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Bridget’s POV

 

A refreshing breeze was blowing through my blonde strands while my sunglasses were perfectly sitting on my nose. The drive along the coast highway felt like.... home? 

It has been two years since I left Melbourne for good after resigning from my job at Wentworth prison. I had to make that clean break. For my own‘s sake and.... shaking those thoughts of the past from my head, I turn the volume of the radio up and enjoy the sun whilst I drive in my new convertible. This puts a smile on my face. Suddenly my phone, which is lying on the passenger seat next to me, is ringing. I pull over to the side of the road and see the name of an old friend lightening up on the screen. I pick up overly excited: „Vera!!!“ My friend and also ex-boss is answering immediately: „Just wanted to check in with you and ask when can I expect you to be here?“ Whilst I’m about to answer I’m observing the beach and the ocean. It’s a beautiful and warm day and due to the fact that it is a Friday the beach is pretty crowded. People lying lazily on their blankets sunbathing, children playing and building sandcastles, others playing volleyball or football. „I have just a few miles left and will be there in half an hour at least“, I respond whilst I’m still scanning the scenery. I hear Vera saying something like „on my way“,  „meet you there“ and „you’ll love it“ but I’m not able to listen intently anymore when I see that red beautiful kite dancing in the sky above a little girl standing next to a man who is probably her dad. And there it is... Flashbacks invading my head...

 

I fuckin‘ love you.

 

And I fuckin‘ love you, too.

 

It‘s not over.

 

Bye Franky.

 

We‘re not done!

 

„Bridget, you there???“, brought me back to the here and now. „Yeah... yeah I‘m here!“, is my short response and with „See ya soon then, lookin‘ forward to it.“, I end the call quickly, throw my phone back on the passenger seat and inhale deeply whilst my forehead is resting against the steering wheel. How could it be that a certain brunette is still crossing my mind almost every day after two years? How could it be that I’m still wondering what Franky is doing those days? I only know thanks to Vera that Franky finally left Wentworth 1,5 years ago. It took some time to clear her case and all charges could be dropped. On one hand Vera never wanted to go too much into detail when we spoke about that topic and on the other hand I never wanted to ask her more about Franky’s whereabouts. And if it wasn’t enough that those painful memories shoot right into my head.... suddenly the radio played the next song.... THIS SONG... of all things.....

 

Back of the room

Looking at you

Counting the steps

Between us

A hundred and five 

Little blades in a line

From your skin to mine

And I feel it

Eyes on the ground

But I can’t look up now

Don’t wanna give it away

My secret 

 

In another life, my teeth and tongue 

Would speak aloud what until now I‘ve only sung

 

´Cause I would die to make you mine

Bleed my dry each and every time

I don’t mind, no I don’t mind it

I would come back a thousand times

 

Tears start to run down my cheeks before I even realize it. Wiping them away with the pads of my fingers I watch the kite at the beach again. It screams Franky. Dancing in the wind. Freedom. Be free. Climbing higher and higher with every breeze. And then this strong connection with the little girl‘s dad holding the kite tightly on it’s cords. Not letting go. Trying to navigate it in different directions. Suddenly the wind is increasing and pulling strongly on the kite.... and... the cord.... brakes. The connection is gone..... destroyed... the kite is flying away.... it’s on it’s own now..... and leaves a heartbroken girl behind...... 

 

You can make me wait forever

Push me away and tell me never

I don‘t mind, no I don‘t mind

I would come back a thousand times 

 

Kiss me goodnight

Like a good friend might

I‘ll do the same

But won’t mean it

ˋCause love is a cage 

These words on a page

Carry the pain 

They don‘t free it

In another life I wouldn’t need to

Console myself....

 

I have to turn off that stupid radio. I’m devastated. Tears still running down my cheeks. What the hell is going on?! I managed for so long now that the thoughts of Franky aren’t hurting so much anymore. And then, in a blink of an eye I’m literally back at the beginning. Longing for the love of my life. Feeling some kind of being close to her even if I lost her... left her years ago. I have to get the beautiful brunette out of my mind again. Get yourself together, Bridget! I fire up the engine of my car, pull back on the street, shaking my head and smiling ironically to myself. 

 

Pulling into the driveway of my new home I’m met by a familiar brunette sitting on the porch waiting for me. After opening the drivers door I’m welcomed by a overwhelming hug. “Heyyyy, so good to see ya, Vera”, which makes the other woman hug me even tighter. “I never thought I would say that, but I really missed you, Ms. Westfall!”, Vera says grinning. “Right back at ya, Ms. Bennett. Well, no wonder after all we’ve been through together! But how are you? You look great by the way. And how’s little Gracie?” Vera’s smile is getting even bigger by the mentioning of her 1 year old daughter. Telling me quickly about how well the little bub is growing and that she spends the day with Will Jackson and his girlfriend Rose. Both have become a big part in the life of the two Bennetts after Vera disappointingly had to find out what kind of human being Grace’s biological father Jake Steward was and what appalling things he did under the lead of Joan “The Freak” Furgeson. After the mysterious disappearance of the latter one Jake surprisingly dropped off the radar, too. Unfortunately Vera had already told him about her pregnancy and his paternity before she found out about his awful secrets. 

 

“Vera, the place looks great. Thank you so much for arranging everything”, I’m saying whilst we enter my new house and home. It really is beautiful and reminds me a lot of my last house here in Melbourne before I left 2 years ago. The furniture is already set up and Vera actually has bought and arranged some plants and flowers which make the place even more homely. “Well, seems like I owe you one,”, I continue turning back towards my friend who has placed herself on one of the barstools next to the kitchen island. “I won’t say no to that. Especially not today when I finally have my best friend back and my child is at my other friends’ “, Vera replies euphorically. “What about that drink you once promised me if you would ever come back to Melbourne?”, Vera adds winking. She tells me about that fancy cocktail bar in Fitzroy called “Everleigh” which she wanted to try out for so long. How could I say no to that?! I’m so grateful for everything she has done for me, so there isn’t really a question. We arrange to meet at the bar around 7, so we have enough time to catch up and enjoy our evening together. Well, it has been a while, hasn’t it? Vera became an important friend to me, who’s always honest, reliable and just there for me. And now that I’m back.... and some kind of alone.... I’m really glad to have her.

Chapter Text

Franky’s POV

Those days are really fuckin’ killing me. I was running forth and back between the office and the court today, supporting some of my colleagues during trials but also sometimes playing the courier service.... more or less. At least the majority of my co-workers accept me and appreciate my work. In return I’m so grateful for them integrating me in their cases that I literally bust a gut for them. Not to forget one of my bosses who never has given up on me, Imogen Fessler. She gave me a second chance and offered me to have my job back at Legal Relief after I left Wentworth for the second time 1,5 years ago and finally for good. She also helped me to clear my case and managed that all charges were dropped. I feel like I some kind of owe her one.... no everything! I know I don’t need to feel that way and Fessler told me that more than once either. But that’s just who I am and that’s why I put all of my passion into my job. Parallel to my job I actually agreed to help the women in my former “home”, Wentworth Prison. My long-term friend Boomer convinced me whilst I was visiting her once a few month ago. I mean, I apparently managed getting her retrial started for parole again. Since then I’ve given some kind of courses for the women who are about to get out of that shithole in the foreseeable future, so I offer them some time of my spare time a few times a week after work. I mean I know myself exactly how important it is to be prepared when you start this new part of your life. I had this support, gladly, and I want those women getting the opportunity to experience the same.

Finally arriving home after another bloody day around 6 p.m., I unlock the door to my loft and check my mail at the same time because I’m a little in a hurry. I have plans for this evening in around an hour to distract myself and release some stress and I still wanted to shower. I throw all the stuff I’m carrying on the kitchen island and make my way towards the corner where my king size bed is positioned. I strip down to my bra and briefs, throw my worn clothes on the bed and check out my closet for my outfit tonight. I decide for some tight black jeans, a simple but very well fitting white v-neck shirt, which always leaves some nice imagination for more, but I’m hesitating what to wear for the finishing touch. And then I find it, one of my absolutely favorite garments: my super sexy black leather blazer. I didn’t wear it for a long long time. I took it out of a moving box when I settled in here and wore it on one of my first nights out after prison but since then it was literally hidden in my closet. I throw the blazer on my bed on top of the other clothes and quickly jump under the shower. I was really looking forward to tonight especially when it comes to my company but when I arrived home my motivation was quite on a low level because of my exhaustion from the day. Gladly the hot shower brings back some very welcome energy to my body. I step out, blow dry my hair and fix some light make up before dressing myself with the chosen clothes. When I reach for the blazer something slips out of it’s pocket and falls on the floor next to the bed. First of all I can’t tell what it was until I bend down and pick it up. And then it hits me. I was searching for it for a long time. I already thought I lost it somewhere. I hold the silver necklace in my hand and brush the tip of my thump over the fitting pendant, a kite with a tiny red rope. Gidge, I think and my stomach turns. I feel like I want to throw up because it suddenly hurts so much.... again. The jewelry was a gift from the love of my life. And then I remember: on that one evening out after my release from prison I was still wearing that necklace because I actually had hope that she would come back to me at some point, that she would give us another chance. I was quite tipsy when I left that bar, whose name I don’t remember at all. So I decided to take a walk for some time in the cool night air to sober up a little. After ambling around what felt like a few hours I unconsciously found myself standing in front of Bridget’s house, which was once our home to a certain extent. I remember if it was yesterday. My heart was in my boots in a flash when I took notice of the selling sign in front of the house. I stepped up to the porch devastated and tried to look through one of the windows. The house was empty. I don’t really know if that was exactly the moment when I gave up. I just know that I took the necklace off on my way home while tears were covering my face and I put it in the pocket of my beloved jacket. I was a mess when I finally entered my apartment that I completely forgot about the little silver kite. I don’t remember anymore how I got myself in bed. I only know that in said night I cried myself to sleep.

I’m even more aware now that I urgently need this night of distraction and some fun. And who am I kidding, it’s a Friday evening and with some luck... Fuck you, Bridget! Thinking about my date, I quickly put two puffs of my favorite perfume on each side of my throat because I know it drives her crazy. I grab my keys and my phone and leave my apartment and with that the thoughts about my ex. 

I doesn’t take long to get to my destination. I haven’t been here before and I don’t feel much comfortable when I enter the bar. It’s too fancy for my taste but who refuses a wish from a woman like I’m about to meet? And yeah, it’s definitely a location to her liking. Gladly, I spot a cozy empty leather couch slightly away from the bar in a dimly lit corner which will give us some privacy because I know it’s exactly how she prefers it. It’s already a little after 7 but it doesn’t surprise me that she seems to be late.... like always. I don’t take it personal, though. Well, she’s a busy and much sought after person. To kill some time I have a look at the drinks menu and I’m overwhelmed by the selection of cocktails which I didn’t even know that they would exist. The waitress is approaching me, a beautiful brunette with straight hair and dark brown eyes. Smiling, I order a “Bartender’s Choice” with the description “Leave it to us” written under it. She comments winking: “Brave decision by a brave woman, huh? If you want me to tell you what’s really in there later, just let me know”. Is she flirting? Yes, she’s definitely flirting. Well, why shouldn’t there be two playing the game? “Maybe I get back to this later”, I reply smirking. Pulling her bottom lip between her teeth, she turns her back on me and leaves. Unfortunately her lanky colleague serves my drink a few minutes later because she’s busy at another table with other guests. I sip my cocktail when she’s casting a glance towards me again. Giggling to myself I’m more or less disturbed when someone is settling down next to me on the couch, sighing deeply. She’s leaning against the back of couch, resting her head on top of it, apologizing: “Sorry, I know I’m late. This was a day from hell, not to mention that horrible meeting I just had.” I turn to my left and watch her. Raising my eyebrows, I hand over my cocktail and she accepts gladly, taking a large gulp. She releases a long moan and puts the glass back on the table. Not wasting any time, her right arm is on the small of my back and directly roaming towards my bum, squeezing it. “God, this cocktail is so good. Exactly what I needed right now. But first of all.... hi!”, and with this her full lips are right below my left ear, kissing me there thoroughly. “Is Erica Davidson really showing some affection in public places tonight? Where’s Marky this weekend? Business trip out of town?” Looking at me with that innocent glance, she knows exactly how to get me and replies playfully: “Should I be worried that you know me all too well, beautiful?” and adds winking: “You smell amazing by the way, and you taste even better than this cocktail.” Licking my bottom lip and popping a cheeky grin, I counter: “Ah, now everything makes a little bit more sense. After weeks of nothing, that’s why you urgently wanted to see me tonight.” I always like teasing her a bit and quite frankly she didn’t care much about me these past weeks. It’s not a big deal, though, we’re not in a relationship. But we became really good friends, even sometimes with benefits, because we both know exactly that her wimp of a husband at home could never give her completely what I can. She still wants to stay with him and that’s fine by me. It’s not that I love her or want commitments. I gave my heart to only one person in my life and I don’t think that I will ever find this and do this again. Erica and I, though, it’s still something special, something intense, almost magical and no shit, I’m so grateful to her for coming back into my life. She suddenly was there that one day, which was my second session with Fessler at Wentworth working on my case. Imogen had asked her for help and she agreed right away. I think maybe she felt guilty for disappearing years ago and that’s why she wanted to get me out of there. And damn, she was undoubtedly one of the best lawyers in Victoria. I still remember in awe how she kicked the prosecution’s asses during trial.

A few cocktails and conversations about everything and nothing later my hand wanders inconspicuously to her naked knee and slightly underneath her super sexy pencil skirt along the inside of her thigh. Since her greeting earlier I can’t really put a finger on what she’s up to tonight. But I have a feeling that she was missing me somehow. And I wouldn’t complain to get some more attention from her tonight. Time to test the water, Doyle. My fingertips are drawing soft patterns on the inside of her thigh and I sense Erica tensing a little because we’re in a public place and she already noticed the sexy brunette waitress watching us more often than she probably should. But then, a few seconds later, after glancing intensely at her, my head propped up on my left hand, elbow resting against the back of the couch, I feel her spreading her legs a little wider. She turns herself completely towards me, mirroring my posture, bending her right knee, dragging it a little further on the couch. As she leans forward, my hand slips far enough underneath her skirt to be met by soaked panties worn on top of her most sensitive spot. Yes, she’s definitely up for more tonight. I feel her hot breath against my ear and her suppressed moaning as I tease her is such a turn on. One of her hands now on my thigh, squeezing it, she is breathing heavily right next to my ear and whispering in between: “Do ya wanna get out of here and continue where we had to stop last time?”. Shit. This woman knows how to heat me up. She continues to play her games with me: “Or do I have to remind you how hard you fucked me from behind, when I was on all fours?” Of course she doesn’t have to tell me and I can’t deny the pooling arousal between my legs anymore. Well, having sex with Erica Davidson is something else and this time I definitely don’t want to be interrupted by a stupid phone call from whiny Mark. “Whilst you decide if your place or mine, I got to use the ladies”, I say and make my way towards the restroom. I pass the booths positioned a few meters across from the bar and  spot a familiar face surprisingly. I stop right next to her table, her company’s back facing me, I smile and greet her sincerely: “Hey gov, ya relaxing from a stressy day either? Didn’t see ya in that shithole today!” Vera Bennett turns her face towards me and her mouth drops, only releasing a stuttering “Doyle...”. I don’t know what’s wrong until Vera’s companion turns around, facing me wide eyed. BRIDGET!?!?

Chapter Text

Bridget’s POV

I can’t even start to describe how much I missed this to sit here with Vera and enjoy to catch up with her. Although I think that my last two years in Seattle were quite the experience, I never completely settled there, I never really felt like being home. I had a great job by working in one of the most prestigious hospitals as a forensic psychologist in a leading position. I even found a lot of friends there, which wasn’t so hard due to the job. But they never became as close as the handful of really tight friends I have here in Melbourne. I was never able to built such a strong connection like the one I have with Vera, for example. I’m so glad that we managed to stay in touch during my time abroad. We called each other frequently and talked for one or two hours and Vera even visited me once during Christmas holidays.

Vera pulls me out of my thoughts when she comes back to our table from her quick phone call with Will Jackson ascertaining if everything is alright with little Grace. In the meantime I was ordering a new round of cocktails for the both of us, which were just served by the waitress a moment before. “Everything allright wie the little bub?”, I ask and Vera responds nodding: “Will said she’s out like a light. No problems at all.” I sense her relief and silently take my hat off to her. Must be hard to be a single parent and not to forget being this while working in a job with such a high responsibility. “But let’s stop talking about me for now, my life was almost the only topic so far. And you didn’t answer my question before: could you imagine to come back to Wentworth and working there as our psychologist again?” I was hoping Vera wouldn’t revisit that topic directly after her phone call, I was hoping she would give me some time to think about this. But she obviously isn’t going to dance around this. Deep inside I definitely want the job back and help the women. Who am I kidding? I was already working in corrections for more than 20 years. Sure, Seattle was a nice change, but I never felt like I would be able to invest my whole affection. Psychologists in hospitals are usually there because it’s what the protocol says. Although the cases are sometimes very appalling, they are still rather short-term, for example taking care of and treating a family member after losing a close relative, treating a woman after she’s been raped or taking care of child after domestic abuse until the social worker arrives. Meaning in most instances you’re never really able to build a connection and trust with those patients. And that was always the challenge to me while working in corrections. But I’m struggling a little here because there are so many memories connected with Wentworth that I don’t feel 100% comfortable. Vera tries to convince me: “C’mon Bridget, I won’t accept no for an answer, the women need you and they really appreciated you and if you’re being honest working as a forensic psych in prison is your true destiny.” Well, she’s right and I nod hesitantly. A huge smile appears on Vera’s face while she’s reaching for my hand across the table, squeezing it and mouthing thank you towards me. I just have to deal with those demons from the past. Thoughts of Franky shooting through my head again.

You wanna push me away? You fuckin’ failed. 

Wanna hurt me, hm? Congratulations, baby!

And it still hurts... but rather because I see it all from another angle nowadays. I finally understand what she was doing that day in her cell, I’m in the clear with all those things she did after, the escape plans, the fake making out with Allie... I’m also still confident about the clean break. It was the best decision I could make two years ago. Otherwise it would have destroyed me completely. With the necessary distance I was able to recover in some way. Oh Franky...

This time it is my vibrating phone on the table, which is pulling me from my thoughts. The incoming text message says:

Did you arrive safely? Didn’t hear from you yet. I’m sorry about everything! Never forget that I love you. Xx

Vera looks right through me and assumes correctly when she asks: “Sarah? How is she by the way?” Before I’m ready to tell Vera everything, I text back quickly and rather aloof:

Arrived safely. Out for drinks with Vera. Some catching up to do. I’m sorry, too. I just need some time. Take care.

I met Sarah not too long after arriving in Seattle. She was working at the same hospital and still does. She is one of the most successful general surgeons there, three years younger than me, blonde, tall and absolutely beautiful. The only fact of the matter was and still is her being in a loving relationship with her job as well. And in the past few months it quite became a habit her job being more important than me. It doesn’t help either that her best friend is obviously having a crush on her and Sarah just doesn’t get it. They see each other every day because they work together in the same department and four weeks ago both of them even signed a contract for a new set of medical studies about pancreatic cancer, what finally broke the camel’s back. The plan was, that Sarah would have followed me to Melbourne as soon as she could get out of her contract at the hospital, which wasn’t so easy. She had patients over longer periods, in addition to that she is the chief of her department and a successor wasn’t found yet when I left. Isn’t it just human to assume her best friend Maggie talked her into those new studies? She was always interfering with our relationship and I had the feeling that she didn’t like and didn’t accept me from the beginning on. When she knew Sarah and I had a day off and wanted to spend some alone time together, she always called because of a “very urgent case” at work for which she needed her help or she called or just appeared at our front door because she allegedly had some bad luck with a girl again. Funny thing was, one day later everything was fine again. Does she think I’m stupid? Did she really think I didn’t get it? And it occurred to me right away when we decided to move back to Melbourne that Sarah felt remorse. So I gave her an ultimatum when I left: her job and/or Maggie or me. We were arguing until 2 or 3 in the morning. She finally told me about those new studies that evening, which was supposed to be our last evening together for some time. We fell asleep at some point, there wasn’t literally any more distance possible, Sarah on her side of the bed and me on my side. When I woke, I was alone and only found a note on my bedside table: emergency case at the hospital. Have a safe trip. Love you.

As if nothing has happened. But at least that made me question even more what her priorities in life are. 

Vera is pretty shocked when she hears about the recent events and gives me a pitying look. Her glance drops towards my hand which is resting on the table, she grabs it, squeezes it again and only manages to mumble a “I’m sorry, don’t know what to say...”. To be honest, for now I don’t really have any answers myself either to the whole situation. Well, time will tell....

To lighten up the mood, we change the topic. We talk about everything which comes into our minds spontaneously, we laugh a lot and enjoy our cocktails, when suddenly someone standing slightly behind me interrupts our conversation saying: “Hey gov, ya relaxing from a stressy day either? Didn’t see ya in that shithole today!” Vera’s glance shoots up and her mouth drops. I would forever distinguish this voice among thousands of others but I need to turn around and see her to make sure that I’m not dreaming. There she is. Right in front of me. Barely one meter between us. And she looks even more beautiful than the last time I saw her, although I already know well enough how much freedom suits her. Her hair is a little longer and she looks amazing with the light make-up and the clothes she is wearing. Franky always had a great way to dress. And I recognize again that she still takes my breath away. 

As soon as she perceives who’s sitting with Vera her facial expression abruptly changes from relaxed to distraught. She’s already running for the hills towards the restroom before I’m even able to say anything to her. Vera and I exchange confused looks. I consider to follow her but that’s probably not the best idea right now. I know exactly what it does to Franky if she feels pushed and cornered. It wouldn’t achieve anything at the moment. The comment she said to Vera was confusing me either. What did she mean, she didn’t see her at Wentworth today? I have to know and ask Vera. I sense that she wants to beat about the bushes, but no chance. “Franky is holding lectures a few hours every week for the women who are about to get parole”, Vera finally admits. Is she for real?! “Seriously, Vera, you’re asking me to get back to Wentworth altough you knew that I would work there with Franky? What were you thinking? Why didn’t you tell me?”, I confront her and sigh heavily. “Excuse me, Bridget, but I don’t discuss any staff relating decisions even though you’re my friend. And the one doesn’t have anything to do with the other. And even if your paths cross at some point, I expect you both could act professional enough to avoid any negative consequences... for whomever.”, Vera snaps back. “Ha, we both know how successful I was the last time in keeping things professional, Vera”, I mumble ironically. I need to speak to Franky if this should work between us in the future. Now. Or maybe I make a huge mistake here. It wouldn’t surprise me, because it usually happens when I switch my mind off and just go with my gut feelings. But what if not? As I’m about to get up, a blonde woman rushes past our table towards Franky, who’s just getting back from the loo. Vera reaches for my wrist, stopping me: “Bridget, don’t!” We both watch how the blonde is wrapping her arms around Franky’s waist from behind whilst she is paying the bill at the waitress’ cash register, whispering something obviously intimately into her ear. I sink back into the booth, devastated, and have to witness them leaving arm in arm, Franky’s hand provocatively going down to her bum. I meet Vera’s apologizing look and have to ask her: “Do you know her?” Vera nods hesitantly. “Erica Davidson”. My mouth drops and it feels like my heart is torn out of my chest. Now I finally know the face attached to that name. Her, of all people. Of course Franky told me about her when we were still together. I know they kissed and then she left without a trace. I know about Franky’s letters addressed to her. I never read them, though. I didn’t feel the need to. She left her, too, but obviously came back. 

Lost in thoughts I don’t notice Vera leaving our table to pay the bill. When she comes back, she is standing next to me, compassionately stroking my shoulder, saying: “C’mon, let’s get you out of here! And tonight you’ll stay at my place. There’s no way I’m leaving you alone!”

Chapter Text

Franky’s POV

I don’t know what just happened. Suddenly she was there. Out of nothing. It was like if destiny wanted it that way. Directly dragged towards that one person I thought I would never see again. After two years without any sign from her at all. And fucking hell she looked gorgeous. Her scent was intoxicating me right away and even if there was still some space between us it felt like she was touching me. Her soft skin on mine. And my brain turned into total mush. The black dress she was wearing, the short hair and the light lipstick didn’t help either. I couldn’t help it, I had to turn around and run away. Childish, I know. I should have stood my ground and downplayed it coolly, which usually is not so difficult for me. But in her presence it’s a totally different story. 

Gladly, there is a cab available instantly when we step in front of the bar. Erica intertwines our fingers and drags me inside on the backseat, giving the driver the address to my loft. Even if it’s appealing being at her place, I’m honestly not in the mood for leaving in the middle of the night because of the risk to get caught by Mark if he decided to come back earlier from his business trip. It almost happened once. Thank god he forgot his keys that weekend and had to call Erica whilst already standing at their front door. I could escape across the terrace down to the beach. It would have been some kind of fun, if it wasn’t at 6 in the morning because that wanker took the night flight back home. 

As soon as the cab leaves the parking lot one of Erica’s hands is around my neck and the other is running below the hem of my shirt. She obviously doesn’t want to waste any time because her lips are on mine shortly after, her teeth biting my bottom lip hungrily. Poking out her tongue, asking for entrance, our tongues circle around each other full of demand, giving the taxi driver quite the show. Her hand roaming upwards, cupping my breast through my bra, stroking my hardening nipple with her thump.... suddenly Bridget’s glance from minutes before is shooting in my head.... for fuck’s sake. I pull Erica’s hand out of my shirt and she’s giving me a confusing look. “Playing hard to get tonight? Hmmmm that’s turning me on even more”, she gasps. “Well, a little bit more anticipation doesn‘t have to be the worst thing, does it?”, I counter and grin cheekily.

When we enter my loft her hands are all over me again. She’s pulling my blazer roughly from my shoulders and attacking my neck with her full lips, directly followed by getting rid of my shirt. She’s dragging me towards my bed, pushing me down on my back. I prop myself up on my elbows to admire the view in front of me whilst she’s giving me a sexy strip show. And suddenly Bridget is back in my head. Fuck. Get a grip, Doyle. Back to reality, Erica is standing completely naked in front of me, licking her lips, then crawling towards me on the bed on all fours like a predator hunting it’s prey. She reaches for the button of my pants, pops it open, lowers the zipper and drags the material down my thighs. She’s straddling my hips painfully slow after and I get a glimpse of her already dripping folds. She’s attacking my neck again, biting it and I’m not sure if she just didn’t leave a mark. She grinds her soaked center down while reaching behind me to undo my bra. I fall on my back again when she takes the fabric off harshly. She must be really desperate because it’s usually me who takes the lead. Cupping one of my breasts, she goes down on the other, sucking my nipple hungrily into her mouth. My arching back forces my hips to lift up, producing some very welcome friction against her soaked center. Erica sits back upright, throwing her head back, gasping. Whilst her eyes are closed, she is searching for one of my hands and directs it forcefully between her legs. “Fuck me, Franky”, she begs and I run my fingers through her dripping folds. My hand is quickly coated with her arousal. I tease her clit with my digit, her heavy moaning is letting me believe that she might come any second. As I’m about to enter her to give her some release, flashbacks of my first time with Bridget are invading my head. Shit. Not again! I retract my hand and push Erica down from me. She falls next to me on the bed and complains with “Fuck, Franky, what the hell is going on?”, when she realizes that I’m not about to get on top of her and continue this. She’s panting unsatisfied next to me while my focus is on the ceiling above me. After a few seconds of silence she finally speaks: “It’s her, isn’t it?”. “What the hell are you talking about?”, I snap back. Erica rolls over to my bedside table and opens the drawer. Shortly after she’s holding a picture of Bridget and me right in front of my face. “I recognized her at the bar before. She was sitting at the table with Vera Bennett where you stopped by. I know, she’s your ex!” I squeeze my eyes shut and inhale deeply. “Really fucking great that you went through my stuff when I wasn’t here!”, I accuse her. “Franky, you know exactly that I would never do something like that! I found the picture one morning when you had to leave early for work and I stayed here for a little while longer. I was simply searching for a notepad and a pen to leave you a note for when you came back home later that day.”, she apologizes. She turns on her side facing me, running one finger up my thigh, she adds temptingly: “But you could punish me if you want to.” I can’t take it any longer and get up from the bed, grabbing a shirt and some boxer shorts, getting dressed again. “With punishment I didn’t mean turning me down, Franky”, Erica reacts snarky. I sit down on the edge of the bed and run my fingers through my hair. “So she’s back and now she’s interfering with our sex life or what? Franky, she dumped you!” Slowly it’s getting annoying. “Just leave it, ok? You dumped me either and I still let you back into my life. And at least she doesn’t sleep with me and then goes home to her naive wimp every night!”, I respond nastily. Suddenly Erica gets up furiously, grabs her clothes and retreats into my bathroom. My comment really wasn’t nice at all, but it’s the truth. I can’t blame her, though. She still has no right to speak about Bridget the way she just did. When Erica gets back from the bathroom a few minutes later, she takes her purse on the way to the door and lingers with her hand on the knob without turning back: “You can call me when you come back to your senses.” And with that she’s gone, slamming the door shut behind her. Fucking great. I get back into my bed and take the picture, which Erica has thrown on one of the pillows before. It was taken at the beach, our safe place, on our first holiday together. A selfie made with Bridget’s phone, me sitting behind her, my chin on her shoulder. God, we were so happy. She surprised me  with smuggling it a few weeks after into my brief case, which I take to work with me every day. From this day on it found a place on my desk in my office. I turn the picture and read her handwriting: 1000 times and it’s always you! I will love you forever. Gidge

A single tear escapes my eye, I wipe it away and increase the hold of the picture. Staring at it for what felt like forever, I fall asleep at some point....

 

Gladly, Monday morning comes really quickly after spending the whole Sunday alone at home with too many thoughts. It’s time to throw myself back into work because that seems to be the only way to keep me sane right now. Disappointingly, the day at work passes rather smoothly. Fessler left a note on my desk that she would be at the courthouse the whole day and wants me to have a look at some cases. It’s only 1 p.m. when I stare at the clock and decide to grab something to eat at the cafe across the street. I’m back at the office around 2 and still have some time to kill before I have to be at Wentworth at 4 to hold another lecture for the women. I’m honestly looking forward to it with the hope of being challenged there a little more today than at work. 

When I arrive at Wentworth it’s a little after 4 due to traffic. I sign in at the front desk whilst chatting with Mr. Jackson. He gives me my visitors ID and after passing security he walks me directly to the library where I only find Allie sitting on one of the tables, reading a book, waiting for me. She greets me with a hug and I ask her rather confused: “What’s going on? Where are the others?” Allie shrugs and sits down again, only telling me, that Boomer unfortunately isn’t able to attend because of an intestinal flu. She spent the whole morning in front of the toilet before being brought to medical. And about the others Allie obviously doesn’t know either. Taking the chance we rather talk about everything and nothing. I mean at least I don’t wanna be here for nothing. I could as well kill some of Allie’s time in that shithole, right, because I know exactly how bored you can get. “By the way, Franky, did you hear about our hot new... well former.... psychologist? The governor introduced her this morning.” My glance shoots up from my coffee cup. “What are you talking about?”, I ask muddled. I probably must have heard wrong. “Miss Wes... uhm Bridget...”, Allie says teasingly and smirks. She knows about our common past. I filled her in after Bridget left two years ago. At some point I couldn’t pretend any longer that my emotional status didn’t have anything to do with her disappearance. Not to mention that Allie, one of the very few people in my life, could look right through me. She already assumed something like that anyways.

Time flies fast and Ms. Miles appears in the doorway: “Time‘s over, ladies. Novak, ya find your way back to your unit yourself? Doyle, I’ll guide you out then.” Allie and I say our goodbyes and just as I’m walking along the hallway next to Smiles, the sirens start blaring and I hear “Code Orange” spoken through Smiles’ walkie, which means an assault on a staff member. “Okay Doyle, I have to evacuate you and then I have to check what’s going on.” We’re rushing towards the guards’ staffroom and she pushes me inside. Spotting another person in the room, Smiles says mockingly whilst leaving: “See, Miss Westfall will keep you some company!” With that she locks the door and is gone. 

Just. Fucking. Great.

Chapter Text

Bridget’s POV

My first day at Wentworth went quite smoothly so far. Vera introduced me to the women in the morning and after that the staff surprisingly had prepared a welcome (back) breakfast. Due to the fact that I wouldn’t have any sessions today, I dealt with a lot of paper work in my office. I needed to inform the psychologist’s board about my new working place, which took some time because I was working almost two years abroad and after that I needed to schedule the group sessions and individual counselings for the following days. It was almost 5 p.m. when I decided to call it a day and made my way out of my office and through the hallway when the sirens started blaring. Following the protocol I knew I had to get myself into a safety place and the guard’s staff room was closest so I scurried inside. 

I make myself comfortable on one of the couches and flip through one of the magazines which were scattered on the table. I only hope the lockdown won’t take too long because I just wanna go home and relax with a hot bath and a glass of wine. I’m wondering what’s going on out there when I hear footsteps coming closer towards the room. As the door opens and Linda Miles’ face appears, I assume that she’s already here to give me the permission to leave, but then she unexpectedly slides Franky into the room and turns around to leave again with the comment: “See, Miss Westfall will keep you some company!”. I usually like her way of humor but this isn’t funny at all and due to the expression in Franky’s face when she’s spotting me she totally shares my opinion. Outstanding. My destiny sometimes really seems to be a lousy traitor. I try to stay cool and continue flipping through the magazine. Franky obviously doesn’t feel comfortable with the whole situation either. I know her too well to sense it. At first she is aimlessly walking around, biting her thumb nail followed by sinking down in the corner of one of the couches where she could sit as far as possible away from me. I can feel her watching me from time to time out of the corner of her eye, arms crossed, her right knee bouncing. It’s useless trying to concentrate on the stupid magazine. I’ve already read one line for the third time now and still don’t get what’s written there. I can’t handle it any longer, my heart is beating heavily in my chest. I have to take the risk to start a conversation with some small talk: “Busy day? Vera told me you’re giving lectures for the women? That’s a good thing!” Franky ignores my approach completely and continues to bite on her thumb nail and bounce her knee. Her behavior totally reminds me of our first counseling sessions. It’s more than obvious that something is boiling inside of her. 

I know exactly what to do to get her start talking to me, so I push a little further: “Oh c’mon, Franky, this is ridiculous. Can’t we act like mature human beings and talk about everything? I mean we work here together from today on.”

She suddenly focuses on me, her glance full of disapproval: “So you’re saying I’m childish? I don’t think so. I think simply ignoring you and keeping things on a professional basis is totally grownup.”

“I didn’t say you’re childish. Don’t change my words to make me feel guilty. Let’s concentrate on our both’s mistakes from the past and let’s go from there. We both did a lot of things wrong.”, I try to give in.

“Yeah yeah, you’re still all talk, Bridget, aren’t ya? But when talking became really necessary you just ran for the hills and left me behind and rot in here.”, Franky snaps back.

“You know, that’s not true and you didn’t rot in here. I know that you were able to leave this place a few months after. And you had a lot of support.”, which is my attempt to calm her.

“Don’t you dare tell me how I was after you were gone!”, she sniffles and wipes her nose with her sleeve. “You have no clue how it tore me apart.”

“Fucking hell, Franky! You think it was easy for me to do what I did? You really think I didn’t care what will happen to you? But we reached a dead end in our relationship at some point and you didn’t trust me anymore. You tried to push me away. Did you forget what happened that one day in your cell? You scared the death out of me!”, a tear runs down my cheek while I remind her.

“Of course I didn’t forget!”, she yells and continues mumbling: “But whatever, you don’t believe me anyways...”

“That’s not true and now you’re going to listen to me because.... Franky.... I know exactly what you did that day... I understand that now but I needed a little space and some distance to get over it.... otherwise it would’ve destroyed me! You know.... I.... I was.... I was raped during my time at college.... and that’s why it totally terrified me what you did...”, I sob and now tears are running freely down my face. 

Franky gets up from the couch and takes a step forward, hands on her side, palms up, startled. “Gidge, I had no clue.... why did you never tell me?”

“Because it didn’t matter anymore. We all have a past and I always felt safe with you.... ‘til that day....”, I admit.

“I’m so so sorry, Gidge. I’m such an asshole. But I hope you know that I wouldn’t have gone any further that day!”, she adds trembling.

“I know that... now. Look, Franky, I didn’t tell you that to make you feel guilty. What’s done is done. I simply told you to understand how everything that happened almost destroyed me. I wasn’t acting responsibly under all those circumstances anymore. I even got drunk in one of my lunch breaks and came back to work after. And that wasn’t acceptable in my position. I had to draw conclusions from that. We weren’t healthy for each other anymore!”, I explain, lean forward and put my face in my hands, elbows on my knees. 

Some time passes in silence until I get up from my position and take a step towards Franky. “I know that my decision hurt you, but maybe.... at one point.... you’ll be able to understand... I risked everything for you, but unfortunately the time came when I had to think about myself... doesn’t mean that I stopped caring about you! I called Fessler before I left Melbourne to get you out of here. And you got your happy ending. I never had a doubt about that. Also that you would do great after prison. You even have Erica now and I’m happy for you because I know what she means to you.” Telling her that almost rips my heart out of my chest. 

“Sorry, Bridget, but that’s none of your business”, she responds ironically.

I lower my gaze and mumble: “I know, I’m sorry....”

Franky takes another step forward and is now barely one meter away from me. She waits patiently until my eyes meet her’s. “Can I hug you?” I don’t need to answer this question. I close the distance between us and wrap my arms around her shoulders. Her arms around my waist tighten our embrace. I bury my face in the crook of her neck, holding her close while the teardrops on my cheeks start drying. How much I missed this. How much I missed her. We stay like this for some time. Franky’s steady breathing against the top of my head is terrifyingly calming. And it still makes me get goosebumps. I shiver slightly and don’t want her to notice that. I don’t wanna push my luck too far right now because I’m afraid that it’s getting too much for her at once, so I try to pull out of her embrace. She tightens her grip around me even more in that moment and whispers: “Not yet, Gidge.” 

It’s crazy what her usage of my nickname does to me. It feels like coming home even if she isn’t mine anymore. Deep in thoughts we’re interrupted by someone using his swipe card at the other side of the door. The release of our embrace follows quickly and we take a few steps back away from each other. The door to the staff room opens and Vera is shoving her face through the door gap. “Bridget, are you.....okay?”, she questions and remains in her spot when she sees me in here with Franky. She gives me a confused look and I simply nod and smile. “Can we finally go home now?”, I ask. She lowers and raises her head slightly and briefly and apologizes: “Of course, I’m sorry.” I get the feeling she doesn’t want to bother us any longer. She quickly says “Good night” and disappears again, leaving the door open. I turn to face Franky again. “Thanks for giving me the chance to explain everything. I really appreciate it. Maybe you wanna grab a coffee at some point? I really want to know how you’ve been. And how are Tess and your dad? I wanna know everything about your job, too. What about this weekend?”. Franky raises her eyebrows and giggles. “Slow down, Gidge. And yeah, I would really like that. But next weekend will be difficult. I’ll have the little girl from Friday to Sunday because my dad and Elizabeth have to work.”, she explains apologetically. “Even better. I would like to meet the little sweetie again, so bring her. You know, I have pool at my place.”, I suggest winking and can’t suppress a smile appearing in my face any longer. “Sounds great. Just give me your number and I’ll call you....”, Franky replies convinced. I scribble my number on a notepad and pass it to her. “...and thank you!”, she adds. I furrow my brows and ask: “For what?” She rolls her eyes and feigns annoyance: “For always pushing me and making me talk.... and for calling Fessler two years ago!”. 

Chapter Text

Franky’s POV

Well, that was the first big step in the right direction, wasn’t it? I’m honestly glad that Bridget took the chance and entered dangerous territory by prodding me. But that’s typical her. Acknowledging the fear, she taught me once. I was indeed afraid to see her again eventually. And yes, it was hard when she started to confront me and yes, it still hurts that she isn’t mine anymore. But hearing her speak the truth, hearing about her point of view helped a lot. Altough I wish it would have happened two years ago. Maybe we would still be together, maybe we would’ve gotten through it, maybe....

My Tuesday and Wednesday at work are quite packed. Only a few hours ago the mountain of files on my desk didn’t seem to decrease. Thanks to my effectiveness I managed a lot so far and have a look at the clock. Shit. I really have to hurry up now because I have to be at Wentworth for another lecture in one hour. I spread the files with their different cases, which I was able to go through completely, on each lawyer’s desk, grab another coffee and rush out of the building. The traffic luckily isn’t so heavy today, meaning I arrive a little early. I make my usual way into the building, pass the front desk and security and stroll towards the library. I hear a familiar voice talking followed by guffaws, spotting Bridget holding a group session with the women when I come closer. She has her back towards me, so I remain in front of the slightly opened glass door and lean against a near wall. I have a really good perspective from here and catch myself ogling her. She looks absolutely stunning in her white blouse, which is hanging well down over the top of her black pencil skirt. She seems to be in a good mood today and pretty entertaining to the women, because they laugh after almost every phrase, which comes out of her mouth. I haven’t stayed unnoticed, though. Boomer and Allie are grinning towards me like children who were just given a huge bag of candies. I realize that they’re not having those expressions on their faces because of Bridget’s wit or seeing me, rather because of noticing that I was checking out Bridget’s behind. They whisper something in each other’s ear and start giggling, which is letting the skin in my face turn into the color of an overripe tomato. I slightly poke my tongue out between my teeth and wave them off, grinning and as I turn around, I almost get a heart attack when Vera Bennett suddenly is standing right in front of me. 

“Fucking hell, governor!”, I express startled and put my hand over my chest.

“Doyle, may I speak with you?”, Bennett asks unimpressed and rather aloof.

I shrug my shoulders and follow her away from the library for a few meters. 

She stops in a quiet corner, turns around and starts talking: “Listen Doyle, I don’t know what happened between Bridget and you during the lockdown two days ago. She doesn’t want to tell me anything. But I’d like you to do me a favor or rather said Bridget: she’s having a hard time with her girlfriend, so please, for Bridget’s sake, respect their relationship. Not that it’s any of my business, but she’s still my friend and important to me and I don’t let anybody hurt her. Could you promise me that?” 

Wait, what did she just say?! Girlfriend?! Gidge didn’t mention anything like that! I don’t get it. I shouldn’t be surprised, though. What did I expect? That a wonderful woman like Bridget would stay alone forever? Probably not. It still feels like I was just stabbed with a knife right in the middle of my stomach. My gaze drops towards the floor to hide any emotions. This unexpected information hurts like hell and makes me feel sick. 

I mumble without looking at Bennett: “You have no clue how important Bridget is to me. I would never hurt her on purpose!” 

Before I’m able to get away from her, she holds me back at my elbow and gives me a serious look. Is she threatening me? Is she trying to intimidate me? I tear myself away and rush back towards the library. The crowd is already thinning out when I arrive there. Bridget doesn’t notice me whilst packing her stuff together. I walk past her in direction to where Allie and Booms are sitting and greet her briefly. She shoots around and watches me in surprised expression. I try to keep my self-control with not giving her too much attention. After some small talk with my friends whilst unpacking some material for the session, Bridget approaches me from behind, saying: 

“Franky, ya have a second?”. Jutting her chin towards the back of the library, I follow her hesitatingly and Boomer and Allie start giggling again. 

I roll my eyes until I catch up with Bridget, my lips pursed. “Did something happen? You haven’t called yet.” 

I shake my head no and pretend: “Nuh, was just really busy, ya know?” 

The truth is that I didn’t want to bother her and be considered being all needy and alone. I don’t wanna look weak in her eyes, jumping as soon as she’s snapping the finger. Ridiculous, I know and she doesn’t seem to be convinced either after hearing my statement. “If you say so... What about the weekend then?” Vera’s words are running through my head again. Sorry, but screw you, Bennett. It’s none of her business what Bridget and I do or not. “Would Sunday work for you?” A smile appears on Bridget’s face and I can’t suppress one either. “Sounds perfect. Looking forward to it. Two in the afternoon?” I nod and go back to the girls. Bridget makes her way towards the exit, grabbing her belongings, exclaiming “Good night ladies” and leaves. I punch Boomer’s and Allie’s upper arms playfully as soon as they start chuckling like idiots. “Made a date going all bumper to bumper, eh?”, Booms bursts out laughing. I narrow my eyes and give her a warning look. To avoid any other assumptions or comments, I finally start my lecture....

I only had two sessions at Wentworth this week, which means I didn’t get the chance to run into Bridget again. And to be honest, I miss her. Picking my little sister up on Friday afternoon and filling her in about our plans on Sunday, I can’t stop thinking about her. I’m not sure if Tess still remembers Gidget, but as soon as I tell her about the pool and the garden, she’s getting more and more excited.

Sunday couldn’t come quick enough and as soon as Tess and I make our way up towards Bridget’s front door, I’m having a weird but all too familiar feeling in my belly. It’s the same feeling when the forth and back between Bridget and me started at Wentworth. It’s the same feeling as when I couldn’t help myself but flirting with her, teasing her, testing her how far she would go. It makes my stomach turn, in a positive way, though, when I think about that intimate moment in the library before Bennett interrupted us and when the memories come back about our first kiss in the parking lot. I have a really hard time concentrating to the here and now and need to remind myself that Bridget now is in a relationship. Knocking at the front door, it doesn’t take long until she opens. She looks beautiful like always by wearing those casual shorts and the halterneck top. At first Tess is hiding shyly behind me but as soon as she recognizes the voice which is greeting us, she looks past me and her eyes shoot open widely. She runs right into Bridget’s arms and embraces her in a tight hug. Bridget looks up towards me from her squatting position, touched and completely caught off guard.

“You have no idea how much I missed you, sweetie. And look at you, you’re such a big girl!” 

Bridget puts her arms around Tess for a second time and smiles at me over her shoulder. 

After making our way inside, Bridget is showing us around the house. It’s totally her style with all the furniture and decoration. Tess is losing interest really quickly, though, when she spots the swing in the garden. Asking us for permission, she runs outside in a flash and gives us the opportunity for some time alone. Everyone would notice that the house would be quite too big for living there alone, so I play dumb and start talking:

“Wow Gidge, that’s quite the place. Really beautiful. But isn’t it a little too much for living here alone?” 

I sense her startling at my question. She purses her lips and turns away from me, pretending to be busy in the kitchen. She supports herself with her hands on the kitchen counter, head down, inhaling deeply.

“Uhm, Franky....”

“Uhm, Gidget?”

“There’s something I need you to know....”

“I know you have a girlfriend, Gidge. Vera couldn’t keep her mouth shut and told me more or less to stay away from you. I just don’t understand why you didn’t tell me? You were the one who said we should behave all grownup.”

Bridget slowly turns around and rests backwards against the counter, arms crossed in front of her chest.

“I’m sorry, Franky, I really wanted to tell you. There wasn’t the right moment, though. I was so glad..... and grateful the other day that you gave me the chance to explain everything.... should I have blurted out the fact that I’m in a relationship right after?”

I slightly shake my head no, understandingly. 

“You’re right. Sorry that I just dropped this on you.” I lower my gaze and put my hands in the back pockets of my jeans.

“It’s just.... we’re having a hard time.... Sarah and I..... and I don’t want to bother you, Franky.”

“Gidge, you know, that you can talk to me, right? I try to do better, so let me be there for you. If you want to....” I respond and take a step forward towards her.

“I really appreciate that and I would tell you more about everything, but I think, that would not be fair to you....”, Bridget admits, “.... and it would be awkward anyways.”

“Well, that’s up to you.... but if you need me, you know where to find me.”

Bridget gives me a sad smile and nods. I sense that she doesn’t feel comfortable right now at all. I don’t know what happened between her and her girlfriend, but maybe time will tell. Maybe it’s finally time to turn the tables, to give something back. It was often all about me in the past and I want to show her, that I changed, that I learned out of the past. I mean, I had the best teacher, right?

Bridget prepares three bowls of ice cream for us and leaves to the backyard. Tess and I join her in the seating area and enjoy our ice cream whilst chatting about school, our dad, Elizabeth, my job and so on. Bridget watches Tess amused the most time and I can’t stop looking at her out of the corner of my eye. When our conversation starts to contain rather adult aspects, Tess gets bored and suggests that the three of us should finally get into the pool.

Bridget and my little sister get inside the house first for changing clothes and getting some towels and when they reappear, my jaw drops. Bridget is wearing a black neck holder bikini I haven’t seen on her before and I have to swallow hardly. She looks stunning. Tess doesn’t waste any time, runs towards the pool and jumps in squealing. Bridget throws a towel teasingly in my lap to bring me back to reality. I look at her startled and make my way inside and into the bathroom to change into my bikini either.

When I step back out in the yard, Bridget and Tess are both already in the pool playing with a beach ball. In a split of a second I notice Bridget checking me out in my white bikini. I mean, it’s nothing she hasn’t seen before but she obviously still can’t help herself either. We play catching and some volleyball and from time to time I lift the little munchkin and throw her right back into the cool water. Time literally flies by.

“Gidge, ya have more ice cream?“, Tess suddenly asks and Bridget nods hesitatingly in response whilst looking quizzically towards me. I just roll my eyes and feign an admonishment: ”Bub, if ya bother our dad tonight because your stomach hurts like hell, then it‘s not my fault because I told ya before when you already wanted a refill!” Tess just shrugs and climbs out of the pool with a squeal and runs towards the kitchen through the patio doors to get the milky-cool stuff. Since her refill she obviously knows where to find it. I just add shouting after Tess: “But sit your little bum down in the kitchen while you eat, understand!?“ I get an “Aye aye“ as response and shake my head smirking. Still holding the beach ball in my hands, I turn around to face Bridget, teasing her: “You’re such a softie, Gidge!“, and throw the ball towards her hitting her directly on the head. A shocked “Seriously!?“ leaves her mouth before she starts splashing water towards me for revenge. I certainly didn’t expect this playful reaction from a usually calm Bridget. I hold up my hands to defend myself and shout: “Okay okay, sorry sorry!“, but she has anything else in mind than to stop. She walks step by step towards me, so I start to splash water back in her direction. And just as Bridget is near enough, I grab both of her wrists simultaneously and pull her closer. My eyes meet her blue ones, which shimmer like the ocean. We are suddenly breathing the same air, our foreheads almost touching. And there it is again, this familar feeling in the pit of my stomach. This feeling I was fighting against so hardly. This feeling I was trying so hard to deny. Being this close to Bridget simply turns my world upside down. I can’t stand it any longer. I need to feel her. My grip on Bridget’s wrists loosening, my hands move down to her waist. She suddenly turns her face away from me and closes her eyes, whispering: „Franky..... don’t! I can’t. We can’t.“ She certainly feels my tensed breathing against her cheek. Then Bridget backs away, avoiding to look at me. My apology is short and disappointed: „I know, I‘m sorry...“.

I make my way to the ladder and step out of the pool. “I’ll have a look if everything’s alright with Tess and that she didn’t ruin your kitchen”. Bridget stays quiet, though. We have already been in a similar situation once in the library at Wentworth between the bookshelves. She then said something resembling to me but it didn’t mean that she didn’t want to kiss me in this moment. I got the same feeling a few minutes ago. She isn’t a cheater, though. She would never do that to her girlfriend. I at least know that much and that’s why I accept it and would never be mad at her for rejecting me. 

Tess is currently finishing her bowl of ice cream at the kitchen island when I join her. “Was good, sweetie?” She rubs her tummy and jumps down from the barstool. “Can I watch some TV, Franky?”, she asks. I think of this as an opportunity to spend another few minutes alone with Bridget and maybe talk about what just happened, so I nod. “But first change into some dry clothes, bub!”, I impose. Tess immediately grabs her stuff and runs for the bathroom while I get the TV started for her. She returns an instant later, clapping her hands and making herself comfortable on the couch. She doesn’t care about me any longer as soon as some cartoons are flickering in front of her on the screen. 

On my way back outside I stop and lean against the frame of the patio door and watch Bridget. She is relaxing on one of the sun loungers, her face directed towards the afternoon sun, eyes closed. She looks absolutely gorgeous. I observe the evenly rising and falling of her chest and how remaining water drops run down between her breasts. What would I give to touch her right there right now and kiss her. Thinking about what my mouth always did to her when I spoiled her in exactly those spots, how her raspy moaning used to increase, fuels inexorably arousal between my legs. “Stop staring!”, she suddenly says and brings me back to earth. Damn. How does she always know? A blush creeps up my face and whilst focusing shyly on the ground I approach her and sit down on the neighboring lounger. “Tess is watching some TV. Hope that’s ok? We probably should get going soon, though. The little girl has school tomorrow and I wanna call it an early night either.” Bridget nods slowly but I can sense a disappointing look in her eyes. “And sorry about before...”, I add.

“No big deal, Franky”, she responds and obviously doesn’t want to talk more about it.

We stay in silence for a little while longer until I get the courage to climb up from the lounger and collect our belongings to leave. Tess makes a pouting face when I tell her that it’s time to go home. I know, she loves Bridget, I can’t blame her. She’s holding my hand tightly when we get out on the front porch. Her weary gaze is sadly focused on the ground. Bridget realizes it right away and tries to lighten up her mood: “Hey, Tessy, maybe we could do that again soon? I’m sure Franky doesn’t mind.” The little girl looks up hopefully and throws her arms around the woman’s waist in front of her. Bridget leans down and puts a kiss on Tess’ top of the head. “Ok, sis, get in the car, I’ll be right there”. As soon as Bridget and I are alone, I close the distance between us by giving her a soft kiss on her cheek followed by a tight embrace. “Thank you for the beautiful day. She absolutely adores ya, ya know, Gidge?”, I utter and she smiles genuinely. 

“She’s great, Franky. And she has the best sister in the world!” 

I make my way down the porch towards my car and turn around one last time before getting into it. Bridget is still leaning against the door frame, smiling, but I can’t help it and sense a sad expression either. I can’t quite put a finger on what it is. But something’s up, that’s for sure. Did I overstep today? Is it her girlfriend? There are still a lot more things which need to be discussed, because to a certain point I partially have the feeling I don’t know her anymore... 

Chapter Text

Bridget’s POV

I’m at a loss right now. Since Franky has come back into my life more than a week ago, she literally pulled the rug out from under my feet. She simply has this charisma and effect on me. Things got a little awkward between us yesterday during that moment in the pool, though. Did she want to kiss me? Or what did she think would happen? What does she want at all? I actually thought she is with Erica Davidson now and I respected it when she told me that it’s none of my business. It really isn’t. But what was that then yesterday? Does she wanna play games? I’m certainly not keen on this. And it wouldn’t be the Franky I know so well. I need to get some answers, I guess.

Anyway, I’m still in a relationship with Sarah, altough it doesn’t feel like that these days at all. I know, I told her I needed time, but I haven’t heard from her since the evening of my arrival when we were texting whilst being out with Vera. I don’t get it. Everything was fine a couple of months ago. We have already been together for a little over a year and living together in that great apartment. And yes, we were happy. At least I thought we were. But appearances are often deceptive, huh? I just never perceived myself for being that naive. 

Sarah doesn’t give me the feeling that she cares about me or our relationship anymore. It looks to me like she’s glad that finally she can do whatever she wants to, that I’m finally gone. Well, despite everything, I want to believe I did nothing wrong. She knew I suffered from homesickness. I’ve always been honest with her and we talked about it a lot. She was, indeed, totally understanding when I told her that I thought about moving back. We both took the decision to leave Seattle behind and start a new life in Melbourne. Our life. Being a psychologist for more than 20 years, I thought I should be able to read people, to look right through them. This never works, though, as soon as you’re emotionally involved. It clouds your objectivity. 

However, we need to talk, because I can’t handle it any longer being left in the dark, so I went home earlier from work today. It isn’t easy to get Sarah on the phone due to work and now the time difference which is about 17 hours. That’s why I need to call her in the early afternoon for being able to catch her before she goes to bed if she isn’t at the hospital....again. 

I get home around 2 p.m., change clothes into something more comfortable and sit down on the couch. On a usual Monday she must be home by now at 9 p.m. Seattle time, meaning hopefully I’m lucky and reach her. I inhale deeply and dial Sarah’s number. It rings through only twice until she picks up. 

“Honey! I wanted to call you tonight, too!” Yeah, sure. “How are things over there? Have you already settled in?”

“Aye, all good so far. Work keeps me busy.”, I respond shortly.

“Sounds great. How’s the house?”, she feigns interest. I can sense it even if there are 8.000 miles between us, but I’m not in the mood for small talk. 

“Listen, Sarah, that’s not why I called. I think we need to talk.”

“Ugh, sounds serious. Honey, I’m sorry I didn’t call. You said, you needed time and I wanted to give you some. And work was bloody like hell, but could you believe that we’re on the verge of a breakthrough with our clinical studies?”

Ha!, there we go again. Didn’t take her long before directly deflecting to work.

And right in that moment I hear a glass falling to the floor, breaking and a female voice quietly cursing “Shit!” in the background. 

Great! And you’re obviously celebrating right away, huh?”, I ask ironically. “Let me guess: that was Maggie?!”

“C’mon honey, she came by after work and yes, we actually wanted to raise glasses to our victory tonight.”, Sarah tries to downplay.

“Sure. Let me ask you one question, though. Do you actually still care about us and our relationship? I called because I finally wanted to know when you’ll be here?”

Silence.

“Bridget.... I don’t know yet.... I’m sorry.... but I will as soon as I can. Promise!”

I huff sarcastically.

“What about Christmas? You promised me we would spend the holidays together in Melbourne!”

Silence. Again.

“Honey, I.... I think I’m not gonna make it. Listen, I....”

I’m fed up with it and have to interrupt her. My heart is beating so intensely that I can’t even breathe. 

“Enough! And now.... listen exactly what I’ve to say to you, because I’ll only say it once: make a choice! Me or whatsoever! Otherwise we’re done from now on! I’m so sick of it!”

I’m so mad and disappointed right now that I can’t even cry.

“Oh c’mon..... don’t be stupid, Bridget, giving me that ultimatum right here and right now.... and seriously.... would you be so childish breaking up with me through the phone?”

I feel like I might explode any second. What did I do wrong to deserve this?

“Correctly! I would because it doesn’t seem worth it anymore to get on a plane and do it face to face!”

Click.

I hang up because I can’t deal with her selfish behavior any longer. I had to pull the rip cord. I don’t recognize her anymore. When did she change in such an egoistic person?

I usually really don’t compare an ex with a current partner, because they are different people at different points of life with different circumstances. But one thing is for sure: I was always Franky’s priority. I even was when all the bullshit started and she was incarcerated again. She still wanted to protect me and do everything necessary for us at that time. It’s not that I want to be the center of attention the whole time. I don’t need that and dare to say that I’m rather the giving one. I simply want to feel special to the most important person in my life from time to time and Sarah definitely doesn’t show me that anymore.

Pacing up and down in the living room, my hands are shivering, my heartbeat is pulsating in my ears. I should open a bottle of wine to get my nerves back. I wouldn’t care right now. It’s not that I plan to leave the house today anymore. I sink back on the couch, sigh heavily, close my eyes and try to work through the altercation with Sarah in my head. Should this really be the end? A short phone call and that was it? An internal conflict is boiling inside of me. On one hand I’m confident with my decision because I do not longer let her treat me that way, but on the other hand I’m wondering if I overreacted maybe just a tiny little bit. I could need an objective opinion right now and that would normally be from Vera. She’s still at work, though, so I’m not going to bother her. My mind wanders to Franky. No way that I would consult her on my problems about my relationship ending, but I still feel the need to contact her, because I know exactly talking to her would calm and distract me. I type a text and delete it after a few words, tossing my phone on the couch. This is ridiculous. And I don’t wanna rope Franky into something here. I consider if I should text her at all, but I can’t stand the desire any longer. I make a second try at typing something. Coincidentally, at that very moment, the screen is lightening up and my phone starts ringing. A smile creeps up my face haphazardly and if my heart wouldn’t already beat that fast, it would definitely now. 

I pick up and feign serenity: “Hey Franky, what a surprise!”

Obviously Franky tries to downplay it herself: “Hey Gidge, how’s your Monday so far? Did you have a good start of the week? I hope I’m not intruding?”

Oh c’mon, Franky. This so isn’t you. She definitely isn’t calling to ask me how my day was. I go along with it, though.

“It’s ok. Can’t complain”, I lie. “Went home early today.”

“You’re not sick, aren’t ya?”, Franky asks concerned.

“No no no, I just had to sort things out....”, I pause, “with the house and so. There’s still a lot which needs to be done here and I haven’t had so much counselings anyways.”, I continue to make stuff up.

“Sort things out, huh? Gidge, ya such a bad liar. Always have been! So what’s really going on? I can hear something’s off!”, Franky looks right through me.

“Sorry, but I don’t think you’re the right person talking about it. Don’t get me wrong, but it wouldn’t be fair.”

“What does that even mean?”, Franky pursues. She probably assumes what it’s about. “Gidge, I told you, I’m there for you and you can talk to me whatever it is.”

“Just drop it, ok? It’s better this way, believe me!”, I suggest.

“Ok, whatever you want....”

The line falls silent.

“Ya know, there’s something I wanted to ask ya, Gidge. Tell me if ya think it would be too awkward or whatever.... I just don’t know who else to ask.... that’s why I called....”

“Stop rambling, Franky. Just spit it out!”, I giggle. She’s so adorable when she does that. Being all insecure and reserved.

“Fucking hell, I usually don’t do stuff like that. There is that thing.... called Christmas feast at Legal Relief this Saturday.... Imogen insisted that I’m only allowed to appear plus one and I thought.... maybe... would you do me the favor... uhm.....”

I have to laugh out loud. How people can change over the years. Franky has never been that shy and insecure when it comes to me, but it makes me feel absolutely light-hearted.

“Franky Doyle, are you asking me out on a date?”, I tease her, grinning.

“If that’s what friends do in your opinion, then yes!”, she responds and I picture her sticking out her tongue at the corner of her mouth. 

Of course she’s behaving all gentlewoman like having no clue about things being over with Sarah, that’s why she sticks with us being friends. Otherwise she would probably act totally different.

“Then it would be a yes”, I smirk.

“Great!”, I can even sense it through the phone that it takes a load off her mind. “I’m gonna pick you up at 6. Looking forward to it!”

“Me too. Bye, Franky!”, and with that I hang up, close my eyes and inhale deeply.

————————————————————————————————————————

Christmas and New Year in Seattle have been cold and rainy or snowy the two times I experienced them and I don’t miss it at all. It was usually harder for me to find a good outfit for occasions like tonight because I was always freezing. The good thing about living on Australia’s southeast coast is that you mostly have great weather during December and today is such a day, which means I’m looking for a nice summer night outfit.

My dark purple tight strapless dress, which ends right above the knee should be the perfect garment for the party. Franky will be here in a little less than an hour, so I rush into the bathroom to fix some makeup and style my hair. Just when I leave my bedroom to get into my heels, a knocking on the door startles me. I quickly check myself in the mirror in the hallway before I open. As soon as Franky appears in front of me, our both’s faces light up. And wow, she looks absolutely stunning. She’s wearing a black halter dress, knee long, bare shoulders and bare back, her tats displaying the perfect match.

“Heya Gidge, sorry I’m a little early”, Franky apologizes.

“Don’t sweat. I’m almost ready anyways. Come on in!”

When Franky crosses the threshold, she stops right in front of me, wraps one arm around my waist and pulls me closer. Her tender kiss on my cheek makes me feel lightly dizzy whilst her incredible scent is calming my nerves. 

After pulling back she’s smiling flirtatiously: “I have something for ya!”, and brings out a beautiful bunch of flowers from behind her back. She still has her way of surprising me over and over again, what makes my heart beat faster and my palms sweat. 

“Franky! You didn’t need to do that! They are gorgeous!”, I say whilst receiving the beautiful lilies from her. She actually still remembers my favorite flowers. 

“Just as gorgeous as the woman holding them right now”, she continues, winking. 

The heat is radiating from my blushing cheeks. I grin, shake my head, turn around and lead us towards the kitchen. “Let me get these in some water”, I deflect.

When Franky steps closer towards the more illuminated part of the house, I notice her pale face. “You ok? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost!”, I joke. Franky puffs and runs her fingers through her hair.

“I thought I have seen Ferguson before, Gidge!” 

My eyes opened widely, I raise my eyebrows and sink back against the kitchen counter.

“Shit, Franky! Where?”

“She’s hunting me in my dreams for several days now. I dream waking up and she’s standing at the end of my bed, putting on her black leather gloves, smiling devilishly! And before, I thought I’ve seen her out of the cab on my way here!”

Thoughts of Ferguson make me feel sick. I swallow the lump in my throat and try to calm Franky: “It was probably because you have been dreaming of her. Our minds could play tricks on us when we live through such a period of nightmares.”

“Those nightmares feel so real, Gidge. They scare the death out of me, I can tell. Where do they suddenly come from?”

I shrug my shoulders. “Don’t know. Do you want to see one of my colleagues? I could make an appointment.”

Franky shakes her head. “I don’t wanna see a shrink, Gidge.”

Inhaling deeply, I cross my arms in front of my chest: “Don’t get me wrong, I really wanna help you, but I don’t mix personal and professional things anymore. We’re just past the duration, Franky, the two years a therapist shouldn’t have a personal relationship to a patient after treating him. I wanna do it right this time, ok?”

But Franky protests: “But talking to you always helped.”

“Alright, and you can still talk to me, as a friend, but I won’t psychoanalyse your dreams or whatever, Franky! So if you’re really looking for help, let me consult a colleague!”

Franky purses her lips, lowers her gaze and obviously thinks about my suggestion. I close the distance between us until I’m only an arm length away from her. My palm stroking over her shoulder, I tilt my head to meet her lowered gaze and raise my eyebrows, questioning, without saying anything. Franky’s facial expression softens immediately, she’s even smiling lightly and honestly I’m a little bit surprised. She usually reacted totally different in the past when she felt pressured, cornered or scared. I’m so proud of her, she’s come such a long way.

Checking her watch, Franky jumps off the barstool and speaks: “We still have some time. What do you think about taking a walk and we could take a cab then for the rest of the way?”

I nod, smiling, and Franky continues: “And maybe you finally want to tell me on our way what was bothering you on Monday!”

Shit! I truly want to tell her and I know that I have to at some point. I just don’t know what kind of influence it will have on us. But I need to sort out my feelings, sooner or later. Could I give Sarah a second chance? Do I actually still love her? What do I feel for Franky? It’s crazy that I’m able to forget everything else as soon as I’m around her. She makes me feel safe, she makes me smile, she just makes me feel comfortable. And I can’t stop looking in those beautiful green eyes. They caught my attention right away when she ran into one of my group sessions one day searching for Boomer.

So if this is gonna be the evening of truth, I might have some questions either. 

“I’m going to fill you in if you tell me what’s going on with Erica Davidson. I know you told me it’s none of my business and I fundamentally would respect that but you can’t blame me for asking and believing that our connection is still there, not talking about that we almost kissed the other day.”

“Ok ok, you have a point. Let’s go then and talk!”, Franky agrees with her hands up in surrender.

After leaving my place and walking quietly next to each other for a while, the elephant in the room is getting more and more tormenting and the atmosphere between us is beginning to feel awkward.

Suddenly, breaking the silence, I burst it out: “I broke up with Sarah.... on the phone... before you called on Monday!”

Franky’s gaze focused on the sidewalk, shoots up, wide eyed: “Fuck, Gidge! I’m sorry! What happened? And really, on the phone?”

I sigh heavily and shrug: “I couldn’t bear it any longer having the feeling to be all the same to her all the time! I know it wasn’t the best and most mature decision to do it on the phone but why getting on a plane if I would come back even more disappointed?”

Franky nods slowly, balancing reasons. “Totally understand that. And I know ya and that it wasn’t easy for ya. But why did ya let her treat ya this way, Gidge? Ya don’t deserve this!”

Shrugging and being stumped, I mumble: “I guess, I loved her. That makes us do those things, doesn’t it?” There! I said I loved her. Not on purpose. I simply came out without thinking. Seems like my heart was just speaking right through my mouth.

Franky wraps her arm around my shoulder, pulls me into her side and gives me a brief kiss on top of my head. She simply hums in response and strokes my upper arm tenderly.

“No matter what happens, I’m sure you’ll do the right thing!”, Franky says supportively, gives me soft nudge and brakes the half embrace. “And if I need to punch her in the tits, then let me know!”

I have to giggle at her comment and roll my eyes. Nudging her back playfully, we both chuckle and Franky looks at me with this sparkle in her eyes, which lets the butterflies in my belly come to life again.

After continuing our way in silence for another moment, she starts narrating: “Ya know, Gidge, Erica and I.... that’s just a casual thing.... we have fun together, it’s uncomplicated.... no commitments...”

Franky tells me about how Fessler showed up at prison one day with Erica Davidson in tow. It must have been after I called Imogen pleading her not to give up on Franky. She was convinced of Franky’s innocence all the time but came to a point where she was at a loss by all these miserable circumstances implicating Franky. That’s why she probably got Erica on board. Allegedly and however, they got another opportunity to have a second look at Iman Farrar’s apartment, where they found leads to a lock-up garage. And finally there were the long-awaited evidences to discharge Franky.

“So it’s up to me that she came back into your life, huh?”, I speak ironically under my breath and some kind of hate the idea. “But I’m so glad that everything went well in the end!”

“Thanks to you, Gidge, and that you never gave up on me. I see that now.”

“It was the least I could do. The other two did all the hard work, though, so thanks to them”, I shrug and smile sadly.

“Seems like at least once luck was on my side, hey?”

This statement feels like a slap right in the middle of my face. I know she didn’t mean it that way, but still. I probably deserve it, that’s why I simply nod in response.

“Why aren’t you guys together then? The Franky I know wanted the commitment.”, I question carefully.

“She’s still married and living with her husband and she’s not going to leave him. But that’s not the real reason, Gidge. It’s all exciting with Erica and we have good chemistry but there’s one important thing missing..... I don’t love her!”, she responds with a half smile.

I’m suddenly deep in a serious internal conflict with myself because Franky’s revelation just took a huge weight off my shoulders. Am I selfish because I feel that way?

Time flies by while we’re talking about all those unspoken things and before we know it we arrive at the head office of Legal Relief. The building is lit up beautifully and we make our way inside. Everything is decorated all Christmas like and the huge office room, where usually all the desks of the employees are positioned, is organized totally different. It doesn’t look like an office anymore at all. Soft Christmas music is playing in the background, it smells like eggnog and pastries and there’s even a huge Christmas tree in one corner. High tables with elegant white long table clothes and a few small tables with chairs besides are spread all over the room. Light illumination and countless numbers of candles complete the magnificent atmosphere. 

Franky guides us further inside with her hand on the small of my back and I can’t deny that it feels amazing. She leans into me and whispers: “Fuck, they obviously didn’t spare any expense!” Her comment makes me snicker. I could never tire of her wit. 

Whilst we are observing the scenery, Fessler is spotting us and comes over. 

“Seems like you took my advice serious, Franky.”, she smiles and continues: “I’m glad you made it after weaseling out of attending last year!” Imogen winks and Franky blushes right away when she turns her attention towards me. “Miss Westfall! Good to see you again. It’s been a while!” We shake hands and I offer: “It’s Bridget and thanks for having me. It’s beautiful!” Fessler reciprocating my smile responds: “Well then it’s Imogen. Let’s talk later, guys.” She turns around but stops all of a sudden, adding over her shoulder: “I’m glad to see you two reunited again!” and with that she leaves us staring confused at each other. 

Franky raises one eyebrow, grinning: “Is that so? Well then to lead her to believe that I should get my girlfriend a drink, huh?”

I roll my eyes at her playfully and suggest: “Fine, I’ll pick a table then.”

Franky comes back a few minutes later with two eggnogs in her hands. I chose a high table in one of the corners of the venue because I know exactly that Franky doesn’t like gatherings of people. It gives her more privacy and distance, which is absolutely understandable after spending such a long time in prison. We chat casually and Franky enlightens me about her colleague. One or two faces even look familiar to me after crossing paths with them in prison or court. Some time later I have to look twice when another known face suddenly enters the room. Franky can’t see her because she has her back towards the crowd. 

I gaze into space and ask her: “Did you know that Erica would be here tonight either?” Frankys eyes shoot open widely and she swings around. “Nuh, I’m as surprised as you are.” She turns back, shrugs and feigns disinterest.

The evening goes smoothly and time just whizzes by. Franky disappears at some point excusing herself with the need to go to the bathroom. I keep on chatting with some of her colleagues and Imogen when I notice that she’s already gone for quite a while. It’s a little after 11 p.m. when suddenly someone tugs me at my elbow. I turn around unsuspectingly and wince slightly when I see Erica Davidson right in front of me. She leans closer and speaks with a low but serious voice: “You might have a look after your girlfriend out in the stairwell. I think, perhaps it would be better if not everyone saw her in this status. You better bring her home!” It sounds almost accusingly. Worried, I excuse myself from the others, and go to find Franky. Girlfriend? What the hell is her problem? And even if she tried hard I definitely heard jealousy speaking. 

I find Franky sitting in the stairwell leaning against the railing. She’s just emptying the last gulp of a champagne bottle when I approach her. I sit down next to her and nudge her gently. “You ok out here?” She puts the bottle down on one of the steps and buries her face in her hands. “Yeah, all great, mum!” Ok, she’s drunk. “What happened? Wanna talk about it?” She shakes her head and I’m certain pushing her wouldn’t achieve anything right now. “C’mon let’s get you home!” I tuck her arm into mine and help her getting up. We make our way downstairs cautiously and gladly catch a cab as soon as we leave the building. Franky falls asleep quickly in the corner of the backseat, her face lightly turned away from me, her temple resting against the window. 

When we finally arrive at her apartment, the way inside is harder then expected. I have to support her while walking and it doesn’t help that we’re both in heels and Franky being taller than me. Being inside, we stumble towards her bed and Franky flops on the mattress face-first. She groans, all four limbs stretched out. “Fuck, I feel like shit!”, she mumbles into one of her pillows. I sit down next to her on the edge of the bed and stroke her back gently. “Franky, we have to get you out of this dress and after you can sleep it off, ok?” She turns over and on her back. “You wanna take my clothes off, Gidge? Well then, all yours.”, she slurs. It’s not that I haven’t seen her naked before, so I don’t care. 

A few minutes later I return from the bathroom and put some painkillers and a bottle of water on her bedside table. She’ll probably need it in the morning. I stand next to her bed and simply watch her how she already seems to be slumbering, laying on her side, wrapped into the blanket. A sad and pitying smile leaves my face when Franky suddenly mumbles, eyes closed: “I’m so sorry, Gidge!” I sit down next to her on the edge of the bed again and tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “You finally wanna tell me what happened?”, I ask.

Her eyes flutter open and a tear escapes and runs down her cheek. “I fucked everything up. I had an encounter with Erica in the bathroom and she blamed me for being so stupid to take you back”, Franky expresses suddenly quite soberly and continues whimpering: “and then I remembered that you said you love her and I realized that I would never even get the chance to get you back!” Oh baby, you haven’t been listening carefully enough! She burries her face in her hands again and sobs: “It’s just... I miss you so fuckin’ much, Gidge!” My heart breaks into million pieces in this very moment. I pull her hands softly away from her face, her eyes clouded with tears as they flutter open. I put my palm on her cheek and she leans wistfully into my touch, when I whisper: “I know, baby, I know!” Franky only doesn’t stop crying. Her whole body is quivering. I can’t watch this any longer and get up and move around the bed to slip in from the other side. I lay down behind Franky, spooning her, holding her tightly. Her sobbing lessens somewhat, her breathing is getting more steadily. She whispers again tearfully: “I’m so so sorry, Gidge!” I tighten my embrace and pull her closer into my front, giving her a lingering kiss to the back of her head. “Shhhh, I know, baby, I know. Now sleep!”, I mutter and we both fall asleep at some point.

Chapter Text

Franky’s POV

I feel like shit this morning, as if thousands of needles were sticked in my head. It’s like as even my hair roots are aching. Laying on my side, I cautiously open my eyes and the daylight burns right through them. The curtains are closed but it’s still unbearable. Wait, when did I close the curtains? Definitely not last night and not in my status. And it was still bright outside when I left my place. I take in my surroundings and spot the painkillers and the bottle of water on the bedside table. Gidget! My heroine! Slowly starting to remember, I’m so grateful right now because she seemed to have thought about everything. She even put me in my sleeping clothes last night, some boy shorts and a sleeveless top. 

I carefully sit up and swallow two of the small tablets and drink half of the bottle of water in one go. Dizziness getting the better of me, I lay back down and freeze, when I feel some stirring besides me. I turn on my right side and find Bridget lying on her stomach, her arms bent on each side of her head, embracing the pillow below. Her face turned away from me, she looks absolutely beautiful with her tousled hair and the blanket barely covering her bottom, her bare back full on display. Not even in my sweetest dreams would I have imagined getting this woman back in my bed again, naked. I scoot closer and rest my head in my palm, elbow propped, enjoying the view. My headache suddenly seems to have disappeared as if by a miracle. Bravely, I make an attempt and run my fingertips up and down her spine. 

Bridget begins to tense up and grumbles: “Don’t push your luck too much! Hands off!” 

I pull back only to slip my hand under her blanket. “Oh what’s that?”, I tease, tickling her skin there lightly. 

“Hipbone!”, she mumbles. 

I move my hand further and poke with my index finger. “Hm, and that?”, I giggle. 

“Butt cheek! Frankyyyyyy, get off!”, she curses playfully with her raspy morning voice, which sounds sexy like hell. Bridget makes a light shaking movement with her body like get out of there and I give in. 

“If you wanna do something worthwhile, then get up and bring me something to wear, I didn’t find anything last night! And once you’re up, you could make me some coffee!”, she mutters into the pillow. 

“Naaaaah! Firstly, I can’t really complain about my view right now and secondly, my head doesn’t allow getting up for so long yet!”, I utter and grin like an idiot. 

Bridget turns her face towards me. Finally! She narrows her eyes as if she was warning me and has to suppress a smile herself. She looks adorable with her sleepy expression. “Fine! T-Shirt then and I’ll make the coffee!”, she suggests weary. 

“I prefer coffee first and then T-Shirt. You have to earn my clothes!”, I add winking. 

A short “Ha!” comes out of her mouth as an ironic response and I can’t help myself to burst out laughing. 

“That would suit you, huh?” and I nod enthusiastically about her comment. 

“Won’t happen! T-Shiiiiiiiiirt, now!” I shake my head still giggling and slowly get up. 

The way over to my closet feels like a too long distance and I have to collect myself twice from the dizziness, which is overcoming me abruptly again. I grab the first decent garment I can find, throwing it on top of Bridget’s head and quickly make my way back towards the bed. She mumbles a thank you and watches me how I tuck myself into bed again, facing her. “Turn around!”, she commands and I roll my eyes, feigning annoyance. 

I cover my eyes with my hands and point out: “I wouldn’t see anything new, you know!” Bridget turns on her back and sits up slowly and I can’t help it to peer through my lightly splayed fingers. Am I dreaming or does she look even more gorgeous these days? Her beautiful breasts, which were always my personal favorite, are displaying hard nipples. I lick my bottom lip and the pulse between my legs is getting stronger by this amazing view. What would I give to feel her soft skin beneath me right now, making her squirm and moan in pleasure again.

She puts that fucking shirt on much too quickly for my taste, throws the blanket back and gets up. I watch her as she makes her way over towards my kitchen and my focus is on her firm arse, barely covered by the oversized shirt, also lightly displaying a black thong. Pushing my head further into the pillow, my palm resting on my forehead, I could die right here and right now. I don’t know if she does it on purpose, adding this teasing extra swing to her hips while she moves in front of the kitchen island. She briefly gazes over her shoulder in this moment. Yes!, she is testing me! 

“Painkillers haven’t kicked in yet?”, she asks and I shake my head, simulating. I’m really suffering here but not because of a headache.

Bridget returns not long after with a coffee in each hand. I sit up and rest myself backwards against the headboard, while Bridget slips back in on her side of the bed and does the same. We sit there in silence for a while and the smell and taste of my coffee revive my vigors. 

“I was surprised to find ya here this morning. Didn’t expect ya to stay the night.”, I point out. 

Bridget shrugs and replies: “Was too exhausted after dragging your drunken ass home and thought it wouldn’t be fair if I had to pay a taxi to get myself home. I decided, the least you could do is offer me a ride home today when you’re finally sober.... in recompense!” 

My gaze drops and I stare into my mug. “Sorry that I ruined the evening, Gidge.” 

“Well, I’m only mad that you preferred the company of a bottle of champagne instead of me. Not to mention getting drunk.... without me!”

I look at her and see her grinning whilst sipping her coffee. Great, now she’s even mocking me. As if last night wasn’t embarrassing enough. Rolling my eyes and finishing my coffee, I put the mug on the bedside table and lay back down, facing Bridget. 

“Gidge?”

“Hm?”

“Thanks for ‘dragging my drunken ass home’ last night and thank you for being there for me.”

She puts her mug on her beside table, too, lays down on her side, looking at me, smiling softly and blinking: “Always!”.

She slowly reaches for my hand, which is placed on the pillow between our heads and strokes gently across my knuckles with her thumb. We simply lay there, looking each other deeply in the eyes without saying a single word. Observing each other’s face, trying to read each other’s mind. I could never get tired of drowning in her beautiful, fascinating blue orbs. 

I feel my eyelids getting heavier and ask her mumbling: “What are ya plans for Christmas?”

“Don’t know yet.”, she responds quietly. The last thing I notice is Bridget closing her eyes and stifling a yawn, before I doze off.

When I wake up again, it’s already late in the afternoon and Bridget is gone. I feel much more rested, but disappointed that she isn’t here anymore. Our morning almost was like nothing’s ever changed. They were sometimes my favorite moments, the two of us enjoying alone time together in silence. Being tucked in blankets on the couch during the winter months, her feet on my lap, both of us reading a book. Or spending warm summer nights outside until midnight, Bridget sitting between my legs, her back resting against my front, my arms holding her tightly, my chin resting on her shoulder. Or just like this morning, coffee in bed together on a Sunday. It was mostly after a steamy night, when the both of us were yet too lazy to get up.

She still owes me an answer referring to Christmas. Due to the fact that she doesn’t seem to have any plans, I would like to suggest spending Christmas Eve together and cook something for her. I mean, it’s the least I can do after last night and having Tess and me at her house last weekend, so I decide to text her.

F: Just woke up again and you’re gone! :-(

As if she was waiting for my message, her response comes immediately.

B: You slept so peacefully. Didn’t wanna wake you. Feeling better?

F: Defs! Thank u again for everything! Wanted to give you a ride home, though!

B: All good. Took a long walk. Needed some time to think.

F: About what an idiot I sometimes am? ;-)

B: Maybe! ;-)

F: Fuck! I wish the ground would open and swallow me up, believe me!

B: Don’t worry anymore, ok? :)

F: So what did ya really need to think about? 

Bridget stops typing. A few minutes pass until I finally get another message.

B: At least I wasn’t lying when I said I was thinking about you... 

My heart speeds up with her response. Calm down, Doyle! This could mean everything, but I have to know.

F: Care to share? ;-)

B: How much do you remember about last night?

F: Ya know, it’s not nice to answer a question with a question, ey! ;-)

B: I know, I’m sorry.... but still....

Why do I have the feeling that this conversation is suddenly getting quite serious? I mean, I remember everything! So why beating around the bush?

F: You mean the part when you called me baby or the part when I fell asleep in your arms, Gidge?

B: There you have your answer....

Oh come on, Bridget, what does that even mean? Does she think she made a mistake? When did she become so insecure? It feels like her ex has taken away all her self-esteem. 

I don’t wanna pressure her any longer. She certainly needs time to find out what she wants and I’m going to give her all the time she needs. 

A few minutes pass until I reply again.

F: Ya still owe me another answer, Gidge!

B: ???

F: Christmas? Let me cook for ya on Christmas Eve!

B: You’re not going to spend Christmas with your Family?

F: Sure, but only on Christmas Day. C’mon, I don’t accept a no! ;-)

B: Would like that! :)

————————————————————————————————————————

The days until Christmas pass quite quickly. I’m busy with work and the few last lectures for this year at Wentworth. Besides that, I do some preparation for the Christmas dinner with Gidge, choosing what do cook, decorating my apartment a little more Christmas like and of course doing some Christmas shopping. My dad and Elizabeth will get a gift card for a fancy restaurant, so they can have an evening together, just the two of them, and I’ll have a look after Tess. The little munchkin will get a Nintendo DS even if her parents will probably hate me after. She was talking about and looking for it every time we were on a shopping trip and I finally decided she should get one. And then there is Gidge. I’m not sure if she’ll approve it getting a present from me but I had to buy that beautiful silver bracelet when I saw it. It was as if her name was written on it: classy, elegant, simply eye-catching. 

We have been texting a lot these days, but unfortunately only saw each other once at Wentworth for a short moment. I was already late for the lecture and Gidge was about to head home that day. We ran into each other in the hallway and luckily there wasn’t a single soul anywhere near. It was her this time, who pulled me closer, giving me a soft kiss on my cheek. I swear, I could’ve melted right away. She had that sparkle in her eyes, which reminded me of the day when I was released from Wentworth and she was waiting in the parking lot in that fucking hot car. 

I miss her, I really do, but I don’t want to push her. She’ll let me know when she’s certain what she wants. I have no doubt about that. 

I dare to interpret it as a tiny hint when she texted me yesterday evening:

B: I was just thinking about you and looking forward to our dinner. Totally done and in bed now. See u tomorrow. Sweet dreams Xx

I got up early this morning to buy the last essentials at the grocery for tonight. I wanted them to be as freshly as possible. I’ll make us some turkey tonight, typical Australien of course, just a little modified by my very own and special recipe. The bird will need some time to cook and just when I’m about to shove it in and switch the oven on, there’s a weird noise inside, like a bang, which makes me jump back. Fuck! Seems like my oven just gave up the ghost. I grab my phone from the kitchen counter and dial Bridget’s number.

“Hello?”, she picks up immediately.

“Gidge, we have a problem here!”, I burst out.

“I hope you’re not going to cancel?”, she asks carefully.

“Never ever! My oven just conked out! Would you mind if I cook at your place?”

“Not at all!”

“Fine, I’ll be there soon then, if that’s ok? Preparation needs some time!”

“Well then hurry up!”, and I can literally hear her smiling through the phone.

The food and all the stuff I need is collected pretty quickly and packed into my car. I actually wanted to shower and get myself into some nice clothes before Bridget would have arrived later, but I’m sure she won’t mind if I do that at her place.

————————————————————————————————————————

Returning from the bathroom after a very welcome shower, it starts to smell really good in Bridget’s house. I check the oven and we still have some time until the turkey is ready to be eaten, it’s only late afternoon anyways. The rest of the food is prepared either and just needs be warmed up later. 

I spot Bridget sitting in the lounge area in the backyard, hugging her legs pulled against her front, a glass of red in one hand, lost in thoughts. I can’t help myself simply watching her for a moment and suddenly notice a light smile on her face. What would I give to know what she’s thinking right now. There’s the wine bottle and another glass waiting on the table besides her, so I make my way outside. She turns her face as soon as I step through the patio door and her smile grows even wider with that sparkle in her eyes. 

“How was the shower?”

“Great”, I say satisfied and Bridget changes her position, sits up, feet on the ground, patting the seat next to her. 

She grabs the bottle and the empty glass, raising her eyebrows and slightly tilting her head: “Wine?”

I simply nod and plop down near her, resting my head against the back. She passes me the poured glass and makes herself comfortable as well. Our both free hands are lying between us on the upholstery while we’re enjoying the beautiful warm weather in silence and sip our wine from time to time. As if the world just stops spinning when Bridget suddenly reaches painfully slow for my hand and intertwines our fingers, scooting closer and resting her head against my shoulder. She sighs and a huge smile creeps up my face. We don’t need to say anything in that very moment, her gestures are telling more than thousand words. Our thumbs are stroking and playing with each other in that joined position between our thighs and it’s like electricity shooting up my arm and through my whole body. I didn’t have this feelings for a long time and there’s only one woman in this world who does that to me. 

“I’m glad you’re here”, Bridget finally says almost whispering. I press a gentle kiss on top of her head, my closed lips lingering there, inhaling her intoxicating scent.

————————————————————————————————————————

Dinner was great. This time I’ve really outdone myself. I was some kind of worried because my cooking skills have become a bit rusty since I don’t do it that often anymore. It’s just the lack of motivation usually cooking only for myself.

The dim light and the candles on the table are covering the room in a comfortable atmosphere. Soft music is playing in the background. 

“Thanks again for the invitation, it was delicious as always when you cook.”

 I blush slightly, smile and prop my head on top of both hands, fingers intertwined, elbows on the table, glancing towards Bridget. 

“Nah, that was nothing. And you know how much I love cooking for ya!” 

An comfortable silence falls between us whilst sharing stolen glances from time to time. The song of the music in the background finishes and the next song starts to play. 

 

I hear a million voices in my head

Telling me the things I should have said

I don't know why I let you go

Oh I learned the hard way

Tell me it's not too late

 

Now my arms are open wide

They're hanging forever, there

Waiting forever, for you

I won't give up on you this time

Cause I ain't holding up, for nobody else

 

It's gotta be you

When you walked away my

Heart tried to replace ya

With someone like you

But I could never find it

I don't want to fight it

It's gotta be you

 

Bridget is now mirroring my posture, looking me straight in the eyes. Neither of us has an idea what to say when I suddenly get up and walk around the table towards Bridget, holding out my hand, asking: “May I have this dance?”.

Bridget firstly hesitates in surprise. I tilt my head slightly and smile shyly, saying: “C’mon Gidge!”, and finally convince her. My left hand takes a hold of Bridget’s right one whilst I wrap my right arm tenderly around her waist, pulling her closer. Bridget rests her left hand on my shoulder, her face close to my neck. Her warm breath against my skin causes indescribable feelings.

As some time goes by and we are swaying comfortable, I slowly start drawing lazy patterns on Bridget’s waist, working the hem of her loosely hanging blouse upwards. I lean my cheek against her head and the scent of Bridget’s shampoo makes my head spin. It feels so good to be this close to each other, feeling Bridget’s heartbeat against my body. She winces when she notices that I slowly slip my hand underneath her blouse, my fingertips now gently stroking her naked skin. I lean down a bit further, my mouth now dangerously close to Bridget’s ear, closed lips caressing the skin below.

 

I wish I could turn back the time

The power is yours and not mine

Maybe with time you'll see that

I can give you all the things you missed

Oh no no

 

Now my arms are open wide

And I ain't holding now, for nobody else

 

It's gotta be you

When you walked away

My heart tried to replace ya

With someone like you

But I could never find it

I don't want to fight it

It's gotta be you

 

Bridget wraps her arms around my shoulders and I react by embracing her tightly around her waist. Her face nuzzling against the crook of my neck, I can feel her breathing heavily but some kind of satisfied against my skin. As if it was what she was longing for, being this close to each other.

I whisper: “Gidge?” and she only hums in response. “Look at me!”, I continue quietly, but she doesn’t move. I know she’s afraid of what could happen next even if she wants it as much as I do. Fucking hell, I’m afraid either, almost terrified to screw it up once more. I break our embrace partly and put my index finger under her chin, lifting it. Tears are clouding her eyes and she smiles sadly, insecurity written all over Bridget’s face. Stroking away a single escaping tear with the pad of my thumb, I look her deeply in the eyes. I got you, Gidge! I want to let her know that she can trust me, that whatever happens, she would be safe. 

“Franky, I....”, she stutters barely above a whisper. The pad of my thumb covering her lips partly, I speak with a hushed tone: “Shhhh, Gidge, not tonight....” and stroke my thumb softly along her bottom lip like once in that very intimate moment in the library. 

 

You don't have to answer right now

Baby go and take your time

Cause I'll be here

It's gotta be you

It's gotta be you

 

It's gotta be you

When you walked away my

Heart tried to replace ya

With someone like you

But I can never find it

I don't want to fight it

It's gotta be you

It's gotta be you

I don't want nobody else

Nobody else but you

You, oh woah

It's gotta be you

 

Leaning in painfully slow, I want her to know that she can still stop this if she needs to. Our lips almost touching, I linger again while we’re breathing the same air. My heart is beating faster and faster when finally Bridget is the one who closes the last distance between us. Our lips brush against each other rather chastely, featherlight. She tightens her embrace around my neck and carefully deepens the kiss. Her mouth is warm and tastes like red wine and the caress of her lips is softer than I’ve ever remembered. My hands are roaming her back up and down, clenching her blouse in my fists, before slipping underneath and exploring her silky skin. Bridget releases a suppressed moan before she suddenly pulls back, our foreheads resting against each other, both of us breathing erratic. My head moves back a little further, insecurity getting the better of me, but it’s erased right away when I notice her look. All sadness and hesitation have disappeared and her eyes express that pleading look, which I know all too well. I kiss her again, this time more hungrily, opening my mouth slightly. Bridget is gently tugging my bottom lip with her teeth and I stop thinking, even breathing. I graze my tongue between her lips and chaste her’s until both dance playfully around each other. My hands slip down to her bottom, squeezing it resolutely, until she grabs them, intertwines our fingers and pulls back from our kiss. 

Her gaze full of desire, inhaling deeply, she closes her eyes briefly, swallows and speaks lowly: “Baby.... I want you.... I really do! But let’s take things slowly. You came rushing back into my life almost too fast to handle it and you turned my world upside down once again. I just broke up with Sarah. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, ok? I already told you, I wanna do things right this time.”

I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t disappointed right now, but Bridget’s got a point.

“I know and I understand, at least I try to....” and my gaze drops.

“Hey....”, she tugs a loose strand of hair behind my ear and tilts her head until our eyes meet again.

“Can I ask you something, Gidge?” and she palms my cheek, stroking it gently with her thumb.

“Of course, baby, everything!”

I’m not sure if it’s smart to burst this question out in this very moment but it’s burning on my tongue and I simply have to know, now or never: “Do you still love her?”

As if Bridget’s heart was breaking into million pieces for me because of my question, she looks at me full of empathy and apology. As if she was afraid of never being able to make up for me being that scared and insecure. 

Cupping my face with both of her hands, she says almost pleadingly: “Oh baby, you didn’t listen carefully enough last time. I said, I loved her. But now I’m here with you and I don’t wanna be anywhere else!”

I can’t even start to describe what a huge load is just taken off my mind. Wrapping my arms around her waist, I give her a brief but gentle kiss and linger my lips smiling against her mouth. 

Bridget wraps her arms around my neck again and speaks gently: “It’s already late. Would you like to stay the night? Holding me? Even if nothing happens between us, I would love to wake up next to you in the morning.”

I simply nod and smile at her full of joy. How could I ever say no when she looks at me that way? Of course I’ll stay the night. Bridget slaps one of my butt cheeks playfully and intertwines our fingers again, dragging me towards the bedroom, saying teasingly: “Then come to bed with me, baby!”

Chapter Text

Bridget’s POV 

„Fuck, Gidge, you are so tiny and so are your clothes!”

Franky actually looks adorable in my old cotton running shirt when she returns from the bathroom.

„Stop complaining and c’mere”, I gesture with an outstretched hand.

She moves around the bed and slips under the covers from the other side, scooting closer and spooning me from behind. Franky pulls me tenderly yet tightly against her front and it feels too good to be true. Her right arm wrapped around my waist, her hand resting on my stomach covered by the fabric of my sleeveless top. Her left arm crouched under my head, embracing my shoulder, her hand resting flat on my neckline. Being so close to Franky lets me forget, it makes me feel confident and carefree. 

Her lips are ghosting over my neck and leave soft kisses from time to time. Her breath is tickling my ear when she speaks barely above a whisper: „You wanna know something, Gidge?”

I’m so lost in this moment that I simply hum in response: „Hm?”

Her comment: „I hated your guts the first time we met!” makes me chuckle.

Franky continues: „I thought you were such a nosy cow... and you’re pushy...”

„Hmmm... you needed to be pushed.... and prodded”, I counter insightfully and smile.

„But by our second session...”

„Hm?”

„....I just wanted to get into your pants!”, she finishes and kisses me gently below my ear and I have to giggle again. 

And suddenly I realize that I’m falling really hard for her for a second time. I grab her arm which is wrapped around my waist with both of my hands and tighten her embrace of my body, inhaling slowly and deeply. Closing my eyes, I whisper: „Good night, baby!”.

Franky responds by giving me a last tender kiss on the back of my neck, mumbling „Good night, beautiful!” against my skin and we both fall asleep quickly.

————————————————————————————————————————————

Waking up the next morning, a smile creeps up my face instantly and I have to reinsure myself that last night wasn’t just a dream. Opening my eyes slowly, the most beautiful view is presented in front of me. Franky is lying on her back, sleeping peacefully, her face tilted slightly in my direction, giving away an absolutely content expression. Resting my head in the palm of my hand, elbow propped, I simply watch her for some time. 

Suddenly Franky winces and furrows her brows, mutters something in her sleep and begins tossing her head from the left to the right. I carefully scoot closer and stroke her cheek. „Ssssshhh baby, I’m here, it’s all good”. Her head shoots up and her eyes open, she tries to take in her surroundings. Her facial expression relaxes immediately when she notices where she is. She falls back into the pillow and exhales dejectedly. Running her palm across her forehead, she curses: „Fucking nightmare!”, followed by turning towards me and adding more calmly: „Did I wake you?”.

I simply smile and shift a little further until I lie partly on top of Franky. I kiss her softly and tug a strand of hair behind her ear. 

„Still dreaming about Ferguson?”, I ask concerned. 

She shakes her head with a half smile, responding: „Was dreaming about you, Gidge. You suddenly disappeared and I couldn’t find you!” 

„Awww. But I’m not going anywhere, baby. You’re stuck with me now!”, I wink at her. 

Giving her quick peck, I continue spreading kisses along her jawline towards her ear and then down her neck, speaking in between: „I was dreaming about you, too. But mine was totally different.”

Looking up at her, she narrows her eyes questioning. 

„Want me to show you what it was about?”, I ask teasingly, wiggling my eyebrows.

Franky nods slowly, grinning. Of course she figures where this is going. 

Brushing my lips across hers, she pulls me completely on top of her, squeezing my butt. Spreading her legs, I slide between them and her hips immediately lift slightly creating some friction. My hand is roaming down to the hem of her shirt, hiking it up until her toned stomach is full on display. Moving my mouth to new exposed skin, my lips follow the path which my fingertips have just left. Franky’s back arches up and she is grinding against me, gasping. Her fingers tangle in my hair and as soon as one of my hand cups her breast underneath her shirt, she breathes out heavily and voices raspy: „F-Fuck.... Gidge, I thought we weren’t doing this!”

Massaging her breast tenderly and flicking her hardened nipple with the pad of my thumb, I move on top of Franky again and start to roll my hips against her center painfully slow. My teeth grazing the skin right below her ear, I purr: „Well, there‘s nothing wrong with some making out, isn’t it?”.

All of a sudden, Franky grabs the hem of my top and pulls it hastily up my body and over my head. Throwing it on the floor next to the bed, she flips us over and pins my hands down on the pillow above my head. Sucking my bottom lip into her mouth, she shifts between my thighs, spreading them. Her hips continue grinding against me and I hook one leg around her waist. 

„You’re such a minx, Gidge”, she breathes against my mouth and increases the rhythmic movements of her body. Writhing beneath her, she loosens the grip around my wrists and I use that opportunity immediately by taking off her own shirt. Wrapping my arms around her, I dig my nails into the skin of her back. She feels incredible against me and I realize again how much I missed her. Franky is steadying herself on her forearm next to my head, kissing me hungrily whilst fingertips of her free hand are roaming down my neck, across my chest, finding my breasts and pinch an erected nipple between two fingers. 

A low moan leaves my mouth and I press my head further back into the pillow, when Franky replaces her fingers with her soft lips, sucking on the hardened peak passionately.

Suddenly there is a loud knocking against my front door. 

Franky mumbles against my skin: „Seriously?! Fuck off!!!” and takes my nipple between her teeth, softly nibbling it. Tangling my fingers in her hair to keep her in place, my head is spinning and I try to make her understand she’d better not stop as the disturbing noise increases.

Franky’s gaze shoots up towards me, her eyebrows furrowed. 

„Who the fuck is that, Gidge?”.

I simply shrug and smirk, cup her cheeks and pull her down into another fierce kiss. Opening my mouth slightly, her lips part either and I slip my tongue between them, swirling it around Franky’s. The knocking at the door turns into hammering and I get the feeling it could be important if someone‘s that persistent. It kills my mood right now anyways. 

Giving Franky a confused look, she rolls off of me and I get up and quickly wrap myself into a robe which is hanging over a nearby chair. Annoyed, I make my way out of the bedroom and through the hallway, cursing „For fuck’s sake!“ when it hammers again. Whoever this is better has a damn good reason for assaulting my front door. I pull it open and my heart misses a beat, suddenly I’m completely taken aback. 

„What the hell are you doing here?!”, I burst out shocked.

Only a few minutes ago I felt like I was dreaming. Everything felt so unreal and too good to be true. And now apparently reality catches up with me when Sarah is standing right in front of me.

„Merry Christmas and surpriiiiiiiiiiise“, she smiles from ear to ear and makes a step forward, giving me an unexpected peck on my lips and pulling me in for a tight embrace. My whole body tenses up not being able to reciprocate any of that at all.

She moves back a little, one arm still wrapped around my waist, and purrs: „Wow, you look hot. If I didn’t know any better, I might believe you just had sex. You’re wearing that sex-gaze and your hair... hmmmm.... it turns me on!“

Pulling out of her half embrace, I can’t believe what is just happening and even more so what she‘s talking about. Did she even listen to me the last time when we talked?! My facial expression staying totally neutral, I cross my arms in front of my chest and lean against the doorframe. She is sizing me up suspiciously until the penny drops. I’m not going to deny having Franky here anyways and it also isn’t necessary anymore, when she suddenly appears behind me and wraps her arms around my waist, her chin resting on my shoulder. 

I can’t help it but Franky‘s question „Door-to-door salesmen on Christmas morning?“ makes me giggle, but I pull myself together right after again. Sarah‘s mouth drops  followed by her face turning into an outraged expression. 

„You actually didn’t waste any time, Bridget. And isn’t that the ex-con you broke every professional rule for once?! Unbelievable!“, she hisses.

Of course, she knows about my past with Franky and, of course, Sarah knows how she looks like because I kept some pictures of us. Suddenly Franky steps in front of me with a defending gesture. She plants herself in front of Sarah, hands on her hips, and hisses back: „And if you would have some manners, you would know how to treat a woman respectfully!“ 

Sarah laughs out sarcastically and adds: „You telling me how to treat people?! You fucking crim?! Better get out of my house instantly before I call the police!“ 

She grabs the handle of her luggage, shoves Franky aside and rushes past us inside towards the living room. Unsurprisingly, she is marking her territory. It‘s quite clear that Franky becomes infuriated by Sarah‘s behavior and wants to go after her. I can barely stop her and push her back into the bedroom, closing the door behind us. 

„I‘m going to kill that bitch, Gidget!“, she blurts out. 

Wrapping my arms around Franky‘s neck, I kiss her softly with the intention to calm her. 

„I‘m so sorry, baby. I wasn’t expecting her to ever show up again!“

Resting her forehead against mine, she inhales deeply and asks insecurely: „What are we gonna do now?“

Giving her a half smile, I respond: „Seems like I have to talk to her and clear the air.“

Franky‘s expression relaxes, but tears are slowly clouding her eyes and she drops her face.

„I just don’t wanna lose you again, Gidge. What if she begs you for a second chance?“

Grasping her chin softly and tilting it up, my lips brush against hers once more. 

„Nothing will change between us, baby. I promise! Do you trust me?“

Franky nods hesitatingly and speaks downhearted: „I‘m outta here then. You sure I can leave you alone with her?“

Cupping her cheek and giving her a reassuring gaze, she leans into my touch and I know she‘s afraid of what’s about to happen. 

„I‘ll call you as soon as I can, ok?“

She nods again, breaks our embrace and gets dressed. „I‘ll be at my dad‘s for the rest of the day.“

Giving me a last tender kiss, I walk her towards the front door. She looks back full of worry before she steps out and is gone.

Running my fingers through my hair, I make my way towards the kitchen and find Sarah sitting at the kitchen island, forearms resting on the surface, her head tilted down whilst she’s fumbling with her fingers.

„Coffee?“, I ask her expressionlessly, my back facing her. I don’t mind her knowing and realizing that I absolutely not approve how she was behaving before. Not to mention that she simply showed up here without any warning. I mean, I broke up with her for a very good reason. Did she even get that?!

Getting no response, I turn around and wait, one hand on my hip. 

„The skank finally gone?“, she snarls and I sink back against the counter and cross my arms in front of my chest. Shaking my head slightly and huffing ironically, I shoot back: „Firstly, she has a name and, secondly, you have no right to speak that way towards and about her!“

„Fine!“, she lifts her hands in surrender. „How the hell did we get here, Bridget?“

„Well, you tell me?“, I shrug. 

„Our last phone call gave me something to think about and I‘m so sorry!“, she gets up and comes closer.

„A little late, don‘t you think?“, I drop my gaze and stare at the floor.

Sarah stops in front of me, rests her hands on my upper arms and speaks more softly: „I couldn’t get away from the hospital earlier, but I love you, Bridget, and I‘m sorry. And I‘m here now!“

„You have a funny way of showing that. And now you think everything is forgiven and forgotten?“

She simply shrugs.

„Sorry that I disappointed you, I get that!“

Cupping my cheeks, she tilts her head and smiles, when my eyes meet hers.

„I love you and I will fight for you. Please, give us another chance!“

She leans in and right before our lips are about to touch, I take a sidestep to slip out of this situation.

„You really think you can show up here all of a sudden? After everything what happened? And then insulting Franky and me and giving me an unconvincing apology? And now we can live happily ever after?!“, I laugh sarcastically.

„What do you want, Bridget? And don’t tell me you suddenly wanna be with that ex-con again? I should’ve known that she would take advantage of you being here alone! How did that even happen? I thought you haven’t been in contact anymore?“

„You don’t get it, do you? It‘s not about Franky or whatever! And she didn’t take advantage of anything! Stop blaming her!“, I can’t help it but raise my voice and continue: „The only ones who are to blame are you and I! We were over long before I left Seattle, I was just to naive to see it! Our relationship wasn’t your priority anymore for a long time and I was too selfless and accepted it. You didn’t even think it is necessary to show up here right away after our phone call. No, once again work or whatever was more important!“

Tears are freely running down her cheeks and I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel sorry for this miserable situation. 

Time literally flies by during our argument with shouting at each other or just sitting or standing there in silence. It‘s already late in the afternoon when I have a look at the clock. 

My thoughts wander to Franky and I‘m wondering what she‘s doing right now. I feel some kind of guilty for probably ruining Christmas for her. I decide to take a quick shower to calm my nerves, the discussion with Sarah has worn me out entirely and I miss Franky and just wanna be with her.

When I return from the bathroom, dressed in fresh clothes, Sarah has settled on the couch and watches some TV, her eyes red from crying.

Out of nothing she sobs, her eyes focused on the screen: „And now you’re throwing everything away what we had because I made one mistake?“

I sit down on the arm rest and sigh: „Sarah, we both made a number of mistakes! In the end the distance between us the last few weeks taught me that and let me see things clearer and from another perspective! We‘re just not right for each other!“

She shakes her head in disbelief and sniffs: „And suddenly she is your perfect match or what?! After everything you told me and you’ve been through with her?!“

Inhaling deeply, I admit: „You say it: after everything I‘ve been through with her....“.

„Pfff. This is just fucking outstanding! Until the next time she hurts you or does something stupid! But then don’t you dare come crawling back!“

I have enough. Right now it doesn’t achieve anything anymore. I get up with the comment: „Fine, I‘m outta here! Make yourself at home!“.

„This is my home!“, Sarah yells after me.

I grab my jacket and my purse with a mumbled „Whatever!“ and slam the front door shut behind me.

Chapter Text

Franky‘s POV

Christmas has never been my favorite due to my past. The holidays usually consisted of my mother’s drunken sessions and then having random guys over. When they were finally gone I could have been lucky if she was too exhausted and inebriated to look after me and do something to me, but if not I possibly got another burning mark on the side of my stomach, which layed one more foundation for a cherry blossom of my tats. 

Things have changed, though. Even Christmas at Wentworth was better than during my childhood days with my mother or at foster families. The girls in prison have been some kind of family substitution and they will always be important to me. Since I‘ve been out of that shithole for a second time, I spent both Christmases at my dad‘s. We have been developing a quite good relationship and being a part of my little sister‘s life means more to me than I would’ve ever imagined. I‘m so grateful to Elizabeth and dad for trusting me with Tess and never thought that being a big sister would be the best job in the world. 

The best Christmas ever for me, though, was with Gidge before I was incarcerated again. It was just the two of us, totally cheesy and romantic, and everyone would say that it absolutely wasn’t my style, but it was and I loved it. It was also the occasion when Bridget gave me the silver necklace with the kite pendant. „For my freedom-fighter“, she said. I remember it as if it were yesterday.

I have made myself scarce after dinner and after helping Elizabeth washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen. Tess is certainly busy with her new Nintendo and my dad wanted to go to the neighbors for a quick visit because they needed his help with something. 

I‘m sitting in the yard on the porch swing with a bottle of beer in my hand and my thoughts wander to Bridget for the umpteenth time today. I haven’t heard anything from her, yet, and I’m really starting to worry. Did her ex convince her to give their relationship a second chance or did she even manage to seduce Bridget? I can’t imagine that, though. And like I said to her this morning: I trust her! Or at least I‘m trying to.

Sipping my beer, my dad comes strolling through the yard and joins me. He juts his chin towards the swing, questioning: „Is there room for two, kiddo?“

I smile, nod and scoot over.  

He looks at me with that typical dad-gaze like I know that something‘s bothering you. He simply raises his eyebrows while examining me, his upper body bent forward, his elbows resting on his knees, hands folded. 

„What‘s up, Franky? You are here but you have been miles away with your thoughts today.“

Gazing into distance, I shrug and ask: „Ya still have that hidden package of ciggies in the toolshed? I feel like I could need one right now.“

Dad grins at me and gets up, making his way over to the shed and returning a moment later. He gives me one of the coffin nails and lights one himself. Taking one drag, I have to cough and shake my head ironically. 

„I forgot how disgusting this is!“, I huff and roll the cigarette playfully between my thumb and index finger forth and back, having a closer look at the rising smoke. 

Dad chuckles at my comment: „Aye! And sometimes it‘s good to be reminded of that!“

We both laugh and fall silent again.

„That bad, huh? Who is she, bub? Rarely seen ya that way!“, he suddenly speaks again.

Giving him a surprised look, he continues: „It may be that I wasn’t there for ya for a long time, but I know my girl!“ 

Leaning closer, he tilts his head and nudges my shoulder playfully with his own.

Smiling, I respond: „Might surprise ya that ya know her!“

He furrows his eyebrows but returns my expression instantly when he gets that I‘m talking about Bridget.

„Oh that really is a surprise, kiddo! I thought she appeared to have vanished without a trace?“

I shrug again, my eyes still focused on the cigarette, trying to explain: „Aye, and all of a sudden she was there one night, in that bar, where I was with Erica.“

I notice my dad shaking his head out of the corner of my eyes: „I‘ve never really understood what ya see in that Erica. Ya always pretended she was just a casual affair, but she had that arrogant and possessive appearance and I don’t like that at all.“

Rolling my eyes and taking another drag, my throat has gotten more used to the burning, I exhale and respond: „Yeah yeah, I know, and that ya love Bridget. Every other woman in my life would have a hard time with ya.“

The corners of his mouth curl up and he scratches the back of his head.

„I just want ya to be happy, Franky. And I know Bridget‘s the right one for ya!“

Staring into distance, I have to smile at the thought of Gidge and I know that he‘s right. 

I tell him everything about how we started talking about our issues from the past a few weeks ago, how we slowly got closer again and at last what happened this morning. Dad senses my insecurities about Bridget’s ex appearing all of a sudden and wraps one arm around my shoulders. „It‘ll be ok, bub. Just trust her!“

I‘m pulled out of my thoughts when Tess is shouting towards us from the veranda: „Frankyyyyyy, wanna help me putting the straw stars on the tree which I gave mommy and daddy for Christmas?“

Dad and I stub out our cigarettes quickly before my little sister catches us smoking. We grin at each other and I shout back: „'course lil one, coming!“

We make our way inside and honestly, talking with dad about my concerns felt really good. I missed it so much during all those years.

When I enter the living room, Tess is already running excitedly around the Christmas tree checking out where the best spots for her straw stars would be while Elizabeth is still in the kitchen, probably preparing some super delicious dessert for later, because it smells like heaven. I would say everything is almost perfect, only one piece is missing. 

Pulling me out of my thoughts, Tess presses the box with the stars into my hand and jumps on the arm chair with another box full of cookies. Hopping slightly up and down and stuffing a cookie right into her mouth, she stretches her index finger out and gestures at me to start decorating the tree. Feigning to be offended, I rest my free hand on my hip and tilt my head: „Seriously? I do all the work here while you’re bossing me around, huh?“ Tess nods enthusiastically and mumbles: „Frankyyyy mmmh-ya much taller then mmmh-me, so you can mmh-reach any spot!“ I can‘t suppress a laugh any longer and tease her: „How about ya chew and swallow first before ya talk in a foreign language to me, huh?“ Tess squeals and packs another biscuit between her lips. I turn around and start putting the straw stars on different spots and hear a „Mmmhpppf permmmmfect!“ behind me from time to time, when the door bell rings all of a sudden. Probably the neighbor again since he had problems with his new TV earlier. Tess jumps down from the arm chair and runs towards the door. I hear her laughing in joy but don’t spend any further attention, seeking out another spot on the tree when unexpectedly two arms wrap around my waist from behind. The person is too tall for being Tess, that’s for sure, and I realize quite quickly anyways, who it is when I smell her perfume and by the way she touches me. The sensation of getting goosebumps all over my body when a soft kiss is pressed against the back of my neck makes me feel giddy. I close my eyes and reach for her arms, wrapping them tighter around my midsection. I just need to be in this very moment and would stop the time if I could, because finally everything is perfect.

Turning in Bridget’s arms and cupping her cheeks with my hands, I kiss her delicately and smile against her mouth. 

„Merry Christmas, baby!“, she whispers against my lips and closes the distance between us for a second time. 

„What are ya doing here?“, I ask her as if reality still hasn’t caught up with me yet. 

Bridget feigns being offended, puts her hands on her hips and smirks: „I can leave if you want me to!“ 

I pull her in for another kiss, this time more passionate until our lips part and my tongue brushes against hers. Tess comes strolling into the living room in this moment and shrieks: „Eeeeeeeew!“, which makes both of us pull back slightly and chuckle. Looking Bridget deep in the eyes and stroking invisible strands of hair behind her ears, I think I‘m telling her more with my gaze right now than thousand words would ever be able to. Her hands folded at the small of my back, she holds me close and speaks softly: „I missed you.... so much!“.

The evening passes smoothly and I feel like being on cloud 9, I’m literally beaming and I can’t wipe the smile and happiness from my face. The five of us spend some beautiful time together with eating Beth‘s delicious dessert, playing some board games, laughing a lot and just being together. Bridget does barely leave my side nor do I leave hers. We share stolen glances all the time when we’re not close to each other and if we are, she gently strokes or squeezes my thigh under the table or I put my arm around her while she’s sitting next to me, caressing her shoulder and upper arm. It‘s simply perfect and I feel complete for the first time in a long long time and that’s only Gidge‘s credit. 

When the time comes for Tess to go to bed, she pouts and crosses her arms in front of her chest in protest.

Bridget gets up and squats down next to my little sis, encouraging her: „What about you get ready for bed and then I‘ll come and say goodnight and you tell me everything about all those pretty Christmas presents you got today?“ 

Tess looks up and smiles, followed by nodding hesitatingly. She hops down from her chair and says her goodnights to the rest of us. When Bridget gets up from her position and stands right next to me, I pull her down on my lap and wrap my arms around her, whispering „thank you“ into her ear and giving her a kiss right below. 

It doesn’t take long until Tess is shouting Gidge‘s name from her room. Before Bridget disappears into the hallway, I watch her leaving maybe a little bit too long, because when I turn my attention back, I notice Beth and dad, who are sitting across from me at the table, my dad‘s arm wrapped around Beth‘s shoulder, grinning in my direction. The corners of my mouth curl up even more and I blush slightly by feeling caught. 

„She‘s great, Franky!“, Elizabeth speaks calmly. I nod affirmative and respond: „She is the best and makes me absolutely happy!“ 

It‘s as simple as it is, I could burst with joy right now. 

„I know, kid, and so do you. It‘s more than obvious!“, my dad continues. 

Elizabeth asks me how I met Bridget again a few weeks ago and I fill her in with the same story I have told my dad before in the yard. When my dad tries to suppress a yawn I‘m not sure if he is just bored by hearing the story for a second time or if he‘s simply tired. Probably the latter. However, I take it as a cue to excuse myself and have a look for Bridget and Tess. It‘s gotten late anyways and we slowly but surely should get going because I need to spend the rest of the evening alone with Gidge.

The door to Tess‘ room is slightly ajar yet opened enough for me to peek inside and the view which is presented to me almost lets my heart burst in emotion and love for those two most important girls in my life. Bridget’s upper body is rested against the headboard, my little sister tucked in and cozily snuggling against Bridget’s side. Her arm is wrapped around Tess, tenderly stroking her hair while flipping through a book with her free hand. It‘s adorable how Gidge is totally absorbed in it while Tess already seems to be fast asleep. I lean against the doorframe and the wooden material creaks softly, which makes Bridget startle slightly. Tip-toeing closer, she smiles in my direction. Pressing a kiss on her forehead before I kneel down next to the bed, I admire the woman in front of me for a short moment before I speak: „It‘s gotten late. Wanna come home with me?“

Bridget‘s eyes sparkle and she nods accompanied by one of her beautiful smiles as if she was waiting for this question the whole evening. Getting up carefully, she strokes Tess‘ cheek and switches the light on her bedside table off. Reaching for my hand, we make our way towards the living room, where we find my dad and Beth on the couch watching TV, or rather said Beth snuggled against him, sleeping as well. Dad smiles contently and mouthes „Good night“. 

I respond quietly: „Thanks for everything. Call ya in the morning! Night!“

 

Bridget drags me towards her car after leaving the house. Grabbing the lapels of my jacket, she pins me slightly against the drivers door and kisses me passionately. Moaning quietly with desire, my hands seek out her rear and I pull her closer. Our lips part in sync and our tongues brush against each other. She suddenly steps back, though, and grins cheekily, thrusting her car keys into my hand: „You drive, I had too much wine!“.

Giggling, she makes her way to the passenger‘s door and leaves me flabbergasted. 

 

The drive to my apartment passes rather quietly. It doesn’t matter to me where we spend the rest of the evening and hopefully the night as long as we spend it together, but the elephant in the room called Sarah has to be addressed at some point. Altough Bridget has made it quite clear in the last few hours that nothing has changed between us, I still need to know what happened after I left. I mean, I probably only won’t feel threatened anymore when her ex finally leaves Melbourne again.

 

When we enter my apartment, I stroll directly over to the kitchen and drop my belongings on the island. Bridget joins me and I don’t know why I suddenly feel a little nervous. 

„Can you take another glass of wine?“, I ask her teasingly, now that I can finally drink some alcohol either, if you don’t count the beer I had hours ago. She rolls her eyes and nudges my upper arm for payback.

„Wine rack is over there, chose a bottle and I‘ll get the glasses“. Using the opportunity Gidge being distracted, I take the little jewelry box out of the kitchen drawer, the two wine glasses out of the cupboard and make my way over to the couch. After choosing a bottle of Shiraz, of course, she places it on the coffee table commenting: „I really like your wine collection“. Winking, she gives me short but sweet peck on my lips and adds: „Bathroom. Be right back!“

Pouring the wine, I place Gidge‘s present right next to her glass and make myself comfortable in my spot, waiting patiently for her to return.

The door finally opens and my heart speeds up. I sense her movements getting slower the closer she comes after spotting the black item with the silver ribbon on the table. She sinks down next to me and sighs heavily, staring at the gift in front of her. 

„But I don’t have anything for you, baby. I‘m so sor-“

„Gidge- “, pulling her into my side, I wrap my arm around her back and cup her cheek supported by a lingering kiss on her soft lips. 

„I got more than enough from you today. The best gift ever. You came back to me, firstly at all and secondly today. Not even in my sweetest dreams during the last two years would I have imagined that today will happen. So thank you and now open that damn box!“

Resting her forehead against mine, she mouthes a „Thank you“ in replication, smiles and presses a peck on my lips.

Pulling the ribbon off the case and opening it, her breath catches in her throat. Taking the bracelet out of its case, Gidge carefully holds it in her palm, brushing with the pad of her thumb across it. 

„Franky, it‘s beautiful“, she says barely above a whisper, her voice shaking slightly with emotion.

Slowly taking the bracelet, I offer Gidge to fix it around her wrist. She stretches her arm out after and examines it with admiration. I reach for our wine, passing one to her. We clink glasses and I watch Bridget focusing her gaze on the bracelet again. Scooting closer, I wrap my arm around her lower back and speak lowly „Merry Christmas“ into her ear before I press a soft kiss right below it. She leans into my touch and a relishing „hmmm“ leaves her throat. Turning towards me, she takes the wine out of my hand, sets both glasses on the coffee table and before I even know what‘s happening, Gidge is on me, straddling my lap. Cupping my face, she kisses me full of longing and desire. My hands are roaming across her thighs, upwards to her waist and the sides of her body, then to her back, fisting her blouse there and pulling Gidge even closer. Sucking my bottom lip into her mouth, a low moan escapes from my throat and Bridget envelopes the back of my neck with one hand whilst the other one is already exploring my bare stomach underneath my shirt. Lips parting, our tongues meet halfway. Initially they brush rather timidly against each other. God, I could kiss this woman forever and would never tire of it. Running my hands underneath her blouse, raking her indescribable soft skin slightly with my nails, Bridget starts to slowly grind down in my lap. Biting back a moan, her head is thrown back and my lips are immediately on her neck. My mouth is ghosting over her pulsepoint and I have to swallow hard when her hand rubs over my bra-clad breast. My teeth grazing her earlobe, I purr: „Gidge, if we don’t stop-”. 

She runs her finger through my hair, pulls slightly and kisses me again, this time more heatedly. I groan against her lips: „Because you‘ve no idea how much I want you!“

Bridget bites tenderly down on my bottom lip and whispers: „Show me!“

I counter „But-” and she silences me with tempting kiss once again. Climbing down from my lap, she drags me up and wraps her arms around my neck. She brings her lips painfully close to mine and pauses when they are just barely touching. Breathing the same air, she whispers: „Fuck what I said yesterday!“

I don’t need any more conviction, her gaze says it all. Arms tangled, hands exploring each other’s body and blouses, shirts and pants are taken off on our way towards my bed. I move backwards and kneel down on the mattress of my futon right in front of Bridget. She looks indescribable beautiful in only her bra and underwear. Chewing partly on my bottom lip, I pull her closer. Leaving kisses on her chest, we both open the clasps of each other’s bra almost synchronously. Admiring the view in front of me, I feel a clench deep in my belly. My fingertips are teasing the edge of her panties, Bridget cups my cheeks and looks deeply into my eyes. Her gaze is serious and it frightens me for a moment, but then her mouth turns into a teasing smile and this gesture of reassurance brings my self confidence back.

Slowly pulling her panties down, she steps out of them and I drag her on the bed. Getting rid of my knickers, Bridget mirrors my kneeling position on the bed. Our lips collide again and a wave of desire rolls through me. Bridget groans and draws back slightly, panting. I hold her upright at her hips and slowly change my position. „Don’t move“, I whisper and Gidge looks at me questioning, following my movements with her eyes until I kneel behind her between her bent legs. My arms wrapped around her midsection, I kiss my way from her shoulder to her neck with unbearable slowness. My heart is pounding so hard, I’m certain she can feel it against her back. She reaches back with one hand and tangles her fingers in my hair. Tilting her head for more access, her other hand covers one of mine placed on her stomach and guides it upwards to one breast and we both squeeze it softly in unison. Gidge’s eyes slammed shut, she’s gasping out in pleasure. My other hand roams across her hips to her perfect ass and between her legs from behind. She inhales sharply with the sudden contact and the wetness between her legs is almost too much for me to bear. Firstly I tease her by circling two fingers at her entrance, waiting for a reaction which comes instantly by a raspy low moan leaving her throat. My digits leave the spot immediately and Bridget groans sufferingly, pressing her hips down seeking for redeeming friction. My other hands keeps caressing her beautiful breasts, pinching her hardened nipples from time to time. Her skin is so sensitive that the slightest brush of my fingers makes her muscles jerk.

Slowly entering her with one finger, her hips buck against my hand and her breathing becomes raggedly. „Baby-”, she exhales and catches my hair slightly with her fist. My teeth graze the soft skin on her neck when I slip a second finger inside. Bridget moans more loudly at that time and her hips begin to rise and sink to meet my strokes, building up a rhythm. She arches back against me in an uncontrollable way, her walls start clenching and it doesn’t take long until her climax storms through her. She collapses onto the bed and pulls me with her. Panting erratically, I slowly retract my fingers and she winces slightly with the loss of contact. I pamper her with short and soft kisses between her shoulder blades and pull her tightly against my front until she comes down from her high.

When her breathing becomes more evenly, she slowly turns around in my arms and faces me. She strokes my cheek with her thumb and her stunning blue eyes bore right into my soul. A single tear escapes all of a sudden. I kiss it away and ask concerned: „Hey, you ok? Did I do something wrong?“. Half smiling, Bridget shakes her head slightly: „Nuh, baby, I was just wondering if we could‘ve done something different two years ago, if there would have been another solution...“.

I prop myself up on my forearm and stroke a strand of hair behind her ear. 

„Sssssh, Gidge, doesn‘t matter anymore. Maybe it had to happen to realize that we belong together“.

Bridget smiles: „Do we? Belong together?“.

I close the distance between us and kiss her softly. Laying back on my pillow, we gaze into each other‘s eyes until Gidge speaks quietly: „You know the very first time I fell in love with you?“

She pauses a moment and continues: „Paint me a picture!“

Of course I know immediately which moment she means. Our first session in her office at Wentworth. How could I ever forget it. She was too annoying for my taste at that point. I didn’t even understand what she wanted or achieved with this revelation.

I reply shortly yet emotionally: „A hot girl....“

And we finish the sentence of this memory in unison: „...in a hot car“, and simply smile at each other. 

„I love you, Gidge, I always did!“

Bridget kisses me tenderly before she rests her forehead against mine and whispers: „I love you too, baby!“

Chapter Text

Bridget’s POV

„Fuck.... Gidge... I-”, Franky lowly cries out, her legs tremble on each side of my shoulders and she collapses back down into the pillow when another orgasm shoots through her.

Slowly climbing back on top of her and out from under the covers, her forearm is resting on her forehead and she‘s panting heavily.

„Jeez, Gidge, what are ya doin‘ to me?!“, she progressively gathers herself again. 

„It’s because you’re insatiable“, I grin and press a light kiss on the top of her nose.

Letting myself slump on the futon next to Franky, she scoots closer, props herself up on her elbow, head rested in the palm of her hand and asks rhetorically with a satisfied expression on her face: „Exhausted?“.

I face her contently and smile. She puts on that typical smugly Franky-grin, her tongue poking out slightly at the corner of her mouth and she knows exactly that it drives me crazy. She also looks absolutely gorgeous in the bright and warm morning light, which partly shines through the curtains.  

„Does it surprise you? You let me barely sleep last night“, I tease back.

„Ha!, if I remember right I didn’t hear you complaining. Or did you want to tell me to stop when you were moaning my name several times last night?“

Rolling my eyes on that comment, I can’t suppress a chuckle, though.

„You’re pretty overconfident sometimes, baby!“

Pulling her bottom lip between her teeth, Franky moves partly on top of me and closes the distance between our lips, pausing though right before they touch. 

She breathes against my mouth: „And you love it!“

I can’t help but pull her down into another delicate kiss and before I know it, Franky is completely on top of me and goes down my body again. This woman is gonna be the death of me one day. 

Hidden under the covers, she sucks at one of my erected nipples and compels me to inhale sharply: „Oh god-“. I stop her movements though by placing my hand on the back of her head through the covers: „Stooop Frankyyyy!“

She shoots up and eyes me confused.

„Don’t start what you can‘t finish, baby!“

She furrows her brows and grins: „Oh Gidge, I don’t plan to, defs not, believe me!“

Before she can continue her intentions, though, I pull her back up and press a quick peck on her lips. 

„But unfortunately I have to burst our rosy bubble, baby, because I have to return back home at some point and we haven’t talked about that yet!“

Franky rolls her eyes at me and snaps whilst rolling off of me: „Fuck Gidge, you‘re such a spoilsport sometimes!“

I softly brush a few strands away from Franky‘s forehead and cover her cheek with the palm of my hand.

„You know we have to talk about it at some point!“

„Fine!“, Franky snarls and purses her lips. „What do ya wanna talk about exactly then? What are we now anyways, Gidge?“

She sinks back into the pillows and rests her arms crossed behind her head in a defensive posture, her gaze focused on the ceiling. 

„I reckon I made it pretty clear that I love you and wanna be with you, Franky. You need to start to trust me again. I know I hurt you, but I‘m here now and not going anywhere. Promise!“

A half smile appears on her face when she turns towards me. 

„I‘m trying, Gidge, I really do. I just don’t feel comfortable as long as your ex is in the city!“

„I can hardly kick her out of her own house, baby. I‘ll have a look for my own place as soon as possible but in the meantime I’ve to go home at some point and you know that!“

„And playing happy roommates with your ex?!“, Franky shoots back.

„Stop being ridiculous. All my stuff is there“, I close my eyes briefly and inhale deeply.

Franky drops her gaze. „I‘m sorry, Gidge. But why even looking for your own place? You can move in here! There’s plenty space!“

I can‘t suppress a smile and grasp her chin with my index finger and thumb to look her directly into her beautiful eyes: „And I really appreciate that, baby, but please give us some time. We never really experienced being together without living together. I want you to pick me up for going out on a date. I want to surprise you after a long working day with our favorite take-out food on your doorstep and stay the night. Please, let me have that phase after literally jumping from one relationship into another.“

Franky frowns but I can sense her processing the things I just said. A few years ago she would’ve jumped on my suggestion and made her own, probably negative conclusions, expecting the worst, assuming I would need space or keep her distant, but this surprisingly isn’t happening right now and I realize once again, how far she’s come.

She pulls me towards her and rests her forehead against mine.

„Then at least do me the favor and go home, get some of your stuff and stay here until you’ve found your own place, Gidge!“, she requests absolutely adorable. How could I ever say no to that?!

Smiling, our lips touch softly. „Well, that’s fine by me. How about you join me in the shower before I get going then?“

Apparently I don’t have to ask Franky twice. She jumps out of the bed and drags me along behind her and after some steamy time in her bathroom, I finally manage to leave her apartment in the late afternoon with the promise to be back a few hours later.

The thought of facing Sarah not long after leaves both Franky and me uneasy, even more so when I eventually check my phone on my way to my car and find numerous missed calls and text messages from her. I skim them quickly and notice that she already started texting and calling me a few minutes after I have left yesterday. Her texts contain everything from „Please call me back“, „I‘m sorry“ to „Where the fuck are you?!“. I‘ll deal with the other messages of Vera and surprisingly Will Jackson, which I also find in my inbox, later. Shaking my head slightly annoyed, I suddenly stop, mouth agape, when I stand in front of my car. Somebody actually scribbled 'cunt' in capitals in the dust on my windshield. I hastily take a picture of it and send it to Franky with the remark: 

B: Any idea?

She texts back right away and tries to calm me down:

F: Don’t worry, probably just stupid kids from the neighborhood!  

I need to be reassured, though.

B: You sure it wasn’t a jealous ex?!

F: Gidge, ya wouldn’t have a functioning car anymore if my ex‘s would want to get back at ya! ;-) 

Typical Franky. Even if it doesn’t help me right now, she still makes me smile with her ordinary cheeky way. And the more I think about it, it even slowly occurs ridiculous to me that something more serious could be behind it. I wipe the 'friendly message' away with the windshield wiper, start the engine and make my way towards home.

The house is pretty quiet when I arrive. I stride slowly and almost cautiously through the hallway towards the open plan kitchen and living room and have a look around. I can feel my heart pumping faster in my chest because I really don’t know what to expect. Dropping my purse on a barstool, a warm summer breeze blows through the slightly opened patio doors when I hear someone talking. Peering in the direction where the noise is coming from, I spot Sarah sitting on one of the loungers next to the pool, her back facing me. I’m glad she hasn’t noticed my arrival yet due to talking to someone on the phone which means I get some more time to gather myself. I can’t believe my eyes though when I find a small jewelry box opened on the kitchen island and the gift wrap, which I neatly fixed around it, torn apart next to it. She’s obviously gone through my stuff. I actually bought a small Christmas gift for Franky, which I forgot yesterday, unfortunately, due to the argument with Sarah. I just wanted to get out of here at that point and be in Franky’s arms again. Only a few days ago I had the idea and went back to that small jewelry store where I got her silver kite pendant from and found some matching earrings. I was so unbelievably mad at myself yesterday when she gave me that beautiful bracelet.

Stepping a little closer towards the patio door when I hear her saying my name, I’m curious who she‘s talking to. Due to the fact that she’s turned away from me and the warm wind rustling in the trees I only overhear pieces of what she’s saying like: „Dunno where she is, Mags, probably with that criminal slag“. Uh-huh, so she’s calling her 'best mate'. Anger is raising deep inside of me that she still speaks that way about Franky and it hits me square in the face when she suddenly purrs: „I miss you too, beautiful, but we talked about it and that it was a one-off“. There! I knew it all the time and she was always downplaying and denying it that something’s going on between Maggie and her. And now she’s blaming me for the failing of our relationship?! Seriously?! I’m done here and even more so I’m done with her, completely!

I grab Franky’s gift, put it safely into my purse and rush into the bedroom and the en-suite bathroom to get some necessities. It absolutely doesn’t matter to me anymore if she hears me or not, I simply don’t care. Taking my hand luggage case out of one of the closets, I throw it on the bed and fill it with clothes and toiletries. My rummaging around apparently has peeked Sarah’s attention when she suddenly stands on the doorstep with a surprised but confused expression on her face, arms crossed in front of her chest, leaning sidewards against the doorframe.

„There you are! I was worried! Neither did you answer my calls nor did you react to my messages!“

I continue packing furiously and don’t answer. Simply ignoring her and what I just heard is probably the best before I lose my oh so well known patience.

„Could you please talk to me? I was waiting for you with the hope we could sit down together and talk.“

I look at her briefly with an icy stare, emotionless, and puff some air through my pursed lips wryly.

„I don’t think there’s any need left for talking“, I state coldly.

„You wanted me to be here and spend the holidays together. Here I am! But you couldn’t wait to get back into her arms, could you?“

My mouth opens instinctively but I can stop myself from saying something nasty out of anger. How dare she?!

Throwing the last collected things of my belongings into my case, I turn towards her, raise a hand and defense and say: „Sarah, please! Don‘t!“

„You even bought her those crazy expensive earrings. They weren’t for me, were they?“

Despite the fact that she went through my stuff, I‘m not in the mood to give her an answer to this question. She figured it out anyways.

„What is it, what she has and I don‘t? Is it the bad girl image? Am I too boring? Does she get you off in a way I couldn’t, huh?“

I huff ironically at this comment, grab my purse and the handle of my case and make a move towards the front door. Sarah steps in front of me and blocks my way, arms still crossed in front of her chest, looking down at me in a intimidating way. I‘m not afraid of her, though. I stand in front of her, barely a meter between us, and hold her glare coolly without blinking. When there is no sign of her moving soon, I burst out angrily: 

„Fucking hell, Sarah, we‘re done. It’s over. You belong to Seattle and I belong here. We always have been! And if you’re really honest to yourself you don’t want a second chance either. It‘s only your injured pride which tries to hold me back. Consider our relationship as a 'one-off', isn’t that what you can do best?“

Her mouth drops and I‘m certain she knows that I’m referring to her phone call earlier and that I heard what she said to Maggie.

I use the chance of her being completely taken aback and brush past her and leave the house, which was once supposed to be our common home.

 

*************

 

It‘s already dark outside when I arrive back at Franky‘s apartment. She gave me a spare key before due to the possibility she’s taking a nap when I come back. When I unlock the door and step inside, it smells absolutely delicious. The room is filled with slow music playing in the background and dim lighting by countless numbers of candles. Franky is busy in the kitchen und shows me one of her adoringly dimpled smiles when I step closer. I wrap my arms around her from behind and press a lingering kiss right below her ear. She leans into me and hums in delight.

„Hmmm something smells beautiful“, I whisper in her ear. Franky grins and turns around, wrapping her arms loosely around my neck. 

„Do you mean me or the food?“, she adds flirtatiously and winks.

Our lips brush against each other and a hum of relief leaves my throat. 

Franky cups my cheeks and asks: „How did it go?“

I roll my eyes, breath in deeply and sigh. Before I‘m able to answer, she captures my lips with another sweet kiss and suggests: „Food is ready anyways, why don’t you sit your sexy arse down over there, take a large gulp of that excellent wine and then you tell me everything during dinner, beautiful?“.

She’s too adorable sometimes, it makes my heart beat faster for only this woman. It makes me question how I got this lucky to have her back in my life after all the disaster with Sarah. It still hurts when I think about her and how we ended. I feel some kinda used and betrayed. I really thought we were good at some point, amazing even, 'the power couple' of the hospital, that’s how some colleagues used to call us. I saw my future with her. Oh how wrong I was! And right now, watching Franky in her kitchen, how she moves around confidently, every step of procedure a perfect fit, her face literally beaming, giving me this adoringly brief glances from time to time, lets me finally realize what I was missing those past two years. It makes my realize again that she’s all I ever wanted.

It was an explosion of taste buds what she’s thrown together tonight and I filled her in about my exhausting encounter with Sarah. Franky listened intensely until I finished. Another thing that I often missed when I was still together with Sarah. Her problems were always bigger than mine, at least she painted it that way. 

„Fuck, Gidge, I’m sorry!“ 

She gets up and moves her chair directly next to me, pulling me into a tight and reassuring embrace.

„I mean, I would lie if I said that I wasn’t glad, that you cleared the air but still....“, she searches for the right words, „you don’t deserve all that shit!“

„Thanks, baby, I’m ok, I guess. I mean, it felt like a punch in the gut when I heard that she cheated on me, but honestly it doesn’t matter anymore!“

Franky pulls me towards her by the back of my neck and kisses me tenderly. 

„Enough with all the sadness and heartbreak, there is something else I wanted to talk to you about!“, I declare.

Franky raises her eyebrows and waits patiently for me to spit it out.

„Will Jackson sent me a message this morning and was inviting me to his New Year‘s Eve party. Plus one by the way!“

Franky rolls her eyes and groans: „Are you serious, Gidge? I really don’t wanna celebrate the turn of the year surrounded by screws!“

I nudge the tip of Franky‘s nose with my index finger in protest: „But you aren’t an inmate anymore, baby. These are my friends, more or less, and you’re my girlfriend, so there’s no escape in the long run!“

Maybe a seductive kiss would change her mind? I pull her towards me and brush my lips against hers. 

„Gidge, you aren‘t really asking me to celebrate New Year‘s Eve with Vinegar Tits, maybe even tucking my arm into her‘s and swaying to Auld Lang Syne?!“

I giggle slightly at the imagination and kiss her again. 

„Maybe you could think about it? For me?“

Looking at her like a puppy sitting in the rain, our mouths touch again and I part my lips and Franky reacts instantly. Slowly slipping my tongue into her mouth, she releases a low moan and grips my hips more tightly, pulling me up and into her lap to straddle her. 

I draw my head back, narrow my eyes and grin alluringly. Franky tilts her head back and curses towards the ceiling:

„Fuck! Fine! I only hope I ain’t gonna regret it!“

Her focus is back on my lips again. She pulls her bottom lip between her teeth and breathes quietly „You’re not really playing fair games, ya minx, and you know that very well, don’t you?“

A smugly grin washed over my face before I get up and pull her with me towards her bed. Our bed. For now.

Chapter Text

New Year Countdown

Franky and Bridget dived back into everyday life the following days. They both had loads of work which needed to be done before the year finally came to an end. Unfortunately, they only saw each other briefly in the mornings before they went separate ways to work, but they definitely enjoyed every minute they could spend with each other in the evenings, even if they were mostly completely exhausted. It felt so right for the both of them coming home after long days at work and simply being in each other’s company, talking about how the day was, cuddling on the couch in front of the TV, enjoying a good glass of wine whilst holding intellectual talks and falling asleep in each other’s arms.

New Year‘s Eve therefore came sooner than expected and they both arrived at the venue in the early evening.

They strolled down a pathway lit-up by burning torches on both sides, holding hands, fingers intertwined. Franky could barely keep her eyes and hands off of Bridget since they finished preparing for the party because she looked breathtaking. She was wearing a simple yet beautiful black summer dress, which ended mid-thigh and put her perfect legs on display. The spaghetti straps and the low neckline presented a cleavage which turned Franky more than on. It was driving her crazy since the moment back home when she layed eyes on her beautiful girlfriend who eventually stepped out of the bathroom, finally ready to leave.

When they walked down the pathway towards the lit-up beach bar, Franky released Bridget‘s hand and swung her arm possessivly around her girlfriend‘s waist, her hand sneaking down to Bridget’s butt cheek, squeezing it playfully. A low chuckle left the smaller woman’s mouth and she leaned the side of her face against Franky‘s shoulder, wrapping an arm around her waist either. When she looked up, she was met by a bright grin on pillowy lips, which sought her‘s instantly, capturing them into a soft kiss. They walked like this blindly a few meters further until a male voice cleared it‘s throat in front of them.

„Oi, welcome! Good that you made it“, Will Jackson greeted them. Both women blushed and released their grip slightly.

„Thanks for having us“, Bridget spoke first. She didn’t tell Will who her plus one would be when she accepted the invitation. She wanted it to be a surprise on purpose because she was certain that Will would be happy to see Franky again. They always had a good and respectful relationship. Will hugged Bridget first and then Franky salutatory.

„That’s a surprise, hey. Didn’t know you guys are together“, he stated. 

Before one of the two women could even answer, Rose Atkins turned up behind Will, greeting the new guests chirpy: „Well, look what the cat dragged in?“.

She also gave Bridget a hug before turning towards Franky: „Isn’t that my favorite ex patient?“, winking at her and pulling her in for another embrace.

„I always knew somehow that there was something going on between the two of you“, Rose smiled genuinely and Will gave her a questioning look. 

The smaller brunette rolled her eyes gleefully and tucked her arm into Franky‘s, pulling her towards the bar, murmuring: „Men!“.

Will excused himself quickly pretending to be busy, apparently to escape the awkward situation, which left Rose and Bridget giggling and Franky feigning annoyance towards the goofy women. 

The venue consisted of the beach bar and a wooden terrace in font of it with chairs and tables, a pavilion besides where the buffet would be positioned under later, a huge campfire at the beach halfway towards the ocean and burning torches scattered everywhere to illuminate the scenery and fill the area at the beach into a romantic and cozy atmosphere. Other guests had already arrived either, a few were sitting on barstools in front of the bar, others mingled around at the campfire or where sitting on tree trunks next to it.

„Over there you find blankets if it gets nippy later tonight or if you wanna sit down on the sand. We also have a load of towels if you wanna take a swim“, she winked at Franky again. Even though Bridget knew that the two of them were just acting flirtatiously because they really liked and respected each other, she needed to turn Franky‘s attention back towards herself as soon as possible given the fact that she already missed her closeness. She knew instantly how to when Will called Rose from behind the bar for help.

Bridget raised herself on her tiptoes, leaned in and brushed her lips across Franky‘s pinna, whispering into her ear: „How about we get wet then?“.

Franky‘s eyes shot open and she was making reservations: „But we didn’t bring any swimsui-“, when Bridget was already swaggering towards the ocean, two towels clutched under her arm.

„Fuck“, Franky mumbled and rushed after her. Bridget led her a little further away from the venue to an area which was merely adequate lit-up, only the full moon slightly covered by clouds and the flames of the campfire from faraway let them guess shapes, surfaces and surroundings. When Franky caught up with Bridget, the latter one was already taking off her dress. The brunette followed suit and Bridget was almost naked when she teased: „First one’s in is on top tonight!“, because she knew exactly how much Franky enjoyed to be in control in the bedroom. Due to this revelation Franky stumbled whilst getting rid of her boots and almost fell face first into the sand. Bridget only chuckled and made her way towards the water. She gasped slightly when she came into contact with the cool element but had already gotten used to it when Franky outran her. She pulled her tenderly yet strongly towards herself, their naked skins touching, only their heads could be seen slightly bobbing in the water.

Bridget wrapped her legs around Franky’s waist, her arms enfolding her shoulders. Their kisses started slowly, almost coyly, Franky holding Bridget close by the small of her back. Heat radiating from their bodies, their kisses became more hungrily, more demanding. Bridget cupped Franky’s face with her hands, her thumbs caressing soft skin. Their desire for each other was indescribable, their lips and hands did all the talking for them. Fingertips stroking, nails digging into soft flesh when both mouths opened slightly, almost synchronously and tips of tongues searched and found each other. 

A low and arroused moan left Bridget’s lips when Franky grazed one hand around her waist towards her taut stomach and up to her firm breasts, cupping one, massaging it gently before teasing one nipple between index and middle finger into complete hardness. They were absolutely lost in their passion as if they were alone in the world. No one else mattered. It didn’t matter that they fundamentally were there for a beach party which was only approximately 100 meters away.

„Baby-“, Bridget moaned and Franky knew exactly what she wanted, what she needed. She slipped her hand down and between her legs and ran two fingers between wet folds. Bridget gasped in anticipation, thrust her hips against Franky and buried her head against her shoulder. Bridget found herself in some kind of daze, it was undefinable what Franky’s closeness did to her. Always. How her touches and her strength, mentally and physically, made her head spin. She let out a quiet cry close to Franky’s ear when she entered her softly with two fingers, her back arching and her head thrown back revealing the glistening salty skin of her neck which was instantly attacked by Franky’s lips. She grazed her teeth along pure softness, sometimes biting gently, soothing directly after with her tongue. It drove Bridget crazy and she automatically pressed her hips even more against the fingers filling her. Her walls clenched and Franky increased the rhythm of her thrusts, creating some friction against the bundle of nerves with her palm until Bridget’s body went completely rigid and she toppled over the edge with Franky’s name on her lips. 

Both women held on tightly, drowning in the moment full of lust, love and admiration for each other. Even if the setting was new to the both of them for having sex, they couldn’t care less because their mutual attraction and their feelings for each other shut the rest of the world out completely. 

They cooled down really quickly and when Franky sensed goosebumps creeping up Bridget’s skin, she whispered softly: „Let’s get out, beautiful“, before leaving a gentle lingering kiss below her lover‘s ear. Bridget opened her eyes slowly, fondling Franky’s back of the neck, trying to adjust to the darkness when a jolt of fear went through her body.

„Franky there’s someone watching us!“, she spoke quietly yet earnestly.

Franky didn’t take her seriously and joked: „Do ya see things since I gave ya an incredible orgasm a few moments ago?“

„I mean it! Someone’s standing over there where we left our clothes“, Bridget added anxiously.

Franky broke the embrace and turned around, narrowing her eyes, focusing towards the direction Bridget was referring to. The moonlight suddenly shone brighter due to a gap between the clouds and offered a better view for Franky spotting the dark slender and tall figure all of a sudden at the beach. The upper body was covered into a black robe, the face partly hidden by hood pulled over the head.

Franky held Bridget protectively behind her and shouted: „Hey you freak, got off by what ya saw?! Fuck off!!!“

The dark figure stared at them for a moment longer before turning around and leaving terrifyingly slow.

 

~ To be continued ~

Chapter Text

New Year Countdown Part II

 

In contrast to the warming feeling of the sand underneath their feet Bridget was freezing like hell when they arrived the spot where they had left their belongings.

 

She wrapped herself in her towel but couldn’t stop shivering. Scanning the direction anxiously where the dark figure had left before, Franky noticed her worries and wrapped Bridget and herself together in her own big towel.

 

„Who was that, baby?“, Bridget said quietly and relaxed a little in the strong arms of her girlfriend. 

 

„I mean was that only someone randomly or...“, she looked up fearfully into green eyes. 

 

Franky held her even tighter and pressed a kiss on top of her head. 

 

„Dunno. What do you think who it was?“

 

Bridget raised her eyes again and didn’t need to say anything, Franky looked right through her and knew immediately what Bridget was thinking. Or better said who she was thinking of.

 

„Fuck, Gidge. But she is dead, isn’t she? At least that’s what Vera said!“

 

„But how does Vera know? Has anyone ever found a body?“

 

Franky shrugged and pulled Bridget back into her embrace, the side of her face now resting against Franky’s chest, hearing her heart beating strongly. 

 

„Let’s get dressed before ya freeze your sexy arse off,“ Franky suggested and patted Bridget’s bum, still trying to calm her down.

 

„We should check anyways if something is missing,“ Bridget pointed out.

 

Franky was going through her belongings before she got dressed. Apparently nothing was missing. Her wallet was there and her phone. Bridget rummaged through her purse and it seemed like everything was still at it’s place either.

 

„Let’s get back then to the others. They’re probably already wondering anyways where we’ve been for so long,“ Bridget said and took Franky’s hand.


* * * * *

 

The campfire was radiating a welcoming warmth. The logs were crackling soothingly and the match between embers and flames was almost hypnotizing.

 

Bridget was wrapped into fluffy blanket, leaning close against Franky’s side, her head resting in the crook of her girlfriend’s neck. She was staring into the flames absentmindedly whilst Franky’s arm was wrapped around her, her fingertips stroking Bridget’s arm lightly as a feather. They were sitting on a trunk close the campfire while two other small groups of people they didn’t know were standing a few meters away. Their muttering and laughter accompanied the sound of the breaking waves in the background.

 

„There you are!“, a familiar voice was suddenly pulling the couple out of their mindless togetherness. 

 

Bridget turned her head slightly, Franky copying her reaction immediately. Vera was standing next to them, her hands on her hips, mouth slightly agape, waiting for a reaction of her missing friend, at least that’s what it felt like for Vera.

 

„Vera!“, Bridget pointed out with surprise. „I didn’t know you would be here!“

 

Of course Bridget knew her friend would be at the New Year‘s party but she played dumb.

 

Vera was crossing the arms over her chest, a forced smile on her lips.

 

„Well you would have if you would’ve answered any of my calls or messages lately.“

 

Vera hasn’t been at Wentworth the days between Christmas and New Year’s because she had to take the remaining leave. Bridget honestly didn’t complain about this fact after what Franky had told her. She didn’t like it that her friend in her opinion was trying to interfere. It might have been that Vera was only concerned about Bridget, but still it wasn’t any of her business.

 

An awkward silence fell between the three of them. Vera was staring into the flames of the fire, waiting for a reaction of her friend. Franky’s gaze was wandering forth and back between Bridget and her part-time employer. She felt pretty uncomfortable and wanted to get out of this situation on one hand, on the other she wanted the two of them to get things off their chests. She cleared her throat and stood up slowly.

 

„I’ll get us something to drink, Gidge. You two should talk.“


Franky gave Bridget a quick yet soft peck, her gaze lingering a little longer on Bridget’s eyes, showing her support, telling her wordlessly: „You‘ve got this, Gidge!“

 

Vera’s eyes were following Franky leaving before she hesitatingly sat down next to Bridget with a slight distance. Not too far away because they were still friends but enough to keep some space for a probably serious talk to follow.

 

Bridget’s gaze wandered back towards the flames. She took a deep and slow breath, pondering how to start. Before she even could though Vera interrupted her thoughts:

 

„So you guys are back together again?“

 

It was like suddenly the short time with Franky the past few weeks were flowing by in Bridget’s head in some kind of time lapse. She smiled softly with those memories in mind and nodded barely noticeable.

 

„I know you’ve been avoiding me, Bridget,“ Vera said.

 

Bridget leaned back, crossing her arms in front of her chest, her chin tilting upwards. She looked at Vera in her calm presence until their eyes met.


„Does it surprise you?“

 

Vera inhaled deeply and swallowed.

 

„Look, Bridget, I didn’t want to interfere and I‘m sorry for that. I‘m just concerned about my best friend, you know? And this time I’m definitely not sitting on the fence watching how you get hurt again!“

 

Bridget furrowed her eyebrows in confusion and shook her head slightly.

 

„Well, I was the one two years ago who ended us and left!“

 

„You and I know that’s only half of the truth and this time I won’t close my eyes to it.“

 

Vera tried to keep her voice low to not get some unwelcome attention by the others. She smiled sadly, paused for a few seconds considering how to tell Bridget what she really knew.

 

„That day you resigned and left?“, Vera started and waited for Bridget‘s reaction, who nodded briefly looking at Vera waiting for her to continue.

 

„I knew that something was off! So I started going through the last days and weeks in my head. I mean even I had accepted at that point that you two belonged to each other. And then it came to mind! The day when I informed you about the letter Ferguson sent to the Ombudsman about Franky’s and your relationship I found you downhearted in the staff room. You obviously had been crying before and you were so devastated that you even already wanted to resign and take all the blame. I don’t know why I was so stupid for not realizing right away that something had happened. But when I finally did I went to check the CCTV from that day and there it was. You, shocked, storming out of Franky’s cell, your blouse ripped apart, leaning against the nearest wall, crying, close to a break-down!“, Vera paused looking empathetic at Bridget with raised eyebrows.

 

Bridget went pale by the memories of that day and with Vera’s confession. She did know and still haven’t said anything all those years. Bridget felt caught.

 

„But there are no cameras in the common areas of the blocks,“ Bridget stated absentmindedly.

 

Vera smiled sadly and moved closer towards Bridget, putting her hand carefully on Bridget’s back, showing her with this action that she was there for her, that she was her friend, nonetheless.

 

„There is one camera in the hallway and with the right angle... and call it coincidentally or not.... it was pointing in your direction when you came out.“

 

Bridget pressed some air through her pursed lips as if some weight was lifted from her chest.

 

„I can only assume what happened that day and I know that Franky was under a lot of pressure. And I know what pressure did to Franky in the past...,“ Vera didn’t finish her sentence and she didn’t have to. Bridget got where she wanted to go with telling her all of this and couldn’t blame her anymore for simply being concerned about her friend. 

 

„She’s come so far, Vera, and I had reservations either. But I guess I never really got away from her and what we had.“

 

„And Sarah?“

 

„I broke up with her before something even happened with Franky. And it didn’t even have anything to do with Franky. At least not consciously. She treated me like a burden lately and I believe she never really wanted to move here willingly. If at all she wanted to do me a favor and that’s not how it should be, isn’t it?“

 

Vera simply nodded.

 

„Franky is...,“ Bridget shrugged „ ... something else.“

 

She smiled at the thought of her girlfriend.

 

„She‘s my soulmate, my best friend. She‘s there for me, she gets me, we just click, you know?“

 

Vera smiled approvingly by Bridget’s words about Franky. She realized how much her friend loved Franky and sent a silent prayer towards heaven that it wouldn’t be one-sided. 

 

She pulled herself together and suggested: „Well, let’s go and find her then to clink glasses that the two of you found each other again!“

 

* * * * *

 

The cool water was running down Franky‘s hands when she looked up and observed herself in the mirror of the small bathroom. A small smile crept up her face when she thought about Bridget and how happy she felt. She was wondering how she did out there with Vera, but she didn’t have a doubt about that the two of them would figure things out. 

 

She had two beers at the bar with Will and Rose before until she excused herself to the ladies. The plan was to get another drink after and go to find Bridget. 

She turned off the tap, grabbed a few paper towels and dried her hands before crumpling them up and throwing them into the bin. On her way outside Franky pulled her phone out of the pocket to check the time. Focused on the device whilst pushing the door open she directly bumped into another person.

 

„The fuck!,“ Franky cursed and bent down to pick up her phone from the floor when she was met with toned legs and sexy red heeled sandals.

 

The woman above her clicked her tongue and realized: „Well well, isn’t that Franky Doyle?“

 

Franky straightened herself up again, her mouth slightly agape.

 

„What ya doing here, hey?“

 

Erica Davidson stood right in front of Franky, barely a meter away. She was wearing a red cocktail dress matching the heeled sandals.

 

She crossed her arms over her chest and pulled her bottom lip between her teeth before speaking: „I could ask you the same!“

 

Franky wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to mention Bridget. But maybe Erica had seen her already anyways and Franky didn’t really have the intention to deny that she was there with her.

 

Franky inhaled deeply and said: „I‘m here with Bridget. Will Jackson invited us.“

 

The disappointment suddenly was written all over Erica‘s face although she tried to hide it. To no avail.

 

Erica moved forward slightly and Franky literally felt the heat radiating from her body.

 

„You never called!“, Erica spoke barely above a whisper.

 

Franky retreated abruptly and scrunched her nose.

 

„You‘ve been such a bitch the last time I saw you!“

 

„Well, you‘ve been a bitch at first!,“ Erica moved closer to Franky again. She didn’t want to sound accusingly. She rather sounded calm. Forgiving maybe?

 

„Listen, I’m back together with Bridget and what can I say, I fuckin‘ love her, okay?!“

 

„If you say so....“, Erica responded quietly, her eyes directed towards the floor. 

 

An awkward silence fell between the both of them and Franky somehow felt to need to get out of this situation quickly. She didn’t want to be seen there in the back of the bar standing so close to Erica Davidson. Whoever really wanted it could misinterpret the situation totally wrong. Erica didn’t seem to make a move though.

 

„Well, Franky, it really is a shame if I remember that we always had a good time together!,“ Erica spoke and smiled sadly.

 

Franky reciprocated the sad smile, nodded, and was about to leave with the words „Take care, Erica!,“ when Erica grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her closer towards her.

 

Franky froze when their upper bodies almost touched. She could feel Erica’s minty breath against the skin of her face.

 

„You can’t just leave me without saying goodbye!,“ Erica whispered and pulled Franky closer.

 

Franky swallowed hard, her breath stuck in her throat. And before she could complain, before she could say something, Erica closed the last gap between them and pressed her full lips on Franky‘s.

 

For Franky suddenly time stood still and all she could think about in this moment was Bridget. Fuck, what if someone saw them?!

 

Too late, though. Exactly in this moment Bridget came swaggering around the corner with a smile on her face, and saw how her girlfriend‘s lips were pressed against the lips of Erica Davidson. Bridget’s whole body stiffened. She couldn’t believe what she saw. How? Why? She wished she was only hallucinating. But she wasn’t. Tears shot into her eyes, her stomach tightened and suddenly she felt sick. She stumbled backwards and touched blindly for the wall of the nearby building to hold herself upward. How could Franky do this to her? She placed her free hand across her forehead and sobbed like she once did in her office after catching Franky in the brawler garage with her swipe card. 

 

She had to get away urgently. From this place. And from Franky

Chapter Text

New Year Countdown Part III

 

It was the ultimate gut-punch. A slap directly in the face. The thank-you for letting her in in her life again. What an irony of a second chance. Or was it the bitter aftertaste of it? The payback maybe for leaving her 2 years ago? 

 

Bridget felt weak in her legs when she slogged along towards nowhere because she didn’t know where she was heading to. The picture of Franky kissing Erica Davidson was stuck in her head. Her vision was clouded by tears leaving her eyes and streaming down her cheeks. She wiped them away over and over again but she couldn’t stop crying. Usually she was good at hiding her emotions and keeping herself together. That‘s what her job brought with it. But not when it came to Franky Doyle.

 

She only wanted to get away from this place. She didn’t care if someone would be wondering where she was. All she had do was leaving the venue without passing by the bar, that much was clear. She didn’t want to risk running into someone familiar. She would just aim for the parking lot, however, where her car was parked. Suddenly she was glad that she took the keys from Franky when they arrived.

Franky had driven Bridget‘s car on the way there and the initial plan was to leave the car and take a cab home after the party because they both probably would have drunk some alcohol. They would pick the car up the day later and spend some peaceful hours in the sun and at the beach on this occasion. Fortunately Bridget hadn’t have a single drop yet. But where should she even head to? She couldn’t drive home where Sarah was and under no circumstances would she be driving back to Franky’s place. Vera wasn’t an option either. Bridget felt so tired after everything what just happened. All of her energy was suddenly sucked from her body. Maybe she could still drive around for some time and then check into a hotel. 

 

She inhaled deeply and somehow tried to pull herself together. She was now only a few meters away from the parking lot. Good. Just getting away from here without being seen, she told herself, and then she can deal with the aftermath. 

 

Suddenly an unexpected voice was calling her rather quietly from a distance.

 

„Bridget?“

 

Bridget recognized the familiar voice right away, stopped and turned surprised but also embarrassed, wiping her cheeks again quickly. She didn’t want the other person to see her that way.

 

„What are you doing here?“, her voice was still trembling.

 

„I wanted....,“ Sarah began, but didn’t finish her initial sentence and continued instead: „What happened? You have been crying!“

 

„It‘s nothing. Don’t wanna talk about it!“

 

„Bridget, what has she done???“, Sarah raised her voice. Why did she immediately assume that it had anything to do with Franky? Because it was clear as the brightness of every single fucking day that probably only Franky Doyle could cause Bridget such an emotional pain. Even Sarah knew that by now.

 

„Sarah, please. Don‘t!“, Bridget hold her hand up in a stopping gesture.

 

Sarah took a few steps closer towards Bridget and spoke more calmly: „I didn’t know if it was a good idea but Vera told me you would be here. I only didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye. I thought I owe you that. Us.“

 

Us. Bridget scoffed at that. There was no 'us' anymore. Not with Sarah and probably not even with Franky. She suddenly realized that she had lost two important people in her life in such a short time. And both more or less cheated on her. Bridget felt small and helpless and as if all of her confidence was ripped away from her. 

 

„So you’re going back to Seattle?“

 

Sarah put her hands in the back pockets of her jeans and shrugged, her gaze directed towards the ground.

 

„There‘s nothin‘ left for me here, isn’t it? And I only want you to be happy, Bridget!“

 

Bridget raised her eyebrows and huffed through her nose. What an irony. Sarah was basically right, though. They weren’t together anymore.

 

„When are you going to leave?“, Bridget asked, her voice thick with sadness. She suddenly felt cold and folded her arms in front of her chest, a weak attempt to keep herself warm. She stared into the darkness. She didn’t want to sound that unemotional but she couldn’t help it. 

 

„First flight in the morning“, Sarah paused and tilted her head until Bridget’s eyes met hers.

 

„Unless you need me...“, she continued.

 

It probably was rather a question than a statement. Sarah wasn’t blind. Any random idiot would have noticed that something was off. Bridget’s grip around herself was tightening when she quickly looked away. She felt exposed and couldn’t do anything about it. How pathetic. Tears started dwelling in her eyes once more and she wiped her nose with the back of her hand.

 

„I‘m okay!“, she spoke barely above a whisper.

 

„Sure, I see that!“, Sarah responded creasing her brows.

 

„Fool someone else, Bridget!“

 

Bridget briefly massaged her forehead with her fingertips whilst her thumb rested against her temple. She felt a headache coming up.

 

„I will be ok eventually, Sarah, don’t worry!“, Bridget assured.

 

„I know. Just promise me to think about yourself first once in a while.“, Sarah suggested. Bridget had to laugh sarcastically at that. A suggestion like this out of Sarah’s mouth? They wouldn’t even be here if Bridget had done that much earlier.

 

„I will from now on!“, Bridget smiled sadly, a single tear escaping her eye. She didn’t bother to wipe it away this time.

 

„That’s it then. I’m sorry the way things have turned out for us. I really mean that!“, Sarah hold back a sob.

 

She made a step forward to embrace Bridget in a tight hug. And Bridget didn’t hesitate to mirror this gesture. It was their goodbye at least. Who knew if they would ever see each other again? They were good once, for each other and with each other. But this was it. They knew that saying cliches like 'let’s stay friends' or 'let’s stay in contact' would’ve been more than odd. They were both grown and smart women who knew exactly that this wouldn’t happen. What was the point? 

 

And Bridget felt like another piece of her already broken heart was taken away from her once more. She felt empty. And she felt alone.

 

—————————

 

„The fuck, Erica!“

Franky pushed her roughly away und wiped her lips with the pad of her thumb. Erica’s garish lipstick was all over her mouth.

„Why‘d ya do that?“, Franky asked harshly.

 

„I couldn’t let you go without kissing you one last time!“, Erica answered sheepishly and let the tip of her forefinger run down Franky’s exposed neckline.

Franky grabbed her wrist grossly and tightened her grip. Her eyes narrowed when she looked Erica directly in the eyes with a warning glance. Erica winced.

 

„Franky, you’re hurting me!“

 

Franky did neither care nor let go. Erica tried to pull away without success. Franky’s gaze bored into her. Seconds passed until she finally let go. Erica covered the reddened skin where Franky’s hand was before with her other hand and soothed it with rubbing movements.

 

„Fuck off!“, Franky spat and left her behind.

 

She had to find Bridget. Urgently. She had to tell her what happened before someone else did. They already went down that spiral once when she was incarcerated for the second time. When Ferguson caught her and Allie in the laundry 'chewing at each other', she went directly to Bridget afterwards and handed it to her on a silver platter. 

 

Maybe things would have gone differently if Franky simply had told the truth when Bridget confronted her. It could have been enough to tell Bridget it was a diversionary tactic to confuse the Freak. That it was an attempt to deflect the Freak’s attention away from Bridget‘s and Franky‘s relationship or something like that. She didn’t even have to mention their escape plans. Maybe Bridget would have bought it. Maybe.

 

She roamed around but Bridget was nowhere to be seen. She found Vera sitting at the bar chatting and laughing with Will and Rose. The three of them looked confused at Franky when the latter one was asking for Bridget. Franky hasn‘t even heard their further questions before she kept on searching. Where the fuck was she? Franky started to panic. It was highly doubtful that Bridget had gone to their car because they didn’t leave anything behind. But Franky would try anyways. She scanned the dark area on her way to the parking lot and finally there she was, but she wasn’t alone. She found her girlfriend in an intimate embrace with her ex.

 

„Gidge, the fuck is going on here?“, Franky asked panting. She approached them, fists clenching on either side of her body.

 

Bridget freed herself from the embrace but didn’t turn around to face Franky. She held her hand up at her side an spoke weakly:

 

„Don‘t, Franky! Just.... don‘t!“

 

Sarah sensed the sadness and capitulation in Bridget’s eyes. Her gaze wandered forth and back between Franky and Bridget. 

 

Bridget gave Sarah an apologizing look before taking a few steps backwards. She inhaled heavy-heartedly to prepare herself to face Franky. And as she was about to turn around Franky shoved past her and rose up against Sarah directly in front of her.

 

„What the fuck do you want? Why can’t you just leave us alone?“, Franky scowled menacingly.

 

But Sarah didn’t even flinch. She stood there and stared Franky down.

 

„Franky, please...“, Bridget began, her voice trembling again, and reached for Franky’s elbow to pull her back and away from Sarah. She knew Franky and if her temper was once out of control it could rarely be stopped. What Bridget didn’t see coming though was Franky tearing her arm away furiously. Unfortunately she gave Bridget an unintended push with that. Bridget stumbled backwards and her foot got stuck in a tree root protruding from the ground. A strange sound could be heard, a cracking noise, followed by Bridget crying out loud and falling to the ground. She was laying on her side convulsing in pain, her foot and ankle in an unusual position. Bridget’s vision went blurry. Franky stood there, paralyzed, her palm covering her mouth. Sarah rushed to Bridget’s side to support her head and screamed: „Call an ambulance!“

Chapter Text

Bridget’s memory had been blurry after she fell to the ground. She only noticed an indescribable pain in her right ankle and Sarah rushing to her side, supporting her head and screaming. She saw Franky standing there frozen in shock. She couldn’t tell how long it took until Vera came running. She was on her phone. Franky had wanted to kneel down in front of Bridget when Sarah was shouting at her: “Stay the fuck away from her!”

She was pulled away from a tall person short after, Will perhaps.

Bridget saw those apologizing green eyes, wide in shock, and quivering lips. 

The rest was in a haze. Bridget heard sirens coming closer. She was lifted on a gurney soon and found herself in the inner of an ambulance. She noticed a paramedic fixing an i.v. access to her arm. When she turned her head slightly she saw Sarah sitting next to her holding her hand.

“It‘ll be better soon, honey, they‘ll give you something against the pain now,” Sarah reassured and stroke over her knuckles. 

Sarah was discussing something with the paramedic who clearly seemed to be annoyed that she was interfering. Bridget didn’t understand what exactly they were arguing about. She suddenly felt dizzy and tired and closed her eyes. When she woke again she was already in an examination room at the hospital. The artificial illumination was burning in her eyes. She squeezed them shut when she felt a hand caressing the top of her head.

Franky!, she thought instantly. A slight tilt of the head exposed something else though. Someone else. Sarah was still sitting next to her, offering a sad smile even though worry was painted all over her face. 

“Hey, there you are,” she spoke calmly. Bridget blinked and waited for her to continue.

“They have to take an X-ray of your ankle soon, darling.”

She didn’t beat around the bush. She told Bridget that she assumed the ankle to be broken. The question was how bad it was. 

“Happy New Year,” Bridget laughed wryly through her nose. The clock had struck midnight while they were on their way to the hospital.

“How are you feeling? Are you in pain?,” Sarah squeezed Bridget’s hand.

Bridget shook her head in response. 

“Just tired and a little dizzy. Pain‘s tolerable,” she stated wearily.

“I required not to give you too heavy meds since I know how sensitive you are,” Sarah winked and continued “and I made sure that you‘ll get surgery instantly if necessary.”

Bridget rolled her eyes feigning annoyance. Sarah was completely in her element. Bridget certainly didn’t have much good words to say about Sarah lately, but if Sarah was something, she was definitely caring about her patients. 

Two nurses came into the room dealing with some paperwork and checking on Bridget. They were chatting about a random guy whilst doing their work. The two looked pretty young Bridget noticed. One of them squeezed Bridget’s hand slightly and had a closer look to the i.v. line in her arm.

“Ok Miss Westfall, here we go. X-rays is waiting,” one of them said to her.

Sarah slowly got up from the chair next to Bridget as if to follow her when the other nurse pointed out “It won’t take long until we have the results. You can wait outside in the waiting area.”

Sarah opened her mouth to disagree when Bridget took her hand and smiled reassuringly but sadly “It‘s ok, see you in a few.”


* * * * *


Bridget was back in the examination room in no time, her x-ray image fixed against the bright viewer at the wall. Sarah was standing in front of it not saying anything at all.

The concern in Bridget grew exponentially because she knew Sarah and it was never a good sign when she stayed quiet like that. It usually meant bad news. Bridget inhaled deeply and was about to ask the question nobody wanted to hear when the door opened and a middle-aged man entered the room followed by one of the nurses from before.

“Morning Miss Westfall, I‘m Dr. Rodriguez,” he said thickly, his voice filled with sleep.

Bridget gave him a weak smile in response and nodded briefly. 

“I already had a quick look at your x-rays and discussed it with the radiologist. Bad news are that your ankle probably had to take quite a bit. Good news are that it‘s gladly pretty quiet right now so you can have surgery instantly.”

Bridget’s eyes widened in shock at this diagnosis. Until this point she was still hoping that surgery wasn’t necessary and she had only sprained her ankle very badly.

“Which bones are fractured? And which procedure will you chose?,” Sarah interrupted.

The doctor turned towards her looking at her in surprise with raised eyebrows.

“And you are?,” he asked.

“She‘s my-,” Bridget began and didn’t even know how to name Sarah now. Her ex? A friend?

“I‘m Miss Westfall‘s partner and a surgeon, too,” Sarah cut in.

“We have a clear fracture of the lateral malleolus here joined by a torn lateral ligament of the ankle,” the doctor explained.

“Which exact type of fracture do we have here though? Do you even know that? Isn’t some MRI necessary to diagnose it exactly? See, there are different levels of fractures and they need to-” Sarah probed.

“Miss.... you are an orthopedic surgeon, or?,” the doctor intervened before she could go any further and folded his arms in front of his chest.

Bridget seemed pretty uncomfortable in the meantime since Sarah - like always - wanted to decide everything for her and show everyone what a good surgeon she was. Nothing against the latter but it annoyed Bridget like hell that Sarah just didn’t let the doctor do his job.

“No, I‘m a trauma surgeon and internal medicine surgeon, but-”

The doctor tried to calm her yet he was obviously annoyed by Sarah’s attitude either.

“Look, Miss Westfall is in good hands here. We, that’s my resident on call and I, already figured out a plan. We‘ll go the conservative way. We‘ll fix the fracture with screws and plates to get the bone into the right place again,” he turned towards Bridget while explaining because she was the patient at least.

When the doctor approached Bridget and squeezed her forearm, he continued with a reassuring nod “Don’t worry, you‘ll be out of the OR in no time.”

Bridget reciprocated with smile of her own.

“How long will the recovery take?,” she asked quietly, her eyes focused downwards on a random crease in the sheet covering her.

“Well, unfortunately, 6 weeks with a splint after or at least until the soft tissues are not swollen anymore. No full weight-bearing until then, perhaps partial weight-bearing after a few weeks. Depends on the healing process.”

So that meant 6 weeks on crutches and barely able to go anywhere at all except physical therapy and doctor appointments. Fucking great. Bridget didn’t even know where to stay at that point because being alone in her house would hardly work the first days or even weeks after being released from the hospital. But she was too fucking tired to think about that at the moment. 

“Ok, let’s get started then,” Bridget finally spoke.

 

* * * * * * *

 

“Franky, what the fuck happened,” Will asked her when they were sitting next to each other at the beach bar. He had dragged her back there after the accident happened and Sarah yelled at her. And Will knew Franky and her temper. 

Franky sat there, silently, head bowed, both of her hands clutching a bottle of beer. 

Rose stood behind the bar and was about to pour something stronger into three small glasses.

Franky raised her hand to stop her “Not for me. Wanna go to the hospital later. Do you know where they brought Gidget to?”

Rose and Will exchanged a short glance.

“Franky-,” Will started.

“Don‘t,” Franky cut in.

Silence filled the space. Will and Rose knew better than trying to convince Franky of something she didn’t wanna hear anyways.

 

* * * * * *

 

Bridget woke in the early hours of the mourning. Her eyelids felt heavy and she needed time to localize where she was. She was laying in a hospital bed, a monitor was beeping with it‘s steady rhythm next to her. An i.v. line was fixed in the crook of her arm and her injured leg was positioned in massive splint. She pressed her head further back into the pillow and briefly squeezed her eyes shut. Unfortunately, everything what had happened wasn’t just a bad dream. She turned her head slightly and found Sarah sleeping in the chair next to the bed. Who was she kidding? Did she really expect Franky sitting there? She briefly had to laugh ironically through her nose.

Sarah noticed the movement and dashed forward. She smiled released when she saw that Bridget was awake.

“Hey,” she spoke calmy, “there she is.”

It hurt Bridget more than any physical pain to hear those words. Didn’t Franky once say that to her? There she is. Bridget remembered as if it were yesterday. That strong feeling in her belly that she had when she visited Franky back then at Wentworth. How Franky’s eyes gleamed when she entered the visitors center. How the other inmates turned around and hardly believed their eyes that Bridget was actually visiting Franky Doyle. Their former psychologist. Everyone probably thought at that point that the rumors were true but Bridget didn’t care. All that mattered was Franky and it was so fucking good to see her back then. Franky was desperate for her help and so Bridget would never refuse. I wish I could say no. But Bridget was at a loss. She really wanted to do something for Franky, but she didn’t see how. And it was too risky anyways. When she came home that night she decided she had to let go. She tried once when she resigned and left Wentworth and still Franky managed to drag her back in. This had to stop. Pack your things up and leave, once and for all, otherwise it will destroy you, Bridget, she had told herself.