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Hearts on a String

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“Some boundaries are meant to be pushed. Trick is… ya gotta know which ones.”

- Franky’s Unapologetic Guide to Living Life

 

“I don’t see what the big deal is,” Bea said as she opened the door to Franky’s apartment.

“The big deal,” Allie replied, following her in and shucking off her jacket, “is that you have never expressed an interest in women and it just… I can’t wrap my head around it.”

“I’m not saying I’m gay,” Bea responded, grabbing Allie’s jacket and throwing it on the hook near the door, “I don’t think I am anyway. I am just saying I want to go on a date with a woman, that’s all.”

That’s all? Bea, that’s… what on earth did you drink in that Westfall’s office? Some kind of gay energy drink? Is that what has happened? Your shrink slipped you some gaytorade?”

Bea groaned, screwing her eyes shut.

“That was a terrible pun.”

“You love it,” Allie dismissed her with a wink and a toothy grin, “so what brought on this sudden change of… heart? Sexuality?”

Bea moved toward the bar stools around the kitchen island and sat herself down, while Allie wandered to the fridge to grab them both a drink.

“I just…” Bea considered her words, “I never got a chance, y’know, to explore that kind of stuff. I married Harry when I was young and had Debbie. Since that ended in flames, I’ve never met a man I thought I had a future with, hell I never met a man I wanted a second date with. Maybe… maybe it’s not just because of what happened with Harry. Maybe I just don’t like men enough? I don’t know.”

Bea stared off at the wall, frustrated as she tried to explain what she felt to Allie. She liked Allie, really liked Allie. Did she like Allie as more than a friend? Bridget had posed that question to her in a roundabout way. Bea didn’t know, and she didn’t want to ruin anything they had until she knew for sure that what she was feeling was attraction. She wanted to test the waters first.

“Hey,” Allie clicked her fingers, bringing Bea back to her, “it’s okay. Sorry I made it bigger than it needed to be. You don’t owe me any explanation, really.”

“It’s okay,” Bea reassured her with a smile, “I much prefer telling you than Franky.”

“Prefer telling blondie than telling me what?” Franky asked as she swaggered into the kitchen, nodding her head at her two unexpected guests and moving to the kettle. She clicked it on and turned to look at them both, her tongue poking out between her teeth as she offered them a wicked smile, eyebrows raised.

“Well don’t keep me in suspense all day,” she looked at Bea, “c’mon Red, you know I don’t bite. Not unless you want me to anyway.”

“Fuck sake, Franks,” Bea rolled her eyes, “I was just telling Allie about my session.”

“Ahh with your hot shrink,” Franky looked over at Allie, whispering conspiratorially, “now she does bite.”

Bea rubbed her forehead as Allie snorted.

“We were discussing stuff,” Bea continued on, knowing that she had no real choice but to tell Franky, “and I have decided, and this isn’t a big deal, that I want to go on a date. With a woman.”

Franky’s jaw dropped and she looked positively comical in her shock. Allie was tempted to grab her phone for a picture but as soon as the idea flit through her head, a sparkle lit up Franky’s eyes and her mouth closed into a flirty grin.

“Well, look no further,” she jabbed her thumb at herself, “if ya wanted to bed me, Red, all ya had to do was buy me a drink. Since you’re offering though, I’ll accept dinner too. I can do classy.”

Bea and Franky? Allie knew that Bea would never agree to it, but the small- okay, rather large part of her that pined for the redhead opposite her couldn’t quite connect that and instead a vehement protest tumbled from her lips.

No fucking way!”

Bea swung her head round quickly, eyes wide as she looked at Allie. Franky didn’t react as overtly, with the grin on her face getting just a bit bigger as she too turned her attention to Allie.

“W-what I meant was,” Allie tripped over her words as she tried to think on her feet. C’mon Novak, “I think maybe we should take Bea out to a bar first, get her used to it all, y’know? Maybe let her decide who she wants to pursue?”

Franky bit her lip, wanting so badly to suggest that maybe just maybe Allie wanted Bea to choose her, but she refrained. Instead, she picked up a mug from the counter and nodded.

“Sure, how about tonight?”

Both Bea and Allie went wide-eyed.

“T-tonight?” Allie asked. She was meant to be seeing Marie tonight, she’d arranged it with Kaz…

“What’s wrong?” Franky grinned, “If ya can’t make it, Red and I can always go. I’ll make an excellent wingwoman, we can find you just the right-“

“-I’m free!” Allie interrupted, and Bea let out a sigh of relief. An evening with Franky scouting out women did not sound fun, and Allie could make it at least bearable.

“Thank fuck,” Bea said emphatically.

“Tonight it is.”

 

****

 

The bar was busier than usual, and Franky only just managed to find them all space at a nearby table. She ordered their first round of drinks and, upon bringing them back, she leaned her arms on the wooden surface of the table, watching the crowds and trying to figure out who might catch Bea’s eye.

Bea sipped her drink gratefully, more amused watching Allie and Franky scout the joint than interested in looking herself.

“That one over there,” Franky nudged her, pointing out a platinum blonde with a whole lot of makeup and a whole lot of attitude, “givin’ you eyes.”

Allie snorted and shook her head.

“No way are you setting her up with that one,” she retorted, “she looks like she parties way too much, her idea of a date would be getting trashed.”

“S’not a bad date.”

“Shut up,” Allie scanned the room and nudged Bea, pointing to a quiet woman with glasses in the corner, “she seems nice.”

“Nah,” Franky dismissed the selection, “she’d probably have to leave off early to feed her cats or fish or somethin’.”

Bea sat between them as they continued to bicker and point out different women, one recommending and the other disapproving each and every choice. By her fourth drink, Bea hadn’t seen a single woman who wowed her or had any input into the conversation, and she was starting to get fed up.

“Holy fuck, now that’s a hot one,” Franky looked at the bar, noting a blonde in a figure-hugging dress. She reached out to nudge Bea once more, “she seems like the perfect woman to…”

Franky’s sentence trailed off and her hand dropped suddenly, her eyes wide as the blonde turned around to face her. Allie looked around too, squinting as she tried to see who Franky was talking about.

“I can’t see who-“

“-nothing,” Franky said, quickly recovering with a grin, though her eyes were still caught on the blonde. The woman walked towards the bathroom, “I just… I need a minute to…”

She removed herself from the table and hurriedly stalked toward the bathroom.

“Well, that was weird,” Allie laughed, watching an irritated Bea carefully.

 

****

 

Franky pushed open the door of the bathroom, letting it hit the wall and ricochet. The only occupant in the room jumped, her hands gripping the sink in front of her.

Bridget’s head turned quickly, and she opened her mouth in surprise, to acknowledge, but Franky beat her to it.

“What the fuck ya doin’ here, Gidge?”

Bridget smiled at the coarse greeting, feeling a flutter in her stomach at both the voice and those green eyes travelling over her. She turned fully to Franky, leaning against the sink as she observed the woman in front of her.

“Nice to see you too, Franky.”

“I picked this bar,” Franky sauntered forward, letting the door swing shut behind her and cut them off from the din of the busy room, “’cos I figured I wouldn’t see you here.”

“And I picked this bar,” Bridget countered, “because I thought I wouldn’t see you here.”

“So…” Franky smiled, her eyes sparkling with amusement as she moved closer, “do we call this fate or…?”

“I don’t believe in fate.”

“Good fortune then,” Franky responded softly, now standing inches from Bridget. Her hand came up, the pad of her thumb pulling gently at Bridget’s lower lip. Bridget’s breath caught in her throat, her eyes lazily tracking Franky’s face as she gusted warm breath across her digit.

“Franky…” she warned, her voice a whisper. It seemed that finally Franky had managed to get the upper hand, “you called this off.”

“I’m starting to forget why,” Franky murmured, biting her own lip.

“We can’t-” Bridget breathed, trying to pull herself away.

“-I know-“

“-do this-“ She tried again, as Franky’s thumb continued its light pressure.

“- I know-“ Franky grinned beautifully, knowing that she was winning.

Bridget’s mouth opened to protest once more, but she was stopped as Franky’s hand moving quickly to the nape of her neck, and she was pulled in for a fierce kiss. It was hard and fast, a release that both needed at that moment as their tongues immediately clashed, vying for control. Bridget ceded quickly, allowing Franky the power in this brief encounter, and Franky nipped at her bottom lip gratefully in return. Bridget moaned as Franky’s tongue chased hers, drawing familiar flickers of desire. Just as Bridget started to learn the patterns of Franky’s kiss, she drew away, her mouth seeking out Bridget’s neck instead with soft bites.

Bridget leaned her weight against the sink behind her, her hands seeking purchase on the porcelain as Franky continued to ravish her neck. As Franky’s hands slid down her back, tracing her body, Bridget heard footsteps approaching. Quickly and without thinking of anything except her reluctance to stop, she pushed at Franky with both hands, interrupting her surprised protests with further shoves toward one of the free cubicles. Bridget stepped in and slammed the door shut, locking it, just as the bathroom door swung open. Franky grinned, pressed up against Bridget’s body in the small cubicle, her hands continuing their earlier journey and roaming over Bridget’s hips, around to her arse.

Bridget swatted at the hands, breathing heavily, as she turned her head to listen.

Just one person entered, moving to the sink as they heard the taps turn on and water starting to pour. A heavy sigh, followed by the sound of splashing water. Franky dipped her lips once more to Bridget’s neck, and Bridget had to bite her lip as she stifled a moan, very much aware that whilst they were out of sight, they could still be heard.

After a minute, the bathroom door opened again, and Bridget screwed her eyes shut in frustration as Franky continued the assault down to her collarbone.

“So…”

Franky’s head snapped up, almost comically, as she recognised that voice. Allie had just entered the bathroom.

 

****

 

Allie watched as Bea continued to splash water on her face.

“Anyone out there catch your eye then?” she asked, attempting to be casual.

Bea groaned and rubbed at the face wearily, before turning round to Allie.

“This is my first day of checking out women,” she huffed sarcastically, “I’m sorry I can’t tell you which one I’d like to sleep with just yet. Can you drop it?”

Allie held her hands up in surrender but noticed Bea’s remark for what it was. She was scared, thrown in and feeling pressured to make a decision in one night about her future.

“It’s okay, you know.”

“What is?”

“To not know.”

Bea glanced at her, her expression softening at Allie’s words.

“You knew about… what you wanted,” she said softly, “so did Franky.”

“And look where it got me,” Allie huffed, “taking longer to know isn’t always a bad thing, trust me. What matters is that you’re trying… and that’s good.”

“I’m scared,” Bea admitted.

“What of?”

“I haven’t been on a date with a woman before. I’m scared I’m going to fuck up o-or say the wrong thing or what if it turns out I don’t actually like women and it’s all-“

“- you’ve got nothing to fear. You’re beautiful, smart, creative, and funny. There isn’t a woman alive who wouldn’t enjoy every second of a date with you.”

“But what if-“

“- I’ll tell you what,” Allie interrupted Bea’s ramblings, stepping closer and grabbing her hand. She squeezed it reassuringly, her thumb tracing her knuckles, “I’ll pick you up Friday at 7.”

Bea snorted, rolling her eyes.

“For what, more cruising with Franky for women?”

“No,” Allie smirked now, her eyes sparkling with a confidence she didn’t know she possessed when it came to Bea, “I’m taking you on a date.”

Bea looked at her wide-eyed, silent, and Allie wondered if she didn’t just make a grave mistake. She thought for a brief moment that she heard a muffled gasp coming from the cubicle but didn’t think further on it. Instead, she watched Bea, measuring her reaction.

“If you want to,” Allie eventually clarified, “just… to see how it feels?”

Bea looked down at Allie’s hand, the thumb still brushing against her knuckles, and looked up again. Allie opened her mouth to take back her offer, to tell her to forget the whole thing, when Bea offered her a small, shy smile. She gave the smallest of nods, but it was there. Affirmation. Allie grinned, relieved.

“Good,” she said, dropping Bea’s hand like she just remembered what she was doing, “good.”

The shuffling of feet in the cubicle broke their attention briefly and they both glanced over.

 Allie’s phone chirped and she looked down.

1 unread text message.

She hit ‘open’.

 

From: Kaz

Her royal heinous wants to see you.

Now.

 

“Shit,” Allie muttered, staring down at the message.

“Allie?” Bea interrupted her thoughts, and Allie looked up wide-eyed, “you okay?”

“Yeah,” Allie responded, forcing a smile, “just… something has come up. Anyway, Friday at 7?”

“Friday at 7.”

“Good,” Allie moved reluctantly towards the bathroom door, “oh and Bea?”

Bea looked over, still smiling.

“Don’t be so nervous. It’s just me, okay?”

With that, Allie left the bathroom, her voice carrying out over the swinging of the door shut behind her:

“And wear that green dress!”

Bea chuckled, staring at her reflection in the mirror. She could do this. It was Allie. Allie was taking her on a date.

She knew Allie, so why on earth did she feel even more nervous?

With one final look in the mirror, noting the happy smile on her face, Bea pushed herself away and left the bathroom.

Within seconds, the cubicle door slammed open and Franky walked out, mouth agape as she looked back at Bridget.

“What the fuck is happening?” she breathed, shocked.

Bridget laughed.