DISCLAIMER: All My Children is the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Ces't Dur la Vie
By keerwashere


Chapter One

Living Conditions

"Mmm." Bianca moaned, turning in her sleep, her arm around a Great Dane/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix.

Maggie sat smiling in a rocker near the bed, holding Miranda. She was sleeping, a stuffed duck wrapped in her hands, her pacifier falling out.

"Night Mimo." she whispered, kissing Miranda's cheek as she placed her in her crib and covered her with a pink blanket.

They had been in Paris for little over a month now, and things had been going amazing. She was hard pressed to find a word in French Bianca didn't know. Maggie still had trouble saying "I want my coffee before the meal." They had gone to every museum within a 100 mile radius, gone for walks nearly every day, and generally enjoyed spending time together. They had bought a puppy for Miranda, since neither of the girls had had animals of their own as children, and named him Luca. "The only testosterone in the house," Bianca had said of the male pup, laughing. Maggie had begun thinking of them as a family.

She was astounded at how different Paris was from Pine Valley. Aside from the obvious differences, it was culturally diverse and accepting of all lifestyles. Not that Bianca had ever let on, but Pine Valley could be a little bigoted, and Paris… no one even looked twice. The manny Bianca had hired had mistakenly called them a couple, but Maggie didn't bother correcting him. It had made her smile thinking that he had just taken it as he saw it, and was fine with it; two women in love, raising a child.

But as great as things were, Maggie still felt torn inside. She looked at Bianca sleeping, wishing that it was her she was holding and not the puppy. Bianca and she had spoken about things for a little while, but Maggie always said she wasn't sure which way she loved Bianca. She knew she loved her more than anything in the universe, her and Miranda both, but she wasn't sure she was in love. It was a total lie, she knew she was in love with Bianca and had been for quite some time. Years. She still wasn't sure if that made her gay or not, but there was no question of how she felt for Bianca.

The problem was that she loved how things were. She felt pangs sometimes when she looked at Bianca, an urge to kiss her, to hold her, to whisper 'I love you.' But she could live with that. She couldn't live with losing Bianca. She couldn't live with knowing she had had her, and lost her. She knew Bianca was in love with her too, but she would never force Maggie into anything, and wouldn't make the first move if she wasn't sure it was wanted. There were many times when she wanted to talk with Bianca about how she felt. She wanted to cry on her, and tell her how much it hurt to be so unsure of what to do. She had a feeling Bianca could some how make it all better, but she couldn't risk anything changing. She loved her too much to risk anything between them other than friendship. Bianca had been so accepting and understanding of Maggie and had been there for her. She hadn't acted like a girlfriend, she had been her best friend, and she had made it clear if that was all they ever were, it was enough for her. Maggie couldn't ask for more.

She still felt like a jerk, because Bianca was always honest with her, and always had been, even if it took prodding, and Maggie had been keeping this a secret since…prom. She knew she liked Bianca before prom, but at prom, dancing with her, she knew it was more. It terrified her, not because she was worried about being gay, (though that was a part of it) but because she had already come to think of Bianca as her best friend. She knew dating a friend always ruined things. Plus love? Love was a big deal, and she didn't want Bianca loving her as a replacement for Frankie, though she knew now she loved her for her. She had directly lied to Bianca on numerous occasions, when she had flat out asked her if she felt something, and if so, what it was. Yeah, she was definitely feeling shitty.

They had been renting a house in the country, a 2 bedroom with a large kitchen. It was furnished, but Bianca had bought a crib and changing station and put it in the bigger of the two rooms, choosing it as her and Miranda's. She had offered Maggie the spare spot on the double bed, but Maggie had laughed and said she stole the covers and didn't mind sleeping by herself; she liked her space. She regretted saying it, wishing Bianca would wake up now and offer her the spot again. Her room was too cold at night, and somehow this room always seemed 30° warmer.

She sighed and walked to her own room, shivering. She had been doing some online studying for school, working hard to keep her mind off of Bianca. She heard scratching at the door and whining and realized she must have left the Bianca's door open, and Luca probably had to go potty. She opened the door and took the 20lb pup out on his leash, picking up after him.

Bianca and she had debated on his name, thinking that maybe calling him Frankie wasn't a good way to remember the girl. She didn't mind calling him Frank, but she didn't want to associate her sister with a dog. They had considered the name Leo for a while, but ultimately decided it wasn't a good fit, and Luca seemed a good name for him. He would likely be between the sizes of the two dogs, slightly larger than 3 feet, standing, and between 70 and 130 lbs. For now he was a chunky lump of fur, no more than 3 months old. As they walked through the pound, Bianca was stunned to see such a cute puppy still available. She asked the man why he was here, and was told that in France "designer dogs," or two pure bred dogs of different breeds' pups, were in low demand. Especially such an unusual mix, which would likely be quite large. She watched him struggled to climb into her bed, and laughed, picking him up. He snuggled up to her as she lay down, and she fell asleep; safe, and content.

Bianca said they had mistakenly wandered into the kennel, but Maggie had a feeling Miranda was pulling the strings. She was a smart kid, no one could deny that.


Chapter Two

Working on It

Bianca woke with the sunrise, getting up to watch her daughter sleep. Miranda was nearly 18 months old. She was walking now, and she spoke well enough for everyone to understand her, though from what others said, she didn't speak often. She knew an astounding number of French words, calling the dog chiot, ignoring his actual name, and probably confusing him. She called Maggie "Maga" and she told Maggie how much she loved her with kisses and an 'I love you' when she felt the need. Her eyes fluttered, and she looked at Bianca.

"I have never loved anyone this much in my whole life." She thought, fixing Miranda's hair, as the baby yawned. She sat up in the crib, and put her hands in the air.

"Pick up." Bianca laughed as she picked her up and snuggled her. Miranda kissed her cheek. "Love mama." Her heart fluttered at the words. Her daughter. It still sometimes caught up with her. She was 21, in Paris, with her beautiful, beautiful daughter and…and Maggie. Maggie. She was genuinely enjoying their time together, but she knew Maggie had something on her mind. She didn't want to press her, she knew what it was about, but she also didn't want Maggie to think she had to rush into something. If it took years to figure out, and she decided she didn't love Bianca as anything more than a best friend, she accepted that. It would be sad, but she loved Maggie and would never ask anything more from her than friendship. She couldn't make Maggie be gay, and she couldn't force Maggie to be in a relationship with her now, only to find out later she's not gay. It would ruin a lot of things, and she didn't want to risk losing Maggie.

"I'm going to talk with her today," she decided, kissing Miranda's head. She carried her to the kitchen and sat her in her highchair, opening a one-size serving box of Cheerios and pouring some onto the tray of the highchair. She put some milk in a sippy-cup and gave it to her, pushing the hair out of her eyes. Miranda looked up at her for a moment and smiled. For some reason, she felt warmed. She made a cup of coffee and watched Miranda eat, knowing her life was perfect. She was living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, she had her best friend with her, and she had her daughter. Everything was as it should be. For the first time in her life, she was full. There wasn't a missing piece.

Sure, there were things she would like, but there was nothing she needed, nothing kept her awake at night, nothing made her feel empty. She wanted to know how permanent Paris was so she could make Miranda a real room, with plush animals and fantastic colors. So she could decide if it was better to rent or to buy, to have a yard. She wanted to know Maggie was having the best possible time she could.

Bianca knew Maggie was fighting with her feelings, and she understood that. While Bianca knew she was in love with Maggie, and would love nothing more than to be with her, she also knew that her friendship to Maggie came first, and if that's all they ever were, she was perfectly content with that. It wasn't like she could erase the love for Maggie, but the way she looked at it, they were basically girlfriends anyway. The only difference between a true best friend and a lover is romance. She was intimate with Maggie. They cuddled, they had slept in the same bed with no worries, and they held hands. They were comfortable together. To the casual observer, they were best friends. She wasn't missing anything in her life, she was perfectly happy for the first time.

While she was caught in her thoughts, Maggie came into the kitchen, yawning and stretching. Miranda squealed, her eyes bright. Bianca looked to Maggie, with her messy hair and grinned. Maggie was in boxers and a zip-up hoody that read "Pine Valley University." Maggie saw Bianca's raised eyebrow.

"That kind of crosses itself out, hmm?" Bianca asked as she sipped her coffee.

"Yeah, I was cold on the top, warm on the bottom."

"Ah." Bianca laughed, offering Maggie a cup. Maggie shook her head.

"Maga! Maga! Up!" she said, throwing her hands into the air. Maggie laughed and ducked down. She made a growling noise and jumped up, tickling Miranda. She squealed and laughed uncontrollably as Maggie did it again, hiding beneath the tray of the highchair. She was quiet a moment and Miranda looked around, trying to find Maggie. She looked in the space between her legs and the highchair, and Maggie grabbed her toes and tickled again.

Bianca watched the display with a smile. She was surprised Maggie was so good with Miranda. For some reason, she had always assumed Maggie didn't like children, though she had never seen her interact with a child besides Leora. When Leora was first born, Maggie held onto her for dear life, looking as if the slightest movement would break her. With Miranda, she had been different. She threw and caught her in the air; she played with her and read her stories. Maggie was, for lack of a better euphemism, like Miranda's father.

"Ugh." Maggie said holding her nose. "Somebody is stinky." She shook a finger at Miranda, laughing. Miranda giggled.

"I'll change her. Come here baby." She picked up Miranda and took her to the changing station. Miranda was still in her pajamas, a yellow footy pair with pink stripes.

After changing her, Bianca handed her to Maggie who kissed the top of her head and smiled. She breathed in the smell of Miranda, clean and fresh; innocent. She wondered if all babies smelled this sweet. If it was a natural baby smell, or if it was just Miranda.

"So, did you sleep well?" Bianca asked the older girl, as she leaned in the door way.

"Not amazing, but not bad. I had…oh crap!" She ran to her bedroom where Luca was sitting on the floor next to a darkened spot of urine, a look that clearly conveyed the puppy's guilt. "I forgot to take him out this morning." She handed the baby to Bianca, making sure she rubbed Miranda's cheek. She went to the kitchen and got the carpet cleaner from the highest cabinet (which was weird, but safe, she had to admit.) and began to clean up the spot.

After cleaning the mess, Maggie sat at the table in the kitchen, watching Bianca drink the coffee and read a French novel. Bianca noticed her and smiled a bright smile. Miranda sat in the highchair, eating bananas and drinking milk.

"What time did you go to bed?" she asked the older girl.

"Late. It was past two the last time I checked the clock." Maggie laughed sheepishly, and Bianca asked her why she was awake so late. Maggie rubbed her arm, grinning at the child in the highchair.

"I was holding Miranda. She looked so peaceful, so I held her until I couldn't anymore, then I put her in her crib. She wakes at the slightest sound, that girl."

"Are you kidding? She's like a log when she sleeps." Bianca laughed, Miranda looking at them with a smile. "You really love her don't you?" Bianca asked, holding Miranda's hand.

Maggie had no idea why she was uncomfortable with the question. "Yeah, I do. She's like…my niece or something. My adopted niece." Maggie nods for emphasis.

"Mimo loves you too. You can tell by the way she looks at you. After I got her back," A waver in her smile shows how hard it still is for her to talk about when Miranda was gone. "I was scared to let her go. I didn't even want Mom to hold her, but I never worried like that when I knew you were with her. I can't explain why."

"Because you trust me?" Maggie offers.

"No, because Miranda does. I watch you two and it's like a reflection, you know? Wow, I'm not making any sense. Are you having fun here?"

"What? Is something wrong Bianca?" Maggie's face changes from her lopsided grin to a look of concern. She touches Bianca's hand, looking into her eyes. Bianca averts her eyes.

"No, no. Just thinking. Sometimes my mouth gets ahead of my brain. What I was trying to say was that I watch you and Miranda and it's like watching a mother and her daughter. You two are so good together, and after Babe…" Bianca tilts her head back, willing the tears to drain back.

::There is no reason to cry, Bianca, calm down.::

"After Babe gave her back, Miranda looked at her like a mother. I never thought I would be comfortable with Miranda loving anyone even half as much as she loves me. But when I watch the two of you, I feel at ease. Like she has two people she can really count on. I'm not freaking you out am I?"

Maggie smiles, taking Bianca's hand in her own. "Of course not. I love you and Miranda both. I think I feel about as motherly as I can without Miranda actually being mine. I love both of you. When I look at you and the little Munchkin," Her hand caresses the baby's cheek. "I feel like I'm home. I don't want to change this. I can't imagine being… I can't imagine my life with someone else." She paused. "I mean," she felt another lie come. "I…just… I can imagine spending my life with you and Miranda and it feels perfect."

"And in your imagination, who are we? Are we…friends?" Bianca regretted bringing the topic up again, but her heart was in her throat and she wasn't sure she could bear to her Maggie take back her love again. It became a reoccurring emotion; she felt euphoric by the sweet confessions from Maggie, only to be let down by the renunciation of the statement.

Maggie sighed. She didn't want to lie to Bianca again. There was a hurt in her eyes, a need for Maggie to admit her feelings. "I don't know." She looked in Bianca's eyes, willing her to understand.

Bianca's face twisted into a frown. "Okay, I have a question then. If I were to find someone in Paris…a woman…how would you feel?"

Maggie was taken aback. "Um, are you…do you know someone in Paris?" the heat her throat made her feel like she could breathe fire. It was a turning sensation in her gut, an acidy feeling.

"No, I just, I mean…" How to explain her feelings? How to ask the questions she wanted the answers to without pressuring Maggie? "I'm not in a rush or anything, but I feel like you and I are in a continuous loop." Maggie winced, the truth hitting home. "I told you I was cool with being friends, and it wasn't a lie. If that's all we are, it's better than you can imagine. You are my rock, Maggie, my heart. When I imagine my future, I see myself with my daughter…and you. In my dreams, you're always with me. I've had romantic dreams about us, yes, but mostly it's a dream of the family I want to have. It makes me laugh, because I never really imagined my family as a separate thing from mom and Jack…Kendall and everyone else. But now, I see a family of my own. Children and a… partner." She realized she was getting ahead of herself again. "Wow, it's not often I talk like this!" She laughed slightly. "I just wonder where you fit into my future. If you know yet?" her hand was still stroking Maggie's. Maggie looked down at the brunette's ministrations. She had to avoid the hopeful dark gaze of the woman in front of her.

"Bianca, I know I love you. I know I want to be with you. I know if you found another woman, I would be…" she gulped.

"Weeeblaa- Mama!" Miranda squealed, banging her cup on her highchair. The top flew off, splashing Miranda with milk. Bianca sighed, loving her daughter, but upset at the timing of her outburst. She smiled though, picking Miranda up and kissing her head. Miranda cooed. Maggie silently thanked Miranda's timing.

"I'll go bathe her!" She offered a bit too enthusiastically. Bianca cocked an eyebrow at Maggie as she grabbed the tyke and rushed off to the bathroom. She sighed inwardly, knowing that the talk would come sooner than later, she would make sure of it. She didn't want to pressure Maggie, but she also knew that Maggie would keep them in limbo forever if she didn't get the girl talking. Tonight, she told herself, is the night.


Chapter Three

Careful Confessions

Miranda was laying her in crib, sucking her thumb, eyes fluttering in an attempt to stay awake. Maggie stood above her, rubbing her belly. Bianca was watching 'Turtles Can Fly,' and Maggie had left the room to check on Mimo, not feeling like reading anymore subtitles. She knew the movie would be over soon, and Bianca would be looking for her. She was dreading the talk she knew was coming.

::Maybe I can hide.::

She sighed and brushed the ever-growing hair from the sleeping child's face. She slowly ambled to the kitchen, deciding to take the pup out to potty before settling in for the long talk ahead.

Bianca watched Maggie out of the corner of her eye. The girl was obviously tense, and Bianca felt bad for the talk that awaited her once she returned from outside. But Bianca knew her heart couldn't take much more of the Maggie Seesaw. She had to get to bed soon though; the next day was her first day of out-of-home work. She had done most of the work so far over the phone or online, but the board members required a meeting tomorrow, and she had yet to bathe or even pick out clothes.

Maggie wandered back in, carrying Luca. He was licking her face and wagging his tail so hard Bianca could hear it whacking Maggie's arms. She muffled a giggle, and coughed as if she was clearing her throat. Maggie carried the pup over to Bianca, and sat down next to her, although next might be pushing it. There was a good two feet between them.

"So…" she said, rubbing the back of her neck awkwardly. "I guess we need to talk huh?"

Bianca nodded, not knowing where to start. "So uh, what were you saying before Miranda interrupted you earlier. How you would feel if I found another woman…"

Maggie silently cursed Bianca's memory and forwardness. It was so easy to tell her feelings to Bianca on the plane, when she thought she was never going to see her again. Here is Paris; it was a bit more difficult. They lived together; there was really no risk of losing her two girls. She felt awful lying to Bianca again and was silently debating on what to tell her when Bianca spoke.

"I know things are confusing. I'm not sure what you feel. On the plane you said you loved me. And then you said you are always backtracking, and I get that. But why? Why do you backtrack?"

Maggie sighed heavily. "I'm not sure. I guess I'm scared." She was trying to telepathically tell Bianca exactly what she felt, but the girl was obviously not catching on. Putting her feelings to words and then saying them was one of the hardest things she could imagine.

"Of what? Me?"

"No, not you. The future I guess. I'm afraid of…" she bit the skin on the inside of her lip so hard she almost drew blood. She could feel tears from the sheer momentum of emotions hitting her, and she pinched the skin on her hand to make her brain concentrate on something else. She was not going to cry, she told herself. "What if I lost you?" she tried to detach herself. She memorized what she wanted to say so she could say it without breaking down. "I wouldn't want to lose my best friend."

Bianca tried to keep the hurt out of her voice. "Why would you lose me?"

"I don't know. What if we got involved and something happened? How could we ever be friends again? I'm happy. I'm perfect with the way things are."

"Okay. But I just want to know one thing; honestly, what do you feel for me? Just because you feel something doesn't mean we have to act on it, you know. If you told me you were in love with me, that wouldn't make us girlfriends. There's no pressure."

"Ugh!" Maggie threw her hands in the air, waking Luca. "Enough with the no pressure line!" she regretted it once she said it. "Bianca, I'm sorry. I've just...my mind is all over the place. There are a lot of things I want to say, but I just can't put them to words."

Bianca touched Maggie's face softly. "How about this. I have my first day tomorrow, and I was planning on having Michel watch Miranda in the afternoon. You and I could go to dinner somewhere and talk there. That way you have a little while to sort through your feelings."

Maggie made a face, thinking.

"Or if you don't want it to seem like a date or something we could-"

"No, it's fine. It's good. What time?" Maggie was thankful that she was going to have some time to think out what she wanted to say. She absentmindedly stroked Luca's soft fur.

"Well, I have to be in at 10 for the meeting, which will probably last an hour or so. Michel is bringing Mimo by to meet the people who work there and also to meet the chauffer, Stefan. I have lunch at noon with Elise, the woman heading the company in my absence. Then she is going to show me around town to look at some flats closer to work."

"You're moving?"

"What? No, just looking. I wanted to be closer to town and I guess Cambias Industries will pay for a flat monthly if it means I'm closer to work. It would be easier on all of us I think."

"Yeah, Miranda would be closer to parks and stuff." Maggie was noticeably distracted. Bianca took Maggie's hand in her own, pulling Maggie from her thoughts. Her mouth went dry and she felt like she was dry-swallowing a large pill. She looked up to see the dark eyes in front of her, clearly full of pain and confusion. It took every muscle in her body to hold her back, to keep her from leaning up and kissing the soft –she remembered how soft they were- lips in front of her.

"Maggie, you know I love you. I just want to know you are happy. I will honestly be happy with whatever you decide, I swear. I just want to know. I'm hung up on you," she laughed sadly. "I'm not saying if you decide to just be friends that I'm going to go find some other girl right off the bat, but I need to know if I should stop thinking about kissing you." Bianca seemed surprised at herself. "I mean, wow. Talk about a Freudian slip."

::Please kiss me, Bianca. Make the decision for me. Please, with all your intuition, you have to understand.::

"I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable." Bianca leaned back, trying to study Maggie's face.

"No," Maggie bit her upper lip, willing the tears back, but it wasn't working. "I'm glad you were honest."

"Maggie, what's wrong?" Bianca's eyes were full of concern. She took both of Maggie's hands and clasped them in her own.

"You're always so open and confident. How do you do it? How can you be so…vulnerable?"

"It's not hard. I trust you."

The sincerity in Bianca's confession brought Maggie to sobs. This beautiful girl in front of her felt no need to hide behind a mask. She had never been anything but honest with Maggie, and Maggie had spent much of the last few years lying to her. She was so full of guilt that she couldn't even speak. She rose quickly and grabbed her coat.

"Where are you going?" Bianca shot up, her voice a pitch or two above normal. She rushed to Maggie, holding the girl by the shoulders. "Maggie, Maggie, talk to me!" The smaller girl wriggled from her grip, still crying.

"I-I…I need to g-get ou-out of he-here." She muttered between sobs. "I'll b-be back."

"Where will you go?" Bianca was holding her own tears back, wounded and confused by Maggie's reaction.

"Just fo-for a w-w-walk. D-don't w-wait up." Her shoulders heaved as she rushed through the door into the dark night, leaving Bianca thoroughly bewildered.


Chapter Four

Arctic Feelings

Maggie drudged through the snow, wiping the frozen tears from her face with her wet sleeve.

::Good job, now she knows something is up you big baby!::

She kicked the snow, angry with herself. What was she going to tell Bianca now? How could she fake it off? She was so tired of lying to Bianca, and Bianca had said that if she confessed it didn't make them girlfriends…

::No! You are not going to tell her, it will just mess things up!::

She found a lone tree, roots twisted and disfigured, the bark falling off; exactly how she felt inside. She sighed as she leaned against it, thoughts consuming her head.

"What do you want to tell Bianca?" she asked aloud. She wanted to tell Bianca the truth; she knew Bianca wouldn't be mad. But she also knew if she confessed to Bianca she would be hopeful, and Maggie couldn't risk a relationship with Bianca. She would just tell Bianca she had decided she was straight. "What if she finds another woman? Would she kick me out? Would she bring her home to meet Miranda?" the thought made her stomach turn. Miranda and Bianca were hers. She had enough trouble when Lena was around, what if she found some French woman? Her eyes started to fill with more tears and she fell to her knees. She punched at the ground, sobbing.

After what felt like hours, but was probably just minutes, she looked to the heavens. Her fingers were frozen and numb, save for the pain in them, and she clasped them together. "Bianca." She whispered at the first star her eyes landed on. "I wish for Bianca."

Even as she wished it, she knew that a star could not change what was happening. It was her fault; if she just admitted it to Bianca everything would be better. her love for Bianca was tearing her apart. She slipped up so often, and oftentimes forgot just how fierce her love for the younger girl was. Then she would look at Bianca and Miranda and feel so compelled to hold onto them for dear life.

On the one hand, she wanted Bianca more than anything. She wanted to be with Bianca, and to be her lover. The thought of making love to another woman frightened her. She had never felt good while having sex. She felt gross afterwards. There was a brief moment of pleasure, but she had always had sex to please the person she was with, or to make herself feel like she was in control. She had never just been stricken to be with someone as she had Bianca.

On the other, she knew that even another kiss between her and Bianca would completely tear down her wall. Every time she was near Bianca her skin tingled. When Bianca wore tank tops, her bare skin would gently touch Maggie's own and she felt like she was imploding. What if she lived with this unspoken love for the rest of her life? What if Bianca married another woman? Had more children? Maggie couldn't stand to be with anyone else. She could not imagine being with another Henry or Tim or, god forbid, Jonathan. She couldn't even imagine being with another Bianca, though she doubted there was another anything like Bianca. Being with anyone else seemed wrong. And it was wrong to drag Bianca along like she had been doing.

She couldn't ask Bianca to be with her forever, when she couldn't even be honest with her. And she couldn't be a live-in roommate forever. Eventually Bianca would want a family, and Maggie would not be a part of that family if she didn't get her act together.

She stood slowly, wiping the snow from her icy body. She took one last breath and began the long walk home.


Chapter Five

Washing Away the Fog

Bianca watched the clock with dread. It had been almost an hour since Maggie had left, and the thermometer read 19. Her hands were around a steaming cup of hot chocolate. She knew she had to get to bed soon, but she had to wait for Maggie. Her eyes were heavy with sleep, it was a fight to keep them open. Finally she surrendered to sleep, letting the power of dreams float over her.

It was more a memory than a dream; the fear of Miranda missing. When she thought her child was dead. She dreamt of Maggie holding her as she sobbed over the death of her infant, the loss in her stomach was enough to wake her with a start. The clock now read 12:27 and Bianca checked Maggie's room to make sure she hadn't snuck in while she slept. She then tiptoed into her and her daughter's room, watching Miranda sleep.

She wanted to wake her and hold her close. She had been doing it since she got Miranda back. She would just get the urge to hold Miranda; to know she was real. But it felt cruel to wake Mimo now, she looked so peaceful. So she stood above her, touching first her cheeks, then her tiny pink-puppy-clad tummy, and finally her feet. Softly rubbing her baby's belly, she drifted back into the memories of her and Maggie after she heard Miranda had died. How had she lived without Miranda? She knew how; the love and support of Maggie had pulled her through. Not just Maggie, but mostly. She hadn't let very many others in. The fear of her daughter being tore away from her now was still persistent. She knew it wasn't going to happen, but the world was so full of scary things. She had faith in herself, Maggie, and Miranda. Mimo would be fine.

The sound of the lock turning pushed Bianca out of her head, and she almost sprinted to the kitchen. She sight in front of her made her heart sore. Maggie was an icy color, her hair frozen at the ends. The tips of her fingers were a bluish color, and she had the most tear-stained face Bianca had ever seen. Bianca wrapped her arms around Maggie, who seemed completely out of it. She heard Maggie stifle a cry, and pulled back to look into her face.

"Maggie…" she whispered. She took her fingers and softly wiped the frosty tears from the smaller girl's cheeks. Maggie leaned back into Bianca, her arms around her.

"I'm sorry." She said, almost inaudibly. Bianca wondered what it was Maggie was sorry for, but her biggest priority right now was to get Maggie warm.

"Maggie, I'll start a shower for you. You can warm up the hot chocolate on the table. Okay?" She caught Maggie's eye, and the girl nodded, wiping her nose on her still-wet sleeve.

Bianca ran off to the bathroom and turned the knob all the way to the left, testing the water with her hand. She ran back to Maggie, and had to drag her to the bathroom. She pulled Maggie into another hug, kissed her cheek, and shut the door behind her. Maggie stood in a daze, knowing she had just been a real idiot. She had run out on Bianca and she knew that was just another check against her. Bianca was acting very supportive and it was killing Maggie; she wasn't just lying to Bianca, she was lying to herself. Someone could snatch Bianca up and Maggie wouldn't be able to do anything about it. She had to do something!

She stripped off the cold, stiff clothing she had been wearing. Standing naked for a moment, she looked at her body in the mirror. She ran her hands over her breasts, down her stomach and back up. A girl was never satisfied with her body, she was sure. After examining herself, she stepped into the shower, letting the scalding water hit her flesh. It was like being woken from a hazy dream. She was Frankie. She had pushed Bianca away by using men, she had lied and deceived. She loved her sister, but she had come to the conclusion that Frankie had lost a good thing. Now here she was, doing the exact same thing. But she had been doing it much, much longer.

Bianca laid in bed, fighting sleep, listing to the sound of the shower. Her eyes finally closed and she drifted off to sleep just as Maggie was turning the water off. She quickly dressed in a tank top and a pair of Bianca's shorts. She races quietly to the phone and dialed the 11 digit number.

A groggy voice answers, obviously woken from sleep.

"I need to talk to you."

To Be Continued

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