DISCLAIMER: All My Children is the property of ABC/Disney.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Bianca sighed as she closed the door to her room at Myrtle's. It had been an eventful day, and her mother had invited her to spend the night at the penthouse, but she couldn't face the woman's constant attempts at comfort. Tonight, she just needed to be alone, to take in everything that had happened to her in the past few days.
Sinking down onto her bed, she finally let the tears come. She'd been holding them back, closing herself off so that nothing would betray the intense pain that lurked behind her steely gaze. The events of the day finally took their toll, and she curled up on the bed fully clothed, softly crying as she drifted off to sleep.
Somewhere near midnight, Bianca awoke to find someone staring down at her. Blinking sleepily, she tried to make out the face.
"Maggie? Wha-what are you doing here at this hour?" She asked groggily, glancing at the clock. Slowly, her brain registered the green long-sleeved shirt and the worn brown slacks. "Wait- why are you dressed like that?" The petite woman laughed affectionately.
"What's the matter, Bianca-la...don't you remember me?" Bianca's eyes widened.
"Maggie, if this is some kind of joke, it's not funny." Frankie grinned.
"I thought the whole cynical thing was my job. You were always the one telling me to believe in things." Bianca's brain tried desperately to process the presence of what seemed to be her dead girlfriend.
"Frankie?" She asked, her voice betraying the hope she felt.
"Got it in one." Frankie's smile broadened. "Nice dress, by the way. It's a little wrinkled, and I think your make up could use a little touching up," She said, reaching a hand out to stroke Bianca's tearstained cheeks, "But then I was never one for all that girly stuff. If damsel in despair is the look you're going for, who am I to judge, right?"
Bianca stared back at Frankie in disbelief.
"How...how can you be here? You-you're dead." Tears welled up in her eyes as the old familiar pain washed over her. Frankie chuckled.
"Like that could stop me. Hey," She noticed the tears, and wiped one away with her thumb, "Don't cry. I think you did enough of that earlier."
"You...you saw?" Frankie smiled.
"'Course I did. I don't have much else to watch up there...we don't exactly get cable." Bianca couldn't hold back a laugh. "As for how I'm here, well, I've got a job to do."
"What kind of job?" Bianca inquired, her heart swelling as it sunk in that this was real. Frankie sat back, lounging on her side at the foot of the bed.
"Think of me as a guide. You know, a real Jacob Marley, Ghost of Christmas Past type. What?" She asked at Bianca's skeptical expression. "I did read, you know." She joked, pushing Bianca's leg playfully. Bianca laughed softly.
"I know." She said, looking down sadly as she remembered the book of sonnets. Shaking it off, she looked up again. "So, you're a guide. What are you supposed to show me?"
Frankie sat up, quickly jumping to her feet.
"That's the spirit. Come on, let's go." She reached out one hand, then two to help Bianca up. Staring at the hands, Bianca's mind flashed to a similar position.
"Do you trust me?" Lena asked, holding out both hands for Bianca to accept. Smiling, Bianca took them, letting the woman lead her away.
Shaking her head to clear the memory, she took Frankie's hands and pulled herself to her feet.
"Right. Let's go."
Stepping through her bedroom door, Bianca found herself at the Pine Valley Airport.
"Frankie, why are we here?" Bianca said, looking around confused. Her eyes came to rest on a dejected figure in a chair at the gate.
Lena looked up, standing up as her eyes catching a brunette at the ticket desk.
"Bianca?" She asked hopefully, crushed as the stranger turned around to face her. Sighing sadly, she sank back down into her seat.
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We're ready to begin boarding flight 159. At this time, first-class passengers and anyone needing assistance, please come to the gate."
Lena stood, slowly moving into the line when a voice stopped her in her tracks.
"Lena!" Bianca watched herself call out to the older woman. "Wait."
"No." Bianca said in horror. "No, Frankie, I don't want to see this. I can't." A small hand slipped into her own.
"You can, Bianca. You need to." Sighing, Bianca looked back at the scene unfolding in front of her.
"Bianca, you're a very beautiful woman, and you are worthy of something better." Lena said sadly. Bianca cut her off.
"You know what? Stay. Let me figure that out." Lena sighed, wanting desperately to give in to the younger woman.
"Look, the decision has been made for us." She said, resigned to her fate. "It's for the best." Bianca looked back at her, confused.
"What aren't you telling me?"
"Don't ask me that, Bianca." Lena's eyes betrayed the depth of her pain and fear.
A tear slid down the cheek of the present Bianca as she remembered her own confusion, and realized just what Lena had been talking about that day. She watched painfully as Lena tried to leave, only to be stopped by Bianca's own convincing words.
"Look, whatever reasons that you think you have for leaving me don't matter. Don't you see? What we have is worth fighting for. But I can't do it alone."
The conviction in her own voice shook Bianca as she remembered how determined she was to make the woman stay.
"I should have let her leave." She said bitterly. Frankie's hand squeezed her own.
"That wouldn't have been you, Bianca. You've always been so open with your heart. That's one of the things I loved about you." Bianca smiled down at Frankie, thinking of the short time they had together when the girl was alive.
"Frankie-" The shorter girl cut her off.
"Shh...it's getting to the good part." Frankie said, gesturing to the two women before them, coming together in a sweet embrace. Bianca's heart jumped in her throat as she witnessed her first kiss with Lena, feeling the woman's lips on hers as if it were happening to her for the first time.
"God, Frankie, I don't know how much more of this I can take." The scene continued to play before her, as it had so many times in her head since the day it happened.
"Bianca, I have had many experiences, but this -- how I feel about you -- it's completely unexpected. It's new to me, and I'm scared."
"I know how she felt." Frankie jumped in, keeping an eye on the two women from the past. Bianca tore her eyes away to look at Frankie questioningly. "She was terrified. Of what she was feeling, of who she was feeling it for. You can be pretty intimidating, laying all your feelings out in the open. Not to mention she'd never been in love before."
"Wh-how do you know that?" Bianca asked suspiciously. Frankie just tapped her finger on her temple, as if to say she had some knowledge that Bianca did not. Turning back to the two women, she tugged on Bianca's hand.
"We're just about finished here." She said as the two women left the airport to start a life together. Pulling Bianca with her, Frankie moved them on to the next scene.
"You know I'm not going to get used to that." Bianca said, throwing a mock glare in Frankie's direction as she found herself once again magically transported, this time to the hallway of the Pine Valley Inn. Frankie just chuckled as she led Bianca to room 867.
"Oh God Frankie, you're not going to make me watch-" Frankie cut her off.
"Don't worry, Bianca. The past is over. This is now, tonight. The other side of things." With that, Frankie pulled Bianca through the door and into the room.
Bianca was silent as she watched the care Lena took to cover her mother with a blanket as she slept. Sure that her mother was comfortable, Lena moved over to the couch at the foot of the bed. As she sunk down onto the striped seat, sobs wracked her body. The woman cried for a few minutes, her sobs intermingled with occasional mutterings of "Bianca". Eventually Paulina awoke, hearing her daughters cries. Slipping out of bed, she sat down next to the young woman, pulling her into her arms and rocking her back and forth.
"Shhh, Lena, darling, shhh..." The older woman whispered into her daughter's hair.
"Mama," Lena sobbed, clinging to her mother for dear life. "Mama, she hates me."
Tears rushed down Bianca's face as she witnessed Lena's despair.
"Shhh, Lena...tell Mama what has happened." Sniffling, Lena pulled away from her mother.
"Mama, she-Bianca...I love her." Paulina smiled sadly, her heart breaking for her precious daughter.
"Tell me about this Bianca. I have not been here, you must catch me up." Despite her sorrow, Lena smiled.
"Bianca...Bianca is the purest soul I've ever known, Mama. She's so beautiful, and open, and good. She has been through so much, and still is able to love with all of her heart." Her eyes darkened. "And I took advantage of it. Mama, she hates me, and I don't blame her. I hate me too."
"Do you?" Frankie asked, breaking the silence between her and Bianca. The tall brunette turned her head sharply to look at her.
"Do I what?" Bianca asked through her tears. Frankie reached over and brushed one aside.
"Do you hate her?" She asked softly, already knowing the answer. Silently, Bianca turned back to watch Lena. She tried desperately not to believe what she was seeing and hearing as she listened to Lena explain everything that had happened to lead up to this point.
"She loves you Bianca. Like, serious, crazy type love." Bianca shook her head, forcing back her tears and closing herself off again.
"This doesn't change anything. What she did was unforgivable. She's lied to me since the day we met, Frankie."
"So did I." Was the quiet reply. "Come on." She said stiffly. "We've got one more place to go."
"I thought we were done with the past?" Bianca asked as they stepped into Erica's penthouse. Frankie just looked at her and gestured to the living room, where the morning light was flooding across the floor.
"Bianca," Came Erica's aged voice from the couch, "Bianca, sweetheart?" A middle-aged brunette entered from the bedrooms.
Bianca gasped as she realized what she was seeing. Her mother must have been seventy, at least. Her hair was entirely white, and her body looked frail as it lounged on the couch wrapped in a blanket. Turning her eyes to her older self, she was shocked at what she saw.
"I knew you would age well." Frankie said, taking in the dignified features of a forty year old Bianca Montgomery. She was clothed in a professional business suit, and small wire frame glasses rested on her nose. Erica reached a fragile hand out to take the paperwork out of her daughter's grasp.
"Bianca, sweetheart, I think you should take a break. Go on vacation, take a cruise. You need to relax. You haven't taken a day off in years." Bianca sighed.
"Mom, it's a lot of work running Enchantment, you know that. And I knew it when I made the choice to take over for you when you retired. Really, I don't mind it. I mean, what else would I be doing?"
Bianca was shocked at how tired her older self sounded.
"Bianca, when was the last time you went on a date?" Erica asked, concerned. Bianca sighed, running a hand through brown hair peppered with gray.
"Mom, we've been over this. I don't need to be dating someone. Really I'm just fine alone." Erica's frail hands squeezed one of her daughter's.
"Oh, sweetheart. I don't want you to be alone."
"Mom, why do you have to do this? You've been so hell-bent on me having someone to love, ever since Dad died."
"Oh honey, I loved Jack. I still do, with all my heart. And I know that he would want you to find someone. You're still young, sweetheart, and you shouldn't spend the rest of your life living in this stuffy penthouse with your aging mother." Erica said, smiling. Bianca took Erica's hands in her own reassuringly.
"Mom, please. I love being here with you. You took care of me after- well, after what happened with Lena, and now it's my turn to take care of you. You need me."
"Honey-" Bianca cut her mother off.
"No, Mom. Really. I'm just...not ready to go there again."
"Sweetheart, it's been over twenty years..."
Bianca's eyes widened.
"Twenty years, Bianca?" Frankie interjected. "That's a long time to hold a grudge."
"I'm not gonna get into this with you again. I am not now, nor do I ever intend to be ready for a romantic relationship again. Not everyone needs that, you know."
"Bianca, you need love." Erica insisted.
"You love me." Bianca pointed out. "That's all I need, Mom." Putting Erica's hands into her lap, Bianca stood and grabbed her purse. "I have to get to work."
The jaded look in the older woman's eyes haunted Bianca as she watched her future self leave the apartment. Frankie took Bianca's hand again, and suddenly they were back in her bedroom at Myrtle's. Bianca sank down onto the bed, her mind reeling from all she had just seen.
"Frankie, what was the point of all this?" Frankie reached over and caressed Bianca's cheek.
"The point was, Bianca-la, that you shouldn't close your heart to love. Not ever. I can't bear to watch you be unhappy for the rest of your life, and it all comes down to now. You have a real chance here with Lena."
"Why you? I mean, don't you still love me?" Bianca asked vulnerably. Frankie cupped Bianca's face with her hands.
"Of course I do! I will always love you, Bianca." She replied vehemently. "But I can't be here with you, I can't give you everything you know you need." She looked at Bianca pointedly. "She can." Bianca shook her head.
"But she lied to me." She said, weakly clinging to her excuse. Frankie's expression turned serious.
"Bianca, she lied about what she was doing. She didn't lie about how she felt, you saw that." Slowly, Frankie kissed her own fingers and placed them on Bianca's lips. Her final words echoed as she faded away.
"What's more important Bianca, the lies or the truth?"
Bianca awoke in the morning, surprisingly well-rested considering the events of the previous 24 hours. Yawning, she sat up.
"Wow...weird dream." She said, blinking as she looked around the room. A small metallic glitter caught her eye, and she got up to investigate. On her dresser lay a small silver locket. A small smile touched her lips as she held it in her hand. "I'll always love you too, Frankie. And thanks to you, I know now what I need to do."
Lena awoke with a headache, a reminder of how much she cried the night before. Sadly, she slipped out of the bed, careful not to wake her sleeping mother, and moved to the bathroom to splash her face with cold water. As she re-entered the bedroom, a soft knock on the door drew her attention. Her heart pounding, she walked over to the door and opened it to find Bianca, still dressed in her dress from the day before.
"Bianca?" She asked, confused. "What are you-"
Lena's question was cut off as Bianca flung herself into Lena's arms, hugging her tightly. Lena's heart swelled as she breathed in the younger woman's scent. Pulling away, she searched Bianca's eyes desperately.
"Does this mean what I think it means?" She asked vulnerably, daring to be a little hopeful. Bianca smiled as she pulled Lena's head down to hers.
"I forgive you, Lena." Bianca said, her heart jumping as she claimed Lena's lips with her own in an intense kiss.
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