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.

A Stranger Comes Home
By Megs


Part 1

----Three Days Later----

Bianca looked around the penthouse and sighed.

She was alone.

Kendall had stopped by to talk and had been here for hours. They had talked about everything and anything Bianca could imagine. Her relationship with Kendall had always been rocky and it still was but there was something that Kendall helped her understand without even knowing it.

The child inside of her, growing bigger and stronger every day, may be the product of a horrible situation but it couldn't be blamed for the way he or she was conceived. It wasn't fair to do so and as Bianca looked at Kendall she knew how unfair and unjust it was.

Kendall didn't know about the pregnancy, not yet, possibly never would.

The appointment Bianca had at the abortion clinic loomed in the near future. Bianca had made the appointment the day she had come home from Green Bay.

Green Bay, with the last three days back home in Pine Valley Bianca actually missed Green Bay. It made her feel guilty but being away from Pine Valley made things easier even while helping Maggie through a terrible loss.

The only contact Bianca had with Maggie in the last three days was over the phone and somehow that wasn't enough anymore. Not now…and possibly never again.

Bianca sighed, Maggie…

Maggie told her she would be back no later than this Sunday, which was in two days.

So, Bianca had made the appointment for next Tuesday.

Maggie assured her that she would be back in Pine Valley by then and would go with her.

Now as the day moved closer and Bianca spent more time with Kendall and learned about Kendall's childhood and her aspirations for the future Bianca didn't know if she would keep the appointment.

So although Kendall's constant presence around the penthouse was causing an internal battle, Bianca was happy to have Kendall around.

Bianca knew that Kendall was only sticking close to the penthouse because Anna and Derrick had been by her condo almost every day. Hell, the two police detectives had been here to the penthouse to question Erica and her about their where abouts the two days they had been able to narrow Michael's death to.

They were looking for proof that Kendall had killed Michael and the closer they looked the shiftier Kendall became.

Bianca had begged Kendall to tell her what she was hiding, but Kendall would only tell her to trust her, that she knew what she was doing.

Bianca wasn't sure Kendall did know what she was doing and she wished Maggie were here to talk to about it.

Maggie would be able to figure out what Kendall was up to, Bianca knew she would.

For now though, Bianca had to settle for talking to Maggie once a day for an hour or two at night.

Something had happened. Bianca knew it had. Maggie had sounded so happy the first two days they had spoken on the phone. Maggie had even admitted to talking with her father, admitted that was the reason she had to stay behind in Green Bay, she wanted to get to know her father. Maggie's happiness was short lived. Last night Maggie had called her crying hysterically.

Bianca had been helpless to do anything but listen to Maggie cry over the line.

Maggie couldn't find the breath or her voice to tell Bianca what was wrong and had handed the phone to David.

David explained that something had happened to someone very close to Maggie that they had passed away. David also explained that they would be back by Sunday. They would be on a flight back to Pine Valley after the burial.

Bianca had immediately offered to go to Green Bay but David had told her it would be better if she stayed in Pine Valley for now, and repeated that they would be back on Sunday.

Since that heartbreaking phone call and only hearing Maggie grasp desperately for the right words and enough air to speak them, Bianca had heard nothing.

Neither Maggie nor David had called her since and it was bothering Bianca.

The pain Bianca could feel rolling off of Maggie even through the phone was unbearable. Even with David's assurances that he could take care of Maggie, she worried, she cared, and she hurt for Maggie.

Bianca walked over to the fireplace and looked at the photograph of her, her mother, and Grandmother Mona. She smiled as she picked up the frame and stared at her Grandmother's face.

"Grandma, if you're listening please…please help give us a break…" Bianca looked up at the ceiling and then back at the photograph. "I don't think we can take another hit…" Bianca doubted that they could take one more push let alone hit. Especially not after the year they had been having. "Grant Maggie the strength she needs to get through this as she gave me the strength to get through. I love her, Grandma…I love her so much." Bianca cleared her throat as she wiped at a wayward tear. "She deserves happiness Grandma, please help her find it." Bianca smiled and laughed lightly, "Even if it isn't with me."

Bianca turned around when she heard someone clearing their throat.

"Mom…" Bianca's eyes widened as she took in the figure standing beside her mother. "Lena…" Oh no, by the look in Lena's eyes she had heard everything she had just said. "Lena…I…"

"It iz alright, Bianca." Lena informed as she looked at Erica and stepped back towards the door.

It had taken Lena a great deal of pleading to get Erica to even permit her in the elevator let alone come into the penthouse to see Bianca. Now it seemed apparent why.

"I…I must be going, excuse me."

Lena turned and left, Bianca quick to follow after her.

"Lena wait…!"

Lena stopped even as the elevator doors opened. She turned to look at Bianca and saw the sorrow in the young woman's eyes. It hurt to know that Bianca did not love her the way that she loved Bianca. It hurt more than Lena wanted to admit but she had little right to keep Bianca from happiness. She had only allowed for Bianca to be in pain over her infidelity and spying for Michael. It made her sick to know what she had allowed that man to do to her…what he had done to Bianca.

If Bianca was happy, even if it was with Maggie, Lena would not keep her from that happiness. Bianca deserved to be happy.

The elevator doors closed and the two women stood in the hallway, Bianca fumbling for the right words. "Bianca…"

"I'm sorry…" Bianca whispered as she cleared her throat and met Lena's eyes. "I am truly sorry. I just…"

"You cannot control who you fall in love with, yes?"

Bianca shook her head in confirmation.

"Does she love you?" Lena asked.

The last Lena had been informed Maggie was still straight, that of course did not include the act Bianca had put on with Maggie at Erica's almost wedding last month.

"I…not like…she…" Bianca sighed. "She's not in love with me, no."

"But you still love her…"

Bianca nodded, "Yes, and it wouldn't be fair to…"

Lena raised her hand and smiled gently at Bianca despite her pain. "I admit that this is a difficult thing to do, but I will…if you decide you no longer wish to wait for her, I will be here, but not forever." Lena informed and pressed the call button for the elevator happy to see the lift hadn't left and the doors automatically opened. "Goodbye…Bianca."

The doors closed and Bianca sagged at the weight that had been lifted with Lena finally understanding that they could not be together but also presented another weight. She had just admitted to still being in love with Maggie.

Bianca knew it was true and a part of her knew she had never stopped loving Maggie. Now she had just risked what had been a loving relationship, yes—that had its bumps—for a chance to be with Maggie. A chance that might not even be in existence.

"Bianca…are you alright?" The timid voice coming from the doorway surprised Bianca.

Bianca turned to see her mother standing in the doorway a warm expression even as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other expressing how uncomfortable and nervous she was.

Bianca moved back into the penthouse and smiled as Erica squeezed her shoulder as she passed. "I'm fine, mom."

"Would you like some hot coco?" Erica asked, hopeful that she could convince her daughter to sit with her and talk.

Bianca smiled and nodded her head and watched as Erica disappeared towards the kitchen as she moved to sit on the couch, only then realizing that she still held the photograph of the three Kane women in her hand.

She smiled and moved to put the frame back where it belonged and turned when her mother walked in.

"Bianca, could you grab the mail for me?" Erica asked as she walked to the couch with a tray with two cups of steaming liquid, a plate of marshmallows and a bowl with whipped cream in it.

Bianca smiled and moved to pick up the mail that her mother had left on the side table by the entrance. Scanning over it quickly Bianca gasped and dropped all of the envelopes in her hand. She watched as they scattered across the floor, the cause for her alarm landing on top of the strewn pile. The name seemed to grow and take form off of the small white envelope. It multiplied in front of her eyes teasing her…taunting her.

Not again…

Bianca covered her mouth and shook her head back and forth as tears sprang to her eyes, her legs weakening.

"Bianca…what, what is it sweetheart?" Erica rushed over to Bianca's side and grabbed a hold of her forearm as she steadied the young woman.

"It's…it's from him." Bianca looked down at the envelope that read Cambias Industries.

Erica pent over to pick up the letter and helped Bianca move to sit down on the couch. "No, honey, it's not from him. It was post marked two days ago, Michael has been dead for over two weeks." Erica explained as she sat Bianca down on the couch and sat next to her.

Erica opened the envelope and was surprised to see an invitation inside.

"What is it?" Bianca asked as she leaned over to read it.

"It's an invitation to the Valley Inn on Sunday evening, to have dinner with the heir of Cambias Industries." Erica's shock laced her words as she looked at the invitation in her hand as if it were a diseased alien entity.

Bianca met her mother's eyes and wondered what in the world was going on.

"If you didn't send this letter Kendall then who did?" Erica asked into the phone still attempting to find out who had sent the invitation and what it all meant.

Erica had already called Adam Chandler and had even been called by Liza Colby who was calling on behalf of the three Fusion women she represented. No one knew what this was about and no one had called Kendall yet, until Erica hung up and feeling indemnified called her oldest daughter immediately.

"Well…fine…" Erica conceded ruefully.

Bianca watched as Erica sighed and rubbed at her forehead.

"I…I hadn't even considered going."

Bianca looked closely at her mother and offered her own opinion. "I think we should."

"Hold on Kendall," Erica put the receiver against her shoulder as she looked at Bianca. "What do you mean darling? You want to go?"

"I think we should go." Bianca informed as she looked over the letter. "It says it's from the heir of Cambias Industries, that means Michael isn't the inheritor and neither is Kendall. We should go and see who is, that way you and Kendall can find a way to get back Enchantment and Fusion."

Bianca was hopeful! Maybe there was now a loophole that would allow her sister and mother to retain their stolen companies. It might even help the two get along once again.

Erica had to concede, Bianca had several good points, all of which she should have thought of.

With a curt nod Erica turned back to her conversation with Kendall. "Bianca and I will be attending it. Oh…well then we shall see you there. Yes, goodnight Kendall." Erica hung up the phone and looked over at Bianca. "Are you sure you want to do this?" Erica's maternal concern made Bianca smile internally.

Bianca nodded, "He's dead and buried and I'm okay. He can't hurt me ever again mom."

Erica moved to sit next to Bianca and took a hold of her hand.

Bianca looked at her mother's hand holding her own. "Whoever killed him…I want to help them."

"Bianca….do you know who did it?" Erica asked tensing as she looked at her daughter.

"No…" Bianca shook her head as she held her mother's eyes or tried to.

Everyone in town seemed to be hiding something. Erica, Kendall, Reggie, Jack…the list went on. Even people out of town—Maggie and David and Ryan—were keeping things from her and it was beginning to bother her.

"…but I'll find out. I have to make sure Kendall doesn't go to jail, mom. Not for this! Even if she did do it…" It was a lot to admit but Bianca would not let her sister rot in jail for killing the man that had hurt them all.

Erica sighed in defeat aware that she wouldn't be able to change Bianca's mind even if she tried. "Alright, sweetie…now why don't we enjoy some hot coco and then retire for the evening?"

Bianca smiled as she looked at the cooling hot chocolate. "Yes, I'd like that."

Erica watched Bianca make her hot coco the way she liked it and turned to the mantle and saw her mother's smiling face staring back at her.

With a silent prayer of thanks Erica turned back to Bianca and enjoyed an evening at home with her daughter.

Come hell or high water Erica would protect both of her daughter's.

Hell or high water…


Part 2

--------Green Bay---------

----Next Day---

Maggie stood before her mother's grave once more.

This time as she stood before Gwen's grave she was flocked on either side by two men who loved her a great deal.

David and Billy are her knights in shining armor and her current strength.

Maggie leaned her head onto Billy's shoulder as the casket was lowered into the newly dug grave.

Standing beside her mother's gravestone stood a new one. It was identical in size and color reading the name of Alexander Michael Cambias.

Maggie chocked on her tears.

He had asked her for this…Alexander—her father—had asked to be buried next to Gwen.

Maggie hadn't seen her father love her mother. Maggie hadn't been given that opportunity, that gift, but when he whispered his request and explained that if he couldn't lie next to Gwen in life he'd like to lie next to her in death, she understood. Maggie understood at least an inkling of the depth of their shared love. They shared a love that had led to her birth and the birth of her twin sister. For that, Maggie would be eternally grateful.

Maggie felt her breath hitch in her chest as she closed her eyes unable to watch anymore.

It had been hard enough to sit by his bedside and watch as his vitals weakened and his eyes glazed over.

This time his eyes hadn't glazed over in remembrance of her mother or of an alternate universe where he had returned to Gwen and raised her and Frankie, no! Not this time. This time they glazed over with a force stronger then Maggie, stronger than the past and possible future—death.


Death took him before Maggie could even truly get to know him.

Maggie had spent nearly every waking moment with Alexander for three days.

Seventy-two hours…

Seventy two hours was hardly enough time to catch up on a lifetime of memories.

They had spoken for hours at a time.

Maggie had taken to staying the night at the hospital with him after Bianca had returned to Pine Valley.

David had pulled a few strings, and had even tried to offer his services, but it had been too late. There was nothing anyone could do.

On Thursday night Maggie sat beside Alexander's bed holding his hand as his heart finally gave out.

He smiled at her and squeezed her hand one last time and then…he just stopped breathing.

Maggie had remained by his side even as the heart monitor blared at her as if taunting her. Taunting him…Proving with its shrill how little power she truly had; how little power he truly had. As much money as he had Alexander couldn't buy himself another heart…he couldn't buy himself more time.

Maggie squeezed David's hand as she felt his hand slip into hers as the casket found its final resting place.

David had been by her side through both loses and looking at him from the corner of her eyes, Maggie would be forever grateful for him.

David had even been there that night. David had been there to hear the laughter she shared with Alexander and see their smiles. David had seen and understood how much Maggie had come to love her dying father; how much this new loss was going to break her already shattering heart.

David heard Alexander's last words, and had watched the tearful goodbye, and turned away as tears fell from his eyes as Maggie begged Alexander to stay, to not leave her too.

"I love you, Maggie…" He had whispered and lifted his heavy hand to cup Maggie's cheek. "Don't be sad…I…I'll say he—hello to…your mother and…and Frankie for….you if—if I can…" It was after these faltering words against his failing lungs and slowing heart where Maggie couldn't contain her sobs as she shook her head and grasped Alexander's falling hand tightly and held it against her cheek.

"I love you too, dad." The smile, albeit small, was as meaningful as any of his other smiles.

Maggie had called him dad…Alexander fought but failed to keep his eyes open. As his eyes closed he felt at peace knowing that Maggie was going to be well taken care of. He had made sure of it.

David shook the memory of Maggie's refusal to leave Alexander's side for nearly a half an hour after he had passed away.

David felt at fault even though he had tried to save Alexander, give him more time for Maggie's sake, but he couldn't. David just couldn't do it.

David had failed to give Maggie more time with Alexander, but he had been there to hold her as she cried for Alexander's loss and he'd be there for her until death took him from her. He swore it!

"Maggie…" David whispered as he looked to see Maggie with her eyes held tightly shut, half her face hidden by Billy's chest.

Maggie looked over to him, eyes bloodshot as she met his eyes.

"It's time…" He announced as the crew finished burying the casket.

Maggie nodded her head and looked at the two headstones. Her parents' headstones…

With a quick nod of her head Maggie moved forward, pulling herself away from Billy's side as she placed a dozen roses on her mother's gravestone and a single red rose by her father's newly buried grave.

Maggie looked up at the sky above her and closed her eyes.

Maggie imagined that Gwen and Alexander could hear her thoughts and knew how much she missed them both and how much she hoped they could finally be together even if it was in death. She imagined all three of them, Gwen, Frankie and Alexander looking down at her with hopeful smiles. She would make them all proud, she promised.

Maggie took a few steps away from the graves and moved to stand between David and Billy once again.


David turned to Maggie, "Yes?"

"Let's go home…"

David nodded his head and wrapped his arm around Maggie's shoulder, pulling her in so he could kiss her forehead.

Maggie pulled away from David and wrapped her arms around Billy's neck and held him close as she whispered into his ear something David couldn't make out.

"You keep in touch, okay?" Maggie wiped at her eyes, forcing herself to smile as she looked at her childhood friend.

"You bet, M&M…you bet." Billy pulled Maggie in for one more hug. "Be happy, Maggie." He whispered into her ear before he pulled away and turned and left the cemetery afraid that if he looked back only once he wouldn't be able to find the strength to let Maggie go. Not again.

Maggie watched Billy walk away before she cast one last look to her parent's headstones. "Take care of each other, okay…" Maggie chocked on her words as tears slipped swiftly down her face.

"Okay…" Maggie nodded once to herself before she turned to meet David's watery smile. "Take me home?" Maggie asked desperate to return to Pine Valley and the warmth of Bianca's comforting embrace.

David extended his hand and Maggie readily took it and allowed herself to be pulled into David's embrace and leaned her head on his shoulder as they walked to the waiting limo.

It was time to go back to Pine Valley and deal with the ramifications of her trip.


Maggie blinked her eyes open and moved to sit up.

Maggie stretched and cringed for only a moment before she was otherwise fully aware and looking at David.

The last thing she remembered was the pilot announcing they could move around the cabin and that they had taken off and would reach Pine Valley in ninety minutes.

"David…are we landing?" Maggie asked as she looked about the cabin of the private aircraft.

It was spacious, had several comfortable looking lounge chairs, two couches one of which she had been sleeping on. There were TV screens that were in sleep mode as the Cambias Industries logo spun around the blackened screens, a small compartment in the corner had a computer. The bathroom was off to the left on the opposite end of the jet and the cockpit to the right.

It was certainly better then flying coach Maggie realized.

"No, we're not. I just got off the phone with Anna."

"Oh?" Maggie perked up at the mention of the British police officer. "How is she?"

"She's…" David shrugged, "…taking it hard investigating half the town for the murder of a man she herself wanted to kill."

Maggie bowed her head she could understand Anna's plight over the whole situation. "It's got to be tough."

"Yeah…" David sighed as he ran his hand through his hair and met Maggie's eyes. "…she called to give me a heads up."

"About?" Maggie yawned as she waited for David to continue.

"Two things." David held up two fingers and Maggie wondered what they could be to make him hesitate to just tell her.

"And those are…" Maggie coaxed.

"There will apparently be officers at the airstrip to pick us up."

"What?!" Maggie stood from the couch and watched as David sagged a little.

"I tried to get Anna to get us some more time but apparently she's done all she can on giving us more time. Derrick wanted to have the Green Bay police take us into custody and bring us back."

Then Maggie realized something. "Us?"

"They want to ask me a few questions about what I was doing the supposed night of Michael's murder. They've apparently been able to narrow the time of death into a two day window."

"Two day window…" Maggie had thought it would have been impossible with the condition they found the body in. "…when?" Maggie asked curious as she shifted her weight from foot to foot.

"The night of…and after the trial."

"Well…fuck…" Maggie mumbled as she threw herself back down onto the couch and brought her head into her hands.

"Maggie…I've already called my lawyer to meet us down at the station. He can represent the both of us if you'd like or I can call the Cambias lawyers and…"

"I'll call Jackson."

"What? That hick?!" David asked outraged. "What good is he going to do you?"

"David, he's one of the best defense attorneys in the state." Maggie defended aware that her cousin hated Jackson Montgomery as much as Maggie could hate Lena Kundera.

"Maggie…you have the best attorneys in the world on retainer! Why…why would you pick Jackson Montgomery?"

Maggie sighed and shook her head, "Don't you think it'd be a little odd for me to show up with a world renowned lawyer or the same bastard that helped get Michael off for raping Bianca!?" David sighed, she had a point. "By the way, remind me to fire him…"

David smiled and would certainly remember to remind Maggie about the firing of the lawyer that helped Michael skirt all of the charges filed against him, even while thinking it might be a good idea to keep him around for a little while longer. Just in case.

"What are you going to tell them?" Maggie asked eyeing her cousin nervously.

"About what?" David wondered what Maggie was referring to; the night in question or the revelation that she was in fact a Cambias, the Cambias heir?

"About…everything." Maggie sighed.

It was so hard to even pinpoint what she was talking about because one thing just led right into another.

"I won't say a thing about anything that happened in Green Bay until you give me the okay." David offered quickly, "About the nights in question. The night of the trial I was at my cabin nursing Jack Daniels, Erica Kane, a hangover, and not you." David informed as he stood and placed a hand on Maggie's shoulder.

"Great…so you have an alibi and I…" Maggie looked at the rug. "…I have no alibi because they can't know I was at the cabin being nursed back to health."

"Maggie, I'm willing to do anything you ask me to regarding this." David explained as he picked up Maggie's face and turned so she was looking at him.

Maggie shook her head and pulled away from David as she paced stiffly beside the couch. This was worse than she thought.

"You think I did it…" Maggie commented as she held David's eyes and noticed how he couldn't seem to look her in the eyes.

"I just…where were you that night Maggie?" David asked remembering how he had called Maggie the night of the trial and she hadn't answered his phone calls. She had only arrived at his cabin sometime before one in the morning bloody and bruised.

Maggie nodded and her pacing picked up speed. "I was there…I went to kill him that night." Maggie explained as she stuffed a hand into her jean pocket and turned to look at David every few seconds as she spoke.

"You were there…" David repeated as he took in the information. "…is that when you got hurt?"

Maggie frowned and moved her hand down to her side where the stitches had been that David had sewed into her side. Her side had been stiff until this past week. "Yes…"

"Your cut, Maggie…" David processed. "…you were bleeding, how did you get cut? Is it possible that they found any of your blood?"

"It's possible…" Maggie whispered as she looked up at David. "…but only outside, not inside."

Well, he was getting some of the story if only in bits and pieces.

"Maggie, did he hurt you? Was that how you got that cut?" David tried to move closer to Maggie but she looked at him and around the room while stepping back, she looked like a trapped animal and the last thing he needed to do was spook her.

"David, I…I can't talk about this." Maggie turned away from David and walked to the other side of the jet. She threw out her arms and shook out her hands as they trembled, hoping by shaking them herself the shaking would cease.

David hearing the quivering in Maggie's voice damned his own reason and stepped forward, grabbing a hold of Maggie's forearms so she couldn't move away. "Tell me what happened that night Maggie…"

"I…" Maggie looked at the carpet of the jet before closing her eyes tightly. "…I can't…" Maggie whispered as she opened her eyes to gaze at David pleadingly, "…please don't ask me to explain."

David wished he could give in to Maggie's pleas but this wasn't the time to go soft. Maggie was going to be taken in for questioning and if she couldn't even tell him, while he was babying her, she'd break under Derrick's pressure in moments.

"I'm not the one that's going to be doing the asking when we land Maggie, Anna and Derrick will. They're going to bring us down to the station and put us in separate interrogation rooms and when that happens and you ask them not to ask you to explain, they're going to force you to explain. What then? They'll break you in that interrogation if you can't even look me in the eyes and lie to me about what happened!" David shook Maggie as he punctuated his point.

David knew that they'd break her and whoever Maggie was protecting, herself, someone else, would be let down.

Maggie knew David was right. If she couldn't lie to him and make him believe it then everything she had done that night was for nothing.

"Tell me…Maggie…what were you doing that night?" David asked as he moved his head around until he found Maggie's downcast gaze.

Maggie took a deep breath, calming her racing heart and stilling her shaking limbs, looked at David and told him exactly where she had been that night.

"I was with Bianca…"

David was shocked at the way Maggie pulled herself together.

"What time did you get there?"

"I was with her most of the night."

"Where…and why most of the night?"

"We were at Erica's penthouse. Bianca fell asleep, it was a long day with the trial and I felt gross, so when she fell asleep I called Reggie. He kept an eye on her while I went to my dorm to shower and change before heading back to the penthouse."

David shook his head, "Maggie if I didn't already know that you were at my cabin I'd never have been able to tell you were lying."

It was slightly scary but David knew it was a gift inherited from the Bennett line. It was why Vanessa, Leo, and Frankie had been such good con artists.

"I'm not lying, David. I was at the penthouse with Bianca until she fell asleep and I did go back to my dorm room I just didn't go straight back to the penthouse until much later."

David nodded, curious as to what Maggie had done between leaving her dorm room and reaching him that left her with the wound she had.

"You can let go of my arms now..."

David shook his head and let go of Maggie's arms taking a step away from his cousin, whose eyes looked so different now as she calculated exactly how to mask her own lie and make it believable. The air about her completely changed and David realized he had never seen Maggie like this, ever.

Scary indeed…

"Okay, so let's…imagine that this is the interrogation, except there will be a lot more huffing and puffing coming from Derrick…"

Maggie smiled and nodded her head as she sat down.

"You say you left the penthouse and went to your dorm and then to the cabin, but why is it that we found blood outside of the crime scene?"

Maggie's mask didn't falter as she looked at David with a raised brow. "Where is the crime scene?"

David smiled, good point he hadn't mentioned where the crime scene was but half of Pine Valley knew Michael didn't leave his condo alive that night.

"Michael's condo…"

"Oh, so you found my blood outside of Kendall's condo?"

"No, Michael's…"

"Kendall's condo is right across from Michael's…the only thing I can say about finding my blood outside of his condo is that it was there for a long time. I mean I cut myself on the bush between their condos after visiting Kendall."

David internally smirked. "Do you remember when that was?"

Maggie shrugged, "A while ago…I don't know a week or two ago? During the trial."

"Are you sure…?"

Maggie laughed and shook her head, "Yes. I cut myself on the bush by Kendall's condo."

If David didn't know better he would believe that Maggie had already covered every angle of that night with someone else. Then again, it was very possible that she had, David just didn't know with whom.

"Then how do you explain it being by Michael's condo?"

"Do you know how close their condos are?" Maggie dismissed knowing that it would anger Derrick and possibly amuse Anna. "Besides…there wasn't that much blood."

David knew that was a lie, hell he knew this entire conversation was a lie, but there had been a great deal of blood when Maggie arrived at his cabin the night of the trial. The cut had been deep and almost five inches long.

"What time did you get to the cabin?"

"I don't know…? I wasn't paying attention to the time. Sometime after Bianca fell asleep, and no I don't know when that was. I just know that it was after eight by the time we moved into the bedroom."

David watched Maggie blush after she finished talking. He'd let it slide this time around. They had more pertinent things to discuss at the moment then Maggie's puppy love crush on Bianca.

"So…you went back to your dorm, a fifteen minute car ride and were there for how long do you assume…?"

"Twenty minutes maybe? I showered and went back to the penthouse."

"That puts you back at the penthouse between ten and eleven."

Maggie knew even if David and the police didn't, that Michael had died the night of the trial and her being anywhere but the penthouse after eleven was not in her favor.

Maggie stood up and began pacing again. The façade gone now as she looked at David and shook her head. "I was there that night David. I know when he died."

"Maggie…" David stood up. "…who are you protecting?"

Maggie shook her head and moved away from David, needing the space. "It's…"

"Ms. Bennett we're about to land would you and your guest, please take a seat and buckle up. We'll be beginning our decent in a few moments."

"Maggie…" David tried but Maggie waved him off as she moved to take a seat and buckle up her seatbelt.

Maggie remained quiet as the jet descended and landed. Once the light indicating it was free to move around the cabin once again, Maggie did so and went to grab her bag.

Then Maggie realized she had gotten so wrapped up in her attempt to get David away from the subject of the night of Michael's murder and working on her alibi that she had forgotten to ask him what he still needed to tell her.

There had been two things he wanted to talk to her about. She just hoped this one was less aggravating than the first.


"Yes?" David asked as he grabbed his bag and moved to stand next to Maggie, the pilot coming to meet them with a smile.

"It was a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Bennett. I'm Tom, your pilot. Whenever you need a lift, of the aerial type, you just let me know."

"Thank you, Tom. The pleasure was all mine, and you better believe you'll be the first person I call if I do."

Tom tipped his hat to Maggie and shook David's hand. "Good day…" He turned and was the first to leave the aircraft, leaving Maggie and David by the exit ramp.

"Anyway…" Maggie picked up from where she left off. "What was the other thing David?"

"Oh…right." David moved to step right behind Maggie. "Apparently the socialite world has been stunned. Erica, Adam, Palmer, Kendall, Greenlee, Jack, and several other big wigs around the neighborhood like Derrick and Olivia Frye, Anna, and the mayor have been invited to dinner tonight."

Maggie stopped her trek down the exit ramp to turn and look at David. "What does that have to do with us?"

David sighed and bobbed his head as if in indecision. "That's the thing…they've been invited by you…"

"Wait…what?" Maggie asked, only taking one step down the ramp as she looked at David once again.

"They've been invited to the Valley Inn tonight at 6pm to meet the heir to Cambias Industries with the promise of an explanation to the future of their companies if they attend."

"David, I didn't invite anyone to dinner, I haven't even told Bianca yet. I wouldn't…I mean…I…" Maggie stopped talking and her eyes narrowed as she looked at the logo on the jet and then met David's eyes.

"Ryan…" Maggie felt a rage slowly start to boil in the pit of her stomach. "This is Ryan's doing…" Maggie turned and took two steps at a time to get down.

"But how…?" David asked as he followed after his cousin.

"I don't know, but I plan to find out." Maggie informed as she moved towards the parked town car that waited for them and stopped when she saw Anna and Derrick waiting in Anna's department issued vehicle.

"Shit…I don't have time for this…" Maggie stopped walking and watched as Anna and Derrick approached her and David. She took a deep breath and offered the two detectives a smile as they reached her.

"Anna…Derrick…" The charm was laid on thick as she put down her duffle bag.

"I see Mrs. Cambias is very generous…" Derrick noted as he saw the Cambias emblem on the jet.

Maggie cringed, but only for a moment. She decided it was better to say nothing in reply. "What can I do for you, detectives?"

"We'd like you to come with us down to the station." Derrick quickly informed as he looked at Maggie and then David. "You too David."

"So soon?" Maggie asked as she looked at the three surrounding her. "I only just got back to town."

"Yes…that's exactly why we believe it is important that you come with us now. So you can't skip town again." Derrick informed, eyes hard as they looked at the young woman.

"Skip…town?" Maggie asked and shook her head, eyes narrowing as she looked at Derrick.

"We know you didn't skip town Maggie…" Anna interjected and spared a harsh glare at the eager Mr. Derrick Frye.

"No, certainly not. I went home to burry my mother and father!" Maggie informed heatedly, her eyes boring into Derrick missing Anna's shocked expression at the added information about her father.

Derrick had the decency to look contrite for his overstep.

"I'm sorry…" Derrick looked at Anna and then the two cousins before him. "…but we still need to take you two to the station for questioning."

"Sure…" Maggie nodded and looked at David. "We'll meet you there then. Unless we should ride with you…"

"It would be better if…"

"No, you two can meet us there." Anna smiled as she looked at David and Maggie and stepped towards Maggie. "It's good to have you home…" Anna whispered as she pulled Maggie into a hug. "You'll explain all of this to me later, yes?"

Maggie nodded her head as she was released from Anna's arms, offering her a slightly faltering smile. "Of course."

"Right…well then…we'll follow you two to the station." Anna locked eyes with David and smiled kindly at her ex-husband.

"Sure…." David offered as he moved towards the car with his and Maggie's bag and put them in the back before taking the keys offered to him by an employee.

Once inside the car Maggie met David's worried gaze and patted his shoulder. "Where did we put my father's cell phone?" Maggie asked as she checked her own pockets.

"It's in my bag…"

Maggie reached into the back and pulled Alexander's cellphone out from the front pouch of David's suitcase.

"Who are you calling?" David asked as he started the car and pulled away from the airstrip, their destination the Pine Valley Police Department.

"I'm calling my father's lawyer. He was the one that was working with Ryan about orchestrating a grand event to basically advertise me as the new face and heir to Cambias…" Maggie explained as she looked through her father's contact list. "He was already on his way from New York this morning, he should be close by now…"

Maggie groaned when her call went straight to voicemail. She left a message to the man she had never met in person but had already spoken with several times in the last few days. Mostly at her father's insistence that she become familiar with the people that would help her while she transitioned into the role of CEO of Cambias Industries.

"Okay, I'm going to call Bianca, see if she knows anything more about tonight's event, warn her not to go or you know…" Maggie sighed. Tell her the truth.

Maggie saw David look at her through the corner of his eyes. She knew David had wanted her to tell Bianca while she was in Green Bay but it had been too hard. Then Alexander had died and Maggie could hardly breathe let alone talk to Bianca and explain what was going on.

"I know…I know…I should have told her. Well, I'm going to today, I was going to today when I got back but we now have our unscheduled trip to the…"

"That's not why I'm looking at you like this…" David informed, turning whenever he could to look at his cousin before turning back to the road.

"Then why?" Maggie asked, her fingers frozen over the number pad of her father's cell phone.

David smirked, "I've never seen you like this. Hell…" David chuckled. "I've never seen you take such control of a situation and immediately know what to do and how to do it so quickly. I just…" David didn't want to admit it but he had to, "…I think Alexander was right to leave you in charge of Cambias, you obviously have a god given talent for it."

Maggie took a moment to take in what David was saying. She had just jumped right in. Even after her father's death the first call she had made after she stopped crying was to her father's publicist and the PR department at Cambias so they could immediately try and put a damper down on the press regarding her father's death and on releasing who was the heir to the multibillion dollar industry.

David and Alexander were right. Maggie did have a natural talent for this.

It made Maggie smile and frown.

Alexander had been right. Maggie would be good for Cambias and figure her way around the industry with little trouble. She was just sad he couldn't see it.

Maggie smiled as she looked out the car window and watched the people on the street walk by. Something was different even though nothing seemed to have changed around Pine Valley.

It wasn't until Maggie looked down at her hand, still holding her father's cell phone that Maggie realized what was different.

She was...

Maggie had stepped off the exit ramp with a goal in mind, a mindset, and the knowledge that she was ready for this.

The woman that had stepped onto an airliner last week wasn't the same woman that stepped out from that jet. That woman was gone.

Mary Margaret Stone was gone and Mary Margaret Bennett (Cambias) was here to stay.

Life, even in such a short time, had changed her and she wished Pine Valley luck because she wasn't here to fool around. Not anymore.


Part 3

-------Pine Valley Police Department-------

Maggie sat slightly uncomfortably beside Derrick's desk.

Derrick was absent from his desk and had another officer tending to her needs, which meant he was doing nothing.

In all honesty the officer watching her could do little for her.

What she needed was to leave.

Maggie tapped her foot impatiently. She needed to find Bianca and talk to her and Erica and possibly Kendall. They all needed to know not to go to the dinner at the Valley Inn tonight. It was a setup, for her Maggie was sure. It was a way for Ryan to spin the truth in his own twisted way.

Maggie realized that Ryan was the only one that could have pulled this off and that he was doing it to get back at her for taking what he thought had been his future wrapped up in silver and gold.

Ryan had stopped by two days before Alexander had died. Ryan had hoped to smooth things over with Alexander but had made one critical error. He had dismissed Maggie. Ryan was clearly under the assumption that his opinion and words were valued more than hers. He had been wrong.

Alexander had seen all he needed to see of Ryan and had decided before Ryan had even shown up that the original plans he had made with the young man were to be changed. They had been changed before Ryan even stepped through the door.

Ryan was out.

Maggie was in.

Alexander and Ryan had fought when he made this clear to the young Mr. Lavery.

Ryan had seen fit to insult her more than Alexander was willing to hear and before he could even complain about it Ryan had been escorted out of the room. A quick call made by Alexander to his lawyer and his second in command in almost every country had left Ryan with no leverage.

Maggie realized that Alexander had seen a greed in Ryan that Maggie had seen a long time ago. She was grateful that her father had seen it before he placed power, a great deal of power, into Ryan's hands.

Maggie sighed, apparently everything her father had done didn't mattered.

Ryan had already planned this event with PR and Alexander's blessing. Public Relations and Alexander's publicist hadn't set a date yet for the event, until Ryan told them the date as soon as he left the room earlier this week.

Tonight, when Ryan had everyone in front of him eating out of his palm because they all thought he held what they all wanted—their companies—he would feed them lines about…well Maggie wasn't sure.

The story that Ryan could coop up from the information he held was enough to make Maggie nervous.

It wouldn't be true, of course, but there was little to no proof that Maggie had that she could use against him if it came down to his word against hers.

Then as soon as everyone realized that Ryan was right about her being a Cambias her credit would plummet while his skyrocketed. It would not turn out well for half of Pine Valley's elite when they find out about her actual 'pedigree' from Ryan.

Maggie looked at the clock on the wall and groaned in frustration.

Anna and Derrick had been questioning David for nearly an hour.

It was already four in the afternoon. The dinner was at six!

Maggie needed to get out of here!

Maggie dropped her head unceremoniously onto the desk.

The med-student had already called Bianca and tried to talk to her but had been interrupted because she had lost the signal to the call. By the time Maggie tried to redial they had already made it to the station and Derrick was tapping on the window asking her to step out of the car.

Maggie sighed as she remembered hearing Bianca's surprise when she picked up the phone. "Oh Maggie, I had no idea it was you. I thought…well your number came up as A. Cambias…"

Maggie had laughed nervously at this and realized that she was calling with her father's cell phone! Maggie nearly hit her own forehead with her hand but had the strength not to go through with it. Of course the caller ID would show his name and of course Bianca wouldn't pick up until she heard her voice through the machine.

Maggie had avoided the comment and told Bianca that she was back in town but she and David were going to the police station as they had been met by Anna and Derrick Frye.

Bianca had offered to meet them there and Maggie had immediately thought that was a good idea, then she could talk to Bianca while she waited when David was being questioned.

Sadly, the signal had been lost and she hadn't been able to ask Bianca to meet them here.

Maggie looked at her father's cell phone and groaned as she noticed there was still no service.

What good were these cell phones if they didn't work when you needed them to?

"Ms. Stone?"

Maggie looked up to see the young officer that was supposed to make sure she didn't go anywhere standing before her with a smile. He was cute, but he was currently keeping her from where she needed to be, so her attitude was to be expected.

"It's Bennett." Maggie corrected as she eyed the young man.

He looked taken aback as he looked down at his sheet of paper.

"Oh, I'm looking for a Ms. Stone…"

"I'm Ms. Stone…"

"But I thought you sa…"

Maggie took pity on the young man, "I changed my last name to Bennett while I was away. Everyone here still knows me as Maggie Stone."

"Oh…right…okay." He cleared his throat. "Derrick and the Chief are waiting for you."

Maggie grabbed her purse, stuck her father's cellphone in her pocket and followed after the flustered officer.

Maggie passed David on her way to the room and saw he was smiling at her.

"I'll get the car ready." David offered as Maggie passed him.

Maggie nodded her head at her cousin before entering Anna's office.

Anna was sitting behind her desk while Derrick stood in the corner of the room.

Well, Maggie had already known that Anna was going to play the good cop when it came to her.

Maggie laughed at how flustered she had been on the jet talking to David about the night of Michael's murder. Maggie had been so consumed with coming up with somewhere to be that night that she forgot she had the perfect alibi.

Maggie was in the penthouse when Bianca fell asleep and had returned before Bianca woke up so she was there when Bianca awoke. Reggie had fallen asleep on the couch and had no idea what time she had gotten back so there really was nothing to figure out.

Maggie would lie. As of now she had been at the penthouse most of the night. End of story. She had called Reggie to keep an eye on Bianca so she could go to her dorm room to pick up some clothes and shower only to return to the penthouse when she was done.

It would work.

They had no way of knowing she was elsewhere.

So…her explanation of where she was the night of the trial was simple and they both bought it or pretended to buy it.

It was now, where they started to ask the sticky questions that Maggie realized her prior explanation to David was still in fact perfect.

"See, Maggie, I'd like to believe you but…"

Maggie waited for it, the perfect look of confusion on her face as she looked from Derrick to Anna.

"But…?" Maggie coaxed sounding more surprised than anything.

"If you weren't there that night, how do you explain forensics finding your blood at the crime scene?" Derrick asked as he stepped closer to Anna's desk, leaning towards her trying to intimidate her.

"Is he serious?" Maggie asked Anna and saw a frown crease the Brit's face so she looked contrite and turned back to Derrick. "I don't know…I'd start by asking how they know it's my blood." Maggie informed as she looked at Derrick.

"Codas…" Derrick informed eyeing Maggie wearily.

"Right…how'd my blood get into Codas? I've never had a sample of my blood taken from me for it."

"It's your blood…"

"Is it?" Maggie asked, mocking Derrick. "Where's your proof? Where's the DNA profile?" At Derrick's perplexed expression Maggie rolled her eyes. "The sheet of paper that proves you matched blood at the crime scene to me. Where is it?"

"It's Frankie's blood Maggie…" Anna quickly informed noticing how easily both Derrick and Maggie allowed themselves to get riled up.

Maggie sighed, realizing that her twins DNA was identical to her own. So there was only one other persons it could be if they matched it in Codas.

"I want to be a smartass and tell you to go question her, but we all know how that would turn out."

Anna smirked and watched Maggie lean back in her chair, arms crossed. Somehow she had known questioning Maggie would turn out to be a challenge.

"Cut the crap, Maggie. Where were you the night of the trail, for real this time…" Derrick intoned as he eyed the slip of a girl that was trying to pull one over on them. He had though Maggie was different, wasn't the type to cause trouble. Apparently he had been wrong, and he hated when he was wrong.

Maggie sighed and shook her head at Derrick. "I don't know how my blood could have been found anywhere near the crime scene. If you tell me where the crime scene is then I might be able to help you, but I was at Erica Kane's penthouse the night of the trail looking after Bianca."

"You know we can pull Reggie in for questioning, ask him what time he came over to…relieve you." Derrick tried once again to rattle the woman sitting before him.

Maggie shrugged, "Go ahead."

It wasn't working, Derrick was trying to scare her into a confession but she wasn't biting at the hook he was desperately dangling in front of her hoping it'd be alluring when in fact it was repellent.

Anna sighed and rubbed at her eyes, tired of having to interrogate the people she had come to care about.

"We can arrest you with the evidence we have." Derrick threatened as he noticed Anna's defeated expression.

"If you had enough evidence you would have arrested me already." Maggie challenged as she looked at Derrick, "You're fishing."

"And you're pushing your luck." Derrick bit out. "The only reason you're not in a cell right now is because of your close personal relationship with…"

"Enough…" Anna turned to glare at Derrick. He was overstepping, a great deal. Yes they had Maggie's blood, but they also only had it outside of Michael's condo, there was no evidence that she was inside.

"Maggie…" Anna turned towards Maggie and smiled slightly at the young woman, Maggie's eyes were showing the signs of fatigue and although she tried to seem strong and indifferent there was something bothering her.

Anna could only imagine that it had to do with losing, not one, but apparently both of her parents in the same week. And now she was here, before she could even go back to her dorm room she had to come here and listen to Derrick try and antagonize her.

It wasn't fair or right, but Anna realized she had a job to do and she had already pulled enough strings to try and keep Maggie out of jail for something she knew the young woman couldn't have done.


"Why was your blood found outside of Michael Cambias' con…"

"You had better have a good reason to bring my client in for questioning…"

Maggie turned around and saw the lawyer she had told David to remind her to fire. Phillip Cochran stood in the doorway looking over Maggie's head at Detective Derrick Frye and Chief of Police Anna Devane.

Maggie closed her eyes and held her head in her hands and wondered how her luck had gotten so nauseatingly disgusting lately.

Anna stood up and looked from Maggie to Mr. Cochran in shock. Anna was very familiar with this lawyer he had been Michael Cambias' lawyer. "Your client?" Anna asked surprise evident.

There was no way Maggie could afford to pay him. Something was going on and as Anna saw Maggie shift uncomfortably in her chair she realized it wasn't good. Not in the least.

"Yes, my client. Now, if you aren't going to arrest Ms. Ca…"

"Stop…" Maggie stood up from her own chair, nearly knocking over the piece of furniture in the process. "It's Bennett…" Maggie seethed as she eyed the older man. "…and I didn't hire you."

Anna shook her head, Bennett? When had this happened?

Maggie had a lot more explaining to do then Anna first realized.

Mr. Cochran looked insulted, "Of course you didn't. Your father did. I'm here to make sure that you aren't taken advantage of. Now, again, Chief Devane if there is nothing else…"

"Your father? I thought he died…" Derrick spoke up from where he stood at the side of Anna's desk.

"He..." Maggie nearly choked on the sorrow that suddenly clouded her expression. It was there for only a moment but all present saw how deep his death had truly cut her. "He did…." Maggie sighed and looked to Anna.

Maggie saw how surprised the older woman was. She wanted to explain, she did, but here? Maggie sighed she might as well get to it.

"I only found out last week who my biological father is…" Maggie shook her head, "…was. He died on Wednesday. Not six days after my mother died…" Maggie laughed bitterly at her luck.

"What was his name?" Anna asked, her mind already churning with possibilities.

"Alexander Cambias Sr…" Maggie met Anna's eyes watching as her eyes widened and breath left her lungs in a whoosh.

Even Derrick seemed taken aback by this information as he looked Maggie up and down as if she were a different person. It was like everything changed the moment they knew. Maggie could see it in Derrick's eyes, his expression; the way his body stiffened.

It hurt.

It wasn't as if she were any different from the woman he had just been talking to moments ago. Yet, somehow she was in his eyes, and it bothered Maggie.

Mr. Cochran rolled his eyes and moved forward, taking a hold of Maggie's forearm as he looked from Derrick to Anna. "Should this become public knowledge I know who to file a suit against. Now, is that all?" His frustration was clear as he looked at the two police officers.

Maggie looked up at the man holding her arm and stared at his hand holding onto her forearm. Without looking up she instructed, "You better damn well let go of my arm."

Mr. Cochran looked down at Maggie as if she were an irritating bug but released her arm nonetheless. She was now the woman that signed his paychecks. "My apologies…"

Maggie snorted and turned so Mr. Cochran had nothing but her back facing him. "Am I free to go?" Maggie asked Anna.


"Yes." Anna interjected quickly.

A quick look at Derrick was all that was needed for Anna to imprint her point. Derrick nodded his sudden understanding. If Maggie had Mr. Cochran on her side and they came at her with the flimsy evidence they had now they would be destroyed.

"I'll show you out…" Derrick offered politely for the first time as he walked towards the door and showed Mr. Cochran out waiting for Maggie to leave but she shook her head.

"I need to talk to Anna…"

"I don't think that's…" Both men tried but failed as both women piped up at the same time as well.

"It's fine Derrick."

"It's fine."

Derrick and Mr. Cochran nodded and left the room closing the door behind them.

Once the door closed Maggie's shoulders sagged and she turned to Anna, almost afraid to meet her eyes. It would kill her if Anna's eyes showed the change that Derrick's did.

"So…you seemed to have had a pretty life changing week…" Anna offered as she walked around her desk and sat on its edge directly in front of Maggie, her arms crossed over her chest.

"You think?" Maggie asked as she fell back into her chair, eyes downcast as she fiddled with her hands.

"Oh Maggie, darling…" Anna stepped forward and kneeled before the young woman, her hands taking ahold of Maggie's and holding them tightly as she searched for the woman's eyes. "…look at me dear."

Maggie closed her eyes tightly for a moment more before she opened them and met Anna's eyes, tears burning them. Anna's eyes looked at her as they always had. With love and respect.

"I'm…I…they…they left me…they all…left me."

"Oh…Maggie…come here." Anna pulled Maggie forward, standing the both of them up as she wrapped her arms around Maggie and held her close allowing the girl to cry on her shoulder.

Maggie pulled away, wiping at her eyes as she looked anywhere but at Anna. "I'm sorry…I ruined your shirt." Maggie noticed her mascara clear as day against Anna's now damp shirt.

"Well, apparently you can buy me another one without much worry…" Anna joked as she helped Maggie clear her face of any tears. "…not to worry though, despite its lovely texture and the flattering way it fits, it is quite cheap."

Maggie chuckled lightly as she met Anna's loving eyes and smiled. "Thank you."

"Nothing can change my opinion of you Maggie. Nothing…" Anna insisted as she held onto Maggie's shoulders.

Maggie could only smile in return. "I didn't kill him, Anna." Maggie informed as she saw the case notes for Michael's case about the room.

"I know…" Anna informed as she brushed her finger across Maggie's chin before releasing her. "…I am curious how your blood was found outside his condo."

"Cut myself on the bush visiting Kendall."

Anna laughed and shook her head. "If I didn't know better, I would have believed you."

Maggie just smiled and laughed nervously.

"Your secret is safe with me." Anna informed.

Against all better judgment it was safe with her. Anna wouldn't tell Derrick that Maggie was lying. It would be in the report that she received a cut when leaving Kendall's condo which explained why the blood was found outside near Michael's. Anna wanted to shake her head but she kept it still as she looked at Maggie intently.

Michael was Maggie's brother.

God…this time Anna did shake her head. They had all left her, indeed. This had to be killing Maggie. All of it!


Anna pulled herself from her internal thoughts and met Maggie's eyes.

"Are you free right now?" Maggie asked as she looked down at her watch and noted that it was already five.

It would take them at least forty minutes to get to Erica's penthouse and by then Erica and Bianca would be gone, leaving for the Valley Inn already. Looked like Maggie was just going to have to go to the Valley Inn and grab Bianca before she went inside. Before Maggie left the station though, she would need Anna's help.

"I can be…"

"Good, I'll explain on the way, but we have to leave now." Maggie hoped that Anna trusted her enough to follow her now and ask questions later.

Thankfully Maggie wasn't disappointed.

Anna moved around her desk to grab her jacket and badge before she followed Maggie out of her office and then waited as Maggie ran back into her office to grab something before leading the two of them from the precinct and into the waiting town car.

David looked curiously from Anna to Maggie but let it go. Maggie obviously had a plan. He just hoped she would explain what that plan was.

"Where to?" David asked as Maggie got into the back seat allowing Anna to sit in the front. This way she could talk to them both while looking at them.

"The Valley Inn."

"You got it." David pulled out from the parking lot with their destination in mind.

"Can one of you please explain to me what is going on?" Anna asked as she looked from David back towards Maggie.

Maggie rolled her eyes at what was going on. "Ryan Lavery is trying to cause trouble for me."

"Ryan? He's back in town? Since when?" Anna asked, her mind swirling with questions.

"I assume since three days ago. And yes Ryan. He met my father while in Vegas after he had a heart attack and brought him to the hospital. Until Alexander found out about me he planned to leave everything to Ryan. So when I came into the picture I basically asked for Ryan to be cut out of the picture because he was up to something. My father agreed."

Anna did not miss how Maggie's eyes sparkled with what Anna could only assume were her few memories with her father.

"My dad cut Ryan off and out of the inheritance Ryan had been only days away from receiving. Needless to say Ryan isn't happy about being cut out of the billions of dollars he began to believe were his."

Anna grabbed her forehead and shook her head as she tried to grasp everything Maggie had just explained. After a few moments she understood enough of what had been said to look to Maggie for the answer Maggie hadn't given her.

"So why the Valley Inn?"

"Ryan plans to announce to a select few that include everyone Michael swindled, Bianca, Jackson, the press, mayor, senator, and a few dozen others that Maggie is the Cambias heir." David adlibbed.

"Oh…" Anna rolled her eyes was that all? "But I…I don't understand. Isn't that a good thing? Shouldn't everyone be informed?" Anna asked grabbing onto the dashboard as David made a sharp turn. She eyed her ex-husband wearily as they continued their journey to the Valley Inn.

"Not when we know that Ryan has an ulterior motive." Maggie added as she looked down at her watch. "Anyway, can you pick it up David?"

"I'm going as fast as I can without getting us brought back to the police station." David replied sharply as he met Maggie's eyes through the rearview mirror.

Maggie raised her hands in surrender and turned back to Anna.

"What do you think he plans to do?" Anna asked wondering what Ryan could possibly do with the information he had. If Maggie already planned to announce herself as the Cambias heir, then what was the harm in letting Ryan do it for her? It would certainly save Maggie the trouble of setting up the event.

"I think he's going to twist the facts into a story that I won't be able to disprove with evidence." Maggie felt her anger rise at the thought. What right did Ryan have to play around with her past to make it something it wasn't so it could cost her everything she cared about?

"That's absurd, no one would believe him." Anna exclaimed as she tried to think of a reason to arrest the young man before he caused more trouble in a town already ripe with it.

"Why wouldn't they? When they find out that I can't deny some of what he's saying, like being the Cambias heir, what's to keep them from believing him? I now own their companies, companies that were stolen from them by my pig of a half-brother. A sibling that almost everyone in that room had motive to kill!" Anna couldn't disagree with her points, they were valid. "What's to keep them from turning that animosity towards me? I have what they want and they're going to do everything they can to get it back."

"I'll tell you what, I will. They come near you and I'll put a bullet in them." Anna informed as she felt her service weapon against her hip on her utility belt.

Maggie was thankful to have Anna on her side, because god knew what it would be like to have her against her.

"We're here…" David announced as he pulled the car up to the entrance of the luxury hotel.

Maggie looked out her window and saw several familiar faces of men and women she had only ever seen in the newspaper or on television. They were dressed to the nines and as Maggie looked down at her teal colored top and jeans she was not even remotely dressed for the occasion.

Now, isn't the time to be nervous Sto…Bennett. Maggie convinced herself as her door was opened for her and she stepped out with as much confidence as she could muster, which wasn't much but it was better than none.

David and Anna moved to stand beside her and she couldn't help but feel her anxiety melt away all the more at their determined and supportive faces.

"You ready?" David asked as he moved to take up Maggie's right while Anna took up her left.

"As ready as I'm going to get." Maggie wondered if that was her new mantra, but pushed the thought aside for now.

The three made their way passed the crowd bunched along the sides of the doors being talked to by several journalists and photographed by photographers. Maggie saw flashes and hoped that none of them were directed at her as she and her own entourage made their way into the lobby.

Now was not the time to be the scared college student that everyone inside was familiar with.

Now was the time to be the confident young woman that had stepped off of her late father's private jet ready to take on the world or the man trying to ruin her world!

So, with a moment to compose herself Maggie found the Bennett-Cambias inside of her and used it for all it was worth, because she knew she was going to need it.


Part 4

Bianca looked around the familiar ballroom with a sad smile. The last time she had been here had been for her mother's almost wedding to her Uncle Jack. That now seemed like a lifetime ago.

"Bianca, dear are you alright?" Erica asked as she moved to stand beside her youngest daughter her arm hooking around Bianca's pulling the young woman from her continuous pacing.

Bianca shook her head and smiled as brightly as she could at her mother. "I'm just nervous."

I wish Maggie was here, was what she wanted to say.

The only reason she was still here at this ridiculous media circus and not at the police department making sure Maggie was okay was because her mother had insisted she leave Maggie be. It would be better if Bianca stayed out of the investigation, Erica had said. Erica had looked at Bianca pleadingly before insisting that Maggie could handle herself, that she was a strong young woman.

Bianca wondered now if her mother realized that she had complimented Maggie in her efforts to keep her from going to her friend's aid. Then, as she looked at her mother, she thought no, Erica hadn't even realized she had.

Bianca didn't care what her mother said. She was still going to go to the police station, worried especially after Maggie's call had cut off and she had yet to call her back at the time. Erica realized that she was losing the battle, pulled in her final and best card; Kendall. Erica shamelessly used Kendall's obvious need for at least Bianca's attendance against Bianca.

Bianca had then reluctantly agreed to get ready for the dinner, but her mind had remained on Maggie's wellbeing even as she stood in the ballroom of the Valley Inn.

"Yes, so am I." Erica whispered as she ducked her head for only a moment before looking about the room at everyone that began to arrive as if her admission had meant nothing.

Bianca's eyes widened at her mother's admission and knew that even as her heart pulled her towards Maggie, this was where she was needed most.

Bianca caught sight of a few politicians coming their way and quickly excused herself, allowing her mother her room to mingle with a finesse matched by no one else.

As Bianca was leaving the dining hall she came face to face with Adam Chandler and Palmer Courtland in a rather heated argument.

"You old fool if I didn't know any better I would think you were trying to cheat me." Palmer looked angry, so did Adam so without allowing herself to pull too much attention to herself she tried to slip by the arguing men.

"What would give you that impression you old wizen he…ah Bianca…"

Adam and Palmer turned away from each other and looked to see Bianca trying to sneak by unnoticed.

"Palmer…Adam…" Bianca greeted as she moved into the hall across from the dining hall to mingle with the two men that seemed eager for a distraction from each other.

Bianca sighed, so much for making an escape.

"Excuse me, Miss you can't go in there."

Maggie's stride halted as she found a stocky older woman standing in front of her halting her progress into the ballroom. Maggie looked behind her hoping to spot David or Anna, she had no such luck. They were gone.

Somehow in the crowd of the lobby she had lost sight David and Anna.

They had been discussing the need to find Ryan and Maggie had informed them both that she needed to find Bianca first. So they had split up. Maggie wondered now why she thought that was such a good idea.

Maggie knew that there would be no way to convince this older woman that she indeed could go in there. How could she? Her outfit left no doubt that she obviously was not dressed for the occasion going on inside the private ballroom.

"You don't understand…" Maggie tried, desperate to find Bianca before Ryan's announcement.

Maggie groaned and closed her eyes in frustration.

"No, I don't think you understand. This is a private party, invitation only."

"I was invited…"

The woman snorted and eyed Maggie like she were crazy. "Please, miss, I don't want to call security."

"Look, just let me explain…"


Maggie turned her head around and spotted Kendall flocked by about a dozen photographers.

"Kendall…oh thank god." Maggie moved away from the woman and rushed over to Kendall's side.

"I didn't know you were back in town already." Kendall explained her shocked expression needlessly.

"Mrs. Cambias, Mrs. Cambias, look over here please." Several photographers cried out at the same time.

"Kendall, what is the meaning of this dinner?" A male reporter asked from somewhere in the crowd.

"Mrs. Cambias tell us, what is it like being married to the man that your sister accused of raping her?"

Maggie looked at that particular reporter and glared as she took a threatening step forward. Kendall kept her from getting closer to the reporter that was now taking a few steps back.

"Ms. Stone…Ms. Stone…"

"It's Bennett…."

Kendall looked at Maggie surprised at this whispered slip of information. When had that happened?

"Maggie, please what does Ms. Montgomery think of your friendship with the woman that married her rapist?"

This time Kendall let Maggie pull her away from the photographers and reporters except Maggie did a better job at it.

Maggie looked around the bar and smiled as she saw Valley Inn security keep the press out of the bar. Good, she needed a moment with Kendall.

"Don't mind them…they don't know what they're talking about." Maggie insisted as she saw Kendall's crumbling façade. "Hey…" Maggie touched Kendall's cheek for a second before pulling away. It was enough to get the older woman's attention. "…don't listen to them. We know the truth…okay?"

Kendall nodded before shaking her head and taking a deep breath to pull back up her failing façade.

Maggie was one of the few people still talking to her and didn't look at her like she was the scorn of the earth for her marriage to Michael. Kendall couldn't help but smile internally. Maggie had been the first one to call her bluff knowing she wouldn't marry Michael because of her budding relationship with Bianca and Erica. Maggie and Bianca seemed to be the only ones that were on her side. Her baby sister was her only confidant the last few days.

"So…you didn't answer my question."

Maggie smiled sadly at Kendall, "I just got back in today, spent most of my afternoon in the police station being questioned."

Maggie knew from her conversations with Bianca that she and Kendall had been getting close in the last three days. Maggie wondered what it was about the last three days and family members connecting for the first time. Maybe it was just some astrological alignment. She'd be sure to look it up when she had a free moment, or found herself caring enough to look.

Kendall barked out a short laugh, "Fun times, isn't it?"

"Yeah, funnest thing I've done all week." Maggie cringed at the way that sounded and noticed Kendall's smirk falter.

The fear in Kendall's eyes allowed Maggie a moment to realize how this whole situation was affecting the older woman.

"Don't worry…" Maggie quickly whispered as she held Kendall's eyes and watched a relief flood them. I didn't say anything, was left unsaid.

"I heard about your mother…" Right, Bianca had told Kendall. "I'm very sorry for your loss…"

"It's…I'm getting through it." Maggie informed, unwilling to lie and say it was alright.

There was an awkward silence that they were both hard pressed to break.

"So…" Kendall cleared her throat. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm looking for Bianca. I need to talk to her. It's really important."

"Important enough that it couldn't wait?" Kendall teased.

"Extremely…" Maggie intoned hoping that Kendall would help her. "Can you help me get in? I don't have my invitation."

Kendall looked surprised, "You were invited?"

"It's a long story that I don't have time to tell." Maggie added the last bit in when she saw Kendall's curious expression. "I'll tell you, I promise, but I need to talk to Bianca first."

Kendall took a moment to think about it, and then agreed to help the younger woman. After everything Maggie was willing to do for her and for Bianca, the least she could do was trust her and help her get into a party that was bound to be nothing but trouble.

When the two made it back to the doors that led into the private ballrooms Maggie couldn't help the cocky grin that stole over her face as Kendall told the same older woman that had kept her out that she was Kendall's guest. Stammering ensued but neither Kendall nor Maggie stayed to listen to it.

Once inside, Maggie turned to Kendall and hugged the taller woman. "Thanks, Kendall. I owe you one. I'm off to find Bianca. If you find her, tell her I need to see her and it's really important that I see her before the announcement!"

Kendall eyed Maggie suspiciously at this bit of information but straightened herself up after receiving Maggie's hug, "Sure, you shouldn't be too hard to spot. You stick out like a sore thumb."

Maggie chuckled as she backed away from Kendall, "Yeah, well thanks."

Kendall watched Maggie disappear down one hallway and towards one of the ballrooms before she turned down the other to see if Bianca was in the second.

Bianca smiled as she finally made her way to the bar. Bianca wished she could order herself something a lot stronger than the club soda she asked for.

Talking with Adam Chandler and Palmer Courtland could do that to anyone on a normal day. Today and the conversation she had been forced to endure with them was one she wished to never relive.

"Here you go," The bartender smiled as she handed Bianca her club soda and a napkin with her phone number on it. Bianca looked at the number and saw the barista busy taking and fulfilling orders and promptly blushed.

"Well, what do we have here?" Bianca turned at the sound of her sister's voice. "Little sister, are you trying to pick up the help?"

Bianca looked horrified as she quickly grabbed Kendall's arm and dragged her away from the bar forgetting her drink and phone number.

Kendall laughed the entire journey to a small alcove in the lobby between the two ballrooms.

"Calm down, Bianca, jeeze. You would think Maggie dragging me around earlier was enough." Kendall snickered as she saw how bright red Bianca's face still was. "Though, the bartender, much prettier than your lovely Ms. Stone"

"No, she's not." Bianca quickly informed.

Kendall raised a brow and smirked as Bianca's cheeks flamed again at her slip of tongue, "Or does she go by Bennett now? I'm not sure…"

Bianca held up her hand while another rubbed at her forehead hoping to ease the tension she felt building there. "Kendall, please…slow down. What are you talking about? You saw Maggie? When?"

Kendall couldn't keep herself from laughing lightly at her sister's eagerness, "I saw her a few minutes ago. She asked me to sneak her into the party so she could see you. She also whispered that her last name was Bennett when the reporters kept asking her questions. Did you know anything about that?" Kendall asked, curious to know if her sister knew this sudden change in surname.

"No, I didn't…" It was a curious turn of events, but she was sure Maggie would explain it to her later. "Maggie's here, looking for me? Why?"

"I don't know…" Kendall's tone told Bianca she was very interested to know why Maggie was looking for her. "She just said she needs to talk to you before the announcement is made about the heir of Cambias. What do you think that's about?"

"I don't know…" She didn't know a lot about what Maggie was up to apparently. She had changed her name? Bianca shook her head, now wasn't the time. Later, she would ask Maggie about it later. "But I'd like to find out. Where was she last?" Bianca asked as she moved away from Kendall already rushing to go look for Maggie.

"Slow down, slow down, I'll go with you. She was headed towards the other ballroom five minutes ago. Trust me…it'll be easy to spot her." Kendall informed as she kept up with her sisters harried pace chuckling again at her own inside joke about Maggie's attire.

Bianca just looked at Kendall like she had lost her mind, and for a moment Kendall herself wondered if she had.

Maggie threw her arms up into the air as she got stuck behind another small circle of people smoozing. This was getting ridiculous. There weren't that many people here for her to keep getting stuck in one place by the small groups that formed large circles with no room to get passed. Maggie excused herself as she pushed passed the crowd that was blocking the entrance way into the ballroom.


Maggie groaned and wondered why god hated her as she turned to meet Erica Kane's inquisitive stare. "Erica, hello…have you seen Bianca?"

"No, I haven't. I believe she went to the bar to get a drink but that was several minutes ago." Erica looked Maggie up and down and Maggie did her best not to shiver under the scrutiny. "What are you doing here, Ms. Stone?"

"It's Bennett." Maggie bit out and immediately looked contrite. "I'm sorry. I changed it. I…I was just hounded by those pariahs outside about Bianca and I just…it's important that I see her right now." Erica looked confused, but nodded as she allowed Maggie to continue. "So, you said she was getting a drink at the bar?" Maggie asked already walking to circle around Erica and back out the door she had just come through.

"Yes…" Erica watched in shock as Maggie quickly excused herself again as she rushed away in search for her daughter.

If Erica didn't know any better she was sure that something was going on with Ms. Sto…Ms. Bennett and she would find out what that was especially since it concerned her daughter.

Erica politely excused herself and followed after the departing woman.

"Sir, without an invitation I can't let you go in, I'm sorry…"

"No, you see I'm sorry." David said as he looked for his ID. "I've misplaced my invitation. You have a list of guests, don't you?"

"Yes, of course." The woman informed, insulted by his tone.

"Please, I'm on that list. Here…" David showed his photo ID and smiled at the woman as she looked on the list and sighed.

"My apologizes, Mr. Hayward…"

"Yes, well…" David walked by the female employee and continued his search for the young Mr. Lavery hoping Anna had better luck then he has.

Maggie jumped as her arm was taken a hold of and she was pulled into a small alcove between the ballroom and the open bar. Maggie was tempted to get herself a drink at the bar but found she should probably concentrate more on the fact that someone now had her pinned between their body and the wall of the alcove.

"Well, if it isn't Ms. Cambias…"

Maggie scowled as she looked up, "It's Bennett!" Maggie hissed and watched Ryan roll his eyes.

"You know, if you don't see the value of that last name, then you don't deserve it."

Maggie's heart raced painfully against her chest as she quickly made an assessment of how much trouble she was in at the moment.

They were away from the main floor of both ballrooms and behind a small wall between the bar and the service elevator that was a few feet in front of them. So unless she screamed, she was on her own and by the look on Ryan's face, that wasn't a good thing.

Doing her best to remain calm Maggie met Ryan's eyes unflinchingly. She would not show him her fear. He'd have to work a lot harder if he wanted to see the affect he had on her. Maggie slipped one of her hands into her back pocket for a moment before looking at Ryan once again.

"Whether or not I deserve the name doesn't matter! It's mine to take or to disregard." Maggie informed and watched Ryan's eyes flicker with a slowly burning anger.

Ryan looked at Maggie, saw how her skin was flushed and the muscles around her jaw and shoulders were rippling with her agitated tension. He smiled as his eyes traveled towards her swiftly rising and falling chest and the pulsating vein in her neck. He leaned down so his lips were by her ear.

"You are a very beautiful woman Maggie…"

Against her will, Maggie felt her body shudder at Ryan's warm breath against her neck before she shivered in disgust.

"Bite me…" Maggie spat as she tried to push her way out from her position but her attempt to flee only made Ryan step closer towards her locking her between his muscular body and the wall behind her.

"Don't tempt me…" Ryan whispered as he eyed Maggie's neck.

At the sound of voices getting closer Ryan pushed himself closer to Maggie. Seeing Maggie's intent sparling in her eyes—she was going to call out for help—he leaned forward and captured the petite woman's lips with his own.

Ryan felt and heard Maggie gasp and took advantage of her surprise to slip his tongue into her mouth. He groaned as she bit down hard on this tongue. He tasted his own blood but he held his lips against hers, grabbing her hands that were trying to push him off against the wall. Maggie groaned against his lips. Ryan heard the voices behind him fade as they walked further away.

Ryan pulled back and standing against Maggie he let go of her arms and caught her wrist with one hand when she tried to slap him as he touched his wounded tongue with the tip of his finger once, before smiling at the feisty woman before him.

"Uck…" Maggie struggled against Ryan's arms with great urgency. "Let go of me…Don't touch me…"

"I know you didn't enjoy that as much as I did but there is no need to become violent. Then again your family seems to…"

"Fuck you!" Maggie spat out her words and saliva at the man and tried in vain to get him to release her. Maggie watched in satisfaction and disgust as Ryan wiped away her saliva from his face

"I'd love you to…" Ryan smirked and watched as Maggie's eyes finally showed her fear. He frowned and stepped away from her, missing the warmth of her body against his when he did. This wasn't the way to go about winning the young woman's heart and he knew it. "…I'm sorry but I just needed you to be quiet."

"Move..." Maggie pushed against Ryan's shoulder enough to get him away from her just enough so she could slip out from the alcove, Ryan still following her.

"Wait…" Ryan grabbed Maggie's arm and spun her back towards him. "…I need to talk to you. I just wanted to talk. I didn't mean to scare you."

Maggie glared at Ryan and wondered how he could go from being such an asshole to being the kind sweet man she saw before her.

It was an act, she knew that, but if she wanted him to let her go long enough so she could get help, she'd let him believe she bought his act.

Bullshit…Maggie forced her body to relax as she stood in front of him, if she needed to run she couldn't have her muscles cramping on her. Not now when it counted.

Ryan smiled as he looked over Maggie's shoulder for a moment and met heartbroken brown eyes and an enraged jade pair looking at him and Maggie before they both turned and left.

Before Maggie could look at what was behind her he extended his arm to her. "Join me for a drink?"

Biting the inside of her cheek Maggie met Ryan's eyes and shook her head. "I'd rather have needles stuck in every inch of my body."

Maggie saw all the people around them and she smiled internally. If he tried anything again she'd scream and kick him where it'd leave him kneeling and praying for forgiveness.

"Maggie, please…"

"No." Maggie stepped away from Ryan.

"I have a deal you may be interested in."

Maggie's ears perked up, "What kind of deal?"

Ryan smiled, "Keep your father's original deal with me. Let me run Cambias for you. Do that and I'll introduce you to the world without a hitch."

"That's it?"

"Yes…" Ryan smiled thinking Maggie was considering it.

"Let me think about that…" Maggie pretended to ponder the question before turning a disgusted look at Ryan as she stepped away from him. "Hell…no…!" Maggie pronounced.

"I can make your life a living hell…" Ryan warned, his hands squeezing into fists at Maggie's insolence.

Maggie snorted, "My life is already a living hell…" Maggie looked towards the ballroom she had just come from as she stepped away from Ryan moving her hand to her back pocket to make sure she hadn't lost anything during her struggle with Ryan.

Maggie saw the silhouette of a woman she would recognize anywhere. "Bianca…"

Without another glance at Ryan Maggie ran from the lobby and towards the back of the retreating Montgomery.

Ryan sighed, well if she wouldn't go along with his plan he would have to ruin her. With a smile he realized how easy this really was going to be. With a wave of his hand a young man came forward and after being whispered instructions an announcement was made through the two ballrooms that everyone should go to the dining room it was time for dinner to begin.

If Maggie wasn't worried about him making her life a living hell he wondered if she would mind if instead of making her life more difficult he made Bianca's all the more troublesome.

Perhaps then Maggie would see reason. He truly hoped so because he was very fond of Bianca and didn't want her to be hurt in this process. Knowing how Maggie would do anything to protect her friend he figured he had finally found her weakness.

Ryan left the lobby and headed in the direction of the dining room, pulling at his suit jacket and fixing his tie as he walked away unaware that from behind a potted tree stepped out the one person who could foil his plan.


Part 5

Erica stepped out from where she had remained hidden behind a potted plant.

Erica knew she had just watched a very interesting tale unravel.

The coast was clear, or so she thought.


Erica turned to see David rushing towards her out of breath.

"David, why are you running? What's wrong?" Erica saw Anna approaching them as well, looking just as out of breath.

David took a deep breath as he stood before Erica. "Have you seen Maggie?"

Erica's eyes glazed over for a moment.

Maggie Ston…Bennett. He was looking for his cousin.

Erica waited a moment before deciding it was best that they both go looking for the young woman. Maggie had a lot more explaining to do then Erica had first predicted.

"Yes, she was heading into the dining room after Bianca."

"Thank you," David touched Erica's arm in thanks before rushing off down the opposite hallway he had just come from with Anna by his side.

Erica looked around the room she stood in for another moment before she too followed after the departing younger woman and her harried cousin and chief of police.

Erica had watched not only as Ryan left the lobby but as he pulled Maggie into the alcove across from her position. Erica had stood hidden from view as she watched as Maggie and Ryan shared what she thought was an intimate private moment in the alcove. She hadn't been able to hear what they had been saying but she had seen Maggie lift her hand to slap Ryan after the impromptu kiss.

Appearances in this case turned out to be deceiving.

Sadly Erica seemed to be the only other person watching the interaction to see Maggie attempt to stave off her paramour.

Erica watched as her two daughters stood rooted to their spots across from the lobby staring at the two apparent lovers. When Bianca had gasped and covered her mouth, tears springing to her eyes, Erica realized from their positions they could not see Maggie's utter disgust at the kiss.

Erica wanted to go to her daughter but she needed to see what Mr. Lavery and Maggie were up to. Erica was sure Kendall would take care of Bianca and was proved correct as she watched Kendall lead Bianca away from the scene that had left her own face hard in anger.

Erica could not blame her oldest child. After all, the last time she had seen Ryan was on the back of his motorcycle leaving her for the thrill of the road.

Erica decided that whatever Mr. Lavery was planning she would not support him in his efforts. Not after the little display he had knowingly produced.

No one, Maggie Stone-Bennett or Ryan Lavery was going to be responsible for hurting her daughter.

Not now, not ever.

"Bianca…!" Maggie rushed passed people that were trying to get to their seats uncaring as they sneered at her as she unapologetically bumped into them.

Maggie stopped when she almost ran right into Kendall. Pulling herself to a halt and taking note of which hallway Bianca had just turned down she met Kendall's enraged eyes.

Maggie took a step back in surprise, what had she done to have Kendall so angry at her?

"Kendall, I'm sorry, I just don't have time for this." Maggie informed as she tried to move around Kendall but every side step she made was mimicked by Kendall, keeping her in the same spot. Maggie groaned and eyed Kendall with all of the frustration that had been growing all morning. "Kendall…I'll say this once before I do it for you. Move out of my way."

The low commanding tone made Kendall pause but for only a moment. This was after all only Maggie Stone, what was she going to do?

"I don't think so! You have some explaining to…"

"Don't fuck with me right now, Kendall. You have no idea what I've been through in the last few days." Maggie informed eyes hard as she held Kendall's.

"What are you going to do?" Kendall sneered, doubting that the younger woman would do anything.

Maggie felt her anger course through her as she lifted her hands and pushed them forcefully against Kendall's shoulders, knocking the taller woman clear off her feet and into the arms of an unsuspecting dinner guest.

"I'm not some little girl you can just stare down and push around. Not anymore." Maggie informed as she looked into Kendall's eyes as the older woman looked up at her from the floor in shock and outrage.

With this said as the older woman was assisted in regaining her feet Maggie ran passed the growing crowd at their altercation and followed the direction Bianca had gone in before she had run into Kendall.

"What happened?" Anna asked as she and David came to a halt watching as Kendall was being brushed off by an all too eager elderly gentleman.

Kendall angrily waved off his hands and turned to Anna. "You!" Kendall hissed as she stepped closer to the police chief. "I want that woman arrested!"

"Arrested? Woman…Kendall what are you talking about? What happened?" David asked as he stood beside his ex-wife.

"Your precious cousin Maggie…" Kendall sneered with revolution. "…she assaulted me. I want her arrested!" This demand was said to Anna as Kendall crossed her arms over her chest.

"Maggie did this?" Anna asked and smiled to herself for Maggie's growing brass. At least someone had finally knocked Kendall off the high horse she had been riding on for the last few weeks.

"Which way did she go?" David asked, feeling like Bugs Bunny in a Loony Tunes cartoon, Which way did he go, George, which day did he go?

"Hell if I know…" Then Kendall looked behind her and realized Maggie had most likely taken off after Bianca. "…that bitch better stay away from her." Kendall whispered as she stormed off in the direction she had seen Bianca rushing off to when they were separated by the group piling in to find their seats.

What was Maggie up to? If she was in cahoots with Ryan, Kendall could only imagine what the two second generation con artists were up to. If they went after Bianca in their con Kendall would make sure to bury them both.

Anna and David shared a quick exchange before they followed Kendall as she pushed through the crowd on a mission.

Bianca stopped beside the elevator wall and pressed the call button before turning back around to look down the hallway she had just come. Where was Kendall? Hadn't she been right behind her? Apparently not…

Bianca shook her head, Kendall could find her way. For now Bianca needed to get away.

Bianca couldn't believe what she had seen. Was that why Maggie wanted to see her right away? To tell her that she was with Ryan? Was that why Ryan had come to Green Bay? Why he was staying in the same hotel as them? Could that have been what Maggie was hiding from the beginning?

Bianca didn't think so. But what else was there?

Maggie had been so secretive lately and now after that display of public affection Bianca didn't know what to think.

It hurt more than Bianca wanted to admit seeing Maggie with Ryan, seeing Maggie with anyone else.

Bianca hadn't been reading the signs wrong, she knew she hadn't. It was impossible for her to be reading them wrong this time. Maggie had almost kissed her. If David had come in two minutes later than he had Maggie would have kissed her, Bianca knew it. She did. Maggie had also tried to tell Bianca how she felt but Bianca had stopped her that night in the bathroom.

Could it really be that Bianca was reading these signs wrong again?

No…Bianca shook her head, not this time.

Bianca groaned in frustration at herself as she felt tears fall down her cheeks. Why did it have to hurt so much? Lena had tried to warn her, so had her mother, even Kendall warned her about giving Maggie her heart. She hadn't listened. Not that she could listen to them in the first place.

Maggie had stolen her heart long before they warned her not to let the older woman take it. The sad part was that Bianca didn't mind that Maggie held her heart. In the last few months Maggie had done nothing but take such wonderful care of her and her heart. Now, when things became complicated was when Bianca wished she had taken her heart back.

Maggie didn't love her. She was with Ryan now.

Bianca couldn't fault Maggie for her choice, Ryan was a good man. He would treat her right and give her everything Maggie wanted from him. Everything that Bianca knew she could give Maggie but apparently she only wanted it all from Ryan.

Bianca wished Maggie would give her a chance…

Bianca noticed that both elevators seemed to be stuck on floors far above her own ground floor. With a groan she turned away from the dial and continued to pace before the closed elevator doors.

With a ring of a bell one of the doors opened and Bianca allowed a group of people to step out of the car of the elevator before moving to step inside.

Bianca ignored the familiar voice that was calling out her name and pressed the close door button.

"Bianca…wait!" Maggie called as she sprinted around the corner to see Bianca in the elevator.

Maggie pushed herself forward and threw her arm out as the doors were about to close. They remained open long enough for her to fall into the elevator her shoulder slamming against the wall roughly as she slid slightly down it. Maggie looked up from where she had landed against the wall of the moving elevator and saw Bianca's finger coming away from the close door button.

With a curious tilt to her head Maggie took a few deep breaths, and stood up to see Bianca wasn't even looking at her.

"I've been looking all over for you." Maggie informed as she stood tall and saw Bianca look at her from the corner of her eyes before continuing to look forward and away from her.

"Bianca…?" Maggie questioned as she touched Bianca's shoulder gently, trying to coax the younger girl into looking at her.

"Don't touch me…" Bianca informed through her teeth as she pulled sharply away from Maggie's hand.

Maggie was shocked but she nodded and retracted her hand as if it had been burned. "I'm sorry, I was just…" Maggie found she didn't have the right words or any words at the moment. What happened? Why was Bianca acting like this?

"Oh god…" Maggie gasped. "…you know don't you?" At Bianca's glare and curt nod Maggie felt her legs give out.

Bianca was unable to stop herself she reached out and caught Maggie. On their way to the floor they bounced off the front wall of the elevator before Bianca got a good grip on Maggie and lowered her down onto the floor in the middle of the elevator against the back wall.

"Ha—how…?" Maggie asked as she looked up at Bianca, eyes burning.

Apparently Bianca had made her decision. She turned to look away from Maggie.

It broke Maggie's heart. It wasn't fair! Maggie should have been the one to tell Bianca! It was her right to tell Bianca, not his!

Maggie closed her eyes and looked down at the rug of the elevator, unable to look at the clear rejection she was being faced with.

"I was there…by the bar." Bianca bit out, eyes closed as she looked away from Maggie.

Maggie was going to kill him if he cost her Bianca's friendship. "Bianca, I didn't want you to find out like that….I wanted to tell you myself."

"Then why didn't you?!" Bianca turned and met Maggie's eyes her own burned with anger and sorrow as she saw Maggie's closed eyes and single tear as it fell from her eye.

"I couldn't…" Maggie insisted as she looked up and met Bianca's hurt and enraged brown eyes. Maggie lifted her hand to touch Bianca's cheek but closed her fingers into her palm and let her arm fall away without touching Bianca. Bianca didn't want Maggie to touch her anymore.

God…Maggie had to collect herself before she could continue. "I was scared."

Bianca shook her head. "You should have told me, I had a right to know."

"I know…I know…" Maggie nodded while she wondered for the hundredth time why she hadn't told Bianca while she was still in Green Bay. "I know it doesn't help, but I wanted to tell you in Green Bay! So many times I went to tell you and I just…I couldn't. I was afraid you would blame me…that you would leave me."

Blame her? Leave her? For being with Ryan? Bianca wondered why Maggie would think like that, and then she reevaluated her own actions. With her sudden marathon away from Maggie in hurt and despair Bianca realized Maggie had known. Maggie had known she would leave because she knew about her feelings…that had to be it.

"I just wish you would have told me. You…"

Bianca ran her hand through her hair as she moved to sit back against the wall a few feet behind her, leaving Maggie in the middle of the elevator. Which Bianca noted, seemed to have stopped between floors. They must have hit the stop button when Maggie fell.

"You almost kissed me."

Maggie's eyes popped up as she saw Bianca looking down at her hands as she fiddled with her nails. Where did that come from?

"I thought…" Bianca shook her head sadly as a few tears fell and she fell silent. I thought you loved me, were in love with me too. Was what Bianca couldn't find it in herself to say.

After a moment of silence in which Maggie watched as Bianca cried in her little corner Bianca looked up and saw how torn Maggie seemed. Bianca wondered why until she realized she had told Maggie not to touch her.

Ha…Maggie was torn between listening to her and wanting to comfort her. How pathetic was it that Bianca's heart warmed at the thought?

"What is it that you want Maggie?" Bianca asked hoping that the answer her friend gave her wouldn't crush her heart all the more.

Maggie opened her mouth to say something but had to take a moment to clear it before she began, "I wanted to talk to you ab…"

"No…no…" Bianca shook her head forcefully as she rolled her eyes up towards the ceiling of the elevator and stared at the mirrored image of herself that was reflected in the metallic surface. The chiding voice in her mind that sounded disturbing similar to her mother's informed her it was very un-lady like to be sitting on the floor of an elevator.

Bianca moved forward so she was kneeling in front of Maggie once more. Thoughts of what her mother would think about her sitting on the dirty floor of an elevator swiftly pushed aside as she cupped Maggie's face. "What do you want…?"

Maggie wondered where this was coming from.

"What I want?" Maggie wondered if they were on the same page as she leaned into Bianca's touch and her eyes fluttered for a moment before she locked her blue eyes with Bianca's deep soulful brown eyes.

"Yes…" Bianca bit the inside of her lip as she watched Maggie lean willingly into her touch and sigh, as if in pleasure. "…what…who do you want…?"

Same page, ha…Maggie wondered if they were even in the same book.

"What I want…" Maggie whispered, pondering for only a moment about the right time or right moment. Suddenly, Maggie realized there was no time like the present.

So, as she turned her head towards one of Bianca's hands and kissed the underside of the young woman's wrist she opened her eyes while sucking on the skin she could reach of Bianca's wrist. Once she was sure Bianca had the right idea, she let her lips pop away from Bianca's skin.

"Is you, Bianca..." Maggie smiled brightly as she looked at the younger woman. "It's always been you. I love you…I am IN love with you and for the life of me I can't remember a time that I wasn't. Everything about me revolves around you. My happiness is directly linked with yours. When you're happy so am I, when you hurt I ache…"

Maggie leaned forward, moving her own hands up. One to hold Bianca's wrist and hand against her cheek as the other moved to cup Bianca's face, tipping up the younger woman's chin as her head sagged and tears fell steadily from her eyes.

"Please don't cry…" Maggie whispered as she moved forward and cupped Bianca's face with both of her hands and wiped away her falling tears.

Maggie tried to keep her own tears at bay as Bianca's lack of verbal response and sudden burst of sorrowful tears left her feeling hollow.

Bianca shook her head. It would be so easy to believe Maggie. So easy to just fall into Maggie's welcoming light blue eyes and drown in their wake but she couldn't. It wasn't right. Maggie couldn't play with her like this. It hurt, it hurt so much. She wanted what Maggie was saying to be true more than anything but she had seen them together!

"I saw you with him…" Bianca sobbed as she moved away from Maggie and pulled her knees up to her chest, uncaring if her dress skirt rose and showed more than an eyeful.

"What you saw was Ryan trying to blackmail me." Maggie informed the edge of her voice directed at Ryan, but it caught Bianca's attention.

Bianca looked up and scrutinized Maggie's expression. She would know if she was lying. Telling if Maggie was lying or hiding something was something she considered herself an expert in. After nearly two years, she better be.

"I don't understand…." Bianca's voice was filled with confusion.

"I know…trust me, I know." Maggie conceded as she ran her hand through Bianca's hair and brushed away the remnants of her friend's tears. "That's why I've been looking for you. I want to explain what's been going on. What I couldn't tell you before."

"Alright…" Bianca nodded and looked around at their position.

"It's about my father." Maggie informed slowly as she searched for the right words.

"Your father?" Bianca asked and thought about the information she had gotten from Kendall. "Is that why you changed your last name?"

"Who told you that?" Maggie asked surprised.

"Kendall…she told me you corrected the reporters, told them your last name was Bennett."

"Yes, this is why I changed my last name." Maggie informed and watched as Bianca relaxed as if inviting her to continue. "It turns out that my father wasn't Richard Stone."

Bianca's eyes widened and she found herself with a lack of words to either comfort or question what Maggie had just told her.

"My biological father was the one that died this week. He was sick; he had a heart disease that they couldn't fix…"

"Oh Maggie…" Bianca opened her arms for her friend as she noticed her friend's tears that were now appearing in abundance.

"I…I got to know him, only to lose him." Maggie sobbed into her Bianca's shoulder. The comfort she felt wrap around her as Bianca's arms held her tightly, was all she had wanted for the last few days.

Bianca whispered softly into Maggie's ear, words of nonsense that calmed the hyperventilating and broken young woman. It was only after Maggie calmed down that Bianca looked around the elevator a little sheepishly before moving to stand from her position on the floor helping Maggie to follow her up.

As soon as Maggie followed they both stumbled into each other as the elevator started once again and just as they had righted themselves the doors opened to reveal a group of people eagerly waiting for them.

"Well, there you two are…"

Maggie glared daggers at Ryan as he smiled sweetly back at her and took a hold of her arm and 'helped' her from the elevator.

Maggie pulled her arm away from Ryan and turned to see David and Anna standing to his side with Kendall beside them.

Kendall, oh no… Maggie thought.

"Kendall look I'm…"

"Save it…" Kendall intoned harshly as she looked at Maggie and then turned to her sister, turning her back to Maggie as she moved to wipe away a streak from Bianca's tears that Maggie had missed. "…are you alright?" Kendall whispered as she brushed her sister's hair behind her ear and looked at her with concern.

"I'm fine…" Bianca smiled at Kendall and turned to see Maggie continuingly stepping away from Ryan every time he tried to take her hand or put an arm around her before David put himself between the two and turned a menacing look at Ryan.

"Well, if you five would please follow me…"

Maggie turns to see a young man in a green blazer and name tag ushering them back towards the dining room.

"Yes, of course." David informs as he leads Maggie from the hallway taking a hold of Anna's arm as he watches Kendall and Bianca follow them out.

Ryan waves obnoxiously slow as Maggie rounds the corner with David, Anna, Kendall and Bianca following.

"What happened?" David asks as they are led into the dining room, he saw Bianca's disshelved appearance and Maggie's sudden rage. As well as the tears that Maggie had been discreetly wiping away.

"Ryan tried to blackmail me." Maggie informed as she kept looking over her shoulder and saw Ryan standing in the hallway watching them walk away. She shivered as he smirked and winked at her mouthing 'see you soon'.

"Ryan?" Kendall asked as they entered the dining room and were all shown to their seats.

"Yes." Maggie answered darkly, her anger towards Ryan making her voice deepen and eyes darken.

Maggie noticed that her name was at the head of the table where everyone of 'importance' meaning the people whose companies were stolen, were seated at her table. To her right it was Erica, Bianca, Kendall, Greenlee, Simone, and on the other side of the table Adam, Palmer, Mia, Liza, Jackson, and David.

Almost everyone was already at the table and looked at her oddly as she stood before her chair. Great, so he put her right with the pack of wolves that were starving for any scarp of information about their companies.



Part 6

The group that had been led to the table remained standing as Maggie turned her back on the people at the table and the sneers. They were directed towards Kendall, but Maggie realized they would soon be directed at her soon enough.

Maggie noticed the patio doors that led out into the garden and realized how much she truly craved fresh air. With a quick decision she opened her mouth to insist that the group follow her outside so they could talk when her words were halted at an angered voice calling Kendall out from across the table.

"If it isn't her majesty…"

Maggie turned at the sound of Greenlee's condescending voice and noticed Kendall's minute stiffening before she smiled crookedly at Greenlee.

"If it isn't the court jester…"

Greenlee moved to stand from her seat readily waiting to pick a fight with Kendall.

"Sit down…" Maggie seethed as she eyed Greenlee and pointed at the young woman's chair.

Greenlee sat down against her own wishes as her eyes widened at Maggie. What the hell?

"Not now Greenlee, you want to pick a fight, do it on your own time. Alright?" When Greenlee remained silent and everyone at the table turned towards her with surprised or pleasantly surprised expressions she turned her back on the table once again. "You…" She poked Kendall's arm. "…play nice."

"Owtch…" Kendall protested as she rubbed her arm and eyed Maggie up and down, not sure if she was still mad at the younger woman. "…she started it."

"I don't care, I'll finish it…" Anna piped up and several eyes zeroed in on her service weapon.

"Kendall, I know this is going to be a shocking moment but Ryan's here to tell you that you don't own Cambias…I…d-"

"WHAT!?" Kendall screeched as she took in the information. "That's not possible! Michael signed over ownership to me when we married I…"

Maggie put one hand up to stem off Kendall's explanation and another to rub at her temple. All eyes in the room were now squarely on them from every table and Maggie was slightly unnerved by the attention.

"I can't believe you married him…" Erica stated from her seat three chairs away from the head of the table where her daughters stood with the dysfunctional Stone/Bennett family.

"Mom…" Bianca whispered harshly, they didn't have time for this. "Please, don't start." Maggie was finally explaining what was going on, and damn it to hell, if her mother kept her from learning the truth Bianca might have to slap her.

"You're just upset because after all you did to cheat me out of my birth right you can do nothing to get back the child you loved more than Bianca and I combined." Kendall bit back as she glared at Erica and watched as the older woman sputtered and turned red as she stood from her seat.

"Birth right? What right do you have to the company I built up from the ground? Whose image I've maintained through the years!? It takes a lot to run and own a multimillion dollar company. Hard honest work, the kind you've never done once in your life."

"Mother…!" Bianca looked horrified as Erica tried to step closer to Kendall but David moved to hold her back while Anna and Bianca kept Kendall from attacking Erica.

Maggie stood where she was, shaking her head as she rubbed at her forehead wondering how she had gotten dragged into this mess.

"She's right…"

Maggie cringed as the chorus went around the table behind her. Maggie wondered why she hadn't just grabbed Bianca and Kendall and brought them outside into the nice summer evening on the patio where they could smell the flowers in the garden. It would certainly be better than staying here and listening as some of the most powerful men and women of Pine Valley duked it out.

"Why should you benefit from our hard work just because you're a good lay?!"

"Mia…" Liza gasped as she looked at her sister and pulled her back into her seat as the younger woman tried to stand.

"No, she's right…" Greenlee and Simone stood up and glared at their former business partner. "We all worked hard to bring Fusion up from the ground and now just because she wanted to get her jollys from doing it with her sister's rapist…"

Maggie could hear her blood rushing passed her ears at the bickering continued and insults were thrown back and forth. Chairs scrapped against the floor as people stood to continue their bellowing at one another.

Anna saw Maggie with her back turned on the growing debate and sighed, knowing the young woman really was helpless to do anything to stop these people from taking out their frustrations on each other.

Noticing Greenlee and Simone making their way closer to Kendall Anna put herself in front of the younger woman. Anna stood in front of Kendall keeping everyone from getting any closer to her and was thankful when Bianca took up her flank to try and keep her older cousin at bay.

Maggie hearing Bianca's voice picking up in volume turned around and watched as Jackson took a swing at David. Maggie's eyes widened as David flew back into a chair before shoving against the chair to get up and go after Jackson.

Erica turned and held David back from hitting Jackson as the two men continued to argue over her shoulder.

Bianca was arguing with Greenlee as she stood toe to toe with Leo's ex-wife and her 'long lost cousin'. Simone stood behind Greenlee trying to help instill Greenlee's previous comments while Mia and Liza argued beside their chairs across the table from the bickering women.

It was chaos…utter chaos.

"Stop…" Maggie tried but no one heard her. She looked back and forth as Adam and Palmer argued over something before teaming up against Kendall.

Bianca continued to stand in front of Kendall beside Anna but shot her head towards the two men who had only apologized to her less than an hour ago.

"What would you know about love, Adam? You pushed your own son so far he needed to run to the other side of the country to get away from you!" Bianca angrily retorted making Maggie wish she had paid closer attention to what Adam had said for Bianca to attack back like that.

Maggie remained at the head of the table unmoving until Adam threw an insult Bianca's way that she couldn't ignore.

"If there was any problem with JR it wasn't because of me. His problems didn't start until you and your dead conniving con artist girlfriend came into the picture."

On a dime, Maggie had spun around and slammed her hands down on the table, causing the length of the wooden table to shake under the force. "Enough…!" Maggie screamed and everyone turned to her, some with their mouths still open in mid-rant/insult.

"Look at all of you…" Maggie spat as she looked around the table shaking her head with disgust. "You all think you deserve your companies back when you can't even behave like the adults you're supposed to be!? Sophisticated business men and women my ass…!!" Maggie met everyone's eyes at least once as she looked around at the group.

Maggie didn't have their experience under her belt but she had watched a dying man handle the pressures of all of their companies and a conglomerate of others from his death bed with more pose and class then they could ever hope to possess.

"What are you all trying to prove? Who can make a bigger jack ass of themselves?"

Everyone around the table slowly began to pull themselves together as they actually allowed Maggie to continue, not that she left the any room to interject their comments.

"Who do you think you are?" Adam challenged and was surprised to meet Maggie's unwavering fiery gaze.

"Mary…Margaret…Bennett…" Maggie annunciated. "You'd do well to remember that Adam, because I'm about to turn your world upside down and kick you out on your ass if you don't shut up!"

"You...ha…you can throw me out? What right do you have?" Adam questioned laughing in what he hoped sounded condescending and not nervous. He had never seen Maggie like this. He didn't know the woman well but by the surprised if not downright shocked expressions from her close friends, he knew he wasn't the only one taken aback by her forthrightness and authority.

"Every…" Maggie growled out as she held Adam's eyes until movement to her left caught her eyes. "David—Jackson…" Maggie looked at the two men and realized she had lost a great deal of respect for the two men after their display of school yard bullying. "Find a school yard to knock each other around in…"

The two men looked at each other and then at Maggie and both seemed to at least be slightly contrite for their actions.

"Maggie…" David's tone left no room for Maggie to speak to him like that again, but she was already talking to Palmer and Adam by the time he had finally spoken up.

"Palmer—Adam why don't the two of you just finally admit your undying love for the other and spare us all the bitching and moaning because it's getting old fast!" The two men looked equally disgusted and insulted.

"Why I never…" Maggie heard Palmer grumble as he made sure to take an extra step away from Adam lest Maggie's comment give the man any ideas.

"Greenlee—Simone…" Maggie turned to her ex-cousin by marriage. "Go have your pissing matches elsewhere because no one here wants to hear or see any of your bullshit."

Kendall watched as Maggie shook her head and promptly pulled out her chair and sat down after properly chastising nearly everyone around the table except a select few. Kendall couldn't help but hold a growing respect and admiration for the young woman who wasn't afraid to call some of the most powerful people in Pine Valley on their 'bullshit'.

Kendall smiled as she nodded her head in Maggie's direction and saw Anna had a rather pleased expression upon her face as she looked at Maggie.

"Is that all Ms. Stone…?"

Maggie glared at Greenlee and held her eyes, "Its Bennett..."

Before any more people around the table could retaliate, which they all eagerly were stepping up to do, there was a slow clap started from the back entrance of the dining room.

Maggie turned around as all those standing at the table turned towards the person clapping for her performance who had to come from the back entrance of the hall or the patio because that was all that was behind Maggie.

"Ryan…" Greenlee whispered as she looked at her on again off again best friend's ex-fiancé and Leo's good friend.

Maggie's heart sank to the pit of her stomach as she saw Ryan.

Maggie quickly turned around completely looked immediately to see where Bianca was.

Shit…Maggie still hadn't told Bianca what was going on yet.

They had all been distracted by the fight Erica and Greenlee had originally picked against Kendall.

David and Anna both stepped closer to Maggie leaving Bianca to stand by Kendall's side. The two exes were ready for anything that Ryan threw their—Maggie's way.

Bianca moved to stand closer to Kendall as she watched as Ryan walked slowly into the room, all eyes moving from him and back to Maggie as the two stared off with each other.

"Brava….brava…" Ryan applauded until he was halfway across the room once there he stopped and walked up to stand a few feet away from Maggie who had her back facing the crowded table and the rest of the dining room attendees. "…that was a lovely performance."

"Ryan…" Maggie's voice dropped as she looked at the man that was threatening to ruin her world.

Ryan stepped up a little closer to Maggie and bent forward to whisper into her ear as he looked at the people he had specifically seated at Maggie's table for a reason. "Have you considered my offer?"

Maggie stiffened as Ryan stood closer and she saw David move to step forward to remove Ryan from her personal space but she lifted her hand up at her side and waved him off. A signal Anna caught and kept David back, hoping that Maggie knew what she was doing.

"I'm sorry to say that it wasn't what I was looking for." Maggie informed as she looked at Ryan's profile.

"That's what I was afraid of, so I thought I might raise the stakes…" Maggie stiffened as she watched Ryan smile. "…You sign over all of Cambias to me and sleep with me…" Maggie snorted but felt as if she'd snap in two from the way her body stood on edge as Ryan continued. "In return I won't tell the world that Bianca is carrying your niece or nephew…"

Ryan pulled back slightly from Maggie and saw her shock at his apparent awareness of Bianca's pregnancy. "You see Maggie, you may not be concerned with my ability to ruin your life, but I wonder how you feel about me ruining Bianca's…"

Maggie closed her eyes and gripped at the material of her shirt above her heart with one hand while the other slipped into the back of her jean pocket.

"What are you talking about?" Maggie played it dumb…already knowing that Bianca had told Ryan about Bianca's pregnancy. She had apparently been sick while waiting for her to come home from visiting Alexander that afternoon that she sent Ryan back to the hotel to keep an eye on her.

"Don't fuck with me, Maggie. I know about the pregnancy…she told me."

Maggie cringed as she looked to her side and saw Bianca looking at her, her chest rising and falling as Maggie imagined her heart raced against her chest. Then she saw Anna looking at her waiting for a signal to take Ryan out of the picture.

"This is blackmail…" Maggie sputtered trying to find a way out of this. He knew…he knew about the baby.

"Yes, it is blackmail. Great little tool that seems to come in handy when nothing else seems to be working." Ryan smiled. "So, I get what I want and in return I don't ruin your girlfriend's life…"

Maggie glared and fisted her hands.

"You wouldn't…" He wouldn't do that to Bianca, would he? "You wouldn't hurt her like that…"

Ryan laughed lightly as he stepped three steps away from Maggie. "What do you think anyone would do for billions of dollars that were almost theirs?" Seeing Maggie's surprise he rolled his eyes. "Bianca is a sweet girl but she isn't worth a billion dollars. Besides, I'm sure she wouldn't mind much if we shared you for a little while. Unless you want that to be kept quiet. I can do for you of course, as long as you do as I want."

"Which is sleep with you and give you what's not yours?"

Ryan's eyes hardened. "It was meant to be mine…"

"No…it was meant to be mine!" Maggie hissed as she pointed to her chest and glared at Ryan.

"Well…" Ryan calmed down and looked over Maggie's shoulder. "If you'd rather keep it and lose Bianca I mean I could arrange that…"

"Is that a threat? Because I'll be honest with you Ryan, I'm not one to take lightly when being threatening."

Ryan laughed brightly as he smiled brilliantly at Maggie. "No, no you're not one for threats are you. Coming through with them though, right Maggie? You showed Michael who was boss, hmm…Does Bianca know that you killed him? Killed the father of her child…No? Oh, why don't I just tell her and the entire room…that you killed Bianca's baby daddy."

Maggie's breath caught as she watched Ryan's eyes move to look at Bianca. Maggie saw Bianca freeze under the stare and bit the inside of her lip to keep from crying out at the look of fear on Bianca's face as Bianca turned to her looking for reassurance she couldn't give her.

"This is extortion…" Maggie informed as she squared her shoulders and looked at Ryan.

"You can call it that if you want. I just see it as being given what I was promised."

"My father didn't promise you me…" Maggie informed her nostrils flaring as she readied herself for a fight.

"No, he just presented facts about you that I had previously ignored." Ryan looked up and down Maggie's body obviously enjoying what he was looking at.

"Will one of you please explain to us what in the hell is going on, already?" Greenlee spoke up from her position beside her chair setting.

Ryan looked back towards the table that they had moved away from during their conversation. He smiled as he moved forward, making Maggie back track her steps towards the group behind her.

"Yes, wasn't that what they were promised? Answers and the introduction to the Cambias heir…" Ryan informed, his eyes never leaving Maggie's as he watched her sag and shake her head.

Damn him…

Maggie looked at Ryan before turning to look at Anna and saw Bianca standing directly behind the British police chief.

Bianca wasn't even sure she was going to keep the child. They had discussed Bianca making an appointment at an abortion clinic for later in the week. Yet, the press would eat Bianca alive if they found out she had been pregnant and terminated the pregnancy.

It would destroy Bianca and Maggie couldn't be responsible for that even if Bianca didn't feel the same for her.

Maggie let her nails bite into her palm as she looked down and turned back to Ryan.

As much as Maggie had changed in her short trip home she was still the same woman she had always been with the same heart that she had left with and returned home with. A heart that belonged in its entirety to the young woman she would do anything to protect.

"Fine…" Maggie pushed out as she looked directly to the side of Ryan's shoes so she wouldn't have to look up at him. "…I'll do it."

Ryan smiled as he stepped forward to claim what was his, both figuratively and literally.

The End

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