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Bridget felt herself wake up, and realized she was still wrapped in Franky’s arms. Neither one of them had moved at all that night. She didn’t know what time it was, but she knew their alarm hadn’t gone off, so she could just lay here and enjoy being close to the brunette for a while longer. Her arm was draped over Franky’s side, and she absentmindedly let her fingers move over the brunette’s lower back.

“That’s one of my favorite things you do,” Franky mumbled, only half awake.

“Mmm, I didn’t mean to wake you, baby.”

“I’m not complaining.” The brunette smiled, and dipped her head down to place a gentle kiss on Bridget’s lips.

Franky moved her hand to the nape of the blonde’s neck and let her fingers run through her soft hair. Bridget’s eyes fluttered closed for a second. The brunette watched her face intently. She loved the way her girlfriend’s body reacted to her touch, and all the little sounds she made. Bridget involuntarily pushed her body up against Franky even more.

The brunette connected their lips in a slow, easy kiss as she snaked her right hand in between their bodies. She let the backs of her fingers brush lightly over the sensitive skin of Bridget’s lower stomach, making the blonde take in a shaky breath. Franky’s hand continued to make it’s way down the blonde’s body. She turned her hand, and cupped Bridget, letting her fingers rest on her folds. Franky could feel the wetness starting to pool there as Bridget pushed herself into the brunette’s hand.

The blonde pulled back just enough so that their lips were still barely touching. When she opened her eyes, she was met with Franky’s intense green ones watching her. The brunette gathered some of Bridget’s wetness on her finger, and moved to the older woman’s clit, where she moved it slowly back and forth over the small bundle of nerves.

The blonde splayed her hand across Franky’s back, hanging onto the brunette. Bridget didn’t know what it was about what the younger woman was doing, how such a small, simple action could feel that good. She closed her eyes and connected their lips again. Franky was a good kisser, a really good kisser, in the blonde’s opinion, and she seemed to know, without any prompting, exactly how Bridget liked to be touched.

The blonde knew she was getting sloppy with the kiss, but she couldn’t help it. She was getting lost in what Franky’s fingers were doing. The brunette separated their lips and left a kiss on Bridget’s cheek, then jaw, then the side of her neck, and finally on her collarbone as she applied a bit more pressure with her finger. Franky felt the blonde shiver and saw the goosebumps appear on her skin.

“You cold, babe?” Franky whispered as she placed another kiss on Bridget’s jaw.

“Mmm, no…” The blonde let out a small whimper.

The brunette continued leaving kisses along Bridget’s neck and shoulder before she returned to her lips. She could feel more wetness from the blonde on her fingers.

“Fuck,” Bridget moaned, and Franky felt the other woman’s body shiver again.

“Feels good, yeah?” Franky asked, and the blonde gave another small moan in reply. “Tell me what you need, babe.”

Bridget shook her head. The familiar warmth was steadily building in her stomach. “That feels really good, I’m close already.”

Franky concentrated on the blonde’s body, listening to the sounds she made, feeling how she moved subtly against her, the taste of her skin when she kissed her. Bridget’s breathing picked up a bit more, and the brunette felt the older woman’s fingers dig into her back.

“Oh fuck.” Bridget breathed out quietly.

Franky placed a kiss on the blonde’s collarbone, then slowly ran her tongue up the side of her girlfriend’s neck. Bridget let out another moan before her body shook with the first waves of pleasure. She tightened her arm around the brunette, and held on as she rode out her orgasm.

“You’re so fucking beautiful, Gidge.” Franky placed a kiss on the corner of the blonde’s mouth.

After a moment, Bridget opened her eyes, and smiled at the brunette. “Franky?”

“Mmm?” Franky had that half grin on her face again.

“That’s one hell of a way to say good morning, baby.” Bridget gave a small laugh before she pulled the brunette in for a deep kiss.

Franky laughed as their lips parted. “I do my best.” She lifted her head to look at the clock on the bedside table behind the blonde. “Uh, babe?”

“Yeah?” Bridget could feel the post-orgasm sleepiness starting.

“I think we forgot to set the alarm last night! You’ve got a half hour to be at work!”

“What?” The blonde turned her head to look at the clock. “Shit!”

They were both up and out of bed in seconds.

“You just get ready and go. I’ll deal with Em.” Franky shoved the strap-on under the bed with her foot. She’d deal with it when she got home later.

Technically, the brunette was supposed to be at work in a half hour as well, but she didn’t actually have a class until ten, so she could probably get away with it. She knew Emily would be a few minutes late for school, but she’d take her in and explain that they’d all overslept.

“Okay, thanks baby. I love you.” Bridget gave her another kiss as she grabbed her robe and ran to the bathroom.

Franky smiled and shook her head as she put on a t-shirt and shorts and went to wake Emily.

“Em.” Franky sat on the edge of the girl’s bed and put a hand on her back. “It’s time to get up for school.” Emily opened her eyes briefly, then closed them again, turning her face into the pillow. “Come on, bub, we’re running a bit late. I want you to get up and get dressed while I get some breakfast ready, okay?” The brunette placed a kiss on her temple as she got up to head to the kitchen.

“Franky?” The young girl said sleepily from her bed.

“Yeah?” The brunette stopped and turned around to see what Emily wanted.

The girl reached out to Franky with both arms, and the brunette knew that this meant she wanted a hug. She returned to the bed and bent over, allowing Emily to wrap her arms around her neck. Normally Franky would just return the hug then leave her to get up on her own, but today she was in a hurry. The brunette wrapped one arm around behind Emily’s back and the other under and around her legs. She squeezed the girl tight, making her giggle.

“Guess what!” Franky said excitedly.

“What?” Emily gave another giggle.

“Time to get up!” On the last word, the brunette picked up the girl, and put her over her shoulder. Emily squealed with delight, which turned into a laugh.

Franky held onto the girl’s legs as she left the bedroom and walked down the hallway. They met Bridget coming out of the bathroom.

“All ready for work, babe?” Franky asked the blonde.

“I think so.” Bridget let out a long breath. She wasn’t used to rushing in the mornings and she knew that she’d feel like she’d forgotten something for the rest of the day.

“You look good.” The brunette gave her a quick kiss. “I’ll see you tonight.”

“Me too!” Emily said, still in her spot on Franky’s shoulder.

Bridget gave a small laugh and the brunette turned around, letting her girlfriend give her niece a small kiss on the cheek and say goodbye. Once Bridget had left, Franky put the girl down just outside the bathroom door.

“I need you to wash your face, brush your teeth, then go get dressed.” Emily gave the brunette a nod and went into the bathroom.

Franky quickly put on a pair of pants and a singlet and went to the kitchen. She didn’t have time to do much about breakfast, but she didn’t want to send Emily without feeding her. She grabbed a pan and put it on the burner to heat up. She quickly cracked the eggs into a bowl, whisked them, then dumped them into the pan once it had warmed up. She went to the fridge and quickly grabbed everything for the girl’s lunch and shoved it into her bag.

“How’s it going, Em?” she called down the hallway as she stirred the eggs in the pan.

“Almost ready!”

Franky grabbed a couple more things from the fridge while the eggs finished. She laid out two tortillas and sprinkled some cheese on them. Then she added the eggs and rolled them up.

“Come on, bub!” she yelled down the hall once more.

“Coming!” Emily hurried into the kitchen, still straightening her clothes.

“Awesome. Here you go.” Franky handed her one of the wraps. “We need to eat on the way to school, okay?” She grabbed Emily’s school bag, and they made their way to the car.

When they arrived at the school, Franky could sense some hesitation from Emily. It was only her second day back, but she had been doing well so far, so the brunette decided to just carry on like normal. She helped Emily out of the car and they started into the school.

“Are you staying with me today?” The young girl looked up at Franky as they walked.

“No, I’m just taking you in because you’re a little bit late this morning.” The brunette felt Emily reach up and take her hand.

When they reached the classroom, Franky knocked gently on the door. Ms. Williams opened it, greeting them with a smile.

Franky gave her a small smile. “I’m just dropping Em off. Sorry she’s a bit late, but we all overslept this morning.”

“Oh, it’s no problem. Come on in Emily.” The teacher stepped aside so that the young girl could enter the classroom.

“Can I have a hug?” Emily asked quietly.

“Yeah, bub.” Franky crouched down and gave her a hug. “I’ll see you after school, okay?” Emily nodded then joined her classmates.

“Do you have any information on the summer classes you were talking about yesterday?” Ms. Williams asked as Franky stood up. “A couple of the parents were asking about them this morning during drop off.”

“Not with me, no, but I can send in some pamphlets with Em tomorrow, or they can contact the Centre and talk to Liz if they have questions or want to register.” The brunette gave a polite smile. “I really have to get going, I’m on my way to work.”

“Sure, see you later.”

Franky gave a quick wave behind her as she hurried back to her car.

********

Liz practically followed Franky through the door of her classroom. She hadn’t said anything yet, but as soon as the brunette passed her office door, she was up out of her chair and struggling to keep up with the taller woman’s fast pace.

Franky threw her bag on the couch in her office and grabbed an extra jacket off the hook beside her desk. “I’m sorry I’m late Liz, we overslept,” the brunette said, buttoning up her jacket, assuming Liz had followed her looking for an explanation for her tardiness.

“What? Oh, so you are. That’s not why I followed you, love. You remember the media request I told you about yesterday?” Liz was speaking fast, which Franky knew meant that she was either excited, nervous, or knew that the brunette wouldn’t like what was coming.

“Mmhmm. The one they want because of the summer listings thing in the paper,” Franky said, tying her hair back.

“I know I said you had time to think about it, but they called again this morning. They want to run the article in the next issue, and the reporter has asked to sit in on your last class of the day.” Liz ended with a half-hearted apologetic smile.

“The kids one?”

“When she called, she said she thought it was really great that you were offering classes for children, and I may have mentioned you were teaching one today.” Liz gave another awkward smile.

“Liz!” Franky sighed.

“All she wants to do is observe the class and ask you three or four questions at the end. Basic stuff like when did you start cooking….why did you decide to teach….future goals. That kind of stuff.”

The brunette took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I don’t know, Liz.”

“Franky, love, you’re good at this,” Liz said, putting her arm around the younger woman. “You’re good at cooking, and you’re good at teaching. I’m going to be sad to see you go someday.”

“I’m not going anywhere, Liz. I’m happy here.” Franky began her prep work for the day.

“I know you are, but I also know you’ve got a bigger dream, and I know you’ll get it.” The older woman squeezed the brunette’s arm.

“I’m just not good at…”

“Taking compliments, receiving praise,” Liz finished Franky’s sentence for her. “Yeah, I know. For once though, just say thank you, then shut up.”

The brunette gave a small laugh, and she and Liz exchanged smiles.

“Love?” Liz reached up and moved the collar of Franky’s jacket aside and smiled. “Ah. You might want to cover that up.”

“Cover what up?” The brunette reached up and touched the spot on her neck where the other woman was looking, and felt nothing.

“Go have a look in the mirror.” She gave her a wink and turned to leave. “I’ll see you this afternoon.” She called back on her way out.

Once Liz had left, she went into the office to look in the small mirror on the back of the door. When Franky pulled her collar aside, she saw a dark purple mark almost at the base of her neck.

“Fucking hell,” the brunette mumbled to herself. She vaguely remembered Bridget doing something there the night before. She understood the blonde not noticing it in the morning since she only saw her for a few seconds, and she was carrying Emily. She wondered why the young girl hadn’t said something though, she was usually very observant. “The one time she doesn’t notice something,” the brunette said, rummaging through her bag. She was hoping that there was something in there that she could use to cover it.

Almost to the bottom of it she found what she was looking for. She quickly applied some concealer, and blended it in, trying to make it as inconspicuous as possible. At least Liz had caught it first thing and not later on in the day before people saw it. She stopped for a minute. “Fuck!” The brunette had just remembered that she’d only been wearing the singlet when she’d dropped Emily off at school. There’s no way the teacher wouldn’t have noticed it. “Great. Drop the kid off at school with a hickey on your neck. Good job.” She finished with the makeup and threw it back in her bag. The day had started off very nicely but was quickly going downhill.

********

“You ready, love?” Liz had arrived early to help with Franky’s last class of the day. She had wanted to get there before the reporter arrived.

The brunette nodded slowly. “I think so.”

“What are you making with them today?”

“Quesadillas.” Franky let out a long breath.

“You’re not nervous about the class, right? It’s the interview after?” Liz leaned on the counter.

“Yeah, I think so. I’m just not good at explaining things sometimes. The class is easier because I can show them how to do things but when it’s just talking, it’s different.”

“I get it. I’ll be around for a bit after though to help with the cleanup, and Emily will be here.” The older blonde squeezed Franky’s arm. “There is one other thing I’ve been meaning to ask you. Have you and Bridget got anything planned with Emily for Halloween?”

“Halloween?” Franky thought for a moment. “Shit, that’s next week, isn’t it? With everything that’s been going on, we haven’t even talked about it.”

“Well, if you guys are looking for something to do, it’s my turn to put on the kid’s party here at the Centre this year. I’d love to have Emily here, and maybe she wouldn’t mind a little sleepover after. We could play some games or watch a movie, have some popcorn, and you two could enjoy the night off.” Liz gave her a small smile.

“I think Em would have a really good time. I’ll talk to Gidge.” Franky remembered the cop shirt she had found in the closet and sat aside, but wasn't sure that would be appropriate for a kid's party.

The brunette knew that Liz loved kids, but had never had a family of her own. Franky was the closest she had to a daughter, and now Emily would be like a grandchild.

"I think I see the reporter, just let me go check." Liz hurried out to greet a young woman, who looked like she was lost.

Franky glanced up from her work, and saw Emily coming towards the classroom, followed by Bea and Allie. At least she wouldn't have to make small talk with the reporter before class.

"Hey, bub." The brunette reached down, and rubbed Emily's back as the young girl ran up to her and gave her a hug. "How was school?"

"It was okay." Emily had her face half buried in Franky's side.

"Just okay?" Franky asked.

"I missed you and Auntie Bridge," she said quietly.

"I missed you too, and I'm sure Gidge will be glad to get home and see you tonight." Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the rest of the students start to arrive. "Time to get ready for class, okay?" She gave Emily a final pat on the back.

"Franky, this is Kate. She's the one I said would be observing your class and asking you some questions afterwards." Liz had brought over the reporter.

The brunette shook the other woman's hand. Franky thought she looked to be in her early twenties, with light brown hair and blue eyes.

"So nice to meet you Franky," Kate said with a big smile. "Is she yours?" The reporter nodded towards Emily, who was already at her station with her apron on.

"Uh, no, I mean kind of yes, but technically no." Franky already didn't like being questioned.

"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to....it's just that I saw you with her and it seemed like...nevermind." Kate stumbled over her sentence. She sensed that she needed to be careful what she asked the brunette.

"I need to start the class now." Franky said, making her way to the front of the room. She still had a couple of minutes before all the kids would be there, but she didn't want to talk anymore. She busied herself at her demo station.

********

The class had gone well, and Emily was out in the classroom with Liz eating the food they had made. Franky and Kate had gone into the office to complete the interview part of the article. Franky had opted to sit in the desk chair instead of sharing the couch with the reporter. She didn't want it to feel like she was in therapy, or like they were friends. She just wanted to get this done so she could go home.

"I guess we should get started. I just have a few questions, and then I was hoping to take a picture or two. Is it okay with you if I record this?" She held up a small digital voice recorder. When Franky gave a nod, she pushed the 'record' button and sat it on the coffee table between them. "Okay, so my first question is: how and when did you discover your passion for cooking?"

Franky shifted in her chair. She was already uncomfortable, and trying to decide how to be somewhat honest, but not get too personal. "I was probably fifteen or sixteen years old when I met Liz. I was struggling with some things in my life and she saw something in me; potential. So she started teaching me how to cook, and I found out that it was something I enjoyed, and that I was good at."

Kate made a couple of notes in her book. "What made you make the transition from student to teacher?"

"I think it just happened naturally. Liz had started working here around the time that I was finishing culinary school and they were looking to add some cooking classes. She had taught me well, so that, along with what I learned in school, got me here. I love giving that back, and sharing what I've learned; seeing people get excited over being able to create new dishes." Franky was feeling surprisingly more relaxed than she had thought she would.

"The kid's cooking class is new for this session. What made you decide to offer that one?" Kate had put her book down now, and was letting the recorder do all the work.

"I was a teenager when I started cooking, and I always wondered what would have happened if I had started when I was much younger. Kind of like, how much more could I have learned by that point in my life? So I started looking around, and realized there wasn't really a class like that offered around here." Franky sat back in her chair.

"It's going well so far? You have some pretty young kids in your class, does that make it more challenging?"

"If you're talking about safety, yes, if you're just talking about cooking then no, not really. As long as you find recipes that are good for the age group then it's fine. Usually I teach the classes on my own, but for the kid's one I have a couple of friends who help out just to make sure no one gets hurt. Overall, yeah I feel like it's going really well." The brunette paused for a moment, remembering how her decision to teach the class had led to her meeting Bridget, and a smile formed on her face.

"Okay so one last question: what do you see in your future? Will you keep teaching or is there something else you'd like to try?"

"I think I'll always be teaching in some sort of role. Maybe not in a classroom, but definitely in the sense that I'd like to keep sharing what I know. My dream would be to own my own restaurant some day. I think most chefs would love that." Franky had just finished speaking when she heard her phone vibrate on her desk. She glanced over, and saw that it was Bridget.

"You can get that if you need to. We're done with the interview part, I'd just like to get a couple pictures before I go." Kate was already packing away the recorder and her notes.

Franky reached over, and grabbed her phone. "Hey, babe. Yeah...yeah, she's out with Liz at the moment. Yeah that sounds good. Okay, see you in a bit.....I love you too." She hung up and put the phone in her pocket.

"So she is yours." Kate said, taking her camera from her bag.

The brunette felt her walls going back up since they were done talking about cooking and the other woman was trying to move into her personal life again. "I'll stick with my previous answer, and I don't really see what that has to do with anything."

"Nothing really, it's just....people like to know the person behind the story." The reporter had a hopeful look on her face, like maybe her honesty would make Franky open up a bit more.

"Hm." Franky made a noise that was little more than an acknowledgment that she'd heard what Kate had said, and left no doubt that the reporter's plan hadn't worked. "Let's do those pictures, yeah? I need to get home soon."

Franky posed for a couple of pictures, and Kate even managed to get Liz to take one with the brunette.

"Thanks so much, both of you. I'll make sure to send a few copies over when the issue comes out." The reporter shook both of their hands, packed up her camera, and headed out.

"That wasn't so bad, right, love?" Liz patted Franky on the arm.

"I guess not." The brunette sighed. "I was fine talking about my cooking, but she asked about personal stuff, if Em was mine. I didn't like that."

"Oh I don't think she was trying to be nosy or anything. She probably just saw you with Em before class. Maybe she's got kids too, you know how parents like to talk to each other about their kids. She probably just thought she was being friendly." Liz gave her a reassuring smile.

"Yeah, but.." Franky trailed off.

"No 'buts'. Just enjoy something good that's happened, take Em home, and have a nice evening with your family."

"Thanks, Liz." Franky knew that Liz was right, and she was just being overly guarded. She gave the older woman a hug, then gathered up Emily so they could head home.

********

"Hey Gidge, sorry I'm late." Franky gave the blonde a kiss as Emily came up from the other side and gave her aunt a hug.

"No worries, I picked up Thai food for supper. I got your favorite." Bridget smiled as she unpacked the take out containers. "And one of my favorites for you to try." She reached down and brushed a strand of Emily's hair away from her face.

"Pad Thai?" The brunette tried to peek into the containers to see which one belonged to her.

"Mmhmm," Bridget gave a small laugh as she watched Franky. "Baby." The blonde reached out and put her hand on Franky's cheek. "Why don't you guys go change and I'll get the food ready?" She gave the brunette another small kiss.

Emily went off to her room, while Franky lingered in the kitchen.

"What's wrong, baby? You look tired." The blonde brushed her thumb across her girlfriend's cheek. The brunette still had a small smile on her face, but Bridget could tell from her eyes that something had happened.

"Can we talk about it later on? I just want to have supper then spend the evening with you guys." Franky turned her head and placed a kiss on the palm of Bridget's hand.

"Yeah, of course."

Bridget began setting the table as the brunette went to the bedroom to change. Emily returned in her pyjamas and sat on a stool by the kitchen island.

"Guess what we made today in class!" The young girl swung her legs excitedly.

"What, love?" The blonde was glad to see that Emily was starting to act like her old self again.

"Quesadillas!"

Bridget thought for a moment. "I don't think I've had those before."

"Really?" Franky had returned to the kitchen.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure I haven't."

"Can we make them here?" Emily looked from Bridget to Franky.

"How about on the weekend, bub?" The brunette put her arm around the young girl's shoulders and Emily leaned against her.

"Can I make them by myself?" She looked up at Franky.

The brunette hesitated. She didn't want to discourage her, but at the same time Emily was too young to be in the kitchen making a meal like that on her own. "How about I'll let you do things on your own, but I'll be here watching? There's a couple things I'll have to help you with."

"But I'll still be cooking for you?"

"Yeah, of course!" Franky gave her a squeeze.

"Alright, come eat!" Bridget sat down at the table, and the others joined her.

After a minute, Franky caught Bridget looking at her. The brunette smiled at her and kept eating, thinking that the blonde was probably just lost in thought.

When they had finished their meal, and were clearing away the dishes, Bridget wrapped her arms around Franky. "I'm sorry, baby," she said quietly, so that Emily wouldn't hear them.

Franky looked at her blankly. "What? Why?"

"This." Bridget gently touched the small purple spot on the brunette's neck.

Franky realized that Bridget was only now seeing it since she had washed her makeup off before they ate. "Don't worry about it, babe." The brunette smiled at her and gave her a small kiss. "Besides, Liz caught it before too many people saw."

"Did anyone see it?" Bridget felt bad that she hadn't noticed it before she left the house.

"Uh, maybe her teacher when I dropped her off. I took her right to the classroom because we were late. She didn't say anything, so I don't know, but maybe." When Franky finished, Bridget gave her a sympathetic look. The brunette leaned in beside her girlfriend’s ear. “I don’t care. It felt really good.” She pulled back. “Okay?”

“Okay, let’s finish up here so we can do something with Em before it’s time for her to go to bed.” Bridget gave her one last quick kiss, and they went back to their work.

A few hours later, Emily was sound asleep, and had been for hours, and Bridget and Franky were getting ready to sleep themselves.

Bridget wasn’t going to ask the brunette again what was bothering her. She knew that Franky felt more than comfortable coming to her with anything, and that sometimes she just needed some time to open up. When the younger woman laid down in the bed, the blonde moved to lay against her side, draping one arm over Franky’s stomach. Bridget felt the brunette’s fingers trailing lightly up and down her back, and she could feel her body starting to relax.

“I think it’s really sweet that Em wants to make us dinner. She seems to be getting back to her old self.” Bridget reached out for Franky’s free hand and laced their fingers together.

“Yeah, it’s a good sign. I was worried for a bit that it might take her awhile to bounce back from this.” Franky’s phone went off, indicating that she had a text message.

“You should check that. It might be Liz.” Bridget knew her voice was sounding tired but she was willing herself to stay awake until the brunette was either ready to talk or sleep.

Franky let go of the blonde’s hand and reached over to her bedside table. “It’s from Allie.” She opened the message:

Text Message From: Allie
Hey Franks! Forgot to tell you at work today…I’m having a Halloween party at my place next Saturday night. 9pm til whenever. Bring some friends!!! And wear a costume!!!!!

The brunette put her phone back on the table. “She invited us to her Halloween party next weekend.”

“Next weekend? I didn’t even think of Halloween. Em is probably expecting to do something.”

“Yeah, one thing I wanted to talk to you about was that. Liz mentioned it today too. She said it’s her turn to do the kid’s party at the Centre, and she asked if Em would like to go and then spend the night at her place. She’s got some kid’s Halloween movie to watch or something. I thought maybe we could help her out with it and it would be fun for Em, she loves Liz.” Franky took Bridget’s hand again.

“That sounds great actually. What about Allie though? If you want to have a night with your friends, I can take Em to the Centre.” Bridget wanted to spend the night with the brunette, but she knew it was healthy to have fun apart as well.

“Gidge! What?! No way. I want to go with you guys.” She thought for a moment. “We can probably do both. The one at the Centre ends at nine. We can just go to Allie’s from there and Em can go home with Liz. We’ll help her clean up when we pick Em up in the morning.”

“Two parties in one night? Not since my uni days.” Bridget gave a laugh. “But sure, it sounds fun. We’ll all need costumes.”

“You should ask Vera too. Allie said to bring friends.”

“Sure, baby, I’ll ask her tomorrow.” Bridget snuggled into Franky some more.

There was a moment of silence before Franky took a deep breath. “Remember that listing of Summer courses that Liz put in the paper with my picture?”

The blonde felt her mind become more alert. Here was what had been bothering Franky earlier. “Yeah, you looked hot.”

The brunette smiled. “Someone else thought so too. Got their attention enough that they asked Liz if they could write an article about me.”

“Franky! That’s great!” Bridget was happy for Franky, but when she looked up at the brunette she didn’t see that happiness mirrored in her girlfriend’s face.

“Is it?” Franky asked quietly.

“Yeah! Of course it is. You work hard.” The blonde stretched up to give her a small kiss.

“The reporter, Kate, came to the Centre today to sit in on Em’s class and then talk to me after. I didn’t really want to do it, but Liz convinced me. I was fine when she was asking about cooking stuff, but then she asked about Em.” Franky looked up at the ceiling. “She had seen her come up and give me a hug before class started, and she asked if she was mine. I wanted to shove her right back out the door. It just brought up all the memories from when I did the show and how they always wanted to dig a little deeper than you were comfortable with. Like I agreed to let her watch the class and I agreed to talk about myself and cooking, but that wasn’t enough, she needed more. She said that people like to know ‘the person behind the story’. I didn’t like it.”

Bridget propped herself up on her elbow, and looked into Franky’s eyes. “That’s a pretty normal reaction, babe. You’ve been through a bad experience with this kind of stuff before, and you’re cautious now. You’re also protective of me and Em, and that’s something I really like about you.” She leaned down and gave her a kiss.

“You do?” Franky had no doubt that Bridget loved her, and the blonde was very good at showing her affection and talking about her feelings, but Franky liked to hear the why behind it as well.

“Yeah,” Bridget smiled at her. “It makes me feel safe. It makes me know that Em is safe.” The brunette returned her smile. “So what was your answer when she asked you that?”

“I said ‘kind of yes, but technically no’.” Franky suddenly felt sad with her answer, and was glad that Emily hadn’t been nearby to hear it.

“Baby, next time just say yes.” Bridget laid down against the brunette again, and gave her a kiss on the shoulder.

“I didn’t want to assume anything.” Franky’s voice was quiet.

“Franky.” Bridget waited until the brunette turned her head towards her. “You put her to bed, you look after her every day after school, you teach her things, you watch movies and play games with her, you worry about her when she’s sad or not feeling well and you try to make her feel better, you’ve shown up for everything. You came to the school with me, and you came to the psychologist. I could list so many more things, but what really matters is that you care for her, you love her, and you’re there when she needs you. So next time someone asks you that, say yes.” The blonde watched the tears fall down Franky’s cheeks and she quickly wiped them away with her fingers. “You okay, baby?”

“Yeah, I just…yeah.” The brunette took a deep breath. “I just never thought of it like that before, you know?”

“I know.” Bridget wiped the brunette’s face for her again. “Turn over, baby.” Franky gave her an unsure look. “Turn over,” the blonde said again quietly. This time Franky did what she asked, and the blonde wrapped her arms around the younger woman, pulling her close. “I’m the big spoon tonight.” She felt the brunette laugh a bit.

Bridget placed kisses on the back of Franky’s neck and shoulder.

“Mmm, I can see why you like this, Gidge.” The brunette quickly found Bridget’s hands and took them in hers.

“It’s nice, isn’t it? You want to try to get some sleep?” The blonde heard a small mumble that she assumed meant Franky was quickly relaxing, and would be asleep soon. She could only imagine how exhausting the day had been for her girlfriend. Maybe not physically, but definitely emotionally. She was proud of her though, for getting the article, and for handling a stressful situation. Bridget buried her face against the nape of Franky’s neck and listened to her breathing slow down and even out.