Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.―Chuck Palahniuk
Real love is always chaotic. You lose control; you lose perspective. You lose the ability to protect yourself. The greater the love, the greater the chaos. It’s a given and that’s the secret.―Jonathan Carroll
She was chaos. Bridget knew it the first time they met, she was in trouble and it was plain to see by her temper tantrum that Franky knew how to work the system. Bridget wondered if Franky had worked her too, because not long after Bridget caught herself thinking about the prisoner outside the usual reports and session notes. Chaos was her name and she’d dumped Bridget’s life on its head, too.
Bridget fell hard. If love were a sport, she was in the middle of a scrum, scraped and bruised but god dammit, she was exhilarated. That didn’t change the fact that she was chased out of a job she truly loved and she’d put her reputation on the line to continue to support Franky at her parole hearing, not to mention picking her up upon release and taking her home to bed. In fact, she was so far gone that it even seemed reasonable enough when Franky just stopped going back to the sad little room at a halfway house in the city.
Parole be damned, they were together. But chaos was never predictable. Franky, while free and fabulous, was also still haunted. Bridget could see it in her eyes and body language when she thought she wasn’t looking. Sometimes late at night she’d find Franky alone in the lounge with a cup of tea, musing. More often than not, Franky would decline the invitation to talk. But once soon after her release, she expressed regret for things she’d done in prison. It took a lot to shock Bridget after years in the system, but hearing awful things from Franky had changed things, too.
Franky had been a ruthless Top Dog and oversaw a number of heinous offences. She commanded others to do most of the dirty work, except for that business with Meg Jackson. That still troubled Bridget. She believed it was an accident but the stain of taking a life was a hard one to wash away. However, Bridget believed in reform and she believed in Franky, too. She’d shown Bridget her heart and she’d seen the good she was capable of as well.
The honeymoon period ended when Franky was arrested again. All the groundwork she had laid with the younger woman seemed to fall away and Wentworth brought the anger out in Franky once again. She pushed Bridget away and it hurt her to admit that she thought they had something bigger than that, but it didn’t hurt as much as when Franky ripped open her shirt and groped her in her cell.
Bridget knew it was Franky’s maladaptive way of coping, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t wounded by her actions. In fact, feeling her strength in that cell terrified Bridget but fight or flight had kicked in and she managed to shove Franky away. It was many years ago when it happened, and Bridget never told Franky, but it wasn’t the first time someone had put their hands on her roughly.
Sitting in the staff room, tears threatening, Bridget listened to Vera. Franky had just stomped on her goodwill, even as a prisoner Ferguson was still trying to oust her, and the ombudsman was on his way. Life was a carnival ride careening out of control.
Bridget grew paranoid in her loneliness. And though, she never considered herself a jealous woman, she saw Franky’s burgeoning friendship with Allie as a threat. She knew how easy it would be for them to fall into bed together and she felt powerless to intervene. She trusted Franky. At least that’s what she told herself. But things were beginning to pile up that made it difficult for Bridget to continue to blindly believe.
She’d embarrassed herself with Allie and been left a patsy by them both when Allie stole her card and Franky used it to sabotage the brawler. But she’d finally had enough when Ferguson had speared her heart with the news that Franky and Allie were snogging in the laundry and when Franky didn’t deny it, she locked herself in the washroom and cried for an hour.
Walking away was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do, but Bridget did it for herself. Chaos had upended her life and she had to rejoin some order. However, Franky had other plans and when Bridget did finally leave Wentworth and Franky too, Franky managed to pull her back in.
“I love you! And I’ll be back,” Franky called from across the street.
Bridget stood slack jawed beside her car as Franky flashed her million dollar smile and ran off in the opposite direction. Chaos, like a tornado, blew back into her life.
“She did it,” the psychologist said quietly, scanning the area for her co-worker, who must not have heard Franky’s declaration of love. She exhaled and unlocked the silver VW. Sitting in front of the steering wheel for a moment, Bridget turned and sighed. “Shit.” She turned the key in the ignition and the small car sped off in the direction that Franky ran.
Her eyes scanned the sidewalks and alleys as she drove. It didn’t take long before she came upon Franky, still running along the waterfront. She rolled her window down and slowed the car to coast alongside her.
“Franky!” She hollered. “Franky! Get in.”
Looking over her shoulder, Franky slowed her sprint to a jog and scrunched her forehead. “Nuh. Gidge, it’s too dangerous.”
“We need to talk. Get in the car,” Bridget said sternly, squeezing the steering wheel.
She knew talking wasn’t the most enticing thing she could offer Franky, but for once Bridget was putting her needs first.
Franky skidded to a stop and threw her arms up. “Gidge, I can’t do this here.” Her cheeks puffed out and she walked in a circle, out of breath.
“But you come to my work?” She tried hard to squash the confusion and rage that had been building for weeks.
Franky held her sides and looked at the sky, still panting. “I had to see ya. After the way we left things…”
“Nuh. You don’t get to make yourself feel better by making me feel worse. You broke out of prison, Franky!” Her voice echoed across the waterfront and Franky looked around, panicked.
“Christ, keep your voice down!” Franky said in a hushed tone.
Bridget sighed. “Just get in the car.”
Franky leveled her gaze at Bridget. “I have to do this on my own.”
It was time for the more enticing offer. “Just stay with me tonight. We’ll figure this out together,” she implored from the car.
Franky shook her head. She could see Franky mulling it over, her cheeks puffing out before she spoke again. “How am I supposed to say no to that?”
Bridget smiled. “You’re not.”
She lifted her arms above her head. “Shit.” Franky exhaled and nodded, letting her arms flop to the sides. “Okay,” she said before jogging around to the passenger door. She opened it and hopped into the front seat. “I didn’t wanna involve ya,” she panted.
“Then you shouldn’t have come to my clinic.” Bridget put her foot down and the little car’s tires squealed on the wet pavement.
Franky leaned back in the bucket seat as the car accelerated, her breathing returning to normal. “Don’t you wanna know how I did it?”
“Nuh.” Bridget flicked the blinker and and turned the wheel, taking the corner faster than was probably advisable.
“Easy Speed Racer,” Franky teased. Even after busting out of a maximum security prison and going on the run, she always had a joke.
Bridget chuckled anxiously. “Franky…”
Franky raised her eyebrows. “Gidge…”
Bridget nodded. There was much to say but she couldn’t muster a single question for her lover. She knew she was at an important juncture. She’d initiated contact with an escaped felon and she was likely to go down for helping her too, and in all honesty, the thought didn’t trouble her much. She loved Franky, flaws and all and she’d come too far to stop now.
She could feel Franky’s eyes on her the entire way home. Bridget couldn’t help stealing glances either, street lights reflecting off the sweat on Franky’s bosom as they drove. There was so much at stake but the reality of it was that all Bridget wanted to do was to keep Franky safe, but there was also the creeping arousal of their months apart complicating matters.
Parking in her laneway, Bridget shut the engine off. Her keys jangled in her hand as she looked across the dark interior at Franky. “God, it’s good to see you.” She smiled.
Franky smiled back and reached across the gap to caress Bridget’s cheek. Bridging the distance, their mouths met above the center console. Franky’s lips firm press, enticed her mouth to open, and Bridget sighed as their kiss deepened. What started as a slow dance gradually gained momentum until they were tearing at each others clothes over the gearshift.
“Fuck,” Franky panted, hands in Bridget’s hair.
“Inside,” she breathed.
They parted reluctantly, and climbed out of the car, Bridget walking ahead of Franky along the path to her front door. Franky followed her close and she recognized her nearness. She unlocked the door quickly and they slipped inside.
It was unlikely that any of her neighbors saw them arrive as Bridget’s bungalow was cozy with greenery and well-isolated from them. Bridget threw her keys onto the counter and as she turned to see where Franky was, Franky appeared in front of her, pulling her into an embrace and peppering her neck with kisses.
“I know I should be planning my next move but…” Franky trailed off as she brushed her lips against Bridget’s. “Fuck that.” Franky laughed and Bridget followed in suit.
Her back bumped the hallway wall and Franky kissed her firmly. “Mmm…” Bridget hummed.
Franky’s hands hugged Bridget’s curves and her body was alive with sensation. There was no time for them in a world that included Wentworth but here, on the outside--free together--she was remiss to part.
Franky’s hands squeezed her waist as Bridget shrugged out of her jacket, her breasts heaving with effort. Slipping her hands underneath Bridget’s top, their mouths met, hungry for one another. Their impromptu reunion was ill-advised and quite possibly what made it worse was also what made it better.
Her body was on fire, and yet goosebumps raised on her skin head to toe. Bridget shivered and Franky lifted her off the ground to carry her the rest of the way to the bedroom. It was a clumsy, awkward trip but it was the most romantic thing a lover had ever done for her.
Franky dropped her on the bed playfully and stripped her own top away, hovering above Bridget. She paused there, inches from Bridget’s lips and Bridget could tell Franky was conflicted about something.
“What is it?” Bridget’s voice was soft and reassuring.
Franky bit her lip. “Nothin’.”
She shook her head and kissed Bridget, who pulled away. “Franky.”
“This is going to ruin your life.”
“Oh, Franky.” She shook her head, placing a hand on Franky’s cheek. “No. No, it’s not.”
“Your job--” Franky sighed, closing her eyes.
“Is not my life,” she said matter-of-factly. “We’re going to clear your name, Franky.”
She knew it was what Franky needed to hear, she just wasn’t certain of the truthfulness of her statement but it had its desired effect when Franky smiled and kissed Bridget softly. Moments later she was fumbling with the button at her waist, hungry for her touch.
They’d been in this moment so many times before--tearing at each other’s clothes, kissing and caressing as they undressed in a heap--but tonight was different. Tonight, it felt like it could very well be the last time. Franky had risked her life to escape and prove her innocence and there was no telling what would happen in the coming days with a manhunt that was sure to rattle them.
So this was it. And was it something to behold. Tangled together, rough and yet tender, their kisses were wet as their bodies wanton. They rolled around on the bed, taking turns on top of one another until Franky settled atop her. She paused then, holding Bridget’s face in her hands.
Once again, Bridget saw the haunted look in her eyes. “Why do you love me?”
Bridget froze. A simple question with such a complicated answer. She inhaled deeply. “Let me count the ways…” She smirked and pushed Franky’s hair back from her face. “You’re smart, and funny…” She kissed the corner of Franky’s mouth. “And beautiful…” She whispered against Franky’s lips.
Franky pulled away. “I’m serious, Gidge. I’ve fucked everything up for you.”
“Even if that were true, I’d still love you.” It was the truth and there was no denying it. She could feel Franky melt into her as her mouth captured Bridget’s and the intermission was over.
Stretching beneath her as Franky’s hands raked over her ribs, Bridget felt the rapture of her touch. Franky caressed her with an unmatched reverence and her heart thumped heavily against her breast. Pulling her last shred of clothing away as she went, Franky shimmied down her body.
The jolt of electricity that shot through her body was unexpected and overwhelming in the best possible way as Franky landed between her legs. Arching off the bed, Bridget threaded her fingers with Franky’s against her hips as Franky’s mouth held her prisoner. And what a prison it was--warm and insistent, teasing Bridget until she moaned Franky’s name.
When she slinked back up Bridget’s body, Franky’s hand trailed up her thigh, dipping into her warmth. Surprised, Bridget arched once again. “Shit,” she gasped.
Franky's grin faded as Bridget rolled her onto her back and held her wrists to the bed above her head. Sparkling in the darkness, Bridget knew what was brewing behind those beautiful green eyes. She softened her expression. “It’s going to be alright.”
“You don’t know that.”
Bridget nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, I do.” She brushed a finger across Franky’s cheek before capturing her lips again.
She had to believe her own words. Franky had turned her universe upside down but she also breathed life back into her and Bridget couldn’t imagine her world without her again. Chaos continued to reign in her heart, too.
Inching down Franky’s body, Bridget hushed her again. There was always a moment of grace before they made love and looking down on her tattooed and curvaceous body, she was full of grace. Franky’s hips jumped when she covered her with her mouth, and time slowed. Chaos unfurled and held her close.
In return, Bridget held her back and when Franky cried out, she felt an enormous satisfaction. Franky’s arm covered her face, body still heaving with effort, when Bridget returned to her side. When Franky lifted her forearm, their eyes met and Bridget felt her vulnerability for a brief moment.
“Fuck, I love ya,” she exhaled as her breathing returned to normal.
Her smile was infectious and Bridget chuckled before allowing the silence to envelop them once more. Chaos encircled her. She could feel the blood coursing through her veins, her pulse thudding in her ears and the mess between her legs as Franky pulled her closer. In the morning she would be gone, but once was never enough and as Franky kissed her, chaos breathed life into her again. The shadow of what was to come still hung over the pair but it no longer mattered that the clocks were ticking down and the police were no doubt already looking for Franky, this was their time. They made love again and again and when their bodies were satiated, Franky’s voice pierced the darkness.
“I have to do this on my own, Gidge.”
“I know,” Bridget sighed and clung tightly to her Chaos.
“You’re gonna have to let me go, then.”
Bridget smiled a sad smile. She nodded and acquiesced, as Franky slipped out of bed. “Where will you go?”
“I dunno. But I can’t stay here.” She pulled on her pants and reached for the shirt on the floor. Standing at the foot of the bed, her eyes poured over Bridget. She pulled her shirt over her head and sat on the bed to tie her shoes. It happened so fast, and Bridget was caught flat-footed in Chaos’ wake. Franky slipped into a coat and stood in the doorway of her bedroom. “Gidge…”
“Tell me later, yeah?” She smiled and she could tell Franky understood.
Franky nodded her head and turned to leave. She was halfway down the hall when Bridget called out to her. “Franky Doyle, I love you.”
“Yeah, yeah,” she called back, her tone tinged with good humor.
Bridget imagined the dimples creasing Franky’s cheeks and smiled, herself. Dangerous times were ahead of them, but Bridget had no regrets. She was in it for the long haul. And though it seemed like it for the past few months, chaos and order were not always at odds. Sometimes they joined together and sometimes that ordered chaos was just what Bridget needed.