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.
There Is No Stranger
There were people chattering and eyes staring.
Maggie distinctly heard a voice calling her name but all she could hear was her own voice agreeing to Ryan's demands. Then her hand brushed against her back pocket where her father's cell phone rested alongside what she had grabbed from Anna's desk before leaving the station. It was her only hope; she just prayed that her plan indeed worked.
All Maggie could see was Ryan's white button up shirt as he stepped to stand in front of her. As she looked up she saw his sickeningly sweet smile. He looked like a kid in a candy store and Maggie realized she had just given him permission to buy every candy store in the country should he wish to.
Maggie felt sick to her stomach as he touched her forearm and she instinctively stepped away from him.
David soon stood in front of her but she could still see Ryan's eyes.
They dared her to defy him.
Dared her to do something to be strong and find a way out of this situation.
Maggie turned her head as if in slow motion. The sound of her heart beat deafening her, as her eyes sought out Bianca's.
Maggie hoped, with everything that she was, that Bianca could understand the message she was desperately trying to send her with only her eyes. It asked Bianca for her trust and her strength.
It took Bianca a moment to catch Maggie's eyes and another for the younger brunette to stiffly nod her head.
Maggie smiled, reveling in the awe of her connection with Bianca that she could so easily read her and understand what she was asking for.
Without further prompting Maggie turned her hardened eyes onto the man that was trying to blackmail her into submission. He seemed to be under the impression that she was going to just sit there and take it, well maybe she would have done so two months ago.
Now, she was a different person.
Maggie wasn't the child that Ryan had watched interact with Leo. Too many things had happened since the last time Ryan had been around.
It was now, here, that Maggie knew she had him. Ryan knew little about her. Yes, he knew her weaknesses, but that was all he had in his favor. He was unaware that those same weaknesses were also her strengths.
Maggie put her hand on David's shoulder, giving Ryan a reassuring smile that calmed the current con-artists' fears.
Maggie stood on the tips of her toes and whispered into her cousin's ear, making it look like she was attempting to calm him.
"I know I called you out on getting into a brawl before, David, but I would really appreciate it if you could keep him quiet for a few minutes."
David's eyes lit up as he smirked. "With pleasure " David said out loud as he took one step towards Ryan and threw a punch that connected directly with the arrogant man's cheek, knocking him into the stone pillar to his left.
Ryan looked up, holding his face as he bent over and caught Maggie's eyes.
Maggie smiled as she watched as Ryan realized she wasn't about to play his hard ball.
"David what do you think you're doing!?" Erica stepped forward shocked and noticed that Anna made no moves to hold back her ex-husband.
"Let him be, Erica." Anna instructed as she looked at the shorter woman. They both turned to watch the two men fight no one seeming to get between them.
Maggie cringed as Ryan threw a punch and it connected with David's jaw and knocked him to the side.
"You bitch " Ryan spat out the blood that pooled in his mouth as he moved towards Maggie.
Ryan met Maggie's eyes and took a menacing step forward as Anna moved to intercede. Anna needn't have worried.
Maggie stepped forward herself and met Ryan halfway, closing her fingers into a tight fist as she threw her weight into her own swing.
Ryan dodged the attack but found himself vulnerable as Maggie brought up her knee with incredible force.
Ryan toppled over as he fell to his knees and then onto his side the air leaving him in a whoosh that left many of the nearby men wincing in sympathy.
Maggie turned to Anna and smiled even as her heart pounded against her chest. "He sexually assaulted me in the hallway not a half an hour ago. I want to press charges." Maggie informed assured and ready to go to war with Ryan.
Ryan wanted to play hard ball, she'd show him he wasn't even in the same league as her.
From his position on the floor Ryan wheezed, "Lying .bitch "
Anna looked stricken. If it was Maggie's word against Ryan's she could do very little. "Were there any witnesses?"
"Yes " Bianca moved to step forward, unsure of Maggie's motives but eager to finally have the older woman explain things to her. "Kendall and I saw him kiss her "
"Did you see her resist him?" Anna asked hoping they had as she already moved to reach for her handcuffs.
"No " Kendall whispered upset that she couldn't help Maggie as Maggie had been so willing to do for her tonight.
Erica with her head reeling from all that was taking place in such a short amount of time cleared her throat as her eyes never left the crumpled up young man that she had thought was once so like Chris. "II did. I saw the altercation; she tried to slap him after he kissed her. He grabbed her roughly."
Palmer made to move forward. Although the young woman was not his own child or related to him, he had grown fond of her while he was married to Maggie's vile aunt Vanessa. "Let me through " Palmer objected as Liza held him back from going up to deliver his own kick to the downed man. "How dare he even try and touch her "
Maggie turned to Erica, surprised before watching as Anna moved forward with this news.
"He also is trying to blackmail me." Maggie openly admitted loud enough for most of the men and women nearby could hear her.
"Blackmail?" Palmer asked as he heard Maggie inform the police Chief that Ryan was attempting to blackmail her. Over what, he wondered.
"Calm down, Palmer. Anna's taking care of it." Liza soothed hoping that Ryan did not turn to her for legal advice or counseling because she'd have to happily decline.
Palmer only relaxed as Anna stepped forward, grabbing her hand cuffs.
"You have no proof " Ryan spat from the floor.
"Wanna bet?" Maggie asked as she pulled from her back pocket a tape recorder.
Anna looked at the tape recorder and smiled. It was hers. Maggie must have grabbed it from her office before leaving the precinct.
Maggie held down the rewind button and released it hoping she had not just allowed an even greater secret to become known to the group as the speakers came to life.
From the small black recorder came the somewhat meshed voice of Ryan Lavery.
"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 "
Everyone gasped as they listened to the recording all turning eyes between Bianca's shocked expression to Ryan's paling face.
"What are you talking about?" Came Maggie's voice through the devices small speakers.
Maggie knowing what was coming next readied her hand over the fast forward button.
"Don't fuck with me, Maggie. I know about "
With only a few seconds of holding her finger down on the forward button she released it and pressed play.
" Tis is blackmail "
Anna smiled as she stepped forward.
"Yes, it is blackmail. Great little tool that seems to come in handy when nothing else seems to be working. So, I get what I want and in return I don't ruin your girlfriend's life "
Again the people listening to the recording drew in a collective breath while Bianca felt faint. Ryan was using her against Maggie. He knew something he knew Bianca's hands shot to her stomach as her eyes widened. She had told him about the baby, he was using that against Maggie. To get what, though?!
"This isn't right! You can't do that!" Ryan exclaimed from his position on the floor as he tried to get up but found himself unable to do so. "It's illegal!"
"No it's only illegal if I'm not a part of the conversation."
Ryan's eyes widened as they zeroed in on the recorder and Anna's approaching hand cuffs.
"You wouldn't you wouldn't hurt her like that " The sound of Maggie's unbelieving voice caught and played with everyone's heart strings.
Ryan's laugher sparked from the black recorder "What do you think anyone would do for billions of dollars that were almost theirs? 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 that for you, of course, as long as you do as I want."
A billion dollars?
The people around the table looked at each other before looking back at Maggie.
"Good enough for me." Anna informed smiling.
Maggie hit stop and smiled as Anna moved to the downed man and with him already lying on the ground easily cuffed one of his arms and moved to cuff the other.
"Ryan Lavery you're under arrest for the suspicion of sexually assaulting Maggie Bennett and suspicion of extortion and blackmail. You have the right to remain silent "
Anna began to Mirandize Ryan as she pulled him up from the floor and used the pillar to help support his weight. Once he was against the wall she radioed in she needed an officer to come to her location.
Ryan laughed from his position, "Of course you're taking orders from her she's a Cam "
Anna pushed the young man against the pillar just a little more firmly and listened as he lost his breath again. Anna easily made it look like she was attempting to hold Ryan back. No one even blinked at the move as their eyes focused solely on Maggie.
"Now would be a good time to clear the air, Maggie." David informed as he moved back over to his cousin. He smiled reassuringly at her despite his bloodied lip.
Maggie nodded and turned to the crowd. "I understand that you all are " Maggie cleared her throat and spoke firmly and a bit louder so the rest of the room could hear her. "Please, I know you are all interested in the action that is going on, but could I ask you all too please take a seat."
The people that had stood from their chairs to get a better look at what was happening at the head table of the dining room looked at each other before taking their seats.
The group that remained standing was the group at the table Maggie currently stood before. They would be the ones Maggie truly needed to convince she meant for none of this to happen. Especially the young woman Maggie caught sight from the corner of her eye.
"Please?" Maggie whispered as she looked around the table with the people most affected by the news she had.
Palmer looked around the table and seeing his former niece by marriage look at them pleadingly he moved to take his seat, pulling Adam down into his seat as well. "Sit down you big lug, I can't see "
Adam turned to glare at Palmer even as he sat down and was followed by Mia and Liza.
Kendall moved over to take her seat and noticed that Greenlee and Simone both huffed about it but took their seats nonetheless.
Jackson moved to stand beside Erica and he pulled out her chair for her before moving to sit in his own chair.
David, with a soothing touch to Maggie's shoulder moved to sit down as well smiling reassuringly as he met Maggie's eyes once he was seated.
That left only Anna, who was busy keeping Ryan against the pillar waiting for an officer to come and take him out of her hands, and Bianca.
Bianca, who stood where she had been standing, rooted to her spot since the altercation with Ryan had started.
At first Bianca had been angry that Ryan even thought he had a right to speak to Maggie let alone touch her after what he had tried to do. The way Ryan had looked at Maggie and how he had turned to look at her smiling as if thanking her for some unknown gift. It had made a wave of cold unadulterated terror course through her. Maggie, she had sought out Maggie's eyes in dire need for reassurances of her safety.
The look of utter defeat in Maggie's eyes and fear had nearly brought Bianca to her knees. Only Kendall's supporting arm had kept her standing.
As if by magic Maggie's courage and fortitude had returned to her. Maggie stood looking at Bianca, begging her to understand that she needed Bianca to trust her, trust her to protect her and Bianca did. Faultlessly she trusted in Maggie more than any other to keep her safe.
Then as Maggie allowed the tape recording to play and she listened to Ryan's captured threats she realized her anger had turned to hate.
So, now as Maggie stood tall, ready to talk to a room full of the bureaucrats of Pine Valley and looked directly at her saw through her Bianca knew she could always trust in Maggie to keep her safe. Bianca knew that Maggie would have her best interest at heart.
When Maggie met Bianca's eyes and directed her towards her seat without saying a word or lifting a finger Bianca nodded and took the seat between her mother and sister.
"You're going to tell them ha " Ryan laughed manically.
Maggie stiffened at the sound of Ryan's voice and turned to look over her shoulder when the air shifted. She watched as Anna dragged Ryan from the room with the help of a security guard that had finally arrived.
Maggie turned back to the table and met Bianca's eyessupporting eyes and allowed her courage to remain rooted within her. She would need it.
Bianca held Maggie's eyes and heard the commotion that Anna and the guard were going through to get Ryan out of the room.
"No no you can't do this " Ryan pulled and yelled as he was taken from the room against his will allowing Maggie the moment she deserved to tell the world exactly who she was.
Bianca understood now. Why Ryan was blackmailing Maggie, why Maggie had been confused about what she had known back in the elevator.
The shiver that ran through Bianca at the memory and the way her heart warmed with the knowledge that Maggie loved her was almost enough to pull her away from her current musings almost.
Ryan wanted Maggie's money. He wanted a billion dollars
Maggie had a billion dollars?
It didn't make sense but it started to as Bianca realized everyone present had been invited to this dinner so they could meet the heir to Cambias Industries. An industry left up for grabs now that Michael Cambias was dead and Alexander Cambias was missing in action.
As Maggie stood tall in front of the entire room, Bianca knew.
Maggie was the Cambias heir she had to be.
Why else would she still be standing in front of everyone, assuring them that she held the answers they were all looking for?
The question was, how? How was Maggie the Cambias heir, Bianca wondered?
"I ask that you all please remain quiet and hold off on your questions should you have any until I've finished " Maggie's voice echoed through the silent room where only hushed whispers and breathing was heard. "I "
"Here you go, Ms. Bennett." A young man handed her a microphone and Maggie smiled and nodded her head in thanks as he moved to stand along the back wall where all of the waiters and waitress stood waiting in silence as everyone else sat and waited for her to continue.
"Can everyone hear me?" Maggie asked and she watched as people in the back of the dining room nodded.
Maggie noticed that there were significantly less people here then she first thought. There were only five tables with no more than fifteen people at each table. Not as many as she had originally believed. Somehow that still didn't stop the butterflies from taking over as she looked around the room and felt nauseous. Public speaking had always been her worst subject.
"Again, please refrain from interrupting. I promise I will do my very best to answer all of your questions " Maggie cleared her throat and looked to see David nodding encouragingly towards her while Bianca held Kendall's hand tightly as if expecting what was about to come.
"For those of you who don't know who I am, my name is Mary Margaret Bennett. Many of you have no reason to know who I am." Maggie shook her head and laughed at the absurdity of this all. "Two weeks ago I was just a college student and had no reason to be standing here before you all. But I'm here tonight because I'm I hold the answers too many of your questions. Trust me, when I say, out of everyone here not expecting this, I was the one most surprised at the turn of events that led me here."
Maggie took a deep breath and met Bianca's eyes for a moment before she let her eyes travel around other familiar faces and unfamiliar ones alike. Maggie gripped the microphone tighter as her palms began to perspire, her nerves finally taking hold.
"You were all promised the identity of the Cambias heir and I am here to make sure you are given it."
"How do you know who it is?" Greenlee found herself asking as she wondered how Maggie Stoneexcuse her, Maggie Bennett knew the Cambias heir.
"Greenlee " Kendall hissed as she looked to her one time friend and business partner. " let her finish."
"Sorry " Greenlee wasn't sorry but she remained quiet as she looked to Maggie to continue.
"I know who the Cambias heir is because I was there when Alexander Cambias signed his Will and left his fortune to the heir."
Eyes widened, lungs sucked in air, and mouths fell slightly.
"Michael " Maggie found herself having trouble saying his name and couldn't meet Bianca's eyes though she heard her gasp and imagined her tightening her hold on Kendall and Erica's hands.
" Michael Cambias died before his father and with a contract Michael signed in his early years at Cambias all properties and financial gains he had made using Cambias' trusts reverted back to Alexander Cambias when he died." Maggie took a deep breath and looked to David for the support she couldn't rightfully take from Bianca right now.
Maggie tried to start again but faltered as a few flashes of light blinded her. In the back of the room the staff of the hotel made quick work of the photographers that had somehow gotten into the dining room.
Once the commotion was through Maggie wiped at her brow and took a shuttering breath, eyes closed for a moment.
"Alexander Cambias Sr. died this past week of a heart condition that was irreparable."
"My biological father was the one that died this week. He was sick; he had a heart disease that they couldn't fix ." Maggie had informed Bianca while they were in the elevator. Bianca bit the inside of her lip. Alexander Cambias had been Maggie's father. Bianca closed her eyes and felt her heart break. Maggie had buried her mother and her father. Her father's funeral had been today.
Alexander Cambias was the man that came to Gwen's funeral. The one Bianca had known she knew for some reason, but couldn't remember how she knew him. Now she did. He had been there. He had talked to her. Maggie had put herself between them, dared him to say or do anything.
God how long had Maggie known she was a Cambias? How long had Maggie been keeping this secret from Bianca? Did Michael know? Was that why Maggie was so supportive of her and her decision regarding this child? Was Maggie looking for her to abort the pregnancy so she was the only heir to Cambias? Was that why Maggie was suddenly showing romantic interest in her? Was Maggie's interest in her solely for her own selfish purposes regarding the Cambias fortune?
Certainly Bianca would be easier to handle if she believed Maggie was in love with her.
Was this all some kind of sick game? Or was it just a disturbingly horrible nightmare?
Maggie heard Bianca's intake of breath and chanced a look at the young woman and noticed the wheels turning in her head.
Bianca was putting everything together faster than Maggie could explain it if she hadn't already.
"Earlier that week Alexander found out Michael was not his only living child. He had fathered another child years before."
There were audible gasps across the room and Maggie saw the people at the table directly in front of her begin to put everything together.
Sadly, Maggie met Bianca's eyes and watched as Bianca shook her head and covered her mouth with both of her hands as Bianca stared directly at her.
"He signed all of his assets over to his only remaining heir "
Maggie closed her eyes and two tears fell down her cheeks slowly as everyone in the room waited on baited breath for her to finish the sentence that confirmed what they had all put together moments before.
" I " Oh god this is it "I am Alexander Cambias' only living child."
The beginning of the uproar started at the table in front of her and spread.
"I am the he heir to the Cambias fortune."
After only a few seconds after announcing herself to everyone present as the heir to the Cambias fortune, Maggie's arms fell to her side as her shoulders sagged in defeat.
The uproar deafened Maggie as everyone began talking at the same time. Many of the people that had been seated directly in front of her were now standing and yelling at her but Maggie heard none of their questions or accusations clearly.
Maggie only heard the chairs slide across the floor scraping against the tiled floor, some clattering to the floor as they were pushed back with such force as the former occupants swiftly stood.
Maggie opened her eyes and immediately moved them to stare at Bianca intently. Willing the younger woman to understand the turmoil she had gone through over discovering this information. But Bianca refused to meet her eyes as Bianca held in her sobs behind her covered mouth, tears streaming from her eyes.
Maggie felt all air leave her lungs as she watched Bianca stand up, look her up and down, before running from the dining room.
"Bi Bianca " Maggie stepped forward to follow after Bianca but was stopped when Greenlee stepped in front of her jabbing her manicured fingernail into her shoulder.
Maggie pushed away from Greenlee and turned to David after Bianca's form disappeared from sight. Maggie tried to find a way to breathe without her heart feeling as if it were breaking into a million pieces with each breath she took. Maggie watched as David jumped up from his chair, as if outside of herself, and rushed to her side and dove to catch her as her legs gave out and one sob wracked her body before everything went black.
Greenlee, Adam, and Erica who had all crowded around her stepped back as Maggie crumpled into her cousin's arms.
David turned Maggie immediately into his chest and tried to resuscitate the unconscious woman.
David seeing people starting to converge on him and his distraught cousin was thankful when police officers flocked in from behind him and held the approaching crowd back from them as Anna yelled instructions at her officers. The officers tried to gently coax the people back into their seats.
"David " Anna kneeled down next to David and gently ran her hand through Maggie's hair.
"We need to get out of here " David looked around at the pandemonium that had broken loose.
Anna looked up at the approaching crowd and agreed with her ex. "Can you carry her?"
"Follow me then." Anna stood up and waited until David was on his feet holding Maggie across his arms, her head still buried in his neck her hands limp, no longer clutching at David's shirt.
Hold on Maggie, just hold on for a few more moments, Anna thought as she led the way to the back entrance where Cambias employees as well as Valley Inn employees were waiting.
"Is she alright?" An older, kindly gentleman asked.
"She's passed out " David informed and wondered who the man was.
"I'm John Stiles." The older man informed as he kept Anna and David in the room. "Ms. Bennett has been in touch with me for several days. I'm her lawyer."
"The one she called this afternoon " David recalled.
"Yes, I've arranged for her to have a room here. I'll show you to it while Stacy deals with the crowd outside."
The young woman, who Anna and David assumed was Stacy, stepped forward from the small group of five people.
"Hi, Stacy Cameron." The young woman stepped forward and shook Anna's hand. "We're " She motioned to the three other people behind her. "Ms. Bennett's publishing and PR team. I was Alexander's personal assistant before I became the press liaison for the company. Please, when she wakes up tell her I'm always available to talk to." Stacy offered before bowing away as David and Anna nodded in recognition.
"Here, this way " Mr. Stiles led the way to the elevator while Stacy and her small entourage moved to step back into the dining room.
David shook his head in wonder as he looked down at his unconscious load.
Maggie had called ahead, knowing that they were going to need their assistance. It astounded him that Maggie could so easily predict what was needed when she had no training in this field whatsoever. He'd be sure to ask Maggie about her insight later.
For now he needed to make sure Maggie was alright. He had seen how her face paled and her chest rose and fell rapidly. It was only when Bianca pushed passed him to run from the room that he knew Maggie wouldn't be able to stay up on her own.
The way Maggie had practically fallen forward in her attempt to rush after Bianca had been all he needed to see. The pain in her eyes at Bianca's clear rejection was all it took to bring Maggie to her knees and one heaving sob.
After her day with burying her father; being questioned over her half-brother's murder, being sexually assaulted, blackmailed, and forced to announce to the entire world her previously unknown bloodline, had finally caught up with Maggie. It had finally shown the toll Maggie had tried to hide from them all.
It was a true wonder Maggie hadn't passed out sooner.
After everything after everything she had done to try and tell Bianca herself, to do it gently, it was all for nothing. No matter how public the announcement had been the way it was delivered was as gently as David could imagine it being and still Bianca had run. Turned and ran away.
A part of David understood that this was a lot for Bianca to deal with, it did. But a bigger part of him felt angry at her reaction and the pain it had caused Maggie, his only family left.
David looked down at Maggie's closed eyes and tear stained face as it nestled against his shoulder and shook his head. It wasn't fair or right but this was how things had happened.
Now, no matter what he would be there for Maggie in the aftermath.
Even if no one else was.
----September 23, 2003 ----
----Two Days Later---
Maggie found herself laughing as she leaned back, eyes roving over her desk and the sheets spread about it chaotically.
"So, you find a job for me yet?"
Maggie shook her head, "Did you put your resume in yet?"
"I did " Maggie could easily imagine the charmingcocky smile upon her friend's face. " they liked me. I just, you know, wanted to call the boss and make sure I'd be welcome."
Maggie sighed, would he be welcome? Looking around the beautifully decorated suite that held not a touch of her own personality except for her things lying about scattered through the room Maggie knew she could use a friend. Everything about her life was changing before her eyes. She had expected it, she had.
Just not this much this fast.
The problem was that Maggie had expected there to be a support system there to help her transition. A support system that held more than just David and Anna and the people that needed to help her because it was their job. Maggie had expected to have at least a few friends in her corner.
Somehow, she had miscalculated.
Yes, Maggie decided, Billy would be more than welcome.
"Well, you are more than welcome " Maggie rubbed at her forehead. "I could use a friend in my corner right about now."
Billy frowned on his end of the line. The stress Maggie must be feelingand the sorrow that he knew she was doing her best to keep concealedwas evident in her voice. He wished he was already in Pine Valley, there to knock around a few heads.
Maggie was one of the nicest, sweetest, strongest, hardheaded persons he'd ever met in his life. When she let you know she needed help, it meant she needed helpas in yesterday.
So, really, it hadn't been a hard decision to come to when he had seen the articles, news stories, and general worldwide press release that Maggie Stoneno that Maggie Bennett was the Cambias heir.
Maggie obviously needed him, because the quacks in her Public Relations office weren't doing enough to shield her from the publics' scrutiny. They weren't leaving her lying on the road with an oncoming bus speeding towards her either but there were things he knew he could do to help. Like offer his support as a friend and as a professional. Maggie would need someone she could trust.
Knowing this Billy had made a few calls. Gotten his resume out to the appropriate personnel and gave his two weeks' notice to his current office once the resume was out. He'd called in this morning and quit. He'd be in Pine Valley by the weekend.
"Well, you'll have one ready and rearing to go in four days. I'm having my things shipped over to Pine Valley as we speak and I have a ticket for Saturday."
Maggie smiled and chuckled again. "That soon huh? A little presumptuous aren't you? You haven't even gotten the job yet "
"Ah, but you see, my sweet lovely M&M, I already got the job. I got the call this morning, from John Stiles himself. So, there is no presupposition regarding whether or not I'd get the job. I already have it."
Maggie grinned as she bit her lip and shook her head. "Is the ticket non-refundable?"
Billy paused in his sudden jovial mood, "Yes, why? Having second thoughts about having me around?" Clearing his throat he smirked. "Afraid you won't be able to help yourselfscared I'll be too handsome to resist?"
"Ha!" Maggie mocked and closed her eyes, for the first time the last few days feeling truly happy and carefree. "I want you to take the Jet."
"No, otherwise it'd just be sitting there. This way, they can come and get you and bring your stuff with you. It'll save you money."
"I don't need to save money. I'm going to be making the big bucks soon."
"Yes, you will, but this way you can get here faster "
Billy felt his heart constrict. Maggie wanted him there sooner than Saturday. This, he knew, was serious.
"Alright. My things, I'm packing them as we speak. I'll be ready to leave by tomorrow afternoon."
"Thank you." Tomorrow evening was better than Saturday, by a long shot.
"Hey, it's all well and good. I knew you wanted me. I just didn't know you were that desperate to have me back." Billy joked, hoping to lighten the tension he could feel through the line.
"Aww sorry to burst your bubble but I don't exactly play for your team anymore."
"Oh " There was true surprise in Billy's voice. " I thought it was just Ms. Montgomery not all womenkind."
"Well " Maggie sighed as she thought about Bianca. " it is Bianca but I'm not exactly sure um I mean I can't stop um looking at other women and I mean" Maggie ran her hand roughly through her hair. "Have you ever actually just like stopped and realized that there are a LOT of really sexy women everywhere?"
Billy laughed, "Yes, yes, I had that realization when I was nine. It's kind of life changing isn't it?"
"Yes it really is " Maggie sighed, because what she said was true. It really was life changing to realize you weren't exactly attracted to the men you saw walking down the street but the women in their high heels, flip flops, sneakers, skirts, blouses, t-shirts, jackets, and pant suits.
Billy listened as Maggie began to panic on the other end. "Hey, take a breath and calm yourself. I don't care what your sexual orientation is Maggie, as long as you're happy and they treat you right. I was just surprised at the comment. Not in a bad way, I had just been under the assumption you weren't sure yourself. Last time we spoke and all "
"Yeah, well, a lot has changed since then."
Billy snorted, "Somehow I never thought three days could be so drastically life changing."
"Yeah, well once you move here, you'll begin to understand it." It was true. In three days her uncertainty had become crystal clear certainty and it was both scary and exhilarating.
"I bet I will."
After the stories he had heard from Maggie and Bianca he was sure he would. As scary as it was it excited him. Billy had been looking for an adventure to step into since he was seven years old. Had he known that a year later when he was knocked off his feet by a small brunette two years younger his adventure was truly beginning, he would have never believed it! Except now he knew it was true.
Maggie was his adventure. Her and Frankie had always been the adventure he was looking for, and here he was letting Maggie lead him into another one, and he was sure he'd love every second of it. He hoped
"I miss you, Billy."
"I miss you two M&M. I'll be there tomorrow night. I promise."
"Okay " Maggie took a deep breath and looked down at the papers scattered about her desk. "Look, I have to get to work. Lots of catching up to do. I'll see you tomorrow night."
"You bet you will. Good luck with the homework."
"Thanks, make sure you do yours on the plane."
"Don't expect me to just let you slide on your workload. We have a very important meeting this Thursday with the former owners of Fusion, Enchantment and Chandler Enterprises."
Billy was amazed with the way Maggie's whole voice could change from friendly banter to no nonsense I mean business voice. He hoped that very soon, he'd be there to watch as Maggie's outward appearance changed with the shift in conversation. He was sure it was a sight to behold.
"I'll call John Stiles and have him send me over the files."
"Good. See you soon, Billy."
The line went dead and Maggie looked at the phone for a few moments before moving to get some coffee. She would need it. Today was going to be a long day.
Erica looked down at the paper she held tightly in her hands. The front page had several pictures of Maggie Ston Maggie Bennett. There was one shot that stood in the middle and was surrounded by smaller shots of the young college student through the last few months. The headline of the paper read; 'The Cambias Heir or Fraud?'
Erica actually wished that it weren't true. Others would wonder about her reasoning for wishing Maggie to be a fraud and attempting to swindle them all out of their money and companies but she knew why she wanted this to be one big scheme. It was the young woman curled up in her bedroom on her bed that was nothing but lost.
Bianca Erica sighed.
Erica closed her eyes and dropped the paper on top of the several that had accumulated in the last two days.
Had it really been two days since the fiasco at the Valley Inn? Erica ran a hand over her forehead. Yes, it had.
It had been two days since Maggie Bennett stood before a room crowded with people who thought little to nothing about her on a daily basis. Now, every single one of them was forced to consider her existence and presence. While the one woman who had always known of Maggie, trusted and loved her, was trying to forget.
Erica stood and left her study and headed for Bianca's room once again. As she moved closer to the closed door she noticed the food she had left for Bianca was still untouched. With a shake of her head Erica picked up the tray of food and pulled the key to Bianca's door out from her pocket. She had wanted to give Bianca her space but Bianca needed to eat.
"Bianca, darling " Erica called through the room as she closed the door and moved to put the tray on Bianca's dresser.
"Bianca honey, you need to eat."
Erica moved to her daughter's bed and perched on the edge. She touched the comforter that covered Bianca's form. With a creasing brow Erica moved her hands up the comforter till she took hold of the edge and pulled it down.
Bianca was not beneath the comforter. Instead there were two stuffed pillows and a rolled up sheet. Feeling her heart race Erica stood and rushed to the living room. After checking in all of the places Bianca usually left her a note to tell her where she was going, Erica rushed to the phone.
The moment the line picked up on the other end Erica charged forward.
"Where is she!? Is she with you!?"
Erica rolled her eyes. "Yes now where is she? She's gone and I know you have been talking to her I swear if you've "
"Erica calm down and stop screaming " After a moment of silence that Erica used to pull herself together the voice continued. "Now, what is it that you want?"
"Bianca, is Bianca with you?" Erica held her breath hoping that Bianca was with her.
"No, she's not. I thought she hadn't left her room "
"She hasn't left her room since Sunday but she's gone. I went to check on her and she's gone."
"Okay, calm down. Have you called her cell phone?"
"Okay, well why don't you do that while I go and see if I can find her. Call me if you find her."
Erica nodded and realized that the other woman couldn't see her affirmation. "Yes, I'll " Erica sighed. "Thank you, Kendall."
"You your welcome, mother."
Erica hung up when the line went dead and immediately called her youngest child's cellphone.
The incessant knocking at the door made the studying student stand from her desk and see who it was.
The Valley Inn had been very accommodating with security. They had kept away the reporters that had been harassing her. Instead of being allowed upstairs the reporters waited for her in the lobby and most hadn't left since Sunday night.
What a disaster that had been.
Bianca still wasn't returning any of her calls and Erica refused to let her in. David had to return to work and Anna had to go back to looking for Michael's killer. John Stiles, her lawyer, she had informed Mr. Cochran she would not be in need of his services and he immediately left Pine Valley without a backward glance. That left John to work on her filed assault charges against Ryan. Stacy Cameron and her team set up in one of the empty Fusion offices.
Thursday there was a meeting with the former owners of Chandler Enterprises, Fusion Cosmetics and Enchantment. Maggie was not looking forward to that meeting. Stacy and John both assured her the plan they had formulated to give the men and women back their companies while keeping the companies apart of Cambias Industries was a win-win for everyone. Maggie just hoped that it would go over well because Maggie wasn't used to having such fervent glares of animosity directed at her by people she had considered friends.
Until Thursday Anna, David, Stacy, and John had told her to lie low, so she was. For the most part anyway.
Having little else to do Maggie had returned to her new apartmentat least until it was safe to go back to her dorm roomand gotten to work. Thankfully she had been ahead in many of her classes, as far as reading the texts were concerned.
David and John as well as Anna had tried to get her to take a leave of absence from school.
Tried Maggie shook her head. It wasn't really trying if they succeeded.
After talking with her professors and her Dean, Maggie explained that going back to school right now wasn't something she could handle on top of everything else. Some of them had understood, but really they had no way of stopping her.
Several of her professors tried to convince her to not give up on her dream of becoming a doctor just because she now had her future gift wrapped and handed to her. Maggie assured them she hadn't given up her dream of becoming a doctor and that she would be back as soon as things had cooled down.
The truth was Maggie wasn't sure if she would be going back to school to become a doctor after the media frenzy blew over. Maggie just didn't know what she was going to do today, let alone months from now. She needed time to figure things out and thankfully David and Anna understood that.
Cambias was not going to crash and burn if she decided she didn't want to run the company. It was already in good hands great hands! The only problem was that Maggie wasn't sure she didn't want to run the company herself. Learn how to run the family business.
It was all just so confusing.
Maggie once had been sure of almost everything. She knew what she wanted out of life. That was last year.
Now Maggie knew who she wanted but didn't know what she wanted to do with herself. Maggie knew that wouldn't do. She would need to find out what she was going to do with her life before she could even think to offer Bianca anything.
Except she had.
Maggie felt tears prick at the back of her eyes. Maggie had offered Bianca her heart her love.
What did she get in return?
Bianca had offered her nothing in return except her back as she ran away from her or instructions to leave her alone.
Maggie rubbed angrily at her eyes and pulled herself together and opened the door. The student noted that it was only ten in the morning. David would be at the hospital and Anna at the station. John was busy helping Jackson put together a case against Ryan who was in central booking.
John assured Maggie that Ryan would be behind bars for several years. With Jackson's help Maggie didn't doubt that Ryan would find himself behind bars for assaulting her and attempting to blackmail her.
"Is she here?"
The urgency and panic was like a contagious wave that left Maggie scared to death.
Was who here?! Maggie fell back as Kendall brushed right by her and stormed into her room.
"No time for pleasantries have you seen Bianca?" Kendall asked as she came out of Maggie's bedroom and stuck her head into the bathroom. No Bianca. Satisfied that Bianca wasn't here Kendall realized Maggie would be a great tool to use in finding her AWOL sister.
"No I not since Sunday." Not for lack of trying though. Maggie had been by the penthouse at least a dozen times in the last two days. Only four times was she able to get passed security and up to the penthouse doors where she was unable to get passed Erica and the chained door.
"Right " Kendall nodded her head and pulled out her cell phone and hit speed dial. "She's not with Maggie, have you No I okay. Bye."
Maggie moved over to the couch and grabbed her sneakers out from underneath the piece of furniture.
"What are you doing?" Kendall asked, although it was obvious what Maggie was doing.
Maggie wondered why Kendall was panicking over Bianca's where abouts. Then again Maggie felt a pit form in her stomach as she thought about where Bianca could be. It wasn't like there was a lot of trouble she could find in Pine Valley these days. Maggie snorted at herself. Pine Valley wasn't the safest place to be.
You were ten times more likely to die of an early age, come back from the dead, have amnesia, or fall off a waterfall than anywhere else. It wasn't a wonder why Kendall and Erica were worried about where Bianca could be.
"I'm coming with you. I can help you find her."
"I don't think that's such a good idea " Kendall offered up as she moved towards the door.
"Well, either I help you and cover ground you're not or I follow after you and we waste time."
Kendall groaned and ran a hand through the side of her hair. "Fine come on. I was going to check the park."
"Okay, I can go check campus. I know she has one Tuesday clas " Maggie's eyes widened.
Tuesday today was Tuesday.
Kendall turned and watched as shock and then urgency appeared across Maggie's face.
Maggie said nothing as she literally grabbed her bag and ran out of the room. Kendall had nothing to do but close the door behind her as she raced after Maggie.
"Maggie !" Kendall called as Maggie bypassed the elevator and took to the stairs. "Shit " Kendall groaned as she followed after Maggie, albeit at a slower pace than the shorter woman.
When Kendall made it into the lobby Maggie was gone. Lost in the sea of reporters that had set up camp here in the lobby waiting for Maggie to come down and make a comment. There had been press releases from Cambias Industries around the world, all confirming that Maggie was in fact the heir, and that this was old news to all of those who worked in the hierarchy of Cambias.
It had surprised Kendall how easily they had kept wraps on the entire situation. The world hadn't even known that Alexander was sick, let alone deceased.
"Fuck " Kendall barked as she slipped through the bar and away from the reporters before they caught sight of her.
Where did you go, Maggie? What do you know?
Maggie rushed into the clinic's door and took a deep breath of relief when she saw the woman standing at the desk.
"Bianca " The woman turned towards her in utter surprise.
Maggie smiled softly as she moved through the small waiting room and stood in front of Bianca. There was a need seeded deeply in her to wrap her arms around Bianca and never let go again, but she kept her arms at her side as she held Bianca's eyes.
" Whwhat are you doing here?" Bianca asked harshly as she pulled her arms to wrap around herself.
Was Maggie here to stop her, Bianca wondered? Isn't that why Maggie had been so willing to help her raise this baby? It was Maggie's niece or nephew growing inside of her after all. No wonder why Maggie wanted her to keep the baby.
Bianca knew she did know deep inside herself that Maggie wouldn't have played her like that. Maggie loved her and was willing to support her no matter what her decision. Maggie had been willing to support her decision from the very beginning, before she even knew that she was related to the baby.
God Bianca closed her eyes tightly. It was so hard to look at Maggie and not see Michael. It wasn't Maggie's fault. The two shared only one thing in common. Their eyes
Maggie reeled at the hostility in Bianca's voice and took a step back involuntarily. "II promised to be here for you." The woman whispered gently as she looked lovingly at Bianca.
"You're too late." Bianca informed as she opened her eyes and steeled herself against the onslaught she was sure was going to come.
"Oh Bianca " Maggie shook her head sadly as she stepped closer to her friend.
"What? Are you upset that you won't get to meet your niece or nephew?!" Bianca was shocked at her own tone. She hadn't meant to be so nasty or even say anything at all. Yet, here she was attacking Maggie for no real reason and the pain that was now coming from the older woman was palpable.
Maggie reeled at the acid in Bianca's voice and pulled herself away from Bianca at the last moment. "Do you really think that's why I came here? To stop you?" Maggie felt tears burn her eyes and slip down her cheek.
"Isn't it?!" Bianca accused eyes hardening as she looked Maggie up and down, noting her shorts and loose fitting t-shirt and mussed hair. It was almost like Maggie wasn't going to leave her apartment.
"God !" This was not happening it couldn't be. "Bianca, I came here so I could hold your hand and tell you everything was going to be okay!"
The emotion in Maggie's voice nearly broke Bianca's heart where the older woman's tears hadn't. Bianca's eyes widened and she felt the air in her lungs leave her as Maggie's sorrow played clearly across her beautiful face.
"I Maggie I "
"No " Maggie shook her head and pulled away from Bianca as she reached her hand out to touch her. " you want me to leave you alone. Fine, I get it. I understand. I'm sorry for bothering you." Maggie stepped towards the door, still facing Bianca. "I hope you're feeling alright and you'll let your mom or Kendall help take care of you." Maggie moved towards the door, her eyes misty but no further tears fell from her eyes. "I just you know I just thought you would want someone here with you " I thought you wanted me here with you. " to hold your hand. My mistake !"
Maggie turned tail and ran away. Away from Bianca's softening features and the heartbreak and pain of Bianca's continued rejection and cold heartedness.
"Maggie " Bianca stepped forward and desperately tried to grab onto Maggie's arm as the older girl walked away from her and right out the doors. "I'm sorry " Bianca whispered as her outstretched arm fell to her side.
Bianca turned to see the receptionist standing by the door.
"The doctor is ready to see you "
Bianca looked at the woman in front of her and then toward the closed clinic door and back again. "I'm I'm sorry I I shouldn't be here."
The receptionist watched as the young woman ran from the clinic. It wasn't the first time someone had cancelled on them the last minute and it certainly wouldn't be the last. With a small smile the woman went to inform the doctor that he was free for the next hour his patient had cancelled.
Maggie pulled her car over to the side of the road and finally allowed herself to break.
Bianca had gone through with it!
Bianca had aborted the pregnancy
Bianca had been alone. Bianca had been all alone and it was her fault. She should have been there!
Maggie slammed her hands against the steering wheel. She should have tried harder to talk to Bianca before today. She should have gotten to the clinic sooner
"Damn it! I should have remembered about the appointment!"
Maggie screamed out her frustration into the empty car looked at her reddening hands. Then as if with the flick of a switch, Maggie's anger turned to sorrow.
"I'm sorry " Maggie cried as she leaned her head against the steering wheel and cried. "I'm sorry I wasn't there "
After a long period of time Maggie composed herself. She wiped at her eyes and decided she needed to be outside.
The air was thick with a growing fog but it was better than staying in her car.
Putting the car in gear Maggie drove to her new destination, the cemetery.
There were a few people Maggie needed to sit and talk with.
--------Clinic Parking Lot--------
Bianca looked around the parking lot and groaned when she realized Maggie had already left. Moving towards her car Bianca looked through her bag and pulled out her cell phone.
Once seated in the driver's seat she turned on the cell and wasn't surprised to see that her mother had called her nearly a dozen times and Kendall had called another five.
There were ten messages in her voice mail, but she could deal with them later. Dialing the number Maggie had called her from for the last several days she was met with nothing but a voicemail.
"Alexander Cambias. I'm not available. Leave your name and number " Bianca cringed at the sound of Alexander's voice but realized she had nothing to fear from the man. He was dead.
Maggie's father was dead...
Bianca sighed as she ran her hand roughly through her hair.
"Maggie " Bianca breathed into the cell. "Itit's me. Please, I'm sorry. I just please call me back. I'm so sorry I "
Bianca looked at the phone in her hand and jabbed her finger against the end call button before she slammed her hand against her steering wheel in utter frustration.
It was either she continued to pound away at the inanimate object or she'd scream her lungs out. For now, the steering wheel had to deal with her anger and frustration. At Michael, at Maggie, at Gwen for keeping the truth from Maggie and Frankie and even Alexander, but more than anything she was angry at herself.
Maggie had tried to talk to her, tried to explain but she hadn't let her.
Bianca laughed bitterly at herself.
All Bianca had been doing for the last ten days was begging Maggie to tell her what was going on, and when Maggie finally did, she ran. She ran and it was only now that she realized this was why Maggie hadn't told her.
Maggie had feared she would reject her and that she would run away and what had she done? She had proved Maggie's fear right.
Bianca felt tears fall from her eyes as she wrapped her arms around herself tightly. The hurt she had seen in Maggie's eyes back in the clinic ate away at her just like the look of utter desperation and pleading for understanding Maggie had spared her on Sunday as Maggie announced she was the Cambias heir did. Both looks directed solely to her.
Maggie had asked her, without words, for her support and understanding just like Bianca had found herself doing more and more with the older woman. Except this time around Maggie was the one asking for understanding and support and Bianca couldn't give it to her even though she knew she should have.
On Sunday, only moments before Maggie looked to Bianca for support, Bianca had been given Maggie's unrelenting support as she feared for what Ryan would do with the information he held about her pregnancy. When Maggie looked to her, Bianca MontgomeryMaggie's best friend what had she done?
What had Bianca done then? She had looked away and then ran away.
It had killed her. All Bianca could think about was how Maggie was related to Michael that the child growing inside her was related to Maggie.
All of Maggie's actions regarding her Maggie's confession of love and devotion in the elevator could just be Maggie's way of keeping her, of convincing her to keep the child. Or worse, convince her to end the pregnancy.
If Bianca kept the baby Maggie could fight for custody as she was the child's paternal aunt. Or Maggie could stand by her as she ended the pregnancy and be the sole heir leaving her rights to everything and no need to split up her new fortune. Wasn't that what Bennett's were after? Money? Well now Maggie had billions and may not feel so inclined to share.
It was all Bianca could think about. Ulterior motive after ulterior motive and it wasn't fair to Maggie.
Now all Bianca could think about was how much pain Maggie was in.
Not only had Maggie lost her mother but she had lost her father and (as much as it pained her to admit) her brother all within six days.
Maggie had literally lost nearly all of her family in the last year, three of them within the last week.
It wasn't right and it wasn't fair for Bianca to immediately believe Maggie had ulterior motives in her declaration of love and devotion to her and the baby. Maggie had been devoted to her and the baby before she knew about her parentage but Bianca hadn't seen that. Hadn't seen the clear desperation in Maggie's eyes for her to understand and hadn't been there to witness her crumpling when she couldn't give it to her.
Erica had informed her shortly after Bianca had run from the room, Maggie had passed out and fallen right into David's arms.
Now Maggie had run from her. Rightfully so, Bianca realized.
Time passed as Bianca realized her follies.
All Bianca had done the last two days was push Maggie away and when Maggie came to her hoping to be her rock and strength, like she had always been, Bianca had pushed her away. Maggie had still come to her, looking to support her even when Bianca hadn't found it in herself to support Maggie yet.
Bianca looked down when her phone vibrated and rang loudly in her hand. Without looking at the ID she flipped the phone open and pressed it to her ear. "Maggie!?"
" Whano, Bianca it's Kendall."
Bianca sighed and leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes tightly. "Kendall I'm sorry I "
"You thought I was Maggie." Kendall laughed and Bianca imagined she was shaking her head in disbelief. "Does that mean she found you?"
"Found me?" Bianca asked incredulously.
"Yea she ran out of her hotel room like a bat out of hell looking for you."
"Yes, she found me but now I've lost her." Bianca felt her breath catch as she said the words.
Had she lost Maggie?In more ways than just losing sight of her?
Bianca hoped not she deeply hoped not.
"Well, I think I just found her..."
Bianca's eyes snapped open as she her body shot forward her free hand grabbing onto the steering wheel like it was a lifeline. "Where are you?!"
Kendall chuckled on the other end, "I'm outside the cemetery. I just came from the park I thought you might be "
"I'm on my way." Bianca hung up on her sister and turned the ignition.
--------Pine Valley Cemetery-------
Bianca rushed up to Kendall and looked around their surroundings.
No one was outside.
The weather was damp, misty and cold. Bianca pulled her arms around herself, the sweater she had put on in the morning not keeping out the chill of the damp air.
"You didn't have to wait, you know." Bianca informed as she and Kendall both made their way into the cemetery.
"Yeah, well " Kendall looked around the cemetery and pulled her own jacket around her tighter. Of all the days Maggie decided she needed to visit the cemetery she had to pick today. " somehow the pipsqueak has grown on me."
Apparently Bianca thought as she smiled up at Kendall.
"Just don't tell her." Kendall quickly added.
Bianca laughed, "Deal "
Bianca bumped her shoulder against her older sister's and met Kendall's smiling eyes as the taller woman looped her arm around Bianca's.
"Come on let's find this billionaire and get the hell out of here " Kendall looked around at the fog rolling off the ground around the gravestones. " it's starting to creep me out."
The mist seemed to swirl around the large stone markers that littered the ground. The overgrowth on many of the stone graves swayed in the cold wind. The chill the gusts carried made the lone figure shiver as its body lost precious heat.
Maggie wandered down the cobblestone path towards Frankie's grave. The path she was walking was one she hadn't found herself trekking for several long months. Maggie used to stop by every Saturday morning on her run and drop off fresh flowers on her sister's grave. It had been too long since she had stopped by to continue the ritual.
Now she found herself lost in the growing miasma. The whine of the wind in the tall unkempt bushes unnerved her as she continued her walk towards her sister's grave. Maggie wrapped her arms tightly around herself as she continued to walk down the pebbled walk.
It only took one stumble over a risen stone in the path to land her on her knees in the damp grass sliding down the slight incline she had been climbing. When she came to a stop only a short way from the path she had been walking she stood.
With a groan of disgust Maggie pulled herself up from her knees and cringed as she felt and saw her muddy legs. After this she would need to shower or perhaps a bath, whichever as long as the water was steaming and helped alleviate her of her aching pain.
"Right Maggie, because a bath or shower can relieve a broken heart " Maggie rolled her eyes at her own thoughts as she went to move towards the path once more when she felt a coldness overtake her starting from her right shoulder.
Maggie slowly turned towards her right and felt her heart slow from the sudden race it had begun at the chill when nothing stood before her but another path into a small alcove of the cemetery. It, like all of the others, had a large hedge of overgrown green bushes with an opening, indicating the entrance to the alcove.
"Sure cause I'm the stupid chick in all those horror movies that goes to investigate the strange noise in the dark alleyway phft Reggie would slap me." Maggie shook her head and moved back onto the cobblestone path and headed towards Frankie's grave.
Maggie chuckled at herself as she kept on walking and found Frankie's grave. Knowing her knees were already covered in dirt she blithely kneeled before the smooth peppered color gravestone. Cleaning away the debris the wind carried Maggie looked at the letters capitalized in bold thick letters that spelt out her twin's name.
"I'm sorry I know it's been a long time." Maggie began as she allowed herself to be consumed behind the curtain of wet mist.
" can you believe any of it?" Maggie asked knowing she would receive no answer. "Yeah " Maggie closed her eyes and let her head fall to her chest. " me either. But you know, he deserves a chance. So give him one. He's a great guy when you get to know him." Maggie opened her eyes and looked up and for a moment saw the cloudy sky above the mist, but only for a moment before the thick fog covered the small whole.
Off in the distance Maggie heard the rumble of a storm and felt the wind shift as a gust threw around the dirt, leaves and twigs about the ground around her.
"Well, that means it's time to go I'll be back with flowers next time. Purple carnations your favorite."
Maggie kissed the tips of her fingers and placed her fingertips to the center of the gravestone before she stood and quickly made her way back down the path.
"Bianca, I think we should leave ." Kendall informed as she heard the loud roar from above them and the approaching storm. The wind picked up and blew the dead leaves around the grassy earth around them.
"I have to find Maggie ." Bianca insisted as she kept walking. She knew Maggie had to be here to see Frankie.
"Maggie's a big girl she can take care of herself " Kendall tried, knowing that at least Maggie would be smart enough to head back to the car when she heard an approaching thunder storm.
"Frankie's grave is only just in the next section " Bianca explained as she continued on whether or not Kendall followed her.
Kendall looked towards Bianca's disappearing figure and the path back to their cars and then at the sky, as if asking 'why me' before groaning aloud as she rushed to catch up to Bianca.
"Hey wait up!"
"Shit " Maggie looked around the cemetery and realized she must have turned too early because she wasn't supposed to run into a dead end.
The sky lit up with a spark of lighting and Maggie froze, the fog lighting up around her as if it grabbed onto the lightning and felt like allowing it to travel through it.
Maggie turned back around to back track and find her way to her original path when she saw an opening to an alcove and a familiar mausoleum just behind it. Smiling, Maggie realized she could make her way back to the right path quicker if she cut through the alcoves. So holding onto her own forearms and forging back against the brunt of the wind she kept walking.
Kendall shook her head as she noticed, just as Bianca had, that Maggie wasn't here. "Bianca, we have to go " The sky above them lit up with the approaching storm. " NOW!" Kendall grabbed onto Bianca's arm and tugged her sister back down the path they had come.
"She's not here "
"She had to have gone back to her car come on " Kendall continued to tug on her younger sister's arms, her hair blowing back with the force of the wind as she led them back towards their cars.
"But " Bianca stopped protesting when it seemed like the ground itself shook with the force of the rumbling thunder. Bianca's body tensed and Kendall found it nearly impossible to pull her any further.
Kendall turned and met Bianca's frightened eyes. With little choice Kendall moved forward and cupped her sister's cheeks as she spoke, "I won't let anything happen to you. But we have to keep moving. We can't be caught out in the open with a storm like this come on. Please hold my hand and squeeze as tight as you want to. I won't let go " Kendall offered Bianca her hand and was relieved when Bianca took it and squeezed.
Kendall led Bianca down the bath towards their cars and as she promised she didn't let go of Bianca's hand, even as she opened the back seat of her own car and let Bianca slide inside before her, she held her hand.
"What are we doing?" Bianca asked and looked out Kendall's back window as the skies above them opened and let pour the rain that had been a long time coming.
"We'll stay here until it blows over a little. Then head back to the penthouse."
"Yeah " Kendall turned to see Bianca pointing out across the parking lot to a small compact car a dozen or so spaces away from them.
" that's Maggie's car !" The panic in Bianca's voice made Kendall pause.
Kendall held her breath for a moment as it sank in. Maggie hadn't left the cemetery.
Kendall quickly looked towards the cemetery and at the sparks of light the lit up the sky and rumbling thunder that shook the ground under them.
It wasn't until the wind blew the hard rain against her face did she realize that Bianca had let go of her hand and had run out into the storm.
"Bianca !!" Kendall screamed as moved to lean against the length of her car door and watched her sister's silhouette disappear back into the cemetery.
Maggie laughed as she found herself soaking wet standing in the pouring rain as above her the heavens themselves seemed to open and cry out their rage and anger. It had been an accident. Finding this grave as she made her way towards the cover
the sanctuary the mausoleum was supposed to be against the storm that was already here.
"I'm glad you're dead I hate you...!"
The voice spoke hidden in the swirling fog that covered the earth, blanketing it in a thick grey haze, a warning of the approaching storm that had finally arrived.
It suited her purposes.
Sunshine would not be appropriate for this conversation. It was better to be shrouded in a blanket of the wet grey vapor as the rain washed it away and the sky themselves roared a primal rage that was shared inside Maggie's soul.
The sky, the loud whistling of the wind, roar of the thunder and blinding flashes of the lighting, would not shield her words from reaching the heavens but perhaps keep them from reaching other's ears.
Maggie hadn't even wanted to be here. This grave was not the one she sought. She had stumbled upon it in her attempt to find her way back onto the path that would lead to Frankie's grave.
"You caused so much pain you hurt people for no reason! You were sick! Sick!" Maggie bellowed as she looked at the final resting place of her 'beloved' brother. Maggie spat at the grave, aware the rain would wash it away, but uncaring.
"Evi evil son of a bitch! I'm glad you're dead! I'm glad in the end you had to stare down your maker! I hope you begged for mercy. I hope they made you beg! You "
The tears that streamed from her eyes washed down her face with the rain drops.
Maggie looked around the area and grabbed up a large branch and swung it as fast and as hard as she could down upon Michael's headstone.
" hurt her you your dead and you still hurt her " Maggie's voice broke as she lifted her arms and made to swing again.
The reverberation from the other hits soothing in a way that nothing else had been even as she cringed in discomfort.
"You bastard...argh " Maggie swung and fell forward with the swing, the wet ground helping her loss her balance as she took one last swing.
The rotted wood of the branch broke with the power of her last swing and splintered to the soaking ground as Maggie remained on her knees in the mud her face eye level with Michael's name. Glaring at the letters as if she were glaring into the eyes of her deceased half-brother, Maggie held contact with the name.
It was when the wind began to ease and the rain began to soften in strength that Maggie allowed her arms to give out and fell onto her side, body shaking with the force of her sobs and cries.
Maggie curled into a ball in the sodden soil her throat raw as she screamed out one last cry into the departing storm.
"I hate you she deserved to live without your sick-self, taking anything from her. I hope you rot in hell. I hope you burn for eternity for what you did and that you know that for the rest of eternity all you are ever going to feel is pain and that no one will help youno matter how much you beg." Maggie declared to the ground she lie upon it and lifted herself up with shaky arms and looked at the indentations and scuff marks the branch had made all about the grave stone.
"You had a chance to be a good man. To rise above the darkness and you choose not to. You could have proven dad wrong. You could have been a great man, but you gave in to greed and vengeance and you lost everything you could have been. That is your fault. No one else's and I know that wherever you are, you'll realize that now and stop blaming everyone for all of your problems you cowardly piece of shit!" Maggie spat on the gravestone and stood up aware that her entire body was covered in mud and the light trickle of rain that fell would do little to wash it away.
It didn't matter, not now. The rain, harsh and fierce in the short span of time it had been had done what nothing else had for Maggie. It washed away her anger and rage and left her clean and bare of a darkness that could have washed over her and left her like the man she hated.
The hate that had consumed her had brought with it thoughts and ideas.
The thoughts, if only present for a short time, were to show everyone in this town exactly who they were dealing with and what she could do to ruin themas they were trying to do to her. How she could show Bianca exactly what she had lost by pushing her awayby rejecting herthey were only the seedlings. Had she watered them and let them grow they would have consumed everything she had once been and left her as ugly as Michael. He would have won. She would not let him winever!
Now, she was clean. Figuratively, of course, it was more a cleansing of her soul then body because god knew she could use a shower right about now.
The darkness that had been creeping in around her was gone and wouldn't return. She wouldn't let it because she wasn't like him
Maggie felt it bubble from deep within her and couldn't stop it as it left her, full, loud, rich and right. The laughter did bring with it tears but this time Maggie didn't mind them so much.
"Maggie !" Echoed through the open area.
Maggie snapped her head towards the call, "Bianca "
Maggie felt it bubble from deep within her and couldn't stop it as it left her, full, loud, rich and right. The laughter did bring with it tears but this time Maggie didn't mind them so much.
"Maggie !" Echoed through the open area.
Maggie snapped her head towards the call, "Bianca "
Bianca rounded another corner in her attempt to find her missing friend. The rain had finally stopped and with a quick swipe of her hand Bianca pushed away her wayward locks. The fact that she had so carelessly run out into the storm, that she had the ability to run out into the storm, allowed Bianca a realization she had been pushing aside for the last few days. Whatever her thoughts about Maggie, whatever her fears whether fair or unjust, she loved Maggie with all her heart and would do whatever was necessary to do what was best for her. Even if it turned out she was not what was best for Maggie.
"Maggie !" Bianca called out as she leaned heavily against the side of a crypt for a moment. She just needed a moment to collect herself.
Bianca panted, out of breath, and freezing. Her clothes thoroughly soaked through.
"Maggie " Bianca whispered as she bent over in an attempt to catch her breath.
Looking around the area, Bianca was happy to see the fog had been washed away by the storm and she could see further in front of her then before.
After taking a few moments Bianca pulled herself up to her full height and looked at Frankie's gravestone. Bianca sighed and looked up towards the clearing sky. "I could use a little help "
Bianca looked to her right and just above the hedge line she saw matted down brown locks.
"Thanks " Bianca whispered as she moved to cut across the alcove towards where she saw who she hoped was Maggie.
"You know " Bianca started as she rounded the last corner and walked into the small clearing where Maggie was, apparently trying to see over the hedges in search of her. " you are one hard person to find."
Maggie stopped her 360 spins and turned to see Bianca standing before her at the entrance to the cubed off section. Maggie took a moment to look Bianca over. The younger woman was soaked down to the bone and her teeth were chattering even as she smiled. The smile and shine in her eyes showing her deep seated relief.
"I didn't know I was being looked for." Maggie smiled softly, hoping the reprieve from Bianca's attitude from earlier would last.
Bianca frowned as she watched Maggie shift from one foot to the other, nervous, her voice timid as if afraid to say something to provoke a sleeping lion. Perhaps, Bianca could concede, she had been the lioness that Maggie had been poking for the last several times. Lionesses were fierce when it came to their cubs and Bianca wasn't afraid to admit she had feared what Maggie would want her to do with her pregnancy.
It was why she had pushed Maggie away until today. Bianca had needed to make the decision about her pregnancy by herself. She couldn't weigh in the factors about Maggie and what Maggie may or may not want. Not now that Maggie had an even greater personal interest in her decision.
"I'm so sorry about before. About the last fe..few days " Bianca apologized as she rubbed at her arms trying to garner some heat from the friction. It did little as the long sleeves of her sweater were drenched.
Maggie listened to Bianca's chattering teeth and wished she could offer the younger girl something to keep her warm.
"Bianca yo..you " Maggie finally felt the chill that had consumed Bianca make its way to her.
"Co..cold?" Bianca asked laughing softly.
"Y..yea " Maggie nodded her head as she rubbed at her muddy arms and moved over to Bianca.
Bianca looked at the headstone Maggie stepped away from and turned back to Maggie. The gravestone before the both of them held marks Bianca hadn't seen upon its surface the last time she was here. Bianca looked closely at Maggie and then around them. There was a broken tree limb that rested in pieces before the gravestone, and the indentation of Maggie's body in the saturated dirt before the grave as well as Maggie's bloody hands between her thumb and forefinger. There was a shattered branch surrounding the back of the headstone as well. Bianca looked back up at Maggie and knew there was little room for interpretation.
Both water and mud are dripping from Maggie, Bianca notices. Her white t-shirt was thankfully covered in mud leaving enough room for Bianca's imagination to not travel as far as it could. Though the idea of Maggie mug wrestling just happened to enter her mind without her consent.
"So did you win?" Bianca asks as Maggie stands in front of her with the cutest puzzled expression upon her face.
"Huh?" Maggie asks as she looks at Bianca and then towards the gravestone Bianca indicated with a simple head gesture.
Maggie chuckles nervously as she looks at Michael's headstone. Did she win?
Maggie looks to Bianca and back at the scarred headstone. A moment ago, Maggie was sure she did win, but with her self-realization and understanding Maggie also understood that she didn't have Bianca's heart. Not the way she wanted, anyway.
"I think I did." Maggie finally admits nodding her head slowly as she turns back to look at Bianca. "I think I did ."
Bianca smiled and went to take Maggie's hand.
"What the hell are you two doing!?"
Maggie and Bianca turn to see Kendall standing before them, harried and furious.
"Are the both of you crazy!? I mean you " Kendall took a good look at Maggie and her eyebrows rose with her confusion. " what did you do? Get into a mud wrestling contest with the dead?"
Maggie chuckles and shook her head, somehow Kendall was right and wrong and the absurdity of it made Maggie break out into laughter. "Yeah you could say that."
Kendall watching Maggie smile and laugh over her act of insanity just shook her head and stepped up to Bianca. "Here " Kendall wrapped a blanket around Bianca's shoulders and rubbed at her younger sister's arms seeing her chattering teeth. "We should get you back to the penthouse."
"Yeah " Maggie snapped back to the present and looked at Bianca's blue lips, sure her own were the same shade. "I'll um let Kendall take you home. You should rest and I'll I'll call you later." Maggie nodded her head to herself coming to a decision regarding the young woman before her.
"But Maggie " Bianca tried as Maggie walked by her and Kendall.
"I have to get cleaned up anyway I mean " Maggie gestured down to herself. "Can't exactly go out and party the way I look right now " Maggie chuckled at herself and pulled her arms tighter around herself as she dared to meet Bianca's eyes. "Just, you know, promise to take my call ?"
"Of course " Bianca promised as Maggie gave her another small (tentative) smile, looked down, and walked away from her again.
Bianca sighed. Apparently it wasn't going to be as easy as she had hoped to earn Maggie's trust.
"You ready ?" Kendall asked as she looked away from the direction Maggie had just walked in to examine Bianca.
"Yes " Bianca let Kendall lead her from the cemetery for the second time, this time assured that Maggie was not in harm's way and Maggie was going to call her. Maggie wasn't lost to her not completely.
For now Bianca sighed.
For now that was all Bianca could be grateful for.
Maggie stepped out of her car and smiled as Matthew, a young man about her age who'd been taking care of her car since Sunday, came up to her.
"Woo what happened to you?" Matthew asked amused and concerned.
Maggie laughed as she looked down at herself. "Got into a fight with a dead man."
"Oh " Matthew nodded his head like this wasn't the first time a woman covered in mud had told him she had just fought a dead person.
Maggie touched Matthew's forearm gently as she stepped up to him. "Calm down, I got caught in the storm. Fell into the mud."
Matthew visibly relaxed and Maggie walked passed him into the service entrance. The only entrance to the hotel that wasn't swarmed by photographers and reporters looking for any dirt on her they could find. Today, with her person visibly covered in dirt, Maggie was grateful that Stacy had already cleared it with the Valley Inn staff, that she enter and exit the hotel through this corridor.
"Hey, Matt " Maggie turned as she continued to walk backwards towards the doors.
"Yea ?" Matthew turned and caught a pair of flying keys and laughed.
"Take care of my baby, will ya? No scratches ?"
"Sure, but your 'baby' could do with a new paint job " Matthew called out to Maggie's departing figure.
Maggie chuckled as she made her way up the stairs. Why not? She could afford to give her car a nice paint job. But first a long hot shower and then a phone call.
Maggie smiled, Bianca promised to pick up the phone. All wasn't lost.
Maggie made her way up to her room. The elevator out of the question and with the energy bubbling in her, Maggie didn't mind the five flights of stairs today.
With a skip in her step Maggie turned the corner towards her room and froze lined up all along the floor stood reporters waiting by the elevators. Looking both ways and noticing none of them by the door to her room, Maggie quickly took out her key and unlocked her door. The sound of her door unlocking must have caught the attention of the vultures because just as she opened the door flashes and cries for her to stop echoed down the hallway.
"Shit " Maggie hurriedly closed the door and locked it. Maggie took a deep breath and pulled out her father's cellphone. "Stacy its Maggie. Someone leaked my room. The press is camped outside my door."
"I'll call security for you."
"No, it's alright. I can do that I just wanted to "
"Maggie, please. This is what you pay me to do. Let me handle it, okay?"
Maggie moved into the bathroom and sat down on the edge of the sink.
"Okay. I just, I'm not helpless " She insisted, because she wasn't. At least not when it concerned herself and matters of her personal security. Sadly, with everything that had been happening the last two weeks, Maggie knew just how helpless she could be and she hated it.
Stacy's laughter rang through the phone, "Trust me, I know you're not."
"That better not be sarcasm " Both women smirked.
"Sarcasm me? Never "
Maggie calmed down as she leaned her head back against the mirror behind her. "I'm off to take a shower."
"Get caught in the storm?" Stacy asked curious, wondering what she would have to deal with if the press got any shots of her employer while soaking wet.
"Well then, get yourself dried off and I'll take care of the wolves."
"Not a problem. I'll talk to you tomorrow and definitely see you on Thursday."
Maggie cringed at the reminder, Thursday the day she'd have to deal with Erica Kane, the Fusion Four, and Adam Chandler, all at the same time. "Yipee "
"Goodbye, Ms. Bennett."
Maggie waited for the line to die off before she hung up as well. Turning to look at herself over her shoulder in the mirror she sat before and Maggie frowned.
"You certainly don't look like a billionaire the last of your family "
Taking a deep breath Maggie jumped off the edge of the sink and turned on the shower. Maggie jumped into the stall with her clothes still on. All the ideas she had allowed herself to think about, with her and Bianca raising Bianca's child together, disappeared instantly as the levity of Bianca's decision finally sank in again.
The last of her family
The last Cambias.
The heiress leaned her head against the tile of the wall and allowed the sound of running water to drown out her sobs. It was better to let it all out now because this was the last moment she would allow herself to grieve.
Maggie had always understood it was Bianca's decision, and she was going to support Bianca no matter what, that was how it was going to be.
So, pulling herself together Maggie pulled off her clothing and allowed the steaming water to wash off the grime of the day.
The chill that had encased Bianca had slowly dissipated as she sat in Kendall's car, the heat turned on full and directly solely on her. Kendall had even offered a hand to hold as they drove home. Bianca looked at her older sister and down at their joined hands before she looked at her own hand that rested protectively on her stomach. Bianca wondered, now, in the silence as she and Kendall drove back to her home, had she made the right decision? Keeping this child?
With the panic of losing Maggie, of Maggie running away and then of Maggie being hurt as she stood caught in the storm, Bianca hadn't had much time to consider the decision she had made. The consequences of her decision began to sink in as she looked at her sister and realized the pain Kendall felt for the way she was conceived.
Bianca opened the penthouse door and let Kendall in as Erica rushed out from a hallway towards the two women.
"Thank god " Erica whispered to herself as she rushed over to Bianca and wrapped her arms around her daughter for only a moment. With a shriek she pulled away from her drenched child.
"What in the world ?"
"I got caught in the storm " Bianca supplied as she kept the blanket that Kendall had given her wrapped tightly around her shoulders.
"Here, let me take that from you." Erica ushered Bianca into the penthouse without acknowledging Kendall's presence. "I'll go put together a warm bath for you." With this Erica rushed off leaving the two sisters alone.
Bianca looked over at Kendall and noticed how uptight her older sister had become as Erica continued to ignore her. "I'll just go " Kendall moved to the door and gave Bianca a soft smile. "Call me later?"
"I will Kendall " Bianca called and Kendall stopped at the door, only turning to look at her over her shoulder. "Thank you."
Kendall's smile brightened just a little and she nodded her head. "Anytime "
The door closed behind Kendall and Bianca turned to watch as her mother rushed back into the room after presumably making Bianca a bath. "Oh I see she's gone."
Bianca sighed as she looked at Erica and back at the closed door. "You know, it's not fair."
"What isn't fair, dear?" Erica asked as she pulled Bianca towards Bianca's bedroom and the full en-suite connected to it.
Bianca pulled her arm from Erica's grasp and looked pointedly at her mother. "The way you treat Kendall isn't fair!"
"Bianca, this isn't the time to "
"When will be the time, mother? When will it be the right time to talk about how horridly you're treating her?!"
Erica sighed and shook her head sadly at Bianca, as if there was something Bianca was missing and was wrong to question her about the way she was treating her own daughter. "How can you just ignore what she's done?"
Bianca sighed and ran her hand through her wet hair. What Kendall has done marrying Michael. Or possibly marrying Michael. "We don't even know if it's true "
"And if it isn't true? What about how she's used it to take advantage of us "
"Us?" Bianca asked confused. "What are you talking about mother?"
"Kendall has used this this situation to her advantage. She has used it to wheedle herself into your life, into your heart. It's wrong!"
"Mom " Bianca shook her head, it was almost useless. "Kendall has only tried to help."
"No, she's it's just you don't understand." Erica shook her head and looked down for a moment. No one Erica knew could understand her pain.
"I don't understand what ? What don't I understand, mom?" Bianca pleaded gently as she touched Erica's shoulder.
"I trusted her, once. I've given her chances. She's she's taken advantage of them all, proved herself to be just as ruthless as "
"As who? As her father?" Bianca pushed. "Is that why you won't let her in again? Because you can't stop comparing her to him? Mom, that's not fair. It's not fair to judge Kendall for what he did." And it's not fair to make Maggie think you're judging her for Michael's actions either.
"Bianca " Erica looked up ashamed at the tears that fell. " honey you just don't understand."
Bianca shook her head and closed her eyes tightly for a moment. Yes, she did understand. She did know what it was like to blame the child for their father's actions and she had almost let herself condemn her child for them.
Erica was right. Bianca couldn't understand what Erica was feeling because she loved the child growing inside of her, no matter the way he or she was conceived.
"Yes, mom, I do." Bianca whispered.
Erica looked up, eyes wide and horror written clearly across her face. "Bianca are you trying to tell me to tell me that you're you're " Erica could hardly think the word without feeling sick.
"Pregnant ?" Bianca offered and watched as Erica paled and leaned away from her for just a moment before she stepped forward.
"It's okay " Erica assured as she held onto Bianca's hands tightly. "We can fix this. There are ways now that weren't available to me. I can make an appointment " Erica stopped her rambling for a moment to compose herself and try a different tactic as Bianca's current horrified expression told her she was going about this the wrong way. "I just want to save you the pain, Bianca."
Bianca closed her eyes and bit the inside of her lip to keep from sobbing. Erica would never understand. Erica could never be told.
"I I had an appointment." Bianca offered as she opened her eyes and met her mother's eyes.
Erica's eyes widened as she hurriedly pulled Bianca into her arms and held her tightly. So that was where Bianca had snuck off to. Erica felt her heart constrict, Bianca had gone by herself.
"Oh my darling, you should have told me I would have gone with you you you made the right decision, Bianca." Erica whispered into her daughter's ear as she ran her hands through Bianca's hair soothingly.
Bianca let her head rest on Erica's shoulder as she cried. Yes, she had made the right decision, for herself and no one else. Now, she wondered how she would go about protecting the child growing inside of her from the world and its cruelty without the support of her mother.
----------September 23, 2003 ----------
The incessant sound of the phone pulled Kendall from her sleep. With a groan she rolled over and looked at the clock on her side table.
Groaning again, Kendall picked up the phone, "This better be good "
"Kendall, hi um "
"Bianca?" Kendall sat up in bed at the sound of her sister's voice.
"Yes, sorry to call so early but I was wondering if you would have breakfast with me."
Kendall scrubbed at her face for a moment trying to wake up. It was too early in the morning on her day offeven if it was a Wednesdayto make plans when she hadn't had her first cup of coffee yet. "Don't ah worry about it. Breakfast sounds good uh great actually. Where and what time?"
"Oh, I thought we could go to BJ's they have some great pancakes."
"BJ's pancakes, alright." Kendall slipped out from her covers as she sat on the edge of her bed. "Time?"
"Uh " Bianca fiddled nervously with the cord on the phone. "Is nine thirty good for you?"
"Great just uh let me have some coffee and get a shower. I'll be there at nine "
"Thirty " Bianca supplied.
"Right, kay. Do you want me to pick you up?"
"No, no, I can walk I "
They had left Bianca's car at the park the other afternoon after the storm. Kendall had been too worried about Bianca's health to let the girl drive herself home.
"Nonsense. I'll pick you up from the penthouse at nine fifteen."
"Thanks, I'll see you then. Just call when you're downstairs and I'll "
"Gotcha. Call when I get there. Wouldn't want Erica to shoot me down or anything "
"Kendall " Bianca chastised even as she smirked.
"Kidding .kidding " Kendall stood from bed and walked into the bathroom her cordless phone held against her ear as she went. 'Or not' was whispered under her breath as she started the shower before heading into the kitchen to start her first pot of coffee. "Give me a break here kiddo I'm running on no caffeine."
Bianca chuckled as she pictured her sister barefoot and in pajamas stumbling around her own condo attempting to start a pot of coffee.
"See you soon, Kendall."
"Yea, see you soon, Binks."
The line went dead.
Kendall looked down at the phone in her hand and laughed gently. Looks like Maggie wasn't the only one growing on her. Who else could say they successfully got Kendall Hart out of bed on her day off before nine o'clock?
Maggie looked around her cousin's cabin and smiled. Not one reporter in sight. It was wonderful.
Maggie walked into the kitchen with a bag of groceries she had picked up on her way over. It had been a long night last night. By the time Maggie had finished with her shower all excess energy she had vanished. She fell asleep before she could even put on her PJ's.
Maggie knew she had to call Bianca and talk to her but after what Bianca had gone through yesterday Maggie wanted to let Bianca sleep in. It had to have been a tough night.
"Honey .I'm home " Maggie called out into the wooden cabin brightly.
Going to bed early had made it nearly impossible to stay in bed passed seven. Now, at nearly eight o'clock Maggie Bennett was wide awake and bursting with energy. To say, the owner of the cabin she had invaded, wasn't would be an understatement.
"You know, when I told you that it was okay to stop by at any time, I did mean decent hours you know. Not ungodly ones " David grumbled as he made his way out into the kitchen.
"But I come bearing gifts " Maggie informed as she gestured towards the grocery bags. "I figured you hadn't gone shopping since you got back into town. So I got the essentials for you. Bread, eggs, milk, a few pounds of chop meat and all the fixings to make a grand breakfast."
"There better be decent coffee in one of those bags " David informed as he tied his robe and looked in several of the grocery bags Maggie had placed on the kitchen counter.
Maggie chuckled, "There's some coffee I got from BJ's on the table. You still like hazelnut, right?"
David smiled brightly as he saw the coffee cup sitting on the table. "Yes, I do. Thank you."
"You're very welcome. Now if you put the rest of the groceries away I'll make you breakfast."
"Going all out today are you?" David asked as he made short work of the groceries Maggie had delivered.
"Yes, you could say that "
"So what happened to you?" David asked as he took a seat at the kitchen table, the back of his chair pushing against his chest as he watched his cousin move expertly around his kitchen.
"You know I don't know." Maggie admitted as she kept her back to David for another moment before looking at him. "I should be upset. Curled up in bed with red puffy eyes with the way the last few days have gone for me. I mean, I lost both of my parents in the same week. I come home only to be sexually assaulted by someone I thought was my friend. Who also tried to blackmail me and threatened to make my life a living hell by going after Bianca." Maggie rolled her eyes as she continued. "Bianca's refused to talk to me for days. My life has also become the most talked about piece of history on the planet. I've been stalked by two dozen or so reporters for the last four days, and I almost got myself killed yesterday in that storm "
David's eyes widened at this, he hadn't known about that little bit of information.
" But! You know what I realized?" Maggie pointed the spatula at David.
"What?" David asked curious.
"That I've spent enough time crying curled up in bed and worrying about what others think and being afraid. Afraid of people's reactions, rejection, and of those vultures "
"Mmm " David nodded very aware who the vultures were in this case.
" besides. Today is a beautiful day and I have plans for a picnic in the park."
"Oh?" David asked intrigued. "With who?"
Maggie's smile was brilliant as she turned her back on David. "Someone very special " I hope
David smiled as he took another sip from his coffee cup. That someone very special could only be one person and David was glad that the two women were talking to each other again.
Seeing Maggie broken and beaten down the last two weeks had been tough on him. It was a wonderful surprise to see Maggie's smile againat least the one that actually reached her eyes.
"So " Kendall handed the waitress her menu and turned to level her sister with a curious gaze. " what's with the breakfast invitation?"
Bianca smiled at the waitress before turning to Kendall and the nerves she felt. "I was I was hoping you could help me."
Kendall leaned forward, placing her head into her waiting hands as she looked at Bianca, allowing the younger woman to continue. "With?"
"Well I need to find a place to live."
Kendall's eyes widened, "You're moving out of the penthouse?" This was certainly news and had come about suddenly. "Is everything alright, I mean with Erica?"
Bianca laughed coarsely at the idea that anything could be alright while living with Erica. "No, things aren't okay. I need to get out of the penthouse, as in by yesterday."
"Wow " Kendall leaned back as she crossed her arms over her chest. "That bad, huh?"
"You have no idea "
Kendall cringed. No she really wouldn't know all that well. Bianca sighed, "I'm sorry I didn't mean it like that."
Kendall lifted her hand up to ward off her sister's apology. "Don't apologize. Please, water under the bridge. I'm actually kind of passed the idea that Erica is going to change her tune and accept me. So, you need help finding a place?"
"Yes, I thought you might be able to help me."
"Right, because I'm that invested in real estate " Kendall snipped good heartedly as she ran through the people that she knew. "I can ask around. I have a friend "
"A friend ?" Bianca gibed as she took a sip of water from her glass, hiding her smile behind the glass.
"Yes..!" Kendall smirked as she held Bianca's teasing eyes. "A friend " Kendall rolls her eyes as Bianca chuckles and she too can't stop from laughing a little. "Do you want the help or not, smart ass?"
"No, I want the help. Trust me " Bianca insisted as she put her glass down and leaned forward.
"Alright, so, any particulars you're looking for ?" Kendall asked as she looked at her sister with her own teasing gaze. "Two bedrooms ? Or one?"
Bianca shakes her head gently understanding what Kendall is implying. "I won't be staying there for long."
"Oh ?" Kendall inquires as she thankfully accepts her plate of blueberry pancakes, the ones Bianca recommended, from the waitress.
"Thank you " both sisters offer as their waitress disappears back into the crowd around them.
"So you were saying?" Kendall tries as she watches Bianca smother her own pancakes in syrup and dig in to her eggs and home fries.
Kendall had noticed that Bianca ordered quiet a lot of food, but from what she had taken from Erica's panicked phone call the other morning, Bianca hadn't been eating well. So, watchful of her little sister and mindful of Bianca's past eating disorder, Kendall dug in to her own meal.
"I won't be staying long. I I have plans to go to school elsewhere next semester." Bianca informed with a small smile.
It had taken her most of the night but Bianca had come up with a plan. She would go away in December. Bianca realized she would only start to show around that time and with her grades she could easily get in to any of the schools she applied for. If she applied for any. There were a lot of options for her, especially if she told her mother she wanted to get away. Maybe work at one of Enchantment's sister offices in New York or California. Anywhere really, that wasn't Pine Valley, under public scrutiny.
"Oh, where do you plan to go?" Kendall asks trying not to choke on her food as she quickly grabs up her water.
"I was thinking UCLA or "
Kendall should have thought twice about drinking the water to help her choking as both water and food fly from her mouth onto the table as she coughs and sputters.
Bianca's eyes widen in shock and slight repulsion even as she leans forward concerned. "Kendall are you okay?"
"Jesus " Kendall wheezes as she takes gulps of air and leans back in her chair, head thrown back so she's looking up at the ceiling before she calms down and meets Bianca's eyes. "UCLA as in California?"
"God Erica must have done something big to make you run across the country." Kendall offers as she shakes her head and sees the saddened look that overcomes Bianca's face. With a sigh, Kendall grabs Bianca's hands and holds them both reverently. "If you think getting away, is what you need then I'll back you up. A hundred and ten percent! I just, I'll expect you to call me every day. Let me know you're okay. Cause I " Kendall looks down at their joined hands. "I'll worry about you, little sister."
Bianca can't stop the two tears that fall as she watches Kendall duck her head in embarrassment for showing just how much she does care. Bianca squeezes Kendall's hands and waits until the older woman looks up and meets her eyes.
"Thank you, Kendall."
"Ah well " Kendall takes her hands back and takes a sip of water, this time careful not to spit it back up.
Bianca touches Kendall's hand as she puts down her water, her eyes expressing her sincere gratitude for her support.
"Anyway have you told anyone else about this?"
Kendall nods, "Yea, moving out of the Penthouse, across the country."
"No, you're the first one I've told."
Kendall bites the inside of her cheek as she continues to nod. "So, Maggie doesn't know?"
"No " Bianca's eyes narrow in on Kendall as she sees Kendall looking over her shoulder. "Why " The intonation in Bianca's voice leaves no room to be toiled with.
"Because, I think she just found out." Kendall explains as she watches the same spot over Bianca's shoulder.
Bianca turned around and for the first time notices Maggie standing a few feet away from their table, stock still and mouth hanging open slightly.
"Maggie " Bianca's eyes widen as she moves to stand up.
"No, please, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to intrude. I just I was picking up some things. I wanted to say hello. I " Maggie steps back as she takes a few deep breaths and holds Bianca's eyes. "I didn't mean to eavesdrop."
"Um " Kendall looked at Bianca's pleading expression and Maggie's skittish stance. "..why don't you join us?" Kendall offered on behalf of the both of them. Hoping she was making the right decision.
"No, I've I've already eaten. Besides, I don't want to intrude."
"You're not!" Bianca and Kendall both offer at the same time.
"I " Maggie looks at the doors that are only two dozen feet away. It wouldn't be hard to say her goodbyes and make a mad dash for them.
"Please ?" Bianca desperately tries as her hands tighten around her napkin that rests in her lap. If Maggie leaves now, without knowing everything it could ruin this second chance they have.
"Sha sure." Maggie glances once more at the doors before she pulls over a chair to Kendall and Bianca's table.
"So " Kendall tries to break the awkward silence that has overtaken the table.
"You never called."
"I " They both try and laugh gently at themselves.
Maggie goes first, "I fell asleep. Passed out after taking a shower. I thought you'd want to sleep in, so I was going to stop by with " Maggie lifts the bag in her arm with the BJ's logo printed on the plastic. " lunch. See if you wanted to go on a picnic."
"I'd like that " Bianca can't help but smile as she watches Maggie fiddle with the handle of the plastic bag, her eyes downcast.
"Good " Maggie looks up for a moment before she finds her eyes fixated to her fiddling fingers once again. "So you're moving?" There is no accusation in the question, just heartfelt curiosity.
Even with her curiosity, Maggie couldn't look at Bianca.
"I " Bianca steels herself for this. She knew it was going to be hard, but her child was worth it. The pain she felt at hurting Maggie, hurting her mother, her friends, by leaving would be worth it when she brought her child into this world without preconceptions about him or her. It had to be
"Yes, I'm moving out of the penthouse and at the end of the semester I'm planning to go to UCLA."
"That's great " Maggie supplies, as she attempts to keep her heartbreak from Bianca's analyzing eyes.
"Is it?" Kendall asks as she looks intently at the young woman before her.
Maggie steels her resolve as she meets Kendall's challenging eyes. "If it's what makes her happy " Maggie turns to Bianca, " makes you happy, then it is." Maggie holds Bianca's eyes, ensuring that Bianca understands that above all else, all she truly wants for her is to be happy.
"Right " Kendall smirks as she watches the two friends look at each other and the blush slowly making its way up Bianca's neck to her cheeks as Maggie takes a hold of her hand to just squeeze it reassuringly before releasing it.
"Kendall I thought you were okay with this?" Bianca asks, noticing how Kendall's opinion of her moving had suddenly changed.
"I wasam " Kendall threw up her hands. She wasn't sure what her opinion was about Bianca's sudden decision to leave. Not anymore. Not with the relived expression upon Maggie's face. "I just want to know you're doing it for you. Not because someone else wants you to." Kendall's eyes looked directly at Maggie with clear accusation in them.
Maggie snapped her head in Kendall's direction and met the older woman's accusing eyes. Where was this coming from? They had called a truce, a real one, and were even on a somewhat friendly basis. They had been since the trial, but now? Now Kendall wanted to pick a fight?!
"You think I want her to go!?"
Kendall flicked her eyes into the corner of the room before looking back to Maggie. "Don't you!?" She raised her voice and leaned forward in her chair, readying for a fight she knew she could easily pick with Bianca's sweetheart. "You just said "
"I said I want her to be happy!" Maggie nearly wailed. "If leaving makes her happy then she should go!" Maggie clenched her fists as she held Kendall's eyes.
"Do you want her to go so she'll be happy or so you'll be happy ?"
Maggie reeled back at the statement. She knew where Kendall was going with this even if Bianca hadn't a clue as she looked helplessly between her sister and best friend as they stared each other down between their screaming match.
"Kendall .Maggie please ." Bianca tried to reign in the two women as she looked around the restaurant. People were starting to stare.
"You have no right " Maggie seethed.
"I have every right !" Kendall fumed as she stood and bent over the table so her face was directly in Maggie's as she towered over the younger woman.
Maggie stood up abruptly from the table and pushed Kendall by the shoulders out of her face. "Stay out of my face, Kendall."
"Maggie !" Bianca whispered harshly as she too stood from her seat.
"Or what ?" Kendall egged on as she pulled herself up to her full height and moved to stand directly in front of Maggie again. "You going to shove me again? Push me to the ground? Or are you going to threaten me with a knife "
"Kendall " Bianca snapped her head back towards her sister. What in the world were the two of them doing!?
Maggie's eyes widened as she flicked her eyes to the knives on the table back to Kendall's knowing smirk.
"There are two of them right on the table. Go on pick one up they seem to be your favorite weapon."
Maggie shook her head in shock, why was Kendall doing this? In front of all these people
"Is there a problem here, ladies?"
Maggie's eyes widened at the voice as she turned to look over her shoulder. "Anna " Maggie's voice changed from surprise to indifference as she greeted the man next to her former cousin. " Detective Frye."
"Ms. Bennett." Derrick nodded towards Maggie. "Mrs. Cambias." A curt nod to Kendall. "Ms. Montgomery." At least Bianca got a smile, if she hadn't Maggie was sure she would have hit Derrick.
Maggie cringed at the title. The police had yet to disprove Kendall's marriage to Michael as they couldn't narrow the time of death down close enough to blow up Kendall's lie.
"Is there a problem?" Anna asked as she looked directly at Kendall.
"Oh there's no problem here, Chief Devane. I wouldn't want to get your favorite into any trouble "
"Kendall " Bianca gasped as she looked at her sister in shock.
Anna felt her jaw clench as she locked eyes with Kendall.
"Ha " Maggie shook her head and smirked at Kendall, conspiratorially. "That is high praise coming from the woman that pushes her weight around using MY father's last name."
Bianca rolled her eyes and sat herself back down in her seat. What was the use? The two of them were just going to continue to go at it no matter what she did. At least with Anna here there was a chance they'd stop acting like children. Bianca placed her head in her hands as she leaned her arms onto the table and watched.
Kendall and Maggie continued to insult one another until Kendall mentioned Frankie and Maggie stepped forward threateningly which caused Anna to step forward and grab Maggie and Derrick to hold Kendall off.
"That's enough!" Anna bellowed as she held onto Maggie as she tried almost half-heartedly to get to Kendall.
Maggie stopped pulling and stood up straight as she looked at Kendall, there was a glint in her eyes that Anna would question later. "Go get some air "
"But " Maggie pathetically tried to object.
"No, outside, now "
"Fine." Maggie grabbed her bags from the floor.
"I'll be out to talk to you in a minute. Don't go anywhere."
"Whatever " Maggie rolled her eyes and stalked from BJ's without a backward glance.
"Thank you," Kendall smiled as she thanked Anna. " the lying bitch was out of control."
Anna's eyes narrowed as she looked at Kendall as she continued to insult Maggie. "Lying bitch?" Anna asked.
"Well, yes. She is a con artist. Runs in the family. But you would know that wouldn't you? You were married into that family be "
"Kendall " Anna whispered fiercely, "I suggest you refrain from continuing."
Kendall for once, played her cards right and kept her mouth shut. The furry in Anna's eyes was enough of the warning if her tone was not.
"If you hate her so much, why are you having lunch with her?" Derrick asked as he noticed the three chairs around the table.
"I wasn't. I was here, having breakfast with my sister when she just walked in and sat with us after listening in on our private conversation."
Bianca's eyes widened, what game was Kendall playing? Bianca looked from Kendall to the doors of BJ's where she saw Maggie leaning against the brick wall beside the double doors. Maggie turned to look through the doors and their eyes met.
Maggie smiled and winked at Bianca. Bianca reeled. They were playing some kind of game to trick Anna and Derrick. Why, was the question?
Bianca decided it was better to play along.
Anna looked at Bianca and then towards the door, for Maggie only to turn to look away.
"Bianca, is that true?" Anna asked as she turned to look at Bianca.
"Hmm I'm sorry, what?" Bianca asked as she met Anna's eyes.
"Is what Kendall said true? Did Maggie just sit down without an invitation?" Anna knew it was a lie, it had to be. Maggie was scared to even look at Bianca the wrong way afraid the young women would run from her again, let alone listen in on her conversation and invite herself while unwelcome to her table.
Kendall looked at Bianca and held her breath as her sister nodded her head. Kendall internally sighed with relief; at least Bianca had caught on.
It wasn't real.
Kendall wasn't angry with Maggie and Maggie wasn't really angry with her. Kendall realized that she and Maggie were going to have to fill Bianca in on what was going onor at least some of it.
After all, it wouldn't do for Mrs. Kendall Hart-Cambias and Ms. Maggie Bennett to be seen outside by the police acting friendly towards one another. Besides, the public loved drama and Kendall was prepared to give them the drama they were craving with the help of Ms. Mary Margaret Bennettthe rightful Cambias heir.
"Yes, she just wanted to ask me a question though." Bianca offered with a faked sigh. "Things just got out of hand. We're sorry for the disturbance. We'll go " Bianca moved to pick up her things quickly.
"We will not. We're not done eating." Kendall insisted, smirking on the inside as Bianca glared at her.
"We'll take it to go then. You caused enough drama for the day, don't you think?"
Kendall rolled her eyes, "She started it."
"Yes, well you should have known to finish it in a quieter way." Bianca admonished as a waitress, who had been standing nearby during the altercation, helped her back away their unfinished breakfasts.
Anna watched as Bianca and Kendall quickly packed up their things and left. Anna watched as Kendall and Maggie once again had words as Maggie stood waiting for Anna outside, before Bianca pulled Kendall away.
It was just all too too perfect. Like it was staged. Anna sighed, after all this was over and done with the Pine Valley Police Department could find themselves another Chief of Police.
"I'll be back," Anna looked at Derrick for a moment before moving to go talk to Maggie.
"Yeah " Derrick watched Anna step outside and pull Maggie away from the windows. " I'll just get our coffee and lunches."
Derrick walked up to the counter and the waiting BJ's staff.
Maggie put her things into the passenger seat of her car. After the little show she and Kendall just put on for the residents of Pine Valley and the top police officersand lead detectives in the murder investigationMaggie was exhausted.
Being chewed out by a woman she both respected and cared deeply for didn't help with her exhaustion.
Anna had a right to be angry with her. Maggie knew it, she just never liked having to hear or see Anna upset with her. Their ensuing conversation after Anna had followed Kendall and Bianca out had left Maggie with a new kind of weight on her shoulders.
Funny, only yesterday she had finally gotten rid of one weight only to put on two more today.
Kendall and Bianca had left. Kendall pretending to continue their argument while Bianca told her to meet them at Kendall's condoand insisted that they meaning Kendall and herhad a lot of explaining to do when she got there.
The explanation to Bianca would be simpleeasy even.
The explanation to Anna as to why she and Kendall had been screaming at each other and making a scene had been neither. Especially when Anna could easily look passed her façade and see exactly what she wasn't saying!
It was frustrating, but she had gotten through it.
A little insult here and attitude directed towards Kendall there, and Anna actually started to buy that Maggie didn't like Kendall. For now, it was working.
Thankfully Derrick had exited BJ's with a bag of food and coffee. Maggie, for the first time, was happy to have Derrick interrupt her conversation. He had easily pulled Anna back to their waiting car and the murder investigation that Maggie was still one of the top suspects in.
Maggie turned the ignition and looked at herself in the rearview mirror. She wondered when things would finally settle down for her. Would they ever?!
Was Maggie destined to have to work twice as hard as anyone else to get a little piece and quiet? With a bitter laugh, Maggie realized she probably would. All the money in the world couldn't help her find serenity within herself.
Maggie pulled out of her parking spot and made sure she wasn't being followed before she made her way towards Kendall's.
Maggie knocked, her eyes moving around the immediate area. She refused to look across the small courtyard towards Michael's condo. She couldn't face that right now, even being here at Kendall's was pushing it.
The door opened and then closed for another moment before reopening. Once the door was open enough for her to squeeze through, she pushed passed Kendall and into her forayer. Once inside Maggie waited until she heard Kendall close the door before she turned to look at the taller woman.
"Yes, please come right in." Kendall rolled her eyes as she took a sip from her beer and went to retake her previous seat on the armchair across from the couch.
Maggie saw Bianca seated on the couch, arm across the back as she angled towards the door so their eyes could meet.
Maggie put her bags onto the island of Kendall's kitchen and leaned against the edge of the counter before taking a deep breath.
"You should have given me more warning." Maggie immediately insisted as turned and faced the two sisters.
"My apologies," Kendall chuckled as she shook her head. "I had a moment between seeing them in the corner watching us and saying something to you. No time to signal that I didn't mean anything I was saying."
"Hold on, one damn second!" Bianca stood from the couch and looked first at her sister and then across the room at Maggie. "I'm not about to sit here while the two of you talk as if I'm not here again. I had enough of that little experience for today. Now, please, oneor bothI don't really care which as long as you explain what the hell is going on here "
Kendall looked at Bianca and then across the room at Maggie. "You want to do the honors, or should I?"
Maggie waved her hand out before her, "Please, be my guest."
Kendall bit her lip for a moment before turning her attention to Bianca. "Our lawyers think it would be in our best interest if the police think we don't like each other. So, the argument you saw was fake. It was only to try and keep the police off our backs."
"I don't understand, why would your lawyers think it would be best for the two of you not to be friendly towards one another?" Bianca looked between Kendall and Maggie and watched as the two women shared a look at one another before both turned to look at her.
It seemed it was Maggie's turn to talk, Bianca realized as Maggie picked up from where Kendall left off.
"Kendall and I, as you know, are suspects in Michael's murder."
"Yes " Bianca encouraged.
"Well " Maggie scratched at the back of her neck as she darted her eyes between Bianca and Kendall.
"To make sure the police can't get to either of us, the two of us are going to point the finger at each other. Offer up information against the other " Kendall informed as she stood.
Maggie took a step closer to the couch and the two siblings. "But!not enough to convict either of us."
"Right " Kendall sat down on the edge of her glass coffee table as Bianca sat back down on the couch. " not enough evidence to put either of us away anyway!"
They were tag teaming the explanation, and Bianca was stuck looking back and forth between the two as if watching a tennis match all over again. Except this time she was actually following what was going on.
"Just enough to leave the police thinking we both could have done it." Maggie smiled as she grabbed a hold of the back of the couch and watched Bianca turn to look at Kendall.
"All the while, neither of us have done it!" Kendall exclaimed, allowing her excitement over the brilliance that was John Stiles and Phillip Cochran's plan.
Maggie laughed lightly at Kendall's excitement. "So, should the police decide to file a case against either of us and bring us to trial there will be too much evidence supporting the idea that Kendall did it, or I did it, for the jury to convict us."
"Reasonable doubt " Bianca supplied as her mind slowly wrapped around what her sister and best friend were saying.
"Exactly!" Kendall and Maggie intoned at the same time, and spared each other a look and smile before looking back at Bianca.
Bianca rubbed at her temple gently, "So, you two have to pretend to hate each other so the police don't suspect that you're working together?"
"Yep." Kendall leaned her elbows on her knees and cupped her head in her hands as she looked at her younger sister.
"I don't understand why you're doing this though. Why go through so much trouble? If you both didn't kill Michael, then then you shouldn't have to play this game with the police." Bianca informed as she tried to desperately understand the motive behind their actions.
Kendall's excitement hit a slight snag as she looked from Bianca up to Maggie.
"Kendall " Kendall turned her head and looked away while saying nothing.
Bianca turned away from her sister and looked at Maggie. "Maggie ?"
Kendall's nerves got the better of her and she rubbed her palms up and down her legs for a moment before standing. "I need another drink. You want one, Maggie?"
"Yeah, I could use one." Maggie moved to follow Kendall into the kitchen but her hand was grabbed before she could pull it off the back of the couch.
Maggie took a deep breath and closed her eyes as Bianca's grip on her hand tightened for a moment. Maggie opened her eyes and turned slowly to look at Bianca. The young woman's expression easily begged for the answers Maggie and Kendall had both tried to step over without being caught skipping over them.
Maggie looked for assistance from Kendall, but Kendall looked at her over the refrigerator door with the same desperate expression Maggie imagined was on her own face.
Should they tell Bianca? Should they keep the information hidden? Keep her out of it?
It had been what plagued both Kendall and Maggie since the night of Michael's murder when they'd run into each other outside of Michael's condo.
Kendall and Boyd had come running out of Kendall's condo when they heard a struggle taking place in Michael's condo before yelling and screaming echoed in the courtyard. When Kendall had made out Maggie's voice she had run out to help the younger woman, fearing Michael was hurting her sister's best friend, Boyd rushing out after her.
They both had made it into the courtyard to see Maggie stumbling out of Michael's condo, and watched as she fell to the cobblestoned ground as she pushed to get away from the open door where Michael stood menacingly over her with a bloodied knife. It was then that Kendall saw Maggie gripping onto her side tightly, blood seeping passed her fingers as she tried to staunch the flow, eyes hard as she moved to kneel before her apparent attacker getting ready to bull rush the older man.
Kendall had called out Maggie's name as she watched Maggie rush Michael and Boyd grabbed Michael's arm as he was about to slam the tip of the blade into Maggie's back as she rushed him and knocked him clear off his feet. The knife flew out of Michael's hand and slid across the wooden floors of his condo out of sight as Kendall's eyes were drawn to the other figure standing in Michael's condo stock still and trembling.
Kendall was pulled out of her brief memory flash at the sound of Maggie's name coming from Bianca's lips rather than her own. "Maggie !"
Maggie was pulled from her own memories of that night as her knees wobbled and she stumbled forward and leaned heavily on the back of the couch. Bianca's frightened exclamation of her name reached her ears as her legs gave out and her vision turned dark.
Kendall slammed her refrigerator door closed as she watched Maggie's original tumble forward to the back of the couch. As Maggie fell backwards towards her Kendall scooped Maggie's arms up as the younger woman started to fall and gently lowered her to the floor, unable to keep her standing or lift her up on her own.
"Bianca " Kendall called out to her younger sister who was already moving to come around the couch and help her fallen friend. "Help me move her to the couch."
With Bianca's help Kendall was able to move Maggie onto the couch.
Kendall saw Bianca's hands begin to shake and her eyes move rapidly to take in Maggie's unconscious form, looking for some injury that was non-existentat least on the outside. All of Maggie's injuries now lie within the younger woman, Kendall was sure.
"Bianca " When Bianca didn't turn to look at her, Kendall turned and grabbed a hold of her sister's face. "Bianca " Bianca eyes darted around Kendall's face and then towards Maggie. " go get me a wet cloth for her, okay?"
Bianca nodded her head, "O-ookay " Bianca moved to the kitchen and grabbed a bunch of sheers from the paper towel dispenser above Kendall's sink and wet them before quickly moving back over to Kendall.
Kendall chuckled to herself, was it her destiny to always be around when either Bianca fainted because of Maggie or Maggie fainted in front of Bianca? At least this time, she could safely say that she hadn't planned thisnot like the last time.
"Here hold it against her forehead and I'll go get some smelling salts."
"You have smelling salts?" Bianca asked as she watched Kendall walk towards her bathroom, her hand already pressing lightly against Maggie's forehead with the damp cloth.
"Yeah it's something you might want to think of purchasing if you stick around Pine Valley for a few months longer. Never know when you might need them."
Bianca smirked and shook her head as Kendall disappeared around the corner and her eyes fell to Maggie. With a loving expression Bianca carefully ran the wet paper towel across Maggie's brow down to her neck.
"What are you hiding from me, Stone ?"
Maggie groaned and behind her eyelids Bianca watched as her eyes moved around wildly for a moment before her lashes fluttered open.
"It's Bennett " Maggie corrected and then looked around and up at Bianca. "Why am I lying down?"
Bianca couldn't help but laugh as she pressed Maggie's head back down against the couch and held the wet compress against Maggie's forehead. "You fainted."
"Oh " Maggie concentrated on the information for a moment before chuckling. "I seem to be doing a lot of that lately."
Bianca looked at Maggie in clear confusion.
"Ah you missed my last fainting spells." Maggie cringed internally at why Bianca had missed it.
"When?" Bianca questioned, curious.
Maggie chuckled, "Well actually, both were on Sunday nights." Maggie informed and watched as Bianca's eyes and face clouded over for a moment. "Kinda took a lot out of me, apparently too much stress in such a short time."
"Maggie, I'm so sorry " Bianca shook her head and looked down, sure that she had caused some of that stressmore like distresswhen she had left after Maggie's announcement.
"It's alright, Bianca. It was a lot to take in. I wanted to give you more warning but I just I couldn't find the time." Maggie dearly wished she had told Bianca the truth about her parentage rather than her undying love.
"I know but I should have stayed." Bianca informed as she moved her hand to grasp Maggie's tightly. "I'm sorry that I left. You've been so wonderful to me. So strong and supportive through everything and I just I left. I "
Maggie lifted her finger up to Bianca's lips and tried to stop the young woman's apology but Bianca grabbed Maggie's hand and held it against her chest. Letting go of Maggie's other hand, Bianca slipped it free from Maggie's grasp and brushed a strand of long caramel brown hair behind Maggie's ear and traced her thumb over her cheek gently.
"Please, let me finish."
Maggie was breathless as she nodded her head and stared into Bianca's beautiful brown eyes. The emotions she saw playing across Bianca's face were undermined but the steady stream of love looking right at her from Bianca's eyes caused Maggie's heart to soar.
Maybe, just maybe, Bianca did return her feelings.
"I was scared that everything would be different between us now. I was scared that you had ulterior motives "
Maggie's eyes widened and she opened her mouth to defend herself, proclaim her innocence, but Bianca's forefinger against her lips kept her silent.
"I know you didn't and don't. But I thought in my fear and confusion that you might have told me you loved me to keep me from " Goodness, this was harder than Bianca thought it would be. " from going for my appointment on Tuesday."
"Bianca " Maggie whispered around Bianca's finger, hand moving to touch Bianca's face and catch the tear that had fallen from her eye.
"I know!" Did she ever know! "I know that I shouldn't have questioned you. I did, and afterwards I was so ashamed for turning away from you, from leaving you that I pushed you away. I pushed you away and you didn't care." Bianca shook her head in awe as she recalled how Maggie still showed up at the clinic yesterday. "You came anyway. You were going to stand by me no matter what. I knew you would I always knew you would but I feared that you might want to change my mind."
"Never " Maggie insisted, as she felt her heart race against her chest and her skin grow warm with Bianca's continued close proximity.
"I'm so sorry for trying to push you away. I've yelled and begged you not to push me away or run from me in the past, and I did the same without thinking about the consequences and I'm sorry."
Bianca smiled as she leaned forward and pressed her forehead against the cold cloth still lying atop Maggie's. Bianca's eyes locked on Maggie's lips and shot up to watch as Maggie's eyes shuttered closed before she zeroed in on them again.
"I never got to tell you in the elevator that I love you too." Bianca's breath hitched as she said the words while her heart skyrocketed with her elation at finally telling Maggie how she felt. "I love you so much, Maggie. So much more than just as a friend. I want so much more with you than I thought you wanted to share with me."
"I want to share everything with you " Maggie informed as she opened her eyes and saw Bianca had closed hers.
This time around, Maggie wanted her eyes open. She knew the moment wouldn't fade away into the shadows of her dreams. This was real! Bianca was kneeling beside the couch Maggie was currently laying on confessing her love for Maggie.
"If you don't kiss her I might do it for you." Kendall said from the entrance to the bathroom as she leaned against the doorway and watched the two love birds.
Happy that finally both women knew how the other felt. It was about damn time.
Bianca laughed lightly at her sister's words shaking her head for a moment before she opened her eyes and met Maggie's sea blue eyes. There was no hesitation as Bianca leaned down and Maggie's hand made its way to the back of Bianca's neck and pulled the younger woman down to her.
Their lips met and Maggie wondered how much more her heart could take as it raced against her chest and she hummed against Bianca's lips in approval. Lips weren't enough, and with only a moment to think about it, Maggie pulled Bianca against her further, and let her tongue seek out the younger woman's warm supple lips.
The taste of Bianca's lips wasn't exactly new, but it was a flavor Maggie intended to keep tasting for the foreseeable future.
Bianca grasped tightly at Maggie's shirt as her hand rested on the older woman's hip and allowed Maggie's seeking tongue entrance into her waiting mouth.
"Okay okay um " The two women seemed oblivious to her and with after another moment of watching the two swap spit Kendall closed her eyes and moved towards her bedroom. "Eww " Kendall shuddered and wondered why she had encouraged the two into anything at all.
"Is she gone?" Maggie asked as they heard a door close.
Bianca looked up and back towards where Kendall had been standing, and saw her sister was nowhere to be seen.
"Yep, she's gone."
Maggie smiled as Bianca leaned her forehead back against her own and they just looked at each other. "Come on up " Maggie moved over and moved to lie on her side, making room for Bianca.
"Please ?" Maggie tugged at Bianca's hand and helped the woman move to lie next to her on the couch, facing her.
Kendall wondered if it was right of her to be spying on her little sister. Then she thought about what might happen if Maggie hurt Bianca and she realized it was alright that she spied on them just a little while longer. If they went back to kissing each other again Kendall would break it up, until then she moved into a comfortable position by the door and kept an eye on the two of them while powering up her laptop.
The two women remained where they were, comfortable to just lie next to each other. One hand for each roamed up and down the other's side as they breathed the same air and occasionally stole a soft kiss or two or three. They really weren't counting.
"You still have a lot of explaining to do." Bianca informed a long while later.
"I know but so do you." Maggie loathed admitting it, but she did have a lot of explaining to do and she knew Bianca did as well.
"I know " Bianca sighed as she snuggled into Maggie's waiting arms.
But all of that explaining could wait, at least for a little while longer. For now, it wasn't exactly selfish of either of them to want to live in this wonderfully perfect moment.
They had a lot of talking to do about where they went from here but neither woman doubted that with the other's help and presence at their side they'd figure it out. Or so they both hoped.
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