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Dance With Me

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Bianca Montgomery had been trying to get out of her mother’s office at Enchantment for the last twenty minutes. She should have just called her from the road like she had planned but she already had enough weighing on her and she didn’t need a guilt trip thrown on top.

“Mom I really need to go if I want to get there sometime this century.” She glanced at the clock on the wall. Nine thirty in the morning and she was already exhausted and with a four hour drive ahead of her Kendall would likely have to pull her unconscious body from the car.

“I know sweetie but do you really have to go? I’m sure all of this will just fade away when they have a new story and everything will go back to normal.”

“Yes mom. I need to get out of Pine Valley everyone on campus stares at me like I’m a freak show and I can’t take it anymore.” She ran her hands through long dark locks and sighed.

“I’m going to sue Donald Steele and The Exposer for doing this to you. It’s one thing to come after me but it’s another to go after my sweet baby girl” She cupped Bianca’s cheek “you don’t deserve any of this.”

“Thank you" she placed her hand on top of her mother's "but I don’t want this getting any bigger than it already is please just leave it alone.” She knew her mother meant well but she couldn’t take her joining the pity party with the rest of the town.

“Okay if that’s what you want I will but I’m still worried about you driving by yourself. What if something happens? It would be a very long time before we could get to you and I don’t like the thought of you stranded on the side of the road alone. You just don’t know what kind of people are out there.”

She definitely should’ve skipped saying goodbye in person her mother was going to end up making her cry and she had had enough of that to last her a lifetime.

Her shoulders sagged “Mom I’ll be fine it’s only a four hour drive and I do know how to change a flat tire if I need to. I have a full tank of gas and I have a map just in case the GPS loses its marbles and tries to steer me into a lake. I know where all of the gas stations are, I have all the phone numbers I might need and I have a car charger for my phone.”

“That’s my girl always prepared for anything.” She smiled and stroked her youngest daughter’s hair. What she wouldn’t give to be able to take away her pain. She seemed so small and fragile and she wanted to protect her but she knew that there were just some things that were beyond even her control.

“Mom I really need to go Kendall is expecting me in a few hours.” A sad smile crossed her face. She finally had the time to visit and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. She had been planning for her time with her sister to be happy and fun not depressing.

“Okay honey I don’t mean to keep you I know how anxious you are to spend some time with your sister.”

“I am I love you” She hugged her and started rapidly backing towards the door before the water works started “I’ll call you when I get there.”

“I love you too Bianca and be careful.”

She was already halfway down the hall with her mother’s words floating after her. Her life was not going like she had thought it would. Of all the things she had ever wanted love had been on the top of her list but it seemed it was the one thing she was not destined to have. And to make matters worse her face was now on the cover of The Exposer for all the world to see. All of Pine Valley was now privy to her dysfunctional love life and they were throwing her the pity party of the decade. Poor Bianca’s heart was broken and they all needed to rally around her for support because she’s just so fragile. If one more person asked her how she was holding up she was going to scream.

She rode the elevator to the parking garage her fingers firmly planted in the center of her forehead trying to rub out the mounting headache. She was thankful that no one else had gotten on. Between work and school she didn’t get much time alone and she was looking forward to spending the next four hours in blissful silence. She looked up when the doors opened with a ding and she fished the key fob from her purse to unlock the Mercedes her mother had insisted on buying her. She hated that car it was too flashy and it attracted attention she wasn’t looking for but she never could say no to Erica. She got in with a sigh and started the car. Maybe she would go to Haven Bay and never come back.

She drove away from Pine Valley without so much as a glance in her rearview mirror.

Forty-five minutes later:

“Oh god make it stop, for the love of all that is holy make it stop!” She started mashing buttons in an attempt to make the radio comply with her demand. She stared at it trying to will the love power hour out of existence but the incessant warbling continued undeterred. “I’m a Kane and you will comply with my demand.”

She squinted menacingly at the object for a heartbeat before she reached down and slapped at the off button.

“Ha, showed you whose boss didn’t I?” she gloated over the now dark display “That’s good Bianca you’re talking to inanimate objects now, next thing you know you’ll be acquainted with padded walls and rubber underwear. Or is it rubber walls and padded underwear?” She rolled her eyes at herself.

The love power hour was not what she needed right now. It was almost as if there was some sort of conspiracy to rub her failure in her face. She didn’t want to hear about how great it is and how it’s the most amazing feeling in the world. It hadn’t felt amazing to her it had felt miserable and empty. It had felt like lies and most of them were lies she had told herself just to get through another day. It had only been a month since she had broken it off with Lena; it was all still too fresh in her mind. Love was the very last thing she wanted to hear about, what she wanted was for these next two weeks with Kendall to be free of any talk of love and relationships. She strangled the steering wheel with both hands, she just couldn’t seem to stop with the lies, it was the only thing she wanted to talk about.

She wondered where all the ‘I’m perfectly fine to be alone and I don’t need love to make me happy’ songs were and why they couldn’t have their own hour. She flipped on her blinker to exit the highway as she listened to the sound of the tires on the road and the wind rushing over the car.

Two and a half hours after that:

It turned out that blissful silence wasn’t all that blissful, or silent. “You can take the girl out of Pine Valley but you can’t take Pine Valley out of the girl.” She mumbled as half the town ran amok in her head.

She managed to get through most of her life without major disaster striking every ten minutes so why couldn’t they? And how was it that at twenty two she was more level headed and responsible than people twice her age? She shook her head at herself; she didn’t know why she had even bothered to ask the question when she already knew the answer. Being the daughter of Erica Kane had its perks but it also had its drawbacks and one of them was the constant need to over think everything she said and did. She was only human and she made bad decisions and screwed up just like everyone else. She shouldn’t be expected to adhere to standards that no one else her age was, but then their mistakes didn’t make headlines in the tabloids. Their failures were not the next day’s gossip and she envied their freedom and anonymity.

She was not Erica Kane the cosmetics mogul who adored the attention even when she claimed to hate it. She was Bianca Montgomery the college student who wanted her own life away from the public eye. She loved her mother but she didn’t want to be her. She wanted her private life to be private and not tabloid fodder. Lena was just the latest invasion of her privacy and not even the most painful but it was up there. No, the award for the most painful experience went to being publicly outed which had in turn nearly caused her mother to disown her.

That had been the moment when she knew for certain that she was never going to be truly free. She wasn’t ungrateful for her life, she had more than most people but there were times when she would gladly give it all up. Seeing her own terrified face on the cover of some trashy magazine had been one of those times. She had been on the verge of tears when the flash had gone off and every inch of her had screamed at her to run away from the room full of eyes pinned to her. Eyes she just knew were judging her. And she had run, she ran fast and hard to the only place she felt safe, into the arms of her best friend. She had cried until there was nothing left in her and he had never said a word he just let her cling to him like her life depended on it. She smiled when Jamie’s big goofy grin swam into her thoughts. He had been there for her no matter what people were saying about her. He did his best to cheer her up and make her forget about the hurtful things people were saying to her. She thought she had prepared herself for what she knew was inevitable but at sixteen it’s hard to brush off the hateful words without letting them affect you. And Jamie had been there by her side through all of it defending her and protecting her the best he could.

“Where in the world is James Martin?” She flipped the sun visor down as the car emerged from its cocoon of foliage that had enshrouded her for the last few miles.

They had each other’s backs and they had promised to never hold anything back no matter how painful the truth might be. They both knew what it was like to be lied to because it was for their own good and they swore to never do that to each other. He would tell her she was being too hard on herself or that she was acting like a drama queen and the world did not need two Erica Kane’s. At the time she had shuddered at the thought of being just like her mother but now she would be proud to be even one tenth the woman that she was.

She missed having him in her corner to knock some sense into her. All she could get from anyone now were empty platitudes and a pat on the back. She had been stupid to let him slip away and she regretted it but she understood better than anyone why he had to get out of Pine Valley. He wanted her to go with him, he begged and even tried bribery but she didn’t have the guts to say yes. She couldn’t just say to hell with it and run away even though that’s exactly what she wanted to do. She had responsibilities and obligations that she couldn’t just drop to go explore the world. She had a plan for her life but it seemed now that life had other plans for her.

She reeled in her memories and glanced at the clock with a sigh, another forty-five minutes and she would be in Haven Bay with Kendall. Maybe once she was there she would finally be able to breathe. She couldn’t wait to see her and judging from the screech of glee that had assaulted her ears when she called to tell her she was finally going her sister couldn’t wait either. She wanted to spill her guts but at the same time she wanted to spend the next two weeks in complete denial. Because of course ignoring the problem always made it better. She snorted at herself for even having the thought. The only thing that could stop her from thinking about it was a coma and even that wasn’t a sure bet. She had been going round and round with herself for months, even before the actual break up trying to get to the truth but she didn’t even know what the truth was.

She thought she had loved Lena; it may not have been that all consuming I can’t live without you love she had heard about but she told herself that what she had was good enough. There had been something missing right from the very beginning though; it was something intangible that you couldn’t put into words. You had to feel it. She kept telling herself that if she tried harder and gave it more time she would feel it whatever it was. But she never did, not even a tiny twinge. Maybe it hadn’t even been love at all how was she supposed to know it’s not like she had anything to compare it to. And that’s why she had done the one thing she had told herself she never would, she had settled because she didn’t think anyone else would come along who wanted her.

“Let’s face it” she mumbled to the empty car “there isn’t exactly a line of people waiting to beat down my door, and who can blame them nobody wants to get involved with the daughter of the world’s most famous tabloid cover girl.” Silence overtook the car as she went back to the unending monologue in her head.

It was only a matter of time before any relationship she was in ended up as the cover story for The Exposer. Lena had been the only one to take that risk. That was one of the biggest reasons she had gotten involved with her in the first place. Lena had pursued her and nobody had ever done that before. She had always been on the sidelines watching it happen to everyone but her. It had felt good to know that there was at least one person who wanted her but she felt deep down that something was off. And that’s where she had kept it, buried in denial. From the beginning she had to try so hard to make herself feel something, anything, for the woman who had told her that she knew she was in love within the first thirty seconds of meeting. Lena was intelligent and funny and beautiful but there was no spark, no fire. Maybe her expectations had been too high, maybe she had watched too many movies and listened to too many love songs and equated fiction with reality. Maybe she was trying to find something that didn’t really exist.

“You shouldn’t have to try that hard to love someone.” She sighed “This is ridiculous I don’t even know what I feel anymore.” If it had been love it wasn’t like she had imagined it would be and she didn’t know what was more upsetting, that love hadn’t lived up to the hype or the possibility that something was wrong with her, that she was broken inside.

Here she was with her heart in her hands trying to give it away but it wouldn’t let go. Lena might have been her only chance but she just couldn’t figure out why she had felt nothing more than a passing attraction. And even that hadn’t been that strong. She had been over all of this a million times and she still didn’t have any answers. She felt like the universe had something against her and this was its version of a practical joke. She wasn’t laughing; in fact it had been a very long time since she had laughed. It had been mostly crying for the last six months and she was tired of it. She was tired of all of it and she just didn’t want to feel anything anymore. She wanted to turn herself off and hide from the world until she felt better but that didn’t seem like a possibility at this point.

“I wish my brain had an off switch.” She looked down at the radio and sighed. How was it that nearly every song written in the history of history was about love? Surely there were other things to sing about. Maybe she could find a classical station to zone out to or a news station. She hoped for the best as she reached down to turn the radio back on. She started flipping through her presets and received nothing but static in return. In a fit of frustration she hit the scan button and finally one station came in clear as a bell and a woman’s voice spilled from the speakers.

“Thanks for tuning in to your local golden oldies station; I’m your fantabulous host for, well I’m here for as long as they let me stay. I’ve actually had to be chased from the booth with a broom because I wasn’t ready to leave yet. I love to talk I’m a bit of a chatty Kathy, a motor mouth if you will. I experience frequent bouts of verbal diarrhea, like now. I’m trying to quit but apparently they don’t have a twelve step program for that yet. Can you imagine a support group for people who can’t shut up? I don’t think anyone would actually benefit from that it would just be another place for them to talk incessantly about absolutely nothing kind of like what I’m doing now. Sorry sometimes I don’t know when to stuff a sock in it and those of you that know me are aware of this and a few have even attempted said sock stuffing. Anyway for those of you that don’t know me Frankie Stone’s the name and oldies are my game. We’re going to start off this set with a request from Mary Margaret. She insisted I play this and I never could say no to her, so without further ado let’s jump on in. Here’s Jimmy Ruffin with What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.”

The Deejays’ voice faded out.

As I walk this land of broken dreams

I have visions of many things

But happiness is just an illusion

Filled with sadness and confusion

“Did you just read my mind?” she looked at the radio with wide eyes.

What becomes of the brokenhearted

Who has love that’s now departed

I know I’ve got to find

Some kind of peace of mind, baby

The roots of love grow all around

But for me they come tumbling down

Everyday heartaches grow a little stronger

I can’t stand this pain much longer

“I think we’re in the same boat Mary Margaret.” She mumbled as trees blurred by unseen.

I walk in shadows searching for light

Cold and alone, no comfort in sight

Hoping and praying for someone who’ll care

Always moving and going nowhere

 

What becomes of the brokenhearted

Who has love that’s now departed

I know I’ve got to find

Some kind of peace of mind, help me, please

 

I’m searching though I don’t succeed

But someone look, there’s a growing need

All is lost, there’s no place for beginning

All that’s left is an unhappy ending

 

Now what becomes of the brokenhearted

Who has love that’s now departed

I know I’ve got to find some kind of peace of mind

I’ll be searching everywhere

Just to find someone to care

I’ll be looking everyday

I know I’m gonna find away

Nothing’s gonna stop me now

I’ll find a way somehow

“Thank you Mary Margaret wherever you are that about sums up how I feel. I hope you have better luck finding someone to care.”

The song ended and Frankie’s voice filled the car again.

“I’m gonna switch gears a little here and dedicate this one myself to Mary Margaret. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, both good and bad. And sometimes you have to go through the really bad stuff to get to the really good stuff. It teaches you something about yourself. That you can survive the most horrible things and when the dust clears and you’re surrounded by the ruins you’re still standing there defiantly refusing to be crushed. It can show you that you’re a hell of a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. It shows you what’s worth fighting for and what isn’t worth your time and effort. And most importantly it teaches you that there are things in life worth waiting for, even when you don’t know you’re waiting for it. Sometimes you find it, and sometimes it finds you. I’m all about hope today people, there’s something magical headed this way I can feel it in the air.”

“How about sending a little bit of that magic my way?” That’s what had been missing with Lena, magic.

Frankie faded away again and The Supremes took her place.

I need love, love to ease my mind

I need to find, find someone to call mine

But mama said you can’t hurry love

No you just have to wait

She said love don’t come easy

It’s a game of give and take

You can’t hurry love

No you just have to wait

You gotta trust, give it time

No matter how long it takes

“Like I haven’t heard enough people tell me that now it’s being sung to me?”

But how many heartaches must I stand

Before I find a love to let me live again

Right now the only thing that keeps me hanging on

When I feel my strength, yeah, it’s almost gone

I remember mama said

You can’t hurry love

No you just have to wait

She said love don’t come easy

It’s a game of give and take

“I liked Mary Margaret’s choice. And why can’t I stop talking to myself?”

How long must I wait, how much more can I take

Before loneliness will cause my heart, heart to break

No I can’t bear to live my life alone

I grow impatient for a love to call my own

But when I feel that I, I can’t go on

These precious words keeps me hanging on

I remember mama said

 

You can’t hurry love

No you just have to wait

She said love don’t come easy

It’s a game of give and take

You can’t hurry love

No you just have to wait

You gotta trust, give it time

No matter how long it takes

No love, love don’t come easy

 

But I keep on waiting, anticipating for that

Soft voice to talk to me at night

For some tender arms to hold me tight

I keep waiting, I keep on waiting

But it ain’t easy, it ain’t easy when mama says

 

“I’m so tired of waiting for love when is it my turn to be happy? It seems like everyone else in Pine Valley has someone new to love every other week and all I want is one person for the rest of my life. You would think that wouldn’t be too much to ask for.

She planted her elbow against the window and massaged her temple hoping to ward off the headache she knew was soon to come. She was a patient person but how long was she expected to stand aside and watch everyone else get what she wanted. How many times could she smile and say I’m so happy for you before she snapped. What was the point of waiting for something that she was seriously starting to doubt would ever happen. She was trying not to want it so much but she couldn’t just turn it on and off like a light switch. How was she supposed to stop wanting something that was constantly in her face twenty four hours a day? There were even days when she couldn’t be around her mom and Uncle Jack because they were so happy. Not that she begrudged them that, if anyone deserved to be happy it was the two of them but sometimes she couldn’t help the way she felt. She let out a slow breath trying to calm her mind and pulled her bag into her lap. She searched blindly for the bottle of aspirin, pushing aside the pepper spray Kendall had given her and let out a small growl. She knew it was in there somewhere but it eluded her grasp. The only thing she managed to come up with was her ringing phone.

“So not what I was looking for.” She looked at the caller I.D. and lifted it to her ear “Mom is something wrong?” She couldn’t help it she was a worrier.

“Are you okay? I’ve been trying to call but it kept going straight to voicemail. I called Kendall but she’s not answering either. I keep imagining the most horrible things.”

“Mom I’m fine” If nothing else she had her family “I must have been out of range and I’m sure Kendall is just really busy with work.” She could see the patented Erica Kane hand gestures without even trying and smiled.

“Oh well they should really think about fixing that problem. What if something happened to you how would you call for help?”

“I’m sure someone would be nice enough to stop and offer help or I could walk to the nearest house and use a landline.” She watched the passing scenery. She actually hadn’t seen a house in over ten miles but she wasn’t going to tell her mother that she would just send out the National Guard.

“That doesn’t exactly reassure me. I think I’m going to make a few phone calls later and see what can be done about that. If you choose to see Kendall more often I want to know that you’ll be able to reach one of us if you need to. Really, in this day and age I’m surprised places like that still exist. When I was your age…”

“I guess they just haven’t gotten around to it yet.” She gently cut her off “So was there a reason you were trying to call me?” She was trying to move the conversation along before her mother went on a long rambling tangent about how different it is now compared to when she was her age.

“Oh yes there was. Jack and I have decided to take an impromptu vacation to Paris and I was calling to let you know that we’re leaving tomorrow and probably won’t be home when you get back. I wanted to make sure you had the number for the hotel we’re staying at just in case you can’t reach us on our cell phones.”

“Oh okay well I’m happy that you and Uncle Jack are taking some time for yourselves. You’ve both been wrapped up in work lately and things have been a little tense you deserve a break.”

“Well thank you sweetheart but you’re doing it again.” Erica admonished softly.

She scrunched her brows “Doing what?”

“Thinking of everyone else’s wellbeing ahead of your own. You’ve always done that even when you were little and it’s a wonderful thing but I wish you would put yourself first sometimes. Your Uncle Jack and I have been through a lot yes and you were always there to help us and we both love you so much for that but we want you to concentrate on what you need. I think we’ve done this enough times now to know how to fix the situation.”

“I just want you both to be happy.” She sighed into the phone.

“I know but we want you to be happy and with recent events the last thing we want is for you to worry about us. I’m worried about you.”

“You don’t need to be mom I’ll be fine I just need some time away from all the craziness.” She never thought that at twenty two years old she would have to resort to running away from home just to get a little peace and quiet. It was too bad she couldn’t run away from herself.

“Bianca, I’m your mother it’s my job to worry about you.” She paused “Do you remember when you were little and I would tuck you into bed at night? I told you I would keep you safe and that I would never let anything hurt you. Now I know that I can’t protect you from everything but that won’t stop me from trying. You and Kendall are the most important things in my life and your happiness is my number one priority.”

“Oh mom” she tried to keep the quiver out of her voice “I love you so much.”

“I love you too Bianca and it breaks my heart to see you hurt like this. I wish I could make all of the pain go away.”

“I know you do” she sniffled as tears dropped from her chin.

“Oh I didn’t mean to make you cry sweetheart I’m sorry. I just wanted to make sure you know how loved you are and that I think there are a lot of very foolish girls out there who are passing up one of the most incredible people to ever walk this earth.”

“You’re just saying that because you’re my mother.” She laughed through her tears.

“No I can assure you that I’m not. I’ve seen how amazing you are and how big your heart is with my own two eyes and if you want my opinion you’re too good for all of them.”

She swore she could actually hear her mother smile on the other end. “Mom you thought I was too good for Sesame Street.”

“Well you were” she huffed indignantly “you were a very bright child and that show wasn’t teaching you anything you didn’t already know.”

She loved her mother for saying it but she hated that she still needed to hear those things. There were days when she doubted every decision she made and if she was making the best choices for herself. Even the self assured Bianca Montgomery didn’t believe in herself every second of every day and she was fumbling along in the dark with everyone else just hoping for the best. And she just knew that if she had someone by her side fumbling with her that life wouldn’t seem so overwhelming.

“I’m glad you’re taking time to visit Kendall” she continued when Bianca didn’t say anything “you haven’t seen each other in months and I know how much you’ve missed her. Call me when you get there so I know you arrived safely and tell Kendall I love her when you see her since she isn’t answering my calls. And Bianca, I love you.”

“I will mom, I love you too. I’ll talk to you later, bye.” Through her tears she saw the sign for Haven Bay flash by her. Another thirty miles to go and she could pretend the rest of the world didn’t exist, at least for a little while. She placed the phone on the seat beside her and turned the radio back up in hopes of drowning out her brain.