Bridget managed to get in a couple hours of sleep before she saw the first rays of sunlight through the blinds in her bedroom windows. She figured the fact that Emily hadn’t shown up at any point during the night meant that she had slept, and that she’d be able to go to school that day. She got out of bed, and went to see if Emily was awake yet.
She slowly opened the door and saw that the young girl was still sleeping peacefully. Bridget walked over and sat on the edge of the bed beside her.
“Em, time to wake up, love.” Bridget ran her hand gently back and forth across the girl’s back to wake her up. Emily stirred a bit then seemed to settle back to sleep. Bridget tried again. “Em, wake up.”
“I’m awake, Mom.” Emily mumbled again, still not very far out of sleep.
Bridget closed her eyes for a second. Hearing Emily mistake her for her mother broke her heart. It was the first time it had happened, and Bridget assumed she had triggered some memory in the little girl’s mind. She rubbed her back for a few more seconds as Emily came more awake.
“Hey, love. How are you feeling?”
“Better. Good.” She looked up. Studying Bridget’s face for a minute then put her arms out for a hug. The blonde smiled, knowing that her niece had sensed that something was off. She leaned over and let the girl wrap her arms around her neck.
“Time to get up then, okay? I’ll make us some breakfast then drop you off at school.” Bridget gave her a kiss on the forehead then left her to get dressed.
Out in the kitchen, the blonde got their breakfast started, then went to work making them each a sandwich to take for lunch. ‘Cheese on top’ she thought to herself. When she had finished, she looked through Emily’s bag for her lunchbox. It wasn’t there, and Bridget thought maybe she’d forgotten it at school. She had an extra lunch bag she could let her take though, so she grabbed that, and packed the sandwich along with a couple of snacks and a bottle of water.
Emily emerged from her bedroom a few minutes later, and climbed up on one of the stools at the kitchen island. Bridget sat her plate in front of her. She’d made scrambled eggs and toast along with a small dish of berries.
“I know you’re feeling better but eat slowly, okay? You barely ate yesterday.” Bridget cautioned her niece.
Once they had finished breakfast, Bridget dropped her off at school, and headed straight to Wentworth. She knew she’d be over an hour early for work, but she intended to spend the extra time with Franky.
As soon as she had dropped off her things at her office, she went straight to Medical. When she arrived, Will was seated outside the door, almost at the end of his shift, and the nurse was inside finishing up some paperwork. Will stood as she approached.
“Vera told me what you did. I don’t know how to thank you.”
Will shrugged, “It’s my job, and I promised her I’d help get her through this. I know my opinion doesn’t matter, but she deserves to go home.”
Bridget put her hand on WIll’s arm and gave a small nod before entering Medical.
“I’m here to see Franky Doyle. I understand she was involved in an incident last night.” The blonde tried to sound as professional as possible even though she could see Franky lying in one of the beds, and wanted nothing more than to run to her side.
“Bit early, don’t you think? She’s not awake yet.” The nurse went back to her work.
“Uh, yes, well the governor requested that I see her first thing as soon as possible. So here I am.” Bridget was about two seconds from just barging in anyway.
“Alright, I have to go submit this report anyway.” The nurse got up, and left.
Bridget closed the door and walked over to Franky’s bed, pulling the curtain around it. She looked down at the brunette’s face and felt the tears in her eyes immediately. It all just looked painful to her. There wasn’t a lot of swelling but she definitely had some bad bruising, and there was still some dried blood on her nose and lip. Her arm had been placed in a sling, and Bridget assumed that was due to the dislocated shoulder. She could see more bruising leading down under the collar of her gown, and assumed it continued over the rest of Franky’s body. Her first instinct was to reach out and cup Franky’s cheek but she quickly pulled her hand back, afraid to hurt her.
“You can touch me.” Franky’s voice made Bridget jump.
“How did you-“ The surprised blonde stopped mid-sentence.
A small smile appeared on the brunette’s lips. “It’s your thing, Gidge.”
“Yeah, it’s what you do when you want to comfort someone. You’ve always done it with me. I’ve seen you do it with Em too.” Franky opened her eyes and looked at Bridget. “I like it.”
The blonde reached out again, and gently rested the palm of her hand against her girlfriend’s cheek. “How are you feeling, baby?”
“Like I was run over repeatedly by a bus.”
“Hang in there. Ask for the good meds.” Bridget gave her a small wink and they both laughed. “I have to go, but I’ll be back to check on you again later, ok?”
Franky nodded and reached up with her uninjured hand to tap her cheek. Bridget smiled and kissed the spot where the brunette had pointed. “I love you.”
“I love you too, babe.” Franky closed her eyes again, and Bridget figured that with meds that were still in her system, she’d be back to sleep in no time.
It was almost time for Vera to be arriving, and Bridget wanted to catch her before anyone else was looking for her. She hurried down the hall towards the governor’s office. Vera hadn’t arrived yet but the time Bridget got there, so her receptionist let the blonde into her office to wait. Bridget took a seat in one of the chairs, but felt too restless to stay seated. She got up and paced back and forth, occasionally looking out the window, hoping to find something outside to distract her.
The office door opened behind her. “Ah, Bridget, you’re here early. Is Em feeling better then?” Vera entered, hanging up her coat on the coat rack behind her desk.
“Yeah, she said she felt better when she woke up.” Bridget hesitated for a moment. “I’ve been to see Franky already.” She took a deep breath. “Vera, she looks pretty beat up.”
Vera looked to the floor, then out the window. “I know. I saw her last night.” She looked out the window for another few seconds before she continued. “I want you to know I’m dismissing Linda. She left her post without authorization, endangering an inmate’s life.”
“It was Linda?”
Vera nodded, “Seems like she was in a hurry to leave last night. That’s what Will said anyway.”
Bridget let Vera’s words sink in. While Linda was by no means someone Bridget would consider a close friend, she did sometimes go out with them, and she had met Franky at Bridget’s birthday party and the night at the bar. She was disappointed that she would abandon Franky at a time when she would have been prone to being attacked.
“What I really came to talk about was what you told me in your first call last night. Vera, if they formally charge her, we have almost no hope of getting her out of here. She’s going to do years for something she didn’t do.” The reality of the situation had sunk in when Bridget was laying in bed last night. It was much easier to get released if you could avoid being formally charged than if you were convicted and had to fight it in court.
“The best I can do is try to delay them somehow, but I think they’re ready to move on this. They’ve got the victim statement, an eyewitness who actually spoke to Franky, so he’s sure it’s her, Franky admitting to being at the scene, and forensic evidence at her apartment, which by the way, how the hell did that get there?” When Vera had really sat down and looked at the case, she realized, from a legal standpoint just how absolutely screwed Franky was.
“Kim had shown up at her place before. Franky said she threw stuff around and broke it. It must have been from then. She didn’t do this, Vera!” Bridget knew she was sounding desperate and she hated it.
“I know!” Vera rarely raised her voice, but she needed to make Bridget stop and listen to her. She continued more quietly. “I know, but unless you can find out what really happened in that alley, she’s going to do the time for it.”
“Are you going to give her a heads up before they show up here?” If Vera planned to tell her, Bridget wanted to be with her when it happened.
“I can’t,” Vera sighed. “Technically I’m not supposed to know, and neither are you.”
The blonde nodded, understanding that Vera was telling her not to say anything either and risk getting anyone in trouble.
“I told the nurse that you had requested my early visit this morning. I thought I’d let you know in case she said anything.” Bridget was ready to leave and find some work to use as a distraction. If she had her way, she’d just sit with Franky all day, but she knew that would be pushing it.
“That’s fine. You can visit her as often as you like. If anyone mentions it I’ll say it’s authorized.” Vera and Bridget exchange nods of understanding, and Bridget left to go back to her office.
Bridget had worked through her lunch break, eating her sandwich at her desk while doing paperwork, in order to use her free slot to go see Franky. As she approached Medical, she saw Matt sitting outside. He gave her a nod as she went in. It didn’t appear that the nurse was there at the moment, and the curtain around Franky’s bed was still pulled closed.
Bridget walked quietly, not wanting to wake her if she was sleeping. As she peered around the curtain, she saw Franky standing back-to, naked. A pile of her clothes were on the bed along with the gown she had been wearing earlier. She was struggling at the moment to get her t-shirt over her injured arm with the use of just one hand.
“Franky.” Bridget spoke softly so as not to startle her.
Franky half turned and glanced back at her. “I’m okay, Gidge.”
“Yeah, but let me help anyway.” Bridget took the shirt from Franky, and put it on the bed. She picked up the bra instead. “This first, yeah?” She smiled.
“I gave up on trying to get that on by myself.” Franky gave a laugh.
“Lucky I came along then.” Bridget chuckled. She gently guided the brunette’s arms through the straps and fastened it for her in the back. “That’s not too tight on your ribs or hurts your shoulder?” Franky shook her head.
Next, the blonde picked up the pair of underwear and knelt down in front of Franky. She held them just above the floor so her girlfriend could step into them. When Franky didn’t move, she looked up at her, and saw a smirk on the brunette’s face.
Bridget shook her head and smiled, “Just put ‘em on.” The brunette laughed and stepped into them. Bridget stood, pulling them up.
She took the pair of pyjama pants from the bed, and helped Franky into those, then the shirt came last.
“So does this mean they’re letting you go back to the unit?” Bridget gestured to Franky’s outfit.
The brunette sat back down in the bed. “I don’t think so. Doc said I should sleep sitting up for a few nights, said it’s easier on the ribs while they heal, so I’ll have to stay here for that. It’s just a fracture, not a full break, so it’ll heal quicker. Don’t have one of these fancy beds in my cell though.” She pushed the buttons on the railing, making the head of the bed raise and lower a few times, then gave a small laugh. “They’re just done poking at me, so Vera went to my cell and got me these. Said I could change if I wanted. I figured I’d feel more like myself if I did. Didn’t realize it would be so hard. Showering should be fun. I couldn’t even get dressed, let alone undressed, showered, and dressed again.”
Bridget sat beside her and took hold of her hand. “Let me see what I can figure out, okay?” Franky nodded. “In the meantime, I thought maybe you could use this.” The blonde reached into the pocket of her jacket and pulled out a chocolate bar.
“Gidge, I could kiss ya!” She reached for the bar and Bridget moved it back. “Come on!” Franky laughed.
Bridget shook her head and tapped the bar on her lips. Franky leaned forward and gently touched her lips to Bridget’s. The blonde knew they were probably tender so she let her girlfriend take the lead. After a couple of seconds, Franky sat back and Bridget handed her the bar. “I’ll be back before I go home.”
Franky nodded her head as she used her good hand and her teeth to open the wrapper.
“I would have opened that for you if I knew you wanted it now.”
“I can’t let myself be completely helpless, Gidge.” Franky winked at her.
“Right, I’ll see you later.” She headed back to her office.
After her last session for the day, Bridget left for Vera’s office. She had thought of a way to get Franky the help she needed, as long as she could get her friend on board. The governor saw her approaching through the window and waved her inside.
“How’s Franky doing?” Vera closed the file she was reading.
“She’s feeling better, it seems. Thanks for taking her the clothes. That’s also what I came here to talk to you about.” Bridget sat down in one of the chairs in front of Vera’s desk. “She was trying to put them on when I got there, and she couldn’t. I had to help her get dressed. She can’t move properly because of her rib injury, and she had almost no use or movement of her left arm. She needs a shower. She still has dried blood on her in places.”
“I can’t-“ Vera was cut off by Bridget.
“She needs a shower, and she needs help.” The blonde looked at her, willing her to understand. “Please Vera, I’ll help her, just give us some place safe.”
Vera folded her arms across her chest and sat forward. “I can’t send you into H-block. The officer’s showers could be used at any time, and we’d have to get Franky in and out of the staff lounge unnoticed.” She lifted her eyes and looked at the door on the back wall of her office. “But you could use mine.”
“Wait, you have a shower?” Bridget turned and looked at the door. “I thought that was just….I don’t know what I thought. The door is always closed.”
“It’s a bathroom, and there’s a shower. I’ll have Matt bring her up right after dinner.”
“Thank you, Vera. Really.”
Vera nodded. “I think you and Franky should probably just stop thanking me for awhile. I owe her a lot.” She opened the file in front of her again and Bridget took that as a cue that she wanted to be alone.
When Matt brought Franky to Vera’s office, Bridget was already there waiting for her. The brunette entered the office and Vera left with Matt, telling them she’d be back later.
“What’s going on, Gidge?” Franky looked around the office.
“I told you I’d figure out how to get you a shower.” She walked over, and held the door open for Franky to enter the bathroom.
The brunette walked inside and looked around. “This is nice.”
“Mhm. She had them bring up towels for us, and I snuck into your cell and got your toiletry bag and some clean underwear.”
“Us?” Franky turned quickly to look at Bridget.
“Yeah, us. Baby, what’s wrong?” Bridget reached down to hold her hand. Franky looked at their fingers. “We don’t have to if you don’t want to. If you think you’ll be okay on your own, I can just wait outside in case you need something.” Bridget was trying to read Franky’s expression. The brunette wasn’t usually someone to show this side of her, although Bridget had seen it a couple of times. She suspected it was coming out now because she was injured, and feeling more vulnerable than usual.
“No, I want you to stay.” She leaned down and kissed Bridget a little harder than she had earlier that afternoon.
Bridget turned the water on, making sure it was a bit warmer than usual to help relax the brunette’s sore muscles. She let it run while she helped Franky out of her clothes. “Get in, I’ll be right there.”
Franky stepped into the stream of water and let it hit the back of her neck and run down her back. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Bridget undressing. She turned her head to watch her and Bridget looked up, catching her. They both smiled.
The blonde joined her in the shower. “You looked like you just got caught sneaking a peek,” she laughed. “You’re allowed to look. Back up and get your hair wet.”
Franky took a step back and Bridget reached behind her for the bottle of shampoo that was sitting on the shelf. She squeezed some into the palm of her hand.
“Turn around, baby.” Bridget motioned for Franky to turn so she could lather up her hair. The brunette gave her a quick kiss and turned around. “You know,” Bridget said, as she massaged the shampoo into Franky’s hair, “I think maybe that’s your thing.”
“Those small kisses. Those are your way of giving and receiving comfort.” Franky was quiet while Bridget finished washing her hair.
She turned again to face the blonde. “I’ve only done that with you, the kisses like that. They’re not for comfort. They mean ‘I love you’.”
Bridget gave her another kiss, and reached back, this time for the washcloth and body wash. She put some on the cloth, and lathered it up. She started at Franky’s shoulders, rubbing gently, trying not to cause her any pain. The brunette winced when Bridget ran the cloth over her left shoulder and her injured side. She continued working her way down until she reached Franky’s feet.
“How do you feel now?” Bridget asked, standing back up.
“Better, but maybe a bit more achy and sore. If that makes sense.” She wrapped her good arm around Bridget and pulled her close.
“Yeah, it does. This is the most you’ve done since you got hurt. It’s probably soon time for more meds, too.” The blonde pushed a strand of wet hair behind Franky’s ear. “Ready to get dressed?”
Franky shook her head. “The warm water feels good. You feel good.” She smiled and Bridget gave a small laugh. “This is the first shower I’ve shared with someone.”
“Really?” It wasn’t that the blonde didn’t believe her, she was just surprised.
“Yeah, it’s always been my time alone. Kind of my space where I didn’t want anyone else. A lot of times as a kid, when my Mom was pissed, I’d take a shower to get away from her.” Franky rested her forehead against Bridget’s.
They stood there another few minutes, until Franky decided that she was ready to get out. Bridget helped dry her off and get her clothes back on before getting dressed herself. She got the brunette’s toothbrush and toothpaste, and sat them on the counter beside the sink.
“You start on this and I’ll be right back.” She quickly ducked out the door, and checked that no one was around.
She walked quickly over to Vera’s desk and flipped through the files she had left laying out. The one she was looking for wasn’t there. She opened the drawer of the filing cabinet, flicking through the tabs until she found the one she was looking for ‘Francesca Doyle’. She flipped through the pages, skipping the content on Franky, until she got to the police report. She scanned through it until she found what she wanted….the victim, Kim Chang, was admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital for treatment. She put the file back in the drawer, and went back to help Franky finish up in the bathroom.
Bridget sat in her car in the parking lot. She had made sure that Franky was back safely in Medical for the night before she left. Matt was still there, and Will had the night shift again. She knew what she had to do, for Franky, for herself and Emily too, but mostly for Franky and her safety. If she got it right, this would all be over. If she fucked it up, she could end up in Wentworth alongside her girlfriend. She started the car. She had to try.
She hadn’t decided what she was going to say to them at the front desk. She’d have to ask for Kim’s room number. If they asked any questions, she figured she’d just say she was a friend and hope they’d leave it at that. She walked through the main lobby and approached the receptionist.
“Good Evening, how can I help you?” The receptionist greeted Bridget, and she briefly wondered how many times each day she said that line.
“Hi, yes, I’m looking for Kim Chang. Could you tell me which room she’s in?”
“Certainly, just one moment.” The receptionist typed something into the computer while Bridget glanced around the lobby, trying not to seem anxious.
“She’s in 410, on the 4th floor.”
Bridget’s attention snapped back to the woman sitting behind the desk. “Oh….thank you.” She was a bit shocked at how easy that was. She would have thought that there would be visitor restrictions for a patient who was part of an ongoing case. Then again, the police thought they had her attacker locked up already, so maybe they figured she was no longer in any danger.
The ride up in the elevator seemed to take forever. When the doors opened, Bridget followed the signage until she got to room 410. She stood in the doorway, looking in at the woman lying in the bed. The woman who had caused all of the problems in her life for the past few months. It was time to end it. Bridget was tired, Franky was hurt. She wanted her old life back. The one where Franky was home with her every day, and in her bed with her every night. She was done laying awake, worrying if her girlfriend would be safe for another night, or if she was going to wake up with a message on her phone from Vera. She stepped into the room.
Kim turned her head and looked at her. It took her a second to recognize who she was, but she definitely remembered Bridget. “Still got your fancy clothes I see.” She turned her attention back to the TV.
“Well, I came from work. I’m not here to talk about me though. I’m here to talk about Franky.” Bridget sat in the chair beside Kim’s bed.
A smile came across the other woman’s face. “That bitch is exactly where she deserves to be.”
“Is that what you think? That she deserves to be in prison?” Bridget knew this would take every ounce of her self control, but she couldn’t fuck it up.
“Do you know that last night she was beaten pretty severely? She’s in the Medical unit right now. She needs help doing pretty much everything. Do you want to know why she was beaten?” The blonde waited until Kim met her stare. “Because she saved an officer from the same situation. Not just any officer, the governor. She knew that was the one thing that you do not do in prison, and she did it anyway because she couldn’t stand by and just watch it happen.” Bridget leaned forward and rested her forearms on her legs. “You and I both know she’s not responsible for what happened to you in the alley that night.” Kim broke eye contact with the blonde. “You need to tell the cops the truth, or else she’s going down for this, and she’ll spend years in there.”
“Why should I? You just want your girlfriend back home with you so you can say you won.”
Bridget took a deep breath and leaned back. It was time to switch tactics. “You say you love Franky. If you truly love her, you need to let her get on with the life that she wants, the one that makes her happy.”
“Still sounds to me like that’s to your benefit too.” Kim picked up the remote and changed the channel on the TV.
“Okay, don’t do it for me, or even for Franky. How about you do it for a little kid?” Kim looked back over to her. Bridget had her attention again. “That little girl, she loves Franky a lot. She asks every day when she’s coming back. You thought she was my daughter, but she’s not. She’s my niece. I was looking after her while her father was away. Her mother died recently, and she’s been having a hard time with it. She bonded with Franky though. You should see them together, Em’s like her old self. If you think the life you’re taking away from Franky is her old life of partying and women, you couldn’t be more wrong. I understand that you were hurt when she told you that she didn’t want to continue with you. I get it, really. Ask yourself though, is it worth her possibly getting killed? That’s very well what could happen if she stays in there. She’ll be stuck in there with those women who came after her, and they only stopped this time because an officer showed up. Maybe next time she’s not so lucky. Is it worth taking her from a child who thinks she’s pretty much a superhero in her eyes? I can’t tell you what to do, but I will tell you that I don’t think you’re a bad person. I think you know what’s the right thing to do here.”
Kim was silent, staring down at her hands that were resting on the blanket covering her bed. Bridget was done, she’d said all she could, and it was out of her hands now. She stood up and walked to the door. She managed to hold it together until she was out of the room then the tears ran down her face. If this didn’t work, if she hadn’t gotten through to her, there was no way Franky was coming home any time soon.