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Twelve | A Stolen Moments Fan Fic

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Frannie lies on her stomach on her bed drawing in her journal, the strains of an ancient Pink song playing in the background.

Momma please stop crying

I can’t stand the sound

Your pain is painful

And it’s tearing me down

Frankie hears what’s playing from the living room, clicks the remote to pause what he’s doing, and gets up to go to his sister’s room. He cracks open the door.

. . .  fight about money

About me and my brother

And this I come home to

This is my shelter

It ain’t easy growing up in World War III

Never knowing what love could be

You’ll see

Frannie’s faint humming turns into full-blown singing along with the next two lines.

“I don’t want love to destroy me

Like it has done my family.”

She quiets back down to just humming as Frankie sits down beside her on the bed and watches her draw, putting a hand on her back, trying to be comforting.

Can we work it out?

Can we be a family?

I promise I’ll be better

Mommy I’ll do anything

Can we work it out?

Can we be a family?

I promise I’ll be better

Daddy please don’t leave

But when that last lyric plays he has to say something.

“Frannie, Daddy didn’t leave. He died.”

“I know,” Frannie says. “But do you really think he’d stick around for this?”

“Frannie –“

“Mom’s a mess. Do you really think Dad would put up with any of this? Huh?”

“She’s a mess because of Dad,” Frankie says lowly.

Frannie sighs. He’s right. Her twin brother’s always right. It pisses her off sometimes. “I just hope she doesn’t ruin tomorrow. It’s not every day that we turn twelve, you know.”

“She won’t,” Frankie says firmly, ever the stupid optimist.

Frannie gives him a look as the Pink song continues in the background.

In our family portrait we look pretty normal,

We look pretty happy,

Let’s go back to that

Frannie hopes he’s right. God, why can’t we just be normal kids with a normal Mom?

Their phone rings. They’re still sharing a phone at age eleven because Mom says can’t she afford two. Uncle Sonny and Aunty Am don’t like it – don’t think it’s safe for them not to each have their own. They’ve been trying to play that to their advantage . . .

It’s the police. Frannie sighs deeply and buries her face in the bedspread while Frankie calmly accepts the call.

Daddy please don’t leave . . .

Daddy please don’t leave . . .

Daddy please don’t leave . . .

She’d rather listen to Pink forever than her brother answering that call right now.

“The twins up yet?” Sonny asks his overly pregnant wife as she makes her way back to their bedroom.

“No, but Jesse is.” Amanda shakes her head. “That girl wakes up like it’s Christmas every time the twins are here. But how did she ever know? They came in so late.”

“Jesse’s got a sixth sense about them or something.” He shrugs. “So, who’s taking the runt to Jacqueline’s?”

“Uh, who can more easily fit behind a steering wheel? And I’ve asked you to stop calling her that. Your firstborn child is going to grow up with a complex.”

“Awww . . . . c’mon. She knows I say it lovingly.” He grins and kisses his wife on the cheek. “And with that, I’m off. Don’t let Jesse bug the twins though. I know she loves them but they’re big kids now and she’s not.”

Sonny and Amanda had gotten the call late last night. Carlotta was in the drunk tank again, and she wasn’t being arraigned until the next day. For what, Frankie hadn’t been able to discern even from listening carefully to his mother’s slurred words. Frannie had been crying when she called her Aunty Am.

Their twelfth birthday party had been quickly moved to Sonny and Amanda’s place.

Jesse’s at the breakfast table in her best party dress, pumping her legs under her chair.

“How did you know there was going to be a party, baby?” Amanda asks her daughter.

Jesse just smiles mysteriously without saying a word.

“Well, now we better get all the guests here,” Amanda muses, looking down at the list Frannie and Frankie had provided her. The list of all of the parents she needed to contact so she could let them know the party wouldn’t be at Carlotta’s today is quite long. She’s still ploughing through it when the birthday boy and girl show up, still in their PJ’s and rubbing at their eyes.

“Looks like someone’s already ready for the party,” Frankie says and smirks when he notices Jesse.

She stands up, spins round to show him her dress and then grabs both twins in for a hug.

“Happy birthday!”

Amanda gloms onto the little group carefully herself and kisses both of the twins’ heads. An easy feat now that they’re both just about one head shy of her. It won’t be long before they surpass her. Where have the years gone? “Happy birthday, you two.”

Sonny returns home. “Okay, the runt is squared away.”

“Uncle Sonny!” both twins exclaim.

“Hey there guys! What’s it like being twelve?”

“We don’t know yet. It’s only been a few minutes,” Frankie answers him.

“For YOU, maybe,” Frannie corrects.

“Ugh, don’t get my OLDER sister started,” Frankie says and looks around. “Where’s –?”

“Took her to a friend’s. It’s been planned for a while. Sorry she won’t be at your party today, guys. But you’ve still got Jesse.”

“Yay!” Jesse exclaims and holds up her hands for airplane.

Frankie quickly obliges, giving her one big swing around the room.

“And little Vince, right?” Frannie asks, pointing to Amanda’s stomach. “He’ll be with us.”

“We’re still not sure if it’s a boy, Frannie . . .”

“How can you not be sure? Everyone else knows by the time they’re as far along as you,” she argues.

“Yeah,” Frankie says. “Besides, you two need a boy. Too many girls around, am I right Uncle Sonny?”

“Well big guy, I’m not one to talk,” Sonny chuckles. “I was raised with sisters. Lots of sisters.”

After breakfast, Sonny and Amanda are watching Frankie toss the football with Jesse in the yard. Frannie is busy setting up the living room for her reading party. Frannie and Frankie have such different interests – and friends – yet they still insisted on celebrating together. They would not be separated on their special day. Frannie’s friends would each bring two books to share and they would all read and discuss – and try to keep the conversation on books, not boys. Frankie’s friends were coming over to play football. Heavily pregnant as she was, Amanda would be supervising that since Sonny would be ill-equipped to handle it. Besides, they needed a referee and although Sonny would no doubt be amusing should he attempt to referee, he’d be way out of his depth.

“Good, Jesse,” Frankie says to Amanda’s first-born daughter. “Now try it this way.”

He tosses her the ball again.

“He’s so patient with her,” Amanda muses, thinking about what a kind boy he is. Just like his Uncle Sonny.

“Yeah, it’s amazing,” her husband answers her. “Especially cause Emma usually just drives him up a wall.”

“Well, she ruins everything.”

“I see you’re taking his side.” He chuckles.

“Just calling it like I see it.”

“Yeah, I always assumed he was annoyed with her ‘cause she was littler. Couldn’t do what the big kids did. But he seems to be fine with Jesse, even though she’s much younger.” He crosses his arms and thinks about that. “Huh.”

“It’s not always about age. Some people just rub each other the wrong way. I think Frankie’s a good kid – nice and polite to everyone. But you can’t expect him to actually LIKE everyone. He’s not a saint – and his patience isn’t limitless. He’s a little kid.”

“Yeah, I guess. Hey, lemme check on Frannie. I haven’t heard a peep out of her in a while.”

“A silent child is a deadly child, as we’ve well learned,” Amanda says with a wry grin.

“Copy that.” He nods and starts searching the house.

“Frannie! Frannie!”

He walks past the closed guest bathroom door in the hallway and hears Frannie yell out in fright, “Uncle Sonny don’t come in here!”

He stops, furrows his brow, and squints back at the door. Why would I enter an occupied bathroom? But her tone had given him pause. He walks back to the closed door. “Hey, are you alright?”

“Just don’t come in here!”

“Okay, I won’t.” Sonny hesitates. “Do you need anything, Frannie?”

After a bit of silence he hears. “Aunty Am. Please go get Aunty Am. I think I need Aunty Am.”

“Okay. Hold on.” He heads back to the porch and finds his wife. “There’s some kind of crisis in the bathroom.”


“Just . . . Just, come with me.”

She follows him back to the guest bathroom in the hall.

“Okay, I’ve got her,” he says to the closed door. “You can come out now.”

“No. Aunty Am, only you,” they hear Frannie say frantically. Then she continues, “Please go away, Uncle Sonny!”

“I’ve got this,” Amanda says and tries to shoo Sonny off, understanding what’s going on immediately.

“What?” he says, totally perplexed, still standing there.

“Just Frannie and me, okay. We’ll be fine. I’ve got this. Go watch Frankie and Jesse now. Shoo.”

Once he’s gone Amanda says to the closed door, “It’s just me now, honey. Can I come in?”

The door opens slowly and Frannie lets her in.

“I have to show you something,” Frannie says, sits down on the toilet and drops her underwear. She points at the crotch and asks matter-of-factly, “Is this my period?”

Amanda is a little startled at Frannie’s straightforwardness, remembering her own first period, which she tried desperately to hide from her own mother. “Yes honey, it is.”

“Good,” Frannie smiles a bit. “So what do I do?”

Amanda finds various menstrual products in the bathroom cabinet and guides Frannie through the use of each one. And they also discuss other sanitary options that she doesn’t happen to have on hand so that she’s educated on everything that’s available.

And then Frannie asks the question . . .

“So are we going to have the talk now?"

“What talk?”

“The sex talk.”