by Susan P.
  Fandom: All My Children      Pairing: Lena/Bianca (sort of)  
  Rating, etc.: all ages, I guess  
  Spoilers: the Lena/Bianca storyline  
  Summary: Lena meets with Jackson Montgomery to discuss her fate.  
  Author's Notes: Filling in another moment that was Twilight Zoned.  Set the morning after the press conference where everything was exposed.  
  Disclaimers: The characters, sadly, are not mine.  At the time I wrote this, they were in the hands of ABC Daytime, etc.  
  Permission to Archive: Passion and Perfection. ShatterStorm Productions Anyone else, please ask first.  


Jackson Montgomery approached his office door at 7:30am, beating even his personal assistant to work. His intent was to get a jump on some necessary paperwork so that he could make an early day of it. He spotted a forlorn-looking Lena Kundera perched on a bench in the hallway outside his outer office.

"Ms. Kundera, I'm glad to see you took my offer seriously, but you're a little early."

The woman rose to face him. "I..." she shrugged listlessly, "have nowhere else to be." Not any more.

He didn't quite know how to respond to that, so he just stepped over to unlock the door. "Well, let's step into my office. Will your counsel be meeting you here?"


He turned back to look at her as she followed him through the door.

"I did not contact a lawyer. I trust you."

It was hardly the attitude he was accustomed to seeing in defendants, and ordinarily he would be happy to see any defendant decline counsel, because that would almost certainly work to his advantage. In this case, however, he was troubled by the fact that Kundera looked so...defeated for someone who was being offered a chance to stay out of jail. He suspected that the woman's mood had less to do with the case than with his niece, Bianca.

"Mr. Montgomery," she spoke again once they were inside his office. "I want to thank you for what you did for my mother. I can't tell you how much it means to me that she's safe now."

He shrugged. "Well, I want your cooperation in taking Michael Cambias down. Besides, I didn't want to see him drag anyone else into his sick little games."

Lena winced and dropped her eyes to the floor, but said nothing. The silence stretched out and became uncomfortable. 

"Well, why don't you have a seat and we can discuss your situation, Ms. Kundera." Jackson sat behind his desk as Lena perched on the edge of one of the chairs facing it. "I'm prepared to offer you--"

"Mr. Montgomery," she broke in, "the only deal I am interested in making is one that will ensure my mother's safety. I will tell you whatever you want to know about Michael Cambias. Just, please help me do whatever is necessary to make sure that my mother can remain in this country--or at least that she will not have to return to Poland. She would not be safe there. It doesn't matter what happens to me now, not anymore. Once Michael's trial is over, you can do what you want with me: arrest me, have me deported. I don't care."

"Why not?"

"What?" Lena seemed shocked that he would even ask her such a question.

"Why don't you care about what might happen to you?"

She didn't seem to understand why he would even care. "Mr. Montgomery, I love two people in this world. For the safety of one, I violated the other's trust. Now, my mother is here and safe, and Bianca wants me out of her life." She shrugged dejectedly. "I just want to do what's right for both of them."

"And you think that your mother and Bianca would be better off without you in their lives? You think that's what they would want?"

"I think it's what Bianca wants. And, we have relatives in this country. My mother will be all right without me."

If Jackson had ever intended to make sure Lena Kundera was punished for her part in Cambias' scheme, her willingness to sacrifice herself for Bianca's sake would have been enough to convince him otherwise.

"I doubt your mother would agree with you there. And, Ms. Kundera, I know my niece very well. She may be hurting now, but given time, I think she'll forgive you. I wouldn't be so sure that she wishes you ill."

"I know she doesn't. She is not capable of that. But she doesn't want me in her life any more. She seemed rather definite about that yesterday."

"Well, I wouldn't be so sure about that, either. At any rate, I see no reason that you should have to sacrifice yourself in order to make things right.  I'm offering you immunity from prosecution providing you're willing to testify to everything you know about Michael Cambias."

"And my mother?"

"I have a contact at the INS. Let me see what kind of deal we can work out for her."

She sighed in relief. "Thank you, Mr. Montgomery."

"You're welcome."

Jackson checked his watch. Still early yet. A plan had begun to form in his mind. Since he was released from the hospital, Bianca had taken to stopping by the penthouse in the mornings to check on him before she went to work. She and Lena obviously had some things to work out, and Erica had left for the office just before he had this morning, so he didn't have to worry about a confrontation with her. He started shuffling papers around on his desk, as if looking for something and not finding it. 

"I'm sorry, Ms. Kundera, I've been doing a lot of work at home while I've been recovering from the shooting. Apparently, I left some of the relevant paperwork back at the penthouse. Why don't you come home with me? I'll get the papers I need and call my friend at Immigration from there."

She looked nervous at the prospect of entering Erica's domain again. "Are you certain that won't cause problems with Ms. Kane?"

"No, she's already at the office by now."

She relaxed somewhat at the news. "Yes, I would imagine she has a lot to take care of, after yesterday's coup. All right."

Jackson took a moment to gather the files he had intended to work on this morning. He would just work from home today after all.

"Good. Let's go."


Jackson watched from his car as Lena Kundera left Erica's building. She looked as though she'd been kicked in the stomach. He sighed; clearly Bianca was being stubborn about this.  From what little he'd witnessed between them before he came up with the ruse about the appointment with his doctor, Bianca and Lena clearly had strong feelings for each other. Everything he had learned about Lena from their meeting this morning told him she deserved a second chance. He just hoped Bianca would realize that, eventually, but it was clearly too soon for her to do so now. He hesitated a moment, until Ms. Kundera was out of sight, then headed back upstairs. Given the state Lena had been in, Bianca probably needed a shoulder right now. He just hoped she wouldn't realize that he hadn't had time enough to even get to the hospital, much less there and back. If she did, she'd realized that she'd been set up to run into Lena and he'd become a target for her anger. If so, he would just have to deal with that. Maybe another target was just what Bianca needed right now,

The end.

© June 2003