*** SNAPSHOTS - 6/23/00***

      Fandom: "All My Children"
      Category: Vignette, post-ep
      Rating: R
      Disclaimer: Not mine, don't sue.
      Summary: Takes place after 6/23 show. Arlene Chandler
      ponders.
      Feedback: Yes, please! ficgrrl@aol.com

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      SNAPSHOTS: 6/23/00
      by Ashley Trent
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      Mrs. Adam Chandler. That tiny phrase had been stalking
      through her brain for how many years now? Oh, too many years
      ago it started, with her new green dress, her little Chandler
      Enterprises secretary smile and that one night shot with the
      boss all those years ago, the one that got her nowhere.

      But now, things were different.

      Ms. Arlene Chandler, maybe? Yes, that sounded much better.
      She was her own woman after all, she'd seen what she wanted
      and she's taken it, no questions asked. Oh, maybe a few
      little questions, but none from people who mattered.

      Arlene stared at her wedding ring again, watched the hard
      diamonds glint beneath the lamplight and smiled.

      No one could touch her now. She was high above them all and
      once the corporation was back in Adam's hands, oh how quickly
      their smirks would disappear and wouldn't they be forced to
      simply choke on their disdain, like a greedy shark with a bone
      stuck in its throat.

      She hoped it would choke them to death.

      Money was the great leveler, it raised you to highest of
      heights and lowered those who once lorded over you until they
      were forced to look you squarely in the eye and smiled if it
      killed them.

      Whether they wanted to or not.

      It wasn't like this for everyone though. No, it seemed for
      Adam Chandler that pain was the great leveler, not money.
      Death of his other half, his twin brother, the poor sap who
      suffered that slight ... misfortune.

      Adam didn't seem to care for his money anymore, but he would.
      All Arlene had to do was prove how much easier it was to
      alienate people when you had true wealth, real money in the
      hand and not the pitiful allowance Liza was doling out on a
      week by week basis.

      That allowance bought them a bit of time, real wealth would
      buy them a world of their own, and, in time, a world of
      Arlene's own. And ... if she was very smart ... and very
      lucky ... she wouldn't even have to share it with Adam.

      Just her and her island of wealth, dripping with jewels and
      young boys who served her drinks and called her beautiful,
      their eager eyes and puppy-dog smiles more than anxious to
      please the great, the rich, and the former Mrs. Adam Chandler.

      No ... make that Ms. Arlene Chandler.

      She was her own woman after all.

      Another long sip and her mimosa was suddenly gone, strangely
      sour and flat against her tongue. She wondered angrily if
      Winnifred had used the cheap champagne -- that bitch, she'd
      get her fired despite Adam's casual growl to the contrary.

      People like that were dangerous, little petty people who
      actually looked up to those who dangled paychecks over their
      heads like a tiny golden carrot. Those who had little, but
      orbited wealth and grew used to its trappings, but never
      tasted its pleasures ... yes, they were very dangerous indeed.

      Arlene knew this because she'd been one of them. But not anymore.

      She tossed the champagne glass onto the pinewood floor and
      watched with malicious glee as it shattered into thousands of
      razor sharp bits. Let the bitch-maid clean that up, or better
      yet, let her step on it and with any luck she'll bleed to
      death all over these hideous carpets Arlene was still forced
      to look at.

      Yes and these disgusting frou-frou couches as well.

      But not for much longer.

      With that pleasant thought, Arlene made her way upstairs and
      drew in a deep breath before entering the bedroom. She could
      hear Adam's snoring from the hall and she fought the urge to
      roll her eyes at the loud, throaty buzz.

      He'd tied a wicked one on that afternoon, especially after
      that impromptu meeting with Liza and Tad Martin in the
      restaurant, staggering and cursing at her, even throwing a
      glass or two of his own, but neatly, in the fireplace,
      controlled still even under the influence of Lord knows how
      many drinks.

      Liza had been her usual charming self, calling Arlene "The
      Other White Meat," a wonderful insult she had to admit, one
      even she couldn't think of a comeback for. Of course, Liza,
      precious creature that she was, introduced Tad as her new
      partner in Chandler Enterprises, which shocked at first, but
      now, Arlene wasn't so sure she should believe a word of it.

      Blondie could think on her feet but she also could lie like a
      rug at the drop of hat. She certainly gave Adam a run for
      his money in the devious department and Arlene would have
      almost admired her for it if so much wasn't at stake.

      So, alas, Blondie Liza would have to be gotten rid of, by any
      means necessary.

      Along with her new "partner" the insufferable Tad Martin.

      Arlene opened the door and slid into the room, slipping off
      her heels, trying not to wake Adam from his scotch induced
      nightmares. She undressed quickly before ambling toward the
      bed, only the tiniest bit unsteady on her stockinged feet and
      crawled in beside him, pulling the blue jacquard high over her
      bare shoulders.

      He was still deep asleep but a little bit of "inspiration"
      might wake him, she thought as she slid her hand across his
      waist, then over and down his thighs. A tickle here, a pinch
      there and no reaction, not yet, not even when her tongue began
      to lap at his ear.

      She pulled back with a huff and tried again, this time with
      more aggression, nipping and fondling hard. Adam twitched to
      life beneath her knowing hand and the throaty buzz turned into
      a thick growl, whether of pain or pleasure, Arlene didn't
      know. Nor did she care.

      All she knew was that Adam was suddenly on top of her,
      breathing hard and plunging inside without so much as a
      'mother, may I.' She wasn't ready and it hurt, but only for a
      moment, and for this, for Adam Chandler, his wealth, and for
      the great leveler he was about to bestow upon Arlene the
      Secretary, she could handle any pain.

      She moved with him, her hips twitching up seductively and she
      threw some head thrashing in for good measure. "Oh, Adam.
      Good," she moaned. "So, so good."

      His only response was to increase his pounding, his eyes half
      shut, his mouth twisted with an emotion Arlene wasn't sure she
      wanted to examine too closely. He got closer to climax and
      she continued the act she'd perfected long ago. The "oh, God,
      yes, yes, yes" routine had worked on men even smarter than
      Adam Chandler, that was for sure.

      At least for a short while.

      Soon, she was elated to see his expression soften, right
      before he reached his pinnacle. His blue eyes opened and she
      suddenly saw something there, something she'd never seen
      before in any man's eyes. Something so soft, so tender and
      afraid, for a moment her heart soared with triumph.

      He was hers and with just a little more ... "Oh, yes. Baby,
      oh, God, yes," she encouraged, meeting him stroke for stroke.
      "Talk to me. God, please talk to me."

      Adam stared at her, but didn't seem to see her. "Liza," he
      murmured, before collapsing atop her, his dead weight nearly
      knocking the wind out of her. "Oh, Liza, I love you."

      She stiffened beneath him, the need to breathe suddenly not
      quite that important. Rage, pinpricking and slow climbed up
      her spine and she felt the blood drain from her face as she
      became dizzy with fury.

      He was snoring again, buzzing against her shoulder. He didn't
      even protest when, with strength only anger could inspire, she
      threw his body off of hers and watched with contempt as he
      rolled back to his side of the bed, looking as peaceful as
      ever, smiling beatifically at the memory of someone who
      certainly wasn't Mrs. Arlene Chandler.

      She stared at the ceiling, gulping the sticky air and groped
      for the pack of cigarettes she kept in the nightstand. Found
      them at last and naked, she stood and fumbled for the lighter
      that was somewhere on the dresser, cursing as the flame
      trembled in her shaking hand.

      He'd called her "Liza" but that didn't matter, she swore to
      herself as angry hisses of smoke petered through the room.
      No, it didn't matter at all -- because Liza was nothing, and
      he was a drunken fool, and Arlene was no longer Arlene the
      Little Secretary wearing a new green dress and hopeful smile.

      Arlene was Mrs. Adam Chandler now, no, she was Ms. Arlene
      Chandler and that's what she was going to call herself from
      now on.

      Because she was her own woman after all.

      ~~~~~~~
      end

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