Franky had a recipe that she had been trying to perfect for weeks now. It was nothing special, just a classic lasagna, but she was determined to get the seasoning and tomato sauce absolutely perfect. She decided that tonight would be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the state of the art kitchen at the centre, and give it a trial run. Plus, it would give her something to keep the little one busy with.
She pulled a stool up to the counter so that Emily could help her prepare the meal. Franky showed her how to chop fresh herbs and dice onions. She made sure to give her a knife that wasn’t too sharp and never let her out of her sight.
“Aye, slow down a bit there bub, it’s not a race.” Franky was pleased with how well the little girl was taking to cooking, but she didn’t want her to get over-confident and cut herself because she was rushing or being careless, “Nice, slow, even cuts like I showed you, yeah?”
The small blonde nodded and went back to doing it exactly how Franky had shown her a few minutes earlier. The tall brunette stirred the sauce on the stove. It was almost ready for the seasonings and then they could start making the noodles. Franky was surprised at how quickly the child was picking up everything she was teaching her as she watched her carefully measure the seasonings into the sauce that was now simmering on the stove.
After everything was ready and the lasagna was in the oven, there was nothing left to do but wait. Franky went about cleaning up their workspace.
“Your Auntie must cook with you, hey?” She asked the child, thinking there was no way that this kid didn’t have some previous experience in the kitchen.
“No, Auntie Bridge can’t cook. Everything she tries to make tastes funny. She even made my sandwich wrong this morning.”
Franky was puzzled. “How did she make a sandwich wrong?”
“She put the cheese between the turkey and lettuce instead of on top of them.”
Franky just managed to hold in a small chuckle when she realized that Emily was being dead serious. “Well, that’s a serious offence, that is. Maybe we’ll have to sign her up for some classes too.”
The little girl giggled and Franky couldn’t help but smile. They hadn’t heard Bridget rush in after finally being allowed to leave the prison. She quietly stood and observed the pair for a moment, amazed at the easy conversation that her niece was having with the tall chef after only just meeting her that afternoon.
“What am I being signed up for?” Bridget spoke up as she approached the pair.
“Emily here reckons that you need some cooking classes too. Apparently there was a sandwich catastrophe this morning.” The brunette gave a playful smirk.
Bridget couldn’t help a small blush that crept into her cheeks. “Ah, yes, well, luckily that crisis was averted in the nick of time.”
“Luckily. I’m Franky.” Franky held out her hand and the blonde shook it.
“Bridget, I like it.” Blue eyes met green and Bridget swore that she could feel a shift happen somewhere inside of her.
“Are we going home now? I’m hungry.” Bridget was pulled out of her thoughts by Emily tugging on her sleeve, and only then did she realize that she was still holding onto Franky’s hand.
“Uh sure love, yeah. We can pick up something on the way home.”
Franky could sense that the blonde had had a long day. If it wasn’t obvious by the fact that she had put in at least a few extra hours at work, then the tiredness in her face gave it away.
“Why don’t you guys stay and have supper here? Em helped me try out a new lasagna recipe and it’s almost ready.” Franky didn’t really know why the invitation came out so easily, but she knew that she wasn’t ready for Bridget to leave just yet.
“I don’t know. I don’t want to impose. You’ve already done me a huge favor today.” In all honesty, Bridget would have loved nothing more than to sit down and try the meal that she could smell cooking in the oven, but she felt that she really shouldn’t ask any more from the brunette.
“Come on, you’ve had a long day, yeah?” Franky asked. Bridget nodded. “Probably skipped lunch?” Bridget nodded again. “Then stay and eat. It’s really no trouble.”
“Please Auntie?” Emily was looking up at her Aunt with the huge blue eyes that all the Westfalls had. “We can have the cookies I made for dessert.” Bridget looked from her niece back up to Franky.
“Hard to say no to that offer, isn’t it?” The brunette winked at Bridget then smiled down at her unknowing accomplice.
“Okay, fine, we’ll stay. Thank you again, so much.” The blonde didn’t know how to express the gratitude she felt at that moment.
“It’s nothing, really. Come on in and get settled.”
Bridget let Emily lead her into the room while Franky went about setting the table for the three of them. She could barely keep up with everything the girl was wanting to tell her about her day, especially the cooking class, and Franky could barely keep her eyes from wandering over to steal glances at the older woman.
“I was really nervous when I first got here but then Franky came over and talked to me and she let me meet her nice friend Liz and Liz helped me make the cookies and did you know that Franky let someone draw on her arm? It’s really pretty.” As Emily continued on, Bridget looked over to see the tattoo on the brunette’s left arm, just visible below her jacket. She wondered what the rest of it looked like and if there were any more hidden. “Auntie…..Auntie, are you listening?”
Bridget was pulled from her wandering mind by the small voice. “Huh? Yeah, yeah of course! Sounds like you had a big day!” The small girl continued to tell her Aunt, in detail, everything that she got to do in class and how Franky had let her help make supper.
“All ready over here!” Franky called them to the table where she had served up the lasagna along with a salad she had quickly put together.
The three of them ate in relative quiet except for when Bridget declared that this meal was possibly the best thing she’d ever tasted.
“Did you know Auntie Bridge is in prison?” The young Westfall blurted out, breaking the silence.
Franky’s eyebrows shot up at the little girl’s comment. “Is that so?”
Bridget gave a small nervous laugh. “I wasn’t…I’m not in prison. I mean…..I guess technically, yes, I was…..I work at the prison.” She talked to people for a living but all her skills seemed to have left her at the moment.
“Well that’s a relief. I thought for a minute there that I was going to have to report an escaped convict sitting at my dinner table.” The blonde laughed and Franky knew at that moment that she was in trouble, because she wanted nothing more than to hear that sound as much as possible, and to be the cause for it.
After they had finished eating, Franky was cleaning up while Bridget helped Emily gather her things and put on her jacket.
“I think we’re ready to go here but I just wanted to thank you again for everything today.”
“No worries! I needed a helper anyway.” Franky smiled and handed Bridget a bag with two containers filled with leftovers from their meal. “Here, don’t skip lunch tomorrow, yeah?”
Bridget nodded and gratefully accepted the food. “Thanks again.”
“Anytime, Gidget.” Franky gave her her signature smile and wrinkled her nose.
“It’s Bridget.” The blonde corrected her.
“I prefer Gidget.”
Bridget gave a small smile and a shake of her head, turning to leave, and taking Emily by the hand to walk her out to the car.
It had been a long day and Bridget wanted nothing more than for it to be over. The only highlight had been hearing about her niece’s day, and having dinner with the young girl and Franky. On the drive home, Emily had talked non-stop about everything she had learned and how much she liked cooking with the tall brunette. Bridget was glad that her instincts had been correct when she had decided to sign her up for the class.
They had arrived home and she was putting the leftovers into the fridge when she noticed a small piece of paper fall out of the bag. She bent over and picked it up, unfolding it. On it, Franky had written her number along with a short note: “In case of another sandwich-related emergency.” Bridget couldn’t help but smile.
The house was quiet now, Bridget having put Emily to bed after her bath. She poured herself a glass of wine and sat down with her phone and the note. She typed in Franky’s number and saved it to her contact list. She stared at the phone, contemplating sending the brunette a quick message. But no, Bridget Westfall had never and would never appear too eager or show too much of her hand too soon. She would get to see Franky again in a couple of days, after Em’s next class. She told herself she could wait until then, but in reality, she knew she probably wouldn’t.