Title: Unexpected Angels (sorry for not having a more original title)
Author: North firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: A Christmas story based on the TV Christmas events of 2002.
Disclaimer: don't own 'em, just borrowing for a while in the interest of love and fun.
Note: The story takes place at Greenlee's impromptu party.
In full speed Leo spirit, Greenlee pulled her motley family crew off of couch and chair and bean to pair them up.
"What's going on?" Her mother asked, mystified though pleased to see her daughter socializing again.
"A scavenger hunt!"
Everyone looked at her round-eyed at her enthusiastic proclamation.
Greenlee was undaunted. "Come on! It'll be fun. Where's your holiday spirit? We'll do it in pairs. Here, you each have a map with clues." She hands out the papers.
They look at their respective papers bemusedly. Maggie stares at hers, glances around at all the pairs than asks. "Uhm, so who goes with who?"
"Well, I am paired up with my mother. "
"Oh, well that's nice dear."
"And Anna and David are together, and the brother sister team of my newest partner in crime, Kendall and Trey-" She stops abruptly at the ringing of the door bell.
"O-kay...who do I go with then?"
Greenlee smiles surepstiously. "That should be your partner now. She draws aside the door as if it were a curtain to reveal none other than-
"Bianca!" Maggie says, both surprised and delighted.
"Hi Maggie." Bianca smiles at her friend. Greenlee smirks at her and hauls her inside.
"No time for niceties get over to her. You have a hunt to begin!"
In explanation, Maggie holds up the paper for Bianca to read, labelled oh so helpfully with 'scavenger hunt'.
Trey is peaking over Maggie's shoulder. "Hey, they're different."
"Of course." Greenlee states as though it should be obvious. "Where's the fun in doing the same thing? Each has been carefully planned out for each of you. You need to follow them to the letter."
"But-" Kendall begins to lodge a protest.
"To. The. Letter." Greenlee enunciated very emphatically.
Suddenly everyone around her agreed readily with rounds of 'Sounds fun.' , 'We'll win for sure' and 'Leo would have loved this. Great idea Greenlee.' No one wanted her to lose her spirit.
If only her mother hadn't come in at that moment with that specific bottle. "Why don't we all have a drink before we head out?"
Greenlee reacted before she could think she snatched the bottle away. "No!" Quickly realizing her slip of control loosening, she tried to recover. "Sorry. I'm just not thirsty and I don't want anyone sidetracked before the hour gets too late. Just give me a minute to put this away and I'll be right with you." Greenlee took the corner around the fireplace and hid from view, clutching the bottle to her breast.
She never heard Bianca come around the corner.
"It was a present from Leo wasn't it?"
Greenlee looked at her, oddly not startled or bothered by the intrusion from Bianca. She knew if anyone understood, it was her. "It was his last gift to me. We were supposed to share it on our honeymoon."
Bianca reached a hand out to comfort her.
"Don't." Greenlee said, as softly as Bianca had spoken just before. Bianca's hand stopped immediately. "I just can't deal with any comforting right now."
Bianca nodded. "Because one more stack and all the cards will fall? Or at least, that's how it feels."
Greenlee stared at her, surprised despite herself. "That's it exactly. If you're too nice, it's like, like..."
"Like the dam will break and the tears you've been fighting off all this time will come?"
Greenlee nodded, mute, already on that precipice.
"And you're tired of crying all day and all night, even when you sleep." Bianca said in a knowing voice.
"I'm tired of crying." Greenlee agreed.
Bianca nodded."My mom and I are going to kick yours and Kendall's butts when you get your new company off the ground. If you can get it off the ground."
Greenlee reacted to the snide immediately. "If? If? You better pray little La Kane wannabe because when we're through, you'll be looking for a new job and so will mommy dearest."
Bianca grinned. "I look forward to the fight."
Greenlee stared at her, only then realizing what Bianca did. Her eyes narrowed and she growled. "You are too damn nice for your own good. Don't think mushy stunts like trying to get my mind off things will win you any favours when my company takes yours over."
"I wouldn't dream it." Bianca declared, slipping back around the corner.
Greenlee shook her head. "Leo, you sure know how to pick the unexpected angels don't you?"
She set the bottle down preciously than stepped around to face the world again. She clapped her hands, laughing at how everyone, even super-spy Anna jumped.
"What are you doing around here? You've got your tasks to do now go! Chop-chop!" She ushers them all out the door. She closed the door behind them with relief. She turned to face the remaining straggle, her mother.
"Well, dear, are you going to tell me what's going on?"
"Actually mother, I'd like to wait and see if how it works out."
Her mother picked up her jacket and slipped it on. "So we are not actually going to do any kind of scavenging are we dear? Please tell me no."
"Oh mother, I wouldn't do that to you." Greenlee assured her. "Although it is tempting but I have other plans. Why don't you and I go down and have a delicious glass of butter rum and then call it an evening."
"That sounds lovely dear. And tomorrow I expect a call form you to tell me exactly what these mysterious 'other plans' are all about."
Greenlee replied only "We'll see."
Bianca tramped up the boat house with Maggie who was giving back seat directions as they walked while reading the paper. "A place where people can walk on water. Bizarre clue for sure. Especially after having us circle around the plaza for nothing." Maggie complained.
"Oh come one, where's your adventurer's spirit? Don't you want to know what we're going to find?" Bianca teased her good naturedly.
Maggie tried to bahumbug but could only smile at Bianca when she smiled at her like that, eyes shining so brightly.
"Uhm, Maggie? The clue?" Bianca prompted her out of her reverie.
"Oh, yeah." She read it over, than over again.
"You know what it is when you find it. Look around near where you always used to meet."
Maggie frowned. "Where we met who? We got a rigged clue!"
"Maggie, it's not a rigged clue. Besides, I think I know who's she meant, me and Leo. WE used to meet here all the time. Right " she stooped down to the bench and ledge of the dock "right here."
Her hands fanned out and brushed something. It wasn't deep so it took little effort to dig it out of the it's hiding place. Bianca sat up on the bench and stared at it in her hands.
It was a heart shaped box.
Maggie huddled close to her peering at it. She whispered, "well aren't you going to open it O Great Adventurer Spirit?"
Bainca nudged her affectionately. "Stand back, they're could be booby traps."
"Tricksome wench might have just done that." Grumbled Maggie, not seriously at all.
Bianca lifted the lid. She paused.
"What is it?"
"A letter. Addressed to me."
Maggie regarded her confusedly. "Aren't you going to open it?"
Bianca's hands and voice shook. "It's Leo's handwriting."
Maggie stood up. "I'll give you some space. But read it Bianca. Greenlee obviously wanted you to."
Bianca nodded, not trusting her voice. She unfolded the paper and read it's contents.
Ya didn't think I'd leave and not give my second favourite girl a goodbye did ya? Shame on you Binky, no faith in your Leo pal! By now I'm in Paris with Greens having our honeymoon, again. This time we'll get it right. And I wanted to thank you for that. I know, me being serious, how scary is that? But really Bianca, you're the best friend next to Greenlee that I've ever had. You're the one who taught me not to give up on love and be true to your heart. You're the bravest person I've ever known. Now don't get all soggy one me! I'll be talking your ear off on telephone and filling your email box up all the time! We'll see each other soon.
The letter, however, didn't stop there. Underneath it was new writing, not Leo's. Bianca read it, her breath catching at the words.
As one of Leo's greatest loves you would put his memory to shame by not being true to your own. It was only when Leo and I told each other every secret, and were completely honest with each other, that we found our special happiness together. Life's not forever Bianca. Don't you think it's time you told the truth you've been holding in your heart?
p.s. Look up.
It wasn't signed. It didn't need to be. She knew Greenlee's writing.
Maggie took a ginger step forward. "Is everything okay? You look like you might cry." Maggie toed the snow in front of her. "You know if you need a hug, I'm here."
"Just like you said you'd be." Bianca said, remembering months before when they were in this very place and Maggie had sworn to her that she would be a true friend to her.
Bianca stood up. "I'm tired of crying Maggie." She took a step forward. "And I want to tell you something, even though you may not like it."
"Whatever it is Bianca, I'm here for you. Give it to me."
Bianca held out her hand. "Come here."
Without hesitation, Maggie took a mittened hand in hers and stood in front of Bianca.
"Look up." Bianca urged her softly.
Maggie looked up and there, above them was a fresh sprig of mistletoe.
She looked back at Bianca, who was watching her carefully. "So," she said very casually compared to the sudden stop and stuttering thunder of her heart. "You have something you wanted to tell me?"
Bianca paused, just a moment to find her courage that resided in the love she held in her heart, than she leaned in and kissed Maggie with all the longing she had kept in check these many long months.
The greater surprise for her came when Maggie pulled her closer and kissed her back with equally fierce longing.
They pulled apart, out of breath.
Maggie was the first to break the silence. "That must have been some letter."
Bianca gave a mysterious half-smile. "Right time, right place, right person."
Maggie gazed at her quizzically.
Bianca smiled warmly at her, putting an arm around Maggie and leading her out of the boat house. "It's Christmas, a night for unexpected angels."
They walked off, close together arm in arm.
They never knew they had been watched. Greenlee looked on until they were out of sight. With a smile quite unlike her usual smirk, she looked up at the heavens glittering above her.
"Merry Christmas Leo."