Work was crazy until Thursday, everything seemed to have returned to normal when Bea and Allie had walked into their offices that morning, the only thing Bea found out of the ordinary was that Franky was waiting for her in her office.
“So, gonna tell me why Allie is hardly ever home?”
“I don't know have you tried asking her?”
“Piss off Red, there's only one place that girl would be and that's with you.”
“So why do you need to ask if you know where she is?”
“Well shit…sooo…it's serious then? I mean you finally came to your senses?”
“Fuck off Franky…Now do you actually want something?”
“Haven't seen ya in ages what with ya being in London, this situation is fucked up…but yeah, are ya all coming for dinner tomorrow or what?”
“I believe so, unless you've changed your mind.”
Franky stayed for another ten minutes until Maxine had to practically kick her out, Bea and Allie had a meeting to go over everything before the management committee meeting and Franky would only distract them from working, not that Maxine expected them to keep their minds on work or their hands off each other the second they were alone, she liked the new version of Bea, having Allie in her life had changed her for the better, she'd seen that spark between them long before Bea even realised it was there and had encouraged her to spend more time with Allie even though she was sure that she hadn't really needed encouragement, she'd have worked it out for herself eventually but Maxine hadn't been prepared to wait that long. Bea deserved to be happy and she was most definitely happy.
“Have you seen Franky?” Allie asked as she turned to close the door behind her, getting the shock of her life when Bea walked up behind her, spun her around and pushed her up against the wall, kissing her like Allie had always fantasied about.
“Did you miss me that much?” Allie asked when she regained her composure.
“I always miss you.” Bea said as she walked back to her chair, “Now sit, we have work to do.”
“Ohhh, bossy…I like it, you know I think bossy Bea is almost as hot as angry Bea.”
“Is that right? And to answer your question yes I have seen Franky.”
Right before lunch Maxine knocked on the door wanting to know if they were going out or eating in the office, neither of them answered straight away and Maxine already knew the answer as she watched them looking at the computer screen running yet another simulation of the distribution outcomes of the new model. Neither of them had even thought about testing it until now, not that either of them was going to complain about spending their day together, because the morning meeting they had scheduled was fast becoming an all day meeting. When Maxine finally got their attention Allie asked if she would mind picking up sushi for her and Bea had agreed.
Walking out of the building she heard Franky calling out to her.
“You goin to lunch or just to the deli?”
“Bea and Allie are still working so I guess we're all having lunch at our desks, did you actually want something Franky or are you just fishing for gossip?”
“Na Maxi ya know I don't gossip…are they actually working though?”
“Francesca Doyle what kind of a question is that? Of course they're working, might be for the rest of the day.”
Taking a break when Maxine returned Bea had asked her to stay but she excused herself, she had emails to reply to and her morning had gotten away from her when she again been running around the building doing anything other than her own job, she'd be relieved when Janet returned from London, doing the jobs of two people was getting tiring.
Allie playfully teased Bea about her lack of chopstick skills as they set the remnants of their lunch to one side before turning their attention back to the the table of outputs yet another simulation had created and Allie had printed. Allies eyes shifted from one table to the next as she muttered numbers under her breath.
“A hundred basis points isn't really that significant Allie.” Bea frowned a little as she scanned the same tables.
“Hmmm, maybe not but think about the big earners we have, it's definitely significant then.”
Bea sighed. “You just had to say that didn't you? Now we're going to have to do more work and I really can't think of anything I'd rather not do.”
“Come on you know you're a glutton for punishment, you don't want to get caught out in the meeting tomorrow do you, I mean a one percent gap is still a gap and we don't want to look like we don't know what we're doing do we?” Allie sat in Beas chair and turned her attention to the computer, resetting the model and the parameters for yet another simulation as Bea leaned in over her shoulder.
“You're a back seat driver you know that? I can do this without your help you know.”
Bea giggled, “ You don't want my help or are you trying to say I'm a control freak?”
“I'm not saying anything of the sort, you know I love it when you help me, but I need to focus and you're not helping me do that. You are way too distracting you do know that right?”
Allie had gone over the model so many times that she knew it off by heart and she checked the assumption variables off one by one in her head when it hit her what was wrong.
“We locked in inflation and never unlocked it that's what's wrong.” Bea looked at Allie puzzled. “Remember earlier, we ran the model with inflation locked to get a worst case scenario assessment.”
“Fuck! I forgot about that, it couldn't be anything else could it?”
Allie changed the inflation variable before setting the model running again and sat back waiting for it to finish.
“Maybe we should leave early today, pick Deb up and go out for dinner.”
“And when do you ever leave early?”
“I do sometimes…next you'll be saying I'm a workaholic.”
“Well if the shoe fits…actually if this works out this time I think its a fantastic idea, I know a great Italian restaurant that does the best pizza I've ever had, Debbie will love it.”
Just when Bea thought that it was impossible to fall in love with Allie anymore she'd do or say something that would prove that assumption wrong, most people would have run a mile from someone who came with a 12 year old daughter but Allie wasn't most people and she'd done everything she possibly could to prove that to her.
“I think she'd love that.”
“I think I love that picture, your mum and dad haven't changed a bit.”
Allie had never sat at Beas desk before so had only ever seen the back of the frame, it was a great picture of Bea and Debbie with her mum and dad.
“I'll have to take you over to visit them, we don't see them that often, they moved after dad retired, that was taken last Christmas.”
“Hmmm, maybe…it would be nice to see them again but…”
“Hey mum remembers you, dad too probably I haven't spoken to him for a while.”
“But nothing, you worry too much about what people think, you were convinced that Deb was going to throw a tantrum when I told her, she loves you, mum and dad will too.”
“If you say so…” Allie noticed that the model had finished running and hit print, getting up from the chair she walked over to the printer grabbing the new table before walking back over to Bea.
“I do say so, mums always told me not to rule out meeting someone else, then there you were. Actually I think they'll be more shocked about Franky meeting someone than us being together.”
Bea took the piece of paper Allie was holding and looked at it, “You cracked it.” Bea waved the piece of paper in front of Allie. “Only a five basis point gap now.”
“Great.” Allie sighed.
They sat and talked about a couple of other things that they needed to go over before tomorrow's meeting when there was a knock on the door and Franky walked in.
“Knew you'd both be in here.” She grinned as she pulled up a chair.
“Can we help you?” Allie asked before Bea was able to say a word.
“Thought you'd wanna know, the police investigation into Joan Ferguson has thrown up all kinds of crazy shit, turns out Sonia knew all about what Joan has done, sounds like she might have even helped her hide the profits.”
“Shit, so what happens now?” Bea asked.
“All I know is that a couple of detectives from the fraud investigation squad have flown over to London to work with a fraud team from the city of London police. Seems those files you sent to Janet have set all types of alarm bells ringing and the police over there are looking into both of them, they already have enough evidence to bring Joan back but it seems they want both of them. Anyway can't sit here talking to you two all day, work to do and all that…guessing I'm not going to be seeing ya at home tonight Allie?”
Franky left leaving them to it, she needed to go and see Will and if she was honest she really didn't care if Allie went home or not anymore, it had been obvious that they were together since they had got back but neither of them had said anything to anyone, either way she was going to ask them on Friday, she felt like she deserved to know the truth and Allie had been correct when she said that she'd been trying to push them together, although she had only really thought that they'd be friends, she'd never imagined that Bea would feel the same way about Allie as Allie had always felt about her.
“You ready to get out of here?”
“It's not even 3pm yet are you sure?”
“I am, haven't you had enough for one day?”
“Yeah your right…I'm going to go home and I'll pick you and Debbie up about six.”
Allie arrived early as usual, knocking on the door she heard Debbie running to the door.
“Where are we going? Mum said something about pizza.”
“Oh she did did she, what if I've changed my mind?”
“No of course not, where is your mum anyway?”
“Still getting ready…we might have to go without her, I'm starving.”
“Oh that's just typical, forget about your mum just think about your stomach.” Bea said as she walked into the living room.
As soon as Allies eyes landed on Bea her heart felt as if it was thumping out of her chest. She took a deep breath but before she could say a word her phone beeped, pulling her phone from her bag she quickly read the text message.
“Franky! Come on let's go before Deb starves to death.”
It didn't take long to drive over to the restaurant, Debbie talked excitedly all the way there after Allie told her where they were going. Allie glanced over at Bea who looked completely lost in thought, reaching over she took her hand in hers entwining their fingers, Bea turned her head and smiled at her. When they got to the restaurant Debbie was already out of the car and through the door before either of them had taken their seat belts off.
“Think someone's hungry.” Allie laughed.
“And excited…we don't, I mean I never really take her out to eat much, this means a lot to her, she's never really had this…I mean Franky takes her out and Liz does all the time but this…the three of us….”
“Hey, I get it ok…I know how it feels remember.”
As soon as they walked through the door Debbie was right there waiting for them, they soon found themselves seated at a table, a waiter seemed to materialise from out of nowhere.
“Here are your menus.” He said as he handed them out, looking at Bea first. “Would you like to order something to drink?”
“I'll have a white wine, Deb you want a Coke?” Debbie nodded as her and Allie were both scanning their menus, Allie asked for water and the waiter disappeared for a few minutes while they decided what they wanted. After he returned with their drinks he took their orders and vanished again. The three of them chatted quite happily until their food arrived, Debbie had almost fallen silent after her first mouthful of pizza, by the time their pizzas were finished Bea and Allie had had yet another long and entertaining conversation, earning them a few laughs from Debbie especially when they had started talking about Franky, she'd never seen her mum get on with someone as well as she got on with Allie and she was enjoying spending time with them, it felt different, like something she'd been missing all her life without even knowing it.
The waiter now seemed to have done a complete vanishing act and Allie was becoming annoyed, she was very aware that they needed to leave as Debbie had school the next morning and on reflection she shouldn't have suggested going out to eat on a school night. Allie got up and went in search of the waiter leaving Bea and Debbie alone and Bea couldn't quite fathom how she could miss her already. Allie reappeared a few minutes later saying that she paid the bill and asked if they were ready to leave, laughing a little when Debbie started to yawn.
On the drive back to Beas Debbie was slightly quieter than before, the second Bea had unlocked the door she was on her way to her room saying goodnight to them both and saying she'd see them in the morning.
“Seems I don't need to ask if you're staying someone has already made that assumption.”
“I'm not sure I should, I mean we have a meeting in the morning.”
“And if you don't I know I won't sleep properly and Debs will be disappointed in the morning.”
“Right, guess I've run out of arguments to go home then.”
“Strangely I don't recall you putting up much of an argument.”
A while later they were sitting on the sofa, Beas head leaning against Allies shoulder as they talked about the meeting they had the next day, Allie, as Bea had come to expect, was more nervous about it than she should be. Bea was just about to tell her why she really had no need to be nervous when Allies phone started ringing, she looked at Bea apologetically as she pulled it from her pocket.
“Hello….yes Franky….No….Fucks sake Franky don't call me again.”
Bea had already sunk back against the sofa expecting it to be a much longer conversation until Allie abruptly ended the call.
“Sometimes she's just impossible… I'm really going to look for a place of my own.”
“Oh! What did she say this time?”
“Ya know, the usual, complaining.”
Early Friday morning and Debbie woke up excited keeping Franky's secret had almost been too much to bare and in a few hours time she wasn't going to have to worry about slipping up again, she jumped out of bed and almost ran to Beas room, opening the door slowly and quietly pleased to see that Allie was still there. She hadn't intended to wake either of them up and as she was about to close the door she heard Allies voice.
“Something wrong Deb?” She asked sleepily.
“No, sorry I didn't mean to wake you up, just wanted to check that you were still here.”
“Aren't you awake a little early?” Allie asked as she glanced at the time.
“Couldn't sleep, I'm excited about tonight, are you sure you really have no clue what Franky wants to tell you?”
“Well I've figured out that it has something to do with someone she's obviously met.” Allie sat up and patted the space beside her, “Come on, get in you'll get cold.”
Debbie smiled as she got into the bed and cuddled into Allies side. “Can I ask you something?”
“Of course sweetheart you can ask me anything.”
“How long have you known mum and Franky?”
“Since before you were born, I lived in the same foster home as Franky, then I got sent back to live with my mum and dad.”
“You kept in touch with Franky though.”
“Not always, I got myself into a bad situation my mum died and I left home after I left school, I haven't seen my dad or my brothers for years.”
Bea woke up, closing her eyes again she lay and listened to them talking.
“Don't you miss them? Your brothers I mean, I would…I always wanted a brother or sister, mum always said she was happy just having me.”
“I miss them sometimes, I don't even know where they are now.”
They talked for another ten minutes before Bea opened her eyes making them both jump a little when she spoke.
“Why are you in our bed Deb?”
“Mum don't do that…I couldn't sleep and Allie has a habit of sneaking off when I go to bed so I wanted to know if she was still here, but Allie woke up.”
“So your pestering her?”
“Debs not pestering me at all, I happen to love talking to her almost as much as I love talking to you.”
Debbie stuck her tongue out at Bea and got out of bed saying she was going to have a shower and get ready for school, “and you need to get up and feed me.” Debbie giggled as she walked out of the room.
Bea got out of bed ten minutes later, prising herself away from Allie always felt like the hardest thing in the world to do and if Debbie hadn't already been awake she would have dragged her into the shower with her but she knew she needed to hurry up before Debbie came back looking for them.
Allie sat in her office for ten minutes staring at the wall when Will knocked on the door reminding her that the meeting was due to start in twenty minutes, he knew that she was never late but he knew Bea always waited for her by the elevator. Bea had changed so much that much was clear, she never waited for anyone not even Franky, she stayed shut in her office and rarely visited any other floor but that was before Allie and Will couldn't deny that the way Bea was now had to be how she was when she was younger, full of life and happy. Allie had changed her for the better and it was a wonderful thing to see. He'd been a little shocked when Franky had first pointed out to him that Bea and Allie were clearly way more than friends and then he'd felt a little disappointed because he'd always liked Bea, asked her out for drinks or dinner so many times that he'd lost count but he was happy for her for both of them. And he'd recently met someone who he planned on introducing them all to on Saturday night, the director had called Will at the beginning of the week asking him to organise something to thank the finance team for all their hard work, and more importantly Allie. Bea never went to things like that, ever, she avoided their annual Christmas party but she'd been more than happy to accept the invitation as soon as he'd told her about it.
As predicted Bea was leaning on the wall waiting for Allies appearance and as usual Allie was nervous, there was always something about meetings that got under her skin not that she'd ever been able to work out why they made her so nervous, Bea had been in everyone she'd ever had to speak at something she was thankful for because her presence always calmed her.
“I was beginning to think that you'd got lost.” Bea smiled.
“I was trying to think of an excuse not to come and that's not easy when I know you'll be waiting for me.”
“Good because if you didn't show up I'd come looking for you myself.”
Franky hated management committee meetings, she'd rather not go to them at all because when talk turned to financial matters that she didn't understand or even want to try to understand she switched off. Today was not an easy day to get through, in a few hours she was going to be introducing Bridget to Bea and Allie and that made her nervous. She'd never thought for a single second that she would meet someone like her, someone who understood her the way Bridget did, never in her life had she thought that she would ever want to settle down with someone but then again she'd never expected Bea to fall for Allie, she'd always been so adamant that she was fine on her own and all she needed was Debbie and the few people she called friends.
Franky loved Bea like a sister and inviting them over for dinner was a big deal, not that she hadn't cooked for Bea in the past because it used to be something she regularly did, she'd often invite her and Debbie over during the week when she knew she was exhausted and wouldn't want to bother cooking, but this was so different, a good different but she was so nervous.
“Are we boring you Franky?” Bea asked a slight hint of amusement in her tone.
“What?….Sorry, umm…things on my mind.”
“Hmmm, if you could try and concentrate for a few minutes I would appreciate it.”
“Yeah sorry Re….Bea.” She shook her head all she wanted to do was get out of the bored room and go home, she had so much to do, she'd worked later everyday that week, took work home and only seen Bridget once. Allie had questioned her a few times since they got back and not telling her about Bridget had gotten harder as the week had gone on, thankfully she hadn't seen Allie a great deal outside of work so hadn't had to keep making excuses for her recently changed behaviour. Debbie had promised not to say anything to either of them and she obviously hadn't or she knew that Bea would have been in her office asking countless annoying questions. Maybe it had been a mistake introducing Debbie to Bridget while they were away but Franky had wanted to take her out for the day and couldn't think of anything more perfect than having Bridget with her.
As soon as the meeting wrapped up Franky bolted out of the bored room, running into her office she gathered her things together and left, it was almost lunch time and she was expecting Bridget over at five, Bea, Allie and Debbie at six. She had carefully planned what she wanted to make for dinner and needed to stop off on her way home to pick up the fresh ingredients that she needed. She wanted everything to be as perfect as she could, it was a big deal, Bea, Allie and Debbie were the closest thing she had to a real family, Liz and Boomer had already met her and they both loved her but Bea was as protective over Franky as Franky was over Bea, added to that Franky had insisted that she wasn't the type to settle down, ever. But hadn't Bea said exactly the same thing?