The first thing that she noticed was her eyes.
They were dark, endless, and soulful. In other words, they were exactly like Bianca's. Except... unlike Bianca, her eyes held a spark of something that Greenlee was all too familiar with herself. And that was a spark of arrogance and mischief.
The second thing she noticed was her smile.
It was lazy and slow, like she knew that by forming it, she could cause almost anyone to fall under her spell. Nothing like Bianca's smile that was charming in its simple innocence and joy.
The third thing she noticed was her body.
She was petite, just like her mother. Almost appearing as if she would break if held too tightly but Greenlee knew better than that. The look in her eyes and the smile on her lips told Greenlee otherwise. Bianca, not Kendall, was the delicate one.
Greenlee was still inspecting the other woman when a smiling Bianca exclaimed, "Kendall!" She then rushed forward for a hug while her sister rose to her feet, steadily matching Greenlee's gaze as she did so.
"Little sis," drawled Kendall in lilting tones, returning Bianca's hug, forming an easy smile. "Don't you look pretty. Did you dress yourself up for me?"
"Silly," said Bianca with a laugh, giving Kendall a slight shove on the arm, smiling fondly. She blushed just a bit and looked down at her outfit that consisted of sleek black pants and a long sleeved green blouse. "I'm dressed like I always do. This isn't anything special."
"I'm hurt," Kendall said, sighing. "You didn't think your big sis was important enough to dress up for."
"You..." Bianca growled softly. "Are a stinker."
Chuckling at this, Kendall murmured, "But I happen to be a very charming stinker, no?" Tilting her head to one side, she acknowledged Greenlee and her eyes flashed with definite interest. "This," began Kendall in a slow voice of intrigue. "Must be the girlfriend."
"And this," responded Greenlee, her eyes flashing with the same sort of interest. "Must be the sister."
Bianca observed the silent communication going on between the two women before she laughed and said, "You're both right. Greenlee, this is my sister, Kendall. Kendall, this is my girlfriend, Greenlee."
"Charmed, I'm sure," Kendall said smoothly with a smile as she reached out to take Greenlee's hand in hers.
"Likewise," said Greenlee, shaking Kendall's hand in an easy movement, tightening her hold just slightly.
A flash sparking in her eyes, Kendall slid her hand out of Greenlee's and turned to face Bianca. "Hungry? The steak here is supposed to be mouth watering."
"Kendall," pronounced Bianca with a laugh, her gaze twinkling with affection at the other woman. "Don't tease me, you know that I don't like eating steak."
"Ah, that's right," Kendall murmured, smiling at Bianca as she sat down at their table that was somewhat isolated in the Inn, in the back of the room. "I forget that you don't like the taste of most meat." Looking towards Greenlee who had just sat down as well, she quirked an eyebrow and said, "Appropriate, isn't it?"
"Very," said Greenlee, her eyes locking with Kendall's. "I think it's good that Bianca's tastes are so particular. It shows that she knows what she likes."
"Hmm, perhaps," said Kendall slowly. She then studied Greenlee for a moment and formed her very best charming smile as she said, "Bianca tells me that you run your own fashion and cosmetics company. One that is in competition with our mother." Kendall's eyes flashed with humor as she rested her chin in the palm of her hand and asked, "So are you ambitious or just gutsy?"
"Both," Greenlee answered, smiling easily. "And I must confess that I just love a good challenge."
Mulling over this, Kendall was silent for a moment before she smiled and replied easily, "As do I."
Observing this interaction with confused eyes, Bianca soon found herself distracted by the figure of Leo nearing their table with a curious look on his face.
"Leo," said Bianca with some relief, rising to her feet to greet her friend. "Having lunch too?"
"Where's the other half?" Greenlee asked in droll tones, her eyes scanning the restaurant sharply for the one person she considered her chief enemy.
"Even I have to eat," Leo said in teasing tones before he turned to Greenlee. "Laura's at work, some people tend to go there, you know."
"Can I help it if I'm the type that doesn't have to show up at the office in order to run a successful million dollar profit grossing company?" sniffed Greenlee.
"Uh huh," murmured Leo wisely, giving a soft chuckle before he slowly locked his eyes onto Kendall. Frowning just slightly, he eyed her closely. "Have we met before? As much as I hate sounding like a cliche, I have to say that you look familiar to me."
"Maybe you've seen me in pictures?" suggested Kendall, rising to her feet and inspecting Leo with lidded eyes. "I'm Kendall Hart, Bianca's long lost sister."
"Florida isn't long lost," laughed Bianca. "She's been living there and just came back home today."
"Ah," Leo said knowingly, smiling widely at Kendall. "No wonder you look familiar then. I think I've seen your picture in Bianca's room a few times."
"In her room?" asked Kendall curiously, a playful smile quirking on her lips. "Bianca... bad girl. You're not switching teams on us, are you? And with such a stud."
"Kendall!" exclaimed Bianca, blushing bright red as she slapped her sister lightly on the arm. "Leo's just a friend, that's all! My best friend in fact."
"And remember, Bianca doesn't enjoy eating certain kinds of meat," Greenlee added smoothly, hooking her arm in Bianca's and leaning against the other woman. "Isn't that right, Binky?"
"Very right, Greenbeans," replied Bianca, smiling now and looking much more at ease.
Kendall was about to reply when her eyes fixed on something of extreme interest to her. Moving around and in front Leo, she formed her patented charming smile then said in her slow and easy drawl, "Hello there."
"Hello yourself, darlin'."
On hearing a southern accent, Bianca paled slightly and ducked her head around Greenlee, whom was still snuggled against her, to see who Kendall had just greeted. Praying with all of her might that it wasn't who she thought that it was.
It was of no use though because what she saw standing before her and in front of Kendall, was the very shapely figure of Starla Reece, wearing a smile that could equal Kendall's when it came to sheer charming power.
"Starla," squeaked Bianca. "Hi."
"Bianca," Starla pronounced slowly. "How're you? I saw you over here and thought I'd say hello. Of course," she regarded Kendall curiously. "At the time, I sure didn't know you that were having a family reunion."
"Yeah, well, not really," said Bianca lamely, giving a tense laugh as she rubbed the back of her head with her hand. "Mom's not here. But... uhm..." Bianca now looked curious. "How did you know who Kendall was? I mean, you're not from Pine Valley."
Arching a fine blonde eyebrow, Starla chuckled softly and murmured, "Your family happens to be fairly famous, darlin'. I'm surprised that you don't realize how much people know about you."
"Little sis is the reclusive sort," Kendall responded, calling attention to herself once again as Starla turned to face her. "She takes after our grandmother and rather not think about such things."
"Ah," said Starla wisely, studying Kendall carefully now. "What about you? What do you like to think about, Ms. Kendall Hart?"
"That," began Kendall in a slow drawl as she moved closer to Starla peering up into the much taller woman's deep blue eyes. "Is a secret."
Chuckling again, Starla murmured, "Well now, I have to say that now I want to find that secret out all for myself. But I happen to be running late for a meeting, so that'll have to wait for another time and place." She then turned on her heel, walking away, only to pause to give a final smile as she said, "I'll see you all later."
"I look forward to it," said Kendall smoothly.
There was a moment of pause and everyone present stared long and hard at Kendall who didn't seem at all disturbed at receiving this attention.
"What?" Kendall asked innocently.
"She's definitely Erica's daughter," commented Greenlee, looking up at Leo who stood at her side.
"Yep," said Leo with a nod of agreement.
Bianca in the meanwhile, stood in shock as she tried to process the fact that Kendall had just been flirting with Starla right in front of her.
And what exactly all that meant.
Erica was overworked.
Most everyone at Enchantment knew that. Hell, most everyone in Pine Valley, not to mention the known world knew that. After all, Erica Kane, despite being the most well known man killer, was a savvy businesswoman.
A savvy businesswoman that hardly ever took a vacation from her work. Well, at least she hadn't taken a good long vacation in the past four years.
And frankly, it was starting to have an effect on how she ran things at the office. She was working all of her employees just as hard as she was working herself.
Which basically meant that her workers that weren't so exhausted that they fell asleep as soon as they went inside of their homes each night, were about ready to start a revolt against their fearless leader.
So perhaps that's why when they saw Bianca and Kendall, arm in arm, laughing cheerfully while they entered their mother's building, her staff was overjoyed. Well, they were overjoyed once they got over the shock that the little troublemaker that they had first known as Kendall Hart had grown up into such a sophisticated woman.
But then the overjoyed feelings soon returned as they realized that Bianca alone was probably enough for Erica to give it a rest with her hectic pace. But now that her long absent daughter Kendall was back? It made them rejoice about one thing and one thing only.
That their much needed vacations were near.
"Is it just me or do Mommy Dearest's employees look particularly harried today?" Kendall asked as a smirk played upon her lips.
"They look harried," replied Bianca drolly. The two women were walking towards their mother's office, having effectively made it through all of the various people who claimed to be Erica's 'exclusive' assistant. After so many years, they still had no idea which person was really and truly her assistant. Nor were they sure if they even cared about that fact. Still, it was confusing. "Then again, they always look that way, Kendall."
"Mother's been burning the midnight oil, huh?" said Kendall wisely, a look of acceptance in her dark gaze. "I guessed as much when I talked to her on the phone. When she wasn't obsessing on your love life she would talk about her latest campaign or product." Kendall paused to glance at Bianca and her smirk widened. "Or complain about your current girlfriend and her company trying to steal away the oh so lucrative youth market from her."
"That I've heard plenty of," Bianca sighed. "Funny though," she pondered as they walked into the last hallway that led to Erica's inner sanctum. "She hasn't said one thing about that since I told her that I'm dating Greenlee."
"You were expecting her to?" asked Kendall, a curious look forming on her sculptured features.
"Well, yeah," said Bianca rather lamely. She immediately formed a guilt ridden expression and said in hushed tones, "I'm a bad person, aren't I?"
Releasing a low and seductive chuckle, Kendall threw her head back just slightly as she hooked her arm in Bianca's. "Oh, little sis," Kendall pronounced with certain affection. "This is why I love you."
"My feelings of guilt?" asked Bianca very dryly.
"No," Kendall chuckled again, giving Bianca a slight nudge as they neared Erica's door. "The fact that you have them. That's a rare thing to have in this town. Hell, if you ask me, that's a rare thing to have in this life. Besides," smiling now, Kendall's face was reassuring as it peered into Bianca's. "Mother is Mother, we both know what she's like but you know... instead of feeling guilty for you expecting her to act like how she usually is, why not feel glad that maybe she's changing? Her not harping on the fact that your girlfriend is her top competitor in business is a damn good thing. Don't you think so?"
"Yeah, I do," murmured Bianca, her eyes turning thoughtful as she looked at the ground. "Maybe it means that she might be okay with me dating Greenlee?"
The smirk returning to her lips, Kendall gave a slow shake of her head and drawled, "I wouldn't go that far if I were you, little sis. We can't ask for miracles until it gets just a tiny bit closer to Christmas."
While Bianca rolled her eyes at this, Kendall chuckled again and proceeded to push Bianca lightly on the back, moving her first towards the door. "You open it, I'll hide behind you, Gargantua," Kendall teased.
"Gargantua?" Bianca repeated, forming a grimace as she said this. "I'm not tall, you're just really short. Just like every other female in this town. I swear," Bianca was grumbling now. "Am I the only person of the feminine sex around here that has normal, healthy, hormones?"
"Yes, so open the door," Kendall said quickly, shoving Bianca on the back and causing the other girl and the doors to fly open in a startled movement.
Upon hearing the doors to her office open and a very familiar cry of panic, Erica turned to face the figure of Bianca stumbling into her office. Eventually, she came to a halt near one of her oversized stuffed chairs, hanging onto the back of it to regain her balance.
When it was over, Erica arched a thin brown eyebrow at her daughter and said in lilting tones of humor, "That was quite the dramatic entrance, Bianca. I didn't know that you had it in you."
"She didn't, but I certainly do, Mother."
Forming an expression of complete and utter shock, Erica's eyes went as wide as they could possibly go as she looked on the form of her eldest child.
"Kendall?" whispered Erica shakily, raising her hand to her mouth, her eyes appearing to become teary as she took a hesitant step forward. "Is that really you...?"
"Of course it's her, Mom," said Bianca, smoothing out her outfit and shooting a dirty look at her sister. "Can you think of anyone else who would think a good idea of a joke would be propelling me into your office?"
"It was dramatic," Kendall drawled, her eyes flashing humorously before they turned back to Erica and softened visibly. "Mother said so herself."
"Kendall," Erica repeated, now more tearfully. Flying across the room, she pulled her oldest daughter into her arms and clung onto her for dear life. "I'm so happy to see you... why didn't you tell me you were coming? I could have arranged a proper homecoming for you..."
"A party?" Kendall chuckled, doing her level best to try and control her own tears. It felt so strange, so very strange to be held by her mother. She had never really been held by Erica in the first place because even if she had wanted it, she wasn't ready for it. They weren't ready for it. But now they both were and now they were finally both together. "You know how I love parties. Unlike..."
Kendall trailed off slyly, looking at Bianca who merely gave another roll of her expressive eyes. Pulling back from their hug, Erica looked at Bianca and wiping her eyes, she laughed, "Unlike your sister, yes."
"Can I help it if I'm the family wallflower?" Bianca asked, crossing her arms over her chest defensively despite the fact that a wide smile was on her lips.
"So!" Erica exclaimed, focusing back on Kendall and reaching out to hold their hands. "How long are you in town for? Have you found a place to stay? You could--"
"I'm staying at the Valley Inn," interrupted Kendall smoothly, her tones still comforting and warm. She paused to regard Erica for a moment and then she gave a squeeze of her hand, and continued, "We might love each other but we don't exactly live well together, Mother."
"That's true," admitted Erica with a sigh. Her eyes narrowed a bit and a look of knowing came into her gaze. "But how long are you staying for Kendall?"
Forming a slow smile, realizing full well that she had been found out, Kendall drawled, "Guess."
"Kendall!" cried Erica excitedly, moving in for another hug as Kendall gasped a bit under what was a definitely unexpected strength. "I'm so happy!"
"Me too," Kendall groaned, looking over at Bianca who wore what looked to be a smugly amused expression on her lovely features. "Mother... I can't breathe..."
"Oh! I'm sorry," said Erica, hastily releasing her hold on Kendall and immediately fixing her daughter's now wrinkled clothes after doing so. When she finished with this, she peered up at Kendall and smiled grandly. "Well, you know what this means, don't you?"
"That Pine Valley will soon be falling to its knees because the Kane women are finally reunited?" ventured Kendall, a teasing smile playing on her lips.
"That and something else," Erica's eyes were sparkling now and as she looked into them, Kendall knew her mother was up to something.
"Something else?" Kendall pursued carefully.
"That the team of mother and daughter, Kane and Hart, are reunited to run Enchantment!" proclaimed Erica with certain delight, clapping her hands together.
On hearing the excited tones in her mother's voice and seeing the hopeful expression on her face, suddenly Kendall found one of her planned jokes less than funny. In fact, right now she found it damn near tragic.
"About that..." said Kendall slowly, averting her eyes to Bianca and pleading with her younger and much more kind hearted sister. "There's this thing..."
"Thing?" Erica echoed, blinking in confusion. "What could you possibly be talking about, Kendall? I know that you always had an interest in the company and I think this would be the perfect opportunity to--"
"Uhm, Mom?" Bianca intervened as she stepped towards the two women. "Kendall... well, she can't work with you. She has... a previous engagement."
"A what?" asked Erica rather suspiciously. Darting her eyes from one daughter to the next before narrowing them a great deal, she said, "What's going on, girls? Don't attempt to lie to me because you know I'll be able to tell. I'd much prefer if you just came out with the truth."
"Lie? I wouldn't lie! Mom, I--" Bianca started only to cease in her protest on seeing the yielding look that lay in Kendall's soft eyes. "Fine," sighed Bianca. "You want to know the truth? Here it is: Kendall can't work with you at Enchantment because she's already working for Brooke."
There was a long pause of silence as Erica stared at her daughters. Both of which now looked very nervous as they met her expressionless gaze.
However, a few seconds later, the entire staff of assistants that flurried around the outside of Erica's office heard a shout rally in the air. And the shout was this...
"My daughter is working for WHO?!"
The staff wasn't quite sure what to make of this outburst but they knew that it meant nothing good. So just maybe that's why over half of them opted to leave early that day. Even if tomorrow they'd risk Erica's wrath for doing so without her permission.
Sometimes you just have to know when to fight and when to run away. It's just too bad for Bianca and Kendall that they didn't seem to know this themselves.
Too bad indeed.
"She makes me nervous."
Pausing before he took a sip of his drink, Leo quirked an eyebrow at Greenlee. "You? Nervous? And over a relative at that? I'm shocked," he pronounced.
"She's not like Bianca," said Greenlee plainly, meeting Leo's gaze. "Kendall's like... well," Greenlee now looked wary. "She's like us."
"A toast to us then because we're very good looking and possess oodles of charm," Leo said, holding up his glass before taking a long drink.
The two of them were at the S.O.S., waiting for Bianca and Kendall to return from visiting Erica, and for Laura to get off work. Well, Leo was waiting for Laura to get off work. Greenlee couldn't care less, of course. All three were supposed to meet them there later tonight.
Peering at Greenlee who wore a solemn face that he hadn't seem on her in quite some time and knowing just what it meant, Leo asked softly, "Why are you worried?"
"Because Bianca loves her," Greenlee revealed in hushed tones, lifting her plaintive gaze to meet Leo's. "She loves her and unlike Erica, she listens to her advice. What if Kendall... because she's like us... because she knows... decides to tell Bianca not to be with me anymore? What if Bianca does what she says?"
"Hey," Leo said gently, reaching out to hold Greenlee's hand. "Binks wouldn't do something like that to you. She cares too much to hurt you that way. And you ought to know by now just how stubborn she can be. So what if Kendall does do something like that? Who says that Binks is even going to listen to her? I bet," Leo leaned in closer and gave Greenlee a mischievous smile. "That if she tried to pull that number our Binks would turn into her rarely seen super warrior bitch self and defend you. Our girl doesn't give up on what she wants easily."
"Yeah, she doesn't, does she?" Greenlee smiled fondly, recalling all the times Bianca had gone after what she wanted in a confident yet somehow gentle manner.
"Yep," Leo agreed, taking another drink. "So why should now be any different? She loves you, right?"
On hearing this, Greenlee went quiet and a troubled expression formed on her delicate features. Leo, sensing that he had made a royal screw up by saying this, wore a guilty look as he gazed at her.
"Greenlee, I didn't..." Leo began slowly.
"It doesn't matter," interrupted Greenlee, lifting her eyes from where they had locked on their table to smile at him brightly. "I love Bianca and I'm with her now. That's more than enough to make me happy."
Nodding his head at this, Leo gave his silent agreement even though, in his heart, he doubted that. He knew from being with Greenlee, from loving her so much and so true, just what her demons were. Much like she herself knew all of the secrets that he held inside.
What Leo knew now and knew for sure was the fact that no matter what she said, Greenlee just couldn't be truly happy until she knew that Bianca loved her back.
And knew Bianca loved her with all her heart. Just like Greenlee loved her and wanted to always be loved.
Soon these thoughts were forgotten though because soon Laura was walking into the S.O.S., a bright smile on her pretty features until she caught sight of just who was sitting at the table with her boyfriend.
That's when the sniping began and that's when the name calling began and that's when the near catfight began as well. And among all of this chaos was how Bianca and Kendall found them exactly an hour later.
How Leo survived it all, he never knew. But there was one thing that he knew for sure. That if you ever need someone to break up a very heated situation between the always antagonistic Greenlee and Laura there's only one person that you have to call.
Bianca Montgomery. The owner of quite possibly the saddest and most adorable doe eyes in existence. How many of the mighty have fallen before them? Countless.
Which is, of course, to be expected.
Because one must remember, despite how she might act and how nice she might be, deep inside Bianca was something that she couldn't ever deny.
She was Erica Kane's daughter.
To be continued...