"Looks like fall will be here soon," Maggie said looking at the trees off of main street and near the park.
"This is your first fall here huh? You'll love it. Pennsylvania is beautiful for foliage."
"Well looks like you just signed yourself up for a date to take me out," Maggie smiled.
"It'd be my pleasure," Bianca smiled back. Since their talk a few weeks ago, Maggie was pleased that Bianca had stopped pulling away from her. Maggie could handle a lot of the things going on in her life these past few days, but losing the closeness she and Bianca shared was not one of them. She needed that closeness now more then ever.
"Let's shop!" Bianca said turning around suddenly.
"Yeah- come on. Let's go crazy. What do you say?"
"Okay, sure why not," Maggie said. She loved to see Bianca like this. She opened up her purse. "I'm going to need funds Binks," Maggie said rummaging through and seeing only a ten-dollar bill.
"No- I got it," Bianca said.
"Bianca, I'm not poor. I can pay for my own stuff," Maggie said slightly irritated.
"Oh yeah, I know. I just meant I have mom's credit card. She told me to go shopping for some school clothes so I just thought…a few extra things couldn't or wouldn't hurt. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you," Bianca said touching Maggie's arm.
"No it's okay," Maggie said taking her hand, "I overreacted. Look, lets hit the bank real quick and I'll grab some cash and then it's a day of window shopping."
"Sounds good to me!" Bianca answered.
Inside the bank, Maggie walked over to the ATM machine. Bianca was standing across the room, over by the plants, looking around at the décor. 'God, you're beautiful Bianca,' Maggie thought. It was times like this that she loved most, watching Bianca when Bianca had no idea. She always looked so innocent and sweet. Maggie could almost feel herself falling even more in love with Bianca in the passing moments.
Maggie and Bianca both turned to see the men enter the bank. Their faces covered by masks. Maggie felt time slow and her first instinct was to get to Bianca. But she was too far away. 'No way this is happening' she thought. It was like she was on TV in a bad movie.
Bianca, for her own part, looked for Maggie and she too realized she was too far away. 'I could run?' she thought.
"Nobody move!" the first gunman called out. "This goes smooth and quick and no one gets hurt, understand?"
"Down on the floor. Get down on the floor!" the second gunman called to the people and tellers. Maggie noticed the first gunman held a medium sized handgun. The second had a shotgun.
Everyone lay down on the grounds, fearful to not do what they men said.
Maggie lifted her head and caught eyes with Bianca. Bianca looked so scared and Maggie realized she too must have mirrored her best friends expression.
If looks could speak…
"God Bianca, I'm so sorry."
"It's okay. We'll be okay."
"Come on hurry up!" The second gunman called out to the first.
"I've got it, let's go."
Maggie heard the siren in the distance. Maybe it was her gut or her instincts…but she knew that the moment these guys heard that siren all hell on earth would break loose.
She realized Bianca had heard it too because she saw the panicked look.
Maggie mouth, "it's okay Binks."
"Are you fucking kidding me?!" The second gunman yelled as he saw the sirens in the distance.
"Time for Plan B," he called out.
'Oh god.' Maggie and Bianca thought. What they wanted more then
anything at that moment was to be next to each other, to comfort each
other. But now they lay at opposites sides of the room.
'Plan B?' Bianca thought. 'Why don't I like the sound of that?'
"Alright, everyone over here…lets go. No funny stuff," the first gunman said moving everyone over to the same area.
Bianca and Maggie both had to stand to move toward the front teller area. As they walked they moved closer and closer, till they clasped hands and didn't let go. They sat next to each other and Maggie felt herself start to tear up.
"Alright here's what's going to happen. Listen up. You sit and shut up. No one talks, no one moves. Understand?" The second gunman shouted. He cocked his shotgun and pointed it one of the tellers, "I said understand! I won't hesitate to kill anyone of you!"
Maggie felt Bianca's grip tighten around her hand. In the mean time the first gunman went to the window area. "Jesus, we've got about four cruisers out there," he yelled back.
"Okay well we planned for this."
He scanned the group. "You," he pointed to a young woman sitting next to the male teller. "Get out of here. Tell them that we'll be coming out with a hostage. If they try anything the hostage will be shot. Do you understand?" The woman nodded her head and stood. "Go...now!"
She didn't need to be told twice. She ran out the door.
Outside Anna Devain, the chief of police, picked up her cell and dialed the banks line. She told all her offices to create a parameter around the bank. No one shoots, and no one pulls anything stupid. With hostages, she knew this thing could play out any one bad way.
Inside the gunmen heard the phone ring. "You," he pointed to Maggie. Answer that now."
Maggie didn't want to let go of her friend's hand, but she had no choice. She was now starring down the barrel of a large shotgun. "Okay," she said standing up.
She walked to the phone that rang and answered it.
"Hello?" she said with panic in her voice.
"This is…wait, Maggie?" Anna asked confused. She was about to identify herself as chief and say they were willing to negotiate for hostage exchange. But now, with her family inside, things changed.
"Anna?" Maggie said relived to hear the voice.
"Oh god, no…"
"I'm okay Anna. Both Bianca and I are," Maggie said looking and locking eyes with Bianca.
"How many are there?" Anna asked.
"Two men," Maggie answered.
The first gunman walked to Maggie. He grabbed her hair and she let out a yelp. "Tell them that we have hostages and we'll start shooting the minute we see a uniform…understand?"
"He said," Maggie started to say…but Anna cut her off.
"Yes, I heard. I'll tell them to back off now," she said motioning with her hands.
"She's telling them to back off now," Maggie said to the first gunman.
"Good. Now hang up and tell her if they try anything…anything funny at all…you and everyone else in here is dead. Dead!" he yelled and for affect he pointed the gun to Maggie's temple.
Bianca felt her heart stop. "No," she called out.
The gunman turned and looked at her. "No heroics, and keep your fucking mouth closed!" He shouted.
'Why us? Why now? Haven't we dealt with enough already?' Maggie thought.
"Sit down!" the second gunman yelled to Maggie. She didn't hesitate.
She took her seat down next to Bianca and the tears started to flow freely. Bianca pulled her close and whispered soothing words into her ear.
It seemed like the oddest thing in the world. But at that exact moment, Bianca found herself humming a tune from her childhood. It was quiet, and only loud enough for Maggie, who laid her head on Bianca's shoulder. Maggie recognized the tune and it soothed her. It was "Somewhere Over The Rainbow."
The next few moments went by slowly. Anna had tried calling back again, but the two men refused the answer the phone.
The men were talking in the corner, planning something out. Maggie wished she knew what was going to happen next. She hated this feeling of helplessness.
"Alright, listen up!" The first gunman yelled out. "We're getting out of here. One of you lucky people will be escorting us to our vehicle and once things look safe and clear, we might let you go."
"You," the second gunman said pointing his shotgun to Maggie. "Her, she'll be our hostage," he said. Maggie felt her heart beat out of control.
The first man went to grab Maggie. Bianca looked around but no one was speaking up. It was as if they were relived that Maggie had been choosen over them. "Wait! Wait," Bianca said pulling Maggie away from the man. He pulled his gun out.
"Sit down girl before I put a bullet in you," he said.
"Do you know who I am?" she asked. She felt her throat tighten.
"Bianca, no," Maggie cried.
"Like I give a fuck," the man said pulling Maggie out of Bianca's arms.
"My name's Bianca Montgomery. My mother's Erica Kane. You might recognize that name," she said definitely. For Maggie everything was happen to quickly for her brain to process.
"Erica Kane? The make up lady?" The second gunman from th back said coming around the corner.
"Yes- take me instead, you'll be guaranteed safety," she said hoping that these men would believe her. "My mother will see to it."
"What if she's lying?" the second man asked the first.
"You!" he pointed the gun to one of the tellers. "Is she lying or telling the truth? Is this bitches mother Erica fucking Kane?" he asked.
"Yes. Yes, that's Bianca. I see her face in the paper all the time. She isn't lying," she said shaking.
"Bianca, you can't do this, please!" Maggie pleaded. The men locked eyes. The first man pushed Maggie away and grabbed Bianca. "You get your wish sweetheart. We'll take you instead," he said smiling evilly. "Quite the charmer aren't you?" He ran his hand up and down her arm.
"Take your hands off of her," Maggie said moving toward them. Something in her snapped. No one touched Bianca like that. No one.
"Shut up," the first gun yelled, smacking Maggie with his guns barrel.
The hit sent her flying to the ground.
"Maggie," Bianca called out. Maggie was stunned and bleeding but she wasn't out. She did stay down though. She looked at Bianca and mouthed, 'why?' in-between tears.
Bianca said the most sincere and honest thing she could think of. And it was perhaps the last chance she was going to get to say it. 'because I love you.' "Can I just say goodbye," Bianca asked the gunman.
"Yeah hurry up," he said letting her go.
Bianca moved down to where Maggie was on the ground. She hugged her for everything she could. She meant for it to be a kiss goodbye, to try to tell her it would be okay, but Bianca changed her mind. This might be her last chance to tell Maggie how she really felt. So she did. Their bodies pulled together for complete contact, the kissing began to change. They began feeling, searching, communicating a need for each other that grew by the minute. And as they connected, on all levels, their eyes closed. Her breathing grew shallow as she held her close. Placing a last kiss on her lips, she said goodbye, for she knew she was gone.
"Let's go," the second gunman yelled. He slightly opened the door.
"We're coming out now. No funny stuff or this girl…Bianca Montgomery gets it. You hear me!" He, Bianca and the second gunman made their ways outside.
There are times in your life when things just slow down. Maggie recalled standing and making her way to the door. She recalled hearing "no...no…wait!" and she heard the shots open. Later she would recall actually feeling her heart stop beating. She was pulled down to the ground by someone. She had no idea who it was though. She heard shouting and screaming and saw smoke outside.
Finally, she was able to break free from the persons arms who held her. She turned around but saw no one. She opened the door and saw hell before her.
The two gunmen were down. Dead from what she could tell. There were two police officers laying down as well. One looked badly hurt, but his eyes were still open, and one was wounded in the leg. "Bianca?" She called out. Where was Bianca?
"Maggie!" Anna called out her name.
Maggie turned around and saw Anna kneeling over someone. 'Bianca?' Her legs turned to jello as she made her way to the two.
"Get me paramedics here now damnet. I called it in ten minutes ago for Christ's sake!"
"Maggie hold you hand here," Anna called to her. Maggie, who felt like she had been woken from a dream, saw Bianca, lying lifeless. She looked pale, so pale.
"Bianca?" Maggie said softly. She was going into shock.
"Maggie! Look at me! I need your help," Anna said pulling her down.
Maggie placed her hands over Bianca's abdomen. "It was supposed to be me," Maggie said sobbing.
"What?" Anna asked confused.
"They were going to take me and she wouldn't let them. She…she exchanged herself for me. I can't lose her Anna!" Maggie wept.
Someone called out for Anna in the background. "I'll be back. Just stay here with her Maggie. Talk to her. Make her hold on okay?" Anna kissed Maggie's forehead and ran off.
"Bianca, open your eyes please," Maggie pleaded between tears.
"Maggie?" Bianca said softly. "You okay?"
"Yeah…you saved me. You're my hero," Maggie sniffed.
"Don't cry," Bianca said touching her cheek.
"Why Bink. Why did you do that?" she pleaded.
"I Love you," Bianca said smiling. "It's cold Maggie."
"I know. Just hold on. Helps on the way," Maggie answered. "Promise me you won't leave me Bink. Please. Don't leave me. I can't lose you. Not now. Not…"
Maggie leaned down and held Bianca as best as she could. "I love you. I love you. I love you so much…" and she just kept repeating it. Over and over again, still she couldn't feel Bianca holding her hand anymore.
"So much has happened in the last few weeks. I don't know where to begin?" Maggie said sighing, "I guess the beginning is a good place to start. I know it's been awhile since I've come to visit. But you know how it is. Jesus, it's been really hard not having you around, you know?" Maggie sniffled and wiped her eyes for the hundredth time that day. "I brought you tulips. I know you like them. Even though you'd say flowers are girly, you'd like them" Maggie kneeled in front of the gray stone and traced her fingers around the last name.
"I wish I could have had more time you know? You're worrying about me right now I can feel it. I'm going to be okay. If that is one thing I learned from you, it was how to believe in myself. I guess I just wanted you to know I love you." Maggie stood and placed the flowers down on the ground. She looked up to the sky. "I miss you so much."
Maggie felt a hand snake around her shoulder. She didn't need to look to know who it was. "You okay?"
"It's so hard. I miss her so much."
"I know. So do I," Bianca answered as she placed a dozen roses on the ground next to the tulips.
"How are you doing?" Maggie asked when she noticed Bianca wince in pain.
"I'm not the topic of conversation right now Maggie. It's you I am worried about."
"Sometimes I worry this is too good to be true. Do you ever feel that way?"
"Just a little," Bianca said softly.
"Now what?" Maggie asked as they began to walk down the hill.
"Who knows? But there is one thing I am certain of."
"And what might that be?" Maggie asked.
"No matter what challenges lay ahead. We'll get through it. Together."
"Couldn't have said it better myself Bianca." Maggie stopped walking. She turned around one last time. "Later Frankie," she waved. She quickly blew a kiss up to the heavens. Bianca smiled at the act. She leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on Maggie's lips.
"Have I told you I love you?"
"Not today…no," Maggie answered snickering.
"Hey…I'll race you." Bianca yelled.
"Okay…on the count of three. One…two," Bianca began to run down the hill, "three." Maggie said smiling at her friends lead.
Maggie looked up to the blue and white sky. "Now that is the Bianca we know," she laughed and followed suit.
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