Hearing everyone’s sharp intake of breath as they entered the church made Frankie think that she did something right. She felt warmth all around her, knew Grace was with her. Whispering in her ear to be strong, that she could do this.
But, how the fuck could she? How the hell could she go on knowing however many days or Goddess Forbid years, she had left on this earth, Grace would not be a part of them? Knowing Grace’s hand would never linger a little too long on her back, knowing she’ll never wake up with their limbs intertwined, never deepen another kiss, never take her beautiful breath away, never again taste her.
It was ironic really, Grace dying from anything other than too much vodka. That was how Frankie always pictured it, when she couldn’t control her thoughts and her mind went wild, thinking the worst. But, somehow: this was worse. Worse than drinking herself to death, worse than liver disease, worse than anything she could have imagined.
Maybe it wasn’t the way it happened, and just that it happened. Frankie always wanted to be the one to go first, wanted to be waiting for Grace with a martini in hand at whatever afterlife they found themselves in. It was never a question of whether they would find each other, but a question of how long it would take.
Frankie hears the chaos behind her, people taking their seats, chatting, trying to get her attention but can’t bring herself to turn around. Can’t even bring herself to blink her eyes. She’s been stuck like this, staring down at her hands--the hands that touched Grace, the hands that made her come undone, the hands that held her--since she got here. Since she was forced to take in all that herself and Robert had done. How they had made Grace’s final dream a reality.
“Frankie?” She heard whispered from her right, and she immediately recognized Brianna’s voice without having to look. “You and dad did an amazing job. It's so incredibly her,” Frankie heard the younger woman’s voice break, something neither of them was used to. She pulled Brianna into her arms, held her tight. Brianna pulled away, looking deep into Frankie’s seas of blue. “Not the her she was before you, but the one she was after. The one who laughed freely, and ate cake, and wasn’t afraid of dying because she had you and somehow you made everything okay. You made her fearless. This is so her.”
Before, Grace had asked Robert to take care of everything, even though Frankie had offered, even though she wanted to. Except the colors. She left that all to Frankie.
Frankie was lost in thought, lying on her right side, long hair flowing behind her, sweat still clinging to her forehead, Grace’s naked body pressed against her back, making her the little spoon when she heard Grace whisper against the skin of her neck, “When I die I want to be buried with as many colors as possible. I want my funeral to look like the type of party I wouldn’t miss. You’ll make sure of it, won’t you?”
Frankie let her hand linger over the one Grace had resting against Frankie’s stomach. “Grace,” Frankie sighed, an incredible sadness washing over her. “I don’t want to think about that right now. Can’t we just enjoy what time we have left?”
Grace tightened her grip on Frankie under the sheet. “Just promise me, I don’t want you to be sad. I want you to laugh, I want you to overshare details of our time together, I want you to be happy.”
“I love you,” Frankie whispered, a tear slipping out of the corner of her eye and hitting the pillow beneath her. She brought Grace’s cold hand to her face and pressed her lips to her knuckles. “More than anything,” Frankie promised, even though Grace didn’t need her to. She already knew.
“It’s not going to be much longer,” Grace said, shifting behind Frankie, the bed dipping under her weight.
“Grace,” Frankie warned.
“You can’t ignore it forever, the doctor said six good months if I’m lucky,” Grace reminded Frankie for what felt like the hundredth time since her doctor's appointment last week.
Frankie felt her heart being ripped from her chest, a constant feeling she’s had since the doctor's appointment last week. “I’m not ignoring it, but I just don’t want to talk about it.” She had turned around to face Grace, her leg sliding between Graces, feeling heat.
“Every time I’ve brought it up, you’ve not wanted to talk about it.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you really expect from me, Grace. I don’t want to talk about you dying! I don’t know why you want to!” Frankie raised her voice, immediately regretting it when she caught a glimpse of the hurt on Grace’s face.
“I’m sorry, Frankie. I’m sorry this happened, I’m so sorry,” Grace’s voice broke, tears spilling over her eyes. “I need you to promise me: find someone new. That cute woman from the bar, or the man that always hits on you at the grocery store. I don’t want you to be alone.”
“There could never be anyone after you, Grace. Don’t you get that? You are the reason I exist,” Frankie stopped talking to wipe a tear from Grace's cheek, then leaned in and kissed her gently.
When Frankie pulled away, Grace sniffled. “I know, you don’t want to talk about it but, I just want you to know,” Grace paused, put her hand on Frankie’s shoulder and waited for her to open her eyes. “You are the reason my life was colorful. Is colorful. The first time I met you, you introduced me to specks of color. Beautiful colors, Frankie. Until that moment my life had only been black and white. But you,” Grace paused, her hands resting on both sides of Frankie’s face. “You brought color into my that I never saw coming. Color I never knew existed. The first time you touched me, every time you touch me, when we fight, when I think of you. God, the colors I see when you kiss me, when you’re inside me,” Grace let her fingers trace slowly up Frankie’s stomach, between her breasts. Frankie’s eyes closed.
“Frankie,” Brianna whispered from next to her, clutching Frankie’s hand in her own, bringing her back to the present. “It’s time. Are you ready?”