DISCLAIMER: All My Children is the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
September 14th 4:30 PM
"No, Kendall, I did not send the Cambias jet over JUST to deliver the painting and the poem! I may be rich now, but I'm not insane!" Bianca sucked in a quick, exasperated breath before she continued. "They had to fly over some executives anyway, and so I had the crew bring the gifts over." After a quick roll of her eyes, the younger of the Kane women continued, "Anyway, how did Mom's first show go?"
Bianca read over some papers on her desk as she absently listened to Kendall going on-and-on about their mother and her manic episodes. She resisted the urge to blurt out something about the kettle recognizing itself in the color of the pot. The raven haired woman hoped her mother would do well with her latest venture, the television talk show, New Beginnings, but the whole process behind it was fairly boring to her.
There were far more important things on her mind this day than videos of Erica Kane going around New York City, talking with celebrities and that was getting home on time to a certain pair of women named Mary Margaret Stone and Miranda Mona Montgomery.
She was trying her best, but some nights were harder than others, since being responsible for all of Cambias Europe was, well, full of responsibilities. Sometimes she could shirk them more than others, but her recent blanking out in a meeting, and agreeing to a proposal she hadn't thoroughly read, were starting to come back to haunt her.
It had only been a few weeks since she had agreed to Josef's proposal to combine several of the regional offices in to one, but what she hadn't noticed was the addendum for a state-of-the-art office building. To call this new facility 'grandiose' was an understatement, and her signing off on the entire proposal had set construction in to motion. Now she was trying to find a backdoor that would let her exit out of this mess which had been caused by her dreamy thoughts of Maggie, and there was seemingly no easy answer.
"Damn it, Binks, are you even listening to me?"
"Huh? Oh yeah, yeah Mayor Ed Koch go on!" Bianca said as enthusiastically as she could possibly muster so as not to discourage her sister from continuing.
"Bianca, if you're busy, I'm just blathering on here, if you have something you need to do, then do it. We can talk later."
"Are you sure you don't mind?" Bianca asked with some trepidation.
"Not at all, I do know what it's like to run a company, after all."
Bianca smiled. "That you do! Thanks, Kendall. I just have a small crisis here that needs my full attention sadly."
"No problem, Sis. Give my darling Miranda a kiss, and tell Maggie I said 'hi'."
"Um okay " Bianca's eyes grew a tad bit wider as she answered. Kendall never had really acknowledged what existed between Bianca and Maggie before, so this was a new sensation.
"Oh! Before I let you go, have you decided about coming home for Christmas yet?"
Bianca again rolled her eyes again at her sister, a very common occurrence any time they talked. "Not yet, Kendall. It's only September, god only knows what will happen between now and then. And I also have to see what Maggie has planned."
"Okay, but just know everyone would love it if you all could come."
"We'll see, Kendall. Now, I really have to get going, love to everyone for me, okay? And even Greenlee."
There was a slight hesitation on the phone across the Atlantic, the wounds of Ryan Lavery's death still fresh in everyone's minds. "I will Binks. Miss you and love you, Binks."
Bianca hit the button to end the call and tossed her headset on the desk in front of her. She leaned back into the deep cushioning of her chair, tilted it so it reclined and stared at the ceiling while exhaling. She loved her sister dearly, but talking to her was always a draining experience. And now was certainly not the time for draining.
She'd messed up, and she'd messed up big. Josef, for all his seeming meekness, had really left her over a barrel. The construction crews had been ready to go; she signed, they started clearing land. She wasn't even aware of it until Ethan Cambias had called her from the American offices to ask why there was a sudden delay in some other construction projects.
After looking into it, she had found the problem. She still couldn't convince herself that Josef was a conniving person, but after talking with Patrick about it, she learned he had tried pulling this same project off several times during Alexander Cambias' reign as the head of the company. The motivation is what got her, the silly stupid motivation. Waiting all these years, trying to pull this off multiple times, and for what? His family owned an office supply company that stood to gain the contract to furnish the building.
No one before Bianca had ever been certain that was what was happening, they just knew it didn't make financial sense to build this new building and shift so much of their staff around. When she actually remembered to pay attention, Bianca was as sharp a business person as anyone else in the company, if not sharper, and she had figured it out.
Using Patrick's security contacts, they had backtracked it all and ferreted out the scheme. Josef had been fired, but the contracts with her signature stood. The company was facing to lose as much, if not more, if she broke those work orders. Now she was spending her days and nights trying to figure out how to stop this problem before it got worse. Before the board of directors got full hint of this and she would be stuck in stuffy meetings for weeks, being grilled about her incompetence.
The conundrum was filling every corner of her life, even her private, secluded moments with her newly minted girlfriend, Maggie. More than once, Maggie had come looking for her in the middle of the night to find her in the dining room, pouring over papers, in the wee hours of the morning.
She was kicking her feet without realizing it, slowly spinning her chair in a counter-clockwise motion. She had been so lost in thought over her predicament, she hadn't even noticed she was doing it. She shouldn't have been surprised though that when she snapped out of her melancholy haze what she was staring at: two very childlike hand prints on a piece of paper, in a bright silver frame.
It was the newest addition to the art collection that hung in her office, and though it held no monetary value, like the renaissance piece that hung next to it, it was her favorite in the room. Her grin grew, thinking back to just a few nights past. The playfulness, the passion it was still intoxicating to think about she was drifting back, back to laying on that floor, staring at the most beautiful woman in the world
"Ms. Montgomery?" said a voice over the intercom.
Bianca sighed and spun her chair around to answer. "Yes, Aurélia?"
"Ms. Stone would like you to give her a call, and I quote, 'whenever you get the hell off the phone with your beanpole of a sister'."
Bianca smiled. "Thank you, I'll call her now." She picked up the phone and hit speed dial to call Maggie's mobile.
"My God you two can talk!"
"Hello to you too."
"Yeah, yeah what's shakin' soul sister?"
"Last time I checked, I wasn't very soul."
"You know, if you're going to date me, you really have to learn to keep up with the witty banter."
"Oh? When did you start doing witty banter?"
"I " there was a pause, "Oh, I flippin' hate you."
"No you don't, you love me, and don't even try denying it."
"FINE! So what's the latest in the Valley of the Pines? Anyone dead? Kidnapped? Taken prisoner by a wandering band of gypsies and forced to dance to the organ grinder's music because they lost their little monkey who usually does it?"
There was a pause from Bianca's end of the phone. "Why am I in love with you again?"
"Because I have a killer ass."
"Oh I knew it was something," Bianca said as dryly as possible so as not to convey her wide smile. "No, nothing else going on, everyone is still saddened by Ryan's death, and I guess Mom's first episode of New Beginnings was a 'raging success' according to her."
Maggie quickly regretted making a joke about dead people, forgetting that Ryan had just passed. "Well, I'm glad your mom's show went so well. Are they sending us a tape of it?"
"Are you kidding? Of course they are, and I am sure my mom will want copious notes on our every thought hell, she may send a video crew to tape us watching the tape, it could become a whole thing."
"Please no really, for the love of Pete, tell me you're kidding."
"Maybe I am, maybe I'm not we are talking about Erica Kane here."
"True enough. So, are you going to be home for dinner?"
Bianca sighed. "I don't know. I want to be, but I'm swamped. Could you just order a pizza or something and I can heat it up if I'm late?"
"Sure thing, Boss. Just try not to be too late, okay?"
"I'll do my best I gotta go, love you."
"Love you too."
September 14th 4:50 PM
Maggie closed her mobile phone and then lifted it to her lips, bouncing the hinge against them as she appeared deep in thought. She hated Bianca not being home for dinner, but how could she argue with work? She really couldn't, and she would never attempt to.
She glanced over at Miranda who was playing under a tree in the park. This was their daily ritual now when Maggie was done with class: They'd head over to the park, play for an hour or so, and then run home to have dinner with Bianca. Even more than for herself, she hated it when Bianca couldn't be with Miranda for dinner; it was one of the few times each day they got to see each other.
As she watched the little girl bouncing her head side-to-side, a plan began to formulate in her brain. A smile crept across her face just before she opened the phone and placed another call. "Hey, Frenchie, I need a favor."
September 14th 6:30 PM
Bianca sighed. She hated this. She hated being in her office at 6:30 because it meant she wasn't home with Maggie and Miranda.
On another level though, she did find herself becoming more and more comfortable with her position as the head of a huge company. Yes, she had made a mistake she was trying to correct now, but she'd be lying if she didn't admit it was almost fun in some twisted way.
She was quickly learning that all business is like a game. She sat high in her tower, moving the pieces, trying to gain the best advantage and bring home that win everyone desired. Make money, you win; lose money, you lose. It was a simple principle, but elusive all at the same time. And while she never thought she would get into it, she was starting to. Those wins felt awfully good sometimes.
She could see how people might get addicted to that rush, that high, but with two beautiful women always waiting for her at home, she knew where her priorities lie.
Placing another manila folder on the 'done' pile, she grabbed one more from the 'to be done' pile that never seemed to decrease. She flipped it open, leaned back in her chair, and prepared to try to stay awake as she read up on how to get around early termination fees.
The door to her office flung open, Aurélia racing in, her face flush. "Ms. Montgomery! I think the board of directors figured out what happened, they're all in your conference room wanting to talk to you!"
Bianca looked over the folder at her frazzled assistant. "Did they say that's why they're here?"
"No but they don't look happy," Aurélia said while wringing her hands.
"Aurélia, they're elderly business men they never look happy." With a heavy sigh, she put the folder down, got up, and grabbed her suit jacket. "In the conference room you said?"
"Okay, you go and try to calm down; I'll go see what this is all about."
Aurélia nodded her head vigorously before turning and exiting the room.
Bianca walked over to the door to the conference room, placed a hand on the door knob and took a deep breath. "You can do this, Bianca you knew this might happen, now you just have to step up and be held accountable." She took a deep breath as she turned the handle and swung the door wide to reveal a darkened room, lit only with a few candles.
It took her eyes a few seconds to adjust to the low lighting, but then she was able to fully appreciate it. Maggie was standing next to Bianca's normal chair at the head of the conference table, Miranda's smile beamed, even in this low light, as she sat perched on top of phone books in the chair. The candles were on the table, one chair on each side had a paper plate in front of it, and in the very middle was a pizza box.
"Hey there, stranger!" Maggie said with an enormous grin.
"Hey there 'ranger!" mimicked Miranda.
Bianca could feel the tears in the bottom of her eyes welling up as she walked over and scooped her daughter in to her arms. "Hey there yourself, Munchkin! What did you and Auntie Maggie do here?"
Miranda could only giggle as Maggie answered for them both. "Well, we both thought," Maggie said as she stepped closer so that Miranda was between the two of them, "that Mommy really should be able to have fresh, hot pizza with us."
"YEAH! PIZZA!" Miranda said enthusiastically as she put her arms above her head, causing both Bianca and Maggie to laugh at the little girl's antics.
"And, let me guess, you roped Patrick and Aurélia in to helping you with your devious plan?"
"But of course," Maggie said with her lopsided smile that Bianca always found irresistible.
Bianca moved to help her daughter get into the chair at the head of table, but before she could go far, Maggie grabbed her wrist, causing the taller girl to spin back towards her.
"Just a sec, kay?" Bianca looked at her quizzically as Maggie fished something out of her right front pocket. "Turn around."
Bianca stared at Maggie, not sure what was up, but she knew she couldn't resist that wistful, reassuring smile Maggie was using on her. She turned so her back was to the shorter woman, and she felt Maggie's petite hands encircle her, placing a silver necklace with a heart on it around her neck. "Oh OH! Is this a date?"
"Mmhmm might not be the most romantic date ever, but a date none the less."
Bianca lifted her right hand to the silver heart, covered it with her palm and smiled before she turned to face Maggie once again.
"That is if it's okay with you. I mean, you are still at work and all, but I," the remainder of her sentence was cut short by Bianca's lips pressing into hers.
"That answer enough?" she asked as she pulled away.
"Um yeah I think so!"
Miranda giggled as she was given the seat at the head of the long conference room table, and the older women took their seats across from each other to enjoy their family dinner date.
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