Chapter 1: You Watch Her Sleep
You watch her sleep because it is a rarity. She does it so seldom, it is like a precious act of nature to behold- like polar lights dancing against the velvet curtain of night sky. Her eyelids flutter and you hold your breath but she does not wake. You watch her sleep because you know it makes her feel safe. She knows when she is at her most vulnerable you are there, alert, responsive, protective. You watch her sleep and helplessly chant words like eternal and beloved.
In her sleep, she twitches. Her breath quickens and her brow wrinkles. She throws her arm to the side and you are there to catch her hand, to shush her and stroke her forehead, to settle her. You slink into her dream and kiss her over and over until she laughs and pushes you playfully away and you know she is alright again.
You watch her sleep so you can keep track of the nightmares, so you can smile (just a little smug and self satisfied) as they trend downward. You watch her sleep so when she wakes you can say, “It’s getting better all the time,” with the confidence of morning sun.
Those first nights, it scared you. No. Terrified you. Traumatized you, to wake to her screaming and sweating beside you. You knew from your books it was expected, normal even, but to be living it in your own bed was another story entirely. She was disoriented. She thought you were trying to hurt you and she tried to hurt you first. “I learned pretty quick if you don’t do stuff in here, you have stuff done to you,” she had said in your office, once upon a time in what seemed like another life. She was justifying her prison violence. And you understood, accepted it even. You just never expected to live it.
She was mortified. She saw the bruise she left on your shoulder and she flipped out. She ran. She hid for fear of hurting you again. During those nights without her, weeds of barbed wire grew in your gut, slicing open all the stuff in you that you needed to live, bleeding the will to exist right out of you. To have her only to lose her seemed far too cruel a fate. So you tracked her down, dragged her back, promised to help her through the nights. Anything, you swore, I’ll endure anything but losing you.
For a while she insisted on sleeping in the spare room, with the door locked. But it was torture for you to hear her cry in the night on the other side of a wall through which you could not pass. So you convinced her to come to your bed and you slept in shifts, took turns watching over one another. There was safety in this for both of you. She refused to take the pills you had a colleague prescribe for her, so you rubbed her back, played with the hair on the nape of her neck until she relaxed into the solid rhythm of peace. And then you leaned over her and inhaled the spice of her, the thick, exuberant, wild bouquet that comprised her essence. Indescribable. Rich amber and vanilla mixed with exotic incense. She smelled like a temple you could walk into and kneel in and lose yourself for hours in quiet meditation leading you endlessly toward enchanted enlightenment. Her fragrance beckoned to you from past lives, from impossible heights, from alternate universes where you deserved such bliss.
On other nights, when sleep was more elusive, you offered her more intimate ministrations to relax her body. You learned all the ways to tempt and tease her until she was all but exhausted, collapsing in your embrace in ripples softer than a silk shawl. Then you would fold the fabric of her with gentle, careful hands under the sheets. And you would watch her sleep.
This is how it is. You watch her sleep now and you’ll do it for as long as you have to. You watch her sleep on the nights when she only sleeps for a couple hours and you watch her sleep on the nights when she sleeps longer. You watch her sleep because you know she is remembering all of the nights she laid awake all alone. You watch her sleep because she would do it for you. You watch her sleep because you love her.
In her sleep, vulnerability makes her appear tiny. This makes you smile because when she is awake she is larger than life- loud and alive. She is vibrant as a tropical bird, sparking jade feathers as she flashes about the sky. She is taller than you, and yet somehow in her repose she manages to seem small, fragile even despite all the hours pumping iron, running, punching. She’s bigger and stronger than you while awake, but in her sleep she’s this little thing and she’s entirely yours. You only feel slightly guilty for possessing her in this special way. Only slightly.
You watch her sleep because you are frightened she could leave again. You worry it is all a dream, anyway, and she could slip away with the sunrise. You fear something could happen to steal her, harm her, distract her, and you know you will have to speak to this anxiety and push it back so you can still live your life. But you can do that later because right now you need to watch her sleep. You aren’t quite sure how you became this person, how you got to be so neurotic and uncertain. You’re not sure how or when poetry eclipsed your admiration of logic or when your heart took charge of your brain with such conviction and authority. But those are also matters on a list marked for another day.
You watch her sleep because when she opens her eyes and sees you there, and you are the first thing she sees, the smile that spreads over her entire face is better than a full orchestra, better than champagne bubbles, better than floating in a pool under the stars.
“Well good morning, Spunky,” she says and you’re happy you did it. You know you’ll do it again and again and over again until the end of forever.
You watch her sleep because she is a rare, precious thing, and rare, precious things are to be guarded fiercely and with your entire being.
Chapter 2: Doorknob Confessions
In which we get another brief glimmer of the inner workings of our darling forensic psychologist. . .
“Hey Franky?” Bridget said without looking up from her laptop. "If you're looking for the jasmine green tea, it's back in the cupboard over the microwave."
“Thanks, but that's not what I was looking for. Can I ask ya something?”
At this, Bridget did look up from the computer screen. “Sounds serious. What’s up?”
“Well, it’s just I always wondered something.”
“Okay,” Bridget said slowly, watching as Franky fiddled with the hem of her olive green tunic. She made a mental note to tell Franky later how nice that color looked on her, how it made her eyes extra green, like a cat, her Puss. . . Franky leaned against the kitchen counter and looked down. “Well, what is it? You can ask me anything. You know that.”
Franky exhaled a big breath, puffing out her cheeks and furrowing her brow as she did. “When I told you about what I did, when I confessed about Meg Jackson, what did you think?”
Bridget pushed back in her chair and put her hands on her thighs. “I don’t really remember,” she said. “Feels like it was another lifetime ago.”
“Come on, Gidge. I want you to tell me. I need to know. Did you think I was evil?”
“No, Franky. I never thought that. Not even a little bit and not for a second. You told me it was an accident and I believed you. So maybe that’s what I thought? That I believed you?”
“But you must have been thinking something. You shrinks are always thinking something. I mean, if someone had just told me they were a murderer I know I sure as hell would have some thoughts about it.”
“Baby, I think I drew a blank at that point. I really don’t think I was thinking much of anything at all. Not at that moment, anyway.”
Franky frowned and shook her head. “Don’t you ever worry about it?”
“That you’re with a murderer?”
“Not ever,” Bridget said and rose from her seat. Franky’s nose was crinkling in that way it did before she started to cry. Bridget stepped up to her and laid her head on Franky’s chest, then moved it slightly until she found her heartbeat. Franky’s hands came to the small of Bridget’s back. Bridget tipped her face up to see Franky gazing intently at her. “It’s important to you to know I accept you, and I do. All of you.”
“And you’re being honest with me?”
“Always and of course.” It was Bridget’s turn to frown. “You don’t trust me?”
“I do, yeah. It’s just hard to believe you had no reaction whatsoever to finding out I killed someone.”
“Oh, I had a reaction alright,” Bridget said. “I never said I didn’t have a reaction. You were asking about my thoughts. You didn’t ask what I was feeling.”
“You and your fancy semantics,” Franky teased and swatted Bridget’s bum. They both smiled for a moment, but worry soon eclipsed the happiness on Franky’s face. “So, what were you feeling then?”
Bridget cupped Franky’s face in her hands and pressed their foreheads together. They both kept their eyes open so the whole world became green and blue and breathless. Bridget brushed her lips over Franky’s and said, “You really want to know?”
“Yeah.” Franky answered and Bridget could feel her bracing herself in her arms.
“I was feeling love.” She spoke softly to the pain lurking behind Franky’s incredulous stare. She kissed her and stroked her cheek and kissed her again, and then she repeated it to make sure she had been heard loud and clear, “I was feeling love.”
Chapter 3: After the Afterlife
They meet up in secret on difficult days to offer comfort, as only they can. . .
They called it their dispensation for difficult days. A loophole that allowed them to come together and support one another when nothing else would do. Surprisingly, it did not happen as often as it could have, and certainly not as often as either of them would have loved. But it happened, allowing them to continue connecting in the pain and muck where they found one another. It was in this messy area they knew each other best, challenging strengths and championing grace.
It was a secret, of course. Their secret, of course.
Neither minded one bit, because it was theirs alone.
This had been one of those days. Bridget had made a big ask of Franky, and Franky had performed it with ease and skill.
And a gorgeous smile.
But Bridget knew there would be delayed aftershocks, and she didn’t want Franky to go it alone.
The place they chose was nothing special, but the food was decent (even by Franky’s standards) and it was discreet. They were both charmed by the strung up fairy lights in the little backyard patio and, if the weather cooperated, this was where they liked best to sit. It was a cool night, but they had heat lamps lit, casting an amber glow over the area.
Bridget had already found a little table out there. She ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a plate of assorted cheeses, which she knew Franky enjoyed. It was a quiet night and she was the only person seated on the patio. The server returned with her wine, and Bridget thanked him with a smile. “Do you have those big olives tonight? The big, bright green ones?” He nodded. They didn’t come with tonight’s assortment on the plate, but he could add some on for her if she pleased. She said that she did please. He went back to fetch the food leaving her alone on the patio. But she didn’t feel alone at all because she knew her girl was on her way. She knew she’d just ordered tasty things for her love to nibble on as they chatted, and she shook and smiled a little just feeling the bliss in that, the unfettered sweetness of knowing what Franky liked and being able to get it.
“Here she is,” Bridget rose to greet the lanky brunette, dressed all in black except for a crimson top. “How’d it go?”
Franky sighed heavily, her breath rustling Bridget’s hair as they embraced. “Aww, Gidge,” she said and her slight body trembled.
“Baby,” Bridget said softly and squeezed her. “Come on now, sit down and tell me. Tell me everything.” Franky sat down and helped herself to the wine remaining in Bridget’s glass.
“Did you order my cheese?”
“Thank you,” Franky said and wiped at the tear slipping out of her eye.
“What are you drinking, Baby?” Bridget asked as the server approached the table.
“Let’s do a vodka tonic,” Franky said and then pointed at the empty wine glass between them. “And another one of whatever that was.” The server smiled politely and slipped away. Bridget waited patiently for Franky to start. “She’s like a ghost,” Franky finally said.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, she’s a version of herself that is so pale she’s almost clear. She says she died and she saw her daughter, and she thought it was peaceful. She’s finding it hard to find a reason to live. And Gidge, I remember that feeling. I remember exactly that feeling.” The server set the cheese plate between them along with a small bowl of bright green olives that were nearly the size of plums. Franky’s eyebrows rose when she saw the olives and she immediately grabbed one and popped it in her mouth.
“The officers said that Smith, uh, Bea, seemed more herself after she saw you. You done good.”
Franky spit out the pit of the olive and tried to smile. “She’s in love with someone. I’m worried for her. Her heart is tender. She was never one who belonged in prison.”
“And yet she’s made quite the name for herself, figured out how to survive. Some might say she has even thrived.”
“Nah. I told ya before. Being top dog has nothing to do with thriving. It’s just one colossal mind fuck. And Red’s mind right now. . .” Franky stabbed at the lime in her vodka tonic with the cocktail straw and then took a deep sip. She picked up a piece of crostini, spread a thick layer of fig jam onto it and then broke off a bit of cheese to top it off. She bit into it. “Oh fuck this is good. Here, have a bite.” She reached across the table and popped the remaining morsel into Bridget’s open mouth.
“Mmmh,” Bridget smiled. Franky ravished another olive and repeated the process of stabbing and sipping her drink. “How are you feeling, Baby? How was it going back there?”
“I’m not gonna lie; it was pretty harsh. Even sitting on the other side of the bars, there’s an energy about that place that is terrible. I sat there and I couldn’t figure how I actually made it out.”
“But you did make it out,” Bridget reminded her gently.
“Yeah, sure. But it all got me thinking.”
“Oh? About what?”
“Red almost dying like that, thinking she saw her own version of something like heaven. I mean, it made me think about how much that place resembles hell and how my life now is as close to my own version of heaven I could possibly imagine. It’s almost like I’m in my own afterlife.”
“That’s some deep stuff, Franky. Are you okay?” Bridget’s eyes were worried.
“Better now,” Franky said. She reached across the table for Bridget’s hand. “You’ll keep a close eye on her, yeah?”
“Anyway, enough about me. How’s my girl?”
“I’m fine. Maybe feeling a bit guilty that it is so good to see you right now, given the circumstances, but damn, you look good, even with that dollop of fig jam on your chin.”
“Oh yeah? You gonna do something about it?” Franky grinned. Bridget leaned over and kissed the sticky spot, flicking out her tongue to capture the little mess. At the sensation of the pulpy heat of her tongue, Franky’s eyes rolled back in her head and she moaned. Bridget sat back in her seat and made a show of licking her lips.
“You left that there on purpose, didn’t you?” Bridget laughed.
“Well, maybe I did. . . and maybe I did,” Franky volleyed back. “Or maybe I’m just a helpless slob who hasn’t eaten all afternoon and can’t get this cheese into her gut fast enough.”
“Hmm, all equally valid possibilities, it would seem.” Bridget watched as Franky continued to munch and nibble her way through the plate. Every now and then, Franky would reach out to hand feed Bridget a cheese smeared piece of bread, or a candied nut. “Would you like to order a main course?”
Franky looked up at the sky and sighed as she completed the chewing and swallowing of a bite. She smiled sadly and shook her head, then looked over at Bridget. “What I want is for you to take me home.”
“Home, Gidge. Not the bedsit. Our home. Fuck all the rules. I call dispensation tonight. I need ya. I just need to hold ya. All night.”
Bridget nodded and offered Franky a small smile. “Let’s get out of here, then.” Bridget paid the tab and they left to go home, together.
Chapter 4: Because I Want It, or, Guardian Angel
I've always loved the dynamic between Ferguson and Bridget, how fearless Bridget is up against her. Tol and Smol, as it were... Anyway, this is a little bean I had rolling around in my mind and just wanted to let out to play. . . imagine that it is somewhere late in season three, if you will. xoxoxo.
“It is completely unnecessary,” Ferguson said. She pushed the pencils on her desk into alignment as though they were toy soldiers. Bridget could sense the governor’s frustration mounting, but the diminutive blonde did not back down.
“I disagree,” she said firmly. “And the board of directors also disagrees. Having access to a CCTV in my office will allow me to observe the inmates in their day to day interactions. This is important to formulating my assessments.”
"So you've already gone over my head on this? Good to know you've no interest in making friends here, Miss Westfall."
"That's not the case at all. It is just a matter on which I feel strongly."
“Really, what is the need of a psychologist for a CCTV? It’s not protocol.”
“No, it’s not protocol. It’s because I want it. And because I believe it will be a benefit to the safety and progress of the women of this prison. Isn’t that why we are here after all?”
Ferguson’s lips pinched together and she inhaled sharply. She was trying to formulate a counter argument. But Bridget knew there was not much she could argue if she wanted to keep the crown on her shoulder. “And this has nothing to do with Doyle?”
“Why would it?” Bridget didn’t break.
“Well, she got a pretty good beating, I hear. How do they say, had the shit kicked out of her? It’s my understanding that she’s fallen out of favor with a number of the crews in here since Smith has become Top Dog.” She annunciated the ‘p’ and the ‘g’ with a special enthusiasm. Bridget smiled to mask the hatred she felt rising like bile in her.
“Attacks on inmates cast the prison in a poor light in general,” she stated. “If my observation can diminish such trauma, then that is better for everyone. Prisoners and staff, yeah?”
“Oh. Aren’t you clever, deflecting your argument with rationalities about what the board would like and the light in which things are cast?”
“I know that you are elbow deep in Franky Doyle,” Ferguson hissed and practically lunged over her desk. Her face flushed and Bridget could see the veins in her eyes grow pink. Day by day she was coming apart at the seams. It was even more reason for Bridget to have eyes on things. She wanted to be able to look out for Franky, to bear witness. What she’d seen in medical had been ghastly and nauseating, but what she was seeing now, from across the wide wooden desk was simply chilling.
“Are you tipping your hand, Joan?” Bridget gambled.
“Are you tipping yours, Miss Westfall?” Ferguson sat back in her chair.
“I think I’ve already answered that.” Bridget said cooly. “Look. The board has already given me the go ahead and they think it is a good idea. So, if you want to explain why you think inmates should be left without an extra layer of observation and protection, be my guest. You already have one suspiciously pregnant inmate to answer for. Again, it doesn’t look good for the prison in general.” Bridget smiled, genuinely pleased with her little speech and knowing she’d already one.
“Hah,” Ferguson said. “Do you enjoy chess, Miss Westfall?”
“I never learned to play, to be honest.”
“But it is such an intriguing game.” Joan purred.
“I’ve never had much interest in games. I’m more of a realist.”
“Ahhhh. Well then. You’d do well to learn a thing or two about the game. You see, you may think you’ve just won, but you’ve really only made a halfway decent move for the time being.”
Bridget stood up and smoothed the front of her sapphire blue jacket. “Very well, Joan. I will learn about chess. You can just have the tech get the CCTV up and running in my office by the end of the day, yeah?”
She strode out of the administrative suites and back into the prison compound. She couldn’t get to the medical unit fast enough and she didn’t really give a fuck who was watching.
“Rose?” She asked as she entered with a swipe of her card. “How is the patient today?”
“She’s been in and out of consciousness. We have her on some pretty good pain meds.”
“Can I sit with her for a bit and see if she comes around? I’d like to be able to talk to her as soon as possible. We need to figure out how this happened and who’s responsible.”
Rose snorted, “Good luck with that.”
“Well, I’d like to try anyway.”
“Of course,” Rose answered and left the room. Bridget pulled the curtain around Franky’s bed to give them the illusion of privacy.
“Franky,” she said, pulling up a chair close to Franky’s side. “I’m here.” She took inventory of the bruising and swelling over Franky’s face and shoulders. “I’m here,” she whispered again and threaded her fingers into the sleeping inmate’s.
“Gidge?” Franky’s voice was a weak approximation of what it usually was.
“Hey, hey. Shhhh. Don’t try to say anything. I’m here.” She squeezed Franky’s hand as a tear escaped her eye and ran down her cheek. “Just rest and get better. I figured things out and I have a way to keep you safe, or at least safer. I’m going to keep you safe, Franky.” She stroked the dark bangs off of Franky’s forehead and dropped her own head onto the pillow so her lips were very close to Franky’s ear. “I’ll keep you safe.”
I love this fandom and I love comments and I am always so happy to hear what you are thinking when you read my work. . . Thank you so much for reading. You are all so very, very lovely. oxoxo.
Chapter 5: Triggered
Trigger warning for mentions of sexual trauma.
Special, special thanks to ShiryaW for helping me come up with the beautiful little seed that germinated this chapter. . . if you haven't checked out her Fridget fic, you simply must. She is a genius beyond genius and I love her little goblin heart so very, very much. . . Anyway, thank you all so so so so so much for reading and for leaving loving kind comments and for making my life so sweet and wonderful. I love this fandom so much. xoxoxo. SS.
The house was dark as Franky walked up, which was strange. Typically, Gidget had all the lights on in a way that felt homey and welcoming. Had her car not been parked in the driveway, Franky would have assumed she was still at work.
“Gidge?” Franky called, allowing her keys to clatter into the pottery vessel by the entryway. It was a noise of which she’d grown quite fond over the past few weeks, both hearing her own keys and also hearing the keys of her lady love when she tossed them in the dish upon returning home. “Hey! I’m home! Why’s it so dark in here?” She flicked on a few lights and followed a trail of Bridget’s discarded things- heels, scarf, jacket (oh, fuck, she wore that hot pink leather jacket today, no way! Franky made a mental note to try to get her girl back into the jacket; maybe just the jacket and nothing else. Yeah, that would be the thing. . .) The articles of clothing led to the back door, and when Franky peeked out, she saw Bridget sitting out on the porch in complete darkness.
Franky turned on the porch lights. “Hey you. Didn’t you hear me? I’ve been calling. What are you doing out there all alone?”
Bridget looked up at Franky and squinted in the lights. “Hello, Baby,” she said, but her eyes seemed someplace else and her voice was strange.
“Gidget? You okay?” Franky asked and slid open the screen door so she could step out onto the porch. “It’s chilly out here, and I noticed you took off your jacket. I like that jacket, just so you know.”
“Yeah, I know,” Bridget sighed and brought a glass to her lips.
“Okay, what is going on,” Franky said pointedly, and looked back and forth between the glass and Bridget’s face. Bridget’s eyes looked red and her cheeks looked pale.
“It’s been a day, Franky.”
“Are you drunk? Are you out here drinking alone?”
“Can we skip the lectures tonight, eh?”
“Nah, I don’t wanna’ lecture ya, Gidge, but you’ve got me a little freaked out here, so why don’t you start by telling me what’s wrong and we can get to the part why you’re out here all alone, getting fucking wasted in the dark.” Franky pulled a chair up to Bridget, took the glass out of her hand and drank the rest of what was in it herself. “Fucking fuck!” She grimaced and looked at the bottle on the table. “Since when do you drink bourbon, let alone in such quantities all by your lovely lonesome?”
“Oh Franky,” Bridget put her face in her hands and folded herself over onto her knees. Franky tousled Bridget’s blonde hair and kissed the top of her head.
“Come on now. What is it? Did Vinegar Tits fire you again or something?”
“No,” Bridget couldn’t help but chuckle. “Not that.”
“Alright, then what?”
“I had to administer a screening to Ferguson today to determine her competency. Shit, Franky, I shouldn’t even be telling you this. I’m compromising confidential information.”
“Fuck confidentiality. This is us. What did the Freak do to you,” Franky growled and both her hands instantly became fists. Her silver rings glinted like armor in the unforgiving, outdoor lighting.
“She played me, for one thing, and the results of the test are completely useless.”
“Aw, come on, Gidget. Who the fuck cares? You can’t let that old witch get under your skin, you know that better than anyone, don’t ya?”
“Yes, but no, I mean, it wasn’t just that,” she slurred. She reached for the bottle of bourbon and poured herself another few fingers.
“Oi, easy there, Tiger. You’re gonna make yourself sick,” Franky said and tried to take away the tumbler.
“What the fuck did I say about a lecture, Franky?” Bridget snapped. Franky drew her hand back, unable to hide the hurt that passed like a slap over her face. “I’m sorry, baby.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry too. You know my mum was a mean drunk, eh? Maybe I should just leave you to sleep it off and go spend the night at my bedsit.”
“Oh, Franky. No. Nonono. I’m so sorry.” Bridget put the glass down and pushed it away. She started to cry then, really cry, great gulping sobs like she couldn’t breathe. She sank down on her knees in between Franky’s legs and clutched at Franky’s waist, pinching with her fingers. “I’m sorry. There’s no excuse. Please, please don’t go. Please don’t leave me.” Franky took her face in her hands and tried to wipe away the endless flow of tears with her thumbs.
“Gidge,” she whispered. “I won’t go, and it’s okay, but you’re sort of starting to scare me. What’s up?”
“Will you hold me?”
“Yeah, of course I will.” Franky opened her arms and patted her thigh. Bridget climbed onto her lap and rested her head against her shoulder and Franky wrapped her arms around her, enveloping her completely in a tight embrace. “There’s my girl,” she said.
“I’m not crushing you, am I?” Bridget whimpered.
“What? No, you’re tiny. Now tell me. Tell me everything.”
Bridget took a deep breath and shuddered against Franky. “So, I was administering the questionnaire. And Ferguson wanted to play cat and mouse with me. She wanted to ask me questions, like a fucking Hannibal Lector quid pro quo.”
“Yeah, and you gave her that classic forensic psychologist stare down, right?”
“Sort of,” Bridget hiccuped. “But the questions she asked.”
Franky kissed her forehead and tucked her hair behind her ears. “Well, you gonna’ tell me? What did she say?”
“She brought up something. Something she could not have known. But I tipped my hand and then she knew and now she knows. And it is all I can think about.”
“What on earth could she have said? Was it about me?”
“Well, then what?”
Bridget looked up at Franky through wet, watercolor eyes. “I’m scared, Baby.”
“Scared of what? The Freak is locked up. She can’t do anything to you.”
“No. I’m not scared of her.” Bridget paused and swallowed hard and brought her hand up to Franky’s neck. She kneaded Franky’s flesh and whispered, “I’m scared if I tell you, you’ll stop loving me.”
“Whoa,” Franky exhaled. “You look at me. You look at me and you listen. There is nothing, do you hear me? Nothing, that can make me stop loving you.” Tears pricked Franky’s eyes and she felt pissed off about them because she did not want Bridget to know for even an instant that she was feeling weak. But she was. Love does that. It makes you weak when the person you love the most is crumbling in front of you and you feel helpless to hold them together.
Bridget nodded slowly, and then she spoke. “One of her questions, well, she asked if I’d ever been raped. And I told her I wasn’t going to answer her questions, and she had the fucking tits on her to tell me that I just did.”
“Oh, fuck. Gidge. Fuck.”
“Do you hate me?”
“What? Fuck no!”
Bridget collapsed against Franky in a fresh wave of tears. “I was past it. I never wanted you to know. I never wanted anyone to know.”
Franky tipped her face up and kissed her lips, then both of her cheeks and then her lips again. “You know everything about me. You knew everything about me before you even met me, like a sneaky little tarot reader or something, cuz ya had my file. And you don’t want me to know this about you? How the fuck is that fair?”
“I’m supposed to be strong,” Bridget shivered.
“We take turns being strong,” Franky said. “You watched over me for weeks after I got out while I slept. Now it’s my turn. You let me have my turn, Gidget. Yeah?”
“Yeah,” Bridget sniffled. “Franky, I’m sorry, but tonight I don’t really want to tell you anymore. I don’t want to go back into the details.”
“You don’t have to. I don’t need to know anything other than what you want to tell me. Look. You got triggered,” Franky said resolutely. “Isn’t that what you would say? Somehow the Freak was able to activate you and lower your defenses. But I know for a fact you would not tell a client that she should go home and get shit faced on whiskey in the dark by herself, yeah?”
“How did you get so smart?” Bridget slurred and snuggled closer to Franky. Under the waft of bourbon, Franky could smell the ginger of her shampoo and the spice of perfume on her skin. It was a subtle blend of herbs and spices and flowers that whispered Bridget’s name on the breeze and made Franky weak in her knees.
“Come one. Let’s get you cleaned up and get some toast in your tummy. You’re gonna have one hell of a head ache tomorrow if we don’t start to hydrate you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Uh, with the amount of bourbon you drank, yeah, I’m sure.”
“No. I mean, are you. . . sure.”
“Gidge,” Franky said and pinched her chin. “You’re my girl. And I love you. And I will take care of my girl. Don’t deny me this.”
At this, Bridget looped her arms around Franky’s neck and kissed her hard on her lips. “I fucking love you, Baby.”
“Too bad you’re so off your face or I’d have you put that pink jacket back on,” Franky said against Bridget’s soft lips.
“Another time for sure.”
“For sure, Gidge. Now come on, let’s get you all settled.” Bridget stood up off of Franky’s lap and Franky gave her a gentle pat on her bum. “The Freak better hope I never break parole and have to go back in there. Cuz I’ll slit her fucking throat for making my girl so upset,” she muttered under her breath, but Bridget heard her.
“Now, now!” She giggled.
“Old habits die hard,” Franky sighed and shrugged as she led Bridget down the hall to the bedroom where she planned to put her into bed and watch over her all night long.
Chapter 6: Three Days
Posted as a separate one shot so I could specifically dedicate it to someone very special. . . I had sort of bitterly sworn off this fandom, but ugh, here I am again writing this stuff. I hope you like it and don't hate me too much. xoxox.
She’s gone to a conference for three days. Three fucking days. You know you can make it. You served seven years’ time practically standing on your head. Three days shouldn’t seem like an eternity.
But it does.
You like the idea of her speaking to an audience, holding the attention of a crowd rapt with her words alone. You could care less what she’s gonna say. You just like the thought of it; of her up at a podium with a mic strapped to her jacket, or better yet, to her head. You made a joke about how she’ll be like Madonna up there with her headset, all hands free so she can strike a pose.
“Madonna?” She laughed.
“Yeah, let’s see you get your Vogue on, Spunky!”
“Madonna? Really? Could you be any more hilarious, Franky?”
“Aw, come on, Gidge, you know that’s totally how your generation rolls. You gonna’ pack your bullet bra or does it take up too much space?”
“My generation? Oh you rotten thing! You know I’m not that much older than you! You do know this, right?”
“Oh is that so?”
“I did see her in concert once,” she says.
“Oh yeah! Of course you did!” You guffaw. You come up behind her and nip her neck. You shove your hands down her pants and even though dinner is on the stove, you can tell she’s hot and wet in less time than it takes to unbutton the situation and get it over her hips. “Oh you saucy vixen,” you hiss in her ear and she’s growling as she tears at your shirt. You break character just long enough to say, “Fuck, fuck, Gidge, let me just turn the stove off!”
And then you shove her down the hall to the bedroom and push her down onto the bed. Her undies are already down around her ankles and she kicks them off as you kneel in between her legs, part her knees and say, “I’m ready for an appeteaser now.” And then you go down on her but it doesn’t last nearly as long as you would have liked because she comes so fast and then she’s super sensitive and pushes your head away because she can’t manage any more. At least not just then.
“Kiss me,” she whimpers, dragging your face up to hers. So you kiss her because you’d do anything she asked. Anything, including waiting three fucking days while she goes away and speaks to a bunch of smart ass nerds about whatever it is she has to say.
“What is it you’re gonna’ talk about again?”
“Trauma informed care in rehabilitating female inmates.”
“Aw, sounds sexy when you say it like that,” you say, but you know she knows her shit. You know it because she got you here. She made you well. You kiss her again and again. “You’re gonna’ have all those nerdy professor types hanging all over ya.”
“Nope. Don’t think so.”
“Then all those little scholarly girls who go to learn are gonna’ be all hot for teacher, eh?”
“I don’t think that either.” She nuzzles you and gets up to go to the bathroom. And that’s the thing. You know even if there were a room full of chicks there all ripe and ready to tear their clothes off for her, she wouldn’t give them the time of day. Cuz that’s your girl. You lie there and taste her on your lips and you smile. You lick your lips over and over and never want the taste of her to go anywhere, but you know you have to eat.
She comes out of the bathroom in her robe. “I’m starving,” she says.
“Well, let’s feed you then,” you say and you drag your carcass off the bed to go reheat what was on the stove.
After dinner she asks again if you’ll be okay while she’s gone, and you say yeah, of course. You shrug and smile and crinkle your nose because you know she thinks it is cute, even if she knows it’s your tell and she can tell you’re lying.
Are you lying? Are you going to be okay? Or are three days apart going to cause you to shrivel up and suck into yourself like some sort of beached sea critter?
You watch her pack. She starts to put the jacket with the blue and black pattern on it into the bag and you whimper a little. She raises an eyebrow. “No?”
“Not that one,” you say and snatch it out of her hand. You hold it selfishly and you don’t give a fuck if you look like a little kid. She packs something plain and beige instead and you nod. You bring the jacket to your face when she isn’t looking and you inhale. It smells like her. It smells complicated and sophisticated, but also sweet and lovely. If you close your eyes you imagine a big bowl of blackberries and cream, a kitchen full of spices with a window wide open to a garden blooming with wild roses and peonies. Under it all is the earthy almond fragrance of her own skin.
You toss the jacket on the chair next to the bed and go out to watch TV while she finishes packing.
In the morning she’s left before you wake. You’re not certain how she managed to pull that off since you were up most of the night, waiting for the moment when she’d tear herself away from you like a sticky bandage.
She leaves you a note.
Be good, my little Puss. I’ll call you later. Love you, G. Xoxoxo.
You smile and take your solitude as an opportunity to drink juice straight out of the jug. It is not nearly as rewarding as when she’s standing there and glowering at you.
When you were little, you sucked your thumb. You did it until the kids made fun of you at school, and even then you didn’t stop entirely, you just did it in private, at night.
When she goes away (for three days) you suck on the corner of your pillow. You chew on it until it is soggy and gross and you hate yourself a little bit.
Then you throw your pillow across the room.
You roll over into her spot and curl your fists under your chin on her pillow. You inhale the scent of her like she planted a garden of herself for you and only you in the sheets. Three days. You find the different notes. The jasmine. The amber. The vanilla. You know you can make it. You smell the salt of her skin and the wild frenzy of her dreams.
Chapter 7: Lathered Up
Bridget gets super jealous when Franky talks to another woman at the gym. . .
“What did that lady want?” Bridget asks as they climb into her car.
“They one who kept talking to you while I was on the treadmill.”
“Oh,” Franky raises her eyebrow as Bridget starts the car. “She wanted me to spot her while she was lifting and she was asking me some questions about my workout routine.”
Bridget gives Franky a sideways glance as she pulls out of the gym parking lot. “Is that right?”
“Yeah,” Franky says and bites the grin that is threatening her mouth.
“It looked like the two of you were having quite the convo,” Bridget says.
“Well, she said she liked the way my arms looked so toned. ‘Cut’ was the word I believe she used. And she wanted to know what my routine was and asked me about my diet.”
“I see,” Bridget says through a clenched jaw.
“Do ya? Cuz with those wicked green eyes, I dunno how you could see anything at all?” Franky can hardly suppress her laugh.
They’re quiet for a while as Bridget drives them toward home. As they pull into the driveway, Bridget says, “She clearly was looking for an excuse to talk to you.”
“Come on Gidge! Why do you say that?”
“Well, she looked pretty buff herself. One might even say butch. I seriously doubt she needed a spotter for her weight lifting.”
“So, I take it you won’t be happy I made plans to have coffee with her next week?” Franky asks.
“You did what?” Bridget exclaims. They get into the house and Franky instantly starts stripping off her sweaty gym clothes.
“Gidge, I hardly have any friends on the outside. She was nice and we had something in common. I mean, did I do something wrong?” Bridget glowers and strides down the hall towards the bedroom. “Fuck,” Franky hisses under her breath. She follows Bridget down the hall. “Um, I’m pretty sure we are supposed to talk things out instead of you walking away from me right now. I mean I’m not a big shot psychologist, but isn’t that what they say?”
“Honestly, Franky, I’m too upset right now. I don’t want to say anything regrettable.”
“Upset about what? That I talked to a girl at the gym? Gidge, if you’re gonna stalk me from the treadmill while you’re running I’m gonna stop going to workout with you.”
Bridget looks at Franky standing there in her sports bra and clingy shorts. She looks at the ‘cut’ muscles of her abdomen and remembers instantly how they feel under her hands. “I have work in an hour so I’m going to shower,” she says and turns away from Franky.
Franky follows her and does not back down. “Gidget. What is going on here? Jealousy is cute, but you’re actually scaring me a little bit.”
Bridget turns around. “Franky, that girl was younger and hotter than me. Do you think I don’t see that? Do you think I don’t know that now you are out of prison you have hundreds of women who would throw themselves at your feet just for you to even glance at them? I mean, it’s just a matter of time, really.”
Franky steps up to Bridget and spreads her hands in front of her in a pose of supplication and confusion. “Matter of time until what?”
“Until you find someone else. Someone younger. Someone hotter.” Tears pool in Bridget’s eyes, which are in fact blue, and not green at all despite her jealousy. Deeply, beautifully blue the likes of which Franky has never even imagined possible. “I mean, if that’s what you want, I guess I can’t stop you.”
Franky opens her mouth as if to speak and no words come out at first. She grabs Bridget’s wrists and pulls her arms to her waist, almost roughly, so the rest of Bridget’s small body follows and presses up against Franky. “I’m sweaty and I probably stink right now,” she says. “But I’ll tell you this anyway. There is no one other than you.” She kisses Bridget who’s lips are reluctant and tight at first, but eventually open to the gentle insistence of Franky’s tongue. Franky puts her hand on the back of Bridget’s neck and bends her back a bit to deepen the kiss, because she wants to show her, she wants her to know and there are no words that can tell her how she feels like her mouth on her body can. Bridget collects her breath in a little sob under Franky’s lips. “Hey now,” Franky whispers. “No tears. I’m here and I’m never going anywhere.”
“But you’re free,” Bridget whispers back. “And freedom means you could choose anything, go anywhere with anyone.”
“I’m not interested in anyone who isn’t you. And I’m not interested in being anywhere where you aren’t,” Franky says and hugs Bridget close to her. “I fucking love you, Gidget, you jealous idiot.”
Bridget sniffles. “I’m sorry, Baby. I didn’t mean to be a jerk.”
“It’s okay,” Franky says. “And can I be honest with ya?”
“This has actually made me really fucking hot for you right now.” Franky bites Bridget’s neck and squeezes her waist. She slips her hands into the back of Bridget’s leggings so she can grab at her tight flesh. Bridget responds by letting her fingers wander over Franky’s stomach.
“Uh, yeah. So you better get out of these sweats and get your hot ass into that shower because I need . . .” she sucks Bridget’s ear hard as she palms her breast and tweaks her nipple. Bridget moans and pulls Franky’s hair out of its ponytail. “I need you now.”
“We don’t have long before we have to leave for work,” Bridget groans.
“Well then we best get lathered up quickly,” Franky laughs as she pushes Bridget playfully toward the bathroom.
"So are you really going to meet up with that woman?" Bridget asks as Franky puts her up against the vanity and yanks her pants down.
"What woman?" Franky asks as she slides her hand over Bridget's belly and down to her pretty, trim mound. She puts her leg in between Bridget's legs to open them. She reaches behind her to turn the shower on and then puts her fingers in her mouth and sucks on them to wet them before lowering them back to where Bridget is already rubbing against Franky's thigh.
“You know, the girl from the gym,” Bridget says breathlessly as Franky’s fingers slip into her slit.
“I don’t know any girl from any gym,” Franky murmurs as her fingers start to work. Bridget laughs softly against Franky’s shoulder. She pulls the sticky sports bra off of Franky’s sticky skin and laps at the luscious sweet and salty flesh beneath. Her breath hitches as Franky jams her fingers up into her while continuing to work at her sensitive bundle of nerves with her thumb. Bridget’s mouth is hungry on Franky’s breast as her hand delves between Franky’s legs.
“Holy shit, bBaby,” Bridget hisses when she feels Franky.
“I told you I was hot for you,” Franky shrugs with a sheepish smile.
“You don’t lie,” Bridget breathes as she dredges her middle finger up along Franky’s already soaking, engorged ridge.
“No. I don’t lie,” Franky says. “And I’m gonna be fast if you keep that up, so we can both get to work on time.”
They tumble into the shower and let the heated water spray over their already hot and salty bodies. Bridget grabs the body wash and squirts some into her hand then rubs it over Franky’s shoulders and breasts. Franky tips her head back into the water and closes her eyes as Bridget’s hands slip and slide over her hips and belly and ass. She inhales the minty smell of the soap and turns so that Bridget is under the shower head. She soaps up her hands and lathers up Bridget in the same manner. With their bodies slippery from soap, they hold each other close, their breasts sliding against each other, nipples hard and happy. “Fingers or shower nozzle?” Bridget asks.
“Fingers,” Franky says with a crooked grin. “I promise I’m gonna be quick.”
“I don’t even care if I’m late for work,” Bridget says as she fingers Franky. “I might even call in sick.”
“What? You never call in sick!” Franky exclaims as she plants herself on Bridget’s fingers and starts to ride them.
“Let’s say this is a special occasion,” Bridget moans as she grinds against Franky’s thigh. True to her word, Franky comes hard and fast around Bridget’s fingers, and as she does, she sucks Bridget’s lips in a frantic and sloppy kiss. As Franky eases down from her climax, she pushes Bridget’s fingers away and turns Bridget so her back is to her chest. She grabs a breast with one hand and goes down to her center with the other hand, fingers eager to coax pleasure from Bridget’s dripping folds. Bridget cranes her head back on her neck so she can reach Franky’s lips in an urgent kiss.
After, as they dry off and dress for their day, Franky sits down on the bed.
“You look pensive baby,” Bridget says.
“Can I tell you something?”
“Uh oh. That sounds serious. What is it?”
“Well, for the longest time, I didn’t make love with anyone.”
“Franky. I know when you were incarcerated that there were women. I know this. I know about Kim and Jodi. You don’t have to try to cover it up. I am sorry I was jealous. I shouldn’t have made you feel bad about that stuff.”
“No. Gidge. No. You aren’t understanding.”
“Well, what then?” Bridget sits down on the bed next to Franky.
“I had lovers, yeah. I mean I fucked. But I never let anyone fuck me. And I never made love to any of them. I never let them touch me and I never came for them. I was totally dominant and there was a part of me that enjoyed that, but I never really liked it.”
“Oh, Baby,” Bridget sighs. She takes Franky’s hand and drops her head onto Franky’s shoulder.
“Do you get it now, Gidge?”
“Yeah,” Bridget breathes. “Yeah, I do.”
Chapter 8: Draw Me a Picture
In Wentworth, Franky brings her psychologist a token of her adoration. Bridget Westfall feels she cannot possibly accept it. . . or can she . . .
It wasn’t everyday Franky appeared in the doorway of Bea’s cell, but when she did, you could bet your bikkies it was because she wanted something. Bea glanced up from her sketchbook and raised an auburn eyebrow, but made no other indication she was at all moved by Franky’s appearance.
Franky, on the other hand, was practically bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet.
“Well?” Franky grumbled. Bea absorbed the energy of anxiety flowing off Franky. Oh, she didn’t just want something. No. She needed something. It was enough to create a sideways smile on Bea’s face.
“Keep bouncing like that and you’ll ruin your tennies,” Bea said softly. She looked back down at her sketchbook and flicked her pencil over the paper.
“Red,” Franky said, her voice full of command. “Do you have what I requested?”
“Dunno, Franky,” Bea began as her smile spread. “I’m sort of enjoying this look of extreme anguish on you. Think I might take a bit longer with it. Desperation becomes you.”
“Fuck you, Red,” Franky hissed as she took a step into the cell. “Do you have it or don’t you?”
Bea chuckled. “Might want to mind your manners, Franky. Didn’t your mum ever tell you that you get more flies with honey than with vinegar?”
“My mum was always too fucking pissed to tell me anything useful, and anyway, I’m not trying to catch flies. So are you going to fucking give it to me or aren’t ya?”
“Alright, fine,” Bea rolled her eyes and flipped through the pages of her sketch book. “Was just trying to have a bit of fun with you.” She got to a page with a small image sketched on it and tore it out. “See? I made it small, just like you asked. You like?”
Franky snatched the picture out of Bea’s hands. She inspected it. She licked her bottom lip and nodded. “It’ll do.” She folded the paper around the image, so that the drawing was concealed, but not creased by the folding. She turned to leave.
“You’re welcome,” Bea said to her back. Franky turned around.
“We’re even now, Red. Our score is settled, unless you breathe a word of this to anyone and then you better pray something heavy drops on your head and kills you quick before I get to you because I will make it fucking slow and fucking painful.”
“There’s no need for threats, Franky. We’re square.”
“Good,” Franky said with a little jerk of her head. She had about thirteen seconds to get up to Westfall’s office before she’d be needed back down in the kitchen. She practically flew up there, the little square of paper tucked securely in her shirt, next to her heart. When she got to the therapist’s office door, she found it was closed. “Fuck!” She whispered as she tried to catch her breath. She stood there, contemplating if she should knock, or if she should abandon this fucking ridiculous plan. But she’d already risked enough confiding in Red. It would be a shame to jump ship now. Maybe, though, the closed door was a sign.
“Attention compound, attention compound, work details will begin in five minutes,” the disembodied voice blared over the speakers and then repeated itself. Franky wanted to tell it to shut the fuck up so she could think, but before she could finish having this urge, the door swung open.
“Franky?” Bridget said. “What are you doing here? Is everything okay? Our session isn’t until Thursday.” She looked down at her watch as if it were going to magically inform her as to why Franky Doyle was standing in front of her.
“Nah, I mean, I know. And everything is fine. I just,” Franky looked around as if the empty hallway would magically put some meaningful words onto her foolish tongue.
“Well, do you want to come in? I have a group I have to get to, but I have a few minutes if you need a check in.”
Franky nodded and allowed herself to be shepherded into the office. “So, did ya miss me yet, Gidget?”
Bridget put her hands on her hips, trying to strike a pose that said, I am all business with you, Franky Doyle. But her face had broken into a smile, like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, and she dipped her head to avert her eyes from Franky’s. “Is that what this visit is about? A pretense to flirt with me?”
“Depends,” Franky said and took a step closer. “Is it working.”
Bridget laughed shortly and said, “Franky, you are going to be the death of me, or at least the death of my career. Is that what you want?”
“Nuh. I don’t like to cause great big, ghastly deaths, only little, pleasant ones. Really pleasant. Is that what you want?” Franky reached for Bridget’s hand and the tips of their fingers touched.
“Fucking hell, Franky,” Bridget whispered and rolled her eyes. She snatched her hand away and jolted her posture and face into a very straight and serious pose. “We cannot do this. You are my patient. I cannot blur these boundaries with you.” Their eyes met.
“Who are you trying to convince, Gidge? Cuz it sounds an awful lot like you’re the one who isn’t convinced here.”
Bridget crossed her arms over her chest. “I have to go and run my group now. I’ll see you at your session on Thursday.”
“What is it?” Bridget sounded annoyed, but she paused.
“I made something for ya,” Franky said and took the square of paper out of her shirt. She thrust it at Bridget. Bridget reached for it reluctantly and unfolded it slowly. Franky watched as she reviewed the image and her face softened and became sad, almost mournful.
“Oh, Franky,” Bridget sighed. “You made this? I didn’t know you could draw. This is. . . well, I don’t even know what to say.”
“Aw, fuck, ok, I didn’t draw it. Queen Bea did. I don’t draw. But you wanted me to paint you a picture, and I thought this would be one way to do it, only Red didn’t have any paints, just the pencil and paper. So, that’s what we got. Do you like it? She did a pretty good job, yeah? I mean my nose is a little weird, but I think she did a good job on your eyes. And we both look happy. That’s us, Gidge. Well? Do you like it?”
Bridget sighed again and dropped her hands down to her thighs with the picture still in the left. Her shoulders slumped. She looked at Franky and the clouds had come again to cover the sun. “Franky, I’m very flattered. Really. But, you know this is not possible.”
“Nah, I don’t know that. And thing is, Gidge, you don’t know that either.” Franky gritted her teeth and worked her jaw in frustration.
“Franky, please,” Bridget blinked, but she could not hide the tears in her eyes from Franky. Franky stepped closer and stroked her cheek. For a moment, Bridget closed her eyes and leaned against Franky’s hand.
“I feel it, Gidge, just like I’m feeling your warm, peachy skin right now. I feel this thing between us when we are together, and I feel you always around me when we are apart. You can’t tell me that isn’t real. You can’t tell me that I just made that up or I’m some fucking delusional freak who needs therapy! And you can’t fucking tell me that you don’t feel it too!”
Bridget stepped away from Franky. She folded up the drawing and held it out to her. “No,” she said and cleared her throat of the tears that had gathered in it. “I can’t tell you any of that. But I also cannot accept this.”
Franky shoved her hand and the drawing away. “Fucking throw it out or burn it then!” She roared and stormed out of the office.
When Thursday came, Franky went to medical with a headache instead of going to her appointment. The nurse gave her an ice pack and sent her back to her unit to rest. After dinner and clean up, Franky cloistered herself in her cell. She flopped on her bed with a book on her chest, but it wasn’t even worth pretending to read. On her back, she laid and stared up at the ceiling, and let the book ride the waves of her breath. The weight of it provided a somewhat soothing pressure for the ache in her chest which had taken up residence and refused to leave. “Maybe I’m dying,” she whispered to the ceiling as the tears started to stream, hot and relentless down her cheeks. She curled into the sobs and the book fell to the floor.
She woke and popped out of her cell for the count and then she closed herself right back in. She turned off the lights. In the dark, she could better imagine the happy faces of her and Gidget in the picture Bea drew. She could see how she draped her arm around Gidge’s shoulder and how Gidge looked up at her with eyes full of love and bliss. She had to hand it to Red, she’d done a grade A job, even if she had fucked up Franky’s nose a bit. She’d somehow managed to capture the light in their eyes and joy in their smiles.
Fuck it all away to fucking hell.
It had been a bloody stupid idea. Part of her was pissed she hadn’t kept the picture herself so she couldn’t rip it up and flush it down the shitter herself. Another part of it just wanted to look at it one more time. This time, when her tears came, they were angry and bitter.
The knock startled her. “What the fuck?” She snapped and sat up, wiping her sleeve across her eyes and nose. She squinted at the light of the doorway. Her eyes took their time adjusting to the light, and in her half asleep state, she could barely make out the silhouette but she could tell it wasn’t one of the girls or one of the guards.
“It’s dark in here. Do you mind if I turn on a light?” The voice was warm, soft, familiar.
“The fuck are you doing here?” Franky barked at Bridget. Bridget turned on a light and Franky blinked. Her eyes felt puffy and her skin felt raw. “What you make house calls now?”
“You missed your appointment today.”
“So I missed you.” Bridget took another step into the cell and closed the door behind her. “May I sit?”
“Suit yourself,” Franky said and pulled her legs up to make room on the bed for Bridget. She sat down and took one of Franky’s hands in both of hers. She turned it over and looked at all of Franky’s fingers and her palm before allowing her hands to close around it. Her grasp was warm and gentle.
“This is torture,” Bridget whispered and shook her head.
“You can say that again. Look, if you came out of pity or whatever, you can march your pretty little arse right back out of my cell. I’m not interested. And I don’t need your fucking, second rate, pity house call. Although your arse does look particularly fuckable in those pants and I’ve always liked a girl in boots.” Franky yanked her hand back, winked and grinned lasciviously at Bridget.
“Oh, Franky. Let’s not.”
“Let’s not what exactly, Gidge? I mean, did you come here for a roll in proverbial hay? Cuz I could be all over that.”
“I know what this is. I hurt you. And in your own typical fashion, you are reverting to rage and insults, trying to hurt me to let me know how much I have hurt you. I get it, but I don’t accept it and I do not respect it. You didn’t get under my skin because of these nasty antics. They need to stop.” She swatted angrily at a tear that had fallen on her flushed cheek.
“I’m sorry. . . I. . . wait, did you say I got under your skin?” Franky popped onto her knees next to Bridget. Surprise sparkled in her green eyes, despite the puffiness from crying earlier. Bridget turned to look at her.
“You know you have,” Bridget said. “You fill up so much space inside of me, I can barely breathe.” She put one hand on her chest over her heart and her other hand on Franky’s chest. “I can’t stay here long. I just wanted to come and check on you and say I am sorry I hurt you about the picture. It was a very sweet gesture.”
“I’m sorry too,” Franky said and picked up Bridget’s hand. She brought it to her lips and kissed each finger and her thumb and then she let her head fall onto Bridget’s shoulder. She took a deep breath. “Gosh Gidge, you smell amazing. And you really do look fucking hot in these pants.” She put a hand on Bridget’s thigh.
“Good Lord, what am I going to do with you?”
“I don’t know, Gidge. What are we gonna’ do?” Franky looked up at Bridget and Bridget put a hand on either side of Franky’s face. Franky, determined to memorize every little speckle in the celestial blue of Bridget’s eyes, did not look away.
“I guess we have to hold on until we figure it out, and hope we survive. Okay?”
“None of this is okay, Gidge. Like ya said, it’s torture.”
“Yeah, I feel that.” Bridget dropped her hands and stood. “I have to go.”
“Right. Nice, professional ladies can’t be caught hanging out in closed cells with the crims,” Franky said bitterly.
“Franky,” Bridget said with a hint of warning in her voice. “Please. Don’t make this harder than it must already be. And keep this with you, but keep it someplace very safe,” she reached into her pants pocket and took out a small, folded square of paper. She haded it to Franky. Franky unfolded it and gasped.
“Our drawing,” she said.
“I couldn’t get rid of it,” Bridget said. “And you can tell Bea that the flames in the background were a very nice touch.”
“But this is a photocopy. What happened to the original?”
“I have it someplace safe,” Bridget said.
“Can I kiss you goodbye?” Franky asked, trying to ignore how her voice cracked and her lip quivered as she did.
“No, Baby. I don’t ever want you to kiss me for goodbye,” Bridget said and made absolutely no pretense of how her entire body shook as she said it. “When we kiss, I want it to be for all the right and real things.”
Franky smiled and dipped her head. She licked her lips and bit her tongue. “You said when.”
“I did,” Bridget said. “And I promise when we do kiss, I will wear these pants, and you can grab my arse, okay? Now I really have to go before we both get into trouble.” Her smile didn’t exactly part the clouds, but it was enough to create brightness in the deep, dark depths of Franky’s heart. Franky bit her grin. She nodded. Bridget walked out of her cell and into places Franky was yet to know.
When she got home, Bridget poured herself a nice, full glass of pinot. She took a couple gulps and then filled it back up. “What the fuck are you doing, Bridget Westfall?” She asked herself as she turned to the crimson, ceramic crucifix on her living room wall. Her heart beat fast. You know, you know you know. Go.
She went down the hall into her bedroom and toed off her shoes. She leaned back into the cushions of her bed and sighed. The glass stem had warmed in her hand. She looked to the left, where there was a scrap of paper tacked up with a piece of tape. “I fucking love you,” she whispered to the shadowy pencil sketch, and she smiled in spite of herself.
Not sure if anyone is still reading Fridget stories, but I thought I would post this anyway and hope maybe someone, somewhere enjoys it. . . if you are that special someone, somewhere, thank you so very much for reading. xoxoxo.
Chapter 9: Care of You
When Bridget comes home sick, Franky has to take care of her. . .
Franky had never seen Bridget look so pale. Her skin nearly matched the beige of the sheets as she lay there sleeping. Franky had spent the last three hours intermittently pacing in front of the bed and chewing on her nails. While she wanted to allow Bridget her rest, she also was deeply frustrated and frightened with the fact Bridget had been asleep for close to 36 hours.
“Come on Gidge,” Franky muttered, under her breath as she stood before the bed.
Franky had known immediately that something was wrong when Bridget had come home from work two nights ago. Her voice was hoarse and instead of devouring the five course meal Franky had prepared (with Franky being the fifth course, of course) she’d stumbled down the hall to their bedroom.
“I just need a nap before supper, baby,” Bridget had rasped.
“But Gidge, it’s all hot and ready now! You never nap. What the hell is wrong? Did someone fuck with you at work? Because you just tell me and I will falcon punch the bitch. Or bastard. You know, equal opportunity falcon puncher that I am.”
But Bridget didn’t even smile at the joke as she fell on top of their bed. “Just give me a few,” she whimpered.
“Aw come on, Spunky. I made coq au van. We can talk about how velvety the mushrooms are and how tender the chicken is. You know how you love my tender meats, yeah? And there’s real cream for dessert. . .” Franky put her hand on Bridget’s hip and tried to shake her a bit, but it was no use. Bridget was already lightly snoring. She didn’t wake up after a few minutes, and she didn’t wake up after a few hours. Franky put away all the supper into containers and into the fridge. She went into the bedroom and pulled Bridget’s boots off of her feet. Then she stripped off her pants and managed to prop her up and peel off her jacket and blouse. When Franky had her down to a cami and her undies, she tucked her into the sheets.
“I’m sorry I ruined supper, baby,” Bridget said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
“Hey, it’s okay,” Franky said and smiled. She kissed Bridget’s cheek and took her hand. “Can I get you anything?”
“Maybe just some juice?”
“You want a smoothie?”
“Nuh, baby. Just some juice. Thanks.”
Franky got the juice and came back. She held the glass up to Bridget’s lips so she could sip at it, then she kissed her forehead. “Fuck, Gidge, you’re hot as hell. I think you’re running a fever. Should we get you to a doctor?”
“No. Sleep,” Bridget sighed. “Just sleep now.” She fell back against the pillows and was unconscious again before Franky could argue. Franky went into their bathroom and pillaged through the medicine cabinet to find a thermometer. She brought it back out and pressed the button to turn it on. The beep did not wake Bridget, nor did she wake when Franky ran it over her forehead.
“Shit,” Franky whispered when she read the number on the little window. “No wonder you feel like hell.” She adjusted the covers, turned off the light and let her sleep. That was a day and a half ago and Bridget’s temp had risen steadily ever since. Bridget had barely been conscious long enough to swallow a few sips of water and pushed away the tablets of fever reducer Franky had procured.
“You know I don’t like pills,” she muttered as she clutched the blankets around her chin and shivered.
“Yeah, I get it, but you have a high fever. I think you also don’t like your brain boiled in your skull, do ya?” Franky scowled at her. “Take em or I’m calling an ambulance to take you to hospital and you can have them pump meds into you with an IV. I’m not joking, Gidget.”
“Ok, ok,” Bridget raised her head and opened her mouth. Franky shoved the two tablets onto her tongue and brought a glass of water to her lips. Bridget sipped and then laid back and fell asleep again.
Now, as Franky paced and chewed at what was left of the skin around her thumb, she felt anxiety start to well in the pit of her stomach and her head started to whirl with thoughts of dread. What if it was something serious? What if she should have called someone to come and take care of Bridget, and now it was too late? What if the fever got too high and Bridget had a seizure or something? That could happen, couldn’t it? Hadn’t she read that somewhere? Fuck it all! What if she lost Bridget because she took shitty care of her?
She stretched out on the bed next to Bridget. She kissed her cheek which was still precariously hot in Franky’s non-professional opinion. She nuzzled her nose in her neck and inhaled the sweet, spicy vanilla and blackberry scent of Bridget’s skin. She brought her ridiculously chewed up hand to Bridget’s face and swept the blond fringe off her forehead. Franky inhaled deeply and shook as she exhaled. “I can’t lose ya, Gidge,” she whispered and kissed her neck repeatedly as she started to cry. Her kisses made Bridget stir.
“Hey, baby,” she murmured sleepily. “What time is it? Am I late for work?”
“Gidge?” Franky swatted at the tears on her cheeks.
“Are you crying? What’s wrong?”
“How are you feeling? I’ve been so worried.”
Bridget took a moment and seemed to remember that she’d been in bed, sick for the past couple days. “Well, I’m thirsty, but I think I’m okay. I’m sorry I worried you.”
“Stay still,” Franky said and rolled over to grab the thermometer off the nightstand. She turned it on and ran it over Bridget’s head and then considered the numerals on the bright, little panel. “Fever’s down but you’re still running a bit high. I’ll get you some juice and you’re taking some more tylenol, and I won’t hear any arguing about it.”
“Oh, yes ma’am,” Bridget said and smiled. “You’re quite a strict nurse aren’t you?”
“Yeah, well, you’re not the easiest patient, Gidge. And really, I was worried.” Franky stood up and picked up the glass that was on the nightstand. “I’m going to get you something fresh to drink. I’ll be back. You want the remote for the TV?” Before Bridget could answer, she’d handed her the remote and was out of the room. A few minutes later, she returned with a tray on which she had arranged some orange juice, water, a piece of toast and the medication she was prepared to cram into Bridget’s gullet if needed. But Bridget took the pills without any struggle, sipped her juice and took a couple bites of toast before falling back on the pillows with a contented smile.
“Come here, Franky,” she said. Franky got under the covers and curled up next to her.
“You need anything else, Gidge?”
“Nuh, just my girl.”
“That can be arranged,” Franky sighed and draped her arm over Bridget’s waist. “I called Vera and let her know you were home sick.”
“Gosh, baby, you thought of everything,” Bridget said.
“It’s so weird, Gidge. Usually, it’s like you’re the grown up in this relationship. I sort of count on you to keep things under control or whatever. I don’t know. I guess I didn’t realize it. You being down for the count, it freaked me out.”
“Hey,” Bridget said and cupped Franky’s chin. “I am so sorry you were frightened. But you took care of me, and you did an amazing job.”
“Yup. You did.” Bridget rubbed her nose against Franky’s and repeated, “An amazing job.”
“I’m glad I could take care of you, Gidge. I always will.”
“Thank you, Franky.”
For a few moments they cuddled in each other’s arms, just resting as the late afternoon filtered golden light into their room. “Hey, are you sore? You want me to run you a hot bath?” Franky offered.
“Oh, that would be amazing,” Bridget sighed. “And baby, I’ve got to tell ya, when I have recovered from this nasty virus, I think I might want to have the strict nurse come by for some visits. . . you know?” She raised her eyebrows.
“Oh yeah? You naughty little lynx!” Franky scoffed with a grin that stretched across her entire face and completely eclipsed any worry that had previously been there.
Bridget was still chuckling to herself as Franky got up to draw her bath.
I love hearing from you in the comments and am so grateful to everyone who reads these little stories. Thank you so so so much!!! xoxoxo.