DISCLAIMER: All My Children is the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
July 5th 2:15 AM
Bianca ran back in to her bedroom, having just checked to make sure Miranda was in her crib, and was now scrambling to throw on some clothes. She had no idea what Patrick was coming over about, but if it involved a Cambias security team, she knew it wasn't good. Patrick had never called them out before, so this was certainly troublesome to her.
Clothes located, and put on, she ran back through her bathroom again, pausing only long enough to pick up a ribbon for her hair. She passed in to Miranda's room, grabbed a baby monitor, made sure her daughter was asleep one more time, and bolted down the stairs as quickly as she could, tying her hair back as she went. She wanted to be waiting at the front door when Patrick arrived to minimize the chance of waking Maggie. "Oh god Maggie!" she thought.
Quickly she made her way to the kitchen, and as quietly as possible, opened the door to Maggie's room to see if she was there. Sure enough, she could see a tussle of blonde hair strewn over the pillow, and one bare leg on top of the covers. "Definitely Maggie," she thought to herself with a grin.
Maggie checked on, Bianca headed to the front door, just as she heard the elevator ding. She made to open the door, but hesitated, unsure if it was Patrick or not. Finally there was a light knocking and Patrick confirmed it was him before she opened the door.
"Patrick, what the hell is going on?"
He looked around. "Is Maggie asleep?"
He made a motion towards the den with his head, this would take them to the complete opposite side of the penthouse from where Maggie slept.
Bianca followed him anxiously, wanting to know what all the commotion was about. Once in the den, she again spoke. "Are you going to tell me what's going on or not? You call me at 2 AM and tell me you and a security team are en route, I'm going to tend to get a bit nervous!"
Patrick stood there looking at her, his right hand in his pants pocket, his left holding a manila envelope she had not noticed in all the excitement. He held it up in front of her face. "This this is what all the commotion is about."
She looked at him, an obvious puzzled look crossing her face. She reached for the manila envelope and took it from him. She undid the string closure, opened the flap, and her look got even more puzzled. She looked up at Patrick for an answer, but he had already turned and was looking at the book shelves.
Not knowing what else to do, she tipped the envelope, emptying it of its contents. Recognition passed over her face, and then dismay. "I I think I had better sit down."
July 5th 6:50 AM
Maggie was awoken by tense, high-strung voices coming from the kitchen. She kept trying to go back to sleep, but the voices just wouldn't stop! She got out of bed and shuffled off to her bathroom, grabbed a robe, and headed to the kitchen to see what the commotion was.
As she started to open the door, she could identify Bianca and Patrick's voices, and neither sounded pleased.
"Never again Bianca! If I hadn't let you go without security yesterday, this wouldn't have happened!"
"And it was my choice Patrick! I can't live my entire life with security guards tagging along everywhere I go!"
"If I hadn't let myself get so close to you three, I would have never let this happen yesterday! I would have stood my ground against you."
"And if you hadn't gotten so close, you wouldn't be so bothered by this!"
Maggie paused, not opening the door more than a crack. She hated eavesdropping, but right now didn't seem like the best of times to come barreling in to the room.
Patrick sighed. "You're right but I would still be bothered, just not as much." There was a long pause before he continued and then the rustling of what sounded to be newspaper. "What's she going to say?"
"I don't have the first clue how she's going to react to this." Bianca sighed deeply. "Thank god I already decided to stay home today."
Maggie took that as cue enough she could enter the room. "Hey kids, can you keep it down in here?" she asked in a mock-parental tone. "Some of us had a busy day yesterday and are trying to get some sleep."
Patrick flipped the newspaper open as it lay on the butcher block in front of him. "Good morning, Maggie," he said in an obvious display of forced enthusiasm.
Bianca was facing the sink, her left arm crossed at her waist, a cup of coffee being held in front of her lips with the right. "Morning," she said.
"Well this is a chipper crew this morning." Maggie said, her eyes growing wide for emphasis. When no one replied, she decided to continue anyway. "What are you doing here Patrick? I thought Bianca was taking the day off? And why so blasted early anyway?"
"I thought you might need errands run and um "
"Uh-huh," she said, suspicion dripping from both syllables. She crossed her arms, set her jaw, and squinted her eyes. "Fess up. I heard you two arguing, what's going on?"
Bianca lowered her head and sighed. "No time like the present I suppose." She turned around and walked over to the butcher block. She placed her hand on the newspaper to slide it over to herself, but couldn't as Patrick was leaning on it. He looked up at her and they exchanged meaningful glances. He finally conceded and lifted his elbow, allowing her to slide the paper and spin it her direction in one fluid motion.
"Maggie .you may want to sit down first," Bianca said, her hand resting on the paper.
Unsure of what else to do, Maggie sat down and braced herself for the worst.
"There's there's no real easy way to prepare you for this and "
"Just give me the paper Bianca before you have a hemorrhage trying to explain what I can just as easily read." She grabbed the paper, slid it over to herself, and flipped to the front page. It took her a moment to absorb what was displayed before her. The front page of the local Paris tabloid featured a giant, zoomed picture of her and Bianca kissing the day before on the It's A Small World Ride. Above that was a bolded headline in French. "Well any one want to clue me in as to what the headline says?"
Patrick cleared his throat. "It's A Gold Digging Nanny After All."
Maggie nodded her head as if she appreciated it. "Nice segue into the picture. Quite classy," she said with a bemused tone. "Should I even bother reading the article, or did they not see a point to going any further?"
"Oh, they went further alright," replied Bianca. "And the picture that really angers me is on the inside with it."
"Goody more pictures. Hope they got my good side this ." Maggie flipped the paper open, and along with the article was a picture of the two of them kissing again, but this time it was on the second floor landing mere hours ago. "How .how did they get that one?" came Maggie's shaken voice.
"Once they were on to you two after Disneyland, they probably paid off one of your neighbors across the street. We have a security team investigating that now." Patrick replied softly.
"How did this come out so quickly though? That was only what Bianca?" she asked, looking up at her friend. "Eight or nine hours ago?" She blushed a bit realizing Patrick was now privy to details similar to ones she had given him grief about only weeks before.
"That's more than enough time with digital cameras for this to have gone to press," said Patrick.
"Great. Well, glad to know sleaze can be spread so quickly nowadays." Maggie replied, scanning the article for the few words she could read for herself. She saw lots of names she knew Erica Kane Bianca Montgomery Miranda Montgomery Michael Cambias her own. "How dare they call me Mary Margaret! Can I sue them for that?" she asked half-heartedly trying to lighten her own mood. Then she paused, and pointed to a sentence. "Someone read me this part please."
Bianca walked over and looked over her shoulder. "Oh I was hoping you wouldn't spot that."
"Well I did, now just read it to me!" she said, her tone snippy, but her eyes pleading as she looked at Bianca over her shoulder.
The taller girl took no offense, and placed her hands on Maggie's shoulders to comfort her as she read. She cleared her throat. "It says 'Ms. Mary Margaret isn't the first member of the Stone family to try to sink her poor background claws in to Ms. Montgomery. She was proceeded by her, now dead, identical twin, Mary Francis Stone. And as if this family wasn't messed up enough, she was killed by the same dear ole Auntie who later kidnapped Mary Margaret!'."
Maggie was silent, but her anger was obvious on her face. She finally spoke with a tremble in her voice. "They .they can say what ever they want about me, I don't care, but they can not say that about Frankie." Maggie turned around on the bar stool, causing Bianca to lower her hands. Maggie immediately snapped them up and held them. "You know she wasn't in to you like that, right? You know that she actually had feelings for you don't you?"
Bianca's eyes started to glisten. She freed her right hand and lifted it to cup Maggie's left cheek. "Yes I know. I don't question her motives for a second, and neither should you. These people didn't know her Maggie, they find a puzzle and make up pieces to connect them that will help sell papers. Reality doesn't matter to them."
Just then they could hear Miranda stirring on the baby monitor in Bianca's pocket. She reached up to wipe away the gathering tears. "I better go get her, she still needs her bath and "
As she had started to walk away, Patrick had stood up and blocked her path. "I'll go and get her Bianca."
Bianca looked up with a puzzled look, and then recognition. "Oh you're right. Could you change her and bring her down? Then I'll send you up for her bath stuff and we'll use Maggie's bathroom if that's ok with you," she said, looking over at Maggie.
"Um sure, but why?"
"Until the windows get tinted later today, neither of you are to venture past the dining room and library doorways. I've set up a folding screen in the hallway so they can't see you pass through the hall, but if you go past the screen, we run the risk of more photos being shot."
"You mean this isn't over?"
Patrick and Bianca exchanged glances and uneasy looks. Bianca crossed her arms and looked down at the floor, kicking it with her foot. "Patrick, go get Miranda please, I'll give Maggie a crash course in what's going on." Patrick nodded to both of them and disappeared in to the dining room.
"Maggie this won't be over for a while, and probably not until some other celebrity story breaks. Until then we need to watch everything we say and do in public, and that ."
"Ok, my head's hurting from all this." She shifted on her stool, and leaned in a bit closer, now talking with her hands. "I know the tabloids have gone after you before, but why now? We're just leading a quiet life, you're running a company, I'm going to medical school, we're not that exciting!"
Bianca sat down on the stool Patrick had previously occupied and turned to face Maggie, Her left arm on the butcher block, she stared down towards the floor, uneasy with the whole subject matter. "Well, the problem is this, and I should have seen it coming " she finally looked in to Maggie's eyes. "No matter how boring we might think our lives are, I'm still first, Erica Kane's daughter, secondly, a lesbian and thirdly, I appear to have taken up with the hired help." She looked down again, the unease still apparent on her face. "You know the old saying 'sex sells'?"
"Well there's sex and then .then there's lesbian sex." She looked up again, her eyes sad. "And where sex sells, lesbian sex sells tenfold."
"But, Bianca, and no offense, we aren't having sex, who knows if we ever will! This is all still new to me! I mean, my god, we only had our first true kiss yesterday!"
"And that's all it takes in the eyes of those people," she said, pointing angrily with her index finger at the newspaper.
Maggie just lowered her head to the butcher block and shook it back and forth. "My head hurts. I just don't get this...wait a minute," she lifted her head again. "how did they even know we were at Disneyland?"
"Either someone in Guest Relations alerted them or it could have even been someone in the park recognized me."
"So basically you're saying, no matter where we go now, this could happen again."
"Not 'could', but 'will'. Now that they think we're a couple, they'll be more inclined to be on the look out for us, and even follow us."
Maggie thunked her head on the butcher block again just as Patrick walked back in the room with Miranda, a blanket covering her from head-to-toe that she was none too happy about. "I see educating her in the ways of the paparazzi is going well."
"Shut it frenchie!" came the somewhat muffled reply. She then looked up to see Patrick handing Miranda to Bianca. "Um Patrick it's July, why is Miranda wrapped in a blanket like it's the dead of winter in Siberia?" Patrick and Bianca exchanged looks yet again, but this time Maggie caught on. "Oh let me guess because you had to pass through the living room in front of the windows?"
"I always knew she was a quicker learner than she lets on." Patrick said with a smirk.
"It's too early in the morning for me to punch you come see me around noon."
Patrick chuckled. "Yes, it's because we passed by the windows." He turned to address Bianca directly. "I'll go retrieve what you need to give her a bath. I'll also get you and the little miss some spare clothes for the day." He turned and headed off to his task.
Maggie folded her arms on the butcher block and leaned forward to rest her head on them. She faced Bianca and watched her talking to Miranda. It was nice to watch something so pure when you've just discovered you've been dragged through the mud.
Miranda giggled and laughed, Bianca putting her face directly in front of hers with that enormous smile she reserved only for those she loved. She asked her if she had slept well who's girl she was was she ready for the day and all the while Miranda's arms were a swirl, and the room filled with giggles.
Bianca looked at Maggie now and smiled softly. "You ok?"
"Yeah just a lot to soak in you know? Yesterday I was Maggie Stone, medical student, nanny, on a date with my best friend. Now I'm apparently a gold digging hussy out to woo you out of your fortune .man I get a lot done in one day." Bianca chuckled and Maggie turned her head so she was facing down, looking in to the grain of the wood.
"Well, I wouldn't worry too much Maggie, this will all eventually blow over and in a week, no one will even remember this story hopefully." The last word having a wistful tone to it.
Maggie just sat there again, listening to the sounds of happiness and contentment coming from Miranda, and trying not to let this get her down, but it was difficult. They had had such a lovely day together, everything had gone wonderfully and now now it almost felt tainted and dirty. What were supposed to have been such intimate moments, personal and only for them, were now on display for the world to see.
She heard footsteps entering the kitchen and a soft chuckle. "I already told you once come see me around noon for the punching."
"Yes, yes, I'll make sure to take my lunch then Bianca, I'll just go put these items in Maggie's room. Would you like me to start the bath?"
"Patrick you don't have to do all "
"Yes I do."
There was a pause, Maggie could almost hear the smile.
"Thank you Patrick. Yes, please start the bath."
And with that, she heard more footsteps, the door to her room open and shut.
She finally looked up, squinted a bit to let her eyes adjust to light again. "Yeah?"
Bianca leaned forward and reached out with her right hand to squeeze Maggie's left forearm. "Don't let this get to you ok? This doesn't change anything between us."
"I know, I think I'm more angry than anything."
"Good!" she patted Maggie's arm now and grinned. "That's how I know you're going to be normal," she said with a mischievous wink. She stood up and supported Miranda with both arms now. The little girl appeared to be quite content, her head resting on her mother's shoulder, her left hand twisting the top of Bianca's shirt. "Could I ask you a favor?"
Maggie lifted her head and supported it with her right hand. "Of course."
"Could you possibly give Miranda her bath? I need to start making some phone calls."
"I think giving Miranda a bath is just what I could use right now!" Maggie stood up with an enormous grin on her face. She reached out to take the little girl in to her arms and as Bianca passed her, the small girl didn't let go of her death grip on whatever it was she was holding on to. Bianca tried to place her hand over it, but it was too late, Maggie had seen it was her silver rose necklace she wore when it was their date time.
Bianca saw Maggie recognize it and look up at her, a lopsided grin passing over the shorter woman's face. Bianca could feel her cheeks getting hotter with embarrassment as she placed her palm against it to make a vain attempt at concealing it.
"So .are we still on our date?" Maggie asked in her most self-satisfied tone.
"Maggie I I guess I just forgot to take it off and in all the excitement " Bianca's speech was hurried, almost panicked.
Maggie just chuckled softly and with her left hand, she hooked her index and middle finger in to her shirt collar, and pulled out her own copy of the same necklace. She placed the chain in to Miranda's hand. Bianca's jaw dropped, and then Maggie could see the first signs of tears welling up in her eyes as her slack-jawed look turned into one of warmth and pride.
Maggie looked away and grinned while shaking her head "Don't go reading too much in to that I must have just forgotten to take mine off also."
Bianca stepped closer, Maggie looked up at her, Miranda propped on her right hip. As Bianca looked down in to Maggie's eyes, she felt like even though it had been a rough morning, if it led to her being able to look at Maggie like this, it was all worth it. Before she realized it, she was leaning down and giving Maggie the most tentative of kisses and it was being returned.
Patrick cleared his throat.
Both girls turned to look at him, scowling.
He merely smiled back. "The bath is ready when you are," he turned and walked away.
"Oh he is SO dead come lunch time," Maggie said storming after him. She got to the doorway of her room and started bellowing "Patrick! I hope Guilia doesn't mind you coming home bruised!"
Bianca was left alone in her kitchen. She smiled softly to herself, placed her right hand on her necklace, and hummed softly to herself as she stared off into nothingness with a dreamy look on her face, and she rotated slightly at the hips.
Finally she let out a contented sigh, and pulled her mobile phone from her pocket. She hit the speed dial button for her personal assistant. "Aurélia? It's Bianca, I'm sorry to call you so early, but this is important I need you to look up a land assessment for me "
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