“I know what that smile means.” Vera took a seat at the lunch table across from Bridget.
“Hmm?” Bridget had been lost in her own world, thinking about how the day seemed to be crawling by at a snail’s pace. “I wasn’t smiling.”
“You were. You were thinking about the woman from dinner the other night?” Vera gave a soft smile, trying to coax her friend to open up.
The blonde sighed and sat her fork down on her plate. “Okay, maybe I was. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just keep thinking about her, and replaying everything in my mind. I know it was just one dinner and a phone call, but still ...she probably only asked us to stay because Em said she was hungry.”
“Bridget, there’s nothing wrong with you. You like her and you’re curious ...wait a minute…you two talked on the phone? When?” It took a second for the governor to process what her friend had said, but now that she understood, she wanted to know the whole story.
“Last night. She had slipped her number into the bag of food she gave me the other night.” Bridget looked up at Vera who was waiting for her to continue. “I put it in my phone and looked at it for the past two nights and then last night I just said ‘fuck it’, literally, and called her.”
“And….” Vera wasn’t about to let her stop there.
“And we talked for a minute, and then I said I’d see her today after Em’s class. It was late and I woke her up.” Bridget winced thinking about how she regretted the fact that she had called Franky so late that night. The brunette didn’t seem to care, but it was just so unlike Bridget to do something impulsive like that.
“So, what’s the plan here going forward?” Vera continued eating her lunch, trying to get more details out of her friend. The blonde shrugged and the governor continued. “Bridget. Just ask her out before I have to do it for you.”
The blonde gave a small chuckle knowing that in no universe would Vera ever have the guts to do that, but she appreciated that her friend wanted what was best for her.
“Alright, hey, everyone’s eyes up here,” Franky was just beginning the afternoon children’s class, and she was pleased to see that Emily was in attendance as it meant she’d get to see Bridget later. “Can anyone guess what we’re making today?”
“Pizza!” Every child in the class yelled out excitedly.
“Right on! Not just any kind of pizza though, we’re making Margherita Pizza!” She had chosen this particular recipe because it was easy to make and had ingredients she figured all of the kids would like. She went on to demonstrate how to make the dough, and stretch it into the perfect shape and how to prepare the toppings.
After she was done teaching, the brunette walked between the cooking stations, giving advice and help to the kids. She could overhear Liz talking with Emily. She had made sure that she was paired with the older woman again.
“Emily love, slow down there a bit. You don’t want to be rushing when you’re chopping the basil. You don’t want to hurt yourself.” Liz gently reminded the young girl. Although the knives they let the children use weren’t as sharp as most kitchen knives, they were still sharp enough to be dangerous if used carelessly.
“Don’t worry, Franky showed me how to do this the other night.” The little blonde replied.
Just then Franky heard a small yelp, and Emily started to cry. She turned and rushed over to see the child holding onto her left hand. She could see some blood running down her finger. She quickly grabbed a clean towel and knelt down in front of her, “Hey, hey Em, look at me.” The young girl was starting to hyperventilate from crying so hard, and Franky knew she had to get her to calm down so she could look at her hand. “Look at me!” She put her hand on the girl’s cheek and gently made her turn to look her in the eye. “I need you to breathe like me, okay?” Franky took a slow deep breath in, and then let it out slowly, repeating it a couple of times until Emily was in sync with her. “Good. Good. Okay, I need to look at your hand now so I need you to let go of it, alright?”
“No! It hurts!” The girl was threatening to break into a panic once again.
“I know, I know it does but I’ll be quick, okay? And I’ll get it bandaged up and it’ll feel better.” Franky silently prayed to herself that a bandage would be enough, and there wouldn’t be a need for a trip to the hospital.
Emily eventually nodded, and removed her hand. Franky could see a cut about two centimetres long on the side of the girl’s index finger. It didn’t look deep and it seemed like the bleeding had almost stopped. Franky placed the towel over it and stood up.
“Let’s go clean that up and get it covered.” She placed her hand on the girl’s back, and guided her toward the office just off the kitchen.
The office was fairly large. There was a medium sized desk and chair along one side, and on the other side was a couch and coffee table.
“Sit on the couch okay? I need to get the first aid kit.” Emily sat down and waited for Franky to retrieve the kit out of one of the cupboards along the back wall. Kit in hand, she sat down on the coffee table facing the young girl, opened it, and set it beside her on the table. She got out some gauze and a small bottle of sterile water. “First I’m going to wash the cut off. I won’t lie, it might sting a bit but I can tell you’re brave, yeah?” The girl nodded. “Then I’m going to put some of this cream on it,” She held up a small tube of antibiotic cream. “And then cover it with a bandage.” She laid everything out on the table beside her so the smaller blonde could see the items.
It only took Franky a few minutes to clean and bandage the finger and she was impressed with how well the young girl handled it. There were a few more tears, but nothing like her initial reaction out in the kitchen. “I need to call your Aunt and let her know what happened. Do you want to go back out and finish the class?” The girl kept her eyes on the floor and shook her head. “Are you sure? Liz and everyone is out there and I’ll be back as soon as I make a quick call.” Another shake of her head. Franky sighed, “Okay, just give me a minute.”
She got her phone from her bag that was hanging by the door and found Bridget’s number. She hoped that she was allowed to have her phone with her in the prison. She answered on the second ring.
“Hey Gidge.” Franky was trying to sound casual. She knew the older woman was aware that she should still be teaching Emily’s class and she didn’t want her to think something bad had happened. “Uh, I just wanted to let you know that everything is okay now, but there was a little accident, and Emily cut herself with one of the knives. It’s just on her finger and I’ve got it all cleaned and bandaged.”
“Is she okay? I can come pick her up.” Franky could hear the blonde starting to move around and it sounded like she was gathering up papers quickly.
“Yeah, yeah, she’s fine. Why don’t you talk to her? She’s right here. I asked if she wanted to go back out to class but she says no.” The brunette hoped that by hearing her aunt’s comforting voice, she might feel well enough to finish up the rest of the day with her class.
“Yeah, okay, yeah, put her on.”
She handed her mobile to the little girl.
“Auntie Bridge, my finger really hurts…….No, Franky made it feel a lot better but it still hurts and I don’t want to go back out there…..okay.” She held the phone out for the tall brunette to take back.
Franky put her phone back to her ear. She had only heard Emily’s side of the conversation, but she knew that whatever Bridget said hadn’t convinced her niece to leave the office.
“I’m really sorry about this.” Franky told the older woman. She genuinely felt bad that the little girl’s day had been ruined.
“It’s not your fault, Franky.” Bridget sounded tired again. “I’m going to come pick her up though. I think she’s done for today.”
“Okay, yeah sure. I’ll see you in a bit.”
Just as Franky hung up the phone, Boomer appeared in the office doorway carrying a plate with fresh, hot pizza on it.
“Heya, I brought ya this. I thought maybe it might help cheer ya up since I knows pizza always makes me happy.” Boomer sat the plate down on the coffee table in front of the girl.
“Thanks.” The girl’s voice was small, but she was always taught to be polite.
“Right, well, I better get back out there.” Boomer turned to leave and Franky caught her arm on her way by.
“Eh, no problem. She’s a sweet little bub, hate to see her upset.” Boomer said looking back at the girl.
Franky nodded as Boomer left. It was once again just her and Emily in the office. She sat down beside the small girl.
“That pizza looks good, huh?”
The small blonde just shook her head and moved to sit beside Franky so that she could lean against her and rest her head on her arm. It was clear that she didn’t want to talk so Franky sat there with her in silence and waited for Bridget to show up.
By the time Bridget arrived, the last of the students were on their way out. She had left as soon as she ended the phone call but had gotten held up on the highway in traffic. As she approached the office door, she saw that Emily was fast asleep against Franky and the brunette was staring down at her own hands, fixated with the silver ring she was spinning on her finger. She looked up when she noticed Bridget standing in the doorway and gently moved away from the girl, guiding her down carefully to lay on the couch while she went to talk with the older woman.
They were now in the main kitchen of the classroom, which was empty. The tall brunette leaned against the wall and let out a sigh.
“Gidge, this is my fault….” Franky remembered what she had heard the girl say right before it happened.
“Franky,” Bridget stepped in front of her so that she was forced to meet her eye. Her voice was soft, caring, “How could this be your fault?”
“Right before she cut herself, I heard Liz telling her to slow down and be more careful and Emily didn’t listen because she said I had already showed her how to do it the other night when she was helping me, and it’s true, I did. If I hadn’t done that, maybe she would have been more careful.” She looked into the blonde’s blue eyes and waited for her to say something, waited for her to agree and say this was all Franky’s fault; waited for her to be mad.
“Did you never cut yourself when you were learning to cook? Or get a burn?” There was no anger, no blame in the other woman’s questions.
Franky felt a bit of relief come over her, “Gidge, I still do that now.” She laughed and heard the blonde do the same.
“See,” Bridget continued, “it’s all a part of learning, of life.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
“You’re good with her, you know? I watched you two the other night when I first got here. You were cute.” The blonde smiled, looking into Franky’s eyes and noticing for the first time just how green they were.
“I’m cute, am I?” The confident, bold Franky was slowly returning, and she wasn’t about to let a comment like that pass by unnoticed.
“Well, I meant in that situation but maybe, yeah.”
Franky had pushed herself away from the wall as the blonde spoke so they now stood only a couple of inches apart. “Just maybe?” The brunette wore her signature smirk and Bridget felt her pulse quicken as green eyes locked with hers.
Franky reached up and cupped the blonde’s cheek with her right hand, running her thumb along the older woman’s bottom lip. She heard a small, shaky exhale of breath as Bridget leaned into her touch. The brunette dipped her head down slightly and moved forward, pausing just a hair from the other woman’s lips to give her the chance to protest. Sensing no hesitation, she closed the gap between them. Bridget’s arms immediately wrapped around Franky’s neck and she deepened the kiss. With one of the brunette’s strong arms around her back holding her close, and the hand that had been cupping her face moving to play gently with the hair on the back of her neck, Bridget felt a fire ignite inside her. She wanted it to stay forever and she didn’t care how much it burned her. She was seconds away from being totally lost in all that was Franky when she remembered that they weren’t alone.
“Mmmm, Franky, wait ...wait,” she pulled away leaving a slightly confused and panting woman looking at her. “We need to stop.”
“Shit, I’m sorry Gidge.” Franky started to pull away from her but Bridget held on tight, not letting her move back.
“No, no sorries, it’s just Em.” The blonde trailed off and Franky suddenly remembered the small child who was asleep in her office. “I should take her home.”
“Yeah, yeah of course. I’ll carry her out for you.” Franky offered. Bridget gave her another quick kiss and started to gather the girl’s things while Franky made her way to the office and returned with the still sleeping girl in her arms.
After Emily was settled in the car, Franky pulled Bridget towards her for one last kiss. “Have dinner with me tomorrow night?”
Bridget glanced to the child sleeping in the back seat of the car. “I don’t know. I really want to, but it’s just not a good time for me right now.”
The brunette remembered back to earlier in the week when Bridget had no one to send in her place to pick up her niece. “Oh, yeah no worries.” She gave a small smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. She was disappointed, but she understood that the child came first in Bridget’s life.
“You know what, let me see if I can figure something out and I’ll let you know tomorrow afternoon okay?” Bridget had only one option, and she hoped it would pan out for her.
Franky nodded and smiled and they said their goodbyes. Bridget got into her car and headed home with Emily while Franky headed back into the building to gather her things.
When Bridget got home she made a quick phone call to her friend to ask if she could look after Emily for the evening the next day. Vera was more than happy to help out, and was even more pleased when she learned that the reason the blonde was asking for this favour was so she could have dinner with Franky.
Bridget hung up and sent Franky a text:
I’m in for tomorrow night. My friend, Vera is going to watch Emily for me.
Just mere seconds later she felt her phone vibrate as she received a reply.
Can’t wait! Meet me at 6 and also bring something comfortable to change into after dinner ;)
Along with Franky’s text, Bridget also got a link through her map app to an address that she assumed, judging by the location, was Franky’s apartment, as she was aware that area was completely residential. The “bring something comfortable” had her a bit thrown off, but she was willing to go along with whatever the brunette had planned.