Title: Looking Back
Author: A.M. Glass
Copyright: February 21st -, 2004.
Rating(s): PG-13 - NC-17
“Are you feeling better?” Bianca asked after Lena had finished the soup she had ordered.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Lena, I... I don’t want you to feel pressured in any way.”
“I don’t. You deserve an explanation considering how I acted this afternoon.”
“Who is she?” Bianca whispered.
Lena closed her eyes briefly – when she opened them Bianca was in her sight. She was once again struck by how lucky she was. She sincerely doubted anyone in his or her mind would consider the last eleven months of her life, lucky, yet she did.
Never in her wildest imagination would she have foreseen how her life had changed... for the better.
She would’ve laughed if someone suggested that there would come a day when she’d look forward to the prospect of changing diapers. To watching a baby sleeping peacefully and knowing when it awoke, that the child would smile in her direction, capturing her heart like no one else – except for the baby’s mother.
Yes, Lena admitted, Bianca Montgomery captivated her.
It didn’t seem possible for anyone to be as innocent as Bianca seemed when they’d first met. Her innocence pulled Lena closer and she was helpless against it.
The longer she was in Bianca’s presence the more Lena’s feelings had changed for her and after a while, Bianca had become more than a mere “mark”. Bianca was the woman who had done the impossible – making her truly, the most powerful person on earth, more so than Michael himself.
Bianca had managed to blow the dust off Lena’s heart, to get around the impenetrable walls she had built to protect herself from ever being hurt. No longer was she hiding it away – to the point where Lena wondered if Bianca hadn’t affected her the way she had, would she have ended up like Michael?
Lena shivered at the thought. It would’ve been a fate worse than death.
Bianca continued to stare at her – no longer were her eyes as innocent as they once had been. This was something Lena knew she could not change, ever. It was an everlasting shame she knew she would carry with her to the grave.
“Who is she Lena?” Bianca repeated.
Holding her hand out, Lena beckoned Bianca closer. “Lie with me?”
Bianca nodded and slid into bed as Lena moved over to give her room.
“I feel the need to hold you,” Lena whispered. After Bianca had settled down, Lena placed a kiss on top of Bianca’s head. “I love you.”
Looking up, Bianca reached up, bringing Lena’s face closer to hers, “I love you too,” she replied after kissing her briefly.
“Are you comfortable?”
“Twenty years ago, when I was still in Poland,” Lena began without preamble. “Before I had met Michael... there was Marina.” She paused, taking into account what she was going to say next, how it might hurt. “She was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”
Bianca gave Lena a gentle squeeze. She had a feeling as soon as Lena began talking, that what she heard would be difficult to listen to. Marina wasn’t someone Lena had scammed while working with Michael. She was someone who had knowledge Bianca could never possess. She had known Lena as a young woman, untainted by Michael’s corruption. Bianca could tell from the wounded tone in Lena’s voice, even after all the years that had passed whatever had caused the break up still hurt.
Without having heard the entire story, Bianca had already placed Marina on her, “Don’t mess with my family,” list. It wasn’t an extensive one, but Lena was there, taking first place – actually she tied with Miranda, but Bianca no longer thought of one without the other.
Bianca knew she would do anything in her power to keep Lena from being hurt again. She had done enough of that herself to last a lifetime. There was no way she would allow anyone else to do the same – regardless of who it was.
“Baby, take your time, we’ve got all night,” Bianca said as she took Lena’s hand in hers.
“I... I had been out, one afternoon. I didn’t want to stay with my mother. We didn’t have the same relationship that we do now and I had no idea what she was doing at the time,” Lena explained. “I felt the need to get away...”
Lena left as quietly as she could. Her mother had just lain down for a nap. She had reached the front door of the one bedroom apartment they lived in and glancing behind her one last time – she stepped out into the bright afternoon.
She quickly put as much space as she could between herself and the apartment complex. Her relationship with her mother had been strained the last few months.
It hadn’t always been like this – not until her father had been arrested late one night. They hadn’t heard anything from him, and Lena suspected the worse. Her mother’s behavior – going out with other men did little to alleviate the sense of anger she felt towards her.
For Lena, it was as if it didn’t matter to her mother what had happened to her father and if her mother felt that about her own husband, why would she care about her.
Keeping her head held high and looking straight ahead, Lena walked for about ten minutes. She finally reached her destination – a city park. It wasn’t much too look at, a few worn benches, a fountain that no longer worked, in a word, it was bleak.
Yet, Lena found it comforting.
She would often sit on one of the benches and speak with her father. She would tell him of her day – how much she missed him – how she would’ve told him that she loved him, if she had had the chance.
“Is this seat taken?”
“What?” Lena asked as she hurriedly wiped her face in attempts to dry her tears.
“This seat... is it taken?”
Lena squinted, the sun in her eyes as she looked up – her breath caught in her throat. There, standing before her was a vision. She closed her eyes briefly, thinking perhaps she was seeing things.
“I’ll take your silence as a no.”
“You say that a lot don’t you,” the woman asked smiling. “Here,” she said, taking a plain white handkerchief from her pocket book. “You look like you could use it. Please – I can’t stand to see a beautiful lady cry.”
Lena stood up suddenly.
“Wait... don’t go,” the woman said, holding her hand out in front of her. “I’m sorry, I’ve embarrassed you.”
Lena didn’t know what to do. She knew that the woman was not from around here. Although she spoke Polish perfectly, the accent was off.
“I’ve offended you somehow. You must let me make it up to you, please?”
“No,” Lena replied. “I must go,” she said as she started walking away.
“Can I at least know your name?”
Lena stopped. “Why?” she asked without turning around. She knew better than to voluntarily give out any information.
“Because,” the young woman replied, “I’d like to know the name of the Angel that came into my life today.”
Slowly Lena turned and faced her. She simply stared at her for a moment. “Are you serious?” she couldn’t believe what she’d heard.
“No. I’m Marina.”
After a few seconds, Lena’s laughter filled the air.
“Well, I’m glad you find my name humorous,” Marina said.
Lena smiled. “Thank you. I needed that.”
“I... I didn’t mean to disturb you earlier.”
“It’s all right.”
“Good. Now that you’ve forgiven my intrusion...”
“You use a lot of big words don’t you?”
“If I don’t, I’m not taken seriously.”
“Yes. I won’t bore you with the details... you know something...”
“I still don’t know your name.”
Against her better judgment – against all she had been taught, Lena decided to follow her instinct. “My name is Lena. Lena Kundera.”
“So the two of you met in a park in Poland?”
“I never knew you’d been to Poland,” Alice said.
“There is a lot about me that you don’t know Alice. The same can be said about you.”
“Okay – point taken.” Alice had been persuaded by Marina to hear her out, to let her tell how she knew Lena. Only then would Alice consider sitting on the story now that she knew both Bianca and Lena were in town. There was no guarantee that they would see her and no one had been able to get an interview, exclusive or otherwise from her. The only one talking was Derrick Frye, the former acting D.A., and after reading some of the interviews, he came off bitter. He had lost his job after the trial and wasn’t above pointing fingers and placing the blame elsewhere. As for the rest of the participants from the trial, they had closed ranks. It seemed from Alice’s point of view that they were trying to protect Bianca from any more publicity. “So you met at a park – what happened next?”
“You have to remember what it was like back then. Lena was very cautious – you couldn’t afford to make friends with strangers. You had to watch what you said, what you did. You could say that Lena was very courageous when she told me her name. She didn’t know me, I could have been anyone.”
“Now that the two of you are on first name bases, how did you get her to meet you again? Or more importantly, how long did it take you two to have sex?”
“You can’t possibly be shocked can you?”
“It wasn’t like that,” Marina protested.
“It’s always like that.”
Marina looked at Alice and wondered if Gabby was the cause of the cynical viewpoint Alice had. Or perhaps something or rather someone else that had caused it. Sighing inwardly she answered, “Three weeks.”
“Three weeks? That’s kinda slow for you isn’t it?”
Marina felt flush. She knew Alice had meant that as a dig about Jenny. Marina looked down at her clasped hands, “Lena... she acts older than she really is... or rather was back then. She grew up quickly,” she said, ignoring the jibe.
“What do you mean she acts older? What are you trying to tell me?”
Looking Alice straight in the eye and said, “She was only sixteen when we met.”
Alice did a quick calculation. “Holy Shit! You were twenty-two years old.”
“What were you thinking of? I mean if the two of you met right now the age difference is no big deal. What’s six years? Holy crap.” Alice had thought about some of her ex-lovers who had been older, she never had a problem with it. The only difference was, she was in her early twenties at the time and not some sixteen year old.
“I don’t know what I was thinking. I had gone to the park and I saw her crying – it touched me in a way I had never known. It wasn’t planned. It was wrong,” Marina sighed. “If we had been in London, it wouldn’t have been a problem,” she muttered.
“You weren’t though.”
“I must be sick...” Alice grumbled, “Either that or I’ve hung around Shane too long.”
“Why do you say that?”
Alice shook her head, “‘Cause, I shouldn’t want to know – but I do. It’s like a car accident – you can’t help but look.”
“I’m sorry Alice – that is one subject I will not discuss.”
“Okay... okay,” Alice said holding her hand up, conceding. “But I have to ask.”
“What?” Marina answered warily.
“Were you her first?”
* * *
“Yes she was,” Lena replied softly.
“Was it okay? She didn’t hurt you did she?” Bianca asked.
Lena smiled. The act had taken place twenty years ago and here was Bianca trying to make sure she hadn’t been hurt in the past when there was nothing she could do about it. Lena pressed her lips against Bianca’s forehead, squeezing her gently.
“Yes, it was okay and no, Marina did not hurt me. Bianca...” Lena paused, “Nothing could or shall ever compare with our night together – nothing.”
Bianca slowly let out the breath she was holding. She had told Lena that their night together had been spectacular – and it was. Yet seeing Marina gave her pause, perhaps she had been lacking in some way and Lena was simply being kind to spare her feelings.
“When I was with her, I loved her and at the time, I thought I was in love with her... but nothing could prepare me for the revelation that would make any relationship before you insignificant in comparison.”
“What was that?”
“Having someone love you, as much as you do them – there is nothing in the world quite like it. It may not seem like much to other people, but for me, no drug – no drink – no amount of money could ever replace the feeling of being loved in return. Why do you think it was so easy for me to turn down the money your mother offered me? Bianca, my Angel, I have experienced the highest of highs, to the utter desperation that led to my suicide attempt...”
“Hear me out,” Lena interrupted. Before she had accepted Bianca’s invitation – Lena had one condition. They had to talk, about everything. From her suicide attempt to Maggie’s growing obsession with Bianca. “Know this to be the absolute truth, know it in your heart. I would not change a thing, not if it meant I’d never have you in my life.”
Bianca could not nor would she stop the tears running down her face. Although she’d known how much Lena loved her – she’d had her doubts. How was it possible? She wasn’t like Lena. She wasn’t as worldly, sophisticated or as beautiful as Lena. Yet here Lena was once again declaring her love for her.
Hearing the words – sensing the emotions behind them, the honesty, Bianca felt whole. She felt like the most precious thing in the world and it was all due to Lena.
Pushing herself up, Bianca looked into Lena’s eyes.
“Is there something wrong?”
Smiling while shaking her head, Bianca answered, “No. Not a thing. In fact, everything’s perfect.”
Lena’s eyebrows rose. She wasn’t sure why Bianca felt the way she did, but she was relieved that the tears had ceased.
“There is one thing that could make this absolutely perfect,” Bianca whispered as she began to trace Lena’s collarbone with her finger. Her eyes following the path as she moved slowly across to the other side.
Lena gasped as Bianca’s finger burned a path on her skin.
“I’m not sure if I’ve told you this lately, but you are so beautiful,” Bianca confessed, not allowing Lena the opportunity to answer. “There are times, when I see you... I forget to breathe. I get so lost in your beauty that the whole world fades away and all I see is you. You are my world Lena.”
“Bianca...” Lena moaned, her eyes fluttering close.
“Yes,” she replied as her fingers trailed down the middle of Lena’s chest, feeling the rapid heartbeat through her fingertips. Bianca’s fingers stilled – her hand resting on top of the swell of Lena’s breast. She could see the effects the mere presence of her hand was causing.
Lena’s breath had grown ragged; her nipples were hard, pushing up against the fabric of the nightgown she wore. The sight was making Bianca’s mouth water.
It had been so long since they had been together. Leaning forward, her mouth mere inches away from the hardened nipple. It was waiting for her and she wanted it.
“What are you doing?” Lena felt her body respond to Bianca, the way it always had. Her heartbeat was racing, her mouth was dry, her hands clenching the sheets as she desperately fought the impulse to arch her back and feel Bianca’s mouth on her.
“How long were the two of you together?”
“Almost two months.”
“You were obviously sexually compatible. Hey... I’m not asking for details. I’m only making a statement.”
“Alice,” Marina sighed, “I can’t explain to you... how I felt when I was with her. Let me ask you something, have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and thought of the person you’re involved with?”
“Of course I have. Who hasn’t?”
“I want you to think about this then. There – in your case – he or she is, a phone call away, all you have to do is pick up the phone and dial. I didn’t have that luxury with Lena. I couldn’t talk to her whenever I wanted – we couldn’t plan weekend trips. Each minute we shared had to be enough until we saw each other again. There were times when she couldn’t get away – those were the worse days I’d ever experienced in my life Alice.”
“You had it bad didn’t you.”
“I didn’t know what I had,” Marina replied honestly.
“You know what, let’s get some air. I’m feeling cramped all of a sudden.”
Marina thought about it, they had been cooped up in her office for the last two hours. “All right.”
“Great. I’ll meet you outside.” Alice grabbed her bag and left the office. By the time Marina had stepped out, she was already waiting for her in her car.
“Where are we going?” Marina asked as Alice pulled into traffic.
“Does it matter?”
“I suppose not,” Marina replied once she thought about it.
“Were you in love with her?”
“I was twenty-two years old. To my estimation I had “fallen” in love at least three times already. I was infatuated with her. I couldn’t get her out of my mind, I was miserable without her.”
“That’s not an answer,” Alice said quickly glancing at Marina before returning her attention to LA’s infamous evening traffic.
“It was the only answer I had at the time...”
“I figured as much.”
“Alice, where are we going?”
“Hmm... oh, Culver City.”
“Why Culver City?”
“I had a friend who used to live there,” Alice explained as she turned onto Overland Ave.
“We are going to Dr. Paul Carlson’s Tree Park. It’s smaller than Vet’s,” Alice pointed out as she drove past it and made a left on Braddock Drive. “And I thought a quiet walk would be in order.”
“You amaze me at times Alice.”
Alice smiled as she continued driving. There was more to the story and she wanted to hear it all.
* * *
“Yes Mom... I’m fine,” Bianca answered curtly into her cell phone.
Lena had left the bedroom giving Bianca her privacy. Of course the phone rang as Bianca was about to...
“What? Make love to you?” Lena asked herself out loud.
Were they ready? Or had Marina’s presence prompted Bianca’s advances?
Yes, they had been kissing more frequently, passionately as of late. However it didn’t mean that Bianca was ready – let alone willing to take the next step. There hadn’t been any other indication that she wanted to and Lena could only follow Bianca’s signals. She wasn’t going to do anything that Bianca didn’t want; she wouldn’t force herself on her, unlike her “best” friend Maggie.
Every time she thought about how Maggie had kissed Bianca, her blood boiled. The way Bianca had explained it the kiss was completely out of the blue and unwanted.
How many times had she and Maggie discussed Maggie’s growing obsession with Bianca? It was only a matter of time before something like this happened. It angered her when Bianca finally told her.
Why had she waited so long? Was she ever going to? What other secrets was she keeping from her?
Of course she could not keep her self-righteous rant going for very long, not when Bianca very calmly said two words: Suicide attempt.
Why must their lives be fraught with such anguish?
“No Mother, I haven’t changed my mind,” Lena heard Bianca say.
Erica must have brought up adoption again. She had not accepted the baby – as much as Bianca had hoped. Lena worried that Erica never would. It had driven a huge wedge between mother and daughter.
Lena knew the longer the situation went the less time there’d be for reconciling it. She knew how much Bianca loved her mother, but this was one thing Bianca would never change her mind about. Bianca would never give Miranda up and unlike Erica, she... they would shower Miranda with all the love a child could stand.
Erica simply couldn’t get around it and the phone calls had begun to add friction to their trip. There had been nights on their trip when Bianca had woken up screaming. At first, logically, Lena had thought Bianca was dreaming of Michael.
Bianca had assured her that it wasn’t the case – in fact she had not thought about him since the conclusion of the trial.
In Lena’s mind, that left only one person who could possibly cause Bianca so much distress that she would wake up screaming in the middle of the night: Erica.
Lena had blamed herself for the longest until she had spoken to her therapist about the situation. How she thought she had been too wrapped up in Bianca, Miranda and to some extent, Maggie, that she hadn’t notice Erica’s standoffish behavior where the baby was concerned.
“You can’t notice everything Lena,” Melissa, her therapist had said. “You were still trying to figure out where your relationship with Bianca was going, not to mention being supportive of her during her sister’s trial, among other things. You had a full plate.”
“I should have seen it...”
“What if you had? How could you have changed the outcome?”
What could she have done?
“Lena, as much as you hate to admit it, this is between Erica and Bianca. They’ll have to settle this themselves.”
“But I want to help...”
“Of course you do. We always want to help our loved ones when they’re in pain or trouble. Just do what you have been.”
“And what’s that?”
“Be there for her. Don’t try to take her problems solely on yourself. Bianca is a grown woman with a child on the way. You’ve told me before how you wished Erica would see Bianca as the woman she’s become. Not as the child she once was. And as much as she might appreciate the gesture now – down the road, it may affect your relationship.”
“I think I understand,” Lena had answered. “If I continue to fix her problems – she may believe that I don’t think she’s capable of making her own decisions. I’d be treating her exactly like Erica...” she trailed off.
“When are you two leaving again?”
“In two days.”
“You know you can call me, but I don’t think I’ll hear from you unless it’s to tell me about the weather,” Melissa said smiling. “Have a great trip.”
“Thank you. I have a feeling it’s going to be a memorable one.”
“Are you okay?” Bianca asked. She had entered the room after hanging up with her mother only to find Lena standing in the middle of the room with a far off look on her face.
“I’m fine. I was thinking about something Melissa had told me. How are you doing?”
Bianca rolled her eyes.
“I take it the conversation was the same? No change?”
Bianca’s chin trembled as she fought the tears that always seemed to occur after speaking with her mother.
Shaking her head, Lena took Bianca into her arms and led her to the couch. Kissing the top of her head, they sat down, “It’s okay to let them out.”
They sat together for half an hour before Bianca finally spoke. “I’m sorry Mother spoiled the mood earlier,” she grumbled.
“Sweetheart, I need to ask you a question.”
“Earlier – before Erica’s untimely interruption – what exactly were your intentions?”
Pulling back so she could look into Lena’s face, Bianca reached out and caressed her cheek. “I wanna say something silly – to ease the situation here, but you deserve more than that.”
“I appreciate that darling – so, you’ll tell me?”
“Here goes. Lena, these past two weeks have meant more to me than you can possibly imagine. Being with you – watching you go about your daily routine made me see how much I missed out on when I pushed you away. I want to sit across the table from you every morning and watch you read the paper front to back, while you drink your coffee. I love to watch your face light up when I surprise you with a candy bar – milk chocolate with peanuts of course – absolutely no coconut.” Bianca grinned.
“I understand now, how you must have felt... still feel when you put me... us,” she said as she placed her hand on her belly, “ahead of everyone else in your life, with the exception of your mother. I’ve done the same for Miranda. I love how you talk to her when you think I’m sleeping. Her first words will probably be in Polish.” Bianca noticed Lena’s blush getting redder. “I haven’t said anything ‘cause I didn’t want you to stop. I want her to recognize your voice. I need her to know who you are. I... umm... I... can’t imagine how hard it’s been for you to hold back... when we’ve kissed. I can see the desire – the passion in your eyes.”
Lena gazed deeply into Bianca’s, “I would never force my affections on you Bianca... you must know that,” Lena stressed.
“I do and I love you more than I ever thought possible,” Bianca smiled. “I want you to understand something, know this to be the absolute truth, know it in your heart,” she said using Lena’s words. “I... uh... I had already made plans to seduce you...”
Lena’s eyebrows and heart rate rose.
“It’s true,” Bianca told her, enthusiastically nodding her head. “Besides the fact that you’re the hottest woman I’ve ever known, which would make me the luckiest in the world,” she chuckled, “I felt the time was right. I... I want to make love with you Lena. I’m as ready as I’ve ever been. There are no doubts in my mind – you... you won’t hurt Miranda,” Bianca ducked her head shyly, “I checked with the doctor before we left. I wanted to make sure it was okay,” looking up, she took Lena’s hands in hers, brought them to her lips and kissed them both. “I know the moment I thought it was getting to be too much – if I couldn’t handle it – all I’d have to say is stop, and you would,” she said in all seriousness.
“In a heartbeat...” Lena reassured.
Bianca continued to caress the back of Lena’s hands, as she gazed into Lena’s eyes. “Originally, this is where my reasons ended.”
“I don’t understand?”
“All the reasons I gave you, they’re great and everything, but now I have another. I need you to know this has nothing to do with Marina,” Bianca said as she held tight to Lena’s hands. “I won’t have you thinking in the back of your mind that I’m doing this to prove something. We belong together,” she stressed. “We’ve been through hell – but we’re still here. I’m not going to lie to you and say I’m not jealous – I mean look at her... let me finish, please? Thank you,” Bianca said when it looked as if Lena was going to interrupt. “She’s a gorgeous woman and I can only imagine if she looks like this now, she must have been stunning when she was younger. The thing is,” she paused, “that was then and it’s her loss and I won’t make the same mistake again – ever. Lena, you are the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
Lena quickly brought Bianca into her arms, “You’ve thought of everything, haven’t you?” she whispered, her throat tight, amazed that Bianca had touched upon the very questions she would have asked.
“Not everything,” she confessed.
Lena pulled back slightly. “Oh no?”
“I didn’t figure on Mom calling when she did,” Bianca said sulking.
Lena couldn’t help herself and started laughing.
“It’s not funny.”
“Of course not Sweetheart,” she answered her body still shaking.
“I’m sorry my Darling – truly I am,” Lena said after getting her laughter under control. “But it was fortuitous for us that she did call at that moment, rather than later.”
“I guess... I’m still pissed off...”
“Ah.” Lena held a finger up.
Bianca sighed, “Not in front of Miranda.”
Gathering Bianca into her arms again and lying back on the couch, Lena kissed her and said, “We have plenty of time and when the moment is right – we’ll know it. I promise you.”
“I’ll hold you to that.”
|Section 3||A. M. Glass||AMC||The L Word||Main Index|