Bridget woke up with Emily’s arm laid across her face. Her niece had slept in their bed again that night. The blonde knew that eventually this had to come to an end, but she didn’t have the heart to make the girl sleep on her own just yet. She carefully moved Emily’s arm, and slid out of the bed. She walked quietly to the other side, and bent down, giving the brunette a soft kiss on the temple.
“Baby,” Bridget whispered softly.
“Mmm?” Franky started to stir.
“Shh, don’t wake Em.” She placed a soft kiss next to her girlfriend’s ear. “Come shower with me.” Franky smiled, and slowly moved away from Emily.
Bridget turned on the water in the shower, letting it warm up while she took off her clothes. She stepped in and let the water run down over her back. A minute later, she heard the shower door slide open behind her, and felt a rush of cooler air as Franky joined her. The blonde felt the warmth of the water on her back replaced by the warmth of her girlfriend pressed against her.
Franky placed soft kisses on the back of Bridget’s neck and shoulders as she wrapped her arms around the blonde. She ended with a gentle bite, which made Bridget let out a small laugh.
The brunette smiled against her girlfriend’s skin. “What’s funny, babe?” she asked, placing a small kiss below the other woman’s ear.
“Mmm, you like to bite me.” Bridget turned so that she was facing Franky. She draped one arm over the brunette’s shoulder, and reached up with her other hand to cup the taller woman’s cheek. She brushed her thumb lightly across Franky’s lips.
The brunette smiled. “I never really thought about it, but yeah. Has no one else done that to you?” Bridget shrugged, and Franky tried to read her expression. “Do you not like it?”
“No, I like it.” She pulled Franky down for a long, deep kiss.
When their lips parted, the brunette reached back to the shelf and picked up the bottle of shampoo. She motioned for Bridget to turn around as she squeezed some into her own hand. They took their time washing each other, and when they had finished, they stood together once more under the warm water, sharing small kisses.
Franky pulled the blonde close again. “I’ve missed holding you at night.”
“I’ve missed it too, baby. We’ll try to get her back to her own bed soon.” Bridget nuzzled into the crook of the brunette’s neck.
“We don’t have to rush anything. I know she needs us right now.” Franky ran her hand over the blonde’s back.
“Mmm, I know.” Bridget closed her eyes. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
The quiet was soon interrupted by Emily knocking loudly on the bathroom door. “Franky!? Auntie Bridge!?”
Franky thought it sounded like the young girl was crying. “It’s okay. We’re both here, bub. Everything’s alright, we’ll be out in a minute.”
Bridget turned off the water, and grabbed her towel as she stepped out. Franky followed. The blonde wrapped her towel around herself and opened the door a crack so she could talk to Emily.
“Are you okay, love?” Bridget asked as she glanced behind her to make sure that Franky was covered before she opened the door the rest of the way.
“You were both gone when I woke up.” Emily wiped her face dry with the sleeve of her pyjamas.
“We wanted to let you sleep a bit longer.” It wasn’t really a lie, but it also wasn’t the only reason they’d left her there. “Give us a minute and we’ll be out for breakfast, okay?” Emily nodded, and went to wait for them in the kitchen.
Franky walked into the kitchen, leaned on the island, and looked into the living room, where Emily was looking through one of her books. “What do you think of pizza for breakfast?” she asked with a big smile on her face.
“Yeah!” The young girl left her book on the couch and came over to help Franky. “Auntie Bridge! We’re having pizza for breakfast!”
“Are we?” Bridget smiled when she saw how excited her niece was.
“I made coffee,” the brunette said, handing Bridget a mug.
“Mmm, thanks babe.” The blonde took a sip as she sat down on the stool on the opposite side of the island.
Emily was carefully chopping the veggies to use for toppings. “Why do you shower together?”
Franky and Bridget’s eyes met across the island. The brunette gave a smirk and went back to preparing the food. Bridget realized she was clearly left to answer this on her own.
“Ah, it um, it saves time.” She took another sip of her coffee.
“Not usually,” Franky said under her breath with a small smile.
“Franky,” Bridget warned.
Emily looked between the two of them, shrugged, and went back to cutting up the vegetables.
“We have some things we have to do today, Em,” Bridget said. She glanced up at Franky. The two of them had talked about this last night after Emily had fallen asleep, and they weren’t sure how the girl would react. “We need to go to the house and get the rest of your things. We’d like for you to come with us.” The girl didn’t say anything, but just nodded. Bridget had more that she wanted to talk about, but she decided to wait until the pizza was in the oven. She didn’t want to distract Emily any more while she was using the knife.
Once Emily and Franky had made what they declared to be the perfect pizza, Bridget asked them to join her on the couch. “There’s one other thing I wanted to talk to you about, but I think it’s actually something fun.” The blonde waited until she knew she had the young girl’s attention. “Since you live here now, we thought it would be nice if we helped you decorate your room however you want, so it feels more like your own space.”
“Anything I want?” Emily looked up at her aunt.
“Within reason, yeah. What were you thinking of?” Bridget waited for her niece’s answer.
When Emily stayed quiet, Franky spoke up. “Remember what you told me you liked the other day? When we were sitting on the couch.”
“The stars,” Emily said quietly.
“Yeah, the stars. You said you thought they were pretty. How about something like that?” Franky glanced at Bridget, who nodded her agreement. “We can paint the ceiling maybe a dark navy blue, and the walls a lighter blue. Then we can get some of those glow-in-the-dark stars and put them on the ceiling so you can lay in bed and look up at them.”
“Really?” The small blonde looked excitedly at her aunt, then Franky.
“Yeah! You want to do that?” Bridget was happy to see her niece excited about something. Emily nodded her head. “Okay, we’ll go after we eat.”
The first stop was at Tim’s house to get Emily’s things.
“Gidge, I think we didn’t think this through,” Franky said, as they walked up to the house.
“What do you mean?” Bridget thought that maybe the brunette was sensing that it wasn’t a good idea to bring Emily along.
“She has furniture, right? She’ll probably want her own bed and stuff, and we have a car with three people riding in it.”
Bridget stopped and looked back at the car. “Oh. Well, um, we can take the small stuff today, then I’ll see if someone I know has a truck and would help us with the bigger stuff.”
“It’s actually probably better if there’s nothing in there while we’re painting anyway.” Franky waited while the blonde unlocked the door.
“Go ahead, love.” Bridget put her hand on Emily’s shoulder and guided her into the house.
They made their way to the young girl’s bedroom and sat the boxes they’d brought in the middle of the floor.
“Alright, everything you want in the boxes. I’ll start packing the clothes.” Franky placed the suitcases on the girl’s bed, and opened them while Bridget and Emily packed up the boxes.
Bridget noticed, after a few minutes, that Emily had disappeared. The blonde told Franky that she’d be back, and set out to look for the young girl. She found her in Tim’s bedroom, sitting on the bed, looking at a picture of her with her parents.
“We can take this, and the other pictures too if you want,” the blonde said, sitting down beside her. “Is there something of your Dad’s that you’d like to have?” Emily shrugged. Bridget decided to leave the girl, to give her some time alone, and went back to help Franky.
“She okay?” the brunette asked when Bridget returned to the bedroom.
“Yeah, she’s looking at family pictures in Tim’s room.” She took a seat on the bed and leaned forward, resting her head in her hands.
Franky zipped up the suitcases, having packed the last of Emily’s clothes, and sat them on the ground. The brunette sat down beside her girlfriend. She reached over and rubbed her hand up and down the blonde’s back.
“Are you okay, baby?” Bridget turned her head to look at Franky.
“I think I should be the one asking you that.” The brunette gave her a weak smile.
“No, I mean, you’re making sure that Em and I are okay, but no one’s asking you if you are.” The blonde reached out and took Franky’s hand in hers.
“It’s not easy watching what you guys are going through, and I’ll admit sometimes I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing or if it’s enough. But yes, I’m okay.”
“You’re doing great with us.” Bridget gave Franky a small kiss.
“I want to keep this.” Emily had returned carrying what looked to be a footy jersey.
“The Sydney Swans,” Bridget read, as she held up the jersey. “Your Dad always did love footy.”
“My favourite player is Josh.” Emily sat down beside her aunt on the bed.
“Did you watch the games with your Dad?” the blonde asked, as she folded the jersey to take with them. Emily nodded. “Ah, okay, maybe we can watch some of their games on tv.” Just then her phone rang. She took it out of her pocket and looked at the caller ID. “I’ll be right back.” She went into the hallway to take the call.
“There’s footy teams here in Melbourne too. Maybe we can actually go to a game sometime.” Franky started closing up some of the boxes that were full. “I think we’ve got everything from in here. When your Auntie comes back, you guys can find the pictures you want, alright?”
“Franky.” Bridget stood in the doorway and called for the brunette to come talk with her for a minute.
The blonde checked to make sure that Emily had stayed behind in the bedroom. “That was the secretary from the psychologist office, they have an appointment for her with Brad Crosby first thing tomorrow morning.”
“Do you know him? Is he good?” Franky knew that Emily needed to talk to someone, but she was nervous for her too.
“I don’t know him, but this office has a good reputation and they specialize in treating children. Besides, if Emily doesn’t get along with him, we can try someone else if we have to, okay?” Bridget reached up, cupping the brunette’s face as she ran her thumb back and forth over her cheek.
“Okay.” Franky let out a sigh.
While Bridget and Emily gathered the family photo albums and took the pictures off the walls, Franky disassembled the furniture in the young girl’s room as much as she could. She wanted everything to be ready so it would be a quick trip when they came back to get it. Once she was done, they loaded the boxes into the car, and headed to the home improvement store.
“Alright, so you want a really dark blue for the ceiling, right?” Bridget asked as she stood with Franky and Emily in front of the selection of paint chips.
“That one.” Emily pointed to a dark navy blue chip, and Bridget picked up the small card.
“Now something a bit lighter for the walls. Here, hold this next to the ones you think you’d like and see how they look together.” The blonde handed her niece the colour chip she’d just picked up.
“I like this.” The second colour she’d picked was a light sky blue.
“Ooo, that’ll be nice, love.” Bridget took the two color cards. “I’ll get these mixed while you guys go pick out the decor stuff if you want.”
“Sure. Come on, bub.” Franky held out her hand for Emily to hang on to. “I think I saw the aisle we need on our way in.” They walked a few rows before they came to what the brunette was looking for. “Here we are. Which one of these do you like?”
They had a few kits for turning your bedroom ceiling into a night sky. Everything from the whimsical glow in the dark stars and moons, to the kits that actually had templates that you projected on the ceiling to show you where to paint so you’d have an exact replica of the night sky. The brunette had to admit that while the real-life replicas looked really cool, she was hoping that Emily would pick one that maybe didn’t take so much patience.
“This one.” Emily held out one of the boxes.
“Paint a perfect replica of the night sky in your very own bedroom.” Franky smiled to herself. “Looks great, bub. There’s one more thing I think would be really cool.” They walked down to the other end of the aisle, and the brunette picked up a string of fairy lights. “I think these will look pretty around your bed. Kind of like a nightlight.”
They met up with Bridget, who had the mixed paint ready, along with some supplies, and headed for the checkout.
When they got back home, they brought all the boxes into the garage. Franky and Bridget took apart the bed that was in the formerly spare room and moved the pieces, along with the dresser, out to the garage as well.
Franky laid down the plastic sheets to cover the carpet and begin to paint, starting with the ceiling. Once that was done, she and Bridget moved on to painting the walls. Next came the templates for the ceiling.
“Okay, so it says we need a light source, like a torch.” Bridget read the sheet of instructions from the box.
“Got it.” Franky held up the torch she’d found in the utility closet.
They continued to read through the set up, and follow the directions to create the perfect night sky for Emily. It had taken way longer than expected, but they both had to admit that it looked beautiful.
“The paint is supposed to be glow-in-the-dark. Turn off the light and let’s see.” the brunette said as she pulled the curtains to darken the room.
When Bridget flipped the light switch all the little white dots they’d painted glowed green. “Aw, it’s beautiful, baby. She’s going to love it.”
They had decided to wait until they were all laying in bed to tell Emily about her visit to the psychologist the next morning. They wanted her to be prepared, but they didn’t want to give her too much time to think and worry about it.
“Love, we need to talk to you about something.” Bridget ran her fingers through Emily’s hair. At first just to move it away from her face but then because she knew that it was soothing to the young girl. “You know how my job is to help people by talking to them?” Emily nodded. “Well, in my job, I only talk to adults, but there are people who talk to kids too. I think that it’s a good idea for you to talk to one of those people, and you can tell him how you feel about what happened with your Dad, and coming to live with us, and whatever else you want to talk to him about. So tomorrow morning we’re going to take you to see a really nice man, and he’s going to ask you some questions, and all you have to do is answer with the truth, okay?”
“Are you coming with me?” Emily looked from Bridget to Franky.
“Yeah, bub, we’re going to take you there. When you talk to the man though, you have to go in by yourself, but we’ll be waiting right outside the room the whole time. You can see us again as soon as your session is over.” The brunette tried to remember everything that her and Bridget had talked about when they were deciding how to explain this to the young girl.
“I want you to come in with me.” Emily grabbed her aunt’s hand.
“No, love. You have to go alone. It’s just like if we’re here in the house, but just in different rooms. Like today, how you played in the living room while we painted your bedroom. We won’t be any further away than that tomorrow.” Bridget gave Emily’s hand a small squeeze.
“But I’m scared.” The young girl turned onto her side, facing Bridget, and moved close to her aunt so that she could bury her face against her shoulder.
“Why are you scared?” Bridget asked softly.
Emily reached behind her. “Where’s Franky?”
“I’m still here, bub.” The brunette moved in closer behind the girl, and draped her arm over both Emily and Bridget. “Tell us why you’re scared.”
“I want you to come in with me so I know you’re okay.” The girl spoke softly and they had to listen carefully to hear what she had said.
“I know, love. You’re worried about us because of what happened with your Mom and Dad, right?” The blonde asked, and felt Emily nod. “That’s one of the reasons you have to go talk to this man tomorrow. He’s going to help you so you don’t feel scared or worry about that.”
“I don’t want to be alone.” Emily started to cry.
All the emotions of Franky’s childhood hit her. Waiting for her Dad to come back, feeling alone and unwanted, unloved, never really having a place where she belonged once she’d finally gotten away from her mother. She wiped the tears from her face and saw Bridget do the same.
The blonde took a deep breath. “It’s okay, love. Shhh, it’s okay. You won’t be alone. Let’s all try and get some sleep now, alright? We can talk more in the morning. Maybe we’ll all feel better after we get some rest.”
It wasn’t long before she heard Emily’s breathing even out, then Franky’s followed shortly after, leaving her as the last one still awake. She wished she could be the one to give Emily the help she needed, but it wasn’t possible. She was doing what was best for the young girl. It may be hard to see that at first, she would be upset again tomorrow when they made her go with the counsellor, but in the end it would be for the better.