The odds were stacked Francesca, but, somehow, she bumped right into Ricky while on her way to surprise her; Robby had given Francesca Ricky’s address a few days earlier. Ricky looked shocked but then pulled Francesca close for a hug.
“Francesca, as happy as I am to see you, what the hell are you doing here?”
“I’m here to see you, of course,” Francesca said, laughing. She reluctantly broke the hug and looked Ricky up and down. Her outfit was, naturally, amazing. Ricky wore this cute dark purple geometric patterned dress, complete with a belt around the waist and adorable purple tights. “Can I say you look fabulous, Ricky?”
Ricky quirked a smile. “I do, don’t I?”
“As modest as ever.”
The two broke out in a fit of giggles, not paying attention to the fact that they were still standing in the middle of the sidewalk. “I’d love to continue this reunion, but we should probably get back to my apartment. It isn’t far,” Ricky said.
Francesca nodded. She wanted to ask Ricky about her Etsy store and about how her life in New York had been the past few years. This was better done in the privacy of Ricky’s apartment rather than the street, though.
When Francesca first entered Ricky’s apartment, she looked over every single thing, wanting to etch it all into her memory. She saw piles of fabric lying over pieces of furniture and a sewing kit in the corner.
It looked like a designer's apartment.
“So you’re doing Etsy now? How is that going?”
“It’s amazing,” Ricky blurted out, her face lighting up. “I still work at a coffee shop to pay the bills, but a good portion of my income comes from the Etsy store. Even if it didn’t, I’m just happy to be making clothes.”
“Ricky… that is so, so cool.”
Ricky reached for Francesca’s hand and then pulled her towards the couch. “Enough about me. Tell me what you’ve been up to.”
“Well, not much, honestly. I finished school, and I’ve been working as a nurse.” Francesca bit down on her bottom lip when she realized there was something else she should tell Ricky. She deserved to know. “And David and I ended things for good.”
“What? When?” Ricky leaned close, confusion written all over her face.
“Over a year now, I think. We just decided it wasn’t going to work between us. It was for the best.”
“And you never told me? I feel very out of the loop, Francesca.” Ricky’s tone was teasing, but Francesca wanted to apologize anyway.
It felt like the right thing to do.
“You were busy with your store and trying to make it big, so I didn’t want to bother you. There really wasn’t much to discuss, though, because it was an amicable breakup.”
“And David didn’t overreact too badly?”
“No, he was great… until he found out who I was seeing after him.”
Ricky leaned even closer. “Spill it, girl! You got me nearly dying of curiosity over here.”
“You don’t know her--”
Francesca laughed. “Yes, her. She works at the hospital with me, but we’re not together anymore.”
“Well, Francesca, that is certainly not something I expected to hear.”
“I’m full of surprises, aren’t I?” Francesca smiled.
“Speaking of surprises, why are you here? I don’t mean to be rude, but what inspired this impromptu little visit? It’s just been nearly three years since we last spoke-- except for the occasional ‘how are you?’ text’.”
The question had been bound to come up sooner or later. Francesca had, in truth, expected it to come up even sooner than it had.
“I really wanted to see you, Ricky. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.” She winced. “Please tell me that doesn’t sound as incredibly sad as it did in my head.”
Francesca knew her statement was rather out of the blue. They hadn’t kept in contact like she’d wanted to, and Ricky was rightfully skeptical of her sudden arrival. She’d just been wondering, “what if?” The question had hung over her head the past three years, and after finally being able to accept her feelings for women, Francesca couldn’t get over the urge to see Ricky again.
That still didn’t make it fair to Ricky at all.
“Why don’t we forget about what I said for now and focus on hanging out or something?” Francesca didn’t give Ricky a chance to answer even though she should have. It was her panic kicking in. “I don’t want to put you on the spot and force you--”
“Francesca, you need to breathe or you’re going to pass out right here on my living room floor.”
She laughed weakly. “Yes, breathing. Good idea.”
“I got a really great idea,” Ricky said suddenly. “Let’s forget about everything today and go out in order to celebrate your first day in New York. We can talk later.”
“Well, sounds like a plan, then!” Francesca said, some of the panic still detectable in her tone. “Do you have anything in mind that I could wear?”
“Girl, I got just the thing.”
“You’re okay with cats, right?”
“Of course! I love cats. I just can’t believe a place like this exists. Only in New York.”
“A cat lover?”
“How can you not?”
Every cat they interacted with, Francesca gushed over. They were all so friendly and cute. If only there had been a cat cafe back in Kentucky; she would have been there all the time.
It was a pleasant atmosphere up until the two of them sat down to eat. Francesca felt her mind wandering again. Apparently. Ricky must have been thinking something similar because she beat Francesca to it.
“So tell me about this ex-girlfriend of yours. What was she like?”
Francesca should have figured the question would get asked eventually. “Alex is quiet, but once she gets on a subject, she cannot shut up. Oh, and Alex is a great cook. Like, amazing.”
A smirk appeared on Ricky’s face. “You’re going to miss her cooking the most, aren’t you?”
“... yes,” Francesca said with a nervous laugh. “Hey Ricky, mind if I ask you a question?”
“What’s on your mind?”
“What happened between you and Robby?”
She sighed softly. “We realized we were better off as friends than as boyfriend and girlfriend.”
When Francesca asked for Ricky’s address, Robby had almost seemed reluctant to give it to her. Perhaps, he still had feelings for Ricky-- not that Francesca blamed him. She certainly still did.
“Can I just apologize for dropping in on you like this? I should’ve messaged you first, but I was honestly afraid you wouldn’t want to see me. I know I wasn’t great with keeping in contact with you over these past three years, Ricky.”
Ricky reached over the table to grab her hand. “Francesa, it isn’t like I’ve been a saint, either.”
“So where does that leave us?” Francesca chewed nervously on her bottom lip. “I honestly don’t expect anything to happen, Ricky. I’m just happy to see you and be hanging out again.”
“Well, how long are you planning on staying?” Ricky asked, still holding Francesca’s hand. “The longer you stay, the more time we have to hang and figure shit out… among other things.”
“I was planning for only the weekend but hoping for more.”
“A week then?”
“A week it is.”