretend to be sad about that. No matter their reasons for doing so, they had tried to take Lena away from her and Miranda. That would not be allowed, not now and not ever. Lena was theirs and they were Lena's. They were a family, now and forever.

This had to be made clear.

"I understand why you took action, Mr. Mercer," said Bianca in slow and careful tones, trying her best to hold back the rage she felt at the idea of losing Lena. "But please understand what I'm about to say." Holding his eyes in a hard and decisive gaze, Bianca clenched her jaw. "I love Lena with everything that I am and so does my daughter. She is our family and we will not lose her. I appreciate what you want to do in order to protect us from these men but..." Trailing off and trying to hold back her tears, she murmured hoarsely, "I can't lose Lena. I've lost too much in my life already and that might break me." When Lena's hand clasped her own, Bianca looked tearfully to the woman she loved. "I can't lose you, Lena. I can't. Please stay with us."

"Bianca," whispered Lena, holding the younger woman's face she moved in to kiss her tenderly. Wrapping Bianca up in her arms, she kissed her head of dark hair and looked up at Gordon who wore a solemn expression. "I can't do this to my family. I know what you want but can you see that now? Is there some other plan we might take to protect them? We will follow any other action you choose as long as we may remain together."

"I won't lie," said Gordon, heaving a sigh and rubbing the back of his head. "This does cause problems but I'm not heartless." His lips quirked up in a small smile. "Even if I do work for the government. Tell you what," he murmured, nodding at the women and gathering up his paperwork, "let me meet with the rest of the team and make some calls. I think I might be able to come up with a plan that'll work for everyone and maintain the level of security we're hoping to achieve."

Kissing Bianca's hand, Lena rose to her feet and walked Gordon to the door. Pausing before he turned to leave, he smiled at her and said, "She must love you a hell of a lot to disregard everything that you said and fly endless hours just to get to the truth of the matter. I'm not lying when I say this will cause a bit of trouble but I figure it's probably worth it. Besides," he chuckled, "it makes everyone a hell of a lot happier. And that's a good thing."

"I must agree," replied Lena with smiling eyes. Closing the door, she sighed and leaned against it only to murmur in contentment as she felt Bianca press against her back, arms wrapping firmly around her waist. "I do not know how you do it," Lena said in quiet amazement. "How you could believe in me so absolutely. You flew all this way and faced my rejection again only to turn all of it around. I couldn't do it." Lena faced Bianca and held her close, kissing the top of her head. "I could never be as brave."

"You're brave, Lena," argued Bianca, her voice muffled as she pressed her face against the length of Lena's throat and left a soft kiss on her pulse. "You were willing to risk your life in order to protect Miranda and I. You still are! But Lena," Bianca pulled away and wore a solemn expression on her face, "promise me you won't do this again. I can't take you lying to me. I only want there to be truth between us. That's how we can survive anything. By being truthful and remaining together."

"I promise," said Lena quietly. They drifted together naturally, Bianca reaching up to tangle her fingers in Lena's short dark hair. Mouths eager, hot, and open losing themselves into kiss after kiss. Lena pulled Bianca harder against her, moaning into the younger woman's mouth while her fingers caressed the small of Bianca's back. "I love you, Bianca," Lena declared breathlessly before capturing Bianca's lips in another lingering kiss. "I love you more than any other."

"Good," said Bianca in a hushed whisper, lips curving up in a beautiful smile. Tenderly playing with the hair at the nape of her girlfriend's neck. "Because I feel the same. Hey," she tilted her head to one side, "I have an idea."

"Oh? What might that be?" asked Lena, arching an eyebrow.

"Why don't we check in on Paulina and then," Bianca's smile grew mischievous in nature and her voice was low and purring. "We can make use of that wonderful bathtub you described to me in so many late night phone calls."

"I adore how your mind works," Lena drew the words out slowly, her accented voice rich in the intonation. Drawing Bianca in for another long kiss, Lena murmured against her lips, "Mama will be so pleased to see you, Bianca. She loves you."

"I love her too," whispered Bianca, pressing into Lena. "I wish she wasn't sick..." Trailing off, she paused then said in almost hesitant tones, "Do you think it would be all right if Miranda came to stay with us?" Pulling away to look shyly into Lena's features, she continued, "I want Miranda to spend time with her other Grandmother while she can. Would you mind, Lena? If we stayed here with you until..." Unwilling to say the words, Bianca let the sentence simply drift into silence.

"Bianca," Lena said her name as if it were a prayer. "Of course I would not mind. I would love to have you both here and so would Mama. She would be so happy..." Brown eyes filled with tears and instantly Bianca was holding Lena in a fierce embrace. "I hate the idea of her dying, Bianca. I hate it so. Life can be so terribly cruel but if you and Miranda were here..." A gasping sob escaped Lena's lips. "Things would not be quite so cruel. They never are with your presence."

"Then we'll be here for you, Lena," whispered Bianca, ardent in her promise. "The both of us, Miranda and I." Kissing the side of Lena's head, she chuckled. "The real question is who to send to bring Miranda here? Who would be less of a pain in the butt? My mother or sister?"

Laughing through her tears, Lena said wryly, "I think it would be far better for me to face the music, as you say, with Erica. The sooner she begins yelling at me the sooner she will stop."

"I don't know how well that theory works," Bianca laughed in return, hugging Lena close. "But if that's the crazy family member you want to bring Miranda I won't argue." She tugged Lena up the stairs to see Paulina. "I just need to call Babe and tell her she can fly home anytime she wants. I'm pretty sure she's over her fear of flying. It could be good for her."

"Babe is afraid of flying?" asked Lena curiously, rubbing her eyes and hoping that her mother didn't worry over the signs that she had been crying. She hated to worry her. "How did she get here then? The flight is dreadfully long."

"Babe is Babe," Bianca said, laughing and shrugging on thinking of her friend. "She's pretty surprising at times."

"To say the least," agreed Lena sardonically.

Bianca's only response was to lightly whap Lena on the stomach, who snatched up the hand responsible for giving the teasing assault and kissed it. With that, they quietly entered Paulina's room to tell her the good news about Bianca and Miranda's impending arrival in her life.

For as long as it lasted.

The fact that Babe Carey was an outgoing and vibrant young woman was something one knew the moment they saw her. Shining just as clearly as her head of beautiful blonde hair. However, the fact that Babe Carey traveled the world acting as a connoisseur of love...

That was a funny little secret.

Everyone knew that Babe had a certain something, a je ne sais quoi, as the infatuated Seaton from Marseilles would say. Ah, he called it that but what did the enamored Giulietta from Verona adore to claim? Oh yes, dolce vita. Kissing Babe until she was out of breath, she'd often say her lover led a sweet life. Then there was Heinrich from Berlin. Out of all of her many international sweethearts and oh, there were many, Babe felt he was the smartest. He didn't try to seduce her with gifts and woo her with empty compliments. No, he was simply Heinrich and she was Babe and they were happy.

The only thing Heinrich told Babe was that schadenfreude was a terrible thing to build a life around. Unlike the others, he didn't tell Babe what it meant... he let her discover for her own.

Schadenfreude, the German word that means to take pleasure in the misfortune of others. When Babe found its meaning, the next day Heinrich found her gone. He was smart and somehow he had gotten to really know her. That meant she had to leave as Babe wasn't ready for such things.

She wanted new places, new people, new phrases. Nothing was better than beginning another adventure and launching the next phase in her life. Then she met JR Chandler and suddenly traveling the world, seducing and being seduced didn't seem quite so appealing. Not with clear blue eyes calling her to a different kind of life and warm arms holding her close, promising her the family she had always dreamed of.

But those dreams had turned into dust.

Leaving Babe with no choice but to return to her roots. To what she was good at and most comfortable with. Meeting new people and exploring new places. Which is what Babe was busy doing when Bianca called her penthouse suite.

As predicted, the drive back to the hotel was interesting. Especially the portion that included Babe being pulled over by the police only to use her charms to drop any would be charges and wheedle Officer Aleksy into driving her to the hotel while his partner Josep followed in their patrol car.

Once they arrived at the hotel Babe had insisted on rewarding the brave policemen for their kindness and help. That led to Aleksy and Josep happily riding up to the penthouse with Natia, the Guest Services Manager, soon joining them for the ride. When Babe handed over a healthy tip to the girl at the front desk Natia had witnessed it and the incident made her want to ensure Babe's total satisfaction as a guest with the hotel's service since, conveniently, that was what Natia's job entailed.

So up to the penthouse they rode, Babe complimenting Aleksy on his driving skills, Josep on his amazing build, and Natia on her wonderfully lovely accent and grasp of the pain that was the English language. Not to mention dealing with the 'damned slang' she and other Americans used.

Then they were joined by a star of sorts. Someone well known across her homeland of Poland and slowly but surely rising within the ranks of professional models throughout the world also. The feline grace and lithe beauty that was Kasper Szudarek. With a mane of thick wind swept reddish brown hair, dark smoky blue eyes, and a skin tight outfit which included a one shouldered crumpled blue silk blouse, long black leather skirt, and short black velvet boots, Kasper presented a very beautiful sight. One that Babe could not help but appreciate and make comment on.

Since she had no idea Kasper was a fast rising celebrity in Poland, starring in several successful independent films and making the cover of every fashion magazine, Babe didn't feel the least bit nervous about inviting her to their little party that as each floor the elevator passed, continued to grow larger. That was part of the reason why the phone rang for the seven times before it was finally picked it up. Instead of hearing Babe's easy Southern drawl as expected, Bianca was met instead with the sound of Kasper flirting. That and the pulsing rhythms of Polish club music.

"Ah, ah, I must disagree! I think your mother was most clever indeed. She named you Babe and what have you turned out to be? What you Americans would call one. Genius!"

"Yeah, right. That's mighty nice of you to say, sugar, but I'm thinkin' that I gotta put in a protest to that," Babe remarked. Then she chuckled and said, "Bianca? That you girl? If it is you then what in the hell are you doin' calling me so soon? I thought you'd be plenty busy with your Hot Polish Fox. And if this isn't Bianca then I gotta ask anyway what're you callin' me for?"

"Babe?" said Bianca hesitantly, in slight shock. She thought she had seen every side to the blonde but this was definitely unknown territory. Which made her suddenly want to go out partying with her friend because this clearly revealed Babe was good at it. "I'm calling because..." She trailed off then decided to just ask. "Babe, what's going on there? Are you having a party?"

"I dunno if you could call it a party," Babe began slowly.

"To jest pewnie partia!" declared Suzette who had just joined the group, she was lead editor of the magazine Paris Fashions and happened to be staying on the same floor as Babe.

"Mmm, it would be a party if Babe the Babe would simply hang up the phone," Kasper's lilting tones announced. There was a pause then all Bianca heard was the muffled sound of motion and those lilting tones were in Bianca's ear murmuring, "Who is this interrupting our festive gathering? Do you wish to join us? Is that why you've called?"

Clenching her jaw and allowing her inner Kane to rear its exceedingly ugly head, Bianca said coolly, "I'm the person paying for the penthouse you're apparently enjoying. I'm also the roommate and close friend of the woman I assume you haven stolen the phone from. And to answer your questions, I'm calling because I want to speak to Ms. Arabella Carey, MY roommate and MY friend. I have no desire to join you now or anytime in the future. As all of your petty demands have been answered, I'm going to insist you give the phone back to Babe."

More sounds of muffled movement then Babe saying rather nervously, "Bianca girl? You all right?"

"I don't like whoever that was," said Bianca plainly. "Other than that, yes, I'm fine. I'm calling just to tell you something."

"Yeah? What's that?" asked Babe nervously, trying to infuse her voice with a calming manner. Wanting to ease the tension caused from Bianca's interaction with Kasper.

"I've decided to stay here with Lena pretty much indefinitely. That being said, I want Miranda here with me and so does Lena. We want her to spend time with Paulina while she can and... well, we just want to be together," murmured Bianca softly. "I just wanted to tell you I've asked my mother to bring her here. That means you can fly back to Pine Valley whenever you like but before you do, I wanted to tell you again how much I do appreciate you coming here with me."

"It's nothin', I'd do it again in a second," said Babe softly. "And if you don't mind I was plannin' on staying a bit longer. I've met myself a pretty interestin' group of folks here."

Laughing quietly at this, Bianca paused to smile at Lena who had entered the room and smoothly joined Bianca to lie on their bed. Her leggy frame hanging comfortably on the bed, Lena rested her chin on her left arm while her right arm settled in Bianca's lap to entwine their fingers. "Obviously," she said wickedly before kissing Lena's fingertips. "I imagine that the obnoxious phone thief is among their numbers? You want to tell me about that? Because I must confess I'm very curious."

"Eh," Babe gave a lame laugh, "nothin' to really tell. That's just Kasper, like the friendly ghost. Except she's not a ghost but I can say real safely that she's plenty friendly to the right folks."

"And you would be the right folks," Bianca said in droll observation.

"Apparently so," murmured Babe, a smile evident in her voice. Bianca heard the muted sound of muttering from the friendly ghost in question and giggled. At this reaction, Babe groaned and said entirely mournfully, "This is gonna be like when lil' Mimo went and did a nose dive on Maggie isn't it? This'll never die. I'll hear about it until I'm rolling over in my shallow grave."

"Probably," admitted Bianca humorously. She sighed in contentment as Lena stretched her body into an upright position and began an expert massage on her weary shoulders. "Listen, Babe, while I love torturing you with the knowledge of future teasing you'll receive I've got to be returning to my own party for two. You have fun playing Wendy to your own personal friendly ghost. I'll call you later, okay?"

"Gotcha, Bianca girl," drawled Babe, hanging up the phone. After doing so, she looked into smoky blue eyes and her lips quirked up in a smile. "Well now," she pulled Kasper closer on her lap, putting their faces inches apart, "you caused somethin' of a ruckus there, didn't you?"

"Your friend does not like me," noted Kasper sadly. She truly had not meant to insult anyone. All she wanted to do was have a bit of fun. Most of the Americans she had contact with loved to play games of that sort although apparently this Bianca wasn't one of them. It made Kasper curious to discover how a person who seemed so very serious was close with a person as gregarious as Babe. "I did not mean to upset her. Perhaps I should apologize?" Dipping her head down, lips hovered barely above Babe's, and the smile on full lips matched the one in her voice. "That is, if I am allowed to meet her. Will we keep our acquaintanceship that long?"

"Sugar," Babe released a pleased chuckle, tracing her hands up Kasper's back to wind into thick red hair. "I plan on keepin' your acquaintance and that ship around for as long you'll let me."

"Wonderful," Kasper drew the word out in a purr.

They dove at one another for a kiss of ferocious passion, hands crudely grabbing as they desperately strove to achieve the impossible task of having no space between their bodies. At least, it was impossible with their clothes on. Something that anyone witnessing their embrace could see was a hindrance that would be removed at any given moment.

Just for the sake of knowing, there happened to be no less than twenty strangers turned friends watching them. Including, if you remember, Suzette the lead editor of Paris Fashions magazine. Which despite being, as expected, a fashion publication it did run frequent public interest stories.

This party and that kiss now being chief amongst them.

Until today, Maggie didn't believe in the idea that fairy tales could exist in the real world. She had faith in people and their own personal strength which she had seen, thanks to Bianca, could survive and even thrive in the darkest of times. What Maggie did have an utmost belief in was love and the power it could wield over people. How it could either heal or completely destroy a person's spirit depending on the situation.

Despite all the horrible things Maggie had endured in her life she believed in love but trust? That was a monster who lurked in the shadows and held Maggie captive with fear, preventing her from allowing someone to truly know her. Including her own twin sister who had left this world before Maggie had ever gotten the chance to sit down and have an honest and real conversation with her.

To this day that knowledge tore at Maggie's soul.

Somehow or another, Bianca had gotten past all of that though. Breaking down the towering walls surrounding Maggie's heart and getting her to trust. Bianca Montgomery did what many considered impossible. She taught the dictionary examples of stubborn pride, Frankie and Maggie Stone, to trust her with everything in them.

Trust in Bianca, trust in her kindness, trust in her strength, and above all trust in her love. For them she was like no other. Bianca was in a special category and the mere suggestion that anyone could ever replace her was ludicrous

Though it took them a good deal of time to actually learn the genuine value of Bianca's varied lessons. The Stone twins were never known for the quick acceptance of new and untried things in their lives, after all. Still, the only thing that mattered was that they had learned something. Maggie especially. And she did learn but she hadn't learned fast enough to understand the depth of her love for Bianca and by the time she did it was too late. Bianca was happy in her new relationship with Lena.

Perhaps it was for the best. Everyone had certain roles to play in the relationships of their lives. Each role changing with the individual person. Just maybe Bianca was not meant to play the role of caring lover for Maggie, maybe she was meant to be a friend instead. The very best of friends, one who was true and kind, whose encouragement was steady like the flow of a river. Her support constant and unwavering, eventually leading Maggie to the person meant to play the lifetime role of her lover.

The beauty of a princess combined with the bravery of a knight and the impetuous nature of a scoundrel turned hero. Kendall was all of that and more and tonight...

She had written the first chapter in their own funny little real life fairy tale. Where Kendall rode in on her white horse and made long hidden dreams come true without realizing she was doing so. But Kendall wasn't perfect like the protagonists of those stories and that made Maggie glad.

You can't love perfection. You can admire it, wish for it, resent it, but you can never love it. The idea is simply impossible. Achieving perfection through deception or effort creates a barrier than none can surpass. Not to say that Kendall and Maggie didn't have things they kept well protected from others. They did. Immense emotionally damaging things created by the pains of youth and the rejections of others.

Now that pain was starting to finally end because they were ready to take a chance and embrace the concept that they deserved to be happy just like everyone else. Any doubts Maggie might have had disappeared when the crowd at PVU parted and she saw Kendall waiting for her.

Smiling gently and shyly raising a hand, looking at her with affection and eyes meant for Maggie only. In that moment, Maggie's heart was beating for Kendall. A fact that she was still grappling with as the centerpiece of their date ended. They had happily attended night three of the week long 80s film festival. Tonight had focused on the cinematic brilliance of the Molly Ringwald teen trilogy of Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, and last but not least, Sixteen Candles. Releasing a content sigh as Kendall wound an arm around her waist, Maggie snuggled into the other woman's shoulder and as she did so, she came to an epiphany. Which was this...

Kendall was her Jake Ryan.

Appearing almost magically out of nowhere, she granted Maggie's most secret of wishes by simply being who she was. She gave Maggie someone who honestly liked her... the real her, not some image people had produced in their minds based off of vague information about her life. And Kendall, like Jake, wanted nothing more than the exact same thing. For someone to truly know her and care.

When she decided to share this piece of information with the taller woman, she responded in typical Kendall fashion. Well, typical Kendall with Maggie fashion, to be more precise. She burst into very captivating and contagious laughter that made Maggie smile even though she was the focus of said laughter.

"What?" Maggie almost pouted, bumping Kendall softly, causing her companion to lightly squeeze her waist in response. "It was so like the movie! The crowd on campus all of a sudden parted and then there you were. AND you were leaning back against your car just like he was! Plus you waved your hand in that shy way that Jake did!" Giving a soft noise of triumph as she felt she had effectively proven her case, Maggie said to herself, "I could practically hear Thompson Twins playing in the background. I think we may have even unconsciously said some of the movie lines. At least, I'm pretty sure I did. Who knows about you, Ms. Jake Ryan."

"Mmm," Kendall released a quiet murmur then she paused in her walk and moved to stand in front of Maggie who blinked at this sudden change. Cupping Maggie's cheek in one hand and leaning closer to put them face to face, Kendall smiled and sang softly but sweetly, "If you were here, you would believe. But would you suspect my emotion wandering, yeah?"

This was why she was now starting to believe in real life fairy tales. She never thought that anyone would behave like this for her. Reveal such devotion and kindness with not only their words but their actions as well which had always meant far more to Maggie.

"How are you so good at this?" asked Maggie in a bare whisper, blushing deeply and heart nearly beating out of her chest from sheer affection for Kendall.

"Because I like you," Kendall answered as if it was the simplest thing in the world and perhaps to her it was. Smiling gently, she reached up to cup Maggie's other cheek and moving forward, her breath was warm on Maggie's skin. "I like you so much that it's honestly shocking the hell out of me. That being the case," Kendall's lips quirked up in a playful smirk, "if I die from this the blame is on you."

"Die from what?" said Maggie, her voice hushed purely on instinct.

"Wanting you," was Kendall's reply before she met their lips in a kiss that was tentative and tender but quickly turned ardent and aching in its intent.

Breathing deeply and releasing a soft groan, Maggie stood on her tippy toes to press her face into the curve of Kendall's neck, tasting the salt of her skin. Upon feeling the roughness of Maggie's tongue on her only to be replaced with the fullness of her lips, Kendall tilted her head back. Elegant hands spread possessively across the small of Maggie's back to bring her closer.

"I want you too," Maggie whispered fervently, needing Kendall to know that with everything she was just because it was so very true. She wanted Kendall more than she had ever wanted anyone and while that scared her it excited her to such a degree Maggie wondered how she had felt alive before this. "I want you, Kendall."

Each kiss was better than the last and impossible as that might seem, Maggie knew this to be true. Dark theaters did present such a friendly make out environment for their patrons so how could they possibly resist? To try would practically be considered blasphemy by many in the ranks of the romantically involved.

Mouths hot and eager on one another, tugging lips slowly, laughing in delight when tongues tangled in a sweet exploration that seemed never ending. The people driving past in cars, the other movie goers walking around them on the sidewalk, even the gawking teenage boys across the street didn't exist for them. All they felt, heard, and could see was each other and they were all that mattered.

That and continuing to kiss.

Standing next to the gawking teenage boys was a man whom some felt wasn't really that much more mature than them developmentally. And standing next to him was his wife whom others felt was a tad bit insane for marrying a man like him. Together they joined the boys in gawking at Kendall and Maggie who continued their involved and very oblivious to the eyes of others make out session on the sidewalk.

"Did you know they were dating?" said Ryan finally in dazed tones. Maggie had just slipped her tongue into Kendall's mouth and the taller woman responded by letting her hands fall down to firmly squeeze Maggie's bottom.

"No idea," said Greenlee who was sharing that same dazed state of mind. Part of her likened the situation to watching a train wreck. You know you should stop but you just can't seem to look away. Except for the obvious fact that people in a train wreck could never enjoy themselves in the same manner Kendall and Maggie were doing. "Is it wrong for me to want to witness first hand Erica's reaction to this? Because I know it's mean but I can't help it... you know it'll be spectacular whether its good or bad."

Staring at Greenlee as if she had declared herself to be the Queen of the magical land of Honah Lee, Ryan said with a great deal of disgust, "How could she ever consider this good?"

"I don't know...I mean, there are certain things to consider," responded Greenlee, surprised that her husband sounded so hostile about the matter. He told her over and over he didn't care about Kendall anymore, going so far as to actually almost state he downright loathed her these days. If that was true then what did he care who she went around kissing and or dating? Deciding she didn't like the instinct she felt right now to suppress her actual opinions on this, Greenlee continued, "Maggie isn't exactly Lena, you know. She's been there for Bianca as a friend for awhile and Erica, after putting Maggie through the same crap she pulls on all of Binky's new friends, has totally accepted her role in Bianca's life. Plus," Greenlee smirked knowingly on thinking of the woman who would always possess her father's heart, "Maggie's going to be a doctor. Erica is all about the status symbol and doctor is far preferable to a European sex bomb who's a former corporate espionage expert. That said, I figure Kendall has a good chance of getting full diva extraordinaire Mommy seal of approval."

His brow furrowing in a way that reminded Greenlee dangerously of Frankenstein, Ryan sighed then muttered, "You're probably right." Staring up at the sky then turning to look at Kendall and Maggie who had finally stopped kissing and were wrapped up in an close embrace with Kendall murmuring something in Maggie's ear. "Lets go," he said brusquely. He then pushed past Greenlee, shoving several of the still gawking teenage boys aside in the process.

Allowing a final look back at the couple across the street, Greenlee felt an odd sense of regret but quickly ignored it to run after her husband. Trying to forget the envy that seized her as she watched them and her wish that she could have the same type of relationship. Though lately Greenlee thought that maybe she never would.

Not with Ryan at least.

Meanwhile, Kendall and Maggie took reluctant notice of the minor spectacle they were causing with their spontaneous public display of affection. Maggie hid herself safely in the crook of Kendall's shoulder, her face hot with embarrassment and she said with a good deal of mortification, "I can't believe I did that. I never do things like that. It isn't me! I'm not icky inappropriate public displays of affection person! I hate people like that so I can't be a person like that because I'll hate myself!" Maggie frowned and muttered, "This could quite possibly unravel the fabric of my personality."

Chuckling in fond amusement, Kendall lightly kissed the top of Maggie's brownish blonde head and murmured, "Don't worry. This has only happened once, so I'm sure it won't start a massive downward spiral of personality change. After all, how can an isolated incident of kissing in public do that much damage?"

"Kendall," said Maggie slowly, looking at her rather incredulously. "You DO know who you are, don't you? Who your relatives are? Your own personal history? And the tacky fact that this town is teeming with lowlife tabloid reporters?"

"Mmm, good point," said Kendall in thoughtful tones, considering everything Maggie had just said. "Ah well," she shrugged upon realizing she had nothing that could really present a good argument against what Maggie had said. "They write what they want to write. There's not much point in worrying about it." Raising an eyebrow and forming a smirk, Kendall leaned down to say in faux confession, "These days the only thing I fear is being put on trial for murder and having my clothes ripped off in court. Other than that I consider myself a regular Evel Knievel."

"Yeesh," Maggie released a whoosh of breath and rolled her eyes. "You really are Erica Kane's daughter, aren't you? I look forward to when Mimo is older and we see proof positive in her that the crazed Kane genetics have thoroughly smacked down the sane Montgomery ones." She then said woefully, "But I really shouldn't given her current attitude towards me. By the time she walks I bet she'll be kicking me in the shins." Peering up at Kendall, her hazel eyes were tinted slightly brown and reminded the taller woman of the gaze of a very adorable puppy dog. "Why does Mimo hate me? Is it those duck jammies? Because I honestly thought they'd be cute on her. I didn't know she'd end up looking like a very round and freaky looking banana."

Contemplating the duck jammies in question, Kendall did agree with her niece's immediate hatred of them. They did look horrendous on her and didn't go well with her pale complexion at all. Regardless of Kendall's personal belief her niece was the example of everything beautiful, good, and perfect in this world she doubted that as of right now she had the capacity to form cohesive personal opinions on people. Which meant there had to be a slightly less complicated reason for her recent string of... eh, nonthreatening physical assaults on Maggie's person.

What precisely could it be?

Like a bolt of lightning the answer struck Kendall hard and fast. Making her face light up with happiness and good humor, which created an enormous feeling of curiosity on Maggie's part. Bouncing around and pursuing the taller woman who was bent over in silent laughter, Maggie started a nonstop barrage of questions all of which became more and more irritable as Kendall refused to answer and continued laughing.

"What? Come on, what is it? Tell me!" Maggie persisted in her mini interrogation, stamping her foot in frustration when Kendall ignored her in favor of laughter instead.

"I'm sorry," Kendall wheezed the words out and put an arm around Maggie's shoulders, squeezing her fondly. Leading them down the sidewalk on their leisurely and scenic walk to her car, Kendall exhaled shakily. "Wow. I needed that."

"I'm happy for you," said Maggie drolly. "Now please kindly tell me what's the cause of your sudden case of chronic laughingetis. Besides me, because I'm quite aware of that particular detail."

Chuckling at the peevish tone in Maggie's voice, Kendall said, "If you think about it the answer is pretty simple. Lets start with the hard facts of the situation. What has Mimo done to you? Incident one: nose biting and/or sucking. She latched on and wouldn't let go for five minutes."

"I know how long it was," Maggie grumbled irritably. "I was the one stuck there like that and to be accurate it was five minutes and thirty seven seconds on the dot."

"Incident two: thumb biting and/or finger chewing. That wasn't really overtly hostile but it did go on for around two hours during our adventure in babysitting," mused Kendall. A smile formed when she recalled Maggie holding Miranda as they went through their own Muppet film festival and simply forgetting the baby was chewing on her fingers she was so absorbed in the movies. "Incident three: sudden vampirism and/or hickey creation. I'm probably responsible for that though. I did hold Mimo close to you for a goodbye kiss but I honestly had no idea she'd attach herself to your neck like that."

"Eight minutes and twelve seconds," Maggie growled, talking to herself at this point. "There's nothing you can say that will convince me Mimo doesn't possess some type of unrepressed hostility towards me. Those are blatant signs of baby aggression."

"On the contrary, I think they're blatant signs of baby infatuation," suggested Kendall with a mischievous smile. "Yes," Kendall nodded somberly, "this is clearly a cold cut case of baby infatuation. I'm so proud, my niece has developed her first crush."

"When exactly has humiliation in the form of random sexual assault by a baby, on three separate occasions no less, suddenly transform into a sign of infatuation, huh? Tell me that," demanded Maggie, not viewing Kendall's theory in a very convincing light.

"That's easy," responded Kendall, her smile growing larger. "Since Mimo doesn't have the ability to understand emotions then the concept of embarrassment is foreign to her. Which means she doesn't realize her actions bother you and that, my little cutie pie, means that she has a vastly different reason for doing what she did."

"Which is?" asked Maggie impatiently.

"It really is a sad situation," mused Kendall. "My baby niece at the tender age of eight months has already developed her first addiction. Thankfully it's not a dangerous one."

"Kendall," Maggie said her name as a warning and when she did, Kendall formed a naughty smile then moved closer. Soon they were nose to nose and although Maggie had been in a similar position just moments ago she felt her face heat and her pulse begin to race. Trying to ignore the effect Kendall was having on her, she decided to get back to the point of this entire conversation. Why Miranda hated her. "Just spit it out, will you?"

"Oh but that's my point," purred Kendall, moving to whisper the words in Maggie's ear. Her breath warm and welcoming on the other woman's skin, making the hairs on the nape of her neck rise. "Mimo doesn't want to spit you out. That's why she's 'assaulted' you. Because she has developed an obvious love for tasting Ms. Maggie Stone." In a smooth almost effortless movement Kendall pulled back and drew up to her full height. Carefully holding Maggie's chin in the palm of her hand, she caressed soft lips with her thumb as blue gray eyes clouded over with desire. "And due to my own personal experience I have to agree with her." Kendall pulled them closer, leaving barely a breath of space between their bodies. "I don't think I've ever tasted anything sweeter than you."

Unable to take the agonizing sexual tension anymore, Maggie rushed forward and to claim Kendall's lips for her own. The back of her mind, where her cynical side had been shoved upon seeing Kendall's appearance at the PVU campus, screamed at her with panicked alarm. Saying things were progressing far too quickly, almost to the point that soon Maggie wouldn't be able to control her feelings for the taller woman and that couldn't be allowed.

Before this, emotions were easily categorized, fitting neatly into their desire compartments. Even Bianca who caused Maggie to feel more than anyone fit perfectly into the categories of best friend and unrequited love/former crush. But Kendall? She just couldn't be categorized. It would never work because she was quickly taking on so many vital roles in Maggie's life. Filling the void created by those who came before her.

What was Kendall to Maggie? She was a friend, a confidant, a prankster, a sweetheart, a vixen, a lady, and most importantly a person that Maggie could more than likely fall in love with.

She could see herself falling hard and fast for Kendall and that scared her but she would prefer dying to stopping it. Which made Maggie feel proud of herself. Fear no longer ruled her world, she was finally ready to take chances. To experience life at its fullest and enjoy all it offered.

Frankie must have helped her with this. There was no way she could do it on her own and Maggie's success in this would also be Frankie's. They were identical not only in appearance but in their emotional walls as well. For Maggie to start to tear hers down would almost be like Frankie being able to do it with her. The victory wasn't Maggie's alone but both of theirs.

When the kiss ended Kendall chuckled softly and pushed a stray lock of hair from Maggie's eyes. "Yes," she murmured in pleased tones, "that proves it. Nothing tastes sweeter than you."

"Stop it," insisted Maggie adamantly yet quietly, turning bright red. Suddenly it struck her that they were still in public and she darted her gaze around. It soon settled on the group of gawking teenage boys trailing after them like a pack of acne covered wolves. "Oh god," moaned Maggie, burying her face in Kendall's chest, clearly mortified over this. "We have an audience."

Frowning in a combination of concern and confusion, Kendall's eyes drifted to where Maggie's had been and saw the drooling group of teenage boys herself. "Figures," Kendall expelled an irritated breath. Hugging Maggie gently, Kendall stepped around her and effectively blocked her from the boys view. Narrowing her gaze, she then said in her bitchiest voice, "I know we're probably fulfilling hundreds of prepubescent fantasies for you but in the civilized world it's generally frowned upon to stalk people. Just so you know, that's what you sad horny schoolboys are doing now. So," Kendall arched an eyebrow and produced her cell phone from her purse. "Here are your options: leave immediately and your creepy actions are forgotten or stay and I call the police to have your asses hauled in. Which do you choose?"

Shocked over being actually confronted, the boys stared blankly at Kendall only to jump when the Imperial March theme from Star Wars began playing loudly from her phone.

A satisfied smirk playing on her lips, Kendall studied her phone's caller ID carefully then answered, "Chief Frye. I was just about to call you. You see, I'm having a small problem..."

Three seconds later the boys were gone. Leaving Kendall alone to deal with the altogether impatient and puzzled person on her phone. Putting the phone to her ear, Kendall winced and held it back a few inches in order to prevent deafness.

"Of course you can't be confused for Derek Frye, Mother," Kendall heaved a sigh and looked helplessly to Maggie. Until this point she'd simply been an observer but now she mouthed a heartfelt thank you to the other woman and stood on her tip toes to kiss Kendall's cheek softly. Kendall grinned happily in response and Maggie hooked their arms together while they returned to their walk back to the car. "What was I doing? Well, lets see, I was..." Trailing off, she tried to think of the right wording then her eyes lit up and she said mischievously, "I was doing my very best Jake Ryan impersonation." Maggie bumped her on hearing this and Kendall smiled before entwining their fingers. "No I haven't gone crazy, Mother. What? Oh yes, that went very well. As it so happens, I'm kind of involved with it right now. What? No, Mother! Stop... stop! You didn't ruin anything. I promise you. I don't know... Mother that's not necessary. Okay, okay, fine. I'll ask her." Rolling her eyes, Kendall looked to Maggie and held her cell phone down at her side. "My Mother wants to apologize to you personally for interrupting our first date. Normally I'd say ignore it but she's pretty insistent."

"That's fine," said Maggie, giving an easy grin. After constant Erica Kane encounters thanks to Bianca she considered herself immune to the woman's larger than life personality. Although it occurred to her she'd have to deal with Erica twice as much and on a whole different level via dating Kendall. Such a reality would strike fear into lesser people. Maggie thought that at least it would make life more entertaining. Taking the phone, Maggie began hesitantly, "Ms. Kane?"

"Maggie Stone! I insist that you call me Erica. We have known each other for quite some time, haven't we?" gushed Erica and in her minds eye, Maggie could see her wild hand gestures.

"All right, Erica it is. Listen, Erica," Maggie tested saying out the name. It felt strange yet somehow good. Like a pair of new pants that itched but made your butt look nice. "You really don't have to apologize for anything. Your phone call saved us from a pretty weird situation so we're actually grateful you called."

There was a slight pause and Maggie got the impression Erica wanted to ask what the weird situation was but decided she had more important things on her mind. "Maggie, I think that I must be honest with you about why I asked Kendall to give you the phone. You see, Kendall came to me tonight and told me about your new relationship and how she was feeling things for you she hadn't felt for anyone in a long time," Erica murmured, her tones earnest. "As many people know, Kendall and I haven't always been on the best terms but that has changed for the good of everyone involved. I love her just as powerfully as I do Bianca, Reggie, Lily, or anyone else in my family for that matter."

"Including Greenlee?" asked Maggie playfully, unable to help poking a bit of fun at the tenuous relationship they shared.

"Greenlee I can deal with quite nicely but her mother is a whole different matter," laughed Erica pleasantly. "But to get back to the heart of the matter, what I want to say to you is this: no matter what should happen between you and my daughter treat her with all the respect she deserves and has earned." Clearing her throat, Erica then murmured softly, "Though she might act otherwise, Kendall's heart is delicate and can be broken just as easily as yours or mine."

Staggered by the honest emotional power behind Erica's words and the love she obviously felt for Kendall, all Maggie could say in reply was a hushed, "I promise."

"Wonderful!" declared Erica happily and Maggie could swear she heard Miranda gurgling blissfully along with her. "Now if you wouldn't mind I need to speak with Kendall shortly then I'll let you return to your date."

"Sure," replied Maggie, unable to help smiling at Erica's unusually upbeat attitude. Handing the phone back to Kendall who looked at her with questioning eyes, she said, "Erica wants to speak with you a little bit more."

"She didn't offer you money in the seven digit sums to stop seeing me did she?" Kendall asked, half playful and half serious. "Because she's been known to do that."

"No, she didn't bribe me," Maggie laughed and her laughter only increased on seeing Kendall form a skeptical expression at her answer. "Go on, you goof," she tickled at the taller woman's midsection, "talk to your mom! She's waiting for you."

"She did something to you," remarked Kendall solemnly, looking Maggie over carefully. "I don't what but she did something and I will find out what it is. Mark my words."

"Uh huh, and I wholly believe in you, the all powerful Empress Butchess of Pine Valley," teased Maggie who swiftly leapt away from Kendall who made a playful swipe at her. Wagging her index finger, Maggie chastised impishly, "Hey now! Violence doesn't solve anything. You really ought to know that Your Majesty."

Scowling with good humor, Kendall put her back facing Maggie who started whistling and walking in circles on the sidewalk ahead of her. "Mother? I'm back," said Kendall, trying her best to keep her jovial mood at a lower status around Erica. After all, she didn't want her mother to think she was losing her mind. "What did you need to speak with me about?"

"I wanted to tell you that your sister just called me," Erica murmured, voice reflecting clearly the love she felt for her youngest child. "While she refused to tell me what tha..." There was a painfully significant pause then Erica continued, "Lena had done to her she did say they've made amends. I'm afraid that Paulina hasn't made any strides in fighting the cancer and Bianca doesn't want to leave Lena's side. I'm going to be flying to Poland in the morning with your Uncle Jack so Miranda can be there with Bianca."

"Are they coming back?" asked Kendall in a bare whisper, a feeling of dread seizing her at the thought of not being able to see her sister on a daily basis. She could take it if she knew it was only temporary but if it was for good? Kendall honestly didn't know what she would do. There were times when she felt as if Bianca was the only thing keeping her sane. Especially when it came to dealing with the constant emotional spirals in her life. And Miranda? She didn't even want to contemplate a life without her niece always about. "Mother, if she doesn't... I don't..."

"Shh, darling, it's going to be all right. I swear to you," Erica soothed and in the background Kendall could hear Jackson reading Wittle Wabbit's World to Miranda and released combination of a laugh and a sob at it. It was this that had Maggie at her side in seconds, wrapping an arm around the taller woman's waist and leading them to a nearby bench to sit down. "Maggie's there with you, isn't she?" When Kendall nodded and released a brief yes, Erica smiled. "I'm glad. I do meant what I told you earlier. She's a fine gir... ah, woman. I don't want you to worry over this situation with Bianca. While I'm not the best at predicting her behavior I can safely say she loves her family with everything in her. It's that love which will bring her home again, Kendall. Have faith in that."

"I will," promised Kendall shakily. "Thank you, Mother. Hearing this from you makes it less of a shock. Do you... do you think she'll come back when this is all done?"

"I can't say for sure but I do think that yes," replied Erica, saddened by the bleak tones in her eldest daughter's voice. An idea struck her and a sly smile spreading across her face, she looked to Jackson and gasped, "Jack! You shouldn't have! An English language copy of the Kama Sutra. Oh, this is the most wonderful present you've given to me in days." Jackson rolled his eyes at her awful acting and returned to reading the much more age appropriate Wittle Wabbit's World to Miranda. "I've got to be going now, darling. Things to read, people to do."

"Mother! Don't you dare read that to Mimo!" Kendall shrieked in horror. "It was bad enough you read her that lesbian harlequin romance this afternoon!"

"Bye bye, darling! Kisses!" Erica called out in sing song tones before hanging up the phone and looking to Jackson.

"You," Jackson drawled the word slow as can be, making Erica melt as he always did, "are bad."

"I," Erica imitated Jackson's previous intonation and sleekly crossed the room to sit on the arm of the chair he was resting in with Miranda snuggled in his lap, "am Erica Kane. I'm supposed to be bad but in always in a lovable way, you see."

"Oh, I see," Jackson nodded his head seriously then pulling her in for a kiss. "And I love you."

Miranda gurgled in happy approval.

On the other side of town, Kendall was seething and staring down at her cell phone. "I can't believe her," she muttered. "I tell her to stop reading that junk and what does she do? She finds even worse reading material!" Turning to look at Maggie, she held up her index finger and said, "Mark my words. Mimo will end up sexually corrupted because of her Grandma."

"Let me guess... this has something to do with your comment about lesbian harlequin romances," said Maggie wryly.

"Mother delights in reading them to Mimo," explained Kendall in frustrated tones. "Normally I wouldn't mind because you know, Bianca and, well," she gestured quickly to her and Maggie who just lifted an eyebrow as she smirked. "But these books! They are the most insipid drivel that I've ever encountered in reading."

"Yeah?" said Maggie, leaning back on the park bench and putting her arm on the top of it so it was firmly around Kendall. "Then what would you suggest for a better read?"

"Oh, I don't know," Kendall waved her hands around rather frantically, reminding Maggie unconsciously that she was Erica's daughter. "Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, One Degree of Separation by Karin Kallmaker, or Twist of Fate by Jessica Casavant. Something with characters that at least somewhat resemble people who could exist in the real world."

"Ah, I see," Maggie said thoughtfully. Tilting her head, she quietly studied Kendall for a long moment until the other woman looked to her with a quizzical expression on her face. Holding her tenderly to pull her so their bodies fit together perfectly with Kendall resting her head on Maggie's shoulder. "Bianca's going to stay with Lena in Poland, isn't she?"

"Mother's flying there tomorrow with Jack so they can bring Mimo to Bianca," whispered Kendall, sounding completely torn. "I want them to be happy... I love them both so much. Binks is the only one I really think can make me be a better person when I'm with her. She just inspires that in me. And Mimo? God," Kendall closed her eyes tightly, "I can't find the words for how much I love that little girl, Maggie. If they stay there I..."

"Don't think about that," said Maggie, softly kissing Kendall's curly locks. "Pine Valley is Bianca's home and she knows that. So does Lena, for that matter. We both know she'd never want to keep Bianca from her family. This is just until," Maggie stopped in her words and swallowed as she realized just why Bianca was asking for Miranda to be brought to Poland. "Bianca wants Miranda to spend time with Paulina while she can."

"I know," Kendall sighed and moved forward to stand up. Turning to face Maggie, she held out her hand and pulled the shorter woman to her feet. Squeezing Maggie's hands which she held in her own, she continued, "Thanks for that."

"Hey, this is nothing. What's really impressive is getting to witness me in action with my incredible set of Ginsu Knives." Maggie did a quick series of strange Kung Fu moves, making Kendall burst out into laughter on seeing them. "I can chop salad in a millisecond! I'm deadly to all forms of lettuce and other greenery, I tell you."

"And you called me a doof?" teased Kendall as they once again started their walk back to her car. "I protest that statement as you are in no position to judge anyone else on a doof basis."

"I can judge, I'm very judge able," Maggie protested. "I just choose to not do it because it leads to very ill effects in society."

"This goes back to public displays of affection leading to the slow and eventual utter destruction of your personality, doesn't it?" asked Kendall with a laugh, unlocking her car and opening the side passenger door for Maggie.

When the other woman came closer, a tiny frown was apparent on Kendall's features. One that Maggie noticed immediately. "Hey," she said softly, resting her palm on Kendall's cheek to get her attention. "What's this about? I thought we were having fun."

"We were, I mean, we are," Kendall shook her head. Nibbling her bottom lip nervously, she looked embarrassed with herself then heaved a sigh. Deciding to bite the bullet, she looked at Maggie head on and stated plainly, "I don't want you to go. Just like I didn't want you to go the other night and I'm not sure I like that. I'm not exactly someone who appreciates chronic neediness in people and--"

Actions meant more to Maggie than words and she had a good feeling it was the same way for Kendall. Which is why she leaned forward to initiate a kiss that was loving in its intention and wet with silken desire in its execution. Minutes later when they parted to release gasping breaths, Maggie buried her face into Kendall's neck and confessed, "I don't want to go either."

"Then lets not go," whispered Kendall, pressing a kiss onto the top of Maggie's head and squeezing her gently. "Lets stay together. But the real question is where to stay? My condo is a virtual island of boxes with even my pillows and blankets packed away. Your apartment--"

"Suffers from a Jamie infestation," Maggie interrupted in sardonic tones.

"I'm sure he'd love to hear you talk about him in such a complimentary manner," Kendall laughed, rocking them to and fro while Maggie tried to move closer in her arms. Noting this, Kendall said softly, "You really like me holding you, don't you?"

The sound of crickets, cars passing, and life in general surrounded them while Maggie tried to gather her courage to answer the question honestly. Along with trying to figure out how to properly explain what she felt while in Kendall's embrace.

"I feel cared for and safe when you hold me," Maggie said finally, her voice hushed but strongly resonating with truth. "So yeah, I like it." Peering shyly up at Kendall, she continued, "You know what I liked best? Waking up in your arms."

"These things?" responded Kendall skeptically. Leaning down to put them nose to nose, she smiled and said, "Happy now? I've successfully quoted Sixteen Candles with you."

An expression of pure delight formed on Maggie's face and she darted forward to kiss Kendall briefly. "Yes," she laughed, feeling almost giddy. "I'm very happy. So," Maggie tilted her head inquisitively. "Are we going home?"

"Condo box home, Jamie infested home, or borrowed Bianca home?" asked Kendall, moving to let Maggie into her car.

"Borrowed Bianca home definitely," commented Maggie as she smiled warmly at Kendall who was settling into the drivers seat.

"Then off to the borrowed Bianca home we go!" Kendall proclaimed enthusiastically, pulling the car out of the parking space to speed off into the night.

For those curious the reason Kendall was speeding was simple indeed. While Maggie loved Kendall holding her by that same measure Kendall loved holding Maggie. Thus the need to speed and the hurry to get to the borrowed Bianca home.

Luckily for Maggie and Kendall they didn't experience the same difficulties in getting home that Babe had in Poland. And as fast as humanly possible they were doing what they both loved.

Holding one another.

Part 7

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