DISCLAIMER: All My Children and its characters are the property of ABC. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: The Stranger Series.

The Stranger In Me
By Megs


Part 1

-----------Next Day----------

"Maggie, it's time." David's voice filtered in through the open door of Maggie's private bathroom.

"I'll be out in a moment," Maggie called back.

Maggie imagined David looking at his wristwatch as he moved away from her bedroom door and back towards the small living area of the suite they were staying in.

Maggie found herself smiling at the comfort of knowing her cousin well enough that the imagined sight was sure to be taking place at this very moment. Soon though, the smile faded and her eyes turned back to her reflection.

Maggie looked in the mirror at her reflection one last time. Her hair was pulled back into a bun, a few strands curled to frame around her face. Her black summer dress went down just above her knees, had a shallow v-cut and clung to her in all the right places.

Maggie wondered if she should have taken Bianca up on her offer to go shopping yesterday. This dress was not meant to be worn at a funeral, though it was appropriate. It was just…Maggie's intention had not been to wear this today. Maggie wondered when she had intended to wear this dress and for whom she'd even consider wearing it for.

Maggie looked at herself once more.

There was only so much cover up she was willing to apply around her eyes, but even as she looked at herself in the mirror she knew no one would be the wiser. No one would know she hadn't slept at all last night. No one would suspect that throughout the night nothing but images of her mother and imagined reactions to her paternity played before her glazed eyes.

No one knew that she feared she would be attending the funeral of her biological father days after she attended her mother's.

A Cambias. She was not a Stone but a Cambias. God…to go from being related to one vile man to another. She couldn't catch a break, not that she expected to find one. After all, life wasn't meant to be fair or easy. She knew that, she just hadn't expected it to be this hard.

Knock, Knock


Maggie turned towards the bathroom door knowing that Bianca stood on the opposite side of her bedroom door a room away. She quilcy wiped her eyes of any tears, careful not to smudge any of her make up, and moved towards the door. She flipped off the light in the bathroom before moving to grab her purse off of her bed and turn off the side lamp.

"Come on in, Bianca."

It was a blessing and a curse to have Bianca here with her. To have her best friend so close was comforting, it gave her a sense of home she hadn't felt since she left Pine Valley. Yet she knew no matter how physically close Bianca was to her she could not let her in.

Not now, possibly not ever.

It scared her to think of Bianca's reaction.

The fact that she was taking this so well scared her enough for everyone. If everyone knew that she was the Cambias heir, if she was Michael's sister, they'd turn on her.

Maggie couldn't deal with losing Bianca. Not now. Not after everything that they had been through.

She needed Bianca's friendship and presence more than she needed the air she was currently breathing. Her heart wouldn't be able to take losing Bianca so quickly over something that was never in her power to control.

"Hey you," Maggie greeted as she met her friend's appraising eyes. "I take it the dress is acceptable?" Maggie teased and watched Bianca's cheeks enflame with a rosy tint. It made her smile and blush herself.


Maggie moved to the younger woman's aid. "Thank you."

Bianca looked up and met Maggie's eyes and saw the mirth and…longing? In them. Bianca wondered what Maggie was longing for when it came to her. It left her feeling slightly uncomfortable but then she saw Maggie's smile and felt comforted.

Whatever it was that Maggie wanted to talk to her about, whatever she was hiding, she would tell her when she was ready. Bianca understood that Maggie needed time to accept things for herself before she could hope to explain them to others.

Maggie was still stiff her muscles tense, her smiles slow and lacking the ability to light up her eyes. There was a permanent sadness in Maggie's deep blue eyes that Bianca hoped would dissipate with time.

"You're welcome." Bianca laughed slightly nervously as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other as she leaned against the door jam.

"No," Maggie shook her head as she chuckled and moved to sit on the end of her bed. "Thank you for coming. Thank you for…being here."

Bianca tucked a strand of hair behind her ear as she moved to sit alongside Maggie on the bed. She put her hand on Maggie's knee and Maggie couldn't help but remember the last time they had been in this position. It was the morning before the trial. In Bianca's room at Erica's penthouse. Bianca had been wearing a similar long black skirt and top.

Maggie sighed and put her hand onto Bianca's both gasping at the coolness of Maggie's touch. Maggie tried to pull away from Bianca's hand but Bianca grasped onto Maggie's fingers and held her hand firmly in her own. Bianca offered Maggie a smile of reassurance even as Maggie stared uncertain down at their entwined limbs.

"I wouldn't be anywhere else, Maggie." Bianca sincerely informed as she held Maggie's gaze.

"I…there's just so much going on and I…" Maggie looked down at her knees and sighed irritated with herself for being unable to voice what she wanted to say.

"Maggie, no matter what is going on I'll always be here." Maggie hopeful as she met Bianca's confident gaze. "I'll always be here by your side, Maggie. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I love you…you silly girl." Bianca brought her hand to rest lightly on Maggie's cheek, only allowing the contact to remain for a moment before letting her fingertips slide off of the older woman's skin.

Maggie grabbed Bianca's wrist and brought it back up to her face and placed a kiss on the inside of the younger woman's palm. She allowed her lips to remain against Bianca's skin for a moment longer then necessarily needed. Her eyes fluttered closed for a moment before she snapped them open and met Bianca's questioning eyes.

The love she had for this beautiful girl…this beautifully generous, kind, loving, funny, strong willed young woman. It was unimaginable and so, so, deep.

"Bianca I…"

Bianca shook her head as she hastily stood from the bed and moved towards the door.

"Are you ready?" Bianca asked gently, fiddling with her purse as she looked at her friend.

Bianca couldn't do this now. They both couldn't do this now. Not when Maggie was so emotionally vulnerable. It would break her, Bianca knew, if Maggie were to say something now and later have to contract it.

Maggie sighed and nodded her head as she stood from the bed.

"As I'll ever be." Maggie moved to the door, her eyes scanning over her room one last time to make sure she had everything.

When she turned her head back towards the main room and held the doorknob gently she gasped as her eyes met Bianca's deep soulful doe eyes, and their breath mingled.

In her haste to leave her bedroom she hadn't looked to see if Bianca had backed out from the room as she proceeded forward to leave. The scent of Bianca's perfume assailed her senses as she darted her eyes along Bianca's face looking for…for something. The heat of the younger woman's body easily sank into her own and she bit the inside of her cheek to keep from groaning at the warmth. It had been almost four days since she had felt such a heat in her own body.

The two stood still for a moment. Both afraid to break the moment, the haze they found themselves in.

Bianca's heart racing as she held Maggie's suddenly darkening eyes. She gasped in air as Maggie brought her hand up to trace a path down her cheek to her neck. Maggie seemed to be looking for something in her face and by the sudden forward shift of her head she seemed to have found it.

"Alright, it's time to go. I hope you were able to get her out of her room." David announced from the doorway as he walked in, his eyes shifting over a sheet of paper in front of his face.

When he looked up he noticed how both women seemed to be flushed and Bianca had her back turned to Maggie while Maggie eyed the carpet by the couch. David looked at the both of them and then behind himself. What had he missed?

"I'll be in the car." Bianca stated swiftly as she moved through the rented suite right passed David, her eyes unable to meet the good doctor's as she passed him.

David watched Bianca leave the room and then turned back to the rooms only other occupant who looked like the cat who'd just eaten the canary and loved every bit of it.

"What did I miss?" David asked, eyes hardening slightly.

Maggie sighed and shook her head, unable to meet David's eyes. "Nothing…" Maggie tried to make the same escape Bianca had but David followed her speedy exit.

"Damnit, Maggie, that didn't look like nothing." David exclaimed as he attempted to follow his cousin down the outdoor hallway to the Marriot suit they were staying in. He groaned as he hastily moved the five steps back to their suite door, locked it quickly, before scurrying to catch up to his cousin.

By the time he made it to the stairwell he looked down to see Maggie already on the third floor flight of stairs and sighed, moving towards the elevator. He'd let Maggie get the exercise of running down the eight flights of stairs. She could apparently use some of the exertion to calm her nerves.

He pressed the call button again and shook his head. Apparently he had prepared himself for the wrong types of situations when dealing with a death in the family. Had he known there would be sexual tension nearly thick enough to slice with a knife between his cousin and the young Ms. Montgomery, he would have thought better of letting Bianca stay in their suite.

Well, he couldn't be left to think of everything, now could he?

David shook his head, aware that after this morning things would not be as easily deciphered. In a few hours Maggie would have to watch her mother be laid to rest. It was going to be a very emotionally trying time for her, and she needed Bianca. Even he knew that. So, he hoped the two could figure out what was going on between them at another time, push their feelings aside for a few more days or hours, because they were going to need each other. Of this David was sure.

He stepped onto the elevator and prayed to a God he wasn't sure existed that the two women find their way even if that path led them to each other or apart.

"We have gathered here today to celebrate the life of Gwyneth Bennet Stone. A loving woman who lost her way for a great many years, a woman we are here to lay to rest today. Gwen had made long strides in the last years of her life to right the wrongs she had committed. She often times could be seen at the local high school talking with students about the harms of binge drinking, or here at the church praying and offering a kind word where there had been none, or a hand to help lift someone up where none had been offered and an ear to those who needed a confidant."

Maggie sat in the front pew and listened to the priest's words wondering about the woman he so passionately spoke about. Had she known that woman? Had she ever known the bright and helpful woman he spoke about? She didn't think so. A part of her was sad that she had never seen Gwen like this while another was skeptical that if she had stayed Gwen would have been able to become the woman all these people cared about.

It surprised Maggie to see at least three whole pews of high school students attending with one or both of their parents or a friend. Apparently Gwen had been a godsend to many students that had lost their way with the bottle or needle.

"Gwen was a woman of great troubles but a woman who was striving to make the world around her a better place."

Maggie looked beside her and saw David's downcast eyes. Beside him was Bianca. The younger woman must have felt eyes on her because she turned to meet Maggie's eyes and without thought stretched out her arm and took a hold of Maggie's hand. David noticed the outstretched arm across his legs and smiled internally.

The mass was over quickly, at least to others. To Maggie it felt like an eternity. Listening to people talk about her mother in such a bright light after she had only become used to the shadowed woman with a dark depressed sorrowful aura. It was difficult to hear and not remain unaffected by the kinds words of students her mother had helped, people she had helped pull out from their own darkness.

Maggie was grateful to have Bianca's hand to hold through the service. It was the only thing keeping her from running to the nearest exit and away from the woman that her mother had become. A woman that had begged her for a second chance and she hadn't given it to. It hurt. God did it hurt.

The procession song as six strong young men carried out her mother's coffin, four of them no older than 18, tore a whole straight through Maggie's heart.

I Dreamed a Dream…Maggie closed her eyes tightly as she exited the pew and followed behind the procession. Bianca's hand was wrapped tightly in both of hers as she held it captive against her stomach. She needed the contact more than anything.

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

A five year old Mary Margaret Stone stood hidden behind the arm chair in den as she watched her mother move around the living room a duster in hand. Her mother's voice was prettier than the voice coming from the stereo. Maggie smiled as she closed her eyes and listened to her mother sing. It had been so long since she had heard her sing.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted

Maggie stood in the doorway to the kitchen and found herself wondering if her mother was ever going to talk to her about her father. She was twelve years old after all and maybe if her mother talked about how much she missed him she wouldn't need to drink all the time. Today, today was a good day. Standing in the kitchen was the woman that had been missing for a long time. Gwen stood in the kitchen busily making her children and herself dinner. The stereo was on and Maggie smiled as her mother's voice rose above the woman's from the CD.

"What are you…"

"Shhhh…" Maggie quickly turned and grabbed Frankie's head and covered her sister's mouth. Frankie didn't move after her initial attempt to break away.

Frankie's eyes widened as she looked into the kitchen and saw her mother moving about the kitchen singing into a wooden spoon, her voice deep and rich with emotion.

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame

Maggie was astounded. It had been years since she had walked into her own home and heard the radio playing the only CD that ever played in it. Not even Frankie played around with the stereo in the living room. It was left untouched and had held the same CD in its player for almost four years now. Maggie looked at the house and noticed that certain things weren't as they had been before she had left. The living room furniture was rearranged and the floor was scrubbed clean. Maggie hadn't gotten a chance to clean the living room before she left for school today. Frankie wouldn't bother with cleaning the house, and she wouldn't dare put on the stereo and play the song through the entire house.

Maggie put her bag down on the armchair that had been moved across the room to face the window instead of face the mantel with all the family pictures. Maggie stopped short when she heard a somewhat familiar voice coming from the den. With a practiced ease she slipped silently through the house and stood before the den door. With a slight push Maggie could see inside and saw her mother moving around the room with a bottle of scotch, her voice rough as she sang the lyrics. Some of them muffled by her need to intake more alcohol.

When Gwen turned towards the door Maggie covered her mouth as fast as she could, her palm muffling her gasp of surprise. Her mother was crying. Her mother wasn't a crier when she drank. She was a mean and angry drunk, but Maggie had only ever seen her mother cry twice before when drunk. Both times the tears had flowed when she noticed the bruises on her arms. Bruises she had made the night before when she found Maggie had locked her door. Most times that kept Gwen out, but every once in a while it only enraged her and left Maggie in need of fixing a broken hinge on her door. It was better to lock it and deal with the consequences then to leave it open.

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

"Maggie…" Frankie hissed as she pulled Maggie away from the den quickly before Gwen spotted them. "Come on…don't be stupid!" Frankie pulled Maggie into the living room and shook her head at her twin.

"Who do you think she sings that to?" Maggie asked as she watched Frankie grab both of their school bags and stand by the door.

"I don't know," Frankie sighed. They used to think it was their father but that was when they were naïve and thought their mother was the greatest. Now…now they knew different.

"Come on, lets go." Frankie threw Maggie her backpack and opened the door.

Maggie sighed as she pulled her backpack tighter about her shoulders and followed Frankie out of the house.

"Where are you going?" Maggie asked, hoping that Frankie wouldn't go to that boys house. He was bad news. He was the type of boy mothers kept their daughters away from and fathers threatened to beat up. Sadly, they didn't really have either, so Maggie found herself playing both roles. Even when it made Frankie angry with her. They were only sixteen. Frankie shouldn't be hanging out with boys that were in college and offered her beer.

"I thought I'd go with you to Billy's and Barbara's." Frankie admitted.

More time spent with Maggie the better. She knew soon she wouldn't be able to spend any time with her. She just knew it deep down that sooner rather than later they would be split up. At her own doing, it was true, but she just knew Maggie wouldn't come with her no matter how much she begged her to. Maggie still held hope. Hope that the woman they had just witnessed crying and drinking herself into a stupor would magically become their long lost mother. Frankie knew better. Their mother was gone and she wasn't coming back, just like their father.

Maggie smiled, grateful that Frankie would be away from that Chad? Dillon? Bradley?…Whatever his name was.

"Good. You know…I think Barbara's into you." Maggie watched as Frankie blushed and ducked down her head.

"Yeah and Billy can't wait to get into you…." Frankie accused gently, wiggling her eyebrows at her twin.

Maggie cringed, blushed and laughed at the same time. Aware that Billy was interested in her, but not seeing it going anywhere that it hadn't already. Billy was a great man but Maggie wasn't sure he was the guy for her. No matter what Frankie said!

The last of her past had just been buried before the eyes of people Maggie didn't know. The future that stood before her, though scaring her to the depths of her soul as it were, was all there was left.


Part 2

Maggie stood alone in front of her mother's gravestone.

David had left, gotten a cab. He had left Bianca and Maggie here in the cemetery. Bianca refused to leave, even when Maggie had asked her to go. Maggie smiled at the thought of Bianca standing underneath the canopy they had sat under during the service—Maggie had grasped Bianca's hand like a lifeline as her mind wandered during the service—even now waiting for her.

After Bianca released her from their embrace Billy had stepped forward and placed his hand gently on Maggie's shoulder. Maggie had looked up and met his eyes with a watery smile. He knew. He had been there. He had seen the bruises. Held her when she cried and begged him for answers to questions he had no way of answering.

Had Maggie seen Bianca's eyes focus solely on their joined hands that lie on her shoulder Maggie would have back pedaled. Maggie would have been left with questions she had no way of answering right now. But she hadn't seen Bianca's eyes, hadn't seen her glare or tensing of her shoulders as Billy had wrapped his arms around her and held her as she cried and looked down at the loose dirt of her mother's grave.

Billy had known the Gwen Stone she did and she took comfort in that. Took comfort in his presence. Unobtrusive as it was as she knew he was standing behind her, under the canopy that had been set up for the burial service, Bianca on the opposite side.

Maggie covered the base of her neck as she closed her eyes and saw her mother standing in the living room spinning around slowly, dancing with an imaginary person. The music playing clearly in her ears. This time it was not her mother's voice that sang out into the air but her own.

"And still I dream that he'll come to me. That we will live the years together but there are dreams that cannot be. And there are storms that we cannot weather…." Maggie fell to her knees before her mother's gravestone. Her arms instinctually wrapping around her chest as her body shook with the force of her sobs.

It was so surreal. To know now that her mother had never sung this song for Richard Stone. No, she had sung it in longing for Alexander Cambias. Her biological father! The man that had captured her heart and left her unable to love another again.

Maggie hated her mother for what she had done. She hated her for keeping the secret for so long! For never telling her or Frankie about Alexander! Never even giving them a hint! Just one hint! That was all she would have needed, just one! But no…Not even in her drunken stupors did Gwen give them a clue. Gwen's heart was so fenced off, the secret affair so guarded, that even in the haze of inebriation she did not let lose any details.

Then there was a part of Maggie that knew. Knew why Gwen had kept quiet.

It was Alexander Cambias, billionaire mogul tycoon.

He could have crushed Gwen in the worst ways. The truth could have crushed her and Frankie as well. But Gwen hadn't given him a chance. Gwen hadn't given him the chance to return, to prove her wrong. Now, now Gwen would never know how much he did love her, how much he would have sacrificed for her…for them.

"Why…" The pain was almost unbearable. "I'm sorry…I'm sooo sorry. I'm sorry I didn't listen. I'm sorry I didn't call you back…" Maggie hiccupped through her sobs.

Leaves crunched under someone's weight behind her but didn't dare look who was coming closer.

Billy stood still, a hand of a woman he didn't know holding him back as she shook her head. He looked at her with a raised brow, unsure why he was listening to her, but he saw a matching sorrow in her eyes. Her eyes held unshed tears and he could tell she wanted to do just what he did. She wanted to run to the fallen woman before them and hold her and never let her feel pain ever again.

He saw the young brunette's clenching hands, the way her shoulders stood stiff and how her jaw muscles flexed. Seeing this and knowing he stood in a similar fashion he nodded his head solemnly as he remained where he was.

"I'm sorry I didn't…didn't…give you another ch…chance. Oh god…I…please….I'm so sorry…" Maggie looked up at the afternoon sky and begged a God she didn't pray to for forgiveness.

Maggie heard the crunching of dirt and leaves as someone moved closer to her from behind.

"She slept a summer by my side. She filled my days with endless wonder. I took her childhood in my stride. But I was gone when autumn came."

Maggie's eyes widened and she shook her head as the teem timber of the voice continued from where she had left off.

"I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell that I'm living, so different now then what it seemed."

Maggie turned around and wiped at her eyes feebly as she listened and watched as Alexander Cambias moved to kneel beside her.

"Now life has killed the dream…." Alex looked at his daughter. "…the dream I dreamed."

"Wha…what are you doing here?" Maggie asked and noticed that Billy was standing to the side of the canopy with Bianca holding onto his shoulder.

Both were looking curiously onto the scene in front of them. Maggie noticed Ryan was walking towards them as well from a parked limo. Maggie quickly turned to Alexander.

"I'm just here to make sure you're okay." Alex explained as he wiped a tear off of Maggie's cheek gently.

"But…you're sick." Maggie knew he shouldn't be here. How had he gotten out of the hospital? Maggie saw Ryan stepping closer and figured Alexander's power and Ryan's intimidating figure had been the way he had escaped.

"Yes, I am. But you needed me so…" Alex allowed his cane to lie on the ground before him as he spread out his arms. "…I came. I'm trying to change and the first step is to be here for the people I love…be here for my family."

Maggie shook her head sadly. He really was trying and she wanted to give him credit for it, she really did but then her eyes caught sight of Bianca. How could she reconcile this man with the man that Michael had cursed and blamed for his behavior? He didn't seem like the man she had heard about. He seemed kind, genuine, and loving.

Maggie sighed and shook her head at her own inability to make up her mind about the man kneeling before her.

Billy and Bianca were both waiting for her signal, waiting for her to call them to her to keep him away, but she just shook her head at them and turned back to Alexander. She made sure to keep her voice low.

"I…she used to sing that song. I thought it was about my father. I thought that it was about Richard Stone. But it wasn't…it was about you. It was all about you." Maggie sobbed and pulled away when Alexander tried to touch her face again.

Maggie knew who she was. She did…or she had. Maggie had known she was sure about what she wanted…or…she had known what she wanted. She had wanted to live her life never to see Richard Stone again knowing she didn't need a father.

Now she still never wanted to see Richard Stone again but found herself longing for the father she had never known she had and he was sitting right before her, begging her for a chance.

Maggie had been sure she knew who she was, what she wanted out of life.


In the last two years let alone the last three days, everything seemed to be changing around her.

Maggie had once been sure that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Billy and raise a family with him. He was a great man. He would make a wonderful husband and father. He was kind and gentle and caring while also strong and confident. He was everything she could ever want in a husband and he had loved her, could possibly love her again if she gave him the chance.

Those wishes…that ideal future with the loving husband and possibly children was from three years ago.

Now she looked back towards the canopy and found she wanted something completely different from anything she had ever thought she could want. Instead of being in love with her old best friend, she was in love with her new best friend. A woman—sure Bianca's gender scared her because she wasn't expecting it, hadn't planned to fall in love with a woman—a woman that was more precious to her then any stone or gem.

Now, the new future she found herself dreaming about every night, day dreaming about every day, was unavailable to her because of the man kneeling beside her. A life with Bianca and possibly the child growing inside of her was what she wanted. She would offer Bianca anything and everything. If Bianca wanted to run, keep the child out of the lime light she would help her. She would drop everything and run away with Bianca all she needed to do was ask.

Maggie knew in her heart of hearts that being willing to drop everything so that a friend could find happiness was not what it seemed. She knew that she loved Bianca and a part of her understood how much she loved her. Another part now wondered how she could rightfully love her, be in love with her, as deeply as she was.

Maggie's new bloodline would make her new dreams impossible. She was sure of it.

"I don't even know who I am anymore…" Maggie laughed at the irony. "I'm not a Stone…" Alexander nodded, knowing this was true. "But I'm not a Cambias either!" Maggie informed as she met Alexander's eyes. "I can never take that name, not ever!"

Alexander looked displeased by this information but understanding.

How Maggie could easily read his face made her pause. Since she had first laid eyes on him Maggie had been able to read each and every one of his looks. Whether they were guarded or open she could read them all and know what they wanted or did not want to convey. Maggie only realized now with widening eyes that his different looks were her looks. They were almost identical!

Maggie shivered and shook her head in disbelief.

"I…need to go…I…" Maggie's eyes falling to her mother's gravestone and the dying man kneeling before it. Maggie stood from her kneeling position and stepped towards the canopy her back turned towards Billy and Bianca as she moved towards them.

"Maggie, please wait…" Alexander begged as he met Maggie's eyes with his own.

Maggie's breath caught even as tears fell from her own eyes. It was hard to deny her own pleading eyes anything, but she had to.

"Look…I'm sorry…I'll call you. I…"

"I'm staying at the Marriot hotel, suite 556." Alex quickly informed, hoping that she would indeed call him.

Maggie paused.

There was no way he was staying out of the hospital. He was sick. He needed to get treatment. He couldn't find help at the Marriot hotel. The fact that his suite was only three floors below her suite only factored in for a moment. His health became the main focus of her argument.

Maggie stopped moving away and turned accusing eyes at Ryan, who now stood a few feet to her right, trying to remain away from this family moment.

"You will take him back to the hospital."

"Look Maggie…" Ryan tried, he knew where Alexander belonged, but making Alexander see that was a hell of a task.

"Ryan…" Maggie heard Bianca's surprise at seeing her sister's ex-fiancé. Maggie noticed how Bianca was stepping closer to them and she moved unconsciously to stand in front of Bianca's figure blocking it from both Alexander and Ryan.

"I don't care if you follow his orders! If you don't bring him back to the hospital I'll do it myself. He can't stay outside of the hospital. He needs treatment!" Maggie insisted one hand coming to rest on Bianca's hip as she stood in front of her.

Bianca remained behind Maggie unsure why the older woman was keeping her behind her when it was only Ryan and a rather sickly looking older man.

Ryan sighed, he knew Maggie was right. He did, but he also knew how stubborn Alexander Cambias could be.

"I am capable of making my own decisions." Alexander informed as he slowly made his way towards the two arguing friends. "Now, Maggie if you wish to see me then you can see me at the Marriot hotel..." His voice left no room to be toiled with, yet Maggie steamed ahead.


Alexander's eyes widened, he was not used to being told no. "No?" He questioned.

Maggie crossed an arm over her chest and dared Alexander to say anything her other still keeping Bianca behind her. "You want to see me? Then you'll see me while you're in the hospital. Where you belong!" Maggie would not back down. Not over this.

"Well I've never…" Alexander sputtered, taken aback by his daughter's 180 transformation from the scared sorrowful child to the commanding and self-assured woman before him.

"No, you've never dealt with one pissed off and stubborn Maggie Stone, it's better to listen and ask questions later." Bianca informed chuckling for a moment at the elder gentlemen's surprise at Maggie's strong will. Then Bianca looked at the man in front of her more critically and felt a sense of déjà vu. She knew his face but couldn't place from where.

Alexander wanted to correct the young woman but found his voice catching as he noticed who she was. Her face…he had seen her face on the television during the trial. He gasped and felt his spine stiffen for a moment.

He opened his mouth to speak to her, finally tell her in person how sorry he was only for Maggie to growl out an order as she shook her head and glared at him.

"Don't even think about it." Maggie's voice was low and her body was posed as if ready to attack if she needed to spring to protect or defend.

Alexander was taken aback by this fierceness for a moment before he bowed his head and stepped closer to the young Mr. Lavery and away from the two women.

Alexander cleared his throat and smirked slightly at the remembered statement. He was careful to insert the correct last name in his statements context. "I've dealt with the Bennett temperament before. I think I can handle this one…" Alexander spoke softly a twinkle in his eyes. Seeing Maggie's uncompromising eyes he sighed.

He would go back to the hospital if it meant she would come and see him, he'd go back to the confounded hospital. "Fine, I'll be at the hospital. But I reserve the right to leave if you don't come by tomorrow."

Maggie groaned realizing her plan had one flaw. He could bargain with her and the only thing he could bargain with was how long he would stay in the hospital.

"Fine…" Maggie bit out. If it meant he would get the help he needed, she would agree to see him again at the hospital.

He smiled, "Good…" He bowed his head at both young women, his eyes looking pained as he met Ms. Montgomery's eyes. "Ryan, be a good lad and help me back to the car and hospital, would you?"

Ryan smirked at the man who took his offered arm. He turned back to Maggie and Bianca with a slightly faltering smile. "I'll call you later, okay Bianca? Maggie…" He bowed his head, "I'm sorry for your loss."

Maggie nodded her thanks for the condolences and watched the two leave.

"So…" Bianca waited until both men were safely tucked away in the retreating limo. "You going to explain that to me?" Bianca asked as she crossed her own arms and mirrored the stance Maggie had taken against the unknown elderly man.

Maggie groaned and shook her head as she watched the limo pull away. She turned back to Bianca when the limo had pulled out from the cemetery.

Maggie pinched the bridge of her nose as she took a deep breath. That had been one encounter she could have done without.


Maggie shot her eyes up to meet Bianca's and saw all the questions swirling around in them.

Damn that man. Damn him for putting her in this position.

"There's a lot you don't know about Bianca." Maggie informed timidly as she made her way away from her mother's grave. Bianca quickly took up step beside Maggie, willing to follow wherever Maggie was leading.

"I know that, when are you going to start telling me?" Bianca asked, her patience holding on by only a slight thread.

Maggie stopped when they made it to the street the car was parked further down, her eyes were slightly panicked and pained. Bianca saw this and swiftly took Maggie's hand in her own and squeezed it gently.

"Can we…maybe talk about it later?" Maggie asked, rubbing the back of her neck hoping to relieve some of the tension there, her eyes looking at Bianca through her hairline grateful for Bianca's foresight to take a hold of her hand.

"Sure….of course we can."

Maggie smiled softly, "Thanks."

The two stood staring at each other for a few minutes before the moment was broken by Billy clearing his throat.

"I don't want to be rude but I was wondering if you two lovely ladies would like to join me for dinner? My treat?" Billy asked as he made his way up to stand behind the two women.

Billy was aware that he had disturbed a special moment, but he saw the approaching storm clouds and thought it would be best to get the two out of the cemetery before they hit.

"Does 'my treat' still mean a burger at Joe's?" Maggie asked smiling at the memories of the two of them with differing amounts of people loitering about Joe's Burger Joint while they were kids.

Billy chuckled, "It can be if you want it to. Or it can mean a steak or sea food dinner at Jordan's Sea Port."

Maggie nodded, "Seems you do a lot better for yourself then working the night shift at the movie theaters for far less than minimum wage." Maggie informed and smiled, always having known he would.

"Well hey, that was off the books and I made enough money for myself and your skinny ass."

Maggie swatted at his arm, careful not to extend herself farther then the reach of Bianca's arm unwilling to let go of her friend's hand.

Billy laughed as he caught Maggie up on his new job. "I work for the law offices we ran into each other at the other day."

Maggie nodded with a smile as she looked at Billy and then turned to Bianca and saw her confusion at the friendly banter.

"Oh I'm sorry…." Maggie moved to stand between Billy and Bianca the separate parties noticing Maggie had yet to let go of Bianca's hand. "Bianca this is Billy Allan. Billy this is Bianca Montgomery."

"Bill Allan…" Billy corrected as he extended his hand to Bianca. "I grew up with M&M here."

"She was right with my name," Bianca quipped as she took Bill's outstretched hand with only a slight hesitance and offered him a polite smile. "M&M?" She questioned as her hand was released.

"Mary Margaret so for short I called her M&M." Bill shrugged his shoulders at his lack of ingenuity. "We were like five…"

"I was like…five you were like…eight." Maggie gibed at his juvenile tone while using the word like.

"Be nice…" Bianca scolded and Bill watched with a laugh as Maggie bowed her head being properly chastised.

"God…where were you when we were growing up?" Bill asked as the three began making their way towards the only two parked cars on the street.

It didn't matter where Bianca had been while she was growing up what mattered was where she was now and Maggie loved her for it.

The two women laughed and Bianca looked to Maggie with a genuine smile as she squeezed her hand.

Maggie met Bianca's eyes and leaned her head down on against Bianca's shoulder as they continued to walk.

The road ahead of Maggie was filled with unknown variables but she knew as long as she continued to walk down it with her head held high and the support of the woman beside her and her family she would overcome it.


Part 3

Maggie shot up in bed at the scream that penetrated her sleep. The first night of proper sleep and she found herself woken up by a scream that wasn't her own.

Realizing that the scream wasn't hers left her with little options on who it had come from. Without thought Maggie rolled off of her bed, hitting her knee against her bedside dresser as she did so. Her side protested against her sudden movement and cramped up. It felt as if the skin tore in half. Maggie bit the inside of her lip and kept quiet as she crawled the last bit of distance that was left between her bed and Bianca's.

"Bianca…" Maggie whispered as she moved to lean over the bed wincing as she put weight on the leg she had just knocked into the wooden surface of the dresser.


Maggie closed her eyes for a moment her hand poised over Bianca's shoulder.

Bianca was dreaming of him.

Maggie felt her heart rate double while her stomach revolted; nausea taking hold of her.

"Please…don't…" Bianca begged as she tossed and turned in her bed, the sheets sticking to her soaked skin.

"Bianca…" Maggie shook herself out of her own daze and put her hand to Bianca's shoulder and shook gently.


Bianca's head snapped from one side to the other her pleas had quieted and Maggie wondered if that was a good thing.

"Bianca please wake up honey…it's a dream. It's a dream. He can't hurt you anymore…I promise." Maggie whispered as she brushed gently at Bianca's cheek. "He'll never hurt you again…" Maggie swore as tears fell from her eyes. "I promise…" Maggie felt her breath catch in her chest.

Not now….Maggie forced herself to remove herself from her own mind and focus on Bianca.

"Mag…Maggie…?" Bianca's groggy voice made Maggie smile.

Maggie leaned her head down on the edge of the bed after slipping back to kneel alongside Bianca's bed. A whoosh of air left her lungs as she let her shoulders sag in relief.

"Wha….what's wrong? Are you okay?" Bianca quickly shook herself and rubbed at her eyes. Maggie was awake, she was calling her name, what happened? Was she okay? What did she need?

Bianca moved to turn on the light that rested atop the dresser that made up the distance between their beds. Once the light was on and her eyes had adjusted to the light she was surprised to find Maggie kneeling beside her bed.

"Maggie…oh my god…what's wrong?!" Bianca quickly moved to the edge of the bed, and lying on her side took a hold of Maggie's hands that were clenching the sheets of her bed. "Maggie?"

No answer except the sound of Maggie sniffling.

Bianca ran her hand through Maggie's hair, hoping the older woman would look up at her. She didn't.

"Maggie, please what's wrong?" Again no answer it was as if Maggie didn't even hear her. "You're scaring me…please, what's wrong?" If Maggie didn't answer her right now she was going to get David.

"I'm soo sorry…" Maggie whispered as she lifted her head up from Bianca's bed and met Bianca's eyes her own flooded with tears.

"For what?" Bianca asked, confusion riddling her voice and face. "What could you possibly be sorry for, Maggie?" Bianca ran her hand across Maggie's cheek whipping away the older woman's tears.

Maggie just shook her head and burrowed her face back into Bianca's mattress.

With no further explanation Bianca rolled over to look at her own dresser to check the time. It was nearly three in the morning.

They had come back to the suite around ten in the evening as it poured outside. At some point while they were all enjoying dinner the storm had rolled in.

It was apparently nothing new for the two locals but the storm had scared Bianca, with a flash of lightning and the sound of rumbling thunder, Bianca admitted that it still did. Maggie had known immediately what was bothering her when they returned to the suite and Bianca remembered falling asleep with Maggie holding her.

That had been nearly four hours ago.

What had happened between then and now? What had upset Maggie so much?

Okay…it was time to pull it all together.

Maggie took a deep several deep breaths and stemmed the flow of her tears. No matter what she did she could not take back what her brother…what Michael had done to Bianca. She could only be there for Bianca now and give her the comfort, safety, respect, and love she deserved.

"Can I sleep with you?" Maggie hiccupped as she looked up at Bianca's back. Well, that wasn't what she had been aiming for but Maggie would take it, she wanted to be close to Bianca. If she was honest she needed to be close to her.

Bianca quickly turned back towards Maggie and nodded her head while clearing her throat. "Of course…there's plenty of room."

Bianca soon realized the sheets were rather damp. Was the heat on high enough to cause it? Or had it been another nightmare?

As Bianca moved over to allow Maggie onto her bed she realized it had been another nightmare.

When were these going to go away?

Everyone said that it was going to take time, that was all well and good for them but she wanted them to go away now. She was tired of living in fear of that man. She had to deal with him while awake, her dreams should be her sanctuary from him, yet they weren't.

"Did I wake you?" Bianca then thought of the position Maggie had been in when she woke up. "Oh god, Maggie did I push you off the bed? I'm sooo sorry…! Are you hurt?" Bianca lay on her side moving to check and see if Maggie was bruised and battered from the fall. Maggie only hissed when she touched just above her hip on her right side. Bianca was going to inspect more but stopped when she heard Maggie's watery chuckle.

"No, and no need to be sorry, and no again." Maggie chuckled. "You did however kick me a few times." Maggie admitted as she turned off the light and turned to lie on her side facing Bianca, a mirror image of the younger woman. "I moved to my own bed around midnight."

"Oh…" Bianca nodded slowly. "I'm sorry that I woke you." Bianca looked down ashamed to have woken up the already stricken young woman.

Maggie had admitted during dinner that she hadn't been sleeping well and her appetite had been light since she had gotten the phone call about her mother. Both Bianca and Billy had tried to reassure Maggie that it was normal for such things to happen and that it'd get better.

During dinner Maggie had opened up more about her past to Bianca. The stories both Maggie and Billy told about Maggie and Frankie's childhood left Bianca in wonder of how Maggie had come out of it the way she had. Frankie…hadn't been as fortunate as Maggie to come out on the other side as sure and confident. If those were even the right adjectives…

Frankie had her own confidences and her own fears while Maggie had a different set. It was almost like where Maggie's confidences ended Frankie's began and vice versa. Billy apparently had noticed this as he grew up with the twins and they soon began talking about it as if Maggie weren't there.

That was, until Maggie cleared her throat and asked if the two of them would like to be alone. It had broken the tension and brought on a whole new set of stories and conversations that stemmed away from the darker parts of Maggie's late childhood and teenager years.

"Don't worry about it…" Maggie insisted as she took a hold of Bianca's hand and kissed the younger girls knuckles before resting the cherished hand down on the mattress between them.

Bianca smiled and moved to take Maggie's hand once again, stiffening at the rumbling thunder outside their suite. Maggie just held Bianca's hand, allowing the brunette to squeeze it until her body was once again as relaxed as it could be.

"It's all right…you just squeeze as hard as you need to, okay?" Maggie whispered as she ran her thumb over the side of Bianca's wrist.

Bianca nodded and smiled thankfully at Maggie. When the storm outside seemed to calm down Bianca felt her own body relax slightly and noticed that Maggie had moved closer and was rubbing her hand comfortingly up and down her arm.

Bianca shook her head at the strength of the woman before her. No matter how strong Maggie insisted she was herself, she knew Maggie was just as strong if not stronger. Bianca also knew that as strong as Maggie was she needed someone else to be strong for her now. Bianca was more than willing to be strong enough for the both of them. Maggie had been strong enough for the both of them for so long, too long. Now it was her turn to return the favor and maybe after this they'd finally get a break.

Bianca yawned and laid her head down on the pillow, her eyes holding Maggie's as the older woman mirrored her yawn.

"Love you Maggie…" Bianca whispered as her eyes fluttered closed.

Maggie watched as Bianca's breathing evened out before she closed her own eyes.

"Goodnight, B…I…I love you too."

Bianca woke up to the sound of a random DJ announcing the next time tickets to some show/concert would be offered up as a prize to the hundredth caller.

The second thing Bianca realized as she woke up was that she was alone.

Totally and completely alone.

Leaning up slightly and remaining silent, the alarm clock turned off with a disgruntled flick, Bianca realized that Maggie wasn't in the bathroom either.

Curious, Bianca quickly got up from bed and looked at the time on her alarm clock. The neon lights read 10:00am.

Bianca quickly slipped on a robe hanging from the closet.

The younger woman confirmed that Maggie was indeed not in the bathroom of their room and her shoes and purse were no longer lying beside her dresser. Confused and slightly hurt and irritated Bianca moved into the main room of the suite.

Once in the doorway Bianca saw David sitting at the kitchen counter with a mug of coffee and the morning paper.

David turned at the sound of the opening door and smiled in greeting while Bianca moved to quickly tie up her robe.

"Good morning, Bianca. Would you like some coffee?"

Bianca shook her head as she cleared her throat, "No…no thanks David. I'll just have some juice if we still have."

"Yes, I think there's still some apple juice left, here you sit I'll get you a glass." David offered Bianca his seat as he moved swiftly into the kitchenette area and pulled the small carton of apple juice from the fridge to poor Bianca the remnants of it.

"Here you go…" David handed Bianca the glass with a smile. "…would you like something to eat? We still have some eggs and bread. I can make you some scrambled eggs and toast?" David offered as he stood on the opposite side of the kitchen counter from the young woman.

Bianca smiled as she took the glass from David. "Yes, that would be lovely, thank you…" Bianca took a sip of the apple juice while moving to take the seat next to David's.

"Not a problem, scrambled eggs and toast coming right up." David turned back towards the stove and fridge to start Bianca's breakfast order.

Bianca looked around the suite expecting to see Maggie pop up from around the corner or maybe walk back inside from the porch that connected to the main living area and David's master bedroom of the suite. When Maggie remained absent Bianca turned to David for answers.

"David…where's Maggie?" Bianca asked as she watched David scramble the eggs he had cracked into a mug.

"Hmm…? What was that, I'm sorry…" David turned on the burner of the stove and poured the eggs into the pan as he turned towards Bianca.

"Its fine, I was just wondering where Maggie is…" Bianca explained as she took another sip from her glass, grateful that her stomach was settled.

On arriving home during the storm Bianca had feared she'd get sick but after her restful night last night, well that is after her nightmare, she felt much better.

"Oh…Maggie…" Bianca noticed that he seemed nervous. "She had to take care of a few things. She should be back in a few hours."

Bianca raised a brow.

Something was up. Since she had arrived both David and Maggie had been nervous around her whenever she asked them if there was something she needed to know, or where Maggie was or who that man was that had showed up after David had left yesterday at the cemetery. Maggie had gone pale and quickly changed the subject at dinner last night. Bianca was just grateful that Billy was just as unaware as she was, as he had asked the question himself.

"David…" Bianca called, putting her glass down on the counter and leaning forward.

"Yes?" David remained with his back turned towards her as he cooked.

"What is it that you're hiding?" Bianca smiled internally when David proved he was hiding something by his subtle shift in weight from one foot to the other.

Bianca watched as his fingers closed one at a time to make a fist before quickly shooting back out as if he'd never made the fist to begin with. It was something he tended to do when he didn't want to talk about something important.

"What are you talking about?" David asked as he looked at Bianca over his shoulder.

"David, don't try to deny it. You and Maggie are both keeping something from me. I just…" Bianca sighed. "I want to make sure that she's okay."

"She's fine," He answered too quickly for her liking. At her raised brown David sighed. "She'll be fine."

"David, what happened? What did I miss? Is this about her father?" Bianca asked, questions just flying from her.

David tensed and took a deep breath. "Yes it is."

It wasn't lying, it wasn't. So what if Bianca assumed that this meant Maggie was upset over Richard Stone showing up at the reading of her mother's will? It was better than the alternative! It wasn't his place to tell Bianca, if Bianca was ever to know at all.

Bianca didn't know what was worse for Maggie, knowing that Richard Stone was alive or that he was alive and trying to talk to her.

Bianca frowned. No wonder why Maggie didn't want to talk to her about it. Her father, the man that left her, Frankie, and Gwen all those years ago was back and after money and her property. That much she had been able to get out of David the first day she was here.

It just…it had to be hard.

Bianca sighed. She had known all along it was about him. It had to be.

Bianca just hoped that Maggie realized she could talk to her about this. It wasn't Maggie's fault that her father was an asshole.


Part 4

Maggie looked at the door before her and closed her eyes as she pushed it open.

The nurses had given her the room number. She had paced outside the room for almost a half an hour before Ryan had showed up. He had given her one look and turned to leave. For some reason she had stopped him.

Ryan knew more about her fath…about Alexander than her. He could help her figure out what to do. Give her the advice she desperately needed.

"Does he deserve a chance?" Maggie asked, playing with her hands as she shuffled her feet unable to meet Ryan's eyes.

Ryan sighed, "He's trying to be a better man. He's got an odd sense of humor and is very authoritative but I don't think anyone would expect any different." Ryan was trying to be honest, seeing the lost look in Maggie's eyes over this reminded him of himself after finding out about Chris being his father. Ryan still wished he had more time with him.

"He doesn't know me…" Maggie shook her head; she didn't even know herself anymore.

"No, he doesn't." Ryan agreed and finally met Maggie's eyes as she looked up at him. "But he wants to. Maggie…" Ryan sighed as he looked at the closed door. "He doesn't have much time left. What's there to lose in getting to know him?"

Maggie shook her head and took a step away from Ryan. He didn't understand.

That was the problem!

What if she learned to like Alexander? Maybe even love him in the time he had left only to lose him? What then? What would she do then?

What if she got to know him and then lost him before she could know him enough? What was worse? Losing him without knowing everything about him? Or Losing him without knowing anything about him? Would it hurt less not to know? Or hurt more to know less?

"I just…I've already lost my sister and my mo…my mother. What happens when I get to know him? I learn about him and maybe learn to love him and then just lose him? Before I could even scratch the surface of knowing him? What do I do then, Ryan? How do I pick up the pieces then?"

Ryan sighed, the cards Maggie was dealt sucked and sadly even doubling down and going for the long shot couldn't help her in this situation. He wished it were possible, but he knew the circumstances before her and could only imagine the pain she would go through down the road.

"Can you live with that regret?" Ryan asked gently, touching Maggie's shoulder for a moment before pulling away slightly uncomfortable with the physical contact. "Can you live knowing that you never gave him the chance to prove he could be a good father—a good person?"

Maggie sighed, no she couldn't.

Maggie looked down the hallway Ryan had disappeared down nearly fifteen minutes ago. With one last look she turned back to the door and sighed as she closed her eyes and opened it.

"You came…" The surprise in his voice allowed Maggie the realization that she could be doing the right thing.

"Yeah, you know you kind of left me with no choice." Maggie informed as she stalked into the room and took ahold of the back of the chair that sat beside his bed.

Alexander looked disappointed by her answer and Maggie shrugged. "It is true that I gave you little options I just…I hoped you would want to come on your own."

"I could have stayed away. I came, it was my choice." Maggie informed and watched Alexander relax, if only a little.

Maggie moved around the chair she had been holding and sat down.

"You surprised me." Alexander began and noticed Maggie's curious expression. "Yesterday, you were very firm and left little room to barter. I was…I was impressed." Compliments, they had never been his strong suit but he had been truly impressed with his daughter's ability to command his cooperation.

Maggie blushed under his praise knowing it for what it was and unable to keep her cheeks from flaming.

"I was also very intrigued…"

"With?" Maggie asked leaning back in her chair, depositing her bag to the side of the chair.

Alexander smiled to himself at the gesture of Maggie getting situated; she would be staying for a while. He was glad.

"The way you protected Ms. Montgomery."

Maggie stiffened and leaned forward in her chair. Alexander realized quickly that perhaps it was not to his advantage to speak about Ms. Montgomery.

"You would have upset her…" Maggie informed.

"I was not intending to." Alexander quickly informed.

"It wouldn't have mattered; her knowing who you are would have upset her. She's just…she's finally pulling herself back together. She doesn't need this right now."

Alexander wondered what Maggie was referring to. His presence or was it something else? Then…he realized something.

"You haven't told her." It wasn't an accusation, more so a statement than anything else but seeing as how Maggie quickly stood from her chair to pace Alexander realized she took it as an accusation.

It was hard, too hard to explain. Or so Maggie thought.

"You're afraid…" Alexander quickly realized never had he ever thought being a Cambias could be such a horrible burden. The last name offered more open doors than hundreds of others. Here, seeing his own child afraid to inform her best friend about her last name allowed him a moment to realize perhaps being a Cambias was a horrible burden after all.

"I'm terrified that she'll hate me…" Maggie admitted a sob leaving her without her permission. Her tears did not follow. She refused to cry in front of Alexander once again.

Alexander wanted to open his arms and offer Maggie the comfort he saw she so desperately needed but he didn't even know how to begin. It seemed so simple, offer her a shoulder to cry on, wasn't that what they taught others?

The saying let someone cry on your shoulder? He was sure it was, even while knowing that he hadn't allowed anyone to cry on his shoulder since Michael was an infant and even then it hadn't been often.

"I…" Alexander looked around the room lost. "…you love her?"

Maggie's head snapped up and her pacing stopped, her eyes burned with unspoken threats Alexander had not seen since Junior was a teenager.

"I do…if you even think…"

"No…" Alexander lifted his hand to stem off Maggie's threats sure that if they were delivered he would be bound to follow them. "…I ask because if you love her that love is surly returned, correct? She wouldn't have come here to help you if she did not love you, wouldn't you say?" Alexander was pulling at invisible strings and somehow coming away with more than if he could see them.

"Right…" Maggie looked at the older man curiously as she moved to stand behind her chair, gripping the back of it till her knuckles turned white.

"Then…then you should know her well enough to know she could not blame you for…for your parentage." Alexander faltered.

It felt wrong explaining to his daughter how she could not be blamed for being his child. He had no one to blame but himself. He had not done right by many and realistically as many doors that opened for a Cambias were opened with the intent to take advantage of or get something in return for permission in.

Maggie—he had his people learn about her—was not like that. She was not like him. She did not look for opportunities in making the right friends. She didn't look for what others could give her in return for her friendship. Friends were important to her.

Maggie hadn't many friends according to the private investigator he had hired. Alexander hadn't known she would stay around long enough for him to learn about her from her own words. Had he known he might not have hired the private investigator, but it was too late now! He had and he had already read much of the information before he had even gotten off the jet two days ago.

"You don't understand then do you? I'm related to the man that hurt her."

Alexander cringed at the fierce anger behind her words, and he could not find it in himself to blame or fault her for it.

"I…" Maggie shook her head. "…all of my actions can be second guessed now when they shouldn't! They shouldn't! I…I didn't know…!"

Maggie gripped the chair tighter. She hadn't known anything before, but now Kendall, Erica, Jackson, Bianca… they'd all think she was in on it. They would…they…

Maggie's heart raced against her chest as she realized going back to Pine Valley with this knowledge would be more of a burden then any secret she had ever had to keep before.

"Now… no one is going to believe that. No one! Don't you understand what this means?"

"I… I don't…" Alexander wished he did so he could ease Maggie's pain.

"My god… Erica will make my life a living hell! She'll keep Bianca from seeing me! If Bianca even decides she wants to see me at all that is. I just…" Maggie leaned over the chair closing her eyes. "I don't know what I'll do if I lose her. I love her so much…"

Maggie's shoulder shook with her effort to keep from crying, her chest pulled in on itself as she refused to let the tears fall.

Alexander looked at his IV pole and then at his daughter. He pulled the stand closer to the bed and moved to sit on its edge. His IV free hand reaching out to touch Maggie's shaking shoulder.

Maggie pulled away and shook her head, "You need to stay in bed." Maggie informed as she moved closer to her father hoping he'd get back into bed.

She attempted to reign in herself and take deep breaths.

Alexander shook his head, "You need to understand that I don't care about hospital policy." Even as he explained it he moved back to sit up against the bed once again.

"Thank you…" Maggie smirked as he just ignored her comment only giving her a brief nod to let her know he heard her. Maggie had to wonder when the last time was that Alexander Cambias had willingly listened to someone when they were telling him what to do. By his behavior Maggie realized it wasn't often.

"Sorry…" Maggie moved to sit back down and rubbed at her face.

"You have nothing to be sorry for. I understand that this is hard for you, harder than it is for me. I do…" He insisted firmly. "I also understand that others will not take the news well. But… can I tell you something?"

Maggie looked at Alexander interested in what he had to offer her in his way of advice. "Sure…"

"She loves you a great deal. I watched her looking after you yesterday. It was hard not to understand how she could love you. You are an amazing young woman Maggie." Alexander smiled softly at his daughter and watched as she looked shocked and stricken at his declaration.

"I…I just think you aren't giving her enough credit. Yesterday you looked ready to strike me down if I moved to harm her in the slightest. Your Ms. Montgomery and the young man with her looked ready to rush me to save you should I inflict you with any harm, but it was Ms. Montgomery that kept the young man from coming forward."

"What does that have to do with anything?" Maggie wondered confused as to how he had gone from explaining how Bianca loved her to how she had kept Billy back from coming to her possible aid.

"You silly girl…" Alexander chuckled, "…she trusts you. She trusted in you to call for her for help. She knew to let you fight your own battles as well. She had faith in your strength and your abilities. The young man wished only to come to your aid fearing for you."

Maggie shook her head, "How do you get all of this from one meeting?"

"My dear, I did not become the man I am today by just my intellect and charm. In business you learn very quickly how to read a person so to know where their loyalties truly lie. And despite what people often say about me, I am a very good judge of character and happen to enjoy sitting in the park people watching when I have the time."

Maggie couldn't help but smile as she noticed the rosy tint to Alexander's cheeks that he quickly put under wraps after his admission.

"So you see, even with one meeting I know that Ms. Montgomery trusts in you. Now you must trust in her."

Maggie nodded her head in awe of the man before her. He had easily reassured her without even truly knowing her or Bianca. He had cut through her newest fear and informed her that this fear was irrational and unneeded. He was right, she was sure.

Bianca trusted her. Loved her. She loved Bianca. Now it was time to trust her.

"Thank you…" Maggie whispered.

"You're welcome."

The two remained silent for a great deal of time, both unsure how to continue or where to begin. Thankfully a nurse walked in with Alexander's latest medicine and was quickly followed by a doctor.

"Mr. Cambias it is time for your…oh excuse me Miss I didn't realize he had any visitors."

"No, please don't worry about it." Maggie stood from her chair as she looked at the doctor. She noticed that the woman had a charming smile.

"My name is Maeve O'Keeffe, I'm Mr. Cambias' primary cardiologist." The doctor's Irish brogue made Maggie smile internally. Though stereotypical the woman's deep shade of auburn hair and sea green eyes and surname gave her away long before the accent.

"It's a pleasure to meet you Dr. O'Keeffe I'm Maggie um…" Maggie looked at Alexander and found herself smirking, if only slightly. "I'm his daughter." Maggie explained as she turned back to the doctor missing the pleasantly surprised expression upon her father's face.

"Ah…I wasn't aware you had any family in the area Mr. Cambias…"

"I came to town to see Maggie…" Alexander smiled at the doctor before turning to Maggie.

Maggie returned his smile, though hers was far less vibrant then his.

"I'm afraid I'm going to have to take you for a half an hour. There are several tests that need to be run."

"Couldn't they wait?" Alexander didn't want to lose any time with Maggie.

"I'm afraid not…" Dr. O'Keeffe was not Mr. Cambias' first primary doctor. She was the third and unlike her counterparts she was unwilling to give in to the powerful man's orders.

Maggie seeing the looming battle quickly moved to intercede.

Maggie placed her hand on Alexander's. He looked from their joined hands up to Maggie's smiling face.

"I'll wait." She looked to Dr. O'Keeffe to see the older woman nod her head giving her permission to stay around. "I'll just go to the cafeteria or something, get some lunch and be back up when you're done." Maggie turned to her father and found she didn't like her questioning tone, as if he or she had any other choice in the matter.

"I'd like that…" Alexander smiled and turned to the doctor. "Let's get this over with, shall we?"

"Of course…" Dr. O'Keeffe had to openly admit that she had not seen Mr. Cambias give in so willingly in the several days he had been here. Apparently this young woman had a way of working her father into agreeing to things others couldn't even if they work for hours at it.

As Mr. Cambias was pushed out of the room Maeve stayed behind and turned to Maggie. "You'll have to explain how you did that."

Maggie chuckled, "It's not hard when you know what he wants."

Dr. O'Keeffe was intrigued, "And what does he want?"

Maggie looked up at the woman and smirked, "To spend time with me."

Before the good doctor could ask any more questions Maggie was already walking down the hallway towards the stairs and presumably the cafeteria. With a shake of her head Dr. O'Keeffe wondered if there was anything else the elder gentlemen wanted that she could use to bargain for his cooperation.

Maggie looked around the cafeteria and smiled as she saw a corner with several pay phones located away from the main populace of the lunchroom. Maggie picked through her pockets for quarters and put three out onto the shelf of the phone.

Now that she had a moment she'd call David and make sure everything was going alright on his end with Bianca. A quick call to his cell phone resulted in no answer. She left a quick message on his voice mail.

That was odd.

Maggie paid for another call and this time called the Marriott hotel and asked for the suite she shared with David and Bianca.

Again, there was no answer.

Maggie started to leave her message when the echo of a name reached her corner of the cafeteria.

"Michael Cambias youngest son of Alexander Cambias Sr. has been reported as deceased. Cause of death has yet to be determined but eyes have turned swiftly towards the young Mrs. Michael Cambias, Kendall Hart. Reports are coming back that the young newlywed was unavailable for a statement. It appears to have been foul play but as all eyes turn towards the young man that took up where his father left off, no one is sad to see the accused rapist of young Bianca Montgomery daughter of Erica Kane go. Now over to…"

"Pick up the phone!" Maggie nearly wailed into the pay phone. "David…Bianca…are you there David, pick up." Maggie was panicking, if Bianca saw this…

"Maggie…? Maggie where are you?" David asked, he was out of breath, he knew. He had to.

"David, don't let Bianca turn on the TV!"

David sighed, she knew. "I'm sorry it's too late. We turned it on an hour ago, it was everywhere. How did you…?"

"It's all over the television still…oh David, is she okay? Where is she?" Maggie asked, her grip on the heavy plastic phone tightening.

"She's fine, she's using my cell phone. She called Kendall immediately to talk to her."

"They're looking at Kendall for this…" Maggie groaned she had known Kendall was hiding something, that she hadn't been telling the truth about the wedding, but murder?

Could Kendall have done it? Maggie shuddered. It was possible, but so were a lot of things.

"Yes, I know. I called Anna. Maggie…they're not only looking into Kendall."

"Who?" Maggie held her breath, if they went anywhere near Bianca she was going to…

"Maggie, they're looking into you."

Maggie's eyes widened.

"What? Why? I…I don't understand." This wasn't possible.

David sighed and Maggie imagined him scratching at his forehead. "Your threat to kill him if he came near Bianca in the courtroom, and your disappearance has left you at the top of the list."

"David, I didn't disappear, I came home to burry my mother…" Maggie ran her hand through her hair and tried to calm down. "David…what do I do?" Maggie asked, fearing his answer.

"I've already spoken to Anna, there's nothing she can do. I…I've told my lawyer to look into it. Don't worry about this Maggie, we'll deal with it. Okay?"

Maggie nodded her head as she closed her eyes tightly, both hands clinging to the phone as if it were her lifeline. "David…I…"

"No…wait until later, until you're here. Okay? Nothing over the phone."

Maggie nodded only giving her okay after she realized David couldn't see her nodding in confirmation. "Does, does Bianca know that they're looking into me…?"

"No, I…I thought it better to talk to you about it first." David informed and Maggie realized with a sinking feeling in her stomach that he thought she had done it. He thought she did it. Maggie pinched the bridge of her nose and shook her head.

"I…I have to go David. I'll be there later on tonight, alright?" Maggie opened her eyes and looked around the people that moved about the cafeteria unaware of her plight.

"Maggie, I think it would be best if you came back here now."

"Goodbye, David." Maggie hung up the phone. She couldn't go back to the suite right now. She…she needed to think first. Get things straightened out in her head first before she went to talk to David about anything.

Maggie looked around and found an empty table to sit at. The noise surrounding her kept her from losing it. She couldn't be in the quiet right now, she needed to be around people, hear their voices, their laughter, their anything.

Maggie noticed the line for food but she was no longer was hungry. With a sigh Maggie covered her face in her hands and propped her head up with her elbows.

God…what a mess.

He was dead. Michael Cambias was dead and now the whole world knew it.

Maggie knew it would come up, she had but she had hoped that it would take its time. Sadly, the news was everywhere, and when Maggie meant everywhere she really did mean everywhere. The entire world was now focused on Pine Valley once again while the police announced that they had found the body of Michael Cambias, a dead Michael Cambias and pointed fingers in her direction.

"God…what am I going to do?" Maggie asked herself quietly as she laid her head down along her arms on the table.

"I see you heard…"

Maggie looked up and saw Ryan standing in front of her table. He gestured to the seat across from her and with a small nod he took it.

"I'm sorry for…"

"Don't…" Maggie bit out shaking her head. "Don't even think about finishing that sentence."

"But he was your brother…" Ryan knew he had done a lot of horrible things but Michael was still her brother.

"That man was not my brother. We shared nothing but blood in common and even with that we were only half siblings. I'm not his sister and he was not my brother. He was an evil son of a bitch that deserved to die. I'm glad that he finally got what was coming to him." Maggie admitted her eyes dark as she looked at Ryan.

Ryan nodded, "I just…" He couldn't find what he was looking for. Maggie nodded. "You know…"

She did know, but that didn't change anything.

"So…are you going to tell him?" Ryan asked after a few minutes of silence.

"Tell who?" Maggie asked, coming out of her thoughts to hear Ryan's question.


Maggie took a deep breath, well wasn't this just wonderful!

"I don't think I want to." Maggie admitted, especially not after finding out they were looking into her as a possible suspect. Maggie wondered if Ryan knew that, if he still had his contacts back in Pine Valley that let him know that she was number two if not one on the list of suspects.

"I can if you want me to." Ryan offered hoping he could help out Maggie any way he could.

"I...would you?" Then Maggie shook her head, no. "No…I…." Maggie took a deep breath and ran both of her hands through her hair. "I'll do it…I have to do it."

"Are you sure, because if you don't want to I can." Ryan tried again, just in case Maggie really did want him to.

"No, I…this is something I guess I need to do. Your right, even if I think he should have suffered before he died, he was my brother and I need to tell Alexander."

"If you're sure…" Ryan pushed just one last time, touching Maggie's hand comfortingly.

"I am…" Maggie took a deep breath and stood from her seat. "…are you staying at the Marriot?" Maggie asked.

"Yeah, the suite your dad told you about."

"Yeah…" Maggie nodded and looked towards the cafeteria doors and then back at Ryan. "Do you think maybe you could keep an eye on Bianca?"

"Sure…" Ryan stood up and looked around the cafeteria expecting to see her somewhere in the vicinity. "Where is she?"

"She's back at the Marriot three floors above yours. We're in suite 856."

"Okay…I'll go now…?"

"Yeah, that would be good. She could use some more friendly faces right about now I'm sure." Ryan moved to leave but was stopped by Maggie grabbing his arm. "She doesn't know about Alexander being my father." Maggie informed and saw Ryan's shock. "I want to tell her myself. So…could you, you know, not say anything?"

Ryan didn't like it but nodded, "Yeah, it's your secret to tell."


"No problem…"

Maggie watched Ryan leave and pulled herself together before leaving the cafeteria. If there was one thing in the world she didn't want to do it was this, tell a parent that their child was dead.

Maggie poked her head into Alexander's room and saw him talking intently with his doctor.

"Is there nothing they can do?"

"We're working on it, we've called in the specialist you requested, he's looking over your case now, but unless you receive a transplant there's little we can actually do to save your heart."

Maggie gasped at the news and both occupants of the room turned to see her.

"I…I'm sorry I was just…" Maggie pointed inside the room towards the chair she had been sitting where her bag was. "I'm sorry I'll just go…" Maggie moved to leave but was stopped by Alexander calling her name.

"No, Maggie, please stay. Dr. O'Keeffe and I were just finishing." A look at the doctor and she sighed and nodded her head, knowing when she was being dismissed.

Dr. O'Keeffe had the decency to offer Maggie an apologetic smile and a brief comforting touch to the shoulder before she left.

"I…there's nothing they can do?" Maggie asked as she moved further into the room, standing once again behind the chair she had been seated in before.

Alexander sighed, "It appears that way."

Maggie nodded her head closing her eyes against the sting. "How long?" Maggie forced out, eyes still closed.

"A few days…a week at most." Alexander informed his voice devoid of anything but true pain.

Maggie felt her heart constrict and nodded her head as a tear fell from her closed eyes.

It wasn't really news, not in the sense of the word but it hit home all of a sudden. It was just, he was dying and she had just found him. It wasn't fair.

Maggie realized now that no matter what she had thought about before, this, knowing him would be forever better than having never given him a chance.

"I…" Maggie sniffled as she opened her eyes and met her father's watery gaze. "I…don't want to lose you…I just found you!" Maggie sobbed as the tears finally fell and she moved over to the bed. "It's not fair…" Maggie stopped herself from getting any closer.

Alexander felt tears fall from his eyes and wondered how the Bennett women were so easily capable of making him cry. "It's not…I'm sorry…"

"No…please don't be…" Maggie shook her head as she grabbed at the material of her shirt. "Please, you don't have anything to be sorry for you…you're doing all you can, right?" Maggie asked her tears slowing though the pain encasing her heart was all the same.

"Yes, I'm…" He cleared his throat, "…yes I am."

Maggie nodded and looked down for a moment, "Can I…" Maggie didn't know how to ask her father if she could hug him.

"Please…" Alexander seemed to know what she was asking and without further invitation Maggie moved forward and wrapped her arms around Alexander's neck.

"I'm sorry…" Maggie whispered as she buried her face into the hollow of Alexander's neck.

"Oh my dear, you have nothing to be sorry for…" Alexander informed as he wrapped his arms around Maggie. He breathed deep memorizing the way Maggie's arms felt around him and the smell of her shampoo and perfume unaware that Maggie did the same in regards to him.

Yes, Maggie realized, yes she did have something to be sorry for but she'd fix it. She would. She didn't have much time, but she would fix it. She'd give him the chance he was asking for. She had to. She just had to…for him, but also for herself.


Part 5

------------Hours Later-------------

"David, where is she?" Bianca paced across the floor sure that the rug had been worn down with the track she had been using.

David sat looking at the clock tapping his foot. He had no idea where Maggie was. It was nearly eleven at night and Maggie had yet to call back since her first and only phone call. David had been tempted to rush off to the hospital but Ryan was here and David was not about to leave Ryan alone with Bianca.

There was something off about the man that bothered him. He was up to something but David didn't know what at the moment. So until he did he was not going to leave him here with Bianca. Not when he knew about Maggie's paternity and seemed itching to give in and tell Bianca exactly where Maggie was and who she was with.

David had been able to get away with Maggie being at the lawyer's office without it raising too much suspicion. Now that it was eleven at night and Maggie had supposedly been at the lawyer's office all day, it was no longer working in his favor.

"Did you call Bill?" The edge to Bianca's voice left David wondering what she knew about Maggie's relationship with the young Mr. Allan that he did not.

"Yes, she's not with him." David quickly informed.

"She's with…" Ryan began but David jumped in.

"She's with her father." It would work. It had to.

Bianca's eyes widened, "She's with her father?"

After everything that Maggie had told her about how she didn't want to even be in contact with Richard Stone, she couldn't understand why Maggie would be spending the day with him and not tell her.

Bianca looked as confused as she felt, "But I thought…"

David sighed, it was getting harder to lie and not show his own concern about where Maggie was. Damn it, he knew he should have given her his cellphone.

The sound of the door opening and Maggie's energetic voice brought all three occupants of the suite to their feet—if they hadn't already been on their feet—and their eyes zeroed in on Maggie.

"Aww…why don't you come in?"

"No, I think it best that I leave you here. It was a pleasure getting to know you Ms. Cam…"

"Maggie…please, forget about that formal shit." Maggie waved the doctor off hoping that she wouldn't finish.

Dr. Maeve O'Keeffe smiled and agreed. The two women had spent the last few hours talking about Mr. Cambias' case. Maggie had stayed long after visiting hours talking to her father.

Dr. O'Keeffe had come in to check his vitals before leaving only to find him fast asleep with Maggie curled up in the chair beside his bed out like a light. When walking the young woman to the door after waking her, she became aware that Maggie hadn't eaten all day. So, she brought the young woman to the dinner that was across from the hospital that welcomed any and all hospital goers 24/7.

While there, the two had spoken in detail about the heart disease that was killing Mr. Cambias as well as Maggie's ability to get him to do exactly what she wanted.

It wasn't until after their brief meal and their second round that Maggie actually opened up about her relationship with her father. She admitted that they weren't close and had only really just met days before hand.

Maeve had been surprised at this, as every time she had come into the room to see Alexander they seemed very content and comfortable with each other, both chatting away and both almost annoyed at the interruption.

It broke her heart to hear that the only reason they had been able to meet and know about their relations was because of the death of Maggie's mother. Maeve, surprised and intrigued, had listened as Maggie explained in some fine detail her story. She explained that her mother had kept her father's true identity a secret until her death. So although Maggie was thrilled to know her father hadn't abandoned her and her sister when they were little she was scared to be related to Alexander Cambias.

Nearly two hours after they had left the hospital Maggie had finally gotten around to inform her that her half-brother had been killed and she wanted to know if it was safe to tell Alexander. Maeve had given Maggie the okay to tell him, but to do it as gently as one could as any unneeded stress would worsen his condition.

"You sure you won't come in? I'm sure I can scrounge up some coffee?"

"Thank you very much for the offer, but I'm afraid I must get home."

"If you insist, I'll see you tomorrow then." Maggie smiled and watched as the doctor walked back down the hallway they had just come up. With a sigh, Maggie closed the door and leaned her head against the cold metallic surface.

Maggie had no idea why she had opened up so fully to the cardiologist. But keeping everything she was thinking and feeling inside herself wasn't working. So…when Maeve had offered her a comforting gesture of just taking a hold of her hand to squeeze it gently for a moment, and offered to buy her dinner, she told her everything.

Well…almost everything.

Anything concerning Bianca's involvement and almost everything about Michael was left out.

The first and foremost thing they spoke about was Alexander's treatment and if there was any hope, and according to Maeve, there was very little. The fear of losing Alexander so soon after just finding out about him and getting to know him was on the top of their discussion list.

"Maggie…" David breathed, relieved to see his cousin.

"David…" Maggie turned around and saw David, Ryan, and Bianca staring at her.

Bianca seemed angry, her arms were crossed over her chest and she was glaring at her. What had she done now?

David moved forward and hugged Maggie tightly. "…who was that?" David asked as he moved away from Maggie after hugging her.

"Oh, that was Doctor um…that was Maeve." Maggie tried to explain who it was without needing to and was relieved when David seemed to follow her. "We had dinner…a couple drinks." Maggie admitted, knowing under normal circumstances that she was not a light weight but she had barely eaten anything before she had started drinking and even after eating a great deal it was too late.

"I'm a little…um…tipsy." Maggie tried to step forward but stumbled into David's arms. "Sorry…"

David shook his head and held Maggie up, "It's alright…you should have called, it's late." David admonished and saw Maggie look down at the accusation.

"I fell asleep with him…and went to dinner with Maeve." Maggie heard Bianca gasp and she wondered what she had said to cause it. "Besides, I said I was sorry…geez…" Maggie pushed herself out of David's arms and grabbed onto the counter to keep herself standing.

Her inebriation was the main reason Maeve had walked her to the door. Maggie grabbed at her head as the room spun, "Shit…" Maggie ran passed David towards the bathroom behind him.

"I've…I don't think I've ever seen her drunk before." Ryan commented as he watched Bianca stop David from going after Maggie so she could do it herself.

David looked over at Ryan and sighed, he was still here. "Yes, well it doesn't happen often." Then at the sound of Maggie retching David turned to Ryan. "I think you can leave now."

Ryan glared at David but moved towards the door nonetheless. "Tell Bianca and Maggie I'll stop by tomorrow."

David just threw his head towards Ryan in recognition that he had heard the request. Once the man was out of the suite David locked the door and moved back to the kitchen to make Maggie some coffee.

What was Maggie thinking getting drunk…?

David sighed. She was thinking exactly what he was thinking after Leo died. That it could help. If only for a little while but getting caught in that kind of thinking was what led Gwen down her path and he knew Maggie wouldn't follow it.

So it was a onetime thing, and after everything that had happened in the last few days he could even condone it.

Bianca kneeled behind Maggie holding back the older woman's hair as she retched. Bianca pulled down a towel and wet it under the sink before running it along the back of Maggie's neck while trying to keep calm. She wouldn't ever admit it out loud but seeing Maggie openly flirting with that woman had bothered her.

Flirting…it was flirting.

The way Maggie had been standing, her tone of voice…the way Bianca imagined her eyes had looked the woman up and down as she invited her in. Yes, Bianca had seen Maggie flirt before, and that had definitely been flirting. Not innocent conversation.

Bianca wasn't sure what was worse the fact that it was another woman or that she had expected Maggie to try and bring home Bill(y).

"Ugh…god…" Maggie leaned away from the toilet after flushing it and fell into Bianca's body. Sighing when Bianca wrapped her arm around her waist and put another wet cloth on her forehead. "Sorry…" Maggie whispered as she looked up at Bianca at a slightly odd angle.

Bianca looked down and met Maggie's eyes and smiled softly, "It's alright…feel better?"

"A little…" Maggie whispered as she snuggled into Bianca's arms her hear resting just under Bianca's chin. "…thank you."

"You're welcome…" Bianca felt her heart and body warm as Maggie breathed against the skin of her collarbone. She swallowed and closed her eyes. This wasn't the time or the place. But God…it felt so good to have Maggie in her arms.

"Mmm…" Maggie moaned as she snuggled her face against Bianca's chest the tip of her nose brushing across the skin of Bianca's collarbone. "…Bianca?"


"You smell really good…" Maggie whispered as she held her eyes closed.

Bianca chuckled nervously as Maggie stopped moving against her and they both just breathed.

"How are you feeling?" Maggie asked as her hand moved from her own lap to touch Bianca's arm as her hand ran up and down before flattening out to press lightly against Bianca's stomach. Maggie stared at her hand as hit

Bianca shook her head and chuckled at the ridiculousness of it. Maggie was the one that had just finished emptying the contents of her stomach into the toilet yet the older woman was concerned with how she felt. The selflessness that was Maggie Stone was extraordinary. The absolute love and commitment that Maggie held towards her and whatever her decision would be concerning the child left Bianca breathless.

The way Maggie had readily informed her that whatever her decision she would be there and if she decided to keep this child she would love him or her and spoil her rotten. Bianca had laughed, realizing that as much as Maggie believed herself not to be good with children, she was and would be.

Bianca watched as Maggie reverently touched her stomach and covered it as if protecting the child within her womb from an unknown foe.

Bianca idly wiped away a tear that escaped from her eyes as she looked away towards the bathroom door for a moment to collect herself.

"I'm fine…we're fine." Bianca corrected as she turned away from the bathroom door and the image of herself and Maggie intertwined so fully that reflected back at her from the door length mirror.

"Good…I'm sorry I wasn't here." Bianca didn't need her to explain here for what.

Bianca knew Maggie had been busy, doing what Bianca didn't know but she had seen fit to send Ryan in her stead. Bianca admitted that she could use the friendly face as she tried to calm Kendall's fears and her mother's disgust at her older sister for marrying Michael and now possibly being the sole inheritor of the Cambias fortune. Apparently the media had been looking to contact Alexander Cambias but no one had been able to find him. It was as if he had dropped off the face of the earth after sending her the letter and check hoping to help ease her pain with money she didn't need.

"Don't be sorry Maggie…" Bianca informed firmly as Maggie took her hand away from her stomach and looked at it as if she didn't understand why she had done that. Bianca cleared her throat, "You worried me."

Maggie pouted and puffed at the hair that rested in front of her face, "I'm sorry. I…I was with my father."

"I thought you didn't want anything to do with him," Bianca coaxed, only feeling slightly guilty about using Maggie's current state to ask her questions.

"I didn't but…" Maggie shrugged and snuggled into Bianca enjoying the warmth she could feel coming from the younger woman. "…he's persistent and I couldn't not give him a chance. I…I did that enough already."

"Did what?" Bianca tilted her head curious as she buried her nose into Maggie's hair and closed her eyes. Bianca wondered how wrong it was to feel so at home while sitting on a bathroom floor of a hotel suite she had only been in for three days. Bianca knew that what made this feel like home was the feeling having Maggie in her arms, so vulnerable and trusting not where she was but who she was with.

"I didn't give people another chance when they asked for it. Now I never can..." Maggie's voice broke at the deep regret associated with the memories of never being able to give Frankie and her mother another chance, give them the benefit of the doubt. She promised she wouldn't do that again. It hurt too much to know she could never take it back.

"Well, I'm proud of you for giving him a chance." Bianca informed as they both fell into silence.

"Bianca…" Maggie asked a few minutes later.


"I trust you."

Bianca blinked as she looked down at the top of Maggie's head. "I'm honored that you do Maggie…" Bianca answered honestly. "…Maggie…you know…you can tell me anything. I hope you know that."

"I thought I did…" Maggie opened her eyes and looked at the tiles of the bathroom wall and followed the pattern with her eyes her frown deepening as she did.

"What do you mean, Maggie? I thought you just said you trust me."

"I do…" Maggie insisted as she turned her head so it was now resting against Bianca's shoulder and she could look up at the younger woman, her neck craned slightly to hold Bianca's eyes.

"Then what can't you tell me?" Bianca felt her heart race as she watched Maggie turn into her own mind her facial expression deepen in thought before her eyes glazed over and her tongue ran over her lips as blue eyes remained fixated on her own lips.

Oh god…Bianca shook her head. No…not like this.

"Okay…time to get up…" Bianca moved to help Maggie stand up.

The last thing either of them needed was to spend the night on the bathroom floor.

Bianca had spent enough time in the bathroom with morning sickness the last week to stay in the bathroom any longer.

"No…comfy…" Maggie complained as she tried to remain in Bianca's arms even as the younger woman moved away. "…aww…man." Maggie sighed as she opened her eyes and Bianca was standing up behind her. "Fine…" Maggie moved to use the sink's counter to stand up.

Once up she looked at Bianca and blinked a few times trying to clear her vision but continued to see two Bianca's.

"Okay, yeah…time to go to bed." Maggie moved towards the door with Bianca's help.

Maggie curled into her pillows the minute Bianca deposited her on the bed. "What are you doing?" Maggie asked as she forced her head to lift up so she could look down the bed at Bianca.

"Taking off your shoes…" Bianca explained trying not to find Maggie's clearly perplexed expression adorable.

"Oh…okay." Maggie let her head fall back down and sighed. Wait… "Hey..." Maggie batted away Bianca's hands which were trying to take off her jeans.

"Maggie…" Bianca blushed despite herself. "…we need to take off your jeans."

"See…yep I knew it." Maggie spoke more to herself as she lay back down and did little to help Bianca take off her jeans but at least this time her hands weren't slapped away.

"Knew what?" Bianca asked as she shimmied Maggie's jeans passed her waist knowing she shouldn't have asked.

"That you were just trying to get in my pants." Maggie snickered at her own joke and offered Bianca a dazzling smile.

Bianca shook her head and chuckled, if only Maggie knew, if only she knew. "There…"

"Where?" Maggie looked around the room wondering where Bianca was referring.

Bianca couldn't help it this time she laughed out right. Maggie tipsy was funny.

"Goodnight Maggie…" Bianca turned off the light and went to leave but stopped when she heard Maggie whisper her name.


"Yes?" Bianca held the edge of the door in her hand as she looked back at Maggie on bed.

"Please don't leave…" Maggie pleaded into the darkness of the room.

Bianca moved away from the door, closing it as she moved to sit at the head of Maggie's bed.

Bianca caught sight of Maggie's tears and gasped. "I'm not going anywhere…" Bianca tried to soothe as she brushed at Maggie's honey brown locks.

"But you will…" Maggie confessed as she curled in on herself pulling her blanket up to her chin. "Please don't…I'm sorry…so sorry…"

"Why? Why would you think that?" Bianca asked and received no answer. "Maggie what are you sorry for? Maggie…" Bianca pushed gently at Maggie's shoulder and saw Maggie's eyes closed and her breathing evened out.

Bianca shook her head and sighed as she watched Maggie sleep. Bianca knew she would have to leave soon she just hoped Maggie would be coming home with her. It was because of Kendall and her mother. They were asking her to come home. That had to be what Maggie was referring to. That was it…it had to be because what else could Maggie be talking about?

Bianca moved to lie behind Maggie on the older girl's bed.

Maggie turned into her and Bianca rested her head on Maggie's shoulder and listened to Maggie's heartbeat as she closed her own eyes and fell asleep.


Part 6

Maggie sighed as she exited the elevator. It was early in the morning but she was up and out the door already.

Visiting hours started in an hour and Maggie couldn't stay in the suite for another minute.

Bianca had…

Maggie closed her eyes as she stepped out into the cool air of morning.

Maggie could pretend that her eyes were tearing because of the chill while knowing that was the farthest thing from why she was crying.

Bianca had left.

Maggie moved to the main building of the Marriot hotel and asked the main desk to call a cab for her. They told her it would be fifteen minutes so she thanked them and moved off to the side to wait outside on the bench by the entrance.

Once outside Maggie fell onto the bench and leaned forward covering her face with her hands as she recalled her conversation with Bianca earlier this morning.

Maggie attempted to slip out of their shared bedroom

"Maggie, wait…"

Maggie had made it out from Bianca's arms even though she had wanted desperately to stay in them, without a problem. Bianca was still sound asleep when she had stood from the bed, or so she had thought.

Now, as Maggie turned to look at Bianca she realized that Bianca had to have been up from the very beginning.

Maggie sighed and stopped her exit.

"We need to talk." Bianca informed as Maggie cringed.

"Talk about what?" Maggie asked, trying to play it off. She remembered enough about last night to know she had almost told Bianca everything, almost being the operative word.

Bianca sighed as she moved to the edge of the bed and patted the spot beside her. Maggie shook her head and instead staid with her back turned to the door, her hands fiddling with the doorknob. She had been so close…so very close to a clean getaway.

"About me leaving…" Bianca frowned as she looked down, upset that she realized she had to leave.

Maggie's eyes widened as she sucked in a deep breath.

"I thought you were going to stay…" Maggie realized she sounded like a child but Bianca had said she was going to stay.

"I know I said I was going to stay but I can't. I need to go back to Pine Valley."

Maggie was afraid to ask, hoping that she hadn't said anything she shouldn't have. "Why..?"

"Maggie, please you have to understand that I want to stay here with you but…"

"But what?" Maggie asked slowly resigning herself to the fact that Bianca was going to leave. A part of Maggie realized that it might be better if Bianca did because then she wouldn't have to keep lying about where she was going.

"Kendall's scared. She…she asked me to come home."

It was about Kendall. Maggie sighed in relief, thank goodness!

Maggie had known that Bianca would need to go home and be with Kendall and Erica as the police investigated Michael's murder and the legitimacy of Kendall's marriage to Michael. She really did, so this wasn't as much of a surprise as she felt herself making it out to be.

"Okay…When is your flight?" Maggie asked as she looked around the room. "I'll help you pack." Her attitude seemed to surprise Bianca.

"You're okay….with me leaving?" Bianca asked confused as she watched Maggie shift from being a nervous wreck to calm, cool, and collected in a matter of seconds.

Maggie had been panicked that she would leave her last night, now she was fine with it? What was going on? What was she missing, Bianca wondered.

"Bianca, I understand completely. Kendall is going to need you. Kendall and your mother, I do understand. I can't ask you to stay here any longer." Maggie hoped she didn't sound like she was reading from a script.

"But…I would stay…you know that don't you?" Bianca questioned as she grabbed a hold of Maggie's hand when the older woman tried to walk by the bed. "Maggie look at me…"

Maggie met Bianca's eyes and forced herself to remain calm and smile softly. Maggie did understand. Having Bianca here had been everything she needed to keep herself standing but her mother was buried, the house was being sold, and she had made her decision regarding Alexander. Bianca's presence here had allowed Maggie the strength to get through all of that and Maggie was grateful.

Maggie knew she needed Bianca, needed her strength and she had that and now Bianca needed her to be strong for her, for Kendall, and for herself. So she would be.

"I know you would. I do…" Seeing Bianca's unbelieving face Maggie ran her hand across her cheek in an attempt to reassure her. "It's okay…I really do. Bianca…" Maggie took a deep breath as she tried to find the right words. "I can't tell you how much I want to thank you for being here. For…for keeping me standing when I didn't think I could. If you hadn't been here I don't know if I'd have been able to keep myself going."

"You could have…" Bianca tried to offer but Maggie laughed lightly and shook her head, knowing it wasn't true.

Maggie had needed Bianca and Bianca had been there for her. Maggie now had no right to keep Bianca from going back home to be there for Kendall now that Kendall needed her.

"I…" Maggie took a deep breath. "I love you Bianca. I don't say that nearly enough, but I do. I love you and I'm so very thankful to have you in my life."

"Maggie…" Bianca tried to stem off Maggie's praise but Maggie wouldn't and couldn't let her, not this time.

"No, it's true. I don't say it enough. I should say it more and I'm going to, I promise. I just…I want you to know how special you are to me and how much I care about you. You're my best friend and I…I haven't really had many friends before but I'm so grateful to have found you. You are so…so…strong and good and caring…" Maggie cleared her throat as it closed with her bubbling emotions. "I couldn't imagine not knowing you. Not anymore…" Maggie brought her other hand up to Bianca's face and cupped the younger woman's tearing face and wiped away her tears.

Maggie leaned her head forward to press her forehead against Bianca's and closed her eyes.

"I love you…" Maggie whispered finding it hard to remain firm in her declaration as the power of her feelings touched her heart and left her breathless. It nearly broke her when Bianca didn't understand the true depth of her love, but she couldn't do that now. Not yet.

"I love you too…Maggie…soo much…" Bianca whispered as she held her eyes closed tightly. As long as her eyes remained closed she could imagine that this was real, that Maggie loved her, loved her with her whole heart and would love her forever.

Maggie cleared her throat minutes later opening her eyes to see Bianca's still tightly closed.

With a step back and a quick lean forward she placed a kiss to Bianca's forehead before moving towards the door. "Come on now, we have to get your stuff packed."

"Okay…" Bianca regretted having to leave and regretted having to open her eyes even more.

Maggie looked at her watch as she waited for her cab.

David was taking Bianca to the airport at this very moment where a private jet would be waiting for her.

Maggie had made a call and without even having to explain why Alexander had arranged for the Cambias jet to be ready and waiting for Bianca.

Maggie was sure that the explanation that Kendall had called for it would suffice until Maggie could tell Bianca who really had called for it and how.

Until then, Maggie was sure Kendall would take the credit. She hoped.

Maggie took a deep breath and looked up when she heard a car honk at her. Her cab was here. Maggie stood up and stepped in, giving the name and address of the hospital to the driver before she had even closed the door.

---------Mercy Hospital---------

Maggie took a deep breath. It was becoming her own little ritual before she went to see her father. She'd take several deep breaths to calm her nerves while her brain ran through horrible scenarios.

Shaking her head and taking another deep breath Maggie looked down the hall and noticed Ryan was standing outside Alexander's room.

Maggie picked up her pace and took a hold of Ryan's shoulders once she stopped her sprint, just in case she needed him to keep her standing.

"Is he okay?" She hoped beyond all things that he was.

"He's fine…" Ryan was quick to explain as he held Maggie's forearms just in case her legs gave out anyway.

"Good…" Maggie nodded her head and took a few cleansing breaths this time to calm her racing heart. "What are you doing here?"

"He called, asked me to look into a few things. You haven't told him yet have you?" Ryan asked as he looked at Maggie.

Maggie understood immediately what Ryan was referring to. How could she not?


"No…um…the doctor didn't want me to tell him yet. Bad tests results." Maggie easily lied and Ryan nodded, taking the excuse at face value. "She told me I could tell him today…"

"I think you should, as soon as possible." Ryan insisted while looking at Maggie.

Maggie looked at Ryan with a tilted head. "Why?"

"He's asking me to look into who controls Enchantment, Fusion, and Chandler Enterprises, him or Michael."

Maggie's eyes widened, why would he be doing that? Maggie knew but she decided to make sure she was correct.

"So…" Maggie pulled and wondered what Ryan was hiding. He seemed too interested on the pieces of papers he was holding to meet her eyes and his shoulders were tense. He was also easily agitated at her 'ignorance' about her father's business.

Ryan rolled his eyes, "That means that I have to tell him that he owns them because when Michael died they all went right to him."

Maggie bowed her head in understanding but eyed Ryan suspiciously. David was right. Ryan was keeping something from her. It was in the way he held himself as if he was afraid she could see right through him. He was right to be afraid, she could see right through him she just didn't know what he was hiding yet.

"I'll tell him today, I will." Maggie nodded her head, reassuring herself that she would tell Alexander about Michael.

"Okay, while you do that, I have some work to do. Just…" Ryan shook his head and sighed, "Tell him! I'll be back later." Ryan moved passed Maggie before she could even say she would.

Maggie watched Ryan walk into the elevator and shook her head before she walked into her father's room.

Alexander held up a finger to hold Maggie off for a moment as he talked to someone on the phone.

"Yes, make sure that is available at a moment's notice. Yes. Good, I will call you in a few hours I have a visitor." With that Alexander hung up the phone and turned to Maggie with a smile. "Sorry about that my dear, I just needed to take care of some things."

"Don't worry about it. I see you've eaten…" Maggie pointed out the leftover of the foods he was allowed to eat.

"Yes, if you could call it food that is…" Alexander looked at the left overs and rolled his eyes, what they had given him couldn't even be considered food, but it was better than nothing, or so he was convincing himself.

Maggie smirked and sat down in the chair that she had occupied for hours upon hours yesterday. "I understand."

They had spent nearly twelve hours yesterday talking about anything and everything. It had been something Maggie never thought she would enjoy with anyone. Apparently only two people had been able to convince her talking for such a lengthy time was worth it and they both had taken her by surprise. Maggie smiled and wondered if it was right to compare Bianca with Alexander. In this case, she decided it was fine.

Alexander had been interested in Maggie's childhood, the good the bad and the ugly while Maggie was curious about his relationship with her mother, his childhood, Alexander Jr. and even Michael and their mother Amelia.

By the time Alexander had fallen asleep they had gotten up to Maggie's recount of finding out about Frankie's death and the drama that ensued when she first went to Pine Valley and how she had to work at convincing people she wasn't like her sister while trying to find her killer.

Alexander had left off with his teen years and a short but insightful recount of his relationship with Gwen and her dreams. He had mentioned Amelia shortly. He explained that he had fallen in love with her while they were still so young and had married her when she was pregnant with Alexander Jr. because that was how it was then. The love he held for Amelia fell away with time and by the time he had met Gwen there was nothing but animosity between them.

It was hard to hear for both.

"I um…" Maggie took a deep breath it was better to get right down to it then skirt around the subject again. "I have something to tell you but I first wanted to thank you for getting the jet ready for Bianca. It means a lot to me. She needed to get home and she had come here for me and I…"

Alexander raised his palm to stop Maggie's explanation offering a gentle smile as he looked at the young woman. "No explanation necessary and no thanks either. You seem to be forgetting that all that is mine is now yours."

Maggie's eyes met her father's and her shock was easily readable. "That's…I mean no. I…"

"It will all be yours. I'm leaving it to you. The money, control of the companies I own, my properties, all of it." And it was a great deal. "I'm taking away Michael's control and giving it to you. You will do better than he ever could I can feel it…"

There was a natural intuition in Maggie that Alexander could feel and wished to the very depths of his being that he could nurture himself. Sadly he could not and even sadder yet if he was given the time to nurture Maggie's idle ability he would rather spend that precious time learning about Maggie and sharing with her all she could ever hope for from him.

"No, you don't understand…" Maggie stood up shaking her head, what was she going to do with all of that money? The power? What did she need it for? "I'm going to be a doctor, I…I don't know how to run a company…I…"

"That is why Ryan will be with you."

Ryan could help nurture Maggie's god given talent. He had seen it in the few encounters they shared with others. She easily commanded attention and authority when she wished for it. It was wonderful how she could also manage anyone that came here looking for something she wasn't willing to give. The doctors had come with all their pesky questions that she avoided skillfully, very skillfully in his opinion. Alexander wondered if this ability was not in part to her maternal family's business in conning and trickery, or if it came from him.

"Ryan…?" What did Ryan know about running multibillion dollar companies? What was he going to do for her, Maggie wondered.

"Yes, Mr. Lavery, he will help you I've already discussed it with…"

"I don't want it." Maggie insisted as she stood up from her chair.

Alexander looked about the room and at his daughter curiously, she was perhaps the only person he had ever met that would turn down hundreds of million in stock, nearly ten billion in revenue, houses or penthouses in almost every major city around the world and a private jet and shofar. Was that not enough for any living person to jump on if offered it?

"I don't want any of it. None of it." Maggie shook her head.

"Maggie this will ensure your future…" Alexander tried to explain but watched as Maggie continued to step away from his bed.

"You mustn't misunderstand me. I'm grateful that you'd be willing to give me this…this…gift…" Maggie conceded that it was a gift, at least in his eyes. "…but I don't want it. I…" Maggie touched her own chest. "I am what will ensure my future. Not you, not your name, and certainly not your money."

Alexander brought his hand up to his face and pinched the bridge of his nose, something Maggie found herself doing more and more these last few days too. "I don't understand why you won't even consider…"

"Money and power corrupt." Maggie threw at him.

Alexander sighed and quoted, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

"John Emerich Edward…um…" Maggie referenced and smiled, believing herself to have won. The name was too long to remember anyway.

"Timothy 6:10… For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Is this what you fear? The sorrows that plague the rich? What about their joy? Their ease and stability?" Alexander slammed his hand down on the bed finding himself angered by Maggie's clear dismissal of his offer.

"Do you not wish to be financially stable? I can insure that. The money that I have worked hard to earn! The money that I got from building up a company from nothing! Nothing…!" He hissed and took a deep breath and shook his head. He needed Maggie to understand. "Would you rather I leave it to Michael? To allow him to use it as he wished and not as he should?"

Maggie felt her breath catch, he still didn't know.

"Power…money…Maggie in the world we live in often times they are interchangeable and without one you can't have the other. Believe me when I say I do not want Michael to live to hold or wield this power. 'I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.'"

"Martin Luther King Jr…" Maggie whispered and felt her heart ache for the hope she saw in Alexander's eyes.

"I know it would do the world a great disservice if Michael were to gain the empire I built for him…he can't take it from you if I give it to you. I promise you I'll ensure he can't! Maggie, please..."Alexander begged as he looked up at Maggie desperate for her to understand he couldn't leave Michael to inherit his fortune.

Maggie took a deep breath and shook her head, eyes closed. "He can't take it."

Alexander brightened, "I'll ensure it I…"

"No…you don't understand." Maggie stepped forward and stood before Alexander frowning. "Michael can't take it at all. He…"

Alexander knew something was wrong, "What…he what?"

"He's dead…." Maggie whispered head bowed not for Michael's sake but for Alexander's.

"He's…" Alexander took a deep breath and looked at Maggie and then around the room. "He's dead…"

Maggie nodded, "They found his body yesterday…"

"Body….his body…" Alexander ran his hand over his mouth as he spoke, his mind unwilling to comprehend it.

Michael was dead.

Michael could no longer hurt anyone, Ms. Montgomery nor Maggie.

It pained him, it did, to know his son was dead but he felt a form of relief knowing that Michael could not hurt Maggie. It pained him even greater to feel that relief. What kind of man felt relief at his own child's death?

He needed a moment he…

Before he could even begin to ask for the time he needed…tears fell and he found it hard to breathe.

"Oh…" Maggie rushed over to his side. "You need to take deep breaths, there like that…" Maggie rubbed at his back, unsure what to do to help him.

"Oh god…" Alexander gasped as he leaned forward holding himself around the waist. "Forgive me…please forgive me."

Maggie unsure what to do, remained sitting on the edge of the bed, her hands continually running up and down her father's back doing her best to calm him.—Comfort him through his painful loss and her joyful relief over Michael's death.


Part 7

"Maggie…hey Maggie…wake up…"

Maggie popped up from her position on the hospital bed, one leg hanging over the edge as the other stretched down the side. "Oh…ow…"

Maggie moaned and groaned as she moved to get off the bed only to fall into Ryan's arms, her leg fast asleep and unable to hold her weight.

"Shout…" Maggie with the help of Ryan hobbled over to the nearest chair, her eyes looking over her shoulder to make sure that Alexander was still asleep. "What time is it?" Maggie asked as she rubbed her eyes, her legs no longer in dire need as she sat down.

"It's a little after two."

Wow…it had been four hours.

Maggie looked to see that Alexander was still sleeping and frowned slightly, the man had cried himself to sleep.

Maggie didn't know what it was like to lose a child but she imagined the heartbreak Alexander felt was harder still; this was the loss of his third child.

Maggie groaned at the realization. She, Maggie Sto—she was going to have to figure out what name she would be taking because she refused to keep Richard Stone's name for another minute. For now though changing her last name could wait. Now she was trying to comprehend the fact that she was the only Cambias heir left.

Soon Maggie would be the only Cambias left. Left…it was like talking about left overs in the fridge and it made her sick. To know that she would be the only living person with Cambias blood running through her veins. An entire family line left in her veins alone.

But wait…she wouldn't be the only Cambias left. Bianca's baby…no…Maggie shook her head. Bianca's child was a Montgomery no matter what anyone said that child would be nothing like his or her father. Maggie knew Bianca would make sure of it. If Bianca kept the baby, for now, Bianca's child would not be considered. It would help stifle the blow should Bianca decide to abort the baby.

So that left her and Alexander. Except Alexander had so little time left…

The thought scared Maggie because she'd lose another member of her family. She'd be losing a man she knew—given more time—she could love as deeply as any daughter did towards their father. Sadly, time wasn't on their side and what would happen then?

Alexander would be buried alongside his children and where would that leave her? What happened after Maggie finished burying her family? Who was left to bury her?

Maggie looked to Ryan.

God…the thought of Ryan helping her run Cambias made her head swim.

Ryan would be in charge of one of the largest corporations this generation had ever seen. Somehow that didn't sit well with Maggie, but what choice did she have?

Maggie moaned as she grabbed at her head, "My head is killing me."

Ryan snickered, "Well falling asleep like you did could put a kink in anyone's neck. I'll see if I can get you some aspirin or something…I'll be back."

"Thanks…" Maggie watched Ryan leave before turning back to Alexander's bed.

Alexander had cried for Michal's death while she had rejoiced. Days ago she would have danced upon his grave and not batted an eyelash. Now, she knew of his childhood, knew things no one else did. Maggie knew that Michael was afraid of the dark until he was twelve and that he had wanted to be a fireman. Maggie had listened as Alexander told her that Michael had even passed and would have been a fireman had Alexander not paid to keep him out.

Maggie knew much more than she was willing to admit. All about the man she had never wanted to learn anything about except what hurt him the most. Maggie kept herself from falling down that road as she realized that Michael never knew he had been accepted, never knew he could have fulfilled his dream of being a fireman. Michael never got the chance to learn that Alexander used to be the one to leave the hallway light on outside his room or that when Alexander Jr. (AJ) took the blame for wrecking their father's new Porsche Alexander knew that Michael had been the one to trash it.

But Maggie still couldn't love Michael. In fact she hated him.

Maggie still hated him and didn't even hide it. Even after learning about Michael and his past Maggie still hated him and no one could blame her rightfully. She hated him for all the things he was and for the man he could have been but wasn't.

Maggie would still dance on his grave and not bat an eyelash and only feel guilty if Alexander saw her.

What would Alexander do when he found out that she was a suspect in Michael's murder? What would he see fit to do then? Take back his offer for her to take over Cambias Industries? Hate her for hating the brother that helped cause pain to those she cared most about?

Maggie cringed as she stretched, her hand moving to rest along her abdomen and rubbed at the stiff muscle at her side the slight rise of her scarred skin making her really think.

What would Alexander think of Michael and her if he knew indeed?

"Back…" Ryan needlessly informed as he walked through the door towards her. "I come bearing gifts." In his palm were two aspirin and in the other hand was a bottle of water.

"Thank you," Maggie gratefully took both and popped both pills before nearly chugging down the entire bottle of water.

"So…I take it you told him." Ryan commented as he saw Maggie's red eyes and wondered if Alexander's matched.

Maggie snorted and nodded her head. "Yeah, he didn't take it well."

"I didn't think he would." Ryan informed as he looked over at Alex with a fond expression.

"He wants to give me Cambias…" Maggie watched Ryan's face and saw no change in his expression. "But you already knew that."

"Yes, I did." Ryan looked at Maggie and pulled up the only other chair in the room so he could sit facing her.

"He told me that I'd own it and because I don't know jack-squat about business you'd help me run it."

"I will…" Ryan quickly informed and Maggie turned her eyes away from Alexander and looked at Ryan.

"No, you won't."

Ryan raised a brow in confusion. "Alex and I have already…"

"What you discussed with him doesn't mean anything until I sign off on it." Maggie informed and watched Ryan's expression change.

Maggie finally knew what Ryan was playing at and she wasn't about to sit back and watch him steal second, third and home without making an effort to throw the ball to the basemen.

"Why would you take this opportunity away from me?" Ryan asked curious and a little more than annoyed. "You don't want Cambias, you said so yourself!"

"Were you listening in on our conversation!?" Maggie's eyes narrowed as she took in Ryan who realized his slip and had the decency to at least look ashamed. "I may not want Cambias but I know people who deserve their companies back."

"Like who?" Ryan asked malice lacing his words. "Kendall?"

"Kendall, Greenlee, Mia and Simone!" Maggie made sure to mention all four fusion women to the spurned lover. "Adam Chandler and Erica! They deserve to get back their companies."

"Who says?!" Ryan asked as he stood up from his chair. "They lost them, Michael outsmarted them." There was almost a gleam of respect in Ryan's eyes that Maggie would not stand to see remain.

"No…" Maggie stood, albeit slower than Ryan but stood up so the man wasn't towering over her as much as he would if she remained seated. "Michael stole them! He blackballed them and cheated them out of the companies they built up from the ground. They built those companies, made them the power houses they are now. That is something I'm sure my father would respect!" Maggie hissed as she stared up at Ryan, unafraid of his attempt to intimidate her with his size.

"Ha…your father…." Ryan laughed condescendingly. "You don't know the first thing about him." Ryan accused eyes narrowing as his nose flared, his body rippling with tension.

"I know a lot more about him than you think…" Maggie pointed out standing her ground but unafraid to admit to herself that Ryan's 'attempt' to intimidate her was working. "Now, I think you should leave."

"I'm not…"

"I believe the lady asked you to leave."

Maggie and Ryan both snapped towards the bed and saw that Alexander's eyes were open and clear, he also looked angry.

"Sir, I was only trying to explain to…"

"I heard what you were trying to say, Mr. Lavery." Alexander informed as he eyed the young man before him. "Now, my daughter asked you to leave. I think it best that you do as she asks before I call someone in to remove you."

Ryan nodded his head and left the room but not before meeting Maggie's eyes.

This wasn't over. Not by a long shot. Maggie knew it and Ryan promised it in his departing look.

Maggie found herself smiling with relief as Ryan nodded his head and left the room. Maggie looked down at the bottle of water she had dropped during their argument.

Maggie snorted; sometimes it was hard to decide what kind of man Ryan really was. The good guy everyone thought him to be or a time bomb waiting to blow. Maggie was beginning to lean more towards the second.

"I'm sorry that we woke you." Maggie informed as she moved over to his bed. "Can I get you anything? Are you hungry? Thirsty?"

Alexander shook his head and smiled up at Maggie. He reached his hand out and ran his hand across her cheek. "You're so much like your mother…" He whispered while staring at her but Maggie could tell he no longer saw her standing before him, but Gwen.

For a few moments they both allowed themselves to live in a different, time a different world, where Alexander had come back and raised Maggie and Frankie and spent his life loving Gwen and not alone in empty penthouses with sons that hated him and a deceased wife who he hadn't loved for years. A life where Maggie didn't have to walk on egg shells and could share with her mother and father her straight A+ report card; and Maggie wasn't the only one at Frankie's sporting events cheering her on. It was a life they both now wished had been real rather than the day dream it was.

"You know you just proved my point."

Maggie snapped her attention back to her father at the sound of his voice. He had been staring at her with a glazed expression for a few minutes, his fingers gently caressing her cheek as he did so.

Now, he removed his hand and looked slightly embarrassed but impressed.

"What do you mean?"

Alexander smiled, "Standing up against Mr. Lavery, you proved my point. You fought him in favor of others. You wish to distribute back to those who were wronged their companies. That's admirable…and something I would never do."

Maggie nodded her head understanding what he was trying to say, or so she thought. "I just…it's the right thing to do."

"That's why you will be perfect." Alexander practically gushed.

Maggie's eyes popped up and met her father's blue orbs. "I don't understand…"

"You would do what is right. You would be the only one to return to those people their companies. Myself, Michael, Mr. Lavery, we would keep them and by doing so we would be legitimizing Michael's actions in stealing them underhandedly."

"I…" Maggie shook her head. "…I don't know if I can handle it."

Alexander shook his head and laughed lightly as he grinned at the young woman before him. "You'll learn…and you'll excel at it. You'll be the first of your kind…an honest multibillion dollar businesswoman. You'll earn respect and trust instead of fear and cynicism. You'll of course learn how to make the tough decisions, but we all do at one point or another."

"The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live." Maggie recited with a shake of her head.

"Leo F. Buscaglia, impressive." Alexander nodded and took a hold of Maggie's hand. "Please, let me do this for you. Let me give you all you could ever want. Let me die knowing that you will be well taken care of."

Maggie snickered, "If I didn't know better I'd think you were trying to set me up with someone."

"Well…I had thought about pushing you towards Mr. Lavery but I have seen the error in my ways. I will see to it that the arrangements I made with him are changed immediately."

Maggie smiled, grateful that Ryan would be taken out of the equation.

"Besides…I know that look in your eyes better than anything. Your heart is already spoken for, isn't it?" The look he saw as bright as day was the same forlorn look his own eyes held since he left Gwen standing on the curb watching his taxi whisk him away to the airport and a life he might as well have never lived.

"You know, you are really creeping me out with just looking at me and knowing everything about me…" Maggie shook her head, aware that he was right. Her heart was spoken for.

"That is easy to explain to you. The look in your eyes is the look I once held when looking at your mother and although I did not raise you, you have many of my mannerisms and facial expressions which allows for easy interpretation." He recited it as if reading from a book.

Maggie laughed and shook her head, already aware of this. She had discovered this long ago.

"So…who is he?" Alexander tested gently as he looked at Maggie with an openness he had never offered anyone else besides Gwen.

Maggie's face shifted and she looked away from him and wondered if she could admit it out loud to someone else instead of just herself.

"Is it the young man from the cemetery?" Alexander almost sounded disappointed with his observation and hopeful that perhaps Maggie would tell him he was wrong.

Maggie didn't answer, how would he react if he knew?

"Perhaps a young man from school?" Alexander offered as Maggie remained quiet.

"It's…" Maggie took a deep breath. "I…it's not a man that holds my heart."

There…she had said it.

It was out there and unlike what she expected, Alexander didn't start to yell and scream at her. He just smiled and looked almost pleased by this.

"So, it's as I originally suspected…" Alexander cooed with a bright smile that easily said 'I'm always right'.

"What!? What did you originally suspect?" Maggie asked voice hard as she tried to close herself off as quickly as she could.

It was too late, he already knew…she knew he did! It was the look in his eyes, the glint there that just told her he knew something he shouldn't.

"That the young Ms. Montgomery has held your heart for some time…"

Maggie's eyes widened and went to quickly reassure him it wasn't Bianca but the words stuck in her throat. She couldn't lie, not anymore.

"I…" Maggie looked down and took a deep breath if she couldn't say it out loud to him how could she possibly expect to say it to Bianca? "It's hard not to fall in love with her." Maggie admitted as her shoulders sagged as if a weight had finally been lifted from them.

"Yes…" Alexander moved aside on the bed and offered Maggie her previous spot with a little extra room. She took it and leaned back against the bed so she too was sitting up at almost an exact 90 degree angle. "…I suspect it is."

Maggie had already explained how Frankie had fallen for the young Ms. Montgomery as well. Apparently this Bianca Christine Montgomery had a charm that easily enchanted his children. Alexander's eyes darkened for a moment in recognition of what Michael had done to the young woman. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath keeping his anger under the surface.

"You should know that…" Maggie closed her eyes and took a calming breath. "…I'm one of the top suspects in Michael's murder."

Alexander took a moment to absorb this news and nodded his head once in recognition. "Yes, I suspect that you and Michael had words before his death."

"I held him at knife point and threatened him in open court that if he came near Bianca again I'd make sure he never got the chance to see anything else ever again." With her eyes closed it was as if she were only talking to herself and didn't have to face the outraged or discouraging look she was sure graced her father's face.

"You know, before, when you were arguing with Mr. Lavery you said something that caught my attention."

Maggie opened her eyes and turned to see Alexander's profile as he stared out in front of them.

"You told him that I am your father."

Yes, she had, because it was true.

"You're the only one of my children that has accepted that, embraced it…embraced me because of who I am not because I am your father. You…you chose to come see me, though I didn't leave you much room, you care because you want to! Not because you have to." Alexander turned to Maggie and brushed his hand across her cheek once again. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to get to know you Maggie."

Maggie looked at her father with a raised brow what did this have to do with what she had just admitted.

"Michael disowned me whenever he could but used my name to get what he wanted. You…you don't want anything from me but to get to know me. You don't want my money or my name. You have no idea how wonderful that feels. So if you expect me to disown you, throw you from the room harried by what you did to defend the woman you love, you will be disappointed."

Maggie gasped unbelieving.

"I love you, Maggie! And I'm proud to have you as my daughter." Alexander smiled gently as he cupped her cheek and looked into her deep blue eyes, his eyes.

Maggie smiled as she leaned into her father's touch assured that as she leaned forward and he wrapped his arms around her that she was safe, loved and cherished and this was where she was supposed to be.

The End

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