Disconnected: The Spoiler Whore's Edition

Okay, so  I made a joke about one day putting all of my notes out for people to read while I was working on a story. A friend saw the comment and spent two days hounding me. Dares were involved. Regular dares, dog dares, multiple dog dares. It was awful. I wasn't made to resist such things, and I will say in my defense that I held strong until the dreaded triple dog dare when I started to seriously waffle (yes, I know it says Double Dog Dare in the Subject line, but Disconnected and the Triple Dog Dare lacked alliteration), and then the whole thing got really interesting when a $50 bet was tossed into the mix. Yeah, I caved. This is probably a deeply, meaningfully bad idea, but we shall see. If nothing else it has the value of being unique (and hey, I'm $50 richer---Bwah!). I just wanted y'all to know why this particular bit of strangeness is being inflicted on anyone who cares to look.

Oh, well. It has the value of being a unique choice if nothing else.

That said, I should add that everything is subject to change, most of the scenework contained herein is just to remind me of what I was thinking (I forget these things rather quickly) and should not be taken very seriously at all, and that this is actually a lot more organized than my usual efforts.  There is lots and lots of stuff missing and I tend to figure out the emotional beats as I go along. Also, I do tend to add to outlines as I write and things build in my head, so if anyone finds this interesting, I'll update as I go.

Sections in black are currently being written, though may include outline notes and old scenework. Purple = outlines and selected scenework. Red covers research and such.

First Posted  01-04-04
Updated 01-08-04
Updated 01-19-04
Updated 01-23-04
Updated 02-06-06
Updated 02-17-04
Updated 03-01-04
Updated 03-28-04
Updated 05-05-04
Updated 07-16-04
Part 21 - Updated 08-27-04 - Read it
Part 22 - Updated 12-22-04 -
Read it
Part 23 - Updated 02-18-05 - Read it
Part 24 - Updated 03-06-05 - Read it

Part 25 - Updated 03-31-05 - Read it

Note: the file with the story got so huge it was crapping out my html editor, and so it's now broken into two pages, plus the spoiler page.

Make that three pages, and I'm going to start listing the chapter numbers associated with various places I've been posting it.

| Story to date Page 1 | Story to date Page 2 | Story to date Page 3 | Spoilers |

Last Updated 03-07-05

Steal some for morning convo beginnings....

"No," Lena disagreed almost instantly, and curled her fingers around Bianca’s hand. "It was an accident."

"It wouldn’t have happened if I had just..." Bianca didn’t finish.

"You don’t know that," Lena whispered, sounding faintly perplexed by Bianca’s guilt though she was trying to soothe it. "Accidents happen. This wasn’t something you wished for...." She paused, then suddenly sounded a little uncertain as she remembered their history. "Was it?"

"No," Bianca said instantly. "God no." Slender hands rose, carefully framing Lena’s face between them. "Don’t ever think that," she whispered. "No matter what, I never wanted you hurt like this."

"Then let it go," Lena urged.

"I can’t," Bianca admitted, her voice threatening to break. She dropped her chin, unable to face the clear gaze directed her way, then let one hand fall to land on Lena’s upper chest, fingers spread. So many lies and so much pain. The skin under her palm should have been smooth and unblemished, but she could feel the shape and texture of entirely too much damage. Lena tried again to close the robe, but she gently brushed her hands aside, unwilling to be put off so easily. As much as it hurt, she needed to see this. "If I hadn’t..." She choked to a halt, pausing for a moment before trying again. "I told you we fought that night... You stormed out and I knew how upset you were.... I should have called...made sure you were okay."

"You couldn’t have known---"

"We were lovers," Bianca growled. "I should have made an effort to find out." Despite her furious tone, her touch was as gentle as humanly possible as she continued to slowly explore the wounds on Lena’s chest, ignoring every attempt to dissuade her from the painful quest. "But I..." Bianca couldn’t summon the courage to finish, the words running through her head too awful to admit even to herself.

"Bianca?" Lena prompted after a long, uncomfortable moment.

"I was so angry that you could leave like that...just walk out." Bianca let her gaze fall, staring once again at the marks on Lena’s chest. "And while I was sitting safe and sound in my livingroom...you were hanging in a seatbelt, bleeding to death. If I had just---"

"You didn’t know," Lena repeated, her voice low and rough.

"I should have cared," Bianca ground out.

"I’m sure you did," Lena found herself trying to smooth things over even though she had no idea if she really believed what she was saying. "It was just a bad coincidence that an accident happened just after we fought. It’s not your fault."

Bianca almost laughed. Not her fault. Like hell. "You don’t understand," she croaked. "I know how you are behind the wheel when you’re upset and I knew it was storming. I started to call...but I...."

More silence broken only by the soft sounds of their breathing until Lena finally spoke. "What?"

"I didn’t want to be the one to give in. I wanted you to crawl back," Bianca blurted before she even knew what she was going to say---in fact, before she even admitted the emotion to herself, "and beg for forgiveness for leaving me." She heard Lena’s soft gasp and felt the muscles under her hand compress sharply. Brown eyes snapped up and Bianca realized she’d spoken aloud the same instant that she saw an expression bordering on fear on Lena’s face.

Suddenly self conscious and painfully aware of her vulnerability, Lena dropped her gaze, breaking contact with the eyes suddenly watching her so closely to stare at the hand resting over her breastbone. For a moment she’d almost forgotten the open robe and that light touch, but now she remembered and it felt all wrong. "Please don’t," she breathed and tried to tug disarrayed fabric back into place.

This time Bianca allowed Lena to bat her hands out of the way. "I’m sorry," she whispered, her voice thick with regret. "I shouldn’t have said anything. I should’ve just---"

"I think we’ve had more than enough of lies," Lena croaked without looking up, more shaken than she cared to admit.

Sensing her lover wanted her to back off, but unable to leave things the way they were, Bianca tucked a finger under Lena’s chin to draw her head back up until their eyes met. "I swear to god," she whispered, her gaze dropping to the expanse of bruised flesh visible in the vee of the white hotel robe, "no matter how angry I was," ignoring the hand that moved to stop her, she pushed the soft fabric aside to reveal more bruises, feeling as though just looking at them inflicted equal damage on her own body, "I never wanted you hurt like this." Bianca trailed her fingers along the worst of the injuries. "I almost lost you forever." Blinking away tears, she looked up, her voice little more than a faded shadow of itself as she apologized again. "I’m so sorry."

Both attracted and repelled at the same time, Lena was too startled to resist the kiss that followed, but she tensed as warm lips explored her own and pulled her head back, breaking the heated contact when Bianca pressed for more. "This isn’t..." she stammered uncomfortably, her English threatening to fall completely apart. "I don’t...I’m not...."

"I just wanted you to know," Bianca breathed as she leaned closer when Lena tried to pull away, "to believe that I care."

Not knowing what to say, Lena turned her head away, a tiny shiver working its way down her spine in spite of her stress as Bianca’s breath teased her ear.

"Please say you believe me," the younger woman begged as she trailed the hand on Lena’s chest down, working her fingers under the folds of soft fabric as she found the curve of her lover’s waist, her touch instinctively caressing.

Her head running with thoughts and suspicions she didn’t understand, Lena shook her head slowly. "I don’t know what I believe," she admitted. "It’s all too much."

"I’m sorry," Bianca whispered, the moved a hand to her lover’s shoulder. "You’re stressed...tired. Just lie down." She pressed lightly and felt the taller woman sink back into the mattress, then froze, staring at

"I didn’t mean to frighten you." Bianca cupped her palm along the side of Lena’s face, tenderly stroking her cheek with her thumb, still as amazed as ever by the warmth and softness of her skin. "It’s just that you have no idea how terrifying it is to think that I could have lost you." She closed the distance Lena had put between them, lips almost touching a soft cheek as she trailed the hand on Lena’s chest down to settle at the curve of her waist. "I’ve made so many mistakes...and I don’t blame you if you don’t trust me...but I swear, I just want to take care of you."

*********************************************************

"All right. Fine. I’m an awful person. Is that what you want to hear?"

"No, I want to hear that I’m not."

Bianca wakes to find herself alone in bed and Lena staring out the window.

A rather uncomfortable convo follows with Lena being very cagey, and Bianca rather clueless until Bianca finally realizes that Lena’s memory has come back. They fight. It winds up with Lena thinking that Bianca used her despite knowing she didn’t want a sexual relationship and utterly furious. The implication isn’t even subtle that Lena feels raped.

"I can’t believe you think it’s the same."

"I can’t believe you think it isn’t."

"Instead of force, you used trickery and guile to take something that wasn’t yours."

"You demanded everything you’ve never been willing to give."

"You wanted me."

"No, I wanted someone I thought loved me...someone I thought trusted me...not simply someone who enjoys the use of my body."

Lena is also furious because she feels that Bianca lied in finally giving her everything she wanted in the way of forgiveness to get what she wanted and manipulate. She could have said something for months, only did so when it was completely safe for her to do so and would get her sex...and never claimed to love lena in return. Bianca tries to deny the charges, but doesn’t do so very well.

Lena makes it very clear that the first night they were back together, contrary to Bianca’s beliefs, she not only didn’t physically enjoy it, but it was less than pleasant.... (put it here or elsewhere...maybe later).

During the period before Bianca realizes Lena remembers, have Lena quiz Binks...and Binks answer uncomfortably, but not argue that it was Lena who wanted to lie...so that it looks like she’s blaming Lena. Have that be part of what triggers Lena’s rage.

"I should have let things go the way they did...shouldn’t have let myself be a convenience one more time. I kept vowing to refuse you...then you’d call...and I’d start hoping again." Tired and heartsick, she barely knew what to say or do, some part of her still hoping that Bianca would deny it all and find a way to make her believe. A sad smile twisted full lips. "My fault really," Lena admitted on a soft, bitter laugh. "I should have known that first night I was nothing to you...when all you cared about was control...and I was just a toy to be played with."

"That’s not true," Bianca whispered, denying all of it. She’d made mistakes, yes, but Lena’s charges were too much. "That first night I..." It hadn’t been about pleasure. She wasn’t really sure what it had been about---control maybe---but the taste of sweat and musk, the feel of muscle rippling under her touch, the sound of tiny, pleading whimpers all echoed in her memory. "You wanted me," she repeated her earlier comment to considerably different effect.

This time Lena shook her head, a tiny, almost disappointed gesture. "Like many before you," she twisted the knife, tacitly accusing Bianca of being no better than those past conquests who had cared nothing for her, "you believed what you wanted."

A chill slid through Bianca and she lost all color. "You’re lying," she accused.

"No," Lena disagreed, almost pitying the other woman, "I’m not. At first I thought you just needed to feel safe...to feel in control of the situation...but I thought you’d realize I’d never hurt you...never force you to do anything you didn’t want to. I kept thinking if I gave you what you wanted, you’d finally trust me...and we’d talk...work things through...." She trailed off, momentarily falling silent. "But you never did of course. You just left. Even Michael never...." She took a deep breath and let it out in a gust of air as though trying to break a cramp or spasm, her gaze unfocused, looking hopelessly lost. She didn’t look at Bianca as she continued, "I was never aroused that night."

"No," Bianca denied the softly spoken words, unable to bear the idea that they might be true.

"Yes," Lena said with quiet finality. She’d spared Bianca so many times, but not now, not after what she’d just done. "Not even for a moment." The words were tight with understated rage, the emotion building with every word.

"You reacted," Bianca croaked.

"It. Hurt." Each word was hard to say and carefully pronounced to make absolutely certain it was clear and undeniable. "You saw what you wanted...and I foolishly allowed you to believe your own imagination. But. It. Hurt."

Shaking her head, Bianca backed up a step. "You’re lying," she insisted, but Lena shook her head, her expression grim. "Other times...y-you enjoyed---"

"Yes," Lena broke in before Bianca could say any more, "because I thought it meant something...because I was so pathetically desperate for your attention that even being used like a whore seemed better than nothing---"

"I didn’t---" Bianca denied the charge, but Lena cut her off.

"Yes, you did, and I allowed it, so I suppose the blame is equally my own...but this," she gestured to the rumpled bed as proof of their late night coupling, "this was your doing, not mine. You took what you knew I wouldn’t have given if I’d known the truth."

Any remaining color drained from her face, Bianca stared at her lover, torn between anger and nausea at what Lena was implying. "You wanted me."

"I wanted someone I thought cared for me...someone who whispered words of love...only they were lies...just like everything else." She leaned into Bianca’s space, eyes glittering dangerously. "Instead of force, you used trickery and guile to take something that wasn’t yours."

Bianca swallowed hard, her breathing suddenly shallow and too fast as what Lena was implying swept through her. "No," she growled, the anger winning for the moment. "Don’t you dare say that...not when you know..." She choked off, shaking her head wildly. "It’s not the same thing at all."

Perversely calm, Lena drew back, the saddest of smiles touching her mouth. "It’s exactly the same result," she disagreed. "Only the method is different."

Close to hating the other woman for daring to suggest such a thing, Bianca glared at her. "I can’t believe that you...that you think it’s the same."

Lena shrugged, just as close to hating as Bianca. "And I can’t believe you don’t," she whispered in a dead voice. So many times she’d felt out of control of her own body, hating what she had to do to survive, that she’d learned a thousand ways to deal with the shame and the guilt, found all the places in her own head she could escape to in order to make sure she felt nothing. As shielded as she’d been with Bianca, it had never been like that between them. Now it was. The one person she should have been able to trust had taken away her control at the most vulnerable by using the very words she’d prayed to hear for months. She wrapped her arms tightly around herself, shivering violently. "You could have said those words for a thousand different purposes...to offer some comfort or reassurance...to heal...Instead you used them to take." Another shudder left her trembling from head to toe.

"Maybe I didn’t use the best judgment," Bianca allowed, unwilling to hear what they’d shared characterized that way, "but I didn’t force you. If you had any idea what it’s like, you wouldn’t---"

Lena’s barely leashed temper finally exploded, "You selfish, arrogant, ignorant child," she snarled. "What do you think he did to me every time he touched me...only I didn’t have the luxury of deciding whether or not to keep secrets. I didn’t get to debate whether or not to call the police or throw people I claimed to love to the wolves to protect a lie. I was his toy to use as he wished...and that was the price of my mother’s survival. I had no choices...and no one who even cared...so don’t tell me I don’t understand!" Then suddenly as quickly as she’d exploded she pulled back, catching herself, forcing the dangerous rush of emotion down behind a wall of cold rage. It was never wise to let anyone see just how vulnerable you were to them. She’d learned to hide her soul from Michael, but that had been child’s play compared to the task she now faced---hiding it from the one person she loved more than life itself, but could no longer trust in the least. She’d nearly lost herself by tying herself to a man who’d used her. She wouldn’t make the mistake again, particularly when Bianca had far more power to destroy her than Michael had ever even dreamt was possible. She blinked, refocusing, forcing herself to consider the present. Bianca was staring at her as though she’d grown a spare head, much as she had the night of the accident. Unused to having Lena fight back at all, she didn’t quite know what to make of this recent change.

Bianca head tipped to one side, a hint of a frown touching her brow. Lena could almost see the gears turning in her head. She was finally starting to think and put things together despite her defensiveness and anger.

Any other time it might have been welcome to see her actually putting a little effort into some kind of deeper understanding. At that precise moment it was threatening as hell. She’d already used Lena’s weaknesses quite effectively. No telling what she’d do if she truly began to see the truth.

"Lena?" Bianca said very softly, her voice rising at the end.

She was starting to see far too much. A cold sweat slid over the Polish woman’s skin, but she ignored the clammy sensation and the desire to run. Never show weakness. As she’d learned the hard way, it will always be used against you. Pity she’d had to be so cruelly reminded of that basic fact of life. She straightened her shoulders and offered a chilly smile. "I have to give you credit," she said, her tone full of mocking praise. "You really came into your own."

Sensing a trap in the making, Bianca didn’t respond, just stared at her warily.

When in doubt, always attack. Startled and facing an assault, few enemies will remember your weaknesses when they’re busy concentrating on their own. "You did me one better." That same brittle, enraged smile continued to play about Lena’s lips, while her eyes were black chips of ice that gave away nothing. "I always had one rule. I never told them I loved them, no matter what. Even when Michael hit me because I refused I never said those words to anyone without meaning them."

Bianca’s throat bobbed under a hard swallow and she dropped back a step, arms folded protectively across her chest as though she expected Lena to attack with fists rather than words. Fists would have been kinder. "Don’t," she pleaded, but she’d already brought them to this point and Lena was helpless to pull back and open herself up to one more hurt.

Having finally had enough, Lena couldn’t have pulled her punches to save her own life. "You beat the whore at her own game," she said very softly, but no one could have ever mistaken her tone for that of a lover. "Congratulations," she added, the words every bit as cruel for her to say as for Bianca to hear. "If I had any doubts left about what you think of me, they’re gone." She knew she was hurting the other woman, and part of her hated it, but another part needed it like she needed air to breathe. Convinced that she meant nothing to Bianca except a body to use no matter how Bianca might want to deny it just as she had denied their relationship, she wanted to punish the other woman for her emotional manipulation. Months without any succor or kindness, of sublimating her every emotional need, all while bearing her own guilt and the hatred of much of the community alone had not left her many reserves of kindness or trust.

"It wasn’t like that," Bianca insisted, her voice little more than a dry rasp.

"It was exactly like that." A bitter twist of a smile touched Lena’s lips. Bianca never wanted to admit she might be less than perfect, that she could use people just like everyone else. She preferred to dress her cruelties in pretty clothes, but they were the same underneath, and Lena had no intention of allowing any pretenses this time. "Pity I had to remember. You could have kept playing me for a very long time otherwise."

Bianca flinched guiltily, remembering her own relief that Lena had lost her memory. Momentarily lost in her own thoughts, she jumped when Lena suddenly stroked her cheek very lightly, the caress anything but affectionate.

"It’s so much easier when everything’s my fault, isn’t it?"

"That wasn’t---"

"Stop lying," Lena whispered, cutting Bianca off more effectively than a shout would have. "For once...just stop."

Sensing just how close to the edge Lena was dancing, Bianca fell silent.

Both relieved and disappointed, Lena let her hand drop to her side. She had to get out of there before she did something she couldn’t forgive herself for. The blackness inside her soul raged and screamed, wanting to strike out and hit back, and return every ounce of pain she’d been delivered with a pound of retribution. She saw Bianca start to take a step toward her and held up a hand, shaking her head in silent warning.

The girl froze, then fell back the half step she’d started to take.

"No more," Lena breathed. It was finally over. She felt the final ties between them break, the delicate threads snapping and unraveling to let the last decent emotion between them float away. She absently massaged her broken arm above the edge of the brace, clenching and unclenching her fingers as it occurred to her that it was aching from the first knuckle on her fingers all the way up to her shoulder and along the clavicle before the pain finally petered out at the base of her neck. She shook her head slowly as it struck her that a corresponding pain was throbbing at the base of her spine and along the slant of bruises on her chest. It hurt worse than she remembered and she The physical pain seemed to be catching up with the emotional, or maybe it had been there all along and she was just starting to notice it as the other slid into a shock ridden kind of numbness.

But you overplayed your hand. If you’d just held off, played the adoring lover a little longer, I would have been right back in your thrall...ready for whatever games you wanted."

The anger isn’t just the sex, it’s the way Binks used the avowal of love, and the fact that she lied to Lena and let her think all of their problems were her doing, and that she was the one who wanted to keep their relationship secret.

"I can’t believe you think it’s the same."

"I can’t believe you think it isn’t."

"Instead of force, you used trickery and guile to take something that wasn’t yours."

"I have to give you credit, you did me one better. I always had one rule. I never told them I loved them, no matter what." Her lips twisted into an acid mockery of a smile. "More than once Michael got very angry...even hit me a few times...but I never said those words to anyone without meaning them.

As Lena is leaving, Irina arrives having traced Bianca’s credit card. Not knowing she was there, Lena is startled and hostile.

"What are you doing here?"

"Mother called...told you’d been hurt...and asked me to come."

"And what?" Lena demanded bitterly. "You just dropped everything to help." She shook her head disdainfully. "I doubt that," she sneered, then couldn’t quite contain a grim laugh. "Must have ruined your whole damn day when I wrecked your plans and lived."

"Don’t talk like that," Irina hissed.

"Why not?" Lena shot back. "It’s true enough. You never wanted any association with me. My death would remove the risk of discovery...now wouldn’t it?"

Irina just stood there, shaking her head as she struggled to deny the ugly accusation. "That’s not true," she croaked, and Bianca could have sworn she glimpsed the gloss of tears in her eyes. "I never wanted you hurt."

A bitter, angry laugh burst from Lena’s lips. "You play concern so well," she mocked, then laughed again, though there was no humor in the sound, "but we both know it’s not true." This time there was more than a little hysteria in the laughter, the sign of a mind and body pushed too far in too short a time. "You’ve already proven that to anyone who cares to look closely." She leaned close, her expression aggressive as she invaded the older woman’s personal space. "You’ve already thrown me to the wolves once. Do you really think I’m stupid enough to let you do it again?"

Irina just stood, staring helplessly at the younger woman, seeing her own reflection in eyes that were an eery mirror of her own.

Lena’s expression was a mask of pure agony, the hurt in her eyes threatening to throw Bianca to her knees. It wasn’t supposed to be like this; all rage and pain. That wasn’t why she’d brought Lena here. Without thinking, just wanting to make things better, she reached out, laying her hand on Lena’s uninjured forearm. "Lena---"

Dark eyes swung her way, and her hand was knocked off with considerable force. "Get away from me," Lena hissed.

Bianca fell back a step, driven away by the hate in eyes that only hours ago had gleamed with love. "Lena, please---"

"Another one who would probably be happiest if I’d just helpfully died in that wreck," her former lover sneered.

Shaking her head, Bianca stared at the other woman with undisguised horror, sickened to think she could believe such a thing. "No...no...you know that’s not true. You know that I---"

Another bitter, near-hysterical laugh. "I know that you like to fuck me," she snarled, leaning down to glare into wide eyes, "that I’m handy to have around because you can blame me for anything and everything...and I know that you care about your desires more than my health."

"That’s not true," Bianca whispered helplessly. It hadn’t been like that. She’d been trying to protect Lena...and then...she’d just needed to know she was still alive. "I-I almost lost you," she breathed. "And I just...it was wrong, but I needed to feel you."

"You needed," the Polish woman repeated. Every moment of their association had been about Bianca’s needs and never her own. She’d tolerated it because of her guilt and desperation for love, but suddenly it tasted like ashes in her mouth. "No more," she said very softly when she finally spoke again, her voice like finely ground glass, the rage breaking for no more than a second to reveal something of the hurt Bianca had inflicted. And then her expression hardened. "No more believing sweet words and easy lies. No more being everyone’s ugly little secret...while they use me to get what they want." Her gaze swung back and forth between Bianca and Irina. "I won’t be used again...not by any of you," she ground out. Irina started to reach out, but Lena caught sight of the movement in her peripheral vision. Using her injured arm, she knocked the older woman’s hand aside before it could make contact, the force of the blow sending streamers of pain up and down her arm. She paled, wavering on her feet. "Not by any of you," Lena hissed through tightly clenched teeth.

"Lena, please," Bianca whispered, her voice coaxing. She didn’t understand what was going on, but she could feel things spinning out of control. "You’re hurt. You need to---"

This time it was Lena who reached out, stroking Bianca’s cheek in tender mockery of a lover’s caress. "You should have played all that caring and concern last night," she whispered almost sadly. "I would have believed you then...been right back in your thrall." She yanked her hand back as though Bianca’s touch burned. "It’s over," she whispered with painful finality.

"Lena," Irina’s voice took on a note of command, "the girl’s right. You’re hurt. You need to return to the hospital."

Lena did a slow turn, the smile that curved her lips almost sensual, reminding Bianca eerily of how she’d been in the beginning when she’d still been doing Michael’s bidding. "And you only have my best interests at heart, of course."

"Your mother needs you---" Irina began, but Lena cut her off, the anger returning full force.

"Don’t you talk to me about her, not when you---"

"I’m here for her now," Irina shot back, her own temper stretched gossamer thin.

"Now that’s a first."

Irina tried to get her temper back under control, consciously softening her tone. "Lena, please, let’s not---"

"What, discuss the family business?" Lena demanded. "Can’t have that sneaking out and damaging anyone’s political career, now can we?"

"Lena, stop it. Your mother needs her family right now."

"Then why is she with you?"

The older woman blanched. "Lena...please---"

Dark eyes swung around to fix on Bianca who was watching the strange scene with something akin to horror. "You know, why don’t you talk to Bianca. I’m sure the two of you could trade suggestions for how to slip the knife between my ribs---"

"Lena---" Bianca interrupted as she stepped around the older woman, and again tried to touch her lover, hoping to stop the swirling anger.

Lena yanked her arm back and looked like she might just swing on Bianca. "Don’t you touch me," she hissed. "Don’t you ever touch me again." Her eyes were black with wounded, feral rage. She glanced back and forth between Irina and Bianca, feeling cornered and threatened. Neither one of them cared about her, just their own needs, and any comfort they offered came at too high a price. To hell with both of them. "And you...do you think this makes up for anything?"

"I’m not trying to---"

"Oh, please. I’m well aware that the ambassador wants to come home and run for governor...and I must be an embarrassment too great to be borne. Well, don’t worry, I’m no more eager to associate with you than you are with me." She looked back and forth between them. The two people she should have loved most in the world, should have been able to most trust, and they’d both betrayed her at every turn, and left her feeling like nothing. She shook her head slowly, rejecting that view of herself. "How is it I’m supposed to be such a wonderful liar and yet the two of you...pillars of the community...put me to shame. My hats off to both of you." And then suddenly she was moving, ducking through the door and slamming it shut in her wake, blocking both of them away from her. Someone was stepping onto the elevator and she broke into a run, voices following her, but they couldn’t catch up as she dove onto the lift and the doors slammed shut before anyone could reach her.

* * * * * * *

Denied her target, Irina rounded on Bianca. "I told you to stay away from her," she hissed, glaring furiously.

"I found her on the roof---"

"Then you should have brought her back down. She was in the ICU just a few days ago. She belongs in a hospital---"

"I tried to get her to, but she wouldn’t go---"

"So you just swept her off to get a little sex---"

"That’s not what---"

"---while her mother spent the last several hours scared to death that she was already dead!" Irina roared.

"I’m sorry about that," Bianca whispered hoarsely as she realized how frightened the older woman must have been. "I didn’t think. I was just trying to take care of her."

Dark eyes swept over Bianca, taking in her obvious nudity under the sheet wrapped sarong-like around her. "I’m many things, Miss Montgomery. Stupid is not among them. I warned you not to use Lena this way. You should have listened. Now you’ve made everything far worse."

Yadda, yadda, yadda....it’s obvious there’s a big ole secret in the family, and Binks is too thick to notice.

"She didn’t remember anything."

"Well, she does now...god help us all."

*****************************************

In the lobby, Lena is close to passing out and runs into Stuart...literally. Initially thinks it’s Adam...then winds up allowing him to take her to the hospital. May or may not include Marion.

****************************************

Insert scene with Maria calling David on giving Lena the drug. She has the test results that show some very strange things in Lena’s blood, but the drug is already breaking down, so she doesn’t have conclusive evidence, but she’s very certain. He challenges her to take it to the police if she has enough proof, but she doesn’t. He then taunts her, threatens to reveal that she’s known about his experiments all along and never said anything...even covered for him in the past. Even though the situation is complicated, he has her over a barrel (still figuring it out) and basically it’s clear she’s going to protect him.

Lena overhears, and confronts both of them, furious that someone who is supposedly her doctor wasn’t going to tell her about that a drug was used on her.

"It’s good to know where my doctor’s interests lie." Furious, Lena storms out. Maria and David follow.

Paulina arrives, wants Lena back in the hospital, and Lena’s running on anger and adrenaline, but her mother finally gets through to her when she points out how scared she was. Wind up holding each other.

"Shhhh," Lena soothed, her arms wrapped tightly around her mother as she felt the older woman tremble violently. "It’s all right. I’m all right."

(Or maybe have Lena furious at her mother for once again putting everything on her shoulders....she’s just panicked and spinning).

"Get your hands off me!" Lena snarled, her eyes flashing dangerously as she knocked Maria’s hand away.

Momentarily expecting an attack, the doctor pulled back, keeping her hands in the air, palms spread. "Lena, please, you’re hurt. Just let me---"

"I’ve seen the extent of your loyalty," Lena jeered, her eyes going to David where he hung back from the scene, though close enough to continue tracking things. "I won’t be your guinea pig."

"I saved your life," he reminded her sharply.

Lena’s mouth twisted in an acid smile. "And then nearly took it again," she reminded him, the communication for the two of them alone. "Though that’s not all you took, now was it? Though I suppose Erica’s gifts were freely given."

The color draining from his face, David shook his head, wavering under the knowing scrutiny directed his way. She knew what he’d done. "I didn’t..." he began only to trail off.

"Then this would be a first," Lena jeered, her angry confidence enough to leave him shaken. Injured, barely able to stand, and lied to by all of them, she’d become the most dangerous kind of enemy. One with nothing left to lose. She waited, her eyes full of a thousand kinds of hell, her soft, bitter laughter made up of the kind of subtle hysteria that bordered on madness.

It was David who broke first, his eyes falling away, Lena’s soft, mocking laugh playing in his ears, telling him she knew exactly what he was, her disdain like acid on his skin, threatening to burn away the outer shell and reveal the ugly thing he was underneath it all.

She knew exactly what he’d done and what he was, those wild, dark eyes so intense they drilled right through him to the black depths of his shrunken soul.

"I’d torn the heart from my breast and thrown it away, but inch by inch you made me want to reclaim it and become human again. Just looking at you made me want to be someone worthy just to speak to you."

"For months I have lived and breathed nothing but shame for who I was and what I did..."

"Bianca," Lena exhaled, her voice turning to a husky lover’s purr. She reached out, stroking a full upper lip with the pad of her thumb. "So soft and beautiful. So sweet." She leaned closer, her breath warming Bianca’s skin. "So incredibly duplicitous." A wicked smile twisted full lips as she heard Bianca’s pained gasp. Strange as it seemed, she felt more like herself than she had in months. Maybe she was meant for cruelty. A soft, half mad laugh on her lips, Lena staggered back a half pace and offered a regretful moue. "Sorry, but I don’t really have the time or energy to fuck right now." Her words were deliberately obscene, their very crudity drawing the intended gasps of shock and disbelief from those around her, but also making the point very neatly to Bianca that she knew exactly what the night before represented and it wasn’t love.

Bianca was crying. Even now when she should hate---did hate if she was completely honest---it hurt to see the pain in her eyes.

"Lena," Bianca whispered, the single word sounding like a thousand kinds of pleas.

Every last one of them a lie, Lena reminded herself. She wavered gently on her feet, pain and exhaustion sapping what little physical strength she still possessed. "Don’t," she whispered very soft, the rage giving way to hurt and disappointment. She was so tired of it all, tired of being alone and scared and bearing more hate and pain than anyone should be asked to carry, even her. "You’ve never understood," she mourned, reaching out again, touching velvety skin---for the last time, she told herself. "To do what did for Michael, I had to become inhuman...barely alive. I tore the heart from my breast and threw it away to keep from blowing my brains out...and then I saw you and inch by inch you made me want to reclaim it and become human again. Just looking at you made me want to be someone worthy just to speak to you." Gloom swept over her, the sheer melancholy of it all nearly enough to drive her to her knees. "But whatever we had it was built on a foundation of lies. My lies...your lies...everyone...lies..."

"Lena, please," Bianca begged, wanting to stop this before it went too far.

Lena shook her head, rejecting her former lover’s plea to stop. "For months I have lived and breathed nothing but shame for who I was and what I did..." She shook her head. None of them were any better than her. They all took what they wanted without a trace of guilt about who they hurt. She was tired of carrying her sins when no one else bothered. "No more."

"Please," Bianca took a step closer, reaching out to Lena, her voice cracking with the intensity of emotion, "just let me---"

"I said don’t touch me," Lena breathed, her voice sounding alien for its very lack of emotion. No longer full of hate and rage, now there was just an eerie kind of flatness. "Ever again," she added, nailing the coffin shut in her mind. It was finally over. Utterly and completely over.

"Were you hoping for a chance to attend my funeral?" Lena demanded raggedly, advancing on the older woman with narrowed eyes.

"Don’t say that," Irina whispered, her voice close to breaking.

"Why not?" Lena demanded, still closing in on the other woman. "You’ve wanted me dead since before I was born."

Irina shook her head, denying the accusation. "That’s not true. I just wanted to help."

Lena’s answering laugh was cruel and more than a little mad. She could feel the sane part of herself spiraling away, leaving a wounded, furious, frightened animal in its place. "Liar," she hissed, a hint of a smile lifting one side of her mouth as Irina backed away a step. It felt good to see the other woman cringe. No more self righteous airs. She was down in the dirt like everyone else. "You could have helped then...and we both know you had no interest in doing so."

Looking uncomfortable and crowded, Irina backed up another step, but Lena wasn’t going to let her escape that easily.

Paulina arrives, tries to calm Lena and winds up doing exactly the opposite.

"Why did you have to call her?" Lena demanded.

"They told me you might be dying...I-I needed someone---"

"Why couldn’t you stand on your own for just once in your life?" Lena swung her uninjured arm to indicate Irina. "She turned her back on us and you went begging for her help---"

"She couldn’t face what happened to you alone," Irina said very softly, trying desperately to calm the situation, "so she asked for help---"

"I begged you!" Lena all but screamed as she spun to face the woman.

Lena tries to flee, Niko stops her with a hand on her arm. He’s facing his mother, Lena the other way, but they’re standing shoulder to shoulder.

"What did she beg you for, mom?"

"Niko, let it go."

Nikos glanced at the woman pulling against his hold, then back at his mother. There were too many secrets here, too much rage and pain. "What did she want?"

Irina looked away. "Money.... The Polish authorities were after my mother...and Lena wanted to help her disappear."

Dark brows drew into a frown, and he shook his head in confusion. "With dad’s connections, you could have helped...and if worst came to worst...written a check---"

"Your father---"

"Don’t blame this on him," Niko said sharply. "Dad would never have let your mother and sister twist in the wind if he could do something."

"It wasn’t that simple---" Irina began in an attempt to placate her son.

"Bullshit! He’s all about family. God, does he even know about them?"

Lena eventually collapses, and Niko carries her out.

Irina finally tells him.

Irina and Bianca arrive...separately. There’s a confrontation. It comes out that Lena went to Irina for help when her mother was in trouble and Irina refused. Niko arrives and hears and is appalled. Insists his father would have helped. Finally orders his mother to leave and won’t let Maria or David anywhere near Lena who’s on the verge of passing out and doesn’t know who he is. He finally asks where the nearest hospital is and picks Lena up and carries her out.

****************************************

Let Maria find out that they slept together that night at some point, and that Lena considers it a very short step from rape, while Binks is in denial. Let her tell story of what Edmund did in trying to sneak her the drugs for her memory, and how it nearly destroyed any chance they had.

****************************************

Later, there’s a scene in Niko’s car where he’s literally holding onto Lena with one hand to keep her from going out the car door.

Scene at the other hospital between Bianca and Niko?????

Later, there is a confrontation between David and Lena and she remembers enough to realize he intended to kill her, but thinks it’s because he didn’t know it was her that he helped that night, and was afraid of being recognized. Doesn’t tell Bianca or anyone else because she knows she wouldn’t be believed.

"But you, Erica, and I will always know...as you’re up on your pedestal, looking down on me...that we’re the same...the would-be murderer, the adulteress, and the whore."

For Dispersal through notes:

She reached up, smearing the blood on her lower lip until it blended perfectly into the crimson of her lipstick, leaving __________ to wonder if the color had been chosen for just that purpose. It would be just like the woman Lena had once been to do something like that.

Let Bianca come unglued at some point and basically blame herself for the rape. If she just hadn’t left Lena in jail. If she’d believed her none of it would have happened. Let her claim she doesn’t deserve Lena.

because it was so tempting to turn back around, go back to the other woman, and open up her heart

"We all have our demons...those things we can never forget...and never forgive."

??????????Bring Laura English into the mix after Lena takes over Enchantment???????? Applies for a job as a photography intern...prefers photojournalism, but can’t take the stress with her heart condition. Later has an episode, and has to be rushed to the hospital???????????

Bianca controlled a fortune on behalf of her son. Maybe Lena had gotten tired of just managing it and had decided she wanted a share of the pot instead. And what better way to avoid the evils in her past than to simply erase them and start all over again?

"Why don’t you just admit you’re still in love with girl?"

"Believe me, I know all about unrequited love," Brooke sighed.

Lena peered at the older woman, wondering what had put that world weary tone there.

Angry at Maria and Tempo for the slash and burn article on her life, and what it started, Lena sets things in motion to take the magazine over.

Edmund and Brooke start checking her out at Ryan’s request when he explains that she’s trying to take over more than just Enchantment, but is after Cambias as well, and trying to trick him into making mistakes. They ultimately discover some pretty hideous things...including pictures in Michael’s files.

Ultimately, realizing that Ryan is too eager to win and humiliate Lena to make up for his own mistakes, Brooke decides they cannot give him what they’ve found and Edmund agrees. Nothing is worth doing that to someone. Realizing they’re hiding something, Ryan is furious, thinking they’ve been bribed into changing sides.

Lena meanwhile discovers they’ve been checking out her past and goes on the attack, confronting Brooke, who admits they’ve discovered the photos (which Lena didn’t know about), and couldn’t do that to anyone. Says they’ve been destroyed. Lena doesn’t trust her, and is just shattered by the whole thing.

Finally, Lena offers Brooke and Edmund a deal. If they’ll help her prove Masters is stealing from Cambias, she’ll sell them the shares she’s bought at cost, sign over her proxies and end the takeover bid.

Lena, while working for Michael, embedded a whole range of tricks and backdoors into Enchanment. Has removed most of them during her time working for Kendall, but not all, which helps in her takeover efforts, so it’s Enchantment she gets first. While working for Erica she managed to shuffle thousands of shares into dummy accounts and the hands of parties friendly to her when she started to consider turning on Michael, so she can control a lot of proxy votes, so doesn’t need 51% ownership. Enchantment is also hurting financially without Erica’s leadership, and by the time Kendall thinks to consult with her, it’s too late.

The first confrontation between Lena and Bianca is in Erica’s office.

"I love you and you never believed in it or valued it...and now it’s too late...you had to choose the one sin I can’t forgive."

Brooke visits Bianca at some point after the Enchantment takeover, but before Lena’s mother dies and shows her the file on Lena...only a couple of pictures. The worst have been destroyed (she kept her word), but it’s everything else that she wouldn’t show Ryan.

Bianca stared at the file, then at Brooke, her gaze bordering on suspicious. Any trust she’d once harbored for the woman had been shattered along with her friendship with Laura. "Why?" she asked.

Brooke shrugged, wondering if she was doing the right thing giving the young woman this much power. "I think you’ll understand a lot more after you read that file. It’ll give the ability to understand her, or the power to destroy her. Your choice."

Bianca reads it all.

She stared at the image of the child amid obscenely grinning men, seeing both her youth and the promise of the woman she would grow into one day. Already taller than average, but too thin, she appeared gawky, perpetually trapped at an age where she was uncomfortable in her own skin.

But it was her eyes that sickened Bianca and left her trembling. Dark both in color and with a kind of rage and pain she’d only glimpsed once in the time she’d known Lena.

Dear God, what had she unleashed with her foolish, greedy actions? Lena had termed it the one sin she couldn’t forgive. Suddenly Bianca understood.

It’s what finally knocks Binks out of her self absorbtion.

She apologizes the night she sits with Lena after her mother dies, but Lena doesn’t hear her.

Bianca avoids Maggie and her mother after the affair starts.

After they’re sleeping together again and things are still very much on edge, Bianca confesses that keeping Lena secret is about her shame (figures it out really). Let her figure it out with the counselor.

"You’re ashamed of feeling desire...of being able to...but, Bianca, that’s healthy..."

"How could I...after what he did to me?"

"What one person did...

"I’m just always ashamed...."

Notes: Work existing character into any business roles needed (delete any original characters): Liza, Greenlee, Woody should do for support roles on that front and more immediacy to the storyline.

Delete me: Scene with Paulina and Irina while Niko looks on.

Somewhere along the way Binks needs to figure out that Erica knew about the accident and didn’t tell her. Needs to explode and come out that she’d been sleeping with Lena and hiding it, and the hiding was partially to please Erica.

NOTE: Notes now in green may have to change because I just don’t think I can write Maggie to any great degree.

NOTE: Notes in orange indicate possible ways to move away from using Maggie.

SLUSH PILE

"So you’re just going to play engine of destruction, then?"

"And the sword of the righteous shall set you free."

"Peppy and cheap! Peppy and cheap! Not depressing and expensive."

-Gary Marshall as the EP on Soapdish.

Bianca wakes to find herself alone in bed and Lena staring out the window.

A rather uncomfortable convo follows with Lena being very cagey, and Bianca rather clueless until Bianca finally realizes that Lena’s memory has come back. They fight. It winds up with Lena thinking that Bianca used her despite knowing she didn’t want a sexual relationship and utterly furious. The implication isn’t even subtle that Lena feels raped.

"I can’t believe you think it’s the same."

"I can’t believe you think it isn’t."

"Instead of force, you used trickery and guile to take something that wasn’t yours."

"You wanted me."

"No, I wanted someone I thought loved me...someone I thought trusted me...not simply someone who enjoys the use of my body."

Lena is also furious because she feels that Bianca lied in finally giving her everything she wanted in the way of forgiveness to get what she wanted and manipulate. She could have said something for months, only did so when it was completely safe for her to do so and would get her sex...and never claimed to love lena in return. Bianca tries to deny the charges, but doesn’t do so very well.

"You selfish, arrogant, ignorant child," Lena snarled. "What do you think he did to me every time he ever touched me...only I didn’t have the luxury of deciding whether or not to keep secrets. I didn’t get to debate whether or not to call the police or throw people I claimed to love to the wolves to protect a lie. I was his toy to use as he wished...and that was the price of my mother’s survival. I had no choices...and no one who even cared...so don’t tell me I don’t understand."

"I have to give you credit, you did me one better. I always had one rule. I never told them I loved them, no matter what." Her lips twisted into an acid mockery of a smile. "More than once Michael got very angry...even hit me a few times...but I never said those words to anyone without meaning them.

As Lena is leaving, Irina arrives having traced Bianca’s credit card. Not knowing she was there, Lena is startled and hostile.

"What are you doing here?"

"Mother called...told you’d been hurt...and asked me to come."

"And what?" Lena demanded bitterly. "You just dropped everything to help." She shook her head disdainfully. "I doubt that," she sneered, then couldn’t quite contain a grim laugh. "Must have ruined your whole damn day when I wrecked your plans and lived."

"Don’t talk like that," Irina hissed.

"Why not?" Lena shot back. "It’s true enough. You never wanted any association with me. My death would remove the risk of discovery...now wouldn’t it?"

Irina just stood there, shaking her head as she struggled to deny the ugly accusation. "That’s not true," she croaked, and Bianca could have sworn she glimpsed the gloss of tears in her eyes. "I never wanted you hurt."

A bitter, angry laugh burst from Lena’s lips. "Oh, you do play concern so well," she mocked, then laughed again, though there was no humor in the sound, "but we both know it’s not true." This time there was more than a little hysteria in the laughter, the sign of a mind and body pushed too far in too short a time. "You’ve already proven that to anyone who cares to look closely." She leaned close, her expression aggressive as she invaded the older woman’s personal space. "You’ve already thrown me to the wolves once. Do you really think I’m stupid enough to let you do it again?"

Irina just stood, staring helplessly at the younger woman, seeing her own reflection in eyes that were an eery mirror of her own.

Lena’s expression was a mask of pure agony, the hurt in her eyes threatening to throw Bianca to her knees. It wasn’t supposed to be like this; all rage and pain. That wasn’t why she’d brought Lena here. Without thinking, just wanting to make things better, she reached out, laying her hand on Lena’s uninjured forearm. "Lena---"

Dark eyes swung her way, and her hand was knocked off with considerable force. "Get away from me," Lena hissed.

Bianca fell back a step, driven away by the hate in eyes that only hours ago had gleamed with love. "Lena, please---"

"Another one who would probably be happiest if I’d just helpfully died in that wreck," her former lover sneered.

Shaking her head, Bianca stared at the other woman with undisguised horror, sickened to think she could believe such a thing. "No...no...you know that’s not true. You know that I---"

Another bitter, near-hysterical laugh. "I know that you like to fuck me," she snarled, leaning down to glare into wide eyes, "and that you care about your desires more than my health."

"That’s not true," Bianca whispered helplessly. It hadn’t been like that. She’d been trying to protect Lena...and then...she’d just needed to know she was still alive. "I-I almost lost you," she breathed. "And I just...it was wrong, but I needed to feel you."

"You needed," the Polish woman repeated. Every moment of their association had been about Bianca’s needs and never her own. She’d tolerated it because of her guilt and desperation for love, but suddenly it tasted like ashes in her mouth. "No more," she said very softly when she finally spoke again, her voice like finely ground glass, the rage breaking for no more than a second to reveal something of the hurt Bianca had inflicted. And then her expression hardened. "No more believing sweet words and easy lies. No more being everyone’s ugly little secret...while they use me to get what they want." Her gaze swung back and forth between Bianca and Irina. "I won’t be used again...not by any of you," she ground out. Irina started to reach out, but Lena caught sight of the movement in her peripheral vision. Using her injured arm, she knocked the older woman’s hand aside before it could make contact, the force of the blow sending streamers of pain up and down her arm. She paled, wavering on her feet. "Not by any of you," Lena hissed through tightly clenched teeth.

"Lena, please," Bianca whispered, her voice coaxing. She didn’t understand what was going on, but she could feel things spinning out of control. "You’re hurt. You need to---"

This time it was Lena who reached out, stroking Bianca’s cheek in tender mockery of a lover’s caress. "You should have played all that caring and concern last night," she whispered almost sadly. "I might have believed you then...been right back in your thrall." She yanked her hand back as though Bianca’s touch burned. "It’s over," she whispered with painful finality.

"Lena," Irina’s voice took on a note of command, "the girl’s right. You’re hurt. You need to return to the hospital."

Lena did a slow turn, the smile that curved her lips almost sensual, reminding Bianca eerily of how she’d been in the beginning when she’d still been doing Michael’s bidding. "And you only have my best interests at heart, of course."

"Your mother needs you---" Irina began, but Lena cut her off, the anger returning full force.

"Don’t you talk to me about her, not when you---"

"I’m here for her now," Irina shot back, her own temper stretched gossamer thin.

"Now that’s a first."

Irina tried to get her temper back under control, consciously softening her tone. "Lena, please, let’s not---"

"What, discuss the family business?" Lena demanded. "Can’t have that sneaking out and damaging anyone’s political career, now can we?"

"Lena, stop it. Your mother needs to be with family right now."

"Then why is she with you?"

The older woman blanched. "Lena...please---"

Dark eyes swung around to fix on Bianca who was watching the strange scene with something akin to horror. "You know, why don’t you talk to Bianca. I’m sure the two of you could trade suggestions for how to slip the knife between my ribs---"

"Lena---" Bianca interrupted as she stepped around the older woman, and again tried to touch her lover, hoping to stop the swirling anger.

Lena yanked her arm back and looked like she might just swing on Bianca. "Don’t you touch me," she hissed. "Don’t you ever touch me again." Her eyes were black with wounded, feral rage. She glanced back and forth between Irina and Bianca, feeling cornered and threatened. Neither one of them cared about her, just their own needs, and any comfort they offered came at too high a price. To hell with both of them. "And you...do you think this makes up for anything?"

"I’m not trying to---"

"Oh, please. I’m well aware that the ambassador wants to come home and run for governor...and I must be an embarrassment too great to be borne. Well, don’t worry, I’m no more eager to associate with you than you are with me." She looked back and forth between them. The two people she should have loved most in the world, should have been able to most trust, who had both betrayed her at every turn, and who left her feeling like nothing. She shook her head slowly, rejecting that view of herself. "How is it I’m supposed to be such a wonderful liar and yet the two of you...pillars of the community...put me to shame. My hats off to both of you." And then suddenly she was moving, ducking through the door and slamming it shut in her wake, blocking both of them away from her. Someone was stepping onto the elevator and she broke into a run, voices following her, but they couldn’t catch up as she dove onto the lift and the doors slammed shut before anyone could reach her.

* * * * * * *

Denied her target, Irina rounded on Bianca. "I told you to stay away from her," she hissed, glaring furiously.

"I found her on the roof---"

"Then you should have brought her back down. She was in the ICU just a few days ago. She belongs in a hospital---"

"I tried to get her to return, but she wouldn’t go! After what she read in that article, she couldn’t face anyone---"

"So you just swept her off to get a little sex---"

"That’s not what---"

"---while her mother spent the last several hours scared to death that she was already dead!" Irina roared.

"I’m sorry about that," Bianca whispered hoarsely as she realized how frightened the older woman must have been. "I didn’t think. I was just trying to take care of her."

Dark eyes swept over Bianca, taking in her obvious nudity under the sheet wrapped sarong-like around her. "I’m many things, Miss Montgomery. Stupid is not among them. I warned you not to use Lena this way. You should have listened. Now you’ve made everything far worse."

Yadda, yadda, yadda....it’s obvious there’s a big ole secret in the family, and Binks is too thick to notice.

"She didn’t remember anything."

"Well, she does now...god help us all."

*****************************************

In the lobby, Lena is close to passing out and runs into Stuart...literally. Initially thinks it’s Adam...then winds up allowing him to take her to the hospital. May or may not include Marian.

****************************************

Insert scene with Maria calling David on giving Lena the drug. She has the test results that show some very strange things in Lena’s blood, but the drug is already breaking down, so she doesn’t have conclusive evidence, but she’s very certain. He challenges her to take it to the police if she has enough proof, but she doesn’t. He then taunts her, threatens to reveal that she’s known about his experiments all along and never said anything...even covered for him in the past. Even though the situation is complicated, he has her over a barrel (still figuring it out) and basically it’s clear she’s going to protect him.

Lena overhears, and confronts both of them, furious that someone who is supposedly her doctor wasn’t going to tell her about that a drug was used on her.

"It’s good to know where my doctor’s interests lie." Furious, Lena storms out. Maria and David follow.

Paulina arrives, wants Lena back in the hospital, and Lena’s running on anger and adrenaline, but her mother finally gets through to her when she points out how scared she was. Wind up holding each other.

"Shhhh," Lena soothed, her arms wrapped tightly around her mother as she felt the older woman tremble violently. "It’s all right. I’m all right."

(Or maybe have Lena furious at her mother for once again putting everything on her shoulders....she’s just panicked and spinning).

Irina and Bianca arrive...separately. There’s a confrontation. It comes out that Lena went to Irina for help when her mother was in trouble and Irina refused. Niko arrives and hears and is appalled. Insists his father would have helped. Finally orders his mother to leave and won’t let Maria or David anywhere near Lena who’s on the verge of passing out and doesn’t know who he is. He finally asks where the nearest hospital is and picks Lena up and carries her out.

****************************************

Let Maria find out that they slept together that night at some point, and that Lena considers it a very short step from rape, while Binks is in denial. Let her tell story of what Edmund did in trying to sneak her the drugs for her memory, and how it nearly destroyed any chance they had.

****************************************

Later, there’s a scene in Niko’s car where he’s literally holding onto Lena with one hand to keep her from going out the car door.

Scene at the other hospital between Bianca and Niko?????

*****************************************

Two Months Later...

Scene with Bianca and her counselor. It’s obvious Zimmerman has read her the riot act on more than one occasion and is rather disgusted with how everyone has enabled Bianca’s lies. Lena has disappeared. Bianca’s called her number and the number she had for her mother, but no response. She’s convinced Lena’s left for good, and she has no way of finding her. Is secretly terrified that maybe she’s hurt herself. Kendall got a formal letter of resignation through a delivery service, but there’s been no insurance claim on Lena’s hospital bills, and she has no idea where she might be. Kendall has been calling Lena’s old contacts all over Europe, looking for her.

Sylvia Zimmerman studied her young patient as she stared out the window at the street below. She did that a lot when she was avoiding things, often leaving the older woman the sense that the girl had exited her body and it was simply an empty shell. It scared her more than she liked to admit because it meant acknowledging just how badly the latest trauma had set her back, and perhaps how little good counseling had done her. She’d known the girl was nowhere near as mentally healthy as she tried to appear, well aware that much of her insistence that she was getting better was nothing but pretense intended to please those around her, but she really hadn’t realized how deep it went.

Life as Erica Kane’s daughter had given the girl a denial engine like few Sylvia had ever seen. Two months since Lena Kundera’s disappearance and most days she still barely acknowledged what had happened even though the guilt and fear were killing her an inch at a time.

Sylvia, meanwhile, couldn’t blame the Polish woman for running like hell, even though a part of her wanted to throttle her for what seemed like utter cruelty. The poor kid was probably just trying to survive, just like Bianca, and though Sylvia had tried to reassure Bianca, she was also scared for the other woman. She’d been hit with too much too fast, and the one person she should have been able to trust had abused that trust horribly.

Speaking of the desire to throttle someone.

It had taken a month to get the whole story out of her, but Bianca had finally confessed to her actions the night of Lena’s disappearance, and Sylvia had been hard pressed to control her temper until she’d looked into velvet eyes and seen the agony that lived there. Bianca was punishing herself far more effectively than anyone else ever could.

A soft sigh escaped the counselor’s lips. This ongoing silence was getting them nowhere. "Has there been any word about Lena?" Sometimes it was best to just come out and face things.

Bianca flinched as though struck, one hand coming up to clutch the window ledge tightly. "Her mother’s not at the phone number I had for her, and I don’t know how to contact any other family. Kendall’s talked to some of her former employers in Europe, but they don’t know anything either." She fell silent again.

"It must be very frightening...not knowing how she is," Sylvia pointed out after a long moment of uncomfortable silence.

Bianca didn’t answer, but another shudder slid through her.

"In your shoes I’d be scared to death, but I’d also be angry that she hasn’t made any attempt to make contact." The girl stiffened and Sylvia could see the way her jaw clenched in her reflection in the glass. "It would probably feel like she was trying to hurt me," the doctor prodded.

"Are you suggesting she isn’t?" Bianca spat, then stiffened, going quiet and emotionally distant again.

Well, there was a sore point. Sylvia shrugged. "I don’t know," she admitted. "She may be...or she may just be so hurt that she can’t deal with you right now."

Bianca didn’t miss the irony that that had been her defense after the rape, which in turn brought up a memory she would have preferred to forget. Lena’s accusations about that night and what they meant. She’d thought Michael’s death would be the ultimate sick combination of guilt and anger, but she’d been wrong. Part of her was rotting with guilt because she hated that Lena could feel that way, and the other part was furious that Lena could feel that way about any moment between them. It was a goddamned abomination to compare even the worst fight of theirs to what Michael had done and she resented like hell that Lena could do so as easily as she apparently had.

"Bianca?" Dr. Zimmerman interrupted the dark train of thought.

Just breathe deeply, Bianca reminded herself as she pushed the dangerous mix of emotions down through force of will. Don’t think, just breathe. If she could just keep breathing, she could survive and come out the other side.

"I’d also be afraid she might have hurt herself again," Zimmerman said very softly.

An explosion of pain shot up Bianca’s arm and she abruptly realized she’d smashed her fist into the wall. She spun as she tried to shake out the pain. "What do you want from me?" she demanded, her tone bitter. "Do you want to know if I’m scared?" she demanded, then answered the question impatiently. It was all so goddamned obvious that she couldn’t see the value to discussing it. "Of course I’m scared. She tried to kill herself...and maybe my making love to her drove her to it again...and I’m angry that she could..." Her voice choked off for a moment, and she dragged in air, fighting to find her breath before trying again. "...that she could just leave...and that she could think I would...ever...that she could compare me to..." Her ability to speak faded before a wave of agony that nearly bent her double.

"That she could think you were like him," Sylvia said surprisingly calmly. She was in counselor mode now, her own emotional involvement hidden behind a wall of professionalism.

"Yes!" Bianca exploded, then stood helplessly before the doctor, fighting tears of rage and shame. "How could she think that I would ever...." Again she didn’t finish.

"Because from her standpoint, you did," Sylvia responded in that same, eerily cool voice. Hard as it was to be honest, it wasn’t the time to be blindly kind. Bianca Montgomery had more than enough enablers in her life, every last one of them determined to coddle her and convince her that she could do no wrong. She knew perfectly well what she’d done. Time to face her own actions if she was going to get through this. "You knew she would have said no if she knew the truth...and you lied to her anyway."

"I wasn’t trying to hurt her," Bianca swore, then softened her tone, some of her anger melding into guilty recriminations. "I just...I saw those bruises...and all I could think about was how she’d nearly died...how I’d nearly lost her forever." Her voice cracked. "I just needed to feel her," she barely got the words out a syllable at a time, "to reassure myself she was alive."

"Think about what you just said," Sylvia said after a beat. "Every word of it was about what you needed. Did you even consider that might not be the same as what she needed?"

Bianca’s mouth worked and her jaw muscles clenched convulsively. Her only defense---that Lena had found physical pleasure in her arms---suddenly seemed painfully ineffective. She’d been incredibly careful of bruises and broken bones, but she’d knowingly lied to Lena to get what she wanted. She could just imagine what counselor would make of that. "I-I didn’t hurt her," she stammered when nothing else would come.

"How can you say that when it’s obviously not true?" Sylvia asked, unwilling to allow Bianca to simply push such serious issues aside. Denying the harsh reality wasn’t going to help any of them. "For god’s sake, the poor woman thought you loved her and suddenly---"

"I do love her!" Bianca roared, then fell silent just as suddenly as she’d exploded, the words seeming wrong and uncomfortable and like a painfully poor fit considering the way she’d treated Lena on so many occasions.

"Then why?" Sylvia whispered at last. "Why would you do this?"

"I just wanted to know she was alive," Bianca barely got the words out.

Sylvia shook her head, not buying it for an instant. There was a hell of a lot more going on here, and she doubted anyone, even Bianca had much idea what. Actually, she doubted anyone---especially Bianca---had much idea what. "Talk to me," she implored, but the girl stood shaking her head, her whole body trembling under the force of emotions assailing her. "Bianca, please...."

"She nearly died because of me."

"That car accident wasn’t your fault," Sylvia disagreed. "It was just bad luck and worse timing---"

"Not that," the girl hissed tightly.

"Oh." Sylvia didn’t know what to say for a moment. Even the best counselor could find it hard to stay completely detached under circumstances this intense, and Sylvia knew she was far from the objective advisor she was supposed to be. "I think she must have in a very desperate space when that happened," she said at last. Anger at attempted suicides was common and god knew, Bianca Montgomery had more than enough anger to go around.

"I know that," Bianca growled, her voice thick with rage. "Jesus, what do you think I---"

"It’s very common for people to be angry when someone attempts suicide," the doctor explained in that same, cool, detached voice that often grated on Bianca’s nerves. "When the truth is---"

"You want the truth?" Bianca bit out, interrupting her doctor. "The truth is I wanted to hurt her," she hissed. "I wanted everyone to hurt...all of them... They let him..." Her breath coming in ragged gasps, she trailed to a halt, desperately dashing away a few tears that escaped in spite of her best efforts. "I wanted her to bleed," she growled, the words low and rough, as though she was swallowing ground glass. "And I got what I wanted, didn’t I? I nearly killed her." She thumped her chest with one hand. "Me. I pushed her as hard as I could...and nearly killed her." She shook her head. "You think I’m angry at her?" She laughed. "She should have punched me in the face and told me to go to hell when I called her, and instead she came to me...and she let me use her...even though hated every moment of it." Another bark of bitter, on-edge laughter escaped the girl’s lips as she turned away to glare out the window. "And you think I hate her?"

Sylvia just stared at the girl for a long moment, shaken by the tortured confession. She hadn’t guessed. She should have, but she’d missed it. "Bianca," she said at last, "what happened...what Lena tried to do...it wasn’t your fault."

"Then whose was it?" Bianca demanded bitterly.

"No one’s," Sylvia answered immediately. "What happened was awful...but it’s no one’s fault." She paused to catch her breath and formulate the rest of her response. So often, her lectures were given more or less by rote, and then there were the complicated cases. Bianca Montgomery was definitely in the complicated column. "Everyone has a breaking point, no matter how strong they are. Just be thankful someone found her...and was there for her."

"But it wasn’t me, was it?" Bianca massaged her bruised knuckles as though that would somehow help.

"You’d hit your own breaking point," Sylvia pointed out logically. "You didn’t have anything left to take care of her too."

Unable to face the all-seeing gaze aimed her way, Bianca looked away, focusing on anything but the doctor. "I should have tried," she whispered almost inaudibly after a long beat.

"Be that as it may," Sylvia said when she finally spoke, "the past is past. The question is what are you going to do now?"

"She’s gone," Bianca whispered. "There’s nothing to do."

"Are you so sure about that?" the doctor questioned.

A short, sarcastic bark of laughter escaped Bianca’s lips. "Given that I don’t where she is or how to contact her...and even if I did she probably wouldn’t talk to me, I’d say it all seems pretty hopeless."

"It may well be where Lena’s concerned," Zimmerman allowed, her tone practical. The Polish woman might well be far too hurt to ever return to Pine Valley or face her former lover, "but there are a lot of other people involved. You might start by telling them the truth."

That suggestion earned another caustic laugh. "What good would that do anyone?"

"Name one single lie you’ve told since the rape that did anyone any good in the long run," Sylvia countered.

With no ready answer for that, Bianca turned away and returned to staring out the window.

Escape mechanism, Sylvia diagnosed. She did it whenever pressed about telling the truth about Lena. "Why not just tell them you and Lena were lovers...that that’s why you’ve been upset." A brief pause. "Why keep it secret?" It was the one thing she’d never really been able to get out of the girl. She had several theories, but she wasn’t even sure Bianca knew why she’d become so secretive.

More caustic laughter, but softer this time. "It’s none of their business."

"They love you. Anything that affects you this deeply concerns them."

Bianca flinched but didn’t argue.

Sylvia was silent for a long moment. "Are you ashamed of her...of the things she did for Michael?"

"She didn’t have a choice," Bianca said instantly. She blinked in an effort to clear her vision and reached up to rub at several escaped tears. "It was that or her mother’s life...I know that." She pivoted sharply, meeting the doctor’s gaze with a desperate expression. "I haven’t blamed her for that in a long time." She wanted Dr. Zimmerman to understand that. Maybe she hadn’t learned much, but she’d at least gained a little compassion for someone locked into doing something they hated through circumstance. "It’s not her."

"Then why?"

Her movements stiff and too fast, Bianca turned away again, running away from the question or at least gaining some space. "It’s me," she whispered at last, the words barely audible. "I just...can’t. I don’t want them to know. After what he did...I just...I don’t want them to know."

A thoughtful frown creased the doctor’s brow. "You’re ashamed of sleeping with her," she said at last.

Bianca didn’t respond, but her knuckles whitened where she clutched the window-frame.

"You’re ashamed of feeling desire...of being able to...but, Bianca, that’s healthy..."

"How could I...after what he did to me?"

"What one person did...

"I’m just always ashamed...."

*****************************************

At some point, we learn that Lena has more or less been out of contact with her mother during the two months when Irina confronts her. She repairs the relationship before Paulina dies.

***********************

Bianca is eating with Maggie, who’s complaining that she’s hardly seen Binks recently when Lena enters. Doesn’t see them, takes a booth. Adam joins her. Maggie starts ragging on Lena. Bianca is both grateful that Lena looks to be okay---her left arm is still braced, though it’s much lighter, but otherwise she looks okay---but also angry that Lena simply disappeared.

Turns out that Kendall didn’t explain why she was looking for Lena when calling and so everyone assumed---in light of Lena’s history---that she probably stole Cambias blind and Kendall doesn’t want shareholders or the board to know for fear of stock losses. As a result, Lena has become more or less unemployable...and she thinks Kendall did it intentionally rather than through stupidity.

Adam shows up for meeting with Lena, while Maggie starts muttering insults and won’t leave it alone. When Lena realizes they’re there, she tries to ignore it, but it just keeps getting worse. Finally, for the first time, Lena fights back, returning insult for insult. When Bianca tries to intercede on Maggie’s behalf, it only makes Lena angrier.

"Ah, Bianca, always so protective of those you care for."

Bianca had the good graces to flinch, fully aware of the double meaning behind the softly spoken words. Sliding out of the booth, she grabbed Lena’s forearm and pulled her aside, her voice a low hiss as she demanded, "What the hell do you think you’re doing?" After two months of terror, she was furious to see Lena here and now and apparently feeling fine.

Lena offered a saccharin sweet smile. "New rules to the game. To date I’ve tolerated Maggie’s nastiness and backstabbing for your sake...no more." Any loyalty she’d once felt was now officially a thing of the past and it was time a few people learned that she wasn’t going to just smile and take it any longer. "She gets as good as she gives from here on out...and you might want to consider that I’m much better at such things than she is." Lena was under no misunderstanding about their relative intelligence and abilities.

"Meaning?" Bianca demanded.

"Meaning I’m kinder than the rest of you," Lena shot back. "I’m willing to give fair warning."

So much rage glittered in her eyes that Bianca almost retreated in fear. Lena had always carefully protected her from her darker side. Those days, she feared, were over. "What are you doing?" she asked, her voice breaking.

For just a moment Lena’s expression softened as their eyes met, and then suddenly she seemed to shake herself and that hard expression returned. "Trying to get a job," she murmured. "You see it seems as though I’ve become quite unemployable in Europe. Apparently someone has been calling my former employers and suggesting that I’ve been skimming funds from your companies."

"What?" Bianca breathed, then shook her head. "No, nobody’s done that. Kendall was looking for you, but that’s all---"

"Spare me the denials," Lena growled. "I was told quite clearly that I’m no longer trustworthy. Second chances are fine, but not thirds."

All color draining from her face, Bianca just shook her head. "I swear---" she croaked, but Lena barked a harsh, angry laugh.

"Your word?" the Polish woman taunted. "Comparatively meaningless, I’m afraid." She pulled her arm back from Bianca’s loose grip. "And now if you’ll excuse me, I have other matters to attend to." Pointedly not risking any contact, she stepped around Bianca and moved to exit. The only path to escape took her right past the table Bianca had been sharing with Maggie. Straightening her shoulders, Lena gritted her teeth, determined not to give them the satisfaction of seeing her lose control. She’d been braced to deal with Adam, but not Bianca and seeing her former lover had very nearly shattered her.

"Slut," Maggie muttered under her breath as Lena walked past.

Just go, the sane, logical part of Lena’s mind screamed. Instead she turned back, fixing a frosty glare on the younger woman. "Actually," she corrected with mocking courtesy, "technically speaking I was a whore." She saw Bianca flinch, and even Maggie looked a little pale, though it was probably just that she was unused to having her more snide moments challenged. Strangely, the words no longer had the power to hurt her though. Having lost everything, there was precious little Maggie could have said to make things any worse. She turned a pointed gaze toward Bianca. "I did what I did for money whereas I’ve always thought of sluts as women who just use others for physical pleasure." A hint of a vicious smile twisted her mouth as she saw Bianca’s wince. Apparently cruelty did have its pleasures. The rest of them had sharpened their knives on her for months. She found she was rather looking forward to returning the favor.

Maggie seemed to have recovered what little composure she bothered with. "Well, trust you to break it down so neatly," she sneered. "So which one is it Adam Chandler’s looking for?"

Dark eyes swung back around to touch on Maggie, narrowing ever so slightly like a targeting scope finding its victim. "Neither, he’s simply offering a job," Lena explained remarkably calmly. "You’ll understand about such things when you grow and stop leeching off of wealthy friends and relatives." Her smile turned acid. "Or perhaps not. Are Bianca and your cousin still paying your school bills, your rent, food, clothing," her eyes ran over Maggie latest ensemble with a look of distaste, "such as it is?"

The younger woman’s eyes flashed. "Yeah, well, you’re certainly the person I want to emulate," she jeered. "So tell me, does Adam remind you of Michael?"

Lena didn’t even pause to think, just grabbed the water pitcher off a passing waitress’ tray and dumped it over Maggie’s head, a satisfied smile touching her mouth as the younger woman sputtered furiously. Adam chuckled in the background.

Lena turns and leaves. Adam follows, catches her on the porch. She agrees to get Chandler back for him for five million up front, plus needs another half a million to hire the people she needs and a 100 million credit line.

"You want me to just give you access to $100 million in credit?" Adam demanded incredulously.

"No...I’m telling you to give me access to $100 million in cash. You’re asking me to take over a billion dollar company. I can’t do that for pennies. Truthfully, the only reason I can probably do it for 100 million is that Ryan and Kendall are idiots when it comes to business, and the managers Ryan has put in place are more interested in lining their pockets than rebuilding Cambias or any of its subsidiaries."

He ultimately agrees to her terms and she leaves. Bianca and Maggie exit and Adam has a brief word or two for Binks...and we get some insight into his regrets and guilt for what happened to her, and his worries that he’s unleashed somethign he can’t control in turning Lena loose.

******************************

Angry at Maria and Tempo for the slash and burn article on her life, and what it started, Lena sets things in motion to take the magazine over.

*************************************

A confrontation between Lena and David where he tries to intimidate her and remind her that he saved her life, while she points out that she knows where Erica was that night.

**************************************

Later, have Lena run into Zimmerman...wind up with a counselor of her own???? (Lysistrata...bwah...could be funny, but probably overkill...still, some good lines...and I like the idea of her asking Lena if mayhaps Tad is one of the people she’s going to go after, and being rather disappointed when the answer is no).

"So there you go, engine of destruction, destroy everyone who hurt you, blah, blah, blah," the doctor said with eery good cheer. "Then what?"

Lena pulled up short, staring open mouthed at the other woman. "What?" she exhaled.

"After you’ve raped, pillaged, and burned...then what?" Lysistrata asked as though it was the most obvious question in the world. She peered at Lena as though she considered her just a little slow, then added. "You must have some kind of plan." A faintly demented smile was flashed Lena’s way. "Y’know, I’m going to Disneyland or something equally banal."

Faintly surprised to feel an embarrassed flush slide over her skin, Lena shrugged. "I haven’t really thought about it," she admitted haltingly.

"Well, maybe it’s time you did," the psychologist pointed out, still smiling cheerfully.

Lena didn’t quite know what to make of her. She’d expected some sort of remonstrations for her chosen path, a moralizing lecture, at the very least some measure of disapproval. Instead, this woman merely seemed slightly disappointed that Tad Martin wasn’t on the list of those slated for vengeance. "I really don’t think it matters," she said at last, not wanting to deal with whatever it was this woman wanted her to deal with.

"Oh, I think it does," Lysistrata disagreed, still smiling that mad smile. "If all goes according to plan, you’re going to be an exceptionally wealthy woman...but not terribly well liked around here."

"I doubt I’ll stay here," Lena muttered and turned away, staring out the window and struggling to ignore the doctor and her cheerful mien.

"Now see, we’re making progress...you’re developing a plan. So where will you go?"

A soft disgusted snort followed. "I don’t know," Lena admitted, suddenly suspecting there was a point being made in this little endeavor---a subtly annoying point, but a point nonetheless. If she was right, a moralistic lecture would probably have been preferable. That she could have ignored. This was proving far more difficult.

"There must be someplace...."

Lena did a slow turn, eyeing the other woman. Not so stupid or so mad, she realized as she felt a rush of unwanted emotion. Sharp eyes picked up the tiny cues, and Lena found herself grateful she hadn’t met this woman while working for Michael. Despite her "ditzy" persona she saw more than most people, and was probably considerably smarter as well. Lena suspected she would have seen right through her act. "My mother is dead, I’m unwelcome in the country of my birth, my lover despises me, and very shortly this entire town will probably wish I had succeeded in my suicide attempt...." She paused, her expression remarkably cool, though it was hard to breathe, and she kept swallowing convulsively in an effort to break the cycle of tightness that made speech a challenge. "Where would I go?"

The doctor was silent for a moment, leaving Lena with the distinct impression that she was more affected than usual. "I think that’s a question you need to answer," she said at last.

****************************************

Not sure exactly where to put this, but after Lena has set her course. Lena runs into Myrtle who is having some physical problems...so Lena takes her home. Lena freezes upon seeing the couch...ultimately she breaks down completely, and Myrtle holds her while she cries, and the whole story with Bianca comes out. At some point she makes it clear she doesn’t expect myrtle’s sympathy in the future, and Myrtle realizes she’s planning something. Lena knows sides will be chosen, and knows which side Myrtle will be on. Myrtle warns her that revenge seldom works out the way we want it to.

**********************************************

May boot this...

Hmmm, shift this to a deal with a more generic character. Point is that despite everything, Lena is still protecting Binks.

"Why should I?"

"You get Tempo out of it."

"Why would I want it? Their readership is off 30% in the last two years. All I have to do is wait a couple of years and pick it up at a fire sale."

"By then it won’t be worth anything....."

After some agreement, there’s one condition.

"Bianca Montgomery," Lena said softly.

The other woman offered up a knowing grin. "Want a real hatchet job then?" she drawled, looking like she’d enjoy the task. No surprise there. Slicing and dicing the wealthy wasn’t just her job, it was her life.

Lena shook her head. "You don’t touch her. Not one word or the deal’s off and I do my best to bring you down along with the rest of this town." There was no mercy in her eyes or her voice, making it very clear she meant every word.

Dark brows shot up. "Oh, you do have it bad," the reporter murmured.

Lena stiffened, then turned away, glaring out at the world below. "No," she denied. "But Bianca is my problem, not yours."

That elicited a soft laugh. "Keep telling yourself that. Maybe one day somebody will believe it...the no part, not the problem because she is definitely your problem."

* *****************************

LENA’S FINANCIAL PLAN (very, very, very approximate, and possibly only referenced in situ in somewhat vague fashion). Use the money (it’s on credit from his standpoint, but straight cash from hers) Adam set aside as collateral on additional loans without actually touching it, then use those moneys to make additional purchases of properties, stocks, etc and acquire additional loans based on those (your basic pyramid plan...just barely legal if done through Hong Kong and Malaysia...and off the books...in short, not terribly legal, but flying under SEC radar). Start picking up any available stock in Cambias, Enchantment, and Chandler (Fusion is still privately held, so not an option), while working to get proxies from large stockholders. Additionally, moving to force Ryan and Kendall into spending out the various companies’ relatively limited cash holdings, and getting them blackballed at assorted major banking institutions so that they have to start dumping stock to raise additional cash as assorted loans start falling due and as they need cash for certain endeavors.

Possible idea...with enough cash, run a 24-48 hour, round the clock and round the world trading scheme, moving from market to market to generate fast cash...with enough cash to push the market. All on credit and without ever touching the principal (the money Adam set aside).

"Because with enough money, you don’t surf the trends, you drive them." Lena makes deals with assorted traders she knows to support and drive the trades she has in mind.

Lena carefully starts picking up those dumped shares through assorted dummy companies.

Also hooks up with several former employees of all of the companies who’ve been screwed over by Ryan and Kendall’s actions and using them as runners and spies.

Lena, while working for Michael, embedded a whole range of tricks and backdoors into Enchanment. Has removed most of them during her time working for Kendall, but not all, which helps in her takeover efforts, so it’s Enchantment she gets first. While working for Erica she managed to shuffle thousands of shares into dummy accounts and the hands of parties friendly to her when she started to consider turning on Michael, so she can control a lot of proxy votes, so doesn’t need 51% ownership. Enchantment is also hurting financially without Erica’s leadership, and by the time Kendall thinks to consult with her, it’s too late.

At some point realizes that the financial manager Ryan put in charge of Cambias’ European holdings has been skimming and using the money to invest and losing. Ben Masters is in deep and getting in deeper. She orders an investigation. At some point, she tries to warn Ryan that he needs to have the books audited (makes a point that her plans would leave all of them without control of the companies, but with a great deal of cash---she’s calming down, but still a woman with a mission), but Ben convinces Ryan an audit would trigger a selloff and trash the stock prices, allowing Lena to pick things up on the cheap and that’s why she’s giving him that kind of advice.

******************************

Lena considers the enemy. Since Liza is the only one she considers to be any kind of threat businesswise, she decides to try and coopt her.

She ultimately offers Liza Chandler Enterprises if she’ll change sides. Liza is resistant at first, but tempted as Lena points out that Ryan left her alone after she lost the baby and is clearly loyal to everyone but Liza...and has put JR above her on the org chart. She’s completely seductive...not sexually, but finding ways to push Liza’s buttons. Points out that the way things are currently arranged, Liza’s daughter Colby very likely won’t get a damn thing...and the insult of having to take orders from JR when she’s the only one who actually knows anything about business.

She also finally explains to Liza that it’s Adam funding her venture. At which point Liza questions whether her getting Chandler is an honest promise. Lena says it is. She’s used the money Adam set aside to leverage other moneys and hasn’t touched it. Adam won’t be able to prove a thing, and she has no intention of letting him have what he wants. She’s tired of being used. She’s after the big fish, Cambias, but plans on taking it all and a few more things to boot (Tempo for instance), only she has no intention of letting Adam have his company back. He wanted to use her so she’s going to use him instead. She’s deeply, meaningfully pissed off.

Liza listens to it all and finally signs on... if a little hesitantly.

********************************************

Possible Hire: Greenlee...since she’s now completely lost Enchantment...and it would give Lena access to the business markets through Greenlee Investments...tie it into that as a deal (her grandfather thinks it would be good for Greenlee to work with someone who actually knows something about business). In fact, make this a definite, and have Woody Greenlee effectively blackmail Lena into doing it (he’s figured out what she’s doing)...plus it gives her access to his trading business.

"So I hear this is where the Kendall Hart/Ryan Lavery revenge train takes off," Greenlee drawled.

Lena is initially very hesitant, but with Greenlee’s grandfather sweetening the pot, finally agrees to take Greenlee aboard...and she gets Fusion back when it’s over.

*******************************************

Another possible hire: Babe as the receptionist (for humor factor) since Lena figures the SEC will eventually investigate and she’s confident Babe woudn’t know enough to sell them out. Also forces Bianca to see that Lena is fair to the child even though JR is clearly on the other side (abusive little shit that he is).

Also gives a chance to show abusive asshole JR and Lena standing up to him. "You stupid bitch, my father owns you." Bianca there as well.

"What a pathetic little boy you are," Lena drawled, her gaze flaying him alive. "Go ahead and hit me the way you want...go on...show what a brave man you are."

****************************************

Insert buncha business stuff in which Lena uses assorted secrets and bits of nastiness, and threatens to drop assorted info to the tabloids. She doesn’t actually do any of what she threatens, but she’s not above threats.

Also Ryan begins amassing information to fight back just as dirty.

*********************************************

Edmund and Brooke start checking her out at Ryan’s request when he explains that she’s trying to take over more than just Enchantment, but is after Cambias as well, and trying to trick him into making mistakes. They ultimately discover some pretty hideous things...including pictures in Michael’s files.

Ultimately, realizing that Ryan is too eager to win and humiliate Lena to make up for his own mistakes, Brooke decides they cannot give him what they’ve found and Edmund agrees. Nothing is worth doing that to someone. Realizing they’re hiding something, Ryan is furious, thinking they’ve been bribed into changing sides.

Lena meanwhile discovers they’ve been checking out her past and goes on the attack, confronting Brooke, who admits they’ve discovered the photos (which Lena didn’t know about), and couldn’t do that to anyone. Says they’ve been destroyed. Lena doesn’t trust her, and is just shattered by the whole thing.

Finally, Lena offers Brooke and Edmund a deal. If they’ll help her prove Masters is stealing from Cambias, she’ll sell them the shares she’s bought at cost, sign over her proxies and end the takeover bid.

****************************************

Need a scene with Erica and Lena in which Erica upbraids her for her current behavior, and Lena ultimately backs off of threatening Erica’s marriage to Jackson.

****************************************

At some point, after it becomes obvious what Lena’s doing (perhaps when she slices off one of the companies and has herself or one of her people installed as CEO?????), Bianca confronts her, basically offers herself. Lena responds with laughter. Points out that when trying to bribe someone it’s customary to offer what they want, not what you want. Then she advances on Bianca. She’s sexy, seductive, and has Bianca completely turned on when she finally explains that she only wants one thing...an apology...and Bianca has to know what she’s sorry for.

Lena takes control of Enchantment first, thinking it’s the company she can get up and running and generating cash fastest, and that it’s the one that Kendall might actually have a prayer of running. The prices have already dropped since Kendall has been stretched too thin and hasn’t been taking care of things well. Lena sees to it that additional bad news gets out and gets coverage, then the stock tanks and she picks up a ton of shares on the cheap. Talks the board into installing her as the new CEO, since she was basically the one running things before.

When Bianca finds out, she’s upset and goes to Lena’s office to confront her. Basically accuses her of doing it just out of spite and to get her attention. It’s a cross between peacemaking and accusation, all her anger over the way Lena disappeared still there and making her feel like Lena was punishing her, but also some underlying regret for her own actions.

The first confrontation between Lena and Bianca is in Erica’s office.

"I love you and you never believed in it or valued it...and now it’s too late...you had to choose the one sin I can’t forgive."

Evil idea: Have Lena seem to play along, noncommittally, and then have her use Bianca in the same way she’s felt she was used...only Binks doesn’t realize what’s happened until it’s over, and Lena’s very cold to her.

After Bianca’s angry exit, enter Laura???? Lena is clearly upset and not thinking very clearly. Laura has come about an internship in advertising, but nothing is being confirmed because of the change in management. Lena goes over her portfolio, but is upset through it all. Some discussion.

Bianca confronts her, basically offers herself. Lena responds with laughter. Points out that when trying to bribe someone it’s customary to offer what they want, not what you want. Then she advances on Bianca. She’s sexy, seductive, and has Bianca completely turned on when she finally explains that she only wants one thing...an apology...and Bianca has to know what she’s sorry for.

Bianca then offers to be a couple publicly if Lena will back off.

"Well, at least now I know what your definition of a fate worse than death is."

Bianca turned her head slightly, nosing into the protection of Lena’s shoulder, her body still trembling in the aftermath. It would be okay now, she realized with absolute confidence. Lena understood. They could forgive each other and move on. The hand cupping her so intimately slid up, stroking her stomach very lightly until she had the urge to purr like a very happy cat. Still clinging mindlessly to the taller woman, she nuzzled more deeply into her hold, breathing in the much-missed scent of her perfume and taking comfort from well remembered curves. The soft rasp of a zipper sliding didn’t even begin to dent the sense of peace.

Things had started badly, but they were back on track. It would be okay.

"Better now?" Lena murmured very softly, her breath teasing Bianca’s ear.

The girl nodded, mumbling what she hoped was a sufficiently affirmative response.

"Good," Lena murmured. "Then perhaps we can get back to business."

Still wrapped in her own private post coital glow, it took Bianca an extra moment to process the words, and another second or two after that to register the coolness in the other woman’s tone. Pulling back ever so slightly, she tipped her head back to find black ice chips staring back at her.

"Go on, Bianca," Lena challenged her former lover, her tone a strange mix of bitter and hopeful, "tell me how much you love me." She leaned so close her lips nearly brushed dark hair where it covered Bianca’s ear. "Say the words again."

Bianca backed up a step, head tipping back as she stared up at the Polish woman. It hurt. Sweet jesus it hurt so much to see the distrust in Lena’s eyes. Instinctively knowing the disdain any kind of claim would earn, she shook her head. "You’ll just accuse me of trying to manipulate you," she rasped, the words bordering on an accusation.

A wry smile twisted full lips. "Distrust is a real bitch, isn’t it?"

Bianca’s exit is less than friendly.

**************************************

Possible scene: Irina and Jackson as Irina cries on his shoulder, and it comes out that she is Lena’s mother...make it clear that it never occurred to her what lengths Lena would go to to save Paulina...and also that she was not just embarrassed by her mother’s actions and afraid for her husband’s career, but truly, deeply furious over what her mother had done in selling out so many people to save her father...especially since it didn’t work.

***************************************

Possible scene:

Bianca sees a near seduction between Lena and Greenlee, though it’s Greenlee trying to do the seducing

When Bianca confronts them, Greenlee is angry, though Lena says nothing.

"What is it, Binks? Are you the new Erica? Once you’ve had someone they’re supposed to forever be your willing slave with your name tattooed on their ass?"

***********************************

Later either Bianca confronts Lena alone or Lena asks Greenlee to leave and Bianca asks Lena directly if she and Greenlee are having an affair. Lena briefly considers lying, but then tells the truth.

"As many people as I’ve had in my bed, I’ve only had one lover...and as for Greenlee...she’s been in neither my bed nor my heart."

Bianca froze, startled by the honest answer---and the relief that swept through her. Lena wasn’t sleeping with Greenlee. Suddenly the band around her chest let go and she could breathe again. She gasped in air, desperate for oxygen. Her chin dropped to her chest and she was suddenly weak in the knees. She tensed as silky fingers brushed her cheek, just barely stroking.

"I have no desire for Greenlee," Lena whispered, unable to stomach the notion of Bianca thinking she was involved with the other woman despite any temptation to lie and twist the knife.

Her heart pounding so hard in her chest it was a wonder it didn’t shatter her ribs, Bianca turned her head into the light caress. She was trembling gently and scared to death and at the same time it had been so long since Lena had touched her in any way that she couldn’t pull away. She needed this so desperately she hurt.

"Bianca."

Her name was the barest hint of a breath as it left Lena’s lips, the syllables soft, the pronunciation exotic.

God, how she’d missed that sound.

And then the fingers on her cheek trailed on and Lena stroked her thumb along the line of her lower lip, caressing very lightly.

Remembering the last time they’d been alone together, it was scary as hell to think of responding, but at the same time it was impossible not to. Finally, unable to resist temptation, Bianca looked up and was caught by brown eyes that for once were soft and inviting. No fury or hate, just a kind of caring and passion that Bianca had been desperately missing and longing for.

A hint of a frown touched Lena’s brow and her thumb continued along its meandering path back and forth, outlining the lower curve of Bianca’s lip. As their eyes met, Bianca felt a tiny shudder run through the fingertips caressing her lips so reverently and sensed instinctively that that same tremor was shaking Lena from head to toe.

She hadn’t wanted this all-consuming need, and her actions had made sure that Lena didn’t want it either.

And yet it seemed they were both still caught hopelessly in its thrall.

"Lena," Bianca breathed her name, stretching the word and the moment out.

And then suddenly, Lena pulled her hand back and stepped away, the yearning in her expression joined by equal measures of fear and confusion. She swallowed hard. It would be so easy. She could see the desire in Bianca’s eyes, feel her own body’s response. It would start with simply holding, but it wouldn’t end there. Oh, maybe not today, but once they took that step, neither one of them would be able to hold back for long.

Anger and resentment had carried her through their last confrontation, but seeing Bianca’s pain had stripped her of those comforting shields and it was so tempting to simply step closer again, just flow into arms that would wrap around her, smell the native perfume and feel the shape of a body she knew so well and yet not nearly well enough for her tastes. So easy and so damned hard because if that happened, Lena knew perfectly well she’d be right back where she’d started. Nothing had really changed between them. In fact, if anything, things were far worse. She could lay the world at Bianca’s feet and the younger woman would still deny feeling anything for her beyond physical desire.

And yet with wide, brown eyes staring at her, even knowing all of that, she was unbelievably close to breaking. All it would take was the slightest touch from the younger woman and she’d be lost.

"Lena," Bianca whispered her name the way no one else in her life ever had, the tone soft and silky, inviting, afraid, and yet hungry for more. She reached out to touch—

And never made contact.

Greenlee breezes in and unintentionally breaks things up. After Bianca leaves, she’s still babbling cluelessly.

"Shut up, Greenlee," Lena said at last, torn between exhaustion and relief.

************************************

Later Lena winds up dumping to Liza, who commiserates.

****************************************

Possible scene:

Liza, Greenlee, and Lena are partying after a successful deal and Bianca sees Greenlee and Lena dancing (on a dare). When Lena sees her, Greenlee slips away. Winds up with the two of them dancing.

************************************

Brooke visits Bianca at some point after the Enchantment takeover, but before Lena’s mother dies and shows her the file on Lena...only a couple of pictures. The worst have been destroyed (she kept her word), but it’s everything else that she wouldn’t show Ryan.

Bianca stared at the file, then at Brooke, her gaze bordering on suspicious. Any trust she’d once harbored for the woman had been shattered along with her friendship with Laura. "Why?" she asked.

Brooke shrugged, wondering if she was doing the right thing giving the young woman this much power. "I think you’ll understand a lot more after you read that file. It’ll give the ability to understand her, or the power to destroy her. Your choice."

Bianca reads it all.

She stared at the image of the child amid obscenely grinning men, seeing both her youth and the promise of the woman she would grow into one day. Already taller than average, but too thin, she appeared gawky, perpetually trapped at an age where she appeared uncomfortable in her own skin.

But it was her eyes that sickened Bianca and left her trembling. Dark both in color and with a kind of rage and pain she’d only glimpsed once in the time she’d known Lena.

Dear God, what had she unleashed with her foolish, greedy actions? Lena had termed it the one sin she couldn’t forgive. Suddenly Bianca understood.

It’s what finally knocks Binks out of her self absorption.

***********************************

Lena’s mother dies and Bianca finds out when she’s with Maggie (from Liza or Greenlee????), who tries to stop her from going. Bianca goes to Lena anyway.

Bianca finds Lena getting drunk, and clearly hurting.

Lena staggered, nearly falling. "Go away, Bianca," she muttered as she braced a hand against the wall to steady herself.

Bianca shook her head, staring worriedly at her former lover, unable to forget what she’d learned from her uncle. What was to stop Lena from trying again given how much she had to be hurting. "I’m not leaving you like this."

"Why not? Everyone else does," Lena said bitterly.

"I wouldn’t have expected self-pity from you," Bianca said quietly, thinking that might break what looked to be a rather ugly cycle.

"And you would be the expert on self-pity, wouldn’t you?" Lena shot back, furious that she wasn’t even supposed to hurt now when she was expected to bury the last human being in the whole damn world who truly loved her and gave a damn whether she lived or died beyond polite curiosity. Bianca flinched and it occurred to Lena that she was still sober enough to feel a little twitch of guilt. Oh well, that could be remedied. She took another long swallow of scotch, her throat and stomach still burning when she looked down again and focused on her former lover. "Go away, Bianca," she said at last. She ran a hand through her hair, scraping it back from her face. "I don’t want you here." She was just one more reminder of a life full of mistakes and failures.

Bianca sighed very softly and made no effort to leave. "I don’t think you should be alone right now."

Lena raised an eyebrow, wondering just why the hell now should be any different from any other time in her life. "Go home," she said after a beat. "You don’t really want to be here and I don’t feel like being civilized."

"There must be somethi---" Bianca began but Lena cut her off, not wanting to hear the promise of caring that was far crueller than Bianca understood.

"Go home!" the older woman repeated, hardening her voice as she turned away to glare at the fire burning in the fireplace. She took another swallow of scotch, wishing it would make the world go away. "I have every intention of drinking a great deal tonight, and I’m a mean drunk." Another burning swallow. "Besides there’s nothing you care to give that I want." There, let her mull that over.

"Then what do you want?" Bianca asked quietly.

Lena winced, her eyes sliding closed, rocking on her heels very gently, nowhere near drunk enough to be asked that question and not be swamped in pain. "My mother alive, for starters."

Bianca was silent for a long moment, uncertain how to respond. Lena loved her mother, had sold herself to save the woman, but Bianca could neither forget nor forgive the fact that Paulina Kundera had allowed it. so many of Lena’s torments began and ended with her mother that Bianca didn’t understand how Lena could still love her. "I’m sorry," she said at last, choosing her words carefully. "I know you’re hurting and I just want to help."

"You can’t," Lena dismissed the entire idea and took another swig of scotch. She just wanted to climb into the bottle and make the world go away for a little while. Bianca wasn’t helping since she was very definitely one of the things Lena wanted to get away from. She nearly jumped out of her skin as a gentle hand brushed up the center of her back, the light caress warm and tender as it silently promised so many things. If only it weren’t all lies.

"Lena, please---"

"My mother just died, Bianca. I’m not looking to get laid." Short, crude, and to the point. And Bianca jerked back and reacted with a soft gasp right on cue, leaving Lena to wait for the sound of the door as her former lover left in a huff. It would be easier once she was alone. Then she could break down and mourn in peace. She leaned against the mantle, the heat of the fire doing nothing to warm her, felt a shudder work its way through her despite her best effort. Another moment or two and Bianca would be gone. She just had to hold on that long. Time stretched out. No sounds of the door, while a sob threatened to bubble up from her chest. She clamped her eyes shut, breathing deeply in an effort to control the tears she refused to shed as long as her former lover was still in the room. She wouldn’t let Bianca see her that way, weak and out of control. A few tears slipped past the barrier of her tightly shut eyelids. She simply would not do it. Dammit, where was that door? She just wanted to hear it slam shut so she could stop fighting the tears. Her whole body shuddered under the force of fighting the sobs. She was alone in the world. Completely goddamned alone.

Except Bianca wouldn’t leave and she—

"Just let go," Bianca whispered and leaned close again, resting a hand on Lena’s upper back, massaging lightly. "Just cry."

Lena sucked in a lungful of air through tightly clenched teeth, instinctively fighting the desire to do as Bianca said.

"It’s okay to cry sometimes," Bianca continued, her hand still moving very lightly against Lena’s shoulder. "Some things just hurt so damn much that you can’t hold them in."

Lena tried to duck that light touch, tried to pull away, but Bianca wouldn’t go away and she wasn’t strong enough to send her at that moment. A harsh sob escaped her lips and shook her from head to toe.

Bianca didn’t consider her next actions, probably because if she did she would have had to accept just how unwelcome they might well be, just stepped closer, wrapping her arms around Lena from behind and leaning into her back. "It’s okay," she soothed. "You aren’t alone."

Lena goes down, sobbing and Bianca simply holds her for a long time before finally broaching the subject of the suicide attempt.

"Why are you here?"

"Because I’m afraid for you."

"Don’t be. I always seem to survive." Lena exhaled a hollow laugh, seeing the dark humor of the situation with drunken logic.

"Despite your best efforts?" Bianca whispered accusingly, her anger at what she’d learned slipping out in spite of herself. She felt the woman in her arms stiffen. As drunk as she was it was mildly amazing she got the reference, but it also meant she might well not remember the discussion in the morning. Somehow that made it feel a little safer for the younger woman.

Lena looked away, but there was no mistaking the shame in her expression. "I don’t know what you’re talking about."

Bianca cupped a hand along a sculpted jawline, bringing her former lover’s head back around until their eyes met. "Don’t lie," she hissed. "I know...I know what you...tried to do at least once...and maybe with that car accident too."

Lena swallowed hard. "Bianca---"

"Were you trying to kill yourself when you crashed your car?" Bianca demanded, forcing herself to give voice to her fears.

Lena frowned in genuine confusion. Despite any less than ideal choices she’d made in recent months, it had never occurred to her that anyone would think that. She shook her head a little dazedly. "No, I---"

"There were no skid marks, Lena." Bianca grabbed her collar, pulling the other woman even closer. "Damn you, there were no skid marks."

Even as drunk as she was, Lena couldn’t miss the other woman’s intensity. "It was wet," she murmured. "And a deer leapt out. The skid happened so fast. It was like being on greased glass." She shook her head again. "I didn’t do that...didn’t try to...."

"But you did," Bianca exploded. "Maybe not that night, but you did."

Yadda, yadda, yadda

*****************************************

The next morning Bianca goes to the funeral with Lena and holds her hand through it. Afterward, Irina confronts her in Polish, clearly not approving of Bianca’s presence there, while Niko looks on, clearly uncomfortable. Lena’s response is openly hostile.

****************************************

Later, when they’re alone, Bianca tries to broach what happened between Lena and Irina, but Lena refuses to discuss it. "She’s just trying to interfere with things that don’t concern her." She snorted softly. "Nothing about me concerns her."

Lena is just on autopilot, numb and upset, and Bianca takes her back to her place, looks after her.

Anguish

At some point, Lena enters and finds Bianca with Tyler. Pulling into herself, she turns to leave without saying a word, but there’s anguish in her eyes. Bianca immediately follows her, the baby still in her arms. This time she doesn’t try to deny what she thought before, just tells Lena that she knows she would never harm any child, but particularly her child. Not trusting and deeply hurt, Lena starts to pull away, but Bianca shifts Tyler into one arm and catches Lena’s arm, drawing her back around.

"I know you would never hurt him."

Lena doesn’t reply and appears jumpy, even scared. Bianca keeps assuring her and finally gets her to touch and perhaps even hold the child. It’s a sort of a peace agreement. And after putting him to bed, they wind up cuddling together in bed, with Bianca looking after Lena while she sleeps.

They kissed slowly, then Lena pulled back, cupping Bianca’s face in her hands as she stared at the younger woman, her expression solemn. "This won’t change anything," she warned Bianca quietly, wanting to make certain she understood the rules before things went any farther. "No deals...I won’t stop trying to get those companies."

Bianca frowned. That had been the last thought in her head. She shook her head a little dazedly. "What are you---"

"Making sure you know the score...that this won’t buy you anything...so if that’s your reason, walk away now."

Stiffening, Bianca reacted as though she’d been struck. "You think that I’d---"

"I don’t know what you think," Lena admitted. "I can’t read you and you don’t talk to me." She looked away for a moment, wanting so much and yet so frightened she could barely breathe. God, where was the drive for vengeance? The need to bring them all low? Suddenly she neither knew nor cared. All she could feel or think about was the loss and the fact that Bianca’s arms promised a tiny haven from the pain, one she was terrified to accept for fear it would wind up hurting more than she could imagine. "I think you might have expectations," she said at last, her voice low and stressed. "And I won’t lie to you...or make promises....and I don’t want you to either." She looked up again. "I want to hold you...be with you...more than you know...but I won’t let you make a whore of yourself." She couldn’t forget the earlier scene in her office or her fear that Bianca was making another such approach and using a vulnerable point against her yet again. "This can’t have anything to do with business."

Bianca stared into Lena’s eyes, seeing the hurt and distrust. And the loneliness. That was what really hurt because she knew she was responsible for so much of it. She knew Lena didn’t trust her, and maybe never would, but she could offer some small measure of comfort. Framing the other woman’s face with her hands, she gently caressed the curve of her cheekbones and slid fingers into the silk of her hair. She supposed Lena was testing her in a way, and saw the dark irony of that. After all, she’d done nothing but test the other woman since first meeting her. "Nothing to do with business," she promised quietly. In that arena, they would still be at each other’s throats. She accepted that Lena couldn’t retreat and maintain any self respect, and as much as she wanted the raw combat to end, it couldn’t. "This is just about you and I." She drew Lena to her, fluttering soft kisses onto velvet lips, her voice little more than a breath when she spoke again. "Let me take care of you...please."

She saw the hurt in dark eyes as those words reminded Lena of all the times she’d begged for the same right and been denied and realized she’d just handed the other woman a weapon with which to strike back and treat her just as callously as she’d been treated. Heart in her throat, she could only wait because the choice was completely Lena’s now.

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

They make love.

********************************************

After they’re sleeping together again and things are still very much on edge, Bianca confesses that keeping Lena secret is about her shame (figures it out really). Let her figure it out with the counselor.

"You’re ashamed of feeling desire...of being able to...but, Bianca, that’s healthy..."

"How could I...after what he did to me?"

"What one person did...

"I’m just always ashamed...."

****************************************

Ryan finds out about the tie between Irina and Lena and tries to blackmail Irina into getting Lena under control. Irina just laughs at him...well aware that Lena is likely to do the opposite of anything she tells her.

****************************************

After they’re sleeping together again and things are still very much on edge, Bianca confesses that keeping Lena secret is about her shame (figures it out really). Let her figure it out with the counselor.

"You’re ashamed of feeling desire...of being able to...but, Bianca, that’s healthy..."

"How could I...after what he did to me?"

"What one person did...

"I’m just always ashamed...."

Bianca avoids Maggie and her mother after the affair starts.

****************************************

Brooke and Edmund have had reporters tailing Masters, and Brooke is the one who shows Lena photos of Masters and Maggie speaking at a local bar. Could be nothing, but then again....

Lena wants Edmund to check out Maggie, but he is resistant at first, then they realize that she’s not in any of the pictures, and he gets suspicious as well.

*******************************************

Note: Parts in green are very likely to change because I really don’t think I can write Maggie to save my life. I just hate her too much. Switch things around and make the villain the Cambias hatchet man Ben Masters, but keep the Maggie reveal, and let Lena confront her when Masters goes after Bianca????

Brooke gets hold of the photos and research Michael had done through a contact at the Justice Dept and brings it to Lena, laying the photos out and they begin to realize that there was someone on the inside long before Lena got to town when Greenlee points out that quite a few of the photos were taken inside Erica’s old house which burned down before Lena arrived. Lena wants a list of possible suspects.

Leo is an obvious suspect, but Greenlee insists he couldn’t have done it, and Lena is inclined to agree. Thinks it was Maaggie...that she was working for Michael from the beginning...that she was initially there to seduce Bianca...common Michael approach. Must have changed plans when he realized Boyd was a better target and sent in Lena...or maybe was afraid Maggie was actually becoming involved.

****************************************

Bianca, meanwhile starts making changes at Cambias...moving out Ryan’s people, and in her own...pissing Ryan off because he thinks Lena has seduced her into doing it, and she’s going to get ripped off.

****************************************

Maggie was the other spy. She’d been working for Michael for some time (was Michael the real Proteus? Maybe. Still considering options), luring men into compromising situations, then pretending she was underage to blackmail them. She was sent ahead to suss out the situation and has been playing and manipulating Bianca all along. Liza wants Lena to warn Bianca, but she’s unwilling to do so, well aware that Bianca won’t believe her.

*************************************************

Maggie appears at Bianca’s place when Lena’s there, and Lena finds herself hiding again. Maggie has heard about their affair

"Fine, you want to sleep with her," Maggie sneered, "I guess that’s no surprise, considering her past," she put an ugly spin on the words, "but that’s not love."

Bianca just stated at her friend, something inside of her close to snapping. Knowing what Lena had already been through, she wanted to scream out and defend her lover, but at the same time she cringed under the impact of the disapproval directed her way. "You don’t understand," she whispered weakly. If Maggie just knew the truth, she’d have to realize that Lena wasn’t any of the things she often harped on.

"What is there to understand?" Maggie demanded. "She’s nothing but a whore."

Bianca lost all color in an instant, her throat tight, explosive pain throbbing in her chest. "Don’t," she hissed almost inaudibly, "talk about her like that."

Maggie’s mouth twisted. "You can’t seriously think she’s anything else," she argued. "Every last bit of it is her fault. Hell, she probably sicced Michael on you---"

"Don’t say that," Bianca growled very softly. That guilt had nearly taken Lena from her. To suggest that she had in any way wanted that to happen was a damned obscenity, and Bianca wasn’t going to let anyone say something like that.

"You know I’m right," Maggie snapped, then lowered her voice. "Or maybe you don’t trust me anymore. Maybe I don’t matter to you now that you’re sleeping with her. Maybe that’s all that’s important to you."

Bianca didn’t want this fight. "Just stop talking about her like that," she pleaded.

"Like what?" Maggie jeered, "the thieving whore that she is...the backstabbing slut...I guess her abilities in bed are more important than friendship. She must be a hell of a good lay---"

"I said, stop it!" Bianca exploded. She made a cutting motion with one hand, fury sliding over her. She’d been pushed into making this choice before and more and more it was looking like she’d made the wrong one. "Don’t you talk about her like that...not in my home...not ever again!"

Binks all but throws Maggie out, goes to find Lena in case she overheard, but Lena is gone. Finds Mrs. Timmons, who said she did hear Maggie’s part of thing, but not Bianca’s and left. Bianca leaves.

Maggie, meanwhile calls Ben Masters, who gets her to trick Bianca into meeting with him thinking she’s meeting Maggie.

***************************************

Lena confronts Maggie at Erica’s. Erica defends Maggie at first, but Brooke confirms Lena’s version of events. Lena gets physical with Maggie, and Maggie confesses everything. Turns out Michael hid at her place after the rape, but she didn’t know about that. Masters has been blackmailing her. He had pictures of her with assorted clients of Michael’s. That’s why she was so desperate to get rid of Lena. Afraid Lena would realize the truth.

*********************************************

Change: Have Lena confront Maggie at her apt when she realizes what she’s done. Turns out that Ben Masters has blackmailed her into giving him additional information, and now he’s out to kill Bianca and Tyler, thinking that will revert the estate back to Ryan’s control so he can hide his crimes. It’s Masters who attacks Binks

Lena confronts Maggie at David’s cabin where she’s babysitting Tyler. Bianca stumbles in and Lena tries to get her to leave with the baby. Maggie is furious, blames Lena for forcing her to hurt Bianca, insists she didn’t want to.

Bianca arrives and Lena’s just trying to get her and Tyler clear. Bianca runs into Erica on the way out, and they hear gunshot. Run back inside to find Lena bleeding and apparently unconscious ont he floor. Maggie insists that Lena tried to kill her.

Erica tries to get Bianca out when she realizes that the gun Maggie insists was Lena’s is actually David’s and Maggie’s lying.

Lena is only shot in the shoulder and manages to put herself between Maggie and others. Tries to talk her down, but can’t and Maggie is killed in a struggle that follows.

****************************************

Lena checks herself out of the hospital without seeing Bianca.

****************************************

Lena has left a folder for each of the property owners explaining the situation and returning each other companies to their rightful owners with certain provisions to protect the people who worked for/with her, and for Chandler to be held in trust for Colby, with control evenly split between Adam and Liza. The final one is a folder for Bianca with the Cambias moneys put in trust for a rape crisis counselling group. A trust for Tyler has also been arranged using the money that Adam paid Lena, carefully invested.

**************************************

Bianca goes after Lena at the airport and finds her about to board a plane for Europe.

""Don’t credit me with finer emotions than I actually feel," Lena murmured without looking back. She paused for a long moment, then finally turned to focus on Bianca. "I fully intended to have all of you on your knees and make you grovel."

"If I’d kept it all, I’d have to stay in this god-forsaken place, and believe me it’s worth billions to be free of the lot of you."

Bianca finally does grovel. Lena stays. We have your basic disgustingly happy ending.

********************************************

Epilogue

Several weeks or even a couple of months later

Lena and Binks in bed. Maggie’s sentencing has gone down. She’ll be in prison for several years for her part in Ben’s plots.

"All that time I trusted her and she...I feel so stupid."

"Don’t. I think a part of her genuinely cared...but that she had to almost become two people to deal with the things he demanded of her."

"Was it like that for you?"

Lena shrugged, hesitant to open that particular can of worms. So far they’d carefully avoided much of her past, relearning trust an inch at a time. "Mostly...no," she answered. "I wasn’t two people. I was an act...a ghost...walking and talking, but dead inside. It wasn’t until I met you that I really looked at what I’d become. I always hated, but I sublimated my every emotion...forced not to feel anything except hate. Most of my victims were as corrupt as Michael...cheating on spouses, stealing from investors. They were easy to hate and my only drive was to get the job done." She looked at Bianca, gently stroking her hair, drawing some measure of comfort from the cool, silky texture. "I convinced myself that love and decency were a sham...but when I looked at you I knew that wasn’t true. For the first t6ime in a very long time, I had to face what I’d become...but at the same time I had hope."

"Lena," Bianca said very softly. "We’ve never talked about it, but I need to know." Her heart slammed into doubletime, terrified the question would hurt Lena or make her bolt. "You and Michael...." She trailed off, unable to finish the question.

A soft sigh escaped Lena’s lips. She knew what Bianca was asking even if she wasn’t sure Bianca really did, but there was no easy way to tell the truth. She’d largely come to peace with and forgiven her lover’s transgression, but it was still between them, a silent, possibly deadly two-ton elephant in the corner of every room. What she didn’t know was whether the truth would banish it or leave them both so slashed and bleeding they would have to escape each other just to survive. Either option seemed horrifyingly possible. Which she supposed was why they’d avoided this topic for so long. "I was working for a company owned by Michael’s father when I found out that several people my mother had betrayed had risen to power in the new Polish government...and wanted to destroy her using laws generally meant to punish secret police and politicians who’d abused their power. I panicked. I needed money to get her to safety...and I didn’t know how to get it...so I embezzled it."

A worried frown darkened Bianca’s expression, but she didn’t speak, allowing her lover to tell the story in her own time.

"Michael found out...and he came to my apartment one night...demanding payment." Her gaze grew distant. "I didn’t have the money, of course...so he said he’d settle for another kind of payment."

"And that was how it started?" Bianca whispered.

If only it had been that simple. Lena shook her head. "No." She was silent for a long moment, nerving herself up to continue the story. "I refused him," she said, her voice trembling, eyes sliding closed as though the memory was that easy to block out. Strange how she’d managed to ignore the past for years, but she’d lost that complex denial mechanism somewhere along the way.

Bianca paled. Michael hadn’t liked being refused, particularly by women. "Lena?" she whispered when her lover didn’t continue.

"He used his belt to bind my hands behind me," Lena told her, her voice little more than a tortured rasp, "then forced me down. I remember screaming, my face in a pillow." She shook her head slowly. "I couldn’t breathe...and he was laughing that at least I wouldn’t get pregnant this way...." She fell silent for a long moment, marshaling herself, needing any remaining reserves of strength to get through this.

"If this is too much," Bianca whispered, feeling the need to offer her lover a way out if she needed it, "you don’t need to---"

"No," Lena interrupted sharply, then softened her voice to add, "It needs to be said." She peered over her shoulder at the Bianca. "I need to face it and you need to understand." The softly spoken words were as much a warning as a plea for understanding, the forgiveness between them still tenuous, the trust still being rebuilt.

Bianca wanted to run like she’d wanted few things in her life, but if she fled now and refused to face what she’d done in the context of Lena’s past, Lena would never trust her again. Without that, they didn’t have a chance. Somehow she found the strength to reach out and curl her fingers around a slender hand, clinging tightly, and grateful to feel the pressure of a tight grip as Lena did the same. "All right," she exhaled.

Lena took a moment to gather herself, then continued. "After he left, I knew I couldn’t go to the police or report it...that he’d see me in prison if even tried...so I went to...to Irina. I didn’t know what else to do. I needed more than I’d stolen to protect my mother...and enough so that I could disappear too. I knew the money would be nothing to her...but she refused...told me to let mama pay for her crimes and get on with my life...." Again she slowed to a halt.

"Did she know about.... Did you tell what happened to you?"

A quick headshake. "All I knew about her was that she didn’t want me...that her career and her life were far more important than the child she gave birth to...but I thought..." She shook her head, fighting not to hate the older woman, shying away from the deep well of rage she carried. She could understand and even forgive, but it was harder than hell to let go of the blame. She pinched the bridge of her nose tightly. "And then Michael showed up...not to have me arrested like I expected...but to offer me a job." She cringed with remembered horror, his strange madness still making her cringe. "He’d paid back the stolen money...and was acting like my lover instead of my rapist."

Bianca flinched, remembering when he’d done the same thign to her.

"I didn’t know what to do. I needed the money he was offering to save my mother...and it seemed like there was nothing left of me to save." She trembled under the force of dry sobs, her body shaking and weak, suddenly wishing she’d never considered going down this road. Better to have left well enough alone rather than face this kind of shame and pain on her own. She was startled when she suddenly felt the press of Bianca’s cheek against her back and the gentle caress of warm hands on her shoulders.

"I understand," Bianca whispered with feeling, suddenly understanding how her lover had fallen into hell far better than she might have wished. Hurt and without any support, in shock, and caught between everyone, she’d fallen into the trap of thinking she didn’t matter.

Her strength bolstered by the unexpected comfort from her lover, Lena drew a shaky breath. She needed to finish it or it would always be between them. "So I did it...took the money...and became what I needed to...and after awhile I could almost believe his version of events."

********************************************

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1 c 2 b 3 a 4 a 5 c 6 b 7 d 8 b 9 c 10 c

 1. What time was Lena’’s interview appointment with Erica? C. 1:00 PM 2. What was Lena’’s master degree in? B. Economics 3. What was her further degree in? A. International Finance 4. Lena worked for what company in Madrid? A. Lavida 5. Who credits Lena with saving her company? C. Senora Ortiz 6. Who did Lena have to see on her first day at Enchantment in Human Resources? B. Marty Fisher 7. Who showed Lena around the office on her first day? D. Boyd 8. Why was Lena late for meeting Boyd for a drink? B. Caught in traffic 9. What was Lena’’s title at Enchantment? C. Vice President 10. Who did Lena call the soul of Enchantment? C. Boyd

1. What is one of Lena’’s phobias? A. Tapinophobia B. Caligynophobia C. Pentheraphobia D. Aichmophobia 2. How did Lena resign Enchantment? A. Telephone B. E-mail C. Letter D. Telegram 3. What was Lena’’s flight number when she was going to leave? A. 170 B. 159 C. 89 D. 101 4. What was the name of the person Lena said embezzled from Enchantment A. Bartel James B. Burton Helms C. Barton Phillips D. Bart Johnson 5. Who was the man in the doctored picture with Lena? A. Bob Barrett B. Bob Barker C. Bob Barnet D. Bob Barkin 6. What was Lena’’s mothers occupation according to Lena? A. Movie Star B. A Seamstress C. Spy D. Fashion Model 7. Lena’’s title at Enchantment was changed to? A. CFO B. CEO C. President D. President/CFO 8. When discussing Leora’’s name (baby of David and Anna), who asked if the L stood for Lena, Lisa, Leelee? A. Erica B. Maggie C. Aidan D. Greenlee 9. Lena said to Bianca: We'll talk about the models and the clothes and the hair and the makeup, and then i'll take you out to dinner, if you have no other plans. Where were they going before dinner? A. Fashion Show B. Trunk Show C. Makeover Show D. Cosmetic Show 10. Boyd and Bianca had a wager on who would get Lena first. What did they bet besides dinner? A. Spa day B. Shopping day C. Slave day D. Money

 

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