A/N: Thanks for continuing to read, review, and follow! I appreciate it. Sorry for the delay in posting. I'll most likely be updating "Things Change" next. This chapter picks up where the last one left off. Hope you enjoy this update!
Fiona heard the restaurant's door open and turned towards it. Her eyes grew wide with excitement, and she started to nudge her sister when she saw who had arrived. "Rissa! Rissa! It's Erica Kane!"
Marissa followed her sister's gaze and smiled at her star-struck expression. "Do you want to meet her?"
Fiona nodded excitedly and whispered. "Yes."
"Stay right here." Marissa instructed as she walked over to Bianca. Her eyes flicked over to Erica as she walked. Marissa had to admit that it was impressive the way Erica took control of the room. It was a sight to behold and like nothing she had ever witnessed firsthand before. "Hey. I have a favor to ask."
"Whatever you need, I'm your woman."
"Oh, I do like the sound of that. I'll keep that in mind for later."
"See that you do." Bianca grinned. "What do you need?"
"Your Mom just got here. Would you mind introducing her to Fi?"
Bianca glanced over and saw her mother as she entered the restaurant. As usual, all eyes turned to the diva. Erica may be short in stature, but her mere presence commanded the attention of everyone in whatever room she entered. Today was no different. Bianca then looked at Fiona. She was practically vibrating with excitement. The brunette turned back to Marissa and smiled. "I would love to. I have a question though. Why me? I mean, you know my Mom, and the two of you get along really well. You could easily introduce them."
"I know." Marissa admitted.
That's when it hit Bianca. "You're letting me do it so I can get the credit with Fiona and kind of be her favorite person today."
"Well first of all, Fiona is already crazy about you. I do think she would get a kick out of you introducing her though, and if she likes you even more than she already does, then so be it." Marissa shrugged.
Bianca smiled. "You're something else, you know that, Tasker?"
"I have my moments. By the way, no offense, but I think your Mom will be her favorite person today."
"No offense taken. Trust me when I say that I'm used to that when it comes to my Mom. Let's go make your sister's day." Bianca winked as she and Marissa walked over to Fiona. "Hey, Fiona."
"Would you like to go meet my Mom?"
Fiona nodded excitedly. "Yeah, I really would."
Bianca held out her hand for Fiona. "Come with me then."
Marissa nodded when her sister glanced at her. Fiona smiled brightly seeing Marissa nod, and she took Bianca's offered hand.
"Bianca, sweetheart." Erica smiled and kissed her daughter's cheek. "How are you?"
"I'm good. How are you?"
"I'm well. Marissa, it's good to see you again. How are you, dear?"
"It's good to see you too, and I'm doing pretty good. Thank you for coming."
"I'm happy to be here. Thank you for inviting me."
Bianca could see Fiona start to fidget next to her. "Mom, I'd like to introduce Fiona Tasker, Marissa's sister. Not surprisingly, she's a big fan."
"Hi, Ms. Kane. It's an honor to meet you." Fiona blushed as she nervously held out her hand.
"Oh no, this just will not do. I insist you call me Erica." The diva said as she shook the younger woman's hand.
Fiona beamed. "Okay, Erica."
The diva smiled. "Good. Your sister has told me a great deal about you. You work fulltime, go to school, and volunteer. I must say that I am very impressed. Have you left yourself some room to have fun? It is very important that you do. I have told Bianca the same thing, and I am very glad to see that she has heeded that advice. Of course, I think your sister is helping her with that."
Marissa shrugged while Bianca blushed. Neither could dispute what Erica had said nor were they inclined to. The couple saw each other nearly every day. Sometimes, they went out. Sometimes, they stayed in. When it was the latter, it was usually because either Bianca had to study for class or Marissa was doing research for work. It really didn't matter to them. They just liked spending time together.
"I have fun and enjoy doing other things. I love working and my classes, and I really love helping out with Special Olympics. I don't compete any more, but I do help the athletes."
"My sister is an awesome swimmer. She kicked some serious butt in the pool. Do you know how many medals you won, Fi?"
"I can't remember. Mom will know."
Marissa laughed. "Isn't that the truth? She remembers all that stuff. Anyway, Fi has won a lot. A couple of years ago, she stopped competing."
Fiona shrugged. "I wanted others to feel proud of what they can do like I did. I get to help them feel that way now."
"My sister is pretty darn amazing." Marissa stated proudly.
"Yes, she is." Bianca agreed. She really was impressed with Fiona, and she also thought Marissa was pretty amazing as well.
Fiona blushed. "I just try and do what I can. I do have a personal life too though, Erica. I have friends that I go out with, and I've dated some. Dad doesn't make that easy though. He gives my dates 'the talk' when they come to pick me up, and that can be really embarrassing. Rissa's lucky that she lives away from home and doesn't have to deal with that as much."
Marissa glanced at Bianca before turning her attention back to her sister and chuckled. She remembered her father's 'talk' all too well. She had been present when he'd given it to dates in the past, and Roy had also given an abridged version of it to Bianca earlier that day. Marissa had to admit that she was surprised that he hadn't pursued it further with her girlfriend. While curious about that, she also had to admit that she was grateful that he hadn't. Fiona was right when she had said it could be embarrassing. Marissa shook her head and turned her attention back to her sister with a smile. Fiona was beaming as she talked with Erica. There was no sign of nerves. She was talking with the diva just like she would with anyone else. Most people would be a little tongue tied or simply too afraid to speak at all with someone as famous as Erica, but Marissa knew better than anyone else that Fiona wasn't most people.
On the other side of the restaurant, several others observed the interaction between Erica and Fiona.
Lydia and Roy couldn't help but smile when they saw how happy and excited Fiona was to meet one of her idols. Her current mood was the polar opposite of what it had been earlier in the day, and they were beyond grateful for that. Roy and Lydia had heard countless stories about Erica, some good and some bad. These conflicting stories made it difficult to know what was real and what wasn't. Rather than rely on their validity, Roy and Lydia decided to rely on the people they personally knew who had actually met the diva, their daughter Marissa and their best friend Krystal. According to both women, Erica could definitely be intimidating, and she had very strong opinions. To Marissa however, she was a protective mother who was looking out for her daughter's wellbeing. She was also kind and had treated Marissa with nothing but respect. Krystal shared the same opinion. Seeing Erica interact with Fiona and the smile on their daughter's face, Roy and Lydia couldn't help but agree with them, at least until they met the diva themselves. They were anxious to meet Erica but held off for the time being. Right now, this moment belonged to Fiona, and her parents wouldn't take it away from her for the world.
Mona smiled as she watched Erica and Fiona. She knew better than anyone that her daughter could be self-absorbed. Mona also knew, however, that Erica loved her family fiercely and would do anything for them. She wanted to keep them safe and prevent them from getting hurt. Mona knew how much Erica hated seeing Bianca hurt after her breakup, and Reese was lucky she got out of Pine Valley in one piece. For her sake, the woman would be wise to stay away because God help her if Erica ever saw her again. As for herself, Mona wasn't quite sure what she would do if she saw Reese again. She shook her head to clear those thoughts and watched her daughter again. Erica truly appreciated her fans and was extremely good with them, particularly the special ones like Fiona. Mona was proud of her daughter but even more so when she saw the patience and caring that Erica exhibited in moments like this.
"She gets that from you." Myrtle followed Mona's gaze.
"Who? What do you mean?" Mona asked.
"Erica. She gets that kindness from you. I know you can't always she yourself in her, but trust me, darlin', she has your heart." Myrtle said knowingly as she patted her friend's arm. Mona was one of the kindest people that Myrtle knew with Bianca being a very close second. While Erica had her moments of self-absorption, it was good to see that the kindness hadn't completely skipped a generation.
"You're welcome, darlin'."
Kendall and Greenlee observed the interaction between Erica and Fiona from the other side of the restaurant with great interest.
"Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" Greenlee asked.
Kendall nodded. "Yes, I do. The real question is are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Yes, I am. She would be absolutely perfect. What do you think our next step should be?"
"Honestly? I think we need to talk with Marissa first. I know Fiona is legally an adult, but there are special circumstances here to consider."
"I agree. We talk to Marissa first for her input, and then, we take it from there. We're going to have to approach this carefully though."
"You're right, and we will. I won't do anything that could negatively affect Bianca. She's been through way too much, and she's finally happy again. Any plans we might have are not worth her happiness. Never have been, never will be." Kendall said with conviction.
Greenlee nodded. "You're right. Family over business, always. So, are we going to tell Bianca?"
"Yeah, we have to. It's best if she hears it from us. We can talk about it with both of them at the same time."
"That's a good idea."
Kendall cocked her head as she was struck with a thought. "I have another one."
"Mom. We could bring her onboard if they like the idea and agree."
"That is a good idea. Do you think your Mom would go for it?"
Kendall watched her mother and smiled. "Yeah, I do. I really do."
"When do you want to talk to them?"
"In a couple of days. We definitely want to do it while the Taskers are still in town, but there's no need to rush. Let's give them a day or two. It will give us time to think everything through on our side and come up with a good proposal."
"Works for me. I guess I know what we'll be working on tomorrow. We should probably go ahead and set something up with Bianca and Marissa though so they can check their schedules. I'm thinking lunch would probably be our best bet because you know Marissa will most likely be doing something with her family after work." Greenlee suggested.
"You're right. That's a really good idea. We'll grab them when they're by themselves."
After some time, Erica, Marissa, and Bianca made their way over to the redhead's parents while Fiona had excused herself to use the restroom.
"Mom, Dad, I'd like to introduce you to Bianca's Mom, also known as Erica Kane. Erica, these are my parents, Roy and Lydia Tasker."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Kane." Roy, with his most winning smile, offered his hand to the diva.
Erica raised an eyebrow and shook his hand. "I see where your daughters get it. Please call me Erica."
"Only if you call me Roy."
"I do believe I can do that, Roy."
Lydia rolled her eyes at his husband. He was charming without even trying. "Please call me Lydia. I have to admit that I have been looking forward to meeting you. As I'm sure you are aware, our daughter Fiona is a big fan. I hope she hasn't overstepped with her enthusiasm."
Erica chuckled as she shook the other woman's hand. "I've been looking forward to meeting both of you as well. Marissa and Krystal have both spoken highly of you. As for Fiona, don't worry. She has been nothing short of delightful. That holds true for Marissa as well."
"I'm very glad to hear that. I was going to ask about her next. Rissa can definitely be a handful." Lydia teased her daughter.
"I get it from Dad." Marissa smirked.
"Hey!" Roy feigned being offended.
Lydia laughed. "You're right. We all know that doesn't come from my side. Erica, I have to compliment you on your daughters. You must be so proud of Kendall and Bianca."
Erica smiled. "Thank you. I am very proud of them, as I am sure you are of Marissa and Fiona."
Roy nodded. "We are. Thank you." He turned to his daughter. "Rissa, I say this with all the love in the world, go away. We're going to talk about you now."
"The same for you as well, Bianca." Erica said, clearly amused seeing the younger couple roll their eyes.
Bianca sighed. "Fine. Just try not to embarrass me too much, Mom."
Marissa glanced at her parents. "The same goes for the two of you." She held her hand out for Bianca. "May I buy you a drink?"
"Yes, you may." Bianca grinned as she happily took her girlfriend's hand.
Lydia watched the couple walk away hand in hand and couldn't help but smile. She loved seeing her daughter so happy and knew that Roy did as well.
"I have to tell you that I am very impressed with Marissa."
"I will admit, and something tells me you may already know this, that I conducted somewhat of an interrogation when I first met her. Marissa was not intimidated, at least not from what I could tell. She didn't flinch once, and answered every question. While I couldn't tell if she was intimidated, I could tell how much she cares about Bianca. She makes her happy, and for that, I am extremely grateful."
"You're right about us knowing about your 'interrogation'. Marissa did tell us. Since we're being honest, I might have done the same with Bianca." Roy admitted. "It's easy for us to see how much Bianca cares about Marissa as well. It's been too long since I've seen Marissa smile this much, and that means everything to us."
Fiona found her sister and Bianca at the bar when she returned from the restroom. "Where's Erica?"
"Talking to Mom and Dad." Marissa said as she tilted her head in their direction.
"Oh." Fiona patted her sister's back sympathetically.
"Yeah, I know."
"It'll be okay, Rissa. I can tell that Erica likes you. So, I don't think that any of the stories that Mom and Dad might tell her will change that. Plus, Mom won't let Dad embarrass you too much."
Marissa chuckled. "True. Mom's good at reining him in."
"What about my Mom though?" Bianca sighed.
"It'll be okay for you too." Fiona assured her new friend. "I heard them talking earlier. Mom and Dad really like you so you're good."
"Thank you, Fi." Bianca said gratefully.
"Fi's right. They do really like you."
"And Mom really likes you. You scored a lot of points with her when the two of you had lunch. You stood up to her, and Mom appreciates that. She told me that you passed her interrogation."
"That's good to hear!"
"Ooh, the parents are talking. That's not always good, especially with you two troublemakers." Greenlee teased as she and Kendall joined the group.
Kendall chuckled. "The only troublemaker I see here is you."
"If that's not the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is." Greenlee smirked. "Fiona will agree with me, won't you?"
Marissa looked at her sister with a smile. "Don't do it, Fi. It's a trap. They tried to suck me into their drama once, but I wouldn't go for it."
Bianca leaned in closer to Fiona. "She's right. I wouldn't trust either of them right now. They try to do this to me all the time."
Fiona glanced at Kendall first and then Greenlee. She could see the amused looks on their faces and could easily tell that they weren't being serious. "Yeah, I'm not getting in the middle of this."
"Smart woman. I can't say I blame you. I would do the same thing." Kendall said.
Fiona smiled brightly as she was included in the group's banter. It made her feel like one of them. That was something that wasn't always the case. Well, except for with Marissa. Her sister always included her and never made her feel like she was less than her. Bianca, Kendall, and Greenlee made her feel included, like she was an equal. She liked them all pretty much before, but now, she liked them even more. This was especially true of Bianca. Fiona knew how much her sister liked the other woman. She heard it in Marissa's voice and saw it in her eyes every time she talked about Bianca or her name came up. Bianca made her sister happy. It was as simple as that. Fiona knew however that Marissa would never be happy with someone who couldn't accept her, and it would be the same with Fiona. So while she was happy to be included in this group, Fiona was just as happy to be accepted by Bianca because it showed her character, and it was one worthy of Marissa.
Greenlee huffed. "Fine. None of you are any fun."
Kendall rolled her eyes. "Great. Now, she's pouting."
"I think I can fix that. What would you all like to drink? I'm buying, this round, and this round only." Marissa added the last part quickly.
"I knew there was a reason I liked you, Marissa." Greenlee perked up and waved over the bartender.
Marissa laughed. "Glad to know the real reason for why you like me, Greenlee."
Bianca wrapped her arms around Marissa from behind and rested her chin on her shoulder. "If it helps, I really like you and not because of anything you buy me."
Marissa grinned and leaned back in Bianca's arms. "That helps more than you know, and I really like you too."
Kendall, Fiona, and Greenlee looked at each other and rolled their eyes before they burst out laughing. It was easy for them to see that the couple only saw each other at that moment and had forgotten all about them and everyone else for that matter.
"Has your sister always been this sappy?" Kendall asked.
Fiona shook her head. "Nope. She's only been that way since she met your sister."
"Same with Bianca. They must bring it out in each other."
Greenlee held up her glass. "We're going to have a good time making fun of them."
Kendall and Fiona nodded as they clinked their glasses together with Greenlee's. While they knew they would have fun teasing Bianca and Marissa, the trio also knew they would do whatever they could to support the couple.