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July 17th 12:18 AM
Maggie lay flat on her back, having landed on the floor between the couch and the coffee table when Bianca had shoved her off of her own body. She wasn't sure what had happened, what had caused such a violent reaction in her normally docile, loving, friend. She slid her arms under her to prop her upper torso up, and rest on her elbows. She looked to her left at Bianca, and it all came crashing down in a hurry just what had transpired.
Bianca's face was pale, verging on ghostly, her eyes sunken, the usual sparkle was gone they were hollow, and worst of all, scared. She had sat up and pulled her knees to her chest, her arms encircling them, she was no more than a ball on the couch.
Maggie scrambled to get to her knees and turn so she could face Bianca. Her first impulse was to reach out to her obviously traumatized friend, to touch her and tell her everything would be alright, but as soon as she did, Bianca visibly recoiled. Maggie's palms went flat, in a sign of 'ok, I understand, I'm backing off'. She sat back on her heels, and just stared, unsure of what she could do to make right what had just gone so horribly wrong.
She had always been the one to comfort Bianca, but Maggie had no clue what to do when it was she who had caused the problem. It was she who had made Bianca retreat inside herself, to relive that hell of two years ago. What could she possibly do now to comfort her when she was afraid to even touch her?
Maggie stood up slowly, making sure not to make any sudden movements towards Bianca, but instead going backwards, away from her. Once she was at her full height, she walked slowly, in a wide circle, around the coffee table, turning off the stereo as she passed, and made her way to the light switch on the wall next to the doorway. As she did, she felt the coolness of the air on her stomach, she looked down and realized her top was still open. She closed it around herself and tied the cinch back in place.
The light switch was cold under her fingers, odd for something she hoped would being a warmth back to the room. She debated saying something to Bianca about turning the lights back on, but she figured she knew what she was about to do, and she felt it would be better than Bianca hearing her voice at this point. She slowly, methodically, moved the light switch up, waiting for the snap-pop sound that would accompany the lights coming to life.
Bianca's reaction was unexpected, but understandable. She burst to life when the lights came on, leaping from the couch, she ran past Maggie and through the library and out to the entry hall. Maggie could hear her feet hit the stairs at break-neck speeds, and the inevitable slamming of her bedroom door.
Maggie leaned her head against the wood of the door frame and closed her eyes, resting for a moment, before she started lightly knocking on the wood with her forehead in an obvious sign of the stupidity she felt.
July 17th 12:25 AM
Bianca stood in her bedroom, her back pressed against the coolness of the door she had just slammed. Her eyes darted around the room, panicked. She had to get away from what had just happened downstairs, but now she was feeling trapped in her own bedroom. Like she had traded one cage for another but at least this one was missing her oppressor.
She closed her eyes and tried to even out her breathing. "Not Michael Maggie Not Michael Michael's dead Maggie that was Maggie " The same words twisting, turning, re-ordering themselves in her head, over and over again.
It wasn't working, no matter how many different ways she approached the scenario in her head, it wasn't making it any easier, it wasn't bringing her back to the real world any faster. She needed to calm herself, find her center again.
"Miranda." Her eyes popped back open, Miranda was her center and she always calmed her. "I just need to see my baby girl she can make this all better just by well, existing."
She put her palms flat against the door and used them to push herself off. She was still shaky, uncertain in her own skin. She had to grab on to the door jamb as she fumbled for the light switch in the master bathroom, which would lead her to her daughter's room. The burst of illumination momentarily blinded her, just as it had downstairs.
Her knees threatened to buckle under her as she felt woozy again. She put her left hand on her stomach, feeling the approaching reaction. She darted to the toilet, and promptly threw up her evening's dinner.
July 17th 12:25 AM
Maggie stood frozen in the spot next to the light switch. She couldn't move couldn't breath couldn't think. The last ten minutes were a nauseating blur of mistakes and bad judgment.
What seemed like a spectacular idea one minute, was possibly the worst decision of her life the very next. "What was I thinking pressing her back like that? Of all people, I should have known better and on a couch in the dark to boot?" Just one bad decision after another, and in such a short span of time.
She finally pressed herself away from the door jamb, and walked slowly through the library, her mind fuzzy and seemingly in a daze. She wasn't even a 100% certain of where she was going, she just knew she had to get out of that room and head somewhere else anywhere else.
"Stairs " Now she knew she was on automatic. "I shouldn't be here I shouldn't be this close to her she needs space oh god, why is my foot on the stairs? No, don't go up, you're just going to make it worse if you go up!"
She couldn't be sure, but it certainly sounded as if someone had just vomited upstairs.
July 17th 12:40 AM
Bianca was running the damp cloth around her face, trying to calm herself down after her little stint at the toilet moments before. She dropped it in the sink and reached to turn the water off, after which she placed her palms flat on either side of the sink and stared at herself in the mirror unflinchingly for several moments while she studied herself. "Good job Montgomery I thought I was passed all this, but all it took was a single moment of over enthusiasm to bring it all flooding back."
She sighed and turned towards the door that led to her daughter's bedroom. Not wanting to turn on any lights and wake the little girl, she left the door to the bathroom open a crack, allowing the light to spill over from one room into the next. This gave her just enough light to see what she needed to her beautiful daughter's face.
Bianca bent over, folding her arms on the side of the crib to rest her chin on and just watched her daughter sleeping her eye lids twitching her chest rising and falling with each breath. "You aren't here Michael " Bianca thought "you aren't in my daughter she's sweet and pure and you weren't downstairs earlier you're dead and buried, and you can never do anything to harm me or my family again that was Maggie with me on the couch not you she didn't mean it it was odd, and too much too soon, but she wasn't you Michael I've dealt with you, both alive and dead, you're gone, and that wasn't you on the couch it wasn't you you're always going to be here in some way, but it wasn't you "
Standing upright again, she reached into the crib with her right hand, and softly brushed the back of her hand across Miranda's right cheek. The little girl only wiggled slightly, but did not wake. Bianca sighed and walked towards the bathroom again, untying her wrap dress as she walked. She entered the bathroom and reached to close the door, but momentarily paused and leaned back to take one last glance at her daughter's crib, like if she hadn't, it would vanish into thin air.
Satisfied her daughter wasn't going anywhere; Bianca closed the door and walked over to the shower. She reached in, turned on the water as hot as she estimated she would be able to handle, and started taking off her dress while kicking off her shoes.
July 17th 12:50 AM
"Okay Stone how long do you plan to stand here with your foot on the stairs? Either you're going up or you're not, make up your damned mind!"
Maggie hadn't moved in quite some time. She stood there, one foot on the stairs, staring up at the door to Bianca's room, arguing with herself if she should go up to her.
"This is all wrong so wrong this isn't how it was supposed to be it should have been beautiful right it should have been everything she dreamed of I let her down I always disappoint everyone I disappointed her, I disappointed Jonathon I "
Her jaw slackened, her foot pulled from the stair, and she stood there, lost, as she heard the shower upstairs starting to run.
July 17th 12:52 AM
Bianca stood in the shower, her face upturned towards the steaming water, allowing it to spray in her face, the steam filling her senses. She opened her mouth slightly, allowing the water to hit her tongue, but bouncing off and dribbling down her chin.
She always liked showers. Their white noise provided her a safe haven from the rest of the world, to get away from everyone, and everything. The white noise of the falling water shielding her from all but the most persistent of people or things. This, besides time with her daughter, was her safe place, her happy place.
When she had been younger, just before coming out to her mother, she had spent hours a day in the shower as she tussled with her own fears over how her mother would react, if she would be accepted by the great Erica Kane, or rejected, as she suspected. Then again, when she learned of her pregnancy, and dealing with the implications of that, she had again found herself spending more than a healthy amount of time in the sanctuary that was her shower.
Tonight though was different. While she was physically alone, many people were in there with her, inside her head, lingering at the edges of mental perception, each stepping out of the shadows as she called to them to play their part in her cerebral dance. "Michael it always comes back to you doesn't it? I killed you and still you have a power over me. So help me god if you made it so I can never go near Maggie I will dig you back up and shoot you again, and I won't regret it this time."
As Michael drifted away, it was Maggie's turn to come to the forefront of her thoughts. Bianca turned around so her back was to the shower head, she leaned forward slightly to broaden her back where the water hit. "You just aren't ready Maggie you need to calm down, take your time, we don't have to do this now, or even all at once the first time, we have to go slow, for both our sakes. You don't have to be so aggressive, we'll get there I promise take your time I forgive you though, and as soon as I can, I have to tell you that "
When Maggie began to drift away from her thoughts, she was surprised to find her mind wasn't ready to go yet. Something, or someone, was still there, making her continue to think about it all. "Why was she aggressive?" Bianca picked up the body wash and squirted some on to her back scrubber. "She's never been anything but tame before now, why would she suddenly be so aggressive? Did someone tell her to be aggressive? Did someone " she stopped in mid-scrub on her back.
"Jonathon." Even in her head, venom dripped from her pronunciation of his name. "What did that bastard do to you Maggie? Or what did he MAKE you do is more like it." She returned to scrubbing her back, but it was more intense, almost violent now, leaving red streaks where she used too much force.
July 17th 1:10 AM
Maggie sat on the stairs, staring blankly towards the large wall of windows. Her knees together, but her feet shot out to the side at angles, her hands laying palm up in her lap, and she leaned forward at the waist, her mouth hung open. She almost appeared childlike in nature.
"He can't stop hurting people even when dead, his sickness is still here, hurting the people I love and I'm the one carrying it around inside of me did he change me that much? Can I ever get back to who I was before him?" Her internal monologue was beginning to have obvious exterior effects as tears started to slowly creep down her cheeks, and then falling from her chin on to her aqua colored skirt. She slowly began rocking back and forth as she continued to ponder the lingering damage Jonathan Lavery had done to her psyche.
Her crying became more pronounced, moving on to a full on sobbing, as she leaned forward, touching her forehead to her knees. "These men in our lives Michael Jonathan tainting everything they touch, leaving permanent scars on our souls, they were evil and wrong and they can't continue hurting us from their graves, they just can't! I want to be with Bianca, I NEED to be with Bianca, and I can't let Jonathan do this to me anymore, I have to get back to a better place, and the only person who can do that is the one I just scared!"
She moved her hands out from under her as she went to sit up right again, lifting them to her face to wipe away the tears. Her skirt now felt heavy against her knees as it had absorbed her tears as she cried in that bent over state. "I just have to hope and pray I didn't mess things up so badly with Bianca that she doesn't go running from me but who could blame her. Our first time trying anything serious and I come at her like a crazed person. I wouldn't blame her if she wanted me to go away for good but I at least have to try, try to tell her I know what's wrong, what caused this, and hopefully, with her help, I can fix it, get back to the way I was before he made me be the aggressive one "
Even though she was wobbly, she stood up, and tried to make her way to the bathroom that was hidden just behind her, under the main stair case. She opened the door and flicked on the lights in the miniature bathroom. She had a look at herself in the mirror, her make-up ruined, hair a mess, she cocked an eyebrow and nodded in appreciation to her look. "Oh yeah who's a sexy beast!"
July 17th 1:20 AM
Bianca finished blow drying her hair in her bedroom, not wishing to wake her daughter. She carried the dryer back to the bathroom and pondered what to do with herself next. "Well now I'm bored" she thought while chuckling to herself, "I'm not tired enough to sleep, my laptop is downstairs in the dining room I guess I could go make myself some tea, but I don't want to disturb Maggie, we'll just talk in the morning alright, I'll risk it."
She grabbed a black silk robe from her bed, and put it on over her matching nightgown before she walked over to the door of her bedroom that led to the second floor landing. At first she opened the door just a crack, taking a peak down in to the living room no sign of Maggie. She grabbed the baby monitor she had already turned on, slipped it in her pocket and stepped out on to the landing.
Wanting to make sure she was not intruding on Maggie anywhere, she opted to walk to the far end of the landing and take the spiral staircase down in to the living room. Once down, and seeing no lights were on, she assumed Maggie was in her room.
She let out a relieved sigh, and started walking towards the entrance hall when the bathroom door under the main stairs opened, and Maggie came walking out, looking like she had cried every tear her body could release.
They stood frozen for a moment, unsure how to react to each other, trying to sense the other one's thoughts out, their eyes darting left-to-right, and up-and-down. It was Bianca who finally cracked a smile and walked towards Maggie, who was feeling an urge to dart back in the bathroom and never come out again.
Bianca got over to Maggie, and stood directly in front of her. "You know," she said, while turning Maggie towards the entrance hall "I was thinking of making some tea as I am just not that tired yet, and I was kind of hoping you might join me."
Maggie's jaw hung slightly open, a shell shocked look on her face. "Uh huh" was about all she could muster.
"But you're still in your clothes from dinner, so why don't you go and take a quick shower, and by the time you get out, I'll have the tea waiting for you." She now placed her left arm through the crook of Maggie's right, to lead her along the way. Maggie, being in no condition to argue, followed along.
July 17th 1:40 AM
Maggie had taken one of the quickest showers of her life, and now sat at the butcher block in the kitchen, her hair up in a towel, wearing a robe, her hands wrapped around a coffee mug filled with Darjeeling tea that she was staring intently in to. She had still yet to speak a word since Bianca had found her coming out of the bathroom.
Bianca sat across from her, staring, trying to size up the best way to talk to her. "Maggie?" she asked softly.
Maggie's eyes quickly darted up, then back down to the tea.
"Maggie, really, this is silly, you can talk to me, I won't break."
"I I hurt you."
Bianca couldn't help it, but a soft chuckle escaped her lips. "You didn't 'hurt' me Maggie, not physically or mentally, you just scared me was all. It was just too fast "
"And on a couch in the dark." Maggie whispered in interruption.
"Yes and both of those things." Bianca lifted her mug and took a sip of her tea and then lowered it again, pausing to consider her next words carefully. "Maggie, I have to ask you something, and if it upsets you, I'm sorry, but I have to know." She looked at Maggie now, waiting for a reaction that never came. She finally asked anyway. "Did this have something to do with the way Jonathon treated you?"
Maggie gulped. "Ye yes." She took a sip of her own tea, but Bianca waited patiently for her to continue. After she set the tea back down, she looked Bianca squarely in the eye, setting her jaw in an angry expression. "He used to make me beg for it for sex," she spat out. "He wanted me to always be the aggressive one because then that way it proved to him I loved him and wanted him."
Bianca had suspected this, but had never really felt the need to discuss it with Maggie, always figuring she would come to her with it if it was bothering her. Sadly, it was now evident it did bother her, but she had never chosen to speak about it.
"I thought everything he had done to poison me died with him, but I guess it didn't," the tears from earlier began to return to her eyes as she got angrier, "and now it's led to me hurting you!"
"But you didn't hurt me "
"YES I DID!" she screamed. "I made you relive that night, that god forsaken, awful night when you were raped! And it's all because of him, and what he did to me and now..." her voice calmed somewhat, but still trembled with emotion, "and now you'll always think about this as well how I got too aggressive and how I, your best friend your girlfriend how it was me that scared you this time."
"No, I won't Maggie," she stood up and walked around the butcher block and turned Maggie to look at her. "What I will think about is that I'm with the woman I love the woman I've wanted to be with for a very long time now, but obviously we aren't quite ready yet. We will be, soon, but not quite yet."
"But but what if I do this to you again?" she asked, her eyes squinting, preparing to cry again. "I can't do that to you again Bianca, I wouldn't be able to live with myself."
Bianca pulled Maggie forward and hugged her, resting her chin on top of the towel on her head. "It won't happen again we know to be careful now, to take it slower, and be more cautious. I got scared Maggie, nothing more, and it won't happen again " she paused, and when she spoke again, her voice was more monotone "Michael is dead Jonathon is dead they were the evil ones, not you, not me, but them, and their evil died with them."
Maggie pulled back from Bianca's hug and looked up at her. "But Bianca, obviously some of what Jonathon did to me is still here inside of me, it's still here and it scares me I don't want to scare you again, I don "
Bianca cut her off mid-word. "Then you won't scare me again, you won't. You know what to be careful of now. And his evil? It doesn't live inside you Maggie, it doesn't." She cupped Maggie's left cheek with her right hand. "Here let me stare in to your eyes." Bianca leaned closer, their noses almost touching. "Nope no little Jonathon's with horns running around in there," she said with a grin.
Maggie snorted out a laugh. "Nice Bianca real nice."
"But it made you laugh."
"Yes, it did, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm going to worry about this every time we start to get intimate."
"Well, first off, we obviously weren't ready yet, so it will be awhile before that's a concern again, and secondly, good, do worry about it."
Maggie was unsure of how to react to that. "So you think I could do this again then?"
"Not so long as you're aware of it and watch out for it." Bianca could see the look of confusion on her friend's face. "Look, everything that happened tonight took us by surprise. We got wrapped up in the moment, and while that can be romantic at times, until we are more established, we just need to be more careful. We are both carrying a lot of baggage with us."
"I understand I think."
"You will once you think about it more, I promise, but for now, it's getting late, and we've had a very full night, we should probably both try going to bed."
"You're right, as always I hate that about you," she said with a lopsided grin.
"There she is there's my Maggie." Bianca thought before continuing. "Well get used to it, because it's just going to keep happening!"
"Yeah, yeah," Maggie stood up and held her arms open for a hug, which Bianca gladly gave her. They stood there for several minutes like this, neither making any move to break their hold on each other. "I don't want to stop holding you," Maggie finally said, "I just want to keep holding you, and make up for earlier."
"Just talking made up for earlier and I want you to keep holding me too."
Maggie pulled back slightly and looked up in to Bianca's eyes. "Would it be wrong if if I asked you to sleep with me tonight?" she asked, but quickly added nervously "And I do mean sleep you know, not 'sleep with me' as in sex, but you know actual sleeping."
"Oh! You mean the type of sleep where you snore and hog the covers?"
"I do not snore!"
"But yet you don't deny the hogging of covers I notice."
"Well I don't snore!" she said with a grin.
Bianca smacked her shoulder. "See? I knew I could finally get you to admit one day to being a cover hog!"
"I'm cold blooded! I can't help it!" Both girls laughed, but then there was an awkward moment of silence before Maggie spoke again. "So will you?"
"Will I what?" Bianca asked in an obvious attempt to drag out Maggie's misery.
"Bianca, would you sleep over tonight?"
"Really? You think that's wise? What will the neighbors think?" she asked in an obviously mocking tone while placing her hand against her forehead in mock despair.
Maggie rolled her eyes, grabbed Bianca's left hand, and started dragging her towards her bedroom.
"Oh the scandal! What will the papers say about me sleeping in another woman's bed? Why, they may start saying I'm a dare I say it a lesbian!"
"What is it I see in you?" Maggie inquired as she slammed the door to her bedroom after them.
July 17th 2:30 AM
Everyone in the apartment was asleep. Miranda slept restfully in her bed. Bianca slept spooning Maggie, her left arm draped over Maggie's waist, and hers draped over Bianca's, their fingers interlaced.
Upstairs, in Bianca's purse, her phone vibrated, signaling an incoming text message from Patrick, which read "Morning papers, new pictures Guy took @ dinner, story about wasteful spending. Will talk in morning."
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